Unsound Festival NY 2014

Demdike Stare's "Concealed" / Phill Niblock / Stara Rzeka

Unsound continues at Brooklyn’s First Unitarian Church with a special presentation of Demdike Stare’s audio-visual chamber work Concealed, reflecting a variety of influences from giallo movie scores to sounds from early hardcore rave and the American noise scene. as well as solo sets by Phill Niblock, one of the most preeminent composers of the American musical avantgarde, appears with Pauline Kim and Conrad Harris on violin to perform Unipolar Dance as well as present a solo piece, with projections of his own experimental film work. Poland's Stara Rzeka offers a sound he calls "magical brutalism", blurring the outer perimeters of black metal, noise and ambient.

Demdike Stare’s “Concealed” was created with cellist Danny Norbury (orchestration), visual artist Michael England (known for his work with artists like Autechre and Leila) and select players from Krakow’s acclaimed Sinfonietta Cracovia. ”Concealed” was originally commissioned and presented at Unsound Festival in Krakow with video mapping across the wall of an 18th century synagogue. It is the duo’s first take on live instrumentation but the visual element is of equal importance to the musical. Michael England's live video explores urban decay, bleak English landscapes, Japanese butoh and beyond, to tell a myth-like story that lies enticingly just out of grasp. With the music, the result is a sublime piece part-mystical and part-Kafkaesque.

Doors open at 7pm. Sets begin promptly at 8pm.

Demdike Stare is the Manchester, UK based duo of DJ Sean Canty and dub producer Miles Whittaker, two childhood friends from the North of England with voracious appetites for record collecting. After years spent mining vinyl bins for source material, the pair started working in earnest back in 2008, re-appropriating sounds they had spent a lifetime cataloguing into weird and immersive music of their own. Their project name Demdike was taken from the alias of Elizabeth Southern who was the ringleader of the Pendle Witches. After three albums, their stunning 2009 debut "Symbiosis" (Modern Love), their 3 x CD album "Triptych" and the 2012 double CD "Elemental" the duo are now at the peak of their powers as producers with a unique approach to music that crosses boundaries and genres. Their sound is the sound of something unusual emerging from the darkness, neither totally abstract, nor totally dance floor their music remains free of constraints and truly experimental in the best sense of the word. Inspired by everything from Industrial music to Noise, Free Jazz to House, Techno and Concrete. Demdike Stare have refused to rest on their laurels or become too comfortable with their surroundings, something that's perhaps most evident when evaluating the sheer scale of the projects they have started to undertake including live-scoring films for the BFI, rumors of Hollywood related soundtrack work and the work being presented tonight, "Concealed."

With a career spanning more than 50 years, now over 80 years old, Phill Niblock has not only proven himself as one of the most preeminent composers of the American musical avantgarde, as well as also an accomplished filmmaker and performer. Simply put he is one of the most important multimedia artists of his generation, a fact recently acknowledged by his winning the prestigious 2014 John Cage award given out biennially by the Foundation for Contemporary Arts. They noted “Niblock should not only be regarded as one of the most interesting composers of our time, but also as a vital organizational personality in the creative life of New York.” Niblock initiated his career as a photographer and film director. A jazz passionate, he moved to New York in 1958 as a photographer, specializing in portraits of the genre’s best musicians (Ellington, Mingus, Strayhorn). In the middle of the 1960s, he made his first films for the dancers and choreographers of the Judson Church Theater. He has pursued his film projects independently making a strong catalogue of work that includes the powerful The Movement of People Working, a series of films lasting over 25 hours, which he filmed between 1973 and 1991. These films focus on the repetitive nature of work movements and Niblock uses them live to act as a direct echo to his musical compositions. Niblock’s intense, immersive long-duration music develops an almost architectural character in a live setting. These microtonal compositions without rhythm or melody define minimalist music in the truest sense of the term. His sound and methodology has been an enormous inspiration to a generation of younger artists including artist like Carsten Nicolai, Jim O’Rourke, Sunn O))) (all of whom have dedicated works to him).

Stara Rzeka is a one-man band of Poland-based Kuba Ziołek. Fascinated by union of nature and technology on one hand, on the other caring for pure, deanthropomorphisized, raw natural reality, Ziołek performs with processed sounds of electric guitar and electronics in the spirit of noise, drone and psychedelic music. His debut album titled "Cień chmury nad ukrytym polem" was released in the spring of 2013, a year in which he was nominated for the prestigious award Paszporty Polityki for his activity in the field of alternative music. A key figure in Poland’s experimental scene, he has performed in some of the region’s most exploratory groups including Alameda 3, Innercity Ensemble, T'ien Lai, Hokei and Ed Wood.

Photo: Demdike Stare

Unsound Festival New York is presented by: Fundacja Tone and the Polish Cultural Institute New York, with public funds from the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs in partnership with the City Council.
Production Partner: ISSUE Project Room.

In co-operation with: TMU (Trust for Mutual Understanding), City of Krakow, Krakow Festival Office, The Adam Mickiewicz Institute, the Royal Norwegian Consulate General in New York, Goethe-Institute New York, Electronic Music Foundation, the David Rubenstein Atrium at Lincoln Center, BAMcinématek, The Bunker, Mutual Dreaming, Experimental Intermedia and SubPac.

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