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Unsound Festival New York 2011

Unsound Festival New York runs April 6 - 10, 2011 at Lincoln Center, the Goethe-Institut-Wyoming Building and other venues around New York City. This year the theme explored is "Horror".

The New York edition of Poland's most adventurous music festival returns for a second time with a collection of experimental electronic, new music and multimedia events.  This year's festival also continues the engaging East meets West dialogue explored in 2010, including a special series of workshops, discussions and experimental events.

Unsound Festival New York 2011 is presented by Fundacja Tone, the Polish Cultural Institute in New York and the Goethe-Institut New York, in cooperation with Krakow City Council and Krakow Festival Office, Trust for Mutual Understanding, Austrian Cultural Forum, Wordless Music, The Bunker and others.

Making its USA premiere at Unsound Festival is a new Unsound-commissioned project celebrating the 50th anniversary of the publication of Krakow writer Stanislaw Lem’s novel Solaris. The project features Ben Frost & Daníel Bjarnasson collaborating with Sinfonietta Cracovia, one of Poland's leading orchestras, with "film manipulations" by Brian Eno and Nick Robertson.

The performance marks the release of the album Music For Solaris, which has its beginnings in both Lem's original novel and the 1972 film adaptation by Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky. "It is a re-imagined soundtrack for a film so still as to become almost absent, a story in sound, and an exploration of an interior cosmos. It is music written by human beings, removed and mutated by machine intelligence, then translated once more by human beings."

Other performances include:

  • Modular Dreams with Morton Subotnick performing his "Silver Apples of the Moon", for a special concert with video Morton Subotnickartist Lillevan.
  • Atom™ aka German Uwe Schmidt in his first ever New York appearance.
  • Beyond The Dark – The celebrated Polish composer Henryk Górecki died in 2010. Known for the hugely popular 3rd Symphony, his work ranges from radical modernism to the deeply romantic. This is a unique chance to hear Gorecki performed by Sinfonietta Cracovia, which had a close relationship to the composer. Norwegian duo Deaf Center opens, fusing electronics and acoustic instruments.
  • Morton Subotnick and the Buchla Synthesizer – Subotnick discusses the evolution of early electronic music and the Buchla voltage-controlled modular synthesizer, which he helped develop in the early ‘60s, plus a focus on themes embedded in the title "The Transistor, the Tape Recorder, and the Credit Card: The Technological Big Bang."
  • FRKWYS Live: Unsound Edition – Pioneers of synthesizer music Alan Howarth and Harald Grosskopf are joined by Cleveland trio Emeralds showing parallels between synth music old and new. Grosskopf performs with A.R.P, Blondes, Laurel Halo, Pink Skull and James Ferraro, while Howarth and Emeralds also take the stage together for the first time ever. Visuals by Jade Boyd.
  • Bass Mutations – The renowned exploration of bass in a club context. Influential artists Kode9, Appleblim, Dorian Concept and Badawi appear alongside rising names Lone, Sepalcure and Spatial. In Unsound style, also included are Eleven Tigers (Lithuania), The Phantom & Zeppy Zep (Poland) and Chancha Via Circuito (Argentina).
  • Oceans of Noise – Extreme sounds curated with Carlos Giffoni of No Fun. Russian CoH and German Marcus Schmickler both have new releases on Vienna's Editions Mego label. Poland's Robert Piotrowicz teams up with NY’s Spencer Yeh (Burning Star Core), while Carlos performs a searing analogue synth set. Ending is Instant Coffee, a side project of Matmos member M.C.Schmidt with Lisle Ellis and Jason Willett.
  • Unsound Edition of Bunker – A unique showcase of artists from Europe’s east with KiNK (Bulgaria), Petar Dundov (Croatia), Jurek Przedziecki (Poland) and Samuli Kemppi (Finland) playing techno and house. Add AtomTM & Pink Harald GrosskopfElln (Germany), the minimal dub of Pulshar (Spain), Glitterbug (Germany), Tin Man (USA/Finland) as well as Octave One (USA) and this is a both musically and geographically diverse array of artists.
  • Immersion, presented with The Blackened Music series – Lustmord, legendary creator of the dark ambient genre, performs his second USA show in 25 years, with stunning visuals by Lustmord himself. Void ov Voices is the solo project of Hungarian Atilla Csihar, known as vocalist for Mayhem and Sunn O))). Polish experimental musician Robert Piotrowicz opens with an intense, dramatic set.

There is also a screening of Deconstructing Dad: The Music, Machines, and Mystery of Raymond Scott, directed by Scott's son Stan Warnow. Starting in the 1950s, Scott developed prescient music-making machines, using them in work from TV ad jingles to the three-album set "Soothing Sounds for Baby". Director Warnow will be present for Q&A.

Kiss & Tell presents the Unsound closing party with an exploration of vintage dance music presented by some of the deepest vinyl collectors in NYC. Bethany Benzur, Kiss & Tell's beautiful disco encyclopedia resident DJ, opens. Runaway, aka Marcos Cabral & Jacques Renault, play classic disco alongside their own re-edits and productions. Erika of Ectomorph plays a set of disco, electro and new wave.

Talks and Lectures include:

Marcus Schmickler + CoH In conversation with Andy Battaglia
– Schmickler and CoH talk about their similarly refined approaches to extreme sounds. They discuss process, conceptual grounding, and how their work comes out of their respective home countries of Germany and Russia.

Resynthesis: Synthetic Music Exploration Then and Now – Discussion starts with the recent reissue of Harald Grosskopf's classic kosmiche album Synthesist from 1980. Speakers include Grosskopf, his bandmate Axel Manrico and project coordinator Matt Werth. Younger musicians inspired by synth sounds from a future long ago include John Elliot (Emeralds), Laurel Halo and Alexis Georgopoulos (ARP). Moderator: Jordan Redaelli (Electric Independence).

Alan Howarth on Movie Music and Sound, presented with
– Composer and sound-designer Howarth talks about his work on such notable films as Poltergeist, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Star Trek, The Thing, and many, many more. Presentation to cover how certain unforgettable sound-effects were forged and how they played into movies as big as any ever made.

For more information, visit

Unsound Festival New York
April 6 - 10, 2011

Alice Tully Hall and
David Rubenstein Atrium
Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts
70 Lincoln Center Plaza
61 W 62nd Street

New York City

Wyoming Building
5 East 3rd Street

New York City

plus several other venues in Manhattan and Brooklyn

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