November 27, 2016
1. Poland's Fastest Growing (and sexiest) Start-Up
I walked into the old hotel Forum first thing following a noise, having no expectations. The legendary aura and the “everyone is there” can overwhelm a soul and I certainly wasn’t to insist on that. I didn’t know for sure how I will find the place and I couldn’t even tell exactly how I got there. There was just a drone echo that I could barely identify, while searching for the entrance, which was on the other edge of the building, not on the side covered with the giant banner spelling “Don’t be a corporate slave. Join Poland's Fastest Growing (and Sexiest) Start--Up”, in quirky font. My mobile data options had forsaken me. Without a schedule at hand and fairly intrigued by the loudness that was getting closer I stormed through the entrance system that resembled an airport check in, dropped my two bags at the wardrobe like unwanted toddlers I’ve been carrying into unknown and stumbled into the main room to an amaze-triggered blackout.
The tense sound in the room reminded me of the Unsound commissioned Bass fragrance, from their Ephemera collection. It was just as thick, obsessive and tragic (yep I wear that), the only difference is it wasn’t esters clinging to my lungs this time but the damn sound itself. Navigating through the fog I could tell Dean Blunt was up on stage, performing his absolutely serious UK hip hop project: Babyfather. In Brexit year AD, I’ll call this serious, an adjective I do not abuse normally in a sentence featuring Dean Blunt as subject.
Noise undertones and heavy bassline along an intoxicating beat – despite what this recipe might evoke, my first Unsound impression was rather poetic than aggressive. The lyrics were delivered in such way that a political charging and a powerful consciousness took over, even if the latest album does make too use of pastiche, misplaced quotations and tongue in cheek in Blunt tradition. To quote Dean Blunt once quoting Sonic Youth, it was all whirlwind, heat and flash. For those unfamiliar with the Babyfather project, they released an album on Hyperdub this year, titled BBF hosted by DJ Escrow. The record features Arca as a collaborator.
Right after, in the other room – which seemed to be the footwork headquarters, Jakub Lemiszewski was performing live a fresh and engaging jam. Poland is very connected to the Internet of music, and this showed in the approach of Jakub Lemiszewski, who was one of the night’s unexpected revelations. Thereafter, Foodman built up an abstract groove making use of quirky machine sounds, demonstrating his signature take on rhythm and mental dissonance. The other room saw Rabih Beaini performing two consecutive collaborations, one with Samo, a group from Tajikistan centered on uncovering traditional funerary music, and the other with Senyawa. Rabih’s collaboration with Senyawa is called Kafr and it involved spine chilling lamenting sounds as well, like invocations that aimed at unseen spirits. I was pretty desperate to not find my friends, with no data and no battery, but I kept running into familiar faces by the second. It felt like being in the same room with literally everyone in my facebook newsfeed. One of those afore mentioned unseen spirits must have helped when I managed to send a hopeless iMessage to my crew, a text that got replied. And there we were in the main room before Cindytalk and Ancient Methods premiered their live collaboration, In The Mouth of The Wolf. It’s already known that Cindytalk is my transgender mother figure. I’ve got the genes of an actress, but my real mom can’t hold a candle to the grace and radiance of Gordon Sharp. When Sharp stepped up, it had all crowd under an emotional spell, embodying the perfect paradox of strength in frailty. Lights loomed around the room in a vertigo, emulating an eerie disco ball effect complementary to a performance of hypnotic beauty. Six years ago I saw Cindytalk at Wroclaw Industrial Festival, delivering the most decadent and doomy folk noir in a red dress to kill for. That sounded like nothing heard before or after, and it’s one of the most vivid things I can remember since said year. Back to the present of 2016, the collaboration with Ancient Methods infuses this ravishing vision with dizzying, sedated electronic layers, a dreamlike feeling that reminds me of the times Coil sneaks in my playlist at a point during my REM.