Following Zuz's more general review of Experiment Intrinsic Festival that we published last week, we're now proud to present this focus upon the creatives whose performances made it such a special weekend.
My night started with Schaa’s live performance debut. The producer, who combines leftfield minimal house with an experimental approach, released a debut full-length on Sharingtones Records this year. Schaa ditched beats completely to play an electro-acoustic performance. Although there were a few tumbles in the beginning, such as powerful electronic sounds clashing with the atmospheric electric guitar, it was an outstanding live act, effectively combining electric guitar, electronic music, sound design and cinematic elements.
The live performance was followed by an ambient DJ set from E/Tape, who played for the first time b2b with Nicolas Luz, an electro-inspired DJ and a record collector from Uruguay. Their slow, meditative set was enhanced by Acca's visuals, resembling H. R. Giger and Jesse Kanda.
My Saturday started with a gong bath by Lani Rocillo. Lani got into healing practices when she started looking for alternatives to the Western medicine, which eventually brought her to a shamanic practice. She acquired a formal education at the British Academy of Sound Therapy in London. In her practice, Lani uses “the technology of our own body” and traditional instruments such as Himalayan bowls, a shamanic drum, percussive instruments, a harp, the human voice, and of course, the gong. During the gong bath, we were lying on the floor under the trees, transforming our bodies into antennas receiving sounds and vibrations. “Gong bath is about enjoying the present, the now. Sound creates awakening, it opens the processes in our consciousness,” Lani explained. The sound of the gong is majestic and takes up a lot of space, and combines high, medium and low frequencies of different characters. And it is definitely relaxing.
The River stage on Saturday started with DJ Melina Serser who mixed deep tunes with ambient and dub. Maybe it is due to her Uruguayan heritage that Serser is interested in sounds from non-Western parts of the world, which she layered onto downtempo tracks into a colourful and very organic assemblage.
Next played the Romanian house DJ Miss I who founded the first record shop in Bucharest focusing on electronic music called Misbits. Misbits is still the number one record shop for electronic and alternative music in town and recently, it expanded into a record label called Misbits Records focusing on ambient and experimental music. On Saturday, she played an amazing electro acoustic / experimental set full of sub bass, spoken word, acoustic instruments and delicate electronic tracks which you can listen to below.
The stage continued with all sorts of genres combined by Orphée, which is a “downtempo” alterego of Oswaldo Nicoletti. Apart from DJing, Oswaldo also owns the dance-orientated record label Discours and produces breakbeat, house and techno with a friend under Jäfar moniker. As Orphée, he is a resident artist of Experiment Intrinsic from the beginning, those events being the only ones where he plays non-dance music from his vast collection. “For me, music is about delivering stories through sounds” Oswaldo tells me when I ask about his set on the festival. In his set, he incorporated everything from world music to opera, tribal Nigerian music and traditional Greek flutes.
Praslea’s daytime set was more coherent and focused on slow, percussive beats. The collaborator of Raresh and an co-owner of Understand Record (together with El Cezere and Kozo) swapped his usual pulsing house tunes for spiritual, shamanic songs.
The Music Hall on Saturday belonged to Roedelius & Chaplin. Hans-Joachim Roedelius is known for being a key figure of the Krautrock and the German avant garde music scene. His recent work includes an improvisational project with a Swiss-born English composer and actor Christopher Chaplin which was started in 2010 thanks to a project for BBC. In 2012, the two released a collaborative album on Sub Rosa called King Of Hearts and continue to perform live. Roedelius played simple yet beautiful melodies on the piano and mini Korg, while Chaplin mixed recorded and electronic sound from his laptop with two Novation synthesisers. The result was a mature, well crafted and yet playful dance of two good friends, using cinematic sound effects, rich waves of synthetic sounds and beeps in accidental order. When I wondered whether they rehearse at all, Roedelius just laughs: “Rehearsing is forbidden! We don’t know what will we play until the last second!”
The first show on the Night Stage belonged to the German experimental composer and sampling genius Jan Jelinek. His performance was an intuitive story which, although probably unintentionally, complemented what the festival was about – the first part was a dynamical chatter of sounds which eventually came together in one tone, branching out only to be united again. The last third was based on a singular tone in a square form, where Jelinek gradually enhanced its various undertones, rich colour and vibrant timbre. After him, a London-based techno DJ Gwenan soothed us with calm, mysterious and organic sounds put together into a colourful tapestry.
On Sunday morning, I switched gong bath for a walk in the castle area.
After that, I came back to catch the early set of Baby Vulture. Daniela Huerta studied fine arts in London and is a multimedia artist. Drawn to sound, Huerta records multigenre avant-garde sets as Baby Vulture and collaborates with a house producer Magda, with whom she released a Balance 027 EP and created PERM, a series of events in Berlin which has welcomed artists such as Flander and Pole. In her set, she played electro-acoustic music, including minimalist compositions by Terry Riley and the playful experiments of Laurel Halo.
Baby Vulture’s colleague, Vlada, took over the space above the willow to play next. Since she moves around the globe to play on festivals and venues from Berlin to Ibiza, her DJ sets are inspired by traveling, especially by “the surroundings and new explorations”. Her set at the River Stage was the first one where she spun music other than house and techno - and it was gorgeous! She mostly played melodic and rhythmical records, full of slow beats, percussions and instruments such as piano, vibraphone and wind instruments.
After Vlada came Andrew James Gustav, with whom Vlada recently played with in Moscow. Combining house, minimal and a London flavoured sound, Gustav is a resident on London’s events Undersound and Art of Dark. Being a dedicated record collector, he dug out some classic roots reggae records for his River Stage set.
SME is a project of Mae Sme who plays the piano and uses her voice, creating the “sound environment” with occasional collaborators. For their improvisational concert in the Music Hall, the duo were joined by a flutist/clarinetist and a narrator/singer. Although sometimes the artists would be walking different directions, the longer they played, the better they got along and the concert resulted in a very intuitive and warm performance with Mae using her wonderful breathy voice as an instrument, Spr spinning some fragile beats & electronic soundscapes, with the narrator recounting and singing a story!
In his second performance of the festival, Jan Jelinek was joined by the vibraphonist Masayoshi Fujita. The duo released two records on Jelinek’s label Faitiche: Bird, Lake, Objects in 2010 and Schaum last year, the second one playing with the notion of “tropical”. Both albums combine shimmering sounds and noise with percussive sounds of the prepared vibraphone and its hauntingly beautiful melodic tones. The live performance focused on the percussive possibilities of the vibraphone rather than on melodies, and felt more experimental compared to the lullabies on the records.
Before the final b2b from Praslea and E/Tape, Nathalia herself played a two-hour set of calm, magical music. Although she said she didn’t had enough time to give the set as much energy as she would like to due to all the organisational obligations, she received the gratitude and energy of the audience and carved out a beautiful set which flowed like the Dordogne river. Nathalia got a big applause – not only for the the music, but for creating and organising this whole experience, which took her 10 months. It was worth it, and Nathalia sees the importance and value in what Experiment Intrinsic is trying to achieve more than ever before. With the growing number of people who are genuinely interested in what both electronic and healing arts have to offer, I really believe the event can play a part in shifting electronic music to focus more on the core listening experience.