Lunchmeat is one of Prague’s most progressive music festivals, and it has managed to consistently keep its finger on the fluctuating, bass infused, manifold pulses of electronic music. Despite the image conjured up by the name, the festival doesn’t offer a stinky, tasteless and mass produced product. Rather, the musical focus lies in contemporary electronic goodies and first-rate club icons.
From a small audiovisual project which started eight years ago, Lunchmeat has emerged into a three day long display of the club scene’s finest names, creating an immersive audiovisual experience and combining it with new media. In past years the festival has welcomed artists such as Legowelt, SHXCXCHXSH, Objekt, Andy Stott, CoH, Ø, Daedelus, Tim Exile and many more, but has also curated new media exhibitions, organized workshops or symposiums and screened movies. The organization team has also been throwing events in soon-to-be-closed art space NEONE, often collaborating with fresh local collectives who redefine the club experience with their line-ups and music direction.
This year, the festival took place at the concrete underground labyrinth of Veletržní palác for the third time; an atmospheric venue with a raw, ghostly atmosphere and an amphitheatre in the concert hall, which contributed to an amazing sound. Seriously, I was almost literally blown away by the sound of the main floor - and I’m quite fussy when it comes to ways of destroying my ears.
The three day event included a two day long symposium on digital arts by Peter Kirn, a workshop on audience development, an exhibition Editions of Light vol. III in a Prague shaft, which apart from arts on perception showcased the album artworks of Stroboscopic Artefacts, whose two key figures, Lucy and Rrose, also performed on the festival. The main musical program was insane so I’ll just leave it here with you. And by the way, there were a few local acts in the mix too! It was great to walk between shows, being blinded by colorful lazers of RGB show by Robin Fox, watching beautiful micro/macrocosm visuals of Pact Infernal & Cycles and rave on the club stage to M.E.S.H.
I was lucky enough to be there for Friday and Saturday, so here are some highlights:
After releasing Dust LP earlier this year, Halo has revealed a more experimental and playful side, introducing jazz solos and cheeky samples into her production. Live, she was accompanied by a jazz drummer who was surrounded by drums and percussion which he sometimes caressed with brushes, other times slammed with sticks. But the main focus was on Halo, standing behind a table on which she had her Pandora’s box full of instruments, creating mysterious and obscure sounds. Halo transferred us to her picturesque yet peculiar labyrinth with thickets of eerie tones of marimba, samples of spoken word, lianas of synthesizers and snake rattling. Later on, this volatile audio environment was anchored by a beat and Halo’s voice, unshakable but emotive, emerging from the thick fog like a day. The set was based on tension and release; the shower of drums and then tinkling of cymbals, the improvised solo and then opening up the musical space for subtle sounds. My favourite moment was the live version of ‘Do U Ever Happen’, which lost its cute dubby character with multiplied vocals and was transformed into a contemplative, deep piece.
One of my guilty pleasures is playing DJ Rashad on 33 instead of 45 RPM. So although I’ve been a theoretical fan of Jlin for a long time, admiring her as an artist, her persistence and openness about music production, I sometimes had a hard time enjoying the music, although I do realize its qualities – it’s just too frantic for me personally. But experiencing her live, that’s like entering a whole new dimension of her music: the physical one. It was a massive yet sophisticated set which was a great pleasure for the mind and the body, Jlin’s sound palette being so fresh and striking. She took us on a wild ride and didn’t let us catch a breath. I can’t wait to see her again.
Those who were there know. The rest of you – well just do yourself a favour and see the show in terms of Frost’s new album Super Dark Times if you can. It’s been created in a collaboration with a visual artist Marcel Weber and I can’t remember ever seeing such a simple, yet magical design. Behind Frost, there was a cloth resembling a liquid mirror, reflecting lights into forms of auroras, somehow plastic light effects which looked like they were from Stranger Things, as if they were alive.
Regarding the music, I can only tell it made everyone speechless, people claimed it being one of the best show of their lives, feeling almost crushed by its power which went through the stomach right to the bone. I believe the whole city was vibrating and trembling in at least 5 km radius from the building.
The project of Lynn Suemitsu was hidden well from me for some reason. Not anymore! The patulous and lyrical melodies and synths somehow resembling traditional Japanese music (which is also sampled on Momo EP), the epicness and sweet, plastic vocals of J-Pop and heavy bass lines and jumpy beats – I love all about it! ～(^ᴗ^)-♡