Le Guess Who? Festival Announces Initial Lineup with 87 Artists

Posted in Whathaveyou on May 22nd, 2019 by JJ Koczan

LE GUESS WHO 2019 BANNER

Granted, not everything here really applies, but between the extensive curated programs and the general lineup of 87 frickin’ artists, if you can’t find something to dig, I dare say that’s on you and not Le Guess Who? Festival, the 2019 edition of which will take place Nov. 7-10 in Utrecht, the Netherlands. The lines of genre very clearly mean nothing here, and I respect the hell out of that, but I can’t help it if my eyes are immediately drawn to the lines of Träden, Godflesh, Prana Crafter, Mythic Sunship, Earth and other familiar entities. Still, this is the kind of thing where, if you go, you obviously go ready to be surprised and willing to be wowed by the experience.

And if you’re fortunate enough to go, you should know that this is the initial lineup of 87 artists, which means that, yes, there’s more to come. Sounds overwhelming in the best sense of the word.

Dig in:

le guess who question mark

Le Guess Who? reveals initial line-up for 2019 edition

First 87 acts announced, including very rare performances by Asha Puthli, Ustad Saami, and Ayalew Mesfin & Debo Band, as well as first names for curated programs

Le Guess Who? is a festival that is dedicated to boundary-crossing music from all over the world. In 2019, the festival takes place from 7-10 November in Utrecht, The Netherlands, and celebrates curated programs by Jenny Hval; The Bug; Patrick Higgins; Moon Duo; Fatoumata Diawara; and Iris van Herpen & Salvador Breed. Now, Le Guess Who? presents the first of these curated programs as well as several special performances, and the initial artists for the general line-up of the festival.

Special performances

Pakistan’s Ustad Saami is the last living khayál master, a precursor of the ancient, Islamic devotional music of qawwali. Even under threat of Islamic fundamentalists, the 75-year old master has spent his life as a dedicated practitioner of a vanishing art–one that has been passed on from generation to generation since the 13th century. Saami will give a very rare live performance at Le Guess Who? 2019.

From award-winning avant-garde jazz vocalist to international pop star to space disco icon, Asha Puthli is one of the first recording artists to successfully merge traditional Indian influences with Western pop. Puthli’s sultry voice adorned Ornette Coleman’s avant-jazz masterpiece Science Fiction, her songs have been sampled by a.o. Notorious B.I.G. and Jay-Z, and her early admirers include Andy Warhol, Diana Vreeland and Salvador Dali.

Ayalew Mesfin is a quintessential Ethio-groove performer, but like many of his contemporaries, he struggled against obscurity amidst political turmoil in his home country. Distributing 4000 cassettes for free in the 1970s–later becoming collector’s items– led to several months in jail for Mesfin. Last year, the compilation album Hasabe (My Worries) was released, leading to renewed recognition of the artist. Le Guess Who? celebrates this legendary artist with an exclusive European performance featuring the Debo Band, who formed in 2006 to keep the spirit and craft of Ethiopia’s golden age of pop alive.

Curated programs
Each of the curators of Le Guess Who? 2019 will present their own program, featuring a range of inspirations and like-minded artists, including both established performers and new, up and coming acts.

Psychedelic/kraut mystics Moon Duo invite a.o. Nivhek, the new project of Grouper’s Liz Harris; Swedish prog/psych/counterculture trailblazers Träd, Gräs och Stenar (Träden); the dreamlike, cinematic nocturnes of sound artist Michele Mercure; and cosmic jazz travelers Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids.

Shape-shifting electronic producer The Bug brings us King Midas Sound’s gloom-ridden dub, spoken word and ambient; juggernaut industrial/metal outfit Godflesh; the world premiere of a collaboration between Kevin Richard Martin and Japanese artist Hatis Noit; Jah Shaka, an essential figure within the British dancehall and dub scenes of the 70s; and the transformative experience of ZONAL featuring Moor Mother.

Norwegian multi-disciplinary artist Jenny Hval hosts Lolina, the project of Alina Astrova (Inga Copeland, Hype Williams); Sarah Davachi performing live with church organ and electronics; French sound sculptor Félicia Atkinson; and Oslo-based collective DNA? AND?, where children with special needs play improvised music with professional musicians, creating some of the most original, carefree and unfiltered music ever produced. Jenny Hval herself will present the new performance ‘The Practice of Love’ together with a multi-national ensemble including experimental musicians, vocalists, dancers and video artists.

New York avant-garde composer Patrick Higgins curates composer and electronic innovator Tyondai Braxton (formerly of Battles); pianist Conrad Tao, hailed by New York Magazine as “the kind of musician who is shaping the future of classical music”; Miranda Cuckson, with her dexterous mastery of the violin and the viola; and piano virtuoso Vicky Chow, who has reinvigorated pieces by Steve Reich, John Cage, and Bryce Dessner.

The curated programs of Fatoumata Diawara and Iris van Herpen & Salvador Breed will be announced at a later date.

General line-up

Le Guess Who? also announces the first performing artists within the general line-up of the festival: Atlanta art-punks Deerhunter; Makaya McCraven, regarded as one of Chicago’s most versatile and in-demand drummers, moving between genres like jazz, hip-hop and funk at lightning speed; The Raincoats, one of the most inventive bands spawned by the late 70’s punk explosion; nurse-turned-musician Doug Hream Blunt whose lo-fi brand of soul, funk and R&B was rediscovered by David Byrne’s Luaka Bop label; Dur-Dur Band with vibrant Somali funk music; fabled Japanese collective Acid Mothers Temple and their deep devotion to improvised music; from the outskirts of the small Mexican town of Texcoco, the fantastical and healing music of La Bruja de Texcoco; the playful lyricism and inventive pop melodies of Welsh avant-pop songwriter Cate Le Bon; the 10-piece big band Minyo Crusaders, who infectiously rework traditional Japanese folk with Latin, African and Caribbean rhythms; and the oracle that is Angel Bat Dawid, with her futuristic and spiritual jazz vision.

The full outline of confirmed artists can be found below.

Tickets

Day tickets for Le Guess Who? are on sale now. Tickets for the Thursday program are €43; tickets for Friday, Saturday and Sunday are €48. 4-Day Festival Passes are available for €148. All prices include service costs.

Le Guess Who? cooperates with The Dutch Council for Refugees for the ‘Grant an Entry’ initiative, which gives visitors the option to buy an additional day ticket for a refugee residing in The Netherlands who would like to visit Le Guess Who? but does not have the financial means to do so.

More info via www.leguesswho.com.

________________________________________________________________________________________

Initial line-up for Le Guess Who? 2019:

curated by Moon Duo
Bbymutha
Bridget Hayden
Idris Ackamoor & The Pyramids
Mary Lattimore
Michele Mercure
Moon Duo
Nivhek
Prana Crafter
Sonic Boom
TENGGER
Träd, Gräs och Stenar (Träden)

curated by The Bug
Caspar Brötzmann Massaker
Drew McDowall’s Time Machines
Earth
Godflesh
Jah Shaka Sound System
JK Flesh & Goth-Trad
Kevin Richard Martin & Hatis Noit
King Midas Sound
LOTTO
Mala
Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force
Rabih Beaini
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe
Slikback
ZONAL feat. Moor Mother

curated by Jenny Hval
DNA? AND?
Felicia Atkinson
Haco
Jenny Hval’s The Practice Of Love
Lasse Marhaug
Lolina
Lone Taxidermist presents BodyVice
Moon Relay
Oorutaichi
Richard Youngs
Sarah Davachi
Sofia Jernberg
Vilde Tuv
Vivian Wang
Zia Anger’s My First Film

curated by Patrick Higgins
Conrad Tao
Leila Bordreuil
LEYA
Mariel Roberts
Miranda Cuckson
Stine Janvin
Tyondai Braxton
Vicky Chow

General line-up
Acid Mothers Temple
Angel Bat Dawid
Arp Frique presents IMPROVISED SUITES FOR ANALOG MACHINES
Asha Puthli
Ayalew Mesfin & Debo Band
Cate Le Bon
Deerhunter
DJINN
Doug Hream Blunt
Dur-Dur Band
Eiko Ishibashi
Faten Kanaan
Föllakzoid
Gruff Rhys
Gyedu-Blay Ambolley & His Sekondi Band
Joseph Shabason
Khana Bierbood
La Bruja de Texcoco
Lakha Khan
Lalalar
Los Pirañas
Makaya McCraven
Melissa Laveaux
Minyo Crusaders
Mohamed Lamouri
Mythic Sunship
Negativland
Nídia
Oiseaux-Tempête & Friends
Petbrick
Prison Religion
Surfbort
The Raincoats
Ustad Saami
Visible Cloaks, Yoshio Ojima & Satsuki Shibano
Y?N Y?N
Yves Jarvis

More artists to be announced.

https://www.facebook.com/events/2338322109573864/
https://www.leguesswho.nl/
https://www.facebook.com/leguesswho/
https://www.instagram.com/le_guess_who/

A Taste of Le Guess Who? 2018

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Quarterly Review: Minsk, King Bison, Les Lekin, The Vintage Caravan, Jim Healey, Anu, Iron & Stone, Gorgantherron, Elephant Riders, Lend Me Your Underbelly

Posted in Reviews on July 1st, 2015 by JJ Koczan

the obelisk summer quarterly review

And so we cruise into day three. Not sure how you’re holding up, but I feel like I’m hanging in pretty well. We pass the halfway point today, which is significant, but of course there are still plenty of records to come. I’m not sure I have a favorite day — I tried to spread stuff around as best I could when I was planning the whole thing — but there are definitely a couple highlights today as well. No doubt the standouts will stand out as we make our way through.

Quarterly Review #21-30:

Minsk, The Crash and the Draw

minsk the crash and the draw

Six years after the release of their third album, With Echoes in the Movement of Stone (review here), the 75-minute breadth of The Crash and the Draw (on Relapse) marks a welcome resurgence for Illinois post-metallers Minsk. Only keyboardist/vocalist Timothy Mead and guitarist/vocalist Christopher Bennett (also of Lark’s Tongue) remain from what was a four-piece and is now five with Aaron Austin on guitar/vocals, Zachary Livingston on bass/vocals and Kevin Rendleman on drums, but Minsk’s cascading heft is well intact as they show immediately on 12-minute opener and longest cut (immediate points) “To the Initiate.” True enough one is bound to be initiated after it, but it hardly scratches the surface of the atmospheric sludge Minsk continue to develop over the course of the four-parter “Onward Procession,” the glorious later melodies of “The Way is Through,” or the tribal tension in the percussion-led “To You there is No End.” They cap with the 10-minute “When the Walls Fell” and find themselves standing after all else has crashed down. A sprawling and triumphant return.

Minsk on Thee Facebooks

Minsk at Relapse Records

King Bison, King Bison

king bison king bison

Not to be confused with New York’s King Buffalo, Michigan’s Bison Machine or any number of other large mammals in the well-populated fur-covered contingent of American heavy rockers, King Bison make their self-titled debut via Snake Charmer Coalition, comprising seven riffy bruisers owing a deep debt to Clutch and, in that, reminding a bit of their Pennsylvanian countrymen in Kingsnake. Songs like “One for the Money” and “March of the Sasquatch” signal a watch for stoner-roller grooves to come in “Queen of the South” and “Pariah,” the dudeliness of the proceedings practically oozing from the speakers in the gruff vocals of guitarist/vocalist Chris Wojcik, who’s joined in the trio by bassist Dean Herber and drummer Scott Carey. The penchant for booze and blues, ladies and US auto manufacturing holds firm in “Night Ride” and the slower “I’m Gone,” and while one might expect a closer called “Space Boogie” to flesh out a bit, King Bison instead reinforce the foundation they’ve laid all along of Southern-style heft, remaining light on pretense and heavy on riffs.

King Bison on Thee Facebooks

Snake Charmer Coalition

Les Lekin, All Black Rainbow Moon

les lekin all black rainbow moon

Originally issued digitally late last year, Salzburg, Austria, instrumental trio Les Lekin are set to give their debut long-player, All Black Rainbow Moon, a second look with a 180g vinyl pressing in Fall 2015. Comprised of six tracks, the record is a spacious 49 minutes, and the three-piece of guitarist Peter G., bassist Stefan W. and drummer Kerstin W. enact a fluid heavy psych groove, somewhat less dense in its fuzz than the post-Colour Haze sphere and following plotted courses throughout, whether it’s in the Arenna-esque “Solum,” which unfolds after the album’s wash of an intro, the efficient exploration of “Useless,” which seems to pack a 12-minute jam into a six-minute song, or the still-open-sounding bluesy stretchout of “Loom,” the longest inclusion here at 13:16. Familiar in aesthetic perhaps, the songs are nonetheless complex enough to represent the band’s beginnings well, the closer “Release” coming to a heavier apex that could perhaps foreshadow future expansions of the chiaroscuro elements at which the title of this debut is hinting.

Les Lekin on Thee Facebooks

Les Lekin on Bandcamp

The Vintage Caravan, Arrival

the-vintage-caravan-arrival

After releasing their 2012 debut, Voyage, on Nuclear Blast last year, young Icelandic trio The Vintage Caravan return in 2015 with their sophomore full-length, Arrival – the second record seeming by title to be an answer to the first. Maybe that’s the intention musically, but the 10 tracks/55 minutes comprising Arrival do well to stand on their own, with the impressive lead work of guitarist/vocalist Óskar Logi never too far from the fore on songs like the standout “Babylon” or “Sandwalker,” though backed capably by the rhythm section of bassist Alexander Örn (also backup vocals) and drummer Stefán Ari Stefánsson. While unquestionably a more mature outing than their debut and more accomplished in its chemistry and songwriting, Arrival still gives a sense of the progression to come, and it’s easy to worry that by the time the listener gets to the powerful closing trio of “Innerverse,” “Carousel” and “Winter Queen,” the dizzying play throughout will have dulled the senses past the point of full appreciation. Room to tighten? Perhaps, but still a strong second outing for a band loaded with potential.

The Vintage Caravan on Thee Facebooks

The Vintage Caravan at Nuclear Blast

Jim Healey, This is What the End Looked Like

jim healey this is what the end looked like

Guitarist/vocalist Jim Healey is known more for the aggressive edge he’s brought over the years to bands like We’re all Gonna Die, Black Thai and most recently Shatner, but his solo material brings a different look. Joined in this “solo” endeavor by guitarist/vocalist/organist Joe McMahon, cellist/backing vocalist Dana Fisher, drummer Kyle Rasmussen and accordionist/backing vocalist Bridget Nault, Healey’s songwriting is nonetheless front and center across the nine tracks of This is What the End Looked Like, memorable cuts like “A Whole Lot of Nothing,” the more subdued “Radio” (written by Eddy Llerena) and closer “World War Eight” fleshing out arrangements that could work and/or have worked just as well on solo acoustic guitar for Healey in live performances. Worth noting that for all the vocal and instrumental embellishments on the studio incarnations, the songs lose none of the heartfelt feel at their core, Healey’s voice remaining a lonely presence despite obviously keeping good company.

Jim Healey on Thee Facebooks

Jim Healey on Bandcamp

Anu, Nighthymns

ANU Nighthymns

Nighthymns marks a return for ANU and the band’s sole inhabitant Chad “Drathrul” Davis (Hour of 13/Night Magic, Tasha-Yar, The Sabbathian, and so many others) after a four-year absence following the release of 2011’s III EP. Offsetting blasting, ripping black metal on cuts like “Enter the Chasm” and “The Eternal Frost” with the ambient drones of “Risen within the Mist of Obscurity,” the longer “Winterfall” and the title-track, Nighthymns nonetheless gnashes its teeth in a dense blackened murk, screams far back in “Enter the Chasm” beneath programmed-sounding thud and full-on guitar squibblies. A project Davis has had going in one form or another since releasing a first demo in 1999, and likely before that, ANU’s slicing extremity and atmospherics rest well alongside each other, but neither is accessibility a remote concern. If you get it, you get it, and if you don’t, you don’t. Nighthymns is way more concerned with separating wheat from chaff than it is with making friends, and that plays much to its ultimate success.

Anu on Thee Facebooks

Wohrt Records

Iron and Stone, Old Man’s Doom

iron and stone old man's doom

Comprised of gruff-shouting vocalist Henning L., guitarists Christopher P. and Stephan M., bassist Matthias B. and drummer Torsten H., German riff idolizers Iron and Stone debuted in 2013 with an EP titled Maelstrom and Old Man’s Doom is a follow-up short release. Pressed to DIY cassettes, the three-tracker preaches loud and clear to the nod-ready converted in “Place in Hell” and “Into the Unknown,” big riffs lumbering out stone vibes, intertwining rhythms and leads in the latter as Henning works his shouting into a corresponding notation. “Into the Unknown” ends large and Sabbathy, but speedier closer “Bliss of Diversion” is a high point unto itself for the consistency of the tonal morass that the uptick in pace brings out of the guitar and bass, resulting in a kind of noisy, dense-in-the-low-end punk that suits Iron and Stone well despite operating in defiance of the EP’s title. New material reportedly in the works as well.

Iron and Stone on Thee Facebooks

Iron and Stone on Bandcamp

Gorgantherron, Second Sun

gorgantherron second sun

Their first album, Second Sun follows a 2012 self-titled EP from Indiana trio Gorgantherron, but is in a different league entirely. A well-set mix balance establishes itself on the opening title-track and develops throughout “Superliminial” and “Bookbinder” as they get rolling, and Gorgantherron – guitarist/vocalist Clint Logan, bassist/vocalist Toby Richardson and drummer Chris Flint – continue to foster grooving largesse over the nine tracks/47 minutes, veering skillfully between boogie and doom on “Pre-Warp Civilization” before airing out an atmospheric take on “Seventh Planet,” the rough-edged vocals prevalent in quieter surroundings. Richardson’s fuzz on “The Stone” ensures the song lives up to its name, and the soft guitar noodling that opens “Paranoia” brings a surprising touch of Colour Haze influence out of the blue before a count-in from Flint puts the band’s roll back on its appointed track. Closing duo “Entropy” and “Defy” offer some shuffle and chug, respectively, but by then the trio have already made the album’s primary impression in their heavy riffs, burl and more than capable execution.

Gorgantherron on Thee Facebooks

Gorgantherron on Bandcamp

Elephant Riders, Challenger

elephant riders challenger

The two cuts of Spanish trio Elephant RidersChallenger EP take Kyuss-style desert riffing and reset the context to something altogether less jammy. Tight and presented with a near-metallic crispness in their production, both “Challenger” – rerecorded from an earlier EP – and its more rolling B-side “Lone Wolf” push the line between heavy and hard rock, but riffs remain central to their purposes. Having released their debut full-length, Supernova, in 2014, they’re still getting settled into their sound, but a blend of heavy rock, grunge and metal impulses pervades these two songs, and when “Lone Wolf” shifts into a couple measures of start-stop fuzz riffing in its second half, they show off just a reminder nod for where they got their name. Two catchy tracks that maybe aren’t reinventing the stoner rock game, they nonetheless provide a quick sample of Elephant Rider’s songwriting development in progress and plant the seeds of future hooks to come.

Elephant Riders on Thee Facebooks

Elephant Riders on Bandcamp

Lend Me Your Underbelly, Hover

lend me your underbelly hover

When placed next to each other, the five one-word titles on Lend Me Your Underbelly’s Hover – either the project’s third or fourth full-length, depending on what you count – result in the phrase “Everything” “Was” “Deep” “Dark” “Green.” Whether or not that is of special significance to Netherlands-based multi-instrumentalist/sampler Christian Berends, I don’t know. The whole idea across these tracks seems to be experimentation and improvisation, so if the titles were grabbed from somewhere at random or carrying a rich emotional connection, either is just as likely. Not knowing turns out to be half the fun of Hover itself – not knowing that, not knowing what Berends is going to do around the next turn as each track builds, not knowing where all this noise is leading as the swirls and riffs of “Green” close out. Layers careen, appear and disappear throughout, but the wide open structures and creative sensibility remain consistent and tie Hover together as an intricate work of exploratory psychedelia.

Lend Me Your Underbelly on Thee Facebooks

Lend Me Your Underbelly on Bandcamp

 

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Menhir’s Uberlith II Tape Available to Preorder

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 4th, 2014 by JJ Koczan

I’m not even sure how the logistics on this one work. There are to be 50 copies of Dutch trio Menhir‘s Uberlith II EP released by Tartarus Tapes on Aug. 5, and they’re available now for preorder. That part is pretty straightforward. I guess what I’m getting hung up on is the fact that said cassette will arrive encased in a plaster brick, which the buyer will then have to break open — gently, presumably — in order to free the tape itself and make it available for listening. Practical? No. No it is not. Unique? Yes indeed.

The socially conscious — if their choices of samples are anything to go by, anyway — burl-rocking three-piece which features bassist/vocalist Arjan van Dalen, bassist/vocalist Frank de Boer and drummer Sven Jurgens (the latter two also of Ortega), self-recorded Uberlith II and released it late last year on handmade mini-CDs (which they sold out), so it would seem they have a thing for stylized packaging. If nothing else, a plaster brick certainly qualifies as that.

Menhir also released a video for the opener “Mt. Aloha” from the EP last year that can be seen here. Along with notes for preorders from O and Bitcho, Tartarus sent this info on Uberlith II down the PR wire:

TAR036 Menhir – Uberlith II

Around the corner of Queens Of The Stone Age and next to the village of Asterix live the three-piece that is Menhir. It’s a well-picked name for a band that is often described to be ‘as solid as a rock’. Adjectives like ‘heavy, big-ass and overwhelming’ are also often used, thanks to the use of two bass players and one drummer. Formed in 2012 they play a brutal mix of southern and stoner rock. (Feat. members of Ortega).

Edition of 50 tapes
Encased in a solid plaster brick.

NOTE: You will need to break the packaging to get the tape out! Breaking the case is at your own risk!!

http://tartarusrecords.com/album/uberlith-ii
https://www.facebook.com/Menhirband

Menhir, Uberlith II (2014)

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