33EMYBW, “The Room” animated artwork for Unsound festival.
Unsound festival releases Intermission. Reflections on a year of upheaval. Taking shape during a particularly tough era for music festivals, the release consists in a book and an album, tributing recently passed away artist and producer SOPHIE, who took part in Unsound Krakow 2014 and 2018 and Unsound NYC 2020.
First conceived as an extension of Unsound 2020’s online edition, but having developed into a standalone project, Intermission project is a time capsule of a year of upheaval, made up of words, field recordings and music. By including both a book and downloadable album in one publication, the aim is to create a unique interdisciplinary work joining different opinions, narratives, art forms and music genres—almost all commissioned especially for this publication.
Including memoir, critical texts and poetry, 25 written pieces written by a truly diverse range of voices explore the pandemic, lockdown, ecology, mental health, conspiracy theories, racism, LGBTQ+ rights, sound, tourism, the precarious state of the music industry, nostalgia, identity and more. Authors include music journalists, nature writers, novelists, poets, theorists, curators and activists—many connected to Unsound’s acclaimed discourse program over the years. This first edition is available as a paperback and in English only.
The album is more than a straightforward compilation. Painstakingly curated, it’s intended as a coherent whole, and will now be released on double vinyl as well as in digital form. Featuring music by some of today’s most exciting electronic and experimental musicians, the tracks are by turns calming, contemplative and ferocious. Diversity remains front and centre: the album draws from Polish talent, longtime friends, well known and upcoming names, and emerging artists from scenes connected to Nyege Nyege festival in Kampala, Uganda and SVBKVLT in Shanghai. Specially invited collaborations include SOPHIE and Jlin; Polish techno star VTSS with Varg2TM (whose track incorporates an philosophical discussion between an Amazon Echo, Google Home Assistant, and an Apple HomePod); and Tim Hecker with Polish vocalists Agata Harz & Katarzyna Smoluk-Moczydłowska, who sing an ancient Slavic song calling forth spring. The track ‘Weavings’, conceived, curated and mixed with Nicolás Jaar, is a section from a durational improvisation from the Unsound 2020 online program involving experimental musicians from the US, Poland, Palestine, Indonesia, Mexico and France.
Field recordings made during the pandemic provide the album’s connective tissue and include DeForrest Brown, Jr. and James Hoff’s recordings from New York BLM protests; Oscar-winning composer Hildur Guðnadóttir and Sam Slater’s Berlin apartment in lockdown; rural English landscapes captured by wildlife recordist Chris Watson, best known for his work for Sir David Attenborough; and Ben Frost’s recordings of a burning Amazon forest in Brazil.
The book and album will be released on 5th March, both available via pre-order at Unsound online store and Bandcamp page, where the festival also shared two tracks from Intermission.
The first is an excerpt from Weavings, an online concert created as part of the Unsound 2020 online program. Conceived and curated with Nicolás Jaar, the performance hosted a number of artists and instrumentalists from around the world who linked up via Zoom, with a plugin used to facilitate real-time high-resolution audio collaboration. ‘Weavings (Part 1)’ is the first section of the piece and includes Aho Ssan, Angel Bat Dawid, Dirar Kalash, Ellen Fullman, Księżyc, Laraaji, Nicolás Jaar, Paweł Szamburski, Resina, Rolando Hernandez and Wukir Suryadi.
The second is ‘. The sample used in this track comes from a field recording 33EMYBW made in Jing De Zhen, a city in JiangXi province famous for ceramics. As 33EMYBW says: ‘During the summer nights, the fields are pitch black; crickets are chirping, frogs are croaking, it is sonorous yet subtle. I am fascinated with such natural sequences. However, it’s still just a pre-programmed part of the synchronised world…’ The name ‘The Room’ derives from Andrei Tarkovsky’s film ‘Stalker’, where one’s deepest desires and wishes can be satisfied.”
The Intermission Book features:
Agata Pyzik / Andrew Brooks / Andy Battaglia / Armen Avanessian & ≋h≋o≋m≋a≋r≋ / Ayesha Hameed / Dave Tompkins / Ewa Majewska / Gamall Awad / Harmony Holliday / J.T. Roane / Jace Clayton / Jay Springett / Jennifer Lucy Allan / Kristen Gallerneaux / Luke Turner / Mat Schulz / Moor Mother / Olga Drenda / Philip Sherburne / S.J. Norman / Sean Dockray, James Parker & Joel Stern / Stephanie Philips / Steve Goodman / Sylwia Chutnik / Ting Ding & DeForrest Brown, Jr.
The Intermission Album features:
33EMYBW / Bastarda / DeForrest Brown, Jr. & James Hoff / Ben Frost / Tim Hecker, Agata Harz & Katarzyna Smoluk / Zosia Hołubowska & Julia Giertz / Weavings with Aho Ssan, Angel Bat Dawid, Dirar Kalash, Ellen Fullman, Księżyc, Laraaji, Nicolás Jaar, Paweł Szamburski, Resina, Rolando Hernandez & Wukir Suryadi / Jlin X SOPHIE / Lutto Lento / Moor Mother & Geng / Sam Slater, Hildur Guðnadóttir & Kári Grisey / Slikback / Varg2TM & VTSS / Chris Watson / Jana Winderen