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Exhibitions, concerts, performances and contemporary dance… From Brian Eno to Carl Craig, from a Torture Garden party to sound-systems, Electron Festival offers an outstanding line-up for its 13th edition; perhaps the best since its 10th anniversary. Listed below are the main features of this event that will take place from 24th to 27th March over the Easter weekend in Geneva.
Without a doubt, the crux of Electron 2016 is Brian Eno’s installation, The Ship. Presented over the past few days, ahead of the opening of the festival, this sound installation is inspired by the past, or rather by two tragedies at the start of the 20th century: the First World War and the sinking of the Titanic that has, that said, inspired many composers; beginning with Gavin Bryars, with The Sinking Of The Titanic, a minimalist work that was then reworked by Alter Ego and the turntablist Philip Jeck.
For his part, Brian Eno, the founding father of ambient music with his famous Music For Airports (1978), has chosen undulating sounds sometimes streaked with extracts from the radio or supported by choirs that one would think had escaped from a church. However, it is not St. Andrew’s crucifixes, but crosses that form a part of this piece’s infrastructure. Rest assured, there is no need to engage in borderline practices to appreciate this work (there are other places for that at the festival…;), it is sufficient to walk and be carried away by the twilight incantations.
The Ship, Brian Eno, Geneva ©photo
The Ship was conceived and unveiled in Stockholm in 2014. It is a variable and adaptable installation depending on its proposed location. For this new Geneva version, it is spread over two floors of the Commun, Bâtiment d'Art Contemporain. The first encounter is with a ghetto blaster enshrined like a sculpture on a base with speakers like the compound eyes of a bee spurting out snippets of news, reportages, etc. with a slight sensation of noise music.
The installation itself is located upstairs. Speakers and amps are arranged on white columns, some of which are T-shaped, disseminating soothed and soothing sounds, in a room that is gloomily lit with electric candles… Brian Eno pursues his work on acoustic environment, experimental music and layout influenced by 1960s avant-gardes. He is a producer and has collaborated with Robert Fripp, David Bowie, U2, John Cale, Coldplay and David Byrne (the unsurpassable My Life in the Bush of Ghosts). He is a patron of No wave and Talking Heads, but also a pioneer in the field of video and interactive works. An eponymous album that will be released at the end of April will complement this installation.
There are other sound installations punctuate the festival. Beginning with Horizons Irrésolus designed by Rudy Decelière and Vincent Hänni, for the musical element, in collaboration with two scientists Diego Blas (cosmologist) and Robert Kieffer (physician).
Horizons Irrésolus, sound installation, Rudy Decelière et Vincent Hänni
Presented at CERN (European Organisation for Nuclear Research), following a two year art residency affiliated to this organisation, Horizons Irrésolus is "a network comprising several hundred independent micro-synthesisers producing an elegant sound mass whose infinite spatial wealth is moving towards pure organicity", embodied by small white rectangles against a black background. Don’t miss the futuristic-looking tank by Nil Nowak that will be parked on the Plaine de Plainpalais, on Friday and Saturday at the end of the afternoon. His Panzer is a sound-system on tracks with a capacity of 4,000 watts.
Paster, Nil Nowak
Beyond music, in addition to notably exhibitions, conferences and screenings, the Electron Festival has always given pride of place to contemporary dance. This year it’s no different with no less than four shows dedicated to dance. Blending ondes Martenot thanks to Nadia Ratsimandresy and choreographies adopting these long variations, Horizons Électroniques is an opportunity to discover performances by Sophie Ammann & Rosanne Briens (Junebug Compagny), the company Danse... et dansez! (Quatre by Baptiste Châtel). As well as Lou Landré from the collective BudGE with a soundtrack by Mimetic — alias Jérôme Soudan, artistic director of the festival who has distinguished himself under this nickname for a very long time in an electronica/noise/ IDM register.
The festival audience is invited to the Torture Garden evening, a body dance of another kind, another courtship ritual. This itinerant gathering of body art fans and amateur post-industrial electro fetishists, will be marked by the appearance of creatures like Charly Voodoo, Empress Stah and Zora Vipera. To sum up: leather, latex, sweat and objects that do not necessarily hurt. And maybe more! Dress code compulsory, no need to specify! Wiser and above all more studious: mastering workshops with Michael Kuhn (who notably formatted hundreds of productions by Richie Hawtin, Aphex Twin, Magda…), and audio creation on Ableton Live with Ben Vendren.
Practical work next with dreamtime by the label Raster-Noton celebrating its 20th anniversary! Created from the merger between Rastermusic (created by Olaf Bender & Frank Bretschneider) and Noton.archiv für ton und nichtton (initiated by Carsten Nicolai alias Alva Noto), this platform has over the years become the symbol of minimalist and experimental electronic music. Glitch, bleeps, textures and twisted rhythms, geometric visuals and high-pitched tones will resound during a special evening with Byetone (aka Olaf Bender), Grischa Lichtenberger, Kanding Ray and the latest recruit Kyoka.
Byetone - Plastic Star (Alva Noto Remix)
The Electron Festival embraces all electronic music: pounding techno, dubstep, synth-pop, electro-rock, tribal trance, drum’n’bass… Each genre has a dedicated platform. Some of the headline acts in this eclectic programme are: Adam Beyer, Agoria & Carl Craig (!), Blond:Ish, Cabanne, Camo & Krooked, Cubenx, Dimension, Grub, Helena Hauff, John Tejada, Martin Buttrich, Matthew Dear, Michael Mayer, Oliver Lieb, Recondite, Rone, Stephan Bodzin, Surgeon & Lady Starlight (?), The Shoes, Tood Terry… Not forgetting a strong delegation from the Swiss dub scene: Cultural Warriors, DJ Postman, Humanity Soundsystem, King Alpha and Zion Gate…
ELECTRON FESTIVAL 2016 ~ 13th Edition ~ Trailer from electron festival
The Ship, Brian Eno, Fundació Antoni Tàpies
Nik Nowak vs. Ultramoodem live @ CTM 2012 from Schockglatze
Torture Garden Love Hurts 2016 Valentines Ball from Torture Garden
AGENDA Ambiance ARTIST, ARTWORK Brian Eno Brian Eno The Ship Digital music dm_feature dm_news Electron 2016 electron festival Electronic music festival Exhibitions Experimental Festivals Agenda FESTIVALS, ART CENTERS Genève media art festival Programs Publications Raster Noton by