Passive/Aggressive

Insomnia Festival – Northern Exposure (live report)

English November 17 2018 kinoFIN2

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Insomnia Festival 2018, Tromsø. Reportage by Ivna Franic, 135 mm analogues by Lea Anic.

It’s near impossible to talk about the world’s northernmost festival of electronic music without highlighting its distinct geographical position and landscape, so let’s just get that out of the way. Taking place in Tromsø, Norway, a city located some 350 km north of the Arctic Circle, Insomnia is bound to immediately delight any foreign visitors simply by its backdrop: a small city packed with old wooden houses and surrounded by the sea, the mountains covered in snow, the possibility of Aurora Borealis sighting looming in the air… It’s perfect, it’s beautiful, it looks like Linda Evangelista.

Despite its impressive tourist predisposition, however, Insomnia very much feels like first and foremost a local affair. With most of the program going down at the student-run venue Driv and the audience being largely made up of the city’s booming student population, the festival naturally has a refreshingly lively vibe to it as opposed to many cutting-edge club music gatherings that end up too restrained for their own good. (Even the infamous Norwegian alcohol restrictions don’t seem to tighten up the atmosphere, except for the occasional awkward scene of drunk people being taken away by authorities.) Now in its 17th (!) year, Insomnia really is an integral part of city’s cultural life and the organizers seem to be dedicated to maintaining this two-way relationship by offering many regional acts an opportunity to take the stage and keeping a balanced, international lineup that offers a little bit of something for everyone without ever seeming unfocused or all-over-the-place.

Things were off to a strong start the first evening, and due to a concise but extremely tight lineup some acts that would later turn out to be festival highlights were featured very early in the game. Caterina Barbieri (Important Records, Cassauna) captivated the audience with her hypnotic synth compositions. Altough her records might sound somewhat meditative when listened to at home, the live show slowly developed into a proper albeit beatless party warm-up, showing an often overlooked side to Barbieri’s music. The prospect of things further heating up unfortunately faded by the time Berlin-based Argentinian artist Catnapp took the small bar stage. Her playful blend of r&b, rap, pop and whatnot sounded way less exciting in practice than it perhaps does in theory, making her seem a bit out of place among the evening’s verified heavyweights. That her performance was followed up by the frenetic FAKA show did little to help.

If you didn’t know FAKA (Non Worldwide) had two frontmen, you would be forgiven to think that it usually ran as a one-man show, with support from behind the decks. Fela Gucci being unable to perform that night, Desire Marea sucessfully took on the task of lighting up the Insomnia crowd on his own. With very little clothes on and an inspired display of uninhibited dance moves, he spread the radiant energy of gqom stretching the performance area deep into the audience. To say that everyone completely lost their shit would be an understatement. Læs resten

Exploded View – The art of cool (live review)

English Kritik June 17 2018 explodedview

Review of Exploded View @ Loppen, 5.6.2018 by Ivna Franic.

Last week’s Exploded View concert at Loppen was one of those gigs you could have easily missed out on, be it because you weren’t aware it was happening or because the band’s name didn’t ring a bell in the first place. But perhaps that shouldn’t come as a surprise.

The band’s frontwoman Anika has several acclaimed releases behind her – including Exploded View’s 2016 album for Sacred Bones, as well as her own debut LP recorded with Geoff Barrow’s (of Portishead fame) band Beak> and last year’s intriguing collaboration with Shackleton on Behind the Glass LP. In spite of some pretty impressive references, Annika Henderson – also known simply as Anika – had always seemed to prefer to maintain a low profile, representing an anomaly of sorts in contemporary music landscape. The Berlin/UK musician’s project Exploded View is a four-piece band assembled in Mexico City: apart from the regular members Hugo Quezada and Martin Thulin, this time the band was joined by Paulina Lasa. Læs resten

Phono17_Encourage – Clear sight through the largely unexplored

English Feature November 11 2017 Phono Festival 2017 Press Pix Credits: Phono Festival / Daniel Hjorth / Kristian Thuesen / Cameron Pagett

Reportage by Ivna Franic. Photos by Daniel Hjorth and Cameron Pagett.

The latest edition of Phono Festival brought quite a few exciting names from the international electronic and experimental music scene to Odense this past October. Although the festival theme “Encourage” might have hinted at a more cutting edge and/or politically charged sound than the one ultimately presented at the festival, there were more than enough of rewarding performances that embodied the festival concept themselves.

Phono17 definitely gets things right when it comes to the using of space: the cold industrial feel of Kunsthal Ulys’ large concrete hall remains intact, but thanks to the excellent setup of the down-sized stage and a smart floorplan, the venue is at the same time cozy enough to endure three consecutive days spent there. The club venue is well hidden and less compelling, but provides a decent backdrop for post-festival hanging out and mingling. Læs resten