Spotlight on Substrata 1.3

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After a successful round of funding, Rafael Anton Irisarri’s third Substrata Festival has announced it’s long anticipated line-up. Given many people contributed to this festival without even knowing any performers until now, is high praise for Rafael and his curation skills. But now we’ve got the names, I thought it’d be nice to take a little look into what’s in store.

Some familiar acts for sure, but also some relatively unknown artists that I could do with exploring a bit more and this is the perfect opportunity. I won’t go into too much detail about each of the artists and their background as you can find all of that on the Substrata line-up page. Just think of this as the tip of a very big trove of talented artists you can go away and explore, or even see live this July as part of Substrata.

Grouper

As most of you know by now, i’ve recently moved to Portland, Oregon and before coming here I was fully aware of one of it’s most notorious experimental artists, Liz Harris. I had hoped to see her billed somewhere local but haven’t seen even the slightest of mentions on paper yet, so it was a nice surprise to see her announced as part of Substrata 1.3. I’m no expert of the extensive Grouper back catalogue, but it boasts releases on Type (home of Biosphere) and Kranky (a home to many greats in the past including Loscil, Benoît Pioulard and Tim Hecker).

Liz’s sound is a mixture of ethereal, dreamy vocals and delicate guitars wrapped in warm reverb. Rarely does she stray too far from what she does best, it’s a unique sound that you’ll find many ambient lovers including in their sets as inspirations. Take 36′s or Loscil’s isolatedmixes for example. I’m looking forward to Grouper’s vocals wrapping around the audience of Seattle’s intimate Chapel Performance Space.


Kim Cascone

A bit of digging around reveals Kim Cascone is quite the sound designer. The Substrata line-up page details that Kim’s provided academic studies and developed a sound-art festival alongside his releases on 12K and Raster-Noton. I don’t know much of Kim’s stuff, but going through a few pieces now, it seems like an intimate gig at Substrata is going to be quite the audio experience. This track, ‘Polygon Witch’ seemed to be one of his less experimental tracks available to explore, and rather lovely too.


Jacaszek

Jacaszek is one of those artists that I really haven’t given any deserved attention to on his own. Michał is a regular feature in many ASIP mixes (Bulb’s and Rafael’s for example) and this live snippet gives us a taster of his live electro-acoustic work. His most famous piece is the track, ‘Lament’, cited by many as a big inspiration and a defining example of modern-classical or modern-acoustic music.

Jacaszek is planning to play Substrata alongside Kelly Wyse who recently provided some wonderful piano pieces on Loscil’s recent ‘Intervalo’ EP.


Christina Vantzou

I’m pretty excited to see Christina play at Substrata; she’s another artist who is relatively new to me. With releases on Ghostly and Kranky, her back catalogue, additional projects and her creds on the Substrata festival certainly portray her as one heck of a talent.

Below is a piece of her work alongside Adam Wiltzie (of A Winged Victory For The Sullen) as the duo, ‘The Dead Texan’. Enough said really.


Noveller

Sarah Lipstate sounds like another artist who is set to saturate the Seattle Chapel walls with reverb. “Lipstate summons a sonic palette so rich as to challenge the listener to conceive of how it’s housed in a single instrument manipulated by a solitary performer” as quoted from the Substrata site. I’m looking forward to hearing how that one plays out.


Ken Camden

For a man that plays in a rock-band, tracks like the below ‘Birthday’ paint a nice picture of this man’s talent and music taste. ‘Trance-induced moods’ just about sums this one up, alongside quotes such as”…the psychedelic meditations of 70’s krautrockers Popul Vuh and Ash Ra Tempel – producing a charming ambient”. Charming indeed, and after what looks to be a heavily experimental-focused festival, it’s going to be quite the release to hear Ken’s artfully crafted psychedelic pieces played live on stage.


Yagya

It was a nice surprise to see Yagya announced at Substrata this year. Many of you will know how much of a fan of Steini I am, and for years now I haven’t been anywhere close to seeing him live. I could post any number of Yagya tracks, those from Rigning, or the recently repressed Rhythm Of Snow, but instead i’ll go with an instrumental version of a track taken from his latest album, ‘The Inescapable Decay Of My Heart’. This album was met with mixed reviews after the addition of vocals to Steini’s signature sound, but there’s no doubting just how addictive his productions are when you listen to them at the core and I can’t wait to see what he does live.


Sean Curley

A local from Seattle, I haven’t heard Sean Curely’s productions before, so I’m hesitant to dig into his catalogue too much, as it’s always nice to hear an artist for the first time live. Described as “one of the Pacific Northwest’s most interesting guitarists” tracks like the below have certainly got me intrigued and excited.


Ethernet

Another Portland local, Tim has just released an album on the notorious Kranky that i’m yet to wrap my ears around. Going by the below however, it seems as though im missing out on something seriously special so im about to right that wrong. From what i’ve heard so far, Tim is queued up to be one of my favourites at the festival, crossing the ambient/dub-techno divide which suits me down to a T, and in which case i’ll be tracking him down for a beer or two in Portland to talk even more music!


The Sight Below

Last but by no means least, the Substrata curator himself, Rafael Anton Irisarri. I guess Rafael had to make a decision whether to play as RAI or as The Sight Below (or even alongside Benoît Pioulard as Orcas) but i’m pretty pleased i’ll get to see his more electronic, darker side as The Sight Below. Another artist with just too many favourites to choose from, but here’s one from the vaults with Rafael covering Joy Division’s ‘New Dawn Fades’.

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You can read more on all of the artists featured here over at Substrata. And if you fancy joining me on what promises to be a very special week of music, tickets are also on sale now here.

If you need more of the same, try Rafael’s Substrata dedicated isolatedmix.

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Discussion

4 Responses to “Spotlight on Substrata 1.3”

  1. Looks great (well jealous!)
    I recommended the Dead Texan self titled album to someone earlier today too, small world huh?

    Pity it’s not small air fair though as once again I can’t see a festy I fancy in England you lucky git. :p

    Posted by Jamie / cained unable | May 30, 2013, 4:35 pm
  2. Ha! Sorry Jamie… Decibel is looking rather tasty too (Seattle/September!)

    Posted by Ryan | May 30, 2013, 4:37 pm
  3. Dont!!! I haven’t even looked at it this year, I must have counted about 15+ artists on last years flyer that i’d definitely love to hear live an many others i was curious about, did end up streaming some of it from a site (was a few drinks for the worse) but whoever they were showing at the time (a warm up DJ I think?) was a bit too ‘housey’ for my liking so i sacked it.

    Still – I am the guy who missed Marconi Union at the Big Chill
    & already this year I’ve managed to miss both Mux Mool & Ulrich Shnauss while each one was playing locally AND being supported by two different friends of mine! you couldn’t make it up mate… anyway have a blast! (and a shandy or two for me)

    Posted by Jamie / cained unable | May 30, 2013, 4:52 pm
  4. Oh I will! I’m just as bad don’t worry]. When I was in London I always thought there would be ‘another time’…and then i moved to the US. Not going to make that mistake here.

    Posted by Ryan | May 30, 2013, 4:55 pm

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