The Residents and Sun Ra Arkestra for those of you who like challenges, Susanne Sundfør for fans of melodic Scandinavian songs, and an excellent review of the Polish scene: that’s just some of what we have in store for you at OFF Festival.
More of an idea than a band in the traditional, rock’n’roll sense of the word. They’re an art collective whose work goes far beyond the usual records (though these Californian avant-gardists have released several dozen of them) and concerts (though audiences are consistently blown away by their live shows): The Residents also do performance art, video art and multimedia projects with guest artists. This surreal, disturbing show by The Residents is guaranteed to be one of the highlights of this year’s OFF Festival.
She’s a huge star back home in Norway, but Susanne Sundfør has just begun riding the swelling wave of international fame, thanks in part to her collaborations with Röyksopp, M83 and Nils Petter Molvær. This phenomenal vocalist, pianist and composer makes music that blends ethereal pop with a throbbing electro pulse, a jazzy groove and the elegance of classical music. This year’s Ten Love Songs, the sixth in her discography, was described by one Guardian critic as “utterly magnificent.” We know exactly what he means.
Sun Ra Arkestra
Hailing from the planet of Saturn, Sun-Ra was a pianist, poet and Afrofuturist pioneer who went on to become the frontman of one of the most original bands in the history of popular music. If he were alive today, he we would be 101 years old. Luckily his work has not been abandoned and Sun Ra Arkestra plays on, led by Mr. Ra’s apprentice and collaborator since the mid 1950s, the saxophonist Marshall Allen. Their music doesn’t lend itself to pigeonholing: they’ve played jazz in both its traditional and free varieties; they went through a fusion and electronic phase; they’ve experimented, explored and gone back to their roots. Nowadays, Sun Ra Arkestra shows are a one-of-kind journey through the last 60 years of music. And outer space, obviously.
Based in Montreal, Airick Woodhead (a.k.a. Doldrums) started out playing DJ sets and solo productions. From the very start, his unique and original compositions have blended new wave angst and throbbing dance beats, like on his latest release, The Air Conditioned Nightmare (Sub Pop). “I’ve always liked Frank Zappa’s idea of performance as chaos. The idea of something unique happening in each show is what we strive for,” Airick promises. We’re holding him to his word.
King Khan & The Shrines
We’re proud that the OFF Festival is the kind of place where Sun Ra Arkestra can run into, say, Iceage. Currently residing in Berlin, the international King Khan & The Shrines sounds like a collaborative project by the first two bands, combining a garage-rock punch with jazz and psychedelic soul, all powered by the energy of their charismatic frontman. Their records are wonderfully eclectic, their concerts are the stuff of legends, and despite their relatively short presence on the scene (having debuted in the new millennium), they’ve already achieved cult status, and deservedly so.
A project by the jazz (and yass) bassist and composer/producer Olo Walicki, who released an excellent album last year titled Kaszebe II, a collaboration with several dignitaries of the Tri-City scene: M.Bunio.S (voice, guitar, samples), Piotr Pawlak (guitar), Tomek Ziętek (trumpet, keyboard) and Kuba Staruszkiewicz (drums). Among the guest performers (and lyricists) were Tymon Tymański, Gaba Kulka and Dorota Masłowska, and the whole thing was haunted by the Dadaistic specter of the band Kury, while Frank Zappa looked on from the afterlife, smiling in approval.
Why don’t we let these guys introduce themselves: “LXMP are two nice boys whom anyone would invite into their home without knowing who they were. They’re that nice.” That’s all true, but keep in mind that when Macio Moretti and Piotr Zabrodzki show up at your house, they’re going to play whatever they can get their hands on and nothing will ever be the same again. In 2013 they tore up and restitched Herbie Hancock’s Future Shock, and last year marked the release of their collaborative album with Clayton Thomas. They’re up to something again, and we’ll find out what it is at the OFF Festival.
World If this band’s name reminded you of the debut record by Fucked Up, so will their music: though rooted in the best traditions of hardcore punk, Hidden World is at once fresh and brimming with energy. Their excellent debut Singles (a compilation of tracks previously released on EPs, as the name suggests) is merely an overture to what this Puławy-based crew does live. Hidden World will be performing at the OFF Festival as part of a showcase featuring the latest additions to the roster of the legendary label Antena Krzyku.
Ukryte Zalety Systemu
Describing themselves as “a Polish entertainment group associated with negative values,” Ukryte Zalety Systemu churn out cold post-punk sounds powered by a robotic, throbbing rhythm section, set to lyrics that are guaranteed to make you think. The eponymous debut by this Wrocław-based band came out on Antena Krzyku, and they’ll be joining their labelmates in the showcase mentioned above.
Yet another artist on Antena Krzyku, this Lublin band recently released their follow-up album Ktoś z nich. Roaring bass lines, hypnotic beats, grinding guitars, plenty of musical imagination and hard-hitting yet poetic lyrics make [peru]‘s post-hardcore tracks sound more like what you’d hear on America’s East Coast in the 90s or in the back catalog of Amphetamine Reptile, and less like the punk traditions of Poland’s Jarocin Festival.
While online avatars were busy arguing over whether Małe Miasta is hip hop or a band of hipsters, the entire pressing of their debut record, released on Alkopoligamia, sold out in presale. No wonder: it’s been a while since we’ve seen an artist as fresh, intriguing and complex as MM. Mateusz Gudel is responsible for the production, with support from Mateusz Holak, but the latter also sings and writes the lyrics. The duo is said to be working on new material.
Olivia Anna Livki
A Berlin-based artist of Polish descent, Olivia Anna Livki is multi-talented and fiercely independent of any scenes, trends and collaborators. She does everything herself, and she does it differently and well. Her irresistible, frenetic compositions revolve around exhilarating rhythms and intriguing vocalizations. Olivia’s second album, STRANGELIVV, slated for release any day now, is even more rebellious and original, and at once more mature, than her debut LP.
They started out as two girls with a thing for American alternative music, playing their simple tunes in one of their bedrooms, before being discovered at an early show in Warsaw by Natalia Fiedorczuk, who invited them to join her as a support act… and everything just fell into place. Before you see them live, check out the cheery, unpretentious yet intelligent songs on their recent debut LP, Dog Whistle, produced by Michał Kupicz.
A Tri-City duo that fits in with the (freak) folk tradition across the pond. Heavy with dreamy, delicate compositions for instruments that include the guitar, violin, keyboard, flute and, of course, beautiful voices. They released an EP of the rarest beauty last year, Little Crushes, and are expected to release a full-length album soon.
With a name like “Little Knights,” this sextet could only have come from the royal city of Krakow. But the medieval theme ends there: Rycerzyki play contemporary indie pop with melodies that tug at your heartstrings and tasteful arrangements that will challenge your mind. Word is that they’ve already finished their first album. This could be the debut of the year.
Before they were Tania O., they were Tania Odzież, and before that they were probably kids going through their parents’ and grandparents’ record collections. This Warsaw quartet offers an original mix of rock’n’roll’s golden era with the psychedelic fury of America’s first generation of punk bands.
This Polish blues musician may be young, but he’s seen some stuff. Impenetrable yet painfully sincere. A songwriter from southern Poland, Kortez was discovered by the label Jazzboy, who released his debut EP. The track Zostań (Stay) is so good that we’re already sure he’ll stay with us for a while.
PAN Records Showcase: Afrikan Sciences, Lee Gamble, M.E.S.H.
A Berlin-based label that explores the experimental outskirts of electronic music, Bill Kouligas’ PAN Records will present three of its artists at this year’s OFF Festival. Afrikan Sciences will perform their trademark blend of old jazz, old school hip hop and cosmic funk. Lee Gamble will immerse us in his dreamy experiments with sound and space, while the American-born Berliner M.E.S.H. will intoxicate us with his own eclectic and surreal vision of hip hop.
Jubilee Party curated by Ron Morelli
The DJ, producer and founder/brains of L.I.E.S. Records visited the OFF Festival with his crew last year. Now he’s coming back to play at our birthday party! Get ready for a encounter with the world’s best contemporary dance music. The Jubilee Party curated by Ron Morelli runs for three whole nights and will feature Shawn O’Sullivan (live), Ron Morelli & Low Jack (DJ) and Bookworms & Steve Summers (live).
OFF Festival 2015 Tickets
Tickets are now available for 200 PLN at the OFF Shop, the price of a camping spot is 60 PLN, with an additional night (August 6/7) for 20 PLN.
Tickets for OFF Festival and Festival Village camping spot passes available at OFF SHOP and See Tickets.
Festival passes, packages incl. camping spot and hotels at www.festicket.com