“Somewhat smaller and sweet and lame”: that is how a person described to me Den Haag, the coastal city in the western Netherlands that is also well-known for becoming property to the UN’s International Criminal Court.

With this in my head, I was pleasantly shocked by what I identified when I arrived for the ninth edition of regional festival for adventurous music Rewire. This year’s lineup was a nerd’s dream, which includes Low, Julia Holter, Nicolás Jaar, and Yves Tumor.


A shedding of purist ideals, which previously shunned specific genres like pop and folk as also mainstream, and an work to appear beyond a straight white-male talent pool to come across new idols has created programming at “adventurous (née experimental)” music festivals modify considerably in current years. Noble and fascinating as this shift is, even the independents adhere to trends, and several of the similar themes and artists pop up once again and once again at these festivals in a offered year. What sets Rewire apart from the pack is the overwhelming emphasis on efficiency.

For the opening show, Jlin presented Autobiography with the dancers of Enterprise Wayne McGregor. The piece is primarily based on choreographer Wayne McGregor’s personal genome, the total set of his body’s cells, and is soundtracked by Jlin who has often joined the Enterprise to carry out the score reside given that the piece debuted at Unsound Toronto in 2017. The score requires the experimental footwork Jlin is identified for and floods it with atmospheric flourishes. The 1st solo ‘Avatar’ stood out as the piece’s most robust efficiency, combining abrasive contemporary choreography with classical ballet movements. It was a promising start off to a weekend.

Jlin & Enterprise Wayne McGregor

Jlin was not the only artist to incorporate dance into their set. Paard, the two-area venue that held a lot of the festival’s late evening programming, became a bastion for movement-heavy shows. Friday identified electro-Acholi duo Otim Alpha from the considerably-revered Nyege Nyege Tapes label ramping up the crowd as they ran by means of tracks from 2017’s Gulu City Anthems. These electronic re-imaginings of classic Larakaraka wedding songs created for higher octane polyrhythmic beats that had the packed crowd dancing with wild abandon, at a single point a couple of of the front row dancers had been even invited onstage. Although it was brutal at occasions to watch a area complete of Dutch folks act out their personal interpretations of African dance, there was no doubt the duo’s tenacious power was properly-honed and paid off with a robust audience connection.

Otim Alpha
Otim Alpha

The following evening at Paard identified Cape Town producer Angel-Ho going complete-pop star as she sang by means of her experimental pop album Death Becomes Her backed by two shirtless dancers in matching leather trench coats. Later that evening, Bristol’s Giant Swan took the stage to play a single of the most dance inspiring sets of the festival. The duo stood across from every single other, hunched more than tables of hardware. As the beat started to thump, I looked up at the duo from my perch behind a middle-aged man in a Wolf Eyes t-shirt and braced myself for a boring 45 minutes of cookie cutter Berghain techno. But the gritty synths and infectiously aggressive kick drum won me more than in just a single song. Jumping and shouting as they played, Giant Swan mirrored the audience’s power as absolutely everyone thrashed in complete on rave mode. By the finish, sweat-drenched and electrolyte-depleted, I understood why a single Giant Swan member went shirtless following acquiring on stage — it wasn’t a gimmick but a preventative measure straight from the playbook of a seasoned rager.


Although the performances had been gorgeous, there had been a couple of recurring technical troubles. Observing a somewhat tense line verify just before the show, Tirzah’s Saturday evening set suffered from what seemed to be sample pads constantly operating out of sync. For a couple of songs, her backing vocals repeated more than and more than once again leaving no space for her to enter in the mix. On the other hand, collaborators Mica Levi and Coby Sey who serve as the London-primarily based singer’s backing band managed to come across their personal rhythm even when sounds had been going awry. A couple of nervous smiles aside, Tirzah herself seemed unfazed and rolled by means of songs from 2018’s Devotion , sometimes pulling her fingers by means of a pair of wind chimes. Visual artist-turned-producer Doon Kanda, also identified for his function with Arca, struggled with the sound man came across a small extra naturally. His current release Luna played by means of on CDJs even though he paced the stage chatting emphatically with a technician for just about the complete set. At a single point, Kanda even jumped into the crowd to hear how items had been from the ground. The sound, funnily adequate, seemed pristine all through the distraction of their back and forth came off just about like efficiency art.

Doon Kanda
Kelly Moran

The technical troubles, nevertheless, undoubtedly did not outweigh the acoustic wins. On Saturday at Lutherse Kerk, the Louis XV-style church-turned-venue, I soaked up the palatial ready-piano operates of American composer Kelly Moran. Her luminous melodies paired completely with the space’s acoustics and vibrant kaleidoscopic visuals projected on a giant ornamental pipe organ above her added to the whimsical vibe. Tape loop founding father William Basinski closed out that night’s Lutherse Kerk programming, taking the stage to a chorus of corner shop beers clattering on the stone floor as folks shifted in their seats. “Can absolutely everyone do me a single favor,” he asked the crowd. “Look about at your feet and if you see a beer bottle choose it up and place it among your legs. I do not want to hear a single beer bottle throughout the efficiency.”

Kelly Moran
William Basinski & Lawrence English

The festival’s final piece was Hominin, a commissioned function by British minimal club pioneer Mark Fell that combines music and efficiency art to “construct and investigate procedural relationships among technical and non-technical components.” Starting with a huge curtain of gold foil paper gradually pulled from the ground to complete mast, two blonde performers entered the stage in all black and began meticulously putting smaller speakers and lighting trees about a remote-controlled tennis ball launcher was rolled out to spit balls at the foil developing ASMR inducing crinkles as they landed. The ladies then retreated behind the wall and re-emerged a quick time later by means of human-sized holes reduce in the paper dressed in neon pink and yellow gorilla suits. Dancing amid a flurry of frantic beats and strobes they pointed the tennis ball launcher straight at us and created a couple of hits. Then almost everything occurred in reverse. The holes they reduce had been taped up. Gorilla suits meticulously placed in a suitcase. Speakers removed from the stage. Balls returned to their receptacle. Foil lowered to the ground. It was a fine balancing act among methodical and chaotic supplied 45 minutes of pure entertainment that under no circumstances became ludicrous. It was a single of these performances that make you thankful festivals like these exist to offer the space and funds and visas and demand for artists to produce anything absolutely outdoors the typical tour-show box.

Mark Fell’s Hominim

Maya-Roisin Slater is a music and culture journalist primarily based out of Berlin and London. She not too long ago stopped speaking about riffs and began speaking about frequencies. Come across her on Twitter.

Study subsequent: Kelly Moran and Sepehr go Against The Clock at MUTEK.SF

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