Novas Frequências Festival announces full 2014 line-up
Exploratory music festival with master sponsorship by Oi and cultural support by Oi Futuro happens in six different places in Rio de Janeiro on December 1-14. This year’s edition features artistic workshops and residencies for the first time.
São Paulo, October 2014 – The fourth edition of the Novas Frequências will take place between 01 and 14 December this year. The Novas Frequências Festival emerged in 2011 in Rio de Janeiro as an experimental music festival connected with new contemporary trends. The 2014 edition brings together a total 33 attractions from 11 different countries, and will occupy six different spaces in Rio city: Oi Futuro Ipanema, Espaço Cultural Municipal Sérgio Porto, Casa Daros, Audio Rebel, La Paz and POP – Polo de Pensamento Contemporâneo. Always looking for artists who break through pre-established boundaries in search of new sound languages, the festival program includes concerts, performances resulting from artistic residencies, a panorama of Brazilian experimental music, workshops, parties, sound walks and discussions on contemporary music, the creative process and the market.
The result of a partnership between cultural producers Chico Dub and Tathiana Lopes, the Novas Frequências is driven by the search for diversity and the creative use of technological tools under what we have come to call the fine arts of contemporary music. It is no wonder, then, that many of the artists in the program usually perform not only in the stages of festivals, clubs and concert halls, but are also often featured in museums, galleries and arts-related events. These are artists with promising careers in the forefront of their work, who release their music under record labels of renown and are often featured in the most important publications of the so-called “new music”, like The Wire, FACT, Resident Advisor and The Quietus.
Considered the Best Festival in Rio by the Rio Nightlife Award 2013, the Novas Frequências only features unseen performances in the country. In other words, all artists brought to the festival have never played in Brazil before. In the case of national artists, the festival curators favor performances that have never occurred in the city before – be it by bringing artists from other states who have not yet played in the city or by proposing commissioned performances by resident artists.
The fourth edition of the Novas Frequências has several curatorial perspectives, which intersect and overlap to establish new connections. The most wide-reaching of them brings together artists who somehow appropriate rhythmic and melodic cells from continents other than their own to develop their sound.
A new project by Scotsman William Bennet, Cut Hands mixes techno and noise with voodoo ritual percussion sounds from Haiti. From Portugal, DJ Marfox explores beats from Portuguese-speaking African countries to create highly explosive electronic music.
Frisk Frugt is a Dane who combines folk music from his country with tunes recorded in loco during travels through Mali and Burkina Faso. One of the best known names in transcendental ambient music (or “celestial music”, like he himself calls it) is US-native Laraaji – his starting point is India and other regions of the East. The Tarab Cuts, a project by British jazz and improvisation artists John Butcher and Mark Sanders, breathes new life into Arab and Sufi music form the early 20th century.
Another flirting area of the festival this year is with unique and radical approaches to musical instruments that are extremely dear to Western music. Besides the musicians mentioned for the Tarab Cuts project, there is also the Ukrainian pianist Lubomyr Melnyk, the creator of “continuous music”, a language for piano that establishes a continuous, uninterrupted flow of sound. Another artist with an unparalleled take on his instrument – in this case the acoustic guitar – is US player Bill Orcutt. A guitar has never sounded as punky and bluesy as Orcutt makes it. Brazil is well represented by J.-P. Caron & Marcos Campello, respectively playing piano and guitar. “Oco”, launched by the duo this year, is one of the best works of 2014. The third pianist on the line-up is Joana Gama, multiple award-winning classical pianist from Portugal, who joins electronic music experimentalist Luis Fernandes to perform the QUEST project. US-native Ashley Paul brings to the stage an eclectic set-up whose sound is forged much closer to that of a band than a solo artist, playing multiple instruments simultaneously while singing.
Experimental electronic music also occupies important territory in the Novas Frequências. In this fourth edition, some of the most celebrated names in the world are in attendance. Ben Frost is an Iceland-based Australian whose brutal, aggressive sound bear influences from minimalist music, black metal and noise. Finnish Sasu Ripatti performs twice in the festival. On the first performance, with a more ambient perspective, Ripatti uses his better known stage name, Vladislav Delay. On the other, he goes for a more dance music track and uses the stage name Rippati. German Rashad Becker only has one album in his career, and yet, in some respects (pitch, timbre, sub bass), he is the artist who has contributed most to the sound aesthetic of contemporary avant-garde music, a result of his work as a sound engineer responsible for cutting and mastering vinyl records. Mark Fell combines popular electronic music genres with compositions created on a computer through algorithms and mathematical systems. Fell, a British sound artist and graphic designer, also performs on Novas Frequências as Sensate Focus – a stage name he uses to explore the classic elements of dance music – and a very special collaboration with analog synthesizers wizard Keith Fullerton Whitman (who also performs solo).
For the first time, the festival has Portuguese artists in the line-up. And it’s not a coincidence. Portugal is now home to one of the most interesting scenes for sound explorations. It has music labels such as Príncipe, PAD and Pataca, festivals like Semibreve and Madeira Dig, excellent spaces for concerts such as the Teatro Maria Matos and the Casa da Música, spaces for residencies such as the Galeria Zé dos Bois and producers like Filho Único. Together with DJ Marfox and the duo behind QUEST, Portugal is also represented by the contemplative and tripping landscapes by The Astroboy.
The British are once again in force at Novas Frequências, thanks to a strong institutional partnership with Transform, the arts program developed by the British Council. They all participate in Talking Sounds, a series of discussions about contemporary music and artistic processes. They are: Cut Hands, John Bucher & Mark Sanders, Mark Fell and Philip Jeck. The latter is part of a number of activities at the festival, the highlight of which is the performance resulting from the artistic residency he will develop in Rio – the first one instituted by the Novas Frequências. Jeck, a sound artist who often works with turntables from the 50s and 60s and discarded LPs, will be in search of materials found in used record stores and collector archives in town.
Also, speaking of sound art, the second in-residence artist at the festival will be “New Yorker-Japanese” Aki Onda. Onda is coming to Rio to record the ambient sounds of the city (a practice known as “field recordings”) to use them in a special performance. A conceptual match for Onda’s work is Vivian Caccuri. A Rio-based, São Paulo-native Brazilian, Caccuri is the author of the “Caminhada Silenciosa” (“Silent Walk”) project. Her ‘walks’ are in fact tours through areas of interest (both sound and geography-wise) in Rio. During these tours, which have recently garnered the attention of both cariocas and foreigners and usually last for eight hours, speaking is forbidden: the goal is to focus on the sounds of the metropolis.
Brazilians will also take the stage en masse at Novas Frequências. There are 13 attractions in total, three of which commissioned by the festival. There is a “battle” between the techno and house machines of Rio labels 40% Foda/Maneiríssimo and Domina; the back to back between the (new) carioca funk of Omulu with “carioca funks of the world” Maga Bo; and the Quintavant Ensemble, a veritable “who’s who” of the new Rio experimental music scene, with 13 representatives from Bemônio, Chelpa Ferro, DEDO, Chinese Cookie Poets, Baby Hitler, Biu, Sobre a Máquina and Duplexx. The brand new electronic music of Bahia, often called “bahia bass”, will be represented at the festival by Mauro Telefunksoul, a kind of organizer of the movement, and Som Peba. São Paulo-native Carlos Issa is an important figure, moving between visual arts and experimental music. He performs with noise techno solo project Hojer Yama and legendary Auto, a band that transits between punk, noise, improv and electronic. Also operating in the same lines is the Pouso Alegre duo Osvardo. Iridescent and Bruno Real, from São Paulo and Curitiba, complete the list. The two are effervescent names of the new, locally-produced techno and house. Finally, singer and producer Serge Erège, one of the new highlights of the São Paulo night club scene.
It is important to mention that the Novas Frequências is now the newest member of ICAS (International Cities Of Advanced Sound), a network that brings together some of the most important advanced festivals of sound culture, avant-garde music and related arts such as Mutek (Montreal, Canada), Unsound (Krakow, Poland), CTM (Berlin, Germany), Future Everything (Manchester, England) and TodaysArt (Hague, Netherlands). The goal of the ICAS is to encourage dialogue, knowledge exchanges and mutual support among international organizations involved with music and advanced sounds in a way that promotes community and collaboration, rather than competition, between cultural entrepreneurs. It is a creative platform for self-reflection and learning at a global level, evoking its members to constantly reinvent themselves.
The Novas Frequências is accomplished by Cardápio de Ideias Comunicação e Eventos, and counts on master sponsorship by Oi, the State Government of Rio de Janeiro, the State Secretariat Culture of Rio de Janeiro and the State Law for the Encouragement of Culture of Rio de Janeiro; sponsorship by Skol Music; institutional partnerships with the British Council and the SESI Cultural; media support from British magazine The Wire; and support from the Municipal Secretariat of Culture, the ICAS, Arts Council England, Creative Scotland, DGArtes – Government of Portugal, Jazz Denmark, Casa Daros, Pequena Central and Meli-Melo.