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VII Wrocław Industrial Festival

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I went to VIIth edition of Wrocław Industrial Festival with excitement and curiosity, wondering if and how, will the organizers and the bands surprise us. Despite the fact that I was present only during concerts on Saturday and Sunday, there were many attractions. Gothic Hall gathered many different musicians as well as extremely diverse public. There were many foreigners from different countries, starting from our closest neighbors to those coming from distant countries. I will hazard a guess that they didn’t come for nothing as the level of VIIth edition was really high (of course there were also bands whose music doesn’t convince me at all). Maciej Frett - one of the organizers, says that this year’s edition was: "the most successful in terms of attendance (many guests from abroad)" and "artistic level".

Saturday’s show was opened by the hosts of the festival – Job Karma. Job Karma is our home band from Wrocław, whose members, Maciej Frett and Aureliusz Pisarzewski are responsible for music while Arkadiusz Bagiński overseas the visual side of the project. The guys from Job Karma combine industrial and ambient music, enriching their performances with visual elements. As an audiovisual project, which mixes music with performance art, Job Karma is one of the most interesting bands of our Polish music stage. During this year’s festival, the fans of the group could listen to the tracks from the two latest albums: "Strike" and "Tschernobyl". As an additional attraction, Thom Fuhrmann (Savage Republic), made a guest appearance during the show. In my opinion, Job Karma’s performance was really good and raised standards for other bands playing during the festival on Sunday evening.

6633 North was the second band that appeared on the stage at the Gothic Hall. Thom Fuhrmann and Alan Weddington from the legendary music group - Savage Republic, presented works in a different convention than the previous band, aiming at a different music genre - noise rock. Analogue and digital sounds were replaced by the drums and guitars. The show of this American band that was mostly based on loose improvisation, received a warm reception from the public. Thom Fuhrmann’s guitar improvisations as well as dynamism and unique expressiveness of Alan Weddington’s solos on percussion, were showered with applause. Despite the improvisations, we could hear the following songs: "After the Leaves", "Gamelan Miner", "Swordfighter"- which according to Thom Fuhrmann "will be the new SR single", "Procession" and "Hanging Garden".

I have to admit, that Sunday’s performances were really diverse. Another artist, who is famous for his improvisations, as well as for mixing elements of surrealism, minimalism, and especially experimental music, is the best example of the great variety of music that appeared on Sunday. Andrew Liles, did not to fall short of his fans’ expectations. In the same way as improvisation dominated 6633 North’s performance, Andrew Liles focused on experimentation. The public was put into a hypnotic trance by his eclectic, absurd and even gloomy and dark music. Despite the fact, that Liles’ music is rather heavy-going, it was worth hearing live.

After the previous mesmerizing concert, the time has come for yet another hypnotic but at the same time soothing, as well as restless music of another group – Blind Cave Salamander. This Italian band, aided by the American cellist- Julia Kent, released their long-awaited debut album – "Self-Titled" in 2007. This is definitely the band I liked the most that day. The combination of electronic music with guitars mixed with elements of classical music really worked well. Unconventional sounds produced by Julia Kent on the cello, together with vocals and guitars of Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo and industrial sound effects, made a tremendous impression on me. Blind Cave Salamander (Julia Kent, Fabrizio Modonese Palumbo and Paul Beauchamp), create music that is atmospheric, original, unpredictable, emotional but at the same time disturbing. I wholeheartedly recommend the band.

Finally, the band everyone awaited for with growing impatience - legendary Nurse With Wound. NWW create their music since 1978, and their collection of records amounts to about 30 albums. Each show of this remarkable band is one of its kind. Not only their music is original but also the whole artistic setting, which combines surreal and absurd elements together. Great variety of sounds, instruments and unconventional visual elements, make their music difficult and what goes with it, not for everyone. Live performance of this band, is without doubt something you can’t miss, not for all the world. Besides many songs that don’t have names at the moment, Nurse With Wound played: "Black Teeth", "Funktion Of The Hairy Egg" and "Rock And Roll Station".

I’m not impressed by Sunday’s edition of the festival. I’m not saying that it was not worth seeing, because probably it was, but rather it’s a matter of taste. Definitely, there was less improvisation, experimentations and performance art, and more monotonous, even sounds with elements of techno music. There was no, or I’d rather say little variety of music, so most bands sounded alike.

Slovak group- Disharmony, formed not very long ago, because in 2001, was the first to perform on stage. The concert of this easy recognizable group, famous for their minimalist soundscapes, was in my opinion decent. Quite clear and lively music enriched by some unique visual elements like Egyptian-like masks (those of the pharaohs), created quite original atmosphere. The band played: "Tombstone", "Drops of dust", "Uranium", "Travel", "Deeper", "Astral border", "Gone in silence", "Nautilus", "Uranium" and "Life".

Vladimir Hirsch, who appeared on stage instead of Camerata Mediolanese, presented different music from the lively and dynamic Sunday’s performances. This Czech instrumentalist and artist of international renown who masters new forms of contemporary classical music, played songs combining dark ambient and noise music. For Wrocław Industrial Festival he chose his album entitled "Symphony no.4 - Descent from the Cross" consisting of: Part I: After Expiry, Part II. Night Under The Cross, Part III: The Descent, Part IV: The Pass From Golgotha, Part V: Entombment, Part VI- Apotheosis, Part VII: Epilog (Marcus VI/16).

As soon as the next band appeared on the stage at Gothic Hall, the public which lapsed into some kind of lethargy during the previous show, regained their vital forces. Empusae is a Belgian project created only by a single man - Sal-Ocin. According to the brochure published especially for Wrocław Industrial Festival, his music is "a suggestion of an assembly line parallel to clock’s rhythm. It introduces some kind of tension of haunted soundscapes and is firmly embedded in the listener’s memory." And precisely, Sal-Ocin’s concert was probably the only show during the festival, which really moved the audience - the fans in some kind of indescribable trance took control over the dance floor. It was an incredibly energetic performance that filled listeners with a great dose of optimism. Personally I’m not delighted with it, because I’m not particularly fond of this kind of music, but I have to admit, that Sal-Ocin draws people to his shows. The track list is as follows: "Waanzin", "Hatred of the trees", "Ekro-alakin", "La puissance (formes de)", "Hard boiled wonderland", "Entering oblivion", "Seygot", "Urficae".

The next concert, this time of the French band – Oil 10, followed similar conventions as Empusae. However, the main difference between the two is that, Gilles Rossie efficiently mixes ambient and techno music. Very lively and dynamic beats, had probably anticipated effect – the public was raring to dance. The concert was as good as the previous one. Gilles’ track list reads as follows: "Synchro 4 All", "High Adventure", "Happy Mondays", "Lost in Metropolis", "Grand Illusion", "XFleet", "Le Bar".

And finally, the last show I saw during this year’s edition of Wrocław Industrial festival was that of a Swedish band - In Slaughter Natives. Honestly speaking, it was the first time I heard Jouni’s music but I won’t probably have any problems with recognizing his it, as it is extremely characteristic (but I think that not for everyone). As befits Cold Meat Industry, this record company releases the albums of avant-garde musicians from industrial circles, and among them dark ambient and noise music of In Slaughter Natives. This was probably the most dark, apocalyptic and gloomy concert, kept in a ritual-like style. Hypnotic, sombre music, balancing on the borderline between reality and dream, combined with the music performed on synthesizers and trance choral pieces, can’t be easily forgotten. And here’s the track list: "Pure… the suffering", "Truth awakening", "Fifth skin", "Purgate my stain", "To mega therion", "You are the dead", "As my shield", "Tearing my life away", "Ashes of angels", "Death just only death", "Blood testural", "Clean cathedral", "The Vulture".

Summing up, Wrocław Indrustrial Festival turns out to be a great success as it is becoming more and more famous. The organization of the festival and the atmosphere were really good. As I wrote at the very beginning, there were bands on a very high level as well as those which I do not find particularly interesting. Luckily, there were a few of them that really did their best, despite the fact, that they had to play until late at night. One thing that comes to my mind now, is that, because of late hours it was really difficult to enjoy all the bands. I was personally exhausted and didn’t have enough determination to stay until the after party (as the concerts ended at about 2 a.m.). Now we have some time to cool down and wait till next year’s edition of Wrocław Industrial Festival. Let’s hope that VIIIth edition will be even better and more diverse that the one that has just ended.

Translator: agnes
Add date: 2008-11-28 / Live reports

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