Semibreve Festival 2012 // The 405 Preview
The inaugural Semibreve Festival launched last year in the hilariously history-rich city of Braga in Portugal, a city that has existed in some form since Neolithic times. This year's festivities happens to coincide with Braga being awarded the title of European Youth Capital 2012, and Semibreve is recognising this privilege bestowed with a series of events.
As you may have gathered form this brief intro, this is not your average British Festival experience; instead of horrific queues to acquire cardboard cups with logos emblazoned on them for an eye-watering wallet-emaciating price, here you'll find yourself in a Portuguese revivalist theatre, known as Theatre Circo, and treated to some progressive and glorious avant-garde electronica. You won't even have to worry about your tent getting urinated on as with other eviscerating UK events, as there is no camping - this is a festival experience boiled down to it's purest form; the music.
As a precursor to the festival, the nearby city of Guimarães is running a series of workshops run by visual artists such as José Alberto Gomes, Rui Dias and Joanie Lemercier (who can often be seen honing his craft around Bristol.) A range of Installations are on offer too.
A marriage of visual stimuli and music is promised for the four day long event (held from October 2nd-6th), exploring “the universe of electronic music and digital art”, and this core ideology is very much backed-up in the musical acts on the bill. Finnish composer and percussionist Vladislav Delay (with AGF taking care of the visuals) and Pole host the first evening of performance at the Neo-Baroque theatre (Theatre Circo). Pole in the past year has created three EPs as part of his Waldgeschichten series - a stupendously bass-driven body of work submerged in dub sensibilities, all released on his own self-titled label.
Jan St. Werner and Andi Toma have been making electronic music since 1993 under the moniker of Mouse on Mars, a period of time during which electronic music has evolved rapidly, fragmented disparately and left many a producer burnt and frayed on the studio scrapheap. Not this duo, who have remained committed to innovate their IDM-sound (wow has Intelligent Dance Music really caught on as a genre-term?) - a quick listen to latest LP Parastrophics is evidence enough of this.
Other acts include Japanese composer and visual artist Ryoji Ikeda, and industrial-electronica God Ben Frost, who both feature on the final evening. Frost made the move to Reykjavík in the mid 00's, and, it's incredibly easy - well, lazy - to wax lyrical in regard as to how his earth-shattering ambient-yet-asperous sound reflects the bucolic Icelandic scenery, though it's kinda true. The Bristolian techno-duo of Emptyset headline the night before, who recently have been pushing the boundaries in terms of their live set, exploring sound-art through analogue equipment via improvisational means.
Finding the time to listen to all of the above on headphones in a darkened room is an absolute pleasure and introspective wonder in itself; to have all of these avant-garde electronic acts in one place, surrounded by perfected visual stimuli, and shared with like-minded people has the potential to be mind-blowing.
Semibreve runs from 2nd-6th October in Braga, Portugal, with music events on 4th-6th.