A new experimental music and art festival will hit Dresden this spring: The ICAS Festival. It runs from April 27 to May 3 and takes its name from the ICAS network, which organizes many of the world’s most compelling multi-day platforms for avant-garde creative explorations, like CTM in Berlin, Krakow’s Unsound, and Decibel in Seattle. The theme for the institution’s eponymous event is titled Tools for an Unknown Future, which refers to its “attempt to examine how to cope with increasing uncertainty in the field of culture using tools that have already been developed in our society so far.”
“The uncertainties are the usual things,” explains Taïca Replansky, one of the ICAS Festival organizers and CTM team members. “How do independent cultural organizations, initiatives, and artists survive in a time of troubled economy and competition with creative industries? How can we foster space for creativity, research, and experimentation, without any outside motives or end products? Is that possible at all?” The ICAS Festival tackles those central questions with an exhaustive program that involves club shows, “outdoor interventions,” a multi-day conference, film screenings of works like The Sound of Belgium, labs, exhibitions, and other formats.
So far, ICAS has revealed its initial artist lineup, which includes a host of musicians from its new program SHAPE (Sound, Heterogeneous Art and Performance in Europe), like trance academic Lorenzo Senni, Hungarian computer music composer Gábor Lázár, and Parisian leftfield producer Low Jack. See below for the full rundown of the confirmed artists, which we’ll update as more appearances are announced.
The SHAPE project is a continuation of ECAS, a five-year program sponsored by the EU that combined nine European ICAS members and closes at this year’s ICAS Festival. As opposed to its predecessor, SHAPE is a three-year initiative that “circulates around the artists, not the institutions,” explains ICAS team member Rihards Endriksons. Each year, the program selects 48 artists, and its partner festivals host at least nine of them for concerts or educational events. SHAPE favors emerging, innovative, top-notch, and underexposed talents, particularly those from territories that don’t receive much attention from the international music press, like Central and Eastern Europe. “For a producer from Berlin, the competition is high, but the chances of gaining visibility are also high,” Endriksons explains. “If you’re an equally strong artist from Budapest, that might be more difficult to you, and more dependant on whether you know the right people in the scene.”
First round lineup announcement:
Lorenzo Senni, an Italian “pointillist trance” composer who has released on stalwart experimental outposts like Editions Mego.
Gábor Lázár, a Hungarian who has worked with Russell Haswell and imprints like Senni’s Presto!? and The Death of Rave.
Mørk, a pianist, composer and melody-maker from Norway. He tells gripping stories without words, using his mechanical piano.
Bocca al Lupo, the duo comprised of Kathy Alberici and Federico Nitti.
Low Jack, a Parisian affiliate of LIES, The Trilogy Tapes, Delsin, and In Paradisum.
HUMATIC’s “MNM stage version,” a DJ/VJ act featuring Mieko Suzuki.
Alexander Dorn, an Uncanny Valley regular, will present his photographic installation Phantasialand.
Random Logic & Izland, a pair of Slovenian minimal techno pioneers Miha Klemenčič and Gregor Zemljič who have been active since the ’90s.
Update: ICAS has announced a second round of artists who will join the festival’s lineup.
Evian Christ, an alumnus of the Tri Angle label, will perform live.
Félicie d’Estienne d’Orves & Etienne Jaumet, two French artists, will present a Xenakis-influenced audio-visual piece called “Satori,” which you can preview here.
Lumisokea, a duo that combines analogue hardware with acoustic instrumentation.
Borusiade, a Romanian experimental producer and DJ active since 2002.
RSS B0YS, an anonymous pair of Polish producers whose tribal techno is breaking out of the country’s insular scene.
N1L, a Riga-based multi-disciplinary artist who “investigates electronic club music culture.”
Charlotte Bendiks, a Norwegian techno talent who has contributed to our mix series.
Le Petit Garçon, a Norweigian responsible for “deserted, ambient techno with shoegaze-inspired guitar samples, synthesizer riffs, and churning bass lines.”
12z, a Budapest-based group that makes electroacoustic improvisations.
Pasajera Oscura, a collaboration between Editions Mego’s Chra and Vienna-based Irradation.
Bruma, a French artist who “straddles science and poetry” and created personalised computer-based compositional tools.
Assimilation Process, a moniker of Stefan Senf (aka Noize Creator), a staple in Dresden’s electronic music scene since the 1990s.
Cooptrol, a trained drummer and Johannesburg native who moved to Uruguay and deals in post-industrial, IDM, techno, and dubstep.
ICAS festival runs from April 27 through May 3 and is headquartered at the Festspielhaus Hellerau, with events also taking place at Lab15, Altes Wettbüro, Hole of Fame, and the Thalia movie theatre. A limited number of festival passports, priced at 40 euro, are available now.