BlueskyPie Records are situated at the gateway to Europe on the South East coast so when we found out that an exciting electronic music festival was happening in Brussels at the weekend, we had to check it out.
Schiev is in its third year and promises to showcase up and coming electronic artists and innovative sound and visual delights. It runs Friday, Saturday, Sunday in the second week of November. It features artists from Europe, talks, workshops and a label market. The surprising thing how affordable the tickets are, just 25 euros for the whole weekend. http://schiev.com
The first gig was on the fourth floor of the brilliant venue, Beursschouwberg. What a climb! Fantastic space with smooth grey concrete walls that are decorated with poska pens. Feminism is the future is a collection of events happening from October to December and the slogan was on every surface throughout the building. I was happy to see a promising female presence on the line up too. Out of 19 artists 6 were women.
The brilliant Why The Eye were the first artists up.
Why The Eye (Friday 9pm) Neandertal Electronic
Waiting in the bar room for the gig to start we were suddenly attracted to the opening sounds of their first track, Dombo. The band complete with homemade paleo masks and chef whites filed round the corner, summoning us with their handmade instruments like a futuristic planet of the apes style Pied Piper.
They are both of the future and of the past. We followed them with baited breath, excited to see what would happen next. Their instruments were set up in the middle of the floor. One of the masked men crouched over and beckoned the audience towards them, within touching distance. A quadrant of weird and wonderful pieces of musicalia. The instruments were bastardized, looked like they had been made by Sid from Toy Story. These were tortured instruments but instead of pain, pleasure emanated from them.
Their sound guy poised over the sound desk dreads tied back. The rest of the band leapt into position and the raucous dissonance began. It was music to our ears. The finger pianos, plucked and strummed in beats to match the soft, velvet bass of the drums set in what appeared to be an old record player housing. A metal plate that you could imagine eggs frying on was hit at great speed with a thin spaghetti piece of wood to create an amazing sizzle. They were cooking on gas.
Each of the four members moved round the instrument stations like sous chefs. They could play each set of instruments with great skill. Their recipe for syncopation was exquisite. One of the band members stripped off his chef whites and grabbed the microphone, his hairy body lit up in the spotlights like a dandelion clock. His lithe body leapt about as though possessed by the ghost of Jim Morrison himself and the distorted noise popped and soared through the accompanying beats and vibrations.
The lighting was also cool, streaming down violet rays as if lit from the inside of a cave. And that was the overwhelming feeling that came from the gig, a warm cosy intimate space that millions of years ago, stone age man tinkered on bones making beats. We have never lost that love of rhythm. Thank you to Why The Eye for reminding us of our humble beginnings.
Thomas Ankersmit (Friday 10pm) Synthetic whispers
Thomas has exhibited his music in many places, last year he was at the Tate Modern with Phill Niblock. He has also played at unusual venues like the Showroom of Contemporary sound in Croatia and KW Institute for Contemporary Art in Berlin. It’s interesting how music is often used as a stand alone art form completely and utterly. This is ART.
Red light filtered down onto his laptop and equipment on a risen stage. He was the Messiah and we were his disciples. The room was almost entirely, apart from the shafts of light, in total darkness. He deliberately misuses his equipment to produce, at first, tortuous, sound, to my ears at least, but then the throbs and vibrations take over and produce cell mutating choruses. I sat on the floor at the back of the space, leaning against a metal door to get the most out of this arrangement. Many others in the concrete high ceiling room lay on on the floor, stretched out, their bodies soaking in every vibration.
It physically and mentally took you to another place. At times I wanted to flee, but I also wanted to hear more. I was transfixed, my body craving the deep thrombic vibratory waves that washed over me. At one point earplugs were dished out, that may seem like an insult, but by wearing these you could pinpoint the nuances that may have been hidden to those who chose not to protect their hearing.
At times I did feel like an interrogated prisoner, but I also felt an out of body displacement and a total rethinking of the genres of electronic music. That was a set that braved the soul in many ways.
Céline Gillain (Sunday 4.30) Sci Fi electro pop.
We were ushered into the room at just gone 4.30pm and it was unclear at first in the half light where the artist would be. In the half light I spotted on stage a slim figure in white jeans, white hoody, was it an apparition? A statue? A phantom? I decided that was where the action was to be. We sat with our backs to the wall at the front and the visuals kicked in.
Céline combines video collage, like being in a full size Minecraft, entering through doors, inviting you into her world, panelled rooms, guiding you around them, her space, our shared space and sings, well, almost raps spoken word over the top. She sends out positive messages – live your life as you want to. The motivational undertones of don’t worry about anyone else, run your own life. Don’t panic about being a mother, a brother, a sister, a father, live your own life and don’t be compromised. The graphics used were cool. One particular film took you to the edge of the atmosphere, soaring like a rocket over the clouds with the big Yves Klein blue beyond.
Young kids on the front row were nodding their heads, transfixed in the perfect medium for them in the computer graphic world we live in. It spoke to them, indeed we could all find resonance. The music was not particularly ground breaking nor overpowerful, but the message and delivery was. It was a fantastic way to use thought provoking speech and graphics to send a message.
Schiev, in its third year, is clearly born from a band of dedicated lovers of electronic music in all its shapes and forms. In fact, it is very powerful and although the audiences were not huge, you felt like you were let in on a clandestine mission. You were sharing the space with people who love this genre.
Bluesky Pie loves electronic music and it was gratifying to be exposed to the new and innovative ways it was presented.
We attended a talk about how to make a career in Electronic Music featuring Nico Kennes (Kunstenpunt & Belgium Booms) Nicolas Wierinck (ex Climatics, White Circle) Ruben Patiño and Morten J Olsen (NMO) hosted by Ana Ascencio (Mapping Festival)
During the discourse, a few interesting points were brought up. How is the music industry different from the Art World? It is of course, part of the arts, but it is dealt with very differently from traditional artists and how they display or present their work. Is there scope for this? Should we be encouraging more unusual venues to present music and gigs? In the artworld there is more time, and money taken in presenting the pieces. I was intrigued by this. Is it up to the musicians and producers to come up with interesting concepts to present their work? I think it is a valid point. We have put gigs on in small bars, projected bespoke activist films over DJs dressed in white, had masked balls at graffiti dubstep nights and many more off the wall productions. We would like to branch out by putting gigs on in museums, librairies, (que silent disco in a library lol) unique spaces that are not necessarily set up for gigs. It is only by pushing boundaries that music continues to grow. Electronic music is particularly set up for utilising these revolutionary ideas.