Text by Olya Karlovich
In the summer festival season, Heart of Noise, as usual, stands out from other musical gatherings with similar lineups and high-profile promos. From June 2-5, for the 12th iteration, the festival in the Alpine city of Innsbruck will provide a stage for both established and young artists of the musical avant-garde and art scene.
Starting in 2011 with Doom drone, today, Heart of Noise pays homage to a great variety of alternative genres. Amorphously beautiful ambient, harsh noise, Indonesian hardcore folk, endlessly slow jazz, techno, experiments, and serious music scenes all come together in four festival days. The extensive program includes artists like Judith Hamann, Bohren & Der Club of Gore, Senyawa, Carmen Villain, Perila, Innode, Aya, and Space Africa, and it’s by far not all.
One of the 2022 headliners is the German electronic act Mouse on Mars. The duo will present perhaps the most ambitious project from their diverse catalogue, an “AAI” album exploring the nuances of artificial intelligence. While working on the LP, the musicians recorded the voice of Louis Chude-Sokei, a professor of African American studies in Boston. Then they uploaded it into the software as a model. They controlled the original record speed and its tonality/mood, thus creating something like a new speech instrument.
Another duo in the festival lineup that reflects upon voice-based technologies is Lucy Duncombe and Feronia Wennberg. They will perform with a collaborative project, 3rd Remove From The Real. This experimental audio piece explores the history of voice technologies, from working with tape effects to vocal cloning and virtual singers.
Sound artist, composer, and cellist Leila Bordreuil is also our highlight. Using unusual playing techniques, amplification, and spatialization, she creates disorienting improvisations at the junction of melancholy and harsh noise. The main interest of Bordreuil is pure sound and its natural textures. She focuses on neurological perception and our physiological relationship with sound and space.
Martha Skye Murphy and Maxwell Sterling will take festivalgoers on a journey through the post-industrial areas of North West England. Their project Distance On Ground is two long-form compositions, accompanied by the distanceonground.com website, where the listener can travel through one of the selected landscapes — rural or urban — in real-time. The work embodies Murphy’s and Sterling’s interests in articulating place and space in long form and through music.
One of the latest pieces of Maya Shenfeld, an important figure of the new avant-garde, can be heard on the final festival day. Maya focuses on researching temporality, deep listening, intonation, and microtonality. She explores the intersection between modes of musical production used in experimental and popular music.
Those who want to get familiar with the local scene should also not miss the Greenhouse Tower and Greenhouse Cellar concert series scheduled for Thursday. The focus will be on musicians and performers who have appeared on HoN vinyl edition so far. For instance, Andi Stecher, percussionist and composer, will present Alpine Material — a quadraphonic audio composition together with visuals created by Korean video artist Hana Yoo.
Also, among the artists of the Austrian underground scene: deconstructed club enthusiast Kenji Araki; Fabian Lanzmaier, who explores abstract materiality of sound; and the PLF band, which operates on the border between post-punk, noise and free improvisation. Of course, there will be a room for parties as well. Responsible for the festival dancefloor: The Bug feat. Flowdan, DJ Marcelle and DJ Diaki, Casual Gabberz, Machine Girl and Electro Indigo.
Heart of Noise has always tried to cover different varieties of performative forms. And this edition is no exception. Along with the traditional concert program, it features the theatre dance piece melted snow and rising heroes ‘performed by the OFFTANZ TIROL collective and with brttrkllr’s sound. In addition, Carmen Brucic, in collaboration with artists and activists of the Georgian club Bassiani, will present a photo exhibition, Private Stages/Public, which will go on for another eight weeks after the festival at the RFDL glass cube in Innsbruck.