Judging from the rich diversity of artists at this year’s World Minimal Music Festival, the music we call ‘minimal’ might not be that minimal after all. The addition of ‘World’ underlines the festival’s international scope. At the same time it emphasises that repetitive, entrancing music is a global phenomenon, spanning ancient tribes and contemporary concert halls.
03-07 April, Muziekgebouw aan ’t IJ and Bimhuis, Amsterdam
03-07 April, Muziekgebouw Frits Philips and Effenaar, Eindhoven
Konono No 1
If you were to plunk iron strips attached to a box and amplify them to the point of distortion it would probably sound like shite, but Congolese audio guerrillas Konono No 1 turn it into highly addictive urban Afro magic.
We remember all too well where Ben Frost held us when his album By The Throat came out four years ago. Presenting music from his forthcoming follow-up to said aural horror epic, the Australian-Icelandic guitarist and electronic music composer will reveal whether he has tightened up or loosened his grip.
Kronos Quartet plays Steve Reich
You’d have to be one of the most open-minded composers to create life-affirming music out of tricky subjects such as the collapsing WTC towers or death trains moving towards Auschwitz. It helps that Steve Reich has composed his string quartets WTC 9/11and Different Trains for Kronos Quartet, one of the most open-minded and life-affirming music groups around.
We can safely consider Canto Ostinato by Simeon ten Holt the evergreen of Dutch minimal music, especially after its resurgence last year – caused by the release of a documentary film about the hypnotic piano piece from 1976, as well as the death of its composer last November. Because we know the fans will never get Canto-weary, we can safely recommend this version by one of the best Ten Holt performers, pianist Ivo Janssen.
Philip Glass’s Dracula
Minimal music’s main man Philip Glass has written around 50 film scores. When it comes to conducting and producing the soundtracks, Michael Riesman is Glass’s go-to guy. Musical director of the Philip Glass Ensemble since 1974, Riesman regularly ventures out on his own to arrange solo piano versions of Glass soundtracks. These include The Hours and a rendition of Glass’s score for Dracula, the 1931 silent black-and-white blood curler which Riesman will accompany live at this festival.
Free side programme
Every evening the festival has a free side programme with talks, DJs, visual art and performances in a cosy festival atmosphere. Each of the five evenings will be hosted by a different independent organisation. Subbacultcha! teams up with Future Vintage for an indie electronica showcase featuring Maxmillion Dunbar (Washington DC) and patten (London). Check out the other evenings as well: DNK invites semi-acoustic drone/ambient-band The Pitch; 22tracks hosts a Canto Ostinato remix project; Gonzo Circus presents Awesome Tapes From Africa; and Viral Radio brings in Lee Gamble for a DJ-set. And these are just the highlights…
Subbacultcha! and Future Vintage present: Maxmillion Dunbar + patten
Subbacultcha! and Future Vintage will co-host the side programme on the festival’s final evening. An afternoon screening of classic 1931 film Dracula soundtracked by live music might send chills down your spine, but no one will notice your timbers are shivering once patten’s deconstructed electronica scrambles the crowd’s brain waves and everyone starts grooving to Maxmillion Dunbar’s exotic and hypnotic halfway-house music. Our programme starts at 16.30, and there will be food too, so cancel your dinner plans.
World Minimal Festival opens at Muziekgebouw aan ‘t IJ, Amsterdam and Muziekgebouw Frits Philips and Effenaar, Eindhoven on Wednesday, 3 April. More info: wmmf.muziekgebouw.nl