Festival Focus

Horst 2019

Text by Silvija Daniunaite

Amidst the ruins of a former military site at ASIAT, a synthesis of art, music, architecture and design seeks to breathe new life into the abandoned urban wasteland. The arts and music festival Horst is a cutting-edge cultural movement, dedicated to further developing a platform for emerging avant-garde artists. Amongst an array of delights to discover this year, we’ve selected six absolute must-sees from Horst’s music itinerary. It’s time to wander through the colourful mosaic of sonic multiculturalism!

Gabber Eleganza
14 September

What began as a blog celebrating vintage post-rave aesthetics soon flourished into multidisciplinary project looking for ways to bridge post rave/hardcore with contemporary art and music as a means to breathe new life into a largely forgotten yet thriving subculture. Italian gabber innovator Alberto Guerrini, better known as Gabber Eleganza, captures the brute attitude of hardcore in all its primitive intensity, creating experimental soundscapes that draw from gabber, hard techno, hardcore as well as other genres from underground club music. Gabber Eleganza comes along with ‘The Hakke Show’, which combines old-school hardcore DJ sets and live performances of skin-headed ‘hakken’ dancers, morphing into an all-engulfing audiovisual euphoria.

Weird Dust
14 September

Weird Dust is the creative alias of the Brussels-based producer Michael Crabbé, whose juxtaposition of the old and the modern melts into an otherworldly psychedelic realm of sonic retro-futurism. A diamond in the rough, Weird Dust operates on the edges of electronic psych music, bringing heavy cosmic vibes with a tinge of techno, house and synthesizer funk. His 2019 release Tribes 1.1. blends organic and heavily processed sounds, exploring the melodic and rhythmic possibilities of analog and digital synths. Hinging on the futuristic and the tribal, Crabbé’s music is an interstellar cloud of dust which subsumes the mind, the body and the soul. 

Deena Abdelwahed
14 September

Doha-born and Toulouse-based, DJ/producer Deena Abdelwahed emerged from Tunisia’s alternative music scene with politically-conscious, cutting-edge club sonics. Infused with Middle Eastern and North African rhythms, colored with Arabic incantations and piercing vocals, Deena Abdelwahed’s militant sound in her LP Khonnar stands as a manifesto to progressive politics and her future vision of electronic music, speaking of contemporary geopolitical concerns to a generation ready to reclaim their long-colonized narratives. A blend of a vast array of pan-global sonic movements, her music is a hybrid of bass, ambient, techno and Pan-Arab traditional melodies. 

Gesloten Cirkel
15 September

To date, Gesloten Cirkel remains an enigma wrapped up in mystery. Named after a quote from the 2004 I-F documentary ‘When I Sold My Soul To The Machine’, the identity of the mastermind behind Gesloten Cirkel has been shrouded in obscurity since he first emerged in 2009, bursting into the underground scene with a self-titled 12-inch on Murder Capital. In his widely acclaimed 2014 album Submit X, the supposedly Russian techno producer builds a highly unique and idiosyncratic sound design, blending distorted acid lines, fractured techno beats and unsettling electro melodies with menacing vocal snippets intruding into his tracks. A sort of purging of the soul at the farthest edges of darkness. 

Giant Swan
15 September

Drawing from Bristol’s rich musical heritage, noise/techno duo Giant Swan is a cross-breed hybrid of several sonic movements, melting aggressive dance music, electronic noise and quaking bass into a wondrous cacophony of experimental sound, with distorted vocals as an extra cherry on top. Giant Swan is the creative alias of Robin Stewart and Harry Wright, two Bristolians bringing along a somewhat disorienting and riotous energy, which reflects their ‘techno-not-techno’ approach to music. Their live performances are known for their hypnotic intensity and improvised sets, spiraling the dance floor into forever new and unexpected realms.

15 September

Lafawndah’s sound defies geography just as much as it defies rigid genre categorization, her broad artistic gaze melting into a colorful mosaic of sonic multiculturalism. Always allowing real-life experiences to inform her vision, Egyptian/Iranian musician-slash-multimedia artist Lafawndah draws heavily from her own heritage as well as sounds of Paris, Mexico and New York, places that she had called home in previous years. A fusion of pop, rnb, ‘paranoid zouk’ and electronica, Lafawndah’s sound has been described as ‘new rhythmic mode of psychedelic soul music’, engulfing us all in its blissful melodic otherworldliness.


13 – 15 September
ASIAT, Kerkhofstraat 1, Vilvoorde
All ticket info here