A peerless and essential project in Portuguese experimental music, two-piece Telectu would come to an unexpected end in 2011 with the passing of Jorge Lima Barreto who, alongside Vitor Rua, was always at the core of the project, despite the countless and valuable collaborations they did throughout its existence. Taking advantage of the vinyl reissue of their second, historic 1983 album “Belzebu”, and the increasingly global recognition of their discography, Vítor Rua once again reactivates Telectu, this time around with the essential help of António Duarte, an important figure in experimental pop in the 80s, as D.W. Art (with Manuela Duarte), the duo’s habitual collaborator and zealous archivist of their legacy. On stage, the two musicians will recreate “Belzebu” with an unusual exactitude, using original music sheets, instruments and projections, also taking the chance to show us the work’s corrected version, which inaugurated minimalism in recorded music in Portugal, just as it was intended by its creators.
Undisputed striker of modern ambient, William Basinksi has conducted a persistent research of his recording archives to show us, at a careful and meticulous editorial pace, his work with tapes and loops retrieved from the past. After travelling the world with his “A Shadow in Time”, partly dedicated to David Bowie, Semibreve has the privilege of welcoming the American’s latest work, with a release only being planned for 2019.
The history of “On Time Out of Time” also travels from the past, but a rather more distant one; 1.3 billion years ago, two black holes collided in a remote galaxy, generating an immense energy which finally, in 2015, reached our planet. Starting from records captured at the LIGO center, in the United States, Basinski reports on these gravitational waves’ long journey and their impact on Earth, proposing a splendorous soundtrack for the Universe. In an artistic partnership exclusive to this festival, Fred Rompante will create a luminescent map of the colossal cosmic tremor’s journey through the stars.
Despite his greater exposition as a solo artist recently, it’s still fair to mention Qasim Naqvi’s name as the drummer for Dawn of Midi, who after an incursion into jazz decided to write “Dysnomia”, that miraculous piece of work from 2013 that still maintains all of its smashing potential. For those who have only fixated on this project, the discovery of Naqvi’s remaining body of work is a task which returns precious rewards, and in which this performance in Semibreve is included with a debut piece illustrated for the occasion by the psychedelic images of the work “Beladona of Sadness”, by Eiichi Yamamoto. He writes countless soundtracks for theatre, dance and cinema, as well as for classical ensembles, and his profound interest in electronica, and modular synthesizers in particular has led him to cross both worlds, creating semi-synthetic compositions, overloaded with imagery. This year saw one of his pieces being showcased with pomp by the BBC orchestra, but it is alone, with his machines and cables, that he creates and develops many of his musical ideas.
The universe is rapidly expanding and the fuel for this phenomenon seems to be an unknown form of energy that travels across the entirety of Space: this is the definition of dark energy. In 2015, Jlin called her début “Dark Energy”, affirming the power and importance her music would come to possess in our reality. And to show us that her theory was correct, “Black Origami”, the second album, from 2017, sped up everything we knew and caused a new acceleration of the Universe. Deservedly named as record of the year for several publications, Jlin reached the top within a couple of years and became a figurehead in electronic music, someone who seems to glimpse all the pieces that make up rhythm, to make something totally new from them. That result, like the new corners of the Cosmos that we keep uncovering, opens our minds and infects our bodies. To dance to the limit, gazing at the unknown.
It wasn’t until 2018, if you can believe it, that RP Boo released his first album of original material. Until now, his music has appeared and multiplied like smoldering sparks in several compilations and maxis, showcasing with a paradoxical calm the little big revolutions he was making within footwork, a genre he created that seems to only requite his leadership to keep being crucial. Although the forefront of this frantic style born out of Chicago house can also accommodate other figures – from the Teklife collective or Jlin, for example – RP Boo seems to have identified perfectly the elemental particles, rhythmic, melodic and subatomic, to write a rule book for the future of footwork. As a DJ, expect anirreproachable account of how this organism’s life pulsates, and how we can inhabit its frantic geometry.
Italy or Berlin are the two locations – departure and arrival, respectively - usually associated with Caterina Barbieri, but the most important point on the map is perhaps located between the two, in Stockholm, Sweden. It was there, at the Royal College Of Music, that she studied electronic music and composition in 2003, and where she began her relationship with the Buchla 200 system. Barbieri has mentioned in several interviews that it was the defining moment for her current musical creation, when she was forced to put away some of the classical teachings she possessed and begin to observe sound at a microscopic scale. The compositions which emerge from her modular synthesizers are dynamic sculptures, filled with sound collisions controlled by acoustic phenomena and a rare attention to detail. In the most serene moments, our unconscious mind suggests travelling; in the trepidation of electronic patterns we glimpse an unexpected musical writing.
Acoustic, electro-acoustic and electronic music, or a mix of all that; whatever the medium she uses and moves in, few names in recent years deserve our total attention and devotion such as hers. And not even an output at a galloping pace – seven astounding pieces of work in the last 3 years – dilute her importance. Quite the contrary, because on record or live, we realize that Sarah Davachi is living through a profound creative outburst which deserves to be accompanied, recorded and praised. Live, with her synthesizers, she occupies the environment with majestic drones that seem to freeze time, working intensively with the architecture and sound system of the places where she performs. In a commission by Semibreve, Davachi joins Laetitia Morais’ visual ideas to create a perfect, completed film.
There is a world that moves at a different speed in Grouper’s music, where an almost static biology emerges, developing at a special cadence, demanding from us an equally special attention. We must all be together, close, in Grouper’s music, to share that intimacy. “Grid of Points”, released after the celebrated and slightly Portuguese “Ruins”, which will also emerge that night, is the new invitation, like a collection of songs close to the edge, which expose vulnerability, which show the silence and emptiness that remain after subtraction. Liz Harris takes another step towards an astounding formal depuration, dropping into the atmosphere the poetic essence in her music, creating a generous space which invites us to connect.
Born in Porto in 1964, Alfredo Costa Monteiro has lived and worked in Barcelona since 1992, after studying sculpture and installation in the Paris Beaux-Arts under French artist Christian Boltanski. Music and sound began to be a part of his artistic production soon after, focusing mainly on accordion and guitar, to then seek the concrete soul in diverse objects for sound pieces, almost always in a low-fi regimen, assumedly fragile and unstable. With a vast output on record from the late 90s, solo and in collective projects, Costa Monteiro has several active collaborations with musicians such as Ferran Fages, Ruth Barberán, Michel Doneda or Tim Olive. “Shockwave” is his proposal for Semibreve, a semi-acoustic concert for low-fi devices.
SØS Gunver Ryberg is a Danish composer and sound artist, with vast merits and awards. She performs in several fields and disciplines, with work in theatre, dance, video games and sound installations, all of them mirroring different sonic attitudes. Observant of what surrounds her, she uses field recordings as concrete matter for her compositions. Through that method, on stage, waving the bodies which are present there, SOS Gunver Ryberg conjures demolishing proposals where intense rhythm avalanches are directed at us, electrifying the body and opening the mind to other spaces and times, challenging some of physics’ fundamental interactions. An overwhelming techno feast which will easily leave marks on our memories.
Sherard Ingram, or Stingray, has recently moved from Detroit to Berlin, to be able to preach his message closer to his European followers. A generosity that Semibreve naturally associates with, because it’s important to accurately explain the history of the American city, and especially experience it in person. Stingray is one of the essential spokespersons to deliver us truth as it is: a legitimate son of Detroit, Stingray received his DJ diploma from the hands of Moodyman, back in the 80s, before joining Drexcyia’s electro ranks as a DJ at the concerts, where he surely learned all he still had to learn. And because it’s essential to carry on the legacy of that wonderful drexcyian utopia, Stingray has been a perfect hero of that underground resistance.
We look for him, and Keith Fullerton Whitman is everywhere. The American can very well allege that his residence in Melbourne, in distant antipodean Australia, should make us think that his cycle of power has been extinguished. A mistake: since the mid-90s, with his given name or under the alias Hrvastski – nom de plumefor his extremist pseudonym – he has expanded electronica’s horizons, between tonal ambient and compley sonic networks with modular synths. Accepting a commission from Semibreve, Whitman will collaborate with Pierce Warnecke to retrieve ideas and ideals from op-art and minimalism, exploring the sound and video synthesis in a sensorial choreographic synchronicity.
Robin fox’s music seems to always need a body, someone or something: he writes for choreographies as easily as he creates his own material which often hovers above us like a 3-dimensional object inviting the touch. In this sense, his performances are sound pieces which go beyond the stage and fill a space, almost always empty, giving it a physical and volumetric interpretation of sound, as if drawing its own geometry. Our eyes receive the luminous stimulus of lasers, our ears an electronic soundtrack that goes to the core of its essence. Such as when we look at clouds, Robin Fox’s music has imagery that can often be whatever we want, because just like the show, we’re invaded by imagination.