Columbia Experimental Music Festival set to return in 2021
While 2020 was a year of sadness and subtraction, 2021 brings us to add culture and community to our lives.
One of Columbia’s truly distinct offerings, the Columbia Experimental Music Festival, returns November 4-7. A production of local cassette label and cultural curators Dismal Niche, the festival features an array of jarring, calming, witty and visceral music.
Spanning across genres, the festival highlights artists who serve as heroes to some music listeners and, for a few days, creates a newer and broader sense of kinship around them.
This week, Dismal Niche announced the first artists in this year’s lineup. These four acts illuminate the range of experiences and sounds that the festival has to offer.
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Baltimore-based musician and teacher Ami Dang “fuses sitar, voice and electronics to create an east-west, ambient and beat-driven psyche,” explains her website Bandcamp. Dang’s music is meditative and often fluid, resembling an endless conversation between her and other seekers – or some concept of the divine.
A 2020 Pitchfork review of Dang’s âMixtape of Meditations, Vol. 1â notes the composer’s interest in âIndian and Middle Eastern folk talesâ as well as âSikh hymns his family listens to togetherâ. These interests merge into an ethereal and deeply generous sound, equally invested in inner growth and a dedicated community.
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This hip-hop duo, consisting of Billy Woods and ELUCID, now has nearly a decade of serious creativity under their belt, releasing five albums since their breakthrough in 2013. Both artists have excelled on their own, but have found something special. together ; AllMusic’s David Crone praised the duo’s âthoughtful lyricism and experimental production stylesâ.
Armand Hammer has attracted superlative artists with his magnetic material – the group has collaborated with Earl Sweatshirt, Quelle Chris and festival favorite Moor Mother. His most recent effort, “Haram”, is a joint effort with The Alchemist. Pitchfork called the album “the most accessible yet, a beacon for like-minded people, a way for the creatively gifted to feel less alone.”
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Shiroishi, a Los Angeles-based saxophonist and composer, is “one of the most prolific and expressive artists in the world of experimental music today,” said Dismal Niche executive director Matthew Crook in a commentary. E-mail. Indeed, the list of solo, collaborative and guest credits of Shiroishi stretches like the sound plumes emanating from his instrument.
Shiroishi’s latest effort, this spring’s âI shouldn’t have to worry when my parents come outâ is a musical lament about modern and historical cases of racism against Asian Americans. The album often feels unhurried, enveloping and at times threatening, features expressed poetry and “is meant to be listened to in one sitting,” the artist notes on his Bandcamp site.
NPR scribe Lars Gotrich wrote that these songs “unfold slowly from grief, like a leaf that never creases. … Shiroishi only picks up his saxophone almost to the end, but his long exhale is a balanced presence throughout “.
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Yellow Eyes’ appearance this year marks the “first time that organizers have hosted a metal band” at the festival, Crook said. The New York band clearly respects musical communities and has a reputation for delivering all kinds of sound stimuli.
Chris Krovatin covered the band’s 2019 album “Rare Field Ceiling” for venerable British magazine Kerrang !, calling the effort “a shiny and unpredictable black metal track that sounds raw but deliberate, never losing the abrasive side. of the genre while reveling in its more atmospheric and jazzy elements. “
Dismal Niche is in the middle of its Illuminations summer concert series at Stephens Lake Park. On July 10, they present a local showcase with Rae Fitzgerald, Vulvette, Oxherding and J. Artiz. On September 10, Bitchin ‘Bajas closes the streak.
Follow the festival’s news via the Tribune and on https://cargocollective.com/dismalniche.
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Aarik Danielsen is the News and Culture Editor for the Tribune. Contact him at [email protected] or by calling 573-815-1731.