Music Review: Mana – Creature

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Mana

Creature

[Hyperdub; 2017]

Rating: 3.5/5

Daniele Mana’s debut speaks with silence. Like his One Circle collaborator Lorenzo Senni, he cuts it with the stuttering build of trance lead or, like some of his new Hyperdub labelmates, with the tactile quake of sub bass. It lives as much in that silence as in those sharpened figures; his tracks feel variably like attempts to isolate and grab hold of an invisible tension. The sliding melody and siren-like flourishes of the opening “Fade” evokes the SOPHIE of Bipp/Elle, another artist with mastery over silence and sonic punctuation. Where “Crystalline” and “Sei Nove” contribute to the tense affectation of grime and dubstep, the ensuing three-track suite of “Runningman,” “Wetlife,” and “Rabbia” thwarts any attempt to figure Creature as bound in simplicity to some Hyperdub “tradition,” if there is one anymore. In a piercing coincidence of melody and percussion, the first of the three sounds almost of kin with Senni’s new “trance” 12-inch on Warp, while the short “Wetlife” softens its blows to those of a gentle, fast-decaying synth puff. “Rabbia” picks up in the same key, leading a stabbing arp into a slow, doppling state of deconstruction, veering somewhere into the compositional neighborhood of Oneohtrix Point Never.

Yet another gliding synth loops for “Uno E Solo,” about two minutes by itself before joined by pitch-affected vocals and sweeping bass. “Consolations,” the final track, is detuned and dirge-like, with plucked notes that hit like they’re trying to march in time down a steep hill. Though the frictionless slide of forms through its imaginary acoustic space could be figured cold and alien, Creature is, on the other hand, a gestural and conversational work, alluding to the patter of hands and feet and to the untempered melodies of the human voice. Compared to the music Mana released as Vaghe Stelle, most prominently a couple one-off releases for Nicolas Jaar’s OTHER PEOPLE and the album Sweet Sixteen, Creature is sparse, plain in its manner of address, and inclined toward strong and frequent climax. Where the tracks on Sweet Sixteen seem to conserve energy, striking a careful balance between incidental sampling and steady, bellowing reverb, this record does away with the ambience and brings all its characters to the foreground. Building them atop one another repeatedly in different directions, it progresses as if running through a long list of equally considered possibilities. It finds its own, broad sense of animation in the small movements of the many vectors, pointing from the stuffy atmospheres of trance and “bass” music off to infinity, gathering into skeletal assemblage.

Mana – Creature (HDB111) by Mana

Dean Blunt to debut an opera called Inna, music by Mica Levi

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Grab your cocktail dress and the fattest blunt you can find, dear readers, because Dean Blunt is taking us out on a night at the opera. Earlier today, Hyperdub announced that the London artist has written and directed an opera called Inna. The work will premiere October 27 and 28 at the ICA London, and features music by Mica Levi (Micachu), who most notably worked with Dean Blunt on a track off Babyfather’s BBF album (our favorite release of 2016).

Here’s a description of the opera via ICA’s website:

Cause anything’s possible
Oh anything is possible

Inna follows other theater works by Dean Blunt, such as 2012’s The Narcissist; 2013’s Lord Knows, Lausanne, and I’m Just Passin Thru To Show Some Love; and 2014’s Urban. It also continues Dean Blunt’s general prolificacy, which this year alone has already gifted us a new album (as Blue Iverson), mixtape (with Babyfather), and video (for Actress).

Meanwhile, Mica Levi’s work here follows her film scores for Jackie and Under the Skin, the latter of which was our favorite film of 2014.

Get tickets for Inna here, and listen to a preview of Levi’s music below.

Laurel Halo to soar wistfully across the U.S. and Europe (via upcoming tour)

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Not one to rest on herself, Laurel Halo has shared a veritable slew of live dates in the familiar lands of the United States and Europe for all you hardcore Halo’ers out there (and I know you’re out there). The tour, which starts TODAY (or maybe has already started; I’m not familiar with European time zones), will drop off at all your favorite coastal cities and cultural hubs and will feature several dates with NYC percussionist/composer Eli Keszler — because touring alone is a lot like dining for one at Olive Garden: really just kind of gross.

Earlier this year, Laurel Halo gifted to the world her latest album, Dust, which went quadruple-ultra-super-platinum in the eyes of some of us here at the TMT offices and landed her a richly deserved slot on our 2017 Second Quarter Favorites feature. So, look for this tour on our upcoming 2017 Fourth Quarter Favorite Tours feature (just kidding, that’s not a thing).

At any rate, if you would like to get dusted (and happen to live in one of the major markets in North America and Western Europe), check out the full list of dates, either on the very bold and colorful official tour poster, or on the drab and matter-of-fact white space below these very words. Aren’t you glad to live in the 21st century where you can have options?!

Laurel Halo dates-a-plenty (safe, monotonous version):

10.05.17 – London, UK – St. John of Hackney *
10.05.17 – London, UK – NTS X Frieze [DJ set]
10.07.17 – Dublin, UK – DBD *
10.11.17 – Krakow, Poland – Unsound Festival *
10.12.17 – Genoa, Italy – Electropark Festival *
10.13.17 – Leeds, UK – Headrow House *
10.14.17 – Sheffield, UK – No Bounds Festival *
10.15.17 – Manchester, UK – Soup Kitchen *
10.19.17 – Zagreb, Croatia – Klub Močvara
10.20.17 – Prague, Czech Republic – Lunchmeat Festival *
10.27.17 – Cologne, Germany – Week-End Festival *
10.28.17 – Bergen, Norway – Ekko Festival *
11.03.17 – Turin, Italy – Club2Club
11.10.17 – Berlin, Germany – Ableton Loop, Funkhaus Berlin *
11.11.17 – Zurich, Switzerland – RBMA Weekender *
11.18.17 – Athens, Greece – St. Paul’s Sessions *
11.24.17 – Brooklyn, NY – Elsewhere [DJ set]
11.26.17 – Philadelphia, PA – First Unitarian Church *
11.27.17 – New York, NY – The Kitchen *
11.28.17 – New York, NY – The Kitchen *
11.30.17 – Seattle, WA – Kremwerk
12.01.17 – San Francisco, CA – Grey Area *
12.03.17 – Portland, OR – Holocene *
12.04.17 – Los Angeles, CA – Zebulon *

* Duo with Eli Keszler

Music Review: Klein – Tommy

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Klein

Tommy

[Hyperdub; 2017]

Rating: 4.5/5

Three years ago, Total Freedom released 10,000 Screaming Faggots, perhaps the most provocatively defining moment in a string of totalizing mixes that hog-tied culture in a progressive and cataclysmic roast. Similarly, in many ways, 2017 music is still self-seriously jigging around in the wake of Ashland Mines’s “Wrong Choice Mixfile for Versus Tokyo,” a diabolical and revelatory tome that still world-eats the entirety of vapid model-DJ culture with sheer, vivid genius. After the tumult, and through the thick of it, NON, the cross-continental diasporic experimental nation-state, ascended as the legitimate axis of necessary sonic and cultural dissent against this vapidity. The ambassadors of a musical and political insurgency, NON heralded music culture to remain vigilant against the visible and invisible cultural structures that create binaries in society and, in turn, distribute power. Given music’s flawed and deeply entangled state in relation to these systems of power, NON, in so many ways, changed everything. A futuristic music is a political music, aware of its devious responsibility for our flawed situation, relentlessly in critique of its advances — against and within cultural production but towards its dissolution, its revelation.

The complete acceleration and flattening of electronic music production — not only the various genres and subgenres of club music, but also bedroom music, lo-fi music, R&B, pop, etc. — is a situation we can’t really reconcile given our current technology. And what do we hear? How do we listen to it? After the visions of destruction, after hearing four CDJs fire mech-sounds over three Beyoncé a capella tracks pitched in ascending half-steps, after listening to James Baldwin’s “Staggerlee Wonders” read amidst explosive dust and VSTs glowing brightly inward like hot coal, can we listen? What are we feeling? Within the destruction, what intimacy does the sequencer, the sample, the synthesizer afford? After so rigorously listening to “the sounds of the future,” the sounds recede like a mirage — and where is our audio future?

Klein understands and composes to the progression of intimacy that our future is implicated within. With her early experiments, her debut ONLY, and now definitively on Tommy, the London-born, Nigerian-English artist has produced a singular work constructed with respect to, inside of, and in accessory to this futuristic intimacy. Witty and truly fun, Tommy is a covenant to how our progressive audio is elementally wrapped up in the localized moments of process: inseparable, bound. The record embraces threadbare culture and celebrates it, placing it into the flux of personal vision. Klein internalizes deeply-damaged cultural materials to arrive at a psychedelic craft that perhaps feels more advanced than the critical musics that preceded her, emphasizing not just a musical revolution, but a revolutionary music: hypnotic and visionary like Sun Ra Arkestra, effervescent and omnivorous like Yves Tumor, seductive like B2K, indomitable and brooding like Foo Fighters.

Klein’s overall production treatment has a special sound, somehow smooth but always on the verge of clipping — or not clipping, but “clipped.” You can hear digital snips and cuts pockmarked like scars on the audio material. A spectrum of glistening rainbow CD hues smeared onto asphalt grain, Tommy is introspective, chill, and tense, with a relentless buzz that recalls DJ Escrow’s wily digital noise, chilled by the concrète field recording timbre of the Macintosh microphone. The spectral, thinned-out, wraith-like sounds render her soulful voice taut, without the grime MC’s live fidelity, a layering move that abandons Mark Fischer’s assessment of Afro-futurism and Hauntology in favor of pure entanglement, the haunting of the now, the demonology of our intricacy. The result is a diffuse masterclass into the psyche of a liberated musician’s workflow that is actually experimental in its affects, its tactics, its textures.

“Prologue ft atl, jacob samuel, thisisDA, Pure water, eric sings” is a rapturous moment that invents new audio mythology while simultaneously dissolving all iconography in its encompassing sound. A true masterpiece of modern vocal music, the piece transposes an ecstatic media breakdown into celebration and, perhaps as a result, triggers a profound meditative affect. “Prologue” wields technology and instrumentalizes cascading audio flows toward utopian migration toward futuristic music. In an interview with The Quietus, Klein states, “‘Prologue’ is so intense. I was listening to that the other day and I was so triggered, it’s so intense! If you get through those first five minutes, the record’s pretty much a wrap.” The “wrap” is a massive, joyous moment that feels both avant-garde and spiritual; or, at least, one can hear an advanced communion ritual taking place in its wavelengths.

Across the EP’s acts, themes, reprises, farewells, and prologues, Klein enlivens dead sound. The rolling errant voices and rumbling pianos of “Act One” sound like stones being rubbed, knocked around, and plunked in water; yet the raw materials are animated in a gorgeous consort with soul — skipping around freely, without gravity. The drum & bass pads that proceed on “B2K” conjure an urban isolation that has become Hyperdub’s signature across its pantheon, as plodding keys gloomily circle two-second trimmed break-beats that slice the mix. It’s a dazzling display — truly strange, entrancing, out of tune, out of time.

“Everlong,” Klein’s “Foo Fighters Moment,” treats the brooding guitar strum as erratically as any other “dead sound” on record. It’s a deeply layered, unusual take, as stems of jungle breaks are shorn into the sound of photo snapshots, like an acid-worn beat from Actress’s Ghettoville. Meanwhile, a gut-wrenching, sandblasted loop trips over itself into the the mix, bellowing into monstrosity. Quite differently, “Farewell Song” is a tragic-ecstatic ballad in the manner of Sun Ra’s Lanquidity. As a lumbering, full-spectrum blip emulates the tonality of a Fender Rhodes, Klein’s voice rises and falls in the mix, nonchalantly gone like a lullaby of the next century. Samples of an argument between kin arise, revealing the audio’s damaged, knife-cut fidelity, only to trick a fade out into abrupt silence.

Tommy is exhausting, refreshing, new — a collection of neo-songs written in the dust of so many fallen artifices. Klein’s distinct compositional mindset is a celebratory riff on dark, bluesy motifs, interlocking grooves, and tactical electronic music. Sequenced and layered into an unbelievably rich audio experience, the release treats its material like 10,000 Screaming Rocks thrown into sound, brought into life for just one audio moment, as they gave themselves to be heard in their animated, accelerated state. All the while, a lone voice wanders through their chorus, toward its dissolution, its revelation — laxly riffing through the muck.

Hyperdub to unleash Diggin’ In The Carts, a new collection of rare Japanese video game music

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Hey guys! Amazing news tod@y ffrom thhhe old-school b@lllerrrrs@@@@at_HY_Y_Y_PERDUB_W_WWCNASJCjn;wRI%*#Q)#%)IH%)##


shit.


fuck.


Ugh. Okay, wait. Let me try yanking this news post out of its slot, blowing on it really good, and then shoving it back in again…


Ah. There we go!

So like I was saying: hey guys! Amazing news from the old-school ballers at Hyperdub! The London label has just announced plans to release its own, carefully curated, brand new collection of “pioneering Japanese video game music!” Accordingly titled Diggin’ In The Carts, A Collection Of Pioneering Japanese Video Game Music , this epic, 34-track compilation will build upon the critically acclaimed Red Bull Music Academy documentary series of the same name, which chronicled “the history and global influence of this exciting early strain of electronic music” (watch that whole series over here).

Researched and curated by Diggin’ In The Carts writer and co-director Nick Dwyer — alongside Hyperdub’s own FINAL BOSS Kode9 — the collection offers a deep plunge into the rarely explored archives of “the chip era of Japanese video game music.” The included masterworks (which were often created by composers’ desperate and deliberate maxing out of the fascinatingly-limiting 8-bit and 16-bit systems of the 1980’s and 90’s) were originally featured on such globally renowned systems as the Famicom, Super Famicom, and PC-Engine, up through to some more recent popular Japanese home computer platforms such as the MSX, MSXturboR and the PC-8801 — and their standalone inclusion here on one mammoth album is meant to showcase these works NOT just as “music in the background of some old videogames,” but as the significant pieces of pioneering Japanese electronica that they are. (Case in point is Soshi Hosoi’s Steve Reich-influenced “Mister Diviner” from The Majhong Touhaiden, which you can sample down below.)

Diggin’ In The Carts also features artwork by renowned Japanese anime artist and Studio °4C founder Koji Morimoto, and the whole thing’s officially out November 17 on CD and digital (with a vinyl version to follow, according to the label). But you can start diggin’ in the wallet RIGHT NOW if you want to order it ahead of time from the Hyperdub Entertainment System.

Oh, and one last thing: the comp’s release also coincides with Red Bull’s upcoming Diggin’ In The Carts live event series, which “brings Japan’s leading composers of video game music together with a new generation of artists in Los Angeles, Tokyo, and beyond starting in October.” Check out those dates below…you know…after the *BEEP(S).*

Diggin’ In The Carts tracklisting:

01. Konami Kukeiha Club – Opening (Cosmic Wars)
02. Konami Kukeiha Club – Mazed Music (Nemesis)
03. Norio Nakagata – Big Mode (Genpel Touma Den)
04. Michiharu Hasuya – Hidden Level (Solomon’s Key)
05. Konami Kukeiha Club – A Planet Of Plants (Nemesis II)
06. Manabu Saito – Telepathy (Chatty)
07. Konami Kukeiha Club – Equipment (Nemesis 3 The Eve Of Destruction)
08. Konami Kukeiha Club – BGM 3 (Motocross Maniacs)
09. Toshiya Yamanaka – Visual Scene 1&2 (Wer Dragon)
10. Goblin Sound – Opening (Hisou Kihei X-Serd)
11. Tadahiro Nitta – An-Un [Ominous Clouds] (Xak II)
12. Yuzo Koshiro – Temple (Actraiser)
13. Konami Kukeiha Club – Road To Agartha (Moryou Senki MADARA
14. Hiroyuki Kawada – King Erekiman (The Legend of Valkyrie)
15. Katsuro Tajima – Exercise (Mega Panel)
16. Goblin Sound – Game Over (Hisou Kihei X-Serd)
17. Konami Kukeiha Club – Beyond The Terminus (Block Hole)
18. Kazuko Umino (Zuntata) Waltz of Water and Bubbles (Liquid Kids)
19. Hiroto Saitou – Main Stage BGM 1 (Time Cruise II)
20. Yasuhisa Wantanabe (Zuntata) – Area 26-10 (Metal Black)
21. Hiroto Saitou – Site 3-1 [Torrid City] (Metal Stoker)
22. Tadahiro Nitta – Metal Area (Illusion City)
23. Hiroto Saitou – Site 6-2 (Metal Stoker)
24. Mausmi Itou – Tactics 4 (Super Royal Blood)
25. Goblin Sound – My Phase [Stage 12-14] (Vixen 357)(
26. Hiroaki Yoshida – Kyoushin [Lunatic Forest] (Dragon Gun)
27. Konami Kukeiha Club – Underwater Dungeon – (Esper Dream 2)
28. Technosoft – Shooting Stars (Thunder Force IV)
29. Soshi Hosoi – Mister Diviner ( The Majhong Touhhaiden)
30. Jun Ishikawa – Main Theme (Alcahest)
31. Kazuhiko Nagai – Keel (Golden Axe II – The Duel)
32. Koichi Ishibashi – Bad Data (Dezaemon)
33. Yasuaki Fujita – What is Your Birthday (Tarot Mystery)
34. Kazuo Hanzawa – Oblivious Past (Alien Soldier)

Diggin In The Carts live dates:

10.22.17 – Los Angeles, CA – Regent Theatre
11.22.17 – Tokyo, Japan – Liquidroom
11.30.17 – London, UK – fabric

Footwork stalwart DJ Tre announces Hyperdub debut EP, The Underdogg, because people like to dance in the U.K., too

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Much like me when I’m trying to put out the pillar candles in the 12th century Gothic-style wall sconces that hang in my apartment, footwork is really blowing up these days — what with all the biggest dance labels in the world dipping their proverbial toes in the figurative juke pool. (And imagine dancing like that in a pool!)

To that end, Hyperdub will soon have a hand in making Teklife crew member DJ Tre a household name (if your house is actually an underground club and/or popular street dance venue), because they’re releasing the footwork maestro’s upcoming EP, The Underdogg.

Tre’s no stranger to the Hyperdub crowd, either: you may remember his two contributions to the DJ Rashad tribute Next Life, in particular. But if you don’t, that’s cool too, because The Underdogg will give you all the primer you need when it hits digital and physical shelves October 27, but make sure to pre-order at Bandcamp to get that digital bonus track (you are a Hyperdub completionist, aren’t you?!).

Of course, if you clicked this article ‘cause you’re on your break and you really need to dance right the fuck now, I guess you could always check out the first track from the EP, “It’s House Hybrid,” down below. But please try to remain in place long enough to read the tracklisting as well, if you don’t mind.

The Underdogg EP by DJ Tre

The Underdogg tracklisting:

01. It’s House Hybrid
02. A Hammond Jam
03. Get Dat Ass Up!
04. Tha Rhodez Jam!
05. The Robot Malfunction [Digital Bonus Track]

Burial returns with another new release, titled Rodent

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Burial is back at it again with another two-track release. Titled Rodent, the record features the eponymous “Rodent” b/w a remix of the song from Kode9. Typical of Burial releases, as with the recent Subtemple, a vinyl version will be made available in case you wanna hold it. The 10-inch of Rodent drops “around September 22” via Hyperdub.

Since you’re just a hologram, we assume you’d also be happy with a digital version. Luckily, Hyperdub has made the release available digitally on Bandcamp. Also luckily, we know how to embed. As they say in the industry, “Don’t let the embed below go to waste.”

Subtemple by Burial

Fatima Al Qadiri satisfies eternal appetite for creative teamwork with upcoming Shaneera EP on Hyperdub

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It’s the nature of the music producer to collaborate — probably because they spend so much of their waking lives demoing new plugins, optimizing the brightness setting on their DAW, and bathing in hot tubs full of cold, hard cash that they don’t have any time to make friends. Take Fatima Al Qadiri, for instance, who has become a collabo-pro in the last few years with projects like Future Brown and, now, her just-announced new EP called Shaneera.

The new EP features the recorded debuts of a handful of Al Qadiri’s friends: Bobo Secret, the EP’s “leading vocalist;” Lama3an, a Kuwaiti/Iraqi architect, fashion designer, and artist; Chaltham, AKA Khalid al Gharaballi, a long-time collaborator of Al Qadiri’s; and Naygow.

Over the course of five tracks, this ragtag assemblage of talent takes on the iconography of the pop diva in the Arab world in a way that “follows Al Qadiri’s long term exploration of gender identity and performance in the Gulf.” If that’s not switching on any lightbulbs in your ol’ noggin, maybe this will send a surge of something to your cerebellum:

Shaneera is the English mispronunciation of the Arabic word shanee’a (شنيعة), literally meaning “outrageous, nefarious, hideous, major and foul.” In one iteration of the word, as queer slang used in Kuwait and some Arab countries, a positive and desirable light is shed on these attributes. Shaneera refers to a gender-defying persona (or temporary state or action), of being an evil queen. You know a Shaneera when you behold one.

If you’re like me and you love a good character-piece-cum-club-banger, you’ll want to grab the Shaneera EP October 13 via Hyperdub; pre-orders are very much open at Al Qadiri’s Bandcamp page. But at the bare minimum you should listen to the sinister, pounding groove of preview track “Alkahaf” down below, alongside the EP’s tracklist, because it is truly the highest embodiment of #squadgoals.


Shaneera EP tracklisting:

01. Shaneera feat. Bobo Secret and Lama3an
02. Is2aleeha feat. Bobo Secret & Chaltham
03. Alkahaf feat. Bobo Secret & Chaltham
04. Spiral feat. Bobo Secret
05. Galby feat. Naygow

♫ Listen: Babyfather – “Benzo Amore” (ft. A$AP Rocky)

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“Girl says I’m selfish, not a lie / But she can’t get this shit from any other guy.”

Babyfather (Dean Blunt, et al.) are heading to Berlin. On September 22, the group will be joining Why Be, Hvad, KABLAM, Lotic, M.E.S.H., and more for a huge Janus event at Berghain. In the meantime, Babyfather have shared an unreleased 2016 track called “Benzo Amore.” The short, psychoactive cut is characteristically hypnotic and laid-back, with matter-of-fact cadences from Blunt and a barely-there hook courtesy of A$AP Rocky.

Listen to the track below, check out the Blunt-directed video for Actress’s latest single “Falling Rizlas,” and pre-order the vinyl version of Wahalla, Blunt’s collaboration with Joanne Robertson.

Klein to release new EP Tommy on Hyperdub, shares video for “Run Reprise”

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Last year, Klein — one of my absolute favorite artists on earth — dropped two of the best releases of the year: Only and Lagata. It took awhile, but the quiet, self-issued Bandcamp releases eventually gained a cult following, leading to two vinyl pressings of Only (both of which sold out almost immediately) and a couple appearances during our year-end festivities, including #40 on our year-end favorites list. This year, the London-born, Nigerian-English artist is turning things up a notch: she just signed with Hyperdub and is releasing a new EP called Tommy on September 29. !!!!

According to Hyperdub, the EP is conceptually based, with separate acts and themes of “vulnerability, sisterhood and death.” Even more intriguingly, the label describes Klein’s performance on this EP as a play with “fifties-esque melodies before switching to familiar tones akin to Brandy and Rodney Jerkins, her live voice and live piano playing, filtered through hyper glitchy and looped production with a loose, internal logic; cutting from angular atonality to pockets of skewered harmony.”

Pre-order Tommy (digitally or on 12-inch vinyl), read a new interview here with Gal-Dem, and check below for both her scheduled dates and the video for the short yet exquisite EP track “Run Reprise” below.

Tommy tracklist:

01. Prologue ft atl, Jacob Samuel, thisisDA, Pure Water, eric sings
02. Act One w Embaci & Jacob Samuel
03. Cry Theme
04. Tommy
05. Runs Reprise
06. Everlong
07. B2k
08. Farewell Sorry

Tour dates:

09.01.17 – Dorset, UK – End Of The Road Festival
09.02.17 – Cambridge, UK – Wysing Arts Centre (Opaque Poetics)
10.11.17 – Krakow, PL – Unsound Festival
10.13.17 – Newcastle, UK – Tusk Festival
10.18.17 – London, UK – Village Underground
10.21.17 – Bristol, UK – Simple Things Festival
11.10.17 – Utrecht, NL – Le Guess Who