OFF Festival Katowice 2019: The Power of the Individual
From Aldous Harding and Neneh Cherry to Electric Wizard and Lotic: Endless Power: As always, individuals, talented madmen, and creative outsiders are the driving force behind the OFF Festival.
This is an invitation to a party. But Harding’s Party, one of the most beautiful and riveting albums of 2017, is more of a folk-tuned meditation than a crazy night of dancing. It’s an intimate journey into the self, a search for answers to the most challenging questions about life and death. The New Zealand-based singer is now putting the finishing touches on her third release, this one produced by John Parish (PJ Harvey, Sparklehorse), so we’re sure to hear the next chapter of her enthralling story this summer in Katowice.
Neneh Cherry reigned the charts in the 1990s (who could forget “7 Seconds”?), and after a prolonged, near-twenty-year hiatus as a solo artist, she returned with a whole new artistic concept. She remains a wonderful vocalist and a keen observer, ready to dish out uncompromising critiques of a world that is veering dangerously off course. Just listen to last year’s excellent release Broken Politics, an ostensibly quiet album that’s nevertheless streaked with anxiety and darkness. Produced by Four Tet (who is joined on one track by Massive Attack’s Robert Del Naja), the LP is sure to win the approval of fans of trip-hop and Gil Scott Heron alike.
If Hammer Films’ horror movies had a musical equivalent, it would be the British doom/stoner scene, a natural descendent of Black Sabbath, but with few of Tony and Ozzy’s apprentices in its ranks today. The school’s notable alumni undoubtedly include Electric Wizard, a Dorset quartet that has spent the past quarter century steeped in distortion, reverb, mystical incantations, and clouds of smoke. Whether they play tracks off of their now-legendary album Dopethrone or more their recent work on Wizard Blood Wizard, there’s only one possible excuse for not headbanging at this show: you’ve been decapitated by Electric Wizard’s massive sound.
“Being a rapper is wicked—it means I can have ADHD and make money, something not everybody gets to do,” Loyle Carner told the Guardian, and he wasn’t kidding. After years of learning to manage his condition with therapy, he now takes solace in cooking (his kitchen skills are so good that he runs his own cookery school) and music. And he’s enjoying increasing success in the latter: his debut album Yesterday’s Gone (2017) was nominated for a Mercury Prize, a Brit Award, and an NME Award. This year, look forward to new tracks by the British rapper and a live performance in Katowice.
Lotic: Endless Power
An American by birth but a Berliner by choice, J’Kerian Morgan, aka Lotic, aka Lotic: Endless Power is among the most unique figures on the electronic dance music scene today. One Pitchfork reviewer managed to capture the essence of his sound perfectly, describing it as “balanc[ing] on the edge between agony and ecstasy, sweetness and malevolence.” After a series of underground releases on such respected labels as Janus Berlin, #FEELINGS, and Sci Fi & Fantasy, in 2018 the producer debuted with the full-length album Power, released by Tri Angle (home to The Haxan Cloak and Forest Swords). Uniquely absorbing and original, the record is unlike any LP released in 2018. Lotic: Endless Power is currently preparing a special showcase of his new material in cooperation with the visual artist Emmanuel Biard and the fashion designer Chaz Aracil.
Born in Thailand and raised in New Zealand, Phum Viphurit is, in musical terms, a global citizen, one whom many see as a worthy competitor to Mac DeMarco. His specialty is the emotional or happy folk balled, though he’s no stranger to soul-style zeal and the occasional alternative extravagance. Whatever the mood, Phum is invariably convincing and charming, and he proves as much on his debut record Manchild and the single “Lover Boy,” the teaser for his his upcoming sophomore LP.
Little is known about Black Midi aside from the fact that they’re from London and that they’re considered among the hottest live acts in the UK—a reputation they earned by blowing festival audience’s minds at The Great Escape, Eurosonic, and SXSW. This is the kind of math/noise rock that unwavering evangelists of the guitar band have been waiting for. Not since This Heat has an act combined progressive rock and punk this perfectly.
Who plays techno in Palestine? Well, Sama Abdulhadi, for one. The DJ, producer, and promoter has been throwing electronic music parties in Ramallah for well over a decade. Her name and artistic pseudonym is the Arabic word for “heaven.” And it does look like the heavens have blessed her activity, because Sama has performed everywhere from the UK to Egypt and Paris, all while working on her own original productions.
This year’s OFF Festival also features the previously announced acts: To Daughters, The Gaslamp Killer, The Comet Is Coming, Perfect Son, Boogarins, Lebanon Hanover, and Bamba Pana & Makaveli.
The 2019 OFF Festival Katowice will take place August 2–4 at Three Pond Valley, its regular venue. Three-day passes are now available at the OFF Shop for 290 PLN. This price lasts until February 24 or until the first round of tickets is sold out! Campground tickets are also available for 80 PLN.