OFF Festival Katowice 2022: Our love spins round like a maxi single
Dozens of fine young people from all over the world are coming to the OFF Festival to entertain you with top-notch music: everything from jazz to punk rock. Today’s batch of new announcements features Papa Dance, Alyona Alyona, Makaya McCraven, shygirl, Myd, Kacperczyk, WaluśKraksaKryzys, Sofia Kourtesis and Crows.
Papa Dance plays Poniżej krytyki
(Perlage Stage, 7 August)
“Like a maxi single / Our love spins round / It’s a short song / But what a beautiful sound,” sang the Polish synthpop legends Papa Dance 36 years ago. The song is from their second album, Poniżej krytyki (Beneath criticism), and true to its title, the Polish critics rated the album and the band itself as an underachievement. And yet this beautiful sounding LP features unforgettable lyrics and tracks that remain earworms for decades. Unappreciated in the rock-centered twilight years of the Polish People’s Republic, Poniżej krytyki has since been rediscovered as a masterpiece of synthpop, with excellent production by the duo Mariusz Zabrodzki and Sławomir Wesołowski, and lyrics by the songwriting dream team Cygan/Dutkiewicz/Mogielnicki. This performance of the album in its entirety will be Papa Dance’s first concert under their original name in over a decade—and it might just be their last.
(Perlage Stage, 6 August)
The Kacperczyk brothers record music for SMB, a label typically associated with rap, but the duo’s musical concept is much broader, encompassing indie rock, alternative pop, a bit of hip-hop, and a grab bag of other tricks. Maciek writes the lyrics and contributes vocals, Paweł plays the instruments and produces recordings, and everyone else listens, dances, and claps. “Let ‘em play this on Radio Eska / At OFF and the Fest Festival / Let ‘em play it everywhere,” Kacperczyk sings on “Artysta z ASP,” one of the tracks off the duo’s sophomore album, Kryzys wieku wczesnego. You probably get it by now: We just had to invite them to play at the OFF Festival.
WaluśKraksaKryzys plays MiłyMłodyCzłowiek
(Perlage Stage, 6 August)
The title of this artist’s homemade demo — which translates as “Fine young person” — is an accurate description, but WaluśKraksaKryzys is also an animal on stage, and he’s coming to the OFF Festival to prove it. His official 2021 debut LP Atak was roundly praised, with critics hailing the artist as the savior of Polish rock. But the actual story started earlier, in 2019, when the online label Trzy Szóstki released his demo MiłyMłodyCzłowiek: imperfect, basement-quality music with painfully candid lyrics. From depression to euphoria, from suffering to love and back again. These songs are the very essence of life.
(Forest Stage, 5 August)
Not too long ago, Alyona Savranenko was working as a kindergarten teacher in rural Ukraine, haunted by self doubt and dark thoughts. Today, she’s an international hip-hop star and role model for many girls (and boys). “My tracks are about people who don’t believe in themselves and why they have to change that,” the rapper says. It all started with the homemade music video to her song “Ribki,” which she posted on YouTube in the fall of 2018, becoming an instant viral sensation. Half a year later, Alyona had a whole album under her belt: Pushka, hailed by many as one of the best debut LPs of 2019. She soon signed on with Def Jam’s Polish subsidiary, which released her follow-up album Galas in the spring of 2021, featuring a international roster of guest artists.
Myd (LIVE BAND)
(Forest Stage, 5 August)
His greatest hit is titled “The Sun,” but nearly everything Quentin Lepoutre produces sounds like the summer sun translated into sound — into the language of house, nu-disco, and carefree indie pop with a pulsing techno beat. Myd is best known worldwide as a member of the group Club Cheval and a producer of French rap, but his debut solo album, the 2021 LP Born a Loser, is a win by any measure.
As one reviewer correctly noted, we’re witnessing the emergence of a new generation of musicians who, rather than combine jazz with hip hop, treat the two as a single element. The drummer and producer Makaya McCraven is one of the most brilliant representatives of that cohort. As he carries on his family tradition (his father, Stephen McCraven, drummed for Sam Rivers and Achie Shepp, while his mother, Ágnes Zsigmondi, is a celebrated vocalist), Makaya blazes new trails, following the beat and wending his way across genres, trends, and traditions. He broke out of the jazz scene with the album We’re New Again: A Reimagining by Makaya McCraven, on which he breathes new life into the Gil-Scott Heron classic, while the LP Deciphering the Message witnesses the Chicago-based artist arranging new and fantastic edifices out of elements mined from the vast archives of Blue Note Records.
(Forest Stage, 7 August)
Blane Muise hails from London, but her reach is global: her list of collaborators features everyone from Arca and SOPHIE to Lady Gaga and FKA Twigs. She’s a rapper and a vocalist, a DJ and producer, and the head of the label and collective NUXXE. Don’t be fooled by the stage name shygirl: her music and lyrics are hedonism incarnate, wrapped in a throbbing bassline and slick with sweat. A Pitchfork reviewer raves: “It contains the driving forces behind a good party: shamelessness and debauchery.” But there’s no use reading about Shygirl — this sound can only be understood on the dance floor.
“La Perla” is the opening track of Fresia Magdalena, the 2021 EP that launched Sofia Kourtesis’ career. The Berlin-based producer has Peruvian and Greek roots, and her music indeed echoes the richness and diversity of our world. It pulses with positive energy, but leaves room for sweet daydreams and even reverie. As one critic observes, Kourtesis’ brand of house could be described as the musical equivalent of magical realism, the poetics so reminiscent of Latin American literature, and that’s as good a recommendation as any.
(Experimental Stage BUH, 7 August)
The new wave of British punk shows no signs of slowing down — and we’re here for it, diving in head-first, even when it’s dank, dirty, and noisy. The London quartet Crows emerged as a support act for IDLES, and their debut album Silver Tongues (2019) strikes a perfect balance between youthful ferocity and artistic maturity. An NME reviewer likened them to “The Jesus & Mary Chain lacquered in gold.”
OFF Festival Katowice 2022 will also feature the previously announced artists Iggy Pop (Perlage Stage, August 6), Central Ceel (Perlage Stage, August 7), Metronomy (Perlage Stage, August 7), Rina Sawayama, Bikini Kill, $NOT (Perlage Stage, August 6), DIIV (Perlage Stage, August 5), ROMY, Pi’erre Bourne, Yves Tumor & Its Band, Altın Gün, Molchat Doma, Dry Cleaning, Q, Prospa, DJ Seinfeld presents Mirrors: Live, Erika de Casier, Natalie Bergman, Arooj Aftab, Yard Act, Ela Minus, Mdou Moctar, The Armed, Squid, Lex Amor, Duchy, and more.
The festival is hosted by the City of Katowice and sponsored by: Perlage (Main Sponsor), Rossmann (Forest Stage Sponsor), and BUH (Experimental Stage Sponsor).
The OFF Festival Katowice 2022 will take place August 5–7 at its regular venue, Three Pond Valley.