From 6 to 9 April 2023, Rewire presents its 12th and most extensive festival edition to date, featuring leading artists and emerging talents from across the globe and close to home. Over 200 individual events – including 25 world premieres, newly commissioned performances and unique collaborations, live concerts, club nights, film screenings, an exhibition of sound art works, an extensive context programme with conversations, listening sessions, and workshops – underline Rewire's commitment to fostering musical experimentation, exploration, and innovation.
At a time when it has become impossible to address urgent issues separately, because they are all "entangled" with each other, Rewire 2023 focuses on those interconnected, often elusive (inter)relations. By acknowledging that boundaries between humans, nature, and technology, between past and present, and between different cultures are porous and fluid – and that new forms of collaboration instead of polarisation are needed to move forward in this entangled world – we can start rehearsing different, more equal relationships with others and our surroundings.
At this year's festival, collaborative approaches take centre stage, with more collaborations than ever before between artists from different genres, generations, and geographies – allowing artists to step out of their creative comfort zone and co-create. Rewire has commissioned Deafheaven frontman George Clarke, maverick pop producer Danny L Harle, Trayer Tryon from Hundred Waters, and make-up artist Isamaya Ffrench to present the first ever performance of their recently formed supergroup Alto Arc, translating a maximalist hybrid of club and metal music into a bewitching live show.
The distinctive percussion of drummer Julian Sartorius meets the virtuose electronics of Matthew Herbert live on stage in a world premiere performance. Rewire has commissioned the highly influential trombonist, composer, and producer Peter Zummo alongside the innovative electronic duo KAKUHAN for an intercontinental and intergenerational collaboration. Another world premiere is Pavel Milyakov & Perila’s mix of dreamy pop and poetic spoken word, matched with hazy electronics and guitars. Meanwhile, Nadah El Shazly & Elvin Brandhi team up for a new show that takes the canonical form of opera and brings it up to speed with contemporary culture. Rewire 2023 also hosts the world premiere of a unique collaboration between The Paper Ensemble & Ale Hop, which promises to deliver a sonic fabric woven from the smallest and softest sounds we can hear, in juxtaposition with the brutality of percussion and amplification.
Situated around the music line-up, the context and film programme Inter/relations provides a space for reflection and to bring the various practices of artists into conversation with one another. The first part, Instrumental Ecologies, focuses on the ever-shifting role of technology in music and sound practice, and how artists and musicians research and experiment with the ways in which instruments and technologies are entangled with natural ecologies. Pierce Warnecke & Matthew Biederman’s audiovisual performance Spillover, for instance, provides a metaphor for a systemic shift and a point of reflection for our relationship with environmental extraction.
The programme also focuses on how low-tech tools and instruments are revisited and used in experimental music practices. Rewire has commissioned sound artists and experimental turntablists Maria Chávez, Mariam Rezaei, and Victoria Shen to present a new collaborative piece for turntables. For this performance, Shen will employ her “Needle Nails,” acrylic nails with built-in turntable needles that allow for simultaneous playback of multiple sound sources on the same record.
Times and Territories, the second part of the context programme, asks how artists challenge existing borders and linear notions of time, while fostering forms of intergenerational listening, and engaging with music and sound from various locations and positions. Notions of ritual time are for instance explored by Nwando Ebizie, who uses her music to open gates into the ritual cultures of the Black Atlantic. Her album The Swan is a work of sonic fiction moving into the imagined world of a matriarchal community, and unfolding like a time-warping ethnographic account of found sound and footage that is both ancient and futuristic.
Okkyung Lee presents her Yeo-Neun Quartet for a performance of Yeo-Neun, which represents the culmination of one of the longest and most intimate arcs in her remarkable career. It elegantly binds modern classical composition and freely improvised music with the emotive drama of Korean traditional music and popular ballads. Joe Rainey channels and echoes the cultural histories that preceded them and approaches these influences with a contemporary sonic toolset. Rainey delves into the history of Indigenous powwow singing and recontextualises these ancient song forms in exciting and new in-between places.
Rewire is also proud to present the world premiere of the audiovisual performance Correspondences, the result of an ongoing collaborative project and conversation between Soundwalk Collective and legendary artist, poet, and performer Patti Smith that has spanned over 10 years and across multiple geographies, uncovering the sonic steps left by poets, filmmakers, revolutionaries, and extraordinary events that have taken place in specific locations.
The third edition of Proximity Music, a playful and interdisciplinary exhibition, is titled Visceral Acts and presents a diverse range of works in and around Amare that bring into question ideas of health and sanity. Through the lens of personal, creative, if not unorthodox approaches, the exhibiting artists help to trace paths backwards and forwards in time, connecting with different forms of knowledge.
The artists and projects discussed here are just a few of this year’s festival highlights. In our programme booklet, you will find a complete guide to the Rewire 2023 programme. Download our festival app or check the website for updates.
We wish you an incredibly inspiring festival!