Le Guess Who? unveils another tremendous crop of acts set to perform at this year’s festival between 9–12 November, with James Holden added as the final curator.
The Dutch festival, now in its 11th year, had already announced a plethora of incredible curators and artists spanning genres, generations and the globe. Held around a multitude of idyllic venues across Utrecht, this year’s line up is every bit as impressive and diverse as we’ve come to expect from Le Guess Who?, with many of our favourite artists and bands set to grace its stages.
Electronic maverick James Holden closes the impressive list of curators which already included Perfume Genius, Shabazz Palaces, Grouper, Han Bennink, and Jerusalem In My Heart, all also set to perform.
Holden is a prolific man with his fingers in many musical pies, be it running his Border Community label, on production, mixing and remixing duties or collaborating with many artists like Moroccan Gnawa musician Maâlem Houssam Guinia & Band, one of the many acts joining his curated program. Taking place on Saturday November 11th in several venues, his program also includes free jazz and hypnotic drone and noise courtesy of British group Sex Swing, the fierce, pulsating and meditative sounds of Chicago experimental producer and live performer Hieroglyphic Being and the distinctive and dazzling South African jazz sounds of prodigious multi-reed player Shabaka Hutchings and his band The Ancestors. Also part of Holden’s program are audio-visual performance collective Jerusalem In My Heart, experimental mallet-guitar trio Ex-Easter Island Head, Mario Batkovic, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, and XAM Duo. And there’s a special performance from James Holden himself, accompanied for the first time by his new live band The Animal Spirits.
Among the new names appearing in Perfume Genius’ curation are Welsh singer-songwriter Cate Le Bon doing a solo piano performance and Lost Horizons, the new project of former Cocteau Twins member Simon Raymonde and drummer Richie Thomas (Cocteau Twins, Dif Juz, The Jesus and Mary Chain, Felt). The duo will bring their debut album Ojalá to Le Guess Who?, just a week after its release. Both acts join previously announced Pharmakon, ethereal experimental artist Julianna Barwick, Bulgarian women’s choir Le Mystère des Voix Bulgares, Mount Eerie, Aldous Harding, Weyes Blood and Mozart’s Sister.
Shabazz Palaces add to their curation Gonjasufi and afro-futurist producer Fhloston Paradigm. It already comprised legendary avant-garde saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, Natasha Kmeto and OCnotes.
Newly added to Grouper’s program are singer-songwriter Tiny Vipers and the forward thinking electronic and hip hop sounds of South London’s Coby Sey, known for his past collaborations with artists like Mica Levi and Dean Blunt. Grouper’s curation will also host a rare performance by iconic New Zealand guitarist and composer Roy Montgomery. Previous acts announced include avant-garde composer William Basinski, GAS and Japanese rock legend Keiji Haino.
Han Bennink had also invited Keiji Haino, as well as the ICP Orchestra and Peter Brötzmann for his curated program. Now, unique collaborative performances are also in store with the Dutch drummer set to be joined by Thurston Moore, Terrie Ex, and Steve Beresford.
The new additions to Jerusalem In My Heart’s curated bill includes DJ duo Toukadime and filmmaker and regular collaborator Charles-André Coderre. Their program already hosts some of our favourite artists, including French collective Oiseaux-Tempête, extraordinary alto saxophonist, composer, improviser and sound experimentalist Matana Roberts and Moor Mother with her “slaveship punk and Afrofuturist electronics”. Linda Sharrock, Abdel Karim Shaar, Farida & The Iraqi Maqam Ensemble, Alanis Obomsawin, Klein, Nadah El Shazly and Dedekind Cut complete Jerusalem In My Heart’s lush program of African-American and Middle Eastern artists.
In addition to the curated programs, Le Guess Who?’s initial general lineup boasts the likes of Mali’s diva Oumou Sangaré, incredibly talented British composer and improvising pianist Tom Rogerson, Liars who are back with a new album, dub poet Linton Kwesi Johnson, tUnE-yArDs, Sun Kil Moon and Ben Frost, amongst many more.
Another colossal performance freshly announced by Le Guess Who? organizers is that of avant-garde composer, guitarist, and producer Patrick Higgins performing with the string ensemble of the Netherlands Chamber Orchestra. Higgins’ composition Hyperborea No.1 will see its European premiere at the festival.
For festival goers who want to “get physical”, Mega Record & CD Fair, the biggest record fair in the world, will take place in Utrecht over the same dates as Le Guess Who?.
Save the date and grab your tickets. Daily tickets and 4-Day Festival Passes are now available on leguesswho.com, where you can also find the full line-up, day schedules and more info.
Take a look at the video below to get a feel for Le Guess Who?.