Taking place between the 8th and 11th of November in various idyllic venues across the charming Dutch town of Utrecht, Le Guess Who? had already whetted our appetite back in May with the first announcement of their thrilling and extraordinarily diverse line up, including forward-thinking performers like Colin Stetson, Art Ensemble of Chicago, Circuit des Yeux and Eleonor Friedberger amongst many others.
Le Guess Who?’s co-curators help set the tone of the festival, inviting their own favourite artists to play, as well as performing themselves. This year Shabaka Hutchings, Devendra Banhart, Moor Mother and Asia Argento enrich the program with their selections.
Prodigious multi-reed player Shabaka Hutchings, who has become something of a regular at Le Guess Who?, takes the curator seat this November, inviting an array of unique and exciting artists. Among the new names appearing in his curation are Martinique-born DJ Noss and New Zealand’s Orchestra Of Spheres, one of the most inventive and outlandish bands on the planet. Hutchings had already invited a slew of marvels and will himself perform with two of his bands, The Comet Is Coming and Sons of Kemet in a special XL format featuring four drummers.
Following her debut at Le Guess Who? last year, Philadelphia based interdisciplinary artist, Camae Ayewa aka Moor Mother returns as a curator. Newly added to her program are Amsterdam based Brazilian DJ, producer and vocalist LYZZA, experimental musician Eartheater hot on the heels of her third album IRISIRI, and South African duo FAKA, expressing their black queer experience and identity across various art forms including performance, sound, video, photography and literature.
Added to Asia Argento’s curation is a special theatrical performance by Future Feminism, the project founded by Kembra Pfahler, Johanna Constantine and Anohni, calling on a global feminine collective consciousness to save the world. Pfahler and Constantine, together with The Girls of Karen Black, have a performance in store based on the Future Feminism Tenets. Other additions to Argento’s program include actress and activist Rose McGowan, legendary producer and musician Martin Bisi, acclaimed and subversive artist Joe Colem, whose work encompasses panel paintings, comic strips, installations and performances and Escape-ism, the project of punk provocateur Ian Svenonius whose new album The Lost Record will be out just a couple of months before the festival. A discussion and screening of films will also be part of her curation.
Each year the festival hosts rare live performances and one-off shows and this year is no exception. French experimental orchestra ONCEIM (Orchestre de Nouvelles Créations, Expérimentations et Improvisations Musicales), made up of more than thirty improvisers, will perform two pieces at Le Guess Who?, Occam Océan by French composer Éliane Radigue, and Gruides, the first orchestral work by Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley.
Le Guess Who? are also partaking in the 15th anniversary celebration of boundary-pushing label RVNG Intl, filling the bill with some of the labels finest, including the versatile and daring drummer Greg Fox and Russian experimental producer Kate NV, whose recent album, для FOR, released in June, serves as a score to her “native Moscow environment”. Colombian civil engineer turned sound artist and musician Lucrecia Dalt joins in the celebration with her fusion of Colombian sounds and experimental minimalism. And incredibly talented experimental composer and cellist Oliver Coates, who has worked with everyone from Johhny Greenwood, Terry Riley and Mica Levi to Paul Thomas Anderson, will grace the festival with his new album Shelley’s On Zenn-La, set for release in September. The label’s milestone will also bear fruits at Le Guess Who?, with FRKWYS, their 12-inch series that “pairs contemporary artists and their progenitors”, premiering and recording a collaboration between Finnish electronic music composer Pekka Airaksinen and multi-instrumentalist and vocalist Ka Baird, known for electronically manipulating her voice and flute. A second FRKWYS collaboration will bring together vocalist and composer Ian William Craig and innovative classical electronic music composer Daniel Lentz.
Exuding and delivering brilliance at every turn, with an abundance of phenomenal events and an incredible array of known and lesser known artists, Le Guess Who? 2018 will be an experience like no other. Full details of the line-up, tickets and other info can be found on leguesswho.com.