Had it not been for a pandemic, the musical paradise that is Le Guess Who? festival was to have taken place last year but it’s time to get excited again. This November will finally welcome its 14th edition from 11-14th and the organizers have unveiled another 46 names that will grace one of the many idyllic stages across Utrecht.
Le Guess Who? had already enticed us with a few names on the general line up and the list of its curators: Matana Roberts, Lucrecia Dalt, Midori Takada, Phil Elverum and John Dwyer. As usual, Le Guess Who?’s curators will help shape and enrich the festival with their own favourite and like-minded artists, in addition to also playing themselves. Today we get a first glimpse at some of their selections.
Phenomenal alto saxophonist, composer, improviser and sound experimentalist Matana Roberts returns to the festival, this time as a curator. Her program will include liberation-oriented free jazz collective Irreversible Entanglements, Jesu, the moniker of British guitarist and composer Justin Broadrick who is best known as a founding member of Godflesh; French double bass player, improviser and composer Joëlle Léandre; and Australian composer, multi-instrumentalist and musical polymath Oren Ambarchi.
There is also much to hear on the curated bill of Colombia-born/Berlin-based producer and sound artist Lucrecia Dalt, including her collaboration with noise artist Aaron Dilloway (Wolf Eyes), the electronic music experiments of acousmatic composer Beatriz Ferreyra; Spanish a capella duo Tarta Relena; German electronic musician, composer, radio-playwright, and curator Felix Kubin; and the Latin American folklore and cumbia merged with electronic and surreal elements of Colombian singer-songwriter Julián Mayorga.
Added to Japanese percussionist and minimalist/ambient composer Midori Takada’s program is Dutch contemporary ensemble Ensemble Klang, who are set to present the live premiere of their audiovisual project, Thrift Hybrids. Takada will also perform as part of Ton-Klami, her improvisational trio with pianist Masahiko Satoh and saxophonist Kang Tae Hwan.
Singer-songwriter Phil Elverum has invited veterans of Nairobi’s metal scene Duma, Estonian acclaimed folk singer-songwriter Mari Kalkun and Seattle experimental cello player and composer Lori Goldston, who has played with Nirvana. Elverum has also invited guitarist Jay Blackinton to perform the Microphones in 2020 album in its entirety.
Appearing on the curated bill of multi-instrumentalist, vocalist, songwriter, visual artist and record label owner John Dwyer is German krautrock group Faust, performing their 1973 masterpiece album Faust IV, Arrington De Dionyso’s experimental dance-punk band Old Time Relijun, Brigid Dawson & Sunwatchers, Earth Girl Helen Brown whose recent EP, Earth, features John Dwyer, and Brooklyn’s art punk 5-piece Gustaf. Dwyer is also set to perform as part of OSEES presenting the live premiere of last year’s album Bent Arcana.
There’s a lot more on offer for the 14th edition of Le Guess Who?, and the general line-up has also been expanded with the second batch of performing artists now announced. Newly added is Spirit Fest, the project featuring Tenniscoats singer Saya and The Notwist’s Markus & Cico, neo-sufi and minimalist composer and singer Arooj Aftab, London super group Vanishing Twin, acclaimed ambient composer and multi-instrumentalist William Basinski, Gambian-British rapper and grime artist Pa Salieu, London-based artist and FKA twigs collaborator Lucinda Chua with a new EP, Antidotes 2, released last month, and Tunisian-Belgian singer, dancer, poet and actress Ghalia Benali, amongst many more artists.
Amidst the new exhilarating additions to Le Guess Who?’s 2021 edition is Kampala-based label Nyege Nyege Tapes presenting their Hakuna Kulala club night with the likes of Authentically Plastic, Diaki, Marcelle/Another Nice Mess, Menzi and Turkana.
As always the line-up boasts an abundance of incredible artists from a giant landscape of music, making it an unmissable destination for musical explorers of all kinds so act fast to secure your spot at Le Guess Who? 2021. Tickets and full details of the festival can be found on its website.