Decibel Festival Showcase & Musician Picks

We've done the dirty work of flying through the expansive Decibel Festival 2012 schedule to select emerging and established acts which we think are most worthy of your valuable time. Sometimes this manifests as us gushing over complete all-night showcases or focusing on the Optical series, which merges visual art and music; other times, we dish out praise for solitary wheelers and dealers. Hear audio clips, read summaries, and more in this massive festival preview guide.

Decibel Festival Conferences

Music pioneers, experts, and newbies alike take heed! Decibel Festival's 2012 Conferences are a glimpse of what it's like to go to school for a degree in electronic music wizardry. Featuring collaborations with some fine and forward-thinking folks of the electronic world, these conferences run the gamut, giving those who want to get hands-on and technical the opportunities to do so, as well as offering more relaxed lectures for the bashful yet curious. Our choices for the 2012 Conference events focus heavily on the cross-disciplinary, emerging technologies, and panels which directly involve audience participation.

Decibel Festival After-Hours Parties

Those who: a) want to squeeze every last bit of glorious music-watching opportunity out of Decibel but are frustrated by the very human quality of being limited by time; and b) don't want to pay for a Decibel Festival pass but want to witness the international and national touring acts that will be in Seattle; will find some alleviation in Decibel Festival's After-Hours events. There are seven total, presented by Resident Advisor, Red Bull, and more.

Decibel Festival Boat Parties

Of all the Seattle experiences one can have, there's nothing quite like a sunny afternoon floating atop the waters of Lake Washington and Lake Union with skyscrapers, houseboats, nature, and sunshine in sight. Decibel Festival has expanded their annual boat parties from two days to four this year, in an effort to provide more intimate experiences for all showgoers.

Decibel Festival Lineup 2012

 

Music, just like any other art medium, beckons an emotional response. Sometimes when we get lost in beats, drum fills, guitar riffs, and lyrical dexterity, we don't realize it. But at Substrata Festival, all those elements go out the window, and showgoers are left with an isolated core of noise as it is being created, manipulated, and eventually destroyed by artists whose only goal is to expound upon the notion of presenting what is naturally occurring in a seemingly unnatural way. The ambient/experimental musical showcase takes place in a beautiful, giant brick building in the Seattle neighborhood of Wallingford, a sleepy zip code more known for its single family residential units and restaurants than anything else. The space is called The Chapel with good reason. High arches tower into the air in Renaissance-influenced glory and stained glass windows line both sides of the open room, suggesting more of a connection to a higher power than to a musical influence. The hardwood floors are lined with rows of chairs angled into two sections, after soaking it all in, you realize that what you are about to witness at Substrata Festival is not a show in traditional sense of the term; you are about to witness a performance.

 

See our interview with Substrata Festival's Founder and Curator, Rafael Anton Irisarri of The Sight Below & Orcas
“There is no 'now' with sound... the moment it hits you ear that moment is already gone.” – Lawrence English

 

 

SEE OUR REVIEW OF SUBSTRATA FESTIVAL 1.2
Anticipated Highlights from Substrata 1.2, 2012 Tim Hecker is about as acclaimed as they come in this musical realm. In 2011, he was named as one of NPR's Top 100 Composers Under 40. 2011's full-length release Ravedeath, 1972 was released to wide critical acclaim, including praises from this website, and was nominated for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize. Lawrence English is a prolific composer, multimedia artist and curator from Brisbane, Australia. He is one of the leaders in Australian sound art and experimental music and is about as intertwined as possible with the musical community there.
"Substrata is truly a community supported event... Interconnectivity... seems persistently ingrained in Substrata: everything flows and happens in a rather organic manner." -- Rafael Anton Irisarri

 

In just two years time, Seattle's tiny Substrata Festival has become one of the better curated festivals of the ambient and experimental electronic genres. Put on by Rafael Anton Irisarri, of The Sight Below and Orcas, Substrata seeks to entertain as much as it does to enlighten, as half of the experience is spent enjoying the music, while the other half is spent listening to the musicians describe how the music is created. Performances, lectures, discussions, and a field trip are all on the festival's itinerary, limited to a select and lucky few. Like last year's festival, Substrata Festival 1.2 is sold out (save for a remaining 20 tickets on Friday) -- and 1.3 will most likely be sold out as well. Held in The Chapel at Good Shepherd Center in Seattle's Wallingford Neighborhood, showgoers will have the rare opportunity to bear witness to the beauty of the weird, bizarre, and challenging sounds of a global set of musicians and artists. In the Q&A below with Irisarri, he takes REDEFINE behind the scenes of the festival to offer insight into its goals and curatorial aspects, and what the grassroots efforts which set it apart from other festivals. This year's festival takes place from August 3rd through 5th, in Seattle.

Scanner aka Robin Rimbaud is a profilic British experimental artist. His first works involved found conversations on mobile phones and police scanners, creating heavily layered, yet incredibly twisted soundscapes that turned common communication on its head.