Can you ever truly live in the moment? Here’s your chance to find out as Rich Mix invites you to take on the daring Punkt festival.
Pass through its Shoreditch doors on February 11 and you will experience one of the most ambitious musical performances ever attempted in London. The festival is the brainchild of Norwegian musicians Erik Honoré and Jan Bang, who have spent the last 10 years twisting the musical landscape of Kristiansand with their radical festival concept, known as Punkt Festivalen.
On the night, accomplished musicians perform live. So far, so normal. But their performance is streamed around the building in real time where it is taken and ‘remixed’ as the audience moves between rooms soaking in the different live interpretations. It’s then remixed again by festivalgoers. The radical gig concept has drawn big-name musical fans to the Norway festival, including Brian Eno and David Sylvian.
Now for the first time the festival is coming to London. And with it come a brace of Norwegian aces – trumpeter and ECM artist Arve Henriksen and cult Norwegian noise artist Ståle Storløkken of Supersilent fame. They will play alongside boundary-pushing rock group Three Trapped Tigers as well as Warp Records provocateur Mira Calix in a night of improvised, mutated and remixed music.
Speaking from her home in rural Suffolk, the South Africa-born musical prankster Mira Calix says Punkt offers a ‘unique’ chance to interact with the music in a live setting. “It’s less about democracy, and more about participation,” she says.
“I make a lot of public artwork and doing something participatory really appeals to me. So I think the idea of doing something in real time to bring people together in one room is great. It is unusual. And I like that. It will create ‘a moment’ in a physical space.”
Mira heard about Punkt through American sound artist Laurie Anderson’s involvement. “I like the ethos,” she says. “It’s defined by the moment. And I like that. There’s a certain level of rawness – rather than finesse – that will be involved in my performance. Because I’m working for the live room. That’s my priority.”
Mira will be joined on stage by violinist and composer Daniel Pioro, who cut his teeth with the London Contemporary Orchestra. “He’s very talented,” she says. “I always like to play live with instruments – especially if people will be remixing.
“Daniel’s violin will offer a clear instrumental line, which should augment the weird electronic bits I’m making. I figure that will help the remixers and it will certainly influence how we go about our performance – which will be devised exclusively for the night. I’m opening myself up to the fact that many people will be doing something with the music. It’s exciting.
“I’m also quite boring to look at onstage. Which is another good reason to have musicians with me. Otherwise I just look like I’m checking my email and frowning. But I’m not checking my email! I swear.”
Allowing an audience or crowd to participate in the making of art is a growing concept, spurred on by advances in technology and the sense that creativity needs to be more accessible, Mira says.
“I’m all for participation and people exploring their creativity. It’s about liberating the process of making music. Especially as the technology to make music is much more in people’s reach. The gear used to be incredibly expensive to buy. Now anyone can play around with Garage Band or Logic.”
With Punkt, the power of music is truly with the people. Will you step up?