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The theme of this year’s Sonica Festival is New Realations; a portmanteau of two terms, New Reality and New Relations, which, fused through a gap, embody the need, desire and cruelty of the current moment, in which the sediments of the (post)pandemic, of a new war on the Old Continent, of the search for new contacts, mutual relations, trapped in the absolute and shifting dispersion that we live in, are permeating. Sonica responds to them by persisting, by persevering and weaving bonds between the audience and the performers, by searching for spaces, by creating collaborations, creative coexistences, and environments. The weaving of (new) relations is the potential for the weaving of new realities.
Norwegian saxophonist and electronic musician Bendik Giske weaves new relations through minimalist, recurring, hypnotic, cyclical and multi-layered, extreme physical sonorities. The project Climbing Up expands and spreads out Bowrain's pianism, which evolves in the field of jazz, (post)classical music, minimalism and contemporary electronic trends. As artists-in-residence, Lebanese bass player Tony Elieh, Slovenian drummer and electronic musician Jaka Berger and Croatian electronic musician and multimedia artist Branimir Štivić will create an entirely new work, generated through the fields of free improvisation, post-rock, noise, dub, ambient music and audio-visual performance.
BENDIK GISKE (NO)
Bendik Giske is an artist and saxophonist whose expressive use of physicality, vulnerability and endurance have already won him much critical acclaim. You can hear all of this on his debut album, Surrender, released in 2019 on Smalltown Supersound, which can be described as Giske stripped to the core: no overdubs, looping, or effects. Just his body, circular breathing – the unusual technique he employs to mesmerizing effect –, the saxophone and a resonant physical space, plus lots of microphones. Giske has likened his performance to transmuting electronic music through his human faults, akin to becoming a machine. And with second album, Cracks, he introduces a new set of parameters for the automated processes of his muscle memory to work against.
BOWRAIN (SI): Climbing Up
Tine Grgurevič aka Bowrain is a contemporary Slovenian composer, pianist and music producer, whose original work has earned him international renown on the increasingly popular contemporary piano music scene. After releasing his third studio album in autumn 2017, he began a fruitful collaboration with South African collective The Brother Moves On, with which he performed in Johannesburg and went on a short European tour, where the musicians he played with included saxophonist Shabaka Hutchings. Blending piano and electronics in Bowrain’s singular style, the solo project "Climbing Up" examines the spatial dimensions of sound.
TONY ELIEH (LB)
Lebanese bassist, improviser, composer, photographer and visual artist Tony Elieh is a pioneer of rock and experimental music in Lebanon with the Irtijal Festival as its main hub. A founding member of the first post-rock group of post-war Lebanon, The Scrambled Eggs, he has since developed his unique electric bass skills in various groups and styles of music including collaborating with groups such as Karkhana, Calamita and Wormholes Electric. He has shared the staged with international artists such as Tony Buck, The Ex, Tarek Atoui, Jerusalem In My Heart, Elliott Sharp, Saadet Türköz, and Magda Mayas.
JAKA BERGER (SI)
Over the last fifteen years Jaka Berger has established himself as one of Slovenia’s most active, creative and versatile drummers, percussionists, composers and improvisers. Since 2014, he has been creating music for a prepared drum kit, and released solo works that are regularly published in international improvised music publications.
He is also active in the field of ambient music, experimental hip hop (DUF), and dub (Darla Smoking), experimental composition (Cornelius Cardew’s Treatise), noise, contemporary jazz and improvised music (Fresh Dust Trio, Shoe & Shoelace, Niemoy,…), installations (Party) and electroacoustic music. In recent years, he has been intensively involved in the field of modular sound synthesis, establishing and expanding new sound fields in his work.
BRANIMIR ŠTIVIĆ (CRO)
Musician and multimedia artist Branimir Štivić graduated in new media from the Academy of Fine Arts in Zagreb. He holds a Master’s degree in Software Engineering from the Faculty of Organisation and Informatics in Varaždin. His primary and initial medium is sound, which he interweaves with other media in an artistic process based on programming code, DIY electronics and improvisational techniques. His field of work includes multimedia, performance art, sound art, expanded cinema, video synthesis, experimental music, cybernetics, sound and light installations, algorithmic art, neural networks, artificial intelligence, etc.
Co-production: Sonica / MoTA and Cankarjev dom; Tony Elieh, Jaka Berger and Branimir Štivić are represented by the Shape+ platform, which is co-financed by Creative Europe.