Toruń is a town, mostly known for ginger cookies and Copernicus – but now for me it will also be a place remembered because of a fest to check out and probably visit next year. Happening in a local contemporary art center, CoCArt music festival celebrated its fifth year with two days of various electronic/acoustic experiments.
First of all – the venue was fantastic. The contemporary art center in Toruń was built just a couple of years ago, specially for the reason of presenting contemporary art (all the love to Lithuanian CAC, which remembers Soviet era and smells like that, too), and you can feel the good energy flowing the minute you get into the building – massive spaces, yet still cosy feeling, good acoustics and laid back atmosphere. The second day of the event reminded an open-air fest, which happens to take place inside – people hanging out on mattresses, just chilling and appreciating the music.
About the music – I hate how they opened a second day of the fest with an act which from the first sight seemed to be so wonderful that I pitied anyone who has to play second and follow that:) YANNICK FRANCK (BE) started with powerful singing, instantly making me remember the Misty Mountains Song from The Hobbit — I know it is a long shot, but think about it more as in “the beautiful nostalgia and being light and sad at the same time”, not “12 short bearded men smoking pipes and reminescenting their glorious days before the dragon came and ruined everything”. Then, from melancholic depth he slowly worked his way to introducing electronics, naturally starting to use some sound recordings, effects and what not. No visuals – and no need for them, when there is vivid and vibrant, yet noisy – “clean” noise, if that is a thing nowadays – soundscapes. Try to top that, Joke Lanz.
And of course, he did. My main reason of coming to this fest was to see SUDDEN INFANT playing live — and it was superb. The dynamism of the structure, the charisma of the performer (last time I saw something similarly engaging was probably McKenzie), the overall power, when you cannot take your eyes and ears away from what is happening. And, of course, the stories — a story about little boy, from the fifth floor, looking for the cranes all day long. FEEDBACK FEEDBACK FUCK YOU, EARS. Discussion with a tape recorder. Discussion with a father. Story about a woman, working for the government. And about a man with a rifle, climbing up the stairs to the rooftop. The circle closes, since now he can see the CRANES. Pauses to hear you thinking and bit of distortion here and there, manic laughter; and everything somehow goes back to the two main characters of SI – the Son and the Father. It is so fascinating to see how many layers there are under this, and just how many personas can live in one barefoot man.
Performance by PIERE BASTIEN – again, very different, yet very fulfilling experience. Playing straight after SI, it brought some shy sensual beauty through fragile sound of self-made instruments, waving into hypnotizing loops and tribal motives, accompanied with visual projections. Sinking into the sound was inevitable, and hearing the first round of applause seemed not fair – why oh why it has to end. Wonderful!
Each time I visit any event, I try to get a lesson out of it (and STEAL IDEAS HOW TO DO STUFF). This festival reminded me old truth: two-day fests are very tricky. Even though I know that some performers in CoCArt were just not my cup of tea, so I cannot say they were bad (for example, performances of Z’EV never really touches me), it is possible that there were some choices in booking which could be avoided in order to keep the concept of the festival clearer. With a second day so stimulating, first one seemed a bit plain. It is the same mistake we made with SPEIGAS festival this year — too big, too soon. Combining those two days would make one super strong evening – now it was the perfect Saturday and somewhat interesting yet comparably less intriguing Friday.
But despite that, everything was really enjoyable – TORUŃ ZABAWA JEST. Also, after the third glass of some cheap polish beer in Turkish kebab shop at 10 pm somewhere in the station district of Warshawa, I found out that I can speak fluent Polish (and Latin, probably, too – those Poles have some tricky beers). Which means that in order of practising this new skill, I gotta come to Poland more often – hopefully to another event, as interesting as CoCArt.