The world’s finest Sound System, created by British audio brand Bowers & Wilkins, once again sets its sights on UK-based festival WOMAD from 27th to 30th July.
The three days of programming add serious electronic muscle to a varied and eclectic festival line-up, and will feature UK club favourites Floating Points and Joey Negro alongside Howie B and Craig Richards.
Designed to create an unrivalled listening experience that brings revellers closer to the music, the four 3.5m speaker stacks embody the acoustic engineering of Bowers & Wilkins flagship hi-fi speakers, delivered on a massive scale. The result is a thumping club sound system that has become a mecca for music-lovers at WOMAD.
Friday will see a performance from fresh-on-the-scene jazz aficionados, Blue Lab Beats whose fusion of grime, neo-soul, hip-hop and jazz sounds is enthralling the music industry. They play the Sound System for the first time, making this an exciting opportunity to see them live before they officially explode onto the wider music scene.
WOMAD favourite Joseph Arthur will perform a mix of songs from his critically acclaimed record “Redemption’s Son”, in celebration of the 15th anniversary of its release whilst Anchorsong bring their unique live show which has been described as “like watching a painter drawing on a white canvas”, creating electronic compositions ‘live’ using a sampler and keyboard.
The evening closes with legendary DJ’s Howie B and Craig Richards collaborating for a special bass-enthused session entitled Hurtle. Craig Richards has found worldwide recognition by staying in one place – London’s famous Fabric venue - where he has spent years as artist-in-residence and musical director. In conjunction with long-time friend Howie B, the legendary musical polymath, their WOMAD performance promises to be a sneak preview of their joint album project, due for release later this year.
Saturday afternoon sees the unique musicality of eliadorme, who bring a fusion of New Wave Italian indie-rock and dream pop to the stage. Mercury Prize-nominated Portico Quartet will play a Special Live Surround Mix set allowing the speaker stack to fully flex its phonic power as they play material from their soon-to-be-released album, “Art in the Age of Automation”, as well as back-catalogue favourites.
In the evening, Rival Consoles, an artist known for making synthesisers sound ethereal and almost human, will perform a dance and electronic influenced live set. As night falls, London-born audio/video duo and DJ’s, Addictive TV, will be taking people on a musical exploration across 25 different countries with their lauded show “Orchestra of Samples”. Over 200 musicians, who have never met, come together on screen to have their music spliced and sampled creating a fusion of sound and vision. One of the forefathers of the UK dance scene, Joey Negro will close the night with a set of funk, disco, and house to truly showcase Sound System’s bass range.
On Sunday, singer Nick Mulvey will be unpacking his song-writing process and explaining the musical journey behind his latest album in a session entitled ‘In Conversation’. Tom Hickox performs the powerful, multi-layered and lyrical songs from his new album ‘Monsters In the Deep’. Swedish multi-instrumentalist Loney Dear, whose long-awaited new album is released later this year, will bring his skilful songwriting to life in an intimate set. Speech Debelle, the Mercury Prize-winning British rapper, performs music from her recent work “tantil before i breathe…’ which fuses her love for both music and food - both she claims are art forms which “heal” and “inspire”.
DJ Floating Points will end the weekend on a high with a hotly anticipated set, spinning a mix of futuristic dance electronica from his most recent record “Elaenia”. Since arriving on the scene the DJ and producer has made game-changing waves in the new dance music movement. Initially classically influenced, Floating Points has developed a dedicated love of electronic and jazz music, which when paired with his expansive technical knowledge, produces music and DJ sets that enthral and surprise.
Saturday and Sunday both feature sound events for children which this year are 'DIY Beatboxing” and “School of Noise”, the latter delving into the mysterious world of Foley sound design and the art of sampling noises to create music and sound effects.
Technology and art meet over the three days, with a special showcase from experimental music performers Dorit Crysler & Charlie Draper masters of the Theremin, the mysterious sounding instrument that is magically played without being touched and Atau Tanaka a Japanese-American composer based in London who uses body movements and human gestures to create live electronic music. Project Adrift is a unique meeting of art, sound and science from artists Cath Le Couteur and Nick Ryan, who have created a mechanical sound instrument ‘Machine 9’ which transforms the movement of 27,000 pieces of space debris into sound in real time.
Bowers & Wilkins Brand Director Danny Haikin says, “Since its creation, Sound System has brought true hi-quality sound to music lovers across multiple festivals and countries. Bowers & Wilkins believes WOMAD, with its dedication to music and music-lovers alike, continues to be a great place to showcase the high-fidelity sound that is achievable through years of acoustic engineering.’
Sound System is the speaker stack by which the performers' music can be truly heard and appreciated. The result is a sound experience not to be missed.
Published on 23 June 2017 by Ben Robinson