Festival preview: REWIRE 2017

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Rewire, 2017-08-23

Situated in The Hague (Netherlands), Rewire festival started in 2011. Throughout the years, it blossomed into an exceptional celebration of forward thinking music. Embracing values of education, innovation and experimentation, today Rewire festival attracts mélomanes from all around the world. It’s not simply a festival, it’s an experience.  Three days of extreme and adventurous music, conceptual shows by day and club shows at night, talks, workshops, multidisciplinary performances and screenings spread across the city’s key cultural and nightlife venues will please even the most refined of palettes.

March 31 to April 2, the 7th edition invites you to theatres, churches, historical buildings and clubs for Swans, Pharmakon, Arca, Daniel Lanois, Daniel Wohl, Forest Swords, Helena Hauff, SHXCXCHCXSH, Jeff Mills & Tony Allen, SUMS: Kangding Ray & Barry Burns (Mogwai), These Hidden Hands and many more contemporary artists. Three days of plunging into a blackened well and lifting up for a euphoric respite.

Daniel Wohl is one of the highlights of Friday night. The American composer seamlessly integrates acoustic and electronic music. One cannot distinguish between digital and live, so integral and fluid the soundscapes of Holographic are. Performing with the Matangi string Quartet and percussionists Slagwerk Den Haag, Wohl offers an unusual combination of classic and electronic. Percussive effects and erratic pulsations will be visually empowered by the visual artist Daniel Schwarz.




Forest Swords aka Matthew Barnes nearly gave up making music due to hearing problems… But then in his bedroom Matthew recorded “Engravings”, noting that “if one day my hearing does go, then at least I’ve created things that I’m proud of.” Forest Swords meticulously blend in psych, experimental, drone, ambient with dub and indie producing a warm almost non-electronic sound.

Friday’s headliner Arca aka Alejandro Ghersi doesn’t need much introduction. The Venezuelan producer, known for his experimental music and collaborations with Bjork, is expected to deliver one of the most bizarre performances of the fest. His sadly beautiful or beautifully sad music flows like water in a river. And like unrestrained water breaks a dam, Ghersi breaks genre boundaries. Fluctuating between catharsis and dysphoria, rejoicing and exhilarating, from fluidity to electricity. His high-pitched crushes cause overloads and short circuits. Breakers trip and fuses blow while heads are banging into the fractured rhythms... What’s more, Jesse Kanda, Arca’s longtime friend and visual collaborator, will join the stage and define the surreal with his minimalistic nightmarish visuals.




On Saturday make sure not to miss the majestic Swans. In their valedictory album ‘The Glowing Man’ the legendary New York experimental rock outfit explores life and death, unerringly reflecting the psychological turmoil of modern existence. Luckily, this spiritual, shamanistic, hypnotic album is not a conclusion of Swans. Swans leader Michael Gira will gather the band members together at least for one more awe-spiring performance at Rewire.



Daniel Lanois will present his unique Instrumental A/V solo show. French-Canadian guitarist, singer, songwriter and producer, Lanois has won Grammy seven times and the list of artists he has worked with includes Peter Gabriel, U2, Bob Dylan and Brian Eno. His latest album ‘Goodbye To Language’ revolves around a combination of pedal steel guitar, lap steel guitar and the subsequent electronic manipulations. Expect ambient drones and melancholic atmospherics from the most important record producer to emerge in the 80s (as noted by Rolling Stones).


Daniel Lanois


Helena Hauff will serve an antidote against melancholy. The German DJ and producer will certainly make your feet move. Infamous for hammering out emotive and darkish electronica as well as acid and industrial techno  in her all-vinyl sets, Helena is an increasingly important in-demand virtuosa of dance music.

Another heroine of the night is Margaret Chardiet aka Pharmakon. With a synthesizer and a variety of effect pedals Pharmakon loops piercing notes into a drone. Then she picks up a microphone. Shrieks, growls and heaves create a nightmarish experience mapped somewhere between power electronics and noise. Her newest album 'Contact' will be released on March 31, just before the performance at Rewire.



SHXCXCHCXSH will sound sweet and pleasantly danceable after Pharmakon. If you are not familiar with the artistic expression of SHXCXCHCXSH, don’t get spooked by the unpronounceable name. Swedes produce adventurous and courageous techno that might sound harsh but is highly aesthetic like a blinding white Scandinavian winter.

On Sunday let the hangover be cured with These Hidden Hands, a project of joined forces between Britons Alain Paul and Tommy Four Seven. Electronic music that duo produces is not divorced ‘live’ music. Actually, if I needed to choose one word to describe These Hidden Hands, it would be ‘organic’. Extensive use of guitar, synths, organs and vocals make their soundscapes warm and humane.


These Hidden Hands


One of the favourites of Sunday night is surely SUMS, a collaboration between Kangding Ray and Barry Burns (Mogwai). Kangding Ray is well known for those into darkish conceptual techno. Barry Burns is a multi-intstrumentalist and composer known to the world as a backbone of the Scottish post-rock legends Mogwai. Once again Rewire will offer a marriage between electronic music and rock as a band performs live bridging their musical legacies. Personally, SUMS is the most awaited performance of the fest.

The last but not least are Jeff Mills & Tony Allen. Labelled as techno’s greatest ambassador and the originator of Detroit techno, the founder of Underground Resistance, Jeff Mills is revolutionising electronic music since the 1990s to present. On Sunday night, his partner-in-crime will be legendary Tony Allen. Tony Allen (age 76 years) is a Nigerian drummer, composer and pioneer of Afrobeat r, who has been drumming and directing Fela Kuti’s band Africa 70. Teamwork between one of the world’s greatest drummers, Tony and the legendary techno innovator Jeff will undoubtedly push the boundaries.


Jeff Mills & Tonny Allen


A final note should be that while MG has predominantly focussed on metal and rock genres, Rewire not only confidently fits within the concept of the platform, but is also the most waited festival of 2017. Rewire bravely addresses one of the most important phenomena in music today: the growing influence of electronic music on rock and metal genres as well as the ongoing presence of rock and ‘live’ elements in electronic music. Inviting us to the beating heart of Netherlands (The Hague), Rewire genuinely provides us with a new electric wiring for aural and visual.