For the third and final time this festival within the festival will take place on the site of the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum. Bands, live acts and DJs present contrasting styles and forms of contemporary electronic pop music. A total of four different stages will stay open until the early hours for listening dancing and partying. This year will focus on the Ruhr region’s own local Denovali label. For the first time it will also include a collaboration with Interkultur Ruhr, who will play the African, Latin American and Asian influences in the Refektorium that have helped to shape club music for over 40 years.
This year the Main Stage in the Jahrhunderthalle will be headlined by Chilean solo artist Nicolas Jaar. Early in his career Jaar was greeted as a special talent on the house music scene. His tracks referenced Latin American music traditions and North American jazz and displayed a comparatively experimental approach to the sounds he used. His more disco and synthesizer pop-influenced project 'Darkside' also maintains a balance between rugged experiments and grand liberating pop gestures. Through all this, Nicolas Jaar has kept his rough edges intact. So it's all the more exciting that the number of his fans continues to grow and they are willing to follow him through difficult terrain.
The "soul of the machine" is what Spex called the R’n’B/post-dubstep hybrid with which Christopher Taylor alias SOHN made a substantial worldwide impact. His first album 'Tremors', released two years ago, was compared to James Blake, Jamie Woon and others but certainly since his current LP 'Rennen' it has become quite clear that SOHN sounds most like SOHN: with atmospheric synth worlds in minor keys, the velvet melancholy of his falsetto and his stuttering percussive beats, at times elaborately convoluted, at others extending to infinity in driving four four time. It's tempting to believe that in a better world SOHN would be top of the charts. His project's German-sounding name goes back to Taylor's chosen home city of Vienna, where he spent several years before ultimately moving to LA. All the signs point to growth.
Mykki Blanco is either described as hip hop's saviour or its nightmare. This female alter ego of performance artist Michael David Quattlebaum Jr. inverts the hegemony of rap's patriarchy as Blanco wears women's clothes and makes an explicit theme of homosexuality without making any effort to educate or enlighten anyone. The New York Times described her as more of an 'avant-garde objet d’art' than drag in the classical sense. There is certainly no doubt that Mykki Blanco is a glitzy icon of the new queer movement in pop. Her lyrics, her appearance and not least her energetic stage shows deconstruct the prevailing systems of dominance within the pop business and open up space for new aesthetics and perspectives.
Wasserturm Open Air Stage: Hosted by Goethebunker
Ritournelle at the Ruhrtriennale has also come to mean a three year collaboration with the Essen club Goethebunker. In this final season the programme for the outdoor floor underneath the water tower has once again been compiled together with booker and resident DJ Ahmet Sisman. This year we have invited Gerd Janson: exceptional DJ, music journalist and driving force behind the Running Back label, who manages to find that elusive balance between classicism and futurism between disco and house. The closing act on this floor is a DJ set from Berlin-based producer and composer Efdemin, who understands how to conceive techno as an opaque artistic form like practically nobody else. His sets not only illustrate the elegance of this mechanistic aesthetic, they also display it against a background of musical history. And you can dance to it. Under his conventional name Phillip Sollmann, Efdemin will also present his composition 'Monophony' written for Harry Partsch's instrument collection. As ever Goethebunker will also supply full resident support.
Turbinenhalle: Denovali Showcase
This year in the Turbinenhalle we focus on the local, Ruhr-based label Denovali. Founded in 2005 by Timo Alterauge and Thomas Hack, Denovali concentrates specifically on eccentric and unconventional sound cultures which represent the opposite of mainstream pop. Denovali artists from around the world occupy a broad spectrum between electronica, drone metal and left field techno and the label enjoys a high and similarly international reputation. Their programme at Ritournelle features the label's electronic side: Moon Zero, Ricardo Donoso and Orson Hentschel offer a panorama of ambient, Kraut and noise while the evening's special guests, Actress and Demdike Stare, will make a late appearance to open the festival's dance floor. Each of the artists appearing on the night will also bring a visual element with them, so that this year the Turbinenhalle will once again be a venue for special audio-visual experiences within Ritournelle.
“Where can I get that song? Can I download it somewhere?” Last summer audiences were very keen to hear the songs we composed ourselves and sang outside the Jahrhunderthalle Bochum again. This year we will be take to the stage of our trailer once more presenting both old and new songs. And this time the audiences can even take the playlist home with them.
Intercultural pop and club music is a global phenomenon. Networked subcultures are now springing up across all borders that organize themselves independently of the mostly Western-influenced music industry and go their own way, finding their own musical stories. As part of Ritournelle Cómeme, Kalakuta Soul Records and Interkultur Ruhr play in the Refektorium, bring together some of the thematic threads of their shared concerns and give them a larger stage. There will be a live set by the band Africaine 808 (Golf Channel Recordings) plus DJ sets from Coco Maria (Cashmere Radio), Charlotte Bendiks (Radio Cómeme) and DJ Maboku (Principe Discos). Contemporary electronic styles from such as kuduro meet vinyl rarities from Colombia and Brazil – an aesthetically diverse evening whose common denominator is an engagement with the musical heritage of the “global South” and the evolution of their own contemporary club sounds.
Presented by Interkultur Ruhr and Cómeme in co-operation with Kalakuta Soul Records.
Nicolas Jaar, SOHN, Mykki Blanco, DJ Zakmatic
Goethebunker feat. - Efdemin, Gerd Janson, Ahmet Sisman, Someone Outside, Vnnn
Denovali Showcase feat. - Actress, Demdike Stare, Orson Hentschel, Ricardo Donoso, Moon Zero
Interkultur Ruhr feat. - Africaine 808, Coco Maria, Charlotte Bendiks, DJ Maboku