Meakusma Festival 2018

What a wonderful pearl I discovered – by chance – in the middle of Europe. The Meakusma festival is a place where the sound itself is the main character, without any border or preconditions, celebrated for what it is, the basic pillar of many forms of art.

I don’t know if it was the beautiful weather that welcomed me, or the vibes of the Meakusma community, or the shock to see such impressive underground artists, but this festival will stay in my heart for a long time. It is amazing how the organization made everything so cozy and exiting at the same time. In this weekend I can say that I was never bored, listening to so many different projects in different stages.

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Meakusma is a festival at its 3rd edition, and takes place in Eupen, one of the few Belgium-German-spoken cities at the border of these two countries. The main venue of this gathering is the Alter Schlachthof culture center, placed not so far from the center of the town, the first weekend of September.

Personally, I cannot say if there were big names on the line up, I am not really into this world, but I will give some impressions about the musicians I had the chance to see and hear:

  • Brötzmann | Leigh: this duo brought on the scene a magnificent exhibition of free jazz using a variety of sax/clarinets and a pedal guitar (that I have never seen in my life on a live stage). The density of the performance was palpable and people were genuinely fascinated by the intensity of Peter Brötzmann combined with the loveliness of Healther Leigh‘s sound.

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  • Bruce: how can I define Bruce‘s work as not as collage dance music? I really cannot find a standard definition for what he plays. It doesn’t mean that it cannot be sensational thou: the atmosphere inside the Halle (the main room of the Alter Schlachthof) was intimate and concentrate, but was still shacking people to dance.

  • Am Vision | Lambert Duchesne: these AM Berliners performed in Kesselraum a mix of digital and electronic music, telling a prophetic story towards the images of a video screen. The show was very peculiar and sometimes extremely powerful in the message it was bringing.
  • Ben Ufo: one of the curator of the Festival, Ben Ufo had his moment at 23:00 in Halle, with a huge crowd ready for his original contemporary dance music. Unpredictable and dynamic, Ben‘s idea of rhythm is quite fluid, but it never let us down.
  • Hinosch: when Osaka meets Düsseldorf, Japan meets Germany, Asia meets Europe, then a synthetic-unsyncronized sound decorates the air thanks to the experienced engineering hands of Hinosch and their performance in Kesselraum.

  • Radian: amazing experience with the Austrian trio and their music, a sort of minimal rock drone, extremely dense and theatrical. In the Kühlraum those guys made the public silent and few people dared to leave the room:

Other interesting facts about the festival:

  • the Alter Schlachthof was in principle a slaughterhouse; however it doesn’t really look like a place of death, since the building are beautifully realized at the beginning of the XX Century;
  • the festival hosted one of the work of the Belgian artist David Helbich, a transcendent and meditative audio guide to listen while walking around the culture center;
  • a beautiful installation from Floris Vanhoof is made hanging geometrical metal structures with gongs that vibrate when the wind passes. It is amazing to walk in the street and listen to this unexpected music.

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A festival created for the music, but not just made of music. A really nice small event that it should be followed, since it hosts such fascinating avant-garde and experimentation. The exact opposite of what the uncritical mass of our modern society likes: and also because of this, a reason more to visit it next year.

Photos are kindly shared by Meakusma Festival