In every high school there’s that one weird kid, usually super smart, creative, or both, that no one can seem to make any sense of. They have bizarre tastes and even more bizarre habits, and you’re so fascinated by these that no one really wants to stop this kid from, say, building a real live flea circus in the cafeteria. Then you find out the kid is from some Eastern European country, and though nothing could ever explain that kid’s behaviors, suddenly they make more sense.
Poland’s Unsound Festival is the collection of events most analogous to that kid. Seeking to showcase avant-garde, experimental, underground electronic acts from all over the world, in May they unleashed a bevvy of eclectic performers on the city in as many as twenty events and panel discussions over the course of five days. The greatest thing about Unsound is the way it appropriates government funding (Polish government funding, that is) to introduce Central and Eastern European acts to the US that otherwise could never visit or tour here. They take that ethos one step further and present them in expertly curated collaborations with US artists of similar ilk. This is the third year that Unsound has brought its extraordinary program from Minsk to NYC, and this year’s acts remained challenging if still rooted in the melodic and danceable aspects of electronic experimentation.