Two invigorating seasons have come and gone since we began our journey, where we nurtured a platform committed to shining a light on novel sounds off the beaten track and under-celebrated artists.
The third iteration of Strange Sounds From Beyond will see the festival return to the familiar grounds of Noorderlicht not one, but two days this summer. Spread across three stages, the festival will commence on the weekend of June 23rd & 24th.
This passion project would not be possible without our partners Rush Hour, Red Light Radio and The Rest Is Noise, who each constitutes a vital piece to the puzzle of our previous editions’ success.
As usual, our itinerary will continue to unravel in the weeks to come, but for now, it’s with great delight that we share the first of many confirmed acts on the bill.
With a discography in excess of 20 albums, South African jazz icon Letta Mbulu is Johannesburg’s pride and joy. One of South Africa’s music exiles during mid-60s Apartheid, Mbulu’s took up home in the United States for the next few decades, where she lent her warm sophisticated vocals to both the big and small screens, from Roots to The Color Purple, to the Swahili chant in Michael Jackson’s “Liberian Girl”. The musical styles of Mbulu’s adopted country managed to rub off on her Soweto roots, adding a touch of funky jazz and groove to her exquisite style. This summer, she will be bringing company, taking to the stage with her live ensemble.
One would be hard-pressed to find any classic 80s boogie album that doesn’t bear any fingerprints belonging to the following artist on our line-up. Easily the king of boogie and disco, Leroy Burgess’ scores of work around the areas of funk, soul, disco, which included contributions in vocals, composition, arrangement and production, were instrumental in spearheading the industry from the late 70s to the mid-80s. The American legend’s one-off project LOGG, a compilation with an all-star cast of musicians and featuring mixes from Larry Levan, is considered one of the best-ever boogie-funk records and one that helped shape the early house scene. Come June, this boogie master will be descending on Noorderlicht with a 10-piece live band in tow. It’s a performance you won’t want to miss.
As one of the mainstays of our festival, Dutchman Antal will receive more than a warm welcome when he returns to the stage for his third SSFB appearance. The founder of Rush Hour is literally a walking embodiment of his much-cherished record store and label, laying down formidable sets year after year from his bottomless crates. His performances are a lesson in how good music can exist in any style, place or time, and how the sum of its parts, under the right hands, can translate into pure gold on the dance floor.
For someone who sets out to make music solely for himself, few can be so lucky to then witness their self-indulgence manifesting as the dance floor phenomenon that is Hunee. For this Korean Berliner, who’s now based in Amsterdam, the love for his craft is unmistakable. And that’s why it’s so infectious. His debut album Hunch Music, released back in 2015, is still on everyone’s lips.
The brainchild of British musician Steven Stapleton, Nurse With Wound is inspired by the absurdities and satire found in dadaism and surrealism. What began in 1978 as an experimental project grew into more than 100 records, several dozen performances and an impressively long list of collaborators almost 40 years later. “Ridiculous”, “freaky”, “spooky”, “difficult”… are but some of the sentiments evoked when listening to typical Nurse With Would sounds. Boring is definitely not one of them. Avant-garde at its finest.
Speaking of avant-garde, how often does one experience concepts as “experimental” and “futurism” paired with dancehall music? Not unless we’re discussing the music of Jamaican duo Equiknoxx. With Bird Sound Power, the album conceived by the pair in 2016, expect to find icy drum beats, UFO synths, twisting jagged riddims and eerie bird calls. Marking a departure from traditional dancehall music, Equiknoxx will be accompanied on stage by up-and-coming vocalist Shanique Marie for a refreshing live performance.
Dutch DJ and producer I-F comes prepared with a simple mission: to make people listen to different music. It is with this in mind that he came to wear the many hats that gave the local underground movement wings – from founding the cult radio community CBS that provided many hours of obscure music listening pleasure, to now being the driving force behind Intergalactic FM, to his astronomical output and collaborations over the years, such as with Dutch techno-pioneers Unit Moebius, Bunker Record, among others.
Credited with pioneering a new music genre known as the ghetto sound of Lisbon, DJ Marfox aka Marlon Silva perfected the high-tempo Afro-Portuguese sound while growing up in Lisbon’s slums. In relative isolation from the rest of mainstream music culture, these bairros created an ideal environment for the signature style to brew and flourish. Over the years, the ghetto legend has solidified his place in the wider circuit, having released on labels as Lit City Trax, Warp Records and delivered commissioned remixes for artists such as tUnE-yArDs or Panda Bear. A figurehead of Príncipe Discos, he’s one of the big reasons for the label’s recent boost in standing.
In the three short years since breakthrough artist Silvia Jiménez Alvarez made her DJ debut as JASSS, she has gone from field recordings, to scoring for films, to then multiple releases on labels as the American Anunnaki Cartel and the Italian Mannequin Records. Her first solo album, Weightless, released just last year on Swedish label iDEAL, received much critical acclaim for her more feminine, emotive and dark jazz-inspired take on industrial music. Having once taken residence in the Netherlands for about a year back in 2010 during her pre-DJ years, this summer marks the Spanish-born artist’s return to the country; only this time with a new set of credentials.
Intricately bound to the village of Illighadad are cousins Fatou Seidi Ghali and Alamnou Akrouni of Les Filles de Illighadad (The Girls of Illighadad). Until a little over a year ago, they have barely ventured beyond their village of mudhouses in Central Niger, a place where the music industry as we know it was non-existent. Even their self-titled LP, released by Sahel Sounds in 2016, was recorded right at home, under the open sky, in the presence of clapping and singing family and friends. Fatou, who plays the guitar, is only one of two known female Tuareg guitarists in the community. Together with vocalist Alamnou, the two are revolutionizing the way how traditional Tuareg music is played alongside the tende (drums). Their music has since reached more than a few pair of ears. And this summer, they will be making their way to Amsterdam.
According to one listener, Vladimir Ivkovic’s recent RA podcast could be one that signals the end of genre wars. Such is the level of ingenuity with which this veteran of Düsseldorf’s Salon des Amateurs crafts his sets. Pretty much considered to be part of the SSFB family by now, we bore witness to his artistry when he featured on our very first Mix Series, and then later as part of last year’s festival line-up. Twice more, he let us in for a rare peek into his Library of Mysterious Compositions, leaving us wanting more. Don’t just listen to us. You’ll get a chance to check the man out for yourself when he reclaims his spot on our lineup this summer.
This may be his third outing, but we never know what to expect when Orpheu The Wizard – the eternally curious head honcho of Red Light Radio and one of our homegrown residents – gets behind the decks. Leave all your preconceived notions behind and prepare to hitch a ride to destination unknown.
The same people behind the Nyege Nyege Festival in Uganda’s Kampala region also gave birth to Nihiloxica, a dynamic and robust collaboration between seven percussionists from the indigenous percussion group Nilotica Cultural Ensemble, a drummer named Spooky J, and analogue synth player Peter Jones for a contemporary, hybrid and somewhat darker take on traditional Buganda and Busogo sounds.
Coming summer, when RAMZi opens up the portal to a universe that would otherwise exist only in her imagination, you’re advised to take her up on that invitation. Manifested by the inner child of Vancouver-based Phoebé Guillemot, the world of RAMZi is refracted through layers of fun-house mirrors and warped amplifiers. RAMZi’s latest LP Pèze-Piton was released just last month on 12th Isle, the label of NTS’ Fergus Clark, but has already been a highlight so far.
Tunisian Deena Abdelwahed is a producer with a multi-genre and avant-garde approach to traditional North African sounds. Now based in Toulouse, the one-time vocalist of a jazz and funk group whips up a harsh, confronting sound. The release of her highly acclaimed debut EP Klabb last year has kept her on the road. We’re honored that she’ll be stopping over at our festival to deliver a dose of her forward-thinking strain of music.
In recent years, Zozo aka Nigar Zeynep has been putting Istanbul on electronic music’s map. Her DJ roots could be traced back more than a decade, where she played a blend of funk, disco and some soul classics. Her music style has since evolved into what she calls “oriental crime” – sequencer-driven house, slo-mo techno, spacey electronics with a sprinkling of traditional Turkish fare. “It feels like meeting a close friend while drifting in outer space,” says Zozo of her music. As avid listeners, we can definitely say the feeling is mutual.
Our residents Luca & Mata Hari will go from serving up monthly goodies on our airwaves as hosts of SSFB’s radio show, to working the stage this summer. Expect an obscure and exotic journey that we’ve all come to be familiar with.
The bonds forged by their love for music and art have taken these two kindred spirits on many fascinating paths – up the airwaves for a monthly Tuesday Night Prayer Meeting on Red Light Radio, then on print, at installations, and behind the deck as Strange Boutique. You’re cordially invited to their curious and cosmic musical playground when Nicole Martens and Femke Dekker make their SSFB festival debut this June.
For the past decade and a half, this flying Dutchwoman has been freeing audiences all over Europe from their self-imposed shackles. Her wings? Three vinyl decks, records from her 20,000 vinyl collection, and a radical spirit. DJ Marcelle aka Another Nice Mess will leave no stones unturned when she takes to the stage. Prepare for curveballs, unprecedented moments, and pure electricity. Leave your baggage and rule book behind.
If you were expecting Giant Swan’s performance to be a graceful lull ride down the lake, you are sorely mistaken. The sound of Giant Swan is laced with amplified aggression, bastardized techno workouts and manipulated vocals, weaved together somehow to achieve a state of hypnotic nirvana. It may surprise you to discover that this stimulating sound originated entirely from two guitars, vocals and some pedals, put together by Robin Stewart & Harry Wright, two Bristol bandmates of The Naturals.
Take two Australians with a thirst for curious sounds out of their natural habitat, pair them together, throw in some German kosmische musik influences and folk music, and the new genre “krautback” is born. Die Orangen is the vehicle with which Kris Baha and Dreems hitch rides to distant outbacks. Except this coming summer, when they stop over to play a very special live set, they’ll be taking us along with them.
Identified Patient aka Job Veerman is one of the Netherlands’ freshest homebrews that emerged from the underground scene. From his releases on Rotterdam’s Pinkman and Common Thread, to his multiple future bookings for 2018 and other projects, his dark EBM-inspired machine sound is definitely making its rounds in the circuit.
Judging by the keen reviews of his debut EP Worries released just last autumn by Interstellar Funk’s Artificial Dance label, Job Sifre has got little to worry about. Not so many months ago, the industrious producer could still be considered a dark horse, having already gained a cult following with his fortnightly Antikunst show on Red Light Radio. Not so anymore. Already hot on the heels of his debut comes his second EP Bestaan, set for a February release on Knekelhuis. Currently holding a residency at De School Amsterdam, this young Amsterdammer is plotting an exciting path out for himself, all on his own terms.
mad miran is the newest addition to our family. A promising newcomer with a knack for navigating a wide array of different electronic styles.
SSFB’s third outing will take place once more on the green terrain of the waterfront-facing Noorderlicht. Situated along the Amsterdamse IJ one will find enough coolness on a hopefully beautiful weekend. And as usual there will be a diverse selection of good, wholesome food provided by our caterers.
Letta Mbulu (live with band)
Leroy Burgess (live with band)
Nurse With Wound (live)
Equiknoxx Music feat. Shanique Marie (live)
Les Filles de Illighadad (live)
Orpheu the Wizard
RAMZi (hybrid set)
Luca & Mata Hari
DJ Marcelle aka Another Nice Mess
Giant Swan (live)
Die Orangen (live)
+ more to be announced soon.
A limited amount of weekend tickets are available now via:
Day tickets will be available from mid/end February.