International Festival of Digital Creativity and Electronic Music
WHO: Polish musicians Jakub Kuba Ziołek (also known for Stara Rzeka, Ed Wood, Alameda 3, Duży Jack, Innercity Ensemble, Hokei, Kapital and Part of the Milieu L'Acephale collective). Łukasz Jędrzejczak (So Slow, Alameda 5), Rafał Kołacki (Hati, Innercity Ensemble, Mammoth Ulthana) and Mikołaj Zieliński (Alameda Trio, Alameda 5, Rara)
STYLE: Analog electronic and electro-acoustic techno and psychedelic noise, post-industrial krautrock and drone, live polyrhythmic percussion
LATEST WORK: RHTHM (2015), Da'at (2013)
LABELS: Monotype Records/Milieu L'Acéphale
MORE: The name T’ien Lai comes from a Japanese brand of cigarettes smoked by the main character in a Philip K. Dick novel – it roughly translates to “celestial or heavenly music.”
Rooted in underground DIY music scenes ranging from metal and hardcore to jazz and folk, T’ien Lai turns a trancelike krautrock chug into glitchy, grimy minimal techno or a silvery synth line textured in reverb and distortion. Polyrhythmic percussion fills out drones and melodic psychedelia, approaching a raw, hypnotic club music. Live, the band digs into its collectively vast improvisation background in jazz, rock, punk, post-industrial and electronic music, unearthing a cosmic multitude of sound.
Founded by prolific musicians Łukasz Jędrzejczak and Jakub Kuba Ziołek, Ziołek in particular, draws from Le Corbusier's brutalist architecture and magic realism, penning a manifesto that calls his approach “Magical Brutalism:" a radical cosmic materialism wherein humans are merely more raw matter within nature. Following on that theory, T’ien Lai released Da’at in 2013, a uniquely unhinged study in kosmische techno. Percussionists Kołacki and Zieliński joined the duo in 2014, boosting T’ien Lai’s sound into massive and extreme territory on the glitchy, plunderphonic RHTHM album, adding even more musicians into a rhythmic tumult bordering on genre-hopping chaos conjured from vintage and cracked effects, synthesizers, guitars, percussion instruments, scratched and sampled vinyl and radio frequencies.
After performances at last fall’s Unsound in Krakow and this spring’s CTM in Berlin, T’ien Lai descends on MUTEK on Saturday night, situated appropriately underground in the MAC where from behind scarf-masked faces, electronics and drum kits the quartet unleashes a throng of improvised ritualistic music.
Presented in collaboration with Unsound Festival with the support of the Polish Cultural Institute New York and the Consulate General of the Republic of Poland in Toronto.