Soundcloud likes if-this-then-that'd to Tumblr
Soundcloud likes if-this-then-that'd to Tumblr

SONIC ACTS ACADEMY: A TIMELINE LINE-UP


04 March 2016

Juha is part of the curatorial team of this year's Sonic Acts Academy in Amsterdam. For its zine, he wrote about how the programme gradually surfaced from the depths of the web.

Yoneda Lemma, performing at The Long Progress Bar in Brighton in 2015
Yoneda Lemma, performing at The Long Progress Bar in Brighton in 2015

With almost 30 artists from 4 different continents and countless cities and scenes, this year’s line-up for the Sonic Acts Academy night at Paradiso on 27 February is Sonic Acts’ and Viral Radio’s most ambitious to date. It is also the programme created nearest to real-time: the last confirmation came less than a month before the Academy takes place. Because of how it all came about, more than timely, it is a timeline festival.

If we used to discover new artists via Boomkat, or via forensically filtering labels on discogs.com, now we spend our day surfing Soundcloud, switching between its automated recommendation algorithm and our own tumblings deep down the rabbit hole of known and unknown profiles. Occasionally you follow a link to outside domains, such as Instagram, Twitter and Bandcamp, only to get even more lost in high-pressure areas of social network weather.

It’s a rewarding and often riveting form of research, tuning the algorithms to refine your search results. In the end it all comes down to listening to a lot of music, formulating criteria on the fly. It’s all quite intuitive, and very social: you do not only listen to your own judgement, at the same time you inform it by listening to others too, either directly or by-proxy via the algorithms.

On 27 February, there will be artists from NON, Endless, Janus, Staycore, Knives and Progress Bar, traveling from cities such as Capetown, Copenhagen, Brighton, Berlin, Oslo and London, playing electronic music fueled by R&B, kuduro, grime, reggaeton, techno, kizomba and internet field recordings.

This line-up is a screenshot of our recent timeline. It reaches farther outside our previous filter bubbles, and goes deeper down the rabbit hole of internet music culture than ever before. Given the nature of this process, there are many artists that aren’t part of the festival line-up this time. Fortunately there will be other events in the future, such as Progress Bar, where we can continue to expand our timeline.

Some of the most interesting activity online today isn’t immediately visible in your timeline. Who follows who and who likes what on Twitter and Soundcloud is parked in peripheral streams outside our focus. It is in these streams, at the edges of the internet, where our programme first surfaced.

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Lighthouse and Sonic Acts present a special season of Progress Bar in Amsterdam in 2016. Progress Bar is Lighthouse’s regular night for “cutting edge thinking and dancing” (FACT Magazine 2015), and presents a lively mix of talks, screenings, performance and a club in a single night. The next edition takes place on 26 March.


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