Festival Preview: Sharpe Festival, Bratislava, Slovakia, April 25-27, 2024 | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Friday, May 24th, 2024  

Manon Meurt

Manon Meurt, The Dharma Chain, Žen, Vanessa Weisz

Festival Preview: Sharpe Festival, Bratislava, Slovakia, April 25-27, 2024,

Apr 22, 2024 Photography by Tereza Kunderova Web Exclusive
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I’ll level with you, I am biased towards Bratislava’s Sharpe festival! For musical discovery it is exceptional, a small event with resolutely big ideas, and one of the friendliest places on Earth.

I’m such an advocate that a year after they collapsed my lung (well they didn’t really, but one of my breath-bags did deflate either during or on the way back from 2023’s Sharpe) I’m heading back for another one of their parties. Why? Because if you want to uncover esoteric sounds from Slovakia, the region and the other reaches of Europe (and the globe), there is no place better.

Yes, I’ve seen everything from glitch-accordion to twisted post-punk and desolate neo-classical amongst wonderful pop and jazz there - that’s why I return. You never quite know what you’ll get in the confines of Nová Cvernovka, and that is the fun of it!

The conference is bound to educate my addled mind with thoughts from some of the best industry minds on big topics, a lot centring on the conundrum “how in hell do we make enough money to eat from making music these days?” and “why is Daniel Ek intent on ruining the world?”, or similarly important, but less flippant topics.

That’s the thing about writing these previews, it’s guessing what an event I haven’t attended yet might be like. All I know is that, as it is Sharpe, it will be incredible. These are some of the acts I am looking forward to seeing in Bratislava this year.

Žen

I missed Žen at Ment because they clashed with Avalanche Kaito, but I am very glad to get the chance to rectify that! Recorded their genre-defying approach makes them one of the most interesting bands in Europe. They are part of the Moonlee Records roster, which is always an endorsement of quality! Their sound traverses the line between shoegaze and experimental electronics wonderfully, with pop and jazz flourishes in the mix. Yeah, got to see that.


Yard

What’s in the water in Ireland at the moment? Something must be fuelling the burst of vibrant musical creativity spawned in the Emerald Isle at present. This Dublin-lot are no different! A blinding collision of techno, noise rock and industrial music Yard sound like Scaler jamming with Gilla Band with the spit of Death Grips - a sonic sucker punch that you’ll enjoy! Looking forward to this one.


Vanessa Weisz

Slovakian artists have a real knack for subverting the pop genre! Vanessa Weisz’s dreamy pop dabbles in dark electronica with deep bluesy storytelling and captivating melodies.


The Drin

What is The Drin, exactly? To these ears the American six-piece represent that punk ideal before it got all uniform, all fashioned. The wild abandon and disregard for genre and scenes that Pere Ubu, Devo, B-52s and the like peddled, that periphery-of-punk adventuring that was more thrilling that the three-chord reductiveness of a lot of it! Post-punk essentially, they have the bite but pack in synth-rock wonkiness, krautrock precision and some kitsch ideas that don’t fit but also do. This promises to be a wonder on the live stage.


T’ien Lai

Engimatic, masked Polish experimental trio T’ien Lai don’t do the expected. They make a stalking, mesmerising off-kilter dance noise inspired by world-rhythms. In case you wondered about the band’s name, it is inspired by the fictional cigarettes in “The Man in the High Castle” TV series, translating from Japanese as ‘heavenly music. SOLD!


Manon Meurt

Consistently one of the best Czech acts Manon Meurt craft affecting tracks packed with emotion, hypnotic rhythms, soft vocals and reverb soaked guitars that often reach uplifting crescendos. The new album on Minority Records is positioning itself as one of 2024’s best releases, and they deliver all this with precision and power live. Unmissable.


The Dharma Chain

A five-piece that swapped the sunny climes of Byron Bay, Australia for the urban cool of Berlin, The Dharma Chain do a kinetic, danceable style of psych in the garage rock tradition. Shoegaze walls of sound, cool-as-ice rhythmic drive and hypnotic psychedelic organs all drive this aural force forward.

And that, of course, only scratches the surface and no doubt doesn’t even contain the best we will see in Bratislava. Sharpe, afterall, is the place for surprises, the unexpected gems.
You should be there, and tickets are still available HERE




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