Substrata 1.4: Mika Vainio, Carl Hultgren, Akira Rabelais, Koen Holtkamp, and more selected to perform at this year’s guaranteed mental puddling

Substrata 1.4: Mika Vainio, Carl Hultgren, Akira Rabelais, Koen Holtkamp, and more selected to perform at this year's guaranteed mental puddling

By now, Substrata in Seattle needs no introduction, and for that you can blame not a popularity bordering on Bieber influenza but a desire on the part of its curator, Rafael Anton Irisarri, to put on an event that embraces the margins in nearly every possible way.

Try imagining a Substrata on the scale of the sort-of-nearby Sasquatch! Festival, and you’ll be forcing a belief in conceptual oxymoron. There are no headliners at the former, despite varying degrees of notoriety and the order in which the artists perform. The performances themselves come from artists who would commonly receive a confusing glance and a slow removal from the conversation if you mentioned their names to a random pedestrian. And the Chapel Performance Space, on the fourth floor of Good Shepherd Center, exists not only on the fringes as a local music venue (it’s the regular site for the “adventurous” sounds of the Wayward Music Series), but it also lies a few blocks off the main drag of the otherwise residential Wallingford neighborhood. What, were you expecting KeyArena?

Of course there’s the music, which shirks accessibility in favor of aural and mental exploration, begetting an almost contradictory haze of self-awareness at the end of each night. This year’s edition, set to take place July 17-19 (with a separately-ticketed “sonic retreat” to the Olympic Peninsula July 20-21), will feature performances from Mika Vainio, Markus Guentner, Julia Kent, Carl Hultgren (of Windy & Carl), Sanso-Xtro, Koen Holtkamp, Akira Rabelais, Evan Caminiti (of Barn Owl), and Mamiffer.

According to Irisarri, Vainio’s booking in particular had been a long time coming, and it’s part of a greater desire to avoid a lineup consisting of “usual suspects.” By contrast, it’s difficult to affect changes among the audience from year to year, especially with an event as awesome, rare, and consistent as this one.

Contribute to the Substrata fundraising campaign here. Tickets/passes available at the link below.

• Substrata: http://www.substratafestival.com

Most Read