A Guide to the Final Communikey Festival

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The eighth and final edition of the Communikey Festival gets under way starting at 1 p.m. on Thursday, April 16, with Colorado-based ambient artist Radere performing a DJ set at eTown Hall in Boulder. The music and visual-art offerings for this year's festival are an amalgam of the avant-garde and innovative electronic music, visionary multimedia art and film that has been at the core of the festival since its inception. Here is a brief guide to some of the highlights of the sights and sounds on offer. For more details and to buy tickets, please visit cmky.org.

Thursday | April 16, 2015

1 p.m. - Radere @ eTown Hall: Carl Ritger's textured sounds blur the line between abstract guitar music and blissed-out synthesis.

3:30 p.m. - Pax Amo @ eTown Hall: Seth Nichols's deep house and minimal techno are informed by his vast knowledge of music well beyond the realm of the electronic.

4 - 6 p.m. - Wearables Workshop With Jen Lewin: Part 1 @ The Studio: This is a workshop in which you can paint and decorate a silk scarf and learn about techniques for making interactive sculptures.

6 p.m. - Experimental Housewife @ eTown Hall: For almost two decades, this project has been creating a diverse body of work that can't be split neatly into any subgenre of electronic music. But anyone with a certain affinity for early Future Sound of London cast in modern sensibilities or contemporary electronic drones — like those employed by the likes of Tim Hecker, recent Andy Stott and Klara Lewis — will find much to appreciate in an Experimental Housewife set.

7 p.m. - Charles Cohen @ eTownHall: The primary composer employing the Buchla Easel, Cohen was ahead of his time in 1971 when he was showing the exceptional range of that early electronic instrument. These days, the world is catching up with Cohen's sound ideas, but he still sounds like he's ahead of the creative curve in the realm of minimal synth composition.

8 p.m. - Lone Dancer @ Madelife: In the world of modern techno, Miles Hurwitz is pushing the boundaries of form with his use of strong and distinct beats rather than drawn-out atmospheres. It's a bit of a return to older, harder-edged techno, while also using modern production techniques.

Starting at 8 p.m. - The Communichords @ Madelife: This is an interactive, multi-player, audio/visual installation that can be found throughout the festival. Check the Communikey schedule to find out where and when you can try it out.

10 p.m. - Roger That @ Madelife: Playing a set after Lone Dancer, Roger Soave will be displaying his talent for weaving together a kind of hard techno beat with deep yet subtle, atmospheric melodies making for the kind of music that wouldn't sound out of place on a hip-hop track or in a shadowy dance club.

Friday | April 17, 2015

1 - 3 p.m. - Film Screening of The End of Time: This is filmmaker Peter Mettler's exploration of the subject of time through scenes from around the world and in a wide ray of environments including Switzerland's particle accelerator, Detroit's vast urban decay and Hindu funerary rites.

4 - 6 p.m. - Wearables Workshop With Jen Lewin: Par 2 @ The Studio

7:15 - 9:15 p.m. - Neel and Clinker @ Atlas Theater: The ambient techno of Neel and Clinker would be worth recommendation on its own. but getting to experience that music at the truly multi-media extravaganza possible at the Atlas Theater on the CU campus will be a memorable experience.

9 p.m. - Early Morning Hours - Silent Season Showcase @ Odd Fellow's Hall Boulder: This influential modern techno collective will is bringing some of its heavy hitters for a full night of some of the better electronic music happening in north America today with the likes of Jamie McCue, Segue, Refracted and Danthon. 

Saturday | April 18, 2015

4 p.m. - Ponyrok @ eTown Hall: Ponyrok's creative sculpting of low end and electronic percussion adds a much-needed punch to modern techno and house.

1 - 3 p.m. - CMKY Max Workshop: Synthesize, Control, Interact with Sean Peuquet @ Madelife: This is a two hour workshop on the development and use of Max7.

7 - 9 p.m. -Normal Ones and Lichens @ eTown hall: Boulder's Normal Ones balance well between more accessible and melodic experimental electronic compositions as well as darkly abstract pieces. Lichens' psychedelic ambient work sounds like he's been to an alien civilization and brought back some new ideas for what music can sound like and be with his own multi-media presentations.

10 p.m. - 6 a.m. - Pagan Metalwork @ Apex Movement: If you're looking to have an experience that is a lot like raves in the '90s minus the downside, this is where you want to be this night, with sets from Paul Fleetwood, Erika, music technology pioneer Paula Temple, Orphx, Christina Chatfield, the Pool and Audio Pixel.

Sunday | April 19, 2015

10:30 a.m. - Time For Trees and Brandon Brown @ Shine: Have some breakfast and coffee with some IDM inflected techno.

2 - 10 p.m. - We Shall Always Be Outside @ Central Park, Boulder: This is an outdoor event free to the public and all ages and will close out the festival with the music of FOANS, Erin E. Stridah and Neel. 

If you'd like to contact me, Tom Murphy, on Twitter, my handle is @simianthinker.

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