CULTURE

Early Synch Festival takes its vibe to the city

Now set to enter its fourth year, the Synch Festival, undoubtedly the local concert circuit’s most avant-garde annual summer music event, returns earlier than usual, from July 22 to 24, at a different venue, the Technopolis complex in Gazi, downtown Athens. There is an important reason for the event’s venue and date switch from September. For the first time, the Synch festival is being held within the framework of the Hellenic Festival, the Culture Ministry’s state-supported summer cultural series. All three previous Synch events had been staged on the outskirts of Athens, in Lavrion, at the Technological and Cultural Park, whose facilities once operated as the country’s first power plant. Performing on the final night, Method of Defiance ranks as the highlight event on the three-day schedule’s sizable offering of some 40 live shows and 10 DJ sets. Method of Defiance features Bill Laswell, without exaggeration one of the most prolific artists in contemporary music – as performer, producer and label chief – and a longtime pivotal figure on New York City’s underground scene. His bass-heavy and intriguingly atmospheric fusion has drawn a worldwide cult following for Laswell, who has worked at a relentless rate of several albums a year since the early 80s. Guest appearances on well-received recordings by the likes of David Byrne, John Zorn, and Fred Frith established Laswell as an important musical figure in New York City’s musical community. In 1983, Laswell entered the mainstream with his production of Herbie Hancock’s smash hit «Rockit,» which he co-wrote. Not long afterward, Laswell became even more ubiquitous, playing bass on albums by a variety of major acts, including Mick Jagger, Peter Gabriel, Laurie Anderson, and Yoko Ono. Also on board Method of Defiance is another prominent figure, Bernie Worrell, who is expected in Athens about a fortnight after a show here by a former legendary band leader of his, the funk pioneer George Clinton. Worrell, a child protege on the piano, united forces with Clinton in 1970 as a member of Funkadelic for the groundbreaking and influential act’s debut album «Free Your Mind and Your Ass Will Follow.» A classically trained pianist at 3 years old, Worrell spent his childhood playing with symphonies and orchestras but later on discovered sounds beyond classical. By the time he went to college, Worrell had begun playing with a number of local bands before meeting Clinton for an extended and fertile stretch into new musical territory. Worrell remained with Clinton and Funkadelic’s successor act P-Funk until the early 80s. He then joined The Talking Heads as both a session contributor and touring musician with the new wave-funk band right through its split in the early 90s. Besides the performing bands and DJ sets, the Synch Festival will also feature workshops, lectures, and a section focused on the examination and presentation of new media. For schedule details and ticket information see www. synch. gr.