Parcifal Werkman

Festival Preview: 12 artists to Discover at Rewire 2024

This coming weekend, The Hague will be trembling electric again with some of the planet’s most luminescent musical minds. Let’s just be reasonable here, any lineup that brandishes names like Oneohtrix Point Never, SUNN O))), Julia Holter, Jenny Hval, Ben Frost, Jlin, Loraine James and Autechre will be worth the price of admission. Rewire has always been more than just a festival: maybe more like a sonic science fair showing us how the potential of music continues to evolve towards the future. Rewire not only inspires us to experience the usual serotonin-enhancing, sensory joys of live music – it challenges us to search beyond what we already know, helping us stay humble and curious about what sound and music can unlock from within.

Last year, the prevalent storyline was Inter/relations, with many performances having some sort of conversational element. The edition’s headline project between Patti Smith and Soundwalk Collective weaved its performance around long-term correspondence; shows by Nadah El Shazly & Elvin Brandhi, Enxin / Onyx and The Paper Ensemble, on the other hand, were reciprocal in nature. Sometimes, the Inter/relation was near immediate, as we witnessed with baffled smiles during The Dwarfs of East Agouza‘s improv noise hijinks at the always charming Koorenhuis. Leading lights such as Fever Ray and Kelela – while basically carrying out their own distinct visions – seamlessly slipped into the festival’s larger thematic thread, which is of course a testament to their brilliance. Expect this year’s headliners to do much of the same.

In order to generate such immersive sounds, a predisposition to listen deeply and attentively is imperative. Which brings us to this year’s pivotal topic: When The Sound Listens Back. Rummaging through some of the enlightening articles curated by Rewire and audiovisual platform Norient, I can’t help but recall an interview I conducted with Jenny Hval way back in 2018, where she fantasised about a universe where the music becomes sentient and has the ability to transmit something back to its listener. “I’m interested in how we treat art, and what listeners get out of the work,” she said at the time. “Sometimes that’s stronger than the work itself, it can mean so much to people.”

Rewire encourages us to think deeper about our role as listeners: how listening can be an agent to break loose binary views of how sound affects us. It’s no coincidence the festival has handpicked Kiwi pianist and composer Annea Lockwood as this year’s focus artist. Lockwood’s work has an uncanny ability to unravel truths within the fragmented and non-verbal. From recording burning piano’s to creating love letters of found sound and gibberish, her work – much like the late Pauline Oliveros – gives as much credence to the listener as the performer. If this sounds a bit too high-brow to you, well, consider this. Many of the cutting-edge musical gatherings at Rewire have a way of trickling upwards to mainstream pop – better put, the mainstream pop of the future. So appeal to your inner receivers, and the sounds will indeed have a way of communicating something in return.

That being said, it always feels a bit counter-intuitive to break down Rewire in just a handful acts worth seeing. But these 12 names certainly will leave you dumbfounded in the best possible way.

Nailah Hunter

On her wondrous 2024 LP Lovegaze, Nailah Hunter chose to compose and write songs around her unique mastery of the harp, instead of the tonal qualities of her instrument being the fundamentals. The result is goosebumps inducing, ethereal pop music that takes inspiration from triphop, Joe Hishaishi’s Studio Ghibli soundtracks and medieval baroque music. Songs such as “Strange Delights” and “Garden” hover right in a spirit plane between darkness and bliss.

SUNDAY 7 APRIL – Amare Conservatoriumzaal: 21:00 – 21:45

Gazelle Twin

Gazelle Twin had to unfortunately cancel her previously scheduled performance at Rewire, which is why it’s such a thrill to have Elizabeth Bernholz into the mix this coming weekend. Bernholz’s repertoire is a hand-in-glove fit for the festival, always moving in a playful schism between folklore and futurism. Initially, Bernholz embodied different characters – like the wicked Red Imp of Pastoral – as a visual extension to her refractory industrial pop. But more and more, Bernholz had lifted the masquerade: Gazelle Twin’s latest album Black Dog seeks out the paranormal and disembodied with that same scathing wit and brazen experimentalism.

SATURDAY 6 APRIL – Koninklijke Schouwburg: 20:15 – 21:00

Deli Girls

Deli Girls are exactly how you think pop music in a present-day dystopia would sound: an unhinged, oddly catchy bricolage of deconstructed hip-hop, gaudy electro punk, and eardrum-shattering post-industrial. Everyone comes together to vent their frustration in glorious unison at a Deli Girls show: the ravers, the punks, the noiser kids, the weirdos, and the scholars. Having them all storm the murky basement of grassroots venue Grey Space in the Middle to a Deli Girls romp, well, should unfold just as you’d expect: in total chaos.

FRIDAY 5 APRIL – Grey Space In The Middle (Basement): 00:00 – 00:45

Carmen Jaci

Canadian-born, Netherlands-based artist Carmen Jaci’s album Happy Child (2023) sounds exactly like the title suggests. Imagine a Rubik’s Cube made of sound: video game bleeps, quirky chime-like chromatics, and breezy woodwinds play tag with chunky bass and airy melodies that seem to float free from gravity’s grip. It’s electronic music with a heart of play-doh, blending old-school toys and futuristic synths in a joyful ode to never really growing up. This album isn’t just music; it’s a hopscotch game for your ears, and every jump reveals a new, gleeful surprise.

SATURDAY 6 APRIL – Korzo Studio: 00:30 – 01:15

Lolo & Sosaku

This remarkable Argentine-Japanese duo turn a clinking clanking clattering collection of caliginous junk into a self-sustaining musical symphony. The End is the definition of a mad scientist project, with many Faustian theatrics to make the scenery even more of a head-spinning ordeal. Lolo & Sosaku have taken the term ‘Metal Machine Music’ even more on-the-nose than Lou Reed, constructing actual mechanical instruments that work in glorious conjunction with one another. This isn’t a bunch of stooges rubbing their chins either: Lolo & Sosaku bring an incandescent kamikaze-like physicality to their performance. This show will be a classic case of seeing is believing: a peerless skirmish between human and machine.

SUNDAY 7 APRIL – Theater aan ‘t Spui: 21:00 – 21:45

Amor Muere

The white hot experimental scene in Mexico City is well-represented at this year’s Rewire: Mabe Fratti and Hector Tosta’s project Titanic will see its long-awaited live-debut, and composer Concepción Huerta is set to present her 2024 album The Earth Has a Memory. Supergroup Amor Muere – which features Camille Mandoki and Gibrana Cervantes alongside Huerta and Fratti – is the rare project where four individuals at the peak of their creative powers coalesce seamlessly. It results in music that’s unlike anything ever created: exuberant and exploratory, yet somehow dark and sensual as well.

SATURDAY 6 APRIL – Koninklijke Schouwburg: 23:00 – 23:45

Ben Vida with Yarn/Wire & Nina Dante

This collaboration between sound artist Ben Vida, soprano vocalist Nina Dante and experimental collective Yarn/Wire (who will also reinterpret some of Annea Lockwood’s work in a different time slot) is, simply put, a whole lot of fun. Yarn/Wire’s hypnotic musical spells are the backdrop for Vida and Dante’s stream-of-consciousness lyrical meanderings – all uttered in the same monotonous cadence. You’d think that this project – entitled The Beat My Head Hit – would get annoying after awhile, but rest assured, it does not. The language is riddled with intrigue, dry humor and inventive turns of phrase. Is novelistic minimalism a term yet?

SUNDAY 7 April – Amare Conservatoriumzaal: 16:45 – 17:30

ML Buch

Marie Louise Buch’s misty synth pop has a way of magnifying the mundane and ordinary into winsome lightbulb awakenings. The elusive magic of her music doesn’t just lie in the Danish artist’s gifted smarts as a composer and soundscaper, but just as much in her leisurely, unflustered disposition as a performer – it’s as if she’s watching and processing the world in extreme slow motion. As a result, ML Buch’s songs contain an abundance of sometimes conflicting emotions, all dissolved in a soothing primordial soup of voice and melody.

SATURDAY 6 APRIL – Korzo Zaal: 22:00 – 22:45

Lonnie Holley

Within the starkness of day-to-day reality, we’ve been hard-pressed to believe in a universe of wizards and mystics. But Lonnie Holley is the closest thing we have to someone who can manifest magic out of thin air wherever he sets foot. Whether he’s gathering ditched materials and converts them into sacred talismans – or frogmarches decades of lived experience into spirituals of healing and astonishment, Holley is a cherished singularity on both This Planet and Otherwheres.

FRIDAY 5 APRIL – Amare Danstheater: 19:00 – 20:00


You’ll find your ‘WTF?’-sense tingling countless times at Rewire, and it’ll go a hundred percent ballistic once plus44Kaligula takes the stage. Cally Statham’s music sounds like an alien cyborg discovering the works of later era Scott Walker, Laurie Anderson and David Bowie from a stray distorted single, then attempting to replicate it with her own bio-organic technology. And that’s exactly what plus44Kaligula’s custom-made crown-shaped microphone structure looks like. This is the kind of pop music we expect to hear on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, not the city of The Hague. It doesn’t get much more Rewire than this.

SATURDAY 6 APRIL – Korzo Studio: 19:00 – 19:45

Aunty Rayzor

A Rewire bout will discombobulate your cranium many times over, which makes the cravings for sassy bleeding-edge bangers all the sweeter. When it comes to that, Aunty Rayzor surely knows the assignment. Bisola Olugbenga’s carefully crafted hip-hop alchemy – plucking influences from her homeland Nigeria, fringe club movements and modern pop – is razor-sharp, infectious and positively rambunctious. The wreckage she’ll leave in her wake in The Hague is bound to go viral.

SATURDAY 6 APRIL – PAARD II: 00:00 – 00:45

Laura Ortman

Violin-player and composer Laura Ortman is, simply put, incredible: she looks like she could easily moonlight as a session player for John Tesh’s Big Band in-between her own incandescent boundary-shattering performances. In her role as a soloist, Ortman will inevitably draw the ooh’s and aah’s with the way she can make her violin sound like, well, anything you can think of basically. It doesn’t get more audacious than seeing a musician so intimately familiar with her instrument, performing in such swashbuckling, show-stopping fashion. Ortman’s music is simultaneously a heartfelt and cathartic experience, her compositions delineating and reconstructing her Apache heritage. A masterclass in musical storytelling and eye-popping inventiveness. Laura Ortman deserves a standing O, and she will inevitably get one.

SUNDAY 7 APRIL – Koorenhuis: 16:00 – 16:45

For more information on Rewire Festival, check out the official website.