Trans Musicales 2015 preview

Feature by Colm McAuliffe | 17 Nov 2015
  • Lizzo at Trans Musicales 2014

The Trans Musicales festival, which has been running in the ornate city of Rennes since 1979, is an incomparably idiosyncratic and challenging festival. It’s also an insane amount of fun; many of the supposed headline acts start at ridiculous hours of day or night, the sequencing is all over the shop – scuttling from venue to venue is like going back and forth from a never-ending and slightly demented lucky dip – and the emphasis is on unfettered and unfiltered discovery. If anyone is tired of seeing the same old acts crop up on every festival bill, then Trans Musicales is the place for you.

The 2015 event looks set to be another maelstrom of musical madness, helmed – as has been the case since the beginning – by Jean-Louis Brossard. Certainly Brossard curates the festival in a rather mercurial style but perhaps the man simply refuses to adhere to the traditional, conservative model of festival programming: Trans Musicales defiantly does not chronologically order the acts from the relative unknowns to absolute crowd pleasers. In this regard, Brossard is more akin to a multi-disciplinary curator, weaving his own personal stamp on the line-up with scant recourse for standard practice.

Nevertheless, it’s not all mindless obscurity. Techno/industrial provocateur Powell embarks on his electronic poundings on the Saturday evening; presumably, the Breton hardcore will have already been pounded into submission – or perhaps will be still going strong – from the previous night’s set from equally electrifying Parisian DJ triumvirate Apollonia.

Meanwhile, twenty-one year old Londoner Georgia, already a Domino Records veteran and Leftfield associate, plys her tribal grime nocturamas at midnight on Thursday while on the same day, Sebastien Forrester, aka Holy Strays, brings his dreamy, near-classical electronic atmospheres to the appropriately named L’Etage venue.

While on the topic of appropriate names, The Skinny doubts – in fact, is certain – that anyone can top the magnificently monikered France for sheer nominative determinism. Inspired by the anaesthetic repetitions of vintage La Monte Young, Terry Riley and Neu!, the trio are a rather powerful live proposition and hail from the wonderful Standard In-Fi label.

There’s tons more we're excited to witness – the introspective, classy pop (and impeccable dandy-ish stylings) of La Mverte, the jumpy prog produced by Swiss outfit Klaus Johann Grobe – but the joy of Trans Musicales is always in the unknowing. And this is what makes the annual December jaunt one of the definitive European music festivals, even after thirty-six years.

The Skinny at Trans Musicales:

 Awake on Foreign Shores: Trans Musicales 2011

 Team Ghost, Madeon and Netsky at Trans Musicales 2012

 Let It Rennes: Trans Musicales 2013

 WIFE, Lizzo and Kate Tempest at Trans 2014

Trans Musicales 2015 takes place in Rennes, France from 2-6 December