Sonic Circuits, the massive regional experimental music festival, will return to alienate uncool parents and fans of Top 40 radio September 14-18 this year (with a pre-fest fundraiser on the 13th). Overall it’s a smaller affair: Esteemed arts institutions the Kennedy Center and La Maison Francaise are out, Bella Cafe & Restaurant is in. But there are a couple interesting additions, including the Silver Spring Sound Machine (September 18), a free-of-charge “public collective creation/construction/performance of a large rolling sound sculpture/junk instrument” in Silver Spring’s Veteran Plaza.
The festival doesn’t boast the huge headliners it did the past couple years, like Faust and Jandek in 2009, or Fennesz, Magma, and Merzbow from last year. But Sonic Circuits Festival director Jeff Surak points out that the 2011 event brings several local and national premieres—-longtime conceptual group The Haters has never been to D.C. before, nor have cellist Okkyung Lee, German improviser Annette Krebs, Berlin-based tape artist Rinus Van Alebeek, or pan-Atlantic group Voltage Spooks. And of course, the customary eclecticism remains intact. “People will experience a mix of approaches each night,” says Surak, including “free improv, noise, sound art, drone, Hindustani vocal music, minimalism, and really really unclassifiable stuff, sometimes all within the same piece.”