A big advantage for music lovers in the colder days that we’re undeniably facing: One finally can seek shelter in nice indoor locations. Even better if you stumble upon a delicately curated indoor festival like the Transcentury Update in Leipzig, taking place from November 17th to 19th in Leipzig. Advertised as the ‘festival for explicit art and music’ the people behind it are about to establish the happening as a true insider tip with distinguished names in its line-up.

Names like John Maus, Thurston Moore and Alex Cameron forge a bridge from legend to contemporary. But predominantly, the line-up as a whole presents artistry that, indeed, transcends genres and induces a willingness to surprise within the audience.

Rather than just celebrate the escapism the Transcentury Update is a festival that promises to raise questions: About identity, truth and fiction; about the relation between artist and audience, stage and auditorium, feedback and singularity.

A notion that managed to attract someone like John Maus to play one of his two (!) shows in Germany in the impressive halls of UT Connewitz, an old Cinema/Theatre built more than 100 years ago. Maus himself clearly is a renowned performer – though not in the typical stage hog sense: His shows are an exercise in both vicinity and distance. He loses it, he struggles, he mesmerizes.

John Maus – Photo: Steve Mullenbach

And speaking of feedback and explicit art, there are few musicians like Maus who are as much artists as media theorists. Especially the idea of positive feedback as a subversive power had a huge impact on his new album Screen Memories as he recently told NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION:

One way to approach truth is through positive feedback, in the sense of control systems. Turning the channels and the senders and the receivers – the media, the materiality of that media – on itself. Make it transmit that very materiality over and over again, so that in the end, there’s wild oscillation. It’s about determined irreconcilability with the world as it stands.

It might be rather uncommon for a festival to highlight ideas, theories and concepts behind the music as much as the Transcentury Update does – here, the intellectual work of the artists is blatantly highlighted: Also applying to someone like Roy Montgomery, legendary avantgarde instrumentalist and Environmental Management professor in Christchurch, New Zealand.

On the other hand, there is someone like the Australian Alex Cameron. Not nearly as intellectual or tempted by coldness. His songs: a warm, swinging hug – but with lyrical thorns. He elegantly plays with roles, identities and ‘authenticity’, whatever that may mean.

Alex Cameron and his artistic partner Roy Molloy – photo: Cara Robbins

Alex Cameron: I find a lot of truth in fiction. I observe the news, and I try to understand science, but the majority of my development comes from fiction. A good story is relatable and transformative.

The Transcentury Update might just be celebrating its second edition. But it already promises to be one of those rare that delicately wrong-foot you.

Just like Brecht once claimed his infamous ‘Glotzt nicht so romantisch!’, this is a festival that aims to challenge your perception and give you a good time while being irritated by explicit art.

Transcentury Update Festival No.2 – UT Connewitz, Leipzig – Nov. 17th to 19th

With: Alex Cameron, Fun Fare, Jane Weaver, John Maus, Love Theme, Midori Takada, Roy Montgomery, Olimpia Splendid, Thurston Moore Group

Additional infos and tickets right here.