Jazz, Death Metal, Electronica and Rock feature on the lineup for Dark Mofo 2016

One of Australia’s most unique and adventurous festivals, Dark Mofo will be sweeping through Hobart this June for 11 days of what is being described as a “maelstrom of cultural pandemonium”, casting its multifaceted shadow over various nooks and crannies, as well as theatres, warehouses, and hubs, across the city. The program planned to fit across Friday 10th to Tuesday 21st June has now been unveiled, characteristically quirky and full of weird, wondrous, and stimulating events spanning arts, music, food, film, light, and noise.

For music lovers, festival organisers have curated artists from around the world to unleash upon Hobart with a deliciously dark aesthetic, bringing everything from deep, pulsating electronica and noise to jazz and punk for what’s shaping up to be one of the most left-field lineups in the festival’s short but impressive history.

Mysterious UK producer ZHU has been tapped to headline Dark Mofo’s opening night party at festival hub Neon City (in Macquarie Wharf Shed No.2) with his decidedly dark blend of electronica and deep house (Friday 10th June) supported by Oscar Key Sung, Kucka and more, fronting a whole weekend full of unmissable sets by the likes of Japanese sound artist Ryoji Ikeda (Saturday 11th June) who will perform a battle of digital noise, blips, and bass drones created from raw data and mathematical models, and Welsh dark ambient pioneer Lustmord (Sunday 12th June).

Ikeda will also be bringing an immersive sensory installation to Mona called supersymmetry, highlighting the extension of space-time symmetry that relates to two basic classes of elementary particles (boson and fermion) to help explain why particles have mass. It will take place in Mona during museum hours for the duration of the festival.

Red Bull Music Academy (RBMA) will be presenting a live show of hard, discordant sounds titled Ephemera with Tim Hecker and Berlin-based lighting wizard Marcel Weber (AKA MFO) (Wednesday 15th June), the same night as Hymns to the Dead, a collection of loud, dark metal from the likes of Cult of Fire, Tribulation, Dead Congregation and Inverloch, all of whom will be darkening up the Odeon Theatre.

Black Arm Band will be joined by True North to tell women’s stories through women’s songs on Sunday 12th June, and Tom Vincent Octet will perform Dhāraṇī, new extended jazz compositions across Tuesday 14th and Wednesday 15th June. Meanwhile Denver-based music performance group Itchy-O will be taking their LED-lit sombreros for surprise pop-up gigs throughout the festival.

Complex singer-songwriter Chelsea Wolfe will be performing her only Australian show alongside interdisciplinary artist Jarboe (of Swans) and Brooklyn composer JG Thrilwell who will be presenting electro-acoustic set Chelora Nocebo (Friday 17th June).

Compelling London rockers Savages will do a set at the Odeon Theatre on Saturday 18th June.

Black Box, a pop-up performance space near industrial playground Dark Park, will be open from Saturday 11th to Sunday 19th June and feature numerous displays including an ensemble of young performers and musicians delivering a hallucinatory theatrical event called The Bacchae (Friday 17th, Saturday 18th, and Sunday 19th June), right alongside aforementioned shows from RBMA, Ikeda, and Lustmord.

String quartets and soloists will take to St David’s Cathedral for The Heart of Darkness on Solstice Night (Monday 20th June), a night after Ukranian maestro Lubomyr Melnyk presents hypnotic incantation Rivers and Streams at Federation Concert Hall in his only Australian show.

Dark Mofo’s widely popular after-hours, art-party Blacklist will be back for four nights of sin at Hobart City Hall and surrounds on Saturday 11th, Sunday 12th, Friday 17th, and Saturday 18th June (10pm to late), while another party, The Funeral Party will serve as the festival’s gothic gala costume ball in Turnbull Family Funerals (Thursday 16th June).

“As we head into the oncoming storm of Dark Mofo, we are pleased to reveal the lineup for the 2016 festival”, said the festival’s Creative Director Leigh Carmichael. “There are a number of initiatives that we are very excited about this year, the central one being the collaboration with the Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery (TMAG).” That initiative is embodied as the museum’s major winter exhibition, Tempest, which will present a romantic shipwreck of piracy and wild weather with historic works from TMAG and other state collections alongside new works from artists the world over.

All the above and more will be spun into a dramatic and inspiring 11 days. For full program details head to www.darkmofo.net.au, where tickets will be on sale from 11am Monday 11th April AEDT.


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Chris Singh

Chris Singh is an Editor-At-Large at the AU review, loves writing about travel and hospitality, and is partial to a perfectly textured octopus. You can reach him on Instagram: @chrisdsingh.