LEM outline – Weird, without trying.


A man with a spider crab epitomises LEM.

LEM! Barcelona’s established, experimental music festival c.1996! It mushroomed out of a clump of alternative spaces in the Gràcia area, later infiltrating more comfy institutions downtown such as Macba and CaixaForumWhat to expect: A two week programme for *experimental* tastes. The best thing about it: Its raggedy coolness, off-beat but professional. The electronica and ‘cinematic’ stuff is mesmerising. The least best thing about it: The jazz saxophone. The clickety-click of the photographer during shows. Why so loud? Why so many? Perhaps to make it seem like there’s some skill to the profession. For LEM 2011 an overview,  Performances by local bands in little spaces evoke the true spirit of LEM. Catalan groups La Mosca, Soyzu, Mireia Tejero & Adele Madau and Duot opened the festival on the 19th. The spaces, bars, culture centres, dance spaces were and are worth discovering for themselves: Circuit Torçat, Espai EART, La Caldera, and Eat Meat gallery (silly name). On the 20th, La Fontana for funk and swing, Residual Gurus, Libas Traum Tri, and frantic Italians Chupaconcha (that’s a very rude word I’m not going to explain it). A session at culture space NIU in Poblenou features Ragul and Vernier 1418 (23rd). Sax splurges on itself in a special 12hour broadcast on Ràdio Gràcia 107.7 fm (27th). CaixaForum hosted one of the more interesting musical events (21st) when the cinematic sounds of Murcof and Philippe Petit (not the high wire guy, obviously), were perpetrated by the trumpet of Mark Cunningham. In Macba’s subterranean auditorium, veteran American percussionist Ted Daniel and trumpeter Charlie Collins team up (22nd), and Portuguese violinist and electronic musician Carlos Zingaro performs with his Electroacustic Ensemble (28th). Zingaro also appears with saxophonist Liba Villavecchia for ‘Impronit’ in Gràcia’s Elèctric Bar (26th), although even an improvisational encounter between these two practised performers may feel staged. Finally, back to La Fontana for something sweet and tuneful (29th), Catalan vocals and soft electronica from Cargo, plus Graves, Institut Fatima, and DJ Gonzo signing LEM off.