September 9-13, 2009
This was the tenth anniversary edition of Stavanger's Numusic festival, a five-day banquet that centers around the notion of electronic music in all of its varied guises. This can oscillate from glittery dancefloor cheese-ploughing to mood-lit cranium-scooping experimentronix, with actual musicians often allowed to roam outside of laptop innards or mixing desk vermicelli. Sometimes acts rock hard, at others they noodle wetly. Ofttimes, jiggling about is advised as a good audience response, but it's also frequently possible to waft softly on a light cloud of ambient gloop. So-called art pollutes so-called entertainment, and vice versa.
Over the years, Numusic has expanded its program and its venue choice. This has positive and negative aspects. The increased number of acts has not resulted in any lowering of quality. The only disadvantage is that some of the venues are at opposite ends of the town, meaning that terminal choices have to be made, to avoid spending too much time in transit. Once ensconced, though, the spectator can marvel at the strength of an evening's roster, offering the chance to catch relatively high profile acts in intimate quarters.
Alongside an already variegated mainline sequence, Numusic has developed a tradition of connecting modern electronic music with its elder statesmen. Previous pioneers-in-attendance have been Karlheinz Stockhausen and Pierre Henry, both given the chance to oversee major retrospectives of their work. This year, that position is taken by Arvo P