LEM is Barcelona’s established, experimental music festival that mushroomed out of a clump of alternative spaces in Gràcia, and now calls on larger institutions to cater for larger acts.
While you can’t fault the 10-day programme for quality, for those who loved the ragged coolness of LEM (the weird bleeps, the neon smoke, the shouting), some of this year’s performances might feel a little slick. Taking part are an impressive array of professional musicians from all over the world and if one instrument predominates it’s the jazz saxophone, not very experimental, but which nevertheless is indulged in a special 12-hour marathon broadcast on Ràdio Gràcia 107.7 fm (27th).
It is the live performances by local bands in little spaces that evoke the true spirit of LEM. On the 19th, take a tour around Gràcia, where Catalan groups La Mosca, Soyzu, Mireia Tejero & Adele Madau and Duot perform in venues worth discovering: Circuit Torçat, Espai EART, La Caldera, and Eat Meat gallery. On the 20th, stay put at La Fontana for funk and swing courtesy of Residual Gurus, Libas Traum Tri and frantic Italians Chupaconcha. A session at culture space NIU in Poblenou features Ragul and Vernier 1418 (23rd).
CaixaForum hosts one of the more interesting musical events when the cinematic sounds of Murcof and Philippe Petit are perpetrated by the trumpet of Mark Cunningham (21st). In MACBA’s subterranean auditorium, veteran American trumpeter Ted Daniel and percussionist 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 on the 26th, although even an improvisational encounter between these two practised performers may end up feeling 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 for another year.
www.gracia-territori.com. October 19th to 29th, 2011