Pitchfork Announces Midwinter Festival At Chicago Art Institute

Anybody who’s experienced a Chicago winter knows that it can get pretty rough, and by mid-February, the days can just drag on. Pitchfork has announced the perfect way to pick yourself out of the gloom with the first ever Midwinter Music and Art Experience.

Held in collaboration with The Art Institute of Chicago, on February 15-17 Chicago’s most iconic art museum will host a number of bands and artists performing original pre-recorded compositions, unearthed recordings, and soundscapes around their halls and venues for a one of a kind experience. Pitchfork Festival Director, Adam Krefman, has crafted the event to “[open] a dialogue between mediums…creating a unique cultural event” for patrons this Winter. As always, Pitchfork is bringing an ambitious and culturally insightful way to interact with the music community in Chicago.

Jacqueline Terrassa, of the Women’s Board Chair of Learning and DevePublig Engagement at the Art Institute believes that “Midwinter expands the possibilities of what audiences can experience in at an art museum,” and we do as well.

Picture this – you walk up the Art Institute steps in the falling snow and bone-chilling cold. Into the warmth, you enter and are greeted by the other-worldly sounds of Mary Lattimore’s harp melting away any midwinter slump. As you take in the priceless art pieces by legendary artists such as Georgia O’Keeffe and Monet, housed within the museum, you come across a heavenly sound emanating from the soundscape demonstration by iconic ambient duo Stars of The Lid. Taking in the sounds of Euphoria, you enter into the Rubloff Auditorium and experience the out of body free jazz from the enigma that is Kamasi Washington. Sounds pretty life changing right? We think so too.

Tickets are set to go on sale to the general public Friday, November 16th at 10am CT. A three-night weekend base ticket is priced at $127.50, and single night tickets will start at $50. The additional performances will cost an add-on fee of $15.

We predict this is going to be the best thing to happen to Chicago all winter (and sell out quickly). Explore some of the WLUW favorites that will perform and make this event such a phenomenal time below!

FRIDAY, February 15:

Sudan Archives – Based out of LA, Sudan Archives is the performance name of Brittney Parks, who released a 2018 WLUW favorite of 2018 – the Sink EP. Her sensual brand of modern RnB jumbles together the vibes of neon lights, smoke-filled clubs, eastern strings, sleek electronica, and just simply exudes cool and calm. You can catch her sure to be slick set in the Fullerton Hall.

Mount Eerie – One of the most moving albums to come out this year was Mount Eerie’s Now Only and it could bring tears to your eyes thinking of the emotional possibilities of a Mount Eerie set a setting such as the Art Institute. The album was put out following the death of Phil Elverum, the man behind the Mount Eerie moniker, so you know the art and music he creates comes from a real place, deep within him. True emotion is what you’ll experience at his set at Midwinter. Not one to be missed.

William Basinski – Classically trained composer William Basinski has carved out such a highly regarded name for himself over the years within the avant-garde and ambient music spheres. One reason for his legendary status is his work entitled The Disintegration Loops. Regarded by many as one of the most seminal musical works of the 21st Century, finally released in 2003, it is one of the most hauntingly beautiful, melancholy yet tranquil pieces of art. Its extended loops and its sound of decay can lull a listener into a trance or give them the headspace to go deep within their own minds. Basinski will perform his gorgeous work with the Chicago Philharmonic on Friday, as well as perform for a second time at Midwinter on Saturday. You will want to be there to experience one of the world’s best living composer perform one of his career’s finest works.

Slowdive – With the triumphant return of Slowdive that came with 2017’s self-titled album, the legendary British shoegaze band will continue to grace the world with the transcending dream pop that they make sound so effortlessly and surreal. It is so good to think that their reunion was not just a one-off event, they’re here and they’re sticking at Midwinter and if you’re already familiar with the magic that is Slowdive, you can imagine how transcendent experiencing their music in such a breathtaking location will be, and if you’ve yet to delve into their swirls of ecstasy, do yourself a favor and give them a listen, and then bring a few tissues to dry your eyes when you go see them at Midwinter.

SATURDAY, February 16:

Deerhunter – Deerhunter recently announced the 2019 release of their latest album Why Hasn’t Everything Already Disappeared? along with a string of tour dates and surprised a few who noticed that Chicago was not listed as a stop on that tour. Well, …now we know why! And WLUW is ecstatic to be able to once again catch the performance from the Georgia indie rock legends who have famously incorporated shoegaze, noise rock, indie and punk, and old-fashioned rock and roll into their sets sometimes accompanied by the eccentric antics of frontman Bradford Cox. This is such a quality band who know how to do it right and are not one to be missed at Midwinter

Serpentwithfeet – Josiah Wise is from Brooklyn and brings to Midwinter his brand of experimental electronic gospel and neo-soul. His voice has a unique and powerful quality and with the release of his debut full-length Soil this year, he has placed himself as a stand out within the music pantheon that is impossible to label. His music is art in itself and that makes Midwinter and the Art Institute the perfect setting to see him perform.

Kamasi Washington – Many people have credited Kamasi Washington for bringing jazz at least a little bit back into the collective music consciousness. He is a saxophonist and bandleader for his juggernaut free jazz experience who put out two highly acclaimed releases in 2018 – Heaven and Earth and The Choice and his live performances are known to be experienced both rooted in the wild and classic jazz of yesteryear, yet feel totally of its time, modern and engaging. Seeing him and experiencing him should be something on every music fan’s bucket list and at Midwinter you can do just that – experience something out of our world – the world and music of Kamasi Washington.

SUNDAY, February 17:

Oneohtrix Point Never –Brooklyn based producer and composer Daniel Lopatin, has already announced that he will bring his entire myRIAD ensemble to Chicago for this performance. He is not only renowned for his award-winning experimental ambient and hypnagogic pop works such as “Garden of Delete” but also has scored and created visual pieces for galleries and museums far and wide. Knowing him, there is a good chance he will create something new and spectacular for this show.

Joeey Purp – What would this lineup be without a hometown hero? Joeey Purp is a rapper from, you guessed it, Chicago! As one of the integral parts of SaveMoney, including Chance The Rapper and Vic Mensa, he’s strong with a team but has recently ventured further out on his own sound with “QUARTERTHING”. The album scored a prestigious 8.3 scoring on Pitchforks review as well as a big red “Best New Music” sticker of recognition. His rapping has come to be loose and flowing, creative and concentrated on progress. He is bound to give a warm welcome to the fans and pieces at the Midwinter festival.

Smerz – Smerz is comprised of Catharine Stoltenberg and Henriette Motzfeldt who broke into the scene with 2017 EP “Okey,” following up with “Have Fun” on XL Recordings just a year later. Born in Norway and based in Denmark, the duo use elements of R&B, Chicago Footwork, and House music in their work which will be showcased just before Zola Jesus this winter. Other than making phenomenal music to bop to on your own or dance to in the club, Smerz reminds me of the casual-cool girls who you met in your senior year high school graphic design class. Someone who will exceed whatever limitations you put before them in the most graceful and normalized manner.

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