Christian Fennesz, Merzbow, Richard Pinhas @ Sonic Circuits

Christian Fennesz

I was lucky enough to cover Christian Fennesz’ performance at the Sonic Circuits festival… it was at the Strathmore Mansion, a very intimate (and classy!) location for a concert. Fennesz has only rarely played in the US and the small room was packed with very lucky people… I’m sure there must be footage of this somewhere on youtube, but it’s not a replacement for being in that room and hearing Fennesz perform. A great night.

Read the Washington Post review | See the rest of the Fennesz photos.

Merzbow & Richard Pinhas

I was also able, thanks to the awesome people at Wayside Music ( and Cuneiform Records (, attend a EXTREMELY rare collaborative performance of Merzbow and Richard Pinhas at the French Embassy in DC. This was by far the most SECURE show I’ve ever been too, and in fact when I tried to leave the show, was locked in the super luxurious grounds until an unseen person remotely opened the steel gate. So surreal. We also got to pal around with Richard and his son and discuss America, France, and all sorts of topics. Richard was really funny in person and his son was a trip!

Merzbow & Richard Pinhas     Merzbow & Richard Pinhas

The show itself was pretty great – Merzbow creating sonic textures on his laptop/electronic gear while Richard Pinhas played analog soundscapes with his guitar rig. Great stuff, and again, a packed theater. I’m not sure if this is the first Sonic Circuits festival, but this year was quite an accomplishment and I am already looking forward to 2011’s!

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2 thoughts on “Christian Fennesz, Merzbow, Richard Pinhas @ Sonic Circuits

  1. Thank you for the reviews of the Richard Pinhas & Merzbow (who’ve released recordings on Cuneiform) and Fennesz concerts, & for the great/amazing performance photos! Both concerts were part of the week-long Sonic Circuits Festival of Experimental Music & Beyond, which ran from Sept.18-25, 2010 across the DC metro area. The Sonic Circuits Festival is DC’s annual mega-fest of international & local experimental music, a non-profit festival organized by the great team of folks at Sonic Circuits (under director Jeff Surak); check out their website at This year, Sonic Circuits’ 10th, was its biggest festival ever. Besides Fennesz(Austria) and Merzbow (Japan) &Pinhas(France), its headliners included Magma(France), Univers Zero(Belgium), Andrea Centazzo(Italy) & more, with zillions of shows held at venues ranging from Strathmore Hall and the French Embassy to the Kennedy Center and Pyramid Atlantic Art Gallery and Fairfax Town Hall & more. In addition to the festival, the Sonic Circuits guys present an ongoing series of experimental music in the DC area; if you’re interested in music beyond the mainstream, you should bookmark their calendar at
    Thanks, Josh, for giving exposure to these shows –and thanks from everyone to Sonic Circuits for organizing the most impressive, ambitious, and amazing festival of avant music ever held in DC!

  2. Pingback: » Blog Archive » Merzbow & Richard Pinhas @ the French Embassy in DC.

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