Apestaartje/Incunabulum Festival

Jozef van Wissem

Jozef van Wissem Photograph: Courtesy of Apestaartje

Issue Project Room at the Old American Can Factory; Fri 1, Sat 2

It’s no exaggeration to say that electronic music is the new folk. Laptops, samplers and loop pedals have become so affordable and widespread that heavily plugged-in artists like Animal Collective, Dan Deacon and even Wolf Eyes now seem as equipped as your average singer-songwriter type to summon grassroots energy. As demonstrated by this festival—a presentation of adventurous local labels Apestaartje and Incunabulum—such state-of-the-art pastoralism is thriving around the city in even more abstract forms.

Anchoring Friday’s show is Mountains, the duo of Apestaartje director Koen Holtkamp and fellow traveler Brendon Anderegg. The group’s tender sound collages mingle acoustic guitar with twittering electronic ambience, suggesting New Age minus the schmaltz. Sharing the bill are Byron Westbrook, who uses aurora borealis–like projections to enhance his grandly luminous drones, and post–John Fahey guitar maestro James Blackshaw. Saturday’s show highlights Incunabulum, another imprint bringing new meaning to the term roots music. Lute player Jozef van Wissem updates his instrument’s Renaissance heritage via electronics and field recordings, while guitarist Tetuzi Akiyama stretches the definition of the blues with his blown-out minimalist “boogie” pieces. Fellow stringman Chris Forsyth is a wild card, excelling at both exploratory electric improv and sensuous acoustic textures. Coffeeshop folk this isn’t, but you can expect a similar sort of intimacy to develop over these two nights.—Hank Shteamer

James Blackshaw also plays Orchard Thu 31.