Hidden Orchestra, Emma Pollock and Nordic music among lineup highlights for SPECTRA 2018

Music Preview: SPECTRA Music Launch

Hidden Orchestra / credit: Anna Deacon

Aberdeen's annual light festival offers an eclectic selection of Nordic music as well as British artists

Aberdeen's annual light festival SPECTRA will expand in 2018 to incorporate a full festival strand of eclectic Nordic music from across Scandinavia, Norway and the UK. Over four days in February, running alongside the light festival itself, SPECTRA Music will welcome artists including Plaid, Hidden Orchestra, Emma Pollock, Wrangler (featuring Cabaret Voltaire's Stephen Mallinder) and the DJ Lindstrom, who is originally from Aberdeen's twin city of Stavenger in Norway.

'We're trying to mix up Scandinavian and Nordic artists with British artists who are exploring the field of mainly electronica and A/V shows,' says Andy Brydon, director of arts production company Curated Place and creative director of the SPECTRA festival since 2014. 'SPECTRA Music is pretty eclectic, but it's not necessarily defined by genre, because we don't believe that's how people experience music any more. Since the digital revolution people follow their own trajectories rather than being trapped within a genre, and hopefully our programme reflects that.'

A company which creates light festivals and collaborations between composers and contemporary classical artists across northern European countries – including in Reykjavik, Torshavn, and at Hull 2017 UK City of Culture with John Grant's North Atlantic Flux festival – Curated Place have built SPECTRA from an event for 8,000 people in 2014 to one seen by 65,000 visitors to Aberdeen in 2017. This first full music festival, supported by Event Scotland, follows on from last year's trial event alongside True North.

'This is the first time we're rolling out a complete offer of what Curated Place have been doing as a creative company for the last few years,' says Brydon. 'We want to bring artists to Aberdeen who wouldn't normally play there as part of the circuit, because normally artists hit the Central Belt and that's it. We also want to create a space in Aberdeen where unique things can happen, we want to go beyond a music festival to create a unique meeting of artforms.'

Other artists appearing at SPECTRA Music include Faroese stars Orka, the Icelanders Tonik Ensemble, Sykur, ADHD and Mammút, and from the UK Nányë, Cymbals, Wyles & Simpson and Mt. Wolf. After each night's main music programme there will also be DJ sets and smaller events around the city, including James Orvis, who appeared on the BBC introducing stage at this year's Amsterdam Dance Event; Cler Lever, the first female DJ to play the main stage at Creamfields; Norway's influential techno musician Mental Overdrive; and Steve Cobby of Fila Brazilia.

The first SPECTRA Music takes place during SPECTRA: Aberdeen's Festival of Light, which runs from Thu 8 to Sun 11 Feb.

SPECTRA: Aberdeen's Festival of Light

Public light artworks animate spaces in Aberdeen's city centre at this four-day festival. This year’s festival celebrates Aberdeen's rich coast and waters in recognition of the national 'Year of Coast and Waters'.

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