Like any festival worth its salt, Electronic Music Malta’s Circuits Festival is not only a weekend of performances, but also a space for musicians, experts in the field, and artists to meet for a few days of learning and sharing.

Now in its sixth year, Circuits Festival has two aims: that of helping musicians grow in their craft, and that of introducing electronic music to a wider audience. 

“We want to function as a laboratory where musicians can develop new ideas, new techniques, and new collaborations,” said Luc Houtkamp, artistic director of Electronic Music Malta (EMM). “So we organise workshops, talks, lectures, and carry out research to develop new and inexpensive electronic instruments. At the same time, we want to show our audiences how wide an area electronic music covers. It is not just a style, but also a way of producing music.” 

In fact, Circuits Festival brings together performers from different disciplines, from avant-garde and popular music, to dance and visual art. 

“The use of electronics gives us the opportunity to cross artistic borders, which is what our series Away From the Comfort Zone, where artists with diverse backgrounds collaborate, tries to do,” added Houtkamp. Maltese artists involved in this project include classical singer Clare Ghigo, dancer Rochelle Gatt, and acid producer Neil Hales.

Elektronika, an ongoing project that also forms part of Circuits, aims to develop a history of electronic music in Malta. It was launched earlier this year, following the success of a talk about the subject delivered during last year’s edition of the festival. The Elektronika sessions are already underway, and they will continue during the festival weekend. “Our intention is to film all these sessions and we will be premiering these sessions online in the weeks before our Circuits Festival,” explained Edwin Balzan, EMM’s general director.

Yet another part of the festival is more didactic in nature. Similarly to earlier editions of Circuits, various experts will deliver presentations about a range of topics, including music production and composition. With so many participants and events to coordinate, a festival like Circuits could easily become a logistical challenge. “Luckily, Spazju Kreattiv, who are one of our partners in this project, have made it easy for us,” said Balzan. “With regards to our journey into the historiography of electronic music in Malta, we have found excellent partners in the M3P Foundation, led by Dr Toni Sant and Michael Bugeja. The Malta Arts Council is also supporting us with a research grant.” 

EMM have gathered enough experience in festival organisation to know what can be changed and what should be explored further. Another successful event from last year’s festival which will make a comeback is the presentation of the noise device Storbju. This year’s model will be called Storbju Terramaxka and is another creation of Mike Desira. 

“This year’s device comes fully assembled, and it is also built to fit into a Eurorack case or to be connected to a simple 9v battery,” said Balzan. “Mike has designed it to sound great, be functional, as well as being unique – the product of his extensive knowledge of building ready-made kits and his network of international synthesiser device makers,” he concludes with a smile. 

Circuits Festival is organised by the Maltese NGO Electronic Music Malta and is supported by Arts Council Malta. The festival will be split into two parts: a festival weekend on October 23 and 24 and three other events held over the months of November and December.

This event is part of the Spazju Kreattiv programme and is further supported by the German-Maltese Circle — The Goethe Institut, and Air Malta. For more information about the Circuits Festival line-up of artists, visit https://circuitsmalta.com/schedule/. Information can also be found on the Electronic Music Malta’s Facebook page, and on kreattivita.org.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us