Trans Musicales and KEXP: The Perfect Partnership

Talmud Beach // photo by Morgan Chosnyk

One of my favorite things about humanity is when we discover common bonds between us regardless of environment and background. Of course there are the basic necessities: food, water, shelter, but the commonality we share that is the most interesting, because it is abstract, is music. – DJ Morgan

KEXP’s hardworking video production team is constantly on the go. At the station, that means setting up and breaking down a constantly shifting schedule of bands from across the musical spectrum. But Seattle isn’t the only place these active creatives engage their passion for musical discovery. Occasionally, they reach other shores as KEXP seeks not just new bands but new and like-minded partners along the way, like the Trans Musicales festival in Rennes, France.
Now in its 38th year, Les Rencontres Trans Musicales or Les Trans, has a rich legacy of presenting emerging acts in a charming village setting. Many of the up-and-comers who play the festival (including a nascent Björk, as well as Nirvana and Daft Punk) go on to worldwide success and acclaim. Still, at its heart, Trans Musicales is all about musical discovery, making it a perfect fit with KEXP. Just as we’ve been able to champion great bands early on, domestically, like Vampire Weekend and The Lumineers, and abroad, as with Of Monsters and Men at Iceland Airwaves and Coals at Poland’s OFF! Festival.

This year, the organizers of Les Trans invited KEXP to handpick acts to film and share with the station’s listeners. After narrowing down the list of nearly seventy artists to twelve choices, KEXP’s video production team, along with DJ Morgan, filmed live performances with each act over the course of four whirlwind days.

Adding to the sense of occasion, bands performed in a number of unique locations: a 19th-century church-turned-arts conservatory, an institute of sciences, the Rennes Opera house, even a wing of City Hall. The diverse live sessions range in style from the jangly psych rock of Rennes-locals Chouette to the folk stylings of Estonian trio Trad.Attack!. France’s Octave Noire exemplify the festival’s commitment to new sounds, while Barbagallo, the solo project of Tame Impala drummer Julien Barbagallo, already has a major label record deal.

Octave Noire // photo by Morgan Chosnyk

Other recordings include a set by Parisian four-piece Blow and Nantes-based Moon Gogo, a duo that blends guitar, electronics and a Korean instrument called the geomungo. Fai Baba, from Zurich, was a unanimous choice of the KEXP team and Grand Parc, FishbachTalmud Beach, Vagina Town and The Madcaps all made lasting impressions as well.

The indefatigable DJ Morgan detailed KEXP’s experience at the festival through a series of blog posts. In them, she describes the power of the trip: “The Trans Musicales is a unique event that means so much to so many people. It was great to see an organization that shares the same values KEXP holds. It was the perfect partnership.”

Stay tuned to the KEXP blog as we offer video of a new session recorded at Trans Musicales every Friday, starting with two today, featuring Barbagallo and Fai Baba. Watch the videos now and check out the full schedule below.

Date Artist
February 17 Barbagallo & Fai Baba
February 24 Grand Parc
March 3 Trad.Attack!
March 10 The Madcaps
March 17 Octave Noire
March 24 Fishbach
March 31 Talmud Beach
April 7 Chouette
March 14 Moon Gogo
March 21 Vagina Town
March 28 Blow

Fishbach // photo by Morgan Chosnyk

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