COSMOS was born out of Le Guess Who?’s mission to platform adventurous sounds that have the power to enrich lives. It’s a hub for experimentation and inspiration, and an ever-expanding network of creative minds. Through films, interviews, performances, and artist residencies, COSMOS connects international music communities and shares their stories.
For the first time, COSMOS presented a live music program during Le Guess Who? 2023: an exploration of audacious sounds, diverse cultures, and innovative music practices on stage at the festival. Our residential photographer Melanie Marsman spent time with the artists that were part of COSMOS Live and captured a stunning series of artist portraits surrounding their performances at the festival.
Ale Hop & Laura Robles present Agua Dulce
‘Agua Dulce,’ both on record and live, is a radical deconstruction of the traditional rhythms of the Peruvian coast. Ale Hop and Laura Robles’ performance lies on a foundation informed by decolonialism and organology; they make the cajón, a percussion instrument that the Black slaves created from wooden fruit boxes, their joint work’s nucleus.
Pre-colonial thought, traditions and music connected with Marvin Lalihatu’s Moluccan and Lưu Thoại Linh’s Vietnamese-Chinese heritage are key inspirations and tools through which Animistic Beliefs explore their experience as queer POC living in the Netherlands. They repurpose forms from IDM and Global Club to create exhilarating hybrids, applying a fresh perspective that is both deeply personal and political.
Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective
Vietnam’s breakneck experimental collective Rắn Cạp Đuôi, known for going back and forth between rave music and eco-futurism, made their European debut at Le Guess Who? 2023, offering two distinct performances: a behind the booth DJ set and their signature, idiosyncratic live performance.
Rana Ghose x Hardi Kurda x Nikhil Chopra present: String Pulses
In this collaborative performance, first initiated at the COSMOS Residency in Goa, India, three distinct roles converge. Indian contemporary artist Nikhil Chopra immerses himself in character, responding to the sonically generated cues from composer and sound artist Hardi Kurda. Meanwhile, curator Rana Ghose orchestrates the visual narrative, deploying cameras from a distance. This interdisciplinary fusion explores memory, distance, and the intricate interplay between art and identity, shaping a unique sensorial experience.
Ruhail Qaisar brought his haunting debut album 'Fatima' to life. The self-taught artist delved into the trauma and decay of his hometown, Leh, Ladakh, India, translating it into an evocative requiem for a bleak future.
The Phantasmagoria of Jathilan
Indonesian duo Yennu Ariendra and J. Mo'ong Santoso Pribadi, also known as Raja Kirik, showcased Java’s history of oppression and resistance through ‘The Phantasmagoria of Jathilan’ – their new performance, in which they cast a light on the century-old practice of Jathilan horse dance, a folk style whose impact to entertain, encourage, heal, and unite people in revolution remains palpable.
Melbourne-based producer Valya Ying-Li Hooi, known for their sonic project YL Hooi, has carved out a distinctive niche in the city's underground music scene with their mysterious brand of dub, minimal synth, post-punk experimentation, and dream-pop.
Photography by Melanie Marsman