Terraforma 2019: Milanese Magic That Can't Be Missed


Susanna Markinsøn

Here we are once again on the edge of summer. Which means, for music aficionados getting ready for festival season, that it’s time to talk about Terraforma: Italy’s best kept secret.

After five years, there is still something about the Terraforma experience which leaves you lost for words. It is the ideal mix of all the key festival ingredients: infectious, organic, significant and surreal, with more than a sprinkling of sunshine in a magical location. Hidden amongst the peripheries of Milan (and a personal annual pilgrimage for me) Terraforma is located at Villa Arconati, and is without doubt one of the best located festivals in Europe.

This year, for its sixth edition, expectations are high, and the lineup for 2019 has already far surpassed them. The statement is clear: it’s a matter of quality, and quality means that artists are no longer considered performers but the actual composers and creators who are integral to the aims of the event. This year’s theme is Language, with Terraforma not only coming up with their own courtesy of the work of Nathalie Du Pasquie, but also bolstering this message with the festival’s ever-international roster that reinforces this theme in spades, picche, espadas and shělěm.


Following this vision, here are some of the most representative artists of this kind added to this year’s lineup:

Monolake, aka Robert Henke, solid exponent of the precise German scene with years of experience with an audiovisual performance that will bring to life his codified music in the amazing labyrinth of the villa. Renick Bell, incredible music academic, Tokyo resident who is a master of algorithmic composition and avid user of open source software. Caterina Barbieri, young Italian pioneer of modular systems that moved to Berlin to pursue her passion for mathematic precision and machine intelligence. Already it is clear that Terraforma is staying true to having something for (and from) everyone.

Another nice surprise is the presence of two American legends that have shaped the music scene over the past decades: Sir Richard Bishop, experimental guitarist founder of the legendary Sun City Girls is coming to mesmerise with his hypnotic sound hailing from India and Africa. Laurie Anderson, singer, performer, storyteller and multimedia explorer animated by synth sound and her handmade electronic instruments.

Coming from the deep roots of techno, DJ Stingray is going to liven up the night his raw style who over the past decades that stamped his own history into that of electronic music: from his collaborations with the Drexciya to the creation of the Urban Tribe Collective.

STILL aka Simone Trabucchi, is an artist who has accumulated a number of releases on various seminal labels, alongside running Hundebiss Record. Expect to experience a lot of liveliness as he connects his underground roots to Jamaica and Ethiopia. 

Other names include the mysterious Ramzi, whose music sounds like it belongs in another dimension; she conjures up alien worlds of sound, where texture is mapped out like terrain and odd rhythms push and prod in unpredictable directions. Other guarantees back on stage include Donato Dozzy, one of the leading contemporary techno DJs stretching from acid to poetic psychedelia and Vladimir Ivkovic, well known vinyls spinner from Belgrade. Check out Sounds of Terraforma for some of their sets from previous years

Many other truly talented artists are going to animate the spectacular park of Villa Arconati for three days in a row. The festival as always looks at the true nature of talents and also this year there is no reason to miss it.