Digital Arts Festival

The influential techno label and collective Sandwell District enjoyed a powerful mystique throughout the 2000s. On the occasion of the July 2023 vinyl re-release of their era-defining album Feed-Forward (2010), reworked with unreleased material and for the first time in digital format, MIRA will welcome three of its founding members: Regis, Function and Silent Servant.

Born out of the Downwards label in 1993, Sandwell District were originally Peter Sutton (Female), David Sumner (Function), Juan Mendez (Silent Servant) and Karl O’Connor (Regis): a label, a collective, an impulse, an in-joke, a suicide mission, a gang, a point of view. An amphetamine-fuelled fever dream, a group psychosis, an out-of-hand piss-take which happened to reinvent techno in its own bleakly modernist image

Feed-Forward, Sandwell District’s crowning technical and emotional achievement, is a supple, sensuous and utterly widescreen album. Driving, infinite-horizon techno slashed with concussive polyrhythms and draped in swooping strings and a haunted, melancholic musicality, drawing inspiration from post-punk, industrial and the early ‘80s avant-garde. It is one of the great, elegiac evocations of Berlin, whose influence on the 2010s and beyond has been colossal. And this timely reissue gives us occasion not only to celebrate Sandwell District as it was, but to ask what it might still be, what it might yet become.