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The three-day festival signals an audio avalanche of Australasian sonic explorers, including the Dead C, Alastair Galbraith, Sydney vocalist Kusum Normoyle, laptop minimalist Seht, film-maker Kim Pieters and sound artists from Auckland, Wellington and Christchurch.
"What all this music shares is a courage to experiment, to attempt new forms of expression," one of the organisers, Peter Porteous, said yesterday.
A highlight will be Taieri Mouth sound artist Alastair Galbraith breathing life into his fire organ at the Port Chalmers Masonic Lodge.
The instrument was invented by Dutch physicist Petrus Rijke in 1849 and, according to Galbraith, "sounds like a trombone, or a train horn; but it can also sound like recordings of whales".
Seht, Lee Noyes, Radio Cegeste, Sign of the Hag and Eye play from 8 tonight at Chick's Hotel.
Tomorrow at 8 is Mela, Our Love Will Destroy the World, Kusum Normoyle and the Dead C.
Saturday features the Forgotten Guests, Alastair Galbraith, Peter Wright, Antony Milton and David Kahn from 2pm at the Port Chalmers Masonic Lodge.
The festival concludes on Sunday from 8pm back at Chick's, with Stanier Black-Five, Pumice, Rosy Parlane and The Futurians.
The Notional Theatre Company of New Zealand unleashes its grotesque "grown-up puppets" on Dunedin from 11am till 2pm in the Octagon today.
Creative director John Cohen-Du Four said the staged shows featured puppetry, music, film projection, clowning, dance and physical theatre.
"We also take our characters out into the streets to perform roaming street puppetry, which is what we're doing this time round in Dunedin," he said.
"It's the delight of the unexpected. Especially instances of public interaction when the unplanned happens."
Po-faced cowboy Wilson Dixon saunters into the Glenroy tonight to share his "American Dream".
He told me by party telephone line from Cripple Creek, in Colorado, last week there was a simple reason the world loves a cowboy.
"They're often laid back and the strong silent types, but also have the ability to kill. It's the same in the way people like tigers. They're cute and cuddly, but will rip your face off and eat you from the inside out at the drop of a hat," he drawled.
He was slightly disparaging about Dunedin's reputation in Cripple Creek.
"I know that it's supposedly got the world's steepest street, but I'm doubtful. The driveway up to my Grandma's old house was so steep that goats would lose their footing. I've also heard that Dunedin was the first place in the world outside of America to have a tram system built, in 1879. The important thing about that sentence is the 'outside of America' part, so I'm not really interested."
The Festival Club also fires back up at Bennu at 10 tonight, with the Psychic Maps, Matt Langley and our aforementioned American friend, Wilson Dixon.