10. Semibreve 2014
October 10 - October 12
Theatro Circo Club
There are quite a few established experimental festivals in Europe—Unsound, Donau, Norberg, to name a few. Portugal's Semibreve is one that can easily slip under the radar, though it's careful curation and short-but-sweet lineups easily rank it alongside its bigger peers. Taking place in Braga in northwestern Portugal, most of Semibreve's performances happen in Teatro De Circo, a 99-year-old theatre in the heart of town. This year's edition promises hours of entrancing left-field sounds, with Demdike Stare, Karen Gwyer, Mark Fell, patten, Roll The Dice and Plaid all locked in.
RA pick: Roll The Dice's music is best experienced live and loud.
09. Ekko Festival
October 17 - October 25
The music scene in Bergen, Norway is quietly one of Europe's finest, with a special brand of modern pop and disco emanating from the city's quarter-million residents (among them Erlend Øye, Annie and Skatebård). Ekko Festival is this tight-knit community's flagship event, combining local staples with carefully selected international acts. Taking place at Østre, Bergen's self-proclaimed "house of sound art and electronic music," this year's bill brings together avant-garde artists like Nils Frahm and Suzanne Ciani with heady club acts like Shackleton, Rrose and Future Brown, a supergroup featuring Fatima Al Qadiri, J-Cush and Nguzunguzu.
RA pick: For some zany Bergen flavor, look no further than Sex Tags affiliate DJ Candle In The Wind.
October 23 - October 26
Dom im Berg
"Disco and discourse" is how Elevate's promoters describe the Graz festival. And to be sure, Elevate has an intellectual bent, with political scientists, filmmakers and philosophers all part of the program, plus at least one "Brazilian Internet-Governance expert and human rights activist." The music, meanwhile, will hit attendees on a more visceral level. The likes of Fred P, Tin Man, Mika Vainio, Traxx, Aurora Halal and Kode9—who's heading up a hefty Hyperdub contingent—have all been confirmed for this year, Elevate's tenth edition. That the music is presented inside a mountain only increases the festival's "that's-fucking-awesome" factor.
RA pick: If things get too heady, you can always count on Motor City Drum Ensemble for fun-loving house and disco.
07. Movement Torino
October 25 - November 1
Reading about Movement Torino, the European arm of the US festival, you get the impression that the Lingotto Fiere is as loved by the locals as Hart Plaza is by Detroiters. The former Fiat factory plays host to the week's main event, which this year lands neatly on Halloween. Chris Liebing, Joseph Capriati and Karenn will be sure to stick to the spine-chilling script, while Panorama Bar's Steffi and Better Lost Than Stupid (AKA Davide Squillace, Martin Buttrich and Matthias Tanzmann) promise excursions into groovier territory. There's more to Movement Torino than just the Friday, though: Maceo Plex plays an opening party on the 25th, Kerri Chandler closes it out at Loud Club on November 11th, and a cast of artists yet to be announced will play the Movement Culture event at Conservatorio Giuseppe Verdi on the 29th.
RA pick: You'd be a fool to miss Joseph Capriati playing on home soil.
06. Great American Techno Festival
October 9 - October 12
It's right there in the name: American techno. On the smaller side compared to most of the festivals we highlight here, Great American Techno Festival has a humble mission: to show off exceptional electronic artists from Denver and the rest of the US. They've nailed this objective every year so far (GATF is now in its fourth edition). The lineup in 2014 includes a healthy helping of New York's finest, such as Blondes and Bunker affiliates Mike Servito, Bryan Kasenic and Leisure Muffin. And thanks to the festival's easygoing schedule, you can make a mellow weekend of it in Colorado's beautiful capital city.
RA pick: A live set from Ulysses, Elliot Taub's recently-revived electro project.
October 20 - October 26
Mexico City, Mexico
MUTEK.MX has been getting bigger and better every year, and this time it finds itself on par with its parent event in Montréal. The dozens of forward-thinking artists locked in for 2014 run the gamut from Jon Hopkins to Roman Flügel to Pantha Du Prince & The Bell Laboratory, plus MUTEK staples like Mathew Jonson and Deadbeat. There's the usual emphasis on live performances, as well as a steadfast commitment to visual accompaniments, including A/V showcases from the likes of Oneohtrix Point Never and Egyptrixx. And be sure to sample the local food, which is amazing—especially if you venture beyond the taco.
RA pick: The Bug playing live with Flowdan should be a real tour de force.
04. Simple Things
October 24 - October 25
2014 is the biggest year yet for Bristol's Simple Things, but the focus remains firmly on quality over quantity. This year the festival will take place over two days, with an opening Friday night concert featuring Caribou and Jessy Lanza followed by a full programme of music the next day. The Saturday schedule is staggering, with more than 40 well-selected DJs and live acts covering a vast range of styles—Laurel Halo, Kode9, DVS1, Max Graef, Nightmares On Wax and Mogwai among many others. Few festivals this short manage to pack such a wallop.
RA pick: DJ Sprinkles making a rare Bristol appearance.
03. roBOt Festival
October 1 - October 5
At first glance, "blissful" seems like an odd word choice in describing a dance music festival. But then roBOt, now in its seventh year, prides itself on relieving its visitors of all the usual stress and fatigue that can accompany city-wide events. Instead, this Bologna institution simply offers a plethora of impressive musical options, split across two of the city's best-loved venues. The thousand-year old Palazzo Re Enzo is largely reserved for the more experimental acts (Roly Porter, James Ferraro, Burnt Friedman & Jaki Liebezeit), while the Bologna Fiere caters to club-ready house and techno (Ricardo Villalobos, Craig Richards, Jackmaster), alongside the occasional curveball (Actress, Livity Sound, Legowelt).
RA pick: Príncipe rep DJ Marfox playing in the spectacular palazzo.
October 12 - October 20
Among all the festivals focussing on adventurous electronic music, there may be none more cutting edge than Unsound. This year's edition, like every other edition before it, presents a extraordinary collection of truly bold artists covering a vast range of styles. There are club DJs, from house and techno artists like Joey Anderson to Chicago's Teklife crew (represented by DJ Earl, DJ Taye, DJ Spinn and Taso). There are experimental acts, like Russel Haswell, Ben Frost and the increasingly impressive Vessel. And there is handful of immeasurably influential acts, including Robert Hood, former Throbbing Gristle members Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti (playing with Nik Void as Carter Tutti Void) and Swans, the beautiful and horrifying collective led by Michael Gira.
RA pick: Back in the day, Swans shows were so loud they had audience members throwing up. See if they've still got the touch.
October 15 - October 19
It would be easier to say who won't be at Amsterdam Dance Event this year than to tell you who will be. Each October, a huge chunk of the dance music community—promoters, club owners, label heads and, of course, producers and DJs—descends on the city's picturesque streets for a bonanza of panels, meetings and, critically, massive parties. The latter offer some of the finest lineups assembled anywhere in Europe—a meeting-of-minds with Black Coffee and Joe Claussell, a Rush Hour-fronted spectacular at Trouw with special guests Ron Trent and Traxx, or a very special Dekmantel party featuring a combined live performance from Voices From The Lake and Magic Mountain High.
RA pick: RA's ADE showcase at Trouw is an ADE tradition, and this year Four Tet is headlining. With the club months away from closing, you won't want to miss this one.
You can see our full festival listings for October right here.