Electronic music not just for dancing

You can bring your dancing shoes to the San Francisco Electronic Music Festival. Just don’t plan to work up a sweat.

The eighth annual San Electronic Music Festival offers a window into a vast sonic world in which artists employ electronic technologies. The five-day event runs from Wednesday through Sunday at Project Artaud Theatre.

Since the first event was staged at CellSpace in 2000, it has slowly grown and expanded, and this year the festival moves to the Mission district’s Theater Artaud, its biggest space yet.

“When we started the festival, the term ‘electronic music’ was starting to have meaning to a wider group, but most thought it was DJ and dance music,” said Pamela Z, a festival founder and acclaimed artist.

“We really needed a festival for the kind of stuff that we do, that highlights the fact that the Bay Area is really a center not just for new music, but people who do very personal electronic music, designing their own interfaces.”

The festival opens Wednesday with a double bill of Mexican artists, including the Mexico City-based duo .pig, which features the live sound experimentation of Andres Solis and Rogelio Sosa and Murcof, who creates spare, cinematic soundscapes that often feature orchestral samples from works by composers Arvo Part and Giacinto Scelsi. He’s also probably the figure with the biggest crossover appeal, as a key member of Tijuana’s Nortec Collective, a group of musicians, designers and artists whose influence has spread throughout North America.

In an intriguing pairing of veteran artists, Saturday’s program features New Zealand-born Annea Lockwood, who explores natural acoustic sounds in specific environments, with David Behrman, a major creative force since the 1960s who is best known for his elaborate sound installations incorporating real time interactions with musicians. They’ll both be joined by percussionist William Winant, a tremendously prolific artist who has collaborated with a vast range of musicians and composers, from John Cage to John Zorn. “We try to make sure we have a good balance,” Z said, “drawing from different cultures and scenes.”

S.F. Electronic Music Festival

When: 8:30 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday, 7:30 p.m. Sunday

Where: Project Artaud Theater, 450 Florida St., San Francisco

Tickets: $16

Contact: (415) 861-3257 or www.sfemf.org

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