Fest Bests: Ether 2012.

You'd be hard pushed to have an evening that is anything but transcendent at the Southbank Centre, and this year's Ether looks set to provide soirées that'll indubitably, and with it undeviatingly be just that. An exploratory series set within the brutalist walls of the somehow sightly multi-venue gargantua, the festival has strived to, and indeed consistently succeeded in, challenging the way we interpret sounds, along with the way in which electronics can be employed to create what many of us may construe as music. Perennial envelope pushers such as Kraftwerk, Lou Reed, David Byrne, and Brian Eno have previously graced the Centre's multitudinous halls with their multifarious experimentations, whilst esteemed underground architects Christian Fennesz, Andy Turner and Ed Handley have also both performed and perplexed with their idiosyncratic sonic permutations. This year's line up is no less challenging, and features three revered producers on just the one night as Berlin's Apparat, Cov's very own Ghostpoet, and Poppendorf voyageuse Soap&Skin descend upon the banks of the Thames this coming Saturday (October 6th). Below, though, we've attentively selected a scattering of shows we wouldn't so much as dream of neglecting to frequent...

John Cale
Who: Once a Velvets mainstay, the erudite songsmith and unfathomably talented multi-instrumentalist has been reciting softly heralded tours de force each and every sporadic time he comes to tour. Commensurately influential to, although not to be confused with, avant-garde intellect John Cage (another visionary to be celebrated at this year's edition) John Cale is sure to furnish us with an unforgettable highlight of the festival.
Why: When the vocoders were silenced, his début Double Six release Shifty Adventures In Nookie Wood comprised some of his finest stuff to date, exhibiting Cale as anything but another ol' codger cashing in on the legacy laboriously forged across days of yore. His is a relevance that is therefore both retrospective and contemporary, and his Saturday night showing ought both commemorate his illustrious past and celebrate his very present.
When: Saturday, 13th October, Royal Festival Hall.

Mount Kimbie
Who: Souf London pairing comprising Dom Maker and Kai Campos who rose to the loftiest of prominences with their superb début, Crooks & Lovers, only to promptly disappear for what's now felt forever.
Why: They're back, and that ought to be reason enough. If not, well, their live show last time out on these soils was one of subtle splendour.
When: Saturday, 13th October, The Front Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall.

Tyondai Braxton
Who: Enigmatic Warpster whose stark neo-classical solo début, Central Market, called as much upon EP C/B EP as it did Heinrich Wilhelm Ernst. He's what an egotist may brand a special one, is Tyondai Braxton.
Why: Braxton's departure from Battles was not without its conflicts, although he's here to be backed up by an altogether different, if no less pioneering force in the form of the London Sinfonietta. Live, he's been known to at times lose himself in the tangled web of sample and loop he chooses to weave although backed by the Centre's resident ensemble he'll surely beguile, flogging Central Market as it was initially intended
When: Tuesday, 9th October, Queen Elizabeth Hall.

The Southbank Centre is to be lost in the Ether from Friday, 5th October, and shall run for the next two weeks. Further info is available at the official Ether site, whilst tickets for individual events are available here.