Oblivion Access 2023

Essential Experiences

Last year I claimed there had never been a festival lineup like Oblivion Access, but it was so much more than that. What all festivals want but rarely achieve is to create an experience–to momentarily suspend reality and engulf you in an atmosphere you never want to leave. Among its many magical moments, I will never forget stepping out of Central Presbyterian Church after Grouper’s spellbinding performance. The perfect last show of the festival, but before I could lament its end dozens of people began pointing towards the sky as shadows crawled across the full moon. After what I had experienced over the weekend, it seemed within reason that the festival founders deliberately timed Sunday’s shows to end the moment a total lunar eclipse began, like waking from one dream into another.

An unprecedented collection of the world’s greatest experimental musicians past and present in Austin, Texas, all made possible by two Texas natives with inhuman precision and tenacity. Genius bills paired hip-hop, hardcore punk, and techno; or soul-rending doom metal followed by blissful ambient. This is a festival not bound by genre, but by shared lust for the unknown.

Learn more about Oblivion Access in this Texas Standard interview with fest co-founders Dusty Brooks and Dorian Domi.

When: June 15th-18th

Where: Empire Control Room, Elysium, Mohawk, Valhalla, Chess Club, Central Presbyterian Church, 13th Floor


Oblivion Festival '23: Friday


Oblivion Access 23': Saturday


Ryan’s Recommendations

Duster | Thursday, Jun 15, 6:30 PM| Empire Control Room & Garage

Consistent with the natural order of things, Gen Z has entered their twenties and discovered the appeal of noisy lo-fi 90s music.

To say Duster was lifted out of obscurity is an understatement. More like launched into the sun with literally billions of streams in the last few years. Slowcore is a loosely defined genre with a sound that several bands seemingly independently arrived at throughout the 90s. Characterized by exhausted vocals, slow tempos, and a sense of deep resignation after every guitar wail–it’s truly the perfect sad bastard cocktail. Duster’s version of it leaned towards space-rock and the My Bloody Valentine school of deafening shoegaze.


Earth | Sat, Jun 17, 4:00 PM| Central Texas Presbyterian Church

Earth performing Earth 2: Special Low Frequency Version is something you may never have another chance to see in ATX. Drone metal’s defining record combined minimalism with heavy metal and sounds like a meteor crashing into a glacier in slow motion; or a Brian Eno ambient record commissioned by a demon. It redefined heavy, and inspired years of excavation for the heaviest guitar tones by bands that followed like Sun O))) and Boris.

This show is historic. The ground will quake, you will hear sounds humans weren’t meant to hear, and you may have an existential crisis about the nature of reality.


clipping. | Sat, Jun 17, 8:00 PM| Mohawk

clipping. brought a new approach to hip hop production when they arrived in the early 2010s. Like a twisted millennial version of Public Enemy, they combined harsh noise, glitch, and other experimental electronic music styles with Daveed Diggs rapping blithe lyrical portraits of urban tragedy and horror.

Recognize the name? Yes, the same Daveed Diggs who won both a Tony and Grammy for his role in Hamilton. Expect an unforgettable show.


Thou | Sat, Jun 17, 8:30 PM| Elysium

Spawned from the swamps of Baton Rouge, Thou is sludge metal incarnate. At least they were until they made an unholy union with doom metal to concoct a sound as oppressively heavy as the viscous air in their hometown.


Godflesh | Sun, Jun 18, 5:00 PM| Empire Control & Garage

Among the many “holy sh*ts” in this year’s Oblivion Access lineup, Godflesh is near the top. Like Earth, this is a rare opportunity to pay your respects to the greybeards who carved new paths for heavy music to travel. If Earth brought ambiance to metal, Godflesh fused it with industrial music and dub.

The industrial metal pioneers rarely play in the States and haven’t performed in Texas in nearly a decade. This is a must-see, observe proper headbang technique or preemptively pick up a neckbrace for your sundered neck tendons.


Tim Hecker | Sun, Jun 18, 3:00 PM| Central Texas Presbyterian Church

The perfect convalescent experience for your broken body on the final day of the festival. There’s little danger of aggravating your injured neck, and if you fall asleep it may be considered a compliment.

Ambient music is sometimes derided as academic and unapproachable, and it is true that Tim Hecker is literally an academic who writes and lectures on sound studies. However, as a musician, he’s consistently created among the most accessible ambient records in the last several decades. Just let your mind drift, it’s really not that complicated unless you want it to be.


Support KUTX’s ability to bring you closer to the music.

Donate Today