Music festivals are often about motion. People behave like pinballs, moving from one stage to another, trying to cross acts off to-see lists and squeeze as much value from a high-price ticket as possible. But sometimes, the best way to enjoy such a long, exhausting weekend is to find a few sets that let you relax a little in the relative quiet. Just don't be too loud, hillbillies.
JENNY HVAL: The music Jenny Hval makes isn't exactly restful, as shards of noise streak across the Norwegian singer's idiosyncratic songs. But her chameleonic voice and internal sense of musical logic create a peculiar folk-pop-rock-noise world, shutting out thoughts of escaping to the next room. (THURSDAY, 12 A.M., KINGS)
JESSICA PRATT: A decade or so ago, America's indie ranks teemed with "freak-folk." It receded, but Jessica Pratt's On Your Own Love Again, released this year by Drag City, echoes the modest ballads of Devendra and Joanna, with odd verses blooming into endearing hooks. (SATURDAY, 12:30 A.M., KENNEDY THEATRE)
XYLOURIS WHITE: In Xylouris White, two master instrumentalists—Greek lute player George Xylouris and drummer Jim White—tumble into complicated tangles. The melody and rhythm bounce between players, skewing senses of who is responsible for what. You follow along, as though watching a single thread weave into a massive fabric. (THURSDAY, 9:30 P.M., KENNEDY THEATRE)
ZEENA PARKINS: In 1993, Zeena Parkins' Nightmare Alley became the first release on Table of the Elements, a vanguard of experimental American music. During the next two decades, Parkins has tested the limits of her harp, whether creating ponderous dance scores or startling stand-alone compositions. She is a master technician not limited by dexterity. (FRIDAY, 11 P.M., FLETCHER OPERA THEATER)
IAN WILLIAM CRAIG: For last year's wondrous A Turn of Breath, the classically trained Canadian singer Ian William Craig routed his voice through tape machines and processors. The result suggested watching a church choir in a hurricane, ecclesiastical glory yielding to natural power. Close your eyes for this one. (SATURDAY, 10 P.M., FLETCHER OPERA THEATER)