Forging a completely idiosyncratic combination of power, control, tenderness, miscontrol and more power, these six piece band acutely channel the best of your record collections and spit them back out into some quite astonishing shows and releases. Hey Colossus spew forth a colossal heap of gigantic riffs amidst a gurgling sea of unhinged drumming, which we can’t wait to host December 8th with brummie punks Youth Man, Matters and Yama Warashi.
Born as a crazed, cataclysmic whirlpool of free noise, Hey Colossus is a band which isn’t afraid to try new sounds, creating music which is increasingly more focused and getting better and better.
“Hey Colossus…stand as one of the most exciting UK bands around at the moment”. – Echoes and Dust
The band formed back in 2003, and have since become favourites of the UK’s underground scene with their records veering from drone metal to noise to classic psychedelic rock. 2015 saw two long players “In Black and Gold” and “Radio Static High” (both out on Rocket Recordings), albums which topped many end of year lists as must hear records and were both in WIRE Magazine 2015’s end of year Top 10 Avant Rock chart . The live events that followed only cemented a growing appreciation of what Hey Colossus have gone on to achieve over the years, with the psych-rock juggernauts releasing most recent album ‘The Guillotine’ last year, a phenomenal return that amplified their skull-crushing intensity, also on Rocket Recordings.
On Friday 9th November, team Supersonic were thrilled to present another night of leftfield oddities in the name of OUTLANDS, the UK’s new touring Network of experimental music, a tour curated by Fuse Art Space in Bradford. Taking place at Vivid Projects in Digbeth, we were treated to an experimental dancefloor experience like no other, with silky electronics from infamous electronic German label Raster artists Kyoka and Grischa Lichtenberger, plus support from creative technologist collaboration wetgenes and acid rave project YTAC.
Part club, part installation, part immersive environment- YTAC (aka Rough Fields/ James, co-founder of Fuse Art Space) kicked off the night with a set filled with hypno-chaotic grooves and an introduction at full impact to the unique, all-consuming audio-visual environment. The installation-esque surroundings were mesmerising, and with rave-centric sounds that have been launched as the first releases in pirate-like parties on the EIS HAUS label, set the tone for the night.
Photography: Matt Watkins
YTAC’s set left us exhilarated, ready for electronic music producer, visual and installation artist Grischa Lichtenberger.
Photography: Matt Watkins
Grischa’s music tumbles between funky, highly energetic beats and trembling melodies. His set at Vivid packed the room with a pulsating mix of electronica. It’s a personal, intelligent play with sound, intriguing and beguiling in equal measure, placing him firmly within the context of Aphex Twin or Autechre. His immersive performance oscillated between abrasive, aggressive compositions and intricate structures of beat and melody.
Kyoka is known for her direct, chaotic musical approach to sound. Joining the Raster stable in 2012 as the label’s first female, her set was as enticing and individual as her signature broken-pop beats suggest. Playing a daring fusion of chopped up, scratched, rolling beats she kept us going well into the night, treating us with a rotated extra set with Grischa where the artists showed off their rawest, most experimental sounds.
Photography: Matt Watkins
Huge thanks to all who joined us, to Vivid Projects for having us and to OUTLANDS & Fuse Art Space for their extraordinary curation and for making this happen.
YTAC is the incendiary club electronics project of James Birchall, also known to many as Rough Fields. His first bass-heavy percussion experiments appeared on the Bomb Shop label in 2010, a broad reaching label which he started, encompassing his DIY approach to releasing his own music. YTAC’s rave-centric workouts have been launched at high altitude EIS HAUS parties along the mountainous France/Spain border, forming the first releases on the ever mysterious, pirate like label. The coming months will see the YTAC phenomena explode, with Birchall taking on a persona project which harks back to the acid techno of the mid-90s. His part in the upcoming Outlands Tour with German electronic label Raster artists Kyoka and Grischa Lichtenberger will take on an experimental rave style like no other.
James is a co-founder of Fuse Art Space, Bradford, the curators of the upcoming Outlands Tour 3. The space has hosted artists such as Eartheater and Eric Chenaux, and a wide variety of sound art and music.
The space has developed DRIFT in collaboration with feral games developers and digital art technologists wetgenes following an original commission by the British Science Festival in 2014. An AV club project which started as an installation piece, their work for OUTLANDS Tour 3 is a feedback system which monitors movement, sound and image data, using custom designed algorithms to convert the data into an immersive visual display projected over the surface of the installation space. The result is a breathtakingly beautiful interactive experience in which creates live digital art on a massive scale.
LISTEN TO OUR OUTLANDS SPECIAL PODCAST BELOW where James talks with Sam Francis about the upcoming tour, with music from the artists involved in a meet the producer special.
DON’T MISS OUT on this EXTRAORDINARY experimental dancefloor experience like no other, landing in Birmingham at Vivid Projects on November 9th.
On this OUTLANDS special, we listen to artists from the previous 2 OUTLANDS tours and the upcoming show, DRIFT; part club night/part installation show with German electronic label Raster artists Kyoka and Grischa Lichtenberger plus support from YTAC.
We finish with a special ‘meet the producer’ podcast hosted by Sam Francis, with an in-depth look into the new tour from curator James at FUSE art space.
READ ON FOR MORE INFO ON OUTLANDS, WHAT WE’RE BANGING ON ABOUT… 2018 has already seen two immensely innovative and inspiring shows in the name of OUTLANDS, with our upcoming part club night/ part installation show with German electronic label Raster artists Kyoka and Grischa Lichtenberger being no exception. But what are we banging on about when we say OUTLANDS? Here’s a little recap of the important and innovational work the Network is doing for the experimental music scene.
OUTLANDS is an innovative new national experimental music network bringing together a mix of visual arts and music organisations, independent venues and creative producers all located outside of London. Working alongside our good ol’ selves in Brum include De La Warr Pavilion (Bexhill on Sea), Fuse (Bradford), Qu Junktions and the independent producer Al Cameron (Bristol), Cambridge Junction, Fat Out (Manchester), MK Gallery (Milton Keynes) and Peninsula Arts and Karst (Plymouth).
Along with the networks production of ambitious and inspiring performances it is also gives audiences the opportunity to get involved with experimental musical practices themselves through an accompanying series of workshops, the next one being with creative technologists and programmers wetgenes where participants will be learning to make their own audio-visual piece.
“Projects like these act as the first line of resistance against a potentially myopic, monoculture and should be supported.” – Drowned in Sound
At a point where the experimental music scene is seen as risky for promoters, venues and audiences, this Arts Council Strategic Touring Award will support the network as it injects quality, diversity and accessibility of experimental music to the nooks and crannies of the UK, not just the Capital. Various ambitious productions will be touring over an initial two years, 2018 being the first, with the aim of offering new experiences to our beloved audiences within a strong national network to give genre-busting music a chance to spread its wings.
The first tour brought together Matana Roberts and Kelly Jayne Jones (selected by Qu Junctions, Bristol), who gave us a wonderous improvisational show at Centrala in May. The Chicago-born, New York-based saxophonist, visual artist and composer Matana Roberts and Manchester sound artist/improviser Kelly Jayne Jones independently come at their work in very different ways, but find common ground in their extra personal approach to performance. The show was a sonic mill, starting with Roberts and Jones reading simultaneous texts, allowing the rhythm of their speech to become mere sound whilst merging with unsettling and unpredictable electronic noise. Jones created amazing sound through playing the surface of rocks and a singing bowl, Roberts her saxophone with a tuning fork.
Next up came Supersonic’s own selection and production. Three improvisational powerhouses came together as Yunohana Variations for the first time in the UK, debuting at Supersonic Festival 2018 and touring through to July. Artists YoshimiO (of Boredoms, OOIOO and SAICOBAB) and avant-garde percussionist Susie Ibarra joined Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Lichens), created an awe inspiring series of performances, crossing an enigmatic multitude of sonic territories. Watch them LIVE at #SSFest18 below and see for yourselves…
Which brings us to the upcoming OUTLANDS Tour 3, rounding off 2018 with Drift: Kyoka/ Grischa Lichtenberger/ YTAC (selected by FUSE Art Space, Bradford). Fusing heavy electronics, hypno-chaotic grooves and pristine frequency control within a unique, audio-visual environment, the show- taking place at Vivid Projects on November 9th- sets forth an intoxicating, hyper-sensory experience.
Part club, part installation, part immersive environment, DRIFT will take shape within a specially constructed space, where motion sensors and microphones monitor the room, the crowd and the performers. Inside this generated environment, artists Kyoka and Grischa Lichtenberger from acclaimed German electronic music record label Raster will diffuse their visions of experimental dancefloors, with tour support from YTAC, a key figure of the shady EIS HAUS collective.
DRIFT technologists wetgenes will be facilitating a workshop on 26th October at STEAMhouse, which will shine a light on the technological process of the live performance and give participants the opportunity to have a go at making their own audio-visual work.
Experimental music is an endangered species, despite it being open to everyone and anyone. No musical training is required, and there are no instrumental borders or closed doors. Experimental music opens up eyes and ears, it gives an opportunity for music to be more diverse across every sense of the word. We’re proud to be champions of genre-bending, and equally to be part of the innovative OUTLANDS Network in its national celebration of experimental music.
3 days of unclassifiable musical genius, films, talks, workshops, exhibitions and more
We’ve just about landed back down to Earth after a weekend of other worldly encounters at Tusk Festival. 3 days encapsulated within what could well be described as a giant dimension shifting vehicle, fallen to our planet to suckle at the south bank of the River Tyne for a mere millennia until it is time to take flight once more in the continuum of time and space. The perfect setting perhaps, to be rattled and probed, chewed up and spat back out, via noise makers, visual stimulators, and time travellers from far and wide. After a delirious 6 hour drive, we entered the void…
Sadly missing the first 2 acts due to M1 madness, we entered the phantasmagoric world of Lucy Railton. Having previously collaborated with the likes of Rhodri Davies and Beatrice Dillon, Railton considers her musical zone to be at the fork of 3 musical roads: classical instrumentalism, improvisation and hard edged electronic music. Shifting between cello improvisations & her table of modular turns, the moments of melodious velveteen passages are aptly offset by sinewy collaged interjections. The M1 headlights fade with this enigmatic accompaniment to the first glass of G&T.
Particular highlights of the Friday came from a superbly executed dose of minimal, pounding industrial electronica with live string quartet and visuals by Craig Leon. The rendition of Nommos, which has been described by Julian Cope as “the missing link between the proto-industrial rhythm and drone of Suicide and whole minimalist…method of Terry Riley and La Monte Young” certainly delivered on all accounts, churning up our senses, causing a rattle in the spaceship, hurtling us off in to the night…
…into a gloriously cataclysmic finale to proceedings in the Sage with Irreversible Entanglements. We were lucky enough to have Moor Mother as artist in residence in our MOOG Soundlab & perform on Supersonic Friday this year, and to see her perform again is such a thrill. With the abrasive lyrical lament from Camae Ayewa (Moor Mother) at the helm, this is a free-jazz group in it’s rawest form. Sax, trumpet, doubles bass and drums conjuring an endless riptide of furious energy, with sudden surges of synth and poetic flows from Moor corner. Free-jazz hasn’t slapped me round the face like that in a long time. A much-needed awakening.
Off we went into the night for the first round of after-party at The Star and Shadow where we had perhaps a little too much fun. Strapped into our seats in the awesome setting of this independent cinema venue, after getting us truly [Terry]-riled with his riveting speech around noise interference, earth signals and alien landings in Gateshead, John Bowers blew us in to the stratosphere with his ‘Gateshead Soup: A Mythogeosonic Investigation’. Another final highlight and sign-off to the evening came from the pointy nails of Mariam Rezaei, artistic director of The Old Police House, who smashed her way through a gnarly turntable noise set, obliterating the evening into space-dust. Taxi!
As if that was all in a day’s work?!
After a weirdly warm stroll to the Baltic, where sadly no bloomin’ exhibitions were on until Oct 19th (poor timing, again), a delicious expresso martini with a panoramic view of the Tyne got us pepped for round 2. As well as a bucket load of fried fish from the little shack on the river. Bosh! Good to go. [RIP the taco place that once stood in it’s place though, them was delish.]
From early-on minimalistic noise ramblings of Saboteuse, via the contact mic’d up buttons on the waistcoat of Marlo Eggplant through to the 33 years of accumulative wonky cesspool rock and roll from Ceramic Hobs, Saturday night offers no let-up on the senses. Noise set from Otomo Yoshihide begins to cement my preferential taste in turntable bashing over the second half of guitar crooning, the former omitting much more unusual grit to get stuck in your teeth.
Guitar and percussion duo 75 dollar bill close proceedings with a whirling, Sun-Ra esque groove, shifted more into dessert blues territory, but we have to admit, it’s the Star and Shadow we have in our minds eye now. And it doesn’t disappoint. Another sterling offering of afterparty programme of noise-makers too numerous to account for. Plus, the Saturday night delirium may have somewhat set in. Cassettes, machines and 6-deck polymorphic club collisions, the Star and Shadow gave an unrelenting, DIY offset to the HD setting of the Sage. The 2 venues working alongside one another like a perfectly matched fine wine and a ciggy. Closing the night with a much-needed clubby DJ set, Steve Warwick brought a euphoric finish.
After a gradual Sunday start, with some delicious street food at the Hawker yard on the Tyne, a mere 2 minute walk from TUSK and situated next to an uber trendy brewery, guided by our feet and legs alone with our brains trailing slowly behind, we made it to the Sage for 5.30pm (good going, we think). A blissful live film & score from Seb Bassleer & Martin van der Glas, ‘Rajahstan live cinema’, transported us into the holy Indian city of Pushkar. Their audio-visual remix of their travels here captured beautifully the spirit and music of a place at once so far removed from yet strangely familiar to our own. Beguiled by the musicianship of trad instrumentalists – we call it extended technique, to them just an extension of being.
Another soothing and well-timed Sunday performance, Lea Bertucci presents Double Bass Crossfade. Taking place in the foyer area of the building, opening TUSK out to an array of audience, the improvising contra-bass players drifted slowly towards one another, building in intensity and away again to far corners of the room. Surrounded by multiple speakers and subs, darkness having fallen outside, glimmering reflections of the City in the Tyne behind, the effect was pretty magical.
Sunday in fact, was magical all around. Hameed Brothers Qawwal and party in a new venue, the largest room in the Sage, breathed new life in to the festival and reduced us to tears. Mainstays of Bradford’s South Asian music scene for over 3 decades, the trance-inducing sonic tapestry lifted the audience to their feet in rapturous applause. I have to say, my personal favourite performance.
Terry Riley and son Gyan gave an equally emotive, inspiring performance. The duo slipping through musical telepathy only family is capable of. Shifting from piano/guitar improvs to bizarre synth/noise interludes that provided sonorous surprise amidst the minimalist approach.
An act we were looking forward to having listened to the TUSK Freakzone playlist en-route up to Newcastle was Dale Cornish and he did not disappoint. His deconstructed techno, disco ball delirium and charmingly cheeky manner interjected the softness of Sunday with a hint of party. But that momentary nod was the only one we’d be having on our final day.
Closing noise ensemble Konstrukt & Otomo Yoshihide provided a befitting end to any alternative-5th-dimension-3-day-rattle-around-a-spaceship. Having efficiently shifted our brains away from our skulls for one final time, it was time to stroll, uber, and reassemble in sleep.
It’s safe to say, the drive home on Monday wasn’t pretty, but we’d do it all again. Fair play TUSK. A festival on the cusp. A line-up exploring the fringes of worlds. Providing belonging to those that don’t belong. It’s so great to know you’re there too. Another home for us weirdos away from home. With love from Supersonic.
Christmas come early you say?! We couldn’t resist having one last HOO HA before the year is out. Join us for a COLOSSAL end of year bash with some incredible noise makers as we take over Centrala, Digbeth on December 8th.
Forging a completely idiosyncratic combination of power, control, tenderness, miscontrol and more power, these six piece band active since 2003 acutely channel the best of your record collections and spit them back out into some quite astonishing shows and releases.
Hey Colossus have undergone a spectacular metamorphosis in the last three years – the 2015 Rocket Recordings double-drop of ‘In Black And Gold’ and ‘Radio Static High’ displayed not only a band with a work rate to put most all their contemporaries to shame, but one arriving at an atmospheric and rewarding sound with as much flair for the beguiling as the barbaric.
Changes may have been afoot in the Hey Colossus camp, yet their latest transmission ‘The Guillotine’ (2017) marks another peak for an innovative force in the realm of heavy amplification. We can’t wait to see what’s next…
“Chinks of pop light shine through, but this is still raw, uncompromising stuff. ” – The Guardian
“Standard-bearers for post-millennial British music which is au fait with punk and hardcore while not being punk or hardcore”. – The Quietus
“Are Hey Colossus! the best live guitar band in Britain right now? You’d be brave to argue otherwise. Don’t miss them next time.” – Echoes and Dust
Destructive Brummie sex punk.
Youth Man are the band you will wish you saw in years to come. Their live show is a shrieking, thrilling wrecking-ball of human bodies, flailing limbs and chaos. Brace yourself for an intense live performance matched by comic genius onstage banter.
“Their brand of punk leans heavily towards the weirdos (not the Weirdos) of early California hardcore, in which bands like Fear weren’t too afraid (or too unskilled) to throw in an odd time signature.”– Rolling Stone Magazine
Yama Warashi is the project of Yoshino Shigihara, a Japanese musician and visual artist whose past projects include erstwhile cult favourites Zun Zun Egui (Bella Union). Inspired by Japanese folk dance, free jazz and tribal African music, and heavily saturated in psychedelia, Yama Warashi’s songs are lyrically outlandish and charming, melodically addictive and mythical; the band name translates from Shigihara’s native tongue as “small childlike mountain spirit”.
“This is dream pop from another realm entirely” –The Skinny
“Liltingly folky and malevolently unhinged” –Loud and Quiet
Matters are guitar+synth+drums instrumental trio from Birmingham UK – the push and pull of the three personalities that make up Matters can be heard, taking the music into new and often strange directions. Matters utilise their instruments to create expansive music, blending krautrock, psychedelic, post rock and techno into a rich and powerful sound.
‘This is something quite epic..another winner from Static Caravan Records’ – Steve Lamacq – BBC 6 Music
+ Ideas of Noise improv sets downstairs
Those who attended Supersonic 2018 may well have caught some of the incredible musical offerings curated by Ideas of Noise Fest. Produced by Andrew Woodhead and Sarah Farmer Ideas of Noise is an exciting new festival of experimental sound which happened in August this year, with a focus on connecting experimental audiences and performers of different genres across the West Midlands and creating opportunities for emerging and established local artists. Presenting SPACETIMEBAND (Sarah Farmer / Andrew Woodhead / Richard Scott / Aaron Diaz / Joe Wright); laser Interferometry, ripples in spacetime, black holes colliding, signal in noise; SPACETIMEBAND explores General Relativity and other cosmological curiosities through sound.
Berlin-based composer/producer Kyoka is known for her direct, chaotic musical approach and heavy-rough sound. She joined the raster-noton stable as the label’s first female in 2012, and has progressed to become one of the most exciting, individual and original artists on the label.
Growing up in Japan, Kyoka’s experimentation with tape recorders led to her recognition of the possibilities of scratching tapes back and forth. She’s an artist who used the tape recorder as her toy, cutting, editing and producing those first rough sounds which would result in her signature broken pop-beat with experimental yet danceable rhythms.
Kyoka’s range of dark, skittering sounds beg to be played at maximum volume in a smoke-filled warehouse or club. Her sets reflect a daring fusion of rolling beats and organic, chopped-up vocals that refuse to neatly don’t fit within any genre category- a perfect fit for our Outlands and Supersonic collaboration!
If you haven’t heard by now, the Pigs (Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs) are returning to the Hare and Hounds in March 2019, promising a raucous night of amped riffs and demonic drumming with #SSFest18 favourites Cattle.
Equal parts head and guts, Cattle are an all screaming, all dancing noise-groove wall of sound, with stomach churning riffs and double drumming that will take you through hell with a hip-shake. Formed in 2012, Cattle have shared a stage with the likes of True Widow, dälek, Terminal Cheesecake, Zeus and Bong to name but a few, and melted faces off at this year’s Supersonic Festival.
“Not ones to mess about, Cattle are straight in with the fierce two-drum assault. It’s bracing and glorious. It rattles your bones. Their percussive force is irresistible and they have that liberating wave of filthy, distorting noise-thing going on.”- Echoes and Dust on Cattle, Supersonic Festival 2018
One drums, another one drums, bass, vocals, tootle pipe and sound rod, the Leeds quintet Cattle occupies that rare space where an utter lack of pretence and theatrical noise-rock volatility intersect. Live, the band launch into an intense set of ecstatic noise, saxophone skronk, and highly percussive, sludgy grooves.
Listen for yourselves in our Supersonic Round-Up Podcast: Part 1
This is bound to be a one of a kind gig, and, with the Pigs’ new album ‘King of Cowards’ and international shows selling out, might be the last time you get to see them in such an intimate space.
Supersonic are so chuffed that Pigs (Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs) have been named BBC 6Music’s album of the day with ‘King of Cowards’!
It’s fair to say that Supersonic has a long pigstery with this Geordie group. Since their first performance in 2017, we have hosted Pigsx7 at Hare and Hounds earlier this year (along with ever raucous Grey Hairs and Youth Man) and frontman Matt Baty (CEO of Box Records) was lead vocals in our #SSFest18 Saturday supergroup. This is on top of their sell out shows throughout the UK and Europe.
Pigs frontman Baty at Supersonic Festival 2018, Supersonic Supergroup (photo by Joe Singh)
“70s heavy metal is played both straight and as some kind of art project”- The Guardian, 4 stars
It’s so great to see this band getting the recognition they deserve. After recently creating an incredible mix of leftfield music for Stuart Maconie’s Freak Zone Playlist, BBC 6 Music have named their sell out album ‘King of Cowards’ album of the day!
This second album does its damnedest to take the consciousness to its very limits. The period since Pigs’ Rocket Recordings 2017 debut ‘Feed The Rats’ – a mighty tsunami of rancorous riffage and unholy abjection that wowed critics and wreckheads alike – has seen the band build on their incendiary live reputation far and wide. Perhaps the most relentlessly head-caving outfit of the present, alarmingly fertile, Newcastle scene, the band have all been busying themselves in a variety of activities, with Baty running Box Records (home of underground luminaries like Lower Slaughter, Casual Nun and Terminal Cheesecake) and both himself and bassist John-Michael Hedley playing in Richard Dawson’s band (a Supersonic alum who also guests on the album), and guitarist Sam Grant has been working hard on a new incarnation of Blank Studios, which began its life with the recording of this very album.
This opus sees the band entering a new phase as a sleeker yet still more dangerous swineherd, with ex-Gnod and Queer’d Science drummer Chris Morley joining the ranks and a new approach being taken to its creation. The Iggy-esque drive to dementia, Sabbath-esque squalor and Motörhead-style dirt may still be present and correct yet the songs are leaner, the longdrawn-out riff-fests sharpened into addictive hammer blows and the nihilistic dirges of yore alchemically transformed into an uplifting and inviting barrage of hedonistic abandon.
We can’t wait to welcome the pigs back to the Hare and Hounds in March, where they’ll be joined by #SSFest18 favourites Cattle for yet another night of stormy amps and demonic drumming.
TICKETS ARE SELLING FAST! This might be the last time you get to experience the group play in such an intimate venue, SO DON’T BE A WALLY, and get those tickets NOOOOOWWWW
We’re super excited for our show at Vivid Projects as part of Outlands Tour 3. Get to know the artists and involved in the upcoming part club night/ part installation…
Grischa Lichtenberger is an electronic music producer, visual and installation artist living in Berlin. Having grown up in a withdrawn farmhouse, his artistic approach developed from surveying the landscape, and despite a fairly concise release history, Grischa Lichtenberger is an artist whose work is both intriguing and beguiling in equal measure. His compositions are often referenced in the context of artists like Autechre or Aphex Twin, yet have a sense of being developed in isolation and against popular trends.
The aggressive tone in his sound gives an emotional depth to the musical structure – a hermetic idiosyncrasy of rhythm and melodies that implement a personal handwriting into the arrangement and sound elements. The music aims toward introspective moods on the dance floor, tumbling between funky, highly energetic beats and trembling, concerning melodies that reach out to the individual listener.
His immersive live performances oscillate between abrasive, aggressive compositions and intricate structures of beat and melody. Technology appears in the mix, but definitely not as a perfect, mathematically defined form. Instead, he speaks in hyperlinks, misusing gear and feeding computers into other computers to form feedback loops. He’s finding a unique and creative materialism in digitalised music, making something very physical, that carves its way into your ears.
We had an interesting and thought provoking time at Hello Culture: Remix last week for BBC’s digital cities.
The day gave arts organisations and artists a chance to discuss the highs and lows of digital content creation, a day of thinking and of getting practical about how technology is transforming our culture.
The day featured a panel on creating music through digital means, with artists such as #SSFest18’s Sam Underwood (Connected Devices) and Sarah Farmer (Ideas of Noise) discussing the impact technology has had on music and what the hell that means.
In reality, digi stuff has enabled immediate changes to how we access and work with music. It’s enabled us to share far and wide, save it for ourselves in tidy hard drives as opposed to shelves and shelves of records. Technology and digital culture has opened our eyes to countless possibilities of making and experiencing music, ways which are multi-disciplinary, multi-levelled, and, yes, continuously experimental (which we’re always fans of).
Lets look at the upcoming Outlands Tour 3 show with DRIFT ft. KYOKA / GRISCHA LICHTENBERGER / YTAC as an example. Within this performance, the crowd and performers will be monitored by motion sensors and microphones within the room to determine the visuals to be projected during the live set. Technology, in this sense, is the driver of this live performance. It is technology- that of the electronic music and receptive installation work- which will inform the audience experience.
Electric Campfire 2013 VillaMassimo – Kyoka
Like it or lump it, digitalisation has happened, and WILL continue to grow, impacting on how we access music in our everyday lives. But is this exciting, or borderline creepy? Let us know your thoughts.
As part of Outlands Tour 3, join us for a crash course in reactive shaders with creative technologists wetgenes
@STEAMhouse,108 Digbeth, Birmingham
Friday 26th October 2018
wetgenes, the feral games developers and the creative technologists behind the DRIFT aspect of the OUTLANDS upcoming tour, will be gently introducing the OpenGL Shading Language in a workshop at STEAMhouse, Birmingham, where you will be creating your own interactive digital pieces responding to improvised movement and sound. No prior programming knowledge is required to benefit from the session!
wetgenes are Bradford-based duo and long-term collaborators Shi and Kriss. They are self taught fierce believers of simple, open and accessible tech for all. The symbiotic relationship with computer language allows them to carve visions and dreams in the cold, rational environments of the digital medium; experimenting with the bleeding edge and the obsolete. Their recent work has explored neuroscience and synaesthesia, including developing an interactive installation experimenting with sound through touch, visuals and movement via augmented reality using sand, commissioned by the National Science and Media Museum.
The modern use of “shader” was introduced to the public by Pixar with their “RenderMan Interface Specification, Version 3.0” originally published in May 1988. It now runs in browsers, mobile phones, games consoles, laptops and tech such as Raspberry Pi for demoscene, games development, music videos, films, live coding, audio sets and more. wetgenes believe that Reactive Art advances the medium; its emergent nature evolves according to exposed states, changing and adapting as opposed to Static Art which is created to be viewed, consumed and digested by gaze or study.
The workshop will be taking place at STEAMhouse in Digbeth, a new centre for creative and collaborative innovation and cultural production. Developed by Birmingham City University in partnership with Eastside Projects, and funded by the European Regional Development Fund and Arts Council England, STEAMhouse runs a range of programmes and houses facilities including co-working and project spaces and the Production Space – a substantial, new makerspace with equipment and technicians to support production and prototyping in a range of media.
We will look briefly at the history of shaders and how these techniques are used in the industry right now, driving innovation in computer hardware research and development. The workshop will end with a quick show & tell.
Participants are advised to bring a laptop with a working camera and microphone. You will be using ShaderToy for the entire duration of the workshop. Modern laptops should be able to load the website but please check before coming.
Only 6 weeks to go until Outlands Tour 3 comes to Vivid Projects on Friday 9th November 2018! GET YOUR TICKETS NOW
Part club, part installation; join us for a night of heavy electronics, hypno-chaotic grooves and pristine frequency control within a unique, audio-visual environment, DRIFT ft. acclaimed German electronic label Raster artists Kyoka, Grischa Lichtenberger with support from key figure of the shady EIS HAUS collective YTAC sets forth an intoxicating, hyper-sensory digital experience.
Electric Campfire 2013 VillaMassimo – Kyoka
DRIFT will take shape within a specially constructed space at Vivid Projects, Digbeth, where motion sensors and microphones monitor the room, the crowd and the performers. The observations are fed to a central ‘brain’, which responds by projecting fevered machine-dreams back onto people and walls – the audience and the performance influence the visuals; feedback ensues, chaos builds. Inside this generated environment, artists Kyoka and Grischa Lichtenberger from acclaimed German electronic music record label Raster will diffuse their visions of experimental dancefloors.
DRIFT is an immersive environment developed in collaboration by feral games developers and digital art technologists wetgenes and our fellow Outlands partner Fuse Art Space. Now in its second build version following an original commission by the British Science Festival in 2014, the system is housed within a specially constructed reflective enclosure which, with motion sensors and mics, monitor the room, the crowd, the performers. These then feed audio and visual observations to an array of processors, which converts the data to graphics and projects these graphics back onto the walls and people.
DRIFT technologists wetgenes will be facilitating workshops in the weeks leading up to the UK Tour, shining a light on the artistic and technological processes within the live performance. SO KEEP AN EAR OUT for upcoming info on the artists/ collectives involved, and how to take advantage of this unique opportunity…
We continue to reminisce on the wonder that was #SSFest18 with very special guests and good pals Youth Man, who played their second Supersonic this year on the raucous third stage. Talking hometown Brum, Supersonic experiences, Chavterparty at The Adam and Eve, Afropunk, Avril Lavigne and of course their new 5 song EP released on Alcopop Records.
(Video credit: Tom Wagstaff and team)
Get over to our Youtube channel now for more live footage: https://www.youtube.com/user/SupersonicFestival
As if that weren’t enough, we keep the treats coming with live recordings from this year’s festival, and Youth Man pick out their current listening pleasures. Prick those ears and join your hosts Anna Palmer and Alice Tomlinson as we guide you back down memory lane…
Daniel Higgs I Moor Mother I Vanishing Twin I Gum Takes Tooth I Youth Man I Clipping I Eartheater I Matters I Iggy and The Stooges
On Friday 14th September, team Supersonic were thrilled to present another night of leftfield oddities in Birmingham’s King’s Heath, with the all mighty return of Surgeon, Steve Davis & Kavus Torabi and DJ Bus Replacement Service in partnership with The Hare and Hounds.
With the opening of its doors, the night kicked off with a set from DJ Bus Replacement Service (aka Doris Woo) that was always going to transcend your typical dance floor. She is an artist like no other, donning a rubber mask in the likeness of North Korean “Supreme Leader” Kim Jong-Un, swerving with dexterity from novelty detritus, rare pop gems and genre-mutating mash-ups into hammering techno, acid and hardcore. At one point, she even gave audiences an enlightening tour through Detroit Zoo…
Woo’s bizarre set left us bewildered and exhilarated, just in time for the stage take over of six-times world snooker champion and a former member of two of the planet’s oddest bands (Cardiacs and Gong) to the stage.
Steve Davis with Iranian multi-instrumentalist and experimental rock composer Kavus Torabi packed the room with their eclectic dance mix- from Techno, to Northern Soul, to Melodic Drone for good measure. It’s a pairing which for years has guaranteed weary, worn out legs, with Steve and Kavus having first met at a Paris gig by veteran prog rockers Magma, and ending up having joined forces on Steve’s excellent Interesting Alternative Show, on Essex-based radio station Phoenix FM.
To top off the night, Birmingham techno legend Surgeon (AKA Anthony Child) satisfied an increasingly hyped crowd with his selection of left-field tunes for some solid dancefloor wizardry. Surgeon’s set was relentless, sharing pacey tempos and rhythms till the end of the night. This closing set showed House of God DJ at his absolute rawest, playing to an ever energetic Supersonic audience!
Thanks again to all you reprobates who came down, and to Hare and Hounds for hosting another smashing night.
Here’s the new video release from our MOOG Sound Lab series hosted at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as part of Supersonic Festival 2018. Gum Takes Tooth were joined by Wayne Adams of Big Lad for a 2 day residency in the lab.
GUM TAKES TOOTH took to the Supersonic stage on the Sunday afternoon of the festival this year, following their immersive time in the lab.
Whatever they had originally planned for us that Sunday was soon chucked out the window after inspiration found them via the oscillations transmitted by the wall of MOOG synthesizers over the course of those 2 days. They delivered an absolute belter of a set, getting the Supersonic crowd well and truly warmed up for the festival finale. At Supersonic, we were dead chuffed to see these artists revel in this unique opportunity.
“an exercise in extreme electronica, taking on techno structures and reconfiguring to a dramatic extent. Filled with energy, the band moved confidently through this maniacal set and set the bar fairly high.” – Pop Matters
“Supersonic is an absolute champion among festivals, a unique and precious thing, a banquet for the musically curious.” – Echoes and Dust Magazine.
As live footage from Supersonic Festival 2018 is released, we reminisce on the wonder that was the weekend of June 22nd-24th, Digbeth Birmingham. A culmination of a years work towards brining the UK the most exciting new underground acts, whilst simultaneously heralding experimental pioneers from across the globe. We still can’t quite get our head around what a mind-bending, life-altering few days it was. And the mango curry, of course.
Hosted by Anna Palmer and Alice Tomlinson, this will be the first part in a roundup series, playing out live sets from the festival itself, talking favourite performances and festival moments plus a brand new track from one of our featured artists. With music from:
Every year in July, the French city of Avignon is transformed into something of a performance in itself: it becomes a home of venues, placing art in such legendary spaces of the main courtyard of the Popes’ Palace to the streets themselves, always alive with it’s thousands of spectators and artists alike. Last week, Capsule’s Audience Development Assistant Alice headed to Festival D’Avignon to experience this for herself, an opportunity which was made available to her through her placement within the Weston Jerwood Bursaries Scheme. She had a great time.
In Festival D’Avignon‘s mission statement, the festival is described as ‘a popular and contemporary artistic adventure’, bringing together general public and international creation in the making of a truly unique alliance, predominantly around dance and theatre. It is ‘a state of mind’, a place which encourages discussion, reflection, ultimately building a community of open-mindedness within a living, breathing culture.
This was my first visit to Festival D’Avignon, and I was taken by just how much this statement resonated in practice. From the visual ecstasy of the body through Sasha Waltz’s Kreatur, to the intimate, powerful creation of Rocio Molina Grito Palao, discussing female homosexuality and the desire to have children through flamenco. There is definitely a dialogue here. The live performances, and their messages, become living, tangible things, surpassing the native language of individual artists and their hosts. It is a dialogue which I had accessed at the boundary blurring BE Festival (Birmingham European Festival) only the week before, and a dialogue which is certainly not dissimilar to that of our beloved Supersonic.
It’s also worth noting that before this June I’d never been to Supersonic Festival before either. I started my placement with Capsule not only as a new member of the team, but also as a new pair of eyes and ears (…talk about a baptism by fire!). My role was created / is designed to look at what makes Supersonic so special to so many people. Without wanting to make you cringe, what I found to be so unique about our festival was its sense of family: those who come back each year to celebrate risk-ta king, experimental performance. It is a family of audience and artist alike, of young and old, from all corners of the city, the UK, and beyond.
When thinking of how best to talk about my time at Avignon, everything seemed to hark back to communion, that of the shared experience often promised within the sphere of a festival. The beauty of what I found in Festival D’Avignon lay in the fact that no matter who I was, where I was from, being a part of an arts festival meant stepping into a realm in which these needn’t matter. If #SSFest18 and the processional work of artist in residence Dennis McNett had taught me anything, it was that a festival is a realm which places you outside of individuation and into a greater whole. It is a space for connecting, reconnecting and sharing experiences w hich go beyond the everyday, sometimes beyond what is comfortable, often beyond what you know.
In a post-Brexit world of misunderstandings and misinformation, it seems essential- now more than ever- to be celebrating cultural exchange, and acknowledging what can be learnt from international art and performance- particularly in what it can teach you about human experience. Through the language of a festival, cultures can be connected in a way that reminds us of how much of the international can be found in our domestic spaces. For me, I am reminded of how much richer, and more electric these spaces become when such boundaries are blurred. Having an open mind is key, but it is by meeting international ideas with open arms- in the way which Festival D’Avignon and Supersonic do- that can prove most rewarding.
WOW! To all of you who had your faces melted off by Supersonic 2018, our hearts are completely warmed- THANK YOU! We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend full of mind bending, life altering music and art, paired with fun and frolics shared amongst a loving, open minded community – something much needed in our current times.
Huge thanks and congratulations to our hard-working Supersonic team and volunteers who every year go beyond the call of duty to make it happen, and to our incredible artists and audience alike who elevate the whole experience to something unlike any other.
We will start posting up our Supersonic Collective memory (first started in 2009)- where we’d love to hear from you! Send your comments, blog links and photos to firstname.lastname@example.org with some of your highlights. Keep checking back as we add more content and share your weekend memories.
We know that people who come to SUPERSONIC are a knowledgeable and opinionated lot so we’d like to ask for your assistance to develop and improve the next festival by answering a few questions about you and your experience. This should take no more than a few minutes of your time, and your feedback is greatly appreciated.
Your answers here will aid us in keeping our work going and in making sure new and interesting artists will keep coming to the festival – so your input really does matter in making SUPERSONIC work.
“Supersonic Festival 2018 – Birmingham waves the flag for New Weird Britain Another vintage year for Digbeth’s annual showcase of the sonically strange…as audience members from around the UK, America, Japan and other far-flung parts of the globe got together to celebrate the weird and the wonderful.”
“Supersonic are not so much who I’m writing this piece for as a reason I’m writing it. That is to say: the festival’s approach to choosing lineups is a prototype of how I prefer to envisage music’s underground. A space of interactivity rather than cramped, glowering sects, where sufficient imagination can cook up a conceptual link between any two given acts. In 2018, music fans are way less rigid in their tastes than they used to be. The reasons for this are complex, although not so complex that I can’t say ‘mainly because of the internet’, but on a micro level, many identifiable entities have helped to get listeners to swerve across multiple lanes. Supersonic is, I feel, one of them.”
“Since its inaugural event in 2003, Supersonic has grown to be one of Europe’s standout alternative festivals. Centred around The Custard Factory and the industrial warehouses of Digbeth in Birmingham, Supersonic has constantly evolved to fulfil its mission statement of providing experimental music for curious audiences….That’s why there is no festival like Supersonic and that’s why it has built a loyal following over the last 15 years – long may it continue.”
“Fighting Boredom’s favourite festival is here again. Set in the Custard Factory in Birmingham, Supersonic festival is where we come to hear old favourites, discover new inspiration and immerse ourselves in the best place ‘for curious audiences’.”
“In 2018, Supersonic returned with an impressive line-up, one of the strongest in its history. From extravagant producer Yves Tumor, score master Mark Korven, instrument aficionados Mario Batkovic and Andrea Belfi, to legendary folk singer Shirley Collins, psychedelic gurus Dwarfs of East Agouza, punk legends the Ex, and black metal masters Wolves in the Throne Room, Supersonic extended its grasp.”
“Supersonic promotes the most challenging and experimental music. Whether it’s brutalising electronica, hard EDM, noise, doom psyche or bombastic black metal, it’s here. If there’s anything more extreme, no doubt it would eventually end up at Supersonic. This is a festival not afraid to take chances.”
“For me, Supersonic festival has not only stood out from others of its kind by pushing its scope away from the one dimensional trap that is indicative of most music based festivals, but has programmed things people might not be aware of.
“And due to the nature of the event itself, those in attendance tend to be open to investigate those things.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be allowed the opportunity to present sound and visual works within the framework of an established festival that gives trust to others to bring in outside perspectives.” – Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Supersonic 2018 Guest Curator
“Since being founded in 2003, the festival continues to draw from some of the more hidden corners of the underground – never ceasing to challenge and surprise, but somehow managing to remain accessible and inviting too.”
“On a personal note, I have attended the festival several times as a paying punter and I’ve never come away having not fallen in love with several “new” (to these ears, anyway) bands that I’ve witnessed over the two-and-a-bit days.”
“Fighting Boredom’s musical highlight of the year is coming up very soon now. Supersonic Festival never fails to give us unexpected new music to explore, old favourites that always impress and a weekend of immersion into art and events.”
As part of Supersonic Festival 2018 in Birmingham, U.K., a procession of creatures and objects from the mind of Dennis McNett filled the streets. The major project from the artist used the festival musicians (and audience) for an immersive parade experience in the style of work by the artist, who has crafted this style under the moniker “Wolfbat. Musicians included Rattle, Agathe Max and Deaf Kids from Brazil as well as our audience who took part in a series of workshops to craft costumes and masks alongside Dennis.
Three improvisational luminaries; multi-instrumentalist YoshimiO (Boredoms, OOIOO, SAICOBAB), avant-garde percussionist Susie Ibarra, and artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Lichens) perform together as Yunohana Variations for the first time in the UK.
YoshimiO is a drummer and member of the revolutionary group Boredoms. She is the leader of the experimental band OOIOO, a member of Free Kitten with Kim Gordon (ex. Sonic Youth), and most recently the vocalist in SAICOBAB.
Susie Ibarra, is one of the most significant percussionists and composers of our time, known for her work as a performer within contemporary, avant-garde, jazz, classical, and world music, and performs in the band Dreamtime Ensemble. Ibarra studied with jazz luminaries Earl Buster Smith (of Sun Ra Arkestra), Vernel Fournier and Milford Graves, and Philippine Kulintang gong-chime music with Danongan Kalanduyan. She has performed with the likes of: John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Yo La Tengo, Ikue Mori and recent works include a sound installation for Ai Weiwei.
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice is strongly rooted in exploration of moments and the hypnagogic state. Movement and gesture play key factors within this process, and in the performance realm are focused on by voice and modular synthesizer. A fixture of Chicago’s experimental community throughout the 90s and early 2000s, Robert has also performed under the name Lichens, is a member of the legendary band Om, and has an impressive portfolio of collaborations, which extends to the film world with his score for pseudo-documentary A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness, directed by Ben Russell and Ben Rivers (which Robert also appears in).
FAKA PERFORMANCE REPLACED BY SUPERSONIC SUPER GROUP
“We regret to inform you that our Visa application process has been unsuccessful. The error was with us applying through the wrong category. We now have very little time to pursue another application / appeal their decision and we are afraid it will no longer be possible to play at Supersonic Festival.
It was our ultimate wish to participate in the forthcoming events but our schedule made it hard to treat the process with the care it deserved. We apologise for the inconvenience and hope to get another opportunity to play in the future.
PLEASE NOTE SUPERSONIC AND FAKA DID EVERYTHING IN OUR POWER TO GET THIS THROUGH FAKA SPENT 4000E APPLYING FOR THESE VISA’S
We have however replaced Faka with a Supersonic Supergroup – a selection of Supersonic artists will be collaborating tonight to create a unique performance for your pleasure and John Doran will be doing one of his infamous DJ sets to send Saturday night out with a bang.
The place to fill your boots and bellies- the Market Place and courtyard, around and outside Stage 1, will be hosting delicious treats to fuel weary festival feet. Be sure to make a visit to these delicious spots which cater for all, including vegans, celiacs, sweet tooths and straight up carnivors …
Beet The System
Beet the System are a Vegan Worker Co-operative from Brum. They make the best organic #FreshTempeh you’ve ever tasted and they are chuffed to be fuelling Supersonic Festival again with some amazing gastronomic delights!
Original Patty Men: Birmingham’s own Patty Pimps and Purveyors of Filth return to their street food origins to provide you with real quality burgers.
Combining fresh ingredients with tasty spices, Sri-Licious prepare every element of their dishes lovingly from scratch. From the roti bread in their Kothu Roti, to the Short Eats and tasty Sambols, Sri-Licious is passionate about bringing the unique and amazing flavours of Sri-Lanka to you. There’s something for everyone with vegan and gluten-free options available!
Supersonic Tea Room
Expect an array of epicurean delights to be found in our Tea Room from vegan sweet treats to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Marys to fuel your Sunday. Take a load off those tired festival feet and enjoy a range of Supersonic friends who will be spinning the wheels of steel for your listening pleasure.
Supersonic is produced by Capsule:
Unit 316, Custard Factory