Bandcamp Friday: the ‘hidden gem’ ten

[Mario Batkovic at Supersonic 2018 – image by Katja Orgin]

It’s a big win for artists and labels as Bandcamp continue to waive their fees on the first Friday of the month for the rest of the year in support of musicians during the Covid-19 Pandemic. This means 100% of profits go to straight to Bandcamp artists for 24hrs, many of which have recently had tours, festivals and shows cancelled. 

 

Supersonic Festival is a voyage of discovery for many. We pride ourselves on our risk-taking programme, supporting emergent talent and championing envelope-pushing artists, no matter size or stature. So this month, we look back over the last decade of Supersonic, to the ‘hidden gems’ we have had the honour of introducing to you, our audience, between the 2010 – 2020 line-ups. These names might not have been so well-known at first, but their mesmerising and unforgettable performances have left a lasting memory on any of us lucky enough to bear witness. Any of these artists would bring only joy to your prized music collections.

 

So, without further ado, here are our recommendations – the ‘hidden gem’ ten…

[Faten Kanaan at Supersonic 2019 – image by Mark Rhodes]

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1.Faten Kanaan
Brooklyn’s Faten Kanaan is a gifted musical story-teller. Her performance at Supersonic 2019 was mesmerising, inspired by cinematic forms: from sweeping landscapes and quiet character studies, to the patterned tension of horror film soundtracks. She builds songs by live-looping them into a narrative, without the use of samplers, sequencers, or arpeggiators. You can listen to the Sofasonic Playlist she curated for us here. 
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2. Nisennenmondai
Their performance at Supersonic 2009 was so popular, we just had to get them back for another show in 2010. After meeting at university in Tokyo, these three friends formed the band Nisennenmondai and forged their signature driving rhythms and metallic guitar sound. They emulate something like an ungodly and hypnotic amalgamation of Boredoms, Neu!, Can, and Ruins circa 1986-7.
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3. Group Doueh 
Group Doueh are led by the enigmatic guitar hero Bamaar Salmou, who is known simply as ‘Doueh’ (pronounced: ‘Doo-way’). They are from Dakhla, in the Western Sahara. The group’s sound is unlike anything that you’ve ever heard before. It is a sound that is rooted in the traditional foundations of Sahrawi/Hassania music, but one that is also entirely its own.
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4. Mario Batkovic 
At Supersonic 2018, Mario Batkovic, a Swiss, Bosnian-born accordion player captivated the audience with his minimal yet virtuosic sound. Through the accordion he’s been able to channel an unbound desire to explore and express, a freedom that he has been denied through the various physical, social, cultural, and political borders that have existed in his life.
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5. Mohammad 
MMMD are constantly forging their deep monolithic sound, bringing together low frequencies, inter-modulations, dark textures, and distant folk nuances through custom made instruments. Their music is heavy and concentrated, majestic and dark, ethereal and subtle.
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6. Nadah El Shazly 
Egyptian vocalist and composer combining abstract quirky electronics and sultry Arabic vocals, living and working in Cairo. We were introduced to Nadah when long time friend of Supersonic, Khyam Allami, guest curated part of the line-up for our 2017 edition with a showcase of artists from his Nawa Recordings label.
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7. Afework Nigussie 
Afework Nigussie is a musician and singer from Gondar in northern Ethiopia. He has a background in Azmari, the voices of freedom of expression in Ethiopia, improvising constantly, commenting on politics, religion and everyday life. Nigusse has also trained at the National Theatre in Addis Ababa and, more recently, collaborated with The Ex. We were introduced to this incredible artist when Richard Dawson was our guest curator for our 2015 edition, producing The Delight is Right, Afeworks’ performance was so incredibly joyful and uplifting, perfect for a Sunday afternoon of the festival.
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SELVHENTER
[Selvhenter at Supersonic 2015 – image by Joe Singh]
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8. Selvhenter
A noise-free rock band based in Copenhagen. Selvhenter’s music consists of strong polyrhythmic patterns from the two drummers while the horns intertwine in heavy riffs, pop-like melodies and textures of sound manipulated by the use of effect pedals. Their energy was absolutely infectious when performing live, combining uncompromising, boundless sounds that blended experimental rock, improvised free jazz and punk, noise and metal.  
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9. Islaja
Islaja is a singer-songwriter and musician from Helsinki, Finland. With a unique acid-folk styling, her soulful yet icy voice soars over DIY compositions, attaining a certain level of majesty without losing sight of their innate sense of playfulness. She wowed adults and tiny tots alike with her Kids Gig performance.
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10. Woven Skull
Woven Skull began playing together in 2008 in the empty, sparse Irish countryside. These surroundings helped to forge their music, which has been described as ‘minimal, repetitive, distorted, ugly and beautiful in one’. We’ve had the pleasure of hosting the band at many of our events of the years, but by far the most memorable performance was when they hosted one of our Supersonic Kids Gigs which ended with a rapturous cacophony of percussion sourced from twigs and old bins and many small feral children!
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