The Market Place has been a vibrant part of Supersonic Festival for many years now. It’s a space for independent distributors, record labels, poster artists and peddlers of curiosities to sell their wares, network and for you to meet each other face to face. The Market Place is also where the bands sell their merch. This year, the Market Place will be situated in the light, glass-walled canteen of our Digbeth hub venue, equipped with a tea room serving a selection of epicurean delights.
This year at Supersonic, we’ve got a few spaces still available in our Festival Marketplace.
The deal? For £200, you get 2 weekend tickets to the festival and a stall to sell your goods, network and meet audiences face to face alongside likeminded folks.
Supersonic Festival announce the day line-ups, as the day-tickets go on sale today, and reveal more of what this year has to offer…
We are thrilled to announce another exclusive commission for Supersonic 2017, a special performance by Nicholas Bullen, originator of Napalm Death, with ‘Universal Detention Centre’ tying into the 30 year anniversary of Grindcore masterpiece, ‘Scum’. This groundbreaking album by Napalm Death, paved the way for a new sub genre which was unlike anything previously heard before incomprehensible screams and growled vocals were laid atop distorted, down tuned guitars in a race to the finish line against a newly formed style of percussive aggression – the blast beat, whilst preaching a message of personal responsibility.
In addition to this Superspecial Napalm Death anniversary we bring you sets from artists who take elements of the genre in new directions: Melt Banana, Art of Burning Water, and PCM. There will also be a special talk to analyse and discuss the impact of DIY culture on social change 30 years on. More details on this to be revealed soon.
In recognition of the fact that children can enjoy experimental music as much as the adults who attend Supersonic, not to mention being a fantastic opportunity to show all the family the beauty of live music, the festival each year hosts a SupersonicKids Gig labelled “big sounds for little people”. In previous years this has included performances from Richard Dawson, Flamingods, and this year shall be hosted by Japanese band Melt Banana, who form a riot of sound and fury that’s both sonically adventurous and feverishly compelling. The Supersonic kids gig shall take place on Saturday 17th June at Symphony Hall from 2-3:30pm, recommended for children under 10.
Adding to the variety of the Supersonic 2017 line up, there shall be a plethora of AV performances including multi-media commission by artist Conny Prantera in collaboration with a host of female artists and musicians, The Seer, which explores the supernatural and visions of the future, through multiple projections and costumes, with live music composition. Lone Taxidermist’s Trifle is a journey into the murky, intertwined depths of sexual food fetishes, Amsr and foley artistry. Mothwasp experiment with brute force of drums and guitar, film soundtrack techniques and audio-responsive video experiments. London based punk purveyors of Pagan Funk, Snapped Ankles bring their Wild Man attire to Supersonic, while power trio Ghold, will plough into some of the most ponderous dirges you’ll hear this side of Corrupted. Audiences can expect a party where electronic music is generated from live algorithms hailed as an Algorave.
Of course, no Supersonic line up would be complete without extra curricular activities and workshops to keep curious minds (and bodies) enterained throughout the weekend, and so this year, Yoga In Black are holding two sessions of their unique take on yoga over the Festival weekend, in collaboration with electric cellist Rotten Bliss.
Anna Von Hausswolff / Algorave / Anonymous Bash / Art of Burning Water / Charles Hayward Zigzag+Swirl / Melt Banana / Mothwasp / Nicholas Bullen / PCM / Xylouris White
Arbouretum / Big Joanie / Colin Stetson / Electronica Wizard / Ex Easter Island Head / Grey Hairs / Haress / Jenny Hval / Jessica Moss / Kuro / Laniakea / Laura Cannell / Pigs x 7 / Raime / Richard Dawson / The Seer / Zonal Feat. Justin Broadrick + Kevin Martin / Zu
Casual Nun / Dorcha / Flowers Must Die / Ghold / Kamilya Jubran Wasl Trio / Khyam Allami / Lone Taxidermist / Mohammad / Nadah El Shazly / Oxbow Choir / Princess Nokia / Snapped Ankles / The Space Lady / Tomaga + Pierre Bastien / Two or The Dragon
Presented by Anna Palmer and George Leeming
We take you through the next batch of acts to be announced for this year’s festival including:
Ex-Easter Island Head
Richard Dawson (special feature)
Tomaga + Pierre Bastien
The Space Lady
Zonal (ft. The Bug and Justin Broadrick)
[with live performances from Supersonics gone by]
Plus interviews and influences, expect:
Mike & Lal Waterson
Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra
“Akin to blending the sonic freak outs of legendary krautrock pioneers Ash Ra Tempel with 90’s Japanese noise mongers Up-Tight or Ohkami No Jikan, London’s Casual Nun deliver some downright heavy psych – a blown out slab of distorted, hypnotic guitar buzz, heady, effect-laden vocals, and plodding drums, everything bleary eyed, garage-y, intense and drugged out! Anyone who has been diggin’ the aforementioned greats, GNOD, The Heads or Loop will definitely fall in love with Casual Nun – at least, we did immediately upon hearing Super Fancy Skeleton, Casual Nun’s debut release.” – Roadburn
Psychometrics are used to gauge and influence in a world where information digestion has moved increasingly towards social messaging. The ability of organisations and entities to use psychometric data to build a psychological profile of a person is an alarming manipulation of our personalities, aptitudes and desires.
With that in mind, ‘Psychometric Testing By…’ sees Casual Nun embracing a more improvisational approach, with the entirety of the recording created in Wayne Adams’(Shitwife/Death Pedals) Bear Bites Horse studio during the same session that produced their first LP ‘Super Fancy Skeleton’ .
Casual Nun’s ‘Psychometric Testing By…’ limited edition 12’’ vinyl by Box Records AVAILABLE HERE
” All tumultuous sounds hurtling through a cavernous echo chamber, the band dissect what it means to be psychedelic and discover a new-found jamming ethic, if you thought their debut was good, you haven’t heard anything yet… Coming so soon of the back of their excellent debut, this is an extraordinarily confident piece of music which takes their sound into ever different avenues… This is the true sound of the UK underground.”– Echoes & Dust
HARESS consists of the core guitar duo of David Hand and Elizabeth Still, based in Bishops Castle in the Shropshire Hills where they also organise the amazing Sin-eater Festival and run the DIY record label Lancashire & Somerset.David is also our incredible visual artist and graphic designer for Supersonic – making us look Superfly.
Hand and Still intertwine dark and repetitive guitar figures in order to create a hypnotic, mantra-like state. Their intuitive playing works on a kind of telepathy until it’s impossible for the onlooker to work out which player is responsible for which sound and they must choose to absorb it as a whole. The resulting music is reminiscent of Ry Cooder’s “Paris, Texas” soundtrack, latter-day Earth, Papa M or even the repetition of Sahara blues but filtered through a warm, rural sensibility.
Haress are frequently joined by collaborators and recent live performances have expanded the 2 piece to also include Pete Simonelli (Enablers) on vocals and Chris Summerlin (Kogumaza) on guitar. A recording made with Nathan Bell (Lungfish, Human Bell) is also in the release pipeline.
Be sure to catch this beguiling duo at Supersonic 2017!
“He who makes a beast of himself gets rid of the pain of being a man”, as a sage wiser and more debauched than most of us once remarked. Such is the headspace of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, whose animalistic headspace is set out by their very moniker, yet who have wasted little time in creating an almighty psychic charge that has blown minds and summoned bedlam in sweat-drenched venues across the UK’s underground and beyond.
“It’s a pretty perfect balance of obnoxiousness, ridiculousness, intensity and theatrics, and somewhere within that spectrum is where our music sits too.” reckons Matthew Baty, whose vein-popping onstage performances and cathartic bellow form a primary ingredient of the Newcastle five-piece’s devastating live shows. “We truly love the emotionally dark bands that we are in (Ommadon, Blown Out, Khunnt). Pigs however provided an opportunity to do something different, something that is fun with a different kind of intensity.”
Playing their first gig supporting Goat at what was only the latter’s second ever show, the band have gigged relentlessly with kindred spirits including The Cosmic Dead and Luminous Bodies, not to mention gracing festivals like Supernormal and Portugal’s Reverence with their feral attack. Yet the time has come for this band to transcend the realm of word-of-mouth phenomenon and be judged on their feverish and demented collision of psych-drone dementia and riff-driven salvation alone.
The inarguable proof is Feed The Rats, the overwhelming first album the band have created for Rocket Recordings – equal parts righteous repetition, bludgeoning brute force and Sabbathian squalor, its alchemical charge has the power to transform bleary-eyed abandon into small-hours revelation. This three-track, forty-minute monument of chaotic catharsis captures the everything-on-eleven spirit of the band’s live manifestation whilst adding a level of finesse and texture often less easily accessible in a dangerous haze of flying hair, discarded clothes and spilt premium lager. Channeling the grimy trip hazards of Monster Magnet’s ‘Spine Of God’ through a prism of kraut-derived repetition and Part Chimp style bloodymindedness, the resulting hallucinatory vortex appears constantly on the realm of breaking point.
Yet for Baty, the porcine realm is less about a nihilistic quest for fiery oblivion than one might imagine. “You know, I think we’ve experienced it, many times. It’s those gigs where we can almost sense that everyone in the room is engaged. The energy created is so thick you can almost bite down on it and it feels like there’s no longer any barrier between band and audience. Those are the special shows, where there’s a solidarity and a very visceral bond. That, and being able to smell our amps melting”.
Amps and brains alike, as these psychic omnivores bring seven times the joy, seven times the pain, seven times the dementia and deliverance.
Musician and record producer Kevin Martin is best known for recording and performing as The Bug, however, has been and continues to be involved in a variety of other musical projects including: GOD, Techno Animal, Ice, Curse of the Golden Vampire and King Midas Sound.
Early musical groundings with bands like Joy Division, Sex Pistols, Captain Beefheart, Birthday Party, and Throbbing Gristle sparked his initial interest in music, as Martin describes, “It seemed like everything that I hated about English conservative monoculture was being burned and turned upside down through music…Post-punk music was tearing up rule books and asking questions of everything, particularly structure in terms of music, art, politics, you know, the law.”
Martin first began making music because he was attracted to the DIY punk aesthetic. He first worked with a four-track recorder and effects pedal. Moving in to the 90s London music scene, he began to sync his ears up to the genres of dub, jazzcore, ragga, industrial hip hop, dancehall, and dubstep. Equipped with his aversion to conservative musical structure he comments how discovering genres such as Dub “seemed to tear everything to shreds, burn it up, and rearrange the embers.” The punk-meets-dance music combination is one which continually elevates The Bug’s artistry in whatever musical endeavour he explores.
A previous collab with Dylan Carlson of American drone-metalists Earth titled The Bug vs Earth saw its live debut at Supersonic Festival 2015 and this year we bring you yet another Superspecial, Supersonic collab…this time with Justin Broadrick. In the mid 80s Broadrick was writing and recording guitar for Side One of the Napalm Death’s debut album, Scum which now celebrates it’s 30 years on this earth. Since then he has cemented himself as a pioneer in the Metal scene with Birmingham band Godflesh, who’s innovative music is widely regarded as a foundational influence on industrial metal and post-metal.
“Justin Broadrick has been, and continues to be, many things. Now based in his north Wales farm, the Birmingham native has thirty plus years of performing and recording under his belt, exploring the world of extreme music (a concept he has his own considered definition of) from feedback blur overload to the deepest of dub-inspired crushes to serene contemplation. Kaleidoscopic might be one way to describe his work, in how elements rearrange to create new, unexpected patterns. His latest efforts include a new live release under the guise of Final, his collaborative album as Jesu with Sun Kil Moon, and Rise Above, his latest album as JK Flesh.”
So loosen those purse strings and get supporting the independent music scene. Thanks to the labels & stores keeping it alive!
Hydra Head Records / Thrill Jockey Records / Blackest Ever Black / House of Mythology / Weird World / Rocket Recordings / Melophobe Records / Milque & Muhle Records / Defunkt Dialekt / Box Records / Wow And Flutter + many many more!
Ask many self-styled music aficionados, and they’ll tell you that rock in the early to mid ‘70s descended into a mire of boundless self-indulgence and instrumental virtuosity, in which the a whole generation of progressively-minded musicians and listeners effectively lost the map in a feverish pursuit of excellence and one-upmanship that ended in tortuous track-times, daunting concept sagas and boundless pomposity. This phenomenon has now become the stuff of cultural cliche -after all, how many more music documentaries do we all have to watch in which footage from Emerson, Lake & Palmer’s heyday is interrupted by the Sex Pistols?
Not so in Sweden. For there, music in the countercultural heyday of psychedelia and progressive rock was an explicitly political pursuit, and central to this was the idea that absolutely anyone could make music, no matter how either expansive or limited their technical ability – indeed the egalitarian spirit that many thought revolutionary to punks in the UK was nothing new for the heads to be found enjoying the cult Swedish psychedelia of bands like Träd, Gräs och Stenar, Älgarnas Trädgård or Baby Grandmothers, borne of a free-flowing aesthetic and utilitarian mindset where inspiration was key.
It’s exactly this lineage forty plus years later where one can find Flowers Must Die, the six-piece Swedish outfit. They pursue an improvisation-based approach removed from the codified realm of contemporary psych, and exploring uncanny and unhinged territory fuelled by diverse record collections yet unique to their own collective headspace.
Formed while at art school – initially in an attempt to put together a Sir Lord Baltimore style hard rock band – the band quickly took on a life of its own, with Jonas’ passion for soul, disco and jazz interspersing with Rickard’s background in the local noise scene amidst a plethora of other disparate ingredients. Rickard’s brother Martin, guitarist Sven Walan and drummer Lars Hoffsten (a successful artist from the family of well-known Swedish jazz and blues musicians) soon joined the fray, before vocalist and violinist Lisa Ekelund completed the circle, spurring the band on to new levels of psychic abandon.
True to a record encompassing a countercultural rawness and experimental ethos that spans five decades, The members of Flowers Must Die’s ages range from 28 to 63, and the sound of ‘Kompost’, in all its wayward, wild glory, follows suit. The band may have taken their name originally from an Ash Ra Tempel song, whilst the strains of Amon Duul II and the repetition of Can lurk within these overgrown sonic pathways. Yet ‘Kompost’ shows them honing their improvisatory excursions into coherent songcraft amidst spectral techno and cosmic disco shapes, as the angular post-punk pop of The Sugarcubes sits alongside the narcotic clangour of prime Royal Trux, and one-take spontaneity locks horns with nocturnal revelation. It’s a potent assault that’s already seen them make converts aplenty at festivals like Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia, Copenhagen Psych Fest and Supernormal.
Here the outward-looking spirit of 1971 and the anything-goes mentality of the Scandinavian freaks of yore is transposed elegantly to a modern era in need of new horizons, and in a manner refreshingly and paradoxically bereft of retro chic. What’s more, who’s to say what dimensions this alchemical force have yet to explore?
Flowers Must Die live up to their reputation with this fine first full-length offering for Record Recordings. A crucial component in Rocket’s already landmark year of releases.
So we’ve just abut recovered from Easter weekend in Manchester at Fat Out Fest. Strictly no eggs. But there was some Trifle involved…here’s our roundup!
Arriving just in time for a magnificently brutal industrial hammering with a political edge from Test Dept. in Fat Out’s Burrow, we soon acquired the free ear plugs being handed out at the bar – preservation is key when tunnelling through a weekend of noise rock. On the Caustic Coastal stage Giant Swan delivered a feral cross-breed of hypnotic bass, hefty percussion and disorientating noise. Another blinder of a set came from Housewives with their abrasive guitars, droning bass lines and propulsive, relentless drums.
But our highlight has to be the mosh inducing Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs who hit hard with a feverish and transgressive blast of psych-drone dementia. After a heavy rattle from these fellas we were thrown back to The Burrow to be finished off by The Bug vs Dylan Carlson of Earth with some earth shuddering pulsating soundscapes & chiming melodies, glowing in currents of heavy bass darkness. The Bug plays this years Supersonic with Justin Broadrick of Godflesh as Zonal and that litter of Pigs will be unleashed our audience too – we can’t wait!
On to Saturday and after a hearty breakfast to get us back in the game we fancied a bit of pud…and what better pud than Trifle? Lone Taxidermist gave a multi-faceted, multi-layered performance with a glutinous exploration into the dark online culture of Sploshing, crush fettish and cake sitting. We loved getting right up inside a Trifle and perhaps our Supersonic audience will too in June?
Bodies on Everest blasted us next in The Burrow with their triple stacked Doom/Dungeonwave/Ghost Pop to then be consoled and relieved by the bare, sparse songwriting of Irma Vep and his dreamy downbeat dulcet tones. Next up we got half and half of sets from Data Quack (featuring Charles Hayward and saxophonist of Housewives) strumming up an array of abstract textures, car chase sequences and violent grooves and Yossarians telling us stories and prophecies laden with a malicious red midst paired with driving-punk guitar lines. Thrown in the middle of all this was an improv between avant-garde scene saxophonist Colin Webster & Andrew Cheetham chiming in on drums with astonishing flare in the Islington Mill B&B.
As we drifted into the night, in spite of technical difficulties, Moor Mother delivered a terrifyingly dark set of both cathartic angry punk and expansive electronic improvisation. Other immensely heavy sets from Sly & The Dead Neanderthals ft. Colin Webster and Author & Punisher finished off the Saturday in true gargantuan style. A late night set from Blood Sport thrown in gave our jittery pegs some synth laden rough-house-techno polyrhythms to jive to.
And then we (just about) made it to Sunday ready for our Supersonic showcase on The Bernard Stage. Opening proceedings was Birmingham band Dorcha who delivered a beguiling set of synths, strings and heavy beats, moving through thundering chaos to sudden moments of fragile reverie. A set not to be missed at Supersonic this June. Then the wondrous soundscapes of violinist Agathe Max massaged our Sunday ear drums not a moment too soon…right before they were blasted once again by the bleak mantras and doomy negative punk of Rainbow Grave.
Playing together since the 80s and eating a pizza on stage, Trans Am brought their futuristic speed metal and robo-balladry to our heavy limbs and pepped us up once more for the home stretch. Next we were embraced by The Seer – a new collaborative commission curated by Conny Prantera, melding movement, spoken word, electronic soundscapes, alluring visuals and the stark string skills of Agathe Max into an all encompassing experience. Another performance for our Supersonic audience to enjoy this June.
Finishing off the Sunday was the joyous bombast of Islam Chipsy with two live drummers freewheeling the standard oriental scale system into otherworldly shapes, much like the ones we were throwing on the floor. Lots of loud. Lots of love. Other Sunday treats in-between the Supersonic stage came from a street style performance in the Shit Shop by Gambian Kora player Jali Nyonkoling Kuyateh & Drummer from the World percussion collective in collaboration with Charles Hayward. And a band you absolutely have to see this year if you get the chance – Part Chimp – a flood of noise, warmth and distortion.
So, that is that. We certainly managed to Fat Out Til We Passed Out this Easter weekend. The Islington Mill is the place to be. Fat Out is a wonderful thing and thank you to our hosts Emma, Verity and Sophie for taking such good care of us. Til’ next year!
There’s an alternative way to Fat Out Till You Pass Out this easter weekend…
Fat Out Till You Pass Out is an independent promotion based in Salford NW England. Founded in 2007 by Emma Thompson and Verity Gardner, Fat Out has grown from humble DIY punk roots into a force to be reckoned with in the Salford/Manchester independent music scene.
“It’s more important than ever to create space and support for the independent scene.” – Emma Thompson, FOF Founder/Director
And FOTYPO take their DIY experimentalist attitude down to Islington Mill, Manchester this weekend, assembling their third version of Fat Out Fest with the help of some choice curators
The international line-up works through a three-day course featuring heavy psychedelic riffs from Blown Out, The Bug vs Dylan Carson of Earth, JIBÓIA, avant garde synths from Group A, or if preferable, lounge metal from Lake of Snakes.
With other stages curated by The Quietus, The Wire and a collaboration with Le Guess Who plus workshops, delicious food, market place, record stalls and all the glitter one could ever desire, this is set to be a weekend not to be missed.
Capsule’s internationally renowned festival runs 16th-18th June 2017 and there are plenty of opportunities to get involved as a volunteer.
Supersonic has secured its experimental reputation with over 14 years of consistently innovative and explosive concoctions of visual installations, films, exhibitions and music. Guaranteed to open your eyes and ears to music and art outside the predictable genre labels and familiar performance spaces.
You will be part of an ever growing, friendly community of music and art lovers helping to maintain the values of bringing the extraordinary to curious audiences in an all inclusive way. This is will be an invaluable experience into how a festival runs but not only that, you’ll be contributing to something truly Superspecial whilst making friends along the way!
We need a dedicated team of volunteers to help deliver Supersonic over the festival weekend (16th -18th June ) and also in the run up to the festival (early June onwards).
We would like every volunteer to commit to 15 hours over the weekend
Volunteers must be over 18 years old
This year we are on the lookout for people for the following roles:
Artist Liason/Box Office
Hospitality/Site Set up
If you are interested in being involved – please fill out the application form [here]
Presented in collaboration with Supersonic Festival, this musical showcase by Nawa Recordings features some of the Arab world’s most creative, independent and forward thinking artists. Founded by multi-instrumentalist musician and composer Khyam Allami in 2011, Nawa is an independent label focused on releasing new music from the Arab world.
Having released critically acclaimed albums by Maurice Louca, Alif, The Dwarfs of East Agouza and Allami’s soundtrack to Tunisian director Leyla Bouzid’s award winning debut feature film As I Open My Eyes, the label brings its newest artists to the UK for the first time in a genre-defying and eclectic quadruple-bill.
Khyam shall curate a striking array of Nawa artists during the Sunday afternoon of the 2017 edition of Supersonic Festival, in celebration of the festival’s longstanding relationship with the musician and label owner. All of the handpicked artists hone in on their own musical influences–spanning rock, psychedelia, gritty percussion, avant-garde, jazz, electronica – all are united by their exploration of genre-defying, improvisation-based craftwork that hail from the Arab world.
A contemporary trio led by renowned Palestinian vocalist and Oud player Kamilya Jubran with Werner Hassler (Trumpet, Electronics) and Sarah Murcia (Double Bass, Roland SH-101).
Kamilya Jubran, raised in Palestine, was introduced and initiated to classical arabic music by her music loving parents. From her early university explorations in the group Sabreen, Jubran has been raising awareness to the importance of music and music education in Palestine and spent a very rich and intensive 2 decades of constant work with the group which urged her to deepen her music research and consequently to shape and reshape her musical identity. Continuing on with various other collaborative projects in Europe she arrives here with two companions: Werner Hasler and Sarah Murcia – avid contributors to her work thus far – now forming the Wasl trio.
Werner ran his own band, Manufactur, from 1998 to 2008. His aim at this time was to find ways of using electronic music as a medium for interaction between musicians. Since 2002 he has been working intensively with the Palestinian singer and oud player Kamilya Jubran. First of all contributing to her project Mahattaat, then working in partnership combining Kamilya’s voice and oud with his electronica and trumpet.
For the last ten years Sarah Murcia has played with the Magic Malik Orchestra, and Las Ondas Marteles (Nicolas et Seb Martel). At the moment she is a member of the groups Beau Catcher, Sylvain Cathala trio and Pearls of Swines. As an arranger, she is involved in various projects, particularly Paul Ouazon’s music programs for television and the research atelier of Arte France.
Two or The Dragon
Two Or The Dragon was created by Beirut based musicians Abed Kobeissy (Buzuq/Effects) and Ali Hout (Percussion/Effects) as an expression of their common interest in urban sounds and Arabic music. This project tackles Arabic music’s capacity to express urban soundscapes, and its predisposition to express violence, as a local aesthetic in the region. This interest was sparked when Kobeissy and Hout began to compose music as a duo for contemporary dance and theater performances, as well as several film productions.
Nadah El Shazly
Egyptian vocalist and composer combining abstract quirky electronics and sultry Arabic vocals. Nadah El Shazly is an Egyptian singer and composer living and working in Cairo. She is currently preparing for the release of her debut album, continuing along her constantly evolving live set, which she has been performing solo on keys, electronics and vocals. Most recently, Nadah became resident composer at Stockholm’s Elektronmusikstudion (EMS) and co-founded the Shorba duo with Egyptian artist Mohamed Shafiq, produced a track for the collective Nassibian Orchestra and composed for film and visual art.
Iraqi-British multi-instrumentalist and schizophrenic musician/composer presents his latest series of improvisations on processed Oud, electronics and percussion. Virtuoso Oud player, serial collaborator, musical explorer: Khyam is a musician and composer with a formidable – and continually growing – international reputation. Despite only taking up the oud – his principal instrument – in his twenties, Allami rapidly became a performer of international renown. His remarkably assured 2011 debut solo album Resonance/Dissonance was widely critically praised; he has performed at WOMAD, the BBC Proms and London 2012 Festival, the cultural festival that accompanied the Olympics; and he was the first artist to be awarded a BBC Radio 3 World Routes scholarship in 2010. An “exceptionally refined and graceful performer” whose “compositions are utterly bewitching”.
We can’t wait to be mesmerised by this Supersonic Sunday Showcase from the Arab world.
We are delighted to welcome back to Supersonic, Richard Dawson. The skewed troubadour, at once charming and abrasive. His music is a collision of opposites, his hoarsely cracking voice suddenly rising to a magical soar that’s been compared to Tim Buckley, John Martyn and Richard Youngs. His shambolically virtuosic guitar playing ranges from sublime intricacy to spidery swatches of noise-colour, swathed in amp static and veering from stumble to enveloping reverie in a way that can recall Sir Richard Bishop or Captain Beefheart. Add this to his snaring way with words and Dawson’s got you pinned.
A much-loved musical spectacle in his native Newcastle for many years now, Dawson sings and plays with a rare intensity and a very singular style.
His set at Supersonic 2017 will be a little different though – he has a new album out this year, one with a definite ‘band’ feel about it. So Richard will be playing with a band. The band includes long-time collaborators Angharad Davies and Rhodri Davies and also two members of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs – also appearing at Supersonic!
New album Peasant, out June 2nd, is ‘a multi-panelled altarpiece depicting dark ages life in the north east’ and is now available for pre-order HERE on vinyl, cd and limited edition deluxe package.
“Peasant is a brilliant and captivating record, one that creates its own wholly imagined world with both music and words. Dawson writes melodies, just as he did before on Nothing Important, The Glass Trunk and The Magic Bridge. They aren’t melodies that he thrusts in your face, along with handfuls of sugar; they leap out of the murk of instrumentation, like some musical equivalent of watching a moor on a cloudy day, as lakes of golden sunlight appear and vanish on the hillside as the clouds open up and close over. But nor is this confrontational music, designed to ward off the unworthy. It’s music that rewards attention, to its detailing, to its textures, but it’s also beautiful and stirring and moving. It’s just, well, not pop music.”
In a recent INTERVIEW WITH THE QUIETUS Dawson describes the approach to the new album as wanting to create a ‘creaking wooden animal so you could hear all the sinews and all the stretching of the instruments.’ It is an album of intrepid exploration both sonically and historically. Dawson’s avid research into the time period laden the lyrical content with integrity whilst maintaining poetic and relevant remarks on contemporary society.
And here is our first glimpse…
Peasant takes inspiration from a painter of panoramas. “I was thinking of it like a tapestry or a painting that might go around a whole room, thinking about Pieter Breughel the Elder, particularly, who would cover the different stratas of a community from people out in the sticks who had nothing, to people more in a city or town with more possessions and more power. Rather than approach it as individual songs first, it was to see how the whole painting would fit together.”
We at Supersonic cannot wait to marvel at this vivid, enrapturing work of art Dawson and co. will paint before our very eyes this June!
Dorcha is a 5 piece Birmingham band of synths, strings, electronics and heavy beats, led by composer – Anna Palmer. Drawing from an eclectic array of influences and musical backgrounds, Dorcha is a continuing exploration through alternative songwriting. From classical to punk, trashy pop to psychedelic math-rock with some swooping electronica thrown in between; the band career through intensely dark synth-laden gristle to moments of gentile and delicately-stringed reverie.
Since launching their first full-length album ‘Black Streams‘ in 2015, the band’s genre-defying sound has been praised by BBC 6 Music’s Stuart Maconie on his Freak Zone and they’ve shared line-ups with the likes of Deerhoof, East India Youth and Dream Wife.
Through curating their own multidisciplinary events with artistic collaborators, the band has produced an enigmatic live show accompanied by visuals which continues to excite and bewilder diverse audiences.
The band have recently released a new EP entitled ‘ism’ which adventures further into the depths of left-field electronica whilst still maintaining refined pop sensibilities. Recorded with local Digbeth based producer Luke Morrish Thomas at Flood Studios.
Last week the band released a new interactive website, built by Phil Dawson and designed by Beth Bellis. You can explore it by clicking here!
In conjuncture with the new website release the band have launched a new collaborative experiment: ‘The Miniatures Project’. As the band explain:
“One day, Anna was wearing a different head and wrote some tiny guitar tunes that don’t really sound like any other Dorcha. We had a real laugh playing them but didn’t know where to place them, so we’ve put them in a house in our brand new website.
This is their home now. And we’re extending the family.
These tunes sparked a new idea to invite others to write for Dorcha. Different heads, same body. We’ve asked 9 other artists from varying musical backgrounds to create a set of miniatures for us to play and record in a day. Over the course of 2017 we’ll release a set of Mini’s a month – starting NOW with Anna’s Guitar miniatures. Get your chops round this!”
Welcome to the weird and ever changing landscape of Dorcha! Who knows what these local Brummies have in store for Supersonic 2017?
“The chemistry between Crete lutenist George Xylouris and former Dirty Three drummer Jim White makes for a thrilling musical foray into avant-garde folk.” The Guardian
If the talents of singer and lute player George Xylouris seem otherworldly, even god-given, it is hardly surprising. One of the best-loved artists on Crete, the largest and most populous of the Greek islands, Xylouris is a member of a clan long-regarded throughout Greece as musical royalty. A clan that hails from Anogeia, a mountain shepherding village down the hill from the Cave of Zeus, that hotspot of ancient mythology.
To hear Xylouris play his long-necked lauto and sing songs of love and liberty in his impassioned, distinctive voice, is to experience tradition at its finest; tradition that this bearded father-of-three grants respect, and crafts into something unique. It’s a sound that has taken him around the world.
His father is the Cretan singer and lyra player Psarantonis, a man beloved of everyone from ethnomusicologists to Nick Cave. His late uncle was the iconic Nikos Xylouris, a singer and lyra player who became a symbol of the protest movement that brought down the Greek military junta in 1973.
Cretan lute was usually played as a backing instrument. But with albums such as ‘Antipodes’, by Xylouris Ensemble , ‘Embolo’ with his uncle Psarogiannis and ‘Oso ki an Dernei o Anemos’ out with All Together Now, Xylouris showcased the lauto’s solo potential with a repertoire of traditional and self-penned material. His numerous projects are testament to his restless musical curiosity. His concerts at home have become legendary for their musicality and power; his onstage record is currently 18 hours straight.
And then there is Jim White. Having first commanded international attention in the mid-1990s with the acclaimed Australian instrumental trio Dirty Three, the New York-based virtuoso is now the go-to guy for alt-A-list vocalists with collaboration in mind. Those who’ve worked with him – and all those he’s mesmerised as he plays – testify to his deft way with a rhythm, a downbeat, a jazz-fuelled wig out.
His is a unique playing style forged in the then isolated Melbourne; a style that can sound like a full band one moment, and something stark and beautiful the next.
With a career this long and varied, credits are too numerous to list. There have been projects with filmmakers, collaborations with visual artists; and an album of duets with the singer Nina Nastasia. A founding member of the now-defunct Australian avante-rock outfit Venom P-Stinger, White has curated the leftfield UK music festival All Tomorrow’s Parties. In his spare moments, he’s drumming. White never rests on his laurels.
Xylouris White poetically describe their approach in this duo as “Like goats walking in the mountain. They may not know the place, but they can walk easily and take risks and feel comfortable.” The sound they create is tumultuous, tender and terrifically expressive and testifies their determination to stretch the scope of their instruments and forge something vigorously questing from more traditional roots.
PJ Harvey has likened White’s playing to dancing. Yet if dancers need partners, Xylouris is his, this being a friendship forged over 25-plus years. Xylouris was touring with his Ensemble when he met White in Melbourne in the early 1990s, when the drummer was in his pre-Dirty Three avant-rock outfit Venom P Stinger. And here they are nearly 3 decades later, on our Supersonic stage, to show us just how far their horizons can stretch.
We have a very exciting UK premiere at this year’s Supersonic Festival from Tomaga & Pierre Bastien!
The live collaboration between Pierre and Tomaga follows on from a residency they performed together in France in 2016.
Pierre Bastien is a french gentleman born 1953 who builds his own machineries, at the cross between music and visual art, that blends live trumpet sounds with screen projections of on-site, mechanical sound sculptures in a very poetic way. His work is described as “a timeless sounding orchestra, both futuristic and slightly dada, conjuring ancient traditions in its surprisingly sensuous music.”
“Who knows what sort of music he’ll be able to create as his machines continue to evolve.” – Pitchfork
TOMAGA channel various forms of multi-instrumentalism into music that moves by turns through industrial, jazz, psychedelia and minimalism, on it’s way to somewhere wholly other. Devoted to musical exploration, this London based duo obsessively deconstruct familiar tropes, looking for the tension that lies between improvisation and form.
“This is improv music that rocks, rather than swings; improv that borrows more from krautrock and psych than classical and jazz.” – The Quietus
Those of you with a keen eye will notice that Valentina, drummer/percussionist of Tomaga, is one of our cross-over artists. Not only is she part of this exciting new premiere, she will also be performing with Raime AND Kuro at this year’s festival.
Come join this artistic, collaborative community here at Supersonic and bear witness to some of the most exciting new music and art exploding out of the experimental & underground scene today.
Today we announce a further dose of exemplar, eclectic and extraordinary musical delights to the 2017 Supersonic line-up, scheduled to take place across three venues in the cultural hub of Digbeth, Birmingham during 16th to 18th June. We are delighted to announce a very special NAWA RECORDINGS record label showcase, presenting four of their artists, curated by label owner and multi-instrumentalist Khyam Allami. Supersonic are also pleased to announce additions of PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS, LANIAKEA,GREY HAIRS, BIG JOANIE, FLOWERS MUST DIE, CASUAL NUN and MOHAMMAD. Read on to find out more about all the featured artists in this latest announcement…
NAWA RECORDINGS are a limitless label with their output of innovative, alternative, shape-and-boundary shifting sonics, founded in 2011 by the visionary multi-instrumentalist KHYAM ALLAMI. Having released critically acclaimed albums by Maurice Louca, Alif, The Dwarfs of East Agouza and Allami’s soundtrack to Tunisian director Leyla Bouzid’s award winning debut feature film As I Open My Eyes, the label brings its newest artists to the UK for the first time in an eclectic quadruple-bill. Khyam shall curate a striking array of Nawa artists during the Sunday afternoon of the 2017 edition of Supersonic Festival, in celebration of the festival’s longstanding relationship with the musician and label owner. All of the handpicked artists hone in on their own musical influences–spanning rock, psychedelia, gritty percussion, avant-garde, jazz, electronica – all are united by their exploration of genre-defying, improvisation-based craftwork that hail from the Arab world.
KAMILYA JUBRAN / WASL
A contemporary trio led by renowned Palestinian vocalist and oud player Kamilya Jubran with Werner Hassler (Trumpet, Electronics) and Sarah Murcia (Double Bass, Roland SH-101).
Two or The Dragon
Lebanese electro-acoustic/noise duo Abed Kobbeisy (Buzuq/Effects) and Ali Hout (Percussions/Effects)
Nadah El Shazly
Egyptian vocalist and composer combining abstract quirky electronics and sultry Arabic vocals.
The Iraqi-British multi-instrumentalist musician/composer presents his latest series of improvisations on processed Oud, electronics and percussion.
We have added a further seven bands….more below!
LANIAKEA is Daniel O Sullivan (Ulver, Æthenor and Mothlite), Massimo Pupillo (Zu), Jessica Moss (A Silver Mount Zion) they draw on a rich tapestry of influences ranging from the plainchant of Hildegard von Bingen to Alice Coltrane’s vedantic tapes to the monolithic bass frequencies of Godflesh. With visuals by artist, Mark Titchner.
PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS PIGS has been a world-of-mouth phenomenon amongst the DIY scene, bringing their feverish and demented collision of psych-drone and riff-driven salvation to the masses.
GREY HAIRS hail from the fertile Nottingham DIY scene. Every song is like a miniature world in itself, taking unexpected twists and turns that mean just when you think you’ve got them pinned, they wriggle free.
BIG JOANIE is a black feminist punk band. In their own words, “We’re like The Ronettes filtered through 80s DIY and riot grrrl with a sprinkling of dashikis.”
FLOWERS MUST DIE is a six-piece Swedish outfit pursuing an improvisation-based approach removed from the codified realm of contemporary psych.
CASUAL NUN are a hotwire fuse of intoxicating buzz, heavy psychedelic krautrock ruptures and spellbinding distortion.
MOHAMMAD have been forging their deep monolithic sound for the past 6 years, bringing together low frequencies, inter-modulations, dark textures, and distant folk nuances through custom made instruments and software.
In the next announcement…day tickets go on sale, and the final musical line up is put in place. Also still to come, news on the talks, workshops and more across the weekend.
Line up so far:- Anna Von Hausswolff . Anonymous Bash – Charles Hayward + Gnod . Arbouretum . Big Joanie . Casual Nun . Colin Stetson . Dorcha . Electronica Wizard . Ex Easter Island Head – Large Ensemble . Flowers Must Die . Grey Hairs . Haress . Jenny Hval . Jessica Moss . Kamilya Jubran/Wasl . Kuro Maga . Khyam Allami . Laura Cannell . Laniakea . Melt Banana . Mohammad . Nadah El Shazly . Oxbow . Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs . Princess Nokia . Raime . Richard Dawson . The Space Lady . Tomaga + Pierre Bastien . Two or The Dragon . Xylouris White . Zonal (Justin K Broadrick and Kevin Martin) . ZU
“This music has transcended genre, style and fashion, opening up hearts and minds along the way” – The Quietus
The “outsider musician” label was created with her: Susan Dietrich, better known as The Space Lady, possibly the best known synonymous and feminine to Moondog; Susan began her career in the late 70s, just when she began walking on the sidewalks of Boston dressed exuberantly, sending messages of love and pacifism, accompanied by an accordion and making versions of some contemporary pop hits or classics of that time.
10 years later she moved to one of the cradles of America’s idealistic without prejudice: San Francisco. There she purchased a Casio piano, some effects and a microphone with which she managed to raise to a new level the street musical proposal of the area, and give to her speech a unique personality.
Her legend began taking some awareness in the past decade, when in 2000 Irwin Chusid included her in the compilation “Songs In The Key Of Z” dedicated to such extravagant and unknown figures like the Space Lady.
Earning a steadily growing cult following ever since, The Space Lady could show her music to the world. Since 2013, when Night School reissued the first official album of this particular artist “The Best Of The Space Lady”, Susan has shared stages with artists such as Dean Blunt, Mika Vainio or Julianna Barwick. and playing several festivals like Flow Festival, Incubate or Le Guess Who.
“Heart-warming, eccentric, and unselfconscious that attends to the fact that you don’t need ego and fancy gear to make great pop music.”– Dazed Digital
The Space Lady released last year a split EP with Burnt Ones, the Greatest Hits LP out in Night School will now be repressed and there will be a new record out later this year.
For an insight in to Susan’s mind and her fascinating life story, this interview with The Quietus is a must read[here]
“After a circuitous route of hitchhiking, commune-living, and psychedelic experimentation, I ended up in Haight-Ashbury just as the Summer of Love burst into full bloom. Eventually I hooked up with a hippie named Joel who was dodging the draft, and we went underground together – quite literally, in fact, while living in a cave on Mt. Shasta, up near the Oregon border. It was there we saw a UFO at close range, just above the treetops… and from then on we were convinced we were being watched, if not guided and protected, by aliens.”(The Space Lady’s Greatest Hits, liner notes, 2013)
The Space Lady has most certainly landed. And now, in 2017 at the youthful age of 69 she begins another lifetime and embarks upon a new adventure with a European Tour including Supersonic Festival this June (of course).
Help her reach the furthest corners of the Universe by visiting her GoFundMe page. And watch brand new material and cyber busking videos via her Patreon page and support her voyage for as little as $1 a month!
Supersonic ground control are preparing for landing.
Make sure you don’t miss this intergalactic event!
“Precise and pulsing rhythmic minimalism…a three chord punk mission statement turned into a neo-classical manifesto.” – THE WIRE
Ex-Easter Island Hear are a UK based musical collective, composing and performing music for solid-body electric guitar, percussion and other instruments.
Primarily performing as a trio, the group incorporate multiple prepared electric guitars struck with percussion mallets to create works that explore group interplay, repetition and melodic invention through purposefully limited means.
Their records Mallet Guitars One –Three,Large Electric Ensemble and Twenty-Two Strings have been released to significant critical acclaim from the likes of The Wire, Pitchfork, the Quietus and the New York Times. The group’s live performances at the likes of ATP festival, the Edinburgh Fringe and throughout the UK, Europe and Japan have been praised by The Guardian, Independent, BBC and more for their hypnotic energy, compositional flair and unique spectacle.
Large Electric Ensemble is Ex-Easter Island Head’s first piece for massed electric instruments and drums.
Following on from ‘Mallet Guitars Three’ for four guitars and three performers, Large Electric Ensemble sees the group expand to include twelve prepared electric guitars and drums to create a maximalist wash of amplified strings and droning overtones.
Commissioned by the first annual World Event Young Artist festival (WEYA) held in Nottingham 2012, the piece was developed alongside an ensemble of local musicians from a variety of musical backgrounds. Debuted at the festival and developed over further months, the piece was recorded completely live and with no overdubs across two days in March 2013.
“Skilfully balanced between methodical precision and emotional resonance, the result is a listen that is dynamic, rich and fluid despite the modesty of its parts.”– THE QUIETUS
Following on from the critically acclaimed Mallet Guitars trilogy (2010-13) and Large Electric Ensemble (2014) and honed across high profile live appearances including the Stewart Lee curated ATP, Liverpool Psych Fest and the Edinburgh Fringe, ‘Twenty-Two Strings’ is the latest album from UK-based experimental trio Ex-Easter Island Head.
Utilising horizontally-laid electric guitars and bass, the group continue to develop their own distinctive musical language, eschewing digital processing and effects for a vocabulary of mechanical preparations and extended techniques, creating a sound drawing on minimalism, gamelan and process music.
‘Salford Large Electric Ensemble’
For Supersonic 2017, EEIH convene a gathering of their Large Electric Ensemble, comprising performers drawn from all corners of the thriving Manchester and Salford underground to present an ambitiously scaled work for sixteen prepared table-top electric guitars and percussion.
Utilising a self-developed language of extended techniques and mechanical preparations the piece sees the groups’ shimmering electrified minimalism expanded to a bold new scale, encompassing members of Gnod, ILL, Action Beat, Mother and tapping into the vast resources of talent at Salford’s Islington Mill and on the Manchester-based Tombed Visions label.
It is imperative you DO NOT MISS this spectacle at Supersonic Festival 2017.
Kuro feature the amplified talents of French violinist Agathe Max and bassist Gareth Turner, joined by Valentina Magaletti of Tomaga (drums) and Helen Papaioannou (baritone sax) for this Superspecial Supersonic performance.
Kuro take their name from the Japanese word for ‘black’, and their debut release for Rocket Recordings marks an experimental union between two diversely storied yet inherently like-minded musicians. Agathe Max, who hailsfrom Lyon, is a classically-trained violinist with a varied back catalogue of studio and live work – running the gamut from spectral ambience to stately soundscapes and adept at summoning dream states and drama alike.
The Bristol-based Gareth Turner, meanwhile, maintains a busy schedule performing and recording with Rocket Recordings trio Anthroprophh (alongside The Heads guitarist Paul Allen) bass/drums duo Big Naturals, and his solo double-bass project Salope, as well as working as a touring tech for Melvins on their trips to Europe.
Yet despite both of these artists’ multi-faceted artistic lives, their partnership was both a natural progression and reflective of an intuitive chemistry. The result of their initial spark is perhaps both artists’ most coherent and captivating work to date.
The result is Kuro’s eponymous first outing, an elegantly sprawling and richly textured work of tumult and transcendence recorded by Joe Garcia (live sound wizard for OM and many others) in the duo’s home city. “An amazing sound engineer” enthuses Agathe of Garcia “He’s got a very good sense of space with sound. We used different sources of mics, with a room recording that would link all the others and give a warm and open touch.”
A unique, richly atmospheric and largely improvisatory record that stands proud and defiant of pigeonholing, Kuro is neither elegant chamber music nor intense drone-noise, neither psychedelia nor spiritual jazz, yet with elements of all of the above- dwelling perhaps atop a psychic hinterland between the shamanic vortices of Ashtray Navigations, the wild extrapolations of Sun City Girls and the melancholic richness of The Dirty Three. Yet what comes across strongest of all is the original spark of the partnership, summoning altered states, meditative vibrations and internal narratives by the power of eight strings.
“We wanted to create a journey for the listeners, to create an inner cinema with emotional landscapes, old time cults and stories of lost sailors” reckons Agathe. Indeed, though voyage appears to be only beginning, such is its momentum that any adventurous and self-respecting psychonaut would be well advised to hitch a ride.
“At times her work approaches the supersonic escape velocity of Tony Conrad; elsewhere, she introduces delicate repeating threads, then slowly weaves them into a fabric of vast, billowing sound more reminiscent of Steve Reich. With an elegant command of melody and a strident use of rhythm, Max manages to create a remarkably accessible collection of tracks, one that bridges the gaps between minimalism, post-classicism, the avant garde, krautrock, and plain old-fashioned pop.” – Bookcat review.
Don’t miss this Superspecial performance from KURO at Supersonic this year!
This year’s Supersonic sees some Superspecial performances. Two of which are Anonymous Bash and Charles Hayward Zig Zag + Swirl.
Anonymous Bash is a band born out of a recording which was conceived, recorded and produced at Islington Mill as part of the first Samarbeta music residency.
Directed and led by This Heat’s infamous drummer, Charles Hayward, this band has developed from reinventing a release produced by over 20 musicians into a workable live performance by 8.
The live line up includes; Charles Hayward (This Heat), Paddy Shine (Gnod), Sam Weaver (London Outfit Hungry Ghost), Chris Haslan (Gnod), David McLean (Tombed Visions), Jefferson Temple (Locean) and Marlene Ribeiro (Negra Branca), with special sporadic appearances from Louise Woodcock (2 Koi Karp) performing ‘Wrong Again’.
Here’s an interesting insight into the conception of Anonymous Bash:
Armed with a wealth of experience, Hayward conducts and orchestrates a whirling dervish of sound with the Anonymous Bash crew, shifting seamlessly between time signature and tempo in a devilish and electrifying fashion that consistently weaves a spellbinding effect on the audience. Saxophones wail, bass guitars throb and modular synthesizers whoosh and chirp a top a constantly shifting tapestry of breakneck rhythms and out-rock dub workouts, with each member of the group given their individual time to shine before returning to feed into a sprawling mass of sound led by a man at the height of his powers.
The band features members of Gnod. Since their inception, Gnod’s musical trajectory has been one of constant fluctuation borne out of an incessant need to discover new sonic worlds. Beginning life as a shamanic drone ensemble, at times fitting up to 15 members on stage, these early rituals informed the core ideals that have come to define the group in their years of activity; community and trance-inducing repetition.
Gnod offer a gateway to an aural black hole and along with firm guiding hand, the opportunity to dive head and body first into a powerfully new psychedelic maelstrom full of possibilities.
We can’t wait to venture through worlds of new possibilities with Anonymous Bash, led by the notorious Charles Hayward, who will also be opening another door for our Supersonic audience via another formation – Zig-Zag + Swirl.
Charles Hayward needs no introduction, his kinetic percussive talents and restless mercurial vision having blazed a trail across the British avant-garde for the last four decades, from Quiet Sun through This Heat to Camberwell Now and a plethora of solo material.
On 4th March, This Is Not This Heat performed at The Barbican. It was a night of This Heat music reimagined and sculpted by Charles Hayward, Charles Bullen, Alexis Taylor, Chris Cutler, Jenny Moore, John Edwards, Luisa Gerstein, Daniel O’Sullivan, Thurston Moore, James Sedwards, Frank Byng, Alex Ward, Laura Groves & Merlin Nova, which was met with astounding reviews. [here]
Avid collaborator, Hayward has worked with numerous artists from our Supersonic hive including this year’s Laura Cannell. This Friday sees the launch of a night of new performances called Modern Ritual at Cafe Oto, exploring ideas of ritual through music and words, evoking real and fictional landscapes. Featuring solo sets from Charles Hayward, Laura Cannell and Hoofus, a new collaboration between Laura & Charles and a new performance/talk by Jennifer Lucy Allan and a reading from Luke Turner. You can find more info. [here]
Hayward’s Zig-Zag + Swirl formation comprises a performance in which technology is used to open uncertainty in songs that surf his muse’s trademark combination of a psychedelic continuum and the startling other.
So, Supersonic audience, make sure you get to Anonymous Bash and Charles Hayward’s Zig-Zag + Swirl at this year’s festival.
‘One of the most progressive no-wave metal bands ever to come out of Italy…Zu often sounds like a hundred bands in one, although the way they piece together their wild sonic jigsaw is unique to them alone.’ – PITCHFORK
For over fifteen years, ZU’s modus operandi of straddling and abusing musical genres has resulted in over fifteen unique album releases across labels such as Ipecac, Atavistic and Headz (Japan).
Their experimental amalgam of metal, math, no-wave, noise and electronics, led acclaimed composer John Zorn to describe their sound as “a powerful and expressive music that totally blows away what most bands do these days”.
Luca T. Mai, Massimo Pupillo and Tomas Järmyr began as composers and players for theatre performances then formed this atypical trio of drums, electric bass and baritone saxophone to begin their voyage of musical mayhem.
In the running for the title of ‘the world’s hardest working band’, ZU have performed over 2000 shows throughout Europe, US, Canada, Asia, Russia, Mexico and even Africa, touring with the likes ofMike Patton (as the Zu/Patton quartet), sharing the stage with Faith No More, Fantomas, The Melvins, Lightning Bolt, Sonic Youth, The Ex, etc.
They have also collaborated with a vast number of musicians including Mike Patton, The Melvins, Dälek, Jim O’ Rourke, FM Einheit (Einsturzende Neubauten), Peter Brötzmann, Steve MacKay (The Stooges), The Ex, Thurston Moore,Stephen O Malley, Damo Suzuki (Can), Mats Gustafsson, NoMeansNo, Joe Lally (Fugazi) and our very own Supersonic fave, Eugene S. Robinson (Oxbow) also performing at the festival this year.
‘Zu are still on top form when blasting arse-loosening sax cries over grinding math-metal structures…unassumingly loud, and intensely physical, wrestling with the listener in a swarm of noisy sax blasts, gnarly riffs, and often surprisingly catchy math themes.’ – DROWNED IN SOUND
Five years since their last full length on Ipecac, the critically acclaimed Carboniferous, and following a three year hiatus, ZU returned in May 2014 with the release of a brand new EP, Goodnight Civilization (Trost Records) featuring Gabe Serbian of The Locust on drums, andsubsequently with an album with Eugene Robinson of Oxbow on vocals called “The Left Hand Path”, also on Trost, and the 2015 full length “Cortar Todo” on Ipecac.
Recorded in the countryside near Bologna, Italy, in the summer of 2014, the album features very special guests including keyboard player Joey Karam (The Locust), Italian guitar maverick Stefano Pilia (who plays with the likes of Mike Watt, David Grubbs and Rokia Traore) and perhaps most unexpectedly a field recording of an indigenous Shipibo medicine man recorded by Massimo during his travels around the Amazon forest.
For a review of Cortar Todo from Line of Best Fit click [here]
And for an interesting article on the intrinsic and fascinating link between indigenous maestros and album, Cortar Todo, click [here]
Cortar Todo revealed new dynamics from the band, the album is more direct, sharp, focussed, more intense and musical than previous Zu releases. And now they’re back with a brand new album. ‘Jhator’ shall arrive on the label in March 2017 followed by an extensive European tour – just in time for Supersonic!
A statement from the band reads: “In making this album we have tried to affirm life, beauty and mystery. We refocus the vision in another direction far from the Western point of view.” The result is an album that “could be the beginning of a new musical direction for Zu, or perhaps an isolated album capturing a particular essence.”
Jhator follows Zu’s brilliantly primordial Cortar Todo, and it’s available for pre-order on CD and coloured vinyl over at the House of Mythology store right now. A new promo video for the album features a short clip of new music. What a tease!
“Wonder is the beginning of philosophy” – Wittgenstein
What wonders will Zu bring to our Supersonic audience this year?