Due to the global health concerns related to Covid-19 our team is working from home.
We are very grateful to those of you that want to support us by buying merchandise but be aware that you may not receive your items for up to 14 days.
Tickets go on sale 9am on Friday 17th January 2020
“OM’s show highlights fall within those moments the spiritual tension reaches its almost unshakable pinnacle.”
This summer we are proud to bring the legendary trio OM to Birmingham. Formed in 2003, they draw from a host of influences such as psychedelic rock, Middle Eastern Folk, Dub, Reggae and post-rock among other sounds. The band’s lyrics are heavily inspired by spirituality and various forms of religion, namely Eastern Orthodox and Middle Eastern variations.
Since their inception OM has released five studio albums, three live albums and has toured all over the world making appearances at a host of different festivals over the years. They deliver shimmering, spiritual/space rock, based around little more than a rootless bass line. Perfect loops, repeating and repeating and repeating with the flesh of the music simply melting away piece by piece – a live show with OM is the closest we’ll get to reaching some kind of heavenly enlightenment.
Joining are Pharaoh Overlord, made up of three members of the Finnish group Circle. This act have distilled thirty years of rock music into a slow, blistering, bubbling, psychedelic ooze. Imagine a perfect cross between the spellbinding guitar loops and rhythmic pulse of Circle and the stoner vibe of the 70’s rock obsessives. This is trip music in the old sense, from trance inducing repetitive rhythms to laid-back mellow jams.
Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath
TICKETS: £17.50 HERE
Swami John Reis and Rick Froberg have been making noises together since high school. In 1986 it was the post-hardcore chime of Pitchfork. In 1991 it was the sprawling, multi-faceted arrangements of Drive Like Jehu. In 1999 it was the lean, mean swagger of Hot Snakes. Reis and Froberg are responsible for some of the most turbulent rock and roll of their, or any, generation.
Now, after a 14-year hiatus from the studio, Hot Snakes have kicked down the door back into our lives with their new album, Jericho Sirens, due out March 16 from Sub Pop.
TICKETS ON SALE at 10:00am on Wednesday 9th October 2019
We whole-heartedly welcome the revered American songstress, Chelsea Wolfe to perform music from her latest album, Birth of Violence, in the epically beautiful setting of Coventry Cathedral.
Songs from her sixth full-length release mark a departure from all the crackling electric guitar distortion its predecessors, instead her sound has transitioned into warmer realms of atmospheric acoustics, building simple folk ideas into a magnificent oceanic reverie. And yet it still feels every bit as dark and unsettling as the music she’s become famous for…
With lyrics outlining an internal awakening of feminine energy, a connection to the maternal spirit of the Earth, Birth of Violence takes a defiant stance against the destructive and controlling forces of a greedy and hostile patriarchy. The overall power of the language and delivery Chelsea Wolfe conveys, is bound to haunt all those beneath the grand Cathedral beams with both its grace and tension.
Her live performances have always been a passage for a powerful inner-energy, and while she has demonstrated a capacity to channel that somber beauty into a variety of forms, her gift as a songwriter is never more apparent than when she strips her songs down to a few key elements. With songs from Birth of Violence, this unmissable acoustic performance will highlight that her solemn majesty and ominous elegance are more potent than ever.
Supporting Chelsea is the Swedish artist & guitarist Jonathan Hultén. Known as being one of the creative forces of the band Tribulation, Jonathan has been active as a solo touring musician since 2016. Guitar and harmonies are the foundations of his
work, characterised by a calm yet dramatic atmosphere and tinged with a fearless approach to performance. His arrangements are inspired by folk and medieval choir-music mixed with influences ranging from Nick Drake to Dead Can Dance and many
stops in between.
Prior to the Outlands ENSÕ SONE Tour, IMPATV will host an experimental video workshop revealing some of the techniques used to create their videos and visual work.
The artists will guide participants on a journey through their creative processes and approaches to their diverse and perpetual output. You will get to play with a variety of cameras used to capture live footage, and use different formats and processes for video mixing, new digital effects and outmoded, lo-fi technologies to create an experimental video work together. The outcomes of the workshop will be recorded for participants to have their own experimental video work to take away with them.
Equipment and techniques used in the workshop will include: Panasonic MX50, Panasonic WJ- AVE7, Roland V4ex, Korg Entrancer, Canon XL1s, Canon XF100, Hitachi FP7, Green Screen, video feedback loops.
The workshop is suitable for people interested in learning how to use a variety of video cameras and mixers to create experimental video work. No experience required, and you don’t have to be tech savvy! Minimum age 16.
To book a place please email [email protected] with ‘IMPATV Workshop’ in the subject line and one of our team will get back to you asap to confirm your place.
**Spaces are very limited so please only sign up if you know you can definitely attend the workshop on the day.**
ABOUT THE ARTISTS
IMPATV is a collaborative video and stage production project from UK artists Isadora Darke and Jamie Robinson. Using new digital technologies and live mixing methods combined with costumes and stage design they produce immersive installations, music videos, art and music productions across the realms of DIY, experimental and underground culture.
As well as working on their own projects such as immersive performance World Zero, they have collaborated widely with artists and created music videos for Charles Hayward, Casual Nun and Errant Monks amongst others and produced live recordings for Supernormal Festival, Sounds from the Other City and Woodland Gathering.
Wednesday 6th November 2019
Hare & Hounds, Kings Heath
Tickets £12 ADV
Coming to Brum is an unmissable audio-visual collaboration between Japanese psych band Qujaku and UK visual artists IMPATV courtesy of OUTLANDS – an experimental music touringnetwork.
Developed during a residency in Japan in June 2019, this new production explores ideas of duality. Sound triggers light that in turn creates form via an amalgam of heavy, rhythmic ambience combined with visual projections, lighting and stage design. The resulting union will unfurl as an expansive spectacle to stimulate the senses – all housed in our favourite Kings Heath haunt, The Hare & Hounds.
Special guests group A will open the night with a spectacular new AV set.
Formed in 2013, QUJAKU are a Japanese heavy psychedelic rock band based in Shizuoka. Their dark, heavy psychedelia is replete with rich distortion and feedback creating a unique decadent ambience. The apocalyptic sound they muster fuels an urge to release from the everyday to discover an ephemeral beauty behind the fierceness. The delicate yet strong leading voice, filled with destructive guitar, repetitive rhythmic percussion, and deep, bellowing bass combine to create Qujaku’s unique sound atmosphere to preoccupy the mind and enhance the experience.
IMPATV is a collaborative video and stage production project from UK artists Isadora Darke and Jamie Robinson. Using new digital technologies and live mixing methods combined with costumes and stage design they produce immersive installations, music videos, live streaming, and art and music productions across the realms of DIY, experimental and underground culture.
group A present a mix of synth heavy minimal wave, avant noise, striking visuals and performance art that carries the very breath of early industrial pioneers such as Throbbing Gristle or Cabaret Voltaire. Their early shows came as a shock to most spectators, non-stop waves of experimental noise, intensely emotional poetry readings and nude live-paintings. As the violinist Sayaka goes on a long hiatus, group A is evolving, currently the solo project of Tommi Tokyo, she continues to collaborate with Berlin based visual artist DEAD SLOW AHEAD for live A/V performances. The work of DEAD SLOW AHEAD centres around erratic geometry, slow strobe destruction, and negation of the visual comfort zone.
“2019 is a big deal in the Supersonic universe, as it marks the fifteenth time that the Festival has been held in Birmingham – the Home of Metal. So, what better way to celebrate than to kick things off with a doubleheader at the City’s iconic Town Hall venue and what better bands to do the honours than local lads, Godflesh and US noise veterans, Neurosis?”
“Supersonic Festival celebrates weirdness. It encourages unbridled creativity. It expands the imagination. It promotes the free and limitless pursuit of expression in order to expand the body, the mind, and the human spirit. It forges unlikely connections between ostensibly different areas, ideas, people and disciplines.”
“Once the rattling drum machines of the latter give way to the glistening sludge of the former, the festival is well and truly underway. Neurosis’ set is crafted with a theatrical sensibility, and their imposing post-metal sound feels strangely at home set against the venue’s record-breaking pipe organ.”
“Supersonic Festival has grown into one of the world’s most important events for new music. Cherry-picking the finest experimental music from all over the globe, its line-up grows increasingly diverse with each passing year. Now in its 15th year, Supersonic has become known as an event that consistently represents some of the globe’s best and most innovative music.”
“Godflesh address the lighting engineer. “No spots, just blue on stage. We want it dark”. And dark they got. And heavy we got. It was glorious. If the rest of the weekend is this good then we’ll be just fine.”
In a recent series on BBC Radio 4, music journalist John Doran travelled across the county in search of the underground movement of musicians blossoming in the margins. There’s a new wave of underground musicians, sound artists, bands & producers creating immersive worlds for their audiences to participate in and approach that we at SUpersonic have championed from our inception. This year we have to perform; Lone Taxidermist, UKAEA, Farmer Glitch, AJA, The Seer. Doran will lead a Panel on Sunday to discuss the topic of New Weird Britain with Aja Ireland & Stephen Ives aka. Farmer Glitch. They will delve deep into the artistic practice and hopefully answer the thorny question: why is culture getting weirder?
DANIEL HIGGS IN CONVERSATION with Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (Jerusalem In My Heart)
Sunday 18.10, Market Place Stage
“The pleasure of following Higgs… lies more in where he takes you than how gets you there.” – Pitchfork
Higg’s artistry has wedded music and visual art into a singular being, untended to be encountered as a conjuring force. In this relentless pursuit of the indivisible, Higgs births a new transubstantiation experience of sound and image We are delighted to have the opportunity to get an insight into Higg’s fascinating journey through his artistic practice.
SLEEVENOTES: TALK Joe Thompson (Hey Colossus) in conversation with JR Moores
Saturday 17.20, Market Place Stage
Join Joe Thompson (Hey Colossus) in conversation with JR Moores, as he discusses his new book ‘Sleevenotes’. Much more than just a wise-cracking, experimentally punctuated, string of anecdotes about squat gigs in Belgium with improbably named noise rock bands – this book should be regarded as core curriculum reading for those just embarking on the path of rock music today. Once acclimatised to Joe Thompson’s easy-going, autodidact style you will find yourself punching the air (when you aren’t nodding furiously in agreement).
After hosting many of our year-round events (and being dear friends/ fellow lovers of weird stuff), we are excited to announce what’s happening during the festival weekend at Centrala.
We are lucky to be just a short walk from this unique, multi-functional gallery where you can engage with the arts, culture, history & social politics of Central & Eastern Europe.
Over the Supersonic weekend, there will be a whole host of killer stuff to get involved with…
‘I Is Somebody Else’
As part of our Home of Metal season, acclaimed Polish artist Przemek Branas presents an installation inspired by heavy metal culture but also the alternative culture that developed under the communist regime and State-controlled music scene.
‘Looking beyond the concrete wall’
Discussion about the UK and Polish underground music scene with British and Polish guests.
Saturday, 14.00 – 15.30
‘Beats of Freedom’
The story of Polish Rock music during the communist era, followed by a Q&A with its director.
Saturday, 15.30 – 17.00
A workshop of zine-making, led by Riff’s magazine editors.
Sunday, 12.00 – 17.00
‘Nothing to hear, here!’
An interactive piece that uses Black Sabbath’s ‘Iron Man’ to explore the tension and confusion of the human perspective of time. Turn up and turn up!
Centrala, Unit 4 Minerva Works
158 Fazeley Street, B5 5RT
For Supersonic 2019 we will be partnering with Eastside Projects, incorporating Monster Chetwynd’s large-scale installation Hell Mouth 3 as this years third stage.
We are delighted to announce the final 8 artists added to our special 15th year anniversary line up.
Over at Eastside Projects, performing within the jaws of Monster Chetwynd’s Hell Mouth 3 are…
Victim, Apostille, Valve, Paddy Steer, Water & Guttersnipe.
On our main festival site we have…
Sly & The Family Drone & ICHI
Already announced are headliners Neurosis supported by Godflesh who are opening the festivities with a very special concert at Town Hall Birmingham. Elsewhere across the weekend, and over at the main festival site in the cultural hub of Digbeth are; The Bug Feat. Moor Mother, The Body, Anna Von Hausswolff and Jerusalem In My Heart.
Weekend Tickets have SOLD OUT, but we still have day tickets available – don’t miss out — BUY TICKETS HERE
So, about the new additions…
Formed in Manchester, Water are a heady mix of artists, poets and musicians who’ve come together to create encounters which engulf the senses. Water have left audiences with a feeling of being part of something magical, intense and sometimes bewildering, but always powerful.
What is V Ä L V Ē? Folk lullabies re-imagined by the BBC Radiophonic Workshop. Found-sound collages interrupted by Welsh language orations and sudden outbursts of fuzz bass. Gleaming synthpop workouts that collapse into swirling dreamscapes of sax and harp. Tiny sounds opening out onto the epic. Hi-tech and no-tech, deployed with equal measures of discipline and abandon. Carefully sculpted disorder. Uncanny geometries of noise and melody. Dizzy and gleeful and drawn in notebooks.
Apostille is a man who’s torn through enough sound-systems to know the difference between gesture and meaning. Alongside running his own DIY record label, Glasgow native, Michael Kasparis has continued to evolve his manic expositions in electronic pop. At once minimal and courageous with intent to connect, Apostille songs race off with unchecked abandon, skittering drum machines, thick walls of sequenced synth and decidedly elastic basslines.
Victim are a heavy metal band. Victim founded in London one thousand nine hundred and ninety eight and live since two thousand and three. Victim are car crash (drums/vocals) pub fight (guitars/vocals) and iron fist (guitars/vocals).
Paddy is a Zelig-like character along the timeline of Manchester’s musical activity. His live performances err more daringly and admirably on the frontier of chaotic abstraction, expression and focussed blunder, dice rolling down the hill in case of duende, as from behind his stacked array of instruments, the anarchically intrepid punk gargles through a vocoder with his xylophone, all a-clatter under disco lights and doilies.
Drawing from an oblivion of influences from noise rock acts such as AIDS Wolf and Fat Worm of Error to the nihilistic openness of power-electronic pioneers including Philip Best, Guttersnipe’s songwriting is impossible to pin down. It skitters from one irrational idea to the next like some piece of absurdist theatre. And yet through all the hideous racket they create, their stage pseudonyms suggest a greater creative purpose than just making noise for noise sake.
Few constants remain in Sly’s history, but collaboration is still at its core. For this special Supersonic performance, we invite artist, performer, experimental vocalist and composer, Sharon Gal into the fray. Her work relates to sound, architecture, live performance and participatory art, exploring the psychology of sound and its relationship with space.
Sly present a new collaboration alongside Sharon (and others) with music for acoustic and electronically treated voice, drums and amplified electronics.
ICHI, from Nagoya in Japan, takes the notion of a one-man band to new limits, combining his quirky handmade instrument inventions. Somehow there’s an ancient, ritualistic feel to his performances – he’s like the misplaced leader of a tribe. To see ICHI live is to witness something so playful and unusual you know that you’re experiencing something entirely new. It`s fun, it`s danceable, it`s exciting.
CZN stands for Copper, Zinc and Nickel, the raw materials used by percussionist and sculptor Joao Pais Filipe to make gongs and bells in his Portuguese studio. CZN is also the alchemical sound of Joao in collaboration with percussionist Valentina Magaletti (Tomaga, Vanishing Twin, uuuu).
The duo create rich tapestries of hypnotic rhythms, evolving the sound of drums and percussion into vivid textures: visceral timbres and telescoping rhythms that surround and beguile, and which hint at the meditative states of spiritual jazz as much as the cerebral counterpoint of Minimalist Composition.
Drummer and multi-instrumentalist Valentina Magaletti is possibly best known as both the drummer of psych band The Oscillation and for her work with Tom Relleen as experimental band Tomaga, whose music has been described as sounding like ‘radio messages from a distant constellation alerting us to the existence of art forms we had barely imagined’. Valentina was also the drummer on Blackest Ever Black releases; Raime and Moin, has recorded with Shit and Shine and is the drummer with London band Vanishing Twin.
João Pais Filipe is a drummer/percussionist and sound sculptor from Porto. His career as a musician is characterized by the approach to a wide range of styles and languages, in bands like Sektor 304, HHY & The Macumbas (who you can catch this year at Supersonic 2019), Talea Jacta, Paisiel, Rafael Toral Space Quartet. He is also a Gong maker and Cymbalsmith.
Together they have created ‘The Golden Path’. Beginning with a one-off recording session in Porto in Spring 2018, the duo has crafted a debut LP released as a collaboration between Porto’s Lovers & Lollipops collective and Tomaga’s Negative Days label.
With the Big Fifteenth edition of Supersonic fast approaching, we are proud to announce the workshops taking place over the festival weekend. There’s something for everyone and LOTS to get involved with!
Our audiences are at the heart of what we do. That’s why we strive to give them experiences which get them closest to the things they love.
So if you fancy taking a breather between our stonking live acts – we have some exceptional workshops planned for you to get involved with!
Information for how you can register your interest and book a place can be found below…
FAT OUT’S LATE–NIGHT KARAOKE DUNGEON: BLACK SABBATH SPECIAL
A one-off Karaoke Dungeon especially for Supersonic, celebrating 50 years of Black Sabbath and Capsules extraordinary Home of Metal exhibition. Tonight, Fat Out I’m gonna be …. Every Sabbath singer will get a Fat Out makeover so you can really live your heavy metal fantasy. We will have all the wigs, lashes, sunglasses and waistcoats you will ever need to look like the Sabbath star you really are. And in-between War Pig & Paranoid we will allow other tunes to be sung cos as much as we love us some heavy riffs, trashy pop will always be in our hearts.
Saturday 21.40 – 23.00
Drop in. No sign-up required.
FAT OUT’S ONE STOP TRANSFORMATION SHOP
Returning to Supersonic again laden with all the (biodegradable) glitter & googley eyes they can carry is Fat Out’s One Stop Transformation Shop and with them their hoards of rowdy glitter witches. Over the weekend come give yourself to Fat Out and let them transform you into your most fabulous self, ready to tear up the Supersonic pit and pull all the shapes on the dance floor. Come as you are. Leave as your most party-ready self.
Drop in. No sign-up required.
THE CRACKLER – A SYNTH BUILDING WORKSHOP
Farmer Glitch (a.k.a. Stephen Ives), a member of electronic mavericks Hacker Farm and REEL is renowned for customising the discarded – transforming rusted buckets and old cameras into potent noise-machines.In addition, he specialises in his own line of compact and affordable noise-makers to suit a range of tastes.
This year he will deliver workshops to build ‘The Crackler’, an interpretation of the experimental circuit originally developed at the Steim Institute in the 1960s – The Crackle Box.
Sunday 16.00 – 17.50
Advance sign-up. Limited to 10 people.
Book your place by emailing [email protected] with ‘the_crackler’ in the title.
Please include your name & contact number for the festival weekend.
Before more complicated resonant-bodied instruments came the bladder fiddle, commonly known in England as a drone. The drone comprises an inflated animal bladder secured to a large stick by a taut gut string. Bowing the string produces a resonant drone amplified by the bladder.
Build your drone, rehearse, then perform at the festival in a 10-piece drone orchestra.
Part one (making) – Saturday 16.10 – 17.40
Part two (rehearsal) – Sunday 18.00 – 18.50
Part three (performance) – Sunday 19.00 – 19.30
Advance sign-up. Limited to 10 people.
Book your place by emailing [email protected] with ‘drone_orchestra’ in the title.
Please include your name & contact number for the festival weekend.
SAVE ME IN CLAY
Porcelain milagro necklace by CHW Ceramics
Save Me in Clay! will be a macabre ceramics workshop using stoneware clay, coloured slips and underglazes to make colourful body-part Milagros micro-sculptures as decorative hangings or to attach to jewellery.
Milagros are traditional symbolic charms (often body parts of animals) in Latin America culture that are historically worn or hung on walls and used to protect, cure or give thanks.
Advance sign-up. Limited to 15 people.
Book your place by emailing [email protected] with ‘save_me_in_clay’ in the title.
Please include your name & contact number for the festival weekend.
Pit your drawing wits against another in a one-minute album cover draw off. DJ Hobbyhorse (1970’s fake mahogany veneered bingo machine and Clubland Royalty) randomly select albums from featured Supersonic artists to be drawn by willing festival audience members. Come render your one-minute homage.
Air Loom is the latest project from composer Sarah Angliss. With ancient instruments and bespoke electroacoustic techniques, Sarah has toured the UK performing Air Loom live with vocalist Sarah Gabriel and percussionist Stephen Hiscock.
Featuring voice, theremin, recorders, percussion, robotics, electronics and a rarity centre-stage – the Latvian clavisimbalum (a sonorous, fourteenth-century cousin of the harpsichord). Its plucked, soft iron strings ring with a rich, dark reverberance – a sound that hails from Eastern European folk and the Renaissance court. Angliss adds voices in close harmony, recorder, theremin, percussion and robotic carillon, an instrument she devised and built to play bells at inhuman speeds, creating a haze of delicate, metallic sound.
Angliss is joined by vocalist Sarah Gabriel and percussionist Stephen Hiscock. As they play, their sounds are deftly contorted, fragmented and recombined using Angliss’ digital inventions. Her own variant of the loop pedal stretches every strand of sound subtly as it plays. This transforms the most consonant music into something more angular as it makes beguiling musical collisions – the precarious harmonic terrain of Angliss’ signature soundworld.
“Music possessed of an eerie instability…a whole universe unto itself brimming with fresh propositions and new directions…
a shimmering minimalist masterpiece”
Check out the full release here…
Sarah Angliss is a composer making dreamlike performances where the total theatre of the sound’s creation is as striking as the music itself. Her music reflects her eclectic background as a classically trained composer, electronic artist and folk musician.
A prolific live musician, Sarah’s known for her skills and augmented techniques on theremin, an instrument she combines live with Max, vocals, recorder, saw, keyboard and her many found sounds and field recordings. On stage, she’s often accompanied by musical automata – machines she’s been devising and building since 2005 to give her performance an arresting and uncanny physical presence. Thematically, she often plays with the resonances between folklore and our perceptions of machines. Her music often plays with notions of electrical mysticism and the uncanny.
Stephen Hiscock is a composer, drummer and percussionist. His composing work has covered film, advertisements, theatre and the concert hall, having had works performed internationally, notably a national tour of Ghana. Stephen has spent several very happy study periods in Ghana learning traditional styles of music with master musicians from the National Dance Company of Ghana and The Pan African Orchestra.
Described by Le Monde as ‘As fine an actor as she is a singer,’ soprano Sarah Gabriel made her USA debut as Lucy Lockit (Britten The Beggar’s Opera) conducted by Lorin Maazel and her European debut as Eliza Doolittle in Robert Carsen’s triumphant production of My Fair Lady at Théâtre du Châtelet, Paris, opposite Alex Jennings as Higgins. Sarah has given recitals of music spanning 300 years and as a soloist with orchestra, she has performed the major oratorio repertoire, world premieres, operetta, musical theatre, and concert arias with ensembles including London Sinfonietta, Manchester Camerata, English Chamber Orchestra.
Catch this mind-spangling amalgamation of sound by a formidable trio of musicians at Supersonic 2019…
“could easily be the sound of a squadron of tanks invading
the dance floor of some infernal disco”
Forging a completely idiosyncratic combination of power, control, tenderness, miscontrol and more power, Hey Colossus acutely channel the best of your record collections and spit them back out into some quite astonishing shows and releases.
Coming out of London and the South West of England, Hey Colossus are one of Europe’s great live bands. Since 2003 the six-piece has been driving around the continent with their “pirate ship” backline of broken amps and triple-guitar drang, elevating audiences in every type of venue imaginable; a doctor’s waiting room in Salford, an industrial unit in Liege and a vast field next to a river in Portugal. Wherever they may roam.
Hey Colossus have undergone a spectacular metamorphosis in the last three years, since the 2015 Rocket Recordings double-drop of ‘In Black And Gold’ and ‘Radio Static High’. These releases displayed not only a band with a work rate to put most their contemporaries to shame, but one arriving at an atmospheric and rewarding sound with as much flair for the beguiling as the barbaric.
“Standard-bearers for post-millennial British music which is au fait with punk and hardcore while not being punk or hardcore”
The latest release, ‘Four Bibles’ is their twelfth studio album and the first to be released by London label ALTER. Recorded by Ben Turner at Space Wolf Studios in Somerset, it’s their most direct album yet and follows a well-documented trajectory of evolution that began (in the truest sense) with 2011’s RRR for Riot Season and continued across three albums for Rocket Recordings.
Lead vocalist Paul Sykes sounds more in focus than before, dialling down the effects and using reverb/delay to carry his lyrics rather than smother. The band has also fine-tuned to leave some room for extra depth. Piano, electronics and violin (by Daniel O’Sullivan of This is not This Heat / Grumbling Fur) all find a way in amongst a familiar mesh of interlacing guitars, wrapped around a taut rhythm section. Like every other Hey Colossus record before, the line-up has altered and the sounds reflect this.
As guitarist Jonathan Richards puts it: “After 12 years functioning in a noiserock/doom/kraut/whatever scene of sorts and being aware of unwanted repetition, we feel it is more subversive for us to compose songs with rigid song structures than it is to absentmindedly clang off another riff-athon.”
The band talk to CLASH mag about the new single ‘It’s a Low” from the album…
“The song came together pretty easily to start with then mutated into something that was much more intricate, needing really close attention. The now-departed Roo’s pinching of the piano and Daniel O’Sullivan’s dashing viola really lifted the whole thing in the finale. Not our usual mood, but good we can still play with it all 15 years in.”
“Chinks of pop light shine through, but this is still raw uncompromising stuff” The Guardian
After giving us those shimmy-shakes at Centrala back in December for our end of year show, we’re pretty damn chuffed to welcome back pals Hey Colossus to this year’s 15th edition of Supersonic Festival.
It was one heck of a party! Join us for the next one?
Hey Colossus will be performing alongside Yob, Big Lad and Savage Realm at our Friday aftershow party – limited tickets left!
“A strangely haunting yet beautiful bouquet of nocturnal, electronic blooms ranging from poignant ambient vignettes to chamber-like pop, from Brooklyn’s Faten Kanaan
– a gifted musical story-teller”
Faten is a NY based artist. Her performances slowly build songs by live-looping them, without the use of sequencers or arpeggiators. Cyclical patterns are central to her compositions, with the exploration of harmony and counterpoint as narrative tools. Sound & silence are used as intuitive gestures to tell a wordless story.
Inspired by cinematic forms: from sweeping landscapes and quiet character studies, to the patterned tension of horror film soundtracks; she focuses on bringing a visceral touch to electronic music. In symbiosis with technology is an appreciation for the vulnerability of human limitations and subtle nuances.
We asked Faten some questions ahead of her performance at Supersonic Festival 2019…
Hi Faten, looking forward to having you with us for Supersonic! You’re performing on the Saturday of the festival…
What can our Supersonic audience expect from your live performance?
I see myself as a storyteller.
Each performance I give is a journey through a narrative arc, without the use of vocals. All the music is played live, with one synth and a loop pedal. I also use a minimal choreography of gestures as an extension of the sound. In the course of this journey, my intention is to set a mood, present certain archetypes/scenarios, create an experience both private & shared and conjure a ritual to suspend time.
We’ve had your wonderful album Foxes on in the Supersonic office while we work away on festival spreadsheets. Those sweeping sonic landscapes really carry us through!
Could you tell us a bit more about this 3rd album and your shift into instrumental music? Why a wordless story?
I rarely sang on my previous recordings… but as my focus shifted to an interest in textures and timbres, I minimized vocals even more to allow each instrument patch to embody its own character and say what it had to say. I stopped singing live altogether because it was too jarring a transition out of the dream haze I enter when I play. I also have to punch in at least 50 patch numbers during every performance, so I’d rather focus on remembering those.
I’m much more comfortable with the black and white keys. They feel like an extension of my body, so sometimes I play them in a way that maybe isn’t as traditional. Old muscle memory kicks in from having played other instruments: the piano has always been my main instrument, but I had a brief stint with the cello and an even shorter one with the harp and the oud. The tactility of those strings has helped me better understand the physicality of sound, the space around notes, and how much room to give them. Not having words also allows listeners to attach their own meanings onto my music. Plus, I don’t have to worry about which language I should be singing in.
Your most recent video for ‘Pendulum’ was out just a couple of months ago.
Why this track from the album? And the idea behind the single still shot, could you tell us more about that?
‘Pendulum’ felt like a microcosm that captured what I was trying to do with the album.
It has a narrative structure, an arc of a story. It also focuses on the idea of repetition and cycling, which is important to me both philosophically and aesthetically… of noticing the smallest change happening to a sound, and how we ourselves change with it.
This idea of stillness, drifting, and things coming full circle was captured by my friend Jessie Rose Vala’s beautiful video. We used to share an art studio many years ago and have collaborated occasionally. I’m a big fan of her work.
The dynamic shifts in this song (and others) allow the music to breathe when it needs to, and for each note to ring out its full sound. I still love playing my baroque-y fast bits… but am also inspired by bands/composers like Ryuichi Sakamoto, Earth, and Zbigniew Preisner. They use intentionality in such a powerful way, and treat silence with the respect it deserves.
We’re big fans of DIY culture in music, we noticed you compose, produce and mix your own music too and create a lot of the artwork yourself for your releases.
Is this out of necessity or an artistic choice? Why?
Production and mixing-wise, going the DIY route was first a result of necessity, then it became a choice.
The mixing process has become an essential part of my arrangements: how frequencies & textures interact with each other and the listener… how the story unfolds. I’m self-taught with using a DAW, and am still learning as I go along. Experimenting and problem-solving are such satisfying parts of the process, as frustrating as they can be at times.
I wouldn’t have had the courage to go the independent route if it hadn’t been for my amazingly supportive community of very talented engineer and musician friends. Some people who I look up to had encouraged me to trust my ears and give producing my own music a shot.
I’m also very lucky that one of my dearest friends, Heba Kadry, is an incredible mastering engineer and a constant inspiration. She’s mastered everything that I’ve done, and has a special talent for understanding an artist’s vision and bringing their music to life.
I’ve chosen to do the artwork myself because I see my albums as a conceptual whole. My background is as a sculptor and painter, and I had shifted away from the visual art world to focus on my music. Also, for about 7 years I’d worked as a poster restoration artist and archivist- so I enjoy working with design elements and fonts, having been inspired by all sorts of historic paper ephemera.
It’s great to get to know our Supersonic artists a little better and introduce our audience to your work, another thing we love about our festival is that many of our artists are fans of each other.
Who are you looking forward to at Supersonic?
I’m excited to check out The Body, Jerusalem in my Heart, and The Bug with Moor Mother. I’m also psyched to see performances by bands I’m not familiar with, they can be such a great surprise. And I look forward to meeting the organizers.
PRISON RELIGION is the collaborative project of Richmond-based audio/visual artists Poozy and False Prpht. They draw on slivered, staticky forms of electronic music – industrial, noise, techno, and the sort of glass-shattering bass-heavy stuff.
Poozy and False Prpht, aka Parker Jones and Warren Black, first met in an airport in South Carolina, releasing their first mix in 2016. From the early release, Cage With Mirrored Bars (a collaboration with Crimewave, on Blackhouse Records) to 2018’s O Fucc Im On The Wrong Planet, the duo has dived deep into the space between blown-out trap and contemporary destructive club music.
They also draw on legacies of metal and hardcore, throwing their bodies around at shows, punching low ceiling and screaming over PAs pushed to their upper limits, whilst treading the line on the more outré realms of contemporary rap.
“The barely tonal beats of tracks like ‘Shots Fired’ have this way of making it feel like the 808s are falling apart or dissociating, like a crowd dispersing as Jones and Black spin kick in the centre… acid-drenched tracks draw on the history of industrial music, metal iconography and experimental club music.”
O Fucc Im On The Wrong Planet displays the duo’s confrontational yet hysterical and escapist approach; P_R explains in an interview, “the title’s this realisation that our whole situation is so fucking bizarre… We’re living in Idiocracy. What the fuck is going on?”
The production destroys any notion of comfort afforded in dance music, with cold industrial and glitchy hip hop textures serving as the stylistic anchor. According to Noisey, “[e]ven though it’s only six tracks, only one of which breaches three minutes, the duo manages to compress a whole lot of dread into the record’s short runtime – a reminder that space is a fruitful setting for any sort of horror-invoking media.”
Soon after the release, Prison Religion teamed up with Halcyon Veil to release a collection of remixes based on the record. Titled RESONANCE IN EXOPLANETARY HYBRIDIZATION, the EP features edits by Swan Meat, Lee Gamble, Rabit, Bonaventure, Geng, and Endgame, among others. With close ties to NON Worldwide, P_R are also ushering in a new wave of vocal-based club performance.
“Prison Religion are one of the most hardcore, rap-related acts we’ve heard in years. No cock out business, just Philip Best levels of mic-burning bile and vitriol shrieked and expectorated over bludgeoning beats, field recordings and charred electronics.”
Not one for the faint-hearted, we can’t wait for the acid-drenched sounds of Prison Religion to blow our minds (and possibly our eardrums) at Supersonic 2019…
Join us on June 22nd for an evening of experimental noise and immersive visuals. The Crossing, Digbeth is the usual home to our beloved Stage 1 of Supersonic Festival, come and experience the space like never before for this Superspecial first time collaboration between Eartheater & Semiconductor plus local support in the shape of a rare appearance from Wolverhampton’s finest pre-grunge/post-punkers VICTOR!
“Victor have a sound that could definitely break through a mountain” – Counteract
VICTORhave been in hiding for quite some time but reformed recently for a reunion show for local promoters DIE DAS DER to help raise funds to rebuild Black Country Recording Company which sadly burnt down in 2018. They played a monumental return gig and have clearly got a taste for it again (thankfully), so are stretching the strings once more for an un-holy clattering of luscious noise-rock to kick start the evening.
The evening will be interspersed by Youth Man‘s Kaila Whyte spinning some tunes on the decks with Meesha Fones from VICTOR in tow.
Leading us on to the main event…
Fracture Patternsis a live collaboration between UK artist duo Semiconductor and New York musician and producer Eartheater. This original commission by the Outlands Network combines large-scale multi-channel video works by Semiconductor with a new live soundtrack and performance by Eartheater, fusing both into a compelling theatrical production.
“Eartheater is the future of everything weird” – Noiseyvice
Eartheater explores experimental pop and fantasy combining her genre-breaking musical production with a singular visual aesthetic. Semiconductor’s visually and intellectually engaging artworks explore the material nature of our world and how we experience it through the lenses of science and technology.
An exciting opportunity to participate in a free vocal workshop with musician and artist Alexandra Drewchin (Eartheater) and to take part in a performance of new Outlands commission Fracture Patterns.
Drawing upon her unique vocal style, Eartheater will guide participants through contrasting vocal spaces, experimenting with scale, range and tone to explore the higher and lower ends of your vocal spectrum individually and as a group.
The workshop will be an exploratory, playful and liberating experience dispelling traditional ideas of what a choir is and what a voice ‘should’ sound like.
The outcome of the workshop will be fused into the evening Fracture Patterns performance of Semiconductor’s film Black Rainwith music by Eartheater and vocals by you.
No experience is necessary (this is not a traditional singing workshop) just come with an open mind and an adventurous spirit! Participants gain free entry to the evening Fracture Patterns event.
Places available on a first come first serve basis. GO GO GO!
This collaboration is brought to you by the Outlands Network. OUTLANDS brings together a diverse mix of visual arts and music organisations, independent venues, creative producers, and promoters, all from outside London, with the aim of strengthening organisational reach and developing regional audiences. OUTLANDS was developed out of a motivation to pool expertise and resources, to encourage diversity and accessibility, build local audiences, and to support engaging and ambitious interdisciplinary music productions across the country, and the organisations that strive to promote them.
CHECK OUT OUR SUPERSONIC PODCAST – OUTLANDS SPECIAL – TO FIND OUT MORE:
It’s been 20 years since the pioneers of alt hip-hop, Dälek formed in Newark, New Jersey; having since crafted an idiosyncratic blend of ambient metallic noise and pungent, declamatory raps. Led by rapper, producer and engineer Will “Dälek” Brooks, this act seemed too quirky for the rap kids, and too left-field for the metal dudes. But thanks to excellent, ground-breaking work such as 2002’s From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots and 2005’s Absence, they carved a singular path, anticipating the crop of contemporary noise-rap experimenters like Clipping and Death Grips in the process.
“DÄLEK’s take on hip-hop is foreboding and hypnotic in a way that feels unexpected; sure, in the Age of Future, creepy, dark vibes are almost
de rigeur, but DÄLEK takes it a step further towards the abyss by incorporating a seething electronic edge – think Einstürzende Neubauten, not Soundcloud.”
Pioneers of alt hip-hop, Dälek features Rapper/Producer MC Dälek, Producer/Live Electronics Mike Manteca, with roots in the mid-90’s DIY scene. They have encapsulated fans and critics across all genres, garnering fans and accolades from the Hip-Hop, Electronic, Indie, Metal, Shoegaze, Jazz and experimental communities.
After releasing 7 studio albums, numerous collaborations, EP’s, and remixes, they are known for their large body of work and pushing boundaries with every release. Debut album Negro Necro Nekros was released in 1998 on Gern Blandsten, 2002 saw Ipecac Recordings release the game-changing From Filthy Tongue of Gods and Griots which was followed with 3 more releases on Ipecac Recordings – Absence in 2005, Abandoned Language in 2007 and Gutter Tactics in 2009.
In 2010, Dälek went on a five-year hiatus to recoup from a decade of relentless touring and to focus on new musical projects. In January of 2015 MC Dälek said he “missed the noise,” and a tour and new single quickly followed. 2016 saw the release of the critically acclaimed Asphalt for Eden on Profound Lore Records, once again showing the music world their constant evolution sonically and lyrically.
Their flow has often been usurped by scorched textures, the product of synthetic decay, themes flitting from pungent political rage through to outright Dionysian frenzy. The latest release, Endangered Philosophies, has focused lyrics more at the forefront than ever before, and MC Dälek’s new experiments with rhyme styles and flows. There’s no doubt about it, Endangered Philosophies is a work of guttural catharsis, it is a call to arms…
Within the context of the current political landscape, the title Endangered Philosophies certainly brings to mind pertinent issues of the moment, notably the rampant rise of anti-intellectualism, as well as the all too rapid erosion of genuinely progressive values in the face of fearful reactionary forces. In MC Dälek’s own words…
“Endangered Philosophies is a very introspective record about very external forces. This isn’t about one listen… it’s about your evolving perception when you immerse yourself in the layers of sound and words. Endangered Philosophies is a record about the RIGHT NOW and yet will resonate differently each time it is listened to, in a word….timeless.”
Dälek have been prone to outbursts of pummeling extremity, yet their sound is anything but one dimensional; with viscous dark-ambient soundscapes congealing atop their incessant beats, a dual focus on brute force and disembodied unease. They make use of material sent to them by people they have friendships and relationships with including Toronto based Metz, manipulating and sampling in the same way they would use record samples.
Although the group have evolved their sound over the years, they continue to collaborate with the same behind the scenes crew who’ve been with them from the beginning, from the production team to the artist behind their cover art. At this stage in their career they have elevated to a frankly peerless stature; 20 years since the release of their pivotal debut album Negro Necro Nekros, and having previously collaborated with a host of like-minded visionaries; ranging from Krautrock legends Faust, through to the 90s electronic act Techno Animal – a similarly restless project comprised of Kevin Martin (The Bug, King Midas Sound) and Justin Broadrick (Godflesh, Jesu).
Fans of Dälek will be thrilled to discover that the group once again appear at Supersonic Festival 2019, charging forward and continuing to resist stagnation in all its forms.
Coming to Supersonic this year are psycho-sexual noise-spasms by transgressive, gender-activist performance-artist AJA Ireland. We expect sonic, visual and physical over-stimulation, that’s neon coloured & intense.
Using unsettling noise, distressed screams, hand made electronics and found objects pushed through pedals, AJA’s industrial beats and distorted drone, combined with a psycho-visceral, intense performance,challenges the audience by breaking down barriers and pushing limits sonically and visually.
AJA “seems intent on destroying all boundaries between herself and the audience…not just that she tends to spend most shows off the stage, set up in among the audience, but the literal way she ropes the audience into what she does with her long microphone lead.”
Catharsis is a big part of her music. She channels a plethora of intense emotions into her work: “I scream and I’m confrontational, but at the same time I do it out of love – and I want everyone to feel that”. In spite of this, Aja’s performances haven’t always been met with respect. “I don’t like the old-school macho side of the scene, and at times crowds have responded with a lot of disrespect and misogyny. For instance, people come into my space even after I push them away, playing with my equipment and laughing in my face when I’m performing naked”.
“When people are open and respectful, magical things can happen”
Despite at first coming across as fierce, perhaps frightening, AJA’s work brings with it a sense of positivity. This positivity manifests itself is through a notable drag influence, the lead single from her debut album being entitled ‘Tuck It, Tape It’, an act which refers to hiding a penis and testicles with tape. She cites drag performance as a huge inspiration on the way she presents herself.
The vibrancy of drag also bleeds into AJA’s aesthetic, she co-designs her costumes with Berlin-based designer Lu La Loop. “I’ll send over sketches to her and she’ll design them. They are inspired by a whole range of things; usually stemming from conversations we’ve had about things as disparate as biology, punk, nature and witchcraft.” The costumes can at times come out as a hybrid of all those ideas, they’re colourful, but they’re also quite frightening. Her music has even been played at Berlin Alternative Fashion Week.
Aesthetically you could place AJA somewhere between Gazelle Twin, Fever Ray or even Arca, but sonically she’s something completely different. As well as being explicitly noisy, AJA’s live performances can also be beat-centric – she calls back to producer Andrew Course as a key perpetrator in AJA making the music she makes today. “He spent years and years teaching me everything I know about production, I don’t think I’d be doing what I’m doing now without him”.
AJA runs Ableton workshops for young girls who want to experiment with sound. She also uses this platform to promote discussions about taboo issues: “I try to open up conversations, about mental health and my experiences – and how music and performance has helped”.
“Channelling raw emotion, AJA Ireland alchemises past trauma
into a kind of noise-based healing”
We invite you to Supersonic 2019, so you can be very much a part of that.