Gum Takes Moog


(film by T.A.Wagstaff film and photography)

Here’s the new video release from our MOOG Sound Lab series hosted at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire as part of Supersonic Festival 2018. Gum Takes Tooth were joined by Wayne Adams of Big Lad for a 2 day residency in the lab. 

GUM TAKES TOOTH took to the Supersonic stage on the Sunday afternoon of the festival this year, following their immersive time in the lab.

Whatever they had originally planned for us that Sunday was soon chucked out the window after inspiration found them via the oscillations transmitted by the wall of MOOG synthesizers over the course of those 2 days. They delivered an absolute belter of a set, getting the Supersonic crowd well and truly warmed up for the festival finale. At Supersonic, we were dead chuffed to see these artists revel in this unique opportunity.

“an exercise in extreme electronica, taking on techno structures and reconfiguring to a dramatic extent. Filled with energy, the band moved confidently through this maniacal set and set the bar fairly high.” – Pop Matters

PODCAST: Supersonic Festival 2018 roundup – Part 1



“Supersonic is an absolute champion among festivals, a unique and precious thing, a banquet for the musically curious.” – Echoes and Dust Magazine.

As live footage from Supersonic Festival 2018 is released, we reminisce on the wonder that was the weekend of June 22nd-24th, Digbeth Birmingham. A culmination of a years work towards brining the UK the most exciting new underground acts, whilst simultaneously heralding experimental pioneers from across the globe. We still can’t quite get our head around what a mind-bending, life-altering few days it was. And the mango curry, of course.

Hosted by Anna Palmer and Alice Tomlinson, this will be the first part in a roundup series, playing out live sets from the festival itself, talking favourite performances and festival moments plus a brand new track from one of our featured artists. With music from:

Cattle | Yunohana Variations | Youth Man | Nik Void | Factory Floor | Deaf Kids | Shirley Collins | Yves Tumor | Yerba Mansa | Giant Swan |

Stay tuned for more in the coming weeks!

Get over to our Youtube channel now for live footage released so far

And check out our Mixcloud for previous podcasts


International Communions: A train of thought on Festival D’Avignon


Every year in July, the French city of Avignon is transformed into something of a performance in itself: it becomes a home of venues, placing art in such legendary spaces of the main courtyard of the Popes’ Palace to the streets themselves, always alive with it’s thousands of spectators and artists alike. Last week, Capsule’s Audience Development Assistant Alice headed to Festival D’Avignon to experience this for herself, an opportunity which was made available to her through her placement within the Weston Jerwood Bursaries Scheme. She had a great time. 


In Festival D’Avignon‘s mission statement, the festival is described as ‘a popular and contemporary artistic adventure’, bringing together general public and international creation in the making of a truly unique alliance, predominantly around dance and theatre. It is ‘a state of mind’, a place which encourages discussion, reflection, ultimately building a community of open-mindedness within a living, breathing culture.

This was my first visit to Festival D’Avignon, and I was taken by just how much this statement resonated in practice. From the visual ecstasy of the body through Sasha Waltz’s Kreatur, to the intimate, powerful creation of Rocio Molina Grito Palao, discussing female homosexuality and the desire to have children through flamenco. There is definitely a dialogue here. The live performances, and their messages, become living, tangible things, surpassing the native language of individual artists and their hosts. It is a dialogue which I had accessed at the boundary blurring BE Festival (Birmingham European Festival) only the week before, and a dialogue which is certainly not dissimilar to that of our beloved Supersonic.

It’s also worth noting that before this June I’d never been to Supersonic Festival before either. I started my placement with Capsule not only as a new member of the team, but also as a new pair of eyes and ears (…talk about a baptism by fire!). My role was created / is designed to look at what makes Supersonic so special to so many people. Without wanting to make you cringe, what I found to be so unique about our festival was its sense of family: those who come back each year to celebrate risk-ta king, experimental performance. It is a family of audience and artist alike, of young and old, from all corners of the city, the UK, and beyond.

When thinking of how best to talk about my time at Avignon, everything seemed to hark back to communion, that of the shared experience often promised within the sphere of a festival. The beauty of what I found in Festival D’Avignon lay in the fact that no matter who I was, where I was from, being a part of an arts festival meant stepping into a realm in which these needn’t matter. If #SSFest18 and the processional work of artist in residence Dennis McNett had taught me anything, it was that a festival is a realm which places you outside of individuation and into a greater whole. It is a space for connecting, reconnecting and sharing experiences w hich go beyond the everyday, sometimes beyond what is comfortable, often beyond what you know.

In a post-Brexit world of misunderstandings and misinformation, it seems essential- now more than ever- to be celebrating cultural exchange, and acknowledging what can be learnt from international art and performance- particularly in what it can teach you about human experience. Through the language of a festival, cultures can be connected in a way that reminds us of how much of the international can be found in our domestic spaces. For me, I am reminded of how much richer, and more electric these spaces become when such boundaries are blurred. Having an open mind is key, but it is by meeting international ideas with open arms- in the way which Festival D’Avignon and Supersonic do- that can prove most rewarding.





Supersonic 2018 Collective Memory


Photos by Katja Ogrin, Joe Singh and Mark Rhodes

WOW! To all of you who had your faces melted off by Supersonic 2018, our hearts are completely warmed- THANK YOU! We couldn’t have asked for a better weekend full of mind bending, life altering music and art, paired with fun and frolics shared amongst a loving, open minded community – something much needed in our current times.

Huge thanks and congratulations to our hard-working Supersonic team and volunteers who every year go beyond the call of duty to make it happen, and to our incredible artists and audience alike who elevate the whole experience to something unlike any other. 

We will start posting up our Supersonic Collective memory (first started in 2009)- where we’d love to hear from you! Send your comments, blog links and photos to with some of your highlights. Keep checking back as we add more content and share your weekend memories.


We know that people who come to SUPERSONIC are a knowledgeable and opinionated lot so we’d like to ask for your assistance to develop and improve the next festival by answering a few questions about you and your experience. This should take no more than a few minutes of your time, and your feedback is greatly appreciated.

Your answers here will aid us in keeping our work going and in making sure new and interesting artists will keep coming to the festival – so your input really does matter in making SUPERSONIC work.

>> <<


BBC Radio 3 recorded live sets at Supersonic Festival-

“Put your headphones and space helmets on for otherworldly music, mystical sounds, and transcendent live highlights from Supersonic Festival.”


The Arts Desk – 5 star review-

“Supersonic Festival 2018 – Birmingham waves the flag for New Weird Britain Another vintage year for Digbeth’s annual showcase of the sonically strange…as audience members from around the UK, America, Japan and other far-flung parts of the globe got together to celebrate the weird and the wonderful.”


The Guardian – 4 star review-

“Supersonic is a festival of cross-genre pollination, but also one that questions what genre is.”


The Skinny Magazine – 5 star review-

“Supersonic, you knocked it out the park once again. It’s so important to have this annual citybreak of adventurous sounds from yesterday and tomorrow. And we already can’t wait to return in 2019.’


Clash Magazine-

“there’s an undeniable sense that Supersonic is incomparable to any other UK music festival.”


The Quietus-

“Supersonic are not so much who I’m writing this piece for as a reason I’m writing it. That is to say: the festival’s approach to choosing lineups is a prototype of how I prefer to envisage music’s underground. A space of interactivity rather than cramped, glowering sects, where sufficient imagination can cook up a conceptual link between any two given acts. In 2018, music fans are way less rigid in their tastes than they used to be. The reasons for this are complex, although not so complex that I can’t say ‘mainly because of the internet’, but on a micro level, many identifiable entities have helped to get listeners to swerve across multiple lanes. Supersonic is, I feel, one of them.”


Flush The Fashion-

“Since its inaugural event in 2003, Supersonic has grown to be one of Europe’s standout alternative festivals. Centred around The Custard Factory and the industrial warehouses of Digbeth in Birmingham, Supersonic has constantly evolved to fulfil its mission statement of providing experimental music for curious audiences….That’s why there is no festival like Supersonic and that’s why it has built a loyal following over the last 15 years – long may it continue.”


Fighting Boredom-

“Fighting Boredom’s favourite festival is here again. Set in the Custard Factory in Birmingham, Supersonic festival is where we come to hear old favourites, discover new inspiration and immerse ourselves in the best place ‘for curious audiences’.”


Pop Matters-

“In 2018, Supersonic returned with an impressive line-up, one of the strongest in its history. From extravagant producer Yves Tumor, score master Mark Korven, instrument aficionados Mario Batkovic and Andrea Belfi, to legendary folk singer Shirley Collins, psychedelic gurus Dwarfs of East Agouza, punk legends the Ex, and black metal masters Wolves in the Throne Room, Supersonic extended its grasp.”


Echoes and Dust-

“Supersonic is an absolute champion among festivals, a unique and precious thing, a banquet for the musically curious.”


What’s on Brum- 5 star review –

“Supersonic promotes the most challenging and experimental music. Whether it’s brutalising electronica, hard EDM, noise, doom psyche or bombastic black metal, it’s here. If there’s anything more extreme, no doubt it would eventually end up at Supersonic. This is a festival not afraid to take chances.”


“For me, Supersonic festival has not only stood out from others of its kind by pushing its scope away from the one dimensional trap that is indicative of most music based festivals, but has programmed things people might not be aware of.
“And due to the nature of the event itself, those in attendance tend to be open to investigate those things.
“It’s an amazing feeling to be allowed the opportunity to present sound and visual works within the framework of an established festival that gives trust to others to bring in outside perspectives.” – Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Supersonic 2018 Guest Curator



The Skinny-

“Since being founded in 2003, the festival continues to draw from some of the more hidden corners of the underground – never ceasing to challenge and surprise, but somehow managing to remain accessible and inviting too.”

The Quietus-

Clash Magazine-

“For years now, Birmingham festival Supersonic has been at the forefront of radical music, hosting fierce artists of myriad disciplines. This year looks no different.”

I Heart Noise-

“On a personal note, I have attended the festival several times as a paying punter and I’ve never come away having not fallen in love with several “new” (to these ears, anyway) bands that I’ve witnessed over the two-and-a-bit days.”

Counteract Magazine-

“Fighting Boredom’s musical highlight of the year is coming up very soon now. Supersonic Festival never fails to give us unexpected new music to explore, old favourites that always impress and a weekend of immersion into art and events.”


Music and Riots Magazine-

“This year Supersonic is championing an array of ambitious, fiercely independent, and progressive artists, each committed to doing things in their own unique way.”



Dennis Mcnett’s Supersonic Festival procession


As part of Supersonic Festival 2018 in Birmingham, U.K., a procession of creatures and objects from the mind of Dennis McNett filled the streets. The major project from the artist used the festival musicians (and audience) for an immersive parade experience in the style of work by the artist, who has crafted this style under the moniker “Wolfbat. Musicians included Rattle, Agathe Max and Deaf Kids from Brazil as well as our audience who took part in a series of workshops to craft costumes and masks alongside Dennis.

Watch the film below.


Yunohana Variations tour the UK



Three improvisational luminaries; multi-instrumentalist YoshimiO (Boredoms, OOIOO, SAICOBAB), avant-garde percussionist Susie Ibarra, and artist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe (Lichens) perform together as Yunohana Variations for the first time in the UK.

YoshimiO is a drummer and member of the revolutionary group Boredoms. She is the leader of the experimental band OOIOO, a member of Free Kitten with Kim Gordon (ex. Sonic Youth), and most recently the vocalist in SAICOBAB.

Susie Ibarra, is one of the most significant percussionists and composers of our time, known for her work as a performer within contemporary, avant-garde, jazz, classical, and world music, and performs in the band Dreamtime Ensemble. Ibarra studied with jazz luminaries Earl Buster Smith (of Sun Ra Arkestra), Vernel Fournier and Milford Graves, and Philippine Kulintang gong-chime music with Danongan Kalanduyan. She has performed with the likes of: John Zorn, Dave Douglas, Yo La Tengo, Ikue Mori and recent works include a sound installation for Ai Weiwei.

Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe is a multidisciplinary artist whose practice is strongly rooted in exploration of moments and the hypnagogic state. Movement and gesture play key factors within this process, and in the performance realm are focused on by voice and modular synthesizer. A fixture of Chicago’s experimental community throughout the 90s and early 2000s, Robert has also performed under the name Lichens, is a member of the legendary band Om, and has an impressive portfolio of collaborations, which extends to the film world with his score for pseudo-documentary A Spell To Ward Off The Darkness, directed by Ben Russell and Ben Rivers (which Robert also appears in).

Thu 28th June          Cambridge, Cambridge Junction 
Fri 29th June              Milton Keynes, MK Gallery
Sat 30th June            Bristol, Arnolfini, promoted by Qu Junktions  
Sun 1st July                Manchester, Soup Kitchen, promoted by Fat Out
Mon 2nd July              Bradford, Fuse Art Space
Weds 4th July            Plymouth, KARST, promoted by KARST

 Purchased via links above.










“We regret to inform you that our Visa application process has been unsuccessful. The error was with us applying through the wrong category. We now have very little time to pursue another application / appeal their decision and we are afraid it will no longer be possible to play at Supersonic Festival.

It was our ultimate wish to participate in the forthcoming events but our schedule made it hard to treat the process with the care it deserved. We apologise for the inconvenience and hope to get another opportunity to play in the future.
Sincerely FAKA


We have however replaced Faka with a Supersonic Supergroup – a selection of Supersonic artists will be collaborating tonight to create a unique performance for your pleasure and John Doran will be doing one of his infamous DJ sets to send Saturday night out with a bang.


Fill yer boots and bellies- Tea Room and Food Stalls


The place to fill your boots and bellies- the Market Place and courtyard, around and outside Stage 1, will be hosting delicious treats to fuel weary festival feet. Be sure to make a visit to these delicious spots which cater for all, including vegans, celiacs, sweet tooths and straight up carnivors …


Beet The System

Beet the System are a Vegan Worker Co-operative from Brum. They make the best organic #FreshTempeh you’ve ever tasted and they are chuffed to be fuelling Supersonic Festival again with some amazing gastronomic delights!



Original Patty Men: Birmingham’s own Patty Pimps and Purveyors of Filth return to their street food origins to provide you with real quality burgers.



Combining fresh ingredients with tasty spices, Sri-Licious prepare every element of their dishes lovingly from scratch. From the roti bread in their Kothu Roti, to the Short Eats and tasty Sambols, Sri-Licious is passionate about bringing the unique and amazing flavours of Sri-Lanka to you. There’s something for everyone with vegan and gluten-free options available!


Supersonic Tea Room

Expect an array of epicurean delights to be found in our Tea Room from vegan sweet treats to Sabbath Bloody Sabbath Marys to fuel your Sunday. Take a load off those tired festival feet and enjoy a range of Supersonic friends who will be spinning the wheels of steel for your listening pleasure.


Ideas of Noise stage at Supersonic 2018


Sarah Farmer and Andrew Woodhead curate a feast of experimental sounds from the Midlands and beyond, and this weekend they will be hosting a Friday stage and intimate pop-up concerts throughout Supersonic Festival! With a programme spanning free improv, electronica, sound art, noise, contemporary classical and more, there will be a mixture of performances, installations, workshops and participation areas, this event is a teaser for the brand new Ideas of Noise Festival taking place in Birmingham, August 3rd-5th.

Find below the talents playing on the Friday stage, as well as Noise Shed times for the rest of the weekend…


Pop up stage times:
5:50-6:20 Sarah Farmer/James Malone
7:40- 8:10 Hannah Marshall
9:10-9:40 Post-Paradise
10:50-11:30 Joe Wright/Andrew Woodhead
4:40-5:10 Paul Dunmall
6:10-6:40 Matthew Grigg/Rebecca Sneddon
8:20-8:50 Georgia Denham/Peter Bell

Bombyx Mori

London-based Dee Byrne and Ed Riches bring Bombyx Mori to Supersonic Festival – a voyage of spontaneous improvisation spiced with electronics. Sonic cookery.


Dee Byrne – Saxophone, Electronics, Visuals

Ed Riches – Guitar, Electronics


Dee Byrne is a saxophonist, composer and improviser based in London. Her own group Entropi released its second album ‘Moment Frozen’ in September 2017 on Whirlwind Recordings to critical acclaim (‘Intense, muscular jazz voyage.’ ★★★★ The Guardian). The quintet completed a successful ten-date UK tour in Autumn 2017 with an album launch at Kings Place in London and performances at EFG London Jazz Festival (Pizza Express Jazz Club, Soho) and Cambridge Jazz Festival. Dee was featured in the ‘Taking Off’ section in the December/January edition of Jazzwise magazine. Dee also co-runs LUME, a small artist-run organisation with a focus on the creation of new original/improvised music. LUME’s offshoot record label Luminous releases projects by co-founders Dee and Cath Roberts.


Ed Riches has been guitarist and musical director for world tours with Grammy winning artist Bilal, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson’s ‘Suite for Ma Dukes’ Orchestra, DJ Jazzy Jeff’s Playlist Sessions. He leads his own project ‘Local Authority’ which has featured at Red Bull Music Academy, Love Supreme Jazz Festival and Jazz Re:freshed. He has also been an integral soloist and accompanist for Ayanna Witter Johnson, Zara McFarlane, Marsha Ambrosius, Mica Paris, Ntjam Rosie, Beth Rowley, Vels Trio, Jacqui Dankworth, Nailah Porter, Omar, The London Horns and the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra.




Onin is the collaborative duo of James L Malone and Joe Wright, which explores analogue and digital electronics in highly volatile improvised music.

Joe Wright – Saxophone and Dynamic Feedback

James Malone – Guitar



Richard Scott/Sarah Farmer/Andrew Woodhead

An improvising trio where strings meet electronics.

Sarah Farmer – Violin/Cello

Richard Scott – Viola

Andrew Woodhead – Electronics


Sarah Farmer is a violinist and sound artist based in Birmingham. Sarah spends most of her playing time performing contemporary scored and improvised music and playing in folk and jazz inspired bands. Interests include noise, texture, spacetime and DIY.

Richard Scott is a viola player and visual artist based in Birmingham with interests in pattern, liminality and varying modes of perception and control. His musical activities are split between improvising, contemporary scored music and playing traditional Scandinavian music on the fiddle.

Born and raised in South Yorkshire, Andrew Woodhead is now a highly active member of Birmingham’s thriving Jazz/Creative Music scene. As well as performing on Piano and Live Electronics, he also curates Fizzle, a fortnightly happening of Improvised Music at the Lamp Tavern, Birmingham.

Onin + Scott/Farmer/Woodhesd


Born from the Birmingham/London Improvisers Exchange Project (Jan 2019), Onin and Scott/Farmer/Woodhead come together to present a collaborative set encompassing Free Improv, Soundscapes, Feedback and Harsh Noise.



Steve Tromans Dead As Dillinger


Steve Tromans – Piano/Keyboard

Richard Scott – Violin/Vocals

Tymoteusz Jozwiak – Drums


The beautiful disease and The government falls along the weed rooms flesh along the weed government/ / / / The girls eat morning Dying peoples to a white bone monkey in the Winter sun touching tree of the house. $$$$ HER feet at? Morning the thunderous read the front page” ” ” ” star blazing but She read the stories beyond lines. . . .







You’ve got your ticket, now what? Have a read over our FAQs to help you plan for this weekend…


Box office opening times to pick up your wristbands – located on Floodgate St, Birmingham B5 5SR
Friday 21:00 – 23:30
Saturday 16:00 – 22:00
Sunday 15:00 – 20:30

Timings and full schedule HERE


Whist Supersonic Festival doesn’t have a specific children and young people offer, children aged 10 years and under are welcome to accompany adults attending the festival for free. If you are planning on bringing children with you please contact us in advance via and we will reserve sufficient numbers of wristbands at our festival Box Office. We request that all children in attendance at the festival must be accompanied by an adult at all times, have their own ear defender equipment and be off site by 9pm.

Supersonic Kids Gigs are perfect events for children and their families. More information about events taking place later this year will be available soon.

Accommodation: “Where can I live for the weekend?”
We have negotiated a number of special rates for Supersonic visitors, you can read all about that here

Alcohol: “Can I bring my own alcohol?”
Unfortunately not, you may be searched on arrival and if you are found to be carrying drinks, these will be confiscated. There will be licensed bars which have a selection of vegan friendly ales + spirts + soft drinks on the festival site. If you look under 21, please bring some photo ID along.

We have a food court plus a tea room on site, which will cater for vegetarians and vegans alike as well as meat eaters.

This year we’ll be filling bellies with SriLicious, Beet The System and Original Patty Men (OPM). You’ll find their stalls in the courtyard to the festival Market Place.

Cash Points
There are only a few ATM machines in Digbeth, so you might want to take out money prior to arriving at the festival site. There are two free cash machines located near-by at:

Nisa | Digbeth High Street | B5 5NR (about a 3 minute walk from the festival site) which is open until midnight daily

Birmingham Coach Station which is open 24hrs

Directions: “How do I get to Supersonic Festival?”
The central hub of Supersonic Festival is held at the The Crossing Floodgate St, Birmingham B5 5SR.

Normal smoking rules apply: you can smoke in any outdoor area on site, you cannot smoke inside any enclosed public buildings.

There are a number of 24 hr car parks around Digbeth and about a 5 mins walk away from the festival site.
Green Parking Ltd, Digbeth High Street, Oxford Street, Birmingham B5 6DY

There are loads of taxi firms in Birmingham – Here’s numbers for a couple of them:

Atlas Cars 0121-643-8888

Ambassador Cars 0121-449-8888

T.O.A. 0121-444-8888

Royal Cars 0121-444-8888


Free stuff to do – Supersonic Festival 2018


We have a bunch of amazing and entertaining stuff for you to do before we open the doors at Supersonic Festival 2018 and best of all they are all free.

18.30 – 20.30 / FREE ENTRY
Musical instrument maker Sam Underwood will host a special event that will provide a peek behind the scenes of a number of projects appearing as part of this year’s festival. Find out what drove Sam and Graham Dunning to collaborate on this work. Other artists include Brian Duffy AKA Modified Toy Orchestra, Farmer Glitch, Kathy Hinde and Mark Korven. In addition Centrala have a great selection of beverages to get your Supersonic weekend started.

FRIDAY 22 JUNE / 20.00 / FREE
Exponent of blackened techno and ritual Ferric Lux returns to unleash an unholy mix of ambient noise, esoteric techno and black metal, scored over distorted, flickering images received from another plane. An event not for the faint hearted.
Approximate duration 40 minutes.


SATURDAY 23 JUNE / 15.00 – 17.00 / FREE
Performances and interventions from the Visceristahood will occur during the closing hours of HER HORROR … don’t be scared, now.



14.00 / FREE
Polish artist, Anna Jochymek is bringing a male choir to Centrala to perform her immersive sound artwork Melody of Nostalgia; vocally interpreting digital recordings of Eastern European Migrant Women’s singing their nostalgia songs.



#5 Supersonic 5 Song Friday







Supersonic Festival 2018 runs from June 22nd – 24th in Digbeth, Birmingham.
Box office is located on Floodgate Street | Digbeth | B5 5SR
Box office opening times to pick up your wristbands

Friday 21:00 – 23:30
Saturday 16:00 – 22:00
Sunday 15:00 – 20:30



#3 What Is New Weird Britain? A Guide To The UK Underground In 2018

As we get ready for this year’s Supersonic Festival, Noel Gardner, John Doran and Luke Turner present their takes on what the underground we’re calling New Weird Britain constitutes, from anti-corporate defiance, performance art, and a bold new exploration of landscape and place.

The way that we discover and consume music is constantly changing. In a climate of the tame repetitive mainstream where music is only valid if it gets financial return, Supersonic has always celebrated the counter cultures that emerge to create music against the odds.

The Quietus have released three essays which articulate the gloriously fertile underground scene of the UK- a scene coined as ‘New Weird Britain’- and how those cherishable artists within it account for a glorious, nationwide explosion of defiance in music.

Read Luke Turner‘s take below, where he highlights Supersonic line up Gazelle Twin, Shirley Collins, Laura Cannell and Nik Void as his choice for this year’s festival



New Weird Britain Essay #3

New Weird Britain: A Guide To The UK Underground In 2018

By Luke Turner


A dark smear on the road ahead, cars swerving to avoid the dismembered remains of a deer. Quiet car parks where solitary men emerge from white vans, furtively following one another into the bushes. Seasons topsy turvy from climate change. The Diggers, the Ranters, the Tolpuddle Martyrs. Archive documents that bluntly report tragedy, a dead baby wrapped in newspaper and dumped in a forest clearing. The crumbling concrete of obsolete fortifications, a reminder that the English landscape has always had within it the promise of violence. 

These are aesthetic and historical touch points for a gathering of the artists of New Weird Britain who are re-examining our relationship to the non-urban. Nature-inspired art can often have a sentimentality that’s a hair’s breadth from the reactionary, as Tom Nairn wrote in an analysis of Enoch Powell’s pastoral poetry, we might find “babbling brooks feeding rivers of blood”. New Weird Britain can help dam these malevolent streams as, with DIY artists forced out of our increasingly homogenized cities, it’s in the grubby hinterlands of the non-urban that we might increasingly seek insurrection.

On Saturday night, Gazelle Twin presents the debut of Pastoral. This record, made in the deep England of her Midlands home, has at its heart a brutalism and a politic that attacks the conservatism of the (frequently rural-dwelling) Baby Boomers who brought us Brexit. It ploughs up the increasingly outdated view that art related to the natural world and rural has to be soft and twee. Pastoral declares that the non-urban landscape is if anything more violent and defined by sex and death than the city. 

This might still be expressed in traditional forms. In Laura Cannell’s fiddle and recorder, the lark of Vaughan Williams is caught in the talons of JA Baker’s Peregrine, swooping over the flat lands of the east. There’s a common misconception that the world of folk music is inherently conservative, but the reemergence of Shirley Collins as a contemporary artist subverts simplistic notion. Her recent memoir All In The Downs is as much a polemic about the power of the old songs as it is a telling of her own life. 



I find it significant that these artists are female, subverting the paradigm of the poet of nature being the lone male, conquering territory. At the heart of our thinking around New Weird Britain as a navigation of place must be a focus on diverse and oft-unheard voices. In my spoken word piece for Modern Ritual, I discuss a queering a landscape, arguing that a re-sexualising of the pastoral (a different take on the current vogue for re-wilding nature) might bring us a more sensual engagement with the land. In this fecund exploration of place we might begin to cleanse it of the polluting forces of nostalgia and nationalism; reclaiming England through sound. 

New Weird Britain at Supersonic, according to Luke Turner:

Gazelle Twin
Shirley Collins
Laura Cannell
Nik Void



Visual Offerings: Mark Titchner and Kathy Hinde


In amongst our killer line-up over the festival weekend, Supersonic is proud to host the works of visual artists Kathy Hinde and Mark Titchner. Keep an eye out for their installations at the Custard Factory, Ikon Gallery and across our main stages. 


Kathy Hinde

Supersonic and Supernormal join forces to present Kathy Hinde’s Piano Migrations

The inside of an old piano becomes a site for live performance. Recycled into a kinetic sound sculpture, Kathy Hinde mixes video projections of birds to create different musical patterns from their movements, providing an ever changing musical score where nature controls machines to create delicate music. She is joined by Matthew Olden, who performs with his own live sampling software ”i am the mighty jungulator”  whilst videos of birds are projected. Together they create a captivating performance where image becomes sound and sound becomes image through a series of transformations realised through acoustic sound, live sampling, automata and projections. The installation can be found in the Custard Factory’s courtyard, adjacent to The Mockingbird Cinema.


Installation: Mark Titchner – Find Your World In Ours

Ikon | 1 Oozells Square I B1 2HS | Free | 20 June – 8 July

Supersonic stages – throughout the weekend


‘Find Your World In Ours’ are a series of newly commissioned digital artworks curated by artist Mark Titchner and features films that explore ideas of ritual, repetition and collective experience. Artists include Anna Barriball, Sean Dower, Mustafa Hulusi, John Lawrence and Rachel Lowe. Reflecting Titchner’s interest in the intersection between visual art and experimental music these works are presented at Ikon and as large scale projections during Supersonic Festival across our main stages.



TOMAGA Live Soundtrack: Lucifer Rising


In addition to our stellar film programme, Supersonic favourites TOMAGA will be paying homage to experimental, underground filmmaker Kenneth Anger in this very special screening where the band will be performing a livesoundtrack to 1966 occult classic from Anger’s Magick Lantern Cycle.

Incorporating the surreal, homoerotic and the occult, Anger’s films were ahead of their time. Deemed as one of the first openly gay filmmakers, he opened up gay culture to the American screen in a powerful, unique way which we celebrate.

We are very excited to see TOMAGA return to Supersonic Festival, channelling various forms of multi-instrumentalism into music that moves by turns through industrial, jazz, psychedelia and minimalism. Devoted to musical exploration, this London based duo obsessively deconstruct familiar tropes, looking for the tension that lies between improvisation and form.



Abandoning musical convention in favour of freeform flair, drummer Valentina Magaletti and bassist Tom Relleen are master shape-shifters of improvisation. Over a steady stream of releases and live dates, they’ve amassed a fleet of homemade instruments which help them push the boundaries of rhythm and bass, incorporating jazz, electronic, industrial and psychedelia.

Outside Tomaga, Tom and Valentina make up the rhythm section of psych-rock trio The Oscillation and between them have played in loads of other genre-bending bands like Neon Neon, Raime, Shit n Shine and Voice of the Seven Thunders. Together they produce improv music that rocks, rather than swings; improv that borrows more from krautrock and psych than classical and jazz.


Inventing Instruments: Mark Korven, Graham Dunning & Sam Underwood, Kathy Hinde


Technology and innovation has always had a big part in shaping music. When Steinway added a middle pedal to its grand piano in 1902 for example, it presented possibilities in composition that were only imaginable before. Yet, despite leaps in technology over the past hundred years, the instruments we play have barely changed, and the new ones look a lot like the old ones.

Cut to Supersonic Festival 2018 artists Mark Korven (The Witch), and Graham Dunning & Sam Underwood and Kathy Hinde. These acts have created their own contraptions as a means of creating sounds that make up for unusual, erratic and purely unique compositions.

Supersonic is honoured to be hosting the UK premier of Korven’s ‘Apprehension Engine’, and equally thrilled to have Connected Devices debut their contraption. Read more below, and see them both live at this year’s festival!

Find out what drove Sam and Graham to collaborate on this piece at Centrala on the Friday, where Sam will be hosting a special event that will provide a peek behind the scenes of a number of projects appearing as part of this year’s festival. Artists have been invited to come and show their work and discuss their thinking behind it, with audience members gaining a unique insight into a number of beautiful and bizarre contraptions, works and approaches.



Sam Underwood & Graham Dunning

Premiering at Supersonic Festival, Connected Devices is a mechanical, modular music contraption created by Sam Underwood and Graham Dunning. Designed as a two-player, semi-autonomous musical instrument, it plays unusual, sometimes erratic compositions drawing on drone music, minimalist repetition and barrel-organ-monkey techniques. Visually, the machine resembles a sprawling, partially robotic drum-kit, or pared-down, clunky fairground organ. Throughout the performance, Dunning and Underwood will act as conductors, engineers, organ grinders and musicians, working with and against the machine to complete the assemblage, inspired by the pair’s research of instrument design from the musical instrument collection of the Horniman Museum, London.

Sam Underwood is a musician, sound artist and musical instrument designer. His work in musical instrument design focuses on the development of new musical instruments; predominantly acoustic and in the bass/sub-bass register. Sam has an almost unhealthy fascination with sound and finding new ways of creating interfaces with instruments and technology.

Graham Dunning’s live work explores sound as texture, timbre and something tactile, drawing
on bedroom production, tinkering and recycling found objects. He also creates visual work, video and installations drawing on these themes. Much of the work evolves through experimentation with different processes: considering the methods by which sounds become music; process as a continuum encompassing both improvisational and procedural methods; and testing analogous processes across different media.



Mark Korven

Mark Korven is a Toronto based composer for film and television. He is best known for his work on the 2016 period Horror film THE WITCH, for which his composition has received great acclaim along with huge box office success.

His award winning scores are spine- chilling and atonal, employing obscure instrumentation from hurdy gurdys, nyckelharps and creaking fiddles. His creation of discordant, ghostly qualities send tremors through the heart, utilising feverish cues and pauses with intelligence and to a remarkable effect. Now Korven and Tony Duggan-Smith have teamed up to create a musical instrument specialising in horrifying sounds: The Apprehension Engine. It is this haunting device which Mark brings to his first UK performance, chilling Supersonic audiences this summer.



Supersonic and Supernormal join forces to present Kathy Hinde’s Piano Migrations. The inside of an old piano becomes a site for live performance. Recycled into a kinetic sound sculpture, Kathy Hinde mixes video projections of birds to create different musical patterns from their movements, providing an ever changing musical score where nature controls machines to create delicate music. She is joined by Matthew Olden, who performs with his own live
sampling software ”i am the mighty jungulator” whilst videos of birds are projected. Together they create a captivating performance where image becomes sound and sound becomes image through a series of transformations realised through acoustic sound, live sampling, automata and projections.



Sounds from South Africa: FAKA and Angel-Ho


Meet the artists resisting colonial legacy and gender stereotype in South Africa through their dazzling sound…


The exploration of gender fluidity or genderlessness has come very much to the forefront of art and performance in recent years. Within Supersonic Festival 2018 alone we have performances from the mystifying Gazelle Twin, the indefinable Yves Tumor, and, of course the enchanting, rhythmic craft of FAKA and Angel-Ho; these are all artists who serve as key examples of transforming the rules of identity in their separate ways, only confirming the interchangability of the term itself.

FAKA and Angel-Ho proudly represent black and queer creativity with potent sound and vision. Both on the NON WORLDWIDE platform (a combination of experimental record label, radical art project and social network of which Angel-Ho is co-founder) these artists’ output confronts restrictive power structures in ways which represent the electronic underground’s most exciting collectives. FAKA and Angel-Ho make up part of a community of musicians which straddle African diaspora, fighting against the silencing of black and queer identities around the world.



Angel-Ho is an artist assured of their own destiny. Over the past four years, the sonic and stylistic savant (born Angelo Valerio) has built a global following out of their explorations of classism, identity and gender through an amalgamation of their unrelentingly experimental electronic music and glamorous sense of style and couture.

Based in Cape Town, a city with a deep history of oppression, intrusion and slavery since the 17th century, the exceptionally intelligent artist, musician and activist creates dense, emotional electronic tracks which aim to bring light to the “mechanized systems of oppression” that exist in society.

Angel-Ho is a neo-pop recording artist transforming elements genres into new musical territories. At Supersonic Festival they will be performing her debut album that features dance, live vocal story telling and expression of the “feminine trans queenie” that proves to be the workings of a future pop force in global music.



Surpassing the ‘performance art duo’ descriptor with which they may have started, FAKA explore a combination of mediums ranging from sound, live performance, literature, video and photography, creating an eclectic aesthetic. The isiZulu word faka, which means to penetrate, seductively nuances how the artists validate new vocabularies of communication about black queer identities, and in expressing themes central to their experience as black queer bodies, FAKA navigate through the “cis-hetero-topia of post-colonial Africa” through creating a safe-space in their work that allow black, queer, gender non-conforming or trans people to reflect and be celebrated.




Supersonic Film Programme


Taking a breather between acts? Head to *The Mockingbird Cinema* within the Custard Factory over the festival to keep your wind-down stimulating. We have the perfect line up of films to keep your energies high, including screenings of The Ballad of Shirley Collins ahead of her Sunday performance, and The Witch to give you a taste of the haunting sounds of Mark Korven’s apprehension engine…


Studio 54 | Director Matt Tyrnauer

Matt Tyrnauer’s thrilling and definitive documentary captures the delirium — and the dark side — of the legendary New York disco. Studio 54 was the epicenter of 70s hedonism–a place that not only redefined the nightclub, but also came to symbolize an entire era. Its co-owners, Ian Schrager and Steve Rubell, two friends from Brooklyn, seemed to come out of nowhere to suddenly preside over a new kind of New York society. Now, 39 years after the velvet rope was first slung across the club’s hallowed threshold, a feature documentary tells the real story behind the greatest club of all time.


The Ballad of Shirley Collins | Director Rob  Curry  &  Tim  Plester


Shirley  Collins  is  widely  regarded  as  the  20th  century’s  most  important  singer  of  English  traditional  song,  Alongside  her  sister  Dolly,  she  stood  at  the  epicentre  of  the  folkmusic  revival  during  the  1960s  and  ‘70s.  However,  in  1980  Shirley  developed  a  disorder  of  the  vocal  chords  known  as  dysphonia,  which  robbed  her  of  her  unique  singing  voice  and  forced  her  into  early  retirement. Granted  intimate  access  to  recording  sessions  for  Shirley’s  first  album  of  new  recordings  in  almost  four  decades,  and  featuring  contributions  from  (amongst  others)  the  comedian  Stewart  Lee  and  David  Tibet  of  Current  93,  what  emerges  is  a  meditative  and  carefully  textured  piece  of  portraiture.


The Witch | Director Robert Eggers | Composer Mark Korven

In honour of hosting Mark Korvens first UK performance at Supersonic Festival we thought it was only fitting to do a late night screening of this exquisitely made and terrifying horror film. The age-old concepts of witchcraft, black magic and possession are innovatively brought together to tell the intimate and riveting story of one family’s frightful unraveling in the New England wilderness circa 1630.


Upon threat of banishment by the church, an English farmer leaves his colonial plantation, relocating his wife and five children to a remote plot of land on the edge of an ominous forest — within which lurks an unknown evil. With suspicion and paranoia mounting, family members accuse teenage daughter Thomasin of witchcraft, charges she adamantly denies. As circumstances grow more treacherous, each family member’s faith, loyalty and love become tested in shocking and unforgettable ways.
Don’t miss Korven’s live performance with his Apprehension Engine on Sunday.



Betty – They Say I’m Different | Director Phil Cox

Funk  Queen  Betty  Davis  – controversial  music  and  cultural  pioneer,  wife  and  muse  of  Miles  Davis,  who  disappeared  mysteriously  from  the  music  scene  35  years  ago,  returns in  her  life  story documentary.

Funk Queen Betty Davis changed  the  landscape  for  female artists  in  America.  She  “was the first…”  as  former  husband  Miles  Davis  said.  “Madonna before Madonna, Prince before Prince”.  An aspiring songwriter from a  small  steel  town,  Betty  arrived  on  the  70’s  scene  to  break  boundaries  for  women  with  her  daring  personality,  iconic  fashion  and  outrageous  funk  music.  She befriended Jimi  Hendrix  and  Sly  Stone,  wrote  songs  for  the  Chambers  Brothers  and  the  Commodores,  and  married  Miles  – startlingly  turning  him  from  jazz  to  funk  on  the  album  she  named  “Bitches  Brew”.  She then, despite  being  banned  and  boycotted,  went  on  to  become  the  first  black  woman  to  perform,  write  and  manage  herself.  Betty was a feminist  pioneer,  inspiring  and  intimidating  in  a  manner  like  no  woman  before.  Then suddenly  – she vanished.


#2 What Is New Weird Britain? A Guide To The UK Underground In 2018

Last week The Quietus released three essays articulating the gloriously fertile underground scene of the UK- a scene coined as ‘New Weird Britain’- and how those cherishable artists within it account for a nationwide explosion of defiance in music.


The way that we discover and consume music is constantly changing. In a climate of the tame repetitive mainstream where music is only valid if it gets financial return, Supersonic has always celebrated the counter cultures that emerge to create music against the odds. On our third stage this year for example we have the likes of Yerba Mansa, Cattle, Youth ManOrlanza, bands who all infiltrate the mundane with their shredding loudness, alternative rhythms and deliberate distortion of the sounds commonly associated with the drums and guitars. New Weird Britain for Supersonic is a freeness, a liberation of music.


Read John Doran‘s take below, where he highlights Supersonic line up UKAEA, Gazelle Twin, TirikilatopsMesange and Vanishing Twin as his choice for this year’s festival



New Weird Britain Essay #2

New Weird Britain: A Guide To The UK Underground In 2018

By John Doran


2017 was the most financially healthy year for the music industry to date – although if you have any skin at all in the DIY game or are just the sort of person who loves to attend Supersonic you could be forgiven for not being particularly jubilant, as an ever more massive slice of this money simply gets hoovered up by tech companies, streaming service providers, superannuated rock bands, world bestriding pop stars and arena filling EDM DJs, leaving the rest of us at the margins scrabbling in the dust.


Anyone expecting a corresponding narrowing of horizons in the underground brought about by shrinking budgets however, will be disappointed as exactly the opposite seems to have happened. Currently, necessity and financial impoverishment are the mother of invention. All across Britain musicians are throwing uncompromising, unprecedented and unrepeatable events in independent, often non-standard, venues – and in doing so they are rejecting the idea that there is nothing new to be experienced in music. As art funding dries up, as rents and house prices soar in major city centres, as the digital economy slashes away at the revenue streams once available to them, as critics say it’s all been heard before… fewer musicians are clinging to outmoded career paths or losing heart but instead are being emboldened in less standard creative enclaves.


Expanding way beyond the blueprint of the traditional independent musician, empowered by the information (and ‘grey area’ software) available on the internet, they use performance art, film projections, contemporary dance, dazzling homemade costumes and eye boggling light shows while others create psychedelic and immersive shows that don’t stand a chance of turning a profit but can’t be forgotten once experienced. This can either be read as a militant rage against the late capitalist machine or the last expulsion of energy being shot out by a dying scene going supernova (I’m confident it’s the former, not the latter) but either way it’s thrilling to experience first hand.


All of these events happening right now in warehouses, converted Victorian mills, local art galleries, the backrooms of pubs, church halls, community centres and independent gig venues are a proud, ‘Fuck you’ to lazy golden-ageism. I started referring to such pigeonhole-resistant acts and events as New Weird Britain, simply for the sake of my own sanity and poor organisational skills. It’s definitely not a genre in the sense that it has a sound or a uniform or an easily described set of codified values or rules (but then again, neither did post punk or post rock really). It was simply a name dreamt up to reflect the feeling that everything that we love about music is still left to play for. (The limits of the term’s usefulness in describing music can be demonstrated quite clearly by the fact that I’ve so far only really discussed it with two other writers – Noel Gardner and Luke Turner – and they already have completely different ideas about what the nomenclature means.) Of course mould-breaking, description-defying, multi-disciplinarian DIY musicians are nothing new (you’ll know this for sure if you have been a regular at Supersonic festival over the years) but in 2018 they are beginning to feel less like completely isolated outliers who tend to be shuffled off to their own ‘outsider’ enclosure and more like revolutionary heralds of the possible.


New Weird Britain at Supersonic (according to John Doran):

UKAEA / Gazelle Twin / Trikilatops / Vanishing Twin / Mesange


The all-enticing Jennifer Walshe


Photo: Blackie Bouffant. Bluebell Woods, Knockvicar, Co. Roscommon, Ireland

“Without a doubt, hers is the most original compositional voice to emerge in Ireland in the last 20 years.”Michael Dervan, The Irish Times


Composer, performer, vocalist; Jennifer Walshe’s body of work is vast and impressive. She is never anything less than surprising, thought provoking and relentlessly imaginative, today being one of a great number of composers contributing to an explosion of new writing, pieces with a bold, subversive approach like that of XXX_LIVE_NUDE_GIRLS!!!, perhaps her best known work.



Jennifer Walshe was born in Dublin, Ireland in 1974. Following her study of composition at Royal Scottish Academy of Music and Drama and Kevin Volans in Dublin Walshe graduated from Northwestern University, Chicago, with a doctoral degree in composition in June 2002. Since then she has been the recipient of endless awards, residencies and commissions, spanning both her composition and vocal work to an international broadcast.

The crux of much of Walshe’s work has an overarching structure of several sections, in which her voice is used in different ways, with different techniques in each part, but she is also the creator of a breadth of alter-egos and creative outlets. Irish Dada is her creation, as is the minimalist Dordán (Irish for drone) project, and so too the Breathnach archive (his name translates as ‘Kevin Walshe’) that Walshe inherited in buying a house in the west of Ireland. Walshe is responsible for so many manifestations occurring in her extraordinary music and performances, each meticulous practices that extend the creation of characters, voices, and events into dizzying bodies of work. The Grúpat collective, a fictional ensemble or “insurgency group” of alter egos that Walshe founded in 2007 to generate sound works, photography, self-built instruments and costume designs, serves as another example for Walshe’s enticing provocation, emphasising herself as an artist who delivers astute, sometimes savage observations on every day life, and who’s next move nobody can guess.

“Stepping away from her alter egos and into the day-to-day performance of everyday life, Walshe is a trim blonde woman of medium height; but in her work she shifts to a multiplicity of different forms: bearded drag queen, ukulele-playing chanteuse and neatly coiffed vamp.”- Musicworks


Make sure you catch her on the Saturday of Supersonic Festival 2018



MOOG Soundlab at Royal Birmingham Conservatoire: Moor Mother / Nik Void / Gum Takes Tooth / Brian Duffy



Supersonic Festival is delighted to be partnering with the internationally renowned Moog Sound Lab and The Royal Birmingham Conservatoire to create a four week artist residency programme. The Moog Sound Lab is focused on organic experimentation and is a unique opportunity for artists to explore analog sound-scaping, synthesis and effects. Artists who will be part of the residency include Moor Mother, Nik Void, Gum Takes Tooth and Brian Duffy (Modified Toy Orchestra).



When Robert Moog unveiled the Moog synthesiser to the world in 1964, he not only radically changed music, but culture itself. From the butterflies- inducing bassline on Donna Summer’s I Feel Love, to the unmistakable melody that weaves through New Order’s Blue Monday, the list of game changing songs and records from the last four decades all share one thing. The greatest pioneer of electronic music wasn’t a musician, but an eccentric physicist with a longstanding love of taking things apart and putting them back together again. This is the staple DIY, explorative and captivating behaviours that is staple to not only The MOOG Sound Lab, but rooted within Supersonic Festival itself. 

The lab moves to different venues and was previously Pioneered at Rough Trade NYC. It becomes a temporary residency space, offering a unique opportunity for artists to explore, experiment and create. A physical manifestation of the intersection of music, art and technology, the lab offers a unique resource to artists to make new work.



Residents will also include a number of students from the Royal Birmingham Conservatoire. These artists are all at different  stages  of  their  compositional  journeys  and will be joined by staff using the residency to work on significant research projects. These are to include baroque transcriptions  for  synthesizers (Martin  Perkins  &  Robin  Bigwood),  Integra  Lab experimentations,  and recordings  of  new  pieces  for  synthesizers  by  Seán  Clancy,  James Dooley,  and  Simon  Hall.  In  addition,  Music  Tech  lecturer  James  Dooley  will  lead  an ensemble  of  synthesists  from  both  Music  Tech  and  Composition  departments,  creating  a devised  collaborative  work  over  a  day  long  residency  in  the  Moog  Soundlab.


Listen below and whet your appetite for Supersonic Festival

Moor Mother


Nik Void


Gum Takes Tooth


Brian Duffy





3 WEEKS TO GO!!! Here’s a little something to keep you going until then…

Come visit us @ DIGBREW tonight where we’ll be spinning even more Supersonic favourites, and giving a sneak preview of the work our artist in residence DENNIS MCNETT has prepared for the festival.