Kuro: Black Magic

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Kuro feature the amplified talents of French violinist Agathe Max and bassist Gareth Turner, joined by Valentina Magaletti of Tomaga (drums) and Helen Papaioannou (baritone sax) for this Superspecial Supersonic performance.

Kuro take their name from the Japanese word for ‘black’, and their debut release for Rocket Recordings marks an experimental union between two diversely storied yet inherently like-minded musicians. Agathe Max, who hails from Lyon, is a classically-trained violinist with a varied back catalogue of studio and live work – running the gamut from spectral ambience to stately soundscapes and adept at summoning dream states and drama alike.

The Bristol-based Gareth Turner, meanwhile, maintains a busy schedule performing and recording with Rocket Recordings trio Anthroprophh (alongside The Heads guitarist Paul Allen) bass/drums duo Big Naturals, and his solo double-bass project Salope, as well as working as a touring tech for Melvins on their trips to Europe.

Yet despite both of these artists’ multi-faceted artistic lives, their partnership was both a natural progression and reflective of an intuitive chemistry. The result of their initial spark is perhaps both artists’ most coherent and captivating work to date.

The result is Kuro’s eponymous first outing, an elegantly sprawling and richly textured work of tumult and transcendence recorded by Joe Garcia (live sound wizard for OM and many others) in the duo’s home city. “An amazing sound engineer” enthuses Agathe of Garcia “He’s got a very good sense of space with sound. We used different sources of mics, with a room recording that would link all the others and give a warm and open touch.” 

A unique, richly atmospheric and largely improvisatory record that stands proud and defiant of pigeonholing, Kuro is neither elegant chamber music nor intense drone-noise, neither psychedelia nor spiritual jazz, yet with elements of all of the above- dwelling perhaps atop a psychic hinterland between the shamanic vortices of Ashtray Navigations, the wild extrapolations of Sun City Girls and the melancholic richness of The Dirty Three. Yet what comes across strongest of all is the original spark of the partnership, summoning altered states, meditative vibrations and internal narratives by the power of eight strings. 

“We wanted to create a journey for the listeners, to create an inner cinema with emotional landscapes, old time cults and stories of lost sailors” reckons Agathe. Indeed, though voyage appears to be only beginning, such is its momentum that any adventurous and self-respecting psychonaut would be well advised to hitch a ride. 

“At times her work approaches the supersonic escape velocity of Tony Conrad; elsewhere, she introduces delicate repeating threads, then  slowly weaves them into a fabric of vast, billowing sound more reminiscent of Steve Reich. With an elegant command of melody and a strident use of rhythm, Max manages to create a remarkably accessible collection of tracks, one that bridges the gaps between minimalism, post-classicism, the avant garde, krautrock, and plain old-fashioned pop.” – Bookcat review.

Don’t miss this Superspecial performance from KURO at Supersonic this year!

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Supersonic 2014 “Ltd Edt” playlist

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It’s that time again to get curious, to get adventurous and to get ready. After taking a year out to re-imagine the festival following our tenth anniversary, Supersonic Festival is now back and going old skool in special two-day “Limited Edition” format this May 30th-31st. Tickets HERE.

The line-up so far includes post-punk legends SWANS, avant garde rockers WOLF EYES, multi-instrumentalist ensemble EX EASTER ISLAND HEAD, straight-talkers SLEAFORD MODS, sonic explorer BASIC HOUSE, Baltimore duo MATMOS, electro-violinist AGATHE MAX, Norwegian songwriter JENNY HVAL and more…. For a taste of what’s to come have a listen to our Supersonic 2014 playlist featuring these artists:

Supersonic Festival’s playground for 2014 will be the iconic Custard Factory, home of Capsule HQ. This ever-evolving industrial arts complex will shapeshift once again this May to play host to Supersonic’s enticing programme of experimental music, film and art. But this is Supersonic “Limited Edition” don’t forget, so expect a few extra special treats… and remember tickets are limited to 400 so do not miss out. Keep your eyes peeled for further line-up announcements over the next few weeks.
Tickets are available from HERE.

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Supersonic Ltd Edt 2014

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Supersonic Festival 2014

Back by popular demand and after a successful 10 years of existence, Supersonic Festival return and are taking the event back to its core values by curating ‘Supersonic Festival Ltd Edtn’ an intimate two day event. On 30th and 31st May, Capsule present Supersonic Festival Ltd Edtn and shall return to the Custard Factory where it all began.

Since the inception of Supersonic Festival in 2003, Capsule have firmly established the event as a unique,  inner-city festival, with an undeniably vibrant atmosphere, always presenting a variety of performers – the inaugural event featured the bewildering blend of Coil, DJ Food, LCD soundsystem, The Bug and more – and where the film programme, workshops and exhibitions are as paramount to the event’s atmosphere as the live performances. Year in, year out, Capsule unite discerning music fans, embracing eclectic tastes and have over the years adapted a creative space for music lovers, musicians, artists, filmmakers, record stalls and independent businesses to thrive.

As this is a limited event, there are only 400 weekend tickets available at just £45 and they will be going on sale on Friday morning at 10am, so grab them while you can via the www.theticketsellers.co.uk

Swans/ Matmos/Wolf Eyes/Ex Easter Island Head/Sleaford Mods/Agathe Max/Basic House/Jenny Hval more tba

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Supersonic have already confirmed the billing for the event, which will take place at a new space within the Custard Factory, and are delighted to welcome back Swans. Michael Gira, Norman Westberg, Christoph Hahn, Phil Puleo, Thor Harris and Christopher Pravdica are no strangers to Supersonic Festival, and are thrilled to play host to their infamous, dominant and strikingly powerful live show.

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Baltimore duo Matmos shall bring their dizzyingly diverse assemblage to Supersonic Limited in support of their 2013 album. Their music comprises stomping techno, eerie synth jams, musique concrete, Latin rhythms, and Ethiopian music, at once at home in the academy, the art gallery, the nightclub and the noise warehouse, perfect fit for the festival then.

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Liverpool based ensemble, Ex Easter Island Head, will bring their expanded Large Electric Ensemble which includes twelve prepared electric guitars and drums to create a maximalist wash of amplified strings and droning overtones. The ensemble adopt a new vocabulary of playing based around various guitar preparations, from billowing harp-like arpeggios to ‘bowing’ the strings with allen keys to produce luminous upper register drones. Microtonal intervals create shimmering tones akin to the struck metallophones of Balinese gamelan, whilst the thrum of electrified strings creates a dense undertow of singing harmonies. Scored in custom notation the piece places free flowing passages alongside conductor cues, allowing the players to collectively create a distinctive sonic landscape. What Supersonic event would be complete without something special such as this?

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Supersonic are pleased to welcome back, the infamous blistering noise of Wolf Eyes.  From touring with Sonic Youth and Andrew W.K., Wolf Eyes have crossed borders into popularity which few other such confrontational units of their ilk have been able to and kept straight and narrow on their blazing path, and are on top form. The overwhelming force of Wolf Eyes must be seen to to be believed.

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Sleaford Mods will bring their aggressive verbal onslaught to the Custard Factory, a great setting to spout about all that is contrived and connected to the day-to-day hammer of low paid employment and domestic situations arising from that trap.

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Also returning to the festival, is French artist Agathe Max. With an elegant command of melody and a strident use of rhythm, Max creates dynamic, fast-flowing loop pieces that encompass noise, post-classicism and krautrock with nods to the High Lonesome Raga as filtered through Henry Flynt.

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We warmly welcome a rising talent to this rich mix in the form of Basic House, the work of the UK’s Stephen Bishop, the man behind the ever more impressive label that is Opal Tapes and also vocalist of Drunk In Hell who played an unforgettable set at Supersonic in 2012. His textural and rhythmic explorations are fast growing in acclaim, described as “somewhere between Kassem Mosse, The New Blockaders and Zoviet*France.”

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Finally, provocative Norwegian singer, composer, lyricist and writer Jenny Hval shall perform at Supersonic. Multidisciplinary and transgressive are words often employed to describe her art, but Jenny Hval’s polyphonic artistry is in fact seamlessly interwoven between musical, literary, visual and performative modes of expression. Despite her young age, she has already infused, carved and modulated an artistic voice that is altogether present, accessible and obscurely complex at the same time. We cannot wait!

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Let’s not forget the other elements which always make Supersonic so special, the workshops and participatory events. Supersonic have selected If Wet to feature at the festival. If Wet is a monthly event of sonic exploration, usually held in a rural village hall; chaired by musical instrument designers MortonUnderwood. Part show and tell, part test bed, part salon. A place for artists to showcase their latest sonic works and research. A place to revel and discuss. After a successful inaugural season MortonUnderwood have decided to extend the reach of If Wet beyond the village hall and it is with great pleasure that they will transport their distinctive event to Supersonic 2014.

Supersonic Ltd Edtn will launch Capsule’s inaugural ‘Labs’ (artist development and commissioning scheme) devised to create more opportunities for commissioning experimental, cross-disciplinary art. More information about this will be coming soon.

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Bill Drummond: The 25 Paintings
Legendary musician and artist Bill Drummond will begin a twelve year ‘World Tour’ under Spaghetti Junction marking this momentous event with an exhibition at Eastside Projects.
The exhibition focuses on ‘The 25 Paintings’, a series of artworks that signpost actions Drummond will perform across Birmingham during his three month stay in the city including, but by no means limited to, giving away bunches of daffodils, discovering Dead Oak Rings, building rafts, hiding in cafes, making beds, sweeping the streets clean and brewing tea. Also on show will be The SIXTY Posters, The 25 Sixty Second Films, an evolving selection of photographs, a globe of the world and a large map of the city.
www.eastsideprojects.org

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Supersonic theme of the day: bowed strings

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Theme of the day: bowed strings

We’re always making links between the disparate worlds of artists here at Supersonic and today we bring together three unique artists who all share a simple common bond.  Pekko Kappi, Tony Conrad and Agathe Max all use bowed instruments in their music, all with very different techniques and to different ends, each highly skilled.

Finland’s Pekko Kappi plays the Jouhikko, the ancient Finnish-Karelian bowed lyre.  He got involved with the Jouhikko in 1997 in the Ala-Könni–institute of Kaustinen and ever since has been studying the tradition with the master players of Finland, Estonia and Sweden.   This particular lyre was played with a bow as early as in the European Middle Ages although in the area around the Baltic Sea there is evidence of both bowed and plucked lyres. In Estonia and Eastern Finland the Jouhikko remained in use until the beginning of the 20th century.  Kappi is one of a number of players investigated this instrument and bringing it alive for new generations.

Tony Conrad is a legendary figure in both film and music for many people.  He was an early member of the New York-based ensemble The Dream Syndicate alongside La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela and John Cale, using continuous tones to create what they called ‘dream music’.  Conrad’s first musical release was 1972’s ‘Outside the Dream Syndicate’ collaboration with Faust (check out our Spotify playlist for a track from that) but he released very little work until a series of box sets in the past decade.  His film work is justifiably lauded too and his early piece ‘The Flicker’ is considered a landmark of the late 1960s structural film movement.  One more fact?  His father was Arthur Conrad who worked with Everett Warner during World War II designing dazzle camouflage for the US Navy.

Agathe Max
is a violinist from Lyon, France.  With an elegant command of melody and a strident use of rhythm, Max creates dynamic, fast-flowing loop pieces that encompass noise, post-classicism and krautrock with nods to the High Lonesome Raga as filtered through Henry Flynt.  Her current album ‘This Silver String’ has been really well received in many places.  “Agathe Max delivers a drone to keep the earth turning on its axis, with a keen and romantic sense of swing. Everything you need to have a good time” – Jonathan Kane.

Check these three unique artists below.

Agathe Max @ Grrrnd Zero (Lyon, France) from S etant chaussee on Vimeo.

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Meet Agathe Max

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Lyon based musician Agathe Max was one of the first artists we announced for this year’s festival, a prominent artist in the French underground we’re very excited that she is performing this year. Her performances are largely improvised and her inventive use of the violin involves loops, distortions and drones.

 

Hear more from Agathe Max here, and If you like the sound of this, you might be also like Tony Conrad.

 

Weekend tickets are available from:

www.theticketsellers.co.uk
www.seetickets.com

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