Opal Tapes at Supersonic



Supersonic will this year be welcoming two acts that have released music on the ever impressive  Opal Tapes label, which initially began dealing exclusively in handmade, limited cassette runs of highly unusual and innovative dance, techno, electro and experimental music. Based in Teeside, the label has since embraced other formats, though the love of the cassette is still strong.

The first of these acts is the man behind Opal Tapes himself, cassette enthusiast Stephen Bishop, who will be bringing BASIC HOUSE to our main stage. Basic House in similar territory to Helm and Sewer Election, evoking a feel of a rich and aurally satisfying tapestry that only the more superior end of electronic composition can furnish. It’s worth noting too that Bishop is also vocalist of Drunk In Hell, who played an unforgettable set at Supersonic in 2012.  Joining Basic House is KAREN GWYER a US-born Londoner whose music summons the feeling of a warmer, more futuristic Popol Vuh, or even an instrumental, more rhythmic Fever Ray.  Sample tracks and read some quotes about both these artists below. Basic House have also made this special mix in the lead up to the festival, so enjoy!




“Juxtaposing arresting material that doesn’t seem like it could be made to work, Bishop bends and edits parts together with care that belies their aggression. The results feel very much alive; primal, but with the beginnings of emotional understanding. It’s a brilliant experience.” Others draw comparisons from Basic Channel to Vatican Shadow and Fennesz, and you could argue his sonic aesthetics are what really set Basic House apart, his precise attention to sound design taking his compositions through to another level. As Brainwashed put it, his records work “so wonderfully precisely because of Bishop’s unwavering commitment to his broken, crackling aesthetic of cryptic dispatches. Stephen certainly recorded some great individual pieces, but Basic House’s brilliance lies far more in how it sounds than in the actual beats and notes being played.” – Factmag


Karen Gwyer_Portraits_1 Karen Gwyer_Portraits_2


“Rather than making straight club music, Gwyer assimilates house and techno tropes into oozy, hypnotic slow burners, as in album opener ʻSugar Totsʼ. African beats herald the action, joined by molasses-thick synths and glassy bells that chime finely somewhere in the distance. Similarly, on ʻPikki Kokkuʼ, steamy, diaphanous whispers and minimal drum patterns overlay molten synths and subtle low end. Thereʼs little resolution here; instead we have an internal lambency thatʼs warm and satisfying…. The result is an intimate and beautiful record” – Factmag



Imperfect Cinema’s Supersonic 2012 film



At Supersonic 2012, audience members were able to take part in a free workshop with DIY cinema and film making collective Imperfect Cinema. The ‘Hailide Oxide’ workshop explored DIY film making techniques with a talk by Nicholas Bullen, participants were then able to gather footage using super 8mm cameras. This footage was processed and edited overnight and became the visuals for ab ever brutal performance by Drunk in Hell. The visuals have now been uploaded to Vimeo (sans sound I’m afraid, so why not listen to Drunk in Hell at the same time). Click through to watch.

Imperfect Cinema showcases DIY film, video and moving image art in Plymouth. Dan Paolatonio of Imperfect Cinema is currently working on a new project, Meanderthal, a sound-screen exploration of jitter, oscillation and drone with Mike Vest of Drunk in Hell and Bong.


Supersonic 2012 – Here’s To Another 10 Years!


It’s hard to believe that almost two weeks have passed since we were all frantically rushing around the Custard Factory, putting the final touches to the various wild man posters around the site and screwing in the last few records to the Vinyl Rally’s MDF floor before hordes of music fans rushed in to bask in the eclectic and adventurous sounds that Capsule had loving curated this year – and what a lineup it was! There was truly something for everyone, as Friday ran the gamut between JK Flesh’s absolutely punishing industrial dub, the surreal electronica of the Small But Hard showcase, the free-wheeling cosmic riffery of Hey Colossus, the toy tinkering soundscapes of Modified Toy Orchestra, and of course, the triumphant return of drum’n’bass dark lords PCM to the Supersonic stage.

Saturday brought even more surprises, from the gentle folk strains of Dylan Carlson’s new material to the unholy combination of Merzbow and Oxbow’s Eugene and Niko, a full-on audio explosion that wiped clean the mental state of everyone in attendance. I also have to give praise to the incredible drummer that accompanied Masami Akita’s astonishing feedback theatrics, augmenting the sonic devastation with some jazzy splashes, tribal belligerence and even some well timed blastbeats without ever failing by the wayside of Akita’s incendiary slabs of twsited sonic debri, which is no mean feat! A rare UK showing from Bohren & der Club of Gore was utterly captivating, enveloping the Boxxed venue in a dense, melancholy atmosphere and transporting the audience into the starkest of film noir settings for the entire duration of their set.

Meanwhile, Drunk In Hell’s molasses thick sludge onslaught and Zeni Geva’s vitally intricate sonic attack provided a satisfying ammount of musical filth to wallow in, forcing heads to bang and mosh pits to errupt. Zeni Geva may only exist as a two-piece now, but that hasn’t hindered KK Null and Yoshida’s fury at all, with Null especially firing off an arsenal of bewildering noise outbursts alongside his standard riff warfare via a series of baffling pedals. The icing on the cake was undoubtedly the astonishing avant-electronica of Hype Williams; bathing the entire Warehouse in a thick, eerie fog, the enigmatic duo proceeded to fuse together dub, noise, jazz, musique concrete, electro and garage influences into an uncategorizable and unforgettable performance. As Copeland’s beautiful tones danced across the bizarre volley of sounds emanating from Blunt’s corner of the stage, in which gullet-rattling dub basslines collided with squealing trumpets and reverb drenched car alarms, it was hard to shake the feeling that we were witnessing something of a musical revolution!

In keeping with Supersonic’s inclusive ethos, even youngsters were catered for with this year’s kid’s gigs, in which we bore witness to the heartwarming sight of a room full of children grooving along to the expansive psych voyages of Flower/Corsano Duo – and who knows? In 10 years time, some of these children may be taking to our stages themselves to blow your mind with their sonic wares…

Sunday boasted perhaps one of the most spectacular running orders in Supersonic’s illustrious history, with all manner of heavy weights awaiting today’s eager audience. Gnod’s triumphant set in Boxxed was astonishing, the over-powering throb of their sublimely heavy krautrock-isms gradually reconfiguring the pulse of each listener, unwittingly tuning into their psyche and forcing them headfirst into a cosmic thrill ride the likes of which would make even Timothy Leary baulk at the sheer intensity of it all. Elsewhere, Justice Yeldham revealed to us all the mind mangling sounds that lay dormant in a single piece of glass, Lash Frenzy created an imposing and lucid arena in which achieve total sensory overload, and the mighty Ufomammut invited us to accompany them on a voyage deep into the heart of their latest two-record opus, ‘ORO’. Once these guys peak there’s no force in the universe that can restrain them, and the riffs are flowing thick and fast (or should that be slow?) tonight. Whilst both the ‘ORO’ records are impressive in their own right, combined they are a true force to behold, and to witness this incredible odyssey in the flesh is an awesome experience!

A tough act to follow indeed, but mysterious Swedish voodoo merchants Goat were more than up to the challenge. Taking to the stage in colourful robes, ritualistic gaments and erm, a golden robot mask, the band’s vibrant psych-rock/afro-beat concoction instantly whipped the crowd into a frenzy. Racing through all of their ‘World Music’ debut (including instant classics like ‘Goatman’, ‘Let It Bleed’ and ‘Run To Your Mama’) but allowing their songs a bit more room to breathe, the Swedes kicked out the jams with an infectious energy and by the time the extended version of ‘Det som aldrig förändras / Diarabi’ brought their revelatory set to a close, you’d be hard pushed to find a single member of the audience who wasn’t sporting an enormous ear-to-ear grin. Incredible!

Finally, the Oxbow Orchestra provided an enthralling end to this year’s celebrations, reinterpreting some of their classic songs and even treating us to some choice cuts from their upcoming full-length ‘The Thin Black Duke’. Their performance was at once intimate and gripping, but without losing any of the potent intensity that has made the band such a force to be reckoned with over the years. This was due to be Supersonic 2012’s final performance, but it seems you, the audience, had other ideas, as an impromptu and sublimely hypnotic drum circle erupted in the beer tent just outside. As the ringing in our ears began to subside, the communal and strangely rhythmic clinking of pint glasses against benches and a sea of warm smiles was a perfect finish to this year’s festival.

Of course, I’m only scratching the surface of Supersonic 2012 here; beyond the numerous delights of this year’s musical lineup, there was a whole plethora of extra-curricular activities. The sight of a fresh-faced individual feverishly clutching at a copy of their own recently pressed Kim Gordon collab on their way back from the Reverse Karaoke installation become a pleasingly common sight over the weekend, and the procession of startingly costumed members of the Outcrowd throughout the festival site on Sunday was a source of much ceremonial excitement. The ear mutilating sounds of Lucas Abela’s Vinyl Rally were a definite highlight, featuring one of Lucas’ most ambitious track layouts to date. Volunteers hastily scrambled alongside the track as Lucas himself sat within the makeshift nerve centre of the rally, tinkering away whilst the assembled throng routinely found themselves astonished by the sheer spectacle of it all.

And of course, there’s the massive contribution that you yourselves paid to the festival, by arriving in your dozens and flooding the Custard Factory with enthusiasm, joy and good vibes. This year’s edition of the festival was one of the finest of the past 10 years, a truly excellent way to celebrate a decade of passionate experimental arts programming – here’s to another ten years!


Kyeo.tv Preview Supersonic, And Drunk In Hell & Imperfect Cinema’s Visual Workshop!


Kyeo.tv, the North-East’s arts & culture dispatch, have recently written up a preview of Supersonic Festival, which you can read in full here. Focusing on the local names that will be appearing on the bill, the preview features interviews with acoustic troubadour Richard Dawson, krautrock inspired electonica merchants Warm Digits and intimidating noise-rock terrorists Drunk In Hell.

In fact, it seems Kyeo are just as excited about the Drunk In Hell / Imperfect Cinema workshop as we are, describing it as thus –

The atmospheric festival setting – Digbeth’s appropriately named, post-industrial Custard Factory – lends itself to what they describe as a “stark, aesthetic that played such a pivotal role in the creation of Heavy Metal.” The footage that results will get used for a visual document but, more importantly, will also serve as a visual backdrop for Drunk In Hell’s performance the next day. So if having your face torn off by blistering hardcore while watching film of your friends filming you throwing up in a warehouse the day before is your particular cup of blood (and it should be) this is a must-see.

We couldn’t agree more! There are still a few spaces left for this workshop, so book now if you’d like to get involved – you can click here for more information.


A Fireside Chat With Hey Colossus


British mavericks Hey Colossus are one of the country’s most overlooked musical exports, with a fearlessly experimental and thrillingly visceral sound that occasionally sounds like Fudge Tunnel and Faust having a full-on fist fight whilst the Butthole Surfers jeer them on and hurl vintage loop pedals into the ensuing fracas. They’ve previously released splits with Nottingham’s riff worshippers Lords and Tokyo’s sludge lunatics dot(.), and their new 12″ (the awesomely titled ‘Witchfinder General Hospital’), is a bleary eyed kraut-noise odyssey deep into the heart of the sun, culminating in a gigantic sonic fireball as the group burns into a million tiny cinders upon impact. Put quite simply, this is a band you need in your life right now! Hey Colossus are currently preparing to ransack your grey matter with their performance at Supersonic on Friday 19th October, so we caught up with guitarist Joe Thompson to ask him a few questions about what you can expect…

Supersonic: Your new record (‘Witchfinder General Hospital’) is fantastic – is the title a loving tribute to the 1968 British horror film or the early 80’s NWOBHM band from Stourbridge (or neither?)
Joe Thompson: It’s where we all work aside from Dunc’, who is a butcher.

Why should Supersonic attendees check out your set?
We’re quite the party band, get yer glad rags on.

If time, money and space were no object, what would you do with your performance?
Get Mark E Smith to do our onstage sound.

Who else are you looking forward to seeing at the festival this year?
Drunk In Hell + Grey Hairs.

Who would be the ideal artist for you to collaborate with at Supersonic 2012?
Walter Hill needs to let us re-record, note for note, The Warriors Soundtrack. We’ll be back next year to perform it.

If you were curating Supersonic, which three artists would you most want to have on board?
Brainbombs, Carly Simon, Tusson.

Which items would you say are essential for festival survival?
Blankety Blank chequebook + pen.

Finally, what does the future have in store for Hey Colossus?
New album in March, shows in March and April. Book us, especially if you do shows in hot countries.

Hey Colossus will perform at Supersonic Festival on Friday 19th October 2012, and their new 12″ ‘Witchfinder General’ is available now from One C Records.


Contribute To Drunk In Hell’s Set With The Imperfect Cinema Workshop!


Plymouth’s Imperfect Cinema are keen proponents of DIY culture, specialising in exploring participatory production as a way to democratise and open up film making to individuals from all walks of life, reclaiming this art form from the high production values and billion dollar studios that many believe have corrupted it. With this year’s ‘Halide-Oxide’ workshop, the collective will be inviting the audience to arm themselves with vintage/redundant filming equipment (the titular ‘halide’ of super-8mm film and the ‘oxide’ of audio cassette tape used to capture video) and shoot the unique post-industrial setting of the festival, hopefully capturing some of the stark, mechanical aesthetic that played such a pivotal role in the creation of Heavy Metal. This footage will then be used in two different ways; Imperfect Cinema will be using some of your footage as an alternative visual document of the festival which will form a unique part of the archive of its tenth anniversary, and the rest will provide the visual backdrop for noise-rock titans Drunk In Hell’s set the next day, granting a unique opportunity to directly influence the very spirit of the festival itself!

To book a place at this workshop, please email [email protected] with ‘Imperfect Cinema’ in the subject line.

Speaking of Drunk In Hell, the band have recently made their demo cassette available as a free download via their Bandcamp page – a vicious, snarling recording doused with liberal splashes of piss and vinegar. If you abandoned Unsane and Eyehategod in a damp cardboard box on the cold streets of Middlesbrough, then checked back in on them a few weeks later, the aggressive, hopeless sound they’d be unleashing wouldn’t be a million miles away from Drunk In Hell’s cathartic uproar. To give you a further idea of what to expect, the band have also uploaded a full live set from Leeds last year, but we have a feeling not even this furious recording will adequately prepare you for the full-on brutality that these guys are going to bring to the Supersonic stage this year.

You can catch Drunk In Hell performing on Saturday 20th October – just don’t expect to come away unscathed!


Learn DIY cinema techniques and contribute to Drunk in Hell’s performance


The first workshop of the festival has been announced and its an amazing opportunity to learn some new skills, work alongside some truly unique practitioners and creatively contribute to a live performance by Drunk in Hell.

In Imperfect Cinema’s workshop ‘Halide Oxide’, Attendees will be able explore the ‘halide’ of super-8mm film and the ‘oxide’ of audio cassette tape used to capture video, by using redundant camera technologies to capture images which will be processed, prepared and edited by Imperfect Cinema into two distinct visual forms. The first will be the visual backdrop to the lo-fi monolithic grit of Drunk In Hell’s performance, an experience which should definitely not be missed, and the second is an alternative visual document of the festival which will form a unique part of the archive of its tenth anniversary. Workshop attendees will be joined by  renowned sonic and visual artist Nicholas Bullen to discuss Imperfect Cinema and its influences.

To book a place, please email [email protected] with ‘Imperfect Cinema’ in the subject line

Last year, Imperfect Cinema with workshop attendees put together this beautiful film, which was screened alongside a live score by SOUNDkitchen.


Imperfect Cinema: Halide-Oxide


 Workshop takes place 7-9pm on Friday 19th October at the Custard Factory
To book a place, please email [email protected] with ‘Imperfect Cinema’ in the subject line

A fantastic opportunity to learn about DIY filming and provide visuals for one of the performing artists at the this year’s festival.
Imperfect Cinema is a Micro-Cinema Collective who explore participatory modes of production with a particular emphasis on DIY methodologies. This year Imperfect Cinema will be leading a workshop where participants are invited to consider the forge which birthed heavy metal music. Participants will explore the uniquely post industrial setting of the festival with cameras and media that are uniquely post-industrial and metallic!

Attendees will be able explore the ‘halide’ of super-8mm film and the ‘oxide’ of audio cassette tape used to capture video, by using redundant camera technologies to capture images which will be processed, prepared and edited by Imperfect Cinema into two distinct visual forms. The first will be the visual backdrop to the lo-fi monolithic grit of Drunk In Hell’s performance, an experience which should definitely not be missed, and the second is an alternative visual document of the festival which will form a unique part of the archive of its tenth anniversary.

Imperfect Cinema will be joined by renowned sonic and visual artist Nicholas Bullen to discuss Imperfect Cinema and its influences, including the seminal Crass Records ‘Bullshit Detector’ compilation albums which featured the first vinyl appearance of Napalm Death.


To book a place, please email [email protected] with ‘Imperfect Cinema’ in the subject line


Drunk in Hell


Apathy is everything to these five losers who’ll just about manage to turn up and play without being sick.
Lo-fi grit and metal maledom are fractured and recombined into monotone slabs which reference distaste for modern life as much as they poke fun at the traditions of the punk/hardcore idiom. Still barely functioning after four years of staring at the walls and occasional live performance, the band will finally have their debut album and a split 7″ record with Kilslug in tow with them for the latter part of 2012. All proceeds will be spent on plastic surgery.



Drunk in Hell