A Quick Introduction To Bohren & der Club of Gore

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It’s an honour and a total privilege to be able to witness the breath taking Bohren & der Club of Gore at this year’s Supersonic. The self-styled “doom jazz” masters haven’t graced these shores since 2008 and there’s no guarantee they’ll be returning anytime soon, so fans of their elegant, captivating sound are understandably freaking out right now. If you’ve yet to become acquainted with this stunning four piece, then allow us to introduce you to your new favourite band…

1994 – Gore Motel

On ‘Gore Motel’, the band’s debut, the Club of Gore adhered to a more traditional rock structure of guitar, bass and drums (oh, and mellotron, naturally), and this startling album comes across like a jazzy Earth, juxtaposing ominous downtuned dirges with subtle jazz flourishes. The band would mine similar territory with their 1995 double album, ‘Midnight Radio’, before embarking on an even darker, jazzier direction…

2000 – Sunset Mission

Losing a guitarist can be a crippling blow for many lesser bands, but after six-stringer Reiner Henseleit had bowed out, the Club of Gore recruited the inimitable talents of saxophonist Christoph Clöser and delivered one of their greatest records, the stunningly beautiful ‘Sunset Mission’. A richly atmospheric journey through dark city streets, this was film noir jazz at it’s most gripping, slowly enveloping the listener in it’s sumptuous soundscapes and smoky, late night ambience. The word ‘masterpiece’ is oft abused in this day and age but this is one record that truly deserves such an accolade; mandatory listening for both jazz and ambient fans!

2002 – Black Earth

After the stunning ‘Sunset Mission’, the Club of Gore were clearly on a roll, and delivered their break-through album ‘Black Earth’ just two years later. After catching the attention of musical maverick Mike Patton, ‘Black Earth’ was reissued on his Ipecac record label, bringing the beautiful sounds of Bohren & der Club of Gore to a much wider audience. Musically, ‘Black Earth’ shares many similarities with ‘Sunset Mission’, but pushes the material in an even darker direction; this is a progression, rather than a sequel.

2008 – Dolores

If 2005’s ‘Geisterfaust’ had hinted at a more ambient manifestation of the Club of Gore, ‘Dolores’ was where the band wholeheartedly embraced the minimalist ideals they had toyed with all along. Evidently this move paid off, with the quartet managing to evoke a vibrant cornucopia of emotions with some of their starkest music to date. This was Bohren’s sound reduced down to it’s bare skeleton, allowing the sombre and beautiful core of their music to ring out between the sparse, isolated notes, and it was no less gripping for it!

2011 – Beileid

Never a band to conform to expectations, their last album ‘Beileid’ saw the Club of Gore recruiting the vocal talents of Mike Patton for an utterly bizarre yet strangely beautiful cover of the German hair metal band Warlock’s ‘Catch My Heart’, mutating the song into a melancholy jazz ballad and stretching the notes out to dwell in the spaces inbetween. ‘Beileid’ may be Bohren’s shortest record, but it packs no less of a punch, as the band continue to expand their sound and subtly branch out into new territory. Where they progress from here is anyone’s guess, but it’s going to be a pleasure finding out!

Bohren & der Club of Gore will perform at Supersonic Festival on Saturday 20th October.

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Dylan Carlson: First Look At His Drcarlsonalbion Solo Material

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Drone fans have been anxiously anticipating what Earth main man Dylan Carlson’s solo material was going to sound like, but the wait is almost over. Carlson is due to release ‘La Strega and the Cunning Man in the Smoke’, his first record under the name Drcarlsonalbion, as part of Southern Records’ prestigious Latitudes series (which has previously seen exclusive releases from the likes of Bardo Pond, Grails, Ariel Pink, Bohren & der Club of Gore, Haxan Cloak and many, many more) on October 16th, and the first few reviews have started to trickle in. The record consists of 7 folk inspired tracks and a cover of PJ Harvey’s ‘Last Living Rose’, and judging by these quotes, it sounds like we’re in for a treat –

Where to even begin with this album? Much like the mellotron and field recordings of ‘Edward Kelley’s Blues,’ the genesis can found in a recent trip to the British Isles, with Carlson researching our indigenous folklore and traditional faire folk. The probing field recordings lend levels of abstraction to gently spoken poetry; a sound which is somehow both atonal and blissfully melodic.

Rob Batchelor, Beard Rock

Carlson has created something evocative and quite special. Transplanting the droning guitar style he uses with Earth and using it as musical bed while shimmering and almost bluesy guitar licks are laid over the top. Boozily drifting past and literally sounding like orange-drenched Autumn sunsets across a glade in the forest. I know, right?

Tight To The Nail Reviews

You can read all of Rob Batchelor’s review here, and click here to read Tight To The Nail’s analysis. ‘La Strega and the Cunning Man in the Smoke’ is released on October 16th. Carlson will be touring the UK in support of the record, culminating in a performance at Supersonic on Saturday 20th October. We can’t wait!

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Disciples Of Sabbath – Ufomammut Bring ‘ORO’ To Birmingham In Its Entirety!

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We’re thrilled to announce that Ufomammut will be playing all of their new magnum opus ‘ORO’ at Supersonic this year! Birmingham is the perfect place for this spiritually charged metal odyssey to take place, not just because of its gritty, post-industrial aesthetic; the city is unquestionably where the screeching, fanged foetus of heavy metal was violently ejected from the cosmic womb and let loose to terrorize the world at large. Despite what some journalists will tell you, the exact moment when this happened is easily identifiable and can be pin-pointed when Tony Iommi first summoned that planet-obliteratingly evil chord that opens Black Sabbath’s infamous titular song. The streets and factories of Birmingham did more than act as the genre’s birthplace, as the industrial environment that Geezer Butler, Tony Iommi, Ozzy Osbourne and Bill Ward grew up in played a pivotal role in influencing the bleak and terrifying sound that epitomised the genre’s early classics. It’s hard to imagine ‘Electric Funeral’ coming out of anywhere but the turbulent mechanical landscape of Birmingham circa 1970, as metal’s most important 4 piece allowed themselves to vent away the pent-up depression brought on by menial factory jobs, against the backdrop of the most ominous riffs in existence -“dying world of radiation, victims of mad frustration” indeed.

As part of Capsule’s Home Of Metal initiative, we’re proud to present the Crossroads of Sabbath walking tour this year, an in-depth look at the city that changed the face of music forever led by music historian and Sabbath enthusiast Rob Horrocks. It’s heartening to know the world is still populated by a healthy number of Sabbath devotees as the tour is completely over-subscribed and is now fully booked! But don’t worry if you missed out on tickets as Supersonic has more than enough riff related goodness for you this year, with a couple of bands cut from the same recognisable lineage that Sabbath themselves prompted all those years ago.

First up is the hugely influential guitarist Dylan Carlson. His band Earth (which, incidentally, is what Bill, Geezer, Ozzy & Tony referred to themselves as in their early blues-rock incarnation) are perhaps the most extreme manifestation of Sabbathian lore to rear its head thus far. Records like ‘Earth 2’ and ‘Phase 3: Thrones & Dominions’ took gargantuan Sabbath style riffs and reduced them to a crawl, producing a long, resonant drone that enraptured many across the globe (not least two youngsters named Anderson and O’Malley). This special set finds Dylan distancing himself somewhat from his Earth colleagues, and branching out with a new set of musicians. Dylan’s solo work has been shrouded in secrecy so far, but it would not be entirely unfounded to expect a continuation of the mystical, folky direction Carlson has pursued on the last two Earth records, the ‘Angels Of Darkness, Demons Of Light’ duology. However, Dylan could well have a trick or two up his sleeve, making this an essential experience for Earth fans!

Italy’s finest space-doom trio Ufomammut are making the pilgrimage to Supersonic this year, riding a wave of inspiration off the back of their recent two-part album ‘ORO’. Despite sharing traits with many of their amp laden, doom saying peers, Ufomammut’s style is very unique and distinctive, with a rich psychedelic aura and a visceral, gut-punching intensity. If you replaced Electric Wizard’s weed stash and horror movie collection with several grams of peyote and a copy of Pink Floyd’s ‘Meddle’, the ensuing voyage would seem like a pleasing parallel to the path Ufomammut have carved out for themselves. In the two years that have passed since their humongous modern day classic ‘Eve’, the band have returned from the wilderness like psychedelic visionaries, armed with the two records that comprise ‘ORO’, ‘Opus: Primum’ and ‘Opus: Alter’. A dense and imposing body of work, the ‘ORO’ saga is more than the sum of its parts, and Ufomammut have a real treat in store for us this year. In addition to this exclusive sneak peek at their new video, the band has just revealed that they’ll be playing ‘ORO’ in its entirety at the festival, offering an ecstatic voyage into a vast, deep space riff utopia that will consume and unravel the very fibre of your being. And what self-respecting Sabbath fan wouldn’t want that?

Dylan Carlson will play Supersonic on Saturday 20th October, and Ufomammut will appear on Sunday 21st October.

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Dylan Carlson

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Legendary Earth guitarist Dylan Carlson recently set out to pursue a solo endeavour, up to now he has released a cassette as drcarlsonalbion but there still remains an air of mystery and much anticipation as to what direction this solo musical endeavour will go next. For Supersonic, he will be teaming up with a number of other musicians including Teresa Colamonaco on vocals, Michael York on bagpipes, and Rogier Small on snare drum.


http://drcarlsonalbion.wordpress.com/

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Simon Fowler interview – illustration and printmaking

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Simon Fowler – interview with an illustrator/printmaker
by Ross Cotton

London based illustrationist and printmaker Simon Fowler has been commissioned to design a poster for this year’s festival. Previously creating pen and ink works for the likes of Earth and Sunn O))), Simon returns to Supersonic after debuting his art in 2010 for the From Light to Dark exhibition.

“(Last year) was the first time I attended Supersonic”, says Simon. “It’s the festival I’ve enjoyed the most, because it’s curated by people who really care about what they’re doing. I’ve met so many people; it’s just an incredibly well crafted event”.

Simon has also developed a keen creative relationship with previous festival performers, dub-psych duo Devilman. “Within a year, I’m 80% of the way through the artwork for their album”, says Simon. “I think this Devilman piece has been one of the most enjoyable. “It’s an idea that I had quite a long time ago and it fits perfectly with their music. I’ve been able to put more time into it rather than a typical commission. It’s nice to be crossing genres and not just being pigeonholed in metal or doom”, he says.

“Music plays the biggest influence in my creative process”. Fowler’s analogue artwork seems to have flourished extensively over the last few years. A journey that is well and truly rooted with contemporary musicians. “I’ve been working with Stephen O’Malley since about 2009, he’s one of my main collaborators,” explains Simon. “That’s knocked on into doing stuff for Earth. I did the artwork for the reissue of their first album last year, and I’m working on a poster for Wolves in the Throne Room at the moment. I was given a brief a couple of weeks ago from them, giving me the visual ideas they had to tie in with their album. I haven’t actually heard the album, so it’ll be interesting to see their performance (at the festival) against what I’ve created”.

Though Simon often feels that viewers sometimes misinterpret the ideologies of his art. “A lot of people try to describe my work as being dark, but I don’t necessarily see it like that”, says Simon. “I think it’s more expansive, and maybe its just the music it’s associated with; connotations of darkness. I thought it was quite natural, reflecting natural environments and the detail that’s in those environments, taking something that could be industrial on the surface, quite ugly, but if you really analyse all of the individual elements, you kind of see the beauty and geometry within that”.

And what are Simon’s plans for the future? “For the rest of the year, I’m going to be talking to Dylan Carlson and working on a project of his, not necessarily Earth but something he’s thinking of doing”.

Simon Fowler recommends you check out: “Fire! with Oren Ambarchi (it looks pretty eclectic!), Tony Conrad, Cloaks and Scorn”. Check out Simon Fowler’s poster design at the festival, and be sure to bring an extra bit of cash for a print!

Simon Fowler’s Cataract Operation site

 

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