Collaborations – A Supersonic Tradition

...

There are several exclusive, once-in-a-lifetime collaborative performances taking place at this year’s Supersonic, ranging from Lash Frenzy’s all-star noise ensemble to KK Null’s performance with local tuba-drone pioneers ORE, and of course, the pairing of several string, woodwind and brass musicians with Eugene S. Robinson and Niko Wenner for the much anticipated Oxbow Orchestra. There must be something about the adventurous atmosphere of Supersonic, as the festival has a long history of inspiring musicians to step out of their comfort zones and join forces with one another to contribute something truly special to the festival. Indeed, these one-off spectacles and collaborations are part of what makes the festival so unique, and have provided avid concert goers with a veritable smörgåsbord of cherished memories over the years. Here are just a few of the highlights – which one was your favourite?

2011 – Fire! & Oren Ambarchi

Last year’s edition of the festival saw Swedish avant-jazz trio Fire! team up with Australia’s finest purveyor of drones (and frequent Sunn O))) collaborator) Oren Ambarchi, for an enthralling set that touched on noise, jazz, and musique concrète with the kind of subtle elegance and deft textural sensibility we’ve come to expand from these fine musicians. Evidently these guys enjoyed the performance as much as the audience did, as Fire! recruited Ambarchi once again for their third album,  ‘In The Mouth – A Hand’, which was released last year.

2010 – Lash Frenzy VS KK Null

When these two noise titans clashed together two years ago, the results were akin to a nuclear bomb detonation, obliterating all in its path (it’s rumoured that there are still children being born in Digbeth with tinnitus to this very day). Holding the honour of being one of Supersonic’s loudest ever performances (and, as those who have attended the festival before will attest, this is certainly no small feat!), the Library was packed to the rafters for this one-off show, with a lengthy queue of dedicated noise addicts stretching around the block. Be sure to get there early for this year’s special performances to avoid listening from outside!

2010 – Khyam Allami & Master Musicians Of Bukkake Present Bosphorean

Providing some respite from the ear-bleeding antics of the aforementioned duo, 2010 also found Iraqi Oud virtuoso Khyam Allami teaming up with mysterious psych-rock collective Master Musicians of Bukkake for this exclusive performance. Named after the Bosphorus Strait that divides East and West, Europe and Asia, this was an extremely diverse set that sought to bridge musical schisms, joining Allami’s meditative Eastern melodies with the Master Musicians’ penchant for acid fried jams, taking the audience on an aural pilgrimage to the furthest regions of their collective psyche and sounding rather fantastic in the process.

2008 –Kikuri, feat. Merzbow & Keiji Haino

The pairing of two of Japan’s most extreme musical exports was never going to make for easy listening, but nothing could have prepared us for the deafening onslaught produced by these masters of their respective crafts. Masami Akita’s torrential outbursts of static and rich, layered walls of feedback provided the perfect counterpoint to Haino’s chilling, ethereal wail and guitar mangling histrionics, resulting in an eclectic and vibrant set that’s often spoken of in hushed tones by Supersonic veterans.

2007 – Oxbow Duo Presents: Love’s Holiday Orchestra

When Oxbow’s Eugene & Niko performed at the festival 5 years ago, they brought along an all-star ensemble (featuring Godflesh/Jesu mastermind Justin Broadrick, Sunn O)))’s Stephen O’Malley and ex-Head Of David bassist David Cochrane) for an unforgettable and thrillingly intimate set, never to be repeated again (but fear not – Oxbow will be returning this year with a small orchestra in tow, and Justin Broadrick will also be putting in an appearance with his new JK Flesh project).

The performance was captured on tape and released on wax as part of Capsule’s limited edition vinyl series. Unfortunately all 1000 copies are long sold out, but there are still a number of great releases available, chronicling Supersonic sets from the likes of Harvey Milk, Tweak Bird and Iron Lung – the perfect way to relive those Supersonic memories and keep your excitement under control during the wait for this year’s edition!

SHARE:

Rock-a-Rolla Q&A

...

Rock-a-Rolla: Q&A with editor-in-chief Vuk Valcic
For our 12th Q&A we’re going off-piste and instead of talking to the artists performing at Supersonic 2011, we’re checking in with Vuk Valcic, editor of Rock-a-Rolla magazine. Capsule has a long standing relationship with the magazine and we salute their coverage of independent, progressive music.  Read on to find out Vuk’s fondest Supersonic memories and why he thinks the festival is essential.

How would you describe your relationship with Supersonic Festival?
Rock-A-Rolla has been Supersonic’s media partner since the very early days of the mag – in fact going all the way back to our first year of existence. Capsule have always had a knack for selecting interesting and vital artists, and the line-up has always been spot-on in terms of what we cover in the magazine. We’re also friends and fans.

Which acts are you looking forward to most in this year’s line-up, and why?
As always, pretty much all of them, but for my part Secret Chiefs 3, Zombi, Zu93, WITTR, White Hills, Circle, Fire!, Barn Owl and The Skull Defekts are all particularly unmissable. Secret Chiefs 3 should be every festivalgoer’s top priority.

What has been your ultimate favourite performance at a previous Supersonic and why?
Tough question. There’s no way I can choose just one, but let’s go with Oxbow Duo and Wolf Eyes in 2007, Asva and Dälek in 2008, and SunnO))) and Thorr’s Hammer in 2009, all of which were memorable for various reasons. And of course Zu a couple of years back – one of the best live bands out there.

How would you describe Supersonic to a potential, fresh audience?
In one word: essential. It’s the only festival that keeps getting it right year in, year out. For crucial, cutting-edge underground rock, metal and experimental music, there’s simply no other festival quite like it in the UK. On a more personal note, it’s like getting all the bands you read about in Rock-A-Rolla together in one place for an awesome weekend.

What does Supersonic offer differently compared to any other festival?
The line-up is just plain different to any other UK festival you can think of, and it’s always outstanding. It speaks for itself, really. Other than the band selection, the Custard Factory setting makes this a completely different beast to the outdoor festivals doing the rounds – no mud and Portaloos here, just great music and a great atmosphere.

What impact does Supersonic have on Birmingham’s music scene?
I think it goes beyond Birmingham – and the UK for that matter. It undoubtedly plays a major part in putting Birmingham on the map and of course brings festivalgoers to the city, which can only be a good thing, but more importantly Supersonic has far-reaching impact on underground music worldwide.

Interview by Ross Cotton

www.rock-a-rolla.com

SHARE:

Fire! with special guest Oren Ambarchi

...

FIRE! is a high calibre allstar combo from Sweden featuring Mats Gustafsson from The Thing (saxophone/rhodes), Johan Berthling from Tape (bass) and Andreas Werliin from Wildbirds and Peacedrums (percussion), now with added firepower on this special run of dates courtesy of Australian drone lord and Sunn O)))/Gravetemple alumnus Oren Ambarchi (guitar/electronics). Their sound is a frenzy of monolithic rock textures, scorched electronics, kosmiche grooves and
an all-channels-open free jazz spirit, all amped up at blistering psychedelic voltage.

FIRE! released their debut album “You liked me five minutes ago” through Rune Grammofon in 2009. A new LP featuring Jim O’ Rourke on guitar is on the way. They keep good company and coax a sound that engulfs your expectations and stretches taut grooves into endless panned-out vistas and back.

http://www.earthwindand.com

This performance is presented in partnership with Birmingham Jazz

http://www.birminghamjazz.co.uk


SHARE: