Supersonic Festival Footage by HTF Media


For the past 4 years Birmingham based filmmakers, and music lovers HTF Media have been documenting the festival, from live performances to interviews with artists such as Mogwai’s Stuart Braithwaite, Godflesh and William Bennett. Here’s a selection of some of the Supersonic highlights captured on film. A lovely opportunity to relive previous editions of the festival and get you hyped for the rest of the weekend.



Drag City shorts


A collection of music shorts from the mighty Drag City label.

Among the bands that have released material on Drag City are Cave, Joanna Newsom, Pavement,[1] Royal Trux, Cynthia Dall, Faun Fables, Scott Walker, Bill Callahan, Will Oldham , Jim O’Rourke, Six Organs of Admittance, Loose Fur, Scout Niblett, David Grubbs, U.S. Maple, Alasdair Roberts, Papa M, Pearls and Brass, White Magic, The Renderers, Espers, Silver Jews, Monotonix, Nig-Heist, Michael Yonkers, The Red Krayola, Om, Sun Araw, Baby Dee and William Basinski.


Birthday Thumps and Bumps


Birthday thumps, bumps, pinches, etc., were said to bring luck and send away evil spirits. Party snappers, horns and other noisemakers were also intended to scare off bad-luck spirits.

Bunny Bissoux

Artist,illustrator and “obsessive fanatic”.  Recurring themes include music, teenage angst, animals and idols. Previous collaborations with Capsule include a solo exhibition at Supersonic 2009, the official t-shirt design for Supersonic 2010 and the creation of the ‘Home of Metal’ project family tree.

Daniel Margetts

A Worcester based illustrator, who would like to welcome you into his world of worm-infested lands. He is inspired by Hieronymus Bosch, 80’s prosthetic horror films, lowbrow art, Alejandro Jodorowsky, J.G Thirlwell and Roky Erickson.

Idiot’s Pasture

A “strictly lowbrow” illustrator, printmaker, drawer and youth worker from Halifax (everybody’s favourtie industrial town). Idiot is a proud conveyor of nonsense and failed his art GCSE due to missing out the letter “R” on a Jimi Hendrix poster.

Joe Stephen Taylor

Deep down in the depths of the jungle they call Birmingham, Joe Stephen Taylor AKA LumberJackJoe planted his roots into studying illustration Let Joe lure you into the dark forest of his limitless imagination. You never know what quirky creatures you will encounter.

Sam Wiehl

Having co-run Burneverything art and design studio Sam continues to work as an illustrator, designer and artist. Part of the music/art collectives Behind The Wall of Sleep and The Hive Collective, Sam also regularly creates light shows for the band Mugstar.

William Daw

Illustrator creating prints, gig posters, comics and zines as well as doing drawings and designing stuff and coming up with stupid jokes all day.


Kino 10: A Ritual of Flame


Short film specialists KINO 10 join us at this year’s festival with a specially curated programme of short films, exploring bizarre rituals, strange traditions, mythical beasts, peculiar creatures and fantastical folk tales. Highlights include the magical Oh Willy… in which Willy, a middle-aged man grieves for his late mother, but finds protection from a big gentle hairy beast, and The Last Norwegian Troll which tells the animated story of just that, the very last Troll of Norway, voiced by everyone’s favourite Jesuit exorcist Father, Max von Sydow. There’s also some gems from the archive with a selection of shorts from as early as 1927 which look at Britain’s eccentric rural traditions and rituals, with footage of children playing with burning barrels in East Devon, Dwile Flonking in Harleston, and some amazing pictures from Stonehaven’s New Year Fireball Festival in 1965.


Bring Out Your Dead



Friday 19 October, 7–8.30pm
Featuring Arc Vel, Papa November, Them Use Them and The Plague Doctor.

First Fold records artists will perform a spectacular audio visual response to Necrospective, an exhibition exploring theories in relation to violence and acting out, the suppression of our fear of morality and how that embodies itself in technological man-made structures.

Using the exhibition as a backdrop, artists Arc Vel, Papa November, Them Use Them,  The Plague Doctor and more tbc, will create their own layer of sound and vision in this pre-Supersonic Festival event.

First Fold is an independent record label and publishing company managed and funded by the individuals involved in developing the first fold product. First Fold’s focus is to maintain a self regulating and enthusiastic approach to the creation of music and visual media and aims to encourage a dialogue that constantly challenges the people involved to generate exciting and relevant work.

Grand Union
19 Minerva Works
Fazeley Street
B5 5RS




Open 22 September to 27 October, Thursday to Saturday, 12-5pm.

Featuring work by Craig Fisher, Thomas Johnson, Alexis Milne, Takeshi Murata and Motohiko Odani. Necrospective is a group exhibition exploring theories in relation to violence and acting out, the suppression of our fear of mortality and how that embodies itself in technological man-made structures.
Curator Thomas Johnson examines the relationship between Baudrillard’s notion that science and technology produce objects and experiences that embody the death drive, and Freud’s notion that the death drive leads people to re-enact and repeat traumatic experiences. This relationship can be realised by viewing technology as a form of performance or acting.
The works in the exhibition envision a sanitised invention of the world; a technologically mediated environment, in which mucky nature has been eradicated. This environment is presented as one in which the death drive is satisfied, where violence and the abject have been displaced through a technological, man-made infrastructure.

Grand Union
19 Minerva Works, Fazeley Street, Birmingham B5 5RS


Abstract Possible: The Birmingham Beat



Curated by Maria Lind and amended by Eastside Projects

6 October to 1 December 2012

José Léon Cerrillo, Zachary Formwalt, Goldin+Senneby, Wade Guyton, Yelena Popova, Alejandra Salinas and Aeron Bergman

Why abstraction today? While no prominent neoabstract movement has been heralded since the 1960s, abstraction has remained present but ‘out of sight’ and could be seen as redundant as an artistic tool. Since the late 1990s there has been a palpable interest in abstraction, particularly among younger artists and other cultural producers who both reinterpret the legacy of formal abstraction and shape performative, social versions of abstraction with regard to its meaning — to withdraw.

‘Abstract Possible: The Birmingham Beat’ is the latest iteration in a research project exploring notions of abstraction, taking contemporary art as its starting point. The artworks in this exhibition involve and complicate the three strands of abstraction: formal abstraction, economic abstraction and social abstraction, with an emphasis on economic abstraction. This is the first main gallery exhibition at Eastside Projects to be curated by an external curator, Stockholm based Maria Lind, who has invited an array of international artists to exhibit.

‘Abstract Possible: The Birmingham Beat’ suggests that we pay attention to and reconsider certain crucial aspects of the phenomenon of abstraction as it pertains to its intriguing resurgence in contemporary art.

Eastside Projects
86 Heath Mill Lane
Birmingham B9 4AR


MortonUnderwood’s Noise Boxes


Noise Box designed by Simon Fowler

To celebrate 10 years of Supersonic Festival, musical instrument designers MortonUnderwood have created ten unique noise box synths as a gift for Capsule. Each one is hand-painted by a talented designer in the Supersonic 2012 colours. The result is a beautiful set of bespoke synthesisers which capture both the visual and sonic aesthetic of the festival.

Contributing artists:

An Endless Supply

Ben Javens

Ben Sadler

Conny Prantera

David Hand

Richard Sayer

Sarah Coleman

Simon Fowler

Stephen O’Malley

Tom Hughes

MortonUnderwood will be bringing  more boxes and merchandise along to the Supersonic stand in the Market Place. Come and try them out or just pop along to meet Sam and David.





London’s Zoltan head out into the world following the release of their “First Stage Zoltan” album on the Austrian label Cineploit.

Drawing from their long-standing interests in vintage sci-fi paperbacks and obscure horror soundtracks, Zoltan bring you menacing chordal sweeps, cinematic synthscapes and relentless, angular rhythms, with ambient interludes, Giorgio-Moroder-from-hell sequencers and bone-shaking crescendos. Banks of vintage synths are underpinned by a driving rhythm section, infusing the intricacy of prog with a repetitive, psychedelic energy. For fans of Goblin and Heldon.


Free School


Bringing the sunny Balearic sounds of summer and the icy kosmische sounds of winter to a venue near you, Free School are maximalist and minimalist all at once. But in a good way. The Birmingham duo signed to the internationally renowned Tirk label in 2011 and have just released their critically acclaimed LP ‘Tender Administration’, following two 12” releases and a string of remixes for the likes of Roots Manuva and Phil Oakey. Their cosmic delights have won the support of DJs Jacques Renault, Justin Robertson, Red Rack’em, Pete Gooding, Disco Bloodbath, The Big Chill and Future Disco.
Together with powerhouse drummer Simon Weaver and sensuous/deviant singer Greg Bird, the band have played live supporting Andrew Weatherall, Walls, Mark E and Fujiya & Miyagi and have recently performed at Croatia’s disco Mecca ‘The Garden Festival’. Free School have been performing a live show to win the hearts and minds of….well, people like you. Yes, you. Taking retro- futurist disco as a starting point, Free School have fused together Electro, House, Balearic, and Kosmiche to arrive at “a new sound….one that’s never been heard before….”* They may or may not be wearing masks of lamb.**
*Quote not actually said in reference to Free School. But it does feature in one of their songs, so the point stands. **Not actual lamb. They’re made of some sort of rubber/latex composite. But they look like lambs, so the point stands.




Mainlining a torrent of psycho-delic, reverb drenched, doomsday motorik and improvised sounds is the master and mystery of Gnod. Audiences have come to expect bizarre humanoid toasting over cosmic synth eeriness pinned down with a combination of duelling deep-vein-thrombosis juggernaut riffs and heart-pounding beats. Gnod explore the possibilities of a big, awesome sound with an uncompromising aesthetic.

To date the band have releases with Not Not Fun (USA), Blackest Rainbow (UK). Tamed Records (France) and Rocket Recordings (UK) to name a few and are gaining a cult following on the live scene in grimy venues & dark club spaces all over Europe with their head-spinning, mind-bending, bowel-shaking live shows.


Justice Yeldham


What’s been described as “a trumpet player trapped in a two dimensional universe” is in fact the unique audio work of Justice Yeldham, a maverick musician with an unhealthy obsession with sheets of broken glass. By pressing his face and lips against the glass whist employing various vocal techniques ranging from throat singing to raspberries, he turns disguarded household windows into crude musical instruments. Resulting in a wide variety of cacophonous noises that are strangely controlled and oddly musical.

Justice Yeldham is the alter-ego of Australian sound performer Lucas Abela, whose past sonic experiments were conducted under monikers like A Kombi, DJ Smallcock & Peeled Hearts Paste.


Get a Grip screenprinting


The GET A GRIP screen-printing workshop returns for another year, this time in honour of Supersonic’s tenth anniversary. The two-hour workshop, run from the GET A GRIP poolside studio and shop front, gives you an informal introduction to their manual water-based screen printing techniques.

The workshop is open to weekend ticket holders for £25 which includes guidance, materials and a 100% organic t-shirt to take home. Using elements developed by an independent illustrator, you’ll put together a multi-coloured design to print onto a t-shirt. No experience required – you’ll enjoy this workshop whether you’re a complete beginner or an experienced printer.

To book a place, email [email protected] with ‘SCREENPRINT’ in the subject line – please also include your T-shirt size (Male or Female S/M/L/XL/XXL).

GET A GRIP, the Custard Factory’s resident print studio, can print to order and regularly supply DIY bands and organisations with clothing labels, illustrations, vinyl record sleeves and posters. For more information visit


Black Mass Rising


A lo fi experimental film exploring visions of the darkness, The Mystic, The Occult, The Religious and The Apocalypse. The film is made by Belgian artist  Shazzula Nebula who has performed in psychedelic band White Hills and is an ex member of Aqua Nebula Oscillator.

The soundtrack features:

Master Musicians of Bukkake
Kawabata Makoto
Bobby Beausoleil
Horror Illogium
Sylvester Anfang II
Burial Hex
Kinit Her
Rose Croix
Mourning Ring
The Entrance Band
In Zaire
Cultus Sabbati
Mater Suspiria Vision
Aluk Todolo
Menace Ruine


Trash Humpers


Walking his dog late at night in the back alleys of his hometown of Nashville, Harmony Korine encountered trash bins strewn across the ground in what he imagined as a war zone. Overhead lights beamed down upon the trash in a Broadway-style that Korine found very dramatic. They began to resemble human form, beaten, abused and “very humpable”. Korine remembered, as a teenager growing up in Nashville, a group of elderly peeping toms who would come out at night. He has described them as “the neighborhood boogeymen who worked at Krispy Kreme and would wrap themselves in shrubbery, cover themselves with dirt, and peep through the windows of other neighbors.” Putting these two ideas together, Korine found conception for this film.
Trash Humpers is a 2009 American drama film directed by Harmony Korine. Shot on worn VHS home video, the film features a “loser-gang cult-freak collective”and their whereabouts in Nashville, Tennessee.


The Outcrowd: Festival of the Rea


“Four years ago the Outcrowd stumbled upon some curious and bizarre old traditions based around the area of Birmingham’s birth place, the crossing of the River Rea, now known as Digbeth. Intrigued we delved further, eventually leading us to discover the lost Festival of the Rea, with roots in Pagan and traditional religions, echoed in similar festivals still celebrated throughout Europe.

For Supersonic we will  re-create elements from the Festival of the Rea and build a shrine known as the “house of Beorn”, the first to be built in the area for over a century. A selection of artists with mythical potential will be invited to create offerings to this shrine and members of the public will also be invited to contribute their own offering to this ramshackle, weathered and sacred cabin during the festivities.

As the sun goes down on the last night of the festival, past and present will come together in a climax of channeled energy and sound where the magic of the event and the natural powers of the river will awaken and release the long lost spirits of the city we call home.”

Artists confirmed for the exhibition are:

Marcus Oakley

Jake Blanchard

Rob Flowers

Holly Wales

Stewart Easton

Steven Smith

Rue Five

Adam Higton


Arran Gregory

Simon Peplow

Lawrence Roper

Stef Grindley

Tsz Ludford

Lucy McLauchlan

Ben Javens


Network Awesome: Blood Harvest



A strand of film programming curated by Jason Forrest at Network Awesome.

“A look at the wild stuff that happens way out on the back roads. Wildmen, talking animals, folk tails, and some of the culture that surrounds them all. Our hour long presentation of animations, short films, and video clips is sure to provoke and inspire.”

Network Awesome is a new online TV site that curates the media film, documentaries, and video collections from all eras of broadcast history. It’s free, not full of junk, and it broadcasts 6 new shows each day. The archives are stand-alone repositories of media, available anytime and are, like, totally social so you can share it with your friends. Root around in there! You’ll be amazed at what you find.


Reverse Karaoke


Image: Marcus Leith

Reverse Karaoke is a collaborative installation by Kim Gordon and Jutta Koether. It consists of a painted Yurt style tent housing a lo-fi rehearsal set-up with guitar, microphone, bass, and drums and a basic PA system. The visitor is invited to play the instruments and record their own music along with a pre-recorded vocal track of Kim Gordon’s voice. The track is recorded live by a sound engineer who burns two CD copies of the track, while the visitor(s) decorate two CD sleeves using materials in the gallery. One copy of the CD becomes part of the piece itself on display in a record box, and the other the visitor takes home.

Reverse Karaoke was commissioned by Electra for ‘Her Noise’, South London Gallery, 2005, and was complemented by a series of evening performances in which artists were invited to use the piece’s set. These events featured Jenny Hoyston (Erase Errata), Heather Leigh Murray, Christina Carter, Ana Da Silva (The Raincoats), Partyline and Spider and the Webs. Since 2005 the work has toured Europe extensively and been exhibited at Magasin-CNAC, Grenoble, France; MAK, Vienna, Austria and Wysing Arts Centre, Camrbidge, as well as being included in the major touring exhibition ‘Sonic Youth Etc.: Sensational Fix’

Electra is a London based contemporary art organisation which curates, commissions and produces projects by artists working across sound, moving image, performance and the visual arts.

Reverse Karaoke will be open over the Supersonic Festival weekend at Eastside Projects.

Eastside Projects

86 Heath Mill Lane, Digbeth, B9 4AR

Opening hours during Supersonic Festival:

FRI: 12-8pm

SAT: 12-9pm

SUN – 2pm-8pm



Modified Toy Orchestra


Modified Toy Orchestra explore the hidden potential and surplus value latent inside redundant technology; a process creating sophisticated new electronic instruments from abandoned children’s toys.  They have been at the forefront of a worldwide underground movement called circuit bending, which involves rescuing children’s electronic toys and converting them into new strange and wonderfully sophisticated musical instruments. Taking them apart, they find new connections hidden within each toys circuit that reveal new sounds, thus exposing the surplus value of redundant technology.  Toys are reassembled, including switches and dials with which to control this surplus value. The results of this process can be shockingly beautiful, funny and also extreme.




That which is below is like that which is above that which is above is like that which is below to do the miracles of one only thing. And as all things have been arose from one by the awareness of one: so all things have their birth from this one thing by adaptation.
The Sun is its father, the moon its mother, the wind hath carried it in its belly, the earth its nurse.

A performance inspired by the Heavens Above, created by Mark Wagner and Sanna Charles of S&M and Conny Prantera, with the collaboration of Emiliano Maggi of Estasy, photographer Marko Righo and costume designers Kamellia McKayed and Gloria Carlos.




To honour the occasion of Supersonic’s 10th anniversary and the recent discovery of the lost Festival of The Rea, the SOUNDkitchen collective will give a special performance of Earth Ears: A Sonic Ritual by Pauline Oliveros. Known for her ritualistic and meditative approach to sound and listening, Oliveros’ work invites performers and audience to engage in a Deep Listening experience.

For this performance each member of the collective will invoke one of the four classical elements Earth, Air, Fire and Water, central to ancient pagan practices and magic rituals. Each performer will reveal their sonic manifestation through musical actions, recorded representations and improvisation. Through collective expression and meditation we invite you to celebrate the spirit and history of the River Rea in Digbeth as an historic site of community, creativity and mystical energy.

SONICritual will be performed by: Iain Armstrong, Julien Guillamat, Shelly Knotts, Annie Mahtani. Sound engineer: James Carpenter

SOUNDkitchen are a collective of composers and sound artists dedicated to promoting artists working in the medium of sound. Their ongoing series of live events present emerging and established performers from Birmingham and beyond with a focus on current and emerging approaches to experimental electronic music. They also curate and create sound art installations and exhibits, initiate collaborative projects and give live performances.


Grey Hairs


What started as a fictional band to act as an excuse for the members to go to the pub on a weeknight has become something a bit more proper of late after some shows with Flipper and records in the pipeline.  Even though they were probably aiming for something between Pere Ubu, Pissed  Jeans and Scratch Acid it’s no surprise, with the members being kids of the early 90s, it ended up sounding like Nirvana. Just don’t call it a mid-life crisis.


Counting In: The Art of Listening


Friday 19 October
Birmingham City University, Margaret Street Fine Art Building, Birmingham, B3 3BX
1.30pm – 6.00pm

Supersonic Festival with Sound and Music present a half-day extended panel discussion exploring contexts for the presentation of sound works and performances and approaches to listening. Bringing together artists, academics and industry professionals this event is an opportunity for discussion of how artists and producers can best stage work, how audiences can be best encouraged to enjoy it and how we can all become better listeners. Counting In also acts as an informal networking opportunity for artists and producers.

Hosted by Birmingham Institute of Art & Design
This event is supported by Birmingham City University.

Participants in this panel discussion include:

Artist Lucas Abela (aka Justice Yeldman) is notorious for his bloody sonic actions using amplified shards of glass. Lucas will be discussing the balance of sonic and visual elements in his work and his concerns with allowing sound to shine through his visceral performances.

Frances Morgan is deputy editor at The Wire magazine and a writer on music and film. Frances will discuss the different ways in which we experience ‘live’ music and sound, the challenges for journalists writing about it now, and how audience expectations are shaped by context.

Irene Revell
is the Director of Electra, an organisation that curates, commissions and produces projects by artists working across sound, moving image, performance and the visual arts. Irene’s contribution to the panel will focus on Kim Gordon and Jutta Koether’s ‘Reverse Karaoke’, an installation that has toured European galleries during the last seven years and is on show at Eastside Projects as part of Supersonic 2012.

Simon Hall
is a composer, sound engineer trombonist and Assistant Head of Music Technology at Birmingham Conservatoire, UK. Simon will be discussing modes of listening and the cultural deafness resulting from the sonic overload of our contemporary lives.

Tickets are FREE to weekend ticket holders (places are limited and booking in advance is essential via [email protected] with ‘LISTENING’ in the title) or £10

Art of Listening flyer


Kids Gigs


Our annual programme of big sounds for little people returns! These performances act as an introduction to experimental music for children and their families.

Sunday 21st October 1.30pm
Old Library, Custard Factory
Her unique vocal style and daring DIY approach to music composition is coupled with a beautiful sense of playfulness. Soulful and icy in one breath, she is one of the key players of the Finnish free folk scene.

Saturday 20th October, 1.30pm
Old Library, Custard Factory
Flower/Corsano Duo
Corsano is a multi faceted drummer and one of the most exciting improv percussionists in the world. Lightning quick yet with an unconventional approach to rhythm, we’re looking forward to some top notch dancing from the kids for this show. He teams up with multi instrumentalist, free psych player Mick Flower on strings.

Each gig will include an animation workshop by artist duo Juneau Projects


Tickets cost £10 (parent and child) or £12.50 (parent and two children)

Buy Tickets – Saturday with Flower/Corsano
Buy Tickets – Sunday with Islaja