Supersonic 2012 – Here’s To Another 10 Years!

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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!

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Supersonic London Taster review

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Thank to all who came to Corsica Studios last Thursday for our second Supersonic Taster. It was a bass heavy line up of King Midas Sound, JK Flesh (Justin Broadrick) and Glatze who all tested the excellent sound system there to its very limits.Thanks also to Corsica Studios and The Quietus.

Freq have posted up this review of the show

King Midas Sound take the stage through a haze of dry ice, pumping a wall of sound that makes even JK Flesh seem quiet, with bass that makes your trousers dance before your feet have even had a chance to move. The twin vocal performances of Roger Robinson and Kiko Hitomi, somehow melodic, strident and languid all at the same time, put a human edge on proceedings, while behind the desk Martin unleashes the robots. It’s heavy. REALLY heavy. Imagine a Mezzanine-era Massive Attack hiding themselves behind a wall of sound with the biggest, and most stoned reggae sound system you ever heard, only breaking cover to pop out every now and then to punch you in the face. It’s like that. And it’s the perfect pick-me-up after the relentless vitriol of JK Flesh; the two acts complement each other perfectly. It would appear Broadrick and Martin being in the same room is ALWAYS an awesome proposition, even if they’re not making noise at the same time as each other. Read the full review HERE

We hope these tasters have given you a good opportunity to check out some of the artists due to perform at the festival and other interesting musicians we’re working with. King Midas Sound’s Kevin Martin will perform at October’s festival as The Bug, Justin will return with his JK Flesh project and Sam ‘Glatze’ Underwood will perform as part of a new collaboration – Ore and KK Null.

The Supersonic Taster have formed an exciting extension of our 10th anniversary celebrations. Other 10th birthday events include a special Tea Party and the Sonic Feast, which act as a thank you to those who have supported the festival through our We Fund campaign. There’s only a few days left to support and secure a place at one of these events. Learn more via http://wefund.com/project/supersonic-festival-10th-anniversary/p27749/

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Supersonic Taster – Birmingham photos

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Thanks to all who came along to the first of two Supersonic taster events last Saturday at Eastside Projects in Birmingham. The amazing performances, and diversity of acts on show has got us all buzzing for the main event in October. Below are some lovely shots of the event by Katja Ogrin.

Laurence Hunt of Pram opened with a solo percussive project. Creating abstract sounds and looped feedback.

Sarah Farmer presented ‘An Array of Events’ using DIY instrumentation (plus viola)

Iron Fist of the Sun stepped the volume up a notch with a power electronics set

The first UK outing of Justin Broadrick’s new JK Flesh project. And it was LOUD.

King Midas Sound System closed the event with a set touching dub, reggae, drone and noise, plus great vocals from Roger Robinson and Kiki Hitomi

If you missed this event, fret not! A second Supersonic Taster event takes place at London’s Corsica Studios this Thursday 9th August. Tickets are available via http://www.corsicastudios.com/

And if you’d like to see more events like this happen, with line ups to be found nowhere else, support us via our We Fund campaign.

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Supersonic Birmingham Taster this week

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This Saturday 4th August we’re hosting a taster event for the 10 edition of the festival – extending our birthday celebrations as much as we can!

With a stellar and diverse line up this should get us all excited for October. King Midas Sound System aka Kevin Martin of The Bug, drops DJ exclusive dubs/versions and remixes as well as bleeding other artists’ music into the astounding sound design, with special guest vocals. Justin Broadrick will give a UK premier performance of his new project JK Flesh, expect soul-crushingly dark beats and bass, layered with Broadrick’s inimitable guitar.

We’ve also taken the opportunity to programme some exciting sounds from some Birmingham based experimental sound artists. Iron Fist of the Sun blends power electronics and black metal, Laurence Hunt of Pram and Modified Toy Orchestra performs a new solo percussive piece and Sarah M Farmer will play an entire orchestral piece using DIY instrumentation.

The taster takes place at Eastside Projects, Heath Mill Lane, Digbeth and doors are 7.30pm. Tickets are available via https://www.theticketsellers.co.uk


 

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JK Flesh – Posthuman

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Lots of shiny good reviews pouring in for JK Flesh’s Posthuman record. JK FLesh is Justin Broadrick of Napalm Death, Godflesh, Jesu, Greymachine, Final and countless other project and bands. JK Flesh is the name assigned to him by Kevin Martin (The Bug, King Midas Sound) when they were collaborating as Techno Animal.

Metal Hammer says “if Birmingham never gives us anything else ever again, there is always ‘that band’…Napalm Death” and describes Broadrick’s new project as “devastating” and “soul crushing”. Read more here.

After previously hosting Godflesh, Jesu and Final performances at Supersonic, we’re pretty thrilled to have Broadrick’s new project at the festival this year.

JK Flesh at this year’s Roadburn Festival:

Weekend tickets are available for Supersonic Festival from https://www.theticketsellers.co.uk

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JK Flesh

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Godflesh, Head of David, Napalm Death, Techno Animal, Jesu, Greymachine, Palesketcher – just some of the projects from the insanely prolific Justin Broadrick, who in his new relationship with 3by3, raises his Techno Animal moniker JK Flesh from the dead for its debut full-length outing, to once again prove his mastery of all things brutal. 
Soul-crushingly dark beats and bass, layered with Broadrick’s inimitable guitar and vocal fuzz, providing a stark contrast to 2010’s Palesketcher output, that will resonate with fans of Godflesh and the post-dubstep landscape alike.
justinkbroadrick.blogspot.com/

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