Fat Out Fest Round-up!


So we’ve just abut recovered from Easter weekend in Manchester at Fat Out Fest. Strictly no eggs. But there was some Trifle involved…here’s our roundup!

Arriving just in time for a magnificently brutal industrial hammering with a political edge from Test Dept. in Fat Out’s Burrow, we soon acquired the free ear plugs being handed out at the bar – preservation is key when tunnelling through a weekend of noise rock. On the Caustic Coastal stage Giant Swan delivered a feral cross-breed of hypnotic bass, hefty percussion and disorientating noise. Another blinder of a set came from Housewives with their abrasive guitars, droning bass lines and propulsive, relentless drums.

But our highlight has to be the mosh inducing Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs who hit hard with a feverish and transgressive blast of psych-drone dementia. After a heavy rattle from these fellas we were thrown back to The Burrow to be finished off by The Bug vs Dylan Carlson of Earth with some earth shuddering pulsating soundscapes & chiming melodies, glowing in currents of heavy bass darkness. The Bug plays this years Supersonic with Justin Broadrick of Godflesh as Zonal and that litter of Pigs will be unleashed our audience too – we can’t wait!

On to Saturday and after a hearty breakfast to get us back in the game we fancied a bit of pud…and what better pud than Trifle? Lone Taxidermist gave a multi-faceted, multi-layered performance with a glutinous exploration into the dark online culture of Sploshing, crush fettish and cake sitting. We loved getting right up inside a Trifle and perhaps our Supersonic audience will too in June?

Bodies on Everest blasted us next in The Burrow with their triple stacked Doom/Dungeonwave/Ghost Pop to then be consoled and relieved by the bare, sparse songwriting of Irma Vep and his dreamy downbeat dulcet tones. Next up we got half and half of sets from Data Quack (featuring Charles Hayward and saxophonist of Housewives) strumming up an array of abstract textures, car chase sequences and violent grooves and Yossarians telling us stories and prophecies laden with a malicious red midst paired with driving-punk guitar lines. Thrown in the middle of all this was an improv between avant-garde scene saxophonist Colin Webster & Andrew Cheetham chiming in on drums with astonishing flare in the Islington Mill B&B.

As we drifted into the night, in spite of technical difficulties, Moor Mother delivered a terrifyingly dark set of both cathartic angry punk and expansive electronic improvisation. Other immensely heavy sets from Sly & The Dead Neanderthals ft. Colin Webster and Author & Punisher finished off the Saturday in true gargantuan style. A late night set from Blood Sport thrown in gave our jittery pegs some synth laden rough-house-techno polyrhythms to jive to.

And then we (just about) made it to Sunday ready for our Supersonic showcase on The Bernard Stage. Opening proceedings was Birmingham band Dorcha who delivered a beguiling set of synths, strings and heavy beats, moving through thundering chaos to sudden moments of fragile reverie. A set not to be missed at Supersonic this June. Then the wondrous soundscapes of violinist Agathe Max massaged our Sunday ear drums not a moment too soon…right before they were blasted once again by the bleak mantras and doomy negative punk of Rainbow Grave.

Playing together since the 80s and eating a pizza on stage, Trans Am brought their futuristic speed metal and robo-balladry to our heavy limbs and pepped us up once more for the home stretch. Next we were embraced by The Seer – a new collaborative commission curated by Conny Prantera, melding movement, spoken word, electronic soundscapes, alluring visuals and the stark string skills of Agathe Max into an all encompassing experience. Another performance for our Supersonic audience to enjoy this June.

Finishing off the Sunday was the joyous bombast of Islam Chipsy with two live drummers freewheeling the standard oriental scale system into otherworldly shapes, much like the ones we were throwing on the floor. Lots of loud. Lots of love. Other Sunday treats in-between the Supersonic stage came from a street style performance in the Shit Shop by Gambian Kora player Jali Nyonkoling Kuyateh & Drummer from the World percussion collective in collaboration with Charles Hayward. And a band you absolutely have to see this year if you get the chance – Part Chimp – a flood of noise, warmth and distortion.

So, that is that. We certainly managed to Fat Out Til We Passed Out this Easter weekend. The Islington Mill is the place to be. Fat Out is a wonderful thing and thank you to our hosts Emma, Verity and Sophie for taking such good care of us. Til’ next year!

And don’t forgot you can catch: Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs / Zonal / Lone Taxidermist / Dorcha / The Seer – This June at Supersonic!



Laura Cannell: Fragments


“Laura Cannell conjures a sonic portal between the past and present.”The Wire

Critically acclaimed instrumentalist Laura Cannell deconstructs her bow to produce haunting melodies from her violin and deconstructs our stuffy view on the recorder by blowing through two simultaneously and harmoniously with gusto. In doing so, she constructs a flourishing fragmental sonority heralding the ancient, traditional music of the instruments into the present through experimental improvisation.

Her sensitivity, emotiveness and wild flare will transport you into a new realm of tranquil solitude. 2016 saw the release of Laura’s third solo album Simultaneous Flight Movement to critical acclaim, appearing in numerous end of year lists.

Where did she come from? Based in rural East Anglia, Laura Cannell’s work draws on the emotional influences of the landscape whilst simultaneously breathing new life into lost and forgotten melodies from the 5th – 14th centuries.

Long self-taught sessions alongside dedicated training gave Laura a foundation to build upon, but it is her fearless strive to break away from rules and tradition and her thirst for collaboration and experimentation that elevates her body of work to courageous peaks.

“At school, I used to play for medieval banquets in a haunted pub in Bungay. But I just get bored of there being rules, I don’t like being told what to do. And I’m really anti-twee. People think: ‘Recorders, how lovely!’ But they’ve got balls and energy – they can really bite.”

For more on the Woman blowing Recorder prejudice away click [here]

With longstanding time spent in the highly regarded Horses Brawl duo as well as her Early Music missions, Laura then went on to pastures new. She has since collaborated with electronic musician Hoofus, plays in new trio Oscilanz with Ralph Cumbers (aka Bass Clef) and has worked with renowned drummer Charles Hayward (This Heat) to name but a few. She even founded her own record label Brawl Records in 2005.

“She is uniquely able to fuse inspiration with interpretation, delivering scintillating, programmatic works in miniature based on everything from Homerically florid psalms to the pioneering music of the 12th century apothecary, scientist and theologist Hildegard von Bingen. Obscurity is no boundary here.”The Quietus

For an interview with Laura from The Quietus click [here]

Laura’s dexterity, determination and devotion to seeking the new is culminated in her all encompassing 3 solo albums. Beginning with Quick Sparrows Over the Black Earth released in July 2014 where haunting chords move the heavy air of the church as fiddle drones drift across the flatlands of East Anglia in single-take atmospheric improvisations, she has continued this stylistic approach to recording.

Her latest release Simultaneous Flight Movement was recorded on the day of the EU referendum in single takes inside Southwold lighthouse.

“I went to the Methodist chapel round the corner to do my vote, and then stood in this enormous tower that looks out over the sea, playing fragments of music from all over Europe. Thinking about it going up through the tower, going out past the prism in the top, I just thought about all these ridiculous borders we’re putting up between each other. I was standing there, firmly planted, thinking, ‘Please don’t go!’”

“As soon as something begins to sound like a genre, I begin to lose interest.”

This March sees the launch of a new performance series at Cafe Oto [Modern Ritual] exploring ideas of ritual through music and words, evoking real and fictional landscapes. Featuring solo sets from Charles Hayward, Laura Cannell and Hoofus and a new collaboration between Laura & Charles. More info [here]

Then this June, Laura Cannell graces us with her glorious sound at Supersonic Festival – a performance not to be missed!



Sonic Acts Festival, Amsterdam


Over the weekend of 23-26th Feb – the Capsule team took a trip to Amsterdam to explore Sonic Acts Festival. Since the first edition in 1994, over the years it has established itself as a thematic festival with a strong focus on contemporary and historical developments at the intersections of art, science, music and technology.

Each festival edition explores the chosen theme by means of an international conference, a wide range of concerts and performances, exhibitions and screenings, and embraces a broad spectrum of fields, practices and disciplines.

This year’s theme was ‘The Noise of Being’.

Arriving a day late to the party on Friday (due to Doris day) we wondered through an abstract dystopian world of exhibits and sound art installations in the stunning setting of the Stedelijk Museum. From glitchy Electronica, to a Microtonal Tuba ensemble with an incredible performance from Jennifer Walshe and the Arditti Quartet in between (a particular highlight), our senses were not just tingled but tossed, turned and tangled in the most invigorating way.

Our evening ended with some VR, AV, DJ madness in the beautiful converted church building, Paradiso – concert hall, cultural centre and club.

Across the rest of the weekend we visited Flemish Arts Centre De Brakke Grond for seminars combining modern scientific research and contemporary art forms and admired the work of emerging new artists at Arti et Amicitiae. 

Other photography exhibits we saw outside of the festival was the evocative collection of Ed van der Elsken and the alluring ‘An ode to slowness’ by Tom Callemin. We also got lost in the vast Rijksmuseum for a few hours.

We had a blast in Amsterdam and think you should definitely check out Sonic Acts Festival if you get the chance next year. Now, our brains need a quick cat nap before we continue on with Supersonic Festival proceedings…



Colin Stetson: Musical Athlete


‘…feels like music I’ve been subconsciously craving without even knowing it exists.’ – PITCHFORK

Colin Stetson was born and raised in Ann Arbor and spent a decade in San Francisco and Brooklyn honing his formidable talents as a horn player eventually settling in Montreal in 2007.

From early beginnings in experimental jazz group Transmission Trio:


Stetson has gone on to collaborate with artists such as Tom Waits, Arcade  Fire,  Bon  Iver,  TV  On  The  Radio,  Feist,  Laurie  Anderson,  Lou  Reed,  Bill  Laswell,  Evan Parker,  The  Chemical  Brothers,  Animal  Collective,  Hamid  Drake,  LCD  Soundsystem,  The  National, Angelique Kidjo, Fink, and David Gilmore – to name but a few.

But above all, he is a solo artist in his own right, who has crafted a unique sonic & visual experience through avant garde and extended techniques, equipped with an eclectic musical palate.

On his solo work, The Quietus says Colin ‘has totally eclipsed the flare of these heavyweights with a series of brutalist yet ambitious and exhilarating records’. He produces enigmatic, physical, strenuous music which courses and caterwauls through a reminiscence of dark jazz, post-rock and industrial electronica.

Colin has perfected the technique of circular breathing and with his live shows, literally ties himself to the grizzly beast; as the performer and instrument grapple together in a hypnotic whirl they almost blur into one.

I guess where it started to get interesting for me was when I realised you didn’t have to only learn from or mimic other players of your chosen instrument, regardless of what it might be. So much more can be gleaned if you do the same thing with other instruments and different sound sources entirely.”– Colin Stetson

For an fascinating interview with Stetson about Mastering the Flow click [here]

Considered a prodigy in his teens, Colin was thrust in to the limelight; in freshman year he was instantly playing in a sax quartet and the main symphonic band whilst majoring in visual art. He speaks of how during this time ‘the challenge to live up to the hype is quite real.’ and as a result he has maintained a solid work ethic throughout his life, ‘it was just an all-intensive and personally challenging regimen, which pretty much sets you up for a lifetime of living that way.’.

When it comes to mastering an instrument in the way Colin has, many may envisage a vitamin D deficient recluse locked away in a dark room running scales until their fingers drop off. Practice is of course a huge factor but also the physical demands of performing in this way requires peak fitness – and Colin is something of a musical athlete.

Natural ability, practice, eclectic palate, work ethic and artistic collaboration are what contribute to creating this intriguing, well rounded musician but something which ties this all together beautifully is the immediate emotivity you hear when you put on a Colin Stetson record or watch him perform.

It was his long standing dream to work with musical hero Tom Waits. One hazy early morning in his San Fransisco home at the age of 23 the phone rings, Colin drearily answers and it’s Tom Waits on the line. He’s got his number through a mutual friend, bassist Matthew Sperry. This friend had changed the course of his life. For the next year and a half Colin and Matthew played regularly in Tom Waits’ band until one day, Colin received another life-altering phone call saying Matthew had been hit by a car on his way to work and had been killed, leaving behind a wife and 2 year old daughter. The much-loved Matthew’s untimely death had a profound effect on Stetson as he states:

“I tell the first part of the story to set up the second part of the story – what we think is all important and life-altering events when we’re young, they pale in comparison to the things that actually do touch us on a real meaningful level and change us in ways that I think are long lasting and are actually what we should be looking for in our lives.”

Such sentiments and sensitivity can certainly be heard in Colin’s rich, all encompassing sound.

Listen and watch his most recent release from the forthcoming album ‘All this I do for Glory’

Out April 28th 2017

[pre-order here]




Listen back to The Supersonic Take-over Show


On Friday night we hosted our first Supersonic Take-over Show on Brum Radio.

Over 2 hours we delved in to the first 10 acts to be announced for this year’s festival. Listening to tunes from the artists, their influences and interesting sound bites & interviews.

This is SURE to get you in the mood for our festival this June!

Big thanks to Brum Radio for hosting: www.brumradio.com

REMEMBER, tickets on sale NOW!

AND we have a special group ticket deal on with 5 weekend tickets for the price of 4 – so round up the troops!


Supersonic Take Over Show on Brum Radio


Tonight, at 10pm, listen LIVE to Brum Radio for the Supersonic Take Over Show.

For two hours we explore the first 10 acts to be announced for this year’s festival. We play tunes from the artists, listen to their influences and inter-splice interesting sound bites and interviews we’ve discovered along the way.

You can listen along [here]

Or listen back on [mixcloud] or [soundcloud]



Steve Davis: Cued Up



(photo credit: Matt Bohill)

“Steve Davis makes the point that if anyone ever tried to push him off balance, he would waver not to the left, right or backwards, but only forwards.”

Steve Davis on snooker stance

With Kavus Torabi, DJ Bus Replacement Service and techno legend Surgeon in tow, Steve returns to The Hare and Hounds, Kings Heath for ROUND 3 of the ultimate alternative club night – yes 3, it’s THAT good! Act fast, tickets sold out way in advance last time – facebook event page HERE

Steve Davis – the legendary sporting phenomenon from the 80s who took snooker to new heights and as presenter of The Interesting Alternative Show on Phoenix FM brought prog and jazz oddities to his cult audience, now turns his hands to the decks. A real game changer: a real forward thinker.

Listen back to the archive of The Interesting Alternative Show:

We at Supersonic began to wonder about the science, the physics behind being both snooker champion and superstar DJ.

An insightful article on snooker technique at http://www.fcsnooker.co.uk/ assists with this comparison:

“Players should not be bound by principles generally laid down in previous books. If need be, they should experiment and find out if they can achieve their objectives in other ways.”

“What suits one player will not automatically suit another”.

“Discover the stance that works best for you and do not copy others. Try and focus on what is happening on top of the table and not what is happening beneath.”

From snooker, to turn, the table is a place Steve Davis is well on top of. He is certainly not bound by previously laid principles and experiments with an atypical approach to bringing the party.

It’s a hobby which he claims has spun out of control. His notorious 2016 Glastonbury set at the 500 capacity Stonebridge bar with partner in crime Kavus Torabi was mobbed by a curious turned shocked and enthralled crowd. With a packed out DJ diary since, Steve and Kavus have continued to woo party goers from Bluedot to Bloc Festival, from all around the UK to Thailand and beyond. Drawing from an eclectic array of influences: Magma, Caravan, Oscar Perry, Soft Machine and Gong to name but a few – Steve & Kavus spin together a unique set in their quest to deliver the music they love to lovers of the party.

For an article on the 10 records that changed Steve’s life, click [here]

According to http://snookerdelight.com, here are the steps towards taking the perfect snooker shot:

[DJ edit]

(we’re really enjoying this metaphor)

Step 1: Determine where you want the cue ball to go

Step 2: Determine where the cue ball will strike the object ball audience

Step 3: Determine how to strike the cue ball – pace and position 

Step 4: Stand behind the intended line of the cue ball (NOTE: this is where a lot of amateur players get into trouble) (NOTE: remain behind the booth. OR stand on it if you’re Kavus Torabi)

Step 5: Walk into the shot in a specific consistent way finger point dance

Step 6: Feather and pause as needed [errr?]

Step 7: Strike the cue ball [DROP]

OK I think we’ve laboured the point long enough. This is going to be a championship worthy set!



Anna Von Hausswolff: The Pipes are Calling


I see it coming closer now

I see it very clear

The tree, the spring, the history, the spirits that are there

I see it coming closer now

The picture of a place

I see myself inside the house

I’m covering my face

– Evocation, Anna Von Hausswolff

Seated at the historic 1834 organ, the launch of this year’s festival in Birmingham’s Town Hall is lead by the formidable fingertips of Anna Von Hausswolff.

Since her debut 2010 album ‘Singing from the Grave’, she has gradually developed from a more self-contained, intimate chamber-pop sound to a gargantuan, ethereal beast of sonority which totally envelops the listener, evident in most recent 2015 album ‘The Miraculous’.

“The genesis of The Miraculous is a tangled backstory. Inspired in parts by a previous song she had written (the 20-minute epic, ‘Källan’), a book by the same name (by Swedish author Walter Ljungquist), a Russian war film (1985’s Come And See) and, most intriguingly, a magical childhood place that Anna still visits regularly and that she calls the ‘miraculous’. Anna talks about the place with a sense of wonder; the unnamed spot is an area of breathtaking natural beauty and once provided the backdrop to a bloody uprising, and is now entwined with fantastical stories created by family von Hausswolff.”

For a fascinating insight into the conjuring of ‘The Miraculous’ album, courtesy of The Quietus, delve [here].

Hailing from Gothenburg, Sweden, Anna Von Hausswolff is the daughter of avant-garde sound artist Carl Michael Von Hausswolff. Surrounded by art and creative minds all her life, Anna began singing in choirs and attended music high school where she studied music in a very traditional classical setting. In the spring time, her family would listen to Tchaikovsky and eat waffles. At 15 she began blending classical music elements into pop structures and wrote her first song at the piano. She released her debut single ‘Track of Time’, on 5 February 2010.

Although she says that now, in some ways, she is not so far away from that 15 year old girl – 15 years on it is clear how her compositional approach has broadened as she speaks of capturing the sound of tree-bark on her latest album, not by recording the sound but by creating an image through musical interpretation. Her music has become even more sonically aware & sophisticated – perhaps an influence of her fathers? Or too, the masters of noise rock SWANS whom she toured with last year?

Whatever Anna’s sonic choices, she remains entirely emotive. Relying on intuition to guide her through the song-writing process. It starts with a pattern on her synthesised organ, if it settles it repeats, a pattern then grows and if the urge takes her she sings but if it doesn’t the piece remains instrumental. Quite simple really. The complexity that follows is in the intricate arrangements and carefully positioned microphones to capture the necessary frequencies from the pipe organ to create a vast sonic landscape. And this is what is so captivating about Anna’s music; the simplicity juxtaposed with ornate detail.

Having toyed with organ synthesisers, it wasn’t until the first day of recording ‘Ceremony’, her second album released in 2013, that she played a real pipe organ for the first time and then went on to write 2 albums with this instrument at the helm. She’d also entered the world of Drone music, listening to the likes of Earth and Barn Owl. Her first live performance on a pipe organ was at Lincoln Cathedral that same year and in rehearsal, the church staff voiced fears her playing was too loud for the legendary Henry Willis organ, and banned her from playing on certain reed pipes, which meant rearranging the 20minute long piece ‘Källan’ entirely. Then, just 30 minutes before the show after practicing again she was banned from using any of the reed pipes at all.

“It was the first time I was going to perform my pieces in front of an audience on a real pipe organ and I panicked. I needed to accept what the staff were saying as if I broke the organ I wouldn’t be invited to play a pipe organ show ever again. I totally improvised the second part of the piece ‘Källan’ in front of the audience and, while it was very scary, it went really well. It was a new kind of audience for me as it was an experimental music festival where I thought people might be listening in a more thorough way. I thought they might see through me and think me an amateur, but I was very focussed on the sounds I was making, and as ‘Källan’ is quite a slow piece, I had time to think about the next part. I learned that in those situations even if things take an unexpected turn, you can work your way from that point.”

With great skill, comes great improvisation. A key feature now in Anna’s music. Her live shows are an ever changing exploration of her songs and their structures. With ‘Ceremony’ she explored themes of Death and the dominating, heavy sound of the live organ. Anna says, ‘Death is a good reminder of what you should be concerned about.’ and nothing summons up this sentiment more than the sound of the pipes calling.

And they called her back for third album ‘The Miraculous’.

Another totally enigmatic element to Anna’s sound which is important to note is – her voice. And it seems with her most recent output it has been unleashed to it’s full potential. Moments of Bjork-esque cascading fragility are soon upturned with bone-shattering shrieks and growls, harking the influence of Diamanda Galás.

Upon reflection, Anna describes ‘The Miraculous’ as conceptual in the sense of capturing the atmosphere of ‘a place’ but equally a very emotional, personal endeavour. To understand this album is to somewhat understand the artist as a whole and her journey to date. It is how she sees ‘the place’ today and how some things have lingered on and some things she’s left out purposefully as they’re no longer ringing true.

In interviews, Anna doesn’t want to get in to the geography of ‘the place’, ‘The Miraculous’; she is more interested in preserving it’s sanctity. It is sacred. Much like her choice of instrument in the pipe organ. Both ‘the place’ and the organ are somewhere Anna embarks on a pilgrimage to; unmovable, abstract yet tangible. And when she arrives she sees ‘the history present itself’ to her which she then interprets into something new and deeply fascinating.

We at Supersonic cannot wait to bear witness to what this gothic tour-de-force will present us with this June as she launches this year’s festival.

Weekend Plus tickets include her opening concert on Friday night at Town Hall – they are on sale NOW!