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We all know that Supersonic have got a Barn Owl exclusive this year don’t we? Well indeed we have – the festival will be their only UK date on this trip. To add to our Barn Owl excitement, the band have just unveiled a brand new video for the song ‘Turiya‘ from the current ‘Lost in the Glare‘ album. Have a look below. Directed by their regular film collaborator John Davis, the film features some really nice light diffusion and complements the slow-burn of ‘Turiya‘ perfectly.
For our tenth Q&A, we welcome Basque country sludge-metallers Monarch! With some of the slowest tempos and heaviest dirges around, Monarch! promise to be a revelation at Supersonic 2011. Read on.
1. Which five words describe what you know about Supersonic? Rob Shaffer : Respected international experimental music festival.
Michell Bidegain : Criminally loud public address systems.
Shiran Kaidin : Eclectic, surprising, loud, classy and crunchy.
Emilie Bresson : Fun, fucking good loud music
2. What can people expect of Monarch at the festival? Rob S. : Extreme nothingness.
Michell : A 13bpm black mass.
Shiran : Slow and loud vibrations.
Emilie : A slow motion march to the end of all.
3. Why make music – what does it do for you that nothing else does? Rob S. : Music forces one to exist in the present moment, and provides the possibility of expressing true emotion which listeners could choose to feel as well .
Michell : Denim and leather. No explanation as to why, just a constant driving need to make music.
Shiran : Music is the way to express what cannot be described.
Emilie: It makes me be myself and, for a moment, it makes me forget about anything else but the music we play.
4. Who else on the bill are you hoping to see? (And why?) Rob S. : There are many legendary performers playing this festival, i am hoping to see zombi because their music makes me feel good, electric wizard for their crushing rythm and volume, zu3 for david tibet, secret chiefs 3 for their non pretentious technicality. i hope to see as many artists as possible really.
Michell : Zombi, Turbonegro, WITTR, Electric Wizard, Secret Chiefs 3.
Shiran : Electric Wizard, TRBNGR, Wolves in the throne room, Bardo Pond and Secret Chief 3.
Emilie : Same here!
5. Finally, your essential ‘surviving-Supersonic’ items are… Rob S : Good friends.
Michell : Beer.
Shiran : Ears and eyes will be enough I think.
Emilie : My ear plugs.
Now this is a tricky one. Secret Chiefs 3 have posted a sampler of their new 7″, a record they hope to have for sale at their Supersonic show. Except it’s not by Secret Chiefs 3. Though it might be. Kind of. What are we talking about?
It seems to go like this: Secret Chiefs 3 was started by former Mr Bungle man Trey Spruance (him above) in the mid 90s. They seemingly play everything from surf rock to death metal to Persian funk. But again, they sort of don’t. What is clear is that Spruance creates a new branch from the Secret Chiefs t(h)ree every time he gets an urge to go in a particular direction. Which brings us back to this new 7″ – it’s actually a split 7″ between Ishraqiyun and FORMS and you can listen right here. ‘Split’ seems to a good word for this whole project. And what does it sound like? There’s no way we can do a better description job that the band themselves:
“An unassuming but brilliant piece by Bernard Hermann was hidden in the background during the 1951 film The Day the Earth Stood Still. Originally just piano, vibes and timpani, “Radar” now gets exploded into an uncalled-for over-exposure, via the world’s only fully organic, wood & spirit mechanized orchestra, FORMS.”
In their own words, Pharaoh Overlord play “hypno-improv-stoner-rock”. Featuring three members of the Finnish group Circle (also playing Supersonic 2011), Jussi Lehtisalo, Janne Westerlund and Tomi Leppänen started up Pharaoh Overlord just over a decade ago to explore their love of stoner-rock. Since then, they’ve boiled it right down to its essence, each new record taking a different trip. Then again, their ‘Out Of Darkness’ album from earlier this year took a sharp, unexpected turn into the heart of true heavy metal. Their ‘Live in Suomi’ album even features Joachim Irmler of Faust, both performing and remixing. All of which was enough to inspire Roadburn Festival to host them as artists-in-residence this year.
The band’s new record ‘Horn’ (Ektro Records) is a further departure for the band. This is nasty, noisy full-on art rock from the outer reaches of space, like early Sonic Youth tearing it up with Crazy Cavan & the Rhythm Rockers. We reckon this is really satisfying head-music that’ll move your body too. The album features a cover of Spacemen 3’s ‘Revolution’, which may or may not be the tune they’re playing on the Roadburn 2011 clip below. You tell us. Either way, it’s a quarter of an hour of zoned-out, one-chord magic.
We’re always making links between the disparate worlds of artists here at Supersonic and today we bring together three unique artists who all share a simple common bond. Pekko Kappi, Tony Conrad and Agathe Max all use bowed instruments in their music, all with very different techniques and to different ends, each highly skilled.
Finland’s Pekko Kappi plays the Jouhikko, the ancient Finnish-Karelian bowed lyre. He got involved with the Jouhikko in 1997 in the Ala-Könni–institute of Kaustinen and ever since has been studying the tradition with the master players of Finland, Estonia and Sweden. This particular lyre was played with a bow as early as in the European Middle Ages although in the area around the Baltic Sea there is evidence of both bowed and plucked lyres. In Estonia and Eastern Finland the Jouhikko remained in use until the beginning of the 20th century. Kappi is one of a number of players investigated this instrument and bringing it alive for new generations.
Tony Conrad is a legendary figure in both film and music for many people. He was an early member of the New York-based ensemble The Dream Syndicate alongside La Monte Young, Marian Zazeela and John Cale, using continuous tones to create what they called ‘dream music’. Conrad’s first musical release was 1972’s ‘Outside the Dream Syndicate’ collaboration with Faust (check out our Spotify playlist for a track from that) but he released very little work until a series of box sets in the past decade. His film work is justifiably lauded too and his early piece ‘The Flicker’ is considered a landmark of the late 1960s structural film movement. One more fact? His father was Arthur Conrad who worked with Everett Warner during World War II designing dazzle camouflage for the US Navy.
Agathe Max is a violinist from Lyon, France. With an elegant command of melody and a strident use of rhythm, Max creates dynamic, fast-flowing loop pieces that encompass noise, post-classicism and krautrock with nods to the High Lonesome Raga as filtered through Henry Flynt. Her current album ‘This Silver String’ has been really well received in many places. “Agathe Max delivers a drone to keep the earth turning on its axis, with a keen and romantic sense of swing. Everything you need to have a good time” – Jonathan Kane.
Supersonic 2010 attendees will perhaps need no introduction to the stunning dust-trails of sound that San Franciscan duo Barn Owl create. The band were so well received that we just had to get them back for Supersonic 2011. In the past year, the praise for their mesmerising drones and layered feedback has slowly built up into a huge wall of superlatives. It’s taking all our strength here at Capsule to avoid waxing lyrical about “hauntingly beautiful sonic waterfalls” and the like! Rock-A-Rolla even went so far as to say that their 2010 album ‘Ancestral Star’ on Thrill Jockey was “the most significant experimental drone album since [SunnO)))’s] ‘Monoliths & Dimensions’”.
What you definitely get with Barn Owl is a hugely powerful immersive experience. Frequently playing in front of modified super 8 footage, the twin guitars of Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras intertwine instinctively, equal parts slow-burning twang and spaced-out feedback drone. It’s hard to stop those superlatives flowing. The band have just released a new EP ‘Shadowlands‘ that adds a devotional aspect reflective of artists like Popul Vuh (especially their soundtrack for the Werner Herzog film ‘Fitzcarraldo’) and Alice Coltrane, and their new full-length ‘Lost In The Glare‘ will be out on 13th September. (Free mp3 here.) Both Caminiti and Porras are solo artists releasing on labels like Root Strata and Three Lobed Recordings and Caminiti is also an established visual artist.
For our seventh Q&A the questions are being fired at British experimental musician Alexander Tucker. Tucker has become a established presence in the freak-folk-improv scene since his debut album was released by Tom Greenwood (Jackie OMF)’s U-Sound Archives label in 2003. He released his new album Dorwytch on Thrill Jockey Records in April 2011 and will be performing it in its entirety at Supersonic. The record breaks new ground for Tucker by combining minimalist string arrangements with electronic manipulations and drones to produce doom chamber-pop songs and psychedelic music-concrete collages. Tucker also has a duo with Stephen O’Malley and is an established visual artist.
1. Which five words describe what you know about Supersonic? Sonic, hairy, friendly, psych, people !
2. What can people expect of your set at the festival? The set will include hairy yeti beings, fog, mind-bending electronics and astral projections.
3. Why make music – what does it do for you that nothing else does? I make music to illuminate the inner being, escape the doom, conjure up the almighty spirit and to communicate with my fellow human beings.
4. Who else on the bill are you hoping to see? (And why?) I want to see both Circle and Pharaoh Overlord because they are both fuckin awesome, Bardo Pond because they are the best band in the world, Tony Conrad because he’s shit hot.
5. Finally, your essential ‘surviving-Supersonic’ items are. Mary Jane, Stout, food and water, outrageously over sized metal t-shirts.
“Fuzzed-out motorik space-rock” is what the band call it. There’s more than a little twisted psychedelic glam in there too, but White Hills are really one of those bands that creates their own worlds. Check out bass player Ego Sensation’s video channel to get an insight into their visual style. It reminds the Supersonic team of Alejandro Jodorowsky’s films like El Topo and Sante Sangre – they’re filled with violently surreal imagery, all warped-out montages and jump-cut shocks. It’s hard to work out whether this is serious, fun, deliberate or insane – or all of the above – but the sensory onslaught definitely starts to get a little more understandable when you hear from Ego Sensation:
We can barely pay our rent each month but we are willing to pull out our credit cards and go into debt each time a new iPhone promises a better connection. The joke is on us. Our greater connectivity has caused us to disconnect from our humanity. We have been sold the religion of consumerism to feed the corporate machine. We have been tricked into believing that wanting our tax dollars to pay for our own health care is treacherous to the ideals of a democratic society. H-p1 is symbolic of the simplification of complex ideas to keep the masses from questioning the system.
For our third Supersonic artist Q&A, we present – from Baltimore, USA – Nathan Osmodius Bell. Bell plays astounding, cyclical banjo pieces making creative use of delay and bowing techniques. His music is sometimes sparse, sometimes urgent, but always inventive and the current album ‘Colors‘ on Lancashire & Somerset Records is as good a place as any to enter his world. Bell was also the bass player in Lungfish and has a duo called Human Bell with Dave Heumann from Arboretum. Clever name, clever musician.
1. Which five words describe what you know about Supersonic?
Five times speed of sound.
2. What can people expect of you at the festival?
The channeling of music five times the sound of speed, a one man band with the help of a few others, jamming out cosmic rhythms, in a string ensemble crafting poignant melodic scores, elevating and resonating deep in internal tunes. A church of the metaphysical “Tall Praises High Spirit band.
3. Why make music – what does it do for you that nothing else does?
Because music is a gift and to truly appreciate this gift then one should be able to submit, to channel it thru. music is medicine, medicine is music. Soul food for the brain. It closes two eyes to open the third.
4. Who else on the bill are you hoping to see?
Bardo Pond, Skull Defekts.
5. Finally, your essential ‘surviving-Supersonic’ items are…
One banjo, guitar, drums, harmonica, a prayer and a praise for the music.
Listen to songs from Nathan Bell’s current album ‘Colors‘ (Lancashire & Somerset Records).
We announced more fantastic bands for Supersonic 2011 a fortnight ago, including Cut Hands, Berg Sans Nipple, Part Chimp, Alexander Tucker and Alva Noto/Byetone. For your listening pleasure, here is a new Spotify playlist featuring all the artists. Enjoy!
Brothers Caleb and Ashton Bird grew up in the woods of Southern Illinois where they first started making loud, heavy music together as young boys and they haven’t stopped since.
Their latest musical partnership called TWEAK BIRD is a band driven by big drums, fuzzed out baritone guitar and tandem spacey vocal melodies. The sound is a swirl of catchy and raw stoner-pop bits that are spliced, blended and expanded upon with unique sections of instrumentation including saxophone, flute, theremin, and even some gong for good measure. But don’t expect any typical lengthy progressive jams with these guys, they make quick work of their arrangements and leave surprises around every corner. They are both brutal and subtle so keep your ears sharp and have fun! www.myspace.com/tweakbird
Flautist Kelly Jones performance veers seamlessly from Anthony Braxton styled free playing to a haunted elongated droning style akin to Isnaj Dui. Pascal Nichols, the percussive element of the duo, splatters sporadically in a fractured rainfall, faintly disrupting proceedings to begin with, then forcefully propelling the musical structure into steadier rhythms. This primitive structure is forced in amplified rackets via free jazz techniques and improvisation. www.myspace.com/partwildhorsesmaneonbothsides
Chicago based band on Drag City. Cave core themselves round sickeningly tight drum and bass that drive like an armoured vehicle, whilst the sinewy guitar work punctuates aggressively. Think cosmic grooves and full on psych wig out. www.myspace.com/realreelpro
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Spontaneous improvisational composition by form and function is the basis for Lichens. Injecting evolution and natural process into the art form is key. Reflection of internalized experience illuminates symbiosis, serendipity and syncronicity ultimately opening the door. Mistakeisms prevail, time only tells and future past is the next window.
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe is Lichens. Through collaboration Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe has worked withWhite/Light, Cloudland Canyon, Michael Zerang, Joshua Micah Abrams, Alan Licht, Hisham Bharoocha, Rose Lazar, Bird Show(Ben Vida), Doug Aitken, Butchy Fuego, Lee Ranaldo, Twilight, Lucky Dragons, David Scott Stone, Rob Barber (High Places), Patrick Smith, Koen Holtkamp (Mountains), Jonas Asher (Grasslung), Ian Wadley, Rhys Chatham and Om.