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.
Free spirited Finnish artist Laura Naukkarinen. Since the release of her celebrated debut full length Kuutarha on Chicago’s Locust Music in 2005, Lau Nau has enjoyed considerable recognition for her intimate and playful blend of ethnic tinged folk songs with curious and intuitive sounds conjured from familiar and exotic sound sources.
Tomutonttu is a creature who looks after all the dust. Jan Anderzen is a Tampere based artist who rearranges images and sounds and makes the music of Tomutonttu audible. Read streams, mutilated voices, groovy animal noises and records other people have made are some of the ingredients Anderzen uses to mold his ecstatic music. Someone described it like this: a confusing close-up of music, a microcosmos of strange sound events and dirt flying around in stereo space, interacting with a logic all of their own. Jan Anderzen is also the leader of the band Kemialliset Ystävät and one of the most recognized Finnish experimental music makers. He’s actively performing around the world and his discography is a labyrinth reflecting the nature of his art.
Islaja is Merja Kokkonen, a visual artist and musician living and working in Berlin, Germany.
Since her debut in 2004, she has released four album-length works on Finland’s Fonal Records and one CD on Thurston Moore’s Ecstatic Peace label, as well as a series of singles on labels such as Not Not Fun and Root Strata.
She earned quick praise in the international music press for her unique vocal style and daring DIY approach to music composition, with kudos from the Wire magazine, Dusted, Pitchfork, Coke Machine Glow and Tiny Mix Tapes.
Her most recent work, Keraaminen Pää (Fonal 2010) also won praise in her native Finland, and was called “soulful, heartfelt” by Prefix Magazine while Pitchfork noted its “icy synth tones, crunchy samples and abstract gurgles.”
In addition to her solo work, she also performs with Finnish free folk supertrio Hertta Lussu Ässä, which released a full length in 2011 on Minneapolis label De Stijl records.
Islaja performs regularly at venues and festivals across Europe and the UK, and has shared the stage with bands as diverse as Animal Collective, Low, Handsome Furs, Skaters and Junip.
A much-loved musical spectacle in his native Newcastle for many years now, Richard Dawson is a skewed troubadour who sings and plays guitar with a rare intensity and a very singular style. Dawson’s music is a collision of opposites, his hoarsely cracking voice suddenly rising to a magical soar that’s been compared to Tim Buckley, John Martyn and Richard Youngs, while his battered acoustic guitar veers from stumble to sublime in a way that can recall Sir Richard Bishop or Captain Beefheart. Add this to his snaring way with words and Dawson’s got you pinned
SWLLWS is the dream-based solo project of Midlands artist Sian Macfarlane. Channelling electronic transmissions from the owl house, swathes of synths, found sounds and whispers interact with delicate melodies and choirs of ghostly vocals.
SWLLWS arrives at the Supersonic festival after a trail of limited edition tapes and cd-rs and well received slots at the Rammel Weekender, Nottingham, Radio Black Forest’s Fell Foot Festival, and support slots for the likes of US Girls, Josephine Foster, Peaking Lights and Grouper, where she performed a specially commissioned piece ‘SÉANCE”. The Supersonic performance will continue to explore these themes.
A unique energy, Jarboe’s music draws from a variety of charged sources. Her 14-year involvement with Swans cemented her place as an icon in avante garde music and she has worked prolifically as a solo artist and collaborator since. Her delivery has been described as voice acting and also channeling. A primary objective for Jarboe is to close in on the gap in the audience/performer relationship via complete submission and vicarious experience through her performance.
Jarboe will be bringing her “Intimate Indemnity” tour to Supersonic Festival 2012. This tour will feature Jarboe and classically trained pianist Renee Valentine Nelson performing songs of Swans and World Of Skin and solo Jarboe songs from her newest records entitled Indemnity 1 and 2 and will focus on singing, melody, intimacy.
Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe is an artist and multi instrumentalist working with voice in the realm of spontaneous music Through collaboration Robert has worked with such artists as Lucky Dragons, Alan Licht, Lee Ranaldo, White/Light, Kevin Martin, Tyondai Braxton and Genesis P-Orridge. http://www.lichensarealive.com/
Legendary Earth guitarist Dylan Carlson recently set out to pursue a solo endeavour, up to now he has released a cassette as drcarlsonalbion but there still remains an air of mystery and much anticipation as to what direction this solo musical endeavour will go next. For Supersonic, he will be teaming up with a number of other musicians including Teresa Colamonaco on vocals, Michael York on bagpipes, and Rogier Small on snare drum.
If you enjoy it slow and low, Germany’s Bohren & Der Club Of Gore will very likely do the trick. In fact, with each subsequent release the German quartet’s music grows increasingly refined.
Bohren are often dubbed doom-jazz, though this hardly defines the sound. Consider, maybe, the recent crop of jazz-oriented Rune Grammofon releases, then remove 1/2 of the notes and replace any and all folksiness with foreboding minimalist dirge and a Sunn 0))) streak. Now, mix in some John Cage, because Bohren & der Club of Gore are masters of silence, using space and shadows to create (and maintain) dynamics. They appeal to listeners of black metal as well as drone. But for all of that gloom/doom, one could also see them appealing to fans of minimalist ambience and spare electronics, as well those who enjoy adventurous “out” jazz. But regardless of your genre identification, you’d do best to concentrate, and let it work its way into your head. Time is on their side.
The primary musical project of guitarist Ben Chasny, formed in 1998 in northern California. Chasny’s music is largely guitar-based, however it includes eastern influences, marked by drones, chimes, and eclectic percussive elements. The band is associated with numerous current scenes, most notably the New Weird America movement.
As a member of San Francisco legends Tarentel and Type’s premier astral travellers The Alps, Jefre Cantu-Ledesma is hardly a new addition to the label, so it’s hard to believe that ‘Love Is A Stream’ is his first Type solo album. Previously releasing on Arbor, Spekk and his own Root Strata imprint, this latest album marks his journey into the beautifully cacophonous world of dream pop.
Shoegaze music has been much maligned in recent years, probably due to its rebirth and subsequent explosion of popularity (which gave rise to hundreds of young bands aping the over twenty-year-old sound). However it was only a fragment of the genre that these bands attempted to re-create, and on ‘Love Is A Stream’ Cantu, instead of focusing on tired weeping melancholy ballads, focuses solely on expansive, almost noise-ridden hopefulness. This is the kind of noise we fell in love with when My Bloody Valentine blew our ear drums performing ‘Loveless’, or the kind of harmonic excess we heard on hundredth listen to Catherine Wheel’s ‘Ferment’, but taken into deeper, more abstract realms.
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.
Australian guitarist and sound designer Oren Ambarchi is performing at Supersonic 2011 in collaboration with the FIRE! trio of Mats Gustafsson from The Thing (saxophone/rhodes), Johan Berthling from Tape (bass) and Andreas Werliin from Wildbirds and Peacedrums (percussion). Originally a drummer, he came to the guitar by accident, investigating its sound properties rather than learning traditional techniques. A good entry point into his work is ‘Grapes From The Estate’ album (Touch, 2004), a masterful exploration of ambient guitar and electronics. More recently, he has collaborated with Stephen O’Malley and Attilar Csihar as Gravetemple.
1. Which five words describe what you know about Supersonic?
Lovely people and killer shows
2. What can people expect of your collaboration with FIRE! at the festival?
In all honesty I don’t know what to expect as the Supersonic show will be the first time we’ve worked together(!).
Additionally I’ll be flying all the way from Australia for 30+ hrs, landing at Heathrow, driving straight to Birmingham and hitting it immediately so…it should be awesome, hahaha. I must say that I’m a fan of all the guys in the band so I’m really excited to work with them.
3. Why make music – what does it do for you that nothing else does?
I often think about what drives us to do this stuff, this stuff that continually tortures & haunts us..(or me anyway as it can be a struggle at times). Mostly for me I think it’s the search for beauty/ecstasy. When I’m going for something & it doesn’t work, I can get super depressed for days. But when it ‘works’ there’s no other feeling that comes close and I’m always striving to get to this state again & again. I’m really addicted to it.
4. Who else on the bill are you hoping to see? (And why?)
Well, definitely Tony Conrad. I’ve seen him a number of times but I can’t get enough of his work, especially in a live context. He’s super important to me. Also totally psyched to see Cut Hands. I’m a huge Whitehouse/Bennett fan, I love the way he’s fused this ecstatic trance inducing voodou vibe with noise. There’s plenty of other friends playing at the fest who I’m looking forward to hanging with & listening to, there’s definitely a great breadth to all the lineups at Supersonic.
5. Finally, your essential ‘surviving-Supersonic’ items are…
Melatonin, ear-plugs, finding a decent restaurant (ahem) and a good single-malt.
British experimental musician Alexander Tucker releases his Thrill Jockey debut Dorwytch in April 2011. This 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’s sound has developed over the years since his first self-titled solo album, which featured acoustic finger-picking, experimental electronics and was released on Jackie O Motherfucker’s U-Sound Archives label. Three years in the making Dorwytch finds Tucker refining his song craft and introducing minimalist string movements that build into dense spiraling riffs around his distinct vocals. This album will beguile and entice the listener, placing Tucker at the forefront of the experimental pop landscape.
A very special performance at Supersonic Festival will see a performance of this new material matched with projections of films made specially for the event The performance is a extension of the Alexander Tucker visual world of hair beings and other worldly creatures.
The compositions of Bell’s music for banjo and other various instruments has been ongoing since the early nineties. He is probably most famous for his bass playing in Lungfish and the duel guitar compositions of Human Bell.
On the latest recording ‘ Colors’ (Lancashire & Somerset) he plays cyclic banjo music – sometimes delayed – sometimes bowed creating medative hymns for the soul. 8 tracks that flow like an abstract sound poem with Nathan’s hypnotic banjo mantras wound around percussion, bass, trumpet viola and cello. Recorded and played on by Peter Townsend (Bonnie”Prince”Billy, Superwolf, King Kong, Human Bell) in Baltimore, Louisville and Nashville”.
TONY CONRAD is a giant in the American soundscape. Since the early 1960s, he has utilized intense amplification, long duration and precise pitch to forge an aggressively mesmerizing “Dream Music. “Conrad articulated the Big Bang of “minimalism” and played a pivotal role in the formation of the Velvet Underground. Conrad continues to exert a primal influence over succeeding generations with his ecstatic oscillations and hypnotic drones.
“Tony Conrad is a pioneer, as seminal in his way to American music as Johnny Cash or Captain Beefheart or Ornette Coleman, one of those really savvy old guys whom all the kids want to emulate because their ideas, their style are electric and new and somehow indivisible.” Atlanta Journal-Constitution
“Conrad invents a new musical language … unbearably intense and gloriously ecstatic.” The Wire
Agathe Max is a French musician based in Lyon. She mostly performs as a solo violin act, enhanced with various loops, distortions and other effects. She has been very much on tour in the last few years sharing gigs with important international acts such as Carla Bozulich, Jonathan Kane, Rhys Chattam, David Daniell and Melt Banana. Her music is either composed or improvised, depending of the shape of the project. In addition to her musical career, Agathe Max is also a visual artist, a jeweller and an activist in the musical and artistic community in Lyon. http://www.myspace.com/agathemax
Pekko Käppi studied jouhikko playing at the Ala-Könni School in Kaustinen in 1997 and since then it has been his main instrument. As a singer and a researcher he is well-versed in the Finnish runo-singing tradition. He graduated from the Department of Music Anthropology at the University of Tampere. His debut album “Jos ken pahoin uneksii” was released in 2007 and nominated for the Finnish ethno-grammy award. Currently Käppi is teaching at the Folk Music Department of Sibelius-Academy. Kappi has a strong ethnomusical approach in his work, but has worked with various artists across different genres of music.
This duo between two keyboard players, Steve Tromans and Dan Nicholls, provides an intriguing collaboration in the great tradition of Supersonic duos. It has two players playing Fender Rhodes pianos, interacting with each other and improvising around compositions scored by Dan.
“Fearlessly exploring the margins of regular jazz and free-improv.”
John Fordham, The Guardian
“Painfully young and unnervingly talented” American multi instrumentalist Peter Broderick explores minimalism and instrumentalism with tinges of folk. In mid 2007, Peter was invited by some of his heroes, the Danish ensemble Efterklang, to move to Copenhagen and join their live band. And so he dropped his entire life in Portland and moved across the world. Since then, he has also released a series of solo albums including ‘Docile’, a mini album of piano music and an album of string compositions.
Enter the tiny musical world of Pierre Bastien and Małe Instrumenty. French composer and surrealist inventor Pierre Bastien has been building musical machinery since the 1970s and has worked with artists as diverse as Robert Wyatt and Issey Miyake. His delicate, minimal music created from meccano and pocket trumpet has delighted audiences worldwide. Sharing the bill is Małe Instrumenty, a fantastic five piece orchestra of toys and small instruments from Wrocław, Poland.
Since 1991 Vicki Bennett has been making CDs, radio, and A/V multimedia under the name People Like Us. By animating and recontextualising found footage collages Vicki gives an equally witty and dark view of popular culture with a surrealistic edge.
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