SUNN O))) + Anna Von Hausswolff

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Credit: Ronald Dick

We are delighted to welcome back to Birmingham this October SUNN 0))) plus very special guests. This live performance is in support of their new album, Life Metal, their first new studio album in four years.

In July 2018 Sunn O))) spent just over two weeks in Chicago at Electrical Audio (Studio A) with Steve Albini at the helm. The results are astounding: there is breadth and luminosity of colour, it sounds vast. The sessions were impeccably recorded, authentically represented and completely accurate. The spectrum cracked the firmament open in clarity. An all analogue technique was used, they recorded and mixed on tape, providing a creative gateway for Sunn O))) to evolve their production methods into stronger, confident, performance based and a more logical executive process. The album was mastered and lacquers cut from tape in October by Sunn O))) ally Matt Colton at Alchemy in London. The LP version is a AAA album, recorded and mixed on tape via a completely analogue production, from the input of the band’s amplifiers and the air coming off the speakers in front of the microphones to the needle touching the pressed vinyl on your turntable.

 

 

Supporting, we welcome back Anna Von Hausswolff to the stage after her headline performance on our Supersonic Sunday. Her music defies categorisation, it is not about gothic rock, pop, drone, dark music or metal, this is music of the spirit and the blood; the feast and the ritual; the baptism and the epitaph; life and its absence in all its poetics; a communion in which one dies and returns to life many times.

“A supernatural soprano has earned Von Hausswolff frequent (and not unjust) comparisons to Kate Bush. Dead Magic sees her shaking off those parallels, stretching from honeyed laments to hex-breaking wails and alien ululations that feel entirely her own.” The Guardian

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Supersonic + Outlands present, Fracture Patterns: Eartheater & Semiconductor

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We are delighted to bring to Brum this June TOUR 5 from the Outlands Network.

Fracture Patterns is a live collaboration between UK artist duo Semiconductor and New York musician and producer Eartheater. This original commission by the Outlands Network combines large-scale multi-channel video works by Semiconductor with a new live soundtrack and performance by Eartheater, fusing both into a compelling theatrical production.

 

Eartheater explores experimental pop and fantasy combining her genre-breaking musical production with a singular visual aesthetic. Semiconductor’s visually and intellectually engaging artworks explore the material nature of our world and how we experience it through the lenses of science and technology.

 

Together, they invite audiences into the noise field, as they explore the collision and collusion of their respective practices.

 

 

HALO by semiconductor from Semiconductor on Vimeo.

 

Plus local support in the shape of a rare appearance from Wolverhampton’s finest pre-grunge/post-punkers VICTOR!

“Victor have a sound that could definitely break through a mountain” – Counteract

VICTOR have been in hiding for quite some time but reformed recently for a reunion show for local promoters DIE DAS DER to help raise funds to rebuild Black Country Recording Company which sadly burnt down in 2018. They played a monumental return gig and have clearly got a taste for it again (thankfully), so are stretching the strings once more for an un-holy clattering of lushess noise-rock to kick start the evening.
The evening will be interspersed by Youth Man‘s Kaila Whyte spinning some tunes on the decks with Meesha Fones from VICTOR in tow.

 

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Ela Orleans

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Ela Orleans (HB Recordings, Parental Guidance) is a Polish musician now based in Glasgow, UK. She was a member of pop collagists Hassle Hound, has played with various luminaries of the New York experimental and noise scenes and is a composer for the screen and theatre. Over the course of Orleans’ music career, her tagline and brief description for her music has always been “Movies for Ears”. In the work Orleans pushes her pastoral pop roots into more cinematic terrain, experimenting with carefully considered sound art segments, complex electronic textures and orchestral flourishes.

“She is Moondogmatic in her intransigent commitment to producing compositions of subtlety and incongruent beauty. These are polysemous confections which make you feel that you are listening to pop music for the first time again”. Time Out NY

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Holly Herndon

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Supersonic Festival are delighted to confirm that internationally versed sound manipulator Holly Herndon shall practice her neuro-dissecting electronic anomalies on patrons at this year’s event, in support of her recently announced second LP, Platform. Herndon has become a leading light in contemporary music by experimenting within the outer reaches of dance music and pop songwriting possibilities. Herndon makes music that is impossible to ignore and could be viewed as the 21st century’s answer to the protest singer, tackling a host of topics ranging from systemic inequality, surveillance states and neo-feudalism. Her tactile live shows recast the laptop as an untapped physical instrument, to be used in the limbo that links noise, dance, avant and pop.

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Supersonic Commission: The Memory Band

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Supersonic Festival are delighted to be partnering with the British Library Sound Archive to create a new commission as part of the Capsule Labs, an artist development and commissioning scheme devised to create more opportunities for commissioning experimental, cross-disciplinary art.

Stephen Cracknell, founder of The Memory Band, has worked with selected material from the Library’s archive to create a new work, Children of the Stones  is intended as a sonic adventure into the strange heart of our haunted landscape. . Mixing archival recordings, natural and industrial sounds, traditional melodies and original field recordings alongside a new acoustic score, the performance will celebrate the strange, mysterious and playful relationship we have developed with the ancient and magical landscape we inhabit. The title is taken from Jeremy Burnham and Trevor Ray’s classic children’s television series set among the standing stones of Avebury. Since the time of antiquarians John Aubrey and William Stukeley the recording and surveyance of our prehistoric landscape and monuments has had a profound effect upon the modern British mind. In poetry, art and song this landscape has been a canvas onto which we have projected the very essence of how we see ourselves and the ghosts of those who came before us. From William Blake’s visionary Jerusalem to films such as David Rudkin’s Penda’s Fen it has been the backdrop to an exploration of the inherent spirituality of our Island and through the now well-documented folk-horror genre we have used that landscape to explore what lurks in the shadows of our collective identity. We are all children of the stones

Since 2003 The Memory Band has been mapping the mutant edgelands of British Folk music, where digital machinery and acoustic music combine to make traditional music from the future.

thememoryband.com/

To accompany the commission there will be a ltd edition seven inch record on sale containing audio from the performance. These will be hand cut (by Phil Macy) in an edition of 100 with a hand finished sleeve (designed by Ben Javens) on 500 micron charcoal card (in homage to the Folkways Library Sleeves) via Static Caravan Records.

The British Library is home to the nation’s sound archive, an extraordinary collection of over 6.5 million recordings of speech, music, wildlife and the environment, from the 1880s to the present day. It has recently launched the Save our Sounds programme which is a major digitisation project to preserve the nation’s sound heritage – read more here: www.bl.uk/projects/save-our-sounds

 

 

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Selvhenter

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Selvhenter, are part of the bustling and sprawling Copenhagen underground. In a controlled eruption of two drum kits and distorted trombone, violin and alto saxophone, they kick against rationalism and the homogeneity of welfare society, showing us that passion doesn’t have to be sung, but can flourish as collective instrumental cramps.

Selvhenter has been active for seven years, performing with influential outfits like the Swedish-Norwegian trio, The Thing, and Japanese drummer, Yasuhiro Yoshigaki’s Orquesta Libre.

The band has honed an uncompromising, boundless sound that blends experimental rock, improvised free jazz and punk, noise and metal. With 2014’s LP, Motions of Large Bodies, Selvhenter has taken their music to a new level, incorporating a strong funky element alongside their characteristic elements of drones, open-minded playfulness and the central polyrhythmic patterns of the two drummers. There are groovy, danceable beats, horns and violin soaring into the sky with drones and long-stretched melodies. Live, the band takes audiences on a trance-like road trip with myriad interesting and at times, surprising, detours.

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Ravioli Me Away

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Ravioli Me Away are a dangerously ambitious and delusional all girl jazzy post punk, hip funk outfit from London.

The drum patterns are rudimental and the keyboard tunes are repeated over and over, they aren’t about how complex the songs are, this is immediate and in your face. A true Riot Grrl sensibility. They use samples of David Cameron to illustrate what is wrong and where they stand. More often than not the lyrics are shouted and screamed out rather than just sung. Voices are used as instruments and sounds are slammed together to make things work.

But then, just as you are getting sucked into the weird, off kilter world of Ravioli Me Away they produce the final two songs on the album which are so at odds with the rest that it’s almost as if they thought they should do something different. ‘Euro Breakdown’ has a classic electro sound, polished and catchy. While ‘Scooby Loop’ gives you dubby bass, weird little sounds underneath and a fantastic groove.

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Gazelle Twin

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Gazelle Twin is the creation of producer, composer and artist, Elizabeth Bernholz. From the start, Bernholz has utilised the anonymity provided by costumes, masquerade-like, to assist in her performance. ‘The original reason,’ says Benholz, ‘is that I’m quite shy and, with my face on show, I’d be inclined to be meek and apologetic.’ Rather than an exercise in vulgar emotional exhibitionism, Gazelle Twin constitutes ‘a retreat inwards’, crossing boundaries of identity and gender.

The persona created for 2014’s industrial-pop LP, Unflesh, and on display live in recent months, grew partly out of Bernholz’s response to the London riots: ‘young people are always demonised, very misunderstood, but they’re also at the peak of this intense consumerist culture. You just think, what might happen if we ply generation on generation with excess desire, unattainable desires, and just hammer it? It’s survival mode, but it’s survival for nothing. Survival for the most menial reward. You’re not running from a lion, you’re just trying to get out of the supermarket after buying some dinner.’

Gazelle Twin’s unnerving, Cronenberg-inspired craft is, according to Bernholz, ‘like a shedding of skin. It’s a tearing out of your body down to your skeleton and breaking free’. Paradoxically perhaps in the light of this, Gazelle Twin is also a unusually discreet, secretive animal in a world where new female starlets are pushed to reveal everything about their private lives, in song and interview, photograph and film. Instead, Bernholz masks the surface, taking us on a dark and depraved journey into the remote cells of her subconscious.

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TOMAGA

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TOMAGA Supersonic Website Dimensions

Two musicians on a quest to deconstruct their normal sonic palette and create a new and unfamiliar sound world. Prepared percussion, electronic drums, oscillators and more are deployed to create spacious, ranging sound collages. Having played for years in bands such as The Oscillation, Shit N Shine, Neon Neon, Raime, Voice Of Seven Thunders, Luke Roberts and countless others, TOMAGA channels multi-instrumentalism into music that is by turns reminiscent of industrial, jazz, psychedelia and minimalism. Rather than the complex, abstract sound that we might have expected to result from their totally unfettered musical explorations, the duo’s minimalist compositions are darkly psychedelic, elusive and deeply imbued with images, as though they have set some curiously unsettled, surreal dreams to music. After their first, self-produced cassette, Sleepy Jazz For Tired Cats, which was released in 2013, TOMAGA recently released their first album. ‘Futura Grotesk’ French label, Hands in the Dark (Robedoor, Saåad). Visual projections, angular electronics and mesmeric rhythms effect and immersive live presence reminiscent at moments of Can and Grumbling Fur.

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Slow Magic

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We don’t know anything about Slow Magic: the electronic musician closely guards his identity in order to challenge the way his music is presented and received. Wearing a fluorescent part-fox, part-zebra mask, Slow Magic is an immersive live sensation, whose sets feature programmed and live drums, projections, a light show and a welcome dose of crowd participation.
Slow Magic’s illuminated facade is, surprisingly, something of a leveller. His shows are an ambient, danceable, euphoric shared experience where the relationship between audience and performer is equalized.

Choreographed light show synchronised with his zebra mask. Acrobatic and infectiously enthusiastic live performer who revels in interaction with the crowd, including jumping in to create a drum circle. Crowd participation – portable percussion set. Ritualistic circles Intrigue and mystical Rare level of performativity and playfulness in the live electronic music scene. Make your own equine/fox inspired mask and there’s a chance you may be pulled up on stage to take part in the performance!

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Liima (Efterklang + Tatu Rönkkö)

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Liima Supersonic Website Dimensions

Liima is the new band of Efterklang members, Mads Brauer, Casper Clausen and Rasmus Stolberg, and Finnish percussionist, Tatu Rönkkö. A live improvisation project, this is the sound of four musicians communicating at an entirely intuitive level with one another, revelling in the joys and terrors of letting go of control over the music being created. Efterklang graced the Supersonic stage back in 2008, and we’re thrilled to welcome back this bold, beautiful and experimental new incarnation. Liima is something of a palate cleanser and a departure for the members of Efterklang, who, after knowing each other for sixteen years, welcomed Rönkkö as their drummer upon the release of their most recent album, Piramida.

During lengthy tours, the magnetic energy of Rönkkö’s spontaneous percussion improvisations in between songs proved to be the kernel for Liima. Conceptually, what the four-piece have created is intentionally the polar opposite of Efterklang’s meticulous, painstakingly crafted music. The band meet in a city of their choosing, experiment for a week and perform the results. On a more visceral level, however, Efterklang and Liima seem to be on a continuum that celebrates the power and depth of musical relationships. Indeed, Liima is the Finnish word for ‘glue’, and this is an apt metaphor for the band’s combination of processed vocals, guitar, looped percussion and complex interweaving synthesised sounds, which create a free and emotionally raw live experience.

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Happy Meals

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Happy Meals 1 Supersonic Website Dimensions

Glasgow-based duo Suzanne Rodden and Lewis Cook capture the feeling of being up until day-break. Layers of analogue synths delaying into the horizon, distorted drum machines and disco-at-sunset vocals all conspire to create a seductive, retro-futuristic vision. French / Italo disco, acid bass lines and a sense of Scottish optimism abound, playing out the perfect club night in ecstatic fashion. It’s an enchanting, inclusive vision; everyone is invited, the future is bright. Originally from the Scottish borders and life-partners since high school, Rodden and Cook (also of The Cosmic Dead) began Happy Meals in a flurry of experimentation at Glasgow’s creative hub, The Green Door Studio. Initially the result of a free music production course, debut album, Apéro, sees the pair embark on a blissful voyage into a love-fuelled, outward-looking hedonism. Both artists operate machines and sing but it’s the dominating Franco-Scottish lingua-franca of Rodden that imbues their music with a sense of sophisticated fun. Think slow BPM’s and a palette inspired by 100% Silk, laced with the psychedelic tinges of Peaking Lights. In the words of the band themselves, Happy Meals sounds like ‘the warm eyes of the future washed over with THE END’.

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Flamingods

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Flamingods 2 Supersonic Website Dimensions

Delirious, intense and uplifting, prepare to be carried away to a distant shore of your imagination with Flamingods. The captain of the five piece multi-instrumental band is Kamal Rasool, who, along with fellow band members, was inspired to write 2014’s excellent LP, ‘Hyperborea’ after new Visa laws forced him out of the UK. ‘Hyperborea’ is the namesake of a mystical island of Flamingods’ own creation, affirming the imaginative boundlessness of their musical and aesthetic universe. Explorative both thematically and aurally, the music addresses themes of identity, belonging and alienation whilst also day dreaming of leaving to foreign far away lands. Now based in the UK, the band is often described as ‘ethnic pop’, which refers to a heady and utterly unique mix of noise, psychedelia, tribal and freak folk.
Seeking to create both vivid and vague scenes inspired by foreign cultures from different ages and to take influence from wherever they can find it, we think Flamingods will be a truly inspiring addition not only to Supersonic’s core programme, but also to our special Kids’ Gigs series, which aims to introduce children to the joys of experimental music. And we haven’t even mentioned their matching psychedelic robes yet!

Flamingods bandcamp link

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