Supersonic Festival announce Alva Noto & Beytone, Cut Hands, Alexander Tucker, Teeth Of The Sea and more

You may have thought that it was all quiet on the Supersonic front what with the recent activity around the widely acclaimed Home Of Metal launch, little did we know, Capsule have been secretly plotting many new line up additions and are now ready to reveal them.

Highlighting the importance of experimental electronica and visual performance and marking a 15 year anniversary with two unique shows will be Alva Noto & Byetone. Alva Noto is the stage name of sound artist Carsten Nicolai who uses art and music as complementary tools to create microscopic views of creative processes, transforming sound by looping oscillators and tone generators, including clicks, glitches, warts and all! Olaf Benders performing solo under the name Byetone offers an unusual performance combining abstract animations and abstract digital pieces of music, whereby the the rhythm of music is transformed into a graphic equivalent.

Ever the well-balanced festival, it comes with great delight to announce Cut Hands to this year’s bill. William Bennett (Whitehouse) will experiment with his obscure yet popularised collection of Ghanaian percussion instruments in free-form work-outs and sound experimentation which featured heavily in the VBS films Liberia (2009) and Mandingo (2010).

Next to a solo artist and friend of the festival, who has received great critical acclaim for his recent album, Alexander Tucker, who breaks new ground by combining minimalist string arrangements with electronic manipulations and drones to produce doom chamber-pop songs and psychedelic music-concrete collages. Also playing are the the most adventurous and intrepid psychedelic rock outfit in the UK, Teeth Of The Sea. Bringing their synth odysseys of the 70s, the guitar-noise-fuelled infernos of the 80s, horrorscore schlock, Reich-ian repetition, and a whole plethora of other cathode-ray and speaker-stack birthed epiphanies. Keeping up the London contingent are a band who have cut their teeth in the music business for eons and yet we never tire of seeing them perform their extremely tight, uplifting and complex tunes at insanely loud levels, we are of course talking about Part Chimp aka “The Chimp”! Also from London, a little known treasure, Slabdragger who sing about epic quests to Nepal to find killer weed, rubbish Roman Centurions, battling huge Octopian creatures and drinking rum, but they also feature the one and only Sam Thredder (Dead Swans, More Than Life, Last Witness, Hang The Bastard, Prowler, Throats, Dirty Money, Deal With It, Nervous Wreck, TRC, The Legacy…).

The Berg Sans Nipple will perform using with two drums, synths, samples, a ton of percussion and vocals hardcore kids gone gamelan, caught in devastatingly beautiful melodies and a mind bending rhythm section. Nottingham’s Kogumaza use primitive rhythms, patterns and riffs to create dense and mesmeric song-cycles. The band’s live sound is manipulated through dub delays and echoes, allowing what is basically a heavy rock trio to expand and willingly lose control of the sound they make as they make it.

Now to an exciting new announcement about a unique workshop that is Supersonic attendees can sign up for. You can take part in building the Mute Synth followed by a large group performance with Dirty Electronics. The Dirty Electronics Mute Synth is a hand-held touch and tilt instrument with copper etched artwork and contoured printed circuit board that was designed in collaboration with Mute and graphic designer Adrian Shaughnessy. Hosting this event will be John Richards who has been exploring the idea of Dirty Electronics that focuses on face-to-face shared experiences, ritual, gesture, touch and social interaction. In Dirty Electronics, process and performance are inseparably bound. The ‘performance’ begins on the workbench devising instruments and is extended onto the stage through playing and exploring these instruments.

After the success of our first Supersonic Kids Gigs in 2010, we return with another programme of big sounds for little people. As well as performing at the main festival, Lucky Dragons will be performing a special Supersonic Kids Gig this year, exploring experimental music aimed and kids and their families. Lucky Dragons’ performances put the audience at the heart of the show, and encourage participation with the artists and with each other. Playing together whilst engaging with new sounds. The artist duo regularly conducts workshops to find new ways to engage people in experimental sounds and this one promises to be very memorable indeed.

Starting the very same weekend as Supersonic is The Event, a contemporary arts festival showcasing the city’s key artist-led groups, exploring a range of contemporary arts activity including visual arts, performance, live art, film, video, web-based, installation, intervention and sound, all demonstrating the diversity of the thriving arts community in the city and using the creative district of the Eastside of Birmingham as its backdrop. From the 21-30 October people are able to attend a variety of venues, Supersonic attendees are wholeheartedly encouraged to check this out during the festival period.

Don’t forget, more films to be announced soon as well as art, panel discussions and details of other special guests to be revealed.

As a reminder, here are the bands who were announced previously…

Supersonic are thrilled to bring to the festival one of the most compelling figures in 20th century music, a giant in the American soundscape, Tony Conrad. Since the early 1960s, he has utilized intense amplification, long duration and precise pitch to forge an aggressively mesmerizing “Dream Music”. Conrad continues to exert a primal influence over succeeding generations with his ecstatic oscillations and hypnotic drones, overall a profoundly influential composer whose radical styles defies textbook definitions and challenges accepted notions of the minimalist canon.

Another very special new addition to the line up is the enigmatic and influential Silver Apples, now a solo act, SIMEON, aka “The Oscillation Man”, who sings and plays his famous hand-made instrument, ‘The Simeon”, made of “nine audio oscillators piled on top of each other and eighty-six manual controls to control lead, rhythm and bass pulses with hands, feet and elbows”…it really has to be seen to be believed!

To counter-balance the chaotic sounds of the festival, Nathan Bell, former Lungfish bassist, will calm our exhausted minds with his cyclic banjo music, true meditative hymns for the soul.

Also now taking to the stage are a band on top of their game, the shimmeringly blissful Circle. They will be delivering their rhythmic amalgam of hazy psyche, metal, progressive avant-rock and krautrock, no doubt with some surprises. And if we are lucky, we will get to hear some of the infectious jams from their new album. Of course, it would be absurd to not invite instrumental stoner rockers Pharaoh Overlord to play, given that the band features members of Circle. So prepare to be mesmerised by their utterly immersive hypnotic sounds. In keeping with the ‘Circle’ theme, Supersonic are pleased to announce their first film screening, Man With A Video Camera by Petri Hagner, a film about a man who decides to pursue his artistic talents by directing a film about the band Circle. A highly appropriate choice for the film programme, we hope you agree.

Another film just added to the programme is Kill All Redneck Pricks: KARP LIVES! 1990-1998, the biography of a friendship. Set in the Pacific Northwest against the backdrop of the Olympia, WA post punk and Riot girl movements of the early 90’s, the film details the joys and tragedies of three young friends who rise above their surroundings to form a band called KARP.

Supersonic Festival are proud to welcome to the main stage one of the heaviest bands in the world, Electric Wizard. Providing a sonic aural trip far, far away from this world, where only cyclopean walls of crackling vintage valve amplifiers set to the full overdrive, crushing doom and primal ritualistic beats can wash away all the filth and drudgery of everyday life. Particularly exciting is the UK exclusive performance of ZU93, the meeting of some special musical minds indeed. David Tibet of the absolutely essential Current 93 and members of the ridiculously talented Italian instrumental trio Zu make up the group, along with other amazing musicians; Stefano Pilia (the best guitarist of the avant-garde scene in Italy) and cellists Luca Tilli and Andrea Serrapiglio. Hauntingly beautiful, this really is the stuff that dreams are made of. You can expect more news of what to expect from their live show in coming months.

Supersonic are also proud to welcome back Zombi, after bringing them to the UK for the first time back in 2006. Producing work that is epic in concept, sound and artistic approach, Steve Moore and A.E. Paterra (the masterminds and multi-instrumentalists behind Zombi), have re-imagined the architecture of progressive rock and dynamic instrumentals, creating stirring melodies and moving cadences, carving a niche in underground music distinctly their own. Supersonic will bring another extra special collaborative project to UK shores going by the name Fire! Combining the musical talent of Mats Gustafsson on sax, rhodes and electronics, Andreas from Wildbirds & Peacedrums on drums, Johan Berthling from Tape on bass, plus mind-bending master musician Oren Ambarchi playing guitar and electronics, Fire! perfectly amalgamate noise, rock and free-improv with a groovy Krautrock mantra. This promises to be a collaboration that everyone will be talking about!

Also gracing the main stage is one of the most visible and prolific names in the avant garde underground, Secret Chiefs 3. Providing an alchemical fusion of wild sounds spanning multiple genres, including “Morricone-esque cinematic grandeur, midnight surf guitar, traditional Middle Eastern rhythms and time signatures, demonic death metal, and electronic deviance” (Pitchfork). White Hills will bring their mind-melting psychedelia to the festival for those people looking for “the rightful heir to Hawkwind’s massive legacy.” (Goldmine) whilst Lucky Dragons will astound with their notoriously immersive live shows where the audience is as integral to their performance as they are. The perfect band to bring like-minded people together.

Experimentalists of the truest kind, Eternal Tapestry have confirmed their invitation, so expect finely crafted free improvised guitar with structured rhythms and lots of layered ambient sound. Add to that, Bardo Pond performing their notorious esoteric psychedelia, replete with droning guitars, feedback, dense distortion and surges of reverb and white noise and Skull Defekts, Sweden’s answer to Sonic Youth and The Ex, not to mention one of the hardest working bands we know. Meanwhile local legend Mick Harris (Former member of Napalm Death) performs as Scorn, taking blast-beats to an entirely other level. Speaking of blast beats, black metal cultivators Wolves In The Throne Room have just been confirmed and will be performing songs from their new upcoming album. And for that dose of chaotic sounds and wild unpredictability comes Japanese noise artist Astro, solo project of Japanese musician Hiroshi Hasegawa of the influential noise music group C.C.C.C and also a.P.A.t.T who sound like the best bits of everything you’ve ever heard, this completely original, utterly bewildering 2-7 piece band use all the genres possible to create a daft yet beautiful mess. Running all over stage whilst swapping instruments. Eclectic doesn’t cover it.

Bringing something new to the festival is Antilles, a well-kept secret in the French underground community, whilst fellow French violinist Agathe Max will be gently weaving her elegant violin threads into cacophonous sounds. Keeping up the French connection are Monarch, one of the slowest, heaviest and loudest funeral doom metal bands Europe has to offer, driven by the pure intent on creating blood curdling feedback drenched physical sound through the use of insane volume and low end frequencies, and with a wall of sweet vintage amps. From Finland comes Pekko Käppi, remarkable student of the jouhikko instrument also well-versed in the Finnish runo-singing tradition. Welcomed back with open arms is innovative artist Cloaks, returning for a consecutive year, assembling his unique Dj and effects set and coming all the way from Melbourne Australia will be Blarke Bayer / Black Widow, a wildly experimental duo comprising Ben Andrews (Blarke Bayer) also a member of My Disco and Agents Of Abhorrence and Robert MacManus (Black Widow) formerly a member of Grey Daturas.

Author: James McQuiston

Ph.D. in Political Science, Kent State University. I have been the editor at NeuFutur / neufutur.com since I was 15. Looking for new staff members all the time; email me if you are interested. Thanks!

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