SUPERSONIC FESTIVAL RETURNS THIS JUNE
FOR THE TWELFTH EDITION OF ADVENTUROUS MUSIC AND ARTS
INITIAL LINE UP ANNOUNCED AS EARLY BIRD TICKETS GO ON SALE VIA A KICKSTARTER CAMPAIGN
“Birmingham’s Supersonic Festival occupies an exalted position at the vanguard of the festival circuit. And rightly so. Since its inception over ten years ago, it has maintained a staggeringly focused and intelligent curatorial policy, transcending the music and art worlds to present a programme teeming with invention, audience participation and a certain amount of unpredictability. It’s also a bloody good knees up.”
– THE SKINNY
Since 2003, we have brought you Supersonic Festival, an internationally-renowned experimental music and arts festival with genre-bending sound and performance at its heart.
Over the years, Supersonic Festival is privileged to have garnered an incredibly loyal audience and is widely regarded as one of the best experimental arts festivals in the UK, last year selling out in record time.
Whether you’ve been to every Supersonic that ever was or this year you’ll be dipping your toes into our welcoming waters for the first time, we are sure you’ll love our unmissable line-up.
Kicking off proceedings on Thursday 11th June will be an opening concert at the legendary Birmingham Town Hall, an impressive Grade 1 listed building which has seen past performances by the likes of Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin. Supersonic are delighted to host the Will Gregory Moog Ensemble. As one half of the electronic music sensation Goldfrapp, Will Gregory is passionate about creating new sounds and reinventing old ones. Here a stellar line-up stretches the possibilities of the Moog synthesiser through newly composed music, transcriptions of classical works, and their own versions of music from popular culture and film. Marvel at 10 musicians on stage, including Portishead’s Adrian Utley and composer Graham Fitkin, performing works by Bach, John Carpenter, Burt Bacharach and Oliver Messiaen on a fascinating array of vintage instruments. Moreover, a new piece by Will Gregory features a clocking device specially built for the ensemble that enables all 10 synths to be synced, producing music previously impossible to perform live.
Following on, Post punk provocateurs The Pop Group will be bringing their pioneering throb to Supersonic. Drawing on an eclectic range of influences from free jazz, conscious funk, heavyweight dub to avant-garde experimentalism, alongside contemporaries like Public Image Limited, This Heat and Throbbing Gristle, they were at the forefront of a musical period marked out by its ground-breaking innovation. With a legion of admirers, they have inspired many from Nick Cave to Fugazi. As dissonant as they are danceable, they recently announced the release of their first album in 35 years, Citizen Zombie, as well as single ‘Mad Truth’, proving as relevant now as they ever were.
Six Organs Of Admittance (Ben Chasny) will be performing, dissecting and demonstrating The Hexadic System – the name of his soon-to-be released album for Drag City, and a malleable, open-ended system of musical composition that Chasny developed for song-crafting, taking in aspects of language, graphics and chance. Decipher the workings for yourself at a limited workshop Chasny will be hosting.
Also announced to play across the weekend are Liima, a new collaborative quartet formed of Danish indie-pop trio Efterklang and Finland’s finest improvisational percussionist Tatu Rönkkö. 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.
The esteemed Thrill Jockey record label has two artists present for the festival – Portland’s psych rock explorers Eternal Tapestry will be making the journey across the Atlantic to fry some synapses in support of their new album Wild Strawberries, whilst post-everything black metal lone wolves Liturgy will showcase their detailed dissections of cross-fertilising hardstyle beats and occult-orientated rap present on their soon-to-be-released LP, The Ark Work.
Glasgow’s Happy Meals, life-partners since high school finding expression in cosmic pop form, will be bringing their sophisticated Franco-Scottish hedonism to the festival.
While super-kinetic London future jazz outfit Tomaga, the anonymous sundrenched sounds of Slow Magic, and Swedish maxi-experimentalist duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums shall all also be in attendance.
Flamingods, Bahrain-born, Brixton-based troupe take African rhythms, repetitive grooves and a pleasure-seeking sensibility to form a riot of sound and fury that’s both sonically adventurous and feverishly compelling. Bringing a welcome and vibrant splash of day-glo to the main festival programme, they will also lead the Supersonic Kids Gig – Big Sounds For Little People, a special show for the under 7’s.
On Sunday 14th June, Richard Dawson curates an afternoon of performance, named after his infamous podcast Delight Is Right. The programme will play host to a number of very rare live UK performances by artists handpicked by Dawson, those whom he holds dear and sites as an influence on his own songwriting. The skewed troubadour shall also be performing on this day. His shambolically virtuosic guitar playing is at once charming and abrasive, stumbling from music-hall tune-smithery to spidery swatches of noise-colour, swathed in amp static and teetering on the edge of feedback. His songs are both chucklesome and tragic, rooted in a febrile imagination.
Ever looking forward, Supersonic is re-imagining its format this year. The 2015 edition will be relocating to ‘The Crossing’ in Digbeth which is a brand new venue and one of Birmingham’s hidden venue gems with state of the art sound, lighting and a/v gear specifically designed for live amplified music. The second stage is located a minutes walk away in Boxxed, a post industrial warehouse space where the festival has taken place in previous years. These spaces will play host to live performances, a market place, talks, workshops and the famous Supersonic Tea Room full of epicurean delights.
You can expect PLENTY more from the festival in the way of dance and debate, participation and observation, as well as more acts to be announced in the coming months, so do keep tuned lest you miss out on what marvels are in store.