Supersonic Commission: British Library Sounds


Open call for British Library Sounds Commission

To be premiered at the Supersonic Festival


Deadline for applications: 5pm Friday 27 March 2015

Commission dates: April – June 2015


Supersonic Festival, Birmingham, June 11 – 14 2015


Supersonic Festival are delighted to be partnering with the British Library to offer an opportunity for an artist to develop a new work as part of the festival programme in June 2015. The successful artist will have the opportunity to work with selected material and their associated documentation in the Library’s archive to create a new work culminating in a performance or an installation at the festival, as well as being archived within the British Library’s sound collection.


This commission will be presented at the Supersonic Festival, 11 – 14 June, the UK’s premier experimental music and arts festival. Its international reputation and multidisciplinary programme draws audience, artists and industry professionals from across the globe ensuring a great showcase for this new work. For more information on the festival visit


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


For this commission, selection of wildlife and environmental recordings from the collection will be made available and will include, among other things, the songs & calls of British birds, the soundscapes of natural habitats such as woodland, marshland and the British coastline, and a range of environmental recordings covering weather, waves, streams, rivers and more. Additonal content from other curatorial areas may also be available, subject to availability and rights clearance
More information on the collections can be found at


The selected applicant will receive a £750 fee for the development and performance of the commission. They will receive mentoring from the Supersonic team and an introduction to the collections from the British Library’s Curator, Wildlife and Environmental Sounds.


How to Apply:

To apply please send a proposal that includes all of the following:

Your name, contact details and website address.

A short statement explaining why you want to undertake the commission and what you hope to gain by working in this context (300 words max). Also tell us about two pieces of recent work that you are most proud of (200 words max) please save these documents together as a PDF or .doc file.

Evidence of your current work in the following form:

2 x links to your work uploaded to Soundcloud or You Tube/Vimeo.

Please send to with ‘BL_SS commission’ in the title
Email attachments must not be larger than 5MB. Application is by email only.

Deadline for applications: 27 March 2015


The Pop Group’s new album released this week


The Pop Group released their first album in 35 years this week. Entitled Citizen Zombie, the new album has so far received warm reviews in The Line of Best FitThe GuardianThe Scotsman and The Independent.

According to reviewers, the album is ‘a collage of the unexpected’, ‘breaking sonically satisfying new ground’.

In case you missed it last week, you can still stream the album:

In advance of The Pop Group’s performance at Supersonic Festival this year, we also thought we’d draw your attention to an interview between Mark Stewart and Thurston Moore, published on The Quietus last month. Mutual admirers of each other’s work, the interview gives a fascinating insight into the intertwined relationship between punk in the UK and the USA. Read the interview here.

We also came across this great footage of The Pop Group super fan , Nick Cave, describing the life-changing impact that the band’s single, We are all Prostitutes, had on him.

Lest ye forget, Supersonic Festival 2015 initial line up and tickets are available now! See the line up announcement for further details and for the links to buy tickets via our Kickstarter campaign. Keep checking back here for further announcements in the coming weeks and months.


Sleaford Mods sell out show

Sleaford Mods played a sold out show at Hare and Hounds last Friday. After an incredible year since their last performance in Birmingham at Capsule’s Bring to Light Festival in 2013, for their Supersonic Presents show Sleafords played to a crowd chanting along to every razor sharp line.

An DJ set from Defunkt Dialekt set the atmosphere for an adrenaline-filled set from Youth Man and the sludgy wallowing of Rainbow Grave. DJ X’s jungle set kept the post-Sleafords lager party going.

A big thank you to all those who attended and who helped make such a memorable night, not least to photographer Steve Kilmister for taking some great shots.

DJCDefunkt Dialekt, credit Steve Kilmister

YMCYouth Man, credit Steve Kilmister

Youth Man, credit Steve Kilmister

Rainbow Grave, credit Steve Kilmister

Rainbow Grave1Rainbow Grave, credit Steve Kilmister

Sleafords1Sleaford Mods, credit Steve Kilmister

Sleaford Mods, credit Steve Kilmister

Sleaford Mods, credit Steve Kilmister

Sleaford Mods, credit Steve Kilmister

Don’t forget that the initial line up is out and tickets are now on sale for Supersonic Festival Limited Edition 2015. Check out the programme at the Supersonic website and buy tickets via our Kickstarter campaign.


Our Kickstarter Campaign Reaches its Target


Our Kickstarter campaign for Supersonic Festival 2015 reached its goal of raising £20,000 on Sunday, just over a week since it went live. We’re thrilled and would like to say a huge thank you to everybody for pledging and sharing. Your support will help us to bring you the best festival that we possibly can.

Its not quite time for us to don our party hats yet, though. Supersonic Festival is an incredibly expensive event to put on, so all your support would be greatly appreciated. There are still 19 days to go until our Kickstarter campaign ends, so still time to pledge on some fantastic limited edition prizes and to nab your tickets. Please do share with your friends too.

Big thanks again from Team Capsule.


Sleaford Mods this Friday


Sleaford Mods play a sold out show at Hare & Hounds this Friday. Doors: 8pm.

The quickening that brought 2014’s acclaimed album ‘Divide and Exit’ shows no sign of waning, with Sleafords having recently released a limited edition 7″ single, I’m Shit at It, available to stream.

They are also set to make a crowd-funded film called Sleaford Mods: Invisible Britain, charting their upcoming tour:

‘Taking its cue from the likes of Patrick Keiller’s extraordinary Robinson Trilogy, the psycho-geography of Iain Sinclair, Mark Steel’s in Town radio programme, and J.G.Ballard’s comment “Feel alive, drive around the M25!”, the documentary will be a combination of raw footage of the band, interviews with the band’s fans, and scenes in and around the green and pleasant lands that have sunk into the quagmire.’

As if this wasn’t enough, Sleaford Mods can still manage to squeeze in a bit of Noel Gallagher irking to boot.

Be sure to arrive in time for supports, Rainbow Grave and Youth Man on Friday too:

Rainbow Grave

Rainbow Grave

The only known pedlars of ‘Low Rent Caveman Hate Music’, Rainbow Grave recently posted 10 Million Tons of Shit, one of their self-described ‘horrid’ songs, online. Those of you who attended our Xmas Cocktail will be fully versed in Rainbow Grave’s sludgy depths, and we’re primed for a second round.

Youth Man

Youth Man

Youth Man always put on a blistering show and join us in a particularly exciting period, having last week released a video for Skin, a song featured on upcoming EP, ‘Hill of Knives’, out in April. Their latest single, Joy, can also be streamed or bought on CD via the band’s BandCamp.

We also have not one but two DJ’s setting the mood: DJ Defunkt Dialekt from the Irrational Media label will join us. Check out his Clockworks EP on BandCamp. Later, DJ X, one half of PCM, will be doing a late night jungle set to round things off.

Sleaford Mods return to Birmingham having played at Supersonic Festival in 2013. Make sure you don’t miss out on this year’s festival! Check the Supersonic website for full details of the line up so far, or go straight to our Kickstarter campaign to buy Earlybird tickets.

Over and out until Friday.


Shop Spring Clean



Peruse our selection of beautifully designed merchandise in the Capsule Shop, which includes tea towels, prints, totes, t shirts and more, and celebrates projects such as the amazing Home of Metal and, of course, Supersonic Festival.

We’ve given the shop a good tidy up this week – we must be feeling inspired by the whiff of spring in the air. We’re also running a sale on our vinyl collection. You can currently pick up limited edition heavy weight vinyl recordings of live performances by Tweak Bird, Iron Lung and Harvey Milk’s first ever UK performance at Supersonic 2008 for a sale price of £6.

Why not treat yourself? Currently not available in a shopping centre near you!


Supersonic Tix on sale



“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.”

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. Get your tickets at one of the Eventbrite alternatives, or our website today!

Will Gregory Moog Ensemble Supersonic Website Dimensions

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.

Liima Supersonic Website Dimensions

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.

Liturgy 1 Supersonic Website Dimensions

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.

Happy Meals 1 Supersonic Website Dimensions

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 2 Supersonic Website Dimensions

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.

Early-bird tickets are available now from
A Kickstarter campaign has been launched to offer unqiue treats to those who wish to purchase these advance tickets.


Youth Man Announced to Support Sleaford Mods this Friday

It feels as if we’ve been waiting an age for this, but the day is nearly upon us for ‘Supersonic Presents Sleaford Mods’.

Sleaford Mods are performing at The Hare and Hound this Friday 13th February. Coincidentally, it’s also the day that we’ll be announcing our first names from the line up for this year’s Supersonic Festival, so we’ll definitely be in a party mood.

Alongside support from Rainbow Grave, we’re pleased to announce that Youth Man are also joining the line up. See below for the band’s biography:

Kaila Whyte plays guitar and sings. Adam Haitof plays bass guitar. Marcus Perks plays drums. Collectively, Youth Man storm through a venue like a bull in a china shop, levelling everything in sight. Youth Man are all about unbridled X-Ray Spex-tinged passion and the high velocity punk energy of legendary Welsh trio Mclusky, mixed with an artistic edge that leans towards The Dead Kennedys’ trippier moments – throwing caution to the wind and smashing your guitar into a thousand sweat-soaked pieces.

Youth Man

To reiterate earlier posts, this event is completely sold out.