Supersonic Festival divulge details about the exhibitions, film programme, workshops, kids gigs & other ways in which the audience can participate‏

May 1, 2014


  With Supersonic Ltd Edt 2014 taking place in one months time, on the 30th and 31st May, and with a very impressive line-up in place (including Swans, Wolf Eyes, Matmos, Sleaford Mods, Evil Blizzard, Pharmakon and more), we are eager to inform you of the many ways in which the audience can participate in this multidisciplinary event.
Before we go further, we are pleased to add one more musician to the line up, the US-born London based musician, Karen Gwyer, who casually summons the feeling of a warmer, more futuristic Popol Vuh, other comparisons including Motion Sickness Of Time Travel, Cabaret Voltaire, Cluster or even an instrumental, more rhythmic Fever Ray.
Capsule also highlight two of the previously confirmed musical performances across the weekend which are guaranteed crowd pleasers, one that wholeheartedly encourages mass audience participation and the other, a large scale ambitious performance.Sly & The Family Drone‘s egalitarian approach will no doubt propel the audience and band together into a shamanistic setting of catharsis and anarchic celebration, whilst Liverpool based ensemble, Ex Easter Island Head, will present their expanded Large Electric Ensemble which includes twelve prepared electric guitars and drums to create a maximalist wash of amplified strings and droning overtones. Don’t miss these performances!
Here’s a complete run down of the extra curricular goings on:
Death Waltz Records / The Duke Mitchell Film Club at the 
Theatre Space
For a special, one-off evening the minds behinds Death Waltz Records (named by the Guardian as one of the top 10 labels defining sound in 2014) and The Duke Mitchell Film Club, are putting their heads together to create a unique evening stuffed with wall-to-wall madness. They shall take over the Theatre Space at Supersonic, presenting a programme of cinematic and audio-visual obscurities the likes of which have never been seen before nor likely will be again.
There will be VHS tapes, an ever-decreasing quality of carbon copy films, their respective inspirations, the worst music videos in mind, weird shorts and more than a fair share of below average horror music as well as rare and secret clips, videos, shorts and more. Nothing will be sacred, nothing will be off-limits – this will not be your usual film slot, that’s for sure.
Supersonic Kids Gigs at Symphony Hall
Ever since Schoenberg and Kandinsky became pen pals back in 1907, avant-garde art and experimental music has been attempting to find some common ground. But, it’s not been easy. Here’s Capsule’s contribution towards a solution: ‘Big Sounds for Little People’. If you couldn’t guess from the snappy title, it’s a gig for kids and their families, which aims to introduce children to experimental music at an early age. Kids Gigs provide a fantastic opportunity to show children the beauty of live music.

 Leading this year’s Kids Gig is artist Sarah Kenchington who makes, designs and adapts acoustic musical instruments. She performs on a semi-mechanical pedal-powered orchestra, designed to be slightly beyond her control.
Bill Drummond & The17 at Eastside Projects, 86 Heath Mill Lane, B9 4AR
Bill Drummond will be leading a re-enactment of two historical performances given by The17. The first was in Moscow on the 28 September 2006, the second in Saint Petersburg the following day. The re-enactment will involve 34 people, 17 of whom will act the part of those that were The17 in Moscow, the other 17 will act the part of those who were The17 in Saint Petersburg.  The17 choir creates music that follows no musical history, or necessarily has words, melodies or rhythms. This is a ticketed event taking lace at Eastside Projects on Saturday at 2pm.
Presented in partnership with Eastside Projects as part of ‘The 25 Paintings’, the first stage of Bill Drummond’s World Tour 2014-2025 and the culmination of the life’s work of Bill Drummond, artist, legendary music maker and infamous myth maker.
The exhibition continues until 14 June, Wednesday–Saturday 12-5.
If Wet Salon
To launch Capsule’s inaugural Lab series they have invited If Wet to host an event of sonic exploration. The Lab series is an artist development and commissioning scheme devised to create more opportunities for commissioning experimental, cross-disciplinary art.
If Wet is chaired by musical instrument designers David Morton and Sam Underwood (Ore, Glatze) who together form MortonUnderwood. Part show and tell, part test bed, part salon. A place for artists to showcase their latest sonic works and research.
Capsule are delighted to play host to 2 very distinctive artists:
Ryan Jordan conducts experiments in derelict electronics, possession trance, retro-death-telegraphy and hylozoistic neural computation. He builds crude instruments that replicate fundamental electronic components which are the foundation of current digital technologies. Performing these live alongside high powered stroboscopic light he attempts to induce the hallucinatory and trance like states of the (oc)cult arts.
In this presentation/performance he will demonstrate his self constructed hardware built with raw minerals and metals and then spiral sideways into theories of cybernetics, neuroscience, art, music and physiology in an attempt to piece together our fragmentary daemons and split the nine-fold reality layers of human perception; from communing with the dead to disturbing the holographic brain; from trance states to opening flicker portals in optic nerve fibres; these practitioners practice dark hypnosis in psychoactive hyperventilation clubs.
Sarah Kenchington builds her mechanical instruments from discarded materials. Bicycle spokes, typewriters, the inner tubes of tractor tyres are combined to create unique musical machines which emit a discordant array of moans, squeaks and chimes. Kenchington’s work offers a contemporary manifestation of a long history of the artist giving birth to machines (from Leonardo da Vinci, through to Heath Robinson, Tinguely and Michael Landy), yet Kenchington’s machines are anything but automata, remaining fundamentally dependent on an interaction with the human to come to life.
Kenchington relishes the unpredictable nature of her instruments, a quality which means that despite being author of both instrument and the music it emits, she is never entirely in control of what happens. Her performances evolve in conversation with or in response to the machine, a process which for Kenchington is akin to playing an improvised duet with another musician.


Run What Ya Brung
If Wet will be extending their usual Run What Ya Brung feature. In collaboration with Stryx (an artist led studio, project and exhibition space, based in Digbeth, Birmingham), they will select people to show and tell by providing a platform for short, informal presentations of sonic delights from both artists to amateur inventors. The theme of the day is ‘Extraordinary Objects‘ expect anything from a Stroh guitar to a dolls head theramin…

Artists include Graham Dunning/ Manoli Moriaty/ David Birchall/ Debbie Sharp


Racket – Sunday 1 June from 2pm at Stryx (Unit 13, Minerva Works, Fazeley Street, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 5RS) £4 entry on the door or £3 with Supersonic ticket.

Stryx are delighted to present Racket, their first appearance at Supersonic Festival. An afternoon feast of noise, experimental and live sonic offerings from a diverse roster of sound artists who utilise extraordinary objects and techniques to inform their practice.

Serving up a taste of some of Manchester and Birmingham’s most exciting sound artists, the bill includes Graham Dunning, Sarah Farmer, Manoli Moriaty, Rosanne Robertson, David Birchall , Debbie Sharp – many of whom will be participating in Saturday’s aforementioned If Wet Salon.


Descent at Warwick Arts Centre/ Millennium Point
Descent, meaning a flock of woodpeckers is a new sound based installation created by artist duo MortonUnderwood. A series of electronic woodpeckers will be positioned within the public realm, when triggered by passers by the birds make a percussive sound against the surface by which they are positioned.
The Quietus Film Programme

Over the past two years, Quietus co-editor Luke Turner and director Ethan Reid have wandered the UK making a series of films about the non-musical habits and hobbies of some of The Quietus’ favourite cult musicians. About the project Luke comments…”we love them for their art, but what do these people get up to in their spare time, and what can we learn about them from it? We’re pleased to be able to premiere two of these short films at Supersonic 2014.”

Steve Ignorant needs no introduction: a righteous son of Dagenham, he was the voice of Crass for years, and now, with Paranoid Visions, he continues to fly the flag for no compromise punk rock. It’s an attitude that extends to every area of his life – now living in North Norfolk, Steve has managed to find himself on the crew of an autonomous, non-RNLI lifeboat, The Quietus take to the grey waters of the North Sea with Steve and find out what would have happened if he’d found Margaret Thatcher drowning.

You might not ordinarily associate indie rock with the macho rough and tumble of American Football, but Alan Sparhawk is a lifelong enthusiast for and player of the sport. He valiantly tries to train The Quietus’ Luke to catch and throw in the Barbican foyer (with little success), tells them about a particularly gruesome sporting injury, and reveals an unexpected emotional side of his participation.

The Quietus will also be screening two further films: Cosey Fanni Tutti (COUM, Throbbing Gristle, Carter Tutti) on vegetable gardening and striving to attain self-sufficiency without using pesticides, and Stephen Morris (Joy Division and New Order) demonstrating and discussing some of his collection of military vehicles, and the unusual Beltring military festival, where policemen like to dress as Nazis.

Please note that since announcing the new venue space opening up at the Custard Factory called Alfie Birds and the second stage, we are down to our last few tickets. Here’s the link to purchase tickets at £50:
“Anyone who’s managed to hike out to Supersonic before knows how bloody good it is, and how much its organizers have done to make sure it’s a sidestep from the competition. While the majority of other festivals fight amongst themselves trying to snatch identikit lineups of bedraggled nostalgia-core reduxes and hype dance acts that’ll be forgotten in six months, Supersonic has solidified its legacy by simply picking excellent music.” – FACT MAGAZINE
“Birmingham’s arty supersonic festival mines the adventurous side of music and art..Supersonic is perhaps the British festival of choice for your discerning underground listener, and their art programme is equally distinctive” – CULTURE24


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