June 26th, 2013 | Published in Blog
For those who don’t know what Supernormal is, it’s probably worth having a gander at the promo blurb for the festival. Perhaps more pertinently, it’s worth mentioning that the festival didn’t appear out of nowhere four years ago; it’s built on the long-standing Braziers’ International Artist Workshop (BIAW). This workshop was a shimmering light in the visual arts world – a secluded arts retreat built on principles of making stuff happen over theory-laden, fund-chasing metropolitan art-hackery. Away from the chintzy diamantine bustle of the workaday arts-world, BIAW forged a truly international community of supporters and artists, and those who were part of it speak of idyllic absurdity in halcyon tones.
Behind BIAW is the even longer-standing Braziers School of Integrative Research, standing since the 50s as what may be the longest-standing secular community in the UK; a communal living arrangement resisting the hackneyed and trite fallback descriptions associated with ‘communes’ built upon the expansive philosophies of Norman Glaister, who sadly remains largely under-published.
For most of the 20th-century, and all of the 21st-, Braziers Park has stood as an icon of one of the under-celebrated ethics of art in the UK – getting on with it and not making a fuss. And from that steeled-determinism Supernormal festival was hewn in 2010.
One of the things that came up in our write-up of 2012 is the expansive nature of the line-up, the impossibility of catching everything at the festival. While the idea of the ‘festival’ is for many hermetically sealed into the ideas of the bands-in-a-field ethos of G___b__, or the poppers-o’clock fallout of acid house, Supernormal approaches it less as an industry-primer and more as a Saturnalia. A cursory glance at the line-up will give you only the sketchiest outlines of the experience. For me (Kev), some of the best stuff had little to do with music – espresso Martinis in a free-standing cafe-cum-human-spirograph; a punter dressed as a rabbit giving out free carrot soup; the pop-up secret AV. Overwhelmingly, it’s a place where I got to meet all sorts of people – poets, writers, visual artists, dancers, trad rock folk, sound-artists and a panoply of other art folk that I simply wouldn’t cross in my day-to-day.
It’s possibly clear that the lines between epiphanic rhetoric and plug are hereby blurred – honestly though, it’s great.
Anyway – Bang the Bore are chuffed to be back for our second year of helping out with the curation, we’ve put together a bill that’s loosely tied around two themes – improv and composition. For the improv, we’ll be bringing some of the most audacious and exciting improvisers into the luxurious and elegant acoustic of the SuperNormal barn. Jennifer Allum, Matchless recording artiste and a violinist in the ascendancy. Cards on the table, one of the best and most unusual performances I’ve seen in this or any other year. Carousel Collective, a quartet of formidably gifted musicians playing exceptionally quietly like an adroit lower-case ur-mind who were daft enough to play a 1/3rd of a marathon, 12 hour performance in Brighton earlier this year (forthcoming on the wonderful Slightly off kilter label). We’ve got the return of Nil who, along with After the Rain and Team Sports, were one of my personal highlights of 2012 – playing delicate and playful textural improvisation that leave the frowny-faced austerity at home. We’ve got Iain Paxon of the Canterbury-tastic Hamilton Yarns doing a rare solo outing of his eco-friendly amplified bike performance. Baby (formerly Vole and ViV) will be bringing the sort of élan and elegance that secured them a reputation as some of Brighton’s improv wunderkind – though they’re now London-based, that accolade still stands. If that weren’t enough, we’ve also got the hard man of HNW and BtB’s own janitor de-luxe Clive Henry who, if you don’t know, is one of our nation’s greatest musicians.
On the composition side, and following up from Bang the Bore’s association with the Cage without Silence event in March of this year, we’ll be bringing together a suite of music illustrating the breadth and breath in the corpus of composed music. Bang the Bore’s esteemed anchorman Seth Cooke will be bringing what may be a UK-first performance of a piece by Wandelweiser-associate Sam Sfirri, just a few inches from the edges of tinted sonic environments. Adam Bushell – a musical everyperson if ever there was one – will be spearheading performances of less-known works by John Cage, Steve Reich and Alvin Lucier – names that a lot of Bang the Borians will be familiar with, but pieces that rarely get dusted off publicly. To top it off we’ve got an outing of a 2012 piece by Charlie Sdraulig performed by Kev Nickells, Chris Parfitt and Tim Yates, a work of fastidious listening and impenetrably discrete expansion.
There’s more to be finalised from the Bang the Bore stable, but for now, if that’s not enough impetus to get your tickets now (they’re selling out super-quick), then you’re probably on the wrong website.
****BONUS BONUS BONUS****
But of course, the festival isn’t just Bang the Bore – it’s just our website so we’re going to talk about us more. There’s a shedload more stuff that’s well worth your time – Lorah Pierre and Ewa Justka will be bringing their arts/ visual/ collaborative workshop the experimental sounding board, the mercurial Greta Pistaceci will be providing something on the auspicious perimeters of sound/art, Resonance acolytes Bermuda Triangle Test Engineers will be doing something home-made instrument-shaped, Her Noise will be bringing films and other/ autré, Traumfrau will be showing why they’re the coolest queers in the world, the astonishingly brilliantly named Homosexual Death Drive will be doing god-knows-what (but by golly it’ll be amazing)… there really isn’t space for all the amazingness, but the final mention goes to thee Bald Knobbers’ Church of Chaos – a whole weekend’s worth of spectacular noise, wedding ceremonies, art, film, conversations about cricket and god-only-knows what else.