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PREVIEW: Incubate Festival 2014
The Quietus , September 16th, 2014 09:38

Ten must-see acts for those Tilburg-bound this week

We've said it before but it bears repeating: Incubate really cover ground. This year's line-up once again shows a pleasing disregard for genre bias and pulls together a mammoth number of acts from all corners of the globe. The headliners - Goat, Current 93, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, to name three - make up only a fraction of the seven days' worth of bands playing venues across Tilburg, running alongside a new addition for this year, Incubate Zero: 41 bands playing free shows over the festival's Saturday and Sunday. We've boiled our choices down to a mere ten that we'll be attending, but we're equally looking forward to making our way around town and chancing upon some discoveries that will go on to be new favourites, a trait that's been a constant throughout tQ's attendance of the festival. Take a look at our picks below, with full details and tickets over at Incubate's website.

The Besnard Lakes
Wednesday, September 17 - 21:45 at Paradox

The Montreal four-piece, clustered around husband and wife Jace Lasek and Olga Goreas, released a sterling crystallisation of their hazed and layered dream-rock with last year's Until In Excess, Imperceptible UFO (titled with bewildering aid from Google Translate, as Lasek told us). Lasek's other job, as producer at the Breakglass Studio he co-founded in the band's hometown of Montreal, pays into the Besnards' sound, lending them a sonic deftness, a glorious analogue warmth, distilled on ... Imperceptible UFO's mighty lead single 'People Of The Sticks', matched to some powerful clout - check out the closing minutes of 'Albatross' from their previous album, The Besnard Lakes Are The Roaring Night - which should hopefully coat the walls of Paradox come Wednesday night. Laurie Tuffrey

Puce Mary
Thursday, September 18 - 20:00 at 013 - Foyer

Over the last five years Frederikke Hoffmeier has put out a succession of sternum-crushing noise cassettes under the name Puce Mary; thunderous compositions that trace a fine line across the spectrum of pain and pleasure, all post-vomit coughing and sharp intakes of breath. On Thursday night she will perform a half an hour set off the back of her excellent Persona LP that came out a couple of months ago on Danish label Posh Isolation. Footage of previous shows reveals retina-scarring strobing and Hoffmeier screaming into the faces of unsuspecting crowd-goers, so it'll no doubt be an intense affair. Sophie Coletta

Holly Herndon
Thursday, September 18 - 20:00 at 013 - Jupiler Zaal

Asides from also being two words certain to silence any idiot who belittles the work of the laptop musician, the name Holly Herndon currently represents some of the most exciting and relevant electronic music going. Herndon's live shows are known to take on an invasive approach; past instances have involved her calling members of the audience mid-performance and recording and playing back loops of applause, while more recent live shows have included a mirrored laptop screen projected onto the behind wall as frequent collaborator Mat Dryhurst sits compulsively flicking through Facebook profiles. Whatever happens, Thursday's show promises to be both a visually and sonically captivating experience. Also, be sure not to miss a live interview with Quietus editor John Doran earlier in the day, from 3-4 pm in the Incubate Café. Sophie Coletta

Gazelle Twin
Thursday, September 18 - 22:00 at 013 - Foyer

Elizabeth Bernholz, aka Gazelle Twin, is an artist for our times. She takes body dysmorphia, personality dysphoria, the rage felt against disempowerment, the echoes of angry teenage revenge fantasies, nameless but debilitating modern illnesses, hellish hallucinations and converts them to a convincing and overpowering sonic art. Focussing industrial, hip hop and techno influences into an electronic pop album, UNFLESH - the follow-up to 2011's The Entire City - Bernholz has stepped out of the shadow of her youthful influences (The Knife, Fever Ray, John Foxx) and produced something startlingly original. Dressed in a scratty blue hoody, tatty blonde wig and with stocking material pulled over her face she is presenting her 14-year-old self as a blank canvas onto which the listener/viewer can project their own demonic fear and febrile imagination. Ultimately, however, her shows are cathartic, purging affairs, which help apply salve to inner turmoil. Highly recommended. John Doran

Carter Tutti Void
Thursday, September 18 - 23:00 at 013 - Jupiler Zaal

A bond developed between Factory Floor and Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti after the former played Cosey Club at the ICA (another fine and much under-appreciated London live venue) on March 27, 2010. At the time the two former Throbbing Gristle members shared a manager (Paul Smith) and a sound guy (Charlie Chicken) with the three-piece and they were curious to see them in action. After the show, they realised there were many aesthetic similarities between TG and FF, even if they didn't sound all that similar. Carter ended up standing in for Factory Floor's Dom Butler when he took a few months sabbatical during the festival season and Nik Void ended up working on the Transverse project with the couple.

The four ten-minute-long pieces that were performed at the small space at the Roundhouse Theatre on May 13, 2011 - known simply as 'V1'-'V4' - were written and practiced at Carter and Tutti's converted schoolhouse home/studio in Norfolk and then performed live on the night with all three members using electronics and Tutti and Void playing guitars. (Void also provided vocals that she manipulated with effects.) The way the trio faced the audience under minimal, unchanging white lights, heads down over tables of equipment was not combative but at the same time it didn't even pay lip service to notions of showmanship or stagecraft. Yet had this tiny space been stage managed by Industrial Light & Magic the intensity of the performance could not have been any greater. (In fact, more to the point, the intensity would probably have been lessened.)

And now, over three years later they have just played their second ever gig in Hackney, London and, somehow, perhaps implausibly, gotten even better in the process. This time there are simple visuals - all based on the sleeve to Transverse but the overall set-up is the same: Carter is at the back manipulating beats and electronics and he is flanked either side by Void and Tutti, who divide their time between guitars and electronics, with the latter occasionally singing. However, the old material has mutated, its resistance to easy classification has grown even stronger and the new material is fierce and fast. What exactly is it? Is it techno made by noise musicians? Is it industrial made by a noise rock group? Is it avant-garde electronica? Really this is superb exploratory music made by fearless musicians who are adept at listening to one another. Make sure you catch Tutti and Void by tQ's Sophie Coletta at Dudok at 3 pm. John Doran

Cairo Liberation Front

Thursday, September 18 - 02:45 at Extase

"Where will you be losing your mind and vibrating like a walrus sitting on a broken washing machine after your annual misguided and terrifying attempt to smoke Dutch cannabis John?" asks literally no one ever. And in answer: "I will be 'dancing' my ass off to the Egyptian dancehall, Middle Eastern grime, oriental trap and ultra-inauthentic but banging chaabi beats of the CLF, that's where. YALLA! YALLA! John Doran

Angel Olsen
Friday, September 19 - 22:15 at Theaters Tilburg - Schouwburg

This year's Burn Your Fire For No Witness found singer-songwriter Angel Olsen expanding her sound texturally, the predominantly acoustic, intimate songs on her 2012 debut Half Way Home wired with tremolo- and fuzz-laden guitar and drums to magnificent effect, as heard on 'Lights Out' and 'Stars'. That's not to say she's abandoned the dark-hearted, close-feeling songcraft, as the record's baroque centrepiece 'White Fire' amply demonstrates. It's an immersive duality, and one which will hopefully colour her late-night performance - a return visit to Incubate - at Theaters Tilburg on Friday. Laurie Tuffrey

Container
Sunday, September 21 - 16:15 at De NWE Vorst

Dirty and abrasive techno. Strafing his beats, which range from syncopated judders to hyperkinetic, with four-track mewling from his days as basement noise artist God Willing, Ren Schofield's Container project has gone from strength to dancefloor-bludgeoning strength, nowhere better exemplified than on this year's Adhesive EP for Mute imprint Liberation Technologies. Eschewing the precision-tooled clarity you may expect from a techno artist, Schofield instead offers something, in his words, "raw and kind of sloppy". Not there's an ounce of fat to be found here: 'Dissolve', from the first of his two albums, both handily called LP, starts with weirdly organic, ricocheting toms and bee-swarm haze but ends up a handclap-drilled, mechanised powerhouse. He's a busy man, running his own label, I Just Live Here, as well as adding grim-flicked sternness to oddball trio Form A Log, so you'd be well-advised to catch his Saturday afternoon set while he's around. Laurie Tuffrey

Stara Rzeka
Sunday, September 21 - 17:00 at Pauluskerk

Stara Rzeka is the one-man band project of Kuba Ziołek, a guitarist, electronic musician and composer - arguably at the forefront of cultural production in the new Polish musical underground. (As well as Stara Rzeka he is a member of Innercity Ensemble - who are also very much worth watching at Incubate - and also a key musician in Ed Wood, Kapital, T'ien Lai, Alameida Trio, Hokai and the Milieu L'Acéphale collective.) Stara Rzeka is Polish for "ancient river" and his debut album from 2012, Cień Chmury Nad Ukrytym Polem was one of the most accomplished released that year. It was written on an acoustic guitar - some tracks sound like a futuristic, cosmic take on John Fahey - but has obviously been developed significantly between conception and execution. While the album opens with the chiming of a 12-string, it slowly morphs into elektronische musik before sliding blissfully under layers of super-heated sludge guitar and noise. By the time the ecstatic synths are met by necrotic black metal vocals, nothing about this album will surprise you, which is a good thing, given that it shifts through sparse BM moves that remind one of Norwegian second wavers, Thorns, and through the arboreal drones of early Growing before ending on a celestial cover of Nico's 'My Only Child' with speaker-destroying drone metal. This should be a truly special show. John Doran

Basic House
Sunday, September 21 - 19:30 at De NWE Vorst

In an interview with Sonic Router two years ago, Stephen Bishop described his Basic House project, recorded using tapes, contact mics and radios as "the middle ground between the dancefloor and toilet bowl". I'd advise against spending his entire set in De NWE Vorst's WCs pressed up against a wall of hand dryers, but wherever you choose to position yourself for optimum listening on Sunday night, expect to hear something that falls between the metallic techno and static electro-acoustics that run through his recorded releases, or anything released on his Opal Tapes label, the cassette imprint he runs out of the small industrial Teeside town of Redcar. Sophie Coletta

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