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INCUBATE - A Festival Walk Through
The Quietus , September 8th, 2016 09:15

Mat Colegate and John Doran present some of the many highlights on offer at this year's fabulous Incubate festival in Tilburg, NL

I've been going to Incubate for as long as it's been going - even longer in fact as it was called ZXZW, the first time I attended. It's always a pleasure to come back to this forward-thinking music and arts festival held in the Netherlands town of Tilburg, and I'm on my way back there now as I pen this missive.

As I said about the festival last year: "I could move to Tilburg, I really could. Just wandering around its back streets, with its higgle-piggle of architectural styles, you can feel your mind expanding. You can feel that there's room to think when your head isn't being crushed by the overbearing conformist architectural weight of London or Manchester or wherever.

"The small town - roughly the size of York - has three of the world's best festivals - Incubate, Roadburn and a highly regarded world music festival, not to mention the biggest openly gay funfair in all of the Benelux territory. What more could you ask for? It is this expansiveness stemming from compactness that inculcates an inquisitive nature in the open-minded listener.

"Incubate has a great track record for getting legendary underground figures to perform amazing shows. But really, it is best just to wander round Tilburg's practical back streets and utopian plazas past new build castles and studio houses that look like shuttlecocks, to dip in and out of venues taking part in a musical tombola, without any prior knowledge of what you're about to experience. Without any preconceptions you can truly have your brain cleaved in two by the sword of musical righteousness."

This year the festival has been split up into three separate weekends but the September weekend has bounteous fare to spare. Here are 11 of Mat Colegate and my selections for how you could spend some of your time when you're not eating amazing Surinamese or Afghan food.JD

THINGS TO DO IN TILBURG WHEN YOU'RE DEAD SPOILED FOR CHOICE

Rendez-Vous

The music world isn't in any danger of running out of spiky, black-clad post punk influenced guitar throttlers any time soon and on the face of it Paris based Rendez-Vous would appear to fit right into that pocket. Sullenly declaimed vocals, scratchy, frantic peels of guitar, a generally sulky demeanour and even a slightly dodgy looking mailed fist and lightning bolt logo would certainly point toward them being floppy fringed dwellers in the darkened places of the earth. And yet Rendez-Vous seperate from the pack by virtue of their bloody-minded minimalism and a similar brand of boiling rage to that possessed by crust punk titans such as Discharge and Rudimentary Penii. It might be wise to stand back a bit from the front of the stage, one imagines there'll probably be a fair amount of righteous venom falling from the singers gob throughout.MC

Terrie Ex

The Ex are one of tQ's favourite live bands; they always bring it - whether collaborating with legendary Ethiopian musicians such as the recently departed Getachew Mercuria or the muscular brass unbound. They are a band who stay relevant and constantly exciting via constant hard work - so it's a give that they're the sort of band who have a lot of side projects and solo work. Frontman Terrie is a regular visitor to Ethiopia and plays with the likes of Fendika, begana player Zerfu Demissie, childrens choir Circus Debre Berhan while also being involved in education, women's rights and HIV prevention programs. (Watch the site for an interview with him soon.) In Tilburg however it's going to be a case of one Ex and his guitar however as he has a night of free improv planned for 8.45pm on Friday night at Little Devil. Straight from the fridge, dad!JD

Mathieu Serruys

Mathieu Serruy's crackling ambient driftscapes exist in and conjure worlds of their own. Obvious influences aside - a hint of Brian Eno circa: Discreet Music, a touch of Nurse With Wound's beautiful, ever shifting Funeral Music For Perez Prado, The mournful drones of Basinski's Disintegration Loops - Serruy's music, conjured via the simple means of tape recorders and synthesizer, is as adept at dredging up dormant memories as the films of Bill Morrison at their most effective and abstracted. as it is more cosmic, meditational sensations.MC

YOB

With the proliferation of YouTube tutorials, online guitar tabs, pro-tools and garageband, even the greenest of bands can get their musical shit nailed down tight quicker than ever now. But as time has progressed it seems like the role of the vocalist or even the idea that metal singers should practice as hard as their guitarists has shrunk away to a minor concern. And it is nearly always the vocalist who lets new metal bands down. YOB, the doom metal band from Eugene, Oregon described by probably the most famous newspaper in the world, The New York Times as “one of the best bands in North America today”, exist at the other end of the scale. Their sound is dominated by Mike Scheidt’s mighty vocals. Some observers uncharitably call the frontman’s singing style an acquired taste but really it harks back to a day when it was demanded of a Golden God that he have a distinctive voice. Combining the classicist tones of Ozzy, the histrionic wail of Rob Halford and the neo-doom attack of Matt Pike as well as other sources such as Jason Mendonca, Jannis Joplin and Geddy Lee, his delivery will be enough to pin you to the wall on Sunday night.JD

Anemone Tube

Just in case things were in danger of getting a bit... nice Incubate has thoughtfully booked Berlin-based extreme sonic provider Anemone Tube for the Saturday evening. Swinging from spooked ambience to industrial racket to pure ear splitting harsh noise blasts, this mysterious producer's work provides a constantly shifting sonic tapestry of at times surprisingly emotional intensity.MC

Ramesses

Have a little grumble to yourself about how bands these days seem to split up for less time than it takes Kevin Shields to tune his guitar... AND THEN GET OVER IT NERD! BECAUSE RAMESSES ARE BACK! Yes! Heavy as fuck, acid-warped, good time doom from Dorset back in Tilburg for the first time in four years - when tQ was rocking hard to their set at Little Devil. Going to try and remember the ear plugs this time though.JD

Mutilation Rites

As it has proven again and again over the years, Incubate is flipping great at putting on insanely good metal shows and this year looks to be a killer crop. A glance through the line up reveals the prospect of mouth-wateringly, eye-gougingly heavy delights from Ramesses, Ghold, Japan's Deathtopia and Venom Prison amongst many others, but it's New York's Mutilation Rites that get my vote as the most essential showing of the monstrous and malignant over the weekend. Marrying deathly grunting to an almost crust-punk informed love of blistering riffage, Mutilation Rites are a refreshingly foul take on their home city's heavy legacy.MC

Ghold

TQ favourites, the rust-infected sludge bastards Ghold rode high in the mid-year chart this year with their Ritual Productions LP, Pyr. The core guitar and drums duo has now been expanded to a trio but will the fourth guy with his skronking saxophone turn up to blurt up proceedings? Visit V39 at 11.15 on Saturday night to find out.JD

Sam KDC

Playing as part of the the Grey Area showcase along with Samurai Music Group head, Presha and Japan's Ena, Sam KDC has been producing electronic music across genres since the early noughties. Always influenced by drum & bass, but possessed of a singular gritty ambience that takes it closer in tone to industrial or post-punk than a lot more traditional electronic forms, Sam KDC's integral position as part of the Grey Area label has pushed him right to the forefront of forward thinking, gritty and challenging electronic music.MC

The Thurston Moore Group versus Shackleton!


Who is going to triumph out of the headliners? Thursday night (10pm, 013) sees Thurston Joseph Moore and his band (current incarnation includes Debbie Googe, James Sedwards and Steve Shelley) firing through tracks from The Best Day and Demolished Thoughts - two albums which kind of reveal how much TM brought to the table in Sonic Youth in terms of song-writing. Friday night (10.45pm, 013) sees Skull Disco mensch Shackleton present his strong orchestral Powerplant project. (And the answer is - go and see them both doofus! Everyone's a winner as Errol Brown would have said.)JD

Go DANCING

So midnight until 4am on Thursday at Extase John 'The Shakes' Doran and Mat 'The Oiled Brass Fist' Colegate will be manning the decks for a 240 minute long dancefloor-splosion of heavy f'n metal, bath house disco, electro chaabi, EBM, Afrobeat, stone cold funk rock, Chicago house, Turkish psych and amphetamine-powered freakbeat. Then, on Friday night at 2am until 4am at the same venue, John Doran will be playing a 100% bangers set of 90s R&B, golden age hip hop, 80s metal and power ballads. Consider this a warning.

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