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PREVIEW: Raw Power 2017
Eoin Murray , May 2nd, 2017 14:26

We pick out Faust, Loop, Bruxa Maria and more as anticipated highlights amongst this year's Raw Power

Buy a clean pair of trousers, fill your hat with superglue and give your precious ears a soapy massage, kids, because come the end of May this year, things are going to go fantastically awry. The top folks at Baba Yaga's Hut are returning with the fourth instalment of their supernova of a festival, Raw Power.

Hosted in The Dome and Boston Music Room in London's Tufnell Park from May 26-28 , the festival promises to be a celebration of all things volatile and exciting from the innovative corners of psyche, post-punk, noise rock, electronica and all manner of hybrids between.

Last year's lineup featured some tQ favourites including Part Chimp, Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, and Test Dept: Redux, and this year's edition promises a similarly veritable feast of sounds to make your legs quake and your brain turn to Technicolor soup.

We have selected just some of the acts that will be bringing the noise to Tufnell Park as a preview to get you excited for the festival. To see the full lineup, head here. Get your hands on individual day tickets or weekend passes directly from Baba Yaga's Hut here.

Faust

Krautrock pioneers Faust will headline the first night of Raw Power. Despite shifting lineups, a lengthy hiatus between 1975 and 1990 and constantly changing live set-ups the group have consistently provided in both a live and recorded setting.

From Jean-Hervé Péron's definitively psychedelic bass grooves and the walloping drums courtesy of Werner "Zappi" Diermaie to the horns, guitars, keys and vocal yelps being funnelled through waves of static noise, to experience Faust is to experience a frazzled energy at its most enticing. If the above recording of the band's live set from 2015's Le Guess Who? Festival in Utrecht is anything to go by, you would be very foolish indeed to miss the chance to catch them at Raw Power.

Sly & the Family Drone and Dead Neanderthals

This unholy pairing blew our heads off at this year's Fat Out Festival in Salford. The joining of Sly & and the Family Drone's apocalyptic percussive noise and the panicked, brassy free-jazz of Dead Neanderthals was always going to make for a physically impactful experience and we frankly can't wait to watch it all happen again on Saturday's bill at Raw Power.

Having released a frenetic split EP last year on God Unknown Records and with an album, Molar Wrench, in the works for a release on Hominid Sounds, these two acts combined forces are only becoming more in step with one another with the results set to become all the more grappling.

Have a read of our features on Sly & the Family Drone and Dead Neanderthals.

The Jimmy Cake

Dublin ensemble The Jimmy Cake have a tendency to vanish and reappear as it pleases them, so it is crucial, first and foremost, to tell you that the chance to catch the seven-piece instrumental troupe is something that is not to be dismissed if you can help it.

Forming in 2000, the band have released five albums with a sixth, Tough Love set to land in June via Penske Recordings. Over the course of those sporadic and unpredictable years The Jimmy Cake's output has veered from neo-classical and folk tinged post-rock akin to Do Make Say Think or Godspeed! You Black Emperor on 2002's Dublin Gone Everybody Dead to celestial krautrock drive á la Neu! on 2015's 'Death Can Fuck Off'.

Known for behemoth live performances rife with swerving improvisation and remarkable heft, The Jimmy Cake's opening set on Sunday's Raw Power bill will liven the souls of those a bit tender from Friday and Saturday's proceedings.

Loop

On the day psych-rock legends Loop announced their reformation after 22 years of silence back in 2013, tQ editor John Doran got so excited that he had to have a bucket of iced water poured over his head. His news article, very objectively and with astute professionalism read: "LOOP To Reform! Oh Frabjous Day! All Evil & Snideness Is Vanquished!"

So, as you might have guessed, we are fans. Robert Hampson and co. continued to make our giddy dreams come true in 2015 with their first new music in a quarter century in the form of the Array I EP, a release which saw the group returning on full form. A more experimental affair than their previous efforts, Array I was plush with soundscapes and textures as well as with the band's classic shoegazey, space-rock mastery. Expect elements of all their facets as they headline Raw Power on Saturday night.

Have a read of tQ's interview with Robert Hampson here.

Bruxa Maria

Noise-punks Bruxa Maria formed last year from the ashes of several London punk bands. Lead by Gill Dread on guitar and vocals, the debut album Human Condition released on Extreme Ultimate last year was a hectic, furious collection that wore its hardcore roots proudly on its sleeve while venturing further into a realm of experimental noise.

Enlisting Alessandro Elisei on drums, Lupins' Will Elvin on bass and Mark Dicker on synth for the live show, Bruxa Maria's performance is a ruthless display of distortion, cacophonous drums and blood curdling howls. If that doesn't convince you to pay attention to their set on Sunday at Raw Power then just listen to the title track off the record and shut your damn mouth.

Read our interview with Gill Dread from the band here.

Afrirampo

Coming to Raw Power for their only London show of the year, and their first in over nine years, Osaka's Afrirampo will headline on Sunday night.

Reforming in 2016 after six years of inactivity, the duo of Oni and Pikachu create music that is equal parts menacing and beguiling. B-movie sci-fi synths, yelped back-and-forth vocal work and a garage rock guitar and drum sensibility give each Afrirampo cut an engaging and unique edge that will make for quite the spectacle in a live setting.

White Hills

Also playing their only London show of the year at Raw Power are New York psych duo White Hills. The band's prolific catalogue of releases has covered sounds from tripped-out psychedelic rock sounds to the behemoth guitars of stoner rock, giving their live set an always-exciting energy and constantly shifting dynamic.

With their new album Stop Mute Defeat set for release a week prior to Raw Power via their longstanding label Thrill Jockey, expect founding members Dave W. and Ego Sensation to be on full form with their touring members in force. Have a listen of their new single 'Attack Mode' above if you don't believe me. It's a treat.

Read tQ's interview with White Hills here.

Tomaga

On Friday's bill alongside Faust and Albert Newton are London based experimental/krautrock duo Tomaga. Known for their hypnotic, percussive live show during which drummer Valentina Magaletti provides a Jaki Liebezeit reminiscent pedestal for Tom Relleen's growling bass and assorted soundscapes.

Cascading rhythms from Magaletti create an atmosphere that is utterly captivating. So much so that you will sooner feel the echoing scrapes and dizzying chimes in the pit of your stomach that register them in your ears. Fresh off the back of their 2016 LP The Shape Of The Dance and with their next EP landing in May, Tomaga's set at Raw Power will be a suitable trance to get the weekend started.

Read tQ's interview with Tomaga here.

Blood Sport

Sheffield trio Blood Sport's 2016 EP Axe To The Root was the perfect melding of styles from post-punk to afrobeat to math-rock and back again on a trail of noise. Addictive, energising and visceral, stop asking questions and just go see them play before headliners Loop on Saturday evening.

One tQ live review of Blood Sport said the following: "How like three lads from the soggy streets of Sheffield to take afrobeat, a genre built around communal joy and celebration, and twist it into something so dark and alien it might as well have been written to soundtrack an H.R. Giger V&A retrospective? And on what planet would the resulting unholy marriage of noise rock and African percussive pounding be anything other than a discardable mess of an experiment, fated to join the mass grave containing the rotting corpses of such ill-advised fusion scenes as grindie and crunkcore?"

Chek out tQ's interview with the band here.

Thought Forms

Bristol's Thought Forms' 2016 album Songs About Drowning was a trudging march into the dark, menacing corridors of alternative guitar music. With facets of prog, doom, shoegaze and post-rock the four-piece craft atmospheric, gloomy cuts that are utterly satisfying and realised. Charlie Romijn carries the performance, veering in and out amid the menacing pianos and fuzzed up guitars and bass.

Raw Power takes place from May 26-28 at The Dome and Boston Music Room in London's Tufnell Park. For tickets, click here

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