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Antony's Meltdown: First Acts
The Quietus , May 1st, 2012 06:40

Elizabeth Fraser, Marc Almond, Diamanda Galas, Cyclobe and William Basinski among the first names announced for Antony Hegarty's Meltdown Festival

Meltdown Festival, which takes place at London's Southbank Centre from 1st-12th August, have announced the first names for this year's edition. Curated by Antony Hegarty of Antony & The Johnsons fame, it's set to feature a very impressive selection of names indeed, including Diamanda Galas, Marc Almond, Laurie Anderson, ex-Coil members Cyclobe, William Basinski and a rare performance from the Cocteau Twins' Elizabeth Fraser.

“I dreamed of assembling a constellation of courageous artists, all of whom have used their platforms as cultural producers to challenge us," says Hegarty of his chosen line-up. "They have exhibited a ferocity in their pursuit of beauty, and, falling like a guillotine behind it, justice.

"Today I am among a group of artists from NYC (some of whom are performing at this Meltdown Festival) who reject patriarchy in its myriad virulent and apocalyptic manifestations, and who advocate for a fundamental shift towards the feminine in all our systems and structures of governance. We have named this approach Future Feminism."

Elizabeth Fraser will be playing two performances on 6th and 7th August at the Royal Festival Hall - her first full shows since 1998, when she left the Cocteau Twins.

Representing the New York scene where Antony cut his teeth in the 90s are Diamanda Galas, who will be playing at Royal Festival Hall on 1st August and whose live performances are known for their intense, trance-inducing qualities, and Laurie Anderson, returning to Meltdown after curating the festival in 1997 to perform Dirtday - "a collection of songs and stories on evolution, families, history and animals set against a lush and hallucinatory sonic landscape."

William Basinski is set to perform his beautiful Disintegration Loops, a series of decayed tape pieces inspired by the 9/11 attacks, on Sunday 12th August. He will be accompanied by an orchestra to perform two interpretations of the original recordings.

Another particularly exciting event is taking place on 4th August at Queen Elizabeth Hall under the name Albion-Hypnagogue-Ghost: Hallucinatory Queer British Paganism. It features Cyclobe, the ex-Coil duo of Stephen Thrower and Ossian Brown, for their first ever UK show, alongside David Tibet's (Current 93) new project Myrninerest. The evening will also feature four Super-8 films by Derek Jarman, accompanied by newly composed, pre-recorded scores by Cyclobe and Myrninerest. Click here for more information on this event, and watch out for an in-depth interview with Cyclobe on the site tomorrow.

The full list of festival events runs as follows:

1st - Diamanda Galas: The Hour Will Come, Royal Festival Hall
1st - Planningtorock & Light Asylum, Queen Elizabeth Hall
2nd - Selda, QEH
3rd - Laurie Anderson: Dirtday, RFH
3rd - Diamanda Galas: screening of Schrei 27 and lecture, Purcell Room
4th - CocoRosie: We Are On Fire, feat. Rajasthan Roots & TEZ, RFH
4th - Albion-Hypnagogue-Ghost, feat. Cyclobe & Myrninerest, QEH
5th - Marina Abramovic, QEH
6th - 7th - Elizabeth Fraser, RFH
7th - Buffy Sainte Marie, QEH
8th - Joey Arias: Strange Fruit - The Songs of Billie Holiday, QEH
9th - Marc Almond performs Marc & the Mambas' Torment & Toreros, RFH
10th - The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Back & Tenderloin, QEH
11th - TURNING: The Film, with Charles Atlas & Antony, QEH
11th - Kemdra Pfahler & Claywoman, Purcell Room
12th - Hal Willner: Freedom Riders, with special guests, RFH
12th - William Basinski: Disintegration Loops, QEH

Jane Beese, Head of Contemporary Music at Southbank Centre, said: “For 12 days in August, Southbank Centre becomes a space where the underground scenes of New York, London and Berlin meet, offering the chance to encounter visionaries, pioneers, thinkers and cult heroines and heroes. In the best unrepeatable tradition of this festival’s strange and beautiful history, the line-up for Antony’s Meltdown will not be replicated in any festival taking place in this or any other summer.”