PREVIEW: Incubate Festival 2013

The Quietus are heading to the Netherlands for this week's Incubate Festival in Tilburg - here, we pick out 13 acts and events not to be missed

Once again, the Quietus office will be setting up shop in Tilburg, the Netherlands, for our favourite European festival, Incubate. We’ve picked out 13 acts and events from the festival’s mighty line-up, an Incubate Baker’s Dozen, if you will, for any attendees to use as a handy tQ walk-through – have a look below and we’ll see you there:

An Idiot’s Guide To Writing A Novel, Starting With The Opening Line

Hall Of Fame, Kleine Zaal; Thursday 12:00-13.00

Recently, on his 42nd birthday, unkempt Quietus Editor, VICE columnist, Metal Hammer writer and occasional NOISEY/BBC broadcaster John Doran decided that he was going to write a novel. Not being schooled in these matters he opted to start from the beginning and set about creating a world-beating first sentence. After studying the opening words of literature’s great tomes, he devised a scientific formula to construct an opening line so powerful it would literally make your tits fall off, your eyes burst and your hair set on fire if you heard it unprepared. So there you have it… come and hear John Doran read the first sentence of his debut novel. It will make you weep like a child. And if it doesn’t, he’ll repeat it until it does. Laurie Tuffrey

Have Baby Boomers stolen music? panel

Hall of Fame, Foyer; Friday 12:00-13:00

We don’t just love Incubate for the music booking policy that happens to dovetail perfectly with the Quietus’ own listening habits. Nor is the Quietus office heading to Incubate this year purely for the opportunity to wolf down a raw herring. We’re also massive fans of the way they go about booking their talks and panel discussions – last year Simon Reynolds on lo-fi culture caused 305 cassette label bosses to spontaneously explode, while a panel we curated called ‘There Is No Such Thing As Selling Out’ ended up with Mats Gustafsson banging his head on the desk. This year, we’re back and involved with the talks at Incubate, one of which will be based around Luke Turner’s article written especially for our recent ebook: ‘Golden Balls: How The Baby Boomers Stole Music’. Alongside Ian Harrison from Mojo and Netherlands journalists Theo Ploeg and Gijsbert Kamer, Turner will be arguing that the time we’re living in is a glorious one for the creation of musical art, and that those still wishing it was the 60s ought roll over. If you can’t be there, why not buy the eBook. Luke Turner

Date Palms

Paradox; Friday 21:00-21.45

Thrill Jockey are one of the Quietus’ favourite record labels and, to our delight, they’re in residence at Incubate this year. Picking out just one act from their roster-in-attendance – Barn Owl (whose Evan Caminiti and Jon Porras will also each be playing separate solo shows), White Hills, Black Pus, Matthew Friedberger, Plankton Wat and Grumbling Fur (see below) – is no mean feat – hell, they’re all good – but we’d suggest Friday night’s set by San Franciscan duo Date Palms. They’ll be sandblasting Tilburg with tracks from this year’s The Dusted Sessions, channelling the meditative, sweltering atmosphere of the American dustbowl, centred on a core of drones and animated through a vast array of instrumentation and genre-spanning sounds, a mesmeric calm before the storm to follow. Laurie Tuffrey

The Full Fernow: Vatican Shadow and Prurient

Hall of Fame, Foyer; Friday 22:45-23:45 (Vatican Shadow)

013 Stage 1; Saturday 18:30-19:00 (Prurient)

Both of Dominick Fernow’s major projects have occupied an inordinate amount of stereo time chez tQ over the last couple of years, while almost our entire last year’s record-buying budget seemed to be consumed by an ongoing salvo of missives from his Vatican Shadow ammunition case. He’ll be bringing both of them to Incubate: the scathing, noise-addled and politically-charged techno of Vatican Shadow, and the entirely more personal, frosty noise assault of Prurient. Expect an unholy whirlwind of bleak (and sometimes appealingly silly) humour, ice-cold synth melodies, rippling distortion and depth-charged Euro-techno; enough to kick any potential lulls in energy right out of the water. Rory Gibb

A Very Wolf Eyes Affair

Various venues, various days, various times

Wolf Eyes’ latest album No Answer: Lower Floors was released this year, and found the prolific US noise experimenters operating with a dark, simmering restraint that suits them well. Rather wonderfully, instead of just booking Wolf Eyes alone, Incubate have opted to go one step further and ask the members to play shows with their various solo projects, too. So as well as a show from the trio themselves (Friday, 00:15) – and they’re on storming form at the moment, if reports from their London show a few months back are to be believed – also appearing across the weekend will be a solo show of acoustic songs from ‘Crazy Jim’ Baljo (Sunday, 16:15), John Olson and Nate Young’s sinister and bluesy Stare Case (Friday, 21:30), Young performing a show of his excellent Regressions electronic material (Sunday, 17:15), and Olson’s Henry & Hazel Slaughter (Friday, 23:00). All of which ought to be sufficient to leave you feeling thoroughly unwholesome by festival’s end. Rory Gibb

Dragged Into Sunlight

013 Stage 1; Friday 01:00-01:45

Widowmaker was one of the best metal releases of 2013, for once an album that wasn’t just dark or difficult as an aesthetic poise, but to the very core of its being. The various members refuse to disclose their real identities, and appear onstage and in press shots wearing balaclavas, but scraps of information gleaned from our interview suggest a background in the legal profession, including spells working on death row. Quite how they’re going to transfer this intensity to playing live is an intriguing question, but their presence on the Black Metal Day at the Festival is evidence that in terms of provocation and extremism, in terms of noise as much as what surrounds it, that is a genre far more progressive than most would give it credit. Luke Turner

Levon Vincent

Hall of Fame, Foyer; Friday 01:30-02:45

Among the delights near-unique to Incubate is the fact that you can, within the space of mere minutes, switch from being brutalised by abrasive noise to getting swept up in dancefloor bliss. So it is on Friday night: when Wolf Eyes finish up their sonic battery, we’re left a handy half-hour to dash from Little Devil to Hall Of Fame in time to catch one of New York’s finest, Levon Vincent. Across the last few years Vincent’s name has become hallowed among house and techno circles for his quite astonishing productions, which manage to square off unremitting, smoky sternness with an irresistible sense of funk. His DJ sets operate with the same sleight of hand, their chest-rattling percussive chugs dragging you along with all the force of a runaway steam train. Yet it’s the subtlety that really sticks in the mind; just listen to last year’s Fabric.63 mix, consisting entirely of music from Vincent himself and a close-knit group of NY contemporaries, where extended trips into the darkness of the echo chamber eventually resolve into the lovely, Kraftwerk-ish electro gloss of ‘Rainstorm II’. Rory Gibb


Hall of Fame, 8.6 Stage; Friday 02:30-04:00

Those trekking across the post-dubstep landscape in London over the last few years might well find themselves wondering, where did all the paranoia go? The answer, it seems, is that it’s all been channeled into Beneath’s tracks, which pack more dread-inducing sub-bass pressure and eerie sewer-pipe ambience than you’d imagine possible for music so stripped-back. Occupying a thrilling middle point between the infectious soca-fied swing of UK funky, the suffocating pressure of Loefah and the stark-but-playful strains of early Sheffield bleep techno (check out recent single ‘Bells’ for a perfect example), Beneath’s music is developing into an increasingly bold and unique proposition, and one that’s starting to push the UK’s dance lineage in a direction we’ve not quite encountered yet. We like his music so much we’ve booked him for our Colony vs. The Quietus party in London the week after Incubate (details here), so you’d be well advised to find your way to Hall Of Fame in the very early hours between Friday night and Saturday morning. Rory Gibb

Electro Chaabi Wedding Party

Duvelhok; Saturday 13:00-16:00

Kosheri is amazing Egyptian street food, made from green lentils, rice, pasta tubes and lots and lots of crisply fried onions. The dish is then fortified with a choice of tomato sauces which range from very spicy to face meltingly piquant. This was the dish that fortified the joint Quietus/Incubate team when they travelled to El Salam City and Cairo earlier in the year to report on the new Electro Chaabi scene. The highlight of the trip was the evening spent with the wedding party of scene leader, MC Sadat which was part unhinged future desert settlement rave and part respectful all-ages family party. Incubate are bringing a taste of this new/old culture to Tilburg with a meal of Kosheri, a live set from Sadat and Alaa Fifty Cent, while there will also be a live video link between the Netherlands and Egypt with talkshow hosts Matthijs Rümke (Zuidelijk Toneel) and visual artist Ayman Ramadan among others discussing and explaining procedures. John Doran

Teeth Of The Sea

013, Stage 1; Saturday 14:30-15:15

Anyone who frequents these pages will know that we’re rather big fans of these guys, but then, why wouldn’t you be? They weld fist-pump-triumphant synth-rock to the cloaked bombast of a psychological thriller soundtrack, and do so on stratospheric scale. Add to this the facts that their new album Master, which gets released next month, has song titles like ‘Pleiades Underground’ (the track itself places gargantuan power chord volleys within Zimmer-esque intensity) and their live show is never less than euphoric – as their recent slot at the Quietus Five Years Party evidenced – and it becomes clear that they trounce just about anyone else who wields a guitar and keyboard. Attendance is mandatory, the Master demands it. Laurie Tuffrey

Bless Incubate for flying our two favourite new groups to the Netherlands

Paradox; Saturday 16:15-17:00 (Grumbling Fur)

Cul de Sac; Sunday 21:45-22:30 (Fat White Family)

Luke was so flat out on all the damn admin that comes with putting on a gig that he missed Grumbling Fur’s performance at the recent Quietus Five Years Party. Thanks to Incubate, then, for bringing Daniel O’Sullivan and Alexander Tucker to Tilburg for what is still an early performance by the group. Glynnaestra really is one of the most transcendent, unusual pop records of 2013, and to see it rendered live is going to be special indeed. A different kind of magic will come from Fat White Family, if they ever make it. Will the temptations of Amsterdam, the attentions of customs or the possibility of a few quid from giving ten Euro knee tremblers down the Rotterdam docks mean they never make it to North Brabant? Who can say. Fat White Family are one of the very best live groups going at the moment, seedy and deviant and everything that is so rarely done well by young men wielding guitars, but so brilliantly executed here. It’s a credit to Incubate that by the inclusion of Grumbling Fur and Fat White Family (and these of course are not the only names we can mention) they’re putting most of the rest of this earth’s festival bookers to shame. Luke Turner

Pete Swanson

013, Kleine Zaal; Saturday 18:00-18:30

Meshing excellently into Incubate’s harsher sonic climes is Pete Swanson, the former Yellow Swans man, making his first appearance at the festival. He’ll be playing a typically short but, well, decidedly abrasive, set of his furious weld of noise and techno, distilled down brilliantly on this year’s Punk Authority EP. Whether or not he’ll slip in a few cuts from his equally fine 2011 album Man With Potential, which found some of his ear-strafing tactics tempered with more melodic matter, we don’t know, but recent reports from his live sets suggest that any road, his Saturday evening show, shooting dissonant shards of frazzled electronics through with his relentless, kinetic kickdrum beat, will turn Kleine Zaal into a half-hour pressure cooker. Laurie Tuffrey

Kosmik Kommando

013, Main Stage; Saturday 02:45-03:45

Gangster acid for the walking dead still stumbling through ’til dawn on Saturday night – played at intense volume for the purposes of violent reanimation. While innovators such as Marshall Jefferson may have moved on from acid house by the end of 1988, selling his Roland TB-303 to explore pastures new, heads in the UK knew that only the barest fraction of acid house’s potential had been achieved. One such person was Mikey Dred, the first DJ to release material on Rephlex as Kosmik Kommando, who was also the producer behind 2001’s intense Innovations In The Dynamics Of Acid album as Universal Indicator. John Doran

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