LISTEN: A Quietus Festival Playlist

We've made a playlist of music from all the festivals we're working with this year to get you geed up for the weekend. Have a listen and read more below

One of our favourite aspects of operating the pixellated websheet that is The Quietus is getting to roam nations participating the amazing music festivals that the Continent – including the UK – has to offer. It must be said that being people who’d rather keep our shoes clean we do tend to prefer the ones where you get to walk the streets of a European city, from music to coffee spot to hostelry, without getting covered in oomska.

Along with our friends at Sennheiser, we decided to give them a trial run via a playlist of music from all the music festivals we’re working with over the course of 2015. As the year tips gracefully into middle age, some of these – CTM, Sonar, Supersonic – are but hazy memories, but there are still more excursions around the musical hinterlands to come. Listen to the playlist of artists from the various festivals we’re working with via our YouTube above, and see below for details of these various exploits and words on some of the artists below. This piece was produced in association with Sennheiser.

CTM – Berlin

Powell – ‘No U Turn’

Read our review of CTM here

"This year’s CTM theme is Un Tune, explained poetically thus: "exploring the affective potential of sound from innumerable points of view: spatial explorations, otoacoustic emissions, binaural beats, and other phenomena that play on our perception and mental states meet visceral manifestations such as acerbic grindcore hallucinations, psychedelic drone freakouts, numbing consumer-trash beats, and future-punk ecstasies." Sound certainly has the power to knock us out of the habitual, yet as the mainstream and fringe cultures move further apart, so it becomes more difficult for these extreme sounds to reach the mass audience where they might have the most effect. The mass audience in turn, through this distance are all the more ready to dismiss most of what might be encountered at CTM as "just noise", challenging, but in a way prosaically so. Can underground explosions be heard?"

Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia

Blanck Mass – ‘Dead Format’

Read our review of Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia here

"There was always a fear that the Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia would paint itself into a corner but these doubts have been well and truly dispelled. Buy expanding the facilities, on-site activities and a booking policy that has embraced psychedelic music in all its forms, the festival has come to be the go-to destination for the more discerning head. Indeed, such has been the all-encompassing nature of this year’s event that the appetite has already been whetted for what next year has in store. And really, it can’t come quick enough."

Sonar – Barcelona

Mumdance – ‘Take Time feat.Novelist’

Read our review of Sonar here

"The first 40 or so minutes of the 90-minute billing see Mumdance move through a selection of stark techno and rave music including a number of tracks Proto, his collaborative album with Logos released earlier this year, as well as a slew of his own productions such as ‘The Sprawl’, ‘Springtime’ and Pinch collaboration ‘Turbo Mitzi VIP’. Moving into a selection of grime instrumentals, the relatively subdued crowd becomes something entirely different as Novelist steps out. What follows is 20 minutes of reloads, gleeful reactions and outings for the Nov-featuring ‘1 Sec’ and of course ‘Take Time’, which receives the expected frenzied response from the swelling SonarDôme audience. With 30 minutes left, Mumdance steps aside, handing over to The Square’s General Courts who continues at much the same pace for the remainder of the set, the energy levels not dipping once both on stage and off."

Desertfest – London

Anthroproph – ‘Crow With Sore Throat’

"Follow the smoke toward the riff filled land… And onwards into astral eternity."

Supersonic – Birmingham

The Bug – ‘Dirty’

Read our review of The Bug here

"The Bug and Earth – AKA Kevin Martin and Dylan Carlson – fill the room with slow-moving, maximalist drone and gut-gurgling bass. But what’s really needed at this point of the weekend is the introduction of Flowdan after Carlson vacates the stage. Lurking in front of a shadow-shielded Martin, barking his flow of chill menace, he finally brings the party to Supersonic. An intense, tightly packed throng forms in front of the stage; we lap up everything the duo throw at us. A Saturday night treat of a scratchy, boomy grime set based around The Bug’s latest, Angels & Devils, but with added surprises such as Dizzee’s ‘I Luv U’ and a blink and you’ll miss it rendition of ‘Skeng’ (that admittedly doesn’t get to the high-point of the song when Flowdan starts chatting about the ‘earse). The highlight might be ‘Function’, originally voiced by Manga, all waspish synthetic melody line and the on-point refrain: "I’m just trying to function.""

Field Day – London

Toumani and Sidiki Diabate – ‘Rachid Ouiguini’

Read our Field Day review here

"Owen Pallett’s superlative performance under canvas of the Crack Magazine tent is a masterclass in smart, sensual, beautifully arranged pop music. It leaves me on something of a high (no ales yet consumed, either), which is only increased as I wander into the gloriously burbling web cast by Toumani and Sidiki Diabaté on The Quietus/EYOE stage. This is pretty much definition of pleasant way to spend a Saturday afternoon, slowly baked by the sun, the father and son duo’s intricate skills on the kora rippling forth across a contented crowd. The peaceful and ego-free (though Sidiki, wearing a blue as splendid as the sky does occasionally rise from his stool as he plays) interplay between the two of them is wonderful to behold coming, as it does, as the latest birthing of a griot tradition that stretches back for over 700 years."

Incubate – Tilburg

Islam Chipsy

Read our Incubate review here

"On Friday afternoon, a group of international visitors to Incubate, including myself, head to the council chamber of Tilburg’s town hall for a session with local councillors and city marketing people. John Robb is the chair, and sits up on the dais as if he’s just conducted a punk rock coup. Though few local representatives have bothered to turn up (something that makes the next day’s paper) the two hour discussion is a fascinating insight into the positive effect a festival like Incubate – and, indeed, metal bash Roadburn, also held here – can have on a town. The most similar place I can imagine in the UK might be somewhere like Stevenage or Hemel Hempstead, flat grey places built after the war with a sigh of ‘nothing special’. As Incubate founder Joost says, "we have a saying here that in Tilburg a tourist is the only attraction in town". Incubate does its best to change this – as well as bringing along one of the most diverse festival bills you’re likely to see, there’s also an impact on the local community, whether it’s theatre performances in the street, a bus tour of the city’s textile history, noise performances in a synagogue, or collaborations with a local farmer. Most important, though, is Make Tilburg Better, where local young people attended workshops on how they’d want to make their town and community a more pleasant place. British festivals, take note."


Karen Gwyer – ‘Tehe! Blah blah! Shhhh!’

Read a past Supernormal feature here

"Last year’s Supernormal festival was a glorious triumph – a festival stacked with underground bands from across the UK, collaborative art exhibits, pop-up raves in the woods, edible bread people and whatever happened in that fuzzy period between entering the dance tent and waking up in the morning. Key to Supernormal – set in the grounds of Braziers Park in Oxfordshire – is its easy-going attitude. The festival consists of two main music stages, a barn for avant-garde stylings and a variety of tents and trailers to provide art, cinema, food and whatever else you may want on a weekend in a field. Oh, and then there’s the dance tent, which cottoned on to the fact that playing Prince as loud as possible will bring in the punters in no time. This is a festival which aims to give underground musicians and artists a platform, regardless of their age, and this results in a festival which you can attend without having to push to the front, queue for a drink or fear losing your friends when hunger takes over."

Simple Things – Bristol

Grumbling Fur – ‘Secrets Of The Earth’

Read our review of Simple Things here

"Just in its second year, Simple Things is a one-day multi-venue boutique festival run by a small coalition of local Bristol promoters. With its ATP-style mixtape menu of post-laptop rock and left-field electronica, this year’s line-up could almost have been drawn up with Quietus readers in mind."

Milhoes De Festa – Portugal

Perc – ‘Take Your Body Off’

Read our review of Perc’s The Power & The Glory here

"Perc’s masterful new LP The Power And The Glory is imbued with a similarly sinewy air of artistic grunt – a marshalling of chaotic audio forces that threaten to implode at any moment. It’s a balancing act that totally disrupts the slick hydraulic tick of much modern techno, reveling in imperfection and coating much of the base elements in a warm swell of distortion that is both physically enveloping and mentally disorientating.

Raw Power – London

Circle – ‘Valleus’

Read our guide to the music of Circle here

"Playful, preposterous, virtuosic, relentless: these adjectives only go some way to describing the multifarious beast that is the Finnish experimental rock band Circle. Founded in 1991 in the coastal town of Pori by founder member Jussi Lehtisalo and original drummer Juha Ahtianainen, Circle were a remarkable proposition from the outset. As Lehtisalo would later explain, their early live performances were rituals "to do with nudity, symbolism and blood…sometimes the whole band would perform in [fluorescent] body paint", and the glacial post rock of their debut album Meronia(Bad Vugum 1994) was distinguished by his unique "Meronian" vocals, "a kind of onomatopoeic uttering that has a meaning for those who want to understand."

Wysing Festival – Cambridgeshire

Beatrice Dillon – ‘Halfway’

Read our review of Wysing here

"The one-day music and art festival, now in its fifth year, showcases performers who you may not expect to share a bill, united here by the originality of their sound art practices. Most of the live performances occurred on two stages, the aforementioned swamp witch’s hut, actual name: the Amphis stage, and the bigger Gallery stage, with an easy walk across a field between the two. This year, the theme was Space-Time: the Future, with a particular focus on female artists. The bucolic setting was really kind of the opposite of the future, though… The ridiculous levels of idyll – at one point a dormouse/vole creature scuttled through our group – gave the festival a relaxed atmosphere. It was a civilised gathering, and people were there to do some serious listening. Yep, there was definitely some chin stroking going on, but also the aforementioned mind-blasting, end-of-the-night raving and some silver catsuits, too."

Semibreve Festival – Portugal

Klara Lewis – e.t.t.

Read our review of Semibreve here

"If there’s one thing I learned during sixty hours in this pretty city – whose very existence seems to remains a secret to many people, despite (amongst other things) its impressive place in Catholic history, a top class football team, an award-winning stadium and its position as the country’s third largest city – it’s this: the Pastel De Nata, supposedly invented by monks in Lisbon some 225 miles away to use up leftover egg yolks after the whites were used to starch their ecclesiastical outfits, is one of the most delicious delicacies ever created. I know, I know: you don’t read the Quietus to be told that a small tart is the most important discovery of a music festival. But the crisp, buttery pastry of the Pastel De Nata and the exquisite texture and sweet vanilla taste of its filling remain the defining flavours of a weekend that was already almost perfect. And the secret to its magic? The fact that it turns something whose appeal seems limited – in this case, egg custard – into something utterly irresistible. Arguably, this, too, is the secret ingredient in Semibreve’s success. By presenting a carefully blended selection of "exploratory music and digital arts" in glorious surroundings, they ensure that almost everything becomes palatable, at least, and unforgettable at best."

This is a sponsored post produced in conjunction with Sennheiser

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