Supersonic 2018: Preview & Mix

Ahead of the 2018 edition of Birmingham's Supersonic festival, we take a closer look at the line-up with a handy mix to help fully whet your appetite

Preview by Luke Richards | 11 Jun 2018
  • Supersonic 2015 - Gazelle Twin

Supersonic returns to Birmingham from 22-24 June. Since being founded in 2003, the festival continues to draw from some of the more hidden corners of the underground – never ceasing to challenge and surprise, but somehow managing to remain accessible and inviting too.

We’ve put together this preview mix to highlight just a few of the acts we can’t wait to see, with a bit of info about each act below as they appear in the mix.

Error, error, error, ERROR! – this is the lament of Gnod and their ode to clogged-up office machinery taken from their 2017 record Just Say No To The Psycho Right-Wing Capitalist Fascist Industrial Death Machine. The Salford-based rockists hit Supersonic this year with a new LP in tow. This is simply excellent news.

Gazelle Twin returns to Supersonic in 2018 with something of an exclusive. Her latest release The Dream Ends takes influence from T.S. Eliot’s The Hollow Men and presents a kind of techno-ambient dystopia which we're sure would thrill Eliot himself. Her new show, however, could be an altogether different journey.

Jennifer Walshe is also an artist capable of great surprises. Fusing unique approaches to composition and the capability of the human voice, Walshe’s sound worlds can veer from focused lucidity of the physical space, to the open-ended existential questions of the digital realm.

Tirikilatops were founded in Seoul in 2014 and feature musicians from the UK and South Korea. The result is a kind of experimental K-pop that is as much imbued with Dadaist confusion as it is out-and-out technicolour fun. Here they sing about the humble wasabi nut – a somewhat innocuous snack on the face of it, but with the capability to reduce even the most hardened Supersonic attendee to a wet-eyed wreck in need of salve.

Olanza are an instrumental power trio from Bristol. They write riffs of tactile melody that retain a kind of buzzsaw edge, before turning up the intensity, turning it up again, changing it, creating space, filling it up again – all the while keeping the listener rapt with their winding tuneful assault.

Daniel Higgs is no stranger to riffs of tactile melody, but his current output is altogether more understated than his work in Lungfish. Today, Higgs tours as a kind of surrealist folk bard incorporating banjos and traditional tropes into the mix. The shows are no less engaging, however, and the stark intimacy with which he performs now makes complete sense as he continues his artistic journey.

Shirley Collins is a folk legend with an amazing story recently brought to the big screen via one of the best music documentaries of the past few years: The Ballad of Shirley Collins. Collins boasts a near encyclopaedic knowledge of folk from the UK and beyond, as well as having the ability to deliver songs with warmth and tenderness which often belies their benevolent subtext.

The Ex are a Dutch post-punk group who blend a kind of anarcho-DIY a la Crass with an enthusiastic approach to world fusion. Their new LP 27 Passports is stripped back to the four-piece unit and still boasts an unending energy, as well as an original approach to guitar and drums. At Supersonic this year the band will perform two sets, one 'Kids' Gig' being only accessible to the under 10s and their families.

Supersonic takes place in Birmingham 22-24 June. To buy weekend and/or day tickets: go here