No-holds-barred, lofi, wiry, absurdist, fast and confrontational hardcore punk from Glasgow, with enough white noise, seething distortion and feedback thrown in the mix for ultimate avante-satifisfaction. Anxiety’s songs are all about darkness, wetness and ripped crotches – just like the city they come from.
As our featured for the 2017 edition of Counterflows, Ashley will be performing new work with an exclusive expanded ensemble. She will also be doing a series of intimate solo shows, as well as a one-off collaboration with Berlin-based artist Rashad Becker.
Ashley Paul is an American performer/ composer currently based in London. We were first attracted to Ashley’s work by her striking take on song form; a delicate but utterly focussed tip-toeing between melodic free-form structures and scratching, scraping, clattering sound, bridging the liminal gap between intimate bedroom folk stylings and the unpredictable dynamics of early British improvisation. Despite being schooled in jazz and improvisation, Ashley subverts and re-configures learned practice in a way that feel oddly singular, allowing her to craft an unvarnished and deeply personal form of music.
“Is it arranged? Is it made up on the spot?… sometimes sounds as if she’s got nothing to do with any tradition at all — rather, a songwriter with a diaristic, private and flexible sense of what a song is.” – New York Times
A CARNATIC PARADIGM – MARK FELL, RIAN TREANOR, NAKUL KRISHNAMURTHY & MORE
This year sees one of Counterflows’ most ambitious projects – a new multichannel sound and light installation which will be presented at CCA throughout the festival. Created and curated by Mark Fell, with works by Rian Treanor and Nakul Krishnamurthy and a series of curated performances by various musicians from the South Indian tradition, the project responds to the systems and processes of Carnatic music of South India.
After last year’s stunning performance by the Carnatic music ensemble to close Counterflows we asked Mark Fell if he would consider creating a new piece that explores the complex systems present in Carnatic music; how those systems relate to creative practices and musical vocabularies; and the correspondences with his own musical methodologies and critical writings on technology.
In November 2016 Mark, Rian Treanor and Alasdair Campbell spent 10 days in Chennai researching carnatic music. this involved meeting musicians, attending temple performances, observing lessons and exploring the basic fabric that Carnatic music is built on.
The focus of the research visit was not to learn to play carnatic music or to take part in cross cultural improvisations, but to carefully examine the structures and methods found in this music and to enter into a mutually supportive dialogue with those active in this tradition.
AC Projects acknowledges the continuing support of British Council and Creative Scotland in the realisation of this project.
Part of the constantly adventurous Wandelweiser collective – home to the likes of Michael Pisaro, Radu Malfatti and Jurg Frey – Eva-Maria Houben creates vast, incorporeal forms from almost nothing – music that lingers long after the last note has dissipated. Born in Germany, she has an impressive history as a composer, theorist, pianist and organist, taking influence from (and further developing) a past canon of unheard moments, stretching from John Cage to the Second Viennese School, to even as far back as Berlioz and Bruckner.
Both carefully nuanced and obsessively singular – her evocative solo piano works have a warmth and beauty to them that stands out beyond the occasionally bare and dry work of her contemporaries. In the words of Ben Harper, “this is living, messy, human music.” Join us a for a relaxed Sunday afternoon piano concert at this years’ Counterflows.
Farmers Manual are a radical electronic and visual arts group formed in Vienna in the early 1990s. The group are renowned for their ‘chaos-particle-accelerating’ computer music, released on electronic music labels such as Mego, TRAY and OR. The group’s live events are often described as ‘anti-performances’ – long drawn-out domestic happenings, featuring members of the group playing and improving on various software programmes.
After a 10 year hiatus, Russell Haswell brought the group back in 2016 to perform outstanding shows at Cafe Oto and at Atonal Festival Berlin. This will be a rare chance to catch the group live.
“the farmers manual collective represents media art at its most anarchistic” – Anton Nikkilä
Frances Morgan is a music and film critic based in London. A contributing editor at The Wire magazine, she is currently researching electronic music histories at the Royal College of Art.
Frances will be conducting interviews/discussions with Ashley Paul and the artists involved with the Carnatic Paradigm project, as part of Counterflows 2017.
Delighted to welcome Chile’s Glorias Navales to Europe for the very first time. The group get together regularly in a private space in Santiago to jam out a type of late night campfire trance music, bridging the gap aesthetically and stylistically between Chilean folk music (ala Violeta Parra) and ramshackle post-Velvets psychedelia. Their sound – crafted on acoustic guitars, violin and stomp box – have resulted in stunning releases; ‘Carta a Maureen Tucker’ ETCS and ‘Cofradia Nautical’ on Graham Lambkin’s KYE label. Join us for a raw, unvarnished walkway straight into heart the of the contemporary Chilean underground.
LES FILLES DE ILLIGHADAD
Les Filles de Illighadad are a group that hail from the village of Illighadad in the region of Abalak. They present a curious and original approach to two very different sides of Tuareg music – dreamy ishumar acoustic guitar sessions, and the hypnotic polyphonic tende drum that inspires it. Their intoxicating debut album – out now on the reliably excellent Sahel Sounds – was recorded during long sessions in the sweltering heat of their hometown; a world far away from wi-fi where the suns’ passage, the movement of the animals and the sound of the crickets measures the length of the day.
The two young woman at the core of the group – guitarist Fatou Seidi Ghalia and vocalist Alamnou Akrouni – are proof that the heavily male-dominated guitar music of Niger might be becoming a thing of the past. Their raw, minimal and melancholy-laced sound is something of wonder – and it is a real pleasure to welcome to them to the UK for the first time as part of Counterflows 2017.
MARK ERNESTUS’ NDAGGA RHYTHM FORCE
Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force is a collaboration between a group of Senegalese musicians and Berlin dub-techno legend Mark Ernestus (Basic Channel / Rhythm & Sound), birthed from a series of sizzling sessions in the city of Dakar. Despite the musical, geographical, political and social divisions that exist between them, they make a strikingly autonomous sound; fusing elements of Senegalese Mbalax percussion, Jamaican dub and Berlin minimalism to shake out grooves that are truly out of this world.
In a live setting the group feature singer/MC Mbene Diatta Seck, talking drum master Modou Mbaye, dancer Fatou Wore Mboupsabar, drummer Bada Seck and guitar player Assane “Ndoye” Cisse, as well some young hotshots from the Dakar scene. We’re so delighted to welcome this group to the UK for the first time as part of Counterflows.
Mark Vernon is a Glasgow-based artist whose work exists on the fringes of sound art, music and broadcasting. A keen advocate of radio as an art form, he co-runs Glasgow art radio station Radiophrenia, and has produced radio programmes for stations internationally. He has also published a slew of solo and collaborative music projects through Staalplaat, Ultra Eczema, Entr’acte, 3Leaves, Staubgold and Gagarin Records, as well as a series of small CDR and LP editions on his own meagre resource imprint.
For this special performance at Counterflows Festival, Mark will be doing a live presentation of his newest LP, ‘Lend an ear, leave a word’, released on Graham Lambkin’s KYE label. Composed from field recordings of contemporary Lisbon combined with reel-to-reel tapes and micro-cassettes found at the Feira de Ladra flea market, it is a portrait of time and place – an archaeology of sound. The result of the audio flotsam and jetsam washed up on the shores of low commerce in the flea markets of Lisbon.
Midori Takada is a Japanese percussionist whose output over the past 40 years weaves through solo, group and theatrical practices. Her deep quests into traditional African and Asian percussive language are captured on a series of now highly sought after albums including her masterpiece Through The Looking Glass (1981/RCA) and her collaboration with Masahiko Satoh Lunar Cruise (1990/Epic-Sony), both of which will be reissued on Swiss label WRWTFWW in 2017.
In chime with the peak period ambient and Fourth World musics explored by Jon Hassell, Don Cherry and Brian Eno, but born of a distinctly Japanese ceremonial and meditative musical sensibility, her work has a crystalline quality that distills rhythms from around the world into transfixing minimalist dreamscapes.
Performance made possible courtesy of support from the Great Britain Sasakawa Foundation.
THE MODERN INSTITUTE
Mutant undulations from the deep belly of the Glasgow underground, brought to life spontaneously by flickering synths, rolling drums and stream-of-consicous vocals. Their first tape ‘Another Exhibition’ is out now on new Glasgow label Domestic Exile, with forthcoming releases on Night School and Diagonal.
NEIL DAVIDSON & ARILD VANGE (DUO)
Neil Davidson and Norwegian poet/translator Arild Vange have been working together since 2008; on improvised performances (readings), theatre collaborations, theoretical talks about improvisation and literature and occasional publications. They have performed in Norway, Germany and the UK. Their theatre company DVELL is based in Trondheim, Norway.
As part of the book launch ‘Line Vocabulary’ (by Arild Vange and Per Formo) at this years’ Counterflows, Neil Davidson and Arild Vange will perform a duo set, followed by a discussion on the relationship between the Per Formo’s art, the writing and translation process, and the influence of improvisation on these.
Olimpia Splendid sound a bit like all our favourite guitar bands rolled up into one. Made up of three woman at the beating-heart of the Helsinki art and music underground – Heta Bilaletdin, Jonna Karanka and Katri Sipiläinen – they make wiry, hypnotic and out-of tune DIY punk with guitars, bass and a drum machine. Reliably brilliant weirdo imprint Fonal Records released their debut 7” ep in 2013, which was followed by a full-length debut in July 2015.
“This wonderful Finnish trio sound like Royal Trux, The Dead C and the troublemaking witches from Macbeth, stirring their pot with grease and glitter (…) Party music for the tipping point before things get messy.” – The Wire
Music for pipe organ Stiehr-Mockers 1848, Bird Calls, Baroque Violin, Tin Whistle, Boîtes à Bourdons, Landscape Piano, Motorised Bow, Standuino Pi Synth, Microphones, Hurgy Toys, AM radio, Church Bells, Uillean Pipes and Hulusi.
Pancrace is an improvising quintet comprising French, British and Austrian performers. The members include Prune Bécheau, Arden Day, Julien Desailly, Léo Maurel and Jan Vysocky. Pancrace is also the name of the church in Dangolsheim Alsace located next to where the instrument inventor Léo Maurel lives. Maurel makes ingeniously designed instruments inspired by the hurdy gurdy. In Pancrace one can hear many of his shape-shifting instruments and devices being twiddled without knowing which are bowed, plucked, hammered or rubbed.
Rashad Becker will be appearing in a first time live duo with our featured artist Ashley Paul at this years’ Counterflows.
Rashad Becker might have been involved in your favourite experimental album released in recent few years (via his day job as a mastering engineer at Dubplates & Mastering), but he’s also an excellent solo musician, known for his “Traditional Music of Notional Species” series released by PAN. He comes to Glasgow following release of second volume of his wonderfully vivid non-referential synthesized music on PAN. Rashad’s improvisations are beautifully textured and brimming with sounds, never lacking the much needed clarity that makes his music so special.
Sue Tompkins is a Glasgow-based collector of found phrases, words, and lyrics. Through her typed and spoken works – created by editing, layering, arranging and configuring spontaneous thoughts, random phrases and quotes from popular media – she re-presents snatches of material gleaned from the everyday, distorting meaning by metering their arrangement and delivery. Her work exists both live and in the gallery; where she transfers aspects of her live performance (such as the rhythm, tempo and composition) into two-dimensional works.
We have a been a long-time fan of Sue’s work live, in the gallery and also in her previous group Life Without Buildings, so we are very happy to welcome her to Counterflows Festival for the first time.
We first discovered singer and multi-instrumentalist Svitlana Nianio’s music on the aptly titled ‘Music The World Does Not See’ – a small compilation of Polish and Ukrainian artists from the 1990’s with deep roots in Slavic folk traditions, as well ear for the avant-garde. Described as “deeply rooted in primeval myths, creating a world of magic realism” Svitlana’s music pushes ancient Ukrainian folk music in haunting and unpredictable directions, whilst retaining a tender minimalism at its core.
Svitlana still makes music to this day, but has a long history in the Ukrainian underground; as member of her ЦукорБілаСмерть (Cukor Bila Smert’), in solo projects or collaborations. We believe her work is deserving of more people’s ears, so it is a pleasure to welcome her to the UK for the first time for this edition of Counterflows.
TAKAHIRO KAWAGUCHI & UTAH KAWASAKI
‘Amorphous Spores’ is the name of the Takahiro Kawaguchi & Utah Kawasaki’s debut release together (out on Erstwhile Records), and it serves as a near perfect description for their music. Made by bonding Kawaguchi’s air horns and home-made appliances with Kawasaki’s electronic devices, the two are able to blend familiar ingredients but make them grow into something strikingly strange, dramatic and often beautiful.
Kawaguchi and Kawasaki are both very active in Japan’s underground music scenes, and represent something of an exciting new wave of adventurous emerging musicians and improvisers. We can’t wait to see what they have in store for their debut European performance together at Counterflows.
Performance made possible courtesy of support from the Daiwa Foundation
Part of a prankster club collective PRR PRR from Brussels, Clara!’s mixtape series “Reggaetoneras” – made up of 100% female MCs and rhythms from the ‘90s up to the modern day – blew us away last year. A snapshot of Clara’s teenage years on the beaches and discos of Galicia, Spain, the mixes are steeped in the imported Puerto Rican sounds and mixes of French DJs such as Kost & Goldfingers or DJ Poska.
Both an excellent introduction to the dembow rhythms which so strongly inform current dance music – from the mega pop hits of Bieber and Drake thru to the avant output of Arca or Kamixlo – and an expertly curated and researched compilation of music that lies beyond the reach and knowledge of scene outsiders, Reggaetoneras is, most importantly, massive party music. Crammed with a rude drums and hooks levered from major dance hits, and sandwiched with skits and personal edits, we can’t wait for her to present a special Reggaetoneras set at our late night Counterflows Social.
LETITIA PLEIADES (DJ)
Very happy to have Letitia Pleiades on the decks as part of one of our late night Counterflows Social. Highly present in the Glasgow scene as an artist, member of dance group G.O.D.S., notorious pop group Fem Bitch Nation and free-noise mongers Thoth, she is also a killer DJ; whose sets sidewind between UK bass, dancehall, house and techno. Totally anarchic and unpredictable, we can’t wait to see what she has in store for us.
Photo credit: Tine Bek
From assisting John Peel’s legendary radio show back in the day to running his own club nights and label (Heated Heads), Mark Maxwell (Mother) has over time drilled himself into the heart of the Glasgow music scene. Mark’s encyclopaedic knowledge transcends techno, jungle, music concrete, dubstep and so much more, but for Counterflows this year he’ll be treating us to a special dub set, warming up for Mark Ernestus’ Ndagga Rhythm Force.
PS – if you fancy a bit of record shopping at the festival, make sure to pop by Glasgow institution Rubadub – whose stacks are curated by Mark himself.
REBECCA MARSHALL (DJ)
One of the most exciting DJs to emerge from fizzling Glasgow underground dance scene. Part of the clubnight SO LOW (alongside Keith McIvor, Katie Shambles from Optimo and Iona Fortune) – a night that specialises in industrial, goth, cold-wave and post-punk from the Thatcher years – Becky’s own DJ sets renowned for their energetic, off-the-grid intensity.