PREVIEW: INFEST 25th-27th August 2017, University of Bradford UK

PREVIEW: INFEST 25th-27th August 2017, University of Bradford UK

I don’t normally do previews, but given the longitude of the event and my attendance of the festival being at 100%, I feel it’s due that I give a little bit of love; in the hope that some people who have never been to the event, maybe give it a shot this year.

In 1998 a bunch of students pulled resources to put together a festival for alternative music in the north of England.  Here we are 19 years later, going from strength to strength, with many years of hard work and backing from Terminal Productions.

Infest has always served to bring a wide selection of bands from many a genre within the alternative scene; with a worthy selection of headliners supported by up and coming acts and those with a solid proven fanbase. Indeed, Infest has a proven track record of bring acts to the UK spotlight; and indeed many of these artists have gone on to better things because of it.

This year, there are a couple of big hitters, surrounded by a web of relatively smaller acts and some moderately larger ones, providing enough intrigue as to some groups many of us will not have encountered before.

THE HEADLINERS.

First up, the band that has caused a lot of buzz about the event this year.  REVOLTING COCKS are one of my all time favourites; and this type of act is long overdue to appear in the UK, let alone Infest.  For me, RC ended as a project after their brilliant ‘Linger Ficken’ Good’ album.  With three solid studio albums and one live affair, this was all that was needed to cement the act at the pinnacle of Industrial music history. Unfortunately, Al Jourgensen chose to carry on as ‘Revco’, with a bunch of albums I generally ignored.  So for me, the line up that will tread the boards in Bradford this year will be the real deal; and a proposed set of ‘Big Sexy land’ and other hits has me chomping at the bit.

DIE KRUPPS are another bunch of legends that are a worthy headliner of any festival; and command a great deal of respect.  Nowadays, most of the music they produce has teetered off into Metal territory; and whilst I like the genre, I do hope they pull out some old Industrial classics.  Either way; miss these guys at your peril, as I am sure they will more than rise to the occasion.

ROTORSAND have been around for quite a while now; and whilst they’re not really my cup of tea, I fully appreciate their ability to get an audience moving (after witnessing them live a couple of times before).  Either way, they fit the Friday night headlining slot well.

CHIEF SUPPORT.

This next section of the line up provides information on artists that have been around for a while now, have a large fanbase; and whilst being well known outside of the UK, are slowly making in-roads here.  Longevity provides them with a healthy late playing slot on the bill.

ACCESSORY have been exciting European audiences for a while now with their blend of emphatic synths and energetic dance-floor oriented rhythms; and we expect no less on this occasion.

NOYCE™ are one of those acts that have quite possibly gone under the radar in the UK.  I remember encountering them many years ago; and their blend of German synth-pop reminds me somewhat of countrymen Melotron, in many a respect.

END.USER hailing from the USA, is one of the other acts on the bill that has got me genuinely excited, with his blend of intricate breaks, Drum N’ Bass; and hyper Industrial technicality.  With a healthy discography to boot, there should be plenty in his arsenal to absolutely slay the Bradford gathering this year.  I will be at the front.

IVARDENSPHERE are likely to be up here because of a line up pulled from other well-known acts within the scene. Known to be crowd-pleasing and having a genuinely solid following in the UK; makes them well placed to keep the crowds happy late on a Sunday night when everyone is starting to flag.

OTHER SUPPORT.

Amongst this section we have a couple of acts that have caught my attention; and a few others, which provide a suitable warm up at early doors.  RIOTMILOO produced an excellent album recently for the Ant-Zen label; and her infectious stage presence should have pulled her just a bit further up the bill.  Opening up on Saturday is a shame, as I fear some people will miss what promises to be an excellent visceral display of conscientious musical protest; and I implore you to get out of bed and not miss this.

Jason Novak and Sean Payne should be no strangers to the Infest crowd; and their project VAMPYRE ANVIL should appeal to those who appreciate the works of Cyanotic, Acucrack and Acumen Nation.  I thoroughly expect this to be a loud and engaging affair.

Amongst the other support, we have other acts I simply know nothing about; such as Wulfband, Empathy Test, Chemical Sweet Kid, Juggernauts, Sidewalks & Skeletons, They Called him Zone and Among the Echoes.  The beauty of this is, that I might find a hidden gem amongst them, as may you too.

In all fairness, I admittedly am a jaded fan of the scene in general nowadays (and it takes a lot to please me); but Infest is one of those events that isn’t just about the bands.  If you have never been before I highly recommend you visit this long standing festival that has stood the test of time.  With cheap accommodation, a genuinely friendly atmosphere and well-priced drinks and food, I guarantee you will come away with a smile on your face.  I have been every year without fail; and believe me, that in itself it is no mean feat.

For more information visit: http://infestuk.com

JIM DENLEY: Cut Air CD Sofa Music

JIM DENLEY: Cut Air     CD   Sofa Music

Taking a globalist approach as the concept to his latest album, Australia’s Denley; has taken on board a variety of acoustic instrumentation to produce here, an organic sounding release that crosses ethnicity.

Bamboo from Papa New Guinea, vibrating guitars and field recordings; play alongside his trademark flute, producing a tribal-like affair that is lightly brushed with the percussive elements.  It’s not entirely my cup of tea, but I can visualise what he has tried to achieve on this lengthy two-tracker.

As a blend of tones and sounds this does achieve a great deal, with the title track being drone based; as opposed to its counterpart being a tad messy with its experimentalism.  These two halves providing a duality for a couple of listening bases, that is interesting in one element for one or the other.

Overall, this has obviously taken a bit of work to accomplish; and the effort displayed has to be applauded in its own right, even if it won’t set the world alight.

7/10

PHILIPPE LAUZIER: A Pond in my Living Room CD Sofa Music

PHILIPPE LAUZIER: A Pond in my Living Room   CD   Sofa Music

Lauzier’s second full-length album is a sequential exploration into drones obscure noises, created with a variety of instrumentation, such as horns and bells and whatnot.

Reading in the blurb that he has provided sound installations is of no surprise whatsoever.  The haphazard and nonsensical nature of the release fits in well with the ethos of art taking precedence over music; unfortunately though, it’s a format I don’t appreciate.

For the most part, this album feels jumbled and unorganised, with out-of-key notes flying in from all angles haphazardly; like a series of never ending tuning forks, which slowly over the course of this release, drives you utterly bonkers.

I am sure there is a limited market for this piece of work; but for me, as an avid lover of Drone as a genre, I was surprised to find nothing I could sink my teeth into.

6/10

SVARTE GREINER: Moss Garden LP/CD Miasmah Recordings

SVARTE GREINER: Moss Garden   LP/CD   Miasmah Recordings

Three years on from his last album ‘Black Tie’, Erik K Skodvin returns from where he left off with two lengthy slabs of Dark Ambient in the form of ‘Moss Garden’.

Pulsating undercurrents of bass ascend slowly as the foundations to high range drones, air breathing pads and spatial bombardment.  A metamorphosis of sound evolves throughout this engaging release; that requires (as is the norm with this genre) the listeners’ undivided attention.

Whilst not being the most accomplished example of work in this territory, Svarte Greiner possesses the ability to shift through the mandatory basics, to great effect.  A sense of weightlessness is the dizzy counterpart, to much of the rich oppression that the low-end resonating hums churn out relentlessly; and all in all this ticks all the boxes for any self-respecting DE fanatic, even if just missing a few next level sparks of inspiration.

8/10

MARCUS FJELLSTRÖM: Skelektikon LP/CD Miasmah Recordings

MARCUS FJELLSTRÖM: Skelektikon   LP/CD   Miasmah Recordings

Six years on from his last album, Marcus returns once again with a layered and tense release that surges forward with a sense of the bombastic.

Over the course of ten tracks, the listener is taken on a bizarre and disturbing interpretation of a nightmare-made-music.  For some (and indeed for me), this feels like a more tuneful interpretation of Nurse With Wound; and ‘Skelektikon’ carries much of NWW’s bizarre obscurities, whilst thundering harmonies home with machine-like precision.

This is by no means an easy listen, but does pause for breath every so often as not to overburden the listener; and key moments such as ‘Aunchron’ serve to steady the heart and regain composure.

Overall, this latest piece of work signifies an artist at the top of his game; who is able to compile unimaginable horror alongside beautiful interludes of light and expression to great effect.

9/10

MIWON: Jigsawtooth LP/CD N5MD

MIWON: Jigsawtooth      LP/CD    N5MD

Balancing complex patterns with an immediacy of harmony, ‘Jigsawtooth’ provides an instantaneous hit.  I appreciate the no-holds-barred level of entry, with no build, nor drifting around on a lengthy intro; and when Miwon leaps straight into pitter-patter beats and the fluttering emotive electronics of ‘Fuzzy Words, it’s an all welcome refreshing approach to a full-length release.

It is be all too easy to band about lazy terminology such as Ambient, or indeed IDM; but it is, in all its unchained glory.  The occasional use of Disco synth and 8-Bit rhythm splices, add to the jovial nature of this album; that manages to draw a sense of beauty whilst not taking itself too seriously.

With a warm full production, there is a sense of an in the same room as you, studio feel that feels inclusive and sharing; assisting the listener in being receptive to all the subtle changes and fluctuations of timbre that scatter trough the speakers.

Altogether, this is an impressive return from Miwon; and whilst not revelling in the grandiose spectrum of the genre, the balance and shift of power between evocative and playful, provides a necessary lift emotionally when it matters most.

9/10

PATTERN BEHAVIOUR: Omens DL Crime League

PATTERN BEHAVIOUR: Omens     DL  Crime League

From the duo behind Snowbeasts comes the latest album from Pattern Behaviour; bringing together their first two EP’s which have here, undergone a touch of expansion.

The opening title track portrays the oncoming portent well; with its gradual ominous build of layered electronics, that have glitter with stabs of light amongst its ever-present darkness.  ‘Parasomnia’ drips with intermission tension, alongside ‘World’s Apart’; leading to the throbbing bass and soundtrack aura of ‘Conduit’.

There’s nothing over intricate or indeed overstated to Pattern Behaviour’s work; and in this instance it’s a welcome change from the many electronic albums out there that focus solely on complexity, rather than atmospherics.   Touching on Sci-Fi that teases with Pop sensibilities, ‘Omens’ satisfies a space where background music fills out a room in which to divulge in other interests.

Whilst not having that one hit to latch onto, this latest collection has the essential knack of killing those lonely silences; when you just want some essential space and solace to think things through, without any overt interference.

8/10