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Manchester Folk Horror Festival III
Saturday, February 1, 2020 @ 1:00 pm - Sunday, February 2, 2020 @ 3:30 am
The Manchester Folk Horror Festival returns for a third year, calling out to those brave souls blessed and able enough to know folk horror when they see it. This year, the umbrella widens into further reaches of esoterica, as we consider our ‘Invisible Neighbours’ and pay heed to hitherto ‘Hidden Devotions’. A broad animism can be observed within the boundaries of our experience—culturally, socially, biologically and imaginally.
With 2020 comes a new sensibility; the conclusion, that the super-normal is in fact entering our every day lives. From 80’s pop singers acting as the vessel for oracular wisdom, to statues of Moloch in the Vatican, to the obscure traditions of spirit propitiation on the banks of the Ribble, we now sit cheek to jowl with the liminal.
Artists have been approached who look to evoke to one degree or another, something of the incomprehensible consciousness, of that which is supposed without perception.
Without further ado, lets have a look at our line-up of artists and contributors:
COMMON EIDER KING is an evolving art and music collaboration between Rob Fisk (Badgerlore, Six Organs of Admittance/Hexadic collaborator), Vicky Fong, Andee Connors (A Minor Forest), Andrew Weathers and Blaine Todd. A potent mix of blackened ambience, drone and silence incorporating viola, vast chorale arrangements, and field recordings.
Labels representing CEKE since their inception in 2007 include Cold Spring, Pesanta Urfolk, Black Horizons, Root Strata, Sol y Nieve, and their own imprint Caribou People.
Swelling vocal abstractions augmented with lush blankets of layered viola stretched out of time- hushed, yet unnerving to experience. Terrifying, beautiful, spare, the sound of light nullified and at the same time a celebration of the power and beauty of the sun.
Mark Pilkington AKA THOUGHT UNIVERSE is a composer and performer of electroacoustic music. His practice encapsulates both sound and image as a means to extend spatial imaginings between real and virtual space.His work, Bug Data is an audio-visual artwork that reflects the impact of damming on our waterways through the study of migration and displacement of non-human species. This is achieved by using the creative application of data visualization and sonification. His aim, is to give voice to unseen creatures that live in our waterways by applying an artistic practice to translate scientific research. Bug data extracts data of macroinvertebrates gathered from dammed rivers in the North West of England. Hydrologists evaluate a rivers health by measuring the migration of water based species at different locations along a rivers path. He has developed and programmed a visual interface to access and transmit the data across a network to a sound synthesis algorithm. All of 113 water based species are identified by a unique sound tag mapped onto a virtual map. The data is gathered from the tributaries of Haweswater reservoir situated in the Lake District in the North West of England. The listener is able to hear and see the variation of macroinvertebrates from a series of abstracted waterways. The piece can be performed using a live coded algorithm that displays visual maps, computer images and hand drawn sketches. The data samples of macro-vertebrates have been kindly supplied by Dr. Francois Edwards of the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology.
Being an invocation of the Spiritualist Church which terrified the composer, Gary Wilkinson, as a child. The concept is examined from every angle, reaching across history, dreams and experience, to present an authentic symphonic event.
Orchestral music created using cut-ups, layers and loops of public domain classical pieces
TARAS BULBA was formed in the winter of 2019 by Fred Laird and Jon Blacow. Taking a new direction from their last musical outfit Earthling Society, the duo embarked on an inner space mission for new age ideas, rhythmic mantras, ambient landscapes and creative micro dosing.
Expect a pot-pouri of Eastern/ Asian sounds, Krautrock Rhythms, ambient landscapes, psychedelic blues and Orb inspired dub. Taking influences from Midori Takada, Tony Scott, CAN, Neu!, 6 organs of Admittance, The Orb and the soundtracks of David Lynch and Angelo Badalemnti.
ROTTEN BLISS is the violent, warm and weird visions of London based avant-garde cellist and vocalist Jasmine Pender.
Equally inspired by the wild physicality of Jacqueline du Pre and the shrieking glory of a cello played through FX pedals, Rotten Bliss explores the outer limits of the electric cello, fearlessly clashing hauntology, minimalism and folk horror with noise and art rock. Using various extended techniques, an ever-expanding chain collection, toe-operated devices and hand-made FX, Jasmine commands the audience through an elemental voyage, summoning nihilistic sailors and amorous fishes with her “unsettling and beautiful vocals” (Misfit City)
WATERFLOWER is artist Sabine Moore’s audiovisual performance project. Sabine Moore’s intertwined music and visual presence, is an audiovisual journey into a unique world.. The stage image is inspired by turn of the 19th Century Art Nouveau illustrations (e.g. Mucha and Beardsley).
Musically, Waterflower draws upon genres like Electronica, Experimental Pop and Ambient. Her multi-layered compositions
are created from sampled sounds like toy beeps, running water, glass beads, gardening tools, and are then mixed with synthesizers, orchestral sounds – like the violin, ghostly piano melodies and her sublime vocals.
On stage, a live potted plant is transformed into a touch-sensitive synthesizer using capacitive sensors. A similar technique also allows a separate plant to also act as a real-time midi controller for the artist’s visuals. The video animations display themes such as nature, science and the interaction of the two. One could say that “Waterflower” is like a sci-fi journey to a world outside of our time-line.
CHELSEA HARE is the only artist we’ve been happy to return three times to the festival, if only because of the staggering diversity of music he has on offer and a determinedly demented spin that catapults us repeatedly into his orbit.Tom is a vision scarred artist, for whom sound is but a tool for the expression of otherness. “Disarming, uncanny moments of theatricality sit comfortably alongside more downbeat moments of introspection. Tom’s incredibly funny and poetic lyrics provide a tremendous thread through the blizzard of fairly schizophrenic musical styles… but Tom’s voice is unmistakably his own.” NARC magazine.
ECKA MORDECAI is a player of the cello. Her language involves listening, channeling and mediumship, improvisation, and out-of-tuneness. She is also a sound artist specializing in minimalist and absurd instruments. Most notable are her egg-flutes, which were performed by the Egg Octet in the Scottish Highlands.
Ecka Mordecai writes/records/releases/performs in the trio Circaea with Andrew Chalk and Tom Scott (The Bridge of Dreams, 2019), in duo with Kate Armitage (Easy Cow, 2019), and on works by Antoine Beuger (Ockeghem Octets, 2017), Taku Sugimoto (Cello Solo 1, 2018), Thurston Moore (Leave Me Alone, 2019).
THE FATES Led by Manchester punk icon Una Baines, The Fates released Furia in 1985 and then disappeared into the annals of UK punk purgatory. With all the DIY traits and snarling attitudes of Manchester’s smart-arsed punk retaliation, the band delivered a record of haunting, mechanical folk and pastoral drones. This virtually unknown LP, with a backstory that unites sleeve artist Linder Sterling (Ludus), Tony Friel, Martin Bramah, and John Cooper Clarke with the 16th century Pendle witches, is a vital missing piece in Manchester’s self-help anti-pop industry. Lost in the ether, lauded by collectors, and likened by Mark E. Smith to the Third Ear Band, this unclassifiable arty-fact renders tags like “pagan punk” utterly inadequate. File under-ground.
“Life and death as an endless procession of the damned, crawling through filth to a new aeon”.
The Begotten are William Fowler, Justin Harries, Jo Fisher Roberts and Mark O Pilkington: vocals, bass, guitar and electronics exude shimmering, pullulating miasmas of beauty and unease. Originally assembled to accompany Elias Merighe’s abject experimental film of the same name, the Begotten have since performed at numerous cinemas (with both Begotten and Haxan: Witchcraft Through the Ages), film festivals, art galleries and music venues.
“Layered voices mutter in the background, circling and revolving in a miasma of their own echoes, the tongues spoken almost inaudible in the misty tableaux that unfold amongst electronic blips and scurrying winds, half-glimpsed shapes of words among the meandering intonations. Everything is held in soft, mysterious tension, electrical fractures folding and recursing, opening crepitating fissures as metallic banshee wails rise.” Freq
Debut release out now on Blue Tapes
EMILY OLDFIELD is well known around these parts. Her poetry of local geography, maps not just the physical, but the inner labyrinths suggested by the liminal spaces she feels drawn to. A driving force in Manchester’s music scene and also editor of the distinctly Folk Horror magazine, Haunt. Her star continues to ascend. She will be ably backed by…
FLANGE CIRCUS Erecting from a labyrinth of grotesque and menacing sounds their music exudes an almost constant sense of unease . They offer the perfect foil for Emily’s poetry and have recently completed their debut album, Abandoned Glow.
ALSO expect a series of talks and spoken word.
PHIL LEGARD is an author, scholar and musician, exploring the presence of esoteric and occult thought in the domains of creativity, culture and politics. He also makes up one half of the excellent Hawthonn, who many of you will be familiar with. Having recently released ‘An Excellent Booke of the Arte of Magicke’, co-authored with Al Cummins, Phil will be joining us to discuss this work.
SARA HANNANT is documentary and fine art photographer whose work explores magic, myth and folklore. Herimages have been widely exhibited in such venues as The Royal Society of Arts, Christie’s and Towner Art Gallery, the BBC, and in The Guardian and The Sunday Times among others. In 2019, she was shortlisted for the British Photography Awards and in 2018 for the British Life Photography Award and nominated for the Royal Photographic Society Hundred Heroines. Of Shadows: One Hundred Objects from the Museum of Witchcraft and Magic (Strange Attractor Press 2016) was shortlisted for the International Photography Awards Book of the Year 2017. Her book Mummers, Maypoles and Milkmaids: A Journey through the English Ritual Year (Merrell 2011) received the runner-up Katharine Briggs Folklore Award in 2012, and the exhibition of the same title is being toured by the Horniman Museum. Expect a curious and haunting journey.
CHRISTOPHER JOSIFFE is a regular contributor to Fortean Times and has also been published in Faunus, Abraxas, and The Pomegranate. He has given lectures at the Ghost Club, the Society for Psychical Research, Senate House Library and the Fortean Times Unconvention. He’ll be taking us thrugh the peculiar story of Gef, the talking mongoose.
RETURNING will be STRANGER THAN LIFE DRAWING, incredibly popular during our first event. Macclesfield artist and practicioner, BECCA SMITH will guide aspirants of all ability levels in the depiction of a surprising, eerie and/or fantastic model.
Expect some interesting films, to be confirmed over the next day or so.
More info coming very soon!