Languor, absurdities…

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Sketches for interior architecture for Supernormal by Matthew ‘Quill’ McQuillan. Lovely, aren’t they?


Written by Hákarl

June 23, 2011 at 10:50 am

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Hákarl Communion will be 6 for our performance at Supernormal. Who are these merry miscreants, I hear you ask? I asked them to write something about themselves. Here is what they said. I didn’t indicate whether to write in the first or third person:


“Seth Cooke is an improviser using drums, voice and electronics and a composer using whatever materials are to hand.  He performs with Hunting Lodge, the A Band, Defibrillators and UltraHumanitarian and solo both as Ganbatte and under his own name.  He’s interested in NLP, magic, psychology and ritual, and has worked in communications for various constabularies for the last six years.”

Seth is also (oh, sorry – this is Kev/ Hákarl writing again now… maybe I should do some sort of different colour or something?) one of head honchos of Bang the Bore, a fine community of experimental musicians/ ne’er-do-wells. He does some pretty fly writing and may possibly have reconfigured time, given how much he manages to do while holding down a job.


“barnabas yianni is a rather modest multi-instrumental performer, composer, installation artist, instrument inventor, writer, and early keyboard instrument conservator.

he enjoys physical activies, such as swimming, cricket, kite chasing and intensive manual labour, as well as all forms of making, and has s—– m——– almost every day for roughly 13 years. He also enjoys attempting to communicate with animals by mimicking their body language. his creative approach involves revealing arbitrary organic, mechanical or emotional processes as having an inherent rightness, the deconstruction of tradition, and accessing cultural pre-knowns in music and sound. he is totally up for stuff, and will commit to pretty much any project, if asked, which is how he got involved in this 36 hour thing in the first place. he thinks a lot, but in a general sort of a way, avoiding too many small details… hmmm.
he plays in the bands its a lunken and freshmilk, as well as (only very recently) under his own name. also, look out for ‘The Life and Times of Christopher Dafydd Keith Bull’ by Piskie films at theatres near you.
book him to play:
punk, metal & hardcore gigs
experimental / folk / grunge / contemporary classical gigs
book him to organise:
instrument making workshops / performances with kids
live improvisation workshops for adults
ask him to compose:
for any ensemble or occasion, in many styles, on a scale of niceness
pay him to make you:
semi-acoustic resonating boxes and tins that may be instrument or ornament
an acoustic resynthesis pedal / object
ask him to:
tune (to any temperament) and regulate your piano
do wierd stuff with your piano including the addition of new acoustic and electric effects (pitch bend, slow attack)
get him to build:
site specific interactive sonic installation to any scale
do the above by:
barnyianni [at] gmail [dort] com “


“i became enamoured of music and sound in my mid-teens – i have rarely looked back.
i have performed in various bands, at various times, in various countries.
i have run several tape and cdr labels, as well as writing zines.
i have pursued solo work under various names, most recently as littlecreature.
i am currently researching the relationship between my body, self, and the external world; under my own name.”

[Kev/ Hákarl again] Clive’s also part of the Bang the Bore jobby. Journal of the Belgae Folk Club releases are available to purchase (with samples) here. Go buy them, for lo they are fine.


I asked Jamie to send me a blurb for Supernormal by yesterday. He has failed to do so. As such, I will tell you what I know of Jamie: He is younger than me, from the north, and plays guitar alarmingly well. He plays in Some Cartographers, a band, of sorts. He is able to plot a piano teacher genealogy all the way back to Beethoven. Or Mozart, I forget which. Still, pretty impressive right? Jamie’s musical teleology leads him to jazz, but he went to Dartington so he’s pretty well au fait with most of the 20th-century’s more errant musical narratives. He talks about jazz harmony a lot.


“After totally falling head over heels for Charles Ives in my mid-teens, I found myself moving away from my native percussion, into composition. During studies at Dartington College of Arts I recaptured my love of actually playing music, not just writing it, and this lead to a renewed interest in creating work which brought composer and performer onto an equal footing – subtextually promoting socialist ideals of shared responsibilty (and culpability) through graphic and instruction based scores (and totally bumming Cardew along the way). Coming from a theatre heavy background, with special interest in Absurdist & Dada performance, via Fluxus and Kagel, my work often has non-sonic emphasis, balancing visuals, sound, popular-culture and narrative in inter-disciplinary realisations.

I specialise in collaborative works for non-specific personnel and performance realisation, preferring to make work which allows performers to draw inspiration from the score and themselves – tying together playfulness, humour and equality under a banner of sharing (and experiencing) indeterminate events. I create work as a forum to foster something more important than simply a piece of art – but rather I see it as a breeding ground for social interaction and the sharing of people, time and effort. These scores place me then as both a facilitator and composer, but the emphasis of creativity and sharing work is placed heavily on those involved and their responses to my work (the score) their own work, each other’s work and the connections formed as a result of these processes.”


Or Hákarl. So. The 36 hour concert was my idea. I’ve been wanting to do it for bloody ages, but I was spurred by a composer friend, Daniel Alexander Hignell, doing a 24-hour performance last year. Luckily, Supernormal agreed to it this year.

I should say why really: there are masses of traditions outside of the west where music exists in less of a limited time-frame – so whether that’s all-dayer Hindu chants, Buddhist monastic traditions, Islamic Sufist things and plenty of festivalia from less well-known traditions across the world. Within Europe, we still have a fair amount of it. I’ve been a few times to the Gleann Cholm Cille fiddler festival, where you have people sitting around playing pretty much constantly. Less of a sense of ‘band x from 10-1030’, more of a fluid continuity of music so long as there’s people to play.  In the Western arts tradition, we’ve had the likes of Hermann Nitsch and his massive orgien mysterien theatre performances, La Monte Young/ Marian Zazeela’s Dream House/ massively extended performances or John Cage’s ASLAP

So it’s not unusual for humans to take part in music in an extended way. Ok,  perhaps not 36 hours. But still.

The other side of things is a kind of response to music industry haemorrhage. The LP format, the c60m album, isn’t really a viable form. Economically devalued, materially wasteful (in the face of mp3s etc) and generally outmoded. Why is the average concert 30m-1hr? That’s the length of an LP. The concert doesn’t need to be a mirror of the album. I don’t do improvised music because I want to give a perfect experience of the record – I do improvised music because it’s like life. It has ugly bits, ungainly hairs, paunches, hammer-toes, mystifyingly uncombable patches. The record is the airbrushed fiction of theatrical sex; the concert shouldn’t try and match that – not any more. Not for us. If the music industry is to survive – and that’s not even that necessary – we’ll probably need to return to live music. And what live music is is an experience, not a recapitulation on mnemonic naif-edification.

We will be falling apart, and that’s the general status of art –  caritas as bearing witness to atrophy.

Anyway. I’ll be writing more on that soon. Other things you might like to know – I’m interested in bits and bobs of philosophy, critical theory, feminism, theology, cultural studies, music/ology. But I can’t stand films or TV.

Written by Hákarl

June 11, 2011 at 2:03 pm

Posted in Supernormal


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Précis, or precipice.

To speak first of narratives: time and temporality, and an emitic or peristaltic wash of etymologies: communion, and also: community, commode, commune, commodity, communication, communal [etc]. 36 hours of musical performance. Although we are at least 6 in number, the voice here is unitary. I, qua Hákarl (a sobriquet, brand or ideology rather than mere pseudonym), speak here less as mouthpiece and more as dignitary to a fleeting, transient embassy. Failures I take as my own, but I speak for myself, not for my com(m)padres in the performance.

The plan: we play for 36 hours, with a minimum of off-stage breaks.

The personnel: Barn, Seth, Jamie, Huw, Clive and Kev/ Hákarl.

Sundries: Quill, Parsons, BB.

Press bumf: Hákarl (36 hours of Communion) takes form of a galley of miscreants – composers, musicians, visual artists, film-makers, performers et al. Six of these hardy denizens from the musical wing, will be keeping the momentum going making music a little less convenient. All hands on deck to see what divine possibilities the sea of sleep deprivation throws at them. Hákarl’s communion encourages improvisation and collaboration from a medley of artists and participants to bridge the gap between artist and audience throughout the spectacle -bringing you along for the ride. And so, Hákarl ask you to join them in their vainglorious ‘fuck you’ to sleep! If you want to get involved specifically please e-mail proposal to supernomalfestival@gmail.com or come along to see how you can join in!


Written by Hákarl

June 5, 2011 at 7:51 pm

Posted in Supernormal