TUSK Music Presents

TUSK Festival 2020

September 28-October 11

Author Archive


Posted on: September 16th, 2020 by Lee

There’s perhaps no concise way to talk and Sun Ra and his Arkestra. Herman ‘Sun Ra’ Blount was born on Saturn in 1914 and baptised himself musically with doowop before casually changing the face of Jazz as we know it. But its not jazz as we know it – its the sound of the universe. As if Duke Ellington himself were from Saturn. But then Sun Ra starts a solo Moog exploration, then morphs into a piano trio, a torch song delivering inter-galactic news, then swings cosmically back to the whole great big band. Nearly 200 albums emerged over 7 decades (and they keep appearing), each one nothing like the last. Sadly Sun Ra passed to the celestial plane in 1993 and, since then, the Arkestra has been under the capable direction of Marshall Allen, a member of the band since 1958(!)

Many try to imitate and their influence has grown to new heights in recent years but nothing is quite like the sound of Sun Ra. Having The Sun Ra Arkestra directed by Marshall Allen as the opening act at TUSK Virtual is something we never dreamed we’d be announcing but, by luck, they tell us no Covid-19 has been found on Saturn so they want to play.


Posted on: September 6th, 2020 by Lee

You can view our brochure here

You can also download the brochure to your device here

Hi – here is our evolving brochure, there are still some minor gaps that we will update and complete in the next few days.
But for now it’s a pretty comprehensive guide to the two weeks of TUSK Virtual. Updates to follow…


Posted on: September 24th, 2020 by Lee

This year for the first time TUSK is delighted to be partnering with BBC Radio 3’s flagship adventurous music programmes, Late Junction and Freeness, to co-curate the ‘Lateness’ stage. Together we’ve invited three acts to BLANK studios in Newcastle to record exclusive, socially distanced sessions. On the bill is a first-time collaboration between electronic artist Stephen Bishop and turntablist Mariam Rezaei; the left-field folk duo of Cath and Phil Tyler and a new jazz quartet called Caröm put together by the double-bassist Andy Champion. In addition, from these combinations, the following collaborations also arose and will also be part of the TUSK Virtual programme: Cath Tyler & Mariam Rezaei; Zoe Gilby & Graeme Wilson; Andy Champion, Christian Alderson & Phil Tyler.

Videos of all the sets will feature across the TUSK virtual line up and highlights will be broadcast on Late Junction on the 2nd & 9th October and on Freeness on the 3rd & 10th October on BBC Radio 3.


Posted on: May 26th, 2020 by Lee

Lee from the TUSK Team went for a coffee with Jim O’Rourke and Kohei Gomi/Pain Jerk in Tokyo in 2012. Ever since then, we’ve been trying to persuade Jim to come to TUSK and perform live but he has always politely declined, explaining he is at a stage in his life where he doesn’t have any desire to leave Japan or his partner Eiko. At the same time, this always remarkably prolific musician and producer’s work rate has gone into overdrive even by his own standards, his already vast discography growing at an ever-faster rate. And he’s certainly ploughing hard at his current furrow – as well as the countless collaborations, arrangements, production and mastering roles he’s continually working on, his own spate of solo recordings, featuring such TUSK favourites as John Duncan, Eiko and many others ventures further still into blissfully displacing territory.

It’s reasonable to describe Jim O’Rourke as the most influential musician and producer to emerge for the US underground in recent decades. Earlier works as half of Gastr Del Sol, an occasional Sonic Youth member and collaborations with everyone from Faust to Evan Parker to Tony Conrad right upto his current ongoing series of genius releases alongside Keiji Haino and Oren Ambarchi show this is someone several decades into a unique music journey and with no sign of reaching its destination yet.

Washing up in Japan after half a life of touring, Jim O’Rourke immediately became a prominent producer and collaborator in the Japanese musical leftfield. Meeting him also introduced us to Eiko, who he’s produced several exquisite albums with. And of course we brought Eiko and band to TUSK in 2016 for a stunning exploration of Japanese chamber pop.

Well, circumstances – for us all – have changed a lot lately and this new format of TUSK means we can now include Jim in our bill direct from his and Eiko’s house in the Japanese countryside. We’re honoured that the duo is almost completely unknown and has only appeared live on a couple of occasions. And wow it’s Jim O’Rourke and Eiko Ishibashi – it’s going to be something very very special.


Posted on: August 27th, 2020 by Lee

When you hear an artist is 1/3 of the way into a 12 album project that’ll probably take another 20 years to compete, you have to stop and wonder if they’re some kind of visionary genius or just a delusional obsessive (or both – that can be fun too!). But, working your way through the simultaneously harrowing and life-enriching first 4 volumes of her Coin Coin series, it’s clear that Matana Roberts has a natural gravitas and sensibility running through her work that suggests this may become one of the defining artistic statements of this era. The profundity of her vision is matched in her performance and realisation and shows in the respect she is afforded by the various generations of her collaborators from Roscoe Mitchell to Tyshawn Sorey. As highly accomplished as saxophonist, composer, mixed-media artist and improvisor, she calls the approach running through the Coin Coin series “panoramic sound quilting” and her work may demand a lot of the listener but it certainly gives a whole lot more back.


Posted on: August 21st, 2020 by Lee

Here is our live programme as it stands right now – it may be subject to very minor change, will confirm and post times ASAP.


Posted on: August 21st, 2020 by Lee

film brochure
To celebrate our 10th edition and make the most of this new Virtual format, we have this year quadrupled the size of our film programme.

Film will run roughly from 11pm-Midnight UK time Monday-Fridays and 2.30-4.30pm UK time Saturday and Sunday.

Once again, our film programme is produced and presented by Hasan Gaylani and Joe Murray.

Monday 28 September

Directed by Tony Reyes, 2019
David Tibet, a British poet, artist, and founder of the music group Current 93, filmed in the days before the opening of his first ever art exhibition in America, titled “Invocation of Almost” showcasing a large selection of paintings, drawings, and sculptures reflecting Tibet’s interest and study of Coptic and Akkadian texts, shamanism, and spirituality.

Directed by Jon Whitney, 2004
This isn’t the be-all end-all documentary of Nurse With Wound, but an intimate look at the home and life of Steven Stapleton, the man behind the band. Enjoy some relax time on the farm.

Tuesday 29 September

Directed by Carl Abrahamsson, 2019
Anton LaVey was many things to many people: musician, magician, writer, wild animal trainer, police photographer, film buff, founder of a magical group, and possibly of a new religion, and yes… He was a Satanist: Who was this enigmatic “American Adversary”?

Wednesday 30 September

TUSK stalwart Vicky Langan and her long-term filmic collaborator Max Le Cain present a night of their films beaming directly from Cork, Republic of Ireland. Langan/Le Cain films may be haunting, are often intimate and hypnotic but are always beautiful.

Thursday 1 October

Directed by Carl Abrahamsson, 2015
British artist Vicki Bennett’s work within the project called “People Like Us” takes you on a journey into a world where literally anything can happen. Using her skills as an editor and a great sense of humour, she lets you roam through a world of imagination filled with contrasts and chance encounters between the past and the present.

Friday 2 October

Directed by Ingrid Plum 2020
Vocal Improviser and film-maker Ingrid Plum presents a one-off screening of her latest film Caesura. The third in a series of films exploring the relationship between landscape and memory. Ingrid’s soundtrack, largely created from mouth and breath sounds, reacts and merges with the rounded visual forms to create a uniquely powerful experience.

Directed by Phil Begg 2019
Better known as Hapsburg Braganza or the ringmaster of the loose-knit Midnight Doctors Phil Begg offers this mesmerising portrait of elemental simplicity. Take twelve minutes to lose yourself totally in the cracking embers.

Directed by Mark Wardlaw 2020
What’s going on in Mark Wardlaw’s (AKA Kenosist) head? These cracked and demented visual missives are in turn funny, frightening and thought provoking. Expect violent colour and migraine-inducing glitchcore.

Jon Marshall 2020
Huge guttural chunks of vision churned into spicy butter? And yet still cool and subdued. A watcher watching. Then the details become hazy like week old sky-writing.

Directed by Hector Aponysus 2020
A deep dive into one of the North East’s least understood folk musics – Makina! Hector Aponysus’ approach to this brash, bouncy and incredibly niche rave offshoot shows the love, understanding and generosity the DJs, MCs and fans have for each other and this marvellously hedonistic sound. Watch and have your preconceptions challenged!

Saturday 3 October

Directed by Igor Buharov 2015
TUSK are proud to present this scintillating portrait of Hungary’s wildest Sound Poet Katalin Ladik. In this film Buharov shows Ladik’s un-ending creativity and influence on the performance art world throughout the 60s, 70s and beyond using language as timely thought bombs and movement as political statement. (English Subtitles)

Directed by Anton Lukoszevieze 2017
Shown back-to-back Lukoszevieze’s Double Language and Language Double reveal juddering ciphers of an over spilling text, a handwritten incantation that revels in its own looping strangeness and beauty.

Directed by Jorge Mario Zuleta 2019
Costa Rica’s jungle psychedelics folded into stream of consciousness image collapse. Sense nodes are tweaked until they throb.

Sunday 4 October

Directed by David Bernabo 2020
Piano genius ‘Blue’ Gene Tyranny has added his magic pinkies to artists as diverse as Robert Ashley to Iggy Pop. This heart-warming film follows ‘Blue’ Gene’s career as composer, improviser and ivory-philosopher with a whole bunch of special guests. WORLD PREMIERE.

Directed by Filthy Turd circa 2005
A sopping wet eye-assault from the mysterious Filthy Turd. Disappeared for many years this vintage VHS tape displays FTs trademark judderly fuss and cracked laughter. Leave your expectations at the door.

Directed by Markus Taylor Unknown date
The legendary Argentine trio, Reynolds , play as a cheeky duo on this live happening. This hop-scotch for the soul will make you smile. For this performance Miguel makes an appearance on the astral plane only.

Monday 5 October

Directed Andy Jarvis and Dai Coelacanth 2020
There’s strange things afoot in Burselm. “Stick to the paths. Keep off the moor.” Like greasy celluloid smeared with liquid soot. Six short nightmares to keep your dreams less sweet.

Tuesday 6 October

Directed by tENTITAVELYaCONVINIENCE 1991 – 1994
Painstakingly handcrafted film wonk from the underground’s most prolific film maker. All cut-up but far from bewildering, like a strict educational video screened with no prior explanation.

Wednesday 7 October

(dir. Inspector Fogg)
Two episodes – Portalis and The Ratler
Directed by Wayne Lancaster 2019
An Inspector Fogg double bill. Two episodes of noir-esque, psycho-geographic ramble from the redoubtable Inspector Fogg. His third-eye questioning foxes a cornucopia of North East Underground talent. You are invited to take a step into the Fogg zone – if you dare.

Thursday 8 October

Directed by Stephan Williamson Fa 2019
Think you know about the guitar? Think again! This fascinating documentary focuses on the wild, wild, wild guitars of Azerbaijan. Inspired by traditional genres, such as the courtly mugham and the songs and tunes of ashiq bards, these guitarists have developed a unique and wonderful sound. (English Subtitles)

Directed by Naval Cassidy with narration from Malcy Duff 2020
In collaboration with his friend Malcy, Naval made this video by following Malcy’swords. It was recorded one night in the Deep River forest as Malcy, on the telephone, spins a tale within two tales. Naval’s collection of objects seem to grow out of the earth and through the leaves as the evening passes. The stories are perfectly believable; what happens in the forest, not necessarily.

Directed by Wouter&JoppeVenema , music by Marijn Verbiesen 2018
Wouterand JoppeVenema along with Marijn Verbiesen AKA compact cassette destroyer RED BRUT weaves us a flickering, jittering landscape of animated infinity marbles.

Friday 9 October

An evening of devilish magic with some short SRB films, some in collaboration with W. David Oliphant, as well as his 30 minute epic God Damn Religion: a mind melting mess making you doubt your sanity and that of your fellow humans.

Saturday 10 October
Directed by Justin Stephenson 2015
Canadian concrete and sound poet bpNichol explodes with energy and infectious enthusiasm in this wonderful documentary. 15 years in the making, The Complete Works projects the letters, words and images of Nichol’s poetry direct into your brain pan. Derek Beaulieu, Poet Laureate of Calgary

Directed by Adam De La Cour& Neil Luck 2012
Schwitters’ imposing sound poetry masterpiece, Ursonate is tackled by Adam De La Cour and Neil Luck in an outrageous, slapstick and highly inventive recital. Revel in the duck-quack ‘mpifftillff too’.

Directed by various / various film dates
Originally compiled for the huge box set ‘Minecxio Emanations’ this hen’s-teeth-rare live and studio gonzo footage shakes the central synapse courtesy of those other-worldly troubadours – Reynols!

Sunday 11 October

ENCANDILAN LUCES, viajepsicotrópico con Los SíquicosLitoraleños
Directed by Alejandro Gallo Bermúdez 2019
Making the Pink Floyd look like sharp-dressed mods Los Síquicos rock the rural psych vibe in a tale of wide-eyed wonder and unreliable narration. Their unclassifiable ragamuffin skronk brings the freaks to the fair.

Directed by Alejandro Maly 2020
Wha? Acid Mothers Temple and Reynols live and in the studio? Jammin’ good? You bet. The total rock doc you always dreamed about. Perfect and beautiful maaaaan!


Posted on: March 2nd, 2020 by Lee

Norwegian noise artist Helge Sten a.k.a. DEATHPROD brings his sensory overload to the region for the first time, having just released his obliterating first album in 15 years, Occulting Disk, via Smalltown Supersound last year. A favourite of Will ‘Bonnie Price Billy’ Oldham who says in the sleevenotes that he enjoys listening to Deathprod with his Mum and that “I used to hear love in music until I learned to hear love in sound”, Sten is also a founder member of Norway’s improvising behemoth Supersilent. Often described as ambient, Sten’s take on ambience is one of gargantuan ethereality and sonic heft, hewn from the emissions of his table top of home-made and modified electronics, oscillators, Theremins, ring modulators and tape machines. Boomkat say of the new album, “Occulting Disk is an unmissable jump-off point into supernatural, metaphysical dimensions” and Deathprod’s sonics through Sage’s superb sound system combined with the work of his lighting engineer and lasers will make Sten’s performance an overwhelming aural and visual spectacle.

Or in the words of Helge Sten himself –

February 1992 Deathprod produced a video project which was never released to the public. This specific video work was an attempt to utilize some of the same methods for producing visuals as when recording music; slowing down time and layer feedback loops into abstract shapes and forms, using light instead of audio frequencies. The video material was taped using several VHS video recorders, utilizing nothing but optical distortion and the inherent poor resolution of the format. Excerpts of the 22 minute video material was edited into a shorter version, containing music that was deemed substandard at the time. The project was archived without further development.

There is a sense of disconnect often present in the current wave of live streaming concerts and performances, not seeming like an appropriate space to explore the art form of in person live musical performance presentations. In which case, when (Deathprod) was asked to participate in the virtual edition of the TUSK festival, it was important to present a work that would connect to the context of this art form he feels relates most accurately. Consequently, after researching his archives, the 1992 VHS master was located and subsequently transferred to a digital format for this project. The synced music was recorded between March and September 2020 in Frankfurt, Oslo and Kristiansand.


Posted on: August 17th, 2020 by Lee

The Indonesian duo of Rully Shabara and Wukir Suryada’s recent eventual collaboration with Stephen O’Malley of Sunn O))) has perhaps long seemed inevitable – the two bands have always felt linked by some ancient and ethereal aesthetic bond, though with sounds that seem to suggest very different social contexts and historical times. Vast low-end rumble seemingly drawn from the very core of the earth, sublime throat singing and vocalisations colluding to form other-worldly long-form music constructs that inhabit their own reverberant universe. Senyawa appeared at TUSK 2016 and left everyone slack-jawed. Since then they’ve added new constructions to their armoury of self-built instruments and we’re delighted to welcome them back to TUSK.


Posted on: July 6th, 2020 by Lee

Without doubt one of the most memorable performances we’ve had to date at TUSK was that of Oberlin, Ohio resident, proprietor of Hanson Records and erstwhile member of Wolf Eyes, Aaron Dilloway in 2015. Summoning the film Scanners and conducting such cacophonous euphoria from his table of boxes and gadgets, his agony/ecstasy-riven face blasted large onto the screen behind him, Aaron created one of the most impactful moments of our first decade. His sprawling range of output is increasingly highly sought, prices on certain items reaching for the sky on his Discog.com page. And rightly so – of the millions of noise emitters internationally, people like Aaron are one of the few who’ll be remembered as pushing the experimental sound envelope in years to come, albums like Modern Jester hailed as landmarks in the journey of noise music. The Hanson label has also been very influential, bringing artists like Emeralds to wider awareness for the first time. So – a seminal figure in this world; we tend not to have people at TUSK more than once in our still-formative existence but how could we not bring back that master of tones, loops and feedback, Aaron Dilloway?