New Weird Planet (Wonkfest v.3.0)

NEW WEIRD PLANET v.3.0–Refractions from an evening of eclectic sounds and performances.
Words: James Phaily
Images: Gavin Morrow.
Saturday 10th of February 2018 saw an eclectic mix of artists from the northern experimental music scene descending upon the Doncopolitan ArtSpace/Office on Copley Road. We, the audience all gathered together, to share each other’s company: camaraderie, laughs, sounds and cosmic mind was tasted by all, in what turned out to be a sublime and well put together evening of great sonic import and significance.
Curated lovingly and attentively by Craig Adams of Sine FM’s barnstormer of a radio show NEW WEIRD PLANET–Mr. Adams (whose outfit MANGABROS headlined the event) chose the best of sounds from the plethora of avant-garde, ambient and intrinsically heavy-duty acts which he champions on his “far-out” show. The amazing range of styles and genres on offer pushed the boundaries of what exactly can be achieved at a Micro-Fest and gathered us, the collective, joyously together for an evening of sounds which seamlessly carved an edge, into not only new music, but also what we can do as a receptive artistic community, who want to make things happen.
WONKFEST 01 (GAVIN MORROW)
First up we had WONKFEST stalwart Peter K. Rollings and his EXPERIMENTAL SONIC MACHINES. Peter’s performance skills are second to none and watching him do his thing, aided by the plethora of costume changes, handmade instruments, sonic analogue devices and his android assistant truly brought a smile to everyone’s face. What’s great about Peter is he never repeats himself, his set and performance growing organically over Time and Space–utilizing technology and performance art to transform himself and the observer into an equal member of an unarguably surreal and otherworldly happening.
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Following Peter K. Rollings were Doncaster Sludge-Metal duo KLAGG; who not only set the venue on fire, with their musical understanding of the nuances of underground heavy metal, but also previewed some new material: their explorations ranging from grindcore fury, to the most-doomy of riffs, which would not seem out of place, upon a classic Black Sabbath album. In fact the idea that the guys are only guitar, drums and are also totally instrumental mean they have a lot more room to manoeuvre: each instrument, taking a stand and highlighting the duo’s considerable musical ability. Doom Metal is a very difficult thing to do well, I guarantee that if you listen long and intently enough, the guys will transport you to dimensions beyond our ken–a perfect partnership that never loses its psychic connection.
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Following KLAGG was another Doncaster Collective but of an all-together different aesthetic. Spearheaded by Mat Handley, who presents another great show on Sine FM (You, The Night and The Music) PULSELOVERS successfully harness the liminal possibilities of the ambient sound, taking aspects of Kraut-Rock and Intelligent Dance Music to a new level. PULSELOVERS adeptly paint soundscapes in sublime documents of Twenty-First Century Life: taking us outside the Circles of Time and skilfully alleviating our consciousness, offering bounteous spiritual wealth. The collective are living proof that dance music has a heart–the personality of the band’s auratic sound shining through the Cracks betwixt the Worlds.
WONKFEST 08 (GAVIN MORROW)
Next up we had one of the most sublimely beautiful and ethereal sets of the night: YUMAH; which centres, around the otherworldly form of a girl from Nottingham called Lucy Morrow: her microphone and vocal effects.
The project skilfully blended together the esoteric sounds that can be generated through the chant and mantra of the human voice and melded it into the beautiful ambient soundscapes of the forgotten places of the Earth. Many visions were conjured and evoked into our private minds; as YUMAH weaved her shamanic incantations into our psyche–the set was also aided by the fact that she was performing behind a window which looked into the conference room of the venue. Also, whilst she was performing, an avant-garde film was projected onto the wall which housed this amazing performance. YUMAH is a truly visionary and magickal experience which melds into a Trance-Absolute that is both Timeless and unforgettable.
WONKFEST 05 (GAVIN MORROW)
After our reflections in the ethereal mirror of YUMAH, came another particular blend of otherness, which took the form of the post-metal heaviness of BLEEDING TOOTH…The duo, headed by Tom Constantine on bass guitar, vocals and Tyler Day on drums, have a very interesting and hard-to-pin-down sound, which makes them all the more exciting to listen to. There are many textures contained in their music, which come-across in their recordings and are both accentuated and taken on a Trip when situated in the live environment. The guys both like and know how to rock out–their sound relentless and knock-out, yet it is carefully crafted and abounds with emotion. The combo offer a very illuminated, yet metallic aura which seeps, somewhere between the realms of blissful happiness and total despair. They gave a most definite performance that left the audience reeling and wanting more…Thanks Guys!
WONKFEST 07 (GAVIN MORROW)
Finally and perhaps most importantly was the headline act; the ineffable dis/Ordered electronica of Craig Adams MANGABROS. Ably assisted by Tim Manga, the guys cajoled, teased and quite frequently bludgeoned us with intense beats and a certain tongue-in-cheek satirical air. The guys look acerbically and adroitly at what we “drink-in,” every day–the socio/political state of Twenty-First Century Society. Nothing is taboo or considered an untruth and everything is permitted as we begin to listen and think for ourselves, questioning what is fed to us by the media and our own earworms.
Even the concept of “dance music,” itself is dealt with, in a refreshing and distinctive anti-establishment manner. MANGABROS don’t follow systems or common musical schools of thought: they shine within the live situation and the audience love ‘em–seemingly they take logical processes and subvert them, making them Avant-Garde.
Think Captain Beefheart, with a distinctly off-planet Depeche Mode accompanying him and you won’t go wrong; but they are so much more than that and deny comparison. Exciting, joyous and ecstatic, the guys certainly know how to put on a show…
And so another musical milestone in the life of our artistic community. I took the last capsule out of there and had a big smile upon my face as I left the building; just knowing I had witnessed something truly evocative of what can happen, when likeminded individuals gather together to create something truly sonic, majestic and memorable. Thanks Craig Adams and THE DONCOPLITAN, one of the best nights I’ve had this year(so far), I hope there will be many more in the future…

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