NNF12: Speed Up! brings the loud, dreamy and wacky

Afro-punks, multi-lingual space rock, dreamy synth-pop, digital pop stars who inhabit cartoon characters — Speed Up!, a new music addition to the Norfolk and Norwich Festival, is nothing if not eclectic. SIMON PARKIN reports.

Described as fast, loud, energetic and wacky, Speed Up! is a new addition to this year's Norfolk and Norwich Festival, bringing a host of exciting musical talent from across the globe to Norwich.

With Norwich Arts Centre as the hub venue, the line-up is nothing if not eclectic — a real musical mash-up of innovative artists, raging from afro-punks I.R.O.K. to far-out multi-lingual rockers Zun Zun Egui to music and graphics oddballs Gangpol und Mit.

Stir in some top local talent, including Norfolk electronic whizz-kids Nathan Fake and Luke Abbott, indie rockers Holy State and blues-punk sonic pioneers Balaclava Kid and Dad, and it promises to be a fascinating 15-day sonic adventure.

The event also adds visuals to the mix with an exhibition at the Arts Centre of immersive digital and video work by artist Dan Tombs and at Fusion at The Forum an installation showcasing the DIY videos and visuals created by the bands appearing. The installation will also include band members describing the creative process for their films and videos.

Stuart Hobday, director of Norwich Arts Centre, said: 'We're really excited to be bringing this new programme to Norwich as part of the festival. These events will be experiences not forgotten by those attending, they promise to be immersive visually and sonically. It's been great working with the festival to develop this new initiative and we really think it will bring an extra dimension to the festivities.

'Whilst aimed at a younger audience I'd urge everyone to come along to at least one of these events and sample the energy and excitement of new music that is out there.'

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William Galinsky, the Norfolk and Norwich Festival's artistic director, said: 'This year's festival sets established favourites from right across the contemporary and classical music spectrum against vital young talent like the Neutrinos and Esmerine.

'This new strand, combined with BETA, our new venue for emerging performing artists, will bring a new generation of artists and audiences to this year's festival.'

? For more full details about Speed Up! including dates, locations and ticket prices visit: www.norwichartscentre.co.uk/speedup


Norwich Arts Centre, May 11

Dreamt up by frontman Mike Title (formerly of Dead Kids) at a North African football match, I.R.O.K. — aka

Intergalactic Republic Of Kongo — make psychotropic afro-punk. Their debut album Y� Y� God Revolution was recorded partly in London, partly in Morocco, from where they've just returned from touring. A chaotic sound of ecstasy, a recent gig at London's Koko ended in a near riot.


Norwich Arts Centre, May 13

Having made a pop opera, co-founded online arts community urbanhonking.com and been a member of The Blow, Jona Bechtolt is also one half of Yacht - expanded into a duo with Claire L Evans back in 2009 – who perform giddy indie electro. The Portland dance duo will be flaunting their unstoppable grooves, beguiling beats, sparkling synths and irresistible hooks.


Norwich Arts Centre, May 14

Esmerine was co-founded a decade ago by percussionist Bruce Cawdron (best known as a member of Godpseed You! Black Emperor) and cellist Rebecca Foon. They have released three critically-acclaimed albums of modern chamber music that have one foot in the new music/experimental terrain of contemporaries like Rachel's or Town And Country and the other in the more visceral and lyrical landscape populated by the likes of Dirty Three (and GY!BE themselves).


Norwich Arts Centre, May 18

Three years after the release of their first demo, Holy State, made up of members from Norfolk, though they actually met while at university in Leeds, appear at Speed Up! as they unleash their second single entitled Dial 'M' For Monolith from their upcoming debut album. It continues their energetic exploration of post-punk with plenty of squiggly lead guitar lines.


Norwich Arts Centre, May 19

Nathan Fake and Luke Abbott both hail from Norfolk and both have been making significant waves in the electronica world via the Border Community Label. Nathan's latest works have evolved into a much harder take on the electronica brief with a shift away from straight techno towards a more melodic sound. Luke's live shows emphasis his hypnotic dance grooves.


Westlegate House, May 23

This is the first in a series of events by the Norwich band previewing elements from their book and album The Butcher of Common Sense. Influenced by their work in Berlin created in a derelict ex-GDR radio station, this show will involve extremes of sound, space and energy in the empty city centre tower block.


St Lawrence Church, May 24

A two-piece, consisting of baritone guitar, drums, various live looping and bass effects, BK & Dad have been working on a special new show featuring surround sound, 3D visuals and animations to create an offbeat thunderous live experience within the intimate site of this disused church.


Norwich Arts Centre, May 25

Zun Zun Egui are a band with a penchant for rocking the outer reaches. Live they tune in and then explode, all angles, taking the audience with them. Wild multi-lingual vocal incantations and world-wise guitar licks mingle with zig-zag splashes of keyboard and heavy, heavy bass


Norwich Arts Centre, May 26

As a music and graphic duet, Gangpol und Mit work as a peculiar world of digital pop inhabited by colourful and geometrical characters. Synth assaults and woody flute lead to mondo beats and cinematic harpsichord keys, with futuristic social songs. Meanwhile, on the visual side, salary men dive into greasy food, computer motherboards die while terrorist confetti explodes. It promises to be spectacular finale.