For the first time Paradox will be an official stage during the Roadburn festival. For four days Paradox and Roadburn present heavy music with a great variety of musical approaches. On Saturday you'll see the British group Pulled by Magnets, and from Belgium the group Dans Dans, artist-in-residence Dirk Serries with his ensemble TONUS, and the band John Ghost.
John Ghost (BE) Belgian sextet John Ghost take a daring plunge in music’s most flamboyant, cutting edge chapters, pouring a technicolor patchwork of Tangerine Dream, Steve Reich, Soft Machine and Popol Vuh into sweeping, propulsive grooves. Led by musician and composer Jo De Geest, this ensemble rejoices on the stage as if embarking on an immersive Jules Verne-styled adventure: an ever-shapeshifting, big dreaming and fun-loving workout.
De Geest particularly enjoys filtering his well-honed ears through strong visual concepts. The gorgeous artwork for John Ghost’s LP Airships are Organisms, for example, is a painting by Syrian artist Mohammed Zaza, and the theme of the record meditates on the way natural daylight influences a tangible image, how everything is ultimately subjected to the infinite flux. The album was produced by none other than Jørgen Træen of iconic Norwegian outfit Jaga Jazzist, and indeed, John Ghost employs a like-minded inquisitive approach to recording and performing.
Artist-in-residence Dirk Serries: TONUS (BE/UK) The third day of this residency will bring a performance by TONUS - Dirk’s minimalist ensemble that has a constantly evolving line up (this performance will feature Martina Verhoeven on piano, Colin Webster on saxophone, and Tom Malmendier on drums alongside Dirk). Describing it as “an exercise in discipline and anticipation while controlling the clarity, sustain and effect of each single note played” - we can’t wait to experience TONUS in person. TONUS will perform a brand new piece that blooms outward from a piano-led focal point. As a counter to the electronic-driven work that Dirk is best known for, TONUS offers an acoustic equivalent, and an opportunity to fully immerse ourselves.
Pulled by Magnets (UK) Magnets, how do they work? Well, in the case of experimental trio Pulled By Magnets, the gravity of sonic touchstones is so immense and thrilling, it’s nigh impossible to grasp with just a single listen. Stalking the unmapped regions between jazz, metal, ambient, and classical, Pulled By Magnets create music rife with possibility, no less on a cinematic scale that seems unlikely for just a three-piece unit to achieve. Indeed, The Guardian was pretty on point in reviewing the band’s 2020 Glitterbeat debut Rose Golden Doorways . “There are moments where they’re playing with the intensity of a thrash metal band, but sounding like Ligeti; there are noisy freakouts that create a diffuse, aural blizzard that resembles a peculiarly gothic variety of ambient music. It’s a collection of sounds quite unlike anything you’ve heard before, which is quite an achievement.”
Pulled By Magnets’ makeup is just as compelling: drummer/percussionist and band-founder Seb Rochford is an eclectic, trailblazing mind whose talents razzle-and-dazzle in outfits such as the great Sons of Kemet, jazz-punk abomination Acoustic Ladyland and the Mercury Prize-nominated outfit Polar Bear. Rochford has earned his stripes as a session player in the mainstream too, working with heavy hitters such as Paul McCartney, Adéle, Brian Eno and Grace Jones. In Pulled By Magnets, Rochford acts as both pulse and conductor. Neil Charles runs his bass guitar through the gamut of effects, creating seismic soundscapes, whereas Kjetil Møsters woodwind and brass chops often take on alluring new shapes. Pulled By Magnets often translate their natural textures into something more primal and abstract, leaving bystanders on constant tenterhooks. Definitely a band to experience when you enjoy music that prowls into the unknowns of your subconscious.
DANS DANS (BE) Instrumental, atmospheric, compelling, refined and stylistically all over the map, Dans Dans blend cerebral pop compositions with the impulsive, adventurous nature of jazz. Over the years the band’s live reputation has been showered with praise: their cutting-edge, atmospheric, electrifying improvisations are frequently described as ‘garage jazz’ or ‘psychedelic blues’, though easy categorisations have been hard to come by. Their music, however, is always an immediately satisfying experience.
The Belgian trio harnesses the unique musical alliance between Bert Dockx (Flying Horseman, Ottla), Frederic Lyenn Jacques (who also cuts his teeth as bassist of Mark Lanegan when the former Screaming Trees-singer tours Europe) and Steven Cassiers (Dez Mona, DAAU). In these difficult times, when intimacy and closeness are hard to come by, Dans Dans’s new record Zink has become a vital soundtrack of connection, communication, passion and togetherness. Dans Dans are just as keen to explore the works of others as they are in their own creative dynamic. In the past, they’ve interpreted pieces by Tom Waits, David Bowie, Ornette Coleman and Sonny Rollins, among others. With four albums, two live registrations and memorable concerts at, among others, North Sea Jazz, Cactus Festival, Gent Jazz, Pukkelpop, Jazz Middelheim, under their belt, Dans Dans are tirelessly summoning new sonic worlds into existence with their fifth studio album. One of the most intriguing, infectious bands from Belgium and beyond, always surprising themselves as much as their audience.
Check the Roadburn website for the full programme, tickets and timetables.
16.00-17.00 h: John Ghost (BE)
18.15-19.15 h: Dirk Serries - TONUS (BE/UK)
22.20-23.35 h: Pulled by Magnets (UK/NO)
00.45-1.45 h: Dans Dans (BE)