A Dilettante's Guide to Apex VI, NYC's Apocalyptic Noise and Post-Industrial Music Festival
Here's what to expect from this upcoming multi-day noise, power electronics, drone, and experimental music festival (featuring The Body, Gnaw Their Tongues, IRM, and more).
Image via Annihilivs
It must be an exhilarating and slightly confusing time to be a noise fan—to see your hitherto impenetrable world filletted and laid bare before an increasing number of curious onlookers and new converts. The past couple of years have seen an upswing in interest in harsh, experimental, confrontational noise, especially as underground forces-turned-critical darlings Prurient and Pharmakon continue to cross over into uncharted territory, sinking their claws into broad new audiences and sending publications all across the board into paroxysms of frothing adulation. The Grey Lady paid tribute to Pharmakon's last record in a glowing New York Times review, publications like Pitchfork and Stereogum that have long prostrated themselves upon the altar of Dominick Fernow have been running their own glowing reviews of his latest transgression, and even brands like Red Bull have started getting in on the action. In short, noise is big business.
No matter how faux-trendy it may get, though, harsh noise and power electronics will always have a home in the underground. Promoters and labels like New York City's Annihilvs have long nurtured the city's formidable homegrown scene, and the aforementioned gang of lifers are about to up the ante even further with Apex Fest VI. This multi-pronged summer festival and touring concert series features both established acts and rising talents from across this dying world, and brings them right to the East Coast's grimy doorsteps.
The post-industrial experts at Heathen Harvest have compiled an excellent compilation featuring most of this year's Apex bands—you can take a listen to it (and enter a variety of tantalizing giveaways from Handmade Birds, Sutekh Hexen, and more) at this location. For now, we thought we'd give you a little run-down on just who you might encounter should you dare to enter the Apex next month.
First up, Apex Fest Tour I. This three-date mini-tour will hit Pawtucket, RI then ooze down towards Philadelphia and Baltimore (where noise-doom tyrants The Body will also play). Noisey favorites Trepaneringsritualen will headline, with support from Aderlating and Sutekh Hexen. This round is the most metalhead-friendly, though there's bound to be plenty of crossover throughout the event.
Trepaneringsritualen is the work of one man, Gothenburg's Thomas Martin Ekelund. His self-described gothic death industrial compositions are based upon unrelenting aggression and catharsis, drawing from Ekelund's longtime interest in death and black metal to result in something utterly terrifying and strangely accessible. Your metalhead friends will like this, provided that they have good taste in extreme metal. Aderlating is a side project of Gnaw Their Tongues' prolific creator Mories, who hails from the Netherlands. Their presence marks another metal-friendly entity, as Aderlating melds dark ambient, drone, and black metal into slabs of claustrophic, undulating electronic horror. Sweden's IRM appeared at the very first Apex Fest back in 2005, and will be bringing their religious heavy electronics back to the States for the first time in ten years. Sutekh Hexen also come from black metal roots (we're sensing a theme here, Apex 1) but have gradually twisted them into a form that leaves them not quite unrecognizable, but no less disturbing.
APEX FEST TOUR I:
w/ TREPANERINGSRITUALEN, ADERLATING, IRM, SUTEKH HEXEN
5/31/2015 Machines With Magnets – Pawtucket, RI [info]
6/02/2015 Philadelphia Mausoleum of Contemporary Art – Philadelphia, PA [info]
6/03/2015 The Crown – Baltimore, MD w/ THE BODY [info]
The main event hauls out some big guns—Gnaw Their Tongues, Menace Ruine, Burial Hex, The Body—and more obscure visions like Funerary Call and Arbiter. All three days will take place at Trans Pecos in Ridgewood, and wil also feature a host of guest DJs like Fade Kainer (Statiqbloom, Batillus, Theologian), Ben Abstract (Wrath, Bonechurch), Ryan Martin (Dais Records) and Shenan (Rituals NYC). Any time The Body plays Brooklyn it turns into a seismic event, and the intensity is sure to burn even brighter alongside a cadre of Scandinavian dark ambient artists like Sophia abd Sarjalan Sissit,m Svartsinn, and Northaunt. It's a deliciously dark and diverse lineup, with something for anyone with an interest in the genres on offer. We're especially excited to gloom out to Barren Harvest, and inhale up the stench of blood from Trepaneringsritualen's horrorshow set.
APEX FEST VI MAIN EVENT [info]
I – 6/05/2015 Trans Pecos – Queens, NY
w/ JARL, OMEI, ARTICLE COLLECTION, ARBITER + films/visuals by MARTIN BLADH, KAROLINA URBANIAK
II – 6/06/2015 Trans Pecos – Queens, NY
w/ GNAW THEIR TONGUES, TREPANERINGSRITUALEN, MENACE RUINE, IRM, BURIAL HEX, SUTEKH HEXEN, BARREN HARVEST + DJs Ryan Martin (DAÏS), Shenan (RITUALS NYC)
III – 6/07/2015 Trans Pecos – Queens, NY
w/ THE BODY, SOPHIA + KARJALAN SISSIT, SVARTSINN, NORTHAUNT, HAVAN, FUNERARY CALL + DJs Fade Kainer (STATIQBLOOM, BATILLUS, THEOLOGIAN), Ben Abstract (WRATH, BONECHURCH)
Finally, the grand culmination of this noise orgy will ensnare several more Northeastern cities before venturing north to Montreal. In opposition to the metallic brutality of the first tour and mult-genre approach of the main event Apex Fest Tour II will focus on the quieter, more introspective side of post-industrial. Sophia's haunting soundscapes and Karjalan Sissit's unhinged drone take center stage, with ample support from the understated Svartsinn, gentle ambient project Northaunt, and Apex Fest alumni and Cyclic Law Records affiliate, Visions.
APEX FEST TOUR II:
w/ SOPHIA+KARJALAN SISSIT, SVARTSINN, NORTHAUNT, VISIONS
6/08/2015 3rd & Girard – Philadelphia, PA [info]
6/10/2015 Dusk – Providence, RI [info]
6/12/2015 La Vitrola – Montreal, QC [info]
Apex Fest Tour I kicks off in Rhode Island on 5/31—more info is available here!