TUSK Virtual 2020
The internationally renowned TUSK Festival returns to celebrate its 10th edition this October. Having already announced its plans for its expected live edition over 3 days in October at partner organisation Sage Gateshead, the TUSK team’s plans were overtaken by events and the global pandemic, rendering their initial intentions unfeasible. So, with aspirations adapted to the new reality and years of live streaming and digital programming experience behind them, TUSK, still working in partnership with Sage Gateshead, are now delighted to announce TUSK Virtual 2020 – a two-week online version of the festival that falls somewhere between a virtual version of one of the most adventurous music festivals on the planet and the most raucous rollercoaster of an avant garde TV station you could ever imagine.
Across two weeks of programming, TUSK Virtual’s uniquely diverse menu of adventurous music has grown even more expansive, normal rules of festival production abandoned by the plague and a whole host of often unreachable international artists now able to join the programme via web connections. Tusk Virtual will also feature an enhanced version of the renowned film programme with nightly midnight movie selections and expanded weekend film feasts, plus talks and discussions from people across the global adventurous music community, guest DJ mixes, a selection of gems from the vast TUSK archive and all held together by our team of guest presenters that includes David Liebe Hart (Tim And Eric Awesome Show Great Job!), Rock N Roll Jackie Stewart from Oregon’s seminal Smegma and the ‘cardboard Prince’ himself, Robert Ridley-Shackleton.
TUSK Festival announces new additions to the virtual festival line-up including:
- Timeless and hugely influential New Zealand noise rock legends THE DEAD C
- Minnesotan maestro of violin, voice and loopstation, described as “The Velvet Underground meets Little House On The Prairie”, GAELYNN LEA
- Michigan noise hero and responsible for one of the most exciting sets ever to happen at TUSK, AARON DILLOWAY
- Welsh violinist and improviser who has worked with Tony Conrad, Eliane Radigue and many more, ANGHARAD DAVIES
- The truly incomparable GUTTERSNIPE – incredible Leeds duo that we genuinely feel are the most raucous and exciting UK band of recent years
- The ethereal Moroccan dance music of MOULAY AHMED ELHASSANI, who is all set to be a European festival fixture in 2021
- THE TENSES, the Portland, Oregon husband and wife team jousting with turntables, guitar and gadgets and key members of the highly influential Los Angeles Free Music Society
- OPAL TAPES, the Newcastle alt-electronica label presents a 3-act showcase, featuring artists from Iran, Sweden and the UK
- LAURA CANNELL, the UK violin and recorder player who references Hildegaard von Bingen yet collaborates with the likes of Charles Hayward (This Heat) and Mark Fell.
- Gary Lang aka ST JAMES INFIRMARY, the locally revered outsider artist and musician who’s been ploughing his own obscure and wonderful furrow for the past 35 years
- The one-woman California-based noise machine and experimenter, EVICSHEN
- US instrument builder and noisemaker CRANK STURGEON, who has amassed 150 releases over 25 years and of whom it is said: “It’s not punk. It’s not art. It’s not even music. And it’s definitely not a haircut.”
- Newcastle’s collage artist, DJ and musician CHLORINE, who has provided album designs for Moor Mother and others and finally brings his live show to TUSK
- And ROBERT RIDLEY-SHACKLETON, ‘the cardboard Prince’ himself, revelling in his own absurd version of The Funk
They join an already jaw-dropping live programme for TUSK Virtual featuring the following acts already announced:
- JIM O’ROURKE & EIKO ISHIBASHI – without question one of the most influential artists to emerge from the US underground in recent decades, in first outside-Japan performance in duo with life and musical partner Eiko;
- ROSCOE MITCHELL – octogenarian hero of avant garde jazz and leader of the very legendary Art Ensemble Of Chicago;
- OOIOO – the incomparable Japanese all-female quartet led by YoshimiO, who you’ll also know from the incomparable Boredoms;
- YEAH YOU – the manic/ecstatic father/daughter duo that made their debut at TUSK 2014 and have since been busy pushing electronic music to new extremes and with wide acclaim;
- ANGEL BAT DAWID – the Chicagoan jazz maestro who, with full band, comes across like the dream marriage of Funkadelic and Sun Ra;
- NIHILOXICA – the mostly-Ugandan sextet merging regional beats with European techno chops to create something truly irresistible.
- BLÓM – blazing Newcastle punk power-trio with new album Flower Violence just out – like Lightning Bolt if they did songs.
And so many more still to announce, in addition to the following already revealed:
- Norwegian noise artist Helge Sten a.k.a. DEATHPROD brings his sensory overload to the region for the first time after releasing 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;
- From Baltimore, the music of quartet HORSE LORDS can entrap the listener mesmerically with their off-kilter, polyrhythmic take on math rock that summons the spirits of early Philip Glass, Tony Conrad and, weirdly, Liege & Lief-era Fairport Convention in its urgent post-rock dynamics;
- Another Norwegian, MAJA S.K. RATKJE, returns for a very rare Northern show following her duo with Ikue Mori in 2012. Renowned as a noise artist, improvisor and vocalist, Maja caught many ears by surprise last year with her album Sult, a beautiful solo suite for pump organ and voice that was written to soundtrack a ballet based on Knut Hamsun’s famously intense novel Hunger.
- SARAH HENNIES hails from Kentucky and is concerned with a range of issues including queer and trans identity, love, intimacy, psychoacoustics and percussion. An increasingly revered artist internationally, her 2017 audio-visual work Contralto was a finalist for the Queer|Art|Prize and she released the great Reservoir 1 album on Oren Ambarchi’s Black Truffle label last year.
- LUMP HAMMER are a Newcastle trio with many fingers in the regional sludge-rock pie and a maximalist/minimalist approach of overwhelming guitar/drums/vox and bloody-minded musical stasis that has seen them perform two hour sets of just one, obliterating song.
Expanded greatly to fit the new format, TUSK’s film programme includes the newly commissioned 10-part serial by Edinburgh-based animator and comic artist Malcy Duff.
Each night of TUSK Virtual will also feature elements of TUSK’s renowned film programme, including examinations of revered UK artists such as Vicki Bennett, and David Tibet. There’ll be a celebration of the music and visuals of Sir Richard Bishop, psychedelic mischief from Argentina’s Los Siquicos Litoralenos, an exploration of Church Of Satan founder Anton LaVey, a performance of avant artist Kurt Schwitters’ groundbreaking sound poem Ursonate and much more.
Newly recovered archive footage from our 2012/13 editions will also be aired each night during TUSK Virtual and featuring performances by such leftfield titans as Hijokaidan, Hieroglyphic Being, Fushitsusha, Endon, Smegma, Oren Ambarchi, Eyvind Kand & Jessika Kenney and many more. Our online archive already contains over 100 high quality recordings and has over ¼ million views.
Finally, the infamous TUSK Fringe will also be blowing things apart across both weekends of the festival period, featuring including UK artists Wanda Group, Yol, Plastiglomerate, Ghosh from Japan, NYC’s Drvg Cvltvre and many more.
TUSK Virtual will be free to access online, however audiences will be able to donate to a fundraiser to support the future of the festival and artists online during the event.
We will be in touch with all TUSK Weekend ticket holders in due course about your tickets. Thank you for your patience and co-operation. We sincerely apologise for any inconvenience caused.