Foundations Festival

14-15 December
Aatma & The Peer Hat

"OMG, she has the same nipple tassels as me." That's not a phrase you will come across in the supermarket. The fact it didn’t cause a stir amongst those present is perhaps a testament to the attitudes of people at the Peer Hat. The segment during which the announcement was made was ‘Haunt’, an event taking place within Foundations Festival, which was the perfect antidote to the office party.

Operating for a third year, those lovely people at Valentine Records and Analogue Trash once again put together a two-day festival spanning two venues probably 50 steps apart. Aimed firmly and squarely at promoting emerging talent rather than established names, there was lot of meshing together between musical, lyrical and visual formats.

On the Friday night, Transient Noise Bursts with Announcements (Poetry vs Noise) took over Aatma. That's a long title for an event, but successfully outlined its uniqueness. As four, sometimes five or more, musicians crouched over instruments to draw out intensive sounds, a series of spoken voice performers strode up and onto the stage. Not all of the wordsmiths had worked with the musicians before, so fitting the rhythm or tone of their recitals with the underlying beats was always going to be challenging, but managed to remain engaging. The next time they get together, it will be another completely unique occasion.

Saturday afternoon saw a series of panel discussions, incorporating the views of, amongst others, John Robb, Josey Lowesy and RebeccaNeverBecky Swarray. The discussions covered a range of topics, on which each participant shared their knowledge.

Next, the haunting began. Haunt is a Manchester-based team that deals with all things Gothic, with an emphasis on the Manchester area. Helen Darby curated the event, revealing her associations with the Banshee, a long defunct Manchester venue. Mince pies were laid out, free for all to indulge in once the Bah Humbug hats were adorned and the finger ring lights were illuminated. Blackness and puss oozed from the stage, as storytellers such as Rosie Garland, Angela Blythe, Rob Steventon and Emily Oldfield regaled their imaginative tales of otherworldliness.

Whilst ghouls were being celebrated upstairs, downstairs the Promenade Cinema relayed a synth-fused version of promises to keep vampires at bay with a cover of ‘Power of Love’.

The sound systems at both Aatma and Peer Hat are always top class, so a series of performers exploited these to the full. Jeuce are a mixed gender duo from Manchester who create raw beats and scream tales of (their) everyday life, albeit they seem a bit too young to have detailed, first-hand knowledge of haemorrhoids. In short bursts of energy, mainly clocking below two minutes, their series of vignettes are filled with vitality, including an unexpected linguistic flair in using French lyrics for one song.

Naming yourself after a comet could perhaps be a sign of ambiguity or hidden passion by 234 Ida. Either way, it mattered little to a crowd dancing to the duo’s upbeat electro pop.

The musical line-up continued across the Peer Hat and Aatma long into Sunday morning.

Ged Camera

Photo inset by Ged Camera.