Counterflows was founded in 2012 with an aim of providing a platform to a wide array of radical, off-stream and experimental music. Through live events, club nights, discussions, residencies, film screenings and more, we dream up ways that myriad local and international artists, communities and audiences can come together, share ideas, attempt to break down borders, challenge hierarchies, push boundaries and quite simply have a lot of fun in the process.
We aim to support artists who fall between the cracks; who seek new ways to develop music, encounter song, rhythm and sound – who attempt to find space free from the dogmas and clichés of genre and style. We present different artists from a wide pool of backgrounds – from fizzing DIY underground scenes, geographically remote locations to online-based communities – and whose artistic approaches vary radically. Through our on-going programmes we present these artists in ways that highlight the diversity in their approaches, as well as explores the potential common ground between each of them.
“When people talk in reverential tones about Glasgow’s ‘vibrant live scene’ they don’t mean events like Counterflows, though they probably should. All human life is here” – James Hampson, The Skinny
The core of Counterflows is our annual festival; an amorphous live music happening that weaves itself through Glasgow’s most interesting venues/spaces. We present live music as a social, shared and community-based experience, so we use environments that are living and breathing, that present music as more than just a museum-piece or artefact. We use community halls, cafes, art galleries, churches; whatever feels best suitable for presenting the artists – and whatever contributes towards a shared experience that is as warm, inclusive and positive as possible.
“Counterflows disputes assumptions that challenging, thrilling experimental art has to be elitist and or unapproachable … Counterflows offers myriad amenable routes to local and global nirvana” – Nicola Meighan, The Herald
One of the key aims of Counterflows is to increase the potential for artists – not just helping them reach audiences, but also encourage nourishing experimentation and collaboration. In 2014 we started our ‘featured artist’ programme as part of the festival. To use such a term does appear on the surface anachronistic, given our lifelong obsession in breaking down boundaries, hierarchies, and so on… But for us it is really about looking a bit closer at an artist’s work and also about recognising artists that have been pursuing their thing relentlessly over the years and creating something that is theirs alone. Past featured artists – Joe McPhee, Richard Youngs, Zeena Parkins and Ashley Paul – all share the desire to restlessly create new ways to encounter their music, and through the featured artist programme have created new works, presented debut collaborations, played intimate shows, and so much more.
“A festival with radical and inclusive notions about what exactly it means to be a part of the underground” – Oscar Gaynor, The Quietus
Counterflows is curated by Alasdair Campbell & Fielding Hope.
Our extended team includes Oliver Pitt, Tim Matthew, Clare Hoare, Silja Strøm, Tara Pattenden and Gavin Robertson.
We want to thank the community of artists, audiences and various supporters who make Counterflows possible.
AC Projects and Counterflows are supported by Creative Scotland, British Council and PRS Foundation’s The Open Fund as well as other trusts and foundations:
ABOUT AC PROJECTS:
AC Projects is the overarching arts organisation that produces Counterflows. Set up in 2011 by Alasdair Campbell, AC Projects is dedicated to the creation, promotion and production of arts projects and events. Although primarily involved in the creation of new music experiences for the audience and artist alike, AC Projects will engage and collaborate with various disciplines across art forms. Some other projects that AC Projects delivers:
• Tectonics, Glasgow – Co-curating with Ilan Volkov and co-producing with the BBC SSO.
• AC Projects Residency Series – In collaboration with the CCA’s Creative Lab programme.
• International Projects – AC Projects has developed partners across the world in Brazil, Australia, India and Japan and is currently working on a major project working with partners in Kolkata, Chennai and Fort Kochi called “A Carnatic Paradigm” with Mark Fell, Rian Treanor & Nakul Krishnamurthy.
• New Commissions – One of the main aims of AC Projects is to offer opportunities to create new work. Both Tectonics and Counterflows offer platforms to present new commissions.
• Creative Learning – An on-going workshop and talk programme across the whole of AC Projects activities as well as informal mentoring and advice sessions are in continual development supporting the creation of AC Project’s Music Space initiative.
Counterflows New Commissions
Torsten Lauschmann with Red Note Ensemble – Inconsistent Whispers (2012)
Lina Lapelyte – Candy Shop (2013)
Bill Wells – Summer Dreams (2013)
Cara Tolmie & Paul Abbott – A Departure Note (2014)
Luke Fowler/Mika Vainio/Lee Paterson – Change (2014)
Richard Youngs – Experiment for Demolished Structures (2015)
Evan Parker & Sten Sandell – Psalms, Improvisations for Church Organ and Saxophones (2015)
Zeena Parkins – Lace (for Scotland) 2016
Angharad Davies & Laura Cannell – Mythos of Violins (2016)
Mark Fell – A Carnatic Paradigm (2017)
Aine O’Dwyer – Beasts (2017) (In Collaboration with SSW)
Rhodri Davies – Transversal Time (2018)
Lucy Duncombe – Pop Ago (2018)
Usurper – Booby Prize (2018)
Susie Ibarra – for percussion (2018)
Residencies completed by:
Annette Krebs & Janie Nicols (2013)
Peter Dowling, Rob Kennedy & Karena Nomi (2014)
Charlie Knox/Trudat Sound (2014)
Andrea Neumann & Adam Campbell (2015)
Sonic Bothy (2015)
Franka Herwig & Liene Rozite (2016)
Lucy Duncombe (2016)
Sholto Dobie – Air (2018) (In collaboration with SSW)