Manchester Cathedral will host, for the second year, Columns Festival on Saturday 2 May. The one-day event makes use of the cavernous Cathedral setting and showcases a shortlist of strong leftfield emerging electronic artists. Last year’s line-up included Future Islands and East India Youth, both of whom promptly became far more established artists in their own right. This year is headlined by the Canadian duo of Purity Ring and Braids alongside Ghostpoet, Born Gold, Shivum Sharma, Clarence Clarity and Cash + David. It looks set to showcase another range of performers, many of whom are performing newly released music.
Topping the bill is Purity Ring, showcasing their second and more accessible album, Another Eternity. Arriving from an extensive European tour, the Manchester stop will be another in a long line with tour support and kindred spirit Born Gold. Both artists are deeply rooted in the electro-pop formula and are strongly interconnected performers.
The festival will also mark the first weekend after the release of Braids’ third album, Deep In the Iris. One of the most progressive Canadian artists of the decade, the group’s collective work has gained comparisons with Animal Collective, Björk and Burial. With further shifts in direction on their new album they have delved into drum and bass as well as house. Early single ‘Miniskirt’ also suggests a new clarity to their sound that has often relied on a dense and obscure maximalist approach.
Ghostpoet likewise released his third album, Shedding Skin, back in March, conveying a similar upfront confidence that was missing from his previous work. His performance, like many on the bill, will prove his progression as an artist, from Mercury nomination to now.
Three relatively undiscovered artists complete the bill. Shivum Sharma fuses gospel atmospherics with soft, minimalist textures. Clarence Clarity is taking glitch-pop to an extreme, sounding like a cross-between Kindness and Hudson Mohawke, but with added camp. Finally Cash + David, featuring Bombay Bicycle Club backing singer Liz Lawrence, are an electro-pop duo surely taking note of the headliners. All three will feature first at Columns before venturing to play a number of the summer’s most anticipated festivals.
Columns is set to be an occasion for hearing established electronic talents alongside new blood relishing the chance to perform in one of the city’s most ornate venues.
Words: Thomas Dixon
Information and tickets can be found on the Columns website, here.