North Atlantic Flux: Songwriter John Grant Hooks Up his Nordic Connections for Hull’s City of Culture

Posted on April 22, 2017


Majestic baritone John Grant creates heaven in Hull with Iceland’s finest electronic collective GusGus, Norway’s acclaimed DJ and Producer Lindstrøm, and supergroup Wrangler

Anyone with an interest in our northern cousins and their baroque Nordic take on electronica, house, disco, rock and boogie, should forego two months of poxy Sky subscription and instead get themselves sharpish to Hull for a long weekend of incredible music performance from 28 April to 1 May. North Atlantic Flux: Sounds from Smoky Bay is John Grant’s contribution to the second season of musical finery (called Roots and Routes) at Hull’s City of Culture programme.

Venues across the city will feature international artists including dance collective GusGus, DJ and producer Lindstrøm, and Wrangler – a project bringing together Stephen Mallinder of Cabaret Voltaire, Phil Winter from Tunng and John Foxx collaborator Benge. Hull’s partner cities in this extravaganza include Reykjavik in Iceland and Aarhus in Denmark.

Icelandic immigrant
John Grant is an internationally renowned singer and songwriter best known for his breakthrough ‘Pale Green Ghosts’ album and 2015’s arch follow-up ‘Grey Tickles Black Pressure’. He moved to Reykjavik in 2011 (for love, what else?) and submerged himself in the Icelandic capital’s musical and experimental culture.

Grant’s knowledge of Nordic music and outsider’s outlook make him the perfect figurehead to conduct this eclectic mix of adventurous beats and meld together two independently-minded cities. “I’m really honoured to be asked to be a part of Hull UK City of Culture 2017,” he said. “I look forward to bringing great music and getting to know this exciting city.” So far, so bland, but we know his heart is in the right place from the incredible line up.

Full Line-up
Live set start times and venues as follows (subject to change):


Hull City Hall
Mt. Wolf (7.30pm) / GusGus (9pm)

Jubilee Church
Tonik Ensemble (7pm) / Susanne Sundfør (8pm)

Gate No.5
Sweaty Records presents Volruptus: Kosmodod, Volruptus, ThizOne (10pm)


Hull City Hall
Nányë (5.30pm) / Prins Póló (7.30pm) / Wrangler (DJ set 8.30pm) / Lindstrøm (10pm)

Jubilee Church
BBC Radio 3’s Late Junction featuring: Pinquins, Ragga Gisla, Cobby & Litten and Roller Bassoon (2pm) / Ragga Gisla (7pm) / Nordic Affect (8.30pm) / Cobby & Litten (9.30pm)

Queens Hall
Halldór Smàrason and the Sinfonia UK Collective performing Humber Star by Adelle Stripe (6.30pm) / Eyvind Gulbrandsen & The Royal Northern College of Music (8pm) / Blatnova (9pm)

Gate No.5
Luke Eargoggle and Actress (DJ set 10.30pm)


Hull City Hall
Jobina Tinnemans & Jacob Tekeila with the Hull Choir (2pm) / Ghostigital (6.30pm) / Sóley (8pm) / John Grant (9.30pm)

Jubilee Church
Tom Kay (3pm) / Nils Bech (4.30pm) / Satellites (6pm)

Queens Hall
Eva-lina (3pm) / Equis (5pm) / Pinquins (7pm)

Gate No.5
X-Ray Katt (DJ set 10.30pm) / Wrangler (live 11.30pm) / James Orvis (12.30am)


Jubilee Church
Science of the Lamps (2pm) / Fufanu (3.30pm) / Mugison (5pm)

Queens Hall
Sebastian Edin (2pm) / Tronhjem (3.30pm) / Alex Mørch (5pm)

X-Ray Katt (Mixnots) & guest (1pm) / Rosyan (4pm) / Sykur (5.30pm)

Voyage Statue
Simon Desbruslais (time TBC)

For the duration of the festival Hull City Hall’s Mortimer Suite will host a sound installation by Jez riley-French (from 11am daily).

Tickets are on sale for £119 (£108 concessions) for the entire weekend programme. Ticketholders will have access to all venues hosting festival events over the four days, subject to capacity at each. For more information and to buy tickets please visit the Hull 2017 website: Or keep up to date with this and other Hull 2017 events and activities by registering at

From my own experience I can heartily recommend GusGus as one of the stand-out acts of the whole weekend. Expect raw funk, house, soul and soaring melodies from one of the world’s best electronic dance collectives (powering the beating musical heart of Grant’s own Pale Green Ghosts). On Monday, the hard-to-define but towering multi-instrumentalist Mugison is one to see – crushing beats and maxed-out guitars from this one-man band. In between there’ll be a smorgasbord of delights to tantalise the curious of taste.

And Also
Opera North has turned The Humber Bridge into a giant music installation – created by Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen and collaborators Jan Bang and Eivind Aarset. The deep sounds of the bridge will be captured by Hull-based sound artist Jez Riley French and performed by the Orchestra and Chorus of Opera North, all experienced through headphones as visitors walk across the bridge to the soundscape (3 April – 28 May)

The city is also hosting the first part of the New Music Biennial 2017, a PRS for Music Foundation initiative, presented in partnership with Hull 2017, Southbank Centre, BBC Radio 3 and NMC Recordings. It features new commissions and a number of residencies planned throughout the year, and a line-up of acclaimed musicians, including Eliza Carthy, Gavin Bryars, Errollyn Warren, Sam Lee, Anna Meredith, Jocelyn Pook, Mica Levi and GoGo Penguin (1-2 July).

Each of Hull UK City of Culture’s four seasons has a particular theme connected to the city and its place in the world: Made in Hull ran from January to March, Roots & Routes continues the entertainment from April to June, followed by Freedom (July – September) and Tell the World (October – December).

Martin Green, CEO and director of Hull 2017, said: “Hull has always had a unique cultural voice and in 2017 it will roar. The spirit, the stories and the talent of this city have inspired this national year of celebration. From its artists to its residents through to the city’s incredible heritage, Hull will share with the rest of the world what people from here have known all along – this city has contributed significantly to ideas that have changed and enriched the world.”

Posted in: Art, Festival, Music