Thursday, June 17, 2004

Man, those Stirling News mooks didn't use my Le Weekend review. Mofos. At least the Tolbooth liked my photies. I'll need to scan some and post them up.

Anyway, here's a little something I did for Ideas Factory: an interview with artist and DJ
Mel Carvalho . It's a good 'un, if I do say so myself.

I'll leave you with a quote from A Mighty Wind, which continues to prove the genius of Christopher Guest and Eugene Levy.
Mitch: I feel ready for whatever the experience is that we will... take with us after the show. I'm sure it will be... an adventure... a voyage on this... magnificent vessel... into unchartered waters! What if we see sailfish... jumping... and flying across the magnificent orb of a setting sun?

It's all in the delivery, alright?

Wednesday, June 09, 2004

My mission to fill the Stirling News with esoteric wittering continues apace. There's another, quite different, and often better, version for Is This Music? Some sloppy bits here, but nice stuff too. I can use the two for the basis of an extended Beard account. I've got piccies too!

Is Le Weekend the best thing to have happened to Stirling? Quite possibly. Some might run screaming at the prospect of four days of experimental music. It's their loss, because this festival was an exhilarating display of the possibilities of art.
Opening the festival Paul Dunmall, Paul Rogers and Hamid Drake cooked up free jazz of tremendous rhythmic energy, Dunmall's saxophone coursing over Rogers' seven string double bass.
Borbetomagus followed with the loudest, most terrifying live performance I've ever seen. Over a relentless guitar roar, two saxophones were blasted through Marshall amps. The gonzoid onslaught of skronk never let up. Bracing, to say the least.
Friday's Weird Folk artists inhabited the point where American roots music meets outer space. Heather Leigh Murray's otherworldly pedal steel improvisations were closer to Venus than Nashville, while Pelt incorporated Indian modes into their minimalist drone. But it was the MV & EE Medicine Show who stole the show, bringing a Beat poet sensibility to Appalachian song.
Saturday was a blast. Music For Buildings was a thrilling improvisation cum sound-installion featuring local musicians. While the band played in the attic their parts were sampled and electronically manipulated before being sent to speakers throughout the building. A glorious cacophony of saxes, strings and digital chaos spiralled up the staircase. An inspired project.
Putting paid to any notions of inaccessibility Haco and Sakamoto Hiromishi combined quite beautiful songs with sonci sculpture. Hiromishi did the business on cleeo and musical saw, while Haco sang and played with her electronic gadgets and china pot.
Equally wonderful were System D, featuring Dutch cellist Ernst Reijseger and Senegalese musicians Mollay Sylla and Serigne Gueye. Pizzicato cello provided a spry counterpoint to the sublime African percussion and vocals. But there was a primal side to the music, Sylla's vocals breaking down into a series of grunts and wails at the climax. This was the sort of performance that stays with you long afterwards.
Folk guitarist Glen Jones stepped in for the Loren Mazzacane Connors and Suzanne Langille, who were unable to attend due to illness. Jones's magical pickings were made all the more special when Pelt's brilliant Jack Rose joined on lap steel for a bluesy doodle.
It was left to the Dead C to bring things to a close, and boy, did they rock. Largely instrumental, this was all about texture and dynamics, supple rhythms cutting through crystalline feedback.
Le Weekend is for everyone. I took the plunge and it blew my mind.

Monday, June 07, 2004

unemployed again...

I'm not really into the confessional blog thing, but dearie me, I'm being let go by the Alloa Advertiser once my 6 month probation period is up. So as of July I'll be a free man. It's a blow, but I'm glad in a way - I don't think news reporting is me. It's been valuable experience but my heart is in the arts and my superiors could tell that. I really enjoyed the first couple of months, and doing the Stirling News ents has been great, but lately I've not been so comfortable. But the contacts I've made with the Tolbooth and local arts people needn't be lost. As David St Hubbins says upon Spinal Tap's split, "It's a gift, a gift of freedom".
Now I can do more stuff for Channel four and Is This Music?, devote plenty of time to Beard and do the Fringe for Fest. However, only Channel Four pay me for that. But I can seek out gainful freelance. And read lots. I really miss reading time. But such is working life. Anyone want to give me a job?

Thursday, June 03, 2004

Le Weekend

Stirling's Le Weekend was tremendous. You'll be able to hear my verdict soon, but for now, here's what Neil Cooper of the Herald had to say.
I had a chat with him in the bar. Nice bloke.

The Scotsman went along too.

While I'm at it, here are a couple of my Plan B reviews.


Another Country

Not my best - been overdosing on the Greil Marcus - but what the hey, it's cool to be involved. The magazine is out soon and I've got a couple more reviews in there...