MUSIC PREVIEW V ART
Art noise carrotist Bugs poised to unleash umbelliterous mayhem.
3 Perhaps the most impressive aspect f ofa rather unexciting new Swans
album is its cover. a painting ofan anxious-looking bunny rabbit in a sinister landscape. The credits reveal that the New York noise insurrectionists (ret'd) have one ‘Deryk Thomas of Edinburgh‘ to thank for the splendid picture. The sudden realisation that a colour photocopy of another Deryk Thomas rabbit (from Alice In Wonderland) had been pinned up in our office for almost a year piqued our curiosity. Who was this artist. and how had his work become admired by one of the American underground‘s most fearsome bands?
Thomas, a freelance illustrator since he left college in 1987. had been intrigued by the band. and originally wrote to them out of curiosity. A correspondence with Jarboe (keyboards and vocals) followed. until Michael Gira (Swans‘ guiding light) took a fancy to a sketch he'd sent. asked fora finished
' version and then another painting for the back cover.
‘lf they’d come to me and said.
' “We‘d like you to do the cover.
‘, would you come up with an idea'?". it f would never have been the rabbit. It had to work the way it has worked. I
3 could see what they were getting at.
3 about being small in a bigger space.
being lost. And I think a lot oftheir
i music seems to be about that.‘
And the picture that found its way on to our notice board?
‘I was trying to get a book together called The Ups And Downs 0f Toyland, of all these human-looking animals that would be familiar from children‘s books and putting them in
' situations that were desperately bleak, whether it be their houses
burning down or being lost or in a car crash. I worked at it for a while and then stopped and asked myself. “What the hell am I doing?" ’ (Alastair Mabbott)
Deryk Thomas currently has an exhibition of landscapes in the Loretto Gallery, Musselburgh. White Light From The Mouth OfInft'nity is
on Young God Records.
L___.-_._-_ s _,
um- Nerys wreck
‘Tlme tiles by when you’re the driver 01 a train/Speeding Into Trumpton with a cargo oi cocaine.’ Blots In Trumpton and skinhead trouble in Chlgley. The year was 1985 and the individuals responsible were a Liverpudllan quartet 01 popular culture terrorists, Hall Man Halt Biscuit. No popular icon was sale: Bob Todd, Len Ganley, Fred Tltmus and Jim Reeves, none escaped unscathed. However, they all got all lightly when compared to the Nerys ‘District Nurse' Hughes. Highlight oi many a show was a irenzied rendition oi ‘I Hate Nerys Hughes (From The Heart)‘. And her crime? ‘Rulned acting career by wearing tasteless bell bottoms In “The Liver Blrds”.’ Following a couple of LPs, the group disbanded (‘I didn‘t want to iizzle out and start getting bored ot it,‘ reasons singeergel Blackwell), but 1991 has seen them retorm tor no other reason than that they had some new songs. Their latest release is ‘No Regrets‘ — made famous by Edith Plat—and ieatures the vocal talents oi Margl
Clarke oi ‘Letter To Brezhnev‘ and ‘Maklng Dut' lame. it seems as though another Liverpudllan luminary was tlrst choice.
‘We've always been a closet cover version band,’ concedes Blackwell. ‘We wanted to get somebody else in to sing it, and we bandied a tow names about. For instance, Sonia. She was sort oi going downhill at that point so we thought that would be a laugh, but we didn‘t know her. Geotl (Davies at Probe Plus) knew Margi, so he asked her and she was dead enthusiastic about it. There was no stopping her. She‘s exactly like you expect her to be, so it was a good laugh.’
Nigel is under no illusions that in 1991 Hall Man Hall Biscuit may be anything more than a nostalgia trip. Indifferent to the shenanigans, he is typically philosophical (‘Whatever - happens happens’) and you can’t ask , for more than that. (James Haliburton) T Hall Man Hall Biscuit play Glasgow I Polytechnic on Fri 7.
Hall Man Hall Biscuit
Will he, won’t he?
reputation as a pianist (and it has always seemed a little exaggerated to me), he will be up there with Keith Jarrett should the world’s music promoters ever decide to give out Ieast-popular-person awards. Whether
it is natural cantankerousness or a chip
on the shoulder lrom his early experiences oi apartheid, Ibrahim seems to take delight in being as unco-operatlve as possible.
For that reason, the promoters (both local and national) still do not know exactly what will be happening when (or perhaps It) the pianist tultills his upcoming British tour. Originally it was to be a duo with saxman Horace Young, then with Basil Coetzee; alter a demand tor more money which the promotors
i could only partly meet, Ibrahim is now
! saying he will play solo (no one else to
i pay, thus more for him), at least on the
i days when he is not threatening to pull
! out altogether.
g Assuming he comes, he will be
1 playing three Scottish dates in his
l distinctive, highly coloured tashlon,
; integrating the bright rhythms at his
I native land with a concern ior structure
' and texture inspired by his early devotion to his mentor, Duke Ellington, who helped him make his initial break (as Dollar Brand) into the American
l lazz scene. Duke, he recalls, ‘was not thought 01 as a Western musician when
i we were growing up in Cape Town, but
i was more like a wise old man 01 the
l communityln absentla.‘
. In addition to Scottish Jazz Network
’ gigs In Edinburgh and Glasgow (see listings), Ibrahim is scheduled to
headline the Ninth Dundee Jazz
Festival at the ﬂap Theatre on 5 June.
Subsequent major concerts include the
mainstream Jazz All-Stars (6 June)
with saxophonist Spike Robinson, Boy
Williams on trombone, and trumpeter
Warren Vache, and a iirst Scottish
outing tor Andy Sheppard‘s new band In
Co-Motion (7 June). Full programme Is
. available lrom the Bop Theatre on 0382
| 23530. (Kenny Mathieson)
London Festival Orchestra
organisations struggle to bc ever-inventive in attracting audiences, the London Festival Orchestra and its Cathedral Classics series are simply packingthem in. Now in its sixth year, the idea is that the orchestra tours around Britain each summer, teaming up with different cathedral choirs on their own territory for usually one work to complement a programme ofpopular classics for chamber orchestra.
So. in Edinburgh they join St Mary‘s Cathedral Choir for Mozart‘s Missa Brevis K194 and at Glasgow Cathedral it's the Te Deum by Purcell. Not only are audiences clamouring for seats. but cathedrals are demanding to be part of it. ‘This year‘, says Ross Pople, the orchestra's founder and director, ‘we‘re giving 29 concerts and. really, it's now reached the stage where we have to control it. The venues have to be distributed over the whole ofthe land to match our sponsor. British Gas, and it generally works out that we give two concerts in each region they operate in.‘ The two Scottish
programmes are typical in their make-up. ‘We try to have one work with the choir of the cathedral and one work with a soloist. either from the orchestra or an international name, and the rest is generally very listenable .‘ explains Pople. in Edinburgh, that means Handel, Arnold, Mozart and Tchaikovsky and in Glasgow, Handel, Stamitz and Schubert. ‘On occasion, we put something in for our own amusement, which usually amuses our audience too, as well as balancing the programme. This year it‘s Stravinsky's Concerto en Re.‘
The Edinburgh visit this summer will be extra special as Dennis Townhill, organist and master of the choriste rs is retiring this month after 30 years service.
The London Festival Orchestra play St Mary '5 Cathedral, Edinburgh on Sun 9am! Glasgow Cathedral on Mon 10.
32 The List 3i iviay- 13 June 1991