I Wind power
Toru Takemitsu presents 800 Managing Director Ian Ritchie with a score ot his new work, Now Slow The Wind
Keeping up their reputation as Scotland‘s most active commissioner of new music, the Scottish Chamber Orchestra reveal another new work when they give the premiere of How Slow The Wind by Japanese composer Toru Takemitsu. Recognised as the leading composer to have emerged from Japan since the Second World War. Takemitsu is largely self-taught and his music reﬂects the eclectic range ofstyles, both Western and Japanese. which have influenced him. The performances— four in total are scheduled for November— of his latest work are part of the 1991 Japan Festival, in which the 60-year-old composer is a key figure. In mid-October, The Takemitsu Signature, a long weekend of concerts. exhibitions and films at the Barbican and Guildhall in London culminated with the world premiere of Quotation OfDream performed by the LSO with Michael Tilson Thomas.
In Edinburgh recently to hand over the score of How Slow The Wind to Ian Ritchie. General Manager ofthe SCO. Takemitsu described it as ‘written from my heart — and at the same time with trust for the SCO‘s sensitivity as artistes. The music for How Slow The Wind is technically not difficult. but at the same time it is very difficult to perform as the conception of time and spacing is very Japanese.‘ For some years now, Takemitsu has been greatly influenced by the formal Japanese garden and its fusion with nature. The title is taken from a short three-line verse by Emily Dickinson , — ‘llow slow the wind. how slow the ' sea, how late their feathers be!‘ — and l through use of a repetitive cycle through the half-hour piece. 'I‘akemitsu says. ‘I attempt to create a perspective view ofsound.‘ (Carol Main)
The S(.'() play How Slow The Wind
at City Hall, Glasgow on Wed 6; Younger Hall, St Andrews on Thurs 7; MacRoberl A rts Centre, Stirling on Fri 80nd Queen 's Hall, Edinburgh
Lon Sat 9.
Works night out
Genuine originality is a rare
commodity in music, butThe Barely
i Works seem able to lay their hands on more than most. A line-up comprising
something oi a head start, admittedly, 4 as is a repertoire ot ‘anarchic jug
i music’, but the band’s otibeat image is
underpinned with solid musicianship and a lot ot hard work. Since getting together three years ' ago, the London-based seven-piece have been gigging ‘more or less
" a non-stop’, earning the Best Newcomers title lrom ‘Eolk Boots’ magazine along the road. They’ve also
been described as ‘the best band this side at the Mississippi’ by 3 Ms
Michelle Shocked, and have lound time
to produce two very line albums, the
is the reason iorthe current tour. Banjo player Chris Thompson
describes the band’s eclectic range oi styles as ‘traditlonal English dance music, with some Latin inlluences, salsa rhythms and so on, and also some eastern European elements, mixed in with a sort ol general poppiness to draw all these dilierenl things into some sort oi mass that people can understand, ralherthan a mess they can’t.’
Although the joyous abandon oi their
hammer dulcimer, trombone and tuba, tiddle, accordion, whistles and banjo is
second ol which, ‘Don’t Mind Walking’,
live sets, which translates surprisingly well to vinyl, is one oi the band’s major strengths, Thompson says they welcomed the chance to hone their sound while recording the new LP. ‘We were able to spend more time actually thinking about our playing, developing ideas which were maybe hali-iormed lrom trying them out at gigs, working them through and rearranging until they really sounded the way we wanted.’ The crafting shows in a more assured, balanced sound and a lot oi excellent playing, but thanktully the polish hasn’t rubbed oil the unpredictable edges. Forthe real Barelies experience, though, you have to put on your dancing shoes and see them. (Sue Wilson)
The Barely Works play at the Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh, on Sat 2 Nov.
Every once in a while, it’s reireshing to ' be taken unawares by a well-kept ; secret which suddenly isn’t much at a
secret anymore; tor a band to come along who ﬂy in the lace ol tashton but who, instead ot sustaining some spectacular Icarus-like tall, triumph against the odds. Eighteen months ago, that band was Ned’s Atomic Dustbin; now that band is The Levellers, an unassuming bunch oi dog-cared tolky pop types with a paintul attachment to their tour bus and a brace ot ianatical disciples to show for it.
Although there are many who have
' still to hear a note ot their music, now at least there's a general awareness
E thatThe Levellers are something at a
torce to be reckoned with. The ticket outlet never lies; The Levellers are selling out venues wherever they choose to bestow their irenetic liddling and sturdy strumming, but it’s only with the extensive radio play aitorded their last single, ‘One Way’, that they’ve had the chance to appeal beyond the slavish devotion oi the New Model Army set. ‘One Way’ is an outstanding commercial pop single, lull oi old-iashioned things like classic chords and a killer ot an uplitting chorus. Its success is a start in explaining the sudden Road to Damascus awakening that has placed their second LP, ‘Levelling The Land’, straight into the Top 20.
But here’s Leveller Mark to shoot this theory down in ﬂames: ‘I don’t know how much impact that one single actually has had. tdon’t think it‘s greatly influenced the number oi people that are coming to see us, to be honest. A single has to go in the Top 40 and stay there lor quite a while belore you start getting the attraction ot the sixteen-year-old kids.’
There are however some indisputable verities surrounding The Levellers, the most obvious ot which is that we are currently privy to the advent oi Britain’s Next Big Thing. Better still, The Levellers did it their way. (Fiona Shepherd)
The Levellers play Cation Studios, Edinburgh on Sat 2 and King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow on Sun 3 and Mon 4.
‘My personal philosophy in terms ofmusic isto remember what‘s old and embrace what‘s new.‘ declares Ross (‘ockburn of Edinburgh
Ways. lle‘s lived upto that since a fatal illness overlook the singer from his former group. The Stcclchain. Unable to perform. Cockburn and the late Colin McMaster agreed to continue writing songs while looking for someone who could sing them live. A vocalist turned up in the shape of Daniel Dodds. who had moved to Edinburgh from Barcelona with his band Savana Lamar.
‘For a long time. the two things were working in parallel.‘ says Cockburn. ‘although Savana Lamar were an upfront gigging band. Better Ways were just a project. We knew we were coming to a crossroads where a decision would have to be made, but we never tried to pre-empt that.‘
Meanwhile. Savana Lamar reached their crossroads. "The band had been ready.‘ says Dodds.
‘but we hadn‘t progressed as well as we‘d hoped.‘ lie and Lamar‘s Larry
Magrinadecidedtothrow in their lot with Better
The next step was to get some management. They found it in Proclaimers‘ manager Kenny MacDonald. some of whose friends in London record labels are said to be very interested in the six-piece. lie was aware of (‘ockburn. after a fashion. because The Proclaimers' bassist lived in the same ﬂat.
‘l‘d built upthis ‘ relationship with Kenny over the telephone based on football. because I knew he was a llibce — l‘m ‘ a l learts man myself. | Every time he came on the phone. llearls had been winning and I‘d give him a good slagging. He didn‘t even know I was in a band.‘ (Alastair Mabbott) Better Ways play K ing Tut's. Glasgow on Sat.? and the M usie Bot. Edinburgh on Sun 3.
30 The List 25 (Tetober — 7 November 1991