Last time the all-new Echo And The Bunnymen played here. their shows were an awkward mixture of instant nostalgia— singer Noel Burke appeared to have learned his predecessor Ian McCulloch‘s lines from old live tapes, but don‘t quote me on that — and a new band aggressively bent on proving themselves. The two approaches seemed to cancel each other out.
‘It was really odd,‘ agrees drummer Damon Reece, ‘so we‘ve stopped. We don't do any old ones any more, just because people expect you to do them. We‘re cantankerous old gits. We‘re gonna not dothem until people don't expect them any more, and then when nobody‘s expecting them, we‘ll throw one in.‘
Since then. they have been dropped by WEA (‘Which was fine by us. There were so many mad things. They made us spend £30,000 on a video which never got shown.‘) and are running their own independent label, Euphoric. ‘We’re all completely broke, so we can't be in it forthe money,‘ Reece says, but he insists the band‘s attitude is ‘stronger than ever‘. They look forward to a time when the Bunnymen have recovered enough of their lost ground to be able to stick two ﬁngers up to WEA and their current pet hate, NME, ‘and everyone else who‘s saying “Oh, they‘re a waste oftime“.’
After playing to 50,000 people over two nights in Russia and with girls already screaming ‘Get your kit off!‘ at Noel Burke back home, it Could be sooner than anyone thinks.
Echo And The Bunnymen play The Venue, Edinburgh on Thurs 12 and King Tuts, Glasgow L on Fri 13.
No bottom line
Kenny Mathieson talks to the exploratory
Norwegian bassman Arild
Arild Andersen stands alongside Eberhard Weber as the most innovative bass player to have emerged on the European jazz scene. He began to play jazz while studying engineering in Oslo, and chose to concentrate on music as a career. In 1967 he met up with Jan Garbarek, and spent the next six years as a regular member of the saxophonist‘s band.
In the late 1960s George Russell was a familiar face in Oslo (he lived in Sweden for five years in that period), and Andersen had the benefit of both studying and playing with the composer, whose book The Lydian Concept of Tonal Organisation has been an influential force in shaping the face of contemporary jazz.
‘George Russell was a very inspirational figure for a number of musicians in Norway, and the most important thing I learned from him was that once I had worked through and learned all these scales, it was down to my own aesthetic judgement how I then played — there were no wrong notes. He showed me it was all right to play free music, although, of course, my music has grown more tonal again over the years.‘
In 1974 Andersen formed his ﬁrst band as leader, which included ex-Masqualero keyboard player Jon Balke and saxophonist Knut Riisnaes, who will make his UK debut in the Norwegian trio which will join pianist Chick Lyall at the Queen’s Hall.
Drummer Jon Christensen completes the line-up, and his association with Andersen goes back to the Garbarek days. More recently, they formed the quintet Masqualero back in 1983 with Brunborg and trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, and either a pianist or guitarist, a band which is still going strong, albeit as a quartet, and which allows Andersen the kind of freedom he needs to explore the melodic and harmonic elements of the bass, as well as the rhythmic.
‘I have been using some electronic devices with my bass in Masqualero, and the quartet allows a lot ofspaee to experiment with those sounds. I am always looking for group situations where the band is not dependent on the bass for the bottom line to hold everything together, but where I can have equal space with the other instruments, and can keep moving around fairly freely between them. Rhythmically, I like to keep things ﬂoating as much as the drummer does, which is one of the reasons I like to play with Jon Christensen so much.’
The project with Chick Lyall was initially hatched for the Glasgow Jazz Festival in 1990, and was a logical extension of the pianist‘s duo with Brunborg, as featured on his record The Tilting Ground (Watercourse). The players shared much common musical ground on that occasion.
‘I thought it came out very nicely in Glasgow. Chick’s material seems to be a little more structured than the kind of thing we would normally play
Arild Andersen: stretching the bass with Masqualero, but that was okay with me. In that kind ofsituation, one person has to take responsibility for the direction of the gig, and we played some very good music.‘
Andersen has had two new albums out on ECM this year, Masqualero‘s evocative Re-Enter and his large-scale suite Sagn, commissioned by the Vossajazz Festival in 1990, and featuring the haunting voice and traditional melodies of Norwegian folk singer Kirsten Braten Berg.
‘I heard this girl about four years ago singing a cappella, and I thought this was a very interesting sound. We did some duo gigs of her songs which I arranged for voice and bass. but also with a great deal of improvisation. I then got this commission from the Festival, and I thought this would be a chance to do something larger with her music.
‘I picked some of her songs which I felt would work in the context ofa band, and I tried to keep the melodic simplicity and modality of those tunes as much as possible, rather than lose them in complex jazz arrangements. I then added my own pieces, which had a lot more changes, to give a greater contrast within the composition. I had played very little Norwegian folk music in the past, but I was able to feel a very direct connection between it and my own musical concept. We just played it again at the Town Hall in New York, which was very nice.’
Chick Lyall, Knut Riisnaes, Arild
Andersen and Jon Christensen play
the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 6.
um:- Pele-ing to win
It boisterously-played live music, with iiddles, acoustic guitars and real drumkits, is going to sweep the country in 92, scousers Pele are better placed than most to capitalise on it. Their debutslngle, ‘Rald The Palace', has paved the way for them, receiving a surprising amount of radio play ior what it Is: a sprightly anti-monarchlst track.
‘I actually think it's more anti-aristocracy,’ counters Pete’s singer and songwriter Ian Prowse, who
V “Ball 1”“... ‘r,‘ 4. - ‘ ' , A .. I ’ r. J, . 'y -i VI. ' u ‘c (I ' ' i: 71'
points out that the song puts the boot into debutantes and the hunting classes as well.
Prowse wrote a lot of the songs on
their forthcoming album — ‘We genuinely ieel there’s not a weak moment on it’ —whlle busking solo around Europe, but is still writing as proiiiically as ever, despite having to attend to all the hassles caused by having a toll band.
‘Forced to, really, because in this day and age you can’t just have your single and your B-side, you've got to have extra tracks tor CD, and we never wanted to rip people oil by having dltierent mixes on. We want to destroy all our master tapes so no bastard can come along in ten years and start doing things like they did to “Bridge Over Troubled Water", which keeps me awake at night.’
We can rest easier in our beds tor that. (Alastair Mabbott)
Pele play King Tut's, Glasgow on Sat 14.
32 The List 6- 19 December 1991