MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS -
[— JAMES MACMILLAN
The Conlession ol Isobel Gowdie (Koch Schwann)
This is the ilrst CO devoted solely to the music oi James Machllllan (although a piece is included on the Paragon Ensemble’s ‘Paragon Premieres Vol 1’), and as such will be eagerly awaited, all the more so since it leatures the starkly powerlul piece which made such an impression at the 1990 Proms, ‘The Conlesslon Oi lsobel Gowdle’.
Like much at his work, it is based around both political and religious ideas, and a thematic programme, but it is not necessary to subscribe to either
to be bowled over by the sheer energy and invention oi the orchestral writing in this work, or impressed by its steely clarity oi purpose and marvellous
1 i 1
Machllan carries a rather unlair weight oi national expectation as THE Scottish composer these days, but it is easy to hear how those expectations have been generated in the wake oi that
‘ astonishing outpouring at work oi
1988-90. ‘lsobel Gowdie’ remains the peak achievement oi his music so iar, and is superbly periormed here by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra. Its companion on the disc, ‘Tryst‘ (1989), is a more austere but still compelling work ior chamber orchestra. Highly recommended. (Kenny Mathieson)
Reading: The Indie Years (Polygram) Interesting concept this one. It doesn’t ieature tracks recorded at the Reading Festival; nor, iorthe main part, does it leature indie bands. Instead we have nineteen tracks irom the more commercial end oi the guitars and haircuts rock spectrum, mostly signed to big corporate conglomerates, all recorded very much in the studio. The Reading connection is apparently that these bands have all been on the bill at one time or another, or at least passed through the busy Berkshire junction on
hauled irom the bowels at a
their way to the grassy pastures oi Oxon.
As a cross-section sample at early 90s student alternative dance-iloor tillers, it probably has iew rivals. All the laves are here: ‘Sit Oown’, ‘Shine On’, ‘True Faith’, ‘Sheriii Fatman’, ‘Coward Oi The County’. Trouble is, the tracks are, with iew exceptions, the bands’ biggest hits. So either you’ve got them already, or you would never dream at buying them in the lirst place. Two exceptions: ‘liise’ reminds you what a damn line outiit remain, and ‘Room 512’ is an obscure Wonder Stuil track that sad completists might require, ior no good reason. (Tom Lappin)
similarly patchy aiiair.
BABES IN TOYLAND
The Complete Tom Jones (Hit)
Cashing in on Jones’s prominence as host oi the dodgily-titled TV series ‘The RightTlme’, this twenty-track compilation covering 1965-1991 is a
Although some oi the earlier output by the man they call ‘The Voice’ has deservedly attained all-time-classic status, notably ‘lt’s Not Unusual’, ‘Oelilah' and the pre-leminlsm mating call ‘What’s New Pussycat7’, iorthe last twenty years Tom has struggled to iind any decent, original material.
One has to rememberthat his biggest rival in the early days was Engelbert, whose career went completely down
‘You got this thing that really makes me hot,’ gushes Kat Bjelland on the opening line. Love and lust, Babes in Toyland going all soil and mushy on us? Think again: iirst oil, Kat’s ‘gush’ is a coarse, caustic, volcanic ‘gush’,
particularly ventiui spleen; second oil, the rhyming couplet is completed by ‘You tucking bitch, I hope your insides rot’. It’s that Babes In Toyland ieeling. ‘Fontanelle’ is harrowing in the sense that it mines a deep seam oi personal seethings and ploughs a deep iurrow in the listener’s brow. So ventiui, so vengelul, such a boiling cauldron oi stop-start rhythms, bruised blues
On this third album, the Babes hit hard and hit long, their punch crispened by the presence at Lee Ranaldo irom Sonic Youth as producer. Like the Youth’s ‘Oirty’, ‘Fontanelle' is a splintered, splintering allair, allover the place and all in your lace.
As much is obvious irom the aioresaid ‘Bruise Violet’ right through
the air with the greatest disease . . .’) and by way oi ‘llandsome and Gretel’ (‘She is a stupid crotch. . .’). But on side two the shit really splatters the lan. The instrumental ‘Ouiet Room’ oliers the only instance Babes In Toyland invite the word ‘gentle’. ‘Fontanelle’ exits as one truly liberating, lacerating listen. (Craig
the dumperdinck in the big-ballad-iree zone oi the 1970s. Much ol Jones’s material irom that period is saddled with wah-wah guitars- about as appropriate to his style as gherkins at a leek show. But at least Tom adapted and survived, meeting with a modicum ol aesthetic and considerable commercial success on ‘l (Who Have Nothing)’, ‘The Young New Mexican Puppeteer’ and later ‘A Boy From Nowhere’, the Jones spool to end all Jones spools.
However, recent output, especially his TV series, has coniirrned that today Jones’s iorte and, indeed, only chance oi cracking the Top 40, is re-interpreting songs which are already well known. In last, he’s probably the best karaoke singer at all time. (Michael Paterson)
lrettings, exploding punk noisescapes.
side one, via ‘Biue Bell' (‘Flies through
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Concerts listed are those at
j major venues, ior which * tickets are on public sale at 3 time oi going oi press.
I GLASGOW CONCERT
; HALL(227 551 1) BBC Big
Band with Georgie Fame, 19 Sept.
I EDINBURGH OUEEN'S HALL (668 2019) Maceo Parker, 23 Sept; Tommy Smith Sextet, 30 Oct.
: IEOINBURGH QUEEN’S HALL(668 2019) Wild
Cigarillos, 26 Sept; Portobello Ceilidh Band. 3 Sept; Avalon, 15 Oct; Wolfstone, 22 Oct.
I GLASGOW CONCERT HALL (227 5511)Skitch Henderson Conducts, 11—12 Sept; Last Night of GIGS, 13 Sept; Pinchas Zuckerman. 29 Sept; Moscow Radio SO, 30 Sept; Osaka Phil. 20 Oct; ECCO, 11 Nov; Oslo Phil. 12 Nov; Tokyo Quartet,
29 Nov; Rostal and
Schacfer. 1 Dec; Shura Cherkassky, 2 Dec; Polish CO,1Feb;John Williams, 10 Feb; Vienna SO, 4 Mar; Philharmonia. 22 Mar: Itzhak Perlman. 20 Apr; St Petersburg Phil, 11 May.
I GLASGOW RSAAIO (332 5057) Scottish International Piano Competition, 14—20 Sept; The Musical Seminar (Music Theatre), 19 Sept; Chec Yun and Akira Eguchi, 20 Sept; BBC
. $50. 25 Sept; SCO Brass.
9 Oct. 6 Dec, 12 Mar.
I EDINBURGH QUEEN’S HALL (6682019) Leda Piano Trio, 30 Sept;
Ronan O‘Hora. 60ct; Lothian Music Ensemble. 7 Oct; SCO Brass, lOOct, 5 Dec, 13 Mar; Paragon Ensemble, 12 Oct; ECAT, 13 Oct;
' Edinburgh Concert
Opera, 18 Oct; Lindsay String Quartet, 19 Oct; BBC $50, 24 Oct; Scottish Ensemble, 25 Oct, 6 Dec. 14 Feb, 25 Apr; Hebrides Ensemble,
26 Oct; Scottish Chamber
Choir, 31 Oct. I SUBSCRIPTION SEASONS Programme
details and tickets for
Royal Scottish Orchestra. Scottish Chamber Orchestra. BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra, and City ofGlasgow Philharmonic Orchestra are available from Ticketcentre, Glasgow (227 5511); Usher Hall. Edinburgh (228 1155); Queen's Hall, Edinburgh (668 2019). Tickets for Scottish Opera from
. Theatre Royal, Glasgow
'l Theatre, Edinburgh (229