Maverick ' spirits
‘1 shout it out to the night. give me
; what I deserve ‘cause it‘s my right.‘ j demands Mary-Chapin Carpenter on ‘Passionate Kisses‘ from last year‘s Come On Come On album.
Assembled round her on the record are the assorted inputs ofShawn Colvin. the Indigo Girls and Lucinda Williams — hardy lyrical mavericks all, and not a sign ofcountry mawkishness anywhere, be it ofa feminine or a masculine disposition. ‘It‘s kind of a necessity.‘ says Williams (who wrote ‘Passionate Kisses‘) of her revealing. close-to-the-bone lyrics. ’I like to make people think. I guess I was always my own person. It‘s just a lot more meaningful to me than doing stuffthat doesn‘t have an edge. the kind ofedge Delta blues has.‘ 3 As much was proven by her eponymous 1988 release on Rough Trade. a wirey display of folk-root grit. The resultant good vibes . evaporated when her subsequent j deal with RCA went badly awry. I recording sessions spoiled by an ' inﬂux of money and an outﬂux of inspiration. ‘We just got 9 overwhelmed with the idea that we had to make it real good.‘ she says ruefully. But from those troubled. thrice-recorded sessions. came a deal with Elektra and the purity and clarity of her new album Sweet Old World. ‘Even though it‘s the same songs and they‘re basically played the same way. there‘s something we captured this time around.‘ Amidst all this. Williams recently
¥ turned forty and moved to Nashville.
As befits someone who has released only four albums in fourteen years. we shouldn‘t expect a sudden burst of ’maturity‘ (read ’dullsvillc‘) and country corn. Rather a refigured zeal to summon up songs that splice contemporary vigour and historical class. These. plus a keen grasp of the
eloquence of the literary lyric.
‘With poets and fiction writers. nobody really questions the subject matter that much. When you read a
7 book ofpoctry. it can deal with lots ‘ of things — war and death and love
and sex and. . . everything. And
. that‘s kind of how I look at writing.
except that I‘m writing pop music. or folk-rock or whatever it is. But for some reason. in that field. people wantto hear fluff.‘ (Craig McLean) Lucinda Williams appears with . Mary-(.‘hapin Carpenter at The 1 Pavilion. Glasgow on Thurs 1]. j
30'l'he List 2‘)January— ll l‘ebruary 1993
What’s in a name? Well, you can make whateveryou like of Zoe Alambicum, the rather unusual title of the RSAMD student contemporary music ensemble performing in Glasgow on 6 February, but the chances are you’ll be wrong. For a start, according to the group’s founder, composer and violinist Cluny Strachan, the meaning doesn’t even really matter. ‘That's not important’ he says. ‘What is though, is that it really looks good on the page.’ Having successfully caught The Llst’s attention, questioning reveals that the name, however, is not entirely whimsical. ‘lt’s actually bastardised Greek and Latin to do with life into death and death into life -that sort of cyclical idea.’
So now the name is sorted out, what in fact is Zoe Alambicum? ‘lt’s really a multi-media thing’ says Strachan, who graduated from music at Leeds University in 1990. ‘It’s an umbrella to bring film and music together which has grown from a long-term collaboration between myself and Manchester-based filmmaker/artist Timothy James Copsey and, more recently, fellow RSAMD composer David Paul Jones.’
For Strachan, currently a post-graduate student oi James MacMillan, Zoe Alambicum is also a front for his own endeavors. ‘It’s giving
space for classical music to work with film. There’s a gap in the market for this sort of thing in Scotland,’ he says. ‘There’s a great interest in finding new ways of presenting classical music and fleet that multi-media is a good way of realising it. lwant this mix of
disciplines to continue and broaden to
1 include all classical and contemporary
forms of dance, film and music— anything that can stretch the boundaries of performance and the audience’s perception.‘ The programme on 6 February features music by Arvo Part, Ravel’s Gaspard de la Nuit and works by Strachan and David Paul Jones. (Carol Main)
Zoe Alambicum—Saturday 6 February at 8.00pm, RSAMD, 100 Renfrew Street, Glasgow. 041 332 5257.
; Evan Parker
Evan Parker can’tteil us exactly what 7 he will be playing when he teams up
I with pianist Diango Bates for their ECAT concert at the Queen’s Hall,
because they don‘t yet know what they will do. Indeed, it would be entirely inimical to Parker’s musical philosophy if they did. The saxophonist remains one of the leading exponents of the unpredictable art of free improvisation in Europe, and his enthusiasm for the medium seems undimmed.
Free improvisation is never going to be big business. At its worst, it is unlistenable noise going nowhere, but in the right hands, it can achieve peaks of intensity and invention which are at l least the equal of anything to be found
Moment of decision
in more conventionally-structured forms. The listener often has to be generously indulgent in waiting for the musicians to discover these moments, but when they arrive, they can do so with the force of revelation.
In the hands of the likes of Parker and Bates, longeurs should be few and far between. Both are hugely imaginative musicians, and Diango‘s irrepressible sense of fun and magpie-like eclecticism should be an ideal counter-balance to Evan's searing intensity on his favoured soprano saxophone, although both are liable to get through a number of instruments in the course of the set. They make their debut as a duo here, and have previously worked together only as part of other people's projects, including the Dedication Orchestra's powerful tribute to Chris MacGregor.
The art of improvisation, Evan says, is the art of ‘delaying decisions until the moment of application’. If that means a distinctly seat-oi-the-pants approach, free music does have its own musical logic and its own implicit structures. Unlike written compositions, though, they are there to be created or discovered in the moment. The creative responsibility which that kind of freedom brings can be scary, but not to Evan Parker- he revels in it. Check them out. (Joe Alexander).
Evan Parker and Diango Bates play the Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on Mon 8.
Q I‘ll n S
\v\' or t / 0,
(ietting a record banned is l a traditional way toensure j its success. The Senseless Things seemed to be on a good thing with theirlast single. ‘1 lomophobie Asshole". Radio()ne refused to talk about it i during daytime. and The i Word and 'I‘he( hartS/tmr keptysellayyay. Nevertheless. it had isomelhingtosa) . and Marc Reds (vocalist and i gintaristlisangry that it was stifled. ‘lt had nothing todoyyiththe \yol'd "asshole". l'm conyineed. We were really easy on it. 3 y'knoys . compromise in all i the right places.‘ ' How did the gay community react tosucha strongmessageol‘ support'.’ 'We got a lot of flak from people say ing. you're just lakinga ' suitably right-on attitude. Butgroupslike()utRage . (high profile pro—gay i activists. based in 3 London) justcouldn‘t belieye that astraighl band were doing this. We got a lot of really positiye . support: you‘\ e done a really good thing here. you can't realise him ‘ important it is]
By playing a bcnelit gig on the upcoming tour for the London lesbian ck (iay Switchboard. the band hope to do some concrete good. "i he Switchboards there for everyone. and it seems to proyidc a really useful
service. Apart from singing about stull. bands raise money qurte easily. and it's about the most physical thing you can do
I it you belieye in something'
“hat of the rest of the tour".’ .‘ylarc modestly
declinesto talk toomueh
about the "l hings. preferring tosing the
Mambo'l‘ax'l (lust hall) and Leatherfaee (second
hall). lle‘salsopleased to
be play ing the more
: northern Scottish yenues again. ‘We played
lnyerness tour yearsago.
People just come up and
shake your hand for going' lior a Senseles‘s
'l'hing. he makes a lot of
sense. ((iayin Inglis)
'/ he .St’ILH'lt’XS 'lhings play
The Venue. [cilia/Hugh on
Thurs ll l’eh and King
Tut's ll'ah Walt Hut.
(i/as‘gmi on Sun 14.