WCICome to the jungle. Dense. lush. exotic. Sometime wombadelic sanctuary with its indigenous sounds and sensations. sometime near-silent dormant minefield. and sometime riot of wrath as unsuspecting creatures are stalked.
A crude metaphor tnaybe. but one which at least tackles a sketch description of The God Machine‘s distended debut LP. Scenes From The Second Storey: This is an epic in the Cecil B DeMille sense. heavygoing in the North Face of the Eiger sense. long in the Siberian railroad sense and varied in the box of (‘adbury's Roses sense.
If you've not encountered The God Machine before. take a step back when they threaten to leap out of the bushes. Their ‘method' -- fluid. it must be stressed — is to bludgeon/entrance and repeat. like Loop playing Pink Floyd covers.
‘The only reason why we repeat ourselves is because we like what we're hearing.‘ explains singer/guitarist Robin. ‘We‘re not going to end something just because the written pop rule is to keep things short and sweet. You know when something taps into your soul and you almost can‘t stop? It just keeps coming and even if you want to lay down and sleep you wouldn't be able because your mind‘s still working. That‘s what it is with our music. i
‘Live. some of our songs go on for 45 minutes. because it‘s almost meditation. Your bodily movements are locked into your subconscious but you're off somewhere else. i mean how often do you actually lose yourself any more? If we can lose 1 ourselves for one minute or for twenty minutes i we‘d rather lose ourselves for twenty minutes.’ ' (Fiona Shepherd) i The God Machine play l King Tut's. Glasgow. on I
Sun 7 and The Venue. LEdinhurg/t on Mon 8.
Falling in love
, Kenny Mathieson catches ; up with the inexhaustible ' Martin Taylor.
. Martin Taylor is currently out on the
, kind ofjazz tour that nobody does anymore. In these days of one-offclub
' gigs and three. four or live date tours. Martin has packed his guitar and set out
i on a whopping 35-venue UK marathon. , 1 culminating in a week at Ronnie Scott's
Soho headquarters. and a one—off at the new Birmingham version of that venerable jazz. institution.
His dozen Scottish dates begin just along the road from his Ayr home in . Kilmarnock. then take him as far afield j as Stornoway and Aberdeen (see i listings for details). Once he gets to the venues. the tour could hardly be simpler: just Martin. his guitar and his amp. playing solo. Indeed. the guitarist has been doing little else of late. although he did take time out in January to record a duo album with violinist Stephane Grappclli in Nice.
That album will appear from the Renfrewshire-based Linn Records. who have issued three previous Taylor discs. beginning with the group albums Don 't I’ret ( 1990) with the superb David Newton. Dave Green and Alan (ianley trio. and Change ofHeurt ( 1991 ). also with Newton. but this time joined by Brian Shiels and John Rae. The third album. the newly-released Artistry (I993). gives a taste of what to expect
: maybe the odd original or more
on this tour — standard songs (and
contemporary ja/l. tune) played with : great tonal beauty. lucid phrasing.
harmonic clarity. respect for the
' come in and things which go out of the
I've worked ottt what I wanted to do,
Martin Taylor: going solo
melodic contours of the tune. and a staggering technical prowess.
‘1 think I go back to the standards because they really are timeless you can play them in a contemporary way
L and still retain their harmonic richness.
There is a kind of flux of things which ‘
set. depending on my mood. and certain things simply stay where they are. because if I don’t play them. people ask for them anyway.
‘The way I play them has changed as
though. and certain tunes have maybe becotne a bit of an obsession. I listen :1 lot to Bill livans and Keith Jarrett. and I’m learning to play in a slightly different way now - a lot of things are more suggested than they Used to be. because the temptation when you are out there on your own is just to keep going. I‘m learning how to leave some spacef
Artistrv is his second solo album (the first. Tribute to ."I‘I 'liilmn. was cut for another Scottish label. Alastair Robertson‘s Hlil’ Records. back in
Howe. So how come the Yes and Asia guitar man got mixed up with ajazz album'.’
: play it. and was delighted to get such a change from his normal work. He is
also very interested in solo playing. and we are looking at the possibility of
guitar player to produce this one. because I felt it might have a wider
who wouldn’t normally like jazz. but The guitar fanatics are everywherel'
: international career from his Ayrshire in New York just before Christmas. a
' tour in 1994 now seems likely. Before then. he will be back in l‘rance to play
1984). and was produced not by a jazz producer (Elliot Meadow was the man behind the two group albums) but by guitarist Steve Howe. Yep. that Steve
‘Steve and l are friends. and he is very interested in jazz. although he doesn’t
doing some concerts. I really wanted a
appeal than just tojau. fans. I think
anyone w ho likes the sound of the l
guitar would get something from it. It is still as popular as ever. and the kind of stuffl play might well draw in people
who are attracted by the instrument. Taylor is quietly building an
base. Following a successful showcase
with country legend (‘het Atkins. followed by a return tour of Australia. the summer festival circuit in liurope. a visit to Japan. pins the prospect of a South American tour. (‘atch him while you can. then. and hear a man who. by
his own admission. has re-discovered
Q his love for his instrument.
1 past year. both on and off the stage.
There were times when I could go quite
3a while without playing the guitar. but
now I pick it up all the time wherever l
2am. It‘s really like falling in love with
the instrument all over again. and it is i
ithe solo playing which has really done i
'l‘ve neycr played so much as in the ‘ l I
that for me. I feel exactly the same way as when l was a kid. but I realise now just how little I actually know about it. which is a very humbling experience. It really is limitless. You can never master it. there is always something new to lcarnf i
See listings /m- t/etui/s o/ﬂltlurtin 'lity/ur's concerts in the (‘entrul Belt.
i Having been dogged by misfortune in
: recent concert plans, ECAT (Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust) looks all set ! for one of their most interesting evenings this season when the
: Composers Ensemble appear on Sunday 28 in Edinburgh. Going under the heading ‘Songbook’, the
, programme will be a selection of new work for soprano and ensemble. The title comes from the name given to the i collection of songs which have been jointly commissioned by Mary Wiegold, the soprano, and John Woolrlch, one of the composers whose i , work is included. Their idea is a
? brilliant one, yielding some
i fascinating results.
’ ‘We started asking composers to
write for soprano and a group of five instrumentalists - two clarinets, viola,
28 The List 26 February—l 1 March I993
cello and bass — about five years ago, with the idea of generating as many songs as possible and for them to go into the repertoire,’ explains Woolrich. ‘In my world, the contemporary classical music world, there were not many such songs, but we now have 115 so far. There is often tremendous pressure on composers to write significant, important pieces — for
example for the Proms — so if we, say, =
spend a day writing a song, they have
a quite different approach and you get . i
all sorts of insights.’ '
Not content with the obvious - in ' Scotland this includes James MacMillan, Edward McGuire, Sally Beamish and a brand new song by Jane Gardner — Wiegold and Woolrich have started broadening the scope. ‘We’ve now got songs from Elvis Costello, John Benboum, an old rocker who sang with Pentangle, Mike Nyman and the improvising jazz pianist Keith Tippett,’ says Woolrich, ‘so it’s an enormous collective cross-section of a wide range of what’s going on.’
Titles are as diverse and intriguing as
Judith Weir’s ‘The Romance 0f Count Arnaldos’ to James MacMillan’s ‘Barncleupedie’. ‘Songbook’ may well be doing composers. performers and audiences a great service, but for Woolrich: ‘lt’s my hobby.’ (Carol Main). Mary Wiegold and The Composers Ensemble play The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on Sun 28.