Gatgut your tongue?
Folk. Traditional. ethnic. indigenous — call it what you will — homespun music and dance is propelled round the world by the ubiquitous ﬁddle. in endless variety. by amateur players. professional performers and a few great stylists who communicate a love of their native music with unforced virtuosity and a reﬁned lyricism.
You can hear it all in Fiddles On Fire. Organised by Folkworks. the Newcastle-based Folk Development Agency. it‘s a showcase of eight such superb players from as far apart as the USA and India
The maestros. male and female. are headed by an esteemed Irishman. now resident in Oregon. The laid-back drive of Kevin Burke was a beautiful component of the hugely inﬂuential 80s Bothy Band. and his beguiling sense of rhythm and phrasing continues in the band Patrick Street.
Representing the USA. Suzy Thompson has studied with the old-time masters and swing and ragtime players. but specialises in cajun and blues.
The consummate musicianship of Frenchman Jean Francois Vrod joins with the concentrated understatement of England‘s Chris Wood in an intense exploration of the harmonic possibilities of eight strings. while Mats Eden and Ellika Frisell combine in the renowned harmony playing of their native Sweden.
K. Shivakurnar is a master player of Indian classical music in two contrasting styles from the North and South of the sub-continent. and has been acting as ﬁddle guru to Ellika Frisell during the last year.
And ﬁnally. a welcome back to the ﬁnest expression of Scottish ﬁddle in the playing of Alasdair Fraser; whether in the high style of of the North East. the drive of the Highland repertoire or the rhythmic and modal subtleties of the music from the Islands and the West. (Norman Chalmers) F iddles On Fire takes place at Henry Wood Hall, Glasgow on Thurs 24 and Assembly Rooms, Edinburgh on Sat 26.
Guitars can do more than
just bang out endless ‘Smoke On The Water’ intros. Calvin Bush shows
‘ how ambience
commandos Seefeel are ﬁghting six-string prejudice.
Behind enemy lines
' interest of new electronica‘s better-
Seefeel are the sound of ambient avant- l L stuff. so wejust asked him if he wanted
rock nudged several steps further along the evolutionary process than many (this scribe included) ever dared suspect from a band that still retain the increasingly Dodo-ist guitar as their fulcrum.
One listen to the fullness oftheir
sound. the lustrous forwardness oftheir Quique album of last year. and it‘s hard ‘
to believe they‘ve barely been together for two years.
‘I think the turning point for us was abandoning rock structures.‘ explains singer and classically indie-kid object of desire Sarah Peacock. ‘We still wanted to keep the guitar sounds and the looped drums. But seeing as how at the time we were all getting heavily into The Aphex Twin and The ()rb. we decided to try and incorporate some of the structures that are used in dance music.‘
In other words. the ebb. the ﬂow. the tidal movements and rhythmic pulsations make Seefeel’s guitar symphonies so special. The unassuming sound-loop gurus clearly have their roots in the experimental white-noise sound-waves of latter-day My Bloody Valentine (circa ‘Glider‘) and Sonic Youth, in the cyclical intensity of Loop or even La Monte Young. in the oceanic ethereality of AR Kane. Add to all this judden'ng dub bass and Sarah‘s emotive trails of half- suggested sights and swoons and you’re half way to that unique Seefeel experience. It also helps explain the
known exponents like Mixmaster Morris and. particularly. Richard ‘Aphex Twin‘ James.
Guitarist Mark expounds: ‘Richard had been talking about how much he hated guitars. so our publisher played him some of our stuff. ‘eause he was quite interested to see what he thought of what we were doing. From what I‘ve been told. he was quite surprised by it. just because it did have some guitars on it. And he liked it. and we liked his
to remix it.‘
The resultant I’lainsong EP ﬁrmly established the band as the inveterate indies that technoheads could happily chill to. And vice versa. The band have
’ repaid the favour by recording a single
for James's own Rephlex label.
But it's the move from the T00 Pure stable to Shefﬁeld's pioneering Warp label that truly threatens to power this
‘ astounding foursome 20.(X)(l leagues ' ahead of both our expectations and their contemporaries.
‘Well. again it‘s great for us.
5 because . . . I dunno. we get bored of
things really quickly. and we like things to happen for us all the time.‘ continues
: Mark. ‘like signing to what is
essentially an electronic techno label
' when we've got guitars. When Warp ' ﬁrst spoke to us. we just thought.
“Christ. this is really subversive. an
electronic label wanting to sign a real band with guitars." And I think. from that point of view. it meant a hell ofa
I lot to us, because it showed that what
: we were doing with guitars was new. A . label like Warp don’t sign you up if
I you‘rejust rnakingjangly sounds and
Still young. still searching. still barer into their stride. one can’t help suspect that where Seefeel fear to tread. others will have to dare to follow. See you on the other side.
j Seefeel support The Cocteau Twins at
The Barrowland. Glasgow on Fri [1.
um- Hormone feel . the noise (l)
Sultans Of Ping In case you hadn‘t noticed. The Cramps are Niall O'Flaherty‘s favourite band of all time. See Cramps. see pop songs decked out in day-glo leopardskin Fabulon gear. See Sultans Of Ping. And: ‘They were into the idea of wild rock ‘n‘ roll. lfyou could pit them against another band of the same era, you‘d say The Cramps versus Bauhaus. And I think you‘d say Sultans Of Ping versus Suede or Elastica.‘
A ﬁver on the skinny Irish lad in the gold Lurex comer. Singer Niall used to be in Sultans Of Ping FC. but he’s alright now. Out with the ‘FC‘ went the nauseous. embarrassing wackiness; in came the discovery of the joys ‘of teenage rock ‘n‘ roll. I think pop music is becoming so adult-orientated and adult-dominated. Arty and worthy. That‘s not what we want. There‘s a bit of adrenalin in our teenage trash. Because it isjust trash.‘
But what a giddy. glorious trash. Finally. after delays caused by Niall's ‘ fractured eye-socket (a mic stand called 7 him a girl for wearing tights onstage) and attempts to get one ofthe Sultans' singles onto the radio and into the charts (‘Yeah. “Wake Up And Scratch Me“ is a little bit sleazy . . .‘ says Niall of his ode to his favourite sexual partner. Pa(l)m). the Sultans' second album is nearly out. Teenage Drug is the name. lggyPopBrianWilsonFrankN Furter punk-pop is the game.
So. You‘ve dropped the ‘FC‘. ‘Well. we haven‘t dropped it in all countries.‘ Eh?
‘I think we‘re keeping it in Japan.‘
He knows they‘re keeping it in Japan. He knows that in Japan football is massive. And sexy. All the fans are girls.
‘Yeah. you‘re right!‘ chuckles Niall. cock-a-hoop at the prospect of more scoring . . . Football is sex is Sultans Of Ping. I, personally. am over the moon. (Craig McLean)
Sultans Of Ping play King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow on Fri II and Sat
28 The List I l-24 February I994