Assembly Direct‘s second Soundcheck series will attempt to live up to its Miles Davis-ish logo ‘New Directions in Music' in the four concerts which will take place in the acoustically excellent auditorium at the BBC‘s Edinburgh studios. made more user- friendly for the occasion by the setting out of cabaret-style tables and a bit of ‘tarting up‘ ofthe stage area.
That degree of informality is creeping into more new music promotions in Scotland at the moment. but Assembly Direct‘s background in jazz has perhaps encouraged them to throw off established habits more quickly than others. Jazz. too. will be the prevailing idiom in the opening concert of the season. when saxophonist Evan Parker and pianist Chick Lyall will demonstrate the art of free improvisation.
It might be argued that Parker‘s trademark approach to improvisation does not actually represent a new direction; at the same time. it can be argued with equal conviction that his music is always new. Either way. it will provide an exciting launch to a season which goes on to feature three more conventional — albeit unconventionally so — groups from the new music scene.
The Smith Quartet will include music by Graham Fitkin. Michael Nyman and Steve Martland in their programme. while the Balanescu Quartet will focus on Eastern Europe. The series ends with perhaps the most exciting prospect of all. the jazz- rock-classical hybrid ensemble Icebreaker, also featuring music by Fitkin and Martland in a varied set. (Kenny Mathieson) Evan Parker and Chick Lyall on Thurs I 7; The Smith Quartet play on Fri 25 F eb, The Balanescu Quartet on Wed I 6 March. and Icebreaker on Sat 26 March. Call 557 4446 for details.
mar—_ In remission
When you head in a new direction by getting bleaker, you have to be a certain kind of band. Wayne Hussey of The Mission gets down with Gavin Inglis.
The early years of The Mission were a story of sudden chart success and media attention, following a split from gothic arch-ﬁends The Sisters Of Mercy. Fronted by Wayne Hussey and his ever-present sunglasses, their mystical-sounding guitars and public image captured a mood of the times and brought instant success. However, this wasn’t to last. lntemal problems threatened to collapse the band through
a long tours and three more albums.
Masque, their last studio album, featured a new guitarist and was a conscious attempt to change direction. its more mainstream rocky sounds were not well received. Now, eight years after its inception, the band has seen a complete change: the line-up. the music, and the chart placings. is it, I ask Hussey, the eternal problem of being hampered by fans’ expectations? ‘To a degree, yeah,‘ he replies. ‘When
' Simon (Hinkler. guitarist) left. it broke
up the spirit of what The Mission were originally all about. With Masque, we
3 attempted to break down these preconceptions that people had of us.
Q But it didn‘t go down very well; it wasn‘t accepted very well by our
; audience. Which was disappointing to
3 me. I perhaps attributed them with a bit 5 more open-mindedness.‘
it wasn’t just the fans; Masque also precipitated the departure of Craig
Adams. bassist and founder member. In a very real sense. the new greatest hits album Sum And .S‘ubsramre marks the end of one era. and the beginning of another. Meanwhile. the moody Andrew Eldritch keeps the Sisters on roughly the same course as before.
‘Yeah. i think that’s probably contributed to their longevity. They’re still enjoying relative success. and I think it‘s probably down to the fact that Andrew doesn’t really throw too many curve balls in there. Which is fair enough. People like The Cult, who do enjoy long “careers”, ifyou want. they are the people who generally stick to what they're good at.‘
If the Mission can no longer have
success on their own terms, couldn‘t
they return to the sound of their ‘Wasteland‘ and ‘Severina' days. and maybe recapture what attracted people
f to them in the first place?
‘No . . . I don‘t think you can contrive something like that. It was deﬁnitely of
f a time period. And it‘s past. you know?
I can’t get the hat and the dress out of the wardrobe and start wearing that again, can I? This is my living. You just have to have faith in what you‘re doing,
and hope that somebody. somewhere will let you make a living out ofit.’
The compilation features a clue to the next studio album, Ever After. in the form of the track ‘Afterglow‘. It's much closer to their pre-Masque sound. but heads into grimmer territory with a twist and nose-dive. Gloomier fans will be (almost) pleased to hear its bleak atmospheric guitar and looming bass, plus the repeated line ‘We‘re going do- own . . .' As Hussey says:
“Afterglow” is kind of the direction of the new album. In fact, that's one of the tnore "up" ones.‘
‘Well, you know. it‘s something I have to get out of my system. It’s the same with any LP, it's very much of its time, a reﬂection of your state of mind. I guess. I haven't had a very happy eighteen months; they weren't particularly great for me. Personal reasons.‘
Perhaps Ever After will herald a return to success for The Mission and make the next eighteen months happier. Time. as they say, will tell.
The Mission play The Barrow/and. Glasgow ()Il Sat [2.
The Mission’s Wayhe Hussey
Dope springs eternal
The siren gets you first. Dark, ominous, unnerving, an inner-city distress signal or a gangsta brotherhood’s call-to-anns. Shiver. Now, here comes B-iieal, mooching round the corner. There’s a quiet desperation to his laconic drawl. ‘I want to get hiiiiigh, so hiiiigh . . .’ he
wheedles and whines. Together, siren 5 and mean, they offer a spine-scraping, l to. They’re deep on the inside, you’re ; sibilant ‘Creetingssss. . .’ You, and
more than two million like you, have
just been introduced to Cypress ilill’s second album.
And there’s the beauty of ‘Black Sunday’: that mix of Ioping, stoner groovery and edgey paranoia; that hard-hitting, hammer-cocking los Angeles rap grit that serves as a reality-check lust when cypress Ilill are in danger of becoming that national menace - the really, lite, uh, you know, yeeeeah, ‘boring dope- head’. If you’re not similarly wasted, this is a party that you’re not invited
way on the outside.
But Cypress Hill have another lingua franca beyond their all-important drugs one. ‘Black Sunday’ and its eponymous predecessor glory in a sinewy, funky, tough rap sound that is as much a product of the Hill trio’s Latino background as it is their early love of Black Sabbath and Kiss. Cypress ilill’s gripping collaborations on the ‘Judgernent flight’ soundtrack, with Sonic Youth and Pearl Jam, are testanent to the possibilities and power inherent within their wide-open grooves. lo wonder they’re the
biggest selling rap group on the planet.
No wonder B-Real draws parallels with the group that have managed to remain true to their founding principles - fans as family, drugs as staple - and forge a reputation as the biggest audience draw in the United States. ‘The Grateful Dead have been around a long time. They haven’t changed for nobody. That’s what we want to do.’ Amen to that. (Craig McLean)
Cypress Hill play The Barrowland, Glasgow on Sun 20.
The List 1 1—24 February 1994 29