PREVIEW Ivlalung lvlumc Happen precisely because it sounds like an SWING CITY PORTISHEAD evolution from, rather than a ._ Dummy (so! neat) recreation of, the past.
The sparsest of elements - a drum pattern here, a sampled strings loop and ominous, fractured bass throb there - are woven together and overlaid with, say, jazz trumpet and old-school scratching, creating a whole from which bubbles up tiny subliminal details. The beauty here is that, with so much going on, the music remains deeply spacious, allowing Beth’s vocals to wander sounding suitably lost and alone, leaping from a
seductive, purring pleading one ’ I” mm: “Mme, occasional ﬂash of deep red, I moment to a spiked-drink nightmare Portishead’s is a jazz-blues fit for the I leer the next. like a melancholic close of the century, which in the , ballsme- (“3mmll love)
The Portishead collective recently released their debut film - the pleasingly noirish-sounding ‘To Kill A Dead Man’ - bookended by two wonderful, soundtrack-drenched singles, ‘llumb’ and ‘Sour’. llow comes ‘Dummy’, a record so capable of surrounding the listener that, for 45 minutes, you actually become a bit- player entrapped in a movie whose plot you’ve forgotten - a relentlessly tragic piece, shot in muted blues, blacks and greys, save for the
lain Copeland. the
organiser of the Jazz in the Park extravaganza in association with Sound City. reckons that this will be biggest outdoor jazz event the city has ever had. and he will get no argument from me on that score. Iain has pulled together eight bands for the occasion. and feels that the spread of styles and the participating musicians — either as leaders or in bands - represents a fair cross- section of what is going down in Glasgow these days. with ‘some ofthe best of Edinburgh musicians also involved'.
The music ranges from the quality Dixieland of George Penman’s Jazzmen to the contemporary funk and Latin grooves of Dissentango‘d and Hermon X. The singers. curiously enough. are all Edinburgh-based. with Fionna Duncan. Sophie Bancroft and Gina Rae. and the top-of—the-bill Tam White Eco-Drive Band offering very different approaches.
Most intriguing of all. though. are Nigel Clark‘s excellent Quintet with saxman Tim Garland. which takes an original slant on jazz-fusion. and Phil Bancroft‘s Octet (which goes on to a Queen’s Hall concert on Tues 30 in the TDK Round Midnight Festival). Phil unveiled the new band at the Glasgow J an Festival. and sees its role in very specific terms.
‘I wanted a larger band to explore different scales of writing. and also to get into funk and other kinds of rhythmic possibilities. which would move in a different direction to my other bands. The compositions are less linear. I think. and they all began from a visual image and developed out of that. rather than a purely musical one. It‘s a serious project. but also a lot of fun.’ (Kenny Mathieson) Jazz in the Park begins at noon in the Bandstand in Kelvingmve Park on Sun 28.
' _ NEIL vouuo & anzv HORSE
Sleeps With Angels (Reprise) Short on chuckles, long on surprises. If you thought this might be a ‘ltagged
Glory ll’ or perhaps a cross-pollination
of ‘Freedom’ and ‘Harvest Moon’, think again. Stylistically, it’s Young’s most diverse offering for years,
throwing as many curves as it takes to
stop the listener getting comfortable, but in terms of mood it’s unified by a brooding, dark undertow. For a precursor, you have to go back to ‘Tonight’s The llight’, where Young’s
sense of loss and waste over the drug-
related deaths of his friends Danny
Whitten and Bruce Derry were etched into the vinyl. Twenty years later, nothing’s changed. The title track of this sprawling album concerns Kurt Cobain, in whose choice to die Young almost seems implicated (a quote from one of his songs was on Cobain’s suicide note), and the mood is, if anything, sadder, angrier and more bitter. When you’ve got to the random murders of ‘Drive By’, the sombre mood has settled, not to lift. But, this being lleil Young, ‘Sleeps With Angels’ boasts some exquisite tunes, notably ‘Change Your Mind’, which is so beautiful that Young obviously couldn’t resist adding an endless guitar solo that drags it through some very dark pastures. Breathtaking stuff. (Alastair Mabbott)
3 Mars Audiac Quintet (Duophonic Disks) ' For many, this will be their first
i protracted dose of Stereolab, that
j prolific maverick cottage industry
1 with an appetite for old technologies. i If all you know of Stereolab is the
I monster frug extravaganza ‘French
; Disko’ or ‘Ping Pong’, be warned that this album shares little of the
' immediacy of those singles.
' ‘Transporte Sans Bouger’ fits the bill
; with its playful, chugging rhythm or
‘ ‘Transona Five’ which is as much
indebted to Canned lleat’s ‘On The
Road Again’ as Dasis’s ‘Shakennaker’ is to ‘l’d like To Teach The World To
However, to those who already know that Stereolab go mad for the
incidental music soundtracks in 70s
cop shows, it’s the usual tale of two
. chords. Despite the illusion of layers of sound, simplicity is the key. Dn ‘Des ;
; Etoiles Electroniques’, sweet ‘f _ harmonies grace the kind of simple
synthetic pulse you could master on a
i Stylophone but even a rabid ultra-fan such as yours truly is forced to ask
whether seven-and-a-half minutes of
i the measured drone of ‘Anamorphose’
j is entirely necessary.
1 If Stereolab persist with the loopy
‘ noodling and ignore the deficit of
3 heart and soul in their music, they’ll
soon become THE band for ‘Clangers’ trainspotters. But maybe that’s what
they want. (Fiona Shepherd)
I- : DASIS
Definitely Maybe (Creation)
The two sides of Oasis bookend their first album. 0n the starter’s blocks is ‘llock ’n’ lloll Star’, a swaggering starburst of cock-rock raunch. 0n the horizon as ‘Definitely Maybe’ finally fades away, ‘Married With Children’ comes over like ‘The Tracks Of My Tears’ written by a blunt and maudlin John Lennon. The first song is liam Gallagher incarnate, simian singer and brain-dead grunt; the last is lloel Gallagher, a down-to-earth bloke who crafts a grey, glorious, urban poetry that, up till now has been consigned to his band’s B-sides (writing about childhood mates and the traumas of
the twentysomething crisis - not very rock ’n’ roll, and therefore bad for the image).
These polar opposites are what make Oasis, and what make ‘Definitely Maybe’, even given the hype, a surprise and a joy. Careful - or even casual - students of the progress of these Mancunian candidates will have heard over half of these songs before. This is ace: like llogmanays, birthdays, holidays, all day love-ins and all-night benders rolled into one rump-shaking, head-spinning burst. Forget the gulf about feuding and the puff about imminent implosion and all the stuff about Gallagher For Prime Minister. flight now ‘live Forever’ is the best song ever written, and its ten brother tracks aren’t far behind. Definitely. (Craig McLean)
‘ Tennents Live! Making Music Happen
78 The List 26 August—8 September [994