Making Music Happen
begins. ‘and I see a lot of bands dealing in really veiled and mysterious things, and I don‘t see anybody coming forth and just trying to make an interesting pop record. Everything seems really dark and heavy right now — and. believe me, I‘m as guilty as anybody of having done that. Y'know. Booster [the downcast Sugar mini-LP that preceded this album] was no picnic either. At the end of the day. it's more a reaction of my own towards Beds/er as a piece of work. because once you‘ve done something like that. to try to top [Muster as far as being a “dark record" is not gonna happen right away.
‘I dunno. That whole stretch of time. having to tour. just playing that stuff over and over and over — you just get really depressed. heh-heh-heh. l don’t wanna go through that again this year.‘
In the middle of the new record lies ‘l’anama City Motel'. a slow electric drone overlaid with acoustic guitars and a weary. reflective lyric alluding tt‘ time spent in cheap rooms and concretr freeways far from borne. With its ‘Don 'I you know I need a place to stay refrain. it's tempting to see this as ‘Boh Mould’s fourteen years on the road‘ song. but he laughs about it. assures me that it isn't. What, then, is his attitude towards touring after all this time?
‘lt'sjust the physical time in vehicles, it‘s like. “God. this is eight hours I could be at home writing some new stuff.“ That kind ofthing. I mean. playing is still great. it‘sjust all that fuckin' travel. it kills you. That's what makes you old really quickly. just sitting there doing nothing.‘
It was on one particularly vexing post- Hiiskcr Du solo tour that Mould sacked his backing musicians in order to immerse himself in a band again. In
some quarters. though. the impression that Sugar are ‘Bob Mould & Backing Band' no doubt still lingers.
‘Most importantly. it seems to have shaken the Hiisker DU tag. finally. I don‘t see that coming up this time round, which is nice. As far as how people perceive the band — in the studio. l'm producing the records, I'm writing the lion's share of the stuff and that‘sjust how it is. When Sugar go on the road. it's deﬁnitely a band. in every sense of the word. It‘s weird to break it down like that. but I do think it’s two different things. lf people judge us only on the recorded work. “Bob Mould & Backing Band" isn't that far off sometimes. lfthey also take into account the live performances. it‘s not quite as simple as that. Live is definitely the three of us equally.‘
But even after three albums. bassist Dave Barbe has only one writing credit. the new ‘Company Book'. Mould hopes that the reason for that isn‘t because his partners have a confidence problem in presenting songs to the mighty Mould.
‘I think. in reality. it‘s probably that when David’s not on the road he has three children and he works full-time. I don‘t think he has the luxury that I do. When I go home after a tour. I can just sit and write for three or four months and do nothing else. Also, he has his other band. Fuzz Hungry. to write for, and Malcolm ['l‘ravis. drums] has two other bands he plays with full-time. So I‘m the one that’s feeling stiﬂed! l have all these acoustic songs that don‘t fit in with Sugar. lleh-hch . . . at the end of this trip. that‘s something I‘m gonna have to deal with . . .'
Sugar play The Bro'rorrlmrrl. Glasgow on Thurs 29.
The One Voice New Music Ensemble is i a new, Scottish-based contemporary | music group, which makes its formal l debut at the Queen’s Hall. The concert ! will include music by three of the co-
, l founders - Jeremy Cull (who is also ’ f the ensemble’smusical director),
Geraint Wiggins and Ornette D. Clennon - but as Cull explained, the t programme has changed considerably since the venue’s brochure was l printed. ‘The first half will feature five . pieces, including my “Piano Trio”, a string quartet by Ornette, a movement from a new song cycle I am working on, which will be linked to Ceraint’s l “Water And Ice”, and a new piece for chamber ensemble and tape which Ornette has written in response to the
situation in Rwanda.’ The second half will be given over to
Danish composer Poul Huders’
: ‘Psalmodies’, a concert suite in eleven sections for guitar and ensemble dating from 1989, with Peter Argondizza as soloist. That
Wiggins. Cull and Clennon combination is fairly indicative of the kind of thing they aim to achieve.
‘We came out of a student grouping, but we decided that we wanted to expand the concept, and we felt that Edinburgh should have a group with a distinct identity. We are trying to create a high quality ensemble for the promotion of new music, which will provide a platform for our own music and for other composers in Scotland, as well as for music not usually heard here.’
The locally-based ensemble is currently around a dozen strong, with ‘one each of woods and strings - it’s a bit london Sinfonietta-style, but without the brass at this point, and is very flexible.’ This is their first formal concert, but they have already recorded their debut CD, which will be available on the night. (Kenny Mathieson)
One Voice New Music Ensemble play at The Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh on Fri 30.
amm- Choral riffs
You might just be one of the 160 million people whose Christmas would not be complete without hearing the ethereal sound of the Choir of King’s College, Cambridge in their annual broadcast of ‘The Festival Of Hine lessons And Carols’. This month, though, the Edinburgh Festival Theatre gives the chance to hear them live, in their first and only Scottish performance for several years, and in music which displays a bit more of their extensive repertoire than Christmas carols. In an unaccompanied programme conducted by Stephen Cleobury and spanning four centuries, Renaissance gems of polyphony are contrasted with new commissions by John Tavener, Arvo Part and Gorecki and Britten’s ‘Hymn To St Cecilia’.
Twentieth century television and recording may have brought this choir to the attention of the masses, but much more than that has perpetuated its existence. It was founded over 550 years ago when King Henry VI decided that the King’s College had to have a choir to sing daily services in his magnificent new chapel. Although the
choir now tours throughout the world, records and broadcasts frequently and performs at Festivals, the Proms, etc, the daily singing of services remains its raison d’étre. Comprising sixteen choristers aged between eleven and fourteen — all boys, with no prospect of girl choristers being entertained - and fourteen choral scholars, who are Cambridge students on scholarships, the choir will find its Edinburgh performance something of a challenge. Used to a reverberant church acoustic, the EFT will mean extra hard work for the young singers. However, the theatre’s General Manager, Paul Iles, is reputed to be a fan of Lassus and, as he is one of the Renaissance composers on offer, the choir will surely get whatever help the new theatre can possibly offer. (Carol Main)
The Choir of King’s College, Cambridge play Edinburgh Festival Theatre on Sun 25.
Tennents Live! Making Music Happen
The List 23 September-b ()ctober I994 31