‘We didn’t want to be taken too seriously by the music papers. ’cos that‘s too easy and the whole thing would be over in two seconds. so we thought let’s wind people up and try to get rid of our audience. it really did work — those Ten Commandments really did piss so many people off.‘ grins Hooligan. ‘Nothing very revolutionary is going to come from us. The only revolutionary thing with the New Wave scene is that it's brought fashion back to the guitar.‘
These Animal Men play K ing Tut's. Glasgow on Fri 7 and The Venue. Edinburgh on Sat 8.
HE?- Party time
Strange name, certainly, and some less than orthodox music too, but the seven-strong Strange Party Orchestra are another indication of the strong jazz tradition which has grown up in their native Denmark over the years, fuelled in part by the presence of a number of inﬂuential American
The band take their name from a tune by Danish jazz pianist Jan Kaspersen called ‘Strange Party’, and have been around in one form or another for seven years or so. If we in Scotland are more familiar with their somewhat more conventional seniors, the Danish Radio Big Band, the SPO have been here before, and made a favourable impression on that visit in 1993.
Their music is an idiosyncratic mixture, built on a bedrock of contemporary jazz (with the distinctive, steely Nordic tinge we have come to expect in the work of
Strange Party Orchestra
players like Jan Garbarek or Arild Andersen), but overlaid with a huge and occasionally not quite integrated barrage of other influences, from rock and funk through to tango and new age.
The band has an unusual, percussiver-inc|ined instrumental line-up, with two saxophonists ranged alongside keyboards, vibraphone, bass, drums and percussion (earlier, slightly larger versions of the band have included even more percussion). On their last visit to Edinburgh, where they were late entrants to the Jazz Festival programme, their imaginative arrangements were both striking and brightly played, and they should be well worth catching this time around. (Kenny Mathieson)
Strange Party Orchestra play at the Arts Centre, East Kilbride on Fri 14,
Mardi Gras, Ounfennline on Sat 15 and . The Tron, Edinburgh on Sun 16.
We all know that Scottish history can be stirring stuff, but the fact that no less than eighteen composers have taken the life of Mary Stuart as inspiration for eighteen different operas surely proves the case for that turbulent period beyond doubt. Of those eighteen, it is Oonizetti’s 160- year-old version which is most widely known. Even so, Scottish Opera’s new production by Stefanos Lazaridis marks the first time the opera has been seen on a major stage in Scotland for twenty years and the first ever main-scale production of the piece in the company’s history.
Singing the part of Mary for the first time in the UK is Australian soprano Yvonne Kenny, who agrees it is incredible that ‘Mary Stuart’ has not been seen here for so long.
‘It is a very difficult opera,’ she explains, ‘particularly for the two sopranos, Mary and Elizabeth, and the tenor, Leicester, so it is difficult to cast. Unless there are strong performers in the principal roles, there is little point in doing it.’
It is the second time that Kenny has sung the part, having performed it last year for Victoria State Opera in Melbourne. She describes it as having great dramatic power with beautiful, lyrical and touching moments. ‘Elizabeth is more angular and aggressive, so there’s a sharp contrast. It is a great story, bringing out how the decision of one woman - Mary’s decision to flee from loch Leven to England rather than France - changed the whole course of history.’ The hard facts of history, however, were not quite enough for Oonizetti’s opera, its lynchpin being an imaginary confrontation between Mary and Elizabeth at the end of Act One. The rest, as they say, lS history. (Carol Main) Mary Stuart (sung in Italian with English supertitles) opens at the Theatre Royal, Glasgow on Fri 7.
Soundworks — is it a gig? is it an exhibition? is it a
multi-media : extravaganza? ‘It’s a pre-
club club.‘ decides NVA’s Angus Farquhar. the self- confessed converted luddite who dreamed up this whole volatile marriage of the primitive (the Sativa drummers doing their tribal thang) and the technologically sophisticated (Colin Angus of The Shamen utilising the transmission possibilities provided by the internet and video link-up facilities).
Soundworks. a concert where human musicians will ‘duel' with robotic musical sculptures ‘like a sound system battle'. is NVA’s contribution to Glasgow’s Sound City year. inspired by a Jean Tinguely exhibition Farquhar attended. The sculptures were chosen from a pool of 300 entries submitted when NVA ﬁrst launched the project with a competition to design ‘an object with an integral sound element'.
‘1 interpreted it literally — Sound City; sound being more than just bands on stages. There’s a lot of people who work with sound who don’t fit into a conventional bracket. 1 like widening the whole briefof what the year is supposed to be about‘
There's some continuity with the way NVA operated in their old Test Dept days, when armies of percussionists would descend on any object which looked like it might produce an aesthetically- stimulating sound.
The nine winning entries ‘chose themselves’ and have been integrated into each area of the performance — with a little ﬂexibility from the musicians. The Shamen and Finitribe have had to remix tracks to accommodate their droid partners. which revel in names like Minnie The Moocher. Sound Bin (a council wheelie bin camouﬂaged as a Roman chariot). Jupitor's Fly and Skitar, ‘a ski converted into a guitar. You wear one ski and play the other — completely mad. but the sound is brilliant. it‘s like sub-Jimi Hendrix. You‘d be surprised what a good sound you get out ofa ski.‘ Um. . . right.
And this madness is touring schools after the two concerts. Suddenly playing guitar in the bedroom doesn’t seem so rebellious. (Fiona Shepherd)
Sotutdts‘orks takes place a! The Arches, Glasgow on Fri 14 and Sat [5.
The List 7—20 October 1994 33