Apollo Saxophone Quartet

The Apollo SaXophone Quartet fall somewhere between the wellalefined strata of contemporary musical classification. The prograzmne for their latest visit to Scotland contains new works from jazz artists Kenny Wheeler. liddie Parker and Iain Ballamy. which sit lll their rcpertorie alongside nrusic by the likes of Michael Nyman. (iavin liryars and David Bedford. all of whom operate on the more

esoteric fringes of

classical music.

The band rather like that unclassiliability. and are liable to loss in an arrangement of a Bulgarian folk tune or a coriiposition by ex-Tears for licars .saxman Will Gregory to further tnuddy the waters. Or maybe that sliotlltl be clarity rather than than muddy. since that diversity and unpredictability. as Rob Buckland explained. is very much part of the point.

‘lt is hard to describe our trrusic. which doesn't really fall into a classical or a ja/z category. but people don't really know what to expect frortr a

band like ours anyway. We see it as being new. exciting. and highly listenable. whatever people decide to call it. We make Use of technology and even elenrents of music theatre on stage as well. and the music is contemporary in the sense that we pick up on things which we hear happening around us.’ The Quartet - Buckland. Tim Redpath. Andy Scott. and Jon Rebbeck all met up at music school in Manchester in 1985. Their self-financed debut recording. How Our (I993). is about to be followed by First Am/ Foremost. their first album for Decca‘s exploratory Argo label. which features music by Michael Nyman and

Chick Corea. (Kenny Mathieson)

The Apollo Saxophone Quartet play the RSAMI),

l Glasgow- on Sat ll.

l i l l


Fiona Shepherd joins the spaced-age with Jason Pierce of the newly- renamed Spiritualized Electric Mainline.

1 Have you heard the new Spiritualixed —- or should I say Spiritualixed Electric

Mainline single. ‘ lt Flow”? It’s a

1 sweaty slab of swingbeat with Jason

Pierce panting lasciviously over the top with a speed metal crescendo careering out of nowhere.

()nly joking. pop kids. ()fcoursc. it‘s a pool of still water in the whirlpool we call contemporary music. with Jason‘s still. small voice of calm caressing the harp-like guitars with customary soothing serenity. But it would be wrong to expect something as tawdry as ‘a bit of a departure' from Spir‘ituali/cd. single-minded bunch that they are.

‘I think it's a good thing that w e‘ve focused on the kind of music we want to make.‘ says .lason. positively brimming with conversation for one so media—shy. ‘rather than coming back each time saying. “lley. we've reinvented ourselves. We’re not into that anytiiorc. we're into this." That's quite shallow marketing on the part of a lot of bands.

‘l don't think we’ve comeback with a radical change and I don‘t think we need to. People don't get anew Miles Davis album and go. “Oh. not that trumpet again.”

In much the same way that people will

hear Spiritualizcd‘s new album. l’io'e

Phase. and go. “Oh no. I'm drowning in

L an exquisite marriage of gospel. blues.

futuristic blips and sea breeze guitars


Spiritualixed are one of the few

: singular bands in the country. A few

bars into airy composition of theirs and

; you‘re in no doubt about who‘s steering ‘H breath' g

the ship. This is no lofty claim in itself - anyone can master a ‘cohesive' sound I and their rearrange the furniture in their dull niche every time they release . another record. But Spiritualizcd still 9 rrranagc to produce the spookicst . combination of the musical past and the possible future.

The concept cl ‘laser guided melodies'. a motto as much as an album title. is so applicable to their

mirsic. ’l'unes the oldest trick in the book - touched by the hand of

technology. Their resulting space-age

blues -- tnost people drink of their undulating. textured guitar sounds and stoned drawl but there's fray/led roots elements all over their work too - is ,so all-encompassing in its range of influences that it can sustain continual rctreading of the same basic sound

without having to be either ‘current' or ‘groundln'eaking'.

Where does being lashionable get

' you'.’ In years to come. the gap between

the old wave of New Wave and the

New Wave of New Wave will seem so

minisctrle as to be irrelevant. What will

be rernembered‘.’ The timeless song. not

which party patented the style first. It’s

not what you graverob. it’s the way that

you do it. Conversely. it‘s not about

resolving to move music in new

\.Ir ‘5'

1 directions. it's about making music that still strikes a chord.

‘lt's very easy to be avant garch says

Jason. ‘You only need to look at what‘s , current to know how easy it is to be

I different from that. but I think the only : way we can try to push boundaries is to I aim very hiin and put a lot of ourselves into what we do \tl it's not just

i repeatirm. I know tlieres a lot of other

f people's music in our music btit not iii a

? “we'll take that riff" way. I take great

: precautions. ()ur music comes from


So I’lo‘r' l’luts‘r' is simply the record

: Spirituali/ed wanted to make at the

, time. whichjust so happens to be the

: same sort of record they wanted to

make the last time. but with additional

stark orchestration from the Balanescu

; Quartet. The same. but different.

‘\Vhere [user (inn/("ll .l/(lm/rcs is quite a few sounds layered to get the

f desired effect.' say s .lasoti. 'w ith this

one we tried to get the idea of inst one

person playing one note hcatrtitully.

: rather than having to throw in loads of stttffto get the same el’lcct. We did it with minimum input to get a maximum output.‘

3 Spiritual/Err! lz'lr’t'lrrr' Mam/rm ploy , 'l'ltr’ sire/It's. Glasgow on Nit! /.\’.

What’s ‘Nectarine’, Drugstore’s recent

g single, really like? An organ playing a ; repetitive, insinuative, hymnal refrain. ; A quiet woman singing ‘I love your

, blue eyes, and I’m gonna tell you a

story’. A sudden tumult ot scary guitars. Then the calm after the storm. Then the feeling that ‘Nectarine’ is

i pretty much flawless especially

considering its B-side, a great cover

of the very excellent ‘She Don’t Use Jelly’ (the song Counting Crows used 3 as their intro on their recent UK tour,

chin-stroking tact-tans). ‘lt’s ridiculously simple, isn’t it?’

" says singer Isabel Monteiro. ’It’s

5 naked.‘ Some hard facts: Monteiro has the stature of a 3ft pygmy and the

voice of a self-effacing 50ft quecnie.

She’s Brazilian, the drummer is

American and their guitarist is English. They got together in 1992 and . released their first single, ‘Alive’, in , May 1993, on their own label. A single ' for the Rough Trade Singles Club itollowed. Both are brilliant and rare.

3 Drugstore toured with The Lemonheads, Kitchens 0f Distinction, I Echobelly and Tindersticks.

: Around about this time, an American j reviewer described Isabel’s voice as a ‘sandy quaver’. No one can do better

than this, but most try, usually

summoning up moody, atmospheric

touchstones like Marianne Faithful

; and Hope Sandoval. ‘There’s a lot of

t heavy breathing in “Nectarine”,’ 2 reckons Isabel, possibly reterring to

; the dark intrigue and claustrophobic

l emotions oozed by both those singers 'I too, but probably not.

i Last September came the first fruits

of a deal with Go! Discs, ‘Starcrossed’.

another single, ‘Solitary Party Groover’

l i Then ‘Nectarine’. Soon there will be I and an album. Due in March, said

5 record is tear-smeared, whey-faced,

l whole-hearted and, generally,

l magnificent.

i Isabel, you have one of the voices of 1995. ‘Dh dear,’ she sighs, with fluttering shyness and a Portuguese accent. ‘Nineteen ninety-five is going

to be hell then.’ (Craig Mclean)

Drugstore play The 13th Note, Glasgow on Wed 15 and support Jetf Buckley at

36 The List 10-23 Feb 1995