I Neat Serveert Aside from that fabulous combo The fix. the Dutch contribution to rock may not have amounted to more than a footnote tip till now. But Bettie Serveert are at least doing their hit to redress the balance. winning fans across Europe and America on support tours with the likes of Belly. Buffalo Tom and Throwing Muses.
Their first album. Pulunrine (on ~1A l) offshoot Guernica). was widely praised. and the second. lxllllpl't’)‘ (on Beggars Banquet this time). recorded variously in Amsterdam. London and Daniel l.anois‘s New Orleans studio. is as enchanting and evocative a slice of melodic indie college-core as you‘ll hear this year.
Singer Carol van Dijk was raised in Vancouver before returning to her parents' native Holland at seven. and although Bettie Serveert claim to work towards a ‘band sound'. they give her voice plenty of room centre stage. Easy (and. to be honest. quite fair) comparisons with the pipes of Kristin Hersh and Juliana Hatfield don‘t do herjushce. ‘
There are hundreds of Dutch bands supported by a healthy live circuit. bassist Herman Bunskoeke tells me — the rock scene is subsidised. which seems unbelievable to people in this country — but few ever aspire to international success. The notion would never have occurred to Bettie Serveert either. had a friend of theirs not sent a demo to Gerard Cosloy of the noted American label Matador. The resulting gig at 1992's New Music Seminar in NYC brought them to the attention of the world‘s music press.
lf Bettie Serveert‘s audience continues to grow at this rate. it could only be a matter of time before hacks and A&R | men start snifﬁng around ! other worthies on the i Dutch scene and introduce ] them to a wider public.
(Alastair Mabbott) Bettie Sen'eert play K irtg 'Iirl '.v, Glasgow ()Il 'I'liurs' 8.
: Well known for its travels, both
abroad and at home, The Edinburgh
l Quartet often finds itself in the
5 company of pretty good musicians,
; many of whom may not make their
l living from playing music. In an
i innovative move to involve such
' people in more than listening, the
Quartet has commissioned a work for
standard string quartet plus one other
instrument which can change
1 according to the talent available.
1 Charged with the task of composition is Edward McGuire who says, ‘l’ve
written a general purpose solo line
which I can adapt for various instruments. At the first performance it’s guitar, then there’s one with double bass and in January it’s being done with cello. It would also suit trombone, accordion or baritone sax.
I’ve got my work cut out for a few years with it!’ The commission fee is being met in full by the Bank of Scotland as part of its tercentenary celebrations, a factor which has helped provide inspiration.
‘I’ve looked back to some of the music around 300 years ago and used a tune called “Lament For The Massacre 0f Glencoe”.’ exnlains McGuire. The late 17th century was, of course, a time of great Jacobite activity, towards which the Bank of Scotland was apparently sympathetic.
Part of the Edinburgh Quartet get some practice in
’l’m bringing in the dimension of the turmoil of the period, and the quintet’s name, The Guest Quintet, relates to the biggest betrayal of all when guests enjoying Highland hospitality were murdered by their hosts. The quintet is a celebration of the hospitality which musicians show to their guests counteracted by the betrayal of hospitality which took place in 1692 by remembering the tune associated with it.’
The Quintet also refers to two Scottish composers of the period, John Clerk of Penicuik and John Abell, who, says McGuire, ‘was on the other side, fawning towards the monarchy.’ Be prepared for conflict. (Carol Main)
The Edinburgh Quartet premiere ‘The Guest Quintet’ on Sunday 18 at Stockbridge Parish Church, Edinburgh.
2 [IE— Direct line
j Theo Travis has only made it over the
border in a playing capacity once
E before, at the Edinburgh Jazz Festival
last year. He made a powerful
' impression then, and now returns as
‘ part of a lengthy UK tour with his quartet, featuring pianist David Gordon, Rob Statham on bass, and recently recruited drummer Marc
‘We come out of that classic jazz
quartet thing, but we try to do something a bit different with it. I
, think there are three things, really.
The first one is to play the music I
write, and to do it in an imaginative
. way in terms of creative use of the
. composition itself, and the roles of
j the instruments within the band, and
g to have it much more directed to
improvisation than arrangements. ‘As well as that, though, I think the
band is also very direct - we want to
move people, whether by power on one
kind of tune, or by gentleness at the
opposite extreme. The third thing we are after, and it is related to that
. directness, is communication, both
within the band, where we have a
great empathy between us, and with
' Theo began as a rock musician, and
studied classical flute before being
, smitten by Coltrane and taking up both
jazz and the saxophone. ltis debut
. thing and do something a bit different
’ “’9 we, pair/1""
Theo Travis: both sides now
album, ‘2am’, was followed by last year’s acclaimed ‘View From The Edge’, but he is also involved with a second hand, The Other Side, with guitarist Hugh Burns, Dave Sturt on bass, and Harbans Srih on drums. They take a more jazz-rock oriented line of development, with greater emphasis on arrangements, but still ‘trying to avoid the standard fusion
- in terms of textures and so on, we are more influenced by Eno or Fripp or Gabriel than conventional jazz fusion.’ (Kenny Mathieson)
Theo Travis Quartet play at Bar Miro, Glasgow, on Fri 2, and the Tron Jazz Cellar, Edinburgh, on Sun 4.
The Bluetones: that ol’ blue magic
When London's The Bluetones play King Tut‘s on their debut headline tour. it will be the fourth time they‘ve played at the venue. Most local bands would be lucky to notch up one appearance there before they‘d released a record. yet here's some southern whippersnappers coasting in for a fourth time.
Life‘s been good to The Bluetones. It comes through in their blithe songs which have an Oasis-like joie de vivrc but boast a much cleaner pop sound. Tracks like No [I display the same ' simple. classic melodies that The La's
rejuvenated in the late 80s along with
The Stone Roses. to whom The
Bluetones are inevitably compared
because the two singers bear a passing
resemblance to each other.
Life‘s been good to The Bluetones in terms of instant recognition too. Tracks on compilation singles. mail order releases. plenty of coverage. national support tours (hence the previous visits to Scotland). all accomplished in little over a year.
By all accounts. they‘re a gigging institution in London. but for most of the rest of the country. the only thing to go on is the connotations of their name.
‘We tried to think of a band name that had that timeless ring to it.‘ says guitarist Adam Devlin. ‘lt conjures up musical images. like 2~Tonc and Blue Note jazz (neither of which they sound like). It doesn‘t sound like an indie band‘s name.’
There's a self-referential element to their debut single proper Are You [flue ()2' Are You Blind." to demonstrate that it's not jtrst rap artists who like to narnccheck themselves. ‘lt‘s kind of a theme tune in a way. It hints of a way of life.‘
Following Supergrass. with whom they toured successfully. The Bluetones are being hailed as the next great pop hope. Devlin is happy to embrace such classic pop tradition.
‘There‘s something really appealing about the four-piece. That was always the sort of band I wanted to be in. Five- pieces bug me. ()asis should lose one of their guitarists — they‘d look so much better as a four-piece.‘ (Fiona Shepherd)
The Bluetones play K mg 'I'u/ '3‘. Glasgow on Tue 6.
32 The List 2-l5 Jun l995