' . in SIDES our

Orbital come round

What goes around. comes around. So Orbital. those computer wielding techno kids frorn Essex. have been crtrising for a while now. But this chime around. they have moved beyond the dancelloor to the sit down arena.

Besides stopping off for the usual Visit to the Glasgow Barrowland. the Hartnoll brothers. Paul and Phil. will he playing the Usher Hall in Edinburgh. Their fourth albutn. In Sit/es is a collection of hauntingly cinematic soundtracks while the single ‘The Box‘ has ‘cult (i()s TV detective thriller‘ writ large across it in smoky letters.

‘For me. it's like that old (lung of a soundtrack to something that's not actually there.‘ says l’hil enigmatically. ‘You'ye got your main theme at the beginning. it progresses through the main programme and finishes with an End Sequence. with the hero walking down past the Thames. crumpling that last pack ofcigarettes with still no money -- it all goes monochrome and you get the vocal reprise.‘

The visual eletnent has always played a big part in the ()rbital experience. There's the brothers' patent headlamps. which allow them to see what they are doing in the darkness of the stage. last year‘s soundtrack to the l’laystation game. ‘\\"ipl{out' (which also appears on In Sit/es) and now they are touring with a full liye \ ideo mix on

l‘or ()rbital. hailed by many as the top live act in the world of dance music. playing a seated venue may seem incongruous. But if anyone has the ability to fit their music to the venue. then it has to he them. And who knows. you might come otrt knowing how malty holes it takes to fill the l'sher Hall. (Nikki Jaryis)

()rlnml. supported by u- :ig. p/rty Burmtr'lnml. (i/usgmr‘ on Sun l2 and NW U.\‘/I(’I' HUN. Edinburgh. Mon [3. In Sir/(Kr and The [for are (t!!! Itriii;

IE!!— The reel thing

Altan open their British tour, playing their only Scottish concert next week at Edinburgh’s Festival Theatre. Norman Chalmers gets a chat in first.

Based in Dublin. but deeply rooted in

Donegal's Scottish influence. Altan has .

suryiyed the loss of founder and flute player Frankie Kennedy. yet continues to evolye on both a musical and commercial level.

B/(If'kll'tlff’l'. the latest recording. has just been released by the band's new label Virgin. no less ~> and if you‘ve spied lead singer and fiddler Mairead's picture on one of those racks of free postcards on trendy bistro walls. you‘ll gather they‘ve moycd up a few notches in the advertising stakes. You can now dial-a-track from the new album 24 hours a day. while a London manager looks after bookings. business and their complicated itinerary. a fact which undoubtedly pleases Ciaran 'l‘ourish. the other fiddler (emphatically not the second fiddle) in what is arguably the finest of all the Irish traditional rmtsic groups. ‘We used to be touring eight. nine months of the year. and when we were back home I would be on the phone all the time. doing a lot of the organising. keeping it together It’s great now not to be doing all that. and

can do some more work on my solo album!‘

The musicians in Altan are famously loyal and committed. and. unusually. job-share in the guitar department. Despite huge international success. request performances for American presidents and being showered with awards at home and abroad. guitarist

i Mark Kelly refuses to gtye tip his

(,ialway day job. and so restricts his touring with the band to Britain and iiuropc while. in a happy arrangement. exiled lrishtrtan llaithi Sproule

' occupies the guitar chair in the l S.-\ 3 and on longer tours.

li/(U'ls'lt'lllt’l‘ is aceordionrst Dermot liyrnc's lirs't full album w ith the band. and at the same time the .v\ltan soundscapc has changed. The limprd

breath ofthe llutc has gone. and the

driy ing harmonics of the (w m tiddles now run with the lllllll‘lt‘sl ot two-row btttton bo\es.

Highly polished production \alues. a string quartet and a guest list ol esteemed players (lional funny. Brendan l’ower. lt'iotta \i l)|iomlmaill. Steye (‘ooney and others) charm terise the new album

With these smooth sounds arid the adyertiset‘\ l‘ush. did 'l'ourish teel that there was an attempt to change the

Altan: ‘Mairead‘s slightly better loking than the rest of us. More camera friendly.‘

band’s image to the popular music standard of glamorous-female singer- \yith-backing-baml.’ ‘lt‘s iust a marketing thing. We‘re still the same.' says 'l'otrrish and adds. wry ly. ‘lt‘s just that \latt‘ea(l\ slightly better looking than the rest of us More camera- lillL‘lltll}

‘\\'e see our audience grow ing all the time. especially in the States. and it's all sorts ol people. not just the folk musi. enthusiasts. -\lso. there are many more lllllslclalls around now. many ditteient styles. and informal. semi-pro and (till time prolesstonal groups playing lrish or ('eltie music Some people look at it like “we‘re a touring band. and don’t like cotttpetition”. bttt a t‘ll.‘tlll. in .~\meriea or w herey er. can‘t be sustained with lust one band. or ever a lew So it seems to us. the tnot‘e \arter the healthier the situation.‘ .l.’.'itn )u'ur l'.t.’t/;.’u/t';'./.I it /7('\'/t'tt.’ /i.’( rt'.”t (W ll! t/ /.‘~.

The next thing since sliced bread

Why does less have to be more? Musical minimalism is fine but don’t you long for some Prodigy-style mania? Glasgow’s Toaster, in particular, would include the kitchen sink if it sounded good and wore a decent outfit. But as they (almost) say, there’s clarity in their clutter.

‘The idea is that we’re trying to branch out and be more, just be as much as we can think of,’ says keyboard player (or deranged organist if you prefer) Grant McKean.

‘lt’s like Frank Zappa,’ says singer (or When you hear a normal song it

mad hatter if you prefer) Sinclair Hutchinson. ‘When you get into Frank

Zappa you can’t listen to anything else because it gets you into a certain way

of thinking about song structure.

ms s \sr

Toaster enioy some good. clean fun

doesn’t tultil you the same way . . . not

that we listen to much Frank Zappa.‘ Toaster met at university where they

studied architecture. Having enrolled

in a course with the highest student suicide rate, they took the other way out and formed a band, but not before

. Hutchinson went to Jamaica to lose

himself. Since last year they have regularly blitzed bars and venues with their aural chaos theory that encompasses everything from Talking Heads to Happy Mondays, Supergrass to ska.

Continuing the theme of common items to be found in a kitchen, Toaster new release the disco pomp and circumstance of ‘Biscuits’ as part of a split single including fellow Glaswegians Hardbody who contribute

the sultry ‘Blow The Man Down’.

‘I think there‘s only a certain amount of tunes you have inside you,’ says Hutchinson. ‘and you just have to get them out straight away before you can even think consciously about a specific structure. But’ off-on- another-tangent alert ‘I don’t give a fuck about records I really want to be on telly.’

Toaster on the box or out of their boxes? (Fiona Shepherd)

Toaster play King Tut's. Glasgow on Thurs 15.

45 The List 3—H) May l996