Future Pilot AKA/Mount Vernon Arts
With Stereolab and The High Llamas continuing to plot I ‘ ' their boffin rock course and French duo Air freshening ‘. ,1 ’ up the charts with their squelchy loungecore, the art of f1 - going back to the future to create involving electronica ' is alive and well. Glasgow label Via Satellite is doing its modest bit to promote fun (even kitsch) avant-garde sounds with a series of split 7-inch singles, off-the-wall collaborations and even the odd Doctor Who
The label was initially founded a couple of years ago
by BMX Bandits bassman and sometime driving .. '
instructor Sushil Dade and Glaswegian artist Drew ‘ Mulholland. Their mission: to release a joint single by their individual projects, Future Pilot AKA and Mount Vernon Arts Lab, and cut out the middle man. \
'People buy fur coats for £500; we decided to press a
record,’ says Sushil.
Since then, Via Satellite records has constantly made ' enough money to perpetuate its release schedule. The
likes of Sonic Youth's Thurston Moore and Luna's Dean Wareham are among the artists who have contributed idiosyncratic inter- pretations of pop standards, while Mulholland and Dade have gone on to showcase their own personal stereophonic workshops of four- tracks, tape loops and analogue synths on other labels too.
‘I wouldn't want to say we were an experimental label, because that's too genre-specific,’ says Sushil. 'We deal with stretching the boundaries of pop. The version of “Telstar” which we released was
quite free but at the end of the day it was classic pop treated with Thurston‘s avant-garde vision.’
Without wanting to sound luddite and inversely snobbish, the soundtrack quality of Mount Vernon Arts Lab and Future Pilot AKA is achieved through the humble means of home recording, exhibiting a true
‘I don't think there's always the need to go into 48- track studios if you’ve got good ideas,’ agrees Sushil. ’Just because you've got 48 tracks doesn't mean you have to fill them all up. I find if you have more modest tools or equipment it makes you think more and you have to commit to decisions earlier. It makes you work
recordings I can.’
Sushil and Drew look back to the future
harder having limited resources, but it's a financial thing. I don't want to make self-consciously scratchy lo- fi recordings. I want to make the best-sounding
Viva those space-age communications. (Fiona
I A Dean Wareham/Angel Corpus Christi/Alan Vega Split
single is the next Via Satellite release. Future Pilot AKA have a forthcoming collaborative single with The Pastels and Andy Weatherall’s Two Lone Swordsmen followed by an album featuring tracks with Cornershop’s Tjinder and Scanner. Mount Vernon Arts Lab play Beats ’n’ Bleeps at The Arches on Sun 8 (see listings).
Edinburgh: Theatre Workshop, Sat 14 Mar.
Clusone 3 get stuck in to the cutting edge
Scottish audiences are not exposed to a great deal of music at the more experimental end of the jazz spectrum, and very often when a gig of that kind does come along, it suffers from a lack of context. The structures have never really been established for developing an ongoing audience awareness of an area of music which can seem forbidding or exclusive even to those familiar with more conventional jazz idioms.
Assembly Direct hope to help remedy that lack with their re-vamped Soundcheck format, the first manifestation of which takes place in an all-day extravaganza at the Theatre Workshop in Edinburgh. In its initial guise, Soundcheck was funded by the Scottish Arts Council as a feature for contemporary composition, but there are already a number of other organisations ploughing that furrow, and the emphasis has now shifted.
’Soundcheck is moving its focus to free jazz and improvisation, and the Theatre Workshop event is the first flower of that change,’ Fiona Alexander, the co-director of Assembly Direct, explained. 'What we are
looking to do is to offer performance opportunities to both Scottish and international musicians, and we have tried to come up with some new collaborations and new commissions. It's going to be a very exciting day for the musicians, and we hope for the audience as well.’
The highlights of the programme include a collaboration between Bill Wells’s imaginative Octet and the Amsterdam-based American saxophonist Michael Moore (exactly the kind of thing that would only happen in such a context), and a new trio project from Tom Bancroft, 'Hearing Voices’.
Guitarist Derek Bailey and drummer Han Bennink, two of the great names in European improvisation, will form an incendiary duo, and Han will be heard again with Ernst Reijseger and Michael Moore in the superb Clusone 3, now a well-established unit. It may not be music for the faint-hearted, but it will open up avenues of creative adventure which are too rarely heard in these parts. See Jazz listing for full running order.
BeDLaM Ago Go
Glasgow: Barrowland, Wed 18 & Thu 19 Mar.
A corporate hospitality suite in the Hilton is an odd place for talk of violently disparate musical styles, mental breakdowns, smack deaths and solvent abuse. Less than five years ago, BeDLaM Ago Go's front man Leigh Kenny was living in a squat, feeding SO pences into the meter, bathing in cold water and hiding behind the sofa when the rent man came. He’d just been released from a mental hospital after a severe mental breakdown and his sickness benefit was spent on materials for graffiti art, and Bic pens for poetry.
Now though he’s the ward of Sony Music, guardians of the self-help group BeDLaM Ago Go, a Leeds based four piece who are united by a bond of pain and hailed as the dark side of big beat.
’Everything is so good at the moment, I keep on having to look over my shoulder to see where l was at,‘ says Kenny who has just heard that BeDLaM are to support Finley Quaye on his UK tour, just as their second single ’Season No. S’ is released. He's the lyricist of the quartet and describes the forthcoming album as his personal sonic diary of an exceptionally grim period in his life.
The band's members couldn't be more diverse in style, with the twenty stone biker John Ludman on bass and crusty guitarist Twill Wilson, both in their 30s, thrown together with electro influenced programmer Phil Naylor and hip hop based Kenny.
’The common thread between us all is we've all experienced emotions on the line at one point or other‘, says _ Kenny in unhappy explanation. ’Twill was on the streets at thirteen and a mad solvent abuser until he was nineteen, John has just gone through his brother committing suicide, Phil lives in smack central and where we live everyone is topping themselves.’
But the music does not wallow in this experience, instead drawing from it and giving hope to people in the same situation. 'People need to hear songs like this so they know they aren’t alone. If I'd heard what I’m coming out with now I'd have been alright,’ explains Kenny. (Rory Weller)
BeDLaM Ago Go: looking on the bright side of life, finally
6-19 Mar 1998 TIIELIST‘S