On the verge of a brace of rare shows and a new single, BIS get ready to dish out some kickings.
They're so big in Japan you can get watches that play their music, while in America they are still near the bottom of the pile but steadily augmenting their profile. In Britain they’ve created television history, enjoyed maximum exposure and then received a massive kicking from press and punters that has left them dazed and confused. But one thing Bis (for ‘tis they) do know is that their new material is ‘all bloody good!’
Sci-fi Steven, Manda kin and John Disco are perched on stools in the former 13th Note chatting animatedly about the year they spent touring America, Europe and Japan and about their new album, already recorded but not out until early next year. There is virtually no trace of resentment at the mauling they have received since they became impossible to avoid two years ago. Following their unexpected hit ‘Kandy Pop‘ and status as the first unsigned band to be granted a Top Of The Pops appearance, they became everyone‘s favourite whipping boys (and girl). It seemed as if bouncy pop, shouty vocals and hairslides
Bis: not. by any stretch of the imagination, lo-fi
pops for the. Festival. Don Carlos One of the contenders
were the work of Satan but, like Scott Walker said, there‘s no regrets.
‘Because of that hit shockwaves went through to Japan,‘ says Steven. ‘Had we not had that hit we might still be releasing 7in singles. So we can‘t say it‘s a bad thing.‘
‘I think we have every right to be extremely cynical,‘ says John. ‘But we‘ve avoided it.‘
Rather than lick their wounds, Bis just carried on with the business of developing their sound. Forthcoming single ‘Eurodisco‘, out some time this year, and other album tracks are very different from the shrieking teen anthems of the past, displaying a more streamlined, slinky approach which at times sounds like the smooth
trip hop of Sneaker Pimps but elsewhere still has an angular edge which recalls their producer Andy Gill‘s former band Gang Of Four.
'We’re very fussy now over things like drum sounds,‘ says Manda. 'We‘ve ditched a lot of drum machine sounds and we sample and use sequencers instead and it sounds enormous. If anyone calls this album lo-fi I will personally go round to their house and kick their face inl‘
Clearly still intent on packing a punch, Manda promises ‘we're going to be around for a long time.‘ (Fiona Shepherd)
m Bis (Planet Pop) Cas Rock, 229 4347, 14 Aug, 9pm, £5 (£4.50). Glasgow: CCA, 21 Aug.
Malcolm Martineau: poetry and pianos
Internationally in demand by a whole galaxy of glitzy singers, accompanist Malcolm Martineau still feels he is only at home when he gets off the train at Waverley. Brought up in Edinburgh, he now lives in London, but is very glad to be coming home to play a major role in the music programme of this year's Festival. Invited to devise a way of presenting the complete songs of Austrian composer Hugo Wolf, Martineau has risen to the challenge with great flair.
Twelve recitals will be given, mainly by Martineau and singers who work with him regularly, such as Barbara Bonney, Bryn Terfel and Lisa Milne. 'It is
a massive undertaking,’ he says 'and I've tried to make the link through the poets’.
Wolf himself regarded the words he set — by Goethe, MCrike, Ibsen — as exceptionally important and Martmeau has taken this as his lead. 'The singers are all, of course, different but they all get into the background of the poems. If you're a good artist, the interpretation comes from the centre of the poetry.’ Some of the songs are rarely heard and, says Martmeau, 'it's amazing how wonderful the early songs are, a bit like Rossini or Viennese operetta, and then others are almost like the Second Viennese School. Some of these are only one page. Nobody dares to write a one page song unless it's a masterpiece — and these are.’
(Carol Main) a For details see Hit list, right.
thusical top of the
for the jewel in the crown of the International Festival, Verdi's opera, based on Schiller's drama, boasts an all star cast. Don Carlos (International Festival) The Royal Opera, Edinburgh Festival Theatre, 473 2000, 77, 20, 25, 28 Aug, 6pm, £5—£50.
Malcolm Martineau See preview, left. The Songs Of Hugo Wolf (International Festival) various venues, various days and times, £12.50.
Spiritualized Ground-breaking British composer Steve Martland joins forces with Jason Pierce for some of the strangest and hopefully most beautiful music you are likely to hear. Martland has rearranged some of Spiritualized songs and written some new material. See feature. Spiritualized and Steve Mart/and (Fringe) Flux, Queen’s Hall (Venue 72) 668 2019, 74, 75 Aug, 8pm,
Geno Washington Quite possibly the most irrepressible man in show biz returns to Edinburgh to belt out the non-stop soul and R&B party numbers. Last year he created quite a storm, so strap on your dancing shoes and unleash your tonsils. Geno Washington and the Purple Aces (Fringe) Observer Assembly Rooms (Venue 3) 226 2428, until 27 Aug (not 78, 25), 12. 75am, £9.50/£8.50 (£8. 50/£ 7.50).
Tam White‘s Celtic Blues Connection Descriptions of Tam's voice are duty bound to contain the words 'gravel' and honey' and this one is no different. Tam has just released a new album, called The Real Deal it was recorded live in Edinburgh, and is a bit of a belter. These shows are odds on to sell out. Tam White’s Celtic Blues Connection (Fringe) Spiege/tent (Venue 87) 558 8070, 76—22 Aug, 17.45pm, £8 (£6). The Poozies This all-female singing quartet have lovers of traditional music quivering in their chairs. The Poozies (Fringe) Spiege/tent (Venue 87) 558 8010, 20-22 Aug, 7pm, £8 (£6).
13—20 Aug 1998 THE usns