Gorky's Zygotic Mynci: it's an anagram of 'go tic my cozy sky grin'. Which seems strangely appropriate.
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci
Edinburgh:Venue, Wed 23 Sep
Kate Bush, Paul Weller, Roddy Frame . . . Veteran songwriters, some of whom have grown old more gracefully than others and some of whom have continued to produce music at a rate of knots. However, all were prolific prodigies in their salad days, producing acclaimed precocious work as though off a quality- controlled conveyor belt.
Doing just as good a job of building up a mountainous back catalogue before he’s long out of short trousers is Euros Childs, the 22-year-old singer and chief songwriter with Welsh whizzkids Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci (pronounced ’monkey'). His band have just released their fifth album — which in a rare bout of linear thinking they have called Gorky 5 - and Childs is currently working on ideas for the next one like the old hand that he is. Beat that, Hanson.
'Every year we do an album, it's quite natural for us,’ says Childs with typical self-deprecation. ’Some bands work five years on an album but there’s a danger of getting over precious about the idea of what an album is. For us us an album is what you happen to be doing that year as opposed to this grand statement.’
Instead, Gorky 5 is a rather muted statement from a group whose usual approach to making records is to fit the kitchen sink in wherever possible. Previous albums have been characterised by the breadth of musical styles which the group pulp in order to arrive at their imaginative spacefolkcountryprogbluespop. On this album, they’re mainly pop with a touch of the blues. And a little bit country. But that’s about it, really. Apart from the Russian folky title track.
‘In the past, we've used a lot of experimentation in the studio,’ says Childs. 'We've layered songs and used six keyboards at the same time, loads of stuff going on, loads of backing vocals. I think for us it was an experimental thing to strip it down to the core. People might say it's much safer and less experimental but that’s not strictly true. It's not experimental if you apply it to other bands but to us the idea of writing a straight love song with a minimal band behind it is new and exciting.’
Childs implies that now they’ve purged their need to do the ’straight love song’ thing, it's time to revert to manic story-based songs with about ten tempo changes and more ideas than most groups pack into an entire career. Abormal service will be resumed as soon as possible. (Fiona Shepherd)
S ;. \ .1;
One half of V Twin: it's the name of a motorbike engine, trainspotters
j ROCK ! VTwin
really think of the Twin?" relates drummer Michael McGaughrin, ’and he said people just laugh at us.’
musically really great but I think we “ were all just so into it that it was quite funny to watch. People were entertained.’
V Twin formed to play rather than to record. They acquired their own studio — Twin Towers — at Christmas, but this doesn't seem to have made them any more industrious. For their two single releases to date, they invited jazz arranger Bill Wells and Katrina Pastel into the studio to keep things interesting for them and create a little ready-made audience to perform to. The results were ’Gifted’, a spirited Northern Soul cover with Katrina sharing vocals with Jason, and the current oddly compelling tribal instrumental 'In The Land Of The Pharaohs’ with Wells.
If Rock Family Trees ever attempts to dOCument the 90s Clydebeat scene, V Twrn have surely covered enough bases to ensure lﬂClUSlOﬂ, The various members hold down jobs in a number of pivotal record shops and music venues throughout the city, making
them unashamed scenesters. Nevertheless, respect seems hard to come by.
’I asked a friend "What do people
’But are they laughing at us or with us?’ asks singer Jason MacPhail.
’They’re laughing at us.’
’Well, a band like the New York Dolls were hilarious,’ says Jason, by way of justification. ’They were really camp and Johnny Thunders was being sick behind his amp while he was playing. When we got together we were all so excited that all we did was play New York Dolls songs. I don’t know if it was
Other singles are planned — one straight pop, another with Knucklehead DJ Johnny Wilkes — and if they can overcome their studio phobia an album will be recorded at the end of the year. Given their schizophrenic sound — R&8, country, pop, electronica - it could be the best compilation tape ever made. (Fiona Shepherd)
l /n The Land Of The Pharaohs is out now on Domino Records.
Scottish International Piano Competition
I Glasgow Royal Concert Hall & RSAMD, 12—79 Sep.
Just about to be held for the fifth time, the week long Scottish International Piano Competition has proved beyond doubt that it is one of the hottest events in the world for outstanding young pianists. This year, it has attracted 700 applicants from all over the globe, from Chile to Uzbekistan. But up beside the exotic sounding place names sit Aberdeenshire’s Muchalls and its prodigy, 23 year old Joseph Long, the only Scot to be selected.
For Joseph Long, a Cambridge graduate whose First class honours degree achieved the highest mark in his year, the opportunity of entering the competition means much more than the chance of winning the £10,000 prize, the series of engagements, the trophy and the status. ’I’m basically interested in participating to further my experience and make contacts, especially with other competitors and members of the jury. And, of course, everyone is hoping to get to the final.’
Before reaching that stage, the competitors have to jump some immensely challenging hurdles. The 54 hopefuls who have been selected to come to Glasgow must first perform a 25 minute recital. The twelve who get that far don’t get to heave a huge sigh of relief as they then have to perform a specially commissioned work by Graham Hair, Professor at Glasgow University. ’It’s quite unusual to have a commissioned piece in a competition,’ says Long. ’It’s called Wild Cherries And Honeycomb and it’s actually very difficult pianistically.’
Practising for around five or six hours every day (he used to do fourteen), Joseph Long is modest about how he might fare. ’Everyone is playing to a fully professional standard,’ he says, 'and it’s difficult to know what’s being looked for.’
Also a selected participant when the competition was last held three years ago, Long says, ’I was very young then. This time, it’s brought a lot of publicrty and I’ll be very, very pleased if I did get anywhere or made some contacts.’ Good luck! (Carol Main)
Joseph Long: hopefully holding the keys to success
10—24 Sep 1998 THE usr 39