The next big smg Who is going to crack the Top Twenty this year? From zero to heroes, here’s The List’s predictions for the musical New Year.

It’s that time of year again when music hacks up and down the land make complete arses of themselves by attempting to predict what's going to break big in the next twelve months. Here at The List we are just as eager as the next idiot to put our necks on the block and cover our faces with egg.

Last year, the yolk was on us when we said that subcircus were going to rise again. They didn't. We also said that Earl Brutus would soon be straddling the musical world like colossi. They aren't but then they’ve not dipped below the radar either, so we got that half right. Sort of. We tipped Tortoise for the top as well and while they weren't exactly Top Of The Pops regulars, their last album sold more than twenty copies which, in Tortoise terms, is a soaraway success.

On firmer ground we backed The Propellerheads. Since they were halfway there anyway, this was a bit like saying that the sun would rise the next day but every betting spread has to have a guaranteed cert and they were ours. Bedlam A Go Go, The Dub Pistols and Dust Junkys all got a mention and acquitted themselves reasonably. Ultrasound were namechecked, it’s just that we were too far ahead of ourselves and they will break this year. Honest.

The ones we didn’t mention were Catatonia, Cornershop, Fatboy Slim, The Corrs and Robbie. They were all nowhere at this time last year and now they are titans of the charts. No thanks to us.

This year's bankers are The Stereophonics. Already big, the release of their second album Performance And Cocktails will see them go stratospheric. On the same label (V2), Edinburgh’s Annie Christian will release their


Stereophonics: The List's music section's pension plans are riding on you.

debut album Twilight and will be in with a shout.

On a different tip altogether, industro-metal muthas Rammstein will ride the current wave of controversial publicity to some form of a peak, while Jurassic Five and possibly Black Eyed Peas will consolidate their fledgling success with their old skool hip hop. Continuing the dancey theme, the Skint label have a live wire on their hands in the form of big beaters The Wiseguys.

Meanwhile, the campaign for real rock looks set to drag on with the honest grit of Witness, mates of The Verve and inhabitants of Wigan.

More humble pie, this time next year. (Jonathan Trew)

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CLASSICAL Edinburgh Quartet

Edinburgh: Queen’s Hall, Sun 10 Jan and touring.

Days of commissioning new music from court, council or the conveniently wealthy are pretty much long gone now. So what does the budding young composer do to realise artistic dreams while earning enough to live on? The answer is lots of hard work, usually involving something other than composing. But some groups have iustrfiably admirable reputations in commissioning new work, which is funded through a mixture of public and private money.

One ensemble which has never stopped encouraging new musm, particularly from Scottish composers, is the Edinburgh Quartet Their latest protect, supported by the lottery, involves commissioning string quartets from three up-and-coming composers and placing them on a programme alongside Haydn and Beethoven.

’lt’s something we’ve been thinking about for some time,’ says the ouartet’s viola player Michael Beeston, 'and the reason we’ve done it is to try to encourage young composers to write new work, which will become firin parts of our repertone.’

Given that the Edinburgh Quartet tour from every nook and cranny of Srotland to the Middle East, this is quite a coup for the three composers, who are all very different in their approach. The first is Kenneth Derripster ’He wrote his previous string quartet, Under The Hammer, for us,’ explains Beeston. ’This one, ra!led Scattered Tears, is also autobior‘iraphical in its content.’

The second composer is Amanda Collins. 'She's very different,’ Beeston continues. 'Her quartet is ADSR, standing for attack, decay, sustain and release.’ This is related to the sound world which inspires her.

The last of the trio is Matthew Roddie, whose work the Quartet came across at the Opening of the 25th Aberdeen International Youth Festival. All three are also going into schools to work wrth pupils in Edinburgh, Stirling and Glasgow. ’lf we get people to write for us, we really want to have the music played,’ says Beeston. With 30 schools and nine concerts for starters, there is little danger of that not happening (Carol Main)

Edinburgh Quartet: commission possible

.1- 21 Jan 1999 THE LIST47