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MUSIC preview

Highland Drifting Festival

Edinburgh: Cafe Royal, l.l:n 3': & La Belle Ange-3e, Tue ‘5 Curated by US soundscapers Labradford, The Highland Drifting Festival features the best of the international underground and experimental scene. Labradford play the first night alongside ex- Wire man Bruce Gilbert, and there's disruptive electronica from Germany’s Oval. The second night has Labradford’s alter egos Pan American billed with Matmos and Durutti Column. It’s all part of an ever-moving festival (now in its second year) that celebrates the art of geographic and musical drifting, an idea first articulated by the Situationists. As a working strategy, drifting the straying from pre- mapped routes was supposed to function as a way of opening out the hidden psycho-geography of the modern city.

’I wouldn’t read too much into it, though,’ warns Labradford’s Mark Nelson. ’I think the idea of drifting is more like a description of the type of music that we make. It’s not goal-orientated in the sense of a rock song or even most dance music. It’s not linear.’

Instead, Labradford create a music

that constantly expands outward, amorphous. As heard on their current E Luxo So album, keyboards, minimal guitar and whispered vocals combine to create the perfect early-morning comedown. It’s an aesthetic which most of the other bands on the bill share.

’In some respects this is an effort to control the context that we’re heard in, rather than leaving it up to the kinds of generalisations that we often get thrown at us,’ Nelson explains. ’lt’s also an opportunity to present a real event, a full evening rather than half an hour of Labradford with disco music afterwards and a local rock

band beforehand.’ Post-rock, space-rock, out-rock - these are just some of

Ex osure

Every ortnight we turn the spotlight on an act who are either new or criminally ignored. This issue: NT.

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Get their drift: Labradford

the catch-all terms that media-gimps have used to bracket Labradford alongside a diverse rag-bag of sonic pioneers and un-inspired chancers.

’Post-rock isn’t something that I can relate to,’ sighs Nelson. ’It started out as a way to link bands that didn’t necessarily fit into any other category and then it just sort of turned into a category in itself it became a self- fulfilling prophecy. At this point, we’re just Labradford, that's all we are. We've made our own little universe. For people who are into it, it makes sense in itself. Whatever's happening in electronic music or rock music

or experimental music isn’t something we pay much

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Stirling: The Cowane Theatre, Fri 28—Sun 30 May.

How the hell Stirling ever became the premier stop-off for the world's most outward-bound musicians and artists is anybody’s guess, but it‘s about to happen again With the second Le Weekend mini-festival of experimental music.

Drew lvlulholland of Glaswegian sci-fl soundists Mount Vernon Arts Lab enjoyed last year's event so much he's notching up a second appearance. ’Last year was fantastrc,’ he raves. ‘The night we played, Future Pilot AKA was also on the bill as was Scottish jazz- titan Bill Wells. Saul Williams, a New York actor and poet, did his set and then inwted us all onto the stage for a communal jam, we were all lying on the floor, improwsing like mad.’

This year’s highlights include legendary Japanese guitarist/turntable terrorist Otomo Yoshihide (Sat 29), whose Visceral live shows have become the stuff of legend; another turntablist, Martin Tetreault from Quebec, makes his hotly antiCipated Scottish debut (Sun 30), Friday's Mass Producers are a startling all female free-blowmg sax orchestra, fired up on primitive, rock dynamics Saturday features Haco, a female vocalist from Japan, who specialises in psychedelic song-forms, drenched in traditional Japanese instrumentation. Mount Vernon Arts Lab play on the Friday as part of an Ochre Records electronica showcase which also includes ex-Spacemen 3 man, Sonic Boom's Experimental Audio Research, and the free-floating tone shift of Longstone and Land Of Nod. The whole event serves as a fantastic toe- dip for the sonically adventurous whose ranks, Mulholland feels, are set to keep on swelling.

'There's a real growrng interest in experimental muSic,’ he claims. ’I think it's just a natural reaction to Cast, Ocean Colour Scene, Oasis and all that The whole thing reminds me of when punk had just started. There are these people all over the country doing stuff under the umbrella of "experimental music " and though we’re all really different there's a tommon spirit there I used to feel that l was totally isolated but more and more people are picking up on the thread ' (David Keenan)

Adventurer in stereo: Otomo Yoshihide

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