ELECTRONIC Atom Heart
Glasgow: Optimo at Planet Peach, Sun 26 Mar.
Atom Heart, as well as finding the time to produce some 50 discs over the past fifteen years, runs a record label dubbed Rather Interesting. To describe the man's career in such low-key terms would, however, be a gross understatement. On the face of it, he shares all the hallmarks of your bog standard underground dance music producer: the bewildering array of names, the prolific release schedule, the Top 40 hit in Belgium. Scratch the surface, though and things begin to get extremely interesting.
From his first forays into production in the mid-80$, the Frankfurter has endeavoured to side-step the conventions of dance music, in part by relocating to Chile so as to divorce himself from the European music scene and develop a purely personal approach to sound. In fact, rather than using his pseudonymous releases as a
ECAT Young Composers' and Writers' Forum
Open Workshop Sessions, Reid Concert Hall, Bristo Square: Sat 25 Mar 10am—1pm and 2.30-5.30pm; Sun 26 Mar Z—Spm; Concert: Sun 26 Mar 7.45pm. It is a generally held view that contemporary music is alive, well and flourishing in Scotland at this moment in history more than any other. James MacMillan is now a household name and there are other living composers who deserve to be only a little further behind him. Yet as one generation blossoms, it is vital that the roots of the next are nurtured to bring forth the creative blooms of the future. One organisation which tirelessly champions the cause of composers at all stages of their careers is ECAT, otherwise known as Edinburgh Contemporary Arts Trust. Realising in particular the needs of young composers,
’We tried to concentrate on the relationship between words and music'
worked hard and there are some really good ideas. In one of them, we won't change a thing. It's perfect.’
ECAT has presented an annual Young Composers' Forum since 1995. Through it, young Scottish composers hear their work rehearsed and performed by professional artists of international calibre. This year, the idea has extended to include writers so that the Forum concentrates on the relationship between words and music. Performing the results are VOCEM Electric Voice Theatre. Founder and singer Frances Lynch says that the project grew out of an initial masterclass/workshop in November. 'Through visiting composer Simon Bainbridge and visiting writer Mick Gowar they were encouraged to connect the two things - words and music — together,’ she says.
Three months later and with an age range from under twelve to over eighteen, six pairings and one individual who has worked on both words and music have all, remarkably, submitted their contributions on time to meet VOCEM's rehearsal deadline. 'Some have needed a little modification,‘ says Lynch, 'but everyone has produced something well worth hearing. They've all
Although all of the seven music-theatre pieces are short, averaging about ten minutes in length, they are all varied. 'One is based on the idea of a scream, which is rather wonderful', explains Lynch, 'another on a Picasso painting and another uses a poem which is a kind of riddle. We think it’s probably about a mythical sea creature.’
One of the youngest duos is that of eleven-year-olds Iona Bain and Laura Hamilton. ’They've used electronics and voices in a very scary way in a piece called ’The Sleepless House’,’ says Lynch. For Laura, the writer, the experience has been an enriching one. ‘l've found out a lot of new things, like different ways of writing, which we wouldn't learn in school,’ she says. ’At the workshop I also heard different kinds of music, which I'd not really heard before.’ Following open workshops over the weekend of 25 and 26 March the finished compositions will be performed by soprano, counter-tenor and bass, with sound design engineer, costumes and lighting. (Carol Main)
A style which can only be described as cool
pioneering 60s electronica, but in actual fact the album seems motivated primarily by good old-fashioned indie. Tracks like the recent EP header ’Papercuts' translate humdrum emotions into catchy tunes like any of the raft of decent, Smiths-influenced bands that people listened to before Britpop.
Bassist James Cargill dismisses all suggestions of contriving a cool image. ’We decided to sign to Warp as it seemed more interesting to go that route. And we got on with them.’ Cargill does, however, agree that the latest release is a far friendlier affair and puts it down to being able to create the album as a whole. ’With the first album being a collection of singles there isn't quite the consistency I like
ELECTRONIC/ROCK Broadcast Glasgow: 13th Note Club, Fri 24 Mar.
Cool. It's a word that tends to crop up in any description of Broadcast. Whether its describing their status as the only vaguely conventional band on the absurdly hip techno label, Warp, or the refined, cinematic angle they take on electronica, you always have to resort at some point to the adjective 'cool'. It's not just a fashion thing either. On their first singles, collected
44 THE UST 16—30 Mar 2000
and released as Work And Non Work by Warp, the voice of lead singer Trish Keenan dispassionately explains the world around her in the detached manner of the late-60$ euro- chanteuse; a style which can only be described as cool.
Now with the release of their first ’proper’ album The Noise Made By People and the first tour in a couple of years, it looks as if we are going to get a better look at the distant, astral body known as Broadcast. They may stress their fascination with film scores and
from listening to albums myself, but I think there is from the new one.’ Whereas in the past, Broadcast seemed to have been eclipsed by better-known bands, the move to Warp has given them room to develop. They still inhabit the same, slightly intellectual area of contemporary pop music as Stereolab and the like, but however cool they may appear to be, it is Broadcast who are putting their heart into it. (Tim Abrahams) n The Noise Made By People is released on Mon 20 Mar.
chance to off load substandard material or cash in commercially, Atom Heart uses various names to skip between genres. As LB, he goes in for intellectual synth pop covers of Bowie and John Lennon. As Lisa Carbon Trio, he betrays his German roots and unleashes densely layered, precisely programmed dub electronica full of pops, clicks and squeaks. Goodness only knows what the Weird Shit side project sounds like.
Atom Heart’s debut live performance in the UK could, then, be anything from a salsa frenzy to a skewed take on Top Of The Pops, and may include material from the forthcoming LB long player — Latin reworkings of the Kraftwerk back catalogue. Whatever guise Atom Heart adopts at Optimo, the show is a sure-fire winner for fans of any electronic music form, and a rare chance to see the endlessly inventive virtuoso programmer.
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From intellectual synth pop covers of Bowie and Lennon to densely layered, precisely programmed dub electronica
full of pops, clicks and squeaks