Soundcheck Glasgow: CCA, Fri 29 Mar—Sun 2 Apr.
Assembly Direct’s Soundcheck has gone through several guises over the years, but the success of last year’s three-day event at the CCA (the final event at the Sauchiehall Street premises prior to its refurbishment) has led to a repeat of that format in their temporary home in the McLellan Galleries. If anything, the programme is even more appealing, featuring two excellent American pianists, Marilyn Crispell and Joanne Brackeen, and an early return for the Paris-born Vietnamese guitarist Nguyen Le (see listings for full details), whose late night concert in last year’s Glasgow Jazz Festival was one of the real highlights of the year.
’It will be interesting to bring a different band to Glasgow this time,’ says Lé . ’The bass player, Linley Marte, is from Mauritius, and the drummer, Laurent Robin, is French. Linley can bring an African flavour to the music — with Renaud it is more Spanish and Oriental. It’s also more open in this trio. They have a different kind of energy, and they also make me play a little differently.
’l‘ve worked with a few different trios,’ Lé continues, ’and for me it is a very interesting experiment to discover what the different musicians will bring to the music. The players I work with all have connections to jazz but also to different kinds of music as well. In terms of what music we play, the most specific is probably with Renaud, because he can play arco so well, and we have material to fit with his very strong identity. With Linley and Laurent it is more the repertoire of my previous CDs and, because it is based on the electric bass, it is more oriented to the groove and a strong rhythmic direction.’
The music of Lé's ancestral homeland has formed an important strand in his work, notably in his Tales From Vietnam project, a melding together of Vietnamese traditional song and contemporary jazz, ancient
France, Vietnam, Mauritius: Nguyen Lé's trio draw on a varied musical palette
instruments and state of the art electronic sampling. That experiment was not only strikingly successful in itself, but provided a route map for further explorations.
’l was in a cross-cultural situation from the beginning, and my band Ultramarine was one of the first ethnic fusion bands in France. Tales from Vietnam in 1995 was really when I started to work with my own roots in the Vietnamese tradition, and in doing that project I also learned a way to do something with other ethnic traditions, working from my identity as a jazz musician. Although it sounds very different. I could not have done Maghreb and Friends, which was a project I made with Moroccan music, if I had not already done Tales from Vietnam.’ (Kenny Mathieson)
’Dadrock is not something we want to be associated with'
prodigies, is no longer such a sure-fire guarantee for pop credibility. Despite having two appearances on TFI Friday under their belt and doing a warm-up for this tour by supporting Ocean Colour Scene in London, Matt is still sceptical about categorising the band. ’We've had a few people try to pigeonhole us as ’dadrock’ but it's not something we want to be associated with. It’s all dead and buried anyway.’ He’s right, of course, but it sounds a little like someone biting the hand that has fed them.
Still, the success of their single, ’Dancing In The Moonlight’, which rose to a very respectable 29 in the Official
ROCK/ POP Toploader Edinburgh: Venue, Wed 5 Apr.
If you caught them supporting Paul Weller a couple of years ago, you will know that Toploader are a band swimming towards success from the deep end. It’s been almost two years since they were first thrown in, but playing on their first tour to huge crowds who had just watched an acoustic set from Mr Noel Gallagher -— and were subsequently waiting for the
42 THE “ST 30 Mar-l3 Apr 2000
arrival of Mr Paul Weller — is an experience they haven't forgotten. 'We went from playing in front of 20 to 30 people to playing in front of 5,000,’ says bassist Matt. ’We're sitting in the dressing room and we can hear ’Live Forever’. He did five songs and we came on absolute nervous wrecks.’ What is surprising is that the band is reluctant to crow about the simple act of surviving the ordeal. Well, perhaps, not such a great surprise. The word of Mr Weller, notorious for portraying himself as a guiding influence to young
Top 40, is a significant step towards creating their own identity and gives them a bit of self-sufficiency image- wise. It is, after all, an endearing little number which, like the rest of their first album, Onka’s Big Moka, has the words ’feel-good’ and 'summer’ written all over it. Their tour will springboard them into the spotlight during the festival season and their well-crafted, 'classic’ songwriting will thrive in that arena. See them now before they’re playing at Knebworth. (Tim Abrahams)
This issue: Stuart Braithwaite of Mogwai.
Also known as pLasmatroN, Stuart Braithwaite is leader, frontman and regular spokesman for Mogwai, arguably Scotland's finest exponents of virtually vocal-less, angular, aerodynamic, glacial punk rock music. Such is their colossal influence that they were asked to curate this year's Bowlie Weekender All Tomorrow’s Parties at Camber Sands, which unsurprisingly picks up on many of the highlights of Scottish music. They play in Edinburgh as a warm-up date to their Bowlie appearance.
Name an album that's an unrecognised classic.
One Last Laugh In A Place Of Dying by The God Machine.
Which artist or record first made you want to make music? The Jesus and Mary Chain.
Name a song you wish you'd written? Pink Moon by Nick Drake.
Who was the first pop star you had a crush on? Betty 800.
What song makes you cry? ’I Would Have Liked Me A Lot Last Night’ by Arab Strap.
Name a gig that changed your life. Wormhole at the Edinburgh Venue.
Name a non-musical influence on your music.
The roads on which any of us have recently driven.
Who would be on your dream Top of the Pops?
Kraftwerk, The Cure, Britney Spears, The Yummyfur, Will Smith, 13th Floor Elevators and us.
What do you play as an aid to seduction?
I must admit that my record collection acts mostly as a detterent to seduction in most cases.
What do you sing in the shower? ’lnsight’ by Joy Division.
3 Mogwai play Edinburgh: Liquid Room, Tue 4 Apr Al/ Tomorrow’s Parties is at Bowlie, Camber Sands, Fri 7—Sun 9 Apr.
The man, the music. the hood that is Stuart Braithwaite