Glasgow: 13th Note Club, Fri 18 Aug.
Mel ourne's Dirty Three are very much about the music, man. At least, this is the impression gained from speaking with frontman- violinist Warren Ellis. ’For me, music and life are intrinsically linked,’ he says. ’You could replace either word with the other and it’d still make sense. Dirty Three give music a free rein. I’ve made no more attempt to understand it since I was young, and yet it’s still as relevant today - but at the same time I’m still inquisitive about it, I'm still looking for something new.’
It’s also the impression gained from the band's gorgeous, mesmeric, latest long-player Whatever You Love, You Are. A Bhuddist sentiment, surely? ’lt’s an idea that’s both very simple and very big. The things you truly love define you in a good way, but also in a bad way. Basically, what you give is what you get.
'There’s been points in my life when music has sorted things out for me. Often I’ve seen the group as a haven to retreat to, and the music we make is a result of the feelings each one of us has. It’s a way of finding sense in things, so in that way it is very spiritual.’
But it's in witnessing Dirty Three live that you realise Ellis isn't just speaking in tongues. He‘s trying to describe something that is after all indescribable, something which he describes best onstage, wrestling with his violin, searching for every last ounce of elusive meaning in every possible note and sound. It can’t be put into words, so Dirty Three don't, relying instead on the simple violin/guitar/drums line-up that has seen them through five critically-acclaimed albums and earn a growing fanbase in America and Europe. Ellis feels that the band’s simplicity, along with flirtations with
‘ I The spiritual souls that are the Dirty Three
other projects, are galvanising factors. ’Having just the three instruments has been a challenge to keep things new and fresh. We all work in other groups - Mick and Jim have played with Will Oldham and Cat Power, I play with the Bad Seeds - and these collaborations allow us to work other areas. As a result, we find that we're invigorated when the three of us get back together.
’l've never thought that what we're doing is rocket science,’ Ellis humbly admits. ’lt’s from a very basic place. But we occupy a strange base, between many scenes and genres. Lacking a pigeonhole is.a definite asset. What's most encouraging though is that the public seems to be becoming more in tune with us.’
Finding the band's wavelength is almost a natural process, as rhythmic guitar and percussion draw you into the musical stories spun by Ellis’ violin. And live is where and when to get completely lost in Dirty Three’s elusive world. For Ellis, the process is simple: 'You've got to follow those chords, man.’ Go on. You’ll be in a better place. (Jan F Zeschky)
Cain are more than able to bend a few genres
influences is pretty impossible. When we get together there’s lots of jamming, and everyone works hard at it. There’s seven people in the band and everyone brings their influences in from outside, from heavy jazz to the opera stuff to ska. We do live drum & bass, there's lots of rap in there and it's all very atmospheric, especially when Rachel's wailing away in the background. Basically, it’s all just a bit scary.’
If the Cain sound is hard to pin down, the group seem a mite clearer about their ambitions. 'We’ve no specific aim,’ Devin continues, 'other than to make really great music, and to see where that takes us. We’ve all been
Glasgow: Yang, 24 Aug.
Regulars at one of Glasgow's finest club nights, Mish Mash, will recognise the core members of Cain as the percussionists and MC who rock the Riverside Club each month. ’We started off to promote the Mish Mash Music CD and play at the club nights,’ explains drummer Devin, ’But we found ourselves tearing it up and doing our own twists on the material
on the record, which was pretty jazz- based, taking things a little bit darker.’ Cain's twists and turns seem to flow naturally out of the diverse backgrounds each member brings to the group, from vocalist Rachel Arbuckle’s roots in opera to Devin’s days in ska combo Capone and the Bullets.
’There’s no real philosophy behind the band,’ admits Devin, ’we just try to keep it dark and groovy. Everybody is doing other things, so trying to list
around the block, so we're taking it easy, but taking the music very seriously at the same time. At the moment we’re concentrating on getting the set tight, and getting more and more tunes together.’
Cain, then, are that rare thing: a band that can genuinely be described as unique. And, unless you know of other artists mining the opera ska-hop breakbeat seam, they are essential listening for fans of off-kilter genre- bending new music. (lack Mottram)
We bring you the brightest gems from the deep and dark diamond mine of pop. This issue: Animation. Animation are a psychedelic country- folk band with quietly experimental electronic leanings and a tendency to sound like Neil Young trying to wake up a sleeping Led Zep so he can have a good cry on their collective shoulder. Young is crying, incidentally, because Pink Floyd stole his girlfriend after a party ’round the Black Heart Procession’s gaff back in ’63.
How did it all begin? Mainman Frances Green had a brace of songs, but lacked a band. 'I used to go hill-walking with Guy, and mentioned that I had some songs, and it turned out he was a drummer,’ Green explains. ’I already knew a bass-player, so . . .’
Sounds haphazard. Quite so. The recording of the new album was similarly loose: ’It was just a matter of gathering people together, you know; if we needed a cellist we asked around, and eventually found this 78-year-old who normally plays at weddings.’ The disc also makes use of Sauchiehall Street buskers, a collection of door buzzer recordings from a day spent wandering around Glasgow with a dictaphone and, more conventionally, a string quartet and full brass section.
How can I check out the Animation sound? As you might imagine, gigs are proving a logistical nightmare at the moment. For one thing, the bass-player Currently resides in Peru, and Green is off on an acoustic mini-tour of Canada and the States. Their debut CD, Sunset In Black And White, is available in true indie fashion as a limited run of 1000, complete with handmade cardboard case and photo booklet, via the band’s own label Sinking Ship Records.
Any plans for the future? ’We set up the label because we couldn’t do the conventional route of gigging and getting signed. We just keep taking these little steps, finding out what you need to do to get a record out, and it would be great to help other people making music in their bedrooms release stuff through the label.’
These guys sound good, how do I contact them? For details of future live performances and to get your hands on the album, direct enquires to sinkingshiprecords©hotmail.com, and keep a eye out for a forthcoming website. (Jack Mottram)
Animated man, Frances Green
17—24 Aug 2000 THE LIST 25