Arches, Glasgow, Thu 13 Sep; La Belle Angele, Edinburgh, Sun 16 Sep.
You have to feel sorry for anyone from these Isles who even tries to make hip hop. Not because the audience for the music in this country is small (how many of us own Eminem albums?) but because they are entering a history of nearly- was and almost-rans. British hip hop has always had something of an inferiority complex.
Rodney P, former member of Big Audio Dynamite and the man credited by most as the first to put authentic British accents and slang into hip hop says it all: ‘English rappers have had so much to fight as MCs. You got the fact that we speak English, like the Americans. Them French boys - they got their own markets. They speak French so they sell records to French people. We have to compete with Jay Z and KRS-One. So we always felt like second best.’
Rodney made a manful effort to rectify the situation with the London Posse during the late-80$ but Britain’s nascent hip hop scene has always remained just that: a great, unfulfilled potential. A decade later and it’s the Two Rodneys. The former member of the London Posse is collaborating on two EPs with Rodney Smith AKA Roots Manuva. In 1998 Manuva’s debut album Brand New Second Hand
ELECTRONICA KID 606 13th Note Club, Glasgow,
There are only a handful of artists currently working in the realm of experimental electronica capable of expanding the genre. and Kid (306 is one of them. Beloved of the boffins he may be but San Diego's Michael Depredo has the capaCity to rework the cut 'n' paste. genre-bending thing into a confident art form; one that balances artistic integrity with broad appeal and dammit. a bit of commercial clout. PS / Love You was his most critically acclaimed album to date — simply because the Kid had stopped away from the fractured personality and chronic lack of seriousness in his preVious records whilst maintaining his original voice.
showed that there was a new voice in British hop that could speak successfully not just to a small fraternity of Brit-hop fans but to a wider domestic and international audience. Now he is back with its formidable sequel, Run Come Save Me, and Britain has it’s maturest, most confident hip hop in years, perhaps ever.
There may be echoes of Britain’s previously most successful appropriators of the hip hop sound Massive Attack but Run Come Save Me is tight with the bustling, threatening sound of South London reggae. It’s also overlaid with Manuva’s greatest asset; a bold singular voice. Listen to the biographical account of his childhood relationship with his
What a save!
father, a preacher in the Pentecostal Church on ‘Sinny Sin Sins’, you get some idea of where this voice, which doesn’t really rap and doesn’t really toast, comes from. Listen to ‘Join The Dots’ his collaboration with Chali 2na from Jurassic 5 and you realise this voice has its place next to America’s best.
The album’s sparse, dubby depths are more likely to attract attention. When Manuva got together with the aforementioned Rodney P, to rework Pharoahe Monch’s ‘Simon Says’ for the highly respected US label Rawkus Records, in one remix, British MCs and producers finally got the respect and recognition they deserved in the States. And that was long before anyone had heard Run Come Save Me. (Tim Abrahams)
JAZZ ANATHOLI BULKIN TRIO
Havana, Glasgow, Sun 9 Sep.
Depredo is still only twenty though so he'll be content to take the piss out of the hardcore experimental scene for a
Jazz without a safety net
while yet. There are dangerous signs < f maturity though lurking within all that wacky hilarity. Here's hoping the Kid maintains his eye for the girls as well. (Tim Abrahams)
0 Up for a bit of a Kid on 46 'I; 8‘56, 9”, SUI) kill,"
Bulkin's trio music covers a Wide field. ranging from lvtetheny- influenced impressionism through to power-trio pyrotechnics. with all kind of ethnic flavourings thrown in. The guitarist has spent time in Africa recording local musiCians. and also draws on the music of Cuba and Brazil. His aim is to explore and develop the rhythmic language of these musics. and incorpOrate fresh melodic and harmonic ideas into them.
He worked with Charlie Banacos. a highly respected jazz teacher. and is a prolific composer as well as fiery player. His music combines improVisation and composition in varying degrees. ‘lt varies a lot.‘ he says. ‘Sometimes the use of a short melody and some chords to go with that feels suffICient for the tune to be complete. Other times. when it feels right for the music. the song can be very much arranged and written. For me. everything With music has elements of composing and improvisation all integrated With each other. more or less the whole time.
Composing is improVIsation in slow motion and With the priVilege to add and subtract before you present it. Improwsation is like live composing in the heat of the moment. With no safety net. But I can also foresee a future when | WI” be composing tunes that are totally written. The music itself will tell you if it needs improVIsations. arrangements. or whatever. if you listen close enough.‘ lKenny Mathieson)
GILAD ATZMON QUARTET
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Sun 9 Sep; New Theatre, Paisley, Tue 11 Sep; Henry’s Jazz Cellar, Edinburgh, Wed 12 Sep; Adam Smith Theatre, Kirkcaldy, Fri 14 Sep.
Gilad Atzmon has been attracting a great deal of attention on the UK jazz scene for his fiery saxophone and clarinet playing. but he upped the ante with his much-discussed presentation on what he called 'the current impotence of British iazz' at the Modal MUSIC conference earlier this year.
His prinCipal target was the dependence culture that pervades British jazz. He drew an unfavourable comparison with the eat-or- be-eaten attitude among mu3icians in his native Israel. He sent out a plea to his fellow musicrans in the UK to forget about Arts COuncil form-filling. public funding, and the whole apparatus of political correctness and equal opportunity which has turned them into what he called 'Poli-Jazzers'. a species of pontical bureaucrat.
'Please let us struggle. Please let us try hard to entertain our audience. to make them hungry to listen to more of our music. Please stop turning muSiCians into Poli-Jazzers. Please bin all your philosophical ideas of eQLiality of chances in music. leave all your ideas and criterions of gender. race. disabilities. sexual preferences. etc. I suggest that yOu first listen to the muSical values and ignore the rest. Music is abOut lTlLlSlC. MUSIC is too important and beautiful to let politiCIans spOil it.‘
Strong stuff. and not deSIgned to win him any popularity contests «but then. he's pretty scathing abOLit those. tOOi Ali/WON. who is also a member of The Blockheads. plays a batch of Scottish dates (mostly in SleSldlSCd venuesll With his highly regarded Quartet. (Kenny Mathiesonl
Partly political protest