Arches, Glasgow, Sun 9 Dec.
Beyond corporate cash-cow cack and nu-metal onanism,
musical horizons aren’t so much
expanding as gazing off into the middle distance, with an increasingly nomadic huddle of sonic seekers in search of something beyond it. Hallelujah then, for the holy grail of Instal, the Arches all-day festival of genre-melding music that dares to use all the scary words like ‘experimental’, ‘electronic’, and (whisper it), ‘contemporary classical’ without shame.
To Rococo Rot’s Robert Lippock’s in-the-field cityscapes, the NATO-backed electro-psycho-geographic ditties of Icebreaker International and pretty power- book melodies of Christian Fennesz are all plugged-in alongside the Paragon Ensemble performing a
specially commissioned work by
the James McMillan-trained David Fennesy, as well as pieces by Xenakis and Morton
Feldman. On video is a selection
culled from Edinburgh
The Holy Grail of experimental sound
International Film Festival’s Mirrorball, while the bar and foyer area will be wired for sound by DJs from Consume. Umpteen other acts, happenings and interventions ensue, making for a bumper pre- festive sensuround package of cutting edge sounds to be cherished as they cascade across the
venue’s full vista.
Begat from 1999’s similarly eclectic Polaroid event, Instal is just the latest in an increasing line of showcases exploring new musical territories, from Edinburgh’s House Of Dubois evenings and Labradford’s Festival Of Drifting to Stirling’s Le Weekend, All Tomorrow’s Parties and the revamped CCA’s tantalising programme of avant-gardia. It’s clearly a labour of love for lnstal’s curators, frustrated at the lack of public outlets for hybrid musical forms.
‘We believe there are enough people out there hungry enough for different types of music to make
this work,’ says Tiernan Kelly, aka Defaalt, who will himself perform. ‘It’s not just about navel-gazing,’ adds Barry Esson. ‘A lot of what’s labelled experimental is actually very accessible, but people are put off because they presume its not.’
Kicking off at an early doors 5pm, and running till midnight, Kelly and Esson stress the importance of promptish arrival, as, unlike bog-standard ‘plus special guests’ affairs, there is no pecking order to Instal, with each component as vital as the next. Nevertheless, a late and very special addition is the appearance of Kojo Asano, Japan’s prolifically wayward (twenty-odd, some very odd, albums in the last two years) innovator, noted for his mix ‘n’ match approach that embraces the full shebang, from pin-drop quiet piano solos to full-throttle extended guitar strikes.
In an ideal world, Instal would be packed to the gunnels, running annually, crossing borders and making the future a little more tangible. Now pick up thy laptop, and play. (Neil Cooper)
Corn Exchange, Edinburgh, Sat 8 Dec.
Years pass and fads fade. but it takes more than a few minor setbacks to break the mighty Ash. After a decidedly lukewarm reception to Nu-c/ear Seurids. Tim and co ditched the psuedo- metal and have gone on to make the album of their career in Free All Angels. a powerful collection of songs with killer melodies aplenty. Tim Wheeler takes time Out from the band's tour of Europe to talk about the year that brought Ash back to the forefront of British music.
2001: yetir most successful year to date? 'Well. it's been a toss up between this one and ‘96. but I think this one's been pretty good judging from where we came back from,‘ Wheeler explains. ‘I had writer's block for
the last album. This time it was kind of a writing fest! We knew it was really strong but you just don't know how things will turn out; so many great albums get lost.‘ As their musical peers drop like flies. how do Ash keep alive and kicking? ‘I am pretty proud of the way things are going for us. It seems to be the year for bands to break up and it's pretty fucked up because Elastica gave us Our first ever tour. I suppose because we're young we tend to bounce back from any t0ugh times we've had.‘ 80 where do punk pop's most perfect scoundrels go from here? ‘We‘re going to do some new singles in July. I've always dreamed of having a number one single so maybe one day. Just to have a fucking massive. brilliant song that becomes synonymous with the band.‘ Wheeler's knack for writing spectacular, life-affirming
choruses that mix pop sensibilities with straight up rock 'n' roll riffery is back and boosted. Get ready for one hell of a homecoming. (Camilla Pia)
JAZZ MOSCOW ART TRIO CCA, Glasgow, Sat 8 Dec.
The rumour that pianist Misha
Alperin had disbanded the Moscow
Art Trio proved to be true, but only
temporarily so. Alperin admits he had reached a point where he
th0ught the band had gone as far as they COuld with their own distinctive
fusion of jazz, folk and classical
styles. but changed his mind after taking a sabbatical in Spain, when
the compositions began to flow again.
The Moldavian pianist (he now lives
in Norway) has always been the band's principal composer and
arranger. A classically trained pianist with an interest in both folk and jazz. he formed what was the forerunner
of the trio in his due with French horn player Arkady Shilkoper, a member of both the Bolshoi Orchestra and the Moscow
Philharmonic. who had grown tired
of the predictability of the classical
repertoire. Alperin‘s music offered a fresh
outlet for both players. The pianist
aimed to use “elements of folk music to create a new voice'. one in which jazz. free improvisation. avant—garde
rock and an impeccable classical pedigree all played a role. They recorded the excellent Wave Of
Sorrow for ECM in 1989 as a duo.
then invited the uncrthodox folk
singer Sergey Starostin to join the
Three’s a crowd
The introduction of his ritualistic.
semi-chanted vocal style and keening clarinet greatly expanded the range. theatricality and sheer boisterousness of their already compelling synthesis of folk with improvised jazz.
Their newest material featured on
their recent Once Upon A Time disc
incorporates Starostin's own lyrics
rather than traditional material,
another departure for the group. and
takes a more con‘ipositional. less improwsed approach.
The disc also features vocals from
Norwegian singer Eli Kristin
Hovdsveen Hagen. but the line-up in
Glasgow will be the trio only. On all
previous evidence. that should be more than enough. (Kenny Mathieson)
29 Nov 13 Dec 2001 THE LIST 51