EXPERIMENTAL GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPROR! QMU, Glasgow, Sun 24 Mar
It’s a world of shit, and no mistake. We sit in our houses, fat and complacent, so many drunks with the curtains drawn and the TV on. We suffer from information overload, from sensory hyperstimulation. This is the end of it all; no ideologies, no theories, just more more more, more. More Microsoft, more Nike, more cars and guns and bombs and planes. Culture long ago stripped of any significance, reduced to a marketing strategy. Politics, 3 choice between Coke and Pepsi. We’re trapped in the belly of the machine, and the machine is bleeding to death. And the solution? The answer? There isn’t one. There’s only the knowledge that you can do something, that, while the cities burn and the
you can make a noise which screams ‘ENOUGH!’ This is what Godspeed You Black Emperor! have been doing since 1993.
What they do isn’t like music; it’s something else: the sound of a conscience’s last wheezing gasp being shot through with energy, being transformed into a storm of noise. Guitars alternately clatter and coo; tape machines rumble in the distance; violins, cellos, spin themselves into tornadoes. The ghost of Ennio Morricone battles with the ear-shredding scream of a passing train.
This is what GSYBE! do: they animate things. In a world where even Naomi Klein’s anti-corporate stance is marketed as just another lifester choice - a brand as cool and seductive as anything ever flung at you by Levi’s massed ranks of admen - GSYBE! refuse to take the easy
Counter culture vultures
To hear them live, you know it. This is a band who give their all, because to do anything less would be a lie; watch the short films they show as they play; urban wastelands, water towers, factories with broken windows: they’re all beautiful, somehow. They make sense.
In the coruscating melodies and in the furious dissonance of their last album, the sprawling Levez Vos Skinny Fists Comme Antennas To Heaven (Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven) lays down a political manifesto as succinct in its aims as any: this is about not accepting that slick, airbrushed, low-calorie culture is all there is. There’s something more, and it’s there in GSYBEl’s music, in the lilting beauty of a violin part, in the chime of a glockenspiel that somehow stands out against a wall of feedback. What is it? Like the projections on the walls at
fields decay, you can create something else, that
BBC SCOTTISH SYMPHONY ORCHESTRA
Matt Thomson Concert Hall, RSAMD, Glasgow, Fri 22 Mar
Who knows where it might end? This season. the BBC 880 is celebrating the violin. so can we look forward to all instruments being similarly celebrated? For now. seven concerts feature the fiddle in everything from classic concertos to jazz and new work. In this last categow comes Lyell Cresswell's The Voice Inside. for the unusual combination of violin. soprano and orchestra. Conducting its premiere is Israeli-born llan Volkov. who at the age of only 26. takes over as chief conductor of the BBC 880 from January 2003. The youngest conductor ever to hold such a position in a BBC orchestra. his role will not only involve regular stints of conducting. but helping to shape the orchestra's ongoing commitment to contemporary music. especially that of Scottish and Scottish based composers. such as Cresswell. Of the new score. he says. ‘It's very beautiful. The solo violin is playing most of the time. along with the voice. so it‘s a kind of duet. There is a feeling of chamber music to it. but with a big orchestra.‘ The piece is based on a set of seven poems. which take
Volkov keeps ’em guessing
music as their subject matter. One is about 17th century violinists. another is simply called 'Slow Movement' and is about the violin. ‘l‘m just guessing‘. says Volkov. ‘but I think that The Voice Inside is to do with the fact that the violin and voice are really communicating. It could be that the voice is inside the violin or vice versa.‘
There is no doubt that Volkov will reinforce the orchestra's positive policy towards contemporary music. ‘lt's really important for me that we play music we believe in. It‘s essential to do these things so we can reach new audiences. I like doing recent music a lot and I hope that we can do that as much as standard repertoire. It's going to be great.‘ (Carol Main)
their gigs say, it’s this: hope. (Leon McDermott)
JAZZ CABER MUSIC EUROPEAN SHOWCASE Henry's Jazz Cellar, Edinburgh, Tue 19 Mar
Caber Music has already made a significant contribution to the development of contemporary jazz in Scotland. but Tom Bancroft is now aiming to spread the profile of the label even wider.
EnCOuraged by a good response to its presence at successive MIDEM events in Cannes. Tom has arranged a Caber Music European Showcase. and has invited journalists and various industry movers and shakers from across the Channel to attend.
It is an ambitious gambit. but the drummer is confident that the strength of music on his roster justifies the expense. The guests will have a private preview of the main event. which takes place at Henry's on Tuesday 16 March. and is open to the public.
Stamina will be required for anyone gearing up to take in the whole thing. The evening is Split into two sections. the first running from 6pm until 9pm. and the second from 10pm until 1am.
The line-up and running order was still to be finalised. but will include pretty much the entire Caber family. including the Brian Kellock Trio. Trio AAB. John Rae's Celtic Feet. the Colin Steele Quartet. Chick Lyall, Cathie Rae and Sylvia Rae.
The showcase follows on the back of a fine year for the label. with Brian Kellock's Live at Henry's and Trio AAB's Wherever I Lay My Home That's My Hat both picking up a number of citations in various best- of-the-year lists. Their latest release. trumpeter Colin Steele's Twilight Dreams will be out to coincide with the showcase.
Caber has come a long way since Bancroft launched it in 1998 with a bold if rather arch slogan: ‘A heavy thing launched in Scotland with a view to overcoming inertia and turning things on their head'. Their catalogue now stands at around twenty records (check their website at cabermusiccom for details). and they act as distributors for close on the same number of independently produced discs.
If it has not quite succeeded in turning things on their head just yet. it has provided a much-needed (and otherwise non-existent) recording outlet for many of the most significant talents on the Scottish jazz scene.
Colin Steele is on the (show)case
14~28 Mar 2002 THE LIST 51