CINEMATIC ORCHESTRA Liquid Room, Edinburgh, Thu 3 Oct; the Arches, Glasgow, Fri 4 Oct
The last time Scottish audiences caught jazz/electronic collective the Cinematic Orchestra, they were performing a live score to Man with the Movie Camera, a 1929 Russian film following the day-to- day lives of the general populace. Fast-paced, frenetic and way- ahead of its time in its use of creative editing and spilt screen treatment, the film had band leader Jason Swinscoe and his creative cohorts working overtime, watching the film and each other for cue points to create the perfect harmony of sound and vision. Audiences at the shows, performed in Edinburgh and Glasgow as part of last April’s tripTych music festival, were quite simply blown away.
This time around, the six-piece Cinematic Orchestra (seven if you count vocalist Niara Scarlett, who Swinscoe describes as ‘a focal point but just like an additional instrument’) are set to perform not only without the film but without any visuals at all. This means that instead of interacting with the film, they’ll be interacting with you, you lucky people, and bringing the lessons learnt and highlights from the album inspired by doing the Man with the Movie Camera project.
‘It gave me and all the others a different perspective on dealing with music, in terms of sound and texture, emotions and moods,’ says Swinscoe on the show so far performed only at tripTych and film festivals in Porto and Istanbul. Arguing that it allowed the band to be more adventurous and confident with their sound - one which Gilles Peterson describes as ‘treading the fine line between DJ culture and a week at the Wllage Vanguard’ - the band’s latest album, Every Day, takes whole tracks from the score as well as developing some of its small ideas into lush and lengthy crazy cut- up jazz compositions. Referencing famed film soundtrack composers and soul-jazz gurus alike, the album’s sweeping choral pieces and intricate instrumentals demonstrate a collective at the height of their musical powers. Not surprisingly, Swincoe’s enthiastic about playing it out live.
‘We haven’t toured the UK for a while so we’re really looking forward to it. It’s more of a club vibe with the actual set changing according to the audience. Our drummer Luke Flowers just loves that interaction with the audience and he really vibes off it in an outgoing way. Playing to an audience, we
Music made in widescreen
treat it as a very different thing from say, doing the film, and the music obviously changes accordingly. So doing a tour of just the music? That’s what we do really.’
likelihood of global war has
never seemed nearer, making cheeky observations about alternative rock music hasn‘t been as easy as it might otherwise have. That said. I reckon the Music could do with some national service it only to rid the airwaves of their atrocious Van Halen- masquerading-as-the-Verve student-rock pish.
Now that my customary slagging of a band is done, down to the serious business of getting on with the main topic of the day: Mudhoney, who made a long overdue return to a Scottish stage at QMU earlier this month. With popular rock never more indebted to the legacy of Mudhoney and their ilk (can you imagine piss poor antipodean
I n a week where the
46 THE LIST l‘.) Sep It ()(;t 200?
All hail the Mud godfathers but avoid those rebels without a conscience
brats the Vines having existed without “Touch me I‘m Sick‘?) the crowd was disappointingly sparse. Mudhoney's new album is like a ghost written sequel to the Stooges Fun/iouse. complete with saxophone. and is one of their best. A surprising amount of bands who were thought to have reached their peak a decade ago are having Indian summers even without the knowledge of the record buying public: both Sonic Youth's Murray Street and J Mascis' Feel 80 Free albums are brilliant.
Whilst I doubt either of these will match the sales of Goo or Green Mind. it's good to be able to rely on your adolescent heroes for once. as the results of some former heroes return to the studio have been atrocious.
Take William Reid of Scotland's finest ever band the Jesus and Mary Chain. His post JAMC foray Lazycame made some of the worst music ever committed to tape. Difficult to believe that it was made by the same man who penned 'Some Candy Talking'.
Talking of the Mary Chain, what's the fucking script with Black Rebel Motorcycle Club? Are they a joke? A bunch of LA junkies buy a few late 808 Creation 12"s from the bargain bin of their local vinyl emporium and embark on a successful career impersonating East Kilbride's finest without even a hint of shame. They were supporting Primal Scream as well. Doesn't Bobby mind that a band he used to be in are being plagiarised by these chancers with the kind of enthusiasm normally associated with Japanese tourists witnessing a man in a kilt playing the bagpipes? For luck's sake, has the world gone mad? It would seem so, in more ways than the Obvious.
Ramble over. Complaints to the usual address.
ROCK MALCOLM MIDDLETON Barfly, Glasgow, Sat 28 Sep
‘lt's easier. being behind a hairy guy with a beard.’
Always a plus point of playing in Arab Strap. Malcolm Middleton’s been happy enough to remain stage left. However. a solo album 5514 f/uoxytine seagull alcolio/ j()/l/l nicotine -— he declines to break the title down for us, on the basis that it would be less interesting - has rather forced the guitarist into the spotlight. Well. almost — protected by the facade of Crappo the Clown. a down-at-heel character whose image adorns the album sleeve and whose persona entertains. like most clowns. via his ineptitude.
‘lt's not a concept album' he offers quickly. ‘Crappo is about being useless and stupid. but in a funny way.‘
lneptitude and (false) modesty is a theme that runs through the album. Closing track Devil and Angels sees the evil half of this pairing come to Malcolm and declare ‘your songs are all shite'.
Happily. the songs aren't shite: instead there's a simplicity of arrangement harking back to Arab Strap's debut The Week Never Starts Round Here, only with a songwriting craft clearly developed over four albums. But given the nature of the music press. is he just pre-eiiiptiiig the bad reviews?
"l'hat's what Aidan (Moffatl said. pointing out that l was setting myself up for people to slag it off. but that's fine . . . maybe it'd be too easy'.
The album is a mix of acoustic tracks. and a few beautifully instrumented band pieces that employ a few (inlfaiiious names. Was there any danger of this becoming a Reindeer Section-style coiiiiiiunily?
'No.' Middleton laughs. ‘Not everyone realises that Aidan drums on all the Arab Strap records so he was the obvious choice. (Mogwai'si Baiiy Burns is an ama/ing piano player and Jenny from Fva. I love her voice and she's an amazing violin player'
Coincidentally. the afoiementionetl Reindeer Section gave Middleton his live solo debut -- and without a band rehearstxl, it was a case of being dropped in at the deep end.
‘I wasn't that comfortable about singing live. but I've been doing it myself at home for ages. People always said I should sing With the Strap more -- I sang thiee songs on the first album -but it was iievei the right time or place.’
For Malcolm Middleton. the time is now. (Stuart Mcl lughl