CUNIENIPf.)R/\P‘r CI fiSSlC/kl PARAGON ENSEMBLE Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Wed 9 & Thu 10 Apr

The Paragon Ensemble have a long-standing record of performing the music of the so- caIled minimalists like Philip Glass, Steve Reich and Gavin Bryars. Their latest venture in that direction is their most ambitious to date as they take on Glass’ 1000 Airplanes on the Roof, a music theatre piece on the theme of alien abduction.

Garry Walker, Scotland’s leading young conductor, will lead the Glasgow-based Ensemble in these challenging performances. It won't be the Glasgow premiere, however. The piece, which was first performed in an aircraft hanger in Geneva, was featured at Mayfest back in 1990, albeit to muted acclaim. Glass recalled the circumstances of its composition.

‘l was looking around for a project that would allow me to do a music theatre piece that I could travel with. I had done a number of large scale operas which can be mounted in big opera houses, but I found there were many places I couldn’t take them simply because it couldn’t be done physically.

‘Originally, I wanted to work it

around the HG Wells story War of the Worlds, but I discovered that it was still in copyright then, so we decided on a confrontation between earth and an alien visitor. There had been a lot of popular literature and movies on that theme, but in terms of music theatre, it was

probably kind of unusual.

‘People have come away from this piece with their own very distinctive interpretations, and sometimes quite startling ones. Some people have told me that they had the experience of the person in the play, which is pretty shocking. I should probably say for the record that I have never been taken up in a spaceship . . .'

Glass worked with playwright David Hwang and

Composer Philip Glass gives us a bit of space

designer Jerome Sirlin on the project. which he envisaged as a ‘mixed-media piece rather than an opera‘. The performances combine live music with visual images projected onto a three-dimensional screen. giving it ‘a kind of semi—nightmarish cinematic montage effect’. Much of

Glass’ work has involved images. whether on stage or in

his acclaimed film soundtracks.

‘My work tends to have a strong visual dimension in any case, and that has really become the main thing that I do, combining images and music. It‘s a technique that I've been developing since I began working in the theatre

when I was 20 years old, and I have a repertoire of tricks

now that you wouldn’t believe!‘ (Kenny Mathieson)

t seems trite. even inappropriate. to

write about leSIC and the

nonsense that goes With it while people are dying and the world reinvents itself in a very uncertain manner. But my political muSings aren't the reason I'm employed here. That reason (I think) is my ability to witter away on musical matters. 80 With my worried wee heid planted firmly in the sand. I shall commence as though all in the world was hunky dory.

Next month. the first major UK festival of the year takes place in Camber. England: All Tomorrow's Parties. This year's festival is ably curated by electronic pioneers Autechre. Given the challenging nature of the duo's output it could be preSumed that their choices


How to deal with today’s war, Tomorrow’s Parties and yesterday’s heroes

WOuld veer more towards endurance than enjoyment. but in actuality their programme is inspired. Dead cert crowd pleasers like Public Enemy iwho are also thankfully Glasgow boundl and the Fall Sit alongSide contemporary mavericks Such as Jim O'ROurke and PITA in a line up that represents the lineage of hip hop and electronic amaZingly well. Perhaps the biggest c0up of the lot is the reformation (albeit Without Captain Beefheartl of the Magic Band. I must confess to a level of dUblOLlSlIy when I heard that they were playing again but after hearing some of their recent reCOrdings. l genumely think that people Will be amazed when they hear their Beefheartless majesty. It's astOunding.

Another stalls/art to tight? hit ‘crni recently is; Steven Malkiitus. torviierly of Pavement. Hif; first f§()l() outng ‘.‘.’£if3 a."- ovelly flippant affair that was generally greeted with (lisapi)oiritrner‘t. as it pandererl to frivolity when people \.'/ere expecting substance. On his new album Pig Lil) he's gone uuite a '.vay tr: redressing the palance It's; a pmteprog trickenr that is; exactly ~.-.hat Stexer‘. should have got up to a‘ter Pave'iient instead of the ‘.‘Vee/erisnis; of his first album. It's really sat;:;t\,ing, out one that causes friction in the fainin home in; long-suffering wife said It was incredibly annoying. So who knows.

With the iriipending release of the new Mogwai record it's our duty to spread our considerahit‘: '.‘JlfolO'l‘. among the lt3tllllt’tlli313‘) of the world. a task that ‘.‘JIH take me to Japan next week A place I'm aivfie fond of. mostly because I am of above average height there but also because it's an amazing country With an rrxcrerl‘ihly intelliger‘t musical outlook. My next column will be full of J;,apaw:se insight, Pron‘rise.


Surface noise

All the beating, bleatlnt and blue plastic seat/n in he wonderful world 0 Hit/SIC

FLAMING LIPS, THE ROOTS. ldlewild and the Darkness are among the new additions to the T in the Park bill. PJ Harvey has been added to the bill for the Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ Glasgow Green show, and Queens of the Stone Age are rumoured to be joining them on 24 August.

AFTER SUFFERING AT THE overheated hands of the Old Town fire, those smart fellas at Trouble (formerly based at the Beat Jazz Basement) have re- established themselves with a regular weekly slot at Oxygen on Edinburgh's Infirmary Street, with local electro- mooks Kovac being their first live guests and Transmat's Stephen Brown coming soon.

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' '.‘ :' ' r‘lzfl .’ t THE LIST 41