Sing , your life
They are ten strong and unafraid of showing their love or their teeth. So it’s no surprise that Nadine MCBay discovers both the strange and beautiful in SCATTER.
ike the one about some
unfortunate woman whose
beehived coiffure became home to a swarm of bees. another myth peddled in the l‘)5()s was that the freeform music then pioneered by the likes of Sun Ra and ()rnette (‘oleman was difficult. obscure and most certainly not for you. [I stuck: for the next half century improvisation was derided either as sonic onanism or worse. as a masochistic sport where listeners 0 would vie for how much musical .0.
0:9» uncertainty they could ‘take‘. '
'I'o‘ But pretentiousness and elitism v I“\
are alien concepts to Glasgow- based ten-piece Scatter.
‘We never go out of our way to be strange] says agile percussionist Alex Neilson. ‘But with improvisation there‘s a chance that somehow you‘re corresponding sttbliminally with others. It can be humiliating though. laying yourself out in front of other people . . .
‘Ile takes his shirt off a lot.’ says string player (‘hris Hladowski. gently ribbing his bandmate. ‘Sometimes we’ll write and sometimes we‘ll improvise. Scatter is about trying to build a bridge between the worlds of people like Franz. Ferdinand and others who seem ignored.”
Perhaps liladowski means mavericks like Partick‘s very own sonic journeyman Richard Youngs. neo-folkster Alasdair Roberts and aural surrealist Daniel Padden. all of whom have formal links to the hand. It‘s not coincidental either that he mentions (ilasgow‘s current favourite sons: Scatter‘s original line—up included the dapper foursome’s Nick McCarthy.
Bets are already being wagered that following Franz Ferdinand and Dogs Die in Hot (‘ars out of the ghetto‘s gates will be Scatter‘s sister band Lucky Luke. As well as joining them on a forthcoming mini-tour. Neilson. Hladowski. flautist Rebecca Ashton and harmonittm player .Vlorag Wilson are also full—time members, providing ~ in the words of llladowski — ‘a rogue element' to Lucky Luke‘s folk balladry.
‘I feel I new! to play with lots of other people.‘ says Neilson. his eyes wide. ‘lt helps me to grow musically and find different ways of expression}
'11 also works as a valve against its lightng all the
48 THE LIST ’2/ May It) Jun 201%:
‘WHAT WE DO COMES FROM AN INTEREST . IN UNIVERSALS LIKE COURTING AND DYING'
7r"\\\ til i l‘
time.‘ adds Ashton. smiling.
When Neilson's wordstnith/artist brother ()liver enthuses on the parallels between Scatter and underground hip hop collective Anticon or how he and his frttit shop colleagues only half-jokingly considered holding a festival based on all the bands they play in. it‘s difficult not to feel simultaneously electrified and intimidated by their glistening enthusiasm and sparky intelligence. ()ne feels at least that their debut LP Stir/Mixing Sing Stupendous Love should come packaged with a Rock Family Tree- style set of flow diagrams. Taking its title from a song by old Yorkshire folksters the Watersons — in place of the alienating cacophony one might expect from a ten-piece band informed by a kaleidoscope of influences -— the LP is a lusciously warm blend of beatnik folk. cool Jazz. Wicker Man weirdness peppered with spoken word and lilting harmonies.
"l‘he title is a perfect expression of the sentiment behind the band.’ says Neilson with placid eloquence. ‘Fundamentally what we do comes from an interest in universals like courting and dying. I don't think there‘s anything more important to make music about.‘
lmprov music and tmiversals‘.’ Who da thunk it'.’ Set your dial to that channel somewhere between the sound of music and the music of sound because Scatter want you all. And yes. this time. that most definitely means you.
Scatter play with the Chap at Nice’n’Sleazy, Glasgow, Wed 2 Jun. Surprising Sing Stupendous Love is out on Pickled Egg Records.
All the , uiffs, riffs and dal/iances wrth C/r in the wonderful world of musrc
BELLE & SEBASTIAN HAVE found a peculiar affinity with none other than Cliff Richard. The band (pictured) have admitted that their new single ‘Wrapped up in Books’ bears a striking resemblance to Cliff’s ‘Down in the Country’ and have agreed to pay 20% of their royalties from the single to him. Which is probably the best he’s sounded in years. See next issue for a review of the single.
The band play their biggest solo Scottish show to date as part of the West End Festival at the Glasgow Botanic Gardens in Jun. See our festivals feature on page 24 for an interview with frontman Stuart Murdoch.
THE FINAL 12 LOCAL BANDS HAVE been confirmed to play the T in the Park tent this year in July. Eric and the Bunny Boilers, Poor Old Ben. Sporting Hero. Weird Attractors. Allegro. the Cinematics. Josephine. the Red Bee Society. Certain Death, the Fountainbridge Collective. Uncle Bob and the Last Great Wilderness will play. The break down of who plays when will be announced in the next few weeks. Also, a few more bigger names are being added to the final line-up on the other stages. We should have full details in out next issue out 10th June. CONGRATULATIONS ALSO GO to Swimmer One, who have won themselves free recording time courtesy of Smirnoff, which sponsored the NEMIS live music event held last month.
FOLLOWING UP OUR GUIDE TO downloading comes the news that Napster is finally launching in the UK. Initially for PC only, its ‘music community' offers albums at £9.95 and single tracks at £1.09. See www.mapstercouk for more.
THE 2004 INTERNATIONAL Songwriting Competition is launching this month with prizes of $100,000 in this worldwide search for new musical talent. Songs of all styles and genres are accepted and among the judges this year are Macy Gray, Stacy Earle and P Diddy. See www.songwriting competition.com for more info.
8&8 have a sit down