PREVIEW ELECTRO POP THE XX Studio 24, Edinburgh, Tue 9 Mar
Everybody loves The xx. The Simpsons’ creator Matt Groening loves them so much he asked them to play the upcoming edition of the All Tomorrow’s Parties festival he’s curating. Rob Da Bank loves them too, so he’s booked them for Bestival this year. The BBC love them, but fortunately not quite enough to hurl a mountain of expectation their way with the Sound of 2010 millstone. Good luck, Ellie Goulding. NME, Rolling Stone, The Guardian. . . all loved them enough to place last year’s debut album xx high up in their ‘best of 2009’ lists. Were there ever such unprepossessing stars on the rise? Romy Madley Croft, Jamie Smith and Oliver Sim (fellow founding member Baria Qureshi left late last
year, citing exhaustion as the cause) all went to Putney’s Elliot School, the alma mater of Kieran Hebden, aka Four Tet, and William Bevan, now outed as dubstep producer Burial. It follows that they’re also considered, intellectual types, whose music subtly redraws boundaries without stamping all over them. Their MySpace ‘influences’ section is a shopping list
of greatness, most of which they actually live up to: the blissful electro-pop of The Chromatics, CocoRosie’s nu-folk charm, The Kills’ fuzzed-up shoegazing, The Cure’s dreamy pop. Their cover of Womack & Womack’s ‘Teardrops’ is a curveball delight, while their remix of Florence and the Machine’s ill-advised cover of ‘You Got the Love’ was the whole venture’s one saving grace. Expect them to grow on you, and grow, and grow. (David Pollock)
PREVIEW JAZZ SNJO WITH JOHN SCOFIELD Queen’s Hall, Edinburgh, Fri 5 Mar; RSAMD, Glasgow, Sat 6 Mar; MacRobert Centre, Stirling, Sun 7 Mar
Conventional wisdom insists that the jazz big band had its heyday in the Swing Era before the advent of bebop, but it has remained popular with both jazz fans and musicians. Two home-based projects this month also demonstrate that the big band has been able to move with the times.
The Scottish National Jazz Orchestra has been the single most significant
addition to the Scottish jazz scene in the last two decades, and continues to come up with imaginative programming of new and ‘repertory’ music under the direction of saxophonist Tommy Smith. Their latest project unites them with a distinguished guest, American
guitarist John Scofield, to explore music from Scofield’s Loud Jazz fusion project, and the electric period of Miles Davis (Scofield is also a Miles alumni). The band will perform new arrangements of Scofield’s ‘Go Blow’ and ‘Groove Elation’ and such Miles’ classics as ‘Tutu’ and ‘Jean-Pierre’. Trumpeter Ryan Quigley will be part of the SNJO as usual, before touring a week later with his own Big Band and guest vocalist Justin Currie (of Del Amitri). They will reprise last year’s successful Glasgow Jazz Festival project under the Scottish Arts Council’s Tune Up banner. (Kenny Mathieson)
PREVIEW AVANT-GARDE/ NOISE DIALOGUES FESTIVAL/ BRAW GIGS Jerome Noetinger, part of Dialogues Festival, Inspace, Informatics Building, Edinburgh, Sat 6 Mar. Heatsick, Blue Sabbath Black Fiji, Windsordamonbeast, Lamplighter, Braw Gigs, The Roxy, Edinburgh, Sat 5 Mar.
Edinburgh’s experimental music scene has thrived over the last ten years, thanks to several low-level organisations who have kept the faith, from Dialogues’ annual festival of electronic sounds to Cowgate-based music and film festival organisers Arika, or DIY promoters such as Braw Gigs, who’ve recently broken cover. Dialogues, which celebrates its tenth anniversary this year, has consistently reinvented itself in a variety of venues over weekend-long one-offs. Rather than throw all their sine-waves into one circuit-board however, this year has seen it host ten events spaced out over twelve months. Event number six [this fortnight] features French electro-acoustic composer Jerome Noetinger, an occasional collaborator of Keith Rowe – one-time guitarist with the British free-improv outfit AMM – as well as former Cocteau Twin, Will Heggie.
Future Dialogues events, (all taking place at Crichton Street’s digital arts venue Inspace) include an appearance from former Henry Cow guitarist and some time collaborator of Brian Eno and Bill Laswell, Fred Frith. (See www.dialogues-festival.org for listings, or go to dialoguesinspace06.eventbrite.com, or inspace.mediascot.org)
Braw Gigs, meanwhile, recently
scored a hit with a packed-out show by self-taught acoustic guitarist James Blackshaw, and follow up with something more primal from Heatsick, the scarifying solo project from Steven Warwick, the Berlin-based half of noise duo, Birds of Delay. Warwick cites both the experimental sampling principals of musique concrète and Chicago house mixtapes as influences on his improvised constructions of looped yelps, drums and Casio vile tones that riff insistently ad nauseum. Braw Dialogues, indeed. (Neil Cooper)
4–18 Mar 2010 THE LIST 63