PREVIEW FESTIVAL OF MINIMALIST MUSIC MINIMAL Glasgow Concert Halls, various venues, Fri 15– Sun 17 Oct
Minimalism’s hypnotic pulses and repetitions are heard in everything from krautrock and prog to post-rock and techno. But unlike the ear-splitting, brain-freezing intensity of progenitors such as La Monte Young and Charlemagne Palestine, it was the more accessible work of Steve Reich, Philip Glass and Terry Riley that brought the avant garde into the living room. Pieces from the three are to be performed at Minimal, Glasgow Concert Halls’ weekend-long festival, which serves as launch of a three-year celebration of the genre. In his work as a critic, Michael Nyman (pictured) first used the term with regard to music, and the composer returns to Glasgow here (Sat 16 Oct, 7.30pm) to perform from his popular Peter Greenaway collaborations as well as that with singer David
McAlmont, who also appears. Minimal begins a day before, with the Scottish Chamber Orchestra’s presentation of Ingram Marshall’s ‘Orphic Memories’ and the Scottish premier of John Adams’ 2007 work, ‘Son of Chamber Symphony’. Later that night, pedal steel player BJ Cole and amplified ensemble Icebreaker take on Marshall’s Shutter Island-soundtracking ‘Fog Tropes’ and Brian Eno’s ambient classic Apollo, performed here live to Al Reinert’s NASA documentary For All Mankind (Fri 15 Oct, 10pm). Also essential is ‘Icarus at the Edge of Time’, a
collaboration between Glass, physicist Brian Greene and video artists AL and AL. Performed first on Sunday at 3pm for children, it’ll later close the weekend in a concert also featuring Reich’s accessible ‘Counterpoints’ pieces (Sun 17 Oct, 4.15pm). Minimalist fare returns in February with a performance of Reich’s mid-1970s work ‘Music For 18 Musicians’. (Nadine McBay) ■ www.glasgowconcerthalls.com/minimal
Music PREVIEW INDIE POP MICE PARADE Stereo, Glasgow, Fri 8 Oct
Adam Pierce is the Richard Whiteley of rock. The New Yorker is an anagram buff (Mice Parade, see?) who bedecks his work with cryptic clues (his troupe’s new album is entitled What It Means To Be Left- Handed). When asked to elaborate, however, the congenial Pierce is coy. What does it mean to be left-
handed? ‘You know, I don’t have a super-valid answer for that question,’ he admits on the eve of a US and European tour. May we speculate, then? ‘Oh yeah, speculate as much as you want! It’s got something to do with chaos . . .’
Mice Parade’s beatific electro and laidback indie-pop might not conjure an urgent sense of bedlam but that’s clearly a condition to which multi- instrumentalist Pierce is attracted. For What It Means. . ., his eighth LP, he dispensed with any recording objectives, in a bid to recapture the nascent – more liberated – Mice Parade creative process.
In other words, he decided to wing it. Was he surprised with the results? ‘Yeah, very much so,’ he admits. ‘And it was fun. I liked not having a plan.’ What struck him when he listened to the end product? ‘I think it sounded happy.’ He’s not wrong. Pierce will bring his (West African-style) Highlife- inflected percussive pop to Glasgow – replete with a colourful backing band that will ‘probably’ comprise, ‘two drumkits, three guitars, some keyboards and singing. Maybe some other bits and bobs.’ (Nicola Meighan)
PREVIEW EXPERIMENTAL MUSIC FESTIVAL LE WEEKEND Tolbooth, Stirling, Thu 14–Sun 17 Oct
Since its inception in 1997, Le Weekend has brought a remarkable range of beautiful and challenging music to Scotland. ‘The idea of an experimental music festival, and also the idea of a festival in Stirling, was quite unique,’ says Alastair Campbell, artistic director of the festival since 2006, ‘but it makes some kind of sense.’ Now, after 13 groundbreaking years, Le Weekend is bowing out with a line-up of great diversity and imagination. There’s a strong European dimension this year, with Scandinavian free-jazz bezerkers (Mats
Gustafsson, Pal Nilssen-Love, Sten Standell) and a German contingent that includes Berlin post-rock duo Tarwater, To Rococo Rot’s Stefan Schneider (performing with local hero Bill Wells), and, closing the festival, Krautrock legends Faust. Barcelona-based Murcof (pictured) will be setting his minimalist electronics against Francesco Tristano’s piano, while Reykjavik’s dark lord of ambient noise, Ben Frost, is set to unleash ‘a wonderful aural assault’, as Campbell puts it. America, meanwhile, is represented by the 23-string banjo explorations of Paul Metzger, and percussionist Gerry Hemingway, playing with the brilliantly inventive London saxophonist John Butcher.
Le Weekend has always combined the universal with the local, however, by involving the
Stirling community and using historic buildings such as Cowane’s Hospital, which will resonate to Alvin Lucier’s mesmeric spatial pieces, and the Church of the Holy Rood, which hosts ‘Oceans of Silver and Blood’, a new commission by Mark Wastell and Joachim Nordwall. ‘There is a legacy,’ Campbell says of Le Weekend. ‘The landscape for experimental music in
Scotland has changed.’ But, he adds, this is no time for reflection: ‘That’s not in the spirit of the festival. It’s time to look to what we can do in the future.’ (Stewart Smith)
7–21 Oct 2010 THE LIST 63