Gleneagles Gala concert

Royal Conservatoire of Scotland

Glasgow City Halls, Candleriggs

March 17th

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The ambitions set by the merging two excellent institutions this evening were soon qualified in the first piece of  music they created for us; the large orchestra came together in a score that provided a beautiful take on classical music. There was a feel of ‘cutting edge’ attempts by Gleneagles and the Royal Conservatoire Scotland who are enthusiastically at the front of modern, contemporary and traditional music. From the moment the conductor walked onto the stage (Sir James MacMillan), I was enthralled as the many instruments, set apart & yet together, comblended in beautiful sound unison. There were many contemporary & daring details to the evening; mixing orchestra with opera with choruses, whose poetic voices echoed in the music as it reverberating through the evening. The size of performers grew in number as the story gained and lost momentum, dipping from head to foot and the other way round. As the more spiritual aspects of the evening’s music were being put into focus, I began to muse on these times in which older songs are more & more recollected and returned once to the magical fields of live performance.

This music was strong, bold and offered freedom; a haunting oboe sang at the front for an entire song, leaving and leading the music, glancing at Sir James who passionately led the stage, hopping and ranting in silence. The last performance of the evening was the greatest fete, with the back of the stage filled up by a chorus and below them a chorus of school children. The sentiment of this partnership of Gleneagles and the Royal Conservatoire has as wide a stretch as possible, including 50 international students. The aim is to seek out what they call outstanding potential, and are welcomed at a very young age. Their parents were all about us in the audience, & we all faced forward in silence together, completely relaxed, completely absorbed. All the scores we heard had a certain perfection to them, & I floated through the evening being tossed around or laid on the floor to rest or die.

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Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly

 

An Interview with Carl Marah

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THE MUMBLE : Hello Carl so where ya from & where ya at, geographically speaking

CARL : Where am I from? I’m proud to say I hail from the seaside musical melting pot that is Dunbar, East Lothian. Nice wee town with plenty of colourful characters that I’ve had the pleasure of getting to know over the years. Gloss artists, radge grannies and an abundance of sound folk, it’s a pretty tender place to call my hometown. But geographically speaking? Well last year I made the move to Edinburgh and it’s been well good. Living in the big city is absolutely essential for any muso wanting to take their muso-ing to the next level and it’s definitely helped progress Logan’s Close to where we are now. At the inevitable cost of my flat now becoming our musical storage unit.

THE MUMBLE : You play lead guitar, harmonica & singing – where does your love of music come from

CARL : From an early age I got used to my parents playing tunes in our flat every day. It was always filled with music. I suppose that must have embedded itself deep, but the real moment music became a big thing in my life was when my little brother got a guitar for his birthday. My entire family started learning how to play guitar and with our entire guitar education being drawn from an Oasis and a Beatles chord book, we all managed to get the basics of guitar playing down. However I was the only one who really persisted with the instrument and it became an increasingly important part of my life. Naturally, guitar-based music appealed to me, and after delving into guitar music from the 90s, 80s, 70s, 60s and beyond respectively, the different flavours that guitar has been presented in over the years have heavily influenced the kind of music I create with Logan’s Close.

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THE MUMBLE : Can you tell us about your band, Logan’s Close, how did they come together

CARL : Logan’s Close came about between myself and two good friends I’ve known since school. Mr. Scott Rough, and Mr. Michael Reilly have both been friends of mine for many, many years – even before the band was even a thought. The protagonist for forming a band arose when we realised we each shared a love for the same kind of music: rock n roll and rhythm & blues. It combines the power and passion of blues music, with a driving, energetic pace that always invokes a boogy. We loved this kind of music and felt there weren’t any bands on the local scene that played in that style. We also realised that myself and Scott play guitar, and Mike plays drums – so we took it upon ourselves to be the band we wanted to listen to. We’ve been lucky to have the prodigal Mr. Ollie Turbitt join us on bass recently, who is on the exact same wavelength as the rest of the band. Voila! Logan’s Close.

 

THE MUMBLE : What’s the story behind the band name

CARL : Well in our humble hometown of Dunbar there is a certain close (or alleyway for non-Scottish readers) which we used to frequent on our journeys about town. It was a handy shortcut between mine and Scott’s part of town to the High Street. Also, it was (and still is) a grotty, dirty close that drunks often take liberties in late at night – pretty grim – the way we like it. One day as we were walking down this close, Scott mentioned that its name – Logan’s Close – would be a great band name. So when we decided to form the band it was the obvious choice.

THE MUMBLE : Your sound is very 60s-esque- what are your personal influences from this era.

CARL : From the 60s, one of my main influences was the British blues scene and the various bands that were a part of it.  Guitarists like Clapton, Page, Beck and my personal favourite Peter Green were all dotted about in a bunch of different projects during that time and many of them have heavily influenced my playing and songwriting. Of course each of those players were inspired by guys like BB King, Elmore James, Muddy Waters and other American blues guys, who in turn were influenced by blues from the Mississippi Delta so there’s a natural progression of influence / inspiration going on there, which I’ve followed in depth. The other big influence for me personally is those four blokes from Liverpool who overhauled the entire musical landscape time after time. In Logan’s Close, myself and the guys want to combine both of those main influences: tight, snappy well-structured and melodic songs, with hard, raw, improvisational grittiness and energy. In addition though, we want to take those influences and shed them under a modern light – drawing ideas and sounds from modern music to create a fresh yet old-school sound.

THE MUMBLE : Can you tell us about your appearance on STV Glasgow

CARL : STV Glasgow came about in the midst of a whole load of other major moments for the band in November 2016. The week beforehand we’d just supported Martin Stephenson and the Daintees at the Cavern Club in Liverpool. Martin told us that by chance he was in Dunbar one day, strolled into the local record shop, and as he entered the door our debut EP was playing on the speakers. He asked who the band was, and soon after we received a message from him offering us a support slot in Liverpool on his tour. He’s a top guy and a great musician. A few days after Liverpool we then supported The Rising Souls at the Liquid Rooms, where they were launching their tasty ‘Set Me Free’ EP. Our first time playing there, we got a great response from the audience and enjoyed every minute. So then the following week, we headed through to Glasgow in a hired van with all our gear tossed in the back, rolled up into the studio, got set up and played two of our tunes – “Listen To Your Mother” and “Ticket Man”.  We’d been on STV Edinburgh the previous year,  but being on STV Glasgow felt like a real step up and the response the video got after we posted it was pretty incredible.

THE MUMBLE : One of the songs you played on TV was “Listen To Your Mother” which you’re releasing next month. Was the TV perfomance the spur behind recording the song.

CARL : As a matter of fact, it’s kind of the other way round. Scott and I wrote that song a long time ago and we actually recorded it last year. It’s been sitting in our vault for some time and we’ve been very confident in it since recording it. It was the obvious choice to perform on STV Glasgow and given the response it received after its broadcast it became clear that it was now time for it to be officially released. We’ve booked the lovely venue that is the Voodoo Rooms in Edinburgh on April 15th and tickets are a mere £5.00. We’ve got Soldier On – a proper authentic mod influenced band from Ayr supporting on the night – they’re top notch. And naturally we’ll be selling CD copies of our “Listen To Your Mother” single accompanied by our recently recorded B-side “Ticket Man” on the night. We’ll have a few more surprises arranged for the night I’m sure, so I highly recommend being present for it.

THE MUMBLE : What does Carl Marah do when he’s not making music

CARL : When I’m not making music I tend to be working or sleeping. I work at a Scottish souvenir shop on the Royal Mile by day – which is actually a pretty interesting job (once your brain has managed to tune out the constant sound of bagpipes). I’ve got great friends there and I’m constantly meeting people from all over the world which is pretty sweet. Also, a fundamental part of Logan’s Close is our appreciation for a pint, which we regularly take time out of our week to include. Add band rehearsals and songwriting sessions and that just about leaves time for some sleep each night.

THE MUMBLE : What does the rest of 2017 have in store for you & the band

CARL : I’m not at liberty to go into details yet, but I can say that we are already confirmed for some pretty tidy gigs and that we are at work in the studio as we speak, so our next release will be on its way before the end of 2017 I reckon. Keep an eye out for Logan folks.

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Lee Scratch Perry

La Belle Angele, Edinburgh

9th March 2017

***

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After a bright, blue, crisp, crisp day in Edinburgh, as the chilly night grew closer, the city was ready to play host to one of Jamaica finest exports. A certain iconic and legendary master of reggae and dub was about to conjure up his own Caribbean heatwave in the corridors of the La Belle Angele in the Cowgate.  As the venue filled up the anticipation grew & the excitement was clear to see. A little later & in an explosion of hustle & bustle, Lee Scratch Perry emerged and proceeded to make his way to the back stage in the midst of what seemed like a million cheers. With his band taking stage first, we were invited to skank along, until the master glided on to the stage with the same finesse he has carried throughout his career. Let the show commence !!!!

The evening was well under way and it was not long until the La Belle Angele had turned into a melting pot of hot sweat and warm sticky bodies, bouncing around like they were on those  Space Hoppers from the 70s. The band were sharp, tight and well tuned &  delivering track after track they contributed more than what was expected of them and lifted the audience to a another level.  Lee Scratch Perry, the producer, singer, song writer and the icon for so many decades, had the crowd in a hypnotic state of pure dance.   Dressed in his traditional way, the King still gave us a performance to remember.  A selection of old and new material was catapulted at us like time had stood still, with Perry performing with all his heart and genius like it was yesterday. As the gig was heading to a close we were all treated with the soul warming sound of Exodus which allowed the audience to engulf themselves in one last memorable dance to honour the excellence of a true artist who has changed the music scene forever…

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As the crowds dispersed and the heat retreated, The Mumble had the pleasure and the opportunity to have a short interview and picture session with Lee Scratch Perry . I asked him a few small, but relevant question such as: How did living in London compare to living in Jamaica, his answer — ‘Good.‘  Asking him how he liked Edinburgh, he also answered ‘Good.’  The impression was that everything in his life was, and is, ‘Good.’  A genuine gentleman that gave a lot of people a night to surely cherish for many years to come.  The Mumble feels proud to have been invited to be part of a special night and to have had the chance to be humbled by such a legend.  Big thanks to the band and Mr Perry for covering our city with love and dance….  All the best for the rest of the tour…

Reviewed by Raymondo

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The Paris Concert

Glasgow City Halls

March 10

***

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The Scottish Chamber Orchestra enjoys one of the highest regarded positions worldwide. Its successes include working in ground level projects that are as inclusive as possible. The 38-piece set up for the evening were made up of strings, wind and believe it or not a running dialogue. The stories began commencing with the music and a silent introduction to each musician and their instrument. The excitement rose in the atmosphere of highly accomplished performers who are at the very top of their careers. Laurence Cummings led the way as conductor but also played the harpsichord during two of the performances, and in the first had dialogue to recite in two sentence statements. Some critics have suggested that parts of some of the scores were strange including instruments such as the flute replacing the more traditional methods adhered to in classical music. Sitting in the balcony level offered a view of most of the inner hall. There was a very relaxed almost lullaby quality to the evening coming from the bustling stage. The songs flew by with the music seeking after the clients or characters of the music each to express the subjects of the stories. In a fantastical way it told of age-old stories many about the greatest theme; love.

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I say fantastical but the feeling was very real and highly structured. The four movements by great composers included Rameau who lived in the late seventeenth to middle eighteenth centuries wrote his ‘Les Boreades’,  as a suit from an opera the Scottish Chamber Orchestra made it by offering  dialogue to tell the story in between the music. The four composers where writing long ago with Paris in mind and in view. Paris had of course been a centre for lovers, artists and beauty, adding to the show a real sense of accomplishment of culture in and around the story of practice itself. In the movements were the expressions of the subject themes moving at times with great pace and power describing excitement and revelry, to the appropriate gentle tones of a flute solo.

To this esteemed end Paris was brought to Glasgow at the City Halls where there was a resounding space and décor, there was a roar but it didn’t come from the audience it came from the stage; a success that exists between the partnership of playing high level music together as a team but very much individually where timing and tuning are the most important and inspiring things. They sat dressed in black, I noticed a player without shoes on, though tights, and it made sense to me; she wanted to be grounded as much as possible as she poured herself through body to her instrument in the amazing act of sensual harmony amplified to a high degree almost non-stop.

From talking to a couple of people behind me the gist from them was all about how great the Orchestra really is. When I mention it is worldwide I mean it from the sense of the largeness of movement that has come from travelling the globe in person within 24 hours, and the obvious internet that helps create global communication in this case within the music world. In the last century these pieces of music have been picked up again to play after centuries. There is a real excitement around them, from all aspects of performance ,and now is a good time to find out more about it, please find out for yourself.

Reviewer: Daniel Donnelly

 

 

An Interview with Louise Hare

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THE MUMBLE : Hi Louise, so you’re all set up for 2017. Its the Audio Soup Equinox party in a couple of weeks & the third venue in as many years – what’s the back-story?
LOUISE : Last year, the Biscuit Factory didn’t quite fit with out vibe, so this year we’re going to somewhere that we love and that love us, Studio 24 💜 It’s our 7th year doing Audio Soup Equinox party. We’re really happy to be doing it at Studio 24 for the first time. Our usual mix of bands and Djs that people know and love. This gig helps us raise funds for the big festival on July 21st in the Scottish Borders. The Correspondents are back with us and headlining Equinox, along with Samson Sounds and Yoko Pono. It’s an 11 hour long event starting at 4pm. Folks should get down early and catch the wonder that is Becci Wallace and beautiful singer songwriter from Glasgow.

THE MUMBLE : This is your 7th equinox in a row, what is the reasoning behind an early Audio Soup
LOUISE : It’s to bring home the light

THE MUMBLE : That’s too hippy an answer, Louise
LOUISE : I know lol

THE MUMBLE : Expand please
LOUISE : Its an excuse to get a massive soundsystem out (Electrikal) and celebrate winter being over. It also let us get local bands and djs playing.

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THE MUMBLE : Is everything settled up at Cranshaws for this summer’s main event
LOUISE : All set for Cranshaws this year, no problems there. Line up is going to be released acouple weeks after Equinox

THE MUMBLE : What other festivals do you like to get out to during the summer
LOUISE : Knock. As long as I don’t miss Knock 🙂 We’re also doing a 12 hour Woodland Dance with three stages, including Mungos HiFi and Electrikal sound system at Vogrie park in 29th April. So looking forward to that too

THE MUMBLE :What is it about running Audio Soup that keeps you coming back & on it every year
LOUISE : It’s just what we do. So much good music and talent to get involved with. Also in this part of Scotland we are the only three day festival.

THE MUMBLE : What does Louise Hare like to do when she’s not organising kick-ass events
LOUISE : I’m with my kids, studying nursing and going to my pals kick ass gigs.

Preview : Postmodern Jukebox

This Saturday (the 11th) sees the Postmodern Jukebox roll into town, filling the Usherhall in Edinburgh. A little dickiebird told the Mumble that while in Manchester, they the incredible Maiya Sykes helped the band transform Oasis’ “Don’t Look Back In Anger” into a Bessie Smith – style New Orleans sleazy blues.

Maiya once again showed why she is one of PMJ’s premier vocalists; like the great blues and soul vocalists of the past, every note she sings is imbued with passion. This song was a perfect showcase for Maiya’s work with PMJ: the lyrical, mournful quality of the chorus melody really comes through when her voice is combined with the dirge-y New Orleans accompaniment. It sounds brilliant, as does Metallica’s ‘Nothing Else Matters.’

The Mumble can’t wait to hear the rest of the band’s musical tributes

Beethoven Symphony #2

Younger Hall

St Andrews

March 2nd

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Benjamin-Britten1.jpgWhat a jolly good outing to St Andrews I was having. After spending the afternoon with the poets at StAnza international poetry festival, I took the opportunity to linger in that most beautiful of sea-girt towns in order to catch the Scottish Chamber Orchestra for their first performance of Beethoven’s 2nd.  The gorgeous Younger Hall was the venue, a delectable piece of Victoriana perfect for such an occasion & situated directly next door to the university’s Beethoven Lodge. Before the 2nd, we were treated to two pieces; in his ‘Variations on a theme of Frank Bridge’ (1937), Britten pays tribute to his teacher with a tour de force of his early musical musings. A series of audio twangs bubbling up from the brooks of eternal youth – he composed them in his early 2os – Britten combines startling string-work with terrific melancholia that invoked in me a vision of walking with a damsel – in mid-relationship perhaps – discussing our prospects by a river in the city. She then leaves me in silence & I peer into solid waters gloomily. The blistering theatrical effectivity of the piece billows out in perfect unpretence, & the music wanders into the world like a freshly woken mountain lion stepping out of its dark cave in the early hours of the morning. I dearly loved the second movement – like a hurried march through the streets, caught in a rain shower – while the jagged aggressiveness of the third also pleased haughtily. The entire piece is a powerful panorama, & a tribute to a youthful composer gorged on too much red meat & brandy. Indeed, the sublime final movement rather felt like Britten composed it drunk in a chair, as his eyes were drooping into slumber.

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The second support was a premiere of Sir James Macmillan’s ‘Concerto for Horn & Strings’ (2017), a free fantasia spectacle which begins with violins on the balcony & the horn hypnotising us from off stage with its hypnotic leibmotif. Slow & temperate at the start, the cellists bring in a deep & discordant gesticulatory bass, into which Alec Frank-Gemill suddenly strides with his horn – & we’re off. The violins setting the scene for a conversation with the horn, as if they were polite dilettantes in a conservatory off the main hall of a stately soiree.

url.jpgFull of deadly flourishes & calm retrospectives, this concerto is an extremely asensual piece, that despite is dystopian harsheties, still convokes in the listener an exhilaration of some distinction. From jibber-jabber jauntiness to stoci fastidiousness, this is a piece that should redefine the contemporary soundscape. The finale is something special, as the horn drifts off stage at funeral pace, his leibmotif ever dwindling into the distance – when not even the mice of Younger Hall dared to scratch. The whole lot was performed with impeccable & quasi-theatrical splendor by the SCO, who are clearly enjoying the early choices of this year’s season. Masterminding it all was conductor Andrew Manze, whose inspirational giddiness locks into us all.

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Then to the main event itself. According to Manze in his preamble, Beethoven had been a very naughty boy, with the critics balking violently against the extraordinary effect of his new music. Beethoven would go on to change the world, & listeners first coming to the 2nd must ask themselves if they can keep up with the primordial screamings of his fledgeling genius. After the laconic opening, it seems as if a phallic stallion has broken free of his field & charged off into the woods, before sinking into a trot awhile to reset its breath, then cantering & galloping off again into the misty distance. When in a lighter mood, & preaching from the pulpit Parnassus, Beethoven presents a musical synthesis between cosmological balance & frozen air, where globules of poetry string together woven elf-gems, which meander floatingly, to which is added a liberal sprinkling of prettiness as the flutes & bassoons pirouette into the skies. As Beethoven launches his stylistic attack against the senses & the establishment, it seems as if soldiers are bursting into a village on horseback – the menall  terrified while the women admire their handsome uniforms. There is a golden authority to the cadence of ALL the notes, which were plucked out of the aether through an inspirational performance by the SCO, surpassing even their own natural brilliance. From cascading archipeggios to the bullying, egobursting finale – it was a triumph!

Reviewer : Damian Beeson Bullen