Skip to main content

Lost in Music

North Edinburgh Arts, Edinburgh
Four stars

The underworld has long been the most fertile place for artistic expression inspired by things lost on higher ground. Just ask Orpheus, the nearest thing Greek mythology has to a rock star. Ask Eurydice too, whose untimely demise prompts Orpheus to attempt the grandest of gestures. Things might not end well, but at least they can say thank you for the music, even if it does become the death of them, immortality guaranteed.

This is certainly the case in Nicholas Bone’s Magnetic North company’s album-length rendition of this classic yarn, which pitches the story through a suite of songs written and performed by an ad hoc quartet of some of Scotland’s most adventurous musicians overseen by musical director Kim Moore.

Things begin with the voices of the future, as young people’s recorded responses to the importance of music form a kind of spoken-word collage set to a chamber-pop instrumental overture. This is played with exquisite panache by guitarist Jill O’Sullivan, clarinettist Emily Phillips, saxophonist Claire Willoughby and drummer Alex Neilson, all of whom come with an impeccable musical pedigree.

Swathed in psychedelic apparel and draped around Karen Tennent’s leafy Eden-like set, once the band burst into song, it is with a nouveau-bardic sense of storytelling driven by O’Sullivan on lead vocal accompanied by harmonies and monologues by Phillips and Willoughby. This is illuminated by Gavin Glover’s micro-cinematic images projected onto the looming moon above and bathed in Simon Wilkinson’s equally foreboding lighting. Such a display recognises how music doesn’t just go beyond words in its evocation of life’s deepest and often darkest moments. Sometimes it goes beyond dear life itself.

This fully breaks on through to the other side when the ensemble is joined by young musicians from local schools. In Edinburgh, students from from Craigroyston Community High School, Amie Huckstep, Ashton Allan, Ella Ferguson, Eve Allan, Sarah Newman and Xenia Garden found their muse. In Glasgow this week, musicians from Glasgow Kelvin College look set to do likewise. The sound of the underground, it seems, lives on.

The Herald, March 4th 2019



Popular posts from this blog

Big Gold Dreams – A Story of Scottish Independent Music 1977-1989

Disc 1 1. THE REZILLOS (My Baby Does) Good Sculptures (12/77)  2. THE EXILE Hooked On You (8/77) 3. DRIVE Jerkin’ (8/77) 4. VALVES Robot Love (9/77) 5. P.V.C. 2 Put You In The Picture (10/77) 6. JOHNNY & THE SELF ABUSERS Dead Vandals (11/77) 7. BEE BEE CEE You Gotta Know Girl (11/77) 8. SUBS Gimme Your Heart (2/78) 9. SKIDS Reasons (No Bad NB 1, 4/78) 10. FINGERPRINTZ Dancing With Myself (1/79)  11. THE ZIPS Take Me Down (4/79) 12. ANOTHER PRETTY FACE All The Boys Love Carrie (5/79)  13. VISITORS Electric Heat (5/79) 14. JOLT See Saw (6/79) 15. SIMPLE MINDS Chelsea Girl (6/79) 16. SHAKE Culture Shock (7/79) 17. HEADBOYS The Shape Of Things To Come (7/79) 18. FIRE EXIT Time Wall (8/79) 19. FREEZE Paranoia (9/79) 20. FAKES Sylvia Clarke (9/79) 21. TPI She’s Too Clever For Me (10/79) 22. FUN 4 Singing In The Showers (11/79) 23. FLOWERS Confessions (12/79) 24. TV21 Playing With Fire (4/80) 25. ALEX FERGUSSON Stay With Me Tonight (1980) 1. THE REZILL

Losing Touch With My Mind - Psychedelia in Britain 1986-1990

DISC 1 1. THE STONE ROSES   -  Don’t Stop 2. SPACEMEN 3   -  Losing Touch With My Mind (Demo) 3. THE MODERN ART   -  Mind Train 4. 14 ICED BEARS   -  Mother Sleep 5. RED CHAIR FADEAWAY  -  Myra 6. BIFF BANG POW!   -  Five Minutes In The Life Of Greenwood Goulding 7. THE STAIRS  -  I Remember A Day 8. THE PRISONERS  -  In From The Cold 9. THE TELESCOPES   -  Everso 10. THE SEERS   -  Psych Out 11. MAGIC MUSHROOM BAND  -  You Can Be My L-S-D 12. THE HONEY SMUGGLERS  - Smokey Ice-Cream 13. THE MOONFLOWERS  -  We Dig Your Earth 14. THE SUGAR BATTLE   -  Colliding Minds 15. GOL GAPPAS   -  Albert Parker 16. PAUL ROLAND  -  In The Opium Den 17. THE THANES  -  Days Go Slowly By 18. THEE HYPNOTICS   -  Justice In Freedom (12" Version) 1. THE STONE ROSES    Don’t Stop ( Silvertone   ORE   1989) The trip didn’t quite start here for what sounds like Waterfall played backwards on The Stone Roses’ era-defining eponymous debut album, but it sounds

Edinburgh Rocks – The Capital's Music Scene in the 1950s and Early 1960s

Edinburgh has always been a vintage city. Yet, for youngsters growing up in the shadow of World War Two as well as a pervading air of tight-lipped Calvinism, they were dreich times indeed. The founding of the Edinburgh International Festival in 1947 and the subsequent Fringe it spawned may have livened up the city for a couple of weeks in August as long as you were fans of theatre, opera and classical music, but the pubs still shut early, and on Sundays weren't open at all. But Edinburgh too has always had a flipside beyond such official channels, and, in a twitch-hipped expression of the sort of cultural duality Robert Louis Stevenson recognised in his novel, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, a vibrant dance-hall scene grew up across the city. Audiences flocked to emporiums such as the Cavendish in Tollcross, the Eldorado in Leith, The Plaza in Morningside and, most glamorous of all due to its revolving stage, the Palais in Fountainbridge. Here the likes of Joe Loss and Ted Heath broug