Skip to main content

Aeger Smoothie, LinhHafornow, Alex Smoke

Cryptic Nights, Glad Café, Glasgow
Four stars

Strange times require creative solutions, and with the Covid-19 pandemic causing live events to be scrapped, it’s time to get virtual. Such is the case for this latest Cryptic Nights concert, an initiative begun a decade ago by Glasgow-based international auteurs Cryptic with the aim of showcasing a multitude of composers who mix up artforms to ravish the senses.

With the aim of presenting music designed to benefit both body and mind, having this triple bill of international artists perform work in an otherwise empty venue while being streamed online has set the template for getting art out to a self-isolated audience. So, as it ramps up each performer’s hi-tech futurism, while there is an extra distance between audience and artist, there is also an intimacy that comes from such a one-on-one experience.  

This is certainly the case in Glasgow electronicist Alex Smoke’s opening set, a conceptual piece called Eirini, named after the Greek goddess of peace. The result is a lap-top driven sepulchral fusion of ancient and modern, which slowly but surely morphs into incantatory electronic chorales. Heard through headphones while watching the performance on a computer screen, a blissed-out meditation ensues. 

The concentrated textures conjured up by Vietnamese composer LinhHafornow draw from the natural world, with crashing waves, looped mouth violin and vocal keening set against projections that make for something more beguilingly spectral. Finally, Aeger Smoothie, aka Russian photographer and artist Mikhail Pinyaev, gives heart and soul to what sounds like little rhythm based depth charges that eventually give way to a martial conclusion.

Online watch parties are nothing new in clubland, though the absence of a crowd, applause or any public interaction here must be more unnerving for the artists than those watching it at home. For the virtual audience, the array of low level sonic dreamscapes accompanied by Pinyaev’s immersive visuals, soothe, arouse and stimulate a zenned-out calm and very necessary state of grace in such otherwise wobbly times.

The Herald, March 20th 2020



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