Review: SOUNDING: Modern Studies, Lomond Campbell and Pumpkinseed Chamber Orchestra, Fringe 2017

It’s appropriate that the casual stride down from the city centre to Stockbridge Parish Church on this late summer evening, trees casting long, still shadows in the warm evening light, feels like a slow descent into another world. SOUNDING, the ambitious double-bill concert conceived by Modern Studies and Lomond Campbell especially for the Made in Scotland showcase at this year’s festival, is nothing short of transportative. Performing with the Pumpkinseed Chamber Orchestra, even a church seems too humble a venue for the extravagant, entrancing sounds that the two acts conjure this evening. It’s an event at once grand and candid, the cross-pollination between personnel (Studies’ drummer Joe Smillie lends his sticks to a couple of Campbell tracks, while the distinction between Modern Studies’ and the Pumpkinseed Orchestra’s line-ups is fuzzy at best) lending the performance a familial air that belies its scope  and professionalism.

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Review: Caroline Says – 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t Be Wrong

Records are often like time capsules, lock boxes of thoughts, feelings and ideas that offer an immersive snapshot of an artist’s state of mind at a specific time in their life. 50,000,000 Elvis Fans Can’t be Wrong is such a record. It finds Alabama’s Caroline Sallee anxious and lonely in the torpid whirlpool of early adulthood, stuck circling the foggy estuary between a youth propelled by education and the shapeless maw of whatever comes next.

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Review: Semispecific

As with most everything associated with Cryptic, the glasgow-based incubator of outre art events as consistently memorable as they are baffling, Semispecific was an experience that’s hard to put into words. To put it reductively, the event resembled something akin to a highbrow club night condensed into an hour and held in an exhibition space – part performance, part installation and part party. Utilising a twelve speaker surround sound system, searing white strip lights embedded in the walls and ceiling, and five suspended screens onto which abstract images were projected, artists Charlie Knox and Euan McKenzie created an engulfing multisensory experience in which the whole room seemed to come to life in time to the music. While audience members were free to move around the space as the wished, most stayed fixed to the spot, transfixed by the deluge of sensory information pouring in from all sides. 

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Review: Ducktails

“Please allow me a little pause to tune the keyboards”, Spencer Clark requested after his opening piece tumbled to a close at Broadcast on Tuesday night. Even if it were possible for his keyboards to be off-pitch, it would have been difficult to tell amid Clarke’s extravagantly inscrutable compositions in which conventional melody and harmony were only momentary, seemingly accidental guests. Performing under his latest moniker Typhonian Highlife, an artistic persona concocted from Greek mythology, mysticism, and the bizarre imaginations of South African author and extraterrestrial enthusiast Credo Mutwa, Clarke challenged the audience with three pieces from The World...

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Review: Cattle & Cane

The Mumford’s might’ve jumped ship already, but the bill at King Tut’s on Wednesday night proved the folk-pop fire is far from extinguished, especially as far as younger ears are concerned. Openers Michael and the Moonshine punched far above their weight, dazzling early comers with their considerable musicianship during rowdy jam passages in which tenor sax and bluesy organ swapped solos over the agile thrum of an upright bass.

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