Monthly Archives: November 2013

Cry Parrot’s Music Language Redux

dundee

First published by The Hub on 6 November, 2013

At the start of the inaugural Music Language Redux, early-bird audience members are sipping cappuccinos on the terrace of Dundee Contemporary Arts to the clang and grind of a band filtering down from upstairs. Others are gathered inside the sparse gallery, solemnly taking in the source of that noise: an Edinburgh-based sound-art quartet called Muscletusk. It’s the first set of the afternoon and makes for an uncompromisingly rowdy opener, all glitches and cranks and gutsy electronic clatter.

Music Language Redux is the first Dundee incarnation of Glasgow’s Music Language festival. It’s a platform for underground, alternative and experimental music from Scotland – the kind of terms generally applied to uncategorisable artists who strike out in directions that are tricky to pin down. It’s the brain-child of Fielding Hope, who goes under the producer name Cry Parrot. He’s a laid-back, softly-spoken guy who spends the afternoon at the back of the crowd listening with his head inquisitively tilted. Between acts he tells me about his commitment to “music that exists outside of commercial context”, and explains why he goes out of his way to programme acts that aren’t all cut from the same cloth. “My faith is that audiences are open-minded enough to go straight from noise to folk to hip-hop to indie-rock,” he says, and the afternoon’s line-up reflects that faith.

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Interview: Peter Maxwell Davies

First published in The Herald on 6 November, 2013

Back in the 1970s, Sir Peter Maxwell Davies developed a rule of thumb. If he was ever stuck for inspiration, he would simply stand on his doorstep for half an hour. “Seemed to work every time,” he says with a chuckle. It didn’t hurt that Maxwell Davies – or Max, as he’s known pretty much universally – was living on Hoy at the time; you don’t need to venture far on Orkney’s craggiest island to find scenery that will set the mind and the pulses racing. Of course, Max did venture out beyond his stoop, striding across the high cliffs and fierce beaches to find his inspiration in the waves and winds and screaming birds of the North Atlantic.

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