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. Itâ€™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 Glasgowâ€™s Music Language festival. Itâ€™s a platform for underground, alternative and experimental music from Scotland â€“ the kind of terms generally applied to uncategorisable artists who strike out in directions that are tricky to pin down. Itâ€™s the brain-child of Fielding Hope, who goes under the producer name Cry Parrot. Heâ€™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 â€œmusic that exists outside of commercial contextâ€, and explains why he goes out of his way to programme acts that arenâ€™t all cut from the same cloth. â€œMy faith is that audiences are open-minded enough to go straight from noise to folk to hip-hop to indie-rock,â€ he says, and the afternoonâ€™s line-up reflects that faith.