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The Scotsman, Under The Radar, December 2014

Published In The Scotsman Newspaper: Monday 8 December 2014 | Words by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

Click photo to read on Scotsman.com

Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon report on music events across Scotland in December 2014

Neu Gestalt is the alter ego of reclusive Edinburgh producer and musician Les Scott, who divides his time between creating soundscapes and working as an architectural consultant. His latest collection of compositions, Rain Chamber, was released on Edinburgh label Alextronic Records on Friday and the track Capsules features fragments of Japanese language reassembled into new words, set to fretless bass lines, exotic noises and even some bowed-in guitar. We recommend that anyone needing an antidote to horrendous Christmas hits, darkens the room, puts on Rain Chamber and embarks on a musical journey with Neu Gestalt. Listen here

2014 has proved an eventful year for many of the acts who have previously provided our track of the month. Young Fathers scooped the Scottish Album of The Year award for the excellent Tape 2, then went on to win the Mercury Music Prize, in October, with the follow up, Dead. The band’s Graham Hastings, used an interview with the Guardian to offer a robust critique of the impact the Councils noise regulations are having on the capital’s music scene. Visit www.young-fathers.com

A few days later, the quotes were picked up by the Edinburgh Evening News, which led to over a 100 promoters, venue owners, musicians and music journalists turning up for a meeting to discuss the future of Edinburgh’s live scene. With the Picture House on course to being turned into a JD Weatherspoon ‘super’ pub, the Queen’s Hall being forced to take down posters for forthcoming gigs and many music locations complaining about punitive sanctions from the Council’s planning and licensing departments, expect 2015 to be an interesting year behind the city’s music scene.

Stanley Odd frontman Dave Hook [aka Solareye] was a particularly sought after voice in the run up to the referendum and [perhaps unsurprisingly] Nicola Sturgeon declared the song, Son I Voted Yes, one of her all-time favourites. Another fan is Alex Salmond’s niece, or at least that’s who he said the autograph was for when he called by the band’s dressing room last month, to get his vinyl copy of their latest album, A Thing Brand New, signed. Visit www.stanleyodd.com

Dundee act Model Aeroplanes have lived up to expectations. This year they’ve supported Editors, The View and performed at T in The Park, Electric Fields and Radio 1’s Big Weekend. Their second single Electricity was released in May, and went on to garner spins on Radio 1, XFM and a sync placement on Made In Chelsea. Check them out at Stirling Castle on Hogmanay. Visit www.model-aeroplanes.co.uk/

Way beyond the Central Belt – Wick to be precise – six piece Neon Waltz have certainly made a significant impact in their first year. The band signed a deal with Noel Gallagher’s manager, secured airplay from Zane Lowe and Huw Stephens and performed at numerous festivals including T In The Park and Tramlines. Currently touring the UK it looks like the buzz will continue over the coming months. Visit www.neonwaltz.com

On the festival front, new kid on the block, Electric Fields proved a big hit with lovers of emerging Scottish talent. Hosted on the grounds of Drumlanrig Castle in Dumfries and Galloway, the sell-out event promptly announced 29 August as its 2015 date. We expect great things, not least because one of the organisers is leading taste-maker Chay Woodman, who until recently has booked The Wickerman Festival’s excellent Solus Tent. Visit www.electricfieldsfestival.com

This year also saw creative companies go from strength to strength, most notably Tenement TV . It started life filming from a tenement flat in Glasgow’s West End and broadcasting sessions via YouTube, it has picked up 3million views, thanks to featuring stars including Bastille, Passenger and Jake Bugg, as well as Scottish talent Model Aeroplanes Nina Nesbitt and Fatherson. In addition to this, the company has added a multi-venue festival Tenement Trail and an eight-part series for STV Glasgow. Visit Tenement TV

Another company which is hoping to establish growth in 2015, is Edinburgh-based Skoog Music which has launched a crowd sourcing campaign to manufacture a new instrument – Skoog 2.0 – a squeezable foam cube which produces a variety of sounds. The deadline to pledge is 8 January info visit http://igg.me/at/skoog

•  Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss organise the Born To Be Wide music industry seminar and social events. In May the Wide Days conference hosted by the company, picked up Best Networking Event Award at the Yearly Music Convention Awards, and in November Furniss won the Creative Edinburgh Anchor Award for “an outstanding contribution or activity from a professional individual.” Visit www.borntobewide.co.uk

The Scotsman, Under the Radar, September 2014

Published In The Scotsman Newspaper: Monday 1 September 2014 | Words by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

Biffy Clyro Manager Dee Bahl returns to Born To Be Wide on Thursday 2 October 2014

Biffy Clyro Manager Dee Bahl returns to Born To Be Wide

The big festival season might be drawing to a close, but for those wishing to check out smaller live events, Scotland has plenty to offer throughout September.

Live @ Troon is a multi arts, non-profit festival, which takes place in the South Ayrshire town from 5-7 September. The music headliners are Eddi Reader and the Red Hot Chilli Pipers, with emerging artists on the bill including Jacob and Rory Green , former track of the month artists Colonel Mustard & The Dijon 5 and Celtic Connections favourites, The Chaplins. Many of the smaller gigs are free. Visit www.liveattroon.com

Over on the East Coast, Linkylea Festival gets underway on the Colstoun Estate in East Lothian, Haddington. Created by sisters Bonny and Flora Squair, all profits go to support impoverished children in India. Celebrating their 10 year anniversary with a two-day event from 6-7 September the line up features many Under The Radar favourites, including Young Fathers, Bombskare, Hector Bizerk, and LAW. visit www.linkyleafestival.org.uk

Meanwhile, in Argyll, the intimate Bowfest runs from 13-14 September within the grounds of Inveraray Castle. It features upcoming artists like Irenie Rose, Jacob and Rory Green , Shanine Gallagher and Siobhan Wilson, as well as established traditional acts including Capercaillie and Skerryvore. www.bowfest.co.uk . Visit www.bowfest.co.uk

The final weekend of the month sees Ullapool host the Loopallu Festival, with emerging acts Neon Waltz, Vigo Thieves, Hunter & The Bear and Model Aeroplanes, bringing youth to a bill headlined by older geezers. This year the event, also features a literary component which includes appearances by writers boasting strong music connections: Vic Galloway, Doug Jonstone and Arab Strap’s Aiden Moffat. Visit www.loopallu.co.uk

Tenement TV started out filming live music sessions from a tenement flat in Glasgow which they then broadcast via YouTube (clocking up more than 2 million views). Since then the company have produced an eight-part music series for STV Glasgow and launched a multi-venue festival throughout Glasgow city centre last year called the Tenement Trail. It returns on 4 October with an excellent line up including; Hector Bizerk, Vukovi, Model Aeroplanes, Neon Waltz, Tijuana Bibles, TeenCanteen. Visit www.tenementtv.com/tenement-trail

Also making a welcome return to Glasgow, are Bronto Skylift, whose new album, Date With A Ghoul, is launched at a special gig in Nice N Sleazy on 11 September. The band provide a taste of what lies in store with this video for the track, Bird Catcher/Eater [play below]

Hit The Road, provides young musicians aged 14-19 with the opportunity to take part in professionally-managed gigs across Scotland. This month the initiative has two tours taking to the road. The first runs from 4-6 September visiting Edinburgh, Inverness and Stornoway, and features Megan D, Imogen Islay Hay and Josie Rose. The second tour features Jacob and Rory Green alongside Zoë Bestel and Lewis Capaldi stopping off at Dumfries, Bathgate and Fort William from 26-28 September. Visit www.hittheroad.org.uk

•  Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run Scottish music industry seminar and social night, Born To Be Wide. The next event takes place at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on Thursday 2 October and features Biffy Clyro Manager Dee Bahl Full details visit http://tinyurl.com/of4yl54