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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, November 2014

Published In The Scotsman Newspaper: Monday 3 November 2014 | Words by Derick Mackinnon and Olaf Furniss

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

Miracle Glass Company, is a collaboration between troubadours William Douglas and Austen George, along with drummer Andy Duncan. All three are well-kent figures in the Edinburgh music scene and early live forays have gone down well with local audiences. Boasting a slightly psychedelic nod to the sixties, the individual band members all take turns at vocal duties, delivering some impressive harmonies. The band recorded ‘Turnaround’ – our Track of the Month – earlier this year and play Edinburgh’s Voodoo Rooms on 30 November. In January they go into the studio with veteran producer Owen Morris, whose credits include Oasis and The Verve. We look forward to the result. Visit www.miracleglasscompany.com

Congratulations to Young Fathers our Track of the Month provider way back in February 2009, who last Wednesday added the prestigious Mercury Music Prize to their Scottish Album of the Year Award. One person likely to have celebrated almost as hard as the band, is Nick Stewart, owner of Edinburgh venue Sneaky Pete’s. His bet on the Edinburgh trio winning scooped him £850. Visit www.young-fathers.com

Lost Map Records recently celebrated its first birthday and to mark the occasion has launched a special section on the label’s website. Given the name Clumps, it promises to offer a variety of digital goodies including podcasts, films, photo diaries and other “random stuff.” The section currently hosts a free sampler featuring tracks by Lost Map artists, as well as a short, music-based film on the Howlin’ Fling Festival on the Isle of Eigg, which is organised by the label’s founder Johnny Lynch [aka Pictish Trail]. Visit http://lostmap.com/clumps

Meanwhile, Lynch’s erstwhile collaborator, King Creosote, also has news on the film front. From Scotland With Love, the excellent documentary for which he composed the soundtrack, has been nominated for a Scottish Bafta. See Visit www.fromscotlandwithlovethefilm.com

Much-loved Edinburgh venue, La Belle Angele, reopened recently, 12 years after the building which housed it was destroyed by a fire. Rebuilt on the same spot on the Cowgate, it will host its first live gig in December and plans to resume its place on the touring circuit in the New Year. Visit www.facebook.com/LaBelleAngele

The Dark Jokes (our track of the month providers in August), self-release their debut album Ekco Transmissions on the 24 November. The four-piece raised funds for the recording through a crowd-sourcing campaign and will be rewarding all those who pledged, with a secret gig in Leith on 22 November.
The remaining tickets are available to the first people who email info@thedarkjokes.com with Free Launch Tickets in the subject line. Visit www.thedarkjokes.com for more details.

Now in its 16th year, and a key fixture on the Scottish music calendar,
The Tartan Clef Awards organised by music charity, Nordoff-Robbins Music Therapy in Scotland, takes place on 29 November at The Old Fruitmarket in Glasgow. Full info visit www.nordoffrobbinsscotland.org.uk

Finally, fledgling label First Run Records continues in its quest to develop emerging talent across Scotland. Its latest releases include So Long Gone by Vukovi and Open Your Eyes by United Fruit. More info visit www.firstrunrecords.com

•  Olaf Furniss and Derick Mackinnon run music event night, Born To Be Wide which next takes place on Thursday [6 November] at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus. Mark Ellen, founder of Q Magazine and former Smash Hits Editor, will be interviewed live and sign copies of his book Rock Stars Stole My Life. The evening also features a discussion panel about music journalism. For full info and tickets visit www.borntobewide.co.uk/events