Review: Peter Broderick Plays Arthur Russell, Celtic Connections 2019

Sometimes it’s good to test the cohesion of unknowns and expectations. I’d never been to The Blue Arrow Jazz Club or seen Peter Broderick in any of his genre hopping incarnations either solo or with Efterklang before I went to see him sing Arthur Russell at Celtic Connections. I’ve obviously only ever seen Arthur Russell the late, equally multi-skilled cellist, experimental composer and generally accomplished musician, producer and singer in a documentary, so it was an evening of open- minded approach to the new. Before, and indeed at the sold- out gig, people said to me that they consider Broderick to be the real unsung hero of the Erased Tapes label, emphasising his skilled multi-instrumentalism and willingness to embrace the new. There was certainly a buzz about the small club where the bulk of the audience also came early to hear Gerard Black from Glasgow band Babe perform a solo set that clearly demonstrated his great vocal range and draw of melody, all tracks being well received by an upbeat and engaged crowd.

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Review: Boards of Canada Hi Scores Performed by Stargaze, EIF 2018

As surrogate for the long absent in live form Boards of Canada, the orchestral interpretation of their Hi Scores EP by German collective Stargaze was never going to be straightforward. The band’s straddling of time and memories holds a profound place in my personal history and like many in the Leith Theatre I have come with guarded expectations. In keeping with the hauntological nature of their music the presence real or imagined of the brothers Sandison at this local gig adds an extra layer, and there is a palpable sense of seeping unknown.

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Review: What Girls Are Made Of, Fringe 2018

We experience a slightly physically altered performance of What Girls are Made Of, the autobiographical mapping of writer and lead actor Cora Bissett’s pivotal moments in music, family and choices that led to her being on the stage, albeit restricted in movement by a leg injury, tonight. Had we not been told we wouldn’t have noticed as Bissett’s presence is still a very physical one, an energy tangibly added to by the facts of memoir drawn from her diaries and an unannounced stash of her press clippings kept by her late father.

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Review: Hannah Peel, Celtic Connections 2018

We are here to journey into space with Mary Casio the 86 year old protagonist of Hannah Peel’s electro brass concept album Mary Casio: A Journey to Cassiopeia, an odyssey in seven parts. Glasgow’s Old Fruitmarket is perhaps a fitting venue for Hannah Peel’s live rendition of Mary Casio, in collaboration with the twenty-nine person Tubular Brass band, the building being a fusion of old and new in its acknowledgment of the past as both a way forward and memory base.

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Hannah Peel: It literally started from writing instrumental tunes

Clare Archibald from The Fountain spoke with composer and musician Hannah Peel ahead of her Celtic Connections gig at which she will perform her latest album, Mary Casio: A Journey to Cassiopeia, with the full twenty-nine person brass band of album collaborators Tubular Brass.

The album was recorded live in Barnsley where Hannah moved to at the age of eight from Northern Ireland. Mary Casio is Hannah’s third solo album, with the previous one Awake But Always Dreaming (released in 2016) leading to both critical plaudits and public engagement with her exploration of music memories as a positive connection for people affected by dementia.

Mary Casio: A Journey to Cassiopeia, released in the second half of 2017, has appeared in many end of year best album lists and the live renditions of the synth brass fusion with Tubular Brass have been met with a hugely positive response. Hannah Peel has been described as Delia Derbyshire meets Kate Bush, and as both a solo artist and in collaboration with The Magnetic North has established herself as a musician of ideas, exploration and experimentation especially in relation to ideas of place, identity and memory. Mary Casio, a largely instrumental odyssey in seven movements configured around the octogenarian sound artist Mary and her flight of mind to see the constellation of Cassiopeia, manages to successfully combine synths and brass to evoke yearning, melancholy and a space to dream with mind or body.

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