Randolph’s Leap – Up in Smoke

I (naively) always thought that in an age of such readily available technology, just throwing together a wee video would be ridiculously easy.

As a musician, plugging my trade in the modern music industry, the importance of a visual presence quickly became evident. Sadly for dinosaurs such as myself, the emphasis on aesthetics has some sort of relevance to most music in this day and age. With this in mind, I reluctantly signed up to Instagram about 3 years ago.

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Felix and the Sunsets – The Mushroom Song

Frankly, I really appreciate an LP that can go from paying homage to one of the defining social movements of the current age to a song about mistakenly drinking a cup a magic mushroom-infused tea. It is a rare ability to offset the relevance of global affairs with the opening of the doors of perception via a psilocybe brew.

Today’s post is brought to you in association with:

www.mymushroom.com – Your go-to site for all things fun(ghi).

Felix and the Sunsets will be familiar to yous from last month’s single ‘This Will Change’, an introspective voyage through the #BLM protests in Scotland last year. You can listen to that here. It’s pretty to the point, and certainly preaches a hopeful message, one in which musicians can still reflect the spirit of the times.

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Ronan Keating – Voice of the Revolution

In the wake of a non-touring future courtesy of the UK government, the unlikely figure of Ronan Keating has become my voice of the revolution.

I have been playing music professionally since 2018, casually for 25 years before that, and listening to it all my life. Both my parents are musicians, in addition to various uncles, aunts, cousins etc. A proper musical family, but not as cool or commercially successful as the Jackson 5 or The Beach Boys. Anyway, to say that I have been immersed in music my entire life would not be an understatement, indeed it is the truth of the matter. From a young age, reluctantly I might add, I have been completely bathed in music.

To say this bathing was diverse, would be stretching the truth a little, being as it was heavily centred round classical music. From my philistine’s point of view, under the term ‘classical‘ I lump together the following: early music, baroque, surrealism, Benjamin Britten (whatever that is), opera, John Cage and that, shitey musicals from the 1930s, chamber music, and all associated offshoots. Basically, that is to say, all music that lasted longer than three minutes and sometimes had no words. Oh what tonic to the ears and attention span of a millennial adolescent!

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Bigg Taj vs Spee Six Nine – If You With Me

Scottish musical culture transcends language and history, from Hebridean Gaelic to Indian rhythms, through to the frank wordsmith that is Spee Six Nine. This is, for me, a fuller picture of contemporary Scotland.

The teacher told us to shut up and listen, glaring over the top of the electric piano, harpsichord setting, his eyes alive with a total obsessiveness of a man unused to not being listened too. He’d wire into fugues by Bach or variations by Mozart, occasionally adding his own unbearable falsetto voice to the clunky, same-y melodies that we would listen to in stony silence. Then we would be lectured on how one fella in 18th century Germany influenced another in 19th century Austria or vice versa. Variation #12 Opus 32. Music by numbers.

The Gaelic part of the course was equally as tenuous, as if the SQA in all their desire to make Scottish culture as monochrome and one-dimensional as possible, sought to somehow find the relevance of the traditional Puirt à beul (mouth music), or Òrain Luaidh (Waulking Songs) in suburban Edinburgh. Though we were spared the grey days of falsetto-heavy baroque and classical, the historical and cultural significance of Gaelic culture sadly fell on deaf ears. That is until in an act of academic sabotage, our once demur teacher broke rank and put on ‘Chanter’ by Martyn Bennett, and in one moment of glory that only exposure to music can provide, the world of sampling was thrown open to me.

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This Will Change – Felix and the Sunsets

Telling people from outside of Scotland that you are Scottish is always a fine line to be walked. Though, mercifully, the reaction to Scottishness, or Caledonianity or whatever is usually positive worldwide, there always remains this glint in the eye of the listener, this somewhat romanticised vision that in order to divulge my national identity, one in which I had to travel through the glens, evading redcoats, playing soulful laments on my pipes, before being able to explain my clan history to some bonnie maiden etc.

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Trolled by Garbage and an actor off Desperate Scousewives

In today’s article, we look at how corporate individualism has championed over collective creativity and support in the music industry. Plus, Rab C. Nesbitt.

Catchy titles never were my thing…

I am going to start this article with The Proclaimers, a band that I personally think are worth 1000 times more than their classic 1988 global mega anthem, ‘I’m Gonna Be’. For me as a fan of lyrics that focus on the issues at the heart of modern Scottish life, the album ‘Sunshine on Leith’ is in my top 3 of Scottish albums from back in yon day (Scared to Dance by Skids and Steeltown by Big Country being my other contenders). Anyway, the twins’ story of how their music made it mainstream seems simple if Wikipedia is to be believed; a demo alongside Kevin Rowland of ‘Come on Eileen’ fame that ended up with another established indie group, The Housemartins, and then bang the cycle of creativity began. It shouldn’t really be that surprising that collaboration between established artists and emerging ones led to the success of this iconic band, but to me, it seemed just that. Surprising.

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Pictures of Islands – CS Buchan

Country and Northeastern

‘It doesn’t matter, you shouldn’t care’

Pictures of Islands – CS Buchan

I’ve only been to Aberdeen once. It was a dose of the predictable and unpredictable in equal measure. Predictable as a gritty 0 – 0 scoreline was mercifully brought to a close at the permafrost, uncovered away end at Pittodrie, unpredictable in that the subsequent voracity of the night out resulted in me puking on the Scotrail service back south and getting out at Arbroath, 2 stops early, to avoid owning up to my heinous deeds. I feel pretty poor about it even today, the misery that it must have caused fellow travellers and staff that day, a day already marred by the slate grey sky and the prices of Scotland’s inefficient, privatised rail network.

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