Tuesday, 18 December 2012


As Simon Reynolds spends most of Bring the Noise trying to explain, the best music is impure. Never mind the clinical precision of that X-Factor cover version: it's the grubbiness, the taints and hints that give a song its meaning. I didn't realise how good Frankie Goes to Hollywood's Power of Love was until someone ruined it by removing the awkwardness for an advert.
This is one reason why I am revisiting Tricky's Maxinquaye this festive season. There aren't that many albums that expose the workings of a sub-dom relationship before launching into what could be a black feminist anthem. And it's why I'll be down the front for Tut Vu Vu's Christmas show. 
Unless Raydale Dower, Matthew Black, Jamie Bolland and Iban Perez roll up on stage wearing santa hats, there is unlikely to be much crass Christmas commercialism at the CCA show. As one of the three bands to evolve from the aftermath of Uncle John and Whitelock, Tut Vu Vu are the most restless band in Scotland - if they changed their name to The Post-Modern Jazz Quartet, they could persuade Creative Scotland to fund them into eternity. When most outfits are struggling to master one genre, Tut Vu Vu have absorbed the spirit of free jazz - they don't just trade riffs, they trade instruments - and slipped in the dissonant edge of musique concrète, tying it together with the black steel of blues bass.
Even the added bonus of a set by The Gummy Stumps is sadly overcome by the promise of Romany Dear's march your legs up and down, this has the potential to become a very political exercise. Apart from being a winner of The Skinny and CCA Award for 2012, Dear is interested in the way that people respond to space, and she has recruited Ashanti Harris, Daniela Corda, Sinead Hargan and Zephyr Liddell to get their groove on. Dear is calling this a "choreographed group performance," which nicely sidesteps the whole dance/physical theatre conundrum. Whatever, it's another example of how Glasgow visual art is not playing lazy with categories.
Although a set by Tut Vu Vu is never predictable - they have enough of that improvisational skill to switch at will from sinister melody to overwhelming rock assaults - it's unlikely that this will be anything less than unforgettable. It might even wash the sound of cash-tills and suspect pop stars preaching goodwill to all men who can afford to shop in the town centre.

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