Matthew Collings

It’s not that I don’t really want to be writing this piece. It’s just that I want others to be writing this piece too, or similar pieces about this artist. The reason I am writing this piece though is that, for some reason, others have not.  But I was thinking about it over the weekend and since I really cannot figure out why one of the most exciting, creative, alternative and upcoming artists in Scotland, if not the UK, is not getting the press attention he really deserves, I thought I would try and get the ball rolling and acknowledge his importance.  And I  want to be clear, we are not talking simply about a musician here.  We are talking about an artist.

Matthew Collings is, first and foremost, my friend. Since I met him back in 2010, my musical life has been much richer and through working with him, I have become a much better musician and person.  I genuinely believe that.  His no bullshit approach to music is refreshing.  There is no back slapping or telling people they are great because he doesn’t want to offend.  What he wants to do is challenge, so the truth will out.  And the truth can be hard to hear, yet it is what makes us better artists, makes us want to strive to be better and to create things that resonate, not just exist.  That’s the theory anyways.  And it ties in beautifully with a piece I read at the weekend about Damon Albarn.  Basically he said “The problem I have, is that the minute I’ve done one thing, I want to do something else.  I find it hard to respect a lot of successful bands and musicians, because, although there can be subtle, nuanced changes in what they do, there aren’t any really bold new moves, lyrically or sonically or melodically.  Yet it seems like the world is completely satisfied with that situation.  I mean, that’s fine.  But the idea of slowly grinding out a huge career, based on ‘This is what you get when you buy this kind of record” – I just find that a bit…”  It’s this need to challenge, to always evolve, to move in different directions, to not be predictable and add to the general noise, that makes Collings stand out from the rest.

We at mini50 have just released his new record under the moniker Sketches for Albinos ‘Fireworks and the Dead City Radio’, so part of the purpose of this post is to help promote this brilliant record.  We are extremely proud to have released this and the whole thing is looking quite beautiful coming on 12” vinyl and featuring a photo book by Matt’s girlfriend, the very talented Elin Svennberg.  All in all it is a lovely piece of art, which if I didn’t run the label I would definitely want to own myself and have in my vinyl collection.

However, it’s the cumulative impact of Matt’s work that I think deserves recognition and to be talked about more in the media. If we look at last year’s solo release ‘Splintered Instruments’ alone, he deserves more than he got in terms of press attention. Between his solo work, released under his own name, and his work as Sketches for Albinos he already has an impressive résumé. With other albums under both these guises complete and lined up for future release his stock as a musician is ever increasing.  And not any old musician, but an exciting, ground breaking one.  Throw in his work with Dag Rosenqvist (Jasper TX) and as one half of Graveyard Tapes, as well as being a member of Hiva Oa and you have an artist who not only stands out from the crowd but is involved in exciting, alternative projects left, right and centre.

Thing is, Matt is important not only as a recording artist but as an artist in his own right, working with dance companies, creating installations for the likes of NEoN Digital Arts Festival and even starting work on an audio visual performance based around the actions of whistleblower Edward Snowden – a project that has received financial support from Creative Scotland and New Media Scotland

So, the creative industries are taking note of Matt but I think there should be a wider recognition of his work.  And I think one of the biggest failings in music in the UK – and further afield – is this satisfaction with the mediocre that pervades.  I use the word genius very rarely but when a true genius is floating well below the radar sometimes you have to shout about it.  And my voice may not be heard above the mundane noise of every day but I hope that it is.  I hope that this piece makes a whole load of you go and check out his work.  Not just the record on mini50 – though do have a look – but his whole body of work because he deserves the attention.  He deserves the recognition.  He deserves to be heard, because he is a distinct and powerful voice amongst the every day crackle and hiss. And that is exciting.


Micah P Hinson and the Nothing

Micah-P-Hinson-and-The-Nothing-e1390387666364

What a fitting way to celebrate my 1000th post as the Steinberg Principle, with one of my all time favourite artists.

As the 6 years of running the blog have passed I have become less focused on writing reviews – who am I to critique music – and more focused on sharing the things I love.  There are not many artists I love more than Micah P Hinson.  Since the first time I saw him at the Bongo Club and fell instantly in love with his music I have religiously bought his music – one of the few artists I still buy beofre I try.  ‘Don’t Leave Me Now’ is one of my all time favourite songs and Micah has soundtracked much of my adult life with his wonderful songs and quite incredible voice.  And the weird thing is that album to album nothing really changes.  There are never any shocking changes in direction or experimental changes in approach.  No, Micah is Micah and the changes are subtle and delcious and perfect.  And there is nothing new about this album.  More fragile.  More heart breaking.  The voice more impressive than ever.  But not a massive change in direction by any respect.  And it’s just fantastic.  I could soak this mans music up for ever and a day.  Thank goodness he recovered from the car accident and got the use of his arms back.  The world without Micah would be a tragic place.

 


Shield Patterns

Shield Patterns are Claire Brentnall and Richard Knox. Last night at Sneaky Pete’s I caught them live along with mini50 artists Now Wakes the Sea and Hiva Oa. I’ve known Rich for years now since the first time Glissando came to Edinburgh and I have watched his various musical adventures with great interest from Glissando, through A-Sun Amissa to Rustle of the Stars and now Shield Patterns. It was odd seeing him without a guitar and standing up whilst playing but nonetheless I would say this is one of his most exciting ventures to date. Whilst I adore Rustle of the Stars, there is something much more mainstream and potentially appealing about Shield Patterns that I have never encountered with Gizeh before. That’s not to say that their artists do not have the potential to gain wider mainstream attention but there is just something about Shield Patterns that this bigger things are around the corner. They remind me of Conquering Animal Sound, in their early days with that raw, freshness of a duo finding their feet, not limited by expectation and playing with a freedom and love that is simply awesome to watch and be part of. Last night was just perfect in many ways. Now Wakes the Sea was simply magnificent in a way only he could be. Hiva Oa continue to look more and more like the finished article with the expectation for album two growing with every show I see them play. The most interesting, diverse and experimental acts in Scotland all on one stage and then Shield Patterns. Great night of music and now I am very eager to get my hands on that Shield Patterns album. I have to wait until June but I am pretty sure it will be worth the wait. They are on tour in the UK until 11 March. Don’t miss them:

03.03.14 – Glasgow – The Old Hairdressers
04.03.14 – Sheffield – Rude Shipyard
07.03.14 – Cambridge – Leper Chapel
09.03.14 – London – The Old Blue Last
11.04.14 – Coventry – The Tin
27.04.14 – York – Basement


Things That I Love Today

Burning the Letters by Slyvia Plath

I made a fire; being tired
Of the white fists of old
Letters and their death rattle
When I came too close to the wastebasket
What did they know that I didn’t?
Grain by grain, they unrolled
Sands where a dream of clear water
Grinned like a getaway car.
I am not subtle
Love, love, and well, I was tired
Of cardboard cartons the color of cement or a dog pack
Holding in it’s hate
Dully, under a pack of men in red jackets,
And the eyes and times of the postmarks.

This fire may lick and fawn, but it is merciless:
A glass case
My fingers would enter although
They melt and sag, they are told
Do not touch.
And here is an end to the writing,
The spry hooks that bend and cringe and the smiles, the smiles
And at least it will be a good place now, the attic.
At least I won’t be strung just under the surface,
Dumb fish
With one tin eye,
Watching for glints,
Riding my Arctic
Between this wish and that wish.

So, I poke at the carbon birds in my housedress.
They are more beautiful than my bodiless owl,
They console me–
Rising and flying, but blinded.
They would flutter off, black and glittering, they would be coal angels
Only they have nothing to say but anybody.
I have seen to that.
With the butt of a rake
I flake up papers that breathe like people,
I fan them out
Between the yellow lettuces and the German cabbage
Involved in it’s weird blue dreams
Involved in a foetus.
And a name with black edges

Wilts at my foot,
Sinuous orchis
In a nest of root-hairs and boredom–
Pale eyes, patent-leather gutturals!
Warm rain greases my hair, extinguishes nothing.
My veins glow like trees.
The dogs are tearing a fox. This is what it is like
A read burst and a cry
That splits from it’s ripped bag and does not stop
With that dead eye
And the stuffed expression, but goes on
Dyeing the air,
Telling the particles of the clouds, the leaves, the water
What immortality is. That it is immortal.


Playlist – Week Beginning 10th Feb 2014

Beck – Blue Moon

Father John Misty – Every Man Needs a Companion

Damien Jurado – Silver Donna

Chantal Acda – We Will We Must

The Flaming Lips – Turning Violent

Keaton Henson – Teach Me

The Knife – A Tooth for an Eye

Nick Cave & the Bad Seeds – Higgs Boson Blues

Gem Club – First Weeks

Loscil – Endless Falls

Benoit Pioulard – Florid (Brambles Remix)

Carlos Cipa – Perfect Circles

Chris Tenz – Birth

The Twilight Sad – Not Sleeping


Old Earth – All Kill

Delighted to announce that at the end of this month we will be releasing a very limited version of the brand new Old Earth EP ‘All Kill’.  This EP has been in the pipeline for some time now, ever since Todd came over to Scotland back in September last year.  Whilst here he played a couple of shows, an instore at Avalanche Records and a session with the awesome Song By, Toad.  All Kill was played in full at the live shows and Todd premiered some of the material during the Toad Session, one track of which is in the video above with the whole session available to view here.  Keep your eyes on the mini50 website for forthcoming news on the EP and where to get your hands on one of the very limited items we have planned for this release.

Enjoy.


Bastardgeist

So, 2014 will see mini50 working with this awesome artist from Chicago, Bastardgeist.  Our desire to expand the label, improve the label and make the label, well just fucking immense will be helped greatly by this young man.  And guess what Scotland……he’s playing shows here this week.  All the information you need about these are below along with some nice videos of Joel playing some songs in an abandoned mental hospital.  Awesome.  If you can get along to one of the shows please do as he will have vinyl to sell and stories to tell.  Thanks.


Bastardgeist, aka Chicago’s Joel Midden, is an intensely talented singer, kalimba player and producer who released his second LP, entitled Infinite Lives, in 2013 via Brainlove Records.

Bastardgiest has enthralled audiences around the USA and Europe with his delicate falsetto voice, textured electronics and acrobatic kalimba playing. He recently recorded live sessions of Notable American Women (gleaned from the LP) and L.A. Looks, a new song, for Derelict Music in London, shot in an abandoned mental hospital.
Stream/embed the captivating results via YouTube here & here.
Midden will embark on some live dates in Scotland in February. Further US & UK dates will be announced soon. Infinite Lives is available now on vinyl and digital formats via http://bastardgeist.bandcamp.com.
More on Bastardgeist: http://projekta.is/bastardgeist.
FEBRUARY SCOTLAND DATES:
01/02/14 Henry’s Cellar Bar, Edinburgh https://www.facebook.com/events/503086476471202

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