Raymond MacDonald and Jer Reid on Glad Cafe residency: 'There's no concept other than a diversity of music'
- Stewart Smith
- 28 August 2018
Two stalwarts of the Glasgow underground present three days of eclectic acts
'There's no concept other than having a diversity of music,' says Jer Reid of the three-day residency he and Raymond MacDonald are curating at Glasgow's Glad Café this month. 'I like to have improvising on a bill with other areas of music to highlight the overlap and hear it in a different context. I like people hearing improvisation who wouldn't usually go to a night that was all about improvising.'
The concerts feature an eclectic range of acts, from folk musicians Catriona McKay and Chris Stout, to leftfield bards Alasdair Roberts and Hoch Ma Toch (aka Drew Wright). Diljeet Kaur Bhachu brings her mix of Indian classical, minimalism and improvisation, while Luke Sutherland's dreamy post-rockers Rev Magnetic appear fresh from their Edinburgh International Festival show with Mogwai. Usurper's Ali Robertson is joined by Acrid Lactations' Joyce Whitchurch for a set where, according to MacDonald, 'musicality meets theatricality meets everyday humanity meets surreal humour.' There's also a specially assembled string group starring Seth Bennett on double bass, Jessica Argo on cello, Kim Moore on viola, and Rafe Fitzpatrick on violin. 'They're ace players with broad minds, big ideas, and loads of vision,' adds MacDonald.
'We have tried to shape each night to emphasis this eclectic, but at the same time, connected approach,' explains MacDonald. Another aim is to highlight the overlap between apparently different forms of music. As Reid adds, 'It's great to have Catriona McKay playing with Chris Stout because they'll play songs and reels, but Catriona is also a mighty improviser (as is Chris) so it makes sense to have her playing.'
A stalwart of the Glasgow underground, Reid brings his jagged, gutsy guitar to a range of projects, from post-punk groups Painted X-Ray and Sumshapes, to contemporary dance and spoken word projects. His interest in working across forms extends to the residency, where he will be playing with writer and performance artist Lisa Fanner as Claquer. As an improvising saxophonist MacDonald has played with such international figures such as Marilyn Crispell and Alister Spence, while pursing academic interests in music psychology. They met in 2014 as members of Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and quickly developed a rapport.
'We share similar roots,' explains MacDonald. 'Our musical identities were partly forged playing guitar on the Glasgow indie scene of the late '80s into the early '90s – Jer in Dawson and me in Remember Fun. Although we may have shared a bill occasionally we never really knew each other then, but the DIY ethos of those times still influences us both.'
Reid and MacDonald will perform as a duo, and in their group with GIO comrades Una McGlone (bass) and Stu Brown (drums), Drawn To Water. 'I feel a lot of support playing with Raymond which allows me to try different things, make myself vulnerable. Emotionally vulnerable even. That's something I value in improv, especially if it's men improvising. We can push hard together and feel the support, or we can be more tender together.'
Drawn To Water / Alasdair Roberts / Catriona McKay & Chris Stout / Special Guest, Tue 4 Sep, 7.30pm 7.30pm.
Hoch Ma Toch / Joyce Whitchurch & Ali Robertson / Claquer, Fri 5 Sep, 7.30pm.
Kim Moore, Jessica Argot, Rafe Fitzpatrick, Seth Bennet / Diljeet Kaur Bhachu / Rev Magnetic, Sat 6 Sep, 7.30pm.