Miaoux Miaoux, Jonnie Common and The Cairn String Quartet - Pleasance Theatre, Edinburgh, Thu 10 Oct 2013
A glorious mash-up of orchestral strings, lo-fi beats and wondrous electropop for The Pleasance Sessions
Some shows glimmer with the kind of tingling collaborations you’re only likely to see live: the Cairn String Quartet, Jonnie Common and Miaoux Miaoux playing together during the Pleasance Sessions festival was one such show. Beneath the rafters of the Pleasance theatre, the trio of acts fused orchestral strings, lo-fi beats and wondrous electropop in a one-off experimental night.
Glasgow-formed act The Cairn String Quartet set a symphonic opening tone, synergising well with the fairylit stage. Translating pop songs into plucked instrumental numbers, their immersive, surging recreations shifted from forceful and ear-splintering to calming, classical and meditative. Frightened Rabbit’s ‘Backyard Skulls’, Chvrches ‘The Mother We Share’ and Franz Ferdinand’s ‘Take Me Out’ stood out as highlights.
The ensemble continued to flit on and off stage, first joining one-man talent Jonnie Common in what he playfully pegged an ‘instant career highlight’. His set, which culminated in an equally praiseworthy Miaoux Miaoux collaboration, was characterised with quirky beats and his distinctive Scottish rap – layers of looping sounds, crashing drums and synths overlaid on derisive lyrics. The only anomaly was, as the wordsmith pointed out, the seated nature of the venue, which begged a bit of space for dancing.
A congenial atmosphere gave way to banter, Common giving away a French film he found on the street and was fairly sure was not ‘covered in fox piss’ and Julian Corrie – aka Miaoux Miaoux – ad-libbing something about a eulogy for his rubbish synth, which took its last gasp on stage. Corrie’s Miaoux Miaoux set showcased tracks from acclaimed album Light of the North, swooping from the dream-pop of ‘Autopilot’ to the melodic and catchy ‘Hey Sound’ and guitar heavy ‘Knitted’.
The electrifying finale was a beautifully extended version of ‘Stop the Clocks’ featuring all the night’s musicians; whirling sonic soundscapes charged with heightened emotional verve.