Preview: Tectonics 2015

Preview: Tectonics 2015

BBC SSO conductor Ilan Volkov is one of Tectonics curators / Credit: Simon Butterworth

Glasgow's new music festival features Peter Brötzmann, Éliane Radigue and Karen Constance

With every incarnation, Tectonics seems to both solidify its character and status yet become more elusive and indefinable. The two previous years have seen the City Halls and Fruitmarket filled with slapstick absurdity, building-shaking sonic weaponry, heavy-metal-derived sludge, blazing free improvisation, near-silence, meditative minimalist song cycles and, of course, the furthest fringes of modern orchestral composition. It’s a nexus of wild possibilities in the midst of Candleriggs’ formal environs.

Curated by BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra conductor Ilan Volkov and Alasdair Campbell, this festival of experimental music – orchestral and otherwise – boasts an impressively varied roster of musicians. ‘Tectonics Glasgow continues its ambition to bring together local and international artists from diverse musical backgrounds,’ says Volkov. ‘It’s clear there’s a desire out there to discover new things.’

Among those new things are a number of unique collaborations. This year’s bill sees dalliances between turntablist and composer Mariam Rezaei and, on separate occasions, the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and black metal vocalist Attila; cathartic lap-steel explorer Heather Leigh and free-jazz titan Peter Brötzmann; and Edinburgh noise duo Hockyfrilla conspiring with harpist Rhodri Davies and pioneering Fluxus artist Ben Patterson.

Other unique experiences take place on a larger scale, with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra performing premieres of experimental works by Enno Poppe, Hild Sofie Tafjord, Peter Ablinger, Cassandra Miller and Joanna Bailie among others, as well as closing the weekend with a site-specific piece composed by Daniel Padden of The One Ensemble and Volcano the Bear. ‘It’s one of the BBC’s commitments to showcase the innovative and the new, supporting music that pushes boundaries,’ says Gavin Reid, director of the BBC SSO. ‘Tectonics Glasgow does that perfectly, and I’m looking forward once again to these extraordinary explorations in sound.’

The weekend’s featured artist, Éliane Radigue, is one of 20th-century composition’s most renowned creative spirits, fêted as a musique concrête composer and pioneer of electronic music. Today, her work focuses exclusively on acoustic instrumentation and close listening, which will manifest in ensemble and solo performances of pieces from Occam Ocean – a series of works composed specifically for Tectonics.

Also appearing will be Karen Constance, member of Blood Stereo and the Polly Shang Kuan Band. We spoke to the sound artist ahead of her appearance and you can read our interview with Constance now.

Tectonics, various venues, Glasgow, Fri 1 May – Sun 3 May

Tectonics Glasgow

Tectonics Glasgow is a glittering festival of new music, curated by the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra's redoubtable Principal Guest Conductor Ilan Volkov.

BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra

Formed in 1935, the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra is one of the UK's leading orchestras, with an exceptionally wide repertoire and a special affinity for contemporary music.

Tectonics Late Gig

Day two of Tectonics ends with live performances from Julia Scott, followed by Attila Csihar in collaboration with composer and turntablist Mariam Rezaei.

Tectonics Opening Concert

The opening concert of Tectonics Glasgow 2015 is a quadruple-bill of intense, with composer / turntablist Mariam Rezaei joining the Glasgow Improvisers Orchestra and members of the BBC SSO; tapes and loops from Karen Constance (Polly Shang Kuan Band) and Adam Bohman (Morphogenesis); a solo set from the roaring boy of…

Éliane Radigue: Works I

A quartet of soloists plays new music from French composer Radigue, a former assistant to Pierre Henry and a pioneer of electronic music who now writes mostly for acoustic instruments.

Peter Brötzmann & Heather Leigh

Peter Brötzmann, doyen of German free jazz sax, plays some duets with the West Virginia-born but Glasgow-based pedal steel guitarist from hell, Heather Leigh. Not for the faint-hearted.

Hockyfrilla, Ben Patterson and Rhodri Davies

Edinburgh-based Hockyfrilla (Dora Doll and Rhian) open the set with their noise/improv stylings, and then join Ben Patterson, who started as an orchestral double bass player, helped to found Fluxus, retired from art as early as 1965 but came roaring back in the late 80s; also joining them is harpist Rhodri Davies.

Éliane Radigue: Works II

Charles Curtis (cello), Rhodri Davies (harp), Robin Hayward (microtonal tuba), and Dafne Vicente-Sandoval (bassoon) play works from Radigue's Occam Ocean series.

Tectonics Glasgow Closing Concert

Robin Hayward (microtonal tuba) and Hild Sofie Tafjor (French horn) play, followed by a new piece performed by the BBC SSO and guest musicians and written by Daniel Padden especially for the end of Tectonics Glasgow 2015.