Adem (4 stars)

Look@Libraries: Clarkston Community Library, Sat 2 Dec; Barrhead Community Library, Sun 3 Dec


Otherwordly London folkist Adem doesn’t just write and perform music, but rather has a full-blown relationship with it. Fitting then that he should have been talked into turning his hand to Look@Libraries cause - that of promoting Scotland’s public lending facilities. Two successive days events went a long way in doing so, particularly because free entry required joining up for membership first.

His short solo acoustic set in the fiction section of Clarkston Community Library on the Saturday night was every bit as spellbinding as anticipated - the wide-eyed upwards gaze of songs like ‘Love and Other Planets’ suggestive of a youth spent nosing a few too many astrology books. Indeed, he’s capable of turning a humble tome to even more immediate inspiration, as proved by his formulating words from a randomly selected paperback into an impromptu handbells-led ditty.

Improvisation is Adem’s speciality though. His Assembly performance project has visited the like of Tate Britain, and on the Sunday afternoon Barrhead Community Library was the slightly less prestigious (if infinitely more cosy) locale for its latest outing. Requiring only that participants bring ‘anything that makes noise without electricity’ (I favoured a highly imaginative frying pan and potato masher combo), adults and kids alike followed Adem’s conduction in making sweet music.

OK, so when lacking cohesion it was just a noisy free for all, but on those few moments that he did manage to get all humming, clapping, rattling and banging from the same page, there was magic in the air - a reminder that, at its root, music is free, fun and always capable of firing the imagination. Much like libraries.

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