Monthly Archives: April 2012

#UNRAVEL – FOUND and Aidan Moffat

Arch 24 – Glasgow

I went to see this exhibit on Tuesday, as a birthday treat to myself no less. I spent a long time finding the place, I don’t know Glasgow that well to drive in and it’s tucked under a railway in an arch under a bridge. Once found I got the chance to be alone in a small white room with some rather brilliant mechanically played musical instruments.

#UNRAVEL is a collaborative work between Edinburgh band FOUND and the musical man Aidan Moffat of Arab Strap, L.Pierre and his newest collaboration with Bill Wells (which produced my favourite album fom last year). It is intended as an inquiry into the nature of memory and is best explained by the people involved in this brilliant 3 minute documentary.

So impressions:

The choice of 7” records were pretty good and I was particularly chuffed to find The Cure and Dinosaur Jr in there. It’s just a shame they didn’t actually have any grooves in them so they could play! Fakeys I’m afraid. I suppose they were more about the act of actually putting on a record etc, but I was still a bit confused/disappointed.

The quality of the instruments and mechanics were sublime. I was very impressed – so impressed I went back to the car to find my camera. When I got back in another guy had come in. He’d seen a few more exhibits that were a part of the Glasgow International Festival of Visual Art (of which #UNRAVEL is a part) and said this was the best he’d seen so far.

I went as a music fan rather than as an art fan (though I do enjoy visual art to some extent). On a musical level I was quite impressed with #UNRAVEL. Between my first stop in and my return with camera in hand the mood of the piece had changed quite dramatically. More upbeat, more chimey, and less maudlin in narration – had I been alone I’d have considered trying to dance to it (I was secretly hoping this would happen – alas not!)

Unfortunately my camera battery died so I didn’t get a video of the full setup playing a full song, but here are some of the elements that made up an intriguing Tuesday away from work.

#Unravel all2

#Unravel all1

#Unravel snare

#Unravel vinyl

#Unravel deck

#UNRAVEL Dials from Mike McDonald on Vimeo.

#Unravel Chimes from Mike McDonald on Vimeo.

On my way out I stopped off to have a look at Baldvin Ringsted’s exhibit ‘In Place of the Morning Star’ in another arch, passing by an exhibit by the one and only Richard Hell of Voidoids and Television fame. (I didn’t go in there because there was a girl doing star jumps inside – she appeared to be looking after the space and must have been pretty bored!)

Baldvin’s exhibit consisted of a furry drumkit on a mirrored pentagonal platform. There was a voice over with some ambient electronic sounds underneath. It was nice enough, but as I say – I’m a music fan over an art fan and was left with little impression of the music that had influenced the piece. Certainly there was no percussion in the soundtrack, perhaps because the drumkit was covered in yellow furry fabric!

P.S. I’m currently listening to the new album ‘The Money Store’ by Death Grips. All reviews I’ve read so far have been glowing, and I can see why to some extent. It won’t be my album of the year (at the moment that’s going to Grimes), but it may have song of the year in ‘I’ve Seen Footage’. I want to dance (in public!) to this song more than I want to dance to any other. Praise indeed from a non-dancer such as myself.


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Steppin’ Out like Joe Jackson

Well now, I’m eventually steppin’ out and I’m trying to leave the TV behind. I’ll probably bring the radio with me, just in case!

This is a move to stop filling Facebook and various message boards with my shite about music. This is an attempt to bring everything under one roof so-to-speak, where I can blether about what I’m listening to, where I can talk about what I’m reading and where I can try and start to engage a little more actively with music.


A little about where I’m coming from:

I’m a Sociology graduate with a specialism in cultural studies. I wrote about music, social consciousness and political action as an Honours dissertation and I’ve not really stopped wanting to write about music since. I’m returning to academia in a while to study Popular Music and Music Industries and I reckon it’s about time I stopped jotting down what I was thinking in A4 pads and started jotting it down a little more formally. Sharing is important to me. This means I’ll be trying to put theory into my own words, trying to link ideas I’ve read about together and trying to address the position of music in a confused and disjointed style.

I’m also a DJ on my local community radio station. I started out while we were still based exclusively in the local hospital and in the past month we’ve branched out online (it’s been a long time coming!) This will hopefully become a place to share my playlists, thoughts on what I’ve been playing and what I want to play as well as what it means to be a community DJ. The question of ‘can I get away with playing that’ is a troubling one for me. [I’ll hopefully get something sorted out on Mixcloud too; too many people have been asking to hear recordings of my shows and I just don’t have a platform yet.]

Finally, I’m hoping this will be somewhere where people will leave me a comment or two. Posting stuff on Facebook encourages a ‘Like’ but it doesn’t really open up to debate or justification. Joining in on message boards is great for proclaiming your opinion but you don’t really get to steer direction of thought before tl;dr.


If you read something you like please follow by RSS or by email or whatever. I am new to this, so if there’s something you think I should be doing please let me know. Feel free to link me out on other sites etc. and if you read something you like I’d appreciate credit where credit is due.


I’ll be trying to link out to my other online personas as I go along.


You’ll see a link up top right About My Radio Show.

This is Spotify mfmcd57

I’m also on DiS with the same username as Spotify – I’m mainly a lurker.

I’ll link up Mixcloud once I’ve worked out the legal ramifications. As our radio station is a registered charity I really don’t want to be risking our licence etc by posting up my shows if it’s not 100% legal copyright-wise. If anyone can help provide detail/insight on this please, please let me know!


Next post will be about music – I promise!



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