#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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