The Orra Loon by The Kitchen Cynics!

The Kitchen Cynics have been a staple of the Scottish Alternative music scene for a number of years with Alan being quite a well know figure for his eclectic and vast musical out put. I've seen Alan play numerous times at various experimental nights in Aberdeen but it was a chance discovery via google that really opened up my ears to his incredible talents. And those talents aren't solely confined to music as Alan is also an incredible painter and collagist having recently created the art work for the Fit Like Records 'Dear Aberdeen' compilation. 

'The Orra Loon' is a bit of a milestone album for Alan, combining some past career highlights with more recent compositions and forming the perfect entry point for new listeners like myself. The usual phrases can be applied to the album, pschedelic folk, ethereal, whimsical but deep down its the sheer musicality which makes 'The Orra Loon' so damn good! Songs like 'Jock Sheep' and  'Richard in Bedlam' have a dark quality which feel quite reflective of the North East landscape  while 'Pressed Flowers' feels like its following the journey of a wonky shooting star, drifting across the sky, unsure of its destination yet beautiful all the same. Its hard to write something that can really convey the greatness of Alan's music but its music that should be heard far and wide. Its certainly gonna be my summer hill walking soundtrack!

You can download 'The Orra Loon' via The Active Listener and stream it below. Alan also has copies available on vinyl which is my prefered listening method, contact him here . I created some live projections for Alan's set at a recent doric event organised by Fit Like Records and should hopefully have some interesting videos to share in the coming months!

Temporary Studio (Live)!

Its been a busy old time down at the Temporary Studio with openings and events happening over the past 2 weekends. Firstly we had Temporary Studio (Live) which took the idea of an art show and presenting finished work and flipped it round, instead the developmental and the process became the art. Works came from Temp Studio organisers Amber and Kirsty along with pieces from Fiona McCubbin who created some new work on the night, Peter Mcrae who created a new improvised dance performance (you can watch a short clip from it below), Laura Reilly, Kyle Howie whos work was installed via a set of instructions as hes currently living it up in Spain, Karolina Szpyrko, Lauren Milton, designer Carmel Wilkinson-Ayre, a cool neon piece by Jim Buckley and some projections from myself. 

The work in progress element worked quite well especially having Fiona testing out her skills while chatting away to people. Peter's performance was also up lifting and resulted in everyone who attended dancing in a circle with not a care in the world. For my part I showed some of the designs for the Geotypes zine which I launched the weekend after with a small opening. Using After Effects I created a series of short animations to convey the layering process for creating each of the designs which would later make up the zine pages. I think everyone enjoyed being able to look at the work and not quite knowing where it was going to go or what the finished pieces would look like. Certainly the crits the team held the next day threw up some interesting ideas and takes on the work, something I think a lot of artists miss when they leave art school. 

This time it wasn't about the final destination but about the journey and what a lovely bunch of people to have on board! You can find out more about the Temporary Studio project here!

C-X-X-X Pre Degree Show at Peacock Visual Arts!

The Pre Degree Show show is always a good opportunity to see what the artists have been up to and how their work is developing. The art school is a fascinating space, seen by many as a weirdo paradise where the more eccentric the outfit the better and who needs to draw when you can make a small mountain out of copper filings and call it art?

But as someone who takes a great interest in artists and their process I think there is a huge amount of value being created in a place like Grays. Artists are not normal people but who wants to be normal? One of the biggest problems facing the council and the many cultural groups like AB+ in creating this cultural understanding in Aberdeen is that its a city full of normal people and they feel like art needs to be studied to be understood and enjoyed. But I find the opposite works for me, a lack of understanding allows me to rely on an emotional reaction and whether its good or bad doesn't matter that much, the general apathy shown by most people is the danger!

But shows like the Pre Degree Show are a chance to address some of these problems and to hopefuly enlighten people a little, give them a chance to explore contemporary work which is both serious and fun. As much as I enjoy seeing a Picasso or a Turner the work being produced at Grays is important and should be recognised as a stepping stone for emerging artists who are in the process of finding their creative voice and hopefuly challenging their viewers a little. Creativity is vital in many areas and job sectors and is the driving force for change whether in the fields of science, engineering or medicine. And its only by embracing this creativity in all its forms that Aberdeen can hope to become a more culturally friendly city which retains some of the wealth of talent thats currently beavering away behind closed doors.

Despite not gaining the coveted City of Culture prize Aberdeen has a lot of offer, you just have to get out there and embrace it and from what I can see these students are certainly doing just that!