The Bulletin: Arts & Culture News | 21 December

In today's Bulletin: We recap the Xmas songs and pick a winner, Swans to curate festival, call out for film-makers for BAFTA Scotland 2013, new music by Sebastian Reynolds / Meursault and Blanck Mass, and the latest from the Creative Scotland shakeup

Feature by The News Badger | 21 Dec 2012

The annual Baftas in Scotland awards ceremony is asking film-makers from around Scotland to put themselves forward for the 2013 New Talent Award. Last year’s winners included Ainslie Henderson, who was awarded Best Animation for his film It’s About Spending Time Together and Anna Ginsberg whose stop-frame animation, How Can You Swallow So Much Sleep? won Best New Work. The New Talent Awards will take place on Thursday 21 March 2013. The closing date for entries is Monday 14 January 2013. 

Sebastian Reynolds has released a rather lovely electronic shoegaze remix of Meursault's Dearly Distracted, originally released by Song By Toad. He's donating the proceeds from sales of the track to Helen and Douglas House. Helen House opened in 1982 as the world's first children's hospice. Douglas House opened in 2004 as the world's first hospice specifically for young adults aged 16-35. Stream and download the song below.

Legendary alt.rockers Swans, the project of frontman Michael Gira, whose album The Seer dominated end-of-year charts across the blogosphere, have been announced as the curators of the 2013 Mouth-to-Mouth Festival. Tickets are on sale now for the one-day festival in London in April, which will feature performances from XiuXiu, Ben Frost, Mercury Rev's Cinematic Silent Sound Tettix Wave Experiment, and Swans themselves. If you haven't yet experienced The Seer, stream the epic 27-minute title track below.

Following the announcement of the departure of Creative Scotland's Director, Andrew Dixon (which we discussed in a previous Bulletin), Chairman Sandy Crombie's promised shakeup of the arts organisation continues, with the loss of their Director of Creative Development, Venu Dhupa. She will depart in February 2013. With two of the 'big high heid yins' gone, Scotland's artistic community and creative industries are waiting anxiously to see who will be appointed to take over the roles occupied by Dixon and Dhupa. Whether the sacrificing of two senior directors will have the desired effect of building bridges and rooting out the perceived unfairness in the way funds are distributed remains to be seen.   

Benjamin John Power, a founding member of both Fuck Buttons and drone, has been producing electronic music as Blanck Mass since 2011, releasing an album on Mogwai's Rock Action imprint, and a single on Software Records. He has just released a free track via his Soundcloud, Hellion Earth, an intricate, glitchy slice of retro-futuristic electronica. Blanck Mass will be touring the UK with Sigur Ros in February and March next year. Download and stream the track below.

We've been tracking the phenomenon of the Christmas single this year, avoiding (of course) the dreck churned out by X Factor and so-called "celebrities" in favour of a few wee gems from indie stalwarts such as White Heath, american alt.folkie Damian Jurado, guitar-pop duo Tim and Emmy's zombie-themed song, and even David Attenborough and some badgers. The original 'Manic pixie dream girl' Zooey Deschanel has even gotten in on the action, with an Xmas-themed song from her winsome pop duo She & Him. Then there's the #BuriaXmasNo1 campaign, which saw celebs, DJs and musicians tweeting in support of making the reclusive producers double-sided, epic release Truant / Rough Sleeper the festive chart-topper (we reviewed the single here). Another popular choice is breakout YouTube sensation the '£1 fish song'. The remix sounds like a budget Gangam style. We still prefer the original, with over five million YouTube hits and counting. Whatever ends up occupying the hallowed number one spot, and no matter how sick you are of bloody Christmas songs, we're sure you'll have time for this timeless festive track - listen below.

Usually on a Friday we'd give you a handy top three picks from the weekends gigs, but as Hogmanay's approaching, and this weekend is your last chance to shop for pressies, we thought we'd link you to our encyclopedic Hogmanay Gig Guide, and the Skinny ZAP! Top Ten Xmas and Hogmanay Events. If you're looking for some fun and debauchery over the festive period, The Skinny can help you find the best place to spend your hard-earned cash, with events featuring LuckyMe, Withered Hand, Soma, Numbers, The Pictish Trail, PAWS and a whole host of other favourites from 2012! Have a great holiday - we'll see you back here in January!

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