Triptych 06 Overview

The festival does much to restore faith in music as an enjoyable art form and not an over-marketed commodity.

Feature by Paul Mitchell | 16 Apr 2006

In the 1980s, Tennents finally worked out what they were good at. No, not brewing lager (don't be silly), rather paying to stage live music events in their name. Seems they've become quite enamoured with the idea – T in The Park, since its inception in 1994, ranks among the very best summer carnivals. Fresh-faced T on the Fringe goes from strength to strength, but perhaps the understated jewel in the crown is the forthcoming Triptych, taking place across Aberdeen, Edinburgh and Glasgow. A haven away from the commercialised restrictions of mainstream, the festival does much to restore faith in music as an enjoyable art form and not an over-marketed commodity.

Luckily for you, Triptych has accumulated an exemplary ensemble every year since 2001, and this year would have felt very lonely indeed if it were to prove the exception. Fret not 2006, for all is well – the lineup's amazing! If you've never heard of many of the acts, whose fault is that? That's right, it's yours and no-one else's. Do your homework (read this mag for instance), then go forth and enjoy.

The following is a random smattering of highlights, very loosely grouped according to genre, and ignoring acts mentioned elsewhere in The Skinny. Alas, since we're currently a diptych (work it out brainiacs) we've reluctantly ignored events exclusive to Aberdeen.

If pop is your bag then check out Swedish octet The Concretes. Orchestral, choral, sexual and moody as hell (or so I'm told), they're actually going to be quite big anytime soon. Voice of the Seven Woods is the suitably pretentious alter-ego of multi-talented Rick Tomlinson. Interweaving folk, rock, jazz and tropicalia, Tomlinson douses them all with a liberal dose of acid – and the world is a better place for that.

Speaking of jazz (and if the appearance of the Arkestra and Steve Reid - playing alongside one Kieren Hebden - hasn't already wet your sheets) the reappearance of James Blood Ulmer to these parts should set pulses a-boppin'. A true guitar pioneer, no style is left untamed. Rather, Ulmer unfetters funk, jazz and blues in much the same way the Animal Liberation Front tackle the rat cages at Huntingdon Life Sciences. Unmissable, but only in the sense that your chances of getting tickets for his dates with Odetta are slim to fuck-all! Ah well.

Of course, as featured within these sheets, missing Odetta would probably be the end of the world, were it not for the fact that Bettye Lavette is about to sing her heart out for you. A voice to murder for (not literally Glasgow, please), her classic RnB roots and motown upbringing mean her Scottish debut will be one to remember.

Another Scottish bow which promises much mischief is the Soil and "Pimp" Sessions. This Tokyo jazz outfit have embraced this element of culture as only the Japanese know how – by imitating and improving on it. With a reckless abandonment of any known blueprint these guys will appeal to hedonistic clubber and pensive muso alike.

Blending styles has been de rigueur for ages now, and a melee of genre-defying electronic-acoustic-kitchen sink acts unveil themselves this year. Tarwater, an idiosyncratic Berlin duo, are multi-instrumentalists par excellence. They manage the curious feat of making electro-based pop sound altogether rootsy. Go figure, go forth, and enjoy what you can work out.

Triptych takes place across Glasgow and Edinburgh (and Aberdeen!) from April 26th to the 30th.