Conquering Animal Sound – new Glasgow band

Vic Galloway’s artists to watch in 2011 ”“ Conquering Animal Sound

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Vic Galloway ”“ BBC Broadcaster, Journalist, Musician and Music Fan.

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Currently there’s a wealth of great music coming out of Scotland, and I for one am delighted by the fact. It makes my radio job a lot easier for a start. I’m spoiled for choice. It continually takes my breath away year after year, as more diverse genres, collectives and sonic adventurism is unleashed on the world at large, from a wee country of only 5 million.

Thanks to the folks at ”˜Louder Than War’, every now and again I’ll let you know what I reckon you should investigate and turns your ears to. It might not always be Scottish, but it will always be worth a listen.

Anyway, I thought I’d cajole you towards some recent session guests of mine ”“ Conquering Animal Sound. They’re a Glasgow based duo who make a very interesting noise and are currently setting the blogosphere alight”¦ but don’t let that put you off! A boy/girl duo who first studied music technology in Edinburgh, they’re now based in Scotland’s rock metropolis, Glasgow.

In my opinion, normally musicians who attend ”˜rock school’ are all technique over content and usually suck a big one! In this case I’m gladly proved wrong, as Anneke Kampman and James Scott have put their techy training to good use, making a mini-masterpiece in their debut album ”˜Kammerspiel’. It effortlessly blends experimentalism and pop with sweet, un-clichéd, tangential melodies cascading over off-kilter rhythms and unconventional instrumentation.

Rest assured this is NOT rock music with any bombast or bluster, CAS operate in a alternate hemisphere where electronica, minimalist classical music, soundtracks, folk and krautrock all sit happily side-by-side. It’s a place where Anneke’s lyrics are personal and often surreal, but always from the heart. The music consists of homemade loops using laptops, guitars, keys, glockenspiel, percussion, toys and junk”¦ I’m sure there’s the sound of cellotape in there!
Their reference points are odd too. As well as naming themselves after a reggae sound-system ”˜Conquering Lion Sound’ (the myspace was already taken when choosing the band name apparently!), they write songs about Werner Herzog films (the track ”˜Bear’ was inspired by Grizzly Man’) and named the album ”˜Kammerspiel’ after a silent film movement of the 1920’s. Eclectic? Certainly. Pretentious? Actually, they couldn’t be more down to earth, natural and likeable folks, and this is another reason they’re winning an army of fans online and in clubs and pubs around the UK, as they tour as often as possible.

If you’ve ever liked the music of Steve Reich or Philip Glass, they may have appeal to you. Likewise if you’re a Bjork or Mum fan, CAS could be your new, favourite band. They certainly share a musical landscape with Glasgow loop-lovers Remember Remember and current electronic darling, Dam Mantle. All names they’ll be happy to be compared to, I would imagine.

But, comparisons aside, they do have their own character, creating extremely intimate, comforting music that has a sense of hope and warmth to it. And yet it sounds like the people making it are actually searching for something new, and pushing beyond their own knowledge and abilities. No matter what genre or style of music I listen to, I want to hear this from an artist. I want to hear their own personality reach through and shake you.

”˜Kammerspiel’ works as an album from start to end, and also is a treat when performed live as the tunes morph and twist into different shapes. It’s not perfect, and I’d imagine Anneke and James actually enjoy the mistakes, inflections and nuances these bring to the music.

However, if you’re looking for something to soak into, sonically speaking, then this is a band to cherish. It’s only their debut as well. Imagine what lies beyond”¦

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