01 Dec 2002
The Arches, Glasgow

What we wrote at the time:

There’s a lot to be said for just programming music for music’s sake, contacting musicians who you’ve admired for a long time, who you’ve sought out and listened to in awe, who you’ve spent hours drunkenly evangelising the inherent beauty, violence or conceptual genius of to [often bored] friends in the pub: going out and finding these artists and trying to get them to perform at your gig.  To a large extent that’s what we’ve done this year

All of our artists are important, both in their respective fields and to us personally.  We are lucky to be able to present to you some of, in our opinion at least, the most challenging, ground-breaking and plain exiting artists working today: be that in electronica, avant classical or experimental media. But hopefully there is more to it than that. Generally the term experimental sounds like a death knell when used to describe a music event in Scotland, but that needn’t be the case. 

Our artists this year may work at the outer edges of contemporary music, but it’s not that big a leap really: if you’re into Warp or Boards Of Canada, there is a minor key beauty that you’ll instantly recognise in Stephan Mathieu’s work or the warm analogue collages of Ilpo Vaisainen [of Pan Sonic]. And similar claims can be made of all our artists: I think we’d like to argue that Phill Niblock is the only great American minimalist still releasing interesting work, he’s a contemporary of John Cage and La Monte Young who’s influence has extended far into the NYC music scene: if you’re into Sonic Youth you should check him out, both Thurston Moore and Jim O’Rourke play on his newest work [Jim also played on the latest release from Mirror, who are making their Scottish debut at Instal].

And Ryoji and Carsten’s work [both as solo artists and when collaborating] resonates throughout electronica: their sonic palette of twisted algorithms and clean precise tones and grooves are so often aped that at times you’d wish they’d take a sabbatical, stop recording for a while and give time for some artists to come up with their own ideas.  That argument is kinda made redundant by work that consistently puts them ahead of their contemporaries, their copied for good reason: Ryoji’s devastating sense of timing and punk aggression, Carsten’s brutal rhythmic sense and joy for sound.   We’ve tried to put together a programme that exemplifies a broad range of experimental music, but that also draws comparisons between those artists, elucidates themes or shared heredity, and perhaps most importantly is presented in a way that encourages you to take a risk.  It’s The Arches, it’s a promenade show with 3 stages, we’re trying to present the whole thing in a relaxed way: you don’t have to see every act, you can skip one and go for a drink in the bar, we won’t mind [you’ll still be able to hear them: it’ll be loud] or go and check out the film programme.  So, I guess the point is this: if you know these artists already, you’ll probably come.  If you don’t, do take a gamble.

Instal 02 was reviewed by Neil Cooper in The Herald and in The Wire by David Keenan. Before the festival co-curator and co-organiser, Tiernan Kelly was interviewed by Hamish Brown in The Herald here and here.




Supported by The Arches, The Calouste Gulbenkian Foundation, The Great British Sasakawa Foundation and The Wire.

Thanks to co-curator Tiernan Kelly and technical work by Kamal Ackerie and all the staff at The Arches.