One of Scotland’s unsung treasures over the last couple of years has undoubtedly been the Grand Gestures.
Without much in the way of fuss Jan Burnett of Spare Snare has put out two fine albums of lo-fi electronica with the assistance of a talented array of vocalists.
The third Grand Gestures album ‘Third’ will be released next month and MPT is honoured to be able to premiere two tracks from the record this evening after two tracks were first aired on Glasgow Podcart last week.
First off, Grahame Skinner is a newcomer to the Grand Gestures family. Amongst others he has been a member of the Jazzateers and Hipsway and currently fronts Skinner, a collective of Glasgow musicians.
Grahame explained how he became involved with the Grand Gestures.
“Life’s hard when you’re a narcissist. You can’t go to a gig without thinking ‘why aren’t I up there?’
“And so that was the case when I first saw the Grand Gestures at King Tuts. I really enjoyed their show and made sure to tell my connection to them, Sanjeev (Kohli – prolific Grand Gestures’ contributor), exactly that.
“Fortunately he told Jan and eventually that lead to our collaboration.”
Once on board, Grahame’s contribution to ‘Third’, ‘Poster Boy’ developed quite naturally.
“When I first got the track I thought it could maybe use another chord change somewhere but that feeling soon left once I got an idea for the track.
“Poster Boy was just a word on a file of other words that might one day be called into action. The music, to me seemed elegiac, which is generally my stock in trade these days, so it felt like it was written for me; thanks Jan.
“Once I got a melody the lyrics came pretty quickly. I’m no Dylan obviously, less is more as far I’m concerned, for me melody is just as important, and after writing the lyric I improved the melody, making it more ‘dramatic’ I feel.
“When it came to recording Jan and I spent more time talking, eating, and drinking than working which is fine by me. Jan is so easy to work with, I found the whole process quite inspiring and am now planning my own home recorded project. I hope it’s as good as The Grand Gestures ‘Third’.”
Here’s Grahame’s track:
If Grahame was a newcomer to the fold Pauline Alexander, who normally performs as a duo with Edwin Gallagher, had already contributed to the second album ‘Second’ .
In common with much of ‘Third’, Pauline’s song ‘Fear The Night’ has a sparse feel to it and she feels that that tone helped guide her contribution to the song.
“‘Fear the Night’ is about dealing with a ‘phobia’ and the inevitable frustrations and anxiety these feelings can bring. Lyrically it’s dark and taken from the point of view of the person experiencing the fear.
“When Jan sent me the music, I didn’t feel it had a foreboding quality to it at all. It wasn’t a melody in the conventional sense, it was very minimalist and because of that, I started to think of things like ‘Solitude’ or feelings of ‘isolation’ and the idea developed from there.
“In all honesty, when writing generally, I’m not always clear why or how the subject matter comes to be. For me, it’s an instinctive process rather than a calculated one.”
Here’s Pauline’s track
‘Third’ is released on 19th December but is available for pre-order (with limited edition Grand Gestures pencil!) here.
The album is preceded by a single, ‘The World Will Break Your Heart’ featuring Gary Clark, which will be released on 1st December.