Altres - a fan writes. (mike nelson)

My relationship with altres has gone full circle. I started of a fan I was a member and now I find myself once again a fan. When I went to the first Tayside Bar gig I was hoping it would be good, I was a friend of Brians, however nothing prepared me for it being totally brilliant. The recording, thought good, simply can not capture the visceral experience of waves of sound rushing up and down the blackened extended shoe box of the bar resonating banging into each other trying to escape. Or for the very mixed audience (i.e. not electronic music fans) being literally 'intranced' en mass by the quiet passages. The posters for the first two gigs went up on my bedsit wall I waited eagerly for the next one I was a fan. And when Brian let me hear the recording of 'golden country' where Jeremy features for the first time I was even more in awe. This was great music the adding of term electronic seemed to have been made quite unnecessary. So when Brian asked me to play guitar on some tracks I jumped at the chance. The result was 'rise', 'sometimes elsewhere' and 'up'. It should be noted that I saw myself (I think Jeremy did as well) as an additional musician. Jeremy was making his own music and I was writing songs. For my own part, my guitar style was and probably still is critisised, it arose however from a desire to play in an 'altres style' I was determined for better or worse to avoid the overbearing rock guitar I wanted to be part of the 'altres sound' the sound of which I was a fan.

Now I think some things need to be said by way of background to this music for a start Brian, Joe, myself (and Les) came from Menzieshill on the outskirts of Dundee and Maurice and Kevin L from Forfar some way outside. While altres was modern music it was most certainly not urban music. This is significant; it allows the music to be of the past as well as the future it is not aping classical music it is coming from the same source. At its best altres seems to link the past present and future so as to tie a knot in the fabric of time. To be 'for the moment'. Also I use the general term altres for all the music. In a sense there are no individual tracks it is a whole. Individual tracks are simply specific examples of altres. Another thing that needs to be emphsised is its spontaneity. While sequences were sometimes prepared the tracks were quite defiantly improvised and live. Even tracks which could be said to have been written Maurices 'lost garden' and my own 'spaghetti western tune' owe more to how they were interpreted by the band than they do to the original writing. 'Everything is' and 'forbidden zone' which were to some degree formlised still arose from improvisation. The version of 'rise' was the second or third performance on the theme as were 'golden country', 'snake bridge', 'empty stairs', 'place of shadows' etc. and tracks like 'sometimes elsewhere', 'we all live in the fountain', 'three foot willy blues' and others were as far as I remember only played once. In our later concerts we did practice prepared versions of some of these due mainly to the type of venues we were playing, one regret is that altres never got to let rip in a small venue at the end. 'Arabian Nightmare' and 'Nothing further to say' however give a taste of what this might have been like.

As I said at the start I remain a fan while there was some friction (we were all remarkably stubborn) there was also a lot of fun. Overall I continue to find more in the music than I could ever have contributed to it. Finally it should be said this was not a traditional meeting of minds it has been said that it is surprising that we all actually sat in a room together far less made music. All credit should be given to Brian for bringing us together and Kevin L for keeping us together before at the end both literally and metaphorically 'pulling the plug'. Something that only Kevin could have done.

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