Hamlet Collective Album Launch
Live at The Blue Lamp, 18/01/19
by Shane Llewyn
Martin Fisch via Flickr.com
Karma for Vandals are the support, and a post-rock band, which means their music is as magnificent and portentous as the term sounds (we’re going beyond, or after, one of the staples of modern music? Really?!). Their use of samples is akin to Public Service Broadcasting, but the music is bassier, gloomier, falling into categories of goth-rock that sludge into more niche territories and subgenres, like metal and ambient and interesting-use-of-saxophone-music. They have glitchy visuals projected behind them as the three play, which worked well with their twelve-minute opener, though the projector breaks for the rest of their set. It was extremely cool to see three of the four bandmembers use drumsticks to collectively play percussion, dual-wielding with guitars.
Hamlet were excellent. Jackill’s raps and Nadya Albertsson’s guest vocals were also sensational (I managed to catch the former at Krakatoa later that night. He mistook me for KfV’s drummer). Hearing and seeing them play made me feel that jazz is living; not in some anodyne way of genre popularity, but as in an act upon itself. The young audience; instruments and band-players in dialogue, both literal and musical; spontaneity abounded. I am no jazz critic, which means I am inept at providing details on the music. I can remark that the second half was more dance and funk-based than the first, but otherwise can say little of technical value. So instead I will do my usual fare of rambling around the edges, inferring the ghost of implication, etcetera. It bodes well that Aberdeen’s art scene is at such a gestation period that a jazz band’s two-hour set - with support – can fill The Blue Lamp with a constantly adoring, applauding and in-awe audience. Here, Hamlet Collective have not only recorded a great album (one of twenty youth-led projects funded by Aberdeen City Council, as chosen by a jury containing fourteen-year olds and a few councillors), but raised the standard of what a performance night in Aberdeen can be, especially in the field of student culture. To know Aberdeen can provide such work is one thing, but to see it actually occur is especially rewarding – compounded with the Aberdeen Occult and Avant-Garde Society, and the Aberdeen Live Music Society, Aberdeen is set to follow an interesting trajectory, one entirely of its own character. It is not dissimilar to the state of affairs in Waterford, or Falkirk, wherein a self-regard for their own scenes accedes notions of public image or a realism based on population. If Aberdeen culture wants to escape its own parochial underground scene, looking to groups like Hamlet is key.