Thursday, 2 June 2016

Oban Times Music Column - May 19 2016

WHILE much of the town was living it up at Oban Live last Friday, Cuan Mor hosted a more intimate affair.

Local music producers Kevin Burton and Aaron Fortson, known as Disposable Frequencies and Global Beat Initiative respectively, played extended sets at what organisers called ‘the first electronic music showcase in years.’

The event, organised by Alt Option Promotions and Omnibeat Music Group, is intended to be the first of many electronic showcases.

‘In the 90s we had a DJ scene in this town that was bouncing,’ says Kevin, who also co-organised the event. ‘The talent is definitely still out there.

‘There are plenty of people kicking about who have just been sitting in their rooms making music for nobody. We believe it takes a few people to show that it can be done for people to step out and do it themselves.’

Although regular club nights run in Oban, live performances by electronic producers playing their own music are rare. Kevin’s Disposable Frequencies’ set was entirely composed of his own material, drawing from old-school techno and early 90s rave sounds.

 ‘When I start a track I don’t have a destination in mind,’ says Kevin. ‘I just see where the music takes me. My stuff is generally upbeat and messes with the listener – I just try and play the crowd.

‘Another great thing about electronic music is that with all the new technology and kit that’s available, it’s so easy to get into.

‘I use a mix of hardware and software now, but I initially managed to do a lot just on a Korg electric keyboard.’

Like Kevin, Aaron has been producing electronic music in different forms for many years now. Under the Global Beat Initiative moniker he predominantly samples soulful vocals and creates obscure loops, making for a surreal atmospheric sound.

Also a gifted hip hop emcee, Aaron particularly takes inspiration from the different music hubs he’s lived in: Seattle, Chicago and California.

‘I cut up a whole bunch of styles as Global Beat Initiative,’ says Aaron. ‘These styles are really a reflection of the different places and cultures I’ve grown up.

‘I’ve moved around a lot but this is the first time I’ve ever played at, let alone seen, an entire night devoted to electronic music here in Oban.’

As the event clashed with Oban Live, which Kevin admits was a ‘brave move’, the turnout proved disappointing for organisers. However, the organisers are determined to throw more showcases in the near future.

‘We hoped for more spill over at this particular event, but come hell or high water, I intend to play a part in helping an electronic scene develop in this town,’ says Kevin.

Aaron added: ‘I think there’s a huge hole in Oban. Young people often tell me that they’d love to go to raves or electronic nights because it means they wouldn’t have to go down to Glasgow to enjoy it. This was a learning experience and something we’ll definitely do again.’


First Printed in Oban Times on May 19 2016

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