Glasgow New Music Expedition, RCS, Glasgow

Michael Tumelty

Three stars

THE RCS's Plug Festival fielded a huge, double-barrelled concert on Wednesday, which appeared to be two concerts: the festival's annual electro-acoustic event, and a live concert by the recently-established Glasgow New Music Expedition; but boundaries dissolved as one species blended into, or borrowed from, another, creating the impression of a vast sonic source-palette available to all.

We can't really get nine new or recent works into this wee slot, but everything was represented, with Graham Costello's viola-based Different Zones a plaintive human instrumental voice in a techno-landscape, Urzsula Zygula's random search of Google throwing up a wacky Max Davies-type music theatre piece, while Daniil Titov's Technolobee for soprano and laptop created a kind of speech-song in a Schoenbergian manner. Sailing over the walls of technology that threatened to de-materialise Neanderthal mortals came Chris Amer's An Orkney Winter, a flute solo with a gentle if chill, electronic landscape, just before Godzilla, in the form of James Wilson's very heavy-metal, post-nuclear, thrash (aka cobblers) Deconstructive Thrash Metal erupted to destroy decibel resistance.

After the interval, the excellent Glasgow New Music Expedition ensemble of strings and winds, led by the RSNO's William Chandler and conducted cleanly and tightly by Jessica Cottis, dispatched four good pieces with elan and dash: Samuel Beagles' Bristle, which did what it said on the tin, restless though yearning to soar, Martin Keary's brilliant near-pastiche, Double-booked with Strangers, which fed Haydn and Shostakovich through a madcap mincer patented by Charles Ives, Nora Marazaite's stunning exploration of states of stillness and drama, Ubik, and Matthew Zurowski's breathtaking Cold Comfort, whose computerised crescendo was superbly-crafted if a fraction overlong.