Future Pilot AKA : Tiny Waves, Mighty Sea

Members of Teenage Fanclub, Belle And Sebastian and The Delgados turn up on Sushil K Dade's latest brilliant opus...

It’s like the Ganges running through central Glasgow, with every citizen stopping to take a holy dip. There are upstanding Presbyterians crooning Hindu hymns. Native American chants made pop. Revered Scottish janglists unleashing expansive ragas. And at the centre of it, sonic tinkerer and Indo-Caledonian underground figure Sushil K Dade, known for a few years now as Future Pilot AKA.

His previous two albums of collaborations – 1999’s ‘Future Pilot AKA Vs A Galaxy Of Sound’ and 1998’s ‘…Vs The Bill Wells Octet’ – only partially foreshadowed this inspired cosying-up of styles. The ethos that at least two cultures and several dozen heads are better than one remains central to the Pilot project: among the players on ‘Tiny Waves…’ are Teenage Fannies Norman Blake and Raymond McGinley, label boss Stephen Pastel, Stuart Murdoch, Isobel Campbell, and Stevie Jackson of Belle & Sebastian, all The Delgados, jazz man Bill Wells… plus an Alzheimer’s patient singing ‘Beautiful Dreamer’ and students of Dade’s (a driving instructor) who came along to play cello or whatever.

What’s changed, however, is Dade’s focus. Gone are the eccentric tape loops and cultural demolition derbies of his earlier, noisier face-offs. Instead, there are soft soundtracks and pop episodes that underpin Indian themes with Western guitars. Or in the case of ‘Maid Of The Loch’ (gentle instrumental) and ‘The Beat Of A Drum’ (Eugene Kelly-brand guitar pop), just pure Scots nostalgia. Then it’s back to prayers to Shiva featuring Stuart Murdoch singing in Hindi.

Cornershop achieved something comparable with ‘When I Was Born For The Seventh Time’, but ‘Tiny Waves…’ is less concerned with groove than tunes. Most of all, it’s about simple moments of beauty that leave all culture behind.

Kitty Empire