Scott Twynholm

Alasdair Gray, A Life In Progress

Taken from the soundtrack to a film that documents the life and times of Alasdair Gray, ‘A Life In Progress’, despite its filmic grounding, works – like the best literature and cinema – on several levels.

Scott Twynholm has gathered together a considerable collection of musicians to score this celebration of Gray’s life, as well as incorporating the author himself, via his whimsical musings. Each excerpt is delivered in his curious, thick brogue which makes every answer sound like a question – perhaps apt for the author of some of the most challenging works of our time.

The track titles, perhaps inevitably, follow his career as well and will doubtless make more sense when the film appears. ‘Lanark’ sees Gray muse on his most famous work, and the dense backing somehow captures the claustrophobic nature of its titular location – ‘Unthank’, whose soundtrack excerpt follows and which is accompanied by a Stockhausen-esque barrage of clanks and tones.

However, Twynholm, despite his knack for scoring, has a less classical background (the musical force behind Hoboken as well as a member of Looper) and he provides dark jazz on ‘The Art School Dance’ as well mixing things up for closer ‘A Sentimental Song’, delivered in emotive style by Icelandic chanteuse Biggi Hilmar. However, it’s the loquacious Gray whose the ever-present voice, narrating his own life story in highly entertaining style.

Trips and Falls

The Inevitable Consequences of Your Stupid Behaviour

First things first… I thought this lot were Canadian but the singer’s accent, a cross between Ricky Gervais and Mumford and Sons, is quite bizarre more… “Trips and Falls”

The Thermals

Desperate Ground

They may have moved to Saddle Creek Records, but this flurry of high-paced, grimy pop tunes recalls the Portland trio’s time with what must be their spiritual home, Sub Pop more… “The Thermals”