i I Talk Talk: Laughing Stock j (Polydor) After the
I late-night, rain-soaked haunts of Spirit ()flz'den. Talk Talk return with more grainy, rainy. rhythms ofthe otherworld. Laughing
Stock. the first for new
label Polydor. treads softly. A mere six tracks long and the personification of artful
i repose. it‘sorchestrally
lush — see the string section stretch out on ‘Myrrhman‘ — and lushly
i layered with atmosphere
aplenty. Settling in its minimalism and unsettling in its density. Laughing Srock's twilight existence is both rich and persuasive.
lAaron Copland: Early Orchestral Works 1922-1935 (Sony) Orchestral an (I Ballet Works 1936—] 948 contained most of the more popular (and populist) scores. but this second double CD in the Copland Collection has a number ofequally compelling pieces. notably the spiky Dance .S'ymphony and his powerful (‘oncerro For Piano .4 lid Orchestra. The recordings (many conducted by (‘oplandi are drawn from the ('BS catalogue. but new ones abound since his death last year. The St Paul Chamber Orchestra (Teldec) offer the original Version oprpa/achian Spring with three shorter works. while the St Louis Symphony ()rchestra (RCA Victor) pair .S’ymphony No} with .1!u.s‘icl"or.-l (irea! ( 'ify. derived from a film score. Baritone Sanford Sylvian and pianist Day id Breitman's Bc’lot’i’il ‘I'llill Pilgrimage (lzlektra Nonesuch) includes his
setting of Tire/re Poems of
Emily Dickinson. (Kenny Mathieson)
l Frank Sinatra: No One Cares/The Select Cole Porter (Capitol) No One (tires is close in mood to the incomparable Only The Lonely. which makes it quintessential late-night Sinatra. Recorded in 195‘). the session is released for the first time in its entirety, with three extra tunes from earlier sessions to make up an acceptable (‘D length. Sinatra caresses his way through the brooding ballad selections like the
master he is. and (iordon
: Jenkinsayoidsthepitfalls ; oiindulginginan l over-romanticstring
sound. The Select (’ole Porter is culled from a wide variety of sessions. but this material in these 'j handscan hardly be
BLACK ROCK COALITION
The History of Our Future (Rykodisc).
1 Throughout history, there have been many ideas that no doubt sounded
promising in theory but proved in
, practice to be an embarrassment
l tantamount to a criminal act: the
l Pompidou Centre in Paris, Midge
; haircuts, Julia Roberts films. Now the
Black Rock Coalition joins them in the
rogues' gallery. A loose collective oi
l consciousness-raising artistes brought
together by Living Colour’s Vernon
: Reid, they espouse the rights of black
musicians to operate in all fields of
, popular music and strive to combat the
i prejudice still extant in the music industry. If this first compilation is to
be regarded as any statement of intent,
‘ then it's a savage disappointment.
‘ lntransposingtheirlofty aspirations
' onto vinyl, they completely lose their
1 _ l
This album is all about derivatives: Royal Pain’s pseudo-Londonbeat emotional ostentation on ‘H.O.P.E.’, Jupiter’s ‘Oon’t Pay the Ferryman’ re-write ‘Tough Times’, PBRStreetgang with the Muso’s Guide l to Sly Stone of ‘Oidn’t Live Long' and Blakasaurus Mex and Shock Council’s ‘we-can-do-this-dumb-rawk-thang- as-clueIessIy-as-any-white-combo’ efforts. Even the brief respite of JJ Jumpers’ ‘ltWill All’ has 1968 g reference points stamped all over it- sort of Marsha Hunt in a delightfully self-indulgent jam with the Spencer Davis Group. Oisappointinglyforan organisation campaigning lorthe cessation of musical as well as racial prejudice, their aural manifesto is bereft of innovation. Perhaps they’re saving the best of their acts forthe next release; they won’t win any floating voters with this one. (Fiona Shepherd)
L. r ' ix " ‘i ‘
Hymns To The Silence (Polydor).
Elegy anyone? ‘Hymns To The Silence‘, a 97-minute, double-album magnum opus, has Van The Man doing what he does best: laments fora simpler past, yearnings forspiritual enlightenment, reaching out to and from the fabled Celtic soul. ‘Take Me Back’ and ‘On Hyndford Street’ find the greatest living Ulsterman in full flow, ranting and roaring, cataloguing his musical and personal history in the same vein as ‘In The Days Before Rock’n’Roll’ from 1990’s ‘Enlightenment’. Self-indulgent maybe, but carried with such passion
San Antorium (Nightshift) For someone like me, who’s been impervious to Lowlife’s charms since they began, the best way to take them is live. You can get some interesting results when a band‘s perfectionism and fallibility start to cancel each other out, their singer reacts by sending himself up and the rest of the band put their heads down and prove that, yes, with a little effort, they can re-create their haunting soundscapes on stage. Realising that the frailties they work so hard to cover up in the studio are actually the only way that most of us can hope to get on their level, they’ve tried to work as much of their humour
and grit, eminently forgiveable. . , Whenthe story-telling takes a back i ‘ ' seat, that inimitable pot-pourri of blues, jazz, gospel and R&B equally beguiling. Van‘s shot athis : own ‘Carrying ATorch' wipesthe floor 1 , with Tom ‘The Voice’ Jones’s version in j the passion stakes; ‘Why Must I Always Explain?‘ is romantic, swelling folk, and the collaboration with The Chieftains on the timeless ‘l Can‘tStop Loving You’ is fittineg uplifting. I ‘Hymns To The Silence’ is a huge album with its own effortless ease. And all this from a man whose album cover photo suggests someone more at ease
walkingthe whippet than making music ~;§-_ (it; . ‘- ~
2 as inspirational as this. Some feat.
' (Craig McLean) . s.
The Language Of Truth (East West) Pianist Julian Joseph has been bubbling under on the British jazz scene almost as long as Courtney Pine, but, like Steve Williamson, hastaken his time in preparing a debut album. ‘The Language of Truth' is a wide-ranging set which does not pigeon-hole him in any given style, but shifts from the jaunty blues vamp of the opening ‘Miss Simmons’ through to the near-abstract freedom of passages in ‘Oon’t Chisel The Shisel’, and takes in a fashionable nod to soul and funk on the way, notably in Curtis Mayfield’s ‘The Other Side Of Town‘ (Joseph wrote the other ten tunes), with a vocal by
‘ into the sleevenotes as they can.
However, mainly thanks to Lorentson’s deep, reverberating voice, and the way the rest of the band wrap themselves around it, they still make serious, downbeat music. Even off-the-cutf lyrics ring like the knell of doom, and the atmosphere, whether intentionally or not, tends to hover between wistfulness and despondency, favouring the former. The rollicking ‘Jaw’ that opens the proceedings is the jauntiest song they’ve ever written, and the band sometimes pulse along in an almost danceable way, as on ‘Give Up Giving Up’. But perhaps they’ve become a bit too adept at sculpting those glacial swathes of studio sound. Still, this wouldn‘t harm ‘Jaw"s chances should they decide to make it the next single. (Alastair Mabbott)
Bassomatic's Sharon Musgrave.
‘Ode To The Time Our Memories Forgot’ hints at Joseph’s classical training, but his favoured idiom to emerge from this eclectic mixture is clearly a jazz one. The quartet features American saxophonist Jean Toussaint, Alex Dankworth on bass, and drummer Michael Mondesir, and they prove equally adept on a graceful ballad — like ‘Art of the Calm‘ as on the boppish choruses of ‘Tyrannosaurus Rex’. It is a little too unfocused fora convincing personality to emerge, but there is plenty of time forJoseph to build in that direction. For now, he has produced a highly listenable, perfectly accessible, and occasionally striking debut. (Kenny Mathieson)
30 The List 13 — 26 Septembei 199]