Since Christmas isn’t complete without it, here’s the list contributors’ Top Ten albums of 1993.

1. Blork Debut (One Little Indian)

2. Tinderstlcks Tindersticks (This Way


3. The Drum Club Everything Is Now (Butterfly/Big Life)

4. Grant lee Buffalo Fuzzy (Slash/London) 5. Teenage Fanclub Thirteen (Creation)

6. Trans Global Underground Dream Of 100 Nations (Nation)

7. liz Phair Exile In Guyville (Matador)

8. Seeieel Quique (Too Pure)

9. Dinosaur Jr Where You Been (Warner Bros)

10. Shara llelson What Silence Knows (Cooltempo)

And out of more than so further albums nominated, a pick of more. of the year’s most essential discs:

lleil Young Unplugged (Reprise)

The Breeders Last Splash (4AD)

The lemonheads Come On Feel The Lemonheads (Atlantic)

Sven Vath Accident In Paradise (WEA)

Uina Carroll 80 Close (A&M)

llirvana In Utero (Geffen) United Future Organisation United Future Organisation (Brownswood)

The Posies Frosting On The Beater (Geffen)

The Trash Can Sinatras I‘ve Seen Everything (Go! Discs)

The Nectarine llo 9 A Sea With Three Stars (Postcard)

Verve A Storm In Heaven (Hut)

Belly Star (4AD)

Suede Suede (Nude)

Uui 3 Uui love You (4th & Broadway)

PJ Harvey Rid Of Me (Island)

The Beloved Happiness (East West)

Madder Bose Bring It Down (Seed)

Crowded llouse Together Alone (EMI)

Stereolab The Groop Played Space Age Batchelor Pad Music (Too Pure)

02 Zooropa (Island) Marxman 33 Revolutions Per Minute (Talkin Loud) Ultramarine United Kingdom (Blanco y Negro)

Cocteau Turins Four Calendar Cafe (Fontana) Miranda Sex Garden Suspiria (Mute)

Apache Indian No Reservations (Island) The Fall The Infotainment Scan (Permanent)

lfate Bush The Red Shoes (EMI)


Feldmanlostertag/At The Grave 0f llichard Wagner (Elektra llonesuch) Three new Kronos discs for our delectation, although two of them are CU singles. The one which definitely isn’t, the late Morton Feldman’s ‘Piano And String Uuartet’ from 1985, on which they are joined by pianist Aki Takahashi, weighs in at a fraction under 80 minutes. That is relatively short by the standards of his work oi that period, but it has the same gently evolving, infinitely subtle luxuriance in isolated sound against space which marks the mammoth four and five-hour works. llot for the impatient, but a balm to the ears amid the rush and

scatteration of modern music, not to say life.

The first of the shorter discs features Bob Ustertag’s fiery agit-prop I composition “All The Rage’, with Sara Miles’s text (spoken by Eric Gupton) 1 railing against hatred of gays and the ' horrors of AIDS (the group’s royalties go to AIDS research) against a dual background of a riot and the string music written for Kronos (it’s hard to describe in brief - you have to hear it). The second (rather longer) ‘single’ dips into more familiar territory in the late-Romanticism of liszt’s ‘At The Grave 0f Richard Wagner’, and onto the Second Viennese School in Berg’s 5 ‘String Ouartet’ and Webern’s ‘Five i Pieces’. (Kenny Mathieson) =

leaving behind the dry blustering beat typical of Sir Jinx and opting for a more laid-back groove. Cube’s vocals, of course, remain as abrasive as ever.

The sad thing is that Cube can’t let go of the last traces of the llWA excesses. It’s a shame that someone who can pen a comment on religion as thoughtful as ‘When I Get To Heaven’ resorts to slagging white women on ‘Cave Bitch’ (‘White bitches have no butt, and no chest’). 0n ‘oeath Certificate’, he attacked white men dating black women, now it’s white women dating black men. llis tongue may be in his cheek, but the fact is, Ice Cube is a racist, cold and clear, and as long as the voice of the ghetto belongs to him, racial understanding is as far away as ever. (Gavin Inglis)

_ ICE cues

lethal Injection (Island)

The unwary plunging straight into this album, Ice Cube’s fourth solo effort, will soon find themselves trapped in the compelling claustrophobic pulse of ‘Ghetto Bird’, with ’copters flying

l past in stereo as Cube curses them

i from the spotlight. lie obviously hasn’t " i lost his touch for the kind of street

. I smarts that put him there.

On a couple of tracks, the music

~y g romps off in a tribute to the kind of

K ; deep funk shaped by Parliament and

i Funkadelic. Indeed, George Clinton

; himself appears on the lengthy outing = ‘Bop Gun’. Generally, the album shows a step forward, musically, largely

; snoop ooccv oocc

Doggy Style (Ueath flow)

1 ‘lt’s a crazy mixed up world, it’s a

Doggy Dogg world.’ lleavily laced with

i gangsta rhetoric, ‘lloggy Style’ is the

; stylised myth-conscious music behind

1 the man on a drive-by murder charge.

Yet beyond the real-life Snoop lies a

l‘ soundtrack that is pure anncbair

, criminal. ‘Murder Was The Case’ is

I fictionalised, detective serial crime supreme, replete with menacing synth

squeals and tolling bells. The street

5 sounds and sirens beloved of

! architecture graduates like Ice Cube

are eschewed by the £1m bail

candidate Uogg in favour of simulated

gunshots and spongy funk interiors.

! ‘Ain’t no iun’ sleazes vintage

T airbrushed Cameo (with all its dated 1 '

! phallus-orientated connotations I ,ijle

? intact). Electric boogaloo loops - 4- 2" r

i underwrite some rather predictable

' misogyny in the ‘Get on your knees . . g *

bitch’ line. ~ .1 .- . e ,. , .

| In sync with producer Ur Ure’s own ' ‘- I. ' ~ 4"“ r r‘ ' '

‘The Chronic’ (on which Snoop ' “:5 \“ ‘1; '

ifeatured heavily) it’s a fresh take on s‘ ' 3; .3 g .L . ' rap hustling. ‘lli Snoop. What d’you ~3- a‘t " ,“ ‘1 l' l m wanna be when you grow up?’ ‘I * wanna be a motheriuckin’ hustler,’ runs one classroom scenario, ‘Gz and llustlas’. ‘Uoggy Style’ successfully reworks its more obvious motifs into a hyper-real, 80s glossed musical inscape. lleedless to say, this bitch

ain’t on her knees. (Bethan Cole)

I. ' ‘. * ‘9‘”. . if, 1 . ~ l a I‘- Vh. .,ee \“Iv Ar, at, a: !’Il‘ " . ; r " . ‘i F‘

dropped into a swirl of strings, piano and acoustic guitar. It’s a posh affair, precious, even pretentious, mentioning, with a casual airiness, the likes of (Christopher) Marlowe, (Gustav) Mahler, (Vladimir) llabokov, and (Don’t Know) Tlepolo. But ‘lagoon Blues’ is more than an aesthete’s wet dream (and anyway, I’d rather have this clever sophistication titan most of the humdrum dress that too many other ‘artlsts’ are content to pass off as lyrics). ‘Graceiruit’, ‘Pissoir’ and their ilk prove that Thomson is emotional as well as cerebral, able to make his songs glide and soothe while they name-drop and soul-bare.

All this, and he even manages to slip in the line ‘honey at the core.’ It was apt when Friends Again used it ten years ago, and it’s apt now. A stunning album. (Craig Mclean)


E lagoon Blues (Marina) : Almost, but not quite. Such has been the pop lot of Chris Thomson, whether with Friends Again, The Bathers or Bloomsday. The critical kudos always outstrips the commercial payback, and obscurity knocks. Again. Undaunted, unswayed, ‘lagoon Blues’ is defiantly visionary Thomson. Part- iunded by a new German label run by two long-time Bathers fans, ‘lagoon Blues’ is his deepest dip yet into the lush waters of pop-art. like The Divine Comedy’s lleil Ilannon, Thomson ls besotted with orchestral flow and an overwhelming air of ‘relinement’. ‘lagoon Blues’ drips with obscure nods to art, cinema and literature,

45 The List 17 December l993—13 January I994