MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
Philip Oorward scans the new releases.
Wanna hit? Step one. ‘Employ’ two unsuspecting passers-by as your front. Cue introductory holler from superdiva (anthemic background keyboards optional). Start the rhythm (two chords — no more than). Loop it. Add crap rap. Step two. Radio station A-lists. Cynical? Not when your ears are arrested by Cappella‘s 'Move On Baby‘ (FFRR).
Wanna ride? Then load up the Transit for Orlve. ‘Curfew‘ is a carefree. wayward country—folk twang that’s so infectious it could do with a Government health warning — remember Sub Sub? Anyway. the new mix is not as funky as the original ‘cos it’s done by the Beatmasters (i.e. not very adventurous). Why didn’t they go for Sasha. who at least has balls? His debut single. ‘Higher Ground‘. is an unfeasibiy large (but ﬁrm). glorious deep House tune. Want quality and assurance from a performer you can trust? Try Aretha Franklin. One. Her re- recording ofC & C’s ‘A Deeper Love' (An'sta) is musically no different from any other version. but it‘s that voice. Daughter of 18’s long- timers Bobby Byrd and Vicky Anderson. Carleen Anderson. has James Brown as her real Godfather. (W)oooaaaww. On a parallel with her spiritual parents. the tune skips gingerly while Carleen herself surely has a voice blessed by the angels - very rarely do you hear vocals with such dexterity or range as ‘Nervous Breakdown‘ (Circa). Wondrous.
The best? From the aftermath of Blue Lines‘. new rope springs eternal. Former Massive Attack vocalist Shara Nelson — current single ‘Uptight‘ (Cooitempo). groovy. moody. frustrated. nervous breakdown (see Carleen Anderson) — has already made Brit nominations for herself. but it's fellow Massive Attack part-timer Tricky that’s going to be making all the right grooves in 1994. Haunting. daunting. jaunting. his ‘Aftermath‘ (FAB) is truly worth its salt. and then some. An enormous ambient dub bass races with a pulsating beat and a slithering guitar coiling in the blues ‘n‘ soul darkness beyond The The tour of duty. Awe. inspiring. ‘Aftermath' is arguably too clever for mainstream radio; if you want to hear it. you‘ll have to hotfoot it to your nearest record emporium.
flinder The Pink (east/west) ' flow that her lyrics and her self have been pored over, picked apart, the original mystique - that disquieting bluntness, that naked steeliness mingling with upfront vulnerability - has gone. flow, for her second album, Tori Amos offers a new mystique: that oi professional fruitcake.
Playing it straight, sitting at the lone piano she was born to, and gently
‘Pretty Good Year’, ‘Icicle’ and ‘Cloud On My Tongue’ are Amos at her purgative, penetrating best. But
tailed by an empathetic string section,
f and not one
I that might cry ‘rousing epic’. ‘ Melodramatic fol-de-rol, that’s what I i it, and ‘llnder The Pink’, cry. (Craig
generally, as if to complement the obtuseness of her words (a ‘Cod’
, keeps his 9-iron on the back seat; a ‘Waitress’ needs killing; the ‘Cornflake Girl’ is not a cereal killer, but you never know - it doesn’t pay to be too literal here), ‘Ilnder The Pink’ has Amos The Siren flailing in the choppy waters of free-form musical
histrionic guitars, over-the-top vocals, 5 all vie for attention, all fudge the
i moment. ‘Yes, Anastasia’, is the final, : fatal folly. Almost ten minutes long
coherent idea or move
Frank Zappa i
A Chance Operation: The John Cage Tribute (Koch International) Anyone tempted to try out this double- CO tribute to John Cage on the basis of the late Frank Zappa’s name at the very top of the list of contributors may be in for a disappointment, since Zappa chose to record the least irtuoso piece of music ever written,
~ Cage’s notorious ‘silent’ piece ‘4‘ 33’.
For those not familiar with it, the performer sits silent at their instrument for the prescribed time, and the ‘music’ is the ambient noise which presents itself to the listener’s ear. We only have the producer’s word for it that it is Zappa who is not playing on that track, which is just the
kind of Cageian ambiguity the disc is intended to celebrate.
A random gathering of diverse talents contribute, with equally random results. flames which might entice the more casual - indeed random - buyer include Laurie Anderson, who gives us a series of reminiscences of Cage’s long-time collaborator Merce Cunningham against a typically spectral background, and the Kronos Quartet.
Fashionable new music figures like Meredith Monk and llobert Ashley iostle with John Cale, Yoko Ono, Patrick Moraz and lluichi Sakamoto, while the music itself explores many facets of Cage’s bizarre, fractured and discontinuous sound-world, either through his own work, or pieces composed, improvised or contrived for this disc. (Kenny Mathieson)
9 Oub llo Bass With My llead Man
; (Junior Boys Own)
Know Underworld. Know future-music.
: It’s that simple, really. And from such
. unlikely origins too: a pair of
. redoubtable thirtysomething cast-offs
from mid-80s abominations Freur and
g a fledgeling Essex OJ. For ‘Oub . . .’ is
. genuinely, shockingly, thrillineg unlike anything you’ve heard before. It’s the back to the future approach that clinches it. The kinetics of rock’s
,edgiest explorers ianmed, twisted and
; molten with the cosmic infinity of Techno’s soaring electronic out-there- ; ness. ‘Mmm Skyscraper’ enters the
orbit of rock’s most inconceivable
piloting Motorhead, ‘Ood On The Phone’, Dali and your head and then some. Mesmeric intensity, dancefloor deviancy, electric psychobabble poetry, the sum of Underworld’s parts
don’t fit on
seen. There’s endless ways of hooking into the dark, sexual electro-gllde of ‘Oark And Long’ or the unspooling magnetic coil of ‘Spoonman’, and every one reveals a band revelling in their startlingly erudite defiance of the norm. ‘iliver Of Bass’ flows softly through acoustic campfire deltas, the
steel twang ‘Cowgirl’ is
dancefloor bust-up, and each nestles so snugly onto these four sides of whistling iconoclasm there has to be a catch. There is. You have to buy it. (Calvin Bush)
any calculator l’ve ever
of ‘Tongue’ wisps gently, still 1993’s most ferocious
' stratospheres at 30,000 feet. Fela Kuti
38 The List 28 January—l0 February 1994
' GARTH BROOKS
3 ln Pieces (liberty/EMI) Z Brace yourself, Britain, the boy Brooks
is coming. The American superstar once famously described as a ‘thumb in stetson’, is finally scheduled to
i cross the Atlantic with his full-
production, stadium-country show. And finally, too, comes the (life’s sixth
L album since 1989 - released in August
in the States, ‘In Pieces’ repeated its
predecessors’ knack for dominating ; both pop and country charts and g selling by the multi-milllon.
The corollary of which is that ‘In
‘3 Pieces’ is middle-brow, middle-market
fodder. Like The American Way or The American Burger, ‘In Pieces’ has
neither strong flavour nor identity;
rather, its bland blandishments are too gutless to be ‘true’ country, and too canny to offer anything other than preserved-in-aspic AOB schlock. Stylistically, the hit singles ‘The Red Shoes’ and ‘Ain’t Going Down (Til The Sun Comes llp)’ are llashville production-line versions of honky-tonk and boogie-woogie. lyrically, the business acumen of Brooks, the advertising maior, meets anodyne populism in ‘American Honky-Tank Bar Association’ - a raised glass to the ‘gunrack, over-taxed, flag-wavln’, fun- lovin’ crowd’. nus dumb redneck rabble-rousing has got it arse-over-elbow, treating music buyers as punters, not people. There is a difference, and it’s not just down to musical or PC snobbery. (Craig McLean)