MUSIC RECORD REVIEWS
Bethan Cole rounds up the new releases.
Beauty through diversity. creativity through multiplicity; it‘s an idea
that holds a lot of currency these days. it‘s
also a concept ﬁtting to the Shut Up And Dance collective. ()r was. pre- ‘l‘m Raving. I‘m Raving' which epitomised dance music minus the plot. the key and the secret. Their new ’Phuck The Biz’ EP (Shut Up And Dance) marks a retum to their embrace-all—styles ethic — that is. as long as there‘s a breakbeat behind it. Not offensive but hardly innovative.
Building a whole career on innovation and
. diversity ~ or should that
be Perversity — is something Boy George has managed par urccllence. True to this. ‘The Devil In Sister George' liP (Virgin) touches all dance bases with maximum ﬁnesse. From the 8()s-meets-‘)()s hip-grinding ﬂamenco of ‘Miss You Blind‘. a sureﬁre. pounding. digitised version of the anthemic ‘(icncrations Of Love' to a submerged. aquatic. lilting 'iiverything 1 Own. Life afﬁrming.
Black MOiO's ‘Mojo’s Workin" (Warp) makes R&B in a ‘)()s context an attractive proposition. A tightly-knitted. Hammond-inflected affair. with an infectious kazoo driven electro-loop. launty.
TOMMY SMITH’S FORWARD MOTION
Reminiscence (Linn Records)
sextet disc ‘Paris’ and the positively frenetic quartet tour which followed it, Tommy Smith has gone back to a much more reflective mood for this debut album for his new record label. It is a return to working with old collaborators Terje Gewelt and Ian Froman, and they play together with total empathy.
Much of the music is carved out in
‘Hope’ and ‘ls Really This lt?’, or Smith’s ‘On the Ocean Floor’ and ‘Reminiscence’. The saxophonist’s
Following his busy, distinctly boppish
slow, spacious shapes, as on Cewelt’s
sinuous, sharp-edged tenor (which sounds particularly Carbarek-Iike on ‘Folk Song’) slides over highly interactive bass and drums, with the time often implied rather than explicitly stated, while the song structures have a strongly improvisatory feel.
‘Old Folks’ lifts the tempo without : really changing the prevailing mood, while Ally is a variation on his earlier ‘Ally the Wallygator’ theme. Some listeners may find the more European | influenced direction a little too spare after the high-energy music of the i sextet, but it reveals an equally ' important facet of Smith’s playing, and confirms that these three musicians understand each other absolutely and f know exactly where they want to take i the music. (Kenny Mathieson) i .
$ ‘o" ‘ i
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Selected Ambient Works Volume 2 (Warp)
This is the soundtrack to those escaped dreams that you couldn’t quite recall the next morning, half- remembered towns and landscapes seen fleetineg from a car window when you were a child, music you
I know you’ve heard before but don’t 1 know where or why. lt’s experimental,
it’s breathtakingly gorgeous and it’ll
i work your mind and emotions with
This, Richard James’ sequel to ‘Selected Ambient Works Vol 1’, bears traces of the naive, jewelled
' ; minimalism that made his earlier works so sensitively poignant. But this ' , time an even greater expanse of
analogue sentiment is traversed; from the neo-symphonic (try and resist the final track), to the nerve-grating, scratching and rattling and pure, schizo-melodic terror. Evocative of every strung-out, nerve-tweaking visual you’ve ever seen: Andrew
, Robertson jerking off in ‘The Cement
f Garden’ to the slowly rocking, 2 cigarette-drawing Grandmother in
‘Eraserhead’ there’s more psychological hard currency in this music than Woody Allen’s psychiatric notes compounded. With calculated tongue-in-cheek verve, James hasn’t
I named the tracks, simply given each one a photograph of a texture. He’s
spot on. Richard’s home- produced snapshots of undergrowth, noodles, soil and the rust on his tank
serve as afar better guide to this album than anything that can be
written. (Bethan Cole)
i _ COUNTING CROWS
the feet of, and give to all your friends. On first hearing, you
August And Evemhing Am" (Gwen) might note REM and songs that are too
One to slam top class
Latin onto the dancelloor: River Ocean‘s ‘I.ove and Happiness‘ (Strictly Rhythm). A full-bodied concoction of capacious— lunged siren India. an irresistible. bumping deep groove. percussion from the legendary Tito l’ucntc and the flawless production finish of
‘l.ittle' Louie Vega. The
‘X-press 2 Mis‘ is sumptuous. Locust‘s 'Skysplit‘ t‘iP
(Apollo) is set at the mid-
point where slow trance
and pacey ambient converge. ‘l.ust' teases flickering musicality from sounds akin to a fly with electrode implants.
Smoother is the tesselated
melody of ‘l’itltano‘.
Smoother still. crystal clear even, is Billie Ray
Martin's ‘l‘ottr Ambient
Tales” iil’ (R628).
Produced by The (irid it successfully foregrounds tltc cool. charged lltll'lzllncs of \1s Martin over .l serene backdrop that nods at spacc kitsch. 'i’lattcl Blue. offers a delicious dip into iWIIrIIII'rl/s‘(‘l'-\l)'iC(i orbits (with Ms Martin's thanks. not Roger Moore). Lullabies for small
clangcr. Ambient pop
30 The List 25 February I() March I994
Touring America last autumn, Counting Crows were third on the bill after
Suede and The Cranberries. After that
tour, their first, the LA band’s debut album rocketed up the ‘Billboard’ charts, their first single was the most requested song on countless OS radio stations, and on their day off on another support tour, they sold out a Soon-seater venue in three nanoseconds.
And now, finally, Counting Crows’ ‘August And Everything After’ is released here. It is astounding, a
record to obsess over, and collapse at
mellow for their own good. On second, the darkly celebratory ‘Mr Jones’ and the impulsive ‘Rain King’ might register. On third and fourth, the
desolate soul of ‘Round Here’ and ‘Omaha’ will follow you round all day. Pretty soon this album will be your best buddy and ‘Anna Begins’ and ‘Sullivan Street’ will be shared, common, intimate secrets. ‘August. . .’ is that good, and no amount of pseudo-psycho-literary ravings from me can do it justice. Just buy it, or send me a postcard and I’ll tape it for you. (Craig McLean)
Hard To Earn (Chrysalis)
The premise: for 3 Snoop Dogg to be trained it needs to be educated by a teacher, a Guru. Gangstarr’s strength is their foundation in OJ Premier’s dedicated beats and Guru Keith E’s concentrated thoughts. It moves
~ beyond the latter’s successful
‘Jazzamattazz’ project which was just a branch — ‘Hard To Earn’ is going back to the roots of turntable and the voice. Adroit and uptempo, this is the original gangsta rap.
Put simply, it’s a brutal university of street knowledge. The central theme is that rap has lost its way. That too
many rappers sell out to ‘Mass Appeal’ not knowing that it’s ‘Mostly The
Voice’ which makes you chill; you need to know of your knowledge ’cos
- it’s ‘Alongwaytogo’ when you’re lost.
Throughout, the difference between East and West coast rap is stressed. New York is where rap originated and
New Yorkers claim that they will always be ahead of the
commercialised gangsta rap of the
West. in ‘The Planet’ (the local term for Brooklyn), there are no hoods, no , gangs, just own boyz looking out for
indiVidual benefits. ‘Tonz O Cunz’ is a chilling brief of the inter-state of
affairs: ‘What the fuck you gonna do in
i this situation/It’s like you need to have steel just to feel relaxation’. lf the Doggy don’t listen he’ll be forever
i chewing on Guru’s bone(rrr). (Philip Oorward)