RECORD REVIEWS MUSIC
I Stilt little Fingers: Get A Life (Essential) The most bravely-titled LP in history starts off with an intro which combines ‘Where The Streets Have No Name‘ with ‘Alternative Ulster'. setting the tone for Get A Life only in terms of its crapness. It seems that Jake Burns‘s muse. which ﬁfteen years ago required one to at least listen to the first couple of SLF albums if not actually to buy them. is enjoying an extended power lunch elsewhere. ‘Forensic Evidence’ and ‘Baby Blue (What Have They Been Telling You)‘. are the worst examples of the sort of retro-rockers that in the real world died out sometime between ‘Are “Friends” Electric‘ and ‘Kings OfThe Wild Frontier‘. but still compose the bulk of SLF's output. And before you ask. yes. they are too old to be doing ‘Hey! Hey!’ songs like the execrable ‘The Road To Kingdom Come'. On the other hand. fashion being what it is. I can imagine Manic Street Preachers covering a couple of songs from Get A Life without mentioning who wrote them and nobody turning a hair. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Meat Puppets: Too High To Die (London) Soon to hit Glasgow as support to Soul Asylum. Meat Puppets are of the
'seminal underground heroes' ilk (Nirvana’s recent MTV Unplugged session saw the Phoenix trio join the Aberdeen trio onstage for two Puppets songs). Too High To Die is their eighth album. their second for a major. lts juggernaut rock (‘We Don‘t Exist’) is offset by brawny country and blues (‘Roof With A Hole') and breakneck folk (‘Comin’ Down'). while coherence comes in the shape of the Puppets’ Everly-Brothers- on-bourbon harmonies. Andjust to keep this fine talk of old-style tunesmiths and pop adrenalin in perspective. watch out for moments of raucous abandon. courtesy of producer Paul Leary —
who, when he‘s not a fan
of Meat Puppets. is guitarist with mad. bad
They'll be a lot better
; than Soul Asylum. (Craig McLean) I Bark Psychosis: Hex
(Circa) Yuck. With a name
like that. you'd expect Bark Psychosis to be excreting hideous and perverse cut-up soundtracks to mental breakdown. Jolly though this might have been. they’re something else entirely. Drums are stroked with brushes. guitars shimmer. not jangle. and Graham Sutton’s voice drifts through airy curtains of keyboards accompanied by minimalist percussion. They ﬁt in alongside the A*b*e*t 90s scene - playing songs but playing with textures too. and painting almost subliminal detail — and even when the intensity level peaks at the climax of the hypnotic ‘Eyes And Smiles' (which sounds as loud as death metal in these hushed surroundings). the song seems only a breath away from collapsing back into the silence it emerged from. Hear it. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Piano Circus (Argo) Piano Circus. a group which had its origins in Edinburgh. have carved out a niche for themselves with their six-keyboard line-up. and have been instrumental in commissioning new works for the format. The outstanding piece on this disc is the shortest. Kevin Volans‘s richly suggestive ‘Kneeling Dance‘; the other new works are Dave Lang‘s slight ‘Face So Pale' and Robert Moran's over-long "Three Dances‘. The band originally formed to play Steve Reich's 'Six Pianos”. but his ‘Four Organs‘ is a less rewarding piece.
I Maxwell Davies (Collinsin’an Dun (Koch Schwann) Two new discs of contemporary repertoire played by Scottish orchestras. and conducted by the composers. The Scottish Chamber Orchestra‘s ongoing recording project with Peter Maxwell Davies‘s Strut/it'lytle Concertos is keeping close pace with the
concert premieres. and the newest disc features No 5 (for Violin and Viola) and No 6 (for Flute). in admirable performances by both the orchestra and the soloists drawn from it. Chinese composer Tan Dun offers a far less familiar. and in many ways more challenging sound world in three constrasting works. with the BBC Scottish Symphony Orchestra applying themselves diligently to the task.
I Bruckner: Symphony No 2/Janacelt: DIagolitic Mass (Decca) Like Mahler. Bruckner was once neglected in the cataloeue. but now is represented in avalanche- like proportions. The .S'yiii/ilimtv No 2 has never achieved the recognition granted to the later works. and Chailly‘s poised but unremarkable account of it may not change that very much. sumptuoust played though it is by the sonically gorgeous Royal Concertgebouw Orchestra. The Montreal Orchestra's playing is equally impressive under Charles Dutoit in Janacek's Glugu/itic Mass
and the popular .S'injmiiettu. but it is let down a little by some indifferent choral singing in the mass.
I American Recitals Despite the increasing presence of American music on the recording market. many of the names in this batch of disc‘s will still be unfamiliar. Alan Feinberg unearths a number of little-known works on his solo piano disc The American IIt/ioi'rllur (Argo). and ﬂautist Jennifer Stinton includes Kennan and Muczynski alongside the more familiar Copland and Barber on All Ante/“(run Rt’t'llU/ (Collins). The Arioso Wind Quintet‘s readings of Rochberg and llarbison (Koch) are worth hearing. but the most compelling disc is Amerit'mt Tram/June (‘uitt‘t'rtus (BIS) by (Weston. Walker. Schuller and '/.wilich. played by the unconventional Swedish virtuoso Christian Lindberg and the Malmo Symphony under James DePriest.
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The List 25 February—IO March I994 31