RECORD REVIEWS MUSIC
I Various: East Coast Project (Natural Response) It's rare to find a compilation of acts from one city that‘s of a uniformly high standard. Even rarer. you'd think. that an album which concentrates on just one area of a city would be a stonkingly good listen. But so it proves with 15m! ('uux/ I’m/HI. wherein Blackanized. Suga Bullit and chums summon up the sound of Leith and its environs and Ill the process create a quality product. destined to be remembered long and proudly far beyond the ports boundaries. From The Stevie Cllt'lSliL‘ ‘lixperience"s dreamy. dubby opener. the emphasis is on 70s via/.1. laid-back funkiness and unhurried rap. The sound is roomy rather than sparse. with Lender Rhodes. llutes and sampled double-basses giving each other plenty of space tn a spliffed-out ambience. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Lenny Kravitz: Circus (Virgin) For a man clearly haunted by the ghosts of Hendrix. Lennon and Led '/.ep. Lenny the K does a reasonable job of asserting his own character amid a hail of references. But (in [M will not be held up as a masterpiece by even the most avid. The demonstrably iffy ‘Rock
'n‘ Roll Is Dead' out of the way. Lenny gets into his stride on a few passably riffmungous songs and the closest ('m'us gets to highlights. '(‘an't Get You ()ff()f My
Mind' and ‘Magdalene'.
But it‘s a piece of
psychedelic waffle called
'God ls Love' -- I'm sure She appreciates the gesture. at least — which seems to be the signal for things to go horribly
wrong. With no decent ‘ riffs left to pull out of his quiver. he llails around
with the sub-Prince 'l)on't (it) And Put A Bullet ln Your Head. a slow song (usually his strong suit). 'ln My Life Today". that outstays its welcome. and grandiose religious epic ‘The Resurrection'. which is simultaneously overblown and underwhelming and puts the Book of Revelations on a par with a Led '/.ep reject. Could
East Coast Project: ‘splttted-ou ambierice'
do. and has done. better. (Alastair Mabbott)
I Skunk Anansie: Paranoid and Sunburnt (One Little Indian) While Blur and ()asis battle it out to see who can produce the most vacuous pop paeans to hedonism. Skunk Anansie gets the rosette for setting seething indignation to music. If there‘s an issue to be tackled then you can bet that the Skunks will headbutt it to the ground before finishing it off with a solid sonic doing. This is self-righteous sensory aggression that veers between short. sharp shock assaults and Rage Against The Machine- style anthemic sloganeering. It's furious material that will be difficult for many to stomach but it does provide a crude antidote to musical and political blandness. (Jonathan Trew)
I Sibelius: Symphonies 1-7 (Finlandia) Conductor Jukka-Pekka Saraste is a familiar figure in Scotland through his association with the SCO. but this survey of the Sibelius symphonies was recorded live in St Petersburg with the Finnish Radio Symphony Orchestra. and is available as a box or three separate discs. Although they are not the most virtuoso orchestra ever to tackle these much recorded works. their interpretations reveal an intimate acquaintance with the music. and emerge sounding agreeably fresh.
I hyman: Carrington (Argo) Michael Nyman may well have another major success on his hands. given the high profile of the film from which this suite is drawn. The music. scored for an expanded version of his regular band which introduces additional strings. is cast in his most lushly romantic vein. and is more obviously a soundtrack than is usual with him (for reasons explainedin the sleeve
note). The disc is
completed by the ‘Adagio‘
from Schubert‘s Quintet iii (‘ by the Amadeus Quartet and Robert Cohen. and all adds up to a shamelessly sentimental wallow in sonic beauty. I Birtwistle: Secret Theatre (08) Birtwistle's masterly ‘Secret Theatre‘ is given an astounding performance by the Ensemble lntercontemporain under Boulez. They investigate every twist and nuance of this complex music with a wonderful clarity and insight which is also evident in the three accompanying works. while Christine Whittlesey's singing on ‘Three Settings ()f Celan' also demands particular praise. The same label also offers Bro/mi Svmmt'lrv. a fine disc of Colin Matthews's music. with ()liver Knussen conducting the London Sinfonia. Both are recommended to anyone interested in contemporary British music.
I Messiaen: Concert A Ouatre (DG) Myung-Whun Chung has not been everyone‘s favoured choice as Messiaen’s
primary interpreter. but he did have the composer‘s stamp of approval. and his recordings have been impressive. The principal interest here will focus on the premiere recording of his last work. ‘Concert A Quatre'. which makes typically fragmented use of cells of instruments within the orchestra. and revels in the composer‘s characteristic colours and transparent textures. ‘Un Sourire' ( l‘)8‘)) evokes a similar sound-world. while two works from the early 30s offer a nicely evolutionary contrast.
I Anonymous 4: The lily And The Lamb (Harmonia Mundi) The American vocal quartet Anonymous 4 have been one of the main groups to profit from the recent trendiness of medieval chant. and their new disc ofchant and polyphony from the medieval English church will certainly appeal to anyone seduced by the timeless beauty of this ancient. spiritual music. The four women‘s voices blend beautifully in a disc which is intended for mass consumption rather than scholarly satisfaction. (Kenny Mathieson)
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The List 22 Sept-5 ()ct l‘)95 37