Stephen Pastel nips off the beaten track in search of thrilling new sounds. . . ‘because far- flung delights are within touching distance if you want’.
One such is CibO Matto's outlandish debut 45. ‘Biitliday Cake' (El l)iablo. import). a self- proclaimed ‘food nonveau. the shape of love’. This is very probably the missing link between the film 'Iinn/M/m and The Beastie Boys. with its energetic blend of hip hop. sass. confusion and jazz. Actually. (‘ibo Matto are quite the thing of the moment in New York: Miho and Ynka. two Japanese women abroad. charming all and sundry.
C‘ornershop's charm factor has certainly risen as their music becomes ever more subtle. deft and sly. in the best possible sense. ()n ll'mnun 'v (in/m Have II. which is surely one of the best albums of the year. there's a refreshing openness of approach. which has allowed them It) cross their appeal over to. among others. the royal Mo Wax label. It‘s a compliment. then. that their alter-ego project Clinton‘s 'Super l.oose' (Wiiija. l2in). with its lo- li dance experimentation and trip-hop beats. goes a step further. and is actually better than most of the recent batch of Mo Waxes.
Godz is not a put-on! Certainly not. They. The Godz. were a fantastic avant-garde ()(ls band plying an extremely unique brand of folk electro. Like most ESP stuff. it wastrt exactly household. but now they‘ve got their own tribute LP (l.i.\.\‘}".\'. vinyl only) with Stereolab. Comet Gain. Royal Trux. Quickspace Supersport and half of Sonic Youth queueing up to say thank you. in a very special way.
AMP's ‘Remember‘ (Linda‘s Strange Vacation. 7in) is not to be confused with Kim l)eal's new band. but is instead a persuasively percussive Flying Saucer Attack/Movietone collaboration. which is similar in atmosphere to some of My Bloody Valentine's more abstract musing. lt‘s indeed excellent. as is the forthcoming Movietone LP on Planet.
Incidentally. My Bloody Valentine are now working with Tricky's engineer and making very good progress on their follow-up to I99] ‘s lyre/ms. Apparently. the end is iii sight. Wow?
' Troy, Troy p again
.r .42 '1 .,_J .. Ll
Classic gear: a costume from La Belle Helene
Amid all its current troubles, Scottish Opera’s show just has to go on, and putting a very bubbly face on it is their new production of Oftenbach’s la Belle Helene, an opera which the company has never put on before. A satire on the story of Helen of troy, it is set in ancient Sparta before the temple of Venus on Festival day and is basically about love, sex and dubious moral standards.
Another first for the company is the joint directorship of Patrice Caurier and Moshe Leiser, who says, ‘lt’s a lot
of fun. It’s a really funny show, combining the genius of Offenbach within a Greek pretext. At the time of its composition - it was premiered in Paris in 1864 - it was successful in scratching the varnish on a lot of values upon which society is based: the church, religion, marriage, patriotism, but he is marvellous in his wonderful sense of elegance. For us it is really quite rare to find music which is really funny, incredibly funny.’
For British audiences, Offenbach tends to be known through excerpts of his music, as it is not often that his operas are staged. ‘In France,’ says Leiser, ‘everyone is born with Offenbach in their mother’s milk, but there is a tradition there of presenting Offenbach as a farce, because it is funny, but that is wrong and lazy. We have a really beautiful set and really beautiful costumes because it is a piece about the bourgeousie, a taste of the bourgeousie, so it simply cannot happen in a parking lot. It needs to happen in a bourgeousie place.’
The opera is sung in English in a translation by John Wells. ‘We asked him to do the translation as near to the text as possible so that the opera remains true to its spirit. If true, then it tells us something about our period today,’ says Leiser. He is particularly pleased too with the production’s casting, and especially soprano Anne Howells as Helen. ‘She is the most extraordinary singer. I cannot imagine amyone else doing Belle Helene. She is truly sensuous and truly clever. She is Belle Helene.’ (Carol Main)
. la Belle Helene opens at Theatre Royal, Glasgow on Wed 25.
rm- Hog heaven
‘Cool’ is a subjective concept if ever there was one. A recent poll to determine the coolest person on the planet this century concluded that Elvis Presley and Sophia Loren were the epitome of cool. Oh yeah? Says who? Where was Lauren Bacall? Where was Brad Dourif? Where was Scott McCloud of Girls Against Boys? (Okay, now it’s getting personal . . .) And WHERE were Boss Hog? Specifically where were Jon Spencer and his wife Cristina Martinez, who could beat Damon ’n’ Justine in a ‘rock’s coolest couple’ contest blindfold with their hands tied and feet encased in cement?
Christina, being totally cool, doesn’t need to talk about being cool. But she does talk about the first time she met her hubby-to-be.
‘I thought he was a jerk,’ she proclaims, ‘but that was early in the evening and he was being a showy brat riding his bicycle around inside a club and I just thought he was loud and obnoxious. Later on that evening, I heard him speaking to someone about records and I agreed with what he was saying and thought “there’s more to this person than I thought” . . . and he i is very good looking [aha! quadruple ; ahal.’ in fact] so I pursued him more
after I thought, “He’s not a complete idiot.” ’
Boss Hog: a band to sty for
l Shortly afterwards, Christina joined
' his band, legendary garage punk noiseniks Pussy Galore, before moving on to cult outfit The Honeymoon Killers. Anxious to form a band on her own terms, she borrowed some musician friends from other bands and put together Boss Hog. Humerous line- ups, Amphetamine Reptile releases and exaggerated folk tales of Christina performing naked later, the group reached its current stable four- piece line-up and signed to Geffen who have just released their third album, Boss ﬂag, a high-octane sassy garage trip with trashy lyrics to die for I and attitude on tap.
Christina is justifiany proud of the album and content with the stability of the current line-up. ‘We’ve never tried to make it the Jon and Christina show. It’s an element of the band not the focus.’ (Fiona Shepherd)
Boss Hog play The Venue, Edinburgh on Sun 29.
A spring in his step
He might have given up his famous onstage trampolining stunt, but the Nils Lofgren of 1995 is still very much the guy who gave the world Cry Tough back in ’76. Just a little older and a little wiser. And, he tells Alastair Mabbott with no apparent irony, he’s had his ups and downs.
If you have examples of Nils Lofgren's playing in your record collection. it's more than likely that they'll be on the works of other artists. mainly albums by Bruce Springsteen. whose band he joined in I984. and Neil Young. with whom Lofgren has played sporadically since 1970.
But in the 70s, Nils Lofgren solo artist was a favourite of critics and live concert-goers for his accomplished songwriting and athletic gigs (with his gymnastic background. Lofgren introduced the trampoline to rock and mastered the trick of performing flips while keeping both hands on the guitar).
What with his habit of backing other singers. and the plethora of musical trends that have gripped these isles
36 The List 20 Oct-2 Nov I995