Dr Dre’s The Aftermath (lnterscope) is a confusing collection of hardcore hip hop cuts and slow semi- ballads. Unlike say. Chuck D's recent album. it fails as a whole to live up to the hype. One positive thing emerges though. as Dre attempts to unite East and West Coasts with ‘East/West Killas'. a track featuring NYC‘s Nas and KRS One doing verbal battle in the name of peace with West Coast‘s B Real (Cypress Hill) and Death Row artist RBX. It‘s an average album. Dre doesn't come close to Chuck [) in either the rapping or funk departments and even the Public Enemy man had more credibility with his attempts at the tnore R&B numbers. Compared to his work with Snoop on the legendary Chronic album this isn‘t even close. Only Dre's usual excellent production really stands out.

Foxy Brown’s III Na Na (DefJatn). her debut long player. is a fresh collection of uptempo R&B cuts. more on the rap side than the girly ballad side. It's an assured debut from this seventeen- year-old who first came to our attention on Ll. Cool J's ‘I Shot Ya'. Total‘s

‘No One Else'. Toni Braxton‘s ‘You're Makin‘ Me High‘ and. most recently. on her own single. ‘Touch Me. Tease Me‘. She grabs our attention early with a sneaky cover of LL's ‘Rock Tha Bells‘ - here called ‘Foxy‘s Bells’. She follows that with the Teddy Riley produced ‘Get Me Home' which features swing kings Blackstreet and a sample of Eugene Wild‘s classic ‘Gotta Get You Home Tonight'. Now there’s a smash hit waiting to happen. Mobb Deep also pop up on ‘The Promise' a darker cut. while Wu Tang‘s Method Man adds his sinister vocals to ‘lll Na Na‘. This is worth searching out even if it's only available on Cl) format. Dodgy cover and inlay photos though very soft porn and cheap. Bounty Killer’s My

' “~ .‘.


“Foxy Brown: son-p

Erperience (TVT) is saved from mediocrity by a series of guest appearances. Bounty Killer's extremely ruff. hardcore Jamaican delivery n'des over conventional American hip hop beats. producing a ragga-rap fusion. The Fugees lend their distinctive rapping style to ‘Hip Hopera'. the ubiquitous Busta Rhymes pops up in usual nutty style with Junior Reid on ‘Change The Weather' and Jeru the Damajajoins in on ‘Suicide Or Murder‘. The album also benefits from production courtesy of Eric Sermon. Sly and Robbie and Wu Tang‘s RZA. At heart. it’s still a ragga style. Jamaican Shabba Ranks affair but with the appearance of so many respected rap players it‘s difficult to ignore. (Jim

orn pack


Polygram are getting behind big Christmas sellers like Pavarotti And Friends I7 or War Child (Decca) or the more comfortably traditional 'I'he Choirboys Christmas (Decca). a hauntingly lovely record starring the Aled Jones of his generation. Anthony Way. More intriguing. however. is John Eliot Gardiner’s electrifying period instrument version of Beethoven‘s [Emperor Concerto (Archiv). Pianist Robert Levin is perhaps a little lightweight at times amid the instrumental textures. in a disc which also features Gardiner‘s Monteverdi Choir in the Choral l-‘antasy. with the interesting addition of two improvised piano introductions (the original work featured the composer's own virtuoso extemporisations; his deafness ultimately forced him to codify the now accepted version). Daniel Barenboim has two significant discs. one of which pairs him with the Berlin Philharmonic for the less common 1877 version of Bruckner‘s Svmphony No 3 (Teldec) in his on-going cycle. The other features the Chicago Symphony and the

gloriously radiant violin playing of Maxim Vengerov in a Nordic pairing of Violin Concertos by Sibelius and Nielsen (Teldec). Zemlinslty is one of those composers who is neither entirely neglected nor fully embraced within the repertory. but that in- betweeness should not deter anyone from exploring his work. Sinopoli‘s reading of the Lyric Symphony (DG) with man-of—the-moment Bryn Terfel as one of the two vocal soloists would make an excellent starting point for anyone new to his music. and should largely satisfy the t'ognost‘enti as well. Peter Maxwell Davis has written one of the most significant - and enjoyable - of all contemporary symphonic cycles. and the release of his brooding but often very beautiful Symphony No 6 (Collins). coupled with 77me and the Raven. is another important contribution to this label's exhaustive survey of his work. Collins. who are also in the middle of a massive Britten project. clearly like to think big. since they have just released the first disc in yet another new sequence. The En glish Song Series. Volume 1 features Anthony Rolfe Johnson

and Simon Keenlyside in the songs of llalph Vaughan Williams. including the celebrated 0n Wen/ock Edge. The admirable Nonesuch label continues to map the development of the early minimalists (now presumably post- minimalists in their more expansive current styles). with Steve Reich’s City Life and John Adams‘s El Dorado. The latest Kronos Quartet disc. Howl. USA (Nonesuch). features a piece by Michael Daugherty. who returns with his large-scale comic-book take-off on the Superman myth. Metropolis Symphony (Argo). an orchestral work which. while great fun in places. does not quite live up to the expectations it engenders; the shorter Bizarro. also included on the disc, does the same thing but better. At the opposite end of the seriousness spectrum. pianist Alan Feinberg has a fine disc of music by Charles Wuorinen and Morton Feltltnan (Koch). which includes the latter‘s haunting Palais de Mari. while John Corioliano's 0f Rage and Remembrance (BMG) couples that work with the Symphony No I . from which it is derived. (Kenny Mathieson)

nanny llampling’s Lttt'c’ Groove Dance Party Volumes 3 d} 4 (Metropole) comes in two parts. The first. the Glitterball Mix. features the more garage and house flavoured songs while the second reveals the more trancey side to Mr Rampling‘s persuasions. As you‘d expect from one of this country‘s leading DJs the mixing is spot on. so no complaints there. The Glitterball Mix contains some fabulous songs. including vocals from Byron Stingin and Cevin Fisher. There's also some good. powerful trax on there. most notably from Angel Moraes. Ashley Beadle and Disco Elements. lfyou want a party then this side is for you. Rampling has always played real songs in his

Danny Ratnpllng: trance global express

set and credit is due tor that. The second part is harder and more trancey. Leftfield. BBE and Union .lack get a spin. This is Rampling’s harder set. the one he has become better known for of late. Like Oakenfold. Tong. Sasha and Digweed. he has gone down the trance road. Why? Who knows? Whatever the reason. the fact that tnost of the premier DJs in the land have all chosen the same music tnust say something about its popularity.

The Fugees Bootleg Versions (Columbia) is not as good as you‘d expect. The group who lit up l996 for so many music lovers have ended the year on a real low with this compilation. God knows why it‘s been released. presumably to halt the tidal wave of illegal remixes that have surfaced in independent


dance music retailers of late. On here. you'll find two versions of ‘Ready Or Not‘. two of ‘Vocab’. a live take on ‘Killing Me Softly‘ and a remake of ‘No Woman No Cry‘ sung this time by Steve Marley. It's not very good and it detracts from the power and the originality of their Score album which is truly one of the greatest things to emerge from the rap/R&B genre for years. Even worse. the phenomenal drum ‘n' bass remix of ‘Killing Me Softly' which dominated dancefloors on white label recently isn't included. l'm not sure whether they're cashing in or what but avoid this like the plague. If you're gonna spend your money buy their first album instead.

the Best Swing . . . Ever Volume 2 (Circa) has got everything you need if you want to get down and get sexy. The Brit contingent (Mark Morrison. Beverly Knight Lighthouse Family) are there. as. bizarrely. are the Spice Girls. next to swing faves R Kelly. Jodeci and Bobby Brown.

Elsewhere. get Renaissance The Mitt- Collection Part 4 (Avex) with Dave Seaman and Ian Ossia on the mix. The music‘s epic trance and the packaging's cool too. (Jim Byers)

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