RECORD REVIEWS MUSIC
Accordion virtuoso Maria Kalaniemi with a superb line up of other Finnish musicians on iho (Hannibal) has released an engrossing album of spellbinding beauty and power. Added to her usual acoustic backing group are saxes. horns and a string section. making music that is complex. modern. very creative and joyful. and astonishingly well played. More Radio 3 than folk club. it can still be enjoyed by all.
In If]! Wisna For The Union (Greentrax) Various Artists celebrate the centenary of the STUC. The late Victor Jara and Matt McGinn: and the very much alive Christy Moore. Dick Gaughan — and even Runrig —join another eleven of the (mainly Scottish) folk world‘s best known performers. and still ﬁnd space for the Dubliner’s version of the 'Freedom Come All Ye’. and black South African singer. Mary Louw‘s passionate rendition of her ‘Gauteng‘. The Canadians are coming according to lona Records. who are releasing a whole swathe of great albums from the intense folk/roots scene that side of the pond. Mostly featuring ﬁddle. one of the best comes from Cape Breton Island’s rhe Barra Macleils. The Traditional Alhum (lona) does what many of us had hoped and leaves out all the group‘s squidgy songs. Not perfect playing. with occasional lapses in intonation. it is nevertheless a highly
enjoyable album - thirteen tracks of rollicking and wholly instrumental music and an exquisite slow air in ‘Memories Of Mary Jean MacKenzie‘.
In The Nineties Collection: Volume 2 (Greentrax). more new Scottish tunes from the eponymous tune book are played by The Gillies. Buy it for pleasure or as a resource; it's full of(38) very well played. interesting. uncomplicated arrangements of recently composed tunes in the Scottish idiom. by a band made up of some ofthe best players on pipes. accordion. ﬁddle. whistle. keyboards and guitar. Songs in three-part harmony ﬁll Primary Colours (Culburnie). the ﬁrst release by Chantan. Uneven. it suffers from some rhythmic tedium. but the best is very good. ‘lfl Had a Ribbon Bow‘ is far from the Scots tradition represented by Hishey Bah. and the latter is slightly marred by a ‘too-clever‘ harmony at the end. but they‘re both great performances.
Two recordings by young Scots artists feature Scottish bagpipes: Machair actress Anna Murray‘s second release Into Indigo (KRL). features many guest musicians and singers. and conﬁrms her as one of the best Gaelic singers of the younger generation. while her piping. on the Highland and small-pipes is beautifully paced. Meanwhile. Deaf Shepherd’s Rory Campbell has released a debut. Magaid A Phipir/f/te
Piper 's Whim (KRL). that includes songs by his father Roddy. Produced by Capercaillie’s Fred Morrison. it’s a display of highly evolved ﬁngering technique on various pipes and whistles. Accompanied. on most tracks. by a varied group playing ﬁddle. guitar. accordion and percussion. this is an adventurous. if somewhat rough-edged. expression of a brave new talent in piping circles. Highland pipes are prominent in Skye band the Peaton Fairies’ Mellowositv (Greentrax). but used to different effect in what is basically a good-time celtic rock band with no great musical pretensions. They‘ve come a long way in a few years. but they are still more fun to dance to than to listen to.
A Johnny Clegg And .luluka Collection; The Toure K unda Collection. and a sampler One World (Putumayo World Music) are part of a new series and label that offers a ‘glimpse of the world as it could be‘. The former’s fusion of white and black South African music is
' drawn from the groups‘
ground breaking six original albums; the latter was the original Senegal supergroup. a decade before the words ‘world’ and ‘music’ were joined. The sampler puts the Gipsy Kings. Papa Wetnba. Bob Marley. Angelique Kidjo, Capercaillie and Peter Gabriel (with Youssou N’Dour). Toni Childs and the Mendes Brothers in the same bed. Ah well. one man‘s meat. as they say. (Norman Chalmers)
ohrlsty Moore celebrates the $1 uc
Volume 4 of the original trip hop/big beat compilation series nope 0n Plastic (React) is another curious and exciting package full of bionic bongos. scuzzy guitars. smokin' hip hop beats and Hammond organ breaks. it’s the thoroughly modem sound of today‘s more ‘eclecto‘ producers. Best tunes by far on a generally excellent double CD/triple vinyl/mixed cassette are Blueboy‘s simple but funky ‘Remember Me‘ and DJ Kool‘s tearin‘ hip hop anthem ‘Let Me Clear My Throat‘. Other featured artists include Monkey Maﬁa. Pressure Drop and DJ Eclipse. The whole deal has been put together by slowbeat king DJ (and sometime Mixmag scribe) John Stapleton. ouango Sport (Quango)
brings together some of the ﬁner. tnore accessible moments from the drum ‘n‘ bass fraternity. Mixed by Jun (Umoja HiFi). it takes in artists as diverse and exciting as Doc Scott (‘Far Away' ). Adam F ('Circles‘) and Alex Reece ( ‘Feel The Sunshine'). Yes. it's another drutn ’n‘ bass compilation and yes. it is worth the money. especially if you need an introduction into what the
scene is all about.
I Polar: living Incinerator (Christel oeeslt) Sprinkled with magic dust courtesy of the Cocteau Twins‘ September Sound Studio. here‘s a record made to cry into your gin to. The tonsils belong to one Hamish MacKintosh (he of Fuel non-fame) but Polar is the cartoon light bulb above the head of Lincoln Fong. a bloke discerning enough to have worked with the
Cocteau ’s and much underrated Moose. Gentle strutnming. grandiose orchestration. and heart- breaking tales of love gone bad. Living » Incinerator is at once everyday and exceptional. The feline’s PJ’s. Think The Bathers, Tindersticks and Scott Walker. then
John Stapleton: Dope 0n Plastic main man
Voltmte 5 of Trance Europe Express (Volume) is not at all what I‘d expected. Moving on from the original pure trance (ie System 7. Spooky etc . . . )of the ﬁrst couple of compilations. it reveals an altogether more funky side. The old mechanical ‘computer-ish‘ vibe has been replaced by a warmer selection of trax. Here then we get the likes of Ian Pooley (on the magniﬁcent ‘Picture Palace‘) and Marshall Jefferson (‘A New State Of Being‘) rubbing shoulders with the new skool of techno artists like Edinburgh's own Neil Landstruum (‘Eavesdropper‘) and Slam (‘Soul Power’). Excellent packaging as well with the l9()-page booklet.
The ﬁrst instalment of Breakheat Science (Volume) sees the more accessible side of drum ‘n‘ bass being explored again. This time we get the likes of4 Hero. E-Z
forget them. Blue is the colour. that‘s all. (Rodger Evans) I tiltumha Zoo: Wake lip And Dream (Arista) At last the band who look scarier than the green-haired bloke out of The Prodigy. A South African trio with three number one singles at home. Qkumba Zoo purport to mix up the traditional music of Mandela country with Western dance pop (well. the press release mentions Depeche Mode but I see ' no reason to hold that against them). Singer Levannah possesses a sweet voice. loitering somewhere between Kate Bush and Enya. but the high energy of 'Child lnside‘ would beneﬁt from the Stock. Aitken and Waterman touch. Still. ‘Weeping' ﬂirts cutely with St Etienne/ Pizzicato 5. Which is nice. (Rodger Evans)
I Perlurne One (Big Star) With a name which forces the mind to think of the wishiest and washiest of the Britpop parade (Salad. Shampoo. Powder). Perfume do themselves no favours by kicking off One in bad Ocean Colour Scene mode. Yet more criminal is the bad Gene of ‘Watch Me Bleed’ and ‘As I Go Blind’. Stinking. Fortuitously. the curve
_ OLD. (Fiona Shepherd)
Rollers and Roni Size on the ﬁrst side alongside the harder sounds of Ed Rush. Plug and Skycutter on the other. Again. superb packaging with a beautiful l2()-page booklet.
lil Kim’s Hard Core (Bib Beat) is dirty. foul- mouthed hip hop at its most vulgar. This time though. it's a woman rapping so the sexism is turned on its head. The last track is called ‘Fuck You‘ another ‘Take lt!‘ and another ‘Drugs'. You get the picture.
Check also French techno superstar laurent Garnier with his album 30 (F Cotnmunications). As you‘d expect from the DJ capable of playing eight- hour sets at the drop of a hat. it’s very diverse. taking in abstract ambient stuff. dub. drum ’n’ bass but predominantly dreamy house and quality techno. The current single ‘Crispy Bacon' is a real highlight. The album as a whole is an excellent listening experience. (Jim Byers)
they are riding eventually nudges upwards as they search for a genuine identity. True beauty can be found in ‘Carving Your Name’ which glides into all the right places. the discreetly melancholy title track and the almost too catchy ‘Haven't Seen You'. Fragrant. (Brian Donaldson) I Mount Vernon Arts lab: Nova (\iia Satellite Records) The name alone probably tells you a lot about this record. And track titles like ‘I Am Lubbert Das’ and ‘Electroluminessence’ probably conﬁrm the mental pictures of eccentric bofﬁnry in the deepest West End of Glasgow. Rob Grainer. Joe Meek and The Tornadoes collide in a sonic fusion of analogue synth refrains. squiggly alien noises and offcuts from The Man Front Uncle soundtrack. If it’s tunes you want. you’re better to go with the hypnotic melodies of Stereolab but for genre fans. this lOin mini-album is another neat addition to the Stereophonic Workshop. Available from independent record stores and by mail order from Via Satellite Records. PO Box l5l93. Glasgow. G2
The List 7-20 Feb 1997 43