record reviews

KRAUTROCK Plexiq Blech

Plexiq Blech (Clearspot) wk its “is

First came Krautrock, With bands like Can and Neu', recording sonic assaults at Connie Plank’s studio which had all the subtlety of a concrete mixer With acute laryngitis Then came Kraftwerk, creating machine music which led onto techno and electro. Now those Germans are at it again, With a mutant form of post-techno Krautrock which stacks dance beats up on live drums and the sort of electronic belching which made Can such a fun band. Unfortunately those off-key Krautrock vocals are still in evidence, but that's a minor problem. And while the bass lines boggle and burl to dub-reggae depths, this is closer to speed metal than speed garage. (TD)


Various Galaktic Sound Lab One (Galaktic Sound Lab) w

If you ever wondered why they call it break-beat science, then check this fine selection of tunes from the SWiss collective: Galaktic. Hip hop is

represented by some rather fine

'whicker-whicker' style scratching by Le Gooster on ’Phonky Dope’, while Jazzy drum & bass gets a look in from acts MGM and Stade But it is label head, Patrick Dll‘i/OISIT‘ who, as Rollercone, pulls out the plums in a laid-back, electro funky kind of way With ’Move It' and 'Paiiavision' The whole, more Orientated towards the chill-out than the dancefloor, is spacioust produced and spacey in the extreme, if rather sOul-less iTDi


Bonnie 'Prince' Billy

I See A Darkness (Domino) e Will Oldham slinks back into the spotlight under yet another pseudonym /See A Darkness is the most rounded sounding recOrd he's

54 THE LIST l7 Dec l998—7 Jan i999

produced for a while. His v0ice is still umistakable: frail and quavering like an old gipper on his deathbed but for once it’s envelopped in a rich production and what sounds like a full band. It’s still Will though and all the familiar concerns with depression, dying, loneliness, sexual inadequacy and the futility of redemption make for morbidly beautiful listening. Cracked country on a death tip, it should stop anybody’s Christmas gomg With a swmg (JT)



The Bed Is In The Ocean (Southern Records) e

Karate deal in the kind of plodsome, furrowed, almost pathologically mathematical rock that has kept young Mogwai awake at nights. You know the kind of thing: chord changes optional, century-spanning silences a reqmsite, tortured vocals that Wind themselves around a core of abiect misery a downright necessity. So awkward are these minimalists, in fact, that their sleeve notes are given over to a near impenetrable block lyrics where lines Such as 'I can hear the fabric of your sleeping bag’ smirk cleverly at each other. Obscured by clouds of college- bred hoo-haa they may be, but it soon becomes clear that this US trio have consorted With none other than Old Father Prog, With ’Up Nights’ recalling Led Zeppelin at their most lycanthropic and ’Diazapam' attempting to kick-start (albeit very gently) Yes’ patchouli- doused cadaver. (SD)


Timbaland Tim's Bio: Life From Da Bassment

, (Blackground/Virgin) «9

You can’t ignore sales of ten million records in two years and the debut album from hip hop’s reigning King Midas of the moment seems destined to generate no little interest if his preVious track record is anything to go by. Primarily known in the UK for his production work on Missy Elliott's mega-selling 'Supa Dupa Fly', Tim’s Bio features the T-Man making his solo

5 debut in his own right in the company ' of a select list of invitees including Nas,

The Bluetones: spky

Mad Skillz, Jay-Z and, of course, the aforementioned Missy ’Misderneanour’ Elliott. To date Timbaland’s trademark has been his innovative production style most notably his distinctive spring- heeled beats and, despite the high gloss finish of the whole affair, this freaky funk is littered with potential hazards for dancefloor squares everywhere. (LT)


Paderewski’s Symphony in 8 minor (Hyperion) are

Ignacy Jan Paderewski made political history by becoming the first prime minister of the newly-independent Poland in 1919, but he was already a famous Virtuoso pianist and established composer. Appropriately for a man who become the new state’s figurehead, this mighty late-Romantic symphony was completed in 1908 and given the evocative sub-title ’Polonia’. It was his last major work as a composer, and receives a polished, smtably lavish performance from the BBC SSO under their inspirational Polish conductor, lerzy Maksymiuk, (KM)


Simon Thoumire Celtic Connections Suite/Keep It Up (Tartan Tapes) e s a ‘5‘.

Two albums from the new Edinburgh label. First performed at the major Glasgow folk(ish) festival, the suite mixes the Edinburgh folk and Jazz worlds to entertaining effect The capital’s crossover scene has long been a fertile ground for new hybrids, and though the band is too big (and hasn’t performed enough) to have a really tight ensemble sOund, this is a worthy

addition to the genre Performed by top rate players, the instrumentation T uses most instruments from the J82? f and folk shelves, With reeds saxes,

clarinets and bagpipes -— ouite prominent The four-piece ‘Keep It Up',

, With Simon, Malcolm Stitt, Eilidh Shaw

and Kevin McKenzie is much more of a piece, re-inventing Scots traditional music With style, and the odd little contemporary tWist. (NC)

5 mm— Appendix Out/The


; Wild Living, etc. (Galvani Records)

This five-track split 7m is the first

: release by new Edinburgh label

Galvanr Mournful c0unti'y navelgazei’s , Appendix Out offer two helpings of self-pitying lamentation tO wallow in

when The Palace Brothers or Elliott Smith seem too upbeat, while the

: flipside is devoted to three tracks of

, intermittently charming Io-fi electronica and twanging geetars from The

i lvlongers (rs)

: The Bluetones i 4-Day Weekend (SuperiOr Quality

Recordings) ii- s' is

The Hounslow boys' parent record company A&M has gone down the dumper, making things a bit tricky on the record release front. Are The 'tones downhearted.7 Not a bit of it. This

single spunky lead track culled from their understated last album is available by mail order and the CD version should be invested in for the graceful cover of The Left Banke’s 'Pretty Ballerina’, one of the most beautiful songs ever written. Cheques/ postal orders for £3 (CD/12in) or £2 (7in) made payable to Superior Quality Recordings, PO Box 3836, London NW3 4XF. Include return address in your best handwriting. (FS)

camera obscura

Your Sound (Andmoresound) *‘k‘k More local label activity, this time from Glasgow. camera obscura’s second single sounds indelibly touched by the hand of Belle & Sebastian even before you notice that the two groups share a drummer. Pretty, but not potent. (FS)

UB4O Holly Holy (Virgin) «k


Chocolate Salty Balls (Columbia) 9r

Alberta Yo Yo Boy (RCA)

Slade Vs Flush

Merry Christmas

Everybody ’98 Remix 1%


Woeful. Pants. Mince. Stultifying. Readers, can you identify which description matches which of these Christmas 'contenders'7 The List moves that the Christmas Number One spot be abolished this year on the grounds that there isn’t a single song which can hold a festive candle to such past masters as Shakin' Stevens’ ’Merry Christmas Everyone’ and Sir Cliff’s ’Mistletoe And Wine’, about which we are getting more nostalgic by the minute. U840

f deliver their usual reggae-lite atrocity,

’Yo Yo Boy’, celebrating this year’s crazy

new toy sensation, is ska as performed , by Showaddywaddy, while the Slade reworking makes Sash! look

, sophisticated And Isaac Hayes how

3 could yOu? (FS)

: State River Widening

Unsung Couples (Gold Hole Recordings) is w

The last in this issue's trilogy of releases on new independent labels is about as far from the Christmas chart as U840

are from a pulse. These days fyou’re

not making a barefaced festive bid, then you’re fashioning some gently unravelling instrumental mantra,

aren'tcha7 (FS)

1 a.c. acoustics

Like Ribbons (Yo Yo) >9: is

Fresh from helping out Brian Molko ; With a spot of lyric-writing, Paul

Campion keeps back the best stuff for intoning over his own band's first

A Single in eons 'Like Ribbons' IS

plangent, accessible and gentler than

5 the usual a c. acoustics onslaught, but : extra track 'Lunar Page’ is the real broody treat here. (FS)

REVIEWERS THIS ISSUE: 1 Norman Chalmers, Sarah Dempster,

Thom Dibdin, Kenny Mathieson,Fiona Shepherd, Lawrie Thomas, Jonathan Trew