finds him ’maturing’ (i.e. getting boring) at a frightening rate. Spread over two CDs, we are treated to over ninety minutes of ditties that are so 30- something, coffee table, Mercury Music Award friendly, it’s scary. The sound ranges from the anaemic, low- calorie jungle of ’Our World' to the frightening, Kenny G-sounding, cod- jazz noodlings of ’Unconditional Love’. The whole album drifts along in an inoffensive, hungover-Sunday torpor, never threatening to grab your attention at all. (DJ)
Scratchy Marimba (Sulphur) int k The second in a series of electronic experiments on Sulphur Records, Scratchy Marimba is a catalogue of unsettling ambient soundscapes to accompany an arthouse film. Vitellio starts with simple melodies and gradually fragments them, ending with extended drum machine rumblings and warped tapes. This is accompanied by likeminded lo~fi boffins on assorted machinery, and some tight, funky drumming from Dean Sharp. Bafflingly abstract on first listening, this album shows a true understanding of the dynamics and atmospherics that a cinematic soundtrack deserves, avoiding the lazy, ’stick on a few sci-fi noises and it’s a soundtrack' route with verve. (GG)
Gonzales Uber Alles (Kitty-Yo)
35: Pk“ 1" it
Just what the world needs — a Berlin- based, Jewish-Canadian spoof MC and self-confessed ’supen/illan', intent on destroying the music industry from the inside. Actually, for all Chilly Gonzales’s mental sloganeering ('you picked the wrong time to open your mind’ it sez here), Uber Al/es is an excellent cut ’n’ paste of alternative hip-hop, underground dance and funky beats. Reminiscent of a low-key Beasties or Money Mark, the DIY ethic on this record is clear. Songs like the fat electro-strut of 'The Worst MC’ or the sly soul of 'Let’s Groove Again’ are indicative of Chilly's considerable talent and breadth of musical vision. (DJ)
COUNTRY Radio Sweethearts
Lonesome Blue (Spit And Polish)
if your idea of a good country album is something cast in the slick contemporary Nashville mode, then look elsewhere. Radio Sweethearts prefer the real thing, and if their roots are in Bellshill rather than Louisiana, their feel for the music is as authentic as anything you will hear these days. Singer John Miller and drummer Frank Macdonald share the song writing credits on this new set (with a co-write on ’Sweetheart Hoedown’ for their ace fiddler, the Battlefield Band’s John McCusker). Miller’s strong, expressive singing remains the band’s trump card, with McCusker’s fiddle and mandolin and Malcolm McMaster's snaky steel guitar licks adding colour to the band’s occasionally slightly predestrian accompaniments. (KM)
WORLD/ELECTRONIC Various Artists Collection 1 (Frikyiwa) intuit
Dance music's answer to Paul Simon, Frederic Galliano has taken it upon himself to plunder the vocal and percussive talent of the African continent and distribute the spoils amongst a collection of house music producers. What amounts to saying to the traditional artists of Mali like vocalist Nahawa Doumbia and guitarist Lobi Traore ’that sounds OK, but it could sound so much better via
Just what the world needs-Gonzales
Punk ska protagonists. King prawn
enhancement by the superior technology we have in the Western world’. Cultural imperialism aside, this is however an interesting fusion of styles featuring Edinburgh's deep house maestro Aqua Bassino, People producer IG Culture and the laid-back dub of French producer Doctor L among the patronising pirates at work. (CB)
Harris, Moran, Osby, Shim
New Directions (Blue Note) *iri: *
It’s classic Blue Note, Jim, but not as we know it. Drawing on that quintessential jazz label's historic tradition of pooling talent, six of their current young bloods (essentially the Greg Osby Quartet featuring pianist Jason Moran which visited Edinburgh last year, plus saxman Mark Shim and vibes player Stefon Harris) tackle classic Blue Note hits from the 605, including the likes of Herbie Hancock's ’Theme from Blow Up’, Lee Morgan’s ’The Sidewinder’, and Horace Silver’s 'Song For My Father'. The tunes are given a distinctly contemporary spin through imaginative new arrangements, incorporating dazzling reharmonisations and different rhythmic concepts. New compositions by three of the principals round out a satisfying project. (KM)
Anglo-Cubano (Candid) * it 1% 1k Pianist Alex Wilson is one of the coming faces on the London jazz scene, and follows up his debut release, Afro- Saxon, with this scintillating fusion of jazz and authentic Cuban music. Wilson recorded much of the album in Cuba, and identifies the relevant rhythms and forms for each tune (including a version of Sting’s ’Englishman In New York’ set in a guaguanco rhythm). Both the Cubans and the London-based musicians come up trumps, and no one more so than the leader. The results are exhilarating, with the music's infectious Latin colours and rhythms beefed up by some meaty jazz soloing. (KM)
REVIEWERS THIS ISSUE:
Catherine Bromley, Grahame Grant, Kevin Harley, Doug Johnstone, Kenny Mathieson, Allan Radcliffe, Mark Robertson.
STAR RATINGS * i an“: Unmissable at is i’ it Very ood * air A Wort a shot *9: Below average it You‘ve been warned
record reviews MUSIG Singles round-up
Metrovavan’s unassuming debut 7in ’The Lost Notes’ (Liquefaction *itt) throws harmonium and samples of French girls over hip hop breaks and double bass - a calming, but strangely beautiful affair. More jazz but less grit is Demusphere’s solo debut ’Journey Into Space EP’ (Parallax *tti), a mellow, jazzy, break-filled mission which is almost too laid back for it’s own good was it not for some forceful horn playing.
Laeto are sadly still too much a sum of their Slint/Mogwai/Shellac parts as ’Field Settings’ (EVOL ***) sees them aping their idols rather than progressing. Calamateur’s ’White Light Unknown' (timshel *****) is a thing of great beauty as their stark acoustic melodies float along with sparse but emotive backing.
The Newtown Grunts come off best against The Amphetameanies on their ’Treaty At Harthill’ split 7in, their buzzsaw pop punk policies having the edge over the ’Meanies tinny production which fails to capture their live ska funk punk adequately (F&J the).
German techno technician Sven Vath returns with ’Dein Schweiss’ (Virgin *ttt) — a throbbing chunk of retro electronica which doesn't suffer from being converted into an evil trance wobbler by Thomas P Heckmann. The overhaul of Primal Scream's ’Kill All Hippies’ and 'Exterminator’ by Massive Attack, Two Lone Swordsman and Jagz Kooner, (Creation ****) is the other highly successful remix project this issue. The two tracks are twisted from electro dub monsters into . . . bigger electro dub monsters. The wonders of modern technology.
Future Loop Foundation’s ’Santo Del Futur’ (Liquid aunt) for some inexplicable reason doesn't hit the spot, their limp Latin meets jungle experiments are hopefully only a blip on an otherwise clear horizon. This is in stark contrast to ’Two Techniques’, Lemon D’s phenomenal slab of weighty future jungle (R&S skirt).
Riser’s buzzy, indie, girl-singer shamblings on 'Midget Gems' (Mint iii) are sweeter than they first appear. They lack a spark of originality initially but one day we can be sure it will eventually shine through. Talking as we were, of resurrections, King Prawn have dug up and shagged the decrepit bones of US ska punks Bad Brains for their single ’Day in, Day Out' (Spitfire *ttt). This densely packed ska rub is worthy of more than a little attention. Make the best also, of the likes of Sigur Ros (Fat Cat *****) ’My Batteri’ is a fabulous, spacious, spaced out ambient brass experiment and is very at home with Twitch and MP Lancaster, who have returned for their second EP as Mount Florida. ’Storm’ (Matador *tttt) has more ideas in four tracks as many lesser mortals have on a whole album, and few so skilfully executed. Think Detroit techno, trippy folk, satanic disco breaks, uneasy listening and chunky electro thrown in one mystical wheelbarrow and carted off down to the local discotheque. Joyous. (Mark Robertson)
16~30 Mar 2000 THE UST 47