a beautiful retrospective (complete With copious liner-notes and archival Visuals, all compiled by Stephen Pastel) of the most legendary of Japanese underground rock bands.
Formed in the mid-80s, Maher combine slicing Syd Barrett-styled acoustics With big-band surge and sharp revo-rhetoric, mainman Tori Kudo having once been a member of the East Asia Anti—Japanese Armed Front, most renowned for their attempt on the Emperor's life. Their music is every bit as evangelical and utopian as Tori’s political beliefs. Often relying on non-musiCians, Tori describes Maher as ’the king of error’ but to relegate this music to mere idiot-avant sketching would be a tough jOb even for squares. Rather, think of the first inwgorating blast of Beefheart’s Trout Mask Replica, Coltrane’s Live In Japan or Beat Happening’s Jamboree. From A Summer . touches all of these bases While still retaining a heart-stopping, genuiner communicative, intimacy. So stop wasting yer wedge on insultineg unambitious dreck and check out the s0und of upsettingly honest human interaction. Fer a change.
ELECTRONIC Various Artists
House Not House — Groove Anthology (Farside) it it
God knows how, but Ingo Sanger, the man behind the decks for this compilation of mildly off-kilter house efforts, has the good taste to lift tracks involvmg the considerable talents of Phil Asher, King Britt and Swag, only to weld together a woefully insipid 70 minutes of tedium. This is down to the fact that the selections are intended as an overVieW of the ongOing curse of Jazz-by-numbers, bossa nova tainted reworkings of the classic house formula. This is house music robbed of it’s driVing qualities matched With iazz mu5ic dev0id of the innovation and improwsation that characterise the genre. In short, the worst of both worlds and deeply irritating to boot. (Jack Mottram)
Morgan Organized (Source UK) fr t at at
This record does riide ska, frUity funk and comedown pop, and the signature Hammond organ goes well With the rude-boy chatter of Morgan’s brother William in ’Unbreaking My Heart’. The samples from Phoenix, The Dust Brothers and Beastie Boy’s engineer Mario Caldato Jr add a familiar flavour in Morgan's favour. The making of Organized was a real family affair With his Sister featuring on 'Sitting in the Sun’, cousin Rose on both ’Miss Parker’ and ’Here Comes The Rain’ and his dad guesting on 'Paparazzi'. It works, and check out the gUitar in 'Something He Said’. (Angie Brown)
Cosmos 2000 (Cosmos) air a: i *
It seems the Spanish mUSIC scene has more to offer than Ibiza anthems and saccharine balladry. This compilation showcases the efforts of a wealth of underground house, techno and breakbeat producers, all of Whom seem hell bent on chucking in as many electro staples as time Will allow. This
means that most of the tracks sound straight outta Germany, complete With the obligatory scary vocoder blethering, super-retro breaks and synths set to sinister. There’s even a mix CD thrown in from, confusmgly, Kosmos who moves smoothly through the electro spectrum, making this a bargain introduction to the new s0und of Barcelona. (Jack Mottram)
Orfeu (Nonesuch) 1k * ir
Veloso, a literate and honey-voiced pop troubadour, is an icon of Brazilian culture. He superVised this s0undtrack for an upcoming, Rio-set retelling of the Greek myth of Orpheus and Eurydice. Some of the songs —- like LUIS Bonfa’s ’Tilde Above Second’ and ’Manha de Carnaval’ —- are from the 1959 Oscar-Winner, Black Orpheus. Tom Jobim’s equally classic 'A FeliCidade' receives a rendition of untutored purity by Maria LiJiza Jobim. Veloso himself contributes a haunting new ballad, 'Sou Voce.’ Lilting vocals are padded out by the film’s instrumental bridges. An opening track of rap-inflected samba is Virtually the only kicker in a smoothly lyrical package. (Donald Hutera)
A Lo Cubano (Cool tempo) it it Orishas bring the unique sound of Afro-Cuban Rumba, taking aspects of hip hop and rap and fusing them With sensual melodies. Hailing from Havana, and With a name used for the Gods of Santeria (an Afro-Cuban religion), Orishas s0und more like a cultural instrumental band found at the Edinburgh Festival than a large international group. This mythical and mystical music is interesting but rather irritating, as the lyrics are a mixture of French and Spanish. ’Chica gupas’ Just aren’t the same as ’fit birds’. I don't think even the Gods can help them come close to the rapping stello of America’s most wanted. (Angie Brown)
Nobody Does It Like Me (Dress Circle) tiff
The American Dorothy Fields was both popular and a lyricist’s IyTICISI. Working With composers of the calibre of Jerome Kern and Cy Coleman, her astonishing career spanned the 20th-
Kitchen sink dramas told to the sound of bubbling electronics: Dubstar
century. Fields’ output ranged from ’I Can't Give You Anything But Love' (a smash hit in 1928) to ’Big Spender' (the epitome of vulgar Broadway Wit). This lively, lovmg tribute grew out of a show that played last year's Fringe. Theatrically experienced, Edinburgh- born McLaren belts the sassy, up-beat numbers seCUrer and warmly croons the sentimental tunes, with convmcing forays into blues and jazz. The net effect is solid and sparkling.
BeBop Spoken Here (Proper Records) * * t * at
This sCintillating collection of Vintage bebop would be worth considering at full price, never mind the bargain basement £14.99 Which Proper are asking for a four CD set With full documentation and a sturdy box. It follows earlier boxes (Gene Krupa, a superb Lester Young, and collections of drummers and gwtarists) culled from material which has now moved beyond copyright restrictions. There are Just short of 100 tracks here, ranging from the high peaks of bebop (Charlie Parker, Dizzy Gillespie, Bud Powell, Thelonious Monk, Dexter Gordon) to less obVious names like Georgie Auld and Brew Moore. Given the late 40s dates, sound is good, and the Whole thing is an absolute giveaway at the price. Snap it up. (Kenny Mathieson)
Nils Petter Molvaer Solid Ether (ECM Records) a: ‘k * *
Nils Petter Molvaer’s Khmer make a welcome return to a late-night slot at the Glasgow Jazz Festival With their high-octane mixture of Miles DaVis’s dense early 70s funk maelstrom and more contemporary Jazz and dance inflections, including the live turntable manipulations of DJ StrangefrUit. This is the trumpeter’s second album With this band, followmg the excellent Khmer, and is an equally compelling extension of his explorations. His haunting trumpet weaves through richly textured s0undscapes which mix keyboards, gUitar and the band's trademark two drummers With all manner of electronic effects and samples, including multi-tracked solo and duo cuts, as well as two cool interludes from singer Sidsel Endresen. (Kenny Mathieson)
record reviews MUSIC Singles round up
First out of the traps, bellowing and snorting like a sterOid crazed Wildebeest, are the charmingly- named Sludgefeast. ’Rock ’n' Roll' (Fuzzbox *ttt) sounds like a collision between The Stooges and Motorhead, is utterly derivative, ioyously dumb and very, very LOUD. Single of the week, no contest. Give these men a medal.
Super session gUitarist Aziz whose solo debut ’Middle Road’ (No Label *t) kicks off interestineg enough, but rapidly descends into muso tedium and is unpleasantly scarred by the presence of Paul Weller.
Thank God, then, for The Clint Boon Experience (and believe me, I never dreamt I’d feel gratitude towards an ex-Inspiral Carpet), Who prowde a spot of light relief With ’Do What You Do’ (Artful Records *ti), an effortlessly entertaining piece of poptastic candyfloss complete With a bargain basement Phil Spector sound. The Wannadies’ ’Big Fan’ (BMG *tt) is a lightweight but amiable slice of power pop, Scuba Z’s ’Hip Bounce’ (Odd *tt) is a daft as a brush big beat summer anthem in the making and Freefall’s ’Skydive’ (Renaissance **) is tedious house by numbers. Mind you, it’s not half a bad as the mind bogglingly-banal trance-lite that is Marc Et Claude’s ’I Need YOur Lovm’ (Positiva t).
Business a usual for Placebo Whose 'Taste In Men’ (Hut tit) is more of their patented, second rate glam deViance but at least Brian Molko puts his heart and soul into the Whole pop star malarkey. They should, however, cock an ear to Pillbox’s ’Me And My Rhythmbox' (NYC drink) for lessons in slinky sassiness. It's enough to make a boy wear feather boas and glitter. Biffy Clyro deserve the title of the week award for ’ThekidswhopoptodayWiIlrocktomorr ow’ (Electric Honey ti) which unfortunately is lumpen, generic Evening Session indie gwtar fare. Which is the last thing you could say about Clinic. ’Distortions’ (Domino *ttt) is a relatively muted but mesmerising affair, but still leaves most of this week’s competitors trailing in its path.
Finally we come to the truly execrable Ocean Colour Scene and ’July/l Am The News’ (Universal *). Christ on a bike, what is it With these people? If Jack Straw really is hell- bent on getting tough on crime, he should start by outIaWing these turgid, half-arsed retro chancers.
* * * * * Unmissable
1r * t * Very good
* i * Worth a shot
i * * Below average
it You've been warned,» .
6—20 Jul 2000 THE "ST 49