. ALBUM REVIEWS continued


A Friend Is A Stran er You Haven’t Met Yet (Spymania)J * ‘k t it

Once the centre of British leftfield

techno was oddly, but unarguably, the legendary Sheffield-based label Warp,

1 but over the last few years, a couple of labels have helped put Brighton on the I map. One of which is Spymania, an

assortment of ne’er-do-wells and pasty-faced bed-sit boffins who have

just released this debut album from the

ridiculously talented mdk. Featuring a scatter-fire series of 24 musical sketches which jom the dots between

hip hop, metal and good ol’ fashioned ' bleeping, A Friend. . . showcases a

I brand new artist With an impressively

dirty musical palette. Slapdash. Odd.

But very, very good (Tim Abrahams)

Surreal Madrid

No More Boom Boom

(Fused & Bruised) *‘ki

Kick-ass keys and a full-bodied swing on ’Money Let Me Be’ gets these big beat proceedings off to a fine start and

, writer/producer Colin Owens ably 3 keeps up the tempo. ’We’re Going To Vegas’ gives the showtune a solid

breakbeat injection and while the production and use of samples here and elsewhere owes much to leading electro jazz tinkerer Mr Scruff, Owens

i has enough originality to craft his own

unique, if dated style. Other highlights include the skankin’ shake of ’Flatline Rock’ and the robot romance of ’I Only Have Eyes For You’ but sadly, the predominate big beat feel gets irksome by the close. (Catherine Bromley)

Lesser Gear Hound (Matador) * *

Conventions exist so The Many know what to do, and The Few know what to oppose. Lesser (San Diego knob twitcher and part time Metallica impersonator J Doerck and friends) sell themselves as righteous anti-rock revolutionaries, and peddle a largely tuneless mix of sampled breaks and screeching feedback that errs on the

side of drum & bass. Their attitude may

put them on the side of The Few, but one senses they should have stuck to the cover versions. There are moments where the disparate elements of their music come together to create something exciting, but these serve only to punctuate long periods of discordant tedium. And there’s nothing progressive about being bored.

(James Smart)


DJ Revolution In 12's We Trust (Millenia Music)

* * * * ; The sight and sound of a live scratch

DJ is one to behold, but after several below par scratch-fest albums of late, where the DJ’s self-indulgent dexterity is as likely to leave the listener perplexed and bored as entertained, it

takes a truly skilled producer and turntablist like DJ Revolution to show

how its done.

Revolution’s distinctive rough, filmic street beats are laced with dark humour and politically charged sentiment, whether it’s on a deck duel with one time World Champion Roc

. Raida or a hip hop history lesson from

an array of guest MCs on the value of

DJs in rap evolution. Revolution ' commands from the decks, making

aggresswe but accessable, tWisted but funky sounds. (Mark Robertson)

Masterminds The Underground Railroad

(Ground Control) ***

With so many acts vying for the same : tight space, any outfit Wishing to rise ' up from the seething morass that is

' hip hop mu3ic requires a little special 3 something to captivate the people.

The Masterminds’ sadly don’t. Sure,

this is slickly produced, with nods to some contemporary turns but mainly planting the sound in the rough

: edged, but feelgood era of the late

805. The raps are sooally aware

tongue twisters with shout out refrains

and and hooks to keep us on our toes,

but with so many quality, boundary

decimating acts around, why we need

j followers like The Masterminds remains ; a mystery. (Mark Robertson)



Soul Makasser (Sakay) t t ir *

The music of Tarika is fully rooted in the sounds of that big Indian Ocean island with an unerring feel for rock and dance and some gorgeously wild arrangements. While ’Tovovavy’

, seduces with Hawaiian slide guitar and rich choral vocals frolic on ’Aretina’,

’Sulawesi’ is at the heart, inspired by a trip by leader Hanitra to Indonesia to trace earliest Malagasy roots. The nostalgic ’Ela’ with mesmerising valiha zither is magic; and then there’s ’Malako’ an interpretaion of ’Be My Baby’, via The Surfs not the Ronettes. (Jan Fairley)

Africando All Stars

Mandali (Stems) * t t t it

There’s nothing more erotic than African-Cuban salsa sounds. It must be the only plus of slavery that West Africans forced to Cuba took their music with them and it has fed back and fro ever since. Those in the know treasure the first Africando albums like Trovador which brought together these magic musicians. From Medoune Diallo’s first rusty vocals for Mandali every track is a winner, with ace guests Salif Keita seducing with ’N'Toman’, Koffi Olomide with Mopao and Hector Casanova with Pepota. For snogging, dancing, making love or just mellowing out on the couch, this is a must have

3 disc. (Jan Fairley)


f Arild Andersen

, Molde Concert (ECM) * at t t t

A more than welcome CD appearance for one of the best records ever issued

; on the illustrious ECM Records label. Bassist Arild Andersen led a quartet at

the Molde Festival in August, 1981, which featured guitarist Bill Frisell (in meatier mode than his later, more spectral signature sound), pianist John Taylor, and former Weather Report

drummer Alphonse Mouzon. If you 2 assocate ECM with a pastoral,

chamber music feel, forget it. This is

Glasgow-basedl sh musical adventurers Snow Patrol seek out the warm and comforting wooded glade in the barren tundra of January releases. i Interview: Doug Johnstone

The sin les

Snow Patrol are up for Ash

Lowfinger ’Go Go Me A Big Pop' Passable indie dance packed with funny beats and sounds.

is supplemented by four previously

vaults, Dave Liebman’s Drum Ode,

gloriously full-blooded stuff in which all ,

four musicians play out of their skins, and even if you have a treasured vinyl

Saxophonist Mars Williams’s Witches &

Jonny Quinn: 'There are a lot of good ideas, but they‘re trying to fit too much in. There’s a tune in there, but they've chucked in too much stuff.’

Mark McClelland: ’It sounds like a remix of a rock tune that was brilliant. It’s sort of picking up the Bis torch and running with it in a Robbie Williams direction.’ Martine McCutcheon ’On The Radio’ (Virgin) Truly dreadful rehash of Donna Summer disco gem.

10: ’This is a hen night classic - it’s purely tacky nightclub. It’s shit, really awful.’ MM: ‘What's the point of re-recording a disco tune, it’s always going to be better the first time. Mind you she’ll make millions from it and then laugh at me.’ Straw ’Sailing Off The Edge Of The World’ (Columbia) Tedious/y worthy strumming guitar tune.

10: ‘Sounds like Travis so it'll probably sell tons of records.’

MM: ’No, they haven't copied Travis properly, they’ve obviously been playing hooky from Travis school. I'm struggling to even find an opinion on it, it’s so dull.’ 10: ’We’ve got Travis, we don’t need another one.’

SINGLE OF THE FORTN/GHT: Ash ’Shining Light’ (Infectious) Understated and stupid/y catchy return to form for the Irish rock upstarts.

10: ’I love this, it's one of my favourite Ash songs.’

MM: ’This is one of their great tunes. They’re on their third album now and still bringing out great songs like this.’

10: ’Since I first heard it it’s just stuck in my head, it’s fantastic.’

MM: ’The b-side of this could even be single of the week.’

Frog Pocket 'lllustra ted By Carol Meldrum’ (Mouthmoth) Bizarre avant—garde electronica from Ayrshire.

.IQ: ’lt’s too squelchy. If I had a frog in my pocket it would sound like this. This sort

of music makes me feel itchy.’

MM: ’I can’t imagine it playing in Habitat.’

Fatboy Slim feat. Macy Gray ’Demons’ (Skint) Clash of the chart titans in this laid-back soulful swoon.

10: ’I'm glad he’s gone for this sound, I'm a sucker for a black soul singer like that. This is just quality, you know.’

MM: ’Yeah, she’s got a great voice. I hadn’t heard this before; I like it, but it was very short.’

Rae 81 Christian feat. Bobby Womack ’Get A Life’ (Grand Central) - Despite the presence of a legend, boring anodyne soul tat.

10: ’This is thirtysomething coffee table music, it’ll get played in hairdressers and Debenhams. My mum would love it.’

MM: ’Would she? My mum would say "I can’t understand what he’s singing about".’ I Snow Patrol release the single ’One Night ls Not Enough’ on 79 Feb, and the

album ’When It’s All Over We Still Have To Clear Up’ on 5 Mar, both on leepster.

of the late Albert Ayler, a key figure in the free jazz explosion of the mid- 605. Recorded live at Chicago’s The Empty Bottle in August 1997, the band includes the great Ken Vandermark on tenor sax, and the volcanic drumming of Steve Hunt. They play emotive, hugely energised homage to their mentor in epic versions of Ayler’s joyous ’Truth Is Marching ln’, ’Angels’, and ’Bells’, and throw in a manic saxophone duet and rumbling piano interlude. Not for the faint-hearted, but a salutary reminder of the power and passion of free jazz. (Kenny Mathieson)

copy, you will still have to give thought to snapping up this one, since - unusually for ECM the original album

unissued tracks from the concert. It is accompanied by the release of three more classic reissues from the ECM

Eberhard Weber’s Little Movements, and Edward Vesala’s Satu. More, please. (Kenny Mathieson)

Witches & Devils

At The Empty Bottle (Knitting Factory) ****

Devils is inspired by the music and spirit

18 Jan—l Feb 200i THE L|8T45