P. DIDDY & THE BAD BOY FAMILY The Saga Continues . . . (Puff Daddy) 0.
Who's the daddy? Not P. Diddy on this evidence. Assembling fourteen ‘bad boys'. Mr Diddy is obviously trying to turn himself into the Wu-Tang Clan. but instead has created a sanitised sprawl of hip hop-lite which generally fails to impress. There are all the expected flashy production touches here. but like a Hollywood blockbuster. there‘s little substance beneath the visceral thrill. Some of the musical plundering sounds great. like in the wobbly old school soul of ‘Roll With lvle' or the kung-fu disco bluster of ‘Where's Sean?'. but with 25 tracks. there's far too much plush padding and not enough to get your teeth into. (Doug Johnstone)
ELECTRONICA VARIOUS ARTISTS
Adam Freeland On Tour (Marine Parade) 0...
Freeland already has a pretty high profile down South, earning him a weekend residency at London's Fabric, one of the few venues around to prove that the terms ‘quality' and ‘superclub' are not mutually exclusive. and this mix suggests he deserves a still wider audience. Here you can find Pressure Drop's underrated recent single ‘Warrior Sound' given the Freeland treatment. but there are relatively few vocal tracks on offer. Instead. the likes of Bushwacka! and Fluke provide dark. atmospheric house and Ioping breakbeats which the DJ meshes into a cohesive whole that nods to ambient. taps its feet to drum & bass. and rocks like an absolute bastard. (James Smart)
ELECTRONICA HER SPACE HOLIDAY Manic Expressive (Wichita) 0000
This second album sees Her Space Holiday (lvlarc Bianchi to his chums) expanding his offbeat electronica sound into more
sumptuous string-laden territory with excellent results. Whereas last
. year's Home Is Where
You Hang Yourself album was downbeat. lo-fi-ish and guitar-
based. Manic Expressive
is a more orchestral mix of weird drum breaks. sleepy keyboards and dreamy vocal lines. Bianchi comes across like a more grounded Aphex Twin. displaying a wilful intelligence and a technocratic love of sounds. and songs like ‘Key Stroke’ and ‘Manic Expressive (Exit)' appear on the surface to be gentle synth-pop laments. but gradually build into dark. schizophrenic mosaics of noise. beats and melody.
POLE R (~scape) on
Berlin-based engineering genius and man of the malfunctioning WaldOrf Pole Filter. Stefan Betke is back. R stands for Room (or rather Raum). Rework and Redefine. Originally released by Berlin's DIN label in 1998. Raum 1 and 2 here arrive via Betke’s own ~scape imprint. refreshed by Pole himself and his close cohorts: Cologne-based dub-specialist Burnt Friedman and San Francisco glitch-master Kit Clayton. Collaborating for the first time with guitarist D. Meteo, Pole's mixes sound less lugubrious than usual. Friedman’s jazzy approach is naturally more kooky. while Clayton speeds things up. threatening to unlock the groove completely.
WORLD VARIOUS ARTISTS
Tea In Marrakesh (Earthworks) 00”
NOrth Africa creates the most hypnotic grooves. exemplified by the sensual Habibi, I first heard from DJ Haleefa of Arakataca at Edinburgh's Bongo Club. Actually it’s ‘Nour El Ain', a compelling serenade to the dark power of someone's eyes. from Egypt 's Amr Diab. With its hip
, swirling percussive
touches and accordion
flourishes it's just one of
the beguiling gems on this disc which fuses root and techno sounds
including the funky Bouchenak Brothers
_ and and the exuberant
Orchestre National de Barbes. With trance
from Gnawa Diffusion
too, this is a must disc for dancing and chilling out. (Jan Fairley)
FILM SOUNDTRACK ' RIOUS
The movie may be ‘audacious' and
5 relentless in its avowed
' pursuit of ‘truth, beauty
and love' but stripped of its Iascivious visuals and funky burlesque. the soundtracks exposed as red-faced. clunky, panting and soulless. With the sound and vision torn apart. you're battered senseless by a gaudy. often ugly clamour. Nicole and Ewan's cut and paste kitsch humour are gobbled up; their duets sodden with unbearable sentiment. At least Beck refuses to sacrifice his
spirit on “Diamond
0093'. but Massive
Attack’s reprise of Bowie’s ‘Nature Boy' is
unnecessary. and Bono’? Just gonnae no.
Thank God it doesn‘t include the abominable intercut of ‘Smells Like Teen Spirit' with ‘Lady Marmalade' in that can- can don't-don't scenano.
Horses Of Instruction (Black Box) 0000
Steve Martiand has always defied classical music conventions. both in his radical rhetoric and in his music. This disc. his first on the
Black Box label, features a mixture of new and old for his powerful and responsive Steve Martland Band. This reflects his characteristic fusion of the energy and idioms of rock and folk with the structural sophistication of contemporary ‘classical’ forms. notably
minimalism (a synthesis dubbed “rock to Reich' in the sleeve notes). The William Blake-inspired ‘Horses Of Instruction' and 'Eternal Delight’ frame an otherwise varied. high-energy collection. including a version of his classic powerhouse showpiece. ‘Re-Mix’. and an unconventional setting of a Scottish traditional melody in 'Thistle Of Scotland’. Check it out. and catch them live in Edinburgh next month as well. (Kenny Mathieson)
JAZZ DAVE HOLLAND
OUINTET Not For Nothin’ (ECM Records) 0000
i It is hard to find
anything new to say in praise of this group's fluent. refined music. but more of the same is
plenty good enough. There is no better i working band in current
jazz than this excellent
; quintet. led by bass
, player Dave Holland.
3 This is the band‘s third L album, and easily
maintains the high standards of its predecessors. Holland has a long history of leading consistently top- quality outfits, and this line-up stands alongside any of them. Trombonist Robin Eubanks. sax0phonist Chris Potter, vibes player Steve Nelson and
drummer Billy Kilson
have been with the bassist for four years now. and it shows in the
coherence and sense of creative purpose in
everything they play.
James Taylor Quartet
Hammond-o/ogy f (Sanctuary) A double CD compilation of the
original Acid Jazz organ grinder Taylor.
Agnostic Front Dead Yuppies (Epitaph) lv‘lore veteran punk action from these righteous anti-
capitalists. l Cherry Thirteen Guilty
(Twenty Stone Blatt)
’ Punk spunk from Electric Frankenstein
frontman Steve Miller.
American Hi-Fi (Mercury)
: Excitable pop punk nu- metal scuzz fuzz buzz. 5 Or something like that
Alabama 3 get gushy
It‘s been ten years since Nirvana‘s Nevermind scarred the charts, but rather than inspire people to do something different. Cobain‘s introduction of the Ioud-quiet-loud formula to the masses has inspired some depressingly homogenous toss. Take US rockers System Of A Down. whose ‘Chop Suey’ (Columbia 0 ) starts with a rather promising half-buried guitar jangle. only to explode into a spectacularly shite crescendo. There’s also someone shouting ‘father‘ a lot in a broken voice, which may make it an interesting comment on the relationship between Luke (Jesus) and Vader (God). but ends up making it sound like self-indulgent heavy rock made by people who will soon make far too much money from stupid Texan pre-teens.
The hotly tipped local yokels and strangely monikered Biffy Clyro pursue a similarly hackneyed line on 'Justboy' (Beggars Banquet I... ) but find a rousing tune on the way. just in time to remind you that just because something joins in the dots doesn‘t mean it can't paint a gorgeous picture. The return of Right Said Fred is a less appealing prospect. and true to form ‘You're My Mate' (Universal 0 ) blends sickening Eurobeats. hellish bagpipes and lyrics that make Bob The Builder sound like Mahatma Gandhi. Anyone looking for big fun should instead turn to house trio Orinoko. who count Timo Maas as a member and whose ‘lsland’ (Positiva COO ) sashays along with some style.
The Masai are a proud race of warriors who make lions nervous. but it turns out their musical namesakes are a pair of pretty girls who make their bid for stardom with the inconsequential melting-pot pop of ‘Kickback' (Concept
.0 ). a track made for cruising around in a flash car with the roof off. Equally ideally suited to this time of year is endearingly randy MOR soulster Maxwell. who wants to ‘Get To Know Ya' (Columbia 00. ). but claims not to want to ‘get into your trousers'. I'd have my doubts if I were you. ladies.
Still more cause for concern comes from the indescribably evil Luther Vandross, whose desire to ‘Take You Out' (J Records 0 ) should be resisted at all costs. Equally mad. but rather less bad are the Alabama 3. who with the ramshackle country funk of ‘Wade Into The Water' (Elemental 00. ) seem to condone drowning.
Nagisa Ni Te sing in Japanese. so could be condoning pretty much anything. but 'They' (Geographic I... ) sounds quite beautiful anyway. like Spiritualized might if they eschewed narcotics for the simple joy of the summer sun. Pulp also approach pastoral themes on their new double A-side (Island 0.0. ). sounding a bit hacked off by nature on the bittersweet orchestral “The Trees“. but thoroughly delighted with the whole package on ‘Sunrise'. a streak of lush. slow-building optimism that nets them Single Of The Fortnight. (James Smart)
4—18 Oct 2001 THE LIST 109