URI OAINE, AHMIR THOMPSON & CHRISTIAN MCBRIDE
The Philadelphia Experiment (Ropeadope) 0000
Welcome to the Philly wig-out. Take a drummer, an acoustic bassist and a keyboardist and lock them in a recording studio. on day three add legendary blue note guitarist Pat Martino. close the door and hope it all turns out fine. Thankfully for us it does as it soon becomes clear that these three excellent musicians are getting right to the core of that Philadelphia Jazz vibe with little gems like ‘Ain't it the Truth' and ‘The Miles Hit'. Of course one hopes Thompson will go back and continue to make brilliant albums with hip hop group Roots but for now this is a touchingly humble side project. (Paul Dale)
ERIK TRUFFAZ Mantis (Blue Note) OOO
Erik Truffaz is arguably the most overtly jazz- oriented of the recent wave of jazz crossover artists from France (St Germain, Booster, et al). and the most interesting. Like Nils Petter Molvaer. his spare trumpet SOund undoubtedly owes something to Miles. but they are not alone in that. and he makes imaginative and distinctive use of his horn in the context of the band‘s spacious. intermittently restless soundscape. Guitarist Manu Codija's ear- catching contributions are supported by Michel Benita's bass and Phillipe Garcia's drums. with a c0uple of more exotic guest slots for Anouar Braham (bud) and Mounir Troudi (vocals) thrown in. (Kenny Mathieson)
A four-year-old boy
Oh how cruel can a record industry be? How can it sit on such an anodyne and unnecessary selection of records and wait until December before releasing them all? And oh how cruel can a music editor be? How could he insist that this dull pile of tat should be reviewed by a four-year-old boy?
Luckily the four-year-old bOy is a resilient type. not the sort to be put off by anything so mundane as uninspired musical bilge. So for him. every song was ‘fun' and. when pressed. he WOuld elaborate to “absolutely fun'. even though plainly it was not and. frankly. you shouldn't take a four-year-old boy's word for it.
Unless. of course. you are planning to buy a record for a four-year-old boy. in which case you should stick to his recommendation of ‘I Believe In Christmas‘ (BBC Worldwide O . my rating. not his) by The Tweenies. Less nauseating than your average Tweenies hit. it is a blatant amalgam of every Christmas song ever made with no distinguishing qualities of its own. ‘lt makes you feel like y0u're actually a Tweeny.‘ said the four- year-old boy. 'lt was like all the Tweenies songs. but all together.“
Pitching itself to the post-Tweenies generation comes 50.Grind featuring The Pokeman Allstars and 'Gotta Catch 'Em All‘ (Recognition Records 0 I. a boisterous sub-Run DMC racket whose sentiment is ‘What ya gotta do?/Gotta catch 'em all'. And how true that is. 'Action Man would have this inuSic.' said the four- year-old boy. ‘I liked The Tweenies the best because they have much more gooder singing voices.’
But there are some things you can't get past even a four-year-oid boy. Like Emma Bunton and “We‘re Not Gonna Sleep Tonight (Virgin O ). 'I don't really like it.‘ he piped up. ‘Cos it's too boring. It's not kiddable.'
Nothing as bad as the cover versions. however. Hermes House Band doing ‘COuntry Roads' (Liberty 0 ). which is John Denver as performed in a Munich beer tent (“I can't stop dancing,‘ said the four-year-old boy). or bth doing “Last Christmas (Liberty O ). which is the later George Michael as performed by the Wham George Michael (‘It sounds like a bear.“ said the four-year-old bOy. helpfully). or Motormark doing 'Our Lips Are Sealed' (Darkak 0 ). which is Terry Hall performed by a SCLizzy punk band with singular lack of empathy ('It's falling down music.‘ said the four-year-old boy).
All of which makes ‘Just A Day' (The Echo Label 00. ) by Feeder sound like a work of visionary genius. hearing such qualities as focus. dynamics. purpose and excitement. like a band that knows what pop music is for. Sadly. by this time. the f0ur- year-old boy had lost interest. And who can blame him? (Mark Fisher and a four-year-old boy)
108 THE LIST 13 Dec 2001—3 Jilll 2002
SSX TRIOKY (EA Sports) £39.99 0000.
Being one of the few PS2 launch games that was actually worth buying. SSX gained a lot of fans who raved about
the title's great
gameplay. longevity and outstanding eye-candy. Whether EA could pull off a worthy successor was debatable. Well. the debate is over. SSX Tricky is better in every department. Immediately apparent are the visuals. with all the familiar tracks and characters getting a velvety upgrade and the new additions sliding into the game beautifully.
The sounds are also impressive. exemplified by the enjoyable celebrity voices that really fill the game Out. But it is the tweaked gameplay that becomes the best improvement. Handling is tougher but still wildly pleasurable and the addition of character-specific special moves always raises a smile. SSX Tricky is a smoother. slicker. deeper version of an already fantastic title. Yet again SSX proves the worth of the PS2.
P82 THE SIMPSONS’
(Electronic Arts) £39.99 0”
The Simpsons' Road Page is something of a surprise. Not only is it a television tie-in that is
actually quite good fun to
play but any assumption
. that this is another racing . game featuring cartoon , characters is way off the
mark. NO, Road Page is a rip-off of another game altogether. This is Crazy Taxi with cartoon characters.
Yep. Monty Burns has taken over Springfield's taxi service so our heroes must take to the streets themselves to provide an affordable service. Choose a character and drive them around picking up and dropping off passengers to earn money. while a clock ticks down. It is infectious and fun. th0ugh quickly becomes monotonous as it lacks the smooth control and physics of Crazy Taxi. However. the actor's voices are enjoyable and Simpsons aficionados will enjoy all the banter. Not a bad stocking filler. but unlikely to see the new year.
TOP GUN COMBAT ZONES (Titus) £39.99 000
Air combat simulation on a console. with its limited memory and simple controller. is always a
difficult proposition. but to give Titus its due. Top Gun Combat Zones is a fine stab at it. The finest US Navy fighter aircraft are available for budding pilots. with many varied missions stretching their aeronautical skills. agreeably split into three eras: 703. 808-908 and 00s
Visually. Top Gun is pleasing and the training and mission set up is easy and welcoming. Unfortunately. or rather. as expected. the control system is limited and often unsatisfying. trying vainly to walk the fine line between arcade and simulation. Dogfights often degenerate into tedious circling and ground attacks are frustratingly difficult. Often ending when metal meets earth. Top Gun Combat Zones is diverting for a few hours but is Quickly forgotten which. when you think ab0ut it. makes it a pretty good representation of the movie.
WORLD RALLY CHAMPIONSHIP (Sony) £39.99 .00
Hands up all those who have driven a rally car. OK. not many of you. Well. hands up those who think it must be like pushing a shopping trolley across an lCe rink. Hmmm, not many again. Which is a shame because that seems to be the model for Sony's World Rally Championship. Admittedly the tracks look amaZing and the cars are beautifully reCreated from their real- life COunterparts. And the short stages keep you interested as you compete in the huge
SSX Tricky is wildly pleasurable