The Word (Ropeadopel COO

If yOu‘re going to call an album The Word you'd better make sure the record is either shit hot or that youre a brainless gangsta rapper with a crack habit that's gonna put yOu in a hole within a year

The North Mississippi Allstars and friends are fortunately not the latter and haven't guite achieved the former but this gospel-tinged hoe- down coalition is still a very healthy addition to these talented boys‘ canon. This instrumental album is a joy to listen to as they Curl their steel guitars. hammond organs and drums round blues. rock. P88 and gospel licks. Fun. if a little uninspired. (Paul Dale)



Four In One (Songhnesr 0000

Misha Mengelberg has long been one of the giants of Europe's free improwsation and experimental ia7/ scene. He is JOiiied in this disc (in Super Audio CD format) by fellow Dutch maniac Han Bennink on drums. and the American duo of the great Dave Douglas on trumpet and bassist Brad Jones.

They work their way through a delicious programme of Mengelberg's eclectic. colourful. and wide ranging compositions. augmented by

90 THE LIST l.’ 15‘

distinctive takes on three tunes by Thelonious Monk. the title track. ‘Monk's Mood' and 'Criss Cross'. Nobody is particularly intent on pushing the boundaries this time around. but the music which they deliver is purest pleasure. (Kenny Mathiesonl


Light Made Lighter (Thirsty Ear) COO

Pianist Craig Taborn's debut disc in Thirsty Ear's impressive Blue Series (curated by pianist Matthew Shippi confirms that he is emerging as a force in the New York avant-Ja/x scene. He is joined by bassist Chris Lightcap and drummer Gerald Cleaver in a creative trio on a disc which is also a showcase for his compositions. the sole exception being a version of '| Cover The Waterfront.

Taborn handles the material in creative and imaginative fashion. including both solo and trio versions of the title track. and in the process serves notice that he is one to watch.

(Kenny Mathiesoni

ALSO RELEASED Neil Macdonald Thomson Common Ground (Ardura/ The work of Burns and Stevenson set to an acoustic backing as well as folksy rock originals. Pink Missunda/food (A/‘ista/ Perky hip—pop princess sets down another bratty platter. Gordon Haskell Harry's Bar (East West) The surprise of the Christmas chart doles out his full length MOP collection.

Selecter Acoustic (Almafanie; Pauline Black goes on an unplugged ska adventure.

Shaggy lvlr Lover Lover (Virgin; Mr Boombastic relr-zases a fantasticly ill» timed 'best of . . . album.


PS? SILENT HILL 2 (Konami) £39.99 000

Easy moves, but where to go?

The original Silent Hill came as something of a surprise to the survival horror fan. It ignored as many genre conventions as it subsequently spawned and, with a variety of endings and items to unlock, it stood up to repeat playing. Actually it demanded it, if the baffling plotline was to be understood. But above all this, it did something that few games have ever achieved. It produced emotional responses from the player. From the chilling yet heart-breaking phone call from the hero’s lost daughter, through the unsettling and pitiful ghost-child, to the creepy air attack siren, the game was full of genuinely moving moments.

Which is where the sequel falls down. To begin with the back-story lacks the base immediacy of the first. Obeying the confusing instructions of his dead wife, James Sunderland has returned to the town of Silent Hill. He is as bewildered as the player and strolls through the beautifully misty town hoping, yet not believing, that he might meet his late spouse.

Luckily, control of James is virtually identical to the first game and moving around is easy. What is not so easy is working out where to go, why to go and what to do if you get there. The plot is meandering and often clunky, demanding James meticulously checks every door and back alley for a trigger to the next piece of the game. On a plus point, these doors and alleys often hide unnamed horrors that are initially unsettling. However, they are dealt with simply and soon become nothing more than an irritant, standing in the way of the storytelling.

More negatives include poor camera angles, pointless FMV, long spells of nothingness and irrational puzzles. Being more positive, the visuals are excellent, the game is long and the double disc set contains some nice extras worthy of a DVD movie release.

But the lack of emotional involvement reduces all this to a 50-50 game, not the unforgettany visceral experience of its forefather.

(lain Davidson)



(Cryo) £29.99 ooo

Oh for the eager and honest thrili secking of youth! The days when each tree held an adventure. each garden

a battleground and Saturday morning television consisted of black and ‘.'.'i‘.lt(? tales of heroism and eiideayoui‘. When l lash (3oidoii. Champion the \’\./()ll(I(}l Horse and tar/an taught honour and liiayeiy.

while the flashing steel of Zorro described the follies of immorality.

Well. those days can now be l'()ll‘~.'(}(l on the PC. albeit through more cynical eyes. The Shadow Of /o,"."o is an action adyenture. simple to play. ayerage to look at and with a story that can be guessed from the first reel. It has some heat tricks but never really stretches the imagination. Hox'x-eyer. the ability to carve the famous/ into the bad guys is a trip back to more innocent times that all Saturday n‘orning adyentui'ers eagerly (EllJOy/ again and again.


TWISTED METAL: BLACK (Sony) £39.99 000

Despite being one of the iongest iui‘ning series of


games ever. 1;: .i'vi'efar stisl solrts gainers ight down the l‘tl(l(ll(}. Some one its infectious combination of hi octane yehrcles and outrage- ously (EXl)l()Si‘.(? ‘-.'.reaponn.. never tiring of the Jumps. spins. ‘.'.’l[}(l‘()tlif3 and relentless. bloodthirsty combat. \.l".’hether they favour” the luiiibeiing juggernauts. fill)_l)‘. bikes or the more outrageously unrealistic machines. layers of li'.u' seeni unable-1c sate lheri thirst tor motorised rnayhe ii. And they ‘.‘.’l|| not lie disaitnoinfed ‘.'.’ith the nex'.’ [55am ‘~.-;‘:ltilt)ll. slick graphics. super fast animation et al.

On the other hand. there are those who loathe the yrs-'3. discs fit} is pressed on. llzey hate the uninsp ring. round and round co'iitiat. the unrealistic physics and the lack of any intellectua' stimulus y'rliatsoeyei. they :tetest the dark graphics. taux cool style and oyeiall

paucity of imagination. These haters of TM ‘.'./|H also feel yindicated by B/ack As for the small few who have not played Tit/l. hire this and pick a side.

PS? BURNOUT (Acclaim) £39.99 O.

to claim that a game is best played '.'."ner‘. stoned out of your gourd on grass is perhaps not the best PR ploy. But that is the line taken by the racing game Burnout as it tries desperately to live up to its f)l’(?~."t}i(3i’if3(} hype. the aim of the game is sii'iple. Race a car down a road. through nusy city and open highy'xay. passing time checks and other competitors along the Money is collected and faster cars are bought.

So far. so average. The speed on the straights is wild and. sure enough. if you ‘.'.rere stoned, this migh freak you out. But most players will be more coinpos mentis and find the dodgy clipping and poor handling a little irritating. Not to mention the crashes that earn you riioney play-out as a piece of l'MV. then plonk 'y()'.i back on the road ‘.'.’lill()tit a scratch or l‘tiltt? of making the next checkpo iit. timeout is hafflirig. .lii'l and powt'ess. lhen again it n‘igh: be great after a huge doohie.

rlain [)a\.idsoni

ALSO RELEASED Max Payne (PS? lake.“ £599.95). Bring on the Payne!

UEFA Champions LeagueiPSC /.'l.'()§/l’.'l’7‘i?:{ 3159.99 A Scottish tearii n tattei‘ Chrystnias ;‘

Cricket 2002 ll ’. I) [/i81m'fs3351593) (‘io batty!

Serious Sam 2 (Pt)

(it N) .v ‘. 31.95)» More iiianc l l’S mayhem. Top Angler (Mir Stat/oi: If it.) Writ}. A game

win a great A asi.