FUNK A CERTAIN RATIO
Eady (Soul Jazz) 00..
A C. 5.: RTA) lr-l RATIO
Yet more evidence that Factory Records oversaw the freshest British music in the late 70s/early 803: Early presents the best moments from when A Certain Ratio were very much the dance choice of the Liber-cool grey trenchcoat brigade. Their s0und is a curious mix. an attempt to create an all- encompassing dance music from funk to soul to reggae to disco to Latino. in a DIY punk kind of way. Despite the clash of styles. ACR's music is Surprisingly minimal but engaging. and if you can get through the occasionally over- lengthy samba breakdowns you'll even find some shiny alternative-pop gems like 'Do The Du' and ‘Shack Up'. (Jan F Zeschky)
ELECTRONICA THE CRYSTAL METHOD Tweekend (Tiny E) I...
Hypnotic beats and spooky samples inhabit the deranged and darkly alluring world of The Crystal Method. and fantastic new release. Tweekend sees them mixing this successfully with rock stars of iconic status. 'Name Of The Game' is given a growling guitar make-over by co— producer. Rage Against The Machine guitarist Tom Morello. and Stone Temple Pilot singer. Scott Weiland's smooth vocals rub up against the sweeping strings and bass crunch of ‘You Know
This album is packed with catchy hooks. twisted beats and eerie harmonies the Prodigy w0uld be pr0ud of. so when Flint and co finally return they might just find that they‘re out of a job. (Camilla Pia)
NEIL YOUNG Are You Passionate? (Reprise) O
The question Neil Young asks is: 'Are YOU Passionate?‘ Well yes. I am. but it's just a shame that he's not.
To be fair. Young (on his 36th album) does make attempts to engage. but fails. Painfully. The lyrics may be heartfelt but he could give Hallmark cards an arm-wrestle for their money in the cliche stakes. and Booker T's plodding arrangements have 'listen to this: we were/are important you know' stamped all over them.
The question is. should we care? We shouldn't. The trick YOung hasn't learned is knowing when to stop. This may SOund like a beast when cranked out live but is as limp as week old lettuce on record. Dull.
ALSO RELEASED Michelle Branch The Spirit Room (Maverick) Thoughful US folk rockster makes Brit debut.
Bryan Ferry Frantic (Wig/n) Ex-Boxy Music man returns With new collection of croonsome crackers.
Knoc-Turn'Al Knoc's Landing (E/ektra) Abysmally monikered rapper dishes out an equally stupid album. Bonnie Raitt Silver Lining (Par/oblione) Country queen releases her sixteenth platter. Satanic Surfers U/icoiiscious/y Confined (Bad Taste) Sou/x punk metal With political sentiment.
118 THE LIST it 75> Apr 700?
Compilations Round Up
ike those expensive jars of (allegedly) wrinkle-reducing. anti-ageing
cream. any good compilation makes one heady claim: to recapture
something that is now past. Youth, it would seem. is so much like that brilliant Saturday night where everyone was mashed and the DJ played the perfect set. The other obvious function is to bring together all and sundry under one (often tenuous) umbrella. In this trawl through compilation heaven and hell we find neither is very easily achieved.
To kick off we have Danny Tenaglia. A big lad for sure. and he may be out of shape. but you don't need to be built like Arnie to command the wheels of steel. On Back To Basic Presents. . . (React O... ) he seamlessly lays down two-dozen vocal-led house smooches which are simultaneously as smooth as silk but as fat and wobbly as your ex's arse. making them perfect for both sweaty nights or glistening summer days.
People with the same intentions but with weaker results are those cats at Cream. Cream Anthems: Spring 2002 (Virgin .0 ) has all the programrriing imagination of UK Gold. picking out every chart—topping duffer and indie band remix to hand and oddly nestling them wrth some great tunes. The sensible inclusion of Green Velvet's maniacal 'La La Land' is cancelled out by segueing into a grating Garbage remix. The indication is. however. that the domination of mindless commercial trance is finally coming to an end. Praise be.
FabricLive. 03 (Fabric 00.. ) finds DJ Hype mixing to combat the trend for rOSy reminiscmg in dance music. Although his rolling bass infused antics only stray from the dark and moody path occasionally. this is a white-hot ride it you have the nerve to get on. Abandoning any subtly whatsoever are those folks putting out Bass In Yer Face (Decadance 0.. ) who firmly believe shaking your internal organs is the way to inner peace. This seems a little Johnny-come-lately with the ‘garage pressme' third of their three CD behemoth but the general feel is a mix of old (skool) classic weighty jungle with some newer platters. The title may make you cringe but a fair few landmarks of drum & bass are to be found within.
On what could be called as far removed a tip as possible is The Magic Of Disney (Walt Disney Recording 0 ). This Suffers the same faults as Cream's shoddy compiling and gets one star. only for the inclusion of 'The Bare Necessities" and 'He‘s A Trairip’. the two finest Disney themes ever. Shame they have to sullied through association with Eternal. Sting and Kenny Loggins.
Which leads us on quite naturally to Breakdown (Sanctuary .0. i a collection of famously sampled tracks from the 60s and 70s made famous in the 808 and 903. Nice in theory but this proves that often the samples were the most interesting bits of these tracks.
Struggling to lift their sorry heads above the rock parapet is Louder Than Rock (WEA O. ). a cobbled together collection of the label's metal acts. Some are good (Deftones. Kyuss. Pantera) but it has Skid Row on it which gives it away as a cash-in. Unlike Immediate Pleasure (Sanctuary 0... ). which lives up to its name bringing together the hits of Andrew Loog Oldham's (the Rolling Stones' producer) brief but bright 60s label. Immediate. Amen Corner. Small Faces and PP Arnold make this a hefty but compelling delve into the heart of the original Britpop
Subliminal's Secret Weapons (Subliminal O... ) tells the story of Eric Morillo's brainchild label. Over three CDs it gets grubby. sunny and funky but never takes its eye off the heaving dancefloor. A lot take in but worthy of investigation.
We finish however. on a couple of real high notes. Super Discount (PIAS 00000) was originally released five years ago and gathered together the finest Gallic musical talent of that particular moment: Alex Gopher, Air and the mastermind of it all Etienne De Crecy (only Daft Punk were notable by their absence). Half a decade on, this collection of doped-up house. wiggy kitsch pop. slinky disco funk and movie soundtrack fantasy is as fresh as it was when it first came out of the wrapper.
In a similar stroke of genius but with much more focus on the skills of the DJ rather than the producer is 2 Many DJs (PIAS 0.00.). The work of the brothers Dewaele from Belgian electro rock outfit Soulwax. we find Dolly Parton hanging wrth Royksopp. 1()CC getting off with Destiny's Child and Basement Jaxx shimmying with Emerson. Lake and Palmer. It's a bit of a shambles (ir. a good way) with the Stooges and Velvet Underground playing tag wrth obscure German and Japanese electro terrorists. and you can still dance to it (mostly). This is as close as you can get to recreating that perfect night out. if only because it's big. long. messy. fun and filled with surprises. (Mark Robertson)