HOUSE VARIOUS ARTISTS Soma 10 (Soma) COO.
Slam bookmark an era
They may claim to be ‘ten years young’, but Slam and their assorted labelmates should really bite the bullet, acknowledge that dance culture is increasingly dominated by middle aged men with bald patches, and accept their role as the definitive wily old Glaswegians of the deep house scene. This dark, techy double CD set gathers Soma’s best releases since its inception in 1991, many of which will be familiar to regular visitors to their school of associated club nights. So, technofest Gain gets its moment in the sun through Percy X’s rather underwhelming ‘Track 2’, while Relief residents Silicone Soul let rip with ‘Right On’, luckily represented here by the great instrumental mix rather than the irritating vocal one that hit the charts last year.
The label’s willingness to forage further afield has come up with some real gems, notably Daft Punk (later lured to \ﬁrgin for big bucks) and Funk D’Void, the tattooed Barcelonan Swede who gave us the splendid and frankly terrifying ‘Diabla’. Slam themselves are heavily represented, with last year’s synth-driven epic ‘Lifetimes’ and the decade-old ‘Eterna’ effectively bookmarking the era.
The first copies of the album sold come with a free mix CD that sadly all too often sacrifices funk at the altar of dubby remixes that go nowhere extremely slowly; this may make it an ideal stocking filler for chin-stroking Soma Obsessives but makes it rather dull for those of us who like our pop to sparkle rather than simmer.
For the most part, though, this is a fine release, showcasing a sound that can make you think while it moves your feet and heralding the exploits of a label that has kept an underground sound alive and made occasional, thrilling raids into the mainstream. Maybe that brave new world won’t be so bad after all. (James Smart)
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Muzikizum (Skint) '3 9””‘9 .0, Muzikizum. its easy to
00000: ---—--—-——-»— -- --~—- see why he made the effort. ‘AC/DC'. ‘Smoke Machine“ and the superlative. slow- burning title track have already been caned in the clubs and on the radio. but still sound utterly vital. And while so many house albums seem to be constructed around a dancef/oor smash—fi'ller—fi/ler rhythm, this is an addictive record from start to finish. (James Smart)
It's always heartening when old meets new(ish). especially when the re8u|t is as utterly groovy as the Current X-Press 2/ David Byrne collaboration ‘Lazy'. It's even more impressive when you consider that it was the one-time Talking Heads frontman who approached Rocky. Diesel and Ashley Beedle rather than the
106 THE LIST 25 Apr—9 May 2002
MARY TIMONY The Golden Dove (Matador) coo.
Mary Timony emerged through the 908 with her misfit bands Autoclave. Helium and Green 4. This is her second solo album proper and what a curious. beautiful thing it is. Her songs are webs of intrigue. intricate. layered and intelligent and shot through with a folky progness not really visited by anyone since the Moody Blues disbanded.
‘Blood Tree' seems to be a love letter to a serial killer, or maybe not. 'Dr Cat‘ could be a medieval Hobbit ballad. ‘Ant‘s Dance‘ sounds like Sparklehorse (Mark Linkous actually guests on the album) coupled with Patti Smith's bitter refrain and Kirstin Hersch's love of cyclical melody. Challenging and Quite unique.
NU-BLUES/BEATS LITTLE AXE Hard Grind
(On-U SOlJnd) OOOO
Skip ‘Little Axe' McDonald. ex-member of the Sugarhill Gang's house band. delves deep into the blues he grew up with on his third solo album, and long-time-coming follow-up to 1996's Slow Fuse. On Opener ‘Dark As The Night Cold As The Ground'. a growling vocal sample rumbles over Ry Cooder style twangy guitars and psychedelic beats. setting the scene for the dark. blusey meanderings that follow. Think Fila Brazillia meets Howling Wolf. add some nu-blues. Jamaican dub and gospel, and the mix becomes intoxicating. SOunding like something straight outta the deep south — and we're not talking Pollockshields — Hard Grind is slow. sassy and verging on the. erm, scary. (L0uise Prendergast)
ROCK DOVES The Last Broadcast (Heavenly) oooo
AIME says they're the new Radiohead. Happily. they're not that. even if Jimi Goodwin does share Thom Yorke's penchant for morose vocals. No. more like they're the new Trash Can Sinatras with a dash of the Stone Roses and none the worse for that.
This is atmOSpheric guitar pop. all moody melodies and lush orchestration. never losing sight of the shape a song Should be. standing on the healthy side of prog. but always preferring the abstract over the obvious. And it's great. It's the kind of album that worms its way around you. seduces you into its charms. slowly. relentlessly revealing its hooks until you can't imagine ever being without it. (Mark Fisher)
FILM SOUNDTRACK BADLY DRAWN BOY
About A Boy (XL)
Hugh Grant stars in a film based on a novel by Nick Hornby. Many people‘s idea of hell. At least the soundtrack will be good. written as it is by the troubadOur in the tea cosy. Yet no. it's dreadful. ‘Original' soundtracks tend to be scratchy affairs. bits and bob of stuff intended to give you a flavour of coming cinematic attractions. Though folk like Glass. Nyman and Holmes take it seriously enough for it to eXist on its own.
About A Boy though. is in the traditional mould: semi-thought out. half-arsed. unfinished ideas of
songs which hint that the bewilderbeast's hour has come and gone. (Brian Donaldson)
Coldcut: Journeys By DJ (Ninja Tune) 0000.
Adventures In Foam (Ninja Tune) 0000
It is hard to believe that there is only one Coldcut. At times you have to remind y0urself that this is the same duo who recorded the first sample-built record in the UK. Say Kids, What Time Is It? in 1987 and whose Journeys By DJ mix album is commonly regarded as the best of its kind ever. From Plastikman to Boogie Down
roductions via ‘the Doctor Who theme'. this is a great big box of musical fireworks let off to spectacular effect.
Coldcut's inventiveness may stem from a hip hop attitude but in 1995 they drew on all the marshall bluster of a drum & bass scene that was at its most vibrant. In technical terms alone it is an unparalleled piece of live mixing caught on record. There is at least another Coldcut as well; the one who created Ninja Tune and thereby spread their cut ‘n' paste manifesto wider.
Lord alone knows why Amon Tobin decided to drop the excellent name Cujo when he was signed by Ninja. but it is clear to see why they snapped him up. so perfectly does Adventures In Foam. (originally released on Ninebar) fit the labels profile. Long before he worked with Chris Morris. Tobin had the late night paranoia to Ninja stalwarts Funci Porcini. Unlike Porcini. however Tobin relies less on mood and more on a stunning range of rhythms: Art Blakey-like solos gives way to frenetic drum & bass. (Tim Abrahamsl
BILL WELLS TRIO
Also In White (Geographic) 000
Bill Wells pulls off a trick few other contemporary jazz mUSicians manage:
he plays to the past without sounding c!iched or derivative. His second record with his trio (Robert Henderson on trumpet. Stevie Jackson on guitar and harmonica. also the late Lindsay Cooper on tuba and double bass) harks back to. among others. Duke Ellington.
The loose Latin vibe of the opening track. 'Presentation Piece 81'. is reminiscent of the great pianist/ band leader. But Wells also plays in the present. the long looping riff of that first track bears his own signature. What follows - eight minimal. delicate. sweetly melancholy tunes - are unmistakably Wells. And the closing track, ‘D.A.D.E.'. featuring the Pastels. looks forward to forthcoming collaborations with other pop kids. (Miles Fielder)
BILL BRUFORD’S EARTHWORKS Footloose And Fancy Free (Discipline Global Mobile) 0000
Bill Bruford‘s excellent acoustic jazz quartet has been one of the best working units on the UK jazz scene since the drummer - better known for his stick work in Yes and King Crimson - formed the band with Django Bates and Iain Ballamy in the late 80s. The band survived a potentially difficult transition from the Original version. with Scottish pianist Steve Hamilton. saxophonist Patrick Clahar and baSSist Mark Hodgson proving apt recruits. This live two-CD set. recorded at London's Pizza Express last summer, is a final snapshot of that line-up (Tim Garland has recently replaced Clahar). and captures the band in their customary inventive form. driven by Bruford's powerful but flexible drumming. (Kenny Mathieson)