Science'. and on 'Searchers‘. it's like hearing the future Sound of London finally stub out the doobie and slip on their Filas. A real mixed bag of delights. (Mark Robertson)
ELECTRONICA VARIOUS Lost for Words (Leaf) 0000
It's hard to find fault with those avant-garde types at the Leaf Label. Committed to releasing music from right out on the cutting edge. Tony Morley and friends recently introduced the world to the charms of America‘s Boom Bip and Doseone. Canada's Manitoba. Mexico's Murcof and Japan's Asa Chang and Junray. Not so long ago it was Susumu Yokota. 310. A Small Good Thing. Eardrum and Gorodisch. And they're all here for the price of a single.
Are you spotting a pattern? If you are. then somethings wrong. unless it‘s the unifying passion for great music that knows no boundaries.
Spiritually Speaking (Slip N' Slide) oooo
Most of rock‘s sub- genres took a good few years to emerge. With house music. it seemed to happen in about three weeks. One minute. there was house. the next there was rave. deep house. progressive house and Bavarian prawn- flavoured moving house. Luckily. New Jersey duo Blaze remember just how good the original groove COuld sound. Their lush fifth album features wickedly s0ulful vocals. irresistible instrumental
licks and enOugh hip- shaking basslines to fill a dancefloor. The highlight is probably ‘Do you Remember House?’ a hilarious. brilliantly exeCuIed nostalgia trip. It's distinctly retro and more than a little cheesy. but who needs pride when you've got a butt to shake? (James Smart)
Bluegrass Jamboree (RykoDiscl O
The Kossov Sisters' tangential take on 'l'll Fly Away' (as heard in O Brother Where art Thou?) stands Out amidst this truly half- arsed attempt to cash in on bluegrass' film- related fashionability. There are grating novelty songs. David Lindley and Roger McGuinn (neither hitherto known as bluegrass vrrtuososi. five tracks prevrously featured on the album ‘Banjo Jamboree'. and two instrumentals by Etta Baker which are plainly not bluegrass. but ragtime. There are no liner notes to account for any of this — maybe the album's connection With the Coen brothers' movie is something to do With the tril‘)ulations of durnbness. (Ninian Dunnettl
ALSO RELEASED Cha Cha Cohen All Artists are Criminals (Chernika/ Underground) Self-explanatory cultural sideswipe from excellent Glasgow outfit.
Noonday Underground Surface Noise (Setantai A second eclectic collection of cut'n'paste Wigan casino soul. west coast psychedelia and kinky-booted exotica from Simon Dine.
Tama Espace (Real World) An international melange from a quartet drawing on music from Mali. France and Guinea Bissau for inspiration. Elvis Presley ELVIS — 30 No 7 Hits (RCA) Those exploitative corporate heathens rehash the King‘s chart toppers again, the inclusion of JXL's ‘A Little Less Conversation' as this year's gimmick.
GAMECUBE RESIDENT EVIL (Capcom) £39.99 0..
How do you feel about the technoevolutionary process? Did you iump at the chance to upgrade your vinyl back catalogue to CD? Are you eagerly replacing your video collection with the ia/xier. bonus-laden DVD? If so. then Resnlent Evil on the GameCube will sound like a great idea. All that great gameplay. meticulously perfected over time. combined with a new set of puzzles and some beautiful visual enhancement. It is like buying an entirely new game.
If. however. you still enioy the crackle of needle in groove and think that movie directors should keep their mouths Siltii. then Resident [jar/l will seem like a soull :-ss affair. And for the few who have yet to eximrience the creepy /ombicidal challenge of Resident E‘.///. this would be the per‘ect place to start. Just don't be surprised if you are invited to replace this version a few years from
PC DIVINE DIVINITY (CDV) £29.99 000
All you RPG-ers out there who are never comfortable without thi (that's two six-sided dice. don't ya knowi Ill your sweaty hands. please avoid [)iwne DIV/nity. For a start. there are only three character cl; sses to choose fron‘. very simple magic and combat. a run—of—tlie mill fantasy world and (argon free character (f(}\.((}|()[)llt(}lll. The fact that the Pl) world is immensely detailed and virtually every item is useable will mean nothing to you. while the interesting story is built from scratch rather than relying on any existent pen and paper \.r'-./orl(l. Yep. you can stick with
the geekery of Neverwuiter Nights or Morrowrnd. For those ignorant of the true meaning of the letters 0' and 'D'. DIV/ire Dry/nity is a thoroughly enjoyable. if limited. role playing title that. by concentrating on its strong points. wrll while away many an autumn night.
TOTAL CLUB MANAGER 2003 (Electronic Arts) £29.99 0...
And so the football management simulation continues to improve. without actually evolving any. TC/Vi 2003 is beautiful. The interface is second to none. with a simple layout and tonnes of feedback. all as shiny and luscious as players of EA games have come to expect.
The level of detail is astounding. the games
THE THING (Konami) £39.99 0000
John Carpenter’s 1982 movie achieved something special. The over the top shlock scenes — involving human/alien/canine hybrids, severed heads scuttling across floors and bear trap ribcages - pushed the boundaries of acceptability, not to mention the share
are played out in the best reproduction of an actual footy match ever seen in a sim and the ability to alter every playing option ensures that everyone can find their own level of interaction. There is even the chance to speak to the press. affecting your reputation accordingly. and some arcade-style player bonuses keep the tone nice and light. All well and good but this is still nothing more than C/h’I/H/ﬂO/tS/il/D Manager with bells on. a game over ten years old. And with a week in football famously being as long as a year. ten years is a long time indeed. (lain Davidson)
ALSO RELEASED Beach Spikers (GarneCube
/r ifog/‘an res 53$). 99) Bouncing beach balls. TimeSplitters 2 ((382 Eidos 5239.99) Cartoony FPS through the ages.
Dragon’s Lair 30 (PC UbiSoft 5329.99) A classic regenerated. Driver 2 Advance (GBA lnfograrnes 5134.95); Criminal car chases in miniature Super Mario Sunshine (GarneCube Nintendo f 139.991 A must buy.
On a cold night, this could provoke nightmares
price of Latex, into a whole new territory. But this tsunami of gore was created for a reason. Shadowy glimpses of the shape-shifting alien were not enough. You had to see what the characters saw. You had to experience it along with them. Why? Because you would then know why they were so scared of their colleagues, or rather of what they could be. You knew as much as them, therefore were as paranoid as them. And that was what made the film great. You were there in that icy science station. That was, and indeed remains, a special
Jump forward 20 years and the opportunity has now arrived actually to interact with that frightening scenario. The Thing kicks off after the downbeat end of the movie with a rescue team, including you, arriving in a snowstorm to find out what happened to the scientists.
Played in the third person, this is an action adventure. All the usual genre staples are there: key-finding, weapon-brandishing and much exploration. However, to stay true to the movie, there is so much more. Your squad, for example, plays a massive part in the action. They can heal you, repair power points and back you up in a fight, providing of course that they do not think that you are infected. Their psychology, though portrayed simply, really adds an awful lot to the game. Then there is the possibility that they themselves are not human.
While never reaching the halting paranoia of the movie, The Thing is wholly unnerving. The story is fine, the puzzles simple and the scares ten- a—penny. On a cold October night, with the wind howling at the window, this could really provoke a few nightmares. (lain Davidson)
'.' ()v: Rut)? THE LIST 1 15