Take your pick frcrn soppy ballads. sass,“ smngbeat pop and tiresome 'all star' cellabcrations pet .veen NIVE/d and Jagged Edge. 'Don't Mess ".‘Jlth my Man'. to its Credit, is hugely catchy and should thus be avoided at all costs unless you want to find yOurself doing an Inadvertent Whitney Heuston 'fllprOSSlOn in Woolies. (James Smart)

Lif TLTRONICA RED SNAPPER Red Snapper (Lo Recordings) 000


A strange release. this One. Jazztastic club outfit Red Snapper split in 2000 to pursue indivrdual proiects (RiCh Thair is playing deep house. All Friend is touring With Beth Orton and David Ayers is producing for Alan McGee's Poptones label) and they haven't offiCially reformed. But they have been into the studio. recording seven new tracks to which three oldies (including the great Sabres of Paradise take on ‘Hot Flush) have been added to give the release a bit of substance.

Perhaps surprisingly. given this and the fact that Red Snapper's reputation rested primarily on their live performances. it's a fine album of funk workouts. SWirling atmospherics and wonderfully delicate muSiCianship. S'pose a reformation's out of the question? (James Smart)


STEFON HARRIS The Grand Unification Theory

(Blue Note) 000

Vibraphonist Stefon Harris played a c0uple of nights at Henry's With his current quartet in December to rave reViews. That quartet is at the heart of this more expanSive prolect. featuring a 12-piece band playing an t f - movement SUite which he premiered in 2001. The mUSIC follows a

life-and-death cycle. and draws on a wide'range of styles and influences. dipping into funk. Latin and African idioms along the way. Harris and his rnUSICians pull it all together in COhvalhg fashion. and the reSuIt confirms that he is developing as a composer as well as a virtuoso exponent of his instrument.

(Kenny Mathiesohl


CAT POWER You are Free (Matador) 00.0

This is Chan Marshall aka Cat Power's sixth reCOrd. her preVious five haying modestly snuck out under cover of darkness to enthuSiastic. if modest praise. Her time is now. Marshall is an inspiration, equal parts Patti Smith and Bill Callahan and her songs haunt like a field of walking-dead Confederate soldiers. This is something very speCial, but it can be meSmericaIIy slow. ‘I Don't Blame YOu'. 'Werewolf', 'Fool' and ‘Evolution' are remarkable pieces of fractured horror, and everything on this album is so far ahead of the WOrk of most singer/songstresses. it's laughable. Spookily gothic. (Paul Dale)


A Basket of Fruit (Hooiibs) 000

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Glaswegian producers Craig Cloy and Fraser Syme appear on the front of this self- released album dressed. respectively. like a Tupperware- trading housewife and a sartorially clueless seCret agent. PreSumably because

the, can. Likewise. there seems little point looking for any. guiding principles in A Basket of Fruit besides the highly laudable urge to have fun in a bootlegged hip hop kind Of way

Old English gents min through their personal philos0phies. Jack NicholsOn does his ",pa can't handle the t'uth' spiel. Eminern and Dre do “Guilty Consoence'. Jurassic 5 and Run DMC put a few shouts Out and Chris De Burgh gets a brilliant gangsta makeover. It's entertaining stuff. although you WOuldn't want to listen to it more than four times (James Smart)

INDIE ROCK VARIOUS Is This Music? (ITM) 0...

Strange to be reVieWing a CD that comes free with a fanzine perhaps. but this one deserves it. Is This MUS/C? has QLliCkly established itself as the definitive gLilde to underground and unSIgned musnc from Scotland and abroad. and this album (free With iSSue three. in all good record shops. kids) has got some cracking stuff that all deserves a bigger audience.

There's plenty variety too. with everything from electro-punk to ambient to post-rock and beyond. Highlights are many and varied. but among the best are SWimmer One's gentle electro-pop. Cayto's unhinged Beck-alike ramblings and the superb ‘Orion' by Inverness-based Calamateur. which sounds like Low hitching With Boards of Canada on the A9. (Doug Johnstone)


HE MAJESTICONS Beauty Party (Big Dada) oooo

Maverick Yank rap genius Mike Ladd re-

ente's the hip hop "as thh this second album 1." a proposed 0: pg. for Nirva Tune offshoot Big Dada And vJ‘iie not 'nuch has altered in the world (3‘ hip hop blmg. its almost all change in Ladd's tlf‘l‘.(3'8(i‘

The S€tilf"i‘.£i| SIN": of his debut collection Ga" H”) Road remains. but as Ladd conjures up pertect replicas of boot), quakin' electro bass. ra iiggv and plain ol' R&B and hip hop production styles. the results are a far more potent brand of fire. Everyone is up for a poi) from the myriad of motor-mouthpieces in Ladd's crew and hilarious caricatures abound. Party -rockin' hip hop burlesque. anyone?

(Andrew Richardson)



(Little Nimmol .0.

A maior problem With the current yield of anguished female Singer songwriters is that. because Norah Jones and friends have only lately been weaned from their mothers' teats. their melancholy whines generally amount to no graver a dilemma than what flav0ur of rusk to go for.

Holly Tomas gets around this pitfall With her rather Cryptic lyrics. 'Two Children‘ might be a song ab0ut incest. “Angel Whore' COuld well be ab0ut rape or the whole collection COuld Simply be obscwe and dreary. Certainly Tomas has neither the eccentric energy of Kate Bush nor Tori Amos' melodic deftness to bolster her admittedly Vigorous vocals. (Allan Radcliffe)



(Twenty Stone Blatt) O.

The Spitfires are an American rock Outfit fixated With tattoos.

large-breasted females and naught). words of the calibre o‘.

\OLI’ ears. children.) knickers. ee wee. pop and hunt Not that there's ilf‘i‘,Tlilllg intrinsically wrong with such Juvenile obsessions. it's jUSf that the Spitfires' viiusic is as uninteresting as their image.

Sixteen tracks of relentless thrashing around and catenyauling may be hugely exhilarating when being squished and buffeted in the mosh pit after a gallon of alcopops. but in the comde of your bedroom. in the shadow of your Kurt Cobain poster? I'd rather dance to a fire alarm. (Allan Radcliffe)

WORLD VARIOUS Awards for World Music

(Mantecal 0000


The Cutting edge partiCipants in Radio 3's World MUSIC Awards 2003 show how dynamic the field is. Open yOur ears in awe to contrasting Winners like Senegal's veteran hipsters Orchestra Baobab and cool tango re-mixers Gotan Proiect. And lap up contenders like Salif Keita. Beinbeya Jazz and Trilok Gurtu. and the bristling energy and sheer modernity of the

inventive O)os de Bruio.

Barcelona's flamenco hip hop collective. and Finland's Kimmo Pohionen whose body and SOuI are welded into his acc0rdi0n improvisations.

Not to mention edgy singer-songwriter Jazz from Cuba's Yusa and Mechan Original Lila Downs. (Jan Fairley)


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The t‘est thing about 7W) 8 "‘8 ("l the PC was T"t' "(‘Ui’ltVl‘ It‘r‘lt‘ ‘.'.t"t‘ no rams o' gr uils nthpr tt‘an those you set yourself Them was no way ‘. i lost,- a'kl .t "0H". ever. finished pransior‘. discs silnpli. gaw you more stuff to play '.-.itl‘ o' ignore to your hearts conter‘t and to marry this; was in; unbound Bat no.2; the creators hate added a mission

System. Yes. that (s Créi/‘fi.

OK. yOu don't hate to play the missions and you can potter about vvith your Sun as usual. but so bare and uninteresting is their world. so de\.oid of many of the game's most famous accoutrernents. that it's not really worth Ii. Yes. yOu can unlock these things by completing the missions but why?

If yoii've never oWried The Sims you may not notice anything Wrong but Simophiles worIdWide Will be shaking their heads in disgust. (lain DaVidson;


ALLIANCE (Midway £39.99)

Mortal Kornbat was drrvrng down a dead end of its own making. Once we had all grown used to the innovative blood and gore. where COuld it go? It tried humour. Subverting the legendary brutality of the fatalities

2.“ Feb 13 Mar 2033 1'"! LIST 97