pieces featured on the disc were recorded live last year at the CCA in Glasgow and the Einstein in Munich. with saxophonists Evan Parker and Christoph Reiserer as special guests. and suggest further good things to come for Raymond MacDonald and his cohorts.
JULIAN ARGUELLES As Above So Below (Provocateur) em
saxophonist ‘5 move to Scotland last year after almost 20 years in London. and features arguably the most quintessentially English music he has written. The attractive arrangements for his jazz octet and a string orchestra from Trinity College of Music have a distinctly pastoral feel. but elsewhere on the disc he turns to new developments of more familiar soundscapes explored in the creative. contemporary jazz of his earlier octet discs. complete with incisive soloing and imaginative use of instrumental colour. texture and voicings. (Kenny Mathieson)
SUPER FURRY ANIMALS
Phantom Phorce (Universal) 000 SCHNEIDER TM Reconfigures (Earsugar) one
Two examples of the old remix package trick here that manage to transcend the genre's
as a chance to wring a few more notes out of an album that's slipping down the charts. Of course. that's probably a lot to do with the artists involved. who each come into the project from different sides — the SFA are the remixed. while Schneider TM is the remixer.
Even filtered through other people's vision. there's still something unique about the Furries. Maybe it's the great fake record company exec asides they've added between the songs — more likely. it's the unmistakable
§ brightness which shines from the heart of
reworkings by the likes of Four Tet. the High Llamas. Boom Bip and
; Brave Captain.
Dirk Dresselhaus aka
Schneider TM. on the
other hand. repackages
Lamb. the Faint.
Lambchop and more This project predates the
under inspiration from
Neil Young‘s 1982 Trans
album. Dubby. hypnotic.
and with the occasional acoustic incursion
breaking up the
3 mechanical tone. i (David Pollock)
TO ROCOCO ROT
’ Hotel Morgan
E i. VIZ”, "
Welcome to the Hotel
Morgan. After a couple
of tracks of this chill-out
you'll either want to check out any time you like or never leave. Without wishing to get
pundit on you with a stream of xenophobic stereotypes. this is clean Germanic efficiency at its most pristine.
Spare. sparse and sterile. the collection
starts off like Air sans commonly-observed use :
humour and continues
3 like it's in the middle of a riot in a Casio factory.
% Most of it will gently
nuzzle your senses and
if you're having a dinner party with a Central European ambient flavour. here's your soundtrack. Perahps it's
the Domino effect. (Brian Donaldson)
TRUST We Are All Sluts Of Trust
(Chemikal Underground) me
One of the many reasons why Scottish
. music has undergone a
over the last few months is this pair of mustachioed
Glaswegians. Even though the Sluts’ debut
album doesn't quite manage to live up to the
g sheer ferocity of the live E experience. however. it's 1 still a capany deranged
Of course. they aren’t
- clean-cut enough to
ever conceivably follow in the footprints of Franz Ferdinand. but they‘re
quite possibly daring
enough to retain their edge for longer. ‘Leave You Wanting More' and
‘Piece 0' You'. for
example. are lo-fi cock- rock, like Led Zeppelin recorded in someone's
garage. while the rest of
the album follows a
similar stride. It's a
musical Pot Noodle . . . it's filthy and. yes. you
want it. (David Pollock)
ROCK THE BETA BAND
Heroes to Zeroes ; (Regal) CO”
For their third. well it feels like a fourth - who
bought The Three EPs separately anyway? - long player the Beta
Band have conjured up more of their instinctive
pop magic and created a truly tremendous album.
More guitary than its predecessor Hot Shots ll. Heroes to Zeroes is a real grower. and
repeated listens uncover % a myriad of quite beautiful textures and
~ of which are wrapped up
shapes to embrace. all
in Steve Mason's mild. ; otherworldly intonations.
‘I'm so glad you found me' and 'l love her to pieces‘ he gently
murmurs. Spring is here. love is in the air and the
Beta Band deserve a place in our hearts. (Mark Robertson)
PC FAR CRY (UbiSOft $329.99)
Consistency is such an important thing in games. No matter what wild and wacky nonsense you are asked to get involved in. if the environment is consistent then you believe whatever you are asked to believe. This is how you can truly enjoy. say. Ape Escape with its ridiculous simian silliness. yet get a little narked at. say. Splinter Cell when it ends a mission if you touch the floor because. well. em. the game says so. It breaks the conceit and slaps you in the face. You are doing only what I let you. dumbass!
On the whole Far Cry is consistent. Realistic levels stretch as far as the eye can see. filled with believable tropical scenery that works as it does in real life. Bushes can be crawled into for cover while making a noise; opening a door can alert the many guards. And once alert these guards never truly relax again. Their AI is impressive and almost as frightening as their aim. Luckily they can be tracked from afar thanks to some snazzy binoculars that also pick up distant sounds. The first peek through these binoculars can be quite a trip. scanning a mercenary camp. watching the enemy‘s routines. listening to their conversations. You believe it. You feel nervous. You feel
Freedom from the madding crowd
excited when you spot a way. and there are many ways. to achieve your goal. It draws y0u in. And all this hard work on the part of the game means that when the story starts going into crazy cuckoo territOry later. you allow it the leeway. You go with it. You are enjoying the tryst of consistency. And for a First Person Shooter. stereotypically the most shallow of titles. this is rare indeed. Far Cry wows you with graphics and teases you with subtle gameplay. but it is the consistency of the experience that ties the whole thing together. Excellent.
SPLINTER CELL: PANDORA TOMORROW (Ubisoft £39.99) 0000
Normally this would be simple. If you enjoyed the first game then you will love this. If the sneaking about. listening at doors. planning your strategy while avoiding the attention of those damned guards hooked you in the original then it will undoubtedly get you again. If, on the other hand. you were irritated by the first. if the sitting for ages in a corner trying not to die bored you. if the discovery of that hatch on the roof or the slidey cable
smacked of play-by- rails. do-what-the- designer-wants. then this new title will have the same negative effect. And that should be the whole story. But the new online feature
throws a whole new
spanner in the works. It is two versus two. with sneakers playing in third person like the solo game. and action fiends playing in first person mode. hunting the sneakers. It is gloriously playable and almost worth the purchase on its own. Which means that. although fans will buy without thought. those who shunned the original should really check it out. Maybe it is simple after all?
GAMECUBE METAL GEAR SOLID: TWIN SNAKES (Konami $339.99) 0..
OK. Metal Gear Solid was a massive hit. It almost single-handedly invented the sneaky stealth genre and pushed gaming even further down the path toward movie parody. But that was a gazillion years ago. Is there any real need to buy it again. even on a machine devoid of MGS goodness? Sure. there are some control niceties ported across from M682 and the Gamecube does a good job in polishing up the graphics from the original. There are also some additional cut scenes that creator Hideo Kojima just can‘t help slipping in to further confuse the game/movie dichotomy. And if you've never played the first game then Twin Snakes has still gotenough technopunk exuberance to keep you hooked till the end. Unfortunately. for most it just feels like a wasted opportunity to further both the M68 story and the Gamecube catalogue. ‘Snake nooooo!!'
15—29 Apr 2004 THE LIST 1 13