and unblemished even in today's Neptunes dominated climate. Resisting the temptation to ruin the entire thing With protracted interludes and stacks of filler. he enlists the cream of today‘s hip hop heroes. including Little Brother and Dead Prex. to drop verbal bombs over his sublime sonic stylings. There are even a couple of cracking collaborations With old comrade Cl Smooth. Near perfect stuff.
(Hugh l eask)
txei HIME NTAl ROB ELLIS
Music For the Home Vol 2 (l eaf) .000
III If we always went for the easy option in life. we'd spend our time only listening to Abba and watching Hollywood blockbusters. Indeed. there‘s nothing like a challenge to get the pulse racing. and this secOnd solo album from Rob l’llis. more famous for his work as long time friend and collaborator WlItl P.l Harvey. is most definitely that.
It is entirely made up of Instrumental pieces composed and recorded from 1994 to 2003; Q7 piano tracks which flit from Satie esgue soft tOuches of lyrical beauty to discordant slides. rage fuelled clattering. frantic tinkling and then back again. An Incredible. carefully constructed and extremely minimal opus that. With a bit of work. reaps many rewards. (Camilla Pia)
DAWN OF THE REPLICANTS The Extra Room (Hungry Dog) .000
If the Beta Band threw a party. Dawn of the Replicants would be the embarrassing uncle that got nuggets. flashed everyone and puked in the pool. That's a
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110 THE LIST 'At'
rambling piece of madness it is too. They start off sounding like Deus Without pretensions on 'Idiot Az'Is'. before dIVIIIg headlong into a pungent bog of Captain Reefheart. (Jon Spencer. nursery rhymes. Ioungecore. crooner ]a// and lust about everything else. singing about gypsy creams and cuckoo clocks in the process. As Insane as ever and still a minor national treasure.
ENRICO RAVA Easy Living
ltalian trumpeter Fnrico Riva apparrmtly regards this as the best album he has ever made. and he \A/(IrI't (}()I ;III étr(]lllll(}lli from me All of the best qualities of his playing Etrt? frrIiIt £t(t(l (Zf)llIT(? (III the disc. notably his controlled but highly expressive lyricism. and he has gathered together a guintet of musicians more than up to the Iob of deing full lllSIlCO to his compositions. The music Is ra/or sharp III Its focus and execution throughout the disc. which runs from slow. limpid ballads through to the iaunty (Wists and turns of the tip-tempo romp ‘Algir Dalbughi'. Rava's reputation at the top end of Furopean Iax/ has been well established anyway. but this can only add further lustre. (Kenny Mathiesonl
chill out VIOLET INDIANA
Russian Doll (Bella Union) 0
Anyone who was a fan of Robin Guthrie's past work may Wish to look away now. His new proiect. Violet lndian. consists of the ex
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Cocteau TWIII on guitar and production duties coupled With vocalist Siobhan de Mare. and although their second effort does have a distinctly faiIIiliar haunting quality to it. that's the only element it has III common With Guthrie's former glories.
The sugary vocals and beats of Russian Doll soon bring to mind the type of smooth soul that people play by candlelight and mistakenly try to woo prospective partners With. Its an overly slick disappointment from someone who once was part of such a legend. (CaiIIilla Pia)
BILL BRUFORD’S EARTHWORKS Random Acts of Happiness (SuiIIiIIerfoldi .0.
‘5 RAN)“ V‘s/"’3
Any unworthy thoughts that the Yes and King Crimson drummer was SllTl[)|y dabbling III ]a// when he formed Earthworks have long Since been dispelled. The band has gone through several incarnations since he launched it III the mid 80s With lain Ballamy and Django Rates on board. and the current line up IIIaintains the high standards set by their predecessors. Recorded live at Yoshi's in San Francisco in 9003. it captures Farthworks in full flow in a stylistically varied set. Saxophonist Tim Garland (who gets a 'featuring' credit on the cover) is in typically compelling form. our own Steve Hamilton still filled the piano chair With distinction at that point. and bassist Mark Hodgson Is III the engine room alongside Bruford. (Kenny Mathieson)
PC COUNTERSTRIKE: CONDITION ZERO
Ask yourself a guestion. Have you ever bought a game on looks alone? Come on now. be honest. Have you ever watched that demo running in the shop. surfed to that freebie iIIoVIe. even casually perused the pics on this page and thought “I'm gonnae get that!"?
Chances are that unless you have enough money to spurt 5‘40 up the wall on a whim you haven't done this. You will have loved a similar title. had friends raving about how good the game Is or even casually read the reviews before parting With the cash. As every creepy browser of phone box prostitute cards knows. 'oeks can be deceiving.
Which brings us to Counterstrike: Condition Zero. This is the original online game With nice new graphics. And it is exactly the same to play. Because the original CS s still one of the best iIIiiltiplayer games you can play. that is no bad thing. The clean and crisp FPS. terrorist versus counter terrorist. rolling reward gameplay is as addictive as ever. But as the updated graphics are all you Will
be paying for. is it worth it? Fven at $95?
To be fair there is the addition of an excellent solo version of the online game with believable Al that Will challenge even experienced players. But most gamers are now online and no piece of programming can replicate that feeling in the gut when playing against real people. It is an impressive but ultimately empty addition to the CS catalogue.
So does the cosmetic enhancement of one of the most faiIIous gaiIIes in gaining history warrant a purchase? Kind of depends on your answer to the initial guestion. doesn't :t'?
SPAWN: ARMAGEODON (Sierral COO
Comic characters nave had a 01%?” Me in gan‘es. Some have struggled to be noticed while most have sunk without a trace. the buoyancy of their public affection not enough to counteract the deadweight of crap gameplay. Weirdly Spawn has been soIIIething of a success despite. or perhaps because of. the adult i‘ature of the comic keeping the. profile down. And the latest game. which expands the beat em up adventure even
further. does nothing to harm the reputation 0K. there is nothing innovative here. nothing to make it truly shine. but it doesn't stink either. All the bits work and the Wicked. demonic artwork of Todd McFarlane gives a stylish consistency that many games could learn from. So if Violence and adult humour is what yOu want in a comic adaptation then this is the one for you. And not Iust because there are no others.
PC POOL PARADISE (Ignition) 0000
Archer tvlaclean is the name synoninIous With snooker titles. If it wasn't AM then it wasn't worth buying. When Jimmy White was licensed to the line of games. it became unbeatable. driving many relaxed. non violent. horribly addictive evenings of have based pleasure. The latest title. Pool Paradise. is more of the same. though concentrating on the siIIaller table. 5 ver imaginable set of rules. is covered and. r einbined with the trick s Iet table. Will expand evew pub shark's repertoire to take to the local Add in the iIIuItitude of mini games like darts and coconut shy. then it is very difficult to imagine growing bored of Pool Paradise. Of ceiirse. all this is dependent upon you finding pool Interesting. lf the idea of siIIacking halls around a table seems inane then no amount of seaside yistas or arcade emulators included as extras Will make you buy this.
Live for pool