album. however. is Without the morbid moments — often samples — that he has previously over-used although it is no less adventurous musically. Nice to listen to something from an ageing West Cetintry boffin that doesn't express mild contempt for his audience. Take note. Mr Aphex Twin. (Tim Abrahamsl
Ave Marina: Ten Years of Marina Records (Marina) 0000
I} a '
If there's one thing that's missing from indie pop these days it's a sense of humour. Well, that and good tunes. At Marina Records they've spent the last 120 months and (it) releases showing that while the first is a bonus. the second is pretty much compulsory.
With a catalogue that ranges from wily Scots pop pioneers like Josef K. Roddy Frame and Edwyn Collins to more wayward spirits from near and far including quality items like the Pale Fountains. the Aluminium Group and the ever charming James Kirk. this is a varied collection filled With guirks. debonair charm and — shocker! — tunes.
KEVIN MACKENZIE’S VITAL SIGNS
Another New Horizon lCaber Music) 00..
Vital Signs provrded guitarist Kevrn MacKenzre With a superb vehicle for a set of new compositions that combined influences from JEIX/
and folk in creative fashion. courteSy of Kevin's Creative Scotland Award in 2001. This subsequent studio recording of the project features a similar nine-strong line- up to the original live outings. but with a couple of changes of personnel. Folkies
Aidan O'Rourke and Chris Stout (fiddlesl and Simon Thourriire
(concertina) augment a six-piece jazz outfit. and if Jazz is the core of the music. the folk elements are more than a gesture. adding melodic substance as well as subtle variations of colour and texture to an excellent project. (Kenny Mathiesonl ici‘ééve COLEMAN AND FIVE ELEMENTS
Lucidarium (Label Bleul 00.
COLEMK‘N‘ e LUCIDARlUM
Saxophonist Steve Coleman is one of the major figures in the current Jazz generation. and one who possesses that greatest of rarities. a genuine musical vision. Like it or loathe it. Coleman's distinctive musical language has cut a dramatic swathe through the last two decades.and Luc/da/‘ri/m marks another impressive step in that Journey. He has asser'iibled a cast of strongly creative musicians land a prominent vocal chorus) for the disc. including the likes of Ravi Coltrane. Ralph Alessi. Craig Taborn and Drew Gress. The resulting music undoubtedly makes demands on the listener's attention. but repays the effort. lKenny Mathiesonl
.vc PERIMETER (Codemastersi .000
Fans of RTS games are split into two distinct factions. On one side are the armchair generals. the planners. lhey scout the terrain. assess the enemy force. str‘ategise and formulate. build their armies carefully. not a unit ‘~.'.rasted. every detail pored over before launching their many pronged attack. Then there are the chaos iriongers. they simply build as large a force as possible. generally consisting of a single unit reproduced in the thousands. before gleefully launching it at the ene'riy. \"v'eight of numbers is their only strategy. lhe more units you can get on screen at any time the more the chaos brigade enjoy
PC PS? Xt S( )X
themselves. So which of these two camps does Perimeter appeal to? Well none actually. Yes. as strange as it may seem. the makers of this RTS have done nothing in particular to appeal to erther of their potential audiences. And even stranger is the fact that this has made for a fantastic RTS. for in Perrrrreter there are no set units. From a handful of basic units. you can morph your force into anything you like whenever you like. If a sitiiatiori changes then so can your troops. making Per‘irrrefer by far the most fluid RTS out there. It also means that the usual version of scissor paper stone that armchair generals so adore is out the window as strategies that v-rorked 20 seconds ago
No easy fixes
will now wrpe you out. And the chaos mongers can't rust send in the massed ranks for they no longer exrst. Perimeter forces a new type of play. Not to say that it is perfect. as there are more than a few niggles. but for changing the dynamic of RTS
games forever. Perimeter
deserves much love. And we haven't even touched on the fine graphics. great sound or the great idea that is the Peri/rieter itself.
Well, it had to happen eventually. from the inaracas to the dancerriats. all this r'iy‘thm based miming fun was Just a warm up to the main event. The Karaoke. And that is exactly what Si/Igstar is.
Or rather. on the face of it that is what it is. A bunch of tunes play. You sing through the rriicrophone. lt Judges you on your timing and pitch. Simple. effective and as much party fun as you could possibly desire. Strangely. though. the game totally changes when played seriously. It is no longer a glorified karaoke machine but an effective singing coach. It cannot Judge artistic merit so it assesses on technique and after a few sessions you Will find yourself a better singer. Which kind of defeats the purpose. If everyone at a karaoke sang well then it would suck big time. So get Singstar for those nights when your house is full and alcoriol has been imbibed. But do not play alone. You'll only ruin it for everyone.
re touching me
Weirdly Hitman must be the most geeky console game ever. Yeah, it appears all cool and slick. An anonymous hitman out to snuff his mark, simply making money in an amoral world. But consider the process. Each mission must be scouted. Each environment absorbed for openings and weaknesses. A plan is formulated that demands cunning and skill. Then the execution, of both plan and target, must be perfect or it is game over. If this isn’t the epitome of geek heaven then what is? And this new version of Hitman is no different. Glorious level design, almost bewildering freedom and the coolest of cool characters combine with the familiar gameplay to keep the title in the highest echelons of the gaming pantheon. But, as ever, if you are looking for action and adventure then look elsewhere. No quick combat here. No easy fixes. This is a much like having a job. A weirdly geeky job admittedly but a job nonetheless.
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