L~SCHEWVOERKELWEISS(Unit U T R 4 0 4 3 ) Free piano for two (Switzerland's Liischer and Germany's Voerkel), quiet and somewhat austere rather than thunderous. They create thematic CO-constructioninstead of conversation, building one thing rather than dialoguing on two. On the title cut one goes inside - pinging strings - one stays out; they move together with a player-piano's sense of conviction. All pieces are fairly short, interspersed with even smaller snapshots. Elegant music, throughout.
VARIOUS ROMANIA:MUSIC FOR STRINGS FROMTRANSYLVANIA(Le Chant Du Monde L D X 2 7 4 9 3 7 ) Violin music, primarily (a few droned guitars and dead-headed drums, too), stunning performances, outstanding recordings, from the folks Bart6k leaned on. The first half of the disc features a string ensemble backing melodies in a mystifying way: varying the bow pressure, they pulse the harmonic support in such a manner that it sounds like someone's turning their volume up and down on an amplifier. A sitting-still doppler-effect, of sorts. Second half features more soloists; Petrica Giurgi plays two exquisite but urgent dances, and Florin Mihaila cuts a manic Transyl-fiddlin' hoedown from his hometown in the Land of Oash (really, I swear).
FRANCOIS HOULE ET CETERA HACIENDA (Songlinee 15 0 1 ) Seven-piece based in Vancouver, Canada, led by monster clarinettist Houle, who leapt from classical music headfirst into jazz only a few years ago but has the assurance and ideas of an old-pro. He's also got a great band, 22-year old drum wonder Dylan van der Schyff and nimble bassist Joe Wifliamson propelling Houle's intricate compositions, ethereal guitarist Tony Wilson's two tunes and Booker Ervin's "Scoochie". Keep an ear out for much more from Houle Et Cetera after this auspicious opener.
STEELY & CLEVIE P w STUDIOONE VINTAGE (Heartbeat HBIIG) Drummer Steely and bassisttkeyboardist Clevie on one of the most enjoyable producer-ly pieces of the year - de- and re-constructing masterpieces from Coxsone Dodd's warehouse of hits. The dynamic duo manages.to sound both technologically up-to-date - dropping in bits of sampled oldies (and a tidbit of a sigh from 3rd Bass' "Microphone Technique" on "I Was Born To Be Loved") - and energetically old-fashioned, particularly on the sluggish ska of "Easy Snapping" sung by Theophilus Beckford. Alton Ellis, Marcia Griffiths, The Cables, Clarendonians and others belt 'em out while the band holds down a waterproof groove.
Kodwo Eshun hits the floor KENNY DOPE PRESENTS AXXlS DANCIN'/ A u I'M ASKIN'~HANDUP(One Records OR12002 12") The common ground between HipHop and House, the desire to find a future beat alliance, has often surfaced. Usually the former is supposed to have seduced the latter, as in hiphouse where the bass chasms of Schooly D seemed to give way overnight to the lite-metal dee-lite of Fast Eddie. As if by way of acknowledgment the second single, on Masters At Work's One label keeps House to one side and HipHop to another. This mutual quarantine is a joke since both sides do the same thing, working on a new metal machine mantra, swapping tropes and talking to each other across the verso of the vinyl.
Kenny Larkin and Open House all outstanding.
JAMlROQUAl WHEN YOU GONNA LEARN (AcidJaz z JAZlD4GP 12") This invokes Gil Scott-Heron's voice, which now signifies the collapsed hope of 'Revolution' and therefore for hiphopricy and Jamiroquai the last resonance of political emotion. Against Gil's deep voiced, big hearted sensitivity, Jamiroquai is overwhelmed by what he has to say, beseeching and pleading with us for a time when his warning is heeded.
FUNKY GREEN DOGS FROM OUTER SPACE REACHFORME(Murk Records Promo) Via the cult Florida label run by DSR, aka Outer Limits, comes this EP. The main track is reminiscent of "Moody" by ESG. Chickachicka guitar transports New Jersey vocals into a tense war between a voice and a beat.
VARIOUS DOPEJAMS VOL I ( D J k m p l LP/ M C ) Disappointing compilation from the Mastercuts team who have been curating, arranging and exhibiting history in the form of jazz funk and swingbeat retrospectives for a while now. This has no sleeve notes and is a scattered and unsatisfying collection of tracks, two of which are by Silent Eclipse, produced by the compilers themselves Max LX and Dave VJ.
UFO MOONDANCE/LOUDMINORITY( C o ~ a Nostra XRJN I 015 12") Sampladelic jazz which wants i t both ways. Its fluency reassures us that the end of jazz as you know it is safe in our hands. UFO are beautiful, smiling assasins. "Moondance" coasts while "Loud Minority" shows off a bit, a reflexive 50s TV discourse, swinging on and over a crescendo of chord pile ups and samba breaks.
VARIOUS PANICIN DETROIT(Indisc Enter001 L P ) To empty the skies, to look out over the red dunes, the still oceans, to be dwarfed and humbled by natural immensities. This compilation is romantic in the way of Shelley and his crew searching for unbounded, stateless beyonds. No technopolis, no possession, no info overload here, just the pleasure of human-free 'scapes. Eight tracks including
CYMANDE BESTOF (Sequel Nex C D 2 0 2 L P ) Cymande cherished their displacement, held it until it yielded three albums: a self-titled debut, Second Time Around (1973) and Promised Heights (1974). Their music was one of plangent guitars and millenial congas. Vocalist Joey D moved with a poignancy and a coded vulnerability that seems unthinkable today. The rhythm on tracks such as "The Message", "Brothers on the Slide" and "Bra" (all rare groove favourites of the late SOS), would chug along, opening up lines through which Patrick Patterson's guitar would wind. Exhilaration at this progressive sound: how unhurried and yet expansive they could be. Pre-Fusion, Cymande still offer lessons in ambition, in a muted militancy which found no follower (until it was too late).