N O W ' S T H E T I M E
R o u n d U p T h e U s u a l S u s p e c t s B O R N , N E V E R A S K E D , condemned to a life sentence inside a solitary human cell, MICWARLGIRAhas spent a whipped dog's age grinding over the impossibility of personal sovereignty. Even as the music he made with the NY-based SWANSfought hard to repel intruders from his hole - or at least i t invited them to enter on his terms - his reductionist lyrics described a condition proscribed by one's relationships with others. Always, seemingly, to the narrator's disadvantage. In this sense his vision is as accurate as it's witheringly bleak. But now with SKIN, the multi-record project he shares with companion JARBOE, he's found a route out of the hole, corresponding with a more accessible way in to his work.
If human relations are governed by interdependency, then there's no reason why he should always play fallguy. He too can flex muscle, assert sovereignty. The LP he contributes to Skin, called S h n e , Humility And R m g e , explores the vampiric nature of relations. And in keeping with its wmpiric theme the music is darkly seductive, caressing (albeit roughly sometimes) the listener with alluring acoustic half-melodies complet+d by the presence of Gira's expressive monotone. His songwriting is as brilliantly precise as ever, dovetailing word and sound, subject matter and mood, lyric and music with the skill of a master c&man who refuses to be hindered by the paucity of materials to hand. Coming out in June, his Skin concludes the project set underway with the release of a Jarboe 12" ''1000 Miles" and LP Blood W- And Rarar (due April). Hitherto unknown outside her keyboard and occasional v 4 contributions to Swans, Jarboe's victorious struggle for sovereignty is perhaps more astonishing. Like a harpstring her compelling voice is tautly strung and brcathy both at once. It is the sensual skin cover to rattling skeleton arrangements, constructed round the long decay of pounded piano chords. The originality of her stark settings is placed beyond dispute when she crawls inside two torch standards - "The Man I Love" and "Cry Me A River" - inhabits them and in the end makes them entirely her own.
Those who feared the Swans have less and more reason to kathere. Cosmetically easier on the ear, it is no less intense in its examination of the impossibility of living on the same planet with other humans. But this Skin clings. Graft at it and it will readily take.
B I B A K O P F
I n A L a t i n G r o o v e
T A L a s o P C R o S S o V E R S and unexpected liaisons . . . RUBBNBLADBS'movie, Crarsowr Prsams bombed ofter only two weeks at the ICA, but his career in movies hasn't been halted by that unsubtle role as salsa star attempting the Big Transition. Meanwhile his album, Agw rk hna ('Moonwater')(see reviews) continues to court newly initiated non-Spanish speakers with English lyrics on the sleeve . . . A shadowy name since the late 7 0 4 y 80s salsa boom, LARRY H m w plans to recreate his Iatin musical H o t m y in October, with original cast including CHLIA Cauz in the Acid QueenITina Turner part. Harlow is currently talking of retirement - to Bali - "I'mdivorced, single - and happy" he said, but, currently producing two new young Latin bands, building a studio inside New York University, and recording a series of radio programmes on Latin music . . . retirement? No sign either for T m PUL~NTE:heand Celia Cruz just missed a Grammy for their third volume Homage To Bmy M m - it would've been his fifth, and, incredibly, her first. TP was raving about Sheila E's timbales and drums skills, and their 'battle' together in a''Jazz Video" produced by JACK LEWIS, also featuring h *'POPS"ESCO~DO,as the third set of hands. "Had to tighten my belt once or twice," Tito joked, about the Escovedo family, and &led seeing Sheila first play when she was six . . . W I L ~COLON back in producing mood: a hand-picked collection of songs for C a u CRUZ,and a couple of HECTORLAVOEalbums to bring him back on course, hopefully. Not to mention his own successful 12" single (see reviews), "She Don't Know I'm Alive". Colon's just filmed a Miami V i m episode, playing (surprise, surprise) a Cuban coke dealer. Predictable new outlet for successful d s a
8 W I R E Y A G A Z I N B