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CD REVIEWS


LAURIE ANDERSON/Life On A String
(Nonesuch)

At the risk of sounding clichE it should be said that this CD needs to be listened to repeatedly for full appreciation. You may, as I did at first, find the first album by veteran New York violinist/performance artist Laurie Anderson since 1995 pretentious and even annoying. But with a minimum of commitment, Life On A String soon reveals itself as a surprisingly beautiful tapestry of tone and poetry. With help from sterling contributors such as Lou Reed (Anderson’s partner), Bill Frisell and Mitchell Froom, Anderson takes us from the playful, reggae vibes of “The Island Where I Come FromEto the majestic tribute to the victims of slavery “Pieces and Parts,Eto the down tempo electronica of “My CompensationE to the cabaret tones of “Dark Angel.EMore muse than mere violinist or vocalist, Anderson has created a label-resistant work of true originality.


BLAKE/Step Into The Light
(Candid/eastwest)


The debut solo release by British jazz guitarist Rod Blake provides another indication of why much of the best jazz these days is coming out of Europe. Free from the weight of a century of jazz history, Europeans like Blake are experimenting with different styles in a way that would be difficult in the more orthodox US jazz climate. Along with sultry singers Lorna Brown and Harley Loudon, Blake wings his way from the funky, offbeat acid jazz of “BittersweetEthrough the dense, textural chords of the title track and onto the breezy bossa of “DownstreamEand even the laid-back, Windham Hill flavorings of “Chios.EVerdict: Step Into The Light provides welcome notice that, despite some signs to the contrary, jazz is flourishing as it evolves into a truly global music.


ROGER SANCHEZ /First Contact
(Sony)


New York house is always a fine choice for a party-the accessible sound, Latin influence and danceable rhythms offend few. But if you' after something more substantial, the screaming divas can sometimes get in the way. Sanchez already has a slightly more garage-y sound, but even so this album stretches the genre more. Opening with a cliched computer-voice intro, Sanchez redeems himself with the deservedly popular and sooo Daft Punk “Another Chance” (2001, year of the digitized vocals?), pop-the-champagne “Partee” (maybe cheating to run party background noise over a song but it works) and “Nothing 2 Prove” which features the silky smooth voice of Texan Sharleen Spiteri. “Ventura” is outstanding-a driving techno beat and a riff you have to tap your feet to, just don't put your hands in the air. Simeon Paterson

BUDDY GUY/Sweat Tea
(Silvertone)


The current King of the Blues’ latest CD is a killer. The tunes are drawn from the hills of North Mississippi and one gets the feeling this music has not traveled far from the juke joints and front porches where it's been played for years-it is simultaneously Deep South and a window on West Africa. Backed by a band that's as tight as a fist, Guy's vocals range from wounded to cocksure, while his guitar shoots lightning bolts like a hot summer storm. You can hear it all in this music-the dirt roads, the fish fries, the lust and the violence. In the opening tune, Guy declares, “Well I done got old/Can't do the things I used to do,” and in the blues that follows, he goes on to prove himself wrong, very wrong. Thomas Bojko



VARIOUS ARTISTS/WIRE01 Compilation

(Ki/oon)


Techno sits on a fine line between music and mindless beeping, and this album hovers close to it. Takkyu Ishino (of the WIRE raves) must have spent ages ensuring that not so much as an off beat crept into the sledgehammer-to-the-head rhythm of current single "Hyperspeed." Westbam, too, goes in for the industrial thing favored in his native Germany as does fellow countryman Hell, with an ‘80s twist. And if the name Ural 13 didn't sound totalitarian enough, their military uniforms should offer a clue to their NRG-meets-gay disco sound. The tracks by god/DJ Jeff Mills, genre-hopper CJ Bolland, and local talents Tasaka and Fumiya Tanaka are all well worth a listen. Supercruizer contribute the funkiest groove of the album, and Monika Kruse (the first female WIRE DJ) donates a track that deserves frequent play as a comedown tune. Draw your own lines. Simeon Paterson


CD REVIEWS ARCHIVE:
OCTOBER
394:
NATALIE IMBRUGLIA/White Lilies Island
DAFT PUNK/Alive
VARIOUS ARTISTS/Trance Progression
GERLING/When Young Terrorists Chase The Sun
THE CHARLATANS/Wonderland
SEPTEMBER
392:
LAURIE ANDERSON/Life On A String
BLAKE/Step Into The Light
ROGER SANCHEZ /First Contact
BUDDY GUY/Sweat Tea
VARIOUS ARTISTS/WIRE01 Compilation
391:
The strokes
New Order
Grant-lee Phillips
390:
Ben Folds
V.A
Jamiroquai
Bjork
Cake
389:
Tantric
Turin brakes
Herbie Hancock
august
388:
Roots Manuva
Green Day
V.A.
Bran
V.A.
387:
Super Furry Animals
Usher
Boz Scaggs
386:
Farida's Cafe
Freaky Flow
Laura Liza
385:
Rhona
Dan Bryk
Jose Padilla
384:
Catatonia
Deep Dish
Manu Chao
Pre_Shrunk
Taraf De Haidouks
JULY
383:
The Cult
Sphongle
Tomb Raider Soundtrack
382:
Ursula Rucker
The Rembrants
Perry Farrel
Iggy Pop
Feed
381:
Stone Temple Pilots
Inner Circle
Gorodisch
380:
Joe Hisaishi
Plaid
Sugar Ray
Tarika
Travis
JUNE
379:
Goo Goo Dolls
Tonino Baliardo
Bran Van 3000
378:
Shur-I-Kan
Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliot
Pete Rock
Frankie Valentine
Masanori Ikeda
377:
Depeche Mode
Chilldren ov Paradise
Our Lady Peace
376:
Backyard Babies
Taj Mahal & The Hula Blues Band
ebz
Solid Ground
Weezer
375:
David Byrne
Mekon
Ken Ishii
MAY
374:
AIR
Martires Del Compas
V.A.
Coil
Cosmic Rough Riders
373:
G. Love & Special Sauce
Ben Harper
Neil Finn
372:
Alternative 3
Stevie Nicks
Snake Hip Shakes
Soul Scramble
The Slackers
371:
The Black Crowes
Dirty Beatnisk
DJ Spinna
Mogwai
Tokyo-Mirai
APRIL
370:
R.E.M.
Makyo
Missile Girl Scoot

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