SADE/ Lovers Rock
In her introduction to Nigerian/English
"international recording star" Sade' first album in eight years, Japanese jazz
singer Monday Michiru sums up Sade's approach as "philosophy of strength in
subtlety." This description perfectly fits Lovers Rock, which makes
absolutely no concessions to developments like trip hop in the intervening years since her
last album. An intensely personal artist, Sade's melancholic, sultry voice hasn't cracked
with age, and her lyrical concerns remain with love ("All About Our Love,"
"Lovers Rock,") and heartbreak ("Somebody Broke My Heart"). Having
given birth to her first child in 1997, Sade is clearly at a different stage in life, yet
her music remains timeless. LTJ
BUKEM / Earth
The last thing anyone needs is yet another dance
compilation, or is it? Maybe the old dark prince of drum 'n' bass LTJ Bukem has given us
reason to go out and get another one. It turns out that giving the man the benefit of the
doubt rewards, as with his new Earth compilation, Bukem weaves a spell of
wondrous house magic. The fourth in Bukem's Good Looking Records Earth series
segues from the James Bond '60s trash of label mainstay K-Scope to Detroit master Jon
Beltran's deep house number, "Seven Miles High," with stops at jazz-funk, deep
house and Latin along the way. Bukem's "quest for the rare groove of the future"
continues with determination.
LOOCHIE BROS. / Howling Loochie Bros.
(Robin's Rockin' Records)
Big band blues rock. Those four words say
more about Tokyo's ubiquitous Howling Loochie Bros. than any elaborate explanation could.
But seeing as we're writing a review let it be known that the long awaited debut release
by Canadian expat Robin Suchy and his motley crew of Japanese musicians (including the
best horn section in town), was worth wait. From "Musashi Maru Boogie" to the
hard swing of "The Queen" to a funked-up cover of the Grateful Dead's
"Shakedown Street," this is a well-oiled blues machine of a big band crankin' it
out as if their lives depend on it (which for some of them, it probably does).