Point and Red- Readymade
came home from my dead-end job, and right away I put On Point
and Red into my player and hit repeat.
has no meaning and Im transported to a place where two worlds
simultaneously exist. I drift down dark cobblestone streets where
my footsteps are lit only by the oil lamps on the street corners.
Then I enter a concrete maze of graffiti-laced alleyways that lurk
in the shadows. Somehow both worlds are comfortable and familiar
there is no fear. Waves and layers of sound engulf and crash
all around me, welcoming me into their embrace. I feel heartbreakingly
by that I couldnt account for. After awhile, I seemed to wake,
and I kept that small smile on my face, the remnants of a beautiful
dream and broken threads of thought, until the next time I need
a Readymade fix to pick me up. Suddenly the world doesnt seem
so bleak after all.
listen up. If you want to seriously get anywhere with that cute
girl (who may or may not write music reviews at the *-),
take her out, end the evening back at your place and put this disc
on. Even better, just keep a copy of it in your bag.
She will be
putty in your hands.
in the Day- Courtney
Blue Thumb Records, 2001
Blue Thumb Records is fast becoming one of my favorite jazz imprints
(and its a subsidiary of Verve, that mega jazz label). Earlier
this year they released Metalwoods major label debut and now
Ive discovered this little treasure from last years
crop of releases.
Courtney Pine is an accomplished and dynamic saxophonist who in
his early days (the 80s) seemed like the heir to Coltranes
lyrical, playful style of the 60s. Since the early days though,
he has dipped his sax in many musical waters, like funk, reggae
and hip-hop. This may have lost him some purist fans, but it has
provided for an interesting back catalogue.
Back in the
Day, despite the title, is not a throwback album; but rather
a look at current and future streams of jazz music. In an inversion
of the norm, jazz pays tribute to the contributions of hip-hop and
shows how creatively genres can blend. Turntables, guest vocalists
and emcees are featured throughout the album; a development Im
glad to see becoming more common as long it is done as well
as it is on Back in the Day.
chops are refined enough to glide smoothly over scratch backing
or take on the turntable in a battle of staccato bursts. Most of
the tracks on the album are originals, and the few from "back
in the day" are expertly chosen to compliment the new. (Examples
include Curtis Mayfields "Hardtimes" and Gil Scott-Herons
"Lady Day and (John Coltrane).")
One of the new
cuts, "Inner State (of Mind)" links Pine to Coltrane in
yet another way its a marvelous interpretation of Gershwins
"Summertime" that stands the tune on its head much the
way Coltrane did with "My Favorite Things."
in the day, this album is today and tomorrow.
Almighty Dallah Bill- Dallah
Tango Productions, 2001
new album from Edmontons own Dallah bill is the equivalent
to that late 80s hero Gerardo (and his hit song "Rico
Suave") or the style of Vanilla Ice.
like "E-town E-town yah! Funky funky fun-kay!" are just
some of slick ryhmes you can expect on The Almighty Dallah
Bill. But it gets much worse, as he develops the theme of
guns, drugs, sex and, of course, ca$h a theme that is repeated
throughout the entire album.
might think that these elements would be the perfect formula for
some bad-ass hip-hop album, but while others may be able to pull
something like that off, in Dallah Bills case it just isnt
Bills sound is loaded with crappy, old-school Casio synthesizer
sounding keyboarding (think back to the keyboard you wanted so
badly in elementary school) and laden with cheap drum beats. Old
school can sometimes sound cool, if its done properly, but
I think that he couldnt afford anything more sophisticated.
In other words, this album is cheap.
needs to start somewhere, and to that end I value his effort.
So if you really like cheap production, crappy pointless rhymes
and something to crank up in your tricked out K car, this album
is for you.
end note: I dont actually know how rough Edmonton is, but
I think there is probably more to experience in "E-town"
than "rollin wit ma hommies and clubin,"
This is one Dallah Bill with no sense.
the Mode- Roni
Records , 2000
the 311 song, "Come Original," from the bands 1999
release, Soundsystem, frontman Nick Hexum sings "Roni
Size coming full range." He called it perfectly. Roni Size/Reprazents
latest release, In the Mode, comes full range in originality
and just flat-out kicks some funky beats.
In the genre
of electronica music, one may very easily find repetitiveness. But
if you come across a fresh electronica sound, filled with beats
you never thought could exist, its like breaking up with your
boring girlfriend for a beautiful girl one who actually likes
make their music original by mixing so many flavors of cultured
music. Styles such as soul, hip-hop and reggae find their ways into
this mix of electronic noises and beats. Highlights include guest
tracks with Method Man on "Ghetto Celebrity," and former
Rage Against The Machine centrepiece Zack de la Rocha on "Centre
of the Storm." The latter results in a strange, yet amazing,
relationship between de la Rochas phat lyrics and Size/Reprazents
In the Mode
showcases the best aspects of so many forms of music by putting
an electronic spin on them, making it a most-refreshing breath of
sound in a time when music seems to be on life support.
Scruggs and Friends- Various
Nashville , 2001
not too knowledgeable on country music but, even with my
limited knowledge, I have heard of Earl Scruggs and his devilish
On this latest
outing, he teams up with some of countrys biggest talents,
but in this case its not saying much. His border doesnt
stop there, because he also does songs with Elton John and Sting,
which isnt saying much either.
I tried approaching
this album with an open mind, but it quickly shut after a disgusting
version of "Ring of Fire" featuring none other
than Mr. Angelina Jolie: Billy Bob Thornton.
I actually found
the remake duet of "Fill Her Up" better than the orginal,
despite the fact that I am a fan of Sting, who did the original.
However, "Brand New Day" was not very good.
On a brighter
note, there were some surprisingly good tunes, which opened the
door a little wider into the world that is Country/Bluegrass. "Foggy
Mountain Breakdown," "True Love Never Dies" and "Foggy
Mountain Rock" are all examples of rawking tunes that this
album has to offer. The energy and talent captured in the latter
made even me want to start dancing.
The duet between
Johnny Cash and Don Henley is a good, modern country tune. Another
bright side of the album, is Earl Scruggs amazing talent playing
such a "sick" banjo. (Reviewers note: I apologize.
I first heard the term "sick" when someone described DMX.
At first I was confused because I thought maybe DMX was ill, but
then I was informed that DMX being sick was actually a description
of the DMX style and it was a good thing, but I digress.)
Though a true
country fan can probably appreciate this album more than I can,
the reality remains that four good songs out of 12 just isnt