CD reviews

BoosterLoop in Release

The Blue Note label, a mainstay of the jazz scene, has been giving us “The finest jazz since 1939.” They are taking that tradition of greatness into the 21st century with a jazz collective out of France known as Booster. I think that I, like most people, have nothing but the most stereotypical notions about the whole genre, and likewise its practitioners and fans. This is not to say that I don’t like jazz, I do, I just don’t know what to make of it sometimes.

With that said I think that Booster is something that even non-jazz lovers could probably get into. It’s got all of the flourishes of classic jazz, but with a modern, progressive feel. Samples and jittery break beats are apparent throughout the album, along with such un-jazz like surprises as hip-hop, and R&B vocals.

The definite standout on the album is “Mario Meets Malia,” featuring singer Malia on vocals. The song has got it all, a great bouncy rhythm, lots of horns, and of course that voice. I have never heard of Malia, but after hearing her sing, I definitely want to hear more.

Most of all though, the instrumentalists on this album really let loose with trumpets, flutes, saxophones, drums, and even a sitar. This album has got it all, it’s a true find. (Blue Note)

— Mark Flindall

David Sylvian

Dead Bees on a Cake

For those in the retro-know, David Sylvian’s name is not that new to you. As front man for the well renowned, if not well received, 80s new wave band Japan, Sylvian was the true artist’s model. With his snow white, perfectly coifed mane, he was the opposite of Costello’s angst and rebellion and Peter Murphy’s androgynous cool. Unfortunately, that meant they didn’t move a lot of product, and subsequently Japan disappeared, other than a few reunion releases in the nineties that met with the same sort of response.

Dead Bees is an excellent reflection of what made Japan what it was, and more importantly, what it wasn’t. Sylvian always seemed to be a jazz guy stuck in a pop player’s frame, and not real comfortable in either skin, but when he removed himself from the attempts at creating high art, he could muster up a pretty catchy tune. Dead Bees sees Sylvian again with long time collaborator Ryuichi Sakamoto, who does great work getting out of the way on “I Surrender” and “Wanderlust,” the two best tracks on the disc, and then massacres every other tune with overindulgent sonic assaults. Sylvian maintains the same vocal stylings he’s carried for twenty years now, a growling, bluesy spoken word sort of style, kinda like if Chet Baker were English. He uses his voice more like an instrument than a messenger, adding layers to his words and music as almost a new bass track, but more often than not it gets lost in the quagmire behind it.

Anyways, David Sylvian will still be putting out discs long after anyone of us will be interested in listening, which is disappointing in the fact that we probably weren’t that interested in the first place. (Virgin)

— bdp

Jack Hyde

One More Art Crime

One More Art Crime represents a departure of sorts, as far as our reviews are concerned, for this paper/writer. Hyde is a Brock student, one who has hopefully adopted a nom de plume in order to escape some brutal recess ribbing, who has put together a twenty-minute disc of ems/ thoughts/ stream of consciousness ramblings and “released” it under his own “label,” and a distribution department of a backpack and a bus pass, I guess. A true representation of the future of the biz, or at least where it should be going, in my opinion.

First up, the disc. One More Art Crime is raw, at best, which is not surprising considering the whole thing was probably done in the dorm on a laptop with a discman as the backup band, but that isn’t what makes or breaks it. Being rough around the edges is one of the more endearing points of Art Crime. Lyrically, the underlying theme is lamenting the state of conglomerate coffee houses (more on that later), the beauty of Toronto’s mass transit system and its tours of naturally existing storylines, be they human or architecture, as well as how much he digs the rain. I dig the rain as much as the next guy. (To steal a line from Taxi Driver; “I like the rain, it washes all the scum off the streets.”) I can appreciate a good bus ride, more now that I have access to a car and am not shackled to the schedule of the TTC or whatever the initials are around these parts, but don’t be taking shots at the coffee house, Jack, they’re the new beatnik parlours, the new jazz clubs where the artists go to hang and wax poetic about what drives them to create. Basically, they’re the launching pad for the next Ginsberg, Burroughs or whoever turns your crank. If Tim Horton’s had any vision, other than making great gobs of cash, they should start sponsoring writing or arts contests (free coffee and fritters for a year!!!) and I guarantee it would produce some of the most brilliant shit you ever heard. One More Art Crime isn’t necessarily brilliant, but it ain’t shit either.

Secondly, the principle. I applaud Hyde for having the rocks to actually put it on disc and chuck it out there for dissection. Shows balls, kid, and I dig that. That’s what was really the problem that the big boys had with Napster. It wasn’t the revenue loss, per se, but more the fact that the artists would learn that the label was unnecessary, and that would have been really cool. For more info, email direct to; ask for Jack Hyde, ESQ.

— bdp


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