Underworld Live
Meat Beat Manifesto Live
Wagonchrist Tally Ho!
60 Channels Tuned In Turned On
Pole CD 1
Roger Eno Flatlands
Squarepusher Music Is Rotted One Note
Autechre AE
Monkey Mafia Shoot The Boss
The Crystal Method Live
The Charlatans UK Live
Transglobal Underground Live
Various Artists JBO: A Perspective 1988-1998
Deep Dish Junk Science
Burger/Ink [Las Vegas]
Baby Ray Monkey Puzzle
Love And Rockets Lift
Six By Seven EP
Less Than Jake Hello Rockview
Various Artists Wall Of Sound Presents: Bustin' Loose

Reviews for April and March

Boom Boom Satellites
Epic Records

The heavyweight contenders for the Next Big Thing belt goes to the duo of Michiyuki Kawashima and Masayuki Nakano, a.k.a. Boom Boom Satellites. I'd previously only heard of them from a remix they did for Garbage. I was so impressed by the remix because it didn't sound like Garbage and just because it rocked! So when their debut full-length came in I quickly grabbed it and put it in my CD player where it's stayed ever since. The Satellites' music is produced with attention to the smallest detail, whether it be an echoing saxophone, tight drumming, nimble turntable action or the pluck of a bass string. The duo take the melding of rock & roll elements and the DJ aesthetic into the 21st Century. Upon first hearing Out Loud the hairs on my neck stood on end. From the opening track Missing Note you too will be hooked. Flanged vocals float into a head mix of slamming drums and powerful bass guitar. Batter the Jam No. 3 lets alto sax, flute and turntables battle it out with a guitar-like synthesizer over breakbeats and bass loop. Push Eject has Kawashima singing over aggressive drums, shredding guitars and keyboards with futuristic digitalia swimming through he mix and Oneness is a too-short slammer with garbled and distorted vocals within a thrash metal framework. If the Propellerheads get over their James Bond fixation and the Chemical Brothers ever release their next album then both groups will have to face the might of the rocking duo of Michiyuki Kawashima and Masayuki Nakano, forever better known as Boom Boom Satellites. Listen to Out Loud and get ready to rumble!

Dubtribe Sound System
Jive Electro Records

If you care to distill Dubtribe’s vibe down to its essence it would be “Love yourself, love others and love your planet.” Sunshine and Moonbeam my seem the paragons of political-correctness, I’m sure they’re strict vegans, support environmental groups and wear organic clothing yet they make music with digital machines. Much like their L.A. counterparts in Electric Skychurch, Dubtribe adds often wordless vocals, congas and other live instrumentation to their House beats. They also add strings and horns to the dancer-friendly rhythms and melodies. The standardized arrangements, augmented as they are by more organic touches, gets dull after a few listens yet Dubtribe seem to know what they’re doing when they sing such lyrics as “You are beautiful, perfect just the way you are” on Wednesday Night and “You can buy anything you want, you can have all the money in the world, but if you ain’t got love, child…it ain’t gonna do you no good!” as heard on Ain’t Gonna Do You No Good. Bryant Street chooses not to preach Peace and Love but instead lets the message just sink in. Listening to Dubtribe’s good vibes and will make you want to dance the world into a better place.

The Bowling Green

Micko Westmoreland a.k.a. Bowling Green
Micko Westmoreland, the artist known as The Bowling Green, is Nothing Records’ latest addition to their roster of out-there electronic acts. He fits in well with his peers Plaid and Plug, delivering hyper D’n’B with funky keyboards and rollicking Electro with wit and humor. Westmoreland feels free to add the occasional familiar sample guitar or drum loop to the mix to stir the old in with the new creating some butt-shaking good music. The closest thing I can relate The Bowling Green’s style to is to that of Wagonchrist but often faster, darker and with a more sarcastic bite. It’s best to say that if you have enjoyed the many excellent artists on Nothing, then you’ll groove on One Pound Note’s range of styles and winning sounds.

Matador Records

Dylan Nathan is the latest electronic wonder-kid to get critical acclaim from the British press. Now that Matador has licensed Jega’s album from Mike Paradinas’ (Mu-ziq) Planet Mu label we here in the U.S. can hear why. The attention is due to Jega’s blend of Aphex Twin’s somber/beautiful dreamscapes and manic humor, Autechre’s machine rhythms and the child-like glee found in Boards of Canada’s music. Throw in some jazzy beats, futuristic soundscapes and hyper percussion and you’ve only just begun to get the gist of Spectrum is made up of. Even if you’re not familiar with the acts mentioned above you’ll find yourself enjoying much of Spectrum’s instrumentals for a future generation. Jega’s sound is inspired, focused and expertly executed electronic music that will stand the test of time and likely will be a reference for aspiring digital musicians in the next century.

The Dylan Group
Bubble Core Recordings

My first introduction to The Dylan Group was on the Corners of the Mouth compilation and then their remix album from last year. Each time their music stood out from the other groups and even survived the remix process with their core sound intact. The mode of operations for The Dylan Group is to combine performances on drum kit, vibes (like a big, mellow xylophone) and bass together with overdubs and treatments. The style of music they prefer to stick to is jazz-inspired with slower tempos yet is always thought-provoking and a unique listening experience throughout. If you have an ear to the experimental side of music and are tired of everyone trying to approximate good music by twiddling knobs and pushing buttons on boxes then give The Dylan Group a try. Hear for yourself what four people can do with skill, imagination and live interaction. You may have to ask for More Adventures In Lying Down… but it’s worth the effort to find such a unique album.

Higher Education/F-111

A champion of new musical styles like D’n’B, DJ DB has created the label Higher Education in order to teach listeners of the U.S. what wondrous sounds there are awaiting us if only they were to be released with more of an eye to the mainstream consumer. Shades of Technology attempts to showcase some of the more accomplished D’n’B artists in the field today, focussing mainly on the British tech-step strains of the Metalheadz crew yet still coming up with a smooth, funky flow. DB is content to just let each track play out, deftly beat-matching each new track so that before you know it, another excellent song has entered your ears. We get to hear from such stalwarts of the genre as Jonny L, Optical (co-producer of Grooverider’s full-length), DJ Krust (of the Reprazent crew) and other famous producers and acts. Shades of Technology is subtitled “A Drum And Bass Journey” and DJ DB achieves just that, a trip through different varieties of music with an ear to progression. Dig in and enjoy.

Arling & Cameron
Emperor Norton Records

The duo of Gerry Arling and Richard Cameron make their debut album sound like a party. With party guests from Tokyo to Germany, All-In is an international affair where kitschy guitars and keyboards rub elbows with vocals in many languages and electronic dance rhythms. Groovy guitars meet electronic beats on Here We Go, jet-setting lounge pop joins trip-hop beats on Voulez-Vous?, men yodel and whistle over house beats on Ein Abend In Wein, and jumping drums, heavy guitars and dub bass mix on Get It On. The songs on All-In that stand out are the ones where Arling & Cameron get down to serious fun and aren't so self-reflexive. But What About The Boys is a funny and telling spoof on the differences between what men and women like in their dance songs. The two parts--frilly, pink and soft for the girls and fast and aggressive for the boys, battle for supremacy in the mix while an authoritative voice makes commentary. Gershwin has wordless female vocals sung over D'n'B percussion, dub bass and a trebly violin. This song is very well structured and is a joy to hear. All-In might sound like a hit-or-miss affair with Arling & Cameron's love of naive lyrics and '60's advert jingles, but you're sure to find something to like about most of the songs.

red snapper

Red Snapper

The trio of drummer Richard Thair, bassist Ali Friend and guitarist David Ayers make underground club music with live instruments and a non-traditional approach. Whether they dip their feet in the waters of Drum and Bass, Dub, Soul, Jazz or Trip-Hop, Red Snapper always sound fresh and exciting. MC Det joins in on the kinetic Like A Moving Truck scatting over the D'n'B beats and grooving guitar line and Alison David sings venomously over the stuttering reggae dub of Seeing Red. On Making Bones Red Snapper deliver a powerful collection of songs both with and without vocals, excelling at all styles and will satisfy the heads who were disappointed by UNKLE and who enjoy Massive Attack. Red Snapper will never fail to thrill.

dj Cheb i Sabbah
Six Degrees Records

Shri Durga combines "dj science and ragas, sung and played by Hindu and Muslim musicians." DJ Cheb i Sabbah puts a modern yet respectful spin on traditional Hindustani ragas adding Bill Laswell's bass playing, trip-hop rhythms and digital production techniques. Shri Durga is an emotional album, evoking images of imaginary worlds, of colors, shapes and moods with each raga a celebration of life, love and spirit. If you enjoy Transglobal Underground, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or just want to hear something new from another culture then you will want to hear Shri Durga by dj Cheb i Sabbah. Enjoy the music of the spheres and liberate your heart and mind. Find out more on this great release at


By the time you read this, Underworld's latest album should finally be available domestically. Beaucoup Fish is part somber atmosphere, part juggernaut dance workout. Cups opens the album in a breezy, string-laden way, adding bass and percussion, liquid synths, layering elements on top of each other until the tension can't be held any longer. Then the tempo picks up and pure trance strains take over. Karl Hyde's voice is always treated like an instrument in the mix which is the way it should be what with his cut and paste lyrics full of strangely meaningful non-sequiturs. Trance rhythms follow in the form of Push Upstairs forcing your blood to pump faster, then Jumbo opens up the previously dense mix letting you fall into the crevasses between Hyde's voice, the percussion and the sparse keyboards. Thumping drums, house piano and guitar squeals pile onto each other as Hyde sings of some "Tom & Jerry thing" on King Of Snake, while record scratching and guitar loops combine with live drums and layered vocals on Bruce Lee. Something Like A Mama, pairs breakbeats with cut-up voices and dark synths making for an introspective yet funky track. Of all the songs on Beaucoup Fish it's this one that most shows signs of innovation and intelligence from Rick Smith and Darren Emerson's musical input. They also excel at the slower numbers giving a worthy example to others in the electronic arena of how to do things. Give Underworld's web page a look at for more information about this exciting group.

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November 23, 1998
The Mayan Theater

underworld in leather
After a rather low-key set by DJ Jason Bentley, Underworld came on stage around 10 p.m. to thunderous applause. Above and behind the stage ran projections on white sheets of Tomato-directed videos with text flashing along with Karl Hyde's vocals. The audience focused on Karl's dancing and prancing while Darren Emerson and Rick Smith's pounding beats and swirling synths enveloped our ears and the flashing images distracted our vision. The Mayan was packed to the rafters with maniacal fans with the area just below the stage especially cramped with sweaty, screaming fans were jumping up and down to the grooves. Looking up from this pit of revelers one could see the balcony shaking with the spirited motions of the fans above. Barely able to breathe, we cheered and sang to such classics as the drum & bass tinged Pearl's Girl, the hypnotic strains of Born Slippy and the new classics Cups and the show stopper (for me) King of Snake. While images of snakes and lines of lyrics emblazoned the stage Darren and Rick bobbed their heads and turned this knob and that, Karl swung his arms around and played guitar, slapped fans' hands and flung sweat on everything. This fan was happy to be one of the lucky few thousand to get down to Underworld's heady mix of electronics, vocals and visuals that cool winter night in Los Angeles. We couldn't have had a better time.
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November 24, 1998
The Palace

jack dangers live
In support of their best album yet, Actual Sounds and Voices, Jack Dangers and company took on the speakers and the audiences' ears with their trademark brand of BAAAAASSSSS heavy electronic music. The Meat Beat sound live is a joy (and sometimes a pain) to hear with Dangers' sound triggers, samples, odd vocals and percussion joined by live drumming and guitar effects. To give us something more to look at, the band was joined by a spastic uniformed dancer who posed, made faces and generally grooved along with the fans and the band. At one point the dancer gave us a much-needed shower of water from his high-powered water rifle. If you've never heard Meat Beat Manifesto before, it's a mix of jazz, rock, techno, hip-hop and ambient sounds all stirred together into an Audio Soup and is extremely dance-able. With earplugs firmly in place we got down to the heavy dub masterpiece Radio Babylon, the industrial Helter Skelter and a show highlight It's the Music with its sample of an evangelist preaching the evils of music then after a few minutes of all out bass grooves he recants and tells how he threw his clothes off and danced his soul clean. The audience threw their hands up at the opening sample of Acid Again with a woman talking to her psychologist about her addiction. The music that followed had us shaking our butts to the addictive sounds of Meat Beat Manifesto well into the early hours of the morning. We danced until it hurt. But it was a good pain.
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Luke Vibert Luke Vibert is back with his third Wagonchrist album. Tally Ho! Is a brilliant collection of bright pianos, keyboards and snappy percussion along with his usual addition of silly vocal samples and quirky odds & ends. Stemming from a seemingly pleasant childhood, Vibert's music celebrates the weird and wonderful side of life as heard on Drum & Bass For Pappa, as Plug and his Big Soup album on Mo' Wax. Crazy Disco Party is full of cheesy synths, spread out voices making ahh sounds, Tally Ho! has an undeniable dance groove with Hawaiian guitar twangs, bright drums, laughing voices and an overall cheery vibe. If you don't have an ear-to-ear smile on your face after hearing the emotionally charged horns, strings, keyboards and hand claps of Shimmering Haze I would suspect that you were either dead or deaf. If you are indeed hard of hearing than turn these tunes up and feel the bass and good times emanating from your speakers. Tally Ho! Is the feel great album of the year, better than most "electronica" you're likely to hear on the radio today.
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60 Channels
World Domination

The Angel is a one woman music machine. As main vocalist, producer and writer of all the music and lyrics, 60 Channels is The Angel's baby. With the aid of a few guitarists, drummers and assorted other musicians the style of is dense and not at all just a dance floor album. With background vocals by MC Cokni O'Dire the opening tracks are dubby head bobbers sure to please pot heads and armchair listeners alike, Frente's Angie Hart sings sweetly over a snazzy drum & bass groove on Tap Your Heart. Her voice is processed the same way as The Angel's so her efforts are dampened by the production. It's still a cool song, with guitars sliding around the mix to cut through the dense bass. Angie Hart is again heard on the Curtis Mayfield penned Give Me Your Love. Her voice is more insistent to fit the drum & bass beats. One of the standouts of Tuned In Turned On is the horns by Katisse Buckingham which add a new dimension to the mysterious dub of High Time. The rest of the album mixes dub and drum & bass yet is mainly a smoldering affair worth spinning the next time you're in a mellow mood.
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CD 1

This is perhaps one of the most unexpected releases to grace my ears. The sounds of static, pops and hisses play over somber bass squelches and more melodic sequences to help you drift off into an altered state of consciousness. Stefan Betke is the mastering engineer at the Rhythm & studio in Berlin and perhaps from his years of detailed work he's been driven to make an album of minute sounds where the rhythms are less important than the hisses and scratches of the music's physical medium be it vinyl, CD or tape. CD 1 is an enigmatic collection sure to puzzle most and please few but for those who "get it" Pole's music is an enjoyable listen.

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Roger Eno
Thirsty Ear Records

Upon first hearing the melancholy strings of Somewhere Above I realized that this might be one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard. But it was over too soon. The music on Flatlands is made up of snippets of memory enhancing strings, piano, horns and wind instruments that evoke images of past joys and heartaches, present friends and future dreams. As written by Roger Eno, just an unaccompanied piano may bring a tear of happiness or of pain to your eye depending on you mood at the time of listening. Eno finds the light and the dark in life and infuses his music with both ends of the emotional spectrum. Play Flatlands on a rainy day while sitting by the fire and drinking coffee or as a backdrop to your daily activity, it works well in many capacities.
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Tom Jenkinson has always exhibited signs of a wicked sense of humor that often overshadowed the listenability of his music. His manic drum programming and hyper bass runs clashed and became mangled with the many crazed sounds banging around the tracks. Granted, when he kicked back and gave some room for his instruments and drums to breathe he was certainly enjoyable. Now, with Music Is Rotted One Note Jenkinson has all but forsaken the digital instruments and samplers of his short past and returned to the world of traditional instruments. No, he hasn't gone classical, he's gone back to the heady days of musical experimentalism as championed by Miles Davis and Herbie Hancock in the 60's and early 70's. When you read journalists say that drum & bass is the new jazz this is what they are referring to. Ominous vibes swirl around behind meandering guitars and keyboards while the fretless bass and drums lead the direction of the music. Coming back around again to electric instruments after playing with electronic and digital soundscapes has enabled Squarepusher to make even more abstract sounds with his guitars and such. This is jazz for out-there electronic music fans. Take heed of Music is Rotted One Note, you may impress your jazzbo peers and older relatives yet.
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The Boys
The Sheffield duo have made a brilliant album with the most complex percussion and ultra-tight melodies heard this year or even the last few years. They've spoken about their ability to get inside their machines and become almost empathic with them. AE may be the first definitive proof of the melding of man and machine. The up-front and forceful percussion and bass thumps on 777 run scattershot over your frontal lobes while funky keyboards wind their way into your bones and spine and the pounding drums of Rae pummel your ears while soothing synthesizer melodies relax your muscles. It is just this sort of dichotomy that Autechre excel at, throwing pretty and thought-provoking melodies up against hard and sometimes harsh percussion and bass to see what becomes of the two elements. The duo succeeds in such tracks as Corc which is one of the slowest and loveliest pieces on AE with ethereal keyboards and emotional bass synths. It's a wonder listening to this album and hearing what sound like guitars and other physical instruments and knowing that none of them exist on the CD. Autechre have lived with their digital machines so long that they've created a virtually new variation on live instrumental performance as heard on AE.
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Monkey Mafia

Does anyone remember a few years back when Ambient Dub was popular? Jon Carter must remember because he's living the Dub lifestyle on his first full-length release Shoot The Boss. Monkey Mafia's sound is in your face bass with punchy drums and a deep groove that is sure to get your feet moving. Carter lays on the ambient washed to the bass dub of ,Make Jah Music, he speeds up the Reggae beats and adds acid squelches to Blow the Whole Joint Up and throws in some MC ing by Douge Reuben into the breakbeat mix on I Am Fresh. Work Mi Body is a solid dancefloor filler with scratching by Krash Slaughta, chanting by Patra, twanging guitars and a dense, anxious feel. Another standout on Shoot The Boss is the tribal drums of The Whore of Babylon which contains droning guitar scratches, organs and a mysterious air. Carter would do well to take it down a bit, most of the tracks deaden the ears with the overall menace of the album. At 72 minutes it gets to be too much of the same thing. The relaxed pace and soulful singing by Shirzelle of the closing track doesn't make up for the lack of variety in the rest of the album. Still, taken in parts Shoot The Boss by Monkey Mafia is a welcome change of pace from most everything else on the market today.
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The Shrine Expo Hall
September 26, 1998

The Crystal Method at the Shrine Expo Hall
Going anywhere loud, crowded and hot may not seem like something you want to do after working eight hours on your feet. But when it's The Crystal Method making it loud and the audience making it hot and crowded, well, then it's well worth your time. When the duo told the world that they didn't want to be known as a dance group but as a rock and roll group I laughed. Two guys standing behind keyboards and samplers a group let alone a rock group? I don't think so! They proved me and many others wrong judging by the atmosphere of smoke, bright swirling lights and attitude, yet most everyone at the Shrine Expo Hall was squirming, shimmying or shaking some parts of their bodies to the loud synthesizers of The Crystal Method. As Primal Scream and The Happy Mondays proved in the late 80's and early 90's one can dance to group with "traditional rock instruments." The Crystal Method's instruments of choice just happen to be keyboards and loud pumping bass and percussion loops that got our butts moving and heads nodding. The duo put on a great show and I had a great time until Doc Martin came on to spin his trademark brand of machine noise. Brainless construction sounds set to a metronomic tempo. A poor choice of styles to follow some intelligent dance music. Special thanks to the friendly folks who where gracious enough to give me one of their extra tickets when my name failed to make it on to the list.
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Charlatans UK
the John Anson Ford Theater
August 26th, 1998

On a pleasantly cool late August night I trekked over the hill to the Ford Theater and saw one of the best groups in the world. Before Noel decided to let Liam join his garage band, before so many Brit-Pop copycats got out of elementary school The Charlatans where making a joyful noise unto the world. After eight years, prison time for one, the death of their incredibly talented keyboardist and some years of neglect from their U.S. labels the group is still at it and their show is still heartfelt and humorous as well as powerful and funky. The show began with songs from their later albums such as North Country Boy then went somewhat backwards through their catalog into the positively joyous Crashin' In, Just Lookin' and Can't Get Out of Bed. The combination of guitars, Hammond Organ and Tim Burgess' expressive vocals are a heady mixture and as the night went on and the music got older the mood became younger and fresher. Weirdo got everyone on their feet and pogoing, The Only One I Know had us throwing our hands in the air and by the time the encore came of the show-stopping and show-closing strains of Sprogston Green we were positively breathless. Which was just fine because under the stars and cool air of the Hollywood Hills we couldn't have had a better time. Get The Charlatans UK's Melting Pot to find out what you've missed out on with L.A.'s spoon-fed diet of radio marketing friendly groups like Oasis and Bush.

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The Troubadour
October 1, 1998

On this cool Fall night the cultural musical polyglot that is Transglobal Underground made the awkward confines of the West Hollywood club The Troubadour a welcome home to a select group of hipsters, "world music" aficionados, Asians, Arabs and everyone of whatever descent, culture or musical taste. We all came for T.U., to get down, groove to some bass, drums, electronic grooves, Reggae toasting, tablas, dhol and Natacha Atlas' sublime spiritual Arabian vocals. The basso voice of the mighty TUUP invited us to join him in getting down to the music and to feel the vibe on Delta Disco, Coleridge traded vocals with Atlas, Hamid Mantu kept the beat, Tim Whelan played the keyboards and sequencers and a super talented man played all kinds of percussion with a broad smile on his face. Once the audience was sufficiently warmed up Natacha Atlas took the stage and brought us to another plain of existence with her drawn out vocals with thick bass fills by Whelan. Then the rest of T.U. joined in and we all got down with selections from their new release Rejoice, Rejoice as well as the rest of their excellent records. For the last few songs Atlas came on stage and sang and belly danced in a revealing outfit, turning on quite a few men in the audience to be sure. After two incredible hours of culture melding dance music Transglobal Underground bade us farewell and from the room above the stage continued to smile and wave at us as we left the club. Look out for our first issue of 1999 for a brain expanding conversation with Tim and Hamid.

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Various Artists
Junior Boys Own Records

A few awesome songs into Junior Boys' Own: A Perspective I began to think that these guys love music and what a great selection they've been able to include for our listening pleasure on two CDs no less. The first disc opens with three tracks that were influential in JBO's musical output and signings including New Order's Everything's Gone Green, and the soul techno of Can You Feel It by Mr. Fingers. Onwards we go through the blissed out Only Love Can Break Your Heart (A Mix of Two Hearts) by St. Etienne getting the dub treatment, and Andrew Weatherall giving a dance remix to Soon by My Bloody Valentine. The Weatherall produced Primal Scream MF-ing classic Loaded eases its way through the speakers and invites you over for a toke, JBO mainstays Underworld show up in several guises: as remixers for Simply Red and Bjork's Human Behavior; as Lemon Interrupt on Bigmouth; and on their own material, Rez and Moaner. The inclusion of so many songs from Weatheral, Sabres of Paradise, The Chemical Brothers and Underworld is enough to make anyone interested in dance/electronic music want to buy these discs but it's the reworkings of the original sources that makes JBO: A Perspective 1988-1998 an important entry into the annals of music history. Brilliant minds at work with a sense of playfulness.

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Deep Dish
Arista Records

Opening with the palate cleansing guitars and horns of Intro-Morning Wood, the DC duo of Ali Sirazinia (a.k.a. Dubfire) and Sharam Tayebi quickly move you onto the dance floor with The Future of the Future (Stay Gold). Glistening sequences, pumping bass and trebly keyboards escort your rump to shake while your hands rise and you chant along with Everything But the Girl's Tracey Thorn and her goose bump inducing voice. Summer's Over follows with burblings and bubblings under metallic percussion, zaps and skitters and then you realize the drums have started and you're moving your body in new and strange directions. A few tracks into Deep Dish's Junk Science you may say to yourself "self, this would sound incredible even at home or with headphones on, maybe I'll buy it!" Then you continue to dance. Soulful keyboards (with help from Brian Transeau [yes, BT]) and guitars buoy Richard Morel's vocals proclaiming that Mohammad is Jesus "and Jesus is Buddha, is love, is the way I see it, uh huh." By the time that the hard-ass beats of Monsoon begin you begin to spill your drink because you're spinning around like a dervish, not caring that you look weird since everyone else on the floor is doing their own thing. Then before you know it the disk is done and you gasp, smile at your fellow revelers and stroll out into the dark wondering what store carries Junk Science by those freaks of beats Deep Dish.

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Matador Records

Joerg Burger and Wolfgang Voigt (a.k.a. Mike Ink) have worked together since the early 80's. They've recorded separately, Burger as The Bionaut and The Modernist and Voigt on the Profan and Studio Eins labels. Evolving from the music of Cologne comes their latest collaboration [Las Vegas], a brilliantly smooth collection of ambient space, deep house and guitar textures. Close your eyes, turn up the volume and trance out to the likes of Flesh & Bleed with its slow groove and echoing bell sounds, or Bring Trance Back (to Las Vegas) [Blue Hotel] a housy builder with acoustic guitar loops. Next is The Jealous Guy From Memphis, which has the duo making their own "intelligent techno" version of a B12 track. Much of the second half of the album is echoing, chiming trance house with an enjoyable bounce. [Las Vegas] ends with the strings and sub bass dub of Swiss Made, leading me to believe that Burger and Voigt have more on their agenda than experimental ambient and house but also want to get your mind soaring to another dimension. [Las Vegas] is a thrilling find, slip the disk in, chill out and fly.

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Baby Ray
Thirsty Ear Records

So you say you're tired of the Alanis's and the Madonnas and the Seven Mary Third Eye Blinds? Then listen to this! The press release says: "The lamest looking tape" in the hopefuls bin found its way to the "label president's desk." He played it and was "pleasantly surprised to find it unlike anything else he'd heard." What? You say that you don't believe it? Well, it's true!!! So there. Imagine a world where XTC, R.E.M. and Elvis Costello ruled the airwaves (well they really did in the early to mid 80's on some stations) and then add a bunch of swearing, devil-may-cares in a garage and you get Baby Ray. Jangly guitars with actual solos(!), a distinctive voice singing about the usual crappy relationships with wit and sarcasm and quirky time signatures make up just a little of Monkey Puzzle. If you enjoy adventurous rock and roll with a likeable sound then ask for Baby Ray's Monkey Puzzle at your local independent record store. And tell the world how great your life is now!

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Love And Rockets
Red Ant Records

Lift is perhaps Love And Rockets' most accomplished album to date, taking in all their stylistic ventures from Tones On Tail to Express to Hot Trip To Heaven. Their latest contains Daniel Ash's best vocals to date, organic electronic textures, jarring, soothing, jamming guitars, and biting lyrics about the state of drugs, politics, sex, society and L.A. life in general. Lift is produced by Doug Deangelis with additional programming and synths making this a very warm and moving album regardless of what machines made the music. To turn the lyrics of Pink Flamingos around to the positive, grab your money, don't be a fool and get Love And Rockets' new incredible album. It's called Lift signifying that the trio is moving up in the music world. Be sure to take the ride with them.

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Six By Seven
Beggars Banquet

By the time you read this review Six By Seven's full length The Things We Make will be out in the States. For now I'll whet your appetite by telling you about three of the songs from this single I'm listening to on the headphones. As if Seefeel and My Bloody Valentine never left, the thick, layered, distorted guitars and throbbing bass of European Me assault the ears like nails on a chalkboard along with alternately soothing and high-pitched vocals. A strummed guitar and organ create a trance-like melody to open 88-92-96, then a keening guitar joins and vocals, then things pick up as the singer cries "You do it so well," and "I really don't care," and "Stop talking at me" in a David Bowie wail. Things move on from there into dueling guitar solos mixed with dense noise. Your Town sounds like Stereolab with its trance inducing organ, guitar fuzz and muffled vocals. Six By Seven have an intense, varied sound and the album is even more diverse than this single with Beatles-esque pop and more mainstream fare. Their guitar drenched sound is sure to please.

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Less Than Jake
Capitol Records

Faster than a speeding bullet the whiplash guitar riffs and drumbeat of Less Than Jake's latest release rock your world. The vocal melodies trade time with Eddie Van Halen quick solos until you gasp for breath and press pause on the CD player. Sit down, take a deep breath and dive back in. Finally, by the third track All My Best Friends Are Metalheads the horns kick in and a big smile crosses your face. Wait a minute, horns on a song with the word METAL in it? What gives? Well, this is Less Than Jake after all and they mix heavy metal with horns. But what sets these folks apart from the rest of the Ska-punkers (skunkers?) and related groups is the intelligent lyrics that you can actually understand and the distinct lack of ego heard in the songs. Yes, the group feels your pain, growing up, getting drunk, staying a kid into your late twenties, whatever. They know what its like because they're just like you! Except they get paid a little bit to tell you about it. On Hello Rockview you can hear the joys of being young and in a rock band for yourself, don't take my Playstation playing,low paying job working 30 year old word for it.


Various Artists
Wall Of Sound Records

As Skooly D. asks, "can you turn it out?" The acts featured on the first domestic compilation from the Big Boys at Wall Of Sound certainly do turn it out, rip it up and is a 40 ouncer drinking, hands in the air, rump-shaking good time. The label that brought you The Propellerheads will soon make household names of such funk-meisters as Mekon (Skool's Out Featuring Skooly D.), the gritty groovers Dirty Beatniks (Latinhead) and Wreckage Inc. with the fiercest beats of the bunch on Chase. The modus operandi of the artists on Bustin' Loose is loud, noisy grooves with bombast to spare, some vocals such as Skooly D.'s filthy raps and lots of scratchy samples and sirens. Some latin percussion and rhythms are tossed in but this is mainly an urban traffic jam put to a dance beat. Only a few tracks may fail to light a fuse under your ass but for the most part Bustin' Loose will cause a serious case of happy feet and epilepsy-like neck bobbing amongst you and all those within earshot of your bedroom, car, headphones, wherever.


Main Page: Read more of Bret's Ramblings.
Reviews Page: Read newer reviews from the pages of Highwire Daze magazine.
Underworld and Tomato's Site: News, reviews and photos of an exceptional trio as well as info about their graphics and commercial company Tomato.
Loopz, the Orbital 'Zine: Information about the brothers Hartnoll and their upcoming album Middle Of Nowhere
Ultraworld: The Orb: The official website of Dr. Alex Patterson et. al. and their crazy act, The Orb
The Only Official Prodigy Website: News and interviews with Liam Howlett's band.
The Underworld Confusion Center: An interesting Underworld fan's site.
Sun Electric: A minimalist site dedicated to the Berlin duo.
Spacetime Continuum Fanpage: Ambient artist Jonah Sharp's web page
Warp Record's Red Snapper Page: Interviews and reviews of a band that plays instruments yet is still underground "dance" music.
Mu-ziq Central: All you need to know about Mike Paradinas and his various alter egos.
Official Loop Guru Site: News and photos of this culture-crossing dance act.

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