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March 26, 1981 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1981-03-26

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ARTS
Thursday, March 26, 1981

The Michigan Daily

Page 5

acquired by chicanery best left
unquestioned) give the album a feeling
of authenticity. Vocally, this is
musica verite, if you will. It is reality
taken directly from its sources, and its
common theme is the unabashed depth
of human emotion.
The authenticity has been undercut in
production because the tapes have been
doctored -to give them a rhythmic
repetitiveness that is consistent with
the music. Thus we keep hearing Mor-
ton's rapturous voice ironically
repeating "I know" as jungle congas
and tinny, melodic keyboards pound in
the background.
The modernness of the technology
has been married to a primitive
musical feel in sort of an unholy allian-
ce that, oddly, works most of the time.
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts emerges
as an uncomfortably spectacular work
of art because Byrne and Eno syn-
the size their collection of loose ends
with ingenious subtlety.
THE ALBUM is one consistent image
of primordial mystery, of a half-
forgotten voice whispering naggingly in
the subconscious. The voice is thinly
masked by ponderous jungle drums and
tweaking synthesizers in "Mea Culpa;"
but moans heavily and softly in the
distance like wind through the trees. It
comes in steely, precise increments in
"Qu'Ran," fitted neatly between
slithering synthesizer rhythms and
sparse rattling bass work.

Jno & Byne
By FRED SCHILL
It's very disorienting to dance to a
*sermon. Yet the emotion, vigor, and
rhythm of a fundamentalist preacher in
full lather springs eternal from the
same source that inspires a Johnny
Rotten to raging contortions of
vituperative vengeance.
That kinship is profoundly
examined in David Byrne and Brian
Eno's complex collaborative album,
My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. Rock and
roll is an emotional form of music, after
all,: so why shouldn't the emotion be
religious fervor? Indeed, some strains
of rpck are direct derivatives of gospel
music. Ask Little Richard.
THE HEAVY religious content of My
Life, then, is hardly extraordinary.
Tapes of Muslims chanting Qu'Ran and
an exorcist chasing the demons away

set to tribal dance music is a different
matter.
Byrne and Eno have composed and
produced what can most accurately be
termed musique concrete, a sound
carefully layered and sculpted to
achieve the duo's own peculiar designs.
The album struggles with a curious
thematic duality; it is music from the
soul, intellectually contrived. The
music does not always survive the shat-
tering conflict, but the struggle is a
marvel to hear.
Sticks, congas, cans, and "found ob-
jects" crack and jangle behind black
gospel vocals in "Moonlight in Glory,"
behind the feverish abandonment of
Reverend Paul Morton's sermonizing
in "Help Me Somebody," and in the
bubbling undulations of "Come With
Us."
RECORDINGS OF a Lebanese moun-
tain singer, of radio sermons and talk
shows, and of the exorcism (no doubt

Wild, funky jungle heatedness infes
the arrangements of "The Jezeb
"Spirit," with the demonic cackling of t
exorcist and the imprecation that "Y
have no right there; her husband is t
head of this house" scarcely le
primitive, and "The Carrier," with i
distanced, shifting chaoticness. Tl
music is more abandoned and co
sequently more authentic than t
African derivativeness of Byrne ar
Talking Heads' Remain in Light,
The arrangements are insidious
danceable in their urgancy, subt
highlighting the ages-old sentimen
echoed in the vocals. Hence the sly u
of Lebanese mountain singer Dun'
Yusin, whose hearty wailing
"Regiment" is followed by smoot
thick guitar solos," of the ancient rite
exorcism; and of the frustrated tal
show host in "America is Waiting" wi
disgustedly concludes, "Taken
again. Again? Again? Taken in again
THE THEMATIC THRUST of tI
album could be summed up by ti
truism that mankind hasn't chang
that much through the ages. But the
does't do justice to the album becau
Byrne and Eno don't tell you, the
show you. Sometimes the varyin
streams of consciousness jar ar
noyingly (as in "Secret Life") or ju
don't mesh effectively ("The Jezeb
Spirit" goes a bit overboard), and th
album constantly battles its experime
' tal, unfamiliar nature, but most of th
time the odd crystallization harden
cohesively. Its effectiveness grows wit
time, as the strangeness wears off an
the impact sets in, and as it it
creasingly evokes the sam
restlessness in the listener that it h
recorded in the voices and music of th
album.
'I
Joan Jett - 'Bad Reputation' (Boar
dwalk) - Freed from the cloying
tackiness of Kim Fowley and Th
Runaways, Joan Jett has finally
arrived as the black leather goddess o
trash rock.
On Bad Reputation, Jett rips like
hellcat through the entire history o
rock and roll-girl groups, 70s glitter
punk, heavy metal, bubblegum-witl
an awe-inspiring and captivating laci
ANN ARBO

ts of subtlety. In the process, nothing is
}el left unscathed. She takes every
he imaginable song style, charges through
ou it, has fun with it, rips it to shreds and
he really does it justice.
ss SURE, NOT everything is good (in
ts fact, some of the guitar work and most
he of the sax playing is pretty bad), but
n- tastefulness is as irrelevant as
he historical integrity to an undertaking
nd like this. You've really got to respect
someone, though, who can make a song
ly sound like a viable and enjoyable
ly meeting between the Isley brothers and
ts the Ramones as she does on her
se punked-up version of the old Isley's
ya standard, "Shout."
in She carries off all of her cross-genre
h, bastardizations with just that much
of unexpected wit and unassuming
k- finesse. I can actually believe that she
ho could stand on stage wearing black
in leather and still really mean all the
." teen-dream pop tunes on Bad
he Reputations.
he But if you can't quite picture it in
ed your mind, you'll get a change to see it
at for yourself when Jett appears with her
se touring group, The Blackhearts, at
ey Second Chance Monday, April 6.
zg -Mark Dighton
st Fol
'el
he Ellen Foley -'Spirit of St. Louis'
,n (Epic) - Ellen Foley has just released
he her second album, Spirit of St. Louis,
1s and she wants us to know that her
th boyfriend produced it. Not to be ignored
Ld is the fact that he and a friend wrote
n- half of the album's songs, and his band
e is responsible for most of the in-
as strumentation.
ie Her ovfri,'nd? That's very sweet of
her, but why? Well, Ellen Foley's
boyfriend's name is Mick Jones. His
band is called the Clash, and his buddy
is Joe Strummer. Now, are you in-
terested? Please don't be. Spirit of St.
Louis is not a good album. In fact, it's
pretty boring.
MOST OF THE blame lies with
Foley. She just can't sing. Anytime she
holds a note for longer than about half a
second her voice turns to absolute
mush. And when the tempo picks up,
she can't sing fast enough.
But it's not entirely Foley's fault. Her
boyfriend's production isn't too
listenable either. The mix is poor: The
drums and vibraphone are way out in
front with the vocals, and while the
keyboards and guitars aren't buried in

the mix (it's too diffuse for that),
they're not particularly audible either.
The sound is so thin that at times the
songs seem to be in danger of floating
away, and Foley's voice can't even
begin to hold them down.
Strummer and Jones wrote some
unusual material for Foley, mostly
pretty pop ballads. Two, however, fail

badly; "In the Killing Hour," and "The
Death of the Psychoanalyst of Salvador
Dali" (a totally stupid song). Most of
the other songs, three by Clash protege
Timon Dogg, are well-chosen, but
poorly done.
On this twelve-song album, only three
are worth listening to: "How Glad I
Am," a love song, a simultaneously
melancholy and joyous duet between
Jones and Foley called "Torchlight,"
and "Phases of Travel," Foley's sole
composition. Something clicks with
these three songs. The sound fills out,
the singing improves, and the songs are
suddenly exciting and interesting. But
alas, they're not enough. Spirit of St.
Louis isn't worth the trip.
-David Selding
the ann arbor
Ifilm. cooperative

t

TONIGHT

TONIGHT

PRESENTS
THE

Theatre enthuiasts takenote

Ordinarily, it is against the policy of
the Daily arts page to review the
Department of Theatre and Drama's
Studio productions, which appear a few
times a semester in the Arena Theatre.
As indicated by the belittling name
"studio," the productiois are pirimarily
proving grounds for beginning students
of directing and for the less experien-
ced actors and actresses. Only when
budding artists reach the Showcase
Productions or the lofty heights of the
uest Artist Series are they considered
fair targets for critics.
It is gratifying to report that the
truisms about Studio theatre ain't
necessarily so. A vehicle for some of the
finest student acting I have had the
pleasure to see made a two-
performance appearance last week
wittiout very much fanfare at all, for
the iery reason that it was a Studio
shoW. I refer to Lanford Wilson's The
Grieot Nebula in Orion, featuring Amy
Fleetwood and Adrienne Thompson,
and directed by Kathy Devecka.
OftION PUTS ITS two actresses to
the 'kind of test only a sadistic acting
coach would dream up. They play two
old school chums who bump into each
other some ten years after graduation
and meet for an hour of chat and even-
tually confession. When they first come
MANN THEATRES
-.
VILLAGE 41
375N. MAPLE
Daily Discount Matinees
TUESDAY BUCK DAY

' i i Vii K I .l/.i ,I r 1 ~ V V Li. it fir/ 1 Z V 4 \r/

LAST WAVE
7:00-Aud. A
MAD MAX
900-Aud. A
$2 single feature
$3 double feature

in, they behave courteously toward
each other, yet they keep up a running
monologue of catty observations -
their characters' actual thoughts -
which they snappily deliver toward the
nearest audience member.
"You really do look marvelous,"
purrs Fleetwood, after which she spits
out an aside: "Imagine. . . wearing a
girdle in this day and age!"
And so the banter continues, until the
effects of brandy and boredom begin to
have their way, and the friends begin to
speak their true minds to each other
rather than to the audience.
Fleetwood and Thompson each have
moments of shattering despair here, as
the former reveals the reason for her
deceptive sexual bravado, and the lat-
ter unveils the dreariness of her
alcoholic existence. It becomes a play

of sudden, almost whispered self-
discovery, as the chasm of isolation
gradually creeps up on the unsuspec-
ting protagonists, and their loneliness
takes on a presence one can smell as
easily as ozone after a thunderstorm.
The 40-minute Studio is a veritable
paragon of faultless timing, wren-
chingly motivated misery, and artful
movement. It does not deserve to have
been extinguished after so short a run,
and if there is any way the theatre
department can see its way clear to
reviving the show for anotherweekend,
I would heartily recommend that such
an action be taken. To the three ladies
responsible for the minor miracle, I ex-
tend but three more words:
Bravissima, Bravissima, and!
Bravissima.
-Joshua Peck

INDIVIDUAL THEATRES
5th Ave. of liberty T61-OT08

7

arch 20 thru April17

i

ENDS TONIGHT:
"DEVIL AND MAX DEYLIN"
7:10, 9:00

(PG)

STARTS TOMORROW:

i

CanrEat Fish1
and Salad Bar

"SUNDAY
,LOVERS"

FRI-7:25, 9:40
WITH TH IS ENTIRE AD -
one admission $2.00 any film
Good Mon. thru Thurs. Eves.
valid thru 3/26/81 "M"

I

Running from the past,
and backing into love

A C$S Theat+oy Fdms Preseonon^
A MARTIN RITTRONALDSHEDIOProducon /
SALLY FIELD TOMMY tEE JONES "BACK ROADS"
° AeSmri+'9DAVID KEITH weo nby GARY DevOIL
,M,4y by HEINRY MANCI'JI Ly~e by ALAN o',d MARLYN BIRGMAN
- Droo fihcugopbyIC) IN A ALONZO. ASC
" Poduced by RONJA;D SHELOI()Decded by MARTN RIGS
S1:15 3:15 5:15
7:30 9:30

- -,
--- --
--0
-- - - - - -- - - - --_-
FOR A LIMIT ED TIME ...enjoy all the fish
filets and all the salad you can eat. Dinner
also includes baked potato and warm roll
*a1 i ii 1 r .-. _ _ I

TS TOMORROW-
ACADEMY
, AWARD
,NOMINATIONS
PG

3

ACADEMY
AWARD
NOMINATIONS
'sO8D1

ENDS TONIGHT:
"MELVIN & HOWARD"
7:40, 9:30

G+

FRI-"SANTINI"l6:40, 10:0
"PRIVATE"-8:00

r

As timely today
as the day it1
was wrttens
PGA COLUMBIA
PiCTURES RELEASE

1:15
4:30?
8:00

i

iI

M

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