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December 01, 1992 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1992-12-01

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-ARTS
The Michigan Daily Tuesday, December 1, 1992 Page 5

Linguini a la Stigmata?

Gary Lucas
Gods and Monsters
Enemy
In which the former Beefheart guitar soloist down-
plays exaltoid/creepoid solo guitar plus mega-effects to
Settle into an ever-shifting band-thing that operates un-
Oer the moniker that provides the album title ... The
band includes Rolo "Woodentop" McGinty, Mary Mar-
garet "Voice" O'Hara, Michael "Waits" Blair, Jon
"Mekon" Langford, and Tony "Ubu" Maimone.
The various six-strings of the record stretch from
demented solo folk and band folk-rock that could make
Fahey and Kottke sweat to manic electric explosions
that could make Jimi smile. You'll smile, too, as Lucas
furthers the accomplishments of his genre-melting ge-
nius, fusing Miles Davis' "Jack Johnson" to Suicide's
"Ghostrider." And ever more surprising genres lurk
around every turn of this cd.
Needless to say, this album features some killer mu-
-sicianship, and some quite life-affirming taste. In all,
the aural merzbild that is "Gods and Monsters" whets
the appetite for more Lucas recordings where he gets to
call the shots.
- Greg Baise

Lucas

unique and impressive compilation. As the title denotes,
the music is wholly acoustic from eastern and southern
Africa, with guitars as their principal instruments. In-
credibly, most of the recordings date back to the 1950s,
thanks to one man's dedicated ethnomusicological
work.
The dizzying variety of guitar techniques, orchestra-
tions, and vocal accompaniments attest to the enthusi-
asm with which many Africans embraced the acoustic
guitar in the 20th century. Inexpensive, mass produced
guitars became wildly available in rural areas through
general stores. The musical impetus was inspired by a
regionally varying blend of locally rooted traditions,
Cuban music, and old acetate recordings of American
country artists, like Jimmy Rodgers. (The latter influ-
ence is especially prevalent in South African guitar mu-
sic.)
The recordings from Zaire demonstrate intense
rhythmic complexity, complete with pop-bottle percus-
sion and Orchestra Tinapa's gaggle of clarinets. Much
of Zambia's guitar music is a product of migrant copper
miners who create an imaginative intermixing of vari-
ous regional styles and foreign musical concepts. The
subjects of the songs range from traditional stories, to
local gossip and love-sickness.
A South African recording by Citaumvano is rooted
in a riveting Xhosa country guitar rhythm, demonstrat-
ing the general dexterity and virtuosity that underlies all
of the performers. It is impossible to relate all of the vi-
vacity that envelops these precious recordings ... hear
them for yourself.
- Chris Wyrod
Tom Waits
Bone Machine
Island
Nine years ago Tom Waits kicked off his pivotal
comeback / rebirth "Swordfishtrombones" by proclaim-
ing, "There's a world going on / UNDERGROUND."
He's pretty much stayed there ever since, releasing
three more classic albums plus several album-length di-
verting shards of peripheral work. "Bone Machine"
keeps up his dark percussive spotlight booglarizer last-
drop-of-booze manic / depressive blooze, and to the
surprise of only those who keep "up" by reading British
weeklies, Waits comes through for the fourth time in
nine years as your just under 60 minute man. Larry
"Canned Heat" Taylor plays on it. David "El Lobo" Hi-
dalgo plays on-it. Keith plays on it.
Need I say more? Well, five out of 16 songs start
with "Well" used as an interjection. Two production
modes predominate: smoke-filled piano/loser bar and
two-note Mississippi gamelan basement to Pavement's
Abbey Road garage. There's combinations of the two,
like "That Feel," the album-closer that would have you
sighing on the porch with a cold one in hand if it wasn't
so cold outside in the first place. And then there's the
one that's removed, "Black Wings," which casts a
world-weary James Coburn as Leonard Cohen as El
Topo while Mikis Theodorakis provides the musical
travelogue. But if you told me Gary Young produced
any of these tracks, I'd believe you.
Like so many classics of the past 20 years, this
record should make Lou Reed wish he could still make
a record this good. Unlike any of those aforementioned
classics, "Bone Machine" tastes like blackened barbe-
cued ribs snatched from the maw of the Apocalypse.
Yum!
- Greg Baise
Extreme
III Sides To Every Story
A&M
Marketed as a musical masterpiece, this pretentious
"3-sided" album is good, but it's no breakthrough.
The first side, "Yours," is a collection of six political
song-statements that explore why kids have guns
("Warheads"), why our desire for peace is hypocrisy
("Rest in Peace"), and why our most important peace-
makers have been killed ("Peacemaker Die"). These
ideas have merit, but to title them "Yours" implies to
me that they're mine, and I'd like to think I'm not this
cynical.
The second side, "Mine," (whose?) starts off as an
assortment of agreeable ballad types, like "Seven Sun-
days" and "Tragic Comic." (A bit too morbid for the
campfire, though.) As always, Nuno Bettencourt's
magnificent guitar playing gives life to each song. The
use of Hammond organ and violins in "God Isn't Dead"
makes this song especially stirring.
The third side, "& the Truth," is a musical epic

called "Everything Under the Sun" which is split into
three parts. These three songs follow hopelessness to
self-realization and finally arrive at hope. Using a 70-
piece orchestra, this musical and lyrical extravaganza is
the impressive climax of "III Sides to Every Story." It's
this "truth" that makes the whole story worthwhile.
-Kristen Knudsen

by Joshua Keidan
This is a dangerous book.
The danger of "Penn & Teller's
How to Play with Your Food" lies in
its great appeal. The book, essen-
tially, is a how-to book which
teaches the reader how to perform a
number of practical jokes involving
food. Those readers who are familiar
with Penn and Teller from their off-
B roadway shows or appearances on
"Late Night with David Letterman"
(one time they dumped a thousand
cockroaches on Dave's desk) might
anticipate the disgust and nausea
these tricks can inspire.
A quick glance at the table of
contents reveals to the uninitiated
just what's in store: "Stabbing a
Fork in Your Eye," "Be Picasso,
Now, Without Talent," "Bleeding
Heart Gelatin Dessert," and of
course the classic "Linguini a la
Stigmata." The book also contains
an envelope filled with such goodies
as false product labels and a sugar
packet whose secret they reveal in
the section "How to Use that Stupid
Little Sugar Packet."
A note for all you practical jokers
out there: you've either got to rely
on the charity of your close friends
or buy this book yourself - simply
flipping through "Penn & Teller's
How to Play with Your Food" won't
cut it, because they've designed the
book to defy browsing. As they ex-
plain at one point, "all the illustra-
tions (and captions) on the next two
pages are bogus. They are intended
to mislead semiliterate freeloaders
who browse the book in the store
and try to steal the valuable informa-
tion you have paid for."
The book also, almost inciden-
tally, dispels some of the myths sur-
rounding the death of JFK. Penn and
Teller, borrowing from physicist
Luis W. Alvarez, use melons
wrapped in fiberglass tape to
demonstrate why, when someone is
shot in the head, their head will

move toward the bullet's point of
origin (Oliver Stone, eat your heart
out).
"Great," you say, "sounds fun
and informative. But where's the
danger?" If it isn't obvious to you,
Penn and Teller recognize the dan-
ger and head it off in the book's in-
troduction: "Be careful. If you learn
too many tricks in this book and do
them all the time you will be con-
BOOK
Penn & Teller's How to
Play with Your Food
Villard Books
sidered a nut. You will be seen as
doing tricks not to enhance your per-
sonality but instead of a personal-
ity." Before buying this book for

Penn & Teller cook up a handy guide

HOi [WHAT :WHERE1 ii WHENYI l

Slam, bam, thanks ---
If you've been in Ann Arbor
and never been to a Poetry Slam
at the Heidelberg, you, as we like
to say... er, well, ought to go to
one. And, as a twist (so unusual in
the holiday season) this month's
Poetry Slam (at 8 p.m. tonight).
will be transformed into a holiday
party of the strangest variety. As
we're sure you know, a Poetry
Slam is where local poets gather
to do the usual open-mike
readings, this month revolving
around the joyous holiday spirit.
Don't forget to bring tacky gift

(we suggest anything "Old Spice")
to exchange with some random
person. Admission is $3. For more
information call 995-9857.
Break for baroque
However, if you're of the more
timid sort, we've got just the thing
for you -- especially you baroque
fans fixin' to hear a good dose of
free music. The University School
of Music's Early Music Ensemble,
directed by Edward Parmentier,
will perform in Blanche Moore
Hall tonight at 8 p.m. Call 763-
4726 for what you want to know.

to practicaljokes
your practical joker friend, ask your-
self this question: Do I really want
to contribute to their status as noth-
ing more than a practical joker? Al-
though I may enjoy learning how to
make bleeding Jell-o, do I really
want it served to me at the dinner
table?
At this point, those of you who
know someone who has read this
book may be getting a little con-
cerned - it's OK, though, really,
because even though we've learned
how to get you to pay for our meals,
how to make Jell-o bleed and reveal
the demonic nature of tortillas,
doesn't mean you should stop dining
with us. I'm pleading now on our
behalf - really, we haven't begun
practicing these tricks, spending
hours in the kitchen preparing for
the next time we eat with others. Re-
ally, we haven't. Really. Trust us.

Uncle Tupelo
March 16-20, 1992
Rockville
The things that makes Uncle Tupelo so fascinating
are their obvious growth and depth with every release.
It's as if a persona slowly evolves, revealing itself in
unexpected layers.
"March 16-20, 1992" adds the roots to the angry,
country punk feel of last year's "Still Feel Gone." Pro-
duced by Peter Buck (and assistant engineered by Sug-
ar's David Barbe), this album focuses on the acoustic
side, including a number of traditional songs reinter-
preted by Belleville, Illinois' most undersung three-
piece.
Uncle Tupelo's quietly desperate album seems so
haunting in these times of economic woe, but it's not
really country or the blues, nor straight folk. But much
like Woody Guthrie in the Great Depression, Uncle Tu-
pelo indirectly tell the story of their times and of their
immediate surroundings.
This midwest thing permeates every corner of this
record. "March" shows where the band lives, where the
bitter edge of some of their songs comes from. The
generation after John Mellencamp's as represented by
Uncle Tupelo and this record are more resigned, one big
sigh. It's a black celebration - very unself-indulgent
- of mining, religion, the basic fears of life in forgot-
ten semi-rural America.
Dylan comparisons would be rude and condescend-
ing, because unlike Mr. D, Uncle Tupelo's creative
forces, Jeff Tweedy and Jay Farrar, actually inhabited a
dying area, and still do. "March"'s mix of acoustic gui-
tar with traditional instruments and Tweedy and Far-
rar's traded vocals may be reminiscent of Dylan cum
Guthrie, but Uncle Tupelo have more to them than a
folk message of peace and understanding. They'll do
something totally different next time out, but whatever
it is it will be true to themselves and where they are.
Elvis may be king, but Uncle Tupelo are god.
- Annette Petruso
Various Artists
African Acoustic
Original Music
I can barely begin to describe the intense beauty and
honest charm that pours forth from every song on this

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Q .Y"
ANNOUNCEMENT
AN EXCHANGE PROGRAM WITH RUSSIA
FOR STUDENTS IN PROFESSIONAL SCHOOLS
For the 1993-1994academic yearitwillbe possible for 16 B.S. and
M.S. U of M students to study at professional schools in Moscow,
St. Petersburg, or Krasnoyarsk. Most of the credits will be
transferable as free or technical electives. Expenses incurred in
excess of those encountered in a normal Ann Arbor academic

E~ I LI ~ - ___________

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