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February 08, 1993 - Image 5

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The Michigan Daily, 1993-02-08

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ARTS

The Michigan Daily Monday, February 8,1993 Page 5

'World' can't keep the 'Beat'

by JenSlajus ______ _
The University Dance Company's second an-
nual "Dance to the World Beat" sparked, flickered
and blew away this weekend. Though I saw it last
Thursday night, I still feel like that woman behind
me who, at intermission, said, "Very interesting
performance. Though, I'm still not sure I'm enjoy-
ing it." Um, yeah.
Dance to the World Beat
Power Center
February 4, 1993
It opened with a wow: a cool metaphor set into
motion by blood beating drums, African and Carib-
bean flavored. The dancing began in a dim blue
distance seen only through the pupil of a screen iris.
This soon liftedaway, only toreveal more unveilings
of filmy curtains, which captured the evening's
theme of stripping away meaningless sight-distor-
tions, such as skin tone, to reach the pure dance
within: a kinetically happy circus of silky colors.
There were (a few) other highlights. Dance Pro-
fessorJessicaFogel's "Dance for Eighteen"branded

the audience with several striking images. Part One,
based upon photos and paintings of Jews in Eastern
Europe before WWII, opened to a spooky fore-
shadow: a barren stage and two hanging bone lad-
ders. The choreography combined traditional clari-
net-wild Klezmer folk dancing with staid, mock
group portraits and eerie still-life dancers carried
horizontally above heads; one such woman did a
hand-Stand and was taken off stage like that, walking
futilely in the air upside-down.
Part Two ironically featured Benny Goodman's
jazzy droll version of "And the Angels Sing." In the
foreground, four glamorous couples fox-trotted and
jitterbugged with angels. But in the distance, behind
the red lipstick, behind a sheer scrim, naked people,
shielding their breasts and genitals, walked one-by-
one across the stage into oblivion.
Guest Artist Ann Carlson's "Flag" resulted in a
"Can they do that!?" from that very vocal woman in
my ear. Thirteen dancers, sporting symbolic white
collars and sweaty brown peasant garb, proceeded to
"do that": run, stomp, chant, pant and drive them-
selves utterly insane across a huge, imprisoning
American flag. As Carlson's response to the censor-
ship controversy of the '80s, it worked quite effec-

tively; it thoroughly evoked exhausting frustration
in me. Or maybe that was because it got kinda
preachy towards the end with the reading of the
Constitution. And itlasted forever. Oh, no. Thatmust
have been another piece. Or two.
MFAstudents Gina Buntz and JanetLily choreo-
graphed two tender works, both of which harnessed
beautiful, haunting music from far away. Lily's
"Sidhe," the one piece that I wish had endured a
shade or two longer, etched flowers and children and
rivers and green via repetitive smooth, arm-swal-
lowing motions cradling the pastoral Celtic melody
"Oh Mo Dhuthaich" ("Oh My Country"). Buntz's
lengthy "Inherent Terrain" waved to the unique
Indonesian crooning of traditionalJavaneseGamelan
music performed by the University Gamelan En-
semble.
Oh, the dancing? Well, aside from cocky cheez
whiz called the "Tap Interlude" and "Hip Mix", it_-
was rather difficult to notice. "Creole Stomp" typi-
fied the works. At least ten (too many) dancers
bounced off the walls with electric spirit, but the
repetitive choreography tended to limit them and
drag the pieces beyond the audience's comfort. And
the fab tunes just plain outdid the moves.

fl an ili Arr'hpr narfnrms in "flan,' to a WnrldR4 Pat"

Samael
Blood Ritual
Century Media
Sodom
Tapping the Vein
Century Media
I had trouble telling these two CDs
apart. Samael's music was slower, and
Sodom's lyrics were easier to decipher.
And sure, the actual CDs looked differ-
ent enough; one had an embellished,
gothic looking blue and silver design,
the other a purplish close-up of a robot
with a machine gun. And, of course,
there was that tell-tale sign - one said
Samael, the other said Sodom. Butthat's
where the differences ended.
As with so many other metal bands,
the singers of Samael and Sodom - if
they really are two different people -
both have that frighteningly nonhuman
sound. You know, that unhealthy sput-
tering like the motor of an old car. I
guess it's supposed to make them sound
angry or something. Sony, but the only
thing it sounds is lame. I don't see how
this bellowing adds to the music. And
speaking of the music (if I must), just
when you think these bands are going to
stray from their speed guitar frenzy and,
Idon'tknow, say try anew rifffor once,
they back down and that frantic playing
begins again.
All in all, you have two bands disil-
lusioned with religion and life, singing
aboutbody parts, Creation and nothing-
ness. That's two albums, 22 titles, and
essentially, one song. They should have
saved some money and recorded one
album under the name Samdumb. They

.u 0 VVV u DU

could have called it "Headache."
-Kristen Knudsen
M.O.D. (Method of
Destruction)
Rhythm Of Fear
Megaforce Entertainment
M.O.D.'s latest release, "Rhythm
Of Fear," sounds like what you'd ex-
pect the music from guys who are either
crossing their arms or grabbing their
cocks would sound like. On
"Rhymestein" they call it "rap and
hardcore / Comin' together." That be-
ing the case, they serve to combine the
worst of both genres. Tracks like "Step
By Step" sport pathetic rhymes like,
"The clubs shakin' / The earth's quakin'
/Reality on the stage/We'renotfakin'."
Andexamples like "Irresponsible"don't
make you want to bang your head but
cut it off. There are redeeming qualities
hidden somewhere in here. "I, The
Earth" hints at them as the guys surren-
der to their speed-metal roots. Still, it's
up in the air as to whether the hidden
value is worth seeking out. Musicians
with the ability of Dave Chavarri
(drums), Billy Milano (bass) and Tim
McMurtrie (guitar) could spend their
time more effectively elsewhere.
- Kim Yaged
Soul Asylum
Grave Dancer's Union
Columbia
It seems these days that anyone with-
out the simplest notion of musical talent
could walk into the office of a promi-
nent major label executive, and leave
with a nice, comfortable record contract

in their back pocket. It's odd, then, that
bands who actually have talent (loads of
it, at that), and have been recording
music for the past decade or so, are often
forgotten in the fray. Such is the case
with Soul Asylum, the recording
industry's version of Rodney "No Re-
spect" Dangerfield.
"Grave Dancer's Union," the latest
release from the Minneapolis-based
quartet, revolves around the nifty song-
crafting of lead vocalist David Pimer,
who wraps the listener in his husky, yet
charming voice. Much of "Grave
Dancer's Union" is composed of catchy
hooks, with tightly-woven execution,
and focused structures that immedi-
ately appeal to the listener. The first
single, "Somebody to Shove," rages
forth in the usual Soul Asylum, garage
rock with an attitude method.
But the band tries something differ-
ent this time around. They place a lot of
reliance on the slower, and quieter tunes
on the record. Songs like "Black Gold,"
"Runaway Train" and "Sun Maid," are
so endearingly quiet, that they're haunt-
ingly loud (as in saying more, by doing
less). This is a welcome change for a
band that has been branded as too loud,
too raw and too drunk.
Rock dinosaurs and newcomers alike
could use a pointer or two from these
guys. They've been doing this thing for
years, yet they've kept their ears and
eyes open to new ideas, which in this
business, is usually the key to vitality. If
the creative process is debilitated by
age, then someone hasn't clued Soul
Asylum in yet.
-Nima Hodaei

Paris' latest
by Scott Sterling
"During the gulf conflict, hip-hop's
war drums were deafeningly silent. They
went on to the beat of the cash registers
while the F-1S's were taking out
Baghdad's mothers and children until
the break of dawn. "
-"The Sound and the Fury,"
Greg Tate

I'm down with Mr. Tate, but I think
he missed a few important points. I
guess he never heard Boogie Down
Productions' 1992 release "Sex and
Violence" (KRS-1 directly addressed
the "gulf conflict" throughout that joint;
check "Poisonous Products").
He also ignored the most important
reason behind the "silence" of hip hop's
war drums; rappers that did attempt to
kick some knowledge about that whole
affair got squashed by "the powers that
be." Like Black Panther/rap terrorist
Paris.
Paris' new disc was just too hot for
anyone to handle; His label Tommy
Boy (under pressure from parent com-
pany Time-Warner) flat-out refused to
distribute it. Same deal with the smaller
Sex Records. So my man Paris had to
take his words directly to the people,
releasing "Sleeping With The Enemy"
on his own label Scarface Records
(which ends up being a good thing. For

gets-straight
once, some corporate fatcat won't be
raking in all the cash on a brother's
rhymes. All $$$ goes right to my man).
On "Sleeping With The Enemy,"
Paris has a few words to say about the
"gulf conflict," as well as a slew of other
issues pertinent to the 1990's African
American. Straight up, this disc is the
most incendiary message to Black
America since Public Enemy's "ItTakes
A Nation Of Millions..." And to top it
off, the beats are Paris' fattest ever.
Much like Marvin Gaye's "What's
Going On?," this joint is a cry of Black
rage at the insanity of the world around
us. Notonly that, Paris is all about direct
action - It's not everyday that a hip hop
Straight up, this disc is
the most incendiary
message to Black
America since Public
Enemy's "It Takes A
Nation Of Millions..."
record comes complete with The Dec-
laration of Independence, highlighted
for Africans to implement ("That when-
ever any Form of Government becomes
destructive...it is the right of the People
to alter or abolish it...").
Opening with a cathartic and sym-
bolic assassination of (ex-) President
Bush on the creepy "The Enema (Live
at the White House)," Paris doesn't let
up for a minute of "Sleeping With The
Enemy." "The Black Side" is an all-out
attack on everyone that continues to
keep, their boots on the heads of Afri-

to the point
cans in America. On "House Niggas
Bleed Too," Paris rails against Black
"sell-outs" Clarence Thomas and Colin
Powell, the media ("Part of the Bush
administration"), and the rest of those
practitioners of white supremacy, with
out apologies.
Problems within the Black commu-
nity (and even some solutions) are ad-
dressed on the "Power Side." "The Days
of Old" describes Paris' childhood be-
ing a far cry from the drug and violence-
addled lives led by today's Black youth.
This is shown tobe analogous with how
today's African is completely discon-
nected to our past as kings and queens
(This mellow, jazzy track also features
the first truly effective George Bush
sample). "Long HotSummer"is aphone
conversation that describes some moves
to self-reliance and revolution. The al-
bum ends with the beautiful "Assata's
Song," a love song to Nubian Queens
everywhere, encouraging unity between
Asiatic men and women.
Brothers and sisters everywhere
should get their hands on this record.
Not only is it loaded with positive infor-
mation for all of us, it's the first real step
to Black people completely controlling
this culture that is rapidly being stolen
from us.
"Sleeping With The Enemy" picks
up where Ice Cube's "Death Certifi-
cate" left off(which became realimpor-
tant after mess jumped offin Los Ange-
les). It should be required listening for
politicians, media - Hell, everybody.
Butmuchlike "Death Certificate,"most
probably won't listen until it's too late.

Symphony strikes perfect harmony

by Valerie Shuman
Professor Erling Bengtsson wasn't
kidding when he said he had a fabulous
cello. It graced the Michigan Theater
with an absolutely marvelous tone dur-
ing the Ann Arbor Symphony
Orchestra's concert Saturday. But of
course, even the best instrument can't
do much without someone to play it,
Ann Arbor Symphony
Orchestra
Michigan Theater
February 6, 1993
and Bengtsson proved to be quite a
match for his cello.
The Dvorak Concerto in B minor is
a difficult and emotional piece, and

Bengtsson's treatment was both techni-
cally impressive and lyrically beautiful.
He was a bit heavy-handed at times, but
that may well have been an attempt to
cue the orchestra, which occasionally
had difficulty following him, especially
during the Allegro first movement. As
the concerto continued, however, the
orchestra improved, and the finale kept
its momentum to finish dramatically.
The crowd was so appreciative of
Bengtsson's expertise that he ended up
playing an encore, amarch by Prokofiev.
The concert rumbled to a start with
"Snake Alley" by David Dzubay, an
energetic piece, which, Dzubay has said,
could have been subtitled "An Ameri-
can in Tai Pei." The opening was busy
with percussion and traffic whistles,
and snatches of folksong were stuck in
atoddmomentsas themusic progressed.

The cacophonous crescendoes could
have become obnoxious, but were bal-
anced with broad string passages, com-
plicated drum patterns and eerie whis-
tling strings. The overall effect was
bright and colorful, as the various the-
maticelements swirledquickly together
and apart to the end.
The final work on the program was
"Ma Mere L'Oye (Mother Goose)" by
Ravel. Each movement depicted some-
thing from a fairy tale, including the
Spinning Wheel Dance and the Conver-
sation of Beauty and the Beast. Here as
well, the orchestra did a finejob, and the
many exposed solos were well-handled.
The theater was quite warm, and I was
afraid the combination of heat and fairy
tales was going to knock me right out,
but Wong's expressive conducting kept
the music lively.

Paris gets political with his newest release, "Sleeping with the Enemy.

.-1r--UL.- - - - - --7U~waw

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