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December 09, 1994 - Image 11

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The Michigan Daily, 1994-12-09

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The Michigan Daily - Friday, December 9, 1994 - 11

Some bands become dignified with age. Others, like Love & Rockets, suck.

RECORDS
Continued from page 10
up with a singer whose vocal abilities
hover somewhere around mediocrity.
It's bad, Dude, it's bad.
- Kari Jones
Love and Rockets
Hot Trip To Heaven
American Recordings
A few weeks ago, a forgotten ac-
quaintance approached me in a cafe
to expound upon the joys of LSD and
raves. She readily burst forth with the
exciting details ofher trips and "trips."
Well, this news, I'm afraid, fell on
0 deaf ears.
What? What? What? I can't hear
you. Because, really, when an insignifi-
cant memory from the past brings glad
tidings of blissful ambiance debauched
from computerized backwash, I laugh.
Techno and all its ilk could and will
disappear under the wall of fads and
fashion, forever forgotten.
In a related story, Love and Rock-
0 ets returns after a four-year absence,
embracing the UK house (bowel)
movement, ignoring their best fuzzed
out, pop-rock efforts of previous re-
leases like "Express" and "Love and
Rockets" and delivering somewhat
catchy but extremely featherweight
mood music. What? Speak a little
louder boys - we can't hear you.
They lose, we snooze.
- Matt Carlson
* Plastikman
Musik
Novamute Records
Detroit Techno Goodwill Ambas-
sador Richie Hawtin is back again to
mess with your head. From the
instant "Musik" begins, you have to
release any control you have over
your own reality and be transported
into the Acid realm of Hawtin's
mind. "Musik" picks up where his
other albums ended, creating a
triptych of techno madness.
Slower than past efforts, "Musik"
loses none of the intensity Hawtin's
followers have come to expect from
the hobgoblin icon that is Plastikman.
The multiple layers of wall-of-sound
texturing creates an infinitely thick
sound that reveals new angles with
each subsequent listen.
"Konception" is an aptly titled
beginning track, introducing the
listener into the overall tenor of the
album. The background vocals on
"Plastique" (which is a refracted
voice saying "Plaaaaaaastik") give
the song an eerie, other-worldly feel
_ that is juxtaposed against a familiar
Hawtin theme. The ending of
"Plastique" is one of the most
disturbing sound-montages on the
entire album. "Fuk" is just that: a
hard, bass-driven mind "Fuk" that
violates any sense of techno propri-
ety. "Marbles" is an extended jam
that could only be realized by Hawtin.
Each song is a microcosm of the
entire album, composed of rising
action, climaxes and denouements
that are internally coherent and still fit
within the larger framework of the
album. "Musik" spans a full range of
emotion and intensity with effects an
altogether cathartic experience.
"Musik" is a techno tour-de-force

that hits you in the mouth with a
handful of razors and leaves both
your ears and mind bloodied from the
experience ... yet still masochistically
craving more.
- Ben Ewy
Public Enemy
M\jf n 'irL.k\J--Inur A/fMIS A gp

since their hayday music-making ca-
reer. "Aintnuttin Buttersong" is a sad
waste. Listening to Flava Flav through-
out "Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age,"
He's always been crazy, but at least in
the past his being crazy was just an act
(maybe). I can't help but accept the fact
that the brotha needs some help.
The "Public Enemy Sermons" are
still available for all willing to lend an
ear. These guys do say some deep
stuff. Want an example? I thought so.
"Five hundred years ago one man
claimed to have discovered a New
World. Fivecenturies later wethepeople
are forced to celebrate a Black Holo-
caust. How can you call a takeover a
discovery," is an excerpt from "Hitler's
Day." Other similarly powerful lyrics
can be found throughout the CD.
"Muse Sick-N-Hour Mess Age" is
not a shabby CD; it's also not Public
Enemy's greatest work. Some of the
beats could have been a little better,
some of the raps a little more solid. All
in all, and especially when compared to
the weak stuff out there now, this CD
isn't abad choice. It's frank, honest and
in some respects, very uplifiting. These
are the undercurrents which truly drive
Public Enemy.
- Eugene Bowen
Vic Chestnut
Drunk
Texas Hotel
Vic Chestnut's records, gener-
ally recorded with the help of gen-
erous quantities of alcohol, are true
treasures of the south: hot, humid
and ultimately quite beautiful in
spite of themselves. His latest,
"Drunk" is no exception. Recorded
on a farm in South Georgia in the
midst of a three day party, the album
is full of Chestnut's characteristicly
convoluted wordplay, skewed per-
ceptions and, most prominently, that
voice - a dry and wonderful voice
just as capable of rocking out dur-
ing "Sleeping Man" as scraping and
howling through "Supernatural."
He is backed primarily by acous-
tic guitars and the occasional
ukelele, offering him a perfect can-
vas upon which he can paint his
portraits of misfits, losers, freaks
and lost souls. If his characters are
not flying around on intravenous
Demerol or "starting to wig," they
are soul-searching and finding only
a "rusty mass of medications."
Though at times his lyrics do defy
interpretation, ("Your hoity haiku lip
curls / The onion papers drain /
Constantinople"), elsewhere he
keenly examines disintegrating rela-
tionships and, with all of his wit in-
tact, moans, "I'm so sorry you had to
kick my ass." "Drunk" is not the work
of a man seeking mass commercial

acceptance, but it is a fully-realized
and wonderful record that, for those
who chance to find it, will not fail to
please.
- Dirk Schulze
Korn
Korn
Immortal/Epic
Name aside, Korn is one evil bad-
ass, pissed-off, cool-as-shit
motherfucker of an album to come
along since Pantera released "Cow-
boys From Hell." And there's a rea-
son behind that reference; there is no
way this band would exist if it wasn't
for the angry thrash riffing of Pantera.
Lead vocalist Jonathan Davis takes
a lot from Phil Anselmo, from the
guttural mutterings to the bad boy
macho stance of the lyrics. But Davis
also plays bagpipes, adding a unique
touch to songs like "Shoots and Lad-
ders."
Davis is mad, and sometimes it's
chillingly effective. "Daddy" is a 17-
minute epic told from the point of
view of an abused child, complete
with sobs and screams. This pretty
much gets the "Schindler's List"
award for cheery subject matter, but
it's also quite jarring.
On the other hand, "Faget" (their
spelling) is either extremely
homophobic or uncommonly sensi-
tive; the lyrics are too muddled and
the point-of-view shifts too much to
discern the real content. It doesn't
help that the chorus sounds too much
like "I'm a baguette," effectively
destroying whatever content Davis
started out with.
But I digress. This is not your
parents' thrash; Korn has taken bits of
Rage Against the Machine hip-hop
metal, Barkmarket-style distortion
and Biohazard anger to create the best
debut album of the last five years. It's
the kind of album that can annoy,
anger and provoke your sexually re-
pressed, Gin Blossoms-loving, col-
lege power-pop obsessed, culturally
elitist, politically correct friends
enough to make 'em run screaming in
horror. What a thrill it is.
- Kirk Miller
Red Hot Chili Peppers
Out In L.A.
EMI
Well, if it isn't the Chili Pep-
pers' second new album in a row
that doesn't have anything new on
it. Well, at least this one has some
stuff that people might not have,
unlike "What Hits?" (lovingly
known as "What's This Shit?") with
its collection of songs easily taped
off of a fan's collection.
Instead, "Out In L.A." starts off
with remixes of "Higher Ground,"
"Hollywood," "If You Want Me To
Stay" and "Behind the Sun." Not
the hardest to find (or most desir-
able) choices, but at least they're
not just from the albums.
Next are some slightly more in-
teresting live tracks that showed up
originally on the B-sides of some
12-inch singles. The Peppers serve
up some different versions of
"Castles In the Sand" and "Special
Secret Song Inside" from the stage
as well as the rare track "F.U."
Things get even better with six
demo versions of songs that later
appeared cleaned up, a bit less funky
and a bit more rockin' on the offi-
cial albums. "Green Heaven" espe-
cially sounds as if it was made in a

funk chamber, while "Police Heli-
copter" sounds as if it might have
been recorded on Anthony Kiedis'
boom box.
Well, the lyrics on some of the
tracks are much more intelligible
(but less fun-sounding) than their

finished counterparts. It adds a bit
when you realize "Nevermind" is talk-
ing about things like Culture Club
and the Gap Band. A few other songs
aren't listed as demos but clearly
evolved into familiar Chili Pepper
songs. It doesn't take much imagina-
tion to see the connection between
"You Always Sing the Same" and
"You Always Sing."
Finally come some early tracks
that haven't shown up anywhere else.
The over-funkified feel of these early
recordings find a voice in tie smooth
"Blues For Meister." Prince could
sing over this music. Of course then
there's the odd "Flea Fly" that seems
kind of like scat, but in retrospect also
sounds a bit like Japanoise.
The recording ends with an awful
(and fortunately short) version of
"Deck the Halls" and Kiedis saying
"Goodnight Detroit." This album is
just for our general community, I
guess. We must be cool.
- Ted Watts
Pete Rock and C.L.
Smooth
The Main Ingredient
Elektra
"It's not hard to the core, it's not
sex on the beach, It's just another
kaI

plateau brothers have yet to reach" is
how C.L. sums up "The Main Ingre-
dient." Indeed, it is something differ-
ent, and a powerful second release
from the duo. Aspects of the formula
include Pete Rock's floating jazz,
basslines that ease along - almost
always making one familiar key
change per song -and staccato beats
that absolutely require the listener to
commence to head-noddin'. -
Since the release of the group's
first album, "Mecca and The Soul
Brother," Pete Rock has produced
as many rappers as he hasn't. It
seems as though almost everyone in
the business, from big guys like
Run D.M.C. and House of Pain to
little knowns like A.D.O.R., has had
a song produced or remixed by Rock.
His distinctive style pervades
throughout his production jobs, but
with C.L. he is clearly at home. The
nonchalant but penetrating voice of
C.L. contrast the laid-back tracks
perfectly. This album is an exten-
sion of their first EP and debut al-
bum, with a little more space be-
tween the samples and the basslines,
and little more emphasis on ro-
mance.
The album is a meeting of influ-
ences that quietly overtake the lis-

tener. The jazz styles give the al-
bum a- sophisticated feel, but the
bumpin' beats let you know that it's
down to earth. Pete Rock's voice is
constantly in the background guid-
ing you through the album with
melodramatic expressions of
"Oooh," and "Ah, yeah" while C.L.
and the guest rappers come off with no
pretenses.
Finally, coupled with some of
the most highly-produced tracks in
hip-hop, there is a cut from Biz
Markie's classic album "Goin' Off"
in nearly every track (it's fresh PR,
but you must have other records up
in the crib!).
All in all, the album is about
balance. It is distinctive but famil-
iar, super-produced but rough, jazzy
but slammin', laid-back but excit-
ing. It's also 76 minutes long (so
was their first); add some flavor to
your collection and pick up "The
Main Ingredient."
- Dustin Howes
Bruce Dickinson
Balls To Picasso
Polygram Records
Two word review:
Shit Sandwich.
-Mott C'arlson

Damn, they're smooth! C.L. Smooth and Pete Rock are trying to find that elusive "Nancy Sinatra - Country" album.

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