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Continued from page 8
Speed limit 140 BPM Plus Four
Speed limit 140 BPM Plus Five
Two more hardcore contributions
to the BPM series, Plus Four and Plus
Five are up-to -the-minute examples of
London Hardcore. Both albums start at
atorrid pace and never once even think
about slowing down. High adrenaline
music for a generation of clubgoers
who have been desensitized to the
overtly mushy music of past genera-
Nothing short of a new musical
order, breakbeat and jungle music is
the anthem of the frenetic; who cares
how you dance to it,just as long as you
do. Plus Four leans more towards the
breakbeat end of the continuum while
Plus Five favors a very raga-influenced
Both albums have the self-ironic
whimsicalities that give these forms of
music a dose of real-world humor.
Sampling everything from Eric B. to
the background music from CapeFear,
London hardcore can laugh at itself in
a way that would make many Ameri-
can musicians very nervous.
The mixing and production on
both of these albums are immacu-
late. Both albums have London
Hardcore DJ Darren Jay in the mix,
who discombobulates all senses.
Jungle music is here to stay, so grab
a piece of floor and DANCE!!
- Ben Ewy
Certain Distant Suns
Happy on the Inside
The first few seconds of this Chi-
cago-based band's debut LP sound
alarmingly like a synth-produced
techno groove. Don't be fooled (and
don't turn it off), because Certain Dis-
tant Suns find ways to surprise on each
and every "Happy" track. That same
cheesy techno groove erupts into the
fuzzy, amiable guitar rock of their fine
first single, "Bitter."
Throughout this effort, a compila-
tion of the "Huge" and "Dogrocket"
EPs, the Suns successfully marry dis-
torted guitars, pop melodies, and dance
music sampling, producing an engag-
ing, if slightly loopy, record.
Lead singer and guitarist Justin
Mroz, blessed with a supple, slightly
Billy Corganesque voice and endless
imagination, leads his band through
these 10 songs (one remix) drenched in
dance, rock, and techno influences.
Diversity reigns supreme in these Suns'
system, as the echoing, symphonic "All
Green to Me" contrasts sharply with
the techno-dance number "Talk" and
the bluesy distortion of "Mine All
Mine." And while the samples occa-
sionally sound like a band member's
annoying little brother pirated their
Casio, the sampling does lend a certain
oddball charm to "Happy."
Fun stuff. Dance, you pretentious
There's a film company called
Troma that is well known for making
movies with great titles and no worthy
content. "Surf Nazis Must Die" was a
terrible movie hiding behind the best
taglinein cinematic history. Much like
Troma, Wicker Man is a band that
spends way too much time coming up
with clever song titles and expressing
the right attitudes, but having nothing
Anybody that tries to combine
White Zombie and Motorhead into one
big fat wall of sludge should be the
coolest band in the known universe. I
said should be, not is. Wicker Man has
the Zombie-esque song titles
("Pussycat Motorgasm" being the best
song title of the year) with the blues-
on-speed gruntings of Motorhead, but
fails when it comes to the important
The Chicago-based band really tries
to be aggressive and nasty, but at their
worst they come off as a blues metal
outfit trying to forget the '80s (some-
thing like the recent "alternative" ver-
sion of Motley Crue). If you're going to
write a song called "Shitkicker" or
"Stoned in Car" then you damn well
better be able to live up to those titles.
Nothingmemorable here, and noth-
ing that couldn't be served better by the
new Zombie album (coming in April,
whee!) or by any much overlooked
- Kirk Miller
Everything is Everything
In some ways, Brand Nubian will
always be a disappointment when they
release an album, because each release
is areminder of the fact that there once
was a group which came out with a
classic album, lost a member (Grand
Puba), and was never the same again.
The group's second release "In God
We Trust" was a crashing disappoint-
ment, a below-average album with
Everytning is everything when you're as cool as Brand Nubian.
none of the freshness which made their
first release shine.
This third release is a couple hun-
dred notches above their last. They
have established a new niche, with
clean and simple loops, slow and funky
beats, and rhymes styles which for the
most part sound like their old rhyme
styles (a good thing). The album is
straightforward, fancy production, no
ultra-macho gangster stuff and a couple
filtered bass lines even remind one of
their first release.
Still in all, the group seems des-
tined to live in the shadow of their first
release. Perhaps a rumored reunion
with Grand Puba would give back to
the group some of the flair of their first
album, but for now the shadow of prior
accomplishments continues to stretch
Vintage Books Paperbacks
"Every so often, usually in the fall
(perhaps mundanely because my hor-
mone flows are at their highest then), I
discover that I have the power to drop
into the Fold." And so begins, allur-
ingly and sexually enough, the autobi-
ography of Arno Strine, a man who is
endowed with the ability to pause time
at the snap of his fingers (or sometimes
by more mechanical means) and move
about while the rest of the world is
"I don't inquire into origins very
often," writes Arno, "fearing that too
close ascrutiny will damage whatever
interior states have given rise to it,
since it is the most important ongoing
adventure in my life."
It is indeed. A temp by trade, Arno
utilizes his innate power not to steal
things or alter present events for his
own benefit but to appreciate the naked
features of attractive women. Noticing
an attractivecoworker, Amo mightdrop
into the Fold, partially undress her and
leave her standing there, paused indefi-
nitely, for him to admire. He is a lonely
fellow, and though it is partially a means
of reducing his initial embarrassment
vith members of the opposite sex ("I'm
less suave with awoman when I haven't
had a preview of her breasts."), Arno's
Fold-dropping serves primarily as a
*way forhim to feel as though he is a part
of a woman's life, if only briefly.
Initially he might be drawn to a
woman based on a combination of her
physical beauty and more subtle per-
sonal details. Joyce, a woman whose
dictation Arno is transcribing while
temping at MassBank, "will occasion-
ally use a phrase like 'spruce up' or
'polish off or 'kick in' that you seldom
come across in the credit updates of
large regional banks." The accumula-
tion of little such details reaches a cre-
scendo when Joyce wears her hair in a
French braid, "in which three sporting
dolphins dip smoothly under one an-
other and surface in a continuous enter-
tainment," and he resolves to halt time
and appreciate her and it more fully. "I
needed to feel her solid braid, and her
head beneath it, in my palm," he writes.
Undressing her, Arno finds thatJoyce's
pubichair "is akind of cocktail dress...
it has that much dignity."
This last comment is a telling one,
for it reveals, strangely enough, that
there is an internal logic to Arno's ways
with women, a code of conduct. His
own actions within the Fold remain
within the realm of asexuality. The
thought of rape or the idea that he is, in
someway, anecrophiliac, repulses him.
There is almost arespect and reverence
to his ways within the Fold. And it is
made plausible by the writing of
Nicholson Baker, who maintains alarger
internal logic that governs the book
remarkably and humorously well. He
brings together deftly drawn elements
from physics, human sexual behavior
and the world of office supplies with a
prose that occasionally dips into enter-
Otaining pornography lexicon but which
always remains thoughtful and witty.
City Poet: The Life and Times of
Continued from page 8
Emperor and Darth Vader.
Like "X-Wing," "Tie Fighter" isn't
the typical blow-'em-up game. It takes
a significant amount of practice from
the flight simulators and other combat
preparation chambers to master the
maneuvers and directions of the mis-
sions. The game actually doesn't treat
itself as a game either, but as an actual
pilot training for war with the Empire.
Combat is difficult though, but the
game helps with tracking targets and
gives other helpful hints. There are doz-
ens of keyboard controls that also make
the game challenging at first, but once
pilots are familiar with them, it gives
them an extra level of control, and al-
lows for skillful tactics and maneuvers.
"Tie Fighter" takes pilots through
multiple missions flying one of five
different ships which can be custom-
ized with different types of torpedoes
and rockets. Missions start off fairly
easy, with simple fighting and inspec-
tion missions, but lead up to vigorous
search and destroy missions where pi-
lots are racing against time and the
Rebellion to finish the level before it
Like "X-Wing," "Tie Fighter" com-
bines excellent 3-D graphics with a
thrilling game, and also enough story
and background for any "Star Wars"
enthusiast. Its use of special effects and
music, as well as digitally mastered
sound effects with studio recorded
voices gives it a superb replication of
the many flight sequences throughout
the blockbuster trilogy.
Other cinematic sequences through-
out the game add to the realism of "Tie
Fighter," due to their sharp, 3-D-like
graphics and screeching spacecraft
sound effects. Between the advanced
technology the game sports, and the
awesome action and fighting sequences,
"Tie Fighter" is a thrilling game for
anyone who even remotely enjoyed the
legendary "Star Wars" trilogy.
- Brian A. Gnatt
Viacom New Media
"Dracula Unleashed" isn't really a
new game. But the fact that it's been
released on CD-ROM is new. The game
itself is actually a bit annoying. You are
Alexander Morris, brother of Quincy
Morris, who got killed in the original
Dracula novel. You are in London, and
your fianc6e's father has just died mys-
teriously. You need to maneuver
through town to save her and yourself.
Surviving is not an easy thing to
do. You need to go to places in a
specific order holding specific ob-
jects so the children of the night don't
sink their fangs into your jugular. The
problem is, there aren't enough clues
to guide you safely through. Success
depends upon chance discovery of
the proper place to go. Eventually, the
game becomes terribly repetitive.
The video clips that get shown when-
ever you enter a place are generally
good. While lacking the touch of an ace
director (or actors), the clips certainly
give the game an edge over Pac-man;
Of course the repetition that comes up
when you make a mistake can make the
clips tiresome as well. The outside in-
terfaces are, of necessity, non-moving.
But they are also rather ugly.
The game's best point is the video
clips, but the rest of it is not the finest
game you can get. It's sure better than
those videotape games, though.
- Ted Watts
T h e w o rd's la rg e st st ud en t
a nd y outih t r ayelo rg aniz a tion.
biography begins to focus more in-
tently on its subject when O' Hara en-
ters Harvard in 1946. Finishing there
fouryears later, O' Harapursues gradu-
ate studies briefly at Michigan and,
upon returning East, settles in New
York, which served as his base of op-
erations until his death in 1966.
Sense of place, and New York espe-
cially, were very important for O' Hara.
Writing to his New York friends from
Cambridge in 1955, O' Hara com-
plained of the latter, " ... it's not hot
enough, there's not enough asphalt, and
you can see over buildings too easily."
"[I]t was as if he needed to ground
himself in particular places in certain
poems," writes Gooch of O' Hara, "to
be sure he belonged there and could go
on writing, like an artist preparing his
canvas with gesso." Such was the man-
ner in which O' Hara wrote (during
lunch breaks from work, at friends'
homes in the Hamptons and once dur-
ing a commercial break while watch-
ing television), as his Muse was arather
And yet, to classify O' Hara as a
poet would be to overlook his extensive
knowledge of classical music and con-
temporary art. For much of his life O'
Hara's primary source of income was
derived from the various positions he
held at the Museum of Modern Art-
most notably as curator. In this way, a
list of O' Hara's friends and acquain-
tances reads much like a Who's Who of
the progressive New York art and liter-
ary world of the 1950s and early '60s.
By virtue of this and O' Hara's
socially rambunctious nature, there is
much to be written. Fortunately for the
reader, Gooch allows O' Hara's story to
be told by those who knew it and him
best. In a sense, then, "City Poet" is a
combined effort: Gooch creates the
working form, adding touches of in-
sight where he sees fit, and lets friends
and acquaintances with firsthand O'
Hara experience fill in the colors. The
resulting portrait proves to be as vari-
ously entertaining as its subject ... a
most fitting tribute.
- Matt Benz
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