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December 03, 1996 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 1996-12-03

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8 - The Michigan Daily - Tuesday,

December 3, 1996

INSECTS
Continued from Page 5
the snail's leisurely visit to a tiny water-
ing hole.
Though "Microcosmos" is not an
educational film in the standard sense
- there is no numbing drone of narra-
tion, or boring stream of facts - it
acomplishes something even more
important. It affords the viewer a
glimpse at the commonalities that unify
all animals and allows us to experience
life at a level that is as multifaceted and
complex as our own.

RECORDS
Continued from Page 5
Reel Big Fish
Turn The Radio Off
Mojo Records
Ska music is so much fun. It makes
you just wanna get up and dance. That's
why it's always good to see a catchy,
lighthearted ska record come out. Reel
Big Fish, a new ska / punk band from
Southern California, has made an
album which doesn't sound very new,
but still doesn't disappoint.
There's not a whole lot to say about
Reel Big Fish's debut, "Turn The Radio
Off," except that it's refreshing to see a
band with an obvious good sense of
humor. This album is so radio-friendly,
it should be playing on all the radio sta-
tions now at this moment, yet the cover
picture of a woman holding a gun to a
radio D's head suggests otherwise.
The songs are just plain goofy, fea-
turing a lot of horns and a lot of uptem-
po pop tunes that are really melodic, yet
best ingested while drinking at the bar.
This is an album of dance tunes, not
social commentary, and the band knows
this, which is really refreshing. Finally,
a band that can make fun of itself and

not try to be anything they're not. No
pretension, no pomp.
A song like "Sell Out," which
encourages everybody to sell out with
the band, is hilarious. When Reel Big
Fish start singing "It's not so bad being
trendy, everyone who looks like me is
my friend" on "Trendy," you just want
to laugh right along with them. The cur-
rent single "Everything Sucks" is just a
rip on theband itself.
The problem with Reel Big
Fish is that this is just
another punk band with
an obvious gimmick,
but unlike a lot of
bands out there, they
are one that can
laugh at their own
unoriginality and situ-
ation. When singing
"Well, we try to be differ-
ent, but I guess that's nothing
new," on "Join The Club," they hit
the nail on the head. This is definitely
not different, but what else are you
gonna listen to ... Bush's new album?
- Colin Bartos
LL CoolJa
All World
Def Jam
Chaka Khan
Epiphany: The Best of Chaka
Khan (vol. 1)
Reprise
LL Cool J and Chaka Khan have
their differences. He's a guy; she's a
lady. He's a rapper; she's a singer. On
the cover of his "Greatest Hits" album,
J scowls; on hers, Khan smiles.
But that's about as far as the differ-
ences go. Both are well-known and
well-respected. They are both old-
school and were there through all the
drama black music has gone through
over the past couple of decades. Also,

both have been making strong come-
backs - LL Cool J's "Mr. Smith" CD,
released earlier this year, and Chaka
Khan's performance of "Missing You"
with Brandy, Tamia and Gladys Knight
for the "Set It Off" soundtrack. And
they are both highly deserving of the
"Greatest Hits" albums they've released
at virtually the same time.
LL's "All World" goes from the days
of breakdancing and beat boxing ("I
Can't Live Without My
Radio," "Rock the Bells"
and "Going Back to
Cali") to today's J,
who has not only
continued to release
chart-topping singles
(e.g. "Mama Said
Knock You Out,"
"Doin' It," "Loungin
(Who Do You Love)" and
"Hey Lover"), but who has
also attached actor to his rapper
label.
"All World" spans the length of Cool
J's envious career and includes both his
slow songs ("I Need Love") and his
faster cuts ("Jingling Baby").
Of course, Chaka Khan has fast, too.
Who can think Chaka Khan without
being hit by the beats from her "I Feel
for You" or "Ain't Nobody" or "Tell Me
Something Good" or "I'm Every
Woman," the original song which
Whitney Houston remade for the
"Bodyguard" soundtrack?
But Chaka knows slow. And doses of
her relaxing, R&B style litter
"Epiphany." Surely, one of her most
well-known and well-loved slow songs
is "Through the Fire." But that is far
from her only one. How about "Love
Me Still?" Or would you prefer "The
End of a Love Affair?" And we haven't
even gone "Everywhere" yet.
Longevity is the ultimate dream of
any public entertainer. LL Cool J and
Chaka Khan are that dream personified.
They represent that rare exception to
the rule. They've survived the most bru-
tal world of show business, and "All
World" and "Epiphany" both tell their
stories and confirm that the best from
these two may still be yet to come.
- Eugene Bowen

2
s
{

These are the Greek gods Phlsh. Would you let them pledge your frat?

The University of Michigan
School of Music
Tuesday, December 3
University Choir
Jerry Blackstone, conductor
Jennifer Joop, piano
Michael Budewitz, organ
. Works of Bach, Durufle, Schumann, Sweelinck and others.
First Congregational Church, 8 p.m.
Early Music Ensemble
Edward Parmentier, director
" Music of J.S. Bach, Couperin, Schuetz, Philips and Gabrieli
Blanche Anderson Moore Hall, 8 p.m.
Guest Recital
Angela Chang and Alvin Chow, pianists
" Schubert: Fantasie in F minor, D. 940
. Crumb: A Little Suite for Christmas
. Dvorak: Two Slavonic Dances, Op. 46
. Chopin: Polonaise-Fantasie in E-flat Major, Op. 61
. Ravel: La Valse
Recital Hall, 8 p.m.
Wednesday, December 4
-,.Opera Workshop Performance
Joshua Major,director; Timothy Cheek, musical director
" Scenes from Czech operas; Shakespeare scenes
"A,=Mcintosh Theatre, 5 p.m.
;Jazz Ensemble
Ellen Rowe, conductor
- Music from the Basie, Thad Jones and Bob Mintzner big bands
..Rackham Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Composers Forum
Evan Chambers, director
Mcintosh Theatre, 8 p.m.
Thursday, December 5
,.,,Opera Workshop Performance
Joshua Major, director; Timothy Cheek, musical director
- Scenes from Mozart operas
McIntosh Theatre, 5 p.m.
Creative Arts Orchestra
Edward Sarath, conductor
. Original works and collective improvisations
. Rackham Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Thursday-Sunday, December 5-8
Theatre and Drama Production
Sherlock Holmes by Gillette
John Neville-Andrews, director
Power Center, Thu.-Sat. 8 p.m.; Sun. 2 p.m.
Tickets: $14 and $7 (313.764.0450)
Friday, December 6
Opera Workshop Performannce
Joshua Major, director; Timothy Cheek, musical director
* Scenes from Mozart & Czech operas
. Scenes from Shakespeare
McIntosh Theatre, 8 p.m.
Saturday, December 7
Contemporary Directions Ensemble
H. Robert Reynolds, director
Fred Ormand, clarinet
. Works of Albright, Bolcom, Chambers, Daugherty and Sheng
- Rackham Auditorium, 8 p.m.
Sunday, December 8
Percussion Ensemble
Michael Udow, director
. Steve Reich: Drumming

MI f~nr Thontno 4 ninm-

One of the most talented and exper-
imental bands in rock, Phish, has long
been renowned for its live shows,
where the Vermont quartet vigorously
delves into the polarized regions of
light and dark, pure bliss and pure
evil, often within the same song, cre-
ating a unique mood at every concert.
Yet for all the magic Phish conjures up
on a nightly basis, its albums haven't
quite been cohesive statements. With
its new album, "Billy Breathes," on
the other hand, Phish has finally
released a unified batch of music,
showing tremendous restraint in the
process.
"Free" commences "Billy Breathes,"
complete with the usual sweet licks by
lead singer and guitarist Trey
Anastasio. After the first minute, how-
ever, it becomes obvious that some-
thing is different on this album; just
when it seems appropriate for
Anastasio to bust loose and extend into
a nasty solo, he holds back, immediate-
ly coming back into the fold with
pianist Page McConnell, bassist Mike
Gordon, and drummer Jon Fishman.
The vocals on this song - and the
album as a whole - are top-notch,
with Trey and Page's voices blending
perfectly on the word "free."
Following the funky "Character
Zero" and the mellow "Waste" is the
excellent track "Taste," perhaps the
most complicated song on record in the
band's arsenal. This song shows off the
incredible coordination of Jon Fishman,
one of the absolute best drummers in
rock. Fishman's playing meshes quite
well with the other instruments, and the

chorus of "I can't see through the
lights" sounds simply stunning over the
complex time changes and Page's flow-
ing piano.
After a nifty instrumental, "Ca*
Trucks Buses," comes "Talk," one of
the sweetest songs you'll hear on any
album this year. A very pretty, relaxed
tune, "Talk" finds Trey singing as ten-
derly as he ever has before, and Page's
piano once again captures the airy
mood capably.
The epic "Theme From The
Bottom" begins with yet another
chilled-out Mike Gordon bass line, and
once again Trey shows tremendot .
restraint on his guitar. As Trey an
Page duet nicely, asking "Don't you
see anything that you'd like to try / As
I'm swimming by?" it becomes evi-
dent that this song would be killer in
concert, as it builds up to a serious
crescendo, much like many of Phish's
other live staples.
The rest of the album features a good
mix of faster songs and lighter, slower
ones, leading up to an impressive album
coda, "Prince Caspian." As Trey and
Page powerfully sing the chorus of"Oh,
to be Prince Caspian / And flow upon
the waves," the instrumentation is
noticeably behind in the mix, but mere-
ly engenders a cathartic feeling in ,tl
listener, as the emotion of the vocals
takes precedence.
While "Billy Breathes" may be more
accessible than any other Phish album
for its more concise song structures a
co-production by Steve Lillywhite .(
early U2 and Dave Matthews fame), it
is by no means dumbed down for the
mainstream; if anything, it providgs a
most compelling reason to see thci1
live, as the band members will certainly
put new twists on the tight, top tunes
showcased here.
- Aaron Rennre

U. Cool J chillin' on the couch.

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