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June 01, 1999 - Image 10

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily Summer Weekly, 1999-06-01

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10 -The Michigan Daily - Tuesday, June 1, 1999

FIREBALLS
Continued from Page 9
the music that the combined energy %%as
apt tc -st out of the intimate confines
of the ' Woodwrd Aenue club. The
soulful intensity that was the band's
trademark in their Parka Kings days
was fe t by a crowd who couldn't keep
fro moving. From a slow blues ballad
to a cover of the Ray Charles dance
anthem. "Shake a Tail Feathe'r the
Porters ripped through every song %sith
It seemed unlikely that the Fireballs
would-e able to reach the high enemCy
level set by the Porters. but sith the
help of hvperkinetic fronirnan John
Bunkle. they lived up to their name. In
a purple zoot suit, Bunkley danced up
and dossn the stage like a whirlsvid and
struck the audience with his deep grav e-
ly soice. He was backed by an unrelent-
ing rhythm section that kept the audi-
ence giddy and a whimsical hom sec-
tion that blared crowd-pleasing solos.
With their wild stage show and gen-
uinelv classic sound, the Fireballs can
pull offmaking an impact in the waning
swvinn revival.

A 'Family Affair' at Ark

By John Uhl
Daily Arts Writer
In 1970, by combining improsisa-
tional elements of jazz with some of
rock's electric grit and funk's rhsthm
Miles Dasis's 'Bitches Brew' com-
menced the development of a style of
music called
fusion that
* sounded quite
unlike any of its
Christian ancestors.
McBride Davis prodi-
Tne a k gies such as
aune 3rd-at e-s Wayne Shorter
M c L a u g h Ii n
went on to form
groups like
Weather Report
and The
Orchestra that
provided fusion
several years of musical innovation.
Unfortunately pop's influence on the

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music soon began to eliminate the
artistic discoveries. Formerly a raw
clash betsveen contrary sty les, fusion
became the undesirable spawn of
easy listening music.
Bassist Christian McBride's most
recent recording, "A Family Affair,'
is part of a growing trend in which
jazz musicians draw upon various
popular musics of the last few
decades. Consider Davis's original
fusion as simply a reaction to the
perplexing new devlopments in
popular music during the '60s.
Since the dull admixtures of jazz
and pop that have defined much
fusion after Davis ignored interest-
ing musical evolutions in favor of
shallow mass appeal, the search for
inspiration among this overlooked
material makes sense. Thus, perhaps
it is more appropriate to classify "A
Family Affair" as a modern, and
salid, variation of the original fusion
experiments.
Unlike many recent efforts,
McBride doesn't simply convert pop
into jazz (some haven't learned that
certain tunes were just not meant to
swing). Although McBride success-
ftll emcnplos tas process throgh
inging renditions of Sas e
Wonder's "Summer Sof" and Sly
Stone's "Family Affair," he also goes
electric for several undiluted funk
tracks.
Guest appearances by R&B socal-
ists Vesta and Will Downing and a
version of Kool & the Gang's "Open
Sesame" that mixes traditional jazz
improvisation, some funk and the
understated expansiseness of
Weather Report's conception prove
that McBride isn't simply a scholar-
ly observer of the musical heritage
he modifies.
With so many bags from which to
choose, who knows which ones
McBride and his band will bring to
The Ark.
Free "Instinct" movie
posters are available, first
come, first served.
Come by the Daily
Tuesday afternoon.
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Spacetime Continuum
Double Fine Zone
Astralwerks
**I
A small handful of ambitious
artists over the past 15 years have
attempted to create jazz with com-
puters. Johan Sharp of Spacetime
Continuum uses drums, synths.
rhodes and a sampler to create his
latest album of technologically pro-
duced jazz sounds.
Unlike the drum 'n' bass jazz of
Roni Size ("New Forms") or the
techno jazz of Underground
Resistance (Hi-Tech Jazz"), Johan
Sharp slows down the pace consider-
ably, focusing on sonic textures and
intimate moods for the I1 songs on
"Double Fine Zone."
Depending on how much the lis-
tener cares for the sedate, shifting
sounds of jazz, the album will either
interest or bore.
The resulting album soothes,
calms and relaxes the mind of the lis-
tener with its steady pace of mellow
rhythms and beats. Sharp carefully
arranges a variety of real drum beats
for every son- makin it sound like
an authentic jazz drummer while
also making it sound nauch funkier
and far too conplex for any human
to play manually.
In addition to the drums. Sharp
utilizes many different synth sounds
to surround the bass and drums of
each song with a warm, subtle aura.
Saxophonist Brian Iddenden also
adds a bit of human soul to the tech-
nology on a few songs.
As a whole, the album sounds cre-
ative and consistent but fails to
int oke the sublime mood of great
jazz.
Jason Birhmeier
Moby
Play
v2
Moby's body of work has proven
to be very inconsistent. The man
who released the excellent
"Everything is Wrong" was also
responsible for the patchy "Animal
Rights" and "I Like to Score" releas-
Fortunately for us, Moby has dis-
covered a new found vigor and atti-
tude for his latest release, "Play,"
',hich brims with enjoyable and
upbeat numbers.
While "Everything is Wrong" and
"Animal Rights" carried with them a
definite air of melancholy and angst
rspectively,'Pla" is a labor of love
that finds Moby in a more playful

mood.
Opening number "Honey" sets the
tone for this release. With its Ghee
atmosphere and groovy drum an
bass hook, the song is immediately
infectious and danceable. For the
most part, rest of the albuam follows
in this vein.
Groove and slick atatmospheric
sound effects is the order of the day
this time around and Moby does a
damn good job of it.
Being a loby release howeer,h
does dip itto melancholy on a cou
of numbers. "Why Does Ms Heart
F-el So Bad." 'The Skv is Broken"
and "MV Weakness" are sones that
sworald comaafortablv fit on his moody
"ECe thing is Wrong" release.
Despite the tore sorber songs,
the mood of the album still remains
overvhelmingly cheery and finds
our dance guru. as his albam title
suggest. in a state of "Play."
Ad/in Ros'
Texas
The Hush
Universal Records
I***

Similar to Blur and Sugar Ray, Texas
is a music group that has had a dramat-
ic surge of interest after completely
turning away from a stele it previously
established through a catalog of forme
releases.
Texas's once full bodied blues rock
style peddled since its formation in the
'0s was traded in 1997 for a more
R&B approach with the "Black on
Blonde" album.
"The Hush" follows in similar spirit
and delivers track after track of well
produced pop numbers. The music is
soothing and grooves and singe
Sharleen Spiteri croons sexily abouF
relationship highlights and dysfunc-
tions.
On this release, she sounds more
comfortable and commanding in the
new music style the group has adopted.
On "Tell Me the Answer' for instance,
she sings with the grace of a '70s R&B
diva.
Lead single and title track, "In Our
Lifetime" is another standout track
from "The Hush." With its head bop-
ping dance beat, an almost chines
sounding lead melody and Spiteri's sul-
try singing, the song is a delicious slice
of what good modem pop songs can
deliver.
Although the rest of the album is
competent in maintaining the produc-
tion values and the basic feel of the out-
standing numbers, these lesser songs
tend to sound like they are imitating the
great ones.
This unfortunately makes the rest of
the album a pleasant but not amazing
experience.
x 4- dlin.Ro~sli

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