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September 29, 1995 - Image 11

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Michigan Daily, 1995-09-29

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

I

Thp Mirhiom nails - Fridav. 5entember 29. 1995 ---

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The Lost World
By Michael Crichton
Ktnopf
Welcome to Jurassic Pa... Oh,
sorry, that was the previous book.
Welcome to "The Lost World,"
Michael Crichton's sequel to that cash
cow book he wrote several years ago
that became the biggest dinosaur
movie of all time. At least so far.
"The Lost World" takes place six
years after the events of "Jurassic
Park." The only returning character
is Ian Malcolm (a.k.a. Jeff
Goldblum's character), noted math-
ematician and guy who gets injured
by T. Rexes. Actually, it would be

wrong to say he's the only return-
ing character, because a smattering
of the characters are new versions
of the ones in "JP." There's a jerky
guy who becomes a dino-lunchable,
a tech support guy who becomes a
dino-lunchable, a tough female sci-
entist and two kids who are good
with computers. Give the people
what they want, I guess.
The book begins with some scenes
that provide both a background in
complexity (what was, last time,
chaos) theory and the aftermath of
"JP." Specifically, no one outside of
those involved knows what happened,
that genetically engineered dinosaurs
can exist or that the project went out
of control. There have, however, been
reports of "aberrant forms" appearing
in Costa Rica, and brilliant scientist
dickweed Richard Levine wants to
form a research team to investigate
them in order to support a theory that
dinosaurs have survived to the present
day. Malcolm signs on.
Levine investigates a discovery
of an aberrant form, reaching it just
before it is destroyed by the Costa
Rican government. He then investi-
gates an island where he believes a
mysterious place called Site B was

located. His colleagues discover his
absence, and after a satellite phone
conversation is unexpectedly ter-
minated, they decide to form an
expedition to go after him.
And could you possibly guess what
is on that island? That's right. Dino-
saurs. All your favorites, from
Velociraptors to Tyrannosaurus, plus
a new species or two. So the expedi-
tion arrives and has to contend with
the dinosaurs, but also has to deal
with a sinister team of scientists from
a bio-tech corporation who want di-
nosaur embryos and who would pre-
fer the other team to not survive. So
it's another helping of playful sur-
vival antics.
Still, there is an admirable re-
straint as to "JP" references. There
is a summary of what happened at
Jurassic Park and the status of the
participants in the debacle, but there
is little else. Site B exists because
theoretically the Park was Site A.
But there isn't even a mention of
the words "Jurassic Park" in the
book. The closest it gets is an offhand
reference to "JP" and a reference to
the "park." So, while "The Lost
World" may take a bunch of story
elements from its predecessor, at least

it has new locations (if only a hop,
skip and a jump away).
Thematically the book is about
shortcuts and their ills. While "JP"
looked at genetics and chaos theory,
"Lost World" examines complexity
theory and the dangers of shortcuts.
Malcolm consistently delivers po-
lemics, this time on the possibili-
ties of extinction and their relation
to cyberspace, among others. The
book itself seems to caution against
entering unknown situations while
at the same time presenting com-
plexity theory which boils down to
the idea that any situation will ulti-
mately have unknown elements.
Then again, the book may be saying
that when you have a good thing,
stick with it.
Well, it isn't like "The Lost World"
should come as such a shock to any-
one. It's certainly better than a "Fri-
day the 13th" sequel, even if the
slasher stays the same in both. Maybe
the sense that the engineered dino-
saurs are near the end of their time at
the end of the novel is true. Maybe
there really won't be anything more
about them. Yeah, and maybe I'm a
Chinese jet pilot.
- Ted Watts

"Hey, baby, I may look tough but Inside I'm just a sensitive, misunderstood artist.'

Cheer up Blur, you've just made one of the best albums of the year.

Blur

I

The Great Escape
Virgin Records
All good things must come to an end.
In this case, it's Blur's trilogy of al-
bums devoted to British life in the wan-
ing 20th century.
1993's tentative but occasionally bril-
liant "Modem Life is Rubbish" kicked
off Blur's mod renaissance (their first
album, 1990's "Leisure," was a fun but
slightly derivative work that borrowed
heavily from the shoegazing scene of
early '90s Britain). Early David Bowie,
the Who, and the Kinks replaced My
Bloody Valentine and Chapterhouse as
the group's reference points, and the
change suited singer/songwriter Damon
Albarn's Cockney vocals and satirical
viewpoint.
Last year, Blur released not only their
finest work up to that point, but one of
the best albums of 1994 -"Parklife."
"Parklife" saw the group refine their
sound and image. They refreshed (in-

stead of rehashed) mod and pop culture
references, making them their own.
A cameo by mod icon Phil Daniels
(star of"Quadrophenia,"the Who's mod
concept album), a duet with Stereolab's
Lxtitia Sadier and the pulsating disco
of "Girls And Boys" fit together in a
completely natural way. "Parklife" is a
diverse and brilliant album by any stan-
dards, but especially for a band written
off by most critics early in its career as
being derivative scenesters.
How times have changed. Blur are
not only the biggest band in Britain
right now, but also British press dar-
lings (not to mention the victors in the
"Blur vs. Oasis" singles battle of last
month).
But in the US, when people think of
Blur, they think of their early success
with "There's No Other Way" (off of
"Lesiure") or of last year's top 50 hit
"Girls And Boys" - if they think of
them at all. Elastica, Oasis - those
British bands are familiar to anyone
who listens to alternative radio or

watches MTV - but for most Ameri-
cans, Blur remains an unknown quality.
"The Great Escape," unfortunately,
may not change that. It does, however,
more than fulfill the expectations of
their die-hard fans. It develops musical
and thematic ideas the band has touched
on in their previous works, and adds
new dimensions to Blur's already di-
verse style.
But easy listening it isn't. Or maybe
it is; the decidely mellow, string-filled
Bacharach-inspired song "The Univer-
sal," is Muzac about everybody's fa-
vorite happy pill, Prozac. And the first
single "Country House" (which rhymes
Prozac and Balzac) is an outwardly
rollicking though very clever song about
middle-aged yuppie ennui.
It's this mix of highly intellectual
lyrics and catchy pop hooks that makes
Blur special - and also narrows their
chances for mega-success in America.
It's an ambitious album, but not the
most likely to succeed (financially, any-
way). Besides being a veddy British
album, it's also laden with synthesizers
and horns (particularly on songs like
"Stereotypes," "Top Man," "Entertain
Me" and "Mr. Robinson's Quango"),
which are none too popular in a guitar-
fixated music scene.
"Charmless Man," however, is a per-
fect mix of loud guitars, sing-along
choruses and yes, clever lyrics. The
charmless man is "Educated the expen-
sive way/He knows his claret from a
beaujolais." It's insightful but still en-
ergetic music, and it recalls the sunnier,
more accessible music of "Parklife."
For "The Great Escape"is a much
darker, moodier album than anything
the band has released till now. Albarn's
caricatures in songs like "Stereotypes,"
"Country House," and "Globe Alone"
are still dead-on and amusing, but there's
less affection towards his targets than
in his previous portraits like "Tracy
Jacks." And the ballads on the album
aren't just melancholy, they're down-
right sad, especially "Yuko and Hiro"
(allegedly about Albarn's longtime re-
lationship with Elastica frontwoman
Justine Frischmann).
At times, "The Great Escape" is.
downright arty. "Best Days" and "Fade
Away" are theatrical little numbers that
wouldn't be out of place in a musical;
and "He Thought of Cars" and "Ernold
Same" both delve into psychedelia.
"Ernold Same" is particularly trippy.

whatever
Backyard Records
It's like this: bo bud greene won't
change your life. They won't help you
explore all the inner meanings of every-
thing unknown and important. Hell, their
album might not even be worth buying,
unless you can get it used. But it is good.
And the group thanks such diverse influ-
ences as Malcolm X, Henry David
Thoreau and the Fuckemos in their liner
.notes. Come on, the Fuckemos have to
count for something.
But back to bo bud greene. Now that
you know that "whatever" is good, does
that mean that you're going to go out and
buy it? Probably not. You're going to
wantto know what they sound like. Well,
I can describe it for you, but it's usually
better to hear a group before you buy their
album, isn't it? So unless you catch them
on the radio sometime, see a video of
theirs, or listen to a friend's copy -this
review doesn't matter. If anybody goes
out and buys bo bud greene after reading
this, more power to you. You put more
stock in our music reviews than I thought.
You won't be disappointed.
But you'd still like a description of
theirmusic. Well, it's obvious right away
that each of the members of this quartet
(guitar & vocals, more guitar, bass and
drums) is a great musician. One reason
that "whatever" feels so liveis that bo bud
greene loves to take liberties with the
pulse of their songs, especially in "Clear
Yellow Button" and "Trampoline,"
among other tracks. It might be that the
drummer just can't keep good time, but
the push-and-pull effect with the beat is a
clever and interesting trick, even if it's
unintentional.
Don't blame yourself if you still don't
want to buy "whatever." It still won't
change your life.
- David Cook

Wrter/Director AdI Sideman's controverslal documentary about pedophiles prenieres
tonight and shows through tomorrow evening at the Natural Science Auditorium
(showtimes are 8:30 and 10 p.m, and admission is $4). This film presents interviews and
anecdotes from assortment of men who belong to the New Yorkbased North American
Man Boy Love Association (NAMBLA). These men are pedophiles and they make no
excuses about it. The film draws the viewer into a world of sex, but, more importantly, a
world of love. The men depicted it this fiim seem to sincerely love boys, even while they
yearn for sexual relations with pubescent children. NAMBLA members must tolerate
obscene answering machine messages and brutal crowds of protesters - including angry,
homosexuals who are often mistakenly grouped with pedophiles. Granted, this filn is
shocking. But these men do exist. They have real feelings and honest intentions and are,
at the very least, deserving of an hour of our attention.
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I S

Sooyoung Park sounds depressed. Who knows why? Maybe it's because his Chicago-
based band Seam loses band members faster than the University drops Journalism
programs. Maybe it's because fellow Oberlin classmate Liz Phair made the cover of
Rolling Stone and Seam has yet to fill that glossy page. Or perhaps it's because Park
knows that out of his depression comes some of the most moving, emotionally
charged music to emerge from the Indle-rock scene. On Seam's fine sophomore album
"The Problem With Me," Park channeled all that gloom Into swirling, atmospheric,
dreamy yet explosive guitar rock, playing the loudsoft game to devastating emotional
effect. Fortunately, he hasn't lightened up on Seam's latest Touch & Go release "Are
You Driving Me Crazy." Park and his current bandmates play at the Blind Pig tonight
In support of the excellent new record. Spent opens the show; the doors should open
at 9:30 p.m. Tickets will set you back a mere $7.50. Everybody get unhappy.
ii._

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