Weekly Wire
Tucson Weekly Rhythm & Views

DECEMBER 8, 1997: 


A Prescription For The Blues

SILVER WAS THE founding father of the jazz soul/funk movement back in the '50s, giving us classics like "Filthy McNasty" and "Senor Blues." While lacking the moody ambiance of his Blue Note albums, this one remains true to the blues-based influences behind the style he helped create. Oddly, lyrics are given in the liner notes while the album remains an instrumental. Maybe Silver is making sure that no one like Al Jarreau or Jon Hendricks is going to sink poetic teeth into his royalties by slapping words onto his compositions. Wise move, Horace, considering how terminally melodic your writing continues to be. The acid jazzers ought to hear how solid he continues to be as they lap up sampling taken from his 40-year-old catalog. Nice stuff throughout, proving how much his individualism shaped the whole jazz soul/funk movement.

--Dave McElfresh


Future: A Journey Through the Electronic Underground

COVERING A WIDE range of artists and styles, this record will likely serve as Electronica's most complete time capsule of 1996-7. Featuring 22 tracks from the likes of Hal, Fluke, Photek, Future Sounds of London, Massive Attack, Chemical Brothers, Harold Budd and Brian Eno, and The Grid, it is exactly what it claims to be. More groovy than rhythmically scarred with hardcore polyrhythms, Future... looks at far more lodic, slower tempos, and comes up with something more traditionally palatable (with lyrics on some tracks!). To understand the method of many of these artists, it's more valuable to study the minimalist elements that each uses in such sparing amounts to differentiate himself. Disc 1 is an anodized landscape of peculiar birds in a musical world where there's little but skill and taste to distinguish the kings from the clowns. Fans of the X-Files will note Gillian Anderson's vocals on two Hal tracks on side one, "Extremis," and the polar opposite "Extremis (Qattara Remix)." Massive Attack's "Karmacoma (Bumper Ball Dub)" makes the entire side, until Future Sounds of London's "Snake Hips" causes reptiles to shake their moneymakers. Wobble through the bass-heavy Magnum P.I. theme-ish "Absurd (Landslide Mix)" by Fluke on disc 2. Following quickly on its crumbling heels is the genuinely bizarre "Salsa With Mesquite" by µ-Ziq. Ending the disc by way of exhaustion, Future returns to Electronica's source: the reclined and sublime "Their Memories" by Electronica gurus Harold Budd and Brian Eno.

--Brendan Doherty


Konquer Kampus

MID-SIXTIES ORGAN-drenched frat party hijinx run rampant on Konquer Kampus. Just listen to "Tappa Kegga USA" and these sweater-sporting college playboy wannabes will have all those beer-guzzling slobs who worship 311 and Sublime bowing to their spit-polished penny loafers begging for more of their Beach Boys/Hondells surf-garage pop harmonies. The nebbish duo of Freddy Fortune and Mike Maltese provide the wonderful harmonic dynamics that hearken back to the innocent Brian Wilson/pre-Vietnam era of flashy hot rods, fiberglass surfboards and buxom blondes in polka dot bikinis. Bring your monogrammed terry cloth towel and be prepared to perspire profusely to these 14 original songs that embrace collegiate tomfoolery with equal doses of affection and tongue-in-cheek mockery. "Cuttin' Class," "Study Break," and "Pizza Party Twist" embody the Phabulous Pallbearers idea of higher education. "High Horse" is a flat-out stroll gone haywire that sounds suspiciously like Tommy Tucker's "High Heeled Sneakers." The uncharacteristically squeaky clean instrumentation is dead on 1963 frat rock--think the Lettermen patterned after Human Beinz instead of Peter, Paul & Mary. Thankfully, Konquer Kampus is not overwrought with campy, retro copycat nonsense (except for the matching sweater guys), and you could proudly file this record along side your Paul Revere and the Raiders, Kingsmen, and Chris Montez albums.

--Ron Bally

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