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Music reviews from the pages of Think Magazine
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ARKARNA
CD-single The Future's Overrated (Warner)

Hailed as the next Prodigy, the UK's Arkarna hit the road in support of the release of their debut CD Fresh Meat. If this set of remixes done by the likes of Amethyst and DJ Pulse is any indication, the group will be using us in it's experiment.

The original single has a Babylon Zoo meets Gary Numan with the latest in aural enhancement through and through, which is to say that there's nothing retro about them.

Dreamy and breakbeat remixes show the versatility and experimental character of the group. - Keith Kirchner

EASTERN UPRISING
Dance Music From the Asian Underground (Columbia)

A remarkable and exciting compilation that I'm not entirely sure contains music from Asia as much as maintains it's influence (the liner notes have a lot of British slang?). That aside, these are some of the slipperiest asymmetrical grooves around, lots of tantric vocals and dreamscapes make the body into a canvas, the clock drip instead of bleed.

Dead Can Dance meets Transglobal Underground over saké, the PICK OF THE MONTH. Highlights include a track by Black Star Liner called Harmon Dub that feels like a subway that passes all it's stops, giving you ample time to determine your neighbour's future, and R.A.F.I. by the Asian Dub Foundation sounds like Greg Nice on Opium. - Keith Kirchner

ANDREW RICHLEY Straightless ANDREW RICHLEY Straightless ANDREW RICHLEY
Straightless (Plastic City America)

Just when I start to get a little jaded with techno as a genre and begin to think it has nothing new to offer, a record comes along that is so simple yet so effective that it restores my faith. Having said that it will probably come as no surprise that I am rather partial to this platter. There is nothing here daringly experimental or outlandish and it probably isn't going to have people, in years to come, raving about what a ground-breaker's tune it was. It merely succeeds in, what would appear to be the difficult feat, of placing all the correct elements in all the right places. The rhythms warp and erupt exactly where they should, the synth lines rise and fall disorientatingly, and there is just the right amount of funk for this record to appeal to the hound heads without losing credibility with techno purists. Three tracks of understated excellence. - Chris Sadler

EN VOGUE
EV3 (Warner/Eastwest)

If I had a car and drove it on the freeway all day, and longed for shiny restaurants that I could see my reflection in from all directions, this would be my soundtrack, but since I'm on the tram staring into the back of some funky malodorous frown machine, I'm not sure it's appropriate.

Some very jammin' tracks like the Rick James influenced 'Let it Flow' break up the lovey-dovey layered vocal arrangements these broads are famous for.

Almost like a Nagel painting or a Mercedes Benz logo. - Keith Kirchner

N-SON-X
Humanoid (Casseopaya)

Call me a slag but there's nothing more likely to rock my discotek than a sizeable dollop of acid-trance. Granted, it may not be the most innovative musical genre around but for good, wholesome, peel-me-off-the-ceiling fun, a screaming 303, a massive breakdown and a blazing finalé does the damage every time.

For that little extra twist Humanoid burrows a sample from the Stakker classic of the same name, stirs in a breakbeat section and adds salt to taste. In the words of the Liberator DJs "it's not intelligent, it's not from Detroit, but it's fuckin 'avin it. - Chris Sadler

WEEN
The Mollusk (Warner/Elektra)

The twists and turns of Ween's six-disc career have taken them as well as us on a Journey of Zappa-tistic proportions. Last year's tribute to Nashville (as good a reminder of who really is a man's best friend as there had been in the 90's), definitely had the casual observer wondering about the next move.

The Mollusk kinda feels like XTCs Skylarking, with its precise production, and its variety of atmospheres. You'll learn the secrets of the golden eel, kissed with mutilated lips, and be reassured that it will indeed be all right, even as your dick is waving in the wind…

Really, one of the most f'ed up outfits out there, right along side Leonard Cohen, Captain Beefheart, and Zappa. - Keith Kirchner

MILES DAVIS
Kind of Blue (Columbia)

This 20-track remastered version of the all-time definitive statement of Miles Davis' cool period (if not of the entire genre), as well as the sweetest and most flowing gestation in collaborating with John Coltrane includes an alternative version of 'Flamenco Sketches' which bends the impressionistic exactitude into a little brighter and a little moodier gem, punctuated with a completely fresh statement from Cannonball Adderly on his solo.

Cool liner notes, "There is a Japanese visual art in which the artist is forced to be spontaneous. He must paint on a thin parchment with black water paint in such a way that an unnatural or interrupted stroke will destroy the line or break thru the parchment." U O it 2 Urself! - Keith Kirchner

DAVE ANGEL
This is Disco (Island Records)

I'm a big fan of Dave Angel both as a producer and a DJ (I would recommend anyone who gets the chance to hear him deejay to seize it vehemently), but it would be a lie to say that I wasn't a little disappointed with this, his latest offering.

As the title would suggest, this is a techno-disco hybrid, but where Dave Clarke succeeded with 'Southside' I rather feel that Dave Angel has fallen somewhat short of the mark. Now, don't get me wrong. This is not an entirely offensive tune but with it's slightly cheesy synth and pseudo-jazz pretensions it comes across as sounding slightly weak and contrived.

All is not lost though as the fat German Ian Pooley of Force Inc. Records save the day with his inspired remix. Absolutely dripping energy and with an impressively bouncy bassline, Ian turns what could have been a rather mediocre slab o' vinyl into prime time floor-filler (if you'll excuse the cliche). - Chris Sadler

BEATNUTS
Stone Crazy (Relativity)

The Beatnuts have always hovered in the orbit of the lunatic fringes of hip-hop, East Coast but not ones to boast it, kind a like the Farside, but slightly more toasted, givin' props to loops of the grooviest with a nasty freak perversion reminiscent of Funkdoobiest.

Stone Crazy is the title track blended with a fat bassline extended, and Give me the Ass shows that these rhymers have less than no class. Starting out with a little gang bangin', the boys start to get sillier as the tracks get more jammin', and their tongues be twisted the more they let the flow get hangin'.

"If you owe me money, better find that shit, cause n*ggas be dyin' quick behind that shit!" That's why you all ought to buy this shit? - Keith Kirchner

REAL ACID JUICE
The Real Acid Juice Sampler (Acid Juice)

This 11-track showcase of one of the more cult-like of local entourages features some hard rhymin' as well as some sweet drum and bass from the EGGG, even though it's weighted towards the former. Prague hip-hop often leads towards the live instrumental, and whether you heard these names before United Heads, WWW, Coltcha or not, they have all gotten away from the Beasties style shout-outs and really started to tongue twist. I love Coltcha and the EGGG, and can only look forward to hearing these guys live, because unlike the traditional lame Rap concerts, there is a history of performance here that audiences expect, and these bands can deliver. - Keith Kirchner

OPEX Social SammyOPEX Social SammyOPEX
Social Sammy (Fuse Box Records)

A bit of a mystery this one, as I had heard of neither the artist or the label before coming across this. Still I'm rather glad I did because it is funky like a train (whatever that's supposed to mean). Whoever the producer is, he is quite a talented bloke as this EP offers 4 tracks, each very different in style, unified by only one thing - breakbeats. 'Bang Concept' is a phat bigbeat affair akin to Fat Boy Slim et al, whilst 'Nature' is a percussive slice of trip-hop, resplendent with tribal bongos, a dub bassline and mad jungle-esque rhythm explosions. 'Freaque Disc' is hip-hop but with tongue wedged firmly in cheek, containing some pretty bizarre samples: "He jumped out of the basket", "Did he make it?" "Erm, no" hmmm. The stand out track here though is 'Serah', with it's funky muthafuckin bass and tearin' rhythm. Fierce, but in the nicest possible way. - Chris Sadler

DARREN PRICE
Lose No Time (Novamute Records)

Darren Price has gained modest notoriety for two reasons - as a tour DJ for Underworld and as special guest at the Lucky People Center Party right here in P-town, and as producer of some of the very finest deep techno tunes coming out of the UK in recent years.

What separates Darren's music from the plethora of other noodlings going under the moniker of deep techno, is that it is lively enough to cut it on the dance floor as much as in your living room.

The title track of this 12" starts out with a jungle rhythm at techno speed adding layers of sharp percussion until 2/3's of the way through when a beautifully melancholic synth-line carries you to the end. The flip-side boasts two grooves of fast and melodic techno making this a worthy purchase for all who prefer their techno without the aggressive edge. - Chris Sadler

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I don't know why I was running. I was just running.

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I glanced at the postcard that took two years to reach me and knew that I had to go.  

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