Volume 91, Issue 86

Thursday, March 12, 1998

3,770 strong and growing


CD Reviews


Phat beats, dope lines and Headspinz is what Federation's new album is all about. It may seem as if a new Electronica band emerges every hour on the hour, however, Federation is from the old school.

The band has been a strong force in the underground dance scene of the United Kingdom for a number of years. Although their sound has changed, this sonic mutation is for the better. Their new album signals both the end of the band's grouping with sibling artists and the beginning of a separate entity fully capable of self-sustenance.

Musicians Si John, Alex Swift, Stepchild, Paul Ackerman, Trevor Francis, Dan Tomlin and Anders Olinder contribute their own area of expertise on this album. Electronica guru Roni Size and Full Cycle may have been involved in the production. Resulting in a blend of slamming double bass, with hard beats, killer keyboarding, crushing rhymes, real piano and guitar and deafening drum and bass loops.

Departing from underground Electronica means the birth of a new genre of music. Federation has effectively created a musical form of a more mellow nature: a mix of lounge with jungle. It incorporates the best that sampling, looping and hard bass have to offer.

This chimera of oppositional musical forms produces an album spanning both wings of the club scene. On the right: those who wish to ingest complex chemical compounds, wear plastic clothing and dance all night. On the left: those who wish to ingest clear, colourless chemical compounds of the alcohol family, discuss kitschy topics and smoke cigars all night. Headspinz is best enjoyed by those of the middle ground – after all, this is the theory it is born out of.
–Eric Orticello

Don't Go Against The Grain
MCA Records

G.P. WU's debut album, Don't Go Against The Grain, comes out shining like the tip of a diamond buried beneath a thick coat of bullshit. They showcase some strong tracks, but lack the creativity needed these days to stand out.

Originating from Staten Island, the band is too eager to prop the term Shaolin, made famous by the Wu-Tang Clan and to make reference to the Wu-Tang created mystical figure, the Shaolin Monk. Many tracks like "Underground Emperor," contain a heavy Gravediggaz/Wu-Tang influence, not only lyrically, but in their beats as well.

This debut album does bump some tracks that make your head nod. "If You Only Knew" is a heart-wrenching ballad detailing the promiscuous nature of other men's girlfriends, reaching an epiphany when asking soulfully, "If your niggah only knew, that I was running – up in you." Other tracks like "Hip Hop," "Life Bid" and the extremely heavy track, "Black on Black Crime," displays a little insight into the band's philosophies on life and music. It also offers hope that they'll shake their commercialized approach and reach their potential.

Regardless of the direction GP WU takes, one thing is for sure, vocalist Down Low will have something to do with it. His juiced-down vocal tone and style has the ability to propel the group's future forward, or if that doesn't happen, at least he could embark on a solo career. We will probably hear from GP WU in the future, but whether the bullshit is cleared or not, remains to be seen.
–Markus Templer

To Contact The Arts and Entertainment Department: gazent@julian.uwo.ca

Copyright The Gazette 1998