Volume 94, Issue 48
Thursday, November 23, 2000
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Fatboy and M.O.P go to Camp
Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars
Before Moby took over, Fatboy Slim was the omnipresent, mediocre electronica artist of choice, popping up in television ads and in your parent's cd player. After laying low for a few years, he has released a new recording, Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars.
The album is a hit and miss affair. The opening "Talking 'Bout My Baby" is a wonderful piece with its intoxicating piano loop, while "Song For Shelter" is an uplifting, atmospheric number that slowly builds to an ecstatic release. The two collaborations with Macy Gray ("Love Life" and "Demons") are excellent; they are the best uses of her distinctive voice yet.
Tracks like "Star 69" and "Drop The Hate," are unremarkable filler, with little merit and nothing that distinguishes them from the rest of the pop-dance market. Likewise, "Mad Flava" is merely annoying, using a ridiculous Rasta sample to anchor the song. Worst of all though, is "Sunset (Bird Of Prey)," a laborious track that interpolates part of Jim Morrison's vocals from The Door's song of the same name.
The remainder of the album floats back and forth between those two extremes, but ultimately, it is the lacklustre material that wins out, making Halfway Between The Gutter And The Stars an unsatisfying effort from Fatboy Slim.
ĞAaron St. John
Objects in the Mirror are Closer than they Appear
Confrontation Camp has no sympathy for the weak-minded. Their musical labour of love, Objects in the Mirror are Closer than They Appear, is devoid of radio-friendly party anthems and anything else that is light.
Instead, the group relies on heavy lyrics and a band that creates music to match. This album reeks of revolutionary sentiments. Every song has a message meant to motivate the socially conscious. Sadly, the production on the album doesn't often match the power of its lyrical content.
One of the most powerful tracks is "Jasper," a song that deals with the murder of James Byrd, Jr. Camp members Chuck D, Griff and Kyle Ice Jason then also brings light to other horrific incidents such as the World Trade Centre and Oklahoma bombings.
Another stand out tune is "Jailbreak," which is laced with funky guitar riffs and chants. The contrast between Jason's nasal tone and Griff's chaotic flow are complemented by Chuck D's angry boom. This is one of the tracks on which Griff does not find himself being overpowered by his bandmates.
Although Confrontation Camp's production woes weaken their effort, it is their message that will most likely send them into obscurity. Simply put, it is just too heavy for the average listener.
Since 1994, the Mashed Out Posse's Billy Danzini and Lil' Fame have tried to break out of the underground scene while maintaining their tough street style. M.O.P. seems to have done this with their new album, Warriorz.
The first single, "Ante Up (Robbing-Hoodz Theory)," has the same kind of bouncin' energy as their old-school anthem, "How About Some Hardcore." And the low-pitched voice of Lord Have Mercy, featured on "Home Sweet Home," flows perfectly with M.O.P.'s blaring yet poetic flavour.
Warriorz' most memorable track, "Cold as Ice," is made possible with a sample of rock group Foreigner's sped up vocals. The mixing of a slow piano beat with Danzini's sinister laugh could actually make for a good horror movie theme song.
Unfortunately, M.O.P. does slip up on tracks like "Face Off 2K1" and "Nig-gotiate." The slow beats and trumpets clash horribly with M.O.P.'s quick rhyming.
Although they deserve nothing but respect, part of the problem with M.O.P. keeping their street mentality is the limited audience that understands where they're coming from.
Despite its content, Warriorz' intense tracks are sure to receive high praise from M.O.P.'s loyal soldiers and worthy recognition from some first-time listeners.
Raoul S. Juneja
Copyright © The Gazette 2000