Volume 94, Issue 51

Wednesday, November 29, 2000


Sarah Harmer's music a thing of beauty

Disney steps in puppy poop with 102 Dalmations

Buried Treasure

Lazy Dogrules this house - Tenor too weird for his own good

Lazy Dogrules this house - Tenor too weird for his own good

Ben Watt & Jay Hannan
Lazy Dog

Looking for that perfect sound to backdrop your next Sunday night chill party? You may have just found it in Ben Watt and Jay Hannan's latest release.

Drawing from house and disco rhythms, Lazy Dog is a jazzy, mid-tempo journey through deephouse and soul. Compiled and mixed by the owners and resident DJs of London, England's chill club Lazy Dog, Watt and Hannan bring to the masses a true taste of the UK underground.

Trying to capture the idle mood of a Sunday evening at their Nottingham-based club, the duo has compiled a collage of house, disco, latin, jazz, dub and soul, sure to slide a contented smile across your face.

Each disc on the double CD set is a mix of common deep-house tracks, but what sets it apart from other mixes composed by a team, is that Watt and Hannan each mixed one disc independently. This means each disc has its own sound and style, but combine nicely.

The first disc, mixed by Watt of Everything But the Girl fame, is a disco driven dance party. Loaded with uplifting vocals from Everything But the Girl and Dawn Tallman, disc one will get your booty shaking.

Drawing heavily on dub and house, disc two is far more soulful. Featuring tracks from Kevin Yost and Lego, the second CD is short on vocals but heavy on guitar riffs, making it a funky counterpart to the disco oriented first disc.

As far as deephouse compilations go, this one's pretty standard. It's jazzy without being boring and the mixing is spot on. Watt's repeated use of Everything But the Girl samples is shameless, yet he manages to make it work. While Watt and Hannan's choice of tracks is nothing new, the album doesn't suffer because of it.

Lazy Dog is the perfect album to transform your living room from a dark pit to a velvet lounge.

–Adam Bailey

Jimi Tenor
Out Of Nowhere

Scandinavian-based, multi-instrumentalist Jimi Tenor is a hard man to pin down.

For nearly a decade, Tenor has been releasing albums of off-kilter, jazzy funk that, while brilliant, has been barely intelligible. He is the perfect example of mad genius, as crazy as he is inspired. With his latest project, Out Of Nowhere, Tenor appears to have dropped even further into his dementia.

The concept is simple enough; it is an album of funk and soul tunes recorded with the aid of a full orchestra. In Tenor's hands, however, that concept gets bent into all sorts of sound-shapes, of which "Hypnotic Drugstore" is good instance. A propulsive bass and bleating horns start the groove, but Tenor adds traditional East Indian chanting and instruments that make the track anything but conventional. Likewise, "Blood On Borscht" is a bizarre attempt at a chamber piece arranged for heavy metal guitar.

Moments like those are scattered throughout and help make the album interesting. "Paint The Stars" is haunting, but really isn't much of a song, while the title track is an unlistenable piece that makes the work of Philip Glass seem radio friendly. Even at his most self indulgent and unfocussed, Tenor manages to keep you from turning off the record by clearly believing in what he's doing.

Out Of Nowhere does have its moments of glory. "Pylon," a far too short saxophone composition, is beautiful and "Call Of The Wild," with its wonderful, full-bodied vocal from Nicole Willis, is exceptional. Perhaps the best song on the album though, is "Better Than Ever," a sexy soul number with a lovely choral backing.

With his latest opus, it is unlikely Tenor will win over new fans. He's simply too bizarre to win mainstream acceptance. But as long as he continues to follow his singular vision and record albums as innovative as Out Of Nowhere, those in the know will have some fascinating music to listen to.

–Aaron St. John

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Copyright The Gazette 2000