Volume 94, Issue 65
Thursday, January 18, 2001
|ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT
Cafeine not working? St Germain will wake you up
Xavier Cafeine Musique
Ever wonder what happened to the New York Dolls? Wish Iggy Pop still rocked with reckless abandon? If so, Cafeine's brand of glitter rock is sure to fulfill all your sleaze needs.
Hailing from Montreal, this group of former punk-rockers have decided to branch out. Abandoning their trademark French lyrics, and embracing English glam faster than you can say Ziggy Stardust, Cafeine has ventured into new territory with no sense of trepidation. And that's where the problem lies.
When Cafeine decides it's time to rock, the band does so wholeheartedly.
However, this sense of sonic edge is surrounded by mediocre filler material, as five of the album's 10 tracks ensure Cafeine's impending fate in the second-hand CD bins of Eastern Canada.
That being said, Pornstar does have its moments. The opening title track is a driving testament to the death of rock (and resurgence of porn), while "Cigarette" and "Wow" display a swagger that belongs on L.A.'s Sunset Strip. Other highlights include "Devil" and "Color of Love," two tracks that delve into Hanoi Rocks-like sensibilities.
Say the word "jazz" and certain images come to mind; smoky cafes full of men in pinstripes and fedoras, martinis and single malt scotches slowly being sipped, whilst fingers snap to syncopated beats and trumpets methodically telling love stories. And more often than not, it seems jazz listeners would rather sit down and soak up the tunes than get on their feet and dance.
With Tourist, the long-awaited sophomore album from French DJ Ludovic Navarre, jazz once again becomes danceable.
Recently released on the legendary Blue Note label, Tourist is a deep house odyssey, with jazz as the binding ingredient to each of its nine tracks. As well, the album features ambient, dub, blues and even a go at reggae all peppered with elements of jazz that instill a sense of cohesion to the album.
"Sure Thing," samples "Harry's Philosophy" from John Lee Hooker and Miles Davis, while "So Flute," starts off with what else a flute solo that progressively gallops its way to a full-out deep house sensation. "Latin Note," is another house track that begins with a modest vibraphone and percussions, and crescendos to a frenzied Latin pace.
Tourist is an album that seems to automatically detect when your legs need a break and gives you a chill-out track before getting you back up on your feet.
Ludovic, the originator of French touch, (a style to which groups like Daft Punk and Dimitri owe their existence) seems like he's back in full-form after a five-year layoff from the scene.
If you love beats, but can't take the industrial-strength edge to a lot of current house music, Tourist is for you. The live instrumentals are impeccably mixed with electronic beats and meld together to form an album that's a shoo-in to stay in the CD tray for a long time.
K-Ci & JoJoX
On their third solo album, X, K-Ci & JoJo present a unique R&B style that can best be described as a tight mix of romantic ballads with 'thug life' beats and themes.
As members of Jodeci, K-Ci & JoJo changed the face of R&B in the '90s alongside "Mr" Dalvin and DeVante, who supplied most of the group's funk-laced production. After the group parted ways, K-Ci & JoJo made some impressive hip hop guest spots, but then released two solo albums that had a much slower, overly-emotional feel than Jodeci fans were used to.
On X, the R&B brothers seem to have corrected these extremes and brought their post-Jodeci influences together, which can clearly be seen on their first single, "Crazy." The soothing piano beat and romantic lyrics, create the same type of angelic feel as their '97 Grammy-nominated track, "All My Life," while the Roger Troutman-style chorus adds a funky twist to the song.
Equally impressive tracks on the album are "Get Back," in which K-Ci & JoJo seductively flow over DeVante's guitar strings; "Game Face," where they remind playa-haters not to test them over Timbaland-provided drums; and the album's gem, "Thug N U Thug N Me," which features the late, great, Tupac Shakur and sounds like a faster, freakier version of the now classic "How Do U Want It."
If anything, X's only weak point is its short length, which causes many of K-Ci & JoJo's more emotional tracks like "All The Things I Should Have Known" and "Suicide" to clash with the 'thuggish' tracks mentioned above.
Despite this minor flaw, K-Ci and JoJo bring forward a remarkable R&B album that contains just the right amount of hip hop and funk to keep you satisfied until the Jodeci reunion later this year.
Live At The Fillmore
Cypress Hill is back on the scene with Live At The Fillmore.
The album serves many purposes for long time Cypress Hill fans. One, the album serves as a fine example of a greatest hits album as it includes a wide array of songs, including old favorites like "Insane In The Brain" and "Cock The Hammer," right up to songs from their latest release, such as "(Rock) Superstar" and "Can't Get The Best Of Me."
The best part of this album is that Cypress Hill did no post-recording overdubs or studio sweetening. The album attempts to give the fans who haven't seen them, a feeling of what the Cypress Hill live experience is actually about.
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