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SINGLES REVIEWS PAGE, DECEMBER 2nd 1995, MELODY MAKER


SINGLE OF THE WEEK 1.
MORCHEEBA
TRIGGER HIPPIE (China)
I KNOW nothing about Morcheeba. If it was still summer, you’d hear this as a smooth, slightly stoned shuffle across the road to the park, a record to suck the heat out of the room. Right now, with the nights drawing in and your breath circling in morning spirals up the misty window, it fits like a lungful of tears. This is heavy-lidded, liquid-heady soul; a song that starts as loud as it’s gonna get (not very) and then seems anxious to force in spaces, black holes, like the last seconds of Eric B & Rakim’s “Follow The Leader” with just a bit of bottleneck and the intonation “Pull the trigger/I’m a hippy” creeping out through the sleepy beats, the sitar drones, the hanging shadows.
    Think Dubstar’s “Stars”, St.Etienne’s “Calico”, Redman’s “Green Island”, Gil Evans, Nina Simone’s “My Man’s Gone Now”, Joyce Sims “Come Into My Life”, Baileys and the sweet taste of hatred, the horror of strangers, mayday mayday, suggestion/association overload.
    A visitation. Bleak as marriage. As it should be

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 2
NINE
WUTCHA WANT (Profile)
Starts off really worryingly with that bassline from “Sittin’ On The Dock Of The Bay” but redeems itself with a gorgeous symphonic string caress and a genius Hanna-Barbera flute-jitter that keeps popping up when you most want it to. Best of all, Nine’s wickedly gruff delivery is served by a Brothahood remix (which is just a shade of the truly staggering LP they’re gonna drop in January) and a Portishead remix which suggests Geoff Barrow’s been listening to an awful lot of Genius, Raekwon and Show & AG, and is consequently more fun than a fizzing feeling between your legs.
   Actually, the Portishead mix might even fill the gap until the next transmission from the Wu-Tang chambers spews forth. Mic to mouth resuscitation, rhythm and radiation.

What else is there?
(See SOTW 3)

SINGLE OF THE WEEK 3
CHAVEZ
PENTAGRAM RING (Matador)
Well, there’s this , for starters.
This has a riff so hugely bitably beautiful it’s like being showered with hot mercury while the first seven seconds of “20th Century Boy” jumps out of the speakers. “Pentagram Ring” is wonderfully hurried. It shudders to think and will never stone roses. It bursts out of sealed tomb, blinking. Listener’s choice on Dream Radio. It, uhhh, rocks, y’dig? And the voice is cool. Go get it, kids.





JAMES BONG
MR KISS KISS BONG BONG (2 Kool)
ASSUMING that time isn’t linear but circular, then that sea-spray drum sound that everyone credits to the Small Faces on “Itchycoo Park” was in fact pioneered by The Beastie Boys on “Lookin Down The Barrel Of A Gun”. BECAUSE IT’S A BETTER RECORD. And it’s all over this 12-inch in phat, thudding streams, together with haunting movie strings, dubbed-up synths and a bass as insistently mindblowing as that historic Richie Hawtin remix of La Funk Mob. Even better, the funk flows in and out of The one via neat scratching and cross-faded jiggery-pokery. More delights from the uniformly excellent 2 Kool label – check out the “Experience In Kool” comp, and Mr Electric Triangle’s forthcoming “Kosmosis Of The Heart” LP.

HOODLUM PRIEST
NAKED TIME/NO FEAR (Stylus 22)
I USED to listen to Hoodlum Priest’s peerless “Hearts Of Darkness” LP so much that now, whenever I watch “Robocop”, “Bladerunner” or” Hellraise”r, I keep veering into a cappella versions of the songs on it when the samples on the LP crop up onscreen. “Come quietly or there will be . . . trouble”, “Aah, F*** YOU , MAN!”, and so on. HP were always a birrova teenage thrill and after “Capital Of Pain”, a lot lost interest but this, especially “No Fear” and the 10-minute “Naked Time (Uberchill-Technietzche Mix)”, is a return to form.

PFM
ONE AND ONLY (LGR)
THE breakbeat: dense but defined, forceful yet just a flicker. The bass: two notes. The backdrop: repetitive chords and the echoey clatter of a train. The effect: just close the windows, pull into the fast lane of the ringroad at midnight, drive until this track finishes, see if there aren’t any tears in your eyes. This ain’t jungle. This is a city at your fingertips.
Of course it’s better than the real thing.





MIDNIGHT FUNK ASSOCIATION
FIRESCRATCH (Excursions)
DJ SOLO + DJ AURA
TAKE HEED (Excursions)
MO’WAX offshoot label “Excursions” go further afield with these two records, the first towards techno, the second towards jungle. Midnight Funk Association use the same kin dof bass-heavy rugged funk as RPM’s “Food Of My De-Rhythm” while Solo and Aura take the jungle route (so strong you ‘ave to geddit from a pharmaceeest) and pump it fulla bedlam, all hyped beats and upwinding swirls of jazz. Both are corking, the former more so.

JURYMAN
TWO (All That’s Left)
FOUR hunks of f***ed-up beats. “Elephant Cemetery” has a buzzing, electric noise that skitters around your head over taut elastic funk, “The Law Suits” is horrorcore without vocals and “Storm” is an arrhythmic mess that makes the heart stutter. Diseased, brilliant.

RED
BEAST OF ENGLAND (Cup Of Tea)
SOUNDS like they should be an anarcho-punk band but, thankfully, this is expansive, expressive instrumental hip-hop that combines Durutti Column-like guitar, Talk Talk strings and Wu-Tang echo-chamber drones in this fantastic cinematic journey into sound. Cup Of Tea get more essential with every release. Considerably better than dead.

STRANGE BREW
CHILDREN OF THE RAIN (Rob’s Records)
TWO new tracks from Manchester’s finest (Northern Who?) “Children” is a kinetic return to the hip-hop that is SB’s roots. Featuring rappers Ash Trai and Zed 9 this is a slamming take on the Gang Starr/Souls Of Mischief skool of phatness.
   B-side “On The Edge” gets even more spaced-out with splashing aqua-beats and a thread of John Barry spy-guitar that dims the lights every time it appears.

SUGA BULLIT
SUGA SHACK/MOVE (Parkway)
THE ETHICS
LA LUNA (VC)
WHAT makes this pair brilliant is just how BLANK yet EXPLOSIVE they are. Think Crystal Waters’ “Gypsy Woman” or Livin’ Joy’s matchless “Dreamer” (Single Of The Year, nay probs). Suga Bullit are part of the same excellent Edinburgh soul-scene that gives us Coco And The Bean and Blackanized and “Suga Shack” hinges on a brilliant organ-line so discordant its effect winds up being percussive rather than melodic. Luscious. “La Luna” (or “To The Beat Of The Drum” as you’ll know and soon love it) is driven, dazzling disco. Addictive.


CHROME CRANKS
LOST TIME BLUES (Matador)
IF you thought The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion were out on their own, you were wrong – there’s a WHOLE MESS O’THIS STUFF OUT THERE. It’s just that what’s most interesting about John Spencer (the hip-hop phatness, the studio panache, the bizarre Lee Hooker rhythms, the fact he’s the only US rocker to really flirt with remixology) is precisely the stuff that most of his peers (Jack O Fire, Monomen, Doo Rag) ignore. Chrome Cranks are as downer-funky as they get. “Lost Time Blues” is detuned to hell while last track “Heaven (Take Me Now)” drops like hope in the rain for a full eight minutes.

SLACK DOG
SLACK DOG EP (LO)
EC8OR
THINK ABOUT RAVING HYPOSPADIE (DHR)
YEAAHH, mann! Rushin me tits off inna de area!!! Big up shout outs to Dazz Gazza Bazza Andre Malraux and all da whistle posse from Plumstead awww yeahhh . . . People who do drugs are also those people you don’t see for years cos they’re crapping in a bucket in a caravan in a Multiplex carpark and who suddenly turn up and make you falsely grin at their exploits even though you wish they’d go away extremely quickly. This is the kind of drivel they listen to. Nosebleed dance bollocks of the worse kind.


ROLF HARRIS
EGO SUM PAUPER (Rolf Harris Records)
ROLF Harris isn’t a name to pass around the smoking table, he aint someone to laugh at, or an idea to laugh at, or a person to name your bar after or a person where you should feel you have to say “No, honey, I love him”. Rolf is a big, beardy, friendly man. Rolf cares for animals. Rolf is the big foot into the camera at the end of those Learn To Swim . . . It Could Save Your Life adverts (“fell into a pool . . . scared my parents half to death”). So I ain’t gonna make any jokes about this six-minute track (in Latin) with a trip-hop backing. Cos Rolf’s too good for that.


THE CORONATION STREET CAST FEATURING BILL WADDINGTON (PERCY SUGDEN)
ALWAYS LOOK ON THE BRIGHT SIDE OF LIFE (EMI)
HAVING just seen the video in which Rita Fairclough (a Tory, incidentally) can be seen for a horrific HALF A MINUTE blubbering from foot to foot, swatting her head from side to side rather like a demented elephant-seal cow bellowing for her lost young, I’m presently looking on the side of life that has you half-expecting Franz Kafka to pop up and say “Eeeh come on grumpy guts, stop tha moaning!”. Virtually Satanic.

THE SMOKIN’ MOJO FILTERS
COME TOGETHER (War Child)
What the hell is a Mojo anyway? It’s not in the dictionary. In the dictionary you get “Moither n.see moider” (which is presumably defined as “n. the state of affairs ensuing when Mr & Mrs Hart met”) and “Moke n. (sl) meaning donkey or very poor horse.” You’d at least think it’d have “Mojo n. shite retro music journal for the slavish arse-tongue interface-exploration of various clapped-out old has-beens no one gives  a tinkers cuss about any more”, but no, nothing. This record features Noel Gallagher, Paul Weller, Paul Mc**tney and the bassist from Ocean Colour Scene and it should be ignored like the rash of hell it is. Go into Oxfam and stick three-quid in the tin.

JOYRIDER
FABULAE (Paradox)
I SAW Joyrider once. The bassist was wearing fingerless black studded leather gloves. A far more serious crime than joyriding, I think you’ll agree. I suggest that instead of playing this woeful grungeful dirge they call themselves “Revolting Handwe@r” and go nick some cars instead. Maybe even get caught. Believe me lads, having to nightly trade your pretty-boy looks with a big guy named Bubba just for a pack of cigarettes will seem like a picnic compared to the grim future that awaits you on the permanent sidelines of indie-rock. Get out while you can.
SEAL
DON’T CRY (ZTT)
THERE is horror. There is pain. There are nights of soul-destroying agony. And there is this. For once, though, we find pleasure in pain by uniting in our misery. Because WE ALL HATE SEAL AND WE WANT HIM TO TAKE HIS “KISS FROM A ROSE” AND STUFF ITS INCOHERENT F***ING GITTISHNESS UP HIS AWARD-WINNING, SHITE MOVIE-HAWKING, CONRAN-CARPETED ARSE.
Oh, and Enya can bugger off and f***ing die as well, while we’re on about joining forces against the enemy. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls . . . goodnight. 

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