Weekly Wire
Tucson Weekly Rhythm & Views

SEPTEMBER 8, 1997: 


Reverb Explosion

HAILING FROM KOBE, Japan, the El Caminos unleash a tsunami of vintage 1959 Fender Jazzmaster guitar waves that'll have the psycho surfer dudes at your next luau fruggin' like drunken beach bunnies. Nestled among the 15 vibrato-strummed jewels are originals like the banzai pipeline roar of "Sumo Wrestler," and the nitro-fueled chaos of "Death Race," a sly homage to the brutal and sadistic 1975 roadrace flick starring David Carradine and Sly Stallone. Sharp and dynamic production chores from the originator of "delphonic" sound, the legendary Bob Keane (he produced Ritchie Valens, Bobby Fuller and a slew of unheralded '60s surf groups) complement the recordings, and affix them with an explosive air of authenticity.

--Ron Bally


Don't Believe
Liquid Sky Music

BRAZILIAN JUNGLE MUSIC pioneer Carlos "Soul" Slinger presents his latest collection on Liquid Sky's 'Jungle Sky' imprint. In keeping with his earlier cuts, best known from the This Is Jungle Sky comps, this CD is rife with complex rhythms drawing from African and Brazilian sources, American jazz and soul. By combining hip-hop, world beat and electronic sounds, Slinger makes dance music that's interesting even when you're sitting still. Mixing voices from television (including Michael Dorn--Star Trek's 'Whorf'--reading the narration from an alien abductees documentary), Jamaican DJ patter, soul and rap, on top of his cut-up musical and percussive samples, Slinger creates textural music that has the feel of ambient techno with a dub beat. "Don't Believe" includes one collaboration with TC Islam, the rapper who's provided the voice for a number of earlier Soul Slinger tracks. Adding Islam's New York-style delivery to Slinger's more variegated backgrounds produces something that transcends the rhythmic and melodic limits of most rap. Other pieces feature sweet soul singing, electronically resampled voices, and remixed vocals from Slinger's previous Jungle Sky cuts. Mostly, the voices are used as additional textures in the musical weave, and even the straight raps are blended smoothly into the overall structure of the pieces. Slinger has been part of the vanguard transforming hip-hop with ideas taken from a wide variety of sources, including straight experimentalism. His latest effort shows a continuing exploration of new musical territory, and is way more interesting and fun to listen to than the great mass of rap, rock and pop currently drifting our way.

--James DiGiovanna


Six Feet of Chain
No. 6

COVERS-ONLY SIDE projects like this, on a smaller label, generally mean self-indulgence and depthless boredom. Like so many "tribute" albums, records filled with covers generally affirm that the good is truly the enemy of the great. In this likable two-person project, Dean Wareham and cohort elevate B-side non-hits into a good record--but nowhere near the greatness of Galaxie 500 or any Luna record. Certainly not something with enough essential quality to fight its way onto the CD player. Those familiar with Wareham's languid pop gems will find his latest effort worthwhile for Marty Robbins' "The Last Goodbye," and Gordon Lightfoot's "I'm Not Sayin'." "Lacee's" vocal quality approaches the dreamy, faltering span of Galaxie's Naomi Yang; and when paired with Wareham's (Cagnee's) thinned synth, pale drum-machine pop and clear guit-strum, they investigate some of his more known sources. "Loving You (Is Easy 'Cause You're Beautiful)" becomes as sugary and sublime as the original, only flatter. Exactly what you'd expect pop to do when it lies about. It's difficult not to see the ultra-clean, sparse production as nothing more than a roux for someone we know is a fine cook. At the flour-and-butter only stage, it doesn't quite look like the meal we've come to expect.

--Brendan Doherty

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