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The Independent Culture

My Own Country: Songs of Peter Warlock. Ruth Golden /

Levering Rothfuss (Koch 3- 7118 H1). The hidden irony in the title of this disc is that it introduces very English songs sung by an American voice of the lightly inflected kind you expect to hear breathing gentle nostalgia into Samuel Barber Knoxville repertory. But it proves that the habits of American Pastoral transfer quite happily to its English equivalent; and although Ms Golden is sometimes looser and thinner of tone than you'd ideally want, she catches the equivocal beauty of the settings - no one of his generation handled small-scale texts more effectively than Warlock - with refinement, real musicianship and wonderfully intelligent accompaniment from her pianist, Rothfuss. One of the most enjoyable discs I've heard this year. Michael White


Vijaya Anand: Dance Raja Dance - Asia Classics 1 (Luaka Bop / Warner Bros 7599-26847-2). David Byrne's Luaka Bop label shifts its attention from South America to the Indian subcontinent, turning a well-deserved spotlight on a great pop polyglot. Anand is a 'musical director' rather than a performer, responsible for the scores which are not only central to India's film industry but also provide the impetus for most of its pop music. His delightful compositions plunder just about every musical genre without ever losing their own supremely playful identity. The high point for me is 'Naane Maharaja' ('I am the Emperor'); the only Deep House Flamenco Bluegrass Ska anthem to really matter in 1992, but this is just one of several symphonic tours de force.

Helmet: Meantime (Interscope / Eastwest 7567921621). Few big labels would have put their weight behind a band as severe as this New York pop- grind quartet a year ago, but it's 1992 and uncompromising is in. The vocals growl or drone, the bass and guitar saw remorselessly at your innards, and the drummer makes good use of his training in orchestral percussion. The austerity gives it a weird jauntiness that might just be the sound

of summer. Ben Thompson