RECORDS / New releases - Arts and Entertainment - The Independent

RECORDS / New releases

Brian Eno: Brian Eno I & II (Virgin, three CDs each). Renaissance dabbler; bald eminence; man whose second name is an anagram of eon: Brian Eno, this is a part of your life. It is satisfying to watch someone who is most celebrated as a catalyst and collaborator shuffle modestly centre-stage, and the cold, calm confines of the boxed set are a suitable setting for Eno's distinctive talent. The organising principle behind these two solo collections is Eno I for instrumentals and Eno II for vocal performances, and the respective tones are set by the accompanying essay books (one by an uncharacteristically heartfelt Paul Morley, the other by Eno's former workmate David Toop). The musical selections bounce blithely from album to album, backwards and forwards in time, with the same gleeful imperviousness to orthodoxy that their author has always displayed.

It is not out of perversity that the instrumental set comes first. Eno is currently most revered in his capacity as Godfather of Ambience, and this selection is a botanical garden for the mind, to be wandered in at leisure. I'd forgotten how beautiful Music for Airports is - 16 minutes of it is not enough. My favourite of all these tender washes of sound, though, would have to be 'Dawn Marshland', from Music for Films III, if having favourites didn't go against the grain of the whole exercise.

The vocal set starts at a peak with eight songs from the epoch-making Here Come the Warm Jets, currently celebrating its 20th anniversary, but there are other highlights too. Among the five tunes from last year's unreleased LP My Squelchy Life, there are three minor pop classics. 'Stiff' is especially fine - 'I wanna be held, I wanna be schooled, I wanna have every plea for mercy overruled'. There is no need to worry about this man's contribution being finished. No doubt he is already hard at work on his next project: transcribing the telephone directory into the Cyrillic alphabet and then humming it in Spanish. Ben Thompson

George Clinton: Hey Man . . . Smell My Finger (Paisley Park, CD/LP/tape). Too wayward a spirit to capitalise on the success of Atomic Dog in the early Eighties, George has had to look on more or less as a spectator as others have built a hugely profitable gangsta rap edifice on his Funkadelic foundations. This, the second major attempt to cash in on his legacy, comes, like 1989's little-bought Cinderella Theory, through the good offices of Prince, his most celebrated disciple. It's a much better record than its predecessor though, with the same gleeful, loose- limbed feel that made Clinton and Co's Seventies canon so essential. On a very funny 'Paint the White House Black', he achieves the seemingly impossible - bringing warring former NWA compadres Ice Cube and Dr Dre together in good-humoured debate. 'Listen to the real Clinton. Who, Bill Clinton? Hell No, I'm talking about George Clinton.' BT

Tougher than Tough: The Story of Jamaican Music (Island, four CDs). As Chris Blackwell - who brought reggae to the world - says in his introduction to this 95-song set, Jamaica's gift to music has been out of all proportion to its population. Men such as Prince Buster, U- Roy, Bob Marley and Lee Perry changed not merely the sound of pop music but its very conceptual basis. Nobody, not even James Brown or Andy Warhol, did more to break down the hegemony of the three-minute song based on the 12-bar blues or the 32-bar Broadway ballad, by which Frank Sinatra, the Beatles and Otis Redding were equally bound. Here, in these five hours of recordings, we see Jamaican music emerge from its early imitation of Fats Domino and Curtis Mayfield into a period when it made its own rules, distorting European time-frames and notions of what constituted a 'lead vocal'. Toasting led to rap; dub led to ambient house. With such historical surveys as this, it's always tempting to identify a particular period when the idiom existed in a brief state of grace, technique and innocence in perfect balance, and to deplore its further development. True enough, as with most artistic revolutions, reggae was at its most interesting before it went international. A Toots Hibbert or a Delroy Wilson, a Desmond Dekker or an Alton Ellis struggling to express himself in a dialect version of the language of early-Sixties American soul singers is a far more affecting sound than that of a Shabba Ranks or a Buju Banton, for whom the battle is won. But whether or not you think that reggae is finished as a creative form, Tougher than Tough is an immaculately gripping and vastly entertaining account - carefully compiled, cleverly packaged, fulsomely annotated - of its amazing journey from Trenchtown to the world. Richard Williams

John Coltrane: Expression (Impulse GRP 11312, CD/tape). His shadow lengthens still, and this record is as good an explanation as

any of what made John Coltrane a unique force. Taped a few months before his untimely death in 1967, this final session features his last group, a line-up that still excites controversy. The saxophonist Pharoah Sanders, the pianist Alice McLeod Coltrane and the drummer Rashied Ali address their material in the devotional mode favoured by the great man in his later years. One unreleased 12-minute track is added to the original issue, further enhancing an important release. RW

THE IoS PLAYLIST

THE FIVE BEST DISCS OF THE MOMENT

Vaughan Williams: Five Tudor Portraits, etc. Bach Choir, New Philharmonia/Willcocks (EMI, CD). Classic choral recording from the Sixties. Michael White

Schumann: Dichterliebe, Liederkreis, Op 39. Thomas Quasthoff/Roberto Szidon (RCA Red Seal, CD). Finely shaded, focused singing from Quasthoff, a true lieder specialist. MW

k d lang: Even Cowgirls get the Blues (Sire, LP/ CD/tape). Instrumentals and vocal performances to bring out the cowgirl in everyone. BT

Pulp: Lipgloss (Island, single). Majestically overwrought pop fluff. BT

Kate Bush: Moments of Pleasure (on The Red Shoes, EMI, LP/CD/tape). A smile and a tear from the Welling siren. BT

(Photograph omitted)

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Some might argue that a fleeting moment in the actor’s scintillating, silver-tongued company is worth every penny.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Colin Firth stars as master magician Stanley Crawford in Woody Allen's 'Magic in the Moonlight'

film
Arts and Entertainment
U2 have released Songs of Innocence in partnership with Apple

musicBand have offered new record for free on iTunes
Arts and Entertainment
Brad Pitt stars in David Ayer's World War II drama Fury

film
Arts and Entertainment
Top hat: Pharrell Williams

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jonah Hill and Channing Tatum star as undercover cops in 22 Jump Street

film
Arts and Entertainment
David Bowie is back with fresh music after last year's hit album The Next Day

music
Arts and Entertainment
Keith Richards is publishing 'Gus and Me: The Story of My Granddad and My First Guitar', a children's book about his introduction to music

music
Arts and Entertainment
Calvin Harris has generated £4m in royalties from the music platform

music
Arts and Entertainment
Jenna Coleman stars as the Time Lord's companion Clara in Doctor Who

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Time and time again: the popular daytime quiz has been a fixture on Channel 4 since 1982

TV
Arts and Entertainment

To mark Tolstoy's 186th birthday

books
Arts and Entertainment
Rachel McAdams is reportedly competing with Mad Men's Elisabeth Moss for a major role in True Detective

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sam Smith returned to the top spot with his album 'In The Lonely Hour'

music
Arts and Entertainment
Steve Backshall is set to dance with Ola Jordan on Strictly Come Dancing. 'I have a friend who's a dancer and she said to me 'You want Ola because she's a fantastic dancer and she can make anyone look good' meaning 'even you'!' he said.

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Sting and Paul Simon on stage together at Carnegie Hall in New York

music
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
The Strictly Come Dancing 2014 contestants and their professional dance partners open the twelfth run of the celebrity ballroom contest

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Robin teaches Clara to shoot an arrow
doctor who
Arts and Entertainment
Queen Christina left the judges baffled with her audition
X Factor
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Mystery of the Ground Zero wedding photo

    A shot in the dark

    Mystery of the wedding photo from Ground Zero
    His life, the universe and everything

    His life, the universe and everything

    New biography sheds light on comic genius of Douglas Adams
    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Save us from small screen superheroes

    Shows like Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D are little more than marketing tools
    Reach for the skies

    Reach for the skies

    From pools to football pitches, rooftop living is looking up
    These are the 12 best hotel spas in the UK

    12 best hotel spas in the UK

    Some hotels go all out on facilities; others stand out for the sheer quality of treatments
    These Iranian-controlled Shia militias used to specialise in killing American soldiers. Now they are fighting Isis, backed up by US airstrikes

    Widespread fear of Isis is producing strange bedfellows

    Iranian-controlled Shia militias that used to kill American soldiers are now fighting Isis, helped by US airstrikes
    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Topshop goes part Athena poster, part last spring Prada

    Shoppers don't come to Topshop for the unique
    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    How to make a Lego masterpiece

    Toy breaks out of the nursery and heads for the gallery
    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Meet the ‘Endies’ – city dwellers who are too poor to have fun

    Urbanites are cursed with an acronym pointing to Employed but No Disposable Income or Savings
    Paisley’s decision to make peace with IRA enemies might remind the Arabs of Sadat

    Ian Paisley’s decision to make peace with his IRA enemies

    His Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign would surely have been supported by many a Sunni imam
    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    'She was a singer, a superstar, an addict, but to me, her mother, she is simply Amy'

    Exclusive extract from Janis Winehouse's poignant new memoir
    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    Is this the role to win Cumberbatch an Oscar?

    The Imitation Game, film review
    England and Roy Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption in Basel

    England and Hodgson take a joint step towards redemption

    Welbeck double puts England on the road to Euro 2016
    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Relatives fight over Vivian Maier’s rare photos

    Pictures removed from public view as courts decide ownership
    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    ‘Fashion has to be fun. It’s a big business, not a cure for cancer’

    Donatella Versace at New York Fashion Week