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)

Arts and Entertainment

Great British Bake Off
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

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

    The long walk west: they fled war in Syria, only to get held up in Hungary – now hundreds of refugees have set off on foot for Austria

    They fled war in Syria...

    ...only to get stuck and sidetracked in Hungary
    From The Prisoner to Mad Men, elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series

    Title sequences: From The Prisoner to Mad Men

    Elaborate title sequences are one of the keys to a great TV series. But why does the art form have such a chequered history?
    Giorgio Armani Beauty's fabric-inspired foundations: Get back to basics this autumn

    Giorgio Armani Beauty's foundations

    Sumptuous fabrics meet luscious cosmetics for this elegant look
    From stowaways to Operation Stack: Life in a transcontinental lorry cab

    Life from the inside of a trucker's cab

    From stowaways to Operation Stack, it's a challenging time to be a trucker heading to and from the Continent
    Kelis interview: The songwriter and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell and crying over potatoes

    Kelis interview

    The singer and sauce-maker on cooking for Pharrell
    Refugee crisis: David Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia - will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi?

    Cameron lowered the flag for the dead king of Saudi Arabia...

    But will he do the same honour for little Aylan Kurdi, asks Robert Fisk
    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Our leaders lack courage in this refugee crisis. We are shamed by our European neighbours

    Humanity must be at the heart of politics, says Jeremy Corbyn
    Joe Biden's 'tease tour': Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?

    Joe Biden's 'tease tour'

    Could the US Vice-President be testing the water for a presidential run?
    Britain's 24-hour culture: With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever

    Britain's 24-hour culture

    With the 'leisured society' a distant dream we're working longer and less regular hours than ever
    Diplomacy board game: Treachery is the way to win - which makes it just like the real thing

    The addictive nature of Diplomacy

    Bullying, betrayal, aggression – it may be just a board game, but the family that plays Diplomacy may never look at each other in the same way again
    Lady Chatterley's Lover: Racy underwear for fans of DH Lawrence's equally racy tome

    Fashion: Ooh, Lady Chatterley!

    Take inspiration from DH Lawrence's racy tome with equally racy underwear
    8 best children's clocks

    Tick-tock: 8 best children's clocks

    Whether you’re teaching them to tell the time or putting the finishing touches to a nursery, there’s a ticker for that
    Charlie Austin: Queens Park Rangers striker says ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    Charlie Austin: ‘If the move is not right, I’m not going’

    After hitting 18 goals in the Premier League last season, the QPR striker was the great non-deal of transfer deadline day. But he says he'd preferred another shot at promotion
    Isis profits from destruction of antiquities by selling relics to dealers - and then blowing up the buildings they come from to conceal the evidence of looting

    How Isis profits from destruction of antiquities

    Robert Fisk on the terrorist group's manipulation of the market to increase the price of artefacts
    Labour leadership: Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea

    'If we lose touch we’ll end up with two decades of the Tories'

    In an exclusive interview, Andy Burnham urges Jeremy Corbyn voters to think again in last-minute plea