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
Keira Knightley and Benedict Cumberbatch star in the Alan Turing biopic The Imitation Game

film
Arts and Entertainment

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Radio 4's Today programme host Evan Davis has been announced as the new face of Newsnight

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams performing on the Main Stage at the Wireless Festival in Finsbury Park, north London

music
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Mathison returns to the field in the fourth season of Showtime's Homeland

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Crowds soak up the atmosphere at Latitude Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Meyne Wyatt and Caren Pistorus arrive for the AACTA Aawrds in Sydney, Australia

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rick Astley's original music video for 'Never Gonna Give You Up' has been removed from YouTube

music
Arts and Entertainment
Quentin Blake's 'Artists on the beach'

Artists unveils new exhibition inspired by Hastings beach

art
Arts and Entertainment
MusicFans were left disappointed after technical issues
Arts and Entertainment
'Girl with a Pearl Earring' by Johannes Vermeer, c. 1665
artWhat is it about the period that so enthrals novelists?
Arts and Entertainment
Into the woods: The Merry Wives of Windsor at Petersfield
theatreOpen-air productions are the cue for better box-office receipts, new audiences, more interesting artistic challenges – and a picnic
Arts and Entertainment
James singer Tim Booth
latitude 2014
Arts and Entertainment
Lee says: 'I never, ever set out to offend, but it can be an accidental by-product'
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
tvThe judges were wowed by the actress' individual cooking style
Arts and Entertainment
Nicholas says that he still feels lucky to be able to do what he loves, but that there is much about being in a band he hates
musicThere is much about being in a band that he hates, but his debut album is suffused with regret
Arts and Entertainment
The singer, who herself is openly bisexual, praised the 19-year-old sportsman before launching into a tirade about the upcoming Winter Olympics

books
Arts and Entertainment
music
Arts and Entertainment
Jon Cryer and Ashton Kutcher in the eleventh season of Two and a Half Men

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Ben Whishaw is replacing Colin Firth as the voice of Paddington Bear

film
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
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.

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy': A land of the outright bizarre

    Noel Fielding's 'Luxury Comedy'

    A land of the outright bizarre
    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    What are the worst 'Word Crimes'?

    ‘Weird Al’ Yankovic's latest video is an ode to good grammar. But what do The Independent’s experts think he’s missed out?
    Can Secret Cinema sell 80,000 'Back to the Future' tickets?

    The worst kept secret in cinema

    A cult movie event aims to immerse audiences of 80,000 in ‘Back to the Future’. But has it lost its magic?
    Facebook: The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    The new hatched, matched and dispatched

    Family events used to be marked in the personal columns. But now Facebook has usurped the ‘Births, Deaths and Marriages’ announcements
    Why do we have blood types?

    Are you my type?

    All of us have one but probably never wondered why. Yet even now, a century after blood types were discovered, it’s a matter of debate what they’re for
    Honesty box hotels: You decide how much you pay

    Honesty box hotels

    Five hotels in Paris now allow guests to pay only what they think their stay was worth. It seems fraught with financial risk, but the honesty policy has its benefit
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Why weight of pressure rests easy on Michael Jamieson’s shoulders

    Michael Jamieson: Why weight of pressure rests easy on his shoulders

    The Scottish swimmer is ready for ‘the biggest race of my life’ at the Commonwealth Games
    Some are reformed drug addicts. Some are single mums. All are on benefits. But now these so-called 'scroungers’ are fighting back

    The 'scroungers’ fight back

    The welfare claimants battling to alter stereotypes
    Amazing video shows Nasa 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action

    Fireballs in space

    Amazing video shows Nasa's 'flame extinguishment experiment' in action
    A Bible for billionaires

    A Bible for billionaires

    Find out why America's richest men are reading John Brookes
    Paranoid parenting is on the rise - and our children are suffering because of it

    Paranoid parenting is on the rise

    And our children are suffering because of it
    For sale: Island where the Magna Carta was sealed

    Magna Carta Island goes on sale

    Yours for a cool £4m
    Phone hacking scandal special report: The slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    The hacker's tale: the slide into crime at the 'News of the World'

    Glenn Mulcaire was jailed for six months for intercepting phone messages. James Hanning tells his story in a new book. This is an extract
    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    We flinch, but there are degrees of paedophilia

    Child abusers are not all the same, yet the idea of treating them differently in relation to the severity of their crimes has somehow become controversial
    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    The truth about conspiracy theories is that some require considering

    For instance, did Isis kill the Israeli teenagers to trigger a war, asks Patrick Cockburn