A Tribe Called Quest: Beats, Rhymes & Life (Jive, CD/LP/tape). "That is the very definition of America: a people who have no shame and therefore they do whatever they want to do" - so conjectures a wise voice at the end of the first of the 15 tracks on this compelling fourth album from cerebral rap survivors Q-Tip, Phife and Ali Shaheed. The hypnotic allure of the Tribe's spiralling soundscapes is happily undiminished by the Islamic conversions and partial relocation from New York to Atlanta that have filled their time since 1993's classic Midnight Marauders. This group's embrace of contradiction - from the sombre "Crew" to the uplifting "Stressed Out" to Phife's thanks to his mum "for giving me birth even though you were 19" - is as sure and as welcome as ever. After Bustah Rhymes, The Fugees, De La Soul, and Nas, the unlikely Indian summer of East Coast rap continues apace.
Monteverdi: Musica Sacra. Concerto Italiano/Allessandrini (Opus 111, CD). Monteverdi dragged music into the modern psychological world in the early 17th century and his powers of emotional and descriptive expression have rarely been matched since. The works on this disc - expressive sacred motets and a short Vespers to complement the great 1610 collection - contain more sumptuous dissonance and decoration than we have a right to hope for in church, as well as examples of the composer's more severe style. The performances, by a cutting-edge Italian ensemble who are fast becoming unbeatable in the repertoire, are to die for: sky-blue clarity between lines, bright, highly characterised voices, enamel-hard consonants, ornamentation that's never simply tacked on. In short, this is one of the ripest, most musical Monteverdi recordings for years. The music lives.Reuse content