'There's more going on in any five minutes here than in entire rackfuls of ambient, techno or drum 'n' bass albums'
Barry Adamson Oedipus Schmoedipus Mute CD STUMM 134
Friday 02 August 1996
Sexual confusion is Adamson's target here, observed with a slightly raised eyebrow and an occasional wry smile. The album opens with the lusty "Set the Controls for the Heart of the Pelvis", featuring a desperate Jarvis Cocker begging "Save me from my own hand" over a monstrous funk groove that somehow manages to combine gospel vocals, urgent strings, raging power-chords and limpid vibes into one coherent whole; it closes an hour later in Twin Peaks-y mood with Nick Cave breaking off a relationship with abrupt tenderness in "The Sweetest Embrace": "I just don't want you anymore / And that's the sweetest embrace of all".
In between are a variety of bold musical strategies, ranging from the slinky organ groove and Classics IV sample that comprise "Something Wicked this Way Comes", to the seven-minute tone-poem collage of "Dirty Barry", with its sonic scribbles and echoing trumpet lines. There's also a distinct loungeward lean to several pieces, Adamson languishing among the flutes, vibes and brushed snares of "In a Moment of Clarity", and adding a new rhythmic wrinkle to his cover of Miles Davis's "Miles". Throughout, echoes of soundtrack composers such as Barry, Herrmann and Morricone sprout from Adamson's tunes, adding dramatic whiskers to his arrangements. And while he's far too facetious and frivolous actually to elucidate any of the thorny psycho-sexual issues involved, that same sense of fun and daring ensures that there's more going on, musically, in any five minutes of Oedipus Schmoedipus than in entire rackfuls of ambient, techno or drum 'n' bass albums.
Final Top Gear reviewTV
Arts & Ents blogs
- 1 Michelle Watt's father says TV presenter killed herself because she was in constant pain
- 2 Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
- 3 'Help me I'm trapped in a factory' messages keep being found on bottles of vitamin water
- 4 North Korean defector flees to Finland 'with evidence of chemical testing on humans'
- 5 Greek debt crisis: The photograph that conveys the despair of Greece's elderly
Bad luck, One Direction: Paul McCartney doubts success of The Beatles will ever be matched again
This is surely the best way to watch Jaws
Game of Thrones season 6: Daenerys actress Emilia Clarke says '50/50 chance' Jon Snow is alive
The last decade has produced just four UK festival headline acts
What if Nicolas Cage played every character in Game of Thrones?
Greece crisis: IMF was pushed around by Angela Merkel and Nicholas Sarkozy – and now it is being humiliated
Nathan Collier: Montana man inspired by same-sex marriage ruling requests right to wed two wives
'I wish the BBC would stop calling it Islamic State' – David Cameron unleashes frustration at broadcaster
Forget little green men – aliens will look like humans, says Cambridge University evolution expert
Greece crisis: The wider lesson is that it’s time to abandon this failed experiment in currencies
Girl, 7, stares down hate preacher at Ohio festival with pro-LGBT rainbow flag gesture