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Listen to the tracks mentioned in Caught in the Net below:

Pop Albums: Sneaker Pimps Becoming X Clean Up CUP020CD

Smooth yet spiky, Sneaker Pimps deal in a trip-hop style which is as informed as much by current indie music as by the dubby, groovy sounds central to the genre. In particular, Chris Corner's guitar parts add a variety of unusual attitudes to the mix - on "Low Place Like Home", his electric guitar is as sternly enigmatic as Garbage, while his acoustic playing on "Post Modern Sleaze" has something of the loping bohemian roll of Beck or G Love & Special Sauce.

Baby Fox A Normal Family Malawi COB 5899-2

Studio trio Baby Fox brandish their piratical leanings upfront, opening this fine debut with a sampled scratch and what appears to be someone suffering seasickness. It's only the first of several occasions when they make playful sport with ambient expectations. The hum of insect noise on "Ladybird" makes it seem as if the lone piano is tiptoeing through the jungle, while "Our Face Is Not a Jacket" and "Gloria Graham" blend soothing rainfall and meditative instruction into a downpour philosophy. Oddest of all, a cover of Marc Bolan's "Girl" buzzes the ballad with bursts of sample-noise and, towards its end, sheep.

Starting from Scratch...

Baby Fox are a PoMo pop trio with a trippy, skanking, feelgood summer vibe. Phil Johnson can hardly contain himself...

Storm in a milkshake

The dance-pop duo Moloko evade pigeonholes. Their sound is vaguely reminiscent of Grace Jones and Talking Heads. But, they tell Nicholas Barber, not at all of Portishead

live: Everything But The Girl Shepherds Bush Empire, London

The singer was mesmerising - tall, thin and elegant in a floral shirt, with a voice exquisitely pure. And he was only the support act: David McAlmont, guesting with Ultramarine on their next single "Hymn", and sounding like the love child of Sam Cooke and an angel.


Ms Gudmundsdottir rarely mixes romantic and professional relationships - but finds musical collaboration as important as a love affair

Rock: The reluctant dbutante

Portishead are Britain's most talked-about new band. But until now their singer has let others do the talking. Ben Thompson meets Beth Gibbons

RECORDS / New Releases: Massive Attack - Protection (Virgin, CD/ LP/tape)

Their first album, 1991's sumptuous Blue Lines, opened up a whole new imaginative world for British dance music, in the same way that De La Soul's Three Feet High And Rising did in America. It's lasted better too, perhaps because fewer others have dared to follow in Massive Attack's footsteps.

Hit-and-run trucks

(First Edition)

OPERA / Off the record: David Patrick Stearns on Les Troyens

NOW that Berlioz's Les Troyens is less of an aberration and more of a sensation in the world's opera houses, record companies can't help being more interested, and Decca is currently taking the plunge with the Orchestre Symphonique de Montreal. The recording was preceded by a performance at the orchestra's usual venue, Place des Arts, with the two parts of the opera given in successive weeks. That doesn't mean that last week's hearing of the longer second part, Les Troyens a Carthage, which depicts the ill-fated romance between Aeneas and Dido, was necessarily an accurate preview of the recording: the Place des Arts acoustics are as unflatteringly dry as its recording venue, St Eustache Church, is flatteringly resonant.

THEATRE / The Fringe: Lifeless resurrections

WATCHING Stage One's production of Marlowe's Dido, Queen of Carthage (Rudolf Steiner Theatre, London), you feel that perhaps her four-century burial in the theatrical dustbin was deserved. 'The first professional production since 1593,' the programme boasts: but there are good reasons why Dido has been branded with that equivocal phrase 'neglected classic'. True, it contains some marvellous verse: Aeneas's gore-spattered aria to the wrack of Troy and Dido's protestations of love has a fierce beauty. But it's a rambling, ponderous tale, and Radio 3 recently managed to pack the good bits into an hour.

MUSIC / Notices: English Bach Festival - Queen Elizabeth Hall, London

Purcell's Dido and Aeneas is currently at the hub of musicological debate: when was it written and for what sort of performance? One indisputable fact is that it was originally prefaced by a Prologue, the music for which has been lost - with the possible exception of an overture marked in the source 'Overture to Mr P's Opera'. This, together with a number of dance pieces from about the same period (the late 1680s) and a duet from Dioclesian, was included on Monday in Curtis Price's reconstruction. Such an attempt to present Dido in something approaching its original theatrical context is typical of the English Bach Festival's pioneering approach to the performance of early opera. Visually it was very appealing: the costumes were made of gorgeous stuffs of gold and bronze which glimmered and shimmered in the warmly-lit closing tableau, and Sarah Cremer's choreography was convincing and well executed. What a shame, then, that musically it was as flat as a pancake. The only saving grace (and it was a major one) was Della Jones's Dido. She sings a poignant Lament, but she was also made to double, less successfully, as the Sorceress. This can prove acceptable in the concert hall, but was dramatically disastrous here.

DANCE / Edinburgh Festival: Morris dancers do it with creative genius

THE Schola Cantorum of Edinburgh is lumped in with the Scottish Ensemble in the pit. The stage lights go up and the Mark Morris Dance Group, in black sarongs, stand in a row. They begin moving in single file, taking up positions along a balustrade. They pose there for a minute, motionless, like characters on a Grecian urn.
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