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Dynamic Rock: Barry Adamson, Nash the Slash, Ozric Tentacles

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BARRY ADAMSON: The King of Nothing Hill (CD on Mute Records)

This 2002 CD is the first new release from Barry Adamson since 1998, featuring 63 minutes of exciting new material. Although Adamson is best known as the bass player from Magazine in the late Seventies and a founding member of Nick Cave's Illustrious Bad Seeds, his solo career saturated the next two decades with releases that delighted and baffled audiences with his inclination for producing soundtracks for nonexistent films.

With this new release, Adamson directs his musical talents to dynamic pop songs which are rich with narrative lyrics and kick-ass fervor. More styles are featured here than any artist deserves the right to master, blending funk with art rock and adding a dash of instrumental passion that reaches far beyond cinematic flair.

Horns blare with feverish resound amid a bevy of intricate percussives. Basslines drip like nectar, guitar riffs blaze with dazzling range. Keyboards combine classic organ solos with subliminal electronics to achieve a sinuous undercurrent that elevates the tuneage to a sonic plateau that has multi-generational appeal.

Adamson's vocals are an unconventional fusion of romance and killer rock frontman, enunciating tales of the street that are steeped with dramatic tension and high action content. Imagine Barry White relating the details of a seedy crime scene.

Adamson's acclaimed compositional acumen is second to none. His tunes capture attention with sultry rhythms and achingly enticing melodies. He has an uncanny ability to infuse urgent harmonics with a tense hard-boiled quality that turns a streetcorner confrontation into an epic experience.

While some Adamson aficionados may find this music heavier than usual with lyrics, there are several instrumental pieces that vindicate the man's mettle with breathtaking allure.

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NASH THE SLASH: American Bandages (CD on Cut-Throat Records)

Originally released in 1984, this album suffered from haphazard distribution and was never really noticed by the American audiences for which it was intended. This 2002 CD reissue offers 47 minutes of Nash's bloodthirsty music, this time channeled through the medium of cover songs.

From Grand Funk Railroad's "American Band" to Steppenwolf's "Born to Be Wild" to Spirit's "1984" to the Doors' "Who Do You Love" to Hendrix's "Hey Joe"...each classic tune is subjected to Nash's deviant sensibilities, transforming pop oldies into searing modern epics with densely cautionary overtones.

Nash, who plays electric violin and electric mandolin with a unique frenzy (along with other electronic devices), bestows wholly bent perspective to these songs, mutating guitar riffs with his mandolin and violin pyrotechnics. The man in bandages can certainly make strings sing with unnatural resonance, wailing like insect hordes spiraling into the sky and growling like angry predators stalking deadly woods after dark. The presence of the violin as a lead instrument generates majesty to these tunes, but this serious demeanor is expertly wrapped in a hostile mix of percussion and locomotive electronics.

Expect Nash's strenuous vocal command to belt out these familiar lyrics, but often conveying sentiments far darker than ever intended by the songs' original composers. His rich voice has a wild quality to it that seethes under talented articulation, producing an eerie blend of authority and rebellion.

Joining Nash on this album are: Claude Desjardin (on programming), Cameron Hawkins (on keyboards and backing vocals), Martin Deller (on drums), and Terry O'Brien (on guitar).

This CD features three bonus tracks: a demo of "King Bee" (an obscure blues tune which some might recognize from the Rolling Stones' first album), a Club Mix of "Who Do You Dub", and the original version of Nash's version of "Dead Man's Curve" (previously available only on a seven-inch single).

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OZRIC TENTACLES: Live at the Pongmasters Ball (double CD on Mad Fish Records)

The masters of instrumental psychedelic space rock are back--with a 2002 release that offers 117 minutes of sizzling concert tuneage from March of 2002.

Be prepared to be dazzled by guitar pyrotechnics swimming in a glittering ocean of surging synthesizers and pounding percussion and ripping bass and passionately ethereal flute. The nimble-fingered guitar will sweep you away with feverish frenzy, plunging you into a whirlwind voyage of ecstatic proportion. The liquid electronics will fry your senses with loving warmth. The drumming (and all the cleverly peripheral percussives) will cascade with relentless urgency, taking the music epic scale beyond stunning attraction into euphoric mesmerization. The bass resounds with a constant under-rumble that generates a visceral earthiness. While the emphatic flute strains inject a spiritual presence to this intense sonic explosion.

This music excellently captures the energy and demeanor of Ozric's output. The band's powerhouse approach to hypnotic music is unparalleled, and this devotion is clearly obvious with each astounding riff contained here.

The choice of songs that comprise the band's set here is a wondrous blend of new and old, featuring current material along with such classic tuneage as "Erpland", "Dissolution", "Sploosh", "The Throbbe", and the always-welcome "Kick Muck".

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