•  •  •

JAMES/ENO: Wah Wah (on Mercury Records in the USA).

I'm not a fan of James, their "Laid" album left me cold. Yet "Wah Wah", which was recorded during the Laid sessions, is a disc of a completely different temperature--HOT! Oh so very hot! "Wah Wah" is actually a collaboration between James and Brian Eno (do not be mislead by the record company's choice to release the album in the USA under James' name only). The result is stupendous, directly comparable to Eno's "Another Green Wor]d" or "Before and After Science" albums. The elements are pure James, but the sound has been heavily Enossified: the ghostly vocals achieve a brilliant ethereal quality, the percussion is slicker, the electronics are astoundingly effective in the subtlety--why, all the instruments are more crystalline. Awesome in its delicate touch, gripping in its shimmering delight, I love every second of "Wah Wah" and ache for more.

•  •  •

STEVE JANSEN & RICHARD BARBIERI: Stories across Borders (CD on Virgin Records in UK).

This outing by these two ex-Japan members proves to be a satisfying excursion into artsy pastoral instrumental pieces.

•  •  •

JANSEN/BARBIERI/KARN: Beginning to Melt (CD on Medium Records in UK).

Relaxed modern rock (mostly sans vocals) with sultry keyboards, sizzling bass and the guitar mastery of David Torn and Steve Wilson (from Porcupine Tree). This music is powerful, just not overt. The power stems from the orderly neo-jazz compositions, seething with a contained fury, yet dripping with a peaceful calm. Expect a wondrous sonic outing that is very recommended.

•  •  •

JENSEN/BARBIERI/TAKEMURA: Changing Hands (UK import CD on Medium Productions, 74 St Lawrence Road, Upminster, Essex RM14 2UW, UK) (E-mail: info@medium.demon.co.uk)

Mostly instrumental pieces (only one of the seven has vocals) that stand equally in the jazz and electronic genres. Keyboards for swimming and weirdling guitar cavort upon a foundation of supple percussion. Delicate melodies these, building to fusion peak, thrashing the intellect into a rhythm mode. Very recommended.

Label WebSite: http://www.demon.co.uk/medium-prod

•  •  • 

JUNO REACTOR: Beyond the Infinite (CD on Hypnotic Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).

Juno Reactor are perhaps best known for their slick dance remix work with other bands (like Tract Lords, Killing Joke, and Siouxsie and the Banshees). This album of original compositions is a pleasant and frantic delight. The music is snappy techno with extremely dense hyper tempos. Be careful not to sit between the speakers or you'll get bounced back and forth by the dueling rhythms and electro beats. Very tasty tuneage.

JUNO REACTOR: Bible of Dreams (CD on Waxtrax Records in USA).

This latest outing from these techno dub meisters is upbeat and hyper, full of powerful electronics and intricate E-perc threads.

The sonic topic for this 66 minute CD of instrumental dance music is theological, but the viewpoints are more observational than preaching. While each song is targeted around a different worship (as in Hawaiian tribal tempos on the "Kaguya Hime" track or vampire samples on "Children of the Night"), these ethnic moods become swamped in the driving electronics and mega BPMs.

Pretty breathless stuff.

JUNO REACTOR: Samurai (CD EP on Hypnotic Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).

Juno Reactor's electro-charged frantic techno style is quite appealing, as superbly exposed on the "Beyond the Infinite" LP (also on Hypnotic). This 35 minute EP features Total Eclipse and Koxbox remixes of LP tracks, a Robert Liener remix of a non-LP track, another non-LP track, and the obligatory LP version of the EP's title track. Highly entertaining and worthwhile. 

•  •  •
Return to Sonic Curiosity Home Page