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RACHID TAHA: Ole Ole (CD on Mango/Island Records in USA).

Middle Eastern pop tunes with a jungle twist. A fairly so-so disc, enhanced with production by Steve Hillage (aka System 7) and containing a strong Hillage guitar presence throughout.

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TANGERINE DREAM: Oasis (CD on Miramar Records).   

But with this release, Tangerine Dream are back to their lusterless bland sound: dreary keyboards that miss the mark and E-perc carrying tired melodies nowhere. How tired? Well, the material on "Oasis" dozes, while live versions of these songs on "Tournado" blaze. It's apparent that the Polish session musicians were the cause of the "Tournado" CD's fire and vibrancy.   

TANGERINE DREAM: Tournado (CD on TDI Music International).    

Many (myself included) have felt that Tangerine Dream's spring of dynamic creativity had dried up years ago. Then along comes this 70 minute live CD (from their Poland concerts in early 1997) and it's wildly energetic and bursting with brilliance. A totally surprising performance, lush with electronics, strong drumming and searing guitar (alas, not Froese's finger on the strings, but nonetheless powerful). This concert doses out recent generally listless songs with the power and fury of prime TD: hypnotic and ear-bleeding music not to be overlooked.     

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TEAM METLAY: Ballistic (CD on Atomic City, PO Box 81175, Pittsburgh, PA 15217-0675, USA) ($26.00 post-paid).

There's something special about a Team Metlay release...okay, this is only their second CD, but I loved the first one ("Bandwidth"--only $15.00 post-paid) and this one is even better!

First better: it's got a higher ratio of savage rhythms.

Even better: it's a double CD, so there's over two hours of this great music.

Better still: there's a sweet refinement in the music since their debut release ("Bandwidth"). "Ballistic" features some very spacy music, often quite dynamic with seething synthi walls and rapid E-perc. There's a fair share of interstellar ambience going on too.

Best in Bugtown: there's some very slick guitar on the second disc, especially during a 30 minute track recorded live in Bugtown at Not-Jamaican Hall.

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LAURENT THIBAULT: Mais on Ne Peut pas Rever Tout le Temps (CD on Musea Records in France).

Thibault used to play with Magma in the old days. This solo release is far calmer though, although intense in its own way. Lush instrumentals with swimming vocal effects by Amanda Parsons (from Hatfield and the North). The quality of this progressive quasi-classical rock music almost makes up from the disc's brief length (31 minutes).

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THIS HEAT: Made Available (CD on These Records, 387 Wandsworth Road, London SW8 2JL UK).

The few who remember this industrial prog rock band from the late Seventies will delight to learn that another release has been added to their sparse but wonderful output--a live album recorded in 1977 at the BBC.

Containing classics like "The Fall of Saigon" and "Horizontal Hold", this 43 minute CD sports some very intense performances by Charles Hayward, Charles Bullen and Gareth Williams...grinding guitar, pounding drums, swarming electronics--a thoroughly incredible dose of their quirky quasi-industrial brand of the Canterbury sound.

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STEVE TIBBETS: Steve Tibbets (CD on Cuneiform Records, PO Box 8427, Silver Spring, MD 20907 USA).

In 1977, Steve Tibbets began his career with a fragile yet intense indie album that established strong links between folk and space music in the USA. The music was instrumental and mainly guitar with a variety of effects and some some background mood electronics. Not cyclic enough to be trancy, and exuding too much dynamic to be new age, Tibbets' early album stands alone, a jewel of infinite luster on the hill of ore ambience. (Later, Tibbets would move to ECM Records and adapt his sensibilities to that esoteric jazz label.)

A classic album and cudos to Cuneiform for seeing it finally reissued on CD.

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TURK KNIFES POPE & PETIT MAL (CD on Zenflesh Records, PO Box 21995, Long Beach, CA 90801).

This 59 minute CD is split between two industrial noise bands.

A grinding thunder rumbles amidst a ghostly gothic choir...a collage of instructional tapes duel among themselves on an angry field of shimmering dark noise...the purring of monstrous machines gone dancing on the moon (they echo chugga chugga)...then the machines begin spinning so fast they fly away into space...once free of the gravity well these massive machines set to vibrating, slowly chewing away at the fabric of sane reality ...thus ending the intriguing Turk Knifes Pope portion of this CD. You have been conically purged of all organic relaxation.

The Petit Mal portion of the disc is a long 28 minute excursion into atonal repetition of harsh noises and thrashing surges, offset by ticking and basement guitar.

TURK KNIFES POPE: Mad Dog (CD on Zenflesh Records, PO Box 21995, Long Beach, CA 90801 USA) ($10 post.paid).   

Eight minutes of pulsing electronic waves create an excellent introduction to this excursion into the dark side of ambience. Only just restraining an explosion into industrial turf, the music on this 70 minute CD is generally an atonal background auralscape with hidden teeth and a definitely unsettling edge. Whirling sounds, scrapings, distant crowds, singsong decay and the gurgling patter of drone-drops await the unwary listener, ready to darken any mood.   

TURK KNIFES POPE: Performance Crippling Data Restriction (CD on Zenflesh Records, PO Box 252065, Los Angeles, CA 90025 USA).

This 73 minute CD is one long piece, generally an ambient industrial sonic sculpture (drifting grinds and sighing scrapings) punctuated by several intense outbursts of attack noise (crashing tones and jarring harsh spirals). As this non-rhythmic music continues on its edgy/sedate way, the tones become darker and the outbursts more frequent. For a period, the music switches to guitar and bass notes, stretched with reverb and echoes into a grating tapestry of atmospheric string tortures. This tapestry will inevitably surge a few times before everything returns to pulsing electronics (again, with outbursts) until the abrupt conclusion.

Imagine Nurse with Wound doing Brian Eno.

(Label WebSite: http://www.zenflesh.com/).

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NIK TURNER: Past or Future? (CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).

Another live release for ex-Hawkwinder Turner, this time culled from his 1995 Space Ritual tour. A decent 76 minutes of high energy space rock with a raw edge and driving impact.

The songs include such classics as "Lord of the Hornets", "Ejection", and "Hiqhrise". with Michael Moorcock doing the vocals for "Warrior at the Edge of Time" and Jello Biafra joining in on everyone's favorite "Silver Machine".

And the CD has a flicker picture cover.

NIK TURNER: Prophets of Time (Cd on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).

This is the studio album that preceded Turner's "Space Ritual 94 Tour" double CD (also on Cleopatra Records).

Packed with raucous vitality and snarling intensity--oh, it's rock'n'roll, but tinged with dark side sensibilities and charged with deep space angst. You get domination guitars, rapid percussion, surging electronics, urgent vocals, emotional violin...the music is crammed with dynamics...and a band line-up that includes Hellos Creed, Simon House, Len del Rio (from Pressurehed) and Genesis P.Orridge.

Very tasty stuff.

NIK TURNER: Space Ritual 1994 Live (double CD on Cleopatra Records, 13428 Maxella Ave, Suite 251, Marina Del Rey, CA 90292 USA).

In 1994 Turner toured the USA and this is a document of the music. Joining Turner onstage were: Hellos Creed, Del Dettmar, Allan Powell, and members of Pressurehed. There's classic tunage going on here, including classic material like "Masters of the Universe", "Silver Machine", "Sonic Attack", "Thoth", "The Right Stuff","Orgone Accumulator", and of course "Brainstorm". Powerful the music is, but raw is the keynote here. It's not an unpracticed, accidental raw-it's intentional hard rock with walls of agro synthis and Turner's angry saxophone in your face.

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TUXEDOMOON: Divine (CD on Cramboy Records in Belgium).

An obscure dose from the masters of art rock strangeness and mood. Violin, guitar, drums, the usual fare from Tuxedomoon. Each song is dedicated to a different Greta Garbo film.

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TYPE 4: Trailmix (on World One Records, PO Box 118, Medford, MA 02155 USA) (CD: $10 post.paid; Cassette: $5 post.paid).   

Type 4 claim to be "Northeast Atlantic Pornographic Superhero Druggie Themefunk". That's an ambitious start. The music on this 74 minute release is a brutal mix of hip hop, industrial, rock, and angry funk.  A drum platform supports wickedly growling guitar, double rap vocals with a particularly odd assortment of samples and riffs, bubbling with snarling, sequencing, scratching, and sneaky keyboards. Songs like "Shoefunk and Spam", "Punk Smackin'", and "Catcher in the Rhyme" deliver solid tuneage raspingly wrought with thrashing testosterone and rich sarcasm.     Although I'm not generally into rap, this band's smirking outlook captured my attention with their clever hooks. I recommend you check out their sense of antisocial humor.    

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