Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Pete Shelley ‎– Homosapien (1981)

Style: New Wave, Synth-pop
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: Island Records, Polystar, Western Songs

01.   Homosapien
02.   Yesterday's Not Here
03.   I Generate A Feeling
04.   Keats Song
05.   Qu'est-Ce Que C'est Que Ça
06.   I Don't Know What It Is
07.   Guess I Must Have Been In Love With Myself
08.   Pusher Man
09.   Just One Of Those Affairs
10.   It's Hard Enough Knowing
11.   It's Hard Enough Knowing (Part 2)

Extra Tracks:
12.   Witness The Change / Maxine
13.   In Love With Somebody Else
14.   Homosapien (Dub)
15.   Witness The Change / I Don't Know What It Is (Dub Version)
16.   Love In Vain

Homosapien was a super-sad event upon its release in 1981. Buzzcocks fans were aware that the songs were originally intended for the band's fourth LP (even though some, such as the underground hit title track, had been composed before the band began) -- a new work that was set to continue the intriguing, strange, yet powerful and incredible direction the group had taken on side two of late-1979's A Different Kind of Tension, and its three (final) singles recorded in 1980. However, as Shelley settled into London's Genetic studios with producer Martin Rushent to demo these tunes, something unexpected happened. Shelley and Rushent fell in love with the cheesier, one-man-and-a-boop-beep-boop drum machine demos in a time when electro-pop disco was taking over. Tired of the group's sorry financial state, Shelley abruptly disbanded the band via an insensitive lawyers' letter mailed to his bandmates. Homosapien's release followed a few months later, before his fans' shock had dissipated. It can now be listened to in a different light than the inconsolably sad emotions that originally surrounded it. Despite the utterly ridiculous, aforementioned "drum" sound, it's the one Shelley solo effort worth investigating. Unlike XL1 and Heaven and the Sea, the wry, lovelorn pop songwriting inspiration is still with him. But more importantly, this is the only attempt by Shelley to retain the compressed, tight, hard production and vocals of his band work, despite the new genre and the predominance of a 12-string acoustic in favor of the old buzzsaw. More dance-pop than rock, Homosapien still straddles both fences enough to interest lovers of both genres. [Note: Five bonus tracks from XL1 are tacked on the Razor & Tie reissue, where the two Homosapien B-sides, "Keats' Song" and "Maxine," would have made more sense.]
Jack Rabid / AllMusic

Neneh Cherry ‎– Raw Like Sushi (1988)

Style: Pop Rap, Hip Hop
Format: CD, Vinyl, Cass.
Label: Virgin, Circa

01.   Buffalo Stance
02.   Manchild
03.   Kisses On The Wind
04.   Inner City Mamma
05.   The Next Generation
06.   Love Ghetto
07.   Heart
08.   Phoney Ladies
09.   Outré Risqué Locomotive
10.   So Here I Come
11.   My Bitch
12.   Heart (It's A Demo)
13.   Buffalo Stance (Sukka Mix)
14.   Manchild (The Oldschool Mix)

Produced and mixed by:
Bomb The Bass, Mark Saunders, Booga Bear & The Bubble Bunch, Bryan New, The Dynamik Duo & DJ Mushroom.

These days Neneh Cherry seems as happy to be known for her cooking as for her music. But back in 1989 she took the world by storm when she served up Raw Like Sushi, an intercontinental melting pot of rap, soul and pop influences that yielded hit singles Buffalo Stance, Manchild and Kisses On The Wind. 
Born in Sweden to a highly bohemian family (musician father and stepfather, artist mother) and gaining an impressive pre-fame musical pedigree (rubbing shoulders with such reggae royalty as Bim Sherman in Adrian Sherwood's New Age Steppers) Neneh's feisty femininity breathed life into late 80s chart scene. Though other successes would follow – most notably international smash 7 Seconds with Youssou N'dour – she would never recreate the impact of her debut. 
Much of that impact can be attributed to starting the album with the biggest tunes. Buffalo Stance, with its undulating synths, ''You go girl!'' sentiments and killer hooks is every bit the floor-filler it was ten years ago. The offbeat, ambient ballad Manchild (co-written with Massive Attack's 3D) showcases Cherry's maternal side, while the Cuban-tinged Kisses On The Wind's autobiographical words give an intriguing insight into a young girl who wanted to be remembered for more than just her incredible looks. 
The quality does dip a little once we get past the hits, with lots of sub-Prince keyboard funk and mocked up party FX. The straight rap tunes have dated the most, but Neneh's lyrics are a hoot - slamming together pop culture and pop psychology with endearing results. Compared to the raunch of today's charts, her attitudes are unusually tame (''My body is clean but my mind is bad'', ''he wasn’t impressed cause I wouldn't get undressed'') valuing love, monogamy and genuineness above all else. Other plusses include a nice nod to her reggae past on duet My Bitch - when Gilly G breaks into the first verse of Leroy Smart's Happiness Is My Desire - and some stripped down remixes of the singles which give the album a closing lift. Frontloaded it may be, yet most of Raw Like Sushi still sounds fresh.
Angus Taylor / BBC Review

The Ballistic Brothers V The Eccentric Afro's ‎– Volume 2 (1994)

Style: Future Jazz, Downtempo
Format: CD, Vinyl
Label: On Delancey Street

1.   Delancey Street... The Theme
2.   Unhooked And Lost
3.   Save The Children
4.   Jam Jah
5.   Divine Fact (Blacker 2)
6.   Goodvibes... Goodnight
7.   Anti-Gun Movement
8.   "Blacker" 94 E Q
9.   "Blacker" The Marden Hill Sweet Green Jam Mix

Engineer – Daddy Mark
Producer – Ashley, David, Deisel, Rocky, Uschi