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Recent Faves from the WFMU Record Library
November 2004

Reviewed by Music/Program Director Brian Turner

LADY SOVEREIGN/ Little Bit of Shush (White Label)
The UK garage & grime scenes have blown up in a big way in the wake of such spotlight-grabbers as Dizzee Rascal and Ms. Dynamite. Now, every A&R geezer is hanging out on the corners of East London looking for the next big thing and the popularity the new breed (Wiley, M.I.A.) indicate that the sound isn't going anywhere too soon. At 18 years old, Lady Sovereign has enough issues to contend with; white girls stalking her on her cel phone calling her a wigger, music biz types telling her how she should look cosmetically, making her presence felt at as many MC throwdowns as possible to build up her cred. But out of the gate, she's pretty ferocious, with a nonstop machine-gun delivery over equally claustrophobic beats, street attitude rivaling any, and totally creative freestyle. With the guy from the Streets already making beats for her, it's probably only a month before the same people who are cursing Dizzee for working with Basement Jaxx come down on Ms. S-Oh-Vee, so get the goods while they're good n' raw.

SLEEPYTIME GORILLA MUSEUM / Sleepytime Gorilla Museum of Natural History (Web Of Mimicry)
Few bands can tie so many currents of ideas into a vision like SGM, a Bay Area ensemble made up of members of Tin Hat Trio, Idiot Flesh, Faun Fables and Charming Hostess. This, their second disc, features music that moves from whimisical and theatrical to utterly crushing: Spike Jones, Meshuggah, Magma, Goblin are just a few of the musical monsters rearing their heads at this carnival-like supper table. The record's first half is totally brutal metallic-prog, chock full of relentlessly complex time signatures, plenty of snorting and growling from frontman/guitarist Nils Frykdahl about impending doom. But later, the cockroaches surface, things delve into evil lounge, Wicker Man-evocative folk (members can be spotted with the odd cow mask on stage) and admittedly weirder (I have no idea what the "baby doctor" Frykdahl is crooning about IS). One can certainly be further confused over the in-depth theme of the booklet, which positions early 20th Century Futurist manifestos with those of the Unabomber (who seems to be commended for some good ideas). A puzzling, band for sure, but one that always turns out a vision you can't help but marvel at.

GUILLERMO E. BROWN / Black Dreams 1.0 (Harvestworks)
Hearing this in a store recently really turned my head. Brown has been part of free jazz giant David S. Ware's ensemble as his drummer, and more recently spread out into some even more adventuous sounds via the Blue Series on Thirsty Ear, which includes many artists on the roster exploring the grey zone between electronic music and jazz. But here on Black Dreams 1.0, Brown really grabs on to something further out than that. Someone accurately pointed out this could be the cyber-age version of De La Soul's 3 Feet High and Rising, and it's true: over the course of the album you're thrown a barrage of short cuts all taking on every genre, yet there's a vibe that coasts you along the sketches rather than smacks you in the face in a kind of John Oswald/Plunderphonic way. Herein, Brown mixes highbrow music concrete and elevated jazz ideas with soulful humanity (I think Arthur Russell more than once), and only as the album progresses into a denser wall of cel-phone sounds, industrial bleeps and bloops as if to point to where society is indeed headed.

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