Massive Attack

| Feb 12, 2003

Massive Attack

No one would call the trip-hop architects of Massive Attack hopeless romantics, but I suspect that their music has been enjoyed in just as many bedrooms as clubs. Their collages of seductive vocals and slow, fleshy beats appears to activate all the appropriate hormones ...

Baka Beyond: 'Heart of the Forest'

| Feb 5, 2003

Baka Beyond: "Heart of the Forest"

Before we get into the new album by the world-beat collective, Baka Beyond, let’s get something straight about the name. In Japan, “baka” may be what you call your boss behind his back, but this four-letter word also denotes the pygmy tribe indigenous to ...

'Synkretizm: A Mountain Thinking the River Fire.'

| Jan 29, 2003

"Synkretizm: A Mountain Thinking the River Fire."

Voodoo, with its mix of West African mysticism and French Catholicism, plays a vital role in the lives of Haiti’s rural poor, but it gets a bad rap elsewhere. For the faithful, the communion of saints and shamans offers even the most piteous peasant ...

Common: 'Electric Circus'

| Jan 22, 2003

Common: "Electric Circus"

Hip-hop and Hollywood share at least one thing in common: Star-studded lineups never guarantee a work of art. In fact, some material’s strength is often diluted proportionately to the number of egos featured. This gives “Electric Circus,” the new album by Chicago MC, Common, ...

The Sea and Cake

| Jan 15, 2003

The Sea and Cake

Post-rock seems to have been born a genre already approaching middle age. While rock ‘n’ roll swaggered and screamed, this reticent cousin of indie-rock purposefully strode away from the testosterone. Post-rock’s aim was a departure from rock’s basic instincts, placing mood and texture over ...


| Jan 8, 2003


During the late-’80s halcyon days of rave, Jimi Goodwin and twin brothers Jez and Andy Williams congregated with other high priests of acid-house at Manchester’s Hacienda, then the mecca of club culture. But as their group, Sub Sub, evolved from beat worship into melody-driven ...

'el Christmas: The World in Winter'

| Dec 18, 2002

"el Christmas: The World in Winter"

Before British label el records went belly up, they were considered one of the hippest dispensers of candy-coated twee-pop and lounge music from the ’70s and ’80s. A holiday compilation album pulled from el’s catalog of aural confectionary makes perfect sense as so much ...

The Roots: 'Phrenology'

| Dec 11, 2002

The Roots: "Phrenology"

‘They have reached the level of their dreams: a major-label record deal and some international notoriety. But for all that, their concept has not yet blown up, and it is possible it won’t.” These words end “Illadelph Halflife,” the third album by jazz-rap hybrid, ...

| Dec 4, 2002

Aphex Twin: "Out From Out Where"

Techno music is never short on energy, but with artists now letting their laptop algorithms call the shots, electronica often comes up dreadfully short on actual human emotion. Richard D. James (aka Aphex Twin) best displays this embrace of the cold, clinical side of ...

Sigur Ros: 'Kid-A'

| Nov 27, 2002

Sigur Ros: "Kid-A"

When listening to Icelandic postrock outfit Sigur Ros, it’s easy to conjure up romantic images of their homeland: frosted clouds framing a cobalt sky, ice monoliths frozen stoically over ancient lava plains, muffled blasts of the geothermal powerhouse deep below. These postcard shots may ...