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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

CD review

The Artist Formerly Known As Prince and New Power Generation "New Power Soul"

NPG Records

He used to be lean and mean. Gold shoes and itchy fabrics, "wet mulatto" lips and "mad sex in the horny morning," that was the Artist Who Formerly Kicked Funk Butt as Prince.

Prince sailed through the '80s and early '90s with excruciating falsettos, masterful arrangements and a hard-assed, stylized individuality. During a time when he could have gotten away with less, Prince gave a lot.

In 1998, however, he largely disappoints. Although this record's appetizer is a minimal, mounting, sweet pumper, the dance floor clears with the maudlin balladry of "Until Ure in My Arms Again" and "SHOO-BED-OOH."

For most of the album, NPG ushers in an everyone-on-stage jam, with a mess of plodding bass, chanting girlies and little Hammond keyboard riffs a la washed-up George Clinton, steering the glittering Mothership into a boring black hole of noise.

Pizzicato Five "Remix Album: Happy End of You"


Pizzicato Five are a cheeky gaggle of Japanese who write affable, ironic pop.

This recording uses all of the neatest DJs to fell the songs from "Happy End of the World" and make them over. The results are diverse.

"Contact," remixed by Dmitry From Paris, becomes a M.A.R.R.S.-style, old-school romp. The John Oswald (of Plunderphonics fame) remix of "It's a Beautiful Day" is enchanting. Overall, an intriguing record for those into taking Humpty Dumpty apart and putting him back together again.

The Sugarcubes "The Great Crossover Potential: A Collection"


Bjork: "I want to eat life."

Einar: "We approach every concert as if it were our last."

Between these two statements was a band who made a marvelous, maverick nest for themselves within popular music.

This is art at its best: accessible, exultant, otherworldly and funny.

Bjork's voice led the band around by the hand with enormous self assurance while yelling wonder.

An anomaly of art rock, The Sugarcubes were a charming superball of inventiveness that naturally mixed humor with yearning.

A short collection like this doesn't do them justice.

Sonic Youth "A Thousand Leaves"


A continuation of SY's experimental bent, this work has a musical maturity that verges on death. There are only so many dreary, droning opuses with similar progressions one can listen to!

Maybe it takes an SY freak to appreciate the nuances: the trademark pulsating rhythm and the lackluster, tuneless delivery. What's a sometimes-fan to do?

The nine-minute "Wild Forest Soul" is typical: Moore's repetitive vocal lines drag over pulsating guitar and bass. Then, a digression ending in feedback. Oh, those pulsating, minor third guitar notes: back and forth, jangle jangle and so on. What about having some fun? A sample, a joke, a balalaika, at least a voice disguiser! SY ought to raid Sean Lennon's pad for his Intergalactic Tape Machine.

The above releases are available at Purple Legion, 44 Ulitsa Svobody, 495-7391, metro Skhodnenskaya and 7/4 Ulitsa Gvozdeva, metro Taganskaya.