Fado Curvo
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Those who loved Marisa's first album will probably feel very much the same way about Fado Curvo. However, just like Fado Em Mim, this album takes a while to reveal its subtle charms.

Though Madredeus mastermind Carlos Maria Trindade takes over production duties from Jorge Fernando, Fado Curvo is no great departure in sonic terms. The basic fado arrangement of Portuguese guitar, Spanish guitar and bass still predominates, with occasional piano from Tiago Machado, and only "Deserto" really pushes the new fado envelope.

The main difference is the way the album was put together and the material used. There's far less reliance on songs associated with fado's megadiva Amália Rodrigues. Keen to move on from comparisons with her, Mariza has only chosen one fado from Amália's repertoire, and certainly makes "Primavera" her own.

Most of the other songs are specially commissioned compositions which make use of Portuguese poets' work, both new and old. The cracking opener "Silêncio da Guitarra" is a very fine example of the fado castiço tradition in which melodies from the 200-plus body of traditional fados are given new words. Here the old "Zé Negro" fado gets that treatment by contemporary writer José Luis Gordo.

Mariza also looks beyond Lisbon, including "Menino do Bairro Negro" from the Coimbra tradition as well as sprightly folk dances from both the north (Fado Curvo) and south (Feira de Castro) of Portugal, which lighten the prevailing mood of melancholy.

A live-in-the-studio approach has effectively captured Mariza's powerful vocal charisma. She seems to extract maximum dramatic effect from each syllable, somehow without making things sound overwrought.

Fado Curvo is the sound of a very special singer at the top of her class and in full command of her art, with one foot in the past and her gaze fixed firmly on the future. —Jon Lusk

Sketches of Spain
Miles Davis  
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Miles Davis's impact on jazz is almost incalculable. From his early days as a sideman for Charlie Parker, through his groundbreaking Birth of the Cool sessions, to his stunning small groups of the 1950s and 1960s, through to his electric renaissance, the trumpeter, bandleader and composer has left a deep mark on all who came after. He is one of jazz's true giants. Sketches of Spain, though one of Davis's most commercially successful sessions, is also one of his most controversial. Re-teaming with arranger and composer Gil Evans, who played such a pivotal role in Davis's 1949 Birth of the Cool recordings, Davis recorded a series of large group albums beginning in the late 1950s, including Porgy and Bess, Miles Ahead, and Quiet Nights. Sketches of Spain, with its emphasis on flamenco, rich orchestrations and relaxed tempos is certainly one of Davis's most mellow recordings (he even works out on fluegelhorn), and proved to have broad appeal. To some critics, however, the project was "elevated elevator music". — Fred Goodman

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The great iconoclast of techno returns with a smooth, sacred and exhilarating record. Play's concoction of breakbeat rhythms, ambient mixology and inspired blues and gospel samples cry out across musical genres and histories, imparting a time-tested wisdom to beat-driven ears. Moby's devout faith—in both God and his own musical whims—give this approach a sort of legitimacy that another, less sincere artist would never have. That sincerity reverberates through the beats and instrumental eclecticism like a pulse. The soulful refrains and proclamations in "Find My Baby" and "Natural Blues" somehow nestle between straight-up dance-floor rave-ups ("Bodyrock") and melt-in-your-mouth ambience ("Inside") with an effortless grace. Moby reaches across his turntables and finds something pure—almost organic. In fact, the album feels more natural than techno is ever supposed to feel, more spiritual than DJs are supposed to be able to muster and more alive than it has any right to be. Check out the spellbinding compilation Natural Blues to hear the original source material from blues and spiritual singers such as Etta James, Vera Hall and BB King. —Matthew Cooke

Finally We Are No One
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Plus qu'à Björk, avec laquelle les membres de Mum partagent des origines islandaises, c'est aux groupes abrités par le label Morr et au collectif Kitchen Motors que ce groupe peut être comparé, voire, çà et là, à Sigur Ros. Emmenée par les voix angéliques des sœurs jumelles Kristin et Gylda Valdysdottir, la musique de ce quatuor est presque aussi aérienne et éthérée que celle de Robert Wyatt. Les mélodies affichent une candeur sophistiquée, ponctuée d'expérimentations électroniques servies par une science confondante des arrangements – sampleurs et ordinateurs portables répondent au xylophone dans des télescopages inédits qui mixent avec goût folk et electronica. L'ambiance, évidemment envoûtante, évoque l'idée que l'on se fait des paysages islandais, de leurs volcans et de leurs glaciers. Comme le mariage du feu et de la glace, de l'electro et de l'acoustique, du folk et de la cold wave. Un deuxième opus excellent qui prolonge dignement le précédent Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today Is OK. —Philippe Robert

Left of the Middle
Natalie Imbruglia  
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RCA, 5713821, Jewel Case 12 Track 2000

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Le fil qui relie les deux premiers albums de Niagara à Religion est incontestablement l'humour, cette faculté qu'ont Moreno et Chenevez de dire les choses sans y toucher. Pour ce qui est de la musique, en revanche, ce troisième opus n'a strictement rien à voir avec Encore un dernier baiser ni Quel enfer !. Avec ses guitares aux riffs vengeurs, on peut à coup sûr parler de hard-rock, un hard-rock qui renvoyait une quinzaine d'années en arrière. Bref, Niagara a joué ici la carte de la nostalgie seventies. Certainement pas celle du glamour ! —Philippe Margotin

Pretty Hate Machine
Nine Inch Nails  
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Considered the breakthrough album that delivered a more palatable version of industrial music to the commercial audience, Pretty Hate Machine left its dingy mark on pop culture. The abrasive "sonarchy" of the album was first churned by despondent club-goers who roiled with the rhythms and aligned with the angst-ridden convictions. Since its release, the album's tempered deviations came to signify an aesthetic reverie for machine-driven martyrdom. Permeated by hissing engines and dissonant strains, the tracks cascade outside channels of modern complacency. Hits like "Head Like a Hole" and "Down in It" are recognized by the acidic beats, piercing riffs, and lyrical hostilities which snare the listener with disparaging rhapsody. Not for the light-headed, Pretty Hate Machine afflicts the inner sanctum and strikes a nerve. —Lucas Hilbert

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No Description Available
No Track Information Available
Media Type: CD
Artist: PRINCE
Street Release Date: 05/10/1988

Pablo Honey
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Buena Vista Social Club
Ry Cooder/ Ibrahim Ferrar/ Ruben Gonzalez/ Compay Segundo/ Omara Portuondo  
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\I felt like I'd trained all my life for this album. It's the peak." So says guitar master Ry Cooder about his first recording since his Grammy-winning Talking Timbuktu he teams with a galaxy of Cuba's finest musicians"

Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust Sigur Ros  
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Sigur Rós—the sound of snow-capped peaks. Or winged things flocking over vast plains. Or salmon making that final courageous, muscular leap upstream, homeward bound. Ever since the BBC so aptly enlisted the help of their "Hoppipolla" single to theme their groundbreaking natural history series Planet Earth, the ever-ethereal Icelandic band have become somewhat typecast, finding themselves conducting the awe across the backdrops of nearly every other programme in that broad genre. And with that came the danger that all which followed would automatically become an instant cliche. And though their last album Takk saw a slowing of their evolution in favour of solidifying the established sound in accessible earfuls, the reassuringly unpronounceable Með Suð í Eyrum Við Spilum Endalaust (which translates as "with a buzz in our ears we play endlessly") sees enough of a stylistic twist to keep things moving, without undercutting this new approachability. Where previously they sounded untouched by human hands, all alien post-rock abstractions, they now sound much more organic, sometimes literally like men playing instruments in a room. Albeit pensively, and extraordinarily. It is a perky record, attentive and exquisite, familiar but not derivative. The rhythmically adventurous "Gobbledigook" reminds of Brooklyn experimentalists Battles, unplugged, the xylophone heavy "Inní Mér Syngur Vitleysingur" is this album’s "Hoppipolla" and "Ara Batur" is trembling, lonely and eventually triumphant. "Festival", the album’s centrepiece, melds the old and new Sigur Rós dramatically over nine majestic minutes and must number amongst the best moments of their career. —James Berry