Posts from 18th August 2003

Aug 03

The Neptunes Present… Clones

FT + New York London Paris MunichPost a comment • 166 views

The Neptunes Present… Clones

Let’s get the bad bit out of the way immediately. What is this Spymob/High Speed Scene pair of tracks in the middle of the album? Tedious rock tracks that are utterly out of keeping and not obviously linked in any way to the Neptunes, though presumably these dull tunes are by them.

It’s odd (maybe forgiveable caution?) that Pharrell’s first solo credit (Frontin’) is one of their more straightforward rhythms. It’s a lovely record, but it’s hardly one of their more daring outings. Is his somewhat thin voice enough of a drawback to his career, given the musical brilliance and physical beauty? How big a star can he become?

Busta Rhymes’ track Light Your A** On Fire is astoundingly spare with its odd electro beats. The Rosco P Goldchain track is even sparser, with something that sounds like muffled sawing carrying much of the mood, like some sort of minimalist riposte to Dooms Night. This is genuinely great stuff. The Snoop track, with its booming bass and tinny ringing, is equally clear most of the time – I think we have the new big thing here, an absolute opposition to, say, Adam F’s orchestral bombast.

The richness and complexity and freshness and force of their rhythms is extraordinary. They’ve been prominent for a few years now, and there have been moments when they seem to be tailing off a touch, but it never lasts. They’ve also been a big part of making that R&B/hip hop territory the most musically and culturally thrilling scene we’ve had in a long time, I think. Where is there stronger music, more imagination, more exciting acts, better hit records? I realise that the Neptunes are given plenty of love from many quarters, but I still think that maybe it’s not been near enough yet.

Three more interesting things about the Black Bull

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 241 views

Three more interesting things about the Black Bull:

ONE: it’s that rare treat, a reverse TARDIS pub. It looks like it’ll be some vast wasteland of tables and chairs and misery from the mock-Tudor exterior but it turns out to be a comfortable, intimate place once you’re inside, and is slightly improved by the recent removal of the unnecessary and tiny raised area under the big screen.

TWO: the always-open window by the gents’ urinals looks out over the tube lines which can make for more interesting viewing than the usual tiling or blackboards.

THREE: it manages the unusual trick of catering happily and well to a very mixed group of pubgoers. Quite often you’ll see a bunch of students happily and noisily next to decidedly dodgy-looking geezers and / or old giffers and no-one seems to mind at all (I go in there a fair bit and I’ve never seen a hint of trouble). This, of course, is fantasy pub ideal world and the BB is to be warmly congratulated.

The Black Bull in Whitechapel

Pumpkin PublogPost a comment • 257 views

The Black Bull in Whitechapel is a nice enough, rough and tumble kind of boozer, and despite what FAP says, they had a corking beer from suffolk (Nethergate’s Augustinian) on last nite. i only frequent this pub when we’re on our way to tayyabs, and the service is top notch proper friendly. They also have vh1 classic on the big screen and speakers, allowing for good solid pub conversations about sade, abba, the beegees, to name but three from last night.

Sleepy and tired are two different things

Do You SeePost a comment • 344 views

Sleepy and tired are two different things, and the former can be quite nice on occasion, when you give your body the chance to just settle. A couple of moments in a day to do nothing, just think yourself a perfect blank, can be wonderful.

Depictions of this on screen are pretty rare, but Nescafé‘s new ad is perfect: the people sit on the edge of their beds, or at their computers, or on the bus, shot as if they’re underwater. A slight smile or dreamy expression on their face, hair floating around them: these people are there.

And then they have a cup of coffee, and everything around them descends: Welcome to your life of hell, brought to you by Nestlé.

Art Forum

The Brown WedgePost a comment • 231 views

the mag with the pretty pictures and reviews that deep throat farther then linda lovelace ever had, has gone up 3 bucks and added 20 per cent more ad copy.

i had bought it every month for years, more and more disappointed, but still out of habit, and because i really liked the images, kept buying.
now i cannot afford it, missing three or so issues, i do not really care.


The Brown WedgePost a comment • 284 views


What is the Brown Log? Part of the Wedge’s remit is talk about magazines. And where better to read magazines than on the bog? Every week I will buy a magazine – sometimes one I’d normally get, often one I’d never get – and leave it in our lavatory. After a week I will write a review. Simple! Obviously the amount of attention each mag receives will vary widely depending on how interesting it is, how cold the bathroom is, how much fibre I have been eating, etc. But then no system can be entirely objective.

First up is videogames magazine EDGE.

Design: some space troopers looking tough on the cover, generally excellent design inside and the mag is a treat to handle, with a sturdy spine and thick waxy covers. I’ve never been convinced by screenshots as a way of divining how a game plays, but EDGE uses them fairly well.

Who’s It For?: EDGE’s worldview is, broadly speaking, elitist. It’s catering for an audience who know videogames well and rate them based on innovation, or ‘depth of gameplay’, rather than kewl-ness of characters or bad-ness of attitude. The good things about this are that the mag never talks down to the reader or wastes time explaining its references, and that its approach cuts across all game styles and genres – articles on gore-laden shooters rub up against pieces on Pokemon. The bad thing is that you can sometimes feel a bit lost as a reader, and a bit guilty for not taking your gaming seriously enough.

Who Isn’t It For?: Anyone who isn’t even a little bit interested in games would probably find themselves gazing at the tiling before long.

Style: Well written throughout – intelligent and clear, never too breathless, occasionally too reliant on jargon (especially in the News section). It’s hard to capture the thrill of gaming in prose – EDGE generally prefers to not even try.

Best Bits: The Pokemon article is insightful, positive and never patronizing. The front end of the magazine, roping together all sorts of tiny and entertaining newsbites, is excellent.

Worst Bits: It’s all pretty good, but its feature on collecting games for a defunct console (part of a regular series) is too reverent and too long.

Value For Money: ‘4 is steep, but the magazine wears well and has a good lifespan.

Flush It?: No.

Next Week: Woman’s Own

The Man That Knocks The Cradle (Of Life)

Do You SeePost a comment • 228 views

With some pride and not a little enthusiasm, my source at Paramount announced that they were going to the UK Premier of the second Tomb Raider movie on Tuesday (in its entirety: Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life – they really must sort out their franchise designation if it’s going to be a runner).

Will it, I enquired, be any good? In fact they had already seen it once.

And is it any good? Angelina Jolie is very hot! – came the reply.

Great! And the film itself – any good? But I was offered another drink instead.