March 30, 2004



Grace Jones's Living My Life. (The eternally baffling All Music Guide gives this album three stars.) Before you say "Chris Blackwell produced this, my ASS," because you recognize it as Sly & Robbie's greatest moment, hold on. Find some of Blackwell's Marley productions or his remixes on the Countryman soundtrack. He had a genuine hand in creating that restrained, straining, compressed Island reggae-funk that nobody's come close to unlocking.

But Living My Life is Sly & Robbie's show. "Nipple To The Bottle" isn't sex music or sexy or anything as recordable as that. It's a big alligator clip that will turn anything it touches into an animal that reproduces sexually. It is actually a fucking wizard spell translated into music. You should buy a copy of the 12-inch and put it in a glass case next to your cape and sword. It will repopulate the Earth faster than a bus of Mormons, should Apocalypse arrive on time.

Tight, when used to describe a band, is sort of an insulting compliment: It basically means that the musicians managed to land on the same beats together. But beats are not two-dimensional points. A beat is a big, flat plain with a front, back and sides. There's even a lost middle, a place nobody can find on a map except the bastard in the band who keeps landing there. Sly & Robbie, like Led Zeppelin, can arrive on the same beat [Ed.--boat?] without touching each other. It's the difference between contiguous and overlapping events. This will seem like a slightly insane thing to say, once compared to the recording. Sly and Robbie are obviously landing at the same time. But they don't think they are.

Posted by Sasha at March 30, 2004 04:56 PM | TrackBack