Previewing new albums from Nine Inch Nails, Nitin Sawhney, KRS-One, Elbow, and more.
'All That' Jazz
Nine Inch Nails' concert CD/DVD/VHS "And All That Could Have Been" (Nothing) documents the tour in support of 1999's chart-topping "The Fragile." Produced by group mastermind Trent Reznor, the album features 16 songs, including hits such as "Head Like a Hole," "Wish," "Closer," and "Starf*ckers, Inc." The DVD, also produced by Reznor with director Rob Sheridan, contains 18 songs from different shows structured to recreate a NIN concert experience, and will also feature multiple camera angles, audio commentary, and other special features.
The two items share 15 songs between their tracklists; the CD version includes "The Day the World Went Away," while the DVD/VHS features "La Mer," "Complication," and "Just Like You Imagined." The CD version is also being offered as a limited edition with a bonus disc of "songs recorded live in a deconstructed fashion, as well as some brand new material," according to the band.
The Fragility tour from which the releases were culled saw Nine Inch Nails playing 43 U.S. cities from April 12 to June 18, 2000.
Words Of The 'Prophets'
For his fifth album, "Prophesy," producer/musician Nitin Sawhney traveled the world in search of emotional connections. "What I've been searching for over the years is balance," Sawhney says. "I don't get this from secondhand information, but from firsthand experiences." Due this week from V2, the set is the divine result of Sawhney's inspirational four-month journey, which found the Anglo-Asian artist recording with musicians, singers, politicians, tribal leaders, teachers, and shamans in numerous locales, including Rio de Janiero; Chicago; Madrid; Soweto, South Africa; and the Australian outback.
The disc's credits list shows contributions from Nelson Mandela, Algerian rai master Cheb Mami, Chicago taxi driver Jeff Jacobs, Anglo-Yemeni singer Natacha Atlas, Yothu Yindi founder Mandawuy Yunupingu, the English Chamber Orchestra, and the London Community Gospel Choir. According to Sawhney, 230 artists are featured on the album.
Infused with elements of drum'n'bass, samba, hip-hop, flamenco, funk, gospel, jazz, and classical Indian, "Prophesy" effortlessly melds the East and West, the classical and contemporary, the club experience and rhythms of the world. "This album was my way of getting back to my own reality," offers Sawhney. "It was also a way to engage with reality and emotions."
'Mind' The Gap
Hip-hop philosopher KRS-One (real name: Kris Parker) will release "Spiritual Minded," his fifth solo studio album, this week via Front Page/In The Paint/Koch. Helping to give the former Boogie Down Productions leader's album its gospel slant are guest appearances by B.B. Jay, T-Bone, Fat Joe, Rampage, and Greg Nice.
"When I began to think about what [the] album should sound like, I could not help but to think of the people that yearn deeply for the spiritual meaning of life and living," KRS-One says. "I could not help but think of them seeking and searching the narrow path of righteousness only to be bombarded and harassed daily by wickedness and deceit. But be strong!"
The album features the track "Tears," dedicated to those who lost their lives in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks on the U.S. The politically and socially conscious rap icon says that the album was written partially as a way to deal with his grief following the attacks, and he hopes his words will help others heal.
'Back' To The Future
Although Manchester, England-based Elbow has certain stylistic traits in common with U.K. rock colleagues Doves and Coldplay, the group's V2 debut, "Asleep in the Back," boasts a wealth of distinctive qualities that have made it a critical favorite abroad. Foremost is Guy Garvey's elegantly husky voice, which is the centerpiece of the mournful piano ballad "Powder Blue" and the bittersweet, acoustic closer, "Scattered Black and Whites."
The band's collective songwriting skills impress frequently, particularly on "Newborn," a 7 1/2 minute epic that explodes into cathartic torrents of sound. Indeed, Elbow's ability to stretch a wide range of emotions over lengthy, multi-faceted songs demands repeat listens for such cuts as the Beta Band-ish "Any Day Now" and the more aggressive "Bitten by the Tail Fly," which recalls the late, great psychedelic flourishes of the Verve.
Having endured two botched label deals and years of thankless gigging in the U.K., Elbow is ready to make the leap to the next level. "We got pulled into this trap of listening to record company people say, 'do more of that and we'd sign you.' It's just a waste of time," Garvey says. "Now, it's more about pleasing ourselves than ever before." The group is up for best newcomer in the 2002 Brit Awards, to be handed out Feb. 20 in London.
Other key titles hitting stores this week include:
-- Korn bassist Fieldy's solo debut, "Rock'N'Roll Gangster" (Immortal/Epic), with a guest appearance by Korn frontman Jonathan Davis on the track "Just for Now"
-- veteran punk act Bad Religion's "The Process of Belief" (Epitaph)
-- MTV2's "Handpicked" compilation (Columbia), featuring previously released tracks from Radiohead, Tenacious D, Pete Yorn, Travis, and Coldplay, among others
-- the "All Tomorrow's Parties 1.1" compilation (Touch & Go), including unreleased songs from former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus, Stereolab, and Sonic Youth
-- country artist Collin Raye's "Can't Back Down" (Epic)
-- singer/songwriter Luka Bloom's "Between the Mountain and the Moon" (Bar/None)
-- Japanese one-man-band Cornelius' "Point" (Matador)
-- DJ Dimitri From Paris's "After the Playboy Mansion, Vol. 2" (Astralwerks)
-- former Velocity Girl frontwoman Sarah Shannon's self-titled solo debut (Casa)
-- U.K. rock act Teenage Fanclub's "Howdy!" (Thirsty Ear)
-- blues-leaning singer/songwriter Chuck E. Weiss' third album in 21 years, "Old Soul & Wolf Tickets" (Slow River/Rykodisc)
-- a reissue of U.K. underground rock outfit the Mekons' acclaimed 1985 album "Fear & Whiskey" (Quarterstick)
-- former Chamberlain songwriter/guitarist Adam Rubenstein's solo debut under the moniker Adam Dove, "Aftershock" (Doghouse)