Quadrophonia, Cozmic Jam, RCA
In the fickle world of dance music, what is unique one season is out of style the next. Since its self-titled debut single body slammed the American dance charts last summer, Quadrophonia's wild combination of rap, jazz and tachycardiac rhythms sounds dated. The Belgium duo doesn't have enough ideas in their repertoire to sustain interest for an entire album.
Although not every track on Cozmic Jam is a lustreless clone of the single, those that stray too far from the basic formula are the least enjoyable. The rapping from Lucien Foort, especially on Find The Time (included in two versions so you can program over it twice) is consistently flat, made worse by vocal and instrumental samples all heard before. More annoying are the gratuitous remixes that still fail to extend this album to a suitable length.
Conceptually, Quadrophonia's mix of techno-droning and jazz has potential, but the electronics simply bury the intermittent piano and horns. Although their second single, The Wave Of The Future, almost saves this record from the dustbin, it's not enough to justify purchase. A one-hit wonder in the making, the only wave Quadrophonia will be seeing is a hearty au revoir from the dance market they first seduced. _ RICHARD RICCIO
Michael Nesmith, The Older Stuff (The Best of the Early Years), Rhino
Of all of Mike "Wool Hat" Nesmith's famous accomplishments, from his days with the Monkees to his pioneering work in video, his most overlooked work lies in his solo musical career.
Nesmith's original compositions with the Monkees leaned heavily toward his Texas country roots, as is clearly evident in his work with the First and Second National Bands. The Older Stuff (The Best of the Early Years) compiles some of his early minor hits including Joanne, sung in a charming (and cracking) falsetto. A rendition of Patsy Cline's I Fall to Pieces, and a country-fried remake of the Monkees hit Listen to the Band, further illustrate Nesmith's allegiance to the Lone Star State.
Unknown to most Monkee-bashers, Mike Nesmith was a talented songwriter before he answered that fateful ad. His recording of his own Different Drum, made famous by Linda Rondstadt in 1967, is included here in its talking blues form.
_ JEFF JACKS
Jimmy A., Entertaining Angels, Sparrow Records
Jim Abegg, the man with the golden guitar, earns himself a sabbatical from being Charlie Peacock's right hand man. Even though the "Sacramento Sound" is one of the tightest musical cliques around (various musicians there contribute freely to each other's records), the combination of such veritable talent fails to keep Entertaining Angels from being much more than mediocre.
Abegg sometimes gets preachy here; in a daring yet earnest moment, he samples his pastor's Sunday sermon. And it's hard to tell if he's being diffident or just mellow for mellow's sake. It may be in his nature _ Abegg never really was one to rock out.
The instrumental title track showcases his fluid, jazzy guitar work, and he shares a vocal with Peacock on I'll Meet You in Heaven. Unfortunately, annoying female vocals on the chorus of Touch of Love mar an otherwise appealing tune.
Jimmy A. is a talented guitarist and songwriter, and through Entertaining Angels doesn't eclipse his work with his former band, Vector, it is an honest first-time try. _ KRISTI SIEGEL