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Smoke CDs list of the week


Howdy Smokers,

Welcome to this week's selection of fine music. First up we have one from a bonafide pop music legend - the king himself - Elvis Presley. Someone's finally got around to putting all his Number 1 Hits onto a single CD (hence the name 'Elv1s'). Remastered, with linear notes from Elvis biographer Peter Guralnick, and a brief track-by-track synopsis, this is the perfect CD for those who always wondered what the fuss was about - and there's some damn fine songs to boot.

Next we have CDs from a couple of pop music's current leading lights (almost the spiritual grandchildren of Elvis if you will), Beck with his first release of the millennium, and the prolific Ryan Adams. Beck's 'Sea Change' is a beaut, recalling the aching melancholy of the superb 'Mutations', this album again features Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich at the helm, and just grows and grows. Brilliant. Ryan Adams latest effort is as one would expect - gorgeous. Working between the intimate country-folk of his sublime 'Heartbreaker' and the ragged pop beauty of 'Gold', his new album 'Demolition' reaffirms his status as one of the best contemporary singer/songwriters in pop music today.

We also have David Sylvian's 'Camphor' - the companion piece to last year's career retrospective 'Everything And Nothing' - this is a collection of largely instrumental, experimental, ambient tracks spanning the last two decades. Sylvian himself has remixed a handful of these old recordings, while most are included intact in their original forms, and the broad selection of styles and sounds sampled here serve as an insightful look into the career of an adventurous and uncompromising musician, who along with the likes of Brian Eno and David Byrne added a certain thoughtful beauty to the world of pop music.

Lastly on the pop tip we've got the latest from one-time Fugees leader Wyclef Jean with his newie 'Masquerade'. Throw in a whole heap of Wyclef Jean's smooth hip-hop and r&b tracks, some cheeky covers (Four Seasons' "December 1963 (Oh What A Night)", Tom Jones' "What's New Pussycat?" and a Bob Marleyfied version of Bob Dylan's "Knockin' On Heaven's Door"), a few reggae flavoured grooves and some fake radio station jingles and it's another hot mix of accessible street tunes - pop meets hip hop at it's good-time best.

Okay now we'll get a little funky on you. We've got Mr Scruff's beautiful and bumpy 'Trouser Jazz', Russian hip hop slash beatmaker DJ Vadim with his latest blunted effort 'USSR The Art Of Listening', the latest elastic bass-driven drum 'n' bass inspired release from Aphrodite called 'After Shock', and the excellent new compilation on the Grand Central offshoot Mystic Brew 'The Fat City Sound'. Wicked beats for one and all. And lastly, for those who may have missed it the first time around, the latest from local singer/songwriter Whirimako Black called 'Hohou Te Rongo: Cultivate Peace'. Having gained significant exposure via the 1 Giant Leap project, this album has now been reissued with a bonus track.

As always dear smokers, enjoy.


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