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Bill Laswell
Panthalassa: The Music of Miles Davis 1969-1974

It was just a matter of time before producer/alchemist/bassist Bill Laswell got hold of some Miles Davis tapes. On Panthalassa, Laswell remixes Davis on a neo-New Age wave. The album-a continuous suite-emphasizes the free-flowing, almost liquid exchange between Davis and the musicians he worked with during this period. "In a Silent Way" flows seamlessly into "Shhh/Peaceful," which in turn segues into "Peaceful" then into "It's About Time"--a tranquil 15-minute-plus suite. This is Davis' music, but Chick Corea, Joe Zawinul and Herbie Hancock supply plenty of plangent, shifting textures. Wayne Shorter's serpentine, ever-spiraling soprano sax playing is more inventive than much of what he would do as a member of Zawinul's Weather Report. Davis is characteristically concise. (Nicky Baxter)

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Ruby Lovett
Ruby Lovett

On country singer Ruby (no relation to Lyle) Lovett's debut, every song is a love song of sorts. The lack of variety does little to make Lovett's music stand out from the crowd. What does distinguish Lovett is her traditional country twang. She does justice to Charlie Pride's classic "I'm So Afraid of Losing You Again," and "Look What Love Can Do" (one of three originals) is a touching number about teen pregnancy and adoption. "Little Bitty Crack in His Heart" sounds like something the Judds might have sung. Lovett's traditional style is a far cry from the new crossover country/pop acts like Shania Twain and Leann Rimes. Country purists, take note. (Sarah Quelland)

Life or Death
No Limit

C-Murder echoes 2Pac in many instances, from his tattoos to the topic selection to the way he stresses the "eeeez" on words like "enemeeez." Life or Death is packed with thuggish, ruggish imagery backed by Master P's minimalist, studio-created tapestry. Most of the songs are short, leaving the title's prophecies unfulfilled. The better tracks are the longer ones: "Soldiers" and "Picture Me," on which C-Murder and his guests have room to expand. Everything you ever needed to know about C-Murder is documented on Life or Death. His habits ("G's & Macks"), his fallen comrades ("Feel My Pain," "Picture Me") and his trauma ("On the Run" and "Makin' Moves"). If C-Murder is a No Limit soldier, he's definitely earned his stripes. (Todd S. Inoue)

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Tara MacLean

MacLean's haunting voice and half-spoken, half-sung melodies hang in the air while the subtle musical accompaniment yields gracefully. Her worldly feel defies categorization. The jazzy rhythm behind "Red" contrasts with its jealous theme and the lament on losing a love; "In the Wings" lightly fringes on country. MacLean's lyrics are sharp, sensual and intelligent, and her voice is a beautiful instrument. On "Evidence" she sings, "Terrified my tongue will now betray/all the lies that I've been taught to say/searched your eyes for evidence of truth/can you hear me?" and on the tender "For You" she answers the question "Would I die for you?" with "No, I live for you." Crisp and sexy, MacLean is a real find. (SQ)

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From the April 9-15, 1998 issue of Metro.

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