From Klark Kent to Gizmo, and a little of everything in betw
Nicole N. Pellegrini | Philadelphia, PA | 08/17/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"This long-overdue collection from composer/musician Stewart Copeland provides both an excellent overview of his work for those unfamiliar with it outside of the Police, as well as enough previously unreleased material to justify the purchase for those who have been fans for decades. With so many people rediscovering The Police this year thanks to their reunion tour, now is an excellent time to explore the vast catalog of music created by the band's founder and drummer in the years since The Police were last on the scene.
Selections included from various albums and soundtracks are sometimes obvious--such as the Rumble Fish soundtrack collaboration with Stan Ridgway, "Don't Box Me In", and "Serengeti Long Walk" from The Rhythmatist featuring Stewart's classic deadpan narration and killer drums on the intro. Other times the choices are more obscure and seemingly personal on Stewart's part: "Too Kool To Kalypso", for instance, a Klark Kent track which he admits in the liner notes was Klark's "first flop". "Anacott Steel", from the Wall Street soundtrack, is a great sample of Stewart's mid/late-80s electronic-driven soundtrack work, complete with percussive barking sound effects to mirror the dog-eat-dog world of the movie's protagonists. It's a shame the original version of the Equalizer theme is missing, although the Orchestralli version (from Orchestralli (Bonus Dvd)) is excellent too, showcasing how the heavy synthesizer-sound of the original could be interpreted so well to a live orchestra. Two selections are included from The Leopard Son soundtrack, a great choice as it is one of my favorites of Stewart's scores from the 90's and showcases his wonderful flair for capturing diverse moods from the playful whimsy of "Childhood Friends" to life-threatening danger of "Mud Lions". Of Stewart's two post-Police trios, Animal Logic is absent from the anthology but Oysterhead is represented by "Wield the Spade" from The Grand Pecking Order, a quirky if appropriately dark song about Romanian dictator Ceausescu.
Several tracks included here were previously only available on the promotional cd "from Rumble Fish to Gridlock'd". These include "Slithered", a demo for the film Sliver which was never used, although it was later turned into "Stalin's Sultry Serenade" for Stewart's Orchestralli project. "Bill is Dead" from The Pallbearer is here included in a longer form than on the Gridlock'd collection cd, a definite bonus as several of the shorter soundtrack selections here from films like Very Bad Things and West Beirut leave me wanting much more than a minute or two snippet. There is even one track from his very popular scoring work for the Spyro video games, as well as a selection from "La Notte della Taranta" which has only been available on the import cd Live in Melpignano 17 08 2003 previously.
Indeed, my one main complaint about the collection--besides there being so many other excellent soundtracks and projects that are omitted such as Wide Sargasso Sea and his collaboration with Adam Ant on Out of Bounds--is that it left me wanting so much more. I would give anything for a full soundtrack album from Dead Like Me, for example, as much as I love the two selections included here. "Big Drum Tribe", from his Italy-based project Gizmo, is a great rocking, almost prog-sounding track and having heard some other Gizmo numbers elsewhere I'd love to hear a full cd or live performance recording from them someday. There's also "Look Up", a track from a "solo album" that apparently never quite came together, a shame given the potential suggested here.
The cd itself is nicely packaged with comments from Stewart about each track. Now here's to hoping we'll see an expanded boxed set someday that includes more of the wonderful work that couldn't fit on this one cd!"
An electic mix from The Rhythmatist
Flexible_Strategies | Redlands, CA | 08/30/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Stewart Copeland has no doubt influenced countless drummers during his lifetime. In this collection you can hear why. While his drumming in The Police practically reinvented the instrument, his solo work, although not as well known, continued in this fashion. I would have chosen a slightly different track list for this collection, but the songs here are a fantastic snap shot of Stewart's amazing prowess behind the kit.I am a bit curious why the Animal Logic period was ignored, but I suppose there was an overabundance of material to work with.From his Klark Kent work up to his Gizmo project, Stewart has written a soundtrack to his life, that may be filled with soaring highs and somber lows - but never without rhythm. With The Police recently reunited, it's wonderful to have this collection as a reminder that The Police was not just Sting's band."
I want MORE!
E. Woontner | Fairfax, CA United States | 08/19/2007
(5 out of 5 stars)
"That is how you feel at the end of the CD. It is clear that several of the themes can, and hopefully will, be developed into more articulated pieces of music. In particular, Slither has a melancholic, rarefied feel reminiscent of the dreamworld of Nino Rota, and Regret is very appropriately titled: a tantalizing theme that screams to be developed. Most of the titles are well-known to true devoted fans: as a counterpoint to the more introspective compositions, there is his love for the ebullient, luminous, joyous African and Caribbean music. This gives you an insight into a man with a multicultural upbringing, and a musician who has always given ample clues of how he relishes taking refuge in an alter ego.
It's also interesting to see which tracks Stewart has chosen to represent the most significant moments of his solo career. He also gives some insight into the compositions, or about the circumstances in which they were written, in the liner notes. His is an incredibly variegated musical world, whose common denominator is the unmistakable, trademark Copeland sound.
Stewart has once described his music as "knotty". It is certainly not as commercial and immediate as the Police's, but this complexity is certainly more intriguing than, say, a C round like Every Breath You Take, with all due respect for the megahit.
Stewart's musical universe resembles a maze or a rollercoaster ride: once you get in, or on board, you are magically captivated and get more and more into it until you find that the knots are all loose.