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22 March 1999 Somewhere in Sea Point the band Copious and I are talking about orgasms. Musical ones, that is. We're armed with Savannas, cigs and glints of sublime remembrance in our eyes. Singer Carolyn Beyer, she of the poetic lyrics and haunting vocals, reckons Jeff Buckley does it for her, big time. Guitarist Gareth Langeveldt, on the other hand, goes metaphysically mal for Nick Cave's - it's illegible in my notebook- oh well - and jazz pianist Keith Jarrett and his 'Koln Concerts' album. Drummer and self-proclaimed "sex cymbal" Damian Staz drools over Miles Davis and The Police's 'Walking On The Moon', viola whiz Brendan Jury (also a member of Trans.Sky) reckons David Bowie is his cosmic starman, while quiet and thoughtful bassist Riaan van Schalkwyk eventually confesses - we had to drag it out of him - that Ben Harper is his all-time spiritual guru of gorgeousness.

So what can we conclude from this about Copious as a band? Not a lot, I fear, other than that they seem to have excellent tastes -- tastes almost as eclectic as the mind-boggling range of influences they manage to work into their texturally rich, captivatingly well-layered sound. They're virtually impossible to sum up in a coherent sentence, unless you believe in creating compound nouns using words like "ambient", "trip-hop" and "dark", which I'm afraid is where such descriptions tend to leave most of us.

In desperation we turned to adjectives, seeing as they're named after one. Interestingly, the one we gained consensus on was "fluid". For a moment there it looked like "architectural" was going to get the vote, but everyone nodded a lot when "fluidity" was mentioned. So "fluid" it is. Copious, for those who haven't yet caught them seducing the sophisticates of song at Cafe Camissa, Waka Mundo, Ruby in the Dust and The Jam, are a fluid band.

Yes, but who are their favourite poets and philosophers? you ask. Carolyn, it turns out, grooves on TS Eliot, Gareth has a fancy for Jung, Damian likes Lawrence of Arabia for his "nomadic strength" (look, he'd had a few drinks by this stage), and Riaan is more into group catharsis than individual creations, which I thought was quite deep at the time, but then I'd had quite a few drinks too.

The gentle subtlety of Copious's music seeps offstage into their quirky sense of humour. When asked why they chose the name, Gareth flashes a Mona Lisa smile and says: "It means a lot." (Gareth's subtlety comes through in his pool playing too, as I discovered a few nights later at Stones in Obs. Far from being a steroid-driven "Conan of the cue", Gareth plays nice gentle shots and smiles when they work.)

As they confess, they're not out for chart stardom, Green Point Stadium gigs or hotel room-trashing. They've chosen a less-trodden path down which to meander musically, and would rather seduce five people at a gig profoundly than five thousand shallowly and fleetingly. A Swedish tourist who was at a gig the other night impressed on them very earnestly that they must send him a copy of their debut CD when it's released later this year. Apparently the tourist was truly gobsmacked by what he heard, as were a whole bunch of Brits and Australians sitting next to me at Camissa two Sundays back.

Which brings me to a point worth making: how much are the tourism powers-that-be aware of the pulling power of contemporary music when it comes to attracting the lucrative youth market? We know Captour has punted a jazz route and put out a "pink map" for the gay and lesbian market, but sometimes I suspect the rock crowd gets overlooked in the cultural scramble.

Anyway, the main thing is that they're here in our midst, bands such as Copious, quietly getting on with creating beautiful music, sounds that take your heart and mind to places they've never considered going before. They may not do tribal dancing in grass skirts, but they're sure as hell not American, or European, or Australian, or Asian, or Antarctican.

"Where do you think we sound like we're from?" they asked me at one >stage. "Where do you think we'd find a market?"

Frankly, I don't know. But I know what I like. And I like fluid Copious. A lot.

Reprinted courtesy of The Cape Times/Top Of The Times

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Lots of SA CDs to buy online at One World.

There's also the Two Oceans Trading online shopping mall where you can purchase Springbok rugby merchandising, SA books, jewellery and CD-ROMs, amongst many other items.

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