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Goldie - Saturnz Return
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Goldie The man with the golden teeth and the musical Midas touch is back. The acknowledged "King Of Jungle" has had enough time to move on from the tidal ripples caused by his 1994 debut 'Timeless' which almost single-handedly dragged drum 'n' bass away from a devoted group of acolytes and into the bright contemporary media spotlight. Soon this rhythmically insistent music began appearing in a wide variety of strange places, the background theme music to the match round-up on the weekly English football hour on TV being one of them. But now it's time for the return of Goldie, whose name is either taken from his surname, which is Goldstein (not!), or from the abundance of gold jewellery that he wears in the form of heavy neck chains, chunky be-gemmed knuckleduster rings and orthodontic braces. His romance with Bjork recently ceased, ending speculation as to what type of music any future children of this union would insist on being played in their bands which they would no doubt form when they grew up.

The onus therefore shifted back on to Goldie's shoulders to determine the future direction of drum 'n' bass, the musical kingdom he rules. This he has done with his new double-CD 'Saturnz Return', over two hours of musical sparks from the Metalheadz maestro. The first CD has two songs, the 15 minutes of moanings, silence and other bits of aimless noise (including a pointless misuse of David Bowie's voice) of the second track, 'Truth'. This probably acts as an aural Rennies for the preceding track, 'Mother', which is Goldie's attempt at an hour-long serious piece of neo-classical jungle, dedicated to his mum. It's not immediately accessible, as one would imagine, but would possibly work best in some very hip new-age massage studios where that flutey, ambient stuff is getting a bit boring. This spooky and esoteric piece tells us very little about Goldie's mom but I'm sure that every time he plays or hears it, it serves some Oedipal-curative function in his subconscious and that's sweet.

So far, not so good; but Goldie is no ordinary late-Nineties trailblazer and the 10 songs on the second CD throw so many ideas, sounds, textures and possibilities into its 70 minutes that, as with 'Timeless', 'Saturnz Return' is going to take some time to really grasp. Goldie's trademark machine-gun breakbeats underpin most of the material here, mirroring their creator's hyperactive mind and music. Drum 'n' bass still leaves many spaces and the filling of these is the next task facing junglists. On this album, Goldie has outlined enough options to keep disciples and copyists alike very busy for the next few years. Witness the use of Diane Charlemagne's atmospheric vocals on the trippy and soulful 'Believe' and 'Crystal Clear' duo.

Noel Gallagher (of Oa-sis!) supplied some angry guitar noises for the Prodigy-nod of the first track, 'Temper Temper', which is immediately followed by the volatile combination of top MC KRS-1 doing his mouthings-off to Goldie's manic beats on 'Digital'. There's another stab at a serious piece with the 16-minute 'Dragonfly', which has cool synthesizers fighting for attention with, natch, some grand prix D 'n' B. 'The Fury' and 'Chico - Death Of A Rockstar' are both tough and uncompromising tracks while still maintaining the haunted, helpless and darkish tone of the album, further proof of the diversity, versatility and scope of Goldie's latest 24ct piece. 'Saturnz Return' runs rings around anything else in the galaxy!

Stephen "Sugar" Segerman. 7/10

others in the REVIEWS

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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.

Any thoughts, requests, problems, complaints, praise or interesting and relevant SA music news, please email it immediately to: sugar@cd.co.za

editor: Stephen "Sugar" Segerman, webmaster: Alan Levin, maintainer: Brian Currin

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