The O'jays - "Imagination", Sanctuary Records

Chaka Khan - "Classikhan", Sanctuary Records

www.emimusic.ca

Two classic r'n'b artists trying to put wind into the sails of their wilting careers, you say? Perhaps.

I wanted [I mean, I really] wanted to like the new O'Jays record "Imagination", but then again, I should've known. I remember when Earth, Wind & Fire put out a record in the early 90's. I actually bought it, thinking for some reason, that it would have the same resounding qualities of their 70's glory years. Was I ever wrong! Same is the case with The O'Jays. I'm sure they wish they could turn the clock back 30 years, when everyone was listening to "Family Reunion"; when Gamble & Huff were kings. Unfortunately for us, time is now, and this record just suffers. We're left with an album that is awkwardly bland, where each track sounds nearly identical to its predecessor. Even the ballads such as "Make Up" and "Separate Ways" sound suspiciously as if they were crunched inside some machine that churns out pop songs. The producers tried to add some orchestral elements to a few of the tracks, and even those don't liven the record all that much. I want to like The O'Jays of today, but I just can't. I mean, why do I only like Michael Jackson's output prior to "Thriller"? He had soul. Same with The O'Jays. Between late 70's and today, something was lost. Sadly for us, "Imagination" does not prove to be a fruitful treasure hunt.

Chaka Khan's new release "Classikhan" is a collaborative effort that was recorded with The London Symphony Orchestra. It's a run through some of her biggest hits from the past, though for some reason "I Feel For You" and everything from Rufus catalogue is sadly missed. This time around, I'm happy to report, Chaka still has IT! Her voice remains unchanged. She can still belt out a good tune and her vocal range remains intact. The addition of an orchestra does wonders. The effect is mesmerizing as Chaka here becomes a jazz singer, rather than just a pop star. She's dabbled in jazz in the past and it's good to see her taking up that challenge once again. To hear her sing "Round Midnight" is a real joy. I mean, this is what Chaka was created for. The excitement and exhilaration in her voice makes everything else just seem bland. Though some of the tracks have a lounge feel, overall "Classikhan" is a solid venture. It's great to see that not all stars fade away into obscurity.

Tom Sekowski


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RECENZJE

+ Gielareck - Asfalt
+ Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U. F. O. - Mantra of Love
+ Jah Wobble & Deep Space - Five Beat
+ Asahito Nanjo Group Musica - Contemporary Kagura-Metaphysics
+ Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U. F. O. - The Penultimate Galactic Bordello Also the World You Made
+ Howlin' Ghost Proletarians - Dead Roads
+ Minamo - Shining
+ Rhodri Davies/Robin Hayward/Julia Eckhardt/Lucio Capece - Amber
+ Kazushige Kinoshita/Masahiko Okura/Masafumi Ezaki - Kenon
+ Stefan Keune - Sunday Sundaes
+ Venetian Snares - Rossz Csillag Allat Született
+ Le Plastique Mystification - In The Land Of Melancholt
+ Lifend - Innerscars
+ Forsaken - Anima Mundi
+ The Magic Carpathians Project - Sonic Suicide Ethnonoise # 1
+ Ethnica Music Project - Etnika
+ Ulvens Döttrar - Värm ditt blod
+ Machine Men - Tears and Wounds
+ Advent - The Dawn
+ Eddie Zarook & Casio Casino - Haluzengenic
+ XLover - Pleasure And Romance
+ Vavamuffin - Vabang!
+ Variete - Nowy material
+ Four Tet - Everything Ecstatic
+ Like A Stuntman - Fresh Air Is Not A Worst Thing I Town
+ Stealpot - Mass Mess Age
+ Signaldrift - Girl
+ The Remote Viewer - Let Your Heart Draw A Line
+ Daft Punk - Human After All
+ Experimental Products - Glowing In The Dark
+ Band Of Endless Noise - Riders On The Bikes
+ Ruben Montesco - Slave To The Darkness
+ Peepol/Ludzie - Proffessioneller Klang/Live In Porgy And Bess
+ Water Lilly - Sputnika
+ Marc Leclair - Musique Pour 3 Femmes Enceintes
+ Lali Puna - I Thought I Was Over That: Rare, Remixed And B-Sides
+ Kości - K
+ Kiko & Gino's - Electric Boy
+ Christopher Just - Roland Flick Fairmont Princess # 1527
+ Grace Jones - I've Seen That Face Before
+ Isolee - We Are Monster
+ Jay Haze - Love For A Strange World
+ Fenin - Grounded
+ Diakof - Piloty 2
+ Delons - Wersja z napisami
+ Charles Atlas - Fabricate
+ Juan Atkins - 20 Years Metroplex 1985 - 2005
+ Ai Records 2000 - 2005
+ Adult. - D.U.M.E.

- - - - - - - - -

+ Paul Plimley / Barry Guy - Sensology; Mats Gustafsson / Barry Guy - Frogging
>> The O'jays - Imagination; Chaka Khan - Classikhan
+ Albert Ayler Trio - Spiritual Unity; Live on the Riviera
+ Bronnt Industries Kapital - Virtute et Industria
+ Lee Ranaldo - Music for Stage and Screen
+ Fernanda Porto - Fernanda Porto
+ The Dynamic Duo Rashied Ali & Arthur Rhames - Remember Trane and Bird
+ Kyle Gann - Long Night; Rick Fox - Fade; Jim Fox - Descansos, past
+ Adult. - D.U.M.E.
+ Various Artists - The Meta Collection; Asana 3 - Peaceful Heart
+ Kandia Kouyate - Biriko; Tartit - Ichichila; Abyssinia Infinite - Zion Roots
+ Various Artists - Run It Red Mick Hucknall Selects from 10 Years of Blood and Fire Classics; Dennis Brown Presents Prince Jammy - Umoja / 20th Century DEBwise
+ Jack Wright - Up For Grabs; Michel Doneda / Jack Wright / Tatsuya Nakatani - From Between
+ William Parker Quartet - Sound Unity; David S. Ware Quartets - Live in The World
+ Anthony Milton - Sirens & Where The Coloured Planes are Rafts; Seht - The Voice of the Taniwha; Brasil And The Gallowbrothers Band - The Band Plays On, The Diunes Move On (You Caught me with my Eyes Closed)
+ Thurston Moore / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 1; Thuja / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 2; Jackie-O Motherfucker / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 3; Jim O'rourke / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 4; Christina Carter / My Cat Is An Alien - From the Earth to the Spheres Vol. 5; My Cat Is An Alien - On Air at Sound Projecting; My Cat Is An Alien - Through The Reflex of the Rain; Roberto Opalio - Chants from Isolated Ghosts
+ Christ. - Seeing and Doing; Kyo Ichinose - Iontano; Prhizzm - Prhizzm EP
+ Chris Brown - Talking Drum
+ Basil Kirchin - Abstractions of the Industrial North

- - - - - - - - -

WYWIADY / RELACJE

+ Ugly sounds - Hakan Lidbo - wywiad
+ Audio-visual assault - Quasimodo Jones - wywiad