In a time when any lazy hack can pump out a few hazy beats from a sequencer and slap a Mo'Wax label on the whole thing, it's a bit comforting to find that some musicians still have ambition. What's not so comforting is when those musicians' reach is beyond their grasp. Case in point: Paranoise's Private Power , post-techno-rock's version of Paul Simon's Graceland . Bandleader Jim Matus and crew concoct a rough-hewn, Dave Matthews-eating-glass folk-rock sound that, in the context of the album, is plausible. But why? Well, combine that sound with sampled field recordings of indigenous people playing their own music, and the two somehow connect. What doesn't quite connect is the methods vs. the methodologies. Matus' digitally samples said field recordings but also writes an impassioned essay on the back cover about capitalist America enslaving and exploiting third world countries -- am I missing something here? Isn't he doing the same? And (maybe) making money off the sale of the album? Hmmm, maybe I'll take back my thoughts on "ambition."
Ancient, 555 Asylum Ave., Studio 402, Hartford, CT 06105; http://www.paranoise.com
--Nathan T. Birk