Rare on Air, Vol. 4

Rare on Air, Vol. 4


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Rare on Air, Vol. 4

L.A.'s public station KCRW gets a fine array of artists to troop into its basement studios and play live, unplugged, or electronic for its long-running Morning Becomes Eclectic program (a reference to Eugene O'Neill's Mourning Becomes Electra). The selections always sound crisp -- in particular, Lou Barlow's haunting, solo debut of Sebadoh's later "Willing to Wait" (as "Beautiful Friend") on volume two. This time around, it's Radiohead who quietly dazzle. The harrowing Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood debut ("never been played before") of eventual OK Computer track "Subterranean Homesick Alien" is still a frozen beauty, sans bass, drums, and two other guitars -- think Nirvana's unplugged "All Apologies." But right up there with them is Mazzy Star's absolutely glistening, harmonica-dipped "Flowers in December," Jeff Buckley singing from beyond a tragic grave with his flailing, Sting-like voice on "So Real," and the biggest surprise, the lovely Squeeze-like melody/harmony in Tim and Neil Finn's "Only Talking Sense." Perhaps Ani DiFranco has shown more emotion than on her atypically nondescript "Gravel," but she still sounds like she's simmering below the surface. Likewise, Randy Newman alone with his piano shows off his three-decade somber troubadour skills on "Louisiana 1927." And the trip-hop/Latin flavor of Ozomatli, the hyper-Mexican dance of Café Tacuba, the energetic, deep-bass, non-weary-sounding reggae of Zap Mama, and chamber ambience of Gus Gus are truly "eclectic" pleasures, as is cool and craggy Tom Waits' "The Fall of Troy." Hell, even Sarah McLachlan sounds reflective with just her piano and an understated vocal. On the gag-me side, the less said of the overrated Joan Osborne (she always oversings) and the worthless grunge-lite of Marcy Playground the better, and Soul Coughing's avant-garde sound clashes seem curious but pointless. But there's too much unfiltered, live, and direct joy here to avoid a strong recommendation.

Product Details

Release Date: 10/06/1998
Label: Mammoth / Umgd
UPC: 0035498019326
catalogNumber: 980193

Album Credits

Performance Credits

Tim Finn   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Mazzy Star   Track Performer
Randy Newman   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Tom Waits   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Sarah McLachlan   Piano,Vocals,Track Performer
Café Tacuba   Track Performer
Ani DiFranco   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Radiohead   Track Performer
Zap Mama   Track Performer
Jeff Buckley   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Soul Coughing   Track Performer
Marie Daulne   Vocals
Jill Emery   Bass
Neil Finn   Guitar,Vocals,Track Performer
Will Glenn   Violin
Jack Petruzzelli   Mandolin
Dan Rieser   Drums
David Roback   Guitar
Sebastian Steinberg   Bass
Joan Osborne   Vocals,Track Performer
M. Doughty   Guitar,Vocals
Yuval Gabay   Drums
Mick Grondahl   Bass
Michael Tighe   Guitar
Marcy Playground   Track Performer
GusGus   Track Performer
Hope Sandoval   Harmonica,Vocals
John Wozniak   Guitar,Vocals
Ulises Bella   Tenor Saxophone
Suki Ewers   Keyboards
Dylan Keefe   Bass
Thom Yorke   Guitar,Vocals
Ozomatli   Track Performer
Rubén Albarrán   Vocals
Matt Johnson   Drums
Keith Mitchell   Drums
Charlie Quintana   Percussion

Technical Credits

Tom Waits   Composer
Kathleen Brennan   Composer
Bob Carlson   Producer,Engineer
Sebastian Steinberg   Composer
Mark de Gli Antoni   Composer
M. Doughty   Composer
Yuval Gabay   Composer
Colin Greenwood   Composer
Jonny Greenwood   Composer
Ed O'Brien   Composer
Phil Selway   Composer
Vaughan Oliver   Graphic Design,Art Direction
Scott Fritz   Engineer
Thom Yorke   Composer
Chris Douridas   Producer
Alfred More   Programming
Biggi Veira   Programming

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