- The parameters are set.
are a group. You operate solo in your bedroom. You are dance. You
are rock. You are lo-fi, speed garage or, bless you, big beat. Whatever
it is, we know what you are. No wonder most of you are dead on arrival.
the shadowy, uncultivated land between popular music, countless generic
prisons operates Cuba, a musical entity which, like the country of the
same name, thrives against all the odds, in spite of the beliefs of others,
and stands as one very persuasive example of how we might proceed into
the next millennium world.
is the shared vision of two elusive, reclusive individuals, - Ashley Bates
and Christopher Andrews, whose operations invade both domestic and public
environments. Thus far, the pair have devised a series of three 12-inch
discs - two self-financed projects, "Havana" b/w "Hot Shit" and "Fiery
Cross" B/W "Foxy's Den", which were quickly followed by the more high-profile
metropolitan concept piece, "Urban Light".
these works lurk a hornet's nest full of ideas that stand in open defiance
of their peers' regulation conceptual and musical stagnation. Where many
are hamstrung by the very technology which should liberate them, for Cuba,
old and new are inseparable. They work in harmony together.For them, the
sampler, say, is not an escape route away from creativity, but just one
tool in a creative process which also includes such arcane media as drum,
bass and guitars. At root, they are concerned with the interaction
between these elements and, initially, never thought to experiment with
the human voice.
what Cuba achieve with these tools is less easily defined. Their music
encompasses moods that defy human articulacy. Often their music recalls
the voiceless soundscapes of the cinema. It also signals a recognition
of the tribal rituals of modern dance, with tempos decelerated in the
interest of home consumption.
in the twilight B.P.M. world between dancefloor and armchair, Cuba pick
up where funkadelic left off - dark and drug-infested, but celebratory
and worth introducing to your parents. To rob the words of George
Clinton himself, who says a rock band can't play funk music? Indeed.
a more contemporary name is needed, try Primal Scream - somewhere between
the caned celebration of "Screamadelica" and the red-eyeball menace of
"Vanishing Point". In the immediate future, Cuban projects are focussed
on the issue of "Cross The Line", their most prominent collaboration yet
with the 4AD company. The tune also marks the premiere appearance of Mau,
whose rap-style intonations were added not through some cold-blooded strategy
of simplification, but because he entered the room and repeated "only
together are we unstoppable" with a verve that couldn't be neglected.
Thanks to their enlightened methods, Cuba are also able to represent their
considerable achievements in the realm of actual public performance. For
this purpose, Cuba becomes a sextet, featuring various displays of live
musicianship, including drums, bass and anything up to three guitars.
Reactions to four such ventures thus far have included enthusiasm, respect,
plain babbling amazement.
peripheral information about Cuba which may stimulate interest among the
uninitiates: Ashley whiled a brief couple of years as drummer in the group
Chapterhouse. On the other hand, Christopher grew up in Canada, following
his Mother's move there from Cuba. Hence the name...