Cuba - The parameters are set.

You 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.

In 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.

Cuba 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".

Within 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.

Exactly 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.

Grooving 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.

If 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.

Some 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...