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Thread started 09/18/20 4:11pm

Number23

Xenophobia

Prince once released an album as nine act suite orchestrating the life most of us never take time to consider - our existence between conception to birth. Not only that, this album gave us a prize at the end, a reward for listening - right at the end - a baby cries - after an instrumental that must rank as one of Prince’s most intense compositions - a frantic jazz odyssey that builds and builds and builds and builds ... until we hear a child entering this world. Suddenly, you get it - the joy of your realisation that it’s been a concept album about pregnancy. No way did you guess it was before P told you at the end lol. He was keeping the big reveal right to the end, entire album is fucking with you. A true artist, always thinking conceptually. A wink and a smile to his hardcore that had stuck with him though thick and thin - a gift, treasure at the end of the rainbow. And how did we react? Christ, I remember reading orgers’ reviews to Xenophobia. I can’t help but think: ‘If I leave me front door open ...’
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Reply #1 posted 09/18/20 4:13pm

Number23

Obviously - me/my
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Reply #2 posted 09/18/20 5:20pm

databank

avatar

I've loved and praised that record from day 1, it's gorgeous, elegant, subtle and complex. Certainly P's fanbase wasn't very receptive, and it's a pity because it may have discouraged P to release more instrumental material.

I wish he had released more stuff like that and I hope there's more of that kind of material in the vault beyond what we already have on bootlegs.

.

I never thought of the conception angle you offer so IDK, it certainly is interesting. Interestingly, CS2000 also ends with a baby crying at birth, I've always interpreted it, in both cases, as a noisy conclusion to a noisy final track but you make me wonder if there was more to it: certainly Prince couldn't have forgotten the fact that he'd ended one record that way when he chose to do it again. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if it'd been done by someone else before.

.

BTW the album's title isn't Xenophobia but Xpectation. It was announced as Xenophobia but P changed the title when he removed the title track, a decision I've always assumed had to do with the fact that Prince decided the live version on ONA Live was way better than the original studio take, probably a similar situation to Days Of Wild, which I believe was removed from TGE because Prince realized the studio version was no match to the live renditions, and he was better off releasing one of these (which he eventually did on CB98).

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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Reply #3 posted 09/18/20 5:26pm

Number23

databank said:

I've loved and praised that record from day 1, it's gorgeous, elegant, subtle and complex. Certainly P's fanbase wasn't very receptive, and it's a pity because it may have discouraged P to release more instrumental material.


I wish he had released more stuff like that and I hope there's more of that kind of material in the vault beyond what we already have on bootlegs.


.


I never thought of the conception angle you offer so IDK, it certainly is interesting. Interestingly, CS2000 also ends with a baby crying at birth, I've always interpreted it, in both cases, as a noisy conclusion to a noisy final track but you make me wonder if there was more to it: certainly Prince couldn't have forgotten the fact that he'd ended one record that way when he chose to do it again. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if it'd been done by someone else before.


.


BTW the album's title isn't Xenophobia but Xpectation. It was announced as Xenophobia but P changed the title when he removed the title track, a decision I've always assumed had to do with the fact that Prince decided the live version on ONA Live was way better than the original studio take, probably a similar situation to Days Of Wild, which I believe was removed from TGE because Prince realized the studio version was no match to the live renditions, and he was better off releasing one of these (which he eventually did on CB98).


Ok, but I meant Xenophobia.
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Reply #4 posted 09/18/20 5:29pm

Moonbeam

avatar

Unfortunately, it’s bottom of the barrel as far as Prince albums go for me. I’ve never been that big on his jazz stuff, as I don’t think he excelled there. I’m not that well-versed on jazz, but if I want to listen to jazz, I’ll go for John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, OT especially Sun Ra. Prince’s jazz projects all sound forced in comparison.
Feel free to join in the Prince Album Poll 2018! Let'a celebrate his legacy by counting down the most beloved Prince albums, as decided by you!
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Reply #5 posted 09/18/20 5:46pm

databank

avatar

Number23 said:

databank said:

I've loved and praised that record from day 1, it's gorgeous, elegant, subtle and complex. Certainly P's fanbase wasn't very receptive, and it's a pity because it may have discouraged P to release more instrumental material.

I wish he had released more stuff like that and I hope there's more of that kind of material in the vault beyond what we already have on bootlegs.

.

I never thought of the conception angle you offer so IDK, it certainly is interesting. Interestingly, CS2000 also ends with a baby crying at birth, I've always interpreted it, in both cases, as a noisy conclusion to a noisy final track but you make me wonder if there was more to it: certainly Prince couldn't have forgotten the fact that he'd ended one record that way when he chose to do it again. On the other hand, I wouldn't be surprised if it'd been done by someone else before.

.

BTW the album's title isn't Xenophobia but Xpectation. It was announced as Xenophobia but P changed the title when he removed the title track, a decision I've always assumed had to do with the fact that Prince decided the live version on ONA Live was way better than the original studio take, probably a similar situation to Days Of Wild, which I believe was removed from TGE because Prince realized the studio version was no match to the live renditions, and he was better off releasing one of these (which he eventually did on CB98).

Ok, but I meant Xenophobia.

There's no such thing, and if there had been, it'd have been a TEN act suite. You're clearly talking about Xpectation falloff

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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Reply #6 posted 09/18/20 6:14pm

databank

avatar

Moonbeam said:

Unfortunately, it’s bottom of the barrel as far as Prince albums go for me. I’ve never been that big on his jazz stuff, as I don’t think he excelled there. I’m not that well-versed on jazz, but if I want to listen to jazz, I’ll go for John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, OT especially Sun Ra. Prince’s jazz projects all sound forced in comparison.

That's a bit of a problem here.

.

Why this senseless obstination to evaluate these Prince records as "jazz" albums, as in "jazz is something that died in 1965 and every jazz artist will forever be compared to Kind Of Blue and Giant Steps"? I've been reading this for 20 years on the Org and I think the very notion of judging these albums by comparing them to jazz standards that came out 40 or 30 years earlier is completely absurd. I mean, do you imagine people taking the last Radiohead or Morrissey record and saying "yeah, well, it's not as good as the Beatles"? What would you say if you read a review of Janelle Monae's last album that'd say "oh, well, if I want to listen to a female R&B artist, I'd rather listen to Aretha Franklin's classics". What bloody sense would it make?

.

Also, putting Coltrane, Mingus and Sun Ra in the same bag is already kind of WTF? Not to mention that jazz fans at the time were denouncing the fact that Sun Ra's music, Coltrane's last works (or Miles' electric period for that matter) weren't jazz at all (when they didn't trash them completely).

.

Prince's "jazz" works have to be taken in the context of 1/ Prince's music and 2/ the time they were released. Not by comparing them to Kind Of Blue.

.

If you look at the jazz-fusion scene in 2003, well the really cool/innovative thing at the time was to merge jazz with electronics, as it had been to merge it with hip-hop a decade earlier. Clearly, the whole European electronic music revolution of the 90's is a train Prince completely missed so he wasn't gonna do that (he'd done the jazz/rap thing a bit on Gold Nigga, though). But Xpectation wasn't irrelevant in 2003, it was a honest, somewhat timeless, jazz-funk fusion effort. I mean it could be released today, you wouldn't know it's from 2003. And that was one of the zeitgeists in R&B in 2003: thanks to the Soulquarians, the trend was to release ageless records that favored acoustic over electronics and had a subtle 70's vibe without being completely retro (the other zeitgeist was pushing in the exact opposite direction, trying to be as electronic and futuristic as possible, à la Neptunes or Timbaland). P understood that Soulquarian thing perfectly with TRC, and Xpectation is point on when it comes to that, even if it's more on a jazz vibe than a soul one. That last track that Number23 fancies (I do to), is typically reminiscent of Funkadelic's Wars Of Armageddon, for example. Timeless with a 70's hint.

.

Now compare Xpectation to the kind of sterilized, generic elevator/smooth jazz that some Prince associates (I won't name names out of respect) and even many respected contemporary jazz musicians released at the time: Xpectation (as well as P's other instrumental efforts) has a very personal, unique color: Prince's color. It sounds like Prince in the sense that there are many typical Prince idiosyncracies in it, and at the same time it sounds like Prince pushing the boundaries of his usual sound palette in the sense that he tries things he's never tried before. In the context of Prince's music and its evolution, and specifically in the context of Prince's music at the time (right after TRC and ONA, while planning the ONA Tour, and before NEWS), it was a daring and meaningful move. There was nothing "forced" about it really, it was Prince trying stuff.

.

TBH that's all you can ask from a Prince record: to be Prince and to be Prince trying new stuff.

.

[Edited 9/18/20 18:37pm]

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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Reply #7 posted 09/18/20 6:34pm

LoveGalore

databank said:



Moonbeam said:


Unfortunately, it’s bottom of the barrel as far as Prince albums go for me. I’ve never been that big on his jazz stuff, as I don’t think he excelled there. I’m not that well-versed on jazz, but if I want to listen to jazz, I’ll go for John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, OT especially Sun Ra. Prince’s jazz projects all sound forced in comparison.

That's a bit of a double problem here.


.


For one thing, how can someone who admits not liking a genre be much competent to assess the quality of a record in said genre. Believe me, you won't see me assessing the quality of a country album anytime soon because I don't have a clue what makes a good country album.


.


Then there is this senseless obstination to evaluate these Prince records as "jazz" albums, as in "jazz is something that died in 1965 and every jazz artist will forever be compared to Kind Of Blue and Giant Steps". I think the very notion of judging these albums by comparing them to jazz standards that came out 40 or 30 years earlier is completely absurd. I mean, do you imagine people taking the last Radiohead or Morrissey record and saying "yeah, well, it's not as good as the Beatles"? What would you say if you read a review of Janelle Monae's last album that'd say "oh, well, if I want to listen to a female R&B artist, I'd rather listen to Aretha Franklin's classics". What bloody sense would it make?


.


Also, putting Coltrane, Mingus and Sun Ra in the same bag is already kind of WTF? Not to mention that jazz fans at the time were denouncing the fact that Sun Ra's music, Coltrane's last works (or Miles' electric period for that matter) weren't jazz at all (when they didn't trash them completely).


.


Prince's "jazz" works have to be taken in the context of 1/ Prince's music and 2/ the time they were released. Not by comparing them to Kind Of Blue.


.


If you look at the jazz-fusion scene in 2003, well the really cool/innovative thing at the time was to merge jazz with electronics, as it had been to merge it with hip-hop a decade earlier. Clearly, the whole European electronic music revolution of the 90's is a train Prince completely missed so he wasn't gonna do that (he'd done the jazz/rap thing a bit on Gold Nigga, though). But Xpectation wasn't irrelevant in 2003, it was a honest, somewhat timeless, jazz-funk fusion effort. I mean it could be released today, you wouldn't know it's from 2003. And that was one of the zeitgeists in R&B in 2003: thanks to the Soulquarians, the trend was to release ageless records that favored acoustic over electronics and had a subtle 70's vibe without being completely retro. P understood that perfectly with TRC, and Xpectation is point on when it comes to that, even if it's more on a jazz vibe than a soul one. That last track that Number23 fancies (I do to), is typically reminiscent of Funkadelic's Wars Of Armageddon, for example. Timeless with a 70's hint.


.


Now compare Xpectation to the kind of sterilized, generic elevator/smooth jazz that some Prince associates (I won't name names out of respect) and even many respected contemporary jazz musicians released at the time: Xpectation (as well as P's other instrumental efforts) has a very personal, unique color: Prince's color. It sounds like Prince in the sense that there are many typical Prince idiosyncracies in it, and at the same time it sounds like Prince pushing the boundaries of his usual sound palette in the sense that he tries things he's never tried before. In the context of Prince's music and its evolution, and specifically in the context of Prince's music at the time (right after TRC and ONA, while planning the ONA Tour, and before NEWS), it was a daring and meaningful move.


.


TBH that's all you can ask from a Prince record: to be Prince and to be Prince trying new stuff.


.

[Edited 9/18/20 18:19pm]



Yeah, I think you can appreciate Prince's forays into all genres that ever existed. But that doesn't mean ya gotta like it.

I love jazz, both modern and traditional. I think the jazz I expected to hear from Prince was Robert Glasper jazz and what I got was Bitches Brew which to me is overrated and bizarre and really inaccessible. That's kinda how I see his jazz stuff. It's hard to follow or it is kinda aimless or even boring at it's worst. And I'd include the first three madhouse records in that too. I think the NPG's 24 was way better and sounded way jazzier than anything else he ever did.
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Reply #8 posted 09/18/20 6:48pm

Moonbeam

avatar

LoveGalore said:

databank said:

That's a bit of a double problem here.

.

For one thing, how can someone who admits not liking a genre be much competent to assess the quality of a record in said genre. Believe me, you won't see me assessing the quality of a country album anytime soon because I don't have a clue what makes a good country album.

.

Then there is this senseless obstination to evaluate these Prince records as "jazz" albums, as in "jazz is something that died in 1965 and every jazz artist will forever be compared to Kind Of Blue and Giant Steps". I think the very notion of judging these albums by comparing them to jazz standards that came out 40 or 30 years earlier is completely absurd. I mean, do you imagine people taking the last Radiohead or Morrissey record and saying "yeah, well, it's not as good as the Beatles"? What would you say if you read a review of Janelle Monae's last album that'd say "oh, well, if I want to listen to a female R&B artist, I'd rather listen to Aretha Franklin's classics". What bloody sense would it make?

.

Also, putting Coltrane, Mingus and Sun Ra in the same bag is already kind of WTF? Not to mention that jazz fans at the time were denouncing the fact that Sun Ra's music, Coltrane's last works (or Miles' electric period for that matter) weren't jazz at all (when they didn't trash them completely).

.

Prince's "jazz" works have to be taken in the context of 1/ Prince's music and 2/ the time they were released. Not by comparing them to Kind Of Blue.

.

If you look at the jazz-fusion scene in 2003, well the really cool/innovative thing at the time was to merge jazz with electronics, as it had been to merge it with hip-hop a decade earlier. Clearly, the whole European electronic music revolution of the 90's is a train Prince completely missed so he wasn't gonna do that (he'd done the jazz/rap thing a bit on Gold Nigga, though). But Xpectation wasn't irrelevant in 2003, it was a honest, somewhat timeless, jazz-funk fusion effort. I mean it could be released today, you wouldn't know it's from 2003. And that was one of the zeitgeists in R&B in 2003: thanks to the Soulquarians, the trend was to release ageless records that favored acoustic over electronics and had a subtle 70's vibe without being completely retro. P understood that perfectly with TRC, and Xpectation is point on when it comes to that, even if it's more on a jazz vibe than a soul one. That last track that Number23 fancies (I do to), is typically reminiscent of Funkadelic's Wars Of Armageddon, for example. Timeless with a 70's hint.

.

Now compare Xpectation to the kind of sterilized, generic elevator/smooth jazz that some Prince associates (I won't name names out of respect) and even many respected contemporary jazz musicians released at the time: Xpectation (as well as P's other instrumental efforts) has a very personal, unique color: Prince's color. It sounds like Prince in the sense that there are many typical Prince idiosyncracies in it, and at the same time it sounds like Prince pushing the boundaries of his usual sound palette in the sense that he tries things he's never tried before. In the context of Prince's music and its evolution, and specifically in the context of Prince's music at the time (right after TRC and ONA, while planning the ONA Tour, and before NEWS), it was a daring and meaningful move.

.

TBH that's all you can ask from a Prince record: to be Prince and to be Prince trying new stuff.

.

[Edited 9/18/20 18:19pm]

Yeah, I think you can appreciate Prince's forays into all genres that ever existed. But that doesn't mean ya gotta like it. I love jazz, both modern and traditional. I think the jazz I expected to hear from Prince was Robert Glasper jazz and what I got was Bitches Brew which to me is overrated and bizarre and really inaccessible. That's kinda how I see his jazz stuff. It's hard to follow or it is kinda aimless or even boring at it's worst. And I'd include the first three madhouse records in that too. I think the NPG's 24 was way better and sounded way jazzier than anything else he ever did.


I agree with this.

Maybe I didn't communicate my point very well. What I was meaning to say is that I don't dismiss Xpectation or his other jazzier stuff because I have an aversion to the genre - I indeed like a fair amount of jazz (though I am by no means an expert). And some of those jazz records I like are a lot newer than the 50s and 60s - some of my favorites are Sun Ra's On Jupiter from 1978 and "Nuclear War" from 1982. With this and mind and being a big Prince fan, I would think if anything I would have a natural inclination to REALLY like Prince's jazz stuff relative to how most people would view it, but that's not the case.

I completely accept the point that genres change through time, and indeed comparing an album from 2003 to albums from decades earlier isn't really an apples-to-apples comparison, but even the Madhouse stuff doesn't do it for me in comparison to some 80s jazz I enjoy. Prince's jazz/jazz-funk/fusion stuff to me tends to feel stuffy, and at times even a bit boring. Despite what should be a freeing aspect due to the genre, it feels to me that Prince's attempts at jazz are more chained to particular rules and standards than his pop, rock, funk, soul, or R&B ventures were. Indeed, sometimes it sounds to me like there is a pop/rock song buried underneath in sections here and there. Whatever the case, I just don't feel Prince's jazzier offerings are high points in his career, despite wanting to get into them.

That said, I totally appreciate that Prince always followed his own muse, and just because some of the detours he chose to follow weren't always to my liking, it doesn't mean that they are without value or mediocre - just not to my personal taste for whatever reason. To that point, lots of people rave about the Madhouse stuff, so I'm clearly missing out on something. Nonetheless, when I rank Prince's 39 studio albums, Xpectation comes in at #39.

Feel free to join in the Prince Album Poll 2018! Let'a celebrate his legacy by counting down the most beloved Prince albums, as decided by you!
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Reply #9 posted 09/18/20 6:55pm

databank

avatar

LoveGalore said:

databank said:

That's a bit of a double problem here.

.

For one thing, how can someone who admits not liking a genre be much competent to assess the quality of a record in said genre. Believe me, you won't see me assessing the quality of a country album anytime soon because I don't have a clue what makes a good country album.

.

Then there is this senseless obstination to evaluate these Prince records as "jazz" albums, as in "jazz is something that died in 1965 and every jazz artist will forever be compared to Kind Of Blue and Giant Steps". I think the very notion of judging these albums by comparing them to jazz standards that came out 40 or 30 years earlier is completely absurd. I mean, do you imagine people taking the last Radiohead or Morrissey record and saying "yeah, well, it's not as good as the Beatles"? What would you say if you read a review of Janelle Monae's last album that'd say "oh, well, if I want to listen to a female R&B artist, I'd rather listen to Aretha Franklin's classics". What bloody sense would it make?

.

Also, putting Coltrane, Mingus and Sun Ra in the same bag is already kind of WTF? Not to mention that jazz fans at the time were denouncing the fact that Sun Ra's music, Coltrane's last works (or Miles' electric period for that matter) weren't jazz at all (when they didn't trash them completely).

.

Prince's "jazz" works have to be taken in the context of 1/ Prince's music and 2/ the time they were released. Not by comparing them to Kind Of Blue.

.

If you look at the jazz-fusion scene in 2003, well the really cool/innovative thing at the time was to merge jazz with electronics, as it had been to merge it with hip-hop a decade earlier. Clearly, the whole European electronic music revolution of the 90's is a train Prince completely missed so he wasn't gonna do that (he'd done the jazz/rap thing a bit on Gold Nigga, though). But Xpectation wasn't irrelevant in 2003, it was a honest, somewhat timeless, jazz-funk fusion effort. I mean it could be released today, you wouldn't know it's from 2003. And that was one of the zeitgeists in R&B in 2003: thanks to the Soulquarians, the trend was to release ageless records that favored acoustic over electronics and had a subtle 70's vibe without being completely retro. P understood that perfectly with TRC, and Xpectation is point on when it comes to that, even if it's more on a jazz vibe than a soul one. That last track that Number23 fancies (I do to), is typically reminiscent of Funkadelic's Wars Of Armageddon, for example. Timeless with a 70's hint.

.

Now compare Xpectation to the kind of sterilized, generic elevator/smooth jazz that some Prince associates (I won't name names out of respect) and even many respected contemporary jazz musicians released at the time: Xpectation (as well as P's other instrumental efforts) has a very personal, unique color: Prince's color. It sounds like Prince in the sense that there are many typical Prince idiosyncracies in it, and at the same time it sounds like Prince pushing the boundaries of his usual sound palette in the sense that he tries things he's never tried before. In the context of Prince's music and its evolution, and specifically in the context of Prince's music at the time (right after TRC and ONA, while planning the ONA Tour, and before NEWS), it was a daring and meaningful move.

.

TBH that's all you can ask from a Prince record: to be Prince and to be Prince trying new stuff.

.

[Edited 9/18/20 18:19pm]

Yeah, I think you can appreciate Prince's forays into all genres that ever existed. But that doesn't mean ya gotta like it. I love jazz, both modern and traditional. I think the jazz I expected to hear from Prince was Robert Glasper jazz and what I got was Bitches Brew which to me is overrated and bizarre and really inaccessible. That's kinda how I see his jazz stuff. It's hard to follow or it is kinda aimless or even boring at it's worst. And I'd include the first three madhouse records in that too. I think the NPG's 24 was way better and sounded way jazzier than anything else he ever did.

I'd edited my post right before you posted your reply because I realized maybe my first argument wasn't so revlevant, so what you replied to was a little different from my original statement.

.

Your perspective is interesting and certainly different from what I've often read here. TBH the reason why Bitches Brew (and that sort of stuff) is interesting is because it is bizarre and inaccessible. It requires an effort from the listener and it's very cerebral music. I'm not so much into that myself BTW, but every once in a while I dig it if it fits my mood. By comparison, I thing all these Prince "jazz" records are extremely narrative and emotional, not so cold and cerebral. The only exception possibly being 16, which is really fucked-up (and possibly the best, or at least the most challenging of the lot), but it's so damn funky!!

.

I also love this 24 record from 1993 and I really wish it'd been released at the time (we have it of course, but I'd have loved it to be part of the canon). It's at the same time very accessible (indeed his most "robertglasperish" record) and at the same time quite idiosyncratic in itself, with many little oddities that make it interesting (many of which, surprisingly, come from Ricky Peterson's delicious post-production, while his own records are among generic smooth jazz albums I was referring to above).

.

The problem here is as usual: Prince attracted people with too many musicial tastes. Newpower Soul is a not for Bob Dylan fans. The Undertaker is not for James Brown fans. Xpectation is not for George Michael fans. And so on... On top of that, P's music was often too weird for pop audiences and too pop for weird audiences. I've heard people calling Xpectation poppish elevator pseudo-jazz and others calling it weird experimental shit. Depending where you come from, you'll perceive it very differently.

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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Reply #10 posted 09/18/20 7:02pm

databank

avatar

Moonbeam said:

LoveGalore said:

databank said: Yeah, I think you can appreciate Prince's forays into all genres that ever existed. But that doesn't mean ya gotta like it. I love jazz, both modern and traditional. I think the jazz I expected to hear from Prince was Robert Glasper jazz and what I got was Bitches Brew which to me is overrated and bizarre and really inaccessible. That's kinda how I see his jazz stuff. It's hard to follow or it is kinda aimless or even boring at it's worst. And I'd include the first three madhouse records in that too. I think the NPG's 24 was way better and sounded way jazzier than anything else he ever did.


I agree with this.

Maybe I didn't communicate my point very well. What I was meaning to say is that I don't dismiss Xpectation or his other jazzier stuff because I have an aversion to the genre - I indeed like a fair amount of jazz (though I am by no means an expert). And some of those jazz records I like are a lot newer than the 50s and 60s - some of my favorites are Sun Ra's On Jupiter from 1978 and "Nuclear War" from 1982. With this and mind and being a big Prince fan, I would think if anything I would have a natural inclination to REALLY like Prince's jazz stuff relative to how most people would view it, but that's not the case.

I completely accept the point that genres change through time, and indeed comparing an album from 2003 to albums from decades earlier isn't really an apples-to-apples comparison, but even the Madhouse stuff doesn't do it for me in comparison to some 80s jazz I enjoy. Prince's jazz/jazz-funk/fusion stuff to me tends to feel stuffy, and at times even a bit boring. Despite what should be a freeing aspect due to the genre, it feels to me that Prince's attempts at jazz are more chained to particular rules and standards than his pop, rock, funk, soul, or R&B ventures were. Indeed, sometimes it sounds to me like there is a pop/rock song buried underneath in sections here and there. Whatever the case, I just don't feel Prince's jazzier offerings are high points in his career, despite wanting to get into them.

That said, I totally appreciate that Prince always followed his own muse, and just because some of the detours he chose to follow weren't always to my liking, it doesn't mean that they are without value or mediocre - just not to my personal taste for whatever reason. To that point, lots of people rave about the Madhouse stuff, so I'm clearly missing out on something. Nonetheless, when I rank Prince's 39 studio albums, Xpectation comes in at #39.

Fair enough. I edited my reply before I read yours because I realized it wasn't fair to assume too much on your tatstes based on what you'd written, so sorry for misunderstanding.

Just out of curiosity, what 80's jazz do you enjoy? I haven't found much jazz from that decade that really blows my mind except for Madhouse and Toshinori Kondo. I dig jazz/fusion stuff from the 50's/70's and again from the 90's to today, but to me the 80's was sort of a black hole for jazz.

A COMPREHENSIVE PRINCE DISCOGRAPHY (work in progress ^^): https://sites.google.com/...iscog/home
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Reply #11 posted 09/18/20 7:21pm

LoveGalore

databank said:



LoveGalore said:


databank said:


That's a bit of a double problem here.


.


For one thing, how can someone who admits not liking a genre be much competent to assess the quality of a record in said genre. Believe me, you won't see me assessing the quality of a country album anytime soon because I don't have a clue what makes a good country album.


.


Then there is this senseless obstination to evaluate these Prince records as "jazz" albums, as in "jazz is something that died in 1965 and every jazz artist will forever be compared to Kind Of Blue and Giant Steps". I think the very notion of judging these albums by comparing them to jazz standards that came out 40 or 30 years earlier is completely absurd. I mean, do you imagine people taking the last Radiohead or Morrissey record and saying "yeah, well, it's not as good as the Beatles"? What would you say if you read a review of Janelle Monae's last album that'd say "oh, well, if I want to listen to a female R&B artist, I'd rather listen to Aretha Franklin's classics". What bloody sense would it make?


.


Also, putting Coltrane, Mingus and Sun Ra in the same bag is already kind of WTF? Not to mention that jazz fans at the time were denouncing the fact that Sun Ra's music, Coltrane's last works (or Miles' electric period for that matter) weren't jazz at all (when they didn't trash them completely).


.


Prince's "jazz" works have to be taken in the context of 1/ Prince's music and 2/ the time they were released. Not by comparing them to Kind Of Blue.


.


If you look at the jazz-fusion scene in 2003, well the really cool/innovative thing at the time was to merge jazz with electronics, as it had been to merge it with hip-hop a decade earlier. Clearly, the whole European electronic music revolution of the 90's is a train Prince completely missed so he wasn't gonna do that (he'd done the jazz/rap thing a bit on Gold Nigga, though). But Xpectation wasn't irrelevant in 2003, it was a honest, somewhat timeless, jazz-funk fusion effort. I mean it could be released today, you wouldn't know it's from 2003. And that was one of the zeitgeists in R&B in 2003: thanks to the Soulquarians, the trend was to release ageless records that favored acoustic over electronics and had a subtle 70's vibe without being completely retro. P understood that perfectly with TRC, and Xpectation is point on when it comes to that, even if it's more on a jazz vibe than a soul one. That last track that Number23 fancies (I do to), is typically reminiscent of Funkadelic's Wars Of Armageddon, for example. Timeless with a 70's hint.


.


Now compare Xpectation to the kind of sterilized, generic elevator/smooth jazz that some Prince associates (I won't name names out of respect) and even many respected contemporary jazz musicians released at the time: Xpectation (as well as P's other instrumental efforts) has a very personal, unique color: Prince's color. It sounds like Prince in the sense that there are many typical Prince idiosyncracies in it, and at the same time it sounds like Prince pushing the boundaries of his usual sound palette in the sense that he tries things he's never tried before. In the context of Prince's music and its evolution, and specifically in the context of Prince's music at the time (right after TRC and ONA, while planning the ONA Tour, and before NEWS), it was a daring and meaningful move.


.


TBH that's all you can ask from a Prince record: to be Prince and to be Prince trying new stuff.


.


[Edited 9/18/20 18:19pm]



Yeah, I think you can appreciate Prince's forays into all genres that ever existed. But that doesn't mean ya gotta like it. I love jazz, both modern and traditional. I think the jazz I expected to hear from Prince was Robert Glasper jazz and what I got was Bitches Brew which to me is overrated and bizarre and really inaccessible. That's kinda how I see his jazz stuff. It's hard to follow or it is kinda aimless or even boring at it's worst. And I'd include the first three madhouse records in that too. I think the NPG's 24 was way better and sounded way jazzier than anything else he ever did.

I'd edited my post right before you posted your reply because I realized maybe my first argument wasn't so revlevant, so what you replied to was a little different from my original statement.


.


Your perspective is interesting and certainly different from what I've often read here. TBH the reason why Bitches Brew (and that sort of stuff) is interesting is because it is bizarre and inaccessible. It requires an effort from the listener and it's very cerebral music. I'm not so much into that myself BTW, but every once in a while I dig it if it fits my mood. By comparison, I thing all these Prince "jazz" records are extremely narrative and emotional, not so cold and cerebral. The only exception possibly being 16, which is really fucked-up (and possibly the best, or at least the most challenging of the lot), but it's so damn funky!!


.


I also love this 24 record from 1993 and I really wish it'd been released at the time (we have it of course, but I'd have loved it to be part of the canon). It's at the same time very accessible (indeed his most "robertglasperish" record) and at the same time quite idiosyncratic in itself, with many little oddities that make it interesting (many of which, surprisingly, come from Ricky Peterson's delicious post-production, while his own records are among generic smooth jazz albums I was referring to above).


.


The problem here is as usual: Prince attracted people with too many musicial tastes. Newpower Soul is a not for Bob Dylan fans. The Undertaker is not for James Brown fans. Xpectation is not for George Michael fans. And so on... On top of that, P's music was often too weird for pop audiences and too pop for weird audiences. I've heard people calling Xpectation poppish elevator pseudo-jazz and others calling it weird experimental shit. Depending where you come from, you'll perceive it very differently.




I see what you're saying! For the record, I've probably put more hours into trying to like the early Madhouse stuff because I think that although it's freaky as hell, there are very melodic, hook-y moments. And that's the thing, no matter where prince goes in his music, I expect the hook. He was so damn good at putting the hook there in a song and I think that's part of the balance of pop and weird you mention. It's what takes Alexa De Paris out of the jazz realm and into the pop realm despite it having VERY jazzy moments (as was kinda the direction instrumental Rev stuff was going at the time).

I think Xpectation and NEWS are fine albums, but I think Prince had the intuition to know that Xpectation would get buried and Xenophobia was the only song with a strong hook so he put it in a main canon record, if you will.
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Reply #12 posted 09/18/20 7:27pm

lustmealways

avatar

databank said:

.

The problem here is as usual: Prince attracted people with too many musicial tastes. Newpower Soul is a not for Bob Dylan fans. The Undertaker is not for James Brown fans. Xpectation is not for George Michael fans. And so on... On top of that, P's music was often too weird for pop audiences and too pop for weird audiences. I've heard people calling Xpectation poppish elevator pseudo-jazz and others calling it weird experimental shit. Depending where you come from, you'll perceive it very differently.

let the record show that i am a big, big, big fan of bob dylan as well as newpower soul

[Edited 9/18/20 19:28pm]

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Reply #13 posted 09/18/20 7:41pm

databank

avatar

lustmealways said:



databank said:



.


The problem here is as usual: Prince attracted people with too many musicial tastes. Newpower Soul is a not for Bob Dylan fans. The Undertaker is not for James Brown fans. Xpectation is not for George Michael fans. And so on... On top of that, P's music was often too weird for pop audiences and too pop for weird audiences. I've heard people calling Xpectation poppish elevator pseudo-jazz and others calling it weird experimental shit. Depending where you come from, you'll perceive it very differently.



let the record show that i am a big, big, big fan of bob dylan as well as newpower soul

[Edited 9/18/20 19:28pm]


Well I'm a big Alice Coltrane fan and a big Madonna fan (among others). Most people have more focused tastes. But it's nice to see someone who's into folk rock appreciating NPS for the funk gem it is biggrin
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Reply #14 posted 09/18/20 7:45pm

TrivialPursuit

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Number23 said:


Ok, but I meant Xenophobia.


I'm confused, though. Isn't Xpectation originally Xenophobia, with a different title track and down one track?

As far as Xpectation, I actually do listen to it from time to time. It just sorta flows from one song to the next, and is great in the background with company or just whatever.

I don't think it's particularly deep or overly interesting. It's not groundbreaking or in the realm of "Wally" or "If I Was Your Girlfriend," but it's listenable and not jarring. For me, it beats N.E.W.S., but then again, I've only listened to that album once.

I'm not a huge fan of his jazzy era in the early aughts. While Renato Neto is an amazing keyboard player, he blanded down Prince's music in concert. When they took a bop like "Baby I'm A Star" and turned it into a Lite Jazz FM station, I was done with that era. Madhouse is 1M times more interesting than Xpectation, N.E.W.S., The Rainbow Children (fite me), et al. Even the stuff that leaks a couple of years ago ("Groove in G Minor" or whatever - all that stuff, plus The Flesh) is even more interesting than the newer airy jazz stuff.

I do wish "Xeophobia" would've been on that set, though.

"eye don’t really care so much what people say about me because it is a reflection of who they r."
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Reply #15 posted 09/18/20 7:49pm

Moonbeam

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As far as 80s jazz records I enjoy:

Sun Ra - Strange Celestial Road and “Nuclear War”
David Murray Octet - Ming
Bill Evans - You Must Believe in Spring
The Lounge Lizards - s/t

Also enjoy some Rip Rig + Panic which is kinda jazzy.
Feel free to join in the Prince Album Poll 2018! Let'a celebrate his legacy by counting down the most beloved Prince albums, as decided by you!
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Reply #16 posted 09/18/20 8:12pm

grantevans

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What is this ? A respectful discussion on prince.org. long may it continue
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Reply #17 posted 09/18/20 9:43pm

Phase3

When I first discovered this album I quickly sampled maybe 30 seconds of each track and labeled them as filler.I actually forgot this one existed.
Maybe I need to re listen? But I don't care much for jazz
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Reply #18 posted 09/19/20 3:55am

Dandroppedadim
e

I think that 'airy' jazz stuff he was doing in the early 2000s pointed towards later songs like Revelation - so I guess it served its purpose. I'd love to hear the other NPGQ tracks that are rumoured to exist!

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Reply #19 posted 09/19/20 4:18am

thebanishedone

databank said:

Moonbeam said:

Unfortunately, it’s bottom of the barrel as far as Prince albums go for me. I’ve never been that big on his jazz stuff, as I don’t think he excelled there. I’m not that well-versed on jazz, but if I want to listen to jazz, I’ll go for John Coltrane, Charles Mingus, OT especially Sun Ra. Prince’s jazz projects all sound forced in comparison.

That's a bit of a problem here.

.

Why this senseless obstination to evaluate these Prince records as "jazz" albums, as in "jazz is something that died in 1965 and every jazz artist will forever be compared to Kind Of Blue and Giant Steps"? I've been reading this for 20 years on the Org and I think the very notion of judging these albums by comparing them to jazz standards that came out 40 or 30 years earlier is completely absurd. I mean, do you imagine people taking the last Radiohead or Morrissey record and saying "yeah, well, it's not as good as the Beatles"? What would you say if you read a review of Janelle Monae's last album that'd say "oh, well, if I want to listen to a female R&B artist, I'd rather listen to Aretha Franklin's classics". What bloody sense would it make?

.

Also, putting Coltrane, Mingus and Sun Ra in the same bag is already kind of WTF? Not to mention that jazz fans at the time were denouncing the fact that Sun Ra's music, Coltrane's last works (or Miles' electric period for that matter) weren't jazz at all (when they didn't trash them completely).

.

Prince's "jazz" works have to be taken in the context of 1/ Prince's music and 2/ the time they were released. Not by comparing them to Kind Of Blue.

.

If you look at the jazz-fusion scene in 2003, well the really cool/innovative thing at the time was to merge jazz with electronics, as it had been to merge it with hip-hop a decade earlier. Clearly, the whole European electronic music revolution of the 90's is a train Prince completely missed so he wasn't gonna do that (he'd done the jazz/rap thing a bit on Gold Nigga, though). But Xpectation wasn't irrelevant in 2003, it was a honest, somewhat timeless, jazz-funk fusion effort. I mean it could be released today, you wouldn't know it's from 2003. And that was one of the zeitgeists in R&B in 2003: thanks to the Soulquarians, the trend was to release ageless records that favored acoustic over electronics and had a subtle 70's vibe without being completely retro (the other zeitgeist was pushing in the exact opposite direction, trying to be as electronic and futuristic as possible, à la Neptunes or Timbaland). P understood that Soulquarian thing perfectly with TRC, and Xpectation is point on when it comes to that, even if it's more on a jazz vibe than a soul one. That last track that Number23 fancies (I do to), is typically reminiscent of Funkadelic's Wars Of Armageddon, for example. Timeless with a 70's hint.

.

Now compare Xpectation to the kind of sterilized, generic elevator/smooth jazz that some Prince associates (I won't name names out of respect) and even many respected contemporary jazz musicians released at the time: Xpectation (as well as P's other instrumental efforts) has a very personal, unique color: Prince's color. It sounds like Prince in the sense that there are many typical Prince idiosyncracies in it, and at the same time it sounds like Prince pushing the boundaries of his usual sound palette in the sense that he tries things he's never tried before. In the context of Prince's music and its evolution, and specifically in the context of Prince's music at the time (right after TRC and ONA, while planning the ONA Tour, and before NEWS), it was a daring and meaningful move. There was nothing "forced" about it really, it was Prince trying stuff.

.

TBH that's all you can ask from a Prince record: to be Prince and to be Prince trying new stuff.

.

[Edited 9/18/20 18:37pm]

man u nailed it. great post

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Reply #20 posted 09/19/20 6:23am

RJOrion

ive always dug Xpectation... "Xogenous" is one of my go-to songs to start off a long drive somewhere... Prince playing guitar like the great Wes Montgomery meets George Benson on that joint

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Reply #21 posted 09/20/20 1:04am

Vannormal

avatar

-

This album and N.E.W.S.

are more then often on my late night playlist.

These are both fine examples of great Princely side shows.

Only Kamasutra (I know it's a very different album, but it's an instrumental album too) is a hard to digest (still) piece, and sounds very outdated to me.

Which is absolutely not the case with Xpectation and N.E.W.S.

Timeless gems.

-

Gotta listen to it again, to pay attentiont to that baby. wink

-

"...no matter what, all will be fine, always."
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Reply #22 posted 09/20/20 2:59am

Number23

lustmealways said:



databank said:



.


The problem here is as usual: Prince attracted people with too many musicial tastes. Newpower Soul is a not for Bob Dylan fans. The Undertaker is not for James Brown fans. Xpectation is not for George Michael fans. And so on... On top of that, P's music was often too weird for pop audiences and too pop for weird audiences. I've heard people calling Xpectation poppish elevator pseudo-jazz and others calling it weird experimental shit. Depending where you come from, you'll perceive it very differently.



let the record show that i am a big, big, big fan of bob dylan as well as newpower soul

[Edited 9/18/20 19:28pm]


Me too. Bob Dylan’s brain should be mapped and studied at Neuralink, as far as I’m concerned. He’s a walking google for the human condition. Thing is, there was a very specific reason I called this thread Xenophobia. Databank ‘corrected’ me but I didn’t make any mistake. People make rash assumptions based on their own limitations, that was the point. So the suspicions that made me title the thread with that word were kinda validated - especially the ‘New Power Soul isn’t for Bob Dylan fans’ comment. I mean, WTF kind of calcified mentality is that? I can’t fathom not having Minnesota lads P and Bob as part of the same progressive team, two freethinkers who broke out of the banality of Midwestern mundanity to set the world on fire with their imaginations. Not having a dig at databank in particular, or anyone, but I’m suspicious of compartmentalisation and boundaries. Countries are lines on maps drawn by someone who won a war by spilling blood. Someone who benefited from the human proclivity for division. Countries, like money, don’t actually exist. And neither, really, do musical categories - the is only good and bad. And even that is in the ears of the beholder.
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Reply #23 posted 09/21/20 4:13am

Vannormal

avatar

-

I was also going to reply to Databank's remark, in a positive and constructive way of course. wink

-

I personally think that Prince just 'did not' attracted people with different musical tastes, at all!

Absolutely not.

OK, Sheila brought in a latino sound and musicians who were able to bring in other complex structures (not better). And a few others brought in some jazz elements perhaps.

But basically Prince only was interested in surounding himself with those that could trigger him to a more high-end product (and somewhere lost some atmosphere/soul/spirit. It became clean pop with old dirty words). He was keen enough on his own to try new directions - as if he did not wanted to be influenced, helped, or convinced of new things out there. Maybe that was also his strenght (ànd part of his downhill ride too- don't bash me here, it's mho).

His creativity surely knew some (minor) ifluences here and there from those around him.

But he mostly surrounded himself with pro's who did what he wanted without resistance, easy to knead.

Honestly, a guy playing some hard rock with 3EyeGirl, wasn't what I wanted him to do.

There's that song Reflectgion from Musicology, that gave me some hope for a change, a grown up Prince, willing to let others enter his musical world and share new creations, bu unfortunately...

-

"Sometimes Eye just wanna go sit out on the stool, And uh... Play my guitar; Just watch all... All the cars go by"

-

Throughout his carreer - let's say in the 80's and 90's - he always tried to be ahead of the whole popindustry. He wated to grow 'bigger' I guess, but in a different way. A 'hot' way, not a more intelligent or growing steady way, like Lisa Coleman said in the last podcast episode;

"He needed to be, like, on fire all the time." No more (new) input or proposed directions by others, at least not like it was before. No one else after W&L had the freedom to be in the studio all by them selves and just explore stuff.

But he did not thoroughly collaborated with let's say equals from a completely different field.

(Which Madonna somehow tried and did though, with big succeses and less succes too.)

He could've worked (better) with other big bands or producers or sessions musicians at the time.

But he always felt to prove himself to be better.

Maybe for the best... Who are we... smile

-




"...no matter what, all will be fine, always."
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Reply #24 posted 09/21/20 8:05pm

databank

avatar

Number23 said:

lustmealways said:

let the record show that i am a big, big, big fan of bob dylan as well as newpower soul

[Edited 9/18/20 19:28pm]

Me too. Bob Dylan’s brain should be mapped and studied at Neuralink, as far as I’m concerned. He’s a walking google for the human condition. Thing is, there was a very specific reason I called this thread Xenophobia. Databank ‘corrected’ me but I didn’t make any mistake. People make rash assumptions based on their own limitations, that was the point. So the suspicions that made me title the thread with that word were kinda validated - especially the ‘New Power Soul isn’t for Bob Dylan fans’ comment. I mean, WTF kind of calcified mentality is that? I can’t fathom not having Minnesota lads P and Bob as part of the same progressive team, two freethinkers who broke out of the banality of Midwestern mundanity to set the world on fire with their imaginations. Not having a dig at databank in particular, or anyone, but I’m suspicious of compartmentalisation and boundaries. Countries are lines on maps drawn by someone who won a war by spilling blood. Someone who benefited from the human proclivity for division. Countries, like money, don’t actually exist. And neither, really, do musical categories - the is only good and bad. And even that is in the ears of the beholder.

Fair enough for everything you (and others) say about the opinion I've expressed about people's tatses and all - It's just a personal opinion based on personal observations and by no means something factual that I can prove, so I stand by it but we're cool wink

.

Now I still do NOT understand what your point is keeping saying Xpectation is called Xenophobia. It's called Xpectation and there's no coming-up with far fetched excuses to justify that it's not. There were never any orgers' reviews to a 9 songs album titled Xenophobia because there was never such an album. It'd be like making a thread about SOTT and calling it Crystal Ball. Not that it matters, really, but if you make a thread about a thing and call it another, you can't expect people not to correct you. And you can't insult their intelligence by giving some retroactive explaination that you were making a point about other people's own limitations, and that some unrelated reply by a poster proves it. Dude, seriously? This is so rude!! lol

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Reply #25 posted 09/21/20 8:10pm

databank

avatar

Moonbeam said:

As far as 80s jazz records I enjoy: Sun Ra - Strange Celestial Road and “Nuclear War” David Murray Octet - Ming Bill Evans - You Must Believe in Spring The Lounge Lizards - s/t Also enjoy some Rip Rig + Panic which is kinda jazzy.

Ah cool, thx, I'll give these a shot biggrin

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Reply #26 posted 09/21/20 8:18pm

lustmealways

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using this thread to talk about how much the track "xenophobia" fucking KILLS live and i've never heard a version that wasn't the absolute bomb to listen to, god what a tune

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Reply #27 posted 09/21/20 8:33pm

databank

avatar

Vannormal said:

-

This album and N.E.W.S.

are more then often on my late night playlist.

These are both fine examples of great Princely side shows.

Only Kamasutra (I know it's a very different album, but it's an instrumental album too) is a hard to digest (still) piece, and sounds very outdated to me.

Which is absolutely not the case with Xpectation and N.E.W.S.

Timeless gems.

-

Gotta listen to it again, to pay attentiont to that baby. wink

-

Kamasutra is another matter entirely because it completely ignores its context. When I said that P's "jazz" efforts, from the Flesh to NEWS, were relevant in the context of their time and Prince's music, it's because Prince had a notion of what jazz-fusion was about at the time(s), but Kamasutra is completely out of sync with its time. I mean, basically it sounds like a record of neoclassical music by someone who's only heard classical music and movie sountracks, but has very little to no knowledge of modern and contemporary or even ambient music.

I mean it's 1997: if you're familiar with the contemporary works of people such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Gavin Bryars, Harold Budd, Brian Eno, etc., not to mention the state of electronic music at that time, even stuff like Craig Armstrong who did something quite elegant with mixing electronics and neo clasical: by comparison to all that stuff, Kamasutra sounds like a 1940's cartoon soundtrack. Kamasutra was already dated in 1997, that's the thing. Same could be said about the great, late's George Duke's 1993 attempt at a symphony BTW.

Funny thing is I that loved Kamasutra at first, because I didn't know much about contemporary/experimental/ambient music at the time: it blew my mind!! But in the next few years I got into all that stuff and realized how corny Kamasutra was. The only track that stands out is Cutz. Now don't get me wrong. I still like it, because there's still a lot of Prince in it, there are some really nice moments here and there, and I still very much respect the fact that he tried something new and got out of his comfort zone, but I wish he'd done his homework a little more before that (and possibly asked Fischer to orchestrate the whole thing because some of the synth sounds are unusually tasteless for Prince).

Also, unlike his "jazz" efforts, that always kind of really fit in the narrative of his musical evolution, Kamasutra sort of popped out of nowhere and nothing in that vein was ever done again. I remember at some point circa maybe 2006 he said he wanted to so something with flutes, which I interpreted as the desire to make a new attempt at that sort of stuff, but he didn't (or if he did, we're not aware of it).

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Reply #28 posted 09/22/20 5:10pm

funkbabyandthe
babysitters

Prince is no jazz artist.
Not in the 00s sense. Not in any sense.
Can he and his band play some good covers? Sure.
Can prince convincingly write some good jazz or jazz fusion even? Idk. I'm not sure hes built for it.
Madhouse albums are only loved by prince fans for showing that he can do other genres. But while they have since good hooks, rifs and horn charts, they're firmly on the lite end of jazz-rock. Madhouse was not return to forever.
Prince is used to working around pop formats. E.g. look at the song crystal ball. Once it gets past the 4 min mark, he doesn't know where to take it.
Now, prince can do some good jazzy stuff (strollin) and he could prob be a decent jazz guitarist (his playing on the ONA tour). Idk if hes up there with the genres best though. And conversely, I doubt Glasper, Roy Hargrove or whoever could write good songs like prince could. You have to remember though that prince was all about self expression by learning multiple instruments. These guys are often just dedicated to playing the shit out of their one instrument.

Fwiw, what I've heard of the flesh is better than madhouse. Prob mainly as you can tell hes working with a good band. Not trying to do it all himself.

I should give expectation another chance I suppose..

[Edited 9/22/20 17:12pm]
[Edited 9/22/20 17:15pm]
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Reply #29 posted 09/22/20 6:42pm

v10letblues

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The live version of the title track Xenophobia is amazing! Simply amazing!

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