I loved A.R. Kane — still do — and after they disappeared and split, I wanted to know what had happened to them. The only sniff of a clue I found in the '90s was the inclusion of a track by Sufi on the Ambient Vol.4: Isolationism compilation, with a credit to Rudy Tambala, who was half of A.R. Kane. But at that time I couldn't find anything by Sufi in any of those three-inch-thick catalogues of releases that record shop people used to heft up onto the counter.
That all changed with the net, and, according to my Amazon mail folder, I ordered Life's Rising in Autumn 2001. But it came back "item unavailable". Another pause. I think it was mainly as a result of listening again to A.R. Kane last April, May and June that I started sniffing around again, and had another shot. Via Amazon's 'marketplace' I got a copy in no time, courtesy of 'Robust Records'. Cost me all of 50 pence, plus £1.24 postage and handling.
After all that, there's a touch of anti-climax about the album. The dub sounds that I loved from the rhythm section of A.R. Kane are unmistakably there. There are some pretty tunes, too. But the air of mischief and the knowing wit of the earlier band are missing. It's a little bland and with Margaret Alice Tambala's (wife, sister, daughter?) singing reminds me of Zero 7. So it's going in the coffee shop category.
One thing I'll say for this album: it sounds five times better on a proper hi-fi compared with the (not exactly shoddy) speakers attached to my Mac. Some art is like that: the films of Truffaut lose almost nothing by being watched on TV; those of Peter Greenaway are a completely different experience on TV. R.E.M. sound great on AM radio — Everybody Hurts is best heard in a short snippet coming out of the open window of a passing car — but anything dubby needs its sound system.
Looking for order in the chaos? We had another Rudy Tambala record on 31 May last year.
|MusicBrainz entry for this album|