“WHEN I WAS BORN FOR THE 7TH TIME, the third album by Cornershop, is like a smiling, sun-lit reprieve amidst the pre-millennium tensions of most cutting-edge, Western pop of the end of the century. While their post-modern bricolage mirrors Beck’s appropriation skills, Tjinder Singh and his mates craft an album of multi-cultural rhythms, textures and lyrical references. The one-world/one-groove outlook anticipates the 21st century with a glee born of spiritual and physical contentment, rather than Beck’s new-pollution dourness.
To drive home the point of the importance of rhythm for the soul, playful beat-driven tracks are strewn throughout the album. The groovy instrumental “Butter The Soul” pits slacker record-scratching against a sitar to the shouted delight of onlookers. A sampled voice on “What Is Happening” asks the titular question of the situation in the world’s capitals while the beat set up by tablas and handclaps suggests a midnight bonfire rally. Singh and the band focus on memories and emotions any listener could identify with, and then personalize and globalize them in one fell swoop.”
Producers: Tjinder Singh, Dan “The Automator” Nakamura, Daddy Rappaport.
Personnel: Tjinder Singh (vocals, guitar, dholki, scratches); Lourdes Belart, Paula Frazer (vocals); Justin Warfield (rap vocals); Ben Ayres (guitar, tamboura, keyboards); Anthony Saffery (sitar, harmonium, keyboards); Grace Winder, Robert Buller, E. Johnson (strings); Ray ? (flute); Nick Simms (drums); Peter Bengry (percussion).
Recording information: 657 Holloway Road, London, England; Eastcote Studios, London, England; Sun Plantation, San Francisco, CA; West Organge Studios, Preston.
Illustrator: Thomas Bayrle.
Photographer: Catalina Gonzales.
Cornershop: Tjinder Singh (vocals, guitar, dholki, DJ); Ben Ayres (guitar, keyboards, tamboura); Anthony Saffery (sitar, harmonium, keyboards); Nick Simms (drums); Peter Bengry (percussion).
Additional personnel: Paula Frazer, Lourdes Belart (vocals); Justin Warfield (rap vocals); Allen Ginsberg (spoken vocals); Robert Buller, E. Johnson, Grace Winder (strings); Ray (flute).
Rolling Stone (5/13/99, p.66) – Included in Rolling Stone’s “Essential Recordings of the 90’s.”
Rolling Stone (8/21/97, pp.106-108) – 4 Stars (out of 5) – “…a cohesive, finely crafted LP in which the last album’s low-fi funk expands into low, fat grooves, and Singh’s pancultural, anti-racist lyrics become more sophisticated but no less impassioned…”
Spin (9/99, p.136) – Ranked #34 in Spin Magazine’s “90 Greatest Albums of the ’90s.”
Spin (1/98, p.86) – Ranked #1 on Spin’s list of the “Top 20 Albums Of The Year .”
Spin (9/97, p.153) – 9 (out of 10) – “…Turning away from the ragged indie rock that dominated Cornership’s previous music, Singh now lets the groove be his guide. A third of the tracks here are Mo’Wax–worthy instrumentals–melting pots of chunky beats, Asian drones, oddball samples, and Singh’s own turntable doodles…”
Entertainment Weekly (9/26/97, p.78) – “…Their third album mixes up hip-hop beats, rock guitar, sitars, scratching, alt-country, and Allen Ginsberg, and few bands make this musical Cuisinart so playful, accessible, and friendly…” – Rating: B
Q (6/00, p.65) – Ranked #68 in Q’s “100 Greatest British Albums” – “…[An] opus of sardonic neo-Asian disco/rock/hip hop, blending chugging guitars, lazy beats, sitars and lyrics about Bollywood and masturbation…”
Magnet (11-12/97, p.64) – “…The best music nowadays tends to be sound-inclusive, and Cornershop has ‘cornered’ the market with its percussive/sample-heavy, ethno-global-indie bag that’s as fresh as papadum dipped in mint chutney…”
Option (11-12/97, p.89) – “…a sprawling work that, with it’s laidback beats, ear-catching samples and pleasingly anachronistic synth squiggles, sounds more than a little like Beck’s ODELAY….a fun, funny and funky good time for all.”
Melody Maker (12/20-27/97, pp.66-67) – Ranked #11 on Melody Maker’s list of 1997’s “Albums Of The Year.”
Melody Maker (9/6/97, p.42) – “…The breadth of vision on WHEN I WAS BORN is astonishing. It’s a record you can listen to time and time again, one where you’ll forever be discovering hidden nuances, more delights.”
Village Voice (2/24/98) – Ranked #3 in the Village Voice’s 1997 Pazz & Jop Critics’ Poll.
NME (Magazine) (12/20-27/97, pp.78-79) – Ranked #6 in NME’s 1997 Critics’ Poll.