When I Was Born For The 7th Time – USA overview

When I was born for the 7th Time“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.”

Live Recording

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 [1998].”

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.

Hold On It Hurts LP

Hold On It Hurts, album by Cornershop 1993
Cornershops first album Hold On It Hurts, 1993

Amazon.com reviews:

5.0 out of 5 stars A pivotal moment for indie rock, June 17, 2004

This review is from: Hold on It Hurts (Audio CD)

Forget “Brimful of Asha“, this band’s noble yet watered-down attempt at a crossover hit song… “Hold on it Hurts” is their finest moment.

As has been mentioned before, the influences are there – Velvet Underground, Pavement, 60s garage, and traditional Indian music. What you might not hear – unless you’re familiar with the band’s history – is the influence of the scene that they grew out of. As documented in the underground – and criminally unknown – video fanzine “Getting Close to Nothing”, Cornershop were part of a somewhat politicized, new scene of socially aware London indie rockers, where issues of race, gender and sexuality were focal points and even central themes for many bands of the time (Huggy Bear, Voodoo Queens, Sister George, etc.). It’s notable that – in their call-to-arms anthem “England’s Dreaming” – they not only urged a protest against racist attacks, but also against sexism and homophobia as well. That song mixed Morrissey’s lyrics with Public Enemy, as both a way to critique Moz’s recent flirtation with fascist imagery (“National Front Disco”) and as a statement of cross-cultural protest… by namechecking icons of both black and white music, they subverted the usually polarized and simplistic ideas of race and made a name for Asians – especially South Asians – in the rock scene.

All that aside, this is a really fantastic, interesting, provocative and heartfelt album, succeeding as only the best music does… by allowing you to transcend your normal existence on this planet and to imagine a greater one.

5 Things you may not know about Cornershop…

We at Cornershop HQ are surprised and gladened how the band are often described and at times horrified. So we thought we would leave a few titbits before we eventually get to the main body of information. Therefore we will be putting up extra curricular snacks over the next month. Wikipedia being so Waki.

  1. First English group to work with Dan the Automator of Kool Keith Dr Octagon & sadly more laterly for Gorillaz fame. See Candyman track for Nike
  2. The London club night Buttoned Down Disco is named after the track Buttoned Down Disco from the Clinton Album
  3. Original Cornershop drummer David D Chambers used a lawnmower grass collector as part of his initial drum kit with the group
  4. Laura Marling & Jeffrey Lewis had their cover version of Eminem’s Brain Damage recorded by Tjinder at his Sassy P Studios.
  5. Cornershop were the last group to work with Allen Ginsberg on track ‘When The Light Appears Boy’