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Audio CD, July 29, 2003
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Few artists have created a body of work as rich and varied as Prince. During the '80s, he emerged as one of the most singular talents of the rock & roll era, capable of seamlessly tying together pop, funk, folk, and rock. Not only did he release a series of groundbreaking albums; he toured frequently, produced albums and wrote songs for many other artists, and recorded hundreds of ... Read more in Amazon's Prince Store

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Product Details

  • Audio CD (July 29, 2003)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Label: Npg
  • ASIN: B0000A5BY9
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (83 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #88,456 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

1. North
2. East
3. South
4. West

Editorial Reviews

Product Description

Prince Delivers Four Instrumental Tracks, Each One 14 Minutes Long. Unbelieveable Packaging that is Designed to Mimic a Compass Opening Up to the Four Points. The Concept is that Information is Moving in all Directions Going to all Parts of the World. All Written, Produced and Directed by Prince and Recorded at Paisley Park Studios February 6, 2003.

Recorded in a single day at Paisley Park, Prince has confounded audiences yet again by recording a progressive jazz album with only four cuts--each named for a point on a compass--and clocking in at 14:00 minutes. If that wasn’t enough, there isn’t a single lyric on the almost hour-long disc. Like many before him, the musical savant has decided to let the music do the talking. But in Prince’s case it does so, brilliantly. He has fashioned a musical lattice of fascinating conversations that are both compelling and eccentric--veering from the anxious and menacing to the soothing and deeply rhythmic--at times conjuring the specters of Sun Ra, at others, strangely Metallica. Begun as a mere jam session among the latest members of NPG, Prince has made his most collaborative record ever as he mostly plays guitar and leads his deft-handed band from the One Nite Alone tour into uncharted territory. They make seamless swings from "North’s" ambient cohesiveness--led masterfully by Rhonda Smith’s liquid bass--to the almost head-banging lumbering beast of "East," into the smooth elegant jazz of "West," which freefalls from a sinuous rhythmic R&B groove into a majestic and almost funereal slice of brainy pomp rock, before scaling the slippery slope of space rock on "South." It would be tempting to say that this is Prince’s homage to his recently-deceased parents’ stint in the Prince Rogers Trio, but it is far too forward sounding to only be a tribute. This is a brave step and it sounds remarkably like the future. --Jaan Uhelszki

Customer Reviews

This is music for fans of progressive rock/experimental jazz.
my point of view
Every time I listened to it, I love it more and more, I can explain it, you got to feel it and then you'll understand.
maria i
I enjoyed it and find it very easy to listen to while working.
Angela D. Douglas

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

52 of 54 people found the following review helpful By Adam R. Boyd on September 26, 2003
Format: Audio CD
As a long time Prince afficionado, I am used to abrupt changes in direction from the artist and his stable of hyper-talented musicians who make up the ever-evolving cast of his backing band, "NPG." This direction, however, kind of caught me off guard. This seems to be the culmination of the sound that started on "The Rainbow Children," which continued to mutate through the NPG Music Club-only releases of "One Nite Alone" and "Xpectation" - a move to fairly indescribable fusion, covering the gamut of ambient to crunchy butt-rock.

Prince and company tear up four 14 minute tracks in nigh-live form (if you've been to one of his shows, you know what I mean), with a wonderful lead by the under-appreciated multi-woodwind instrumentalist Eric Leeds. This package realizes the directions hinted at as far back as the eighties "Madhouse" offshoots - it takes the pieces introduced in "Xpectation" and expands on them, and comes together with what could arguably be Prince's most "adult" album to date.

The overall album is *not* something one can just casually listen to in the car - its a "sit down in front of the stereo with some hi-fi headphones on with a cup of joe" affair, that virtually demands do nothing but sit still and listen to the music for nearly and hour. If you don't, you'll miss half of the little touches, such as the ambient bits that lead each composition into silence (in Prince's world, silence is as important a musical tool as the notes actually played). This one is definitely not for the school of folks still expecting a "Purple Rain" or a "1999" to be re-hashed - but, for those willing to go along for the ride, it is a treasure trove that demands tribute from the listener in the form of repeated plays.
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25 of 26 people found the following review helpful By The Groove on April 9, 2004
Format: Audio CD
These days, it's easy to dismiss Prince as a fading pop star who's all but alienated his fans since he left Warner Brothers in the 1990s. As far as chart singles go, he's been hitless for about a decade, and his last few albums haven't fared too well saleswise. But you can't help but respect an artist who follows his own musical vision instead of chasing after what's "hot" or "in." As if Prince couldn't surprise us any more, he releases "News," an odd album of 4 tracks clocking at 14 minutes each. No lyrics. No vocals. They're instrumentals featuring a laid-back fusion of funk and jazz that's a far cry from "Let's Go Crazy." Some will call this a project of self-absorption, while others will listen with an open mind and accept "News" for what it is. These aren't jams you can listen to with a casual ear, nor are they composed for those with short attention spans. The CD requires you to listen with some degree of patience, something many people these days don't really have. Still, "News" is not for everyone, and even some Prince fans (the ones whose collection begins and ends with the "Purple Rain" soundtrack) will turn their nose at it. But for those who desire a challenge, "News" is an interesting choice.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on November 6, 2003
Format: Audio CD
I do feel this is a lil musical gem. If you think it's elevator music then all I can say is you're not listening. Go to a Jazz club in any major city and you'll "get" what Prince is up to here. It's about the music, and the textures in music, not about what sells. This is Prince singing a love song to his art form, not to the "fans" and the record labels.
I respect this.
Doesn't mean I am not going to like Purple Rain any less now, but I can dig this too...
I think a lot of people make the mistake of expecting an artist to do the same basic thing all the time. When he or she doesn't folks don't know what to think and because it's not what they are used to they trash it.
This is pure Jazz...
No, it's not your typical Prince funk but it's GOOD for the genre and there is nothing wrong with Prince going into it. He does it well, so why not?
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21 of 24 people found the following review helpful By Funkyjurist on July 29, 2003
Format: Audio CD
Anyone out there who still doubts Prince's musical genius should check out this CD. Any musician able to effortlessly shift from writing one-chord songs like 'The Everlasting now' (a stunning funk number built around a two-note bass line, on his previous album 'The rainbow children') to writing an instrumental album like N.E.W.S. -wich blends jazz, funk, even ethnic and new age textures- in the wink of an eye like Prince does, deserves all your attention. This disc starts with 'North', a cool mix of classy jazz solos on a funky bass line. However, nothing can prepare you to 'East'! It starts with digital keyboards providing a violin-like tone playing an eerie line that sets the ethnic mood for the tune, wich evolves into a violin-drums duet playing a bizarre groove. When the rhythm cools down, a synth phrase with a sitar-like tone makes its way in a crescendo boosted by guitar power chords to a tremendous effect: this will give you goose bumps. 'West' starts with a beautiful melodic line played by Prince's guitar over a cool keyboards and bass accompaniment, but the piece eventually evolves into a darker mood stressed by Renato Neto's final solo on piano: clouds over the Western world? 'South' is an hot jazz-funk tune with an outstanding bass-driven groove that will put many of Hancock's funk records to shame -no disrespect to Herbie, of course. Even 'South' benefits from various rhythm and key changes.
This disc shows a superb musicianship and demonstrates that Prince can easily master any music style he wants to. Also, don't miss the rest of the personnel: Rhonda Smith on bass, John Blackwell on drums, and the great sax phrases by Eric Leeds. Prince plays guitar, fender rhodes piano and digital keyboards.
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