Apparently Prince decided to break with Warner Brothers and made with own label, NPG Records in order to indulge his lack of distinction as a jazz musician. C-Note, a live album, and N-E-W-S an improvised in the studio are sad and self-indulgent, his 28th and 29th album consecutively and his second and third instrumental, aren’t bad because they are jazz or new agey, or that the funk is never very inspired, but because they are bad. NPG Records promised members four albums for their $100 subscription and only delivered two, some members sued him for mail fraud, and this is his response. C-Note (an acronym for the cities the pieces were recorded in and the name of the final song) was taken from soundchecks at a 2002 concert in Copenhagen and followed with a Japanese tour. They are nothing much really, a variant on his jazz band Madness. But at the end there is the excellent “Empty Room” -one of his second tier lost funk tracks but more than a track, there is actually a song there as well. N-E-W-S is four fourteen minute pieces of improvised instrumental music featuring some of his NPG performers.
Put them together and even the greatest of friends might appreciate the effort, I mean if it wasn’t such a rip off they might appreciate the music, but none of it except for one song has the discipline to be more than noodling. I guess, if you can do it you should do it, but compare “Copenhagen” to “When You Were Mine”. What does he think his freedom has provided him?
Didn’t Prince seem to spend half of his with contractual obligations forcing him to release substandard albums? Over and over, he has refused to do his job and if in theory sticking it to Warner Brothers and only incidentally to his fanbase is alright by me, bypassing the music industry to give music directly to your fan base at an exorbitant $25 a release and then providing them with three shitty albums in succession sure ain’t. Incidentally, Musicology is coming up next, an album I wasn’t crazy about at the time but that sounds like Sign O’ The Times in context.