Other Music New Release Update
April 25, 2001

In This Week's Update:

Zero 7
Conrad Schnitzler reissue
Mouse on Mars
Mini-Malt comp.
"Music for Dancefloors" library comp.
John Zorn
"Philadelphia Roots" comp.
Snow Patrol
Serge Gainsbourg "Pop Sessions" tribute
Dum Dum Project
Colin Potter
Rene Bertholo
Isan EP
Imitation Electric Piano EP
"Boarding Time" comp. w/interactive software

Arling & Cameron (reissue)
Clientele (now domestic with three new songs)

Featured New Releases:

ZERO 7 "Simple Things" (Ultimate Dilemma, UK) CD $18.99
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The band of the moment, Zero 7, were commissioned by Radiohead to
remix 'Climbing up the Walls' before they had released a single
track. Their ltd. edition debut 12" on their own label is now one
of the most sought-after records of now. Next they worked their
magic on Lambchop's 'Up with People' single, making them huge in
the UK dance market (Who would have guessed that an alt-country
band would appeal to dance music fans). Then came "EP2," four
tracks of beautiful soulful electronics, and once again in a
limited edition. And here is the debut full-length that is making
the likes of Gilles Peterson, Ross Allen, every British glossy and
newsprint music rag, and the rest of the world foam at the mouth.
They are touted as the "British Air", with lush orchestral
arrangements, downtempo beats, more soulful vocals, and a certain
fondness for obscure psychedelic Italian soundtracks and David
Axelrod. This brilliant LP that will definitely propel these Brits
into a league with Air, Kruder and Dorfmeister, and Thievery
Corporation. Along with the Avalanches, Bonobo, and Blue States,
they're striving to make the 2001 "the year of downtempo." Don't
just believe me, listen for yourself. Essential! [JS]

ADULT. "Resuscitation" (Ersatz Audio) CD $11.99
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It's been said that the people with the best record collections
will write the best songs. That may have been a joke, but it
certainly seems to be the case with Detroit's ADULT., whose debut
album, "Resuscitation", ranks among the finest records in the
recent new-wave electropop revival movement. Electronic music
connoisseurs Adam Lee Miller (formerly of Le Car) and Nicola
Kuperus also run Ersatz Audio, which may account for their
intricate and functional knowledge of electronic music exhibited
on "Resuscitation". The album works the best aspects of electro
and '80s synth pop into a glossy sound, colored with an angry,
disassociated aloofness that finds an outlet in mechanical
rhythmic vocals. The songs build themselves up in layers,
beginning with a simple beat or a monotonous analog refrain that
gradually becomes one of many strata that compliment and reinvent
each other as the songs progress. "Resuscitation" is one of those
gems that incites commiserative rage (when Kuperus delivers the
line "You don't even know how I feel!" on 'Nausea') and anti-
capitalist prods (with 'Pressure Suit''s sardonic "Do you like my
handbag/It's filled with lots of money"), as easily as it provokes
an unbridled dance party in my living room. Most (if not all)
tracks have appeared on their 12" records, though these may
be different mixes. [SB]

CONRAD SCHNITZLER "Blau" (Marginal Talent, Germany) CD $15.99
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Blips and bleeps and clicks and cuts are still surviving on the
streets, look at me, I'm in tatters -- but as these seminal
electronic soundscapes sound contemporary today, I imagine they
must have been unfathomably advanced-sounding when originally
released in 1974. "Blau" ("Blue") represents the final piece in
Schnitzler's landmark private-press (ltd. to 500) 'color' trilogy
begun in 1971 with "Schwarz" ("Black" aka "Eruption") and resumed
with "Rot" ("Red") in 1973. One of Krautrock's most creative,
prolific, yet restless souls, Schnitzler (at that time recently a
student of Joseph Beuys) founded Tangerine Dream in 1968 with
Edgar Froese and Klaus Schulze. Following their debut
masterpiece, "Electronic Meditation", he departed to form Kluster
(later Cluster) with Dieter Moebius and Hans-Joachim Roedelius.
After recording three albums in 1971 ("Klopfzeichen", "Zwei-
Osterei", and "Schwarz"), Schnitzler went solo for good. After
years of only hearing about "Blau", is already my favorite
Schnitzler work and one the most innovative and challenging albums
of its era, possessing both compositional complexity and an
intricate rhythmic sophistication. Too aggressive in its way to be
categorized as ambient, "Blau" visits that special juncture where
psychedelics and electronics converge. Spaceman 1? Originally two
side-long tracks, the reissue adds another remarkable 22-minute
piece (mysteriously indexed as 5 tracks!) recorded around the same
time. Highest recommendation! [JG]

MOUSE ON MARS "Idiology" (Thrill Jockey) CD/LP $13.99/$12.99
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Mouse on Mars' seventh album, this one doing more handling and
encouragement of collisions: of sounds, of cultures, of eras, than
yet before (for them). They even still use drum'n'bass beats that
miraculously don't sound dated in the slightest, rendered with a
stirring clarity. The album is dominated by their trademark
squeaky sneakers on linoleum floor sound, the squishy, oozing
beats graced by more vocal samples than ever: shouts or delicately
fey folk cooing. This, too, is the first time they've really
brought in acoustic sounds to accent the electronic ones--all with
warm tones: harpsichord, trumpets or trombones, strings,
more. "Idiology" does find St. Werner and Toma in an unconscious
productive state, the equivalent to absent-mindedly jangling one's
keys or tapping one's foot, only Mouse on Mars use their palette
of samples instead of keys or toes. Pieces change direction in the
middle of a song. Swaths of formal chinese opera orchestra sounds
meander through another track. As they open their doors to larger
chunks of the aural universe, they've literally opened their doors
to collaborators, too--here, assisted by Harald "Sack" Ziegler
(Sack & Blumm), Matthew Herbert, Adam Butler (Vert), F.X.
Randomiz, and others. [RE]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=03617287982&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=03617287981&refer_url=email

[V/A] "Mini-Malt" (Thule, Iceland) CD $18.99
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The Icelandic Thule label had been running along on its merry
course, releasing streamlined, belting minimal tech-house before
the imprint's artists had ever heard of Mike Ink, Thomas
Brinkmann, Process, and the rest of the German and British in-
crowd. The array of artists represented were, as Thomas Mann would
have put it "are the patron saints of all those who labour at the
edge of exhaustion". Then Exos released singles on Force Inc. and
Steve O'Sullivan's consistently overlooked Mosaic imprint, and
this label detonated. Their first compilation, "Fishcake",
demonstrated a restraint that is unusual is minimalist
electronics. More importantly, the melodies on that collection are
heart-stopping. The chord changes on "Mini-Malt" won't leave a dry
eye in the house. Exos' 'Survivor' and Thor vs. Torul V's,'T vs.
T' are two exemplary moments of dance music that reach the
sublime; lithe basslines, hi-hats folded as delicately as origami,
and mammoth but subtle groove. [TH]

CALIFONE "Roomsound" (Perishable) CD $13.99
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I've always wondered why Jim Rutilis' first band Red Red Meat
never quite garnered the same sort of indie-roots
following/fanaticism that Will Oldham or Smog acquired along the
way. What was most unique about Rutili's songs is that they're
blues-based, as opposed to from country or folk music, with spare,
subtle lyrics. But one thing I do know is Ruttili's second LP with
his new outfit Califone is one of the best modern-day blues-based
rock albums I've heard in a long time. Songs like 'Tayzee Nubb'
and 'St. Augustine' bristle with raw emotion. Single guitar lines
wail like double-crossed bears; piano, standup bass, organ and
drums creak and crawl slowly, quietly past them. Hopefully you'll
be as captivated by this album as I am, and appreciation for
Rutili's talent will grow and grow. [DH]

[V/A] "Music for Dancefloors: The Cream of the Chappell Library Sessions" (Strut, UK) CD $16.99
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Usually an artist writing a piece of music has a purpose in mind,
whether it's for their own record, a soundtrack, or a commission.
But Library music remains in limbo, and, in a way, is birthed in
limbo as well. Though talent is never missing, the intangible
quality of personality is usually absent, giving even the most
specific arrangement the sense of drifting in weightless space.
Many artists have flourished in this inexplicit, nearly egoless
environment, most remarkably Roger Roger and Nino Nardini, both of
whom have contributions on this, the second disc in Strut
Records' "Music for Dancefloors" library music series. I guess ego
is not entirely absent--but a session musician's reputation was
usually confined to the limits of the internal music industry--any
time it went to the public via radio or TV, it went there without
a name. Which, too, offers an arranger a different kind of
freedom, one from producing music attached to any kind of
expectation. Plus the fact that the musicians here didn't own
their work--it was all for hire. This CD starts around 1967, the
dawn of where psychedelia, free jazz, and funk began to creep
their way into what was previously (usually) sets of impossibly
bland musical ideas. The CD also stretches into the recent past
(1998), to where musicians may still have creative freedom but no
longer the fiscal ability to work with sets of session orchestras
or ensembles--they have to be created/recorded either one track at
a time or entirely computer assembled. This is, hands down, the
best collection of library music I've ever heard. Usually there is
a blankness to the library music proceedings--instead, here, the
energy, creativity and personality is at a peak. Whether dancing
around jazz and solid African rhythms, creating weird sounds with
breaths (the opening track knocks you on your ass), making all
kinds of combinations you never expected (like the island rhythms
with twinkly moog, funky bass and surf guitar on Nardini's 'Afro-
Beat/Afro Syn'). [RE]

JOHN ZORN "The Gift" (Tzadik) CD $14.99
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John Zorn's acknowledged his influences quite openly, from the
tribute records that first brought him popular success (the musics
of Ornette Coleman and Ennio Morricone), and often synthesized his
inspirations into music (Godard, klezmer), but this CD, even
though it fits his composing methods, seems to be an entirely
different animal than we've yet encountered from him. "The Gift"
has the grace and mellow of his Bar Kokhba projects, yet draws on
his love of 'the exotic', music from the far, middle, and near
east, from the Pacific rim and the 1950s. But it has absolutely
none of the macho posturing which Mr. Zorn oft marks his projects
(like a dog marking territory). Even guest Mike Patton, king of
the growl and grimace, lifts his voice like an angel in luminous
echoes next to Zorn's withering theremin and clean electric piano.
Light and traveling, the music is rendering in twinging guitar,
soft stereo hand percussions, melodies that swoop between
cultures, burnished shakuhachi, zinging jew's harp. While labeled
with a smirk as "Music for Romance" and "For Lovers Only", it
transcends that smirk into genuine open appreciation for the form
of exotica/easy-listening, so much so that he's made one of the
best easy listening records _ever_, surpassing Baxter, Denny, etc.
in serious depth and breadth. [RE]

[V/A] "Philadelphia Roots" (Soul Jazz, UK) CD/LP $18.99/$18.99
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Once again Soul Jazz records have hit us with a stellar collection
of great American black music that can't be ignored. The focus
here is on the city of Brotherly Love, highlighting 1965-72. Bands
such as The People's Choice and Brenda & the Tabulations were
probably responsible for the 2 and 4 drum-kick emphasis that was
the foundation for disco (which beget house, and so on). Philly
soul was music made for dancing that wasn't for specific dances (a
la 'The Popcorn', 'The Twist'). Here you hear the foundation of
the pop soul sound perfected later by Gamble & Huff. [DH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502632810049&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502632800049&refer_url=email

SNOW PATROL "When It's All Over We Still Have to Clean Up" (Jeepster, UK) CD $13.99
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Snow Patrol's lurked in Belle and Sebastian's shadow, but really
the only things the two groups share are: Stuart Murdoch (here
playing piano), a label (Jeepster) and similar sense of melody.
Snow Patrol populate their rock with decent amounts of fuzz, a
calm kind of angst (the kind that's left over after you've spent
all the active angst -- the resolution w/out satisfaction), guitars,
strings and vocals spreading out in unraveling parallel strands. A
few tracks are dead ringers for Folk Implosion, British accent
notwithstanding. Fans of Guided By Voices and Teenage Fanclub will
love this (and a few tracks are still dead ringers for B&S, okay).
A great, solid record with diminished, spent energy but nary a
dull moment. Way underrated, a record more should hear, and their
best so far. [RE]

[VA] "Serge Gainsbourg: Pop Sessions" (Mercury, France) CD $16.99
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Another in a series of 2001 releases from Mercury in France
commemorating the 10th anniversary of the death of Serge
Gainsbourg. On "Pop Sessions," countrymen from the French music
scene attempt to put their own spin on the Gainsbourg oeuvre.
Contributions from both Jane Birkin and Francoise Hardy ('Ces
Petits Riens') go a long way in adding a high degree of
credibility to this particular tribute, but unfortunately don't go
far enough to make this album a total success. First the mis-
steps: Faudel sucks the life out of 'Elisa,' replacing nearly all
the cabaret elements with lame piano and string accompaniment
while Menelik's lazy and hollow reading of 'Initials BB' sounds
downright disrespectful. But Birkin does score for her pleasant
duet with Etienne Daho on 'Mon Amour Baiser' even though she falls
a bit flat with an overly maudlin version of 'La Javanaise.' Rita
Mitsouko, who channels Gainsbourg better than most here, takes a
new-wave approach to 'L'hippopodame' making it edgy and sexually
charged. But ironically, it's the one track not from a French
artist -- and the only one sung in English -- that is a true
standout. The Scottish band Texas transform 'Je T'Aime...' into the
sultry and haunting 'Guitar Song' and succeed in delivering one of
the best Gainsbourg covers/re-interpretations I've ever heard. Brace
yourself, more of these tribute albums are planned for later this year.
But I'm betting that no one tops Texas in paying tribute to the
astounding legacy of Gainsbourg. [TC]

THE DUM DUM PROJECT "Export Quality" (Grooovy Sounds) CD $15.99
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It's funny that this kind of music is usually labeled recently as
the "new Asian underground" when Bollywood film soundtrax have
been remixed ever since the technology to do so came into being. I
think it actually means beat-oriented records sold in Tower and
Virgin instead of the local hindi deli (and marketed to club kids
of all cultures instead of just one). And while I don't think you
can buy the Dum Dum Project in Tower and Virgin (yet), you can get
this NYC trio's second record here. They do put together a picture
of guys obsessed with the most obvious parts of Indian culture
(and giving us their surface view), from the inspiration of filmi
composers R.D. Burman and Laximant Pyarelal (samples credited?
no!), to their use of keening and humming sitars, hollow tabla,
and religious chanting. Their clubby beat/keyboards combos are
kind of predictable, but they have an ace hidden up their sleeves--
the '70s disco/soul diva Asha Puthli, whose girlish yet sultry
vocals wink and smile brightly. She graces but three numbers
on "Export Quality", but steals the show each time. Strangely
enough, 25 years ago, she used to growl and belt, here her voice
is clear, fluid, and pure. [RE]

COLIN POTTER "And Then" (Integrated Circuit Records, UK) CD $16.99
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"It's 62 minutes long. There are drones. There are drums. There
are sounds that were never meant to be. Steam engines lost in
space. Galleons passing in electronic fog. Static in the flowers.
Come in."-ICR. A major-league experimental artist finally claims
his due with his debut CD. While best known for his collaborations
with Steven Stapleton on numerous Nurse With Wound projects,
Potter has also worked extensively with David Jackman (Organum),
Current 93, Andrew Chalk, and Ora, among others. His career as a
solo artist spans greater than twenty years, but you'd never know
it since he has worked largely in the obscurity of the cassette
underground, which he pioneered with his own label, ICR. Here,
Potter concocts lengthy ambient and rhythmic atmospheres layered
with intense spiraling crescendos, lovingly peppered with whimsy.
I've known people that can dance to this sort of gorgeous
bludgeonry (Muslimgauze comes to mind); me, I'm quite content to
just lie back and be turned inside out. [JG]

RENE BERTHOLO "Um Argentino no Deserto" (SIRR, Portugal) CD $13.99
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Bertholo, a respected Portuguese visual artist, after decades of
experimenting with moving parts both aural and visual, releases
his first collection of sounds. Bertholo made metal sculptures
with electrical movement all through the sixties, and around 1973
was inspired to build his own music-making machine, an electronic
version of a music box he called a 'makina'. Basically it was a
simple synthesizer with a very limited range. Bertholo
specifically wanted to avoid making sounds like other
(conventional) instruments, and instead wound up with rough croaks
and tweets derived from nature sounds -- albeit nature as built
from wire and cardboard. He then put his 'makina' in multi-speaker
installations where the sounds could travel and/or interact. The
music here is reminiscent of a neanderthal Optigan, mechanizations
moving in oblique loops, collisions of phase, with snagged, rough
textures that I can compare to no other artist. His work is like
an extreme simplification of Raymond Scott or Oskar Sala's
electronic machine music, set upon by a gang of thugs with tire
irons, barbed wire and fishhooks. I want to cradle these little
scarred rhythms in my arms. [RE]

ISAN "Salle d'Isan" (Morr, Germany) CD EP/12" $9.99/$9.99
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In which a Vangelis fixation takes full hold on Robin Saville and
Antony Ryan, the pair who make up Isan. This six-song EP combines
the banks of moody, vibrating synth so identifiable with that
early new-age sound with the ticks and scissor-sharp beats and
blinks of electronica's current phase. It's quite ceremonious, and
if it's possible to tighten up into chaos and relax into order,
that's what they're often doing (an odd effect they've turned).
Effervescent, light, with pingy gentle speed shifting (one track
slides through key changes like an ombre pattern slides between
colors), or zooming like a hi-tech train pulling in and out of
stations. A step forward... [RE]
CD EP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999154172&refer_url=email
12" //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999154191&refer_url=email

IMITATION ELECTRIC PIANO "s/t" (Drag City) CD EP/12" $8.99/$7.99
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Simon Johns, the most recent Stereolab bass player (he appears
on the last two albums) follows up his project as Clearspot with
Imitation Electric Piano, which is more Electric Piano than
imitation. Easily (maybe too easily) summarized as "like Stereolab
produced by Tortoise." Heavy with horns and thickly woven
keyboards, Johns' 5-song EP has the obvious influence of his other
band, but IEP is more Cluster than Neu!, more dense fusion jazz
then lite instrumental music. A spindly layer of unfocused drums
provides whatever actual rhythm it can, though a pulse is more
than compensated for by the keyboards of many stripes. [RE]
CD EP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=78148402042&refer_url=email
12" //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999154611&refer_url=email

MOGWAI "Rock Action" (Matador) CD/LP $13.99/$10.99
A new, more texturally expansive Mogwai, pushing the vocals to the
fore, with strings and even moments reminiscent of Godspeed You
Black Emperor.
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=74486104902&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=74486104901&refer_url=email


ARLING AND CAMERON "Sound Shopping" (Basta, Netherlands) CD $13.99
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The "long-lost" second album from Arling and Cameron, "Sound
Shopping" is a musical and visual collaboration with comic artist
Joost Swarte featuring additional contributions from Fay Lovsky.
Considered by some A&C aficionados to be their best work to date
the CD is finally widely available (in a regular jewel box) after
limited release of an expensive "comics" edition and a fancy
digipak version. Epitomizing their "all-in" approach to music,
Arling and Cameron touch on a host of musical styles and genres in
just seven songs (there are three additional remixes). On 'Bimi
Mix' A&C cut in swatches of Eddie Cochran guitar licks over a
pulsing and relentless electronic dance beat. 'Cowboy Ska' melds
spaghetti-western soundtracks to a Jamaican backbeat and
gleefully goofy vocals (plus whip noises and horse whinnies!). The
breezy '60s pop of 'Jealousie' recalls France Gall with a just a
hint of Phil Spector. They touch on bossa nova with 'Fun Shopping'
and samba with 'Tsja Tsja'. Overall, a remarkable musical
achievement that hits it's mark without ever sounding contrived.
A very welcome reissue. [TC]

THE CLIENTELE "Suburban Light" (Merge) CD $13.99
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This London Trio has built quite a loyal following with only four
singles -- after listening to their proper debut album, I can see
why. Their hypnotic, psychedelic pop tunes resonate intimacy --
you're drawn in by their chiming, birdlike guitars, lightly
brushed drums, quiet and affected very British vocals. But their
production sets them apart: everything seems coated smoothly with
shimmering echo treatments. Though as delicate as Belle and
Sebastian (their fan base is roughly identical), the Clientele's
work is definitely more gently distorted, psychedelic. This album
could easily also appeal to fans of Broadcast, Gandalf, House of
Love, Galaxie 500. Beautiful, wintry pop. Domestic version includes
three new songs not available on the import. [DH]

[VA] "Boarding Time: A Sexy Trip Around Today's Electronika" (Magix, Germany)  CD  $16.99
Billed as "a sensual journey across the amazing aspects of
electronic music (bossa, jazz, bhangra, electro pop...)" Includes
tracks by Tosca, Bertrand Burgalat, Les Gammas, Fauna Flash,
Nicola Conte and many others. Notable for the inclusion of
interactive computer software that reportedly allows you to
f**k with the mix any way that you want to. [TC]

Newsletter penned by: Sandra Barrett [SB], Tom Capodanno [TC],
Robin Edgerton [RE], Jeff Gibson [JG], Duane Harriott [DH], Tim
Haslett [TH], Jeremy Sponder [JS].

The Big Picture:

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