Other Music New Release Update
December 12, 2001

In This Week's Update:

De La Soul
Jackson C. Frank reissue
Funkstorung remixes
American Gigolo comp.
Pop Ambient 2002 comp.
Black Sugar reissue
Mr. Untel
Touch Ringtones music for the cell phone
Guided By Voices singles collection
Mike Ladd
Richard Devine
Dream Drops comp.

Just In:

Popshopping 2 comp.
Terence Conran Shop
Beikoku Ongaku 19
Tom Waits-live '74

Featured New Releases:

CORNELIUS "Point" (Trattoria, Japan) CD $31.99
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Forget "Fantasma". "Point", the fourth album from Keigo Oyamada
as Cornelius, stands in stark contrast to its predecessor. Where
"Fantasma" was a super-saturated, hyper-kinetic, pop-rock tour
de force, "Point" is stripped down and airy -- an almost minimal
piece of pop craftsmanship and studio wizardry. And Oyamada
applies this aesthetic to almost every element of the record --
from the simple, two-color album artwork to the one-word song
titles ('Fly', 'Smoke', 'Nowhere', etc.), but most especially to the
repetitive structure of most of its songs. At first this
repetition is disconcerting: tracks like 'Point of View Point'
and 'Drop', anchored by rigid acoustic guitar patterns and
digitally-manipulated vocals, seemingly go nowhere. Only after
repeated listening (ideally through headphones) do the
meticulously layered elements reveal their true beauty. The
minimal aesthetic has another upside. When excess is stripped
away, what's left takes on added significance. Thus, on tracks
like 'Tone Twilight Zone', something as simple as the sampled
chirp of a cricket becomes just as powerful as the roar of an
electric guitar. Interestingly, Oyamada uses lots of natural
sounds on "Point" (water dripping, birds chirping) in opposition
to completely synthetic elements. Further, acoustic instruments
frequently accompany electronically generated tones. These
pairings of opposites also make for interesting surprises,
especially when a track like 'Bird Watching at Inner Forest' is
followed up by 'I Hate Hate' -- a blast of hardcore punk, speed-
metal, and power electronics as fed through a digital signal
processor. The results are devastating. "Point" in many ways
echoes last year's "Landscape of Smaller's Music", an electro-
acoustic masterpiece by Japanese producer Tomoki Kanda.
These two albums taken together signal the emergence of a
new style some have dubbed "Nakame-kei", so named for the
Tokyo artist-enclave of Naka-Meguro where Oyamada now
resides. Though this new direction will no doubt cause dissent
among some Cornelius fans, I for one am excited by where
Oyamada is headed. [TC]

De La Soul "AOI: Bionix -- Better, Faster, Stronger" (Tommy Boy) CD/LP $17.99/$18.99
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When VH1 profiled Run DMC for "Behind the Music", all three
members expressed the difficulty of growing older and less angry
while staying with hip-hop. What does an emcee do when your
concerns have shifted from partying, girls and street life, to
children, financial security and God? De La Soul calmly speaks
to these issues on "Bionix", part two of their "Art Official
Intelligence" series. The trio does so with the same mix of
playful humor and candid insight they've always been known for.
Production-wise, this seems a lot looser and not as postured as
the first AOI installment. If you've enjoyed the hip-hop/soul
hybrids of Common, Slum Village and DJ Hi-Tek, this is right up
your alley. Guests are kept to a minimum, but they are joined by
Slick Rick, Jay Dee, and B-Real of Cypress Hill. I think this is
the first hip-hop recording I've heard that truly addresses the
issues of hip-hop's second generation struggling to become
adults. This one's for the grown-ups. [DH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=01699813622&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=01699813621&refer_url=email

JACKSON C. FRANK "s/t" (Castle, UK) CD $14.99
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Without a doubt, this is one of the best (folk) records ever made.
Mojo Magazine ranked it #1 on their list. Stephen Malkmus was
quoted in the Wire saying that Frank was better than Nick Drake.
Drake himself recorded no less than three of the songs on this
album. The liner notes to this will make you cry even before
you've heard a note of his music: Frank had a rough life. Being
burned badly in a fire, having an eye shot out, and terrible
mental illness all took their toll on Frank, and he spent part of
his later life homeless. But in his short glory days, he was Sandy
Denny's boyfriend, as popular as Dylan for a time in the UK, and
had an amazingly beautiful voice, not that dissimilar from Tim
Buckley or Fred Neil. He was also a great songwriter. All of the
best musicians in the UK folk scene covered his 'Blues Run the
Game' at one point or another, rendering it an absolute classic. I
could go on and on. [MK]

FUNKSTORUNG "Vice Versa" (K7) CD/2xLP $15.99/$17.99
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The last collection of Funkstorung's remixes, "Additional
Productions", was not only their most popular recording around
the store, it was also the one in which the duo seemed to come
together aesthetically, making a distinct mark/sound. "Vice Versa"
is their second CD of remixes and collaborations. Mostly remixes,
they track some unexpected artists down: Nils Petter Molvaer, Jean
Michel Jarre, Phillip Boa & the Voodoo Club, and work wonders with
closer comrades (Plaid, Speedy J, etc.). The collaborations are
especially successful, particularly their track with Swedish
singer Jay Jay Johanson. This opens up the idea that Funkstorung
should track more in this direction-- Tindersticks remixes would
be ideal! Rigid hip-hop beats, soulful keyboards, and ticky
patterns hold forth within a range of moods, from the tense and
twittery to rampy placidity. [RE]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=73000371082&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=73000371081&refer_url=email

[V/A] "American Gigolo" (Turbo, Canada) CD $15.99
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DJ Hell's flawless International Deejay Gigolos label has, since
1996, been the label of record for anyone wanting locked-down,
hard, classic techno and constantly mutating electro-funk. From
Dave Clarke's unforgiving kick drums, sharpened like a shank, to
neo-disco flaneur Fillippo "Naughty" Moscatello's retro-futurist
stylings, this label has been impossible to resist. Hell never
forgot that electro-funk connotes dance music, not sterile, laptop
academics *and* he has a sense of humor. The inaugural North
American Gigolo release is a lengthy mix by Montreal DJ, Tiga
(who, curiously, used to play all trance in the mid '90s) but had
a Gigolo hit in Zyntherius' heavy, crackling cover of Corey
Hart's 'Sunglasses at Night'.  He had a hard time selecting 25
Gigolo bombs to drop on the audience, but his choice is admirable.
Trike's 'Electric Daddy' steams open the first moments and the
faux-threatening sequencer disco never lets up. In other words,
you've died and gone to heaven to join Sylvester and Divine,
without whom most electronic musicians would be out of a job.
Moscatello's 'Communicate' brings to mind the heights of gay
disco ascendance. The shrieking acid bassline of David
Carretta's 'Vicious Game' is relentless, throwing 909 hi-hats and
snares like so much confetti. Of course, the visionary body music
of Miss Kittin & The Hacker is represented here. The only problem
with American Gigolo is that it makes the rest of your electronic
music collection seem awfully tepid. [TH]

[V/A] "Pop Ambient 2002" (Kompakt, Germany) CD $15.99
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"Pop Ambient 2002" GOES TOO FAR. They've taken the ambient
construct -- the goal being the 'chill', and pushed it beyond it's
logical extreme. You want relaxation? Get something soft under you
because you'll collapse deep and snoring before you even realize
you're out. This CD is the equivalent to a cup of warm milk and a
banana -- that's of course fine if you're not listening to it mid-
afternoon at work trying to stay awake in post-lunch torpor. Just
the same, I'm not saying that "Pop Ambient 2002" is dull--far from
it. The tracks are all clear and droopy and very pretty, lulling
and superbly gorgeous. The contributors include most of the
Kompakt pack: Markus Guentner, Tal, All, Donnacha Costello,
Dettinger, Ulf Lohmann, and a few newcomers (Novisad's track is
especially nice, akin to the full-length on Tomlab). Eno be
damned, this isn't music for airports, it's music for nurseries,
massage studios (especially!), prisons, juvenile homes. Just
don't listen to it while driving, ok?  [RE]

BLACK SUGAR "Viejacito" (Happy Flour, Japan) CD $24.99
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Black Sugar were a Peruvian 9-piece who specialized in bouncy horn-
laden salsafied funk. What is most remarkable about Black Sugar is
that you could swear that they were primarily influenced by Earth
Wind & Fire, Brass Construction, Mandrill and Chicago, yet these
bands barely existed at the time that Black Sugar's two albums
were released (this collection, with both albums, covers 1970-72).
Just as good as any early EW&F, more inventive by far than Chicago
or Blood, Sweat and Tears, with a Latin base and touches of jazz
and electronics. Any one of these tracks would have been right at
home on the "Barrio Nuevo" comp from Soul Jazz; maybe if they do a
Volume two they'll catch on. We've been struggling to keep these
in stock, so act now if you want it. [DH]

MR. UNTEL "From Coast To Coast" (Elliot, France) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/mruntel1.rm
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An unexpected pleasure from an obscure source. French transplants
to Brooklyn Didier Cremieux and Gerard Langella set down a record
that's really wrongheaded but works entirely. In the tradition of
French popular music, they like to borrow, and make the most of
their thefts, working bits of late '70s lite pop and Latin EZ listening
music into tracks that luxuriate in their downtempo loungitude while
springing up occasionally to bop around. They do a Moby by
sucking up the blues, but they bring in more of it (and its
context) putting the crooning samples, harmonica solos and
chain-gang chants amidst soft accordion and shimmering
beats. There's a lot of samba used for a swanky sweltering
effect, and their techie adeptness (they include some mixer
software of their own invention with the CD) allows for
seamless production. Thievery Corporation, Tipsy, or Fatboy
Slim fans should take note. Slinky, shy, and shameless,
but ever so appealing. [OM exclusive in the U.S.]  [RE]

[V/A] "Ringtones" (Touch, UK) CD $14.99
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99 tracks of compositional nuggets that are little proposals to
what sound(s) your (or a) cellular phone should make when it
rings. The world of diminuative composition is rarely brought to
our attention, yet it surrounds us in daily life. Remember the
flap when Eno got paid tons of money for a three-second startup
sound for Microsoft? (and what happened? They only used it for
about a year!) There is music built into the machines around us,
only we actually have some control over that coming from those
little phones. And Touch Records wonders what we could put in
there if we had even more? From the conceptual to the hilarious,
from headscratchers to head-nodders, tons of artists represent--
all the Touch artists, most of the electronic minimalists, a
random sampling of experimental musicians from around the globe.
Regina Lund's 'Come Take Me' cracks me up with it's over the top
breathy female entreatment, Chris Watson and Doug Quinn weigh in
with nature field recordings, Lary 7 provides some anti-cell phone
static that would most likely be totally ignored, and this goes on
and on. Snorting, coughing, crying, twittering, snippets of radio,
tiny compositions, etc.: soon maybe we can actually feed these
into those little machines. [RE]

GUIDED BY VOICES "Selective Service" (Faded Captain) CD $9.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/InTheBra.rm
For all of you Guided By Voices diehards who might have missed out
on the limited edition pressings of the first two Airport 5
singles, here's another shot at picking up Robert Pollard and
Tobin Sprout's first collaborations since 1996. "Selective
Service" is a compilation of eleven tracks for the first time on
CD; including GBV's "Dayton, Ohio-19 something and 5" E.P. plus
the sold out Pollard/Sprout 7" singles "Total Exposure"
and "Stifled Man Casino."  In spite of GBV's radical facelift in
1996, the two remained friends and this year finally reconvened
their dynamic-duo songwriting partnership.  For the Airport 5
sessions, Sprout recorded the music tracks in Michigan and then
sent the instrumental mixes to Dayton, Ohio where Pollard would
pen lyrics and add vocals. The result is something more akin to
the spontaneity and lo-fi production that put Guided By Voices on
the map. "Selective Service" also includes the never-before-
released 'In the Brain,' a mid-tempo psychedelic sendoff featuring
wonderful Bob melodies supported by some nice backward guitar
antics courtesy of his former partner in crime. [GH]

MIKE LADD "Vernacular Homicide" (Ozone) CD $8.99
For the CD release compiling tracks from his most recent 10"
and 12", Mike Ladd digs deeper into what he calls "Afro-punk",
a mixture of hip-hop, funk, electro, indie rock, and spoken word.
Across seven songs, he sings through a vocoder, instigates a
mosh pit, recites a poem for his mom, and has an MPC soundclash,
all in 26 minutes. Definitely in line with contemporaries Saul
Williams and Antipop Consortium, yet unashamedly original. [DG]

WAKI "Music For Lazy People" (Traum, Germany) CD $15.99
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A simple, but potent and radiant ambient release. Traum, a
division of Kompakt, tends to release music by artists that
haven't the flash of Kompakt's, but instead are introspective,
close. "Music for Lazy People", from Japanese artist Waki, has a
mesmerizing quality I'm drawn to. It is a lot like watching thin
trails of smoke curl from a cigarette, a stream trickle over
rocks, fire leap about on logs, or bubbles rise in a glass of
soda. If an enjoyable suspension of thought is Zen or meditative,
then I guess this album is too. [RE]

RICHARD DEVINE "Aleamapper" (Schematic) CD $12.99
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Called "starck and spacious" (sic) on its promotional sticker, but
is no such thing! "Aleamapper" is teeming with hyper
android/sometimes funky shit. It's quite convoluted, like all of
the internal workings of Lando Calrissian's Cloud City captured in
a field recording. Gets even odder when he brings in some Harry
Partch-microtones and monster noises, otherwise remains quite
mechanical and industrial. Weird structures, too. Lots to explore
and I haven't even scratched the surface. [RE]

[V/A] "Dream Drops" (Siesta, Spain) CD $14.99
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The newest entry in the Reverie series from Siesta (the first
was "Algebra Spaghetti"). The goal for this series is to make non-
pandering music that children might enjoy. "Fantasy-pop", they
call it. Yet the artists' inspirations are pretty adult: a lot
of '60s and '70s reference points, from movies to music. Smooth,
sweet gumdrop pop from a few different artists, including Lollipop
Train and Mild Euphoria (who have a new album out also). My
favorites on here are two different versions of a Neal Hefti tune,
vocal and instrumental, that originally was the theme to the
film "Lord Love a Duck". 25 minutes, 11 tracks.  [RE]

Just In:

[V/A] "Popshopping 2" (Crippled Dick, Germany) CD/LP $15.99/$16.99
Excellent comp. of German incidental, library and commercial
music. A lot on here influenced by Morricone; a few big names and
lots of rare tracks. More next week.
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875276132&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875276131&refer_url=email

[V/A] "The Terence Conran Shop" (Pschent, France) CD $17.99
High-end design meets downtempo grooves with this compilation
curated by Aurore Leblanc for the famous Conran Shops of London,
Paris, Tokyo and New York. Features tracks from Zero 7, Jimi
Tenor, Gonzales, Beanfield, Tica, Afronaught and eight others.

BEIKOKU ONGAKU "Volume 19" (Beikoku Ongaku) Magazine & CD $17.99
New issue of this Japanese mag. Text in Japanese and English;
articles on William Klein, Adrian Tomine & Dan Clowes, Fantastic
Plastic Machine's 100 recommended records, more. CD includes hip-
hop, dance music and twee pop.

TOM WAITS "Dime Store Novels Vol. 1" (Burning Airlines) CD $21.99
Live recording from Ebbets Field in Denver, 1974.

This week's contributors: Tom Capodanno [TC], Robin Edgerton [RE],
Daniel Givens [DG], Gerald Hammill [GH], Duane Harriott [DH], Tim
Haslett [TH], Michael Klausman [MK].

The Big Picture:

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