Other Music New Release Update
May 2, 2001

In This Week's Update:

Sun City Girls
Wild Pitch Classics comp.
MF Doom reissue
Marcos Valle
"Impala Lounge, Paris" comp.
Staedtizism 2
Vic Chesnutt
Ilhan Mimaroglu
State of the Union 2001 comp.
Otto Von Schirach
Psycho-Baba (featuring Yoshimi and ATR of Boredoms)
VA: Cafe Apres Midi "Prune"

Sigur Ros' "Von" and "Von Brigdi"
Sigur Ros & Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson
Joe Jones
Chantal Goya reissue
Henry Wolff & Nancy Hennings reissue
Les Maledictus Sound reissue

Featured New Releases:

SUN CITY GIRLS "Libyan Dream" (Abduction) CD $13.99
I honestly hadn't planned on writing any new reviews this week,
but the most recent installment in Sun City Girls' "Carnival
Folklore Resurrection" series (Volume 7) is as good a reason as
I can think of to change plans! Simply put, this is the very best
release in this wonderful series thus far and ranks alongside
"Grotto Of Miracles" and "Torch Of The Mystics" on my personal
pantheon of SCG all-time greats. But that's only a small part of
the story. "Libyan Dream" was originally released as an edition
of 50 cassette copies that were dropped into the racks of cassette
vendors in various cities throughout the band's travels in
Southeast Asia in 1993. Musically speaking, this is their hardest
driving album, possessed of an urgency nodding toward their
punk-rock beginnings on JFA's Placebo label. Just ask Ted Nugent.
He'd certainly appreciate the rip-roaring cover of "Journey To The
Center Of The Mind" that opens this set as well as their searing
rendition of the theme from "Wild World Of Animals" (authorship
credited as "Traditional"!). Whether or not our NRA-certified
longbow-man would approve of the song entitled "Opium Den"
is another matter entirely, however a nostalgic tear or two
would be pretty hard to suppress during the title track, an epic
15-minute stoner jam that closes out the album in grand fashion.
Highest Recommendation! [JG]

MINIFLEX "Sud" (Escalator, Japan) CD $21.99
Miniflex is the solo project of Yugo Katayama, the man behind the
music of fellow Escalator Records artist Yukari Fresh. For his
solo debut, however, Yugo all but abandons the Casio-pop
programming he practically trademarked with Yukari Fresh in favor
of a total cut-and-paste approach. Yugo deftly and seamlessly
patches together a myriad of sound samples, unusual vocal
snippets, and some live instrumentation into an album of
infectious Japanese dance-pop. The incredibly catchy 'Terrestra' is
built around a massive barrelhouse piano loop punctuated by Latin
horns and percussion, vibraphone breaks, a children's chorus and
rounds of applause. 'New Colors' simmers with a subtle Brazilian
undercurrent but succeeds nonetheless in exuding a very European
downtempo groove. On the swirling 'Broodje', Yugo conjures '60s
exotica and R&B in much the same way as Adventures in Stereo.
Contrasting nicely is the futuristic 'Till I Die', a dreamy electro-
pop composition that wouldn't sound out of place on a straight-
ahead electronic label like Morr Music. The track is also significant
in that it demonstrates a growing sophistication among Japanese
indie artists. For all the lighthearted fun, "Sud" is a serious piece
of work on par with the recent release from Avalanches, and the
best album Escalator's released since Cubismo Grafico's "Mini".
This record will make your day. [TC]

[V/A] "Wild Pitch Classics" (JCOR) CD $11.99
The opening chords of this collection, from Gang Starr's 1989
anthem 'Words I Manifest,' lend this compilation the feeling of a
museum piece. The Wild Pitch tracks have acquired such legendary
status in hip-hop lore that it is difficult to approach them as if
one is listening to them for the first time. Even if you have
never heard Main Source's 'Live at the Barbeque,' you've heard it,
because bits and pieces of it have surfaced hundreds of records
that followed in its wake. Long before Kool Keith became the star
he is now, he was doing surreal work with The Ultramagnetic MCs,
and that's reflected on the bizarre 'Raise it Up' from August,
1993, a prescient slice of hip-hop that foresaw a style now back
in vogue within contemporary hip-hop. Oakland's The Coup, who
prefigured a lot of conscious black nationalist hip-hop, are
represented here with their 'Dig It' from 1990. Stu Fine's Wild
Pitch label is perhaps the last influential hip-hop indie (save
NIA) to begin a reissue series, of which this is the first collection
released. Hip-hop has, for so long, needed a documented
history. It is beginning to find one. [TH]

MF DOOM "Operation Doomsday" (Fondle Em) CD $12.99
Amazing hip-hop from the emcee formerly known as Zev Love X from
the underappreciated group KMD. X reinvented himself as MF Doom,
the spiteful hip-hop villain who vowed to destroy 'Rap' music and
resurrect hip-hop culture. The record is a concept masterpiece,
Doom taking the 'Puffy' style of sampling and reapplying it to
dizzying effects. Instead of Blondie, the Police and Diana Ross,
Doom takes liberal chunks of ridiculous '80s R&B, adding primitive
live drum programming and rapid-fire metaphysical songspeak to
create hookless wonders of pure hip-hop. This album was originally
released last year and made my year-end top 10, but was plagued
with bad distribution. This edition is remastered, and includes
bonus tracks. If you're a fan of Company Flow, Anti-Pop, or
Infesticons, PLEASE pick this up. You won't be disappointed. (Also
look for the reissue of the 'lost' KMD album "Black Bastard",
coming later this month.) [DH]

MARCOS VALLE "Escape" (Far Out, Brazil) CD $20.99
What kind of record could you imagine a figure of Valle's stature
making in 2001? Often dubbed the "Bacharach of Brazil", Valle's
most prolific period mirrored Bacharachs, 1967 through 1974. Since
then he's released less than a handful of releases, mostly of
music composed for TV soap operas. This, three years since his
last (the decent "Nova Bossa Nova" from 1998) is as close as a
return to form as one could hope, this time with the softer side
of '70s Tropicalia (pop w/indigenous percussive instruments)
rather than the classic samba with which he made his name. His
exquisite sense of arrangement is still sharp, and many of these
have a kinship with Caetano Veloso's lighter '70s material, a
sound like a Brazilian version of the music for Sade or even '70s
muzak populated by flashes of harder percussion (the squeaks,
scrapes and rattles of hands and wood and cloth). Even strains of
accordions, inflating noises (a more subdued form of an inhale),
Stevie-Wonder-style bass and low flute melodies are used to round
out the arrangements. Had "Escape" come out in 1975, it would a
perfectly logical continuation of Valle's work. The high points
rest on guest vocalist Patricia Alvi's shoulders, a singer whose
voice flickers and rounds the curves of the music delightfully,
sinuously, clean and cutting. Recommended to anyone who likes
Brazilian pop, like classic Quarteto em Cy, Jorge Ben, Vinicius
Cantuaria, etc. [RE]

[V/A] "Impala Lounge, Paris" (Wagram, France) 2xCD $24.99
Rather an insidious trend, the practice of releasing CD
compilations that capture the 'feel' of a club or restaurant -- it's
just another form of souvenir-making (see: the Hotel Costes
series, Barbara Bui Cafe) -- though I have to admit that a CD is
much more useful than most tchochkes!. Of course, in the U.S.,
the mood music CDs released by Starbucks are yuckier by far. But
when a CD collection is as good as the Impala Lounge's, I can't
complain the slightest bit! Their resident DJs haven't drawn on
rarities, but instead their collection is based on the best tracks
from (mostly) African records of the past 30 years, plenty of
known quantities, yet the selections chosen by DJs Jam and Julio
Black are the simplest, most soulful tracks many of these artists
recorded. From Bonga, Cesaria Evora, Francis Bebey, Tony Allen,
to Antibalas, each shows their softer side, with the vocals
prominent, usually backed up by just a kalimba or kora, some
flutes, drums, or the rare, non-annoying kind of highlife guitar.
The second disc is titled "Electro Tunes", and is basically the
mix version of the same kind of sounds, by (mostly) French or
English producers. It's in keeping with the first disc, just using
much more modern methods and with a fringe of light house beats.
The DJs haven't made a continuous mix here, but the songs overlap
just slightly enough not to jar in the transition. Gets my financial
recommendation -- out of all the Afro-beat and Afro-funk comps
that have yet come out, I'm actually plunking my money down
on this one. [RE]

TILTMASTER "Swan Girth" (Blue Sanct) CD $12.99
Tiltmaster is the name under which Darryl Leigh Blood, formerly of
Turkish Delight, now records. And his debut album, "Swan Girth",
is remarkable, not just because it seems like a point-by-point
synthesis of other groups (almost like a tribute album of styles,
Blood cycles from Elliot Smith to Pavement, Bob Dylan, Sonic
Youth, the Chills, Slovenly). Thing is, he does them all really
well, and basically adapts the styles to his own ends, making the
sound seem like a tool for the execution of his ideas rather than
something stolen. Cracked and pretty, Blood's lyrics create a
snowball effect as the album progresses, emotionally swelling,
each song increasing the pain gathered along the way. That
doesn't mean it builds to melodramatics or histrionics, the effect
is internal, so by the time you've listened to all 31 minutes of it,
if you've paid attention you're a little drained. His lyrics are
exceptional, abstract musings on betrayals and personal schisms,
but Blood doesn't believe in rhyme schemes, so most songs have
a linear rather than loopy quality, even with carriage returns to
choruses. The music is limited to things you can play with your
fingers. Fans of Bright Eyes, Simon Joyner or any of the above
groups mentioned will no doubt appreciate this distant man's
music very much. [RE]

[V/A] "Staedtizism 2" (~scape, Germany) CD $15.99
Stefan Betke's (AKA Pole) ~scape imprint has exerted considerable
influence on the micro-electronics world in the past eighteen
months, introducing such artists as Jan Jelinek, Burnt Friedman,
and Kit Clayton to a much wider audience. The label's second
compilation curated by Betke shows that the world of
microtonal dub has moved on. In other words, you don't have to
sound like Pole to make it onto one of his compilations.
Californian John Tejada makes that clear on his 'A World So Wide':
opening with gentle, acoustic guitar and a deep house bassline,
this track is the softest moment here. It stands well along side
newcomer Nolte, whose '21st century schizoid man or how to lose
your head baby' is a downtempo, ruminative piece with a bubbling
bassline and light organ chords. The ever-reliable Burnt Friedman
and his Nu Dub Players' contribute 'xyz (our version)', agonizingly
suspended atop the entrance to dub's abyss. Sad Rockets'
beautiful, wavering 'Cascais' is a song-structured track with
wrenching melodies and gentle percussion which seems to wave
in the humid breeze. Kit Clayton's straitjacket symphony closes
the collection perfectly. [TH]

VIC CHESNUTT "Left to His Own Devices" (Spinart) CD $14.99
"Your mom is getting poked, by some bloke in the Bahamas..." And
so Vic Chesnutt returns, wicked wit, sun-drenched southern drawl,
and heartache. This is Vic all alone with his Fostex four-track
cassette (with minor contributions by Tina Chesnutt), on piano,
bass, percussion, and beautiful multi-tracked vocal harmonies.
Although with cassette recordings you do lose a bit of the
space and subtlety of his classic studio works like "Rome"
and "Is The Actor Happy", the most compelling aspects of Vic
Chesnutt -- his voice and his imagination -- are as strong as
they've been in years. His melancholy tales of love-struck losers,
lost childhood, and betrayal ring true with pain and humor. This
is all Vic, "Left To His Own Devices". [JM]

ILHAN MIMAROGLU "Outstanding Warrants" (Southport) CD $11.99
Turkish composer Mimaroglu is one of the old guard of the
Columbia/Princeton electronic music studios, and his recorded
works are regrettably scarce. Though he has a number of tracks on
compilations over the past 30 years (on both LP and CD), this is
but his second CD release to surface, the second part to 1995's
archival collection "Criminal Record". "Outstanding Warrants"
covers slightly more recent work (mid '80s to today- - Mimaroglu's
been composing since the early sixties), mostly after he left the
Columbia studios (they banned smoking throughout the building!).
Even so, much of his work still uses old equipment -- analog
synthesizers, tape controllers and such, which puts a booming,
retro-futuristic cast on Mimaroglu's work. Mimaroglu's work is
academic, yet random. It often seems like a time capsule of
early '70s electronic experimentation. Though difficult, the
quality of the sounds make it more tangible -- he works pointedly
random rhythms into tiny clusters in which single melodys peel off
of and spiral outward, one at a time. Some tracks have what sounds
like primitive drum machine sounds shuddering, others have the
artificial-sounding sonic whistles typical of the very first tonal
synths. One could see this stuff like a parody of the experimental
process. His liner notes could possibly bear this out, as they can
be read as being very dryly funny -- but that might be just my take
on it. 72 minutes, 93% of tracks previously unreleased. [RE]

HAZARD "Wind" (Ash Int'l, UK) CD $14.99
Hazard, aka Benny Jonas Nilsen, releases "Wind" as his fourth solo
record (and third on Ash Int'l). Nilsen was formerly in industrial
group Morthound before moving to quieter pastures (sometimes
actually) as Hazard. And his work retains the industrial feel, in
absentia at least: it's like an industrial record with all the
_grind_ removed. This work of Nilsen's is made with -- what else
-- recordings of wind, most of which he obtained from nature-
recording superstar Chris Watson. Not only does it capture the
sound of air on a microphone, but also how it sounds rushing
through trees and grasses and valleys, or how fingers of wind
infiltrate a building through cracks. And the record lives up to
its title, sounds teeming with vitality caught via microphone, one
of the most powerful things on earth not only the subject but
the star. What he does with it is multifold. He seems to use
reverberation as a tool of distance, bringing sounds near and
pushing them away; there are also cycles, slow and faster, the
textures ranging from hollow to sterile. This nearly entirely
abstract opera (many sounds are not recognizable as to their
natural origin) is reminiscent of Fennesz and (some have said)
Zoviet France. 49 minutes. [RE]

[V/A] "State of the Union 2001" (Electronic Music Foundation) 3xCD $29.99
The pieces on the newest edition of the State of the Union
compilation (this is number three, I think, the first debuted in
1982) flow as if they were sequenced by aesthetic rather than
alphabet. A parallel to the masterful "Miniatures" compilations,
"State of the Union" is gathered by curator Elliot Sharp from
his wide circle of friends, colleagues and correspondents. All
clocking in at under a minute, the pieces range from modernist
rock (faux Sonic Youthisms) to extended experimental guitar
solos to meandering poetry. Standouts include Carl Stone's
Cher salad, Chris Mann's piece like a sped-up Marx Bros skit,
David Gans' gabbering politics, David Greenberger musing on
cavemen, Doug Henderson and his sounds of magnetics and
spring steel, Duck Baker's guitar rag, Eric Mingus' deep abstract
blue soul humming and gargling. And that's just the first disc.
Where else are you going to get to hear Kato Hideki doing his
version of bluegrass? Lukas Ligeti and Tom Ritchford being a
giant percussive music box? Matthew Shipp processing himself
electronically? It is interesting to me which artists chose to do
something within their already-defined oeuvre and which expanded
their horizons in a small way. I wish there was more information
on the artists (out of 171, there are plenty I'm unfamiliar with
and I'd like info!). It's a challenge to make an impact in such a
short period of time. Luckily, too, as soon as you might be bored
with a selection, it's gone already. This is also quite a resource
for radio/dj transitions: analog, digital, electronic, conventional,
high-tech, lo-fi, muttering, roving and ranting. [RE]

OTTO VON SCHIRACH "8,000 B.C." (Schematic) CD $12.99
The first CD from Phoenecia's roommate (love that bit of domestic
trivia), Von Schirach's "8,000 B.C." is a mess. But a good mess,
and for those who like messes, an unusual one. Basically his work
fits the Schematic mold, only sped up and very nearly out of
control. He uses a lot of the same sounds as Vladislav Delay
(those deep-sea clanks and rumbles) in a scrambled blitz, sounds
not just fractured but twisted tight, the electronic gurgles of a
scatterbrained submarine having a fartfest. Or, similarly, one
could think of it as what you hear if you wandered into Twilo
inhabited entirely by not-entirely-sober robot frogs. He slows
things down slightly halfway in, then jumps up again to the
previous level of energy by the end. If his sampler could speak,
it'd be saying "rest a minute, sir, please?" [RE]

DOGBOWL "Fantastic Carburetor Man" (Eyeball Planet) CD-R $13.99
Dogbowl's basic characteristics have not changed noticably on his
newest, a limited-edition CD-R release. Rambling, surrealistic
poem and story songs are fraught with reverb and overdubs,
Dogbowl's diction is a little more precise than usual, and he's
scattered a few pop hooks around to keep things interesting. Will
confuse children and dogs. A nice full guitar sound and the sense
that he's singing these songs from the vanishing point. [RE]

PSYCHO-BABA "On the Roof of Kedar Lodge" (Japan Overseas) CD  $14.99
"...Kedar Lodge" is the second album from Psycho-Baba but the
first to feature new members Yoshimi P-we and ATR of Boredoms.
Trancey psychedelia with an Eastern influence. Quantities are
limited at this time.

[VA] "Cafe Apres Midi: Prune" (Universal, Japan) CD $24.99
The latest in this extremely popular series of (mostly) Brazilian
and bossa compilations that have become soundtrack staples
in the coffeshops and boutiques of present-day Tokyo. "Prune"
includes tracks from Joyce, Nara Leao, Sergio Mendes, Jorge Ben,
Astrud Gilberto, Jane Birkin, Dusty Springfield and 23 others. As
always an impeccable selection, a lot of music, and a very nice mix.


SIGUR ROS "Von" (Smekkleysa SM, Iceland) CD $22.99
The first album from Icelandic natives Sigur Ros. Even though it
was recorded while they were a trio, "Von" has the dynamic
orchestral sound made popular by Godspeed You Black Emperor
and Mogwai. Their sparse soundscapes, soaked in My Bloody
Valentine reverb, ignite images of the land of fire and ice, seem
directly inspired by the environmental extremes of their homeland.
The beginning ambient notes float eerily like glacial drift slowly
falling apart, accented by warped seagull cries. It's not until the
second song that the high male vocals gently fade in to subtly
carry the melody. By the third song, 'Hun Jord,' the traditional
instruments carry the mark of mid-'80s experimental pop bands
with pounding drums, distorted guitars, and the best part: an
unexpected loop, creating the effects of skipping CDs and pitch-
shifted vinyl. More quiet experimentalism characterizes this album
than their later work, making "Von" a primeval journey into a
groundbreaking future. [LG]

SIGUR ROS "Von Brigdi" CD $22.99
Ros' album "Von," remixed. What's emphasized? Jingling keyboards,
faint vocals, revving hums. "Recycle Bin" makes "Von"'s placid
qualities diverse, often adding drum-n-bass rhythms and videogame
noises, emphasizing a bone-shaking guitar rattle, or rolling a
track out into a long, low ambience. The best tracks:
Bassbraeour's layering of eerie choirs and vocalists into a
grinding guitar edge, and Sigur Ros remixing themselves with
beats, saxophone solos, and ululating vocals in a way that's
techno meets technopop. The majority of the artists here are
Icelandic and/or unknown (though a few familiar names crop up:
Mum, Curver, Gus Gus). Basically, this puts edges and styles into
music that already has a contemplative depth, in some ways
tarting it up superficially, in others revealing structures you didn't
know were there. Calls to mind We or Photek, too, here and there.

HILMAR ORN HILMARSSON & SIGUR ROS "Englar Alheimsins" (Krunk, Iceland) CD $22.99
Here, Sigur Ros add simple guitar melodies to soundtrack composer
Hilmarsson's Icelandic Michael Nyman stylings and string patterns.
The sweet strings and guitar can be extremely beautiful for the
sake of beauty; they can also be obvious and/or overwhelming. Akin
to the work of Bjorn Olsson, it's actually best when the beauty
drops out for a minute and they start playing with tiny
dissonances in the string sounds. On the most interesting track,
the violin dischord imitates the sound of jet engines firing or
accelerating, shifted into melodies. Add a little free-jazz drum
rumbling discord -- the storm before the calm -- and it becomes
sinister, murderous. Even though there are lots of repeating
themes, the entire album takes a path like the plot of a play:
it's a series of conflicts and resolutions. [RE]

JOE JONES "Solar Music" (? Records, Germany) CD $19.99
In 1961 Jones started building music machines that played
themselves. Following Jean Tinguely's mechanical, though much more
violent, installations, his was one of the earlier examples
of 'automatic music' -- and his influence spread to not only
obvious antecedents like Pierre Bastien and Remko Scha, but pretty
much anyone who has made musical sculpture since. This recording
is of constructions made late in his career (1983) from a gallery
installation in Germany. Actually it was an exo-gallery
installation, because all of these machines were solar-powered,
energy collected in small cells attached to domed umbrellas that
sheltered the machines -- a collection of zithers, mandolin, drums
and bells and chimes, played by rubber balls, wires, assorted
mallets, motors, etc. Very limited (edition of 500), and a rare
document of Jones' work--I keep hoping someone will do a thorough
retrospective on him. The sound of "Solar Music" is a glittering
chaos, the windchimes that took over the world or a particularly
disorienting bit of horror-movie music. [RE]

CHANTAL GOYA "Les Annees 60" (Magic, France) CD $19.99
Goya's most famous turn came in Jean-Luc Godard's 1966
film "Masculin Feminin", where she portrayed Madeleine, an
aspiring pop star. This collection includes six songs from that
film plus six 7-inch releases between 1964 and 1967, 20 songs
total. Her best work is post-1965, where the arrangements start
edging towards the baroque end of the pop spectrum. Goya's
voice is lilting and guileless, as if she was Francoise Hardy's
untrained kid sister. [RE]

HENRY WOLFF & NANCY HENNINGS "Tibetan Bells" (Vajra) CD $14.99
A long-unheralded classic recording from 1972 finally gets its due
(not to mention a pristine remaster job!). At the time of its
recording, "Tibetan Bells" was essentially unprecedented; an
organic meditative flowing of bells and their reverberations that
stood apart from both ethnic and avant-classical music with a
rather unsuspecting elegance and an undeniable beauty. This is
the first in a series of marvelous Wolff/Hennings collaborations
that got swallowed up in the heady ecstasy that would become
the "New Age" movement, but please don't hold that against it.
For me, it's just one more killer trip, man. [JG]

LES MALEDICTUS SOUND "s/t" (Mucho Gusto, Canada) CD $13.99
"Some of the most screaming exotica-psych I've ever heard in my
life"--Jello Biafra. And I most heartily agree. The brainchild of
Jean-Pierre Massiera, former guitarist for French pop star Claude
Francois, Les Maledictus Sound assembled in Nice and recorded this
single album in 1968. Why all the fuss? Imagine the instrumental
elan of Gainsbourg's "Histoire De Melody Nelson" fused with the
experimental Popp-electronics of Pierre Henry's "Psyche Rock" but
_pre-dating_ them both and you're only partially there. Knowing
pop-cultural and classical references ricochet throughout these
wild acid-soaked instrumentals, putting recent kitschy lounge
excursions to utter and absolute shame. Lovingly assembled to
include all the artwork involved in subsequent obscure reissues
of the album and adding a lengthy excerpt from Massiera's even
more experimental '70s album "L'etrange Monsieur Whinster"
(metal guitars collide with African tribal chants!). Or, as the
reissue tray-card states: "Attention, Freak Out Total..." Highest
recommendation. [JG]

This week's newsletter provided with contributions from: Tom
Capodanno [TC], Robin Edgerton [RE], Lisa Garrett [LG], Jeff
Gibson [JG], Duane Harriott [DH], Tim Haslett [TH], Josh Madell

The Big Picture:

To see a complete list of Other Music new releases for the
week ending May 1, 2001, use this link as a shortcut:

To see a list of new releases from previous weeks:

To see new release updates from previous weeks:

To order any of the items you see on these pages simply click
the links following each review or visit our website at

Phone orders are accepted at (212) 477-8150 (ext. #2, mailorder).

For general inquiries or other information, please email
"sales@othermusic.com". Do not reply to this message.

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

Other Music NYC
15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003

Other Music Harvard Square
90 Winthrop Street
Cambridge, MA 02138