Other Music New Release Update
May 9, 2001

In This Week's Update:

Malaria remixed
Timo Ellis
Augustus Pablo
Youngs & Wickham-Smith
PeteStrumentals (Pete Rock)
Venetian Snares
Russell Haswell
Alternative 3 soundtrack
to rococo rot & I-sound

Eastanburia LP

Featured New Releases:

MALARIA "Malaria! Versus" (Superstar, Germany) CD $24.99
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One of the more popular bands of the NDW (Neue Deutsche Welle
or 'german new wave') movement of the early '80s, back again in
remixed form, in part due to the attention of Chicks On Speed,
whose cover of 'Kaltesklareswasser' (a minor hit in Germany)
starts off this disc. But "Versus" isn't really just a remix
album, nor is it solely a tribute record. For instance, Solex's
version of 'Your Turn to Run' bears little resemblance to its
inspiration, a kind of brilliant 'cover' in which she arranges
samples in more or less the same rhythms and tones as the
original. Malaria's brand of dead-voxed no wave, stiffer than
Liliput but more yielding than The Normal, lends itself
exceptionally well to a 'traditional' style remix (cut it up, add
some beats), as Thomas Fehlmann provides (RA above). Malaria's
flat vocals, a kin to techno's tribe, complement the beats rather
than being the contrast of a liquidy house diva. Somehow, early
German no-wave and electronics captured the voice of the
disillusioned in their numb beats better than anyone else. Other
participants include Barbara Morgenstern, Sun Electric, and
Matador, the last being the contemporary project of Malaria's
Gudrun Gut (who also runs the Monika record label and is paid by
the German government to teach electronic music skills to young
women specifically. European arts funding?sigh.) Just for fun,
check out RA files of some of the originals here:

TIMO ELLIS "The Enchanted Forest of" (Records and Tapes) CD EP $5.99
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Ellis is most well-known for being Cibo Matto's drummer (as well
as being involved in just about every project involving that whole
crew [Yuka Honda, Russell Simins, Sean Lennon, etc, most of whom
guest within]). Not to follow any predicable paths, this quite
flashy EP combines latin percussion, southern-European melodies,
Brazilian jazz beats, all accessorized by Ellis' love for metal,
expressed here via swooshes of Nirvana-esque guitar. It's like a
Veloso record or something, only mega-pumped and amped, or a
hyper version of Brazzaville (reviewed a month ago). I get the
same feeling from hearing this as I would from having someone in
an uber-cool ride nearly run over my toes while I'm trying to cross
the street. It pisses you off not just because it's good but
because it's got carloads of attitude, dazzling in the programming
and pace -- you want to hate the arrogance but actually admire
the souped-up gumption that inspires it. His only flaw is the lyrics
(hence, the one in Spanish is the best by far). 15 minutes, four
songs. Full-length, please! [RE]

AUGUSTUS PABLO "Dubbing with The Don" (Jamaican, UK) CD $16.99
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Amid the plethora of dub and roots compilations now filling the
bins, it's becoming increasingly difficult to find collections
that don't simply re-hash the same ten King Tubby / Bunny Lee
rhythms played in different studios. The Pressure Sounds and Blood
& Fire labels have proved invaluable in selecting only the most
crucial cuts. The Jamaican Recordings label can now be added to
that list. Following the breathtaking "King Tubby's Lost
Treasures" record, the label has now unearthed 15 unreleased
tracks from the late Augustus Pablo, the great melodica player,
vocalist, and songwriter. To say that these dubs were chosen
carefully is not to give sufficient credit to the compiler of this
collection. There is a moment on each track here which leaves you
breathless with suspense as the elements of the mix are dropped
in and out of the field of hearing like a puppet show. 'Well
Frozen Dub' has plaintive, tear-jerking piano chords which
disappear down the echo chamber, while 'Death Trap Dub' has a
rubbery, bouncy bassline swiftly pulled out from under your feet
for a vertiginous sensation. Good dub has always occupied the
place of the sublime, so low you can't get under it, so high, you
can't get over it. [TH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=503684800081&refer_url=email

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Words can _nearly_ not express my admiration for this duo. For 11
years, the British duo of Wickham-Smith and Youngs have turned out
dense, difficult music meant to be either focused on intently or
none at all (allowed to seep nearly solely into the subconscious)
in order to reveal its full nature. And what nature is revealed? I
don't know-- it's either a shudder and a deep sigh, being out of
breath or hyperventilating, the most mild music of extremes.
And "LAmmERGEIER" continues in their established path, nine
longish pieces (39 minutes total) that explore the sort of
recondite regions of voicing even non-syllabic sound, complex
patterns of overtone, thwipping fuzz, and vibration. With more
electronics then they've used before (or at least it seems that
way -- no liner notes elucidate), higher tones, things bounced off
single piano strings, slight tappings (skin on skin, wood, or
paper), and sounds that resemble an entire string orchestra
playing not via arm movement, instead their bows moving to the
slight motion of throbbing pulses. These are subtle pieces that
reside in the bug-sound world (except for the human voices), but
not the sounds bugs make but what you'd imagine they hear when
they listen to the world. W-S and Youngs so kindly and keenly turn
their perceptive ears inside-out for our benefit. Transcendent,
yet the world succeeded to is but a thick grey cloud. [RE]

PETE ROCK "PeteStrumentals" (BBE, UK) CD $14.99
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The second artist to be featured in the BBE Beat Generation is
none other than the "chocolate boy wonder" himself: Pete Rock.
With his emcee cohort C.L. Smooth, Rock produced two seminal hip-
hop albums that influenced not only a generation of respected
indie hip-hop producers such as Peanut Butter Wolf, Madlib and Hi-
Tek, but those records -- rich with soul-jazz horn, vocal, and drum
samples -- sent beat-diggers searching for the originals (note:
Shuggie Otis, Eugene McDaniels and 100% Pure Poison are all
recent reissues that were sampled by Rock 10 years previous).
This legendary hip-hop producer has also been very vocal about
his distaste for 'downtempo' music, claiming that many of the
artists pilfered his beats and claimed them as their own (a valid
claim, proven by not-entirely original tracks from DJ Cam and
Nightmares on Wax.) He also claimed he could make a more
compelling instrumental album than most on the scene. This is
where he ponies up with a beautiful ode to late-night head nod.
Recommended if you like the first Thievery Corp. album or the
other two (individual) thieves mentioned above. [DH]

VENETIAN SNARES "Songs About My Cats" (Planet Mu, UK) CD $17.99
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Aaron Funk is a 20-year old from Winnipeg who has recorded no
fewer than 12 EPs in the past 18 months. There is not a dud
amongst them. Try throwing on his "Greg Hates Car Culture" EP
(History of the Future) and you'll see why new electronic hardcore
is really the new punk. Alec Empire and his DHR acolytes gave it a
stab, but their shouted faux left-wing vocals and lack of sonic
diversity led to the defection of many artists from the label.
Venetian Snares wants to deliver a mighty blow to the complacent
by making extremely loud percussive tracks with occasional vocal
samples and breakbeats almost too fast for human consumption. In
this still nascent movement, his music is so clearly years ahead
of his peers. Rapidly following up his punishing "Making Orange
Things" album with Speedranch, "Songs About My Cats" is only
slightly more calm. If you're fearing endless "meow" samples and
distorted kick drums, I can assure you you'll find none of that
here. Instead, 'Chinaski' sounds like a drum program run across a
rusty cheese grater, and 'Pouncelciot' starts at 180 BPM and only
gets faster. Venetian Snares is an artist to be watched. [TH]

RUSSELL HASWELL "Live Salvage 1997-2000" (Mego, Austria) CD $16.99
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Russell Haswell's debut for the Mego label (which derives its name
from the Dada phrase 'My Eyes Glaze Over') is probably the
loudest, noisiest record the imprint has yet endorsed. That may
surprise some of you, but the Pita and Fennesz records have
gorgeous buried melodies. Haswell's music does not. Though he
uses only electronic instruments, "Live Salvage?" is more akin to
Merzbow. There is no concession made to ease of listening here.
And, frankly, why should there be? Haswell has made a record that
not only demands but also commands your attention. Just try
turning away from the first track, recorded in Kyoto -- it pulls you
back like a powerful undertow. It is precisely that kind of effect
that makes "Salvage?" such an extraordinary collection. To some,
the record will sound like undifferentiated noise, when in fact it
is the subtle changes in frequency and modulation levels that, for
instance, lends the piece recorded at 121 in London such an
amazing structural beauty. [TH]

[OST] "Alternative 3" (Lo Recordings, UK) CD $16.99
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Tim Gane (Stereolab), Anne Shenton, Steve Claydon, Barry 7 (Add N
to (X)), Richard Thomas, Jon Tye (Hairy Butter, I think) and a
number of others joined their individual talents in the service of
a larger good: this soundtrack. "Alternative 3" is a sci-fi
conspiracy suspense flick in the mode of "Soylent Green", "The
Matrix", "Logan's Run"; sans kitsch -- at least as far as I can tell
-- and psychological rather than relying on a special effects. Its
soundtrack has its own history of influences: the most obvious
reference points being those of "Andromeda Strain" and "Solaris"
and the music of Wendy Carlos. Here is the sound of a system
under duress: bleating oscillation, clarion synth calls, chuttering
machinations, backgrounds of radio systems on the fritz. The
textures fall into crevices, the negative space of beats, marked
here and there by a cold insectal whine (and a few beats that
weren't removed). Does a nice job of being engaging without
dominating, the perfect balance for a soundtrack. Very 1970
electrojazz meets 2002 electronica. 36 minutes. [RE]

TO ROCOCO ROT & I-SOUND " Music Is a Hungry Ghost" (Mute) CD/LP $15.99/$13.99
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When to rococo rot toured the U.S. in 1998, they were so taken by
I-Sound as an opening act that a collaboration was just an
eventuality. I-Sound's (Craig Willingham, amusingly given the
"the surliest record store clerk in the world" title in The Wire)
contributions are just what TRR needed to avoid slipping into
sameness. I really consider them to be pretty much the best post-
rock band to come out of that (hopefully now) short-lived genre.
This will keep them out, with Willingham's restrained crisp techno
beat additions and faint bits of dub, married to dense basslines,
with sweet string parts and synth pillows pooling here and
there. "Music Is a Hungry Ghost" marks a graceful transition for
the band, as it is definitely not a record absorbable in either
one or many sittings. But it's yet another point on a line for I-
Sound, from whom a solo album is so long overdue it's just plain
silly. Somebody put this man's stuff out already! [RE]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=72459691532&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875087461&refer_url=email


EASTANBURIA "s/t" (Japan Overseas, Japan) LP $16.99
A conglomerate group made from three Boredoms (Yoshimi, ATR, O.G.
Hayashi), one visual artist (Rita Ackermann), her husband and No
Neck Blues Band member (David Nuss) and a few others. Centerless,
driving percussive detached music in the nontradition of '60s
improv work a la Angus MacLise, Amon Duul, etc. A little more
flailing and varied than Boredoms' own concise empowerment, with
more howling and chanting, and the only instruments are drums plus
grantang (bamboo xylophone), sitar, and Casio. Pressed into a
fancy, heavy full-color picturedisc; this bunch is unwarped.
LP only. [RE]

This week's newsletter made with contributions from: Robin
Edgerton [RE], Duane Harriott [DH], Tim Haslett [TH], Jeremy
Sponder [JS].

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