Other Music New Release Update
November 28, 2001

In This Week's Update:

"Ethiopiques" Vols. 10 and 11
Saturday People
Byron Morris & Unity reissue
Bolz Bolz
Nigisa Ni Te collection
Carpet Musics
Greg Kelley & Jason Lescalleet
Phoenecia remixes
The Grace Period
Giuseppe Ielasi & Domenico Sciajno
"Haitian Voodoo Drums"
Songs: Ohia live

Just In:
Ulf Lohmann on Kompakt

Featured New Releases:

[V/A] "Ethiopiques Vol. 10" (Buda Musique, France) CD $14.99
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Subtitled "Ethiopian Blues and Ballads", this next volume in the
delightful Ethiopiques series concentrates on the more somber,
wrenching side of that country's popular music axis. All of these
recordings date to between 1970-74, so it's great material, with
Alemayehu Eshete being the primary contributor. One caveat: a few
of these tracks (about three or four of the 13) have appeared on
other Ethiopiques compilations. But what makes this collection so
lovely is that it IS emotive and thematic, it's a disc not just to
catalog and collect (i.e. stick on the shelf) but really return to
when the mood (yes, a particularly blue one) strikes. Here's
hoping that Buda is not coming to the end of their series, but has
just rethought (for the better) the way they're compiling the
discs. I'm most likely to turn to this after my favorite, the
upbeat and funky Vol. 3. [RE]

[V/A] "Ethiopiques Vol. 11" (Buda Musique, France) CD $14.99
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David Day (in OM Cambridge) said that while this CD played in the
store that no one left, but wandered mesmerized as if the sound of
the instrument made time stand still. "Ethiopiques Volume 11" is a
recording of Alemu Aga, master of the ancient beguena. Folklore
traces this large ten-string variation on a lyre back to King
David, who played lullabies on it for his insomniac father-in-law,
Saul. The beguena has low, organic hum to its strings, with the
notes played on top. Aga's calm voice sings traditional folk tales
and religious songs dealing with everything from the creation to,
as one song is subtitled, 'the futility of life'. The liner notes
address the instrument and its history in detail -- and point out
that this is the first full-length recording of beguena music. The
music sounds and feels ancient, but also very close, and has
dream-inducing qualities. King David's harp still has the power
to enchant today. [CK]

OTTO "Condom Black" (Trama, Brazil) CD $16.99
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Otto's second album is further more inspired by the MPB than the
electronic scene, but the mellow MPB of the best sort -- a la Jorge
Ben circa 1975 (in fact some of this seems like outtakes from
Ben's "A Tabua de Esmerelda"), or Marcos Valle circa 1974. Sweet
singing, tingly vibraphones, quick drumming, samples only in the
tiny sounds that circle and swirl in the mix like fireflies under
a streetlight. There's even a few excellent '90s-style modern rock
numbers. This is a departure from his last, which was heavy with
drum'n'bass electronics. Otto's more than proved he's not just a
novelty, but crafts solid, funky Brazilian pop songs. This should
be just as popular as the Bebel Gilberto album except that it's
about five times better. If the Tropicalia crown had to be passed
to the next generation (though I think it should stay w/ Ze, who's
still productive AND creative), it should go to Otto. [RE]

SATURDAY PEOPLE "s/t" (Slumberland) CD $12.99
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Finally an all-star band that truly achieves the potential sum of
its parts, each member equally contributing towards a combined
greatness. Assembled from D.C. pop bands now defunct, The
Saturday People are a nexus of honed talent (from Velocity Girl,
Tree Fort Angst, Glo Worm, and The Ropers, among others). Each
member brings a love and knowledge of pop music to the common
task of creating some great pop music of their own. In any band
you'd expect ego conflict with the inclusion of two singer/guitarist
frontmen, but here what you get is brilliant entwined harmonies;
Greg and Terry complement each other beautifully. While Archie
and Dan are the perfect grounding for all that revolves around
them, providing a balance and strength that is rare, with a special
nod to Archie for the album's production. I can see influences and
comparisons to Orange Juice, Zombies, Pastels, Kinks, early REM,
and Biff Bang Pow, to name a few. The Saturday People write
infectious pop songs with harmonies, arrangements, lyrics, and
enthusiasm combined to burrow into your heart and stand the
test of time. [AG]

BYRON MORRIS & UNITY "Blow Through Your Mind" (Soul Jazz, UK) CD/LP $18.99/$16.99
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And the Soul Jazz hits just keep coming...this magnificent label
hasjust bestowed another funky jewel on us and rescued another
album from getting lost to history. Byron Morris & Unity were an
East Coast free jazz/funk outfit whose put out this album themselves
some 28 years ago. It boasts unbelievable female lead vox from Jay
Clayton, who also worked with Steve Reich during the same period
(her style is one part Linda Sharrock, one part Yoko Ono).
Musically, it's in the same vein as the Art Ensemble's "Les
Stances A Sophie" or Philip Cohran. High-spirited and organic,
this was an attempt to bridge the gap betweeen Ornette Coleman
(Morris studied with both Coleman and R.R. Kirk), Billie Holiday
and Stevie Wonder. And that bridge is built solid, fantastic. [DH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502632820172&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999168221&refer_url=email

BOLZ BOLZ "Human Race" (Longhaul, UK) 2xCD $15.99
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Damn! The first listen to this CD yields a quick comparison to
Fischerspooner. Only the influence probably runs the other way:
Bolz Bolz (Andreas Bolz) has been making electro/disco tracks
since 1995 in the group Third Electric. And has handfuls of 12" on
a number of labels, including Ersatz and his own, World Electric,
and has collaborated with Kitbuilders, among others. Bolz is
building on the legacy of Moroder and Robotnick (Maurizio Dami),
yet also drawing in early house music and late new wave. The first
CD is originals, some of which have appeared on 12", and the
second consists of all remixes of his 'Take a Walk', from pulsing
and abstract to bouncy and amplified (contributors on this CD:
Paul Daley of Leftfield, Si Begg, Justin Berkovi, others). Very,
very fine electro that goes straight for dancefloor heart-thump
rather than '80s retro-coyness. [RE]

AERO "Pretend" (Apestaartje) CD $12.99
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Nowadays there seems to be an unending supply of electronic
music all following head to tail with corresponding terms that form
howand where you should listen, appreciate, categorize and define
the sounds generated. As a result there are fewer titles of
distinction, so it is refreshing to encounter something that is
unique. Aero has created what I will struggle to describe as a
complex synthetic recreation of something unspecifically organic,
in other words, an assemblage of sound capable of transforming the
listener's conception of time and space. The first few moments of
the composition I can only imagine are to help focus the listener,
serving as sort of a test sequence, and once this is completed the
true beauty of this CD is slowly revealed. Tones and waves roll,
fluctuate, flutter and fall. Carefully, deliberately, at times
even forcibly, it constructs an environment only you will ever
know. Aero has created something distinctive, quite possibly
timeless, that deserves to be heard on its own, free of common
constraints, categorizations, and preconceptions, recommended
for listeners who are looking for something more. [AG]

NAGISA NI TE "Songs For A Simple Moment" (Geographic, UK) CD  $16.99
"Songs for a Simple Moment" is a sort of 'best of' for Nagisa Ni
Te. Spanning 1985 to last year, most of the tracks included are
from their "On the Love Beach" and "The True Sun" albums, yet
there are a number of unreleased versions of songs and some from
the session under the name The Hallelujahs, from 1985. It's a good
introduction to the group, as it doesn't just take one theme, as
their albums do, but includes both rock numbers, their lovely
tracks dominated by harmonium, and lighter droning pieces. It's
also more consistently engaging than the individual records (and,
um, cheaper). Folk-Psych classics of a more recent vintage. [RE]

CARPET MUSICS "Weekday" (Audio Dregs) CD $12.99
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Lots of music is now referred to as bedroom electronics, but this
one seems like the bedroom's not the origin, but the intended
venue. Before you get all salacious on me, think sleep, not sex.
Carpet Musics is Eric Mast (aka E*Rock) and Eric Diaz,
and "Weekday" is an electronic duet, a set of themed tracks
(each represents a set of objects, a concept, a time period) for
an ordinary day. Somehow they also channel the kind of exhaustion
that's almost pleasant, sparkly, when you get so tired you're
starry-eyed and tingly: the lazy nervous system. This does have a
kinship and obvious starting point in Raymond Scott's "Soothing
Sounds for Baby" records, yet takes that into fizzy, fuzzy
academic zone a la the Germans Sack & Blumm or Microstoria.
The feel this gives your ears is like when your limbs fall asleep
and you're still awake: not the numb stage, nor the painful one,
but that one around the edges where parts of your body enter or
return from another zone. Oh, and it's kinda funky too. [RE]

GREG KELLEY & JASON LESCALLEET "Forlorn Green" (Erstwhile) CD  $13.99
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Is it live or is it memory?  On "Forlorn Green," Greg Kelley and
Jason Lescalleet challenge any notion of separation between the
two using prerecorded tape loops, extended technique, and post-
production signal processing. This is one of the rawest, most
unnaffected experimental albums in recent memory. Upon listening,
one feels like an insect in a metallic wind tunnel, completely
overwhelmed by the rushing air.  Lescalleet's name will be
familiar to fans of noise music via his involvement with Ron
Lessard's venerable RRRecords and their ongoing project, Due
Process. A former heavy metal singer, Lescalleet is a virtuoso
tape and feedback manipulator who has forged collaborations with
artists such as Francisco Lopez, Achim Wollscheid and John Hudak.
Not one to settle for anything less than extreme, Lescalleet has
been known to create gales of white noise by licking the inside
circuitry of toy keyboards at shows. Kelley has gained attention
in recent years by exploring and sounding the farthest reaches of
his chosen instrument, the trumpet, expanding its vocabulary in
the process. He has toured the U.S., Europe and Japan,
collaborating with an impressive list of fellow improv
deconstructionists: Kevin Drumm, Le Quan Ninh, John Butcher and
Axel Dorner, among others. Through his solo work (documented on
last year's astounding "Trumpet") and his involvement in nmpreign,
a duo with saxophonist Bhob Rainey, Kelley has created a language
of breath sounds, percussive clicks, and other minutiae. On this
recording, the duo explore the acoustics of various environments,
including a deeply resonant church where Kelley sounds if he is
playing on the ocean floor. One imagines Kelley drawing a portrait
of his instrument while Lescalleet simultaneously defaces it.
Lescalleet's electronics place Kelley's trumpet in a hall of
broken mirrors, refracting and distorting his metallic scrapes and
hissing cries to the point beyond recognition. [DHi]

PHOENECIA "Odd Job Discrimination" (Schematic) CD/LP  $11.99/$10.99
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A record containing six reworkings of Phoenecia's "Odd Job"
EP, where the grooves are packed so tightly, you'd break a
nail trying to pry them apart. Friends and labelmates get
their hands dirty opening up the original EP and rebuilding
it in their own image. The ever-inventive Matmos offer the
'Climactic Battle Scene with Rom & Josh Version' which wheezes
and crawls its way toward safety as Matmos descend upon the
track like a bird of prey. Prefuse 73's 'Ramen Noodle Version'
is slightly less aggressive, with a gentle breakbeat split in half
like a tree trunk, while a soft, mellifluous bassline glides
underneath. Otto Von Schirach's 'Smash & Grab Version' is
a self-parodying 'rave' take with orchestral synth stabs and a
ballooning bassline. This is another indispensable collection of
tracks from the Miami analog pranksters, who know that a
sense of humor can be quite important when making electronic
music. [TH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=65067000212&refer_url=email
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THE GRACE PERIOD "Dynasty" (Audio Dregs) CD $12.99
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The Grace Period is a blissed-out, sometimes spooky and constantly
swelling blend of samples, simple but manipulated beat patterns
and grin-inducing recorded snippets. Right from the get-go, we
have a French instructor speaking softly, then, almost on cue, it
starts to loop. Dense synth sources build and fall away. Chris
Ott's live drumming adds the organic touch, making the record both
familiar and alien. Like Land Of The Loops or Trevor Holland [who
mastered this disc], TGP also has a sense of humor, which reveals
itself on the well-titled 'Best Of Boston' where we hear some
party-going female repeat the phrase "tell me, what it's like to
be sober?" Later, when another gleeful woman squeals "Oh! That's
me! I'm so famous!" over compressed beats, you just can help but
smile. Boards Of Canada and the Aphex Twin devised an entire sub-
genre of warm enveloping electronic music and the Ott and friends
are the latest to stick the landing. Like a cup of cocoa, the
Grace Period is the newest in Boston electronica preparing us for
the inevitable winter, which has yet to come. [DD]

GIUSEPPE IELASI & DOMENICO SCIAJNO "Right After" (Erstwhile) CD  $13.99
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File under: uneasy listening.  The debut CD by this duo sounds
like a series of field recordings from the human nervous system.
Ielasi and Sciajno are central figures in Italy's under-recognized
improvised music scene, playing in various ensembles, organizing
festivals, and running labels. Over the years, Ielasi and Sciajno
have been augmenting their chosen instruments (prepared guitar
and bass, respectively) with electronics. This recording is the first
to document their work solely in the digital realm. Listeners
familiar with electroacoustic music will be reminded  of both
Japanese Onkyo (Sachiko M, Toshimaru Nakamura, etc.) and
various 'lowercase' sound artists (Lopez, Vainio, Deupree,
etc.).The sounds on this album are reminiscent of scientific
recordings of the magnetosphere, ion storms, and atomic reactions.
Magnified static, whispered sine-tones, cellophane wrinkles, and
flickering pulses are introduced and removed in a seamless,
ghostly mix. These layers create a discrete architecture, not
unlike that pictured in Friederike Paetzold's cover art. Because
the recording requires focused attention, it heightens the
listener's awareness of his/her surroundings. You hear the hiss
of steam pipes, the digital purr of cell phones, and click of power
transformers as part of some larger composition. This is one of
the most challenging records on a label with a well-deserved
reputation for pushing the envelope of its listener's
expectations. [DHi]

[V/A] "Voodoo Drums" (Universal Sound, UK) CD/LP $18.99/$18.99
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One of the simplest albums yet released on this label (another
imprint of the Soul Jazz company). "Voodoo Drums" provides what
looks like a blueprint for dance music, a set of 19, quite
stripped down and recorded close and warm. A group of four
drummers lay down tracks that slide and catch, pound and patter.
They syncopate and separate, then jump in unison. Haitian Voodoo
drumming has been massively influential on Latin Jazz throughout
the '70s and on modern producers Masters at Work, Jephte
Guillaume, others. The true roots of some of the most interesting
dance music on the planet. Recorded in Port-Au-Prince, Haiti. [RE]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502632820162&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502632820161&refer_url=email

SONGS:OHIA "Mi Sei Apparso Come Un Fantasma" (Paper Cup, Italy) CD  $14.99
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Songs: Ohia have snuck in and are slowly taking over Will Oldham's
audience -- at least it sounds like it. Their somber folk, which
used to have some traditional Brit elements to it, now finds more
kin in Oldham's saddest work, or the slowest made by Ms. Chan
Marshall (Cat Power). Slumpy folk rock with vocals that break and
crack and rasp all over the place. This live recording, from an
Italian club, reveals them at their most melancholy, and ragged
(in a good way) I've heard yet. Of eight, five songs are new
and 'Untitled'. [RE]

Just In:

ULF LOHMANN "Because Before" (Kompakt, Germany) CD $15.99

This week's contributors: David Day [DD], Robin Edgerton [RE],
Andy Giles [AG], Duane Harriott [DH], Tim Haslett [TH], Dan Hirsch
[DHi], Casey Keenan [CK].

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