Other Music New Release Update
October 30, 2002

In This Week's Update:

Beth Gibbons & Rustin' Man (Just In)
Digital Disco (Force Tracks compilation)
Sigur Ros
Acid Mothers Temple
Mr. Scruff
Rough Trade Shops Rock and Roll 1 (Double CD compilation)
Richard Ashcroft
Blades of Grass
Sunshine Company
Add N to X
David Holmes Presents Free Association


BETH GIBBONS & RUSTIN' MAN "Out of Season" (Go Beat) CD $22.99
Portishead's Beth Gibbons and former Talk Talk bassist Paul
Webb have created a stunning album of semi-acoustic arrangements
with often sparse melodies. Intimate, desperate, and hauntingly beautiful.
(Full review next week.)

[V.A.] "Digital Disco" (Force Inc.) CD/LP $15.99/$18.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/babyican.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/theprese.rm
Force Inc. Music Works have broken down electronic music
boundaries numerous times, staying ahead of the pack and maintaining
quality throughout. They have numerous offshoot labels with each one
setting new standards in electronic music. The Mille Plateaux imprint
introduced the world to "Clicks and Cuts," two compilations of dissected
house stripped to its bare elements and filled with glitches and minimalism.
"Clicks and Cuts" grew to become a genre in its own right and now it is the
Force Tracks label's time to do the same. Their newest compilation, "Digital
Disco" is the future of house music. Filled with elements from disco's past
like sweeping synthetic strings, booty shakin' beats, over the top male and
female vocals, and an overall pop appeal, these songs stick in your head all
day long. The artists here also look to the future by pushing technology to its
limits and disorienting what would otherwise be a perfect pop song. Previously,
this was done best by the likes of Herbert, Luomo, and Akufen (who are all
featured on this compilation). Now add Swayzak, MRI, Data 80, Metro Area,
Astrobal, Sylk 130, Dub Taylor, Decomposed Subsonic, Care, Mathias
Schaffhauser, and Savant DJ to this list, and you have created a flawless
collection that is both fun and challenging. Give it a few months, and "Digital
Disco" will become a genre in its own right just like "Clicks and Cuts" did in
early 2000. Essential! [JS]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875631502&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875631501&refer_url=email

SIGUR ROS "()" (Fatcat) CD $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/sigurros.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/siguros2.rm
Icelandic mystery jam band Sigur Ros emit another enigmatic smoke
signal from the land of volcanoes and hot springs (and caves and
gnomes and spirits...) with their obliquely titled third full-album "( )."
After 1999's Ágætis Byrjun's unheralded emergence garnered wide
acclaim (everyone from the New Yorker to Butt Magazine lauded the
band's pirouetting angelic vocals, ethereal guitar/fuzz soundscapes
and emotional string arrangements) the group retrenched, built their
own studio and refined their sound. What emerged is more somber,
more earthbound, and seemingly more real. Less structured around
stand-alone vocal riffs and patterns, "( )" seems to investigate a sort of
slothful psychedelia. Plinking pianos and analogue synths delicately lay
across a collage of barely audible cries and drifting feedback. Swaying
guitars lead into dirge-tempo marches and singer Jonsi's voice is lodged
more often in the middle registers where it sounds much richer and
viscerally compelling as it intones Icelandic melodies of entreating
melancholy and wistful longing. Despite this simplification, the band still
tends towards the epic (the minimum song length being approximately
seven minutes), and Jonsi still launches into unhinged soprano swoops.
But overall, the gestures are smaller in scale and more focused and organic
with almost no string section to speak of. As a result, the scope and texture
become increasingly effective, allowing the cinematic sounds to breathe in
their own echoes, and the instrumental vibrations to interact and counteract
with each other, bouncing between haunting drones, ancient folk melodies,
and more traditional (post) rock song structures. While less immediately
engaging than earlier more catchy efforts, "( )" proves to be more penetrating
and will most likely not leave your thoughts (and dreams) for some time. [MC]

ACID MOTHERS TEMPLE "Electric Heavyland" (Alien 8) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/atomicro.rm
Heavy indeed. Three minutes into the first track and I am both ecstatic
and fearful. You know the phrase "Be careful what you wish for..." If
Acid Mothers' volume and intensity on this recording could be
harnessed and transformed, perhaps the energy crisis in California
would be resolved. Having seen them perform live and lived through it
(kind of), it is mind blowing to imagine witnessing the aural carnage
this album spews forth. It is soooo loud; I'll need to rent a hidden,
desolate cottage miles from anywhere just to be able to experience
this record properly. This is the other side of the coin, the extreme
opposite to the peaceful, numbing drone bliss of Japanese psych like
the Kosugi "Catchwave" LP. How can this be described -- sonic
destruction? Where are these sounds coming from?! Space is too well
traveled. This is unexplored territory. Listen to Koizumi Hajime on drums
destroying all in his path as the percussion, rolling, gathers the frenzied
guitar, space gun synth and who else knows what into a monstrous
boulder of metallic psych. Huge. It will flatten you. Kawabata is credited
as speed guru on the sleeve- and it's no joke, we will never catch up.
This will kick your ass, you will beg for more. [NL]

SIMIAN "We Are Your Friends" (Astralwerks) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/labreeze.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/thewayil.rm
Anyone familiar with Simian's brilliant "Chemistry Is What We Are"
will probably be caught off guard by their latest. The band's debut was
a visceral blend of neo-psychedelia, '60s British pop and electronic
swells that formed a perfect bridge between "Magical Mystery Tour"-
era Beatles and Air. But subsequent Simian re-mixes and their "Mobile
Disco" DJ sets made it apparent that the group was very aware of
modern technology and dance music. "We Are Your Friends" is further
proof; the production far from subtle, boasting in-your-face Britpop
melodies and at times, Neptunes-style production. The album opens
with "La Breeze," and helium filled vocal samples lead into a verse with
a descending guitar that sounds lifted from "Wild Honey Pie," then
skewered into a twisted psychedelic break. Throughout the record,
Beach Boy-like harmonies are lush as ever, and while the keyboards and
electronic production are heavy, there's still an emphasis on a playful
LSD-soaked paranoia as acoustic instruments (guitars, banjos, bells,
woodblocks) skitter about programmed beats. At times, it sounds like
Simian have entered the world of mash-ups but using original material
and their unique brand of humor to do so. Strangely, it works as the band
shows a new face. [GH]

MR. SCRUFF "Trouser Jazz" (Ninja Tune) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/comealiv.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/ug.rm
Mr. Scruff continues his sample-delic brand of jazz, house, bossa nova,
lounge, soul and hip-hop with "Trouser Jazz," on the consistently quirky
Ninja Tune label. Layering Stax-era horns, Shaft-inspired guitar, shuffling
drums, with jazzy Moog and Rhodes piano, he moves between the past
and present effortlessly. My favorites are the '60s flavored, female vocal
lead "Beyond," "Come Alive" and "Valley of the Sausages," placing
himself in line with Cinematic Orchestra, Theivery Corp., K&D, UFO, and
David Holmes. Some nice moments throughout with various moods and
styles, perfect for lounging with your favorite umbrella topped cocktail.

PROCESS "Re-Processed" (Traum) CD/LP $18.99/$18.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/esteroso.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/byebyego.rm
Process (a/k/a Steve Barnes) has released two great albums and
numerous 12"-s for many labels. This double-CD set, released by
Kompakt label affiliate Traum, is a collection of 23 re-mixes by some
of today's premier electronic musicians. Taking their cue from the
"Elektronische Musik Interkontinentale" CD, Traum owner Riley
Reinhold picked artists from all over the world to re-mix and rework
Steve Barnes' original works. Here we get re-mixes by Dettinger, Akufen,
Markus Guentner, Jonas Bering, Tomas Jirku, Broker/Dealer, Oliver
Hacke and many, many more. Tracks range from minimal ambient to
tech-house dancefloor stormers. Enough to make you drool? Me too.
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875062602&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875062601&refer_url=email

[V.A.] "Rough Trade Shops Rock and Roll 1" (Mute/RoughTrade) CD $19.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/knowyour.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/rocketus.rm
I'm a big fan of these Rough Trade Shop compilations. It's like
listening to a perfect mix tape or your favorite free form DJ; your faith
in music can't help but be ignited. Following the series' first edition in
which the British retailer featured 25 years of store favorites, the
second volume, "Electronic 01," specifically highlighted electronic
music seamlessly traveling through the movement's various sounds
and styles -- from Raymond Scott to I-F. The latest double-CD set,
"Rough Trade Shops Rock and Roll 1" is certainly the most in-your-face
yet. Starting with the Stooges "I Got a Right," the 45 songs that follow
are all united in spirit -- the very essence of why I listen to, work in, and
play music. Like "Electronic 01," the tracks are not placed in any
chronological order so, as the liner-notes point out, "Hearing the Modern
Lovers' 'She Cracked' demo from 1972 followed by the Von Bondies'
awesome 'It Came From Japan' from last year, demonstrates how little
bearing 'time' and 'production values' have on music like this." There's
lots of ground covered here, from early heroes like the Electric Eels, the
Saints, Suicide and MC5, to second generation greats including Pussy
Galore, Pixies, Thee Headcoats and Red Red Meat. Newcomers like the
Detroit Cobras, Clinic and the Hives get their place too. The Rough Trade
folks make no claims that this is a "genre defining greatest hits package,"
but this compilation does indeed rock! [GH]

NETTLE "Build a Fort, Set that on Fire" (The Agriculture) CD $11.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/firecamp.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/mineswee.rm
Things continue in the dj/Rupture saga. Here we have an album titled
"Build a Fort Set that on Fire," the name taken from a Basquiat
painting, by a group called Nettle, produced by Rupture. Starting with
the track "Ensamblaje" this echoes the work of Muslimgauze, Raz
Mazani and even vintage Squarepusher. Percussion samples loop, then
deconstruct into twisted, delayed, cut-up, smeared, and processed, bits
of noise and distortion. Heavy beats keep the toes tapping as the walls
come tumbling around you. Recorded in Madrid over the last two years,
this set showcases, much like his mix CDs, influences from jungle, IDM,
industrial, dub, hip hop, free jazz and music from the Middle East.
Recommended! [DG]

RICHARD ASHCROFT "Human Conditions" (Hut) CD $25.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/checkthe.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/natureis.rm
"Aschcroft, Ashcroft, Ashcroft! What are we gonna do about this guy?"
In the rest of NYC, someone might be referring to our Attorney General
("Not MY Attorney General!" etc.) if overheard saying something along
these lines, but not here at OM headquarters. We're talking about
someone else entirely. In fact, upon the basis of having heard the
extensive moral exposition as can be found on this new album, perhaps
the two identically nomenclatured men should sit down and have a
discussion real soon. I know of no other 'rock star,' not even the homeboy
from Creed, taking on this deep sort of subject matter with such ardor,
and one need only read basically any interview with him to understand
that he is genuinely consumed by an already well underway quest of
questioning. One which is conversely as deeply unfashionable now as
it has ever been (in the pop landscape at least, and what is NOT the
pop landscape anymore etc.). The man who used to be referred to as
'Mad Richard' by his home country's press is arguably only more 'mad'
now, this despite the eat-your-vegetables-in-style, almost MOR
production he's chosen as vehicle of late (this is his second solo
outing since the Verve). As I said, don't allow the occasionally
criminally lavish production values to fool you, he's only peaking as
psycho-troubadour on stuff like "Check the Meaning," incidentally my
single of the year so far. [DHo]

BLADES OF GRASS "Are Not for Smoking" (Revola) CD $18.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/happy.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/iloveyou.rm
SUNSHINE COMPANY "Sunshine Company" (Revola) CD $18.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/astitchi.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/backonth.rm
These are two groups that have nothing in common except for the
fact that each bands' big "hit" was the same song, released at about
the same time. I don't think that they ever met each other, but there
stories are very interesting: both groups that put out good records,
with exceptional moments, but they never had the chance to realize
their full potential. The Blades of Grass were four teenagers from
New England who were discovered by two local managers who
wheeled-and-dealed and somehow got them a contract, and recorded
one album. The album is a beautiful, ethereal piece of quality soft rock.
Anybody who loves the production of Curt Boettcher and the like will
swoon over the psych flourishes on "I Love You Alice B. Toklas" and
"Walk Away Renee." But the gem is guitarist Mark Black's self-penned
"Say Ah" and "Patience." All in all, a pretty dream pop record that
makes you wish they weren't forced to do so many covers, which brings
me to Sunshine Company. They kind of had a Mama's and Papa's or
Fifth Dimension sound to them, but at their best, they had more chops
and a much deeper sound than those two bands. They recorded "Up,
Up and Away" first, and "Happy," the hit they shared with Blades Of
Grass, in that sort of big Jimmy Webb production way, but that stuff
wasn't all that interesting honestly. When they stripped away the strings
and got acoustic and quiet, that's when things started to happen. The
female vocals of Mary Nance kind of sounded like Sandy Denny. Their
cover of John and Terence Boylans' "Look, Here Comes the Sun" and
the original material penned by guitarist Maury Manseau was excellent,
languid acoustic-based ruminations that make me want to hear more
original material. Any fan of early Fairport could get into a lot of their
better material. These two bands (and other one hit astound-ers from
Gandalf, Remains, and Rising Storm) make me feel a little cheated. I
wonder if any of these guys had gotten a little more attention and
encouragement... excellent stuff nonetheless. [DH]
Blades of Grass
Sunshine Company

HAUSMEISTER "Weiter" (Karaoke Kalk) CD/LP $14.99/$13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/wester.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/picker.rm
High quality production and cartoon fairytale melodies combine to
form the new sound of Hausmeister's "Weiter" album. More
synthesized acoustic instruments on this one -- piano, flutes,
acoustic guitar(?) and light strings -- except instead of the edgy,
repetition experiments of the last album, we're given a more "holding
hands in the garden of make-believe" feel. The end result is more in
common with releases on the Darla label, at times sounding like a
minimal High Llamas. Percussive synth piano rhythms ride through
bubbling dub, peppered with tiny piano melodies. It's not all sweetness
though and with close listens the quirks of the music seep through. A
hard nut to crack that makes you wonder if it's intended as pure
pleasure, or if it's loaded with in-jokes us Yankees just don't understand.
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=401569818472&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=401569818471&refer_url=email

SUICIDE "American Supreme" (Mute) CD $15.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/idontkno.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/wrongdec.rm
Call them what you will: proto-punk, punk, NY punk, art-punk,
electronic pioneers, droney-intense-dark-synth-pop. They were damn
original however, 25-years have passed since Alan Vega and Martin
Rev released their brilliant first album, and much has changed in the
world of music. These days nearly every Williamsburg hair diva
salivates in their desire to be the new Suicide. (Face it, without Suicide
their would be no Electroclash for they are the stuff of Electroclash wet
dreams.) So what are we to expect from a pair of middle-aged geezers
out to reclaim their rightful thrown? Shall we let our own opinions be
clouded by unrealistic expectations hoping to glimpse the glory of
Suicide albums' past? With "American Supreme," Suicide's first proper
studio album in 14-years, you won't find a "Cheree," but Rev and Vega
pretty much stick to the old formula, with Rev's minimalist electro-
orchestrations and Vega spouting his best-beat scatterings. It's all just
a bit more low key. [JO]

CANYON "Empty Rooms" (Gern Blandsten) CD/LP $12.99/$8.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/lightsof.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/radiodri.rm
Seeing Canyon perform live several times over the last year made
me reflect that if they had been around in the '70s, they would have
been a righteous stadium act. That isn't a slight in the least bit, and
in fact they have the potential to occupy a stage that matches the
epic-ness of their songs. Canyon are obviously lifers, a BAND in
every sense of the word, and they've been steadily gaining a
reputation due to near-constant touring and stellar shows over the
past year. The brilliant thing about this group is that they manage to
combine a homegrown, almost working class ethic, with psychedelic
horizons in a way I've never heard before. Think "Cortez the Killer" and
then try to imagine if Pink Floyd or Spiritualized supplied backing
tracks to "Nebraska," and you may vaguely have an idea of what
they've accomplished. It's borderline ridiculous how much their band
name mirrors their sound. You can't help but think about dusty roads
while listening to this record. [MK]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=60006400642&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999185911&refer_url=email

ADD N TO (X) "Loud Like Nature" (Mute) CD/LP $15.99/$17.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/upthepun.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/invasion.rm
With the Electroclash revolution in full-force, I kind of expected the
mad-genius electro-punk synthesists in Add N to (X) to hop on the
bandwagon. A collaboration with W.I.T. perhaps? Not at all. Instead
they enlist guest contributors like Pulp guitarist Richard Hawley and
sample the distinct voice of rock svnegali/producer Kim Fowley for the
creepy speaking part in "Invasion of the Polaroid People." (Lifted from
Fowley's spoken word piece of the same name.) In fact the trio's fifth
album, "Loud Like Nature," is the group's biggest fusion of sounds yet --
unmistakably "avant-hard" as analog synthesizers buzz over saturated
breakbeats and a barrage of calculator bleeps. Robot thrash party? Not
always. "Pink Light" is pastoral at first with light piano echoes and synth
strings but finally joined by a Kraftwerk-ian beat and theremin. The
backward flutes in "Up the Punks" is light and psychedelic with Moog
produced squiggles that could have been crafted by Jean-Jaques Perry
floating over the mix. From Throbbing Gristle to Wendy Carlos to Atari
Teenage Riot, almost every era of electronic based music from the last
40 years is pieced together with the scalpel precision of a B-movie mad
scientist. If a new millennium remake of the '80s new wave cult flick
"Liquid Sky" is ever produced, here's the soundtrack. [GH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=72459691942&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=72459691941&refer_url=email

DAVID HOLMES "Presents the Free Association" (13 Amp) CD/LP $25.99/$25.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/iwishiha.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/paperund.rm
I had the opportunity to Deejay with Mr. Holmes a few weeks ago.
Before he came on, he turned off every light in the place, then opened
his set with the spooky psychedelic funk of "You Never Come Closer"
by Doris. In two minutes, the swank confines of the APT lounge were
transformed into an illicit and dark after-hours spot. After two hours and
a pull on a wacky-tobaccy cigarette, I felt like Jon Voights' character in
that party scene in "Midnight Cowboy." You probably weren't at that
event, but if that sounds like your kind of night, then Holmes' new album
with the "Free Association" is right up your alley. This is slow, dirty blues
funk that features impressive female vocals, hard breakbeats and such.
If you are expecting another "Lets Get Killed"-style record from him, than
this is probably not for you. But if you liked his last DJ mix CD, "Bow
Down to the Exit Sign", and early Tricky, you will definitely feel this one.
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=505510940129&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=505510940128&refer_url=email

LIBERTINES "Up the Bracket" (Rough Trade) CD $22.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/deathont.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/vertigo.rm
It's hard to believe that a year-and-a-half ago the Strokes couldn't get
arrested in New York City if they had tried; but simultaneously across
the Atlantic they were being hailed in the NME as "rock 'n' roll
saviours." Soon after, the rest of the free world caught up and the fab
five ignited the careers of the White Stripes, Hives, B.R.M.C., et al.
None of these bands really sound anything like the Strokes, the only
uniting factor being a sloppier style of guitar rock coming back in
vogue. The Libertines don't really sound much like them either, but
unlike the aforementioned groups, there is a very obvious Strokes
influence in their basic formula. The first two tracks of "Up the
Bracket" is brimming with "'isms," from the vocal delivery (minus the
saturation of Julian's overdriven mic) to the upstrokes of the dueling
guitars. And this is where the comparison stops. Substitute the
Velvet Underground and Television with a few nods to the Jam and
the Clash, the Libertines remind me of a late night spent in some
London pub sipping ale waiting for the band to kick into a cover of "In
the City."  That is if I'm lucky and they're drunk enough. [GH]

This week's contributors: Matt Connors [MC], Daniel Givens [DG],
Gerald Hammill [GH], Duane Harriott [DH], Dan Hougland [DHo], Michael
Klausman [MK], Nicole Lang [NL], Scott Mou [SM], Jennifer Orozco [JO],
and Jeremy Sponder [JS].


To see a complete list of Other Music new releases for the
week ending October 29, 2002, 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 Web site 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