Other Music New Release Update
September 12, 2002

In This Week's Update:

Black Dice
Chris de Luca & Peabird
Amalgamated Sons of Rest
DJ Rupture
Michael Hurley
Miss John Soda
Fertile Ground
William Basinski
Cynthia Dall
Sorted (various artists)
Shipping News
Xiu Xiu
Richard Buckner
Colour and Pattern (various artists)

Just In:

ESG (brand new release)


BLACK DICE "Beaches and Canyons" (DFA) CD/LP $13.99/$14.99
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The image of the windsurfer on the gatefold of "Beaches and
Canyons" captures the union of humanity and nature almost
effortlessly into one entity, a fitting visual representation for the
sounds within. This recording washes over you -- a frothy wave that
permeates every molecule, a tsunami of sound with an intensity
just as forceful. The music travels through tons and tons of ocean
only to burst the surface and propel the listener even farther, into
the air towards the sun. A living breathing jam. Awkward cries
metastasize into a transcendental choral howl as the percussion,
modulated guitar and a secret garden of effects form a simultaneously
primitive and technically evolutionary expression. The line between
organic and electronic is momentarily blurred. Popping and crackling
insects are birthed and grow wings; soon a swarm of these
synthesized electric butterflies travel a mesmerizing soundscape. If
you have seen Black Dice live you know that their performances take
you elsewhere. There is some darkness in this landscape however.
Listen and hear some harsh catharsis in action buried beneath the
serenity. These four musicians have indeed held onto their legendary
ferociousness but have developed it into a tangible, more complex and
intricate rage. A gorgeous first release on DFA, one that will be difficult to
follow. I suggest you spend some quality time with this record. [NL]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999184062&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999184071&refer_url=email

LADYTRON "Light and Magic" (Emperor Norton) CD/LP $14.99/$14.99
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If a portal was discovered allowing the possibility of time travel
between 1980 and 2002, I consider it Ladytron's duty to construct a
safe vessel containing a single copy of "Light and Magic." They
must then position electro soothsayer Gary "Human?" Numan (circa
1980) at the receiving end of the said portal with a note attached to
the LP reading, "Thinking of you in 2002." The decidedly retro-futuristic
neo-vapid decadence of "Light and Magic" is reminiscent of, well, our
own envisioned future of 'la musique' fashioned through the
synthetically euphoric eyes of the "me decade." Driven by its
intentional sterility, the dueling/converging post-human vocals of Helen
Marie and Mira Aroyo glide over Hunt and Wu's just-contained electro
beat orchestrations daring you to make one false move on the dance
floor. It is slick, it is smooth and so futuristic. [JO]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=60721770582&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=60721770581&refer_url=email

CHRIS DE LUCA AND PEABIRD "Deadly wiz da Disko" (K7) CD $16.99
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Chris de Luca takes a brief hiatus from Funkstorung and enlists
fellow musician Peabird to release the hip hop/IDM fusion of "Deadly
wiz da Disko." Funkstorung have always been big hip hop fans and it
has definitely come through in their music, but never before like this.
Chris de Luca and Peabird are out to give Prefuse 73, Dabrye,
Machine Drum and the rest of the hip hop/IDM headz a run for their
money. The opening track entitled "Sooperglitcher," with guest MC
Beans, is worth the price of the album alone. Starting like a melodic
electronic track, about 45 seconds in the beat kicks and Beans
slaughters all with his MC skills. It's amazing and easily as good as
anything on APC's "Arrythmia" LP. Each track will have you nodding
your head while vocals and beats are cut up, spliced and glitched.
This record is a must for any independent hip hop fan looking to push
the boundaries of the genre, and in my opinion it is equally as good as
Prefuse 73's "Vocal Studies and Uprock Narratives." Highly
Recommended. [JS]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=73000371302&refer_url=email

AMALGAMATED SONS OF REST "Amalgamated Sons of Rest" (Galaxia) CD/LP $8.99/$7.99
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Before hitting play, I had no doubt in my mind on what
Amalgamated Sons of Rest would sound like. The three
contributors, Will Oldham, Jason Molina from Songs: Ohia, and
Appendix Out frontman Ali Roberts, are all highly regarded
songwriters among the close-knit circle of indie rock's rural
country/folk performers. (Molina and Roberts' respective bands took
their early cues from Palace Brothers and cut their teeth with singles
on Oldham's Palace label.) So it's no surprise that this super group of
sort would bring dark, mordant odes of sad reflection and some revery,
but believe me this is a good thing. Paul Oldham's invisible production
barely frames these six tracks of original and traditional songs, but
herein there's always glimmer of hope amidst the brooding. Their cover
of Owen Hand's "My Donal" is haunting. The fragile harmonies could
have been sung by three centagarians passing on seaward memories
from long ago. [GH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=70293200162&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999183101&refer_url=email

SYSTEM "System" (Scape) CD $15.99
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From Pole's Scape label comes a collaboration comprised of
producers Future 3, Dub Tractor, Acustic and Opiate (co-producer
of Bjork's "Vespertine"). Delicate digital and sample looped
textures are applied with almost pixel-like precision. This is
underpinned by reverberating bass-tones, the sounds slowly getting
weightier, almost sub-aquatic in depth. The overall effect is a
spacially cosmic yet intricately layered sound-SCAPE.
Recommended. [GA]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875271132&refer_url=email

DJ/RUPTURE "Minesweeper Suite" (Tigerbeat6) CD $13.99
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There's a riot going on! The always-thoughtfully ballistic
dj/rupture offers us another selection of the crushed, diced,
sliced, edgy, yet funky variety. Take the energy from Public
Enemy's horns, the swirling, cut-n-paste world music meets
urban destruction of Muslimgauze, even the noise-as-funk vibe
of the Boredoms, or the slightly tart flavor of DJ Assault. It's all
here in quality as well as quantity. His skill lies in juxtaposing
hip-hop, dancehall, IDM, jungle, or whatever else catches his ears
and imagination into his own bitches brew. This one could no doubt
have your head nodding, feet tapping, hands waving, effortlessly. Or
it could invoke a blackout or seizure, depending on your mind state.
All are possible here in a world where anything goes. It may be a bitter
pill for some, but if you can engage yourself long enough the sonic
revolution is not far out of reach. Recommended. [DG]

MICHAEL HURLEY "Sweetkorn" (Trikont) CD$14.99
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Brand new record just released on the always-dependable German
label Trikont. Still familiar as your favorite sweater, Michael Hurley
continues to knock out a new gem every few years and this present
recording is no exception. There are plenty of high lonesome lullabies
to cook some soup to as the winter chill threatens to set in. Not a
clunker in the bunch, recommended. [MK]

MS. JOHN SODA "Drop Equals Scene" (Morr) CD $9.99
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The opening cut on "Drop Equals Scene" is the hardest rocking
moment on any Morr Music release so far, period. The tambourine,
distorted organ, and breathy vocals bring to mind early Stereolab
and the better tracks on the new Spoon record; it's a really great
song. It's the tracks that come afterwards that make this EP from
Ms. John Soda, the alter-ego of Stefanie Bohm (Couch) and her
collaborator Micha Acher (the Notwist and Tied & Tickled Trio),
one of the most perplexing releases I've heard all year. With two
electronic/indie-pop tracks (DNTEL meets Lali Puna meets the
Notwist meets god knows what else), and a mostly-solo piano
piece that might have been inspired by Mum and Aphex Twin's
ambient works, you have to wonder why they chose these four
songs to put together. I don't mean that they're not all really
excellent pieces of music; it's just that they're so different from each
other. While listening to it I couldn't help but imagine what the songs
in between each of these might be like if it were expanded into a
full-length. It sounds to me like they might be capable of creating
something to rival "Neon Golden" as one of my favorite records of the
year. But this is all we've got to tide us over until they put something
else out, and I have to admit that it's pretty damn impressive. This is
another home run from Acher. Very highly recommended. (Their tracks
on the new Morr Music compilation are also very good). [RH]

FERTILE GROUND "Seasons Change" (Counterpoint) CD $21.99  
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Hailing from Baltimore, this three-plus-member collective has
previously released two exceptional albums of positive, uplifting soul
jazz. On their third LP, "Seasons Change," they continue to reach
beyond the limited "nu-soul" tag to create rich organic music. Not
merely re-doing past traditions, Fertile Ground draw inspiration from
gospel, soul, blues, jazz, reggae and Latin with their own clear vision.
Think of the strong vocal presence of Abbey Lincoln and Doug and
Jean Carn, the complex arrangements and rhythms of 4-Hero, the
social/political prose of Gill Scott-Heron and Me'Shell NdegeOcello,
with the musical tones of Earth, Wind and Fire, Terry Callier and
Philip Cohran. Highest recommendation! [GA]

WILLIAM BASINSKI "The Disintegration Loops" (Mosex) CD $14.99
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William Basinski has been operating at the fringe of New York's
art-music scene for some time now. He has previously released
an album on the Raster-Noton label, and is also apparently
responsible for a bit of Antony and the Johnsons music. With this
release he'll hopefully come into quite a bit more renown. "The
Disintegration Loops" is comprised of elegantly beautiful orchestral
tape loops that he had recorded in the mid-'80s and recently
rediscovered. However, as the tapes were being transferred to a
digital master, the analogue spool began to disintegrate which
ended up further enhancing the already spectral quality of the music.
These events unfolded concurrently to the destruction of the World
Trade Center. Basinski witnessed the Twin Towers' decimation from
his home and decided to release this music as an elegy to that
moment, and indeed, he succeeded in creating a very fitting pastoral
landscape that admirably does not diminish or trivialize that tragic
event in any way. The music uncannily transcends time as the loops
swell and fray into seeming infinity. This is an undeniably tragic and
stunning tribute, and one of the best and most prescient records I've
heard all year. [MK]

CYNTHIA DALL "Sound Restores Young Men" (Drag City) CD/LP $13.99/$11.99
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Last night I dreamt that Cynthia Dall was kneeling on my chest
whispering stories of failed relationships in the same breathy sweet
voice that I have fallen in love with. I am not sure exactly how that
pertains to this review and you may choose to greet this album in
a different way, but needless to say I've been waiting for this one.
You have to understand that she has this gift for writing lyrics that
make me wince and want more. So basically, since the release of
"Untitled" in '96 I have wanted more, and "Sound Restores Young
Men" delivers on any and all expectations. These songs are brittle,
disturbing, and wry. Imagine Julee Cruise, Chan Marshall, and Lydia
Lunch speaking with one voice. From beginning to end there is this
intimate/stripped-bare quality that makes me feel like Cindy is here in
this room right now. I guess I should mention that both Tim Green and
Jim O'Rourke contribute to the playing and production on this album.
Cynthia is now two-for-two and lets just hope three isn't far away. A
brilliant record, one of the best this year. [AG]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=03617291322&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999184051&refer_url=email

[V.A.] "Sorted/40 Madchester Baggy Anthems" (Mos) CD $29.99    
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Wow. From what I understand, "Sorted" is (or was) a Brit-slang
term for being set to party. Having your look down, however sloppy
it might have appeared, and your uh, supplements in order. All of
this music comes from that type of culture. Like a "24 Hour Party
People"-vibe but without the brooding and really only the later
'innocence' and excess. The Farm, for instance, you cannot extract
from their time and place; and this goes for most of the acts or at
least works on hand here. Sub Sub's actually quite viable Chicago
House-isms do not relate to what those same guys are now
perpetrating as Doves (though there is perhaps a connection vis a vis
Manchester culture). Innocence in the romantic downtempo songs
and a British rationalization of excess in the dance ones. And Moby.

SHIPPING NEWS "RMSN/Variegated" (Quarterstick) CD $9.99   
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The final installment of the RMSN series (a trio of limited edition EPs
released over the past year), in the first half of "Variegated," Shipping
News continue to explore their more contemplative side. Stripped
down to simple cyclic repetitions of melody and rhythm, the
instrumentation in the subdued "Non-Volant" steadily builds above a
circular bass line. Guitar harmonics accent the vocals until the song
finally deconstructs into a swarming buzz of violins. Based on a
self-described "pact" between bandmates, this series of EPs was to
be written and recorded quickly with no previous discussion about
arrangements or individual parts. And though "Hay Maker" and "You
Can't Hide the Mark Inside" are math rock jam-stru-mentals (both songs
stylistically akin to group members Jason Noble and Jeff Mueller's
previous bands Rodan and June of 44 respectively), Shipping News steer
clear of self-indulgence. It won't surprise me if these tracks reappear
further developed on an upcoming album. ("Variegated" is limited to 1000
and comes beautifully handpackaged.) [GH]

XIU XIU "Chapel Of The Chimes" Absolutely Kosher CD $10.99
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Xiu Xiu's first full-length, "Knife Play," is in my mind one of the finest
examples of post-goth I have heard all year. Due to the fact that I still
can't stop playing it, I wish I had done something more to promote the
album, other than just telling a few close friends. I tend to describe their
sound as what early-Tuxedomoon might've sounded like had they mixed
together elements of Jeff Mills, the Smiths, Harry Partch, and the Cure.
Jamie Stewart sings just about every word with an equal intensity of
emotional pain and drama amid anything from bouts of silence to sheets
of noise. I was a little disappointed that they were not all dressed in black
when I saw them play earlier this year but I guess it is enough that they
are goth on the inside. With the "Chapel of the Chimes" EP, Xiu Xiu offer
us another five defiantly unique and equally difficult to predict songs, one
of which is a Joy Division/New Order cover of "Ceremony". [AG]

Richard Buckner "Impasse-ette" (Overcoat) CD $9.99
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A great little EP from one of the more beautiful and melancholy voices
in alterna-country, this record is a teaser for Buckner's new album
that's due out next month. It features the single from the album, two
acoustic versions of album tracks, and a handful of exclusives, mainly
studio pieces of Buckner's post-whatever experimentation. Lovely and
haunting, dark and lonely gems that will please his longtime fans, as
well as those of Wilco, et. al. [JM]

[V.A] "Colour And Pattern" (Apestaartje) CD $12.99
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After a brief silence Apestaartje is back with a stunning compilation
that melds minimalism and melody. The opening track by the band
Minamo takes post-rock a few chapters forward from Talk Talk to
where acoustic instrumentation mingles on even plane with patterns
of digital sound. I think Simon Reynolds would agree that this is a
glimpse of solitude that might've been had Bark Psychosis
experimented further. It is not hard to envision Graham Sutton or even
Mark Hollis working with this band, I would love to hear more. The second
track is a NYC collaboration between I-Sound (Full Watts/Transparent)
and Daniel Raffel (Apartment B) where a solemn keyboard lurches with
salient strokes amid twined soft molecules and sharp chimes -- inviting yet
elusive and deceptively emotional. The final two tracks are from Jorg-Maria
Zeger in which processed guitar work achieves a delicate, almost haiku-like,
meditation of gamelan structured repetition with a sense of buoyancy similar
to the work of Oren Ambarchi. The compilation has an overall effect of
something indescribable and austere. Another incredible release from this
young label. [AG]


ESG "Step Off" (Soul Jazz) CD/LP $15.99/$18.99   
Soul Jazz records have just released a brand new record from New York's
brilliant and very influential ESG. Their first album in almost a decade,
"Step Off" proves to be well worth the wait! Full review next week.      
CD  //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502632810064&refer_url=email
LP  //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502632800064&refer_url=email

IVY "Guestroom" (Minty Fresh) CD $15.99  
CD  //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=79662700452&refer_url=email

This week's contributors: Geof Albores [GA], Andy Giles [AG], Daniel
Givens [DG], Gerald Hammill [GH], Rob Hatch-Miller [RH], Dan
Hougland [DHo], Michael Klausman [MK] Nicole Lang [NL], Josh
Madell [JM], Jennifer Orozco [JO] and Jeremy Sponder [JS].

The Big Picture:

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