Other Music New Release Update
April 23, 2003

In This Week's Update:

Soft Pink Truth (Drew Daniel from Matmos)
Speicher (Mix by M. Mayer)
Flaming Lips
Future Sounds of Jazz Vol. 9
Wild Dub -- Dread Meets Punk Rocker (Various)
Goldfrapp (New Single)


SOFT PINK TRUTH "Do You Like To Party?" (Soundslike) CD $16.99   
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/softpink.rm
After two critically acclaimed 12"s, Drew Daniel of Matmos finally
releases his long awaited full-length under the Soft Pink Truth moniker.
"Do You Party?" is a far departure from Drew's work with Matmos.
Where Matmos is experimental cut-up electronics, the Soft Pink Truth
is funky and filled with samples galore -- the vocals are cut up, spliced
and distorted with elements of house, disco and electro dispersed
throughout. The Soft Pink Truth has much more in common with the
likes of Akufen, the Avalanches, and Herbert (hence, the album being
released on Herbert's Soundslike label). Drew also takes influence
from contemporary R&B producers like Timbaland and the Neptunes,
as homaged on the track "Soft Pink Missy" which is probably not just
influenced by Missy Elliott and Timbaland but probably contains
samples from them too. "Do You Party?" is a true genre breaking album,
one that is both for fans of dance and experimental music, but
all in all this debut is funky, funky, funky! Truly groundbreaking stuff!

[V.A.] "Speicher/Extra CD 1" (Kompakt) CD $15.99
Just when you thought Michael Mayer was only about chin-stroking,
pipe-smoking intellectual techno, he comes out with a mix of floor
rockers, mainly featuring tracks from the recent "Speicher" series on
Kompakt. Things get stomping right off the bat with the genre-shifting
Superpitcher mixed into T.Raumschmiere's "Musick". (Which has to
be the closest Kompakt will ever get to Marilyn Manson.) The club
lights are blasting full power by track three (Wassermann's "Ende der
Schoenzeit") mixed into M.Mayer's own "Love is Stronger Than Pride",
which utilizes lyrics from Sade's song of the same name, and is one of
my favorite tracks of 2002. Tracks six through nine are the
make-or-break section of this mix... You have to brace yourself. I was
turned off at first, but ever since my third listen, this section is
becoming my favorite part. Superpitcher appears again, bringing the
energy up, but it's Reinhard Voigt's "How We Rock" that brings that
mother home. His grooves are just unstoppable, and will inspire the
most jaded intellectual to pump his fist like a weekend warrior. Things
break down by track nine and take off into dreamland with Markus
Guentner's "Regensburg" (rmx). Epic Gas. The bell sounds will make
you close your eyes and smile. Finally, a groove reminiscent of
Voigt/Voigt's "Roxy" comes in, all sexy-like with Voigt/Voigt's "Vision
03". The surprise comes at the end when a burst of soundtrack strings
lead into what seems like a farewell conversation between a man and
a woman in a '50s German film noir. We are left to wonder whether it's
a farewell, or a happily-ever-after as it ends with the sound of a door
closing. [SM]

FLAMING LIPS "Fight Test" (Warner) CD $10.99   
I think this EP began its life as a promo-only radio single that Warner
Brothers sent around months ago as the Lips were touring with Beck
to promote their "Yoshimi" album. E-bay demand was high, so here is
a proper commercial release, artwork and all. The first track is just the
album version of "Fight Test" which also opens the album. But the EP
is nicely filled out with three covers from radio sessions last summer
(Kylie Minogue's "Can't Get You Out Of My Head", Beck's "The
Golden Age", and Radiohead's "Knives Out"), plus a remix and two
new originals. The cover versions are great, as the band gives the
disparate originals a custom Lips reworking that makes them their
own. The Scott Hardkiss remix of "Do You Realize" (the original
version is also from the "Yoshimi" album) retains Wayne Coyne's
quavering vocals and producer Dave Fridmann's lush orchestration over
a mellow house groove with flourishes of vocoder and breakbeats. And
the two new ones, although clearly b-sides, are great for the fans and
quite a few steps above throw-aways. If you love the Flaming Lips, you
probably need "Thank You Jack White (For the Fiber-Optic Jesus That
You Gave Me)". Well yeah, it's silly, but you said you loved the
Flaming Lips. [JM]

RJD2 "The Horror" (Def Jux) CD $13.99
"Deadringer", the Def Jux debut from Ohio's RJD2, was last year's
sleeper hit among the post-DJ Shadow instrumental hip hop
community. Blending a mix of '60s sci-fi drama, film score ambience,
found vocals, and MPC Beats into a groove not too far off from new
school luminaries like Dabyre, Daedelus, or Prefuse 73, but without
the digital cut-ups. "The Horror" is a new collection of b-sides, remixes,
a video, photos, and live footage that gives the completist a chance to
fill in the pieces. Includes the remix of "Final Frontier" featuring Vast
Aire and Aesop Rock -- more soulful collages of bedroom hip-hop. [DG]

POLE "45/45" (~scape) CD $6.99   
Stefan Betke's "Pole" (a name made synonymous with deconstructed,
submerged glitch dub) comes to the surface with a newly discovered
sense of melody, arrangement and a bit of uncharacteristic jigginess.
There's been a slight shift toward the "jiggietronic" feel of modern pop
soul, even amongst the ultra-serious avatars of modern electronic
music. While Pole "2" was popularly referred to as "too reggae", and
not "deep" enough, "45/45" takes new themes and explores them so
effectively that the listener is likely to become charmed beyond
remembering the artist they're listening to. Change is good. Track four,
"Back Home" is a slinky groove featuring sampled trap drums, a
looping upright bass melody and a warm chord surge that qualifies it
as the unofficial union of Farben and Tortoise. Believe it. "Round Two",
one of the two "jiggy" jams, manages to have that stunted funk without
being typically German/Teutonic. A simple break, micro melodica
notes, a looping synth stab that comes in at the right time, and a
tinkling water glass... In "The Bell" all the elements are masterfully
coaxed in little by little, steadily, and constantly ping-ponging off of
each other. A flawless EP, I haven't heard this much variety and
strength in a long time. Recommended. [SM]

WILDCHILD "Secondary Protocol" (Stones Throw) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/puttinin.rm
These days the only West Coast hip hop label of merit is the soulful,
funky, and sometimes downright dirty Stones Throw. This solo release
from Wildchild, of the infamous Lootpack crew, is a tasty blend of
beats and flavorful flow. Production is split in half by Oh No and the
unstoppable Madlib. Any fan of Madlib's bouncy, bleepy, and
intoxicated beats should pick this up with no question. Reminiscent of
Slum Village, Aceyalone (who guest on one track), pre-Roots
Common, or a less moralizing Talib Kweli. Guests include Medaphor,
Spontaneous, Planet Asia, and Vinia Mojica. A solid release with bits
of guitar, strings, piano, and film dialogue floating throughout.
Backpackers take note! [DG]

[V.A.] "Future Sounds of Jazz Vol. 9" (Compost) CD $15.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/along.rm
For just shy of a decade, Compost's "Future Sounds of Jazz"
compilations have always featured a wide array of electronic artists --
from Aphex Twin to Jazzanova to Fauna Flash -- fusing the organic
and free spirit of jazz with newer technological pursuits. This series
helped write the rules for what would become the staple audio
aesthetic for making the "cosmopolitan" scene. So now, with so much
of downtempo simply existing as aural wallpaper, Compost made sure
that the track selection for Volume 9 would be full of soul and
personality -- less "nu jazz" and more vocals and electronics. This
newest edition is in fact one of their strongest installments and features
a varied roster of artists and styles moving from the soulful grooves and
deep house of Hird (with Koop's Yukimi Nagano guesting on vocals)
and Foremost Poets, into break heavy-techno from Triplane and Tresor
staple Alexander Kowalski, and finally closing with atmospheric glitch
pop from Dntel (featuring Mia Doi Todd) and the beautifully lush "Folk
Song For Cello" from Savath & Savalas. Twelve tracks in all, including
unreleased material from Season, Stateless, Joseph Malik, Yellowtail,
Monassa and Julius Kammerl. [GH]

OPIATE "Sometimes" (Morr) CD $12.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/snowstor.rm
I hadn't heard Opiate before, so after seeing the album cover (a
nighttime city horizon obscured by a lambent yellow-green glow) I was
half-expecting to be sunken into the review-chair wrapped in a thick
haze while listening. Quite the contrary... "Sometimes" is by no means
sluggish or drugged-out like I thought it would be. Nor is it even close
to boring. There are many layers that reveal themselves each time
you'll play this. Each of the six songs has good ideas, and Opiate
builds upon them nicely. He creates a warm electronic environment
with exquisitely crafted moods and atmospheres. The use of "real"
instruments like piano or the sample of a violin augment these tracks
just the right amount, like a touch of the perfect spice. The glitchery is
not overused or superfluous in any way, and the "niiiice", catchy
beats are well programmed and well executed. There's an occasional
squiggle of digital debris that escapes into the ether somewhere, in the
guise of a displaced voice (see "Perdot"), or the swirling wisp of a
microscopic jet stream (see "opiTTT"). The pleasant, tingling, soft
crackle and wistful melody of "Snow Story" is as inviting as a mug of
hot cocoa in front of a fireplace, and "Stp!" is a sensuously funky cut!
Ah, this little album just gets better each time I listen to it. There are a
couple of moments where Opiate reminds me of his fellow countryman
Goodiepal (both are gifted with the seemingly effortless knack for an
irresistible melody), but this does not surprise me, it only convinces me
that "something different is in the water" over there in Denmark. My
only complaint about "Sometimes" is that it's only 23 minutes, and by
the end I'm left wanting more... well, I guess it's a good thing, right?
Short but sweet. Looking forward to the long player. [DD]

[V.A.] "Wild Dub/Dread Meets Punk Rocker" (Select Cuts) CD $15.99
Twenty years after the fact, finding a compilation of post-punk songs is
nothing new, yet showcasing the cross-cultural marriage of reggae and
punk, under the influence of dub is an area yet to be tapped. This
excellent collection from Select Cuts, subtitled "Dread Meets Punk
Rocker," focuses on the dubby side of the era. Tracks include dubs
from the Slits, Grace Jones, the Clash, Generation X, and Vivien
Goldman, as well as vocals from the Pop Group, the Ruts, Killing Joke,
Stiff Little Fingers, and PIL. Producers Dennis Bovell, Adrian Sherwood,
Mikey Dread and Martin Hannett handle the boards, recorded mostly
between '77 and '81. With rolling bass, staccato guitar, shuffling,
staggered, and rocking drums, all edgy, gritty, and unpredictable.
Includes insightful liner notes by Vivien Goldman. Recommended! [DG]

GOLDFRAPP "Train/Single" (Mute) CD $6.99   
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/train.rm
The kick-off single from Goldfrapp's much anticipated new album
"Black Cherry" may be more than just a hint of a new direction for
Will Gregory and Alison Goldfrapp. "Train" is far from the cinematic
scope of "Felt Mountain", the duo's beautiful album debut from almost
two years ago. Lush orchestration is replaced with buzz-saw
synthesizers and a stomping beat, even Alison's voice has gone from
sexy chanteuse to simply sexy. But amidst the sine waves and
pulsing analog synths, Goldfrapp steer clear of electroclash
detachment and deliver a catchy, stylized single which may give
Madonna a run for her money. The B-side, "Big Black Cloud, Little
White Lie," is cinematic, wistful and classic Goldfrapp. The CD single
also includes two remixes of "Train" (one by T. Raumschmiere) plus a
PC/Mac compatible video for "Train." [GH]

DOPPLEREFFEKT "Linear Accelerator" (Gigolo) CD $15.99
Like mad scientists, "sit-ting in the laboratory... a-na-ly-zing da-ta..",
the duo known as Dopplereffekt are excavating their way into the future.
Not the future that Autechre is into. More like the future imagined by
kids in the '70s, where astro-zombies might be lurking around the
corner and all you have is a lead pipe or crowbar to defend yourself.
The first three tracks are long, dark explorations into mindspace, the
shortest one clocking in at 13:56. Digital Throbbing Gristle, music for a
post-apocalyptic landscape, headcleaner, serious black hole type shit...
all describe these tracks well. While early Dopplereffekt was a clinical,
sci-fi/fetishistic peek into the future, this stuff goes beyond Phillip K.
Dick. In these soundscapes, life ceases, and what's left continues to
decay in a fallout infested atmosphere. The melodies return on tracks
four through six. "Myon Neutrino" is a retro-tech Dr. Who "search
scene" soundtrack made up of a bassline, a synth-piano loop, and a
hand played, eerie synth melody. "Z-Boson" is a dreamy sci-fi/time
traveler jam that explains all the "John Carpenter" references on the
label sticker. Here it sounds like the protagonist is infiltrating enemy
headquarters in the darkness of night... [SM]

HINT "Portakabin Fever" (Hombre/Ninja Tune) CD $14.99
Cheekily naming his brand of music "rural beat," Jonathan James
(aka Hint) recorded his first album in a "portakabin" (porta cabin)
behind his home in Sussex, England. Hint's debut is a little more
serious than this silly name for a genre and a few of his song titles
may suggest (e.g. "Why the Top 10 Sucks in 2002"). "Portakabin
Fever" is a melodic instrumental album in which guitars play as
important of a role as the hip hop beats and funky breaks. The jazz
samples and sweeping strings fit perfectly in the Ninja Tune mold,
but here Jame's production, assisted by 7stu7, is never overblown.
Instead, arrangements are light and spacious, allowing layers of
guitar and organic samples of piano and vibes to naturally weave
around each other and slowly build in their sweetly melodic
repetitions. [GH]

This week's contributors: Daniel DeRogatis [DD], Daniel Givens [DG],
Gerald Hammill [GH], Josh Madell [JM], Scott Mou [SM], and Jeremy
Sponder [JS].  


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