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Other Music New Release Update
February 12, 2003

In This Week's Update:

Erlend Oye
Jan Jelinek
Ted Leo & the Pharmacists
Massive Attack
John Fahey
Elektronische Musik Volume 2 (Various Artists)
American Song Poem (Various Aritsts)
Revlon 9 (First EP on 10")
Mickey and the Soul Generation (Reissue)
Dorine Muraille
Nick Cave
Funki Porcini


ERLEND OYE "Unrest" (Astralwerks) CD $16.99
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Erlend Oye is one-half of Kings of Convenience and also the voice behind
the most memorable Royksopp tracks. The record started as a concept
where Erlend went to 10 cities to write and record songs, each one with a
different producer. With collaborators such as Morgan Geist (one-half of
Metro Area), Soviet, Prefuse 73, Schneider TM, Mr. Velcro Fastener, Jolly
Music, Kompis, Minizza, Bjorn Torske, and Telegram, he has created a
beautiful selection of vocal-driven electronic pop. The first single "Sudden
Rush" could very well be a Pet Shop Boys out-take; it's that good. "Ghost
Trains" has Morgan Geist and his amazing take on filtered disco along with
Erlend's knack for melodies to create the best track I have heard in months.
The Renaissance man himself, Prefuse 73 throws a Dr. Dre influenced beat
at Erlend, and the man definitely takes this and runs to create the brilliant
"Every Party Has a Winner and a Loser". Ten tracks in all, and not a bad
one in the bunch. This album is sure to bring indie-dance crossover more
credibility and establish Erlend Oye as a Renaissance man in his own right.
Highly Recommended. [JS]

JAN JELINEK "La Nouvelle Pauvrete" (Scape) CD $15.99
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Few artist have been able to feel equally comfortable in the realm of
experimental sound, and that meant for dance-floor exploration; Jan Jelinek
has successfully accomplished both. Drawing from his previous works as
Farben and with "Computer Soup," Jelinek and his fictitious band the
Exposures have fused both concepts into his latest endeavor "La Nouvelle
Pauvrete," creating a beautifully balanced album that is as haunting as it is
funky and peaceful. Dry, filtered micro-samples are melded with grainy,
glitch rhythms, bringing to life songs that range from murky and somber, to
minimal, mystic, bubbly bliss. While Jelinek's previous efforts were
exercises based on black music, house or dub, he now supplements these
with a segment of musical history new to his compositions -- classic white
rock, pop and folk. Jelinek even lends his voice to the mixture, conceptually
commenting on the influences of Stevie Wonder, Sun Ra, and Throbbing
Gristle. If you believe in the works of Brinkmann and Delay, you must buy
this record; you simply can't go wrong. [JD]

TED LEO/PHARMACISTS "Hearts of Oak" (Lookout) CD $12.99
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Since his days fronting the mod-ish punk/pop hybrid Chisel, there was no
denying that Ted Leo knew how to write a damn fine tune. Following their
break-up in 1997, he hopped around several projects but 2001's "Tyranny
of Distance" showed the singer-guitarist in top form, having perfected his
songcraft. His latest album "Hearts of Oak" continues to pull from all the
best -- the Who, the Jam, Elvis Costello, etc. Throw in an obvious love of Thin
Lizzy and some pointed social commentary springing from his younger
years spent in the Washington D.C. hardcore scene, Ted Leo, along with
his Pharmacists, is creating music that's much more than simple style-
copping. Song for song, almost every track bounces along supercharged
power chords, precision riffs and Leo's passionate vocal hooks. The
production is crisp but far from overcooked; forget overdubs, when Leo
breaks for a guitar solo you can almost hear the distortion pedal click the
moment his rhythm playing switches to a lead. The Pharmacists perform
with an Attractions-like abandon during "Tell Balgeary, Balgury is Dead,"
while both "The High Party" and "Bridges, Squares" are full of Squeeze-like
melodies. The latter is literally a walking tour of Boston clouded with
nostalgia and somehow Leo slips the word "ossify" into its sticky pop chorus
without coming off as pretentious. During "Where Have all the Rude Boys
Gone," Leo flirts with an obvious affection for Thin Lizzy, his acrobatic guitar
riff dangles above a back-beat that could be lifted from "The Boys are Back
in Town," but at the same time his lyrics reminisce about England's 2-tone
movement and the Specials. In spite of some retrofitting and a few playful
juxtapositions of music styles, the songs are timely rooted in the present
in much the same way that Paul Weller could borrow from Ray Davies and
Pete Townsend and still be his own voice. Thankfully, unlike the current
trend in rock music, substance wins over style. [GH]

MASSIVE ATTACK "100th Window" (Virgin) CD $16.99
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For their fourth full-length, Massive Attack explore the fragile tension of
everyday life. Vocalists featured are mainstay, Horace Andy, founding
member 3-D, and veteran newcomer, Sinead O'Connor. This is a dark yet
ethereal digital journey, full of depth and dissonance, more than their usual
collage of soul, dub, beats and rhymes. Voices surround you in dark
atmosphere, effected and delayed into echoing whispers, shards of sound,
trails of a soul. These are lullabies for a world falling apart, shattering into
pieces, much like the glass figure on the cover, perhaps falling from the
album's title, "100th Window."  Digital pulses replace beats while heavy
synths and Middle Eastern influenced strings pull at your emotions. Living
somewhere between Morr Music, Pole, Radiohead and Sigur Ros, their new
album is basically a platform for 3-D to showcase his talents as vocalist,
arranger, and conceptualist. "100th Window" is also co-produced by Neil
Davidge who helped flesh out "Mezzanine." Nine tracks at over 70-minutes,
recommended!! [DG]

JOHN FAHEY "Red Cross" (Revenant) CD $17.99
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Conceived and created just months prior to his unfortunate passing in 2001,
"Red Cross" is a triumphant end to an astonishingly original body of work.
A true American maverick, John Fahey combined elements of folk, blues,
country and psychedelic music to create his own unique style of Americana.
With "Red Cross" Fahey brings us on a tour of his entire musical output,
from the electrified distortion and reverb of his recent CDs to the beautiful
acoustic fingerpicking of his early LPs. At once haunting and full of life, a
timeless masterpiece that will surely live on with the finest of Fahey's early
works. Packaged in an exquisite cardstock sleeve with liner notes by Glen
Jones. [KH]]

[V.A.] "Elektronische Musik 2" (Traum) CD $15.99
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Traum Schallplatten's latest compilation "Elektronische Musik -
Interkontinental 2," compiled by Riley Reinhold (aka Triple R), continues
where the first left off (if you don't have Volume 1, buy that too), introducing
us too new and highlighting the finest talent in the world of electronics. With
the release of this double LP and single CD, each being slightly different
rendering both necessary, you will hear a healthy mix of dancefloor,
headphone, and ultra-ambient arrangements. Traum favorites Process,
Broker/Dealer, Jirku, and Smartypants are almost outdone by a host of
international lesser knowns and new comers: Bern + Lud (Frankreich),
Mikkel Metal (Danemark), Dublee (Japan), Fotel Folyamat (Australian), Fax
from Calexico (Mexico), and Red Loafen (Finland). Not to say that their
contributions weren't tremendous, but these new guys really have their
finger on the pulse. As you would expect, the vinyl offers the more club
attractive titles, but is shorter than the CD by three tracks and lacks the
video produced by Cologne visual artist Yvette Klein. Equally as important
to your collection as "Total 4." Stellar! [JD]

[V.A.] "American Song Poem" (Bar-None) CD $13.99
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Perhaps you've seen the ads buried in the back pages of comic books and
self-help magazines: "Poems Wanted For Songs and Records", "Set Your
Lyric To Music", and similar come-ons. For a small fee, hard-luck musicians
will create a hopeful hit from your humble musings; you can choose the
genre, maybe the tempo, and from $16.95 and a poem, your record is born.
Anyway, this collection features 28 tracks of this stuff, mostly from the '60s
and '70s. Intensely personal, weird, insights into the mind of the common
man, or something... tracks about politics, outer space, hippies,
Argentinean Cowboys, and the color yellow. If you are at all intrigued, take
a listen to Gene Marshall performing "Jimmy Carter Says Yes," and just try
to forget it. For those of you who collected the "Beat of the Traps", "MSR
Madness" and similar compilation LPs a few years ago, this CD does not
have much new material. But it is an excellent introduction to the wonderful
world of American Song-Poems, and besides the endless pleasure this
disc holds for the listener, your support will somehow validate the hopes
and dreams of these lonely poets past. Seriously, just take a minute to
listen. [JM]

REVLON 9 "Revlon 9" (Torncrantz) LP $6.99
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(Originally self-released last year by the band on CD-R, Revlon 9's debut
EP is finally available for the first time on vinyl with this super-limited 10"!)
There is a new reason for me to continue my musical obsession with
Sweden and it is completely non-psych related!!! The group known as
Revlon 9 proves that fantastic music is currently being made there. Born out
of two beat-up guitars and a drum machine (now including a bass and live
drums), they breathe some serious life into the scarcely living beast known
as punk rock. And I mean punk rock you can dance to. Really dance to. I
dare you to listen to "Someone Like You" or "The Seventh Seal" and keep
still. I'll break it down: if you are digging on the current NYC fuzzed out
disco-rock phenomenon, (i.e. you bought the Rapture 12" or let's say the
A Certain Ratio re-issue, or you already own any Family Fodder or Wire...
need I go on?) YOU NEED TO CHECK THIS OUT. I swear they will have
you sweating in no time. Sexy. Stomping.Satisfying. [NL]

MICKEY & THE SOUL GENERATION "Iron Leg" (Calitex) CD $15.99
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The last sentence in Josh Davis' (DJ Shadow) opening paragraph for his
liner notes to the fantastic new reissue of the complete works of Mickey
and the Soul Generation should probably negate the need for my own self
to write any further: "Mickey and the Soul Generation are my favorite funk
band." Now such a statement coming from a legendary connoisseur of
funky musics as Mr. Davis says a lot. For those of you not filling out
your mail order form already, Mickey and the Soul Generation were a San
Antonio based funk outfit operating in the late-'60s and early-'70s. They had
a fair amount of regional success and did plenty of touring on the Chitlin
Circuit. Unfortunately, they weren't a high priority for their own record label
and financial stress as well as family priorities put an end to the band and
relegated their career to obscurity. In the late-'90s, a couple of their tunes
started popping up on bootlegs and 45s by the group became holy grail
items to rare funk collectors. I personally associate a few of these songs
with some of the funner dance parties I've had the privilege of attending, and
after you pick this up you will to. Think the best of the Meters and early
Kool and the Gang, snappy breaks and a truly innovative stretching of the
boundaries of funk and R&B. One of the essential reissues of the year. [MK]

DORINE MURAILLE "Mani" (Fatcat) CD $14.99
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Dorine Muraille offers an album of playful digi-folk immediately reminiscent
of Nobekazu Takemura's recent collaborations with Tortoise. (A sticker
planted on the package by the label states that the album exists alongside
peers "like Fennesz or Oval." Allow me to stress the part about "peers
like..." because to say that this music exists alongside Fennesz or Oval is
like saying the atmosphere on planet Earth is similar to the atmosphere on
Mars.) The music is similar to Oval, but the down to earth folkiness (vocals
in French, doublebass and piano) and the childlike sweetness exposes
more personality. (Oval on Similac, maybe?) Track 2 begins with sweet
vocals and a disjointed Oval-like, cutup melody that sounds as if generated
by a mix between three Sony Walkmans. The music moves in sections,
suddenly introducing droning horns in a pastoral Chicago post-rock style.
Finally, the track breaks down into broken distortions, confused bleeps, and
points of silence in a very-late Joan of Arc style. Many of the tracks seem
like they are made up of improvised parts, done very in-the-moment, and
then connected to make music that shifts suddenly, almost as soon as a
mood is created. An exquisite corpse that fits the term: "A.D.D.I.D.M."

NICK CAVE "Nocturama" (Anti) CD $16.99
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The extroverted catharsis of Nick Cave has continued to evolve with each
record, while his venomous swagger still attains those familiar precarious
heights of drama, "Nocturama" comes the closest to revealing something
that we haven't been allowed to see before... the real man. I could be wrong
but most of the songs, written in the first-person perspective, are overflowing
with a strange newfound beauty. Is this what marital bliss sounds like? He
is joined again by the two Bad Seed lifers Blixa Bargeld and Mick Harvey,
with help from Warren Ellis, Jim Sclavunos, Thomas Wydler, Martyn Casey,
and Chris Bailey of the Saints (who sings on "Bring It On"). "Nocturama" is
brooding, explosive, reflective, and possibly Nick Cave's most fully realized
and consistent record to date. I look forward to the rumbling torrent that
these songs will churn up live when they come through town on their US tour
later this year. The initial copies of the CD are packaged with a limited
bonus DVD that contains a performance of "Babe I'm On Fire." [AG]

FUNKI PORCINI "Fast Asleep" (Ninja Tune) CD $17.99
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For their return, Funki Porcini pick up exactly where they last left us.
Slightly cinematic, slo and lo tempos crawl. This is another collection
of trip-hopulous, drum 'n' bass-y grooves with light, jazzy flavors
running throughout. [DG]

KAITO "Special Love" (Kompakt) CD $15.99
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Kaito confirms my M.Gottsching "E-2, E-4" suspicions from a previous
review with his new album, "Special Love. (Actually a new album based on
his previous release, "Special Life.") Here he removes the beats from
already existing tracks to expose the hypnotic synth stabs and melodic
pulses that make up his trademark style. The tracks give a sense of
anticipation, suspending the listener in midair. It helps to remember that
these tracks are meant to be played in a dance/club environment, and while
they function on their own as a sort of extension of the "pop ambient"
series, they would also be killer DJ tools if mixed into other tracks. [SM]

This week's contributors: J Dennis [JD], Andy Giles [AG], Daniel Givens
[DG], Gerald Hammill [GH], Kean Holtkamp [KH], Michael Klausman [MK],
Nicole Lang [NL], Josh Madell [JM], Scott Mou [SM] and Jeremy Sponder.


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