Other Music New Release Update
July 30, 2003

In This Week's Update:

Cedric Brooks (Reissue)
Amon Tobin
Super Furry Animals
The Action (Reissue)
Branches and Routes (Fat Cat compilation)
Joyce/Angelo (Reissue)
Dennis Bovell (Compilation)
Ethiopiques 15
Keith Hudson (Reissue)
Dizzee Rascal
Kenneth Higney (Reissue)
Michael Yonkers (Reissue)
C-Rayz Walz
Bruce Palmer (Reissue)
Down In the Basement (Old Hat compilation)

Just In:

Cool As Ice (Various Artists)
Joe Gibbs
U.N.K.L.E. (DJ mix)
Senor Coconut
Apparat Organ (CD Single)


CEDRIC IM BROOKS "Light of Saba" (Honest Jon's) $17.99
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Another holy grail find this week comes from the store turned record label,
Honest Jon's -- this release, a collection of the excellent work of Cedric
IM Brooks and his Light of Saba collective/band. Born in Kingston in 1943,
Brooks bridged the gap between roots, reggae and jazz effortlessly. He
first started playing saxophone and clarinet in a group that included
Ernest Ranglin, Tommy McCook, and Roland Alphonso. Having been inspired by
Ethiopian music, and the music of John Coltrane, Sonny Rollins, and Pharoah
Sanders, an extended stay in Philadelphia '68 landed him playing with Sun
Ra. There he became inspired to form his own open/free musical collective.
Returning to Jamaica, Brooks began recording his soulful and hard funk
brand of reggae-jazz, inviting musicians to live collectively, including
poets and dancers. This purposeful mixing of free jazz with Rasta
spirituality and nyabinghi drums first resulted in Count Ossie & the Mystic
Revelation of Rastafari's album, "Groundation". That record, as well as
this new collection, are both absolutely amazing. The playing is spot on,
the spirit and vibe intact, moving from slow burning pieces like the spooky
guitar and synths of "Lambs Bread Collie" to the joyful female vocal chant
on "Nobody's Business." Also included is a cover of "Song For My Father",
and the disco influenced "Free Up Black Man". This is heavy, serious stuff.
Brooks has been included in the "Studio One Scorchers" and the Trojan
"Nyabinghi" box set, but this is the first collection focused on his
output. His influence is finally being exposed, and recognition due. Give
thanks. [DG]

AMON TOBIN "Verbal Remixes and Collaborations" (Ninja Tune) CD $9.99
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Though not a proper album, Amon Tobin's latest collection of collaborations
and remixes doesn't stray too far from his dark and sweeping world. The
first five songs are new collaborations -- it seems that the guests supply
the melodies while allowing Tobin to create his trademark jazz noir. The
opening untitled track with Kid Koala is five minutes of sweeping and
spacey dub that builds around light echoed piano staccatos and a lone sample
of a trombone reminiscent of the Specials' "Ghost Town," and continues to
move across slow jazzy drum breaks and eerie strings. The next cut, a
collaboration with Bonobo (another Ninja Tune labelmate), picks up the pace
without becoming too heavy, the main melodic focus coming from a sample of
a slinky stand up bass. P-Love's contribution "Hot Korean Moms" is cut up
and fucked up, where skittering beats and glitchy breaks try to pummel over
the funk, while Steinski's collaboration pushes the vocal melodies and
beats through a slight Kraftwerkian filter, the result being a song that's
spacey, robotic and trudging. The last four cuts are all remixes of
"Verbal" from Tobin's last proper full-length, and each artist leaves their
distinct signature. Prefuse 73 emphasizes the cut-up funk and skittering
spliced vocals, Topo Gigio wraps the song in this hazy gauze, while Kid
606's digital dose of dancehall leaves the song barely recognizable. But
Boom Bip's treatment is outstanding, by sucking out almost all of the
original track's chaotic tension and then adding a real time played bass,
the song turns lulling and epic and dare I say "post-rock." Definitely not
just an album of filler or throwaway, any fan of Amon Tobin's dark,
cinematic etherworld will enjoy this release. (CD also includes a Quicktime
video for "Verbal.") [GH]

SUPER FURRY ANIMALS "Phantom Power" (XL) $14.99
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Opening with a lustrous snippet from pop-psych obscurity Wendy and Bonnie,
the new Super Furry album soon settles into delicately submerged
country-rock, a sound which for a few tracks takes Neil Young's and even
Ian Matthews' (ex-Fairport, check it out) works at face value. This band is
now an institution of sorts, one of full-bore, veritably freakish good
taste... and now one exhibiting admirable restraint as well. The
tunesmithery (mainly via Gruff Rhys' vox) rears its effortless head no
matter which style is adopted, and there a few neurotically amped numbers
peppered throughout, but nothing so readily disjunctive as was found on the
previous, and in its own right amazing album "Rings Around the World." The
last track on the album manages to combine virtually every popular genre
here at Other Music, 'brand new retro' electronic and pop/rock archival
alike, and it sounds not forced at all... It sounds like it's every other
band that's crazy for not (usually) similarly clearing their own path in
this manner. [DHo]

THE ACTION "Rolled Gold" (Reaction) $14.99
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Signed to EMI by George Martin (y'know, the Beatles producer), the Action
were a pretty passable mod outfit along the lines of early R&B oriented Who
and Small Faces. But like so many bands of that time, they just couldn't
seem to get any chart success. Members came and went, recording contracts
expired and it seemed like that was it. But then the remaining members,
like so many other youths of the era, discovered marijuana and LSD and
their true inner creativity was allowed to shine through. "Rolled Gold,"
while technically demos (an album was never actually released from this
period of the band) stands as a highly accomplished statement all on its
own. If anything, the songs are well served by the slightly roughhewn
quality of the recordings. As rocking as anything off of "Ogden's Nut Gone
Flake" and as catchy and ambitious as anything on "S.F. Sorrow". "Rolled
Gold" has already been declared the shit by such notable luminaries as
Robert Pollard, Matthew Sweet, those guys in the Beachwood Sparks, and even
Phil Collins (!). [MK]

[V.A] "Branches and Routes" (FatCat) CD $10.99
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"Branches and Routes" is a two-disc history of FatCat Records past,
present, and future. The adventurous seven-year-old British label garnered
a whole lotta attention in 1999 when they released an EP by a little band
called Sigur Ros. Since then, FatCat has become one of the most financially
successful indie labels in the UK, if not the world, yet they continue to
bring exposure to some pretty unusual artists that might otherwise find
homes on much smaller labels (including OM alums Animal Collective, who
sadly are nowhere to be found on this comp). Highlights of the two eclectic
discs include great tracks from Matmos, Kid 606, the Dylan Group, and
Fennesz that were previously available only on vinyl, plus an exclusive
track from Sigur Ros, Funkstorung's sublime remix of Bjork's "All Is Full
Of Love," a cut from the forthcoming Crescent record, and one of the best
tracks from the 2002 Black Dice album "Beaches And Canyons," which was
released by FatCat in the UK. All in all, it's a great introduction to the
label, and for $10.99 you really can't beat a compilation this jam-packed
with great stuff. [RH]

NELSON ANGELO E JOYCE "Nelson Angelo E Joyce" (Odeon) $18.99
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A stunning collaboration from 1972. Nelson Angelo was a great, if somewhat
overlooked Brazilian songwriter and arranger mainly known outside of the
U.S. for his appearance on Milton Nascimento's classic "Clube da Esquina"
(the present record is practically its sister album). Joyce had primarily
been known as a bossa nova interpreter with a couple of albums and some
singles under her belt. Prior to this record they were part of a
short-lived quartet called A Tribo which experimented with the conventions
of bossa nova. After the dissolution of that group, Angelo and Joyce teamed
up for the recording of this very, very beautiful album of hushed
atmospherics and sweet melodies. The emphasis is on space, with songs
constructed around Joyce's delicate acoustic guitar and Angelo's moody
string and woodwind arrangements. The songs are given so much room to
breathe that even a bit of fuzz guitar seems unobtrusive. A very subtle
masterpiece, and one of the finest and most successful explorations into
Brazilian song following the initial heyday of the Tropicalia movement.

DENNIS BOVELL "Decibel" (Pressure Sounds) $14.99
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Out now on Pressure Sounds is a collection of rockers and lovers dub from
the great Dennis Bovell. Many may not know of his production work for such
varied artist like Linton Kwesi Johnson, the Slits the Pop Group, Orange
Juice, Fela Kuti, Ryuichi Sakamoto, and On-U Sound, or for founding the
first UK reggae band, Matumbi. Both the "Wild Dub" and "Rough Trade Post
Punk 01" compilations include productions by Bovell! Born in Barbados, and
then coming to England in '65 gives him a sound and palette slightly
different than his strictly JA comrades. A solo artist, also known as
Blackbeard, as well as producer, Bovell introduced British pop and American
soul stylings into the rude boy lead soundsystems. He plays bass and guitar
on most of the tracks, guiding the soulful melodies through his slippery
dub creations. Other musicians include Style Scott, Rico Rodriguez and
Michael Rose. Beautiful guitar and horn melodies shimmer, float and cascade
in and out of focus, while the drums and bass hold the rhythm steady.
Recommended!! [DG]

[V.A] "Ethiopiques 15" (Buda Musiqe) CD $15.99
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The Ethiopiques series is dedicated to showing the incredibly diverse
kaleidoscope of Ethiopian music, mostly from the late-'60 to the mid-'70s,
with two exceptions in the '90s. "Europe Meets Ethiopia" is the result of
four musicians from France, Germany and Holland who fell in love with the
music of this time and came to Ethiopia to learn. They teamed up with 12
exceptional musicians from Addis and together created a fusion, though this
is not obvious at first. Jazz and improvisation are combined with vocalist,
call and response choruses and circular shifting compositions. The variety
of arrangements and the fullness of harmonies pull you in quickly. In other
words, this volume feels a lot like many of the previous ones. Which is a
good thing... It seems like the four guests primarily adapt to their
surroundings with a few noticeable exceptions. Some European improv comes
in waves, melding with the chunky and shuffled percussion. "Koto" features
a strange searing saxophone/rock based electric guitar conversation. But
for the most part this volume feels like a response to the popularity of
the series. It could have easily work without the guests, but again, I
still like it. [GA]

KEITH HUDSON "Playing It Cool" (Basic Replay) CD $16.99
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Keith Hudson, known as the "dark prince of reggae," reaches absolutely
Hamlet-esque proportions of unhingedness on this lost classic unearthed by
Germany's Basic Channel for their new Basic Replay imprint. Listening to
this record is like watching a psychological drama unfold before your
eyes-- one that's so compelling you can't turn away. "Playing It Cool" (bid
for irony?) was produced by the great Lloyd (Bullwackie) Barnes and
features the usual Wackies records crew-- Love Joys, Barrett Bros., Wayne
Jarrett, etc. Seriously deep "Maggot Brain"-era Funkadelic sounding rhythms
open the album and periodically creep back in, with Hudson repeating that
he's "Allll Right" like it's a mantra that he has to convince himself of.
What begins as tightly wound funk is slowly unspooled into sub-aquatic dub
by Barnes' gritty production. Kick drums sound ten feet deep. The vibe is
loose and dispersed. Thoughts pour out of Hudson's mouth like he's writing
a stream of consciousness letter to a departed lover, but even when he lets
the sun shine in and sings "I can't do without you," you still get the
feeling she may have actually left four or five months ago. One of the most
compulsively fascinating records I've listened to in ages. Deeply
mysterious and brilliant. [MK]

DIZZEE RASCAL "Boy In Da Corner" (XL) CD $22.99
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Remember last summer when everybody was talking 'bout The Streets, or last
Spring when Ms. Dynamite was the latest rage. The summer of '03 brings
Dizzee Rascal's  "Boy in Da Corner," the latest to emerge from the UK
two-step/ultra digital hip-hop scene. Being stabbed at an UK festival may
have solidified his hardcore status but he's no 50 Cent. This is the oddest
record I've heard in a while, weird as hell, but I kinda like it. (I also
liked both the Streets and Ms. Dy as well, but they did take time). This is
like hearing a Neptunes or Swizz Beatz production for the first time, or
Busta Rhymes' solo records, but 10 times freakier. Arcade game/digital
sounds swirl, bounce, snap, and stretch around the background, while Mr.
Rascal, rides the rhythm like he's doing gymnastics -- think Southern Crunk
with a heavy British accent. Deep bass tones fill the sparse, slightly
dancehall speed tracks, or they create an energetic distorted pulse to the
frantic rhythms, sometimes like Autechre or Funkstroung, but danceable.
Dropping the "lad in his flat, smoking fags and taking the piss" that made
the Streets so enjoyable, this is the current sound from hip hop side of
Black Britain, with the usual lyrical fare of girls and street tales,
parties, etc. The UK garage/two-step/hip-hop fusion scene is HUGE is
England, but outside of Europe it's hard for groups to break through.
Dizzee Rascal has the speed, attitude, humor, and skills to keep the UK in
the game, and possibly get them over. If you love the Bug record, Miami
bass, Busta Rhymes, Roots Manuva, dancehall, or even 50 cent, check this
out. [DG]

KENNETH HIGNEY "Attic Demonstration" (Kebrutney) CD $14.99
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Kenneth Higney. "Attic Demonstration." The kind of record we only make in
America. Recorded in '76 as publishing demos in an, uh, attic, and never
intended for commercial release, Higney got tired of waiting for the
publishing community to take notice and ended up pressing a couple hundred
to distribute himself. Too obscure to fade into anything, 20-some-odd-years-
distance, and a public that constantly clamors for the next bit of
outsider Americana freakiness -- you've got yourself a bona fide Cult
Artiste. Higney is this year's Gary Wilson, and I mean that in the best
possible sense. Like Wilson, Higney occasionally sounds as if he'd had his
fair share of relational psychodramas, for instance check "Can't Love A
Woman Like That," when she signs her name...."it's an autograph," and she's
"too opinionated and not very gentle." Seemingly off kilter one-handed funk
containing some blazingly original guitar solos alternate with folk-loner
testimonials. As Scott here at the shop said, "This is what I always wanted
Jandek to sound like!" The album closes with a post "Attic Demonstration"
seven-inch in which Higney lays down an avant-disco vibe so out of whack
that it wouldn't be outta place on the New York Noise comp. Awesome for
real people. [MK]

MICHAEL YONKERS "Microminiature Love" (Sub Pop) CD $13.99
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If this album had seen a proper release in its day, the cult career it
would have launched for Michael Yonkers might have put him in the ranks of
Mayo Thompson, Roky Erickson, and David Thomas. The Sub Pop reissue of his
debut record, which came out as an extremely limited vinyl-only release on
De Stijl records in 2002 (more than 30 years after it was recorded),
includes seven tracks of seriously off-kilter outsider psych, plus six
home-recorded bonus tracks. Because the sessions for the "Microminiature
Love" album apparently lasted less than an hour, the performances have an
unbelievable energy and urgency that make the music equal parts psych,
garage rock, and proto-punk. The fuzzy open-tuned guitar riffing perfectly
complements Michael's darkly warbling, ever-so-slightly out of tune vocals.
Apparently Yonkers was also something of a technological wunderkind,
building many of his own distortion and echo effects and putting together a
fully-functioning studio in the basement of his parents' Minneapolis home.
Now that I've heard these tracks, I wish I could go back in time to check
out one of Michael's bizarre hometown live performances, which climaxed
when he would climb into a gigantic balloon and spray-paint it from the
inside. Incredible. "Microminiature Love" is a real lost treasure and
absolutely one of the best reissues that has come out in 2003. Don't miss
it. [RH]

C-RAYZ WALZ "Ravipops" (Def Jux) $10.99
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The newest addition to the Definitive Jux stable, C-Rayz Walz is a
mainstay of the NYC underground having made his way connecting with various
crews like Stronghold and Soul Purpose. "Ravipops" is executive produced by
El-P with most tracks being produced by various indie producers. There's
solid lyric style, reminiscent of maybe Pharoah Monch, but rawer with guest
vocals by Vast Aire, MF Doom and J-Treds, and features live bass, guitar,
and keys. This is a return to form for the label -- raw gritty drums, keys
with that bounce, and strong original rapping. With odd titles like "Dead
Buffalos", "Elephant Guns", "3 Card Molly", and my fav, "Guns and Butter".
It's good to see a representative from the undercurrent of lyrical artist
get his time to shine. Walz style is of the "warrior-preserver of the game"
variety. Not ultra-futuristic, freaky, or abstract, this is straight beats
and rhymes, 5 borough style in the '03. [DG]

BRUCE PALMER "Cycle is Complete" (Universal) CD $14.99
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Bruce Palmer was the bass player for the original incarnation of
Buffalo Springfield. He was a Canadian who came down to California with his
good buddy Neil Young to start a band. Just as Buffalo Springfield really
started to take off he was busted for pot and deported to Canada where he
hooked up with a pre-superfreaky Rick James (then AWOL from the military)
and somehow managed to finagle a record contract with MGM. What resulted
was a very listenable yet highly uncommercial suite of four songs.
Raga-esque in nature and exuding some seriously stoned late night
atmospherics, "The Cycle Is Complete" could be mellowness in action. You'd
have to be made of cement to not float away at the last track. Big Black
provides the percussion, Rick James the spectral vocals, and Palmer the
ethereal string arrangements. This is the kind of record I could see
appealing to anyone from beatheads to psych freaks into the Third Ear Band.

[V.A.] "Down In the Basement" (Old Hat) CD $16.99
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"I'm just a crazy old poppy eyed hoot owl! Nuttier than a fruitcake! Some
people are so goddam cranky-ass they can't have no fun... you cant say you
don't have no fun when you come down here! I say, don't hold anything back!
Enjoy yourself, relax, and live!" Welcome to the basement of Joe Bussard,
the King of Record Collectors, where 50,000 78 rpm's line the walls. Ol'
crazy Joe loves to share his tunes and endless stories with anyone
interested, and he was kind enough to let the good folks from the Old Hat
label select (with some help from the man himself) 24 songs for this
totally fascinating compilation of pre-war Americana music. The songs,
spanning from 1926 to 1937, cover a multitude of genres like old time jazz
("hot jazz" as he calls it), gospel, blues, country, hillbilly string
bands, and Cajun musics. Some of the more familiar artists like Big Bill
Broonzy, Gene Autry, Uncle Dave Macon and Blind Blake are joined by more
obscure ones like Weems String Band, A.A. Gray & Seven Foot Dilly, and
Gitfiddle Jim (what killer names!), who's side here is the only known one
in existence in the whole world! If you are a fan of labels like Yazoo,
Document, Trikont, Arhoolie, Folkways, etc., then you are already fan of
this. If you are a newcomer to the world of the Old Timey, then this is a
fine place to start. There's nothing else on earth like this music and the
often jaw dropping musical chops will blow your lid right off. Take for
instance, the blazing mandolin and guitar interplay on Coleman & Harpers'
"Old Hen Cackle", Blind Gary's searing "You Got to Go Down", and Big Bill's
absolutely smokin' "How You Want it Done?", and that's only the beginning.
Intense, soulful, swanky, sexy, charming, foot stompin', tail shakin'...
all of these are found right here on this disc. An accompanying kick-ass 72
page booklet contains amazing photos, informative notes about each
selection, anecdotes about some of Joe's legendary record huntin' trips
throughout the south and unbelievable stories about how he attained
extremely rare records through moments of serendipity. This is totally
essential listening. Highest recommendation. [DD]


[V.A.] "Cool As Ice" (LTM) CD $15.99
(A collection of early electro tracks produced by the four members of New
Order between 1983 and 1985. Includes Section 25, Quando Quango, Thick
Pigeon and more.)

CORAL "Magic and Medicine" (Deltasonic UK) CD $25.99
(Full review in next week's update.)

JOE GIBBS "Productions" (Soul Jazz) CD $15.99
(Full review in next week's update.)

COLDER "Again - DVD/CD" (Output) CD $15.99
(Full review in next week's update.)

U.N.K.L.E. "Big Brother Is Watching" (Phantom) CD $30.99
(Full review in next week's update.)

SENOR COCONUT "Fiesta Songs" (Emperor Norton) CD $14.99
(Full review in next week's update.)

APPARAT ORGAN QUARTET "Romantika" (Duophonic) CD $9.99
(Full review in next week's update.)

This week's contributors: Geoff Albores [GA], Daniel DeRogatis [DD],
Daniel Givens [DG], Gerald Hammill [GH], Rob Hatch-Miller [RH], Dan
Hougland [DHo], and Michael Klausman [MK].


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