Other Music New Release Update
June 4, 2003

In This Week's Update:

Ulrich Schnauss
Broken Social Scene
Den of Thieves (ESL compilation)
Truby Trio
How to Kill the DJ (Tigersushi Mix CD)
Chris Lee
Cinematic Orchestra
Chris Clark
Gillian Welch
S.A. Smash
Nina Nastasia
Ekkehard Ehlers
Ex Models
Vive La Fete
Audio Bullys
Captain Comatose

Just In:

Terry Riley


ULRICH SCHNAUSS "A Strangely Isolated Place" (City Centre) CD $16.99
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In late 2001, Ulrich Schnauss seemed to appear out of nowhere and released
a fabulous debut record entitled "Far Away Trains Passing By." Track after
track, the music he created was catchy as hell and full of beautiful
downtempo electronics and an incredible sense of melody. This album
completely blew me away, I recommended it to everyone I knew and I held it
in highest regards. It was up there with some of the masters of the genre
ala, Boards of Canada and Aphex Twin. Well, a year and a half later and
Ulrich drops his sophomore full length. From the opening song "Gone
Forever," I knew that this record would rival his first and once again the
man had released an album that would sit in my CD player for months. "Gone
Forever" could be the long lost Slowdive track from their classic
"Pygmalion" album, filled with downtempo beats, lulling synth washes, and
lovely female vocals that float on by. It is truly beautiful. It seems that
Ulrich has taken a new direction like many of his peers and incorporated
elements of late '80s/early-'90s shoegazing bands such as Ride, Slowdive,
and My Bloody Valentine into his brand of melodic electronics. "A Strangely
Isolated Place" is a stunning album that proves there is no truth to the
myth of sophomore slump, because Ulrich has created an album equally as
good as his debut. A must for anyone who bought the recent Manitoba "Up in
Flames" album, the "Blue Skied 'an Clear" compilation and the new Lali Puna
EP. Stunning. [JS]

BROKEN SOCIAL SCENE "You Forgot It in People" (Arts & Crafts) CD $12.99
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Epic. Ambitious. Elegant. Too often, the very use of any of these words is
a red flag warning that the music writer is caught up in the band's own
earnest sense of over-achievement versus the actual execution of it all.
Add to this list the word "collective," another red flag cautioning you
that some serious, over-indulgent musician wanking may be ahead. That said,
Broken Social Scene is in fact a large collective of Canadian musicians who
have created a record that is epic, ambitious and elegant; but in this
case, each descriptor is fitting in the most complimentary way possible.
First formed by Brendan Canning and Kevin Drew, the ensemble's first album
was a very nice, atmospheric pop record, but far from the elegance which would
come almost two years later with "You Forgot It in People." In between releases,
the collective grew to 11 members (and currently includes Stars' Evan Cranley as
well as members of Do Make Say Think, A Silver Mt. Zion, Treble Charger, KC
Accidental) and with that, Broken Social Scene's sound became downright
sprawling. Guitars are intricate and layered, while the strings and keyboards
shimmer in waves, and the arrangements can move from anthemic to restrained,
unexpectedly but quite elegantly. The various musicians frequently switch
instruments and roles; so song for song, there is a lot of musical ground being
covered -- from the post-rock grandeur of bands like Godspeed, to otherworldly
ethereal of Sigur Ros, to the bittersweet yearning of Jeff Buckley. It's an album that
explores many different directions but underneath it all are fantastic pop songs; even
when at their grandest, great rewards aren't far from the surface. "You Forgot It in
People" is an exhilarating and beautiful release. [GH]

[V.A.] "Den of Thieves" (ESL) CD $14.99
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By now most of you are familiar with Thievery Corporation's label
Eighteenth Street Lounge (ESL) and their distinctive "lounge-sound."
If not, this is a wonderful introduction to the label's newest and well-known
artists. "Den of Thieves" is a compilation showcasing the wide range of
influence and experience that can be found in the halls and over the
airwaves of Washington DC's downtempo haven. You see ESL is much more than
a label, it's actually an upscale bar that also houses the label studio and
you can find any of these artists hanging out or spinning on any given
night.  The jazzy sound of Les Hommes, the upbeat swing of Ursula 1000,
Thunderball and The Karminsky Experience, the smoky dub of Desmond
Williams, Blue States' orchestration, and the slept on Arkestra One are all
present. "Den of Thieves" also introduces us to ESL's newest artist,
Argentine soulster Federico Aubele (his Postales 10" is great), and the
previously unreleased "Language Symbolique" by Thievery (only found on the
"Richest Man" import bonus CD). This is a very interesting variety of moods
that work extremely well together. Many of these tracks can be found on the
artists respective albums, but isn't it nice to have it all in one place.

!!! "Me and Giuliani Down by the School Yard" (Touch & Go) CD/LP $4.99/$4.99
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It's been almost three years since !!!'s stupefyingly great debut album
came out on GSL, and they're finally back with an amazing new single. "Me
And Giuliani Down By The School Yard" calls to mind the best stuff by the
Cure, Gang Of Four, the Contortions, PIL, and all the rest of your favorite
funky post-punk and new wave legends. A couple of the folks in the band are
also in Out Hud, and the dubby production sounds from last year's
"S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D." are used on this recording to great effect. It sounds
phenomenal, to put it mildly. It's really not fair to say that "Giuliani"
is this year's "House Of Jealous Lovers," but it's definitely going to be
one of those summer jams that you and your buddies will want to play over
and over and over and over again. The B side, "Intensifieder
SunRaCapellElectroShit Mix 03," reworks a track from the self-titled album
and completely blows the original version out of the water. There isn't a band
around today that makes this kind of music better than !!! does. Don't miss it,
I seriously doubt you'll hear a better single in the year 2003. [RH]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=03617209472&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=03617209471&refer_url=email

TRUBY TRIO "Elevator Music" (Compost) CD $15.99
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Truby Trio finally have issued their debut full length, "Elevator Music."
After releasing several 12"s on Compost, compiling a DJ Kicks, as well as
Brazilian comps for Talking Loud (selected by leader Rainer Truby), this
release gathers all their influences together to form an international
flavored album. Blending lounge, house, samba, jazz, disco, broken beat,
drum 'n' bass, and soul structures is their forte. Half-vocal/half-instrumental
with Joseph Malik and Wunmi guesting, shuffling percussion, tickling piano,
acoustic guitar, strong rhythms -- it's all bright, warm, and accessible like
summer weather should be and even includes a Brazilian/drum 'n' bass song
with vocals by Jorge Ben. Fans of Thievery Corporation, K&D, Amon Tobin's
Latin moments, or labels like OM, Guidance, or Naked Music, you already
know this, but you need this one too. [DG]

ENON "In This City EP" (Touch & Go) CD $5.99
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So, I feel like Enon are now poised to become celebrity indie rockers --
for real! This EP features two remixes of "In This City"(one by the band
and one by Dalek) and two new tracks, PLUS videos for "In This City",
"Carbonation" and "Pleasure." When you watch the vid for "In This City,"
you will understand what I am talking about. Think Japanese-digital-
pinball-video game-imagery set to Toko Yasuda's breathy vocals. It's one
of the better videos I have seen, and features Enon playing for a giant
crowd of Robots in some wacky rendition of Tokyo. The band appears
throughout all three of the videos and the super lo-tech "Carbonation" is
quite the homage to Devo; John Schmersal hails from Ohio, after all. If you
are a fan of Enon's buzzy, dance infused pop mayhem, pick this up and
take a peek inside their bizzaro world. [NL]

[V. A.] "How to Kill the DJ" (Tigersushi) CD $15.99
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Tigersushi has been keeping us happy with their 12" series that combines
decadent underground dance classics with modern underground jams. One of
the most famous being Gina X backed with an unreleased Metro Area track.
Get the gist? This mix is meant to transport the listener to an evening at
the monthly "How to Kill the DJ" night at Le Pulp in Paris. This is not
your typical electro mix. The robotic groove of common electro is replaced
with the sexy thump-thump of disco/house. The '80s nostalgia is replaced
with '80s post-punk greyness. Pet Shop Boys are traded in for Soft Cell
(remixed). Fischerspooner is bumped, and replaced with CrowdPleaser. Not
entirely revolutionary concepts, but the tracks are good, and the mix is
smooth, with an actual DJ mix feel (no pro-tool cheating). Also, the tracks
lack the flash-in-the-pan, shelf-life quality of (I say it again) "typical
electro"... Recommended. [SM]

CHRIS LEE "Cool Rock" (Misra) CD $12.99
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When I first put on my copy of Chris Lee's new album a few weeks ago, I
wasn't too far into the LP when I realized, "Damn, this could be the one!"
Lee has been a very respected singer/songwriter kicking around NYC for
more than a couple of years now, before that living in North Carolina
performing in the experimental-country band Pine State Boys. His
unmistakable falsetto and knack for penning some amazingly confessional,
soulful tunes even caught the ears of Sonic Youth's Steve Shelley who
produced his first record, played on and released Lee's second album on the
Smells Like imprint, and contributes drums again for a few tracks on this
new one. "Cool Rock" is a culmination of his blue eyed soul strengths of the
previous two LPs, but also shows a songwriter who is now completely
natural in his skin -- previous comparisons to Jeff Buckley or Paul Weller
are completely unnecessary. Album opener "Cossacks of Love" is the kind
of tune you wish you could hear on the radio while "Sail On" has that rare
type of pop sensibility that Prefab Sprout's Paddy McAloon was so good at
delivering --catchy, soulful, yet also personal and poignant. Lee's song
arrangements are clean and sharpened, and now with a few more added layers.
His backing band features vibe player Yusuke Yamamoto as well as
Antibalas Afrobeat Orchestra's horn section and still offer
spontaneous-feeling performances like the spirited "Bronx Science (Julie
Ann)." Lee closes his album with a stunning rendition of Mississippi John
Hurt's "Nobody Cares for Me." Accompanied only by guitars, his voice wavers
with chilling effect. "Cool Rock" not only could be, it should be Chris Lee's
breakthrough, and my fingers are crossed. [GH]

CINEMATIC ORCHESTRA "Man With a Movie Camera" (Ninja Tune) CD $14.99
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For their third album, Cinematic Orchestra have created a new score to
the 1929 film "Man With a Movie Camera" by Dziga Vertov. And as their
name suggests, it is a sprawling cinematic affair. Rich string arrangements
wash over shuffled, jazzy drums, piano accents and weighty bass lines.
There's even a somewhat 'lighter' instrumental version of Art Ensemble of
Chicago's "Theme de Yoyo." For fans of Ennio Morricone, Craig Armstrong,
and 4-Hero as well as Chris Bowden's orchestrated soul/jazz.
Recommended. [GA]

CHRIS CLARK "Ceramics Is the Bomb" (Warp) CD $6.99
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I first heard Chris Clark last year at the OM/Warp summer party. What I
remember most was the frantic, cutting, shards of snare and head-pounding
bass that Chris Clark offered in his DJ set. This EP foreshadowing his
upcoming full length is a just tease to the banging beats and electronic
atmospheres he creates. He may be a new name following the likes of
labelmates, Autechre, Aphex, Squarepusher, or even Ventian Snares, with
classic acid pulses, hyper synth lines, and mechanic hip-hop beats. Call it
gabber, IDM, or whatever you like. Recommended if you like your beats of
the fast and furious variety! [DG]

GILLIAN WELCH "Soul Journey" (Acony) CD $17.99
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It can be a long row to hoe, following up a critically acclaimed and
commercial breakthrough album like "Time (The Revelator)," the
mini-masterpiece Welch and partner David Rawlings dropped in 2001. They
have been making stark and beautiful original music, with a deep debt to
traditional Americana for the better part of 10 years, long before the "Oh
Brother, Where Art Thou" soundtrack (with which Welch was involved)
rocketed this music, somewhat unbelievably, onto the charts. In many ways,
this new one is just a continuation of the creative arc Welch has followed
for years, mixing a few traditional country-gospel classics with her
heartfelt and genuine originals, creating timeless and beautiful acoustic
suites. The new one still has a bit of banjo-pickin' and fiddle-sawin', but
it also seems to aim for a touch more of the crossover audience Welch can
now reach; a little less bluegrass, a little more country (parts of the
album also evoke "Harvest"-era Neil Young). Welch's vocals are as pure and
strong as ever, and her lyrics are still full of heartache and redemption,
but on "Soul Journey" the pain bubbles below the surface and some of the
intensity has mellowed. Nonetheless, "Soul Journey" is another honest and
emotional batch of songs from one of the finest voices and visions making
American roots music today. [JM]

S.A. SMASH "Smashy Trashy" (Def Jux) CD $11.99
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This debut from Camu Tao and Metro as S.A. Smash is the new sound of
Columbus, yeah, Ohio. Anything goes with this new addition to the Def Jux
roaster. As their website suggest, this is party and bullsh*t music. With a
title like "Smashy Trashy" you get the picture. If you're into the dirty
side of hip hop, having a good time, getting your drink or smoke on, then
this is for you. Production from Camu, El-P, and Blockhead keeps everything
energetic -- live guitar puts the edge on, while the duo's intoxicated
tales of women, drink, and party rockin' will have you scratching your head
while your feet tap. Guest vocals come from Vast Aire, Cage, and Aesop
Rock. Somewhere between, Kool Keith, Clipse, Southern Crunk, and your
favorite foul mouthed MC. [DG]

FONICA "Ripple" (Tomlab) CD $16.99
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As guitarist for Tokyo improv quartet Minamo, Keiichi Sugimoto guides the
group through gradual excursions into electro-acoustic bliss. The first
release by Fonica, his collaboration with Plop records house designer
Cheason, finds him moving into a bit sweeter more-electronica oriented
territory. While the guitar still plays an extremely vital part in the
group's overall character, as each song develops it's often hard to
differentiate it from the warm digital pulse and texture that are at the
root of most of the pieces on "Ripple." Although it strays pretty far from
anything even approaching 'beats' this is a pop album full of tightly
edited rhythms and pin-point specific finger picking that will certainly
leave heads shaking and maybe even a few feet tapping. Recommended. [KH]

NINA NASTASIA "Run to Ruin" (Touch & Go) CD $13.99
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NYC native Nina Nastasia returns with another album of dark melancholia and
dreamy pop. Recorded by longtime champion Steve Albini, the record is spare
and haunting, with brushed drums, pianos, acoustic guitar and Nina's clear
sad vocals providing the ballast for swirling, dark string arrangements,
alternately single-string vibrations and dense, claustrophobic cacophony. A
beautiful, druggy, late night lament for fans of Cat Power, Smog, Shannon
Wright, and Mazzy Star. [JM]

EKKEHARD EHLERS "Politik..." (Staubgold) CD $14.99
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"Politik braucht..." is 20th Century Classical to come down to. "Maander
(for bass clarinet)" hisses and creeps along bass clarinet buzzing
underneath all the way through. "Version II" follows the same mood except
with voice-like tones ringing in and out. Finally, in "Version III," the
sounds merge into noise clusters, destroying the sense of their origin.
Like the "Plays" album, Ehlers seems to be using his laptop to "play" with
the soundsources he chooses. He builds them up, breaks them down, places
them under the microscope, all in a slow, investigative way that seems like
he's just interested in seeing what happens. Perhaps he's into transforming
recognizable sounds into "Sound," pure and simple. It isn't until the last
track, "Woolf Phrase," that paydirt is struck and his investigative reports
are cashed in for a bit of composition. [SM]

EX MODELS "Zoo Psycholoy" (French Kiss) CD $13.99
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Funky bass lines, abrasive guitar spasms, hyperactive drum beats, and
screechy falsetto vocals. That's the Ex-Models sound, and they rip through
these fifteen songs in twenty minutes like a bunch of teenagers with
attention deficit disorder. They've got some serious energy, and after you
pop this in your CD player you're likely to begin flailing around the room
uncontrollably. Just try not to break anything. If you like Numbers, Erase
Errata, Melt-Banana, and Devo, this will probably be right up your alley.

VIVE LA FETE "Nuit Blanche" (Surprise) CD $19.99
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This somewhat mysterious duo might be nouveau electro's own Vicious Pink. I
have to say the substantial mammaries and requisite mousey dude (the
'producer'?) are all there. They aren't the Divinyls, and to make a more
recent reference, they don't have any American leanings or lo-fi leanings
like a Stereo Total might be considered to possess. There has been an
emphasis on seamless, nicely filtered production on all of these guys'
albums (I think this is their third), resembling formerly a more organic
Saint Etienne, more latterly a Euro dance kind of Moroder-pumping
Fischerspooner thing. But with champagne and intrigue. There is an urgency
to a lot of the tracks which can recall a climactic John Hughes sequence
outside of the big gala or wedding (or fete). I'm not kidding, and I don't
think they are either. [DHo]

AUDIO BULLYS "Ego War" (Astralwerks) CD $15.99
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Audio Bullys,  British hip hop-pop with a little bit of Mr. Oizo's texture,
and using "the Streets" as an excuse for bland, everyday rhymes. A
breakbeat, a one-handed keyboard melody, and a slow, chanting MC.
Almost like Underworld doing echo-laden hip hop at the corner pub.
("We don't care what you say/we'll do our thing anyway.") The Audio
Bullys are the self-proclaimed "sound of the suburbs"
(http://www.audiobullys.co.uk) and proud to cite the Specials and the
Beatles as influences. Listen and judge for yourself. [SM]

CAPTAIN COMATOSE "Going Out" (Playhouse) CD $15.99
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Captain Comatose makes me wish I was gay. Recommended. [SM]
Just kidding. Well, I sometimes do wish I was gay, but anyway...  Can
"Khan" Oral and DJ Snax make up the NY/Berlin dynamic duo known as Captain
Comatose, and although you might wonder if they are taking the piss over
their basement-born chunky house, you will soon stop wondering and start
bumping your booty while striking your favorite Prince pose. Sexy, deep,
dark, forbidden and fun. Captain Comatose dares you to be bad. Similar to
labelmates "Rework" in quality, but Captain Comatose is deeper, funkier and
cheekier. Have fun.  [SM]


TERRY RILEY "Moscow Conservatory Solo Piano" (Long Arms) CD $14.99
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(Full review in next week's update.)

This week's contributors: Geoff Albores [GA], J Dennis [JD], Daniel Givens
[DG], Gerald Hammill [GH], Rob Hatch-Miller [RH], Kean Holtkamp [KH], Dan
Hougland [DHo], Nicole Lang [NL], Josh Madell [JM], Scott Mou [SM], and
Jeremy Sponder [JS].


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