Other Music New Release Update
March 27, 2003

In This Week's Update:

Aphex Twin
King Britt
Miss Kittin (mix CD)
Air and Alessandro Baricco
Gene Clark (reissue)
Tim Hecker

Just In:



APHEX TWIN "26 Mixes for Cash" (Warp) CD $19.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/raisingt.rm
To my ears, Mr. James' previous full length, the somewhat under-
whelming "Drukqs" album, sounded like a contract-fulfilling play for
cash. And without a doubt the Aphex Twin record before that one,
the simply phenomenal "Windowlicker" EP, was a charting hit that
must have brought some money home to Papa. But Richard has a
reputation to uphold as a tough and reckless businessman, so Warp
Records now presents "26 Mixes for Cash", a pretty great 2-CD
collection of artist remixes he has done under various monikers over
the past several years. These tracks were almost exclusively
vinyl-only b-sides released in limited quantities, and they
disappeared fast. But beyond satisfying the collector in you, it turns
out that this is just an excellent album for fans of Aphex Twin's
brand of weird, melodic and haunting electronica. Despite his
reputation for needle-on-sandpaper nose-thumbing at his audience,
the tracks within are amongst his most enjoyable and accessible.
The source material runs the gamut, from bigshot-sorta-popstars like
Nine Inch Nails and Jesus Jones, to the dream-pop of Saint Etienne
and Curve, with stop-offs with experimentalists of all nature, from
Phillip Glass to Wagon Christ to Seefeel to DMX Krew and beyond.
But the collection really illustrates how an artist of real depth like
Aphex Twin can leave his imprint on any collaboration, and the two
CDs flow beautifully and work as an album, not a collection of
disparate singles. Sometimes the original track flows loud and clear
through the Aphex treatment, sometimes you would be hard-pressed
to guess the source, but for fans of Aphex Twin and the concept of
the remix, this is a beautiful collection that will not soon retire to the
bottom of the play pile. At least until the Madonna or Brittany tracks
that he is supposedly negotiating finally surface, to blow us all away.

KING BRITT "Adventures in Lo Fi" (BBE/Rapster) CD $16.99
Philly's jack-of-all things funky, King Britt's newest album is a joy.
His contribution to the excellent BBE "Beat Generation" series is a
tightly focused, ambitious attempt to bridge the ever-widening gaps
in popular black music. House, hip hop, old school R & B, new
wave... he's got it all, but it's tempered with a deep sultry groove
reminiscent of Jaydee's most inventive productions. The guests
include Madlib (Quasimoto), Rich Medina, Bahamadia, Malik B and
Dice Raw from the Roots, Pos and Trugoy from De La... If you still
are unconvinced that this is worth checking out... well, this is my
favorite record to come out so far this year, hands down. Soul wins
again! [DH]

FREESCHA "What's Come Inside of You" (Attacknine) CD $13.99   
California's own Freescha return with their third full-length and this
time out they have really come into their own. "What's Come Inside
of You" is a journey through electronic music where downtempo
beats collide with vocodered vocals, and analog synth washes live
harmoniously alongside delicate piano melodies. Freescha have
definitely established their own sound; the songs still retain the
downtempo bliss of artists like Boards of Canada or Casino Vs.
Japan while also retaining elements of bands like Air and Alpha. But
now the songs seem longer, constantly morphing textures to create
a whole new melody (often a few times within each track) that often
seems like another track entirely. With "What's Come Inside of You"
Freescha have created an amazing album that is a trippy, sensual
journey through sound. Highly recommended! [JS]

DUMP "A Grown Ass Man" (Shrimper) CD $13.99
At long last, a new album from Mr. James "Dump" McNew, leading
the charge for the upcoming release of the latest from his other band,
a little group known as Yo La Tengo. James' solo project is in some
ways the little (grown-ass) brother of YLT, featuring a similar version
of fragile pop -- heartfelt and emotional vocals, warm organ drone,
percolating rhythms, guitars ranging from gentle strum to anguished
shriek, and plenty of hidden little treats to surprise the listener. But
the scope here is strictly of the bedroom variety, and I don't mean
between the sheets. James is a near genius of home recording,
creating mini-masterpieces on long afternoons alone, embracing the
shortcomings of a cramped bedroom studio wholeheartedly, and
creating pure pleasure out of the buzz, hum, and beating-on-a-
cardboard box aesthetic. If you've been paying attention to the last
couple of YLT records, you probably noticed that James' songs have
unobtrusively become real centerpieces of the albums, and live he is
clearly a crowd favorite. Our little boy has grown up into a talent to
be reckoned with, and this new Dump album is so full of mini-
masterpieces, James can clearly hold his own with just about any
songwriter out there today. Add to the mix a brilliant cover drawing
by Archer Prewitt featuring the Dump bunny icon going straight in a
suit and tie, and this one is hard to pass on. [JM]

MISS KITTIN "Radio Caroline Mix Volume 1" (Emperor Norton) CD $14.99
After shoo-ing away strict electrophiles with her bangin' techno mix,
Miss Kittin shows us her sensitive side with "Radio Caroline Volume
1", an intimate audio tour which reveals her innermost feelings by
way of spoken interludes that appear mid-track, sometimes at
opportune, pre-vocal moments. In these vocalized thought-moments
we discover that the Miss Kittin (Caroline Herve) had music-loving
parents that didn't think she could make a career out of music, is
somewhat surprised herself, and doesn't like to be touched by
people she doesn't know. At one point she wonders to herself, "how
many kisses... how many lovers... how many children...?" would
she have had if "she led a normal life" in her typical stream-of-
conscious/satirical tone. Oh yeah, the music. The tracks are
definitely on the deep/melodic house side (A.Polzin, J. Fairley,
Maus and Stolle, Blaze/Isoleee rmx.) with surprise appearances by
Autechre and Panasonic. The mix comes across as a stroll in
through the mind of Miss Kittin as most tracks have a playful,
melodic feel, at times with thought-type vocals narrating themselves.
She makes the point that DJs should dance too, and seems to take
her own advice by putting down the microphone when the tracks
get a little more dancefloor friendly. So, as expected, there is more
to Miss Kitten than electro. She has thoughts and feelings too, and
thankfully, good taste in modern dance music. You'll feel as though
you strolled through the daisies with her, hand in hand, just don't
touch her, you sweaty-palmed raver!! [SM]

REWORK "Fall Right Now" (Playhouse) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/yourreso.rm
Before Miss Kittin and Adult became hipster touchstones, Rework
began releasing sick and sexy 12" singles on the esteemed
Playhouse label. They stood out by having that dark, post-punk-y
sneer, rejecting the overused Moroder-isms, and combined it with
the dark, dank minimal house that Playhouse is known for. Now,
post-punk is "cool", and now Rework have an album of singles, new
tracks and a Chris and Cosey cover ("October Love Song") that
actually does a good job of getting rid of the romantic melodrama in
the lyrics. Don't get me wrong, "C + C Music Factory", as I like to
call them, rocks, but... oh, nevermind... Gain cool points by
claiming you bought their first 12-inch back in 2000! Most tracks
will grab every one on the dancefloor, straight or gay. (Good thing.)
There is an undeniable omni-sexuality to the humdingers in here.
("You're So Just Just", "Loin de Moi", "Anyway I Know You" and
"What You Want"). "I Think You Think" is an utterly danceable,
stupid filler track that works. There is a definite kinship to Closer
Musik here, that is, with the post-punk thing I mentioned earlier,
and not as psychedelic. So, what are you waiting for? [SM]

AIR & BARICCO "City Reading" (Astralwerks) CD $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/ilprimog.rm
From the spacious Moog fueled retro-futurism of their early singles
and "Moon Safari," to the darker prog-rock leanings of "Virgin
Suicides," to their tribute to late-'70s and early-'80s pop music
with "10,000 Hz Legend," Air are always changing, but their elegant
mastery of composition and sound remains a constant. Last fall, the
duo provided live accompaniment to famous Italian author
Alessandro Baricco as he read passages from his novel "City" to a
packed audience in a Rome theater. Pleased with the response,
they reconvened a few months later with producer Nigel Godrich
(Radiohead, Beck, Pavement) mixing the session. "City Reading"
is not a traditional music record, with Baricco's narrations from his
book of three "Western" stories spoken in his native tongue. Air's
accompaniment is lush with lots of acoustic guitars, piano and
synthesizer textures. None of the songs are really beat driven,
instead soft pads of airy (no pun) keyboards, flute, vibes and
melodic guitar picking wrap around the author's words; it's
absolutely cinematic. Though speaking a different language,
Baricco's voice exists in the same range as Serge Gainsbourg's
low and raspy baritone; read along with the translation provided in
the CD booklet, you'll find his words can be just as sleazy. Unlike
"Virgin Suicides," which might as well be a proper Air album, the
star of "City Reading" is the author. The duo's accompaniment is
beautiful but you'll want to follow along with the English text unless
you speak Italian. Either way, it's a rewarding yet concentrated
listen, but guaranteed to make you excited for Air's next studio
album slated for later this year. [GH]

GENE CLARK "No Other" (Collectors Choice) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/fromasil.rm
Have you guys heard this record?! As usual with Mr. Clark, great,
great songs... but David Geffen apparently did not agree and actively
curtailed its release from what I understand, irrevocably relegating it
to the "could have been a contender" status. Parked in a hazy
1970s Los Angeles, this former country boy had by this time been
sufficiently exposed to a veritable inferno of excess and, for a spell
here, was able to locate himself inside of it all. Luckily he then
promptly formulated, with similarly loaded (in both senses) cohorts,
this album. I'd say it's the least guilty, guilty pleasure any fan of
West Coast myth-rock could afford themselves. One of my favorite
records. [DHo]

TIM HECKER "Radio Amor" (Mille Plateaux) CD $15.99
Also known as Jetone, Canadian Tim Hecker comes at us with his
second full-length under his own name. Far from a sonic assault,
"Radio Amor" is more of a meditation on noisy texture and fractured
melodies. Consisting mainly of what sounds like heavily processed
field recordings and piano "Radio Amor" stutters its way through
50-minutes of frozen melodies and glowing nostalgia. Though the
source material sounds old (radio perhaps), the compositional
techniques and digital production imply an extremely recent vintage.
While his editing sometimes seems forced, when he lets the
roughness of the source material take over there are some
extremely rewarding moments. Track five, "7000 Miles," stands out
in particular as Hecker gives the piece a bit more space to develop.
Not quite as satisfying as recent somewhat similar efforts by
Fennesz or Mitchell Akiyama but a fine release none the less. [KH]

PEST "Necessary Measures" (Ninja Tune) CD $14.99
This newest release from Ninja Tune is, in a way, what you'd
expect. Pest's "Necessary Measures" bring back the big beats, low
bass, quirky piano, escalating horns, turntable wiggles (scratching),
electro flavored synths, effected vocals, and funky-be-damned
grooves. Instantly reminding me of an updated version of early
Chemical Brothers, Monkey Mafia, Fat Boy Slim, Mr. Scruff, Low
Fidelity All Stars, or in line with new acts Junior Senior, and the
like, if you're a fan of the left of center funk that the Ninja's have
been crafting for more than a decade, then this will be a welcome
addition. [DG]


STYROFOAM "A Heart Without a Mind" (Morr) CD $9.99   
Arne Van Petegem sharpens his pop skills just a little with his
latest, "A Heart Without a Mind." A little more vocal driven than his
previous Styrofoam releases, the electronics still sparkle and bleep
while guitars make a bigger appearance. Full review next week.  

This week's contributors: Daniel Givens [DG], Gerald Hammill [GH],
Duane Harriott [DH], Kean Holtkamp [KH], Dan Hougland [DHo],
Josh Madell [JM], Scott Mou [SM] and Jeremy Sponder [JS].  


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