Other Music New Release Update
May 7, 2003

In This Week's Update:

Four Tet
Prefuse 73
Stark Reality (Reissue)
New Pornographers
Tobias Thomas
Bjorn Olsson
Sea and Cake
Burnt Friedman
Prince Paul


BROADCAST "Pendulum EP" (Warp) CD/LP $6.99/$6.99   
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/stillfee.rm
It has been a few years since Broadcast has graced our shelves or
our country with their atmospheric experimental electroni-pop. The
band is coming to the US to support the "Pendulum" EP, a teaser to
what will be their third album "Ha Ha Sound," out in late-summer.
The EP, which by the way features only one track off the forthcoming
record, is a short but sweet six songs. Trish Keenan's beautiful
signature vocals are (as usual) a sound for sore ears. It seems as
though this new record may be a darker, dancier, departure from the
ethereal "Extended Play 2". The ahhhhh ahhh ahhs are still present,
but are dispersed with a lurking scratchiness. "One Hour Empire" is
built around an erratic drumbeat and gets downright noisy. Clangs,
buzzings and reverb permeate various manipulated sounds on the
perfectly titled "Violent Playground." If this is just a taste of what is
to come, it will have been worth the wait. [NL]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=80106191622&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=80106191621&refer_url=email

FOUR TET "Rounds" (Domino) CD $14.99
When it comes to post-rock/folktronica, Kieran Hebden has
established a reputation as one of the greats, and with this, his third
album as Four Tet, he does not let us down. "Rounds" is definitely
his most accomplished album to date and here he has perfected his
formula of jazzy, folky bedroom electronics. On this record Kieran
seems to take inspiration in everything from folk and bluegrass, to
traditional Indian, to old school hip hop. The first single, "She Moves
She" could possibly be his catchiest song yet with its traditional funk
breakbeat, plucked banjo, windchimes, and twinkling piano -- you
will no doubt hear this in a commercial sometime soon. "My Angel
Rocks Back and Forth" sounds like it could fit in on the latest Morr
Music compilation, it is filled with a faint echoed beat, gently tapped
piano, backwards tape loops, and one of the most gorgeous
melodies that I have heard all year. While the track "Unspoken" could
have fit in well on his band Fridge's last album with its live drums,
classical strings, deep bass and wild horns, clocking in at just under
nine and-a-half minutes, it could be a post-rock anthem. You have to
hand it to Kieren, three albums, all of them great and each one
taking his vision a step further. Beautiful. [JS]

SPACEK "Vintage Hi-Tech" (K7) CD $16.99   
Ah, summer. Well, at least a lukewarm spring, and what do we need
most? A good, soulful, smooth, digital, tasteful and fulfilling CD,
right? These are the elements that make the new Spacek record so
enjoyable. The British trio, lead by Steve Spacek, create another
stunning slow burner with "Vintage Hi-Tech," the perfect title for their
brand of warm atmospheric UK Soul. Their 2001 released "Curvatia"
CD became a favorite among OM employees bringing a smile, a
slight sway, unstoppable foot tapping, and an unconscious head-nod
to our daily groove. This one's no different, maybe not as trippy as its
predecessor, but just as flavorful and freaky. A bit more focused on
the groove this time out, with beats that rival Jaydee or Madlib,
complimenting Steve's smooth falsetto, but never dominating the
songs. Is this space age funk, post-millenium soul, or just plain ol'
funky? You be the judge. Check out the best use of time stretching
that I've heard in a while in the modern soul classic called "Amazing".
I can't say  enough good things about this record. Absolutely
recommended! [DG]

PREFUSE 73 "One Word Extinguisher" (Warp) CD/LP $15.99/$18.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/busysign.rm
One man. One MPC. Seventy-three million ideas. If the first Prefuse
album was "here I am," then "One Word Extinguisher" is like "this is
what's capable". OWE is one-part experimentation, three parts focus.
The short meet the long. Micro-samples are rearranged to form new
and complete identities. Hip hop is taken to the far bounds and finds
new territory. Mr. Lif rhymes on a mini-disc while having eggs with
Scott & Rani. Daedelus agrees to let Prefuse use that phat-ass beat
on his album too, being he owns Eastern Development and all.
Diverse shines on "Plastic." 100% of me is feeling the cadence of
"90% of My Mind Is With You." Prefuse and Dabrye finally meet and
discuss the past, even if only for a short invigorating moment. And
why does the thought of choking someone sound so good right now?
("Choking You.") This record speaks to the seriousness of having
fun, and you will because it is. [JD]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=80106101052&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=80106101051&refer_url=email

STARK REALITY "Now" (Stones Throw) CD $15.99   
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/toomucht.rm
Egon at Stones Throw has unearthed yet another amazing rarity, this
one being down right mythical. During the late-'60s, Stark Reality was
an ensemble led by vibe player Monty Stark. Stark was a musical
contributor at Boston's PBS television affiliate WGBH, where he met
Hoagy Bix Carmichael, an ex-stock broker who was now volunteering
as a producer at the same station. Carmichael was also the son of
famed music composer Hoagy Carmichael and always looking for
new ways to keep his father's music alive. He approached Stark with
the idea of reinterpreting his father's children's songs in an
educational program meant to introduce kids to music concepts, but
the result was mind-blowing and to this day almost indescribable.
There's a heavy psychedelic fuzz present that creates a magical
tension between four amazing players who perform with a sort of
Canterbury feel mixed with heavy funk and free jazz rhythms -- kind
of Soft Machine meets Funkadelic. Stark played through a series of
fuzz tones and pedals, his super-distorted vibe melodies, wah guitars
and slippery bass lines gives the feel of an LSD trip in Toyland.
Together, Stark Reality created music that cannot be duplicated, but
has since become a very important source of sounds to the hip hop
world, their songs being sampled by the likes of Pete Rock, J-Live,
Madlib, and Large Professor. These days the original album can fetch
upwards of $500 on e-Bay. "Now" contains additional outtakes and is
absolutely one of if not this year's best re-issue. If you haven't already
heard this classic, you'll want to check it out. [GH/DH]

NEW PORNOGRAPHERS "Electric Version" (Matador) CD/LP $13.99/LP $10.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/fromblow.rm
When the New Pornographers' debut album dropped in 2000 on the
relatively small-time Canadian label Mint Records, it seemed like a
special treat from the pop gods. A throwaway side-project that was
in fact a great album on its own merits, and the little record that
could became an underground hit. With a large ensemble cast that
features among others Carl Newman of Zumpano, Dan Bejar of
Destroyer, and Ms. Neko Case, the band's sound combines close
vocal harmonies with layers of vintage keyboards and driving
rhythms for a straight-up pop-rock sound that is positively infectious,
and the group is clearly more than the sum of its parts. So along
comes the all important sophomore release, and we find this
part-time side-project alive and kicking, with a positively big-time
international recording contract, and a great new record that builds
on the sound the band discovered on "Mass Romantic." Their
production is better than ever, the band sounds great, and these
songs will just keep growing on you, sneaking into your
subconscious and digging in for the long haul. If there's an album in
our racks that screams "Summer 2003" louder than this one, I just
haven't been paying attention, and when I finally customize my
Schwinn Collegiate 3-speed with some chrome, a raccoon tail, and
a boom-box, I guarantee you this one will be welded into the CD
player until well into the fall. [JD]
CD //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=744861055129&refer_url=email
LP //perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=744861055111&refer_url=email

TOBIAS THOMAS "Smallville" (Kompakt) CD $15.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/aquafunk.rm
Tobias Thomas, ultra-suave producer and a member of Cologne
supergroup Forever Sweet, displays his penchant for building it up
nice and slow with his slow burning mix, "Smallville." The first two
tracks are beatless, the second being a Kaito/Erlend Oye mash-up(!),
that sets the tone for a set of masterfully picked digital micro-house.
The tracks are mostly presented "connoisseur style," allowing the
track to almost play completely through, and then, when the mix
comes on, the blend is ridden for as long as possible letting the
flavors roll around on your tongue like a warm sip of red wine.
(J. Jelinek into Sami Koivikko into Aril Brikha.) Some mixes are
almost imperceptible -- the shift being noticed only when the melody
suddenly changes. (Glowing Glisses into Anders Ilar into Sten.) The
overall feeling is sophisticated, smooth and bumpin'. From the
smooth modern house of Sten, Jan Jelinek and Aril Brikha, to the
sophisti-kicked funk of Feadz, Le Dust Sucker and Forever Sweet.
This mix is just the beginning of a loooong night to be certain (i.e. it
ends too soon...), but it still makes ya wanna shake yer ass in a
designer suit!! [SM]

BJORN OLSSON "Bjorn Olsson" CD $15.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/avslutni.rm
Bjorn Olsson (formerly of Union Carbide Productions and
Soundtracks of Our Lives) releases his third solo album, following my
pick for last year's most underrated record "Upa."  His first solo
record "Instrumental Music," released in 1999, is probably one of our
all time greatest sellers. If you're expecting a rehash of "Instrumental
Music" be forewarned, Olsson proves here he has a flair for stylistic
diversions. The subtle spaghetti western undercurrent of the first two
records is explored in kind on this release. The first track, with its
hand percussion and twelve string acoustic guitar, could almost be
an outtake from one of Bob Dylan's interludes to Peckinpah's "Pat
Garrett and Billy the Kid." Each song has a slightly different
configuration of contributors and instruments that gently lull the
music toward some sort of cosmic encounter with the mythological
constructs of our nation's westward expansion. This kind of thing
can easily devolve into kitsch, and Olsson narrowly straddles the
line with a bit of trailing off into the sunset whistling, but he does it
so masterfully that you don't mind succumbing to the manipulation
of your emotions. This record gets richer with each listen. [MK]

SEA AND CAKE "Glass EP" (Thrill Jockey) CD $11.99
Not satisfied with becoming the new lounge favorites, Chicago's Sea
and Cake go back to the studio, John McEntire leading the way, to
create the "Glass" EP. What makes this release stand out, but not
vastly different from their official albums, is that here they give
themselves the freedom to create more spontaneously, letting
influences like electronica, jazz and house come to the surface.
They become more late-'80s New Order than AM radio aficionados,
remixes from Broadcast, Stereolab, and Carl Craig(?!) help make that
point clear. Their last EP, "Two Gentlemen", is one of my faves, and
this one is just as good, thanks to the beautiful and subtle
instrumental, "Traditional Wax Coin," plus an animated video by
Liquid Liquid's Richard McGuire as added incentive. [DG]

MINAMO "Beautiful" (Apestaartje) CD $12.99   
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/yarn.rm
Epic. I'll say right away that this is easily one of my favorite albums
of 2003, and will be in my year end's top ten list, not a doubt in my
mind. Yeah, I know the year is barely half over, but Minamo has
crafted a work of art that is so utterly and astoundingly beautiful (apt
album title, that), and just so damn good. Minamo are a four piece
from Japan that have excellent albums on the Quakebasket and 360
Degree labels. Now the Apestaartje label/collective is honored to bring
you this hour long journey culled from various live performances and
edited so masterfully that you don't even think about this while
listening because it's so seamlessly sewn together. Minamo fuse
their influences of classical minimalism, psychedelic folk, electronica,
free improvisation, noise, etc. to create a universe of sound that is
entirely their own. To name this is to coin a new sub-genre.
"Beautiful" is made of six electro-acoustic meditations that take time
to breathe, and ripple with oceans of crystalline digital hum/wash
that can soothe and/or dwell on the threshold of exploding into total
noise storm (but never quite does). The sense of rhythm is at a micro
level. A restrained, gently picked guitar hangs in the air, suspended
amidst multi-hued electricity scrapings, signals, and tones, creating
a sense of tension throughout the album. Minamo are true wizards of
the slow, gradually unfolding process -- the musical equivalent to the
opening of a flower. They are special in their ability to carefully
construct without rushing. There is magic all over this album, but
nothing floored me quite like "Clearing". The almost-painfully emotive
guitar melody about four minutes deep had me shaking my head in
astonishment, the result of building and coaxing and building over
time and playing on the tension. This is deep music that demands
your full attention, because music like this needs time to creep into
your whole being and ultimately take over. And it most definitely did
that. For me, the best listening situation was when I sat relaxed in a
quiet space in low light. "Beautiful" will bring you into such a state
of zen-like focus, you may not even realize how much you are
encapsulated until it has ended and the silence is absolutely
deafening. [DD]

GOLDFRAPP "Black Cherry" (Mute) CD $15.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/hairytre.rm
Goldfrapp's follow-up to 2000's fantastic "Felt Mountain" may be a bit
of a head-scratcher for diehards hoping for a carbon copy. It isn't that
"Black Cherry" will be unrecognizable to fans, but there's a whole
new element that's sleazier, and a lot more fun. Quite often, dirty
retro-styled synthesizers buzz, pulse and throb over stomping '70s
glam beats that are Gary Glitter-rific. Electro glam? Not really.
Though sassier, Alison Goldfrapp's chanteuse-like presence and
carefully thought out arrangements keep this above the standard fare
of electroclash rehash. The interesting part about "Black Cherry" isn't
that Goldfrapp have completely reinvented themselves, only that
we're seeing a new side in their multi-personality. Old fans won't be
alienated. Plenty of the duo's spacious, ambient ballads co-exist
next to wheezing synths and drum machines, kind of like a time
machine that randomly switches your location from some smoky
early-'30s European cabaret to a late-'70s discotheque, with sparkling
sequin outfits and flashing lights. Goldfrapp's voice and Will Gregory's
outstanding arrangements and lush production keep things
somewhat cohesive, so while bipolar in theory, there's still a cohesive
element. "Black Cherry" is definitely a unique step for an artist who
didn't need to reinvent the wheel, but Goldfrapp are obviously having
some fun doing so. [GH]

TES "X2" (Lex) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/receiver.rm
Being funded and supported by Warp gives Lex Records a leverage
that other indie labels don't have. Presenting creative packaging as
well as forward moving hip hop seems to be their modus operandi.
Following releases by Boom Bip and Danger Mouse comes the
full-length from Brooklynite TES with "X2." It's more backpacker vibe,
i.e. continual lyrical spitting and bedroom sampled layers of soul,
with a slightly lo-fi feel and reminds me most of Aesop Rock, but
more Def Jux than Mush, or fellow bedroom producer, Daedelus. The
appeal is in TES's tracks, lots of wind instruments, unconventional
rhythms, electric piano, and atmosphere. Definitely give TES a
listen if you're underground hip-hop crate is in need of something
new. Recommended. [DG]

BLUR "Think Tank" (Virgin) CD $17.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/sweetson.rm
Having found former guitarist Graham Coxon to be one of the more
curiously aesthetically flummoxed pop stars probably ever, and all the
more fascinating for the way he did seem to resolve his avant
tendencies with the group's essentially straightforward style, I
approached this new album sans his axe-work with some trepidation.
Gorillaz is all very well with folks like my preteen younger brothers
but what of the impressionistic high profile swirl and swagger that
distinguished specifically Blur as one of the finest singles bands out
of England? Well the first couple of tracks did little to assuage my
doubt but by the fifth, called "On the Way to the Club," I was
convinced that there was new territory being covered and no, there
was little for Graham to do on tracks like this and the ones to come.
They are laced with Damon's 2002 Mali Music globality and work
pretty well. There is a full on Happy Mondays tribute ("Brothers and
Sisters"), a reasonably experimental Fatboy Slim production ("Gene
by Gene") (!), and Graham does appear on the super-excellent final
track "Battery in Your Leg," which beats the formidable likes of
Coldplay and that at their own game. [DHo]

TAPE "Opera" (Hapna) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/terraces.rm
Tape, an electro-acoustic trio hailing from Stockholm, have created
one of the most rewarding and well produced experimental folk
albums that I've been lucky enough to come across in some time.
Combining conventional song-making tools such as melody and
harmony with extremely tactile textures, warm modulating drones
and processed field recordings, "Opera" is a beautifully restrained
album that gets better with each listen. Characteristically opposed
sounds are blended in such a natural way that at times one can
barely tell if the recording is of someone playing a guitar or a piece
of paper (both of which are featured instruments on the album), nor
does it matter. Reminiscent of Minamo or even Gastr Del Sol but
with a warmer more song oriented focus. Don't let the catchy guitar
fool you though there's some dense information hidden behind the
laid back character. Easily my favorite record of the year thus far.
Also check out Johan Berthling's (of Tape) fine duo drone CD with
Oren Ambarchi out recently on Hapna. [KH]

JAZZANOVA "Remixed" (Jazzanova/Comp) CD $17.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/soonjj.rm
Turnabout is better than fair play. In 2000, Jazzanova gave us the
"Remixes", now it's their turn. "Remixed" is a two-disc set that
includes every re-mix of Jazzanova known to man, so many of these
songs are from last year's proper debut "In Between" and previously
only available on vinyl. How can an album that has three remixes of
the same song on it still be interesting? With a line-up that includes
Doctor Rocket (M. Herbert), Madlib, Stereolab, King Britt, Jazzy Jeff,
Vikter Duplaix and Kyoto Jazz Massive, that how; and they're not
even half of the stable (23). With the eclectic gathering on this album
you can expect to hear everything from house to hip hop. Way better
than you can think! [JD]

DECEMBERISTS "Castaways & Cutouts" (Kill Rock Stars) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/thelegio.rm
The Decemberists' Colin Meloy is one of those rare talents in indie
rock today. His songs are filled with amazing melodies and his
storytelling ability is up there with some of today's most revered, he
is definitely on par with Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum, Belle and
Sebastian's Stuart Murdoch, and Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes. The
10 songs on "Castaways and Cutouts" are filled with lush and
orchestral instrumentation that swirl around Colin's lyrics; piano,
Rhodes piano, accordion, theremin, drums, guitars, pedal steel, and
various percussion are all featured. This album is so accomplished
that you would swear that they have been recording records for years
but "Castaways and Cutouts" is only their debut. It originally was
released on the small HUSH label based out of Portland, Oregon and
is now widely available from the nice folks at Kill Rock Stars (who
plan on releasing their sophomore album this summer). You would
also not believe that it was recorded in a warehouse in an industrial
section of Portland, Oregon, the recording is so full you'd swear it
was done in a big studio. "Castaways and Cutouts" is one of those
rare debuts that come along every few years and completely blows
you away; it stands out from the pack of mediocre artists and
re-instills your faith in music today. Truly Beautiful. [JS]

BURNT FRIEDMAN "Can't Cool" (Nonplace) CD $15.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/somedaym.rm
Burnt Friedman is at it again. "Can't Cool" reunites Friedman with the
Nu Dub Players, a collective of 20 instrumentalist from around the
world, and from this album's opening track, a Prince-like, funked-out
Afrobeat jam called "Fuck Back," you can tell things are gonna get
interesting quick. From here, you enter a project in which reggae,
funk, jazz and the soulful vocals of Abi, Patrice, Theo Altenberg
(notables in the German reggae-scene) and Lovette Pippen from His
Name Is Alive are to become one. Mellow. [JD]

PRINCE PAUL "Politics of the Business" (Razor and Tie) CD $11.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/beautifu.rm
Presenting himself with a challenge to make a record that sells, as
well as being creative, the offbeat, leftfield and hilarious
DJ/producer/rapper Prince Paul continues his blend of hip-hop
commentary, critique, and comedy with "Politics of the Business."
This is another vocal assemble piece gathering the talents of Erick
Sermon, Masta Ace, Jean Grae, The Beatnuts, Chuck D, Dave from
De La, Ice-T, MF Doom, Guru, Cubb Rock, and comedian Dave
Chappelle, with Paul handling all beats. Any fan of the groups he's
produced (Stetsasonic, De La Soul, Paul Barman, Gravediggaz, 3rd
Bass) or his last, last incarnation with the Automator as Handsome
Boy Modeling School, will surely vibe to this. Not as much of a
headtrip that was his '97 release "Psychoanalysis," or as alternative
as '99's "So How's Your Girl?", this one's strictly hip-hop and quite
good! [DG]

CALIFONE "Deceleration of Two" (Perishable) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/cali2.rm
Perhaps the best way to approach this new one from Califone is as a
companion piece to the wonderful "Quicksand Cradlesnakes" album
that they released on Thrill Jockey just a couple of months back. At
the time, I described that record as their most accessible, focused
song-suite to date. They had carefully trimmed the hazy interludes
and instrumental passages that often frame the group's hypnotic,
narcotic blues and delivered a record high on melody and movement.
"Deceleration Two" could be the sounds they left behind, but don't
mistake these for out-takes or second-stringers. Califone is a band
that chooses to cloak their best moments in mystery, and often
make you dig a bit deeper to find the center of their work. The new
one, apparently combining several pieces written for film soundtracks
with an extended live performance from February '02, instead presents
digging deep as the end product, and they have created a swirling,
murky, and yet meticulously crafted soundscape in which to lose
oneself. Nine musicians juggle over 30 instruments to create a
many-hued crazy quilt of sound and texture that can be alternately
disorienting, disheartening, and triumphant. In many ways, the group's
subtle interplay makes these tracks every bit as soulful and
fascinating as even their most carefully structured work, and the
record is a headphone bliss-out from beginning to end. [JM]

ELECTROCUTE "A Tribute to Your Taste" (Emperor Norton) CD $5.99
Germany's latest electro export, Electrocute are the duo of Mia Dime
and American ex-pat Nicole Morier (who's father penned a few hit
songs back in the '60s for groups like the Cowsills and Spanky and
Our Gang.) Live, they are supposed to be quite the spectacle, and
depending on the night you might get a beer-fueled performance with
the duo clad in bunny costumes. It's definitely not the shock of
Peaches, but Electrocute have quickly made their place in Berlin's
music underground. Their debut EP is a primitive affair totally
stripped down to bare drum machine beats and filled with trashy
surf guitar leads and sassy girl/girl vocals singing prepubescent odes
("I Love My Daddy"), a cover of Sexual Harassment's "I Need a
Freak," a shout out to the land of sweets ("Sugar Buzz") and even a
catchy theme song. [GH]

This week's contributors: J Dennis [JD], Daniel DeRogatis [DD],
Daniel Givens [DG], Gerald Hammill [GH], Duane Harriot [DH],
Kean Holtkamp [KH], Dan Hougland [DHo],Michael Klausman [MK],
Nicole Lang [NL], Josh Madell [JM], Scott Mou [SM], and Jeremy
Sponder [JS].  


To see a complete list of Other Music new releases for the week
ending May 6, 2003, use this link as a shortcut:

To see new release updates from previous weeks:

To order any of the items you see on these pages simply click the
links following each review or visit our Web site at:

Phone orders are accepted at (212) 477-8150 (ext. #2, mailorder).

For general inquiries or other information, please email:
"sales@othermusic.com". Do not reply to this message.

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

Other Music NYC
15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003