April 21 , 2004  




Vast Aire
Lali Puna
Yesterday's New Quintet
Bulent (Reissue)

Keith Rowe & Christian Fennesz
Black Dice & Wolf Eyes


Vinny Miller
Gene Estribou & Jean-Paul Pickens (Reissue)
Architecture in Helsinki
Mitchell Akiyama
Bright Eyes & Neva Dinova

No Neck Blues Band (2 LPs)

APR Sun 25 Mon 26 Tues 27 Wed 28 Thurs 29 Fri 30 Sat 01




In-Store Appearance
Celebrating the release of his beautiful new album
Rejoicing in the Hands
Sunday, April 25 (7:30 p.m.)
15 East 4th Street NY, NY
Free Admission/Limited Capacity

APR Sun 25 Mon 26 Tues 27 Wed 28 Thurs 29 Fri 30 Sat 01



(Heroes of the Homemade Mix)

WEEVIE (Nighty Night)
DJ GILLES (Decadanse Series)
DJ LANGUAGE (Language Lab/New Wave vs. Negroclash)

Tuesday, April 27 - 9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
APT: 419 W. 13th Street NY, NY
(Featuring Don Q Rum bar from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.)
Free Admission

APR Sun 25 Mon 26 Tues 27 Wed 28 Thurs 29 Fri 30 Sat 01




A night of sad DJ sets hosted by:
Jimmy Tamborella (Dntel, Postal Service)
w/special guests Greg K
& Leigh Lezark (MisShapes)
Stop dancing and start crying!
Monday, April 26th (10 p.m.)
PIANOS: 158 Ludlow @ Stanton - Lower East Side NYC - Free Admission







$14.99 LP


Look Mom...No Hands
(Chocolate Industries)

"Look Mom, No Hands"

Chocolate Industries drops a bangin' party again, this time with Vast Aire's debut. Featuring MF Doom, Madlib, Breeze Brewin' of Juggaknots, Blueprint (Soul Position), Aes Rock, Sadat X… need I say more, 'cause the list goes on! The most talented players in the rap game unite on this Def Jukie-gone-solo's first bestowal to all the insatiate heads out there, creating a variegated and diverse sound (especially on the production tip) that ultimately contributes to an arguably disjointed yet still unique album. The former guise of this dual outcome becomes latent, because as each producer (and MC) step up to spread their skills, Vast Aire displays his caustic ability to respond keenly through his own voice to various stylings and beat palettes.

Vast could have indubitably kept the guest list short just as successfully - perhaps letting the more sinister and dense sounds of his own Atoms Fam crew prevail (this record being exemplar in Vast and the crews' enduring legacy). Vast Aire and Metro of Jux's S.A. Smash spit ill rhymes over Cryptic One's bleak, discordant beats and menacing synth washes on "Whysdaskyblue" - as Vast's lyrical wordplay through the murk conjures the ghost of… well, dude, I know you know so let's proceed 'cause this album most definitely stands true in of itself. From funk to thug to golden era reminiscence to playful and humorous loops and samples (check Doom's appearance on "Da Supafriendz") to the convergence of Vast's outspoken and sincere lyrical perspective on life - you have as an output, a fruit of creativity, just that. An album representing all the diverse affairs that makes, in Vast Aire's own words, life ill. [MT]








Faking the Books

"Call 1-800-fear"

No longer just a side project, with Faking the Books Lali Puna have finally come into their own and released their most cohesive and confident album to date. Their third full-length feels like the first "real" album by this band - that's not to say that their previous work was bad, it was just less mature. The songs are slightly more catchy, the guitars and keys turned up in the mix, and the real standout here is Valerie Trebeljahr. All of those live shows and tours abroad seemed to have given her voice power and you can tell there's a newfound confidence that really makes her stand out as a proper front-woman. All the while the band has come up with the songwriting that allows her to shine while they create their trademark sound with bedroom electronics, analog keyboards, live drums, bass and guitars. Nothing new here artistically, just a great pop album by a band who has finally reached their full potential. Recommended. [JS]







Operette - Opera Remixes

"Summa Afrique" Oren Ambarchi
"Noises From a Hill" Hazard

The best of the best in minimal electronic music come together to pay tribute to Sweden's incredible electronic/acoustic innovators Tape, whose two recent albums have been big hits with OM's customers and staff. The remixes on this collection are built almost entirely from tracks on the group's first release, Opera. Oren Ambarchi, who has collaborated in the past with Tape's resident acoustic guitar/harmonium master Johan Berthling, offers one of the record's most compelling interpretations with his guitar accompaniment played over a loop of one of Tomas Hallonsten's amazing melodica lines. Hazard's remix adds a subtle pulse to a track that otherwise sounds relatively unchanged, and the minor change in instrumentation takes the song in a surprising and interesting new direction. Other notable contributors include Apestaartje artists Minamo and Anderegg, drone guru Stephan Mathieu, and Pita on one of his most subdued and pleasant compositions ever. Like the music on Tape's studio albums, everything on here is highly melodic and relaxing. Hypnotic and complex tones, pure sonic bliss, beautiful stuff to tide us all over while we wait for another album from this great young band. [RH]







(Stones Throw)

"Too High"

Honestly he never stops. Producer extraordinaire Madlib assumes five different aliases collectively known as Yesterday's New Quintet. This is the official release of his instrumental tribute to soul legend Stevie Wonder, originally made as a promo for the Triple Five Soul clothing company. The 11 tracks culled from Stevie's golden era - including "Golden Lady," "Superstition," "That Girl," "Too High," and "You've Got It Bad Girl" - all get Madlib's mellow funk interpretation. Mostly reminiscent of his Blue Note reconstruction album Shades of Blue, but a bit more raw and soulful, even lounge-y at times, and dare I say groovy. Madlib, a/k/a Otis Jackson Jr., who's only credited with drums, layers himself playing bass, percussion, vibes, and keys as well. If you're a fan of any of his previous projects, check this out. Overall it plays better than YNQ's full debut. Recommended for the "steppers" in the house. [DG]







Benimle Oynar Misin
(World Psychedelia)

"Sunna Abla"
"Sen Varsin"

Every once in a while, you hear a record for the very first time and it becomes instantly ingrained into your memory. You intuitively know every note before it comes, you can hum along from start to finish, you feel that it has always been with you and will stay with you for eternity. Bulent Ortacgil's absolutely phenomenal 1974 debut Benimle Oynar Misin is considered a landmark album in his native Turkey, but after three decades the singer-songwriter remains virtually unknown in the United States. Bulent's songs are written and arranged simply and tastefully, with his voice and gorgeous fingerpicked guitar playing in the forefront of almost every track, and sparse accompaniment on piano, trumpet, saxophone, strings, and several other instruments played by a long list of sidemen and women. The music on this record follows in the tradition of Nick Drake, Donovan, Duncan Browne, the Pentangle, Dando Shaft, Fairport Convention, and other like-minded British folk singers and folk rock bands. The mood is melancholic, but with a strong underlying sense of hope and joy.

Even though I don't understand a word of Turkish, this is one of the most moving and engrossing records I've heard in ages. It's sort of unfortunate that the liner notes don't include English translations, because it's hard to imagine that the lyrics are anything less than brilliant. At the same time, it's refreshing to listen and pay attention only to the emotion in the voice and not to its verbal content. As far as I'm concerned, this is the one to beat as far as reissues go in 2004. It's truly too beautiful to put into any words that I've ever heard, and after spending just a few weeks with it I already consider it one of my absolute favorite albums of all time. Why has it taken so long for this masterpiece to see the light of day in our country? Don't sleep on this one, folks, this is an album that promises to stick with you for a long, long time. [RH]







$11.99 LP


"Seventeen Years"
"Germany to Germany"

Hot on the heels of their "Seventeen Years" 12-inch, a track that stylistically mixed the electro-stomp of Zongamin with the searing guitar leads from Daft Punk's Discovery, Ratatat's eponymous debut finally surfaces. Comprised of Evan Mast, best known for crafting warm, melodic electronica as E*vax, and guitarist Mike Stroud who's also backed notables like Dashboard Confessional and Ben Kweller, the uninitiated can probably guess that this duo is a fusion of rock and electronic music. But the one-sheet from their record label half-jokingly points out that this is "nothing like Postal Service." And it isn't. Aside from a few humorous micro-cassette recorded spoken word segues, Ratatat's first full-length is completely instrumental. Baroque melodies from a multi-tracked guitar steer most of the songs while light shuffling beats and bittersweet washes of synthesizer provide the support. Stroud's grandiose, orchestrated leads actually remind me of the kind of pomp and circumstance that Queen's Brian May would pull from his custom red guitar, only here the arena rock bravura is offset by Mast's tempered keyboard pads and subtle Krautrock influences. I'm not sure why Trans Am never made this album, but Ratatat just left them behind in a cloud of dust. [GH]






On the Block

"Breaking Out of Your Arms"

A subtle and charming record from the new kid on 4AD, and incidentally the last artist signed to the label by founder Ivo Watts-Russell before he sold the label to the Beggars Group. At its heart this is hazy, dreamy acoustic songwriter piece, a la Mojave 3 or the like. And as such there are many small delights, like the fragile and heartfelt "Breaking Out Of Your Arms." But the first UK single, "Pigpen" shows a slightly more complicated side of Mr. Miller, with static-filled homemade electronics and trashy overdriven drumbeats pushing his world-weary vocals into fits of revulsion and fury. The album flits about playfully in this fashion, exploring both sides of Vinny, with acoustic ballads interspersed with textured folktronica that is playful, but no less intense and emotional. There has been a lot of anticipation for this record from 4AD fans who enjoyed his cut on 1999's Anakin sampler, and in the label's typical low-key style this record should seep into your consciousness and satisfy. Worth the wait. [JM]







(Locust Music)

"Shady Grows"
"You Know - The One You Played Saturday Night"

Fans of John Fahey, Sandy Bull, Robbie Basho, and other instrumental folk innovators take note, this one's for you! This rarity was originally issued on vinyl by Henry Jacobs' MEA record label, and it's now available on CD for the first time ever thanks to the fine people at Locust Music. Gene Estribou plays the acoustic guitar like nobody's business, and Jean-Paul Pickens ain't too shabby on the banjo, either. After recording their individual sides on this stupendous little record, Pickens went on to play in Serpent Power with San Francisco poet David Meltzer, and Estribou engineered and released early singles for the Grateful Dead, but those details aren't anywhere near as important as the spontaneous, virtuosic, and transcendental performances captured on this disc. Like Henry Flynt, both of these guys started with American folk music traditions and launched them into the stratosphere, but unlike Flynt they managed to make the music soar into oblivion without veering nearly as far from the beaten path. It's completely traditional but at the same time completely psychedelic. Thank god this glorious, groundbreaking, jaw-dropping work is finally getting the attention it deserves. [RH]







Fingers Crossed

"The Owls Go"
"Scissor Paper Rock"

Australian fey folk electronic hippie commune twee chamber pop. It could be either an intriguing new genre or an indictment. For Melbourne's Architecture in Helsinki it's definitely the former. Their debut album has been converting listeners in Australia and those lucky enough with connections down under for a few years, and is now debuting stateside on the Bar/None label. If you put eight or so creative hippie types in a room jam packed with guitars, xylophones, keyboards and the like, you'd be hard pressed not to end up with something interesting. What's so remarkable and unlikely about this particular jam session is that the results present themselves in the form of jewel-like, light yet solid songwriting.

Awkward whispery girl/boy vocals proclaim inventive lyrics of everyday longings and quotidian obsessions, bolstered by triumphant yet compellingly ham-fisted string and horn sections. Dramatic tension between noodling analog synth melodies and darker acoustic and electric guitar and bass lines drives the album into a baroque and joyful pop synthesis that is hard to categorize and in the end is pretty different than anything out there right now despite its various and sundry common references and elements shared with the current pop and neo-psyche/folk scenes. Imagine Animal Collective without the acid or the dark side, or a dynamic, much more shambling and much less melancholy Belle and Sebastian. Light and airy, summer-y and breezy, triumphant and excited, Fingers Crossed qualifies as the perfect soundtrack to the coming summer. [MC]







If Night Is a Weed and Day Grows Less
(Sub Rosa)

"With Hope That"
"If Day Wins, Night Could Fail"

Montreal resident Mitchell Akiyama's name should be familiar to anyone who has been following the undercurrents of contemporary experimental electronic music for the past several years. Having released several solo albums on labels such as Raster Noton, Alien8 and his own Intr_Vrsn label, Akiyama has somewhat quietly made a name for himself alongside Tim Hecker and some of the more beat driven (think Akufen, Deadbeat) electronic producers currently coming out of Montreal. While much of Akiyama's recent solo work can easily be compared to many other excellent post-Fennesz guitar and computer inspired projects, he continually manages to stand out with his almost classical approach to song structure and hazy production. Although he often works within rather specific aesthetic restraints he has always had an individual approach that is rare in such narrow quarters.

Consisting of mainly heavily filtered and repeating guitar and piano fragments that project through layers of hiss and static, If Night Is a Weed... has the overall effect of an underwater symphony. Melodies drift in and out as waves of static and hiss slowly grow into swelling masses of undulating texture. Akiyama's warm almost fuzzy production style lends itself well to his extremely stylized compositions. With a healthy dose of reverb and some light distortion, Akiyama's work has as much in common with fellow Montreal residents Do Make Say Think as it does with more digitally inclined producers. I was a little unsure of the blatant Steve Reich tribute "With Hope That" (think piano phase), but it's so well done that it's hard to hold it against him for giving a nod to those who came before. If Night Is a Weed and Days Grow Less is an extremely promising album with a range and depth that becomes more expansive with each new listen. Highly recommended. [KH]







One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels

"Black Comedy"

This mini-album has been cooking for a while, possibly as far back as '96 when Neva Dinova's Jake Bellows' first met a young fan named Conor Oberst at one of his band's concerts. Fast-forward several years, and the two Nebraskan songwriters finally work together bringing their groups in tow. More than just a typical split EP, this is a collaboration in the truest sense with Oberst playing with and singing back-up in the Neva Dinova tracks, and Bellows doing the same during the Bright Eyes contributions. As expected, the songs range from twangy, Pavement-esque ballads to dramatically orchestrated chamber pop and bridge the style-spectrum of the two bands. Though there's a more relaxed feel in the overall performance and recording of this EP, One Jug of Wine, Two Vessels is far from a collection of b-side throwaways. The two songwriters and their respective groups seem perfectly at home performing together and the results are quite pleasing. [GH]









Live at the Lu

"Lu Live 2"

Recorded two years ago in Nantes, Live at the Lu features AMM's Keith Rowe on guitar and electronics and Christian Fennesz on laptop. This album documents two very influential experimental electronic artists in their first show together. (Full review next week.)








Black Dice & Wolf Eyes EP

"Eyes Black"

Finally released on on CD, this is not a split single. Two years ago, Black Dice and Wolf Eyes recorded these two pieces playing together during a daylong session. Edited by Wolf Eyes' Aaron Dilloway, spaced-out, meditative tones stretch over the extended ambience with fleeting bursts of both bands' aggro-noise assaults. Previously only available on vinyl.



First Kingdom



Dutch Money




First Kingdom of the Ghost
(Sound @ One)

Dutch Money
(Sound @ One)

Inaugurating what will possibly end up as a fifteen deep series, these two releases, Dutch Money and First Kingdom of the Ghost, are separate missives originating from famed Amsterdam radio studio VPRO and various points around London/New York respectively. The fidelity of these recordings speaks for itself, as do the performances contained therein. In a bid to describe the indescribable though, Dutch Money could be said to mine even further and deeper into their world explorer side, whereas First Kingdom... collates majestically their more cosmic American tendencies. And an Other Music exclusive for a couple of weeks at least. [DHo]



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[MC] Matt Connors
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[KH] Koen Holtkamp
[DHo] Dan Hougland
[JM] Josh Madell
[JS] Jeremy Sponder
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

- all of us at Other Music
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