February 11, 2004  




Arthur Russell (unreleased tracks)
Casino Vs. Japan
Liars (CD single)
KMD (Best of)

Zen, Zen RMX, & Zen TV
(Ninja Tune compilations and DVD)

Sublime Frequencies (new compilations)
Spiritualized (Complete Works Vol. 2)
Rafael Toral
Valley of the Giants
FEB Sun 22 Mon 23 Tues 24 Wed 25 Thurs 26 Fri 27 Sat 28



(Express Rising, Chains & Black Exhaust)
For a night of Deep Funk & Soul

w/Special Guest DJs:
Alec D. & Other Music's Michael and Duane

APT: 419 W. 13th Street NY, NY
9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
(Featuring Don Q Rum from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.)







Calling Out of Context

"The Platform on the Ocean"
"Arm Around You"

If the Soul Jazz collection of recordings by Arthur Russell was the lost treasure, this new collection, "Calling Out of Context" is certainly the jewel in the crown. As we know, Russell was the mysterious cellist who would later become the avant-disco maestro. Where Soul Jazz's "World of…" compilation mainly focused on the Russell that had discovered New York nightlife, "Calling Out of Context" compiles two albums: one completed in 1984, the other eventually abandoned, dating between 1986 and 1990.

It's upbeat but definitely not disco in the traditional sense. This is his more personal, mysterious, intimate, natural, joyful, and, yes, queer side. Ranging from solo settings -- with Russell sweetly singing, as well as playing guitar, cello, keyboards, and drum machines -- to duos and trios with Peter Zummo on trombone and synthesizer, and Mustafa Ahmed on drums, Djembe, conga, and programming, this set illustrates Russell's connection to more recognized names such as Eno, Bowie, Byrne, Gabriel, Watt, Gore, Wobble, Wyatt, Cale, Collins, and even Prince (accessible but without the obvious pop pretension).

Constructed with a more delicate touch, strong sense of rhythm, honest voice, thoughtful, personal, and natural words than most "white boy soul" singers or post-punk poseurs, but with more outsider overtones, it shines with an odd beauty none of the above mentioned could tap into. He uses the mechanical drum rhythms that were to become the foundation of modern R&B and hip-hop with a soulful and spirited ear. It sounds like the streets of NYC during the mid-'80s.

This is a document of what love, devotion, drive, and imagination can produce. Russell, an outsider, on the fringe within the '80s New York avant-garde scene, wanted to be accepted by the crowd he danced with regularly. He walked along the same streets as Liquid Liquid, ESG, and Talking Heads, possessing the same forward-thinking fusion of urban minimal funk.

The occasional lo-fi quality often makes it feel like an audio diary of sorts. Very few have ever heard these recordings; the very reason they exist is because of Russell's faith in what he was doing, hearing the rhythms, the waves of echo, the subtly shifting percussion lines, and the swaying drum patterns. Like Sun Ra, Coltrane, Fela, or Cash, his output is the result of a life dedicated to music, absorbing it, creating without restraint, and with a sense of leaving behind something beautiful. This is yet another shining example of a great creative spirit that didn't get to see his work accepted and appreciated.

"Calling Out of Context" is gathered from thousands of tapes which Russell kept his various mixes on -- works in progress that he would wander the city listening to. Do yourself a favor, don't buy that new electro/post-punk haircut band, or at very least buy this too. Try the real thing. Thanks to Steve Knutson for giving this music a new life. By all means, recommended. [DG]

(Album will not be available in the store until Thursday, February 11.)







Meet Next Life

"Birds Over Barges"
"One Man Abandon"

It's been over two-and-a half years since "Lucky Cat," ISAN's last full-length, and not much has changed in the world of these Morr Music staples. Their ultra-melodic brand of warm analogue electronica is still here but this time out there is a slight twist. Robin Saville and Antony Ryan have for the first time added organic acoustic instruments into the fold, and what comes out is a beautiful amalgamation of both the traditional and the modern. Downtempo beats are the backbone, while spacey analogue synths float by, electronic blips and bleeps add some texture, and various acoustic instruments like acoustic guitars, hand percussion, glockenspiel, and many more flesh out the songs. The one thing about ISAN is that their tracks are meticulously composed, even though the melodies are extremely simple with each miniature part an essential to the whole. Once again, ISAN fail to disappoint and "Meet Next Life" is another exquisite album in their almost flawless discography. Recommended. [JS]







Hitori + Kaiso 1998-2001

"Bound by Your Smile"

Casino Versus Japan drops a bomb on us this week. Milwaukee's Erik Kowalski gives us 29 unreleased tracks that he recorded between 1998 and 2001. Why these songs didn't make it onto any "official album" is beyond me because they are far from "throwaways" as one might expect. All of these tracks are stunning, right from the very start of Disc 1. Album opener "Buried" is a lush downtempo jewel that could compare to any of the amazing tracks on Boards Of Canada's "Music Has the Right to Children"... yes, it's that good. The first disc is comprised of mostly upbeat and lush sounding songs with some of the more ambient pieces left for Disc 2. Freescha and your Attacknine label, I thank you; for if not for them "Hitori + Kaiso" probably would have never seen the light of day, and that would truly be a shame. By the way this is a 2-CD for a single CD price, and well worth it. The perfect companion to your ISAN purchase this week. [JS]








There's Always Room on the Broom

"There's Always Room on the Broom"

The new album isn't even released yet, but for the past six months or so the Liars have been stirring up a fair amount of gossip. After firing their rhythm section, Angus Andrew and Aaron Hemphill set up a studio in the basement of Angus and Karen O's New Jersey home. Recruiting old friend Julian Gross into their streamlined line-up, the now-trio recorded a spooky follow-up to "They Threw Us All in a Trench and Stuck a Monument on Top" - an album solely devoted to witchcraft folklore.

I'm sure the cover art for the first single off of "They Were Wrong So We Drowned" will piss off a few old-timers still keeping the faith. The artwork is directly lifted from Mute labelmates Einstürzende Neubauten's "Strategies Against Architecture," with their familiar stick figure logo now perched atop a graffiti-added broom sporting a witch hat, the German noise experimentalists' name crossed out and replaced with "Liars." Not quite the level of Johnny Rotten's "I Hate" Pink Floyd shirt, but it's still a pretty punk, errr… post-punk, move. But I digress.

"There's Always Room on the Broom" begins with the harsh, rhythmic squelch of a squashed guitar sample and a heavy-handed hi-hat beat. Falsetto 'eeeeyoooouuu's and Andrew and Hemphill's multi-tracked vocal chants guide the song through a linear obstacle of shrill frequency blasts and sonic shards. It's certainly not the disco-skronk-chaos of "Mr. Your on Fire Mr." but unmistakably Liars, aspiring to shake off and out of their Williamsburg funk. And believe it or not, you can still dance to this one. Full-length will hit the stores on February 23. [GH]







Best of KMD
(Nature Sounds)

"Who Me"

During a time where tunes were more palatable and when seemingly every single dropped was an instantaneous classic, a crew primarily composed of Zev Love X (MF Doom) and DJ Sub-Roc exuded hip hop magic the industry found no real home for. But all genius is misunderstood. From the lighthearted youthful humor laced with subtle-yet-intellectual political rhetoric of "Mr. Hood" to "Black Bastards' dark and vicious nuances astutely referencing DJ Subroc's unfortunate and untimely death, KMD created enduring music that now stands influential and inspirational to artist and audience alike. The long overdue "Best of KMD" is now available featuring an unreleased version of "Nitty Gritty" featuring Busta Rhymes and Brand Nubian. [MT]




Princess Nicotine


Radio Morocco



Radio Palestine


I Remember Syria


Folk & Pop Music of Myanmar
Various (Sublime Frequencies)

I can't imagine a surprise more pleasant than these unexpected new releases from Sublime Frequencies. Alan Bishop of Sun City Girls always brings home some sonic souvenirs from his exotic world travels. Last year he formed the Sublime Frequencies label and began to release collections of his greatest discoveries. The label's 2003 offerings became instant staff favorites and continue to be among the most popular items in our world music section.

Three of the new releases -- "I Remember Syria," "Radio Morocco," and "Radio Palestine" -- are more or less in the vein of last year's "Radio Java." Each includes several long sound collages built out of snippets of television, radio, music, speech, and various field recordings obtained in its respective country. Bishop is a master of editing, taking the listener on an aural tour of each of these relatively mysterious nations.

Of the four new additions to the catalog, "Princess Nicotine" is the most immediately gratifying. This collection of pop music from Burma had an extremely limited vinyl-only release on Majora in 1994 and is finally out on CD with amazing colorful artwork and a couple of tracks that weren't included on the original. Most of the music on here combines indigenous styles with Western-influenced production and song structure.

There's a moment that sounds like a Southeast Asian James Brown talking to his band on the intro to "Sex Machine," and a whole song that sounds like a Burmese version of something from an early animated Disney film. The instrumentation includes piano, electric guitar, and keyboards alongside high-pitched reed instruments, bowed strings, and incredibly fast runs on tuned percussion. It's a bit like a cross between a Vietnamese field recording and a Bollywood film soundtrack. In my opinion this is easily the best thing yet from Sublime Frequencies, listening to it transports you to a completely different world. "Princess Nicotine" is totally enchanting and incredibly joyful, a true pleasure from start to finish. [RH]







Complete Works Volume 2

"Come Together"
"Stop Your Crying"

Like the first volume of "Complete Works," J. Spaceman (Jason Pierce) has filled two more compact discs with b-sides, rarities and other Spiritualized delights. Culled from 1995 to basically the present, much of this 26-song collection spotlights the grand orchestrations that propelled the band into deep space.

Disc one includes tracks from the "Let It Flow" single, an instrumental version of "Spread Your Wings" taken from the Japanese pressing of "Pure Phase" as well as tracks culled from their "Abbey Road" EP. Most of the era covered here is around the time of their breakthrough, "Ladies and Gentlemen…" (including an alternate mix of "Electricity" and a rare instrumental version of "Broken Heart") and also features Spiritualized's cover of the "X-Files" theme, originally available only on their 1997 "Supplementary Dosage" EP.

Disc two features the three single versions off of "Let It Come Down" along with b-sides from that session and two instrumentals recorded with a 100-piece orchestra. Also included are three live cuts from late-2001 ("Do It All Over Again," "On Fire" and "Come Together") taken from a Radio 1 session plus a (non)-traditional version of "Amazing Grace." Sure, there's plenty here for completists to dig into, but this is also a great place for any of the uninitiated to begin their trip. [GH]







(Southern Load)

"Access Babylon"
"Sweet Dreams"

Probot! Really, this is all you need to know: This record RIPS.

At first I thought it would be interesting to write the review with the intention of leaving out the punch -- which is the crucial fact that Dave Grohl wrote the entire record. I can't really do that though. The reasoning behind why I was entertaining that thought is because there are so many preconceptions and biases involving him. I mean, come on… nearly everyone's initial reaction is probably, "Dave Grohl doing a metal record?! No way!"

Actually, I am going to invite him to SCHOOL you in the dominion of underground metal, 'cause his love for it shines through in this brilliant project, which is the definitive, larger-than-life array representing the most excellent in metal circa '83 to '90.

Grohl provides the fundamental palette, which is the songs, varying from obliterating thrash and grind, metallic hardcore fused metal, drugged-up boogie jams, doomy drones, to operatic opuses. Each track is fused with guest throat action featuring a slew of vocalists hand-picked by Grohl, himself -- allowing luminaries such as Cronos (Venom), Max Cavalera (Sepultura), Lemmy (Motorhead), and the vocalists from C.O.C, Trouble, Voivod, and Mercyful Fate to spit fire with their own renowned styles.

Probot is blistering, raw energy as Dave Grohl's impeccable drums puncture the album, backboning additional guitar work by Kim Thayil of Soundgarden and enough bass to make your chest cave in… all making for the brilliant long lost songs the bands themselves never wrote. [MT]







Harmonic Series
(Table of the Elements)

I wouldn't normally review a 12" but Rafael Toral's "Harmonic Series," one of the releases featured in Table of the Elements' new series, was such an engaging listen that I thought it deserved a mention. Each record in this series consists of a colored vinyl 12" -- one side featuring music by one artist and the other side, a beautiful etching that somehow relates to the artist's work. Toral's record features a carefully hand drawn map of rivers and other waterways on the b-side, perfectly reflecting the liquid forms that he creates with guitar, analog electronics and computer generated sinewaves.

Though Toral is really blurring the edge dissonance in this piece, it is only for a moment before we catch a glimpse of the fluttering harmonics that seem to come from within the overall body of sound. He gets the most out of each note pushing the edges of structure with long sustained notes and mind-bending drones that pull the listener in and out of consciousness. One of Toral's finest works! Other favorites in the series include Laurie Spiegel's "Harmonices Mundi," a re-creation of Keppler's aural map of the planets which has only been previously available in outer space (you figure it out), and John Fahey's "Hard Time Empty Bottle Blues." Recommended. [KH]







(Arts & Crafts)

"Beyond the Valley"

Home to Stars and Broken Social Scene, Arts & Crafts may as well be Canada's answer to the Justice League of America. After single-handedly reintroducing the world to the concept of "super group" with the 11-piece BSS, the label now unleashes another all-star collective. Though about half the size, Valley of the Giants features Broken Social Scene's Brendan Canning and Charles Spearin (who also plays in Do Make Say Think), Godspeed/Silver Mt. Zion member Sophie Trudeau, Shalabi Effect's Anthony Seck, Strawberry's Deidre Smith (who has also sung with Shalabi Effect), and a friend name Raoul Tangeuy.

Inspired by the Michael Crichton flick "Westworld," which featured Yul Brynner as a villain-robot gunslinger, the group convened in an old cedar farmhouse in Ontario and following one rehearsal, recorded their self-titled debut. The chemistry is very evident, each player bringing elements of their respective band to the table. But unlike Broken Social Scene, who successfully cram tons of anthemic pop hooks between post-rock textures and ambience, Valley of the Giants crawl underneath a hot, slow-setting desert sun. Long, mystical passages are rich with mood and orchestration; and like Godspeed, Silver Mt. Zion or Shalabi Effect, atmosphere takes precedence.

With the exception of the haunting poetic narration in "Whaling Tale", "Westworld" and album closer "Bala Bay Inn" are the only two songs with vocals. Smith's airy melodies are sweet and crystalline, transforming the brooding atmospherics into desert lullabies. It's not until the final moments of the closing track that the dreamy lull suddenly turns upbeat and the rest of the ensemble joins her for a stoned, campfire sing-along. [GH]









Zen TV



Various/A Ninja Tune Retrospective
(Ninja Tune)

Two CD set features 32 tracks of music from staple Ninja Tune artists including Cinematic Orchestra, Amon Tobin, Funki Porcini, The Herbaliser, Mr. Scruff, Wagon Christ, and many, many more!

Various/A Retrospective of Ninja Tune Remixes
(Ninja Tune)

Double CD remix collection from all your Ninja Tune faves and guest producers. Twenty tracks in total.

Various/A Retrospective of Ninja Tune Videos
(Ninja Tune)

Well over 30 videos from Ninja Tune artists including Jaga Jazzist, Amon Tobin, Coldcut, Flanger, Kid Koala, DJ Vadim... basically the whole crew. Additional cuts include a 15-minute Hexstatic video mash-up, an exclusive audio mix, and an album sleeve gallery.




  All of this week's new arrivals.

Previous Other Music Updates.

Previous week's releases.

Visit www.othermusic.com.


Phone orders are accepted at
(212) 477-8150 (ext. #2, mailorder) Mon-Fri, Noon - 7pm EST

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

This is an automated list. If you would like to be removed from it for any reason, please send an email from the address you wish to delete to list@othermusic.com and make sure the word "Remove" is included in the subject line.
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[KH] Koen Holtkamp
[JS] Jeremy Sponder
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

- all of us at Other Music
   Newsletter Design Big Code