March 18, 2004  




Elektronische Musik Interkontinental 3
The Double
Sufjan Stevens
Glitterbest (Various)
Gluhen 4

Manual with Jess Kahr


Pantha Du Prince
Studio One Ska (Various)
Autechre & Hafler Trio
The Ponys
Steve Roden


MAR Sun 21 Mon 22 Tues 23 Wed 24 Thurs 25 Fri 26 Sat 27




In-Store Appearance

Monday, March 22 (8:00 p.m.)
15 East 4th Street NY, NY
Free Admission/Limited Capacity

MAR Sun 28 Mon 29 Tues 30 Wed 31 Thurs 01 Fri 02 Sat 03

Patrick Pulsinger


Patrick Pulsinger (Cheap Records)
Umberto Gollini (Cheap Records)
Scott Mou (DJ Casio/Other Music)

APT: 419 W. 13th Street NY, NY
Tuesday, March 30
9 p.m. to 4 a.m.
(Featuring Don Q Rum bar from 9 p.m. to 10 p.m.)







$9.99 12"


Various Artists

"Klostergarten" Adam Kroll
"Text XXX" Donal Tierney

Yet another brilliant release in the Elektronische Musik series for Traum Schallplatten. "Interkontinental 3," compiled by Traum/Trapez co-owner Richard 'Riley Reinhold' (aka Triple R), continues to bring us the finest in warm bubbling techno from every hemisphere known to man. Germany, England, Ireland, Australia, Argentina, Japan, they're all here. Volume 3 is full of bright, poppy, dance-floor material properly balanced by deep, dreamy, minimal activities for the late-night; and it all grooves. Process and Oliver Hacke deliver, as usual. Donal Tierney and Jorge Gebauber each introduce some of the finest tech-house this side of that new rock beyond Pluto, Sedna.

I'm telling you, it's all here, and thankfully, the vinyl release this time round is only a 4 track 12" featuring a few club friendly tracks from the CD. It includes the Broker/Dealer rmx of French band Margo's "La Baumette," Popnebo's "Of Course She Does," a different killer from O. Hacke than appears on the CD, and Michael Fentum's "Warm Hands," which are actually lush strings that evolve into this static-laden montage. There's even a QuickTime video on the CD by POLAR called Occupy set to the music of Victor Bermon rmx of Fotel Folyamat's "Love Streams." Like I said, it's all here. [JD]







Palm Fronds
(Catsup Plate)

"Firecrackers In Sawdust"

The Double belong on the list of New York's most interesting and promising rock bands. Their phenomenal debut "Palm Fronds" is one of those extremely rare records that manages to perfectly blend adventurous production with spot-on songwriting. Some astute listeners might be tempted to write off their recording aesthetic because of its debt to Animal Collective, but the Double are no mere imitators. They're merely a group that seems to have actually paid attention to what's going on in music, and they sound like they've probably got great taste. It's tough to make good music if you don't have good influences. Radiohead always gets attention for making supposedly unusual and sonically interesting pop music, but if those guys heard the Double they'd surely have to hang up their analog synthesizers and go home for good. Unfortunately, I'd guess that the chances of Thom Yorke digging deep enough to check out this band are extraordinarily slim. If Christian Fennesz joined the Walkmen, this is what it would sound like. If that sounds good to you, you're going to love "Palm Fronds." [RH]








"The Point of It All"

One of the few truly original voices in contemporary electronic music, over the last nine years Christian Fennesz has created and refined a signature style that effortlessly combines dense, noisy digital fragmentation with a warm almost subliminal pop sense. As with pretty much all his releases, "Venice" sees Fennesz focusing on the sound of the electric guitar extending its palette through various digital processing techniques.

Although the album is less cohesive and overall developed than his last album 'Endless Summer" (or even the singles collection "Field Recordings"), in some ways its sketch like quality is its strength. Less conceptually oriented, the album comes across like a personal document of a time, an idea or perhaps a place. While "Venice" may not be as immediate as some of Fennesz' previous efforts, its combination of somber haunting melodies and grainy texture illuminates a space where simple somewhat catchy guitar playing wontedly coexists with the din of contemporary computer manipulations which is further illustrated by Jon Wozencraft's beautiful cover photographs documenting human interaction and manipulation of nature.

A somewhat mournful and generally subdued affair, "Venice" shows an artist reflecting on his craft rather then trying to force himself into a new direction. Highlights include "Transit," a stunning collaboration with David Sylvian that continues where their fantastic duo track on Sylvian's recent album "Blemish" left off. Situated directly in the middle of a mostly subdued listening experience "Transit" literally bursts out of the speakers accentuating the album's more pop like characteristics as well as its more restrained moments. Here's to hoping for an album's worth of Fennesz vs. Sylvian. [KH]







Seven Swans
(Sounds Familyre)

"All the Trees of the Field Will Clap Their Hands"
"In the Devil's Territory"

I was asked to write this review because it was known around the store that I loved Sufjan Stevens previous album "Michigan." However, what drew me to that record was its homage to the great state of Michigan. A state that I love. I'll spare you the reasons... To get right to the point, because it's what strikes you when you first listen through, the lyrical matter is mostly about God. Now, I don't feel like I'm in any position to discuss someone else's religion, which brings me to this; how could a subject as squeamish as one's faith appear on an highly anticipated record that you yourself are PROBABLY GOING TO BUY!? Because it's good goddammit! It is a beautiful and powerful thing when things come together, no matter what, for the love of good music. It is these convictions, be it politics, love, art, death, and in this case faith, that drive us to create.
With a lot of similar instrumentation to the last record, whispery vocals, choral accompaniment, reverberating guitar, and his banjo expertise, Stevens has created his own joyful noise. [LM]







Various/UK Glam With Attitude

"Good Friends" Milk 'N' Cookies
"City of Fun" England's Glory

RPM refuses to stop bringing the hits with this fourth installment in their transcendent "Lipsmackin' 70s" series. Three different collections from the label were cited on OM staff top 10 lists for 2003, and at the rate they're going they'll likely beat that record this year. We've already had the incomparable "Folk, Rock, and Faithful" and "Girls Go Zonk!" compilations, and now we've got their third great release in as many months. The record is full of ultra-catchy British proto-punk obscurities recorded between 1971 and 1976. This isn't proto-punk in the vein of the Stooges or Rocket From The Tombs, but rather the kind of raw and simple three-chord glam pop that Malcolm McLaren was probably listening to before the Sex Pistols made punk rock a household phrase in 1977 (hence the title "Glitterbest," which was the name of McLaren's promotion company). Included among the cuts are the long-lost single "Good Friends" by Milk N' Cookies and "City Of Fun" by England's Glory, a band lead by Peter Perret before the formation of the Only Ones. Don't let the rather cheesy album cover turn you off, "Glitterbest" is pure unadulterated fun, the ultimate party record and an extremely worthy follow-up to the untouchable "Velvet Tinmine" collection. [RH]






Das Schweigen Dir Sirenen

Before the arrival of "4," Gluhen was only known to us as the strange bursts of noise that started off the "Hamburgeins" compilation. This album dropped around the summer of 2003, relatively unnoticed and neglected until the harsh winter months allowed us to give it the good, deep listen it deserved.
What we glossed over as free form minimal noise is actually an album of stark, free flowing and emotive digital bits and pieces arranged with a remarkable degree of personality. Every sound is "hand"-placed and as personal as handwriting.

"4" possesses that stark yet organic feel (that doesn't necessarily use acoustic sound sources -- "folktronica" tends to suck anyway) found on Mitchell Akiyama's "Temporary Music" (Raster Noton). But Gluhen 4 somehow ends up being both more abstract and more human. The tracks are serious and alive/live-sounding, the way Vlasdilav Delay's "Entain" sounded in 1999, but without the dub leanings, and again, somehow more modern and emotive.

The tracks are largely made up of "small" sounds. Glitches, non-generic forms of static, little abstract bell-like melodies, the sounds of shimmering metal, feedback etc., all having the matter-of-fact quality/beauty of found sounds. You'll find that the album will have your attention, will let you drift off, and then grab your attention back like a restarted conversation. This is a strangely engaging collection of visceral disruption and calm chaos followed by quiet moments, then well placed near-silence. This one is already on my Top Ten for 2004. Excellent album. [SM]







Diamond Daze

"Circle Glider"
"Butterfly Girl"

Pantha Du Prince (aka Gluhen) takes his personal palette of sounds and applies them to new minimal techno structures. After falling for the Gluhen LP, I didn't know what to expect from this one. I half-expected off-time, deep shuffle techno with noise clusters here and there. What we end up getting is deep minimal techno with the classic Dial beauty and sophistication devoid of any straight up, generic sounds. Every element - bass, melody, hi-hats - is given a custom tuning to make it unique, stark, grey, and full of beauty.

Pantha Du Prince blends the dark brooding drive of Carsten Jost, the heavenly lift of Lawrence, and a tech/house structure similar to the Traum label injected with impeccably chosen/arranged sounds. While Jost tends to push forward with dark, sharp sounds accenting the beat, Pantha Du Prince has more of a driving (yet still sophisticated), dark funk. (See "Eisregen and "Circle Glider") Side C's "Sad Saphire" is like way deep Basic Channel taken out of the dank basement and placed in the clouds. Another step forward in the dark beautiful world of Dial records and another favorite LP. Recommended. [SM]







(Soul Jazz)

"Artibella" Ken Boothe & Stranger Cole
"Sampson" Tommy McCook

Ah... another stellar selection brought to us from our friends at Soul Jazz. "Studio One Ska" gathers a crispy, tasty collection of fast paced, sweaty, super tight, jump-up jams. Clemont Dodd sculpted some of the finest Calypso and R&B fueled rhythms before everything became the smoked out haze known as reggae. This is the bubbling best from the isle. Jackie Mittoo, Don Drummond, Roland Alphonso, The Skatalites, and Tommy McCook are the featured musical leaders, while Stranger Cole, Joe Higgs, Delroy Wilson, the Wailers, and the Maytals handle the vocals with ease. Great selection, great mood, upbeat, driving, and full of big tunes well worth a few rewinds. The well only gets deeper, keep diggin' and keep 'em coming. [DG]









I've never been to Sheffield, England, but from the sounds that have been emanating from these favorite sons over the last decade or so, it is a pretty cold, bleak place to call home. Although their music is very different, neighbors Autechre and the Hafler Trio share a penchant for dark soundscapes, claustrophobia, and disturbing scrapes. Surely a meeting of the minds, but in fact this double CD collaboration (actually two 3" discs set into a 5" clear plastic blank) leans a bit more towards the abstractions of the Hafler Trio than the off-kilter rhythms Autechre fans have come to expect. Honestly, if you were to judge this release on the music alone, it might be tough to justify the somewhat exorbitant price tag, but this one is aimed at the collectors. One of the more alluring packages I've seen in awhile, with an intricately folded cardboard sleeve encasing another printed sleeve that folds out to reveal the two discs and a stack of pattern-printed vellum squares that can be stacked, shuffled and displayed in any number of beautiful combinations. The score: music: 6; packaging: 9; collectability: 10. [JM]







Laced with Romance
(In the Red)

"Let's Kill Ourselves"
"Little Friend"

The first thing is that I guess there are two Ponys. One from Maine who operate in a sort of folky vein and these Ponys, from Chicago, who are a full-blown rock 'n' roll band. And it is this rock band that I've now spent weeks thinking about, trying to figure out who it is that they remind me of and every time I come up blank. There are times when the vocals have a Richard Hell vibe and there's a riff here or there that you may have heard somewhere before, but ultimately they kick with such energy, conviction and pop sensibilities that such concerns are rendered pointless. You may have noticed that I said pop sensibilities just now. That's right, In The Red, a label whose name lets you know what you're in for, has put out one of the catchiest records of the year so far. There's not a bad song in the bunch and potentially a few actual hits. This is one record that any fan of rock music would be mighty foolish to pass up. Nuff said! [DM]







Time Being
(Must Delicious)

"Nothing's Sacred"
"First Person"

Evolving out of one of the nation's (or world, even) most innovative independent labels, Beta Bodega -- whose inspiring appeal for third world mobility embodies visually-acute street art, melancholy atmospherics and heavy-hitting sonic assaults within the electronic music realm -- comes Florida quartet Cyne. Transcending beyond the conventional beat-rhyme precept without creeping into the territory of unlistenable self-absorbed reverie, Cyne builds their progressive cuts with organic architecture melded with 'classic' era stylings reminiscent to the likes of Pete Rock. An array of instrumentation laces the beats -- from acoustic guitar, xylophone, to piano -- creating an aura of wistful and moody yet driven profundity. Cyne single-handedly carve a new groove for forward, progressive hip hop. Socio-cultural/political/economical awareness is delivered via passionate and allusive wordplay conjuring the stormy sentiments of Chuck D and KRS-One, co-existing with palatable arrangements that fans of Diverse, Four Tet, Morr Music, Seth P. Brundel, and Prefuse 73 will enjoy. [MT]

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Light Forms (Music for Light Bulbs & Churches)

"Truth is the Bell"

Another sonic meditation from one of the most prolific and consistently engaging sound artists currently making noise. "Light Forms" is one of LA based artist Steve Roden's most recent sound explorations. This time focusing on the sound of light bulbs, Roden utilizes various analog electronics to extend an already extremely tactile sound palette. The CD begins with "Truth is the Bell," a 20-minute piece which gradually builds from silence, slowly layering the percussive chiming of various light bulbs to create a haunting melody somewhere between thumb piano and vibraphone. As the piece progresses Roden introduces some crackle and hiss as well as organ slowly shifting the listener's focus from one element to next.

The second track "Bell is Truth" concentrates more on rhythm. Never locking in to any sort of static groove, the piece shifts so naturally it becomes more about an overall presence rather then any sort of drastic change. Like most of Roden's work there is a sense of ease and delicate precision that permeates "Light Forms." Forget glitch, microsound, lowercase or whatever people choose to call something this week, this is a work that will become even richer with each new listen. Time slows down and the pieces ever so gradually move along as if they were constantly changing and not changing at all. Extremely meditative and relaxing, highly recommended. [KH]









North Shore

The first American release from Jonus Munk (aka Manual) also features his frequent music partner Jess Kahr. Beautiful and timeless, this is the Danish artist's most ambient album to date.



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[JD] J Dennis
[DG] Daniel Givens
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[KH] Koen Holtkamp
[JM] Josh Madell
[DM] Dave Martin
[LM] Liane Moccia
[SM] Scott Mou
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

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