November 10, 2004  




Richard Crandell
DFA Compilation #2
Arthur Russell (limited reissue)
Afro Baby (various artists)
Eccentric Soul (The Bandit Label)
Daniel Givens


Bloc Party (CD single)
John Fahey
Neko Case
L (reissue)
Six Organs of Admittance (reissue)
Handsome Boy Modeling School
Connie Price & the Keystones

NOV Sun 7 Mon 8 Tues 9 Wed 10 Thurs 11 Fri 12 Sat 13


Sons & Daughters will be performing tonight, opening for Pedro the Lion at the Bowery Ballroom, and we're giving away a pair of tickets to see them. Featuring the guitarist and drummer of Arab Strap's touring band, the Glaswegian quartet were hand-picked by Franz Ferdinand to open for them on their recent UK and American tours. Enter right away by e-mailing Include a daytime phone number where you can be reached. The winner will be notified by 5 p.m. today, Wednesday, November 10.

Bowery Ballroom
: 6 Delancey (at Bowery) NYC
(Sons & Daughters go on at 8:30 p.m.)

NOV Sun 14 Mon 15 Tues 16 Wed 17 Thurs 18 Fri 19 Sat 20


Italian double bass virtuoso/composer Stefano Scodanibbio performs November 17 at Casa Italiana (Columbia University). He'll premiere Luciano Berio’s Sequenza XIV for double-bass along with music by Jacob Druckman and a number of his own pieces. Scodanibbio's modern compositions have been hailed in music publications like Wire; you won't want to miss this very special night. Other Music is giving away two pairs of tickets so enter by e-mailing Please include a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winners will be notified by 5 p.m. Friday, November 12.

Casa Italiana - Columbia University:
1161 Amsterdam Avenue (Info: 212.854.1623)








"Daylight and Delight"
"A Little Secret"

We have been flooded with amazing debuts this year and Khonnor's Handwriting is right up there with the best of them. This album is the work of 17-year-old wunderkind Connor Kirby-Long who created this record in his bedroom with an old PC from the '80s, a free microphone that he acquired from a Spanish tutorial, and one single computer speaker. Khonnor takes his cues from shoegaze-era Creation records (especially Slowdive), Fennesz's Endless Summer and the Morr Music roster, and what he has created is unlike anything else around right now. A song will have a traditional start and then all of the sudden it is bombarded with beautiful digital noise (ala Fennesz). From there it will twist and turn into an acoustic ballad reminiscent of Bright Eyes' finest material, only seconds later to morph into a beautiful shoegaze anthem...and yes, it all works. Handwriting is an incredible debut and one that will introduce this emerging talent to the world -- and I say emerging because he is only 17.

Khonnor's lyrics are that of lost love, longing, confusion about the world, and everything else in between. At times they are quite naive but I have to say that it is definitely part of the charm. This album is a treasure filled with lush beautiful sounds and rich textures that will appeal to anyone that is a fan of the aforementioned artists, and music that wears its heart on its sleeve. Gorgeous, and one of 2004's must have albums!!! [JS]







Mbira Magic

"The Island"

There isn't a whole lot of information to be found on Richard Crandell. He released two purportedly great Fahey-esque guitar records in the early 1980s, neither of which has ever been available on CD, and he has toured with African music icon Thomas Mapfumo. In 2004, Crandell has come out of the woodwork with an unprecedented and breathtaking achievement in minimalism for the Tzadik Composer Series. The eight pieces on this disc are performed on the mbira, an African thumb piano, with additional percussion provided by Cyro Baptista. The sound is incredibly deep and rich, with slowly rolling rhythms and repetitive melodies that are likely to put you in a deep trance. If I could afford to take off and float endlessly on a river somewhere in the tropics, I would definitely want this playing on my headphones. Mbira Magic is among the most gorgeous recordings I've heard this year and is quite honestly one of the best Tzadik releases ever. I'd be utterly shocked if this album didn't grace at least one OM employee top ten list at this year's end. Simple, stunning, and brilliant. [RH]








Various Artists

"I Robot" Juan MacLean
"Endless Happiness (Eye Remix)" Black Dice

At last! For those of us who have neither a turntable or else no way to digitize wax for the iPod, New York's pre-eminent (and perhaps only truly crucial) label has finally put this year's crop of killer 12-inches to not just one, but two CDs, with a third continuous mix CD (from Tim Sweeney and Tim Goldsworthy) at the end as a bonus!

While the production team of James Murphy and Tim Goldsworthy has made their name with the Rapture, Black Dice, and Murphy's own LCD Soundsystem (all of which appear here), it speaks volumes of their studio strength that the hottest tracks on this set come from relative unknowns and side-projects. It starts off with Black Leotard Front's "Casual Friday," which is actually Tangerine Dream-y couple Delia Gonzalez and Gavin Russom with friends doing a sultry, ludicrous take on Italo disco. All of which leads up to their latest singles from J.O.Y. (a side project of Yoshimi from Boredoms and K.U.D.O. from Major Force West) and Pixeltan (featuring ex-Black Dice drummer Hisham), which might be the DFA's heaviest tracks to date. The former has a giddy Liliput/Delta 5 bounce to it while the latter's 4/4 pummel is hypnotic and intense.

Add to it Juan McLean's futuristic crunch, a ferocious new (!) Liquid Liquid track, EYE's dizzying Black Dice remix (as well as Dice's rare, Animal Collective split, tour-only track), the Rapture's jagged B-sides, and LCD Soundsystem's monstrous "Yeah," and you not only have an instant dance party, but one of the year's finest compilations. Essential. [RB]








World of Echo - Limited

"Place I Know"
"Soon-To-Be Innocent Fun"

As the year of introductions and revisits to the musical work of Arthur Russell draws to a close, Audika brings us about as close as we'll ever be to his intimate and mysterious world. Following the sparkling Calling Out of Context, their limited reissue of World of Echo is a brilliant CD and DVD combo of music and vision from one of the growing legends of contemporary composition. It was originally dreamt by Russell in 1985 as a videocassette and album; performed and recorded live, it was meant to be presented as an artistic visual document. Sadly, the record only found limited release and the accompanying film was shelved. This remastered collection brings the original album (plus four bonus tracks) together with the original video and an unedited outtakes reel -- both were shot by Phil Niblock.

A customer recently asked me if World of Echo was a dub album. I answered yes, but not in the popular meaning. Although Russell now sits next to King Tubby in the echo chamber of heaven, it has nothing to do with reggae. Russell was obsessed with water, often riding the ferry back and forth from Manhattan to Staten Island while listening to the various versions and sketches of his personal diary in musical form. Here he creates his own aquatic world where waves of sound and voice float and ripple into the atmosphere, doubling and tripling itself into a dusk-reflected pond of emotion and double hidden meanings. World of Echo is the ultimate solo album with Russell accompanying himself on his faithful cello and providing hand percussion. The sonic world that his lonesome body generates is astounding. He whispers, sighs, cries, speaks and sings story-like sound poetry atop his bowing, plucking, thumping and sliding cello, all filtered through his subtle use of echo and delay boxes. (A review from 1985 included in the liner notes describes this as to where "hip hop has crunched itself to dust.")

Russell creates rhythms and sounds that morph the worlds of classical, minimalism, folk and spoken word into a submerged ruby-tinted looking glass. Think of a hallucinatory personal musical history where the wandering spirits of unique vocalist like Robert Wyatt, Jandek, Antony or Devendra Banhart sing with Terry Riley, John Cage or Steve Reich, diving head first into purposefully deconstructed yet very human musique concrete. His words sculpt images of love, hope, faith, humor, beauty, intimacy and longing. I'm holding back a little, wanting to paint a proper picture of what's at hand but not wanting to give away the secret. World of Echo is hard to describe in words, but the magic is best felt when listened to loud and in the dark with candles burning and a loved one, or alone with headphones.

The DVD provides longer glimpses into the crystal ball and completes the overall concept. Songs are extended and different from those on the CD and are given life by the close-up and shadowed portrait of Russell in performance, a moving, shifting color field behind him. We finally get to see him speak, sing and play in an intimate way, and in the original form intended. Don't sleep on the limited oversize packaging, (great job again, Audika). This is the perfect ending for a year of rebirths, re-elections, and reissues. Go ahead. Dive in, the water's just right. Essential. [DG]







Evolution of the Afro Sound In Nigeria 1970-79
(Sound Way)

"Lagos Sisi" Bola Johnson
"Asa-sa" Fred Fisher

From the same label who brought us 2002's fabulous Ghana Soundz comes an excellent compilation featuring rare and out-of-print records from a vibrant period in Nigerian music. The Afro-sound was more than just a sound; it was a cultural awakening that spread throughout West Africa. Filled with optimism and a new pride of African heritage, this movement rejected the suppression garnered during the colonial era. Adding the influence of American jazz, soul and R&B to classic African highlife music, artists like Fela Kuti and Orlando Julius were inventors of this new sound-revolution and paved the way for hundreds of Nigerian musicians to follow.

Afro Baby is attentive to music that specifically evolved from the big-band highlife of the '50s and '60s. Until now, all 12 selections on this compilation have never been released outside of West Africa including "Fogo Fogo," a heavy cut from Fela Ransome Kuti & the Africa 70 that was originally released as a 7-inch single. Names like the highly revered Tunji Oyelana and the aforementioned Orlando Julius (both also appeared on Strut's long out-of-print Nigeria 70) are placed beside lesser-known artists like Thony Shorby Nyenwi and Fred Fisher. Track by track you can here the varying degrees of influence and fusions of highlife, disco, psychedelic, soul and James Brown-styled funk working their way over the long extended grooves.

The liner notes are excellent, written by crate-digger and Afro-beat expert Miles Cleret (responsible for compiling Ghana Soundz) and respected music journalist Benson Idonije. With future volumes in the works, Afro Baby is an essential release for any fan of the Afro-sound and second only to Nigeria 70. Also, be on the lookout for Ghana Soundz 2, which should be arriving soon. [GH]





$16.99 CD


Various / The Bandit Label

"Going To Make a Time Machine" Majestic Arrows
"If You Love Me" Altyrone Deno Brown

The second installment of Numero's Eccentric Soul series focuses on the small output of the Chicago based Bandit label. The liner notes read like a sordid real life Afro-noir fable. In the late-'60s, rogue entrepreneur Arrow Brown began forming a musical family (literally) to sing, play and bring his vision of soul music to life -- selections from his collected productions of 45s and one lone full-length make up this installment. Most of the songs here are by the vocal group the Majestic Arrows but also featured are funk and soul tracks from vocalists Johnny Davis, Linda Balintine, and Altyrone Deno Brown, the then seven-year-old "Michael Jackson of Chicago."

Bluesy, darkly orchestrated gospel-injected grooves and emotion are the stylings of these sultry, scorned soul sides and fit right in line with the wealth of Chicago soul like the Chi-lites, Impressions, and Curtis Mayfield. Family, friends of family, and girlfriends of "the man" Arrow Brown deliver raw vocal performances singing his lyrics and creating the charm of the label's sound. Local musicians, including members of the Pharaohs, served as the spirited backing band providing sparse, melancholy and soulful arrangements with slight blues overtones. Sadly, the label's output was scattered and never did produce a single hit.

Like the city it highlights, this edition of Eccentric Soul is a slow burner and much more mellow and subdued than the first volume of the series. The real treasures of this reissue are three bonus rehearsal tracks; remastered from cassette tapes, the raw power and energy of the amateur yet instinctive talent of the Majestic Arrows penetrates the heart and soul. With little more accompaniment other than a thump or snap, these beautifully haunting hidden gems of acapella soul are worth the price alone! Recommended. [DG]








Tiger, My Friend

"Rear Moth"
"Calm Down"

Another amazing debut this week and this time it is from a London male/female duo that go by the name PSAPP. Tiger My Friend is a beautiful melding of bedroom electronics, various strings and woodwinds, and in their own words, "any children's toy that squeaks." Yes, they make a lot of their music with children's toys but this is no novelty project; this duo has the songs to back it up. Their sound is reminiscent of Stereolab, Broadcast, Brigitte Fontaine, ISAN, and all sorts of unique, great pop music, but they still retain their own unique identity. Tiger, My Friend is a beautiful pop album filled with childlike melodies galore, kind of like a "music box gone wild"...and that is a very, very good thing. If pop music like this were on the Billboard charts, the world would be a much better place. Another one of this year's "must have albums". Recommended! [JS]







$14.99 LP



Dayclear & First Dark

"Q & A"
"Light Travel (Fetch the Future)"

It's been four years since Age, the debut from Daniel Givens (who is also an Other Music staff member), but his new album is quite possibly twice that in sound evolution. Dayclear & First Dark is a sonic investigation of words and pulses, of ether and spectrums of light, the future of science and the sounds of new celestial plains expanding outward. A richly woven tapestry of shutters, echoed bass-scapes, twisting strings and shuffled drum pulses, circuitry is cooked, smeared and melted down. Waves of tones and rhythm create worlds that collapse inside themselves.

On "Rolling Blackout," muted and reverberated saxophone (Matana) traverses over openly spaced, spinning beat-lines and hallow soundscapes. On "Light Travel (Fetch the Future)," a hypnotic cycle of drums, spin-backs and tides of piano surround you while a poem of hope and discipline calls out to you. You can expect to hear hip hop/rap, dub, dancehall, free improv, minimal electronics and the science of beats embedded in its ancestry, but without ever needing to come overtly to the fore.

A lot has happened here in New York and globally since his last album and this is also a reflection of and on our current times and not so distant history. Dayclear was constructed as a response, looking inward on a personal search for new truths and understandings, while looking outward to dissect what it means to be free and open and aware -- a message to the masses and a call to his brethren. For all the categorization-ists out there, this one would by default sit alongside Saul Williams, Mike Ladd and Beans...but this is really more of a disservice to all involved. I hear Spacek, On U Sound, James Baldwin, Super Collider, Mantronix, Madlib and others, but that's not it either. It's something else and it comes highly recommended. [GA]





CD single




Post-punk's hottest new sensation Bloc Party return with the first single off of their highly anticipated debut album, due out early next year. "Helicopter" is just under four-minutes long and filled with all of the elements that many have grown to love about this band. The jagged Gang of Four inspired guitars, the Morrissey influenced vocal, and those ultra-catchy melodies are all here in full, along with some amazing production from Futureheads producer Paul Epsworth. This band is poised and ready to take on the world, so will hear "Helicopter" at every dance party for the next few months. The single is also backed with an exclusive non-LP B-side titled "Always New Depths" which is worth the price of this CD alone, and a Minotaur Shock remix of their only ballad to date, the beautiful "Tulips" taken from their last import single. [JS]







The Great Santa Barbara Oil Slick

"View East From the B&O Railroad Viaduct"

Sure, Fahey can fingerpick just about as fast as anyone but it was his fine-tuned sense of dynamics and liquid timing that made him something special. Knowing when to pull back and when to let the notes fly. At 76-minutes, there's quite a lot of both to be heard on this welcome release put together and sold by two of the more exceptional reissue labels of recent years: Revenant and Water. Recorded in the late-'60s during two nights at the legendary Matrix club in Fahey's then hometown of Berkley, California, the recently unearthed performances capture Fahey at what many would consider to be his peak.

Confident, focused and at times humorous, the track selection on Santa Barbara Oil Slick contains pieces off of seminal albums such as Blind Joe Death, Death Chants and Military Waltzes, Days Have Gone By, America, Requia, and The Yellow Princess which he was working on at the time. Fahey, never having been one to really perform something the same way twice, freely melds different versions of songs together not only incorporating various stages of his own material but also including some elements of traditional songs such as Charley Patton's version of "Jesus Is a Dying-Bed Maker" which is referenced in Fahey's own "Requiem for Mississippi John Hurt."

Given the outstanding selection of mind-bending acoustic guitar excursions on The Great Santa Barbara Oil Slick, the album would serve quite well as an introduction for the uninitiated or as another gem for the Fahey obsessive. Falling in the latter category I'm not too sure about the in-between. My only complaint is not being able to hear Sandy Bull's set from the same evening as these recordings but perhaps that would be too much to ask for all at once. Up there with the finest of Fahey's work. [KH]










"Cool My Fire (I'm Burning)"

Ada, aka M. Dippel, has released her debut LP Blondie on the up-and-coming Areal label. Besides releasing 12-inch tracks on Areal, Ada's "Blindhouse" appeared on Triple R's Friends mix. (A remixed vocal version is featured on Blondie.) Areal has been making waves as a new label offering clubby yet poppy and abstract tracks with Ada being one of their standout artists. Her album is a nice surprise, offering more than a few potential (abstract) club hits.

While so much techno released this year prior to Fall 2004 has been just more cookie-cutter set-fillers, Ada has managed to make a listenable album, with a variety of danceable tracks (i.e., she's not just obsessed with one type of beat/melody or track style). It's saying a lot, and may sound like an exaggeration, but she comes across very much like a mix between Ellen Allien and Michael Mayer: deep and emotive, with a pop sensibility that has a nice rockin' feel with well-placed female vocals, and without trying too hard. Some of the tracks have a groovin' German club disco feel, some are poppy and bouncy like Bpitch stuff but with a softer, deeper feeling. There are some tracks that pair a slightly cut-up/distorted sound style with a driving German disco-pop feel ("The Red Shoes", "Livedriver", "Our Love Never Dies"). I guess I should mention the Yeah, Yeah, Yeah's cover too. I was deathly afraid to hear a techno Yeah, Yeah, Yeah's cover, but it's actually good.

Though I don't guess that this album was painstakingly produced (many sounds/parts on this album sound very 'familiar', either directly sampled or otherwise borrowed), no matter what (I personally don't care, I just dig the tracks), Ada's tracks still stand out for using these sounds in very unique ways and in unique arrangements. (Which should serve as a point of advice to the Techno Producer Boy's Club out there: It's not about being Mr. Glitchiest-of-the-year. It's more about showing that you have an 'ear' connected to your heart with whatever means you have at your disposal -- which is what Ada ends up doing.) At the end of the day, seven out of 10 tracks on this album would get me on the dancefloor, and for different reasons. Altogether this is a solid album. You'll hear a lot of this one while out this fall. DJs and heads alike: Don't sleep. A bargain at 1.5 times the price (Imports are expensive after all.) [SM]







The Tigers Have Spoken

"If You Knew"
"The Tigers Have Spoken"

Neko Case may just win the Old-Timey Country Music Association of America award for being the realest real dealer in the modern country world. Case is a beautiful young woman with an earthy and emotional voice, a deep songbook of lost classics and moving originals, and a mile-long reputation for hard partying and heartbreaking. Neko Case is "real" Country -- a strong, complicated, wild and sexy star on the rise. Her musical collaborators have been many, but The Tigers Have Spoken features a roundup of some of the best, including the Sadies, Kelly Hogan, Jim & Jennie and the Pinetops and Jon Rauhouse, and they swing effortlessly from ballads, to rave-ups, to bluegrass with a natural ease and musicianship that is too rare on the indie country scene, and essential in this context, as much of the record was recorded in front of a live audience. A great album, fresh and exciting but deeply rooted in classic American country music, and a high point in a career that has already seen a few. [JM]







Holy Letters

"Holy Letter"

I'm excited to see this barely circulated and hyper-limited Japanese psych folk classic getting wider distribution via reissue on the highly commendable VHF label. As the story goes, the onetime Fushitsusha drummer Hiroyuki Usui grew somewhat disenfranchised with his surroundings and decided to absorb himself in a deeper exploration of self-expression. As he states in the liner notes, "I decided to look back over my life so far. To those years of childhood when I believed without a doubt that one day I could fly through the sky..."

Almost solely recorded by Usui himself performing on six-string, 12-string, bottleneck, prepared, and bass guitar, as well as assorted percussion, vibes, organ, harmonium and didjeridu, Holy Letters is an album full of hope and wonder. Something about didjeridu can often be somewhat off-putting but the restraint and breath with which Usui treats all his instruments are so acute that the listener never becomes weary of a particular sound or gesture. Contributors Masaaki Motoyama, who plays cello on the title track, and Taku Sugimoto, who plays electric guitar on "Troll," stay in tune with Usui's focused sensibilities accenting and heightening his delivery rather than overdoing themselves or simply falling into the background.

Recorded in 1989/1990 and self-released as a CD plus 7-inch in 1993/94, Holy Letters is a haunting document of an intense period of self-reflection. Combining psych, folk and an intuitive ear for sound and texture, Usui has created a truly delicate atmosphere that continues to resonate over 10 years later. Lovingly packaged in a cardstock reproduction of the original cover image with extra photos and extensive liner notes by Hiroyuki Usui and Six Organ of Admittance's Ben Chasny. [KH]







The Manifestation
(Strange Attractors)

"The Manifestation"

Ben Chasny has been recording as Six Organs Of Admittance for the better part of a decade now. The shorter vocal and acoustic guitar compositions on last year's Compathia proved that he can hold his own as a singer-songwriter, but when it comes to psychedelic space-folk epics, he's been at the top of the game for some time. The Manifestation originally came out in 2000 as a limited-edition one-sided 12-inch, and is now available on CD for the first time. The 22-minute long title-track, recorded with help from Comets On Fire drummer Utrillo Kushner (percussion and electronics) and photographer Jennifer Juniper Stratford (voice, electric guitar, and percussion), is utterly otherworldly and is easily some of his finest work. Cleverly enough, the newly recorded bonus track is actually based quite literally on the artwork from the blank side of the original 12-inch. Chasny's meandering acoustic guitar explorations accompany the scratchy rhythmic sound of a needle running across the etched vinyl. The spoken word interlude by David Tibet is delightfully creepy. If you missed out on the original release of The Manifestation, here's your chance to grab one of the highlights in the Six Organs catalog. [RH]







White People

"I've Been Thinking"
"The World's Gone Mad"

Five years later the super-nerds…um, I mean sexy-cool Handsome Boys return with a follow-up to their offbeat hit debut, and Prince Paul and Dan the Automator, the most Handsome, have brought out the big guns. Weighted even more heavily with guest rappers and singers, the legendary producers' (De La Soul, Gorillaz, Dr. Octagon, etc.) smooth tracks actually live a bit more in the background than on the previous record, as they choose to let the songs and the singers take the fore. Even if you love every artist and every track on here, you'll admit that the record is somewhat of a mixed bag, with laid-back hip-hop interspersed with mellow pop, comedy bits, and some frankly unclassifiable jams. Highlights include a sexy slow-jam with Chan "Cat Power" Marshall taking an uncharacteristic and unselfconsciously sultry turn at the mic, and the lazy bounce of "The World's Gone Mad," featuring Del The Funky Homosapien, and dancehall king Barrington Levy dueting the choruses with Franz Ferdinand's Alex Kapranos. Other guests include Pharrell Williams, the RZA, John Oates, Jack Johnson, De La Soul, Mike Patton, Julee Cruise, Father Guido Sarducci…and many more. [JM]







(Now Again/Stones Throw)

"Sticks and Stones"
"Double Dutch"

The fine folks at Stones Throw have just released a record from contemporary funk ensemble Connie Price and the Keystones. Not simply a revivalist act, Connie and Co. draw from a wide palette of influences including jazz, reggae and soul. Featuring members of LA Carnival and Breakestra, Wildflowers opens with "Sticks and Stones," a deep, hazy, psychedelic epic -- vibe accents and punchy horns stabs propel this lazy summer jam into a hypnotic trance that you just don't want to end. "Sucker Punch" works with a repetitive and very satisfying bassline while various atmospherics and a spinning guitar draw you in deeper. On "Double Dutch," fuzzy guitars and a tuff breakbeat underpin staccato horns and rolling bass. The one vocal track, featured on the title track, is the perfect soul/jazz jam for your Sunday afternoon rare groove party. Recommended if you like your funk deep, jazzy and kinda smoked out. [GA]




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[GA] Geoff Albores
[RB] Randy Breaux
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[KH] Koen Holtkamp
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[JS] Jeremy Sponder

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