July 7 , 2005  




Fennesz + Sakamoto


Kim Jung Mi
Ray Barretto
Dan Littleton
Au Revoir Simone
Mickey Newbury

JUL Sun 3 Mon 4 Tues 5 Wed 6 Thurs 7 Fri 8 Sat 9


After nearly a year-and-a-half hiatus, Cass McCombs returns to play New York City, his last local show before he begins work on his next record. Other Music is giving away two pairs of tickets to catch his performance at North Six this Saturday, with Love as Laughter. You can enter to win a pair by e-mailing giveaway@othermusic.com. Leave a daytime number where you can be reached. Winners will be notified by 3:00 P.M. on Friday, July 8th.

JULY 9 @ North Six: 66 North Six St. Williamsburg, Brooklyn

JUL Sun 10 Mon 11 Tues 12 Wed 13 Thurs 14 Fri 15 Sat 16


Next Thursday, Senegalese hip-hop trio Daara J will be performing with Wyclef (from the Fugees) at Lincoln Center's Avery Fisher Hall. Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets to this special performance, plus two copies of Daara J's full-length Boomerang, on Wrasse Records. You can enter to win by e-mailing tickets@othermusic.com. Leave a daytime number where you can be reached. Winner will be notified by 4:00 P.M. on Monday, July 11th.

July 14 @ Avery Fisher Hall / Lincoln Center: Broadway at West 65th Street NYC

JUL Sun 10 Mon 11 Tues 12 Wed 13 Thurs 14 Fri 15 Sat 16
JUL Sun 24 Mon 25 Tues 26 Wed 27 Thurs 28 Fri 29 Sat 30
AUG Sun 7 Mon 8 Tues 9 Wed 10 Thurs 11 Fri 12 Sat 13
AUG Sun 14 Mon 15 Tues 16 Wed 17 Thurs 18 Fri 19 Sat 20

Ben Chasny


Monday, July 11 @ 8:00 P.M.
BEN CHASNY (Six Organs of Admittance)
Sunday, July 24 @ 7:00 P.M.
Monday, August 8 @ 8:00 P.M.
Monday, August 15 @ 8:00 P.M.

15 East 4th Street NYC
Free Admission/Limited Capacity








"El Dulce Espiritu de la Soledad"

An undeniably beautiful gem from the early-70s Chilean underground, Congregacion's album Viene is a rarely heard masterpiece full of delicate atmospherics and dreamy textures. Congregacion (not to be confused with those other OM Chilean favorites Congreso) were a group spearheaded by the apparently mythical figure of Antonio Smith, whose progressive and hopeful lyrics no doubt earned him the enmity of the Chilean military dictatorship; he was forced to flee the country and Viene proved to be Congregacion's only release. I personally think that if things had worked out differently this album would be held in as high regard as comparable masterpieces like Milton Nascimento's Clube de Esquina or Joyce and Nelson Angelo's eponymous work from the same year as the present release. Viene shares with those albums a highly evocative sense of space, using natural sounds and lots of acoustic textures to foreground Smith's soaring melodies. The results are incredibly romantic, and this is one of those perfect albums that works just as well on a Sunday morning as it does late on any given night. Like another album that Viene reminds me of, Bulent's Benimle Oynar Misin, it has just the perfect balance of gently arranged pop and plaintively sorrowful folk. This is a very highly recommended album that is surely one of the pinnacles of Latin American folk. [MK]






Self Destruction

"I Don't Get Wet in the Rain"

First off, Self Destruction is a house record. Perhaps more in spirit than in its realized form, but if that sounds like a joke, stop reading. New York's most amorphous five-necked entity (which includes Other Music's own Dan Hougland) have never been strangers to taking the longer, more undulating gravel road, as evidenced by the stretched out subterranean sermons on last year's Ka album (also on Fusetron). On Self Destruction, Excepter crawl out of the cellar and into the warehouse. This is a house record. If Xenakis had made one. It is throbbing mental machine music that (much like the quintet's live shows) appears to detour, but often climaxes with the religious fervor of a Wicker Man/Moodymann ritual. Definitely more Black Mahogani than Black Dice. Excepter just traveled all over New Weird America, and torched it in the process. Incendiary. (Vinyl pressing is set for release next month.) [AK]







Sala Santa Cecilia

"Sala Santa Cecilia"

With a collaboration like this, it's hard not to expect a LOT. So, let's just say that despite all of two moments that might be described as 'generation gaps', this pre-album, live sampler (one song, 19 minutes) has some serious moments of brilliance that can only be happened upon (I'll explain later) by two awesome dudes like Christian Fennesz and Ryuichi Sakamoto. The first 7 minutes are quite breathtaking and might be missed if played at low volume. After some cursory, polite scene-setting moments that slightly resemble a choppily edited, wonky UFO hovering in the misty night on an episode of the Twilight Zone, Fennesz and Sakamoto launch into some serious, soupy bliss that arches wonderfully: Fennesz' dense clouds of static are slowly pushed along by what I guess are Sakamoto's huge slow, symphonic melodies. Immediately afterward, a brief quiet moment is followed by slow, surging digital powerchords that sound like Earth's Dylan Carlson imbedded in feedback and swirling digital flute sounds. When I said "happened upon" earlier, it's because there is a very natural connection in these sounds that can only come from mutual respect and a fair amount of give and take. Minutes 10 to 16 show the pair riding glitchy static and cloudy soundtrack atmosphere, slowly cooperating to create space and context that rises continually, this time with skillful patience, without exploding too soon and finally landing safe and sound. A beautifully concentrated 19 minutes that covers a lot of ground, while still promising more to come. Can't wait to hear the album!! [SM]







Kore Ga Mayaku Da

"I Did Are"

Discovered by Kawabata Makoto of Acid Mothers Temple and friends of the Boredoms, Osaka's two-girl tour de force Afrirampo is rock 'n' roll at its most primal (guitar and drums only)--free of indie rock posturing, garage rock cliches, and avant garde pretense. On Kore Ga Mayaku Da (their first recording on Tzadik), Oni and Pikachu jump effortlessly from sludgy hardcore to children's lullabies to tribal jamming (according to legend, the girls once went to Africa for a month to record with pygmies…). This is especially evident on "I Did Are", the album's 13-minute opener, which starts out like something off Daydream Nation but quickly descends into a barrage of tribal drums, punk rock riffing, and freeform no-wave. Natural successors to the Osaka Underground throne.

Witness their rolling on the floor/flailing limbs live spectacle when they tour the East Coast with Lightning Bolt in July. [AK]







(Raster Noton)


SND project, Blir is the most recent featured artist in the exceptional Raster Post series. While the SND catalog seemed to, slowly but surely, follow a trajectory marked "More Accessible", the Blir release delivers an 'edge' by, first off, living up to its namesake. Intentionally or not, the album begins with a "blur" of rumbling microbeats burrowing forward, one on top of the other. The track resembles stiff, micro-Robert Hood or laptop congas stripped, as usual, of all but a thimble full of funk (see tracks "01" and "02"). "03" shows Blir/SND revisiting their negative space, micro funk side. "04" kicks in and loops for two full minutes before folding back into itself to become "05"--a funky groove that rubs on the brain nicely. The theme of "Pleasant Repetition" reoccurs throughout the album, with a wider range of sounds than explored in previous individual albums. Bleeps, gently simmering static, dull thuds, piercing melodies: Each relatively short track comes across as a single, unchanging color that only shifts when it becomes the next track. It isn't until "017", that the elements meld into a full 'song'. Think of this as a cleverly dissected and skeletal laptop set. [SM]






Space Hymns
(Vertigo UK)

"Life Child"
"Molecular Delusions"

One day, a Central Heating salesman from Scotland named Martin Raphael was driving in his car when he had a revelation from the ancient Egyptian pharaoh Ramases. The time-immemorial divinity informed him that he was in fact a reincarnation of himself, and that Martin had a mission to inform everyone about the Truth of the Universe. Soonish, Martin revived and renamed himself Ramases and began to seek out (with his wife, Sel) a recording contract so that he could conduct his eccentric sermons through the music world. Amazingly enough, in 1968 he landed a deal with CBS, and soon after found his prophecy realized as he entered a studio with members of campy-gelastic-future-stars 10cc.

Come 1971 and the crucial consummation through Vertigo Records: a serious little exploit titled Space Hymns, with synergic visuals provided by Roger Dean. That is, a gatefold sleeve depicting a space rocket that ultimately unfolds into a cathedral. (This is the type of curious imagery and insanely imaginative composition contained within the LPs that possessed the Vertigo swirl label.) This wild conception is a spectral journey, with the hippy-kinship vibings on "Oh Mister", the fervid psych-freak-bliss tune "Quasar One", to the cool-groove-jam "Balloon". And during "Molecular Delusions," you can hear the word F**K loud and clear at about 1:11 through the record. I heard it through my headphones about the second time around, while I was blithely meditating to this raga-soaked chant-chorale. Serious stuff that falls in the same vector as outsider folkers Comus, Forest, and even Incredible String Band... and could also appeal to fans of newbies-but-goodies Skygreen Leopards, Christian Astronauts or members of the Five Percent. I'm willing to bet David Tibet has three copies of this album. Sweet. Now I have to go play this record backwards. That review will be in the next update. [MT]








"Marginal Over"
"It's All the Same"

Maybe I'm just shellshocked. Reading the PiL Metal Box reference on the little sales sticker applied to the front of the Wilderness CD cover, I was preparing for another abuse of a sounds-like descriptor, much like the overused Gang of Four comparison that every other band seems to be getting these days. But in this case, it's a pretty apparent influence--whether intentional or not--and a pretty damn original use of one. Singer James Johnson's vocals certainly channel the living ghost of John Lydon, issuing declarations over the slivery chimes of the guitar. But instead of replicating the dark, funky dub of PiL's Jah Wobble and Richard Dudanski, Wilderness' rhythm section is far more sprawling and anthemic. The loose yet powerful drumming is nicely anchored by slow moving bass melodies. Refreshingly, this Baltimore quartet isn't a late-comer to the post-punk revival. While their music may pull from many of the same influences as say, Interpol, they are far from stylized. In fact, Wilderness probably have far more in common--not necessarily musically, but in ideas and explorations--to fellow art rockers Frog Eyes. Definitely a band we'll be hearing more from in the future. [GH]







(World Psychedelia)

Track 6
Track 8

A couple of months ago we reviewed a great album of Korean psych rock by this guy Shin Jung-Hyun. He was the linchpin for the entire Korean rock and roll movement, from the late-50s until the early-70s, and not only did he record literally dozens of records with his own groups, he also actively sought out talent to produce and arrange. One such fruitful discovery was Kim Jung Mi, whose album Now Jung-Hyun orchestrated with his group the Men. Jung-Hyun was a master of many styles, and for Jung Mi's release he seems to have gone for a combination of west coast American folk rock and French chanson a la Francoise Hardy. Jung Mi has a really lovely, slightly breathy voice that Jung-Hyun's arrangements do great justice to. Disregarding the exotic kitsch appeal Now might have, the album really stands on its own and if you've been digging the Thai Beat A Go-Go comps, etc., you'll probably be itching for a record along those lines, only this one possesses a little more depth. Great stuff. [MK]







Birds of Appetite
(Tee Pee)

"Sugar in the Honey"

Hopewell have been knocking around New York for a while now, releasing a couple of EPs and a full-length previous to The Birds of Appetite, their great new album on Tee Pee Records. Frontman Jason Russo spent some time playing a supporting role in Mercury Rev, and although in interviews he tends to downplay the connection, it is hard to avoid. Produced by longtime Mercury Rev/Flaming Lips collaborator Dave Fridmann, the record's swirling psychedelic pop and Russo's off-kilter love songs and wonderfully shaky falsetto are bound to bring to mind that other upstate NY act. But Hopewell lends an intensity and immediacy to the sound that the Rev has not felt in years, and their album lurches and grinds with passion and power, even at its quietest. The drums do pound, the guitars do wail, and Fridmann packs in a million and one aural treats that will continue to surprise after a hundred and one spins. [JM]






(Vampi Soul)

"El Nuevo Barretto"
"The Soul Drummers"

Despite the name, psychedelic-inspired cover, and time period in which it was released, Ray Barretto's Acid is not some trippy blend of hippy rock and Latin rhythms. Though the album artwork was certainly attune to the young, popular white culture of the late-'60s, musically speaking, the Brooklyn-born conguero/band leader's classic record effortlessly captured the sound and spirit emanating from Nu Yorican streets, clubs and parties. An inspired fusion of Latin jazz, boogaloo, funk and contemporary soul music, Acid would not only expose Barretto's music to a much larger Latin audience, it would also be one of the fastest selling albums in the Record Shack, a black music store in Harlem, while its single, "The Soul Drummers," would garner airplay on WWRL, one of New York's soul stations.

Barretto got his start in the '50s, playing congas with Latin jazz greats like Eddie Bonnemere and Jose Curbelo, flautist Herbie Mann, and then a four-year stint with Tito Puente. In 1962, he signed with Tico Records and soon after had a million selling single with "El Watusi," a song which would set the stage for the swinging boogaloo movement to come. But in spite of his early successes as a session player and bandleader, Barretto still wasn't totally embraced by the Hispanic community.

This all changed in 1968, when Fania Records released Acid. Barretto and his ensemble are on fire amidst hard-handed conga and timbale playing, soaring trumpet solos and shout-outs of "Yeah baby!" With classics like "Deeper Shade of Soul", "El Nuevo Barrretto" and the aforementioned "The Soul Drummers," this is one of the funkiest and exciting Latin music albums of the '60s-- and in my humble opinion, of all time. The CD reissue also includes three bonus cuts from his excellent Head Sounds album from 1972. [GH]





Dan Littleton



Nobody's Fault but Mine/Down By the Riverside
(Last Affair)

"Stared and Laughed"
"Hear the Wind Blow, Love"

The Bottom of the Hill
(Last Affair)


Two new Ida-related items, the first is a double CD reissue of two very hard to find solo records by main man Dan Littleton. He took the opportunity to surprise no one at all on Nobody's Fault but Mine with a collection of quiet, dreamy pop. I've seen this guy rock out, and hard at that, but instead Littleton simply steps up to the mic and delivers a set of haunting acoustic folk, all quiet strummed guitars, measured piano footfalls, organ drone, and thoughtful, restrained, yet raw vocals. Part Robert Wyatt, part Nick Drake basement tapes, and all love. Disc 2's Down by the Riverside is equally warm and hazy, but far more abstract, featuring a suite of 12 instrumental tracks that hover between drone and gently picked dreams.

The live album, recorded April 26, 2000 at the Bottom of the Hill by a fan with a nice stereo mic and digital recorder, the tape somehow fell into the hands of the right people and the band chose to release this double-disc, in all its (unedited) glory. You may eventually tire of the relaxed and silly stage banter, and while the sound is high quality for a crowd bootleg, it is far from studio perfect...but this set offers the fans something more. Despite their whisper quiet sound, Ida has always been a live band, mesmerizing crowds with their soft and subtle interplay, and for me, their records have never quite captured the slow-burn intensity that they can deliver in front of an audience. The album finds Ida in peak form, playing all their best songs with their unusual mix of laidback abandon. As a bonus, disc 2 closes with a handful of studio recorded cover songs. [JM]






Verses of Comfort, Assurance and Salvation

"Through the Backyards"

Three-girl local group who use electric piano, vintage keyboard drum machine sounds and harmonized vocals. If you haven't already guessed, there is a definite Stereolab influence with a teeny nod to Magnetic Fields, BUT it's taken in a different direction with its own uniquely charming qualities: Disarmingly simple, clever, and idea-filled lyrics and arrangements. Sweet and innocent while being intellectually mature. References to "(being together) beneath the cherry trees" and "spending the night with you" come across as memories derived from actual events rather than things the band ''wishes would happen but probably never will, boo hoo''. Every reference or well-placed, borrowed melody becomes their own with a great lyrical hook or added melody. (There's a melody in "Where You Go" that I know and love, but still can't place--a sign of a good pop record.) In "Hurricanes" (think Stereolab meets Beat Happening without the dropout quotient), the chant of, "This message is for all the pe-ople, the pe-ople who are al-ways wai-ting!!" presupposes that you are yearning very earnestly for something and will make you damn glad about it. Neo-classic indie stuff that harnesses that Spring Love/Feel Good All Over/Glad to be Alive! vibe ("Through the Backyards", "Hurricanes" etc.), as well as a languid, moody nighttime atmosphere ("And Sleep Al Mar", "Stay Golden", "Winter Song", "Back in Time"). I'm charmed. It'll win you over for sure. [SM]







Harlequin Melodies

"Just Dropped In"
"Sweet Memories"

Maybe it won't impress you that Mickey Newbury penned hits for Tom Jones, Andy Williams, and Roger Miller, or that he wrote the psych-country classic, "Just Dropped In (To See What Condition My Condition Was In)" for Kenny Roger's First Edition. Or that two songs here were penned with old buddy Townes Van Zandt, when both were working out in Nashville, and maybe seeing a picture of a young Mickey smiling with Emmylou Harris and Don Everly isn't the coolest thing to come across. Maybe Kris Kristofferson calling Mickey Newbury his favorite writer and Johnny Cash flat out stating "Mickey Newbury is a poet" won't win you over to this ambitious, opulent brand of country, with a lyricism that draws comparisons in the notes to Faulkner, Hemingway, Blake, not to mention Hank Williams and Ray Charles. But Mickey's greatness is intact on his debut record, with that soulful, almost Orbison-esque voice of his, and a lush, melancholic styling with all the country-politan trappings set. But he ventures further out, with moogs, sitar, bongos, and sounds of rain and windchimes on the stunning "She Even Woke Me Up to Say Goodbye." There's a heavy, downer feel to some of these 22 tracks, but just perfect for plunking some tears into beers. [RB]




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[RB] Randy Breaux
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[MK] Michael Klausman
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

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