March 10, 2005  




Masha Qrella
Love's a Real Thing (West African psych comp.)
Boom Bip
Judee Sill
Nice Up the Dance (various)
Roky Erickson (anthology)
Death Cab For Cutie (limited live EP)
Blood Farmers
DJ Hell
Scritti Politti


The Kills
Sun Ra
Earth (remixes)
Looking for a Thrill (Thrill Jockey DVD)
Sam Prekop
Kid Koala





Up until recently known as Manitoba, electronic producer Dan Snaith was forced to change his name to Caribou for legal reasons unbeknownst to us. But if this new song, "Barnowl," is any indication, his third full-length is going to be another great one. Set for release on April 19, Caribou's new album, The Milk of Human Kindness, shows Snaith steering away from some of the psychedelic undertones of Up in Flames and tapping into the cosmic pulse of artists like Neu! and Silver Apples. Take a sneak listen: Free mp3 Download

MAR Sun 13 Mon 14 Tues 15 Wed 16 Thurs 17 Fri 18 Sat 19
  Sun 20 Mon 21 Tues 22 Wed 23 Thurs 24 Fri 25 Sat 26

Brendan Benson



Monday, March 14 @ 8:00 p.m.

BRENDAN BENSON (record release party)
Tuesday, March 22 @ 8:00 p.m.

15 East 4th Street NY, NY
Free Admission/Limited Capacity

MAR Sun 13 Mon 14 Tues 15 Wed 16 Thurs 17 Fri 18 Sat 19


w/Fingathing and Ulrich Schnauss
Other Music is giving away two pair of tickets to this show! Enter right away by e-mailing Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. Winners will be notified by 2:00 p.m. Monday, March 14.

Wednesday, March 16
Rothko: 116 Suffolk Street NY, NY







Corduroy Road

"Door of Our Home"

A suite of pastoral piano pieces that recall the spirit of Erik Satie as filtered through a Civil War era hymnbook. Goldmund is the alias of Keith Kenniff, a young Berklee student who has previously released an album of electronic music on Merck. Despite being very delicately played, and with only the barest accompaniment, Kenniff manages to create a compelling dramatic arc over the course of the album's 13 songs. The sparseness of the playing is advantageous to the material he's tackling; the burnished Americana themes that he investigates here could have easily been overcome with melodrama. It's to his great credit that a record that is as vaguely cinematic as this one just doesn't end up sounding like the opening credits to Dances With Wolves or something. I personally can never get enough of tastefully performed solo piano music, and Kenniff has created an invitingly hushed work that sits well with recent Other Music minimal hits like the Alva Noto and Sakamoto album or the Luciano Cilio reissue. Looking forward to future releases. [MK]








Set Yourself on Fire
(Arts & Crafts)

"Ageless Beauty"
"What I'm Trying to Say"

The third full-length from Montreal via NYC-ers Stars is another pop gem, and perhaps even more refined and meticulously executed than their 2003 album, Heart. The band has a tight grasp on that heady mix of joy, melancholy and pop sheen backed by sincerity that elevates this music beyond the sum of its parts. The basic elements from their previous albums are all here -- sweet male/female shared vocals, tight, simple arrangements and thin, crisp production that bounces like a quarter on a perfectly made bed. Set Yourself On Fire also shows Stars utilizing tasteful drum programming to augment the live playing, and has some vintage synth sounds bubbling up from the mix. Otherwise, their trademark sound of chiming guitars, snappy beats, light orchestration and shimmering vocal melodies is firmly intact, and sounding vital as ever. [JM]







$16.99 LP


Unsolved Remained
(Morr Music)

"Destination Vertical"
"Feels Like"

Morr Music are taking the indie-tronic thing from all angles these days, even to the point of borrowing Monika label artist Masha Qrella to make an album for them. I guess it's not too surprising that there are vague similarities to other Morr Music artists like Lali Puna, i.e. songwriting with laptop/click hop percussion and vaguely romantic atmosphere -- but without the Stereolab leanings and with more elements like jangling three-note, softly distorted electric guitar accents thrown in. The basic group comparison: Donna Regina/female fronted German lounge pop, mixing hand played instruments (mainly electric guitar) with modern post-IDM electronics arranged with a solid 'indie' flair, with almost lush, floating melodies reminiscent of Air's Moon Safari. (Seriously. I'm this close to calling this album the "German Air," but since it's being made by German artists it's just not as "lush.") Also, add the Monika-style, non-easy, sweetly experimental electronic pop style that's full of interesting textures, and the album just gets pushed into another category altogether. [SM]









Japanese electro-acoustic minimalists Minamo have returned with the much-anticipated follow-up to 2003's aptly titled Beautiful. Last year, band member Keiichi Sugimoto released two great solo albums under the name Fourcolor. I was enthralled with his gorgeous processed guitar pieces, but upon popping the new Minamo album into my stereo I realized that I'd forgotten the wonderful intricacies and dynamics of the full quartet's interplay. As on their previous four full-length releases, Minamo have built the album around live recordings and improvisations, with lulling electronic textures and ambient drones building and weaving amidst simple piano and acoustic guitar passages. This is a group that doesn't need to hide behind a massive and dense wall of sound, but instead works with an incredibly light and precise touch. Shining is a fantastic album, quite possibly their greatest one yet. Of the many groups working with laptops today, very few have figured out how to develop this level of organic interaction between the musicians. Minamo makes the process look deceptively easy. [RH]







Love's a Real Thing Vol. 3 / World Psychedelic Classics
(Luaka Bop)

"Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou Dahomey" - Minsato Le, Mi Dayihome
"Ifa" - Tunji Oyelan & the Benders

And the psychedelic reissues keep on comin'. This time around, the folks at Luaka Bop are throwing their paisley parka in the ring with this awesome collection of technicolor funk from mother Africa. But don't buy this comp expecting to hear Os Mutantes/Sgt. Peppers' style mindbenders. The selections are a bit more fuzzy, driving and loose like Chambers Brothers, Equals or early Sly. Some of the standout tracks are Manu Dibango's instrumental vibe chiller "Keleya," William Onyeabor's socio-political workout "You Better Change Your Mind," and the heavy Hendrix style funk of Ofo & the Black Co.'s "Allah Wakburr." There's some sick sh*t on this comp. Thanxs guys for letting me review it…I don't think you're getting this copy back. Kidding!(?) Look out for the forthcoming vinyl version of this release on Stones Throw. [DH]







$16.99 LP


Blue Eyed in the Red Room

"Girl Toy"

From his collaboration with Dose One on the boundary bending Circle album to his debut full-length, Seed to Sun, to his remixes for artists like Boards of Canada and Four Tet, Bryan Hollan (a/k/a Boom Bip) has been moving in forward motion ever since, evolving and morphing his hip-hop foundation with melodic elements and techniques not expected in DJ circles. Blue Eyed in the Red Room is probably the Cincinnati producer's most interesting transformation yet, and sure to help him shake off that experimental hip-hop tag which he's earned along the way. Whereas elements of turntablism and rap could be heard rubbing against the electronic melodies/production of 2002's Seed to Sun, Boom Bip's new album was created from almost all analog instruments. Not as experimental of a turn as he could have gone, most of the tracks are filled with pop melodies that crest above gradual tempo shifts as well as shimmering electronics that seem inspired by purveyors like Eno.

You can also hear some Kraut influence throughout the record -- from the Popol Vuh-esque keyboard and gliding guitar atmosphere in "Girl Toy," to the cosmic flute tones of "Do's & Don'ts," which sound sampled off of pre-robot era Kraftwerk's "Elektrisches Roulette." Acoustic, electric and bass guitar are also prominent instruments throughout. The dark, horror movie ambience of "Eyelashings" creeps above a bassline that could have been borrowed from a Cure song before it unfolds into a haunting, airy refrain of Ebow-ed guitars a la Tones On Tail. Other highlights include the two vocal tracks that feature Super Furry Animals' Gruff Rhys ("Do's & Don'ts") and Nina Nastasia ("The Matter"). [GH]






Dreams Come True

"Apocalypse Express"
"The Living End"

Dreams Come True fills in a hell of a lot of gaps in the legend of the late Judee Sill, a songwriter whose talent matched the likes of Neil Young and Bob Dylan, and whose heavenly multi-tracked vocal harmonies often drew comparison to her contemporary, Joni Mitchell. For those of you who might be unfamiliar with her work, Judee was the first artist signed to David Geffen's Asylum record label, for which she recorded two absolutely phenomenal albums in the early 1970s. Reissues of both albums are readily available and I couldn't possibly exaggerate how important they are to me and to many of my colleagues at OM.

This two-disc collection includes the entirety of Judee's third album, recorded in a daylong session in 1974 and never completed or officially released. The album's eight songs have been properly mixed for the first time ever by Sonic Youth member and Wilco producer Jim O'Rourke. "What could be more daunting," he wonders in the liner notes, "than mixing the music of someone whose music means so much to you that it is part of your very existence?"

The record sounds great, and credit is due to him for putting so much respect and care into the project. It's not as polished or orchestrated as her other recordings, but Dreams Come True has the songs, the heart, and the tremendous spirit that you would expect. It isn't a let down, not even a tiny bit. As such a huge admirer of her other work, it's difficult to express what a gift it is to have a brand new full-length from Judee Sill to listen to over and over again. And that isn't even half of the package.

The collection also sheds light on the earliest stages of Judee's musical development, including her first recording ("Emerald River Dance"), the first song she ever wrote ("Dead Time Bummer Blues") and a bunch of stripped-down traditional folk numbers recorded at a friend's house in 1968. There's also a 15 minute long live video clip that you can watch on your computer. Filmed at an outdoor USC performance in 1973, she plays "The Kiss" as well as "Jesus Was a Cross Maker" and a couple of other classics. The 68-page book that comes with these CDs tells the story of this tragic artist as well as anything I've ever read. It includes excerpts from interviews with many of her best friends, lovers, and relatives.

Judee's brief career was bookended by a troubled childhood and difficult family life and later by chronic health problems and an untimely death. She got into drugs as a teenager, experimenting heavily with LSD, mushrooms, and peyote, and eventually developing a heroin habit that would last for many years and ultimately end her life in 1979. She also got into spirituality: Catholic mysticism, theosophy, Astrology, Rosicrucianism. At one point Pat Boone baptized her in his backyard swimming pool. Her lyrics on all three albums are deeply entrenched in this unique mixture of religious beliefs, with recurring themes of redemption, resurrection and eternity.

After the release of her second album, Judee was rear-ended by Danny Kaye in a car accident that brought her career-ending back problems and probably caused her lapse back into intense opiate dependency. She lived an unbelievably sad life that no doubt had a profound influence on her art, but she still managed to instill incredible beauty, hope, faith and love in all of her work. Dreams Come True is an absolute godsend, completely essential for anyone who loves this singular and incomparable musician. [RH]







Nice Up the Dance

"Nice Up the Dance" Michigan & Smiley
"Can I Change My Mind" Alton Ellis

The Soul Jazz label definitely holds pole position when it comes to sexy packaging and well-placed advertisements, but Heartbeat is still your boy when it's time to get real. Collected here are eight classic discomixes, mostly from the rocksteady era, and in all cases, nothing short of legendary among the Studio One canon. For the uninitiated, the late-'60s/early-'70s discomix did not involve drum machines or anything of that sort, making it an unfortunate tag, given the American understanding of the word disco. Instead, they were 12-inch singles wherein a tune originally pressed on 45 was followed by (and beat-matched with) its corresponding instrumental, only to be followed by (and again beat-matched with) a dub version. Consequently, the shortest song on this compilation is still over the seven-minute mark. But hey, that's more beer for us, right?

Highlights include the haunting "Queen of the Minstrels," during which Cornell Campbell's silky delivery is augmented by a psychedelic and ghostly background chorus throughout, Ken Parker's Motown influenced "My Whole World is Falling Down," and Delroy Wilson's "Give Love a Try." Each one a testament to the U.S. soul influence on Jamaican singers of the day. Best of all, however, is Alton Ellis' "Can I Change My Mind," a tune that undoubtedly ranks among the upper echelon of not only the Studio One catalog but Jamaican music en masse. I mean seriously, people. A nearly 11 minute, dubbed out version of "Can I Change My Mind" alone justifies the purchase of this record, especially if you've got nice headphones. These extended mixes shed light not only on the art of engineering and postproduction, but also the roots of what would eventually become hip-hop, as the listener is basically given a tour of the boards: from original to instrumental to remix. All in one fell swoop. Did I mention the music is amazing? [BB]







I Have Always Been Here Before - Anthology
(Shout Factory)

"Red Temple Prayer (Two Headed Dog)"
"Bloody Hammer"

A legend, a genius, a dark angel, a freak…Roky Erickson is an elusive yet storied figure in underground music. Drugs, passion, paranoia, violence, monsters, prison, mental institutions, and some of the most powerful, singular music and musical vision of our time. The simplest telling would read as both a cautionary tale and alluring come-on for the role of drugs in artistic inspiration. There is little doubt that LSD both created and destroyed Roky's most famous group, the 13th Floor Elevators, and it is only a question of semantics as to whether during their brief tenure the group presided over the creation of psychedelic music, and their influence is still felt today. The band's mission was to expand the minds of the nation's restless youth, and with their raw power, intensity, and lyrical explorations they did just that until drug-fueled psychosis and the law made it impossible for the band to function in even the most basic ways. 1966 and '67 were tumultuous years to be a stoned, tripping and ragged counter-culture hero in Texas. After a brief but intense two years in the trenches, with many highs and lows, the band was finally stopped dead when Erickson was backed into a corner and pled not guilty by reason of insanity to marijuana possession, and spent three years at a hospital for the criminally insane. Not surprisingly, rather than leveling Erickson's tumultuous personality, his time in "rehabilitation" sent the singer on a tailspin from which he never fully recovered, but surely did not mark the end of his creativity.

The next 30 or 40 years have seen Erickson's fates twist and turn like smoke in the wind, but there have been points so high and clear that the depths of isolation that he also fell into seem just that much deeper. This unbeatable 2-CD collection (put together by the talented archivists of Shout Factory, who you may know from their great reissue work at Rhino and Rhino Handmade) gathers tracks spanning the singer's career. Much of Erickson's catalog has been recorded and re-recorded by the singer over the years, and as many of the finest original versions have been in and out of print, well-meaning labels made available inferior live tracks and alternate line-ups that may have diluted some of the impact of Erickson's best work. This collection should set the record straight. It opens with a track from his pre-Elevators band the Spades, the great original single version of "We Sell Soul," and follows with a batch of 13th Floor Elevators tracks, several of which were featured on their two proper full-lengths "Psychedelic Sounds Of…" and "Easter Everywhere," but many more are rare and highly collectable Contact and International Artists label singles released in the late-'60s, plus unreleased session outtakes. Next are both sides of the 1973 Mars Records' single that was Erickson's first post-incarceration release; the fierce original version of one of my all-time favorite rock songs, "Red Temple Prayer (Two Headed Dog)" backed the equally powerful pop nugget "Starry Eyes." I can't really imagine how fans could even have handled the impact of this double A-side slab of fire.

There are many more gems on the set's 40-plus tracks, but for me the real coup is the inclusion of many tracks from Roky Erickson & The Aliens late-'70s/early-'80s recordings, some of which were released originally on CBS Records UK, some on 415 records in the U.S., and long unavailable. For me, this is the artist's most enduring work, even beyond the impact of the Elevators, although perhaps not as revolutionary at the time. Managing to be both raw and well-produced, heavy as a hammer-drop but melodic and poppy, lyrically obsessed with monsters, devils and demons, yet somehow grounded in earthly pursuits of loves and fears, this timeless rock and roll has been only sporadically available for many years. Following this are excellent tracks from Erickson's '80s and '90s output, including tracks from "Clear Night For Love," "Don't Slander Me," "Openers," and '95's "All That May Do My Rhyme".

Roky Erickson is an artist of rare vision and accomplishment, and coupled with his tenuous emotional state, his legacy has been left for years to the bootleggers and well-intentioned fans who have scrambled to release any scraps that could be collected. This wonderful double CD attempts, and succeeds, at setting the record straight once and for all by collecting a thrilling mix of Erickson's best and most elusive work, and it should be required listening for any fan of psychedelia, punk, and good old fashioned rock and roll. To hear Roky's raw howl, or to look into his deep, twinkling eyes, is to feel the spirit of pure, true emotion unleashed. [JM]







A Few Steps More
(Too Pure)

"La Salles Des Perdus"
"Pas Toujours"

The second full-length album from Stereolab co-founder and lead vocalist Laetitia Sadier's other project, the lines are blurring more than ever as to what differentiates the groups. As the 'Lab has softened up over the years, and Sadier's own production abilities have grown, this album sounds remarkably like her other, more famous band. Bubbling vintage synths, light Brazilian-flavored rhythms, tremolo guitar and Sadier's cooing, purring vocal musings. Not so much a batch of new pop songs as a sound-suite, for better or worse the tracks tend to blend together into a near-seamless percolating dream. The songwriting seems somewhat secondary to the overall mood, which has been much imitated by other artists but never quite matched as when Sadier herself is at the helm. [JM]







John Byrd EP


Named after their "sound guy," the John Byrd EP is a limited release featuring seven of Death Cab for Cutie's most-loved songs that were recorded live in various West Coast cities during their tour last May. DCFC's leading man, Ben Gibbard sings with such sincerity that you'd think he really hadn't sung these songs a bazillion times before; the rest of the band follows suit and rocks out, especially on "Why You'd Want to Live Here." The tracks transition with Gibbard delivering quips to an enthusiastic crowd of fans and the EP closes with a previously unreleased cover of Sebadoh's "Brand New Love." Rumors have it that the band has hopped to a major label and their next LP release is planned for this coming fall. [CP]








Permanent Brain Damage

"Behind the Brown Door"
"Bullet in My Head"

This is vital listening. A seriously underrated, paramount PSYCH-DOOM MASTERPIECE AND IT'S FINALLY IN STOCK! New York's ever so obscure Blood Farmers recorded a demo tape in 1991, and unbeknownst to them, it became an instantaneous landmark. This is the holy grail of all things heavy, and all things bewildering. Japan's Leafhound label (home to sludge masters Church of Misery) did the music world a favor and unearthed the works from mythological anonymity and shed much overdue light on the album, titled Permanent Brain Damage. YES. In addition to the original demo tracks, which are remixed and remastered for our ears' pleasures, there is also a live bonus track from a gig in '96 with a hidden track of ambient experimentalisms, weird sound FX, and demented monologues. If you haven't guessed already, these guys are obsessed with horror flicks and it's (blood) spattered all over the album.

The 14-minute epic opener, "Behind the Brown Door," immediately prepares the uninhibited and wicked air with tonefully fiendish psychedelic floods of noise -- conjuring all earth hessians, riff worshippers, and dread smokers alike. Sadistically creeping, the song bleeds into the most tortured, deliriously acidic guitar solo shredding I've probably ever heard, laced with the darkest yet coherent vocals that are stylized perfectly. Tight, unyielding drums and plodding bass, this seriously can't get any better. Too unhinged for metal, too maniacal for rock, and waaaay serious on the torrentially Heavy for a simple psych label. The songwriting is extraordinarily ingenious and peculiar, coloring outside of any criterion formulaics. Sabbath influences are all over the disc and Dave Depraved's sinister and brilliant guitar work invokes Saint Vitus' Dave Chandler at times.

Permanent Brain Damage plods through a bombardment of tempo changes, endearing out-of-tune strung out squeals as they snake down with another 15 minute epic "Deathmaster"-- weaving their whole psych-patient-acid-casualty-meets-master-toker vibe marvelously and skillfully. This disc is totally essential for all fans of acid, hard rock, psych, doom, metal... sh*t... all things heavy! Sleep and Melvins heads will find their fixes here, also. Not to mention '70s horror flick geeks. YEAAAAAAAA! [MT]







NY Muscle
(International DeeJay Gigolo)

"Keep on Waiting"
"Listen to the Hiss"

DJ Hell borrowed A.R.E. Weapon's track title for his latest album, NY Muscle, and hired some "NY muscle" to help him make a new album of nasty dancefloor rumbling jams. The album is peppered with a few bleepy nouveau electro tracks ("Keep on Waiting" and "Wired" featuring Jon Selway), plus a cameo by James Murphy adding his muddy/blown speaker, smash-cymbal disco rock vibe to "Tragic Picture Show," but the majority of the album is nouveau Chicago: dark, pumping house grooves with a teaspoon of nastiness thrown in. ("Listen to the Hiss" featuring Alan Vega, "Follow You," "Let No Man Jack" with ultra Nitzer Ebb sounding vocals, and "Black Panther Party" are the best examples of this.) To quote "Let No Man Jack:" Slam Bam! Mosh Pit! Fists Clenched! Arm Pump! Bodies Jack! Let the party begin. [SM]







(Rough Trade)

"Is and Ought the Western World"
"The Sweetest Girl"

I couldn't have been more thrilled when I received a promo copy of this compilation of Scritti Politti's early recordings. Like many of the UK bands that followed after punk's first wave, Scritti Politti came with an art school pedigree and an anti-capitalist creed. Green Gartside formed the first incarnation of the group during the late-'70s, enlisting bassist Nial Jinks -- a friend from his school days and fellow member of the Young Communist League -- and art college classmate Tom Morley on drums. Only three months old, Scritti Politti self-released their first record "Skank Bloc Bologna" (included here), which would soon be picked up by Rough Trade, and as the saying goes, the rest is history. By the mid-'80s, Gartside would be sitting at the top of the British charts with a US hit to boot, but only after refocusing his music towards a crisp sounding commercial path and shedding his original cohorts. But let's get back to these recordings.

This 13-track compilation has been an anxiously awaited collection for a lot of post-punk aficionados not lucky enough to own the long out of print singles/EPs from Scritti Politti's early years. While the original masters are long gone, the fact remains, several of these songs are among the finest to come from the post-punk era. Scritti Politti infused their songs with unpredictable polyrhythmic shifts that would sway from loose, shambolic funk to tight and dubby, the latter nicely juxtaposed against Gartside's scratchy, angular guitar work. And though far from technically accomplished on their respective instruments, the playing is still taut creating a lively tension between the music and Gartside's often politically slanted, yet obtuse lyrics.

There's also an underlying art rock sensibility that seems more realized than many of their contemporaries. (Robert Wyatt even makes a guest appearance playing piano on "The Sweetest Girl," one of this collection's sweetest moments…surreal pop bliss!) The latter tracks in Early also show Gartside steering his voice into a more soulful direction -- a hint of things to come -- and the band begins to experiment with restraint slowing the arrangements down and using more synths and drum machines. While not sounding like any of these groups, many of these early recordings stand among the best works from bands like Gang of Four, Pop Group and the Homosexuals. If you aren't already familiar with Scritti Politti, this is the place to start. [GH]







No Wow
(Rough Trade)

"No Wow"
"Telephone Radio Germany"

The Kills deliver another solid dose of indie/garage rock but with a little more polish than 2003's Keep On Your Mean Side. On No Wow, the duo seem to be progressing well in the cultivation of their own sound. Lead vocalist VV (Alison Mosshart) sings lowly in a sultry, blues-influenced drawl, and Hotel (Jamie Hince) backs her up with even more subdued vocals. No Wow is both gritty and super-charged: The Kills are sparse with their choice of instruments (vocals, bass, drum machine, and guitar) but generous with the guitar distortion and catchy riffs -- especially on the title track which kicks off the album. Energetic and dark, No Wow has arrived just in time for fans of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, White Stripes, and the Raveonettes to crank while they're doing their spring cruisin'. [CP]







Live in Geneva Cathedral

"Opposites Attract" - Marcus Davidson
"Morning" - Fennesz

A concert based on Touch's multifarious organ themed compilation from last year, it's fitting that Spire takes place in a cathedral. This 2-CD compilation collects live recordings made on September 5, 2004, at the Geneva Cathedral, Saint Pierre. Touch regulars Hazard, Philip Jeck and Christian Fennesz, as well as contemporary composers Marcus Davidson, Andre Jolivet, Lianna Alexandra and Henryk Gorecki, all contribute to this varied collection of recordings.

While this live installment of Spire takes a similarly diverse approach to the theme, as in the original compilation, it's the use of organ that ties all of these pieces together. Disc-1 begins with a series of more overtly traditional approaches to the organ. Marcus Davidson utilizes dense and somewhat menacing chordal patterns in the opening two compositions while Andre Jolivet alternates between a sporadic flurry of notes in his homage to the universe. Liana Alexandra contributes a repetitive dirge-like piece while Henry Gorecki explores the full range of the church organ before settling into a solemn exploration of bass frequencies. Aside from the Gorecki piece, most of these contributions are a bit too stifled by traditional structures; but it's the way in which the organ fully resonates the cathedral's acoustics that makes these recordings so seductive.

The final track on disc-1, by Hazard, begins what the booklet refers to as "Phase Two: The Deconstruction Phase." Moving back and forth from organ to electronics, BJ Nilsen (aka Hazard) slowly layers overdriven sampled organ notes into dark physical masses of monolithic sound. Like the calm after a storm, the notes hover ominously along the horizon while the hum of electricity alternates in the foreground. Disc-2 continues "The Deconstruction Phase" with noir turntablist Philip Jeck coaxing the remnants of music from his vinyl detritus. Jeck gradually folds one organ note into another for the first few minutes only to bring in a rather jarring and discordant loop of rock music that awkwardly develops into a somewhat rhythmic theme. This is a much more plunderphonic approach than I would usually attribute to Jeck. While the piece does coalesce somewhat over the course of its 44-minutes, the listener gets lost in the heavy handedness of the source material rather than what Jeck chooses to do with it.

The final piece, by Christian Fennesz, begins "Phase Three: The Reconstruction Phase." A fitting finale to the evening as well as compilation, Fennesz is rarely one to disappoint and he certainly doesn't do so here. Contributing by far the most uplifting interpretation in the series, he combines electronics with sampled organ sounds in a serenely beautiful nod to the organ's past and perhaps its future. While many of the other contributors chose to explore the full range of the organ, Fennesz's strength here is in his restraint, focusing on long extended notes rather than the dense chords that permeate most of the other pieces here.

While I imagine hearing this in the actual cathedral would have been a much more sonically impressive experience, this live installment of Spire is an intriguing document of a historically minded event. Includes extensive liner notes and beautifully printed oversize (Mego-style) sleeve. [KH]







Heliocentric Worlds Vol. 3
(ESP Disk)

"World Worlds"

While it's tough to get excited about every time the ESP-Disk catalog changes hands (we count five so far, and only the poorly-transferred ZYX series fully issued the deep, strange catalog of this essential avant-garde '60s label), that the catalog is back in the hands of its founder, Bernard Stollman, as well as produced in the USA (instead of as pricey imports) is reason to jump for joy. Whether the label will reissue every single title remains to be seen, but alongside the Albert Ayler live set and this previously unreleased Sun Ra Arkestra date, the new ESP-Disk is off to an incredible start. Recorded the same day as Heliocentric Worlds Volume II (by far the stronger of the two "worlds"), these 35 minutes see much needed daylight after being lost for 40 years! The Arkestra is perfect at this point, an octet with luminaries like Pat Patrick, John Gilmore, Marshall Allen, Ronnie Boykins, and Roger Blank realizing Ra's elaborate compositions with fire and an alien sense of beauty and space. Seventeen-minute "Intercosmosis" is a stellar long-form composition from the Ra songbook, the skronking horns dissolving in a bath of echo and reverb about midway through, leading to a lovely turn from Ra on piano and excellent, somewhat "in" solos from the three horn men. Consider it a jazz classic from an alternate reality, no longer lost in space. [RB]







Legacy of Dissolution - Remixes
(No Quarter)

"Tibetan Quaaludes (Waveset Sloth Mix)" - Russell Haswell
"Coda Maestoso in F (Flat) Minor" Autechre

Who would of thought that Earth would have Mogwai, Russell Haswell, Jim O'Rourke, Autechre, Justin Broadrick and...oh well, it's not that surprising to have Sunn O)) remix Earth…but the rest of em'?! Whoa, makes a man wonder what the record is gonna sound like before you can even get the shrink wrap torn!! And sure enough, ALL included offer solid results worth writing home about.

First off is Mogwai, throwing down some idling amp sounds, bright high pitched pings and arching drones which lead into sampled and repeated riff/beat slams, some piano-like guitar samples, and slow, subtle rising crescendos. Russell Haswell's offering is best described as Sunn O))) played through an analog vintage soft tail Harley Davidson. Jim O'Rourke picks all the pure tone bits in between Earth's "Thrones and Dominions" to create lulling, oceanic waves that build and build until they are finally embellished with snaking eastern melodies.

Autechre do their good ol' "staying one step ahead of their fans" type move by NOT deconstructing Earth, and instead offer a RE-integrated version of Earth riffs that sounds more ancient than the dinosaurs. You'll be waiting in vain to hear Ozzie's voice emerge from the 'Rock.' Broadrick's remix is an amazing spiritual release filled with high powered buzzing, bass notes -- gently plucked notes peeking through the deafening hum with voice like drones woven through. The Low-like, slow-core pace is endlessly climbing and beautiful. EPIC and definitely my favorite of them all.

Last, but definitely not least, is Sunn O)))'s multi-sectioned remix full of throbbing waves of churning riffage hacking through bursts of medieval battlefield drums, followed by a lull peppered with silence, small riffs and sub-bass bursts which leads into a surprise tornado of your-brain-sandwiched-between-two-Marshalls and finally, doomed out riffs accented by distant shimmering feedback. Sorry about all the gory details but don't worry, it won't ruin the surprise. [SM]







Various Anthology of Inspiration
(Thrill Jockey)

Many years in the making, this DVD is an exhaustive look into the minds that drive underground music, and what drives them. One hundred and twelve musicians, label honchos, even dorks like me were asked one question: tell a story of a musical moment that inspired you. The answers, provided by folks like Bjork, Thurston Moore, Ian Mackaye, Mike Watt, Steve Albini, Slint, Yo La Tengo, of course most of the Thrill Jockey stable, and many, many more, can be obvious or totally surprising, but the passion with which these stories are told is often inspirational. Filmed and directed by Braden King, this five-and-a-half hour collection likely will never be watched in one sitting, but whether you flip through the menu looking for your favorite artists, or just let it play and take it as it comes, most fan-boys and girls should find a few thrills within. All profits from the film are being donated to Greenpeace. [JM]







Who's Your New Professor
(Thrill Jockey)

"Dot Eye"

Fans of the Sea and Cake and Sam Prekop's previous solo release will be pleased to hear that his newest solo venture doesn't wander too far from the sound that made him famous. (It also probably helps that three-quarters of the Sea and Cake play on Who's Your New Professor, as well as Chad Taylor, Josh Abrams and Rob Mazurek, the same instrumentalists responsible for his earlier solo album's lighter, jazzy touch.) "Something" opens the record with Prekop's layered, breathy vocals hovering over the sounds of a cornet and bass. The album follows through with a mix of livelier instrumentals and flowing, soothing songs, Prekop's melodies melting into phased-out guitar and gentle rhythms; in "Magic Step," his vocal disappears allowing the warm, Caribbean-inspired percussion to carry the track. Perfectly gratifying for these last (let's hope!) nights of winter. [CP]







Live From the Short Attention Span Audio Theater Tour
(Ninja Tune)

"Skanky Panky"

During the latter part of 2003, Kid Koala invited DJ Jester and P-Love to join his "turntable band." They traveled the country and beyond with eight turntables, some effects and mics, a couple of Wurlitzers, and of course, a ton of records. Recorded at their London show, Live From the Short Attention Span Audio Theater Tour features five tracks including "Page 275" off the soundtrack to Koala's Nuphonia Must Fall book (in reality, the song actually accompanies the visual on page 113 of the book), "Drunk-Trumpet" and "Skanky Panky." Bonus DVD includes 25-minutes of their performance shot during the same set, three animated shorts created for the show by Monkmus (animator of the music videos for "Fender Bender" and "Basin Street Blues," which are both include here as well), plus a Bingo Image generator. [GH]









(679 Recordings)

"Chewing Gum"

The debut album from this 23-year-old Norwegian pop sensation is finally available! With a slinky beat and a chorus stickier than its title, Annie's "Chewing Gum" was one of my favorite singles of 2004. But she isn't a one trick pony and her debut album is chock full of songs just as catchy including the Motown inspired "Heartbeat" and the breezy "No Easy Love." Richard X and Röyksopp's Torbjørn Brundtland help with production. Watch your back Kylie! [GH]









Point Misser
(Morr Music)

"Future Debt Collector"

Unavailable for a long time, Styrofoam's debut album from 2000 is finally back in print. There's an 'aural innocence' to Styrofoam's work that lends comparison to the Boards of Canada in the twinkliness, and to Raymond Scott's Soothing Sounds for Baby in the use of pure, cascading tones.




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[RB] Randy Breaux
[BB] Brandon Burke
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[RH] Rob Hatch-Miller
[KH] Koen Holtkamp
[DH] Duane Harriott
[MK] Michael Klausman
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[CP] Carrie Pierce
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

- all of us at Other Music

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