January 12, 2006  



Dear Friends:
Last weekend, we posted our staff's picks for 2005 on the Other Music website. Once again we've kept it freestyle, and our employees and update contributors listed as many new albums and reissues as they desired, commentary optional. We hope you have as much fun reading these lists as we had putting them together. You can view our staff's selections by going to: www.othermusic.com/staffpicks/2005.htm





William Basinski
Yura Yura Teikoku
These Trails
Ini Kamoze
Djibril Diabate
Tsehaytu Beraki
José González
Art Ensemble of Chicago
Eric Malmberg


Randy Muller
Mighty Real: Morning Music


Lost Sounds (Various)

Cat Power
Tortoise & Bonnie 'Prince' Billy
Delta 5
Jenny Lewis w/ the Watson Twins


JAN Sun 08 Mon 09 Tues 10 Wed 11 Thurs 12 Fri 13 Sat 14

Troy Pierce

Tonight, the Novay with Kevin "Micromini" McHugh welcomes Troy Pierce aka Louderbach (M_nus/Underline) and Mark Houle (M_nus)! Other Music is giving away one pair of tickets to this great night of melodic, minimal techno at APT. Enter right away by e-mailing tickets@othermusic.com. The winner will be notified by 3:00 P.M. today, Thursday, January 12th. Leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached.

APT: 419 W. 13th Street NY, NY
Thursday, January 12th - $8adv/$10 at the door

JAN Sun 15 Mon 16 Tues 17 Wed 18 Thurs 19 Fri 20 Sat 21


On Tuesday, January 17, APT hosts DJ Shakey's Nightowl Record Fair in the upstairs lounge. Co-curated by Jared of the Sound Library, the vinyl for sale will be exclusively 45s and 7"s, spanning all genres of music, with the "Blackcrack" Record Collectors Group entertaining on the turntables. Enter to win a $20 credit towards a record purchase at the fair by e-mailing contest@othermusic.com. The winner will be notified on Monday afternoon, January 16th. Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached.

APT: 419 W. 13th Street NY, NY
Tuesday, January 17th (8:00 P.M. til Close)
*FREE* Ages 21+

JAN Sun 22 Mon 23 Tues 24 Wed 25 Thurs 26 Fri 27 Sat 28


Other Music and Screaming Mimi's are throwing a One Day Garage Sale at Botanica on Sunday, January 22nd. Music and fashion will be the order of the day, with a great selection of records and CDs priced anywhere between 99 cents to $9.99, and men's and women's vintage clothing and accessories going for a mere $5 to $25. Plus there'll be Other Music DJs playing records while you peruse the bargains, as well as happy hour drinks to quench your shopper's thirst.

BOTANICA: 47 E. Houston Street
Sunday, January 22nd (1:00 P.M. to 7:00 P.M.)

JAN Sun 29 Mon 30 Tues 31 Wed 01 Thurs 02 Fri 03 Sat 04


This month, we're taking over both floors of APT! Downstairs, we're very excited to welcome Nightshift's Marcel Hüppauff (Dial Records) who will be spinning an exclusive set. Opening the night will be Other Music DJs J Dennis and Scott Mou. In the upstairs lounge, the Domino Records crew will be screening select clips from Four Tet's Everything Ecstatic Part II and Caribou's Marino DVDs. As always, we'll have an open vodka bar from 9 to 10 P.M., and $5 rum punch specials all night long!

APT: 419 W. 13th Street NY, NY
Tuesday, January 31st (9:00 P.M. to 4:00 A.M.)








The Garden of Brokenness

"The Garden of Brokenness"

A new composition from Basinski, yet one that also draws on an old tape loop of his from the late-'70s, meaning it has plenty in common with his other archival works, such as Movement in Chrome Primitive and A Red Score in Tile, not to mention his Disintegration Loops. While this one does not have the oxide flaking it off of it, there is negative space ever-present, the fragile chord progression on piano surrounded by an ambience that is also a gentle solvent, dissolving things and leaving an uneasy space. His notes link the piece to the Japanese concept of 'the sadness of things,' and much like his past work, that melancholia at the temporality of this world is right at the surface. [AB]







Sweet Spot
(Sony Japan)


The phenomenon of Yura Yura Teikoku may not have swept the entire nation; however, for the few hundred audience members lucky enough to witness one of their shows last October, YYT's brilliance has not been forgotten. The trio, whose impact since the '90s in Japanese psych/pop/rock culture is immeasurable, finally made their way over to New York, gracing us with two shows worthy of Koenji's UFO Club. Around the same time Mesh-Key began domestically releasing their records, first Na.ma.shi.bi.re.Na.ma.me.ma.i, and then Sweet Spot. The latter of the two proves to be a great follow-up to the trio's live performance, during which the echoplex hums and loops, jutting in and out of the melody until finally engulfing the sound fully.

Although there are some moments of overwhelming droned-out guitar riffs and echoplex magic, the songs on Sweet Spot mostly just hint at psychedelic consciousness while keeping their pop sensibilities intact. These 10 tracks are never more than seven-minutes long, and guarantee to get stuck in your head even if you do not speak Japanese. For those who have heard Na.ma.shi.bi.re.Na.ma.me.ma.i or one of the colorful imported vinyl pieces, expect a different experience: a little lighter, a little more melodious, and arguably more memorable. [AC]







These Trails

"Sowed a Seed"
"These Trails"

Here's a little-known relic of acid exoticisms to satisfy those of you with the psychedelic sweet tooth for wyrd-folk, especially on the femme tip. A tiny label called Sinergia was indulgent enough to finally make available this privately pressed LP from Hawaii, circa 1973. Truly entrancing fragile song-bird lilts possessing magical jejune charm with male/female soft warbles and bewitched intonations. Gorgeous six-string strumming--of the acoustic, electric, and slide kind--also mastering a generous articulation of Hawaiian folk, along with a multi-colored dose of Eastern-isms (tabla and sitar) and synth-dither to visually guide you along a uniquely exotic tour of rain-soaked jungles and belching volcanoes, to the silent mesmeric groove of ocean waves. [MT]







Ini Kamoze

"Wings with Me"

Another classic reggae reissue from the '80s comes our way: Ini Kamoze's self-titled debut. Released in 1986, when Sly & Robbie's Taxi-era production had reached its height, Kamoze's toasting sounds excellent atop the Channel One recorded digital beats, synths and creeping bass-lines; and each track gets an extended dub. Originally released on Island, this new remastered version on Sly and Robbie's Taxi imprint is one of the most essential of the '80s-era dancehall records. Kamoze, who would later become known worldwide as "The Hotstepper," was a young vet of the dancehalls and is firmly at home--secure and confident. If you were wondering where the hook to Damian Marley's "Welcome to Jamrock" comes from, you'll find it here in the form of "World-a-Music," perhaps one of the best songs on the album. No fillers, just killer track after killer, eight in all, including two live recordings. [DG]







Rough & Rugged

"Rough & Rugged"
"Billy Jean"

Beginning with a great mash-up of Whitney Houston's "You Give Good Love" and Freddie Jackson's "Rock Me Tonight," English born, then Jamaican and American-raised Shinehead's Rough and Rugged is a great glimpse back at the laidback lovers style that he brought to the scene in '86. Undeniably, the tri-country upbringing had an effect on his rhythm, delivery and ability to combine dancehall, reggae, ragga, R&B and, eventually, hip-hop. The closing covers of Michael Jackson's "Lady in My Life" and "Billy Jean" are classic and still irresistible, however, not every track is a cover or live mash-up; the title cut and "Know Fe Chant" are two originals that showcase his skillful toasting. The rhythms feature some of the classic tempos of the mid-'80s, and overall this reissue includes a great selection of tunes that were recorded at Harry J's studio. Shinehead's clear-voiced chanting, singing and toasting are at their best, a perfect blend of social consciousness, lover's tease and skillful flashing. [DG]







Solo Piano
(No Format/Universal Import)

"Bermuda Triangle"

Known primarily for releasing ironic hip-hop and producing backing tracks for Peaches, Gonzales sheds his now not-so-fashionable connections and does something beyond the expectations of the trend forecasters: he makes a quiet solo piano record. And it's not lounge versions of mid-'90s gangsta hits either; it's actually really pretty and well-played. For a moment, it makes you think that the pressing plant put the wrong music on your CD or maybe he just hired someone else to do it. (I've heard that he would perform bursts of piano during his live shows; and this is actually him playing on this record.) To use the, as of late, exhausted description ONE MORE TIME: this record is full of gentle, intricate and flowing "Satie-esque" piano instrumentals. It's maybe a little less gentle and tad bit more 'grand' but it still sounds like someone who knows what they're doing--playing alone getting lost in the sound, maybe in a robe, surrounded by a few white marble pillars. Geoff A. loves it and maybe you will too. [SM]





Dijibril Diabate






Soun Soun


The breakout success of both Congolese noisemakers Konono N°1 and Mali couple Amadou & Mariam (not to mention Blur's Damon Albarn's dalliances in Mali) brought back a renaissance of African music, and if that means more exposure for virtuoso kora player Djibril Diabate, that's fine with us. Often accompanying the Ex when they tour through Africa, the favor is returned with Terrie Ex's Terp label documenting both Diabate's exceptional skills on the 21-string kora as well as his work with a trio. His solo disc, Hawa, shows him rooted in the tradition of the griots as well as his ability to extend the tradition. His 10 pieces here are entrancing, meshing the hypnotic bass notes with the more exquisite high-string melodies, a great warmth infusing all 10 of his improvisations.

As fascinating is to hear how his kora playing dovetails with his trio, Lanaya, with accompaniment on balaphone (a Mali variant on the marimba or metalophone) and the ngoni, a small African guitar. The beatific interplay expounded within on griots like "Dji Dougoule" are hard to put into words; but for listeners whose ears are already attuned to the marimba-infused music of Tom Waits, Harry Partch, or Captain Beefheart (or for jazz fans, the metalophone-stylings of Bobby Hutcherson and Teddy Charles) will find a fresh effervescent spring of acoustic sound bubbling forth here. [AB]







"Sport Malet"

Tsehaytu Beraki had been living in Holland for many years after being forced to leave her home in Eritrea, when conflicts with Ethiopia became unbearable. It was here that Terrie Ex found her living in a small Eritean community in Rotterdam. Seldom performing, she seemed a bit dislocated in her new home; but back in Eritrea she was a star. Even in Ethiopia she's widely known and admired, but sadly, with the exception of a few 45s, there were very few recordings that still existed.

Assisted by Terrie, Tsehaytu began to record old and new songs, often incorporating the latest developments of independent Eritrea into her lyrics. While some of the tracks are played entirely by her, there are others in which she is backed by Dutch musicians including members of the Ex, and jazz drummer and improviser Han Bennink. Some local Eritrean children also join her on backing vocals and hand clapping, but this hardly sounds like an Eritrean-Dutch fusion project. Her singing beautifully weaves around call-and-response back-up singers and the hypnotic strumming of a krar; and over the heavy pulse of a bass drum, handclaps occasionally shift into off-kilter poly-rhythms. Unconstrained by the time limits of a seven-inch single, her songs are free to meander and unfold, and often linger well over 10 minutes. Over the 17 tracks you will hear hauntingly beautiful Eritrean spirituals that I have been returning to for several weeks now; this is music for repeated listens and it continues to unfold. A wonderful companion to Volume 11 (Alemu Aga) of the Ethiopiques series, Selam is beautifully packaged in a hard cover with 85 pages of interviews, photos and background. [GA]







Stay in the Shade
(Hidden Agenda)

"Stay in the Shade"

A sweet accompaniment to José González's lovely singer-songwriter affair from last year, Veneer. This EP features an extended version of the title track, which appeared on the album, plus four others, including a folkified version of Kylie Minogue's "Hand on Your Heart." González's intricate yet relaxed acoustic guitar playing and melancholy pop vocals help him stand apart in a crowded field of young singer-songwriters, and this little record serves as a nice introduction, or a bonus for the fans. [JM]







(Fuel 2000)

"Enlorfe Pt. 1"

Whether you are a regular reader of our weekly update or not, chances are you're familiar with the work of the Art Ensemble of Chicago. A forerunner in the big band, avant-garde, improvised and all-out freeform arena since the '60s, this reissue--recently made available for the first time on CD--is a wonderful primer to the fierce, chaotic and ever-shifting world that embodies their expansive sound and scope. Recorded in Paris in 1970, here AEC's lineup featured Lester Bowie, Malachi Favors, Roscoe Mitchell, Maurice McIntyre and Joseph Jarman, all playing an assortment of "little instruments," percussion, brass, and woodwinds--a list that's really too long to reprint. Most notably, however, is that this set features the first session by drummer Don Moye. Chi-Congo is a barrage of noise, spirit, soul, restraint, and exuberance. As the liner-notes state, "The band's future is uncertain, but its past is quite glorious." Features a great cover shot of AEC in all their freaky, Afro-centric glory as a bonus. Great Black music for sure. [DG]







Den gåtfulla människan

"Människan och tiden"

Okay, we slept on this one. Released in May 2005, Eric Malmberg's Den gåtfulla människan (loosely translated as "The Mysterious Human") is an extension of the progressive mood music he produced as one half of Sagor & Swing. All the sounds on the album emanate from Malmberg's Hammond organ, which he coaxes a million different tones out of, and though the music is more skeletal than that of Sagor & Swing, it's also vastly expansive. There are nods to Kraftwerk and Bo Hansson ("Lord of the Rings"), and the motorik pulse of the built in drum machine is sometimes reminiscent of Cluster's Zuckerzeit, but Den gåtfulla människan is above all an immensely beautiful pop record, with its warm, mystic ambience and swirling melodies. One of the great discoveries of 2005, too bad I wasn't paying attention sooner. [AK]







Kenny Dope Presents Randy Muller's Best

"Peace Pipe" BT Express
"Call Me" Skyy

Kenny Dope pays homage to yet another unsung hero of dance music; this time it's the architect of the boogie, Randy Muller. Who is he, you ask? In the '70s, Muller formed three seminal disco funk bands: Skyy, Brass Construction and BT Express. The latter two were responsible for such disco floor stompers as "Movin'" (which has been covered by everybody from 400 Blows to Red Hot Chili Peppers) and "Express," and "Do It ('Til You're Satisfied)." In the late '70s, he wrote for and produced the New York band Skyy. During this time and into the early-'80s, the group had a bunch of R&B hits and were quite ubiquitous on black radio stations across the country. Skyy epitomized the New York boogie sound. The tempo was slowed down to 100 BPMs, with the emphasis on the two and four, and lyrics that emphasized dancing and celebrating. Kenny Dope has remastered and blended all of these hits here and it sounds amazing. If you bought any of the P&P reissues, or enjoy the deep, funky sounds of French disco or 33hz, add this one to your party starter collection. [DH]






Mighty Real: Morning Music

"Saturday Night-Sunday Morning" Thelma Houston
"The Promise" When in Rome

When most people think of the post-disco dance movement in New York during the '80s, most naturally think of the Paradise Garage. Resident DJ Larry Levan's eclectic blend of electro-funk, boogie, and the early experiments in house kept disco vital long after it was considered dead by most of America. However, the Garage did not represent everything that was happening in New York's discotheques during the '80s. In places like the Saint, Tracks, and the River Club there was a "whiter" style of gay dance music that had a distinctly new wave flavor. At the Saint, in particular, DJs like Robbie Leslie championed a new style of dance music that was a mix of Euro-synth, hi-NRG, new wave, and Italo disco--ingredients which are now quite timely considering the '80s synth-dance revival. This comp surveys some of those early jams that laid the groundwork for what would later evolve into trance, electroclash, and the nu-NRG trade sounds of the UK. (yikes!) But these songs were also a huge influence on the new romantic movement that was happening in the UK as well, with bands like Yaz, OMD, Heaven 17 and Human League borrowing the spit-shine sparkle of the arpeggiated pop synths percolating throughout these floaty jams, which added that little extra something that gave them their hits.

For those who count themselves as devotees of the Garage, the Loft, Better Days, and Zanzibar this comp might not satisfy. Warning! These tracks are not R&B tinged booty-shakers that can trace their lineage back to the early days of Philly soul. Far from it, these cuts sound more like Erasure than disco. This might be fine for many, but when I showed the track listing to a Garage-head friend who still carries his membership ID in his wallet at all times, he scoffed and said the selections were straight up "racist." Hahaha! Well, probably not...but with the exception of a few tracks by Thelma Houston, Narada Michael Walden and Jean Carn, all of the selections are by white artists. Amongst the highlights are two works by Giorgio Moroder, one with Sparks, the other with Limahl of Kajagoogoo fame. The Limahl track is the one that has me tripping out. It's a saccharine ballad that was the theme to the children's fantasy flick, The Neverending Story. Wow! Remember that one? The one with the big ass flying monkey-dragon! I saw that in the theatres back when I was in 7th grade. I remember that song. Little did I know that it was a 6 AM favorite for dudes coming off of their MDMA and poppers after a decadent night at the disco. Also included is the rare 12-inch version of the best Depeche Mode rip-off ever, When in Rome's brilliant "The Promise." [EH]







Cold Fact
(RCA Australia)

"Sugar Man"

Brilliant early-'70s album by Jesus "Sixto" Rodriguez, who played his own brand of politically aware folk music. You'll only need to hear the psychedelic Theremin on the haunting "Sugar Man" or the heavy fuzz on "Only Good for Conversation" to realize this isn't another Dylan clone. The beautiful melodies, clever lyricism, and trippy arrangements (some by Dennis Coffey) make this a desert island disc. Apparently he was huge in South Africa but deserves similar stature worldwide. (Full review next week.)







Lost Sounds: Blacks & the Birth of the Recording Industry 1891 to 1922

"Some Jazz Blues" Memphis Pickaninny Band

Featuring 54 tracks by 43 artists, Lost Sounds goes all the way back to birth of commercial recordings and continues forward to the start of the jazz era, documenting African Americans' major influence on the earliest days of the recording industry. The double-CD set features many rare gems from long-forgotten performers and public figures, and a 60-page booklet with notes by Tim Brooks and David Giovannoni. (Full review next week.)




Pre-order these five highly-anticipated CDs listed below! These items will begin shipping Friday, January 20th, and in most cases will be in your mailbox on the release date of Tuesday, January 24th. For a limited time, Cat Power and Tortoise with Bonnie 'Prince' Billy are both being sold at an extra-low price. To avoid additional shipping charges, titles ordered with pre-orders will not ship until January 20th.





The Greatest


Recorded in the legendary Ardent Studios, Chan Marshall's songwriting reaches a new, soulful level of maturity. Her haunting, introspective voice is accompanied by legendary Memphis session players including members of Al Green's band.





Brave & the Bold

"The Cavalry Cross"

An unlikely collaboration from Will Oldham (aka Bonnie 'Prince' Billy) and Chicago post-rockers Tortoise. This unusual music team covers 10 artists, including Devo, Bruce Springsteen, Milton Nascimento, Richard Thompson and Elton John.






Singles & Sessions 1979 to 1981
(Kill Rock Stars)

"Mind Your Own Business"

Highly-anticipated Delta 5 retrospective, featuring early singles, Peel and Skinner radio sessions, and live tracks. This short-lived Leeds quintet came from the same scene as Gang of Four and the Mekons, and left behind an indelible impression on music.






Rabbit Fur Coat
(Team Love)

The first solo record from Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis is filled with beautiful confessional narratives and rollicking countrified stompers. The Watson Twins provide the sweet harmonies, with guest appearances from Conor Oberst, Ben Gibbard and M. Ward.





(Kill Rock Stars)

Hard-to-find recordings from Decemberists mastermind Colin Meloy's first band. This double-CD features indie poppers Tarkio's full-length "I Was Hoping for Something More" and their "Sea Songs for Landlocked Sailors" EP, plus demo recordings and other rarities.



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[GA] Geoff Albores
[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[AC] Amanda Colbenson
[DG] Daniel Givens
[DH] Duane Harriott
[EH] Evan Hecht
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[JM] Josh Madell
[SM] Scott Mou
[MT] Mahssa Taghinia

- all of us at Other Music

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