July 13, 2006  




Glaxo Babies
Aloe Blacc
Sufjan Stevens
Thom Yorke
Amen Andrews
Kerrier District
Milton Nascimento
Tim Maia
Sachiko Kanenobu
James Figurine
Groupies (DVD)
Billy Nicholls
Labi Siffre
Brothers on the Slide (Various)


The North Sea & Rameses III
Johnny Cash
Jamaica to Toronto (Various)
Alva Noto


Rotary Connection


JUL Sun 09 Mon 10 Tues 11 Wed 12 Thurs 13 Fri 14 Sat 15

Todd Terje

Cosmic Boogie, with resident DJs Alex from Tokyo and Manu, welcomes very special guest, Todd Terje. Other Music has a pair of tickets to give away, so enter right now by e-mailing: giveaway@othermusic.com. Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. The winner will be notified by 5:00 P.M. this afternoon, Thursday, July 13.

APT: 419 W. 13th Street NYC
$8 Cover

Don't miss the RE:UP Manual 11 NYC Chapter release party, Tuesday, July 25th, featuring live music from Daedelus, plus DJ sets from Duane (Negroclash/Other Music) and Scott Mou (Other Music). Open Vodka Bar from 9 to 10 P.M.
*No Cover*

JUL Sun 16 Mon 17 Tues 18 Wed 19 Thurs 20 Fri 21 Sat 22
  Sun 23 Mon 24 Tues 25 Wed 26 Thurs 27 Fri 28 Sat 29

Sek Loso

On July 28-30, Bangkok musicians, filmmakers and DJs will converge in NYC to participate in the world premiere of Ramakien: A Rak Opera at the Lincoln Center. Leading up to the event, a series of concerts will take place, featuring various artists who will be participating in the opera. We've got two pairs of tickets to offer to each of these performers' American debuts.

MODERN DOG: Sunday, July 16 @ Knitting Factory
These indie rockers are to Thailand what Radiohead is to England. Their most recent album was produced by Tony Doogan (Mogwai, Belle & Sebastian) and features contributions from Yuka Honda, Buffalo Daughter's Yumiko Ohno, and Sean Lennon.

SEK LOSO: Saturday, July 22 @ CBGB
Thailand's biggest rock star, Sek Loso's previous band Loso sold millions of albums in his country. His English language debut, For God's Sake, has just been released and was produced by Oasis producer Owen Morris.

PHOTO STICKER MACHINE: Sunday, July 23 @ Tonic
Bangkok's premiere producers of downtempo and dubby electronica also run the Hualampong Riddim label. Joining them will be Rik, whose voice has been described as a curious combination of Diamanda Galas and Nina Simone.

TO ENTER: e-mail tickets@othermusic.com, with the show you would like to see listed in the subject line. Please leave a daytime phone number.

JUL Sun 16 Mon 17 Tues 18 Wed 19 Thurs 20 Fri 21 Sat 22
JUL/AUG Sun 30 Mon 31 Tues 01 Wed 02 Thurs 03 Fri 04 Sat 05



VETIVER (special acoustic show)
Thursday, July 20th @ 8:00 P.M.

Monday, July 31st @ 8:00 P.M.

OTHER MUSIC: 15 E. 4th Street NYC
Free Admission/Limited Capacity








Dreams Interrupted
(Cherry Red)

"This Is Your Life"
"It's Irrational"
"Christine Keeler"

Post-punk completists and those of you who picked up the Avon Calling compilation will already be familiar with Bristol's Glaxo Babies. The rest of you, get ready for a major revelation. Formed in 1977, at the twilight of punk and pre-post punk, the hugely influential Glaxo Babies combined disparate influences such as Krautrock, Captain Beefheart, and dub to create a punk sound of their own. Dreams Interrupted compiles 20 tracks from their two Heartbeat albums, 12"s and singles (including both sides of the "Christine Keeler" seven-inch, perhaps their finest moment), and showcases the group's evolution from dissonant political punks to a more mature outfit, experimenting with funk, dub, and free jazz. All in all, a comprehensive collection documenting a band that were the forerunners of a scene that spawned other post-punk mainstays, including the Pop Group, Maximum Joy, and Rip, Rig & Panic. [AK]









Keep On Moving
(Soul Jazz)

"Insane (Tambourine Mix)"
"I'd Do It for You"

I doubt that most suburban kids scooping up LCD Soundsystem records, or the millions before who've heard the siren sounding sample of "UFO" screeching above the boom-bap of Public Enemy, LL Cool J and, more recently, Jay Z, even know who ESG are. But there's no disputing that the Scroggins sisters have a heavy, yet largely under-acknowledged hand in shaping modern music, their influence pulsing through the veins of hip-hop, house and post-punk. Like many outsider artists, I'm quite certain that their unique sound and history is equally indebted to passion and circumstance: Four teenaged South Bronx girls and their friend, while lacking any sort of music training, formed a band and began writing songs together. But it just so happens that they were in the right place at the right time. Simultaneously, as punks and b-boys were beginning to flirt with each other, ESG's raw minimal-funk emerged as the perfect bridge between uptown and downtown. Next thing you know, the young band is sharing bills with the Clash and Grandmaster Flash, recording music for both New York's 99 Records and the UK's Factory label, not to mention performing at the opening of Manchester's Hacienda club, the closing of NYC's Paradise Garage, and have a bonafide underground dance hit, "Moody," to boot.

While ESG never really disappeared completely, it was probably the success of 2000's Soul Jazz released compilation, South Bronx Story, that spurred their first album in over 10 years. And with three of the original sisters remaining, now joined by two group members' daughters, 2002's Step Off perfectly picked up from where they left us, their bare-boned funk practically unchanged. Four years later, Keep on Moving arrives, and while the MO is still basically the same, there's definitely some evolution taking place. For one, electronic elements like the kick and snare from an 808 are a constant, and there's a bit of an experimental streak not heard since the much-sampled "UFO" present in songs like the plodding bass-rhythm rumble of "Road." "I'd Do It for You" takes back the sassy disco-punk swagger which Spektrum respectfully co-opted a few years back, only ESG shows them what stripped-down really means. Yet it's with "Insane" that the group drives the point home that they're not about to tamper with a formula that's been in their blood since the beginning. Mixing the gritty sex appeal of "Moody" with the bass drops of "You're No Good," you'd think that this was an overlooked classic off of '83's Come Away With ESG, if not for the 808 snare breaks.

It's truly a shame that sample credits didn't pay their bills, because if they had, ESG would have had plenty leftover to buy themselves some Emerald, Sapphire and Gold retirement rings years ago. But that's what makes their new album such a joy to listen to. At this point, their music making isn't about reliving glory days. Nor is it reinvention for the sake of trying to remain relevant; they don't need to--god knows we'll be hearing their influence for years to come. ESG is more like a family outing, much like a trip to Disney or a visit to Grandma's. We just happen to be so lucky that the Scroggins have invited us along for the ride. [GH]








Shine Through
(Stones Throw)

"Long Time Coming"
"Patria Mia"

Stones Throw continues to establish themselves as, among other things, the best new R&B label around. (Who saw that one coming?) Along with Dudley Perkins and Georgia Anne Muldrow, Aloe Blacc picks up the torch with his outstanding debut, Shine Through, which is filled with influences as similar and vast as Otis Redding, Milton Nascimento, Stevie Wonder, Jorge Ben, Viktor Duplaix, Dwele, R. Kelly, Baile funk, broken beat, R&B, blues and, of course, hip-hop. Singing and rapping in both English and Spanish, Blacc's talent cannot be disputed as he builds a bilingual bridge of thoughtful, witty and danceable soul music, which is also littered with a few a cappella songs. Neither the smoke-in-your-eyes funk of Dudley, or the elastic vibe of Georgia Anne, Aloe secures a place for himself in the tight/smooth groove arena, going places that the label has never gone before. Self-produced with a little help from the Jackson brothers, Madlib and Oh No (one track respectively), Shine Through is one of the best soul-hybrid albums of this or any season. Recomendado! [DG]







The Avalanche
(Asthmatic Kitty)

"The Mistress Witch from McClure"

Seriously, what is the deal with this kid? There are 21 tracks on the new Sufjan Stevens record, all outtakes or alternate versions from his great Illinois full-length from last year, and the album is pretty solid: smart and quirky pop songs layered with lush orchestration, angelic vocal harmonies and the rest. That's 21 MORE songs about the pretty-OK state of Illinois, following 22 tracks on the original album. Even if we don't count the three new versions of "Chicago" (in the styles of acoustic, adult-contemporary, and multiple-personality disorder), that's a Great Lake's worth of songs about Illinois. What if he really did make albums for all 50 states? He might be the most productive man in all of music or art, but wouldn't the productivity of the rest of the nation plummet as we all tried to listen to all this stuff? Sufjan may be straightedge, he may be a spiritual man, but even G-d and beer can't explain this unbelievable dedication. I'm impressed. [JM]





On Sale




The Eraser

"The Eraser"

From John Lennon to Morrissey, or Damon Albarn to Martin Gore, when singers venture out on their own they seem to possess a freedom that their respective bands may have lacked. Though not a giant leap, Thom Yorke, the voice of Radiohead, takes a forward step, and what's sort of surprising here is the crisp, clean electronic backing that he's surrounded himself with. I've never been an enthusiastic Radiohead fan and, quite honestly, I've always watched them from the sidelines; but The Eraser really drew me in with Yorke delivering some of the best textural moments of his band, sans the soggy slow songs or the overblown crescendos of emotion. That's not to say that this album isn't moody, it is, but in a calming and slightly playful way. With most of the album recorded on a laptop, The Eraser is a perfect representation of the current state of Euro-soul/electronica -- think Massive Attack, Erlend Oye, or the Morr Music label -- filled with light click-and-pop rhythms, synth washes, and only the subtlest traces of guitar. The press release states that Yorke doesn't want this to be referred to as a solo effort -- probably because of the role that longtime Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich plays here, not only handling production tasks but also receiving credit for much of the arrangements. Of course, the centerpiece of these nine songs really is Yorke's distinctive voice, and here it comes through crystal clear, his storytelling more straightforward than his band's penchant for all things conceptual. The Eraser will indeed sit quite nicely next to those other great leading men we've come to hold dear. Up until now I had just been told how good Radiohead are. Now I know why. [DG]








Vs. Space Hand Luke

"Amen Andrews"

With Luke Vibert, when it rains, it pours -- flying off his last spate of activity (solo on Warp with yosepH, solo again on Planet Mu, and on Rephlex as both the disco-minded Kerrier District and the breakneck junglist breakcore of Amen Andrews, not to mention Wagon Christ), here he is again dusting off both Kerrier (see below) and Andrews. Vs. Spac Hand Luke is his first full-length under this moniker, following four long out-of-print 12" EPs of ridiculously intense BPMs and psychotic leitmotif; don't expect anything as hectic here, but rather a like-minded journey back into dilated, wild late-'90s jungle action as well as some bleep-centric, grimier elements, into a mix so loopy and soundbwoy'd out, you might need a pacifier to keep it from grinding our teeth together. This may be the first ever record on the Other Music Update rolls to sample a Steven Seagal movie, not to mention Dune, Alfred Hitchcock, the Ohio Players, Bernard Manning, all in the same album, and yeah, it might be the first jungle record to surface in a few years, but it's ridiculously fun, far-flung with abandon and imbued with boundless energy and inspiration. [DM]









"Ce Porte"

The jack of all beats, Luke Vibert hits us with a new EP under his nouveau disko moniker, Kerrier District. I personally think that the Kerrier District stuff is some of his strongest work of recent years and this EP isn't as much of a throwback as the first one. In a number of tracks you hear such Vibert trademarks as breakbeats, acid lines and eerie vocoders creeping into the mix, but they all remain within the context of project. It's still strong and fans won't be disappointed. The disco party seems to keep rollin' on. I love it! [DH]





Milagre dos Peixes





Milagre dos Peixes

"Milagre dos Peixes"
"Os Escravos de Jó"


"Gran Circo"
"Fe Cega Faca Amolada"

One of Brazil's most beloved singers, these two classics are among Milton Nascimento's most essential releases, each record being unique in and of its own self. Following his breakthrough Clube de Esquina, the poignantly titled Milagre dos Peixes (Miracle of Fish) was recorded during his 1973 tour of Sao Paolo. Here, Nascimento is backed by Som Imaginário and legendary Brazilian percussionist Naná Vasconcelos, and he delivers a passionate suite of songs that are also among his most esoteric ever put to tape. With a majority of the album's lyrics rejected by government censors, the resulting record would contain mostly wordless melodies, augmented by nature noises, children's voices, and an indescribably eerie ambience. It's a very beautiful protest album in which you can feel the human spirit refusing to be drowned by an oppressive dictatorship and quite alive, in fact, with the burning desire for better days yet to come.

A year later, Nascimento would release another stunning record inspired by the sacred music of Minas Gerais, the State which his adoptive family had relocated him from when he was only two, following the death of his biological mother in Rio de Janeiro. The lush arrangements of the album ebb and flow as quiet, traditional guitar accompaniment gives way to his band's jazzy flourishes and grandiose orchestration complete with choir singers. Never at a loss for melody, the centerpiece of this album is, of course, Nascimento's soaring voice, and whose gorgeous, emotional falsetto literally reaches for the heavens. [GH]








Racional Vol 1
(Universal Brazil)

"Imunizacao Racional (Que Beleza)"
"Bom Senso"

One afternoon about a year ago, I was enjoying a beer at a small food court in an open air mall in central Sao Paolo, Brazil after having just visited the excellent second hand LP shop, Mafer Records, when a teeny little storefront caught my eye. What had suddenly attracted my attention was a vibrant and hallucinatory poster illustrated with spaceships and a Godzilla-sized devil cruising down the wide avenues of a cosmopolitan city. Intrigued, I stepped inside the storefront where a lone counter clerk was passing out stacks of pamphlets to the occasional person that walked in. Rows of identical looking books lined the shelves behind her and there were two large black and white photographs on the wall. One was an aerial photo of hundreds of white-robed people that appeared to have been taken in the '70s, and the other was a portrait of a rather enigmatic looking older man. Still intrigued, mystified even, I took a pamphlet entitled Cultura Racional Universo em Desencanto as a souvenir with the intention of investigating further when I returned home.

A couple of months pass and my original intention to look into this strange storefront that had all the trappings of a cult never came to fruition. That is until one day when I stumble across an LP by the famed Brazilian soul singer Tim Maia, which has cover artwork and iconography clearly drawn by the same artist who had designed that poster I'd seen at the mall in Sao Paolo!

Tim Maia was a hugely influential and best-selling artist who, along with the likes of Banda Black Rio and Jorge Ben, brought American soul music and its burgeoning political consciousness during the late-'60s and early-'70s into the mix of Brazilian popular music. He cut an imposing, if eccentric figure, and was at the height of his popularity in 1975 after having had a string of hits for Polydor records. He had also acquired a massive cocaine habit that was to plague him sporadically for much of his career, but in '75, he abruptly left Polydor and completely stopped doing drugs. The impetus for this change was the life-altering effect of the teachings of Cultura Racional.

Cultura Racional was founded by Manoel Jacinto Coelho. He was born in 1903 in the Tijuca quarter of Rio, and it is said that at the moment of his birth, a comet or cosmic mass landed in his neighborhood and entered his body, thus supplying him with knowledge heretofore hidden from the rest of mankind.

Despite his many messianic qualities, he never claimed that Cultura Racional was a religion or that he was a god, he was simply a bringer of the truth of truths which he outlined in his series of books, The Universe in Disenchantment. Among some of the truths he elucidated was that human beings are parasites and that the arrival of an extraterrestrial race of creatures on Earth was imminent. To that end he even built a motel for their lodging at his estate in the suburbs of Rio.

How Tim Maia came to be influenced by Coelho, I'm not sure, but he was attracted enough to immediately begin proselytizing, dump his label and start his own imprint called Seroma, stop his rampant drug abuse, wear only white, and paint all of his furniture and instruments white as well. He converted all of his band members, one of whom recounts that during their two years of indoctrination, Maia would often spend the day looking into the sky for alien aircraft. Maia eventually had a falling out with Coelho after growing impatient that aliens kept failing to materialize, but not before releasing two of the finest and most interesting albums of his career, both centered around the precepts of Cultura Racional.

This is the first of the two to be reissued and it's beautifully crafted and full of the alluring mix of deep funk and soul he's so well known for. Despite his sobriety, it's also just about the trippiest album he ever made, with very subtle studio flourishes and playing throughout providing a marked contrast to the majority of his oeuvre. And for English speaking listeners, he even provides an introduction to the concept of Rational Thought on the song "You Don't Know What I Know:" We came from a super-world, a world of rational energy, and we live in the anti-world, world of animal's energy…[MK]








(Avex IO)


Sachiko Kanenobu came out of Japan's late-'60s underground folk scene. Her debut solo album, Misora, was originally released on Underground Record Club, the first Japanese 'indie' label which put out folk and rock albums between the late-'60s and mid-'70s, many of which are now considered to be classics. Unlike assumed Japanese folk stereotypes of the period, such as protest songs or pathetic male confessions from a tatami mat, Sachiko sounds crystalline and soothing when she sings about the sky, birds, etc., and occasionally seems to evoke some unknown force larger than herself. The similarity between her vocal style and Joni Mitchell's has often been pointed out, but it may also be palpable in the album's seemingly straightforwardness with an urbane sensibility, owing much to Haruomi Hosono (ex-Apryl Fool/Happy End/YMO) as the album's producer, and to the musicians on the record which include Shigeru Suzuki and Tatsuo Hayashi, who would later form Tin Pan Alley, a band that would become an enormous influence upon later J-rock and pop music. Their subtly unconventional approach defies simple categorization as 'folk.' [YZ]








Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake
(Plug Research)

"One More Regret"

In spite of an electronic pedigree twisting the knobs and clicking the mouse for Postal Service, Dntel and Figurine, Jimmy Tamborello (a/k/a Jimmy Figurine) might be one of the last people you'd expect to see throwing his hat into the minimal house ring. Sure, a few years back producer Tobias Thomas kicked off his Kompakt-released Smallville mix CD with Dntel's "Season," but that cut was a far cry from the micro-aesthetic which followed in a track selection which featured Kaito, Jan Jelinek and Michael Mayer. But I digress. What all of Tamborello's musical projects have in common is a poppy indie-electronic sensibility, and at first glance, you might expect this record to be more of the same, with Rilo Kiley's Jenny Lewis, Erlend Oye from Kings of Convenience and ex-Rogue Wave bassist Sonya Westcott listed in the liner notes. That is until you get to John Tejada, who is not only attributed with mixing the record, but gets multiple mentions for arrangements, sounds and even a couple of co-writing credits. And sure enough, much of Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake is delivered with the kind of restrained, 4/4 precision that one usually associates with releases on Force Tracks, Ladomat and the aforementioned Kompakt. That's not to insinuate that he's is turning his back on pop; one only needs to hear Oye's velvet-smooth croon in "All the Way to China," or guest vocalist Morgan Meyn Neglar's sweet urging of "don't walk away" gently looped over the crisp, gurgling beats in "Pretend It's a Race and I'm on Your Side" to know that this isn't simply Tamborello trying to prove that he can hold his own in Cologne. While Superpitcher, Closer Musik, Richard Davis and Tejada are no strangers to poppy, vocal-driven minimal-house, Tamborello may just be gearing up to bring it to the masses. Who knows, somewhere out there Ben Gibbard might be blasting Total 4 on the tour bus right now. [GH]






The Documentary
(Cherry Red)

I've always had a difficult time trying to ascertain what exactly the counterculture was in the '60s. What I mean by that is counter to what? It seems like everyone has this romantic notion of this decade and everyone's father, teacher, uncle, minister, etc. apparently participated in it. There's been accounts of pitchers throwing no-hitters on acid, Ronald Reagan allegedly smoking pot at a dinner party he hosted at the Governor's mansion, and enough free love and groupie action spread around that even Dean Martin and the Rat Pack were having love-ins. How much of this is true is hard to gauge, and I'm sure most of the people who claimed to be in the thick of it probably weren't, but if everybody in the mainstream were involved in this culture, what was truly bubbling underground? What was really going on? It seems that most of the people who actively participated in this thing some 35-plus-years ago aren't really here to tell us this story, and the ones who are still alive don't really seem to remember much about it.

This exploitation documentary that was produced and filmed in the late-'60s is probably the closest thing that I've seen that actually seems to offer an unflinching glimpse into the true nature of the counterculture vibe of that time. The only thing I can possibly compare it to is Robert Frank's oft-banned Stones documentary Cocksucker Blues.

Basically, what's going on here is some notorious groupies from back in the day--including Cynthia Plaster Caster and Pamela Des Barres--are followed around for about nine months. You'll see Jimmy Page turn down an offer to get "casted," Spooky Tooth members being casted, Terry Reid accosted by an overzealous gay fan backstage at the Fillmore, numerous catty conversations about which band members were less endowed by others, and an under-aged girl lying to her mother on the phone about her whereabouts. You'll also see lots of drinking, lotsa naked hippie boobs, a whole lotta of pot smoking and killer live footage of Terry Reid and Joe Cocker at the top of their prime…and so much more.

In short, one of the best movies I've ever seen, and if you're any sort of pop culture groupie (such as myself), this is one you're gonna quote like Spinal Tap. [DH]

Region Free - Suitable for persons only 18 years or older.








Would You Believe

"Would You Believe"
"It Brings Me Down"

Would you believe us if we told you that this is the UK's equivalent of Pet Sounds? Of course not, as there are already albums like that named Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band and Odessey and Oracle. Mojo-esque hyperbole aside, this is an incredibly charming debut by one stoned British lad who split lids with the Small Faces and the Who back in the day. And so he gets high with a little help from his friends here, the lush orchestral sound of Andrew Loog Oldham resulting in a most opulent slice of British '60s psych-pop. Ditties about "Feeling Easy" and obtaining a "London Social Degree" (dig the initials) and scoring hashish on "Portobello Road" are dreamy indeed, but there's a hard rocker on here, "Girl From New York" that seals it. The newly tacked on second disc is practically a whole other album, featuring 22 previously unreleased demos and rarities from that era. [AB]








Remember My Song
(EMI Import)

"I Got The"
"The Vulture"

This is a long-overdue reissue of a great soul release from an intriguing UK maverick. A handsome, openly gay black man (who was also a model) singing acoustic, folk pop tunes with a creamy, peculiar falsetto must have been quite the anomaly in Great Britain in the early-'70s, but not so much anymore because many UK vocalist have adopted his vocal style--especially Jamiroquai who sounds like a carbon copy of Labi Siffre. This 1975 album came at a time when his record company commissioned him to make a proper soul album. Remember My Song shows Siffre in fine form, creating a laidback, loose album that mixes his pretty ballads with some killer break-laden grooves throughout. The lead-off track is one of the finest moments of record; "I Got The" is all string-laden, slinky organ funk that boasts one of the slyest instrumental breakdowns ever. So sly, in fact, that Dr. Dre sampled it for Eminem's first hit, "Slim Shady," and Rza sampled it as well on two different occasions. Other highlights include the breaky jazz-funk stepper "The Vulture." A great introduction to one of the most interesting black writer/performers of the '70s. [DH]








Brothers on the Slide: the Story of UK Funk 1969-1975

"Sideway Shuffle" Linda Lewis
"Brothers on the Slide" Cymande

Yes, it's back in! This collection of stellar UK funk actually came out in late-2005 but it just became available again, and we just wanted to let y'all in on one of the best funk collections of the last couple of years. (This album made my top 10 of '05). Lovingly compiled and curated by influential UK funk bandleader Bluey Maunick (Incognito, Light of the World), this collection concentrates primarily on the '70s, and they all are all burners for the discerning dancefloor in your favorite club or living room. There is an amazing range of sounds here as well, ranging from the British Afrobeat of the Funkees and the Equals, to the folky soul/rock of Linda Lewis and Madeline Bell. It also includes killer cuts from Joe Cocker, Labi Siffre, Brian Auger and unreleased Average White Band. If you like the Gilles Peterson comps, Soul Jazz and the like, pick this one up before it disappears again. [DH]







Monotonprodukt 07



Blau: Monotonprodukt 02 26y++

"Ein Wort"

Monotonprodukt 07 20y++


First came the Can remasters and the La Dusseldorf reissues. Next up was Conrad Schnitzler's Color Series followed by the Faust IV re-master with outtakes. And now we get the Oral label's reissues of the extremely-limited, much more obscure, minimal synth masterpieces Blau (1980) and the black-covered self-titled Monotonprodukt 07 (1982) from media, light and sound artist Konrad Becker. Apparently these re-masters achieve an audio quality that fully realizes the artist's intentions for the first time, so they've been renamed with the number of years that have passed since the original issue dates tacked on to the original titles: "26y++" and "20y++," respectively.

Monoton's Blau is the more melodic album of the two; its scope of ominous and pleasantly eerie atmosphere is beautifully done, the full range of the analog sounds controlled with masterful restraint. The somber, minimally rhythmic, and somehow naturalistic soundscapes of "Ein Wort" and "Wirklichkeit" reminds me of a sparse Mouse on Mars soundtrack, but with that pure analog intensity that creates a physical presence. "Teil 2" has barely-there wolves howling, drowning in drone swells that coax tears. Blau is an album's worth of ahead-of-its-time music that surprises in its ability to cover so much ground with such limited means.

Considered to be Becker's masterpiece, the second album is the more subterranean, moodier one, and it's also the one that I personally prefer. Not to stress the Suicide connection, but at times the tracks really have a gentle Suicide feel softened with a Kraut expansiveness (slowly ever-shifting) that doesn't completely erase the angst underneath. "Water" has an undulating bass synth melody that is later connected to a higher pitched, repeating chirp and some distant, dubbed-out, spoken, slo-mo New Deutsche Welle chant vocals. "Fire" has a bass line that sounds like a throbbing cello and slowly becomes a dark soaring master jam, while "Vibration" could almost be La Dusseldorf on a big hit of Basic Channel. Monotonprodukt 07 really comes across as a Vinyl on Demand-type release, but with better quality and early innovations in a form that you always wanted to hear. And again, tracks are way ahead of their time; it's not just another raw, early and obscure synth album.

Both of these records are essential listening for those who are well-versed in minimal sounds that actually get 'somewhere' and become 'something,' and are into being overwhelmed with things that only have the bare necessities. The perfect albums for Krautrock fans that love techno and modern minimal stuff, these two Monoton releases will be in my annual top 10. [SM]








Night of the Ankou

"Death of the Ankou"
"Night Blossoms Written in Sanskrit"

On Night of the Ankou, London drone outfit Rameses III has its work colored and enhanced by the stylings of the North Sea (a/k/a Brad Rose, he of the Digitalis CD-R imprint) and the results are stunning, even for late night psych/minimal outings at this advanced stage in the game. Viola, bouzouki, bowed metal, prayer bells and other gently cacophonous instrumentation are added by Rose into three deep, chilling pieces of sublime, Stars of the Lid-esque drone, making this an excellent and blissful album for meditation, ingestion, twilight, background, rest, and awakening. Simply gorgeous. [DM]








American V: A Hundred Highways
(Lost Highway)

"Help Me"
"If You Could Read My Mind"

American V is the first album to come out since Johnny Cash's death in late 2003, and also the first new material since Hollywood embraced the man in black and brought his music and iconic style back to the forefront of American consciousness. The fifth album from this successful string of collaborations with producer Rick Rubin was recorded as Cash prepared for his end; his wife June Carter passed and Cash's health was slipping. Remarkably, for a man whose life was defined by a defiant laugh in the face of death, he seems to take his own twilight years with a resigned understanding that few can approach. He sings of love and life and death with alternating power and fragility, sometimes gasping for breath and sometimes rocking the rafters, but always with a dignity and maturity that has at least as much depth and intensity as the cocksure belting of his youth. Twelve moving songs: originals, traditionals and covers, running the gamut from Hank Williams to Bruce Springsteen. A truly moving epitaph for a rare and true voice of our time. [JM]








Jamaica to Toronto: Soul, Funk and Reggae 1967 to1974
(Light in the Attic)

"Love Is the Answer" Ram
"Fugitive Song" Jo-Jo & the Fugitives

The criminally underappreciated music which came out of the Jamaica-Canada connection is finally getting some much-needed attention. This second installment in a series of seven investigates the rich history of this time and place, and is surprisingly focused more on the soul and funk side of things rather than simply being a compilation of Toronto-recorded reggae music. Yes, there are some fine reggae and dancehall gems in here from the likes of Jackie Mittoo, Johnnie Osbourne and Noel Ellis, but the bulk of Jamaica to Toronto is focused on American-influenced grooves. Ram's "Love Is the Answer" starts out with a funky wah-wah guitar as a trio of vocalists chant out their hard, funky opus to love. The Cougars' "I Wish It Would Rain" fuses subtle Groundation rhythms with brash horns, beautifully drawn-out organ and a strong female vocalist, and could easily be considered a lost northern soul classic. All in all, it's not the sort of music that you usually associate with Jamaica, but that is what makes this collection so interesting. Small little details of these ex-pats' homeland can be heard in the songs, at the same time they're acknowledging their new surroundings and the sounds that come from it. Included is a painstakingly detailed 36 page booklet. [GA]







Great Jah Jah

"Sun Will Shine"
"Love of My Life"

Offering up their voices on Sugar Minott sessions and the like for White Plains' own Wackies imprint, singers Christopher Harvey and Clive Davis (no, not that Clive Davis though we wish he had cut a showcase like this) step out for a dose of positive living and spiritualism. The backing is fine and gritty on this 1980 outing like all fine Lloyd Barnes productions, but there's some gorgeous piano on "Love of My Life" and dubby desolation on "Living in the Ghetto" (courtesy of Prince Douglas) that make this a stand-out slab. [AB]









"Gulf Night"

An album full of dedication tracks, some previously unreleased, each written with someone special in mind, living, long gone, or recently departed. Thankfully this isn't a collection of 'audio portraits' where the 'zany friend' is represented with a zany track while the 'wallflower friend' gets a...well, you know what I mean. These are experimental/minimal pieces (natch for Alva Noto) in which each selection is seemingly instilled with the spirit of the receiver, and these varying results and sounds work well together as an album. "Counter" (for E. Jelinek) is filled with austere melodies, high-pitched tones and silent spaces, while S. Kinoshita's dedication, "Transit," is filled with low hums, static and slow melodies. Those are just two examples of the contrasts and it doesn't stop there. "Flash Forward" (for Ernie and Bert) is a beatless track that bursts with peaceful optimism while "Odradek," for Coil's Jhonn Balance, is piercing and somber, and "Alva Noto.Z.1" (for John Cage) sports a metronomic rhythm with bits of piano woven in. Intended or not, sounds used for one track are rarely recycled in another. The variety is probably a result of the pieces being made over a period of four years, with no forethought of releasing them together. The different sounds throughout the album actually are a plus, as the tracks are connected by an overall thoughtfulness that is likely a result of the individual sources of inspiration. [SM]







Happy New Year

"The Adversary"

Oneida continue to soundtrack psychedelic summer barbecues in Brooklyn backyards. Their eighth finds the trio stringing together their most elegant suite of songs yet, taking arrangement cues from last summer's splendid release, The Wedding and mixing them with that heavy mesmerism they're notorious for, resulting in their most cohesive album yet. [AB]





7" single


Another treat from Finland's Paavoharju, this time in the form of a vinyl single for the Type label's limited seven-inch series. "Uskallan" finds the mysterious, born-again collective mixing exotic, Far Eastern sounding pop melodies that could have been lifted from a Sublime Frequencies compilation over lo-fi bedroom electronics, while the flip-side is a surprisingly glacial, ambient piano piece. Just when you thought you had them all figured out... [GH]








Greedy Baby

"The Return of Super Barrio"
"The Launching of Big Face"

Plaid delivers a one-two punch of music and imagery with Greedy Baby, a DVD/CD double-pack which comes from a four year collaboration with animator/film maker Bob Jaroc. Their playful and twisted electronica are perfect for the visual interpretations displayed here. (A separate film shot in Japan is planned to complement this release as well.) If you thought Plaid's electronic-dance-pop compositions were hard to grasp, the images bring new life to their aesthetic. A separate DVD mixed in surround sound gives a full-body experience for your listening pleasure. [DG]








Black Gold: The Very Best of
(Umvd Import)

"I Am the Black Gold of the Sun"
"Love Me Now"

Over the years, Rotary Connection have been unfairly regarded as a footnote in the history of soul music, only known as the band that introduced the world to the five-octave angelic soul voice of Minnie Riperton. In reality, this seven-piece was a smart, inventive group that created a psychedelic soul-pop hybrid music which was years ahead of its time. Over the course of six albums, the multiracial band from Chicago reinvented themselves with each record, effortlessly blending blues, Middle Eastern music, orchestral pop, concrete electronics, country rock and choral music together to create a new kind of soul music that hasn't been heard since. This is a long-overdue collection of musical highlights from all of their records.

Rotary Connection was basically the brainchild of Marshall Chess, son of Leonard, as a way to bring a more contemporary face to the Chess label in those heady, tie-dyed times. He recruited a roving unit of Chess session players and a young opera-trained, gospel singing Minnie Riperton. Although Riperton is fantastic in these recordings, the real superstar was producer and arranger Charles Stephney. (Stephney was a Chess session producer, best known for his work on soul jazz records for Marlena Shaw and Ramsey Lewis.) With Rotary, he saw an opportunity to branch out and experiment; he radically re-imagined '60s rock standards as Gregorian chants and Christmas carols as swirling psychedelic string workouts. Each record was a conceptual suite, and explored ideas that bands like the Who and Pink Floyd wouldn't explore until three to five years later.

After six albums, the band would call it quits, with Minnie Riperton launching a legendary solo career, and Stephney going on to produce seminal albums by Earth, Wind & Fire. Ironically, it wasn't until years later when leftfield hip-hop artists like De La Soul, A Tribe Called Quest, Slum Village and Mike Ladd built careers on sampling their material and, afterwards, claiming this group as a source of continued musical inspiration, that critics began giving the band's recorded output a second look. This resulted in the limited reissue of their albums, and many now consider these recordings to be some of the best examples of progressive psych soul, second only to the innovative Norman Whitfield productions of the Temptations. This collection is a fine introduction to Rotary Connection's sick output, and anybody who considers themselves fans of psych-pop, I present to you a collection of songs from a band that was one of the best. Highest recommendations!! [DH]




  All of this week's new arrivals.

Previous Other Music Updates.

Previous week's releases.

Visit www.othermusic.com.


Phone orders are accepted at
(212) 477-8150 (ext. #2, mailorder) Mon-Fri, Noon - 7pm EST

For general inquiries or other information please email sales@othermusic.com. Do not reply to this message.

This is an automated list. If you would like to be removed from it for any reason, please send an email from the address you wish to delete to list@othermusic.com and make sure the word "Remove" is included in the subject line.


[GA] Geoff Albores
[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[DH] Duane Harriott
[MK] Michael Klausman
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[JM] Josh Madell
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[SM] Scott Mou
[YZ] Yuzo

- all of us at Other Music

    Copyright 2006 Other Music Newsletter Design Big Code