November 16, 2006  

This week, Other Music is offering yet another mixed bag of mainly CDs, including rare Michael Gira-related titles, industrial/avant garde classics in the form of Sutcliffe Jugend and Maurizio Bianchi, a couple of self-released Jospehine Foster discs, four massive jazz box sets, and more. Click here to place your bids.





Ricardo Villalobos
Incredible Bongo Band
Les Rallizes Denudes
International Sad Hits 1 (Various)
Kim Doo Soo
Asi Mina
Geir Jenssen
Sam Moore
Terry Riley
John Tejada
Dead Moon
Alan Sorrenti
Mihaly Vig
Svarte Greiner
Adrian Klumpes
Jarana's Four Aces (Various)
Donnacha Costello


Kahimi Karie
CD86 (Various)
Motohiro Nakashima
Hans Appelqvist

Divine Comedy
Brazilian Beats Brooklyn (Various)
The Evens
Nick Garrie
4 Women No Cry 2 (Various)
ESL Remixed (Various)
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy (CD single)




Here's a great contest for all you Brit-pop and Oasis fans. As a special promotion for Oasis' first ever CD retrospective, Stop the Clocks (hits stores next Tuesday), Other Music is giving away a framed lithograph autographed by Noel Gallagher. We've only got one up for grabs, but if you're feeling lucky, send an e-mail to The winner will be notified by 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, November 21st. Also, don't miss the free screening of Lord Don't Slow Me Down, an Oasis documentary shot during their tour last year, showing at Sunshine Cinema on Tuesday, November 21st at 7:00 P.M.

NOV Sun 12 Mon 13 Tues 14 Wed 15 Thurs 16 Fri 17 Sat 18

Luke Vibert

RE:UP magazine and New Release bring Luke Vibert to Brooklyn for a special warehouse performance! Small Change and Spinoza will join the multi-genre-ist in the main room. In the second room, Beats in Space host/official DFA DJ Tim Sweeney will be spinning the dance tunes along with Nublu residents Justin Carter and Probus, plus !!!'s John XI and Justin V, while the third room will feature No Ordinary Monkey. Other Music has two pairs of tickets to give away to this party. To enter, send an e-mail to and leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. The two winners will be notified by 5:00 P.M. on Friday, November 17.

195 Morgan Avenue Bushwick, Brooklyn
10 P.M. to 8 A.M. - 21 and over
Complimentary Brahma Beer from 10 to 11 P.M.
$9 Advance Tickets available at Other Music

NOV Sun 19 Mon 20 Tues 21 Wed 22 Thurs 23 Fri 24 Sat 25
DEC Sun 03 Mon 04 Tues 05 Wed 06 Thurs 07 Fri 08 Sat 09

TK Webb



TK WEBB (Album release party for Phantom Parade, out November 21st on Social Registry. Copies will be available for sale at the in-store.)

AU REVOIR SIMONE (Making a special stop at Other Music in the midst of their world tour!)

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

NOV/DEC Sun 26 Mon 27 Tues 28 Wed 29 Thurs 30 Fri 01 Sat 02


Leeds rockers ¡Forward Russia! make their return to NYC, performing Tuesday, November 28th at the Bowery Ballroom. These guys put on a great, energetic live show, so you won't want to miss them. Other Music has two pairs of tickets to give away! To enter, send an e-mail to Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. The two winners will be notified by 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, November 21.

BOWERY BALLROOM: 6 Delancey Street NYC
$14 Advance Tickets Available at Other Music

NOV/DEC Sun 26 Mon 27 Tues 28 Wed 29 Thurs 30 Fri 01 Sat 02


On Wednesday, November 29, Williamsburg's Glasslands Gallery will welcome philosopher/musician/artist Henry Flynt to the first installment of their Lecture/Video Series. Flynt will not be performing music, however, he will be giving a lecture on "Dignity" along with some special video surprises afterwards. We've got four pairs of passes to this special evening. To enter, e-mail, and include a daytime phone number where you can be reached. The four winners will be notified by 5:00 P.M. on Tuesday, November 21.

GLASSLANDS GALLERY: 289 Kent Ave Williamsburg, Brooklyn








Fizheuer Zieheuer


It seems like every few months we're falling over ourselves about German producer Ricardo Villalobos, but that's easy to do when the man drops new sounds that frequently. This calendar year alone has seen him release the epic Achso double 12", a collection of older sides on Frisbee Tracks, a mix CD, reworkings of some old tracks, an unfathomably deep Rhythm & Sound remix, and now, in addition to an upcoming Perlon single, comes this massive slab to celebrate his return to the Playhouse label. And while it seems to get stated every time, he's really outdone himself here. For one thing, it's a 37 minute single and much like the cover art suggests, the track itself is so sharp it could sever heads. Built around an odd bit of Balkan horns that would be daunting and discordant to most producers out there (not to mention DJs), Villalobos offers up so many permutations and new juxtapositions on this fanfare theme, whipping up new patterns on the fly, each one knottier and more dubbed out than the preceding one, so that it seems the horns are lost for good. But then that telltale pom-pom returns, synched perfectly to the new beat. And it just happens over and over again, so that we almost laughed at both the effortless mastery and the sheer audaciousness of the man. What can you possibly mix this with? And what will Villalobos come with next? How can he set the bar any higher? [AB]









Bongo Rock
(Mr. Bongo)

"Let There Be Drums"

It's the record that everyone feels a connection in arcane and mysterious, yet universal ways. The drum -- vibration, communication -- speaks loud and clear, its message understood yet untranslatable. If it speaks to you, you move. Which is why, in 1980 at the age of 3, I could be found dancing around my room to "Bongo Rock" on my Fisher-Price turntable (which I had on a K-Tel compilation album called Dynamic Sound), just as people 15-20 years my senior were doing in the Bronx, in the nascent years of hip-hop. All I knew is that it sounded remotely like a groovy version of the theme to "Dallas," and I wore that record down 'til the needle skidded across the surface. Why, then, didn't I pick up an OG copy for $11 back when I was a teenager, knowing full well what it was and that I'd never see one again for less than triple-digit sums? Mysteries, all, yet I keep coming back to this group and their albums, as have so many others -- if for no other reason that within is the codex for all of hip-hop, particularly within "Apache;" freestyle, drum 'n' bass, breakdancing, graffiti culture: the alpha and omega of the break incarnate. And maybe because these are just plain fun records to listen to!

The story of Michael Viner's Incredible Bongo Band is a long and convoluted one, basically stemming from some music execs hitting paydirt and being allowed to run amok in MGM Records' studios, creating potent chase music for B-movie soundtracks. Everyone from Jim Gordon to Michael Omartian, from John Lennon to Ringo Starr, from Hal Blaine to King Errisson, are said to have had hands in the sessions behind the group's two albums, 1972's Bongo Rock and 1974's The Return of the Incredible Bongo Band. You'll recognize breaks all over both albums, resequenced to a slightly more favorable track order, and including two remixes unavailable on the out-of-print Strut edition -- one of the Breakers tackling "Last Bongo in Belgium" (familiar to fans of Paul's Boutique, no doubt), and one high-energy redux of "Apache" by none other than Grandmaster Flash himself. The songs are simple and catchy, almost in a library music sort of way, and the beats completely unstoppable. If you don't own this already, it will make your day/week/year. [DM]








Live 1972
(Over Level)

Track One
Track Two

Time to worship the shrine of Mizutani again. Strangely enough, it seems the more Rallizes Denudes material that becomes available, the more of a mythical creature he becomes, but we do know he was major influence on Keiji Haino, Acid Mothers Temple, and probably every other Japanese underground artist at the time. There's not much valuable information on Live 1972 either. In fact, that's all we get: Live and from 1972. However, the sounds contained within do enough talking, as Mizutani sets the controls for the heart of the moon. It's top tier psychedelia shot straight into space, transcendental, repetitive, and bluesy, like an imaginary three-headed beast raised on Hawkwind and Velvet Undergound. Ridiculously mindblowing. As often is the case with Rallizes recordings, the sound quality is a bit rough and this time it's what appears to be a handheld cassette recording, but it only adds mythical holy grail nature of this band. And in headphones it actually sounds like you're at the show. Repeated listenings as prescribed. [AK]







International Sad Hits Vol. 1
(20|20|20 / Ba Da Bing)

"Just As Long" Fikret Kizilok
"Storms in the Dead of Night" Kazuki Tomokawa

Damon and Naomi's first album as a duo was entitled More Sad Hits; now, years later, the couple curates that concept through the voices of others. International Sad Hits Vol. 1 collects four hand-picked tracks each from four artists: Japan's Mikami Kan and Tomokawa Kazuki, Korea's Kim Doo Soo, and Turkey's Fikret Kizilok, all performing solo in an altogether modern folk context. Mikami is the auteur among the group; his works (covered in other Other Music updates, or just ask around the store) bear little resemblance to any musical peers. Though familiar, his style is unfailingly singular and mournful. Kazuki tends to perform in a style that sounds as if he's trying to shake out of his own skin -- think Simon Finn on Pass the Distance, but sustaining the histrionics to a doleful, intimate panic, rather than the panic attack of "Jerusalem." Kim Doo Soo follows more familiar folk patterns, but his honest, wavering voice and isolated playing style recall artists acquainted with the struggle, from Buffy Sainte-Marie to Neil Young. Kizilok is the real discovery here, adhering to a markedly Anatolian folk style but downplaying a lot of the distressed elements you'd expect, his milky voice vaguely recalling Nick Drake, and his songs definitely recalling the bracing chill of Five Leaves Left. With extensive liner notes and English translations of the lyrical content, this collection stands as an excellent introduction to these foreign sounds of woeful despair. [DM]





A Bohemian


Free Spirit


3rd A Bohemian

Track 4

4th Free Spirit

Track 13

I was really excited to see the International Sad Hits compilation that Damon and Naomi curated come into the store a couple of weeks ago, and which we just reviewed above. Other Music has previously carried and loved three of the four artists featured on it -- Mikami Kan, Tomokawa Kazuki, and Fikret Kizilok -- but the fourth, Korea's Kim Doo Soo, I was totally unfamiliar with. As great as all of the other songs on the comp are, I was surprised to find that I liked Kim Doo Soo's contributions the best. Naturally, I felt we had to try to get copies of his full-length works in here as soon as possible. I was luckily able to track down a few copies each of his third and fourth albums (his first two seem to be out of print) direct from South Korea, and I'm incredibly happy to report that they more than lived up to the promise shown by his contributions on Damon and Naomi's compilation. The only information I could find about him was what was included on the International Sad Hits comp, namely that he started performing in the seventies despite the objections of his father, and that he went through a long period of inactivity before beginning to perform again with all of his powers intact. His song "Bohemian" was reputed to have caused one person to commit suicide and another person not to. Having spent a lot of time with both of these CDs the last several days I can say that his music does seem to be that affecting. These two albums should be pretty palatable to western ears. I hear a lot of Tim Buckley, Neil Young, and Leonard Cohen, his guitar playing and arrangements are gloriously spacious, and his voice seems to have acres and acres of dimension; you can sing along to his melodies without knowing the words. Both records are really low key, and if you're a fan of downer- folk you'll find much to love here. One of the best finds of the year, thanks Damon and Naomi!!! [MK]








Have All! But Where?

"Kiss Me Quick"
"You'll Fall"

The first thing to notice about Asi Mina's outstanding, confounding new album Have All! But Where? is that it comes in its own personalized plastic bag. It's a beguilingly wonderful idea merging the worlds of yuppy-embraced indie rock commerce, with hyper-personal thrift-shop individuality, all the while serving as a sly foreshadowing of the…ahem…grab-bag of dizzying musicality within. In other words, it's all very K Records of her. And as a matter of fact, Have All! is brimming with many of the best ideas that K Records stalwarts like Little Wings and Mirah and the Microphones have all been toying around with to varying degrees of success for the past few years now -- namely, the awesomeness of nylon string guitars, communal sing-a-longs, kitchen-ware percussion, completely ridiculous lyricism, and a general adherence to all things which appear naïve and childlike on their surface, but yet hold a transfixing age-old wisdom lurking below.

Asi Mina comes to us courtesy of her brother/producer of Have All!, Wojtek Kucharczyk's, experimental Polish label, Mik.Musik. Not only does Kucharczyck have a flair for marketing, but he also knows how to take one's modest surroundings and get great f'ing art out of it. Mina's record is unmistakably her own; she tutors children in guitar playing, no surprise her students show up to return the favor in scene-stealing group shout-out-loud-a-longs, guitar, and even glass-playing too -- I wasn't kidding about the "kitchen-ware percussion." And thankfully so. However, in an age when just about everybody wants to sound lo-fi and homemade, there are a very, very select few who ever capture the zeitgeist as wonderfully as Mina has here. At her most playful, she reminds me of acoustic-electric duo Psapp, and yet at her essence Mina's voice and warm guitar playing seems most like something of a quirky Polish Diane Cluck. However, unlike Cluck -- Mina never limits herself to just guitar -- she can switch gears from a cappella table-top pounding beat-box diva, to fronting hazy spoon-versus-glass-clang(!)-drone call-and-response Buddha chants, pensive clarinet-blessed piano ballads, IDM-ish Euro-chick anthems, and sure, freak-folk too. It takes a certain skill to be this peripatetic creatively, to be so damn far-reaching, all the while being completely unafraid of making a mess, throwing a thousand ideas at the black-board and seeing what sticks; but on Have All!, it all proverbially sticks.

Scatterbrained? Sure. However, in the comprehensive liner notes that come with Have All!, Mina states that she wanted to make a record that captured "disquiet, chaos, and the search" -- she succeeded. Warts and all, Have All! is not only one of the most idiosyncratic albums of the year, it just might be one of the best as well. [HG]








Cho Oyu 8201m -Field Recordings from Tibet
(Ash International)

"Jobo Rabzang"

I've often thought that mountain climbers must be amongst the most masochistic and selfish assholes on earth. Did you read that Into Thin Air book that was made into an IMAX movie about a disastrous Mt. Everest ascent in which a number of climbers died due to greed, glory hounding, and the inherent stupidity of attempting to stand on the highest spot in the entire world? What was wrong with those people and why did their families let them go in the first place? That cautionary tale hasn't seemed to stop anybody though, folks keep shelling out money year after year to climb the thing and they keep dying just the same. I guess that if it's that important to you though, then go on ahead. Now I don't know for sure if he's a masochist or an a**hole, but Geir Jenssen is a mountain climber, and in 2001 he completed an ascension of Cho Oyu in Tibet; at 8,201 meters tall, it's the world's sixth largest peak. Armed with a mini-disc recorder instead of an IMAX camera, he managed to create a highly intimate, personal, and listenable aural portrait of his trip. As much as I love, say, Chris Watson or Steven Feld, I often find these field recording albums to be more interesting in theory than in practice, but I was really surprised at how musical this CD ended up being and that it truly bore repeated listening. Perhaps it shouldn't be that surprising actually, as Jenssen is better known as the mastermind behind Norway's Biosphere, a popular and much lauded ambient act who have always been quite engaging. The twelve tracks are subtitled with descriptors that should give you some sense of what to expect; Crossing a Landslide Area, A Yak Caravan Is Coming, Birds Feeding on Biscuits, Himalayan Nightfall, etc. You also get some lovely impressions of what life as a Sherpa must be like day in and day out. Included is a ten page pamphlet with photographs from his trip, as well as entries from his travel diary that are occasionally rather harrowing, and which further confirm my mountain climber = insane masochist hunch. [MK]









"Annie Laurie"
"Laughing Rag"

There's something about the beautiful crackling antiquity of a 78 that instantly takes you back to a wonderfully simpler time when audio entertainment was the only kind around. At a 78 records listening party that I attended last Sunday, it was a real treat to be able to experience the differences in resonances, surface noise and cadence in blues, gospel, jug band, and Hawaiian music, among other styles, from the '20s, '30s and '40s. And on Moooohieee, the folks at Em Records attempted to digitally capture this sound -- pops, fuzz and all -- from the original shellacs of Sam Pasco Moore's musical saw and Hawaiian guitar soli. In the 1920s, Moore specialized mostly in ragtime numbers, using unusual instruments like the hand saw and a rubber balloon. The high, haunting quiver of the saw can be heard on most of these songs, as well as an eight-stringed steel guitar, the octo-chorda (heard in the uptempo vaudevillian "Laughing Rag"), piano and banjo. Vocals make an appearance on the classic "Old Black Joe," with the saw providing floating siren-like accompaniment. Unfortunately, there are no balloon skronks (and no known recordings either), but the saw shines enough to put the twinkle in any collector's eye. Tip of the hat to Em Records -- these magical, austere numbers should not be relegated to a ghost world. [LG]








Poppy Nogood All Night Flight
(Elision Fields)

"Poppy Nogood"

Can it already be ten years back that the Cortical Foundation started its Terry Riley Archival series with this mind-melter? Sure, we knew the sleek minimal masterworks like In C and A Rainbow in Curved Air (and someone had dubbed us the bewildering Reed Streams) but this live recording of one of Riley's legendary all-night 'flights' in Buffalo was simply beyond words, and heck, beyond worlds as well. It seems so easy in retrospect to layer organ and soprano sax with tape delay to such a mesmeric effect, but the results are just profound in both their simplicity and potency. And it seemed like these crucial works of Riley would always be around; and yet slowly this disappeared into the ether with the label's unfortunate demise. So are we glad to have these back in print once more for a whole new generation of young minds to experience. Let's hope that Olson III and the others in the series aren't far behind, as Riley is a touchstone for everyone from Black Dice to Carl Craig to DFA to Pan Sonic to whoever else dabbles in such electrified hypnotism. [AB]








Cleaning Sound Is a Filthy Business

"What Happened to Manners?"
"Folding Room"

John Tejada is always exploring some theme in his albums -- Detroit, pop house, jackin' digital house, etc. This one is straight up minimal house but thanks to his crafty production skills, Tejada is able to create tracks with more information packed in than what one generally sees these days. As the ultra geeked-out, almost Jake Mandell-ian title implies, this is minimal house full of honed/customized sounds that seem aimed at modern techno heads who are open to a bit of post-rave IDM intensity -- house for the Aphex Twin generation. Each track shows Tejada grabbing a groove and consistently packing just one more sound onto it while keeping it minimal and moving. Just as jacking as the Playhouse releases with Arian Leviste but with even less of a classic house/laid back structure and more of his slowly intensifying live-set qualities. [SM]








It's a Feedelity Affair
(Smalltown Supersound/Feedelity)

"Cane It For the Original Whities"

Finally, those hard-to-find Lindstrom 12"s are collected in one easy-to-find compact disc. Contained within is an entire raging party encased in five inches of plastic; several of the tracks here have enough personality to actually derail his or her set with something from this…it's that catchy. Taking cues from bass culture, high-gloss early '80s disco, Loft-borne experimentation, and a lush, freakified, maximal sense of arrangement, these tracks ascend the walls with insane, rampant glee. Imagine Moroder collaborating with Zapp and inviting along a singing saw player, or Heaven 17 going to Jamaica to sequence on gold-plated computers. Actually comes across as less cheesed out and more sincere than the Lindstrom & Prins Thomas record, and forces even the snob's hand at resistance to shaking it on the dance floor. Boisterous and up front, Lindstrom might have beaten out Daft Punk as the electro du jour for today's enlightened club-goer. Highly recommended! [DM]








Is That the Tralala

"Yellow Taxi"

I know that Other Music's Josh and Nicole are far too modest to recommend their own record to you, but I'm more than happy to do so. As expected, there isn't any drastic evolution in Tralala's infectious, punky, '60s girl-pop influenced sound, however, their sophomore album finds the seven-piece turning the energy up a couple of notches. Kicking off the album with their call to arms, the group wastes no time in belting out the chorus of "We're Coming Out" before even hitting the first verse. The song is followed by the two-and-a-half minute "Yellow Taxi," one of the group's catchiest tracks yet, the four gals sneaking subtle harmonies in and out of their signature unison singing, and ending each refrain with the silly-fun shout-out of "beep-beep." But beneath the power chords and peppy female vocals is some serious attention to detail: from simple lyrics that surprisingly paint some fairly complex stories -- "Tallmansville, W. Va." is a narrative about the miner tragedy from early this year -- to some unexpected changes in the music that one wouldn't normally expect to hear in three-chord pop songs. I swear, "Are You Going to Dance (With Me)?" reminds me of Motorhead's "Ace of Spades" transformed into a rave-up. Tralala also offer two covers this go round. At the halfway point of the album, the band turns Giorgio Moroder's glammy, pre-disco "Underdog" into a girl-group stomper, complete with the original's bee-buzz violins, and then a few songs later they tame the Wipers' "Mystery" into a harmony-driven power popper. If heaven exists, I'm sure that Joey Ramone's got Tralala blasting in his headphones right now. [GH]








Dead Moon Night/Thirteen Off My Hook
(Music Maniac)

"Dead Moon Night"
"Walking on My Grave"

Reissue of early Dead Moon recordings issued on this German label. Twenty-seven tracks crammed in here at negligible fidelity, but that's how you gotta take Dead Moon: in all of their glorious, crumbling, real-life majesty. Many feel they're one of the best active rock bands in the world, and when you boil down what they do, it's hard to argue with that claim: reductive blues-based punk rock, brought across with the swagger of '64 Stones and the energy of the MC5, with over four decades of experience to back it all up. These two albums cover some of the same territory that the recent Sub Pop double-disc Echoes of the Past does, but for those of you looking to complete, this is an essential purchase, particularly as the original Dead Moon LPs linger on the verge of unavailability. If you don't love this band, then you don't love rock 'n' roll, plain and simple. [DM]








Leaves From Off the Tree
(Bo' Weavil)

"John Hardy"
"False Sir John"

Meg Baird and Helena Espvall -- who provide the delicate vocals and string arrangements in Espers -- collaborate with UK folkie Sharron Kraus on these stunning arrangements of traditional folk songs from England and Appalachia. Recorded in one afternoon, all nine songs featured on Leaves From Off the Tree share a relaxed quality with gentle guitar, cello and dulcimer playing equal parts in orchestration. Bair, Kraus and Espvall's absolutely beautiful vocals only make the songs sweeter. Similar to the work of Vashti Bunyan, Sandy Denny and Shirley Collins, these pieces sound and feel timeless. [AC]









"La Mia Mente"

We were pleasantly surprised earlier this year to re-discover Italian singer Alan Sorrenti when we stocked his self-titled third album. Not quite as over the top as fellow countryman Demetrio Stratos, Sorrenti had some pipes on him, evoking folks like Tim Buckley and Van Morrison. And now the fine folks at Water, responsible for reintroducing Italians like Lucio Battisti and Franco Battiato this year, brings us Sorrenti's eerie debut, Aria. And the 19-minute suite that opens things is phenomenal. The cover looks like something related to Black Sabbath but the music itself is some unholy blend of Van der Graaf Generator and Buckley's Starsailor, but Aria really is in its own world. Haunting, majestic, rocking, elegant, powerful, operatic, there's really nothing quite like it. [AB]








Film Music from the Films of Bela Tarr

"Kortanc I"

Let me say first of all that it isn't necessary to have already seen the films of Hungarian auteur Bela Tarr to enjoy this incredibly rich CD. It is enough that it happens to be beautiful, varied, original, distinctly Eastern European, and yet strangely universal at the same time. Much like the films actually, that this music was created to accompany. Bela Tarr is probably one of the most singular filmmakers alive today, and not to sound too terribly pretentious, but if you've ever sat and watched a Tarkovsky movie and bemoaned the fact that people just don't make 'em like they used to, then Bela Tarr may offer some consolation. They're highly stylized, almost always black and white, and shot with looooong takes that consist of slow action and subverted narratives. They're also unremittingly melancholy and impossible to forget. Susan Sontag was a vocal champion of his work, and Gus Van Sant claims he stopped making movies like Good Will Hunting and Finding Forrester after seeing Tarr's seven-plus-hour magnum opus Satantango, which will finally be released on DVD later this month. He's worked with his composer Mihaly Vig since 1983, and the CD at hand is comprised of the scores he wrote for the movies Almanac of Fall, Damnation, Satantango, and Werkmeister Harmonies.

Tarr has stated that he uses music, along with time, as a main character in his films. And while the films aren't ever saturated with music per se, the role it plays is highly prominent and one of the key elements in what makes his movies so highly memorable. Generally, film music is composed after the movie has been completed, but Tarr and Vig do the exact opposite; Vig writes the music first and Tarr finds a way to make it work within his vision. In the films of Bela Tarr, there is often a sense of impending doom, collapse, and disintegration. And yet I've read that Tarr himself actually considers his films to be hopeful, in the same sense that Chekhov is. I hadn't quite understood what he meant until listening to this CD over and over again, when I realized that most of the pieces here, even at their darkest, are almost entirely lacking uneasiness. It is as if they were created in counterpoint to the dread inherent in the human condition. In Damnation, the center of action takes place at a cabaret/nightclub called The Titanic, that has long since seen its glory days. It's to the soft bellowing of an accordion that Titanic's patrons hang onto the last thread their humanity. The world seems to stand precipitously close to the abyss in his film Werkmeister Harmonies, yet the fifteen minutes of music that Vig wrote for it and which accompany the film's most evocative scenes is almost celestially hopeful. Those fifteen minutes of music alone are reason enough to buy this album; it's one of the most beautiful things you'll hear all year. [MK]









"The Boat Was My Friend"
"Easy on the Bones"

We already knew that as one half of the Norwegian duo Deaf Center, Erik K. Skodvin had a penchant for crafting macabre music, but he's really outdone himself here under his Svarte Greiner guise. Even Type is describing this album as 'acoustic doom,' and it's a label that sticks perfectly as Knive is much more psychologically disturbing than anything I've heard coming out of the doom metal camp at the other end of the sonic spectrum. While Xela's recent Dead Sea album (another Type release) gave an unspoken nod to Goblin's foreboding scores for Dario Argento, there's an eerier use of minimalism here, where inaudible space between drones, scrapes and phantom vocal melodies enhances the claustrophobia felt within these pieces. In "The Boat Was My Friend," the counter-play between pulsating guitar harmonics and slow groans of a cello create a sense of drifting, while scratches across a fret board replicate the creaking wood sound of an old ship's hull being caressed by the ominous waves of a dark ocean. As the album continues, Skodvin introduces instrumentation normally associated with horror soundtracks -- pipe organ strains, distant echoes of a foghorn, operatic voices -- but it's all restrained, allowing these sounds to exist as haunting undertones which often cradle unidentifiable field recordings of machine noise, static and rustling. Though spookily familiar, he somehow avoids cliché; Knive speaks to the subconscious. By the time you reach the ethereal specter vocal floating in the foreground of the last track, "Final Sleep," you are left with the same feeling that you get after awakening from a vivid nightmare -- an indescribable lucid state where you just lay there for a while and quietly reflect. [GH]








Be Still

"Give In"

Adrian Klumpes is better known as the amazing pianist in the Australian post-rock jazz outfit Triosk. With his solo debut Be Still, he goes it completely alone with an album that is composed entirely of prepared piano. The record is classically influenced, but here Adrian chops, splices and layers the notes on top of each other to stunning effect. All in all though, the notes and chords are the centerpiece with the electronic manipulations just added as texture. His playing is gorgeous and minimal, and the space between the notes adds a desired effect that adds to his compositions, as well as giving them room to breathe. There is not much more that I can say about this album except that is utterly beautiful, and is easily the finest classically-influenced electronic record this year. A must have for any fans of Goldmund, Johan Johannsson, Max Richter, and the entire Type family. You will play this over and over…guaranteed! [JS]








I Retur

"Tom i bollen"

Joni Mitchell. Joni's music, nay, her whole freakin' ideology, her whole being was to the folk movement of yore, what salt might be seen as to a chef -- essential. Granted, Mitchell's incredible success makes it hard for her to be lumped in as an influence on the all new crop of outsider-worshipping freak folkers, though, her traces can be seen everywhere still. However, it's really astonishing just how prevalent her influence was back in the '70s too. Numero Group already released an entire compilation (Ladies of the Canyon) tackling just this very topic, and I'm sure if Turid was a card carrying American-born west coast babe, and not a Swedish one, she would've been included on that collection. Dare I say, Turid's music may have even been the highlight of the thing?

I Retur (which for those who aren't into guessing translates to "In Return") is essentially a Turid greatest hits -- all the criminally overlooked choice cuts off of Turid's three '70s Silence albums (Vittra's Songs, Bilder, The Third Day, and one cut off '82s, Flow Soma) are collected here. The result is sure to please anyone in love with the likeminded reissues of Linda Perhacs, Vashti, or Buffy St. Marie's work. But really, tracks like the opening "Song" are all about Joni. Expansive and so intimate too, a brave, big voice a thousand times removed and yet entirely palpable, all submerged in a hyper-pastoral slightly new age accompaniment that only gets more fuzzy as the album years get closer to the Reagan era. Far out. [HG]








Jarana's Four Aces - Vocal Duets From the Streets Of Lima
(Topic/British Library Sound Archive)

"Permita San Canturino"
"Mi Mujer me la Jugo"

A dusty, intimate snapshot of the musical life in Lima from nearly a half-century ago. Jarana was a form of dance music that originated in the ghettos of Lima, Peru during the late 19th century and continued to rise in popularity through the mid-20th century. In a vastly overpopulated city, multiple families often occupied single rooms and it was through these extremely cramped living conditions that jarana evolved. Jarana was based on a dance tradition called the marienera limena, that cut across social and class divisions; but in the largely black and mestizo ghettos of Lima, an improvised singing style developed. Frequently, spontaneous gatherings would break out with the best musicians and singers competing with each other, these contests actually bearing some resemblance to a modern hip-hop battle. Usually, the basis of the competition was agreed upon beforehand and it was up to each singer to build upon and one-up the previous singer with wordplay or a similar theme or subject from before. Within these late-'50s recordings you can hear some of the finest musicians of the time. Handclapping and guitars are prominent, but violins and percussion can also be heard, and if you listen closely, even the non-Spanish speaker can pick up on unique interplay and dexterity of the singers and players. [GA]










A six-track follow-up to the last color 12" series. Each cut is six minutes, something-seconds long, and a continuation of the theme of 'bouncy' and poppy loop-driven techno with just enough melody to keep it fun and interesting -- something a guy like Costello, known first for laptop minimalism, would pull off. Word on the street is that 6x6=36 is boring, but I find that it sits in a healthy spot somewhere between 'too glitchy' and 'too sweet.' Some might complain that the tracks go on too long, yet that's the thing: these are TRACKS not SONGS, and they are meant to be mixed. The idea of each piece unfolds well within the first two or three minutes so be prepared. It won't blow you away, but as tracks, they are good and they WORK. Though I sound like I don't, I actually do like these cuts. [SM]








Live at the Roxy, London - April 1st & 2nd 1977/Live at CBGB Theatre, New York - July 18th 1978
(Pink Flag)

"12 x U"
"Dot Dash"

Wire prove themselves once again completely capable of handling their own reissue campaign, thankyouverymuch, with this stellar new double-disc collection of three live dates at pivotal points in their early career. No first-wave punk band was able to reinvent itself as completely as Wire had, and no group did more to explode the myths of what happened as punk quickly, and in no small part to Wire's efforts, became post-punk. Disc one captures two sets recorded live at the Roxy's punk festival, recorded in full for EMI, which would in essence become the group's demos for Pink Flag. They sound like an old machine here; imprecise, maybe a timing belt loose or a gear filed down, but all the same moving breathlessly through their new material, every day since they were banned from the very club that now hosted them becoming a checkpoint in improvement and advancement. Though it can be chalked up to being more comfortable and better rehearsed, you can hear a marked difference in one day's time thanks to this set, the second day finding the band actually generating an audience response (they'd played at the bottom of the bill the day before, to the club's staff and few others). Disc two, recorded for broadcast on WPIX in the rundown theater space once known as CB's 313 Gallery, represents one of Wire's first U.S. performances. It's kind of crude sounding, having been mastered from cassette and recorded in a large and empty room, but the songs and style of play are miles away from what appears on the earlier sessions, as you can sense a magnetic attraction to the band's new, stark, chilling direction, as evidenced on the flawless album Chairs Missing. [DM]










Come Away with ESG
(Soul Jazz)

"Moody (Spaced Out)
"You Make No Sense"

In spite of a pretty small discography -- three full-lengths and a handful of singles, EPs and compilations released over the past 20 or so years -- ESG is one of my all time favorite groups. Just speak to any unsuspecting customer who has asked me for a few recommendations; I can almost guarantee that if they had never heard of the band, they left with a copy of South Bronx Story resting in their orange bag. And thank god Soul Jazz has kept that compilation in print, as it has been the only hefty artifact from the band's golden era that's still available today. Without it, ESG would have remained a mere footnote for artists like LCD Soundsystem or Spektrum to name-check in interviews, with no affordable way for listeners to fully experience the Scroggins sisters' stripped-down funk grooves. Needless to say, thanks to post-punk's second coming, ESG is more popular now than when they were warming the stage for acts like Grandmaster Flash and the Clash. Finally, we have a reissue of ESG's first full-length from 1983, originally released on NYC's seminal 99 Records. Now let me be clear, if you already own the aforementioned South Bronx Story, there are only two songs ("You Make No Sense" and "The Beat" -- both are great) that weren't included on that comp. That said, it's about time fans can hear the original track sequence without having to pay a hefty amount on eBay for an original pressing. Featuring the Paradise Garage staple "Moody (Spaced Out)", "Dance," and "My Love for You," Come Away with ESG is an absolute classic and this reissue is way, way overdue. [GH]








(Victor Import)

"You Are Here for a Light"
"Night Train"

The fact that Kahimi Karie hasn't had a domestic album release of any sort since 1999's KKKKK baffles me. As the years have progressed, Karie's albums have become more sonically daring, less kitschy, and for better or worse, more "serious" -- she began writing her own lyrics, producing her own records, and choosing co-producers with whom she'd collaborate on entire albums rather than handfuls of curated songs. After working almost exclusively with producers Tomoki Kanda and Koki Takai since 2001, she recorded Nunki in collaboration with heavyweights Jim O'Rourke, Yann Tomita, and Otomo Yoshihide, whose 2005 New Jazz Orchestra album featured Karie as a guest vocalist on (among other songs) a breathtaking cover of O'Rourke's "Eureka." Karie's albums with Kanda and Takai were head-spinning flirtations with opera, free-jazz big-band arrangements (a la Brigitte Fontaine's work with the Art Ensemble of Chicago), gamelan and court musics, and dubby electronics. Nunki, on the contrary, opts for a much more subtle approach -- nearly every song centers around little more than the sound of a quiet acoustic guitar (played by either Otomo, O'Rourke, or Keigo Oyamada, a/k/a Cornelius) and beautiful harp playing by UK improvisor Rhodri Davies. The two tracks co-produced by Tomita feature beautiful harmony vocals by none other than the Doopees (back in action after a 10-year silence!), and Otomo's tracks add subtle yet affecting touches -- percussion from water being splashed and stones being tapped and scraped, or sinewave pointillism by none other than Japanese improviser Sachiko M. While I still think 2003's Trapeziste is her masterpiece, this is a gorgeous record -- one of the year's best, in fact, and well worth the somewhat steep import price. [IQ]








CD86: 48 Tracks from the Birth of Indie Pop

"Don't Slip Up" Meat Whiplash
"Safety Net" Shop Assistants

The story goes something like this: Twenty years ago, the NME released C86, a compilation of the up and coming pop bands at the time, including Primal Scream, the Pastels, McCarthy, Wedding Present, and many more. C86 has since become a term on its own, describing the legion of bands playing a sort of jangly, yet in a lot of cases punk- and Velvet Underground-influenced, pop music. As Bob Stanley (St. Etienne) states in the excellent booklet (complete with typewriter font and lots of cut and paste action, like the fanzines of the era), the music industry in the UK at the time was in a state of deep sleep. Rough Trade had crossed over into the mainstream, Postcard was dead, and the major labels were looking to make some quick cash from the cleaned up new wave pop of Howard Jones and Nik Kershaw. Enter one of the greatest DIY movements in musical history…

Armed with the ideals of punk, a slew of labels (most of them run out of bedrooms) were born and a million bands were formed, and true to the spirit of '77, the primary formats were the 7" and the flexi disc. The release of "Upside Down" by a little band called the Jesus & Mary Chain probably spawned the whole thing, and helped launch Creation Records into rock 'n' roll oblivion. The other Creation bands on here, including the Pastels, Jasmine Minks, Bodines, and the Loft, sound equally great today as that first, menacing JAMC record. And then there was Subway, whose roster included the first incarnation of the Soup Dragons (then a totally awesome pop band, whose breakneck songs never managed to break the two-minute barrier), 53rd & 3rd, Egg, Reception, Sarah…it could go on forever. Granted, there are a few duds among the 48 bands included, but the multitude and variety of short, sharp pop kicks on here is staggering; Mary Chain-styled fuzz blowouts (Meat Whiplash and the Bachelor Pad), '60s and punk-inspired girl bands (Flatmates, Primitives, Shop Assistants), Byrdsian jangle (Primal Scream, Sea Urchins, Razorcuts), and irreverent pop (Big Flame, Wolfhounds, McCarthy). Puts most of today's indie bands to shame. [AK]








I Dreamt Constellations Sang

"The River Has Frozen Over"

Japanese producer/guitarist/composer Motohiro Nakashima serves up his second album, a beautiful landscape of electro-acoustic cohabitation where soft acoustic guitar melodies (always the focal point of any of the album's 13 tracks), woozy brass and string sections, and field recordings nuzzle up and tumble around with subtle computer processing and dubby beats in front of the fireplace. Everything here weaves together quite nicely in an equal mix of melody and texture, the overall sound most easily comparable to artists like Nobukazu Takemura, Sketch Show, or Fennesz -- in fact, Nakashima's album often plays like the autumnal equivalent of Fennesz's Endless Summer. Were this record wearable, it'd be made of soft, warm, itchy wool. Pull on your favorite sweater, slap a pair of headphones on your head, and cozy up with one of the loveliest records of the season. [IQ]








Live in Solitude


Quite an unexpected release to be featured in these pages, but nonetheless an interesting and delightful divergence from the typical cross-section of genres that we usually cover. Horkeskart (translated: choir + orchestra + skart) is a Serbian ensemble featuring a 45 member amateur choir, whose non-traditional take on traditional gospel singing has become a rather powerful vehicle to speak out against cultural and political prejudices, particularly in their part of the world. Originally formed in 2000 to complement an art-design collective's project called "Your Shit - Your Responsibility," Horkeskart have since continued to tour, frequently playing at refugee camps, orphanages, and universities, performing a repertoire that includes 50-year-old Yugoslavian revolution and reconstruction songs, poetry adapted to music, punk tunes, and even a few covers, including Kraftwerk's "Antenna" and George Brassens' "Brave Margot." Live in Solitude was mostly recorded at Stuttgart's Akademie Schloss Solitude during their 2005 German tour. Backed by a modest accompaniment of guitar, bass, violin and drums, the choir takes the spotlight, at times reminding me of a grown-up Langley School with a political agenda, every song title announced through a megaphone as if each were a call to arms. [GH]








For the Middle Class
(Rune Grammofon)

"The Appearance of a Wise Child"
"Serious Like a Pope"

Hyperkinetic, electro-acoustic trio recordings for light and motion here, as Huntsville nestles themselves somewhere in between Gastr del Sol, Matmos (circa The West), skipping 'n clipping, and a hearing test. Rote, mechanical machine-drumming pits itself against rapid-fire upright bass and computerized glitches in a battle for open air, where the winners get to live and the losers sentenced to digital severance. Epic, hellmouthed buildups that never quite break, organ grinder monkeys given bionic arms and legs and left to wonder why, obtuse drone, and the foresight to assemble all of these disparate elements into one compelling package are what's at stake here, Huntsville providing a dead serious, dreamlike, at times blisteringly impatient stab at the advancement of the avant-garde trio. Hypnotic and reassuring. [DM]









"On the Beach"

Hans Appelqvist delivers another deeply philosophical and cinematic work in the form of Naima. The story centers around a fictional female character (Naima) with the head of a pelican, put on earth to guide people through life and provide important advice. Naima's main proclamations seem to touch upon the unknown and how to approach it fearlessly, and to not be afraid to love. And like on his previous works, the overall mood is a combination of fear and worry, yet with a calming sense of comfort. Through acoustic snippets, cut up electronic mini-epics, and field recordings, Appelqvist tells a tale that takes from dawn 'til dusk, from the city to the beach, and it comes across a lot more like a radio play than a musical album. Wholly unique and highly recommended, Appelqvist has fairly quickly carved a niche entirely his own in the world of electronica and the avant garde. [AK]








Victory for the Comic Muse

"To Die a Virgin"

Neil Hannon continues his quest to perfect his orchestral, and utterly British, brand of pop music on Victory for the Comic Muse. It's all here: the sweeping string sections, the clever storytelling and social observations, and moments of pop genius. Not sure if he's become the Oscar Wilde/Scott Walker hybrid he's seemingly aspiring to be, but he's getting closer and closer!








Prayer of Death
(Tee Pee)

"Grim Reaper Blues"

Fourth album by Entrance a/k/a Guy Blakeslee, with a full band this time. First track is a total Led Zep-style burner, and then he delves into multiple territories, including dirgey blues and Eastern (as in Eastern Europe and the Middle East) inspired free-flowing jams. Ambitious and worth your time.








Brazilian Beats Brooklyn
(Mr. Bongo)

"E necessario" Tim Maia

Great collection of Brazilian funk by the two dudes (Greg Caz and Sean Marquand) who put on the awesome Brazilian night at Black Betty in Brooklyn. Enough sweet samba soul to keep you warm and grooving throughout the winter, including household names such as Erasmo Carlos and Tim Maia, and lesser knowns like Nonato Buzar, Ana Rosely, and Helio Matheus. Highly recommended.








Get Evens

"Cut from the Cloth"

The second album by the Evens (Ian MacKaye and Amy Farina) treads down a similar path to that of their debut but feels more mature and developed. It's the same politically charged stripped-down indie rock but with a renewed sense out outrage and passion. Should've come out the day of the election.








The Lost Songs of Nick Garrie Hamilton

"Cambridge Town"

A nice companion piece to last year's reissue of Nick Garrie's minor masterpiece The Nightmare of J.B. Stanislas. The Lost Songs compiles pre-Stanislas sessions, solo acoustic songs from his student days, and recordings he made with Cat Stevens' band in the 70s. And the stories in the liners about hanging out with Leonard Cohen and other travel adventures only add to the ubiquity of this album.








4 Women No Cry Vol. 2

"Chlorophyll" Dorit Chrysler

Part two in the series showcasing female electronica talent. This time around we get Dorit Chrysler's theremin-based electropop, the savvy glitch workouts of Iris, Mico's soulful and splintered groove, and Monotekktoni provides a melancholic piano piece and a track that sounds like Grace Jones fronting a post-rock band, with equal prowess.








ESL Remixed

"Tamarindio" Ocote Soul Sounds (Thievery Corporation remix)

To celebrate their 100th release, the Eighteenth Street Lounge posse brings us an album's worth of loungetastic remixes. Everything you know and want is on here, including Thievery Corporation, Thunderball, Ocote Soul Sounds, Joe Bataan, and a guest appearance from David Byrne.







Cold and Wet
(Drag City)

New Bonnie Billy single with a song off The Letting Go, a live version of "The Way" and a great cover of Kenny Rogers' "Buried Treasure." CD version comes with a beautiful but depressing animated video that involves two bears and a drowning incident.




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