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   March 29, 2007  
It’s been months in the making but we’re finally just weeks away from launching Other Music’s mp3 download store! We’ll be announcing the official launch date soon, here in this update, as well as sending out additional details to a new, separate email list. You can subscribe to this list by going to digital.othermusic.com. Interested labels, distributors and bands should contact labels@othermusic.com.
El Kinto
Eduardo Mateo
The Fall
Arve Henriksen
The Electric Prunes
Flower' Travellin Band
Beach House
Studio One Kings (Soul Jazz comp.)
Awon Ojise Olorun (Yorubaland comp.)

Aleksi Perala
Black Milk

J-Dilla (Ruff Draft vinyl pressing)

Camberwell Now (remastered)
MAR Sun 25 Mon 26 Tues 27 Wed 28 Thurs 29 Fri 30 Sat 31


Tonight, Thursday, March 29th, we'll be featuring Blonde Redhead’s much-anticipated album, 23 (out April 10th on 4AD), at our monthly listening party. It all gets underway at 10:00 P.M. when we'll play the record in its entirety, and then afterwards, Other Music DJs Geoff and Gerald will take over the decks. As always, there'll be lots of give-aways, not to mention $2 Rolling Rocks all night long!

10 P.M. to Last Call


225 N. 8th Street (Corner of Roebling)
Williamsburg, Brooklyn








"Piano Nono"

Remember the first time you heard Prefuse 73 and said to yourself, "What the f**k is that?" I relived that moment upon walking into the shop and hearing this record. I caught half of "Piano Nono" and not knowing, first assumed it was Scott Herren or Mark Leclair. Cut-up, sample-driven madness, pieced together like an eloquent mosaic with a slight hint of MPC production, it had to be one or the other. The following piece, "Wake Up," had a distinct semblance of Jelinek's minimal 'loop-finding' wizardry, replete with bubbling basslines and subtle accents. Thoroughly intrigued, I made my way through the now-growing sea of investigators to find it was Lukid. It's rare that an album can attract the attention of the entire store within its first 15 minutes, but it had. Its warmth is undeniable and inviting. I haven't put this down since bringing it home and everyone I've played it for has scooped it up. Well worth a listen as there's something for everyone, including a wonderful Afro-inspired piece appropriately titled "Fela." [JD]








El Kinto
(Lion Productions)

"Muy Les Jos Te Vas"
"Estoy Sin Ti"

Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame
(Lion Productions)

"Uh, Que Macana"

One of our favorite reissue labels, Lion Productions (Limonada, Emmanuelle Parrenin, Friends, etc.), have completely outdone themselves this time. Their latest endeavor has been to bring to light the incredible career of one of South America's greatest creative geniuses, Eduardo Mateo, through two elaborately packaged and immaculately researched albums. We've been highly anticipating their release, and now that they're here we have no doubt that Eduardo Mateo will soon be a household name, at least to readers of this update!

By all accounts Eduardo Mateo was a mythic figure, full of contradictions, alternately kind and emotionally unhinged. He was a man unwilling or unable to operate within the expectations of his social scene, let alone those of society. He first gained notoriety as the principle force in El Kinto, a groundbreaking Uruguayan act that was enormously influential despite their seeming indifference towards securing a recording contract. They took their rhythmic inspiration from Uruguayan candombe and their melodic sensibility from British and American rock acts, but unlike most of their peers they didn't simply ape their foreign contemporaries sartorially and with faux English accents. They were unapologetically South American, singing solely in Spanish while refusing to dress up like Paul Revere and the Raiders. They're a revelation, better even than likeminded South American rock bands We All Together and Traffic Sound. It's practically shocking that music of this caliber, with songs this good, from the sixties is still being resurrected.

El Kinto collapsed in 1970, largely due to Mateo's increasing unreliability, drug use, and evolving artistic sensibility. He spent the next two years busking around and smoking enormous amounts of hash, while immersing himself in Hindu spirituality and the musics of Arica, Arabia, Spain, and the Caribbean. In late '71 he was coaxed into traveling to Argentina to record his first solo album, Mateo Solo Bien Se Lame. The recording was done sporadically over two months, with Mateo's free spirited behavior being a major impediment to getting the job done, a guard eventually had to be stationed outside his hotel simply to escort him to the studio without any detours! Thankfully, his producer was eventually able to coax from him a work of rare and astonishing beauty. It is subdued without being explicitly melancholy and filled with syncopated rhythms, unusual phrasing, and poetic idiosyncrasies. I think I can say without any hyperbole that it is one of the finest folk albums I've ever heard; if you love the mellow side of Caetano, Pep Laguarda, Gilberto Gil, and Congregacion, you will absolutely be freaking out over this. I've even read Juana Molina saying that Eduardo Mateo has been her number one inspiration.

I can only begin to scratch the surface of the man's work in this brief review, but the liner notes in both of these packages come in booklets laid in the slipcase and are near comprehensive and utterly fascinating. Totally essential. [MK]







Aman Iman
(World Village)

"Cler Achel"
"Ikyadarh Dim"

The world is getting smaller each and every day. One needs to look no further than the latest album from Malian musicians Tinariwen for proof of this indisputable truth. While serving time in Algerian military training camps, singer and leader Ibrahim Ag Alhabib became mesmerized by the "new" sounds of Led Zeppelin and Santana. Inspired to pick up a guitar, he and his band (who were also militants) developed a kind of desert blues. Initially produced very cheaply in low-quality recording studios and distributed on old cassettes, they slowly began to gain an enthusiastic following, first regionally and later internationally. Drawing on the experiences of the fiercely nomadic Tuareg people, Tinariwen writes of unemployment, social oppression, rebellion and subjugation, first by French colonizers and later by the Malian government. (World Village offers us an English translation of these heartfelt lyrics for the first time.) Often sung in chorus, the singing is underpinned by a kind hollowed-out, bluesy electric guitar that, at times, seems almost droney. Beautifully played, this eerie sound is technically mesmerizing and leaves quite an impact on your emotions. African percussion and lots of handclaps provide an earthy rhythm that seems to sway and roll -- it's trance inducing. I don't know what it is about the Malian desert that seems to produce this stunning brand of African blues (see Ali Farka Toure) but I for one am hooked. And I am not alone. Tinariwen now claim Thom Yorke, Damon Albarn and, yes, Robert Plant as well as a very enthusiastic Carlos Santana among their devoted fans. It is a very small world indeed. [GA]






Cottonwood Hill
(Hallelujah / Phonag)

"Black Sand"
"Places of Light"

In all my years as an OM employee, I've seen countless music trends ebb and flow in popularity, but through it all this odd little Krautrock album still manages to shock and awe all those who hear it for the first time. This psychedelic masterpiece has come to epitomize all that was German and weird in the '70s, but this record was actually first released in Switzerland before being picked up by a German label, not to mention that a third of the band were Italian and Swiss.

Cottonwood Hill is broken down into three parts. The album opener and the first half of the second song can be best described as chuggin' instrumental psych-funk that sounds like Can being produced by George Clinton. But two minutes into track two, "Places of Light," things start to kick in. Vocalist Dawn Muir gives a spoken word intro asking to be taken aboard "your shimmering ship built of eternal time and icicle dreams," leading us into the eponymous third section.

"Brainticket" starts with sound of broken glass and then, for the next 26 minutes, the band takes you on a crazed psychedelic journey to the center of an acid trip gone terribly awry. Built around a repetitive motorik organ-based groove, the track consists of meticulously layered tape edits of sound effects that are simultaneously harrowing and hilarious. Throughout the course of the track, Muir's spoken word vocals get more and more desperate and paranoid, asking a series of acid-drenched rhetorical questions. ("Did you feel me touch with my eyes?" is my personal fave.) I could go on and on about how it builds and ultimately ends, but I don't want to give any more away and ruin it for you. Let's just say that it involves Beethoven's 5th...seriously!

Apparently, the band members had a massive freak-out following the recording of the album, all but one quitting and disappearing soon after, but the twisted legacy of this tremendous release lives on. Julian Cope claims this to be one his all time favorites and Nurse With Wound's Steven Stapleton recorded a cover version of the whole album in 1984! The warning on Brainticket's cover states "Don't listen to this record more than once a day or your brain will be destroyed," but don't let that scare you. That's what they said about Public Enemy, the Beatles and masturbation and you turned out just fine, didn't you? Do yourself a favor and do what countless other OM customers and employees have done before you. Buy a "Brainticket" to bedlam. [DH]






Reformation Post TLC

"Over! Over!"

Yer favorite curmudgeon is back. I can't keep track of the line-up changes but this might be the same line-up as on the quite excellent Fall Heads Roll from 2005, but does it really matter? Reformation Post TLC opens with "Over! Over!", which will sound oddly familiar to some of you. It took me a minute to realize that, even though it's credited to Mark E., it's pretty much a straight, and great, rip off of United States of America's "Coming Down." It's a bumpy ride from then on. When Reformation Post TLC hits all the right spots, it's a damn good album (there are some Perverted by Language-esque moments on here: "Reformation", "Fall Sound") and when it's bad ("Das Boat"), it's un-listenable. Which is all par for the course since this is a Fall record, and there are enough winners and trademark Mark E.-isms on here to make you want to add to the collection. [AK]






Blue Shift Emissions


Lustrous and wavy. Calm and tranquil. Just like water. That's the shape Christopher Horne's electronica takes on his latest and aptly titled Blue Shift Emissions. Horne creates a pool of such quiet beats and subdued synth that it registers the barest of ripples. Oceanic reverberations weave throughout, especially on the track "Holobenthic Grex Venalium," where radio static resonates more like waves rushing to shore. The Scotsman's fourth full-length release, while at his most restrained, doesn't veer far from the warm, ambient moods he first created 10 years ago as an early collaborator with his friends in Boards of Canada. But on his own, he imparts a sophistication seldom heard from inorganic instrumentation. "Vernor Vinge" (the title of his last EP) adds brief, euphoric shots of swirling fuzz while the beats kick up a notch on "Blue Shifty Missions." As Christ, Horne creates 50 minutes of dreamy, sonic swimming that will submerge listeners in to the gentlest of water. [CCa]






(Rune Grammofon)

"Black Mountain"
"Leaf and Rock"

Arve Henriksen's name should be immediately recognizable to any ardent followers of Norway's free jazz and improv scenes. As a member of the esteemed quartet Supersilent, Henriksen's trumpet-playing and wordless singing have formed an essential counterpoint to his bandmates' oft-tense and pounding tracks. And his work with Iain Bellamy's Food has revealed a player comfortable in more (relatively) straight-ahead environs, effortlessly playing off the British saxophonist's melodies to add a delicate ambiance to that foursome's records. Over the course of two solo albums, Henriksen has also shown how easily he can shine in the absence of his stellar collaborators, be it in the brilliant mimicries of Japanese shakuhachi flute tones that dotted his solo debut, or the effortlessly shaded trio work and sound-sculpting of his follow-up Chiaroscuro.

Strjon is Henriksen's latest solo venture, and this time out he's joined by his Supersilent cohorts Stale Storlokken and Helge Sten (a man probably more well-known as Deathprod). But despite the presence of such heavy hitters, Strjon is Henriksen at his pure and unadulterated best. His fluid, pensive trumpet playing comes to the fore track in and track out, cresting against waves of his voice on the sublime "Ascent." And though he dabbles in electronics and keyboards more heavily here than ever before, capably parrying Sten's every thrust on tracks like "Black Mountain," it's the album's briefest tunes that touch the most, as Arve Henriksen uncorks delicate lines throughout "Twin Lake" and "Alpine Pyramid" that never linger longer than absolutely necessary. It's almost as if someone stripped away most of the accompaniment on Miles Davis' In a Silent Way, leaving spare trumpet to reverberate well off into the distance. Or maybe it's a bit closer to an unheard series from Jon Hassell and Brian Eno's Fourth World project, all delicate negotiations of time and space that leave images of vast, uncharted, and wholly new vistas in their wake. [MC]






Release of an Oath
(Collectors Choice)

"Kol Nidre"
"Holy Are You"

This unusual record is one of the best examples of the orchestral psych-funk sound that makes David Holmes, Andy Votel and DJ Shadow weak in the knees, and to these ears set the foundation for a certain strain of hip-hop that probably wouldn't have existed if not for famed producer David Axelrod. Space is limited so I'm not gonna get into the confusing details concerning the Electric Prunes' history and numerous lineup changes (it does make for entertaining reading though...Google it later), but know that this is a Prunes album by name only. None of them played on the sessions and the vocals were used rather sparingly. Axelrod got a crack team of L.A. session musicians together and created a psychedelic concept record built around a Jewish prayer.

Axelrod's genius ear for arrangement is what makes this album so indispensable to many. He transformed the Prunes' vocals into a unified male choir, and used them as intros to instrumental movements. Huge lush strings would swell up and build into dissonance and dissolve into fuzz guitar solos, and all of this was grounded by the steady minimal funk of Carol Kaye's bass and Earl Palmer's drums. This album has been a rich supply of MPC food for many a hip-hop producer. Mobb Deep, Pete Rock, Large Professor, DJ Premier and Black Sheep have all sampled bits and pieces of this album, as well as the aforementioned artists.

Release of an Oath has never seen a proper re-release, so this is a godsend. Any fan of Serge Gainsbourg's Melody Nelson, Isaac Hayes or hip-hop in general should pick this up. This is classic material. [DH]






(Universal Japan)

A reissue of the first album from Japanese psych rockers known as the Flower Travellin' Band, Anywhere had auspicious beginnings as a covers album; but don't let the covers fool you. Despite their second album, Satori, being their breakout with its eastern-tinged heavy metal/doom tendencies, this one is also worth checking out. Songs like "Twenty-First Century Schizoid-Man" soak in the psych with skewed lyrics and wonderfully grimy proto-metal that dips in the King Crimson tribute pool. Revving up like a motorcycle with nude, long-haired Japanese dudes riding on the back (see the cover), "Louisiana Blues" speeds along in a heavy metal jam style, until coasting into some psychedelic folk meanderings and, finally, settles into Zeppelin-style lead guitar licks - it's definitely a worthwhile journey back into the '70s. Bookended by short harmonica-driven odes to the blues, Anywhere is a fine starting point into the odyssey of the Flower Travellin' Band. [LG]






$14.99 LP


Beach House
(Carpark/Heart Break)

"Tokyo Witch"

We never gave the self-titled, debut full-length from the Baltimore duo Beach House a proper write up when it dropped last fall, but now that it's out on vinyl we figured it was time to give it a closer look. Comprised of multi-instrumentalists Alex Scally and Victoria LeGrande, Beach House have been toiling away in Charm City over the past couple of years, crafting dense, moody tracks that blend lazy keys, slide guitar, and LeGrande's airy vocals into a sweet, syrup-thick mixture of gauzy melody and hazy harmonies. Richly textured and yet still casually lo-fi, the band's first and only album bounds carefully along gentle percussion and interwoven voices, affecting one of the more gorgeously understated pop debuts to arrive in all of 2006.

Though Beach House have received quite a few comparisons to Mazzy Star, that analogy falls short of describing just what these two are all about. Sure, Scally and LeGrande seem to have taken a pointer or two from David Roback and Hope Sandoval's dreamy tracks, but outside of their lethargic tempos and beguiling vocals, Beach House doesn't have too much in common with those paragons of the Paisley Underground. Instead, their songs are more indebted to the classic baroque pop sounds of yesterday, coming off like a modern re-up of the Zombies' Odyssey & Oracle, played at half-speed and with the orchestral moves rendered in Technicolor Casio chords, soaked through with shimmering reverb and generous tremolo. They even manage to drop a slight nod or two to the work of classic balladeers like Roy Orbison, whose ghost seems to hang ever so slightly over LeGrande's voice on tracks like the stately waltz of "Auburn and Ivory." Far from being a half-hearted pop rehash, however, Beach House manage to take these subtle hints and update them seamlessly, arriving at a sound that, while easily recognizable, is still distinctive enough to call their own. [MC]






Studio One Kings
(Soul Jazz)

"I've Got To Make It" Larry Marshall
"Won't You Come Home" Delroy Wilson

In 1959, a Jamaican liquor store owner asked his musician friends to create a new sound that was all their own and not just an imitation of the contemporary American black music he was tired of hearing. This local, you guessed it, was Clement "Coxsone" Dodd, and his buddies created ska, (an abbreviation of the word "skavoovee", a then-popular term of approval) a shuffle boogie that combined the blues and popular jazz, and in the process established the Studio One imprint as the breeding ground for Jamaica's finest reggae talent.

This compilation, rightly titled Studio One Kings, plays like a Jamaican music history lesson. (Though not included in this compilation, a young Bob Marley was under contract as both a player and A&R man for Studio One.) Larry Marshall kicks off the disc with "I've Got To Make It," an uplifting ode to the harsh, impoverished existence many Jamaicans endured while Devon Russell's "Roots Natty" lays the beginnings of protest songs when he implores his fellow "Dreadlocks...stand up, fight for your rights." Like the folk singers in the U.S., these musicians made the most of their recording time by singing about issues that affected their culture, place in society and religious beliefs.

Stateside singers like Sam Cooke and Frankie Lyman also had an influence, especially on Cornell Campbell whose "Pretty Looks Isn't All" bears a similar, velvety sweetness to both men. Joe Higgs' "Change of Plan" and legends like Burning Spear ("Them A Come"), Delroy Wilson ("Won't You Come Home") and John Holt ("I Don't Want To See You Cry") round out this must-have vintage collection of the most culturally rich, infectious music you'll ever hear. It's skavoovee! [CCa]






Awon Ojise Olorun: Popular Music in Yorubaland 1931 to 1952

"Orin Faji" Abibus Oluwa
"Osupa Ko Dadi Osan "Julius Araba

Ever wonder what Nigerian music sounded like before Fela Kuti and his development of Afro-beat? Well, thanks to this collection from the British Library comes an excellent primer for the popular music of Yorubaland, circa 1931 to 1952. Awon Ojise Olorun details the beginnings of music recording and production in the region. Prior to 1914, ethnic groups were unable to travel through the surrounding areas, and this kept the music practiced by local musicians pretty much isolated from each other. But under the strong arm of Britain, colonization reformed the area. People now had the opportunity to travel freely and an exchange between instruments and rhythms began, resulting in a fusion of traditional styles such as juju, sakara and apala.

The groups presented on this compilation represent just a small slice of what was happening in the villages and townships. Many never had the opportunity to record as they were street musicians, and when they did, even fewer made a substantial career off their music. Many of the songs presented on this compilation were popular songs of the time, often performed for the royal courts, yet they also have an overwhelming political and protest-fueled lyricism. Mainly homemade string instruments, various styled shakers and hand drums form the musical framework while the lyrics -- translated into English -- offer deep insight into the mindset and concerns of the people. Awon Ojise Olorun is a recommended glimpse into a forgotten time and of a people who witnessed colonization, later gained their independence, and the music made in the process. [DG]






Project V


Had there not been a Rephlex imprint stamped on the sleeve, one might have guessed that this release was a total D-I-Y effort, by its barebones packaging (designed by the artist) not to mention a compact disc that doesn't even list the tracks' names when you insert it into your laptop. With a disclaimer printed on the back cover stating "Everything by Aleksi Perala," Project V is definitely a one man show, the Finnish producer's predominantly instrumental record thriving off of bleeps, boops and phaser sounds. It's not all Rubbermaid synthetics, however, and some of the most satisfying moments come when the ever-present dance beat takes a break and in its place, atmospheric washes of sound plunge tracks like "Purple Rain" and "Black Leicester" to unexpected depths. The album ends with "Sunbath," a three-minute barrage of 1980s video game sound effects transposed into beats with what sounds like children's playground laughter laced on top. A dancer trying to follow these rhythms would look like he or she was having a seizure on the dance floor. Actually, that might be half the fun. [SD]






Popular Demand
(Fat Beats)

"Popular Demand"

Right when J-Dilla is -- once again -- taking us back to the future, comes the latest piece of the current and ever-evolving Motor City hip-hop scene, the official debut from Black Milk (a/k/a Curtis Cross). Cross honed his production skills working with Slum Village on their Dirty District mix tapes and the Trinity full-length. His production style is a mix of J-Dilla and Kayne West, incorporating soulful snatches, MPC drums, heavy bass and the tight snare snap that has become the sound of the underground. As a rapper, he's skilled with a rough flow reminiscent of contemporaries like Slum V, Phat Kat and Guilty Simpson, who all guest here. That said, he's definitely better behind the beats than behind the mic and I personally prefer the bonus disk of instrumentals and oddities over the official album. [DG]






Midnight Black Indulgence

"The Long Way"

The second album by Canadian-born and Berlin-based producer Daniel Gardner finds him vastly expanding his palette. The minimal house and techno bangers are still there, but he also incorporates classical and jazz elements (there's a slight Herbert vibe on some of the tracks), without any lounge or beard-stroking damage. A great and intriguing album from a producer to keep an eye on.






Ruff Draft
(Stones Throw)

"The $"
"Make 'Em NV"

Last week, we ran a full review of J-Dilla's rarely heard Ruff Draft, which was available on CD for the first time (if you missed it, you can read it here: www.othermusic.com/2007march22.html). Just in time for this week's update, Stones Throw brings us this double LP reissue of the album. Needless to say, this is an important work from the hip-hop trailblazer, as it marked his transition into the production styling of his masterpiece, Donuts.






All's Well

"Daddy Needs a Throne"
"Working Nights"

This Heat's reputation for soul-jarring, timeless art rock is well established by their seminal second LP, Deceit (as well as the rest of their catalogue). Camberwell Now's All's Well is a collection of two EPs and one LP of material from the early- to mid-'80s band led by This Heat alumnus, Charles Hayward. This stuff is at once recognizably related to their contemporaries --Soft Machine (intelligently critical socio-political commentary) and Faust (tireless sound exploration) --while at the same time being just plain timeless.

Since both projects are essential, the most pertinent question to ask is: "What's the difference between the two bands?" Well, y' know how This Heat has a primal-machine quality amounting to the purest possible form of 'art-metal', that tends to either ascend (or descend) beautifully? Well, Camberwell Now has that quality plus a bit more of a 'band-feel' that has all the brain-pummeling sound variety, minus a bit of the metallic feeling, that rocks/drives and lurches forward (and in other directions too), at times at a quicker tempo than This Heat. Track five, "Daddy Needs a Throne" lurches for a while then jumps into a breakneck gallop with so many changes you forget anyone came up with the term 'math-rock'. Math ain't got this much heart.

For fans of Faust, Can, that band from Louisville, KY called Slint, and life-altering experiences in general. Essential and recommended. [SM]
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