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   September 6, 2007  
Beirut (mp3 available now / CD pre-order)
Studio One Roots Vol. 3
Teiji Ito
Giuseppe Ielasi
Songs of the African Coast (various)
Ensemble Pittorque
Somnamublist & M.Byro
Ju Suk Reet Meate
Valentin Silvestrov
Stephen Stills
Bembeya Jazz National (back in stock)
The Virgins

Trojan Country Box Set
Konono No. 1
Don Cherry Quintet
Albert Ayler Quartet
Bud Powell
Karsh Kale
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FRIDAY, SEPTEMBER 7 - 6 to 8:00 p.m.
Madlib Beat Konducta in India (Vol. 3 & 4) Release Party featuring DJ sets from Egon (Stones Throw) and Mahssa (B-Music), plus free Indian beer and food, and lots of give aways

MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 10 - 8:00 p.m.
In-Store Appearance: CIRCLE
Heavy Finnish drone comes to NYC, in support of their upcoming album Katapult on No Quarter

OTHER MUSIC: 15 E. 4th Street NYC
Both events are free admission & limited capacity

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This Friday, September 7, Bill Callahan (the artist formerly known as Smog) will be performing at New York's Highline Ballroom, in support of his recent album Woke on a Whaleheart, along with Sun City Girl's Sir Richard Bishop! You can enter to win a pair of tickets by emailing tickets@othermusic.com. Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. The two winners will be notified on Friday morning, September 7.


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This Friday, Other Music's Duane Harriott welcomes the king of leftfield, left coast funk...Stones Throw's very own Peanut Butter Wolf who'll rock Tha Get Up at APT! We've got two pairs of tickets to give away and all you have to do to enter is email contest@othermusic.com. Please leave a daytime phone number where you can be reached. The winners will be notified on Friday morning, September 7.

APT: 419 W. 13 Street NYC

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Simian Mobile Disco have been ruling the dancefloors this past year, be it remixes for Klaxons, CSS and the Rapture, or their own cuts like "Hustler" and "It's the Beat," both of which are now bona fide club anthems. After a much talked about set at Studio B a few months ago, the English duo make their return to New York on Saturday, September 15, performing at the Gramercy Theatre. Enter to win a pair of tickets by emailing giveaway@othermusic.com. Two winners will be chosen on Monday, September 10.






mp3 available now


$9.99 On Sale CD Pre-Order


The Flying Cup Club
(Ba Da Bing!)

We're taking pre-orders for Beirut's new album, The Flying Cup Club, which comes out on CD on October 9, and will be shipped to arrive at your door on the day of its release. But for those of you who don't want to wait a month, you can purchase an mp3 version of the album right now from our download store!

Zach Condon gave the indie world a well needed shot in the arm last May with his debut album as Beirut. Inspired by traditional Eastern European music, Gulag Orkestar was a refreshing change of course for ears who had grown tired of dance rock and freak folk, as well as for those whose Arcade Fire and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah records were not enough to save them from the doldrums. Condon had a gift for melody and a world-weary voice that seemed much older than his 19 years of age, and the result was all at once familiar and exotic.

A year-and-a-half later, Beirut is back with Condon enlisting members of his touring band for support, along with Final Fantasy's Owen Pallet handling string arrangements and returning contributor Heather Trost (A Hawk and a Hacksaw), who plays violin and viola on a few tracks. With all these players, it's hard to believe the new record isn't more shambolic than the first. Yes, the production does seem livelier with more layers of instruments and voices, but most of the arrangements are more deliberate and focused, giving Condon's melodies a little more breathing room. And while tracks like "Guyamas Sonora" and "Cherbourg" are still filled with swirling Balkan brass, take a quick glance at song titles like "La Banlieue" and "Un Dernier Verre (Pour La Route)" and it becomes pretty clear that the main musical muse for this outing is the country of France.

Condon reportedly has been spending a lot of time with old Jacques Brel and chanson records, and it comes through, probably more so in the actual instrumentation than the vocal melodies. For one, the role of the ukulele is downplayed, with accordion, organ and strings being very prevalent in the arrangements. Add to this, snippets of French dialogue interspersed throughout songs like "Nantes" or the short phone conversation that introduces "A Sunday Smile," Beirut's new album can truly be called cinematic. The carousel music and yearning chorus of voices in the latter track is the aural equivalent of floating in and out of a daydream while staring at an old Parisian carnival postcard in your grandparents' scrapbook.

But even though they've traveled to Western Europe for inspiration, Beirut haven't made any major shift in direction. Perhaps the biggest change of all is Condon's voice itself. Having spent a better part of the past year touring and performing, the singer is much more assured throughout this record; just listen to the range of his vocals during "St. Apollonia." For the sake of growth, I'm sure most Beirut fans will want the next album to be a significant departure from Gulag Orkestar, but The Flying Cup Club is exactly the record that they needed to make right now. It's one that not only marks a significant maturing, but also shows a band, and not just Condon, having fine-tuned their craft a little closer to perfection. (Preview songs off the new album on our download store.) [GH]






Studio One Roots Vol. 3
(Soul Jazz)

"Creation Skank" Prinze Jazzbo
"Way Down Low" Errol Dunkley

Soul Jazz's Studio One Roots series has always been a personal favorite of mine. This strand of the Clement "Coxsone" Dodd story focuses on the legendary producer's connection to the Rastafarian lineage of Jamaica, whose music is centered around the Niyabinghi drum, which represents the heartbeat and the pulse. During the late '60s, Dodd began to infuse both the pro-black stance and spirituality into a form of intense yet accessible and soulful reggae, known as roots music. While Volume 3 is the most soul-oriented volume of the series to date, it also contains the largest amount of lesser known names, and many unfamiliar tunes and rarities. The songs here also speak of spirituality in more general terms as opposed to traditional Rastafarian terminology (e.g. not a lot of mentions of Marcus Garvey or Haile Selassie). None of this is a bad thing by any means; it's kind of refreshing as it shows how the train of thought, like the lyrics of Curtis Mayfield or Bob Marley, could be translated into popular songs. It's not all vocals here either, with this volume featuring some fiery dubs like Winston Flames' "In a Armagideon," as well as nice selections from a few familiar names including Dillinger, Gladiators, Count Ossie, and Prince Jazzbo. [DG]






Music for Maya

"Lights Along the Way - India"

Teiji Ito's Music for Maya is the third in Tzadik's ongoing series of releases by this Japanese composer and collects his early compositions for films. Ito was married to avant-garde filmmaker Maya Deren from the late fifties until her death in 1961 and this two-disc collection focuses primarily on this period of Ito's life. Ito and Deren shared a deep connection to shamanic traditions of the world, in particular the voudoun (voodoo) tradition of Haiti, but Ito also found himself welcomed into ceremonial rites in Japan, Nepal and Native America. The scores to Deren's most well-known films, Meshes of the Afternoon and The Very Eye of Night are collected here, as well as scores for several films by Marie Menken, Willard Maas, John Korty, and a UN documentary about Asia called, Lights Along the Way. The fact that the UN approached Ito to score films about the Far East is, in a way, unsurprising, given his pan-ethnic conception of music and fluency with instruments and rhythms from all over the globe. A truly gifted multi-instrumentalist, flutes, banjo, flamenco guitar, cello, voice, clarinet, santour, Japanese drone reeds, Indonesian gamelan instruments, and an ever-present battery of drums from the world over all make showings here, and somehow, in Ito's hands, these disparate instruments -- reluctant bedfellows in terms of origin, let alone tuning systems -- all seem like natural elements of a single, great vocabulary.

These early pieces (the earliest, "The Very Eye of Night," dates from 1952, when Ito was just 17) presage the remarkable, metaphysical synthesis of Ito's 1964 masterpiece, Tenno, but the makings are all there; Ito's prescient approach to tape composition is already quite well-formed here, as these pieces find him overdubbing himself playing a dizzying array of instruments to great effect, often using one instrument to complete or punctuate a phrase started by another. The beginnings of Ito's interest in the tape recorder as an instrument can be detected in the sudden disparate juxtapositions of tone and sound quality that tape made possible, and more ostensibly in the brief, but completely insane, tone generator and tape manipulation piece, "Operation Hourglass - Diesel Engine." In other places, manipulated tapes serve as counterpoint to overdubbed wind ensembles, exotic percussion miniatures, and gypsy guitars. Being that these pieces were composed for such a wide variety of contexts, Music for Maya is full of different moods and dimensions. An austere Asian minimalism that will be familiar to fans of Tenno presides over much of the first disc, but there is great variety amongst the remaining pieces, many of which find Ito embracing a playful mix of jazz, flamenco, and world rhythms. Another (sizeable) piece of the Teiji Ito puzzle. Highly recommended. [CC]








A man of many faces, Giuseppe Ielasi returns to us with a slightly new approach. Last time we saw Ielasi he was handling production and mixing duties for Alesandro Bosetti's starkly minimal Her Name, and now with August, the Italian composer/improviser treats us to something which will seem familiar on first listen but nonetheless contains extremely striking and very distinct moments of originality. Ielasi's knack for truly hypnotic, repetitive phrases is still alive and going strong, but he never falls into the easy getaway of the outright drone, always keeping the listener on their toes, waiting for the change in tone or shape which is always anticipated yet always surprising. Several tracks stray away from the quiet, minimal work that many in Ielasi's field stick to so fiercely, and embraces the idea of climax and decline, on occasion conjuring images of a real time disintegration loops, with much thanks to be given here to the two guests, Heimo Wallner (trumpet on track 3) and Renato Rinaldi (reel-to-reel on track 4). This enjoyable, intriguing manipulation of sounds is entirely worth the listen, and the beautiful cover photo is a treat as well. Recommended. [LR]






Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos
(Rune Grammofon)

"Demon Dance"
"People Living"

With the exception of Chan Marshall, not many can turn a well-known standard into their own song as effortlessly as Susanna Wallumrod. Just go back a few years to her and the Magic Orchestra's haunting cover of "Jolene," or even more amazing, their transformation of AC/DC's "Long Way to the Top" into an intimate confessional. This time she's operating simply as Susanna, and delivers an even starker album than those she's crafted with music partner Morten Qvenild (Jaga Jazzist, In the Country, Shining). Produced by Deathprod's Helge Sten, and joined by a large list of guests that include her brother Christian, Big Band's Oystein Greni, Ola Flottum from the White Birch, In the Country's Pal Hausken, and Qvenild, one might think that Sonata Mix Dwarf Cosmos would be this Norwegian singer's moment to break through the silence of her quiet orchestra. Instead we get Susanna at her most personal over the course of these 12 original songs, her smoky voice barely accompanied by a lone piano, occasional guitar or harp, and a Theremin and mellotron here and there. This is perfect music for the late night; hushed and reflective, repeated listens reveal songs that are rich with nuance. It's like looking at the shadowy outlines of objects in a dark room; if you stare for a while, more and more details will appear in vivid ways you never would have seen had the lights been on. [GH]






Songs of the African Coast: Cafe Music of Liberia

"Bush Cow Milk"
"Chicken Is Nice"

The West African Republic of Liberia has always been one of the more fascinating countries of the world. It was set up as an independent nation for freed slaves and is one of the only African nations that wasn't ever a colony. This collection of Liberian folk tunes was initially released on 78(!) in 1950. The sound is actually closer to calypso and early American blues, with simple instrumentation that mainly consists of parlor piano, call- and-response group singing and an occasional jazzy trumpet solo. The lyrics are simple, slightly bawdy at times, but direct. This record may be most notable for its deep influence on the early-'60's bohemian folk scene. Joan Baez and Dave Van Ronk have both covered tunes from this album and even one of Mickey Hart's solo records was named after this recording. Even though it's technically an "African" release, this collection of folk tunes is an important footnote in the history of American folk and blues. This is the first time this collection has been made available on CD, and it also includes six additional tracks from the same sessions that weren't included on the original release. [DH]








The Art of Being
(Minimal Wave)

Split 45
(Minimal Wave)

Two more missives from NYC's premier minimal synth reissue imprint, both as surprising and unique as the rest of their catalogue. Ensemble Pittoresque formed in the Netherlands at the dawn of the '80s, and recorded these eight tracks as a demo for Polydor Records. That label's loss -- the label found the songs uncommercial, and pushed the band to record an EP of more saleable ideas -- is our gain, as the group successfully balances classical song structures with the sort of self-imprisoned pathos and frigid emotions this genre stakes itself on. Think Visage, but with far more of an individualist sound, no co-ed dynamics, and a bit of a sense of humor (one track is entitled "After I Bought My Siel...", possibly in reference to gear fetishism, which was likely as much of a concern then as it is to collectors today).

Somnambulist and M.Bryo are the product of the same person, one Mark Burghgraeve. A Belgian artist active in a scene that included Klinik and Absolute Body Control, these tracks come from two cassette releases dating back to 1982. This split EP achieves perfection on the B-side, Burghgraeve's vocals standing solemnly against the most minimal of synth pulses, a study in repression and the beauty that can arise from such situations. Both releases are in a numbered edition of 500 copies, and the 7" is pressed on coke-bottle clear vinyl. As with all other Minimal Wave releases, these will go quickly. [DM]






Solo 78/79
(De Stijl)

Side A 1979
Side B 1979

This archival solo outing from Smegma member Ju Suk Reet Meate begins with a deceptively classic rock guitar riff before going off the deep end into 40 minutes of broken record-style loops and basement tape manipulations. Fractured, dark and weird, Solo 78/79 is a mash-up record made with the most primitive of means. Snippets of guitar, caveman vocalizations, bits of what sound like radio and television audio, and a pretty good upright bass solo get chopped up, pitch shifted, looped and spun out and layered ad nauseam by J.S.R.M. and his reel to reel machines. It's all coated in analog warmth (i.e. hiss) and delightfully handmade; you can literally hear the splices hitting the tape heads on some of the loops. Oddly rhythm heavy and absurd, yet with moments of transcendence tucked here and there (I like the air organ solo on track one), Solo 78/79 is at times reminiscent of fellow proto-noise degenerates, Destroy All Monsters. Originally privately pressed by J.S.R.M. in 1979, Solo 78/79 quickly lapsed into obscurity shortly after its initial release. It's nice that recordings like this are surfacing and bringing to light the fact that people have been making "noise" for a long time. [CC]






Symphony No. 6

"Adantino - Vivace - Allegretto"
"Vavace Con Moto - Larghetto"

For more than twenty years, Ukrainian composer Valentin Silvestrov has been writing what he has referred to as a "Postlude" to the existing tradition of classical music. This characterization seems rather appropriate given the sheer depth and weight of symphonic history that his music is steeped in. Frequently compared to Mahler, Silvestrov's symphonic music operates on a truly grand scale, and the amorphous and emotionally charged sense of time he creates has led him to refer to his music alternatively as "Symphonic Poetry," or "Metamusic." Indeed, time does not seem to flow in a linear fashion in Silvestrov's 6th Symphony. Instead, movements seem to arise from the depths of chaotic, primordial atmospheres, only to double back on themselves and then slip into darkness once again. Emotionally grandiose, and filled with an alternating sense of horror and loss on the one hand and peace on the other, Symphony No. 6 has a sense of gravity that makes one feel dwarfed in the way that only a well-controlled orchestra can. Passages of brass, strings and percussion create massive, harrowing chord forms that give way to very human scale harp or piano figures, so there is a constant expansion and contraction between the cosmic and personal scale that gives this work much of its dynamism and tension. It took Silvestrov more than a decade to finish this symphony (his fifth was completed fourteen years earlier) and during those years Silvestrov's wife died suddenly, shortly after he finished the first draft. A sense of loss and remembrance permeates the quieter sections of the symphony, tempering the turbulence and chaos from which these moments seem to arise. [CC]






Just Roll Tape

"So Begins the Task"

The spring of 1968 was a tumultuous time all around the world (the assassination of MLK and major rioting and political upheaval in Europe) and for Stephen Stills personally, as Buffalo Springfield were breaking up and his musical future was up in the air. After he had played on a Judy Collins session, Stills sweet-talked the engineer and put down a few hundred bucks so he could run through and record some new songs he'd written. Some of these songs, including "Helplessly Hoping," "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes," and "Wooden Ships," would later resurface on the first Crosby, Stills & Nash album with a more polished sheen. However, the pure honesty and raw emotion captured on these recordings shed a whole new light on the material, as it focuses on the very essence of the song, and I can't think of a document that better showcases Stills' talents as an incredibly gifted songwriter. Sure, the whole session is a little rough around the edges, complete with tape warble, cracked voices, and the occasional missed chord, but it only adds to the charm and mystique of these takes. Maybe not essential for the casual fan but quite revelatory for the rest of us. [AK]






The Syliphone Years
(Stern's Music)


An essential two-disc compilation by one of Africa's leading dance bands of the '60s and '70s, The Syliphone Years documents the incredibly versatile and innovative Bembeya Jazz National. Bembeya Jazz were a state sponsored orchestra whose existence was a direct result of Guinea's emancipation from French colonial rule of nearly half a century. After winning independence, Guinea's president instituted a broad reaching cultural program that intended to do away with any lingering Gallic influence on the arts. Emphasis was instead placed on local heritage, and musicologists were hired to document the country's contributions to music. Thanks to government largess, countless bands were funded and allowed to contribute to a kind of revolutionary artistic emancipation. The greatest and most influential of these orchestras ended up being Bembeya Jazz National, formed in 1961, and whose success was in no small part due to the extraordinary guitar work of Sekou Diabate, a man whose technique surely ranks as some of the finest ever recorded.

During their heyday Bembeya Jazz never rested on their laurels, indeed the fairly conservative sounding "jazz" in their title is a little misleading. In truth they were highly accomplished at synthesizing numerous influences as they came on to the musical landscape. The first disc in this collection exhibits a strong Cuban influence, and is not that dissimilar to the popular Congolese rumba that was so prevalent in Africa at the time. As the decade progressed so did their arrangements. American funk via Fela Kuti's Afrobeat ended up in the mix, albeit to my ears in a much more radical reworking. While the songs still frequently gallop, by the second disc a sense of melancholy becomes present. The haunting vocals of Demba Camara serve as a spectral counterpoint to Bembeya's complex rhythms and Diabate's hypnotically fluid guitar work. One striking aspect of this collection is that it seems their musicality knew no bounds; included are such breathtaking passages of skill and emotion that they really need to be heard to be believed. Re-released in new packaging with a bonus track. [MK]








"Rich Girls"
"Love Is Colder Than Death"

The hype building around this young NYC band has been growing steadily, and this self-released EP is a solid primer for their upcoming major label debut. Five immediate, wiry pop tunes in the vein of Babyshambles, XTC, Franz Ferdinand and the like.






Trojan Country Reggae Box Set

Trojan continues with the always enjoyable rethinking of their legendary catalog, this time with a triple-long collection of Trojan artists doing reggae versions of country music classics. (It's perhaps a little known fact that American country artists such as Hank Williams and Marty Robbins often shared top billing with the established reggae and R&B on the Jamaican charts in the '60s and '70s.) This excellent and comprehensive box set compiles the best of the Trojan stable's versions and interpretations of country tunes, including tracks by Max Romeo, Skatalites, and many more. The cultural juxtaposition of Dennis Brown rocking "Green, Green Grass of Home" or John Holt doing "Before the Next Teardrop Falls" is superceded by the pure pleasure of great singers enjoying great songs.






Live at Couleur Cafe'
(Crammed Disc)

Absolutely scorching live set by the universally praised Konono No. 1, featuring mostly all-new material, recorded live in Brussels. The Nigerian ensemble's fusion of African roots music and the inimitable electrified thumb piano create an otherworldy and fiery music that is sometimes reminiscent of techno, and at others truly indescribable.







Live At Cafe Monmartre 1966
(ESP Disc)

This is the great "European" quintet that recorded the Togetherness album in '65, with Don Cherry on pocket trumpet, Gato Barbieri on tenor saxophone, Karl Berger on vibraphone, Bo Stief on electric bass, and Aldo Romano playing the drums. A thrilling live set from one of Cherry's most sympathetic ensembles, and the reissue is welcome, to say the least.







The Hilversum Session
(ESP Disc)

A true classic in the Ayler discography, originally recorded as a live Dutch radio session, this is the final recording under his name from one of his greatest bands, with Don Cherry on cornet, Gary Peacock on bass and Sunny Murray on the drums. The communication between these players is unrivaled, as they improvise together in total unison and discordant harmony.






Live At the Blue Note Cafe, Paris 1961
(ESP Disc)

Of the live recordings that ESP released after Powell's untimely death in 1966, this wonderful set from Paris in '61 is a standout, with the pianist enjoying himself in front of an enthusiastic audience backed by Kenny Clarke and local boy Pierre Michelot. A great selection of classics and new classics (quite a few penned by pal Thelonious Monk) still leaves the crowd breathless.






(Dischord Records)

Despite only releasing three songs during their lifetime (on the seminal Dischord comp Flex Your Head), Deadline were a lynchpin of the early DC hardcore scene, featuring future Fugazi drummer Brendan Canty as well as Terry Scanlon, Ray Hare and Christian Caron. Formed in the summer of '81, the band split soon after recording these 11 tracks at Inner Ear Studios, and besides a rare vinyl version on Peterbilt this is the first time these songs have seen the light of day.





La Vache Qui Rit
(Dischord Records)

Rain was a key player in the second wave of the DC punk scene, formed in '86 and hanging on until just around the release of this album in '90. The band consisted of Eli Janney and Scott McCloud (who went on to form Girls Against Boys), Other Music's own Bert Queiroz (the Untouchables, Youth Brigade, Double O, Manifesto, Thunderball, etc.) and John Kirschten. Invigorating post-hardcore thrills.






Beautiful Remixes
(Six Degrees Records)

Six remixes of one of the best tracks from Kale's Broken English album of 2006. The grooves vary from hip-hop to trip-hop to drum 'n' bass and beyond, but always hang on to Kale's rhythmic East Asian melodies and percussion flourishes.
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[CC] Che Chen
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[DH] Duane Harriot
[MK] Michael Klausman
[AK] Andreas Knutsen
[DM] Doug Mosurock
[LR] Linden Renz

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