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   December 18, 2008  
       
   

 

 

     
    We hope we can make your holiday shopping just a little bit easier this year with Other Music gift certificates. They are perfect for that music lover in your life and can be redeemed for purchases made both in the store and off our CD/LP website. You can buy a gift certificate in the shop, or purchase one on-line by going to: www.othermusic.com/giftcertificates.html

We also offer gift certificates for the MP3 download site, in $25, $50 and $100 increments. You can buy them in person at the store or email our shipping department at giftcertificates@othermusic.com


This will be our last regular update of the year, but you can still check our mail order and download websites for new releases, which we'll be posting as they come in. We'll be publishing our staff's personal Top Tens in early 2009, but in case you missed it last week, here's a link to our annual Year End Recap, featuring our top 25 picks for both new albums and reissues. Happy Holidays and thank you for all of your support in 2008!

-All of us at Other Music


 
         
   
       
   
         
 
FEATURED NEW RELEASES
African Pearls (Just In!)
Coconot (El Guincho's Band)
Zomby
Au Revoir Simone
Pavement
Jacob Kirkegaard
Ricardo Villalobos
Loop
Fennesz
Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou
Glass Candy
Tim Hardin
Xela
Murcof
 

Shackleton/Appleblim/Peverelist
Distance
Jean-Pierre Massiera
David Sylvian
David Byrne & Brian Eno
Angel
Charlie Louvin
Vetiver (Single)
B. Fleischmann


VINYL PRESSING
Fennesz (Black Sea)


All of this week's new arrivals.

 
         
   
   
   
   
   
       
   
 
 
DEC Sun 28 Mon 29 Tues 30 Wed 31 Thurs 01 Fri 02 Sat 03



  GOGOL BORDELLO TICKET GIVE AWAY
Eugene Hutz and his band of merry-making gypsy punks will be performing at Webster Hall at the end of the month and Other Music has a pair of tickets up for grabs for their shows on Monday, December 29th and the following night, Tuesday, the 30th! (Their show on the 27th is sold out.) Just send an email to giveaway@othermusic.com, and let us know what date you'd like to enter for. We'll be notifying the two winners this Friday.

MONDAY, DECEMBER 29 & TUESDAY, DECEMBER 30
WEBSTER HALL: 125 East 11th Street NYC

 
   
   
 
 
DEC Sun 28 Mon 29 Tues 30 Wed 31 Thurs 01 Fri 02 Sat 03



  WIN TICKETS TO BLONDE REDHEAD'S NEW YEAR'S EVE SHOW
Ring in 2009 with Blonde Redhead, who will be playing at Terminal 5 on New Year's Eve, along with Islands and Elvis Perkins. Other Music has two pairs of tickets to give away to this special performance! Send an email to tickets@othermusic.com. We'll be notifying the two winners this Friday.

WEDNESDAY, DECEMBER 31
TERMINAL 5: 610 West 56 Street NYC

 
   
   
   
   
   
       
   

 

 

     
 
Guinee 70
$27.99
CDx2

Buy


Mali 70
$27.99
CDx2

Buy

  VARIOUS ARTISTS
African Pearls - Guinee 70: The Discotheque Years
(Syllart)


VARIOUS ARTISTS
African Pearls - Mali 70: Electric Mali
(Syllart)


JUST IN! Two great new regional African compilations from Syllart just arrived on our doorstep, right in time for the weekly update. Both come fully loaded -- two discs crammed with spellbinding and funky sounds, and a nice booklet. The sounds range from hypnotic highlife, funky Afrobeat, gorgeous vocal tracks, and spaced-out, Ethiopiques sounding workouts (especially on the Mali 70 disc.) It's been an amazing year for African reissues, and here are two more!
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$13.99
CD

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$8.99 MP3

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  COCONOT
Cosa Astral
(Bcore)

"Te Tenia En Cinta"
"Polen Muchacha!"

It seems fitting that we end the year with a record by an artist whose last album defined 2008 for Other Music. Coconot is the sublime new band from Pablo Diaz Reixa, a/k/a El Guincho, whose Alegranza took the #1 spot when we compiled this year's favorites. Anyone that got sucked into the sublime tropical rhythms of that album will basically know what to expect here, and that is a great thing. Where Alegranza was constructed mostly of samples, on Cosa Astral, the tropical rhythms are backed up by two other band members. Coconot is slightly more organic in nature, and the group is definitely looser than the El Guincho solo project, but the songs are more immediate and definitely no less potent. Track after track, you'll be out of your seat, chanting along to Pablo's distinctive vocals. It has been a busy year for El Guincho, and to put out another record of such quality simply amazes me. Pablo Diaz Reixa has done it again, and his band Coconot will no doubt have me dancing well into 2009. Now what are you waiting for...click to buy, click to buy! [JS]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$17.99
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$9.99 MP3

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  ZOMBY
Where Were You in '92?
(Werk Discs)

"Get Sorted"
"Fuck Mixing, Let's Dance"

There aren't many good things to say about my English hometown of Walsall. I know everyone moans about where they come from, but in a town that is known more for the diminishing age of its mothers and the amount of blood spilled on a Friday night, it's pretty easy to take a swipe. One claim to fame the haters can't take away from me though is that Goldie came from an estate just up the road from me -- and thanks to his genre-busting tune "Terminator," the hardcore (bear in mind this might be known simply as "rave" in the US, hardcore being more of a Fugazi-linked phenomenon) genre was helped out of the raves and into the hearts and minds of the majority. Well sort of. It morphed its way through the '90s (hello jungle, drum 'n bass, 2step), going in and out of popularity but has remained a resounding source of nostalgic glee for most people my age. Everyone remembers when they first heard the twisted amen breaks which would come to soundtrack their youth, and Where Were You in '92 only serves to reaffirm that heady nostalgia. Sadly, I was a little too young to be sweating my pilled-up man-boobs off in a damp field somewhere (in '92 I was all of eleven years old) but the sounds were still there, still making an impact. It's hardly surprising that this bass-heavy dancefloor-centric sound would make a comeback then, and hardly surprising that the dubstep set have taken it in as their own.

At some point the plodding beats 'n bass of the slowcore sound was gonna get somebody down, so trust Zomby to look to the past to push things forward. Coming from the really very good Werk label (who practically kicked off the whole dubstep thing in the first place with their Grim Dubs series), this album is a celebration of the best of hardcore music, but doesn't simply ape the long-gone genre. By upping the bass weight, Zomby does for hardcore what Burial did for 2-step, creating an album that can be enjoyed just as easily in the home as on the "floor." It's steeped in nostalgia, sure; sirens, hoover bass and sci-fi samples are all checked off the list, but at the same time this doesn't sound quite like any hardcore record I ever bought. The basslines are louder and tighter and there's an understanding of modern urban music that simply hadn't happened yet back in 1992. From the phenomenal Blade Runner-based synth-assault of "Tears in the Rain" to the UK garage-influenced "Need Ur Lovin," this is an album that reads like a documentation of classic British club culture. Just when you think the album couldn't get any better, dragging you through enough fractured breakbeats and wonky piano hooks to drive a DMV clerk to the nearest handful of Mitsubishis, we arrive on "U Are My Fantasy," which manages somehow to blend Baby D's "Let Me Be Your Fantasy" with the theme from Streetfighter 2. Now I remember buying "Let Me Be Your Fantasy" on cassette, and probably listening to it while playing Streetfighter 2... I'm pretty certain nostalgia doesn't get any more on-point than that. A knowledgeable, intricate and, most importantly, an incredibly enjoyable listening experience -- dance music doesn't come much more essential than this. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$11.99
CD

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$9.99 MP3

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  AU REVOIR SIMONE
Reverse Migration
(Our Secret Records)

"I Couldn't Sleep (Darkel remix)"

"Lark (Ruff and Jam remix)"

Au Revoir Simone have established themselves as an important stop on the NYC indie-pop tour by crafting wispy, haunting music that layers vintage keyboards and dreamy vocal harmonies into a lightweight confection that is hard to resist. Sexy and sweet, the group takes a rather twee approach to pop-electronica, with a tinny Casio-style beatbox usually providing the rhythmic accompaniment, but little in the way of real groove. On this limited-edition remix (and tribute) album, self-released with hand-screened covers, their songs are given a new pulse by a diverse group of producers, including Darkel (from Air), Alexis Taylor (from Hot Chip), Pacific!, Keith Murray (from We Are Scientists), Air France, the Teenagers, Ruff and Jam, and many more. There are actually a few cover versions of ARS tunes here, but the real draw is the mixes. For a group so laid back and breathy, of course there are no dancefloor stompers here, but all of the producers seem to focus on upping the rhythmic elements, taking the girls' vocal tracks and the songs' melodic sensibilities and adding a spring, a bounce, and a groove. The results bring some nice diversity to the band's trademarked sound, and without turning the tracks inside out, plumbs the depths of these lovely songs. [JM]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$17.99
CDx2

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  PAVEMENT
Brighten the Corners: Nicene Creedence Edition
(Matador)

"Harness Your Hopes"
"No Tan Lines"

With the Nicene Creedence edition of Brighten the Corners, Matador is just one album away from finishing their deluxe reissue series of one of the most beloved and important bands of the '90s. A majority of Pavement fans, myself included, will cite the group's groundbreaking debut full-length Slanted & Enchanted as their favorite, but the band had a solid discography that followed. Coming off the somewhat erratic, stylistic zigzag of 1995's Wowee Zowee, '97's Brighten the Corners felt unexpectedly polished. Produced by Mitch Easter and Bryce Goggin, the classic rock nods of Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain were uber-present here -- and we're not simply talking about Stephen Malkmus' infamous deadpan query of "What about the voice of Geddy Lee?" in the album's raucous opener, "Stereo." While Pavement's early bursts of obtuse, lo-fi pop had Mark E. Smith proclaiming them "rip-offs," now the group's sound seemed to have more in common with the Grateful Dead than the Fall. It's not that the West Coast vibes hadn't been present in previous releases (after all, Stockton is only 80 or so miles from San Francisco), it's just that we had never heard Pavement so laidback, reflective and, well, accessible. Keep in mind, accessible is a relative term here. Malkmus is as cryptic as ever, offering some of his catchiest yet still head-scratching lyrics to date -- during the breezy "Blue Hawaiian," he delivers lines like "Put the bark in the dog and you've got a guardian / When the capital's S it is followed by a T / and it's probably me" with the cadence of a stoned hip-hopper reciting beat poetry. And of course, there's still plenty of that angular dissonance hovering over the jangly interplay between Malkmus and Spiral Stairs' guitars. Add to this the whimsical pop of "Shady Lane," the urgent rocker "Embassy Row" and the dreamy yearning of "Type Slowly" and "Starlings of the Slipstream," and you get the group's most focused record.

As great as the re-mastered original album sounds, the real reason to pick up this edition is the bonus material; 30-plus b-sides, unreleased tracks, outtakes, live performances and radio sessions are included. Highlights include two versions of "Harness Your Hopes" (the b-side recording from Terror Twilight's "Spit on a Stranger" single and the other from a BBC broadcast in early '97); the hilariously titled, ramshackle guitar jam "Neil Haggerty Meets Jon Spencer in a Non-Alcoholic Bar" and a live performance of their early Slay Tracks EP's "Maybe Maybe" (both recorded in February of '97 on KCRW); Peel Sessions that include great versions of "Fin," "Grave Architecture" and Kannberg's "Date w/ IKEA;" plus covers of the Fall's "The Classical," the Clean's "Oddity" and Echo and the Bunnymen's "The Killing Moon;" not to mention six unreleased songs. Last but not least, there's a 62-page booklet with tons of photos and a Pavement essay by Alex Ross that was originally published in the New Yorker. [GH]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$15.99
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$9.99 MP3

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  JACOB KIRKEGAARD
Labyrinthitis
(Touch)

"Labyrinthitis"
"Labyrinthitis"

Ambient music, even experimental ambient music, all too often gets lumped into a category I like to call audio wallpaper. People buy it because they like to listen while they do other things such as read "informative" lifestyle magazines, write "informative" articles for lifestyle magazines or plagiarize someone else's graphic design for "informative" lifestyle magazines. Even I, on grabbing Labyrinthitis, gave it a spin as I went to sleep, thinking it would be a collection of the most perfect tones to snooze to -- how wrong I was. Touch veteran Jacob Kirkegaard has created a slice of sound art that simply cannot be ignored -- a claustrophobic and at times totally stifling forty-minutes of chiming tones which are allegedly gleaned from the human inner ear. Apparently when certain tonal ratios are played into each ear, a third tone is created and this was the basis for Kirkegaard's aural studies (maybe; you read the press release and work it out). It's hard to explain listening to the finished piece (which is made from detailed recordings of said tones) but the sensation it gives is rather odd. It's impossible to ignore -- at all times you're aware of the piece playing and although beautiful in its construction, when taken merely at face value there's definitely something going on that you're not totally aware of. While trying to sleep I couldn't disengage from the music; I was constantly connected to its wavering synthetic tones and this was a rather disorientating experience. Listening later on high volume it was more clear what was happening but no less impossible to ignore and no less arresting. An important and surprising piece of music, I'm hardly surprised it's on the Touch label who prove yet again that they can't put a foot wrong. Excellent stuff. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$17.99
CD

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  RICARDO VILLALOBOS
Vasco
(Perlon)

"Minimoonstar (Full Session)"
"Electronic Water"

Well I'll be damned, Ricardo Villalobos made an ambient record, and SURPRISE -- it's great. Vasco has the minimal auteur trying on a slightly different pair of shoes, stripping the pulse back a bit in exchange for more atmosphere (which is simultaneously saying a lot and not much for someone whose rhythm tracks were thick atmospheric jungles to begin with). There's still plenty of fluttering, shifting clusters of tickertape percussions on display, but this time out they're attached to thick clouds of flange and synth lines that evoke nothing so much as Amber/Incunabula-era Autechre(!!) and that classic early- to mid-'90's Warp sound, when all of its superstars were still tethered to electro and hip-hop roots. Villalobos replaces that here with more of a minimal samba/Latin freestyle vibe, and comes off with a record that feels like a move into new directions without sacrificing the familiarity of his sonic landscape. Four tracks in just over an hour -- that adds up to some serious listening, but headphones serve these jams well. Give this one some time and it'll grow on you. Like any record worth holding on to, its charms and eccentricities reveal themselves over multiple listens. [IQ]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 
Heaven's End
$15.99
CDx2

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$7.99 MP3

Buy




Fade Out
$15.99
CD

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$7.99 MP3

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  LOOP
Heaven's End
(Reactor)

"Heaven's End"
"Soundhead (Peel Session)"


LOOP
Fade Out
(Reactor)

"Fever Knife"
"Collision"

2008 will definitely be remembered as the year that shoegaze returned to prominence, with box sets and reissues from the likes of the Jesus and Mary Chain, Swervedriver, Spacemen 3 and the Telescopes, not to mention the reunion tours of My Bloody Valentine and the aforementioned JAMC and Swervedriver. Now the long out-of-print reissues of two of the most important records of their time finally see the light of day. Here we have Loop's first two albums, lovingly re-mastered with bonus discs chock full of Peel Sessions and outtakes. Heaven's End was Loop's debut album and it is surprising how current it sounds. Without this record there would probably be no Dead Meadow or other contemporary 'gazers, as these bands owe just as much to the London group as they do to the MC5. Loop turned the guitars up to 11 with a wall of fuzz guitar, wah-wah and feedback that blew minds in the late '80s and is sure to do the same today. A song like "Straight to Your Heart" is a shoegaze anthem and is just as essential as any My Bloody Valentine track. At the time, however, Loop never got their due and were overshadowed by the likes of Spacemen 3.


The group's second full-length, Fade Out is another gem and is just as good as the debut. The album picked up right where Heaven's End left off, only Fade Out was a little heavier. When album opener "Black Sun" finally kicks in, the guitars swirl, the drums pound, and Robert Hampson's vocals sound genuinely pissed off. Maybe the constant labeling by the British music press got to him, or maybe he had just got out of a tumultuous relationship, but either way he is angry and it shows. From then on out this record kicks you in the butt, and just doesn't stop. Though somewhat forgotten in recent years, these truly are two of the most essential albums of the late '80s and both are a must for any shoegaze or psychedelic music fan! Essential? Absolutely!! (Both double CD sets are on sale for a very limited time.) [JS]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$17.99
LP

Buy

  FENNESZ
June
(Table of the Elements)

It was always an ambitious project -- limited one-sided vinyl celebrating the humble guitar; but as a celebration of the wonderful Table of the Elements label's 15th anniversary it couldn't have been more fitting. The artists they've brought into the fold have been a veritable who's who of experimental guitar music, so it seems righteous that they should conclude the epic series with a contribution from the God of processed guitar, Mr. Christian Fennesz. Save the best 'til last they say and indeed despite stunning efforts from David Daniell and Belong, the Fennesz disc is without a doubt the icing on an already delicious Victoria sponge. "June" is a gorgeous piece of long-form drone showing in one side of vinyl exactly what the legendary producer is capable of. Delicate, carefully measured soundscapes trip and tumble over expertly manipulated guitar strings, rattling and hissing around hints at beauty yet to come. Eventually the able Austrian bundles us into a shimmering world of almost Cocteau Twins-like perfection, with echoing guitar chords leaving emotional dents in the digital crackle of his laptop. In a perfect world all music would be this beautiful... [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$22.99
CD

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  ORCHESTRE POLY-RYTHMO DE COTONOU
Vodoun Effect
(Analog Africa)

"Mi Homlan Dadale"
"Assibavi"

Analog Africa comes through yet again with this superlative compilation of jams from Orchestre Poly-Rythmo de Cotonou, an oft-overlooked band from Benin who recorded some incredible sides for small, obscure African labels in the early 1970s, the best of which are collected here for the first time for Western ears. The sound is taut and electric, with organ- and sax-led grooves arising from the skittering beats and heavy, swinging basslines -- funk in the truest sense of the word, the kind of stuff most crate diggers spend lifetimes of dust sorting through to find. Electric guitars ring out, buzzing and humming with chicken-scratch lines as the vocals are sung with a solid, more assured tone than many of the usual suspects tend to muster. I'm consistently amazed at how much care goes into the making of these collections for Analog Africa, and this is no exception -- included is a massive 44-page booklet with a history of the group and of the label owner's story in getting these tracks out to Western ears. Chock full of photos, sleeve repros, and assorted other memorabilia, its attention to detail is a sad rarity that should also be commended. The music, though, does a fine job in speaking to the listener, though, if you aren't moved in some way by the sounds of this collection, something doesn't equate. This is a MUST for Afrobeat fans, funk fans, and pretty much anyone that digs anything from our Groove or International sections. [IQ]
 
         
   
   
   
   

 

 

     
 

$12.99
CD

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  GLASS CANDY
Deep Gems
(Italians Do It Better)

"Poison or Remedy"
"Soft Boundaries"

They might have shot to alt-popularity in a cloud of cheap mascara and cheaper cocaine, but Portland hipster outfit Glass Candy are really far better than their reputation might suggest. The brainchild of super-producer Johnny Jewel, they did what has been a staple of the cynical music industry since its inception -- stick a cute girl up front and wait for the dollars to roll in, and in this particular scene it really does feel apt. Mysterious blonde Ida No (I'm guessing that ain't her real name, unless her parents were pally with Marc Bolan) fronts the duo and howls arty nonchalance with a limited range and effortless charm reminiscent of a pre-burnout Debbie Harry. The Blondie connection doesn't stop there either; Jewel's production is firmly rooted in the past, from cheesy cop films to Italian prog to the most disco-centric Chris Stein would allow the group to get -- even the duo's first album jumped on Debbie Harry's notorious Warhol session. So, I hear you ask, why should you not simply pop down to the local thrift store and pick up Parallel Lines? Well Glass Candy bring a boatload of lo-fi DIY charm into the mix -- maybe this is from doing time in Cascadia or maybe it's from Jewel's far-reaching knowledge, but at times it genuinely feels like they're doing very much their own thing. Jewel might also be behind the similarly fantastic Chromatics, but Glass Candy are a grimy, decadent, infected and difficult-to-resist stain to Chromatics' polished charm. They make dance music, but this is dance music for a club of fifteen half-awake junkies, not the kind of Euro-centric pap we've been subjected to for the last twenty years. Deep Gems rounds up the band's singles and B-sides making this quite the collection of tracks for any budding DJ out there. B/E/A/T/B/O/X may have been their darker, listening record but Deep Gems is unashamedly focused on pure disco. There's even a cover of Isaac Hayes' "Geto Boys" which proves that while skinny, white and bunking down in Portland, there's still more than enough funk to go around the GC studio. It's like "Rapture" all over again. Completists among you will no doubt have a bunch of these tracks already, but it's nice to have them bundled together in one place finally, and the album makes for a surprisingly cohesive listening experience. Through the stifling haze of dry ice and cigarette smoke there's a vulnerable beating heart that's just waiting to be broken. How can you possibly resist? [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$15.99
CD

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  TIM HARDIN
1
(Water)

"Green Rocky Road"
"Ain't Gonna Do Without"

Simply one of the greatest and most moving American folk albums of the 1960s, the debut album by troubled singer-songwriter Tim Hardin finally gets a proper U.S. release. He was a genius songwriter whose career was sabotaged by any number of personal demons, not least of which was a decades-long heroin addiction he had picked up as a young man while in the U.S. Marine Corp. You've no doubt heard his compositions before, just a partial list of people who have covered his songs would include Scott Walker, Nico, Echo and the Bunnymen, the Small Faces, Johnny Cash, Gandalf, Paul Weller, and most recently Okkervill River, whose songwriter Will Sheff wrote a very eloquent appreciation and must read piece on Hardin for Said the Gramophone. 1 was released in 1966 by Verve Forecast after an aborted album with Columbia, and a good deal of it is comprised of demos since Hardin wasn't happy with the session's over-production and string arrangements. As such it has a very intimate and personal feel, very homespun and starkly emotional. Sheff compares its impact as being akin to that of the work of Nick Drake, a comparison that usually makes me cringe, but I think that there is probably no other American singer-songwriter for whom such an association would be as appropriate. It's difficult to think of many songwriters who were so capable of succinctly encapsulating such a level of personal candor and honesty about their failing and longings as Tim Hardin was able to in his songs. A true masterpiece, I've worn down at least three copies of this LP over the years and can't imagine not returning to it again and again. [MK]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$15.99
CD

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$9.99 MP3

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  XELA
In Bocca Al Lupo
(Type)

"In Deo Salutari Meo"
"Beatae Immortalitatis"

Xela's John Twells wears many hats -- he's a writer, musician, label honcho, and even an Other Music Update contributor. If I didn't know the man personally, I'd think him to be a pretty sick bastard, but thankfully I can say for the record that he's a complete teddy bear (ha!!). You'd be hard pressed to discern that from even a cursory listen to his new release on Type -- it's a deep, dark, damp album of purely evil ambience. Digital fires crackle, distant bells ominously toll, and thick fogs of drone completely consume this record; it's pretty damn close to what I'd imagine a man hears alone in the woods the night before he's eaten to death, much like the poor bearded sap on the album's cover. The record is creepy as hell and all the more beautiful and better for it. It's not easy to make successful ambient music which works both as atmospheric aural wallpaper and as a highly detailed, intricate listening experience; Twells pulls it off with marvelous aplomb and manages to both soothe and unsettle me. Do not listen to this in the dark... something will kill you. Nice work, John! [IQ]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$13.99
CD

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  MURCOF
Versailles Sessions
(Leaf)

"Louis XIV's Demons"
"Welcome to Versailles"

This record nearly knocked me out of my seat at every turn. I sat down to listen to this expecting more of the spacey dubstep with cello and violin drones that made last year's Cosmos one of the most underrated dubstep releases of an oversaturated and over-hyped year in the genre. I was getting sick and tired of the Burial paradigm being blundered, grime albums without the technical supervision, and minimal techno artists forsaking the dub for the step. Within that foray, Murcof emerged as one of few artists to produce a dubstep album that sounded fresh and worth your time. Admittedly, this is because the music was barely within the confines of the genre.

Even with Murcof's progressive resume' dating back to 2002's tremendous Martes, The Versailles Sessions floored me. The album somehow wraps up Iannis Xenakis, COH, Kode 9, and Machinefabriek under a Matmos-esque thematic concentration on 17th century baroque classical impressions. Apologies for lamely throwing a handful of names at you, but they seem to validate connections to grandiose electro-acoustics, strings with microbeats, successfully edgy dub, swirling drone, and dissertation worthy concept albums. Add to that a mezzo-soprano and we are in the ballpark. And yes, this album warrants each reference.

Fernando Corona's sampling of harpsichords and fifes somehow fit with distressing ease into his ornate modern classical electronica. I listened to this album with both attentive and gleeful, childish enthusiasm, giggling at samples of baroque fife and viola de gamba, bobbing to the beat of throbbing bass and microbeats, and shaking my head at the boggling mastery of an electronic maestro making the most out of a staggering installation of sound and light featured at this year's Les Grandes Eaux Nocturnes at the Chateau de Versailles. Corona's songs matched the visuals of giant disco balls splashing into water. This is the musical linchpin of an anachronistic modern display within the context of the audacious monument to Louis XIV's absolute monarchy. Most assuredly recommended for all halfway interested in any name this blurb mentions, and even for those not. [BCa]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$22.99
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  SHACKLETON / APPLEBLIM / PEVERELIST
Soundboy's Gravestone Gets Desecrated by Vandals
(Skull Disco)

"The Rope Tightens"
"Death Is Not Final"

The renowned Skull Disco label brings forth Volume Two in its 2CD compilations of 12" cuts and remixes, this time centered around label head Shackleton (as always) but also notably featuring contributions by UK dubstep producers Appleblim and Peverelist. It's those tracks which, for my money, make this a dubstep must-own and possibly even a step up from the previous collection; there's a bounce here that Volume One seemed to lack (as much as I love it), with Shackleton's cuts loosening and limbering up a bit without losing the sonic trademarks that make his beats so appealing. Many of Appleblim and Peverelist's cuts have been featured in the superlative Dubstep Allstars mix CD series, and it's wonderful to have them compiled here in unmixed form (finally!!). The second disc features remixes by the likes of DJ/Rupture, Pole, Geiom, Bass Clef, and Perevelist himself. This one's overflowing with killer cuts, and is highly recommended to anyone who was feeling Rupture's Uproot mix CD from a few weeks back, any of the more ambitious dubstep productions coming out these days, and of course, to any Skull Disco fan. Play this monster LOUD!! [IQ]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$17.99
CDx2

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$21.99 LPx3

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$9.99 MP3

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  DISTANCE
Repercussions
(Planet Mu)

"Out of Mind"
"Repercussions"

Greg Sanders (a/k/a Distance) is a mainstay of the South London dubstep scene, DJ'ing on Rinse FM and BBC Radio 1, and even winning a public poll for dubstep album of the year with My Demons, his 2007 debut. His unique brand of production is a progressive marriage of the genre's steady stride with the haunting elements and crisp drum sounds of dark metal. What really sets him apart from others in the scene, however, is his attention to detail. From the low-end thumps and high-end washes, to the eerie synthesizer choruses, ambient crackles and movie clip samples, each and every sound falls right into place. But his music is also surprisingly filled with nice melodic passages and thematic moments. The title of his sophomore full-length for Planet Mu, Repercussions, is fitting, as it's within the beats, percussion, and bass that he is most focused. The atmosphere and sense of tension at times reminds me of the same plateau that dark metal bands like Sunn O))) and Boris reach for; it may be hard to picture, but just imagine these groups stripped of their guitars and only given a laptop and a couple of bass bins to construct their jams. Distance brings a dark and solid, open yet thick foundation to the electronic arena, and it actually makes me nostalgic for the metal kids who used to love drum 'n' bass. The two genres are not that far removed, and this is a great example of how the influence of one can inspire the other. The CD version comes with a bonus disc that features a full album's worth of tracks released on his own Chestplate imprint which goes even deeper into heavier, melodic riffs territory, with chopped guitar and gravely synths. The extra material is actually pretty accessible, and while the proper album isn't designed for the dance floor, the second CD demonstrates how his formula could work in a club environment. Repercussions is one of the heaviest electronic records I've heard all year. Recommended for those that like their dub dark and their step heavy! [DG]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$16.99
CD

Buy

  MF DOOM
Operation Doomsday
(Metal Face)

"The Finest (feat. Tommy Gunn)"
"Dead Bent"

This 1999 debut album from Daniel Dumile under his MF Doom guise is a bona fide hip-hop classic, but in order to fully grasp how special this record is, one has to look at the circumstances in which it was created. Before there was Doom, there was KMD, a trio that featured Zev Love X (Dumile) and his brother Subroc. KMD's debut, Mr. Hood, was a hip-hop masterpiece and its slated follow-up, Black Bastards, was just as good. But then tragedy struck. Subroc was struck by a car and killed while crossing the street on the eve of their second album's release. To make matters worse, two weeks after his death, their label dropped the group and the record was shelved indefinitely. Dumile's Doom persona was borne out of that harrowing experience. Adapting the name of a Marvel Comics supervillain, MF Doom sought to "take revenge on an industry that dishonored his deceased brother and almost destroyed him and hip-hop." Originally released as a vinyl-only pressing on the tiny Fondle 'Em label, Doomsday was an extraordinary concept album and a lesson in musical economy. Utilizing unorthodox slow-jam samples of Sade, Anita Baker, James Ingram, Steely Dan, the Beatles and Saturday morning cartoons, Doom constructed dense, conceptual rhymes, offset by the silky smooth nature of the beats. It was miles away from the Diddy-dominated party hip-pop tunes permeating throughout mainstream hip-hop. This album, along releases from Quasimoto, Slum Village and Anti-Pop Consortium defined hip-hop for me in '99. Ten years and a Madvillain album later, we see that Doom ultimately got his revenge! [DH]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 
Freakoid
$15.99
CD

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Discoid
$15.99
CD

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  JEAN-PIERRE MASSIERA
Freakoid 1963 to 1978
(Mucho Gusto)


JEAN-PIERRE MASSIERA
Discoid 1976 to 1981
(Mucho Gusto)

Man oh man, are you people in for a treat here. Jean-Pierre Massiera was an outstanding producer best known for his record as Les Maledictus Sound, quite possibly the most intense, brain-scrambling library music record put down on wax. These two unbelievable compilations state his case in all of their unhinged, acid-damaged glory. Over the course of these CDs, Massiera is deeply eclectic and almost dizzying as he cuts up and reconfigures elements of go-go, surf, acid rock, electro, disco and, of course, musique conctete. Like Pierre Henry & Michel Colombier's infamous collaboration Messe Pour Le Temps Present, in which Henry cut up and essentially "remixed" Colombier's ye-ye pop grooves with highly-discordant blasts of tape noise, this is that concept pushed quite possibly as far as it could go. The first volume is subtitled Freakoid and focuses on his 1960s go-go/ye-ye period, with tracks centered around the swinging, groovy, twist- and frug-inducing beat you Decadanse fans know so well, while volume two, subtitled Discoid, comprises pieces recorded in the late '70s/early '80s and whose anchor is, of course, the four-on-the-floor disco beat. There's so much going on here that after weeks of hearing these, I'm STILL digesting all of the details, all of the insanity, and all of the fun these tracks offer the listener. The booklets are chock full of info, with sleeve repros and bios on our mad scientist, and the tracklistings on both are filed with completely off-base covers and plundered versions of songs both familiar and slightly obscure. These discs are a must own for fans of Gainsbourg/ye-ye pop, Pierre Henry's more outre moments, Giorgio Moroder, library music, the whole Mutant Disco (Not) Disco spectrum, and pretty much anything that combines the damage of drugs with the damage of pop. These compilations are the essence of the Decadanse section of our store, nicely concentrated and spread over two CDs. These bad boys are probably my picks of the week -- don't sleep, kids!! [IQ]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$16.99
CD

Buy

  DAVID SYLVIAN
When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima
(
Samadhisound)

"When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima"
"When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima"

When Loud Weather Buffeted Naoshima is an art installation piece from '80s survivor David Sylvian and really a very good one at that. The problem with "art music" is that it's usually incredibly boring, but that can't be said here. Made up of field recordings and contributions from an enviable band of friends (Akira Rabelais, Christian Fennesz and Arve Henriksen to name but three), Sylvian weaves together a seventy-minute patchwork of ambient shimmer. The best way of describing the record is that it sounds like some kind of ferry ride to a wintry grave -- water crashes, wind howls, and distant bells and foghorns echo in the distance. At times, ghostly voices whisper and instruments drift and drone but never allow us to fall into a "tune" or that which might be mistaken for actual music. This is an expertly sculpted piece and while it doesn't feature the kind of vocal laments Sylvian might be best known for, it is nevertheless an intriguing and haunting piece of work. The perfect soundtrack to these long winter nights... [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$15.99
CD

Buy

  DAVID BYRNE & BRIAN ENO
Everything That Happens Will Happen Today
(Todomundo)

"I Feel My Stuff"
"Strange Overtones"

Brian Eno and David Byrne rekindle a longstanding creative partnership with this, their first new collaboration in years and one of 2008's best pop records. Eno handles the musical arrangements and Byrne's responsible for the lyrics and vocals (as well as a bit of guitar), and boy oh boy, is it a winner. The boys claim the overarching theme here ended up becoming a modern interpretation of gospel/devotional music with a bit of folk overtones. They aren't too far off the mark in their description, as Byrne's vocals are consistently uplifting and assured in tone, even tender at times. He's never sounded better and more at ease, and the result is quite beautiful considering the screwed-up turmoil our world is enduring these days. Eno's arrangements are some of his strongest in ages, and without question a step up from his rather lacking recent forays into songcraft. These two have managed to constantly refuel their creative flow over the years because they seem to understand one another's strengths and how to let those strengths shine through. It's also great to hear them move in new directions rather than attempt to rehash the wheels they've reinvented more than once in their careers already. This is the sound of two masters loosening up and simply having fun making music together, and as a result it's a highlight of both of their respective (and respected) discographies. One of the most beautiful records of 2008, and without a doubt one of my Top Ten records of the year. [IQ]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$17.99
CD

Buy

$9.99 MP3

Buy

  ANGEL
Hedonism
(Editions Mego)

"Unknown Dawn"
"Unsymmetric Distance"

Although the band's debut album Kalmukia was only released last year, Hedonism is in fact made up of earlier recordings from Angel. So early that cellist Hildur Gudnadottir had not even joined the group yet, making these recordings a collaboration between Pan Sonic's Ilpo Vaisanen and Schneider TM's Dirk Dresselhaus. This isn't a bad thing either, and although Gudnadottir's cello formed the backbone of Kalmukia, Hedonism is a much more electronic beast, bringing to mind the best of Mego's estimable back catalogue. The Pan Sonic connection can be heard loud and clear, and through a series of short, quick-firing tracks, Vaisanen and Dresselhaus create deep, dark metallic electronic soundtracks. Somewhere in-between the burnout punk noise of the US scene and the laptop tomfoolery of the European noiseniks, the duo establish themselves quickly as neither one nor the other with blasts of unexpected noise lying over delicately produced hums and creaks. Before long we're ushered into the album's jaw-dropping centerpiece, the twenty-minute-long "Mirrorworld" -- a simply gorgeous, dense work of rolling analogue drones slowly building into chattering white noise. No doubt it will get compared to Sunn O))) and eMego's own KTL, but this music is firmly rooted in the electronic tradition, and does the music's forefathers proud. Fans of Pan Sonic, Fennesz and Pita take note -- Hedonism is far more than a dip into Angel's archives; it is a blackened journey into crystalline alien degradation. Fantastic stuff. [JT]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$13.99
CD

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$9.99 MP3

Buy

  CHARLIE LOUVIN
Sings Murder Ballads and Disaster Songs
(Tompkins Square)

"Wreck of the Old 97"
"My Texas Girl"

Charlie Louvin's release schedule has ramped up to overdrive, with his second album this year, truly remarkable for a man in his 80s. As one of the few honest-to-goodness country legends, however, it is somewhat reassuring to see him jumping back in with both feet, putting out records in a slightly less precious, old-timey style. Charlie Louvin Sings Murder Ballads and Disaster Songs is a perfect vehicle for his somewhat diminished vocal prowess, giving his worn, gravelly voice much to be broken-down about, and adding a depth of wisdom and sadness to these tragic tales. Louvin tackles well-known classics like "Dark as a Dungeon" and "Wreck of the Old 97," and more obscure numbers, and with production from Mark Nevers and a great group of musicians including Andrew Bird, Lambchop's William Tyler, BR5-49's Chris Scruggs and many other fine players, the album is a joy, if a sad, sad joy. [JM]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$5.99
45

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$1.99 MP3

Buy

  VETIVER
Hey Doll Baby / Miles Apart
(Gnomonsong)

"Hey Doll Baby"

On quite the covers kick this year, folk ensemble Vetiver deliver the single for the lively, fan favorite cover of the Everly Brothers' "Hey Doll Baby" (from More of the Past) packaged nicely with a stunning b-side. Their rendition of A.R. Kane's lilting, jangly dream-pop "Miles Apart" showcases, beyond the obvious musical dexterity of Andy Cabic and company or the charming songsmithery of the UK duo's original, Vetiver's intuitive selection of songs to remake. It's definitely a worthy purchase for the B-side alone, but both tracks are absurdly catchy. Perhaps the one drawback to this 7" is that it's not another 12", but I guess there is such a thing as too many covers records. [MH]
 
         
   
   

 

 

     
 

$15.99
CD

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$9.99 MP3

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  B. FLEISCHMANN
Angst Is Not a Weltanschauung
(Morr Music)

"Last Time We Met at a T&TT Concert"
"Playtime"

Avid followers of the Morr Music label will no doubt treat Bernard Fleischmann like an old friend by now. His debut, Poploops for Breakfast emerged from the then-fledgling label like a breath of fresh air, and since then Fleischmann has contributed regular additions to Morr's ever-growing catalog. Angst Is Not a Weltanschauung is his latest record and waves goodbye to his patented Groovebox sound, taking a more pop-centric route in the process. We've heard Fleischmann sing before, but not with quite the same confidence as this, and when he duets with Marilies Jagsch on "24.12" he sounds finally at ease with the sparring styles he has so long tried to combine. The electronic elements are still key to Fleischmann's overall sound, but rather than an electronica album, Angst sounds like a pop record which makes good use of its electronic elements, from the skittering beats of "Playtime" to the light synthesizer processes on "Still See You Smile." Most interesting is Fleischmann's odd pairing of Daniel Johnston's "King Kong" and "Phones and Machines" from his previous record, The Humbucking Coil -- something that shouldn't really work, but ends up being far more worthwhile than most "mashups" tend to be. Johnston's charming coos lend themselves rather well to Fleischmann's hiccupping electronics, and makes me wonder what a full-length collaboration between the two might sound like. Overall, Angst is an absorbing collection of tracks; warm, comforting and perfect for the winter months -- remember though that a Fleischmann is not just for Christmas. [JT]
 
         
   
       
   

 

 

     
 

$15.99
LP

Buy

$15.99 CD

Buy

$9.99 MP3

Buy

  FENNESZ
Black Sea
(Touch)

"Glide"
"Saffron Revolution"

Now on LP! Here's what we said about the CD version:

Well my word, the new Fennesz album is finally upon us and after months of speculation and precious few promo copies, I have finally had the chance to sit back and take it all in. I must admit, the first time I heard it I wasn't sure what to think -- sitting in the Other Music HQ listening through computer speakers didn't do the album a world of justice. Could it have been that Christian Fennesz, the savior of electronic music, had failed in making an ample follow-up to his breakthrough album Venice? Thankfully no, Black Sea is a subtle, quiet and measured record, every bit the follow-up we needed, and with absolutely none of the fanfare you might expect from an artist with such a dedicated fan base. It is a record which demands your absolute attention, be it from sitting in front of a good pair of speakers or soaking it in through headphones. When I finally gave the album the attention it had been craving, it was not long before I was convinced that Fennesz had again crafted a record worthy of his good name, a record which manages to be markedly different from its predecessor but carries the same emotional and harmonic weight that made him so popular in the first place.

We drift calmly through the album's first few tracks -- soft, measured field recordings blended with restrained string-work. This is not the epic guitar manipulation we heard on the artist's previous works, rather Fennesz has taken a far more orchestral route, and the opening pieces lead us slowly and very softly into the album's centerpiece, the crushingly beautiful "Glide." Possibly the most gorgeous track to fall from the Austrian's battered laptop, this takes the noise aesthetic he has honed so well and pits it against the most gorgeous cascading strings, using the guitar merely to punctuate slightly the lilting harmonies. As "Glide" comes to a calming close we are treated to "Vacuum," Christian Fennesz's answer to Brian Eno's seminal "An Ending (Ascent)" -- all hauntingly beautiful synthesized pads pointing mournfully to somewhere special, the kind of track you can fall back on when the rest of the world fails you. Then it all slips into place. Black Sea is more than just a title, the music becomes the sea; rising and falling, drifting slowly and crashing down violently. It bubbles and oozes, allowing distant melodies to soak through layers of froth and surf. As the eerily melodic droplets of sound herald the conclusion of "Glass Ceiling," we are brought into the album's devastating finale with "Saffron Revolution." Building from a mere tickle of strings we are pushed headfirst into the kind of harmonic electronic assault Fennesz is best known for: all density and blissful noise. Maybe this is the kind of sound My Bloody Valentine would have made if Kevin Shields had fallen in love with Max/MSP rather than his collection of pedals. It's clich├ęd to reference, the shoegaze genre, but that's really the only time that pure harmony and thick, dense noise have been combined to such a crushing degree. To put it simply, Black Sea is Fennesz's most mature, most delicate album to date, and possibly his most beautiful. It might not have the instant sugar-rush of Venice but this is a record that rewards the patient listener, and I have a feeling the rewards will keep coming for months to come. [JT]
 
         
   
       
   
   
   
 
   
       
   
         
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THIS WEEK'S CONTRIBUTORS

[BCa] Brian Cassidy
[DG] Daniel Givens
[GH] Gerald Hammill
[MH] Molly Hamilton
[DH] Duane Harriott
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[MK] Michael Klausman
[JM] Josh Madell
[JS] Jeremy Sponder
[JT] John Twells








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