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  July 18, 2013  
David Lynch
Soft Metals
Kirin J Callinan
Algebra Suicide
Gauntlet Hair
Caetano Veloso
Irma Thomas
Psyche / BFC
The xx - Limited 7"
Atoms for Peace - Limted12"

Kevin Drumm
Gold Panda
White Fence

Dennis Johnson

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JUL Sun 21 Mon 22 Tues 23 Wed 24 Thurs 25 Fri 26 Sat 27

This Sunday, Copenhagen's Indians (the nom de plume of Soren Lokke Juul) returns to New York City, touring on the strength of the excellent debut full-length, Somewhere Else, out now on 4AD. We're giving away a pair of tickets to see the band who will be performing in Brooklyn at the Knitting Factory, and to enter for your chance to win, send an email to tickets@othermusic.com.

KNITTING FACTORY: 361 Metropolitan Ave. BKLN

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

Director Philip Harder has been filming Low since their formation in the early '90s, and for Low Movie (How to Quit Smoking), he has reassembled all of his 16mm negatives including a wealth of old material and outtakes, much of which has never been seen before, even by band members Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker. This career-spanning documentary of the iconic group will be screening at the Lincoln Center on Monday, July 29, and we've got a pair of passes to offer to one of our Update readers. Email giveaway@othermusic.com for your chance to win.


AUG Sun 18 Mon 19 Tues 20 Wed 21 Thurs 22 Fri 23 Sat 24

Over the course of three full-lengths and a handful of EPs, Julianna Barwick has been captivating listeners with gorgeous, transportive soundscapes crafted from hazy layers and loops of her voice and ethereal washes of instrumentation. With a new home on the Dead Oceans label, her forthcoming album, Nepenthe, is absolutely stunning and on the night of its release, Tuesday, August 20, Barwick will be performing a special concert at NYC's historic Judson Memorial Church. Other Music is offering our Update subscribers a chance to win a pair of tickets to the show by emailing enter@othermusic.com. We'll be picking two winners who will also receive an autographed poster and a copy of her new CD.

JUDSON MEMORIAL CHURCH: 55 Washington Square South, NYC
$16 dollar tickets available at Other Music

Other Music's summer Monday residency at New York City's Ace Hotel continues through to the end of August! During these next few months, you'll find a different member of our staff DJing their favorite records and countless varieties of music inside the gorgeous lobby bar every Monday evening from 8pm to midnight, and we hope you'll come and join us as we shake off those dog days that are finally here. So mark your calendar: Other Music's Summer DJ Residency at Ace Hotel, every Monday in June, July and August. Here's the schedule:

7/22 - Andreas Knutsen
7/29 - Scott Mou
8/05 - Amanda Chouette
8/12 - Chris Pappas
8/19 - Ryan Naideau
8/26- Ning Nong

ACE HOTEL: 20 W. 29th St. NYC
8:00pm to Midnight | Facebook Event Page





$13.99 CD
$26.99 LPx2+MP3

The Big Dream
(Sacred Bones)

"The Big Dream"
"Ballad of Hollis Brown"

David Lynch is no stranger to causing a commotion via his impressive body of work; over the course of thirty years and counting, he's made some of the most unique, striking films in American cinema, drafted comic strips for alternative press publications, and he has even brewed his own brand of coffee. For some reason, though, his relationship with music has continually (and inappropriately) been regarded as some sort of novelty; this attitude is wholly ridiculous, as Lynch has always demonstrated as sharp an ear as he has a watchful, detailed eye. He's written lyrics and produced records by the iconic Julee Cruise, and has continued with projects over his career that, despite not placing his name at the top of the marquee, have each extended his vision in sonic form with impressive aplomb. Yes, I'm a fan, and yes, I very much enjoy his music as much as I do his films.

The Big Dream continues and refines the approach that Lynch widely demonstrated on the divisive Crazy Clown Time, but where that album seemed a bit scattershot and more overtly experimental in its approach, this one feels more unified. The music here actually returns to the more lush, twilight-painted atmospheres of the records Lynch made with Julee Cruise and Angelo Badalamenti, but this time infused with the same DNA strands of warped industrial blues that he so loves on Clown Time and the Chrysta Bell album. Lynch sounds more confident as a performer than he ever has before, and his vocals, while still a potential point of contention to some, are strong in their fragility, telling stories of the same warped everymen that have been the glue to his ouvre since his beginnings.

He's always favored texture over melody (and the same could easily be said for his film work as well), but what's important to note is that these are NOT atonal smears; on the contrary, Lynch creates rather beautiful tapestries of quite listenable songform in which the tunes don't fully hit you until later, with his guitar work in particular taking on a gorgeous, powerful, and important role throughout. He's utilizing the format of the blues and subverting it into his own vision, like he has done with love stories, road movies, and even documentaries. Lynch is a studied, admitted non-musician in much the same way that Brian Eno has been for the entirety of his own career, and both of these autodidacts work with songform in similar ways; they break down and deconstruct the popular song with the utmost respect and wide-eyed awe for the medium, tearing up the rulebook as they read it and in the process creating something that is wholly their own. Now that the novelty of Lynch making solo albums has worn off, The Big Dream is to be applauded, as it's a gorgeous album that could be made by no one else. Three cheers to Sacred Bones for delivering one of the most surprising and satisfying records of the year. [IQ]




$13.99 CD
$14.99 LP+MP3


(Captured Tracks)

 "Tell Me"
 "No Turning Back"

With Soft Metals' second full-length, Lenses, it's overwhelmingly clear that the duo of keyboardist/programmer Ian Hicks and singer Patricia Hall have mastered their field. On their eponymous 2011 debut album, the glistening, synth-based dance tracks combined with Hall's lush and distant vocals formed a captivating genre-crossing listen that caught the attention of many synth-pop fans. After moving from Portland to LA, the band began to write music for their sophomore album, and with Lenses, Soft Metals display meticulous craft, with intricate love songs that tug at the heart as they push towards the dance floor. The songs' compositions are generally similar to those on the debut; warpy, sustained notes support analog-synth staccato loops, into which Hall's seductive and breathy vocals are delicately woven. The ethereal love songs on this full-length thrive on her angelic voice, with lyrics like "In your arms, my troubles don't find me/ in your arms I find my fantasy." The album as a whole evokes a state of pure and uninterrupted ecstasy in the sky. Even songs like "Tell Me," full of eerie and menacing notes, demonstrate Soft Metals' ability to blissfully hypnotize the listener through constant synth loops and entrancing distant vocals. The album closes with "Interobserver," nearly eight minutes of repetitive synthesizer patterns with a spooky but peaceful melody that creeps in and out about halfway through. The constant repetition on the song -- and album -- is bold, as it risks losing the listener's attention, but with nearly every track on Lenses, Soft Metals manage to captivate instead. The ability to combine atmospheric club music with genuine emotion is truly commendable, and Lenses excellently achieves this balance. [MM]




$21.99 12"x2

(Honest Jon's)

Berlin-based Lebanese producer Rabih Beaini's (a/k/a Morphosis) 2011 long-player What Have We Learned might be one of the most mature and exciting electronic music debuts of recent years. Whereas that album's mostly improvised outsider house/techno mode had at times an almost blinding and floating effect, Beaini has also been exploring the more noisy sides of dance music's forward-looking urge. His adventurous style of building compositions is perhaps most closely related to the more outer fringes of Chicagoan Jamal Moss' singular house-productions, but gets injected with a refreshing mix of modular electronics and Arab music. On Dismantle, his second release for the renowned Honest Jon's label, he continues to explore new territory, this time landing somewhere in-between sick dark techno and head-on noise excavation.

Openers "Dismantle" and "Tamrat Version" are the kinds of experimental headphone beats that make one wonder how they would actually function within a DJ set. These tracks seem to be moving forward and backward simultaneously, with ferocious sounds spinning in and out of the aural spectrum, while building towards a melody-less funk momentum. On the second part of the record, Beaini dives into spaced-out electronic jams that tip towards a more hypnotic state of listening. The three-part suite "Music for Vampyr" consists of extended outtakes from his unofficial soundtrack to Carl Theodor Dreyer's 1932 horror-classic. Here, Beaini pulls us into the deep-end with distorted modular synths used to disorienting effect, as well as occasional organ resolutions. Although Dismantle doesn't have the immersive fluidity which made What Have We Learned such a captivating listen, Beaini's new release audaciously occupies the space between dance music and abstract soundscapes. [NT]




$13.99 CD


 "Stretch It Out"

Controversial Australian performance artist and songwriter Kirin J Callinan is an odd bird who combines the offbeat, one-man-band DIY pop sensibilities of Ariel Pink with the dark, twisted skag blues of Nick Cave and the Birthday Party. The songs on Embracism are tough, brutal examinations of bodily politics; in Callinan's eyes, humans are awkward, bungling creatures continually toppling over, kicking, yelling, and breaking anything and everything that gets in our way. This primal, carnal physicality translates into our emotional interactions as well, and he shows no mercy in his depictions of love, lust, and the confusion, elation, and fear that we all inevitably embrace in celebration of the body. The first thing that stands out on the record is Callinan's voice, a deep, dirty baritone that recalls the aforementioned Nick Cave circa his early years in the Birthday Party, a time during which Cave often explored similar themes with equal repulsion and fascination. Callinan's songs, though, are all topped off with a heaping portion of classic industrial and new romantic beat/synth texture, all snapping, pummeling rhythms, buzz-saw waveforms, and oscillating synth tones. While his live performances have become known for their confrontational and at times questionable behavior and content, on Embracism Callinan fully delivers the goods, with an excellent, surprising album that pulls no punches, bringing forth a set of songs that roll around in and relish their unease. While it's certainly not for everyone's ears, fans of the darker strains of minimal synth/wave, the esoteric works of Scott Walker, Ian Curtis' own atrocity exhibitions, and a smattering of GG Allin's grand guignol theatricalities should most definitely check this out. It's one of my favorite recent surprises and has really connected with me in ways that I wasn't expecting. [IQ]




$19.99 LP+DVD


Feminine Squared
(Dark Entries)

"In Bed with Boys"
"True Romance at the World’s Fair"

Dark Entries continues its look into the American minimal synth underground with Feminine Squared, a compilation of the Chicago duo Algebra Suicide's output from 1982 to 1986. Channeling the vibe of New York's avant-garde set of the early '80s, this husband and wife team created stark, moody songs of skeletal guitars, simple rhythm box beats, minimal synthesizer melodies, and vocalist Lydia Tomkiw's spoken word tales of twisted modernity and existential crisis. Sounding like the mutant sister of Suicide or a stripped-down, new wave version of the Cramps, Algebra Suicide's delivery feels familiar, yet their execution is really one of a kind thanks to Tomkiw's standout vocal performance. On the one hand, her detached spoken word is reminiscent of Laurie Anderson's early forays into performance art or Lydia Lunch's haunted poetry, yet Tomkiw's delivery is so perfectly deadpan and her lyrics have such a wry, dark sense of humor that she comes off more like an early predecessor of Ann Magnuson, albeit with a thick Chicago accent adding just the right touch of Midwestern charm to these tracks. Indeed, Tomkiw's voice complements the creeping minimalism of her husband Don Hedeker's productions, shaping and coloring the music as well as deepening and pushing it forward. While some may be turned off by Algebra Suicide's quirky art school posturing, it's never grating or overdone; rather, it's really such a pleasure to listen to this band as they're so endlessly weird, but somehow also so engaging and catchy. A truly special reissue, this LP comes with an awesome 'zine of archival interviews and ephemera and a DVD of the duo performing live in 1984. I can't recommend this record enough! [CPa]




$14.99 LP+MP3

(Dead Oceans)

"Human Nature"
"Waste Your Art"

Colorado-based noise-pop duo Craig Nice and Andy Rauworth a/k/a Gauntlet Hair released their pulsating, lo-fi self-titled album in 2011, a charismatic and upbeat debut filled with cacophonous, floor-stomping anthems. In the two years since, however, the group has gone through a distinct evolution and with the opening track of their follow-up, the changes are immediately apparent. With a booming, catchy bass line on "Human Nature," it's clear that the quintessential unprocessed noise of their debut has dissolved, and the sound is much clearer. There is a lot less rah-rah screaming, and it seems the band has chosen a much darker and gloomier approach on Stills. Standouts like "Waste Your Art" display Gauntlet Hair's consistent ability to lead floor-stomping riots with their music through very noisy, but undeniably infectious hooks. In addition, there are a handful of tracks such as "New To It" and "Obey Me" that reflect the group's evolution, with slower guitars and echoey vocals that strongly resemble indie superstars like Animal Collective. The creepy, dim album cover aptly mirrors the changing tone of Gauntlet Hair's second full-length, as it is undoubtedly darker, spookier, and more direct. Nevertheless, the band continually demonstrates their ability to create monster anthems, even while exploring different realms of noise. [MM]





(Universal Portugal)

The last decade has seen iconic Brazilian songwriter, vocalist, and composer Caetano Veloso returning to the daring, experimental nature of rock-infused material that elevated his profile from a post-bossa singer into a politically charged, controversial figure in South American popular culture. He has, at this point in his career, earned carte blanche to essentially make whatever the hell kind of album he damn well chooses; after quite a few years playing it safe in large concert halls to respectable crowds, it's wonderful to hear Veloso infusing his records with a sharp, electric sound that fuses together his love of bossa nova and maracatu with art-school punk minimalism. The songs ably balance the taut rhythmic drive of Wire with the gentle relaxed tenor of Veloso's hero Joao Gilberto, and as crazy as that combination may sound, it's absolutely gorgeous and riveting coming out of the speakers. It is easily Veloso's best album in years -- possibly since 1989's Estrangiero, his collaboration with Arto Lindsay and Peter Scherer of the Ambitious Lovers. This is an altogether more relaxed and casual affair than some of its recent predecessors, however, feeling less forced than Ce or Zil E Zie. It is one where a master is making music purely for pleasure, and we have the fortunate position of learning from a man who has singularly lived a creative life filled with more twists, turns, triumphs, and tribulations than a dozen of his peers combined. Absolute highest recommendation, folks. [IQ]




$18.99 LP

In Between Tears

"In Between Tears"
"We Won't Be In Your Way Anymore"

Known to many as the "Queen of New Orleans soul," as a teenager in the 1960s, Irma Thomas scored some influential tunes that hit quickly for her (including "Wish Someone Would Care" and the Jerry Ragovoy-penned "Time Is on My Side," famously covered by the Rolling Stones). But what many don't talk about is the stellar stuff she recorded in the early '70s. This wasn't a particularly happy time for Irma; by 1967 she found herself broke, twice divorced with four kids, and working as an auto parts sales person in California, and unable to hold on to a record deal. Though five different labels would sign Irma during the 1970s, only two of the companies would release full-lengths from her. The Swamp Dogg-produced In Between Tears, originally issued in 1973 on Fungus Records, is one of them, and heavy, bluesy soul is what's on tap here, which seems to reflect the rough period that she was going through. Many of the songs are sung with the gut-wrenching intensity of a woman exorcising personal demons through her pathos-tinged, husky yet pitch perfect tone and drawn-out-blues phrasing. Highlights include the simmering, 12-minute reworking of her biggest hit, "Wish Someone Would Care," and the funk-tinged punch of "In Between Tears," but really all of the songs are highlights to these ears. Irma's ship finally came in the late '80s, when she relocated to her New Orleans home and recorded a modern blues album that garnered her a much-deserved Grammy and jumpstarted a successful touring career that continues today. [DH]






The Inheritors
(Border Community)

"The Inheritors"

James Holden's The Inheritors is a wonderful suite of pieces built upon analogue and modular synth workouts that are crafted into hypnotic, disorienting meditations that reference, at various points, everything from Steve Reich and Aphex Twin to Pagan rituals and the KLF's epochal Chill Out album. Holden creates wholly engrossing soundscapes that balance the classical, composerly modes of Cluster and Tangerine Dream with a more modern recognition of fluctuating texture and rhythm that equals the head-spinning disorientation of Actress. Throughout, raw, gritty noise is balanced by rather lovely and almost romantic melodies, making each coexist in a sonic space that consistently impresses, especially considering that these pieces were all allegedly performed live, with little to no editing, only minimal overdubs and multi-tracking. It's without question one of the year's most deeply startling and intriguing electronic releases, and one which brings synthesis out of chin-stroking academia, back into the mind-expanding psychedelic territory where it so rightly belongs, much in the same way that Craig Leon's watershed Nommos delivered in 1981. Fans of experimental ambient music, as well as the more outre corners of electronic rhythm science owe it to themselves to pick this one up without hesitation; you're unlikely to hear another album this year that works both the head and the body in such visceral fashions. [IQ]




$29.99 LPx2


The Word As Power
(Blackest Ever Black)

With his first album since 2008 (and first for Blackest Ever Black), Lustmord throws a curve ball by using the human voice as the dominant instrument, and the effect is astounding. On opener "Babel," female vocals that wouldn't be out of place on a Dead Can Dance album swell and recede against deep cavernous bass. Next, "Goetia" features the same singer, but with pitched-down vocals for a markedly different sound. Though the album stays true to the simple mission statement throughout, the subtle shifts in texture created by Brian Williams' masterful hand, plus a wide range of different vocalists, ensures a dynamic and engaging listen. Soriah's vocals on "Grigori" recall Eastern devotional singing, but displaced into Williams' deep ambient sound world, they take on a unique quality. The piece begins with a cappella Tuvan throat singing, accompanied only by intermittent bass thuds before a slowly gathering ambience builds into a layered crescendo of extreme focus. Though there are no discernible words to latch onto, Williams has created a work of power through the tension of juxtaposing dynamic vocal performances with his trademark dark atmosphere. Highly recommended. [NN]




$34.99 LPx2+CD



"Let's Ride"
"Baby Baby"

Here comes a surprise for these long, hot and sweaty summer nights. Former Underground Resistance member Robert Hood throws off his advanced minimal techno skin to resurrect with a full album under his Floorplan moniker, combining the kinetic pulse of his well-loved techno productions with the enthusiasm and experimentation of a renaissance house producer. The effect is invigorating, to say the least. Hood doesn't bring anything innovative to the table -- there is even a sense of harking back to early-'90s dance-floor bangers, complete with ecstatic drum fills and insistent euphoria -- but the energy level is high and the freshness real. Despite its celebrated repetitiveness, individual tracks vary significantly in tone while the album as a whole stays a contained unit. Most of these loop-based mini-constructs have an analogue warmth to them; the highlight might be "Never Grow Old," which combines vinyl crackle with jazzy piano rolls and a truly exceptional gospel vocal. In retrospect, it is Hood's mastery of the minimal palette that makes these alien hybrid cut-ups such effective exercises, the smallest changes becoming blissful events. [NT]

$17.99 CD


Elements 1989-90
(Planet E / Rush Hour)

Now available on CD. With the recent renaissance of house music and analog techno in both Europe and stateside, this reissue of some of Carl Craig's earliest musical endeavors comes at a crucial moment. While not a member of the Belleville Three, Craig was part of Detroit techno's second wave, even working closely with Derrick May to realize some of these tracks. No one recording can possibly encapsulate Craig's contributions to modern electronic music, but consider this as The Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. Recording as Psyche and BFC, Craig began following May's example of this futuristic music and took it further out by the end of the 1980s. A track like "Neurotic Behavior" is abstract ambient electronic music at its headiest and weirdest, the seeds from which folks as diverse as DFA, Steve Moore, L.I.E.S. (at their most atmospheric) and Ame have all sprung. And then there's "Chicken Noodle Soup," a massive slice of Detroit techno that's both stomping and light-hearted at once. All classics here and a massive reissue all around. Recommended. [AB]






Xex Change
(Dark Entries)

"Dance for the Limbless"
"Fast Food"

Having previously reissued New Jersey minimal synth stalwarts Xex's first and only album, Group: Xex, in 2011, Dark Entries unearths lost recordings from 1981 of the band's shelved second LP for the label's summer release series of American underground new wave. Those familiar with Xex's brand of minimal, dystopian synth-punk will find a slightly different, less quirky group on this record. While they retain their kitschy, Devo-inspired sense of humor as heard on Group: Xex, here we find a more mature band writing stronger songs with a tighter, more rhythmic quality to them. Less frantic and intentionally arty, Xex Change feels both relaxed and assured, as if the group had moved beyond their suburban New Jersey enclave and onward to the big city. From the Teutonic synth wave of "Fast Food," the languid dreaminess of "Fun in the Sun," to the soulful, swirling "Dance for the Limbless" that sounds like ESG or James Chance trying their hand at stark electro-pop, it's really a shame this record never saw a proper release in the early '80s, as Xex Change would have been an instant underground classic. Recommended for anyone interested in the sound of downtown NYC or the more new wave strains of minimal synth, Dark Entries also includes a DVD of the band performing at Hurrah's in 1981, just before these tracks were recorded. Awesome stuff. [CPa]




$11.99 CD $18.99 LP+MP3



Debut full-length from Hebronix, the newest project from Yuck's ex-frontman, Daniel Blumberg. Produced by Royal Trux's Neil Haggerty, fans of Blumberg's former band (who continue to plug away without him) will find much to love, as Unreal taps into a similar vein of classic indie rock -- a la Built to Spill, Pavement -- with lots of layered guitar fuzz, although it's more melancholic and spacious here, with tempos slowed down and songs often stretching past the seven-minute mark driven by Crazy Horse-esque soloing and occasional baroque accents of organ, piano, strings and woodwinds -- ostensibly a break-up record, whatever Blumberg is feeling, you're feeling it too.




$5.99 45


(Young Turks)

This limited 7" includes both "Fiction," the standout track from the xx's sophomore full-length Coexist, and "Together," which was featured in The Great Gatsby film soundtrack earlier this year. During "Fiction," Oliver Sim's sultry vocals express the inability to accept someone as reality when they aren't present and the dangers of being distant, atop staccato guitar. On the flip, "Together" is a totally classic xx love song, with one repeated note and a quiet bass driving the tune forward to the minimalistic chorus ("Together, to be") sung both by Sim and Romy Madley Croft.




$11.99 12"


Before Your Very Eyes
(XL Recordings)

The third single from Atom for Peace's debut full-length, Amok, this  limited 12" features the upbeat album opener, "Before Your Very Eyes," along with an unreleased song from the band. "Magic Beanz" is shaped by a fast, skittering, classic Radiohead drumbeat, an ominous synthesizer, and Thom Yorke's eerie echoed vocals. These won't last long so pick yours up now.






Imperial Distortion

"We All Get It in the End"

New vinyl pressing of Kevin Drumm's 2008 masterpiece, Imperial Distortion, remastered by Matt Colton to better capture the full depth and frequency range of the material. Three LPs worth of desolate beauty that doesn't quite crush the listener into submission as instantly as Kevin Drumm's previous albums, Sheer Hellish Miasma on Mego and the Hanson-released Land of Lurches. In fact with the title as it is, until the record is experienced as a whole for its extreme sense of isolation and slow suffocation, it almost seems...uh...tranquil? The sound at first comes off as a post-apocalyptic William Basinski with its focus not on the heavens, but instead solidly anchored to this mortal coil with all its disease and otherworldly, final concerns. (Track one is named after GBS syndrome where symptoms of tingling sensations on the face and limbs lead to difficulty walking, then breathing, then death.) Further listening at greater volume allows the album's dimension to fully come forward.

Imagine a desolate soundtrack to the end of the world after the last man on earth has turned to dust, with the camera slowly probing through empty streets, occasionally peeking around corners only to see more, absolutely still, slowly decaying cityscapes. No life. Previous recordings by Drumm were the sound of warfare/destruction in action; this is the unseen aftermath. Album opener, the aforementioned Guillain-Barre Syndrome cut, sounds like a deep doom-drone track made by a Gamelan orchestra (23 Skidoo's The Culling Is Coming comes to mind, though this is more foreboding and without "world music" vibes). The second piece, "More Blood and Guts" has the atmosphere of a carcass-strewn battlefield but not in a glorified Hollywood way, more from the perspective of the flies feasting within it. Ten minutes in, the track unexpectedly ascends into a gently undulating drone that develops and rises for the remaining nine minutes. Tracks three and four, titled "Snow,"' are cabin fever inducing moments of aural solitary confinement. Listening at higher volume is necessary to experience the aforementioned "slow suffocation" as the bass creeps in and smothers. Drumm has learned to slowly infect his listeners rather than use full frontal attacks. By album's end, "We All Get It in the End" does deliver some of the crushing distortion that we've come to expect from Drumm. This last track, along with the rest of the album, makes it safe to say that he doesn't foresee "walking toward a bright, white light" when its time for him to go. Recommended. [SM]




$18.99 LPx2


Half of Where You Live
(Ghostly International)

"An English House"

Now available on double LP. Half of Where You Live is the second long player from London's still-anonymous Gold Panda, although he has released a slew of great EPs in the meantime. While none of Gold Panda's work has yet to overtake his innovative and technically fascinating debut full-length, Lucky Shiner, his most recent record certainly is comparable. The electronica that Panda masters on this album recalls the past work of Four Tet, with its sample-based beats and calm, entrancing sounds that gradually build throughout the tracks. Although the songs rarely have words, the album maintains a personal feeling with cuts like "My Father in Hong Kong 1961" that encapsulate a vivid setting through bells and tranquilizing synths. Grooving tracks like "We Work Nights" and "Community" incorporate Gold Panda's skillful sampling, and moreover, the producer's ability to blend into his music a variety of African and/or Asian instruments adds a particular exotic atmosphere to the album. [MM]




$17.99 LP


White Fence

"Mr. Adams"
"A Need You"

Finally re-pressed on vinyl! An excellent batch of shambolic, early Kinks/Stones-mainlined pop songs in the key of Anglophila via the 2010 debut album from White Fence, the 4-track project of Los Angeles native Tim Presley. Underneath that rough magnetic vibe, nearly every moment of the '60s and '70s is reinterpreted here: there's your Syd Barrett acoustic guitar/Tinkertoy homage "I'll Follow You," and the two-chord Velvet Underground stomp-o-rama of "The Love Between." There's a little Donovan, a lot of Lou Reed, even a little bit of Sonics snarl that sounds like a drag race rattling around inside of a rusty coffee can. The lo-fi aesthetics belie just how astute of a collector Presley obviously is -- it's like Dennis Wilson's beachside philosophizing mashed together with the entire British Invasion; Presley had too much to dream last night, woke up, and wrote 16 instant earworms. Catch the Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mitch & Titch-meets-Stooges of "Destroy Everything," bliss out to the Robitussin stomp of closing track "Be Lost Too." White Fence is what happens when English pop music history bakes in the L.A. sun for twenty-five years or so -- gold. [MS]






(Irritable Hedgehog)

"Disc 1"
"Disc 3"

Well, it's not often we're presented with an album that does nothing less than end up the traditional history of minimal music in America as we know it, but that's exactly what this record does. In the late 1950s, the now mostly entirely unknown composer Dennis Johnson was a friend and classmate of La Monte Young at UCLA, where he wrote a (quite endlessly) melancholy and austere piano piece full of beautiful, subtle modulations called "November," whose duration can last for up to six hours. Five years later, Young debuted his similarly lengthy and earth-shattering composition "The Well Tuned Piano," and directly credited Johnson's piece as an influence. Johnson, in the meantime, despite having been included in Young's influential 1963 book, An Anthology, was mostly relegated to the dust-bin of history, having moved away from composing music to study geometry.

I first heard about "November" on composer and music historian Kyle Gann's blog maybe five or so years ago, where he recounted the story of La Monte Young giving him a fragment of Johnson's piece on a one-hundred minute tape in the early 1990s. Intrigued, Gann eventually received the score from Johnson, and ultimately reconstructed the piece and posted a somewhat lo-fidelity version on his site. From out of that work comes this exquisite, commercially released version, the piece performed here by the great pianist R. Andrew Lee across four discs, for a total of five hours of music, and issued by the great new-ish record label Irritable Hedgehog who specialize in fantastic, under-heard minimal and post-minimal music compositions by the likes of Tom Johnson and Ann Southam.

Far from being just a historical curiosity, "November" is a superb composition in its own right, wonderfully full of silent spaces between decaying notes, slowly accumulating pauses and resonances that sculpt time in a way that only the best minimalist music can. In addition to its influence on Young, it also presages the long durational work of Morton Feldman in the 1980s, but without that composer's sometimes-extreme variances between notes. The music here is actually a quite fluid and listenable sound world, the only bar to easy accessibility being the time commitment required of it. In the excellent twenty-page booklet that accompanies this disc, Gann calls this recording a "major work that has been lost to history for fifty years." How wonderful then to have it back. [MK]
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[AB] Adrian Burkholder
[DH] Duane Harriott
[IQ] Mikey IQ Jones
[MK] Michael Klausman
[MM] Matthew Malone
[SM] Scott Mou
[NN] Ning Nong
[CPa] Chris Pappas
[MS] Michael Stasiak
[NT] Niels Van Tomme

- all of us at Other Music

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