Other Music New Release Update
April 26, 2000

In This Week's Update :

Ohm: Early Gurus of Electronic Music 3xCD set
Spacious Mind
Chris McGregor's Brotherhood of Breath
Optiganally Yours
Josef K, live
Nu Yorica Roots compilation
Quad Sax
Kahimi Karie meets the Olivia Tremor Control
Fur Ones
Kings of Convenience
Fridge/Pluxus EP
Death Cab For Cutie
Petra Dubach and Mario Van Horrik
Patrick Pulsinger and Erdam Tunakan's "Swan Lake"
Fucky Don't compilation
Evan Parker and John Tilbury
Aki Tsuyuko
Stereo MCs' DJ Kicks mix CD
Miniatures 2 compilation
Beans & Anti Pop Consortium 12"s
"Was It Him or His Music" compilation
The Modernist, domestic

Featured New Releases :

[V/A] "OHM: Early Gurus of Electronic Music, 1948-1980" (Ellipsis Arts) 3xCD $37.99
This collection exposes the history of academic electronics and
electroacoustics in all its thoughtful and sometimes contrived glory. The
opposite of populist (nary a toe is tapped here), it's an extended version
of Caipirinha records' "Early Modulations," only more listenable, and with
hardly any overlap (only Schaeffer and Subotnick are duplicated). From disc
to disc, the shifts from the academia and the scientific sound studio into
loose-limbed extrapolations and sprawling improvisations are documented.
Timbre-matching from track to track, there are rhythmic pieces (Hugh
LeCaine, Raymond Scott, Reich, etc.), fantastical excursions (Tudor, Riley,
Oskar Sala, Jean-Claude Risset, Louis and Bebe Barron), experiments with
the voice (Charles Dodge, Robert Ashley), the conceptual (LaMonte Young,
Maryanne Amacher), and where musique concrete turned into ambient music
by the late '70s (Jon Hassell, Alvin Curran). Over this period of time, you
hear how a wider, warmer range of tones are drawn from the machines.
Downsides? A few only dogs-can-hear sine-wave/tonal pieces (Richard
Maxfield and Pauline Oliveros' tracks, sadly--I would have liked different
ones by them), and only one non-Westerner (Joji Yuasa). Also, a lot of
longer tracks are edited at 7 minutes--which only affects the aforementioned
conceptual pieces, really (and they were meant to be experienced in fully
saturated sound environments, anyway). And I'm still not sure why it's
labeled as covering 1948-1980 when it includes a gorgeous Messaien piece
from 1937. The 96-page book annotates all 42 tracks, and proffers essays on
the major studio/artist groupings from the U.S. and Europe through the
years. Split between pieces of tape manipulation and electronically-generated
sound, the artists (and technicians) here display their tools and how they're
used. On the way, they reveal that sometimes the best art comes from
limitations in process. [RE]

THE SPACIOUS MIND "The Mind Of A Brother" (Delerium) CD $15.99
Wow! A magnificently satisfying return to form for these Swedish freaks,
following the subdued Grateful Deadisms of 1996's "Sailing The Seagoat" and
the conceptual mannerisms of 1998's vinyl-only "Garden Of A Well-Fed Head."
Rounding out the trilogy begun by "Cosmic Minds At Play" (1993) and
"Organic Mind Solution" (1994), this is the full-throttle burner I'd hoped
for! Combining the swaggering energy of The Stooges circa "Fun House," the
stoned ambition of Hawkwind's "Space Ritual" and all the lysergic Krautrock
brilliance in between, "The Mind Of A Brother" sets its course for the
heart of the sun and never looks back! The final two tracks constitute a
30-minute collage suite that would seem to indicate that The Spacious Mind
have been listening to the Dreamies almost as much as we have. 75 minutes,
(no track shorter than 10 minutes) brilliantly conceived and flawlessly
executed. Highest recommendation! [JG]

Truly a record for which the stereo was invented. Jazz pianist McGregor
expatriated himself from his home country of South Africa in 1964, along
with half of the Blue Notes (Dudu Pukwana, Louis Moholo, and Mongezi Feza).
By 1970, they had tapped into the London scene enough to assemble a big
band somewhat like that of John Surman (who joins the Brotherhood here,
too) or Michael Gibb. Starting as a modest 13-piece, the debut album,
released in 1971, documents a transformation in jazz. Tight (and I mean JBs
tight) horn ensemble playing flits back and forth around your head in
breathtaking stereo patterns, throwing players out into free solos. All the
while, McGregor and Moholo (on piano and drums, respectively) anchor with
Township Jazz (Kwela) melodies and rhythms. As the horns jump and swing
around them, you're reminded, too, that Kwela had it's own roots in
American big-band jazz. A magnificent Afro-Western hybrid, The
Brotherhood's first album is still my favorite African jazz record. [RE]

OPTIGANALLY YOURS "Presents Exclusively Talentmaker" (Absolutely Kosher) CD $13.99
Three years ago, the duo of Rob Crow (Heavy Vegetable, Thingy, Pinback) and
Pea Hix released a lovely pop album in which all the sounds were made with
the early '70s electronic keyboard known as the Optigan. The Optigan, made
by Mattel, circulated optical-disc-driven loops and beats of pre-recorded
instruments and backing bands, for an odd, staticky and many-steps-removed
live instrument sound, made modular. This, their second album, uses two
very similar instruments, the Talentmaker and the Orchestron, both of which
were manufactured slightly later. But what Hix and Crow do with these
archaic instruments is far beyond novelty. Sometimes surpassing melancholy
into full-blown funereal, their ballads to loneliness, and misanthrope's
journeys into the world are set everywhere from mid-ocean to the corner
bar. Crow's melodies have always thrived on his ease in doubling up
back-and-forth, self-contrasting vocal parts, and Hix' settings are
elliptical, dizzying, and displacedly ancient. Save for two so-so songs, I
can't recommend this highly enough. [RE]

JOSEF K "Crazy to Exist/Live" (LTM, UK) CD $17.99
Josef K is, for those like myself who were unable to have witnessed their
brief existence, a band that we need to hear more from. The saddest of the
sad-wave, the angstiest band on Scotland's Postcard Records, Josef K's high
level of tension has an even greater urgency on "Crazy To Exist," a
60-minute CD combining two entire live shows from 1981. A common criticism
from journalists and band members alike was that their studio work (as
represented on the CDs "Endless Soul" and "Only Fun In Town") lacked the
energy of their live shows. Now we can actually experience what they were
talking about, glimpse how truly intense the live performances were, and
hear how the songs worked better live. A valuable document of a band that
helped to forge a faction of terse pop music with form, fashion and
feelings. Well worth discovery and rediscovery alike. [AG]

[V/A] "Nu Yorica Roots" (Soul Jazz, UK) CD/2xLP $21.99/$22.99
Soul Jazz records reopened the world's ears to New York-style salsa with
their essential "Nu Yorica!" compilations. Now they offer a kind of
prequel, an overview of the origins of that sound, with this uncommonly
well-chosen selection from the late '50s to late '60s. All of the greats
from the Shing-A-Ling, Boogaloo, and Latin Soul eras are represented, with
two tracks each by Tito Puente (including the original 'Oye Como Va'), Ray
Barretto, and the Sun of Latin Music himself, the incomparable Eddie
Palmieri, plus hard-hitting numbers by Joes Bataan and Cuba, Mongo
Santamaria, and others, including a suprisingly gravelly Arsenio Rodriguez.
Even the seasoned collector will discover new pleasures here. And there are
no syrupy boleros, no polite little cha-cha-chas--this mother COOKS. Great
sound, informative essay, and concert poster reproductions that'll make you
wish you owned a time machine. Roll up the rug and roll out the
superlatives for a diverse, floor-shaking experience, the best single-disc
treatment this music has ever received. [AL]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502632800045&refer_url=email

QUAD SAX "s/t" (Spalax, France) CD $16.99
Exquisite and incredibly translucent saxophone quartet renditions of
compositions by Lard Free/Urban Sax mainman Gilbert Artman. Utilizing the
entire spectrum of the saxophone family (along with uncredited percussion
by Artman himself), Fred Aquaviva, Alain Douchet, Sebastien Jallier, and
Phillipe Bolliet reconstruct each piece in postmodern baroque fashion,
augmenting set patterns with quick flights of improvisation. "In effect,
each composition is like a puzzle that can put itself together, then mix
itself at (some other) interval. Using the acoustic and the electronic at
the same time, each participant in this Saxophony of rough brilliance is at
once both accompanist and soloist."--Gilles Yepremian, from his liner
notes. Subtle, painterly and sumptuously melodic without a hint of skronk,
these pieces comprise a lovely soundtrack for an afternoon's reverie. [JG]

KAHIMI KARIE/THE OLIVIA TREMOR CONTROL "Once Upon a Time" (Polydor, Japan) CD $22.99
The first in a series of collaborative EPs (disks with Momus, Tahiti 80,
and Arto Lindsay are said to follow), is a most unlikely meeting between
Shibuya-songstress Kahimi Karie and Athens, GA pop practitioners the
Olivia Tremor Control. The Olivias -- who wrote, produced and play on
all five tracks -- add a slightly psychedelic and heavily textured element
to Kahimi's still sugar-sweet pop approach. On the disk's best cut,
"Turtle Song", (audio clip above), OTC layer on their signature production
whilst a miniature orchestra (which includes members of Neutral Milk Hotel
and Bablicon) provide the perfect accompaniment to Kahimi's breathy
soprano. Although this material is not nearly as immediate as her earlier
work, these slightly abstract songs really start to make sense after
repeated listenings when the bands studio trickery and background
colorings come to the fore. Two very differerent artists for sure, but
ones who (like me) share the same child-like wonder for the perfect
pop song. Fair warning: contains only 15 minutes of music! [TC]

FUR ONES "Odd Numbers" (Monorail) CD $10.99
Snazzy, and sharp and loose, all at the same time. The Fur Ones released
"Odd Numbers" last year. A neat and barely-categorizable record, it drifts
between trip hop, indie pop and coherent instrumental experiments. On four
of the sixteen songs, clear-voiced singer C. Blackaller evokes Susan
Amway-era Magnetic Fields while the band roll out a liquid, languid groove,
with samba touches and largish, High-Llamas-esque lite arrangements. Other
tracks mesh '70s fusion jazz samples, backgrounds of radar blips and
computer imperfections, atmospheric echoes and even faint electro elements,
evoking both a smoky club atmosphere and a walk in the park at night.
Simple sophistication like the early Everything But the Girl records, but
brought up to 2000 in an entirely different way than that duo's drum-n-bass
metamorphosis. [RE]

KINGS OF CONVENIENCE "s/t" (Kindercore) CD $12.99
Ah! A good album of soft, heart-wrenching pop from somewhere _besides_
Scotland! The Kings of Convenience, a duo from Norway, use lyrical guitar
playing, subtly-programmed percussion, and perfect vocal harmonies to make
their simple, somber pop. Consistently melancholy, the Kings avoid the
trend of layering, overdubs and orchestration -- and the album that results
is not just sparse, it's bare. While they don't present any new challenges
to the pop listener, Kings of Convenience can certainly be filed nicely
somewhere amidst your stacks of Belle and Sebastian, Felt, Simon &
Garfunkel, and Field Mice discs. [PW]

FRIDGE/PLUXUS "Pluxus vs Fridge vs Pluxus" (BT Space) CD EP $5.99
Swedish electronic trio Pluxus, they of the Casiotone melodies and
galloping beats, stops for a chat with Germany's Fridge. This 3-song CD
shoots back and forth between Pluxus' easy-to-handle building blocks while
sandwiching Fridge's more complex Lego layers. Comparable to Plone, Pluxus'
two songs use cute synth sonores to evoke childlike imagery, placed in airy
scores. And they recruit Fridge for the second track, who do their
signature whirs and bumps, this time with a dub slant. In the end, what's
left is a pinwheel of cascading electronics with layers of cute balladry.
Cheap and entertaining, it leaves you wanting more. [LG]

RADIAN "TG 11" (Mego/Rhiz, Austria) CD $16.99
Radian's newest album stretches into realms of abstraction they've not yet
explored. Skips and glitches nuzzle drums, as if part of the kit, and the
percussion compounds into piles of nettles, which part to let deeply masked
instruments (bass, vibraphone) poke through. Intimate in scope (the drums
are miked close and neat) and somewhat formless, like someone rubbing their
hand over velvet while another taps a pencil randomly. "TG 11" is also the
silt left over by hip-hop and dancefloor records, a solemn, prickly CD that
owes some structure to jazz, and execution to the problems in machines; it
coheres despite it's amorphous nature. [RE]

DEATH CAB FOR CUTIE "We Have The Facts And We're Voting Yes" (Barsuk) CD/LP $12.99/$10.99
Scratching a lot of folks indie-rock itches around here, Death Cab for
Cutie's second album loses the Guided by Voices influence for one a little
closer to home (for them): an Up Records/Phil Ek/Pacific Northwest
production sound. Of course, it doesn't hurt that singer Benjamin Gibbard's
voice easily evokes Built to Spill. But Death Cab's sound is a lot lighter,
accenting the classic power-trio rock sound with electric piano or nice,
immersive stereophonic samples. These serve to swirl around your head (esp.
with headphones), drown you with their minor-key melodies (which are not
particularly sad!). Aw, go listen to the sample already? [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999127331&refer_url=email

PETRA DUBACH & MARIO VAN HORRIK "The Adventures Of Toon Scales" (Bake, Netherlands) CD $13.99
Three lengthy pieces for homemade long-string instruments reveal a private
utopia of overtone and feedback. Recorded at Paul Panhuysen's Het
Apollohuis. Superb! [JG]

PATRICK PULSINGER & ERDEM TUNAKAN "Schwanesee Remixed" (Volksoper Wien, Austria) CD $16.99
"Swan Lake Remixed." In which Mego/Disko B mainstay Pulsinger and pal
dissect, filter and reconstruct Tchaikovsky's original into a newly layered
dance performance that premiered at the Vienna Opera in December, 1999. For
anyone intrigued by the possibilities suggested by William Orbit's recent
classical reworkings, forget them; dark and forbidding, this plays more
like an alternate soundtrack to "The Virgin Suicides"! Pulsinger's most
fully realized work to date. [JG]

[V/A] "Fucky Don't" (Fucky/Flittchen, Germany) CD $16.99
A strange little compilation from two tiny labels in Germany with catalog
numbers not yet in double digits. And most of which is totally unknown (to
me). Lassie Singers? Monsieur Morio? "Fucky Don't" acts like the poor,
shabby, but interesting (if slightly nuts) cousin to the "Pop Tics"
compilation we wrote about at the beginning of the year. With a similar,
veiled anti-nationalism (songs cross borders right and left), singing in a
number of languages and lots of preprogrammed, bare-bones casio beats. Lots
of Germanic lo-fi electronics a la Chicks On Speed, but the artists here
throw in Phil Spector song structures, jumpy electro, and randomness. But
pop comes in second to funny assemblage--check out tracks above: Console
and Hanayo's stunning version of the Japanese national anthem, and The
Visions' (members of Stereo Total and Jeans Team) version of Rod McKuen's
'Beat Generation' as sung by a computer voice generator. weird + now = wow.

JOHN TILBURY & EVAN PARKER "Two Chapters And An Epilogue" (Matchless, UK) CD $16.99
Pensive ruminations born out of a 1998 studio meeting between two
improvisational masters, each stepping outside of their expected roles.
Two half+-long flurries of inspiration followed by a brief coda. At times,
saxophonist Parker suddenly becomes a model of restraint, whilst pianist
Tilbury is on occasion given to testify Cecil Taylor-style. "These musicians
have chosen to eschew the given media of jazz, from whence Parker
received much of his initial inspiration, and the classical world from which
Tilbury received his early and formative training, in order to become
autonomous human beings who can engage creatively and practically --
not only with the world of sound, but with the world of philosophy, and
thence reflect upon a civil society. Why make art if not wanting to indicate
other worlds and to transcend this one?"--Eddie Prevost, from his liner
notes. [JG]

AKI TSUYUKO "Ongakushitsu" (Moikai) CD $12.99
Tsuyuko accompanied Nobukazu Takemura on his last tour, and this disc was
originally released on Takemura's Childisc label. On "Ongakushitsu", she
works on the whole range of keyboards, from toy piano (those ringing,
ringing rods) to melodica. Wandering intertwined lines of thin synth
melodies -- no bass, only treble, react in different patterns to each other,
and in no time signature to speak of. This recording is so detached from
time, space, and even psyche, that it's like Tsuyuko was raised in a
Skinner box and then told to make music, having never heard it before. [RE]

STEREO MCS "DJ Kicks" (Studio K7) CD/2XLP $15.99/$18.99
Stereo MCs incorporate everything from 101 Strings to Freddy Fresh in their
mix CD, the latest in the DJ Kicks series. The segues on this are not
seamless (the cut is obvious and provides an obvious separation) but that's
not their style. They make this odd amalgam of easy listening and hip-hop
work, and not even by using punchy lounge numbers -- instead, long
expanses of strings and '60s early electronics mix with the killer beats
and rhymes. Plus some great disco-funk (the Disco Four) and even a
track of someone (them?) playing Foosball! Things that fall into the
cracks, they're there to catch. An ear-opener. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=73000370821&refer_url=email

[V/A] "Miniatures 2" (Cherry Red, UK) CD $19.99
20 years since his last "Miniatures" project (and nearly that long in the
gathering), composer/compiler Morgan Fisher returns with 60 tiny,
one-minute-long sound pieces, recorded specifically for this. "Miniatures"
(1) stunningly captured a cross-section between punk, spoken word, and the
avant-garde (and we still carry it, on CD since 1994). This one celebrates
global culture and the avant-garde, and has, certainly, a difference due to
maturity. While his aesthetic has shifted (and yes, there are about a
handful of new-agey tracks that need to be skipped!), so has his
locale -- the set of musicians is gathered from more of an Eastern
perspective, including a lot of obscure Japanese composers and musicians.
Acknowledging the equality of creative pursuits, among the 60 are John Paul
Jones, Jane Campion, Howard Jones, Michael Nyman, Terry Riley, Moondog,
Ottmar Liebert, Milladoiro, and fantastic tracks from Piero Milesi,
Tananas, Daniel Figgis, Komitas Vardapet (rec. 1912!). The collection of a
long-time musical networker, shared. [RE]

ANTI POP CONSORTIUM "What Am I?" (75 Ark) CD/12" $6.99/$6.99 BEANS "Nude Paper" (75 Ark) 12" $6.99
'What Am I?' is the second single from the Anti Pop Consortium's mammoth
debut, "Tragic Epilogue". It appears in its original form, an acapella mix,
remixed, and as an instrumental. The album version of 'Laundry' appears,
extended out into a rinse-cycle instrumental and acappella takes. Also from
the folks at 75 Ark (via Mo'Wax) is the new Beans 12". Beans is one of the
three voices that make up the Anti Pop Consortium, and the A-side might be
the best track from "Tragic Epilogue" 'Nude Paper.' The flip side is a new
track, 'Star Killer,' that features Beans' trademark free-flowing vocal
style, wild bubbling electronics and an echoing percussive backbone. Plus
instrumental and acappella versions of each. [PW]
Anti-Pop CD
Anti-Pop 12"
Beans 12"

[VA] "Was It Him or His Music" (Le Grand Magistery) CD $6.99
Last year's promotional-only LGM sampler is now available for retail sale
at a special price while supplies last. 18 tracks (many of them unreleased)
encompass the label's entire roster while adding several associates. Artists
featured included Momus, Kahimi Karie, Toog, Louis Philippe, Mr. Wright,
Moose, Mascott, Baxendale, Shoestrings, You Bet!, Mike Sheldon, and Her.
A lot of music for a little money. [TC]

Now Available Domestically:

THE MODERNIST "Explosion" (Matador) CD $12.99
"Explosion" is Burger's most accomplished, mature work to date. Like fellow
Cologne residents Wolfgang Voigt, Reinhard Voigt and Thomas Brinkmann,
Burger manifests a considerable interest in sonic architecture. But he's no
art-school dropout intent on making austere, mathematical music; rather, he
favors rounded yet hard 909 kick drums rotating like a sawtooth blade at
around 120-125 bpm, while keeping hooky synth melodies riding the surface
of the bassline. His clean, punchy tech-house tracks rise and fall like the
stock market, all the while maintaining a serpentine groove. [TH]

This week's missive composed by Tom Capodanno [TC], Robin Edgerton [RE],
Lisa Garrett [LG], Jeff Gibson [JG], Andy Giles [AG], Tim Haslett [TH],
Andrew Leigh [AL], and Phil Waldorf [PW].

15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003