Other Music New Release Update
April 5, 2000

In This Week's Update :

Raymond Scott early electronics
Von Lmo c.1980 reissue
Invicta Hi-Fi's Special Skool pop comp.
I'm a Good Woman (funk/soul sisters) comp.
A Silver Mt. Zion
Wildflowers jazz sessions reissue
Art Ensemble of Chicago reissue
Sam & Valley
Future World Funk compilation
DJ Food
Albert Ayler ESP reissue
Pharoah Sanders ESP reissue
Byron Allen Trio ESP reissue
Klaus Lang & Klangforum Wien
Pedro the Lion
A Murder in the Company of Vespertine comp.
Josh Rouse

First two Matmos CDs
United States of America
Die Trip Computer Die

Featured New Releases :

RAYMOND SCOTT "Manhattan Research, Inc." (Basta, Netherlands) 2xCD $28.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/rscott.ram
Two CDs in a 140-page book, an impeccably documented and impossibly
thorough set of nearly everything Raymond Scott did with his extensive
electronic research projects and inventions, save the immaculate "Soothing
Sounds for Baby" (which we still carry). The book starts at 1946 (this is
post-jazz, post-Quintette Scott), the CDs at 1957, and both reach up to
1969. The timbres and textures here are remarkably similar to
"Baby"--resonant, crackling and gently ringing beats and loops, beeps and
hooks. Many are tapes of commercial work--from TV ads to music for the
World's Fair; others are things he was playing with--fake PSAs, a film
score for a short he did with Jim Henson. Commercial music of the time
reveled in it's newness, was supposed to wake you up with newness, novelty,
advancement. Scott's music was perfect--pleasant, invigorating, and unusual
for the time, it was quite successful (he, indirectly, hawked everything
from bread to aspirin to toys, even energy itself). He segued from the
circular jazz motions of the Quintette into electronic loops from
'musicians' that never got tired, were always precise. He was a
perfectionist, and how better to perfect something than to have it entirely
under your control--right down to the inner workings--which is why most of
this was composed and created on his own invented electronic instruments.
Two-hours' worth of intricate choreographies of sound, both with and
without announcers (so you can hear how the commercials worked with text).
Scott really defined what the public heard of early electronic music,
especially in the United States. Yet his aesthetic, strangely enough,
didn't stick with us to become cliche. So, as it's resurrected here, it
still sounds completely fresh and, in some cases, mindblowingly prescient.

GAS "Pop" (Mille Plateaux, Germany) CD $14.99
Wolfgang Voigt (a.k.a. Mike Ink, Studio 1, Auftrieb, Love Inc., etc.) is
back with the sixth installment in the Gas saga. And something seems a bit
strange with a title like "Pop." And where is the usual dark obscured cover
image? The artwork is a close-up of a pine tree in bloom. Could the new Gas
record be pretty pop music? Well, not quite, though it is a slight
departure for Mr. Voigt. Instead of the dark ambience of previous releases,
"Pop" is uplifting and beautiful; an ambient soundtrack to spring. Bubbling
and gurgling electronics replace dark clicks and glitches, subtle washes of
sound float by like ocean waves, and the "beat" pulses in like a small
life-form. This is a true ambient masterwork, up there with Aphex Twin's
"Selected Ambient Works Vol. 2," Oval's "Systemisch," and Eno's "Music For
Airports." Voigt has truly outdone himself this time. [JS]

VON LMO "Future Language" (FlemishMasters) CD $12.99
"The most killer no wave rock pummelage I (have) ever heard."--Thurston
Moore. "The Group From The Future Is Here Now!"--LP sleeve. One of the
great lost artifacts of the New York No-Wave scene, circa 1980, is finally
available on CD. Von Lmo (the mysterious moniker for both the group and its
leader, rumored to have been born Frankie Cavallo) emerged following the
dissolution of Rudolph Grey's Red Transistor Band in 1978. Espousing an
enigmatic manifesto ("Advance Yourself!"), and sporting somewhat paunchy
silver and red metallic spacesuits, they embarked on their mission to raise
awareness of all things SPACE (both inner and outer) through music.
Dedicated to the advancement of the United States Space Program, "Future
Language" is a relentless mix of punk rock, white noise, and electronic pop
embellished by omnipresent scorching sax blasts, angular guitar riffage and
sci-fi sound effects. And Von's singing? Imagine the Dictators' Handsome
Dick Manitoba fronting X-Ray Spex or the Contortions and you're nearly
there. By adapting Sun Ra's pose of alien/musician/messenger, Von Lmo
sought to transcend the limitations of mere performance and channel us all
into the future. Ultimately, his plans went horribly wrong. All too soon,
the rest of the world was grooving to Culture Club and Duran Duran, space
shuttle Challenger blew up, and Von Lmo went into self-imposed "suspended
animation." Poor distribution assured that the album would continue to be
spoken of in hushed tones among collectors for many years to follow
(although sealed copies seemed to turn up with suspicious regularity).
Throughout the '90s, Von Lmo would re-animate himself on occasion for
dazzling live performances (spacesuits slightly toned-down) and the release
of two so-so CDs worth of new and archival recordings. Nonetheless, this
fabulous document had long ago earned its place on my shelf filed right
next to "No New York." [JG]

[VA] "Special Skool: The Best of Invicta Hi-Fi" (Invicta Hi-Fi) CD $16.99
RealAudio: Baxendale
RealAudio: Ladytron /ramgen/othermusic/HeTookHe.ram
Not exactly new (but new to us, and probably to you too) "Special Skool" is
an admittedly offbeat but nonetheless excellent compilation of young bands
many of whom record for Liverpool, England's Invicta Hi-Fi label. Despite
the varied background of these artists (they hail from England, Germany,
and Japan) the common thread seems to be a longing for early '80s UK New
Wave and electro-pop. Baxendale may be the most retro of the bunch:
'Electric Trains' mocks the style and mood of then-"New Romantics" like
Ultravox and Visage. Vada's dubby sing-along 'Martini In the Park' sounds
like a low-fi Bananarama back when they used to pal around with Fun Boy
Three. Meanwhile Ladytron (whose mini-album was reviewed here a few weeks
ago) cops 'The Model' to hypnotic effect, and Chevette's 'We Can Dance
Again' is the best Pulp impersonation I've heard yet. It's not all New Wave
fun, however, a few tracks are definitely out of place here, but not nearly
enough to spoil the fun. They call it "Special Skool", but it sounds like
the Old Skool to me. Don't get left back. [TC]

[V/A] "I'm A Good Woman: Funk Classics from Sassy Soul Sisters" (Harmless, UK) CD $22.99
RealAudio: Betty Moorer
Shout it! and they do. If you liked the "Funky Divas" collection (of James
Brown productions from a few years ago), this continues in that vein,
retaining only Lyn Collins from the JB camp. With excellent, concise liner
notes and plenty of rarities, this comp spans the years 1969 to 1979 (that
sounds 1972). Collecting the most powerful pipes backed up by resounding
funk, women in control of their desires (and usually of those around them).
With rare tracks by knowns like Collins and Betty Davis, lots of answer
songs, the fabulous Laura Lee, and obscure artists like Ann Winley and
Queenie Lyons. Strutting and edgy production, lots of overmodulated vocals
(these women can BELT), punchier then punchy rhythms and?oh, you know. So
impressive. [RE]

A SILVER MT. ZION "He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes
Grace the Corner of Our Rooms" (Constellation, Canada) CD $13.99
Three humans from Godspeed You Black Emperor branched off to make this
album. Unadorned strings, piano, and drums shiver and tremble together
while staticky newscasters/announcers mumble around them or someone sings
random poetry in a wobbly way. The instruments trace lonely scales, and the
drums might even kick into incongruous hip-hop beats once in a while. Like
a mixture of Rachel's lovely pseudo-classical meanderings and Roger Doyle's
pointed artcasting. Designed to play tug-of-war with your heartstrings, and
does. [RE]

[V/A] "Wildflowers" (KnitClassics) 2xCD $26.99
Originally released on five LPs, "Wildflowers" documents a festival held
during May 1976 at Studio Rivbea, once the loft space curated by Sam
Rivers. The names here read like a who's who of the avant-garde:
Kalaparusha Maurice McIntyre, Sunny Murray, Byard Lancaster, Sam Rivers,
Henry Threadgill, Anthony Braxton, Marion Brown, Anthony Davis, Dave
Burrell, Andrew Cyrille, Julius Hemphill, Jimmy Lyons, Roscoe Mitchell, Leo
Smith, Oliver Lake and (even!) others. The highlights here are too many to
credit, but topping the list is a devastating sextet led by Braxton,
Mitchell's beautiful trio segment with Jerome Cooper and Don Moye, all of
Byard Lancaster's contributions, a dark, melancholy piece by Leo Smith, and
basically anytime Sunny Murray pounds the drums. Truly inspired by the
moment, this epitomizes the mid-'70s NYC underground. [PW]

ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO "A Jackson in Your House/Message to Our Folks"
(BYG/Actuel/Charly, Germany) CD $18.99

"We knew we could not survive in Chicago... we didn't want to work for the
same small American clubs the rest of our lives." So Lester Bowie, along
with Malachi Favors, Joseph Jarman, Don Moye, and leader Roscoe Mitchell
decamped to Paris for what would turn out to be three years of fruitful,
inspired music-making. This disc, the fourth in the initial re-release of
the BYG catalogue, captures them at the beginning of their sojourn, during
the heady summer of 1969, when the free jazz world gathered in the City Of
Lights for the marathon sessions of the Actuel festival. It was a turning
point for the Art Ensemble, the moment when the tension of the earlier
Nessa and Delmark recordings exploded in every possible direction. Here is
a cornucopia of human emotions, Morse code to retune your blood pressure.
Love, rage, pensiveness, whimsy...what you find depends on what you bring
to this snarling, growling, shouting, laughing, mournful, soulful, powerful
jazz. Two albums on one CD, lovingly remastered to best-ever sound. [AL]

COOPER-MOORE "Deep in the Neighborhood of History and Influence" (Hopscotch) CD $13.99
For a jazz musician of his experience (who generally seem to release about
five CDs a year), Cooper-Moore is terribly underdocumented. An NYC
favorite, he's always a highlight of the annual Vision Festival and performs only
once or twice a year on top of that. Of course, there might be a reason for
this: he's been known to destroy the pianos he plays. And judging from the
heavy thunder on this CD, it's a small miracle that this instrument
survived. He pounds out every single note with the utmost dedication and
sincerity, pummeling the keys -- yet even through the ferocity and
recklessness, an oddly humorous mood emerges while he's playing in catchy
melodies and bluesy songcraft. A masterpiece from some of the fastest hands
in the business; from one of the most potent musicians ever. [PW]

SAM & VALLEY "A Miracle is Simple" (Angelika Kohlermann) CD $16.99
S & V's first album was so unimpressive to me that I had mentally discarded
them a LONG time ago. And I'm glad I don't hold hard and fast to those
kinds of mental judgments! This is one of the funnest electronic CDs to
pass this way in quite a while. I don't mean 'funniest', I mean funnest.
With segments that spoof Aphex Twin in clouded ways (song titles:
'Richard', 'Milkmaid', 'Boys and Girls'), it's goofy and impudent. It
sputters into gabber and a Rephlex-ish spastitude, using robot dogs and
ducks, piano, videogame sounds, electronic gasps, baseball organ and fake
flutes, new wave and Fat Albert bass. Sam & Valley are today's version of
Sparks or Frank Chickens, especially in the odd speak-singing they affect
(primarily in Japanese); they're cute because they're hopped-up and
unpredictable, not because they use 'cute' sounds. [RE]

[V/A] "Future World Funk (Ocho, UK) CD/2xLP $22.99/$28.99
RealAudio: Sidestepper
Ocho's compilation of traditional (um, think 'ethnic') dance music forms
with dancefloor stylings SOUNDS like it could be horrifying--in fact it's
absolutely the opposite. Awesome Columbian, Brazilian, Indian, Latin,
African, and Arabic music is hybridized with Euro club-pop, but keeping the
indigenous, complex percussion sounds, just pumped up with modern textures.
Also happens to contain some of my favorite tracks from the individual
albums they were culled from (like Femi Kuti, Sidestepper, and Dom Um
Romao), so I can hear them all at once. Other standouts? Chico Science and
Nacao Zumbi's Latin/Brazilian/African funkfest, and Sutra Sonic's diva with
a bouncy backbone and backbeat. [RE]

DJ FOOD "Kaleidoscope" (Ninjatune, Canada) CD $13.99
It's five years later and Coldcut's gone, but there's still plenty of fresh
Food left. PC and Strictly Kev have persevered to offer us an aptly-named
collection, in which their trippy beats refract chopped up orchestral
soundscapes, loungecore, kung-fu fighting, pool balls sinking in their
pockets, a Ken Nordine poem, samples galore, and more. Call it Snip-Hop.
The sound's a bit familiar: they're definitely walking a trail they already
blazed. But they do it with style and wit, making each of these 12 tracks
an adventure every time it visits your earhole. What they had wasn't
broken, so they didn't fix it. You've heard those mixologists who stole it
all from these guys, so now hear the originals, masters at play. [AL]

ALBERT AYLER "Spiritual Unity" (ESP-Disk/Calibre, Netherlands) CD $14.99
Year 2000 has already seen so many great jazz reissues. But if you don't
have this one already, don't let it slip by. The Calibre edition of Albert
Ayler Trio's "Spiritual Unity" comes with a short history on the original
ESP label, how this came to be their first release, and the histories of
the players. The packaging has orginal cover art plus a neat oversleeve.
And the remastering makes the recording sound like they were in the studio
yesterday. As for the record itself, what can I say? Albert Ayler + Gary
Peacock + Sonny Murray = beautiful chaos. [GG]

PHAROAH SANDERS "Pharoah's First" (ESP-Disk/Calibre, Netherlands) CD $14.99
One of the musical memories most imbedded in my consciousness is my
introduction to free jazz. I had an idea of what it sounded like before I
really experienced it firsthand--then a friend of mine played me a
rendition of 'My Favorite Things' from Coltrane's "Live at the Village
Vanguard Again!" The song seemed loose, stretched out, and then Pharoah
really let it fly. His wall of sound, flurry of notes, and cluster of
squeals made this record like nothing I had ever heard before. Of course, I
realized then that this was only the tip of the iceberg for not only free
jazz, but Pharoah himself. Putting on "Pharoah's First," his debut album
and second in the ESP catalog, shows a saxophonist just starting to break
into the avant-garde. This recording really swings at times, and even when
it breaks into freer territory, is a surprisingly tuneful album. This may
not be the devastating Sanders from his tenure as Coltrane's sideman or the
African-influenced sound of his early '70s work, but it instead manages to
capture a more melodic, tuneful energy that is no less complex, made even
better by the clear, well-done remastering on this CD. [PW]

BYRON ALLEN TRIO "s/t" (ESP-Disk/Calibre, Netherlands) CD $14.99
This elusive, unsung alto-saxophonist was captured on this debut trio
outing recorded in September, 1964. Allen was signed to ESP as a complement
to Albert Ayler and Pharoah Sanders on the recommendation of Ornette
Coleman, then well in the midst of "early retirement" as a consequence of
his disgust with the music industry establishment. Ably assisted by bassist
Maceo Gilchrist and drummer Ted Robinson, Allen's compositions are dynamic
and sure, including a sly nod to Ornette entitled "Decision for the
Cole-man". It's somewhat polite in comparison to Ayler, but who wasn't? All
the same, this trio really takes flight, demonstrating exquisite timing,
deft soloing and fluid interplay throughout. What became of Allen is not
well-documented; we know that he dropped off the scene shortly after this
was released, re-emerged with another trio set 15 years later on a European
label, and that's about it. With this one record, however, he clearly set
the standard for the likes of Noah Howard and Marzette Watts to follow.
Newly remastered version reveals details not even hinted at on the previous
CD incarnation; you can now hear Gilchrist whispering along with his own
bass solos! [JG]

KLAUS LANG & KLANGFORUM WIEN "Die Uberwinterung Der Mollusken" (Durian, Austria) CD $16.99
"The Hibernation Of Mollusks". Large ensemble composition/directed
improvisation inhabits a world of sumptuous stillness, of glacial
vibrations and textures of life interrupted. The incredibly disciplined
Klangforum Wien is perhaps the only extant group (with the possible
exception of AMM) that could pull off such a piece of dynamic inertia; the
silences are ear-shattering while the crescendos beg closer scrutiny. An
entire world folded inside-out. [JG]

PEDRO THE LION "Winners Never Quit" (Jade Tree) CD/LP $10.99/$7.99
Album number three and Pedro the Lion moves to punk powerhouse label Jade
Tree. A concept album with a simple concept, David Bazan and Co. write a
number of songs from another P.O.V., in the voice of the drunkard, the
murderer, the wife-beater, the suicide, the dead. While the result could be
heavy-handed, instead it's an exploration into the way people justify
making unethical decisions and actions. A record that breezes past
melancholy into full-blown depression, rendered in deep guitar lines, a
unique drum sound (they clunk off in the distance), and a voice filled with
ennui somewhere between Will Oldham and Elliot Smith. This album explicates
the passion in making mistakes with a detailed power of description. [RE]

[V/A] "Murder in the Company of Vespertine" (Vespertine, UK) CD $16.99
Through dense fog, the second compilation from this moody UK label emerges.
There's a fatalism here, a resignation...and the tracks add up like a clock
ticking down towards certain doom. Tracks include those with echoed piano
and muted trumpet melodies; retard guitar rattles a la Remko Scha; dark,
oozing and gnarled rainy soundpieces; clicky clicky beats with
tube-squeezed Cocteau-Twins-ish vox; tuba, piano and modern doorbell;
wobbly sped-up vox like Jawa chatter and artificial tolling bells? all
acting like the severely crippled cousins of Bjork. Fascinating and bare
ly-categorizable. With Bear, Lazerboy, Oneironaut, and many others even
less known. [RE]

FOEHN "Hidden Cinema Soundtracks" (Fat Cat Splinter Series, UK) CD $22.99
Years ago, Deb Parsons worked with Matt Elliott on their first (and most
spectacular) album, "Semtex". And as Elliott's been slowly watering down
the unique sound they gave birth to back in 1995, Parson's concentrating
it. "Hidden Cinema Soundtracks" ventures into a dense jungle of cinema
sounds, an alternate-reality fantasia riddled with snowflakes, massive pipe
organs and a beat kept by the oh-so-slow footsteps of a giant. Strings curl
and seek like tentacles, mellow and warm organ tones bolster the sound, and
percussion is but tiny thwips and miniature thunder-machines. Plus she adds
fancy, tender, unhinged vocals on one or two tracks. Though it makes for
better background than foreground music, it's thicker, darker, and somewhat
_older_-sounding than "Silent Light", her last CD. [RE]

JOSH ROUSE "Home" (Slow River) CD $11.99
Rouse's warm, well-written songcraft, while not stunningly unique, holds
its own in the crowded world of singer/songwriterdom. While his style has
precedents in the music of Paul Westerberg (solo stuff, not Replacements),
Rouse's edge is softer, and he doesn't get all self-deprecating. With an
emotive voice that can get rough but never gruff, he embeds it in
productions that tread that fine line between indie shambles and mainstream
slickness--which lets the songs be themselves, not become something buried
by production style. Nice pop that has serious emotional roots, sort of the
way the Go-Betweens were for most of their careers. [CV/RE]


MATMOS "s/t" (Vague Terrain/Matador, UK) CD $12.99
MATMOS "Quasi Objects" (Vague Terrain/Matador, UK) CD $12.99

These have been out of print for over a year now, and we've had constant
requests for them during their absence. Matmos (Drew Daniel and Martin
Schmidt) went into limbo with keeping up their own label (Vague Terrain)
once they got signed to a big label. Of course, it paid off now that
big label (Matador) is now printing and distributing their CDs for them!
Their self-titled CD rivals "The West" in creativity and intricate detail,
tracks made with the sounds of a sea creature's synapses firing and a
microphone rubbed over a bristly head. "Quasi Objects" is a little more
pointedly cute, with winsome novelty in their sample selection and a
poppier (well, relatively--maybe that should be 'discoier'--more beats,
anyway) front. A welcome return! [RE]
"Quasi Objects"

UNITED STATES OF AMERICA "s/t" (Columbia/Edsel, UK) CD $19.99
With all of the excitement over the release of Broadcast's new album, it
seems appropriate to mention the only release from the United States of
America. In interviews, Broadcast have cited United States of America as
their primary inspiration, and upon returning to this epic album,
comparisons become inevitable. United States of America was the project
developed by composer Joseph Byrd, who took electronic composition a la
Stockhausen, Subotnik, and Henry, applying it in an echo-drenched, hazy,
drug-laden psychedelic deconstruction. Fronted by vocalist Dorothy
Moskowitz, they dabbled in LSD-inspired lyricism, touching on everything
from clouds to pure dada. Combining humor, modulated electronics,
fuzzed-out organs, breathy vocals, concrete-like sound effects, and lush
instrumentation, the United States of America created a work of genius,
originality, and complexity. [PW]

DIE TRIP COMPUTER DIE "Stadium Death" (Alcohol) CD $16.99
Another really strange set of skewed songs from the incredible Alcohol
stable (L. Voag, Orchestre Murphy, I.S.O.), this one reunites Mr. Voag
(Xentos, a.k.a. Amos) with Ted Barrow (a mate from the seminal days of the
Homosexuals) and Lepke Bookwater (Milk From Cheltenham, The Lowest Note on
the Organ) for 12 genre-defying ditties in the rarefied tradition of the
Residents, Der Plan, Swell Maps, Deep Freeze Mice, and, well, The
Homosexuals. [JG]

This week's contributors: Tom Capodanno [TC], Robin Edgerton [RE], Jeff
Gibson [JG], Graham Gulden [GG], Andrew Leigh [AL], Jeremy Sponder [JS],
Chris Vanderloo [CV], Phil Waldorf [PW].

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003