Other Music New Release Update
August 2, 2000

In This Week's Update:

Olivia Tremor Control singles comp.
Bollywood Funk comp.
Nick Drake remastered reissues
23 Skidoo
Vashti Bunyan reissue
Xhol Caravan reissue
Aihiyo (Keiji Haino)
Joe Pernice
Pram single
Atom Heart & Tea Time
Masters At Work 4xCD box retrospective
Lowell Davidson reissue
Kaoru Abe
Burnt Friedmann live
John Cage imitating Erik Satie
Maki Nomia of Pizzicato Five solo
The Unaccompanied Voice a cappella comp.
Stereolab special package

Da Lata domestic

Featured New Releases:

OLIVIA TREMOR CONTROL "Presents Singles and Beyond" (Emperor Norton)
CD  $13.99

Hearing the opening chords of Olivia Tremor Control's 'Love Athena' takes
me back a few years, to Athens, GA, when I'd watch them hand out fresh
fruit to small audiences at shows, and boggle at this local group who
simultaneously resurrected both the dada/absurdist tendencies of Beefheart
or Zappa and the pop glory of the Beach Boys/Beatles axis. The early OTC
home recordings use limited technology to the fullest, cramming the
low-quality cassette tape recordings full of sound effects, fuzzed guitars,
sunshine pop melodies and a million raw overdubs. This CD collects the
great "California Demise" EP, the "Giant Day" EP, tracks from their split
single with Apples in Stereo, plus a number of other odds and ends -- all
songs of a band touching greatness in their naivete. Essential pop material
from one of the most important psychedelic groups of recent times. [PW]

[V/A] "Bollywood Funk" (Outcaste, UK) CD/LP $23.99/$25.99
Since I've started working here at Other Music, I have tried,
unsuccessfully, to find the distributors that all the Indian groceries and
video rental places get their CDs from. There are a slew of great Bollywood
soundtracks I've wanted to share. This new CD compilation very nearly makes
my search redundant. Right off, at least six of the tracks on "Bollywood
Funk" were already stone-cold favorites, and the remaining nine are just as
impeccably great. In fact, it starts off with the two best Bollywood songs
ever, both composed by the magnificent R.D. Burman (in my mind equivalent
to Ennio Morricone in brilliance; outdoing him in quantity). First the
theme to "Hum Kisise Kum Nahin", a mixture of Spaceheads (effects-laden
trumpet) and "Tusk" (marching band!). The second track, 'Dum Maro Dum', is
one of the biggest hits in Indian cinema ever, a funky slap across the head
with psychedelic guitar feedback all over it. Most of these are Burman-
composed and sung by his wife or sister-in-law (Asha Bhosle and Lata
Mangeshkar, respectively) but I don't understand why Outcaste left off not
only the composer's names, but the playback singers' as well. While filmi
music can sound strange to some ears, this is the best introduction to the
genre yet. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=503068830308&refer_url=email

NICK DRAKE "Pink Moon" (Island, UK) CD $18.99
NICK DRAKE "Five Leaves Left" (Island, UK) CD $18.99
NICK DRAKE "Bryter Layter" (Island, UK) CD $18.99

Nick Drake, a shy, severely depressed English folk-rocker, made these
albums in 1969, 1970, and 1972 respectively, before his worsening
psychological condition made it virtually impossible for him to work, and
eventually led to his suicide, from an overdose of antidepressant
medication, in 1974, at age 26. His self-extermination was, as in so many
cases, the path which brought him from near-obscurity to cult status. And
under such circumstances, it's hard to resist the romantic temptation to
view his work through the lens of his death, to look for signs of the wild,
torturous, incomprehensible despair which must have made his life
ultimately unbearable. Yet after more than twenty years of repeated
listenings, these signs resist discovery. Drake's is hardly a jolly oeuvre;
even his most whimsical songs, such as "Five Leaves" sublime, oft-covered
'River Man' (Real Audio above), are suffused with melancholy. Darkness
abounds, and is often the subject at hand, particularly in "Pink Moon". Yet
Drake was able to stare directly into the darkness, and organize what he
found there into example after example of precise and evocative
songwriting, which, with the help of Richard Thompson and others,
particularly the gorgeous orchestral arrangements of Robert Kirby
(especially in "Bryter"), yielded three of the most elegant, atmospheric
records ever made. They're full of feeling, but never lose control; a far
cry from the howlings of, say, a Tim Buckley. Drake was even able to laugh
at his pain, as when his backup singers in "Bryter"'s 'Poor Boy' (Also Real
Audio, also above) chide, "Oh the poor boy, so sorry for himself...." How
could someone see and understand his demons so thoroughly, write about
them with such clarity and impeccable craftsmanship, yet not be able to conquer
them? An unanswerable and therefore a foolish question, but a nagging one.
And these new remasters (occasioned by the use of 'Pink Moon' in a VW
commercial!) only intensify it, because the improved sound quality
reinforces the quiet power of this music. The booklets have lyrics and a
few decent photos, but the sound's what makes them worth buying again. And
if you haven't bought them before, be prepared; their tender ache will
haunt you. [AL]
(Editor's Note: Although Nick Drake's death was declared a suicide, some family
and friends contend that he died as the result of an accidental overdose.)
"Pink Moon"
"Five Leaves Left"
"Bryter Layter"

23 SKIDOO "s/t" (Virgin, UK) CD/LP $24.99/$27.99
I'm completely blindsided by this release. I'm not too keen on reunion
records, for obvious reasons, so when I heard a month ago that 23 Skidoo
were recording again, I wasn't expecting much. I especially wasn't prepared
to hear the best soul fusion record since Massive Attack's "Protection".
Boasting cameos from such heavy hitters as Pharoah Sanders, UK rapper Roots
Manuva, and Loose Ends' Carl McIntosh, this self-titled album takes you on
a chill, melancholy journey propelled by almost the same percussive effects
they used 15 years ago. They branch off when they use dub, though not the
production-heavy POV, instead they take soul's side of dub. Echo isn't
pasted on. Instead, they suffuse the disc with a soulful, cavernous sound
that's as emotional as the vocals, broken by horns. I guarantee that anyone
who likes Thievery Corporation, Nitin Sawhney, or Da Lata will like this. [DH]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=72438494121&refer_url=email

VASHTI BUNYAN "Another Diamond Day" (Spinney, UK) CD/LP $16.99/$15.99
Yet another long-awaited reissue, this one British folkie Vashti Bunyan's
1970 solo record. Assisted by Dave Swarbrick, Robin Williamson, and Robert
Kirby among other luminaries, the reissue also adds four bonus tracks, two
of them unreleased. Bunyan's voice is the star, soft, without a trace of
vibrato, delivery whisper sweet but not excessively stylized, she keeps the
focus on contrapuntal lines and simple diatonic melodies arranged many-
layers-deep. _There is no chest hair in this music._ Bunyan, like her
countrywomen Shirley Collins, Bridget St. John, etc., makes music that is
the _exact opposite_ of cock-rock -- not a guitar solo in sight. Instead, you
float on a purple homespun lily pad, where the flutes, fiddles, banjo and
dulcichord are a buoyant liquid, Bunyan's voice itself the pad, a calm
mother-raft. Unbelievably placid music to take every edge off. [GF]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=66601701211&refer_url=email

XHOL CARAVAN "Electrip" (Garden Of Delights, Germany) CD $18.99
One of the truly seminal gems from the early Krautrock era, originally
issued on the beyond-obscure Hansa label in 1969. This group began two
years previous as an R&B-infused beat outfit known as Soul Caravan. The
emergence of the psychedelic and jazz fusion movements inspired a drastic
shift in their musical direction, and "Soul" became "Xhol". In a gesture
symbolic of their new course of action, "Electrip" commences with the sound
of a flushing toilet! What follows is a veritable explosion of headswirling
saxophone and organ-driven vamps dovetailing into freakout prog-psych
structures that set the path for the likes of Faust, Can, Embryo, and even
Soft Machine to follow. This first legitimate CD reissue adds their
impossible to find debut 7". Highest recommendation! [JG]

AIHIYO "Live" (PSF, Japan) CD $21.99
A genuine departure, even for the most devoted Keiji Haino fan. Sure,
all his trademark elements are present: unsurpassed psychedelic guitar
virtuosity, plaintive screaming vocals, only this time out even your mom
might recognize a chorus or two! "Second album from Haino's 'covers'
unit, who specialize in pulling apart hoary old Japanese MOR classics and
rebuilding them into single-minded masterpieces of grunting/floating
garage-psychedelia. Since their inception, Aihiyo have played out around
Japan roughly once a month, and this release is a document of some of
those marathon, thrilling shows. Possibly the last document too, as
Takahashi has since left the drum seat in favor of smoking his pipe in a
rural setting, and bassist Kawaguchi (of Tokyo's finest garage-Fushitshusha
hybrid Broomdusters) is talking about taking a sabbatical. Anyway, this new
release features nine long tracks, including covers of a Spiders tune, the
Ronettes' 'Be My Baby' (16 minutes!!!), and lots more you won't know. Most
staggering of all is the cover of the Stones' 'Satisfaction' (nearly 15 minutes!),
which neatly transforms Jagger's baby-in-a-Perspex-box mixture of rage and
boredom into truly on-the-edge jumpy paranoia, encapsulating the song's
mental entirety without replicating the riff, rhythm, faux-Americanisms or any
other elements of its external whatsit. As a textbook example of how to do
a cover it's right up there with, what? Fushitsusha's 'Marianne'? Jandek's
'Rite of Spring'? Not much else, for sure."--Alan Cummings. I'll even add
Vanilla Fudge's 'You Keep Me Hangin' On' to that, Alan. 73 minutes and
another booklet of sumptuous photos depicting fashion plate Haino sipping
tea, leaning on his cane and checking his pocket watch! [JG]

JOE PERNICE "Big Tobacco" (Spunk, Australia) CD $14.99
Joe Pernice's 'Big Tobacco' is a pure example of the All-American pop
album. Like contemporaries Wilco, Pernice pushes rootsy American soul into
a pop frame, making a country-tinged collection of superb songs. Avoiding
the need for the big rock payoff, Pernice opts for a softer, orchestral
approach and a delicate balance between production and songwriting. He's
joined by an ensemble of more than ten players who are never overbearing.
A light-weight collection of pop gems and simple songs. [PW]

PRAM "The Owl Service" CD single $8.99
I haven't heard Pram in years, which is my loss, entirely. I skipped even
hearing the last two records and a number of singles. Then I heard the
sounds of this CD single floating out of the speakers at the store. It
wraps a blanket of instruments around your head: flute, recorder, a string
section, tablas, wah-wah guitar, electric piano, horns. The first track is
as if Miles Davis or Herbie Hancock's electronic jazz experiments yielded
pop songs, the second an gentle underwater journey that for some reason
reminds me of Yoko Ono in the up-down up-down melody. Hearing that sweet
voice and sparkling music, I'm definitely going back right now to the Pram
section to see what I've missed (after I pry my hand off of my forehead). [RE]

ATOM & TEA TIME "XXX" (Rather Interesting, Germany) CD $16.99
The prolific Herr Uwe Schmidt, since his move to Chile a few years ago, has
burrowed into Latin music like a ferret after a rat, and it's taking him
far away from the Fax label-style ambient chill music that he started with
much less than 10 years ago. Since then, he's released more than 25 usually
bizarre and unique solo records under at least twelve different aliases --
besides the most frequently-used Atom Heart, he also goes by Los
Samplers, Lisa Carbon Trio, Lassigue Bendthaus, Senor Coconut, and more.
The deeper you dig into this man's work, the more you find. This particular
collaboration is with Chilean MC Tea Time, whose funny and super sleazy
raps flip between English and Spanish. But Schmidt's background music,
scratched and sampled Latin records of the '50s-'70s mixed with sighing
noises is unlike any hip-hop beats you've ever heard, radical,
pleasureable, sometimes so sly. (As in the ha-ha/oof! juxtaposition of the
cut-up 'Theme to Love Story '-- impossibly, he makes it funky -- next to Tea
Time repeating "I wanna fuck her".) [RE]

MASTERS AT WORK "10th Anniversary Collection" (Barely Breaking Even, UK)
4xCD/4xLP $21.99/$23.99

A collection of the most respected and imitated production teams in all of
house music. Together, Louie Vega and Kenny Gonzalez have turned out more
underground anthems than anyone. Included on this retrospective are their
original productions and radical remixes of others' work (like their
collaboration with Tito Puente that spawned the Latin/disco project
Nuyorican Soul). Plenty of absolute stone-cold classic garage tracks from
Alison Limerick, Trey Lorenz, Barbara Tucker, and Martha Wash. This
collection shows why these guys, as producers and mixers, are better than
99% of their colleagues. The set is separated into four sections so you can
hear how they developed their sound over time within specific subgenres:
Dub and Maw Vocals, (regular) Vocals, Beats and Loops, and Tracks and
Grooves. A classic. [GA]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=503324613301&refer_url=email

E-RAX "Live at the Bimhuis 1999" (X-OR, The Netherlands) CD $15.99
A funnel cloud of sound from which spills fragments of broken videogames,
scrabblings and scratchings of animals at an old screen door, bubbling,
cooking and vibrating planks. The trio of Peter Van Bergen (sampler),
Thomas Lehn (analog synth), and Gert-Jan Prins (radio, electronics) have
created, to my ears, the best improvised electronics record yet, rivalling
Fenn O'Berg in range and ability to hold interest. Their song titles are,
for once, perfect and difficult descriptions of the music itself. For
instance, 'Mixing Cow Dung in Water' is a cold, but gritty, dirty set of
electronic sounds, ice with all kinds of nasty inclusions freezing and
melting. Their active structures are those of the hard at work or the hard
at play -- there's no slacking here, ever. This performance, too, confirms
them as the sound-heirs to Louis and Bebe Barron -- they use the same
music, but take it to the modern world. [RE]

LOWELL DAVIDSON TRIO "s/t" (ESP-Disk/Calibre, Netherlands) CD $14.99
Another beautiful-sounding re-master of a unique ESP classic! At the urging
of Ornette Coleman, Bernard Stollman recorded Davidson, then a 24 year-old
graduate student in biochemistry at Harvard, accompanied by the brilliant
Milford Graves on percussion and bass-legend Gary Peacock in July 1965.
Davidson's approach and technique exude a lyricism and demeanor mastered
by Cecil Taylor only later in his storied career. "Jackie McLean once
described Monk and Bud Powell as being 'in a state of grace'. That is how I
would describe Lowell. He was extremely brilliant, his sincerity and
commitment to creativity was profound. The rhetoric he used to describe his
music was very rarefied and reflected his background in church music and
science (and perhaps hallucinogens). He talked about the upper partials of
a tone, his desire to manipulate them and their effect on the biochemistry
of the brain. Lowell felt that if you could expand the consciousness of
people with music it would have a molecular effect and cause their brain
matter to evolve. He also described hallucinations he had as if they were
real and seemed fearless about peering into the darkest parts of his own
thoughts." --Joe Morris, from his liner notes. Sadly, this recording is the
only one made by Lowell Davidson that is commercially available. A terrible
lab accident caused permanent injuries that profoundly affected the
remaining years of his life. His last decade was spent in and out of
lucidity, though still performing music on occasion before succumbing to
tuberculosis in 1990 at the age of 48. [JG]

KAORU ABE "Partitas Unfinished" (Vivid Sound, Japan) 2xCD $44.99
Subtitled "Well-Tempered Alto-Saxophone Suite For Joyness Of All Beginers
And Also Exparts" (sic). Among the plethora of solo performances that have
come to light since Abe's untimely passing in 1978 at the age of 29, this
might well be his definitive statement. Originally issued in a miniscule
run in 1989, "Partitas" captures Abe at the height of his powers in March
1973. "Though he obviously owed plenty to Ayler's righteous whoops and
shrieks, Abe's playing also had a distinctive, deeply lonely and
melancholic air. Indeed, he was most comfortable playing alone, when he
could carve huge chunks of weighty black silence to construct his dynamic
of tension and release, sometimes he'd remain motionless for long minutes
on end before blasting through the static mess."--David Keenan/The Wire.
Endlessly inventive and insanely clever, the four lengthy pieces that
comprise this set make for a most challenging sitting to be sure, but also
most rewarding in its excavation of a soul of such depth. [JG]

BURNT FRIEDMAN "Con Ritmo" (~scape/EFA, Germany) CD $14.99
It may not be a live record, but it certainly sounds like it, and
spectacularly so. Friedman's crack "live" ensemble consists of jittering
percussion, smooth vibes, muffled sax, lazy electric piano, and '70s
electric guitar sounds whizzing and gurgling on top. The guitar itself is
great, seasick, imitating the off-pitch elisions of a flexitone or an
off-center LP. German Friedman recorded this in New Zealand with a few
local musicians. But his recent collaboration with Atom Heart seems to be
rubbing off on him, as he uses a lot less dub than his last CD, replacing
it with subtle Latin touches. An immediate record, it's live character is
goofily enhanced on a number of tracks where he snakes in murmurs plus
clinking glasses and silver for a supper-club atmosphere. Groovy and
unexpected -- you can do so much with technology these days. [RE]

JOHN CAGE "Cheap Imitation" (Ampersand) CD $14.99
John Cage had always been fascinated with the music of Erik Satie, being
the first organize a performance of all 16 hours of "Vexations" in 1963.
But when he wanted to use two piano arrangements he had worked up of
Satie's "Socrates" to accompany a dance by Merce Cunningham, he ran into
copyright issues. Not one to be deterred, Cage decided to apply his famous
I Ching chance operations method to this piece, essentially recomposing it
by chopping and re-pasting sections. The piece therefore retains Satie's
flavors, if not his form. It became one of Cage's own favorite pieces,
perhaps because he loved the languid simplicity and variable repetitions in
Satie's own work. Performed by Cage himself on piano, this recording was
originally released in 1977 on Italy's Cramps records; this is the first
domestic appearance. Package is lovely, with original liner notes, photos,
and even a section of Cage's diary. A very quiet CD. [RE]

MAKI NOMIYA "Miss Maki Nomiya Sings" (Readymade Records, Japan) CD $31.99
Miss Maki Nomiya, better known as the singer of Pizzicato Five, breaks free
from longtime collaborator Yasuharu Konishi on this her first solo album.
"Sings" finds her working with notables like Towa Tei, Cibo Matto with Sean
Lennon, and Italian neo-exotica duo Montefiori Cocktail. The results are
generally good, but remarkably devoid of surprises. Nomiya here treads
familiar P5 territory: futuristic bossa nova, lounge-y electronic excursions,
and even a little drum'n'bass like on "Star Struck" (RealAudio above). The
only track that might raise an eyebrow is a rather faithful cover of the Kiss
rock ballad "Hard Luck Woman" (RA also above). Limited quantities
available at the moment. [TC]

[V/A] "The Unaccompanied Voice" (Secretly Canadian) CD $12.99
Inspired by the Harry Smith collections of American Folksong, Secretly
Canadian assembled a whole bunch of contemporary musicians to
approximate a part of that energy. Unfortunately, what's most obvious
is that lots of these artists need music to mask the fact that they can't
sing. Most do Palace/Will Oldham imitations on traditional folk numbers,
a few more creative groups do multi-part works with clapping and
human beatboxing (Grifters sing wonderfully through a mic filter).
Includes everyone from Elliot Sharp (sound poetry -- buzzing and
chattering with overtone singing) to Mia Doi Todd (awful Piaf imitation).
Really nice material from Swearing at Motorists (Fairport-Conventionish
harmonies), Danielson Famile (weird 7-part layered construction) Jarboe
(multitracked drones), Japonize Elephants (old-timey yokel harmony),
Panoply Academy (resampled gospely humming and whispering voices
set on loops-- a bristly, low lo-fi Laurie Anderson). This could have been
a lot better, but it's not bad. At least you get a clearer window into the
recording process when it's just a mic and a human. (And Dave Fischoff
cheats -- there's a faint organ in the background of his!) [RE]

MUSLIMGAUZE "Bass Communion V Muslimgauze EP" (Soleilmoon) CD $9.99
Not to be confused with a limited-edition EP released last year with the
same title (or perhaps that's just the point!), this collects the remaining
two tracks from that same session in 1996, completed December 1999 by
Bass Communion who added lots of blips and bleeps to compliment the
breaks. Another 18:32 of fuzzy, rollicking elektro fun. [JG]

STEREOLAB "First of the Microbe Hunters" (East West/Elektra, Japan)
CD with CD Player Carrying Case  $54.99

The recent "First of the Microbe Hunters" mini-album is lovingly repackaged
here inside an official Stereolab portable CD carrying-case. Complete with  
both a strap and a belt-loop, you can wear this fashion item either over the
shoulder or on your waist. Enough room to carry the "Microbes" disk and a
CD Walkman. The perfect companion for a jaunty stroll through fashionable
Tokyo neighborhoods or a hellish commute on a crosstown bus. [TC]

Restock (CD now available at a domestic price):

DA LATA "Songs From The Tin" (Palm Pictures) CD/LP $15.99/$23.99
What Massive Attack did for dub, Da Lata, a quartet of Brazilians and
Brits, do for samba. Their assets? Batucada percussion and berimbau,
wonderful samba arrangements, and ace Brazilian singer Liliana Chachian.
Chachian's voice is clear, with swingingly perfect phrasing. Yet she
doesn't sound awfully unique, either -- but the closest I can come for a
comparison would be Anamaria Valle. Even though they're not revivalists,
Da Lata's work retains the integrity of its origins wholly, resulting in a
broad appeal through acid jazz grooves and neat electronic effects
(artificial echos on voices, backwards percussion, stretched strings,
more). The form they use is not the jazz samba of the '60s, it's the samba
pop of the '70s: a la Jorge Ben, Caetano Veloso, or the more conventional
songs of Tom Ze. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=66020020121&refer_url=email

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003