Other Music New Release Update
August 30, 2000

In This Week's Update:

Avey Tare & Panda Bear
Panda Bear
Art Ensemble of Chicago w/Fontella Bass reissue
"Putting the Morr Back in Morrissey" comp.
Bill Cole's Untempered Ensemble
Sun City Girls #4 of 12
JPT Scare Band reissue
The Sunshine Fix
Fuji comp. of new Japanese 'noise'
Kev Hopper
Rian Murphy & Will Oldham
Jets to Brazil

Restocks, domestic:

Featured New Releases:

AVEY TARE & PANDA BEAR "Spirit They're Gone Spirit They've Vanished" (Animal) CD $12.99
This stands as the best new release by an unknown artist yet this year. NYU
students Avey Tare and Panda Bear (David Portner and Noah Lennox) have
taken the creative approaches of Family Fodder, Simon Fisher Turner, or
John Lennon and filtered it through their modern ears to create heady
electronica with feet mired in tortured pop. Take the gentler, speak-sing
style of Robyn Hitchcock or Syd Barrett, and then hand it over to Mike Ink
or Vladislav Delay -- you'll be close to what these two are doing. Portner
curiously slopes his vocals downward like something running out of
batteries at the end of each phrase, and the noise they mask the vocals in
is like drops of water on a hot griddle: sputtering, inconsistent. Add
jittery acoustic guitar, noise like machines on fire, tinnitus ringing,
simple piano melodies, zephyrs of synth spreading into the distance. On one
track, Portner's voice oscillates electronically (think 'Hurdy Gurdy Man',
but prettier), on another, free jazz piano and drums twinkle past rippling
electronic sounds. All parts balance on the head of a pin. Caveat: both
Lennox and Portner work here(!), but even if they didn't, I'd still be blown
away by the fragile sound-songs they so gingerly assembled. Ten tracks
cover one hour. [RE]

PANDA BEAR "s/t" (Soccer Star) CD $11.99
Panda Bear's solo release, recorded in 1997 and 1998 (while in high school)
evokes a very short period of time -- early 1979, maybe, when a few artists
made small-scale electronic pop -- before new wave, before technopop. Most
of these were Japanese -- the Beatniks, Haruomi Hosono -- but Belgians Telex
fit here too. Panda Bear's methods are similar, but where the above groups
waxed goofy, Panda Bear is sweetly serious. Old Korgs and Rolands impart a
chill, but the edges are softened with thrumming acoustic guitars, cello
and piano. PB's not working in a time capsule, he takes the tools of that
neglected period and projects them forward in time to create something
new. [RE]

ART ENSEMBLE OF CHICAGO "Les Stances A Sophie" (Universal Sound, UK)
CD/LP  $18.99/$18.99

"Your head is like a yo-yo, your neck is like a stri-i-ing...." Thus sings
Fontella Bass (yes, she of 'Rescue Me', also Mrs. Lester Bowie,
contributing two brief vocals and some piano) at the start of this
marvelous, little-heard album, one of 15(!) the AEC recorded during their
'69-'71 expatriate period in Paris. Although officially the soundtrack to
the all-but-lost French film of the same name (in which the group can be
seen performing), it was recorded before shooting began, and is a perfectly
coherent suite in its own right. An astonishing variety of moods and
atmospheres is jam-packed into these 34 delightful minutes -- blazing fire,
exquisite stillness, original and unclassifiable music delivered with
absolute clarity and precision. These guys could play just about anything,
and usually did. There's a particularly rich use of percussion, perhaps the
result of this being Don Moye's debut with the group. The funky, the holy,
the classical, the alchemical, the out and the in are all here, in best-ever
sound. [AL]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999137291&refer_url=email

[V/A] "Putting the Morr Back in Morrissey" (Morr, Germany) 2xCD $15.99
Morr Records' first compilation is filled with bedroom electronics of the
highest quality: this label continues to stun and amaze on each successive
release. What was originally intended as a split 7" between ISAN and the
Notwist quickly turned into a double CD with 28 tracks. Disc 1, all
previously unreleased material, ranges from the melodic Aphex Twin-ish
ambience of Manufracture to the digital hip-hop stylings of Christian
Kleine, the melodic downtempo noodlings of e-vax, plus Phonem, B.
Fleischmann, Solvent, Arovane, and much more. Disc 2 is all remixes of Disc
1 by the contributors: B. Fleischmann goes at Blond, ISAN tackles the
Notwist, Kandis does Tied and Tickled Trio, Arovane hits himself -- this is
just the beginning. The best electronic compilation of this year (so far!),
hands down. 140 minutes of modern melodic electronica that should appeal
to both pop and electronic music fans alike. [JS]

BILL COLE'S UNTEMPERED ENSEMBLE "Live November 29, 1999" (Boxholder) 2xCD  $21.99
One of the finest albums I have heard this year. The culmination of nearly
30 years of work, this double-disc set presents seldom-recorded esoteric
reedsman Cole supported by giants like William Parker (bass), Warren Smith
(percussion), Joe Daley (tuba), Sam Furnace (alto), and the equally
under-recorded Cooper-Moore (instruments). In this ensemble setting, his
solitary compositions take on new life with in directed collective
improvisations that explore the relationships between sonic vibrations
within and without the notes of the Western scale. "The Nigerian
philosopher Fela Sowande once explained that 'Sound, the raw material of
music, is only a tiny portion of a keyboard of vibrations. Just as there
are several octaves on a piano keyboard, so there are several octaves in
the keyboard of vibrations. The higher vibrations produce electricity,
heat, color, light, x-rays, and eventually thought, while the vibrations
below the range of sound form the chemical world, from which matter and
solids result.' Thus sound is the intermediary between the abstract idea
and the concrete form."--George W. Sampson, from the liner notes. Cole and
Cooper-Moore unleash a full compliment of vibrations via a barrage of
digeridoo, fretless banjo, Chinese sona, mouth bow, Tibetan trumpet, bamboo
flute, Korean hojok, hoe-handle harp, Indian shenai and nagaswarm, and
rainsticks. Disc 1 commences with 'Struggles of Fanny Lou Hamer' (1978) in
honor of a slain civil rights worker, followed by 'The Short Life Of Amadou
Diallo'. Both 20-minute pieces present portraits in sound that eulogize the
dignity of the individuals and express the insane cacophony that took their
lives. Disc 2 presents one 50-minute work, 'Freedom 1863: A Fable', where
Cole continues his unique exploration into blackness and historical
context. Farther out than mere "free jazz", these excursions are so
strongly rooted in world melodies and the jazz tradition that Cole manages
to redefine those genres as well. Perhaps the closest a modern recording
could hope to come in combining the spirit of Paris in 1969 (BYG, Archie
Shepp at the Pan Afrikan festival, Art Ensemble Of Chicago) with the swing
of primetime Sun Ra. The place is this space. [JG]

SCHLAMMPEITZIGER "Augenwischwaldmoppgeflote" (A-Musik, Germany) CD/LP  $14.99/$12.99
Schlammpeitziger, aka Jo Zimmerman, has produced record number four. Which
is cute, not new, and still exceedingly pleasant. Zimmerman's left his
samples of anything exotic under the rug, so this record (unlike his record
titles) is simpler than before. Crisp beats, melodies that swoop with the
same motion as the visual track of a camera's zoom lens (xhoop up, xhoop
sideways, xhoop down). He keeps the usual Cluster-era synth sound (the
endless twinkle), and, as usual, keeps out the new-age baggage it sometimes
carries with it. There's even a sped-up Who sample in here: neat. Sharp in
waves, like the multiple edges of a circular saw blade. Very nice. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999137411&refer_url=email

MOVIETONE "Blossom Filled Streets" (Drag City) CD $13.99
Movietone's long-awaited follow-up to "Day and Night." Like their previous
albums, "Blossom..." contains sparse arrangements with underlying melodies
that build slowly, progressing ever so slightly to send chills down your
spine. Kate Wright's vocals are as haunting as ever, as the instruments
conflict with her every word, swirling about her delivery. An amazing
release calling to mind "Comme a La Radio" by Brigitte Fontaine & the Art
Ensemble of Chicago, or Scott Walker's "Tilt" at times. Movietone have
grown as a group, adding new instruments to the mix that contorting their
sound further (clarinet, prepared piano, string bass, etc.). This record
will undoubtedly be on many a top-ten list by year's end. [JS]

SUN CITY GIRLS "A Bullet Through the Last Temple" (Abduction) CD $13.99
Number four in the monthly year-2000 "Carnival Folklore Resurrection"
series. "A Bullet" is, solidly, the Girls' most fundamentally 'jazz'
record yet. A subtle, and beautiful set of short improvisations (the nine
tracks average about 5 minutes apiece) on solemn trumpet, whimpering sax,
selective drums, tilting piano, tenuous upright bass. Tender jabs of sound
and anxious clusters of melody take the place of any drug-induced jams or
international collisions. Their obvious rapport (built over their nearly
20-year career of sonic exploration) is palpable and transfers to the jazz
idiom magnificently. The only real weirdness rests on track 3 in snorts,
rubber-band guitars and instrument tradeoffs that circle the room one note
at a time. SCG abilities step well into other genres; they pull them off
beautifully. Once this twelve-disc series is over, I hope they eventually
see their way to pleasing us with some reissues of their older, classic
studio material as well. [RE]

JPT SCARE BAND "Sleeping Sickness" (Monster Records) CD $14.99
A posthumous document of a virtually unknown band from Kansas City,
Missouri, culled from recordings made between 1973 and 1976. (J)eff
Litrell, (P)aul Grigsby, and (T)erry Swope were a power trio to the fullest
extent of the term (a la Blue Cheer, Cream, Jimi Hendrix Experience). This
CD (73 minutes) contains the original uncut versions of songs that first
appeared on the limited edition vinyl only "Acid Acetate Excursion" and
"Rape of Titan's Sirens". The guitar is firmly planted in the spotlight,
almost non-stop solos with a few exceptions, including the infrequent use
of vocals (Jeff L. serving double duty as GUITAR GOD and singer). Not for
the weak, I almost think this should have been packaged with a warning
FITS OF AIR GUITAR. USE WITH CAUTION. If history had unfolded differently,
or had they hooked up with a proper label at the time, there would
definitely be another guitar hero honored in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. [AG]

THE SUNSHINE FIX "Future History of..." (Kindercore) CD $10.99
Bill Doss, of Olivia Tremor Control-fame, branches out on his own with
this modest EP of distinct and certain pleasures and gives us another band
fixated on the clash of pop and psychedelia of the late '60s and early
'70s. Doss and friends (including Eric Harris of OTC and Jeremy Barnes of
Bablicon) make pop songs with multiple-tracked harmonies worthy of the
early BeeGees (can they do this live?). They also re-speed entire sections
of tape or just one instrument, quote The Creation, drum'n'bass beats and
wonky electric piano, some country (via the Byrds' California cool or the
Kinks). But not all at the same time! There's a lot of effort here, but
each song pays off with successive originality. [RE]

[V/A] "Fuji" (Cha-Bashira, Japan & A-Musik, Germany) CD $14.99
The first CD of what's intended to grow into a series, these two labels
have joined as a sort of exchange student program, but instead of teenagers
they're trading tracks. With mostly Japanese artists represented, there's a
real "let's try this" attitude, which is close to "anything goes", only
more specific. Bursts of squiggling static, pop fragments both actual and
sampled, musique concrete classique and the sounds of '60s materials
sound experiments dominate, all in the service of the controlled collage
aesthetic. Imagine a bowling alley. Each pin at the end is a different kind
of music (say, pop, disco, noise, middle-eastern, Indian, Japanese, free
jazz, hip-hop, Schlager, and, say, drum'n'bass). One ball hits them hard
for a strike, but the pins bounce wildly and crash into each other. That's
the overall experience of this disc. As a various-artists release, it
reminds me of the wonderful "Exile in Osaka" document from a few years
back, or last year's Otomo Yoshihide-compiled "Turntable Solos" disc. Only
more ballistic than both. Names you might recognize: Computer Soup, AOA,
Susumu Yokota, Evil Moisture, Rudolf Eb.er, Moodman. Names you probably
won't: Vagamoron, Tennessees, Smurf Otoko Gumi, Pol Mahlow, yanee hat, Hair
Stylistics, Kuknacke, more. 29 tracks of sampledelia on the fucked side. [RE]

KEV HOPPER "Whispering Foils" (Drag City) CD $13.99
A record that carries on a tradition of light, engaging experimental music
with strange instruments at the core. Twenty years ago General Strike made
an exemplary record of that sort, and 20 years before that, pioneers Arthur
Lyman and Harry Breuer (among many others) used nontraditional instruments
to create (what we call it today) 'exotica.' Hopper's own exotica is not so
different -- tracks of complex pattern and continuous pulse are built from
marimba, prepared instruments, muted trumpet, clarinet, accordion,
percussions and singing saw. The saw is the centerpiece for Hopper, his
chosen instrument, and he wields it like a scythe around the rhythms,
warbling over the electronics. It can get annoying. But for every saw piece
(and I'm a fan of the saw!) there's one without to cleanse the palate.
Sophisticated to perhaps an extreme, this CD acts like a Western, urban
gamelan: warm tones of struck wood and metal (tubular bells, vibes, and
glockenspiel), then accented with scritchy samples. It's also very close to
Tom Waits' classic "Rain Dogs" (sans vocals). Guests include Sean O'Hagen
(High Llamas) and Charles Hayward (This Heat). [RE]

PHILIP "Pet Cancer" (Fevered) CD-R $12.99
My favorite physical description of Philip comes from an OM staffer, who
calls him the kind of guy "so shy that he doesn't even swing his arms
when he walks." But his CD-R release belies a courage or an internal
extrovertion tempered by more than a little spilt anger (the CD states both
"Die!" and "This Album Hates U" on the artwork). And musically sounds like
a merging of old lo-fi Beck and glossy new Beck: rambly vocals and strummed
acoustic guitar with burbling electronic beats and dazzling flashes of pop
psychedelia. Like Tall Dwarfs if they were one hermitlike guy: his cool
rhythmic textures struggle like a mouse caught in a trap; the lo-fi
blippage and rhythms list out of key (how do you make a Casio do that?).
A record seemingly directly inspired by both the Residents' use of cyclical,
seasick paths of electronic sound and Sebadoh's ("III"-era) weakling
accusation-rock. His delivery of the word 'fuckah' is worthy of South
Park's Terrence and Phillip (no relation). Both bouncy and disturbing --
what more could you want? [RE]

MUM "s/t" (Klein, Austria) CD/2xLP $15.99/$17.99
Fun, effervescent disc for the disco from Austrian duo Mum (pictured on the
cover of the CD resting their cheeks on the stomach of a large man). Acid
jazz-tinged tickly dancefloor electronics: simple in intent, and more than
a little like fellow Austrians the unflappable Kruder and Dorfmeister.
Disco string samples, 'la la' wordless vocals, beats in the echo chamber,
roller-rink organ funk, ruddy floorboard bouncing bass. 12 tracks and a
little over an hour. Not to be confused with the Icelandic duo of the same
name. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=900733000171&refer_url=email

RIAN MURPHY & WILL OLDHAM "All Most Heaven" (Drag City) CD/12 $9.99/$8.99
A somber yet highly stylized collaboration between Will Oldham and Drag
City Records co-owner Rian Murphy. On the cover they appear as foppish
dandies, and on record they take pains to add a baroque flavor to the EP's
four songs. Jim O'Rourke provides the ornate arrangements while a bevy of
big-name guest stars (Stereolab's Laetitia Sadier, Smog's Bill Callahan, David
Grubbs, Kevin Drumm and many others) are cast in minor supporting roles. [TC]
12 /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999137481&refer_url=email

JETS TO BRAZIL "Four Cornered Night" (Jade Tree) CD/2xLP $10.99/$10.99
Brand new album from NYC's Jets to Brazil. Two Other Music staffers call it
one of the best pop/rock albums of the year. The rest of us really don't
feel that way at all. Listen, and decide for yourself.
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999137451&refer_url=email

Restocks (now available domestically):

LADYTRON "Commodore Rock" (Emperor Norton) CD $6.99
The Liverpool quartet of Ladytron firmly established themselves for their
novel approach to electro-pop following the release of just one song:
the Kraftwerk-inspired single 'He Took Her to a Movie'. This EP, the first
domestic release for Ladytron, compiles tracks from records released in
England, France, and Japan. This differs from Tricatel's 10" of the same
name by flipping in 'Paco' and 'Miss Black' from their Japanese EP as
substitutes for 'He Took Her'' and 'Olivetti Jerk'. 'Playgirl' is possibly their
best song yet, a sincere, cascadingly dreamy piece of pop about a
directionless ingenue. [TC/RE]

ELASTICA "The Menace" (Atlantic) CD $16.99
"The Menace" is every bit as catchy and sly and sexy as their last
perforated slab of reconstructed-1978 punk and pop, the one which appeared
in 1995. They've still got the vocal tradeoffs, pumped-up and frothing
guitars, window glass crunched under their Docs. Three of the original
members remain in the group (including singer Justine Frischmann), and
they've added a guitarist and two keyboard players for an unstable,
Hammond/Casio one-two punch that inflates the sound. 13 songs include the
collaboration with Mark E. Smith that was on their last EP. [RE]
/perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502128905752&refer_url= email

This week's reviewers: Tom Capodanno [TC], Robin Edgerton [RE], Jeff Gibson
[JG], Andrew Giles [AG], Andrew Leigh [AL], Jeremy Sponder [JS]

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

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