Other Music New Release Update
February 21, 2001

In This Week's Update:

Liliput/Kleenex reissue
New Year
2nd Gen
Gorky's Zygotic Mynci EP
Tri-Pinnacle EP (Anti-Pop Consortium side project)
Jurgen De Blonde
Call and Response
Gila reissue
William Parker
Joe Jones reissue
1rst Fist and Stroop comp.
Richard Youngs
Hawd Gangsta Rappuh MCs Wid Ghatz single

Featured New Releases:

LILIPUT (Kleenex) "s/t" (Kill Rock Stars) 2xCD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/liliput2.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/liliput3.rm
In 1978 a quintet of Swiss women (and one man) formed Kleenex.
Kleenex were a punk band in the best sense of punk: before punk
was specifically nihilistic or stylistic, it was simply being different --
at which Kleenex excelled. Over the next five years, in different
configurations (by '83 Klaudia Schifferle was the only original
member) they held together an aesthetic which had some
parallels in contemporaneous UK and NYC punk and no-wave.
Yet neither the Gang of Four, the Raincoats, the Pop Group nor
Teenage Jesus and the Jerks had the innovative combination of
staccato force, modern primitive rhythms, and clipped, sing-song
vocals. Where other groups were knuckle sandwiches, slaps or
blown kisses, Liliput were, quizzically, arms, knees, and jawbones.
Their earlier work (on the first disc) is very akin to Lora Logic's
solo material (and Essential Logic), only not so completely cooled.
While the saxophone work is nearly identical, Kleenex have hot
heads and unfettered feet; they stomp to whistles, thunking drums,
plucked and damped guitar strings, and a waltz rhythm or two.
Their later work (disc 2) attached scraping violins, ratchet
sounds and no-wave drumming to playground chants in thickly-
accented elemental English. This two-CD set, which includes all of
their recordings (though I'm not sure if some live material from a
cassette is here), was originally released in 1993 on their own
label and sold out about a year later. It took seven years to
negotiate its domestic release, for which I'm thrilled (if I HAD
to choose, it would very likely be what I'd pick as my favorite
record ever). I'm often amused by (primarily male) rock critics
who have used Liliput as an example of a liberating female force.
What, IMHO, they did was because they knew they were free all
along. To them it was no big deal, just a big fun noise. Of
course, when you listen to them, it's much, much more than that.

TORTOISE "Standards" (Thrill Jockey) CD/LP $13.99/$12.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/Eden2.rm
By now, those of us who have luxuriated in the Tortoise ethos have
grown accustomed to the precision and care by which the Chicago
team applies their craft. Their fourth full-length expands the
Tortoisian formula into quantum realms, proving its relevance even
with the most challenging of variables. "Standards" at once cuts
the slack from their reins, while letting its influences stomp
outward. But it rears back with 'Seneca,' the dub-blown opening
monster jam that growls with digital ferocity. Handclaps come and
go, vocals shimmer in and out of whispers, and soon enough Jeff
Parker's guitar turns into fire. It's quite clear they've been
practicing with their earplugs snug, confident in their rock
skills. On 'Monica,' the turtles pay homage to Ze, Morricone,
Gottsching and Lee Perry in six and a half minutes. As if pledging
allegiance to the patchwork of flagstuff that graces the cover,
Tortoise writes up a declaration of American collage/quilt/cut-up
independence. Free blues, Headhunter bounce and even metal riffs
are squelched under Johnny Herndon's drumkit. And while the
sonicsphere morphs around him, John McEntire and his skilled hand
cuts the noise together with titanium-tempered production. Track
by track, Tortoise lays down a tightly controlled, slickly planed
and unequivocally deft groove. Thus, "Standards." And thus,
Tortoise maintains the reign and deflects all comers. Come on,
everybody, let's rock. [DD]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=03617287891&refer_url=email

NEW YEAR "Newness Ends" (Touch and Go) CD/2xLP $13.99/$13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/HalfaDay.rm
There are those who perennially proclaim the death of rock 'n'
roll -- and often one is tempted to agree. Then along comes a record
with the restrained majesty of "Newness Ends" and one realizes
that the latter claim is a "pangegyric preached over an empty
grave," as Evelyn Waugh once said. Made of Bubba and Matt Kadane,
former stalwarts of the now defunct Bedhead (whose guitar-heavy to
paeans to loss and insecurity gained them a large cult following),
The New Year also includes the arid but warm drumming of Chris
Brokaw (Come, Pullman). The Kadane brothers were really never
thought of as songwriters, and yet this album consists, without a
doubt, of ten pop songs executed with an extraordinary grace and
sadness. One only need hear the opening 'Half A Day' to hear their
distinct Texas gothic pop sensibility, with lines like "when I start
shaking, I'm a mess." The minor-key chord changes on 'Gasoline'
are exquisite, with Brokaw's drumming brought to the surface,
competing with Matt Kadane's vocals and the stinging,
incandescent guitar of his brother. Finally, these are songs about
musicians passing through their thirties, through a time when
their lives and rock 'n' roll are in tumult. But the genius in this
record lies in its ability to fully transcend that latter context and
speak of a universal sense of longing, disappointment, and
decaying sense of hope, all arranged beautifully. Highly
recommended. [TH]
CD /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=03617209202&refer_url=email
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999150171&refer_url=email

2ND GEN "Irony Is" (Novamute) CD $15.99/$15.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/Schism.rm
Consider "Irony Is" as the new definition of ill. Not just 'ill'
as an element of b-boy vernacular for dope beats, but also ill as
in 'cough-cough' sickness or a claustrophobic sound system grimier
than a Mobb Deep track. Like an amalgamation of Neubauten, Ice,
and Company Flow -- as if masterminded by the Bomb Squad -- 2nd
Gen is at once an extension of the hip-hop avant-garde while
simultaneously upsetting it with clangorous drilling and metallic
textures bound to thumping beats. No stranger to these aesthetics,
Techno Animal and Dalek weigh in on a vocalized remix of 'and/or'
that could give rise to a new audio arm of Situationism. [KC]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=501602538276&refer_url=email

MUSLIMGAUZE "Muslimlim 028" (Staalplaat, Netherlands) CD $17.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/Linlim2.rm
I believe I'm finally starting to catch on. Two years ago, Bryn
Jones very cleverly faked his own death. Already a monstrously
prolific artist, this ruse allowed him the freedom to take his
music to the next level, and, unencumbered by earthly
expectations, he shows no signs of letting up. For those who
prefer their doses of Muslimgauze down and dirty comes another
limited-edition (1000) gem, a wire-to-wire static-fest populated
by frequent and unnerving sonic-dropouts, inscrutable fades and
ethereal voices. Having heard all of his 125-opus (and counting!)
catalog, "Muslimlim 028" is truly exceptional even by Jones' high
standards, embarking from the classic "Narcotic," soaring onward
into territories occupied only by his own bad self. Highest
recommendation! [JG]

GORKY'S ZYGOTIC MYNCI "The Blue Trees" (Mantra, UK) CD EP $9.99
The name of this Welsh band may be hard to pronounce, but the
music on this new EP is rich and elegant; here are eight songs
with a simple perfection. The tunes, of which three are
instrumental, are based on skillfully finger-picked acoustic
guitar, wandering violin lines, and subtle piano figures. They
transcend their earthy roots like all great folk music does; these
are reveries that make the listener feel like he's about to float
away into the ether where timeless melodies bounce off each other
like excited molecules. "The Blue Trees" is a 23-minute mini-
masterpiece of pop. [CO]

TRI-PINNACLE "Diagnol Ryme Garganchula" (Antipop) CD single $7.99
Anti-Pop Consortium under another name, with a six-track, ten-
minute EP. Not as wham-wham-slam as their album, still twisty and
tweaked, with their corkscrew flurries of words on top of concrete
beats. Rhymes clear, unburied, and if you can follow their path
you have a longer attention span than I. Which is part of what
makes Anti-Pop interesting--the words are placed so densely that
it takes a while to discover all of what's in there. [RE]

JURGEN DE BLONDE "Hidden Rabbit" (Tomlab, Germany) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/deblond2.rm
Jurgen De Blonde mostly records under the name Kohn, and his last
two albums have been of sweet yet chaotic electronics, with some
sampling material. For this, he goes in an entirely different
direction: it's his indie-rock record. But just as his electronic
work is outside the norm, so is this. He accents vocals and
guitars with tactile electronics. 'Something Growing' sounds like
pure Spacemen 3/My Bloody Valentine shoegazer pop, the guitars
lushly whizzing and whirring. 'Maniac' is a Kevin Ayers/Neil Young
approximation with wry lyrics where he places himself amongst a
parade of absurdities, while 'Shady Brain' contains big beats and
distant horns, and is a little bit like Beck (if Beck used hyper
drum'n'bass programming). 'Sad Lullaby' is both metallic and
organic, machine clank and fuzzy synth worked into a lovely song
evocative in parts of Pavement (though I like it much more!). A
record I imagine a large cross-section of our customers would
like, should they ever hear it. [RE]

CALL AND RESPONSE "s/t" (Kindercore) CD $12.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/calland2.rm
The debut of Call and Response, a Georgian group who initially
evoked (in me, anyway) comparisons to the Free Design (and that's
before I read the press release, sigh). They have a mannered,
conspicously 'lite' quality, twinkling electric piano, ethereally
swinging backdrops, and 'aaahhh aaahhh' choruses. If they add
any actual funk, it's softly spun (no bricks or houses here), or
included via thin lines only (like the borrowing of the bassline
from Jean Knight's hit 'Mr Big Stuff'). I liken it to mid-period
Everything but the Girl in sound but not content, yet Call and
Response are even fluffier. A gender-balanced quintet (two men,
three women), they also owe a small debt to Joe Raposo (composer
of most Sesame Street-related music) in their melodies. They only
flaws I hear are minor -- for music this polished, you can really
hear when they (but rarely) wander slightly off-tune. [RE]

GILA "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee" (Garden Of Delights, Germany) CD $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/Gilabur1.rm
Formed in 1969, Gila was a prototypical lysergic Krautrock outfit.
Armed with their collection of Pink Floyd albums and an extremely
hot young guitarist named Conny Veit, they recorded one superb
eponymous album (alternately titled "Free Electric Sound") before
disbanding in 1972. Veit joined Popol Vuh for some of their
greatest records: "Hosianna Mantra," "Aguirre,"  and
"Seligpreisungen." In 1973, he revived the Gila name and
enlisted Popol Vuh-mates Florian Fricke and Daniel Fichelscher
along with vocalist Sabine Merbach for support. "Bury My Heart
at Wounded Knee" was Veit's song cycle inspired by Dee Brown's
book dealing with the expulsion and extermination of Native
Americans. "For the setting of the texts to music I used tight
arrangements, and then mixed them with improvised parts?risking
a comparison, I'd say that, musically, our procedure resembled that
of Indian ragas, which are created in a similar way."-- Conny Veit.
While the tightly structured songs clearly reflect Fricke's
formalist influence, they also flow freely with a folkier organic
air recalling Amon Duul's "Paradiesweit Duul" or Vashti
Bunyan's "Just Another Diamond Day." Typically lush G.O.D.
packaging adds a newly discovered track. A breathtakingly
beautiful record. [JG]

WILLIAM PARKER QUARTET "O'Neal's Porch" (Centering) CD $11.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/ONeal2.rm
Deftly swinging and fluidly traveling, this quartet dissolve in and
out of discord, and combine and recombine in tight duos and
trios within the group. The ensemble of leader Parker (bass), Rob
Brown (sax), Hamid Drake (drums) and Lewis Barnes (trumpet)
use dissonance like a cook would use nutmeg or rosemary -- not
something that infuses the whole, but a flavor that reveals itself as
a contrast here and there. They never go to extremes, but expertly
navigate a middle path between free and constructed, rhythmic and
scattered, tense and relaxed. [RE]

JOE JONES "Solar Music" (? Records, Germany) CD $19.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/joejone2.rm
What was it -- last week? -- that I was lamenting the lack of CD
documentation of Fluxus artist Joe Jones' work. In 1961 Jones
started building music machines that played themselves. Following
Jean Tinguely's mechanical, though much more violent,
installations, his was one of the earlier examples of 'automatic
music' -- and his influence spread to not only obvious antecedents
like Pierre Bastien and Remko Scha, but pretty much anyone who
has made musical sculpture since. This recording is of constructions
made late in his career (1983) from a gallery installation in
Germany. Actually it was an exo-gallery installation, because all
of these machines were solar-powered, the energy collected by
small cells attached to domed umbrellas that sheltered the
machines -- a collection of zithers, mandolin, drums and bells and
chimes, played by rubber balls, wires, assorted mallets, motors,
etc. Very limited (edition of 500). The sound is a glittering chaos,
like the windchimes that took over the world, a particularly
disorienting bit of horror-movie music. What I want to know is:
does this recording document what happened when a cloud
passed overhead? [RE]

[V/A] "1rst Fist & Stroop" (Skipp, France) CD $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/1stDatPo.rm
While not explicitly so, this compilation (w/artists from France,
Germany, California) sounds like more fun retro video game music,
circa 1980 or so. So much that the titles evoke unrealized games,
like Felix Kubin's 'Russian Robot in NYC' or Kid 606's 'Spacehopper
Song'. It's much like Lucky Kitchen's compilation of imaginary
videogame music from a while ago, only more lively and riddled
with fractures. Most artists sound like they are trying to top one
another in the "bouncy" department, the winners and runners-up
being Kubin, Dat Politics, Schlammpeitziger. Aelters gets an
honorable mention for their music for the Ritalin Generation --
as quick as gabber but sparser and more spastic. [RE]

RICHARD YOUNGS "Making Paper" (Jagjaguwar) CD $12.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/RYpaper2.rm
Youngs' newest solo CD hearkens back to effects he's worked
with oft-collaborator Simon Wickham-Smith (particularly on
their 'children's' record, "Red and Blue Bear"), only reduced to
even purer elements. If he goes in this direction his next may as
well contain but one note played repeatedly, but luckily he's not
gone that far here. Instead, this is a wonder of simplicity, of
the best sort that unfolds things in your head that aren't
audible, the sorts of sounds that let your mind wander freer than
if you were immersed in silence. His high, thin tenor recalls a young
Robert Wyatt, though he wavers in tone more than Wyatt ever
has. There are three pieces here, two very long and one of typical
song-length (3 minutes). Aided by just his piano, he places chords
and sings between them, steadily and very slowly, repeating only a
few phrases. He uses the notes of the piano to mark time much like
Erik Satie did, the notes crisp but languid in their repetition. A
lovely record that doesn't require as much patience as you might
think -- it quickly envelops you in a lulling coil, the effects of
which I might also liken to Raymond Scott's "Soothing Sounds
for Baby" (working just as well on adults). [RE]

STYROFOAM "A Short Album About Murder" (Morr, Germany) CD/LP  $14.99/$11.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/styrofo2.rm
The sort of hyper-sweetened, delicately rhythmic electronics
seeping from Morr Music, only Styrofoam's the only group on the
label who are adding vocals to the twinkles-and-cuts aesthetic.
Of course, they're muted and nearly as pretty, influenced in the
smallest amounts by New Romantics like John Foxx, OMD, Section
25. By small, I mean small -- the vocals are faint, just a solo male
tenor voice, but unlike other electronics-with-vocals (Luomo, some
of the material from Suction Records), the voice is not just a
sampled snippet -- he gets choruses, murmurs, and echoes. There
are samples here as well -- a tough little hip-hop scratch boosts
track #3, shuddering strings and hollow pops enliven #5. A placid,
silvery recording that doesn't make much advances, but doesn't
have to -- Styrofoam can just bat their collective eyelashes and
we'll come to them. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999149601&refer_url=email

ORANGER "Quiet Vibration Land" (Poptones, UK) CD $18.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/Oranger2.rm
S.F. trio Oranger's fun pop has already gained a small following
in the UK, even if they're still barely-known here. They supply
classic power-pop with some intricacies (a la Chicagoans Archer
Prewitt or Sea and Cake) and with the same enthusiasm for '60s pop
that California's Paisley Underground of the early '90s had. Think
of them as the male Bangles! They also tinge their songs with
country at the same time throwing the vocals forward with heavy
reverb, psychedelically. Their first album was a little more ROCK,
and this one replaces some of that with some carefully-placed
strings and horns (even tuba on one track). The vocals bound 'bah-
bah-bah-dee-dah', but the lead vocals over that contain a string
of non-sequiturs. Quite plainly, listeners who like Teenage
Fanclub or XTC are likely to enjoy this, too. [RE]

BROKEBACK "Morse Code in the Modern Age" (Thrill Jockey) CD $13.99
Brokeback are Noel Kupersmith and Douglas McCombs (Tortoise), and
they're joined on "Morse Code" by Tim Foljahn (Two-Dollar Guitar),
Alan Licht, James McNew (Dump, Yo La Tengo), Joey Burns and John
Convertino (Calexico), and Mary Hansen (Stereolab). As well as
containing a few films from Atavistic Records head Braden King
(this is the kind of enhanced CD that commandeers your computer
until you figure out how to escape), there's a lot of tense post-
rock with a western twang. Pretty, subtle, and 30 minutes long,
there are three long tracks of malfunctioning windup toys and
twirling synth tones, mechanical groans (like the massive metal
fire door being hauled open), and pretty, random acoustic guitar
notes. I think they mean to be heralding the end of something
(it's a bit of a lament) -- perhaps a tribute to the last Morse
Code operator/receiver left in the world, who was finally relieved
of duty about three years ago. [RE]

HAWD GANKSTUH RAPPUH MCs WID GHATZ "2 Hype 2 Wype" (Wordsound) CD  $13.99
There are those rappers who trade in puerile bathroom humor, like
the Smut Peddlers. But the Hawd Gankstuh Rappahs, while certainly
displaying a fondness for scatalogical humor, are also able to
hold together a swinging rhyme with tuff, quixotic beats. Their
debut for Wordsound is full of rhymes in bad taste, but this isn't
a hateful album, it's a playful one: the sound of superb MCs with
lyrical skill and deft programming abilities who happen to have a
fondness for genital humor. This will only offend the most
Puritanical of listeners. [TH]

This week's folks: Kris Chen [KC], David Day [DD], Robin Edgerton
[RE], Jeff Gibson [JG], Tim Haslett [TH], Chris O'Rourke [CO].

The Big Picture:

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