Other Music Update
February 23, 2000

In This Week's Update :

Siamese Temple Ball
Yo La Tengo
Anti-Pop Consortium
Broadcast EP
Kid Koala
New York Art Quartet reunion
Ray Russell
Autopoieses remixes
Robert Ashley
Brazilian Beats compilation
Cage, Hidalgo, Marchetti and La Rosa performing live in 1959
Fisticuffs Bluff
Adam Green
Marion Brown
David Shea and Scanner

Cornelius Cardew's "Treatise"
V.A "Ho! Roady Music from Vietnam"
Sigur Ros

Featured New Releases :

SIAMESE TEMPLE BALL "s/t" (Siamese Temple Ball) CD $11.99
Check your expectations at the door, for this mysterious release will
confound them all. A bizarre ensemble -- electric guitar and/or other
stringed instruments, some sort of gamelan, a cheesy Casio-type keyboard,
wooden flutes, and intense percussion which seems to include marimba,
tribal drums, and a whirlwind of cymbals, shakers and blocks -- propels
itself through ten urgent, rhythmic jams which leave even the musicians
themselves howling in an ecstatic trance. While it chiefly recalls the
psychedelic explorations of Sun City Girls, Ya Ho Wa 13, and other nomads,
there are hints of everything from juke joint blues to a teenage freakout
in the garage. The instrumentation and chord progressions indicate that it
really was recorded in Thailand, but the rest is a delicious enigma. Who
made this swirling, pounding music? Was Brian Jones sharing his last sheet
of blotter acid on the way to Koh Samui? Does it matter? This unique and
powerful recording, its track listings scrawled in Thai on the back of a
restaurant check (reproduced inside the handsome digipak) with no other
credits and on no discernable label evades the limitations of your rational
mind. [AL]

YO LA TENGO "And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out" (Matador) CD/LP $11.99/$14.99
"And then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out" is simply (so far!) Yo La
Tengo's finest album. Less pop than their previous two, they've made a
musical universe here where every sound is exact and configured to yield a
beautiful, sparse epic -- with the byproduct of exceeding the expectations of
even the most optimistic YLT fan. One of the biggest reasons that "And
then Nothing..." is such a stellar recording? YLT's sophisticated approach
and ability to stretch their own scope and vision. Effortlessly, they
incorporate dubby echoes, bubbling electronics, and pulsing percussive
workouts, exercising more and more refined control over their instruments,
adding that to their already magical formula. "And then Nothing Turned
Itself Inside Out" is a chilling recording that manages set the standard
for pop albums in the year 2000. [PW]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=74486103711&refer_url=email

ANTI-POP CONSORTIUM "Tragic Epilogue" (75Ark) CD/LP $14.99/$12.99
Nearly five years in the making, the debut full-length by Priest, Beans,
and M. Sayid is well worth the wait. As singles emerged, one by one,
expectations grew. This trio truly elevates the art of lyrical
call-and-response to surreal levels. Unlike Kool Keith's abandon and
self-preoccupation, this trio understands how to use space to maximum
effect, so that the beats and rhymes seem attached as they are conceived,
as they are birthed -- there isn't a wasted breath or beat here. Crucially,
Anti-Pop take on a variety of contemporary ills in hip-hop's discursive
universe, but in a mode that brings the 'posse cut' feeling which
characterized the best old school 'party' hip-hop. "Tragic Epilogue" moves
effortlessly from challenging analog electronics coated with sci-fi lyrics
to beat-heavy party tracks. [TH]

BROADCAST "Extended Play" (Warp, UK) CD $9.99
Broadcast's newest release is a four-song single, utilizing background
music a la serious '70s educational filmstrips, blurting Subotnick-ian/Bell
Labs-ish early computer growls and raspberries, and Morricone's deep groove
with stratospheric abstract vocals and reverberant farfisa. Tender, chilly
'60s pop psychedelia with sounds of oud, gongs, and effervescent means of
transmission. The age of the keyboard is back. The album itself is due in late
March. [RE]

KID KOALA "Carpal Tunnel Syndrome" (Ninjatune, Canada) CD/2xLP $13.99/$14.99
The 'buzz' on Koala has been building for so long--four years--that he's
got a lot to live up to with the release of this, his first album. But he
also doesn't have to worry. His style is _so_ different from his
contemporaries'. So it's not like he leaves them in the dust, because he's
not even playing the same games: he's outside. Without a single twitch of
swagger, yet tons of delicate thought and action, this mutt of a record
rises above its humble origins: old movies, TV, and Koala's own modesty.
His music turns on awesome, funny samples put on dub plates and hand-spun:
hard-boiled nonsequiturs ('it sounded like?a bag of grits, uh, falling off
a car'), lines from teen movies and '70s talk/comedy shows. Rhythmically,
too, he's afield -- piles of big-band swing jazz beats, stand-up bass, and
pre-bop horns knock over any typical hip-hop cliches he might be tempted to
fall onto. Or he'll put in something that sounds like slide guitar, but
might be regular guitar sounds slid perfectly with the pitch shifter.
These are all tricks, but his whimsy does not equal novelty -- even with
the track 'Like Irregular Chickens', the loud and soft fractured clucks are
cool sounds first, funny sounds second. It's collage vaudeville: head
scratches meeting vinyl scratches. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=62597810341&refer_url=email

NEW YORK ART QUARTET "35th Reunion" (DIW, Japan) CD $21.99
Who says there are no second chances in this life? For anyone unfortunate
enough to miss 1999's triumphant reunion gig at New York's South Street
Seaport, here is some recompense: a studio rendition of that very concert
recorded the following day! After Milford Graves, John Tchicai, Roswell
Rudd, Reggie Workman and Amiri Baraka tore it up onstage the night before,
they apparently never came down. On their 1964 ESP debut, the NYAQ invented
the democratic free-jazz ensemble. A second album followed shortly after,
but the group disbanded in 1965. Witnessing them in concert was like
floating through a ghostly reverie...surely some of these guys should be
dead by now -- but here they all were, five masters of their craft prowling
fore to back, channeling the very essences of their genre and playing off
each other as if they had been conjoined for the entire intervening 35
years. Graves, his wild self-painted psychedelic drum-kit front and center,
starts everything off with his patented African whoops and yowls before
setting down another impossible rhythmic groove. He is soon joined by
Baraka, the poet laureate of free jazz, their voices intermingling worlds
ancient and modern. Workman, his double bass cradled nimbly in the
background, launches into some semblance of melodic foundation as
trombonist Rudd and towering saxophonist Tchicai fill in Graves' flanks,
inflicting serious damage, left and right, beyond intuition. Liftoff
follows shortly thereafter. And so it goes...giants walk the earth! 67
minutes. Highest recommendation. [JG]

RAY RUSSELL "Live At The I.C.A./Retrospective" (Moikai) 2xCD $18.99
Another artist previously more heard about than actually heard, due to
frequent name-drops by the likes of Henry Kaiser, Jim O'Rourke and Alan
Licht combined with the utter non-availability of his entire catalog. Ray
Russell was a mythic British guitarist who bridged the ferocious innovation
of Sonny Sharrock (circa "Black Woman" and "Monkey Pockie-Boo") with the
staggering white noise energy of Masayuki Takayanagi. For years after first
noticing his name on the sacred Nurse With Wound list, I recall scouring
the jazz bins at Tower and J&R with the faint hope of finding some obscure
Japanese reissue of anything this man had done. The result of my quest? I'd
become quite familiar with the works of George and PeeWee Russell. What a
difference a year makes. Columbia UK recently reissued "Dragon Hill" and
"Rites And Rituals", his fabulous second and third albums from 1969 and
1970. But those earlier efforts sound positively polite compared to this.
"Live At The I.C.A.", originally recorded and released on RCA in 1971,
takes the Soft Machine model five steps further out. Russell's quintet
completely dismantles traditional and progressive form, forging an
intricate sound liberated by his heroic battles with the horns and rhythm
section. Sinuous, scathing lines of fluidity permeate his work; imagine a
reeds player never in need of a breath. Comprised of studio and live tracks
recorded between 1968 and 1978, "Retrospective" adds the prodigious talent
of saxophonist Gary Windo, moments where Russell plays it sweet and
traditional, and a breathtaking guitar/drum duet with Alan Rushton. And
clocking in at over 138 minutes, it's all that! On O'Rourke's label with
liner notes by Licht. [JG]

AUTOPOIESES "La Vie A Noir Remixes" (Mille Plateaux, Germany) 2XLP $15.99
The original album that inspired these four sides of vinyl was released on
Mille Plateaux's 'out' imprint, Ritornell. Even as it crafted impeccable
rhythms, it was uninterested in the groove. Here on the remix record, the
long, complex DSP work of the original goes under the knife of Kit Clayton,
Vladislav Delay, Gez Varley, and Terre Thaemlitz. It is Varley who offers a
floorslamming 4/4 kick-drum rendition, Clayton and Delay instead drag
Autopoieses into the echo chamber, stretching the arid electronics to the
snapping point. One side of this double 12" (this is a vinyl-only release)
consists of 28 locked grooves, a delightful provision. The fourth side is
an extension of their live record on Mille Plateaux, a click-and-scrape
symphony of dissonant analog and digital sounds. [TH]

ROBERT ASHLEY "String Quartet Describing The Motions Of Large Real Bodies" (Alga Marghen, Italy) CD $15.99
Quite possibly the original, analog "Clicks And Cuts" and a blueprint for
generations to follow! Three marvelous 20+ minute pieces for electronic
orchestra and reverberated acoustic sounds, recorded 1972/1973. "When the
work was composed, in 1972, it was clear that a huge change in electronic
instrumentation was just beginning, a change that would involve computers
and sound producing devices as yet undreamed of. The piece consists of an
electronic orchestra of 42 sound producing modules. The technique of the
string quartet is for each player to make a stream of intentional but
unpremeditated (that is, random) very short sounds, pulses, somewhat like
pitched clicks, but with the formats and overtones of a string instrument.
(This idea came from the rumor of a performance by Takehisa Kosugi.) These
sounds go directly to a set of four loudspeakers, but at the same time they
are delayed electronically, and those delayed sounds are sent to a series
of seven networks of sound producing modules activated by the very brief
coincidence of an original sound and a delayed sound. The operation of the
networks as a result of the coincidence can, in the theoretical world of
electronics, produce almost any sound imaginable."--Robert Ashley, 1999.
The stuff of absolute genius. [JG]

[V/A] "Brazilian Beats" (Mr. Bongo, UK) CD/2xLP $22.99/$22.99
This compilation puts a few rare tracks up on four different pedestals,
each in a different beat/buttshaking Brazilian style: 1. Carnival
super-drum frenzy, 2. Jazz trios doing piano/drum crazy bossa nova, 3.
Brazilian Funk, and 4. Pop-Samba-Tropicalia. Hear the Boogaloo Combo's
bossa nova version of 'Hot Pants Road'! Hear Tenorio Jr.'s (later
'disappeared' by the Brazilian gov't) quizzical, beautiful laid-back piano
and spastic drumming combo, and Trio Mocato's hyper Mutantes-style barrage
of cuica, jumpy electric piano, and percussion. Also glorious and pleasing?
Jorge Ben and Toquinho's perfect samba pop, and Joao Donato's muppet-like
call-and-response horn samba. It wraps up into 1999 with the best track
from Otto's last record, the trip-hop equatorial groove of 'Bob'. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71196910081&refer_url=email

WALTER MARCHETTI "Rumori Alla Rotonda" (Alga Marghen, Italy) CD $15.99

This startling, landmark concert recorded in Milan, January 1959 features
two works by each composer and includes Cage, Hidalgo, La Rosa, and
Marchetti performing among the ensemble of Italian musicians. "Featuring
Cage's intervention both as composer and performer of one's own work as
well as of two piano pieces by Morton Feldman, the concert at Pellegrini's
'Rotonda' may be considered the first event of experimental music in Europe
in which the presentation of American and European composers consciously
acted on an agreeing and equal aesthetic horizon. Both the set of pieces in
program and the peculiar environmental frame of the concert were fit
intentionally for emphasizing the radical aesthetic conceptions of the
compositions performed. Exploiting the circular architectonic structure of
the concert hall, all the performers were spread among the audience, with
the piano exactly placed in the center."--Gabriele Bonomo, from the liner
notes. Requisite audience coughs and exterior traffic sounds enhance the
quaint intimacy of the proceedings. Beautiful digipak includes a 36-page
booklet of essays and photographs documenting the event. [JG]

FISTICUFFS BLUFF "s/t" (Troubleman Unlimited) CD $10.99
Though this collection of singles and one album is 5+ years old, the ideas
within are still fresh and unmatched. Fisticuffs Bluff's sense of dynamics
is unparalleled in hardcore: quiet passages erupt into a grinding frenzy
with no notice, singer and songwriter Summer Mastos whispers, drowning
herself in the crash of guitars and drums. Her clenching, ambiguous lyrics
go far beyond the usual pandering political condescension weighed by bands
("A human's lighted rectangle is only his, dear man, stop naming him and
his"), she also can spend half a song torn between inhabiting, naming, or
resigning herself. The guitars chew through drywall, and trumpet cuts
through and across the guitars themselves, ecstatic, dissonant, consumed
and consuming. For fans of Circus Lupus, early Pixies and Sleater Kinney,
the Avengers...like all those bands, they know how to work a thrashy
coiling and uncoiling, springing traps and trapping springs. (FYI: the CD
is mastered inconsistently, crank up the volume from track 12 on...) [RE]

ADAM GREEN "s/t" (Pro Anti) CD-R $4.99
On his sticky debut EP, 18-year-old Green takes to both the surreal
wordsmithy of early Beck and the placid lilting whine of Syd Barrett.
Vulnerable, innocent and maudlin songs with solo guitar don't lack in
flippancy -- he even giggles in the middle of a song after rhyming 'chicken'
with 'dick in'. A semi-blue call to arms for youth? Contrived snottiness
and naivete, but very fun and cheap. [RE]

ORGANUM "Volume Two" (Robot Records) CD $14.99
Another piece for the puzzle that is Organum, Scratch Orchestra member
David Jackman's semi-minimalist electroacoustic vehicle for extreme
atmospherics. "Includes material primarily culled from the 'In Extremis'
and 'Horii' sessions (12" titles originally released on Laylah, 1985/86).
Track 1, 'Valley of Worms', includes the complete b-side (album version) of
'In Extremis', which features Jackman's collaborative work with the New
Blockaders. This 20-minute piece is a massive eruption of relentless,
burrowing atmospheres that are often as disturbing as they are engaging.
Track 2, 'Horii', is an alternate version (differing from the 12" release)
which features Jackman's collaboration with Andrew Chalk. At over 12
minutes, this piece offers a very bizarre melange of sputtering bowed
percussion, homemade woodwinds and voice. Track 3 is a previously
unreleased work from 1989 that capsules many of the (purely acoustic)
compositional elements associated with the early Laylah sessions."--Robot
Records. Wonderfully harrowing excursions into inexplicably dark realms.

MARION BROWN "Live In Japan" (DIW, Japan) CD $21.99
This splendid reissue of a 1979 performance showcases three distinct phases
in saxophonist Brown's storied career. The concert begins with two lengthy
originals, the meditative 'November Cotton Flower' and the Latin
swing-tinged 'La Placita', representative of the return to tradition that
marked his later period. Two selections from Brown's 1978 solo alto record
follow; searing renditions of Matt Dennis' 'Angel Eyes' and Clarence
Williams' 'Hurry Sundown'. Another lyrical Brown original, 'Sunshine Road',
highlights the interplay between pianist Dave Burrell and bassist Gon
Mizuhashi. But it's the scorching finale 'Africa' that really lays it all
out in the free-action style we've loved from his early ESP and Impulse
days. Leaping to the fore on this one is the drummer, one Wallen Smith, who
looks and plays suspiciously similar to ace timekeeper Warren Smith! 71
minutes. [JG]

DAVID SHEA & SCANNER "Free Chocolate Love" (Sub Rosa, Belgium) CD $14.99
For their fourth collaboration on Sub Rosa, Shea and Scanner use their
respective strengths: Shea, his ability to excavate blank atmospheres from
exotica and soundtrack music of the '50s and '60s (paging Martin Denny,
John Barry and Nino Rota), Scanner in his ability to make rhythmic, twinkly
soundscapes. These longish tracks are lush with rattling shells, virtual
oboes melting all over chamber interludes, harps, vibraphones, and rotating
vinyl static. An impractical record, the beats are incidental to the
cinematic cloud. Part of Sub Rosa/Quartermass' new 'Themes' series, this
installment demands focus, yet not surrender. [RE]


CORNELIUS CARDEW "Treatise" (Hat Now Art, Austria) CD $26.99
A truly marvelous two hour and 20 minute exercise in "guided" improvisation
charted by AMM and Scratch Orchestra founder Cardew between 1963 and 1967,
executed for the first time ever by a crack group of Chicago-based
musicians. 'Treatise' was one of a number of Cardew's attempts to provide a
context in which trained musicians and non-musicians would encounter a
score on even terms. 'Ideally such music should be played by musical
innocents,' Cardew said. Spectacular. [JG]

[V/A] "Ho! Roady Music from Vietnam" (Trikont, Germany) CD $13.99
Contemporary recordings of Vietnamese street musicians. Noise, weirdness,
and wonder.

SIGUR ROS "Sven G Englar" (Fat Cat, UK) CD $8.99
Finally, a repress of this heavily requested new Icelandic band. Very similar in
style and sound to Cocteau Twins.

MELLOW "Another Mellow Winter" (Atmospheriques, France) CD $16.99
Back in stock. Hugely popular new French band that many would say sounds
a lot like Air. Though the case could also be made that Air's most recent effort,
the forthcoming "Virgin Suicides" soundtrack, sounds a lot like Mellow. A store
favorite offered here at a near-domestic price.

This week's newsletter written by Robin Edgerton [RE], Jeff Gibson [JG],
Tim Haslett [TH], Andrew Leigh [AL], and Phil Waldorf [PW].

Thanks for reading.

-all of us at Other Music

15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY  10003