Other Music Update
January 11, 2000

In This Week's Update :

"Ouelele" African funk compilation
Essex Green EP
Lee Perry "Words of My Mouth Chapter 2"
early Schoolly D singles comp.
Esognomig (group including Ramon Bauer, Florian Hecker, Jan St. Werner)
Bobby Hughes Experience
"Best of the Old Skool"
"Soundscapes beyond 2000"
Durian Records Overview part II
Restock: Owada

Featured New Releases :

[V/A] "Ouelele" (Comet, France) CD/LP $16.99/$16.99
A follow-up to the "Racubah!" collection released last year, "Ouelele"
carries many of the same torches forward, though it also knuckles down into
the long groove far more often than its predecessor. Not just loaded with,
but made entirely of African-influenced funk obscurities, the horn and
drum-heavy tracks drag us around the world: Argentina to Antilles, U.S.A.
to Cameroon. From Letta Mbulu's Afro-Bacharachish 'What's Wrong With
Groovin'' to Smahila & The SBs' 18-minute epic Fela tribute 'African
Movement', through Philip Cohran & the Artistic Heritage Ensemble's
seeping, crazy South-African-jazz-style 'Unity', "Ouelele" sets a high
standard for other Afro-funk comps to live up to. [RE]
LP  /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=376001816006&refer_url=email

ESSEX GREEN "s/t" (Elephant 6) CD/12" EP $9.99/$8.99
The Essex Green continue their '60s fixation with this new self-titled EP.
While adding background bird chirps, dancing flutes, and handclaps to their
gorgeous harmonies and orchestral arrangements, they even take the time to
catch a cat's meow. This is more than just an ode to high-quality '60s
production values -- the songwriting is also superb, especially on the full
blown psych-pop anthem 'Bald' and the bouncy 'Fabulous Day'. Another winner
from the Ladybug Transistor/Essex Green camp, recreating a distinct British
folk/psych sound with utmost accuracy and sincerity. [PW]
12  /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999121311&refer_url=email

LEE PERRY & FRIENDS "Words of My Mouth Chapter 2" (Trojan, UK) CD $13.99
"Words of My Mouth Chapter 1," when released in 1996, was lauded as one of
the best of a (still-growing) number of Lee Perry collections. Chapter Two,
while containing a few tracks that Trojan Records have also placed
elsewhere, mostly gathers together numbers that had never before made it to
CD. Weighted down with early ringy dub percussion, buried harmonica,
purposeful analog glitching, loping rhythms, flippy horns, washed-out
cymbal echo, these tracks sink and swell with Perry's torn-paper production
style. About half the tracks here are Perry himself, the rest (his
productions, still) are by the Stingers, the Soul Avengers, I Roy, Jerry
Lewis (surreal carnival-barker command dub!), Dennis Alcapone, Prince
Django, and others. This is not party music: sadness and melancholy flow
throughout, stated or unstated. Outstanding tracks include the version of
'Sunshine Showdown', with close-up inhalations drowning out distant sirens;
the awesome flying soul jazz dub reggae of 'Little Flute Chant'; and the
punchy, weird "Space Flight", an imaginary journey through a thick mist of
sound. Besides, this CD just gets better and better as it lopes towards the
end, which is unusual for any compilation. [RE]

SCHOOLLY D "Say It Loud, I Love Rap and I'm Proud" (Vinyl Resurrection) CD $19.99
Awesome rustic scratching, funky guitar licks, stoopid rhymes, whiny
hands-in-the-air choruses ("get iyyillllll"), stories about women and guns,
recorded-in-an-airplane hangar production values, creative, pre-cliche sample
usage all cut through with big, slamming, resounding drumbeats. Schoolly D's
proto-gangsta toughness set the mold, but his rustic punk ethos and Philly
locale set him apart from any East Coast scene. Thoroughly raw, his DJ Code
Money built his beats like a house made of drywall alone -- crumbly, decaying,
and very irregular. And his use of samples -- farting bass notes, kid's storytime
records, '70s rock riffs, were, at the time, out of the ordinary. Most tracks are
singles from 1985 through 1989 from his own Schoolly D records. The first
gangsta of rap but truer than all of those to follow. [RE]

ESOGNOMIG "s/t" (Sonig, Austria) LP $11.99
From the vast resources of some of Vienna's most forward and inward-looking
electricians: Ramon Bauer, Florian Hecker, Jan St. Werner (Mouse on Mars),
and more, the group Esonomig sound like, essentially, a clash between all
of these groups, or, alternately, Pita's most recent full-length at war
with Fennesz. They use snippets of German shipping radio broadcasts as a
torso, spearing it with razor-sharp analog spikes. There is no consistent
structure here. Within the space of two minutes they can fill a stadium
with sine waves, then turn on the vacuum and suck them all out, leaving
only skidmarks and a click track behind as evidence of their visit. Unlike
work by the individuals mentioned above, this makes less than no concession
to the dancefloor. Any groove you detect is purely a figment of your
imagination. [TH]

[V/A] "Best of the Old Skool" (Strictly Bizness) CD $19.99
Whoever curated this crucial selection of music from hip-hop's most
imaginative years (1984-1988) did a damn fine job, especially in choosing
tracks with particularly ambidextrous drum programming married to
call-and-response rhyming styles. Exemplary trax? Tricky Tee's 'Johnny the
Fox', produced by Mantronik with Thin Lizzy vox snippets and staccato,
machine-gun delivery; Eric B & Rakim's surreal 'Microphone Fiend',
containing more skills than most MCs manage in an entire career; and 'Coast
to Coast' by Word of Mouth, originally on Beauty &The Beat records, the
early home to Tackhead (Sugarhill's rhythm section). What makes this
collection different from others in the genre is that it precisely contains
what the original labels have NOT yet set forth on CD. [TH]

[V/A] "Soundscapes Beyond 2000" (SSC) 2xCD $21.99
Last week, we covered an excellent soundscape release ("Drift"), that, in a
rare instance, stood out in the history of the altered soundscape
recordings. This one, too, while just as exceptional, takes an entirely
different form: near symphony-length soundscapes. In five pieces spread out
over two CDs, artists Eric La Casa, Sibylle Pomorin, Karel von Kliest,
Francisco Lopez, and Robert Iolini & Phillip Ma do their best to create
epic sound artworks. In exemplary form, Lopez views a tropical forest
through a crashing, undulating prism, and Iolini & Ma provide a stately
catharsis of Hong Kong's national change-over. A document of our time and
of the contemporary world of sound, casually, critically, significantly. [RE]

BOBBY HUGHES EXPERIENCE "Fusa Riot" (Ultimate Dilemma) CD $14.99
This release has carries all the necessary aspects of a funky jazz jam:
percolating, heavy, bounding basslines, followed by electro-wah and
trilling flute. Layering in the Hammond and backing it with a latin-tinged
breakbeat, the Bobby Hughes Experience, a group of Norwegian deejays and
musicians, combine their extensive know-how and library of samples. "Fusa
Riot," takes its name from the home of Bobby Hughes (aka Espen Horne). The
Experience manipulates the wax of Scandinavian avant-garde jazz from the
'70s along with live instrumentation. 'B&S' explodes with rich samba
grooves, interjecting Rawls-like vocals while the organ and horns
intertwine in an intimate jive. 'Sahara 72,' also found on the "Blow Up:
Music Inspired By the Legendary Club" compilation, keeps the latin
percussion vibe and adds slinky spacy samples. Put on the oversized shades
and relax or slip on your dancin' shoes and groove. [LG]

Durian Records Overview, Part II:

Durian Records is a marvelous label from Vienna, Austria specializing in
modern composition and improvisational releases straddling the fine line
between free jazz and avant-garde classical, all bearing unmistakable,
unified artwork. We conclude by presenting the remainder of their
remarkable catalogue.

BURKHARD STANGL "Recital" (Durian, Austria) CD $15.99
Like Durian labelmate Michael Moser, Stangl's resume includes membership in
the avant-improv outfit Polwechsel, the advanced jazz-ensemble Ton Art and
the chamber ensemble Maxixe. This solo release compares favorably with the
outer explorations of Jim O'Rourke and AMM's Keith Rowe. Alternately
shimmering and jarring, "Recital" makes extraordinary use of the
conventional qualities of electronic guitar sounds while evoking the
crystal-clear stillness of transparency via Stangl's intermittent use of
piano as a rhythmic complement. Haunting minimal ruminations. [JG]

A unique and fascinating construct. "Ten musicians, each of them
improvising alone at the studio: of this material the two composers formed
'diphtongs', miniscule cells of music, which later were mixed together in a
completely new context, thus resulting a strange and flowing music not
animated by the artificial constellation of the material."--Durian Records.
Soloists include Burkhard Stangl, Uli Fussenegger, Michael Moser, and Max
Nagl. "The fact that each solo is recorded individually beforehand results
in a soloistic conscientiousness of listening and of reacting to oneself.
The fact that the musicians could not react with one another, although they
can be listened to on one CD together, transports these pieces into a
strangely beautiful floating condition, dominated not by the deficit of
isolation but by the exceptional quality of a fine, transparent fabric of
individuals, a web of soloistic and composed lines."--Christian Scheib,
from his liner notes.

KLANGFORUM WIEN "Live At Konzerthaus Wien" (Durian, Austria) 2xCD $23.99
This Viennese ensemble was founded in 1985 by composer Beat Furrer as a
cooperative haven for soloists of contemporary music. Over two hours of
works by Helmut Lachenman, Giacinto Scelsi, Arnold Schonberg, Hans Zender,
Uli Fussenegger, Michael Gross, Mayako Kubo, Andreas Lindenbaum, Donna
Wagner Molinari, Wolfram Schurig, and Beat Furrer were captured at various
times during the ensemble's 10th anniversary (1995). A most impressive
repertoire of avant compositions spanning the century past. [JG]

PROJEKT KLANGNETZE "Musik Von Dreiundneunzig Schuler Innen 1995/96"
(Durian, Austria) CD $15.99
Eight fabulously intuitive pieces meld youth with experience. 'Klangnetze'
translates into English as 'sound nets', which refers to a Viennese school
program where, over a period of three to four months, pupils compose and
realize contemporary music with professional musicians, composers and
teachers. Professional participants included Burkhard Stangl, Josef
Novotny, Michael Moser, and Konrad Rennert. "The objective of this project
is to familiarize students of all levels and school types with aspects of
modern, experimental music, to awaken an understanding for material and
structure, improvisation and composition, sound and noise, musical
communication and the sensitization of acoustic perception."--Durian


OWADA "Nothing" (Piano, UK) CD $24.99
Owada, the project of Keiko Owada, Adam McEwen, and hip British visual
artist Martin Creed recorded this collection in 1997 with an art first,
music second approach. Blatantly conceptual in flavor and character,
it's not so in sound itself. The lyrics -- lists of colors, feelings,
pronouns, and lots of long stretches of counting -- are not radical
statements, and are even occasionally annoying. But Owada uses an immensely
pleasureable musical form to convey them: a 1981/Rough Trade sound of
jungle drums, pointy guitar and bass, teeter-totter vocal and instrument
tradeoffs, and that clear akimbo-punk sound of Wire stripped down even
further. Three chords, three instruments, one concept add up to 23 pop
songs that owe a lot to the Slits and Liliput in sound, to Art and Language
(as kindergartners) in spirit. Produced by Piano label guy David Cunningham
(ex-Flying Lizards), who is, himself, no stranger to blank art statements
in popular-music form. [RE]

This week's update was keyboarded by Robin Edgerton [RE], Lisa Garrett
[LG], Jeff Gibson [JG], Tim Haslett [TH], and Phil Waldorf [PW].

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music