Other Music Update
January 26, 2000

In This Week's Update :

Early Modulations: Vintage Volts compilation
Yoshie (ex-Cornelius drummer)
Angus MacLise LP
Will Oldham instrumental mini-album
Yo La Tengo CD single
B. Fleischmann
Klimperei and Pierre Bastien
Badaboom Gramophone #4 magazine with CD
Beikoku Ongaku #14 magazine with CD

Restocks, New Editions, Re-Pressings :

New Boredoms full-length! (unboxed)
Dots & Borders (Hideki Kaji and Horie Hirohisa)
Clinton (ex-Cornershop project), now domestic
Stockhausen's Helicopter Quartet (the cheap version)
Hilmar Orn Hilmarsson's "Children of Nature" soundtrack
Katerine "Les Creatures" 2xCD

Featured New Releases :

[V/A] "Early Modulations: Vintage Volts" (Caipirinha) CD $14.99
The sequel, or, rather, prequel to Caipirinha's "Modulations" soundtrack,
which, as both a film and a recording gave an overview of contemporary
electronic music culture. This, too, is an overview, but it's not
contemporary. It's the sort of compilation that attempts to cement the
canon, a subjective selection of early electronic music masquerading as the
essential selection. Of course, for the most part, the pieces chosen _are_
those that were overwhelmingly influential, necessary, and thoroughly
historically important, like Pierre Schaeffer's 'Etude aux Chemins De Fer'
and John Cage's 'Imaginary Landscape No. 1'. The subjectivity of this
compilation is also obvious in the sound itself: most pieces have a similar
crispy sound quality, spastic and full of abrupt editing with implied beats
and cycles: this is not a history of the drone. And, oddly enough, it
contains not one but two selections by Ussachevsky. Just the same, I'll
happily listen to everything here repeatedly, with the exception of Bell
Labs technician Max Mathews' version of "Bicycle Built for Two"
(historically important or not!). So make that 8 instead of 9 brilliant
tracks. [RE]

YOSHIE "De Novo" (Trattoria, Japan) CD EP $14.99
On the first track of Yoshie's second EP, three horns start up in an
intimately reverbatory setting (a small bathroom?), playing countermelodies
and making a beat without landing on it. Singing over and around the horns,
Yoshie, Cornelius' former drummer (she's on his first two albums)
challenges the horns' sharpness with her own warmth. She's a
hyperconscious, experimental Japanese Astrud Gilberto with a fantastic
sense of production and arrangement. She's able to lay out an entire quilt
in four songs only, jumping between latin and gypsy rhythms, aligning
herself with the pop experimentalism of Os Mutantes, Lars Hollmer, and
Caetano Veloso (whom she also covers here, accompanied by violao and
splashing water). We'll have her previous EP in stock next week too. I'm
dying to hear it. [RE]

ANGUS MACLISE "s/t" (Counter Culture Chronicles, UK) LP $24.99
1999 saw the first legitimate CD release of Angus Maclise's recorded work,
and, shortly into 2000, yet another recording has surfaced. This mysterious
LP follows in the footsteps of "Invasion of the Thunderbolt Pagoda",
capturing primal, fiery jams both raw in sound quality and in performance.
Flowing with what seems like no beginning or end, he creates a dizzying
cerebral drone that combines the hypnotic techniques of Tony Conrad with
the primitive sensibility of early Amon Duul I or MEV. Maclise creates a
dizzying, joyous sound that remains unparalleled, even today. And his
music, while being well-documented, is only barely available commercially.
Here's hoping that LaMonte Young will soon open his archives, where a large
portion of MacLise's work resides. [PW]

WILL OLDHAM "Ode Music" (Drag City) CD/LP $8.99/$7.99
I have come to believe that all artist's work is simply a window to another
artist's work, and at no time is that more apparent than in this recording.
From the first quiet fingerpicks, you can hear how much Oldham owes to the
early work of John Fahey, or Jim O'Rourke's "Bad Timing". But this is an
instrumental album; be it Palace Brothers, Palace, Pull, Bonnie Prince
Billy, whatever or whoever Will Oldham decides to become, much of what he's
done so far is owed to his voice, whether in an invigorating yell or a
tenuous whisper. At times, in the midst of a live show, Oldham has been so
overcome by the spirit of the voice that he seemingly looses all control
over his guitar, letting it fall while he takes another slug of whiskey and
focuses solely on opening that big mouth; at those moments he becomes a
retarded, drunken guitar player but an amazing and truly inspired vocalist.
So it's hard to judge the skills of a guitar player who looks like he has
no idea what a guitar is when he's playing it, but who can record an album
that sounds like this. Thirty minutes of beautiful, dignified strumming with bleak,
yet yielding folk licks prove he's a well-rounded musician. To those who know
and appreciate Oldham's songs, it is no surprise that "Ode Music" does work
its Palace Brothers magic without so much as a word. [LR]
LP  /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999121861&refer_url=email

YO LA TENGO "Saturday" (Matador, UK) CD $6.99
This is the new single preceding YLT's forthcoming full-length release "And
Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside Out" (released February 22). 'Saturday'
is taken from the album and is one of YLT's most sedate, delicate songs to
date, coming closer to the mellower sound of "Painful", with a catchy, haunting
vocal melody leading the way. The other two tracks (exclusive to this release)
don't stray far from the style of 'Saturday', being melodic, intricate instrumentals. [PW]

B. FLEISCHMANN "Pop Loops for Breakfast" (Charhizma, Austria) CD/LP $14.99/$15.99
It's a rare occurrence these days when an album title gives you a glimpse
into the world of sounds inside. B. Fleischmann's "Pop Loops for Breakfast"
does just that. It's a soundtrack to a beautiful morning -- birds chirping
outside of the window, rays of sunshine penetrating the cracks in the
blinds -- when the day is filled with limitless possibility. This is the
world of B. Fleischmann, who has created one of the finest downtempo
electronic records to date. Bleeps and blips flutter about like a wind-up
toy, downtempo beats act as the backbone, and distorted sounds rinse and
float through the speakers. It's an amazing record, and like Boards of
Canada, ISAN, or Dettinger, he's definitely an artist to keep an eye
out for in the coming months. [JS]
LP  /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999108091&refer_url=email

PASSARANI "Unspeakable Future Outbreaks" (Hymen, Belgium) CD $13.99
Think of Eno, Throbbing Gristle, Autechre and Techno Animal in a mindmeld,
and that would be just one corner of Marco Passarani's brain. This lush
album departs from typical IDM fare in the way Passarani (who also records
under the name Passarani 2099) works with layers: washes of sound flow
between speakers, industrial percussion rattles floorboards, the sounds of
circuits overloading and glitches in the system skitter about randomly.
Expansive and beautiful, it reveals even more through repeated listens. [JS]

KLIMPEREI & PIERRE BASTIEN "Mecanologie Portative" (Prikosnovenie, France) CD $18.99
This odd French duo team up with musician/instrument inventor Bastien in
sweet jazz nostalgia and funny toy experimentation. Their music is mostly
trios of instruments (trumpet, xylophone and toy percussion, or toy
percussion, piano, and violin, for instance) performing music-box swing a
la Raymond Scott or Leroy Anderson. But it's moodier than Scott's
mid-century sunniness. This trio tend to emphasize the tuneless or off-tone
qualities toy instruments have, and they use that quality to pull the music
in and out of focus. One-note melodies (is this possible? Yes!) tiptoe over
wub-wub background patterns, while a kalimba shudders. There are no grand
statements here, but each pocket piece adds to it's neighbor like spokes
added together make a wheel -- only their wheel is one with a naive,
jigsaw-puzzle funkiness. (We also have Bastien's recent, weirder "Musiques
Paralloidres", a recording made with altered turntables and trumpet.) [RE]

[V/A] BADABOOM GRAMOPHONE (Ba Da Bing!) Magazine w/CD $5
Loosely themed as the "folk issue", the fourth, thick volume of Badaboom
Gramophone not only provides a guide to contemporary folk music in a number
of countries, but in the accompanying CD, Sue Garner, Thinking Fellers
(new!!!!), Annie Hayden, Picastro, Greg Weeks and others reveal that
there's tension in recording ancient songs as a modern artists as much as
making new music in a particularly old way. The results are spine-tingling,
skin-crawling (good), and especially, cheap! Article highlights includes
Frances from the Cannanes explaining the differences between American and
Australian systems of justice (beyond "they wear wigs and we don't"), and a
technical, insider (but funny) co-interview between Royal Trux and Jim
O'Rourke. [RE]

BEIKOKU ONGANKU #14 "The Magazine of Superdeformed World" MG w/CD (Winter 2000) $17.99
Though only a fraction of this brilliantly realized fanzine is written in English,
it's absolutely essential reading for any follower of contemporary Japanese pop.
This brand new issue features interviews with Hideki Kaji and Cubismo Grafico;
reports on pop festivals in SF, NYC and Olympia, WA; a history of Dolly Mixture;
a Chocolat photo album; a three-part expose on "Nerd Boy Rock" (!) and a
whole lot more. Also includes a 23-track CD featuring tracks from the Clientele,
DJ Me DJ You, Essex Green, Salon Music and many others. Even when you can't
read the words, the spirit and enthusiasm of this magazine never gets lost in
the translation. [TC]

KHAN "Passport" (Matador) CD / 2XLP $12.99/$15.99
A 15-track "greatest hits" of sorts from this prolific artist with too many
(14+!) aliases. Mock-Black Sabbath, techno floorfillers, internationalist
amalgam dance-style hits. Tracks from singles and unreleased projects over
the past seven years. Snotty electronic music handled adeptly. [RE]
LP  /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=74486103381&refer_url=email

Restocks, New Editions, and Re-Pressings :

BOREDOMS "Vision Creation New Sun" (Warner, Japan) CD $34.99
Japanese import version of the album (without the box), finally here!
Boredoms go beyond even their last, this is the most perfect culmination
of 30 years of stoner-rock I can imagine. But Boredoms never let anyone
relax and just go, throwing in unexpected glitches, repositioning vocals
electronically, spinning instruments out their usual orbits with manipulation/
remodulation. Battalions of drums are multiplied a hundredfold, towers of
vocals build up and fall over. And it's all constructed on an unstable junkpile
that oozes slime, ejecting jets of fluorescent, unknown gases. "Vision"
makes sophisticated and intelligent music that is, above all, purely visceral,
extraordinarily transcendant. The domestic release won't hit here for at
least another four months. (My favorite album of 1999. We still have copies
of the extraordinary 2xCD-with-musical-toy extravagant Japanese box
version, too.) [RE]

DOTS & BORDERS "Tokyo Tapes" (Trattoria, Japan) CD $14.99
Restocked! A side project of prolific Japanese pop stars Hideki Kaji and Horie
Hirohisa. "Tokyo Tapes" is an excellent five-song EP on which you'll find
jangly, slightly psychedelic songs that reflect both artists' obssessions
with dreamy '60s soft rock and arty '80s Britpop. Joyous, exuberant songs
that typify the best of the sound of today's young Japan. [TC]
/perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=498802304007 &refer_url=email

CLINTON "Disco and the Halfway to Discontent" (Astralwerks) CD $15.99
The newest project of Cornershop's Tjinder Singh and Ben Ayres -- in fact,
what that group has evolved into. Losing the punk forever, now casio
glissandoes, Guaraldi-esque electric piano, desianglo fusions, and electro
are pressed into the service of disco and big Brit dance ambition. Songs
jump like 'Car Wash' (but decorated with tabla), Singh sings, and the whole
project acts like it's prescient to breakdancing electro, despite being
recorded 20 years too late. There are creative arrangements (handclaps
go!), somewhat uncreative lyrics (they overuse the word 'disco')?and no
filler. [RE]

KARLHEINZ STOCKHAUSEN "Helikopter Quartett" (WDR, Germany) CD $10.99
So you read about Stockhausen's Helicopter String Quartet a few weeks ago,
wanted to hear it, yet didn't have $80 to spend on the official Stockhausen
recording. This, while not a recording of the live performance (that is on
the Stockhausen Verlag version), is the studio recording of participants
Arditti String Quartet playing (in four separate rooms) along to a click
track of the helicopters. It's a disorienting half-hour-long piece that
hits like a strobe light, a sonic experience that, I imagine, could nearly
provoke an epileptic reaction or two. Intense, and also very inexpensive.

HILMAR ORN HILMARSSON "Children of Nature Soundtrack" (Touch, UK) CD $13.99
Freezing to death is supposed to be one of the most peaceful ways to die.
Maybe that's why music from Arctic areas can have an odd way of soothing --
of which this is a perfect example. Icelandic composer Hilmarsson's
atmospherics keep the best aspects of ambient music and wed them to a
classical score. The result is cinematic, chilling and warming, spineless
but drowningly beautiful. This CD has been OOP for about two years, now
back in stock. An amorphous mass of strings, electronics, and voices, it's
syrupy in places, but like the music of Arvo Part, universally gorgeous,
too. [RE]

KATERINE "Les Creatures" (Rosebud, France) CD $19.99
The limited 2-CD edition of Katerine's latest album back in stock after a two
month hiatus. Apologies to those customers whose orders we had to cancel
when it was unclear when or if this disk would be back in stock.

This week's update was brought to you via Tom Capodanno, Robin Edgerton,
Lyndon Roeller, Jeremy Sponder, and Phil Waldorf.

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music