Other Music New Release Update
July 26, 2000

In This Week's Update :

Doob Doob O'Rama 2 comp. of Indian & Pakistani film music
Arthur Russell "World of Echo" LP
Sun City Girls
Sun Ra Arkestra live
Best of Bertrand Burgalat
Ekkehard Ehlers
Frente 57 Beta Bodega Coalition
Der Plan
The Names
Orlando Julius
Vibracathedral Orchestra
David Maranha
Richard Youngs
The Fall live
"The Buddha Bar" Volume 2

"Inside the Dream Syndicate" (new lower price)
Dean Roberts and the Black Moths

Featured New Releases :

[V/A] "Doob Doob O'Rama 2" (QDK, Germany) CD/LP $14.99/$17.99
India's Bollywood is the ultimate cinema factory, spewing forth hundreds of
features per year, often multi-hour epics crammed with songs. In fact, the
songs are often the main point of these movies, their plots merely the
fragile threads on which to hang as many musical numbers as possible, using
any number of devices (including the ever-popular 'dream sequence').
Composers work overtime to come up with enough material to feed this
ever-devouring machine. And this forces them into a kind of anything-goes
resourcefulness which yields some of the most inventive music you'll ever
hear. The QDK label has already filtered through a bunch of it, coming up
with the first volume in this series, which was at least one OM staffer's
Disc of the Year for 1999. Now they're back with another, a 21-track,
56-minute cavalcade of manic wonder, and it's even hotter and punchier than
its predecessor. The grandiose orchestral arrangements are birds of prey
which swoop from source to source, plundering styles and references from
swing to country to postwar Japanese pop to Morricone and beyond, and using
all of it to back up the bizarre, free-ranging melodies, which the
sinus-clearing vocalists deliver with appropriate gusto. Compiling such
diverse material must have been a labor of love; listening to it is a
series of astonishments. A staggering disc in more ways than one, full of
weird surprises and delights. [AL]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=401176093701&refer_url=email

ARTHUR RUSSELL "World of Echo" (Upside) LP $12.99
Arthur Russell never specialized. In his short career (he died of AIDS in
the late '80s), he had production credits on disco hits (he was also
Dinosaur L and founded Sleeping Bag records), performed and composed modern
classical music, and labored within the downtown NYC no-wave and improv
scenes. During this time, he worked with everyone from Philip Glass to
Larry Levan, Allen Ginsburg to Dr. Alimantado. No wonder he had a sense of
how to make music sound absolutely unlike anything or anyone else, which he
succeeded with best on his third and last album, "World of Echo". Adrift in
time, it not only doesn't sound like 1986, it doesn't sound like any other
year, either. A folk record with cello as its only instrument, Russell
alone gently sings, scats, scrapes, and produces a thrumming percussion
(though there are production credits for Phill Niblock and Peter Zummo
here, too). Sections, sounds, and whole songs are sent through echo
filters, sometimes stretched or compressed out of recognition (for
instance, something that sounds like a harmonica is his cello, compacted).
He uses dub techniques, but carefully, in portions, rather than just
throwing the whole mix into an echo. It's as unanchored in time as the
Byrne/Eno collaborations of the same era, and has a fragile rhythmic sense
and nonsensical complexion -- like Suicide covering Greg Brown or Woody
Guthrie. We found a number of these albums in a Cut-out warehouse. It's
only on LP -- no one has had either the rights or the foresight to reissue it.
And, if you need a higher recommendation, it was listed a few years ago as
one of The Wire's "Top 100 Albums You Never Heard". [RE]

SUN CITY GIRLS "Superculto" (Abduction) CD $13.99
Volume 3 in the "Carnival Folklore Resurrection" series is the most
aggressively percussive so far, exploring the outer limits of homespun
field recordings through their intuitive brand of urban gamelan.
Brandishing drums, reeds and stringed instruments gathered from the ends of
the earth, our intrepid trio weave their rich tapestry of worldbeat and
psychedelia so effortlessly that I sometimes wonder if they're even aware
that the tape is running. And that's exactly the point, for their music
springs forth from a collective subconscious, summoned at will. Which
makes the appearance of delicate piano figures toward the end of the album
far more jarring than the rhythmic monsoons that preceded them. So very
wonderful. [JG]

SUN RA ARKESTRA "Live At Praxis '84" (Golden Years, UK) 2xCD $32.99
Recorded at the Orpheus Theatre in Athens, Greece, this was originally a
highly collectible set of three LPs on the small-run Praxis label. Running
nearly two hours, the concert captures the versatility of the Arkestra in
its entire splendor. Disc one commences with the first in a series of
untitled freak-out improvisations before dissolving into a string of
familiar classics like 'Discipline 27-11', 'Children Of The Sun' and the
call and response monster, 'Nuclear War'. Following some blues piano
doodling by Sun Ra, the hits just keep on coming: 'Fate In a Pleasant
Mood', 'Space Is The Place / We Travel The Spaceways', more free-improvs,
then 'Discipline 27' and that's just the first half of the festivities! The
concert actually works better now as two CDs, for with disc two we're
transported to Cabaret Ra and treated to swinging standards done
Arkestra-style. 'Mack The Knife', 'Cocktails For Two'. 'Somewhere Over The
Rainbow', 'Satin Doll', 'Big John's Special', and 'The Days Of Wine And
Roses' all roll through before the band revs back up into the outer
spaceways of Ra originals. Pretty darn full sound too, with the exception
of the crowd response, which has a sound suspiciously akin to bacon frying
in a distant pan. Nonetheless, these biscuits are some tasty treat! [JG]

BERTRAND BURGALAT "The Genius of..." (Bungalow, Germany) CD/LP  $14.99/$13.99
A true genius in every sense of the word, Bertrand Burgalat's music invites
comparisons to great composers and arrangers of the past (Bacharach,
Colombier, Duprat, Axelrod to name a few), but no one reference can
encompass the scope and richness of his songs. On this album, Bungalow
Records kindly compiles 19 Bertrand tracks -- most credited to other
artists -- but ones that he's either written, produced, arranged or remixed
(and sometimes all of the above). It almost goes without saying that the
arrangements are impeccable, the production superb. On Moderato's 'Him'
(RealAudio above) Bertrand lays down a baroque but funky, 'Melody
Nelson'-esque groove while doing the best impersonation of Air since
Mellow. April March's soaring 'Sugar' is a real pop gem set against other,
more sweepingly cinematic-sounding tracks and a wildly remixed version of
'Sexy Boy.' The only mis-step may be his reworking of Ladytron's 'He Took
Her to a Movie' which completely misses the point. But it's an easy one to
overlook amongst scores of other great tracks by Etienne Charry, Louis
Philippe, Cinnamon, Ollano, Mick Harvey, Nick Cave, and many others. [TC]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875615791&refer_url=email

EKKEHARD EHLERS "Betrieb" (Mille Plateaux, Germany) CD 14.99
AUCH "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye" (Force Inc., Germany) CD $14.99

Auch is Ekkehard Ehlers. Mille Plateaux is also Force Inc. There's
obviously some artistic cloak-and-dagger game going on -- nonetheless,
I trust Ehlers completely. And not only because he's also one-half of
Autopoieses, whose CD last year did the best job I've heard yet of
compressing the 20th century into an hour. As Ehlers, his source material
is the earliest microtonal experimentors of the turn of that same century,
mostly Schonberg and Ives. With these as building blocks, he sets up
stresses and inequalities of mass, so that sounds seem to cluster around a
number of temporal axes. He's basically making dense, far-from-the-source
remixes of modern classical music! And while the strings, pierced altered
drones, fractured piano, oboes, orchestra, and surging calliope flow
thickly and thinly through the disc, no direct beats (only pulses and
fluctuations) make for a stunning and intellectual work. As Auch, Ehlers
works the same tactics on the sounds of Chicago House and Jamaican Dub
simultaneously. Sure, it's a little like Pole, but Pole uses a bellowing bass
and a fuller sound -- Auch keeps everything in the treetops with zephyrs
of tics and minced disco. Two records that are structurally similar,
sonically worlds apart, and rhythmically straightforward -- but neither
broach the elaborate entanglements of Autopoieses. [RE]

STYROFOAM "The Point Misser" (Morr Music, Germany) CD $14.99
Belgian Arne Van Petegem, Styrofoam, also records as Tin Foil Star. As TFS,
he writes pop songs backed by electronics. As Styrofoam, he loses the pop
and keeps just the simple, sweet electronics by stripping the vocals (and
the focus they attract) away. Okay, one or two tracks here include vocals,
but they're heard as if through thick, frosted glass blocks. There's an
'aural innocence' to Styrofoam's work that lends comparison to the Boards
of Canada in the twinkliness, to Raymond Scott's "Soothing Sounds for Baby"
in the use of pure, cascading tones. Added together, the finished
polyrhythmic sandwich at its most complex looks like this: sputtering high
bass (not much here goes very low), keyboard tones, gentle piano, strident
artificial tympani, and tip-top tics. Eight tracks add up to 45 minutes. Quaint,
polished and different, it illuminates both indie-pop and electronic music. [RE]

[V/A] "Frente 57" (Beta Bodega Coalition) CD $13.99
Two of the best 12"s on the excellent Beta Bodega label, the strange
handmade compilations "2K" and "B-2", are finally available on CD, with
two bonus tracks. Musicians include Patcha Kutek (Push Button Objects) and
Hamijama (Takeshi Muto). Just pop it in, sit back and enjoy. This is a
mysterious who's who of American electronic music, and is an essential
release from the burgeoning Miami scene, which includes the excellent
labels Schematic and Chocolate Industries. [JS]

DER PLAN "Die Letzte Rache" (Ata Tak, Germany) CD $11.99
With 36 tracks clocking in at 40 minutes, this 1983 album by these German
loons did little to dispel already prevalent Residents comparisons. But who
cares? Short songs, silly voices, ever-inventive pop-cultural references;
if only The Residents always made records this good! With a far wider
musical palette than the Post-Fab Four ever had at their disposal
(including leader Kurt "Pyrolator" Dahlke's use of early Emulator 1
sampling technology), Der Plan pioneer the sounds and styles that we've
recently become acquainted with via the works of Momus, Etienne Charry and
Bertrand Burgalat. Everything is possible! Recorded as the soundtrack for
an experimental film (title translates as "The Last Revenge", dir. Rainer
Kirberg) the album functions essentially as something of a one-penny opera.
Well, that's my two cents, anyway! Don't hesitate. [JG]

THE NAMES "Swimming + Singles" (LTM, UK) CD $15.99
A subsidiary of England's Factory records, Factory Benelux in Belgium
became known as a sort of musical graveyard. Bands that showed promise, but
who, for whatever reason, were unable to meet the standards set by Tony
Wilson were sent down to Factory's minor leagues. Despite this, their
roster was impressive, showcasing the more experimental and daring side of
the label, bands like Section 25, Crispy Ambulance and The Wake. Fresh and
innovative, these releases have stood the test of time, resonating stronger
today then at the time they were first released. Hailing from Belgium, The
Names were almost immediately and unfairly pegged as a weaker version of
Factory's most famous sons, Joy Division. Aided by the hand of Martin
Hannett, The Names favored a heavy use of the piano and wrote sweepingly
lush pop songs: more than that, they were far from morose. On "Swimming",
traces of The Cure, Magazine and the Chameleons UK can be heard. The sounds
of murky water fill the voids between songs, lending a feeling of mystery
that pervades the album. [JZ]

ORLANDO JULIUS & HIS MODERN ACES "Super Afro Soul" (AfroStrut, Germany) CD/LP $16.99/$16.99
Released in 1966, this album was the first in Nigeria to merge urban
highlife music with the strains of R&B trickling over the ocean from
America. Until now, this album (originally a 10") had never been reissued;
now it comes with all of Julius' singles, too. Ostensibly, Julius' 'Ijo
Soul' was the inspiration for James Brown's 'I Got You (I Feel Good)', but
the story may be a little apocryphal. OJ and his nine-piece band enter a
territory that owes more to the soft grey soul of the Temptations (they
cover 'My Girl') and Otis Redding than stark, contracted funk of Brown or
Fela. The whole album is relaxed, nearly calypso in lilt, even though there
are fidgety drum jams that break up the melodies (which are linked together
in traded phrases from the singer to the horns and back again). One song
sounds a little like 'the name game' sung in Yoruba (?)--that sing-song
effect, quick pendulum rhythms. My favorite is a killer tight soul track
that, were it in English, wouldn't be that out of place coming from Chicago
or Detroit--but it's a traditional African song! This is the African equivalent
of Jamaica's rock steady in its appropriation of soul music for a whole
different set of dance steps. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=67586560003&refer_url=email

TZOTZILES "Psalms, Stories, and Music" (Sub Rosa, Belgium) CD $15.99
This came out a few months ago, but we've just got more in, plus it just
plain took me a while to check it out. But I'm terribly glad I did.
Tzotziles are one of the largest Indian communities in Mexico. Located in
Chiapas, they practice an odd version of Christianity, as it's blended with
Mayan beliefs handed down for centuries. Musically, this means that besides
the regular Christian festivals, they have a few rituals that are unique,
like their "transfer of power" ceremonies and a type of Carnaval. Belgian
Theirry Zeno has documented the Tzotziles for over two decades, and this CD
is but a part of his work on Mexican cultural practices (he's produced two
documentaries as well). And the sounds are exhilaratingly unfamiliar. Using
mostly handmade instruments (harps, guitars, drums, fiddles, and weird
water pipes that sound birdlike), the raw shakings and wheezing strings are
interspersed with long, repetitive lilting chants -- the kind that make
voices go pleasantly hoarse and groany over time. Rhythms flip off the beat
as much as on. Closest in oddness (to our ears) to music from Indonesia or
Bali, the immersive character of the music is deep and immediate--I can go
into a zone after only two minutes of five-minute rituals. If the No Neck
Blues Band had no pretension and a greater social purpose? Also includes
interviews (in Spanish) with two leaders in the People's Zapatista Army.
What more can you say about a CD that contains a track called 'The Rapid
Chant of Authority Changing Hands'? [RE]

VIBRACATHEDRAL ORCHESTRA "Versatile Arab Chord Chart" (VHF) CD $13.99
"... A nebulous cloud of tinkling tones and rough sawing bows...slowly
levitating on darkly droning strings."--The Wire. "All the band except me
are heavy smokers"--Neil Campbell, violin, etc. Amidst all the fuss and
nonsense surrounding the release of "Inside The Dream Syndicate: Day
Of Niagara" it is difficult to remember that music, while maintaining the
ability to be broken down into the realms of composition and even
mathematical equations, is really about an expression of human emotions and
desires -- feelings, if you will. If a La Monte Young falls in the forest,
will anybody really take notice? Any truly successful artist realizes that
there comes a time when they must let go and allow their work to stand or
fall upon its own merits. These are the gifts of humanity. The quintet that
make up the Vibracathedral Orchestra understand this, for they bestow upon
us numerous blessings of superlative drones, grooves, and modal
improvisations over the course of this 62-minute opus which is poised to
join the decidedly non-academic pantheon inhabited by clairvoyants like Sun
City Girls and Dead C. I can offer no higher praise. [JG]

DAVID MARANHA Circunscrita (Namskeio, Switzerland) CD $14.99
David Maranha's third solo CD starts with a very Deep Listening Band-ish
exercise, interwoven trebly microtonal drones, then scoots to an even more
baroque construction of the same sounds woven around a pulse, using reedy
instruments and suspended chords. Sure, it's been done before by Conrad,
Toral, etc., but the shivering it induces is awfully friendly. Sounds like
fourteen bagpipes trying (and failing) to hold the same note at once,
nothing frantic, everything serene. With harmonium, cello, violin, and
double bass. Noticeably linear and acoustic, it's not novel, but is a nice
continuation of form. [RE]

RICHARD YOUNGS "Sapphie" (Jagjaguwar) CD $12.99
Originally released in 1998, Richard Youngs' fifth solo album sees a much
deserved domestic reissue. Recorded live to DAT, it consists of simply
classical guitar and voice. An unbelievably haunting and lonely recording,
Youngs softly plucks the nylon strings of the guitar, his desperate voice
plunging forward in the mix. His longing vocal style, tendency to use his
voice for pure sound, and lyrics that tread the line between abstract and
specific recall Robert Wyatt at his bleakest. Youngs' songs (and there are
only three of them here) seem to have no beginning or end, yielding an
exercise in sheer spaciousness and desolate melodic wandering. Using
simplicity and subtlety, "Sapphie" is a melancholy journey into gorgeous
song. 37 minutes total. [PW]

THE FALL "I Am As Pure As Oranj" (NMC/Pilot, UK) CD $18.99
Recorded in August 1988 at the Edinburgh Festival, this set finds Mark E.
Smith and Co. touring behind the music they wrote for choreographer Michael
Clark's ballet "I Am Kurious Oranj", which made a rather dry studio album.
On the evidence of this disc, however, it appears they breathed new life
into the material on the road, which wasn't apparent on the comparatively
tame "Seminal Live", released the following year. In fact, with a nice
immediate mix courtesy of Steve Hanley, the inclusion of choice tracks from
the contemporaneous "Frenz Experiment" and a souped-up hybrid of 'Hip
Priest' with 'New Big Prinz', this will happily take its place alongside
favorite Fall live documents like "Fall In A Hole" and "Totale's Turns". 62
minutes. [JG]

[V/A] "Buddha Bar 2: Mixed By Claude Challe" (Challomusic, France) 2xCD  $34.99
Second volume of the the insanely popular "Buddha Bar" series mixed by
French DJ Claude Challe. Two CDs of Eastern-influenced dance tracks.


CALE, CONRAD, MACLISE, YOUNG, ZAZEELA "Inside the Dream Syndicate" (Table of the Elements) CD $14.99
This is a 31-minute drone. It's also probably the most important historical
release of the year. After a decades-long wait, we're finally able to hear
the original Dream Syndicate -- not the pop band, but the legendary
ensemble of '62-'65, which influenced thousands solely through its
reputation. La Monte Young is undoubtedly an important presence here,
his and Zazeela's Indian-influenced tones bringing an ethereal, floating
quality to the mix. However, it's the bite of Conrad's razor-sharp violin,
together with the blistering howl of John Cale's prepared viola, which
makes this music so much more than so much of what's come after it.
Admittedly, this is also a matter of amplification (as well as the limitations
of a slightly boxy-sounding period recording). But Conrad and Cale are
the motor, producing a sound like the world itself exploding, only in
slow motion and with absolute precision. All that's left is for tabla
player Angus Maclise to skitter about the remains. An instant classic,
still jaw-dropping after a 35-year hibernation. [AL]

DEAN ROBERTS AND THE BLACK MOTHS "Play the Grand Cinema" (Ritornell) CD $14.99
Repress of the latest release from Dean Roberts (Thela, White Winged Moth).

This week's newsletter from: Tom Capodanno [TC], Robin Edgerton [RE], Jeff
Gibson [JG], Andrew Leigh [AL], Jeremy Sponder [JS], Phil Waldorf [PW],
Joshua Zucker [JZ].

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003