Other Music New Release Update
June 14, 2000

In This Week's Update :

Slum Village
Magic Carpathians
Sun Ra's "Strange Strings" reissue LP
MC Trachiotomy
Current 93
Augustus Pablo reissues
"For Friends" compilation
People Under the Stairs
Modest Mouse
Lolita Storm (DHR girl spazz)
Twilight Circus Dub Sound System
Blonde Redhead
Tahiti 80
Shannon Wright
Christian Vander
Stereolab "Microbe Hunters" vinyl

Os Mutantes' "Tecnicolor"
Magic Carpathians
Sigur Ros EP

Featured New Releases :

SLUM VILLAGE "Fantastic Vol. 2" (Atomic Pop) CD $13.99
'Up' has been a long time coming for this Detroit trio. Even though they've
had some mighty triumphant moments in the past four years, co-producing
tracks for Q-Tip, Common, Janet Jackson and D'Angelo, they've also suffered
their fair share of indignities. The trio's debut album disappeared into
major label limbo, and was shelved for two years. As a result, it was
bootlegged unmercifully, until now. This week sees the official legit
release, and it's fantastic. Of course, it doesn't hurt to have it blessed
by hip-hop heavyweights Pete Rock, Q-Tip and Busta Rhymes, all of whom
make guest appearances. But the real reason to buy this record is for the
immaculate production. Familiar jazz loops are muted, chopped up and echoed
against each other, staticky snare kicks loosely keep it all together, the
aural equivalent of a contact high. Lyrically, the group isn't as concerned
with hitting you with snazzy wordplay: they simply like the way words sound
together (as in 'I don't know why the fuck I'm fucking with you'). And you
can dance to it. [DH]

MAGIC CARPATHIANS "Ksiega Utopii" (OBUH, Poland) CD $13.99
Recently, quite a stir was caused around these parts when our neighborhood
Tower Clearance Outlet placed nearly the entire King Records (Japan) world
music catalog on sale for the ridiculously low price of $7.99 each. That
very Saturday, a certain pretty-boy who works here (we'll call him Disco
Tom), took the entire commission he earned during a modeling shoot for
Calvin Klein (look for him sometime soon on the side of a bus near you...)
across the street and returned quicker than ol' CK himself could snap a
towel with no less than 59 CDs spanning the exotic indigenous musics of
Eastern Europe, Near Asia, and the Far East. Not surprisingly, the rest of
us followed suit like ants to sugarcubes. If only we had waited for "Ksiega
Utopii" ("Book Of Utopia"), the second album from former Atman mainstays
Marek Styczynski, Anna Nacher and their associates. Their flawless
combination of ethnic-folk instrumentation, haunting vocals and psychedelia
is a virtual cornucopia of world music riches. Magic Carpathians' debut,
"Ethnocore" (see restocks below) was my absolute favorite release of 1999
for its relentless diversity and its continual ability to surprise even the
most jaded listeners like myself and Disco Tom. This follow-up might be
even better in terms of consistency of scope and depth of texture. Now I've
got just over 6 months left to figure out whether this one tops the charts
for 2000. Highest recommendation! [JG]

SUN RA "Strange Strings" (Thoth) LP $16.99
This mysterious LP was recorded in the mid to late '60s, depending on who
you ask, and blurs the line between modern composition and improvisation,
utilizing a Cage-like ideology in its approach, coming across like nearly
nothing Sun Ra's Arkestra had ever created before. The concept behind the
piece 'Strange Strings' (which takes up a side and a half of this LP) stems
from an experiment Ra wanted to try with his musicians. He had collected a
vast array of stringed instruments, including ukuleles, koto, mandolin,
pipa and others, and passed them out to his reed and horn players. In
addition to these unfamiliar instruments, band members also were to use
homemade musical devices on this recording. He then had them play, free of
guidance except that he would point to them when he wanted them to start.
The end result is a chaotic flurry of sounds, devoid of musical tradition,
a wild intuitive piece that allowed them to express themselves solely
through the craft of making sound and filling up space. Recorded at a high
volume, the sound bleeds together like a field recording that cannot be
placed: if someone were to listen to this blindly, there would be no
indicators whatsoever where to locate this recording in time, location,
or nationality. Also included here is 'Worlds Approaching,' which ventures
back into more familiar Arkestra territory, Marshall Allen and John
Gilmore's horns dancing around a thundering bassline courtesy Ronnie
Boykins, while a percussive rumble sets the backbone. "Strange Strings" is
no less than completely essential, even with the cheap photocopied cover it
is more than worth the price of admission. [PW]

MC TRACHIOTOMY "Robot Alien or Ghost" (Anal Log) CD $11.99
Albums like this one are truly puzzling affairs, defying categorization and
happily confounding employees and customers alike. With homemade tape
collage techniques, lo-fi hip-hop beats, vocals that resemble only total
gibberish, oddball samples and sound effects galore, MC Trachiotomy creates
a wild recording that would make the likes of Stock, Hausen and Walkman,
Miss Pussycat, and The Melted Men proud. Whether it is dadaist hip-slop or
a simple prank, MC Trachiotomy knows how to mix the humor with the party
tracks, and run it through a slew of effects, creating a chaotic cut and
paste carnival of sounds. Completely bizarre. [PW]

CURRENT 93 "Sleep Has His House" (Durtro, UK) $19.99
This requiem for David Tibet's recently departed father is a subdued, yet
ultimately uplifting affair that represents his most revealing and personal
work to date. Accompanied only by the guitar of Michael Cashmore and his
own harmonium (with sound sculpting courtesy Steven Stapleton), Tibet
negotiates a suite comprised of nine stark elegiac compositions with
heart-rending aplomb. Just beautiful. "You have entered the blood-red eye
of the immaculate golden storm. Rest now in the Thunder Perfect Mind: Your
face is all the Sky...February 1, 1925-February 24, 2000"--David Tibet.
Digipak includes a staggeringly uncanny WWII-era snap of Tibet Sr. emerging
from parachute silks. [JG]

AUGUSTUS PABLO "El Rocker's" (Pressure Sounds, UK) CD/LP $14.99/$12.99
Augustus Pablo, who died last year at the age of 46, was one of the true
pioneers of dub. His instantly recognizable sound was rooted in the sound
of a child's toy; the melodica, a kind of wind keyboard on which he played
spare, serpentine melodies, which shifted and wove beautifully with the
dark throb of the bass lines underneath to create some of the most haunting
music ever recorded. His most celebrated work was 1977's classic 'King
Tubby Meets Rockers Uptown,' a group of Pablo tracks mixed and re-mixed by
the inventor of dub himself into one of the two or three most essential dub
records. And this new collection will be a celebratory affair for that
disc's many thousands of fans. It's a kind of Part Two, featuring at least
one instrumental or alternate dub mix of every melody on the original. Some
of these were released as impossibly rare singles, some as backing tracks
for various singers, some are unheard in this form until now, but all 17
pieces cohere into an album which not only offers its own satisfactions,
but stands as a fascinating view of the not-so-raw material from which a
masterpiece was formed. Great tunes and rhythms, informative notes, one of
the necessary items for any self-respecting dub collection. [AL]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=66720930281&refer_url=email

[V/A] "For Friends" (Tom, Germany) CD $9.99
Every year Tom Records in Germany puts together something present-like
around Christmastime to send out to friends. Last year, it was a little
CD-R compilation, in this case for friends and by friends. And they've
decided to press it up so you, too, can be a friend. The Tom stable joins
that of Kraak and Lucky Kitchen, with outstanding tracks from Harold Sack
Ziegler (Sack and Blumm), Kohn, Alejandra & Underwood, Zammuto, and more.
Electronic innocence and sweet, mild innovations (like a duo for melodica
and the sounds of someone preparing dinner). We have very few of these,
it's limited and packaged in just a slipcase. Eight of the nine tracks here
are exclusive to this compilation. [RE]

BEIGE "I Don't Either" (Leaf, UK) CD $15.99
After appearing on the popular "Deutscher Funk" and "Osmosis" compilations,
Cologne's Oliver Braun, aka Beige, releases "I Don't Either" as his first
full-length. And on it, his compositions are assembled from clipped snaps
of funk and soul records (like Timmy Thomas' organ, sampled above),
assembled a la his minimalist electronician citymates like Brinkmann or
Ink. But Beige's technique is quite different than, say, Brinkmann's recent
work on the whole soul subject (which Beige's work is just as good, if not
better, than). For one, he changes the textures more often, and is
purposefully inconsistent in beat-manufacture throughout a track. And the
samples hang like rags and shreds and heavy bass thuds spread out along a
clothesline. Beige waxes both wistful and amusing, two difficult things to
achieve when making minimal electronica. [RE]

GRANDADDY "The Sophtware Slump" (V2) CD $13.99
A record for those who haven't quite gotten over Pavement circa 1994.
Grandaddy's tracks follow the formula of slow=meaningful, never speeding
faster than a languid 75 bpm. They create a forced intimacy with snips of
ambient atmospheric sounds--rain, room reverberation--much like Jon Brion's
production sounds do for Aimee Mann. Pensive sounds, propped up in places
by bits of electronic texture, muddy piano, metronome tics, organ and
slowly whirling guitar. It's circular, Victrola music for now -- even the
singer seems like he's singing in fragments, of things that happened long
ago and not to him personally. All medium and maudlin, they also sound like
they're examining their own music with a microscope as they make it, adding
implants here and there for a frankenstein of indie rock that lurches with
indecision. And yet they accomplish everything they set out to. [RE]

PEOPLE UNDER THE STAIRS "Question in the Form of an Answer" (OM Records)
CD/2xLP $15.99/$16.99

Wow, how times have changed. Independent Bay Area hip-hop now sounds like
East Coast hip-hop circa '95, and East Coast hip-hop sounds like
Independent Bay Area hip-hop circa '95. Oh well, the beat goes on! This duo
from S.F. deals in the former. Chunky, funky slabs of soul jazz samples,
bright lyrics, and deft turntablism. This would be a very nice companion
piece to the Jurassic 5 album coming out next week. Wait! Aren't they from
the Bay too? [DH]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=60035300361&refer_url=email

MODEST MOUSE "Moon and Antarctica" (Sony) CD $15.99
It's difficult to describe a band that can make you feel as if you're
stranded in the desert one moment and driving through the verdant Pacific
Northwest in a Camaro the next. Modest Mouse has a patchwork sound that
manages to allow backwoods rock, rhythmic percussion, and the occasional
punk outburst to coexist perfectly. On this, their major-label debut (a
distinction becoming increasingly meaningless), past themes like the open
road and the lonesome, crowded West are traded for the mysteries of the
universe. Images of oceans and the cosmos dot the confessional lyrics.
Keyboards, too, accent songs to great effect, creating a space-equipment
dimension that is relatively new territory for them. That isn't to say the
album doesn't have its share of indie-pop moments ('Paper Thin Walls') or
Isaac's trademark semi-scream vocals and driving guitar ('What People are
Made of'). It's the work of a band adding slightly to their sound, not
straying from it. [KS]

LOLITA STORM "GFSU" (DHR, Germany) CD $23.99
"Girls Fucking Shit Up." An X-Ray Spex/Bratmobile/Atari Teenage Riot
amalgam? Yes, but also if zine goddess Lisa Crystal Carver had been born
15 years later, in Germany or the UK -- her spastic noise leanings and
opposite-of-coy sexual agenda could easily have been split into four people
(three girls and one boy) to become Lolita Storm. Unison shouting, beats so
fast they stumble violently, and preset Casio melodies, sped up even
further. Underage sex and a little cybersadomasochism makes for an obvious
record -- anyone could do this, but they chose to -- redeemed by their cute
fangs and the ability to cram 15 songs into 26 minutes! Over the top and
really fun. Question to gabber fans: how _do_ you have sex to 220 bpm? [RE]

TWILIGHT CIRCUS DUB SOUND SYSTEM "Dub Voyage" (M, The Netherlands) CD/LP  $14.99/$12.99
Ryan Moore's seventh dub CD features more throbbing, drum-and-dub-and-bass
excursions, cantering beats and deep poundings. He favors melodic chord
progressions with a placid morning optimism, xylophone, and wubbly space
sounds. Moore, formerly of Legendary Pink Dots, has been digging so deeply
in this genre for so long that his work, though lacking reference points
for anything else, is among the best solid-center dub out there. As TCDSS,
he's really merging the roots of dub with the sounds of today (modern beats
slice through, too), while staying on the side of the authentics: vibrating
organs, swishes of all types, clattering percussion, lovely melodica. While
not mindblowing or 'new', it still manages to be enthralling. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999132711&refer_url=email

BLONDE REDHEAD "Melody of Certain Damaged Lemons" (Touch and Go) CD/LP  $13.99/$10.99
Yay, Blonde Redhead are Sonic Youth Jr. no longer. With hardly a shred of
feedback on the whole album, they've populated it with tense, march-paced
songs that swing drunkenly, slowly back and forth. Skirting, but not
entering, the land of pop, they use harpsichord, twinkly electro bleeps,
and Kazu Makino's breathing-helium-high vocals that have thankfully lost
their exoticism. Their drum sound is of sticks clattering against fast-food
plastic, there are many elegant piano intros, and when the twin brothers
sing, it reminds me of the high, thin tenor of the 3Ds' David Mitchell.
It's a short album (39 minutes), but it doesn't overstay it's welcome.
Produced by Guy Picciotto and Ryan Hadlock, there's a nice but blankish
bonus track on the CD only, which you can hear a bit of above. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999132491&refer_url=email

TAHITI 80 "Puzzle" (Minty Fresh) CD $14.99
One of the best times in my life was the summer of 1991. I was between
jobs, and my new girlfriend had returned to Belgium for her brother's
wedding. Never one to sulk, I gathered some savings and followed her over.
It was a summer of pop for me and I'd just started a record label, so on a
whim we ventured over to Glasgow to visit Duglas Stewart of the BMX
Bandits, whose records I desperately wanted to release. He was kind enough
to let us tour down through the UK with his band, which at the time
featured Eugene Kelly (Vaselines), Francis MacDonald (Pastels, Teenage
Fanclub) and Joe McAlinden (Groovy Little Numbers, Superstar). Eventually
we reached London where we stayed with members of Heavenly. I returned to
the States just in time to have my mind blown by "Loveless" and
"Screamedelica." The Parisian band Tahiti 80 has nothing to do with any of
this. Except for their music, particularly the songs of Xavier Boyer and
his wistful croon recalling no less than The Zombies' Colin Blunstone,
transporting me happily back to a summer when song and melody were all the
world needed. [JG]

JOHN FAHEY "Hitomi" (LivHouse, UK) CD $14.99
Luminescent and mesmerizing solo guitar excursions recorded following his
tour of the UK and Ireland in 1999 and his first studio album since
"Womblife." "Forty years after greeting the world as one of the first
'garage' acts with a 100-copy first pressing of the legendary LP 'Blind Joe
Death', and thirty years after finding an involuntary cache amongst the
Haight Ashbury smart set, at 61 the celebrated guitarist, author,
theologian and musicologist John Fahey is back in the garage full-circle
and unbroken. 'Hitomi' is the first album since 1964 that John has produced
and recorded entirely unfettered from 'correction' by the commercial
interest. It is also the first recorded outing for the John Fahey Trio,
with Tim Knight and Rob Scrivener, on the 'History of Tokyo Rail
Traction'."--LivHouse Records. 64 minutes and I'm heaven-bound. [JG]

SHANNON WRIGHT "Maps of Tacit" (Quarterstick) CD $13.99
Wright, formerly of Crowsdell, slinks closer and closer to Cat Power
territory with her second solo album. Holding her arrangements to a
intimate minimum, she's ignored her slight forays into celtic and other
'ethnic' instrumentation from her last (excepting some simple harmonium).
Which makes her voice, deep, resonant, wailing and powerful, all the more
the focus. As her voice attains a thick vibrato in the passionate bits,
guitar and wurlitzer are but smudges in the background in comparison.
Wright's pleading and demands are small fists shaken in your face, defiance
where defiance isn't always necessary. And that's because her lyrics are
little biological poetic treatises on fauna (man, mostly) and flora. [RE]

CHRISTIAN VANDER "Korusz" (Seventh, France) 2xCD $29.99
One of the most incredible aspects of Magma is that for all the attention
they command for their over-the-top operatic performances, their unique use
of their own language (Kobaian), their longevity, their rabid cult
following, and their incredibly boss logo (particularly when emblazoned on
a belt-buckle!), they are powered by one shit-hot virtuoso of a drummer!
Something of a concept album, "Korusz" compiles some of Christian Vander's
most outrageously fabulous drum solos recorded live between 1972 and 1975,
many clocking in well over 20 minutes. Either one of the most infuriating
or transcendent experiences you could ever have. Choose and/or lose. [JG]

STEREOLAB "First of the Microbe Hunters" (Duophonic, UK) 2x12" $19.99
The recently-released Stereolab mini-album now available on import vinyl.


MUTANTES "Tecnicolor" (Universal, Brazil) CD $14.99
This is the long-lost Mutantes album, recorded in Paris in 1970, in which
the original members sing many of their best-known songs from their first
three albums, only this time in English. These stripped-down, but more
soulful and polished versions of their early classics reveal the band's
unique and revolutionary blend of Western and Brazilian musical elements.
A fascinating companion to their first three classic LPs.

MAGIC CARPATHIANS PROJECT "Ethnocore" (Fly Music, Poland) CD $13.99
One of those records that demands total immersion, shuts down all conscious
thought. Psychedelic? Free improvisation? Progressive folk? Mantric chant?
World beat? It's all here in true schizophrenic glory. Faust, Magical Power
Mako, Brigitte Fontaine, and Taj Mahal Travellers all spring to mind as
parameters. Clocking in at over 67 minutes, this album is so complete in
scope and vision that it's kinda scary. The group rose out of the ashes of
prog-psych masters Atman, whose catalog we stock. Higher than highest
recommendation! [JG]

SIGUR ROS "Svefn G Englar" (Fat Cat, UK) CD EP/12" EP $8.99/$9.99
Another repressing of Icelandic band's first Fat Cat EP. Apologies for the
dozens of orders we had to cancel for this one while it was out of stock.
12 /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502454508936&refer_url=email

This week's newsletter penned by Robin Edgerton [RE], Jeff Gibson [JG],
Duane Harriott [DH], Andrew Leigh [AL], Katie Serva [KS], and Phil Waldorf

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music