Other Music New Release Update
June 21, 2000

In This Week's Update :

-Pole 3
-Pole vs. Fourtet 12"
-"Staedtizism" comp. on Pole's label
Superfunk (comp. of rare '70s funk)
Sun City Girls Vol. 2
Black Dice
Jonas Bering
Trojan Dub Box Vol. 2
Stereo Ultra Vol. 2 (comp. of '70s production groove)
Instrumental Acoustek (string versions of house and techno)
Helen Mirra
Marcel Duchamp's piano 'compositions'
Le Flow (comp. of Franco-American raps)
Saint Etienne singles
Land of the Loops

The Field Mice

Featured New Releases :

POLE "3" (Matador) CD/LP $12.99/$16.99
Thanks to the Walorf 4 Pole filter, used to remove the crackles and
imperfections in vinyl, Stefan Betke (Pole) honed in on unique
manipulations of beats, melodies and dub-like minimal electronic sounds,
ever since his first album ("1"). On "3," more cut-up dub echoes are found,
as he places fluid, molten beats amongst bubbling digitonics. Where the
second album ("2") used higher frequencies and teeth-grinding ticks toned
down by sub-frequency bass, "3" expands and compiles more subtle, melodic
textures, and throws in (barely audible) vocal samples. Betke takes the
listener on a journey through his own geographic cataloging system --
down hallways ('Uberfahrt'), on beaches ('Strand'), riding on carousels
('Karussell'), and climbing up staircases ('Kietten'). 'Strand' heralds the
most tuneful technique: beginning with the bass, two or three melodies
reverberate, slinking in and out of the foreground like sand in between the
toes. There are fewer crackles than ever on this track, but the hip-swaying
ambience reveals strips of full tunes. Fans of the pops and disjointed
rhythms, fear not. 'Rondell Zwell' provides a chilling escapade, electronic
washes sloshed around by hushed bleeps and skittering snaps through murky
dub. The most experimental track on the album, 'Fohlenfurz,' leaves its
shifting droplets of sound to recede from the ever-present crackle. On
these three albums, Pole's gift is to make the abstract tangible. [LG]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=541335674571&refer_url=email

POLE V. FOUR TET "s/t" (Leaf, UK) 12" vinyl  $8.99
This is the long-awaited meeting of two of electronic music's most
innovative and challenging artists, Stefan Betke (Pole) and Kieran Hebden
(Four Tet). Drop the needle on 'Heim (Four Tet Remix)' and experience the
vertigo induced by the tough opening, an 808 kick drum tripping over itself
until Pole's lo-fi, crackling bassline takes over the track like a morphine
injection. When Four Tet introduces his off-kilter sax bursts and clipped,
staccato, electro-funk style drum machine programs to Pole's track, the
result is staggering. It truly lays the groundwork for the direction of
compositional, instrumental electronic music in the new millennium. When
Pole gets his hands on Four Tet's 'Cload,' he anchors the keyboard
sprinkles and faux-xylophone runs with a bassline so deep, you feel it only
in your chest. Suffice it to say that this is the single of the year, and
nothing will change my mind. This record is absolutely mandatory. [TH]

[V/A] "Staedtizism" (~scape, Germany) CD $14.99
Compiled by Pole, and on his label, this is an unsurprising collection of
electronic music harboring static twitters, ceaseless skitchy beats, tufts
of funk, and the expected strains of dub, strongest in the tracks from
Thomas Fehlmann and Burnt Friedmann (which also happen to be some of
the best ones here). For those of you who need more of this kind of stuff;
it also gets better on each listen. With Gramm, Vladislav Delay, Kit Clayton,
To Rococo Rot & I-Sound, The Modernist, more. All unreleased tracks, save
two. [RE]

[V/A] "Super Funk" (BGP, UK) CD $21.99
They say it's from 'deep in the crates', but this compilation of funk
rarities from 1968-1974 goes way beyond the 45, giving us a number (7 of
20) of _unreleased_ tracks from seminal, outstanding labels: Westbound,
Kent, Eastbound, Hy Sign, and more. There's no softer Philly stuff here --
it's all hard Detroit or Southern back-snappers. James Brown's influence is
felt in a number of ways: impeccable rhythm sections mirror the JB's, Ann
Alford is nearly a dead ringer for Vicki Anderson, and Mr. Brown has a few
(albeit lesser) imitators himself. Horn parts compete with growling and
shrieking singers throughout, there's also a reliance on '60s catchphrases
for lyrics. I wish I could put everything up on RealAudio here, but I put
my two favorites: Gene Anderson's falsetto screaming, and the Buena Vistas'
get-down instrumental. The most famous artist present is Bootsy Collins, in
his group the Pace-Setters, from 1972. This is the best funky soul comp
I've heard since those collections from the People, Hot Wax, and Invictus
labels came out. Yow! [RE]

SUN CITY GIRLS "Dreamy Draw" (Abduction) CD $13.99
"Carnival Folklore Resurrection Volume 2". Challenging the more terrestrial
limitations placed upon mortal musicians, Sun City Girls resume their quest
for celestial sounds of a higher key. Essentially instrumental with
occasional outbursts of chant and vocal drone, this captures their sublime
urban gamelan recorded live in the studio. Unusually piano-heavy and, dare
I say, tuneful, the album commences with a series of fragments, gradually
building into fully-realized percussive mantras with Bali and Thai-based
structures. Based upon the treasures contained within (not to mention the
21-minute title track), I suspect that "Dreamy Draw" does not refer to
sketching-in-reverie. Pass the hookah! Edition of 1000 copies. [JG]

BLACK DICE "s/t/Number 3" (Troubleman Unlimited) CD/10" $8.99/$9.99
Black Dice have nothing to do with a cute fuzzy ornament hanging from the
rearview mirror of the 1970 blue Camaro that tried to run you down last
week. They are, however, without a doubt in my mind, New York City's best
candidate for undisputed world domination. Were you ever a fan of Harry
Pussy? Uh... how about the Boredoms? The first time I saw these guys play,
it was like stepping into a haunted house. I left ABC No Rio that night with
the feeling that my eyes had just been opened for the first time, again.
Ten minutes is like five cups of coffee on an empty stomach. Imagine a
teenage version of Black Sabbath sticking forks in light sockets for the fun
of it. I am still hearing voices. Trust me, you will be screaming "Again....
Again!" Maybe it's the onset of a midlife crisis, but I insist you must try this.
If you have a turntable, don't pass up the vinyl: it comes with a booklet --
the CD doesn't. [AG]
10 /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999133631&refer_url=email

JONAS BERING "Bienfait" (Kompakt, Germany) CD $15.99
It's rare when the highly respected Kompakt label releases a CD, and
especially one by a single artist (the last one being the Dettinger
full-length -- and we all know how amazing that one is). So when I heard
that it was out, I couldn't get it out of the shipping box fast enough. And
guess what? It's a storming journey into the worlds of tech house and dub.
He encompasses everything that you would expect from a Kompakt artist: a
booming dub base, delayed washes of vintage synths, pounding snares, and
clicks and glitches that would make the likes of Pole jealous. Holds its
own next to masters like Mike Ink, Plastikman, Monolake, etc.... If anyone
at Kompakt is reading this, when is the next one coming? Amazing. [JS]

TELE:FUNKEN "A Collection of Ice-Cream Vans Vol. 2" (Domino, UK) CD/LP  $18.99/$18.99
Though this was "inspired" by the endless melodies that ice-cream trucks
emit, don't let that mislead you. There's very little of the never-ending
twinkly melody loop in this collection of tracks. In fact, with each track
having six or more sections that he arranges and multiplies in different
ways with different transitions, they're so songlike, I can see a vocalist
doing a LOT with these as backing tracks. But repetition is pretty scarce
-- even where there are twinkly melodies, they don't repeat -- a
reprogrammed music box with bell-like melodies and rafts and ramps of
pointillistic, Aphex-Twinny synth. He uses no genuine acoustic sounds, but
many that evoke voices, violins, dripping water, clarinets, '50s guitar,
and fleets of bugs and frogs. In fact, as the album progresses, it gets
swampier -- like the aforementioned musical truck, a wetland is another,
parallel kind of 'unstoppable' sound. A sophisticated, composed album,
where the creative process is more conscious and genuinely intelligent than
most. As it's his debut (despite the 'Vol. 2' in the title), I look forward
to more. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=503420200831&refer_url=email

DISC "Transfer" (Deluxe) LP $9.99
Disc is Matmos, LSR, and Kid 606. This is, more or less, their fourth
recording, and the first on LP. Made entirely of manipulated, altered and
abused CDs, the result -- 10 songs and 105 locked grooves -- contains lots
of explosive shuffling and staticky beats. While some of the sources are
discernable (Latin music, some Motown, Bulgarian vocalists), most are not.
It's a bit like John Oswald's plunderphonics, only using different
technology for a beat-based, frenetic approach. As it's pressed on clear
vinyl (with a beautiful colored label image of a microwaved CD), you never
know quite where you are, so finding a sound a second time requires either
extreme precision or a lot of luck. Another perfect DJ mixing tool, too. On
LP only. Fantastic and purposefully confusing. [RE]

[V/A] "Trojan Dub Box Vol. 2" (Trojan, UK) 3xCD $24.99
Trojan really is the Motown of reggae, a seemingly endless storehouse of
great vintage material that gets packaged and re-packaged in a seemingly
endless number of ways. One of the most recent, and most successful, of
these ways has been the 'Box' series; basic surveys of different reggae
styles in three-disc sets, each averaging about 50 tracks, packaged in
simple cardboard sleeves within cardboard boxes. Surely none of these
supposedly 'Limited Edition' items has sold better than the Dub box, a
consistent if not particularly inspired selection from the company's
vaults. A second volume was probably inevitable. Less predictable, however,
was just how much more satisfying it would be. This may be largely a matter
of so many basics being covered on the first volume and out of the way. But
whoever compiled this set really worked at presenting a more diverse
profile of this music, essentially by ranging farther into the '80s (by
which time dub had become more ubiquitous, and was therefore being created
by a wider group of mixologists,) choosing a greater number of lesser-heard
tracks, and paying closer attention to running order, thus avoiding the
numbing repetitiveness which so often plagues dub comps. Tubby, Perry,
Pablo, Niney, Scientist, and more are all here, but even seasoned
collectors won't have all the material, the variety keeps it interesting,
and the sound quality makes it all go down like honey. A truly pleasant
surprise. [AL]

OVAL "Ovalprocess" (Thrill Jockey) CD/LP $13.99/$8.99
What a strange record. Has Oval finally made a record that is, as the title
says, more about the process than the result? (That may be--he also used
the same technology he developed for this for a series of interactive sound
installations.) And on "Ovalprocess," he looks back at the abstraction of
"94 Diskont", but with entirely different sounds. What you find the most of
is the electronic equivalent of thickly shaped, manipulated guitar
feedback: noise that squeals upward, thin, curving triangles and chugs of
sound. Any beats are usually shaky, distant maraca/castanet/tambourine
sounds, again, electronic and wispy. Add the occasional hollow, windy
air-blown-across-bottle sound, or beats that thud into inconsistent,
breaking-down rumbles, and faint trills. Plus you get a really nice
ten-minute hidden bonus track at the end. Mysterious and opaque. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999133611&refer_url=email

ARANOS "Making Love In Small Spaces" (Pieros, Ireland) CD $13.99
Continuing to defy expectations (well, mine anyway), violinist,
sound-shaper, and recent Nurse With Wound accomplice Aranos (aka Petr
Vastl) morphs effortlessly into the role of one-man-band and twisted
crooner on his third album. Performing a wide arsenal of original songs
that evoke the likes of Iva Bittova, Boris Vian, Tom Waits, and even Kurt
Weill, Aranos taps into the gypsy soul inside us all. Extra props due for
inspired use of sheep! Strange, refreshingly unique and utterly delightful!

[V/A] "Stereo Ultra Vol. 2" (Sirocco, France) CD $19.99
Is there any stopping the deluge of utility music comps from the '60s and
'70s? In fact, if you're still reading after that first question, don't you
think it might be time to seek treatment for obsessive completist
tendencies, since all but the most ravenous pursuers of this stuff filled
their bellies some time ago? Can there really be anything left to release?
And if so, hasn't all the good material been exhausted by now? Such are the
kind of philosophical-discographical questions which have begun to infect
the lives of easy-listening aficionados. And this compilation won't offer
any relief; it's just too good. The second volume in a series profiling
TeleMusic, which, the liner notes assure us in impeccable franglais, was
not only "the hippest French music library of the '70's," but left an
archive which "stands aside any other," it features a solid group of
musicians (the best-known being jazz keyboardist Eddy Louiss) taking off on
a hard-edged bunch of groovy-ass instrumentals, recorded between '69 and
'76 (although the disc's subtitle says only through '73, in case you care).
18 tracks of fuzzy wah-wah Hammond-y madness, with titles like 'Mr. Buzz'
and 'Sun-Kissed Chicks.' "The sounds stands the test of time and new music
styles will, without any doubts, benefit from its release." It may be ch eese,
but it's the Finest Funky French Fromage, so just groan and buy it, saying
to yourself, 'okay, this is the last one, I really mean it this
time....' [AL]

INSTRUMENTAL "Acoustek" (Big Chill, UK) CD $15.99
While it _sounds_ like it should be cheesy or novelty -- arranging ambient
techno hits for chamber music instruments -- the results are decidedly not.
This group of string and wind players tackle songs you probably know (and
some you don't) with urgency, tension, and drive. And you'll barely
recognize the tracks. They take ambient techno (covers of Moby, Eno,
Plastikman, Orbital and more) back for the minimalists (the Orb used huge
swaths of Steve Reich's music in their work, anyway), the results running
like a well-arranged Philip Glass collection, or close to the Balanescu
Quartet's CD of Kraftwerk covers. It's nearly-grandiose, adding pomp to
chill. And works best with the ambient works, where strings and flute cover
a lot of ground in long, overlapping waves, indistinct from one another.
Gorgeous. [RE]

HELEN MIRRA "Field Geometry" (Explain) CD $13.99
Fascinating debut release from Chicago-based guitarist Mirra, who augments
her minimalist playing with recordings of her percussive manipulation of
Civil War-era kindergarten toys (here referred to as "activities" and
"gifts") including balls, blocks, planes, etc. Accompanied on occasion by
Fred Lonberg-Holm on cello, nyckleharpe and kemence (whatever that may be),
and utilizing other representative ambient sounds from a sewing machine,
windmill and loom, Mirra achieves a distinct balance between organic sounds
and human construct. A genuinely new twist on the loner territory staked
out by the likes of John Fahey and Loren Mazzacane-Connors. [JG]

LOWFISH "Eliminator" (Suction, Canada) CD $13.99
Take prime '80s technopop -- say, OMD, Depeche Mode, maybe even Shriekback,
and scramble all the music, without the vocals. That would be close to what
Gregory de Rocher (Lowfish) does on his second album, only he's generating
it from scratch with a hefty dose of 808 everywhere. Melodic and visceral,
with a funky, albeit sterile fragility; where he cleans up typewriter
patterns and places clusters of sparkling, orderly static. Yawning synths
swallow sections with their melodies, reminiscent of another time, one when
Warp artists (LFO, Guy called Gerald) dominated the college charts. This is
quite unlike what anyone else is doing right now, but I'm sure that won't
last for long. Includes a giddy remix of my favorite track from the last
Solvent album. [RE]

PANTALEIMON "Trees Hold Time" (Durtro, UK/Streamline, Germany) CD/LP  $19.99/$14.99
Pantaleimon is Andria Degens, who has previously worked with Current 93,
Steven Stapleton, Christoph Heemann (H.N.A.S., Mimir) and The Dirty Three.
"Trees Hold Time" consists of seven pieces of shimmering minimalist beauty,
buoyed by Degens' wistful vocals and hypnotic expertise on dulcimer
(hammered & bowed), bouzouki, and singing bowl. Virtually impossible to
categorize as anything other than an evocation of timelessness. Would make
for a suitably spooky soundtrack to the BBC series "1900 House." Recorded
and mixed by Heemann. "An album of an ineffable and unique beauty, quite
unlike anything I have ever heard."--David Tibet. LP is in an edition of
514 copies on clear vinyl. [JG]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999133441&refer_url=email

MARCEL DUCHAMP "Erratum Musical" (Sub Rosa, Belgium) CD $14.99
Subtitled "7 Variations On A Draw Of 88 Notes". Long, long ago, when John
Cage was still in short pants, the artist Marcel Duchamp was conceiving
musical works based upon concepts of randomness and, in Cageian-speak,
indeterminacy. In his work, "The Green Box," published in 1934 (although
written between 1912-15), Duchamp suggested a minimal composition obtained
by playing all 88 notes on the piano in an order drawn at random and
performed without any particular modulation and without any repetition of
notes. On the morning of February 8th, 2000, numbers corresponding to the
notes were placed in a vase and drawn at random. Pianist Stephane Ginsburgh
accepted the arduous task of performing seven distinct variations on the
notes in the order drawn. Ranging from three to thirty-six minutes in
length, the results serve the spirits Duchamp and Cage (and Morton Feldman)
most proudly. [JG]

[V/A] "Le Flow" (Ultra Records) CD $14.99
French rap makes two types of people shudder: rap fans and francophiles.
The former think the stuff is lame; the latter abhor how it cuts their
beloved mellifluous language into awkward, punchy patterns. This may not
please either camps, but it certainly does a good job in selecting tracks
that don't have those problems. A: there's a lot of English on this -- most
tracks are bilingual, with co-vocalists or guests. B: The French here tends
to emphasize goofy, curly aspects of the language: you can wrap a lot of
French vowels around lines of beats instead of making the words a rhythmic
counterpoint. I gotta say, though, even though this compilation has Missy
Elliott (in a duet w/the aforementioned Solaar), Common, Les Nubians,
Rahzel (who pretty much speaks his own language, anyway) and the RZA, the
beats here are less than killer. You're getting this for the novelty value,
and it is, frankly, some of the best French-language rap I've heard. Which,
unfortunately, isn't saying that much! Listen to the samples above -- they're
pretty cool. [RE]

SAINT ETIENNE "Heart Failed (In The Back Of A Taxi)/CD1" (Mantra, UK) CD  $9.99
Sporting a most unlikely title for a potential chartbuster, the second
single from "Sound Of Water" features two exclusive b-sides: 'Thank You,'
one of Sarah's patented downtempo ballads, and 'Bar Conscience,' a pensive
dub excursion with a swinging coda. [JG]

SAINT ETIENNE "Heart Failed (In The Back Of A Taxi)/CD2" (Mantra, UK) CD  $9.99
CD2 features mixes by Two Lone Swordsmen (stripped & sparse), Futureshock
(massive & house) and Bridge And Tunnel (dub & dirgey). [JG]

LAND OF THE LOOPS "Puttering About a Small Land" (Up/Slabco) CD/LP  $13.99/$13.99
Alan Sutherland's newest album reveals his fetish for girly voices. Using
more vocal samples and vocalists than he ever has before, this album has
only a few instrumentals, the rest fronted by vocalists Heather Lewis (Beat
Happening), Takako Minekawa, and a few others. His crisp, mechanistic and
pretty naive beats are still in evidence, mellowed and diffused somewhat,
swirled psych-like at the edges. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=79681800801&refer_url=email


FIELD MICE "Where'd You Learn to Kiss That Way" (Shinkansen, UK) 2xCD  $20.99
Two-CD retrospective from now-defunct but still hugely-popular Sarah
Records stalwarts. Finally repressed after being out of stock for months.

This week's newsletter from: Robin Edgerton [RE], Lisa Garrett [LG], Jeff
Gibson [JG], Andy Giles [AG], Tim Haslett [TH], Andrew Leigh [AL], Jeremy
Sponder [JS].

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003