Other Music Update
March 15, 2000

In This Week's Update :

Sonny Sharrock's "Black Woman" reissue
Ladytron (British electro/pop group)
David Axelrod reissues
Ennio Morricone "Giallo" soundtracks
Hot Snakes
4 Byrds reissues
Mimir LP (Ka-Spel, O'Rourke, Silverman, Martin, and Heemann)
Mirror (Heemann & Chalk)
Senor Coconut's Latin Kraftwerk tribute
Ingram Marshall's early tape works
Iskra 1903 (Bailey, Rutherford, Guy)
Guided By Voices mini-LP
Trembling Blue Stars
Alejandra Salinas
Hakeem Muhammad
Other Dimensions In Music with Matthew Shipp
Current 93/Antony & the Johnsons split single
DJ Food and Ken Nordine

"No New York"
Bjorn Olsson

Featured New Releases :

SONNY SHARROCK "BLACK WOMAN" (East West, Japan) CD $24.99
What a glorious din! Sporting perhaps the greatest free-jazz guitar and
vocal performances ever captured (yet scarcely contained) on record, this
remains one of the most remarkable artifacts to ever appear on a major
label. Recorded in 1969 by Sonny's mentor Herbie Mann, "Black Woman"
features an all-star cast including Dave Burrell, Teddy Daniel, Norris
Jones (a.k.a. Sirone), and Milford Graves, holding their own next to
Sharrock's fierce, odd, atonal guitar work. Sonny's wife Linda provides
vocals -- a mixture of soul, gospel, blasting screams, and orgasmic shrieks
that render contemporaneous Yoko Ono efforts positively tame by comparison.
Her alternately measured and ecstatic vocal duet with the guitar stylings
of her husband achieves a recorded intimacy that is riveting (and quite
nearly embarrassing) as a celebration of life, love and spiritual release.
As a testament to "Black Woman's" legendary stature, I've witnessed a dozen
or so copies happily snapped-up by hipsters over the years for prices
beginning around $80, and each one a white-label promo, so the exact extent
of its original release remains questionable. Regardless, a long-awaited
reissue that thoroughly lives up to its reputation. Highest recommendation.

LADYTRON "Miss Black and Her Friends" CD (Bambini, Japan) $13.99
Graduates of the Invicta Hi-Fi compilation "Special Skool" (which we hope
to finally have in a few weeks), the Liverpool quartet of Ladytron firmly
established themselves for their novel approach to electro-pop following
the release of only one song: the Kraftwerk-inspired single 'He Took Her to
a Movie' (included here). That track bit 'The Model' so hard that Kraftwerk
should have received songwriting co-credit, but it also revealed an icy
cool that has distinguished the band as more than mere imitators. On
this 8-track mini-album, Ladytron also draw inspiration from the early '80s
synth-pop of the Human League, but replace that band's earnestness with a
mock sincerity. On 'Paco' they wrap meaty, space-age synth sounds around
lyrics that sounds like the theme to '70s British sitcom "Are You Being
Served." Elsewhere, the band gets high marks for retro-New Wave kitsch
and their never-let-them-see-you smirk attitude. A very promising debut,
and a 10-inch release on Bertrand Burgalat's Tricatel label is imminent. (Not
to be confused with the recent psych-pop band The Ladytron on Shimmydisc.)

DAVID AXELROD "Songs of Innocence" (Ascension) CD $16.99
DAVID AXELROD "Songs of Experience" (Ascension) CD $16.99
DAVID AXELROD "Earth Rot" (Ascension) CD $16.99

These are the three best, most creative records in Axelrod's oeuvre, the
ones that capture the essence of his work, and had the most impact on music
to come. On "Songs of Innocence" (1968) and "Songs of Experience" (1969),
Axelrod was inspired by William Blake's heady stanzas in an instrumental
fashion (he originally wanted a choir to sing the poems but didn't, either
because of creative or time constraints--our gain, in any case). These are
some of the strangest instrumental suites set to record. Dissonant and
delicate string arrangemtents, dirty guitar stabs, and minor-key brass
lines swirl in and out of each other, supported by the drums in a heavy
backbeat. A backbeat so heavy, in fact, that these records have often
been sampled by hip-hop artists (DJ Premier and Diamond D spring to
mind) throughout the early '90s and more recently--you might even say
that Axelrod is the originator, albeit indirectly, of the hip-hop nod.
While "Innocence" is a bit prime-r than "Experience," they share most
musical ideas. Yet "Experience" is brighter, lounge-ier, and funkier, not
as slow or dark or deep as "Innocence." "Earthrot", on the other hand, is
probably the oddest record Axelrod ever did. Inspired by the environmental
movement of the time, and merged with Christian theology for this epic, he
starts at Genesis and includes large sections of Isaiah from the Bible.
Here he got his choir, setting the Old Testament words Gregorian-chant
style. While this record is slicker and weirder, it's more thoroughly
thought out, yet not as psychedelic as the "Songs" pair. Here, he's still
got the backbeat drums, but there are beautiful, slower passages on piano
included (which DJ Shadow lifted a while ago). Rare groove and hip-hop heads
can now fill their want lists. [DH]
"Songs of Innocence"
"Songs of Experience"
"Earth Rot"

ENNIO MORRICONE "Il Gatto A Nove Code" (Dagored, Italy) CD/LP $14.99/$14.99
ENNIO MORRICONE "Una Lucertola Con La Pelle Di Donna" (Dagored, Italy) CD/LP $14.99/$14.99

You don't need another Morricone album. You need two. This pair of
soundtracks to cheesy Italian 'giallo' movies (the former Dario Argento's
"Cat O' Nine Tails," the latter Fulci's "Lizard With A Woman's Skin" a/k/a
"Schizoid," both from 1971) are among the weirdest and most remarkably
inventive in the maestro's career. "Lucertola" is the more recognizably
Morriconian one, a broad orchestral palette meeting a double-shot of
wah-wah pedal on tracks which alternate between period grooviness and a
haunted, somewhat Ligeti-like sound. "Gatto," conducted by Bruno Nicolai,
is more atypical, lower to the ground, evolving variations on a basic theme
(a creeping bass line that'll crawl up your leg) set with simpler, often
minimal instrumentation, and a heavy dose of the requisite eerie wordless
female vocals, in an echo chamber bigger than the Vatican. Both feature
bonus tracks, good packaging, and ample quantities of fear and dread.
Classics of their kind, good to the very last drop (of blood). [AL]
"Il Gatto" CD
"Il Gatto" LP
"Una Lucertola" CD
"Una Lucertola" LP

HOT SNAKES "Automatic Midnight" (Sympathy) CD/LP $10.99/$7.99
In a blistering fury of screams and chords, the well-respected John Reis
(Pitchfork, Drive Like Jehu, Rocket From The Crypt) keeps churning out
fierce, pulsating San Diego-style rock. This, his latest venture (along
with the recent Back Off Cupids album, music for the unrealized film "Drama
in the Lunar Womb") will remind fans of early Drive Like Jehu (circa "Yank
Crime"): both possess the same top-speed energy and high-pitched guitar
chord collisions. With near-flawless participation in several influential
outfits, Reis and company add yet another room to the house that is the
renowned San Diego rock sound. [LR]
LP  /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999124981&refer_url=email

THE BYRDS "(Untitled/Unissued)" (Columbia/Legacy) 2xCD $23.99
THE BYRDS "Byrdmaniax" (Columbia/Legacy) CD $11.99
THE BYRDS "Farther Along" (Columbia/Legacy) CD $11.99
THE BYRDS "Live at the FIllmore-February 1969" (Columbia/Legacy) CD $15.99

The Bearded Byrds (circa 1969-72) aren't as fondly remembered as earlier
incarnations of the group, and perhaps for good reason. True, none of their
work from this period matches the timeless American music of "Notorious
Byrd Brothers" or "Sweetheart of the Rodeo." But there's a graceful
maturity and knowing calm to these later albums that the Byrds could never
have pulled off when that loudmouth twerp David Crosby was in the group. Of
this quartet of reissues, "(Untitled/Unissued)" is the real keeper; an 11th
hour classic, worthy of comparison to The Kinks' "Muswell Hillbillies" or
even Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks"--essential works captured at a time when
their authors were thought to be on the far side of relevance. This
expanded two-fer edition features an entire CD of unissued recordings.
While the 16-minute version of 'Eight Miles High' is an ill-advised nod to
period indulgence, both discs find guitarist Clarence White (a criminally
overlooked master of his instrument, and easily the main attraction on all
these recordings) playing at a towering peak. "Byrdmaniax" is universally
lambasted as the weakest link in the Byrds catalogue. But this reissue begs
a second chance--the soulful groove of 'I Trust" and the gorgeous balladry
of 'Kathleen's Song' and 'Jamaica Say You Will' are damn fine, all. Cast
against the complacency and misguided nostalgia that runs through the Byrds
final album, "Farther Along," "Byrdmaniax" sounds downright inspired.
"Farther Along" is sillier than it is substantial, but still, 'B.B. Class
Road' is a perfect blueprint for Dr. Hook's entire ouevre, and there's
something to be said for that, right? Plus, the previously unissued track
'Lost My Drivin' Wheel' is pretty smokin'. The big surprise from this slate
of CDs is the recently unearthed "Live at the Fillmore-February 1969." This
live set captures the Byrds at the nexus of transition. Again, Mr. White
sounds stunning, but ultimately, one ends up missing the recently-departed
Gram Parsons and Chris Hillman more than reveling in the work of their
replacements. But it's a fascinating time capsule, well worth any Byrds
freak's hard-earned dollar. [MH]
"Farther Along"
"Live at the Fillmore"

HELLEBORE "Il y a Des Jours" (Gazul, France) $19.99
A real gem. Originally issued in 1984, this album by an obscure French
Rock-In-Opposition quintet is the lost bridge between the sonic realms
explored by This Heat six years earlier and the instrumental intensity
mined by Slint six years later. Fold in intermittent doses of Magma-esque
theatrics and free-jazz dynamics and we are left with, well, what's the
French word for Tortoise? Reissue features original artwork by the
Mnemonists and adds three compilation-only tracks. Most perfect, in its
way. [JG]

MIMIR "s/t" (Streamline, Germany) LP $13.99
Mimir is an ambient supergroup of sorts, consisting of Edward Ka-Spel, the
Silverman (both Legendary Pink Dots, Tear Garden), Jim O'Rourke, Andreas
Martin and Christoph Heeman (both H.N.A.S.). On this, their third album,
their combined talents access a landscape rich in acoustic and electronic
textures that weave seamlessly into a continual propulsive rhythmic flow,
before ultimately giving way to an industrial dissonance tempered by
melodic underpinnings. Although entirely contemporary, the end result is
not too far off from timeless Krautrock masterpieces like Amon Duul's
"Paradieswarts Duul" or Popol Vuh's "In Den Garten Pharaos." Liquid audio,
indeed! Limited edition of 950 copies on green vinyl. [JG]

MIRROR "Ringstones" (Some Fine Legacy, Germany) LP $14.99
Christoph Heemann again, this time in the company of Andrew Chalk (Organum,
New Blockaders). Their second album as Mirror, making spectacular use of
drone and overtone harmonics that envelop the listener in a world all its
own. Two beautiful sidelong pieces. If La Monte Young ever stepped down off
his lofty pedestal, even he might approve. Numbered, limited edition of
600. [JG]

SENOR COCONUT "El Baile Aleman" (East West, Japan) CD $34.99
Senor Coconut, aka Uwe Schmidt (also Atom Heart, Lassigue Bendthaus, Lisa
Carbon, Erik Satin, ETC?) has precisely and very cleverly re-arranged
Kraftwerk's mechanistic pop hits in a range of looser Latin styles: Rumba,
Merengue, Cumbia, Cha Cha Cha, and more. Here, samples of guiro, horns,
accordion, marimba, and xylophone replace Kraftwerk's the electronic
swooshes, crunches, and revving. And this is so well done that it ends up
sounding like he got a crack Latin ensemble to perform them, and that they
even (theoretically) had a ball doing it! While this, in concept, sounds
cheesy, the renditions are sublime, the execution is tres-respectful, and
it's just plain diggable. Plus Schmidt's work is so ace, that these end up
sounding like the original versions--y'know, as if Kraftwerk just re-worked
these old Latin numbers in a robot style when they made all their hits.

DESTROYER "Thief" (Catsup Plate) CD $13.99
If Destroyer's "Thief" was released on a hip label, they would be the kings
of the indie underground. "Thief" is the finest collection of well-produced
orchestral pop, full of ballads that recall Bowie's early years, a Doug
Martsch-tinged vocal delivery, and a less cheesy kind-of Gary Numan
element, where each song has an anthemic quality to it. This combination of
piano ballads, soaring vocals, and brilliant catchy hooks make for an epic
that never lets down. Refreshing and great, every song is a hit. [PW]

LAIKA "Good Looking Blues" (Too Pure, UK) CD $21.99
It's been 3 years since Laika's last, the transcendent "Sounds of the
Satellites." And the vector they've been on has definitely shifted over
that time. Here they are working the blues into a 21st -century mold, but
polishing that core of angst and poverty and complaint into a sultry,
contemporary urbanity. While their lyrics are inspired by voodoo culture
as-filtered-through Zora Neale Hurston, the soft, lilting Margaret Fiedler,
her voice near a whisper, rolls them out smooth. Trip-hoppier than ever,
"Good Looking Blues" is also intricately crafted, with weird sounds
--distant horns, prepared piano, fusiony flute, turntable scratches and
bass clarinet (lots of hired arms and feet on strings and pedals) merge
into a jazz sheen. Slinky and fine, it's a record that sounds clear and
digital in proper structure, but analog musty and smoky in overriding
character --the difference between using one's hand to move keys and turn
vinyl instead of just clicking a mouse. [RE]

INGRAM MARSHALL "Ikon and Other Early Works" (New Albion) CD $14.99
Marshall comes from the same school (quite literally, in some cases) as
Terry Riley, LaMonte Young, Charlemagne Palestine, Maryanne Amacher, and
others--the vanguard of contemporary minimalism. While Marshall's work has
turned to prettiness in the form of compositions for string quartets and
small chamber ensembles, this collection of experimental tape work shows
that he didn't always have that as a goal. From 1972 to 1975, Marshall took
the grand phase ideas of Steve Reich, and applied them to voices from the
ether. Here, he draws the invisible (distant radio broadcasts of weather
reports, ancient, keening ethnographic records, sounds of crunching snow)
into a structure; making _concrete_ out of the insubstantial. Sound poetry
is created by turning poet Snee McCraig into a frog, his intoning voice
becoming vague and reptilian; and the poet Gunnar Ekelof whispers out of
phase in both ears, his voice consumed eventually by another. A delirious,
deep, grinding, and ragged record that actually operates using taut systems
of sound organization. Wonderful. [RE]

ISKRA 1903 "Chapter One 1970-1972" (Emanem, UK) 3xCD $36.99
Another welcome excavation from Derek Bailey's Incus label archives. Iskra
1903 was a percussion-less free-improv trio led by trombonist Paul
Rutherford aided by guitarist Bailey and Barry Guy on double bass.
Augmented by occasional Rutherford excursions on piano, the original double
album featured a concert recorded at the London ICA in 1970 and a studio
session from 1972. Disc 1 features 42 additional minutes from the original
concert, while Disc 3 features entirely unreleased live material from
1971-1972. Only the clinically insane would dare attempt to absorb all this
in one sitting, but administered in reasonable doses, Iskra 1903 are a
fascinating ensemble worthy of their impressive pedigree as their
improvisations revel and turn within their collective unconscious. Adhering
to the nomenclature engendered by "Blips & Bleeps," or "Clicks & Cuts,"
this could be most aptly subtitled "Scrapes & Skronks"! 194 minutes. [JG]

GUIDED BY VOICES "Hold on Hope" (TVT) CD EP $6.99
A limited-release mini album with nine songs, most recorded by Ric Ocasek
(and possibly leftovers from "Do The Collapse"). Songs are somewhat
fragmented, ending unexpectedly, or trail off with no real sense of
completion, but GBV have always had short, nearly unfinished songs as their
thing. The best part is the early '70s rock vibe, with aching harmonies
recalling the slower moments of the Who. [RE]

TREMBLING BLUE STARS "Broken By Whispers" (Sub Pop) CD $13.99
An almost perfect album for the impending spring. The bird-chirping samples
and delicate guitar melody mix with hushed vocals on the first track,
'Ripples,' creating the illusion of blooming romance and new beginnings.
But when the reverb guitar and keyboards pop in, the green is kicked back
to gray, and the lyrics turn the mood still-hopeful, but bleaker--the ice
hasn't quite melted. "Broken by Whispers" keeps the Brit-pop sound of the
early '90s (a la the Field Mice or Biff Bang Pow) by using jangle-soaked
guitar amid harpsichord/organ-like keyboard effects. But they update it,
backing in hip-swinging programmed beats and slight dancefloor electronic
techniques that bounce the bassline to the front. These heartbreaking
ballads are further kept interesting by the use of harmonica, acoustic
bass, and tape loops. Their third release. [LG]

ALEJANDRA SALINAS "Home Tapes" (Lucky Kitchen) 10" $11.99
One's childhood recordings are possibly the most precious sound documents
you can ever have, because the capture a period that was completely
ordinary at the time. Yet in retrospect, hearing one's own voice at an
oblivious young age is so eerie, final, and fascinating--because you'll
never be five or eight or ten again. Salinas' interviews (in Spanish) with
her mother, sister, and neighbors becomes the meditation under/over which
she places brooding platforms of sound meant to evoke a general sense of
nostalgia--calliope, radio broadcasts, lo-fi march and anthem music, ethnic
dance music, play, shouts, and murmurs. Some blend, some enervate, and most
are placed out of stereo sync. This is not for everyone, but it is a sweet,
dense work of implication, about memory being a medium (and being
mediated), and about the incongruity between being oneself and hearing
oneself as nearly a stranger on a recording. Of course, my favorite place
is where she, as a child, makes random noises in overlapping stereo. [RE]

HAKEEM MUHAMMAD "Inner Voices" (Hakim Muhammad) CD $15.99
It's rare that you find someone playing solo piano, of all things, where
the work is unique. This collection of 19 improvisations reveals someone
who extracts pleasure from the way his fingers move on the keyboard -- the
way the notes find him as much as he finds the notes. While it's not
derivative, in it, I hear echoes of the _compositions_ of Stan Getz, George
Gershwin, and Aaron Copland, but in a free, fluid framework. With no
recklessness but lots of speed, Muhammad's stunning playing explores both
the autonomy of jazz improv, while skillfully retaining melody. (hear
sounds at
http://hakeemmuhammad.iuma.com) [RE]

is Beyond Time" (Aum Fidelity) CD $12.99

Along with Test, Other Dimensions in Music are New York's premier
improvising jazz ensemble, and their beautiful, flexible sound extends
beyond their raw emotion and world-class ability. Here, ODIM (Daniel
Carter, Roy Campbell Jr., William Parker and Rashid Baker) are joined by
the innovative Matthew Shipp. Recorded live in 1997, this album is a vital
document of the powerful sound of improvised jazz, a thundering wall of
dense sound marked by complex rhythms and intricate dialogue. Shipp's
playing here is some of his most explosive, ever and adding yet another
forceful element to ODIM's already successful formula. "Time is Of the
Essence is Beyond Time" is a glorious, emotional recording. [PW]

CURRENT 93 / ANTONY & THE JOHNSONS Split Single (Durtro, UK) CD/7"  $9.99/$11.99
Two complimentary tracks of aching melancholia from the master Tibet and
his latest discovery, a singer in the haunting tradition of Scott Walker.
"During Current 93's 1999 shows in New York, David Tibet was introduced to
Antony, a New York based English singer who has been living in the United
States since childhood. He gave Tibet a copy of his unreleased album, "Blue
Angel." This immediately became one of Tibet's favorite albums of all time:
music so dramatic and moving, lyrics so exquisite, sung by a voice unlike
any other. For this CD single release, Antony has chosen a track from the
album "Cripple and the Starfish." Current 93 contribute 'Immortal Bird',
from their forthcoming album. Line up is David Tibet, Michael Cashmore, and
Steven Stapleton. 7" is pressed on transparent red vinyl and features a
different mix of 'Immortal Bird'."--Durtro Records.
7"  /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=502195854902&refer_url=email

EELS "Daisies of the Galaxy" (Dreamworks) CD $15.99
E of Eels has some problems. Besides the obvious one of not having a
easy-to-use name, it's his voice. It's a nice voice, certainly! But he
sounds exactly like Beck. And this is probably why the marketing powerhouse
of Dreamworks records haven't broken him into popular consciousness as they
have with labelmates Elliot Smith or Rufus Wainwright. Of course, the more
Beck works on turning into a funk playboy, E works on the clever, gravelly,
post-Bob Dylan sound that Beck used to have. And with Dreamworks having
$$$$$ to throw at their artists, this record has stunning, creative
production qualities. Strings, piano, music boxes and organs coalesce into
agitated beats, as if Van Dyke Parks and Timbaland were the producers (it
was actually done by E himself, mostly). His heartfelt songs never really
connect to anything, but sound really cool nonetheless. [RE]

DJ FOOD featuring KEN NORDINE "A Dub Plate of DJ Food Vol. 2" (Ninjatune, Canada) CD single $5.99
The title track features Nordine's unique and always identifiable warm
tones reading parts of a short story or poem. The following tracks merge
easy samples with groovy dancefloor elliptical slides, not so much dub as
tonal shifts, no echoes. Four languid tracks with deceptively high BPM
rates listed. [RE]


[V/A] "No New York" (Island, Japan) CD $34.99
This is it: the classic and long-out-of-print 1978 album that unleashed New
York's No Wave scene like a virus into the hothouse of music. Producer
Brian Eno rounded up four bands that welded the blistering ferocity of punk
to short, mysterious art gestures and abandoned pop like a dead skin, and
let them blurt out four abrasions apiece. With D.N.A. (w/Arto Lindsay and
Ikue Mori), the Contortions, Teenage Jesus and the Jerks (w/Lydia Lunch),
and Mars. An essential document of an incredible moment. [DW]

BJORN OLSSON "Instrumental Music" (Omplatten) CD $11.99
A towering achievement, and a haunting and resilient recording. The debut
record from Bjorn Olsson, a Swedish guitarist, delicately blends
Scandinavian and Celtic folk elements into a lacework ambience with
spine-tingling chord changes. Its enveloping hum, attained with organs,
accordion, and bass (no electronics!), wraps around you and goes deep,
integrating the incidental sound(s) of its outdoor mise-en-scene into the
recording. The best ambient record since the KLF's "Chillout" album. [TH]

Next Week: New albums by Broadcast, Sigur Ros, Vladislav Delay, and DJ Cam.

This week's newsletter: Tom Capodanno [TC], Robin Edgerton [RE], Lisa
Garrett [LG], Jeff Gibson [JG], Matt Hanks [MH], Duane Harriott [DH], Tim
Haslett [TH], Lyndon Roeller [LR], Phil Waldorf [PW] and Douglas Wolk [DW].

Thanks for reading.

-all of us at Other Music
15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003