Other Music Update
May 17, 2000

In This Week's Update :

Amon Tobin
Cambodian Rocks on CD
Atomium 3003 (Bungalow compilation)
Reverend Dwight Frizzell
Dubravo Detoni
Gordon Mumma
Noah Howard & Bobby Kapp
Lee Hazlewood/Ann-Margret reissue
Mojave 3
Friedrich Jurgenson's EVP recordings
50 Miles of Elbow Room magazine
"Ode" video, music by Will Oldham and Yo La Tengo
Kid 606

Featured New Releases :

AMON TOBIN "Supermodified" (Ninja Tune, Canada) CD/2xLP $13.99/$14.99
Recently, a Brazilian influence has swept through the crates and studios of
many producers (Kruder+Dorfmeister, Thievery Corp., and the Compost label,
to name a few). And, generally, these producers are inspired by the gentler
samba and bossa nova rhythms. Amon Tobin's work, instead, reflects
batucada's darker and more propulsive set of beats. The dense and layered
drumming that informs "Supermodified" merges with static and crackling
stabs, bits of found sound, and cinematic jazz noir to create the
otherworldly sensualities ('Saboteur') or frenetic beatboxing
experimentalism ('Precursor'). A note to the lounge nation: Brazilian
influence doesn't always equal 'dim the lights, grab a drink, and sway.'
Rather, Tobin's work here suggests that it's the drums, the drums that
serve as a more powerful extension of contemporary electronics' frame.
Recommended. Highly. [KC]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=62597810481&refer_url=email

[V/A] "Cambodian Rocks" (Parallel World) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/camrock2.ram
Released on vinyl in 1994, this collection of rock and pop music from
then-Cambodia is one of those touchstones you'll never find again, save
some sort of miracle, even if you got as far as Phnom Penh. Parallel World,
on a journey to that region, discovered a pocket of music from the late
'60s and early '70s, predating the bloody Khmer Rouge regime. At this time
Cambodia boiled with Western-style rock and pop, and Parallel World's
selection reflects their own wild take on that era's psych and garage
music. Frenzied drum breaks, singers that become growlers and screamers,
and gurgling cheap organ riffs that barely match their respective rhythm
sections are just some of the highlights. There are tender moments, and
those that swing hot, in the sing-song cadences of the Cambodian language.
It's Western music, certainly, but with a flailing, tense Eastern edge. I
might even trade in my LP in order to be able to listen to this treasured
disc on the subway. Twenty-two tracks and 69 minutes of butt-shaking glee,
made fascinatingly opaque via another culture's ears. [RE]

[VA] "ATOMIUM 3003" (Bungalow, Germany) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/Katerine.ram
In their tireless effort to document and define the ever-expanding world of
international clubpop, Berlin's Bungalow Records deliver "Atomium 3003",
their first ever Euro-centric compilation. In what plays out like a mutant
microcosm of the annual Eurovision Song Contest, seventeen artists (some
familiar, some not) represent eleven nations. France clearly goes for the
gold here, supported ably by Katerine and Bertrand Burgalat (two giants of
the genre long before Bungalow coined the term "clubpop") aided by efforts
from compatriots Valerie Lemercier and Ollano. With Sweden, however, it's a
split decision. Komeda's contribution proves them conclusively to be on par
with Stereolab and Broadcast, two bands with whom they share a similar
style and approach. But Eggstone's saccharine and twee "Taramasalata" only
manages to annoy. Meanwhile newcomers like Valvola (Italy), The Crooner
(Greece), and Andrei Zueff (Russia!) provide slightly one-dimensional but
noteworthy contributions. The Dutch duo of Arling & Cameron wrap things up
beautifully with their majestic faux-soundtrack to "Spacebeach", leaving
little wonder why their songs having been turning up with increasingly
regularity in commercials for everything from kids clothes to luxury cars.
"Atomium" may not be quite as fun as Bungalow's still-essential "Sushi"
compilations, but it's still very worth the while. [TC]

REVEREND DWIGHT FRIZZELL "Natural Selection" (Paradigm, UK) CD $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/Frizzell.ram
It's little-known outside of Kansas City that Frizzell, of Anal Magic and
the Black Crack Review, has a long history in electroacoustic
experimentation. And this collection reveals one of the clearest minds I've
ever heard tackle the ideas of acoustic ecology and make _good_ art from
them. "Natural Selection" contains a number of soundtracks he did for short
art films in the '70s, potent combinations of the sounds of wind
instruments and liquids under various pressures (sprays, rain, burbling),
bolstered by a fondness for primitive electronics. The stunner here is the
opening 18-minute track, wherein bursts of static erupt like thunder out of
stillness, the seesaw squeal of a violin covers frogs and insects, and a
thrumming counterpoint of oscillators evokes the whine of cicadas.
Originally performed in 8-channel magnificence, it mixes down to stereo
remarkably intact, implying pockets of silence and sound throughout a
listening space. The CD ends with his epic 'Building the Earth', which
starts with (unfortunately) a five-minute formal lecture. But then the
piece spirals out an aural equivalent to Charles and Ray Eames' classic
"Powers of Ten", a half-hour composition that tracks sounds from the
microscopic to the universal in a flyover view made of human, bird and
animal sounds, folk music, piano studies, VLF frequencies, and much more.
This is a delightful discovery. [RE]

DUBRAVKO DETONI with ACEZANTEZ "s/t" (Paradigm, UK) CD $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/Detoni.ram
Rich, arresting melange of compositional textures in the tradition of AMM,
Albert Marcoeur, and MEV. Croatian pianist and composer Detoni had
languished in obscurity for decades behind the Iron Curtain, but no more.
Here, he and his group Acezantez (Ensemble For New Tendencies Zagreb)
establish a musical language all their own. "Drawing on the conventions
and traditions of modern composition, avant garde electronics, musique
concrete and group acoustic improvisation, and liberally embellishing them
with breathtakingly idiosyncratic sonic inventions, Detoni has carved for
himself a body of work as toweringly significant as it is hopelessly obscure.
The five pieces on this CD are all reissued from three LPs that appeared on
Jugoton in the mid-'70s. The pieces explore a broad stylistic palette with a
strong use of electric organ to create a maniacally conceived parade of
sound effects, replete with passages of blinding instrumental clarity, and
exuding a sugary, almost campy melodic sensibility. Elsewhere a strong
sense of theatre mingles aggressively with brut sonic components --
cross-fade drones, harshly clanging 'industrial' repetition -- with musique
concrete, and extensive cut-ups and manipulation of female voices.
Brilliantly arranged and executed throughout, all five pieces display Detoni's
highly sophisticated ear for outrageous juxtaposition of instruments.
Acezantez fuse the intellectual awareness of the avant garde with influences
drawn from theatre to create surreal and dreamlike settings, in a manner
reminiscent of nothing so much as the early outwardbound experiments of
Nurse With Wound (suitably, the cover lettering has been done by Steve
Stapleton)."--Paradigm Discs. I hear cartoon samples, African tribal music,
music boxes, harpsichords, glockenspiel, symphonic loops, operatic bluster,
tinkle and skronk. 70 minutes, highest recommendation! [JG]

GORDON MUMMA "Studio Retrospect" (Lovely Music) CD $13.99
Pioneering electroacoustic retrospectives seem to be oozing out of the
walls these days...and what delights they contain! A member of the Sonic
Arts Union (along with Robert Ashley, David Behrman and Alvin Lucier),
Gordon Mumma was among the first composers to employ circuitry of his own
design in compositions and performance. His electronic compositions have
always been criminally underdocumented, even on vinyl. This collection
compiles works recorded between 1959 and 1984 and features numerous crucial
pieces previously released only on limited gallery-edition cassettes.
What's remarkable here is that despite the 25-year time span during which
these projects were realized, they manage to sound utterly consistent and
of a whole. 70 minutes, you know the drill. [JG]

NOAH HOWARD and BOBBY KAPP "Between Two Eternities" (Cadence) CD $13.99
As an alto master, Noah Howard is a player without living peer. In fact,
even his dead peers could learn a thing or two about taste and restraint
within the avant-garde context. The duet setting with drummer Kapp affords
an intimate glimpse into what has kept him at the top of his profession for
nearly 40 years. Deft and melodic, poised and balanced, his sinuous lines
negotiate an expressway to your skull and an autobahn to your soul. Where
lesser talents might be tempted to overplay, Howard holds back; but when he
picks his openings, Kapp with him stride for stride, he has burn to spare!
Following closely on the heels of his recently reissued 1971 masterpiece
"Patterns", "Between Two Eternities", recorded in 1999, documents an artist
who has yet to lose a step. 65 minutes. [JG]

LEE HAZLEWOOD & ANN-MARGRET "The Cowboy and The Lady" (Smells Like) CD $13.99
The latest installation of the series of Lee Hazlewood reissues. More
country than his earlier work, "The Cowboy and The Lady" is packed full of
tearing harmonica solos, barroom piano ballads and schmaltzy vocal duets.
On a few tracks, Ann-Margret's vocal delivery ventures into beautiful
gospel-like swoons, making a perfect partner for Lee's deep crooning.
Though Hazlewood didn't pen any of the tunes on the original LP, they added
two elusive singles to the CD, with three tracks by the man himself. These
bonus tracks are some of Hazlewood's finest, especially the glorious
'Chico' and fuzzed-out rockers 'You Turned My Head Around' and 'It's a Nice
World to Visit (But Not to Live In).' To complement the music are a series
of hilarious photos of Lee and Ann-Margret, including one where Lee is
attired solely in boots, kerchief, hat and a tactfully-placed gun and
holster. Another essential reissue of deranged pop from this icon. [PW]

MOJAVE 3 "Excuses for Travellers" (4AD) CD/LP $22.99/$21.99
When the chilling pedal steel rings out, Mojave 3's newest album takes on a
country air, but the finest moments are the bare, melancholy passages where
the sadness shines through subtly plucked guitar and haunting vocals. This
album has a strangely American vibe to it, with the tendency towards Neil
Young-ish ballads ('When You're Drifting'), rather than the obvious Britpop
direction one might expect from these former members of the shoegazing
Slowdive. Their sparse production with an array of instruments skillfully
creates a mood that reflects their lyrical content and intentions. A
beautiful collection of bleak and somber pop songs. [PW]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=65263700051&refer_url=email

FRIEDRICH JURGENSON "Investigation Studio for Audioscopic Communications"
(Ash International, UK) CD $15.99

RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/evp40.ram
A follow-up to last year's "Ghost Orchid" record of EVP (electronic voice
phenomena)--i.e. the voices of the dead captured on tape. This one is the
work of Swede Friedrich Jurgenson, who originally stumbled upon these
mysterious, distant taped voices and hums in 1957, when recording himself
(he was an opera singer) for practice. Hearing unexpected sounds on the
tapes, he delved into their possible origins--which became clear to him the
day he heard his own dead mother on his recordings. As to the sound, it's
short tracks of static and voices, some distant, some near. They speak in a
number of languages (though mostly Swedish and German). I have to say, this
CD is extraordinarily chilling, especially when you start reading the
translated texts. Even in the brightest moments--like the recordings of a
well-trained choir--the unknown is right there: they're singing about being
dead. Another speaker, later, states "Dead loves Siemens radio, your
bridge, it has arrived". Whoa. [RE]

50 MILES OF ELBOW ROOM magazine $4.99
A refreshing addition to the array of music 'zines currently available.
This impressive debut issue contains articles about or contributions by
Daniel Carter, Cooper-Moore, No Neck Blues Band, Rev. Louis Overstreet,
Prince Far I and Matthew Shipp. The feature on Cooper-Moore is perhaps the
most fascinating article in the issue, as he has rarely (ever?) been
interviewed. The Prince Far I article spans nearly 10,000 words, and
provides an in-depth, annotated discographical overview of this dub
master's work. Laid out beautifully, it's 8"x8" b&w perfect-bound format
ignores the garbled layouts currently in fashion in the zine world. An
excellent read. [PW]

"ODE: The Legend of Billy Joe McAllister" (Glass Eye Pix) VIDEO $14.99
This short film directed by Kelly Reichardt is her remake of the classic
song/movie/novel, "Ode To Billy Joe." "Ode" is the story of a small town
misfit's suicide and the tribulations of the young girl (a Baptist
preacher's daughter) who has fallen in love with him. "Ode" does a terrific
job of illustrating the familiar fact that coming of age in America (or
anywhere) is a tortuous and confusing process which often claims the
individuals who do not conform to the environment in which they live--and
is only ever 'beautiful' in retrospect. Filmed in super-8, the low-budget
camera work and fact that the characters are teetering on the edge only
adds to the credibility and typically 'indie' beauty of the film. With
soundtrack by Will Oldham (most of which is on his instrumental album) and
one song by Yo La Tengo (a tender cover of Sun Ra's 'Dreamin'') this music
provides a fitting background for scenes of long, lonely walks down gravel
roads and fumbling backwoods sexual attempts. For fans of "Matewan" or
Reichardt's earlier film, "River Of Grass." The independent music world's
somewhat uneven ventures into film ("Reach The Rock," "Dutch Harbor," "Half
Cocked," "Blue Is Beautiful") continue to find an audience -- usually places
like, well, here. [LR]

RACHEL'S/MATMOS "Full On Night" (Quarterstick) CD/LP $10.99/$10.99
On this EP, we find Rachel's and their old chums Matmos dissecting the
song 'Full on Night' (from Rachel's "Handwriting" CD) from different angles.
Rachel's own rerecording exaggerates certain colors and aspects of the
piece -- it rocks like Gastr Del Sol, building tension and shredding strings.
Matmos' version is further detached from the original. As they build a new
track from pieces of the old, they keep only the direction of the motion
and the feelings, but use an entirely different set of sounds--trains and
bowed guitar mimic Rachel's tuneful strings the way a marionette mimics a
human. It all erupts into feedback spasms near the end. All clocking in at
one-half hour total. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999130541&refer_url=email

KID 606 "Soccergirl EP" (Carpark) CD $8.99
The next in Carpark's 'sports' series, Kid 606's 18-minute, four-song cycle
mellows him out considerably. Though he's usually hotheaded, here he's
thoughtful. The tracks have a quiet, twinkly style, measured and cute, like
early new-age electro -- a la Tangerine Dream with more beats and more
bass. Nice soccerball-and-felt packaging. [RE]

STARS "A Lot of Little Lies..." (Le Grand Magistery) CD EP $8.99
The popular Brooklyn-based duo Stars release their long-awaited debut
EP. Six songs (three studio, two live, one demo) demonstrate the band's
ability to add a trip-hop beat to 80s-influenced UK electro-pop -- sounding
at times like an indie version of Saint Etienne or Pet Shop Boys. The songs
are quite catchy with a nice mix of male/female vocals. Includes a cover of
The Smith's "This Charming Man," and they've even penned their own
theme song. Exclusive to Other Music for the next few weeks. [TC]

This week's contributors: Tom Capodanno [TC], Kris Chen [KC], Robin
Edgerton [RE], Jeff Gibson [JG], Lyndon Roeller [LR], Phil Waldorf [PW].

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

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