Other Music New Release Update
May 3, 2000

In This Week's Update :

Television Personalities
Harpsichord 2000 compilation
Daniel Johnston
Stock Hausen & Walkman
Earle Brown reissue
Songs in the Key of Z: Outsider music comp.
Frikyiwa records compilation
Charles Wilp remixes
Curd Duca
Ego Trip's The Big Playback comp.
Bebel Gilberto
Space Ponch
The Mendoza Line

short Fennesz recordings
Tony Allen

Featured New Releases :

TELEVISION PERSONALITIES "The Painted Word" (Illuminated/Fire, UK) LP  (No Longer Available)  
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/Personal.ram
My absolute, unqualified, desert-island, all-time, hands-down, #1-favorite
album, EVER! Television Personalities helped define England's D.I.Y. scene
along with The Times and Swell Maps in 1978. Over their first three albums
and seven singles, leader Dan Treacy made his mark as Post-Punk's
heir-apparent to Ray Davies, specializing in wry observational vignettes
('Part-Time Punks'), fantastical psychedelic pastiches ('I Know Where Syd
Barrett Lives'), and nudging art-school tomfoolery ('David Hockney's
Diary,' 'Lichtenstein Painting'). Pop Goes Art! But ceaselessly simmering
beneath the surface was an uncertain yet enormous human soul laid bare for
all to tread upon. "The Painted Word" was recorded in 1982/1983, shelved
indefinitely by Rough Trade (gotta make way for The Smiths!) and finally
released to no acclaim whatsoever in 1985 by the tiny Illuminated label.
Perhaps the only truly worthy bridge linking the dark majesty of Nick
Drake's "Pink Moon" to the closely guarded ecstasy of Belle & Sebastian's
"If You're Feeling Sinister," this album remains a fascinating portrait of
an artist whose grasp finally exceeds his reach, if only for the moment. A
more magical hour I cannot imagine; from the opening clarion-call Byrdsian
guitar arpeggios of 'Stop And Smell The Roses' to the raga-pop of the title
track, through mournful nostalgia and aching melancholy and meditations on
love, optimism and regret -- before hurtling headlong into the psychotic
freakout catharsis of the closing 'Back To Vietnam': this ride, in my
humble opinion, remains unrivaled. And I'm not alone: '''The Painted Word',
alongside Big Star's 'Third/Sister Lovers' and any one of Nick Drake's LPs,
is one of the best emotionally introspective albums I've ever heard. Dan
Treacy's songs tear me apart. This is their finest moment. Both the humour
and tragedy of these songs are beautiful..."--Alan McGee (Creation Records
honcho), from his liner notes. Reissued by Fire Records on LP and CD for
about two weeks back in 1991, a box-lot of records was discovered recently
in my Uncle Ron's attic. These certainly won't last very long; I'm buying a
few extra myself to give to close personal friends I've yet to meet! If you
don't have a record player, buy "The Painted Word" anyway, have it burned
onto CD, ripped onto MP3 or whatever, get a frame and hang the sleeve on
your wall. Honestly, you deserve nothing less. [JG]

[V/A] "Harpsichord 2000" (Shado, Italy) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/remingto.ram
A friend of mine once said "you can't go wrong with any pop song that uses
harpsichord or bagpipes." Well, skip the bagpipes here, but finally, 35
years or so after the first wave of pop-with-harpsichord, Shado records in
Italy has had both the fore- and hindsight to encourage more use of the
delicate, clear and sunny, yet odd tones of this instrument. And, now, you
certainly don't need a 300 year-old cabinet -- the sound is easily duplicated
by most music-making machines, on everything from Hammonds and Casios to
Eko Pandas and Elka Solists. Includes Die Moulinettes' Stereolab
double-take, Stereo Total's wonderful pop/hip-hop/scratching, The Barry
Gemso Experience's harpsichord flamenco, Valvola's neat soft indie-pop, and
a number of neat electrolounge drawing room/dancefloor numbers. Plus new
tracks by Momus, Cinerama, the Make Up, and more, for 23 tracks in all. [RE]

DANIEL JOHNSTON "Rejected Unknown" (Which) CD $13.99
Exclusive to Other Music for the next several weeks. The meds must be kicking
in, because here's America's favorite mentally ill troubadour with his
second release in a month. Fifteen new songs in a diverse group of
settings, from garage band rave-ups (featuring the neighborhood crickets
on 'legs,') to string section pop, to a "live" track at the mythomegalithic
'L.A. Hyperdome,' all sensitively overseen by Dead Milkmen producer Brian
Beattie, so that the man himself, in all his trembling pain and loss,
remains front and center. Johnston's perennial combination of confidence
and self-hate is on full display here - he even pulls a Puff Daddy with an
'Every Breath You Take' rewrite, in the same song declaring "I'm a worth
less bum, says I." Yearning, searching, relentlessly idiosyncratic, his
world's a pleasure to visit and a relief not to live in. Packaged with full
lyrics and lots of beautiful full-color drawings. [AL]

STOCK, HAUSEN & WALKMAN "Organ Transplants 2" (Hot Air, UK) CD $14.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/OrganTra.ram
The duo of Andrew Sharpley and Matt Wand return to the form that plopped
them down squarely on the map, manipulations of and machinations around
'60s easy-listening music. Here, their lovely sonic pastiches drift
weightless on beats made of foam, the squeaks of rubber mice and, of
course, the glory of the organ. As usual for this series, organ melodies
anchor their assembly process, with all the samples layered on top. Not an
exceptionally wild departure from form (and certainly not going as far out
or forward as their last, "My Bag"), it's not as pointedly 'funny' (that's
good), and it's even more giddy and pleasing. Sixteen tracks drape across
53 luxurious minutes. [RE]

EARLE BROWN "Times Five" (CRI) CD $15.99
Earle Brown, a pioneer of 20th century avant-garde composition, is
frequently mentioned in the same breath as John Cage, Morton Feldman and
Christian Wolff. But, unlike his peers, recordings of Brown's music are
incredibly scarce. Thankfully, CRI has made available some of Brown's most
seminal works, all composed in the '50s and '60s. With a piece combining
acoustic instruments with magnetic tape, another a tape collage for an
eight speaker configuration (this one reminiscent of Cage's 'Fontana Mix'),
and his famous 'December 1952', performed here on solo piano by David
Tudor. Brown compositions often combine a deep knowledge of electronic and
piano techniques with a melodic sense, making this both a fascinating
document and an enjoyable listen. Long overdue, this is the definitive Earle
Brown collection, assembling a wide range of work from his most prolific
years. [PW]

[V/A] "Songs in the Key of Z" (Which) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/legendar.ram
Exclusive to Other Music for the next few weeks. This is the companion CD
to producer/tastemaker Irwin Chusid's recent book of the same name,
subtitled "The Curious Universe of Outsider Music." Taking the art-world's
delicately appreciative label for work by those who act on their own,
usually nutty, artistic impulses, the concept is not alien. But some of the
music certainly is! Like Joe Meek's original demo for his hit 'Telstar',
where he sings the melody, shaky and wordlessly; like Shooby Taylor's scat
imitations of jazz horns; or like the incredibly talented Luie Luie's dance
number that sounds like Sun Ra doing Latin soul -- where he plays all the
instruments himself. Sometimes the 'outsider' frame of reference is through
lyrics alone, like Sri Darwin Gross' cult recruitment LP that sounds like
he got the Ray Charles Singers to execute his bizarre spiritual ballads, or
The Legendary Stardust Cowboy's love song set in a pile of viscerally
described garbage. Sure, there are known names here -- the Shaggs,
Captain Beefheart, Wesley Willis -- but the compilation stands on it's
obscurities. Fans of MSR Madness singers or any other oddness will be quite
happy with this. A _broad_ range of expression contained within 20 tracks.

ANTIBALAS "Liberation Afrobeat" (Antibalas) CD $12.99
Their name literally meaning 'anti-bullets', the Antibalas afrobeat
orchestra came together with members from the Daktaris, Soul Providers,
and a few other bands _not_ on Desco Records. This Brooklyn-based
11- to 13-piece have, so far in their short career, dedicated themselves
to not only to the profound and perfectly fierce Afro-funk birthed by Fela
Kuti, but a similarly strong and outspoken political stance as well. And
while that could spell trouble with a capital T, Antibalas start with the soul
instead of the style, thereby gliding over any problems in appropriation --
they're generative, not imitative. On this six-track, forty-minute CD, they
do four originals and two long, live versions of 'Netsanet' (nostalgia) by
Ethiopian Mulatu Astatqe. Tight horns and guitar meet loose percussion,
and bring the funk in with the bass. This, their second album, occasionally
nets Latin rhythms and unison chanting in its expansive spread, their
large, open endless grooves. The only Afro-funk band worth listening to
today, and phenomenal live. [RE]

[V/A] "Frikyiwa" (Frikyiwa, UK) CD $18.99
The Frikyiwa label, run by Frederic Galliano, compiled tracks from the
famed African label (okay, French label that releases African stuff)
Cobalt, setting the best tracks loose to a wide array of contemporary
DJs/producers to mess with as they see fit. From IG Culture's off-kilter
breakdown to Natty Bass Sound System's dubbier explorations, the results
sound gooood. Spanning the continents, ancient to future. [GA]

CHARLES WILP "Michelangelo In Space: The Bunny Remixes" (Ata Tak, Germany) CD $14.99
Did you know that the galloping, bounding music used by ad
man/impresario/playboy Charles Wilp in the '60s and '70s was actually
composed by one "Marvin Martin," a pseudonym of unknown German
composer Sigfried Ullbrich? But what brought it to the masses was a
series of graphically revolutionary commercials done for television by
the charismatic Wilp. Wilp's legacy is one of style, and the remixers
here recognize that, stylizing the music even further. Highlights include
selective re-amping by Yasuharu Konishi (Pizzicato 5), ethereal abstraction
by To Rococo Rot, chill loping by A Certain Frank, Schlammpeitziger's
reconstruction of 'Pink Carpet" as a lilting near-waltz, and a collage by
Stereo Total which brings the music back to the ad environment, sounding
like a jump-cut of reconfigured commercial radio. The recording of Wilp's
heartbeat in zero gravity clinches the deal. A whirring pleasure and
delight. [RE]

CURD DUCA "Elevator 3" (Mille Plateaux, Germany) CD/LP $14.99/$11.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/curduca.ram
Duca's work has long been the most coherent and structured of any
electronic artist on Mille Plateaux (yet); "Elevator 3" is no exception.
And this is probably due to the origins of his music--rather than generate
them from scratch or strip them down to near-nothingness, he tries to
retain the sonic qualities of the samples he uses, even as he fragments
them exaggeratedly. Decontextualized and de-textured, the he takes formerly
lush muzak sounds down to a dull chill. As he grays music which formerly
had vibrant color, he's purposefully softening and muffling the impact.
This album does this even more than the two previous "Elevator" collections
of miniatures (there are 48 tracks in 38 minutes here), and adds a
vocalist, the wraithlike, vaporous Carin Feldschmidt. Like a journey
through Times Square, blindfolded. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=71875080841&refer_url=email

[V/A] "The Big Playback" (Rawkus) CD $14.99
A fabulous alternative aural history of rap, the companion to Ego Trip
magazine's recent (and immensely successful) "Book of Rap Lists." As is
their mein, this CD has thorough, clever, and funny liner notes, each track
annotated with IDs of samples, the surrounding politics (the disses and
battles), and a snapshot of influence on hip-hop descendents. A lot of
these tracks have the pre-gangsta whimsy and humor that eventually spawned
De La Soul's spiritual/kiddie/everyday style, with a creative use of rhyme
and sample (for the time!). Hear Craig Mack as his first incarnation, MC
EZ! Catch Rammelzee and K-Rob ignoring Jean Michel Basquiat's creative
musical urges! As this just covers the '80s, I'd really love to hear them
do one of these for our just-past decade. But thanks, _Ego Trip_, keep
breathing intelligent life into hip-hop culture, 'kay? [RE]

BEBEL GILBERTO "Tanto Tempo" (Six Degrees) CD $15.99
Gilberto's literal pedigree is impeccable, at least samba-wise: she's the
child of seminal bossa nova guitarist Joao Gilberto. Though she's performed
with everyone from Kenny G to Towa Tei over the years, this is her debut
release. More than any other contemporary Brazilian singer, her approach
to the samba material is, miraculously, complete and respectful, yet still
modern. And her production team is nearly a who's who: Amon Tobin,
Carlinhos Brown, Arling and Cameron, Brazilian triphoppers Suba, Beasties
collaborator Mario Caldato, Theivery Corporation, and more. Her voice is
looser than her antecedents (like Astrud Gilberto, no relation, or Joyce) and
warmer, less stiff and girly, but sweet-- no anxiety, just lilting relaxation.
Kudos to Gilberto on making a classic. [RE]

SLEATER-KINNEY "All Hands on the Bad One" (Kill Rock Stars) CD/LP  $10.99/$8.99
I'm not sure what they're up to, these perplexing and sometimes frustrating
women. Faced with the roles of being the mangirls of rock (i.e. not selling
out and going fashionista fabulous), their thoughts and feelings display
their struggle, one which speaks to a larger world about what priorities
you have in life. As their lyrics stretch further and further, getting
better, more relevant and adeptly avoiding cliche, their music seems at the
same time more and more constrained. The same seesaw attack guitars, the
charging chords clonk sinister like heavy-ass huge shoes on the boardwalk.
Even Corin Tucker's voice doesn't waver as deliciously as it used to, she's
pushing forward, but forward is but one direction, and an album-as-vector
isn't that interesting. All three sing at once, in a lot of places, and
it's easy to pick out the songs written by each. Oddly enough, this album,
too, looks backward: it has more in common with the late '80s and early
'90s work of Salem 66 or Throwing Muses, only expressed as a clean power
trio. What I don't understand is why they want to commodify themselves
within the critique -- every page in their booklet has yet another glamour
shot. [RE]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999130291&refer_url=email

SPACE PONCH "The World Shopping With Space Ponch" (Moikai) CD $12.99
This quartet of keyboard crazies and vocoder junkies made "World Shopping"
from 1986 to 1993, an album of manipulated babble, bouncing beats, and that
special kind of burbling naivete you can only get from Japan. Though it
needs a shot of Ritalin at times, it's comparable to the extreme goof
moments of Telex, the Doopees, Perrey and Kingsley, and the filler music on
"Pee-Wee's Playhouse." Or Queen, but only if they were robots. In bouncy
electrodelic hybrid style, Space Ponch cover lounge gods Neal Hefti, Burt
Bacharach, music from the movies of Jacques Tati and even do a tribute to a
"Raymint Scott". Part space ragtime, part Keystone Kops in the nuclear
power plant, part '80s mall music in a petri dish, it keeps going like the
Energizer bunny, relentlessly perky and up. Have a two-year-old? They will
adore this. [RE]

THE MENDOZA LINE "We're All in This Alone" (Bar None/Misra) CD $13.99
Georgian transplants to Brooklyn of both (nervous) genders, The Mendoza
line move to Bar None for their fourth album. Songs written, conceived, and
sometimes executed in a drunken stupor, their solid, large-ensemble
indie-rock is marked by the presence of many heads in the soup-pot (they
have four songwriters). Within the lilting, Californian melodics is a
division of perspective: the boy pop songs are about painful love, the
girl pop songs are about sad love. [RE]

FISCHERSPOONER "s/t" (For Those Who Know) CD $19.99
This outlandish downtown NYC art/fashion/music collective was recently the
subject of an Index magazine cover story and a flattering editorial by Momus.


FENNESZ "Il Libro Mio" (Rhiz/Mego, Austria) 3"CD $8.99
FENNESZ "Plays" (Moikai) CD $4.99

Back in stock after a lengthy hiatus are two of Christian Fennesz's early
releases. "Il Libro Mio" collects 20 minutes of piercing tones, bursting
electronics and scraping feedback, all organized with the utmost precision
and calculation. Fennesz's ability to take typically non-musical sounds
and seamlessly blend them with a distant hint of melody is fully captured
on this densely packed 3" disc. "Plays", originally released on a 7"
record, takes a more conceptual route. Here Fennesz 'covers' the Stones'
'Paint it Black' and Beach Boys 'Don't Talk (Put Your Head On My
Shoulder).' These versions only barely hint at the originals, with the
faintest reminder of what the original melodies were. [PW]
"Il Librio Mio"

TONY ALLEN "Jealousy/Progress" (Strut, UK) CD $16.99
TONY ALLEN "No Accomodation for Lagos/No Discrimination" (Strut, UK) CD $16.99

All of these titles have been newly remastered by Strut records--and
they're much clearer than the other available versions. Tony Allen, the
propulsive drummer who was the heart of Fela's Afrika '70, recorded these
four rare albums with various permutations of the band during their glory
years of the mid-late '70s. Allen wrote and arranged all the material,
lengthy jams which sound pretty much like Fela's own, but with drum solos.
Fela's here, playing sax and piano only; the vocals provided by the
softer-voiced Candido Obajimi and a few others. The first disc really
kicks, combining two albums from what appears to be '75 and '76, each with
two long jams. The second disc, two albums which both appear to be from
'79, is a bit more scattered, with a total of two longer and four shorter
tracks, heavier on the vocals and lighter on the power. Yet the momentum is
still there, the band is always in form, and the music is never less than
enjoyable. [AL]
"No Accomodation for Lagos/No Discrimination"

Contributors: Geoff Albores [GA], Robin Edgerton [RE], Jeff Gibson [JG],
Andrew Leigh [AL], and Phil Waldorf [PW].

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003