Other Music New Release Update
November 1, 2000

In This Week's Update:

Solesides Greatest Bumps comp.
Pulp Fusion Evolution comp.
Best of Broadside box
High Llamas
Masters at Work Box Vol. 2
Slits "Cut" remastered
Fennesz/Rosy Parlane 3"
Copier Coller comp.
PJ Harvey
Tied and Tickled Trio remixed
The New Now Sounds of Today songpoem comp.
Beikoku-Ongaku magazine

Featured New Releases:

[V/A] "Solesides Greatest Bumps" (Quannum Projects) 2xCD $18.99
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Covering all five years of Solesides Records' short lifespan, 1992
to 1997: music beat- and breakheads spinning and snatching and
scratching and pounding bits of sound. Known as being 'DJ Shadow's
label', Solesides in fact was a collaborative effort between
Shadow, Lyrics Born, Chief Xcel, and DJ Zen, and came from their
love of old records and the wish to merge them with new beats.
With six unreleased tracks and a number that never made it to CD,
this also collects the 'greatest hits', along with label masters'
favorites. Mostly hip-hop with MCs, Solesides had a style outside
of any of their contemporaries (a few east-coasters like MF Doom
notwithstanding), streams of words from the subconscious bubbling
to the surface, flowing out without pointed connections, meanings
in connotation. Their scene seemed insular, self-references
abounding, energy in tight, compact circles, secret handshakes in
all the raps, but their codes are easy to break. There are a few
instrumentals, the standouts are vocal tracks, like Lateef's brief,
sharp and eerie 'The Wreckoning', the Quannum MCs' 'Blue Flames',
which rivals (and exceeds?) most of what they've laid down since.
And on labels Quannum Projects and Sixty 7, this crew continue to
merge funk and soul and rap in a way yet unmatched. [RE]
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OUTKAST "Stankonia" (Arista) CD/LP $17.99/$12.99
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The hip-hop companion piece to "Kid A"? For mainstream hype,
this psycho-funk duo from Atlanta are neck and neck with those
Brits; with albums promoted as Futurist/21st century releases
that will redefine their respective genres. But "Stankonia" isn't
so much a redefinition of hip-hop as it is an example of
forward-thinking hip-hop. That said, this is a great record. The
first half is a rubbery fantastic voyage, a fucked soundtrack to
Jeep and Caddy rides. But starting from the booty-bassed
call-to-arms first single ('Bombs over Baghdad'), "Stankonia"
gets considerably weirder. Tracks like '(?)' recall the rapid-fire
verbal assault of Anti-Pop Consortium and Freestyle Fellowship;
whole tracks like 'Toilet Tisha' and 'Stankonia' are angel-dusted
falsetto funk freakouts that recall Prince and George Clinton at
their most experimental. Sure, other artists champion the funk
sounds and attitude of Clinton and Prince, but Outkast are one
of the few mainstream artists who channel a similar energy. It's
because they realize that to truly stay funky, you musn't be
scared to let the freak flag fly. [DH]
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LOSFELD "Losfeld" (Escalator Records, Japan) CD $21.99
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Noted producer, DJ, and remixer Naka Masashi runs Escalator
Records in Japan. And though it would seem that he keeps busy
enough, he also puts out his own recordings under the banner
of Losfeld. On this self-titled mini-album (9 songs, 34 minutes)
Masashi further expands the boundaries of the special brand of
Japanese clubpop for which his label is known. As Losfeld,
Masashi comes across as relaxed and unpretentious,
incorporating a wide variety of interesting samples wherever he
finds them. The overall effect is breezy and bouncy, best
exemplified by the song "Girl" (RealAudio above) where he drops
a house beat over samba rhythms, flute melodies, jazz piano,
and strange choruses. On tracks like "20000 Records" and
"Les Erotiques du Losfeld" guitars are looped, scratched and
punctuated by odd bits of dialogue. It's a delightful mix that is
infectiously danceable. Another solid release from the Escalator
stable, recommended to anyone who enjoyed Cubismo Grafico's
"Mini". [TC]
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[V/A] "Pulp Fusion Evolution" (Harmless, UK) CD $20.99
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I know, I know, another Blaxploitation comp, and just when you
thought every track on every hard-hitting funky-butt soul jazz
'70s album had finally been reissued in every possible
configuration. But the Pulp Fusion series has always had a special
magic, a way of not only finding overlooked treasures in a
surprising variety of sources, but programming them into unified,
coherent albums. This 4th volume more than lives up to its
predecessors, going up against your earhole with a dozen solid
senders. Think you've heard every cool cut by The Blackbyrds, Kool
& The Gang, Charles Wright, and Johnny Hammond? Think again,
and add jazzbos Rusty Bryant and Lonnie Liston Smith, Pleasure's
proto- disco, Candido's latin groove, and the little-known delights
of Johnny Harris, United 8, Hal Singer, and Sound Experience's
jaw- droppingly weird "Boogie Woogie". Not a stiff in the bunch ­-
that's right, all killa no filla, and no excuse to leave this one in
the racks. [PN]
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[V/A] "The Best of Broadside 1962-1988" (Smithsonian Folkways) 5xCD box $59.99
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Broadside's legacy is the last wave of songs written for group
singing, a pastime nearly extinct when for pure pleasure, not
just public performance -- save at summer camp, in church
(sometimes), or the unusual, epiphanic moment of collective
expression. Broadside magazine published sheet music. Coming
out of the nth-wave folk revival in the late '50s (think Weavers,
Kingston Trio), Broadside was about the music, but also about
the message, be it anti-war, anti-ageism, anti-racism, anti-
exploitation--with pros, too: strength in unions, civil rights,
tolerance, life, truth, engagement. This set contains a thick,
book-like overview which leads you through the discs one at a
time, with tidbits of information, biographies of 'lost' artists,
peripheral movements. As the set starts, it's rooted in guitar
+ singing folk, keeping up for four discs of heartfelt struggle
expressed in words, with lots of Phil Ochs, Pete Seeger, Bob
Dylan (also as 'Blind Boy Grunt'), Janis Ian (originally appearing
on stage at age 13 under the name 'Blind Girl Grunt'), more.
Amidst this formula of man or woman with guitar (sometimes with
a few backup singers), there are detours: vocal jazz (Nina
Simone), exceptional gospel (The Freedom Singers), a few
international artists (British, Mexican, Catalonian), and THE
spectacular rock deviation of 1966, The Fugs' 'Kill for Peace', a
song that merged wisdom with wildness like nothing else. Plus a
few tracks from great, forgotten folk-rocker Mike Millius. By disc
five, we are treated to four tracks, from the so-
underappreciated Jim Collier and Rev. Frederick Douglass
Kirkpatrick, that channel anger while ping-ponging between folk,
soul, and blues. Though the set technically covers the years
between 1962 and 1988, the vast majority of the music here was
recorded in the first five years of that span. The forays into the
seventies and eighties are actually some of the most original
tracks here, rather than being songs of faded glory and too much
nostalgia, as one might expect. In fact, of the last well-known
musicians to be included in Broadside's pages is Lucinda Williams.
There is visceral pleasure to be found here amongst all the issues
and thoughts, and Broadside was at the center of the last scene to
consider songs the way they had existed for centuries: a skeleton
of notes and sentiment for any singer to flesh out. In some ways,
it's sad that today, a song is near-completely dependent on the
reproduction of its specific configuration of sounds. [RE]
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SND "stdio" (Mille Plateaux, Germany) CD $15.99
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With his first release, "makesnd" cassette, snd proved himself a
click-and-cut above many of his fellow glitchmakers, and his
second effort keeps him there. The key here is craft; in a genre
overrun with cleverness masquerading as music, this is spare and
elegant, cleverly made. CD-skipping sounds and chopped-up bits
of this and that, fashioned into 17 low-key rhythmic loops, all of
them vivid, precise, and impeccably controlled. The sound of
lullabies chirped by mechanical crickets skittering their way
across a circuit board. Calming. Energizing. A wonderful release.
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HIGH LLAMAS "Buzzle Bee" (Drag City) CD/LP $13.99/$9.99
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On "Buzzle Bee", High Llamas' Beach Boys fixation remains, even
though "Smiley Smile" seems to be the inspiration nowadays
rather than "Pet Sounds". As Sean O'Hagan and co. cop Mr.
Wilson's style, they dissolve the sentiment in a mass of congas,
marimba, and vibraphone. Lyrics, when there are any, are vacant
or disappear (one song contains only nine words). These themes,
vaguely, seem to revolve around metaphors of finance. The whole
record drifts to jazz fusion and tropical(ia) sounds before pop,
with a burbling, scuttling and splashing, just-underwater tidepool
cast to it. I think they're working themselves into the same grooves
as Stereolab (some of whom also guest here), only coming at
them from a different direction. As the album progresses, they
have less and less to say, yet, musically, it gets more and more
interesting. [RE]
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JOHN CAGE "The Works for Violin 3: Two(4)" (Mode) CD $15.99
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This piece of Cage's, from 1991, exists only when performed twice.
His intent is to very the experience and character of a composition
by having it played by different sets of instruments: violin and sho,
and violin and piano. The sho, a 7th-century Japanese instrument,
is one of the earliest free reed instruments. An ancestor of
everything from the harmonica to the accordion, the sho consists
of a number of pipes with implanted reeds, used here for its stark,
thin whine. "Two(4)" has a Feldman-esque sense of pattern and
drafty minimalism, and is written in a time-bracket system, which
means the performer gets to choose a duration to play within a
fixed time limit. This varies the piece on each performance, as
sound nestles with silence in different proportions. For the piece
with sho and violin, the high-pitched drones couple and uncouple,
buffered by irregular spaces. In the piano version, the violin slides
in and out as the piano's notes hit and decay over different
lengths of time. Between them, a work of both sensual serenity
and severe cold develops. [RE]
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MASTERS AT WORK "10th Anniversary Collection Part Two" (BBE, UK) 4xCD $24.99
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The last collection (Part One), showed how Messers Louie Vega
and Kenny Gonzalez forged their wildly original sound, a personal
idiom, over time. That sound was their gradual merging of sounds
from Latin music, house, and disco with African percussion and
computer-y, skipping beats. This sound became a major
reference point for dance music, internationally. On the second
volume of the series, their remixes explore how they took that
sound, and applied it larger-scale, injecting it, blending it with the
work of other musicians. As they did this, they fell into a few
formulas, and their work became somewhat toned-down, less
idiosyncratic. This box has more songs, more of 'the singer' on
it, but it also contains more of their spectacular work as
Nuyorican Soul, the Latin/house hybrid that still is some of the
best dance music extant. For four cds, with over 70 minutes of
music apiece, the price is so bargain it's ridiculous. [RE]
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THE SLITS "Cut" (Island, UK) CD $18.99
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A new remastering of an all-time desert-island disc, and yes, you
do need to replace your old copy (which, let's face it, never
sounded the same since that time your roomate spilled the
ashtray on it), because it sounds terrific. Probably timed to coincide
with Ari Up's return to the musical world, this edition of the
1979 classic leaps out of the speakers sounding fresher than ever,
its bracing, jarring angularities still miles beyond the hundreds
of grrrrl bands who've slurped it up, spat it out, and dutifully
claimed it as an 'influence'. An agenda-free blast of bizarre
power, an oddball masterpiece which doesn't owe anything to
anybody, it's endlessly, deathlessly itself. And that's a
magnificent thing to be! [PN]
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FENNESZ/ROSY PARLANE "s/t" (Synaesthesia/Mego, Austria) 3"CD $7.99
A delicate, preciously intricate CD of two slowly evolving pieces.
Each combine the textures and sounds used most often by
Fennesz with Rosy Parlane's sense of ambiance and pacing.
A miniature that creates a seamless bridge between the
aesthetics of their respective labels, Mego and Sigma
Editions. [JZ]
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[V/A] "Copier Coller" (Quatermass, Belgium) 2xCD/2xLP $18.99/ $16.99
In 1999, a sound festival held in Geneva, Switzerland asked the
Young Gods to prepare a 'sound bank' of approximately 50 sounds.
The intention was that this 'bank' would be used as a resource, a
specifically restricted one, for a number of sound artists to create
pieces from. "Copier Coller" (which means 'copy paste') compiles
the results. Sometimes they're simple collages, or become crowded
and complex, or form into beats, or drift. I liked Kriedler's cracked
'house', Stock, Hausen & Walkman's silly walk as if from one end
of the radio dial to the other (encountering places: underwater
with angry dolphins, a few different machine shops, a stuttering
thunderstorm--as well as signals on the way), to rococo rot's
simple, bubbling rhythms. As there are similarities simply in
recurrance of timbres and blips throughout, I think it would have
been interesting to see what a pop band would have done with the
same assignment! [RE]
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TIED AND TICKLED TRIO "EA1 EA2 rmx" (Morr, Germany) CD $15.99
T&TT take the fusion-jazz sound of their last post-rock journey
and hand it over to a number of remixers. Lo and behold, nearly
across the whole board, it's transformed into glitch-noir. Gustavo
Lamas' track resembles his grey, foggy boundaries, max ernst puts
in the cleverest track here, whip snaps of sound and blurry speed
shifts like a defective turntable. Christof Kurzmann works over
his track into a kind of Naked City tribute, Zorn-ish blatty rock
jazz mixed with spindly piano, erupting, building, erupting again.
Also includes Console, remixer-for-hire Wechsel Garland, Kandis
(aka Senking), Opiate, more. Funny how a record like this never
has liner notes--just once, what if the artists told why they did
what they did? 43 minutes. [RE]
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PJ HARVEY "Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea" (Island) CD/LP $15.99/$24.99
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Harvey's 6th record, and first after a splurge of guest
appearances on others' records and miscellaneous collaborations.
Harvey strips her sound down, again, working only with two
musicians, Mick Harvey (no relation) and Rob Ellis. Together, they
formulate a '70s/'90s rock blend that contains elements of U2,
Patti Smith, Neil Young, and Heart (really!). Thom Yorke from
Radiohead guests on three tracks. Overall, I feel like she's in a
nowhere zone, hasn't really landed yet on a new plateau:
she's still mid-jump. As the disc tries out different approaches
(one sounds like the Go-Gos, only serious, another, I swear,
lifts the rhythm section from 'Cinnamon Girl' whole), any pop is
absent; her teeth nibble on rock grandeur. There's lots of energy
here, but, like wheels in sand, it sprays things everywhere and
doesn't move much. Which yields some nice moments of nervous
angst, though, something she's always been good at, the more
melodramatic (or just dramatic), the better. The lyrics mirror the
title, dreamscapes of ocean, night scenes of city lights not viewed
at street level, but above. [RE]
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[V/A] "The New Now Sounds Of Today!" (Art Issues) CD $18.99
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Subtitled "Songpoems by 21 Contemporary Artists". Art Issues
Press solicited lyrics from 21 contemporary visual artists (primarily
from L.A.), then sent them to one of the last remaining songpoem
companies, Magic Key Productions of Ogden, Utah, to set the lyrics
to music, within guidelines of genre of music, type of singer. The
same method as the "MSR Madness" compilations, only those
lyricists were usually earnest dentists, housewives, or bus drivers,
not conceptual artists. The smarm factor here runs off the scale, the
nadir of which might be Mike Kelley's sweet folk saga of coprophilia
and child abuse…sung in a Britney-meets-Marilyn Manson setting.
Jack Kerouac, Neal Cassady and Allen Ginsberg's poem 'Pull My
Daisy' was adapted by artist Alexis Smith into an 'Ice-T' style
number, cheesy yet nice absurd rap. Rev. and Mrs. Ethan Acres
wrote a silly Tammy Wynette/George Jones-inspired duet about a
couple who discover they've each picked up the same man in a
Denny's: it's a coincidence song a la 'The Pina Colada Song'. Some
tracks have lefty politix (Rubin Ortiz Torres' own version of the
Internationale, sung bilingually in the 'style of Patsy Cline' that's
more Stevie Nicks in execution), lots of 'deviant' sexuality. I kept
hoping throughout to find songs that held up beyond pure novelty
or intellectual exercise, there are but a few, most mentioned above.
And the songpoem company's settings don't quite match the artists'
intents--most arrangements sound like either America, Poison
(for any punk or hard rock), or Bruce Cockburn, all drum machines,
synthesized metal guitar or marimba, rather than the parade of
20th-century icons specified (Johnny Rotten, Louis Prima, others).
Gorgeous Bruce Licher/Independent Project Press letterpress
design that keeps unfolding and unfolding; ltd. edition of 2000. [RE]
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BEIKOKU-ONGAKU (Issue 16: Fall 2000) MG with CD  $17.99
Brand new issue of this high-quality Japanese magazine that
documents the Tokyo indie music scene better than anyone.
Feature stories (translated into English) on Takako Minekawa,
Cornelius, Mansfield, Dymaxion and more. Comes with an ultra-
twee 22-track CD. [TC]
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Your newsletter provided by: Tom Capodanno [TC], Robin Edgerton
[RE], Duane Harriott [DH], Penelope Namiki [PN], Joshua Zucker

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

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New York, NY 10003