Other Music New Release Update
November 22, 2000


In This Week's Update:

Rapid Transit comp. on Chocolate Industries
While
Best of Biz Markie
The Clientele
DJ Pika Pika Pika (eye from Boredoms)
Stand Up and Be Counted Vol. 2 comp.
Kreidler
Random Industries
Ulan Bator
Oneida
Paul Dutton
Otomo Yoshihide & Voice Crack
Bertrand Burgalat "The Sssound of Mmmusic"


Featured New Releases:

[V/A] "Rapid Transit" (Chocolate Industries) CD/LP $13.99/$17.99
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Figuring that many have never heard of his now Chicago-based
label, Seven 3.6 decided to put together a collection of tracks
old and new from the fertile Chocolate Industries imprint.
Originally part of the Miami electro underground which included
labels such as Merck, Schematic, and Beta Bodega, this
organization migrated northward to Chicago. Once established
there, the label's artists soon became involved with the Chicago
new jazz underground which includes Jeff Parker, Rob Mazurek, and
others -- this compilation reflects a subtle change in direction.
The tracks by Prefuse 73 (aka Scott Herren) have a more than a
hint of free improv to them, while East Flatbush Project recalls
the label's first epochal compilation. East Coast MC Mr. Lif
combines his talents with Push Button Objects and Del,
demonstrating that the label's ability to bring electronics and
hip-hop together has not diminished. As their span of influences
expands considerably, Chocolate Industries have put together a
state-of-the-art manifesto for North American electronic music. [TH]
CD
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LP
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WHILE "Even" (Chocolate Industries) CD/LP $13.99/$13.99
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The elusive While, a electronic composer from Baltimore, has
released a single, an EP, and finally a full-length for the
peripatetic Chocolate Industries label. While's approach to
electronics eschews the hackneyed Autechre-isms that plague so
much contemporary North American IDM. How? The answer is simple:
his approach is compositional, with distinct elements drawn in and
out of each track, snare solo, extended bass rolls and often a
thundering crescendo. But his music is never pompous or overblown,
rather it tends to float in the ether despite its sometimes
extreme volumes. Jazz drummer Max Roach once asked whether the
beat dwelled in the drum strikes or between them. While's
innovative album answers that question by insisting that the beat
is found in both places. [TH]
CD
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LP
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BIZ MARKIE "Best Of Cold Chillin'" (Landspeed) CD/LP $13.99/$18.99
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Hip-hop was and is about making something out of nothing. The
disco revolution of the '70s wasn't the cross-cultural worldwide
dance party many disco revivalists would have you believe. If you
lived in the South Bronx, or the Queensbridge projects, you
couldn't afford '54' or Paradise Garage. So you had to make do at
home, by taking Kraftwerk, Led Zeppelin, and disco novelty
records, and throwing parties on the street, in fast-food
restaurants, school gyms. Biz Markie embodies hip-hop. He's made a
career out of making that something out of what others would think
of as nothing. Tone-deaf, he was one of the first emcees to not
only sing his hooks on records, but he even got them into the top
40 ('Just a Friend'). He couldn't afford a drum machine, so
he "made the music with his mouth". Regardless of being
unattractive and overweight, he's still the physical embodiment of
what hip-hop is truly about. And that's why this best-of
collection is as significant as any reissue to come out this year.
This man is a genius. [DH]
CD
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LP
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THE CLIENTELE "Suburban Light" (Pointy, UK) CD $18.99
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This London Trio has built quite a loyal following with only four
singles. After listening to their proper debut album, I can see
why. Their hypnotic, psychedelic pop tunes resonate intimacy--
you're drawn in by their chiming, birdlike guitars, lightly-
brushed drums, quiet and affected very British vocals. But their
production sets them apart: everything seems coated smoothly with
shimmering echo treatments. Though as delicate as Belle and
Sebastian (their fan base is roughly identical), the Clientele's
work is definitely more gently distorted, psychedelic. This album
could easily also appeal to fans of Broadcast, Gandalf, House of
Love, Galaxie 500. Beautiful, wintry pop. [DH]
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DJ PICA PICA PICA "Planetary Natural Love Gus Webbin" (Comma, Japan) CD $34.99
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Released exactly a year ago, it took me 11 months to track this CD
down, finally pulling it from a German mailorder site -- it's now,
somewhat embarassingly, the most expensive CD I own. But it was
entirely worth it. Now we've got some direct from Japan that are
much cheaper than mine. DJ Pika Pika Pika is Eye from the
Boredoms, and this is his first solo mix CD. Even though I no
longer subscribe to the "Eye can do no wrong" philosophy, this
might throw me back into that mode of thinking. Closest to
the "Shock City Shockers" compilation from two years ago, his mix
integrates beats from all over the world. Any description of this
72-minute CD would be inadequate, but to give you the first 90
seconds (RA above): koto and turntable-twisting electro flows into
African water-music, to Balinese gamelan and monkey chant. Eye
twists the records all over the tables--you can hear him smoothly
speed up and slow down beats, usually sweeping them past 45 rpm,
making a world of gabber munchkins at a million BPM, then slowing
down for punk beats, Casiotones, even Riverdance crap formed into
contemporary Eurodisco, electronics, rock drone and jet plane fuzz
beats (also worked into long, enthralling jams). The CD lists 98
sources, arranged into 26 tracks. I hear ones that aren't listed
(Melt-Banana, the aforementioned monkey chant) -- so god knows how
high a stack of vinyl he had to put this together. Given the Mo'Wax
endorsement, too, as one of these tracks showed up on their last
compilation. Fucking awesome packaging, too. [RE]
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[V/A] "Stand Up and Be Counted Vol. 2" (Harmless, UK) CD $22.99
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The first volume in this series was a good basic introduction to
the more politically-tinged soul music of the late '60s/mid-'70s,
some old reliables with a few lesser-known treasures thrown in.
This one leaves it in the dust. Of the the 12 powerful, Power-
filled tracks compiled here, only a couple have been widely
circulated in recent years (including the Godfather's massive '
(Open Up The Door I'll Get It Myself) and both parts of the Isley
Brothers' 'Fight The Power'), while the others range from the left-
behind (such as S.O.U.L.'s blaster 'Tell It Like It Is' (RealAudio
above), and The Voices Of East Harlem's 'Right On Be Free') to the
ignored-at-the-time (notably Gary Byrd's 'Are You Really Ready For
Black Power', a thundering Scott-Heron-influenced rap
astonishingly only ever issued as a B-side, every scathing word of
which is rightfully reproduced in full on the tray card). And
every last one will burn your mind and stir your heart. The
hardest of hardcore collectors may have picked up these bright
moments by Nikki Giovanni, Watts Prophets, Rusty Bryant along the
way. But The Alexander Review? Jimmy Sabater? Please. Funky,
profound, overflowing with observations that can still shock (and,
one hopes, inspire), here's a stone-solid time capsule plaintively
rooted in the Whatnauts' simple question (also RealAudio): "Roses
are red/ Violets are blue/ Why can't people be colors, too?" [PN]
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KRIEDLER "s/t" (Mute) CD/LP $15.99/$10.99
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Contrary to the cold and detached image that many of Germany's
electronic artists convey, the trio known as Kreidler (who rotate
around the same axis as compatriots to rococo rot and Tarwater)
infuse their compositions with rich detail, warm to and from the
essential human touch. The first suggestion is that of American
post-rock a la Tortoise intersected with Cologne's minimalist
techno scene; but this reductive description fails to grasp their
new album completely. It's nothing short of gorgeous, fusing blips
and bleeps with rumbling basslines and head-nodding beat
construction. The vocal contributions of Momus make a startling
addition to the track 'Mnemorex', his mesmerizing, plaintive trans-
Atlantic sigh seemingly broadcast via telephone lines. Upon
further inspection, it becomes more apparent that Kreidler follow
a logical progression for modern German music, by synthesizing
elements of Can and Kraftwerk into a refined futurism of their
own. [KC]
CD
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LP
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RANDOM INDUSTRIES "Selected Random Works" (Ritornell, Germany) CD  $15.99
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The project of Sebastian Meissne, recently of Autopoieses. The
kind of recording that, in both concept and execution, can only
exist in our digital, CD-driven realm. 99 tracks are like scale
models for larger pieces of music, like a score shorthand for a
classical ensemble: his segments, approximately 20 seconds to 3
minutes in length place stone corridor echoes and dogs' hearing-
range sinewave blips, keyboard paste-ons, into thumps and thuds of
rhythm that come and go. It's got movie-thriller timing in its
sense of repeated tension and release, produced 99 times over,
with insect skritching, glass echoes, and metallic heartbeats.
Across the hour-length of the disc, it maintains an even energy,
which is why it's intended to be listened to on random play.
Interesting, mildly disturbing in an intellectual, not visceral
way; evocative and general at the same time. I listened to all 99
and didn't get bored, which is saying a lot -- the tiny
transformations are varied, engaging, and pleasant in a tickly
way. [RE]
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ULAN BATOR "Ego: Echo" (Young God) CD $12.99
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French trio Ulan Bator find themselves in American waters with
producer Michael Gira (Swans) and his label Young God Records.
Recorded in a crowded room over a short period of time in Italy,
it is suprisingly spacious and tautly minimal. Their collaborators'
stamps are apparent: Faust's Jean Herve Peron lends trumpet
and french horn, and the album cloaks itself in the dark,
haunting grooves Gira loves. Their weather floats on tinkling
piano keys or sustaining guitar notes, melodies unfurl with
dynamic, cascading percussion. The album is both electrifying and
soothing -- whispered, choral vocals (in French), a daunting
bassline and guitar jolts and loops. Not all the songs follow a
sad, slow tempo: the jarring 'Echo' includes mellotron, electronic
sinfonia and wurlitzer to introduce the album's close, with fading
repetitions, sonorous crashes and an intimate vocal line, then
they throw forth their most experimental electronics. Magma and
Faust fans will be intrigued. If this is the result of being in a
room 18 hours a day with a producer who doesn't speak their
language, I can't wait to hear what time (and communication)
bring. [LG]
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ONEIDA "Come On Everybody Let's Rock" (Jagjaguwar) CD $12.99
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Oneida take the prize as New York City's most potent rock'n'roll
act. Their new album, aptly titled "Come on Everybody Let's Rock",
is a noisy collection of anthems, kicking it out in a caffeinated
style akin to recent Royal Trux, MC5 or Mudhoney's rawer moments.
Oneida know rock'n'roll cliche, and without a drop of irony, they
pay homage to it through fuzzed out guitar licks, nasty lyrical
rants, powerhouse drumming, and rock pseudonyms (Kid Millions,
Hanoi Jane, PCRZ and Bobby Matador). Powerful, passionate
and pummeling, "Come On Everybody Let's Rock" has a brutal
energy absent in most rock music today. [PW]
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PAUL DUTTON "Mouth Pieces" (Ohm Editions, Canada) CD $14.99
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When I was a kid, I would sit in front of the box fan on hot days,
and speak, sing and yowl into it, fascinated with not only the
sound of my own voice but how it was altered by the differences in
pressure caused by rotating fan blades. Paul Dutton's fascination
with his own voice and how he can alter the sounds his mouth and
throat make never went away, and has in fact become his primary
artistic outlet (he's also a poet). A founding member of the
fantastic polyphonic sound-poetry group the Four Horsemen (oh, how
I wish there was something on CD!), and current member of the CCMC
(with Michael Snow, Jack Vorvis, and John Oswald), Dutton has the
broadest range of sounds of any sound-poet today, going way beyond
syllabic incantation into glottal/palate manipulation. Most of
Dutton's sounds are terribly familiar -- they're so close to the
body they're universal, but to describe them, aurally? He becomes
a hissing radiator, a sputtering horse, Yoda (or Cookie Monster),
a growling bluesman, a baby feeling out sounds for the first time,
a Tuvan throat-singer, Donald Duck in primal mode. His work traces
the history of the mouth noises between the notes in music -- he
composed works that are about those sounds dropped into jazz (plus
his own 'free-jazz solo', at another an ENTIRE drum kit), blues,
doo-wop, yodeling. He also has pieces that are about those sounds
dropped between conversational speech -- like an entire track of
hemming and hawing. Though breath is obviously a big part of his
work, I almost wish, when he's recording long babbling/squeaking
pieces, that he had edited the huge intake sounds out, leaving a
pure stream of rubbery noise. [RE]
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OTOMO YOSHIHIDE & VOICE CRACK "Bits, Bots and Signs" (Erstwhile) CD $13.99
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A collaboration between Japanese composer and former turntable
manipulator Yoshihide and the Swiss industrial noise-addict duo
Voice Crack. A thin work, Yoshihide uses a lot of the nearly-out-
of-hearing-range high sinewave tones, akin to the compositions on
his last solo CD ("Cathode", on Tzadik). Voice Crack imbue this
with their "cracked everyday electronics", the sounds of (what I
imagine as) buzzing pulsing video monitors, TVs on the fritz,
toaster ovens burning piles of paper and hair, computer keyboards
missing keys. Collaboratively, these Yoshihide and VC work here on
a much smaller scale than either do individually. They seem
particularly sensitive to every small noise their respective
creations emit, coaxing and entwining them gingerly. Skreaky,
cronching. [RE]
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BERTRAND BURGALAT "The Sssound of Mmmusic" (Tricatel, France) CD $16.99
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A record that should reside at or near the top of this update, even given
the strength of this week's new releases. It's featured down here because
the 20 copies we received were only a fraction of our initial order. These
will be gone this afternoon, so act quickly if you want one. Needless to
say Bertrand's long-awaited debut album (not counting his soundtrack to the
movie "Quadrille") is a stunner, and easily one of my favorite records of 2000.
His collaborations with countryman Katerine are especially pleasing (hear
sample above). Look for a full review when we get enough copies to satisfy
demand (hopefully in about ten days). [TC]
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This week's contributors: Tom Capodanno [TC], Kris Chen [KC], Robin
Edgerton [RE], Duane Harriott [DH], Tim Haslett [TH], Penelope Namiki [PN],
Philip Waldorf [PW].


Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music