Other Music New Release Update
October 4, 2000

In This Week's Update:

"Fresh Fruit"compilation on Lo Recordings
"Art of War" compilation on Mo'Wax Japan
Richard Buckner
Fennesz live
Tim "Love" Lee
Mocean Worker
Sea and Cake
Red Stars Theory EP
Masahiko Togashi reissue
Susumu Yokota
Two Siesta "Reverie" children's series: Maria Napoleon and Lollipoptrain
Joey & Norman Jay's Good Times comp.
Special Section: Yximalloo overview

Badly Drawn Boy (CD now domestic)
Ladytron Japanese EP
Magic Carpathians

Featured New Releases:

RADIOHEAD "Kid A" (Capitol) CD $16.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/Idiotequ.rm
Once again Radiohead take the world by storm, stumping the critics and
teasing the fans with a release that explores new sonic territories. On the
title track (as with most of the album), Radiohead drop their guitars and
embrace the world of electronics: plink-plonks straight out of a futuristic
music box accompanied by distorted, indecipherable vocals. 'How To
Disappear Completely' could possibly be the best song this year, with Thom
repeating "I'm not here!" in a desperate drawl that brings you into his
dark, yet redemptive world. 'Idioteque' would not feel out of place on Warp
records, with a beautiful lo-fi electronic melody that recalls Aphex Twin
at his most playful; then in come the vocals, once again despondent, though
not without hope. Of the few tracks that feature guitars, 'The National
Anthem' storms the gates of rock'n'roll with a traditional full-on bass
line, fuzzed out guitars, and a vocal delivery full of angst -- then in come
the horns (yes, horns!). By this time, what you thought was the Radiohead
of yore turns into a consuming free-jazz freakout. I cannot rave about this
record enough -- in my universe (and that of a lot of OM) this is tied for
record of the year with Sigur Ros' "Agaetis Byrjun". A must; amazing. [JS]

[V/A] "Fresh Fruit" (Lo Recordings, UK) CD $6.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/cpijobs.rm
The quality-graph of the Lo Recordings compilations now takes the shape
of a steep bell curve. While the last few were a little lackluster,  this
is right back in the game -- really cheap, too. Excellent, brittle and
playful electronic tracks from Kid 606 (really fun, stilted grit), Hrvatski
(classic d'n'b w/timekeeping harp sounds), the amazing They Came from the
Stars vs. the London Toy Orchestra (chaotic, confusing sounds from a set of
adults left in a playroom for too many days) from a forthcoming full-length
I'm dying to hear. Max Tundra provides a soul disco track (?), boppy bells
and skitter come from Ceephax, Cursor Miner gives a complete Beck rip-off,
Jean Baptiste's 'Mixtion Mixtilique' combines sweeping strings with the
sounds of a toolshop. Most tracks unreleased, but a few appear on their
respective Lo full-lengths (if the group in question is already on the
label). Seventy-two novel minutes of pleasure, most from artists I've
never heard of -- ST, Leis, C Pij Obscura, etc? [RE]

[V/A] "The Art of War" (MoWax/Toy's Factory, Japan) 2xCD $36.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/AofWmuro.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/brownUNK.rm
Five years ago, MoWax's "Headz" compilation was released. That skeletal
near-deconstruction of hip-hop stimulated a collectors' market for MoWax
releases: for a short period of time, they were the innovators, purveying
the most forward-thinking material. But over the past few years, their
releases have stagnated, repeatedly relying on the formulas that had made
them sound so interesting to begin with. But I'm more than happy to say
that this new collection, "The Art of War", is a return to powerful,
unusual manipulations and combinations of musical matter, and might even
sit as far ahead of the scene today as "Headz" did then. And, oddly enough,
around half of the tracks here have appeared on MoWax 12" of recent
vintage -- but recontextualized here, most sound willfully different. There's
a startling beatbox conga/classical piano grafting on Hann & Hudd's
'Pianova', slide whistle and sped-up African drums on DJ Pika Pika Pika's
freaky '?#?' (Pika is Eye of the Boredoms), and a kicking funky track from
Muro, all scratching, soulpop samples, and spoken tidbits from sermons and
sports events. A song from Ian Brown (Stone Roses) sounds perfectly circa
1969: wistful southern rock, except that it has UNKLE's beats and backwards
keyboards. Other artists include Shadow, Blackalicious, Silent Poets, Nigo,
Beans of Anti-Pop Consortium, and more, for a total of 130 minutes of material,
a goodly portion of which are rarities or unreleased tracks. The title itself is a
cagey reference to the cult of business, with which MoWax had to recently do
their own battle (their recent split with Polygram not only left them without their
old stable of artists, but was rumored to have cost them $1 million just to keep
the MoWax name). A lovely gatefold sleeve adorned with art by Futura 2000
houses these treasures. [RE]

RICHARD BUCKNER "The Hill" (Overcoat) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/TheHill.rm
Richard Buckner's latest full length is a masterful combination of
wandering instrumental passages and his bleak vocal croon, an album that
is as much a collection of songs as it is a full-blown journey into Buckner's
private world. Since he's backed by Calexico, the instrumental sections
take on a distinctly rural/soundtrack-y approach, and the segues glue the
album together into one long suite. When Buckner's empty howl comes in,
it's a completely captivating centerpiece to lead the instrumental
explorations. Buckner appropriates passages from Edgar Lee Masters "Spoon
River Anthology" for lyrics -- but Buckner's rural world made of American
words and music seems transplanted from another generation, without a
drop of pretension. [PW]

FENNESZ "03_02_00 Live at Revolver, Melbourne" (Touch, UK) CD $10.99
Perhaps one of the pitfalls of laptop-performance-oriented music is that
the artists tend to corner themselves either into undirected improvisation
or bland repetition. In this, his first solo live CD, Christian Fennesz
overcomes and completely avoids these issues to create one of the most
powerfully intense live sets with the same tools. His piece evolves and
changes rapidly, yet remains completely cohesive and focused. The sound
itself is pure and undiluted; textures wash over each other, lush and
beautiful melodies rise up to the foreground, or fall back, just underneath
the waves. Much attention is paid to dynamics, from quietly sparse textures
to passionate swirling walls of sound. It's neither too short nor too long:
therefore time doesn't exist, just the sound itself. Clocking in at just
under 17 minutes, this live performance has more focus, depth and direction
than others twice its length. The two minutes in RealAudio above are among
the best two minutes I've had all year. [JZ]

TIM 'LOVE' LEE "Just Call Me 'Lone' Lee" (Tummy Touch, UK) CD $15.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/LoneLee2.rm
It's 20, 30 years ago, and you're leaving the country for awhile. It's
nighttime, and they're stacked up, so you go to the lounge to wait. The
second you walk in, he looks up from his Cuba Libre, and your eyes meet. A
handsome, weathered face, a rumpled linen suit, and a vinyl flight bag
which you somehow know is all the luggage he has. You can even pretty
much figure out what's in it; a clean silk shirt, an electric razor with an
international voltage adaptor, an envelope stuffed with cash. And at the
bottom, a tattered picture of a girl. Maybe you look a little like her. You
order a Manhattan. He wishes he could talk to you, tell you some things,
get them off his chest. The places he's been, the unsavory jobs he did for
some people he'd rather not think about. And the girl. But all he can do is
look at you. He flew in hours ago, but can't bring himself to get off that
barstool and hop a cab into town. He'll just wait here until he can think
of somewhere else to go. He'll never stop moving, he'll never be at home
anywhere. They announce your flight, and you ask for your check. His look
begs you to stay until he can find the words. But you have a plane to
catch. And the years go by, and you think about him once in awhile. Then
this album comes out. It's the soundtrack to everything that was and might
have been. You listen to it smiling, crying, wondering... [PN]

MOCEAN WORKER "Aural and Hearty" (Palm Pictures) CD/LP $11.99/$12.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/moceanW2.rm
The mood elevator of the year! Adam Dorn's 3rd full-length under the Mocean
Worker moniker takes just about everything from everywhere and stirs it up
into a dance record that's happy without being stupid, hard without being
headache-y, as it butt-bumps its way from Latin to Brasil to disco to house
to techno to trance to whatever and beyond, all of it liberally peppered
with irresistible repeated 2-or-3-word sampled phrases for your
muttering-along pleasure. Catchy, swirly, trippy, funky and fun, fun, fun,
with jazzy chops and a solid bottom. By the second listen, you'll be
greeting many of these tracks like old friends. In fact, if this album was
a country, I'd move there! [PN]

THE SEA AND CAKE "Oui" (Thrill Jockey) CD/LP $13.99/$9.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/seacake2.rm
Sam Prekop, Archer Prewitt, Eric Claridge and John McEntire return
following a three-year hiatus from collective work. And continue where they
left off, with pretty fricassees of treble: high keyboard buzz, quick brushed
snares, breathy tenor, warbling samples, droplets of vibraphone and
marimba. A modern merging of post-rock technique (use the odd samples,
but put them in a groove) with '70s soft AM pop (a la Gerry Rafferty, but not
so sweeping -- MUCH more modest). Like turning a complex glass paperweight
over and over in your hands, each side revealing something new to the eyes
but staying consistently smooth and cold to the touch. [RE]

RED STARS THEORY "s/t" (Touch and Go) CD EP/12" EP $8.99/$8.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/OurNeare.rm
The third release from this Seattle collective sprawls out as they explore
dynamic tensions between the acoustic and the electric. Melancholy is the
mood here: guitars distort peacefully, and the cello keeps the melody
beautifully. Your crescendo rock is served! This one's for fans of Godspeed,
Mogwai, My Bloody Valentine's "Loveless" and boasts remixes from Scientific
American. Nicely done. [DH]

MASAHIKO TOGASHI "Rings" (East Wind, Japan) CD $24.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/2Track.rm
"Rings" is a classic of solo percussion, originally issued in 1975. A
beautiful, spacious work, Togashi perfectly calculates each note in
sequence, with masterful restraint creating a strange tension. Rather than
providing a barrage of solo percussion, he builds anticipation through slow
rolls and soft touches. There are moments where Togashi fills up the space
fully, but even when it sounds as if he is a one-man ensemble, the playing
is never too frantic, always more dependent on odd rhythms and repetitions.
Togashi also does a subtle twist on the formula by using keyboard along
with his dizzying drums, percussion, vibraphone, marimba, celesta &
glockenspiel. "Rings" is a complex album that is decidedly different from
your typical solo percussion workout, as well as being astonishingly
listenable. [PW]

SUSUMU YOKOTA "Sakura" (Leaf, UK) CD/LP $16.99/$15.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/yokotaS2.rm
On Yokota's newest, he drafts deep, but limp (relaxing!) soundscapes in the
ambient mold. His uniqueness lies in the redevelopment of a musicological
historical progression -- on "Sakura" he follows the path that edges from
early '70s science fiction soundtracks into the new age -- to be specific,
the sounds ones you might find from background music of Dr. Who or maybe
even Battlestar Galactica, projected into the soft depths of classic Kitaro
or Vangelis. His entrancing noisescapes are not perfectly circular nor
elliptical, even as they start and end at the same place in cycles. It's
like he's tracing the contours of a body with his Korg, his paths
identical to the rounded, irregular cross sections of limbs, torso, neck.
Certainly, the formulas I described above don't hold consistent for the
whole disc. For instance, a neat jazz track keeps samples of murmurs in the
same box as '70s electric piano and a clanky, yet grooving click track,
others are anchored by disco or loose house beats. And these irregularities
make it an album that invites closer listening -- new nuances revealing
themselves in the repeat. [RE]

LOLLIPOPTRAIN "Juniorelectricmagazine" (Siesta, Spain) CD/LP $14.99/$12.99
MARIA NAPOLEON "Dreams and Reveries" (Siesta, Spain) CD/LP $14.99/$12.99

RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/lollip2.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/mariaN1.rm
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/mariaN2.rm
Two new records on the Reverie children's music series from Siesta, this
time solo ones from artists who appeared on the last two Reverie comps,
"Algebra Spaghetti" and "Simultaneous Ice Cream". Cute but more sweetly
whimsical than pointedly adorable, Lollipoptrain's (Angie Tillett) album
contains displaced covers -- two songs from "Charlie and the Chocolate
Factory", others by Frank Zappa and Stereolab -- in smoothly jazzy, early
'70s production-music style arrangements, interspersed with instrumentals
of a similar feel, and short reminiscences about her favorite foods. Other
tracks are upbeat enough to do the pony to. Maria Napoleon's (Shazna
Nessa, formerly Shazna Currie) 33-minute LP is a lighter, looser affair, the
vocals mostly "la-la-la"s and whispers (I know she has a lovely voice -- why
doesn't she use it more?), buffeted with loungy piano gestures and tricky
Spanish guitar, even some spaghetti-western guitar sounds. Less specifically
for the kiddie set, it has a wider appeal as an instrumental album, like Felt
gone exotica. Includes a cover of an instrumental from "The Prisoner". [RE]
Lollopoptrain CD
Lollopoptrain LP
Maria Napoleon CD
Maria Napoleon LP

JOEY AND NORMAN JAY "Good Times" (Nuphonic, UK) 2xCD/2xLP $19.99/$22.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/joenorm2.rm
Joey and Norman Jay are legendary promoters, party producers, and DJs, ones
whose grip on the London Scene took a long time to foment -- yet once it did,
their hold was unshakable. Norman founded London's Kiss FM, were masters
of presentation, the first to bring sounds of New York and methods of djing
(using two turntables!) to London. They presented their Good Times party at
the yearly Carnival (West Indian) in South London first in 1980 (though
they were throwing parties before then). With its mix of dub reggae, rap,
soul, funk, and disco, it brought together elements of the community in a
new, synergistic integration, and became a huge success. Nuphonic, the
label that recently put out the fantastic "The Loft" compilation (that
documented that revolutionary NYC party) has made their best stab at
capturing all that onto two CDs. Fantastic obscurities and mixes come
together, both big, popular tracks (James Brown, Stevie Wonder), older
material going back to 1968 (some soul, John Holt's 'Ali Baba') and
up-to-the-moment soul (BeBe Winans, Lenny Fontana). So rather than a
time capsule, this spreads Joey and Norman's aesthetic out as far, as long
as their reign. [RE]

Special Section: YXIMALLOO, an overview.

Yximalloo is Naofumi Ishimaru alone, but he drafts a loose ensemble of
players, including the core of Shigeo Ootake and Takashi Korgo (who appear
on all discs), as collaborator-executors. All of his releases are on his
own label, and none have seen a distributor yet (which is why you very
rarely find his CDs in stores). Mr. Ishimaru recently visited Other Music,
and left us with (_very_ limited!) quantities of his entire catalog.
Ishimaru works like a Japanese Jandek without the angst, like the Boredoms
minus the bombast. Spiritual kin to early artpunk and especially the LAFMS,
he revels in mock-ethnic music and nonsense. Lo-fi, sweet and primitive, he
uses ancient drum machines, hand percussion, and electronic droplet noises,
sometimes set to melodies gathered from some imaginary South Sea island
where the traditional instrument is seemingly an old '80s synth. Handclaps
and chanting abound, but Yximalloo has also been painted as a Japanese Half
Japanese -- Jad Fair himself has collaborated with Ishimaru and draws the
covers for every release here (gorgeous dayglo and glow-in-the-dark covers
in iridescent plastic cases). Recording since 1973 (!), he still has but
one Yximalloo release in the States, last year's retrospective LP on Old
Gold. Most CDs are around 70 minutes and usually contain over 30 tracks.
Just listen to a few of the RealAudio samples to get a glimpse into his
strange sound-world. [RE]

YXIMALLOO "The Worst of 1981" (Sakura Wrechords, Japan) CD $19.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/yxi19812.rm
Possibly his weirdest: tracks have caterwauling, tiny Japanese melodies,
whistling, sawing effects, steel pan, fuzz noise though not all at once.
The most Boredoms-esque (early). Only 12 tracks.

YXIMALLOO "Kitsch Shaman" (Sakura Wrechords, Japan) CD $19.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/yxikit2.rm
The goofiest, a wobbly gift of Polynesian melodies mixed with a few
Caribbean ones. Vocals on nearly every track, set in swinging, jaunty
rhythms. His corrupted version of "the blues" seeps into a few songs,
and the songs cohere within the assorted weirdnesses (ululating the
volume, slapping noises, wind, chanting). Covers 'Honky Tonk Women"
(sic). It's his most lighthearted work, every track is like a game.

YXIMALLOO "The Worst of 1982" (Sakura Wrechords, Japan) CD $19.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/yxi19822.rm
Much more psychedelic in that grinding, rhythmic, rough trancelike way, and
has many pretty moments within. Electronics are prominent, amidst long
passages of 'tribal' drumming, yet most vocals are fed through robot
filters. Evan includes a fake Inuit breathing game (looped?) and lots of
rhythmic chaos.

YXIMALLOO "Live" (Sakura Wrechords, Japan) CD $19.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/yxilive2.rm
Where Yximalloo get funky! Twelve longer tracks performed by a band that
gathers up to eight players. Flailing rhythms, horrible recording sound
(fuzzed out), with a splendid flippant funkiness that slops all over. Some
disco rhythms, yowling. This is the one that should be put on vinyl for DJs
for that "what the hell" effect. Nonetheless slapdash, with the jumpy bass
the only glue for part of it. "Live" totally falls apart near the end, with
an endless crashy percussion track seemingly performed just on garbage
cans. Recorded in 1982.

YXIMALLOO "The Worst of 1984" (Sakura Wrechords, Japan) CD $19.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/yxi19842.rm
The hardest to peg, but also the best at showing the artists' range. More
covers than usual: Bruce Springsteen, Tchaikovsky (as if performed on an
out-of-control carousel), more traditional melodies. One song for sonic
disruption and whistling, another for a pummeled acoustic guitar.
Amidst more of the chanting with electronics and feedback, there's more
pop -- it's warmer, a little more fun.

YXIMALLOO "Techno Shrine Choir" (Sakura Wrechords, Japan) CD $19.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/yxitech2.rm
Recorded in 1984. Clearer than most of his discs, also more solemn.
Electronic ruminations as if recorded as background music for nameless
temple rituals -- some traditional Japanese instruments and flute, too. A
lot of song titles have war themes. Definitely his calmest release. And
includes a cover of one of the most famous Japanese songs, 'Kimigayo'.

YXIMALLOO "The Worst of 1986" (Sakura Wrechords, Japan) CD $19.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/yxi19862.rm
Boppy electronics, a lot using on traditional Eastern (Asian) themes: from
Indonesian to Chinese and Japanese. A Residents-ish sound with plodding
electronics, too -- but probably just because he's using the same kind of
synthesizer they did. This release is a little darker; amidst tape-speed
experiments there are tolling bells and synth murmurs.

JAD & NAO "Half Alien" (Sakura Wrechords, Japan) CD $19.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/jadnao2.rm
The collaboration between Half Japanese's Jad Fair and Yximalloo's Ishimaru
contains forty tracks. With Nao doing the music, Jad is freed to provide
rhythmically spoken 'songs' in his jauntily nasal voice. Less songs than
spoken pieces set to jazzy backgrounds that escalate into noise. There's no
rock here, instead, text-based exercises with music that bashes and
twinkles along. They later collaborated again on the album "Half Robot"
(which we still carry) that came out domestically.


BADLY DRAWN BOY "Hour of Bewilderbeast" (Beggars Banquet) CD/LP  $14.99/$23.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/drawnboy.rm
BDB (aka Damon Gough) slowly slid out nine singles and EPs over the
past few years before presenting us with "Hour", a lengthy debut album
containing 18 songs that unwind and sprawl. While his singles and EPs
before had a particular, pointed cheapness to the guitar and keyboard
sounds, on "Hour", he goes full-out with his production though not so far
as getting an orchestra. The core of the songs here are implied duets, as
he elevates one instrument at a time from the mix-- viola, trumpet,
harmonium, acoustic guitar, even bird tweets and twitters--to wrap his
voice around. Then the instruments left in the background unravel into
their own kind of folk-pop mass. Heartfelt but not bitter, his work recalls
the most intimate moments of the Verlaines or a rusticated Elliot Smith,
and his Springsteen fetish (he quotes him periodically) leads him to a
pretty successful capture of a particular kind of '70s white R&B. Both airy
and florid, Gough's work here is just the tip of the iceberg -- from any
one of these songs you can tell he's got acres of tricks up his sleeve we
won't hear until at least five years hence. [RE]

LADYTRON "Miss Black and Her Friends" CD (Bambini, Japan) $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/Playgirl.rm
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. Elsewhere, the band gets
high marks for retro-New Wave kitsch and their never-let-them-see-you
smirk attitude. [TC]

MAGIC CARPATHIANS PROJECT "Ethnocore" (Fly Music, Poland) CD $13.99
One of those records that demands total immersion, shuts down all conscious
thought. Psychedelic? Free improvisation? Progressive folk? Mantric chant?
World beat? It's all here in true schizophrenic glory. Faust, Magical Power
Mako, Brigitte Fontaine, and Taj Mahal Travellers all spring to mind as
parameters. Clocking in at over 67 minutes, this album is so complete in
scope and vision that it's kinda scary. The group rose out of the ashes of
prog-psych masters Atman, whose catalog we stock. Higher than highest
recommendation! [JG]

MAGIC CARPATHIANS "Ksiega Utopii" (OBUH, Poland) CD $13.99
RealAudio: /ramgen/othermusic/Carpathi.rm
"Ksiega Utopii (Book Of Utopia)" is the second album from Magic
Carpathians, former Atman mainstays Marek Styczynski, Anna Nacher and
their associates. Their flawless combination of ethnic-folk instrumentation,
haunting vocals and psychedelia is a virtual cornucopia of world music
riches. This follow-up to their debut, last year's phenomenal "Ethnocore",
might be even better in terms of consistency of scope and depth of texture.
There's just a few months left to figure out whether this one tops the
charts for 2000. Highest recommendation! [JG]

This week's scribes: Robin Edgerton [RE], Jeff Gibson [JG], Duane Harriott
[DH], Penelope Namiki [PN], Jeremy Sponder [JS], Phil Waldorf [PW], Joshua
Zucker [JZ].

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

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New York, NY 10003