Other Music New Release Update
September 6, 2000

In This Week's Update:

Sack & Blumm
Dead C
Anthony Braxton reissue
Trans Am
Han Bennink reissue
Leo Cuypers reissue
Nachtluft reissue
Black Heart Procession
Christian Marclay & Otomo Yoshihide
Damon and Naomi with Ghost
Ultra Chicks Vol. 5 comp.
Electric Company
Geeez'n'Gosh (another Uwe Schmidt alias)
The 6ths

Sigur Ros
Mojave 3

Featured New Releases:

SACK & BLUMM "Shy Noon" (Gefriem, Germany) CD $15.99
Germans Harald Sack Ziegler and Frank Schultge Blumm are fundamentally
electronic musicians. But ones with a perspective that reaches far outside
the constraints of the genre -- constraints which are iffy already (you'd
think with a wall that permeable, more artists would reach through it).
They're not doing this by knitting together a variety of genres, but
pulling just the sounds they like: clarion trumpet fanfares from classical
music, kalimba rhythms from Africa, those high whistly electronics from
TV's "X-Files", tabla percussion from India, kitten mews and dog barks from
everywhere. And placing them in structures which straddle the line between
improvisation and contemplative construction. They do it with a folky,
less-is-more modesty that allows them to make a lot out of very, very
little -- for instance, one of the most gorgeous tracks on the record is but
a quiet duet for two clear melodicas. Highly experimental, yet viscerally
pleasurable, as rhythms flow through every track. Incidentally, their
collaborations happen through the mail, as one is in Cologne and the
other in Berlin. [RE]

DEAD C "s/t" (Language Recordings, New Zealand) 2xCD $26.99
After four years of deafening silence, The Dead C return to a musical
landscape that has shifted drastically since their last outing, 1996's
"Tusk." From the blip-bleep school led by Oval to fantastic noise-jazz
soundscapers like Supersilent, on through the concepts expressed in
I.D.M., it is difficult to ascertain whether the rest of the world has finally
caught on to what Bruce Russell, Michael Morley, and Robbie Yeats have
been up to for well over a decade, or simply stumbled across a few of their
inevitable sources of inspiration. Probably neither, possibly both -- but the
Dead C have always thrived on their geographic isolation and uncanny
intuition. Some tracks on this sprawling double set (130 minutes) would fit
snugly onto a Vladislav Delay release or a new Kompakt compilation, while
others dovetail nicely with the urban gamelan excursions of Sun City Girls
or the extremist dada of Nurse With Wound. But it's all Dead C and that's
all that really matters. Following the hilariously titled 'Fake Electronics' on
disc 2, selections begin and end abruptly, metallic noise merges with melody
and freedom rules. Psychedelia? Free Jazz? Industrial Electronica? In the end,
the sound of three musicians who really know how to listen and respond to
one another. Once again, I can only bow before them. [JG]

ANTHONY BRAXTON "For Alto" (Delmark) CD $13.99
At long last, one of the finest solo saxophone records ever made is now
available on CD. Following his brilliant debut "3 Compositions of New
Jazz", Braxton made the bold move of recording and releasing a double LP of
solo music. Braxton's work epitomized the AACM ethos of drawing artistic
inspiration from musical traditions outside of jazz. "For Alto" emerges not
only out of Coltrane and Ayler, but also the academic avant-garde
(particularly the solo piano work of Schoenberg and Stockhausen). What
results is 73 minutes of extended techniques, furiously fast lines, extreme
quiet, and everything else, all played with nearly unsurpassed passion,
intensity and logic. Highly recommended. [TP]

PRAM "The Museum of Imaginary Animals" CD (Domino/Merge) $13.99
The single from this album, reviewed here about a month ago, re-opened my
ears to Pram: "They wrap a blanket of instruments around your head: flute,
recorder, a string section, tablas, wah-wah guitar, electric piano, horns. As if
Miles Davis or Herbie Hancock's electronic jazz experiments yielded pop songs,
a gentle underwater journey." They stretch this sound out into 10 songs,
including a few quiet instrumentals. Their high aural-IQ and creativity are
so calculated, yielding gorgeous pop constructed like nothing in the past,
save themselves and maybe some of Laika's best work. But within this,
they're so busy proving they're smart that they're guarding their heart
beneath the glittering sequences of '50-ish cinema soundtrack music
arrangements, theremin, twinkling piano, diving bell echoes, and much more.
I'm so impressed with this record that I can barely breathe when I listen
to it, I'm concentrating so hard. [RE]

TRANS AM "Red Line" (Thrill Jockey) CD/2xLP $13.99/$13.99
For those of you (like myself) who are more familiar with Trans Am's debut
album, you might be suprised by how far they've come from those Neu!-
sounding instrumental days -- even now they seem to be downplaying the
somewhat Zappa-esqe sense of humor they showcased on subsequent
releases. With a legion of instrumental bands closing in for a share of the
spotlight, they have successfully sidestepped the competition by further
rendering their version of Kraftwerk-ish electro-synth-pop with occasional
nods to Gary Numan. They've gradually added vocals to their repetoire, so
much so that these carry an almost equal share of the album with the
instrumentals. I wish that in some way I could get some of the credit for
this directional shift -- Nathan, did you by chance hear someone screaming
from the audience for 'more vocoder!'? Well, that was me. Clocking in at
73+ minutes, "Red Line" contains enough material for two separate albums.
And I just think it is too long (sorry, I have personal issues in regard to
album length I won't detail at this time). So if you are out there, guys,
next time, for me, please ditch the instrumental thing entirely for a
forty-minute-long album? I'm certain that would make even Giorgio Moroder
proud. In my opinion, "Red Line" gets an 8 out of 10, and contains some of
their strongest songs yet. [AG]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999137831&refer_url=email

HAN BENNINK "Nerve Beats" (Unheard Music Series/Atavistic) CD $13.99
Long reputed to be the only European drummer even remotely in the same
league as Milford Graves, we now have this wonderful live solo document to
support such lofty claims. "Recorded for Germany's Radio Bremen in 1973,
when Bennink was storming Europe in a trio with Peter Brotzmann and Fred
Van Hove, and employing a gigantic setup; metal percussion, tons of extra
drums, tablas, an early drum-machine, as well as non-percussive instruments
like trombone, clarinet, and various impossible-to-describe objects. A three-
track live concert recorded in its entirety at the acoustically ideal Rathaus,
'Nerve Beats' is also the only live document available of Han performing solo
at this time, as his early FMP and ICP records are out of print (and decidedly
sought after)."--Atavistic. Actually the sleeve lists simply the following: drums,
tablas, trombone, clarinet, rhythm-machine, anything/everything... And among
'everything', Bennink adds piano, crosscut saw, voice, music box, and quite
probably a few members of the audience for good measure. Ouch! Endlessly
inventive; highest recommendation. [JG]

LEO CUYPERS "Heavy Days Are Here Again" (Unheard Music Series/Atavistic) CD  $13.99
Fluid, lyrical Dutch pianist, here supported by Han Bennink (drums), Willem
Breuker (saxophone), and Arjen Gorter (bass) recorded in June 1981. An
astonishing balance between pure melody and out-playing, something like
what might've transpired if Dave Brubeck cut 'Take Five' for ESP instead of
Columbia. In other words, despite the mayhem he surrounds himself with,
Cuypers somehow manages to play both within and above it all. Superb! [JG]

NACHTLUFT "Belle View I-IV" (Unheard Music Series/Atavistic) CD $13.99
A fascinating precursor to the electroacoustic madness now being released
in droves by the likes of Erstwhile, For 4 Ears, and Durian. Nachtluft were
comprised of Gunter Muller, Andres Bosshard, and Jacques Widmer. "Belle
View" was originally issued in 1987 on the Unit label. The credits would
have us believe this is music for two percussionists with electronics; the
end result reveals textures far, far richer. "Why does it seem to be so
assured in its progression of events yet seem completely free of the
constraints of them? It doesn't have the feel of improvised music, a good
sign. In fact, when I first bought the record, I didn't know it was
improvised music at all. I threw it on then as I throw it on now, in
confusion. This is group sound. Improvising groups that reach this
single-mind unity are rare, and they are all puzzling: AMM's 'The Crypt'
has a picture that makes it impossible to tell how the hell they make their
sounds; the back cover of 'Music Improvisation Company' looks like they are
appearing on Star Search; and now the graphic on the back cover makes me
wonder about Nachtluft. They have this extra special awareness of the space
they play in (in fact, they've organized concerts happening simultaneously
on different continents, on bridges, through satellites). When it comes
time for the big collapse the scientists keep talking about, this will be a
good last choice for the stereo. Get out your pots and pans."--Jim
O'Rourke, from the liner notes. [JG]

BLACK HEART PROCESSION "Three" (Touch and Go) CD/LP $13.99/$9.99
Treading similiar waters to their previous full-length, the Black Heart
Procession's latest album seems almost as a requiem to that sophomore
outing. Sounding as if recorded on a ship lost at sea, the album shudders
and groans its way through threnodies and dirges, led by Flying Dutchmen
Pall A. Jenkins and Tobias Nathaniel. Despite the similarity in
instrumentation to "2", "3" displays the ensemble writing stronger and more
developed compositions. If the songs on the last album were letters to long
dead lovers, then these songs are their ghostly reply, each new track
responding directly to an old one. [JZ]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=09999137821&refer_url=email

CHRISTIAN MARCLAY & OTOMO YOSHIHIDE "Moving Parts" (Asphodel) CD $15.99
Though Christian Marclay has collaborated with a lot of musicians, he's
just about the most unyielding collaborator, usually riding roughshod over
others' contributions in displays of artistic foot-stomping. Yoshihide,
however, who can, when he wants to, have a similar style, and stands up to
him in these combative, slappy duels for turntables. The sound-signatures
of both are in evidence -- Yoshihide's scrambled national anthem sounds,
Marclay's frazzled soundtracks and '50s suburbia-run-amok. Amidst opera
and classical music, shreds of scratches litter and bind the discs' samples
together just as punctuation both sprinkles _and_ controls text. Akin to
the solo work of either artist, only doubled, of course. [RE]

DAMON & NAOMI with GHOST "s/t" (Sub Pop) CD $13.99
Album number four from Damon Krukowski and Naomi Yang follows their last
three fairly spare releases. The addition of Japanese trio Ghost sits well
with them. Collaborated on through the mails, this CD has a lushness of
production and arrangement gathered via time and thought, rather than
studio pressures. At the same time, they're lightening everything -- it
threatens to float away on distant, multitracked vocals and minimal drums,
without a shred of weight measured in guitar feedback. Even though they
have a highly-produced, early '70s folk-pop sound (more than the acid folk
of Ghost on their own), a few tracks still act like gentle extensions of D&N's
work with Galaxie 500. The melodic stamp of that work, like a cute, lost
puppy, is very hard for them to shake. [RE]

CEX "Role Model" (Tigerbeat6) CD $12.99
Cex's (pronounced 'sex', of course) second album sharpens what was a little
aimless in his first work. Electronic music seems, to those who don't make
it, sometimes like so many stabs in the dark. "Role Model" starts out
pretty, then bites you, chomping over and over like a manic piranha (or
just a normal piranha!). Impossibly crisp sounds -- so crisp, they're
chipped, jagged, dangerous. He even ventures a punk rock remix, tackling
the Dismemberment Plan. Plus some bouncy keyboards as a diversionary
tactic, and the faintest traces of hip-hop slid under the door. [RE]

[V/A] "Ultra Chicks Vol. 5: Chicks-a-GoGo!" (Ultra Chicks) CD $13.99
The fifth volume in this popular series of lesser-known French singers
from the sixties. This one swings a bit more in the go-go direction but
really doesn't stray too far from the tried-and-true French pop formula
that we've all come to know and love. Featured artists this time include
Liz Brady, Delizia, Jocy, Dani, Suzanne Gabriello, Delphine, Nana Mouskouri
Nancy Holloway, Valerie Sarn and many others. 24 tracks in all. [TC]

ELECTRIC COMPANY "Exitos" (Tigerbeat6) CD $12.99
Brad Laner's continually evolving musical explorations (Steaming Coils,
LAFMS projects, Music from the Island of Anaphoria, too many to mention)
takes reduced form here on "Exitos". Abstract, odd, even dull (not dull
like boring, but dull like dulled) sounds fill this CD in scatter patterns.
Prickly electronics are emitted in particularly pristine forms, tinted (but
barely) moment to moment by mushed growls, stately violins. As for
structure, it's nearly absent, just swarms of hyper tics. During the latter
parts of the CD, the peals of bells are found, mysteriously _without_ the
strikes -- the aural equivalent to a sentence full of suffixes only. [RE]

GEEEZ'N'GOSH "My Life with Jesus" (Mille Plateaux, Germany) CD $15.99
Uwe Schmidt's newest alias, and though not quite a gospel-techno hybrid
(as I had hoped), it's instead closer to his ambient work as Atom Heart,
only with more beats. He does include an aspect of novelty here and
there -- sampled emphatic segments, words, or phrases from old records
of (Baptist?) sermons. Though unlike his more recent, endearing (or silly)
work as Senor Coconut, this has a darker edge; yet it's not unlike his Los
Samplers alias, minus any Latin qualities. Groaning, rumbling, clicking,
hallelujah. [RE]

THE 6THS "Hyacinths & Thistles" (Merge) CD $13.99
Full review next week; we just got these in this afternoon. The 6ths are
Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt's "side project" of writing songs with
specific singers in mind. This one includes an interesting set of choices
of muse/executors, from folksinger Odetta to new waver Gary Numan, divas
Marc Almond, Sarah Cracknell (St. Etienne) and Melanie, to indie-rock
historians Bob Mould and Sally Timms. A lot of the songs seem to nearly
disguise each singer's unique voice in anew, camouflaging habitat,
strangely enough. Others have actually been performed by Merritt himself
in concert, at least. More later! [RE]

Restocks (now domestic, lower prices):

SIGUR ROS "Agaetis Byrjun" (Smekkleysa Sm, Iceland/Fat Cat, UK) CD/LP $12.99/$12.99
A calculated work of beauty. Combining swirling guitar washes, melancholy
falsetto vocals and gorgeous sonic orchestration, this Icelandic outfit's
new album exceeds all the expectation. The band's sound evokes the
ethereal air of Cocteau Twins, the slow and winding song structures of Low,
and an at-times Eno-esque ambiance. Their cinematic instrumental interludes
blend seamlessly with haunting vocal swoops, converging emotion with an
instrumental lyricism that speaks nearly as loud as the vocal sections. A
near-perfect journey into Sigur Ros' cascading cinematic pop sound, and
their best album--so far! [PW]
LP /perl-bin/OM/CD_Add_To_Cart.cgi?sku=60011699111&refer_url=email

MOJAVE 3 "Excuses for Travellers" (4AD) CD $14.99
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. A beautiful collection of bleak and somber pop songs. [PW]

This week's scribes: Tom Capodanno [TC], Robin Edgerton [RE],
Jeff Gibson [JG], Andrew Giles [AG], Tom Pratt [TP], Phil Waldorf [PW],
and Joshua Zucker [JZ].

Thanks for reading.
-all of us at Other Music

15 E. 4th Street
New York, NY 10003