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April 9, 2015

special announcemnt

RECORD STORE DAY 2015

SATURDAY, APRIL 18 (10AM-8PM)

Other Music: 15 E. 4th St. New York, NY
 

In a few short years, Record Store Day has grown from a pipe dream into an international phenomenon, a massive worldwide celebration of music, vinyl, indie record shops and passionate music fans. At Other Music, as well as other great shops near and far, we've been preparing for months for RSD 2015, which is happening on Saturday, April 18. We will be open from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., we will have a ton of amazing exclusive RSD titles on hand (no, we can't tell you what and how many, but there is a full listing of all the official releases here), and we will be hosting some great live performances, giveaways and other exciting stuff. Stay tuned for full details being released in the coming days, and please join us for this annual celebration of indie record stores!
 

in this week's update

FEATURED NEW RELEASES

Waxahatchee
Fred Thomas
Young Fathers
Toro Y Moi
Kelela
Anna Caragnano & Donato Dozzy
Aphex Twin
The Mountain Goats
Wand
Sherwood at the Controls Vol. 1 (Various)

Exploring Jezebel
Colleen
Shlohmo
Jean-Pierre Decerf
Daniele Ciullini
Lapalux
East India Youth
Promise
Sergei Tcherepnin
Sabisha Friedberg with Peter Edwards

other music events

JAMES MCNEW'S 100 WILD STYLES OPENING PARTY

TONIGHT: THURSDAY, APRIL 9 (6:30-8:30PM)

Other Music: 15 E. 4th St. New York, NY
Facebook Event Page
 

James McNew of Yo La Tengo and Dump is best known for his laser-focused bass grooves and angelic pop vocals, but he is also a talented and joyful graphic artist, with a recurring cast of childlike anime-inspired animal friends who have inhabited his drawings for years. We recently featured the first volume of a hilarious little 'zine McNew self-published called 100 Wild Styles, which illustrates classic hip-hop lyrics with his incongruous menagerie of fuzzy bunny, turtle and octopus. The second volume is now in, and we are also excited to be presenting a showing in the store of McNew's original artwork from the series, with an opening party tonight, Thursday, April 9th, from 6:30-8:30, with James DJing his favorite hip-hop jams all evening. Pick up one of these awesome (and limited) 'zines, and please join us for the party!


ALABAMA SHAKES ALBUM LISTENING PARTY

SATURDAY, APRIL 11 (5PM-6:30PM)

Other Music: 15 E. 4th St. New York, NY
Facebook Event Page
 

Stop by Other Music this Saturday, April 11, between 5 p.m. and 6:30 p.m., where you'll have the first chance to hear Alabama Shakes' forthcoming album, Sound & Color (out on April 21), in its entirety. We'll be taking pre-orders in the store that day for the CD and LP, and vinyl buyers will also get a limited bonus 7" while supplies last. We'll also have some cool band freebies to give away. Check the flyer to the left for more information on how to enter to win an Alabama Shakes Prize Pack!

ticket giveaways

WIN HAUSCHKA TICKETS

WEDNESDAY, APRIL 15

Le Poisson Rouge: 158 Bleecker St. NYC

From Haschka's acclaimed prepared-piano pieces to his forays mixing classical music with ambient pop, this celebrated German avant-composer's output is always enthralling. On Wednesday, April 15, he'll be performing at Le Poisson Rouge, with experimentally minded Sontag Shogun and itsnotyouitsme also on this great bill, presented by PopGun. Email giveaway@othermusic.com for a chance to win a pair of tickets! 
 


WIN SQUAREPUSHER TICKETS

SUNDAY, APRIL 19

Webster Hall: 125 E. 11th Street NYC 

Squarepusher returns to New York City on Sunday, April 19, performing at Webster Hall, celebrating the release of his upcoming new album, Damogen Furies, which comes out the following Tuesday (4/21). Sure to be one of the most talked about electronic music performances of the year, Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets to the show. Email enter@othermusic.com for your chance to win!

this week's update

WAXAHATCHEE
Ivy Tripp
(Merge)

Katie Crutchfield has been fine tuning her sound under the Waxahatchee moniker for the past few years, and through a series of excellent albums she's firmly cemented her place in the "contemporary songwriters that matter" realm. And while it's no doubt Crutchfield's brand of deeply personal, empowering, feminist songwriting is somewhat indebted to favored artists of the past decade (see: Jenny Lewis, Mirah, Fiona Apple), it's very clear with her Merge Records-released Ivy Tripp that the overarching vision is entirely her own. Drawing from influences both mainstream and DIY, Crutchfield skirts the line between a bombastic rocker and heady, introspective lyrical philosopher with ease.

Opening with shimmering organ tones and feedback, "Breathless" is a great introduction to the thematic elements that follow on Ivy Tripp: self-doubt, loathing, frustration, lust, loss of friendship, love, etc. It's nothing new but Crutchfield's ability to effortlessly mine the depths of the human condition is not only remarkable, it's also visceral; you end up relating to every song. Tracks like "Under a Rock" and "Less Than" both take the role of emotional casualty -- during the former she shouts "Maybe I let on that I was interested in your brand of lonely/A book you cracked once and never read," atop a heavy guitar-driven cadence; the latter illustrates a man's experience with his shrinking masculinity, Crutchfield screaming, "You're less than me and I am nothing," over the song's mangled rhythms. The album is full of great playing and production with a rough-around-the-edges quality that owes as much to Flying Nun as it does '90s alternative radio. That said, Waxahatchee's modus operandi never sounds forced or worshippy; rather, Crutchfield & Co. churn weighty emotional topics into compact punk songs -- something she's been doing for years in various groups pre-dating this grandiose incarnation. It's safe to say that Ivy Tripp is an amazing, diverse record that only hints at the endless possibilities of the Waxahatchee project. [RN]

$12.99 CD ON SALE
$19.99 LP+MP3

FRED THOMAS
All Are Saved
(Polyvinyl)

Michigan native (and former OM employee) Fred Thomas has been in a lot of bands -- a lot of great bands actually. He's probably best known for Saturday Looks Good to Me, who flourished in the early 2000s, but he's played pivotal roles in groups like Lovesick, Flashpapr, City Center, Mighty Clouds and Swimsuit, and has been a key collaborator with artists like His Name Is Alive, Ian Svenonius, Calvin Johnson, and so many more. His extensive and diverse résumé is a window into Thomas' intense passion and omnivorous approach to music, chewing up influences from home-tapers to pop-punk to emo to pretty much anything honest, slightly subversive and real. This new solo outing might be my favorite thing he's ever done, a homespun, smart and personal record that takes a willfully DIY approach to beautiful, intimate pop music. Whether Thomas is singing about his beloved dog's death, stupid fucking cops, lost loves or getting a tooth pulled, this is thoughtful, insightful, sad and beautiful stuff. Similarly, from buzzing synth-noise and clattering percussion, to gorgeous reverb guitar and vocal harmonies, it all comes from his heart, and delivers a power punch to yours. [JM]
Stream album track "Bad Blood" on SoundCloud.

$13.99 CD
$16.99 LP


YOUNG FATHERS
White Men Are Black Men Too
(Big Dada)

Young Fathers were the dark horse in the 2014 Mercury Prize competition, but when Dead took home the top prize, this Scottish trio became an international concern, and they've spent the last year touring the world, and somehow still found the time to make a follow-up album in the process. According to the press notes, White Men Are Black Too was "recorded in a hotel room in Illinois, a rehearsal room in Melbourne, a freezing cellar in Berlin, a photographic studio in London and their normal hole in the ground basement in Edinburgh." Though I wouldn't say Young Fathers have ever been soft, they once felt like a sort of early TV on the Radio but with a more politically minded hip-hop bent. Here they go further into their unique aesthetic by constructing an album that dares you to categorize it at every turn, while simultaneously their style is becoming more fluid. Reflecting the white washing of hip-hop and R&B in recent years, White Men Are Black Too is Young Fathers' confrontational 'pop' record, the trio taking it upon themselves to move beyond the confining parameters of hip-hop and into indie territory that has yet to be conquered. However, this vision of 'pop' and 'indie' is still filled with in-your-face confrontation, rage, and distrust, as well as moments of sincere sympathy and deep spirit. They ask the question of what is hip-hop on a global scale? If your world isn't the streets of Compton, Brooklyn, or London, what story do you tell?

WMABMT answers that question with album opener "Still Running." It's a mix of strident piano, seesawing organ, searing and grinding guitar, galloping drums, tickling toy piano, and a chant/call-and-response delivery. This kind of jangling, unsettling vibe is present throughout, with a heavy mix of energetic vocals that pull from soul and blues, rap and punk, indie and outsider, post-punk and metal, and gospel and rock. Young Fathers morph these 'styles' into grounded, organic vibrations and words (sung and rapped) that feel fresh, urgent and original, with ideas and approaches that are really rare these days. Maybe like a mix of Micachu and Shabazz Palaces, they have created a sonic vocabulary that can absorb many elements: from bedroom Krautrock to chain-gang work songs. Young Fathers are really coming from a place we haven't seen before, or even heard from. The three members share roots in Liberia, Nigeria, and Scotland and their music sounds worldly and universal, organic and hurting. These non-American voices comment on the world from an area that before now seemed voiceless. From Drake and Action Bronson to Death Grips and Run the Jewels, hip-hop can be many things, but Young Fathers really have nothing do with any of it, and are proving themselves to be all the better for it.

This is political music more than anything else and it comes across throughout with a mix of tribal percussion, noise textures, junkyard band assemblage and song titles like "Sirens," "John Doe," "Liberated" and "Old Rock n Roll." They have a keen perspective, done some soul searching, asked some hard questions, and come up with deep-feeling results. This is without a doubt recommended if you like some Afro-punk in your hip-hop still kinda angry but definitely not angular. [DG]

$15.99 CD
$25.99 LP+MP3

TORO Y MOI
What For?
(Carpark)

What For?, the fourth solo LP from Chaz Bundick's eternally chill Toro Y Moi, tones down the electronics a few notches, and turns up the rawer instrumentation that has always buzzed at the core of Bundick's music. Featuring guest appearances from Julian Lynch and Unknown Mortal Orchestra's Ruban Nielson, What For? continues to circumscribe classic Toro funk with the core elements of dream pop, employing many of the materials that Brian Wilson, and '70s soul artists like Stevie Wonder and Marvin Gaye, often toyed with, but undoubtedly in a new context. Regardless of its heavier guitar and fuzz bass, the album is not too much of a departure at all from his typical pieces -- glistening positivity and sunny melodies exude from the album's smooth crevasses. And the wobbliest synth-bass I've ever heard pervades here, which proves never a bad trick. All in all, it's about as pleasant funk as you'll find nowadays, no more, no less. The search for an album filled with decadent summer pop ends not with an answer but a question: What For? [MM]

$13.99 CD


KELELA
Cut 4 Me
(Fade to Mind)

Originally released online, the debut collection of songs from Maryland-raised, L.A. native Kelela Mizanekristos, was/is considered one of the best mix-tapes of 2013, and now we finally see the physical version of Cut 4 Me. Beginning with the impetuous to create something like UK garage and grime remixes of American R&B, Kelela met the Fade to Mind/Night Slugs crew of producers and established a working relationship. During her time and experience digesting and deciphering their brand of cyber sounds, she began tightening her ability to ride their video game bleeps, synthetic sonics, futuristic funk, and often quite seductive rhythm with ease and assurance, frequently accompanying them live during DJ sets. The first vocalist to be fully embraced by this family of imaginative beat makers, her voice, delivery, style, and approach was a perfect fit.

The two labels have established an original and vibrant discography, with tracks that take their influences from '70s horror and sci-fi film scores, '80s boogie, '90s R&B and trip-hop, '00s trap, footwork, ballroom, and bass, with '10s minimalistic grime attitude. Mainly produced by Fade to Mind founder Kingdom, with pairs of songs by Jam City, Nguzunguzu, Girl Unit, NA, Morri$, and Night Slugs label head Bok Bok, together they create a world of sound that feels fresh and inviting yet agitated, alien, and tweaked in all the right places. Overall these soulful songs are catchy enough to give it equal possibilities for dance-floor fodder, bedroom seduction, or midday traffic jam sing-alongs. Throughout the 13 cuts, Kelela sculpts an album of solid new-school R&B, bringing to mind the futuristic bent of Aaliyah, Brandy's sweetness, or Amel Larrieux's jazzy realness, yet it's all weird enough and molded for the club generation. There are lots of great tracks on the album, and having had a good length of time with it, Cut 4 Me has become one of those records I keep coming back to. Unlike many of the disposable divas of late, Kelela has found her niche and is an integral part of the process.

If you thought that Mary J. Blige's London Sessions hang out with Disclosure was groundbreaking, Kelela takes that formula into the cosmos, and she did it first. She's helping to bridge the gap between the griminess of the UK and US underground with the accessibility of American soul in a much more adventurous and natural way than most. Fans of Little Dragon, Jessy Lanza, Cooly G, Cassie, or just the pairing of a good and original vocalist with boundary pushing-filled production, this was and still is one of the best examples. The deluxe physical edition comes with nine remixes from most of the original producers as well as MikeQ, Rizzla, Neana, and Massacooramaan. [DG]

$16.99 DELUXE 2CD

ANNA CARAGNANO & DONATO DOZZY
Sintetizzatrice
(Spectrum Spools)

In recent years, Italian veteran producer Donato Dozzy has established a steady reputation with his distinctive brand of hypnotic techno accompanied by vintage synthesizer sounds. Highlights include the mighty collaboration with Neel on 2012's Voices from the Lake album and the brilliant Chris Madak reworkings via Donato Dozzy Plays Bee Mask a year later, both records on heavy rotation at Other Music upon their release. But it's on this new album with fellow Italian vocalist Anna Caragnano that Dozzy pushes his by now well-established aesthetic preoccupations into dazzling new territory.

Exclusively using the human voice as a building block for intricate examinations of this most primary of instruments, the album convinces through a steadily composed patchwork of sounds. Gone are Dozzy's immediately recognizable arpeggios and synthesized modulations. Instead, we are offered a suite of carefully crafted manipulations of Caragnano's fragile vocal utterances. The result is poetic, austere, and spellbinding throughout, landing on astonishing Italian space-folk ground mixed with a decisively kosmische R&B drive. The more rhythmic tracks of the album's second half, such as "Parola" and "Festa (A Mottola)," come closest to Dozzy's complexly layered techno pulsations. But it's on the record as a whole that the esteemed producer applies his impeccable sense of timing, as well as understanding of the ways in which the human voice can be interpreted and warped, to explore new, adventurous musical forms.

Sintetizzatrice is a decisively fresh and novel-sounding achievement for a producer who could have easily kept on repeating the same formula with great success. Continuing to take risks, Donato Dozzy collaborates with the most unusual roster of musicians, such as a debuting vocalist here, to create career-defining musical interludes. The album's only downside is its fairly short duration, but that shouldn't diminish the brilliance of these touchingly human, miniature processed chorales. [NVT]

$15.99 CD
$22.99 LP


APHEX TWIN
MARCHROMT30a Edit 2b 96
(Warp)

Richard D. James emerged from a lengthy artistic hiatus last year with Syro, a full-length that perhaps lacked the mischievousness of his early oeuvre, but nonetheless proved to be a master class in electronic music making -- call it Aphex for adults. While we were still catching our breath he quickly followed it up with an impressive EP, Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt2, a stylistic detour that actually fulfilled the promise of the title.

For the fan who wasn't enough of a completist and neglected to seek out a Japanese CD version of Syro, here is the first vinyl release of "MARCHROMT30a Edit 2b 96," the sole bonus track on that region-specific disc. It's a squishy, slab of electro-boogie that fits in with Syro's funhouse vibe. It won't scare the pants off of you like "Ventolin," but there are enough textural transitions to keep listeners giddily agitated. The flipside, "XMAS_EVET1 N," is an edit of one of the highlights from Syro, "XMAS_EVET10 (Thanaton3 Mix)." (Is Autechre lending him song titles?) Truncated to half of its initial 10-minute run time, this track is exactly half as good as its original. There's also a sped-up mix of "MARCHROMT" which amps up the weird factor by a few notches. Worth one's time for those seeking a side helping of Syro. [KV]

$12.99 12"


THE MOUNTAIN GOATS
Beat the Champ
(Merge)

Everyone knows John Darnielle is a literary songwriter -- I mean, he had a New York Times best seller last year with his debut novel -- so it's no surprise to find his long-running band, the Mountain Goats, exploring some heady themes. Beat the Champ has a simple conceit; its 13 tracks are about the pre-WWF pro wrestling circuit Darnielle grew up obsessed with. There are songs that speak to his own youthful passion as a fan, but mostly the record tells the small details and imagined back stories of the hardscrabble men who used to travel the country portraying the black and white ideals of good and evil for throngs of small-town kids hopped up on hot dogs and Coke, basking in the roar of the crowd, grabbing a few bucks, and then catching the last bus to the next town. Musically, the Mountain Goats have settled into a trio format of late, with Peter Hughes and Jon Wurster providing rock-solid backup to Darnielle's heavy acoustic strum, embellished occasionally with horns, pedal steel, or other flashes of color. But the real focus here is on the lyrics, and though there are no standout singles, there are legions of quotable lines, and more than anything, we feel the intense personal passion Darnielle has for his subjects. [JM]

$13.99 CD ON SALE
$23.99 2LP+MP3
$31.99 2LP DELUXE


WAND
Golem
(In the Red)

Heavy rippers Wand turn in another deeply satisfying set of scorched guitar anthems and hypnotic psych with Golem. Their first release for In the Red, the Los Angeles-based group avoid the easy categorization of 'garage band' and instead tread somewhere closer to the otherworldly sonic palette of names like Sleep, Dinosaur Jr., Comets on Fire and even the Jesus and Mary Chain, with plenty of overdriven guitars and swirling vocals amongst a dense cloud of smoky atmosphere. Running with the Ty Segall crew, Wand's sound pays tribute to the past with eyes fixed towards the future, expanding the parameters of the plain ol' psych-rock sound with screeching electronic noise filling up every inch of your speakers. In fact, the production is a big part of what makes this record so special, and lots of Golem sounds like there are maybe 15 different guitar, vocal, and noise tracks coalescing into a fog of deep and heavy grooves. Cuts like "Reaper Invert" have a driving melodic Tame Impala-esque sensibility with low-end Moog synthesizer, and others, like "Floating Head," are pure punk-rock energy. One of the best heavy rock records so far this year! [RN]

$14.99 CD
$16.99 LP


VARIOUS ARTISTS
Sherwood at the Controls, Volume 1 1979-1984
(On-U Sound)

Somewhere near the intersection of dub, post-punk, industrial, found sound, assemblage, reggae, and rock lives the work of Adrian Sherwood. An innovator of modern music, his productions and taste helped shaped a generation of British artists coming out of the disintegration of punk's first wave, with a sound seeming to exist in the barren wastelands. Through the years he's started several important labels, namely Pressure Sounds, GreenTea, Carib Gems, Sound Boy, HitRun, and the one that paved the way, On-U Sound. During the '80s his production work and output for that label was a self-contained universe that took dub as its foundation and fused it with everything from free jazz and roots reggae, to techno, hip-hop, and more, resulting in a wide-ranging yet tight-knit collective. He surrounded himself with a crew of likeminded sound adventurers like Mark Stewart, Prince Far I, Lee Perry, and Anne Anxiety. Sherwood's reputation as a producer and remixer grew, and he often found himself grouped alongside Bill Laswell or Dennis Bovell. With a strong and often uncompromising attitude, he was able to thrive in the very British world where post-punk and dub coexisted.

Sherwood at the Controls is a long-overdue collection that serves as a perfect entry point for discovering the wealth of Sherwood's early classic production work, circa 1979-1984. Included are tracks from his On-U Sound stable: Mark Stewart & the Mafia, African Head Charge, Voice of Authority ft. Congo Ashanti Roy, and one of my favorites of his projects, Singers & Players. His post-punk productions are showcased with selections from the Fall, Slits, Medium Medium, Maximum Joy, and Vivien Goldman. I've always had a love for Sherwood's slightly quirky yet heavy mix of genres and sounds, and in his prime the sky seemed to be the limit, with his imagination running wild. Consider these important roots of modern music, as the vibe of On-U Sound was heavy, dark and earthy, and the use of editing, reverb, delay, filters, and phasers was as valuable as the instrumentals and voices themselves. If you don't know Adrian Sherwood's name aside from his recent collaborative release with Pinch, then you've got some listening to do. Sherwood is one of those true talents who is sometimes taken for granted and underappreciated as the years roll by. If you like any of the above-mentioned names, as well as dub and industrial-centric sound creators like Brian Eno, Scientist, Richard H. Kirk, Mad Professor, or Trent Reznor, Sherwood is definitely an original sitting in the same row. [DG]

$15.99 CD
$25.99 2LP


EXPLORING JEZEBEL
On a Business Trip to London
(Blackest Ever Black)

Dominick Fernow (Prurient, Vatican Shadow, Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement, et al.) returns to his Exploring Jezebel alias with On a Business Trip to London, issued on the consistently compelling Blackest Ever Black imprint. Inside this provocatively packaged release, Fernow employs noise, industrial soundscapes, dark ambience and techno to explore sexual power dynamics and deviance. The experimental music here is more than capable of holding its own weight, yet Fernow takes extra steps to antagonize/contextualize. Collage-like vocal interludes waver between narrative and found sound to animate the record's loosely defined characters, giving them voices, intentions and desires that frame and provide context to his sonic sketches and vignettes. Transcendently so bad they're good, song titles add an additional narrative arc, both expanding upon and reinforcing the theme of dominance/submission/deviance. A niche release on an already outsider label, On a Business Trip to London is an appealing fun house of depravity, fraught with particularly dark humor that adds wrinkles of camp and seediness to the already ominous and dreary Blackest Ever Black universe. Which is to say, this record, like its subject material, isn't for everyone, but it's a fun ride for the right listeners. [BB]

$29.99 LP


COLLEEN
Captain of None
(Thrill Jockey)

Her sixth long player, the first one released by the esteemed Thrill Jockey label, sees French pop experimentalist Cecile Schott steadily moving away from her earlier, much-celebrated mixture of acoustic folk and mostly sample-based electronics. Following the intimate, song-driven path she started exploring on 2013's The Weighing of the Heart, this new album finds her excavating the rather unusual dub-possibilities of her current instrument of choice, the viola de gamba. A cello-like string instrument mostly known from renaissance music, Schott's approach is unconventional, stretching out its sounds with echo, reverb, and delay before looping them over themselves.

The result is highly personal yet approachable music, not so much an experimental dub record as a twisted pop statement. Although Schott's voice is the least convincing aspect of this newly established direction, overall, she is as seductive and mysterious as ever. "This Hammer Breaks" might be a highlight of her recording career, its juxtaposition of soft, dreamy vocals with trance-like looped hand drums that bring to mind West African folk and dance traditions reaches an ecstatic high before dissolving into whizzing electronics. Not as genre defining as her earlier statements, Captain of None nevertheless finds Colleen searching for new, contemplative heights. [NVT]

$16.99 CD
$19.99 LP


SHLOHMO
Dark Red
(True Panther)

The L.A. beat scene soldiers on. Perhaps it's because music journalists never came up with a snappier sobriquet for it -- let's face it, "abstract, instrumental hip-hop" doesn't exactly glide off the tongue. And while that Steven Ellison guy keeps churning out quality records, the genre has otherwise remained shadowy enough to elude overexposure, which brings us to Henry Laufer. This L.A. producer who goes by the name Shlohmo hasn't released too many full-length albums. His latest, Dark Red, is his first "official" long-player in four years, but in that period he's remained active with several singles, remixes and compilations.

It would seem that lurking just out of the limelight suits Shlohmo just fine. Dark Red, as you may have surmised from the title, is a bit of a gloomy affair. (His last LP was called Bad Vibes.) Suffice to say that this guy doesn't compose feel-good anthems. The cover art is black with a black rose, and the song titles, inscribed in gothic text no less, are akin to something one would find on a metal record ("Remains," "Ditch," "Apathy") -- scary stuff, eh kids? Fortunately, there is enough freshness on Dark Red to cut through the fog, and I suspect that Laufer is really just having a little bit of fun melding and subverting genres; several tracks flirt with drill or drum & bass, but there's an awful lot of plaintive guitar throughout the disc. "Buried" starts out sounding like an intro to a Metallica song and then segues into something closer to Yellow Magic Orchestra, while "Beams" resembles a John Carpenter soundtrack remixed by Squarepusher. Overall, Dark Red upholds the beat-tape aesthetic -- plenty of hiss, and fun with filters. Best of all, you can still dance if you want to. No need to be afraid of the dark here. [KV]

$13.99 CD
$23.99 2LP


JEAN-PIERRE DECERF
Space Oddities 1975-1979
(Born Bad)

Jean-Pierre Decerf is best known among collectors for his particular brand of 'sound library' music which he composed and recorded in Paris from the early 1970s to mid '80s. Much of the music was space-themed (read: albums titled Keys of Future, Pulsations, etc.), and utilized plenty of analog electronic instruments, occasionally peppered with vocals and guitar flourishes. Now, thanks to Born Bad, we have a cherry-picked collection of tunes from these LPs as well as other deep rarities from this electro savant. Opener "Surrounding Seas" has a heady ocean-like cadence to its eerily building synth refrain, while tracks like "Blazing Skyline" and "Black Safari" have a rugged funk backbeat and soaring Moog melody, approximating some twangy, synth-laden cinematic theme (the latter includes some seriously tweaked animal sounds as well). This collection is solid and should definitely appeal to fans of the Cosmic Machine compilation, as well as the pulsating disco of Patrick Cowley, and revivalists of French-inflected space funk like Air or Glass Candy. Recommended. [RN]
Stream album track "Surrounding Seas" on SoundCloud.

$15.99 CD


DANIELE CIULLINI
Domestic Exile (Collected Works 1982-86)
(Ecstatic)

A totally essential primitive transmission from the Italian no wave DIY scene of the early '80s, and one of the stand-out artists on the excellent Mutazione compilation of dark wave obscurities, Daniele Ciullini is now seeing proper reissue via Ecstatic and Kompakt. This limited vinyl version collects Ciullini's self-released Domestic Exile cassette from 1983 as well as other crunchy synth obscurities. By using tons of analogue gear (Boss DR-55, Roland TR-606, Roland TB-303, Fender Stratocaster electric guitar, Yamaha CS-5, EMS Synthi AKS, Casio VL-1, Teac A-103 tape deck, Pioneer MA-62 mixer, Akai DS MK2 tape machine) as well as a conceptual model that infused visual aesthetics into his collage-like music, Ciullini aligned himself with the industrial music scene as well as mail-art pioneers and experimental performance artists. The sound is raw and ominous and if you imagine a more minimal, beat-minded M.B. or even something as wholly 'other' as Rodion G.A., then we're approaching the general mutated vibe of this release. Tracks like "Marbles in the Garden" and "Silence" are serious proto-techno workouts with echo-blasted drum patterns, while others like "Soft Marble" hint at a more minimal approach, with gloomy guitars approximating Cleaners from Venus or a lo-fi Durutti Column. [RN]

$22.99 LP


LAPALUX
Lustmore
(Brainfeeder)

Stuart Howard a/k/a Lapalux unveils his sophomore album for Flying Lotus' Brainfeeder imprint. Like his 2013 debut, Nostalchic, this new offering is a gooey and seductive journey in new-school electronic lounge. As a producer, Howard has a laid-back, reflective approach, with fine-tuned beats and manicured synths that create imaginary soundtracks of emotion and melody. Lustmore is to be thought of as a reflection of the hypnagogic state, between waking and dreaming, as well as a relationship in flux, and that does come through -- though it feels closer to the sleep side of the equation. Beginning with the soothing voice of Andreya Triana (Flying Lost, Bonobo), they set a scene that moves between vocals (sung and chopped) and instrumentals (from breezy to dizzy). Howard's production skills have sharpened somewhat, presenting a more visual approach to his track construction and overall arrangements, rather than going for the typical R&B banger. He weaves cinematic textures of synthetic sounds into a visual sonic landscape that captures the atmosphere of a would-be bar scene. Yet this is not a party and bullshit atmosphere; it's the woozy and heady, bright lights, seeing double, loopy moments right before you black out or make out.

Like label mates Teebs or Daedelus, the Lapalux world is relaxed and blissful, a sunny and pastoral field of color, yet unlike the California producers, it feels soaked in late-night European nightlife. That said, Howard fits right in with the seductive, emotionally digital world that the label is known for. Here he moves away from static and wonky beat bangers and is starting to come across as a proper songwriter. Like some of his label mates, however, the overall vibe is a bit like digital wallpaper with an endless palette of Pantone color options just a click away. It's pretty to look at yet ultimately just a nice colorfield, without much depth. Recommended for those that like some downtempo soul in their electronica, and some pristine glitches in their digital slow jams. Howard is still living up to his moniker's hidden meaning, "Lap of luxury," and Lustmore feels like a reflecting, reclining, chilling night in. [DG]

$15.99 CD
$29.99 3LP


EAST INDIA YOUTH
Culture of Volume
(XL Recordings)

William Doyle a/k/a East India Youth follows-up his acclaimed 2014 debut, Total Strife Forever, with an even more glistening set that finds a new home on indie powerhouse XL Recordings. Doyle's buoyant pop draws clear inspiration from Berlin-era Bowie as well as the radio-friendly work of '80s synth purveyors like Ultravox, OMD and even Pet Shop Boys, while updating these influences with grandiose arrangements and a digital sheen. Although more accessible than its predecessor, there's still a wide-eyed sense of exploration guiding Culture of Volume, from the cascading waves of synths of the instrumental album opener, "Juddering," to the woozy dance-floor electronica of "Hearts That Never" to the anthemic pop of "Turn Away." Doyle's high, emotive croon is never overshadowed, however, and is always delivered with a dramatic flair that's one part Neil Tennant and one part Scott Walker. [GH]
Check out the video for "Carousel" on YouTube.

$14.99 CD
$21.99 2LP


PROMISE
Promise
(Got Kinda Lost)

A lost slice of deep Beatlemania out of the slightly unlikely environs of late-'70s/early-'80s Boulder, Colorado, Promise's self-titled, self-released LP is given new life via the Got Kinda Lost label. Power-pop aficionados will definitely want to scoop this one up; it's full of McCartney-esque melodies, bright and jangly guitars, and vocal harmonies lifted straight off of Rubber Soul. While not quite up to (very high) standards of fellow Fab Four worshippers such as Emitt Rhodes or Big Star, it's still a great listen overall, as Promise brings just the right amount of garage-y energy to a tried-and-true formula. [TW]

$17.99 CD
$26.99 LP


SERGEI TCHEREPNIN
Quasars ⇔ Lanterns
(Distributed Objects)

Sergei Tcherepnin’s Quasar ⇔ Lanterns was originally produced in 2009 as an 8-channel installation with Ei Arakawa at Künstlerhaus Stuttgart. Remixed to stereo for this release, Tcherepnin’s trio of works combine analog synthesizer recordings and other instrumental sources with field recordings captured during the artists’ travels to Turkey and Georgia. Each piece introduces a separate facet of Tcherepnin’s compositional practice, respectively probing the boundaries between perception/hallucination, active/passive listening, and form/fiction. In the first piece, titled "Death (Quasar)," recordings of an acoustic bass played by Adam Linson function as “sound meteors,” creating fissures and tears as they rip through a stable yet shifting aural field. "Sky" follows with a series of clear and high ear tones, unfolding as a succession of subtle sonic events. The final piece "Horse" explores the rhythmic and textural qualities of recorded horse hooves moving across stone, assembling the sounds into a sonic fiction in which horses and their riders leave the earth via flying carpets (objects referenced in the original installation). Limited edition of 500, hand-numbered.

$27.99 2LP


SABISHA FRIEDBERG WITH PETER EDWARDS
The Hant Variance
(Distributed Objects)

Sabisha Friedberg’s double LP The Hant Variance was recorded at EMPAC with Peter Edwards in a custom-tuned environment using advanced multi-channel recording techniques to capture a configuration of spatialized sound sources. Combining granular synthesis, analogue synthesizers, tone oscillators and field recordings, the composition is comprised of three movements. The low-end bass, which was recorded live with a subwoofer configuration that allowed for rapid directional shifts, serves as a sonic armature for the piece. Sustained pure tones shift minimally and the allocation of sound engenders a sense of aural disorientation. This landscape, with the premise of summoning a new phantom or haunted sonic space, exists in an interstitial, albeit present zone. Limited edition of 500, hand-numbered.

$27.99 2LP

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