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October 30, 2014

special announcement

XYLOURIS WHITE LIVE AT BERG'N

THURSDAY, NOV. 6 @ 8PM

Berg'n: 899 Bergen St. Crown Heights, BKLN (Btwn Franklin and Classon)
Take 2/3 or C to Franklin Ave
Facebook Event Invite

Hot off the trails of a week touring on the West Coast, Other Music recording artist Xylouris White (the duo of Dirty Three's Jim White and acclaimed Cretan folk musician George Xylouris) will perform an intimate set in the back room of Berg'n, the new beer hall owned and operated by Brooklyn Flea/Smorgasburg on Thursday, November 6th. Space is limited and tickets are only available at the door so coming early is recommended -- as is grabbing a Ramen Burger!


DJ'N AT BERG'N

SATURDAYS @ 9:00 PM

Berg'n: 899 Bergen St. Brooklyn
Facebook Event Invite

We also hope you will join us this weekend for the new Saturday night DJ'n at Berg'n series. Fresh from a two-month tour with Cut Chemist and DJ Shadow, Edan will be spinning his favorite tunes along with Other Music's own Amanda Colbenson. It all gets underway at 9pm! And keep your eyes on the Berg'n calendar -- upcoming guest DJs will include Other Music's own Ryan Naideau, Clay Wilson, and Gerald Hammill.

in this week's update

FEATURED NEW RELEASES

Run the Jewels
Grouper
Claude Lombard
I'm Just Like You: Sly Stone's Flower
Can (3 LP Reissues)

ALSO AVAILABLE

Boards of Canada
Lily & Madeleine
This Ain't No Mouse Music (Various)
Wire (Issue #369)
Fern Jones (Now on LP)
Drexciya (Now on CD)

announcements

WIN MAC DEMARCO TICKETS

TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 4

Terminal 5: 610 W. 56th St. NYC

The one and only Mac DeMarco is playing Terminal 5 this Tuesday, a concert that you can imagine has been long sold out. Other Music Update readers who missed out still have a chance at tickets, as we're giving away a pair to the show, which also features Connan Mockasin and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard as openers. Email tickets@othermusic.com for your chance to win!
 


DEAN BLUNT TICKET GIVE AWAY

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6

The Studio at Webster Hall: 125 E. 11th St. NYC

Although Dean Blunt and Inga Copeland may have dissolved their working relationship last year, both have continued to push musical boundaries in their own singular fashion, albeit separately, and next week sees the very anticipated arrival of Dean Blunt's Rough Trade debut, Black Metal. Other Music and Webster Hall are presenting a special album release show on Thursday, November 6, with Dean Blunt, along with Gobby and Loren Connors at the Studio at Webster Hall. We're giving away a pair of tickets to this great night, and you can enter for your chance to win by emailing enter@othermusic.com.


WIN TICKETS: BEMF PRE-PARTY AT THE BUNKER

THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 6

The Bunker at Output: 74 Wythe Ave. Williamsburg, BKLN

Next Thursday, the Bunker are hosting the Brooklyn Electronic Music Festival Pre-Party at Output featuring sets from Reagenz (a/k/a Move D and Spacetime Continuum), Forma (live), Move D, and Bryan Kasenic, while Pangaea and Mike Servito will be spinning in the adjacent Panther Room. Other Music is giving away a pair of tickets, so email giveaway@othermusic.com for your chance to win!
 

this week's update

RUN THE JEWELS
2
(Mass Appeal)

Heavy, dark and menacing while still deeply melodic and musical, hard-as-fuck without being thuggish or simply boneheaded, the new full-length from El-P and Killer Mike's Run the Jewels project is full of the best sort of contradictions, none more amazing than the fact that these left-of-center, thoroughly original rap game veterans have delivered a genuine hit record, and one of the best new hip-hop albums we've heard in some time. El-P has been producing tracks for Mike for a few years now, but their true collaboration as Run the Jewels (started as a low-stress and fun side-project and festival act) feels like the perfect outlet for both of these strong personalities. As much as El-P's booming, low-slung production perfectly suits Mike's dizzying flow, as rappers both El-P and Mike can be smart, deeply lyrical and pretty much mesmerizing when they are at their best -- and they are both at career best throughout Run the Jewels 2. The debut RTJ LP was a fun and thoroughly satisfying record, but it felt closer to a mixtape or victory lap for these busy artists, a fun few weeks in the studio -- this one is a proper album, deep and well-thought from beginning to end, brawny, banging and truly a new classic!

Hip-hop is pop music these days, and as such, we all take it for granted that we will be force-fed the blandest, lowest-common-denominator bullshit, but this record proves once again that talent and perseverance can break through -- the album was leaked late last week, and stores started selling it over the weekend, in advance of the official release date; based on just two days sales, RTJ2 cracked the Billboard top 100, and it feels like just the beginning for this awesome record. Get it, crank it, love it, Run the Jewels 2 will not disappoint. [JM]

$12.99 CD

GROUPER
Ruins
(Kranky)

With most of my favorite music, I can listen almost any time of day or in any situation. Grouper, however, is one of the exceptions; the intimacy of her records is something that I really can only take in by myself, preferably when it's cold outside and the sky is gray, and even better with lights dimmed and eyes closed. Over the past decade we've seen the cavernous ambience of Liz Harris' earliest work come into a more tangible, albeit still spectral song form, her third album, 2008's magnificent Dragging a Dead Deer Up a Hill, establishing Grouper as a truly original artist, operating on her own terms. While her assemblage has been easy to pinpoint -- simple strums of guitar, drones, and perhaps a little piano all enshrouded in a fog of hiss and reverb for Harris to sing her fragile melodies through -- the results are devastatingly beautiful. Continuing to mine her archives for powerful new music -- 2012's The Man Who Died in His Boat was made at the same time as Dragging, and this new one was tracked in 2011 during an artist retreat in Portugal -- Ruins upends much of Harris' usual approach, but without changing the overall essence of Grouper. Opening with nothing more than the distant sound of a slow-pounding drum and the eerie thrum of frogs and cicadas, the listener is tipped off to what is going to be a truly immersive experience, the kind that only Grouper is capable of creating. After 90-or-so seconds, this nocturnal din is abruptly interrupted by the sudden appearance of piano and Harris' breathy voice, and it's here with "Clearing" that the tone of the rest of the album is set.

Mostly recorded on a four-track, alone with her thoughts on the unspoiled coast of Portugal, this is her sparsest outing to date -- a majority of the songs eschew instrumental overdubs, just Harris' voice and the gentle melodic lull of an upright piano, with occasional and sometimes unplanned background noises acting as incidental accompaniment and segues. The jarring beep from a microwave oven at the end of "Labyrinth" is enough to break the music's melancholic spell, lest the listener float off into the ether, before being pulled back in by the croaks of (more) frogs that lead into "Lighthouse." Like the album title and cover suggest, the decay of objects, relationships and life itself seems to be the prevalent theme of Ruins, yet the heavy sense of resignation throughout defies the weightlessness of the actual music. When Harris sings, "I have a present to give you, when we figure it out," during "Call Across Rooms," it sounds as if she's genuinely exhausted, her breathy voice almost cracking with her knowing that she'll be holding onto that present forever. It's not until the field recording of a thunderstorm which comes in at the end of the second to last track, "Holding," that the emotions begin to lift. The long acoustic, ambient drone that follows by way of the 11-and-a-half minute album finale, "Made of Air" (recorded in her mother's house back in 2004), brings Grouper back to the comfort of her earliest releases and for the listener, and perhaps Harris herself, the catharsis felt is very real. [GH]

$14.99 CD
$15.99 LP


CLAUDE LOMBARD
Claude Lombard
(MPLS)

While primarily known in Europe for a number of Eurovision Song Contest entries, a series of children's albums made throughout the 1970s, and a large body of work as a voiceover artist for animated films, the 1969 debut album by Belgian singer Claude Lombard is another matter entirely. She cut this record with a small beat jazz combo, released it in Belgium and France in miniscule editions, and took a sharp left turn into an entirely different career path.

That's a tragic shame, because Lombard's debut is an absolutely gorgeous, startling document of melancholic chanson psychedelia that staggeringly foreshadows the eerie, incorporeal sci-fi pop of Stereolab and, more specifically, early Broadcast by about 30 years -- in fact, about half of the album honestly sounds like some alternate universe where Françoise Hardy is singing the songs on Haha Sound or The Noise Made by People. The instrumentation throughout is primarily guitar, bass, piano and organ, and some of the most beautifully intricate drumming I've ever heard on record, but the secret weapon here is the copious usage throughout of the ondes martenot, an early electronic instrument similar in sonic tone to the theremin, used predominantly at the time in classical music (Olivier Messiaen was one of the instrument's biggest champions), and in recent years used heavily by the likes of Radiohead's Jonny Greenwood. The instrument adds a haunted, occultish spectrality to these already beautiful songs, and the results are simply breathtaking; "Sleep Well" in particular sounds like a French-language ancestor to Broadcast's "Echo's Answer," while the oscillations and skittering polyrhythms of "L'Usine" recall contemporaneous work made by the Silver Apples, and the type of jazz-meets-science lullabies that made Broadcast's Haha Sounds such a powerful record.

I'll be honest in admitting that I have an unshakable love for this album; my original Belgian pressing of this LP is one of my desert island, grab-it-in-a-fire records, and originals -- if you can find one -- will set you back triple-digit sums. It's a minor blessing then to have this reissue at a steal of a price, though it should be noted for historical buffs that the cover art has been changed and the album has been slightly re-sequenced. All the same, those of you who love vintage French pop, the kitchen-sink bedsit sci-fi of Broadcast, or ladies of vintage psychedelia are persuaded to grab this immediately. It's a truly special album, seemingly one of a kind, at times warmly familiar yet startlingly fresh. Absolute highest recommendation, folks. [IQ]

$12.99 LP

VARIOUS ARTISTS
I'm Just Like You - Sly Stone's Flower 1969-1970
(Light in the Attic)

Sly Stone's short-lived Stone Flower imprint, whose entire discography comprised four 7" singles distributed by Atlantic between 1969 and '71, serves as a potent reminder of just how vital his music of this period was, and also bridges the gap between his own sweet-sounding 1969 album Stand!, and the much darker 1970 classic There's a Riot Going On. With all tracks written and produced by Stone, the label was sort of a testing ground for his new ideas, which despite huge success, were rapidly moving away from the uplifting, soulful grooves of his earlier work, into something more spare and refined, and a lot heavier emotionally. The artists included were all part of the family in one way or another; Sly's sister Vaetta fronted the literally named Little Sister, and 6ix and Joe Hicks were both tied in pretty closely to the crew, musically and personally. Those three acts, plus Stone himself, make up this amazing set -- plus a crucial guest spot from the Maestro Rhythm King MRK-2 drum machine, which went on to form the synthetic beat on a number of Sly's later hits, and really introduced the concept of the drum machine to the pop world. With the four official Stone Flower singles, an earlier Stone production for Hicks that originally came out on Scepter, plus ten demos and unreleased cuts, and thorough and fascinating liners, including a new Stone interview, I'm Just Like You is everything a fan could hope for, and not to be missed. [JM]

$17.99 CD
$21.99 2LP

CAN
Landed
(Mute)

Mute Records unleashes the next wave of official vinyl reissues by influential German group Can, remastered from the original tapes and never sounding better! Up for grabs this time are some of their lesser-known later works; each of these records saw the band moving into more overtly funky territory and a more concerted attempt at a pop-inspired sound. With that being said, each of these albums still retain the powerful group dynamics and hive-mind experimental impulses that their so-called "classic" early LPs explored, only here they've been concentrated into sharper bursts of overt genre experimentation.

1975's Landed was Can's seventh album and the mark of a huge sonic shift for the band; it was their first LP to be recorded with an upgraded 16-track studio setup as opposed to their previous four-track, and has been described by the group as their "glam rock" album. While it doesn't exactly sound like the boys are aping T. Rex or the Spiders from Mars, that same stomping swagger DOES make its presence felt throughout each of these songs, with guitarist Michael Karoli handling much of the frontman duties throughout. It's not their most consistent album, but still stands as a key point in the Can's discography, transitional or not. [IQ]

$21.99 LP+MP3


CAN
Flow Motion
(Mute)

1976's Flow Motion is not only my personal favorite of the batch, but one of my favorite Can albums overall... it might even take the top spot. This record saw the band sharpening their pop focus, featuring hooks and melodies as strong and dexterous as their instrumental chops; it also features a uniquely Caribbean flavor throughout, displaying a clear lilt and sway influenced by reggae and French-Carib musics. The album is perhaps most remembered for its opening cut, the absolutely wicked disco-esque banger and bona fide UK chart hit "I Want More," which features a group vocal chant and some of the smoothest funk the band have ever produced. Yet while that track is a classic, it's by no means the only high point of the LP. The spliffed-out skanking bounce of "Cascade Waltz" and "Laugh Til You Cry, Live Til You Die" are the most overt cosmic reggae soul jams here, and keyboardist Irmin Schmidt takes the mic for the wicked loner-in-love lament, "Babylonian Pearl." Can also move into some darker and more experimental realms with the stunning Moroccan percussive workout "Smoke," and the epic, sprawling aquatic dub-psych title track, which closes out the album. Never again would the band find such a perfect balance between both halves of their creative dichotomy, ably balancing their concentrated efforts at accessibility with such forward-thinking sonic muscle. [IQ]

$21.99 LP+MP3


CAN
Saw Delight
(Mute)

The band's lineup had changed dramatically for 1977's Saw Delight, as Holger Czukay moved out of the bassist's seat fully, focusing more on tape manipulation, shortwave radio transmissions, and other sonic ambience that predates and foreshadows the type of sampling that Can's own records would later become fodder for amongst hip-hop artists and beatmakers. The group recruited bassist Rosko Gee and percussionist Rebop Kwaku Baah, both pinched from the band Traffic. The results move further into a smooth worldly ambient funk realm, but lacking the focus and sharp hooks displayed on Flow Motion. It's a great album, but perhaps not the strongest of this set of reissues, and foreshadows the coming follies of the Can's most reviled albums in their discography. [IQ]

$21.99 LP+MP3

also available

BOARDS OF CANADA
Hi Scores
(Skam)

On the heels of Warp's recent Boards of Canada reissue campaign and of course their long-awaited full-length return last year with Tomorrow's Harvest, Skam has just released this deluxe version of the Scottish electronic duo's seminal Hi Scores EP from 1996. Following '95's Twoism, BoC's second official release paved the way for their breakthrough Music Has a Right to Children which came two years later. Featuring six tracks of gorgeous, ambient-tinged electro floating on downtempo breakbeats and imbued with a tugging sense of nostalgia, EP highlights like Turquoise Hexagon Sun would be reprised on Music Has a Right, while the beguiling yearn of "Everything You Do Is a Balloon" is one of Boards' most beautiful works and "Nlogax," perhaps one of their funkiest. An essential release in the Boards of Canada discography, this new edition is re-recorded and re-mastered from the master DAT tape -- the LP is pressed on heavyweight vinyl and comes with a double-sided 12" poster, while the CD is housed in a Digi-Pak sleeve with additional and revised artwork, and stamped with Skam's signature Braille sticker.

$12.99 CD
$19.99 LP


LILY & MADELEINE
Fumes
(Asthmatic Kitty)

This young duo scored an unexpected YouTube hit with their sweet and sad close-harmonies on the Indiana sister's first original track, eventually being signed to Asthmatic Kitty for their well-received debut LP. A year later they are back, and while there is nothing really new here, that's not why you would love this band. A mellow folk-rock sound that comes off both effortlessly vintage and coolly modern, the girls sing beautifully together, as only sisters really can, and it's a great new batch of songs that proves they are much more than a flash in the pan.

$13.99 CD
$14.99 LP


VARIOUS ARTISTS
This Ain't No Mouse Music
(Arhoolie)

A double-disc companion to the recent documentary of the same name, about Arhoolie Records founder and producer Chris Strachwitz. Arhoolie is one of the classic American roots music imprints, started in 1960 by a German immigrant (Strachwitz) who had a passion for American blues and all the various ethnic variations, from zydeco to bluegrass to New Orleans jazz, norteño and the like. It's a great film and a top-notch collection, featuring artists like Big Mama Thornton, Ry Cooder, Lightning Hopkins, Mance Lipscomb, the Treme Brass Band, Fred McDowell, Big Joe Williams, Flaco Jimenez, Clifton Chenier, Lydia Mendoza, Los Alegres de Terán, the Pine Leaf Boys, Los Cenzontles, Santiago Jimenez Jr., Michael Doucet of BeauSoleil, George Lewis, Country Joe McDonald, and many more!

$22.99 2CD


WIRE
Issue #369 November 2014
(Wire)

November 2014 issue of Wire includes the magazine's much-loved Wire Tapper CD compilation (volume 36). The cover story features Newcastle singer and guitarist Richard Dawson, and also inside: German-born/Korea-based multi-instrumentalist and artist Alfred 23 Harth; The Primer featuring Autechre remixes; Invisible Jukebox with Cooly G; Toronto trumpeter Kenny Wheeler; LA-based sound design artist Katie Gately; Copenhagen improvisation collective Selvhenter; record reviews and much more.

$10.00 MG

now on lp

FERN JONES
The Glory Road
(Numero Group)

Originally released on CD in 2005 by the Numero Group and now available on double LP, The Glory Road reaches back to the late-1950s, highlighting the singular, soulful, and surprising rockabilly gospel hybrid that was Fern Jones. Jones was a poor young southern girl and a talented guitarist and singer in love with the pop of Bing Crosby and the Ink Spots, as well as the raw blues and R&B that was featured in the honky-tonks around El Dorado, AK, when at 16 she married a short-order cook named Raymond Jones. Ray soon heard the calling to preach, and Fern and Ray's lives would be forever changed as they heeded the Lord's call.

But as Ray pulled Fern from the roadhouse, Fern pulled him from the settled church-life, and implored him to take their message to the people on the Pentecostal tent-revival circuit. Their ambitions were modest, touring the south for years in small-time tent revivals, preaching and bringing the Lord's song to gatherings of a few hundred or maybe a few thousand souls. As Ray would rise at dawn to read the scriptures, he would often cross paths with Fern, just off to bed after a long night singing and strumming and laboriously writing original spirituals for her show. Fern recorded and self-released an album of mostly original tracks that the couple sold out of their trunk throughout the south. When Grand Old Opry star and ex-Louisiana governor Jimmie Davis had a hit with her "I Was There When It Happened" (Jones sold him the rights to the song, and in the custom of the time, he claimed half of the songwriting credit), and soon after Johnny Cash included the track on his debut Sun LP, it seemed that Fern's star was on the rise. The couple decided to give up the life of preaching, hoping they could make more of an impact with Fern's powerful songwriting and earthy, emotional and utterly laid-back singing style, and they settled in California to focus on her recording and touring career.

Fern released one sole "professional" album, Sing a Happy Song, on Dot Records in 1959, produced by Mac Wiseman (a veteran of Bill Monroe's band), and featuring the best of the Nashville studio scene, including Hank "Sugarfoot" Garland, Floyd Cramer, Joe Zinkan and Buddy Harman (all fresh from studio sessions with Elvis). The album, included here in its entirety, sounds as fresh and beautiful as a Sunday morning, but retains a raw emotion and love of life that speaks of Saturday nights. Of course this mix of country-gospel-rockabilly-blues, so fresh and honest to our ears today, likely was a shock to both gospel and pop fans at the time, and after several lonely tours on the theater circuit and typical label shenanigans and snafus, Fern Jones quietly retired from professional music. We have the Numero Group to thank for keeping her spirit and soul alive, and this excellent collection, featuring stunning originals as well as several wonderful traditional gospel numbers and soul-gospel treats, all done in the inimitable Fern Jones style, is great from start to finish. A welcome coda to a career that touched many lonely souls, but was perhaps too artistically pure to reach the mainstream. [JM]

$21.99 2LP

available on cd

DREXCIYA
Neptune's Lair
(Tresor)

Following the acclaimed success of Clone's excellent four-part Journey of the Deep Sea Dweller, which compiled and remastered the output of Drexciya recorded between 1992-98, Berlin's Tresor label reissues Neptune's Lair, the duo's iconic full-length masterpiece from 1999. One has to bear in mind that at the time of its initial release, pre fully blossoming internet age and subsequent information overload, almost close to nothing was known about the elusive, quasi-anonymous duo of James Stinson and Gerald Donnell. They had produced a number of obscure EPs for techno labels such as Underground Resistance, Shockwave, and Submerge and two full-lengths, the imaginative Kraftwerk tribute Elektroworld as Elecktroids and The Quest as Drexciya, the latter a compilation of tracks from the early EPs.

Their mythology shrouded in mystery, Stinson and Donnell provided no further information than the titles of their releases, which tell a suggestive story in their own -- Deep Sea Dweller, Bubble Metropolis, Aquatic Invasion, Molecular Enhancement, The Unknown Aquazone, The Journey Home, The Return of Drexciya, Uncharted. Listening to it now, those early recordings sound simultaneously futuristic and primitive, combining a sense of abrasive humor with an outspoken sense of melody. Sharp, with a dry, uncompromising sound, Drexciya not so much attacks the senses as infiltrates and occupies one's nervous system -- the effects, both on the dancefloor and at home, can be simultaneously thrilling and eerie.

Arguably Drexciya's most colorful record, Neptune's Lair's flow is impeccable, the duo really upping the game with simultaneously melancholic, mystic, and futuristic electro-funk that thoroughly nestles itself underneath your skin. More than any other Drexciya release, the live-playing element is emphasized here, with Stinson and Donnell exploring strictly blissful territory, combining analogue warmth with raw, improvised sounds. Highlights are plenty, and somewhat redundant to sum up, as it really is the album as a whole that offers a concise, defining statement about their alien underwater universe. The evocative titles of individual tracks contain indirect messages that further expand upon the Drexciya mythology, while the remarkable artwork by Abdul Naq suggests what it would look like as a physical place.

All in all, this album presents a defining statement for Detroit techno, which belongs in any self-respecting electronic music collection. Quite unexpectedly, the CD-version turns out to be the superior one, presenting twenty-one tracks to the LP's thirteen, and simply sounding incredibly eloquent and detailed. You know what to do!

$15.99 CD
$29.99 2LP

the big picture

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