Other Music Curates For Ace Hotel New York

The people at Other Music are curating a collection of CDs and LPs for Ace Hotel New York. You can see them by the front desk, where they’re on sale along with old, cinematic, racy flipbooks and sharp, black pencils.

The artists featured in this inaugural set include Four Tet, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Spoon, and an assortment of Brazilian guitarists. Here are Other Music’s notes about some of them:

There Is Love in You marks a change in direction for Kieran Hebden’s work as Four Tet. The pulse of house and techno bubble underneath this outing, and playful yet carefully crafted layers of synth chimes, vocal snippets, and warm bass emerge. Throughout, he works with a larger palette for his colorful and at times splashy arrangements, moving like dance music, but possessing a depth and varied sonic awareness. Fans of Kompakt, FaltyDL, or new-schoolers like Joy Orbison and Sigha may be surprised at how well this one fits alongside.

As the primary songwriter and producer for IRM, Beck provides a much broader range of sounds, moods and styles for Charlotte Gainsbourg’s gentle melodies and spoken word than on 5:55. After several listens, you can’t help but wonder who got the better end of the deal — Beck for discovering his musical muse in the progeny of a man so influential to his work, or Charlotte herself, for finding a creative tour de force who has given a depth and range to her work that she hadn’t known thus far, and allowed her to truly come into her own as a musician, as she long ago did as an actress.

Spoon continues to minimize, emphasizing the empty spaces between instruments and notes as a means of raising the stakes and ramping up tension. Transference is a simple, unfussy indie album without the sheen and precision this band has become so well known for but closer in sound to their earliest albums. Repetition continues to be the group’s strong suit, with the typically melodic instruments often taking on a percussive quality and sticking to one note throughout a song while Daniel rasps poetic.

It takes someone as passionate and knowledgeable at Joel Stones, the owner of NYC’s own Tropicalia in Furs record shop, to put together a comp this good. The subject is Stones’ specialty, Brazilian psychedelia, from 1967-1976. The 16 tracks included on Brazilian Guitar Fuzz Bananas are a bit more fuzzed-out than freaked-out, more garage rock than Tropicalia weirdness, but these obscurities defy easy categorization, and they are all top-notch.

Bedroom disco princess Nite Jewel’s (a/k/a Ramona Gonzalez) Good Evening includes songs featured on her self-released My CD and her Italians Do It Better 12-inch, plus three new tunes and a cover of Roxy Music’s “Lover” to round it all out. New tracks like “Universal Mind,” with choral/aria background vocals, nail the ethereal, breakup, ’80s radio vibe. “Chimera” features a sweet marching-in-place beat and she really hits the Kate Bush notes in a nice way, particularly on the “EEEee’s.” What can we say, we’re lovin’ what she’s doin’.

What can we say about Betty Davis’ Is It Love or Desire? Self-produced, recorded with the same core band as on her classic Nasty Girl, it is every bit as intense and soulful as any of Davis’ best work, a heavy, grinding, howling album of sex, wine and deep, deep worries that fueled this iconoclast from the beginning, that made her spit blood and fire and ultimately marginalized her art for all these many years. If you love Betty
Davis, you need this record, and if you don’t know her, you need it too. For more than 30 years, it sat in silence. Now, it sings, and wails, and moans again.

The Mebusas’ Blood Brothers album from 1973 is a little more conventional but no less essential. Borrowing from all across the globe, the backbone here is American funk but the way the band incorporates psychedelic rock (some killer fuzzed out and trippy guitar shredding on here), Caribbean rhythms and traditional African sounds makes things interesting all the way. Cross-cultural jam of the week! SJOB Movement wins by a whisker but you probably need them both.

West Palm Beach quartet Surfer Blood creates some of the catchiest rock music around. Songs like “Floating Vibes,” with its rolling, distorted bass line and James Mercer-influenced vocals, will surely gives the Shins a run for their money, and “Swim” is a perfect slice of pop music guaranteed to lodge itself into the head of any music fan between the age of 16 and 46.

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