Other Music ‘Incidents Out Of Context’

Incidents Out Of Context LP front cover
Incidents Out Of Context LP back cover
Incidents Out Of Context LP side 1
Other Music, 1975
American Gamelan, 1981

San Franciscan collective Other Music (1975-86) and their offspring, American Gamelan (1978-81), emerged from the local tradition of special tuning and self build instruments instigated by Harry Partch and Lou Harrison, and some members actually studied Gamelan at UC Berkeley in the 1970s with teachers Daniel Schmidt and Jody Diamond. Carola Anderson and partner Henry Rosenthal housed Other Music’s rehearsals in their South-of-Market district loft in San Francisco. The originality of Other Music was its flexible use of various special tuning systems such as Hungarian minor scale or Ancient Greek Ptolemaic scale, in addition to their signature scale of fourteen unequal intervals per octave. They published two LPs and contributed two more tracks to the Tellus #14 – Just Intonation cassette. Other Music member David B. Doty wrote a history of the band where some of my information and illustrations come from.

Incidents Out Of Context, Other Music’s second LP,  is a varied and accessible introduction to Just Intonation music. From exquisite duets to ensemble playing, the varied instrumentation, unusual sounds and the musicians’ perfect sense of timing captivate the listener. Thanks to the use of strong rhythm structures, electric guitar and Prophet V synthesizer, the music is sometimes closer to Tuxedomoon than Lou Harrison, yet Other Music definitely explores alternative tuning strategies. Track #5 The Spirit Is Willing, starts with Gipsy-like, hammered dulcimer notes, until unexpected, Gamelan-like keyboard sounds in special tuning send the track into another dimension. Unlike Wendy Carlos in her own Gamelan explorations, 1987’s Beauty in the Beast, the synthesizer in Other Music focuses more on timbre than rhythm programing. On tracks #3 & 4, It Is It Part One and Two, an electric, just intonation guitar solo reminds King Crimson’s Lark’s Tongue in Aspic.

I actually discovered this disc thanks to fellow blogger Sanity Muffins’ own post. I’m taking the liberty to offer my own rip and comments on this essential disc.

01 Compulsive Behavior (3:26)
02 Music With Too Many Parts (8:03)
03 It Is It, Part One (3:18)
04 It Is It, Part Two (3:07)
05 The Spirit Is Willing (8:09)
06 Incidents Out Of Context  (11:29)

Total time 37:30
LP released by Flying Fish, FF302, Chicago, 1983


1980 Prime Numbers, LP, Nth° (a subsidiary of Dumb Records)
1983 Incidents Out of Context, LP, Flying FIsh
1986 Shibboleth, incl. inTellus #14: Just Intonation
1986 Fake Greek Music, incl. inTellus #14: Just Intonation

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5 Responses to “Other Music ‘Incidents Out Of Context’”

  1. 1 Zepelim November 27, 2010 at 7:18 pm

    wow, this is great!


  2. 2 continuo November 29, 2010 at 10:21 pm

    A favorite. Glad you like it.

  3. 3 Daniel Urria (@gesticulator) August 31, 2011 at 12:12 pm

    Really enjoying this one. Thank you! Any recommendation in the same vein?

  4. 4 continuo August 31, 2011 at 12:15 pm

    Try another West Coast band, called Doll Parts.
    Thanks for your comment.

  5. 5 charlie January 16, 2013 at 10:20 am

    can you please re-up this? I owned this record until my junky friend stole it and sold it. It was one of my favorites. It was the only piece of vinyl I owned that I really treasured and felt was special. I would love to hear it again.

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