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