This has taken me a small forever to post, sorry. Post-holiday I was struck down by something icky (of the fever-chills-achy-head variety) and subsequently got way behind on things.
+ The Dance, Soul Force [ReRelease.net] This minimalist post-punk/funk group formed when former Model Citizens Steven Alexander and Eugenie Diserio set about to create a giddy yet cerebral dance band, urgently assimilating the polymorphic and polyglot rhythms of the city. Soul Jazz put their gleefully anarchic single “Do DaDa” on the first volume of New York Noise; now their first LP [from 1982], along with some fun extras, has been digitally re-released by NYC label ReRelease.net. Also available through Other Music Digital. For more background and music. try the group’s official MySpace page.
The Dance, “Looking for the World” (from Soul Force)
+ Pylon, Gyrate+ [DFA] I first read about Pylon in Roger Lyle Brown’s breezy, gossipy account of the Athens scene, Party Out of Bounds. Never having heard them, I formed a Pylon-in-my-head that sounded not that dissimilar to another group of vintage-attired non-musicians, the B52s. (In point of fact, the Dance sound more like the B52s than Pylon ever will.)
In actuality, however, Pylon don’t really sound like they were drinking the same wacky Kool-Aid as the beehived, extroverted Bs. Led by deceptively sweet-voiced, wide-eyed Vanessa Briscoe-Hay, Pylon’s sound was muscular, incisive, and, at times, cutting —as dubby and bass-heavy as the like-minded Gang of Four but far less politically-minded. Their sound was danceable, elastic and sharp; the group’s secret weapon (aside from their monstrous basslines) being Briscoe-Hay’s inimitable vocals, which can be unexpectedly fierce and almost cruel. (See the brutal “Feast on My Heart” for proof.) When she snarls, “We eat dub for breakfast,” boy do you believe her (and you’ll wish you had a better brand of corn flakes). As crystalline and perfect in 2008 as when it was first released in 1980. For concerts and updates, sign up at WeArePylon.
Pylon, “Stop It” (from Gyrate+)
+ Teiji Ito, Music for Maya [Tzadik] At this point it’s impossible for me to separate Ito’s delicate music from his wife Maya Deren’s balletic visuals. But this long-overdue compilation of Ito’s greatest works for film proves, once and for all, that his compositions stand on their own, and beautifully. (Even more astonishingly, the earliest composition here, the exquisite “The Very Eye of Night”, was recorded when Ito was just 17.) While Ito’s music is varied in its cultural influences, it never feels like pastiche; Ito is far too gifted —and thoughtful— for that.
+ Thierry Müller, Rare & Unreleased 1974-1984 [Fractal] Pioneering French electronica experimenter Thierry Müller has had a very busy year. A new album, Lena’s Life, appeared, and soon afterwards came this beautifully annotated collection of rarities, running the gamut from offhand solo pieces to unreleased group efforts, like the improvisatory, hallucinatory Arcane  —the icing on the cake being two heretofore unheard Ruth tracks, “Mescalito” and “Mon Pote.” (My love of Müller’s Ruth project knows no bounds, so two new songs was a big deal.)
Intent on pushing the boundaries of possibility with electronic music, Müller has more than earned his place on the legendary NWW list. His work is as far-reaching as that of Cabaret Voltaire, Chrome, and other early improv-noise pioneers. Don’t let any latent mistrust of French synth music keep you away from this.
Ruth, “Mon Pote” (Unreleased, 1978)