Seattle promoter/DJ Dan Dagen (aka Spirals) doesn't book many shows, but when he does, he always lures the kind of deep talent that few of his counterparts have the knowledge or sheer nerve to showcase. His latest endeavor finds him bringing Minneapolis's Silent Servant (aka Jasper, Juan Mendez), who records for the esteemed Sandwell District and Historia y Violencia labels.

Silent Servant's music treads stealthily down stark alleys similarly haunted by artists who've recorded for the Basic Channel and Downward imprints. His tracks can tranquilly waver in ambient fugues or throb with a cumulative, mantric power. No matter in which style he's working, Silent Servant imbues his productions with a stoic vitality and a fascinatingly varied textural palette that suggest a rigorous intelligence behind the knobs. Don't miss this rare Silent Servant performance.

Charanjit Singh is that scarcest of things: a sui generis musician. He's got the acid-house/raga fusion field all to himself (as far as we know). His 1982 LP Ten Ragas to a Disco Beat (reissued in June by Bombay Connection) predated Chicago acid house by about five years, while updating traditional Indian music with that era's state-of-the-art Roland synthesizers.

The results could sound gimmicky (and there is something of a novelty effect to these compositions), but ultimately these newfangled ragas are more enchanting and mesmerizing than anything. Singh's beats—which move swiftly and metronomically—aren't that interesting, but what happens over them is floridly fascinating: serpentine melodies undulating and fibrillating madly and in strange timbres, as synthetic tambouras, santoors, veenas, shehnais, and flutes replicate their analogue counterparts in tones just off enough to irk purists.

When the blogosphere started buzzing about Ten Ragas, I suspected that a contemporary producer may have cut it as a prank (cue obligatory "It must be Richard D. James trying to pull a fast one" accusation). But the CD's accompanying 14-page booklet convinced me that the album is legit. This is perhaps the most interesting novelty LP ever released.

While not as novel as Ten Ragas, Matthew Dear's Black City (Ghostly International) further hones his exploration into the sparsely populated zone where anti-torch songcraft meets downtempo minimal techno. His deep, lugubrious voice evokes Bill Callahan's creepily louche deadpan, which complements Dear's sexily sluggish tracks, including "You Put a Smell on Me," which massages the Normal's ill autoerotic fantasy "Warm Leatherette" into even more smoldering salaciousness. If Serge Gainsbourg were alive now, he might be making records as heavy-lidded, libidinous, and sleekly modern as Black City. recommended

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