Connect with us
Other Music documentary review

Film

Other Music Celebrates Esotericism, Laments the End of an Era

Charting the last months of the legendary Other Music record store, this eponymous film laments the end of personalised recommendations.

I haven’t bought a physical CD in years, but independent record stores will always have a special place in my heart. As one of the only kids in my school who loved bands such as Neu!, Pavement, and The Fall, record stores such as Rough Trade in both Notting Hill and Brick Lane, or the endless, boutique stalls in Camden Market offered a place of sanctuary; a space where one doesn’t have to explain their love for so-called esoteric music, but can be surrounded by like-minded lovers with the same passions. 

Other Music, which ran from 1996 to 2016, before finally shuttering its store for good, was one such store: located in Manhattan, the legendary store offered a huge range of esoterica, limited releases, and imported vinyl from Europe. The eponymous film, filmed in the last months of the shop’s existence, shows us the huge selection of music available — stretching from Joao Gilberto to Vampire Weekend to Bill Gibson to Stockhausen — as well as the High Fidelity-like characters working there, possessing the kind of encyclopedic knowledge that simply cannot be replaced by a computer. Known far and wide, they even count celebrities like Benicio Del Toro and Depeche Mode’s Martin Gore among their customers. 

For these are not your usual store clerks. Self-described weirdos and music nerds, the loveable characters that populated Other Music functioned as both critics and retailers, helpfully guiding customers to something that they may never have picked by themselves. During today’s COVID-era, with online curation supplanting physical events almost completely for the near to far future, a film such as Other Music highlights the importance of these in-person recommendations and passions; the handwritten notes recommending each CD are thought-through and personable, as are the strange categorizations of different records, forcing new and interesting ways to think about music. Today, without being forced out of one’s comfort zone, it’s easy to stay within the confines of “More Like This” recommendations on Spotify, Apple Music, and YouTube — an observation that could easily also apply to books and films. 

Despite the film’s affable personalities, celebrity talking heads, and upbeat tone, as well as nostalgia-filled stories of in-store gigs by artists such as Neutral Milk Hotel and The Yeah Yeah Yeahs!, it basically functions as a feature-length lament of a time (and perhaps world) that will never return. It also doubles up as a commentary, reminiscent of LCD Soundsystem’s New York, “I Love You But You’re Bringing Me Down,” on the difficulty for any non-franchised business to stay afloat in the mean streets of Manhattan. The future for artists, such as Animal Collective, who are interviewed here, to bring their music into a store and make a name for themselves, looks bleak, as it does for anyone who wants to be pushed out of their comfort zone and made to think in a new way about music. The songs may remain the same, but what use is it if there’s no one left to hear them? 

  • Redmond Bacon
Written By

As far back as he can remember, Redmond Bacon always wanted to be a film critic. To him, being a film critic was better than being President of the United States

Facebook

Trending

Who Is Lainey Wilson Currently Dating? Discover Her Current Relationship Status!

Celebrity

Zayn Malik Shares Rare Insight Into Life Away From Spotlight With His Daughter Khai

Celebrity

Bill Maher Net Worth 2024: What Is The Comedian & TV Host Worth?

Lifestyle

Olivia Dunne Slams Tiktok With ‘shadow Ban’ Claim After Major Drop-Off In Viewers

Celebrity

Vontae Davis Cause of Death Revealed by 911 Call: What Killed Former NFL star?

Celebrity

Jake Paul Girlfriend: Get to Know the Woman in His Life Right Now!

Celebrity

Who Was Alex Bullard? The Unresolved Questions Behind His Death!

Celebrity

British Hunk Formally Offered Role Of James Bond And Will Sign Contract This Week’ To Take Over From Daniel Craig

Culture

8 Norwegian Cruise Passengers Were Left Stranded. What If It Was YOU?

Lifestyle

Susan Wojcicki Net Worth 2024: What Is The Former CEO Of YouTube Worth?

Lifestyle

Who Are Renee Rapp’s Parents? The Untold Story of Renee Rapp’s Parents!

Celebrity

Who Is Shawn Mendes Dating Now? The Truth His Current Relationship Revealed!

Celebrity

Aspyn Ovard Files for Divorce from Parker Ferris: Why is Couple Splitting after Birth of 3rd Child?

Celebrity

Former Adult Star Jenna Jameson Shares Update Revealing Body Transformation After Being Left Unable To Walk

Culture

Ariana Grande and Dalton Gomez Officially Divorced: What Went Wrong?

Culture

Who is Vanessa Hudgens Husband: All you Need to Know About American Actress Love Life!

Celebrity

Connect