Review: Other Music

Title: Other Music
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Director: Puloma Basu and Rob Hatch-Miller
Starring: Tunde Adebimpe, William Basinski, Panda Bear |
Runtime: 1 hr 23 mins

What It Is: This documentary set out to tell a story of a little independent music store that is no more. Other Music, run by Josh Madell and Chris Vanderloo and located in Manhattan, pushed independent music and as a result, had a helping hand in unknown bands gaining much success. This film explores how the store was more than just a place to buy music; it was a space to open oneself up to exploration and create connections. With it closing down, what are the effects on the New York music scene, the customers of the store, and the staff?

What We Think: Going into this documentary I expected to learn about a little music store that unfortunately couldn’t last due to the rise of digital music. The film wasn’t just an exploration into the success and unfortunate demise of Other Music but also the devolution of the music scene in the East Village. I didn’t expect to be so moved by the eclectic members of the staff and the varying customers but that’s exactly what happened. The story was heartwarming and heartbreaking and despite never have heard of Other Music, by the end of the film it felt like I too had lost something. The riveting storytelling was accompanied by eye-catching graphics and animations along with good use of old footage. The best part of the film was definitely the editing. At around the thirty-minute mark, all the staff members being interviewed listed off several bands and albums and the editing of the scene really made me feel like I had just walked into Other Music and was bombarded with unknown artists and songs. By the end of the film, I was feeling for the people suffering the major loss of something they had created or grown up with and I wouldn’t have felt that way if everyone involved with the film hadn’t done such a good job.

Our Grade: A-, This film didn’t leave me wanting anything else and it didn’t leave me wishing I had spent the time it took to watch it in a different way. It may be a rather formulaic and somewhat rudimentary documentary but the story was so captivating the documentary itself didn’t need to do anything special or groundbreaking. Having grown up in the age of digital music and have never set foot in a store that exclusively sells music, this documentary really let me explore a different element of the music industry. At the heart of it all this film is about the love of finding new music and this film was all about that. Finding new music that really makes you feel something is a thing most people take for granted but after watching this film, it’ll be hard not to think of the folks of Other Music when I find something new to listen to.

EDITORS NOTE – Most of the bands in this doc rule! Happy listening as you uncover them.

Author: Cal Gessner