Other Music is the eponymously-titled story of the New York City record store which existed between 1996 and 2016. Located on West 4th Street in Greenwich Village, right across the street from the giant Tower Records, Other Music served as a truly alternative outlet for music you couldn’t find/wouldn’t hear in the larger chains. Other Music closed in July 2016 and this fine film is a both a beautiful testimony and epitaph to a special place – something of a throwback (for the desire to have and foster a community spirit) and a visionary’s paradise for their forward-thinking approach to music and selling physical product. To this day, I still treasure the albums and CD’s I picked up there, such as Neutral Milk Hotel, a few Dennis Bovell compilations, the CD re-issue of Pylon’s Chomp and the International Artists’ singles boxset, which I grabbed and purchased as it was playing in the store on a rainy Sunday afternoon in August, 2008.
The filmmakers, Puloma Basu and Rob Hatch-Miller, did a wonderful job of capturing the store in their final weeks and hours. The owners and employees were stoic yet completely open and emotional. The testimony of fans and customers was never precious or over-the-top; it was simply a well-excuted love letter. Watching this made me quite sad; as a frequent shopper at Other Music over the years, it made me remember certain moments as to when and why I went in the store – and every time I was there, I came out with something – I never went in with an agenda of “I must find this”; it was always with spontaneity, which I think was part of the Other Music charm and mystique.
I worked in a mall record store in my early 20’s; we managed to do with that venue a good part of what Other Music succeeded with as a whole. To bring people together and turn them on to new, different and interesting sounds and create a dialogue from it. This movie also serves as the perfect bookend to the Tower Records documentary, All Things Must Pass. Other Music came along at a time when my city was changing (not for the good); when the Village was changing and everything I’d grown up with was rapidly disappearing.
I’d like to thank the filmmakers for the job they did; the owners and staff of Other Music for so many years – especially to one of the people there who always helped me; after a few times, I would seek him out specifically because he always seemed to intuitively know what I might be looking for and I never knew his name until now. So Daniel – thank you very much. Thank you all for everything.
It’s a powerful film and one to not be missed.
Other Music will be available on April 17th, 2019