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Other Music (Factory 25) Blu-ray Review

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    Ian Jane
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  • Other Music (Factory 25) Blu-ray Review

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    Released by: Factory 25
    Released on: May 31st, 2022.
    Director: Puloma Basu, Rob Hatch-Miller
    Cast: N/A
    Year: 2019
    Purchase From Amazon

    Other Music – Movie Review:

    Record stores are a special place, serving not only as a place to buy music in a physical format of your choice, but to hang out, meet and discuss music with likeminded individuals. Friendships can be formed, live performances can be hosted, and there’s just generally a sense of natural cool anytime you find yourself hanging out in one. A good one, at least.

    Other Music was a good one. Located on East 4th Street in Manhattan and open from 1995 until June 2016, it was a place you could go to literally find ‘other music’ in that they carried releases on CD, vinyl and cassette from a lot of artists that other stores wouldn’t even think to stock. Over the two plus decades that the store was around, it played an important part in New York City’s independent music scene and was a stopping point for plenty of touring musicians any time that they played in town, sometimes to shop, sometimes to drop of product to be sold, often times both.

    As is far too common in large cities like New York, the rents went up as the neighborhood evolved and on June 25th, 2016, Other Music had to close their doors for good. Changes in the music industry played a big part in this as well, as record stores can’t make money off of digital downloads or streaming options, but the rising costs of keeping the store open in the first place definitely put a huge dent into what had to have been dwindling profit margins.

    Regardless, Other Music left its mark on the city’s cultural landscape and even on the music industry in general (they also operated, through Fat Possum Records, the Other Music Recording Company, releasing albums by the likes of Crime, Ex Cops, Nude Beach to name only a few, and reflecting through these efforts the same diversity that made the store fun to explore.

    The documentary of the same name, directed by Puloma Basu and Rob Hatch-Miller, does a great job of peeling back the layers of what made Other Music unique. Interviews with owners Josh Madell and Chris Vanderloo as well as with employees, customers and musicians all serve to fill in the blanks on the store’s history and significance. There’s also plenty of footage of the store in operation that’s fun to watch, and some live performance footage included in here as well. The documentary is well put together and nicely edited, opening with a bit of a parade that took place in Manhattan to celebrate the store as it was closing its doors and ending with a concert that took place in Other Music’s honor. In between we’re treated to interesting stories about the people who shopped there and why, the bands that were affiliated with the location and, of course, the owners and staff, their picks, the different little cards that would be left around the store alerting customers to unsung gems.

    It’s the kind of stuff that record store junkies and music collectors will both enjoy and get sentimental over.

    Other Music – Blu-ray Review:

    Factory 25 brings Other Music to region free Blu-ray on a 25GB disc with the eighty-five minute documentary taking up just over 17GBs of space and framed at 1.78.1 widescreen. This is all shot on different digital video cameras and video quality is a bit erratic. Some of the footage of the live shows and the parade that opens the movie look like they were shot on iPhones but the interview footage, obviously shot under better circumstances, looks much better and more professional. It’s all very watchable, but just know going in that this isn’t an especially glossy movie and honestly, it doesn’t need to be.

    An English language audio option is in Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo with removable subtitles available in English and Spanish. Again, quality will vary from one scene to the next with the interviews sounding perfectly crisp and clear and some of the other footage less so. For the most part, it’s all balanced well enough and free of any hiss or distortion.

    The main extra on the disc is a commentary by directors Puloma Basu and Rob Hatch-Miller, Other Music employee Duane Harriott and Other Music owners Josh Madell and Chris Vanderloo. It’s an interesting talk that covers the making of the film, where the different clips and bits of footage were taken from, what went into finishing the picture, why they opted to make the documentary in the first place and more.

    Also included on the disc is forty-four minutes of deleted scenes featuring Jason Schwartzman, Daniel Kessler from Interpol, William Basinski and performances by Gary Wilson, Revl9n, Bill Callahan and Handsome Boy Modeling School.

    A trailer for the feature, menus and chapter selection options finish up the extras on the disc.

    Included inside the keepcase alongside the disc is an thirty-eight page insert booklet that includes notes on the documentary, an introduction, a history of the store, a selection of favorite memories from the story, some notes on the different characters that hung out there, a list of quintessential albums related to the store, and more. Some reversible cover art is also included.

    Other Music – The Final Word:

    Other Music, the documentary, is an interesting snapshot showcasing why Other Music, the store, and other venues like it are culturally important to the cities that they reside in. Factory 25’s Blu-ray release looks and sounds fine and it includes some decent extras as well. Those with a fascination for record stores and all the magic that they can offer would do well to seek this out.


    Click on the images below, or right click and open in a new window, for full sized Other Music Blu-ray screen caps!

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