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Utility Fog

Your weekly fix of postfolkrocktronica, dronenoise, power ambient, post-everything improv... and more?
Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.
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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 14th of April, 2019

Playlist 14.04.19 (9:12 pm)

Drum'n'bass and "hardcore continuum" stylings over a lot of tonight's show, hearkening back to the beautiful early days of dubstep as well as breakcore and drill'n'bass, but with an experimental twist, and some totally different stuff too...

LISTEN AGAIN as we take you on a journey through space & time... Stream on demand from FBi and podcast here.

Angelina Yershova - Tumbleweed [Twin Paradox]
Angelina Yershova - Korgau [Twin Paradox]
Kazakh composer Angelina Yershova has released a few albums pitting her classical composition and piano skills against her electronic production wizardry. Her new album, one of a number on Italian label Twin Paradox Records, draws deeply from her Kazakh heritage - "Korgau" features Gulzhan Amanzhol on the kazakh string instrument the kyl-kobyz, and will come with a video produced by environmentalist film-maker Saltanat Tashimova about the Kok Zhailau mountain plateau in a Kazakh national park, currently threatened with deforestation. It's a beautiful piece in which Amanzhol's choral vocals and questing kobyz are surrounded by field recordings, droning electronics, slow percussion and whispered vocals. It's quite a contrast with the first track I played, which revels in drill'n'bass beats!
The album is released this Friday, much recommended.

Indri - Foreign Tongues [Empirical Intrigue]
Indri - Fishnet [Empirical Intrigue]
Sydney artist Indri recorded this album in Iceland and references and draws from their experiences in that environment and I assume the juxtaposition with ours here in Australia. With field recordings, found sounds and incomprehensible vocals snippets accompanied by electronics, it's good music for getting lost in. In "Fishnet" the rhythmic keyboards bounce around with nice little analogue-style variations that could either be a kind of beatless dub techno or a Tangerine Dream-style krautrock throwback.

Piano Princess - I Make It Look Easy [Eternal]
Night Dives - Magum [Eternal]
Phoebe Twiggs & Grasps_' Eternal released its second compilation a couple of weeks ago. Although they're Sydney-based, not all the music is from Sydney or even Australia - it opens with Moscow-based techno/ambient musician Moa Pillar. I can't tell you where Piano Princess is from, although their SoundCloud name is "Bao Jia Xiang" and they may be Chinese - the SoundCloud doesn't give much away (in a fairly lol-worthy combative way!). Marcus Night Dives is Singaporean via Melbourne, and brings a hardcore/breakcore energy to the proceedings.

Homemade Weapons - Virga [Samurai Music]
The latest album from Seattle's Homemade Weapons continues his re-tooling of junglist drum'n'bass for the post-dubstep era on his new album Gravity for the estimable Samurai Music, with jittery, anxious super-chopped beats and sub-basslines at relentless speed and density. At his best the beats are dazzling and stylistically he stands apart from even his frequent collaborators.

Mark - Fucking Sick Of Myself Since Day One (Hot Desk Mix) [Unterton]
Mark - Hats Off To Herr F. [Unterton]
Released on Ostgut Ton sidelabel Unterton is the latest EP from German producer Mark, fourth in a series exploring an obsession with '90s drum'n'bass, rave and breakcore. It's impeccably done but it frequently reminds you (more so on his previously releases than this new one it must be said) that it's referencing those sounds rather, perhaps, than doing them - sound-art interludes, field recordings etc (and the very sardonic track titles). Mark has also released more abstract music as Klon Dump, including a couple of releases on Melbourne label A Colourful Storm.

Toasty - unconcious [Toasty Bandcamp]
Toasty - Like Sun [Hotflush Recordings]
Toasty - as one [Toasty Bandcamp]
Just earlier this week I noticed a post from Etch pointing out that dubstep legend Toasty (find him on Twitter here) had been putting up some old tracks on Bandcamp. He put out some much-loved releases on Scuba's Hotflush Recordings back as far as 2004, but was never that prolific. All these tracks date from about that period - as grime and dubstep were emerging out of UK garage - and have a wonderful breakbeat approach, some more distinctly dubstep-flavoured and others more upbeat. It's all gold. I recall when I first heard "Like Sun" in a DJ mix back in the day - blissful junglism slowed down and laid over the dubstep template - and sought out and played the 12" to death (it's now available digitally through the usual channels by the way). Halcyon days.

Logos - Arrival (T2 Mix) [Different Circles]
Logos - Glass [Different Circles]
Logos - Lighthouse Dub [Different Circles]
Alongside Mumdance, a few years ago James Parker aka Logos founded an approach called "Weightless" which strips club music - particularly UK bass music - to its bare bones, a kind of distillation of actually what dubstep was all about as it as it first emerged around 13-15 years ago (see Toasty above!). On "Glass" from 2015, we hear this approach applied to jungle's breaks 'n' bass, whereas "Lighthouse Dub" from the new album is pure, watery dub techno.

Sensaround - immolate dub [hellosQuare]
Australian/Scots trio Sensaround draws shapeshifting improvisations from Canberra's Shoeb Ahmad, Sydney pianist Alister Spence and Scottish saxophonist Raymond MacDonald. This track is serious about the "dub" aspect of its title, albeit in a way that eschews head-nodding beats or basslines. There's echoey reverbs and delays in the production, a notable separation of sonic elements including MacDonald's squealing, Middle Eastern-influenced saxophone melodies which appear & disappear across the track, and there's a kind of postpunk attitude to the noise aspect of the album's heart/noise dichotomy. This feels like the most fully-realised work yet from this very interesting collaboration.

MALK - Re-treat [Lost Tribe Sound]
MALK - Mist Up [Lost Tribe Sound]
Last up is a very unusual release from US label Lost Tribe Sound. MALK is a prolific artist under various aliases, many released by the Philadelphia label Sweet Chunk, and he's also one third of Philadelphia beatmakers Mahatma X. Last year's Death From A Love album, released like Mahatma X's by Leeds label Home Assembly Music, won Norman Records' #1 album of the year, but never really grabbed me.
This new one is different - both in that I'm really enjoying it and in that it's super different sounding - it's a ramshackle mix of home-recorded acoustic & electric instrumentation blended together beat tape style. Entitled WMAIDIT (which apparently stands for "Watch Me As I Die In Time"), its folktronic nature draws from those Dilla vibes without actually being categorizable as hip-hop, with an indiepunk DIY attitude. Music on the boundaries is what this show's all about, so check out the whole album for even stranger, more atonal, more absorbing little sonic mysteries.

Listen again — ~196MB

Sunday, 7th of April, 2019

Playlist 07.04.19 (9:07 pm)

Big range of sounds for you on tonight's 'Fog! Coming to you from the whole damn globe...

LISTEN AGAIN, for it is your civic duty to stream on demand from FBi, or podcast here.

Makeda - Me, First [Nice Music]
Makeda - Basstrap [Nice Music]
Originally from Brisbane, now based in Melbourne, Makeda has also released music (as label and artist I think) as All Day Breakfast, but this brilliant new EP is her debut release proper, now as Makeda. Whether remixing others (such as Perth artist Shoshana Rosenberg or Melbourne legends My Disco), or here out on her own, she creates fractured underground club music like no other.

Grup Ses w/ Ethnique Punch - Hayda (Vox) [Souk Records/Bandcamp]
Grup Ses w/ Ethnique Punch - Katastrof (Inst) [Souk Records/Bandcamp]
Grup Ses w/ Ethnique Punch - Ara (Vox) [Souk Records/Bandcamp]
Grup Ses w/ Ethnique Punch - Miskinatlar (Vox) [Souk Records/Bandcamp]
Two Turkish musicians join together for this fantastic, dark, twisted album on Souk Records. Istanbul's Grup Ses has been making sample-based hip-hop cut-ups for around 12 years now, while the Anatolian Ethnique Punch aka Ali Eksan has a number of instrumental and rap albums under his belt. On the A side, these punchy (yes) hip-hop tracks with "ethnic" samples are driven by the gravelly voice of Eksan, while on the B side they appear as instrumentals. It's great to hear these beats unadorned, and it works in a really different way - you can nod along and have it in the background easily - but I do prefer them with the guttural and super fun raps on the first side...

Ifriqiyya Electrique - danee danee [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
Ifriqiyya Electrique - mashee kooka [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
If you think of noisy music from the African continent, you may think of Konono No. 1 first of all, but the banga music from Southern Tunisia must compete - it literally means "huge volume". A few years ago two Europeans went into the desert in the sub-Saharan region to learn about this music, and along with a few banga musicians formed Ifriqiyya Electrique. These tracks are from their second album, which uses down-tuned guitar riffs and incredibly heavy percussion, fusing industrial music with banga. It's dark and joyful stuff.

Show Me The Body - Camp Orchestra [Loma Vista Records]
Show Me The Body - Death Sounds 2 [self-released/Loma Vista Records]
Show Me The Body - In A Grave (feat. Denzel Curry, Moor Mother & Eartheater) [self-released]
Show Me The Body - Spit (feat. Princess Nokia) [self-released]
Show Me The Body - Now I Know [Loma Vista Records]
NYC hardcore punk trio Show Me The Body recently released their second album "proper", Dog Whistle, which brings them back to the shouty noise and riffs of their first album Body War. In between they released the awesome & diverse mixtape Corpus I, which found them joined by an array of collaborators from the hip-hop, noise and experimental music scenes. To me it's totally successful, particularly with the raps of Moor Mother and the almost Massive Attack trip-hop vibes of the track with Princess Nokia. Still, on their own they pack a punch and bring a fair share of swampy noise and vocal variation into the tracks as well.

Wabi Experience - Never Mind [Mikroton/Bandcamp]
Wabi Experience - Pasar Por Todos Lados [Mikroton/Bandcamp]
Here's an album that's had a very long journey to its release. Originally in around 2001 Tomislav Federsel wanted to make an experimental remix tribute to the Czech country musician Wabi Daněk (for some reason!) - but various things got in the way, including a computer hard drive crash. So a while later he called up fellow Czech experimental artist Jara Tarnovski (of Gurun Gurun), and bring the project to fruition. It's still taken years for it to be released, but samplescapes and rhythmic glitch is the sort of thing that could come from anytime in the last 20+ years, and even if we can't hear anything much like a much-loved late Czech country musician in there, it's a really nice bit of folktronic experimentalism.

The Matthew Herbert United Kingdom And Gibraltar European Union Membership Referendum Big Band - An A-Z of Endangered Animals [Accidental Records]
The Matthew Herbert Big Band - Misprints (feat. Shingai Shoniwa) [Accidental Records]
The Matthew Herbert United Kingdom And Gibraltar European Union Membership Referendum Big Band - Feedback (feat. Patrick Clarke) [Accidental Records]
The new album from Matthew Herbert's big band was scheduled for release on Friday the 29th of March, aka Brexit day. In the end, the Conservatives managed to drive away every public servant and member of their own party with any negotiating skills at all, and most people have very little will to make the damn thing happen... So it still hasn't. It'd be funny if No Deal wasn't so terrifying. So Herbert for this occasion re-titled his group "The Matthew Herbert United Kingdom And Gibraltar European Union Membership Referendum Big Band", and the album features contributions from musicians all over Europe. The album is mostly elegiac - sorrowful, quiet stuff, with faraway horns and field recordings combine, tracks sometimes taking minutes to come into focus. Glitchy cut-ups break into the jazz arrangements at times, as is Herbert's wont, and on the vocal tracks sadness can give way to bitterness. The whole situation is a mess, and may well lead to a lot more sadness, disruption, violence and death. Herbert's take on it all at least brings some beauty to the proceedings.

Dina Maccabee - The Sharpening Machine [Geomancy Records/Bandcamp]
Dina Maccabee - Northern Lights [Dina Maccabee Bandcamp]
Dina Maccabee - Even When The Stars Align [Dina Maccabee Bandcamp]
Dina Maccabee - Little Bite [Geomancy Records/Bandcamp]
I discovered violin, viola & vocalist Dina Maccabee playing with Julia Holter a couple of years ago in Sydney. She appeared again with Holter at her Sydney Festival performances this January, and has made central contributions to the last couple of albums. Live she plays her instruments through a laptop on stage, flawlessly controlled by a USB foot controller, and after the first Holter gig I looked her up and discovered some lovely folky songwriting with looped violin - as well as a back catalogue playing with other ensembles. Not long after, the Americana-influenced Land So Sweet appeared, followed by the gorgeous songwriting and experimental live looping & processing of The World is in the Work. For her new album Maccabee is joined by many musicians from across the spectrum, including other members of Julia Holter's band, and Mark Orton of Tin Hat (who worked with her also on Land So Sweet). Maccabee is a consummate songwriter, but loves to undermine, inserting electronic weirdness, strange bitonal layering of arrangements and beautifully unexpected chord changes. Superb.

Jessica Pavone - And Maybe In The End [Below The Radar 30/Jessica Pavone Bandcamp]
And now to another American fiddle player - known as a violinist and also electric bassist, but here on viola, played through an amplifier, with stunning sonic shadows following the plucked and bowed tones. It's masterful work, brought to us here by The Wire on their latest download compilation with the May issue (they are now running a full month ahead), and I'll certainly be checking out more of Pavone's work as soon as I can.

Zoltan Fecso - Wave [The Slow Music Movement Label]
Melbourne musician Zoltan Fecso gives us another example of his musical pointilism on this new track - featuring his self-designed guitar which embeds a Novation Launchpad in it to sample tiny fragments of his guitar tones and create wonderful glistening minimalist epics.

Listen again — ~199MB

Sunday, 31st of March, 2019

Playlist 31.03.19 (8:09 pm)

Industrial techno, glitchscapes and other oddities tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN to the best sounds to nod your head to... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Goth-Trad - Bloody Dice [Daymare Recordings]
JK Flesh - Empty Victory [Daymare Recordings]
JK Flesh - Circus of Illusions [Avalanche Recordings]
Klaska - Lithium Voodoo [Avalanche Recordings]
Two split EPs featuring JK Flesh to start the show. Justin K Broadrick has spread himself across countless genres since he was part of the original lineup of Napalm Death in the 1980s and helped initiate the short sharp shocks of grindcore. With Godflesh he took grindcore and metal into the mechanised wastelands of industrial music, and along with Kevin Martin (aka The Bug), he released some much-prized ambient/experimental/dub/beats as Techno Animal (and also Ice, and various other aliases). After Godflesh split, his main outlet for songwriting was Jesu's doomy shoegaze metal, but he's continued electronic production in various guises, and JK Flesh has of late been a powerhouse of industrial techno at various tempos. His split on legendary Japanese label Daymare Recordings, Knights of the Black Table, is described as "slow-motion industrial dub techno", and both he and the great Japanese dubstep/electronic artist Goth-Trad deliver in spades. Meanwhile on his own Avalanche Recordings, the Halved EP has much faster, squelchier sounds from Broadrick, while on the (notional) flipside post-metaller Kevin Laska brings three tracks of smoother head-nodders, with a curious and compelling triplet feel...

The Pulse Projects - Nonfunction 02 [Opal Tapes]
Some much more minimal broken techno here from Dutch producer Albert van Abbe on the ever-reliable Opal Tapes, with a little dubby nod to the bass & kick, skittering hi-hats and heavily tweaked dub delays. It's subtle and delicious.

joni void - lov-ender (with ylangylang) [Constellation]
joni void - observer (natalie's song) (feat. Natalie Reid) [Constellation]
joni void - deep impression / im depression [Constellation]
Canadian producer Jean Cousin has just released his second album for Constellation as Joni Void, Mise en Abyme. Like his previous, Selfless, there are vocal contributions from a multitude of (mostly female) friends, and lots of glitchy, hazey samples and mostly semi-buried beats. But his layered vocals appear on one or two tracks this time, and also his own words on the last selection, spoken through a text-to-speech system, rather disquietingly in an Australian accent.

Fennesz - Rainfall [Touch]
Fennesz - Instrument 3 [Mego/Touch]
Fennesz - traxdata [Mego]
Fennesz - We Trigger the Sun [Touch]
In the mid-to-late '90s, no label was more synonymous with glitch and electronic experimentalism than Australian label Mego (which relaunched as Editions Mego in 2006), and one of the most talented purveyors of this sound was Christian Fennesz. To some extent this is because Fennesz was less uncompromising with the noise and chaos than contemporaries like Pita (Peter Rehberg, who runs Editions Mego), Hecker or even Farmers Manual, but his earlier works were at the time rather groundbreaking and ear-opening. He gained deserved fame with the Endless Summer album, which invoked the Beach Boys through a haze of static and drone. In the last 10 years or so, it's felt to me like Fennesz started repeating himself, with lacklustre overly-pleasant collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto, and a whole lot of stuff that seemed to repeat the same four strummed guitar chords through the same patches. So I'm very glad that his new album Agora, recorded on a limited setup in a small room on his house, mixed on headphones, brings back some kind of edge to his sound - still with beautiful processed guitar, but with a low-end pulse running through a lot of the release, and a certain roughness. Maybe it's just me, but anyway it's rather wonderful. To remind us, I played a track from his first EP and from his first album, glitching electronics and dubby bass.

JWPaton - Waiting To Cross [Histamine Tapes]
JWPaton - Everything's Okay [Histamine Tapes]
Sydney experimental artist JWPaton recently relocated from the city to the Blue Mountains, and his new album Skychief, released on US label Histamine Tapes, reflects these two settings, with noisy drone tracks based on processed field recordings giving way to ambient dub pieces. On "Everything's Okay" a choir is sampled and harmonised to create something both noisy and uplifting.

Sensaround - varispeed [hellosQuare]
The first new track from a new release from cross-continental trio Sensaround, which features Canberran guitarist & electronic musician Shoeb Ahmad, Sydney pianist Alister Spence and Scottish saxophonist Raymond MacDonald. All three artists here are producing quite unusual sounds for their instruments, with little of a pulse or even a tonal centre - it's soundscapey stuff from three accomplished sculptors of sound. The album drops soon.

Romeo Moon - Let Love In [Hotel Motel]
We recently heard a lovely instrumental track from Melbourne's Kevin Orr, and the new EP from Romeo Moon is released soon. There's a bit of a Radiohead feel to this, and it has a delightfully/disturbingly lopsided beat that adds an extra beat and a half every 4 bars I think. There's an expansive feel to the whole EP, which combines electronic & live instruments, and treats its songs in many ways like instrumentals.

Lisathe - Pagan Poetry [Art As Catharsis]
Sydney trio Lisathe have undertaken on their debut album to cover a series of Icelandic composers & musicians - so in guitar/bass/drums format they're playing people like Jóhann Jóhannsson and, here, Björk. It's initially jolting to hear this classic of glitch-pop on these instruments, with Björk's high voice replaced by the baritone of the guitar, but it somehow works, and makes me keen to hear the takes on even more radically different artists.

The Future Sound Of London - Artificial Placement of Emotion [FSOL Digital]
For the second year in a row psychedelic ambient techno/rave veterans The Future Sound Of London are doing their FSOL Calendar for the year - no physical calendar, but a new track released each month in mp3 format. This archival (but relatively recent) track is a nice skittery piece of drill'n'bass-ish electronica. The duo have a seemingly endless archive of mostly excellent music. They've sustained a cyberpunk aesthetic and a habit of fictionalised self-mythologising for decades now, and it seems they'll never stop. I'm not complaining.

Listen again — ~197MB

Sunday, 24th of March, 2019

Playlist 24.03.19 (8:05 pm)

Inventive indiepop, sample mangling, field recordings, post-classical / acoustic doom and more tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN before the world turns to dust... Demand that stream from FBi! Or podcast here.

Pikelet - Exchange Rate [Babyrace Records]
Pikelet - Wealthy / Worthy [Babyrace Records]
For many years, Melbourne artist Evelyn Ida Morris released inspiring, creative music as Pikelet - often solo with various instruments and loop pedal(s), sometimes as a full band. Evelyn also played drums in heavy bands like True Radical Miracle, and Pikelet was partly a way of expressing a kind of (simplified) femininity. Morris' own identity, however, was much less clear-cut, and I believe that they came to the conclusion in the last few years that they must come out as non-binary. This means that the person they created to be Pikelet can be retired. As Evelyn says in the liner notes of this album: "Goodbye, Pikelet, I will be myself from now on."
So it's a kind of bittersweet goodbye - "Pikelet" has touched so many people in the music scene, myself included. But Evelyn Ida Morris already created two wonderful albums last year, and no doubt whatever they continue to produce will be beautiful, challenging and inspiring.

whisker floater - ip_address_Mix_Edit 1_v2 [Æscape Sounds]
whisker floater - still_no_zinc6_cropped_mix2 [Æscape Sounds]
Two members of the Sydney experimental scene since the 1980s join together here with sounds initially created in iPad apps and then transferred to DAWs for further chopping & processing... Dru Jones and Shane Fahey are both part of the reincarnated Scattered Order, but Jones's involvement goes back to the 1980s, at which time Fahey was involved with the similarly iconoclastic Makers of the Dead Travel Fast. Their work with electronics and sampled sounds goes back further than most can boast, and like various members of that scene they continue to work with technology to create layered sounds, with nods to dance culture in twisted ways.

Alexandra Spence - bodies in place [Room40]
Alexandra Spence - bodyscan [Room40]
On her own bio, Alexandra Spence writes that "she holds the pseudo-scientific belief that electricity might actually be magic". Well, it's true at least in the sense that her utterly magical sound-art is created through electricity. She uses sounds from everyday objects, field recordings, spoken (and often whispered) words, and sometimes musical instruments and her own sung vocals, to create fascinating and gripping works, and it's so great to hear them collected on a full album - Waking, She Heard The Fluttering, released by the estimable Room40. Can't recommend highly enough.

Deaf Center - A Scent [Sonic Pieces]
Deaf Center - Red Glow [Sonic Pieces]
Deaf Center - Dial [Type Records]
Deaf Center - Stone beacon [Type Records]
Deaf Center - New Beginning (Tidal Darkness) [Type Records]
Deaf Center - Gathering [Sonic Pieces]
Norwegian musicians Erik K Skodvin and Otto A Totland have been legendary names in ambient and electronica since their debut EP on Type Records in 2004 (from which we heard "Dial" tonight) - initially a lovely form of melodic electronica and ambient. By even their first album the following year, they were leaning more heavily into the acoustic aspects of their work - Skodvin is a cellist, Totland a pianist. What could be a precursor to the post-classical piano-and-electronics of recent times instead swerved into far darker, spookier territories - particularly in Skodvin's own work under his own name and as Svarte Greiner - and by their last album (2011's Owl Splinters) their music was haunted and chilling as much as it was beautiful. With only a single 12" record since then as a duo, this album is a welcome return, following closely from the format of Owl Splinters.

Saffronkeira - Without Keeping Memory Of It [Denovali]
Saffronkeira - A Pattern Didn't Exist [Denovali]
The latest album from Sardinian artist Eugenio Caria as Saffronkeira segues quite nicely out of Deaf Center - the first track being minimalist solo piano with some lovely subtle, scratchy violin lines. The second takes whisps of electronics and gradually builds a minimal techno beat of sorts under it. This album creeps up on you - listening in the background you'll find yourself turning back to it frequently to remind yourself what you're listening to - a good sign!

Max Cooper - Hope (Roly Porter remix) [Mesh]
Max Cooper - Rule 110 (Synkro remix) [Mesh]
Max Cooper - Lovesong (Brecon remix) [Mesh]
It's always interesting hearing what Max Cooper's been up to - he's one of those artist who takes his interest in experimental electronic music, ambient and post-classical into dancefloor-friendly areas. But he's also got great taste in his contemporaries, as shown in recent DJ mixes, and that flows over into the artists he's chosen for One Hundred Billion Sparks Remixed, re-envisioning the music from his latest album. Dubstep pioneer-turned-power-ambient maestro Roly Porter builds something glacially blissful with swooping bottom-end movement, while Synkro takes things into his particular kind of technoid drum'n'bass. Finally, some nice chopped live drums and electronics from new duo Brecon, who are signed to Cooper's own Mesh label.

Oedura - Prologue [Empirical Intrigue]
Finally tonight, the first release on a new Sydney label called Empirical Intrigue. Oedura is a Sydney artist who I believe runs the label, and this piece mixes some evocative analogue synth stuff with multilingual vocal samples. Would like to hear more.

Listen again — ~188MB

Sunday, 17th of March, 2019

Playlist 17.03.19 (8:11 pm)

Electronic pop, industrial techno and non-techno, experimental electronica and freeform sampling, edgy post-classical and cutting-edge jazz tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN and again, because you can! Stream on demand via FBi, podcast here.

Ducks! - Swerve (feat. Rachel Maio) [Ducks! Bandcamp]
Ex-pat Aussies now based in Berlin, Ducks! started releasing lovely quirky indie pop with an electronic bent a couple of years ago (under this name) and this new single is a welcome addition to their discography, with a sweet melody and some great cello from another Berlin-based Australia, Rachel Maio.

Lakker - A Juggling Of Numbers [R&S Records/Lakker Bandcamp]
Lakker - Dropped Shoulders [R&S Records/Lakker Bandcamp]
Lakker - Body From The Water [R&S Records/Lakker Bandcamp]
After a series of solo releases from Ian McDonnell last year as Eomac, as well as some collaborations on his Eotrax label, and an excellent EP from Dara Smith as Arad, it's great to have them back together as Lakker, again on legendary Belgian dance label R&S Records. This album doesn't quite reach the dancefloor, but doesn't perhaps go quite as experimental as some of their releases either. The vocals that both introduced in their recent solo work appear here, lending some tracks an '80s industrial/pop feel.

Dis Fig - Alive [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Dis Fig - Watering [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Dis Fig - U Said U Were [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Jazz-trained vocalist Felicia Chen makes full use of her vocal training as Dis Fig, but her solo art draws from industrial, techno, noise and further outer reaches for a quite intense experience on Purge, her debut album from Purple Tape Pedigree. The arrangements feature flute, trumpet and trombone, along with plenty of creepy and heavy electronics. At times her voice is distorted & processed, increasing the intensity of what are already passionate & emotional performances. A really impressive debut.

Rian Treanor - ATAXIA B2 [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Rian Treanor - ATAXIA C2 [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
After releases on Death of Rave and Warp sublabel Arcola, Rian Treanor now drops his debut album on the one and only Planet µ, and appropriately for the label's more recent focus, it's quite footstep-influenced. Treanor's experimental techno chops may have been learned in the cradle, as he's the son of Mark Fell, glitch/click-techno don and one half Snd. In any case, Treanor sneaks some nice melody into his twitchy machine beats.

Sote - Artificial Neutrality [Diagonal Records/Bandcamp]
Aka Ebtekar has been on the must-listen list since his first release as Sote on Warp back in 2002, an explosive double-header of breakcore techno. He's more recently been exploring both the history of Iranian electronic music and new techniques in processing and interacting with traditional Persian instruments and music. Thus on this very electronic-sounding piece he's joined by Arash Bolouri on the santour and Pouya Damadi on the tar, both using extended techniques and further manipulated by Ebtekar. I can't wait to hear the rest of this album!

Matmos - The Crying Pill [Thrill Jockey]
Matmos - Plastic Anniversary [Thrill Jockey]
Matmos - Collapse Of The Fourth Kingdom [Thrill Jockey]
Martin C Schmidt and Drew Daniel have been together for 25 years, and they're celebrating their anniversary with an album that samples from every sort of plastic they could find. They're past masters at this kind of thing - not just making music from unusual samples (that's for sure!) but also for creating entire albums from arch concepts and somehow making it work. Live, they populate the stage with weird & wonderful objects that they sample in front of the audience and build abstracted versions of their tracks from. In recording, they can afford to finesse everything carefully, and employ a great deal of musicality to create catchy ditties (of a sort). On this release they seem to harken a bit back to the frenetic, skittery (and very idiosyncratic) idm of their earliest couple of CDs, albeit with much higher production values!

Carl Stone - Xé May [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
On his new album Baroo, US musician Carl Stone, who's been called the "King of Sampling", recreates his time-slicing technique of stretching and rearranging musical works through microsampling in a modern way using Max/MSP. Actually the track I played tonight uses an Elektron Octatrack sampler, but all these pieces show Stone enjoying the flexibility of new technologies in extending techniques he's been developing since the 1980s - he first performed with a computer onstage in 1986. Having heard the two archival compilations released by Unseen Worlds last year, I've been seeking out as much of Stone's back catalogue as I can find, and I'll give you a listen in a future show.

Giraffe - On the shore [Meakusma]
Giraffe - The night is dark [Meakusma]
Hamburg trio Giraffe sit in a strange land somewhere between jazz, postrock and avant-garde experimentalism, not unlike certain other unusual travellers from Germany & Austria such as Kammerflimmer Kollektief, Radian et al. It's rhythmic yet rarely quite settles into a groove, it features familiar instruments but they don't quite follow the roles you'd expect. Whatever it is, I love listening to it.

Aries Mond - Cut Off [IIKKI]
Aries Mond - Cracks [IIKKI]
Aries Mond - Ink [IIKKI]
Boris Billier has been recently creating a beautiful and unusual take on "post-classical" ambient piano genre as Aries Mond - eschewing pretty, sub-classical melodies and the "subtle electronics" that I dread to read about in press releases, he uses electronics in a more uncompromising manner and his piano in a very subtle way, playful with sound and just melodic enough. On this new album, sounds crackle forth at odd spots in tracks, muted piano clicks and sputters in reverse, and field recordings of (sometimes indistinct) voices intermingle with the music. It's really gorgeous.

Daniel Carter, Tobias Wilner, Djibril Toure, Federico Ughi - Nostrand Avenue [577 Records/Bandcamp]
I discovered this teaming up of great NYC musicians through the latest issue of The Wire Tapper cover CD with The Wire, which featured an excerpt from another track off the album New York United. Combining brilliant jazz musicians Daniel Carter and Federico Ughi with electronic soundtrack musician Tobias Wilner and versatile bassist Djibril Toure (who's played with The Wu-Tang Clan), it's an album of jazzscapes, grooves and experimentation. This particular quartet may be new, but they've played together in various sub-groupings before, and that shows in an album that matches the avant-garde aspects with remarkable cohesion. I decided to play as much of this long track as I could, because I love the way it develops its themes as it cycles through upbeat sections and lulls. We left it about 10 minutes into its 17 minutes. I highly recommend checking out the whole album.

Listen again — ~193MB

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