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Utility Fog


postfolkrocktronica, from granular pop to orchestral breakcore and beyond...
Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.

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Sunday, 20th of March, 2011

Playlist 20.03.11 (10:11 pm)

More wondrous sounds from Japan tonight (see earlier posts — purchased in Japan, much of it also made in Japan), along with some select local delicacies.
If you're as distressed and hopeless-feeling as I am, following the enormous upheaval and loss the country has experienced in the last week, you may get a little solace from this beautiful blogpost: Japan is OK. It rings true to me: they've suffered great pain and nothing will be the same again; but they're coping, and Japan is still Japan.
LISTEN AGAIN as usual, via the link at the bottom.

I started tonight with a much-loved soundtrack tune by Ryuichi Sakamoto, simply because it conveys my affection for Japan, my sadness and hope for a beautiful country of beautiful people (generalisations are GOOD). This version, for classical piano trio, is just exquisite.

And just before I got too much further, a really great new track from Here We Go Magic, which is promoting a new EP due out soon. It's probably his/their best track since the unbearably catchy "Fangela" from the first album.

One little track-from-Japan crept in before our interview tonight: Colophon is Jefre Cantu-Ledesma, who co-runs the Root Strata label and plays in Tarantel. This release on the flau label (see discussion in last week's playlist) features tracks from 2003-4, many based around short, crackly loops. It's not the most fully-formed of releases, but there's a lot of emotion embedded in these sounds.

I deliberately chose some piano sounds to lead into tonight's feature interview, with Adrian Lim-Klumpes of 3ofmillions. One of Sydney's most creative and unfettered groups, they're ostensibly a jazz piano trio, but backgrounds and interests in postrock, noise, electronica, punk and more tend to override the jazz genre markers. Adrian's an articulate speaker as always.
3ofmillions launch their brilliant new album Abstruction at 505 on Cleveland St, this Wednesday the 23rd of March, and at Owls Cafe/Gallery in Wollongong on the 24th. See their site for further gigs (April 1st and 9th).

Sydney/Adelaide duo Collarbones finally release their new album this week. Residing somewhere between pop, r'n'b, witch house and <insert genre here>, Collarbones are the perfect twenty-teens band, and of course they're still ultra-young (I've been playing Sydney member Marcus' music since he was a precocious Yr 10 student making drone/noise). The production's rough around the edges, but that's sortof what it's about — digitally-mediated, genre-agnostic, infectious and uncompromising.

Among the releases I picked up in Japan was a 2CD set by sadly defunct Oxford post-rock/punk/prog/tronica band Youthmovies, previously Youthmovie Soundtrack Strategies or YMSS. Marcus has been known to be a Youthmovies fanboi, so I thought it appropriate to play a couple of their tracks next. The release in question collects most of their EPs and spurious other tracks, and while I had all of the newer disc, the other one filled in most of the blanks in my collection, with epic unhinged angular rock songs (often hardly songs at all). I've had the 65daysofstatic remix for many years courtesy of 65dos, and it's brilliant to finally hear the original song and discover just how much it was remodelled by their contemporaries from up north.

Another remix I knew some time before the original is the remix of matryoshka by one of my favourite Japanese acts, world's end girlfriend. It's vintage weg, string quartet rubbing up with breakcore and glitch-beat, lush electronica and punk rock attitude. I finally found not only the CD of the remix disc but the original album as well, and it turns out matryoshka (a Japanese duo) do a great turn themselves in experimental electronic pop. A new album is apparently in the works for sometime this year. The remix disc is uniformly fantastic, by the way.

Speaking of remixes, we head back to flau head aus, and a pastoral remix by postfolkrock duo State River Widening. I was indescribably excited to find SRW's third album, Cottonhead, at a Disk Union in Tokyo. I've had low quality mp3s for years and it's proven hard to track down. It's a mortal sin that this album has been out of print for so long — any fans of Mice Parade, Fridge, Steve Reich or The Pentangle ought to love it.

I told this story on-air, but anyway: at the second Spartak gig I saw in Tokyo, presented by the aforementioned Yasuhiko Fukuzono (aka aus), I was expecting excellent in-between set music from Osamu from Linus Records/Preco. But after the gig, there was a girl DJing and she played a fantastic tune based around rapidfire piano in odd time signatures, and I had to hop up and ask her what it was. Unfortunately her Japanese accent got the better of me, and I could only make out a Japanese word starting with "N", and the fact that one of the bandmembers was at the gig.
So I did some digging back at the hotel, and discovered the DJ was Elly from Wonderyou; from there I went searching for bands, and was only slightly perturbed to discover the "Japanese word" I'd heard was "Networks". A YouTube sample confirmed it was them, and their record was uncovered with only a little difficulty at the still-awesome Tower Records the following day (Japanese releases appear under J-Pop, J-Club etc, and Japanese alphabetical order starts with the vowels and then follows with consonants in the order reflecting hirakana… and some sounds are not differentiated, so B, P and F are all mixed together). Still, persistence paid off, and you got to hear the fruits of my labour tonight!

Another favourite Japanese artist in Utility Fog Towers is Himuro Yoshiteru, of whom we've heard plenty even prior to this trip. Among my aims was finding Himuro's back catalogue, and also collecting as much as I could of the Murder Channel label.
Interestingly, neither of these goals was fulfilled at all until I rediscovered Tower Records. The various amazing Japanese indie stores, and even Disk Union, turned up scads of esoteric finds, Japanese as well as international, but it was Tower that provided for recent local releases. There I found the two main Himuro albums I was missing, and the majority of the Murder Channel catalogue once I understood the alphabet and filing system.
Himuro endlessly delights me, with supple, nimble beats and an ear for melody to match µ-Ziq and Luke Vibert.

The rest of the evening was Murder Channel's. I had asked myself before we left whether Japan had produced any native dubstep artists. Stupid question – Japan is one of the homes of breakcore and idm/drill'n'bass, and the breakcore scene took to dubstep like a duck to water. Before the dubstep, though, we keep it drill'n'bass with Unuramenura, whose Underground Works 1999-2005 are so accomplished in their beat-juggling and heavy-weight hardcore that it's hard to understand where he was hiding all that time.

Cardopusher’s "Fighters Unite" is an old favourite from a split 10”. It's one of my fave breakcore-dancehall tracks of all time (OF ALL TIME), and it's gratifying to find it on CD courtesy of the 2CD+DVD Murder Channel Compilation.

Cardo, a Venezuelan now based in Barcelona, released an album on Murder Channel, who are more than willing to cast their net outside of their home country. But the home team hits hard: Freezer also combines dubset with breakcore, evoking hardcore nostalgia.
Dokkebi Q, well this is incredible — a brash cross-breeding of dub, dancehall, dubstep and breakcore (with Middle Eastern influences thrown into the melting pot), it's all held together by Kiki Hitomi's punkish vocals, filtering Jamaican and East London styles through a Japanese lens. I can't believe I missed this last year; it won't happen again, I promise.
You may know Kiki Hitomi from collaborations with Kevin Martin's groups The Bug and King Midas Sound. They also have a duo a Black Chow. She's the perfect fit for Martin's industrial and Jamaican-derived sound, but Dokkebi Q seems very much her native environment.

Finally, DJ 100mado is making heavy, wobbly, but technical and detailed dubstep. His Murder Channel release was a split with Cardopusher's Venezuelan compatriot Pacheko, who I've played here before, but 100mado's also irresistible. Japan's the future, y'all.

Ryuichi Sakamoto – Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence (piano trio version from 1996 with Jaques Morelenbaum, cello, Everton Nelson, violin) [Milan]
Here We Go Magic – Hands in the Sky [Secretly Canadian] {via Pitchfork}
Colophon – Prospect Park [flau]
3ofmillions – Glaciation [Rufus Records]
…interview with Adrian Lim-Klumpes from 3ofmillions
3ofmillions – golden calf [hellosQuare] {played under interview}
3ofmillions – Nebuchadnezzar [Rufus Records]
3ofmillions – What Are You Gunna Do? [Rufus Records]
3ofmillions – conscription [hellosQuare]
Collarbones – Snatch [Two Bright Lakes]
Collarbones – Berlioz [Two Bright Lakes]
Collarbones – Closer [Two Bright Lakes]
youthmovie soundtrack strategies – the if works [Quickfix Recordings]
youthmovie soundtrack strategies – spooks the horse (65daysofstatic remix) [Quickfix Recordings]
matryoshka – Sink Into The Sin (remixed by world's end girlfriend) [Novel Sounds]
matryoshka – Viridian [Novel Sounds]
aus – Headphone Girl (State River Widening Remix) [Preco]
State River Widening – Crown [Vertical Form]
State River Widening – Desertesque [Vertical Form]
Networks – Ab-rah [Wonderyou]
Himuro Yoshiteru – unwind and rewind [Murder Channel] {available through his Bandcamp}
Himuro Yoshiteru – oh jesus [File Records]
Himuro Yoshiteru – i wanna show you waht i'm seeing [Murder Channel] {available through his Bandcamp}
Unuramenura – Mad Lolita [Murder Channel]
Cardopusher – Fighters Unite [Murder Channel]
Freezer – Prowler(s) [Murder Channel]
Dokkebi Q – Hardcore Cherry Bon Bon [Murder Channel]
Dokkebi Q – English Weather Boy [Murder Channel]
DJ 100mado – Side Life (Murder Channel Exclusive mix) [Murder Channel]

Listen again — ~ 171MB



 
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