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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, 2nd of June, 2024

Playlist 02.06.24 (11:00 pm)

Another week, another selection of sounds from all over, this week encompassing very experimental indie songwriting and lo-fi hip-hop, glitched mashups, dreamy instrumental guitar-picking, fourth-world electronica, IDM, drumfunk & drum'n'bass, post-classical ambient...

LISTEN AGAIN and run the gamut... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Michael Ackroyd - Inseam [Michael Ackroyd Bandcamp]
Michael Ackroyd - Vice Grip [Michael Ackroyd Bandcamp]
Over quite some years, Eora/Sydney musician Michael Ackroyd has put together his beautiful debut album Delicate Puncture. A little searching shows I played "The Architect" on this show in 2020, and that song appears here. There are nods to Talk Talk, Radiohead, contemporary post-club production etc, but it's unfair to play the comparison game too much as Michael is an excellent songwriter and both creative and skilled in his production. The songs are from the heart - he has gone through a lot, suffering from chronic pain that led to opioid addiction (sadly very common), so finally completing this wonderful album is a real achievement, and more people should hear it.

FIN - Object Of Fire [Hausu Mountain/Bandcamp]
FIN - The Known World [Hausu Mountain/Bandcamp]
Sometime in early 2018 I must have discovered Alexandra Drewchin's music, in the lead up to the first PAN release from Eartheater. Hausu Mountain released her first two albums, so I was digging around their Bandcamp and came across the first FIN album, Ice Pix, a collection of glitchy experimental electronic pop that I enjoyed easily as much as the Eartheater releases. It's taken 6 years for Fin Simonetti to release her second album Cleats - probably because she's been busy making incredible sculptural art (no seriously, incredible!) - but the new album is as weird & cool as her first. Not much more to say - the glitchy pop might have elements of Björk, Glasser, or heck, our own Aphir, but even compiling those comparisons was something of a reach - it's uniquely weirdo electronic pop, huge thumbs up!

John Glacier - Steady As I Am [Young/Remote Control/Bandcamp]
I'm at least an EP late with English underground hip-hopper John Glacier. Her first EP for 2024, Like A Ribbon, came out in Feb, and Duppy Gun follows on June 20th. Unlike some of the shiny stuff on Young (fka Young Turks) like Jamie XX, hers is a determinedly experimental, lo-fi expression of what hip-hop can be in 2024, produced with Kwes Darko (fka Blue Daisy). Whatever - this is good shit.

Heyes - Wednesday, 27 October 2004 [Heyes Bandcamp]
Heyes - Wednesday, 19 August 1970 [Heyes Bandcamp]
Late last week, Lachlan Stevens, a man with excellent taste who presents Freshly Squeezed on Instagram (you should totally follow), let me know that he'd put up a really interesting new work on SoundCloud. Those We Follow is an exercise in creative tribute, de-fanged nostalgia, sincere love. Since I played these tracks on Sunday, I had a couple of people independently get in touch to say they really liked "the one by the guy about his grandmother", so Lachlan has now put it on Bandcamp as a free download (he releases music as Heyes). Lochie talks about how his grandma had slowly succumbed to Alzheimer's, and how the one thing that stuck with her was music. So, each of the tracks is made from three pieces of pop music (from across many decades and genres), sampled and brutally smashed to bits. The musical sources here are suggested by various family members, so clearly they're a family of music lovers! The originals are rarely recognizable, although some tiny samples instantly announce themselves. But somehow he's constructed a beautiful journey of scattered nostalgia, riffs and fragments built variously into rhythmic snippets of blurred beatless techno, glitchy ambient or some kind of folktronica. The album is meant to be heard as one continuous mix, so either download it or stream on SoundCloud I suggest.

Danny Paul Grody Duo (Danny Paul Grody and Rich Douthit) - Hawk Hill [Three Lobed Recordings/Bandcamp]
Guitarist Danny Paul Grody co-founded the incredible freewheeling postrock band Tarentel, and later The Drift. He's been making circular, dreamy ambient folk under his own name for a while. His forthcoming Arc of Night album is being released as Danny Paul Grody Duo, as drummer Rich Douthit is central to all the music (Douthit was also in The Drift, among others). It's certainly still low-key folk, and Douthit's drums and percussion add to the atmospheric feel. On "Hawk Hill", the second preview track, Trevor Montgomery, also of The Drift, adds electric bass. Looking forward to the rest!

D.C Cross - Light dancing on e'en water (Seine) [Darren Cross Bandcamp]
D.C Cross - Failed Gen X Love Story [Darren Cross Bandcamp]
Back in 2019, decades after being part of Sydney indietronic legends Gerling, Darren Cross released the first of his albums under the D.C Cross moniker, based around John Fahey-like "American Primitive" fingerpicked guitar alongside some more sweeping ambient guitar manipulation. Said techniques continue to be the features of D.C Cross, and Gookies Guit. is the latest album in that vein. Tonight we heard both the nimble and melodic "Light dancing on e'en water (Seine)" and the wistful ambient of "Failed Gen X Love Story".

Michel Banabila - Hometapers Tricky Universe [Knekelhuis/Bandcamp]
Michel Banabila - AI Brainfire [Knekelhuis/Bandcamp]
Mark Knekelhuis's eponymous label releases anything from punk, new wave & industrial to ambient and contemporary electronica. Dutch maestro Michel Banabila released Echo Transformations on the label in 2021, and returns now for Unspeakable Visions. Here, Banabila is focusing on a recurrent element of his work: voices. It might sound like we're hearing ethnomusicological recordings, but the voices are all either artificially created or manipulated from his own voice. Along with assorted acoustic instruments, tape effects, field recordings and lots of electronics, Banabila creates a contemporary form of "fourth world" ambient. Wondeful as always.

sideproject - double zebra [SVBKVLT]
sideproject - cannonposting [SVBKVLT]
Most of us discovered Icelandic electronic trio sideproject via their remix for Björk a couple of years ago (they also contributed production on the track "ovule"). They make crazy idm stuff influenced by today's bass music - there's a stack of older stuff on their Bandcamp, but this week the Shanghai/UK label SVBKVLT released a new album, sourcepond. It's simultaneously the melodic end of contemporary electronic and the most IDM-influenced end of bass music, strangely organic, very moist.

Mattr - Gaija [Mattr Bandcamp]
Mattr - Fever [Mattr Bandcamp]
Speaking of IDM, while UK artist Mattr has furnished dancefloors with leftfield house, he's been very much on an IDM tip for some time, and 40 minutes of that material are conveniently collected in his new album Pheno. Tracks range from sedately paced to skittery almost-jungle, and there's a lovely sense of turn-of-the-millennium 2nd gen IDM like Arovane as well as early Autechre's melodic sensibilities. Always recommended.

dgoHn - Debbie Will Deck You [WeMe Records/Bandcamp]
dgoHn - Sad Stay Snakebitten [WeMe Records/Bandcamp]
If you want full-on drum fuckery of the highest order, you'd better call for John Cunnane aka dgoHn, drumfunk maestro for almost 20 years now. Brussels label WeMe Records is dedicated to electronic music of all sorts - IDM, acid, dubstep, jungle - and so they're a comfy home for dgoHn's latest, Alterations in Gyral Form. It's not all drum'n'bass/jungle BPMs, but at whatever speed, dgoHn implacably brings the funk.

Andy Odysee - Ex-Astra Heights [Odysee Recordings/Bandcamp]
Although active in the original jungle/drum'n'bass times, Odysee Recordings has seen a resurgence and new significance in recent years, spearheaded by Andy Baddaley, who first joined the label in 1999, but in fact went to school with Jim Baker of Source Direct, a highly influential drum'n'bass act usually mentioned in the same breath as Photek. Baddaley is now responsible for a lot of extremely high quality productions on the label, also very much in the vein of the intricate, dark d'n'b/jungle of Photek and Source Direct in that mid-'90s period. The 5th volume in his Odysee Black Series is no exception, and I recommend exploring the label's Bandcamp for quality reissues and new material, noting that Source Direct now have their own Bandcamp page.

Monoconda - Progression [Salon Imaginalis]
Monoconda - I Was Programmed [Salon Imaginalis]
Berlin-resident Monoconda is from Kyiv, and his new EP Disturbing does live up to its name, evoking an upturned, unstable world. There's a kind dub-electro vibe to it, but with fidgety IDM rhythms, and half-audible robot-like female vocals ("I Was Programmed...") Unusual, experimental stuff.

Roel Funcken - Mugam v2 [Roel Funcken Bandcamp]
I can quite honestly say that I was following Dutch IDM legends Funckarma from the beginning. In 1999 I was travelling in Europe on my own before a tour, and found myself in a little electronic music shop in Antwerp, in northern Belgium. I was talking to the owner, and learning a bit about my taste - I'm guessing particularly Autechre and Arovane at that point - he handed me a brand new 12", or maybe it was two - maybe it was Parts 1 & 2? Anyway, I was instantly sold on the melodic IDM & glitchy beats, and followed them ever since. They made regular appearances on this show from the beginning, and through their dubstep-influenced period until one of the two brothers, Don Funcken, decided to hang up his apron and stop making music. But Roel Funcken kept the faith, and has a large collection including heaps of old Funckarma on his Bandcamp. The best way of keeping up is through his Bandcamp Subscription, which has exclusive music every month, and he's kindly let me play one of the exclusives for May here tonight. Very nice, kinda dark, pure Funcken.

Toada - Onda Tempest [plüma / Toada Bandcamp]
Late in 2023 we heard Lisbon/Berlin producer Toada (Valdir da Silva) revisiting '00s folktronica with the Slow-Paced Tangents EP. He returns now with Alta Onda 01, first in a series of EPs on his own plüme label, melding club leanings and ambient introspection. With a comfortably-paced 4/4 kick going through the tracks, there are low-slung shuffly grooves and electronic arrangments inspired by the music of Southern Hemisphere as he says (particularly Central & South America). Very lovely, worth signing up for the follow-ups.

Chris Dooks - COWLAIRS [Chris Dooks Bandcamp]
Chris Dooks - WARCOILS [Chris Dooks Bandcamp]
I'm pretty sure I first came across Chris Dooks under his Bovine Life alias, making IDM and glitch, often with collaborators. By the end of the '90s he was already a respected filmmaker, and multimedia art has been a continuing feature of his work. But for many years I've thought of him primarily as a drone and sound-artist - including works for "self-excited harmoniums", and pure field recordings, often including people talking (as opposed, in my mind, to "spoken word"). In any case, all this aside, I was surprised to find this new EP, Cowlairs, appearing unannounced on his Bandcamp, its six anagrammatical titles enclosing six pieces of lo-fi melodic synth pieces. A couple of these pieces do incorporate field recordings, and one even has electronic beats. It's a beautiful unexplained artefact.

Mary Lattimore and Walt McClements - The Top of Thomas Street [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Rain on the Road, the first duo release from Mary Lattimore and Walt McClements, mostly showcases their unique approaches to their main instruments - Lattimore's harp and McClements' accordion. Like their own solo work, it's ambient music from acoustic instruments and some processing, with field recordings and other instruments appearing at times. I particularly loved the closing track, where McClements substitutes piano for accordion. Comforting sounds for a turbulent world.

Listen again — ~205MB


Sunday, 26th of May, 2024

Playlist 26.05.24 (11:00 pm)

Everything from groundbreaking postrock to glitch-jazz, auto-techno to bass musics fast & slow - and more.

LISTEN AGAIN, you deserve it! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Gastr Del Sol - The Seasons Reverse (live) [Drag City/Bandcamp]
Gastr Del Sol - The Bells Of St. Mary's [Drag City/Bandcamp]
It's almost impossible/unnecessary to describe Gastr Del Sol here, but then I did write about Steve Albini a couple of weeks ago, so. They were the duo of Jim O'Rourke and David Grubbs, both independently massive influences on experimental music, postrock, sound-art, improv, you name it. They were also key members of Chicago's music scene, from postpunk & hardcore through the defining period of postrock as Tortoise formed out of ensembles both had been involved with, while simultaneously O'Rourke was making freeform sound-art on tape and then computer. It's almost impossible to overstate the significance of their albums, especially (I'd suggest) their final album Camoufleur. Some 26 years after that album was released and they disbanded, we're treated to a double CD & triple LP collecting rarities and previously unreleased live tracks, and from the very start, Camoufleur's beloved opening track "The Seasons Reverse" appears in live form from a performance the year before the album was released, and sounding remarkably full given that the album was quite non-linearly constructed by O'Rourke out of recordings from both musicians apart and together. The song, and the music here in general, shows what classic songwriters both were, and also how willing they were to bury their gorgeous songs 10 minutes in to drones and abstract sound-art, or deconstruct those songs. "The Bells of St. Mary's" was recorded for a Japanese Christmas compilation, and as O'Rourke quite rightly detests Christmas music, it's a complete deconstruction of glitching electronic bell tones, minimalist piano and organ drones that kind of is Christmassy if you squint and look at it from the right angle. Lovely stuff, lucky us!

John Kameel Farah & Nick Fraser - Dirge [Nick Fraser Bandcamp]
John Kameel Farah & Nick Fraser - Waltz [Nick Fraser Bandcamp]
I discovered Toronto pianist, jazz composer, electronic musician John Kameel Farah way back in 2010, somehow via a breakcore/idm link I think - yes, the album Unfolding was released by the Canadian breakcore label Dross:tik. It's a mix of brilliant jazz piano, electronic processing and Squarepusher-style beats. It's been 15 years since that album came out, and here's Farah working with the Toronto drummer Nick Fraser, key player in the Toronto jazz/improv scene. Fraser reached out to Farah specifically for this project, which is rooted in improvisation. From an initial set of studio improvisations, Farah worked on the recordings - with Fraser's guidance - with all sorts of electronic interventions. The result is very different from that earlier Farah album, but carries the spirit of technically proficient jazz, with an emotive/emotional core, and advanced electronics/rhythms. You don't need to be a jazz head at all to enjoy this though! And this kind of interaction between improvisation and electronic post-production is central to this show's mission - especially when it's done as beautifully as it is here.

Frédéric D. Oberland, Grégory Dargent, Tony Elieh, Wassim Halal - Black Powder [Sub Rosa/Bandcamp]
Venerable Belgian experimental label Sub Rosa here releases a collaboration between four seasoned collaborators. Frédéric D. Oberland has appeared frequently on Sub Rosa as part of the great postrock/psych band Oiseaux-Tempête, who have themselves collaborated deeply with Middle Eastern & north African artists; French oud player Grégory Dargent works deeply with musicians from Lebanon, Algeria and further; Tony Elieh is a key member of Lebanon's music scene, from shoegaze to improv and noise; and darbuka player Wassim Halal has also worked with musicians from Lebanon and Turkey among others. Their music together includes all these instruments, electric guitars and bass, and many variegated electronics, and together they create their own new language. At times abrasive and atonal, at times weirdly melodic, and entirely unpredictable.

Nightports w/ Matthew Bourne - Traction [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Nightports w/ Matthew Bourne - Plads [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
In 2018, UK electronic duo Nightports inaugurated their "Nightports w/" series with experimental/post-classical pianist Matthew Bourne, with an album that explored the expressive and physical nature of the piano. Bourne was an ideal collaborator, an exploratory musician himself, and after some excellent work with percussionist Betamax and double bassist Tom Herbert, as well as some processed field recordings, they're back again with Bourne but working with very different sounds. The dulcitone is a very rare gem of an instrument, mechanically a bit like a Fender Rhodes - an array of tuning forks hit by piano hammers - with a clear bell-like sound. The name "Dulcitone 1804" doesn't refer to when it was built (they're mid-to-late 19th century instruments) but rather the manufacturer's number for the instrument used. Already an unearthly-sounding instrument, the dulcitone is further manipulated both by Bourne in his performances and by Nightports' Adam Martin and Mark Slater on electronics, both live and in post-production.

Splashgirl & Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe - More Human [Hubro/Bandcamp]
Norwegian trio Splashgirl are a postrock band made of jazz musicians, or maybe a jazz trio leaning into postrock, or maybe I'm just getting bogged down in genres. The three musicians are adventurous in their own rights, and in particualr we've heard double bassist Jo Berger Myhre in various contexts on this show. Myhre and the two Andreases on piano & drums are joined here by another jazz-influenced experimenter, Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, often known as Lichens, whose history takes in punk & metal, industrial and experimental rock, as well as ambient and drone. Their album together, More Human, addresses what humanity is in a world dominated by ersatz humanity in AI and automation, with lovely vocals from Lowe and even a Talk Talk cover of sorts. Released by the ever engaging Hubro label.

James Devane - Searching I [Umeboshi/Bandcamp]
James Devane - Kilter [Umeboshi/Bandcamp]
James Devane - Last Strut [Umeboshi/Bandcamp]
Bay area musician James Devane follows up his 2022 album Beauty Is Useless with Searching, again released on Swedish label Umeboshi. The former smeared sounds from the techno idiom into fuggy textures that sometimes highlighted beats, and sometimes buried them entirely. On Searching a different technique abstracts techno into lopsided patterns that point at dub or minimal techno without quite lining up. You'll hear bits of Laurel Halo, Flying Lotus, Actress, Wolfgang Voigt's Gas and Vladislav Delay, but none quite describe the artful disorientation here.

Bjarni Biering - I can let go (Jlin Rework) [Curious Music/Bandcamp]
Icelandic composer Bjarni Biering released his Andvaka Suite on US label Curious Music in 2021. Its classical/electronic evocations of stillness were transportive, and have now earned a release on vinyl, along with which a remix of "I can let go" has been commissioned from Jlin aka Jerrilynn Patton. Of course Patton, who has gained high respect from folks like Philip Glass and Michael Vincent Waller of late, does wonderful work here.

NikNak - You Were Supposed To Be Good (Feat. Grifton Forbes Amos & Cassie Kinoshi) [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
NikNak - Break My Bones [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
The amazing Ireti is a masterful debut album from UK turntablist, producer, composer NikNak aka Nicole Raymond. Released by Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records, it paints its Afrofuturist, post-cyberpunk vision of dystopia with help from friends like trumpeter Grifton Forbes Amos and saxophonist Cassie Kinoshi (both prominent in the UK jazz scene, with NikNak performing on Kinoshi's recent album for International Anthem), singer & flautist Chisa Agor and singer Agaama. Still, most of the album is NikNak's production and vinyl manipulation, sumptuous arrangements, intricate beats and all. Each time I listen to this I'm sure it's one of the albums of the year, and the multiple listens are a pretty good sign of that too. Don't miss it!

Krampfhaft - Anticline [Maloca Records/Bandcamp]
HIIIT are a versatile ensemble, formerly known as Slagwerk Den Haag (I first heard them in Lunch Music, a brilliantly weird collaboration with Netherlands-based composer Yannis Kyriakides). Renaming themselves after many decades to indicate that they're no longer just a percussion ensemble, HIIIT have been producing a number of collaborations - you can see a bunch of YouTube videos of music made with Jlin. SIIIX is a project released by Brussels label Maloca, which is presented as a compilation - HIIIT are not actually credited unless you look at the description. Each artist, from drummers Valentina Magaletti & Julian Sartorius to producers such as upsammy and Azu Tiwaline, created sketches over which HIIIT improvised layers of sound which were then given back to the artists to create new pieces. I could happily have played any of the tracks, all of which creatively use percussion with electronics, but chose Utrecht (Netherlands) producer Joris Van Grunsven aka Krampfhaft, who created a patiently evolving piece of syncopated bass music. The compilation is highly recommended.

David August - Workout I [99CHANTS/Bandcamp]
Italian-German composer David August is the founder of 99CHANTS, with a small catalogue of great ambient & experimental music. For many years he was making house music, but founding 99CHANTS took him in more experimental directions, and last year's VĪS was a mystical mixture of ambient, post-classical, and deconstructed club music. For the WORKOUTS EP he's in rhythmic mode, with four pieces of tumbling, percussive bass techno. This first Workout is a good indicator of the goodness to come.

Kiwanoid - ក្ផានអវី [Mille Plateaux]
Dizzying glitch for Mille Plateaux here from the Estonian "multichannel meta-artist" Kiwanoid. Each track title is apparently the word "nothing" in various languages - although "Vanat​ü​hi", the album title, is "Old one" in Estonian (according Google translate anyway!) There are a lot of manipulated voice samples in here, along with not so much deconstructed club as demolished club. Fun though!

Mutant Joe - Malfeasance [99CTS RCRDS]
Meanjin/Brisbane's Mutant Joe (based, I think, in Berlin) is an expert at, well, mutant beats in various genres, and on this new EP for NYC/Paris label 99cts (it's meant to be 99 cents I think), there are four stomping hybrids of hip-hop, dubstep and other bass genres, with nods to jungle around the edges. Quality.

Ben Pest X Kursa - Totally Kippered [Love Love Records]
Mutant bass from two heavy operators from the UK, Ben Pest and Kursa. All the tracks here are somewhere around grime or dubstep, but inflected/infected with jungle/d'n'b, techno and electro. But the bass slams on all these dancefloor weapons.

The Lazy Jesus - Smok (Dengue Dengue Dengue remix) [Shouka/Bandcamp]
Ukrainian musician/DJ/producer Ehor Havrylenko aka The Lazy Jesus takes ancient music of Ukraine and brings it into the percussive world of contemporary techno and bass music. The UA Tribal Vol. 2 EP is out later this month via French-Tunisian label Shouka, along with two remixes. Peruvian duo Dengue Dengue Dengue up the percussive energy in their remix of "Smok".

Thief - Paramnesia [Prophecy Productions/Bandcamp]
Thief - Dulcinea [Prophecy Productions/Bandcamp]
Dylan Neal has been a member of cult black metal/dulcimer band Botanist, but his solo material as Thief is a very different affair (even though Botanist can sound more like folk-shoegaze or even trip-hop more than metal at times). With Thief, Neal makes industrial electronica with characteristic choral samples all through. The poppier ends of Nine Inch Nails are recalled and there's IDM-influenced beat programming. Bleed, Memory finds Neal dealing with his father's descent into dementia, and how that affected his memory and personality, as well as his perception of the world around him. Neal's granularly-manipulated choral samples give these songs an unearthly aura - the album is intentionally haunted, and it's touching listening.

Moin - Lapsed [Kuboraum Digital Sound Residency/Bandcamp]
Kuboraum are, as far as I can see, a Berlin-based designer of glasses frames ("masks") who also have various artistic ventures, one of which is the Kuboraum Digital Sound Residency, offering music downloads for those who sign up to their newsletter. The first 12 of these are now available on vinyl and also as downloads on Bandcamp, and it's a pretty impressive list, including exclusive music from Space Afrika, Emma DJ, MC Yallah & Dembaster, Ziúr, µ-Ziq, Lucy Railton and others. Moin's track matches what they've made in the last couple of years - angular postpunk riffage with decontextualised vocal samples. Excellent.

KRM & KMRU - Ark [Phantom Limb/Bandcamp]
Stunning, unexpected collab here in which Kenyan ambient sensation Joseph Kamaru aka KMRU teams up with Kevin Richard Martin, and not just because of the three letters. Under his full name, KRM has been making extremely washed-out uneasy ambient that still has a core of the heavyweight dub/dancehall/dubstep he makes as The Bug. Surprisingly, at Martin's request, the record features Kamaru's voice on some tracks, although "Ark" (one of two preview tracks available) is instrumental, with gaseous synths driven by a very Bug-like pulse.

Véronique Serret - Migrating Bird [Véronique Serret via Planet Company/MGM/Bandcamp]
Full disclosure: I've known Véronique Serret since we were school kids in youth orchestras. She's a brilliant violinist who has made a successful classical career - playing in the Australian Chamber Orchestra as well as with Bangarra Dance and Sydney Dance Company, as well as being concertmaster of the Darwin Symphony. But she's also been involved with non-classical music for as long as I have (*ahem*), as a founding member of CODA with composer/violist Nick Wales, and later a member of improvising string quartet The Noise, as well as contributing or directing strings for many international & local musicians. Migrating Bird is her first solo album of music written by herself, and performed on six string violin along with her own voice. Kim Moyes of The Presets (also a classically trained muso from way back) provides electronic touches in the production, and Véronique has incorporated many field recordings Mt Cootha/Meanjin which accentuate the music's theme of the natural world. These songs evoke the landscape and fauna of the Australian continent and also of her homeland Mauritius. Great stuff.

Claire Cross - Theta [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
Finishing with an accomplished jazz musician from Naarm/Melbourne (now Berlin-based), Claire Cross, taking her electric bass into ambient territory on an album that explores the Sleep Cycle. The ensemble here features drums, bass and voice, all used with copious effects, playing and improvising around compositions from Cross that draw from the frequency ranges detected in EEGs during the different phases of the sleep cycle. So let's float away with delay-ridden textures from all four musicians...

Listen again — ~204MB


Sunday, 19th of May, 2024

Playlist 19.05.24 (11:00 pm)

Sound-art, glitch, breakcore, jungle, bass, minimal electro-pop, acoustic arrangements of a glitch-drone classic... a lot to get through tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN, I implore you - on FBi's stream on demand, or podcast here.

Koichi Shimizu - Evenfall [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
Koichi Shimizu - Imprint [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
Unknowingly, when I previewed and immediately grabbed the new album Imprint from Koichi Shimizu, I'd first heard the artist 25 years ago. As just Koichi, Shimizu released a split 12" on legendary (if very obscure) UK IDM label Worm Interface (sadly the label's releases have never been available digitally, except perhaps from individual artists). The breadth of Shimizu's musical taste and talents was formed during two stints living in Thailand as well as in Japan and elsewhere, and he's quite well-known for the music & sound work he's done for/with Thai independent film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. He's also collaborated with the brilliant, shapeshifting Singaporean band The Observatory, another connection I'd failed to make immediately - seriously, Demon State is an incredible mix of industrial, experimental electronics and noise side by side with postrock, gamelan and who knows what else. In comparison, Shimizu's new solo album Imprint is not nearly so intense, but there are clear industrial techno undertones along with beautiful glitchy ambient composition and cinematic scope. I've been returning to this album quite a bit because there's enough detail and left turns that you know it'll retain its pleasures repeatedly.

Pentu - This Doesn't Exist Anymore [mappa/Bandcamp]
Pentu - I'm Noticing The Blossoms More This Year [mappa/Bandcamp]
Two new releases from the Slovakian label mappa now: Pentu's And I Saw My Devil And I Saw My Deep Blue Sea is out now, with the London-based producer evoking that slightly lost, disturbed feeling of navigating the contemporary mediascape, especially when in the throes of a relationship ending. The artist's previous work was more directly song-oriented, but here a track might start in an ambient space, with glitched electronics and decontextualised YouTube samples, before grinding into brief metal snarls and riffs, or short sweet song excerpts.

adaa - p1.fr [mappa/Bandcamp]
Coming on June 3rd from mappa is the album ...img... from Rhode Island's adaa. Like Pentu, adaa creates her music by collaging snippets of found-sound along with her own electronics, guitar and processed voice. And then there's this little track which somehow starts with ASMR voice and muted piano, building into some kind of hyper-pop and the further into a saturated mess of distortion.

Rika Madobe - Opening party [Virgin Babylon Records]
Rika Madobe - Window moon [Virgin Babylon Records]
For some reason Madobe Rika, the idoru breakcore pop star discovered by World's End Girlfriend's Virgin Babylon Records has switched to Rika Madobe - I know that one is the typical Japanese order with family name first, but I'm not sure which is which. In any case, Infinite Window is the debut album proper from the artist, who has previously released some incredible EPs of what might be vocaloid-style pop with breakcore production (they've referred to her as a "virtual girl"), and then snuck out a few singles ahead of this album. There are some slightly more subdued tracks here too, like the pretty piano of "Opening party" - at least until things start accellerating and glitching! Super fun, super kawaii.

Anom Vitruv - Ohne Titel 4 [Präsens Editionen/Bandcamp]
Anom Vitruv - Ohne Titel 5 [Präsens Editionen/Bandcamp]
The mysterious Anom Vitruv first appeared around 2012, and barring a couple of untitled releases has mostly been released on vinyl. Now, six years after his last release, comes the enigmatically titled 6.4311, a full album available on CD as well as digital from Switzerland's Präsens Editionen. Each track is untitled ("Ohne Titel" in German), giving little away about the music's content or the artist's intent (although now at least we know he's based in Switzerland). Various approaches to ambient emerge, including gentle synths, reversed vocals, cavernous reverb, spoken word, and then cut-up classical piano, but on the fifth untitled track the cavernous space is filled with clattering jungle breaks. It's music that would have fitted perfectly in a chill-out room at a mid-'90s rave, albeit through a post-vaporwave lens.

rush2theUnknown - Ulterior [Disktopia/Bandcamp]
rush2theUnknown - Taken Flight [Forthcoming on Soul In Motion]
Also harkening back to '90s jungle and drum'n'bass are New Zealand duo rush2theUnknown, made up of documentary maker Nick Dwyer and producer Devin Abrams. Their EP1 is out through Disktopia, with plenty of that break-juggling syncopation, melded 2020s-style with influences from new age/ambient music, including Japan's own kankyõ ongaku style of new age video game music. A second EP of similar material entitled Taken Flight will be out in mid-June on UK d'n'b label Soul In Motion.

Special Request - Bounty Hunter [Special Request]
One of the beginnings of the ongoing jungle revival came when London renowned house & techno DJ Paul Woolford started releasing hardcore & jungle 12"s as Special Request around 2012 (notably the ridiculously great remix of Lana Del Ray's "Ride"). In the intervening decade, Special Request has been an outlet for IDM, acid and various experimental club sounds as much as jungle, but there's always some of it around - so on Portal 3, the third in his current 12" series, there's the frenetic acid-jungle of "Bounty Hunter".

Allis - Nichts [The Collection Artaud]
Look up Allis and you're likely not to find any information. That's because the latest release on Yu Miyashita's label The Collection Artaud is in fact himself, under a new alias. In amongst the glitch and idm-inflected beats is spoken word from Miyashita. The a-side ("Alles") actually sounds more like a funky '80s electro vibe with Miyashita's murmuring voice (I think it's in Japanese?) but the b-side ("Nichts" - nothing, the opposite of "all") is a very µ-Ziq style melodic idm thing complete with junglist beats. And Miyashita's voice. I'm curious what the words are about.

Social State - Play No Games (feat Technically True) [Social State Bandcamp]
In 2021, UK producer Social State released his album Sacrosanct, which mixed up jungle and grime-like beats with more hip-hop or trip-hop vibes. On new track "Play No Games" it's tricksy jungle, and a lot of fun.

Lila Tirando a Violeta, Sin Maldita - All Day I Hear The Noise of Waters (Verraco Remix) [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Verraco - Godspeed > [Timedance/Bandcamp]
We've heard Amnesia Scanner's remix of Lila Tirando a Violeta & Sin Maldita, and the full EP of remixes from last year's Accela album is coming soon. This week we have Verraco from Colombia, taking "Accelerated" as an instruction, with fidgety and fluid rhythms. Verraco also has a new EP coming out on Bristol's Timedance, with dembow grooves on the first single.

COIDO - Traces [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Well, I don't know much about Berlin-based Fabrizio Carlini aka COIDO (being Berlin-based is near meaningless these days!), but he's been making gnarly bass techno for YUKU since last year, from near-dubstep-tempo to jittery near-d'n'b or juke, and the Traces EP sits comfortably in between. It's too chunky to be ukg, and too fast to be dubstep, too syncopated really to be techno, so let's settle for "bass". Fuckin' great anyway.

RM Estali - C+R [Virtual Forest Records/Bandcamp]
French ravers Virtual Forest Records release the first EP from RM Estali, who has been involved with the electronic scene in Paris for a while. The four tracks on Dynamic Slicing are carefully made bass tracks with an emphasis on dub production. Lovely to hear.

Conna Haraway - Cortisol (with L V J) [INDEX:Records]
Conna Haraway, co-founder of Glasgow's INDEX:Records, has a few releases under his belt including a debut album from last year on Eora/Sydney's own Theory Therapy. On Cortisol, the same track accompanies two voices: The brilliant Sensational (who has appeared on productions from the likes of Autechre, NHK yx Koixen, Kœnig and many other experimentalists) drops mysterious lines over a fairly abstract version of the beat, while L V J's rap and the beat behind it are somewhat more in-focus.

Valerian Swing - Badman(ting) feat. Flowdan [Pax Aeternum/Bandcamp]
Strangest combo of the week is finding grime legend Flowdan on a track from Italian jazz/postrock/math rock band Valerian Swing. The band's Liminal album, befitting its title, is exceptionally hard to pin down, and the band's slow groove and synth-led energy do strangely support Flowdan's flow.

Church Andrews & Matt Davies - Yucca [Odda Recordings/Bandcamp]
The first release on The Leaf Label publicist Thea Hudson-Davies' Odda Recordings collected beautiful electro-acoustic and post-folk material from Kirk Barley, and for the third, we're back with Barley's alter ego Church Andrews and his longtime collaborator, drummer Matt Davies. The two have an astonishing way with melding modular synth and live drumming. I've watched this video a few times and I still can't understand how the electronic rhythms line up with the drumming - I mean it's obviously led by Davies, but I'm not sure how the synth lines are following. In any case, Davies' beautifully precise but complex beats meld with Andrews' strangely evocative synth tones in an eerily organic way. Once you've watched the video for Yucca, which I played tonight, follow it up with Roses, and then buy the EP.

santpoort - big destructive devices (ft. Imagiro) [Friends of Friends/Bandcamp]
From LA's Friends of Friends label comes the latest album from santpoort, aka Sydney-based Dutch musician Julien Mier. It's friendly music indeed, but there's a melancholy as Maybe Not Tomorrow is driven by "the urgency of global climate change". A collection of wistful, jazz-inflected electronica, there are a number of guest singers throughout, including Bath-based singer/producer/musician Imagiro.

Fake Hudson - Shifting Shape [Fake Hudson Bandcamp]
The new single from Naarm/Melbourne's Fake Hudson (actually a real Hudson) flows nicely from Santpoort. It's a lysergically slowed-down piece of r'n'b-adjacent ambient pop, including cello and trumpet alongside Hudson Grant's vocals and production.

Taylor Deupree - Recur (For Guitar, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, Lap Harp, & Percussion) (arranged by Joseph Branciforte) [greyfade/Nettwerk/Bandcamp]
NYC composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Joseph Branciforte has been a lifetime fan of minimalist electronic/electro-acoustic producer and renowned sound engineer (and 12k boss) Taylor Deupree. Some 5+ years ago Branciforte began a project arranging an electronic work of NYC's Kenneth Kirschner for Three Cellos. That composition was released by Branciforte's greyfade as the inagural work in their FOLIO format - a luxurious hardcover book that comes with a high-res download. Clearly a glutton for punishment, Branciforte was fascinated by the idea of taking Deupree's groundbreaking album Stil. and arranging it - as faithfully as possible - for acoustic instruments. Deupree's original created ambient music from constantly moving & evolving layers of loops, so the arrangement would need to capture that - as well as the timbres of the original electronic sounds. Over a long period, Branciforte worked with a number of accomplished New York musicians, notably clarinettist Madison Greenstone, and once the time came to arrange "Recur" (my favourite from the original album) it was clear that the piece needed a small ensemble of musicians. The performances here are superbly poised, mimicking the repetition and - yes - stillness from Deupree's album while being richly rewarding listening in their own right. It's an amazing achievement from Branciforte and Deupree and the performers - Ben Monder on acoustic guitar, Christopher Gross on cello, Sam Minaie on double bass, Laura Cocks on flute plus, on this track, Branciforte on percussion and Deupree himself on lap harp. If you can afford the book (plus shipping!) it contains the full score and detailed notes about the original works and their adaptation.

Megan Alice Clune - Mountaineer (live) [Megan Alice Clune Bandcamp]
I loved Eora/Sydney composer & instrumentalist Megan Alice Clune's album Furtive Glances, released by Room40 last year - a collection of music recorded when doing something else (in many cases waiting in between students). These self-effacing gems have found new life in live performance, captured on Furtively Glancing while Clune was in another liminal state, that of jet lag not long after arriving in Tokyo. Like last year's album, these are disarming windows into a natural musician's practice.

Listen again — ~213MB


Sunday, 12th of May, 2024

Playlist 12.05.24 (11:00 pm)

Spoken word, song, fizzling glitch & noise, post-thingy beats, electro-acoustic invention. It's Utility Fog.

LISTEN AGAIN - and again and again... stream on demand at FBi's website or podcast here.

Shellac - Prayer to God [Touch and Go/Bandcamp]
Like everyone else, I woke up on Thursday and somehow picked up that Steve Albini had died! Via social media posts. And it's super fucking sad. Shellac, his longest-lived band, were on the cover of The Wire, so I'd literally been reading him, Bob Weston and Todd Trainer laconically not talking about their new album, due out in just about a week. Albini was known as a spiky, acerbic guy with staunch politics but also zero compunction for being stratospherically offensive. And that changed - he was helped along the way by his wife, friends like Kim Deal of the Pixies, and others, and in the last decade or so had become equally unflinching in calling out his own shortcomings, refusing to excuse them, and turning his acid tongue to those, like his former self, who just don't get it. And you can see the progress, see him grow and learn. One part of that learning experience, I feel, was his long interview about feminism with Evelyn Morris, who toured with Shellac and was a longtime fan, and wanted him to confront some of the many problematic parts of his catalogue. Evelyn, whose Pikelet was a femme mask and who has since come out as nonbinary, was processing their own experience with sexual trauma. Albini here is professing his right-on politics and mostly saying the right things, but clearly not yet taking the responsibility he would later see was essential. I should say that Evelyn's LISTEN project was instrumental in changing my own understanding of gender and privilege, immeasurably for the better.
Anyway, Albini's straight-talking, trash-talking sensibility - which was absolutely not put on, it was just who he was - can be seen in all its glory in this 30-year-old Invisible Jukebox from The Wire. And his talent for showing ugliness under harsh lights is shown in the utterly compelling "Prayer to God", with which I opened tonight.
Albini would've hated a large portion of what I play on this show, and that's fine. Each to their own is something I think Albini lived and breathed, after all. RIP to a real mensch.

Gordan - The Bell Is Buzzing [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
Glitterbeat continues to be one of the best sources of weird and creative global sounds. Gordan is a cross-cultural band powered by the rhythnm section of Andi Stecher on drums and Guido Möbius on bass and electronics (who play together as G.A.M.S), but the core influence comes from Svetlana Spajic's intense Serbian vocals. Spajic's Balkan folk stories and legends, sung full-throated in Balkan style, are embedded in distorted doom-drone riffs, clattering free jazz percussion, krautrock percussion grooves and whatever else the players have up their sleeves - usually quite minimalist, and despite the clamour and noise, always there to support the vocals. Strange in the best way.

Richie Culver - Contra 3 (Urine Cop remix) [Industrial Coast/Bandcamp]
Richie Culver - Richie Culver (Delta Kane Mix) [Industrial Coast/Bandcamp]
When Richie Culver's debut album I was born by the sea came out in 2022, it already followed a small number of experimental releases, including the Post Traumatic Fantasy EP released by the far-reaching Italian label Superpang. But here, in full album form, was Culver's musical art, featuring his spoken word embedded in abstract sound and noise, and fog-laden memories of post-club music. The album already generated an album of remixes about a year ago, with figures from the more avant-garde end of electronic music, including fellow travellers like Rainy Miller and Space Afrika, but it feels entirely appropriate that northern English label Industrial Coast have compiled a collection of contemporary noise artists reinterpreting Culver's work from that debut. For now, Born Coast (see what they did there?) is available in a cassette edition, and digitally streaming. Culver's words, especially intoned in his deadpan northern accent, feel weighed down with doom and depression, but - like his visual art - also come with substantial humour. The noise/industrial/power electronics scene too mixes humour with aggression, thus we get the Illinois artist Urine Cop, whose clanging drones and hammering rhythms incorporate Culver's voice in abstracted form, looped and chopped. Meanwhile, Delta Kane is the alias of Canadian noise artist Ryan Bloomer, who dials back the distortion and selects short phrases to drop in alongside primitive drum machines and synth sequences.

Kathy Hinde - Twittering Machines (extract from beginning of side A) [TBC Editions]
Bristol composer/sound-artist Kathy Hinde premiered her audiovisual performance Twittering Machines at Mutek in 2019. The audio is now available on vinyl & digital from TBC Editions, a half-hour composition split into 2 sides. The album's release marks the 100th anniversary of British cellist Beatrice Harrison's broadcast on BBC dueting with a nightingale, which - a century ago - was organised at least partially to draw attention to the bird's declining population. Interestingly (if not surprisingly for modern listeners), the nightingale's song was faked in the broadcast - and in her Twittering Machines, Hinde too simulates birdsong in various electronic ways. John Keates' famous "Ode to a Nightingale" is translated into Morse code, and its stuttering rhythm evokes an electronic cry for help, as bird populations the world over are increasingly threatened by our human-generated climate crisis. The words of British ornithologist Peter Holden MBE and a contemporary birdcall imitator - Helmut Wolferstetter - are cut to dubplates and manipulated along with other electronics. The piece begins with electronic birdsong and buzzing noise, which over the course of a few minutes slowly slides down in pitch. It's quite eerie and moving, and the rest of the work does not disappoint.

Tashi Wada - Subaru [RVNG Intl/Bandcamp]
LA-based musician Tashi Wada has been around for some time now, inhabiting the world between contemporary classical, ambient/experimental and indie music. Among others he works with cellists Charles Curtis and Judith Hamann, Yoshi Wada (his father, who was involved with Fluxus) and Julia Holter (his partner). His minimalist compositions have come out on his own label Saltern, alongside Charles Curtis, Éliane Radigue, Morton Feldman, his father and others. Finally this year a proper solo album, What Is Not Strange? will be released by the intrepid RVNG Intl, in which classical minimalism, folk, and various avant-garde approaches are harnessed in service of song - of a sort. Like the songs, perhaps, of the Books. No doubt the album is going to be lovely.

Keeley Forsyth - Turning (feat. Colin Stetson) [130701/Bandcamp]
Keeley Forsyth - A Shift [130701/Bandcamp]
When The Leaf Label released the debut album from actor-turned-musician Keeley Forsyth in 2020, Debris, it had an immediate impact. With antecedents like Scott Walker, David Sylvian and Talk Talk, Forsyth's work was striking for her deep, dramatic voice, as well as for the subtle arrangements made with Sam Hobbs, Mark Creswell and creative pianist Matthew Bourne. Follow-up Limbs was created with Trestle Records co-director Ross Downes as well as Bourne again, and the pair re-join Forsyth for The Hollow, this time on Fat Cat subsidiary 130701. Forsyth's voice is as forthright as ever, even when pitch-shifted into an eldritch choir or muttering in the doom-laden musical settings - but holds its own in almost a capella settings frequently. And singular saxophonist Colin Stetson is used with aplomb in "Turning". I think what I find particularly terrifying about Forsyth is the vibrato - inherited from Scott Walker, whose voice I also find challenging, to say the least. And I guess the reason I still like both artists is that their music is deliberately disturbing and at times ugly, so... go figure!

Martha Skye Murphy - Pick Yourself Up [AD93/Bandcamp]
I first heard English experimental singer/songwriter Martha Skye Murphy on a duo release with double bassist Maxwell Sterling on American Dreams in 2022. The two long tracks were the result of long improvisations melding Sterling's processed double bass and Murphy's wordless vocals. Martha Skye Murphy's solo work is a stark contrast, with emotive songs using piano and guitar as well as electronics, although nothing is quite so straightforward. The album is, after all, released on AD93, best known for experimental club productions (albeit by no means exclusively), and the home also of Sterling's early solo work. The first two preview tracks for Murphy's Um are both utterly beautiful songs, deceptively sweet but with baroque, avant-garde arrangements. This is going to be an amazing album.

Finlay Shakespeare - Face Value (Trio Mandala) [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
When I first heard Finlay Shakespeare's music it seemed like a strange fit for Editions Mego, but he's since well and truly convinced me. The clincher was his track on a tribute to Mego boss Peter Rehberg, who passed away unexpectedly in 2021. (My Eyes) "Glazed Over" references, well, one interpretation of MEGO stands for, and is 6 minutes of Tears For Fears-style passion-pop. His new album Directions Out Of Town will be released on the still-active (for now) Editions Mego in mid-June, and the first single is a gorgeous piece of synth-pop with a vocal melody that Martin L Gore or Marc Almond would be proud of - but with lots of lovely stuttery glitchiness to remind us of Mego's groundbreaking legacy.

Selvedge - Arc [Selvedge Bandcamp]
Selvedge - By Accident Or Design [Selvedge Bandcamp]
The new album from Lawrence, Kansas musician Chance Dibben, who records as Selvedge, would have been a beautiful addition to the original Mego roster in the late '90s or early '00s. Dibben has been working on his lo-fi abstract sound since at least 2018, building up a large catalogue of drum machine experiments, drone and noise. It's all quality stuff, by turns abrasive and lush. But I feel like new album HOLLER is a leap ahead. Crackly lo-fi loops, droney or rhythmic or clattery or chopped from some other musical source, are bathed in swarming, fluctuating noise. Something is always in motion, so that however abstract or abstracted the underling sounds are, there's something for the ear to follow. If you listen to one noise album this week/month/year, make it this one. (I mean, don't stop there, but start here!)

Rutger Zuydervelt - Places (feat. Roshanak Morrowatian) [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Frequently heard as Machinefabriek on this show, Dutch sound-artist Rutger Zuydervelt also makes music under his own name, sometimes IDM-adjacent synths'n'beats, but often the name is also used for his music for stage. Out now is Kites (music for a performance by Roshanak Morrowatian), written for an interdisciplinary performance called Kites, by the Netherlands-based Iranian choreographer Roshanak Morrowatian. It draws from Morrowatian's own childhood, fleeing her country of origin and building a new life in a new country, and the scars left by this childhood trauma. Zuydervelt's soundtrack incorporates cassette recordings of pre-Revolution Persian pop music, brought to the Netherlands by Morrowatian's parents, and these spectral recordings float in the background at times. Also present is Morrowatian's own voice, found in the moving "Places", which we heard tonight.

EPRC - DARK RED [ LACQUERED ] [Stray Signals/Bandcamp]
Deep listeners to this show will know I'm a huge fan of Elisabetta Porcinai's duo Aperture with her brother Emanuele. When I heard the two tracks on SOMETIMES from her duo EPRC with Roberto Crippa I immediately connected it with Aperture, before realising it is in fact Elisabetta's voice. A visual artist, her spoken word adorns both groups, along with industrial-leaning electro-acoustic audio. On the debut EP SOMETIMES we have one track of pummeling industrial beats and one of drawn-out synth ambient, both with Elisabetta's voice scratchily interjecting. These tracks precede an album that I'll be waiting for with baited breath.

Lila Tirando a Violeta, Sin Maldita - Viconian Cycles (Amnesia Scanner Remix) [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Last year the excellent Ugandan producer Camila Domínguez aka Lila Tirando a Violeta found herself signed to Hyperdub in duo form with Berlin-based Sin Maldita. Their album (EP?) Accela has now been remixed by four contemporary producers, with the first cab off the rank being Amnesia Scanner, who performed their hyper, genre-shifting audiovisual last year at Soft Centre and Dark Mofo. Their remix is a mélange of synthetic and processed sounds as is their wont.

STILL - Resistance Riddim [Love Boat/Bandcamp]
3Phaz - YKK [Love Boat/Bandcamp]
Boutique Turin label Love Boat have released a compilation of experimental European and MENA artists to raise money for MAP. It's called We Will Stay Here - Music for Palestine and is all recommended. First up here we have Italian producer STILL, who frequently works with North African artists, with a riddim partially made from samples of Moroccan women demonstrating in Cassablanca last year. Then Egyptian producer 3Phaz chops up vocal samples and sub-bass and tumbling percussion clattering at double speed.

Carl Gari & Abdullah Miniawy - Wat2a وطأة [Amphibian Records]
Carl Gari & Abdullah Miniawy - Oktof أقْطُف[Amphibian Records]
Europe-based Egyptian musician Abdullah Miniawy has now worked with the German trio Carl Gari since 2015, releasing their first album on Whities (now AD93) in 2019. Miniawy's electrifying voice and poetry can be found also in the astonishing jazz ensemble (for want of a better word) Le Cri du Caire, as well as in collaboration with French bass musician Simo Cell and Indian-Danish producer Hvad. With Carl Gari, there's a distinct dub/bass music influence too, with a certain freeness that comes from live performers. Shoot The Engine ا​ق​ت​ُ​ل​ْ ا​ل​د​ا​ف​ع is the first full album (released on luscious CD, if you can afford the postage!) from Prague label Amphibian Records, and it's a richly rewarding listen.

Comatone - Phaserate (2002) [Feral Media]
With the help of Feral Media, Blue Mountains-based Comatone is releasing music from his 20+ years of archives, including stuff like this, IDM from 22 years ago, still sounding fresh IMO! Only on streaming services for now, look him up!

Sepehr - Delicate Senses [Dekmantel/Bandcamp]
Iranian-American DJ & producer Sepehr runs the Shaytoon featuring diaspora Iranian electronic musicians, and makes very varied music himself. His 2021 album Survivalism gave nods to his love of '90s d'n'b as well as techno, and there are forays into electro, acid and experimentalism to be found. His debut for Dekmantel certainly melds all these influences together, and "Delicate Senses" is a nice nod to '90s breakbeaty ambient techno.

Atsushi Izumi - Prophecy [Ohm Resistance]
Atsushi Izumi - Dissenter [Ohm Resistance]
Like many, I first discovered Atsushi Izumi with his amazing Houzan Archives album on OPAL a couple of years back. It came as no surprise that he'd previously made snarly, techy d'n'b as Anode, but under his own name branches out into industrial dub, bass-heavy techno and plenty of mind-boggling syncopation, if not actual drum'n'bass. Follow-up Schismogenesis continues in the same vein, as is a perfect fit for the venerable Ohm Resistance. Can't recommend highly enough, really.

Sachi Kobayashi - Crack [Phantom Limb/Bandcamp]
The latest artist to feature in UK label Phantom Limb's Spirituals series is Japanese ambient musician Sachi Kobayashi, from this first single a perfect fit for the sub-label's mien of ambient-not-ambient. It's not that "Crack" is unsettling, exactly, but nor is it precisely peaceful - not surprisingly, perhaps, as Lamentations was "was born out of my sadness and grief towards the current wars" as Kobayashi says. More from this beautiful album soon.

Jeremy Gignoux - Meditempt (feat. Rebecca Bruton) [Jeremy Gignoux Bandcamp]
Canadian fiddle player, jazz violinist and composer Jeremy Gignoux suffered a nerve injury a few years ago that put him out of action for a few months. During that time he turned to new ways of making music, and conceived of the idea behind the collaborative album Odd Stillness. In the place of virtuosity, clever jazz progressions etc, here as he says, he "embraces stagnation". There were some rules - play only one note (in different registers), without rhythm, record multiple overdubs without listening to the other parts - but these were freely broken when it felt right. The result was seven tracks with various collaborators, themselves talented improvisors, with Keith Rodger's mournful harmonics and plucked anti-basslines on contrabass a particular highlight. But perhaps the strongest in a very strong collection of recordings comes from fellow composer & improviser Rebecca Bruton, whose voice is layered low and close-mic'd, high and fluttery, shouting nonsense syllables, or breathing white noise. It's something like Aphex Twin's SAW II performed for voice. Wonderful.

Listen again — ~209MB


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Sunday, 5th of May, 2024

Playlist 05.05.24 (11:00 pm)

We've got weird vocal manipulations, splattercore beats, amazing electro-acoustic and purely acoustic conceptions.

LISTEN AGAIN via stream on demand on the FBi website, and learn how to mutate songs too. Or podcast here.

Jan Jelinek - Social Engineering 1 (The narrative of the heritage) [Faitiche/Bandcamp]
Jan Jelinek - Social Engineering 7 (A vague allegation & the concrete blackmail) [Faitiche/Bandcamp]
Everyone encounters phishing emails these days, whether the classic Nigerian prince scam, the fake blackmail or the fake notification. Jan Jelinek isn't the first to think of putting them to music - 11 years ago Brisbane-now-London musician Leah Kardos used spam emails as the basis for Machines, an album of electronic pop with a soprano. Jelinek, however, who's a master of electronic estrangement of source material, embeds these texts in a wholly digital environment. The voices are mostly synthetic, and are further processed in ways that may or may not comment on the texts themselves. The vocoded harmonies on the first track are quite gorgeous, but there's an underlying sinister quality to the electronics. Far more gripping than an album from these sources ought to be.

Derek Piotr - Perfect Matrimony feat. Reuben Walton, Fennesz [Derek Piotr Bandcamp]
Derek Piotr - Bell, Book, Candle [Derek Piotr Bandcamp]
The latest album from Derek Piotr indulges and benefits from his post-modernist deconstruction of disparate sources. In this case the sounds are very much beloved works of his, comfort music that he turned to during a very dark period. So we find interpolations of work by My Brightest Diamond and Dirty Projectors, and guest appearances from Olivier Alary of Ensemble and Brian Chippendale of Lightning Bolt. Piotr is a folklorist as well as composer and vocalist (he recently launched the online Fieldwork Archive), and folk blurs into classical and blurs also into glitch - the closest parallels to Piotr's work as Matmos' voraciously recontextualised sampling and The Books' de/re-constructed folk. Piotr is much more fond of discordance though, which can melt back into familiar structures for an emotional hit just when you're not expecting it. An unexpected guest on "Perfect Matrimony" is Derek Piotr's own 16-year-old self, whose recording (the first pop song he ever wrote) is chopped and edited into a new song featuring underground r'n'b singer Reuben Walton and the fuzzy guitars and keyboards of Fennesz. Meanwhile, "Bell, Book, Candle" is almost all Piotr, but to the bouncy IDM beats his friend Kyle Adamcik contributes strings, which are granularly filtered through the mix.

Driftmachine & Ammer - The Siren Is A Simple Device (feat. Ted Milton) [Umor Rex/Bandcamp]
There are a lot of connections flowing around the latest release from German post-kraut duo Driftmachine. Both Andreas Gerth and Florian Zimmer have been in the orbit of legendary Cologne indietronic group The Notwist for decades. For this new EP Sonic Behaviour, they are joined by Ammer, a writer & TV producer who is known for writing radio plays. But Ammer also has many many releases with Martin Gretschmann aka Console, another longtime Notwist member, and meanwhile Andreas Gerth's Loopspool alias released a spoken word + electronica album with Ted Milton in 2000 (it's great, the whole thing's on YouTube). Ted Milton? He's one of those characters who is simultaneously obscure and well-respected and influential. He formed the punk/free-jazz band Blurt in 1979, and continues now, at the age of 81, with squalling saxophone and acerbic vocals.
OK, but what does this sound like? Well, it's post-krautrock electronics - modular synths and pulsating rhythms - with postpunk and post-industrial undercurrents. And spoken word. A little sinister, very arty, very German. Really great.

HTRK - Dream Symbol (Loraine James Remix) [Ghostly International/Bandcamp]
Melbourne's iconoclastic HTRK, part of a proud tradition of underground bands finding substantial popularity, are turning 21 this year, which is ridiculous - except that Utility Fog and FBi are also 21 this year, so. Yeah. A series of remixes and covers is coming, and who better to reset Jonnine Standish's spectral voice and Nigel Yang's guitar (not a complete catalogue of instruments for either) than the ever-impeccable Loraine James? She's chosen "Dream Symbol" from their 2019 album Venus in Leo, adding jittery beats but definitely keeping the vibe. Nice.

Focal Point - Manufactured Superstition [The Collection Artaud]
I may have given Yu Miyashita's label The Collection Artaud a little rave a couple of weeks ago, when Miyashita released a 12" from fellow Berlin resident Laurén Maria. Here he's got 2 tracks from UK musician Mat Ranson, who as Focal Point releases halftime d'n'b/techno/bass music, but for TCA goes a little more glitchy and IDM. Quality as usual, mastered by Miyashita.

Comatone - One Mile North (Radio Edit) [Feral Media]
I mentioned also a couple of weeks ago that Blue Mountains-based Greg Seiler aka Comatone has reactivated in commemoration of (yes, again) 20 years of Comatone's bass/IDM music. Hopefully some new stuff coming, but meanwhile streaming platforms will get a series of EPs of unreleased tracks from through these 2 decades. "One Mile North" is a track I had a copy of in about 2007, an epic of dark electronics and glitch-beats, here cut down to a more consumable radio edit.

Lila Tirando a Violeta - 1 [Lila Tirando a Violeta Bandcamp]
Uruguayan producer Lila Tirando a Violeta knows her IDM well, along with Latin American styles and bass music in general. The excellent O.Ded on OD3 is possibly only up for a limited time, and features 5 tracks of crazy beats sent through her beloved Boss OD3 distortion pedal. A classic, not just for guitars! And the tracks are far from throwaway morsels, they're great and the bass and breaks benefit from the overdrive.

XENIA REAPER - Luvaphy [INDEX:Records]
Berlin's XENIA REAPER doesn't give much away about her/their identity, but has built up something of a name among discerning types, so debut album Luvaphy, released on Glasgow's INDEX:Records, comes with some anticipation - which it delivers on easily. There's bubbling ambient electronics for sure, but also scampering beats too individual to be quite d'n'b or anything else, but fitting well after the shuddering almost-d'n'b/almost-gabber of Lila Tirando a Violeta.

Godwin. - Massive Attack - Teardrop (Durag Bootleg) [Godwin. Bandcamp]
Irish producer Godwin. may mostly produce beats for r'n'b and hip-hop artists, but he's always loved the illicit remix/bootleg/edit too, and Bootleg Durags Pt. 2 (like its 2023 predecessor Durag Bootlegs) is a fine example, with junglist takes on a few recent and less-recent tracks. Massive Attack's "Teardrop" isn't one I would've chosen for the jungle treatment, but in Godwin.'s hands it retains its beauty while gaining from the breakdowns and drops.

FaltyDL - Minds Protection [Central Processing Unit]
I think of Sheffield's Central Processing Unit (generally CPU Records) as a label that deals mostly in electro, albeit always with an IDM bent. But the IDM basis does take them into other realms - breakbeat, even d'n'b and jungle. Similarly Brooklyn's Drew Lustman aka FaltyDL has dealt in rave-influenced IDM since the late '00s on labels like Planet µ and Ninja Tune, and for some reason his music doesn't always resonate for me. But I'm always interested in what he's up to, and the first single off his new album on CPU, In The Wake of Wolves, is very funky jungle type gear with warm melodic IDM synth lines. The previews on SoundCloud suggest this will be a lovely collection through & through.

Tim Reaper - Scorched Earth A1 [Future Retro London]
London's Ed Alloh aka Tim Reaper is one of modern jungle's finest exponents, and the collaborations and artist EPs he releases give prominence to many others in the scene. A Reaper-only 12" is always likely to be quality, and Scorched Earth sees him experimenting with the structure of his breaks in pretty amazing ways. The way the beats are chopped on this first track is pretty dazzling, while still keeping the feet moving on the dancefloor.

Ruby My Dear - Monksy [Analogical Force]
Another label that tends to take more of what I think of as an electro approach to IDM is Spain's Analogical Force - but again, they're gregarious in their tastes, as seen with the five-track EP Smooth Working from the one & only French breakcore legend Ruby My Dear, one of the most musical breakcore producers. Of course there's plenty of IDM in Ruby My Dear's lexicon, and there's even a slower track (downtempo?) on here, but also the splattercore breaks and melodies that are his bread & butter.

Klahrk - Z2 [All Centre/Bandcamp]
London's Ben Clark, going by Klahrk, literally only just put out a Blistering EP last month, but he's back now with his first outing on London's reliable bass/breaks/techno label All Centre. On Z2 Klahrk's obscuring the tempo in the extended intro until you pick up that this is slow-fast, de-centring lower-tempo grooves with high-speed glitch intrusions. Advanced beat science or plastic surgery disasters? Why not both?

Mick Harris - Full time grafter (Big Wiley Monster v) [Mick Harris Bandcamp]
There's nothing quite like a Mick Harris beat. Often touted as the originator of punk's d-beat, he left grindcore pioneers Napalm Death in the early years (as did Justin K Broadrick) and by the early to mid-'90s was producing bass-bin destroying industrial dub as Mick Harris (initially with another Napalm Death fugitive, Nicholas Bullen). It could also be argued that Scorn was dubstep a decade before the genre came to be, but Harris has also made various types of jungle & drum'n'bass as Quoit, ambient as Lull, techno as Fret... and more. Under his own name, in the mid-'00s he made a collection of "HedNod Sessions" that could be classed as "illbient", or dubby instrumental hip-hop. Those being the first four HedNod Sessions, in 2021 on his Bandcamp he dropped HedNod Five, and has continued these live studio jams up until this week's HedNod Twenty, which he reasonably enough feels is enough for now. Each one is filled with industrial-strength dubby swung-hip-hop grooves, usually with a few alt versions, absolutely head-nodding gear. Always a pleasure, thanks Mickey Mongoose!

Pugilist - Satisfy [Pugilist Bandcamp]
Naarm/Melbourne-based bass maestro Pugilist is comfortable anywhere between dubstep and jungle, and this year started putting out a series of Ruff Trax EPs, the sort of thing that would've been white labels back in the day. The first was jungle, the second 140bpm, and for Vol 3 we have a double EP's worth (eight tracks!) of dubstep... or so he says. The tempo's largely in the 140 range, but the beats vary from Burial-style uk garage to dubstep, with dub delays and ragga samples but also jazzy breaks. Essential whatever you call it.

Damos Room - Commencement [Nudibranch Records/Bandcamp]
London's Damos Room defy categorisation. Last year Matthew Herbert's Accidental sublabel Accidental Jnr released the EP Ein, a rather arch approach to a debut, in collaboration with UK rap experimentalist LYAM, which was recovered and reworked from a hard disk crash. Their new EP Commencement // Mineral Blend, released via Nudibranch Records, presents two tracks through which position the trio in Bristolian territory with two dub-soaked tunes, one a kind of ambient grime, one kind of dancehall. The ambient wash-out is notable with LA's Gonjasufi on the remix, while others shift into techno or experimental territory - but I particularly love Damos Room's own opening track, with its harmonised vocal chorus.

Slolek - Object Desire [Of Paradise/Bandcamp]
With only a couple of EPs to his name, UK artist Slolek has already perfected a post-genre mélange of dubstep, dub techno and jungle. The cavernous sounds on his Object Desire EP travel through all those styles with syncopated subs and slow/fast beats along with dubby ambient passages that wouldn't be out of place on a Future Sound of London record. The first two tracks on this EP - thumping minimal drum'n'bass and choral ambient dubstep - are pure gold.

Eamon Ivri - wud u [Spirituals/Phantom Limb/Bandcamp]
Irish artist Eamon Ivri is better known as Lighght, under which he's produced club-leaning works including co-productions with both Klahrk and Lila Tirando a Violeta - but he's also released psycho field recording noise song, clambering experimental electronic and who knows what else under various monikers. But Phantom Limb's Spirituals imprint is dedicated to ambient styles, and thus we have the debut(?) of Eamon Ivri under his own name: In The Red Eye Of Evening. This is ambient, but it's not easy listening. Obscured narratives, timestretched, pitch-shifted voices, mutated found-sounds and even gentle freak-out beats mix with plangent piano and ambient autotune r'n'b. Not quite like anything else out there.

Andreas Trobollowitsch feat. Alex Kranabetter and Martin Eberle - SEITENHIEB [Futura Resistenza/Bandcamp]
Sometimes the concept for a piece of art is so obvious yet ingenious that it's just obviously going to be good. Vienna-based Andreas Trobollowitsch is an electroacoustic composer and sound-artist, and a musician himself, but in this case once he'd come up with the concept and some of the music, the performance was handed over to two Austrian trumpeters, Alex Kranabetter and Martin Eberle. The concept? A turntable, but the musicians are on the spinning disc. In practice, the piece was more complex than this, with the musicians facing outwards and their sounds being amplified and acoustically mutated through a system of pipes around which the audience walked. For a spatialised work like this, a stereo recording can only capture part of it, but the rotating trumpets sound super cool, playing also with extended techniques to create an uncanny sound world.

Michelle Moeller - Sift [AKP Recordings/Bandcamp]
Michelle Moeller - Crimson [AKP Recordings/Bandcamp]
From LA-based AKP Recordings comes the debut album from composer/pianist Michelle Moeller, an extraordinary, distinctive take on ambient exotica. Piano does play a central role in much of this music, but Moeller has also spent many years learning and devising her own vernacular of electronically-produced music, using Max/MSP to remove the temptation to treat synths like a piano. Her unique approach does not sound like modular synth proponents such as Suzanne Ciani or Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, virtuosic though they are, and nor does it sound quite like ambient originators like Brian Eno or Harold Budd, much though it no doubt owes to all of them. The way her electronic sounds flit and tumble is weirdly lifelike, and the music is constantly surprising (and delightful) as synthetic sounds are juxtaposed with piano, percussion, or the flute of Mitch Stahlmann, as featured on "Sift". The album is mixed by Briana Marela, whose presence points to another strain of experimental sound-art, but also features avant-garde percussionist William Winant on one track, connecting the work to a long, venerable strain of jazz and improv. There's some aural alchemy going on here that can only come from hard work and great talent.

tilt - tilted [Dear Life Records/Bandcamp]
tilt - fall again [Dear Life Records/Bandcamp]
We heard Brooklyn musician Isabel Crespo Pardo only a few weeks ago with their trio sinonó, in which cello and double bass - both improvising musicians - accompany the lyrical poem-songs of Crespo. I recommend settling down to listen to la espalda y su punto radiante as soon as you've finished imbibing the gorgeous tones of tilt, another trio, again with two low-pitched instruments. Crespo's bandmates in tilt, double bassist Carmen Quill and trombonist Kalia Vandever, also sing, the first clue that this is quite a different beast from sinonó. Where the first trio play Crespo's poem-songs (with lyrics in Spanish), composed by Crespo but with substantial improvisation and a focus on the two instrumentalists' musicianship, the improvisation in tilt feels secondary to the composition, and the vocal harmonisations (so carefuly interspersed with the musicians' playing duties) are striking. Notably, in tilt all three members take on composing duties - indeed, unknowingly I chose one song by Vandever and one song by Quill tonight. The songs are also striking in their use of repetition and subtle change, as well as the way the phrasing underlines or undercuts the expressive but elusive words (here in English). What's unquestionable is that these two trios represent a new generation of artists for whom genre is irrelevant, comfortable making songs that blur the line between composition and improvisation. Alongside the works heard last week from Eugénie Jobin, solo as Ambroise and also with Isaiah Ceccarelli and their co-creators in House of Gold, there's something new & inspiring going on.

Listen again — ~209MB


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