a wholly owned subsiduary of
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experimental electronica
electric string quartet

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, 21st of July, 2024

Playlist 21.07.24 (11:00 pm)

Tonight, from experimental electronic pop to free improv, live beats and programmed beats, modern classical and avant-garde, from all over the world.

LISTEN AGAIN and open up to a world of music. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

ROMÆO - Worlds [ROMÆO Bandcamp]
Starting with art-pop from here in Eora/Sydney, from young artist ROMÆO, who combines electronic experimentalism with a fine ear for pop songwriting. Her new song "Worlds" laments a world in which every person is isolated from every other - an acknowledges that her own world is not the whole world. The song moves from indie guitars to electronic pop replete with saxophone, and climaxes with hammering kick drums.

Snakeskin - Sunburst [Mais Um/Bandcamp]
Julia Sabra and Fadi Tabbal's first release together (titled Snakeskin) was released on Beirut/Montréal label Ruptured in 2022. It was a clear highlight of the year for me, continuing from the shoegaze/dreampop of Sabra's previous band Postcards, but with more electronic and experimental production from Tabbal. For their second album, they've adopted that album title as their name, and They Kept Our Photographs will be released on UK-based global music label Mais Um. The first single "Sunburst" is on the noiser end of shoegaze and I very much dig.

Bizhiki - Unbound [Jagjaguwar/Bandcamp]
Bizhiki - Gigawaabamin (Come Through) (feat. Justin Vernon) [Jagjaguwar/Bandcamp]
Moving to the US with Bizhiki, a new trio featuring Joe Rainey, whose album and 7" single made with Andrew Broder blew many minds in 2022. Here Rainey teams up with another powwow singer from the Ojibwe people, Dylan Bizhikiins Jennings, the duo working with indiefolk musician S. Carey (Sean Carey), longtime member of Justin Vernon's Bon Iver and solo artist in his own right. The gentleness of that association tempers the sound compared to the forthright experimentalism of Rainey's work with Broder, although there are still beats and noise in there. Rainey and Bizhikiins Jennings both sing in the open-throated powwow style and play hand drums, which are often electronically processed (both drums and voices!) along with other electronics and instrumentation. There are also environmental and field recordings and even punk in the mix. This should be on many best-of lists.

Another Dancer - Overfriendly Dogs [Bruit Direct/Aguirre Records/Bandcamp]
Here's some scrappy DIY-indie from Belgian band Another Dancer, blithely throwing in influences from postpunk, '80s electro-pop, '90s indie and who knows what else. They claim to be outdated, but in fact this kind of joyful hodge-podge suits the current era to a tee. "Overfriendly Dogs" is the chaotic first single from their debut album I Try To Be Another Dancer.

Buffalo Daughter - ET (Densha) - AMBIENT KYOTO Mix [Anniversary Group/Bandcamp]
The world is incredibly fortunate that Buffalo Daughter not only exist at all, but are still making creative music 30 years after their inception. In the way of the best Japanese bands, they've always combined pop with heavy rock with electronica and hip-hop, and so they continue. Out this week is a set of two extended & warped mixes made for the AMBIENT KYOTO installation/exhibition thingy in 2023. The original tracks are on their 2021 album We Are The Times, and neither remix is ambient at all - rather they're deconstructed, in a modern take on the original 12" mix, adding unexpected elements. Basically, just so great.

Thom Yorke - The Big City [XL Recordings/Bandcamp]
You might have heard of Thom Yorke, lead singer of the very popular but very experimental Radiohead and of course more recently The Smile. Thom is embarking on a solo tour soon, and will play two shows in the Sydney Opera House Forecourt, but I'm very sorry if you're just hearing about it now, as they're both sold out. Anyway, out this month was the Confidenza OST, soundtracking the Italian thriller Confidenza aka Trust, directed by Daniele Luchetti. Yorke's music is as dramatic and dynamic as a soundtrack requires, with orchestrations by Hugh Brunt and a jazz ensemble including his Smile bandmate Tom Skinner. I chose a long track tonight that's got lovely glitchy samples & loops of Thom's voice among the orchestrations.

Opius - Empty feat. LUMENAATE [Inperspective Records/Bandcamp]
Vinnie Smith aka Opius is a longtime proponent of drumfunk, making often-jazz-influenced drum'n'bass out of intricately edited jazz breaks. Here we've got a storming track of plaintive string pads, those insane beats and the poetry of LUMENAATE.

X-Altera - Run [Bopside]
In the last few years, Tadd Mullinix, best known by his hip-hop project Dabrye, has started releasing jungle/drum'n'bass (with excursions into Detroit techno) as X-Altera. This is a return to these styles really, first heard in his collabs with Soundmurderer as SK-1 making ragga jungle in the early '00s. The Groundswell EP unleashes ravey, jungley tunes (oh yeah and one techno piece) that fit really well in the current milieu.

Tigran Hamasyan - The kingdom [naïve]
Tigran Hamasyan - Only the one who brought the Bird can make it sing [naïve]
I only discovered this weekend that there's a new album coming from Armenian jazz piano virtuoso Tigran Hamasyan. Previous albums showcased not just his playing, but his beautiful, complex compositions that draw a lot from the scale patterns and harmonies of Armenian folk music. Hamasyan has also worked with Serj Tankian of the Armenian-American nu metal band System of a Down - and at times the complex jazz time signatures on his releases can veer into math rock. In any case, after many albums released on Nonesuch, Hamasyan has joined eclectic French imprint naïve for his forthcoming album The Bird of a Thousand Voices, which is in fact a multimedia project reworking an old Armenian legend (Hazaran Blbul) into a stage play, films, installations, the album and also an online video game featuring music from the album and the stunning artwork of Khoren Matevosyan. Over 24 tracks, the album covers a lot of ground (I'm lucky to have a preview), and I played two of the singles so far: the hyperkinetic track "The kingdom" that echoes the jungle influence on video game soundtracks, and the latest, "Only the one who brought the Bird can make it sing", with live drumming, bewitching vocal melodies, and math rock excursions. No doubt I'll play more when it's released in late September.

Spectral Gates - hulk park [forthcoming on Spectral Gates Bandcamp]
Spectral Gates - loops_6b_ext_23 [forthcoming on Spectral Gates Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney duo Spectral Gates play a live take on electronic music, with post/math-rock elements. Steve Allison plays furious drum patterns and Daniel Arena plays guitar as well as synths and electronic processing from both. As you can hear from these preview tracks, it's euphoric electronic rock that flows nicely from Tigran Hamasyan's fusions. New album warning is out this coming week, and is being launched at Lazy Thinking, a small bar/record store/performance space on New Canterbury Rd.

Laurent Pernice, Jacques Barbéri, Dominique Beven - le silence la nuit [Psychofon/Bandcamp]
Laurent Pernice, Jacques Barbéri, Dominique Beven - les petits canards [Psychofon/Bandcamp]
Nine Tales of the Winds is a fascinating album that extends work that Laurent Pernice and Dominique Beven have done before. Pernice, coming out of the French industrial scene in the late 1980s, is mainly responsible for electronics, with live processing as well as looped samples and rhythms underpinning a lot of the music - and he also contributes accordion and bullroarer. Beven plays wind instruments from all over the world: Sardinian laudennas, East Asian hulusi, French cromorne, the Lao khaen... and on this album they're joined by French writer Jacques Barbéri, who adds the Tibetan rhadong, a "genetically modified saxophone" which is left unexplained(!) and clarinet. With all these instruments, the album nevertheless resists any hints of bland or appropriative "world music" or exotica. Rather it sounds like some kind of ancient ritual compositions, aided by ancient alien technology. Although Dead Can Dance provide something of a precursor, the closest contemporary comparison I can think of is the work of two fellow Frenchmen, François Robin & Mathias Delplanque, on their 2022 album L'ombre de la bête. Mysterious liminal music is Utility Fog's bread & butter, and this album is a feast.

KK Null x Joel Gilardini - chthonic ephemerals [GIVE/TAKE/Bandcamp]
KK Null x Joel Gilardini - adrifting [GIVE/TAKE/Bandcamp]
Japanese musician Kazuyuki Kishino has been a key part of the noise/industrial and experimental electronic music world since the 1980s, with legendary hardcore band Zeni Geva, Absolut Null Punkt, and under the name KK Null. He's also a constant collaborator with other musicians, whether famous experimentalists like John Zorn, Fred Frith, Jim O'Rourke, Mick Harris of Scorn, James Plotkin and others, or lesser-known Japanese and international musicians. Psychic Drones 3 is his third collaboration with Zurich-based guitarist and sound designer Joel Gilardini. These albums tone down the maximalist tendencies of Kishino, limiting the harsh noise and glitch-rhythms, without retreating to the spectral ambient of, say, Aurora with Plotkin. There are grinding, churning and pulsating drones, crackles of distortion and glitch, digital detritus. It's rich, lush, and only sometimes noisy listening, highly recommended.

Moose Terrific - Cast Iron Curtains [Ruptured Records/Bandcamp]
Montréal-based duo Moose Terrific are made up of the prolific, influential Egyptian-Canadian Sam Shalabi (of Shalabi Effect, Land of Kush, Dwarfs of East Agouza with Maurice Louca and others) and Tamara Filyavich. Their second album after 2018's The Drinks, Nude Beginnings is released by the part-Montréal-based Lebanese label Ruptured Records, and features both musicians on miscellaneous electronics, blending in, as they say, "Ukrainian, Jewish, Arabic and Canadian musical elements, as per the artists' cultural backgrounds, life and musical experiences". All this said, these are mostly low-key electronic vignettes, emphasising fun and hopefulness over rage and sorrow.

Ulrich Troyer - BRENNERAUTOBAHN feat. Taka Noda [4bit Productions/Bandcamp]
Ulrich Troyer - MOMENTS I [4bit Productions/Bandcamp]
I first came across Ulrich Troyer via a little 3" CD he released through Mego back in 2000 (an expanded edition came out in 2020). His music continues to reflect the glitchy, granular, digital soundworld of that label in its earlier years, but with a love of dub also coming through. This year he's released a series of 7"s, starting with the sparse glitched guitar sounds of MOMENTS. The third 7" is AUTOSTRADA DEL BRENNERO, also the second single from his forthcoming Transit Tribe album. The A side is the Italian Autostrada Del Brennero (an important international trucking route), with a melody from dub flautist Diggory Kenrick, and on the flip, we cross the border into Austria where it becomes the Brennerautobahn, with the very dub-appropriate melodica from Taka Noda aka Mystica Tribe.

Associated Sine Tone Services - 000900 [Flag Day Recordings/Bandcamp]
Associated Sine Tone Services - 000200 [Flag Day Recordings/Bandcamp]
Montréal sound-artist Jeremy Young awoke from a dream one night in which he was on a darkened stage with Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek and fellow Montréaler Nicolas Bernier, all dressed in lab coats, performing with sine wave oscillators. He immediately prepared a set of oscillator loops and sent it to the other two, who were game to turn this dream into reality. Despite the name Associated Sine Tone Services, and the library music-esque cover art, the music is neither academic nor anodyne, the three participants preferring to lean into melody and even rhythm at times. The sine wave oscillators are particularly effective when detuned, so there are some gorgeously woozy and eerie passages. There's a strange beauty here, from three sensitive sculptors of sound.

Dialect - Late Fragment [RVNG Intl./Bandcamp]
Andrew PM Hunt, drummer in the phenomenal & bizarre hypnotic kraut/postrock band Ex-Easter Island Head, has made music as Dialect for at least 10 years, mostly released by RVNG Intl.. The first morsel from his new album Atlas of Green (out on Sept 20th) is an electroacoustic delight, reminiscent of the heyday of folktronica, with pitch-shifted acoustic guitars, synth pads and piano in the mix. Keen to hear the rest!

Frances Cameron - Dreamer's Waltz [Frances Cameron Bandcamp/other links]
Hailing from Tasmania, Frances Cameron is a classically-trained pianist with her take on the modern/post-/neo-classical style. She's releasing tracks from her forthcoming Piano for Dreamers album one-by-one. "Dreamer's Waltz" starts simply, with a right-hand melody in a major key, but a little way in, the harmonisations take unexpected turns. It's quite touching.

Marmalsana - Transiro I [Ruptured Records/Bandcamp]
Finally, we have a second release from Ruptured Records this week, from a new trio calling themselves Marmalsana. German drummer Burkhard Beins has been part of Polwechsel for 20 years, and among others has worked with our own Chris Abrahams. Joining him are Lebanese photographer and musician Tony Elieh on acoustic bass guitar and the great Egyptian multi-instrumentalist & producer Maurice Louca on microtonal acoustic guitar! All three are based in Berlin, and have chosen for this collaboration to work only with acoustic instruments. Their self-titled album is two cassette sides of free improv and extended instrumental techniques, although Beins is instrumental in Berlin's Echtzeitmusik ("real-time music") movement that seeks to differentiate a newer generation of musicians' work from prior imaginings of improvised music, free jazz, new music etc. In Marmalsana the other two musicians' Middle Eastern and North African backgrounds - and choice of instrumentation - produce a singularly idiomatic music worth attending to.

Listen again — ~207MB

Sunday, 14th of July, 2024

Playlist 14.07.24 (11:00 pm)

Layers of abstraction, mutations of punk, warpings of beats, rebuilings of improv, détournements of ambient...

LISTEN AGAIN and mutate... Stream on demand via FBi Radio, podcast here.

Chris Corsano - I Don't Have Missions [Drag City/Bandcamp]
Since the early '00s, American drummer Chris Corsano has been a key member of the free improv world, bleeding over into areas of noise, avant-rock and contemporary jazz. He's been part of countless lineups, in particular with saxophonist Paul Flaherty, and at times with the great C Spencer Yeh of Burning Star Core. His solo albums are few & far between, so this one spurred interest. It's burdened with the title The Key (Became the Important Thing [and Then Just Faded Away​]​), which is in itself an indicator of something, if only you can unravel what - although it reminds me of the even more cumbersome poetry-titles that Keiji Haino gives his works. And this is very much in the psych-rock vein. Incendiary drumming of all sorts, along with chugging and soloing guitars and bass, and the resonating polyrhythms of his string drum. All in all, Corsano makes a proper racket, and it's properly transcendent.

Show Me The Body - It Burns [Corpus/Bandcamp]
With their 2017 mixtape Corpus I, New York hardcore punks Show Me The Body showed early on that they were interested in mixing up the hardcore genre with whatever else fits their vision of community, direct action and solidarity, including appearances from the likes of Eartheater, Moor Mother, Dreamcrusher and many more, veering into hip-hop, industrial, noise and experimental electronica. Frontman Julian Pratt generally uses banjo rather than guitar as the lead instrument, bassist Harlan Steed picks up baritone guitar, and in new single "It Burns" there's a throbbing bass synth underpinning the action. It's hard to avoid callbacks to '90s style metal & punk crossover, which isn't necessarily a bad thing. If Corpus II is anywhere near as good as its predecessor, I'll be very happy!

GUTTR - Stress [May be at his Bandcamp at some point?]
I was sent this nice piece of glitchy grime recently and it was meant to be out now, but I can't find a trace of it online, so... exclusive? Really nice late-night murky bass music from the Bristol area.

Von D - Arcane 17 [Deep Medi Musik]
More forthcoming bass, here from French dubstep maestro Von D. The THL EP is three slices of dubstep mostly using triplets - 6/8 dubstep. At 140BPM it's not swung as such but the triplets drive things really nicely and give a bit of ambiguity about how to divide up the bars.

Cocktail Party Effect - So Disco (feat. Mo Van Zandt) [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Cocktail Party Effect - Reset [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based South Londoner Charlie Baldwin, who releases music as Cocktail Party Effect, isn't fond of blurbing his own music, and fair enough - often beats are just nice beats, and Baldwin's background in sound design makes for lush listening. His second release on YUKU for 2024 is Gulper Eel Ballons, a 10-track album taking in ambient sound-design and all forms of bass music from dubstep & grime to techno & almost-d'n'b, integrating the complexity & weirdness of IDM. There are a couple of vocal tracks too, although Mo Van Zandt's voice is mostly part of the textures no "So Disco". Super stuff whatever words describe it.

Sote - AFRCNRNGSSPXCASPIAN [Diagonal Records/Bandcamp]
Sote - ADTVESSPXLUT [Diagonal Records/Bandcamp]
Surely by now Ata "Sote" Ebtekar needs no introduction. Since the early '00s he has made uncompromising, complex electronic music, starting with 2002's stunning Electric Deaf EP on Warp Records. I bring this up because his latest release, Sound System Persepolis (his second on Powell's Diagonal Records) references hardcore techno in its rather twisted ways. Ebtekar said goodbye almost immediately to the breakcore/junglism of his very first few EPs. He's really pioneered the integration of electronics with Persian classical and Iranian instrumentation, and he's developed some amazing methods for sound processing in the meantime. But Sound System Persepolis, despite referencing the ancient Persian city, doesn't feature any West/Central Asian instrumentation, and as far as I can tell it uses Western tuning. The rhythmic programming recalls the untethered approaches of Mark Fell and Rian Treanor, Vladislav Delay and perhaps even Russell Haswell, but with Sote's distinctive sliding tones. It's a kind of return to the Hardcore Sounds From Tehran mixtape but with everything Ata's learned about audio alchemy in the meantime. Insane and brilliant.

Dom & Roland - Stormy Waters [Individual]
Dominic Angas aka Dom & Roland (Roland is the sampler of course) has been one of my favourite drum'n'bass artists since the '90s, but I've always thought of him as primarily d'n'b - techstep beats, done with incredible finesse and accompanied by brilliant synth lines, sound design and basslines. So it's a nice surprise to find the beats on his new Stormfront EP (initiating his own Individual label) brings flittering, careening beat programming in between the 2-step hits. All four tracks here are gold.

ASC - waveform 12 [waveforms/Bandcamp]
Kloke - waveform 9 [waveforms/Bandcamp]
waveforms is the label setup last year by ASC (beloved drum'n'bass & grey area techno producer who returned to jungle a couple of years ago) and Presha, boss of the groundbreaking Samurai label, releasing 10"s focused on early jungle-style production. So here from the latest pair of releases we have a typical epic tune from ASC and technically brilliant stuff as always from Naarm/Melbourne-based Kloke.

Doc Sleep - Lemon Zest [Dark Entries/Bandcamp]
DJ and producer Melissa Marisuten aka Doc Sleep is co-founder of experimental techno & ambient label Jacktone Records, and she's also one half of Beats Unlimited. Her own music spans house & electro as well as IDM and more broadly ambient stuff. "Lemon Zest" is an infectious piece of electro-techno with a wicked syncopated bassline.

Tawdry Otter - Foreign Assets [Adrien75 Bandcamp]
By now we've heard Adrien75's IDM-focused Tawdry Otter a fair bit on this show. Adrien used to be part of the group of the IDM collective Carpet Bomb (mainly 3 people in various combinations) doing complex break-mashing and programming that I was obsessed with in the late '90s. For a while now the Adrien75 moniker has been more for ambient guitar stuff I think, hence Tawdry Otter, which conversely has often been made on the mobile software Koala Sampler. Not sure if that's the case here, but there are some truly funky electro & breakbeat vibes on the latest release, Streamline.

SML - Rubber Tree Dance [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
SML - Switchboard Operations [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
International Anthem feels like the ideal label to release this album by LA-based quintet SML/Small Medium Large. The five musicians are jazz-trained, busy members of multiple music scenes, and their self-titled(-ish) album began with a live performance at the now-sadly-defunct LA venue ETA. The recordings of those improvisations (just stereo mind you, not multi-tracked) were then edited, chopped up, restructured a la Makaya McCraven - or indeed Teo Maceo's work on Miles Davis' In A Silent Way, always a reference for this kind of studio deconstruction. The band features Australian bassist Anna Butterss (long based in LA, and performing not only in countless jazz ensembles but also on tour with the likes of Andrew Bird), along with similarly-connected cross-genre musicians, and the music veers from jazz to Afrobeat, psych to experimental electronic, Jon Hassell-style harmonising effects and more. You don't need to be any kind of jazz-head to appreciate the joyful invention here.

Lia Kohl - Car Alarm, Turn Signal (feat. Ka Baird) [Moon Glyph/Bandcamp]
Chicago cellist and sound-artist Lia Kohl has built up a gorgeous catalogue of odd, inquisitive and considered sound works over a very short period of time, with releases on Skeletons' Shinkoyo, Longform Editions and American Dreams. Her new album Normal Sounds is coming at the end of August from the adventurous Portland (Oregon) tape/vinyl label Moon Glyph, and the album title is a nice description of Kohl's practice (as are the track titles). As well as field recordings and the sounds of "normal" human activity, Kohl likes to incorporate the randomness of a radio scrolling through frequencies and settling on whatever happens to be on the airwaves. And of course there's her cello, which along with electronics can slip into the mix and transform everything. On this first single, Kohl has also invited Ka Baird to add layered flute and little keyboard drones, adding an avant-garde new-age sensibility. Without noticing, we're left with slowly-more-sparse cello plucks and slow layered bowing and then... the sound of a pedestrian crossing brings us back to the "normal sounds" (with some faint found-sound saxophone soloing from someone's car radio). Just so good.

Stranded Horse - Le feu qui nous rend las [Heartists for Palestine]
Mayssa Jallad & Fadi Tabbal - Ad-Douar [Heartists for Palestine]
Fadi Tabbal - (keep thumping) [Fadi Tabbal Bandcamp]
Back in the early 2000s, French musician Yann Tambour started releasing music under the name Encre - music tailor-made for Utility Fog with its postrock & indie-chanson tendencies mixed with digital editing. Most of that music is still available from French label Clapping Music, but then around 2007 Tambour's focus changed (back) to guitar-based indie/chanson/folk under the name Thee, Stranded Horse, and then just Stranded Horse. And thus he has continued, with Stranded Horse the band frequently featuring Malian kora player Ballaké Sissoko and more recently Boubacar Cissokho. I'd lost track, but listening back, the last couple of Stranded Horse albums are fantastic. So it was really nice to hear a piece of heartfelt folk music from Tambour on a new compilation, Counting the strips of light, the second put together by the Paris-based Heartists for Palestine. The beneficiary for both of their compilations is Palestinian Medical Relief Society, and the musical focus is mostly indie singer-songwriter but with some interesting/inspiring inclusions - John Parish, who has worked consistently with PJ Harvey and others; Kate Stables of This Is The Kit doing a lovely Ben Folds cover; Adrian Crowley; and Aidan Baker of Nadja with Frédéric D. Oberland of Oiseaux Tempête and Saåad; and more! Lebanese singer Mayssa Jallad, who put out one of the best albums of last year, works again with Fadi Tabbal (co-founder with Ziad Nawfal of Ruptured Records) on an incredible piece of experimental song. It turns out their piece is a Frankensteinian creation in which Jallad added vocals to a piece of Tabbal's from his recent album I recognize you from my sketches. Jallad's lyric (the title means "Vertigo" in Arabic) follows a woman suffering from loss and displacement, inspired by the work of Dr Ghassan Abu Sittah and photojournalist Belal Khaled in Gaza recently. Meanwhile, Tabbal's album happens to be a lovely, made of processed guitars, synths and tape, so I played a track from the album proper too.

Ola Szmidt - Making My Own Dice [Ola Szmidt Bandcamp]
I discovered UK-based musician Ola Szmidt through her EP3, released on Accidental Records a couple of years ago. Lately she's been putting up single tracks here and there, and "Making My Own Dice" is a great example of her craft - melodic vocals looped and chopped up, and, eventually, glitchy programmed beats. Healing music for trying times.

Andrea De Witt - APR 5 [Undogmatisch/Bandcamp]
Andrea De Witt - PIANOCHROM 2M [Undogmatisch/Bandcamp]
Italian musician Andrea De Witt has been in & around various music scenes for decades, in rock bands, techno acts and experimental electronic projects. But his new self-titled album for the excellently-named Berlin label Undogmatisch is in fact his debut album. It's a great collection of glitchy sound-edits, stumbling beats, rumbling bass and shimmering textures. I've always been partial to glitched-up piano, so the two PIANOCHROM tracks are highlights, but the seemingly anonymous track titles belie an album of real humanity inside its minimalist soundworks.

Dahk-Kloud - Through The Night Quiet [Streaming in various places e.g. here]
Eora/Sydney-based musician Dahk-Kloud makes music aptly described by the title of his debut album Piano Tapes & Synthesiser. For a debut release it's impressive: late-night music with restrained piano and modular synths, with the magic of tape processing warping and bending inside and around the compositions. The album will be launched at Annandale Creative Arts Centre on Friday the 9th of August, for those in the area - tix here.

Matthew Bourne - the mirror and its fragments [Leaf/Bandcamp]
Following his second album of minimalist electro-acoustic work with Nightports earlier this year, English pianist & composer Matthew Bourne is back with a very solo album, this is not for you. (full stop included). These are quiet, expressive compositions for piano, on some tracks joined by his own cello playing - even more minimalist. This album demands listening in a place of calm & quiet, and if you make the space for it, you'll find yourself deeply moved.

Listen again — ~200MB

Sunday, 7th of July, 2024

Playlist 07.07.22 (11:00 pm)

Dark acoustic and electronic sonics, big beats and no beats, glitched folk...

LISTEN AGAIN and win at life! Stream on demand via FBi, podcast here.

Coppé - Ajisai (Nikakoi Remix) [Mango + Sweetrice Records/Bit-Phalanx Music]
Japanese singer Coppé's been around longer than many. And since the 1990s she's been collaborating with creative electronic artists, from the IDM world and club, while never veering too far from her jazz roots. Last year she released a proper jazz album, no electronics, called *(Un-)tweaked with a jazz quartet of piano/keys, bass, drums and guitar... but that title does rather imply something, right? So here comes *( -)tweaked, in which these loungey jazz songs are thrown back to some of her favourite electronic producers to glitch and chop. To come are mixes from the likes of Atom™, Plaid, Luke Vibert and more, but here's one from a very frequent collaborator of Coppé's, Georginan IDM/glitch maestro Nikakoi. It's lovely and granulated, with clicks'n'cuts but the song itself intact. Can't wait for the rest.

Romeo Moon - Dream Seed [Romeo Moon Bandcamp]
About 5 years ago, Naarm/Melbourne musician Kevin Orr released an EP under his Romeo Moon alias called It Unfolds, a beautiful amalgam of Radiohead, krautrock and Talk Talk-style postrock. With a catalogue going back 5 years earlier, it's taken that amount of time for his next release to start sneaking out. "Dream Seed" is as lovely as the previous work, a gentle song of low drones, acoustic guitar refrains and a repeated lyric that all slowly grows and then fades away. Stay tuned for more...

Laurence Pike - Introit [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
By now, Eora/Sydney drummer Laurence Pike has three solo albums under his belt along with various EPs, and of course renowned work with Triosk, Pivot/PVT and Szun Waves... His previous albums have mixed his impeccable jazz-trained drumming with live-triggered samples in his own unique way, but The Undreamt-of Centre, coming in September, opens a new chapter for Pike, augmenting his drums, electronics & keyboards with lush arrangements for the Sydney Philharmonia Choir's VOX choir (made up of 18-30 year olds). The choir, in a sense, came first here: Pike had had the idea of writing a requiem for drums, electronics and choir some time ago, and then sadly witnessed his father-in-law decline and pass away during the lockdowns. Rainer Maria Rilke's poetry based on the myth of Orpheus and Eurydice became the final piece of the puzzle. Listening to this first piece from the album, Pike has been very successful in merging these different forms, and from what I've heard of the rest of the album, it's moving and innovative.

MMMD - Taxonomia [Antifrost/Bandcamp]
I guess first impressions leave a mark. The earliest releases from Greek band MMMD, now sometimes styled MMMΔ and at that point known as Mohammad, were massive, tectonic drone works with double bass, cello and electronic oscillators. Double bassist Coti K is no longer a member but remains connected, while the core of Nikos Veliotos and Ilios continue with ice-blasted sub-bass music that mixes synthcore with arcane chants. It's still some kind of mix of Eastern European folk and classical with deep drone, but sounding like the scene in a sci-fi horror movie when the crew enter a gigantic malevolent alien structure.

Assyouti - Kraken Sight [PAYNOMINDTOUS/Bandcamp]
The Egyptian electronic scene is bustling with inventiveness, and Assyouti is one of its more recent proponents - his first EP came out a couple of years ago, although he's been DJing for at least 5 years. He's now based in Berlin (who isn't?) and his new EP comes from Turin-based experimental electronic label PAYNOMINDTOUS. The Kraken Sight EP is a distorted, industrial take on bass, techno and, on the title track, something like breakcore.

GILA - Electrified Tea Garden [Lex/Bandcamp]
GILA - Infinite 5AM Youtube [Lex/Bandcamp]
Almost 4 years since his last full-length, Denver-based GILA returns with Domain Expansion. By and large it's in the same space as his earlier work - bass-heavy beats with strictly controlled breakbeats leaving plenty of white space, and space for head-nodding. While GILA's bass roots are probably more in southern US hip-hop & trap, there are clear nods to UK bass too, including LTJ Bukem-styled d'n'b.

DJ FLP - Portal [DJ FLP Bandcamp]
A fair way east and a bit north of Denver we find Ann Arbor, Michigan-based DJ FLP, mixing jungle in with footwork as is his wont. "Portal" is pay what you want and it's a very fine, classy sampler of his craft.

Xylitol - Jelena [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Xylitol - Miha [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Xylitol - Empty Vessel [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
One of the best decisions of Planet µ recently (and they're one of my favourite record labels) was the signing of Catherine Backhouse aka Xylitol, who's been around the UK experimental electronic scene for well nigh a couple of decades, making minimal house, synth-pop, ambient, who knows what else. She DJs under the name DJ Bunnyhausen, and is something of an expert on Eastern European pop and electronica. For Anemones we find Xylitol deep in IDM mode, with plenty of jungle/drill'n'bass workouts (from under 2 minutes to almost 10!) as well as slower breakbeat-driven melodic tunes in the vein of label boss Mike Paradinas/µ-Ziq. Uniformly excellent.

Giraffe - ATOM V [Stoffe/Bandcamp]
Hamburg trio Giraffe have previously released two albums on Meakusma, Juni and Shine and Dark, which combine guitars and acoustic drums with synths and electronics, in a very organic-seeming way. Their new album ATOMS, out on Hamburg label Stoffe, was initially confusing for being a lot more electronic than I expected - it's almost more like a raster-noton release than what I thought would be more like, say, Tomaga. This is partly because their percussionist/drummer Charly Schöppner here worked with drum machines alongside frame drums and acoustic drumkit, while the guitar hums and crackles and drones along with the keyboards. Still, the earlier releases were also part of a German/Austrian tradition that goes from krautrock's electronics and pulses through to the crackly postrock of Radian, Innode, Kammerflimmer Kollektief and the like. Tragically, Schöppner passed away in 2020, before the album was completed, but his rhythms are absolutely central to the tracks here.

ZULI - The Horn [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
ZULI - Myth -- [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
ZULI - Plateau ft. Abdullah Miniawy [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
Now resident in Berlin, the brilliant Egyptian beatmaker and electronic producer ZULI has released his first album on Berlin-based (originally Bristol) Subtext Recordings. Lambda takes ZULI the furthest away from the dancefloor than ever, with few beats through its 13 tracks - but the sound design is still drawing from bass music and "deconstructed club" as much as industrial and ambient. The album had a long gestation, conceived in Cairo in 2020, and completed in Berlin in July 2023. I'm fairly sure that his live sets in Australia earlier this year would have included music from this. There's also a lot of mutated pop - including contributions from MICHAELBRAILEY and Coby Sey, but also processed and destroyed vocals of unknown origins - granular effects are used throughout. And one of the most touching pieces features another Europe-based Egyptian musical master, Abdullah Miniawy. A stunner of an album through & through.

Nika Son - Trinsar Gobble [V I S]]
Nika Son - It's just a cucumber [V I S]]
Back in Hamburg now, we join Nika Breithaupt under her Nika Son alias with ASLOPE, her new album released on V I S, the label connected to Hamburg's legendary Golden Pudel club. Breithaupt's music is an out-of-time collage of musique concrète elements, found-sound spoken word, tape manipulation and synth work, with just enough post-industrial beats to feel like an outsider take on techno. Somehow from lo-fi sound sources, Breithaupt builds impeccable sound-design: vocal snippets pop up at perfectly dramatic moments, and synths warble diminished chords. Tune in to these little sonic journeys and scenes that immediately evoke creepy situations, darkened abandoned buildings or murky underwater happenings.

Brique - Giraf [Umlaut Records/Bandcamp]
Brique - Tu Devrais [Umlaut Records/Bandcamp]
The Dutch anarcho-punk band The Ex has had a weighty impact on the European music scene over its 4½ decades, with countless members moving through the band and on to other influential acts around improv, jazz, rock and punk, and probably more. Luc Ex (Luke Klaasen) played bass with The Ex from 1983 till 2002, through most of their influential period, going from punk deep into improv, up to the beginning of a new phase collaborating with Ethiopian jazz greats. Here we find Luc playing acoustic bass guitar in a band that's equal parts acoustic punk, free improv and chamber jazz. Singer Bianca Iannuzzi sings, speak-sings a la sprechstimme and shouts in English, French, Italian and German. Luc Ex and drummer Francesco Pastacaldi bring a rhythmic drive which easily switches from postpunk to jazz, while Eve Risser's piano can accompany Iannuzzi in classical melodicism or jazz cabaret, or clang with internal preparations. This is highly expressive, highly energetic music that transcends time and genre.

BirdWorld - Coroico [Dugnad Records/Bandcamp]
I discovered BirdWorld through a compilation from The Wire in 2018, and was grabbed by the combination of Gregor Riddell's cello and electronics with Adam Teixeira's drums and percussion. Their music shows a different path for the melding of acoustic & digital, not quite The Books or folktronica, nor classical musique concrète. Their second album Nurture is on its way from Norway's Dugnad Records, with "Coroico" as the first single, which grows from field recordings into a rhythmic piece for plucked cello and drumkit, while Riddell also adds splashes of piano. While we wait, do yourself a favour and check out their debut album UNDA.

Neil Luck - Oxford Girl [Accidental Records]
Neil Luck - For the Mother _ Cherry Tree Carol [Accidental Records]
On Eden Box, British composer Neil Luck takes a different path again - or many - in deconstructing acoustic folk traditions. Every track on the album seems to do something else from the last, so the album opens with a guitar playing a folky melody, while drawn-out glitched vocals join, gradually slowing the whole thing down. But then we have cavernous percussion and spoken word over a field recording of a walk through a forest. And then we're thrown into the razor-sharp kazoo sound of leaf blowing (not the obnoxious suburban activity, albeit still rather obnoxious). Then we have tribal drumming of sorts, cut-up field recordings, cut-up voices with... a snoring sheep? And then we're back to a gorgeous folk piece - a strummed string instrument and falsetto vocals, which takes a turn into slowed-down speech and pump organ(?) drones. The mystery of the sound sources is the point, and the joy of the listen. The album finishes with sampled organic sounds sequenced into rhythms a la Art of Noise, and like that pioneering group at their best, Luck is adept at pulling pathos from sonic deconstruction.

Kaboom Karavan - Parafiks [Miasmah/Bandcamp]
Kaboom Karavan - Kobo [Miasmah/Bandcamp]
Kaboom Karavan - How to put valium in a madman’s drink? [Miasmah/Bandcamp]
The gaps between Bram Bosteels' Kaboom Karavan album tend to be so large that each one is a joyous rediscovery. Fiasko! is the latest, released as always on Erik Skodvin's singular Miasmah label, and like the other music at this end of tonight's show, they deconstruct acoustic (folk) music in their own unique fashion. Along with co-conspirators Bart Maris (brass), Raphaël De Cock (Eastern European string instruments, uillean pipes, voice) and Stefaan Smagghe (violin and sarangi), Bosteels evokes alternative-world folk traditions, and crumbled jazz a la Tom Waits. Like his earlier albums, electronics are subtly there in the way the music is arranged and mixed, and while there's nothing as sparse and creepy as "Kobo", which I played from the 2011 album Barra Barra, it still suits Miasmah's avant-garde acoustic doom catalogue to a tee.

Concrete Cedars - The Mostly Indoors [Concrete Cedars Bandcamp]
Finishing with the patient abstraction of Kansas noise/drone/country(?) group Concrete Cedars. I discovered them via Kansas musician Chance Dibben, one third of the band, whose solo music as SELVEDGE I played earlier in the year. Dibben uses synths and noisemakers, and Bradley McKellip builds further on the abstract sound with a no-input mixing desk - but McKellip also contributes processed guitar, and drummer Til Willis adds the eerie sounds of a water harp. As much postrock as ambient noise, this is highly evocative music in a style all its own.

Listen again — ~203MB

Sunday, 30th of June, 2024

Playlist 30.06.24 (11:00 pm)

There's an undercurrent of noise through a lot of tonight's show. There are fast beats and sub bass and melodies too though!

LISTEN AGAIN and transcend to a higher sphere. Stream on demand on the FBi website, podcast here.

Party Dozen - The Big Man Upstairs [Temporary Residence Ltd/Grupo/Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney duo Party Dozen are a phenomenon. Kirsty Tickle's unbridled saxophone howls over Jonathan Boulet's drumming and myriad samples, making an almight racket of swamp rock. Their previous album saw them signed to legendary Brooklyn label Temporary Residence Ltd, and touring all over the world. Their follow-up is called Crime in Australia and circles around one of the direst times in Australian politics, when Joh Bjelke-Petersen's corrupt government ruled QLD.

SUMAC - "World of Light" Moor Mother remix [SUMAC Bandcamp]
Aaron Turner's legacy in heavy metal is unassailable, from his bands ISIS and Old Man Gloom to the brilliant Hydra Head label he ran for many years. A little like Old Man Gloom, SUMAC are a kind of superground, with Turner on guitar and vocals, backed by incendiary drummer Nick Yacyshyn of Vancouver hardcore band Baptists, and bassist Brian Cook of hardcore/math-rock bands Botch and These Arms Are Snakes. With SUMAC, Turner's vision was of an incredibly tight, punishingly heavy sound, and what's remarkable is how the members achieve that with incredible restraint. Turner also likes to subvert the usual tendency of metal to focus on the grotesque and destructive side of human nature, and no moreso than on SUMAC's latest album, The Healer. Two of the tracks clock in at 25 minutes each, and the shorter ones are a mere 13 minutes, so I couldn't really play them, but along with the album comes a bonus EP of two remixes. Raven Chacon's is yet to come, but Moor Mother's is - as always - insanely good. It starts with urgent beeping and almost immediately distorted bass from SUMAC drops under Camae Ayewa's rapping. It's already apocalyptic enough, full of tension, and then we drop down to whispers and delayed guitar strums before the gigantic simultaneous hits of bass, guitar and drums smash down, with Aaron Turner's sampled growls. No less heavy than the original in only 4 minutes and 5 seconds.

We Are Winter’s Blue And Radiant Children - No More Apocalypse Father [Constellation Records/Bandcamp]
You can always trust Efrim Manuel Menuck of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion to come up with an overbearing name for his projects, and the shouted all-caps (I've spared you) of We Are Winter’s Blue And Radiant Children certain fits the bill. It's a supergroup too, a collab between Menuck and guitarist Mathieu Ball of the wonderful Big|Brave. Both musicians like to combine beauty with noise, and along with Patch One and Jonathan Downs of Portland, Maine postrock band Ada they've certainly drenched the shoegazey first single in noise. "NO MORE APOCALYPSE FATHER" is the title, probably including the quotation marks, and let's hope they can stave off the apocalypse for us.

Prurient - Return To Necrophilia [Hospital Productions/Bandcamp]
So, talking about noise... hardly anyone is as synonymous with noise as Dominick Fernow aka Prurient, who runs the Hospital Productions label and is still putting out multi-cassette releases of his own and other noise artists. Sure, there's an obsession with ghastliness that's shared with certain parts of industrial & metal, but there's more subtlety to the music than you might assume. This track's a good example, with grumbling, surging synth pads that verge into static at times and wouldn't be out of place on an early Oneohtrix Point Never release.

Emmer & Einkorn - Jacob's Ladder [Biodiversity/Bandcamp]
Joe Human Resources and Mike Mallard have been rattling around the UK techno/house/bass music scene for a while under those monikers, and put out a debut self-titled release as Emmer & Einkorn back in 2020. Four years later, London label Biodiversity releases their follow-up, Karst, which inhabits an ambient dub aesthetic rooted in the rolling hills of the Peak District. Rainy ambient dub and foggy dub techno evoke druidic country raves.

Jörmungandr - Root Mender (Zara Remix) [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
Naarm producer Daniel Jakobsson goes by Eastern Distributor, but also Jörmungandr, and "both" of him contributed to his An Xileel that Eora/Sydney label Pure Space put out in January. Now Pure Space have released two remixes from that album. One is by Pure Space boss, FBi DJ Andy Garvey, and the second is from Amsterdam-based Naarm/Melbourne producer Zara Olsen, who takes us into a deep, trancey techno space with hints of jungle beats slipping through the cracks.

gi - feedback [Absorb]
Here's an exclusive preview from a brilliant Eora artist! gi has one proper release to her name, the Orange Chorus Blonde Reveal EP that came out from Nipaluna label Altered States Tapes in October last year. That will be followed up with the album Thought Makes Music from Naarm's Absorb label in August. gi's music is characterised by very organic-feeling textures bubbling around, shuffling forwards & backwards, accompanied by incredibly intricate, fast-moving beats that never quite shape themselves like jungle or footwork rhythms, never quite coalesce into discernible barlines. It's beautiful and unapologetically avant-garde.

KASHIWA Daisuke - nemesis [Virgin Babylon Records]
Looking back, it seems I first discovered Japanese composer, remixer, producer extraordinaire KASHIWA Daisuke when World's End Girlfriend released his Re: album in 2012 on his Virgin Babylon label. Daisuke had been releasing varied music since at least 2005, from his postrock roots to post-classical (including the all-piano 88 in 2011), glitchy electronica and jungle/breakcore/idm madness. It's very much in the same camp as World's End Girlfriend himself, a Japanese style of kitchen-sink mashup that's humorous but ultra-serious, noisy but beautiful, and incredibly accomplished in all areas. His last album was 2020's program music III, which consisted of one 51-minute track encompassing everything he does, and new album ice kinda does the same, although it focuses a little more on the lyrical side of his compositions. There's clattering drum'n'bass in there too though, as we hear somewhere in the middle of this track. Never less than brilliant.

Loopsnake - Witchvox [Loopsnake Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney producer Loopsnake aka Andrew Maxam used to compete with me on FBi for the IDM on the station with his show Liquid Electric, and being on a Friday night, he usually trumped me with the new releases. He finished up in 2017, and took a spin at a "real job" in law, but sensibly figured that wasn't the life for him, so he followed his partner to a country halfway across the world. And while there he's found a lot of time on his hands (always making me jealous Andrew!) so he's started up making music again. New EP Black Alert sees him taking on various types of ravey beats, including something kind of drill'n'bassy right here.

Yetsuby - 1,2,3 Soleil [All My Thoughts/Bandcamp]
Uman Therma, Yeong Die, Yetsuby - Intro [Computer Music Club]
Yetsuby - Poly Juice [All My Thoughts/Bandcamp]
Back in 2021, the world was introduced to a trio of female Japanese electronic musicians making clever, experimental & fun music as Computer Music Club. Uman Therma, Yeong Die, Yetsuby have all continued producing and DJing, and Uman Therma and Yetsuby are also well-known as Salamanda, but Yetsuby's last album My Star My Planet My Earth won Best Electronic Album in the 2023 Korean Music Awards. It really is excellent, mixing electronic pop (not sure I'd characterise it as K-Pop) with IDM & jungle-inspired beats. Her follow-up b_b avoids easy genre labels. There are hints at jungle and bass music, and IDM updated for the 2020s, and if not quite pop then a unique take on hyperpop. Some tracks are beatless but they're far too restless to describe as ambient. Most importantly, Yetsuby's command of melody and of immersive production is undeniable. Don't ignore!

Sam Link - Mae [Satellite Era/Bandcamp]
Following two highly tipped EPs on Czech electronic trailblazers YUKU, Wisconsin's Sam Link's latest EP Stone Wheel is released on a US label, Satellite Era. As the label copy suggests, his music draws heavily on UK bass music, albeit with a twist. This EP takes on breakbeat at various tempos, taking in jungle, but also bass-heavy breaks at 130 BPM like here. Very much an artist to watch.

鄭道元 Cheng Daoyuan - 如縊 Strangle to Survive (Wa?ste Remix) [WV Sorcerer Productions/Bandcamp]
鄭道元 Cheng Daoyuan - 如縊 Strangle to Survive [WV Sorcerer Productions/Bandcamp]
鄭道元 Cheng Daoyuan - 歸獄 Nether World (Nerve Remix) [WV Sorcerer Productions/Bandcamp]
The Chinese-French label WV Sorcerer Productions was one of the many labels around the world that contributed to Senyawa's massive worldwide community-based album release Alkisah. Their releases are always physically stunning pieces of art & craft, and the Alkisah model of an album plus a suite of remixes is one they've followed on a lot of releases. Hence here - the first of three releases on the label I'm playing tonight - we have Taiwanese multidisciplinary artist 鄭道元 Cheng Daoyuan with an album originally released on cassette in 2019, but here recently released in a 2CD release in a 7" sleeve with a booklet of the artist's artwork and a bunch of remixes on the second disc. Daoyuan's album is industrial noise, with harsh distortion welling up throughout, sometimes shaped into hammering rhythms, at other times giving way to haunted snatches of voice, jazz samples(?) and glitched field recordings. Sydney-born Felix Idle aka Wa?ste, who's long lived in Tokyo, takes scratchy samples and discordant tones from the original and stutters and glitches them under broken breakbeats. And Naarm/Melbourne's Nerve nudges Daoyuan's original into a more club-ready techno shape.

otay:onii - In Between Angel and Fly [WV Sorcerer Productions/Bandcamp]
Next up is another WV Sorcerer re-release, originally on CD in 2021 and now on vinyl. Lane Shi Otayonii was born in Haining, China, but has been based in Berlin, New York and Shanghai. She'll be best known to some as the vocalist in punk-shoegaze band Elizabeth Colour Wheel, but you won't mistake her voice in any context once you've heard it, powerful and shapechanging though it is. Lane Shi's voice is incredibly expressive, and has incredible range along with her music. On 冥冥 M​í​ng M​í​ng we can hear shapes of industrial ambient, electronic pop, Chinese folk music and perhaps black metal, while the singer channels her painful experiences trying to survive in a hostile environment while studying in the US... Later this year comes a new album, True Faith Ain​’​t Blind 信​仰​看​見​了​我​看​見​了​它, highlighting the artist's voice along with piano, pure expressionism connecting opera and Chinese folk. But Lane Shi Otayonii is also found in our third WV Sorcerer release...

Hypnodrone Ensemble - Desdemona [WV Sorcerer and various other labels]
Canadian musicians Aidan Baker (Nadja) and Eric Quach (thisquietarmy) form the core of Hypnodrone Ensemble, generally joined by multiple drummers and many other musicians. Co-released by WV Sorcerer and a host of other labels, The Problem Is In The Sender - Do Not Tamper With The Receiver features three female drummers, Fiona McKenzie (Halma), Angela Muñoz Martinez and Sara Neidorf, plus Gareth Sweeney (Caudal) on bass, and their swirling, pounding space rock is uplifted further by the vocals of Lane Shi Otayonii. The track I chose tonight stands out due to its slower tempo and less dense arrangements, but is no less ritualistic and evocative.

Mabe Fratti - Alarmas olvidadas [Unheard of Hope/Bandcamp]
Mabe Fratti - Enfrente [Unheard of Hope/Bandcamp]
The latest album from Mexcio-based Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti may be her most accessible yet, although it's still highly adventurous. It's co-produced by Hector Tosta aka i.la católica, whose duo with Mabe Fratti, Titanic, released their album Vidrio last year. Some of that album's chamber jazz sound finds its way into Sentir que no sabes, but there are also snatches of trip-hop and rock here as well as electronic manipulation. But Fratti's centring of the cello as well as her soft voice keep the music as sui generis as ever.

Sachi Kobayashi - Unforgettable [Phantom Limb/Bandcamp]
Lamentations, says Sachi Kobayashi, was "was born out of my sadness and grief towards the current wars". It's released on UK label Phantom Limb's Spirituals series, which has a particular skewed angle on ambient music, and Kobayashi's album fits perfectly. These short tracks, each around 3 minutes long, subtly smear, defocus and detune their source material to produce a work that imbues any of its prettiness with sorrow.

Danny Paul Grody Duo (Danny Paul Grody and Rich Douthit) - Clearing [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. On his new album Arc of Night, Rich Douthit's drums and percussion are central to the atmospheric sound (Douthit was also in The Drift, among others), so it's presented as Danny Paul Grody Duo. This is comforting late-night music.

Listen again — ~209MB

Sunday, 23rd of June, 2024

Playlist 23.06.23 (11:00 pm)

Tonight we journey from underground hip-hop through hyper- and infra-pop, folk-reggae, jungle, breakbeat, jazz-classical-electronic hybrids, post-rock and post-classical. Come with us!

LISTEN AGAIN if you know what's good for you. Stream on demand from FBi Radio, podcast here.

John Glacier - Cows Come Home [Young/Bandcamp]
John Glacier - Satellites (with Kwes Darko) [Young/Bandcamp]
I'm a little behind on John Glacier. The UK rapper put out her second EP of the year this week - Duppy Gun - following February's Like A Ribbon. Various underground hip-hop and experimental luminaries have appeared, including Eartheater on the earlier EP, and Kwes Darko (fka Blue Daisy), who also produced the entirety of the new EP. There are murky textures and glitchy beats - both EPs are rad.

Grasps_ - The Bridge [Grasps_ Bandcamp]
Grasps_ - To Be Faced One Day With Great Relief [Grasps_ Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney's Christian Whitwell has been Grasps_ since at least 2016, and co-ran the rad Eternal label with Ptwiggs from 2018-2021. Among many other places, he's put out two EPs through the very on-point LA label TAR (subsidiary of Brainfeeder). His latest album, When Will You Be Here Again?, mashes up certain types of vaporwavey ambient and field recordings with passages of beats referencing grime, jungle and other bass musics, distorted bass and the like... and into that inserts Christian's own voice as well as Sydney icons Marcus Whale and Bayang (tha Bushranger). There's a vulnerability to this work, found in the album title and lyrics, but also in the way the music swings between hardness/heaviness and softness/haze. Out on Grasps_' Bandcamp and presumably wherever you like to stream from Friday the 28th of June.

Panoptique Electrical - For Piano [sound in silence - CD edition/Panoptique Electrical Bandcamp]
Panoptique Electrical - For Bells [sound in silence - CD edition/Panoptique Electrical Bandcamp]
Of late, Jason Sweeney, Adelaide icon of ambient, idm, indietronica before it was a thing, etc etc, has been delving into the experience of growing older as a queer person, approaching the questions this raises from many angles. Recently there was an album of songs under his Sweeney moniker: Ageism. But as Panoptique Electrical he's in instrumental mode, usually making drawn-out windswept music, whether drone or shoegazey postrock, so For Years (available on CD-R from Greek label sound in silence, including a limited edition with bonus tracks) is a collection of sound-art explorations, the titles playing on different ways the first word operates in phrases: "For Years" describes time, "For Em" is dedicated to a person, "For Piano" is performed on that instrument... It's nice to imagine that "For Ruins" is composed for ruins as an instrument... Even so, the piano and the bells here are drawn out into deep drones. Contemplative, spacious music.

Seduna - Please [Seduna SoundCloud]
Alex Hollis, a few years back, presented a show on FBi called Glitches, that was initially on after Utility Fog, so I'd see her around the station a fair bit. The playlists are still up on the FBi website for now, focusing on bass music, instrumental hip-hop, broken & experimental beats, so there's some overlap with UFog. Now, after about as long as the gap since Glitches finished, Alex's own music project Seduna returns, with a lovely song featuring her own vocals accompanied by garage/jungle-influenced beats, synth pads and sax.

Elijah Minnelli - Soulcake (feat. Shumba Youth) [FatCat/Bandcamp]
Elijah Minnelli - Swaggering Dub (originally Wind & The Rain (feat. Joe Yorke)) [FatCat/Bandcamp]
There's a high concept behind Elijah Minnelli's work in general and specifically the Perpetual Musket album, his first on FatCat. Minnelli's work claims to stem from initiatives of the Breadminster County Council, but unsurprisingly the internet is unaware of Breadminster outside of his releases. Previously he's released a series of 7"s like traditional reggae records with the dub version on the flip, with source material from Eastern European folk, Western folk or even cumbia. This album - four tracks and their four dubs - brings into focus four folk songs made popular by the folk preservationist and revivalists of the mid-20th century, but here sung by four reggae/dub singers. Shumba Youth sings a version of A'Soulin' - here's a version by Peter, Paul & Mary, but Minnelli and Shumba Youth slow it down to suit the dub setting. And Joe Yorke sings a version of "The Wind and the Rain", a song whose lyrics come from Shakespeare's Twelfth Night, although it may have already been part of the folk canon then. I played the "Swaggering Dub" version. There's a story that goes with the album, about folk movements and pacifism, and it's obviously a (delightful) tall story, but the jokiness belies a real depth of heart in these versions, and a dedication to dub as transformative.

Emilíana Torrini - Black Water [Grönland]
Icelandic singer Emilíana Torrini has a strange secret history with me and many IDM fans from the turn of the century... In 1999 she released her third album Love in the Time of Science on One Little Indian (as it was called then, home of Sugarcubes and Björk), and the folks at FatCat arranged for a selection of their artists to remix songs of the album, in a series of 7"s dubbed the E-series. In fact I think it wasn't evident immediately who the original "E" artist was. Some of the remixes were also available as 128k downloads from a now-defunct website. They were a mix of IDM, glitch and postrock (Mice Parade made an appearance), many of which only used shards of Torrini's voice. Torrini's own work can be folky and singer-songwriterly, but also electronic pop: along the way she's collaborated with Kid Koala on an ambient album, been remixed into glitch-folk by Atom™, and written for Kylie Minogue and for the second Lord of the Rings film. So it's always interesting to hear what she's up to, and on Miss Flower she's written a lovely tribute to her friend Zoe's mum, Geraldine Flower, composed around letters written to the eponymous Miss Flower (never married) and found after her death. Zoe Flower's partner is Simon Byrt, longtime collaborator with Torrini and co-producer of this album, lending it even more of a personal feel - don't skip past the end of the album, where there's a (semi-)hidden track of piano and sound, solely by Byrt. And right at the start is one of the darkest pieces, the mysterious electronics of "Black Water". Lovely work.

KÁRYYN - the REAL (HAAi Remix) [Mute/Bandcamp]
Last week I played the original version of this song, by Armenian-American electronic producer and singer KÁRYYN, from her Calm KAOSS EP that pays tribute to the venerable KAOSS pad effects unit. The beats are turned up and buffed up to a club-ready shine here by HAAi, aka Teneil Throssell, an in-demand techno DJ originally from Karratha, WA.

Qant - Holditdown [Qant Bandcamp]
French bass producer Qant released his second Diced Bits EP this week, spanning jungle and dark tech-step, all produced on the Digitakt hardware sampler/sequencer. Expert beat-juggling and atmospherics.

HLZ - Black Core [Utopia Music/Bandcamp]
And here's some brilliant jungley d'n'b from Italian producer HLZ, released on Bristol's Utopia Music - incredibly moody, with precision-tooled beats and sinister bass drops. Up there with Photek & Source Direct circa '96-'97.

T5UMUT5UMU - 武者 Musha [Sneaker Social Club/Bandcamp]
You can never tell what Japanese producer T5UMUT5UMU's going to sound like, except that it'll be exceptional bass music with complex percussive beats at any tempo. That stays true on his first release for Sneaker Social Club, 玄 Gen. The opening track, heard tonight, drives forward with its syncopated bass, sparse beats, and spoken Japanese samples. In fact whether it's flute or percussion or words, each track on the EP has some kind of element that evokes T5UMUT5UMU's home country, even if glancingly.

ZULI - A Birdie [early reflex]
Tooth Rust - Slimy Fingers [early reflex]
Four years in, Turin-based Alec Pace's early reflex releases Flex005, it's 5th compilation, championing the gnarlier end of electronic club music. Among the younger artists, Egypt's ZULI contributes a chaotic vocal-sample-based track, while London-based Tooth Rust comes closer to the dancefloor than she did on her Glut EP on the label in 2022.

Pearson Sound - Hornet [Hessle Audio/Bandcamp]
David Kennedy is one of the co-founders of legendary dubstep/techno label Hessle Audio, with Ben UFO and Pangaea. First as Ramadanman and then Pearson Sound, Kennedy is an influential force in UK bass music. Back on Hessle with a single track here, Kennedy brings an insectile buzz to the dancefloor with Hornet, a classic in the making.

Skee Mask - Reminiscrmx [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Skee Mask - BB Care [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Since his days as SCNTST, the Münich producer now known as Skee Mask has liquidly flitted between techno formations, drum'n'bass syncopations, and ambient soundworlds. His latest full-length for Ilian Tape, Resort, contains plenty of breakbeat-like rhythms but is mixed with the beats further back than club music would do, even once the beats gain a foothold three tracks in. It's more like a well-worn cassette mix kept in the car for those long drives - there's definitely a Boards of Canada feel. Truly lovely stuff from a contemporary icon.

Kronos Quartet with Jlin - Maji [Red Hot Org/Bandcamp]
Kronos Quartet with Nicole Lizée - The Furthest Out Things [Red Hot Org/Bandcamp]
More than 4 decades after the Red Hot Org started raising funds to fight AIDS with an incredible Cole Porter covers album, they're still going strong, now widening their remit to "promoting public health and diversity through equal access to care". Since last year, they've released a series of tribute albums to Sun Ra, with a focus on climate justice. Kronos Quartet already appeared on an earlier edition, on a remix of Sun Ra produced by Joel Tarman. Now there's a whole album, Outer Spaceways Incorporated, billed as "Kronos Quartet & Friends Meet Sun Ra". Kronos are avid collaborators and explorers well outside the bounds of what, at least 5 decades ago before they began, would have been considered the arena of string quartets. On this album, as well as the quartet performing arrangements (I presume) of Sun Ra compositions, they collaborate with many musicians, from the likes of Laurie Anderson and Terry Riley to folks like noise/experimental turntablist Evicshen, footwork producer RP Boo *and* underground hip-hop innovators Armand Hammer, Zachary James Watkins of free/noise act Black Spirituals, and 700 Bliss (DJ Haram & Moor Mother). Among others! Jerrilynn Patton aka Jlin has always stretched footwork into new shapes, and Kronos appeared on her latest album, so it's no surprise to find her here, chopping string samples into rhythmic patterns alongside Sun Ra samples. Canadian composer Nicole Lizée embodies contemporary composition's genre-permeability, writing for turntables, glitchy electronics and live vocal manipulation alongside orchestras and string quartets - she's written quite a lot for Kronos in the past. Her track samples multiple Sun Ra works and features the composer on vocals, synths, kazoo and party poppers, along with the string quartet. For more Lizée, I played a composition of hers for Canadian cellist India Gailey back in February.

Memory Drawings - Divisible By Three [sound in silence/Memory Drawings Bandcamp]
Back to Greek label sound in silence, their second release this month is the new album Deathbed Requests from international postrock band Memory Drawings, a band that I'm fortunate enough to be considered part of (my cello has appeared on all their albums bar the first). The band is led by Minneapolis' Joel Hanson, whose dulcimer is the key ingredient (often augmented by another dulcimer-playing Joel, surname Smith). Along with them are guitar, bass, keyboards and percussion, and strings from Sarah Kemp (Brave Timbers) from way up north in the UK, and yours truly on cello. There's a lot of indie rock & postrock in the veins of this music, but also notably Joel's brother Bradley Hanson, who plays bass on the album, is a longtime fan of Peter Hook, which you can hear in a post-album track that finds the brothers covering Joy Division's last recorded track - or one of New Order's first - In A Lonely Place (click through to hear it, with vocals from Birds of Passage's Alicia Merz). But anyway, I think Deathbed Requests might be the best Memory Drawings album yet, so do check it out.

Insect Ark - Ascension [Debemur Morti/Bandcamp]
Dana Schechter first hit my radar as a member of Angels of Light, M. Gira's band after he first broke up Swans. She's played with an impressive array of heavy and less heavy bands, beginning(?) in the late '90s with her band Bee and Flower. Insect Ark came into being as her solo project over 10 years ago, always with doomy riffs and psychedelic noise, whatever the line-up. The latest is a duo with drummer Tim Wyskida of Khanate, and it's still heavy as fuck, even on the closing track here with backmasked guitar chords as crescendoing drones.

Euan Alexander Millar-McMeeken - Hibernate II [Sleep In The Fire]
Euan Alexander Millar-McMeeken - Nobody's Free Without Breaking Open [Sleep In The Fire]
Some years ago Euan McMeeken fronted a Scottish indiefolk/postrock band called The Kays Lavelle. For many years he's made intimate piano music as Glacis and released music with fellow Scotsman Matthew Collings as Graveyard Tapes among other collaborations. The experimental sound-shaping of Graveyard Tapes finds its way into the scratched piano and emotive vocals of his new solo album All The Weather Of The Human Heart, released under his full name Euan Alexander Millar-McMeeken. It's a stunning album, deeply personal, but it does feature various guests including both Tony Dupé and Claire Deak, from Naarm, and on one track, my cello. This album could easily be missed, and deserves your attention.

Matthew Bourne - précipice / précis [Leaf/Bandcamp]
English pianist & composer Matthew Bourne appeared recently on this show with electronic duo Nightports, with electronically-manipulated improvisations on the very rare keyboard instrument the Dulcitone. That instrument appears on his new album This Is Not For You., out on July 12th from The Leaf Label, but it's mostly a soft piano affair. More surprisingly, and gorgeously, Bourne picks up the cello at times, like in the second half of tonight's closing track, bringing a muted yearning to a meditative piece. Very keen to hear the full release.

Listen again — ~204MB

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