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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, 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

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

Sunday, 28th of April, 2024

Playlist 28.04.24 (11:00 pm)

Experimental song and experimental beats and sound-art, and even some experimental post-metal type sounds!

LISTEN AGAIN via FBi Radio's stream on demand, or podcast here. Your life will be better for it.

Deepchild - Kindness (Deepchild Interpolation) [Seppuku Bandcamp]
The new EP from Eroa/Sydney's Rick Bull aka Deepchild draws on the work of Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye, whose poem Rick reads with aplomb on the third track, with ambient electronic accompaniment. The first two tracks are entitled "From The River" and "To The Sea". Yep.

Simon Fisher Turner - Barefeet [Mute/Bandcamp]
I nearly fell off my chair when a Bandcamp email turned up with a new release from Simon Fisher Turner - and it's a full new album! And there's vinyl but no CD, because we can't have nice things. SFT has been many things in his career, from child actor and young pop idol to composer and sound-artist who's worked with Derek Jarman and created some of the most alluring and boundary-pushing audio work in the last few decades. So it's nice that "Barefeet", the first single from Instability of the Signal, is a sweet, tender song in which the harmonised vocal is accompanied by a stark glitched loops, and adorned with bursts of electronic squeals, fragments of found sound, and a six-note bass riff at the end of phrases. A deconstructed pop song as only Simon Fisher Turner could do.

Kee Avil - Gelatin [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Crease, the first solo album from Montréal experimental musician Kee Avil came out on Constellation in 2022. Her follow-up, Spine is... at least as weird. Avil excels at writing things that are song-formed and seem to have all the ingredients of music, but everything's skewed. The mastery comes in nevertheless creating something haunting out of this "discomfort", as jj skolnik describes it in their essay on the album. Listen to these albums and enjoy your ears being turned inside out.

ambroise - l'air était si doux [Ambroise Bandcamp]
Eugénie Jobin is a musician, singer and composer based in Tio'tià:ke/Montréal. La premi​è​re caresse go​û​te toujours la neige is their fifth solo work as Ambroise, in which they set poems by Marie Uguay to voice accompanied by sparing piano, accordion and some synths and electronics. The beautiful songs are somewhere between classical, folk and jazz, with subtle electronic détournements that catch one's emotions at the edges. This is music that deserves an attentive, loving listen when things are quiet.

House of Gold - Phenomena [Sofa music/Bandcamp]
House of Gold - Blues [Sofa music/Bandcamp]
Eugénie Jobin is also a member of the new music quartet House of Gold, who perform the music of composer Isaiah Ceccarelli, a jazz and improv drummer and percussionist who also composes chamber music and is a self-confessed enthusiast for earyl choral music. And truly all of that is found in the song cycle that is the band's self-titled debut album, with harmonised vocals from Jobin and Frédérique Roy, both of whom also play keyboards alongside Katelyn Clark, while Ceccarelli plays drums and percussion. Much of the music is comprised of minimalist piano, even more minimalist organs and other keyboards, sparse percussion and pure voices - only to break, at times, into bursts of postpunk or krautrock drums and keyboard drones & pulses. If the music of the current age is characterised by anything, it's the final and complete breaking down of any genre boundaries (which incidentally makes Utility Fog either prescient, redundant, or never more relevant). House of Gold show us one such permutation, with beauty and grace.

Denseland - Four Humans And A Rope [arbitrary/Bandcamp]
German trio Denseland combine the mostly-spoken lyrics of David Moss with the rhythm section of Hanno Leichtmann on drums and electronic rhythm, and Hannes Strobl on electronic bass and double bass. Both Leichtmann and Strobl are experienced electroacoustic and experimental musicians, and the trio are joined by sound-artist Katharina Bévand on three tracks. Moss's lyrics evade easy interpretation, but are evocative of post-cyberpunk noir cool, and insert themselves in a fragmentary way into the glitchy, sparse, broken-down grooves and eerie drones of Leichtmann & Strobl (plus Bévand), with the angularity of postpunk and krautrock. It's really quite something.

Wukir Suryadi - Pikiran dan kepentingan (Thoughts and Concerns) [Discrepant/Bandcamp]
Senyawa are one of the most internationally fêted Indonesian bands, even outside the usual experimental and weird-metal scenes. Their distinctive vocalist Rully Shabara can also be found collaborating with all & sundry - but equally individual is Wukir Suryadi, who plays handmade instruments through pedals and amps. For his solo album Siklus dan Doa from the ever-adventurous Discrepant, his instruments are placed into a kind of dub context, but even when they're not ringing and reverberating, their strange warbling pitches and often low-strung vibrations create an enveloping, mysterious soundworld. Truly brilliant and utterly unique stuff.

zeroh - DON'T BREAK [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
So I'm not quite sure how I came across zeroh back in 2020, although Leaving Records is a cool place for him to have ended up. Edwin Liddie Jr had previously released music as Blaqbird and was MCing with LA's Low End Theory for many years too. His BLQLYTE album in 2020 was an incredible album of murky and mangled underground hip-hop, and it's taken 4 years for him to return with, yep, SUMLYTE - although, honestly, not a lot of light. It's still pretty murky shit, with zeroh's voice emerging, smudged, from the lysergic beats, while - on "DON'T BREAK", Jamael Dean lends a synth solo.

Third Space - a whole planet covered in circles [Absorb/Bandcamp]
After a couple of more ambient excursions - including the bubbling lava of his 25-minute Longform Editions piece - Naarm/Melbourne's Third Space is back with drum'n'bass-flecked techno via Absorb on the 5-track EP dot points. Or is it techno-flavoured drum'n'bass? It's somewhere in between, built from percussion and drum machines rather than breaks, muted but melodic electronics and of course bass. There's a physical edition on 2CDs, these 5 excellent tracks augmented with a live performance which I'm looking forward to consuming soon.

Sam Link - Sheepish [YUKU]
The second release on YUKU from Midwest US producer Sam Link follows on from his first, 2022's Hestitate. Like that release, Concerta has 6 tracks, drawing from UK bass music, jungle, footwork and idm. There's a ruthless funk to these tracks, a syncopation from Link playing fast & loose with his breakbeats and chopping bass and samples in & out of step. It works because Link has a clear, instinctive command of flow - irresistible.

Type - Sprinter [RuptureLDN/Bandcamp]
Four tracks of classic break choppage and heavy sub work from Type, whose thing is making tracks on standalone hardware, no computer (or not much). He's expert at the drumfunk subgenre, a kind of mutation of d'n'b back to junglist roots but with a diverse array of breaks and plenty of syncopation. Again to me it's about the flow, and Type, with his Akai MPC, has that down pat.

Mantra - Burn & Heal [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Indi Khera aka DJ Mantra is a dedicated and influential drum'n'bass & jungle DJ, who co-founded Rupture London with her partner Double O in 2006 as a club night for d'n'b, jungle & breakbeat vibes, and six years later founded the RuptureLDN label with the same ethos. Her own productions have only emerged recently, with all the rhythmic & tonal smarts you'd expect. Here she is debuting on Munich's iconic Ilian Tape, with four tracks running the gamut of breaks up to and including fluid, complex jungle. Like the above two tracks, syncopation and bass pressure rule here. We live in truly opulent times for break-chopping junkies.

Lanark Artefax - Metallur [AD93/Bandcamp]
For someone so impactful, Scotland's Lanark Artefax has very few releases under his belt. "Touch Absence", from his 2017 EP back when AD93 was Whities, was ubiquitous at the time, with its crackling electro breaks, gorgeous pads, and that swooping bassline. After a Björk remix, Corra Linn followed in 2019, pushing into distinctly more deconstructed club territories, with phenomenal sound design, but clocking in at under a quarter of an hour. Other than the Glasz EP also from 2016, and a live recording, that's all we've had until Metallur, out now from AD93. 25 minutes of mind-blowing sound design, mutated vocals and mutilated beats - new Lanark could not fail to be as brilliant as this.

sideproject - weight [SVBKVLT]
Like me, you may have first heard of Icelandic trio sideproject via a surprise remix of Björk at the end of 2022. The intricate idm and organic crunch are, to be honest, vintage Björk and it's no surprise that they're from Iceland. Up until now, there are only a grab-bag of self-releases on their Bandcamp - technically via the Icelandic collective post-dreifing - including the big hard-disk dump sandinista release party / ætla fara godmode from 2019, which you'll thank me for pointing you at for sure. Anyway, the broadminded Shanghai/not-Shanghai SVBKVLT have signed them on for a limited 12" & digital album sourcepond, and first single "weight" is the skittery madness we didn't know we needed for May, 2024.

Hanz - Rainslick [Brandon Juhans Bandcamp]
The name Hanz should be familiar to followers of the much-missed Tri-Angle Records (and this show), for jittery constructions of samples clustered into double-speed rhythms that were never so much jungle as sped-up hip-hop on caffeine, alien footwork, rhythmic glitch. He's mostly released music under his own name, Brandon Juhans, more recently, but returns as Hanz for Note From The Editor. The amphetamine-funk is still there, but also stuff like this, the disorienting comedown. Juhans still manipulates samples in ways most others would discard. More fool them.

Musique Infinie - Voices Nobody Hears [-OUS/Bandcamp]
Noémi Büchi - Infernal Stability [-OUS/Bandcamp]
I can see when Noémi Büchi released Matter in 2022 I really enjoyed it, but somehow last year I missed playing her duo Musique Infinie with fellow Swiss experimental artist Feldermelder aka Manuel Oberholzer. Now that Büchi is following up Matter with Does It Still Matter, I've revisited Musique Infinie's debut I and found it well deserving of an outing. Released on the experimental electronic label -OUS that Oberholzer co-founded with Nik Schärer, these album share the dynamic and expressive range that Büchi imparts in her electronics, inspired by a love of classical orchestration, frequently spun into mutating shapes of experimental beats. Büchi's new album follows on from Matter in its sound, but in asking "Does It Still Matter?" it positions the tension between classical maximalism and electronic experimentalism as a question for artists in the face of a world tumbling towards calamity, although Büchi's answer seems resoundingly in the positive.

Renato Grieco & Rebecca Moccia - II. The parliament: the shrinking of my world [Paint it Black/CRIPTA747/kNN Bandcamp]
Renato Grieco & Rebecca Moccia - IV. The Cliff: cold as ice, clear as glass [Paint it Black/CRIPTA747/kNN Bandcamp]
Both hailing from Napoli (Naples) in southern Italy, sound-artist Renato Grieco and transdisciplinary artist Rebecca Moccia have collaborated on Ministry of Loneliness, a work that followed Moccia's travels through UK, Canada and Japan researching the way that neoliberal bureaucratic structures shape particular kinds of political and personal decision-making that in turn produce a culture of separation, of loneliness. The recording, released via Turin publisher Paint it Black along with cultural centre CRIPTA747 as a limited single-side picture disc, is part of Moccia's broader work on loneliness, and is presented as a single work called Ministry of Loneliness Theme. But it's split into five parts in digital form, so we've taken two sections tonight which bring us words read by Sara Lazzaro and Grieco's emotive music that blends composition and electronics, with plangent synth pads, fragments of field recordings and glitchy textures, which have been further degraded by recording them on to tape that has then been buried in the dirt. And there is an earthy feel to this music, not quite at the Disintegration Loops stage but still hauntologically touched.

Harvestman - Psilosynth (Harvest Dub) [Neurot Recordings/Bandcamp]
If you don't follow the metal scene much, you might not know the significance of Neurosis, a pivotal band in post-metal that started as hardcore punk but morphed into an expansive sound drawing from postrock, industrial, hardcore, doom and experimental music of all sorts. The band also had an alter ego called Tribes of Neurot that wasn't metal at all, allowing them to explore drone, sound-art, glitch, noise and more. There's a problem with Neurosis: in 2022 it was revealed that Scott Kelly, one of the band's vocalists, had been emotionally and physically abusing his wife and children, over many years. The rest of the band had known earlier, and expelled him from the band in 2019, but his wife had asked for privacy until Kelly himself went public in 2022. There's no doubt this colours Neurosis's entire career and for many it's hard to listen to the band at all anymore. But it's unfair for Kelly's manipulativeness to reflect on the other members of the band (see their exemplary statement after Kelly's revelations), and in particular the band's other singer/guitarist Steve Von Till has a solo output of widescreen, psychedelic folk music - oh, and he's also an elementary school teacher in rural North Idaho. But "Steve Von Till" also has an alter ego, Harvestman, an instrumental project for abstracted psych folk guitar works, and much more. So that takes us to the latest Harvestman album, released on the band's own fantastic independent label Neurot Recordings. Triptych: Part One is the first of three records this year released on special full moons - this came out with the Pink Moon on April 23rd. The album uses synths, loops, filters, delays, weird percussion and more as well as guitar - and bass is paramount, with the legendary Al Cisneros of stoner metal bands Sleep and Om lending dub weight to the opening track, which is deconstructed on the b-side as "Psilosynth (Harvest Dub)". This is a project concerned with ancient history and geological time, exploring humanity's connection with - and disconnection from - nature on a grand scale. The following two full moon releases can't come soon enough.

Locrian - Black Prisims Of Our Dead Age [Profound Lore Records/Bandcamp]
Another important act at the periphery of metal here, Chicago trio Locrian was formed by André Foisy and Terence Hannum with influences from black metal but a basis in drone and noise. Their more abstract and electronic works contrast with albums of, well, whatever you might call it: black metal, doom metal, post-metal, industrial metal. It's all there, and only sometimes with black metal's screams and doom/hardcore's growls. And also essential for most of the band's existence is drummer Steven Hess, who we heard only last week in postrock/glitch trio Innode, and who also connects the band to minimalist improv and experimental music (see also his subtle contributions to the magical debut album of the Labradford/Pan American-related Anjou). Locrian's latest, End Terrain, is certainly metal, with industrial and electronic elements, and looks to deep time in the opposite direction from Harvestman. This is an album about the time after the end, a planet consumed by humanity's waste. Anger and aggression is tempered by a sense of regret and mourning. It's quite a ride, fuelled by Terence Hannum's visions of the apocalypse, which is fleshed out in the short story collection OUR DEAD AGE, found as a bonus PDF with the album and also available as a set of readings on a limited cassette. Intense and evocative stuff.

Lachlan R. Dale - Forms disassemble (feat. Peter Hollo) [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
Lachlan R. Dale - Flowing ceaselessly through the air (feat. Helen Svoboda, Brendan Clark) [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
An Eora/Sydney connection to metal here via Art As Catharsis boss and Hashshashin member Lachlan R. Dale. Now, Lachlan's my good friend, and Art As Catharsis released my solo album back in 2017 - and we now play together in an almost-metal band, Black Aleph. But Lachlan's new album Shrines has been in progress for some years, well before Black Aleph existed. The album is essentially an ambient affair, and Lachlan name-checks Loscil, Fennesz, and Rafael Anton Irisarri as influences. Also integral to the sound are collaborators, one or two on each track, who responded to some initial loops by Lachlan, and whose contributions then were edited back into these final works. So yeah, there I am playing cello on our first piece tonight - layer upon layer of overdubs recorded some 4 years ago. That clanging guitar loop is imprinted on my brain and I find this music electrifying now, so I've gotten to insert myself into my playlist. There are many highlights, but tonight I also played a track with both Naarm/Melbourne double bassist Helen Svoboda and electric bassist Brendan Clark, who lives on Tugagal land in Sydney's west. The combination of bass instruments is unusual, but in this case Clark's melodic walking bassline sits under Dale's icy drones, while Svoboda's double bass is heard playing a drawn-out, sliding melody in high stopped harmonics. It's gorgeous.

Erik Griswold, Chloe Kim, Helen Svoboda - Tremble part 2 [Earshift/Bandcamp]
Erik Griswold, Chloe Kim, Helen Svoboda - Rock song [Earshift/Bandcamp]
We get to hear Helen Svoboda some more on the last 2 tracks this evening, from Anatomical Heart, a wonderful acoustic project formed of three artists from the three major cities on Australia's east coast: Svoboda from Naarm/Melbourne, brilliant Korean-Australian drummer Chloe Kim representing Eora/Sydney, and the restlessly creative prepared piano master Erik Griswold from Meanjin/Brisbane. The album was recorded during a residency at Harrigans Lane in rural southern Queensland. This very organic music encompasses many styles, from jazz romps to percussive and rhythmic studies to free, rippling melody. Each musician is incredibly versatile and highly sensitive, and hopefully there'll be much more from this intuitive formation.

Listen again — ~200MB

Sunday, 21st of April, 2024

Playlist 21.04.24 (11:00 pm)

Another week filled with everything from warped pop to complex beats, granular sound destruction to delicate acoustic recordings.

LISTEN AGAIN and take notes this time (just kidding, the notes are all here)! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast right here.

claire rousay - 4pm [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
claire rousay - it could be anything [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
When I first heard of claire rousay, she was described as a "percussionist", and that's something I've had to unravel from my brain over the intervening years, as her music has tended to be brilliant minimalist constructions of slice-of-life conversations, found-sound and field recordings, and unexpected arrangements of classical instruments and electronics. But she was indeed a drummer in math rock and punk bands either before, during or after leaving the Evangelical Christian systems she grew up in. The first claire rousay recordings date from 2019, when she came out as transgender. There is (free jazz style) percussion, but as much silence as playing. It's not long until she's making artfully constructed collages of field recordings, ambient soundscapes, and words - words that would be heard via primitive text-to-speech programs, and later sung through harshly-set autotune. There's always been a confessional nature to these words, touching on mental health, sex and gender among other things, but at a careful remove. Even so, the text that begins the album ("4pm"), read by fellow sound-artist Theodore Cale Schafer is particularly wrenching - and it's immediately interrupted by a growing drone, that itself then morphs into the first song on the album. And yes, sentiment is an album of songs, sung through that autotune, accompanied by mournful major-key guitar, various strings and other instruments. There are strong vibes of Dntel circa Life Is Full Of Possibilities to me, which is totally welcome. Touching stuff, rightly being heralded as the next breakthrough for rousay.

BIG|BRAVE - chanson pour mon ombre [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
BIG|BRAVE - quotidian : solemnity [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Also out this week on Thrill Jockey is the incredible, perhaps career best, new album A Chaos Of Flowers from Canada's BIG|BRAVE. Through the last few albums, vocalist & guitarist Robin Wattie has harnessed the words of others to express herself through BIG|BRAVE's music - from the poetry of Alexander Cree speaking of being mixed race to the repurposed folks songs on their collaboration with the body - and here she's drawing from the poetry of women, remarking that most well-known folk and traditional poetry is written by men. So "chanson pour mon ombre" (song for my shadow) is by 19th century poet Renée Vivien. Musically the folk turn of the body collaboration and to some extent also heard in last year's Nature Morte is even more emphasised here, offset by the crushing heaviness Seth Manchester of Machines With Magnets always provides. Like the last albums of the beloved Low, the juxtaposition of Wattie's emotive voice, the folky sweetness and the enveloping storms of distortion has a deep emotional impact. Tremendous.

Alex Sopp - Bougainvillea [New Amsterdam Records/Bandcamp]
New York's yMusic Ensemble are a classical chamber group who've collaborated across the spectrum with pop & indie artists like Ben Folds and My Brightest Diamond, and commissioned & performed works by many contemporary composers as well as the likes of MBD's Shara Nova, and Sufjan Stevens. They also perform music they've composed themselves, and so the prospect of one member's solo album - Alex Sopp is yMusic's flautist - is intriguing. Sopp sings as well as playing flutes, whistles and keyboards, and the album is co-produced by Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman. Sopp's songwriting style is strongly heard through songs that vary from more electronic to more classically orchestrated - occasionally sounding a little "Broadway musical", but also the baroque indie style of Sufjan or Shara, and especially Julia Holter. These are enjoyable songs enhanced by creative arrangements and production.

Amatorski - Welcome [Crammed Discs/Bandcamp]
Inne Eysermans, founder and multi-instrumentalist behind Belgian band Amatorski, if affected by unilateral deafness, meaning that she's never been able to experience sound in stereo. After a few years' break, her band is back with a collection of great songs, Curves and Bends, Things Veer, and this time round Eysermans decided to lean into her own experience, and mix the album in mono. For this she worked with the brilliant Yves de Mey, and they produced something that sounds rich even with the reduced soundstage (for two-eared normies at least!) Lyrically the songs the dance around ideas from ecological philosopher Timother Morton, ideas about the relationship between humans and nature and technology, and the band mix field recordings in amongst the instrumentation. There's something refreshingly new about the approach taken here.

Travis Cook - empowering bright futures [Travis Cook Bandcamp]
Now that Travis Cook and Marcus Whale have brought the Collarbones era to a close, these occasional single tracks that Travis puts up on his Bandcamp are the only way we'll hear new music from him (I think!) for now. This one's quite dark, with some beats that clatter and skip almost like jungle but not quite...

µ-Ziq - Hyper Daddy (Single Mix) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Sometime last week I noticed Mike Paradinas foreshadowing something on Instagram. Maybe I hadn't been paying attention, or maybe the new µ-Ziq did creep up on us with little warning. I note that in a Planet µ email from March it's listed in the forthcoming section, but not before then. First single is "Hyper Daddy", which adapts some themes from 2022's "Uncle Daddy" from Magic Pony Ride into something more like a footwork-jungle hybrid. Mike's been thinking about the IDM of the '90s (and how nobody liked the term), and is reconstructing it from the ground up with the melodic nature of the music he & his cohorts made back then, but taking in dance styles from then through to contemporary times. Look, it's gonna be rad, count the days till June 14th!

Jesta - Liquor Snurf [Straight Up Breakbeat/Bandcamp]
The folks at Finnish drum'n'bass label Straight Up Breakbeat are always putting together new compilation series, and the latest is States of Art, four 12"s and then an extended digital compilation. For the first vinyl EP States of Art I I was instantly grabbed by the pre-release single from Jesta, one half of course of Gremlinz & Jesta. Punchy jungle-informed d'n'b, or is it the other way round? Dancefloor killa.

Yraki - Percolate [Early Reflex]
Mariano Sibilia is London-based, but was born in Italy, so it's nice to see his latest EP as Yraki coming out from Turin's Early Reflex label. And his deconstructed club sounds really suit the label, referencing grime and dubstep as well as techno, always with the bass weight. The title track starts with repetitive 4/4 drum machine beats, with a nicely reverbed synth-shriek, but then the kicks stutter and the closed hi-hats shift out of time, before a syncopated sub-bass re-grounds us. What's nice about this music is that it never settles on one thing, shifting into a halftime groove that's almost hip-hop, then reasserting the 4/4, then somewhere else.

3Phaz - Reset [CEE/Bandcamp]
One of Egypt's finest electronic producers, the apparently anonymous 3Phaz, appears here on Primary Forest 02, a compilation from the online-only Lapsus sublabel CEE. The Barcelona-based label seeks to interrogate the relationship between technology, nature, and art. This second Primary Forest comp has a well-curated group of artists from Egypt, UK, Spain and Italy, all working non-Eurocentric percussive and musical elements into their post-club forms. As usual, 3Phaz's track is dizzying.

Franck Vigroux - Jolin [Aesthetical]
Back on his own label Aesthetical after his second outing on raster-media, French electronic producer Franck Vigroux is in fine familiar form. Synths both analogue and digital course through the album, often surging into industrial beats.

Innode - Air Liquide [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
From France to Austria, where Editions Mego was based, under the loving leadership of Peter Rehberg until his untimely death in 2021. Innode are a trio that certainly reside in the radius of Mego's influence: glitchy textures joined with postrock/krautrock momentum with synths rather than rock instruments. On drums is the great Steven Hess, a central member not only of black metal/drone/noise band Locrian but also minimalist electro-acoustic trio Haptic. Stefan Németh is best known as a member of the wonderful Radian whose music is probably the closest to what we find herein. And finally Bernhard Breuer, member of live techno band Elektro Guzzi and various rock and improv outfits. I really loved Innode's second album Syn, which came out on Editions Mego in 2021, and grain is similarly inclined, based around rhythms both glitchy and organic, created by layering different takes from the musicians on drums, percussion and electronics, and all held together with judicious synth work. If you like the postrock of Tortoise and their ilk, or moreso the European style from Kammerflimmer Kollektief, Radian, Trapist and so on, this should scratch that itch very comfortably.

Tim Koch - Shudder ROM (Shudder to Think Adrien75 Mix) [Tim Koch Bandcamp]
In July 2020, Adelaide's Tim Koch released Scordatura, the album that, more than any other, launched him from his IDM roots into new territories, with granular processing to the fore, of acoustic or electric instruments at least as much as purely electronic sound sources. It's a great album, that was (maybe still is?) available in a multitude of formats. Some years later he's bringing those works to our ears through the lens of various of his mates (not including me. I was just too slow. Sorry). It's all great, mostly of a piece with the original album. Another old IDM hand, Adrien75, preserves the glitchiness but corrals it into something resembling broken beats. Nhulunbuy, Arnhem Land-based Kris Keogh responded with his style of granular ambience, which he turned to some years back after his beginnings in breakcore, and of many other highlights I can recommend those of NZ's Jet Jaguar and Osaka-based Onkonomiyaki Labs (Ian Masters of Pale Saints, and more recently Tim's experimental electronic pop project Isolated Gate).

Xani - Unknown Area [Xani Bandcamp]
Since last year's An Inaccurate History of Electronic Dance Music, Naarm/Melbourne violinist Xani Kolac has been trickling out bits of her experimental pop & violin looping on her Bandcamp. Out now is a pair of tracks: Keep Moving/Unknown Area which showcase both of these. While her solo act mostly really is her absolutely solo, triggering electronic parts with her feet as well as looping her instrument and singing, here she's joined by drummer Justin Olsson, which immediately recalls her rock/folk/indie duo The Twoks from something like a decade ago, then with drummer Mike Leahy. The first track is a song about having too, well, keep moving even when the world is making you want to hide under a blanket (my interpretation). But the 8-minute second track is an instrumental improvisation that shows what Xani can do with her violin and live sampler/looper, with Olsson helping to propel it in a krautrocky way.

Laurent Pernice - La décision d'un homme [ADN/Bandcamp]
Laurent Pernice - Une fine poussière le recouvrait [ADN/Bandcamp]
Coming out of France's industrial scene in the '80s, Laurent Pernice has taken a number of left turns in his career, into ambient and techno, then quasi-jazz collages from which he has integrated more acoustic sounds, ending up with works composed for the stage, in collaboration with various musicians. On Antigone, written to accompany a setting of Sophocles' play by Anima Motrix, he's worked with violist Violaine Sultan to coax many sounds out of her viola, set in amongst delays and reverbs, as well as some lovely melodic passages accompanied by his basses or harp and zither - appropriately for an adaptation of an Ancient Greek play. Many of the tracks are short cues, but even they hold plenty of listening pleasure, and the album flows well without the theatrical and spoken elements.

Seabuckthorn - Serre Long [quiet details/Bandcamp]
Seabuckthorn - Sage Word [quiet details/Bandcamp]
From the beginning, English musician Andy Cartwright's music as Seabuckthorn has held a tension between his masterful folk guitar fingerpicking and his interest in extended approaches like bowed guitar and e-bows, shoegazey textures and field recordings. On this warm, this late, released by quiet details, all these elements are present along with previous collaborator Phil Cassel's double bass and trombone, which add an "ensemble" feel. It's not that Cartwright's very personal studio creations aren't wonderful, but there's something to be said for two musicians playing together.

J. Campbell - Parade At The Moorings [Nice Music/Bandcamp]
Newcastle musician Jason Campbell is best known for his uneasy industrial ambient as Stitched Vision and his industrial techno as Collector, but as "J. Campbell" he builds narrative works out of field recordings, industrial electronics and acoustic instruments such as piano. Erosion of Memory, released by iconic Naarm label Nice Music, reflects on family and the (post-)industrial lanscape of Newcastle. It's quite deeply affecting.

asher tuil - Opus VII [Room40/Bandcamp]
The latest album on Room40 (of many) from the resolutely lower-case asher tuil is a 75-minute work divided into 10 sections. All the music is made from three main elements: rhythmic sounds made from filtered noise, field recordings from his surrounds in Providence, Rhode Island, and a sequence of synth harmonies. As the full Opus unfolds, a sonic environment is revealed, sometimes more rhythmic, sometimes floating, while real-world sounds interject. The emergence of the passing truck or plane near the end of "Opus VII" demonstrates the artfulness with which tuil combines these elements, in a work that never gets boring in its hour and a quarter length.

Laurén Maria - Forms Emerge Anew and [The Collection Artaud]
Yu Miyashita's label The Collection Artaud is primarily an outlet for his own glitched electronica under his own name or as Yaporigami, but occasionally like-minded artists are hosted too. Here fellow Berlin resident Laurén Maria gives us two tracks of seemingly abstract electronics that hide within them processed voice and deconstructed club sounds. They're mastered by Miyashita and represent the high quality production of his label.

Langham Research Centre - Nachholbedürfnis (Beatriz Ferreyra Remix) [nonclassical/Bandcamp]
The idea of formidable musique concrète/acousmatic composer Beatriz Ferreyra doing a "remix" is both wonderfully bizarre and also not that far-fetched. At 87 years old, Ferreyra is not only being re-released and collected by various contemporary labels including Meanjin's Room40 but also still making music - and of course her music has always been about manipulating sounds. If she is to do a remix, who better than Langham Research Centre, the UK quartet who use original techniques and technology of those concrète pioneers, including several ¼" tape machines. Their Tape Works, Vol. 2 came out in 2021 from Nonclassical, four years after Vol. 1 - and Vol. 1 was remixed in 2018 by Jim O'Rourke and group A. It took a little longer this time, but now we have the two reworks here (the other is by modular synth maven Kara-Lis Coverdale). Of course Ferreyra's rework is no less astract than the original material, but full of colour and movement.

Olivia Block - Violet-Green [Black Truffle/Bandcamp]
Chicago sound-artist and composer Olivia Block has, since the late '90s, comfortably straddled the linkes between musique concrète, noise, and contemporary composition. Block has often been able to bring poignant emotion to her electroacoustic constructions, albeit in a different way from the deeply personal work of claire rousay with which we started tonight's show. But The Mountains Pass, her new album and first on Oren Ambarchi's Black Truffle, takes her work into the unfamiliar territory of song, incorporating Block's voice and lyrics for the first time, along with drums from the great Jon Mueller. Naturally, these songs are nevertheless somewhat abstracted, fragmentary things, appearing out of long electro-acoustic passages, where Block sings of endangered wolves and mysterious bird die-offs among cut-up piano, droning organs and trumpet. This is a stunning, beautiful album that you owe it to yourself to explore in full.

Listen again — ~209MB

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