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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.

Wednesday, 22nd of March, 2023

Playlist 19.03.23 (11:40 pm)

Industrial metal/hip-hop/jungle crossovers, mutant beats, lysergic dub, psychedelic electronic pop... Got you covered.

LISTENing AGAIN is your privilege and pleasure. FBi lets you stream on demand, or podcast here.

BRACT X BAYANG (tha Bushranger) - INTRO [Bract Bandcamp]
BRACT X BAYANG (tha Bushranger) - HOMESICK [Bract Bandcamp]
BRACT X BAYANG (tha Bushranger) - BLOODYFIST (ft. ZK King) [Bract Bandcamp]
Some 5 years ago or so I discovered an Eora/Sydney band called Coward Punch, making growling, throbbing industrial metal & noise, and sending all the profits of their EPs to Grandmothers Against Removal (debut) and Black Rainbow (follow-up). Those releases sat in my collection, but somehow I missed that the band renamed themselves BRACT, so when this phenomenal collaboration with Dharug/Western Sydney-based rapper BAYANG (tha Bushranger) came out, it took me a minute to make the connection. Anyway, BAYANG has clear delivery and hella flow (check this drum'n'bass-laden track produced by Kuya Neil), and hearing him over these chugging industrial rhythms and murky textures is a strange thrill. The artists see it as a musical representation of the often-hellish melting-pot that is Sydney, a place where (thankfully) punk, noise, hip-hop and club sounds rub freely up against each other - something I'm convinced we can at least to some degree thank FBi Radio and its various music directors for. In any case, this is a no-holds-barred, vicious, scungey piece of filth - although there are moments of light, like the vocal from ZK King (aka Jamie Marina Lau).

Mutant Joe - 87 Yams ft. Apoc Krysis [Steel City Dance Discs/Bandcamp]
Mutant Joe - Collapse [Steel City Dance Discs/Bandcamp]
Originally from Meanjin/Brisbane, now based in Berlin, Mutant Joe is truly a purveyor of mutant beats, and he'll mutate any beat as long as it's got strong bass and syncopation, so it seems to these ears. Thus on Collapse, his new EP for Steel City Dance Discs (themselves originally from Mulubinba/Newcastle and now based in the hellscape of London), we've got hard drum and dancehall-influenced techno, heavy on the bass, with rappers from the US & UK - and yes, the final instrumental track is an anxious drum'n'bass banger.

Bandish Projekt - Shyam feat. Isha Nair [Bheja Fry Records]
Drum'n'bass is one of the genres that feeds into the hybrid musical spaces of Bandish Projekt. At times it's been a trio, but now it's back to Mayur Narvekar with collaborators. On "Shyam", Isha Nair sings a bandish in Raag Puriya Dhanashri. This is good as any example of what Narvekar is doing with Bandish Projekt - combining beautifully performed Indian classical melodies with Western beats. There's a long tradition of fusion of this sort by South Asian musicians, and I'm always excited to hear something new from Bandish Projekt, especially as we're only getting one or two tracks a year these days.

Pugilist & Tamen - Synesthesia [Dext Recs/Bandcamp]
Both Pugilist & Tamen are based in Naarm/Melbourne at the moment: Alex Dickson moved there from NZ, and Luke O'Higgins spent some time as a jungle DJ and promoter in Barcelona before coming to Oz. Pugilist has been making world-class music from dubstep through bass/breaks-infused techno to jungle/drum'n'bass since his New Zealand Days. The Lithium EP is the latest junglist monster from the duo... or is it? It's certainly junglish, all the way through, but it opens with a techno/breaks hybrid that's like a harcore jungle tekno track from the very early '90s updated for modern ears. And track 2, which we heard tonight, is a deep, moody 160bpm burner, that sweet spot where dubstep/dancehall bass interacts with jungle breaks. On the flip, Tim Reaper and Dwarde take the title track up a gear into jungle territory, and the EP ends with more hardcore/jungle tekno biz.

Law - All Styles [RuptureLDN/Bandcamp]
From just north of London, Repertoire boss Law (who coincidentally released Pugilist & Tamen's first EP) joins RuptureLDN with an EP perfectly suited for their love of cutting-edge jungle. Each track slices & dices beats in different ways, whether hinting at tech-step's one/two rhythms, or blasting full breaks - but oh, the lovely percussive intro on the opener, and that bass drop at 1:10! Gorrrrrgeous.

Antagonist - Observe [R&S Records/Bandcamp]
Manchester drum'n'bass producer Mike aka Antagonist goes deep on his debut for R&S Records, the Rites EP. No question the drum'n'bass roots are present here, but there's a widescreen cinematic feel, and I love the cymbal-smashing live drum loop sitting at the centre of the beats on "Observe".

The Blood Of Heroes - Salute to the Jugger [Ohm Resistance]
The Blood of Heroes - New Orleans [Ohm Resistance]
Submerged - Inexorable [Ohm Resistance]
The Blood of Heroes - Lower Atlantis [Ohm Resistance]
Kurt Gluck's Ohm Resistance label has provided consistent fodder for Utility Fog basically since the start. In the early-to-mid 2000s, breakcore was a big part of the show's genetics; a little later there was dubstep, and industrial influences have always been favoured too. Gluck's own music manifests in solo form as Submerged (it was very briefly a duo at the start), with tough, heavy drum'n'bass that's moved with the times and has room for other heavy musics like metal guitars and industrial textures, and at times some respite from the storm. Submerged re-emerged last month with FURY, an intense & angry album over 2 CDs with clever rhythm-work and sonic detail that initially masquerades as a relentless tumult of beats and distortion. The second CD holds something magic though, with a 20-minute and a 12-minute track which cast the net wide, capturing classical samples and almost-calm sorrowfulness as well as further bouts of FURY.
But this is not Gluck's only release for 2023. Just out this coming week is the new album from the brilliant The Blood Of Heroes, a supergroup of sorts that began in 2010 with an album featuring Bill Laswell on bass (a frequent collaborator with Submerged on many of his own fusions of jazz & other genres with drum'n'bass), the ever-great UFog favourite Justin K Broadrick on guitar, Enduser providing beats & textures alongside Gluck, and Dr Israel on vocals (there are more but that's the core). Dr Israel's lyrics base themselves around the rich post-apocalyptic world of the Australian-American cult movie The Salute of the Jugger (released in the United States as, yes, The Blood of Heroes), which featured not only Rutger Hauer, but also Joan Chen & Vincent D'Onofrio among others - oh, and it was written & directed by David Webb Peoples, co-writer of Blade Runner and later co-creator of 12 Monkeys. If you're choosing a film to immerse your industrial metal/breakcore/dub supergroup in, you probably couldn't choose better - but really, the self-titled debut of this group easily transcends the "supergroup" concept as well as its Mad Max-ish setting with the evocative thrums and thrashes of Broadrick's guitar (somewhere between Godflesh and Jesu), Laswell's bass grounding, the dub/dubstep/drum'n'bass beats rising and falling (along with Balázs Pándi's live drums on a few tracks)... and Dr Israel's righteous delivery. There was a second album from the collective in 2003 and then it seemed to be over... yet here we are in 2023, gifted with Nine Cities, once again with Broadrick's guitars, Dr Israel's further vocal riffs on the movie's setting, both Submerged and Enduser along with Mick Harris (Scorn), Fear Factory's Burton C Bell, and many others. Again it's that kind of massive collaboration that suggests overblown overreach, but thanks to Gluck & co's good judgement, it's just another collection of great songs merging these very sympathetic genres together. Long may they reign!

Moderat - FAST LAND (The Bug's Kevin Richard Martin Remix) [Monkeytown Records/Bandcamp]
Moderat - UNDO REDO (ZULI Remix) [Monkeytown Records/Bandcamp]
I slightly lost track of Moderat, the collaboration between the Modeselektor duo and Sascha Ring aka Apparat, but when any of these folks compile a remix album you'd better pay attention. EVEN MORE D4TA does the business, easily. There are TWO remixes from The Bug - one in the style of his G36 collaboration with Gorgonn, and one in more expansive "Kevin Richard Martin" style. There's good female representation, with Sydney's Logic 1000, yeule & Kin Leonn, Marie Davidson and SHERELLE all present. There's something murky & ambient from Bristol's Batu, French dancehall-mutator Sylvere, South African gqom pioneer DJ Lag, and then there's Cairo's brilliant ZULI, who here creates something absolutely manic, building from weirdly overlaid vocal snippets into a deconstructed footwork monster.

Kemperton - Jeopardizer Dubwav [raghoul/Bandcamp]
Archidi - Vº]V[ºV [raghoul/Bandcamp]
I said last week that the compilation Crocodile Tears in a Reptilian World from the Morocco/Netherlands label raghoul was brilliant - almost every track warrants airplay over here. So, here are two more tracks, both from Moroccan artists based in Casablanca. Both bring the bass ("raghoul") in uncompromising fashion. Kemperton's sub bass throbs under a trip-hop-style beat, wobbling synth delays and processed howls, while Archidi's overdriven glitching drum machines grow out of distorted timestretched vocal samples.

Lårry - Angela's Knife [BRUK/Bandcamp]
Who is Lårry? They're a Berlin-based artist working in the interstices of techno, IDM and contempoorary jungle, with releases on various influential European labels and now landing on soundsystem-obsessed BRUK, one of a number of labels connected with Low End Activist. The bruk is strong on the four sparse & spooky tracks on Lårry's How Was That For You, with super-tweaked amen breaks rattling in & out of techno, dancehall & dubstep hybrids, finally landing on something properly drum'n'bass-like by track 4.

Morwell - In the Dark [Morwell Bandcamp (forthcoming)]
Once again Max Morwell has graced us with a sneak peek at his next release, in this case an EP called In the Dark which will be up on his Bandcamp next week I believe. It is somewhat on the dark side, with lopsided beats and short-cut vocal samples - oh, but then the third track "Because of You" has sweet dancehall vocal samples and judicious bass drops throughout - keep your eyes out for the whole EP!

Tadleeh - The Unexpected [YOUTH]
Manchester's iconoclastic YOUTH label is run by DJ Andrew Lyster in gregarious fashion, with bass at its heart, but everything from ambient to postpunk to weirdfolk allowed entry if Lyster favours it. Their third compilation, Sports 3 has just come out on CD & digital, and showcases this proudly leftfield range, with contributors far beyond Manchester's sprawl. Indian-born Milan-based Hazina Francia aka Tadleeh brings bass swoops and spooky keys for her entry, while the mysterious and cheekily-named HR FOR DRUG DEALERS take jazzy keys and bury them in wub-wubbing sub-bass and a glitched-out beat.

Keplrr x Human Resources - Spring [Pressure Dome]
Bristol label Pressure Dome celebrate collaboration with their Two [Is Great Than] One compilation, teaming label mainstays up with some great external producers. You've got syncopated bass techno master Delay Grounds and sound-art/beatsmith Wordcolour, and throughout there are unconventional re-settings of jungle, like the collab here between London's Keplrr and Bristol's Human Resources, fracturing its pleasant static synth loops and dancehall-techno headnoddery with raging break-choppery.

Isolated Gate - Mankind Will Disappear [Darla/Bandcamp]
Isolated Gate - As the Great Brain Pulsates [Darla/Bandcamp]
The team-up of Adelaide's post-IDM auteur Tim Koch and angelic-voiced shoegaze-legend Ian Masters, once of 4AD's Pale Saints, seemed at first like a strangely unexpected phenomenon, but Koch's sweeping granular constructions and Masters' instinct for melody fit together like your favourite combo of things that go together, you know the one. Although there have been a couple of excellent EP/mini-album thingies already, the weird & wonderful US label Darla have now brought us the debut album proper, Universe in Reverse. Full disclosure: the first selection tonight features layers of cello constructed from recordings I made with Tim on a visit just as things were opening up last year. I take no credit, though, for the wonderful music they're weaved into. This is psychedelic, swirling, throbbing, crunching experimental electronic pop of the highest order. There will be vinyl & CD coming soon, but grab the digital on Bandcamp now, or stream it if you fucking insist. Geez.

Listen again — ~214MB

Sunday, 12th of March, 2023

Playlist 12.03.23 (11:00 pm)

Sound-art and beats, it's the Utility Fog way.

LISTEN AGAIN and hear that sound. Dance, dance! Stream it on demand via FBi, podcast it here.

Lia Kohl - the moment a zipper [American Dreams/Bandcamp]
Lia Kohl - or things maybe dropping [American Dreams/Bandcamp]
It was a pleasure to discover the music of Chicago-based cellist, sound-artist and performer last year with her debut album Too Small to be a Plain, released through Matt Mehlan's Shinkoyo/Artist Pool. The wonderful American Dreams have picked up Kohl's follow-up, The Ceiling Reposes, another stunner. Again, Kohl incorporates radios scanned across the frequency band, stopping briefly for interesting sounds (whether spoken or even musical), crackling in the background of tracks otherwise constructed from layers of cello, keyboards, voice, percussion and more. Like the best of the fabled Books, found sounds, field recordings and these fuzzy radio broadcasts are folded into Kohl's compositions, making a musical whole which sounds organic, natural, at times chaotic, but is meticulously constructed - and all the more beautiful for it. Kohl's art emcompasses these recorded compositions, creative and humourous performance pieces, jazz ensemble playing and string orchestration and more (see credits here), but deserves wide recognition for the quietly radical invention of her solo work.

Accelera Deck - Keep [Accelera Deck Bandcamp]
Back in 2020, I featured a chunk of the archival material compiled by Chris Jeely from works released through '98 to about '06 as Accelera Deck and myriad other aliases, before he paused operations for some time. Since then, new work continues from time to time, and his latest EP Keep looks back 25 years to his debut album Narcotic Beats, repurposing material from the time into four tracks, as usual merging shoegazey guitar textures with dubby and drum'n'bassy beats.

Glamour Lakes - The Extinct Volcano Does Not Dominate The Town [Glamour Lakes Bandcamp]
Adelaide musician Glamour Lakes has been slipping out a few singles since the start of the year from an upcoming album to be called Native Coils. It's a departure from recent disquieting ambient, heading into electro-pop territory, but like the last single, it's underpinned by clattering amen breaks. Fun (and a rad title).

the little hand of the faithful - You're in the streets [Mound of Sound/Bandcamp]
the little hand of the faithful - Living by the last pass [Mound of Sound/Bandcamp]
I don't know how Mitch Jones continues to make so much creative music so regularly still, over 40 years after the founding of Scattered Order and the M Squared label in grimey inner-city Sydney. Now based in Katoomba with his wife, artist & musician Drusilla Johnson-Jones (who is thanked here for her inspiration), Mitch's solo efforts now come under the alias of a small stuffed bear named the little hand of the faithful. Grid is Good expresses love for the good old grid that anyone who's used a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is deeply familiar with, and this perhaps explains something of his productivity - with four decades of working with sound in media from 2-inch tape with scissors through to primitive hardware samplers and to the present, the tools we have at our disposal on cheap laptops or even tablets remove much of the time-consuming side of music production, leaving an experienced master of his art to just pile in the sound sources, basslines and melodies. Jones is talented at keeping his beats adjacent to contemporary tendencies (in his own way), while inserting jagged postpunk guitars and at times his own buried vocals into what the label copy describes as "off kilter, wide screen pop". That is is, that it is.

Noise Diva - Crying For 6 Minutes In The Club Toilet [Raghoul/Bandcamp]
BLKM3TA - Drklight [Raghoul/Bandcamp]
Based between Morrocco and the Netherlands, the Raghoul label positions itself as a non-hierarchical space for musicians from North Africa and the Middle East to explore, in particular, bass music - indeed "raghoul" is a word from the language of the Amazigh (sometimes known as Berber, the indigenous people of the Maghreb) that roughly translates as "bass". The second release on the label is the compilation Crocodile Tears in a Reptilian World, and you owe it to yourself to grab this right now. Every track is quality, but for this week I chose two. Yara Said is an Amsterdam-based DJ, artist and producer working under the name Noise Diva, whose track "Crying For 6 Minutes In The Club Toilet" collages spurts of noise with Arabic singing and ambient sequenced synth lines for a distinctive take on chill-out. BLKM3TA are a trio of members from Barcelona-based collective Jokkoo, whose "Drklight" is a slow crescendo into tumbling amen breaks, massive sub-bass and what sounds like looping Arabic samples used Public Enemy-style. For anyone with any interest in where electronic music (beats, sound-art, noise) is at the moment, this is an absolutely vital collection of music.

KEITA SANO - Octa Wednesday Re-master [Keita Sano Bandcamp (no longer available)]
Japanese producer KEITA SANO, now based in Osaka after some years in Berlin, typically makes variants of house music, disco edits and so on, but has a very wide remit throughout his large archives, with Andy Stott-style tape-smudged techno, IDM, hip-hop and at times jungle - like this re-mastered track. Bewilderingly, a week after this went up on his Bandcamp, it's no longer there - just like a few of the tracks I featured in December last year. If you're interested in a creative, talented producer, I suggest following his Bandcamp and grabbing the occasional thing before he takes it away again :)

John Rolodex - Formless [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
In the early 2000s, John Knoll, a young Canadian DJ & drum'n'bass obsessive made a huge impression on the d'n'b scene under the name John Rolodex - see the brutal Dragon for instance. After some years' break, he returned in 2020, and now his Formless EP for Metalheadz isn't so much a return to form as a whole new chapter. While no less dark, there's a lightness of touch which allows for jazz elements, and on the title track a highly infectious take on drumfunk. A brilliant surprise for both Rolodex and Metalheadz.

Mantra - Victory Dance [Sneaker Social Club]
Indi Khera is a driving force in UK drum'n'bass & jungle, not just as DJ Mantra but also as the founder of Rupture London with her partner Double O - first as a club night and then a record label focusing on jungle & breaks-related styles within d'n'b. Still, it's taken some time for her debut EP to arrive. The Damaged EP is out through Sneaker Social Club, ranging from tense, sparse breaks to rolling, roaring amens. It's everything she & Double O nurture over at Rupture, and let's hope she has time to craft plenty more tunes in the near future.

Kloke & Tim Reaper - Foundation (Kloke VIP) [Future Retro London]
Jungle's busiest collaborator Tim Reaper has worked with Naarm/Melbourne producer Kloke on a few occasions now. Their "Foundation" was the first track on the very first Meeting of the Minds EP Reaper put out on his Future Retro label in 2020. New series *ahem* FRMOTMVIP (Future Retro Meeting Of The Minds VIP) sees various MOTM collaborators breaking out of the mind-meld, so to speak, with their own VIP mixes. It's actually really interesting hearing the individuals' takes on these joint productions, and the Aussie Kloke truly does us proud here, with tweaked breaks, lush synths and sweet, sweet sub bass, joined by Reese bass and finely chopped amens as the track progresses.

Rufige Kru - No Angels [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
Metalheadz began their 25 Years of Metalheadz series in 2021 (so actually 26 years after the beginning), but the imprint continues to roll out remastered classics and either unearthed classics or new tunes in classic style - so here is Goldie's Rufige Kru alias, here finding him working with James Davidson, one half of Ulterior Motive. "No Angels" in indeed classic-sounding, harkening back to when jungle was just going darker and tougher. Nice, nice stuff.

Noroi & VSC - Untitled Jungle [SPHERES/Rua Sound]
Galway, Ireland-based jungle/drum'n'bass label Rua Sound introduces their new sublabel SPHERES with the Adrastea EP from Rome-based DJ & producer Noroi aka Alessandro Diaz Espinoza, founder of events series & label Reveries. SPHERES is intended to allow Rua Sound to expand from their jungle focus, and two tracks here are slower breaks tracks, but in particular "Untitled Jungle" is a gorgeous piece of junglist beat-juggling with ambient synth pads and vocal samples, created with drum'n'bass DJ & fellow Roman VSC. You can discover more of Noroi's breaks-fusion tracks on the first Reveries compilation Double Phase.

AMIT - Trial Run [AMAR]
London-based visual artist & producer Amit Kamboj is closely associated with the half-time/halfstep hybrid of dubstep and drum'n'bass. He's released on many labels in the past including Exit Records, but his own AMAR Records is home to most of his music now - although it's been 3 years since his last releases. His new EP Trial Run / Burning the Retina gives us only two new tracks, but both are sumptuous specimens of his craft - thumping, rumbling bass at head-nodding tempo with skittering hi-hats, dubby slap-back delays and freaky synth chords.

Zoë Mc Pherson - Lamella [SFX/Bandcamp]
Zoë Mc Pherson - On Fire [SFX/Bandcamp]
French-Irish sound-artist Zoë Mc Pherson released their first album String Figures in 2018, with an album that grew out from their early experience with jazz drumming and Irish fiddle, with tracks formed around field recordings and musical recordings from around the world. The album also existed in audiovisual form in collaboration with multimedia artist & motion designer/director Alessandra Leone, and a couple of years later the pair founded their label SFX with Mc Pherson's second album States of Fugue, which features more of their (often processed) voice with complex percussion and sound-art. Now the artist's third album Pitch Blender has finally dropped, irrevocally influenced by the pandemic that changed the world within a month of the previous album's release. Here again are environmental recordings, Mc Pherson's voice and electronic backings, all thoroughly mutated, but here also are the most club-ready, drum'n'bass-influenced beats yet from Mc Pherson - "foley rave" as veteran label head & music journalist John Twells puts it in the press release. "Lamella" represents the most direct "song" Mc Pherson has released to date - there's a slightly extended instrumental version included too, but the vocals are a key part of this piece and the music in general. A very strong progression from an always ground-breaking artist.

Slikback - WARAU [Slikback Bandcamp]
Once again, Nairobi's greatest, Slikback, drops an EP on Bandcamp with no notice. H I K A R I is his usual combination of interests: bass, hard dance, distended samples, hints of trap, no small amount of noise.

Hannah Lee - Healing [Pronoia Souvenirs/Bandcamp]
Currently based in Mexico City, Hannah Lee is a music producer & DJ from LA with roots in Ecuador. Their third EP Transiciones is released by Mexican label Pronoia Souvenirs, featuring keyboard & electric organ textures, glitchy rhythms and processed percussion - somewhere between uneasy ambient and dub techno.

Carrier - Ten By Ten [The Trilogy Tapes/Bandcamp]
Carrier - Chlorine [The Trilogy Tapes/Bandcamp]
Guy Brewer has gone by many aliases over the last couple of decades, including as an early member of drum'n'bass act Commix, but his solo work tends to the dark & industrial. He's probably best known as Shifted, making minimal techno weapons aimed at cavernous Berlin club dancefloors or fizzing, atonal ambient that only occasionally brings in throbbing beats. In many was his latest alias, Carrier, is of a piece with the Shifted material, but it makes sense to separate it. On Lazy Mechanics, released by The Trilogy Tapes, there's ambient crackle and slow 4/4 beats, but by "Product Of Environment" we've got skittering cross-rhythms and syncopated bass that hints at an ascetic, modernised view of those early d'n'b days, while those skittery hi-hats are embedded in more of a dub techno space on "Ten By Ten" - a vibe also carried by the more sinister opener "Chlorine".

Tim Koch - Gambiér [Tim Koch Bandcamp]
All of a sudden, there's a new album from Adelaide's Tim Koch. He's mostly shed his IDM roots now: there are occasional crunchy beats, some beatless rhythms, occasional granular terror... "Gambiér", named for the city and actual mountain (with no accent, thanks Tim) near the western edge of South Australia. These are lovely, calm textures of what could be acoustic guitar, chopped and scattered and reversed. Skilful stuff.

Listen again — ~206MB

Sunday, 5th of March, 2023

Playlist 05.03.23 (11:00 pm)

There is too much music. Something must be done. But while nobody is doing anything about it, I will continue to try and listen to it all and give you the very best. It's my duty.
Your job? Simply to listen.

You can LISTEN AGAIN at FBi's website with on-demand streaming, or podcast here.

Party Dozen - Earthly Times (billy woods rework) [Temporary Residence/GRUPO Bandcamp]
Sydney's ubiquitous Jonathan Boulet and Kirsty Tickle have taken Party Dozen - a project that in name and concept you could mistake for a joke band - to stellar heights of late, signing to Brooklyn's Temporary Residence, Ltd and embarking on a tour of the US with Algiers. And just to be utterly clear, there's nothing gimmicky or jokey about this duo. Both members are brilliant musicians, and they create music of great intensity, with heavy riffage and swampy grooves. "Earthly Times" was a standout from last year's The Real Work, with a slightly less dense texture and a pacing that does lend itself to becoming a hip-hop beat, but nevertheless the appearance of the great underground rapper billy woods on this new version came out of leftfield. Of course it works perfectly, with woods' measured delivery, but to seal the deal Boulet and Tickle reworked the song around woods' vocal, adding strings and piano for extra lushness.

Dry Cleaning - Hot Penny Day (Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul Remix) [4AD/Bandcamp]
A couple of weeks ago we heard a single off the new Sleaford Mods album featuring Florence Shaw of Dry Cleaning. On the one hand, the 'Mods are gregarious folks, keenly working with people across the spectrum from grime to punk, but equally Shaw and her mates do have a post-punk adventurousness to their sound - and of course Shaw is renowned as a lead vocalist who speaks more than sings. So from their new Swampy EP, along with a couple of new tracks/versions, there are two remixes, and I'm particularly enamoured of this one by Belgian duo Charlotte Adigéry & Bolis Pupul. The duo are signed through fellow Ghentians(?) Soulwax, echoing their approach to club provocations, using pop to explore xenophobia, misogyny, colonialism and more. Perfectly suited to Shaw's poetic, elusive lyrics ("I see male violence everywhere"). "Kick drum"!

Polobi & the Gwo Ka Masters - Kawmélito [Real World/Bandcamp]
Polobi & the Gwo Ka Masters - Driv [Real World/Bandcamp]
Here's an interesting one. Moïse Polobi has just released his first album, through Peter Gabriel's industrious Real World Records, at the age of 69. He's sung his own songs, in his own invented creole, accompanied only by his own Gwo ka drums, for decades on the remote Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. A labourer by trade - now retired - he was drawn to this music early in life, and has revered the musical style for just as long. Although he also plays with traditional bands locally, his music - in any form - has only been recorded on his own collection of personal tapes up until now. At a léwoz (a kind of jam session) at his friend Klod Kiavué's house (Kiavué has decades of history taking his music to the wider world), his music was "discovered" by French artistic director Valérie Malot, to whom he played and then loaned a selection of his tapes. It was she who took this music back to France, and handed it to Irish-born, Paris-based producer Liam Farrell aka Doctor L, who loves working with African musicians (I know him particularly via heavy Congolese ensemble Bantou Mentale). So what we get, weirdly as the first outing of Polobi's music outside of his rainforests, is firmly fusion music. Farrell takes the quite raw rainforest songs of Polobi and embeds them in quite lush production - dub-inspired basslines, jazzy keyboards and so on. Nevertheless the "Gwo Ka" shines through. Polobi's singing is reminiscent of the music of his slave-traded forebears from French-colonised Africa, but those influences are present in Caribbean music, Jamaican included, and so somehow this fusion does work. It's hard to escape the potentially problematic aspects, capably described by Will Ainsley in The Quietus, but ultimately Moïse Polobi himself claims that "in the end, the spirit of gwo ka remains!"

- Cociage [Hakuna Kulala]
- Pleasing You [Hakuna Kulala]
French-Ghanaian actress, vegetable grower, producer, vocalist and DJ Pauline Bedarida calls herself Pö Beda or PÖ. After a few compilation tracks, including some earlier work with Congolose producer Rey Sapienz as Poko Poko, she here delivers her debut album Cociage, and it's incredible. Bedarida's voice is central all this music - there is an entire multi-tracked choir of her voice on one eastern European-sounding track - but there's also a lot of cutting-edge electronics and percussion of the sort that those familiar with the Hakuna Kulala label will no doubt expect. PÖ's voice is highly versatile, going from a gutteral growl to punkish delivery (in multiple languages) to a thing of beauty. Don't miss this one.

DREAMCRUSHER - In Due Time [PTP/Bandcamp]
Non-binary New York-based interdisciplinary artist DREAMCRUSHER has been plying their trade for 2 decades, and is as energetic and creative as ever. Suite One, released through PTP, collects two short tracks which combine heavy shoegaze textures, heavy beats, warped samples and plenty of oversaturated distortion in patented DREAMCRUSHER style. Both cuts essential IMHO.

Bulbul - –––––––––––- [Rock Is Hell/Bandcamp]
Viennese trio Bulbul are a long-lived entity existing at the edges of what we call music. Manfred Engelmayr, Roland Rathmair & Dieter (Didi) Kern have been making music in the interstices of noise, krautrock, industrial, punk & electronic music for over 2 decades, and from what I can tell, no two releases are the same. Nevertheless, new album Silence!, released as an LP+7" set, seems like Bulbul distilled down to its instrumental essence: ponderous, weighty bass and guitar noise, patient drums, some distant screaming - except the 7" track which is a punk-freejazz jam. The LP tracks give a sense of tectonic movement, massive and slow but inexorable.

Deprogram - Magnetic Springs [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Mary Mainsbridge formed Deprogram at least 2 decades ago, often working with longtime Australian producer Nick Mainsbridge. Her vocals are augmented through live processing via gestural controllers which allow her to translate bodily movement into sound. On her new album Youbeme the recordings document Deprogram as band, with Robbie Mudrazija on drums and Meeghan Oliver on bass taking the sound into almost postpunk regions, especially on a few live tracks. The tension between abstract, processed sound and live instrumentation pervades the whole album, but it's the mutated vocals that particularly draw me in.

emer - sea salt [Lillerne Tapes]
sea salt is the debut release from Brussels-based Lithuanian sound-artist Marija Rasa under the emer moniker. Rasa is one half of electro-acoustic/electronic duo Ugné & Maria, and with Ugné Vyliaudaite hosts a monthly show on Kiosk Radio; similarly with Konradas Žakauskas she makes experimental electronics as Forgotten Plants, and they too have a monthly show, on Radio Vilnius. So it's no wonder, perhaps, that this "debut" solo release is so accomplished, but it is truly special - downtempo ambient beats and synth pads, with pitch-shifted vocals and an estranged, slightly flanged sheen to the sounds. It could almost come from some '90s ambient, post-rave compilation - almost, but there are reminders throughout that this is music of now. Superb.

denqq - a negative entity seeped through a hole into your aura [normoton]
Matthias Dengg was involved in the Munich club scene from the '90s, but only now emerges as denqq, with his debut album we could be dead soon on normoton. The album is a kind of love letter to dub techno and ambient dub, full of warm bass, beats of different tempos (or no beats), manipulated voices and field recordings. It helps that it's beautifully produced too. Available on vinyl or on some digital platforms.

Ibrahim Alfa Jnr - BKQB [Mille Plateaux]
We last heard from the Brighton-based Ibrahim Alfa Jnr late last year with his first album for Mille Plateaux, Messier87, which featured 10 tracks of random four-letter titles, with junglist-inspired weird techno and electronica, under the banner of "hypercussion". So here's more hypercussion from the techno veteran, even more complex and to some extent less danceable beats, alien jazz, four-letter non-acronyms from across the void.

V.I.V.E.K - HER [System Music]
The Shapes EP continues the adventurous 140bpm compositions from one of the most creative dubstep-adjacent producers around, London's V.I.V.E.K. A logical follow-up to last year's Colours EP, it's both head-nodding, adventurous and soulful.

Agazero - Vnvnse [Precious Metals]
Agazero - Decontrol (feat. Laza) [Precious Metals]
From cutting-edge London label Precious Metals, a perfect encapsulation of their "dysfunctional club music", from Brazilian producer Agazero, also known variously as Vó1d, The 177th, The LHC and more. Eric Alves lives in Niterói, neighbouring Rio de Janeiro, an area with a lively experimental electronic scene, and his IDM-inflected glitchy beats draw heavily from baile-funk, uk drill, grime & hip-hop and bass music in general. It's highly danceable in its own way, but certainly it's a fucked-up way. Collaborators include Laza, another baile-funk experimenter whose productions, like Alves', have accompanied models on the catwalk. Style, baby.

Gunjack - 55032 [Gunjack Bandcamp]
Following two volumes of his jazz-influenced drill'n'bass madness last year, Gunjack now releases H3: Beyond Hyperjazz. Here the splattered breaks accompany hip-hop samples with a sci-fi atmosphere in keeping with jungle's origins.

Fanu - Headgames [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
Everyone's favourite Finnish d'n'b master Fanu (OK, there are a *lot* of great Finnish drum'n'bass/jungle producers, but Fanu's very beloved) comes out with his first release on Metalheadz proper (he's had two EPs on Metalheadz Platinum). A great mix of storming breaks and bouncing basslines, with jazzy vibes on the opening track.

Jamie Hutchings - Everything Alive is at War [Jamie Hutchings Bandcamp]
Jamie Hutchings - In the Middle of a Field; a Bathtub [Jamie Hutchings Bandcamp]
So here's the new solo album from Jamie Hutchings - lead singer/songwriter for legendary Sydney indie band Bluebottle Kiss and more recently the krautrock-inspired indie band Infinity Broke. In both these bands, Hutchings and cohorts have been comfortably uncompromising with their experimental aspects - free jazz references, unusual structures and harmonies - along with his emotive singing. Making Water, however, is something different. At least, superficially it is: these are not songs, even if there's some singing at times; this isn't a band at all, in fact most of the playing is done by Jamie himself; and the instrumentation shifts from clattering found-object percussion to abandoned piano to scrabbling, detuned acoustic guitar, often recorded in unusual ways. And yet there's a definite Jamie Hutchingsness to the proceedings, and not just the occasional wordless vocals. Maybe because this adventurous musical spirit has always been present in his work, this seems almost like a logical progression. There's a purity to it, messy and primitive and spontaneous as it is. Listen with open ears.

Mayssa Jallad - Baynana [Ruptured Records/Bandcamp]
Mayssa Jallad - Holiday Inn (January to March) [Ruptured Records/Bandcamp]
Ziad Nawfal & Fadi Tabbal's Ruptured Records is a dependable source of brilliant music from Lebanon and further afield in the MENA region. And so often a new release is a surprise - take Mayssa Jallad's new album Marjaa: The Battle Of The Hotels. It merges Jallad's research work in architectural history and her parallel career as a singer-songwriter. These interests and imperatives have combined in the past: see last year's collaboration with Syrian musician Khaled Allaf which examines the trauma of post-explosion Beirut (incredible video here). But this is different, a walk through only slightly less-recent history, focused on urban warfare in the Hotel District of Beirut during the Lebanese Civil War (specifically 1975-76), which Jallad discovered was "the first high rise urban battle in the world". With the help of Fadi Tabbal and a selection of Ruptured-affiliated musicians, we're treated to a highly evocative & moving collection of narrative songs (even for those of us who don't speak Arabic), which musically inhabit a space on the corner of 1970s US folk, Arabic melisma and sound-art. A haunting, engrossing work.

Grand River - Kura [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
Grand River - Cost What It May [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
Aimée Portioli's Grand River was one of many artists to have a record in the works with Editions Mego when Peter Rehberg tragically passed away in July 2021. A mutual agreement was made by the artists involved as well as the labels that Rehberg had nurtured, to continue to release all that material through the subsiduary labels, with Shelter Press taking over the operational duties. So we're lucky to get All Above from the Berlin-based Dutch-Italian Portioli, an album grounded in acoustic, neo-classical elements (piano, choral voices, orchestral instruments), but constructed with heavy use of synthesizers and electronic processing. Whenever you think it's going the way of a traditional "neo-classical" album with pretty piano and lush electronics, some kind of jarring glitches or chopped up distortion enters - or the arrangements get lush in a more fully orchestrated way. There's a lot of depth to this album, highly worth of the EMEGO stamp.

V - Toll Keeper [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
Pleased to premiere this single from Faithless, the forthcoming album by Naarm-based darkwave musician V. Born in Meanjin/Brisbane, V spent their childhood & school years in Seoul and then Singapore before returning to Australia. After a brief stint around here on Gadigal land, V is now back in Naarm, which Faithless will be launched on the 31st of March. The launch will be at the Federation Bells, and those bells contribute their distinctive clanging to "Toll Keeper" and presumably other tracks on this album - as with many Heavy Machinery releases in conjunction with the City of Melbourne. Here the bells take a sinister turn, tolling for us to pay our way to some kind of murky afterlife, while plangent piano and industrial drones accompany.

Cisser Mæhl - Se Nu Stiger Floden [Sonic Pieces/Bandcamp]
Cisser Mæhl - Menneskeaftryk [Sonic Pieces/Bandcamp]
Something rather gorgeous here via Monique Recknagel's lovely, thoughtful imprint Sonic Pieces, from young Danish artist Cisser Mæhl. While Mæhl is based in Copenhagen, she began this material in the mountains of mid Norway, and then spent 7 months in Oslo studying with Jenny Hval, who introduced her to the great, versatile producer Lasse Marhaug. But for all that these storied Norwegians helped her out, this is all the work of this talented young musician, with her close-mic'd vocals accompanied by her plucked and gently bowed violin, multitracked along with softly rattling percussion, field recordings and occasional piano. It has a simultaneously ranshackle and composed, down-to-earth and other-worldly. Recommended.

Matt Rösner - Alpha [Room40/Bandcamp]
Matt Rösner - Ripples on Time [Room40/Bandcamp]
Previously known as Pablo Dali, and at times just "M. Rösner", Perth musician Matt Rösner has made a quiet impact around the world with his considered soundscapes, particularly in collaboration with Seaworthy on 12k and with Adam Trainer as Gilded on Hidden Shoal and later Fluid Audio. These duo works are softly stunning, but so is Rösner on his own: Empty, Expanding, Collapsing winds careful layers of guitar, electronics and even percussion around delicate upright piano improvisations. The result is beautiful and peaceful.

Listen again — ~203MB

Sunday, 26th of February, 2023

Playlist 26.02.23 (11:00 pm)

Ranging from punk to hip-hop to jungle, hardcore, footwork to IDM, electro-shaabi, glitch, noise, to dub-chanson, post-classical pop and uneasy ambient.
And so the next time when you're wishing for my downfall / I'ma come back to drown y'all.

LISTEN AGAIN and wish for my downfall via FBi's stream on demand, or the podcast here.

Algiers - A Good Man [Matador Records/Bandcamp]
Algiers - Cold World feat. Nadah El Shazly [Matador Records/Bandcamp]
Atlanta gospel-punk iconoclasts Algiers have never been a band to rest on a particular sound, if their original blend could ever be called restful. There's always been hip-hop, and noise and references to club music. But somehow on their massive SHOOK they've exploded into everything, all at once, with help from a raft of collaborators. I was obsessed with the single Bite Back last year with billy woods and Backxwash, which is indeed a highlight here, but who would've expected Egyptian underground mainstay Nadah El Shazly to appear here? Or for the punk intensity of "A Good Man"? Not every track hits hard or succeeds, but this is still an exceptionally strong album about a world in trouble.

seina sleep & YoursTruuly - Soothsayers [PTP/Bandcamp]
seina sleep & YoursTruuly - Morethanenoughness (feat. Chucky Blk & RGB) [PTP/Bandcamp]
You can always trust Geng and his Purple Tape Pedigree to turn up really interesting music. Here we have the first album from a very young Austin, TX producer calling themself YoursTruuly, with surrealist rapper seina sleep, also from Austin. The sounds from Xóchitl aka YoursTruuly are full of psychedelic & spiritual jazz samples, but through a grainy, tape-decayed filter (especially see the two instrumental interludes). And seina sleep, who likes to call this genre "gift rap", has a talent for surrealist lyrics and wordplay, and is joined by a number of other Austin crew throughout the album.

Philip D Kick - Drown [Astrophonica/Bandcamp]
Philip D Kick - Orbit [Astrophonica/Bandcamp]
Jim Coles aka Om Unit spent a few years making some of the best contemporary jungle & drum'n'bass, but has always been gregarious stylistically, also pioneering the "slow/fast" genre that mixed dubstep with jungle, and with his Philip D Kick alias, melding Chicago footwork with jungle on the three Footwork Jungle EPs released in 2011. He's now released three albums on Fracture's Astrophonica label, each leaning on the Philip K Dick pun and very skilfully combining the two speedy genres. From the second album Pathways I particularly love "Drown", with the slowed-down Gang Starr sample at the start. From the new one, "Orbit" handily starts off in jungle mode but soon shifts into the busy kicks and stuttery samples of footwork.

Meemo Comma - Loverboy [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Meemo Comma - Crisis [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Meemo Comma - Cloudscape [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
After her 2021 album Neon Genesis: Soul Into Matter², which combined Jewish mysticism with cyberpunk & computer game aesthetics, Lara Rix-Martin aka Meemo Comma now takes us back to '90s raves, drawing from jungle, breakbeat hardcore and trance as well as melodic IDM such as her husband Mike Paradinas likes to make. Rix-Martin's agnostic relationship to gender norms is is neatly encapsulated in the album's title - and protagonist - Loverboy. Indeed, while "she/her" is used in the album's write-up, "they/them" is used the artist bio, so. The production here is first class, easily evoking rave stylistics with style & humour, even on the more experimental glitched-up tracks like "Crisis". Honing their own artist craft has meant less time for Rix-Martin to give to their Objects Limited label, but they are also involved in A&R and press for Planet µ, to my mind pushing the label to address its own gender balance problems.

Askel - Hemlock [Straight Up Breakbeat/Askel Bandcamp]
Better known as one half of Finnish d'n'b duo Askel & Elere, Juho Kavasto appears here solo in an exclusive track from Finnish label Straight Up Breakbeat's Zero Three (Bandcamp Edition). "Hemlock" evokes jazzy "Hidden Camera" era Photek with classy drum programming - not too surprisingly as Kavasto is a drummer himself. A few of the tracks like this one were snuck out individually, but the whole Zero Three comp is a great summary of what SUB are doing, with a super high hitrate of d'n'b & jungle choons.

Eusebeia - Omen [Samurai Music/Bandcamp]
Seb Uncles' music gets better & better, with recent Eusebeia releases through Bristol bass/techno legends Livity Sound and classic junglists Omni Music. Now he returns to Berlin d'n'b powerhouse Samurai Music with the Omen EP, which sits well with the dark minimalism of that label while still showcasing his break juggling skills.

Kouslin - Five Four [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Speaking of Livity Sound, London dub/techno/bass innovator Kouslin returns to the label with the Patterns EP, with four very different tracks. There's mutant dancehall, with an almost jungley bent, and there's 4/4 techno, and then there's this track which is indeed 5/4 bass techno, with scribbly synth lines and complex cross-rhythms.

Son Zept - Ten Ton [Analogical Force/Bandcamp]
Belfast native Liam McCartan aka Son Zept finds his way for the first time to the Spanish electronic label Analogical Force with New Ireland Chrome, an EP that imagines a dystopian future Ireland... Musically, like much of his productions, it refuses to be pinned down, with a hefty slice of IDM/braindance informed by grime, jungle, acid techno anything else.

3Phaz - Shoulder Dance [Discrepant/Souk Records/Bandcamp]
3Phaz - Pivot (Msh Shayef Version) [Discrepant/Souk Records/Bandcamp]
Discrepant sublabel Souk Records preserves the parent label's world-ranging interests but with a beat focus. Souk's very first release is where I discovered Palestine's Muqata'a, and now they bring us the second album of Cairo's post-shaabi anonymous producer 3Phaz, whose debut album Three Phase took Egyptian urban genre mahraganat/electro-shaabi and threw it in the blender with harddrum, jungle and techno. Ends Meet certainly carries on from where the debut left off - indeed one of the tracks appears in a reworked form here - but lessens the distortion and pulls back from explicit references to UK & US dance music, so that North African percussion and melodies lead the music (alongside hefty 808 kicks and sub-bass). This is futuristic Arabic dance music.

Air Max '97 - Work To Live [DECISIONS/Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney's lucky to call Air Max '97 our own, although Oliver Van Der Lugt was born in Dunedin and has lived in UK, the Netherlands and Naarm/Melbourne. His DECISIONS label brings us his latest EP Enthusiast, which finds him in unusually straight-ahead club form, although Air Max '97 could never be "just" techno. "Work To Live" is the closest to his usual tightly-edited syncopated breaks. Check the Bandcamp page for a selection of merch for this one - t-shirts, hoodies, even a football scarf! All designed by Naarm-based Endless Prowl.

LAMIEE. - II [Carton Records/Bandcamp]
LAMIEE. - IV [Carton Records/Bandcamp]
Nicolas Remondino's work as LAMIEE. was one of my favourite discoveries of last year. He's back for 2023 with cruj, released on digital and CD by the French label Carton Records. In keeping with the fact that there's no keeping up, that one can only expect the unexpected, this release is once again nothing like his others. Well... a little bit. There's some kind of through-line, but it's more in terms of aesthetics (and lots of talent). Here we have four tracks of highly varying length, all of which seem superficially to be made up of nothing by abrasively glitching endlessly repeating tiny looped samples. On track I, the longest at over 16 minutes, the barrage of noise slowly evolves, producing the kind of beauty that used to be provided by the likes of Pita. With the much shorter II we're allowed some percussion to underline the rhythmic nature of the shuddering sampled sounds, and thus the three tracks that make up the second half proceed. This might sound like's ascetic, ugly or difficult music, but settle in; there's a lot to discover inside this psychedelic noise.

Drew Daniel & John Wiese - Hyperbolic Invariant [Difficult Interactions/Bandcamp]
Drew Daniel & John Wiese - Despised Clang [Difficult Interactions/Bandcamp]
Speaking of noise... John Wiese has been responsible for some of the most ear-splitting music in the noise/power electronics scene since the beginning of the '00s - solo, with groups like Sissy Spacek, and in many collaborative combos with the likes of Merzbow, Burning Star Core, Wolf Eyes et al. He's tended not to deal in distortion but rather in extreme pure sounds - with a penchant for high pitches dealt to the listener with no mercy. Back in 2018 he teamed up for the first time with Drew Daniel, one half of beloved sonic mavericks Matmos and purveyor of genre-bent oddities (of savagery and beauty!) as The Soft Pink Truth, for the album Continuous Hole, in which the more free sound-destruction of Wiese was tempered through Daniel's expertise in shaping unusual sounds into compositions. Their second duo album Through Mazes Running, released by Difficult Interactions, takes a similar bent, crafting splinters of noise into surprisingly rhythmic works. Both of their albums are super pleasurable listening - and I don't think it's just because my ears are unsalvageably broken.

popon - Bubu [Heat Crimes]
There's noise present too on the debut EP from popon, who started as a punk singer before becoming fascinated with electronics of all sorts. Her mostly improvised music builds rhythmic pieces of quasi-industrial techno, mutant post-dubstep bass horror etc, using domestic field recordings, synthesizers, and fractured samples of her own voice or her young niece's. It's the kind of bewildering music that could almost only come from Japan, and you should check out the whole EP.

JakoJako - Opak [Mute]
Sibel Koçer is a modular synth expert (she's worked for some years at Berlin modular heaven SchneidersLaden) and Berghain Resident DJ, which surely makes her the most Berlin person ever. It actually took some years for her to start releasing music, which now comes out under the name JakoJako (a play on her middle name, Jacqueline). It's not all the kind of slamming room-filling techno she'd be playing at Berghain - there's a lot of ambient mixed in there - but it's altogether bliss-inducing, pattern-based music that's gotten her released on the legendary Mute label.

Gantz - 2010 Roller [Gantz Bandcamp]
Gantz - Drop It [Gantz Bandcamp]
Turkish post-dubstep iconoclast Gantz gives us the third Ruff EP here with tunes originally created 2009-2012. The grainy, underwater production of his latter-day work is present here, with beats squished out of shape by hard EQ-ing and distortion - but they're still hard-hitting beats, owing much to uk garage, dubstep and bass techno. Great stuff.

Cruelle - Si je te le demande, fais-moi des bleues, fragile! [Avon Terror Corps/Bandcamp]
Cruelle - But [Avon Terror Corps/Bandcamp]
You never know quite what you'll get from Avon Terror Corps except that it'll be right out of leftfield, intense and strange. And so it is with Paris-based singer/composer/producer Cruelle, whose Bristol connections led to her mini-album J'ai remplacé l'amour par l'argent coming out on the label. As she describes it, these songs were composed "to capture a moment in time where I used autonomy as revenge", a wonderful concept (the title? "I've replaced love with money"). What we get is a mixture of dramatic French chanson with industrial and dub. Any label exec or A&R person would have gotten her to smooth the edges and keep it focused - so yeah, fuck those guys. This is the shit. The first song here I'll translate as "If I tell you to, bruise me, wimp!", while the second is simply "Aim". This is well-placed, well-deserved violence as music.

Magic City Counterpoint - Dream State [Magic City Counterpoint Bandcamp]
Two Brisbane post-classical, electronic, experimental alumni team up here who I somehow would never have expected together, but Magic City Counterpoint exists like it was always meant to be. Listeners to the show should already be familiar with both composer/guitarist/producer Chris Perren and composer/keyboard maestro/producer Madeleine Cocolas. Together they're making lovely songs with both their instruments, with lovely postrockish crescendos and beats. Some of their collaborative work originally came about from writing music for indie games developer Fuzzy Ghost (see Queer Man Peering Into A Rock Pool.jpg), and there have been two singles so far leading up to a debut EP soon.

Megan Alice Clune - Mountaineer [Room40/Bandcamp]
Megan Alice Clune - A Flash in the Pan [Room40/Bandcamp]
Following her exceptional album If You Do, released in 2021, Eora/Sydney singer/composer/sound-artist Megan Alice Clune is back on Room40 with the beautifully deceptive album Furtive Glances. It's derived from a large collection of piano improvisations recorded as voice memos on her phone, generally little asides when preparing for something else. These unpretentious non-compositions have been repurposed via MAC's impeccable ear and craftsmanship into something new, with little added except vocal snippets - but there are other extraneous sounds allowed to be present, like the feedback that opens the album. Even the most contemplative of tracks are accompanied by distant, filigree distorted drones, or almost-inaudible vocal layers, or the return of that robust feedback... It's a disturbed peace, but peace all the same, in Clune's capable hands.

Listen again — ~210MB

Sunday, 19th of February, 2023

Playlist 19.02.23 (10:33 pm)

Experimental forms of hip-hop, grime, dubstep, bass music of all forms, jungle of course, with Palestinian, Turkish, Burkinabè, Algerian, Peruvian, Mexican, Polish, Japanese and Asian-Australian artists in the mix...

LISTEN AGAIN to a world of sound... stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

Sleaford Mods - Force 10 From Navarone ft. Florence Shaw [Rough Trade/Bandcamp]
Once upon a time Sleaford Mods were obscure Nottingham punk-hip-hop dudes, darlings of Norman Records while the world scratched its head and went "Uh? Huhhhh?" But the world's caught on, thankfully, and so Jason Williamson's voice is found all over the place, and while Andrew Fearn's minimalist beats remain tightly constrained, they're just as much informed by today's electronic processing as they are by punky bass loops and RZA. With UK GRIM the 'Mods are surfing the zeitgeist with flare, and choosing Florence Shaw of Dry Cleaning was nothing short of masterful: her delivery perfectly matches the tone of this piece. Williamson and his collaborators are always political, but also always poetic and surrealist. You only need to follow him (and them) on Twitter to see how deeply thoughtful they both are, as well as fucking funny. So Jason, why does the darkness elope?

Skrillex, Nai Barghouti - XENA [Skrillex via Warner Music]
Skrillex, Flowdan, Fred again.. - Rumble [Skrillex via Warner Music]
Skrillex, Missy Elliott, Mr. Oizo - RATATA [Skrillex via Warner Music]
Time was when I would've laughed in your face if you suggested I'd play Skrillex on my show. That American kid who redefined dubstep as "EDM at any tempo with big drops for drunk white college kids to flail around to". And yet, he always had good taste, just with an ear for mass appeal. Just after Quest For Fire dropped, Sonny popped out a second album, Don't Get Too Close. I hadn't heard it at the time of putting the show together, and its emo-sadboi-rap vibe doesn't do much for me anyway, so here we're focusing on the brash dancefloorisms of Quest. I'm not the only one to note that Sonny Moore has maybe gone and worked out how dubstep really worked in the time since he started, and so not only do we get the absolute don of grime, Big Flowdan, on two tracks, we get a lot of nice syncopation and low-slung bass. Of course the album's choc full of collabs, and there are both canny choices and out-of-leftfield lightning strikes. Featuring Palestinian prodigy Nai Barghouti, a flautist, composer, singer and activist, is a stroke of genius. Both Flowdan tracks are great, but "Rumble" is pure fire, both because of and despite the presence of phenomenon-of-the-moment Fred again.., whose Boiler Room set it appeared in, and which wowed all the kids who are presumably too young to have ever seen someone mashing an MPC. And what the hell, let's just throw in Missy "Misdemeanour" Elliott reworking an old refrain (among other self-quotes) alongside French tech house/electro prankster Mr. Oizo, and make it a ridiculously huge banger with, yeah, That Drop? Sure.

IFS MA - Hanpuku [outlines]
IFS - fractal run [U Know Me Records/Bandcamp]
Prykson IFS - Alarm feat. Dj Chederac [U Know Me Records/Bandcamp]
IFS MA - Heddchara [outlines]
Polish duo IFS (Mateusz Wysocki aka Fischerle and Krzysztof Ostrowski) released their first album on the great Portuguese experimental label Crónica, and while a lot of their latter output has bean beat driven, it's resolutely weird and fucked up. 2021's Fractal Run LP on the Polish label U Know Me Records draws influences from footwork, dub, glitch and hip-hop, and the hip-hop connection really comes to the fore with their 2022 EP on the same label with Polish rapper Prykson Fisk, featuring a number of local scratch DJs amongst the glitchy beats. But while a full-length is also on the way with Prykson, the (also Polish) experimental/abstract footwork label outlines has just released an album recorded with the adventurous Japanese rapper MA - titled REIFSMA. MA's stream-of-consciousness rapping is perfectly supported and confounded in its pairing with IFS's jittery beats and avant-garde production - unsurprisingly given the rapper's previous work includes a collaboration with Italian sound-artist Nicola Ratti (Shinkai) and a release on adventurous German label Morphine Records.

Morwell - George Michael - Jesus to a Child (Morwell remix) [Morwell Bandcamp]
Max Morwell has honed his skills at post-rave production for some time, but in between his own compositions he's long had a love of the pop edit - the unauthorised remix. So tonight we get a sneak preview of the forthcoming Remixes Vol. 6. I was stoked to hear a rework of the adventurous vocalist Pamela Z there, but in the end I couldn't go past this ridiculously lush jungle refix of Saint George Michael.

Basic Rhythm - 4 Tha Streets [Straight Up Breakbeat]
Essex-based Anthoney J Hart grew up in London's soundsystem culture and has released music under a number of different names, including for a long time the noise & industrial-centred Imaginary Forces, and his particular take on grime & dancehall as East Man. But under Basic Rhythm he's been taking things back to the jungle/hardcore roots, including an EP last year on Planet µ. Now Finnish drum'n'bass/jungle powerhouse Straight Up Breakbeat has enlisted him for their Zero Three, with a full EP on the way. This track is sweet, sweet junglism all the way from the early '90s through a 2020s lens.

Photek - Phaze 1 (Gremlinz & Jesta Remix) [Odysee Recordings]
Photek - Phaze 1 (2022 Remaster) [Odysee Recordings]
Odysee Recordings is one of those original jungle labels from back in the day that's found a home on Bandcamp both re-releasing remastered classics (especially Source Direct, although they're apparently about to setup their own place?) and releasing some very very nice new jungle from old artists including Andy Odysee. Once upon a time, Rupert Parkes was indomitable, as Photek or under various aliases - and no matter what guff he's up to these days, everything up to the Form & Function collections is still untouchable. Phaze 1 / Try A Style was the second single on Odysee Records back in 1995, under the name Phaze 1, and the title track has now been remastered with beautiful EQ range and punchiness. Also included are remixes by Andy Odysee (super sped up, which works once you get over the initial shock) and currrent-day d'n'b masters Gremlinz & Jesta.

黑芝麻 (Hēi zhī ma) - 黑芝麻 & Merph - I Miss You [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
黑芝麻 (Hēi zhī ma) - 黑芝麻 & Shoeb Ahmad - Associations (ft Zhi) [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
The latest release from the ever-gregarious Pure Space, Eora/Sydney label, radio show & more helmed by Andy Garvey, comes from the Naarm-based 黑芝麻 (Hēi zhī ma). Originally, I believe, from Ngunnawal country, the artist is also a graduate of FBi's Dance Class, and the appropriately named Hēi zhī ma and friends EP assembles collaborators from all over. There's a restless genre-agnosticism to the whole EP, ably demonstrated on the track "I Miss You" which features Eora/Sydney DJ Merph aka Sarita Carol Herse, veering from uneasy ambience into junglist techno halfway through. There are also spoken word contributions from Cham Zhi Yi, the other half of the sound & poetry project 莎瑜 (Shā yú) with Hēi zhī ma, and none other than Ngunnawal Country/Canberra visionary Shoeb Ahmad. This is evocative music that's a tribute to the richness of Asian-Australian exploratory culture at the moment.

Prado - Virus [Buh Records]
Prado - Error [Buh Records]
Prado - Invasión [Buh Records]
Two previous releases exist from Nicolás Prado under the name Blxzey, but those 2021 releases seem to only exist on the streaming services, and from what I can see aren't licensed for Australia either. So for us, London-born Peruvian producer's Machines is a highly impressive debut from a creative young artist, released on the influential, exploratory Buh Records. It's a very now combination of ADHD/videogame hyperactivity and jungle/breakcore/IDM influences. There's heavy bass and glitched up beats (particularly see "Error") and a surprising outburst of double-kick drum metal at one point. Fun insanity.

Damos Room x LYAM - Data Ponzi [Accidental Jr/Bandcamp]
Damos Room x LYAM - EIN [Accidental Jr/Bandcamp]
London's Damos Room are an experimental trio who exist somewhere between underground hip-hop, noise, glitch and art - don't be put off by the offline Twitch embed on the front page of their website; every time you click "Rooms In Your Area" you get another of their seemingly endless bizarro videos, which give you a bit of a taste of where they're at. They were meant to team up with innovative UK rap experimentalist LYAM (Liam Harris-Williams) a couple of years ago, but somewhere a long the way a hard drive malfunction lost them a lot of the resulting material (multiple backups everyone! One local and at least one in the cloud! Don't avoid this), and we can be grateful for this loss as we get the excellent EIN EP (it stands for "Everything Is Noise") as a result. Released by Accidental Jr as part of their Room 2 series (a sub-label of a sub-label?), the EP eschews any vocals, instead being constructed from fidgety beats and mostly rhythmic noise samples. It's not representative of either artist's sound, but while that's part of the pleasure of it, it's also well worth looking into both more deeply.

Nondi_ - FCD (Floaty Cloud Dream) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Johnstown, Pennsylvania artist Tatiana Triplin is the latest signing to Planet µ, combining the IDM & experimental roots of the label with its footwork archivism - although footwork is only one input into her music, which feeds influences like breakcore and Detroit techno through a hazy vaporwave fog. Triplin runs the netlabel HRR, specialising in "Web Folk, Nightcore, and Dubst", and given how much of Nondi_'s music appears on the label, those lovely terms can handily be applied to her own music: this first single hints at club music somewhere behind the clouds of audio debris. The album is an evocation of life in Johnstown, dominated by the impact of the 1977 floods which saw the town's economic base from the Bethlehem Steel Company withdrawn - a classic failure of capitalism which is in fact capitalism doing just what it's designed to do.

Santa Muerte - Coahuiltecan [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Mexican-raised Panch Briones, now based in Houston, Texas, and brings a Central American aspect to music that's influenced by the low-slung hip-hop and trap of his hometown as well as the more experimental electronics that Hyperdub has often championed.

Acid Arab - Leila Feat Sofiane Saidi [Crammed Discs/Bandcamp]
٣ is the Arabic numeral 3, and naturally is the third album from Algerian-French collective Acid Arab (it's officially parenthetically titled "Trois"). The band insist that "this is not fusion. this is not a mix. this is a meeting ?", which is reassuring as European-initiated club music versions of MENA music can be uncomfortably colonial. This is not the Amazigh-Tunisian dubby club music of Azu Tiwaline, or the bass music with North African/Arabic themes of Cassablanca producer 3xOJ. But AMMAR 808, the excellent Denmark-based Tunisian producer, does appear here, along with many Algerian and other musicians from the region. Indeed the legendary Rachid Taha turns up on one track, but tonight we heard squiggly club-ready Arabic melodies underscoring the gruff rapping of contemporary French-Algerian vocalist Sofiane Saidi, who has worked with Acid Arab since their first album. The white French DJs who initiated the band heard sounds in Arabic and North African music that gelled with acid house, and tracks like these certainly make a case for this fusion, but it's hard to avoid the idea that it's still a "fusion".

Avalanche Kaito - Moulin [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
Avalanche Kaito - Goomde [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
From the Belgian Crammed Discs to German label Glitterbeat, but it turns out that Avalanche Kaito are 2/3 Belgian, made up of Brussels noise/post-punk duo of Benjamin Chaval on drums & electronics and Nico Gitto on guitar, who were found on his first visit to Belgium by Labalou Kaito Winse, an urban griot from Burkina Faso who plays many West African instruments and is also a remarkable vocalist. This is a true meeting of minds, with noisemaking, post-punk/dub basslines, guitar distortion and granular processing merging with Winse's talking drums, Peul flute, mouth bow and of course his wildly versatile vocals. The digital-only Dabalomuni EP preceded their self-titled album by a few months, and seems particularly, spectacularly new and uncompromising. I can't imagine that there's much difference in time between those recordings and those on the album, but there's a difference in perspective perhaps. Either way, there really seems to be something different about this group's music, and I'm ashamed I missed it in the middle of last year. Better late than never!

The God In Hackney - Heaven In Black Water [Junior Aspirin Records/Bandcamp]
I was thrilled to discover UK band The God In Hackney in 2020 via a feature track in The Wire Tapper. There's no doubt that they do so much that is tailor-made for this here radio show, with skittery drums, krautrocky grooves and dub effects, bizarre non-sequiturs, acoustic instruments rubbing up against electronics of all sorts, and all this with great songwriting! "Heaven In Black Water" is the first single from their new album The World In Air Quotes, which I've listened to and can tell you is very good, and you will be hearing more from it in due course.

Sinemis - Only Breath (Hüma Utku Remix) [Injazero Records/Bandcamp]
Sine Büyüka is a Circassian-Turkish producer from Istanbul, based in London at the moment, studying at Guildhall. She has had a career as a journalist and television presenter while in Turkey, and now runs the fantastic Injazero Records from London, while also making music under the name Sinemis. In a terrible confluence, the Dua Remixes EP (remixing tracks from her debut album) came out just as the massive earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria; so all profits from the EP will go to an on-the-ground NGO in Turkey called AHBAP as well as the White Helmets in Syria. The remix artists are inspired: Nairobi's KMRU, Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti and brilliant Turkish experimental artist Hüma Utku, whose remix builds to her favoured distorted bass tones and minimal rhythms. Fantastic work all-round.

Kevin Richard Martin - Hustle [KRM Bandcamp]
Kevin Richard Martin - Nishinari [KRM Bandcamp]
Kevin Richard Martin - Forever Falling [KRM Bandcamp]
If you're a listener of this show you surely already know who Kevin Richard Martin is - crafter of bass terror as The Bug, one half of Techno Animal & Zonal & Ice etc with Justin K Broadrick, compiler of brilliant '90s compilations and more. Under his given name he's been making glacial ambient music the last few years, but over 3 albums from last last year he's turned also to what he's variously described as drone-jazz, narco-jazz, or dubbed out ambient jazz and smudged drone. It really is all of those things. It's way less ambient than the Frequencies for Leaving Earth series and others, but less tough and dancefloor-focused than what tends to eventuate from The Bug. It has a jazz-noir feel to it with sounds of acoustic bass, sax (Martin's first instrument) and minimalist harmonies hinting at rainswept streets lit by lamplight - and indeed these three albums take three different perspectives on the dark late-night city, with the recent final installment Above The Clouds flying us above the streets and buildings. The closest predecessor to these sounds is Martin's collaboration with Dylan Carlson of Earth, appropriately titled Concrete Desert. It's deeply evocative work.

Listen again — ~206MB

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