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Utility Fog


Your weekly fix of postfolkrocktronica, dronenoise, power ambient, post-everything improv... and more?
Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.
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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 7th of July, 2024

Playlist 07.07.22 (11:00 pm)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen again — ~203MB


Sunday, 30th of June, 2024

Playlist 30.06.24 (11:00 pm)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Danny Paul Grody Duo (Danny Paul Grody and Rich Douthit) - Clearing [Three Lobed Recordings/Bandcamp]
Guitarist Danny Paul Grody co-founded the incredible freewheeling postrock band Tarentel, and later The Drift. He's been making circular, dreamy ambient folk under his own name for a while. On his new album Arc of Night, Rich Douthit's drums and percussion are central to the atmospheric sound (Douthit was also in The Drift, among others), so it's presented as Danny Paul Grody Duo. This is comforting late-night music.

Listen again — ~209MB


Sunday, 23rd of June, 2024

Playlist 23.06.23 (11:00 pm)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen again — ~204MB


Sunday, 16th of June, 2024

Playlist 16.06.24 (11:00 pm)

Experimental pop, experimental beats, ambient weirdness, Burroughsian cut-ups, remixed classical...

LISTEN AGAIN and keep Sydney weird!(?) Podcast here or stream on demand @ FBi.

Martha Skye Murphy - Need (ft. Roy Montgomery) [AD93/Bandcamp]
Martha Skye Murphy - Kind [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. It's full of beautiful, unusual songs, which evoke the likes of Joni Mitchell and Tori Amos, but wilfully go in strange directions or pile on the noise like the end of "Kind". Then there's the delicate collaboration with claire rousay, field recordings and all, and the stunning single "Need" that was created with legendary NZ guitarist Roy Montgomery.

Mary Ocher - Digital Molam [Mary Ocher Bandcamp]
Mary Ocher - I am The Occupation (feat. Serafina Steer) [Mary Ocher Bandcamp]
Mary Ocher - The Rubaiyat Medley (Part I) (feat. Your Government) [Mary Ocher Bandcamp]
Last year's Approaching Singularity: Music for the End of Time from Mary Ocher was a revelation. A Russian Jew who grew up in Israel and has based herself in Berlin for her adult life, her leftwing politics are inescapably intertwined with her music - each album comes with an accompanying text, and this album's essays is "A Guide to Radical Living", which articulates one part of that politics (it's subtitled "Why wealth needs poverty and how not to play along"). On the new album, one song is directly aimed at Israel (the satirical "I am The Occupation" that also features processed harp from Serafina Steer), and please don't miss the excellent single "Sympathize" that I didn't include due to tonight's flow... But there's also the three-part setting of Omar Khayyam's Rubáiyát inspired by Dorothy Ashby's version - and some nice glitchiness too, on "Digital Molam".

KÁRYYN - the REAL [Mute/Bandcamp]
Armenian-American producer & songwriter KÁRYYN has melded her voice with electronics for some years, but the electronics really come to the fore on Calm KAOSS!, the title of which is a tribute to her trusty Kaoss Pad, an effects unit beloved of vocalists. These are strong pop songs that are also strong on electronic manipulation. "the REAL", which I featured tonight, is also remixed by Aussie club sensation HAAi, bumping up the bass and beats to great effect.

John Cale - Funkball the Brewster [Domino]
John Cale - Company Commander [Domino]
Considering John Cale released the uncompromising Mercy last year at age 81, it's ridiculous that he's out with another this year. POPtical Illusion has all the humour and quirkiness - and energy - that Cale's had since being somewhat overshadowed by Lou Reed in the Velvet Underground. I've always loved Cale as a songwriter and singer far more than Reed anyway. This album *is* more poppy than the last, which is perhaps both a good and a bad thing, as some of the songs kind of washed past me, but there's plenty of the pre-post-punk bravado there too. Keep healthy, John!

Kevin Purdy - Rooms Full of Elephants [Soft Records/Bandcamp]
Between 2014 and 2024, Kevin Purdy has released 3 albums, but the time & effort the Sydney music stalwart has put into his new self-titled work clearly shows. His influences, from classic outsider rock, krautrock, psych, folk and more, are all on display with these songs, and on this instrumental tune Kevin has taken old cello sessions I've done with him in the past, er... decades?... and constructed an amazing string section. Pretty great!

Comatone - 81zspcmidiot (1999) [Feral Media]
Katoomba's finest beatmaker Comatone continues his streaming-only series of unreleased-archive-diving - here's a tune from a few years earlier than his first release, One Into One Out. Here he's already a skilled practitioner of skitter IDM beats, made in whatever the tracker software du jour was in 1999.

MICROCORPS - WRM [The Tapeworm]
The first few releases from Alexander Tucker were a kind of psych-folk, acoustic folk with undercurrents of doom metal maybe... Then came his duo with Daniel O'Sullivan, Grumbling Fur, which emphasised the psych rock and experimental elements. In 2023, he employed field recordings and granular processing to create a strangely beautiful homage/collaboration to/with Keith Collins, partner of the renowned queer experimental filmmaker Derek Jarman. And then there's MICROCORPS, an alias he uses for alien minimal techno/sound-art explorations, starting with 2021's XMIT. Having heard that The Tapeworm was releasing another collection of these strange electronic mutations, I was pleased to see that only a couple of months later they unleashed it in digital form. So here's Macrocorpse – 2021-2024, in which Tucker's voice is manipulated alongside machine drones feeding back into themselves and glitching into almost-techno rhythms. It's quite hypnotic.

Tot Onyx - Wrecker [Antibody Label/Bandcamp]
A highlight of Dark Mofo in 2018 was a hypnotic performance by Group A, the duo of two Berlin-based Japanese women, Tommi Tokyo and Sayaka Botanic. The duo has been relatively quiet for a while, but Tommi Tokyo has been developing a solo project as Tot Onyx, which like Group A is based around the organic development of techno-like structures with industrial roots. On her new album Satire of Desire the industrial often comes to the fore, in the vein of '80s industrial artists dragging pieces of metal and concrete around and creating disturbing sound-structures. The album comes from the merging of conscious & unconscious, dream & irreal invoked by the Covid lockdowns, and it's appropriately sinister.

AIR LQD - Take Up From Where They Left Off [Noods Radio/Bandcamp]
Weird Weather - Paint (Mother's Lost Ops Mix) [Noods Radio/Bandcamp]
Bristol's Noods Radio is a bit of an institution that nurtures the left-of-field music scene there in much the way FBi does in Sydney. Their current home Mickey Zoggs (yes apparently that's the building where their studio lives) is under threat of redevelopment, and thus Noods may have to stop broadcasting. This album is a fundraiser, with exclusive tracks from an impressive range of artists from the area and further afield. Looking at the crowdfunder, they've already passed their £70,000 target to buy the venue (that's for the deposit), but it's good to support a sister community radio station, and honestly it's just a great compilation. Justin K Broadrick appears both as JK Flesh and FINAL, Memotone is melodic and woozy as usual, Richie Culver is his own grizzled self, and more. AIR LQD is Brussels-based Mehdi Kernachi, not to be confused with legendary '90s techno unit Air Liquide. Kernachi contributes a piece of bassy minimal industrial techno, a kind of hi-fi updated Suicide, and Avon Terror Corps-affiliated Weird Weather bring twitchy, squelchy percussive dub.

Allis - Everything [The Collection Artaud]
Just last month, Yu Miyashita snuck out another alias on his label The Collection Artaud, this one seemingly an outlet for adding his spoken vocals to the idm/glitch/jungle that he makes under his own name and as Yaporigami. Everything/Nothing is the English counterpart to Alles/Nichts although I'm pretty sure both are partially in Japanese. The lyrics seem to be exploring the contradictory status & experience being an Asian in a European country (he's based in Berlin), among other forms of stereotyping. And the beats are great, naturally!

µ-Ziq - Fogou [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
µ-Ziq - Manscape [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
I was excited, like a little kid, when Mike Paradinas announced the 25th anniversary edition of µ-Ziq's 1997 album Lunatic Harness a couple of years back. That year we had not only the remastered & expanded classic of idm/drill'n'bass but also new material of melodic jungle fun from Paradinas - the man behind the great Planet µ label and so much brilliant music from the '90s and early '00s. So it's pretty rad to have another album in a pretty similar vein in 2024. Grush represents in part a very pragmatic decision: the label needed a cash injection, and it seems its label head tends to bring the ££ in. Makes sense. But there's nothing cynical or routine about this - it's melodic, rhythmically complex, and well produced (better produced than the '97 material all things considered). It's just a joy. Oh and it's worth mentioning that "Manscape" is a µ-Ziq remix of Mike's partner Lara Rix-Martin's Meemo Comma - a super different version from the one on her Cloudscape single. The two have a truly delightful geeky uncle thing on the social meejas - I mean, come on, look at this. Actually that's an announcement about their YouTube channel which is just lovely (later in that livestream you can hear the Slikback remix of "Hyper Daddy" - too rad!)

Abstract Drumz & Optimystic - Energy To the Universe [Transmute Recordings]
With a back catalogue going back to 2005, Transmute Recordings have released a lot of the nu-jungle & drumfunk originators. They've had a few releases a year for the last few years, and the first for 2024 brings four collaborative tracks in fine junglist style. Abstract Drumz & Optimystic' track combines dreamy pads with tough drums to great effect.

David August - Workout IV [99CHANTS/Bandcamp]
Italian producer/composer/DJ David August runs the 99CHANTS label, which over 6 years has released some really interesting ambient music, including from August himself. But he was originally producing tech house & deep house in the '00s, and on the Workouts EP he returns to the dancefloor with four hybrid tracks - a bit of '90s ambient house (Future Sound of London meets Jean-Michel Jarre?) with contemporary percussive beats and sampled vocal yelps. Tremendous.

Latex Pets - Aubade (Time) [Latex Bandcamp]
Sydney musician Latex Pets is also Sydney poet T. Banks-Vittin, although Latex Pets is an instrumental affair - sometimes edging into techno, often drone and ambient. "Aubade (Time)" somehow sits somewhere in betwee. The pretty synth patterns could come from a techno track, but devoid of beats the influence of minimalist composers like Philip Glass becomes audible. It might not be body-moving, but it's a moving, meditative piece of work.

Flirting with Shadows (黑芝麻 Hēi zhī ma & eudegne) - 我想你了 [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
T. Morimoto - cold rock [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
Tracy Chen - Something true (draft) [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
Tracy Chen - Dirt [Tracy Chen Bandcamp]
Usually New Weird Australia releases are curated by Stu Buchanan, but the new compilation Worlds Only World is compiled by the ambient/experimental collective Worlds Only. There's a track by the group on the album, but the group's self-definition is as a "transient ambient group", so I take it their output might encompass events, scene snapshots like this and writings even. Here they've collected a selection of artists making quite disparate music - a lot of electronic music, some with beats and some ambient, glitched indie, solo piano (woo Monica Brooks!)... Our first piece was from Naarm-based duo Flirting with Shadows, made up of 黑芝麻 Hēi zhī ma (who was involved with FBi Radio when based in Eora/Sydney) and eudegne, here giving us a lovely piece of drone-pop. Then there's Worlds Only member T. Morimoto, who used to be Thomas William Smith and before that Cleptoclectics, and also used to be based in Eora. His piece is exemplary in bending the space between foreboding ambient, new age and post-club sounds. And finally, from Tarnanya/Adelaide is Tracy Chen, who beautifully opens the compilation with a fragment of a piece with minimalist synth bass, ominous sound design and a female voice that's cut off midstream. I haven't heard anything from Tracy for some years, but there are a few pieces from between 2014 & 2016 on her Bandcamp, fragile songs perfectly glitched out of shape.

David Lee Myers - Riding the Rails [Unexplained Sounds Group]
Allan Segall - The Cities of The Red Night [Unexplained Sounds Group]
New from Raffaele Pezzella's Unexplained Sounds Group is an album called Cut UP. Deconstructing W. S. Burroughs which takes its impetus from Burroughs' technique in the late 1950s into the '60s of cutting up and rearranging texts to bring new meaning and new experiences to the work. Of course tape cut-ups have been present in music since the musique concrète era, and digital cut-ups that were newly riveting in the 1990s are part & parcel of our postmodern era (in fact, they've been a key part of the Utility Fog aesthetic since the beginning). That's not to denigrate anything appearing here though, because a) the tracks are uniformly fantastic and b) they do indeed, in one way or other, interface with Burroughs' own work. Surprisingly few tracks actually use Burroughs' very distinct voice, familiar to '90s alt-culture kids particularly from two 1993 works: Kurt Cobain's noise/spoken word collaboration The "Priest" They Called Him, and Spare Ass Annie and Other Tales, produced by Hal Willner and The Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. So... that was a long time ago. Burroughs has long had an influence on the industrial & noise music subcultures because of the frequently transgressive nature of his writing, and that's the natural home of Pezzella's curation, so there's a lot of dark and ominous music here, including Pezzella's own project Sigillum S. Adi Newton time-stretches a phrase from Burroughs over throbbing drones; PBK chops Burroughs' voice along with electronic scribbles and soundtrack-like cues, as does Paolo L. Bandera. On the other hand, composer Allan Segall cuts up, pitch-shifts and otherwise transforms someone else's voice reading Burroughs' words, with sparsely creepy piano chords and flecks of distortion, David Lee Myers glitchily recontextualises easy-listening synth & sax.

Büşra Kayıkçı - The Middle of Nowhere (Jaar Rework) [Nicolas Jaar Bandcamp]
Turkish pianist Büşra Kayıkçı released her album Places on Warner Classics late in 2023, after some early studies on her Bandcamp and a post-classical/electronic duo release with Ah! Kosmos last year called Bluets. Here we find a sensitive reworking of the opening & closing tracks of Places by Nicolas Jaar, released on his Bandcamp, and I'm so pleased he did because now I've been introduced to Kayıkçı's gorgeous compositions, which remind me a little of the harmonic modes found in Armenian pianist Tigran Hamasyan's work. Her playing is delicate, and aside from Jaar's remix, her own music benefits from her sound design too, which is inspired in part by her qualifications in architecture. Discovery of the week!

Listen again — ~211MB


Sunday, 9th of June, 2024

Playlist 09.06.24 (11:00 pm)

Sound-art, experimental song, experimental beats, experimental ambient? Experimental guitar. Yeah, everyone's experimenting.

Enrich your life! LISTEN AGAIN over at FBi's website, or podcast here.

Sandy Chamoun - HAWALTOU حاولت [Dreaming Live]
Badawi - Qaher [Dreaming Live]
A week ago, a really big compilation came out from the organisation Dreaming Live, organised by the artist Mayss, in solidarity with Palestine, and calling for a ceasefire, and donating funds to Dr. Ghassan Abu Sittah's Children's Fund. ENOUGH! is 63 tracks long, and covers a range from minimal industrial to dark ambient and noise, deconstructed club to singer-songwriter, with plenty of Arabic artists as well as artists from all around the world. Sandy Chamoun is a wonderful singer & experimental electronic producer, whose track "HAWALTOU حاولت" (meaning "I tried") is a clear highlight. She's also the singer with the incredible postpunk/psych/free-jazz/etc group SAMAN. Without going into all the artists, there's people like Martin Rev of Suicide, ZULI, Jerusalem In My Heart, Sarah Davachi, Larkin Grimm and many others. The second track I played was percussive beats and Shepherd flutes from Badawi, aka Raz Mesinai, who's been involved in multiple music scenes in New York since the '90s, including illbient, reggae/dub, avant-garde composition and rock, and more. His Israeli & Arabic roots have always played a major part in his music, and he's against the occupation and the genocide (see his recent album Sonically Dismantling Western Imperialism). It's great to see him included here.

Tashi Wada - Flame of Perfect Form [RVNG Intl/Bandcamp]
Tashi Wada - What Is Not Strange? [RVNG Intl/Bandcamp]
What Is Not Strange? is the first "real" full-length album from LA-based musician Tashi Wada, even though he's been active in the LA music scene for years, across contemporary composition, ambient/experimental and indie music. The album's very much a family affair, significantly because the album's creation spanned the death of his father, Fluxus member Yoshi Wada, and the birth of his first child with his partner, Julia Holter. Wada appears on Holter's latest album (also released this year), and her voice is found here on some of the strange song-like pieces, but there are also more abstract pieces of burbling electronics, field recordings etc. Wada runs the Saltern label, releasing minimal contemporary classical works, and the breadth of music here might explain why it's come out on the ever-adventurous RVNG Intl. And strange it is, in the best possible way.

Iceboy Violet & Nueen - Through the Fire [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Iceboy Violet & Nueen - Slammd (Interlude) [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Iceboy Violet & Nueen - Terrences Time Bomb [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Like Lila Tirando a Violeta & Sin Maldita, here are two young artists finding success on Hyperdub together. We've heard Iceboy Violet working with the likes of aya, Loraine James (both released on Hyperdub), and they are an excellent producer in their own right as well as rapper/singer. Here they're working with Argentinian-Spanish producer Nueen, who's been released on Balmat and 3XL. So this isn't quite grime or drill, despite its connections to UK hip-hop and bass music; it has a little in common with the experimental r'n'b coming from the likes of Niecy Blues or Liv.e, and certainly is in a similar space to aya's album on Hyperdub, im hole. As much as it's a deep excavation of a now-ended relationship, it's also a powerful expression of the smudged, defocused world we find ourselves in.

Crimewave - Torrent [Notes By Design/Bandcamp]
Released on New York clubmeister Swami Sound's Notes By Design, here's Manchester's Crimewave, also documenting the cold, blurry life of the north (hey I'm in Australia, everything's "the north"). "Torrent" is the Crimewave sound for sure - sidechained shoegaze guitars, sadboy indie vocals, post-garage beats. Hood meets Burial? Don't mind if I do.

bani haykal - SAVE YOUR SPIT FOR THE GRAVE OF YOUR CONSCIENCE [bani haykal Bandcamp]
ANONYMOUS CURSES from Singaporean musician/artist/writer bani haykal is full of eerie, distorted, glitched electronics, crushed percussion, distorted drum machines, and also incisive words, spoken, whispered, growled: whatever it takes. The EP is dedicated to a truth-speaking or prayer/curse-casting against those creating a world of destruction, through colonialism, extractivism, occupation and apartheid. He also links to Gaza Funds, a source for campaigns helping families evacuate to safety. Like a South-East Asian Saul Williams with contemporary electronics, spitting wisdom over technology.

Copper Sounds - Sequenced Ceramics (Memotone's Inebriated Cop Following Suspect Mix) [Copper Sounds Bandcamp]
Bristol-based duo Isaac Stacey and Sonny Lee Lightfoot have been making sounds, since 2015, out of unusual physical objects like copper records, homemade spring reverbs, and notable, specially-produced ceramics which are beautiful sculpted objects in themselves. Although their press mentions club/ambient music, they have generally been more interested in the sonic properties of their objects than the rhytmic potential, at least until new album Sequenced Ceramics. Still, it's far from club music, and even the very creative remixes have pushed into varied directions. Will Yates aka Memotone's work is always going to be cool, and his "Inebriated Cop Following Suspect" remix does evoke a '70s cop-show vibe. Just don't knock over that expensive vase!

FaltyDL - Full Spectrum [Central Processing Unit]
FaltyDL - Further [Central Processing Unit]
Sheffield's CPU Records (aka Central Processing Unit) are a haven for IDM fans, but to my ears it's usually more in the electro or acid areas. Drew Lustman as FaltyDL has explored plenty of acid and rave genres around IDM for over 15 years, and his new album on the label, In The Wake Of Wolves, is no exception in terms of range. Nicely melodic, different BPMs, crisp production, thumbs up.

Toupaz - 891 [Toupaz Bandcamp]
Austrian producer Toupaz works in non-specific BPMs and genres too, but he clearly likes his bass music and his breaks, and his latest EP Frantic Gestures is definitely appropriately named. This may not exactly be jungle, but it has intricate skitteriness in between the beats... Yep, frantic.

al dente - overnight (White Fluff Remix) [Pure Space/al dente Bandcamp/White Fluff Bandcamp]
The Naarm/Melbourne native, but Paris-based producer calling himself al dente just released an EP through Eora/Sydney's Pure Space (helmed by FBi's Andy Garvey). multiform is in that techno-meets-d'n'b space that Pure Space often likes to inhabit, and the most drum'n'bassy track also finds itself remixed by Meanjin/Brisbane bleep enthusiast White Fluff, upping the d'n'b-ism and widening the bass. Lovely.

Aroma Nice - 12 Hours [YUKU/Bandcamp]
For Czech label YUKU, here's UK jungle maniac Aroma Nice with three archival tracks and a remix by his mate Earl Grey (longtime drumfunker/junglist). Proof if we need it, following last year's Lost Realms and this year's Old Haunts, that Luke Fashoni is up there with the best of them in terms of incredibly technical and funky jungle production. Seriously good shit as always.

Duran Duran Duran - Hot Chicken [Woodland Creatures]
Ed Flis as Duran Duran Duran was one of the recurring figures in the breakcore scene from back in 2003 - indeed, if you look back, here he is remixing "Donna Summer" aka Jason Forest on a Utility Fog playlist from way back in November 2003. Supernatural Beast City, his new album on Berlin's Woodland Creatures, has some hallmarks of breakcore, but filtered through the somewhat more nuanced beat-crafting and production of today's nu-skool jungle and yesterday's jungle tekno. Great stuff.

Kop-Z - Fading Light Above Us All (Fanu Remix) [Pinecone Moonshine/Bandcamp]
The Pinecone Moonshine label, based in Portland Oregon and run by Nic TVG, is a haven for drumfunk and more experimental beat-messing. There are always remixes either as part of the releases or on their own - like here, the Remixes IV compilation which lets loose 12 artists on the Pinecone Moonshine discography, even including some more ambient or lower tempo things. Finland's Fanu is always super high quality of course (he's also a certified Ableton trainer and there are heaps of great videos on his Patreon for producers). Here he's putting his own take on a track from UK producer Kop-Z.

Xylitol - Okko [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
One of the best decisions of Planet µ recently (and they're one of my favourite record labels) was the signing of Catherine Backhouse aka Xylitol, who's been around the UK experimental electronic scene for well nigh a couple of decades, making minimal house, synth-pop, ambient, who knows what else. She DJs under the name DJ Bunnyhausen, and is something of an expert on Eastern European pop and electronica. And we're fortunate that right now she's focused on jungle and garage, so the frequently epic tracks on her Anemones album are full of clattering, ever-changing breaks and pretty melodies. This is single #2 (the first is 9:33 long!), with the rest of the album following in early July.

L'Église du Mouvement Péristaltique Inversé - Triptyques de monarques assis [L'Église du Mouvement Péristaltique Inversé Bandcamp]
Their name's a mouthful even in French I guess... L'Église du Mouvement Péristaltique Inversé is The Church of Reverse Peristaltic Motion (aka Retroperistalsis, generally a precursor to vomiting), and that gives you a bit of an idea of where they're coming from - dark but darkly comedic. They call their genre "cold pop", and certainly there's new wave & postpunk in there with krautrock and of course French chanson. This is their second album, following their self-titled album released in *checks notes*... 2001. Basically the French do things their own way, and long may they continue!

KMRU - Natur (extract) [Touch/will be at Bandcamp]
We've got the collab between Joseph Kamaru aka KMRU and Kevin Richard Martin coming soon, but in the meantime the great Touch label, home to much field recording, ambient, glitch and other experimental music, announced a new album from KMRU called Natur. It's a stunning single piece almost 53 minutes long, but I've got a 8½ minute excerpt to play you tonight. Kamaru is from Nairobi, where he was forever surrounded by the sounds of nature as well as urban sounds; when he moved to Berlin, he found it comparatively silent, with nature's sounds swamped by the built-up city. Since 2022, Natur has been a staple of his live set (I'm guessing it's what we heard at Dark Mofo last year?), so it's been honed to perfection, with sizzling drone-noise generated by electromagnetic microphones, and field recordings of "nature" creeping in at times. Beautifully crafted, it's not to be missed.

Mark Templeton - Relaxations [enmossed/Bandcamp]
Mark Templeton - White Ink [enmossed/Bandcamp]
Canadian media artist Mark Templeton has been making idiosyncratic sound-art (and matching visual material) since at least 2007, pushing out a few releases every couple of years. By my calculations, this is his first since a couple of releases in 2021, and there will be at least one other this year. Inner Light, released on enmossed, deconstructs '70s & '80s ideas of ambient music (meditation tapes found in a church library), warping and disintegrating the original sources, and further manipulating them with digital edits. It's as good a place as any to start with Templeton, and there's a lot more to explore on his Bandcamp.

Luca Perciballi - Sacred Habits V [Kohlhass/Bandcamp]
Luca Perciballi - Sacred Habits VIII [Kohlhass/Bandcamp]
For Luca Perciballi, music and composition starts from performance, and on Sacred Habits he's pushing the limits of what one performer can do with an electric guitar, extending the sound-generation with preparations on the guitar and even the speakers, and using foot percussion and other objects. Despite this, the music is not cluttered, usually focusing in on some particular approach and then expanding out from there. For an experimental work with few melodies or riffs, it's quite gripping listening, never slipping into the background or becoming overly abstract.

Helvetica Noise - How to Listen To Storms [Helvetica Noise Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney trio Helvetica Noise combine spoken word (Aviva Shifreen) along with synths (Genevieve Von Black) and other noisemakers (Matthew Syres) in their first available track. Part psych/kraut, part drone/noise, it's a vivid evocation of a deluge. (Just noting that I played an edit of the full track, which is almost 10 minutes long!)

Kate Carr - One piece of cake (a banana cake), and remembered excavations [Persistence of Sound/Bandcamp]
Kate Carr - Crossing the river: I am getting hungry and lots of people are talking about food. Also Jesus loves me [Persistence of Sound/Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney sound-artist Kate Carr has lived in London for quite a while now, basing her excellent Flaming Pines out of there too. She is one of the most creative artists working with field recordings at the moment, and her latest album Midsummer, London covers a day travelling across the city on the longest day of the year, taking in recordings of trains, traffic, people and wildlife. It's one long work but the track titles give us a lovely insight into her journey. They're not necessary, though, to enjoy the reconstructed journey and the subtle & clever interplay of field recordings and music.

France Jobin + Yamil Rezc - Cómo IIego aqui? [LINE/Bandcamp]
Canadian sound-artist France Jobin has recently been found on ROOM40, and a few years ago had a beautiful release on Editions Mego called Death is perfection, everything else is relative, including a gorgeous collaboration with Klara Lewis. Here she has put together a collaboration with Mexican composer Yamil Rezc, who also makes experimental electronic music as Transgresorcorruptor. Their album Un d​í​a en México was indeed created on one day in Mexico City - well, initially, after which it was edited & refined over the following year. The three tracks - ranging from 5 mins to 10 mins to 30 mins - are beautifully detailed drone works, usually with at least two voices combining in spacious production.

Listen again — ~205MB


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