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Utility Fog


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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, 23rd of November, 2022

Playlist 20.11.22 (11:43 pm)

Original hyperglitch tonight from a shortly-forthcoming album, plus wyrd arcane industrial folk, percussive variations, dub, jungle, iPhone-folk and ambient tape-loops...

LISTEN AGAIN and find what was lost... Podcast here, or stream on demand at FBi.

Metal Preyers - The Preyers Forest [Nyege Nyege Tapes]
Metal Preyers - Ecto Green Code [Nyege Nyege Tapes]
Metal Preyers feat Lord Tusk - Metal Mans Revolt [Nyege Nyege Tapes]
London musician Jesse Hackett and Chicago-based visual artist Mariano Chavez have worked together since 2018 as Teeth Agency, but as an offshoot or alias they have been releasing music via mixtapes and albums for the last couple of years as Metal Preyers on the Kampala-based Nyege Nyege Tapes label. Understanding it as an art project is in some ways helpful in unravelling the dense, polysemous, mysterious music (and I should mention that the visuals are awesome). The first track we heard tonight is one of a few featuring vocals from Hackett's 6-year-old daughter Wonder, and when I first heard it I assumed it was a slightly questionable ethnomusicological sample. Often, though, the provenance of the music seems to be an arcane reconstruction of British folk, or some 20th-century European classical composition - or that intersection-of-weird where proto-industrial and musique concrète meet. As often as not, though, the music does veer into a more contemporary beat-crafting or sound-editing realm, particularly emphasised with collaborators like Lord Tusk. Intriguing and rewarding.

BEFA - bonhomía a garrotazos [Ohm Resistance/Bandcamp]
BEFA - fuego verde [Ohm Resistance/Bandcamp]
Keeping things enigmatic and industrial, we join Spanish artist BEFA with their new album audienteogénica courtesy of Ohm Resistance. It's not immediately clear who BEFA is or what it stands for, but they're an antifascist collage/industrial/ambient/dub artist, well suited to the Ohm Resistance stable. There are a few experimental Spanish acts collaborating here, and notably a couple of contributions from Justin K Broadrick collaborator Dave Cochrane, who played in influential proto-hardcore punk/industrial band Head of David among others. Like Metal Preyers, the music here never quite settles into recognisable dance music genres, but will appeal to lovers of industrial dub and weird sound-art.

T5UMUT5UMU - Bottomless Valley [Hakuna Kulala]
Back to Kampala, where the Nyege Nyege-affiliated Hakuna Kulala label is based. But the Sea of Trees EP, while infused with percussion and influenced by gqom, is from Japanese producer T5UMUT5UMU. As the label says, he manages to take dance music forms of all sorts and rebuild them from the ground up - the title track sounds to me like a twisted take on Samurai-style tribal drum'n'bass, and tonight's cut is a gqom/dembow/half-time thing, with rattling subs.

Coco Bryce - Purim [Myor Bandcamp]
Coco Bryce - I'll Hide U [Myor Bandcamp]
Dutch producer Yoel Bego has gone by Coco Bryce for over a decade - although earlier on he was making hip-hop/dub/downtempo beats as well as skweee. But for some time now he has been a highly creative and talented force in contemporary jungle. He also runs the Myor label, and it's via that imprint that we've been given the 16-track Grand Larceny (Bootlegs 2012-2022) which runs the gamut from hip-hop and skweee through to hardcore and jungle. I admit I don't recognise all the pop tunes that are desecrated here, but I do recognize the cute Yiddish children's song "Chag Purim", sampled in the kind-of happy-hardcore track named for one of the, well, happiest Jewish festivals. And Kosheen's breakout drum'n'bass hit "Hide U" is transformed via pitch-shifting into some kind of horror...

Fracture - Booyaka Style [Astrophonica/Bandcamp]
Fracture - From The Very Top [Astrophonica/Bandcamp]
London drum'n'bass/jungle mainstay Charlie Fieber aka Fracture, also boss of the great Astrophonica label, has just released his new album/mixtape/project 0860, which is a tribute to London's pirate radio (and extending to the pirate radio broadcasts in other UK cities like Manchester & Bristol). At 0860.fm there's a heap of supporting material including interviews with people behind some of the important pirate radio stations, going right back to the '80s. Pirate radio played a big part in rave culture from the beginning, as well as soundsystem culture, and was absolutely central to the "hardcore continuum" of hardcore techno through jungle, drum'n'bass, uk garage, dubstep, grime and more. As Fracture describes, kids would be tuning in well before they could go clubbing themselves, and because anyone within range could tune in, it disseminated the culture far more widely than would have been expected. The Bandcamp download comes with a selection of excellent jungle tunes in Fracture style, as well as a full mixtape with all those tracks mixed in with radio interference, bits of interviews and callouts and the like. Fun stuff.

Ryoji Ikeda - ultratronics 11 [Noton/Codex]
Ryoji Ikeda - C8 :: can(n)on [Touch/Bandcamp]
Ryoji Ikeda - C4 :: contexture [Touch/Bandcamp]
Ryoji Ikeda - C5 :: cuts [Touch/Bandcamp]
Ryoji Ikeda - data.triplex [raster-noton]
Ryoji Ikeda - supercodex 04 [raster-noton]
Ryoji Ikeda - ultratronics 07 [Noton/Codex]
If you've engaged with the art world in the last few years, the world of installations and the interface where performance and installation work meet, you'd be hard pressed to have avoided Ryoji Ikeda. Back in the mid-to-late '90s when his early digital cut-up and glitch works were emerging, primarily on the Touch label, he seemed like a futuristic, very experimental and deliciously obscure artist, whose work bridged cerebral concept-art and experimental electronic dance music. Indeed, his razor-sharp cutting techniques and rhythmic complexity meant that he somehow crossed between the accelerated syncopations of jungle and IDM and the austereness of minimal techno. In recent years, Ikeda has become a giant of the art world, with exhibitions ranging from towers of light outside MONA in Tasmania and next to the Houses of Parliament in London to precise flickering light installations to walk through, under and around, seen in London, at Carriageworks in Sydney, and all around the world... and further, to intense multi-screen data visualisation works such as the one (inside) at MONA and one involving a performance aspect, shown among other places also at Carriageworks. These are often monumental works, and it's pleasing that their size, power and audience-friendliness mean that people are, knowingly or not, consuming his wonderful, complex minimal/maximal glitch music as well. In his audio work - within the installations and on record - Ikeda keeps the masses of data and finely chopped sounds within a rhythmic grid - albeit heavily syncopated. There's a purity to much of the sound: even though he has composed for string quartets and percussion ensembles, much of his work is entirely electronic, and mostly created within the digital realm. Some earlier works concern themselves with sine waves and interference patterns, but I would venture that it's the dense, rhythmic stuff that is most characteristically Ikeda. Ultratronics is his latest album, to be released in a few weeks, following almost a decade after Supercodex. It explores the same themes that have been present for ages - big data from genetics, quantum physics and astronomy, rendered into propulsive digital audio. Ikeda understands that this kind of aural reification requires movement, and light shows with big soundsystems in enclosed rooms can't help but evoke dance clubs. On Ultratronics he reminds of this with voice samples, croaking speech synthesis and even chunky breakbeats. It's wonderful to have a new recording from such an iconoclastic figure.

Mathias Delplanque - Seuil 8 [Ici d'ailleurs/Bandcamp]
We last heard the Burkina Faso-born, Nantes-based Mathias Delplanque on Utility Fog back in July in the very unusual context of his collaboration with veuze player François Robin. There the French bagpipe and other acoustic instruments went up against Delplanque's electronics in a strange parallel dance/folk music. Delplanque has multiple musical origin stories, drawing influences from his childhood in West Africa and a love of Jamaican music, which flows into his electronic music - including the dub techno project Leda - but he is also a composer and sound designer, and he has previously created stunning folk/ambient/sound-art work for Ici d'ailleurs' Mind Travels series. His new album Ô Seuil maintains the core aspects of that previous work, where a plethora of acoustic instruments from around the world meet sound design; but here there's a mighty percussive focus, and alongside the internationalist outlook there's a kind of industrial (or post-industrial?) feel to these rhythmic works - or maybe it's just because I've been listening to those albums at the top of the show tonight...

pole - Alp [Mute/Bandcamp]
Master mastering engineer Stefan Betke has recorded as pole since the late '90s, with his series of glitch-dub albums from 1998 being central works in the mythology of glitch as "revered malfunctions" - in this case, a defective pole filter which made a crackling noise, fizzing and snapping its way through his minimalist works. He also ran the excellent ~scape label with like-minded artists and some very nice compilations. To be honest I found pole hit or miss from the start, and that extends through the dub techno and other phases of his work. But nevertheless there's always the "hit" side, and there are some very tasty sounds to be found here. I can't imagine that the fans will be disappointed.

Stefan Goldmann - Lattice [Ash International/Bandcamp]
Here's a rather arcane and verrrry nice release from Stefan Goldmann, Berlin techno mainstay who is also the son of composer Friedrich Goldmann. Goldmann runs the macro label, releasing his own techno work and other experimental (somewhat) 4/4 techno, while more recently he's explored nonstandard intonation systems and intriguing cross-rhythms - not to mention the most interesting jazz album I've heard recently. But Call and Response, released by the Touch-affiliated experimental/minimalist label Ash International, is even more of a cerebral concept album, based around different kinds of reverb units fed with tiny electronic clicks. From these seeds Goldmann constructs massive drone works that slowly explode or implode, and abstract rhythmless dark-ambient dub. Considering the lack of anything much resembling pitch or rhythm - even on the clicky track I played, which uses reverbs more like tap-delays - it's quite engrossing and varied work.

Chloe Kim 김예지 - My Arrhythmias [Phantom Limb/Bandcamp]
Korean-born drummer Chloe Kim 김예지 is well-known to Sydney music lovers from her performances in many and varied groups in the jazz, improv and even jazz-leaning postrock worlds. Her latest solo release comes via the UK's Phantom Limb, four tracks of her highly inventive and agile drum kit playing (with a tiny smattering of electronic sounds). If you've seen her playing solo live, you'll know that she can be absolutely dazzling, and so it is with the pieces here. "My Arrhythmias" sees her fondly settling in to 6 minutes of intricate skittery patternlessness, homogeneous yet ever changing. A little bit of magic.

Giacomo Zanus - Iro [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
Last week we featured some incredible music from Italian musician Nicholas Remondino aka LAMIEE., whose new piece PATCHWORK was just released by Dutch label Esc.rec as part of a batch of new cassettes. Here's a piece from another of those cassettes, from another Italian: guitarist Giacomo Zanus, whose Inside a frame presents four "sonic frames" inspired by Iranian artist Abbas Kiarostami's final film 24 Frames, in which he digitally animated 24 still photographs. Each of Zanus' four tracks encapsulates a kind of animated stasis - field recordings and electric guitar subject to digital edits in the folktronic style.

Madobe Rika - Stille Nacht [Virgin Babylon/Bandcamp]
A couple of months ago, Japanese label Virgin Babylon introduced us to "virtual girl" Madobe Rika with her Baklava EP. Now she returns with a single track Stille Nacht, which is not a Christmas carol (to my great relief!) but rather a quite pretty piece of indie pop that turns all breakcore in the middle. Just what the doctor ordered.

anrimeal - 1. skin deep [Objects Forever/Bandcamp]
anrimeal - I Am Not [anrimeal Bandcamp]
anrimeal - 14. seat seat seat [Objects Forever/Bandcamp]
anrimeal - 16. narrative pt.3 [Objects Forever/Bandcamp]
Ana Rita de Melo Alves' solo music as anrimeal was one of my favourite discoveries of 2021, via a compilation on The Leaf Library's Objects Forever label. Her 2020 album Could Divine (from which we heard "I Am Not") is a very fine example of "laptop folk", in which acoustic instruments and her voice are manipulated digitally so that real performances and fractured editing blur and merge - all in service of gorgeous melodic songwriting. In 2021, anrimeal released an unusual form of remix album with Could Divine, Remembered, where remixes by fellow travellers are woven into spoken word commentaries and reminiscences about the creative process, and de Melo Alves' own self-reworkings. For Objects Forever, she has now released Skin Deep: A Study on Human Skin and Concert, which is a kind of audio diary of the month of April this year. It's mostly recorded and mixed(!) on iPhone using Voice Notes and GarageBand, with spoken commentary (often disturbingly ASMR - apologies, but ASMR is horrific and creepy, just stating facts), beautiful vignettes on synths, guitar, vocals and guests on harp, violin and other instruments. It's deliberately unpolished and inconclusive - a characteristic of laptop folk, particularly on The Books' masterwork The Lemon of Pink - and serves as a wondrous interlude along the way to the "true" follow-up to Could Divine. I'll keep you posted - now go listen!

Carla dal Forno - Stay Awake [Kallista Records]
From her roots in the experimental/noise/free music scene of Melbourne, to some years making solo music in the UK, now to the country life in Castlemaine (northwest of Melbourne), Carla dal Forno is a distinctive voice in self-produced songwriting. She's a composer of subtle songs that marry deceptively simple melodic catchiness with sparse arrangements that can go from the stripped-down postpunk of guitar/bass/drums to lonely cello, Casio keyboard, buzzing amps or unplaceable electronics. She has taken tips from the sonic experimentation of the noise scene, emptied out the aggression of punk, turned the wistfulness of folk revivalism to her own use, and delivers all this in a deadpan that, at its best, tugs the heartstrings despite - or because of - its muted emotiveness. Her albums are always softly powerful, and Come Around - her second released on her own Kallista Records imprint - is no exception.

Broken Chip - Tree Line [Broken Chip Bandcamp]
Broken Chip - Spool [Broken Chip Bandcamp]
Blue Mountains-based musician Martyn Palmer has made hazy ambient music as Broken Chip for over a decade, often in parallel with his organic beat-making as Option Command. For the last few years, sporadic Broken Chip releases have leaked out - including a beautiful album on Kate Carr's Flaming Pines label. The latest is an EP called Erosion, whose source material is short tape loops of an analogue synth - the Korg Minilogue XD - further treated with granular synthesis. Thus grainy sampling and sound degradation in both the analogue and digital realms contribute to the not-quite-there, out-of-focus feel of this music. The Blue Mountains are named for the blue haze the surrounds them when seen from a distance - perhaps due to volatile compounds emitted by the eucalyptus trees found throughout the region. Here Palmer takes us into a dreamscape in which the once-distant haze envelops us as we wander the valleys and bushland of the ancient mountains. Careful not to get lost!

Listen again — ~203MB


Tuesday, 15th of November, 2022

Playlist 13.11.22 (11:43 pm)

IDM to jungle & breakcore to Indian-British jazz to various unsettling ambient and sound-art veins tonight.

LISTEN AGAIN, new & old, greatest & greatester. Stream on demand via FBi, podcast here.

Plaid - C.A. [Warp/Bandcamp]
Plaid - Return to Return [Warp/Bandcamp]
A new Plaid album is like putting on a familiar pair pf pyjamas. It's comfy, you know what it's like. And yet, analogies aside, they can still surprise - like the jangly guitar number in the middle of new album Feorm Falorx (didn't play it tonight sorry) that still manages to sound like Plaid thanks to those sweet chord changes. And honestly it's the melodies and harmonies that Andy Turner and Ed Handley are so expert at that make every Plaid listen a little joy - which is not to say that they're not rhythm masters too. There are tracks here in 7/8, there's lots of syncopation and head-nodding and booty-rocking. It's Plaid. It's good.

Gimmik - Circles [n5MD/Bandcamp]
Gimmik - Floppy Disk [Toytronic/Bandcamp]
Gimmik - Modulated Youth [n5MD/Bandcamp]
Because I am old, I remember when the ?!Load-Error EP came out from Martin Haidinger's Gimmik, on the Toytronic label he co-founded - co-released with the legendary Worm Interface, based out of the Berwick St, London shop Ambient Soho. Bouncy drill'n'bass and acid that in 1997 marked him as second-gen IDM, but only just. He released a number of albums following this, and migrated gradually to more ambient climes, with n5MD handling his releases for a while now - although Load Error got an expanded CD release in 2005 and is now on Bandcamp. Earlier this year the Sonic Poetry album reprised some of those bouncy beats with new productions from Haidinger, but new release News From The Past takes us right back to those early days, '94-'00. Some of the material was released by Toytronic around the same time as the Load Error reissue, but it's expanded itself now digitally, with a vinyl version also available. It's lovely stuff for thoes who enjoy crunchy beats and melodies à la µ–Ziq - indeed, it's notable that ?!Load-Error EP came out the same year as µ-Ziq's currently-celebrated Lunatic Harness, so, you know... It comes complete with a beatless faux-classical gem of the type Mike Paradinas would've been proud of.

Pixl - Chimes (2015) [Pixl Bandcamp]
Leeds-based junglist Laurie Smart has been releasing tunes since around 2015 as Pixl or Pixl23. He's just dropped three excellent tracks on his Bandcamp uner the banner Some Old Jungle - although "old" isn't early '90s in this case. Nevertheless, the two 2015 tunes and one from 2020 are class acts, in no way bottom-of-drawer stuff. Turn up your subwoofer and get ready to dance.

Ahm - Call [Anterograde/Bandcamp]
Ahm - Mindspeech [Anterograde/Bandcamp]
Keep those subs pumping - Naarm/Melbourne producer Andrew Huhtanen McEwan aka Ahm is returning with their third EP for Anterograde, and Ansible is all sci-fi all jungle all the time. An ansible is a faster-than-light or near-instantaneous communication device, invented by the great Ursula K Le Guin, and McEwan was attracted to the idea during Covid lockdowns, where formerly short distances could feel intergalactic. The EP is out on Monday the 21st of Nov, so this is a preview of two rich, dark, complex drum'n'bass tunes.

Hextape - >:) [Powertrip]
Hextape - What Temperature Do You Keep The Magnet At [Powertrip]
Ahm's new EP also features a remix from Hextape, the breakcore/electronic alias of Naarm/Melbourne artist and organiser Bridget Chappell. But this week also sees the release of Chappell's new Hextape album >:) (angry smiley). Being scanned in an MRI machine reminded Chappell (as it has me as well) of a particularly intense noise gig or rave, and that led them to approach the Melbourne Brain Centre to let them record the machine's pings and ka-chunks and buddabuddabuddas as source material a kind of imagined rave. A Cypress Hill sample at the start of the title track reminds us (in the funnest way possible) of the stigma of brain illness, and Chappell's multitracked cello lines on a number of tracks acts as a stand-in for the suffering patient, interjected at times by MRI chirps. The MRI's own rhythms are usurped mostly by Chappell's own beats, drawing from drum'n'bass and techno, stuttering and glitching like a malfunctioning machine, although the functionality of an MRI machine does not map easily on to a 4/4 grid, so your personal rave is naturally rather avant-garde. It's a great idea, very well executed.

ALXZNDR - M4 [DEEP MEDi/Bandcamp]
London-based Alex Frosell is also classically-trained, and his melodic talents show on his latest EP as ALXZNDR, his debut on the great dubstep label DEEP MEDi. 140bpm music, whether dubstep or grime, lends itself to a certain kind of harmonic movement, and Frosell understands how to move those interrelated chords around a slow, syncopated bassline with plenty of dub-derived space. A great collection of dancefloor-welcoming tunes.

NERVE - MIRRORWISE (E.F. VERSION) [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
I've played this track before from Melbourne's Joshua Wells aka NERVE, but it's now the lead track on his forthcoming EP Meridian Blaze, to be released in February 2023 by Melbourne heavy-hitters Heavy Machinery Records on a limited slab of heavy wax. NERVE has tended towards fast-moving techno that edges into drum'n'bass territory; here the tempo is slower but the drum'n'bass breaks still creep in. It's dark and nimble, and there's no doubt the rest of the EP will deliver in spades.

Sarathy Korwar - Back In The Day, Things Were Not Always Simpler (feat. Noni-Mouse) [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Sarathy Korwar - KALAK - A Means To An Unend [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Sarathy Korwar - To Remember (feat. Kushal Gaya) [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Three years after the brilliant More Arriving, British-Indian drummer & composer Sarathy Korwar follows it up with another brilliant combination of Indian music with jazz, electronics and hip-hop influences. KALAK is entirely co-produced with Photay, but the American producer is deeply sensitive to Korwar's vision, cleaving close to the sound of the last album, but giving it bass heft where needed, and clarity to the rich arrangements. This time round the spoken word seems to be from Korwar himself, explaining colonialism and racism in a poetic but plain-spoken way. But there are also wonderful Indian vocals soaring over some of the beats, including Mumbai's Radha Priya aka Noni-Mouse, and Kushal Gaya of Melt Yourself Down. Essential.

Christina Vantzou - Red Eel Dream [kranky/Bandcamp]
Christina Vantzou - Greeting [kranky/Bandcamp]
This album was something of a surprise to me. I know Christina Vantzou as a composer of highly minimalist music, right from her earliest work as one half of The Dead Texan with Stars Of The Lid's Adam Wiltzie. It's not that No. 5 isn't quiet and minimalist, but it's nevertheless full of movement and variation, constructed in a collage-like way from 17 musicians' performances. It's not quite the ADHD channel-flipping of certain contemporary artists, but the odd juxtapositions and shifts are very enjoyable, as are the intrusions of different sonic spaces, presumably derived both from the disjoint recordings and from post-processing. It's beautiful music that places classical vignettes in a sound-art setting.

Marc Richter - CHAPTER FIVE [Cellule 75]
Marc Richter - CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE [Cellule 75]
Hamburg's Marc Richter is best known as Black To Comm, under which name he's released albums on Thrill Jockey as well as various experimental labels - including his own Dekorder, which he's run for a couple of decades now. While Dekorder is still running as far as I know, his new album under his own name appears on Cellule 75, his label that has been active for a few years now too. MM∞XX Vol.1 & 2 really sounds very like Black To Comm, which is great because Black To Comm is awesome - but it is in fact a highly collaborative affair, made up of samples provided by 33 artists, including UFog faves like Machinefabriek, Jerusalem In My Heart, Richard Youngs, Christoph de Babalon, Maja Ratkje, Frédéric D. Oberland of Oiseaux-Tempête, GRM's François Bonnet (aka Kassel Jaeger) and many more. At times these artists' contributions surface recognizably, but by and large its orchestrator and composer imposes his characteristic vision: organic-feeling collage, cinematic, surreal musical storytelling, humour and dankness. Oh and it's released as a double CD, which is an instant thumbs up from me.

Yara Asmar - Jumana [Norient/Bandcamp]
Elyse Tabet & Jawad Nawfal - Coast III [Norient/Bandcamp]
Switzerland-based online gallery/magazine/community Norient have a series called Norient City Sounds (Nairobi featured earlier this year), and this week released Beirut Adrift, compiled by Beirut-based writer Rayya Badran. It's a very personal selection of music, ranging from ambient soundscapes to industrial pop and trip-hop to acoustic soundscapes. Filmmaker, puppeteer and musician Yara Asmar contributes a piece for (I think) accordion and subtle percussion, beautiful wheezing sounds, while Elyse Tabet (aka Litter) and Jawad Nawfal accompany organic samples with chattering percussion.

LAMIEE. - Locè [Jungle Gym Records/LAMIEE. Bandcamp]
Ōtonn - Breathe [small forms/Bandcamp]
LAMIEE., hystrix kitsch - PATCHWORK. (excerpt) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
LAMIEE. - INN 1 (excerpt) [Never Anything Records]
We finish with a number of selections from Italian artists Nicholas Remondino, whose LAMIEE. project has barely existed for two years, but has already racked up 10 releases of various lengths. I discovered him in the latest batch of releases - all excellent, short cassettes - from Dutch label Esc.rec - and it turns out that I'd already heard Remondino in his duo Ōtonn with experimental musician Andrea Silvia Giordano, on Esc.rec's Two Crumbling Shapes last year. That excellent album combines contemporary classical composition & improvisation from collaborators on various wind & string instruments with very contemporary electronic editing & processing. I have since discovered Ōtonn's previous release, Tawny, released in 2020 on Viennese label small forms, featuring a similar mix of experimental noise and acoustic instrumentation (tonight's track also features spoken word from Graham Rix). Remondino's solo work is even more wide-ranging. Locè has a blissfully distorted shoegaze sensibility, leaning into the psychedelic noise aspect; INN, which we excerpted tonight, is two long tracks of synth patterns and overdriven percussion, and there's lots more (just search the very distinctive name on Bandcamp!) - but PATCHWORK, the single-track 16-minute work which prompted me to explore his catalogue, is a tour de force collaging everything including the kitchen sink, in collaboration with the "almost imaginary ensemble" hystrix kitsch (Remondino on drums, voice, synth and sampler, plus friends on voice, bass, tenor sax and artwork (it's very cool artwork)). Even in the first 5 or so minutes that I played, there's digital processing, some kind of trap-meets-cabaret, glitching noise-techno, electro-acoustic ambient with field recordings, and if you check out the rest you'll hear chugging indie/shoegaze, frenetic folktronica, some kind of distorted free jazz drumming and more(?) - it may not be hyperpop, but it's certainly hyper. I recommend you take the same deep dive I did this week and enjoy the spoils.

Listen again — ~209MB


Tuesday, 8th of November, 2022

Playlist 06.11.22 (8:18 pm)

UuuuuutilitilitilitilityFfffffffogggggg!

As we were preparing the text for this week's episode, the news came of the death from ovarian cancer of Mimi Parker from Low. She'd been sick all year but this was nevertheless absolutely heartbreaking and I spent Monday listening to nothing but Low. An angelic voice and a beautiful person. RIP.

LISTEN AGAIN to Sunday's show, because there's so much to listen to! Music is good! Stream on demand the FBi way, podcast here.

The Leaf Library - Agnes In The Square [Where It's At Is Where You Are/The Leaf Library Bandcamp]
The Leaf Library - Badminton House [Where It's At Is Where You Are/The Leaf Library Bandcamp]
I've been following London's ever-versatile drone-pop/space-rock band The Leaf Library for some years. They have a talent for melodic indiepop hooks and krautrock grooves, but are just as happy making minimalist sound-art pieces, being remixed and remixing others, or taking those kraut-pop grooves into stratospheric 20-minute hypno-jams. Our opening track tonight originally came from a Second Language comp and displays their pop prowess, while the second comes from a 2012 Olympic-themed compilation from their current label Where It's At Is Where You Are, and seems to model its beats on hits of badminton racquets.

Lueenas - In The Search feat. Emma Acs [Barkhausen Recordings/Bandcamp]
Lueenas - Gaia [Barkhausen Recordings/Bandcamp]
A few weeks ago I played two preview tracks from this incredible self-titled album from Danish duo Lueenas. Here are two more. They are Ida Duelund on double bass, drum machine, Moog bass and "pedals", and Maria Jagd on violin and pedals. The string instruments are the core, but some of the best material comes when the violin is screeching through distortion and the double bass is producing thundering drones. That said, tonight's selections are both on the more subdued side, including a gorgeous piece of almost-jazz featuring a touching vocal from Emma Acs (whose current band is Evil House Party). Through the album there are filmic violin swells, drones, thudding rhythms from the instruments' bodies, and groaning noise drones as well as beautiful pizzicato lines and delicate string interactions. Very special stuff.

Pleasure - BE SAFE (YOU CAN GET NALOXONE IN NSW WITHOUT PRESCRIPTION FROM ANY PHARMACY) 191012 [Disasters By Choice/Bandcamp]
Pleasure - HARDLY 210203 [Disasters By Choice/Bandcamp]
Sydney's Pleasure are a trio of drums and synths and occasionally other instruments, all talented multi-instrumentalists. They're led by Adam Connelly, with Hugh Deacon and the ever-busy Jonathan Boulet (look! He has a Wikipedia page!) Their music is always improvised, but unlike their great album from last year that was all recorded in Saint Albans, Chop Wood, Carry Water collects bits from the last 3 years or so. It's motorik at times, a bit postpunk, it's primitive but sophisticated (yup) and also just plain fun.

CS + Kreme - Would You Like A Vampire (feat. Bridget St. John) [The Trilogy Tapes/Bandcamp]
CS + Kreme - Pink Mist [The Trilogy Tapes/Bandcamp]
The work of Conrad Standish and Sam Karmel as CS + Kreme seems representative of a certain segment of the Melbourne experimental music scene, with Karmel's history in bands like Bum Creek, while Standish (brother of HTRK's Jonnine) has inhabited the indie rock sphere for a couple of decades. The CS + Kreme duo has seemed to relish a kind of shapelessness, from smooth lo-fi electro-pop on their early EPs through to gradually more jagged edges and post-punk/dub aesthetics from the much-loved Snoopy LP a couple of years ago. Now comes Orange, an even greater departure into post-punk experimentalism, with bubbling drum machine patterns, disembodied vocal samples, a little spooky cocktail jazz piano (maybe that's a stretch) and a side-long drone, distortion & drum machine opus with help from James Rushford on various keyboard instruments. For my money, this is by far their best effort and a 2022 essential.

Deepchild - Songs You'll Never Hear [A Strangely Isolated Place/Bandcamp]
Deepchild - Now It Is Me Being Breathed The Veil Breaks [A Strangely Isolated Place/Bandcamp]
Sydney prodigal son Deepchild was a regular on 2ser and FBi for many years who started making beats around the same I did in the late '90s, and was comfortably ensconsed in the Berlin club scene, playing at the likes of Berghain for years. He released his stunning Fathersong on Mille Plateaux earlier this year, and its follow-up Mycological Patterns is now out on ambient/idm blog-turned-label A Strangely Isolated Place. It's a one-two punch of ambient techno bliss from an artist of great depth who found immense success among a small cadre of music-makers and connoisseurs but struggled to break out in the way he deserved. Some of the half-forgotten club and pop sounds filtered through grainy delays and drones from Fathersong are echoed here (on both of tonight's selections), but this fungal-themed album also harnesses Holly Herndon's Holly+ voice model on two tracks, and sneaks into beatless techno territory on some more uplifting compositions. Wonderful stuff.

Christophe Bailleau & Friends - The Dream Card [Optical Sound/Bandcamp]
Christophe Bailleau & Friends - Mère Nature [Optical Sound/Bandcamp]
French label Optical Sound specialises in French sound-art from cross-disciplinary artists, although from further away, Simon Fisher Turner, Robin Guthrie and others have turned up there on occasion. On new album Shooting Stars Can Last, Belgian "free musician" Christophe Bailleau decided to bring some community to lockdown life by inviting friends to provide field recordings, electronic programming, instrumental soundscapes and the like for this hybrid album. The result is a work that rejects easy classification, at times offering up glitchily-edited folktronica, at times post-classical pastiche, at times gothic chanson-dub. Whatever it is, it's compelling listening, and a little window into the francophone sound-art scene.

Loom & Thread - Causal Ambiguity [Macro/Bandcamp]
Loom & Thread - O**ne* [Macro/Bandcamp]
Leipzig/Berlin band Loom & Thread aim to turn the traditional jazz piano trio inside-out, much like pianist Tom Schneider's other band KUF do to dance-pop. Tobi Fröhlich on double bass and Daniel Klein on drums are immaculate jazz players, and Schneider is a brilliant jazz pianist, but his nimble playing is also fed back into the trio improvisations by way of his sampler: sped up, stuttered into static clouds of notes, shifted in time. We're told this happens in real-time but if so, he's masterfully controlling the sampler simultaneously with his keyboard gymnastics... I feel like there are digital re-edits of the jazz improvs, but in any case this is a brilliant and unique take on post-jazz, with moments of true beauty and dazzling sections of both instrumental prowess and technological creativity.

Tim Reaper - Elephant Workshops [Future Retro]
UK junglist and collaborator extraordinaire Tim Reaper often uses his own labels as a platform to cross-promote jungle & drum'n'bass producers around the world in team-ups, but here he's finally dropping a solo EP on his Future Retro label. Submerged Into Darkness really is some of the hardest and darkest stuff I've heard from him in a while, but then we get "Elephant Workshops", with a notably delicate & pretty piano intro and fleet-footed beats with sub-bass support and melancholy melodicism. Among his best tunes.

Hooverian Blur - Kill Chain [Sneaker Social Club]
On his second Sneaker Social Club EP of the year, UK rave obscurantist Hooverian Blur starts in jungle tekno territory before accelerating into syncopated jungle break-juggling.

Godwin. - Switchin Sidewayz Ft Outsider YP [Godwin. Bandcamp]
Strange Boy - Bronson (Godwin. Rmx Ft. JME) [Godwin. Bandcamp]
Hailing from Ireland, Godwin. is a producer known mostly for smooth r'n'b and hip-hop beats that have graced various rappers & singers from Ireland and beyond. In March he released his solo instrumental album The Beginning, but he's keen to show his versatility and the appropriately-titled Unexpected is a excursion mostly into jungle & drum'n'bass, accompanied by various MCs both sampled and collaborative. Fellow Irishman Outsider YP joins him on "Switchin Sidewayz", and also included is a junglist re-cut of a recent single from Limerick rapper Strange Boy, with added vox grabbed from grime original JME. On the EP this segues straight into some pitch-perfect ragga jungle. At 20 years old, Godwin. is on an upward trajectory.

Vaal - 4th Generation Smart Phone [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
Vaal - Song Zero [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
Eliot Sumner has been producing electronic music as Vaal for around a decade, but only started releasing it relatively recently. They are also known as a singer & songwriter under their own name, both for punk/post-punk and electro-pop, as well as an actor - and if you recognize the surname, that's because they are indeed the child of Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting, with actress Trudie Styler. The name Vaal was taken as a way of being anonymous, and even though "Eliot Sumner" is connected with this album, the family connection goes unnoted. And while I have to admit that the Police and Sting's early solo music were among the first rock & pop I became a fan of as a schoolkid, there's near-zero connection with this particular music at all - it's just really fucking good. Unlike Nosferatu, their 2019 album that was much more along techno lines, this album incorporates breakbeats galore, from drum'n'bass and drill'n'bass (see "4th Generation Smart Phone") to more trip-hop like stylings, along with noisy but cinematic guitars and electronics. It's really very Bedouin Records, which is always a drawcard.

Lårry - CMmL_CoE3 [BleeD]
Berlin-based Lårry has released EPs previously on labels like Super Hexagon and Awkwardly Social. His new mini-album out from revived London techno label BleeD, titled Over The Why, showcases leftfield techno at a broad range of tempos, with IDM and bass influences. Maybe it's because I love me some bass, or maybe it's just because this is really well-done, but this seems to me great stuff to enjoy on headphones, in the car or to slip into a DJ set. Follow the BleeD Bandcamp as it's not up for pre-order, but it's out on Nov 18th.

Gantz - spineless [Gantz Bandcamp]
Turkish dubstep & experimental electronic producer Gantz has been on a Bandcamp rampage all year - actually much longer - and if you're much of a UFog listener you will be have been reminded of this fact quite frequently. He's just ported across his EPs originally released on V.I.V.E.K's Innamind Recordings, including the excellent Pusher Acid, but there's a small difference there: the original opening track "Axxon N" (which is great btw) has been replaced with the sparse and creepy "spineless", which you may be able to identify as sampling The Weeknd's huge choon "Earned It". Yikes!

JK Flesh - Cruiser [Pressure]
JK Flesh - Crawler [Pressure]
If you know me at all, you know that Justin K Broadrick is one of my heroes. He's voraciously creative in many spheres, from foundational grindcore/metal with Napalm Death, even more foundational industrial metal with Godflesh, wondrous shoegaze metal as Jesu, and meanwhile the ambient/dub/techno/hip-hop of Techno Animal and Ice with Kevin Martin aka The Bug (recently reformed as Zonal) and his other electronic work including a series of drum'n'bass 12"s as Tech Level 2 (also recently revived!) - not to mention the drone/noise of Final and countless other projects. Earlier this year he released an incredible IDM album under his Pale Sketcher moniker, and meanwhile the JK Flesh alias, initially a kind of mutant dubstep thing, has been an outlet for harsh and dirty industrial techno, often veering into surprisingly high tempos, but for the superb new Sewer Bait album for Kevin Martin's own Pressure label the tempo slows right down to super scuzzy, pummelling but somehow, dare I say... comforting? Put this on in a dark room with a bunch of like-minded folk and joyfully wallow in the negative vibes.

Listen again — ~206MB


Monday, 31st of October, 2022

Playlist 30.10.22 (11:18 pm)

Tonight we go from dancehall and percussive beats through IDM and jungle to postpunk, glitch, postrock, neo-classical and folk.

LISTEN AGAIN - somebody has to! Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Lady Lykez - Woza (Feat. Toya Delazy) [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Lady Lykez - Bully Dem [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
The entire Woza EP from Lady Lykez is produced by Scratchclart aka Scratcha DVA - it's their second EP together, and it's a perfect pairing. The north Londoner grew up as a battling MC, but here she leans heavily into the dancehall connections of UK hip-hop and dance music, as well as the South African ampiano influences that Scratcha has been championing for some time. The SA connection is cemented with an appearance on the title track from London-based Zulu princess (true!) Toya Delazy. The beats are infectious, the rhymes cutting and frequently hilarious. It's fun and sharp.

DJ Plead - Louca [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Sydney's Jared Beeler aka DJ Plead returns to the great Bristol label Livity Sound with another selection of beats that combine global dance styles with the percussion patterns and melodies of his Lebanese background. Beeler cut his teeth making cutting-edge beats for beloved Sydney trio BV/Black Vanilla before going it alone, and has moved from strength to strength. Bringing traditional rhythms into the electronic dance realm is a popular and exciting development at the moment, but there's an argument to be made that DJ Plead was at the vanguard, and he continues to elegantly forge his own path.

Molotof - Omara [Rakete]
Down and across from Lebanon now we head to Cairo, with a short album by Molotof on the young Egyptian label Rakete. Molotof takes off from the Egyptian urban style of mahraganat, but the beats owe more to techno, with local percussion rhythms weaving in as well. This is a different strain of Egyptian electronic music from the stuff I've featured previously - ZULI, Abadir, 3Phaz et al. Let's not forget the psych rock and free jazz bubbling along as well - the Egyptian music scene is thriving.

SCALPING - Flashforward (Squid Remix) [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
I almost missed this when it appeared in my Bandcamp feed. I've really enjoyed the electronic rock of SCALPING on Houndstooth, and actually I've also liked the jagged postpunk of fellow Bristolians Squid (one of those rock bands you're surprised to find on Warp), but I couldn't figure what a remix from them would be like. It turns out, very good! There's a ravey aspect which is more in common with SCALPING than Squid, and the remix goes in a few directions over its almost 6 minutes.

Ryterski - Rimworld [Pointless Geometry]
Polish composer Rafał Ryterski studied classical composition, but is equally influenced by glitch & idm - and on Gaymers' Cheatsheet there's no small amount of hyperpop in there too. The hyperpop genre itself blends idm & glitch with frenetic computer game soundtracks (which in turn are influenced by jungle and rave), and many of its proponents emphasise queer identity, so Ryerski's identification as a gaymer fits well into this aesthetic. I'm particularly interested in how this material fits into the strains of reconstructed jungle that are bubbling around at the moment - so this is also a nice segue into the new two tracks.

µ-Ziq - Iggy's Song [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
µ-Ziq - Green Chaos [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
I may have gotten overexcited about this one - the Hello EP from Mike Paradinas aka µ-Ziq is out this coming Friday, so here's a couple of previews. To my ears it's got some of the best material from his yearlong revival of the melodic, experimental tribute to jungle that was his 1997 album Lunatic Harness, re-released as a double album with many contemporary tracks in the middle of the year. Meanwhile we've had the Goodbye EP earlier in the year, the Magic Pony Ride album alongside the Lunatic Harness reissue, and now the series is completed with Hello. Mike was in Australia at the start of September, playing Infinity Worm in Canberra and a club show in Melbourne, and I remember the rather irritating child's scream running through one track! That's "Iggy's Song", with a pitch-shifted sample of Mike's son, and on record it's a lot less irritating! In general there's a darker quality to the tracks on this EP, but Mike's irrepressible melodic sense still shines through, and it's got some of the most tricksy yet danceable beats. Yes! Hello!! Yes!!!

Lakker - Dredger [Lakker Bandcamp]
All year Dublin-via-Berlin duo Lakker have been releasing a rave-influenced EP a month on their Bandcamp. October, of course, brings LKRTRX010, which may be the best so far. Jungle and jungle tekno vibes here, killer rhythms and deep synth pads, just how we like it in UFog Towers.

ASC - Hindsight [Auxillary]
Sometime during the pandemic, acclaimed US producer James Clements returned to jungle & drum'n'bass with a vengeance. The ASC name has been associated with grey area techno & ambient for some time, but before that it was autonomic drum'n'bass, and now he's churning out dark jungle and d'n'b at such a rate that this month there are two simultaneously released 4-track EPs: Quantum State is this one, and the other is A Storm In Space. Definite sci-fi vibes on both, from blissful rolling breaks to complex chop-ups, lots of sub-rattling bass and warm, saturated pads. Delicious.

Moin - Melon [AD93/Bandcamp]
Moin - Foot Wrong [AD93/Bandcamp]
Tom Halstead and Joe Andrews's Raime have been a favourite of mine and many others since their earliest releases over 10 years ago. Since the start they've been equally influenced by the propulsive breakbeats of jungle & UK hardcore on the one hand, and the angular basslines & riffs of postpunk on the other. Also characteristic of Raime's tracks is the finely chopped vocal sample - often just a single phoneme, crying out on a syncopated accent, adding to the tautness of their funk as well as the disqueting aura. The brilliant drummer Valentina Magaletti has often been a silent partner on Raime releases, and for the last two albums in their side-project Moin, Magaletti is a full-time third member. Both Paste and last year's Moot! find them extending the root tendencies of Raime, but with far more emphasis on live guitar and bass - drawing postpunk into hardcore territory - and those disquieting vocal chops are now extended into full phrases, usually American-accented, divorced from context but often more than a little sinister. Scary? Scary good.

Zacharias Szumer x Raung Jagat Synthetic - Soleiman, Jule (Atavistic Jam Module) [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
Zacharias Szumer x Raung Jagat Synthetic - Thena, Idrus, Hilga (Afterlife) [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
Last year Indonesian musician Rully Shabara, singer in Senyawa and many other projects, released an album of Synthetic Vocabulary - a collection of AI-generated (whatever that means) voices. Naarm/Melbourne musician and writer Zacharias Szumer liked these sounds so much that he decided to remix them into equally uncanny electronic songs. The named voices are credited on each track, sometimes "singing" together, pitch-bent into melodies by Szumer, who accompanies them with glitchy beats. It's a bizarre cousin of Vocaloid or the Laurie Anderson cut-ups on Jean-Michel Jarre's Zoolook, but really it's its own thing.

Oiseaux-Tempête - Black Elephant [Sub Rosa/Nahal/Bandcamp]
Oiseaux-Tempête - Nu.e.s Sous La Comète [Sub Rosa/Nahal/Bandcamp]
When I first discovered Oiseaux-Tempête, around 2014, it was in the context of their first album being remixed by folks like Machinefabriek, Scanner, Do Make Say Think and others. Core members are guitarist Frédéric D. Oberland, bassist Stéphane Pigneul and Paul Régimbeau aka Mondkopf, but not only do all three play a multitude of other instruments and sound-makers, they are regularly joined by musicians from around the world such that their postrock/psych rock/kraut/kosmische sensibilities are augmented by North African and Middle Eastern musicians, among others. On many recent albums they've been joined on a few tracks by the wonderful singer G.W.Sok, for decades the frontman of Dutch anarcho-punks The Ex, and he's here on the nearly-12-minute "A Man Alone (In A One Man Poem)" - and that's not even the album's longest track! Leave that to the 20-minute "The Crying Eye — I Forget", which features the brilliant Radwan Ghazi Moumneh aka Jerusalem In My Heart. Tonight, however, we have neither of them (partly for reasons of space!) - but we do hear from Ben Shemie of Suuns on the first track - another Montréaler like Moumneh. Jessica Moss cements the Montréal postrock connection, appearing on one track too, and that takes us conveniently to the next album...

set fire to flames - there is no dance in frequency and balance [Alien8/130701/Bandcamp]
set fire to flames - two tears in a bucket [Alien8/130701/Bandcamp]
Back in 2001, in the earlyish years of the Montréal postrock bloom, a bunch of musicians from many of the bands in the scene got together to record a sprawling album under the name set fire to flames. The album was so good that the Fat Cat folks were inspired to start a sister label, 130701, to release it (it came out through the legendary experimental label Alien8 in Canada). As 130701 tell it, the vinyl pressing sold out almost straight away and has been out of print ever since, so 21 years later they have remastered and re-released it on vinyl. It has a familiar dreamy, collagey quality to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt Zion, but take a look at the member list at the bottom of this page to see their provenance - Esmerine, Hiss Tracts, Hanged Up, Sackville, Exhaust, Fly Pan Am and more are represented. After a slow-growing, then explosive post/krautrock number, we then heard a fragile piece of string magic from Becky Foon, Geneviève Heistek and Sophie Trudeau which takes us into the next few tracks.

Nonsemble - Pelagornis [Nonsemble Bandcamp]
So here's Chris Perren's neo-classical-cum-postrock group Nonsemble, with their album Archaeopteryx, each track celebrating a different prehistoric bird. The Pelagornis was a sea bird with a 6 metre wingspan, and it's represented with perhaps the most peaceful track, in which the strings creep in before becoming rhythmic, underscored by Perren's electronics, which never overwhelm the acoustic instruments. For this project, Nonsemble is primarily a string quartet plus electronics, although there are live drums and piano on the title track. These tracks are lovely in themselves, but it's worth also noting the two singles, which come with remixes from Madeleine Cocolas on Argenativis and MJ O'Neill on Phorusrhacos.

Jacaszek, Romke Kleefstra, Jan Kleefstra - Leafst Sjoch Ik Nei Beammen [Moving Furniture Records/Bandcamp]
For some reason this collaboration is not one I'd expected. Polish composer / producer Michał Jacaszek is known for his classical-tinged electronic music and for collaborations with contemporary classical ensembles; Dutch brothers Romke & Jan Kleefstra are guitarist and poet/vocalist and collaborate on mysterious, minimalist music with folks like Rutger Machinefabriek Zuydervelt in projects like Piiptsjilling. Yet the artists meld together like they were always meant to be - stirring drones from Romke, string arrangements and buried beats from Jacaszek and poetry in Frisian - a language only found in the northern region of the Netherlands called Friesland - from Jan. The IT DEEL project finds the Kleefstras partnering with Frisian cultural organisation Popfabryk, making works about environmental decline and damage to nature - in this case, the damage to the beautiful ancient forests of Friesland, in particular Oranjewoud. But few people in the world can understand Frisian, and as with the other works from the Kleefstra Bros, the music and atmosphere is more than enough regardless.

Pattern Recognition Machines - The Garden of the Tuilleries [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
So here's the second release this week from the resurrected New Weird Australia New Editions - Stuart Buchanan is not only compiling excellent compilations for NWA, but also releasing artist editions like Zacharias Szumer's above and this one. Pattern Recognition Machines started as a duo of drummer Sam Price and electronics from Vijay Thillaimuthu, but for this new album they are joined by veteran experimental musician Robert Vincs on "woodwind" (lots of sax but evidently other instruments) and Chloë Sobek on violone (a relative of the double bass) and electronics. There are dirty grooves and wailing noise on this release, but I really liked the scrabbling non-music/music of this particular track.

Yair Elazar Glotman - A Mirror [SA Recordings/Bandcamp]
Yair Elazar Glotman - A Path [SA Recordings/Bandcamp]
When I first discovered Berlin-based musician Yair Elazar Glotman via his wonderful submerged techno as KETEV. But Glotman's sonorous double bass playing and his skills as a sound-artist have been the focus of his solo career, and on top of this he spent some years working closely with the great Jóhann Jóhannsson in his soundtrack work before the composer's untimely death. New album Speculative Memories finds Glotman in introspective mode, with the music spinning out from memories of his childhood in the Galilee, into more abstract evocations of scents, sounds and sights. Jóhannsson's influence is found in the beautiful vocal contributions from Sara Fors, while Glotman on double bass is also joined by trombone, bowed guitar, violin and viola. It is in some ways a modern classical album, but Glotman inserts field recordings and sound-art techniques into the analogue recordings, with tape manipulation credited to Glotman's alias Mephisto Wunderbar. It's an enveloping, at times almost heartbreaking work to sink into.

June McDoom - Babe, You Light Me Up [Temporary Residence/Bandcamp]
In July I was blown away by the first released track "The City" from new Temporary Residence signing June McDoom. So it's a joy to have her debut, self-titled EP now available. It's a shame "The City" isn't on here, but the five new tracks take a similar approach. McDoom plays all instruments and sings the soft vocals. She draws from her Jamaican heritage as well as her love of classic folk artists, classic r'n'b and reggae - I can't help thinking of early-to-mid period Grizzly Bear. There's a hazy analogue sheen to these songs, with instruments all melding together so that you hardly notice the beats in the mix even as you're nodding your head. McDoom has a keen ear for melody and harmony, making these the most gently catchy songs you're likely to hear this year.

Listen again — ~206MB


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Monday, 24th of October, 2022

Playlist 23.10.22 (12:15 am)

Strange ambiences, with strange songs and strange settings, and some strange beats tonight.
Thanks once again to Marcus Whale for kindly filling in for me last week when I was too busy!

LISTEN AGAIN before the gibbering aliens eat your brainwaves. It's too late for me, but your can save yourself! Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi!

Brian Eno - who gives a thought [Opal/UMC]
Brian Eno - garden of stars [Opal/UMC]
It's strangely surprising that foreverandevernomore is the first Brian Eno album of songs in a long time. "It's not an ambient album!" claim all the stories, but... it kind of is? There are no beats, there are beautiful glacial keyboards. Eno is hardly known only for his pioneering ambient music (and for coining the term). Alongside producing huge bands across many musical eras, he has a rich heritage of songwriting himself, and no surprise, there are some beautifully moving songs here - appropriately for the subject matter, which is a kind of elegy for the world that might have been. Yes, Eno continues to urge humanity to do better - on climate change, on sociopolitics - but the muted, wistful tone here is not exactly a call to arms. It's also not an entirely solo album as I expected - yes, there are Eno children singing on a couple of tracks, but also a number of his other well-known collaborators, including his brother Roger Eno, the excellent experimental guitarist & producer Leo Abrahams, and good ol' Jon Hopkins, who in fact composed one of the loveliest tracks on the album, sung by experimental folk singer Clodagh Simonds. Of the two songs I chose tonight, "who gives a thought" only features Abrahams, adding soft drones to Eno's ode to the dispossessed - it struck me as something like Dead Can Dance's Brendan Perry, or David Sylvian or even Scott Walker, but Eno's voice is not as rich as any of those. On "garden of stars", as with a number of tunes, Eno applies digital effects to his voice (software designer Peter Chilvers is also here, playing keyboards), as well as inviting Roger Eno's daughter Cecily to sing (and Roger plays accordion). It's an immensely affecting album.

Jane Sheldon - Put my eyes out: I can see you [Jane Sheldon Bandcamp]
Jane Sheldon - In the deep nights I dig for you [Jane Sheldon Bandcamp]
Australian soprano Jane Sheldon may be best known to Utility Fog and indeed FBi listeners as the singer in the brilliant early 2000s genre-crushing ensemble Gauche, but like many of the band's members, she has forged a phenomenal career, hers in contemporary vocal music. Her incredible new solo album I am a tree, I am a mouth draws its lyrics from the poetry of Rainer Maria Rilke in his Book of Hours, a collection of pantheistic odes to God. Sheldon's compositions call for two voices (both sung by her) that harmonise and separate over the eerie, enveloping sound of gong resonances, distended, re-pitched and edited into dronescapes. At times crackling, glitchy textures bubble to the surface - the technology used to produce these pieces is integral to the final works, even though Sheldon's settings of the German lyrics, her compositions and her exquisite vocal technique recall classical & romantic Lieder. You won't hear any other music quite like this anywhere else, and you shouldn't miss this!

SURACHAI | FYOHNA - But You Remember [BL_K Noise]
It can be hard to keep up with what Surachai Sutthisasanakul is going to sound like on each release, having buzzed and hammered between IDM, grindcore/doom metal, breakcore, noise and ambient over many releases in the last decade and a bit. Lately there have been a number of experimental, dark ambient-ish albums produced on modular gear. That gear is no doubt behind the new Violet EP, but this collaboration with singer Fyohna is a lovely, if short, collection of dark electronic pop songs. There's a bit of trip-hop in there, as is the style these days, tied up with Surachai's great talent for sound design and Fyohna's silky vocals.

Lucrecia Dalt - Dicen [RVNG Intl/Bandcamp]
Lucrecia Dalt - Enviada [RVNG Intl/Bandcamp]
Now, this. THIS is album of the year right here. One of the albums of the year, for sure. I've followed Lucrecia Dalt through her early hazy, increasingly experimental indie works (including a gorgeous early collaboration with Canberra's Spartak - find her as Lucrecia Perez on "Second-Half Clouded" here), then to her extraordinary genre-free electronic experiments, where her voice was used as just one more instrument or sound-source... and recently her brilliant, disturbing soundtrack work, as well as her inspired duo with Aaron Dilloway, Lucy & Aaron. Here she comes full circle - having been based in Europe for many years now (first Barcelona, then Berlin), Dalt originally comes from Colombia, and thus her return to song also finds her returning to South & Central American rhythms, harmonies, basslines and melodies. The lyrics, co-written with Miguel Prado, are in Spanish, and if you're not paying attention you may think it's a traditional latin band (and indeed it is, beautifully orchestrated) - until you hear the edits, détournements, smudges, the processed sounds melding with the real. It's a beautiful headfuck, emphasis on beautiful. Unmissable.

Mabe Fratti - Desde el cielo [Unheard Of Hope/Bandcamp]
Mabe Fratti - Cuestión de tiempo [Unheard Of Hope/Bandcamp]
Not far from Colombia, north along the Isthmus of Panama, is Guatemala, where Mabe Fratti hails from. Based for some time now in Mexico City, Fratti has created her own form of experimental song from her raw cello playing, often filtered through multiple effects, along with arrays of electronics and her delicate voice - her ear for melody is remarkable, with melodic lines rising up over scratchy riffs and drones. Although this album is deliberately sparser in orchestration than her last few releases, her usual collaborative process remains, with guitar, percussion and many other sounds contributed by fellow travellers in Mexico and also Rotterdam. Nevertheless, this is a creative vision that could come from noone other than Fratti, and I'm proud that she's a fellow cellist!

Marina Hasselberg - Só [Redshift Records/Bandcamp]
Marina Hasselberg - At A Distance [Redshift Records/Bandcamp]
Speaking of cello... Vancouver-based cellist Marina Hasselberg is classically trained, both in her native Portugal and in Canada, but on her album Red she takes a small handful of classical compositions into experimental lands, with scratchy, breathy playing and unusual drones surrounding even the ancient works. These are joined by a number of free improvisations, some augmented by guitar, drums and other instruments (if subtly). The end result is an album that travels far in terms of genres - and indeed date of composition - but retains an impressively consistent sound. Even the contemporary compositions are corralled into the album's schema: the beautiful solo cello composition "At A Distance" by Martin Reisle here has its melodies and repeating rhythmic ostinati overlaid with improvised guitar from Aram Bajakian.

Felicity Mangan - Dolphin Tricks [Warm Winters, Ltd./Bandcamp]
Nobody else is making music quite like that of Felicity Mangan, Berlin-based Australian sound artist. Her music's foundation is flora & fauna - many of her releases feature raw field recordings of the wondrous sounds of nature. But among her recent releases are works which take nature's creativity and notch it up a few levels. Insectile rhythms become electronic beats, flows of water are reversed, cut up and overlaid in unnatural patterns, and the "pedosphere" (the upper layer of the Earth's crust) is mined (pun intended) for sound. Wet On Wet was originally to be released by Russian label Klammklang, but Putin's lunacy caused the label to indefinitely stop operations, so Warm Winters, Ltd. stepped in to release it. While the album's main focus is on soil and its inhabitants, we also have the repurposed polyrhythms of dolphin sounds on tonight's selection.

Maral - Walk and A Talk [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
Maral - Hold My Hand, Go For a Walk [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
Both of LA-based Iranian-American artist Maral Mahmoudi's albums on Leaving Records sound on one level like typical fleet-footed beat records. Maral loves head-nodding breakbeats and loves mixing them up with riffs (the first track of hers I discovered was a brilliant remix of anarcho-punks Crass). But Maral has studied the setar, and the traditional Persian instrument features in her music along with voracious samplings of Iranian popular music of yore and Persian classical music. Yes, Ground Groove is grounded in groove (I am embarrassed to write this, but not enough to not write it), but it contains multitudes. Dude. Get into it.

Persher - Calf [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Arthur Cayzer (Pariah) & Jamie Roberts (Blawan) are Bristolian bass & techno stalwarts who gathered together as Persher to produce a very Thrill Jockey record indeed. Man With The Magic Soap is not techno, nor is it dubstep, although it has some low-slung basslines and reveals electronically-produced beats at times. But the closest comparison is surely the heaviest parts of Petbrick's metal/hardcore/electronic compound. At 26 minutes over 7 tracks, it's short & sharp, and unlikely to find itself on the same dancefloors as the artists' usual fare, but I'm willing to give it a go (hire me, I'm a DJ!)

Marco Zenker - Resistance [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Marco Zenker - Intuition Dub [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Oooh and here's a real one. Marco Zenker is one of the Zenkers wot run the excellent Munich label Ilian Tape. And his new solo album Channel Balance is a beautifully realised example of most of what the label does oh so well - dub aesthetics cutting through genres from lugubrious ambient through breakbeat-loving techno up to (on the second half) jungle and drum'n'bass. The brothers came to techno and 4/4 electronics via a love of hip-hop and Jamaican styles, and somehow that really shows too. But it's the consistency of quality production and emotional depth across the ostensible genre changes through this album that make it such a highlight. Not to be missed.

Rasmus Hedlund - Chords Galore [Ljudverket]
Finnish producer Rasmus Hedlund recently became a father, and his new album commemorates that in its title, Far, which is Finnish for Father. The music itself cycles around dub techno patterns. Each track is relatively long - around the 8 minute mark - and pleasantly carries the listener with head-nodding 4/4 beats and, as this track tells us, "Chords Galore".

clipping. and Aho Ssan - Looking Like Meat (Aho Ssan Remix) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
The last of clipping.'s RMXNG 2 12"s is out now - that's four EPs each with 7 tracks, totally over 2 hours of music reworking tracks from their last two albums of "horrorcore" rap. As with the last 3 EPs, the last one features an impressive lineup, including Kenyan electronic hero Slikback, ex-DHR veteran experimentalist Patric Catani and frequent clipping. collaborator Christopher Fleeger as Cooling Prongs. A highlight is the rework by French-Ghanayan ambient/glitch maestro Aho Ssan, which manages to preserve the energy of Daveed Diggs' performance without any beats to speak of. Also notable is the opening track, from our very next artist!

Carl Stone - Omar [We Jazz]
Yes, glitch/cut-up originator Carl Stone also contributes a remix on the latest clipping. remix EP. But also released this week is We Jazz Reworks Vol. 2, which is the second time the Finnish We Jazz label has opened up its catalogue to a single artist to remix at will. We're not told who the original artists are here, and there are some quite interesting excerpts, including some apparent jazz settings of classical compositions. Stone juxtaposes different performances in surprising and sometimes deliberately jarring ways. He shuffles and re-arranges in his usual manner - everything gridded up, juddering along in seemingly controlled chaos, and as of his more recent work, the rhythms sections still hang together while solo parts are shredded. And yet, it's still clearly jazz, ripped apart though it may be.

RUBBISH MUSIC - Trash and Treasure (excerpt) [Flaming Pines/Bandcamp]
Kate Carr (proprietor of Flaming Pines) and Iain Chambers (who runs the Persistence of Sound label) come together here for the first - but not last - time as RUBBISH MUSIC, a project which describes itself in its name. Upcycling is their album, with one track each by the individual members and one together (which we've excerpted tonight), all working on the idea of, well, "upcycling" objects, taking discarded refuse from consumer society and using it for art. You can see a beautifully-shot video of the two performing via State51 and Nonclassical here.

Jonathan Higgins - 01 [Flaming Pines/Bandcamp]
Jonathan Higgins - sckt [Flaming Pines/Bandcamp]
Kate Carr's Flaming Pines is a rich source of experimental music, mostly derived from differeing approaches harnessing field recordings and found sound. But along with a general interest in ambient music, Carr also has a love of glitch, and two recent releases celebrate that in style. First, we have British composer Jonathan Higgins, whose Good thanks, you? uses glitch to express inner turmoil and anxiety. This feels close to my heart - the anodyne reply "Good thanks, you?" is all too common when asked "How are you?" or even (*shudder*) "RUOK?" The clicks & cuts on Higgins' album are produced from custom-modified CD players - a kind of mirror image of the CD desecration performed by artists like Oval in the '90s.

Kamran Arashnia - Black Screen of Death [Flaming Pines/Bandcamp]
Kamran Arashnia - Guru Meditation [Flaming Pines/Bandcamp]
The other glitch release from Flaming Pines, released pretty much simultaneously, comes from Iranian composer Kamran Arashnia. Drawing on a quote from Augustine of Hippo, Arashnia treats the glitch not so much as a malfunction, but as a treasured mistake. In this, Arashnia is returning to the origins of digital glitch music in the mid-to-late '90s works of the Mego founders alongside fellow Europeans like Pole, who all celebrated the glitch as the serendipitous hardware or software mistake that brings a patina of beautiful randomness to the ostensibly perfect digital realm. Of course, rock music itself is founded in the overdriven circuits that bring glorious distortion, and Arashnia revels in the distortions, clipping and chaos of his collected mistakes.

Sebastian Field - All Tomorrows [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
Sebastian Field - Somnambulist [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
While Canberra's Sebastian Field doesn't express the sonic aesthetic of his Prescients EP in quite the same terms as the previous two artists, the pieces here are also experienced through a patina of distortions - here, like last year's beautiful Sandcandles album to which he considers this a "prequel", Field is taking old tapes of his from 20+ years ago and looping, chopping and obscuring their origins through a fog of effects. Rather than sharp glitches and raw edits, the artistic principle here is one of smudging, of continuous modulation rather than disjunction, even though there are rhythmic cut-ups to be found inside the haze. This EP and its sister album both contain detail worthy of close appreciation.

SPILL - Residue [Corvo Records/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based Magda Mayas and Australian, often Berlin-based Tony Buck have partnered as the duo SPILL for over a decade. Mayas' piano playing is intuitive and virtuosic, much like Buck's drumming, and both are experienced collaborators - Buck has played with luminaries across jazz, noise, punk and more, and may be best known to listeners as the drummer in The Necks. Much of SPILL's work is quite challenging, in the vein of free improv, but tucked away at the end of Mycelium, their latest album, is the beautiful, sparse piece we end with tonight, performed with great sensitivity by these two accomplished musicians.

Listen again — ~210MB


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