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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.

Wednesday, 21st of February, 2024

Playlist 18.02.24 (7:44 pm)

We have wonderful Indigeonous/classical/experimental crossover, weird electronic pop & hip-hop, noise, sound-art, Middle Eastern beats, jungle/bass/dubstep, hyper-shoegaze, contemporary cello, ambient and more. Listen and enjoy.

LISTEN AGAIN to the re-listenable. Podcast here, stream on demand there @ FBi.

Yirinda - Guyu (Fish) [Chapter Music/Bandcamp]
Yirinda - Yunma (Sleep) [Chapter Music/Bandcamp]
Well, the self-titled album from Yirinda is out, and it's everything it promised to be. I got to see the duo of Butchulla songman Fred Leone and double-bassist/composer Samuel Pankhurst at the Woodford Folk Festival across the new year, performing with an ensemble of strings, horns and keyboards. It's a magical combination of Leone's songlines and Pankhurst's arrangements, creating something that I'm pretty sure has never existed before. On the album, strings and horns augment Pankhurst's double bass, and some contemporary electronics mix seamlessly in (I note Marly Lüske aka Tidy Kid co-engineered the album). But descriptions can't really do it justice - Leone's absorbing vocals fit perfectly with wonderful contemporary music. They are playing at a FREE Sunday show at White Bay Power Station for the Biennale of Sydney/Phoenix Central Park on March 10th - 2:30 to 6pm.

Marcus Whale - Borders [Blue Void]
Incoming on March 8th is the new album from Marcus Whale, storied Utility Fog associate since his mid-teens, multi-instrumentalist, multi-genreist, singer and queer icon. Ecstasy is the first album on his new Blue Void imprint/label/thing (his long-defunct 3" CD-R label released my first solo EP back in the ancient of days). Here "ecstasy" refers to the pleasure of transcending the self, of being drawn, as he says, to the void. Once again Marcus is combining pop and club electronics with influences from classical and avant-garde/experimental music, and it is Very Good.

Teether - Elbow Grease [CONTENT.NET.AU/Bandcamp]
Teether - Chrysalis (ft. Stoneset) [CONTENT.NET.AU/Bandcamp]
Early last year Melbourne underground rapper Teether released an incredible album through Chapter Music with producer Kuya Neil. But with It Must Be Strange to Not Have Lived, released on Kuya Neil (Neil Cabatingan)'s CONTENT.NET.AU, Teether returns to self-production, comfortably sauntering through indie r'n'b, sample-based downtempo beats and nods to jungle (featuring Stoneset), postpunk (working with Nerdie) and more. It's all gold, all adorned with Teether's effortlessly laconic flow.

Shit and Shine - Livid After Midnight [Antibody label]
Shit and Shine - Jogging In Jeans [Antibody label]
Wait, didn't we just hear from Craig Clouse's Shit and Shine a couple of weeks ago? We did! Joy Of Joys was a collection of strange sound-experiments; now, Masters Of All This Hell comes via the Belgian Antibody Label with a collection of experimental electronic beats and noises that reminds me most of Clouse's two great albums for Editions Mego in 2015 and 2017 - bare-bones weirdbeat shit made on drum machines and samplers, with a kind of perverse funk to them.

Philippe Petit - Within the Corridors of Hell... [Crónica/Bandcamp]
The "musical travel agent" Philippe Petit has performed various roles in the experimental music world for some decades. In the early 2000s he ran a label called BiP_HOp releasing a range of electronic albums as well as some fabulously-curated BiP_HOp Generation compilations featuring the likes of pimmon, Arovane, B.Fleischmann, Scanner, Pan Sonic's Ilpo Väisänen, Murcof and Adrian Lim-Klumpes. He's also presented various radio shows since the 1980s. And full disclosure: a decade ago(!) Philippe & I collaborated on a track - as collaborative musicians and radio presenters in this space, it was inevitable. For at least that decade's time, Philippe has been working with non-musical sound generators feeding into modular synths, creating weirdly organic squalls and slides and throbs out of physical gestures, but also making use of digital editing. These techniques are all there in his latest epic, a 2CD journey into Dante & Doré's vision of hell called A Divine Comedy. I particularly love the disturbed vocal samples in "Within the Corridors of Hell...", interacting with these audio gestures.

Andrea Belfi plays Robert Wyatt - Dondestan [Stray Signals]
Noumeno - In Spirit [Stray Signals]
As the situation in Gaza only gets worse, a problematic situation in Germany - particularly Berlin - is also getting worse, whereby any voices in support of Palestine are being branded as antisemitic, and are systematically silenced - even when they are Jewish. There couldn't be a more irony-laden illustration of the weaponising of "antisemitism" to shield Israel from scrutiny than German authorities feeling empowered to shut down Jewish self-expression. This is the background for the compilation Dedicated To Palestine from Berlin-based Stray Signals, which will donate all revenue to two German-based NGOs, Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East) and Palästina Kampagne. Among the artists featured as Emanuele Porcinai's WSR, who we featured a few times here last year, Planet µ artist Herva, Berlin-based Lebanese musician & DJ Jessika Khazrik and many others. It's a varied collection of electronic and electroacoustic work from across the Berlin scene. A revelation is Andrea Belfi's cover of "Dondestan", a beautiful fable of Palestine from 1991 by the committed leftist and (like Belfi) drummer Robert Wyatt, rich with instrumentation in support of Belfi's fragile, rarely-heard vocals. To contrast, I played some frosty ambient techno from Italian producer Noumeno.

Use Knife - Coupe d'état (Muqata'a مقاطعة remix) [Morphine Records/Bandcamp]
Belgian/Iraqi trio Use Knife combine Arabic percussion and vocals with psychedelic electronics of all sorts. They released their debut album The Shedding of Skin in 2022, and now Berlin label Morphine Records (run by Lebanese musician Rabih Beaini) is releasing a 3-track remix EP, Peace Carnival with reworkings by Zoë Mc Pherson, Beaini and brilliant Palestinian producer Muqata'a مقاطعة. "Coupe d'état" is a pun on "coup d'état", but "coupe" means "cut" (which you Use a Knife for). On Muqata'a's remix, percussion and a driving synth line are punctuated by shouted vocals, bass hits and glitches.

Chewlie - Run [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Swiss producer Julia Häller is Chewlie, whose last release was the Diagon EP for BRUK, one of the labels run by Low End Activist (also of Sneaker Social Club). Now she's back on YUKU with eight more tracks of IDMish bass music and sound design. Chewlie fits with current trends in deconstructed club and experimental bass music, but she has her own approach - there's a lightness to the sounds, not leaning so much on LOUD bass distortion and sudden shifts, but rather on glitchy, skittery beats and syncopations, body-moving, other than a couple of beatless tracks. Top tier sounds.

POD - Anteloper [Kinetic Vision]
A new project for Melbourne techno producer JXTPS aka Wu Kush, POD finds him in bass mode, with dubstep and jungle influences aplenty. Notably, POD has a proper d'n'b EP coming from SUBB later this year - a collaboration with Tamen, one track available here. "Anteloper" seems like dub techno, but as the beats get caught up in syncopating delays, hints of jungle can be heard.

Earl Grey - Prussia Dub [Rua Sound]
Jim Ehlinger aka Earl Grey has been making drum'n'bass & jungle for over a decade now, appearing on labels like Limerick's Subtle Audio, who were advancing jungle/drumfunk ages back. Another Irish label, Rua Sound has just put out the excellent Death Rattle EP from Earl Grey, with nimble break work, equally nimble basslines and dark pads. It's cinematic and unpredictable, first class.

Liquid DnB-Like Ambient Grime 2 - '06 Dubstep Mix [Sneaker Social Club]
Luke J Murray has spread his idiosyncratic take on UK bass music across pseudonyms and collabs like Iceman Junglist Kru, 1-800-ICEMAN, Roadman DSP, and notably the ambient isolationism of Stonecirclesampler. So it's not surprising that the four tracks on the eponymous Liquid DnB-Like Ambient Grime 2 are rather unorthodox takes on the four genres name-checked (garage, dubstep, techno, grime). Each track is ostensible a remix of "Liquid DnB-like Ambient Grime 2", which names the EP and the artist, with pitched-down vocal samples and, on two of the tracks, massively distorted amen breaks clattering in at entirely the wrong tempo. This wrong-footing is of course part of the aesthetic itself. You'd be unlikely to hear these tunes in a club, but as a kind of hauntological celebration of UK bass music they're pretty brilliant. I'll take this over Burial any day.

Kim Gordon - I'm A Man [Matador]
When Kim Gordon came out with her first solo album in 2019, 8 years after Sonic Youth broke up due to her husband Thurston Moore's infidelity, and some 4 decades after the beginning of her musical career, it was a revelation. As bassist and one of the singers in SY, she has played a huge part in experimental, punk/postpunk and indie rock music for decades. And then No Home Record came along, showing an artist still unwilling to do the expected, working with pop producer Justin Raisen to create distorted beats and electronic noise merging with the guitars, a beautifully messed-up accompaniment to that familiar voice. It looks like The Collective is going to continue that aesthetic. It's the punk of the 2020s, uncompromising as ever. For tonight, here's "I'm A Man" eviscerating entitled nobody-men.

clust.r - brood [business casual]
clust.r - leather [business casual]
Who is clust.r? Nobody knows (this is absolutely a lie). They released their self-titled album clust.r on Retrac Recordings in 2022, and Business Casual have just released the follow-up ever chance. Like much of the output of these labels, there's more than a nod to the indietronic breakcoreriffic days of Tigerbeat6, Planet µ circa mid-'00s - it's lo-fi glitch-pop, shoegaze-breakcore, compressed to buggery, distorted electronics and enthusiastic, unschooled vocals from various of clust.r's friends ("river" is rkgk of bagel fanclub, and that duo's other half co-produces a track here as SLUTPUNK!). Anyway, it's intense, joyful and all that other stuff - I think you'll like it.

Other Joe - dreaming out loud [Other Joe Bandcamp]
Naarm/Melbourne's Joseph Buchan runs the legendary .jpeg Artefacts label with impeccable taste, but he's also known to make varied music as Other Joe - something I wish he'd do more of (at least in recorded form)! For Valentine's Day he put out a two-track single called one billion kisses, which is a lot of kisses, but I mean go for it. This is the "b-side": both are beautiful hypnotic pieces with whispering, whistling pads and clicky, head-nodding beats, finishing with jazzy, bell-like Rhodes chords.

Adriaan de Roover - Homebound [Dauw]
Adriaan de Roover - Yet [Dauw]
Belgian sound-artist Adriaan de Roover joins Ghent-based label Dauw for the second time with Other Rooms. I'm reluctant to call this ambient - there's quasi-rhythmic movement going on throughout, and melodies that emerge out of exquisite sound-design. This is wholly absorbing music, sometimes unsettling, that I can't recommend highly enough.

India Gailey - Nicole Lizée - Grotesquerie [people | places | records]
India Gailey - Thanya Iyer - Where I can be as big as the Sun [people | places | records]
Their second album Problematica finds Canadian cellist India Gailey performing seven compositions that I believe were specifically commissioned for them and for this album. Gailey is a composer herself - her own composition on her equally uncategorisable debut album was a highlight, but she is also a first-class interpreter of others' compositions, using her cello to its full extent along with her voice on many of these tracks, and electronics on some as well. There's a lot going on in the tracks here - don't think of it as classical music! Andrew Noseworthy's composition "GomL_V7FinalMix_LessVox_MoreVerb_ Dec13_MASTERED_48k24b_FINAL.wav", created in collaboration with Gailey, wraps cellistic extended techniques in granular processing and shoegazey noise, for instance. On the other hand, some composers invite Gailey to perform expressive songs on cello and voice: the closing piece "Where I can be as big as the Sun" by Thanya Iyer accompanies a deceptively straightforward vocal melody with plucked cello. It's gorgeous. Meanwhile, renowned Canadian composer Nicole Lizée invites Gailey to send short cello phrases and whispered or shouted voice through delay effects, charmingly and a little disturbingly disorienting.

IKSRE - ripples [Constellation Tatsu/Bandcamp]
Naarm-based musician Phoebe Dubar has released five albums now as IKSRE, on various international and local labels. This month, Oakland's Constellation Tatsu released Abundance, as usual featuring ambient electronics and vocals, with subtle beats at times, very much influenced by Dubar's practice in sound healing. It's music to dive into, as there's a lot of detail. Dubar will be launching this album in Sydney on April 6th at Fatamorgana in Alexandria.

Aviva Endean - What Calls in the Quiet (Moths & Stars live set) EXCERPT I [FRIM Records]
Aviva Endean - What Calls in the Quiet (Moths & Stars live set) EXCERPT II [FRIM Records]
Naarm clarinettist and sound-artist Aviva Endean released her first solo album cinder : ember : ashes on Norwegian jazz/improv/experimental label SOFA in 2018, and the incredible Moths & Stars on Room40 in 2022. Now we're back in Scandinavia, with a split release on Sweden's FRIM Records documenting a performance at Rönnells Antikvariat in Stockholm, recorded by Aussie ex-pat John Chantler. I should note Henrik Olsson's beautiful abstract turntable manipulation as the other half of the record, but Endean's set adapts Moths & Stars' close-mic'd exploration of sounds from clarinets and other objects to a live set. The sound quality is remarkable, as if carefully recorded in a studio, scrabbling and bubbling across the stereo soundstage, sounds mostly made with breath, layered into gorgeous harmonies or strange assemblages of flitters and sighs. The full performances are over 30 minutes each, and worth every minute.

Listen again — ~209MB


Sunday, 11th of February, 2024

Playlist 11.02.24 (11:00 pm)

Sad news came today of the death of Damo Suzuki, the most recognizable vocalist of Can, and globetrotting vocal improvisor. Following some Can, we've got post- & contemporary jazz, gothic & industrial electronics, post-junglisms, idm, folktronica, drone and more.

LISTEN AGAIN to all the jewels within! Stream on demand on FBi's website, podcast here.

Can - Vitamin C [Mute]
Can - Mushroom [Mute]
Damo Suzuki was only the vocalist in Can for 3 years, from 1971 to 1973. But in that time his distinctive improvised vocals, sung in no language or all languages, adorned many of Can's best-loved songs, including the two groundbreaking albums Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi. Can was the kind of group where every member was an essential part of the idiosyncratic music created, and so Suzuki's yelled, muttered, and sometimes sung vocals are integral to the sound of Can and the sound of their particular brand of krautrock. When Suzuki returned to performing after a period as a Jehovah's Witness(!), he began touring the world, performing his freeform vocals with local musicians, reproducing some of the thrill of Can's all-consuming semi- (or wholly-)improvised gigs for people everywhere - and forming the Damo Suzuki Network. Having been diagnosed with colon cancer first at only 33 years old, but survived it then, he was again diagnosed in 2014, given 10% chance of survival. So the world can count itself lucky to have gotten another 10 years from him.

Koma Saxo with Sofia Jernberg - Croydon Koma [We Jazz Records]
I'm not sure when I first came across the Finnish label We Jazz Records, but they made an impression in 2022 when they commissioned Carl Stone to remix their entire catalogue with We Jazz Reworks Vol. 2. The release I'm playing next was cause for my latest exploration of their releases, but Koma West from double bassist Petter Eldh's project Koma Saxo, this one featuring fellow Swede and brilliant vocalist Sofia Jernberg, was instantly striking. Eldh's compositions are avant-garde but still catchy, with strong orchestrations for strings, horns, piano and drums (and Eldh's mother Kiki on accordion!) and as well as Jernberg, who elevates everything she's involved with, this album features versatile cellist Lucy Railton and composer/improviser/organist Kit Downes on piano. In the end, though, it was the clattering drums of Christian Lillinger that gave this 2022 album the prime slot after Can!

divr - As Of Now [We Jazz Records]
divr - Echo's Answer [We Jazz Records]
From Sweden to Switzerland (again via the Finnish We Jazz), the new album from Swiss jazz piano trio divr, Is This Water, is a thing of beauty and wonder. They range from delicate beauty to post-bop intensity at times, incorporating snippets of field recordings and sound manipulation courtesy of Dan Nicholls which give the music an other-worldly uncanniness. There are three covers out of nine tracks: a jazz standard, Radiohead's "All I Need", and a gorgeous rendition of the lovely "Echo's Answer" by Broadcast. This is complex and deep music that's still rewarding for all.

Teiku - Psalm 113-114 [577 Records/Bandcamp]
Here's the first single from a new jazz group with a unique take on what was called "Radical Jewish Culture" when John Zorn started highlighting the avant-garde music of the Downtown New York scene in the 1990s. Here, pianist Josh Harlow and drummer Jonathan Barahal Taylor explore and recontextualise their ancestral music as sung at Passover Seders, inherited from their families' roots in Ukraine (my mother's ancestry is also Jewish-Ukrainian as it happens, although we never learnt these songs). Recordings of these liturgical songs are directly incorporated into the recordings, juxtaposed with fiery playing from Harlow and Taylor along with Jaribu Shahid's double bass, horns from Peter Formanek and Rafael Leafar, and electronics from various members. It's quite striking and powerful. The two bandleaders write of the band's music: "As its humble stewards we offer it as a call for justice for all oppressed peoples; as Jews, we decry the senseless violence, displacement, and killing perpetrated in our name." Co-signed.

Ryan Teague - Unbound [Bigo & Twigetti/Bandcamp]
Since 2005, Bristol composer & multi-instrumentalist Ryan Teague has blurred the boundaries between electronic music and classical composition. For post/neo-classical label Bigo & Twigetti his upcoming album Pattern Recognition is in some ways his most electronic, with synth patterns and beats rubbing shoulders with sampled classical arrangements on acoustic instruments. I can tell you the rest of the album is well worth the wait, released on March 22nd.

Chelsea Wolfe - Tunnel Lights [Loma Vista/Bandcamp]
Chelsea Wolfe - Whispers in the Echo Chamber [Loma Vista/Bandcamp]
For 14+ years and over a dozen albums, Chelsea Wolfe has combined her love of heavy metal with gothic folk and, increasingly, electronics, and an undeniable ear for great songwriting. On She Reaches Out To She Reaches Out To She, Wolfe and longtime musical partner Ben Chisholm conjure songs that can move between shoegaze, darkwave, folk and industrial metal. It's really good.

Yuko Araki - ‡Otiron (Portal Remix) [Room40/Bandcamp]
Yuko Araki - ‡Magnetar (Jonathan Snipes Remix) [Room40/Bandcamp]
Last year, Yuko Araki released IV, an incredible album of industrial noise, beats and exotic samples, a highlight of the year for me. She invited a number of musicians to remix two of the tracks from the album, ‡Magnetar and ‡Otiron, starting with Jonathan Snipes of clipping., who takes the ritualistic vocal samples and crunchy beats and gives them more of a club-ready makeover. Perhaps the most audacious choice was Australian extreme metal band Portal, who drench those vocal samples in distortion and general ugliness. Great stuff!

Gantz - howidowhatyoudoisnotwhatiwoulddowhatyoudoyetido [Gantz Bandcamp]
For his first EP of 2024, Turkish post-dubstepper seems to have given up on titles. untitled EP features such tracks as "variations on a drum loop" and "livetakeone". Mostly they are indeed variations on drum loops, mulched up in Gantz's machinery but retaining just enough funk.

Ivy Lab - Look Away [Sneaker Social Club/Bandcamp]
Having started out making drum'n'bass as Sabre and Stray, Gove Kidao and Jonathan Fogel teamed up almost 10 years ago as Ivy Lab, mostly putting out half-time and hip-hop-paced music. Last year they started veering back towards drum'n'bass and jungle, and they arrive on Sneaker Social Club with a mélange of UK bass styles, break-juggling at various tempos. It's bass music, not quite jungle, not quite what's going on in drum'n'bass at the moment, but 100% quality.

Gremlinz & Jesta - Big White [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
Gremlinz & Jesta - All 7 [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
Following numerous 12"s on Metalheadz as well Gremlinz' UVB-76 and DROOGS labels, the power duo of Gremlinz & Jesta have just released a full album through the 'headz, The Lee Garden Historical Preservation Society (it's named for a Chinese restaurant in Toronto, where the pair originally met). As we heard in the first cut tonight, there's some quality breakbeat stuff at lower tempos, but mostly it's drum'n'bass with plenty of jungle love. There's a lovely vocal tune featuring enthusiastic Ukrainian-born d'n'b singer flowanastasia, and among the dark'n'heavy electronics there are also hints at jazz and organic sounds. A great entry into the annals of Metalheadz albums.

Kloke - Digital Tribes [Future Retro]
A Brit based for many years in Melbourne, Kloke (aka Andy Donnelly) has been at the top of the jungle game for some years now. When Tim Reaper toured Oz & NZ last year, the pair spent some good time together - there are a number of collaborative releases from them out there already - and Reaper took home a huge cache of unreleased productions from Donnelly. There was clearly a lot of quality stuff in there, from which 12 tracks have been selected for Kloke's first album, and the first album on Future Retro. To his credit, On Rhythm doesn't get tiring, shifting around from typical amens to percussive breaks and severely chopped and manipulated beats, with basslines to order. Thanks to Tim Reaper's neverending enthusiasm for bringing this collection to the world.

Lakker - Dredger [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Czech label YUKU continues its dedication to dominating the bass & experimental electronic music scene with a new EP from Dublin's finest (via Berlin) Lakker. Gateway goes everywhere, from the techno of their R&S breakthroughs like Mountain Divide through to mad gabber shit, and some equally mad jungle deconstruction.

Tidy Kid - Social Butter (Yürke Deconstructed Dub Remix) [Hauch Records/Bandcamp]
Tidy Kid - Fragment 2 [Tidy Kid Bandcamp]
Tidy Kid - Toy Plane In Ice [Tidy Kid Bandcamp]
Tidy Kid - Flower (Copper Beach Remix) [Hauch Records/Bandcamp]
Way back in 2010 a Brisbane artist called Marly Lüske sent me a demo CD-R of tracks under his moniker Tidy Kid, which combined IDM, folktronica and indietronica influences. Some of those tunes appear on a collection he released in 2019 called selected works 06-10, of which a few copies of the vinyl are still available! It was released with Düsseldorf electronic label Hauch Records, who have now - apropos of what I'm not sure - released 10 Mixes For No Cash (lol), in which 10 of the label's artists remix tracks from that old Tidy Kid collection. It's all excellent, highlighting the melodic and textural quality of the source material, some keeping the glitchy, crunchy style of beats, and some heading in other directions. Yürke take "Social Butter" into almost dubstep territories, nice and dark, while Copper Beach pulls apart the vocal-led "Flower" and turns it into a miny-epic of harmonised vocals, stuttery beats and soundscapes. Lüske has both a new album of lo-fi stuff under his own name, and a new Tidy Kid collection coming.

Shugorei - Ghanima [4000 Records]
Timothy Fairless - Inevitable Drone [4000 Records]
This week, Brisbane label 4000 Records will release a huge compilation of 37 tracks and over 3 hours of music called Solidarity Soundwaves, an anti-war, non-violence-promoting collection to raise funds for Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). As Israel's relentless destruction of life and livability in Gaza rolls on, the humanitarian crisis gets worse every day. So put $10 or more aside for this compilation, and I guarantee you'll find some musical revelations in there from up north, like the "inevitable" drone from talented composer & electronic musician Timothy Fairless, or the incredible mix of live drums and electronics from Shugorei, the duo of Japanese percussionist Nozomi Omote and producer Thomas Green.

Mark Van Hoen - Electric Lights [Dell'Orso/Bandcamp]
Although he's put out plenty of music on Bandcamp over the past few years, it's been a while since there was a new Mark Van Hoen album - although The First Cause came out last year under his Locust moniker. In the past he's released ambient, techno, distorted hip-hop beats and IDM with female vocals, jungle and more. Plan For a Miracle is a melancholy, soul-stirring album touched by the tragic death of Van Hoen's wife Osho, who fell ill during the latter parts of the album's recording. Grab this on vinyl before it sells out.

Munma - Midday Shoulder Surfing [Ruptured Records/Bandcamp]
Between 2006 & 2009 Beirut musician Jawad Nawfal released his first three albums as Munma - it's mostly instrumental electronic music, dark, with dynamic beats and only a few news samples, but was recorded as a response to the deadly attacks by Israel that reached far into Lebanon during the 2006 war. These albums were released on Ruptured Records, the label run by Nawfal's brother Ziad, and while Nawfal has been busy with collaborative releases of all sorts , including on his VV-VA imprint. Now Munma returns to his brother's label for Transient Organ, a mostly-instrumental album other than artist/photographer Caroline Tabet's murmered French poetry on two tracks (Tabet also provides the evocative cover art). The music is minimal electronica made mostly on modular synths, with a general air of mystery, of a slightly disturbed quiet - only emphasised by the smudged, half-heard spoken words. Recommended.

Senking - i might be wrong (feat. Bonnie B) [Senking Bandcamp]
I know Jens Massel's music as Senking via his album Capsize Recovery, his fifth on the legendary German minimal electronic label Raster-Noton. So it's interesting to discover that the music on his Bandcamp - one 7" from 2016 and a series of single tracks since 2022 - is a series of very organic-sounding analogue synth jams, very live-sounding even when there are drum machines involved. The latest, "i might be wrong" is a gorgeous further departure, starting with two looped chords perhaps played on a cello or double bass, spacey electric guitar strums and sparse vocals from his mate Bonnie B. It's like a lost Flying Saucer Attack track or something, and I would 100% enjoy an album of this stuff and mysterious analogue bass throbs...

MJ Guider - Primavera (Ritmo Joven) [MJ Guider Bandcamp]
A departure for MJ Guider here too, who eschews her post-industrial shoegaze for freeform sonic constructions that all centre around flute, played and processed in various ways, along with guitarscapes and electronics. It's very unusual and enveloping stuff, recorded in - and steeped in - humid heat.

Listen again — ~208MB


Wednesday, 7th of February, 2024

Playlist 04.02.24 (12:15 am)

There's some great string-based music out this week, including indie-rock strings, stringdietronica (I made that up. It's awful, sorry), and some gorgeous double-bass/percussion-ambient stuff from three Aussie women. Also noise and glitch, dubstep/industrial dub, and shoegaze...

LISTEN AGAIN to check that thing you missed the first time. Stream on demand brought to you by our wondrous host FBi, podcast here.

Derek Piotr - East Tennessee feat. Ican Harem [forthcoming, check Derek Piotr Bandcamp]
On May 10th, Derek Piotr's new album Divine Supplication will be released, and tonight we've brought you the first single, "East Tennessee". Derek's music has various tendencies: far-out glitch; vocal avant-gardism and vocal manipulation; recontextualising folk and classical music (he is a folklorist as well as composer and vocalist); and manipulation of field recordings. The new album will be a goldmine of guest collaborations - vocals from brilliant Norwegian singer Maja Ratkje and, on this track, Ican Harem of Gabber Modus Operandi; composition interpolations from My Brightest Diamond and Dirty Projectors; appearances from Fennesz, Brian Chippendale of noise rockers Lightning Bolt; and Piotr makes use of Olivier Alary's processing patches from the fabled first Ensemble album Sketch Proposals. Piotr's music can lean towards arch-postmodernism at times, but this album promises to be emotionally dense along with the referential and technical aspects.

aya - Lip Flip (ft. LOFT) [YCO]
Aya Sinclair has been known as aya now for long enough to drop the "fka LOFT", but I think there's a combination of humour and pointed commentary to the former alias's continual re-references. On the title track of her forthcoming EP Lip Flip, the pseudonym is given a "featuring" credit, perhaps as a farewell, as the EP is aimed at raising funds for Aya's Facial Feminisation Surgery. The music itself is a glitchy piece of 4/4 funk, digi-house with off-beat sprays of synth glitter and occasional vocal snippets.

Patrick Carpenter - The Revenant (Blushing Panda remix) [Patrick Carpenter Bandcamp]
Patrick Carpenter - Lucky 7 [Patrick Carpenter Bandcamp]
Although Patrick Carpenter has been an important figure in the intersection of UK hip-hop, electronic music and jazz for decades, there's been precious little in the way of solo work. He was the "PC" half of PC & Strictly with Strictly Kev aka Kevin Foakes, who as a duo complemented Matt Black and Jonathan More of Coldcut when contractual obligations led them to form DJ Food to experiment in instrumental, sample-based music outside of their usual alias. A few years in, they retrieved control of "Coldcut", and DJ Food was passed on to PC & Strictly, who together authored the incredible Kaleidoscope album in 2000 (augmented with the beautiful Kaleidoscope Companion a few years back). Along the way, PC & Strictly also joined More & Black in what many consider the greatest DJ mix of all time. Meanwhile he was also part of J Swinscoe's Cinematic Orchestra for a number of albums, but for a while now I believe he's been mostly working in an engineering/production capacity. But some creative projects have been happening behind the scenes, so we now have the eight-track Electric Envelope on his *ahem* Minestrone of Sound, in which you can hear the jazz orchestrations and trip-hop bass/beats of those older projects, but also tight & controlled electronic beats. Eight brilliant productions, but importantly eight compositions steeped in humanity.

toechter - Me she said [Morr Music/Bandcamp]
toechter - Mercury [Morr Music/Bandcamp]
So how does a trio of string players end up being released on the Morr Music label? The three members of German trio toechter, Marie-Claire Schlameus, Lisa Marie Vogel, Katrine Grarup Elbo play cello and violin, and classical composition filters through their self-composed works, but they also use their instruments to create percussive sounds and process them in other ways, and the musicians' voices join these acoustic & electronic elements so that what we hear is a seamless blend of songwriting and composition with electronics. In the early days of Utility Fog, Morr Music was home to various Notwist side-projects (Lali Puna, Ms John Soda etc) as well as acts like Styrofoam who feel awkwardly under the umbrella of "indietronica". Here, another generation takes those tropes and somehow reconstructs the sounds purely on strings. It's a thing of beauty.

Gareth Skinner - Sangfroid Aloha [Kasumuen]
Gareth Skinner - Bitching [Kasumuen]
Melbourne cellist Gareth Skinner was an indie rocker in the '90s, playing bass guitar but also quite prominently featuring the cello in the great, wild indie rock band bZARK. I've been a fan of Gareth's solo music too for a long time - songs from 2009's Looking For Vertical still appear unbidden in my head at odd times. So you can guarantee my ears perked up to the news of a new solo album. Off // Axis is out now via Kasumuen - sadly vinyl only (and digital) - and like Gareth's other records, most of the instrumental load is carried by multi-tracked cello. There's drums via Drew Caldwell, who played with Gareth in Disaster Plan and The Ergot Derivative, and a few other guests (including Joel Silbersher of notorious Melbourne punk/rock bands GOD and Hoss), but there are riffs and melodies and unhinged solos on the cello, as well as Gareth's somewhat deadpan vocals. I love it, hope you do too!

Panghalina - Not Super [Room40/Bandcamp]
Panghalina - Whale Dance [Room40/Bandcamp]
Room40 have already started the year strongly, and Lava, from new Australian trio Panghalina is already a highlight. This music is simultaneously abstract and representational - the slow-moving molten rock that is lava flows through the music. Helen Svoboda's double bass serves as the melodic instrument a lot of the time, with gorgeous mournful harmonics floating through the scattered percussion of Bonnie Stewart and Maria Moles. Svoboda's and Stewart's voices also provide eerie melodies, and despite 2/3 of the band being drummers, this isn't rhythmic music at all much of the time (not surprising given Moles' prior solo work!) Really you need to sink into Panghalina's volcano and trust that it stays dormant. Your trust will be richly rewarded.

Tot Onyx - Naked Repugnance [group A Bandcamp]
Way back in 2018, the Berlin-based Japanese techno/noise/experimental duo Group A performed at Dark Mofo and I was blown away by the flow of uncategorisable sound the two women produced - Sayaka Botanic on violin and electronics, Tommi Tokyo on all sorts of other electronics, both also adding their voices to the layered, pulsating madness. The duo haven't seemingly been that active for a while, but Tommi Tokyo introduced her solo act Tot Onyx a couple of years ago, and a slew of releases has followed. The start of 2024 brings her first self-released EP, T.O.1, made up of fragments of live performances over the last year or two, and it brings some of the bewildering energy of that performance in 2018, albeit considerably abstracted from any kind of beats. This is noise as sound-art, from a serious and talented practitioner.

sonaura - Vymazané Scény #1 (by The Owl) [Perceptual Tapes/Bandcamp]
sonaura - Deleted scenes #1 [Perceptual Tapes/Bandcamp]
sonaura - No Way of Telling (Ben Nodes Remix) [Perceptual Tapes/Bandcamp]
Last year, the nipaluna/Hobart label Perceptual Tapes sent me a beautiful album of processed piano by label head Timothy Allan aka Spectrical. The follow-up album Noumena came from UK artist sonaura, and I'm sad I didn't manage to play it at the time, as it's lovely subtly surreal tape and glitch stuff. I played "Deleted scenes #1" tonight along with a couple of pieces from the remix album Sonaura have released, Noumena: Reimaginings, which expands the pallette into stuttering granular processing like that of prolific Czech band The Owl, glitchy beats like those from UK's Ben Nodes, along with more tape manipulation. You can download the album for free, but anything contributed will go to MAP/Medical Aid for Palestinians. It's also nice to pay something for Bandcamp releases because the release will then turn up in your Bandcamp library and will turn up in the timelines & notifications of people you're connected to.

Madobe Rika - Ordinary days SNAFU [Virgin Babylon Records]
Here's another piece of breakcore-J-pop from the mysterious "virtual girl" Madobe Rika. It's perfect Virgin Babylon music really, embodying (or rather... not embodying) Japanese aesthetics of prettiness and harshness in equal amounts, with a little wink of humour throughout.

Match Fixer - Rats [SE:CD]
Match Fixer - See Me [SE:CD]
Naarm/Melbourne musician Andrew Cowie has released music under the name Angel Eyes, but switched to instrumental experimental electronica as Match Fixer some years ago. I was hooked from just about the start, through to an excellent album last year on Melbourne's Nice Music, but it's still great to find him now on the Berlin-based SE:CD, which launched last year with the great exael. Cowie's music bears the influence of IDM and contemporary experimental sounds, but with a sure understanding of techno and bass musics. New EP Done brings him as close to jungle/drum'n'bass as he's been, with an album promised around the corner from the same label. And MAP/Medical Aid for Palestinians will also be the beneficiary of any Bandcamp purchases.

Tawdry Otter - What She Knew [Adrien75 Bandcamp]
Adrien Capozzi is best known as Adrien75 in the IDM world, and as part of various ensembles uner the Carpet Bomb label umbrella - I've said before that I wish the Highways Over Gardens comp was still available to share with you. Maybe I'll bug them about it, but in the meantime, Adrien has continued making weird beats and genre-agnostic stuff under the Adrien75 moniker, and for a little while now also as Tawdry Otter, all-electronic, beat-based releases which I think are probably mostly created on the Koala Sampler mobile app. In any case, it's sample-based and beat-based fun, light of touch and fleet of foot.

Shit & Shine - Joy_14 [OOH-sounds/Bandcamp]
Shit & Shine - Joy_04 [OOH-sounds/Bandcamp]
Craig Clouse has been a lot of things through his career, and Shit & Shine is his vehicle for solo shenanigans. I've always through of it as a noise act, but there are memorable lo-fi loop-disco, heavy dubstep, glitch, hardcore punk and metal forays as well... at the very least. It's also at times been a band (oh, and don't forget the grind/doom of Todd while we're at it!) but my impression that for ages it's been the outlet for anything Clouse solo chooses to do. So we get to Joy of Joys, released by Italian experimental label OOH-sounds. It's actually not out of order to call this noise, among other things. It's definitely experimental music in the real sense of experimentation. Each track is a relatively short vignette made of short blurted samples that only accidentally form any kind of rhythms - and yet vocal stabs and delay effects at times remind one of the in-between bits of some dub techno or industrial record, the sound of a warm-up, a soundcheck. But, you know... in a good way.

Wraz. - Dreadbox [Artikal Music/Bandcamp]
I discovered Québecois dubstep producer Wraz. via UK label Artikal Music about a year ago with the excellent Wraith EP, so it's great to find him back on the label with another winner, Dreadbox: four tracks of heavy bass action, great sense of dynamics and creative beats. For my money one of the essential dubstep artists at the moment.

Cartridge - Dem God [DEEP MEDi/Bandcamp]
You always know you'll get quality from DEEP MEDi, one of the most consistent dubstep labels (of course, given it was founded by Mala). Prolific Manchester producer Cartridge has made a mark on the dubstep scene, with collaborations and a growing amount of mastering work, and the Altitude is a killer debut on DEEP MEDi. "Dem God" keeps the dub in dubstep, as well as the good ol' 'ardcore continuum...

The Bug - Gutted(Human Filth) [Pressure/Bandcamp]
Following 4 filth-ridden EPs last year, The Bug concludes the Machine series with Machine V, five tracks of sludgy industrial dub, as always dubstep-adjacent but in that special way that Kevin Martin has honed over 3+ decades of production. These tracks were debuted at one of The Bug's many appearances with grime legend and recent Grammy winner Flowdan, and one can only imagine the intensity.

jesu - Hard To Reach (2024 Remaster) [jesu Bandcamp]
Of course JK Broadrick is a longtime associate of Mr Martin, and their OG duo Techno Animal is seeing its '90s albums re-released with heavy-as-fuck remasters from Broadrick. But Jesu is a well-loved identity within JKB's massive oeuvre, his visionary take on shoegaze-metal, and home to many blissful searing songs of melancholy. The Hard To Reach EP is not technically new: the two opening tracks appear on Jesu's somewhat legendary split with Japanese emo/screamo band Envy, released in 2008, but they appear here remastered by Broadrick - along with two contemporary unreleased gems and an alternate version of the title track, which we hear tonight in all its 13+-minute glory. A super-punchy drum machine beat, albeit different from the beats he programs for Godflesh, motors through, eventually almost overwhelmed by the layers of reverbed guitars, electronics, and Broadrick's clean vox. Seriously wondrous stuff.

Listen again — ~211MB


Sunday, 28th of January, 2024

Playlist 28.01.24 (11:00 pm)

Tonight we have catch-ups from 2023 and wonderful new stuff, including previews and early singles, ranging from post-jazz and experimental indie to breakcore and chiptune drill'n'bass.

LISTEN AGAIN for the details you missed the first time. Podcast right here, stream on demand via FBi.

Yirinda - Nyun (Brother) [Chapter Music/Bandcamp]
I was very pleased to get to see the full-band version of Yirinda, the duo of Butchulla songman Fred Leone and double-bassist/composer Samuel Pankhurst at the Woodford Folk Festival over the new year, with an ensemble of strings, horns and keyboards. It's a magical combination of Leone's songlines and Pankhurst's arrangements, creating something that I'm pretty sure has never existed before. In the leadup to their self-titled album's release on Feb 16th, the third single "Nyun" (Brother) has been released, and it's as lush as the predecessors. Much recommended.

The Smile - I Quit [XL Recordings/Bandcamp]
I'm a longtime signed-up Radiohead fan, and so I came to The Smile with open ears, and by and large enjoyed their first album. The addition of Sons of Kemet drummer Tom Skinner is well-chosen, but much of the time his drumming doesn't stand out compared to Thom Yorke and Jonny Greenwood's usual drummer Phil Selway. And is The Smile distinct enough to be a different matter from Radiohead? I'm not sure. It's certainly a lot closer to Radiohead than Thom Yorke's excellent solo work, or Jonny Greenwood's composition work. For the first half of the new album I was struggling to find anything that stood out (even the obvious Robert Wyatt-ism of "Friend of a Friend"), but the last three tracks are excellent. Funnily enough Pitchfork singled out "I Quit" as the only dud on the album, so fuck them. The stuttering guitar and acoustic piano are joined by a programmed bassline, barely-there beats and soaring keyboards and at times discordant strings. Sure, it doesn't have a contrasting rousing chorus, but I'm sorry if you expected standard song structures from these guys...

Astrid Sonne - Say you love me [Escho/Bandcamp]
Astrid Sonne - Do you wanna [Escho/Bandcamp]
The third album from Danish composer Astrid Sonne is perhaps her most "pop" work, complete with her own vocals along with electronics and her trusty viola. A few other musicians join her on a few tracks, but the drums, where they are appear on two tracks, are her own, muscular and steady. So I should note that my choices - one track with drum machine and one with live drums - are slight outliers on an album that's mostly orchestrated with new age synths and acoustic instruments. While her vocals are unassuming and cool, there's power in these songs: "Do you wanna have a baby?", she asks on the second track, but that refrain is sharply reframed with her last words: "I really don’t know". Sonne's strengths as composer & arranger are easily supported by her songwriting talents here.

Marla Hansen - Chains [Karaoke Kalk/Bandcamp]
American violist/violinist Marla Hansen has played with Sufjan Stevens, My Brightest Diamond and others in the indie world over many years, and that hasn't stopped since she's been based in Berlin. In 2007-8 I played her debut EP Wedding Day quite a lot, a collection of indie/folk songs based around her viola and voice. Her last album Dust came out on the Cologne label Karaoke Kalk in 2020, an album of full band and electronics alongside her string arrangements, with musicians sourced from the Berlin scene. Follow-up Salt comes out from the same label in March, produced by Berlin-based English violinist Simon Goff, featuring string and brass arrangements along with electronics. First single "Chains" is just a beautiful song, a yearning melody with electronic pop backing that folds down to simple strings. No doubt we're in for something special when the full album drops.

Elena Setién - Surfacing [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Elena Setién - Coloured Lizards [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Basque singer and multi-instrumentalist Elena Setién has recorded three albums now for the legendary Chicago label Thrill Jockey, as well as two earlier solo albums and albums as part of the jazz duo Little Red Suitcase with pianist Johanna Borchert formed when based Copenhagen. Her previous albums mix folk and country with thoughtful arrangements, but Moonlit Reveries finds her back in Spain, and working with (legendary Chicago) drummer Glenn Kotche of Wilco (and so much more). Here her folk tendencies reach to Latin music - "Coloured Lizards" in particular has a samba feel - but also sidle in avant-garde directions. The moonlight here represents motherhood and the feminine, but also the half-seen, disquieting sense of dream states. Put this album on in a quiet room let it gently distort your sense of reality.

Domenico Lancellotti - Um abraço no Faust [Mais Um/Bandcamp]
Domenico Lancellotti - Diga [Mais Um/Bandcamp]
The intentions of Brazilian innovator Domenico Lancellotti's album sramba can be found in the title of the second track, "Um abraço no Faust". A repetitive groove of close Latin harmonies (with a gorgeous major key middle-eight), it's named for João Gilberto's instrumental "Um Abraço no Bonfá", but where Gilberto offered a hug to guitarist Luiz Bonfá, Lancellotti here is hugging the strangest of the key krautrock bands, Faust. Working with Ricardo Dias Gomes, another Brazilian familiar with the classics but very willing to mutate them, Lancellotti takes samba into new directions - "samba de máquina" - but as his clear forefather Tom Zé proved more than four decades ago, samba deconstructed is still samba.

DJ Swagger - Off The Dime [Kommerz Records/Bandcamp]
Lutz Reineke has been releasing music since he was only 18, starting with house and moving through deep house, techno and breaks. But of late (at the ripe old age of 25) he's been making a sharp left turn into neo soul and indie, as will appear on his Chemistry Forever on Kommerz Records in March. Single "Off The Dime" is a smooth r'n'b/soul song that switches gears in the last third into a kind of low-slung digi-hip-hop mode, which reminds me of later Funkstörung. Nicely done.

STATIC CLEANER LOST REWARD - Mirage Game [Low Company]
STATIC CLEANER LOST REWARD - Fair Game [Low Company]
STATIC CLEANER LOST REWARD is one of many aliases of Naarm/Melbourne musician Tarquin Manek - one in fact that was last used (and first used?) 10 years ago for a cassette on Nipaluna/Hobart label Altered States Tapes. Tarquin's a member of noise/weirdo band Bum Creek, was in F ingers among other things with Carla dal Forno, and Kallista Kult with Y L Hooi - many of these also involving Sam Karmel of CS + Kreme. Oh and he played in the band version of Evelyn Ida Morris's Pikelet yo! All of which is to say that Tarquin's underground-Melbourne cred couldn't be more impeccable. Breathing Under Honey is the last release on London's Low Company and it's absolutely a minefield of weird left-turns, while still being some of the most focused work from Tarquin. A kind of dubby post-punk techno thing permeates the productions, with zonked-out vocoded vocals slivering around in the murk. It's rhythmic - except when it isn't - and whatever else it may be, it's never conventional.

LOUFR - dark [Pointless Geometry]
LOUFR - h0pe [Pointless Geometry]
Polish composer Piotr Bednarczyk has recorded a few albums now as LOUFR, inhabiting the space between contemporary classical, post-club and other experimental electronicism, as well as a very leftfield kind of electronic pop. New album FEARS is out this coming week from the adventurous Polish label Pointless Geometry, and you can hear all of that here: seemingly ambient music with sharp glitch interruptions and seemingly acoustic strings; UK bass-influenced beats with vocoded vocals. There is a surprising amount of vocals on this album, but like everything else it's morphed and blended so that all those elements are hard to tease out. And because of that, it's striking when those contrasts do happen - the heavy glitch, the acoustic piano or string instrument, the straight beat. Bednarczyk knows what he's doing and has the skills to make it work beautifully.

cadeu - slow fade [Hyperboloid Music]
Broosnica - Ways Of The Underground [Hyperboloid Music]
From Poland to Latvian label Hyperboloid Music, who released their Hyperboloid 2024 on the 31st of December 2023. Here are experimental electronic artists from all around Europe and beyond, covering plenty of genres but generally dancefloor-worthy. German producer cadeu is a good example, with hyperpop vocal samples and an infectious bass-heavy groove, while from Russia, Broosnica takes things into proper drumn'n'bass territory with a well-used rap sample and breakbeats. Leading us into...

When 2 - Away [Blorpus Editions]
You might know Mike Meegan for his music as RXM Reality, usually released on on-point labels Hausu Mountain or Orange Milk Records. Meegan's music is a hyper-everything stew of metal, pop, rock, whatever, all banged together into shapes resembling IDM, jungle, footwork and techno - and plenty of glitch. So on paper you'd think that his new project When 2 - whose debut album Here is released on Blorpus Editions, run by Max Allison/Muqks, one half of Hausu Mountain - would be just an extension of RXM Reality. Here Meegan is directly inspired by the genius of Carl Stone and his specially-developed Max/MSP patches the let him create skittering glitchscapes. And what we get is indeed like the bastard son of Carl Stone and RXM Reality - hyperspeed granular rides through samples of pop and rock, which I mostly can't identify, stuttering and crashing into kaleidoscope visions of jungle or footwork - see how comfortably "Away" segues out of the drum'n'bass ahead of it. Really this is masterful stuff.

bagel fanclub - smeegle premonition [Maulcat/Bandcamp]
rkgk - train2catch [Retrac Recordings/Bandcamp]
rkgk - you4me [Retrac Recordings/Bandcamp]
apollo bitrate - sequels that nobody asked for [slut punk]
Big thanks to Miles Bowe, whose Acid Test column in Bandcamp Daily introduced me to the music of River Everett and Caybee Calabash, who together make up bagel fanclub. Last year's how are your cars driving? is an intense ride through chiptune breakcore and idm, heavily reminiscent of the Kid606/Datach'i/OVe-NaXx/early VSnares days. Harsh but with heart, seen through a hyperpop-smeared lens, this is fun and cheeky music that sometimes mines beauty from its relentless distorted digital maximalism, and the same goes for their recent separate work. River Everett, based somewhere in the US, makes ultra-lo-fi hypnagogic ambient synth stuff as New Mexican Stargazers, but as rkgk contrasts those tape-distorted longform wanderings with breakneck digital cuts'n'breaks, and like his predecessors from the '90s and '00s imbues every track with genuine melody. I recommend you go4it. The other half of bagel fanclub is Caybee Calabash, across the pond somewhere in the UK, whose many aliases can be found at slutpunk.bandcamp.com. Her music tends towards the noiser end of the breakcore/glitch spectrum, but as amply shown on "sequels that nobody asked for", can pull emotion from the chaos, with lovely harmonic progressions in a slow 3/4 time signature splattered with distorted breaks. World's End Girlfriend eat your heart out. Calabash's despectral maid (as apollo bitrate), and Everett's rkgklp came out this week and last week respectively.

Rutger Zuydervelt - Malheur 7 [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Out this coming Friday is the latest all-electronic beats work from Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek, which like the last few will be available on a limited 3" CD as well as digital. Malheur has some of his best work yet in this space - informed by decades of refined sound-art, drone, and collaborations across free jazz, modern classical and minimalist postrock. You can feel Zuydervelt's appreciation of drum'n'bass and IDM in these tracks, affectionate tributes to the music of his youth despite their crunchy rhythmic darkness.

Sote - River of Pain [SVBKVLT/Bandcamp]
By now, Ata Ebtekar aka Sote ("Sound" in Farsi) is a firm fixture on this show, going right back to his quasi-breakcore debut EP on Warp, and through his many gorgeous, uncanny explorations of Persian classical & traditional music and Iran's extremely fertile electronic & experimental music scene. His new album Ministry of Tall Tales will be released on the influential Shanghai label SVBKVLT on February 29th, with the beautiful single "River of Pain" available now. It's entirely electronic, but its microtonal motifs evoke traditional Persian music played in a dream-space. Following 2022's Majestic Noises Made In Beautiful Rotten Iran, Ministry of Tall Tales reflects more on the corrupted, oppressive situation in his homeland and its surrounds - made all the more desperate by the governments of "Western" countries.

Nadah El-Shazly - Breakup By The Sea [Asadun Alay Records/Bandcamp]
Now Montréal-based, but a pivotal figure in the Egyptian experimental music scene, Nadah El-Shazly is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer: most recently she made a stunning vocal contribution to Algiers' 2023 album Shook, and back in 2019 she joined the Egyptian/Lebanese/Turkish psych-rock/jazz supergroup Karkhana. Out late March is her soundtrack to British-Moroccan director Fyzal Boulifa's film The Damned Don't Cry. El-Shazly's music is heartfelt but uncompromising, using harp, double bass and violin along with her voice and production. We'll hear more from this closer to the release.

Mike Cooper & Pierre Bastien - Tuangku [Keroxen/Bandcamp]
From Keroxen, a sublabel of Discrepant based in Tenerife, in Spain's Canary Islands off the north-west coast of Africa, comes Aquapelagos Vol.2: Índico, the second volume in the label's series reimagining archipelago life with emphasis on the watery surrounds. And who better than the pioneer of watery experimental exotica, Mike Cooper? Here Cooper's processed guitar tones are joined by the distinctive, always bizarre sounds of Pierre Bastien's musical robots and his expressive, eerie trumpet - especially on "Tuangku" where the trumpet is heard in an impossibly low register, sounding out from beneath waves of looped guitar. Incredibly evocative.

Open to the Sea - The Room of the Hungry Blind Sheeps [Matteo Uggeri Bandcamp]
One of the various sound-art and experimental electronic projects of Matteo Uggeri, Open to the Sea initially saw Uggeri join with instrumentalist and sound-artist Enrico Coniglio and a host of guests, making gentle, mostly-instrumental music redolent of folk, postrock, jazz and post-classical: music in the vein of Rachels, Piano Magic, Dakota Suite or Astrïd. Lately they've been joined by Saverio Rossi aka leastupperbound - of course, along with many guests. The beautiful Ten Rooms Under The Sea (fortuitously echoing the previous track's themes) is some of their best work yet, and the drums of frequent Uggeri collaborator Mattia Costa enhance the ambient jazz of two highlight tracks.

BlankFor.ms, Jason Moran, Marcus Gilmore - Little Known [Red Hook Records/Bandcamp]
BlankFor.ms, Jason Moran, Marcus Gilmore - Tape Loop D [Red Hook Records/Bandcamp]
Stepping from Open to the Sea into "real jazz" to conclude tonight's show, we find ourselves nevertheless in a strange liminal world, in which accomplished jazz improvisors Jason Moran (piano) and Marcus Gilmore (drums) are captured in the grainy magnetic spools of BlankFor.ms' tape manipulation. The music on Refract, released on Red Hook Records in September last year, sometimes favours the jazz phrasing of Moran's virtuosic piano lines and its interplay with the nimble, sensitive drumming of Gilmore, but their live playing is always sampled, looped and manipulated by BlankFor.ms. Much of the material seems to rise up out of the abstractions of BlankFor.ms' tape loops, but what's particularly special is the restraint from all three musicians. On the album closer, the anonymously-titled "Tape Loop D", the tape rumble is allowed to spin out for almost half a minute before the delicate piano re-enters. It's a gorgeous moment on an album full of delicious surprises.

Listen again — ~204MB


Monday, 22nd of January, 2024

Playlist 21.01.24 (11:20 pm)

Tonight is - finally - the first "new music" show of the year!
I missed the 31st of Dec, and the 7th was the best of 2023 DJ set, and then on the 14th I was off again. So... here we are, catching up.
It's absurd that we're catching upon new music released since mid-December last year, but that's the world we live in.
Thanks to Mara Schwerdtfeger for excellent selections filling in last week!

So LISTEN AGAIN via FBi's stream on demand or our podcast here - you owe it to yourself.

Jeremy Young - SFKP Second [Jeremy Young Bandcamp]
We start tonight with one of the two tracks on Montréal sound-artist Jeremy Young's December release Stop F*king Killing People because I cannot support this sentiment enough, and also they're lovely ambient pieces. He's giving all profits to Mercy Without Limits, so go ahead and purchase some processed guitar & oscillators.

He Can Jog - Lavender Soap - Seakn [Audiobulb/Bandcamp]
He Can Jog - Perfume Eater - Q7XL feat. YoungGettem & DJ Milkman [Audiobulb/Bandcamp]
I've followed the music of Eric Schoster's He Can Jog here on Utility Fog for over 13 years. It's ranged from folktronica to drone to generative electronica, and thus the music on these two cassette volumes is similarly far-reaching. For the start of 2024, with the Audiobulb label Schoster has compiled Audiobulb Plays He Can Jog - Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, featuring remixes, reworkings and even covers of He Can Jog's music through many years. For a mere £3 each, it should be cinch for experimental electronic music fans to grab these. Tonight, two Milwaukee-based artists for some reason: Seakn gives us glitchy sounds, sparsely accreting into accelerated beats, while Q7XL unexpectedly takes the glitchy rhythms into hip-hop, with YoungGettem (maybe an alter-ego?) and DJ Milkman.

Sage Francis - Master Cleanse feat. OldBoy Rhymes, Rituals of Mine, alxndrbrwn [Strange Famous Records]
Released this week is a single from the always-political Sage Francis along with new Strange Famous Records artist OldBoy Rhymes and "heavy electronic r&b" artist Rituals of Mine, produced by alxndrbrwn. It's a strong condemnation of Israel's destruction of Gaza, touching on much more.

UKAEA - Rabbia [The state51 Conspiracy/Bandcamp]
Hoo boy, I've been hanging out to play this album since it was first put out as part of the monthly commissions by The Quietus for their subscription program. UKAEA is primarily the work of producer Dan Jones, with deep roots in techno and rave culture, filtered through industrial and noise (it's mixed by veteran breakcore and noise-rock dude Wayne Adams of Petbrick, Big Lad et al at his Bear Bites Horse studio). But this album features an array of vocalists, the violin of Agathe Max and various other live instruments, giving the music a deep sense of (multi-)cultural heft. Listening to the album is an intense experience, delivered by the vocalists and other contributors as much as the heavy beats and electronics, but rather than oppressive or exhausting, it's electrifying. I feel like whatever expectations you bring to the music, you'll be surprised, so please dive in!

Tangerine - Peripheral [Steeplejack Records/Bandcamp]
Naarm-by-way-of-Amsterdam label Steeplejack Records put out this compilation in mid-December. Entitled Have You Heard of Radiohead?, it's credited to "Faultlines", but I haven't been able to work or what that represents. It's impeccably curated, with artists both known and unknown to me, covering bass genres, d'n'b, techno and IDMish stuff. Here we have Clementine Girard-Foley aka Tangerine, who among other things is co-curating Absorb(ed) III, a 2-day festival in Naarm in March with an excellent line-up. Her track is a lovely piece of controlled distortion and head-nodding beats.

Vladislav Delay - Nomen Nescio [RAJATON]
Over a yearlong period, Sasu Ripatti has now released vols 1-5 of two EP series: Hide Behind The Silence reflects the familiar aspects of Ripatti's most common moniker Vladislav Delay, with glitchy textures, abstracted rhythms and dub-influenced production, while Dancefloor Classics is a Delay-style take on footwork and other club influences. In general I've enjoyed the former releases more, and some of the best material is on Hide Behind The Silence EP 5 - although now they've all come out, we can review them together, and each series has been collected into a single release (HBTS and DC) if you want to catch up.

Vittorio Montalti / Blow Up Percussion - 5D+5E [col legno/Bandcamp]
Austrian contemporary music label col legno have long championed electro-acoustic music and other forms of contemporary composition, including more playful contemporary approaches such as those taken by Wolfgang Mitterer in his feints towards electro-pop, IDM and glitch. On The Smell of Blue Electricity we find Italian composer Vittorio Montalti working with the ensemble Blow Up Percussion, in a work that blurs genres and roles, with the composer performing live electronics while also directing the percussion musicians. As such, it's music that is as easily parsed as experimental electronic, contemporary jazz or contemporary composition, and tonight it slides comfortably into the experimental beats.

Roman Rofalski - Perpetuum [Oscillations/Bandcamp]
German musician Roman Rofalski is a classically-trained pianist and a jazz musician, releasing recordings of contemporary composers as well as jazz piano trios. He's also interested in extending these forms into electronic realms, and we've heard him on this show as one half of electro-acoustic duo Saving Kaiser. For London-based Oscillations Music, he's deconstructing his piano on new album Fractal. Starting with beautifully-recorded prepared piano, he's ripped apart the sounds, so that complete melodic gestures slide in between heavy drones based on single piano notes, or heavy sub-bass lines. There's live drums (also heavily edited) from Felix Schlarmann on opening track "Perpetuum", but there's also a rhythmic groove to a lot of the other tracks. You'll hear contemporary experimental techno, glitch from the late '90s, the post-jazz of the mid-'00s and more in these tracks which strike a satisfying balance between catchy and challenging.

JK Flesh - PI11.1 [Pi Electronics (π)/Bandcamp]
Out mid-December was the second EP from Justin K Broadrick's techno alias JK Flesh on Greek label Pi Electronics (π). While it's still dark and intense as fuck, the tracks here seem a little less maxxed out and relentless. Which is great as Broadrick is a master of musical progression as well as aggression, so here we have his industrial dub take on techno, hypnotic and body-moving.

Roma Zuckerman - Juldish [Gost Zvuk]
Siberian techno mage Roma Zuckerman is a frequent contributor to Nina Kraviz' ТРИП (trip) label, but also to ГОСТ ЗВУК / Gost Zvuk, who released the very trippy Hoavi album Phases last year. His new album for Gost Zvuk, Phenomenon of Provincial Mentality, out on Feb 2nd, is trippy and disorienting, with juddering beats that stick to 4/4 but clatter around with distorted voices and weird noises. Home listening fun.

Batu - Other Means [Batu Bandcamp]
Since his brilliant Opal album in 2022, Timedance boss Batu has gone down some ambient side-quests and is now dropping single tracks at odd intervals. With "Other Means" we have fast-moving percussive techno with syncopated bass and kicks, very very nice.

Jlin - The Precision Of Infinity (ft. Philip Glass) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Jerrilynn Patton's music as Jlin has always been at the sharpest cutting edge of footwork, with her love of odd-numbered time signatures and her merging of dance genres and influences far outside the electronic world. But it's still quite a spin-out to hear Philip Glass's piano featuring on the first single from her new album Akoma. Further guests will include Björk and Kronos Quartet, so this is shaping up to be the most highly anticipated album of the first quarter of 2024. Amazing stuff on this single anyway.

Ourobonic Plague - Bound///Rebound [Ourobonic Plague Bandcamp]
The anonymous Aussie artist behind Ourobonic Plague continues to put out fucked up industrial beats on Bandcamp - with tags like indubstrial, glitch hop and hyperdungeon... Activated Sludge is the latest, with a breakbeat groove on tonight's selection that reaches into jungle influences.

Eastern Distributor - Sand Shaper [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
Pure Space's last release of 2023 - but actually their first of 2024 - is a "split" release between Eastern Distributor and Jörmungandr, both of which are aliases of Naarm/Melbourne-based artist Daniel Jakobsson. The An Xileel EP references the titular political faction of the Argonians in Elder Scrolls. In the middle of the EP is "Sand Shaper", with organic sounds mixing with the flittery complex percussion.

Catnapp - Talking Trees (Lila Tirando a Violeta & Sin Maldita Remix) [Lila Tirando a Violeta Bandcamp]
Last year Berlin-based Argentinian musician Catnapp released a remix EP of tracks from her second album on Modeselektor's Monkeytown Records. Ireland-based Uruguayan producer Lila Tirando a Violeta, aka Camila Domínguez, contributed a remix to that EP, but now she's released a second one, taking "Talking Trees" into experimental jungle territory. It's a collaboration with Sin Maldita, her collaborator on her debut album for Hyperdub last year. Futuristic.

Drumskull - Unknown Structure [Hooversound/Bandcamp]
Hooversound, the label run by DJs Naina and Sherelle, has tended to concentrate on those areas where jungle bleeds into other things - whether the jungle tekno that it rose out of in the early '90s, or footwork, dubstep etc. Here Drumskull contributes two hardcore jungle teckno tracks, and two seriously rattling jungle tracks (one a remix by Dwarde). Joyous dancefloor mayhem.

Hologroove - Glider [Straight Up Breakbeat/Bandcamp]
More jungle here from Finland's great drum'n'bass/jungle label Straight Up Breakbeat. Their latest Zero Four compilation showcases recent music from the label, and unreleased/forthcoming tracks. It's all quality, but tonight we have Sweden's Hologroove with a storm of junglist beat-choppery within a modern d'n'b framework.

gyrofield - gossamer [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
One of the most notable names to come up in the drum'n'bass/jungle world (and beyond) of late is Hong Kong's gyrofield (now based in Bristol). Her talents for almost-breakcore drum'n'bass were picked up by Metalheadz last year, and have now resulted in the EP A Faint Glow of Bravery, which adapts and remoulds drum'n'bass into new shapes. The bass-weight and breakbeats are there, but pressed into unexpected new roles.

Gantz - Leave Me Alone [Gantz Bandcamp]
Istanbul's Gantz will not be stopped, and after a strong year he dropped a whole album, MEGA, on December 29th. Here the dubstep, trip-hop and Autechre-style glitch-beats even morph into some kind of drum'n'bass at times. A great place to dive into what Gantz has been up to recently.

Nicholas Thayer - Pt 2: Trigger [Nicholas Thayer Bandcamp]
Following his phenomenal 3EP dance soundtrack in:finite on Oscillations Music last year (pt 1, pt 2, pt 3), ex-Melbourne Dutch composer Nicholas Thayer has released another dance soundtrack EP, All In Passing. Like the previous work, Thayer combines classical influences with glitch and beats that lean toward jungle. It's really excellent stuff.

Gi - Bashing [Altered States Tapes]
On her debut EP Orange Chorus Blonde Reveal, Sydney's Gi travels deep and wide in a mere four tracks and less than 20 minutes. The ambition is shown from the start, with guest cello lines contributed by Melbourne's Abby Sundborn, while eventually flittery insectile beats appear. On second track "Bashing", the cello is replaced by careful sound-design, joined by sub-bass pulses and tumbling percussion that eventually coalesces into an IDM-influenced jittery jungle techno thing. There follows a more dub-techno-leaning track, and a more abstract piece of granular sound-design. Phenomenal stuff from October last year, and a follow-up album was slated for December but hopefully is still on the way. For those in Naarm/Melbourne, Gi will be appearing with Marcus Whale at the abovementioned Absorb(ed) III.

connect_icut - Pre-penultimatum [Blasted Gorse Bandcamp]
connect_icut - Mark and Sarah, Ghost and Rae [Blasted Gorse Bandcamp]
I've been following the work of Samuel Macklin aka connect_icut for well over a decade, although shockingly there's no evidence in the Utility Fog playlists. Macklin's work, a little like He Can Jog above, has ranged wide in experimental electronic waters, from drone and more ambient climes to glitched-out postrock/shoegaze, IDM and more. He's announced new album Mars Maps Waterloo Moon as the last connect_icut album, which is a real shame, but hopefully his work will live on as part of the shoegaze-tronic duo The Bastion Mews and perhaps under another alias? A large amount of connect_icut's music can be found on the CSAF Bandcamp. On this new album we have gossamer granular work, grinding black metal murk, looped dub-glitch, and even scrabbly IDM beats. Surely anyone into what Utility Fog is about will love this.

Pyur - Night / Sea [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based Sophie Schnell aka Pyur put out her first release on Hotflush Recordings, but then in 2019 the breadth of her ambition was realised in the sprawling, multifarious Oratorio For The Underworld, suitably released on James Ginzburg's Subtext Recordings, in which classical strings, keyboards, and vocals were fluidly enmeshed in bass, IDM and techno beats. Almost 5 years later, follow-up Lucid Anarchy drops both beats and acoustic instrumentation, but it's still firmly based in rhythm, with lush synths pulsing and shuddering in a narcotic haze. It's rich and emotive, and frequently beautiful.

Listen again — ~215MB


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