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experimental electronica
electric string quartet

Utility Fog

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

Sunday, 14th of April, 2024

Playlist 14.04.24 (11:00 pm)

Vocals tonight used in myriad ways from glistening pop to visceral assaults...

LISTEN AGAIN, I know, there's a lot to take in! FBi's website offers stream on demand, or you can podcast here.

9T Antiope - Ready Player One [American Dreams/Bandcamp]
9T Antiope - Canvas Blank [American Dreams/Bandcamp]
Listeners of this show know I've been a fan of 9T Antiope for a long time. The duo of Sara Shamloo and Nima Aghiani are Paris-based Iranians, who also record as Taraamoon, in which Shamloo sings in Farsi - but for the more experimental 9T Antiope her songs are predominantly in English. Nima Aghiani's violin is a frequent presence alongside electronic noisemakers, but Shamloo's lush voice is often juxtaposed against harsh sounds, throbbing drones, digital glitches. Their new album Horror Vacui, out now through the excellent American Dreams (incidentally now based in Paris like 9T Antiope), is possibly their most accessble yet, though no less experimental for that. The "horror vacui" of the title is the fear of empty spaces, but also refers to the spaces in between - the in-betweenness of being expatriates from your country, neither here nor there. These fears, and the void itself, are welcomed in by Shamloo's voice and Aghiani's often rhythmic, looped violin, octave violin and octave mandolin. The crunchy string loops and warm vocals dispell any looming emptiness.

Aether + Vassallo - Desire [Aether + Vassallo Bandcamp]
Tonight we premiere a new song from Sydney duo Aether + Vassallo, from their forthcoming album Unbroken. Bronwyn Eather's poetry & vocals, plus keyboards & electronics, are supported by ethereal slide guitar from Paul Vassallo. Eather's songwriting and poetry emerged after a whole other life as a linguist, including a 10-year stint in Arnhem Land researching indigenous languages. On "Desire" the narrator takes us towards a gathering storm with eerie, ambient washes.

Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling, Andreas Werliin - tre [Drag City/Bandcamp]
The second album from the distinctive Australian guitarist Oren Ambarchi with Johan Berthling & Andreas Werliin (the rhythm section of Fire!) takes off where the last one left off - that is to say, it's more of the same, which is a really good thing! Berthling and Werliin dive right in with one of their trademark circular riffs of fat double bass and drums (no cymbals from what I can hear!) - jazz-indebted, rhythmically driving. Over this, Ambarchi patiently weaves his sounds, which rarely actually resemble guitar. Are those flute lines actually flute? Maybe. In any case, Ambarchi's own minimalist tendencies mesh perfectly with the two Swedes. Brilliant stuff as always!

Domenico Lancellotti - Abraço No Faust (Ricardo Dias Gomes remix) [Domenic Lancellotti Bandcamp/Ricardo Dias Gomes Bandcamp]
Ricardo Dias Gomes - Não Ver Onde Se Vê (Domenico Lancellotti & Eduardo Manso remix) [Domenic Lancellotti Bandcamp/Ricardo Dias Gomes Bandcamp]
Earlier this year, Brazilian musician Domenico Lancellotti released sramba, a modernised take on Brazilian samba, drawing in krautrock and electronica. And last year Ricardo Dias Gomes' Muito Sol grabbed our attention with brilliantly abstracted takes on Brazilian popular music. The two musicians are touring together, and have created a very limited edition cassette (and digital) EP in which they remix or rework each other's music. "Um abraço no Faust" was my favourite track from Lancellotti's album, a hypnotic groove with a seemingly simple guitar refrain with close harmonies that opens up at intervals with a gorgeous major-key change. Gomes is present on the original recording, but for his remix the guitar is replaced by ringing vibraphone. It's a beauty. For his part, Lancellotti works with Eduardo Manso to augment Gomes' songs, more radically on the other two tracks, but here scattering percussion in the choruses.

Banabila & Machinefabriek - A Giant Misstep [Banabila Bandcamp]
Since their self-titled debut 12 years ago, experienced Dutch musicians & sound-artists Michel Banabila and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) have had a fruitful partnership, clearly complementing each other. Banabila has four decades of experience working with all manner of instruments along with tape and electronics, while for at least 2 decades Zuydervelt has amassed a huge collection of works from sound-art and drone to soundtracks and many musical collaborations. A Looming Presence finds them working with more beats than usual, something Banabila is no stranger too, and which has crept into Zuydervelt's work more of late. But the rhythms weave around earthy textures, field recordings, drones, or even voice and viola. This "playful yet dark soundtrack for a crumbling world" is in fact rather comforting, compulsive listening.

Madeleine Cocolas - Drift [Room40/Bandcamp]
Brisbane composer Madeleine Cocolas's new album Bodies uses her synths and voice to explore the connection between bodies of water and human bodies. Whereas last year's Spectral used found sounds and electronics to evoke her surroundings, and various emotions - anxiety, release - Bodies is more flowing (watery) and embodied. On "Drift" her sampled voice joins pulsating synths, pushed onwards perhaps by river currents.

Avalanche Kaito - Donle [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
In 2022, the debut EP and then album from Avalanche Kaito were a revelation. Labalou Kaito Winse, an urban griot from Burkina Faso, met noise/post-punk duo of Benjamin Chaval on drums & electronics and Nico Gitto on guitar when he first visited Brussels. Something about their approach to music & sound gelled, and if anything on Talitakum they're even more of a singular unit. Whether Kaito is providing wild vocals, or his Peul flute and mouth bow, these songs are dizzyingly inventive, rhythmically complex and sonically dense.

Axon Breeze - Click [Axon Breeze Bandcamp]
nipaluna/Hobart musician, director and curator J R Brennan is the founder of KIN, an organisation that works on arts projects with people who have experience with the criminal justice system, and is also Co-director of Special Events at MONA. The first track from his "death metal club music" project Axon Breeze, "YOU SNAKE" appeared two years ago, and it's only taken that long for him to release "Click". The death metal part is mostly confined to Brennan's vocals, which growl hoarsely but not unintelligbly, but also provide clean-vox interjections. Both tracks are demented in the best way.

su dance110 - 101111111 Ash [su dance110 Bandcamp]
Dan Su is a dancer and choreographer, composer and producer based in Berlin. Their music and performance works are often intertwined, with the audio coming out under the name su dance110. Shang Can (殇残) extends from their 2021 opera & dance work Gentle Brutality, which explored homelessness and structural oppression. I'm not sure what the binary elements in the artist and track names mean, but it points to a corresponding interplay in the music itself, between the electronics, noise, fractured beats on the one hand, and elements of folk musics from ethnic minorities in Yunan province, and more operatic/classical elements. It's a very now hybridisation, but draws deeply from Su's own experience to produce something very compelling.

bela - 풀이 [Subtext Recordings/Unsound/Bandcamp]
Hard to believe, Noise and Cries 굉​음​과 울음 is the first time bela has recorded their voice. For much of the album it's the centrepiece - wailing, growling, screaming and sometimes singing purely, while industrial electronics and shards of club beats clamour. These works were first conceived while bela was living in Seoul, alienated and unsupported in a society that is, as they say, "slow to embrace those who exist on the margins". Amid their fixation with death, the emotions in these works are often harsh and pained, but bela was adamant that they express the opposing, deep desire to live. And so among the intense, disturbing (and excellent) material there are more uplifting pieces like "풀이" (which they translate as "unwinding"), in which cavernous, distant beats underscore sampled voices that float and soothe.

Use Knife - Ptolemaic (Zoë Mc Pherson 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) has released a 3-track remix EP, Peace Carnival. A couple of months ago I played the excellent rework by the brilliant Palestinian producer Muqata'a مقاطعة. Alongside Beaini himself we find Zoë Mc Pherson working jungle/techno breaks in amongst the electronics and Saif Al-Qaissy's Arabic vocals.

Comatone - XVLab (2004) [Feral Media/Bandcamp]
Katoomba resident Greg Seiler's early releases as Comatone, on the Feral Media label, helped hook our local scene into the international music I was playing. Greg's facility with complex beats and sound design made Comatone's music as exciting as any other electronica I'd play. In 2008 Comatone released an album with Sydney drummer Alon Ilsar as Comatone & Foley, but sometime in the following years he withdrew from the limelight, although Alon has presented the music from that album & its follow-up live with his Airsticks. This week, Greg contacted me to let me know that Feral Media will be releasing a series of EPs catching up unreleased Comatone music from the last untold amounts of time, which is great news. The glitch IDM beats of "XVLab" are the earliest, and there's work from the 2010s and even more recently coming our way - keep an eye on Bandcamp!

Monokle - Turn to Myself [Fuselab/Bandcamp]
St Petersberg Vlad Kudryavtsev's productions as Monokle go back nearly as far as Comatone. It's melodic and comforting music with nods to classic IDM sounds along the lines of Arovane, early Autechre, and hints of the ambient techno of Future Sound of London too. Comforting on headphones or on the right kind of dancefloors.

Lakker - Sparkle In The Dark [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Irish duo Lakker's second EP for YUKU is Pathway. It's got everything the pair excel at - assured rhythms from across bass & rave culture, with sound design to match. On "Sparkle In The Dark" the squashed remnants of death metal riffs hide behind nimble synth melodies and lopsided rhythms that coalesce at the 2/3 mark with punchy bass and skittery beats before dissolving back into stuttery samples.

Stefan Goldmann - Helicon [Macro/Bandcamp]
Speaking of lopsided techno, Stefan Goldmann has been a 4/4 Berlin techno & deep house god for over 2 decades, but is also connected to the classical concert hall via his Dad, composer Friedrich Goldmann, and his interests range widely to take in field recording, abstract sound-art, jazz and more, as attested by the long discography of Macro Recordings, the label he runs with Finn Johannsen. For some time he was interested in strange tunings, culminating in the custom, bent microtunings of 2019's Tacit Script. The same year, Veiki began a new phase exploring unusual beat cycles in techno, repeating in 7, 9 or 11 crotchets (or beats, if you like). This was followed in 2022 with the Vector Rituals LP, in which the strictures of bar lines were further loosened, through the phasing of odd time signatures as well as micro-shifts in tempo and note placement. These rhythm experiments culminate now with the full-length album Alluvium, which blends crossing time signatures with polyrhythms at various tempos. There's everything here: rapid-fire percussion which can sound like tablas, drum machines and even the shadows of cut-up breakbeats; haunted drones and translucent melodies a la Aphex Twin's SAW II; thumping syncopated sub-bass as heard tonight... There are tracks with the beats and rhythms barely heard through the murk of sonic textures, and there are tracks that would be techno slammers if only the bar lines lined up. Goldmann is prolific by any standards, and this is one of many recent works that I'd unhesitatingly recommend.
By the way, Macro has recently launched a subscription on their Bandcamp, which will soon include exclusive content as well as all future releases.

Low End Activist - Airdrop 07 (Tango Skit) [Peak Oil/Bandcamp]
Jamie Russell co-runs Hypercolour Records, and also runs the brilliant Sneaker Social Club, bringing all manner of bass music, jungle, hardcore, dubstep and so on to light. And if you look deep enough you'll find he's also the figure behind BRUK, a record label we've heard of late exploring the experimental edges of those kinds of bass music, including the recent abstractions of hoyah. He's recorded as Patrick Conway (oh hey, let's stop mid-sentence and marvel at the brilliance of 2021's Cellular Housekeeping!) but we know him best as Low End Activist. As the alias suggests, it's bass music, whether it be jungle & drum'n'bass, dubstep & grime, uk garage or whatever else. The brilliant LA label Peak Oil has hooked him for his latest album, Airdrop, which references UK hardcore circa '92 across its nine tracks. This isn't just rave revivalism though: the airhorns, stabs, basslines, hooversounds and 3-note chord riffs are judiciously meted out, and even when the breakbeats get to rattle over bouncing sub-bass they'll be interrupted by synth pads - and there's a through-line of dub delays and reverbs reminding us that we're viewing these day-long dance marathons through staticky VHS tapes and time- and drug-addled memory. Taken as a whole, it's as moving a tribute as Lee Gamble's prescient Diversions 1994-1996 from back in 2012, which built ambient, abstract disintegration loops out of the beatless sections of his old jungle mixtapes. Russell knows what he's doing here, and does it in style.

Brain Rays - Plugs (feat. Quiet) [Acroplane/Bandcamp]
When the much-missed Seagrave brought us Brain Rays & Quiet's first set of jungle/d'n'b/footwork hybrids, 2020's Butter, it took some time for me to realise that I'd been a fan of Benjamin Hudson aka Brain Rays back in the mid-'00s when he was making breakcore & mutant dubstep as Ebola. He's also a co-founder of Bristol's Wrong Music with DJ Scotch Egg and Matt Lambert. Slime, his new solo album for long-lived Irish netlabel Acroplane, brings this accumulated history together with references to jungle, footwork, breakcore, grime, dubstep, hardcore and IDM through its 10 tracks, with feature spots on almost every track. Fittingly, the track with Quiet heads up the album - before Brain Rays & Quiet they were producing weird hip-hop as Baconhead, and the seamless footwork/jungle here is a tribute to their long musical partnership. Come for that, but stay for tracks with experimental ravers Chevron and Neil Landstrumm, and much more.

bagel fanclub - you arrived, pink slap [bagel fanclub Bandcamp]
bagel fanclub - we found a spider with a skull on its back [bagel fanclub Bandcamp]
From first-gen breakcore to The New Generation™, UK/US duo bagel fanclub aka Caybee Calabash and River Everett. They are carrying on, or reviving, the traditions of madcap, hyper-distorted, glitchily cut-up breaks and angelic melodies, but of course the intervening decades have filtered those sounds through videogame soundtracks, while adjacent forms like footwork have gained greater public awareness. Chiptune is also a big influence, so even though they're made on contemporary laptops, they sound like they've come straight out of Impulse Tracker with resampled 128k mp3s. Most importantly, this shit be fun. There's a new album coming, encore county ground, which I'm lucky to have a preview copy of, so I sneakily played the opening track tonight; but before its release they snuck out a new EP with the matching name acorn out of bounds. Thematically similar, its 6 tracks segue on from each other and are both manic and melodic. For additional dizziness, try to read the Bandcamp description...

Sasha Elina - Tomás Cabado – A Song [Sasha Elina Bandcamp]
Different Songs, Vol 1, the new album from London-based Russian singer Саша Елина / Sasha Elina finds her interpreting the music of four contemporary composers, with compositions for solo voice and voice in duos with piano and guitar. The album's opening track, an a capella by German composer Eva-Maria Houben called "My Sweet Love", is captivating in Elina's fragile voice, but directly following it is a song by Argentinian composer & guitarist Tomás Cabado. Or should I say "A Song", as that's its title? Here the duo is with piano, played by Tim Parkinson somewhere else in London from where Elina recorded her voice, but they mesh together again with fragile poise.

Bryan Senti & Dom Bouffard - The Ground [naïve records]
Killing Horizon, the new collaboration between Colombian-American multi-instrumentalist Bryan Senti and Anglo-French gutiarist Dom Bouffard, is set for release on the 25th of October this year - a long while off! But the first single, The Ground gives a window into their music together - improvised and composed non-linearly by each musician in their homes (yep, Covid music!) with a couple of guests. The two are experienced session musicians who've played with a wide range of pop & rock artists, but this is much more on the experimental spectrum, with Senti's murmuring low-end piano overlaid with Bouffard's backmasked guitar washes and slowly joined with discordant string drones and shimmering guitar, before the storm recedes, leaving Bouffard's clean, poignant electric guitar lines. One to look forward to.

Love Is Yes - Somewhere Nowhere [Kit Records/Bandcamp]
New discovery, on London's Kit Records, is a duo from The Hague. Love Is Yes is the name of the duo, and the name of the album, and the music is pleasingly blurry, easily slipping from your mind's grasp, but demanding your close, repeated listening. It's really impossible to describe what's in here, as the instrumentation shifts and changes, or is downsampled and looped unrecognizably. At times Dax Niesten introduces her soft voice, elsewhere it's absent. Is it acoustic here? Well then it's electronica there, now hinting at krautrock, now dissolving away. The track heard tonight, lovely though it is, only gives you one shard of what's found within.

Gina Lo - vocal exercise [Unexplained Sounds]
姚春旸 Chunyang Yao - Remnant [Unexplained Sounds]
Raffaele Pezzella curates the group of labels and album series under the umbrella of Unexplained Sounds Group from Italy. A maker of post-industrial music as Sonologyst (among other names), he has industrial & dark ambient sub-labels, but he's also a keen curator of experimental music from all around the world, bringing word of adventurous artists from Persia, Lebanon, Latin America, the African continent, Scandinavia, Greece and more, and he has collected music from China and Indonesia but here has collected 20 tracks from artists in the "Far East". There are contributors here from Indonesia, Nepal, China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and more - it's worth noting that you can click through each track on the Bandcamp page to find short bios for each artist! There are wondrous sounds here, from imposing drone to punk noise, glitch and more. Berlin-based Taiwanese artist Gina Lo combines extended vocal techniques with processing on her "vocal exercise", and 姚春旸 Chunyang Yao, a Naxi woman working in sound-art and composition as well as voice & electronics, here also processes her voice along with electronic noise. You can easily lose yourself in Unexplained Sounds' myriad anthologies, and it's well worth it!

Listen again — ~200MB

Sunday, 7th of April, 2024

Playlist 07.04.24 (11:00 pm)

It's been four weeks since I was last here! Three Sundays in Japan (amazing of course), in which the excellent Mara Schwerdtfeger kept you company - huge thanks to Mara!

LISTEN AGAIN to all the things! Stream on demand at FBi or podcast here.

Meril Wubslin - Pas là [Bongo Joe Records/Bandcamp]
Starting with a wonderful discovery, courtesy I think of one of the Bandcamp Daily posts. Meril Wubslin are a Swiss trio, singing in French, combining post-rock and krautrock and indie rock and French chanson. The two singer/guitarists, Valérie Niederoest and Christian Garcia-Gaucher, have a history in Swiss indie bands, but when they're joined by French hardcore/math rock/noise rock drummer David Costenaro the band comes into their own: cyclical melodies and guitar lines powered by muscular percussion - probably helped by the production of Kwake Bass here, on their fourth album Faire ça. Anyway, it's always good to be reminded that the Francophone music scene is really rich and creative, and the two albums I've heard of Meril Wubslin easily attest to that.

Aquaserge - Le saut du tigre [Crammed Discs/Bandcamp]
Speaking of, here's the unpredictable French band Aquaserge, who I last heard in 2021 with their postrock/jazz tribute to various 20th century avant-garde composers, The Possibility Of A New Work For Aquaserge (a play on Morton Feldman's "The Possibility of a New Work for Electric Guitar"). In general, though, the band has traded in a kind of French prog/art/psych rock with jazz influences and somehow quite pop. The first single from their forthcoming album La fin de l'economie (released again on legendary Belgian label Crammed Discs) has a percussive backbone with synth riffs and a simple vocal melody echoed on electric guitar - until it opens up with close-knit synth harmonies. Somehow the total effect is not that far from the hypnotic grooves of Meril Wubslin.

Post Neo - Die Verwirrung [Monika Enterprise/Bandcamp]
Staying in Europe for a while still, here's Berlin-based duo Post Neo, aka Pauline Weh and Nicole Luján, whose second EP Alles Immer Wieder combines synths, percussion and vocals in a way that's closer to techno than the previous two acts: programmed beats, slightly robotic vocals and warm percussive bass. But still, the songwriting and even production cast themselves back to '70s avant-pop as much as any contemporary trends. Comfortably housed at Gudrun Gut's Monika Enterprise, it's prime leftfield German stuff.

Sunna Margrét - 4 Year Itch [No Salad Records/Bandcamp]
I first heard Icelandic musician Sunna Margrét (previously known just as Sunna) around 2018 via Wire Magazine. Some six years later, after some smaller releases, comes her debut album Finger on Tongue, via Swiss label No Salad Records. Centred around Sunna's vocal layering and off-kilter electronics, it's understated loveliness.

By The Waterhole with Stephan Meidell - ding ding dong [Playdate Records]
Eva Pfitzenmaier is a German artist, musician and writer based for many years in Bergen, Norway. Her latest album three comes 8 years after two and 11 years after one, but she's been involved with various other Norwegian jazz & experimental projects in the meantime. Her previous solo work has been entirely her own work, with electronics and improvised instruments as well as sometimes improvised vocals, coming together into frequently catchy leftfield pop. Her husband Stephan Meidell, who we've heard here in various Norwegian postrock/jazz/electronic lineups, has worked with her for years, but her third solo album acknowledges the partnership with Meidell as co-creator. The album has had a long gestation, so to speak, as it was begun in 2016, when Pfitzenmaier & Meidell's first child was born. It reflects on family, motherhood and love, but there's a good dose of the oddness that characterises Pfitzenmaier's work, strange electronics, wonky beats, weird structures. There's a lot to enjoy here.

Thea Grant - century caves [Shadow World/Hot Salvation/Bandcamp]
Coincidentally jumping from Bergen to Oslo, still in Norway, here's the extraordinary vocalist/composer/electronic musician Thea Grant, whose album Water and Dreams is largely made up of patient, multitracked vocal pieces, interspersed with heavy electronics of a particularly deconstructed club sound. Her voice is beautifully controlled, and is further augmented with subtle electronic effects, producing an otherworldly sensation - water and dreams indeed. This album should really be on your radar.

Perc - Can You Imagine? [Perc Trax]
I think of Ali Wells' Perc as the hardest of hard techno, and it can be that, but he's someone with wide musical interests - some of his earliest productions were drum'n'bass, although I'm not sure if anything was released. He's remixed early Einstürzende Neubauten, and there's no doubt that there's industrial influences in his sound. But on his new album The Cut Off, the 100th release on his influential Perc Trax and his first album in 7 years, there are rich quasi-choral and ambient interludes (not unusually for his album releases) among the admittedly fierce 4-to-the-floor bangers. "Can You Imagine?" combines the two together, and I do love how the hammering beats glitch in about a third of the way through.

Heejin Jang - Colors: I'm Here! [Venalism]
As her bio on Bandcamp says, South Korean artist Heejin Jang "make[s] something noisy". Her music is spread over many on-point labels, and if you haven't heard last year's Me and the Glassbirds on Doom Trip, you'd best correct that now. Yes noise, but artfully composed & arranged hyperglitch and dronescapes and anything that can make noises really. This track from her new album Dream Signal on Edinburgh tape label Venalism is the best: granulated vocal samples stuttering into almost-rhythm, humour and the uncanny in equal parts.

Hanno Leichtmann / Valerio Tricoli - Brunswick green [Ni Vu Ni Connu/Bandcamp]
Both these artists have some connection to noise music, but also everything from postrock to improv to techno. Cinnte le Dia is the third release from Berlin sound-artist & curator Hanno Leichtmann and Berlin-based Italian musician Valerio Tricoli, a founding member of the legendary Bologna postrock/sound-art/avant-garde group 3/4HadBeenEliminated. The pair's previous albums were released on the legendary Entr'acte in 2016 and 2018, both uncompromising albums of abstract sound manipulation with a very musical core. This album combines spontaneous live creation with post-production and overdubs on synth-bass and Revox tape recorder, the result being music that's informed by dub and techno as much as concrète and sound-art - it's a real pleasure to listen to (as are the two earlier releases!)

Nick Wales, Rrawun Maymuru - Yolngu (Deepchild Vocal Reconstruction) [Motorik!/Bandcamp]
What better way to get into the real techno & dance side of the show but with the wonderful Yolgnu songman from Northeast Arnhem Land, Rrawun Maymuru (lead singer of East Journey), and composer, violist and electronic musician Nick Wales? They've collaborated before for Sydney Dance Company, but this new song, simply entitled Yolgnu, is hopefully the beginning of a bigger project. The song comes with club and ambient mixes from Nick Wales, but also a reworking from Eora/Sydney's own Deepchild that's aimed directly at the dancefloor. The song is a wonderful call for pride of the Yolgnu people, and sitting between the classical and electronic worlds, Nick is a great partner with Rrawun to help bring this music to the world.

Pugilist - Destructor [Pugilist Bandcamp]
Naarm-based sub-destroyer, whether at 170bpm/jungle tempo or 140bpm/dubstep, Pugilist has started putting "Ruff Trax" EPs up on his Bandcamp: Vol 1 was basically jungle, and Vol 2 is 140 stuff - although there are plenty of breakbeats strewn through these tracks. Always quality.

HALFNELSON - Presa [Nina]
Will Yates' best-known alias Memotone, in its early days, was an outlet for leftfield bass music. Even then, though, his incredible skills across drumkit and percussion, keyboards and myriad other instruments were leading him into less dancefloor-oriented sounds. As well as projects like the weird-folk of O.G. Jigg, Memotone itself nowadays is an outlet for Yates' multi-instrumentalism, in jazz/folk/ambient settings, only sometimes veering into beats. Meanwhile, HALFNELSON is the place where you'll find him making techno and 4/4 beats, but also tape-saturated lo-fi hip-hop as is found amongst the four tracks of Yoga Om Knowledge. Yates has released the EP exclusively on Nina, a platform that came out of the NFT hype, but successfully shed the blockchain nonsense (you can pay with cryptocurrency, but you can also pay in normal ways). You can listen yourself, and when you buy it, note that there's a "Bonus material" tab where you can download WAVs.

In the latest issue of The Wire the editorial waxes lyrical about how forward-thinking Antipop Consortium were in the late '90s & early '00s, and I do kind of agree - their mix of IDM and glitch with avant-garde lyricism while staying true to hip-hop was pretty groundbreaking, although I always found their releases kind of hit & miss, and they didn't touch me, somehow. After a long silence, the band is getting back together, which is good news - although when I say silence, that's only as a collective (er, consortium). High Priest of Antipop has been active with experimental sound and melding jazz with electronica as Hprizm, and BEANS, BEANS just does not stop, and dude is dedicated to abstract raps with experimental electronics. In March 2017 he released three albums all at once (see the bottom three albums on his Bandcamp music page), and there's been at least one album a year since then - I recall Nibiru Tut being rad too. Well, BEANS is a good enough reason to check out ZWAARD, his latest album, but there's another hook: the whole thing is produced by Sasu Ripatti aka Vladislav Delay. Crazier still: Mr Delay sent BEANS a bunch of sample tracks to start a collab, material from about 10 years ago, and BEANS insisted on making his tracks directly from those demos - only a little tweaking from Vlad. If we go looking, we'll see that 2013-2014 was when a series of phenomenal tricksy dance EPs came out under his surname Ripatti - they're there on his Bandcamp, Ripatti01 to Ripatti07, footwork/idm hybrids that were the precursors of the recent Dancefloor Classics EPs. So honestly they sound up-to-the-minute, and a perfect sound base for BEANS to riff on. Ridiculously great stuff.

Eks - Os_ag [Opal]
Is Eks hip-hop? Can I say "among other things"? Napoli producer Guido Marziale, who's appeared on the great Italian label A Flooded Need, UK breakcore-adjacent label ADAADAT, and Bristol's Avon Terror Corps, but Throw-Up Concrète is his most high-profile yet - a full album released by Opal (who seem to have just lost the "Tapes", although this album is indeed released on tape!). The "concrète" part is a hint, but then so is "throw-up": this is music as indebted to noise as it is to sound design as it is to hip-hop. There are two guest spots from Sensational, the Brooklyn rapper who like BEANS frequently works in the experimental electronic space, and spots from both D.HAM and Franco Franco of recent Bokeh Versions album Parable Of The Empty Cup. But Eks doesn't need guests to make compellingly oddball noise-hop. Full of weird messed-up sounds and messed-up beats, Throw-Up Concrète is a winner.

hoyah - Dubblebubble [BRUK]
Sam (Shmuel) Hatchwell has worked as sound engineer and producer for some time, and as DJ has found himself in the revered climes of Berlin's Berghain. But his solo music, under the name hoyah, is only now really surfacing. The album Set + Setting comes out on BRUK, one of Low End Activist's labels that has heretofore focused on the more experimental end of jungle/club musics, but hoyah has experimented it way out of the park (sorry for the stretched metaphor). The album is constructed from a base of saxophone samples - masses of them, loaded into his trusty MPC. His self-imposed limitations stipulated that the sax sounds would be the "voice", there would be no "beats", and it would mostly be constructed away from the computer. Nevertheless, here on "Dubblebubble" we've certainly got percussive sounds - maybe not "beats" - around the lushly glitchy sax samples. As for the artist name, as well as a reference to a truly irritating TikTok meme ("can I get a hoya"), "hoyah" is an obscure word in Biblical Hebrew, a feminine form of "to be". As tends to crop up in the current climate, Hatchwell seeks to differentiate Jewish lore, culture and religion from the ongoing genocidal actions of the State of Israel. The conflation of Judaism with Zionism, as a tactic to brand any opposition to Israel as antisemitic, has reached a particularly vicious level of hysteria in Germany, and particularly Berlin, so it's no wonder Hatchwell feels the need to make this statement. Ceasefire now!

Phelimuncasi & Metal Preyers - Gqom slowgen Chant [Nyege Nyege Tapes/Bandcamp]
On their new album Izigqinamba, South African gqom crew Phelimuncasi take their raps and singing, in the isiZulu language, further into experimental waters than they have in the past. Here they have teamed up with fellow Nyege Nyege Tapes artist Metal Preyers, presumably predominately the work of Jesse Hackett, who with visual artist Mariano Chavez has released some of the most original and confounding music on the label. In this collaborative album the abstract tendencies of Metal Preyers are somewhat controlled, and Phelimuncasi manage to be as evocative and exhilarating as ever, even on darker, more downtempo tracks like "Gqom slowgen Chant".

Saint Abdullah & Eomac - Jealous of your defense industry [Drowned By Locals/Bandcamp]
The ongoing collaboration between NY-based Iranian brothers Saint Abdullah and Berlin-based Dubliner Eomac continues apace. Their latest, a full album entitled Light meteors crashing around you will not confuse you, comes courtesy of Jordanian label of exquisite taste, Drowned By Locals. Inevitably this album exists in the shadow of the war in Gaza, and all proceeds will go to UNRWA. Musically it's in some ways more chaotic than the two brilliant releases on Planet µ last year, but at the same time, as Eomac points out, it takes cues from hip-hop's beat tapes, filtered through the experimental sound techniques of the artists, everything crunched and distorted and taking frequent left turns into something else. It's deliberately disorienting, and it's deliberately evocative of loss and upheaval. Another important release from a phenomenal partnership.

Jana - Eb3ed 3ani [Yuku]
Prague label YUKU continues to come through with the goods. Here's a single from London-based Lebanese producer/sound-artist/DJ Jana Saleh, which de/reconstructs the sound of shaabi, Egyptian urban music. But just one track certainly leaves us wanting more!

Christoph de Babalon - Backward Gallop [Midnight Shift/Bandcamp]
Among the many pleasures of the jungle revival and the concomitant breakcore revival has been observing the original artists still around today, or inspired to start releasing new tracks. Christoph de Babalon was an enigmatic and iconoclastic figure in the Digital Hardcore days, where the Berlin scene picked up on that key era where hardcore techno morphed into jungle, and amped up the distortion to the max alongside anarchist/leftist politics. In a way, de Babalon never left - or if he did, it was between 2000 and 2008. But in recent years archival collections have appeared alongside new material, very much in keeping with the dark ambient and jungle/breakcore material he began with. Here, Singapore label Midnight Shift give us four new tracks on vinyl & digital, and we know the drill: hard-hitting cut-up breaks and bass, classical-leaning dark ambient interludes. It's a vibe.

Bankert - brainstorm [Bankert]
Hailing from Liechtenstein, electronic producer Bankert does not reveal very much about themself. They're up to ol05, the 5th release on Bandcamp, and have a contemporary take on idm, with hyper-edited beats and vocal snatches. The releases are all "name your price", so you really should!

Klahrk - &3&4 [SFX/Bandcamp]
London producer Ben Clarke spells himself Klahrk, presumably so that at least written-down he won't get confused with (Chris) Clarke. Blistering is Klahrk's second release on Zoë Mc Pherson & Alessandra Leone's SFX label. These tracks are driven by thundering bass hits syncopating under chittering percussive beats and glitched vocal snippets. Futuristic doomclub.

Aroma Nice - moan [YUKU]
Luke Fashoni started his jungle/breaks/downtempo alter-ego Aroma Nice over 10 years ago, and has collaborated with Earl Grey as Monologue (released on YUKU back in 2022), but now Old Haunts is his second solo release on YUKU and feels like a giant leap. Along with the jazzy samples and junglist drumfunk there's a juddering low-end throughout "moan" that brings a heavy intensity while gentle pads float over the top. Meanwhile "over the top" is a good description of the break-juggling madness. More complex than the drill'n'bass heroes of the mid-'90s, more in touch with jungle's sub-bass, and more nuanced than the breakcore shenanigans that came after... we're living in a golden age, enjoy it while it lasts!

DJ Strawberry - Çıkmaz [outlines]
Turkish producer DJ Strawberry is also harnessing bass energy, here in the context of Polish label outlines' mission of experimental approaches to Chicago footwork. DJ Strawberry put his new album Beyond together in the shadow of the horrific earthquake that hit Turkey early last year, and the music is a kind of escape from those dark emotions. The acid synths burbling under the jittering hi-hats and bass rumble on "Çıkmaz" seem to flow logically out of Aroma Nice's bass'n'breaks.

Michael Vincent Waller - Jennifer (Loraine James Remix) [play loud! productions/Bandcamp]
Michael Vincent Waller - Return from LA II (Moor Mother Remix) [play loud! productions/Bandcamp]
New York (post-)minimalist composer Michael Vincent Waller put out his Moments album on Unseen Worlds in 2019, a lovely collection of piano and vibraphone pieces with beguiling harmonies and hidden melodies reminiscent of Erik Satie or Philip Glass. The same year Moments came out, Waller had been talking with Jlin - who incidentally has a collaboration with Glass on her new album Akoma - and something about their shared aesthetics and thoughts about music sparked the idea for this remix album, Moments Remixes, out now on play loud! productions. The artists range from ambient to rave, glitch-hop to idm, and in keeping with its origins there are a pleasing number of women and non-binary artists - it's really worth checking out for people like Ka Baird, Prefuse 73, Xiu Xiu, Fennesz and of course Jlin, but I can rarely go past Loraine James, and her glitchy cut-ups of the original material with skittery beats are a joy. On the other end of the spectrum, Moor Mother brings heaviness with her rather unsettling spoken word and crumbling atmos overdubbed on the original tender piano.

MIZU - Pavane [NNA Tapes/Bandcamp]
New York-based cellist MIZU began composing the music for her second album Forest Scenes during a period based in São Paulo, and finished it in New York. Initially the album can sound like electronic ambient, but pretty soon you realise how much cello is contributing to the sounds here - there are melodies, processed textures, rhythmic parts. This ambiguity is part of the point of Forest Scenes, which uses the forest as a metaphor for queer spaces, and while the album was coming together, MIZU was herself undergoing physical gender transition. There are rich allusions in the works on this album, and there's a depth to the music too - layers to discover over multiple listens. Avant-garde and future-focused cello music is always one of my obsessions, and it's fruitfully rewarded on this album.

Hochzeitskapelle - We Dance feat. Enid Valu [Alien Transistor/Bandcamp]
We have the brothers Acher from The Notwist to thank for bringing us this understated EP from Munich acoustic/folk (wait, "rumplejazz") ensemble Hochzeitskapelle through their Alien Transistor label. Made up of viola, banjo, tuba, trumpet, trombone, drums, and perhaps other acoustic instruments at times, they have a ruffled, ramshackle sound that instantly lends the music a kind of "authenticity". On two of the four tracks here they're joined by Enid Valu, who is a filmmaker and photographer, usually documenting rather than performing, and her relatively unschooled voice is beautifully touching. Oh and this is a covers EP - indie heroes Pavement, Yo La Tengo and Low, plus German pop-rock band Wir Sind Helden. Initially Low's "Silver Rider" seems a little too bare-bones, with the melody carried on banjo, but at the chorus the trombone takes over, gloriously. This is really special stuff. Tonight I played the cover of Pavement's "We Dance" (the opener of Wowee Zowee), already a languid song from the quintessential slacker band, which effortlessly translates into the band's acoustic world.

Kelly Moran - Butterfly Phase [Warp/Bandcamp]
While New York pianist/composer Kelly Moran's first album for Warp showcased her prepared piano and electronics, Moves in the Field is lush in a different way. Here "clean" piano is in dialogue with a Yamaha Disklavier, which is a kind of digital version of a player piano - it's a mechanical, acoustic piano and can be used to record a performance that can then be played back without the performer. But as Moran shows here, it can be programmed to "perform" the piano is ways that are technically unavailable to a single human pianist - echoing the insanity of Conlon Nancarrow's impossible player piano compositions, punched into the device's control sheet so that it does crazy stuff like this. Nothing on this record is as extreme as Nancarrow, but it lends an uncanny sheen to what are in fact beautiful compositions.

Nadah El-Shazly - Haircut [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. Tonight we celebrate her soundtrack to British-Moroccan director Fyzal Boulifa's film The Damned Don't Cry, released in full now. El-Shazly's music is heartfelt but uncompromising, using harp, double bass and violin along with her voice and production.

Listen again — ~213MB

Sunday, 10th of March, 2024

Playlist 10.03.24 (11:00 pm)

Powerful transformative voices, powerful voices transformed, transformative instrumentals, beats of power.
This is my last UFog until April 7th, as I'll be in Japan for three Sundays!

LISTEN AGAIN if you dare! Podcast here, stream on demand @ FBi.

Kim Gordon - The Believers [Matador/Bandcamp]
Kim Gordon - I Don't Miss My Mind [Matador/Bandcamp]
The second album from Kim Gordon continues her collaboration with producer Justin Raisen, who provides overdriven beats that back Gordon's familiar speak-singing drawl - often stream-of-consciousness stuff, as encouraged by Raisen. If No Home Record was a shock, the first solo album from a figure of such huge significance in indie rock/postpunk for over 4 decades, The Collective has no less impact from following it. Career highs from an artist now in her 70s.

Moor Mother - Liverpool Wins (feat. Kyle Kidd) [ANTI-/Bandcamp]
Moor Mother - My Souls Been Anchored [ANTI-/Bandcamp]
Camae Ayewa has been one of the most in-demand guests on experimental albums of the last few years, but meanwhile keeps up her work with Irreversible Entanglements, 700 Bliss and Black Quantum Futurism - and of course solo work as Moor Mother. Moor Mother albums have never exactly been typical hip-hop, although the genre is so malleable and experimental to its core that this isn't saying much. The Great Bailout relentlessly dissects British colonialism and the slave trade, and their connections to capitalism & power today. It's musically challenging, as Moor Mother is nothing if not uncompromising, and this extends to collaborators like Lonnie Holley and Kyle Kidd. As impressive as Ayewa's poetry and delivery are, her genius is such that everything other than those guest spots is performed and produced by her too. The instrumental "My Souls Been Anchored" is no less political, with its collaged samples of blues and spirituals overlaid with the rumblings of industry. This album is challenging but essential listening.

Dali de Saint Paul & Maxwell Sterling - 4 [Accidental Meetings/Bandcamp]
The vocals and effects of Bristol artist Dali de Saint Paul have been found in many contexts over the last many years, including on Moor Mother's 2019 album Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes and UKAEA's recent Birds Catching Fire in the Sky. I first came across double bass player & electronic musician Maxwell Sterling on a collaboration with Martha Skye Murphy called Distance on Ground, although he also had a well-praised album on AD 93 in 2021. Their duo Penumbra came out of an improvised session on BBC Radio 3's Late Junction. Both musicians loop and process their sounds live - de Saint Paul's voice chopped into short rhythmic phrases or singing long melodies; Sterling's double basses and Lyra stretched into waves or sped up into high-pitched streams. Intriguing, engrossing stuff.

Erika Angell - Good And Bad [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Erika Angell - German Singer [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Swedish musician Erika Angell has been based in Montréal for many years, which explains her new album The Obsession With Her Voice appearing on the legendary Constellation label. Angell is a classically- and jazz-trained singer who's played in indie rock and industrial outfits and collaborated wide and far. On the new album, her shapeshifting vocals are accompanied by her synths and electronics, along with live drums from Mili Hong and a string section of cellos and violas. The abstract aspects of jazz, classical and electronic music all contribute to songs which nevertheless are song-shaped, whether Angell is whispering or howling, singing richly or processing her voice robotically. For those of us new to her work, a revelation.

Shoeb Ahmad - demotion [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Aphir - HAND ON YOUR HEART [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Hey! Lucky you, you get a preview of Marks of Provenance VII, the latest label compilation from the Provenance Collective. It's out this coming Friday, March 15th, and is choc full of Provenance artists like Arrom, Happy Axe, Sebastian Field, ROMÆO, Imogen Cygler, Ashleigh Hazel and... Avril Lavigne? All will be revealed, but tonight we heard a wonderful piece of creepy industrial looping from friend-of-'Fog Shoeb Ahmad, and a tour de force from Aphir featuring slamming beats, processed voice and her multi-tracked choral work.

Vanessa Bedoret - Choice [Scenic Route]
Vanessa Bedoret - 1/2 [Scenic Route]
It's disarming to find the an album as accomplished as Vanessa Bedoret's Eyes is the artist's debut. Bedoret (French, but now based in London) learned classical violin from childhood, played guitar in punk bands, and her violin and love of punk & metal are present in this album, even though its most comfortable category is experimental electronic. The music on Eyes bears the hallmarks of today's deconstructed club music, occasionally reconstructing itself into something that might be danceable, but equally using the bass drops and fragmented beats as splashes of sound alongside her string lines and, at times, vocals. On these tracks, Bedoret's voice is used more as an instrument than a lead - multitracked into choral parts that are then chopped as fodder for electronic processing - although there are some more conventional song-like tracks. It's music that will appeal to fans of experimental electronic music past & present, as well as post-classical and the experimental end of shoegaze (e.g. Seefeel). So that means YOU!

Marcus Whale - Shepherd's Voice [Marcus Whale Bandcamp]
Marcus Whale - ∞ [Marcus Whale Bandcamp]
The new album from Sydney polymath Marcus Whale comes as CD, if you want it, which contains a great discussion of some of the album's themes between Marcus and his flatmate/Sleepless in Sydney co-host Gus McGrath. So what's it about? Well, Ecstasy innit? It's a concept of infinite potential: the idea of going outside of oneself, of losing the bounaries between the self & the universe is one encountered in music and dance, in all creative practice really - as well as in sex and extreme sports and no doubt drug use. Of course on the album the ecstasy of the dancefloor looms high, those hammering kick drums recurring through the album - as does queer love and loving. The kick drum assault and snarling bass somewhat offset Marcus's choirboy-sweet voice, but mostly it's an album of sweetness, maybe sweetness found in the dark.

New Corroded - Tap Out [Vast Habitat/Bandcamp]
New Corroded - Chromosphere [Vast Habitat/Bandcamp]
Last year we heard quite a bit from Guy Brewer, known for his dark techno as Shifted but recently releasing more syncopated, higher-paced music as Carrier. I wasn't expecting to find this collaboration, though, which pairs Brewer with Daniel Lea, most recently released as CURA MACHINES on Bedouin Records, but previously appearing as half of Heliochrysum on Bedroom Community, having released two brilliant Talk Talk-inspired albums as L A N D - Night Within and Anoxia. Initially, New Corroded's debut Pass Lightly seems more like Brewer's work - imposing industrial techno - but there are elements of the glimmering synths found in Heliochrysum, and L A N D's rhythmic variation. Released on Lea's Vast Habitat on transparent vinyl, the album comes highly recommended.

Oliver Coates - France [Invada/Bandcamp]
Oliver Coates - How can you say [Invada/Bandcamp]
I said last week that Invada snuck out a couple of tracks early from Oliver Coates' sound track to the Mary & George TV series, a period drama (although it seems more like dark comedy?) about the gay lover of King James I in the early 17th century. Coates is an accomplished cellist in the contemporary classical world, as well as working with indie rock & pop acts, and has released some great experimental electronic music too. Given the period this show is set in, I expected mostly classical-sounding music, so it's a surprise to find the wonky junglisms of "How can you say", or the sparse, almost industrial (yet acoustic) rhythms found elsewhere. There are a lot of tracks, and a lot are just short cues, but there's lovely more developed music there too. I imagine Invada are banking of the show being a success, and reviews so far as very positive. Congrats Coates!

T Goldsmith - Accidentally Carelessly Thoughtlessly [DRUT Recordings/Bandcamp]
Until recently, Tom Goldsmith was better known playing in folk rock bands like Circulus, but Kelpe released an electronic EP last year on his DRUT Recordings, and thus T Goldsmith was born. His second EP Antimeta is a real pleasure, with some of that psych folk aesthetic bleeding through (Kelpe himself came out of the folktronica scene, such as it was), and flowing jungle/drum'n'bass beats. Lovely for home listening and chillout rooms (I wish they still existed!)

Ruffie - Perception [Locked Up Music]
From Romanian DJ/producer Ruffie, an excellent new EP of jungle-tinged d'n'b on Section's label Locked Up Music. Different styles, from clipped breaks to more flowing, sci-fi synths to jazz samples, very tasty.

DJ Birdbath - Kitsch Memory [Theory Therapy/Bandcamp]
New Zealand producer DJ Birdbath, who I believe had been based in Naarm/Melbourne but is now in Wellington, releases a full album, Memory Empathy, through Eora/Sydney's own Theory Therapy. It's equal parts vaporwave and jungle/trip-hop, coming in at a different angle from, say, Yunzero. In DJ Birdbath's hands '80s samples (there's definitely Kate Bush in there) and internet detritus can be reshaped around more familiar beat structures - of course jungle & "trip-hop" or "downtempo" or whatever we want to call it are themselves echoes of a now-distant past for anyone older than their mid-20s. DJ Birdbath approaches these memories with empathy, but recognizes how they are transformed at distance ("Kitsch Memory"). Memory Empathy will reward repeat listens.

woodgraves - Izanagi [Tree Critters]
The Massive Dragon - Deeper [Tree Critters]
Delightful breakcore/idm duo Bagel Fanclub directed me to this new compilation, and I want to say at the outset that their track "applebees iceblock" is a lovely melodic breakcore track that I would've played if I could fit it in. Both members also have tracks themselves on this 29-track compilation. Entitled Sounds for Solidarity: Palestine Relief Music Compilation, it will send funds to Palestinian Children's Relief Fund and Palestinian Red Crescent Society. And it's full of gems. Broadly, "Side A" is breakcore and junglish stuff, represented here by Chicago DJ/producer woodgraves with some warm & dark breaks at speed. "Side B" then is IDM at a more sedate pace (with exceptions), and Colorado's The Massive Dragon is one of the Tree Critters who put the comp together, with ping-pong (literally!) beats and calm synth pads.

Kevin Richard Martin/KMRU - If (Dub) [PTP/Bandcamp]
Saint Abdullah x Withdrawn & Birthmark - An Array Of Policy Options [PTP/Bandcamp]
Geng of PTP has always been a visionary of social change and resistance - many releases come with a free PDF of The End Of Policing by Alex S Vitale. The massive 95-track compilation RESIST COLONIAL POWER BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY features everyone, with no particular genre except probably somewhat experimental - there's hip-hop, rock, r'n'b, electronic music, acoustic music... A few tracks are missing - the compilation was delayed for a few weeks and Geng says the other tracks (currently 4 seconds of silence) will be uploaded eventually. I'm particularly keen for ELUCID, NikNak and Mariam Rezaei x Maria Chavez, but it's worth getting now anyway. I'd heard that Kevin Richard Martin (aka The Bug) was working on something with Nairobi ambient/experimental artist KMRU, and If (Dub) seems to be the first thing to venture out, very much melding Martin's desolate dub with KMRU's atmospherics. I first discovered NYC-based Iranian brothers Saint Abdullah via PTP, and they appear here with acerbic beats accompanying raps from Bristol's Withdrawn & Birthmark.

Joseph Franklin - the tension of things-in-motion [Nice Music/Bandcamp]
Joseph Franklin - of other potentialities quietly planting doubts [Nice Music/Bandcamp]
Finally for tonight, Naarm/Melbourne composer and bassist Joseph Franklin has released his debut solo album a thousand tiny mutinies through Nice Music. While Franklin has composed for orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists before, this album is his own exploratory performances on a semi-hollow six-string contrabass guitar, which he prepares in various ways as well as post-producing - although I believe the sounds themselves are all generated from that bass guitar, whose hollow body allows for all sorts of acoustic "effects" as well as those produced through amplification. There's an uncanny nature to many of these tracks, where scraping, buzzing sounds masquerade as glitch, harsh drones are produced mechanically, and even the more regular fingerpicking doesn't obey familiar forms of harmony or melody. But don't try and work out the provenance of these sounds - just tune in and listen and you'll be richly rewarded.

Listen again — ~200MB

Comments Off on Playlist 10.03.24

Sunday, 3rd of March, 2024

Playlist 03.03.24 (11:00 pm)

Music of great beauty and mystery, rhythms of great propulsion.

LISTEN AGAIN to the sign o' the times. Stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

Armand Hammer - Doves feat. Benjamin Booker [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
Following a flurry of collaborations, many of which I've played here, Armand Hammer have released a new song - except it's been plonked at the end of last year's We Buy Diabetic Test Strips as a bonus track. Which is weird because it's absolutely incredible, right up with their best. Guitar & very fragile vocals from elusive soul/blues/rock musician Benjamin Booker plus piano lines are gorgeously smeared throughout by the dubby production of Kenny Segal, with a slice-of-life rap from billy woods only appearing halfway through, while ELUCID's lines are buried in distorted noise and echoes... "Is it me?"

Cengiz Arslanpay & Michel Banabila - Stop The Genocide! End The Occupation Now [Tapu Records]
The title says it all: Stop The Genocide! End The Occupation Now. Dutch musician Michel Banabila and Netherlands-based Turkish musician Cengiz Arslanpay have created a beautiful work of electro-acoustic drone; both musicians work with all manner of instruments, and Arslanpay's ney flute and rebab can be heard here among the electronics. All proceeds go to Gaza / Lebanon relief funds, listed on the Bandcamp page.

Persher - Hymn To The Tupperbird [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
The debut album from Persher follows their mini-album from 2022, Man With the Magic Soap. It's unlikely that anyone will sleep well to Sleep Well. Although both musicians come from the dubstep/techno world (Arthur Cayzer is Pariah and Jamie Roberts is Blawan), Persher is their tribute to grindcore, hardcore punk and extreme metal, with the bass elements only leaking in at times. I definitely hear them in "Hymn To The Tupperbird": weird sound manipulation, delay effects and occasional edited grooves lurk behind the guitar & bass riffs and the gruff metal vocals. Sleep Well is not for the faint-hearted, but fans of the heavy will find plenty to enjoy.

Squarepusher - Domelash [Warp/Bandcamp]
So. A new Squarepusher eh? *raises eyebrow* I dunno, but with all the new jungle out, and brilliant "deconstructed club" stuff melding jungle and techno and who knows what else, the drill'n'bass and electric bass on Tom Jenkinson feels a bit outdated. And yet... it's fun, he does love mashing the beats in ridiculous fashion, and he still has a handy way with synth melodies. I guess it's just that, as was mentioned way back when he & Aphex Twin and the rest started making this music, there's not much in the way of (sub) bass here (it was snarkily suggested at the time that they hadn't heard jungle played out in clubs, only in their bedrooms). It's all very much in the mid-range. Still, as I said, enjoyable stuff!

Arcane - Minotaur [Over/Shadow/Bandcamp]
Well here's one of those contemporary purveyors of jungle & drum'n'bass. Bristol's Arcane has a handful of releases under his belt on the likes of Irish label Rua Sound, but debuts now on Over/Shadow, founded to follow in the footsteps of the legendary Moving Shadow label. The Minotaur EP is four tracks of jungle re-tooled for the post-footwork age, with a nod to the hardcore techno that presaged jungle, but eyes forward to the future.

Andy Odysee - Waterblade Warrior [Odysee Recordings/Bandcamp]
Andy Baddaley, on the other hand, goes way back. An old schoolmate of Jim Baker of Source Direct, he joined Tilla Kemal's Odysee Recordings a few years in, lending his jazz & classical chops to the dark & deep sound. He's now co-manager of the label as it revives old releases by Source Direct, Photek and others, while also releasing new music - in particular from Badalley under Andy Odysee (fka Angel Dust, Cloaking Device and other aliases). Odysee Black Volume IV is the latest in a series of releases aimed at expanding the label's outlook, but Badalley's broad musical background always shines through anyway. "Waterblade Warrior" is an incredible exercise in programming skill, an updated take on Photek circa "Ni-Ten-Ichi-Ryu (Two Swords Technique)" which in all honesty should be on all the dancefloors.

Atrice - Multiplex [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
The latest release on Munich's singular Ilian Tape label brings Swiss duo Atrice back into the fold, with an EP that rivals their brilliant Ilian Tape debut Q from 2021. The five tracks on Multiplex span bass forms from breakbeat techno to jungle, always syncopating, always changing. Premium dancefloor stuff.

Morwell - Into the Light [Spiritual TransmissionsBandcamp]
Max Morwell takes a left turn from his usual post-rave/bass/breaks obsessions here - or does he? This is still music with beats, but it's super trippy, with somewhat psychedelic spoken word samples throughout, drawing from free jazz as much as jungle or trap. Morwell's first release on his new label Spiritual Transmissions, it comes in a limited CD form (tasty!) as well as digital, and the first two tracks are streaming now. Recommended.

gorse panshawe - tie me to the maypole [Activia Benz/Bandcamp]
The artist formerly(?) known as Slugabed has been bending his weirdness in other directions as gorse panshawe for a while now, via the Activia Benz label. So where Slugabed laid down wonky blurty bass music, gorse panshawe on earth, air, fire & water seems to go a'wandrin' into the English countryside, where he finds miniature raves happening in forests & streams, and jungle bidness around the maypole. "Pagan jungle"? Sure, why not!

Wrecked Lightship - Hex [Peak Oil/Bandcamp]
The second album from Wrecked Lightship, the duo of Laurie Appleblim Osborne and Adam Winchester, comes from Brian Foote & Brion Brionson's great, unpredictable Peak Oil label. As with 2022's Drowned Aquarium, these are submerged, dub-soaked jams, sometimes with jungle breaks half-audible through the murk. Fascinating, hard to grasp.

Bushranger - Ghost Gum Transmitter [Bush Meditation]
Eli Murray, best known as Gentleforce, has revived his Bushranger alias for an album of twisted field recordings and degraded techno. With Gully Music, Murray melds these two sources together so that you can't tell where the crickets end and the glitched hi-hats begin - although to be fair, there's a lot of imposing electronics here. But the project's aim to make music about - and for - specific places is artfully achieved. Perhaps Murray's greatest achievement is that he's made industrial music about nature. Hypnotic.

Scattered Order - It was a Saturday [Rather By Vinyl]
Scattered Order - The silent dark [Rather By Vinyl]
40+ years into their career (with some minor breaks), Sydney icons Scattered Order have released what to me sounds like easily one of their best albums. All Things Must Persist has a lot of their recent hallmarks: sampled TV or movie voices, razor-sharp guitars, intricate beats, but then also pretty contemplative piano... Mitch Jones' voice rasps over & under these arrangements. All three current members - Jones, Michael Tee and Shane Fahey - likely contribute electronic and instrumental sounds. You might think that they're at an age where no fucks need be given, but Scattered Order has never felt the need to nod to audience comfort or genre norms, slipping & sliding between (post-)industrial, postpunk, sound collage and studio experimentation, and various forms of electronica. It's all here, adorned with stunning artwork from Stella Severain. Get it on vinyl from Bandcamp or at one of their up-coming shows (see their website).

Sote - Reign of Insanity [SVBKVLT/Bandcamp]
Sote - Death-dealing [SVBKVLT/Bandcamp]
By this time, Ata Ebtekar's musical outlet as Sote should be familiar to fans of electronic/experimental music worldwide. It's over 2 decades since his Electric Deaf EP on Warp left listeners gasping for air, and for well over a decade he's been exploring Iranian musical traditions - including adptations of pioneering electronic music from the country, and ways of combining his electronics with Persian instruments like santour, tar and tombak - as well as promoting the work of new generations of Iranian experimental musicians through his Zabte Sote imprint. His latest album Ministry of Tall Tales comes via Shanghai's very internationalist, forward-thinking label SVBKVLT, and as the title implies, deals with misinformation/disinformation, corruption, oppression and so on, all familiar conditions in geopolitics at the moment. The music is not as abrasive as one might expect, however. While drama and anger creep in at times, the emotions expressed here tend more towards confusion and near-resignation, given a kind of resolution with "1401 Beautiful Souls", although even there it's hard to pinpoint whether it's sarcastic or not. Another powerful work from an electronic master.

Ludwig Wittbrodt - Tulpen [Ana Ott/Bandcamp]
The duo of Edis Ludwig and Emily Wittbrodt pairs two musicians from different musical worlds, intersecting in experimentation. Ludwig is a drummer in rock bands and an electronic producer, here on laptop and occasional drums. Wittbrodt is a cellist with a classical background who also works in free improv - last year we heard her unconventional suite Make You Stay, also released by Ana Ott, with a mixture of songs, classical compositions and free jazz - and electronics. For Schleifen ("Grind") the cello and laptop become a mini-ensemble, capable of producing contemporary classical music, drones, and kosmische musik, within a consistent framework. Lovely stuff.

sinonó - qué estará pensando [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
Latinx vocalist Isabel Crespo Pardo lives in New York, where they work with various ensembles in new music and free improv. Their main outlet for their own compositions is sinonó, which pairs their voice with powerhouse cellist Lester St. Louis and double bassist Henry Fraser. This combination of low string instruments makes for powerful and moving music, with haunting melodic lines sometimes played in high harmonics on the contrabass, storms of plucking or tremolo bowing, basslines from either instrumentalist. Crespo's songs patiently unfold, with plenty of room for the musicians to improvise, but with the scaffolding of a bassline here, a strummed chord there, to hold Crespo's beautiful vocal melodies. There are moments of intense discordance, which only emphasise the warmth of the simple-yet-complex arrangements. This may be the first fully acoustic album released on Subtext Recordings, although the recording is sensitively mixed by electronic musician and Subtext boss James Ginzburg (of emptyset). A deeply touching suite of what the composer calls poem-songs.

Oliver Coates - Timp X [Invada/Bandcamp]
TV audiences have just been introduced to the period comedy/dramedy(?) Mary & George, starring Julieanne Moore. Sounds like fun, but what it sounds like is also heavily influenced by British cellist/composer/producer Oliver Coates, who was - fortunately - commissioned to write the score. Coates is comfortable in contemporary classical circles, but has also worked with bands such as Radiohead, Mira Calix, Mica Levi, Leo Abrahams, Clark, MF DOOM and more. He also recently soundtracked the much-celebrated Aftersun. Just before this UFog episode went to air, Invada snuck out a couple of tracks from the Mary & George soundtrack on Bandcamp - but now the entire 2hrs of cues is available, and the previews suggest it'll be sumptuous, smart and a little avant-garde. Can't wait to dive in to the rest!

We Will Intersect - Fragment III [Ugoki!/Bandcamp]
Sydney pianist, keyboard player, composer & improviser Adrian Lim-Klumpes is best known for Triosk and the band we share, Tangents, but he recently convened a new quartet with another unusual line-up, with Microfiche's Nick Calligeros on trumpet & live electronics, Nick Meredith aka Kcin on percussion & live electronics, and Miles Thomas on drums. Their debut self-titled album was released on Belgian label Off, an offshoot of the experimental Stilll label, and new EP Fragments comes via Ugoki!, now the main home for Off's jazz releases. The music is all derived from live improvisations, edited by Lim-Klumpes & Calligeros into four song-length Fragments, which progress from soft drones and tentative piano to, ultimately, the very processed & percussive fourth fragment. Those who've enjoyed these musicians in other contexts, or are interested in Australian improv and electronics, will no doubt enjoy.

Mattia Onori - Spazio Profondo [Southern Lights/Bandcamp]
Out on Friday March 15th from Naarm/Melbourn label Southern Lights is the debut solo album from Berlin-based Italian musician Mattia Onori, who co-runs the Melantónia Collective in Berlin. Tra Vento E Oscurità is an album of sound-art at its most pristine and austere - speech processed into unintelligibility, breath and wind, resonant drones, and perhaps the occasional synth pad floating through these soundscapes. Onori's got a deft touch with organised sound, and takes us deep into the space "Between Wind and Darkness".

Tom Allum - Ø [Tom Allum Bandcamp]
A couple of years ago, I was very impressed by the watery electronics of Western Australian sound-artist Tom Allum on the CANAL ROCKS album released by Boorloo/Perth label Tone List. On his own Bandcamp, Allum has just released Out of Hand, featuring four tracks created for an exhibition by Allum and visual artist & architect Beth George. Drawing machines interact with the sound, and vice versa. Even on its own, the music is immersive, with sounds generated by wavetable synthesis coexisting with recordings of the objects in the space, placed and moving about the stereo soundstage. It makes for gorgeous listening, with the intimacy both of synthesised sounds and of objects in a room, slowly teasing out microscopic melodies and drawn-out rhythms. Listen anywhere, anytime, but consider putting headphones on and turning out the lights.

Ben Frost - Unreal in the Eyes of the Dead [Mute/Bandcamp]
Utility Fog's connection with Iceland-based Aussie composer Ben Frost goes back to the very early days, before Ben left Adelaide and then left Melbourne & Australia altogether (well, he's visited since then). His album By The Throat was UFog's album of the year in 2009. Following his debut on Iceland's Bedroom Community, Theory of Machines, it established Frost as a composer, as well as a master of snarling electronic bass sonics. His latest album Scope Neglect traces a line back to Theory of Machines' sampling of Swans, if not earlier to his Melbourne postrock band School of Emotional Engineering. Guitar riffs and ambient electronics are the scope of Scope Neglect, but here it's metal riffs pared down to their essence and turned machine-like. It can be almost too austere, with none of metal's barely controlled ferocity - not that this isn't deliberate. But I found myself most drawn to the album's final track, in which the riffs have been banished underground, or in the next valley over, leaving the listener with echoes and desolation. There's beauty in that.

Listen again — ~200MB

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Sunday, 25th of February, 2024

Playlist 25.02.24 (11:00 pm)

Oddly tonight we have a bit more weird-ass rock stuff than usual, and garage jazz, and... post-jazz? But also breakcore and lots of jungle/drum'n'bass influences in some more experimental settings, as well as some mesmerising pump organ and voice.

LISTEN AGAIN, don't be scared! Stream on demand on FBi's website, podcast here.

Kim Myhr & Kitchen Orchestra - V [Sofa Music/Bandcamp]
Kim Myhr & Kitchen Orchestra - VI [Sofa Music/Bandcamp]
I've been a fan of Norwegian guitarist Kim Myhr for many years. He's a distinctive guitarist but also an excellent composer & orchestrator - he's recorded with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and the Australian Art Orchestra, neither of which are typical orchestras, made up as they are of talented improvising musicians (and both with flexible lineups). The "Kitchen Orchestra" credited on his new album Hereafter is based in Stavanger, a city in the south of Norway, again a versatile group of musicians from jazz, classical and other contexts: there's a horn section and strings, two of whom play electric bass and electric guitar as well as double bass, a drummer, and then there are musicians credited to synthesizers & organ, voice and cassette player, and laptop. And Myhr plays drum machine, various keyboards and contributes voice as well as his guitar. As usual these are beautiful, rich arrangements, with jazz at their heart but drawing on Indian ragas, postrock and electronica, krautrock and glitch. The roman-numbered sections flow one to another, taking the listener through a meditation on mortality and transience.

fire! - the dark inside of cabbage [Rune Grammofon]
Testament, the latest album from Swedish free jazz powerhouse Fire!, is their first to only feature the core trio, playing their core instruments. Over the years the band has made albums with various experimental music legends - Jim O'Rourke, Oren Ambarchi and more - as well as convening the incredible Fire! Orchestra with Scandinavian jazz musicians aplenty and a group of brilliant vocalists. Here, recorded by the one & only Steve Albini, they've taken the Albini approach of stripping down to basics, recording material live to tape. And these three are masters for sure: Mats Gustafsson making his saxophone squeal and squall and sob in the way of Peter Brötzmann but very much his own; Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin being rhythm section to die for, holding down krautrockish grooves and riffs in tight lockstep. Hypnotic and exhilarating.

The Body & Dis Fig - Eternal Hours [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
The Body & Dis Fig - Dissent, Shame [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
A considerable part of The Body's career has been collaborations - so much so that 2021's I've Seen All I Need To See, with not a single guest and just guitar/drums/vox, was a sharp surprise. I first heard Felicia Chen's astonishing work as Dis Fig on her solo album Purge, linking her operatically-trained voice with industrial and noise music, but her collaboration with The Bug, In Blue, rightly brought her further notoriety. Orchards of a Futile Heaven is a suitably horrifying and moving piece of work, not a departure for either artist but a perfect synthesis. Rhythmic noise sputters into noisescapes of guitar or electronics; Chip King's high-pitched squeals lurk within, but Chen's voice can scream as much as sing melodies or provide a multitracked choir; Lee Buford's programmed and live drums thunder; but you really can't tell at any point who's responsible for instruments or production, and that's great. It's some of the best material from either act.

Hatis Noit - Jomon (Preservation Rework) feat. Armand Hammer [Erased Tapes/Bandcamp]
London-based Japanese singer Hatis Noit released a remarkable vocal-only album on Erased Tapes in 2022. But prior to that, she'd released music in Japan that married her self-schooled but powerful vocal techniques with electronics. So it's not too surprising to see Erased Tapes trickling out some remixes of Aura. Best so far is from seasoned underground hip-hop producer Preservation, who preserves much of the original "Jomon" but along with the controlled beats & bass invites billy woods & ELUCID aka Armand Hammer to add their own voices. They're masters of fitting in with strange music of course.

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Silverfish [Avant Night/Bandcamp]
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - S.P.Q.R. [Avant Night/Bandcamp]
I would never have expected that in 2024 I would be playing the new Sleepytime Gorilla Museum on this show. After all, their third (and previously last) album In Glorious Times came out in 2007. But last year the band setup a Bandcamp and hinted at the long-rumoured album of the Last Human Being was on its way. During the long gap, I followed the work of violinist/singer Carla Kihlstedt (of whom I've been a longtime fan) and percussionist/drummer/etc Matthias Bossi in their Rabbit Rabbit Radio project, and that's where I first heard "Silverfish", under the name "Paper Prison". Kihlstedt's double-stopped violin refrain is insanely brilliant, as is her songwriting, and it's great hearing it with SGM, as it was always intended. The band's strength is that the jazz/classical aspects fit seamlessly with the theatrical metal & prog, but even with all of that, it's a surprise to find a cover of This Heat here - but maybe it shouldn't be, as a band that bridges late-period political art rock and punk/post-punk. "S.P.Q.R" is one of my favourite of Charles Hayward's songs (admittedly there are a lot), and the breakneck, heavy rendition here pretty much does it justice.

Sergeant Bestfriend - molehills out of mountains [200+]
Df0bad - Vichysois [200+]
Breakcore was always central to Utility Fog's mission from the start in 2003. At the time breakcore and ragga jungle were keeping the faith for rapid drumbreak destruction, and I always enjoyed the fuck-you illegal sampling and marrying of ugliness with - well, often - prettiness. Breakcore never died, but I feel that with the all-powerful jungle resurgence, it's getting a bit more prominence too. Eora/Sydney's own 200+ are dedicated to all things ultra-fast rave, and also carry on the anarchist political ideals that often came with this kind of hardcore music. So from the river to the sea and the sea of blood between is an impassioned protest against Israel's increasingly undisguised fascism (while emphasising that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism). It's also a great compilation of breakcore, gabber and hardcore techno from Sydney and across the country. Naarm's Sergeant Bestfriend gives us fun, melodic drill'n'bass, while Sydney's Df0bad brings us a journey through IDM.

ophélie - Pipa Pipa [hundert/Bandcamp]
French DJ based in Berlin ophélie drops their debut EP on the Hamburg label hundert here. Two tracks influenced by drum'n'bass & dubstep as much as IDM - the halftime/jungle feel here is reminiscent of the mid-'90s like Subtropic's Homebrew. Lushly melodic with intricate programming and bassweight, a sign of great stuff to come.

POD - Trip2Fantasia [Kinetic Vision]
POD & Tamen - Subvert [Straight Up Breakbeat/Bandcamp]
Last week I played a track from Naarm/Melbourne's POD, an alias of JXTPS for bass genres. Spacer is out on Kinetic Vision now, and "Trip2Fantasia" is even more jungle-influenced, albeit in a bass-techno context. But POD has also been collaborating with Naarm-based jungle mastermind Tamen, and one track from their forthcoming EP is available Finnish label Straight Up Breakbeat's Zero Four compilation - absolutely wikkid.

Source Direct - A Different Groove (T-Mirage V.I.P.) [Odysee Recordings/Bandcamp]
Odysee Recordings go way back to the early jungle days, but relaunched a while back to bring back material from the label's artists as well as excellent new recordings from label-head Andy Odysee and others. One of the strengths of their catalogue is a long relationship with jungle/d'n'b legend Source Direct (an old school friend of Andy Odysee's), so the label has been gradually drip-feeding remastered Source Direct tracks with some new remixes. The brilliant '95 tune Stars is remastered here along with a stompin' remix from Finnish master Fanu, but the also excellent b-side "A Different Groove" appears as a V.I.P. from T-Mirage aka Tilla Kemal, the label's founder and collaborator for Source Direct's Jim Baker. Continues the classy, dark & sharp quality from Odysee.

Alan Fitzpatrick & Reset Robot - Mule Subjective [Shall Not Fade]
Techno bigwig Alan Fitzpatrick here appears on Shall Not Fade with the Headphone Lullaby EP, exchanging high energy 4/4 kicks for breakbeats and bass syncopation. It's lovely and more than a little epic, but I was drawn to the collab with Reset Robot on a jungle/halftime tip.

re:ni - Blame is the Name of the Game [Timedance/Bandcamp]
Following an excellent debut on Ilian Tape, UK DJ Lauren Bush aka re:ni drops four tracks of techno/bass/breaks on Batu's Timedance. Suffused with dub bass and atmospherics, it's music for discerning dancefloors everywhere.

Lord Spikeheart - REM FODDER ft. James Ginzburg, Koenraad Ecker [HAEKALU]
Back in 2020 Nyege Nyege Tapes unleashed the intensity that was the self-titled album by Kenyan noise metal/grindcoreinfused duo Duma. Now Duma's incendiary singer Lord Spikeheart is launching his HAEKALU label with The Adept on April 19th, with a full house of experimental producers and collaborators throughout. "REM FODDER" brings both James Ginzburg of Subtext Recordings & emptyset and Koenraad Ecker of Lumisokea & Stray Dogs, with jackhammering beats, heavy bass and Spikeheart's voice fed through reverberating delays. Clearly the whole album is going to be intense as fuck.

aya - Dexxy Is A Midnight Runner [YCO]
Lip Flip is 4-track EP from aya to raise money for her Facial Feminisation Surgery. But basically it's four tracks of her typically savvy, well-produced deconstructed bass music - recommended!

Alan Johnson - Portal [YUKU]
We had Alan Fitzpatrick earlier, but Alan Johnson isn't a person at all - they're a duo. Between 2013 and 2020 they released just three EPs, but both 2022 and 2023 gave us excellent four-track EPs on Sneaker Social Club. They now find themselves on YUKU, a label whose aesthetic is not that dissimilar to SSC, but tends to take the bass & breaks into more experimental territory - which is reflected in the 6 tracks on Glory Days, their longest release yet. Like the Stillness EP's sampling of Bro. Samuel Clayton with Count Ossie's orchestra, Glory Days uses Jamaican voices through various tracks, and the dub side of bass music is strong, as is the sense of space.

Terminal 11 - Racing To Nowhere [Opal Tapes]
Since the early 2000s, Michael Castaneda has been making idiosyncratic breakcore as Terminal 11. It might initially seem odd finding his latest album Suffocating Repetition on Opal Tapes, a label better known for techno, industrial and noise, but they're not so far away from breakcore anyway, and as usual it's arguable whether that genre fits here. But yes, it's full of dense electronic textures and crowded, restless rhythms. As the album title may imply, it was written during and about the Covid lockdown times, and it really does evoke some of that anxiety-inducing homogeneity...

Lachlan R. Dale - Revealing a silver stream feat. Bonniesongs, Joseph Rabjohns [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
It's been a long time coming, but Art As Catharsis boss (and my colleague in Black Aleph) Lachlan R. Dale will release his ambitious collaborative album Shrines in April. Every track is structured around contributions from musical friends from around the country, each a very distinctive musician themself, reacting to some initial loops from Lachlan. I suspect most of the responses were fairly abstract too, and Lachlan then de- and re-constructed the material into these final pieces. Speaking for my own, it's quite a lovely feeling hearing something that's almost entirely unfamiliar but clearly has me in there - so hopefully that goes for everyone else. On the first single, multi-instrumentalist Bonniesongs' voice and guitar are stretched into ambient textures, as is the guitar of Queensland's Joseph Rabjohns. Keep an eye/ear out for further extracts!

FUJI||||||||||TA - M-3 [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
One of the unquestionable highlights of last year's Volume Festival at the Art Gallery of NSW was the performance in The Tank (a cavernous underground space) by Japanese minimalist FUJI||||||||||TA. Yosuke Fujita played various self-made instruments including bells and pump organ, as well as projecting his voice into the space. Whether with his carefully-made field recordings or gorgeously close-mic'd instrumental recordings, Fujita's recordings are unfailingly absorbing. I was introduced to his work in 2020 when Swiss label Hallow Ground released the astonishing iki, fragile recordings of his pump organ, wheezing and clunking through unusual harmonies and discords. His second album for Hallow Ground, MMM, begins with a slow-evolving drone of that pump organ, with the air now pumped electrically, freeing Fujita to generate strange sonic shifts by moving his microphone around it. The second track is built from his remarkable extended vocal technique, breathing in and out in a way that creates a "third voice" from the interference patterns. It's very eerie. But tonight we hear the third track, which combines these two elements into something different again - as if the warbling sounds of organ and voice again generate some spectral Other. It's minimalism as always intended - seemingly static, but ever-changing. Masterful. Mmm.

Listen again — ~212MB

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