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Utility Fog

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Sunday, 25th of January, 2015

Playlist 25.01.15 (8:09 pm)

It's January and there's already a tonne of new music!

You better LISTEN AGAIN if you want to keep up! Over there you've got your stereo stream, over here the podcast.

It was a particularly cruel and thoughtless person who leaked Björk's album this past week. Not only was it a long way off the release date, the rip was a terrible sub-cassette-quality 128k thing that was a travesty to the wonderful music. Her label One Little Indian felt boxed in by this, and ended up rushing the release out, first as an exclusive to iTunes (ugh!) and then through a few other services as well. It's sad that it came out this way (I still eagerly await the CD in March), but we're lucky to experience this incredible, franky, beautiful work now.
Co-production comes from Arca, and if you've heard his album or FKA Twigs' from last year that'll be very obvious in places - but it should be made utterly clear that as always the bulk of the programming as well as songwriting is by Björk herself. Also featured are her very fine string arrangements. It sounds like the work with Arca was very much an in-person collaboration, but at some point Björk and Arca also invited none other than consummate producer/cellist/sub-bass explorer The Haxan Cloak to bring his mixing skills to the songs. It seems clear to me that the track "family" is the one to also have some co-production from him, with bubbles of bass and crunchy beats cutting in and out, and then some somewhat avant-garde cello in there.
It's a wonderful and album from start fo finish, not to mention heartbreaking.

Sydney artist CORIN released an EP of piano and synth sounds & tasteful beats last year, which I wish I'd known about at the time - but fortunately now that she's put out a remix EP I get to hear the originals as well. Nice to have representation from fellow female Sydney electronic artist Moon Holiday here, also adding her own vocals to the mix, and meanwhile I know nothing about Tennis Boys...

We don't hear nearly enough from Perth piano-and-electronics duo Cycle~ 440, perhaps partly now because pianist Kevin Penkin has moved overseas. It feels like the track we excerpted here is the most fully-formed thing I've heard from them, or maybe it's just the one I've enjoyed the most. It's from one of the releases that sadly mark the end of an era: the end of Stu Buchanan's Wood & Wire label and the movement that spawned it - first as an FBi radio show, then also a compilation series, label and more, New Weird Australia has promoted a lot of wonderful Australian music in its years of operation. It's fitting that Brooke Olsen & Scarlett Di Maio's Ears Have Ears contribute to the last release, with four of the original "soundtracks" they host from experimental artists around the world.

And recently announced, now released is the new Aphex Twin, defined in that strange Warp fashion (Aphex and Autechre at least both do this) as an "EP" despite having 13 tracks. Well, some of them are quite short anyway! It's Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments, involving those robots he discussed in some interviews around Syro last year, and it's actually great. It's exactly what it says on the tin - acoustic instruments playing Aphex's supple, drum'n'bass & acid-inflected rhythms, some kind of presumably computer-controlled piano, maybe some bass and stuff that's synthesized (this time we don't have a complete list of instruments used!) I enjoyed it a lot more than Syro to be honest.

Afrikan Sciences is producer Eric Porter, affiliated with Deepblak Recordings but appearing here via the experimental-meets-dancefloor label PAN. On this album his beats sound like a cross between idm-tinged electro and some kind of Sun Ra jam. People have mentioned Flying Lotus and there's something to that, but it's pretty individual stuff, definitely worth a listen.

Dunk Murphy's music a longtime favourite of UFog, prior even to Sunken Foal with his duo Ambulance. At the end of 2012 and 2013 he released two great albums of extremely varied style entitled Friday Syndrome Vol. 1 & 2, mixing up his folktronica and idm among other styles. Apparently there's a Vol. 3 coming, and prior to that we have a new single with vocals from fellow Irish singer/songwriter Si Schroeder plus a couple of instrumental b-sides. Always worth grabbing.

The Seaport & The Airport, from Sydney, has the unlikeliest name in electronica, but somehow makes some pretty interesting sounds, a bit drum'n'bass, a bit r'n'b-sampling. Interested in what the rest of this album will sound like!

Speaking of drum'n'bass, Sam Binga is doing some of the most interesting stuff in jungle crossover at the moment - slow/fast, footwork crossover etc. He works a bit with grime MC Redders, and their new single is another classic in the making. He also makes the supremely uninteresting CHVRCHES sound great on an unreleased remix, and a b-side from the new single is more straight-up d'n'b.

Finally, Amit is a newish drum'n'bass producer who also works in dub and dubstep. Many of his releases feature Irish vocalist Rani and it's a great update on the trip-hop sound. These tracks are both on dBridge's forward-thinking drum'n'bass label Exit Records, but he also has a lot available from his own Bandcamp. Last track is a Machinedrum remix circa his amazing Vapor City album, doing the dub/hip-hop to jungle thing in fine style.

Björk - atom dance (feat. Antony) [One Little Indian]
Björk - It's Not Up To You [One Little Indian]
Björk - family [One Little Indian]
CORIN - Images II (Moon Holiday remix) [CORIN Bandcamp]
CORIN - Glue [CORIN Bandcamp]
CORIN - Riverboat (Tennis Boys Remix) [CORIN Bandcamp]
Cycle~ 440 - Lingering Echoes of the Tempest (excerpt) [Wood & Wire/Ears Have Ears]
Aphex Twin - diskhat ALL prepared1mixed 13 [Warp]
Aphex Twin - hatb 2b 2012b [Warp]
Aphex Twin - piano un10 it happened [Warp]
Afrikan Sciences - Tell Me Who Like That (Bedside Manner) [PAN]
Afrikan Sciences - Circuitous [PAN]
Sunken Foal - Never Knew (feat. Si Schroeder) [Countersunk]
Sunken Foal - Gravy Ladle [Countersunk]
The Seaport & The Airport - Nobody Wants To Be Here And Nobody Wants To Leave [SoundCloud]
Sam Binga - Tek Nuh Chat ft. Redders [Critical Music]
CHVRCHES - Recover (Sam Binga remix) [Sam Binga SoundCloud (still unreleased?)]
Sam Binga - Chasic [Critical Music]
Amit - You Look Better Dead (ft. Rani) [Exit Records]
Amit - Human Warfare (Machinedrum Remix) [Exit Records]

Listen again — ~107MB

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