a wholly owned subsiduary of
Frogworth Corp
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.
Click here to find the start time for the show at your location!

{Hey! Sign up to Utilityfoglet and get playlists emailed to you after each show!}
Please Like us on Facebook! Here it is: Utility Fog on Facebook

Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 26th of January, 2020

Playlist 26.01.20 (8:32 pm)

Dark cello, ambient electronic, jungle, techno, idm and industrial colliding... Your usual Utility Fog then.
Utility Fog is broadcast every week on the land of the Gadigal people of the Eora Nation. Sovereignty was never ceded.

LISTEN AGAIN to the real sound of now. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Thomy Sloane and Lucy Waldron - Colour, Landscape and Light [via Slow Clap]
The duo of Batpiss guitarist Thomy Sloane and Melbourne cellist Lucy Waldron was always going to be a dark and dramatic affair. Waldron has played live with the likes of Courtney Barnett, and her mournful electric melodies are accompanied by a repeated three-note riff and some doomy distortion from Sloane. This was recorded live and you can witness that performance right here on YouTube.

Louise Bock - Oolite [Geographic North/Bandcamp]
Louise Bock - Incandescent Misspelled Word [Feeding Tube Records/Bandcamp]
US multi-instrumentalist Taralie Peterson has been making experimental music for a couple of decades, notably with her duo Spires that in the Sunset Rise with Ka Baird. She plays saxophone, clarinet and contributes voice (often processed), but she's also an accomplished cellist, and that's highlighted on her latest album (part of Geographic North's Sketches for Winter series) called Abyss: For Cello. Discordant multi-tracked cello is by turns rhythmic and mournfully slow. Lines overlap and intertwine, and occasionally other instruments appear, including some very abstracted guitar from Kendra Amalie on "Oolite". Meanwhile, on her previous album a couple of years ago on Feeding Tube, "Incandescent Misspelled Word" finds again discordant doubled-cello joined by fragmented and glitched vocals, which match the cello while still sounding like they come from another universe. Not so much the abyss, here, as hyperspace. It's unsettling and gorgeous.

Lite Fails - Fire Season [Flaming Pines]
Lite Fails - Jigsaw for a Continent [Flaming Pines]
This very special release comes from Brisbane-based academic Henry Reese, whose research has found him exploring sounds from the 1890s and early 1900s recorded on wax cylinders and gramophone records. He's taken these crackly old sounds and crafted ambient sound works from them, redolent of an ancient era yet abstracted. These compelling, moving pieces were recorded on one weekend while Australia burned in the worst bushfire season it has ever experienced. All proceeds are being donated to the Australian Rural Firefighting Service. It's rewarding to find a release where the heavy conceptual underpinnings support really great music. It's ominously titled The End Of The World Has Already Happened, and you can find out more about the source material for the tracks at the link.

Aho Ssan - Blind Power (ft. The Mensah Imaginary Band) [Subtext/Bandcamp]
Aho Ssan - Simulacrum II [Subtext/Bandcamp]
Aho Ssan is the alias of French sound-artist and film composer Niamké Désiré, whose debut album interrogates society's presentation of inclusivity and equality against his own lived experience of growing up black in France. This facade of egalitarianism is only one of the simulacra appearing here: the "Mensah Imaginary Band" that features on two tracks is a simulated band, built by the artist from Max/MSP patches because, he says, he couldn't find a real jazz ensemble to work with him. It also imagines what his grandfather, Ghanaian trumpet player Mensah Antony, may have sounded like, taking his cues from the boundaryless music of Sun Ra and Afrofuturism.

Aquarian - End Credits [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
Aquarian - Blood Sugar [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
Aquarian - Ouroboros [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
Canadian born, Berlin based artist Aquarian has released two notable albums in the last 2 years, one on Bedouin Records and one on Houndstooth, as part of the duo AQXDM with French artist Deapmash. Those releases mixed industrial techno with jungle and bass music, and the influence of UK club music, particularly jungle/drum'n'bass, is heavy on his incredible new album The Snake That Eats Itself. As well as the characteristic Berlin industrial techno sound, this album has moments of beatless contemplation and occasional vocals, which are just as well realised as the insane beat programming which turns with ease from 4/4 techno to dubstep pulses to mashed amen breaks. There's no doubt this will be on my end-of-year lists.

SDEM - Cadamium [Seagrave/Bandcamp]
SDEM - Nishifunabashi (feat. NHK yk koyxen) [Seagrave/Bandcamp]
SDEM - Limerans [Seagrave/Bandcamp]
Really varied and top quality album from UK artist SDEM aka Tom Knapp, who is also behind labels Icasea and .meds among other projects. This epic release follows recent EPs on Opal Tapes and Central Processing Unit, and clearly demonstrates his close affinity with '90s IDM, as well as contemporary forms (dubstep's thrashing bass for instance). ZNS collects music from 15 years of productions, impeccably compiled by Seagrave as always - different enough from either of his last 2 releases, and yet still varied (check the lovely melodic beatless third track). Highly recommended.

E Davd - Bloom [E Davd Bandcamp]
E Davd - Heartbeat.Hyperdrive (Refrain) [E Davd Bandcamp]
In the last month we've seen a lot of Australian (and international) artists reacting to the climate crisis and specifically Australia's ongoing bushfire crisis by creating and donating works to raise funds for those most in need - we've heard some tonight. I particularly admire the approach taken by Sydney-based cosmic healer and house/techno artist E Davd, highlighting the very important concept of environmental justice / climate justice across three EPs released on his Bandcamp. Two are released so far, and the first compiles ambient works from the last few years, with some skittery and head-nodding beats at times. The second track featured tonight is a dreamy beatless piece which has the haziness and melodic laziness of classic Boards of Canada. In his write-ups for these releases, E Davd draws our attention to the fact that in any responses to the effects of the climate crisis we need to recognize that those first affected, and worst affected, are and will be those who contribute least to it and are least able to dead with it - the poor, indigenous communities, women, young people, and those at the intersection of these groups. Social justice needs to be at the core of our response to climate change and our planning for the future. All funds from these releases are going to Seed, an indigenous youth climate network - you can donate directly if you just want to listen.

Gregory Paul Mineeff - Devoid of Hope [Cosmic Leaf/Gregory Paul Mineeff Bandcamp]
Our last music tonight is from the beautiful new album After Today from Wollongong-based composer and electronic musician Gregory Paul Mineeff, performed on electric pianos & analogue synthesisers, with tape machines and other effects, embracing the imperfections and fragility of these sounds and avoiding the maudlin or clichéd nature of contemporary "post-classical" piano work or the sterile (and clichéd) nature of much ambient music. In these touching works, Mineeff employs just the right amount of denaturing through tape effects, reverse effects and recording techniques to colour the compositions, creating something that sounds out of its time, but not genre-specific nostalgia either. Really lovely and well done.

Listen again — ~196MB

Comments Off on Playlist 26.01.20

Sunday, 19th of January, 2020

Playlist 19.01.20 (8:14 pm)

It's the middle of January and I'm playing a show that's 100% 2020 music (give or take a couple of flashbacks from artists with new music being featured). Life moves pretty fast.

LISTEN AGAIN to the sounds of now! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

NERVE - Psycho Mafia (excerpt) [A Colourful Storm]
Last week on the show I featured a track from Melbourne's Joshua Wells aka NERVE, alongside something from his duo with David Coen (Sow Discord/Whitehorse etc) called Hemlock Ladder. Those tracks were released on new label AR53 Productions, but now NERVE is back on the great Melbourne label A Colourful Storm for a cassette called Psycho Mafia, documenting a live performance from last year. It's frenetic industrial techno, with frequent distorted breaks interjecting, making it sit somewhere just on the edge of drum'n'bass or breakcore. The entire awesome track is 22 minutes, but I played about half.

The Chap - I Recommend You Do The Same [Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
The Chap - I Am Oozing Emotion [Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
The Chap - Nevertheless, The Chap [Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
The Chap - Don't Say It Like That [Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
After five long years, it's really nice to have a new album from the very English, very European five-piece The Chap. Their sense of humour and irreverence is as English as it comes, but the way they mix indie rock with electronics, krautrock and string arrangements, and whatever else they care to seems more, er, Continental? It's delightful that they have lost neither their experimentalism nor their sense of fun - although the first track I played is quite dark! And the title of their album from 10 years ago, Well Done, Europe might feel a little bittersweet in these post-Brexit days, so let's take the fun and just be in the moment with the deliberately archaic Digital Technology, a great continuation of everything they do so well. I'm jealous of anyone in the UK & Europe who can see them play live soon.

Keeley Forsyth - It's Raining [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Keeley Forsyth - Butterfly [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
A single late last year announced this extraordinary debut from English actor Keeley Forsyth. She wrote these songs in private, with no expectation that they would be heard by the public, but when she heard the music of composer Matthew Bourne on the radio she got in touch with the idea of setting the songs with his arrangements. Bourne turns out to be a very sympathetic foil for Forsyth's raw, minimalist songs and her expressive, vibrato-laden voice. Bourne contributes strings, harmonium, piano and synth, alongside Mark Creswell's guitar & bass, and Sam Hobbs' keyboards and occasional drums. Forsyth's voice has led reviewers to compare her to Scott Walker, but I hear Nick Drake, Jessica Sligter, Mark Hollis, and even Joni Mitchell in there - and nobody is quite right; this is singular music from a very personal place. It's quite desolate and monolythic, music to listen to in the dark.

Kate Carr - Highway Bridge Drain Pipes, Saskatoon, Canada [Nonclassical/Bandcamp]
London label Nonclassical started off as a showcase for stretching the boundaries of contemporary classical music - string quartets & piano music backed with remixes by club producers, etc. More recently they have become interested in extending further into "non-music", sound-art, sound walks, and field recordings. British radio DJ Nick Luscombe has compiled Vol.1 of a compilation series they're calling fieldwave, featuring works ranging from location recordings of music to documentations of spaces and events (including a recent Hong Kong protest). Ex-Sydney artist Kate Carr is a master at mixing fascinating location recordings with musical elements in an alchemical way, as shown on her contribution tonight.

Machinefabriek - Stillness #6 (Lemaire Channel, Antarctica) [Glacial Movements/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - Stillness #1 (The FRAM, Greenland) [Glacial Movements/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - Stillness #10 (Antarctic Sound, Antarctica) [Glacial Movements/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
In 2014, Dutch composer/producer Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek released Stillness Soundtracks on ambient label Glacial Movements. His drones, sound recordings and slow rhythms were written to accompany a series of flims created by Dutch filmmaker Esther Kokmeijer in Antarctica. Some of these stunning visuals can be found online. Now Glacial Movements have released the a second album, Stillness Soundtracks II, with music created over the last 5-6 years for further Antarctic films by Kokmeijer. They lean back towards drone compared to some of the earlier works, and evoke a sense of otherworldliness - not-quite-peace. Works of a composer at the height of his skills.

The Necks - Lovelock [Fish of Milk/ReR Megacorp]
Every couple of years the world is blessed with a new album from one of Sydney's greatest musical products, The Necks. Never a typical jazz piano trio, they've moved so far with their recordings that you know you can get anything, but you also know just what you'll get. Chris Abrahams on piano & organ, Tony Buck on drums, percussion and increasingly electric guitar on record, and Lloyd Swanton on double bass and electric bass (often including spectral bowed passages) are best known for near-60-minute works that subtly shift over their long period as a kind of minimalist jazz, or a kind of jazz-informed krautrock, or ambient soundscapes or whatever else they care to do.
Occasionally though they'll split their albums into shorter tracks - a few years ago it was to accommodate the 22-minute limit for vinyl sides, on an album for Stephen O'Malley's Ideologic Organ, but in the past (e.g. 2006's Chemist) that's just been the musical ideas they want to get down, and that seems to be where we are with new album Three. Each of the three tracks is a bit over 20 minutes long, with a motorik rock-ish number, a relentless 5/4 jazz-ish number, and a gorgeous ambient work in between. The middle track is a slow-rolling ode to their old friend Damien Lovelock of hard rockers the Celibate Rifles, who died of cancer last year. Chris Abrahams in particular had worked with Lovelock since the '80s, and I remember a particular Newtown-centric indie-jazz number from the early '90s. That this track sounds nothing like Lovelock's music is beside the point. To me it sounds like a journey into a submerged afterlife, and the dedicated surfer would be very happy floating away in it.

Oval - Twirror [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Oval - Mikk [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Back in the '90s, Markus Popp's Oval band (or solo project) was a cerebral, mostly ambient affair that pioneered one branch of glitch music - based around the accidental digital artefacts CD players freaking out from deliberately scratched CDs. That technology itself became redundant in the years since - I mean, I still buy CDs! But the skipping freakouts of CD players tend not to be heard now, even in car stereos. Popp created custom software to digitally randomize and process sound sources, and was never totally married to that particular technique, but in the early 2000s Oval went on hiatus for some time. In the last 10 years, however, Oval Mark 2 emerged as an outlet for a new phase of Popp's production - tiny samples, chopped up instrumental performances, sometimes danceable beats, built into meticulous, dense constructions. It's very different from his earlier phase, but somehow you can feel the same musical impetus behind these works.

Pentagrime - The Devil's Burlesque (13" Extended Mix) [James Plotkin Bandcamp]
James Plotkin is one of the great mastering engineers working in experimental and heavy music these days, but also one of the great musicians of the last 3 decades or so. From the early '90s he was associated with some of heaviest and weirdest music in the metal world - OLD started as grindcore, and went into various different directions, then with Khanate he created hellish blackened doom, and in between he worked with metal-turned-dub masters Scorn, and created dark ambient works with the likes of KK Null... But then there was the one-two punch of the Atomsmasher/Phantomsmasher records, terrifyingly (re)constructed grindcore/breakcore that merged speed metal with glitchy electronica. On his dedicated Bandcamp he's just released two bizarre tributes to his love of expeirmental electronic music as Pentagrime. They're modular synth excursions, complex blurting beats in the vein of Aphex, Autechre, Venetian Snares and the like. Everything he does is brilliant and utterly bent (the ridiculous idea of a 13" Extended Mix...)

Listen again — ~195MB

Comments Off on Playlist 19.01.20

Sunday, 12th of January, 2020

Playlist 12.01.20 (8:14 pm)

Another crazy week of climate calamity here, along with an uplifting evening of protest on Friday (these need to keep getting bigger).

LISTEN AGAIN because music is the most important thing. Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Scattered Order - National Adjustment Scheme [Provenance]
Allen Ginsberg - Green Valentine Blues (Aphir Rework) [Provenance]
As has become usual these days, we’re a week into 2020 and there’s already quite a bit of new music popping up. This one is for a reason – Provenance Records boss Stu Buchanan now lives in the Blue Mountains and although his property has been fine, he’s felt the bushfire catastrophe intimately. So the already-planned third compilation of this experimental label – now co-run by Becki Whitten aka Aphir – has been converted into a bushfire fundraiser, and it’s particularly pleasing that their chosen beneficiary is the Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities (you can and should donate directly at the link if you can afford to). The lineup is of course first class, so I strongly exhort you to support this cause and these great musicians – including artists like Shoeb Ahmad, Lack The Low and others as well as tonight’s artists. We have Aphir herself, reworking an Allen Ginsberg poem into a folk song with growling electronics, and the great, long-lived post-industrialists Scattered Order (now part-based in the Blue Mountains) pre-empting their new album coming this year.

Nerve - To Dip Your Toes Into Paradise Pond [AR53 Productions]
Hemlock Ladder - Exactly the Right Amount of Violence [AR53 Productions]
A couple more Australian artists leading into the next compilation for tonight. Nerve is Melbourne’s Joshua Wells, who’s released music on A Colourful Storm, and runs Resistance/Restraint. His material seems to slide between dark industrial techno and plangent piano & field recordings on the two tracks released in December. From a month earlier, his duo Hemlock Ladder with Dave Coen (of noise/metal/industrial legends Whitehorse, and aka Sow Discord, who recently remixed The Body) delivers more propulsive industrial techno. Nerve is supporting My Disco in Sydney in a couple of weeks.

Thugwidow - Dominion [Circadian Rhythms Records/Bandcamp]
Sully - Vérité [Circadian Rhythms Records/Bandcamp]
UK-based collective Circadian Rhythms Records released this compilation as a limited cassette a couple of months ago. Initial digital versions were outrageously expensive as they were pushing the lavish physical copies, but it’s now become affordable. Which is great as it’s a brilliant collection of jungle/drum’n’bass mixed with grime, techno and other UK bass styles. London’s Thugwidow, with a number of jungle releases under his belt, gives us a slowed-down broken beat track with jungle breaks bouncing off the half-speed tempo, while Sully delivers a characteristic slab of perfect jungle.

Special Request - Elysian Fields [Special Request Bandcamp]
Special Request - Spectral Frequency [Special Request Bandcamp]
Paul Woolford promised four Special Request albums in 2019, and the last and best slipped in just before the end of the year (on a different Bandcamp for some reason). Zero Fucks returns him to hard-hitting old-skool jungle, complete with sampled MCs and rave euphoria. This is what I’ve always wanted from Special Request. BOH.

Loraine James - I'm Feeling w/ Morwell [Loraine James Bandcamp]
After a big year with her Hyperdub debut ending up on a lot of end-of-year lists including my own, London’s Loraine James put together the second of her quickly-produced New Year’s Substitution EPs, this time piled full of interesting collaborations. There’s noisy numbers and jittery numbers; this one features new junglist Max Morwell.

Anasisana - Midnight Sun (The Uninvited Sun Remains In the Midnight Sky) [Eastern Nurseries]
Concrete Fantasies - Bleak [Eastern Nurseries]
More compilations! This one from Portuguese label Eastern Nurseries, with a collection of drone/ambient and a bit of submerged techno – the latter from Anasisana, the beats underlying cinematic atmospherics, while Concrete Fantasies deliver drones and tape manipulation.

Daniel K. Böhm - Soft Arp [eilean rec.]
Aries Mond - Uty [eilean rec.]
Banabila & Machinefabriek - Sasquatch [eilean rec.]
As promised when they began, the French label eilean rec. has ended its incredible run at their 100th release, which happens to be a 5CD set featuring every artist who’s appeared on the label. Thus it’s full of gems of all sorts. Only a few can be heard tonight. Daniel K. Böhm’s droney textures and guitar detritus float around a bed of electronic pulses; Aries Mond gives us a typically lovely piece of deserted piano, and Banabila & Machinefabriek have head-nodding beats and burbles.

Rutger Zuydervelt & Bill Seaman - Bits [oscarson/Bandcamp]
Rutger Zuydervelt & Bill Seaman - Pull [oscarson/Bandcamp]
Speaking of Machinefabriek, his first release of 2020 is a collaboration with another eilean alumnus, the Australian ambient artist Bill Seaman (originally from Sydney, now based in the US). It’s actually less ambient than you might expect from these two artists, with some crunching bass & beats and glitching melodies in amongst the fourth world and electronic sounds. It’s absolutely absorbing work, which you can get in a vinyl edition from German label oscarson.

Martina Bertoni - Invisible Cracks [FALK]
Martina Bertoni - Stuck out of Lifetime [FALK]
Berlin-based cellist Martina Bertoni follows up two EPs with her debut album All the Ghosts are Gone. Created at a time of recovery from mental & physical exhaustion, the album finds her using a multitude of techniques to alter the sound of her instrument – distorting and distancing its natural sound, embedding it in electronics and sometimes the electronic shapes of techno. Released on Reykjavik label FALK (Fuck Art Let's Kill), it's superb work.

Alder & Ash - pyres on pyres [Alder & Ash Bandcamp]
Alder & Ash - the crowneater [Alder & Ash Bandcamp]
Montréal’s Adrian Copeland has made his special brand of acoustic (and electric) doom as Alder & Ash over a few albums now – the first two for the Lost Tribe Sound label. His latest, The Crowneater, is self-released in a very plush CD edition. As before, it finds him looping cello basslines & riffs, adding percussive sounds, and layering pure and distorted melodies. It’s a sound he’s very much made his own and at its best it’s thrilling.

Listen again — ~274MB

Comments Off on Playlist 12.01.20

Sunday, 5th of January, 2020

Playlist 05.01.20 - Best of 2019 Part 2 (8:08 pm)

Best of the last year, part 2 comin' atcha. More of an electronic focus, with some disquieting ambient sounds in there as well.
It's been a hellish week here in Australia, and the stupidity of our climate-change-denying government(s) has been on show all week. Whether it's a turning point remains to be seen, but anyway, welcome to 2020!

LISTEN AGAIN anyway because we're talking THE BEST m'kay? Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Ecker & Meulyzer - Growth [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
Starting with an album I leapt on a few months ago, from Belgian cellist Koenraad Ecker & percussionist Frederik Meulyzer. I love Ecker's work with duos Lumisokea and Stray Dogs, and Subtext Recordings is a very reliable outlet for bass music, abstract sound & electro-acoustic work. And then as I researched Meulyzer I realised that Ecker & Meulyzer ARE Stray Dogs. Not a million miles from Ecker's work with Andrea Taeggi in Lumisokea, Stray Dogs showcases a mix of percussion-driven industrial techno and acoustic/processed acoustic sounds. Under their own surnames, their music leans a little more on Ecker's cello and sound design - made even more stunning as this album was recorded in Norway at the very remote Svalbard Global Seed Vault, one of a number of seed banks around the world keeping seeds for a wide variety of essential crops to be used in the event of a global ecological calamity. In these times of climate crisis, it's vital stuff, and I'm all for instrumental music that engages with subject matter like this - making this important space come alive with resonance.

65daysofstatic - bad age [Superball Music]
65daysofstatic - SynthFlood [65daysofstatic Bandcamp]
65daysofstatic have been a Utility Fog mainstay since the show started – literally, their first "real" EP stumble.stop.repeat came out in 2003. I saw it described by Norman Records (the great Leeds-based online record store) as something like postrock crossed with Squarepusher, and jumped on that shit of course. They recognized my support by thanking me in the liner notes of their second album – and when they finally toured Australia with sleepmakeswaves, I was told my Mike from Bird's Robe that it was my championing of these guys that made them aware of them. Good feeling!
They were putting together ridiculous and awesome glitchy drill'n'bass mashups before they even put out that first EP, and many of these (including legit remixes) came out on a series of CDRs called unreleased/unreleasable. Since May 2019, they have been producing a monthly EP series – which involves a Bandcamp subscription for which each EP is released a month ahead – and it's a continuation of this, with oddities, experiments and offcuts (not actually illegal admittedly). Before this, after a bunch of albums and international touring (including a support slot with The Cure), they created a live project based around generative programming, and then extended this further with their groundbreaking soundtrack to the computer game No Man's Sky, which was composed in such a way that it would be generated along with the generative planetary landscapes (and flora & fauna) the players encounter.
The new album is their response to the endtimes feeling of the current age – the slow collapse of the biosphere, the rise of fascism and the horrors of Brexit Britain. There’s an air of melancholy that comes along with the electronic rhythms, and there’s not much in the way of riffing. It's surprisingly touching, and still absolutely in tune with that I'm trying to do with Utility Fog. Cheers guys!

Andy Odysee - Like Jazz [Odysee Recordings/Bandcamp]
I thought I'd introduce the electronic component of this best of, most of which involves jungle breaks of some sort, with an original player in the '90s jungle scene, composer & producer Andy Baddaley. He joined Tilla Kemal aka Mirage to run the Odysee Recordings label, releasing important early 12"s from Photek and Source Direct among others. They've lately been releasing remastered digital versions of old releases on their Bandcamp, but late 2019 found a new EP from Andy Odysee, with a dark classic-sounding techstep A-side backed with a skittery jazzy number and a third bonus track.

Loraine James - So Scared [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
London artist Loraine James' debut album on Hyperdub is a mélange of influences from UK club music and idm to jazz, grime and drill – and a bit of Chicago juke in there too it has to be said – but it's also a testament to being in a queer relationship in London, and everything that goes with that. So it has lovely tender pieces and frenetic elements and some danceable tracks. At a time when everyone's mashing everything up, there's still somehow nothing quite like this out there at the moment, and it's justifiably been on lots of best of lists, including mine!

ISSHU - Demons Are Real [Seagrave/Bandcamp]
UK artist ISSHU has three cassettes now on the Seagrave label, each with fairly different focus, from murky techno or electro to 2019 album IS's '90s idm and in particular drill'n'bass and junglist contortions. It's got that melodic acid feel along with the beats, quite expertly done. I've listened to it quite a lot through the year. It may have slipped under a few people's radars, so I highly recommend checking it out.

LOFT - That Hyde Trakk [Tri-Angle/Bandcamp]
Continuing with crazy breakbeats, Manchester-based AYA Sinclair released an EP earlier in the year on Tri-Angle as LOFT. She now goes by AYA, and deliciously mashes up breaks on others' tracks as well as her own. and departt from mono games is a vaporwavey concoction of field recordings, some muffled vocal bits, and rave atmospherics, which gives way to drill'n'bassy madness on the last track. So good.

E-Saggila - My World My Way [Northern Electronics]
Toronto-based E-Saggila, aka Rita Mikhael, has been making convention-defying techno with elements of rave, industrial, noise and deconstructed club music for a little while. A sign that I really can't fit everything I want to play into my 2 hours a week, I didn't play anything from her in 2019, but her Northern Electronics release is a hard-hitting work of brilliance that needs to be acknowledged now. She prefers to avoid the industry and social media side of the music business, so I can't even find a SoundCloud for her, let alone Twitter or Facebook, but you can read a fantastic interview with her from August 2019 at The Quietus.

Makeda - Me, First [Nice Music]
Born in Sydney, moved to Brisbane, now based in Melbourne, Makeda has also released music (as label and artist I think) as All Day Breakfast, but her brilliant 2019 EP Lifetrap was her debut release proper. Whether remixing others (such as Perth artist Shoshana Rosenberg or Melbourne legends My Disco), or here out on her own, she creates fractured underground club music like no other. And she's a feminist style icon TBH.

GOOOOOSE - Plasma Sunrise [SVBKVLT]
I was lucky enough to get to see Shanghai electronic artist GOOOOOSE at Soft Centre in September. It was a little shameful that I hadn't already gotten hold of his excellent album Rusted Silicon on Chinese electronic label SVBKVLT. He and his partner 33, who played a great techno set later in the day, are alumni of the Chinese electro-rock band Duck Fight Goose. The mashed jungle breaks, reconfigured in new ways on a few tracks here are really exciting, but the gentle jazzy piano chords and the more ambient passages are great too. As a bonus the album finishes with a few remixes, including the one & only Iranian electronic master Sote, who appeared in the 1st Best of 2019 show, and did a superb hardcore set at Soft Centre too.

Sig Nu Gris - To Un-know [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Melbourne-based producer Erin Hyde aka Sig Nu Gris had a big October releasing a series of what she calls Fixations, edits of songs she gets fixated on, to the extent that she wants to take them apart and put them back together in her own special way. But earlier in the year Spirit Level released an original single, "To Un-know", a beautiful slab of chopped beats, head-nodding bass, corruscating keyboards and sparing use of vocals.

Hence Therefore - Census Map Museum [All Centre]
Sydney's Simon Unwin aka Hence Therefore spent a few years in London during which time he really honed his production craft, as well as building some connections with people like the aforementioned Loraine James and object blue. He moved back to Sydney this year, and in addition to the brilliant album Secular Hells which he released on 3bs Records, he put out a fantastic 2-tracker on London label All Centre. Complex beat patterns & bass, club music for the mind and body.

Yunzero - Fax 1 [.jpeg Artefacts]
The work of Melbourne artist Jim Sellars as Yunzero (he previously released as Hyde and Electric Sea Spider) was a revelation in 2019. Bass and beats embedded in a psychedelic, ambient soundworld. Wonderfully done, utterly bamboozling.

Hiro Kone - A Desire, Nameless [Dais Records/Hiro Kone Bandcamp]
For her third album, and second for Dais Records, Hiro Kone aka NYC's Nicky Mao addresses the techno-fascism of the current age through the lens of "absence". Instrumental music shackled to big concepts is always a bit of a stretch, but you can feel it working with music this evocative, drawing on the last few decades of post-cyberpunk art & music. Superb sound design and detailed beat programming that doesn't succumb to the current "deconstructed club music" obsession of the current age.

Helm - I Knew You Would Respond [PAN]
Luke Younger's solo project Helm is by now quite prominent in the experimental scene. A seasoned noise artist, he also runs the ALTER label which releases everything from noise and postpunk to experimental dancefloor work. Helm sits somewhere in the sound-art spectrum, occasionally emanating regular beats, sometimes incorporating something recognizable as a bassline or a melody, frequently made of bubbling or buzzing drones... It's evocative, and hard to pin down in the best way. In 2019 he released Chemical Flowers, again for the great PAN label, and this track (among others) features superb string arrangements by industrial legend and Aussie ex-pat Jim Thirlwell aka Foetus.

Teho Teardo - London Offered Us Possible Mothers [Specula Records]
Before 2019 it had been a couple of years since we heard from Italian composer and ex-industrial musician Teho Teardo on this show. He's become known for some brilliant albums with the great Blixa Bargeld, but equally for his soundtrack work, and this new album was composed for a play by Enda Walsh adapting Max Porter's novel Grief Is The Thing With Feathers. The string arrangements, details production and occasional electronic elements make for wonderfully emotive work. There's at least one album scheduled for 2020 for us to look forward to!

BirdWorld - After Rain [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
Last year I was delighted to discover the London/Oslo duo BirdWorld, made up of Gregor Riddell on cello & electronics and Adam Teixeira on drums & percussion. They found a home on the English experimental label Focused Silence, who in 2019 released the debut album UNDA. It's beautiful and very mysterious stuff - Gregor said to me of their music that they are "really interested in trying to depict a sound that hovers in between reality and a dream state, a bit folkloric/voodoo, we like the idea that music is capable of hypnotising and evoking a sense of magic." I'd say they have done a pretty good job of that here - whether through distorted bowed cymbals and tremolo cello noise, or softly walking basslines, or decontextualised samples of various sorts. Fascinating sounds.

Annelyse Gelman & Jason Grier - Rain [Fonograf Editions]
The opening track "Maxes" of Annelyse Gelman & Jason Grier’s debut About Repulsion (a two-track 7” with 6 digital tracks) would have segued nicely out of the last few, with its guest cello from Clare Monfredo. I played it earlier this year, but for this best of I've decided to play "Rain". Here, multiple versions of Gelman’s singing compete with more & less recognizable field recordings. For all the alienating techniques, it’s incredibly emotive music.

Hildur Guðnadóttir - The Door [Deutsche Grammophon]
One of the TV highlights of 2019 was HBO's Chernobyl. I was super pleased to discover that the soundtrack is by the wonderful Icelandic cellist, singer and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, who was a member of Múm a long time ago, has worked with many avant-garde artists, appears singing on the new Sunn O))) album, and was working closely with Jóhann Jóhannsson before he tragically passed away last year. She won a number of awards for her soundtrack to Joker, but for Chernobyl she created some extraordinary, imposing and spooky works featuring industrial sounds of all sorts, entirely recorded in a Lithuanian nuclear power point as it was being decommissioned. This isn't just a gimmick - the sounds and ambience seep into every moment of the soundtrack, and the industrial-sounding pieces are literally crafted from the industry of nuclear power. It's a hell of an achievement.

Fennesz - We Trigger the Sun (excerpt) [Touch]
In the mid-to-late '90s, no label was more synonymous with glitch and electronic experimentalism than Australian label Mego (which relaunched as Editions Mego in 2006), and one of the most talented purveyors of this sound was Christian Fennesz. To some extent this is because Fennesz was less uncompromising with the noise and chaos than contemporaries like Pita (Peter Rehberg, who runs Editions Mego), Hecker or even Farmers Manual, but his earlier works were at the time rather groundbreaking and ear-opening. He gained deserved fame with the Endless Summer album, which invoked the Beach Boys through a haze of static and drone. In the last 10 years or so, it's felt to me like Fennesz started repeating himself, with lacklustre overly-pleasant collaborations with Ryuichi Sakamoto, and a whole lot of stuff that seemed to repeat the same four strummed guitar chords through the same patches. So it was great to find that Agora, his new album from 2019 recorded on a limited setup in a small room on his house, mixed on headphones, brings back some kind of edge to his sound - still with beautiful processed guitar, but with a low-end pulse running through a lot of the release, and a certain roughness. Maybe it's just me, but anyway it's rather wonderful.

CA2+ - Deleese (Intro) (excerpt) [Northern Electronics/Bandcamp]
Sweden's Andreas Lübeck is an accomplished photographer, and now has a few releases under his belt for Northern Electronics as CA2+. His earliest cuts were fairly dancefloor-ready techno, but somehow on 2019's Lonely Hearts Club we're finding exquisite modern electro-acoustic composition alongside the deconstructed bass and beats - those sliding tones and glitchy quasi-melodies. I only got to play a bit of this, but please check out the entire 13-minute track, and the rest of the album too!

Listen again — ~202MB

Comments Off on Playlist 05.01.20 - Best of 2019 Part 2

Check the sidebar for archive links!

36 queries. 0.103 seconds. Powered by WordPress |