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Utility Fog


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

Sunday, 28th of June, 2020

Playlist 28.06.20 (5:21 pm)

Tonight's show has everything from avant-garde jazz to sound-art to folktronica to Iranian-Canadian noise...

LISTEN AGAIN, genre be damned! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here...

zeitkratzer & Mariam Wallentin - Strange Fruit [zeitkratzer Bandcamp]
Ornette Coleman - Lonely Woman [Atlantic Records]
zeitkratzer & Mariam Wallentin - Cry Me A River [zeitkratzer Bandcamp]
Starting with some extraordinary avant-garde jazz. Swedish singer Mariam Wallentin appears frequently with free jazz superpower Fire! Orchestra, and is the natural choice for pan-European contemporary/avant-garde ensemble zeitkratzer when they decide to go jazz. As well as performing & recording 20th & 21st-century composition, zeitkratzer have taken on unexpected cover versions before - including two albums of Kraftwerk, an acoustic take on noisemeisters Whitehouse, a version of Lou Reed's Metal Machine Music and much more. Here with Wallentin, they show that they are absolutely comfortable with the jazz idiom - its expressiveness as well as its more far-out tendencies, and Wallentin is of course comfortable with anything they can throw at her - including heart-rending versions of Abel Meeropol's 1930s protest song about lynchings, and Arthur Hamilton's archetype of break-up songs.
Still, it's quite a flex to name your album The Shape of Jazz to Come and not reference Ornette Coleman at all (acknowledging that it's a title that's been adopted & adapted frequently through the years). Coleman's earth-shaking album of that name, and his subsequent career, created more than anyone else the free jazz which is performed by these musicians - so I played the stunning "Lonely Woman", in the original recording with Don Cherry on cornet, Charlie Haden on bass and Bill Hicks on drums.

Ways + Simon Toldam - Fame [Brodie West Bandcamp]
Ways + Simon Toldam - Passion [Brodie West Bandcamp]
More music here which dare I say blends contemporary composition with jazz - Toronto duo Ways is saxophonist/composer Brodie West and Evan Cartwright on drums, whose near-magical duo instincts are joined on Fortune by Danish pianist Simon Toldam for an album of incredibly restrained works. The two tracks titled "Fame" play with empty space (at times filled with gorgeously held piano chords) and perfectly synchronised flutters which render the saxophone percussive, while "Passion" is all the better for holding its passion in check, with a fragmented saxophone melody and slow-moving partial discords on piano.

Roman Rofalski - Alpha [Nonclassical/Bandcamp]
Roman Rofalski - Sea [Nonclassical/Bandcamp]
Berlin pianist Roman Rofalski has a background in jazz, like our first feature artists tonight, but on Loophole, his wonderful new album for Nonclassical, a collaboration with the Stockhausen Foundation has allowed him to bring his love of '90s techno and avant-garde electronic music to his instrument. These deconstructions of the piano are cavernous and luxurious, embedding us deep within the physicality of the instrument, with subtle preparations letting strings ring and buzz while delays and edits create rhythms and discontinuities. On the second track tonight "free jazz" drums also creep into the edits. Of course all these techniques are nothing new, exactly - it's the execution that makes this so special - and special it is.

Alex White - Cheekbone Against Window Of Car [Room40/Bandcamp]
Alex White - Bicycle Rear Wheel Lateral Movement [Room40/Bandcamp]
Sydney musician Alex White has been an innovative proponent of modular synthesis and generative music for years. Mostly we'd expect to hear harsh noises or artificial timbres from him, so this new project Transductions is quite a surprise, "performed" as it is on a Diskclavier, that wondrous mixture of piano, player piano, and MIDI instrument. White used his knowledge & experience in modular synthesis to create simple-seeming patches which, butterfly effect-like, feed back on themselves in strange & unpredictable ways - and these patches are used to output MIDI signals which produce the Diskclavier performances here. The titles refer to the physicality of the instruments solenoids translating his electronic signals into sound - so the kinetic energy of a car, train or bicycle producing vibrations which are then translated into other movements and thence into sound.

Tim Koch - Leaving Michester [Tim Koch Bandcamp]
Tim Koch - Tusk [Tim Koch Bandcamp]
On a theme of artists challenging themselves to make music in news ways, Adelaide's IDM maestro Tim Koch here leaves behind the crunchy programmed beats and synth melodies - and indeed timeline-based musical arranging - for an album of mostly acoustic guitar undergoing live granular synthesis. The album's title, Scordatura, refers to the tuning of an instrument's strings in an unconventional manner, and recontextualisation is very much the name of the game here. It's simultaneously nostalgic for late-'90s/early-'00s IDM-goes-folktronica-goes-drone era, and also excitingly new, hearing Tim's very musically-perceptive take on these techniques. Really impressive.

Kirk Barley - The Night [Health/Bandcamp]
Kirk Barley - Cradle [33-33/Bandcamp]
Kirk Barley - Courtyard [Health/Bandcamp]
Yorkshire musician Kirk Barley has previous released folktronic techno & ambient sounds as Bambooman, and last year we heard him under his own name on a lovely exploratory album for 33-33. He's back, this time on Health, for an EP of Miniatures in a similar vein - exquisite little works of edits of acoustic guitar, field recordings I believe, some drums from Matt Davies, and even cello on one track. There's a full length album coming, and I'm hanging out for it.

David Chesworth - Permian Forest [David Chesworth Bandcamp]
Here's something I've been meaning to play for a while, from legendary Aussie electronic musician David Chesworth. Chesworth came to fame with his 1979 album 50 Synthesizer Greats, the sound of a very young musician exploring the possibilities of electronic music, and around the same time his post-punk electronic group Essendon Airport. Chesworth has been involved with avant-garde music, contemporary composition and weird pop for decades, and co-produced the amazing Bec Plexus album I featured a few weeks ago - so here we have something relatively new, from a couple of years ago, reminiscent of dubby '90s ambient techno, a slow-moving monster of a tune.

Saint Abdullah - Philosopher Kings [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Saint Abdullah - Vivid Persian Dreams [Boomarm Nation/Bandcamp]
Saint Abdullah - Mechanical Flirtations (feat. Sabha Sizdahkhani) [True Aether Bandcamp]
Saint Abdullah - Movin' out of Harlem (feat. ARP 220) [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Finally tonight, featuring a few tracks from the Canadian-Iranian duo Saint Abdullah, made up of brothers Mohammad and Mehdi Mehrabani-Yeganeh. Their music represents a kind of collision and fusion of "Western" and "Eastern" - from their experience of being Iranian/Middle Eastern yet having a Western upbringing, and from the assumptions and pressures placed by the world around them. So their music draws on Persian music (including the wonderful santour playing by Sabha Sizdahkhani on last year's "Mechanical Flirtations"), and features sampled Shia Muslim orations and field recordings from Tehran, as well as guest spots from free jazz musicians, and sets it frequently in swampy dub and looping techno. It's unavoidably political music, incorporating journalistic reportage and interviews into its sound world as well, resulting in sounds driven by anger, grief and passion. Yet this musical fusion is inevitably creating something integrated, something that purely in its existence spurns the idea of a dualist Othering, whether Orientalism or racist Islamophobia. Their latest album, on the ever-radical PTP, sends all profits to the New York Immigration Coalition, and when you purchase it you'll also get a free PDF of Alex Vitale's The End of Policing. But buy their other stuff while you're at it, as they're doing something vital and brilliant.

Listen again — ~195MB


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Sunday, 21st of June, 2020

Playlist 21.06.20 (8:15 pm)

Tonight we've got a stack of music from Bandcamp's Juneteenth Friday special (raising money for NAACP), an array of beat-related experimental electronic music, and a feature on memotone's big stash of 2020 music...
Friday the 19th of June is Juneteenth, a most significant day for Black Americans as it commemorates the day on which slavery ended in Texas, the last US state to do so. Like many, this year was the first time I heard of Juneteenth - but worse, it was probably the first year than many non-Black Americans heard of it too. And this year Bandcamp donated all of their profits on Juneteenth to NAACP and promised to do so every Juneteenth moving forward. So quite a bit of tonight's selections come courtesy of this gesture by Bandcamp and music released in connection with the day.

LISTEN AGAIN for your mortal soul. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Speaker Music - Amerikkka's Bay (ft. Maia Sanaa) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Speaker Music - Of Our Spiritual Strivings (ft. Syanide) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
The album Black Nationalist Sonic Weaponry by Speaker Music, the alias of theorist and journalist DeForrest Brown, Jr, was surprise-released on Friday in conjunction with Planet µ - his second release on the label. It combines the frenetic rhythms found on his recent Percussive Therapy EP with sampled spoken word about the recent protests, field recordings, jazz samples, noise, and some brilliant guest appearances, along with pointed titles. A particular highlight is the moving poem written & read by 18-year-old artist/actor/singer/dancer (and whatever else she chooses to be) Maia Sanaa on the first track "Amerikkka's Bay". I chose to juxtapose this with a track featuring limpid presumably by guest Syanide.

clipping. - Chapter 319 [clipping. Bandcamp]
Also released for Juneteenth is the new single from clipping., which highlights the connections between Trump, white supremacy & police violence against Blacks, while being designed as a catchy, danceable track that can be played through boomboxes at protests. And it sure is! It's backed with the incredible, devastating "Knees on the Ground", another track about police brutality which they created in 2014 during the protests in Ferguson, and which was only available on SoundCloud.

700 Bliss - Sixteen [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Loraine James - Microdancing Or Something [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Hyperdub recently put together their second compilation in collaboration with Adult Swim - which is always annoying because for some reason Adult Swim's musical ventures are geoblocked so Australia has no access. In any case, like last time Hyperdub have now made Stimulus Swim available from the label, and it's great. Moor Mother and DJ Haram as 700 Bliss contribute a beautiful piece about escaping into the dancefloor, and London's genius Loraine James creates a bubbly new genre of not-quite-footwork/drill'n'bass on "Microdancing Or Something".

Vessel - Red Sex (feat. Rakhi Singh) [qu junctions Bandcamp]
Matana Roberts - Breathe [qu junctions Bandcamp]
English promoter/booking agency Qu Junktions have now put out two compilations on Bandcamp featuring exclusive work from their amazing roster of artists - designed as a way for those artists to make up a small part ofo their lost profits from COVID-19 lockdowns. There's really some high quality stuff on both comps. Vessel's "Red Sex" should be familiar to a lot of people from its original incarnation on his 2014 album Punish, Honey. Here it's reworked with Rakhi Singh's sliding violin alongside the freakish electronics. Seb Gainsborough aka Vessel and Rakhi Singh have teamed up to form new label Palpu, as Tri-Angle has now shut down. Following this we heard from sound-artist & free jazz musician Matana Roberts with a collage of febrile drones, buried hints of turmoil and massed voices.

Rider Shafique / The Bug - Burn [Pressure]
Frequent dubstep/drum'n'bass/grime collaborator Rider Shafique here works with deep bass don The Bug for a masterful new track referencing Black history and current events, with all profits going to Shafique's charity bringing books by Black authors to Black children.

Pinch - All Man Got (ft. Trim) [Tectonic/Bandcamp]
Pinch - Entangled Particles (ft. Emika) [Tectonic/Bandcamp]
Despite many high profile collaborations - albums with Adrian Sherwood and Shackleton, EPs with many different peeps - it's been a long time since a solo album from Bristol dubstep original Pinch, and he's come to the party with a true genre-spanning monster, with house & techno represented along with dubstep & grime (for the latter, see Trim on the poised, minimalist first track tonight) - but also some tantalising bits of almost breakcoreish drum'n'bass in there at times. It's weird hearing that appear halfway through the almost-trip-hoppy track featuring longtime collaborator Emika, but I'm not complaining! Excellent work.

Torana - Bladesmith [Weaponry]
I can't tell you much about drum'n'bass crew Torana, except that they seem to be plural, and they're connected with Seattle-based d'n'b master Homemade Weapons, and have appeared at times on Samurai Music comps. Their latest EP Rust combines contemporary jungle-infused drum'n'bass with halftime, dubstep influences, particularly creative on "Bladesmith", heard tonight.

E-Saggila - Blue Amps [Northern Electronics/Bandcamp]
BHMF - Mörkertal [Northern Electronics/Bandcamp]
Dream Eater - Flowers of Neptune [Northern Electronics/Bandcamp]
JS Aurelius - Crime is the Highest Form of Sensuality [Northern Electronics/Bandcamp]
Swedish label Northern Electronics released their latest Scandinavian Swords compilation last week, which is spread over a 3xLP and 3x cassette edition, making for a total of 40 tracks over 3 hrs and 22 minutes. Hard to take in, so a week and a bit later, here we are - mostly with selections leaning into the jungle breaks, of which there's a surprising amount alongside techno, ambient and other genres. So we start with Toronto's Rita Mikhael aka E-Saggila, with some distorted junglist techno that you love to hear... Then Swedish duo BHMF, previously named Bandhagens Musikförening, with a similar tonic of 4/4 techno with distorted drum'n'bass breaks and glorious rising synth pads. And Dream Eater is apparently Emil Hammarlund of Stockholm's Struktur Records, giving us ambient textures and anxious, stuttery beats - the only selection tonight from the triple cassette, most of which is on the more ambient side of the label (but clearly not all!). Finally, Ascetic House co-founder JS Aurelius gives us some glitchy bass techno.

Lakker - July [Lakker Bandcamp]
Berlin-resident Dublin duo Lakker - aka Ian McDonnell of Eomac and Dara Smith of Arad - have been UFog favourites for years, with their bassy techno sounds. I'd heard a few of their ravey idmish earlier work on some compilations, but it's cool to see them collecting some of that stuff as Rave System Demos [2005-2006] on their Bandcamp. The first is early '90s-style pre-jungle hardcore, while the second, from which this is lifted, is a bit more classic jungle (albeit a bit more breakcore style). Looking forward to the third to drop soon!

ScanOne - Breeze [SEAGRAVE]
Ice_Eyes - Silk01d [SEAGRAVE]
Always great to have a new compilation from SEAGRAVE - it's been a bit longer since the last one, but Fugitive Pieces is again "compiled by The Fissure Family" and collects some great idm-style breakbeat/bass from artists connected with the label. Present are Etch, Brain Rays + Quiet, SDEM , REQ and many others. Tonight we've got electronic breaks from ScanOne, and glitch breaks from Greek duo Ice_Eyes.

Marcus Whale - Lucifer [Marcus Whale Bandcamp]
The third single from Marcus Whale's solo album is the title track "Lucifer". The album, to be released on July 24th, casts Lucifer as queer icon, and promises to combine Marcus's many talents, as did his previous album - classical background, silky vocals, thought-provoking poetry, heaps of bass and glitched, ravey beats. Can't come soon enough.

O.G. Jigg & Friends - Harvest (Grime Man Next Door Mix by Iceman Junglist Kru) [Memotone Bandcamp]
memotone - Disembodied [Memotone Bandcamp]
memotone - Waining Bow (excerpt) [Memotone Bandcamp]
memotone - Peaches of Immortality [Diskotopia/Memotone Bandcamp]
HALFNELSON - MIND THE GAP [Memotone Bandcamp]
O.G. Jigg & Friends - May Queen [Memotone Bandcamp]
O.G. Jigg & Friends - May Queen (unperson version) [Memotone Bandcamp]
The multi-talented Will Yates is best known as memotone. A self-taught musician, he's got roots in post-dubstep bass music, techno & the like, but combines these electronic genre roots with idiomatic piano, cello, live drums and percussion, and a dab hand at the MPC sampler as well, resulting in electro-acoustic music that can float between musique concrète, folktronica, post-classical, jazz, noise and more. The second track tonight, "Disembodied", comes from his soundtrack to the horror/suspense movie Il Sonnambulo, and it's followed by the equally creepy and gorgeous scratchy strings & percussion of "Waining Bow" from a recent experimental/ambient album called SUPA LUNA. Then we heard one track from the most "official", most recent album Invisible Cities, which is somewhat more jazzy and evocative, but does have beats at times. And HALFNELSON is Yates' alter ego often for more minimal techno, but here he's sampled '80s & '90s skate tapes and created tracks from sequenced samples and live takes on the MPC 1000. Both of these releases only came out in the last month or even couple of weeks, with the others not much earlier even - but this Friday he managed to slip another one out. O.G. Jigg & Friends' Originals/Remixes is a limited cassette & even more limited t-shirt with a set of English folky jigs, reels and arcane stuff, then remixed by friends from the Bristol scene, including noise/experimental collective Avon Terror Corps of which he's a member. So at the top we had the rarely very junglist Iceman Junglist Kru with some pitched-down grimey stuff, and at the end we had some gorgeous glitchscapes from unperson. It's excellent, and all profits will go to the BAME-led Black South West Network, working for racial justice in the south west UK.

Listen again — ~201MB


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Sunday, 14th of June, 2020

Playlist 14.06.20 (8:09 pm)

Good evening. Black Lives Matter. People still don't seem to get it - especially those involved in policing.
Black American music is literally in the origins of all the music I play on this show, of all the pop music we listen to... Tonight we've got hip-hop, Ugandan percussion, and international dance music based around sampled and re-sampled breaks and techno originals. Sending out love to all.

LISTEN AGAIN, keep listening again until you get it! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Armand Hammer - Slewfoot [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
Armand Hammer - Pommelhorse ft. Curly Castro [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
Last year billy woods, founder of Backwoodz Studioz, put out two of the best hip-hop albums of the year - Hidden Places with Kenny Segal in particular was top of my list. The year before, his duo Armand Hammer with ELUCID released one of the most bewildering and brilliant albums of that year, Paraffin, so their follow-up this year had a lot riding on it. And Shrines by and large pulls it off. The lyrics as usual are rapidfire, dense and reference-laden, frequently apposite to the current situation, which after all is just drawing attention to the reality of life for Black Americans that white people have the privilege of staying oblivious to (much like in Australia). Musically it's as strange and unexpected as ever - highlighting the fact that hip-hop has always been experimental music.

Nihiloxica - 190819 [Crammed Discs/Bandcamp]
Nihiloxica - 170819 [Crammed Discs/Bandcamp]
Nihiloxica - Choir Chops [Nyege Nyege Tapes]
Nihiloxica - Dubugwanjuba [Nyege Nyege Tapes]
Nihiloxica - Salongo [Crammed Discs/Bandcamp]
Bugandan electro-percussion group Nihiloxica formed in 2017 when the Ugandan percussion group Nilotika Cultural Ensemble fused their music with the warped synth playing of pq and the hybrid live/electronic drumkit of Spooky-J. They released two amazing EPs of dark, raw music on Kampala-based Nyege Nyege Tapes, and now have signed to legendary Belgian label Crammed Discs for their debut album Kaloli. It's both the same and different - in some ways more polished, a little less edgy, but allowing more freedom for experimental skits and the beautiful flute & synth piece "170819" among others. Whatever, it's great that this creative, brilliant band will get more followers through this wider release, and can hopefully tour widely once things open up again...

Tennis Pagan - GALAXIES A MESS [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Tennis Pagan - Dirge [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Tennis Pagan - [unlisted] [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Tennis Pagan continues to be resolutely anonymous - we know he's a pagan who's into tennis... actually we don't even know that at all. His second EP for Spirit Level continues to harken back to woozy '90s idm, drill'n'bass & downtempo, with a current-era edge to it. It was also delightful how the fluttering synths and percussive backing of the first track conveniently flowed out of Nihiloxica.

MoMA Ready - The Other Side [MoMA Ready Bandcamp]
MoMA Ready - An Exorcism [MoMA Ready Bandcamp]
Gallery S/MoMA Ready - The Subtle Sound of Dying [MoMA Ready Bandcamp]
New York producer Wyatt D. Stevens embodies New York's gregarious club traditions with his MoMA Ready project and the similarly art world-focused "Gallery S", as well as his label HAUS of ALTR. The music ranges across techno, house, breakbeat etc, with a pervasive love of jungle in there too. It's bizarrely hard to pin down in a wonderfully queer way - while "The Other Side" is pure junglist rave, the rest of the EP of that title is everything else; last year's A Demon / An Exorcism is a little more consistent, with effectively three variants of the one beat-juggling track. This year's Gallery S is co-credited to Stevens' alternate project of the same name, an arty exploration of dance music of all forms, even though I'm of course focusing on the jungle & breakbeat energy. Brilliant stuff.

ASC - Moment of Truth [Samurai Music/ASC Bandcamp]
James Clements' ASC started off as a drum'n'bass project, but after helping pioneer the autonomic sound in the 2010s, he's strayed further into techno & ambient climes - so it's wonderful to hear new EP An Exact Science, courtesy of Samurai Music, who encouraged him to unearth some old breakbeats and create four storming tracks of junglist beat science.

Luke Vibert presents Amen Andrews - Bass Kick [Hypercolour]
Amen Andrews - Fast & Bulbous [Rephlex]
Luke Vibert presents Amen Andrews - Ready Again [Hypercolour]
Of all the "drill'n'bass" producers of the mid-'90s - Aphex Twin, Squarepusher, µ-Ziq et al - even though I believe they all genuinely loved jungle & drum'n'bass, I always felt Luke Vibert pulled it off the best with his Plug alias. Best known for his dubby hip-hop sounds as Wagon Christ, and for his effortless melodic acid techno & funk (often under his own name), Vibert returned to jungle in the early 2000s as Amen Andrews (indicating that Plug could only be created on the long-gone old-school sampling technology). From the very first Amen Andrews EP I've played a cute track that samples Le Mystère Des Voix Bulgares, Captain Beefheart and of course The Winstons. This year Vibert's putting out three breakbeat-focused albums through Hypercolour, and the first sees a welcome full-album return of Amen Andrews. Relentlessly fun stuff.

Nahash - Changement de Régime [Svbkvlt]
Nahash - The Horns feat. Osheyack [Svbkvlt]
Montreal producer Raphaël Valensi is Nahash, producing bass & jungle-riffing deconstructed club music with a strong political undercurrent, especially on the new album Flowers of the Revolution for Shanghai's Svbkvlt - he lived for some years in Shanghai, and the new album features Shanghai-based Osheyack on one track (as well as a set of remixes including our own DJ Plead). Nahash delves deep into Western & Evangelical Christian interference with countries the world over - installing right-wing dictators, bringing a neo-liberalism that, as he says, they "could do very well without it". And the harsh industrial bass and amen breaks are rad...

Arad - Barometric Shuffle [VOITAX/Bandcamp]
Arad - Inti [Bedouin Records]
Arad - Vortex [VOITAX/Bandcamp]
Dara Smith's duo Lakker with Ian McDonnell aka Eomac have been favourites on this show since their IDM days, and their take on bass techno - very much informed by their move from Dublin to Berlin years ago - is very close to this show's heart. I was very much taken with Arad's 2018 EP on Bedouin Records, The Glimpse, which melded autotuned & vocoded vocals with syncopated machine funk. His new EP Radiance Haze on Berlin label VOITAX leans back towards techno but still features his voice and of course that broken-beat funk.

Liminal Drifter - Connected [Hidden Shoal/Liminal Drifter Bandcamp]
Liminal Drifter - A Love Song for Ghosts [Hidden Shoal/Liminal Drifter Bandcamp]
Liminal Drifter - Choir on Mars [Hidden Shoal/Liminal Drifter Bandcamp]
Dr Simon Order is the UK-born, Perth-based musician behind Liminal Drifter, with 5 years and 4 albums of melodic, blissful electronica under his belt. Connected continues the theme started on Troubled Mystic in 2015 - touchpoints would be Plaid, Boards of Canada, The Orb's ambient techno and the downtempo instrumental hip-hop of the '90s, although there's something recognizably his own about Order's basslines and melodies. It's a delight to have him back.

Listen again — ~207MB


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Sunday, 7th of June, 2020

Playlist 07.06.20 (7:14 pm)

Another week of protest, and another week also featuring Bandcamp Friday again - and this week many independent artists and labels have been passing on their earnings, including Bandcamp's largesse in waiving their fees - to organisations related to the Black Lives Matter movement, to bail funds in the US, and to Aboriginal justice organisations in Australia. As usual while I've bought lots, I haven't had enough time to take it all in, so most of this is stuff that's already been released or was coming out anyway.

LISTEN AGAIN because you can. Stream on demand from FBi Radio, podcast here.

Rrawun Maymuru w/ Nick Wales - Nyapillilingu; Spirit Lady [stream on SoundCloud - available on iTunes and possibly elsewhere]
Starting with an extraordinary collaboration between Yolngu songman Rrawun Maymuru and Sydney composer/electronic musician Nick Wales. This work sets a Songline from the Mangalili clan on Rrawun's paternal side with electronic production and orchestral arrangements. The spirit lady Nyapillilngu [pronounced Na-pil-lil-new] provides safe passage between the Earth and Milky Way. It's a beautiful work, created for Sydney Dance Company's Ocho.

Run The Jewels - Out Of Sight (Ft. 2 Chainz) [Run The Jewels]
Run The Jewels - Early (feat. BOOTS) [Run The Jewels]
Run The Jewels - Goonies Vs. ET [Run The Jewels]
Finally, four years after RTJ3, the fourth album from Killer Mike & EL-P's Run The Jewels came out this week. Slated for Friday, they decided to drop it early, because everybody needed a bit of good news maybe! It hits just as hard as previously - EL-P's production is impulsively danceable, and still hints a little at the industrial & experimental influences his work has often borne. And while Killer Mike's always been politically outspoken & eloquent, this is probably the most explicitly anti-racist and political, being their first created during the Trump presidency. I'm playing two highlights from my first couple of listens - I particularly love the chopped vocal "oh" that accentuates the downbeats in the breakdowns. In between, probably my favourite RTJ tune "Early" comes from their second album, and is both a brilliant production and a moving piece about police brutality.
As usual the new album is a pay-what-you-want download ahead of its physical release, with all profits going to the Mass Defense Program that provides legal aid to political activists, protesters and movements for social change.

zeroh - The Fade [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
zeroh - YOP [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
zeroh - MDNmoves [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
zeroh - Rites of Passage [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
zeroh - Metacine [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
The debut album proper from LA rapper/producer zeroh, BLQLYTE ("blacklight") dropped on Leaving Records a few weeks ago. It features contributions from Busdriver under the guise of his FR/BLK/PR ("free black press") project, and that's probably how I heard about it, although it's gotten some well deserved press lately anyway. The production is psychedelic, disorienting and brilliant, covering a bewildering amount of ground - especially when you go back to his re-released five-volume 0 EMISSIONS project from 2016. He's Edwin Liddie Jr, and he's released music as Blaqbird and was associated with LA's Low End Theory as an MC for many years - but he was never really foregrounded. This album should do something about that, even though he smudges and obfuscates everything throughout. It's pretty amazing.

C Trip A - Draco [Translation Loss/Bandcamp]
End Christian - Karaoke_So [Corpse Flower Records]
The Brazilian Gentleman - Fog Variation [Lazy Thinking/Bandcamp]
The Brazilian Gentleman - You're Boring [Lazy Thinking/Bandcamp]
C Trip A - Wave Lord [Translation Loss/Bandcamp]
And now for a series of releases gathered around Christian McKenna (aka Christian Alexander, of psych/post-metal band Hex Inverter and before that post-hardcore band Empty Flowers) and Alap Momin, best known as Oktopus from noise-hop pioneers dälek.
There's not much metal involved with any of these projects, truth be told. New duo C Trip A is a murky hip-hop collaboration with rapper Anthony Adams, with help from Momin and multi-instrumentalist Colin Marston among others. Their debut Ozzy Nights is out later this month but is available now digitally on Bandcamp. Meanwhile, almost at the same time the second album from McKenna, Momin et al's The Brazilian Gentleman has dropped, co-released by Sydney's own Lazy Thinking. L & L is a tribute to, and featuring members of, the late-period shoegaze band All Natural Lemon & Lime Flavors - and among the experimental electronics and auto-tuned vocals there are some jangly guitars! It's all very weird stuff that I find fascinating and addictive.

Ash Koosha - Nutshell [Ash Koosha Bandcamp]
While London-based Iranian artist Ash Koosha continues to explore the possibilities of the virtual artist, he's also putting out random tracks & mixes all the time. This one is described as "2020inanutshell" on Bandcamp, and even though it's only a couple of weeks old, it already seems very premature to try and summarise this year anytime before it's over! But it's as intense and furious as you'd expect.

Hadi Bastani - interference [Flaming Pines]
Hadi Bastani - ecbatan (excerpt) [Flaming Pines]
Also an Iranian ex-pat, Hadi Bastani is a sound-artist and anthropologist at the Queen's University Belfast. Bastani deals in synthesised electronic sounds, field recordings, voices and "recycled sounds" sourced both in Tehran and more recently in Belfast. It's music that has seen him forge connections with musicians in his homeland through his research, having found his way to Belfast as a refugee over 10 years ago. Bastani expertly creates a fine balance here between the austerity of pure electronics and the warmth of human creation.

Kcin - Freedom Capital Exchange [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Kcin - New England [Hospital Hill/Bandcamp]
Kcin - Well it's their Fault for Bringing their Kids Into a Battle [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Nick Meredith's Kcin is a frequent visitor to these playlists - well, he has insisted on releasing a plethora of music these last few months! Here's something new and solo, and it's apparently not the debut album proper. Bushmaster is instead billed as a mixtape - an interlinked album-length collection of his typical processed live percussion, overdriven synths and, here, a collection of intercepted military transmissions. At a time when heavily militarised policing around the world is coming under increased scrutiny (in some circles at least), these sampled communications can be quite chilling - e.g. "Well it's their Fault for Bringing their Kids Into a Battle". There's some furiously high-speed rhythms in here too - it's a highly individual Australian take on industrial electronics, just how we like it.

Machinefabriek & Anne Bakker - Voorwaarts [Where To Now? Records/Machinefabriek Bandcamp/Anne Bakker Bandcamp]
Anne Bakker - Stars in her Eyes [Anne Bakker Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek & Anne Bakker - Sirene [Where To Now? Records/Machinefabriek Bandcamp/Anne Bakker Bandcamp]
Rutger Zuydervelt returns with yet another Machinefabriek album for 2020, here working with longtime collaborator Anne Bakker on violin, viola & vocals. Bakker's improvisations form the building material for a series of electro-acoustic works, some pulsingly rhythmic & eerie, some abstract, some opulent. It's some of their best work. Bakker is a very versatile musician, playing with folk groups, with neoclassical pianist/singer Agnes Obel, Iron Maiden's Blaze Bayley and others. I only recently discovered her solo album Vox/Viola which showcases her unadorned playing & singing with wonderful folk-inspired songs.

Mabe Fratti - Aire (with Gibrana Cervantes) [Tin Angel Records]
We only just heard from Mexico-based Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti a few weeks ago, and now she has a new song coming out next week. A piece originally created by Fratti when she first arrived in Mexico, it would be a harrowing dirge with Fratti's sawing cello and Gibrana Cervantes's violin, but for the sorrowful, high vocals which elevate it to another place.

Sumn Conduit - TRACK (excerpt) [Sumn Conduit Bandcamp]
Finishing with an excerpt from the debut release from Sydney duo Sumn Conduit, formed by Indigenous Australian vocal improviser Sonya Holowell and Sydney composer, saxophonist and modular synthesist Ben Carey. TRACK is a nearly-hour-long recorded live at Carriageworks late last year. It demonstrates their impressive ability to merge extended vocal techniques with synthesised drones & noises. It's a sustained tour de force, from which I've played an excerpt that tries to showcase both musicians' virtuoso technique and their merging together as an ensemble.

Listen again — ~202MB


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