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Utility Fog


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Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.

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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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