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Utility Fog

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Sunday, 21st of February, 2021

Playlist 21.02.21 (11:11 pm)

Electronic craziness galore tonight - from broken-down club sounds, ambient glitch & idm through musique concrète and acousmatic music, and folktronica.

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266sx - UN VELETA [Ascetic House/Bandcamp]
266sx - chino burbank van nuys [Ascetic House/Bandcamp]
We're starting tonight with a few selections from the 2020 batch of releases from Ascetic House, the brilliant Tempe, AZ-based label which puts out batches of releases each year that can be anything from punk to techno to idm & glitch, always with a fantastic visual aesthetic and always forward-thinking musically. Their Twitter account, run by J.S. Aurelius, reinforces this aesthetic with on-point anti-fascist & anarchist politics. All the 2020 releases appeared on the 31st of December, strangely enough. So, first up tonight we have the work of the fairly anonymous Lázaro Común as 266sx. SOMOS TU ÚLTIMA ESPERANZA ("We are your last hope") is an all-out psychic attack of glitching ambience & beats, and even some cut-up guitar and vocals. The first track here, "UN VELETA" translates as "one candle", while the second, perhaps a clue to the artist's provenance, lists a few neighbourhoods of LA.

Baby Blue - Human [Ascetic House/Bandcamp]
Baby Blue - Tear Soaked Stone [Ascetic House/Bandcamp]
Also released on Ascetic House on December 31st is the very emotive, yet equally glitchy and electronic Death of Euphoria from Baby Blue. There's gorgeous glitched ambient textures here, and some bass & beats in the mix, along with disqueting sampled video game dialogue and more. Fantastic work from this Vancouver-based artist. More technoid, computer gamey material can be found on her own Bandcamp.

Free The Land - Permafrost Loss and bacillus anthracis outbreak in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug [Ascetic House/Bandcamp]
Our third selection from Ascetic House's end-of-2020 drop is from Free The Land, which may not seem familiar, but is in fact the work of Frederikke Hoffmeier (aka Puce Mary) and partner Jess Sanes, who have also recorded together as JH1.FS3. Under this name, their music veers a little away from their industrial/noise roots, with a suite of tracks about climate change in the far north, with field recordings and lush electronics, albeit still appropriately heavy and dark.

sunnk - weaving ritual [Mille Plateaux]
sunnk - a broken hand [Mille Plateaux]
Not too far off the sounds we've just heard is the album weaving ritual from sunnk, the third in a series of so-called "hyperglitch" releases from the new incarnation of Mille Plateaux. I'm always up for some stuttery granular electronics and what the original version of this label called "clicks & cuts", but what raises this album above the generic in this space is the piano that forms the basis of much of the chopped-up sound, and grounds the hyperactivity. There are some segments of real beauty amidst the madness.

Pierre-Luc Lecours - Impacts discrets (2014) [empreintes DIGITALes]
Now some new acousmatic, electro-acoustic work - not quite new, but not decades old either - from Montréal composer Pierre-Luc Lecours. A new album from the French label empreintes DIGITALes, dedicated to the electroacoustic, acousmatic and musique concrète forms, collects a series of four Éclats (shards) plus the work we heard tonight, "Impacts discrets", in which an artificial physical space is created, drawing from the composer's recording of snow & ice hitting the roofs of Old Quebec. In amongst the contemporary composition and academic techniques on this album appear sub-bass and percussive hits (shards?) that could be informed by the dance music strand of the last few decades of electronic music.

Bernard Parmegiani - Ponomatopées (1970) [Ina-GRM]
OK, but here's a little something from the great ground-breaking acousmatic composer Bernard Parmegiani, born in 1927. From 1970, "Ponomatopées" features garbled, cut-up liturgical voices, swathes of feedback and what sounds like a looped riff from a rock band. Forward-thinking electronic music indeed.

Patrick Charbonnier & Lionel Marchetti - Je suis gong [Lionel Marchetti Bandcamp]
And now something from the excellent contemporary composer of acousmatic & concrète works, Lionel Marchetti, along with fellow experimental musician Patrick Charbonnier. The two play a variety of instruments including clarinet, trombone, percussion, kora and other instruments from around the world, along with amplified found objects, synthesisers, tape machines and plenty of electronic treatments. The slow repetition and gradual build of this track is particularly compelling, but it's a great, immersive album.

Grasscut - Edges Of Night [Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
Grasscut - The Tin Man [Ninja Tune]
Grasscut - Reservoir [Lo Recordings]
Grasscut - Radar [Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
Grasscut - Coprolite Tip [Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
It's wonderful to have a new album from English duo Grasscut. Their first album 1 inch: ½ mile came out through Ninja Tune in 2010 and sits alongside Tunng's best as perfectly poised English folktronica. They've since released 3 albums on Lo Recordings, each with evocative songwriting drawing on an English sense of place, with gorgeous orchestrations and detailed but un-showy electronics. It's primarily the work of BAFTA-nominated, Emmy-winning composer Andrew Phillips, while manager Marcus O'Dair also plays double bass and synth. All description aside, Phillips creates melodies and harmonic progressions that tug at the soul, while pulling together arrangements that use technology to hold them outside of time.

Scanner, Allen Ginsberg - Elegy for Neal Cassady (feat. Allen Ginsberg) [Allen Ginsberg Estate]
Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore, Allen Ginsberg - Hum Bom! (feat. Allen Ginsberg) [Allen Ginsberg Estate]
Out now digitally, with CD & vinyl editions coming on June 4th, is Allen Ginsberg's The Fall of America - a 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute, which finds a very varied cast of musicians setting Ginsberg's important suite of poems to music. The collection is dedicated to the late Hal Willner, whose brilliant curation of eclectic tribute albums no doubt inspired the artistic selections here. There are songs written to some of the poems, by the likes of Andrew Bird, Devendra Banhardt and Angelique Kidjo, but a large proportion choose to use the wonderful recordings of Ginsberg reading his own poems, interpolating his very musical spoken word into their pieces, whether it's the Americana of Bill Frisell or the electronica of Howie B with Gavin Friday, or an ambient soundscape in their recent vein by Yo La Tengo... The collection opens with a beautiful minimalist work by Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner, and later there's angular jabs from ex-Sonic Youths Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore. Ginsberg's poems if nothing else show that in half a century America has only progressed further in its fall...

OnominO - Masza [echogene]
From new Melbourne label echogene comes a collection of improvisations for percussion (Niko Schäuble) and modular electronics (Jon Tarry). Starting with some quite sparse pieces, the album gradually works up to dense works like "Masza", with low-end drones and burbles, and motorik drumming.

still cloud - CIRCLES [still cloud Bandcamp]
The first release from new Melbourne trio still cloud is a meditative piece for percussion, synths and guitars called "CIRCLES". Guitarist & percussionist Seth Rees is a veteran of various postrock & indie acts as well as an experimental solo artist, and here he's joined by fellow musicians Clalla and Rosa. All sing and play various instruments - hopefully more to come soon!

Sebastian Field - Yellow Hearts [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
Taken from Provenance Records's Textures, which we also featured a couple of weeks ago, is a gorgeous piece from Canberra's Sebastian Field in which his voice and guitar are smeared into, yes, lovely textures. Seb is a lovely songwriter, but I'd gladly hear an album in this style.

part timer - time just spent staring at a monitor [part timer Bandcamp]
And finally, another EP of sad piano from Melbourne's John McCaffrey aka part timer, beautiful contemplative work with sad sampled strings adding extra colour. A lot of us can identify with the opening track, "time just spent staring at a monitor".

Listen again — ~199MB

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