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Utility Fog

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Sunday, 28th of February, 2021

Playlist 28.02.21 (9:40 pm)

Dark, heavy, rhythmic is the flavour of the day tonight - not necessarily all three at the same time, but that's mostly where we're at.

LISTEN AGAIN to the river of dread... Stream on demand from FBi or podcast here.

Senyawa - Menuju Muara [a whole host of labels]
Senyawa - Alkisah II [a whole host of labels]
Senyawa - Menuju Muara (Zaliva-D Remix) [MOUHOI/Qiii Snacks/WV Sorcerer Productions]
Senyawa - Alkisah II (Jad Atoui Remix) [Annihaya/Ruptured]
Senyawa - Kabau (1800s Internet Remix) [Drowned By Locals]
Indonesian duo Senyawa's new album Alkisah comes with the motto "DECENTRALIZATION SHOULD BE THE FUTURE". The album has just been released across the whole world with the collaboration of something like 44 different labels - including among those I didn't end up playing tonight, Melbourne's Silent Army Records and Bristol's Avon Terror Corps. Many of the editions come with locally-produced remixes, some are released in cassette, vinyl or CD editions, some are digital-only. The album proper is phenomenal. Rully Shabara's vocals are imposing and thrilling, and Wukir Suryadi's homemade instruments and noise-makers produce a fantastic doomy racket - all of which lends plenty of stirring material for people across the globe to get their teeth into. "Once Upon A Time" is the rough translation, a story of impending doom and what comes next... Part of what comes next is this decentralized, democratic distribution system Senyawa have devised, with the enthusiasm of creatives all round the world. There's even collaboration at the release level - the "CN Edition" is released by three labels in conjunction: on cassette from Hong Kong's MOUHOI, digitally through Qiii Snacks, and vinyl plus remix CD through WV Sorcerer Productions. Familiar & unfamiliar names from the Chinese electronic & noise scenes are here, and Zaliva-D keep surprisingly true to the original song's spirit while adding industrial techno momentum. The "Beirut Edition" meanwhile comes from two great experimental Lebanese labels - Annihaya & Ruptured - and is again consistenly excellent. Jad Atoui's remix is a kind of minimalist skittery idm piece. And not far away in Ammar, Jordan, is Drowned By Locals, whose "DBL Edition" brings artists from Jordan, Egypt and other nearby locales, here represented by 1800s Internet - both these editions draw interesting comparisons between Senyawa's Indonesian traditions and these labels' regions.

dirty pictures - peeling off [Mille Plateaux]
dirty pictures - linn [Mille Plateaux]
Russian musician Lëps Dubasov has a background in punk/industrial bands. With Dirty Pictures he debuts with Segregation for the Mille Plateaux label. It starts off as if it's going to be doom or drone metal, but within a few tracks it turns out that's a slight misdirect, as we start to hear stretched-out piano, fluttery synth sequences and flittering acoustic sounds. There's surprising beauty in here among the "Ultrablackness" the label copy touts.

Tomoko Mukaiyama / Yannis Kyriakides - Ito Rumba [Tomoko/Yannis Kyriakides Bandcamp]
I've been a longtime fan of the Netherlands-based Greek Cypriot composer Yannis Kyriakides, whose contemporary composition for orchestras, choirs and smaller ensembles is often augmented and disturbed by electronic processsing and sampling. He also has a longtime duo with the brilliant guitarist Andy Moor of The Ex, with whom he co-runs the Unsounds label. This new work, La Mode, was conceived of and commissioned by the Dutch-Japanese pianist Tomoko Mukaiyama, originally as a multimedia performance. The work juxtaposes the closed world of classically-composed piano with the rhythmic dance music often found in fashion shows - the beats are particularly prominent in this track, with the piano mostly a source of distorted, splintered sound. I would have loved to fit in a longer piece with more piano, but you'll just have to check it out yourself.

Mouse On Mars - The Latent Space [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Mouse On Mars - Artificial Authentic [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
The new album from veteran German electronic duo Mouse On Mars (over 25 years now!) is not that surprising musically, with familiar squelchy MoM synths and melodies at times, along with lots of skittery beats. What makes it different is the theme of "Anarchic Artificial Intelligence" (the titular AAI), which turns up in various disembodied voices which are actually artificially generated, discussing the development of AIs into the future, as they learn conscience, empathy, and become "anarchic", in the sense of being unpredictable. It's a lot to take in - but it's also pretty fun music if you just want to enjoy it on that level.

Fire! - Each Millimeter of the Toad, Part 1 [Rune Grammofon]
Fire! - Each Millimeter of the Toad, Part 2 [Rune Grammofon]
Every album by the Swedish free jazz ensemble Fire! is different - although all have the core of Jonas Berthling's basslines, Andreas Werliin's steady and free-flowing drums, and the noisemaking of saxophonist Mats Gustafsson. On their latest, Defeat, the cathartic crescendos of the linked Fire! Orchestra are tamped down mostly, with only a couple of guest horn players used sparingly. Gustafsson often plays flute rather than sax - a revelation - as well as his electronic noisemakers. But the payoffs are plenty. "Free jazz" it may be, but Fire! is one of the most easily pleasing of Gustafsson's projects, and this is a wonderful addition to their catalogue.

Tim Koch - Estranger [Central Processing Unit]
Adelaide's greatest musical export (don't quote me on this) is IDM hero Tim Koch, still going strong after over 2 decades. Here he appears on the now somewhat legendary Sheffield label Central Processing Unit for an EP of beat-heavy tracks called Tourbillon, very different from the recent granular processing of Scordatura, but displaying his talent for melody and emotion amongst the drum machines.

Dale Cornish - Reconstruct (Blademir's Is This Masculinity? Remix) [Vanity Publishing]
Dale Cornish - Suomi (Grischa Lichtenberger 0520_12_dale q7_recs_-6db Remix) [Vanity Publishing]
Lifetime Croydon resident Dale Cornish released his electroclash/club/masculinity-recontextualising album Thug Ambient last year as another left turn in a strange career ranging from the art pop of No Bra to very abstract, conceptual electronic works. The direction of Thug Ambient is now taken further with the Thug Ambient Remixes - to be clear, this isn't ambient music, on the whole. It's experimental beat stuff. That said, Happa leads the pack with his more experimental alias Blademir, with roaring drones and chopped vocal outbursts - not likely to hear this on the dancefloor. Later, Grischa Lichtenberger takes things into jungle/drill'n'bass tempo, and again nobody's gonna dance to this, except in their heads maybe. My brain cells enjoyed it thoroughly!

ASC - Forever [Auxiliary]
ASC - Cautionary Tales [Samurai Music]
Lichtenberger leads us into some real jungle & drum'n'bass now. ASC continues his forays into complex junglist breaks with the Ideasthesia EP, featuring four flowing, high-intensity tracks. As a reminder, we heard something from last year's Isolated Systems, masterful beat-juggling and slamming basslines, pure dark energy.

Holsten - Projectiles [DROOGS]
For a while now the techno/drum'n'bass crossover label UVB-76 has taken to their DROOGS sub-label for more dancefloor-oriented drum'n'bass and jungle. Holsten has appeared a few times before, and now gets his own EP, four tracks of tough beats and head-nodding basslines. Timeless quality.

Subreachers - Rev [Ruff Cutz]
Finally on the drum'n'bass tip, Manchester label Ruff Cutz brings us breakbeat madness from Belgian bass producer Subreachers, who moved from dubstep origins into drum'n'bass, and really chops & shuffles these breaks, while keeping it held down in the sub-bass region.

Whisper Room - Lunokhod03 [Midira Records/Bandcamp]
Aidan Baker can be relied on to pump out releases every year, and whether it's the doomy slo-mo metal of Nadja, or any of his other ambient/flittery/postrock/electronic projects, it will all be high quality. I do have a particular fondness for Whisper Room though, with sound-artist Neil Wieirnik on bass and brilliant drummer Jakob Thiesen bringing a skittery krautrock energy. All three also contribute electronics, and on Lunokhod they're joined by Robin Buckley on additional percussion, and Scott Deathe on additional electronics. Despite the number of members, the sound remains surprisingly sparse, with Baker's drones and Thiesen's drumming (mixed quite far back) still the main focus. Dreamy half-focused whispery music.

Listen again — ~201MB

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