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, 30th of May, 2021

Playlist 30.05.21 (7:32 pm)

Journey through jazz, postrock, shoegaze-metal, ambient pop, soundtrack work, experimental electronics and jungle tonight...

Come, ignore all genre constraints and LISTEN AGAIN with me... Stream on demand with FBi, podcast here.

jaimie branch - theme nothing [International Anthem]
jaimie branch - waltzer [International Anthem]
I'm not always that excited about the prospect of live albums - music perfected in the studio then performed imperfectly and recorded in uncontrolled circumstances with annoying crowd noise. But sometimes live albums are the perfect distillation of a band at that point in time - like Talking Heads' Stop Making Sense or NoMeansNo's Live + Cuddly. Of course jazz is an artform that's all about the alchemy of musicians playing together, and that alchemy produced the astounding performance by Chicago trumpeter jaimie branch's ensemble, recorded in Switzerland before the last US election, and immortalised on FLY or DIE LIVE. Both FLY or DIE albums are amazing, creative works, with compositions and unchained trumpet from the still young Colombian-American musician. For the live album, Branch is joined by the core group who recorded the second album - cellist Lester St. Louis, bassist Jason Ajemian and drummer Chad Taylor, and here I've played two tracks from the first album reworked with this tight lineup. There's also a 14-minute rendition of the great "Prayer For Amerikkka Pt 1 & 2" which you'll have to check out for yourself.

Fly Pan Am - Scanner [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Le Fly Pan Am - Univoque / Équivoque [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Fly Pan Am - Distance Dealer [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Fly Pan Am - Grid Wall [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Formed in 1996, Montréal band (Le) Fly Pan Am have been a key part of that city's postrock & experimental scene since the beginning - their first release was a split 7" with Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Initially their sound had more to do with the jazz-punk hybrids of Tortoise than the expansive orchestrations of Godspeed, and they gradually incorporated more electronics at the same time as an interest in the blast beats & occasional screamy vocals of black metal - a really anything goes aesthetic. From 2004 until 2019 the band took a rather long hiatus, in which the members pursued other projects, but it was great to have them back on 2019's C'est ça (see the second-last track tonight). Early in 2020, as Sydney Festival's programmed performances went ahead while the world slowly understood the breadth of the pandemic approaching us, Canadian dance company Animals of Distinction brought their new project Frontera to Carriageworks - and it wasn't until I was just about to go and see it that I realised that I was getting to see Fly Pan Am performing live for the first time! Albeit behind a screen for most of the show. It was quite something to hear this entire new album of theirs with an evocative piece of physical performance, and it works really well as their new album too.

Nadja - Fruiting Bodies [Southern Lord/Daymare (buy)/Bandcamp]
Nadja - Ketene [Southern Lord/Daymare (buy)]
Fly Pan Am's flirting with metal is reflected the other way in a lot of metal bands from the last couple of decades. You couldn't call fellow Canadians Nadja post-metal, but postrock is nevertheless present in their doomy shoegaze sound (doomgaze?... or dream sludge?), and for their latest album Luminous Rot the married couple of Aidan Baker and Leah Buckareff handed over the recordings to someone else for the first time to mix - and it's none other than David Pajo, a key figure in the Chicago postrock scene, original member of Tortoise, and Slint before that. Pajo has done a phenomenal job, keeping the grinding intensity of Baker's guitar and Buckareff's bass, but revealing lamina of detail to the sound throughout, and allowing the vocals, hissing and shimmering, to peek through the miasma of sound a little more than usual. Of course James Plotkin's mastering helps too. I picked the CD up from Japanese label Daymare, licensed from Southern Lord, which of course has a bonus track, "Ketene", which we also heard tonight.

Penelope Trappes - Lucky Eleven [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Penelope Trappes - Low [Optimo Music/Bandcamp]
Penelope Trappes - Kismet [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Penelope Trappes - Forest [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Originally from Australia, Penelope Trappes made her way to New York with a band, before landing in London, where she's been based with her small family for some time now, during which she has released three Penelope albums as well as some more ambient & experimental EPs and a great remix album. Penelope Three completes her quasi-self-titled trilogy with the familiar tropes of her solo work: ambient/dream pop with ethereal vocals, piano and experimental electronic production. She writes as a mother and a woman in her 40s - an age at which women in the music industry too often find themselves discarded and ignored. This third album takes the themes of birth and rebirth, grief and loss, centred on the female body, and focuses on healing and love. It's beautiful work full of darkness and light, from a highly creative artist.

Andrée Greenwell - Fire (instro redux) [Andrée Greenwell Bandcamp]
Andrée Greenwell - Piano Tendrils [Andrée Greenwell Bandcamp]
Andrée Greenwell - Secret Texture [Andrée Greenwell Bandcamp]
Sydney composer Andrée Greenwell has always been hard to pigeonhole. Even when writing in an ostensibly classical context, she draws on postpunk, electronic, industrial, folk and more. While she has created her own works, including in 2018 a powerful examination of gendered violence called Listen To Me, she's also a prolific composer for film and TV, and from that repertoire is drawn her new album Cinéaste Vol. 1. I'm particularly drawn to the pieces with electronic elements - crunchy & fluttery beats and delicate processing, mixed in with chamber strings and piano. Well worth exploring.

Daniele Sciolla - Arp [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
Daniele Sciolla - Poly [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
Italian artist Daniele Sciolla has a background in mathematics as well as conservatorium training in music, which all sounds very familiar to me... His latest work is an exploration of his love of classic synths - here he's taken a collection of analogue synths, once seen as experimental instruments and now the backbone of a lot of pop & dance music, and each track on his EP Spin of Synth takes one such instrument and triggers scattered, glitchy timbral explorations from them. It's more vaporwave than synthwave.

MoMA Ready - Simple As A Song Ft. Mina Thomas & Yunie Mojica [HAUS of ALTR]
MoMA Ready - The Influence Of [HAUS of ALTR]
New York producer Wyatt D. Stevens, aka MoMA Ready or Gallery S, is a true lover of club culture on both sides of the Atlantic. He's the proprieter of HAUS of ALTR, on which he's released his latest Untitled album which, unlike some of his releases, refuses to stay pinned down to one particular genre, with house & techno mingling with a few choice jungle cuts. With vocals from Mina Thomas and jazzy, psychedelic saxophone from Yunie Mojica, "Simple As A Song" is a clear highlight, while "The Influence Of" is straight beat juggling bliss.

K-65 - In My Mind [SEAGRAVE]
Speaking of junglist beat juggling, UK's SEAGRAVE are back in the compilation game, curated again by "The Fissure Family" like their earlier compilation albums, but here released as a series of 12"s called Quarters. There's lots of jungle/drum'n'bass, and other breakbeaty rave styles and the like. Bristol's K-65 here gives us some classic early '90s jungle feels.

Small Town Twiin - Bark [Bigger Deer Recordings]
Small Town Twiin - The Trees That Held Up The Sky [Bigger Deer Recordings]
I can't tell you a lot about our last artist, Small Town Twiin (note the "ii"), because even the press release from Bigger Deer Recordings focuses only on expressions like "growing from adversity" and so on. There are field recordings weaved in here with sounds drawing from UK bass music, folktronica and ambient music. It's surprisingly compelling music, with a lovely attention to detail.

Listen again — ~211MB

Comments Off on Playlist 30.05.21

Sunday, 23rd of May, 2021

Playlist 23.05.21 (8:06 pm)

Strings at the forefront, and strings hinted at, electronics tattered & shiny tonight...

Come float through the cosmos with me... Stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

Happy Axe - One Morning (feat. Butternut Sweetheart) [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Emma Kelly's second album as Happy Axe, Maybe It'll Be Beautiful, is coming in July from Melbourne's Spirit Level, and we've now got a second single, the utterly gorgeous "One Morning", which features her friend Luke Moseley aka Butternut Sweetheart on drums, and also providing the very sweet vocal harmonies. Typically for Kelly, it's centred around her versatile violin playing and also lots of detailed electronics.

Sarah Neufeld - Tumble Down the Undecided [Paper Bag Records/One Little Independent/Bandcamp]
Sarah Neufeld - Hero Brother [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Colin Stetson and Sarah Neufeld - With the dark hug of time [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Sarah Neufeld - With Love and Blindness [One Little Independent/Bandcamp]
Earlier this year we were given a new album from Toronto postrock/post-classical legends Bell Orchestre, over a decade after their last. Formed from people associated with The Arcade Fire, Bell Orchestre features Sarah Neufeld (of both bands) on violin, so it was a nice surprise to find a new solo album from Neufeld coming out this year too. After a few releases on Montréal's great Constellation, Neufeld's previous solo album was released by Toronto's Paper Bag Records, and Detritus follows suit, along with One Little Independent in Europe. It's very much a continuation of what she's done since 2013's Hero Brother - solo amplified violin throwing off pastoral melodies and fluttering, see-sawing chords, with occasional vocals and drums & other instruments thrown in at times. While he doesn't appear here, back in 2015 Neufeld released a stunning album with her husband Colin Stetson, a true meeting of minds in which two very singular, technically accomplished musicians meld their styles together. I decided to revisit one track from that tonight as well.

Colleen - Gazing at Taurus - Santa Eulalia [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Colleen - blue sands [Leaf/Bandcamp]
Colleen - Hidden in the Current [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Cécile Schott aka Colleen is a truly chameleonic musician, who over the years has made purely sample-based music, an album from music boxes, extraordinary layered acoustic music featuring the viola da gamba, and more recently a series of albums from analogue synths, drum machines and echoes & delays. The Tunnel and the Clearing, just released on Thrill Jockey, comes 4 years after her last, and follows a period of readjustment after being knocked down by an illness and then locked down by, well, we all know... From very constrained materials - a Moog synth, a Yamaha Reface YC (basically a retro electric organ), some delays, a drum machine and a Roland RE-201 Space Echo, along with her gentle vocals, Schott constructs pieces of strangely emotive beauty. Drawing a line between this, the mystical acoustic visions of les ondes silencieuses, and her earlier work is not as hard as it may seem.

Isambard Khroustaliov - Lewdown Incantation [Not Applicable/Bandcamp]
In the mid-'90s cousins Ollie Bown and Sam Britton formed the drum'n'bass duo Icarus, releasing two immaculate Photek-tinged drum'n'bass albums and then melting into bizarrely broken-down forms over many years since, drawing on musique concrète, sound-art, folktronica, generative programming and more, while never quite losing the accelerated, syncopated pulse. Bown is now the laptopist in Sydney's Tangents (full disclosure: with me), and Britton plays in a number of jazz/electronic-fusing ensembles in London as well as releasing music under the pseudonym Isambard Khroustaliov. Britton has undertaken research at the venerable IRCAM in Paris, as well as STEIM in Holland. With these credentials, he crosses over between IDM, the dancefloor and the academy, but it's jazz and science (fiction) which fuel his latest album Transhuman Harmolodics. I can't pretend to understand much of the theory behind Ornette Coleman's "harmolodics", but it's a philosophy as much as a musical theory, and Britton sees it as harmonious with the philosophy of transhumanism, which seeks to transform humanity into a new evolutionary pathway by merging with technology. There's some otherworldly beauty in this work, and I wish it had a physical release, but I hope this long piece, featuring the sampled & transformed voice of his young son Kip, will tempt you to check the rest of the album out.

Seefeel - Spangle [Warp/Bandcamp]
Seefeel - Cut [Warp/Bandcamp]
Seefeel - Monastic [Warp/Bandcamp]
Scala - Naked [Touch/Bandcamp]
Seefeel - Dead Guitars [Warp]
This week sees Warp Records release a big, generous box set of works by the legendary Seefeel from 1994-96 - their EPs and album Succour on Warp, and the follow-up (Ch-Vox) originally released by Rephlex, collected on 4 CDs and 6 LPS. At the time, their signing to Warp was a little controversial as they were seen as a guitar band (quite amusing looking back from 2021), but it was clear right away that Seefeel were becoming a very "Warp" band, even before the marvellous Starethrough EP came out on Warp, featuring the otherworldly "Spangle", which many of us discovered on Warp's Artificial Intelligence II compilation the same year. Sarah Peacock's vocals, and the guitars and drums were all cut up, sampled and looped, primarily by Mark Clifford, constructing minimalist works which owed more to dub, hip-hop and techno than shoegaze or indie rock. The influence of Warp pioneers Aphex Twin and Autechre (the latter of whom swapped remixes with Seefeel around this time) is deeply felt, but Seefeel themselves were highly influential on the following generations of electronic and postrock musicians. It's a shame that the release of these boxsets is marred by some mastering issues. Bogglingly there's been a 2sec gap introduced between all tracks, not just on the CDs but also digital and even on the vinyl, which messes with the continuity between some tracks. And the wonderful dubby "Monastic", otherwise unreleased, has a tiny gap around 0:55 which apparently appears on all formats(!) - I managed to repair it with a matching bar a couple of phrases after this glitch, so you get to hear the "Peter Hollo edit" tonight!
The earliest incarnation of Seefeel featured the brilliant electronic producer Mark Van Hoen (aka Locust), and after Seefeel's run of '90s albums the members reconvened with Van Hoen with a new name, Scala, releasing three brilliant, overlooked albums on Touch and Too Pure. Peacock's vocals break out of the stuttering samplers more here, and the music is less minimal, owing more both to techno and to indie. And then in 2010 Seefeel released an EP and album back on Warp, with all the expected parts present and correct. One can only hope that another decade later there's more to come.

Jack Prest - Test Tone IV [Jack Prest Bandcamp]
Jack Prest - Test Tone VII [Jack Prest Bandcamp]
Ambient music can mean so many things, but whatever it is, Sydney composer, producer & musician Jack Prest has got it down pat with his Test Tones. A series of short tracks created with soft-focus generative video as an iPhone app, a selection of these pieces are now available on cassette and digital from Prest's Bandcamp. This is mostly gentle music that works just beyond perception, but as with the best ambient, it's mind-altering, and not always calming. The crescendoing growls and jolts of "Test Tone VII" in particular point at some interesting stuff going on below the surface here.

de portables - Uuflaki Space Station (Life is Tidal at USS) [Gazer Tapes/de portables Bandcamp]
Belgium's de portables have a pranksterish reputation in their home country - they started as a perfectly-pitched postrock band, but they've released oddball pop, krautrock and electronic experiments (one of their members is Jürgen De Blonde, aka glitch maestro Köhn). During lockdown, de portables have been steadily releasing a series of cassette (and digital) EPs, the Silver Series, through Belgian label Gazer Tapes and on their own Bandcamp. Each sports a "Version/Virgin" punning title and the version theme is carried through with dub-influence krautrock jams - but with enough time in the studio there's plenty of accomplished writing and producing coming through. I couldn't quite play the entirety of the near-15-minute epic "Uuflaki Space Station (Life is Tidal at USS)", but I got enough in for you to get the picture I think. A head-nodding good time, yes?

Listen again — ~196MB

Comments Off on Playlist 23.05.21

Sunday, 16th of May, 2021

Playlist 16.05.21 (7:44 pm)

Some great works of neo-classical fusion tonight, some of which are Australian-related, as well as far-out electronics, contemporary jazz remixes, and more.

LISTEN AGAIN - closely, mind! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Leider - Great Expectations [Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
Leider - The Weeping Wound [Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
Leider - Human Error (Tegh Version) [Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
A few weeks ago I played a single & remix from the debut album from Berlin-based quartet Leider, and now their album A Fog Like Liars Loving is released in full. It's the music & words of Rishin Singh, who studied music in Sydney and went through the improv & sound-art scene here before moving overseas. The music itself - minimalist, slow-moving, unsettling with its hints at microtonality - reflects the ensemble's unconventional makeup, with Singh on trombone, Derek Shirley on cello & percussion, Annie Gårlid on viola and Stine Sterne on flute. The two women also provide vocals, sung in an understated, unemotive manner. Singh's lyrics are allusive and cutting, even when quoting Charles Dickens. It's unusual and gratifying to find music so, well, unusual. I've found it gripping - and the Human Error Remixes are very well-chosen too, with Iran's Tegh (on a roll with remixes lately) inserting rumbling sub-bass and shattered beats into the glacial sound-world.

The Still - The Tortoise [Bronze Rat Records/Bandcamp]
The Still - Crystal Clear Fog [Bronze Rat Records/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based quartet The Still feature The Necks' Chris Abrahams on piano & organ, drummer Steve Heather, double bassist Derek Shirley and guitarist Rico Repotente. As well as The Necks themselves, and European minimal jazz/post-rock (another Abrahams associate, the Berlin-based New Zealand guitarist Dean Roberts comes to mind), the spectre of Talk Talk lies heavily over this music - extending even to the collaged birds on the album covers.

part timer - Catch all [Analogue Chat]
part timer - Canberra [Analogue Chat]
You will have heard me celebrating the return of Melbourne-based John McCaffrey's Part Timer last year & early this year, with a slew of beautiful EPs on his Bandcamp featuring delicate piano and even-more-delicate folktronic beats and treatments. Now we're treated to new album Reaching Ends, further refining those techniques, released through cassette label Analogue Chat. The label's conceit is that each cassette (and digital release) features a chat with the artist, and the 20 minute interview with McCaffrey is delightful - not just because there's a mention of yours truly somewhere in there!

Tawdry Otter - Albert Bedside [Adrien75 Bandcamp]
Adrien75 - The Rabbit Hole [Adrien75 Bandcamp]
Two acts which are the work of Adrien Capozzi, who's been making delightful IDM and glitch as Adrien75 for decades. Capozzi was also involved with Carpet Bomb with Doron Gura and Pablo Manzarek in the '90s and early '00s, who released some remarkable IDM/drill'n'bass/jazz hybrids including the untouchable Highways Over Gardens compilation. Adrien is now also one half of Dolphins of Venice with Adelaide's Tim Koch, but his solo music hasn't stopped, both the melodic, strange electronica of Tawdry Otter and the more glitchy, textural Adrien75 material.

KMRU - Jinja Encounters [Injazero Records/Bandcamp]
KMRU - 11 [Injazero Records/Bandcamp]
Nairobi sound-artist & beatmaker KMRU, aka Joseph Kamaru, released a lovely ambient album last year on Editions Mego, so it's quite surprising to find that Logue, a new collection of his self-released music pressed to vinyl by Injazero Records, features beats and burbling melodies among its glitches & drones. It's first class stuff that I'm super psyched to have brought to my attention.

Natalie Beridze - Be Airborn [Monika Enterprise/Bandcamp]
Natalie Beridze - Swing Low and Closer [Monika Enterprise/Bandcamp]
From Tbilisi, Georgia, Natalie Beridze (previously known as TBA) has been making electronic music for nearly 2 decades. This new album, Mapping Debris, sees her trawling through decades of sound debris from old hard drives like investigators following a plane crash, and creating a new sound from old work. There are pulsating minimal techno pieces, glitchy surging drones and disturbing cracked vocal fragments, artfully built into something deliberate yet chaotic.

John Wall & Alex Rodgers - v02 [ II ] [John Wall Bandcamp]
John Wall - v02 [ IV ] [John Wall Bandcamp
It was a joy and also a slight terror to discover a few years ago that UK electronic musician John Wall had set up on Bandcamp. I'd been fascinated in his work for decades without knowing enough to work out where to step in - and now it was (almost) all there for the taking, if one could only find the time. Wall's music floats freely somewhere between cheeky plunderphonics (in his early work), highly abstracted sound design in a compositional language all his own, and more familiar glitch & noise. The more I've listened, though, the more I've found it quite approachable, at least to ears like ours, accustomed to deconstructed third-or-fourth generation experimental electronics. His latest missive is as good a place as any to dive in. v02 Variations [ I-IV ] is as referential a title as you've going to get, and tellingly lists A.G. Cook, Jennifer Walton and IKTS alongside experimentalists like Tom Mudd and Lee Fraser as sound sources. Once again poet Alex Rodgers appears with some abstract word painting on one track.

Domiziano Maselli - Lazzaro II [Opal Tapes]
Milan-based sound-artist Domiziano Maselli has just released his second album for Opal Tapes, Lazzaro, which takes bowed and plucked stringed instruments and sends them through the shredder alongside growling drones and occasional percussion, using Lazarus' story of resurrection as a dark allegory for contemporary nihilism. It's dark stuff, but not at all monotonous, and the acoustic sounds, lushly recorded although often harshly played, coexist very effectively with the intense electronics.

GoGo Penguin - Petit_a (Clark Remix) [Blue Note]
GoGo Penguin - F Maj Pixie (Squarepusher Remix) [Blue Note]
Manchester's GoGo Penguin are one of those modern jazz groups - your standard piano/bass/drums lineup - that draw inspiration from electronica, breakbeat, ambient music and so on in their glittering melodic playing. So the only surprise with GGP/RMX is that it took so long for them to release a remix album. There are lots of names of interest here - starting with Cornelius, there's Machinedrum, James Holden, Nathan Fake, Manchester's own 808 State and many more. Admittedly nothing unexpected or particularly adventurous, but it's good all the same. I chose two Warp staples anyway: the recently-heard Chris Clark with his organic crunchy beats, and Squarepusher pulling out his funk bass but not disappointing on the drill'n'bass front.

Shoeb Ahmad - flaw, featured (Dijit remix) [Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
To my shame, I totally missed Shoeb Ahmad's remix album realignment when it came out a couple of months back. I must have been sent it well ahead and then not realised when it was released - it's super cool, with contributors both local and international, and I've chosen the warped drill'n'bass of Cairo's Dijit tonight.

Sydney jazz bassist Jacques Emery has many different identities in his hard case, and among them lately a scuzzy techno/house entity called AIR GOD has been surfacing with DJ sets. He now appears with a split release on Deep Scan with the intentionally-mysterious ØNNΔ, both contributing two tracks of dirty, fizzling 4/4 beats.

Listen again — ~198MB

Comments Off on Playlist 16.05.21

Sunday, 9th of May, 2021

Playlist 09.05.21 (11:25 pm)

The pleasure is in the detail tonight, with filigree sounds sourced from percussion, glitches, field recordings and accelerated drum breaks in contexts as wide as sound-art, contemporary classical, noise, underground hip-hop and dance music.

LISTEN AGAIN to the devil in the details... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Snawklor - Misplaced Colour [Snawklor Bandcamp]
Snawklor - Confluences [self-released CD-R with screenprint, now available at Bandcamp]
Snawklor - day of your enemies [another self-released CD-R with screenprint, now available at Bandcamp]
Snawklor - Language Laid Bare [Snawklor Bandcamp]
It's an absolute joy to find Dylan Martorell and Nathan Gray together again as Snawklor after a (recorded) absence of over 10 years! They've both been members of some Melbourne noise monsters over the years, such as Hi-God People, and Martorell's incredible art can also be seen here. But Snawklor is a very special thing - a delicate mixture of tuned & untuned percussion with occasional miniature injections of acoustic instruments such as guitar and violin, all reconstructed electronically. There's always a sense of time & space - even though a lot of their works are not long, deep listening is nevertheless rewarding. Their new EP Perfumed Ground is released as a silk-screened print and digital audio, and will be followed by another release soon - can't wait.

Takuma Watanabe - Last Afternoon [Constructive/Bandcamp]
Takuma Watanabe - Particle [Inpairtment]
Takuma Watanabe - Tactile [Constructive/Bandcamp]
Last Afternoon is the gorgeous new album from film composer and David Sylvian associate Takuma Watanabe, featuring a string ensemble, tech wizardry from Akira Rabelais and the great avant-garde singer Joan La Barbara (on a track not featured tonight mind you). I discovered Watanabe via a release on Japanese label Inpairtment last year, featuring contributions from Rabelais and also Félicia Atkinson, all of which should give you a flavour of what you'll find here: delicate neo-classical composition of a high order (nothing derivative here!), shot through with the hiss & crackle of analogue & digital detritus.

Wouter van Veldhoven - Wandelliedje [dauw]
Wouter van Veldhoven - Ons dorp [Morc records]
Wouter van Veldhoven - (un)Finished contraptions 1 (Peter Broderick rework) [dauw]
I've been a follower of the unique Dutch mechanical instrument-maker Wouter van Veldhoven for some time, having discovered him via Machinefabriek. His creaking creations of electro-mechanical homemade instruments and tapes "perform" rickety works which somehow produce astonishing beauty. For the unintiated, the Dauw label have compiled what's now a second collection of archival works from van Veldhoven: Verzamelen II features tracks from a handful of his releases, along with a few unreleased gems such as the first track tonight, and a couple of reworkings, to which end Peter Broderick adds swishing violin in his usual sensitive manner.

Dan Powell - Emerging from the valley into a rainshower [Crónica/Bandcamp]
Sound-artist Dan Powell frequently visits the Old Chapel Farm in Wales, whose inhabitants try to live as close to the land as possible, living together, growing food, practising ancient crafts... Powell decided to create a work based on these experiences, Four Walks at Old Chapel - but it's far more than field recordings of walks in a landscape. There are sounds created with Powell's daughter from objects around the site, including an old abandoned piano, all of which are reconstructed into four electro-acoustic works.

He Can Jog - Each Band Of The Telephone Wire [JMY Music]
Francisco Meirino - Synth Etude 141019 [JMY Music]
Out for this week's Bandcamp Friday was Perception, a compilation from Milwaukee label JMY Music featuring a slew of noise & sound-artists. We heard the two opening tracks tonight: Minnesota musician and programmer Erik Schoster aka He Can Jog combines folky acoustic instruments with highly abstracted electronics as ever, and is followed by the the drawn-out tones and shuddering noise of Lucerne-based Spanish musician Francisco Meirino.

Ashtray Navigations - Fancy Water [Memoirs of an Aesthete]
Ashtray Navigations - Lost Down Newspaper Tube [Memoirs of an Aesthete]
It can be hard to keep up with the prolific work of Phil Todd & collaborators' Ashtray Navigations, but it's always worth checking in every so often, and I've been catching up of late because there's so much quality stuff despite the density. Call it psych, call it noise, there can be distorted guitar workouts, but also synthscapes and unidentifiable amplified noises. Tonight's tracks come from an album only released in April: Water Hole Or It's Better To Be Clean Than Fancy, which is some of my favourite AN stuff for a while, and it seems to be all Phil Todd.

Margot Padilla & Khaki Blazer - Good Boy (proud) [Hausu Mountain/Deathbomb Arc]
White Boy Scream & Fire-Toolz - Air Friar [Hausu Mountain/Deathbomb Arc]
Next up, an incredible collaborative project between two forward-looking labels, with all profits to the Last Prisoner Project. Arc Mountain is the creatively-named compilation of artists from avant-garde hip-hop/noise label Deathbomb Arc (home to some of the earliest Clipping. material) and the IDM/experimental electronic label Hausu Mountain (home to the earliest Eartheater releases among other things). There are so many gems here - each track featuring an artist (or more) from each label, with so much simpatico it's seriously one combined aesthetic throughout. Tonight we have a demented show tune from Margot Padilla and Khaki Blazer, and something beautiful from avant-garde opera-trained singer White Boy Scream and a somewhat subdued Fire-Toolz.

Ziúr - Fringe Casual [PAN/Bandcamp]
Ziúr - Rituals Of Passage [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Ziúr - Alive, Unless? [PAN/Bandcamp]
When I first heard Berlin's Ziúr on her Planet µ debut in 2017, she was clearly at the forefront of the deconstructed club sounds of the recent zeitgeist. Her second album on Planet µ took her sound into a more polished pop territory, brilliant but not so much my thing, but Antifate, just released on PAN, manages to combine these two tendencies into something quite fantastic. She has created something with clattering beats & bass but also a lot of delicacy, aided at times by Subtext Recordings' James Ginzburg.

Barker - Polytely [Ostgut Ton/Bandcamp]
Sam Barker has formed a surprising set of works for quinessential Berlin club label Ostgut Ton over the last few years, building recognizable club music without kick drums or generally any beats at all. His latest 12", BARKER002, links back to 2019's BARKER001 with a set of tracks which stray at times away from the beatless template, while retaining the corruscating movement of his melodic synths. It's genre-agnostic, but flows quite nicely into the jungle-techno following.

Healion - About Breathing (Ludwig AF Remix) [naff recordings]
Healion - Gathering [naff recordings]
I don't know who Healion is, but their debut EP In Light, It Undoes Nothing... released by Canada's NAFF Recordings is a smooth & beautiful ride through jungle & bass techno stylings. Entirely in keeping with the rest of the EP is a remix of the title track by Frankfurt's Ludwig AF, with skittering programmed beats.

Social State - Moonbeam [Social State Bandcamp]
Social State - Find The Others [Social State Bandcamp]
And finally, the new album Sacrosanct from London's Social State has been a long time coming, and includes tracks that have snuck out over a few years on Mr Mitch's Gobstopper Records and elsewhere. It's a melange of UK hardcore-continuum styles, including some jungle tracks and some grime, and some stretched-out hip-hop. It's a delightfully dark trip.

Listen again — ~204MB

Comments Off on Playlist 09.05.21

Monday, 3rd of May, 2021

Playlist 02.05.21 (12:46 am)

A rollercoaster through filmic post-classical, avant-garde strings & percussion, sound-art, junglist breakbeats and generative programming to highly emotive post-metal.

LISTEN AGAIN for all the thrills... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Clark - Lambent Rag [Deutsche Grammophon/Clark Store/Bandcamp]
Clark - Shut You Down [Deutsche Grammophon/Clark Store/Bandcamp]
Clark - Emissary [Deutsche Grammophon/Clark Store/Bandcamp]
I remember 20 years ago when Chris Clark was a precocious young IDM producer with his first records on Warp... He seemed to have a good command of the emotive backbone under the flashy beat programming, in keeping with the previous generation like Aphex Twin, µ-Ziq, Boards of Canada et al. A few years later, the Body Riddle album was the first step into something that felt truly new - organic-feeling crunchy beats and sounds, clearly still electronica, clearly referencing rave tropes, but also postrock, jazz and a lot more. Since then he's careened easily between dancefloor and campfire and everywhere in between, and somewhere in the last 5 years added soundtrack work as a new string to his bow - replete with piano and orchestra. So I assumed that this new album, Playground In A Lake, released by eminent classical institution Deutsche Grammophon, was another soundtrack - but it's something different. Starting with the solo cello of Oliver Coates, featuring muted piano, orchestral passages, choral and solo classical voices, it doesn't throw out the electronics - with Ben Frost-like surging bass, processed vocals and occasional rhythm programming. And it's a narrative of sorts - a tale of lost youth and innocence, with the submerged children's playground standing in for our loss of innocence as a species in the face of accelerating climate change. Weighty subject matter, and the music matches it with darkness and gentle sadness, give or take the sweet hopefulness of "Lambent Rag". All in all an excellent entry into Clark's oeuvre.

The Selva + Machinefabriek - Mabartrama [Shhpuma/Bandcamp]
The Selva + Machinefabriek - Tramabarba [Shhpuma/Bandcamp]
Made up of Ricardo Jacinto, cello, Gonçalo Almeida, double bass and Nuno Morão on drums, The Selva (jungle in Portuguese) coax surprising sounds from their surprising combination - the strings at times as percussive as the drums, but at times sounding like ancient folk or proto-classical music. After some releases on Portuguese avant-jazz label Clean Feed, their new album on Shhpuma, Barbatrama finds them working with Dutch sound-artist Machinefabriek, a familiar face around these parts, who very subtly re-arranges their acoustic improvisations - at times seemingly hardly there, at other times stretching or collapsing the sounds, or editing them into off-kilter rhythms. This all amounts to something spookily beautiful.

BirdWorld - Svífa [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
BirdWorld + Diana Syrse - Scintillant [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
BirdWorld + Fran + Flora - After Rain [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
The London/Oslo duo BirdWorld, made up of Gregor Riddell on cello & electronics, and Adam Teixeira on drums & percussion, beguiled us in late 2019 with their debut album UNDA, in which field recordings, found sounds and processing met folk, jazz and classical-derived playign on the cello and drums. Generally their tracks do not line up with expectations around musical structures, and this makes for fascinating results on the newly released UNDA Reworks, which as you may imagine is more than just a remix album. There are re-sampled beat tracks, but also approaches like Mexican singer/composer Diana Syrse, who overlays her voice on the original track to create her own beautiful song, whereas experimental klezmer/gypsy duo Fran + Flora (made up of cellist Francesca Ter-Berg and violinist Flora Curzon) concentrate on drawing the original acoustic sounds through multiple effects - reversing, pitch-shifting and granulating the music into a scintillating abstract canvas.

Emily Scott - The Garden [Blackford Hill/Bandcamp]
Kate Carr - The Owls Were Calling That Dark, Dark Night [Blackford Hill/Bandcamp]
Blackford Hill is a UK-based label and publishing house whose music encompasses electronic music, field recordings, post-classical, folk and more. Their debut physical compilation Transmissions / Volume One covers all of that ground over 2CDs, along with a book of photos and essays. It's fair to say that a sense of place and a kind of ritual meditativeness is found across much of the music. Presumably working with the Fell Down string trio, Glasgow singer & double bassist Emily Scott opens the compilation with a sumptuous folk song, which features some delicious harmonic trickiness, sliding between major and minor chords, with a beautiful flattened 5th on the dominant (so, now you know!), while ex-pat Aussie Kate Carr features twice, with her chiming guitar sitting under crackling field recordings. There's a lot to discover in these two discs.

Nick Wales - Wind Variation [Music Company/Bandcamp]
Michelle Nguyen - Vultyre [Music Company/Bandcamp]
Coming out at the end of the month is the third volume in the Vector Fields compilation series from Melbourne's Music Company, which starts with a lot of gentle neoclassical music before slowly turning to some quite experimental electronic work. Sydney violist and composer Nick Wales contributes a beautiful piece of glitchy drone, while Melbourne's Michelle Nguyen (who recently appeared on this show via New Weird Australia as Noom) has one of the most abstract pieces of sound design.

Munsha - 21 Days [Osci Edizioni]
Eraldo Bernocchi - At The Edge Of Daylight [Osci Edizioni]
New Italian label Osci Edizioni enters the fray with their compilation Boarding Songs, an auspicious debut release featuring many greats from the Italian experimental scene such as Stefano Pilia, Claudio Rochcetti, Fabio Orsi, Valerio Cosi (working with Swiss cellist Martina Bertoni), Gianluca Becuzzi, Retina.it and many more. There's drone and glich here - including a work with piano snippets and drones from Italian cellist/electronic musician Daniela Lunelli aka Munsha - but elsewhere venerable dub/industrial/ambient maestro Eraldo Bernocchi contributes a piece of dubby techno, as is his wont, and from further afield there are quiet contributions from Ian Hawgood and René Margraff among others.

NERVE - Sand Heist (WGR Version) [Winter Garden Records/Bandcamp]
Melbourne's NERVE continues his occasional releases of highly strung industrial techno, and as often is the case, it blends almost seamlessly into drum'n'bass & jungle...

Happa - Digital Recall [PT/5/Bandcamp]
UK's half Persian prince (and), Happa, has released the second in his Explorations in Music for Dancing, and this one is firmly looking at jungle & drum'n'bass, whether deconstructing it on "No Longer" or distributing fiery breaks and thundering subs on the other two tracks. I'd be happy to hear more of this from Happa!

Etch - Tyrant [Sneaker Social Club]
Brighton boy Etch has long let his jungle freak flag fly. Recent releases have seen him at slower breakbeat tempos and in other modes, so it's nice that the Anachronism EP for Sneaker Social Club brings back the early '90s junglism, dark and sparse.

Sun People - Dark Days ft Yorobi [Exit Records/Bandcamp]
Austrian producer Simon/off aka Sun People is known for broken beats mixed with juke and UK hardcore continuum styles, and his new record for Exit Records is suitably junglist. One of a few highlights is a collaboration with Yorobi, aka Dutch graphic designer Josje Bijl, who is also a jungle/drum'n'bass DJ and producer.

Ben Peers - Variation Seven [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
Ben Peers - Reprising [Bandcamp]
Ben Peers - Out [Bandcamp]
We last heard algorithmic producer Ben Peers with an EP on Elli Records earlier this year; now he's back on his own Bandcamp with In Succession, which takes a similar approach to his earlier Elli Records release Eight Variations, in which a selection of timbres, melodic and rhythmic elements are mutated over a number of tracks - and the 7th Variation from Eight Variations segued quite handily out of our drum'n'bass selections tonight. On In Succession the constituent elements are recycled both as jittery IDM pieces and peaceful textural ambient, always very listenable.

anrimeal - Hello And A Half (feat. Butterfly Child) [Crossness Records/Bandcamp]
I only just discovered the work of Ana Rita de Melo Alves aka anrimeal a few weeks ago via Objects Forever's Object Ten compilation. From there I found her debut album Could Divine, released last year, and only a couple of weeks later we're treated to a strange remix album that's not a remix album. Some artists have indeed remixed anrimeal's originals, but (as with Butterfly Child tonight) their treatments are often reworked back into hybrid pieces by Alves, and on a number of tracks spoken word segments provide a hidden history of the recordings. It's intimate and strange, and as with the original album switches joyfully from delicate folk to drone to harsh digital edits.

Big | Brave - Wited. Still And All... [Southern Lord/Bandcamp]
Big | Brave - Half Breed [Southern Lord/Bandcamp]
In some ways the only reason Montréal's Big | Brave get classed as metal is because they're released on Southern Lord. The postrock of local hero Efrim Menuck's Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt Zion looms large, as does the math rock of guitarist Mathieu Ball's past, but these elements along with the thunderous drums (now provided by Tasy Hudson) support an intensity when combined with Robin Wattie's raw, emotive vocals that's every bit the force of nature that, say, the Southern Lord's Sunn O))) generate through other means. Big | Brave's latest, Vital, benefits also from the sonic metallurgy of Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets, producing a searingly focused sound, even on the droney waves of "Wited. Still And All..." - but "Half Breed" is the album's core, featuring Big | Brave's signature single hits on guitar & drums, with lyrics drawn from an essay on being mixed race by artist Alexander Cree, allowing Wattie to express herself openly through someone else's words. It's incredibly powerful.

Listen again — ~199MB

Comments Off on Playlist 02.05.21

Check the sidebar for archive links!

36 queries. 0.108 seconds. Powered by WordPress |