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Utility Fog

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Sunday, 13th of June, 2021

Playlist 13.06.21 (10:30 pm)

Tonight was gearing up to be mostly jungle/drum'n'bass, but that's ended up about half the playlist, along with dub, electronic pop, electronic mutations from Iran & Baluchistan, and contemporary electronic & vocal composition...

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Aphir - Negative Space [Provenance/Bandcamp]
We start tonight with a new single from Becki Whitton's Aphir, her first release since last year's Republic of Paradise. This is perhaps more of a 3-minute pop song than the tracks on that fairly experimental album, but it's still dark and political, still dealing with the consequences of the pandemic and lockdowns. Here, Whitton takes aim at the structural inequalities which have only been exacerbated over the last 12+ months, as billionaires cement their power and the most needy are discarded.

Sote - Pipe Dreams Metempsychosis [30M Records/Bandcamp]
Ehsan Abdipour - Sorna Lorestan [30M Records/Bandcamp]
30M Records is a new label based in Hamburg but focused on experimental and contemporary music from Iran. Their second release is the excellent compilation This Is Tehran?, which answers its question through 10 tracks, ranging from solo kamancheh (a bowed instrument) to traditional instruments processed electronically, to classical composition, to trip-hop. It's fitting that the first track I play is from Ata Ebtekar aka Sote, who I've been a fan of for decades, and who's introduced the world to countless artists from Iran & the Persian diaspora through his Zabte Sote label. He contributes a modified version of a track from his Parallel Persia album. He's followed by traditional musician Ehsan Abdipour, with frantic melodies over percussion.

Hooshyar Khayam, Bamdad Afshar - RAZZ [30M Records/Bandcamp]
Hooshyar Khayam, Bamdad Afshar - Chār [30M Records/Bandcamp]
30M Records' first release came out last year. Musicians Hooshyar Khayam & Bamdad Afshar put together a special project called RAAZ in which they took traditional folk music from Baluchistan - between Iran, Pakistan & Afghanistan - and embedded it into various musical genres, from classical composition (with piano and string quartet) to glitchy, dubby hip-hop rhythms. It's inspired madness, fascinating and well done.

Mick Harris - Devonshire drive [Mick Harris Bandcamp]
Mick Harris - Ritec (recede v) [Bandcamp]
Mick Harris - Doors v 1 & 2 [Bandcamp]
The legendary Mick Harris is a hardworking musician from Birmingham who's had a huge impact on a number of musical scenes - starting with popularising, if not inventing, blast beats as an originator of grindcore as drummer in the original lineup of Napalm Death. His involvement with extreme metal didn't end there, but he soon became fascinated with samplers, looping and dub music, and formed Scorn with Nik Bullen, also ex-Napalm Death. Bullen left fairly early on, but Scorn continued to leave its mark with incredibly heavy, pared down industrial dub, and a strange sideways precursor to dubstep. Harris also made drum'n'bass as Quoit, among many other pseudonyms and collaborations. There's a new Scorn album just around the corner, but meanwhile he's revived another project, the HedNod sessions, to showcase pared-down dubby hip-hop. It's not that far from the Scorn material, but a little more casual, and a pleasure to listen to. He was broadcasting studio sessions on Twitter from last year, but I only just twigged to the Mick Harris Bandcamp, which now has HedNods Five to Eight, as well as a short but great Scorn radio/live session from the mid-'90s.

Skee Mask - Rio Dub [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Skee Mask - Testo BC Mashup [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Somewhat mysterious German producer Skee Mask now takes us from dub to jungle, on the German techno label Ilian Tape that likes mixing breakbeat & drum'n'bass/jungle feels into its sounds. Skee Mask is one of those contemporary producers whose productions nod towards jungle breaks while not generally quite breaking out of the techno world. It's a modern approach which shows nicely how dance music forms can evolve while acknowledging the past.

Andrea - AuxL [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Andrea - Drumzzy [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
I discovered the Turin-based Andrea only fairly recently too - another Ilian Tape mainstay who does that post-Shed breakbeat techno thing extremely well. His 2020 album Ritorno had some lovely jungle-inflected vibes too it, and new EP Sktch mostly sticks to slightly lower BPM, but still with the breakbeats, and some hints at junglist skitter in there.

Kelly Lee Owens - Jeanette (Haider Remix) [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
Here's a surprising one. The beautiful album from Kelly Lee Owens last year, Inner Song, has been treated to a series of remixes recently, now collected, and snuck in at the end is this remix from the Berlin-based, Sheffield-raised Haider, who's swapped the grime/bassline house for blissful jungle for this remix.

Eusebeia - You Reap What You Sow [RuptureLDN/Bandcamp]
From a little bit further south, Eusebeia contributes the latest 12" to RuptureLDN's roster. It's classic jungle/drum'n'bass, with windswept pads, sub bass and mashed breaks.

Thugwidow - Invisible Shell of Energy [Sneaker Social Club]
Welsh producer Thugwidow has been extremely prolific since his earliest releases in 2017, rolling out perfect jungle tunes with a conscious hauntological bent. His new Post Modern EP brings him into the Sneaker Social Club fold with four classic '90s style jungle tracks.

Yaporigami - Non-Acid Classic #2 [The Collection Artaud/Bandcamp]
Yaporigami - Rhythm Study V [The Collection Artaud/Bandcamp]
Yaporigami - Gogh Did His Thing. I Will Do My Thing. [The Collection Artaud/Bandcamp]
The Berlin-based Japanese musician & engineer Yu Miyashita has many aliases, but may be best known as Yaporigami, under which he's been released on World's End Girlfriend's Virgin Babylon label among others. His own The Collection Artaud releases limited 12"s and occasional albums, mostly I believe of his own pseudonyms (I recently learnt that &nbsp is indeed him too). His latest album is IDMMXXI-L, following the earlier IDMMXX, and finds him destroying breakbeats, glitching melodies and generally creating mayhem. The song titles are somewhere between hilarious & profound, and musically it's a great continuation of the glitchy, complex, hyperactive experimental electronic music that Japan has produced over the last 2-3 decades.

Yunzero & Body Clock - Spuzzem [Lillerne Tapes]
Yunzero - I Didn't Smudge So Easily [Lillerne Tapes]
Yunzero & Body Clock - Ogre [Lillerne Tapes]
Yunzero & Body Clock - Wall of Junk [Lillerne Tapes]
Melbourne's Jim Sellars has been making some of the most compelling & strange music to come out of this country for the last few years, under a few aliases - most recently Yunzero. I discovered him on the excellent .jpeg Artefacts label, but some much earlier work on Nice Music prefigures this sound. Abstract beats and textures are sampled seemingly willy-nilly from YouTube and who knows where, with a shimmery sheen - words like "Smudge" and "Blurry" turn up in titles, and his latest is a Wall of Junk. His last album and this have found a home at the legendary Chicago label Lillerne Tapes, and for the new one he's joined by fellow Melbournite Body Clock. The beats, abstract as they may be, are less present here, with wavering ambient soundscapes the main event. It's as magical as ever in any case.

Pamela Z - He Says Yes (from Echo) [Neuma Records/Bandcamp]
Pamela Z - Scared Song (composed by Meredith Monk) [The House Foundation]
Pamela Z - Site Four (from Occupy) [Neuma Records/Bandcamp]
Finishing up with the groundbreaking African-American composer & performer Pamela Z, whose new album A Secret Code is only the third album in her repertoire, in a career spanning over 3 decades. Her works have appeared in performance and in installations and artworks. I heard Pamela Z's work a while ago on the compilation Monk Mix: remixes & reinterpretations of the music of Meredith Monk, and Monk's extraordinary vocal techniques certainly inform Z's approach in her own composition. Z's voice is deconstructed & layered using Max/MSP and other technologies - and she often does this in realtime with incredible skill using gestural interfaces, as seen in the video of "Typewriter" on the Bandcamp page. Her work has a lot of humour and a lot of depth - kudos to Neuma Records for bringing us this collection of work by an important artist.

Listen again — ~206MB

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