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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.
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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 24th of October, 2021

Playlist 24.10.21 (10:44 pm)

I thought this was going to be an electronic beats show but it turns out that's only part of the picture. We have modern composition, indie-crossover, sound-art and... stylefree.

You'd LISTEN AGAIN, if you know what's good for you. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Dos Santos - Palo Santo [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
Dos Santos - acábame [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
Dos Santos - City of Mirrors [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
Chicago label International Anthem is thought of as a jazz label, but it seems like you can't be from Chicago without connecting to the Tortoise strain of postrock, and Makaya McCraven connects the free jazz with hip-hop. Meanwhile Chicago's musical traditions can't help peeking though the gorgeous latin songwriting from Dos Santos; along with cumbia, along with latin melodies and lush horns, there are surf guitar riffs, postpunk guitar jabs, psych rock turns, and Tortoise's jazz-flecked postrock for sure. It's intoxicating and irresistable.

Matador - Paradise (Demo Version) [Moabit/Monika Enterprise/Bandcamp]
Matador - Mother (Sonae Mix) [Moabit/Monika Enterprise/Bandcamp]
Matador - Mother (Demo Version) [Moabit/Monika Enterprise/Bandcamp]
Malaria! - I Will Be Your Only One (Lucrecia Dalt Mix) [Moabit/Monika Enterprise/Bandcamp]
Three important bands (all beginning with M) from the German underground are celebrated here, courtesy of Gudrun Gut's Monika Enterprise. Matador, Mania D. and Malaria! all featured Gut, two featured Beate Bartel, two featured Bettina Köster and two featured Manon Duursma; all were all-female acts, working in post-punk, industrial and a particularly German strain of synth-pop. There's a direct link between this seminal music, Gut's deep involvement in the Berlin music scene, and the work she does with Monika Enterprise, including the "Werkstatt" she convenes with multiple generations of female electronic & experimental artists. Many of the Werkstatt artists appear on the first disc of M_Sessions, the new collection which unearths, celebrates and recontextualises this music. Along with a disc of "Rare Originals", with demos, live versions and non-album tracks all remastered, the first disc sees these works remixed and recreated by artists like Midori Hirano, AGF, Natalie Beridze, Gut and Bartel, and featured tonight, Sonae and Lucrecia Dalt. Quality stuff.

Gantz - Sleepless Elite [Innamind Recordings]
Gantz - Avert Your Eyes [Innamind Recordings]
Turkish dubstep/trip-hop original Gantz has put out a few collections of tracks on his own Bandcamp recently, but here he is on another label, London's Innamind Recordings with his Pusher Acid EP. At various different tempos, it's bass music for the dancefloor, with heart and brains equally engaged (and, you know, feet). Always love me some Gantz.

aya - Emley lights us moor (feat. Iceboy Violet) [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
aya - tailwind [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
aya - I Will Not Come At Your Beck And Call I Am At Home Preemptively Mashing Up The Dance That Is Where I Am [Illegal Data]
A2A - Lilac [Local Action]
After some years mashing up breaks with deconstructed club, footwork, jungle and other bass music as loft, Manchester-based Aya Sinclair switched to aya as her musical name of choice. On her debut album for Hyperdub, Sinclair brings vocals to the fore, exploring and problematising expectations and biases around being an out trans person with her customary humour, with a few collaborations including non-binary rapper Iceboy Violet. Another collaborator is for the physical format - not a record, CD or cassette, but a book, co-designed by Oliver van der Lugt. Lugt just happens to be now-Sydney-based producer Air Max '97, who's also partnered with aya in the A2A project. I couldn't resist revisiting some of the masterful break mashing from aya's past (and from A2A) as well - leading us into the next couple of tracks...

Sheba Q & No Nation - He Loves Me (Zimmer Mix) [Shubzin/Bandcamp]
Siu Mata - In The Shadows [Shubzin/Bandcamp]
According to London label Shubzin, they are named for "shubz", a house party or rave - Urban Dictionary backs them up. I would be in my happy place shubzin to the tunes on their fourth compilation. The jungle revival continues apace, and here we have jungle, breakbeat and drill'n'bass of the melodic sort that takes me back to the halcyon days of idm, although this isn't just throwback music. We have the nimble breaks of Sheba Q teaming up with No Nation, and then from France the percussive sounds of Siu Mata. SHUBZINVA004 is Pay What You Can, and I can't recommend it highly enough. And do pay, as you'll be supporting the efforts of Sisters Uncut to fight domestic violence in the UK, among other things.

Simon Goff - Wooden Islands (Daniel Brandt Remix) [7K!/Bandcamp]
Here's something interesting. Violinist Simon Goff has worked with the likes of Aidan Baker and Thor Harris in the past, and this year released an album on 7K!, the post-classical arm of venerable German electronic label !K7. On this just-released track, Daniel Brandt of Brandt Brauer Frick takes the already-motorik violin riffing from Goff's original, and the bassline and legato melody - and cuts them up in amongst a percussive techno arrangement.

A Country Practice - Little Birdie (Happy Axe rework) [A Country Practice Bandcamp]
Brisbane band A Country Practice do a kind of folk music for electronic instruments. They just released their debut album I will leave this town while there's still light and I somehow missed it! So I'll be correcting that soon, but meanwhile they have sent me some previews of the remixes that are going to accompany the album on a limited second CD called Recorded, stored, absorbed, ignored, which is a great name and features many great people. Digital purchases also get these on download. Tonight we premiered Emma Kelly aka Happy Axe doing essentially a cover, with her customary looped violin and vocals. Absolutely lovely.

XANI - Towards The Light [demo version] [Xani Bandcamp]
Melbourne violinist XANI also loops her violin and uses it as a percussion instrument. In her band The Twoks she sang and played violin with drummer Mark Leahy, making energetic folk & rock. Her solo album from last year, From The Bottom of the Well, is a fully studio-produced affair, but now in true lockdown fashion we can hear some of these songs in entirely solo mode on the Depths EP, including this rather upbeat, folky instrumental - apparently an early version of the much darker "Injured Animal" from the album.

Jessica Pavone - In the Action [Jessica Pavone Bandcamp]
Jessica Pavone - Ingot [Chaikin Records/Bandcamp]
I only recently discovered the solo work of Brooklyn violist/violinist Jessica Pavone. The start of the title track from her 2019 album In the Action suits the previous folky sounds very nicely, with rootsy viola licks gradually deconstructed, but then for most of the track a rhythmic throb issues from her amp while her viola interacts with the distortion and feedback, an approach she takes across the whole album. New album Lull extends her music for the "Jessica Pavone String Ensemble", which work with drone and repetition, here blowing out the string quartet to an octet, and adding percussion and trumpet on one track each. On "Ingot", Nate Wooley's trumpet is clear and warm, its stretched out notes sitting comfortably within the string tones. Pavone's compositions combine instructions with freedom for the musicians, and although it's minimalist, it's not durational music - drones give way to repeated ensemble notes, and no single idea lasts more than a minute or two. Gradually the peaceful long notes crescendo into scratchy acoustic distortion, giving way in the last minute to an open harmony with slowly alternating notes from the musicians.

nobuka - The sorrow [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
nobuka - Of lovers and innocent bystanders (w/ Michel Banabila) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
nobuka - The people (w/ Machinefabriek) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
From Dutch label Esc.rec here's a gem of an album from Michel van Collenburg as nobuka (he's from the Netherlands despite the vaguely Japanese-sounding name). Reiko contemplates the feeling of living in pre-apocalyptic times (see more at the dedicated micro-site), with field recordings and electronics combining with strings & acoustic found-sounds for a mostly-instrumental narrative of tension and real beauty. It's not minimalist, and not overly polite, and it also mostly avoids the surging sub-bass intensity of a lot of current-day experimental ambient. Nobuka also collaborated with two Dutch artists close to this show, Michel Banabila and Machinefabriek, should that tempt you to look further. I hope you do, because this is a very fine album indeed.

Prophets - Chorus Love Affair [Ah!Puch!Records!/Prophets Bandcamp]
Prophets - Dreem [Ah!Puch!Records!/Prophets Bandcamp]
If the masked musicians behind Prophets are to be believed, they hail from the Planet Stylefree, but I'm going to go on record suggesting that for all their mysterious names (CTRL+ALT+MAN, BONSPEAKEREYESDRUMHEAD, DOT.WAV et al) they are actually from much closer to home. A large collective of musicians from Melbourne & Sydney, they do live up to the "stylefree" moniker, with suggestions of free jazz/free improv, folk, sound-art and more. It feels like experimental music that could be enjoyed by the whole family at an outside market - better than endless covers of Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" cover, hey? The junkyard percussion that ends the show tonight is quite touching.

Listen again — ~206MB

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Sunday, 17th of October, 2021

Playlist 17.10.21 (11:36 pm)

Quite a bit of sound-art intersecting with other genres tonight - from gothic pop to postrock to Australian Indigenous songlines to various types of electronica and dance music.

LISTEN AGAIN so you don't miss a thing! Podcast here, stream on demand @ FBi.

Starlight Assembly - Looking for Clues [Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
This Mortal Coil - Strength Of Strings feat. Dominic Appleton [4AD]
Open To The Sea (Enrico Coniglio & Matteo Uggeri) - Facing The Waves (vocals by Dominic Appleton)
Open To The Sea - A Wheathered Vibe [Facture]
Starlight Assembly - Look at What We've Wasted [Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
I've been waiting to feature this first act for a while - it's a stunner. And since it's out this coming Friday, I finally can. Starlight Assembly is the duo of Italian musician Matteo Uggeri with British singer Dominic Appleton. Appleton, who fronted the band Breathless for many years but is perhaps best known as the lead singer on a number of songs from the 4AD supergroup This Mortal Coil, has worked with Uggeri once before, on a track by his duo Open To The Sea with Venetian sound recordist & musician Enrico Coniglio. That duo's latest album has just come out this weekend, on Fluid Audio/Facture. Uggeri's work spans indie rock, postrock, folk and electronica, and Open to the Sea is a project that collages field recordings with heaps of instrumental and vocal contributions from the members and collaborators worldwide. Although there's a lot of quiet contemplation on the new album, Uggeri ensures there are also rhythmic passages, and on Starlight Assembly's album the beats are often a key part of the arrangements. Uggeri & Appleton alchemically combine on these tracks, creating music somewhere between Hood, David Sylvian, Dntel and of course Talk Talk. Cannot recommend highly enough.

Stephen Vitiello with Brendan Canty - Piano 1 [PLAYNEUTRAL/Bandcamp]
Quite a stunner here too, in which beloved, prolific sound-artist Stephen Vitiello connects with his punk roots by teaming up with one of the drumming greats of the last few decades, Brendan Canty of Fugazi. Of course, this ain't hardcore punk, but Canty's nimble, tight beats skitter perfectly under the glitchy guitar loops, synth and piano of Vitiello. Not to be missed.

l'ocelle mare - Téléphone, Guitare, Interrupteurs, Membrane... [Shelter Press/Murailles Music/Bandcamp]
l'ocelle mare - Temps en terre 2 [Murailles Music/Kythibong/Bandcamp]
l'ocelle mare - Piano, Banjo, Orgue, Métronome... [Shelter Press/Murailles Music/Bandcamp]
Thomas Bonvalet has some decades of experience playing guitar in indie rock bands, and as a multi-instrumentalist playing with many French artists, but his solo project l'ocelle mare is quite a different approach to making music - he claims, “I don’t write music, it’s an assemblage of gestural memories”. Certainly Bonvalet uses the "real" instruments - guitar, piano, banjo, organ, drum skins etc - in much the same way as the telephone, amps, metronomes and so on. It's all sound, and although it's frequently rhythmical, it's not often arranged into melodies or harmonic movements. Extended techniques on the guitar & banjo, and this "organised sound" approach, make for mostly acoustic or out-of-the-box music that sounds sequenced or cut up - or at least, I think so. In any case, it fits in that highly-sought-after category of music I don't entirely understand, and therefore listen to repeatedly. A welcome discovery!

Mabe Fratti & Concepción Huerta - Estática [SA Recordings/Unheard of Hope]
Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti has gotten a lot of worthy attention in the last couple of years as her music has made it outside of Mexico, where she's based now, courtesy of London's Tin Angel Records. Recently Umor Rex released her collaboration with Gudrun Gut; now we have a duo release with Mexican experimental musician Concepción Huerta, released by SA Recordings on 12" and licenced to Tin Angel's Unheard of Hope sublabel. The EP comes with a sample library from the artists as well, for those interested in the sounds of processed cello and electronics. As usual, as she builds up layers of cello lines and effects with Huerta, Fratti overlays a beautifully emotive vocal melody on top. Looking forward to the rest of this EP.

Au Revoir Hands - Between Tides [Au Revoir Hands Bandcamp]
The debut album from Melbourne electronic musician Anthony Lyons and now-Blue Mountains-based cellist Emily Williams as Au Revoir Hands is coming out in November on vinyl, and we now have a third single, the lovely "Between Tides", in which sequenced synth melodies pump along, contrasted with two flowing, sliding cello melodies, with a suspenseful rise and a gentle resolution.

Jim Nopédie - Wounded Missingno [Jim Nopédie Bandcamp]
Jim Nopédie - Drowned Town (Wet-Dry World) [Jim Nopédie Bandcamp]
Despite the punning name, James Gales' Jim Nopédie project doesn't really have any impressionist piano gestures - but the computer game referencing electronics here do have a strangely otherworldly feel to them. Indeed, they soundtrack the exploration of imaginary worlds, and interrogate the idea of old video games as repositories of nostalgia. It wouldn't be what it is without Gales' classical piano training, but it's extremely online music, I think, and indeed it's mastered by Fire-Toolz' Angel Marcloid and sports a Fire-Toolz remix as well.

Australian Art Orchestra | Daniel Wilfred | Sunny Kim - Star Song [Australian Art Orchestra Bandcamp]
Australian Art Orchestra | David Wilfred | Aviva Endean - Gadayka/Grenadilla [Australian Art Orchestra Bandcamp]
Peter Knight & Australian Art Orchestra - Diomira (excerpt) [Hospital Hill/Australian Art Orchestra Bandcamp]
New album Hand to Earth comes out of a residency by Australian Art Orchestra members in the remote highlands of Tasmania with Yolŋu songman Daniel Wilfred and his brother, yidaki player David Wilfred. Across these tracks, ancient songlines intersect with the trumpet & electronics of Peter Knight, Daniel Wilfred's voice floats in a sea of Korean artist Sunny Kim's voice & electronics, and David Wilfred's yidaki (a variant of the didgeridoo) merges wonderfully with the clarinets of Aviva Endean. Meanwhile, a few weeks ago the Australian Art Orchestra also released a 12" with Hospital Hill, featuring compositions by Peter Knight. "Diomira" is an extraordinary tribute to one of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, in which voice and chamber jazz orchestra interact with turntables, drumkit via reel-to-reel tape machine, and live laptop processing. Gradually attenuating from its minimalist but dense, rhythmic beginning, it slides slowly into sparseness (it's far longer than I could fit tonight). More compulsory listening, sorry folks, you've got homework!

Cassius Select - Mess Mutual [Bruk (I presume)]
I was sent this promo by ex-pat Sydneysider Cassius Select and it's meant to be out now, on Bruk, but I can't see any sign of that online, so enjoy this track anyway! His usual fat bassy uk garagey techno, with chopped vocal interjections. An excellent EP, Shake Like Me is out... imminently, I guess?

Church Andrews & Matt Davies - Carbon [Health Bandcamp]
A second EP from the duo of Church Andrews (aka Kirk Barley) on modular synths and Matt Davies on drums again finds Davies' percussion triggering and modulating the electronics, creating complex, off-kilter rhythms which lurch towards and around jazz, IDM and contemporary classical.

Grey Code - Opal [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
Speaking of classical, young drum'n'bass producer Grey Code likes to mix up all sorts of influences with his drum'n'bass productions, and while his new single "Opal" for Metalheadz is meant to be inspired by his love of guitar music, it's quite unusual in a number of ways. Until the beats drop, it's effectively in 12/8 time (triplets), and throughout there's more harmonic movement (beautifully done) than your usual club tracks. There's a fair bit of this kind of invention through Grey Code's catalogue so far, but this is super impressive and I'm hoping there's more of this to come!

Luo - Auris Animi [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
Some fun live beats and proggy synths from a Brighton/Bristol duo on Sydney's Art As Catharsis here. Luo is Brighton's Barney Sage on drums and various synths, and Bristol's Josh Trinnaman on bass, guitar, synths and electronic beats. They take turns writing, but contribute to each other's tracks. At times it's like live Squarepusher, but there are some hints and proggy heaviness at times as well. Strangely suited to Art As Catharsis, whether the metal & postrock stuff or the wider net they cast.

Aho Ssan - Simulacrum I - FRKTL Remix [Subtext/Bandcamp]
Aho Ssan - Outro (ft. The Mensah Imaginary Band) [Subtext/Bandcamp]
Aho Ssan - Simulacrum III - Exploited Body Remix [Subtext/Bandcamp]
Paris-based Désiré Niamké is Aho Ssan. His Simulacrum album was a highlight on Subtext last year, using granular synthesis in Max/MSP to imagine what the Ghanaian jazz of his grandfather Mensah Antony may have sounded like - although it's at best a filtered, smudged simulacrum of afrofuturist jazz. Now, with the release of that album on 12", comes an accompanying remix album, with many excellent artist contributing, including Berlin's Ziúr, Subtext's own Roly Porter and Nairobi's KMRU. Tonight we heard from FRKTL, aka Riga-based Egyptian musician Sarah Badr, who inserts Middle Eastern percussion in amongst Niamké's dream players, while Finland's Exploited Body builds on the bass surges and distortions of the original, with crystalline piano notes hanging over or under it all.

Mara - Artefacts [Music Company/Mara Bandcamp]
Mara - Construction [Music Company/Mara Bandcamp]
Sydney's Mara Schwerdtfeger brings her patient, minimalist sounds to Melbourne's Music Company for her latest album, The Formation of a Cloud. Named for a short film by Jenn Tran, the music combines synth lines and some acoustic instruments & field recordings. It's quiet and abstract, but deceptively detailed music for quiet contemplation.

Listen again — ~204MB

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Sunday, 10th of October, 2021

Playlist 10.10.21 (10:16 pm)

Music of upheaval, music of glitches and breaks...

Listen again and set your head a'noddin'. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Jerusalem In My Heart - Qalaq 7 (w/ Tim Hecker) [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Jerusalem In My Heart - Qalaq 9 (w/ Mayss, Mazen Kerbaj, Sharif Sehnaoui & Raed Yassin) [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Jerusalem In My Heart - Al Affaq, Lau Mat, Lau Lau Lau Lau Lau Lau (The Hypocrite, If He Dies, If If If If If If) [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Jerusalem In My Heart - Tanto (w/ Lucrecia Dalt) [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Jerusalem In My Heart - Abyad Barraq (w/ Greg Fox) [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Qalaq is the fourth album from Montréal-based Lebanese musician Radwan Ghazi Moumneh as Jerusalem In My Heart. I was stunned by his work from the start - his first was released by Constellation in 2013. Far more grounded in digital processing than most of the Constellation output, Moumneh's music combines Arabic singing and instrumentation with electronics, granular processing and editing, with his impassioned, beautiful vocals often fed through harmonisers and auto-tune and then chopped into tiny pieces. Qalaq sees him ruminating on the sense of "deep worry" that the world has had to offer lately, particularly with the disastrous management of Lebanon by their secular government (even before the horrors of the Beirut explosion a year ago), and the continued bombing and other atrocities in Gaza. The album features different guests on every track, drawn together by Moumneh's distinctive production - elsewhere we have Moor Mother ruminating on deep worry, and many musicians from the Montréal postrock scene and from the Middle East & North Africa appear. Tonight we heard tracks with Tim Hecker's soundscapes, the voice & modular synthesis of Lucrecia Dalt, and Greg Fox's incendiary drumming, while the shattered sounds of the last track include contributions of some sort from Mayss and Lebanon's "A" Trio (also heard last week with Maurice Louca) of Mazen Kerbaj, Sharif Sehnaoui & Raed Yassin.

Sepehr - Survivalism [Shaytoon/Bandcamp]
Sepehr - Plane of Fear [Shaytoon/Bandcamp]
Shaytoon is a new label run by New York native of Persian heritage, Sepehr Alimagham. His new mini-album Survivalism sees him looking back at '90s drum'n'bass & jungle, with some breakbeat & techno mixed in, and hints at his Middle Eastern background. I've really enjoyed these dark, fierce tracks.

DJ Sports & Tim Reaper - Wormhole [Future Retro]
Tim Reaper continues his Meeting of the Minds series on his Future Retro label with volumes 7 & 8, each featuring 4 collaborations. Here Reaper and Danish producer Milan Zaks aka DJ Sports do their best to mash up breaks as comprehensively as possible, whooshing cymbals forward & backwards and stopping and starting in fine junglist fashion.

Dev/Null - Time 2 Rhyme [Evar Records]
Dev/Null - Broken Bell [Evar Records]
Pete Dev/Null comes from way back in the early '00s breakcore scene, and has continued to make jungle-influenced tunes. Recently he found himself in possession of a Pocket Operator, a tiny portable sequencer, and that inspired him to go back to chopping breaks in the style of the jungle originalists from the early '90s, who loaded breaks into primitive samplers and programmed them via MIDI sequencing - this is where a lot of the classic choppage came from. Microjunglizm, out soon from Evar Records, harkens back to the days of UK hardcore & jungle techno, and on "Time 2 Rhyme" Dev/Null swipes a classic digidub bassline originally created by Bobby Digital as the riddim for Shabba Ranks' Peanie Peanie (and used extensively in jungle sets). Meanwhile "Broken Bell" has intense sub-bass pressure and slamming breaks.

SCALPING - Deadlock (AQXDM Remix) [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
SCALPING - Empty Cascade (Azu Tiwaline Remix) [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Bristolian band SCALPING combine postpunk riffage and techno in a way that reminds me of an instrumental Pop Will Eat Itself, although the appearance of Mogwai on this remix EP should hint at where they're coming from too. Each of the remixes on Flood Remixed takes the tracks in a different direction. AQXDM, the jungle-meets-industrial techno project of Aquarian and Deapmash, is a drum'n'bass rave with heavy riffs, while the wonderful Tunisian producer Azu Tiwaline weaves percussion and electronics that sound more like an original of hers than a remix.

Slikback x Objekt - Apex [Slikback Bandcamp]
Slikback x KMRU - Dissociation [Slikback Bandcamp]
Another album of collaborations for tonight, this one from Nairobi producer Slikback, one of the big recent names to come out of the electronic renaissance across the African continent. One of the surprises slipped in there is his team-up with Berlin's Objekt, with skittery programming around Slikback's typical big bass moves. And also pushing things in another direction is fellow Kenyan KMRU, with whom Slikback produces a warm surging ambient work with some percussive hints near the end.

Good Moon Deer - WWYWT [Unfiled]
Good Moon Deer - Audible Gasp [Unfiled]
A couple of years back I discovered Icelandic producer Good Moon Deer (punning on his name Guðmundur Úlfarsson) via a track on a Wire Magazine compilation. Two and a half years later the track finally appears on the album Point, released on Unfiled, the label he runs with fellow Icelandic producer Allenheimer. It's a mix of bass techno and IDM, very nice head-noddy stuff, and I'm glad I was following the label so I got notified of this release!

Beau Ambien - Granite [Club Moss]
Sydney's Harrison Rae is founder of the excellent Club Moss tape & digital label, and has recently been making tunes as Beau Ambien. There's some nice jungle/IDM/breaks stuff on his Bandcamp under the anagrammatical Henri O. R. Asar, but his two releases for Club Moss as Beau Ambien are alternate soundtracks to the apparently famous video games Banjo Kazooie and now Banjo Tooie, spanning dubby techno and bass sounds. Rad.

Consulate - The Fear [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
New release from Andy Garvey's Pure Space, based here in Eora/Sydney. Consulate is a Naarm/Melbourne based artist whose EP here is a mix of electronic styles, including dubby techno and jungle-influenced breaks, but this track is a half-time dubby, almost dubstep piece. A great, varied EP.

the little hand of the faithful - The bear wrote it [the little hand of the faithful Bandcamp]
the little hand of the faithful - Smoke every day (Don't) [the little hand of the faithful Bandcamp]
Mitch Jones of Scattered Order apparently never stops making tunes. And although SO started over 4 decades ago, he's a deft hand at electronic beats and samples, and puts the solo stuff out under the alias of a small stuffed bear named the little hand of the faithful. His latest collection is The world needs referees, on which we find many pleasant head-nodding beats at different tempos, with some live bass and guitar at times. There's a track that's a bit like drum'n'bass rock'n'roll (reminding me a bit of what Amon Tobin's doing as Only Child Tyrant) and something hinting perhaps at dubstep. Very very nice as always.

Sunken Foal - Greyscale Dreamcoat [Countersunk Bandcamp]
Sunken Foal - Chicken Switch [Countersunk Bandcamp]
Dunk Murphy first introduced his solo act Sunken Foal with a couple of magnificent releases on Planet µ back in 2008, following a legendary album from his duo Ambulance on the same label. For a long time now his music has appeared on his own Countersunk label on Bandcamp. It definitely comes out of IDM, which is often a very melodic form of head-nodding, cut-up beats and such, but Murphy is an excellent multi-instrumentalist, including banjo, acoustic guitar and other instruments - the new album Two Moon Junction brings back piano, which appeared beautifully on those original Planet µ releases - and he's also extremely good at strange & unexpected harmonic turns which further elevate the music from well-produced, richly-orchestrated IDM & folktronica into something often very special indeed. It feels like Two Moon Junction is one of his best releases since the first album and the three volumes of Friday Syndrome. A pretty good entrypoint if you want one.

memotone - Rain Hut [memotone Bandcamp]
memotone - Blackcap Crossing [memotone Bandcamp]
It only took Will Yates a bit over a decade to decide to give memotone its own self-titled LP, but now is the time, apparently. Initial EPs were situated very much in the post-dubstep bass techno vein, but Yates is a talented multi-instrumentalist, whether on live drums, keys, MPC, or myriad other instruments, and he's at home making contemplative sound work, jazzy breaks, Ye Olde English Folke pastiches or four-on-the-floor techno bangers. This album has a bit of the jazzy beat-edits, and a fair chunk of Jon Hassell-style fourth world ambient, including live-harmonised clarinet. It's his excellent musicianship which makes it so great, as always. A talented, multi-faceted artist.

Listen again — ~207MB

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Sunday, 3rd of October, 2021

Playlist 03.10.21 (11:51 pm)

Doom, folk rock, experimental electronics and even less categorizable stuff.

LISTEN AGAIN and expand your ear horizons. Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here.

Divide and Dissolve - Mental Gymnastics (Moor Mother Remix) [Invada/Bandcamp]
Divide and Dissolve - Far From Ideal (Chelsea Wolfe Remix) [Invada/Bandcamp]
A second remix from indigenous doom duo Divide and Dissolve came out this week. Moor Mother adds her apocalyptic spoken word over the emotive saxophone & guitars of Takiaya Reed (Black & Tsalagi [Cherokee]) and drums of Sylvie Nehill (Māori) - welcome to the dangerzone! A couple of months back I picked up Chelsea Wolfe's remix but for some reason then forgot about it, which is a shame because it's brilliant - Reed & Nehill's original is chopped up & repurposed as backing for Wolfe's singing. Both tracks are amazingly effective works for the remixers while remaining true to the originals as well.

the body and Big|Brave - oh sinner [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
the body and Big|Brave - once i had a sweetheart [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
It's not exactly a surprise to find the body collaborating with Big|Brave. the body are inveterate collaborators, often reining in the harsher parts of their doom/black metal sound (but not always), and the emotional postrock-meets-doom of Big|Brave makes a lot of sense as a foil for their electronics-infused heavy beauty/ugliness. Except... that's not what this is at all. The result of this collaboration, leaving none but small birds, finds the two bands teaming up to create an album of folk & rootsy country. Big|Brave's Robin Wattie compiled lyrics from Appalachian, Canadian, and English hymns and traditional songs, with particular focus on the marginalised & victimised in those stories. The two groups then created gnarly, repetitive folk-rock pieces, no less heavy than the bands' previous work despite featuring violin, piano and acoustic guitars. A hell of an album really.

Sandy Hsu - Endless Summer [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Here's the first track tonight from Provenance Collective's big drop of releases from this Friday. A few singles and a few albums, and this one's a bit of a revelation. Recently seen collaborating with Aphir, Naarm's Sandy Hsu here gives us a beautiful song that starts with guitar, adds quiet electronic undertones, but also gorgeous violin arrangements from Emma Kelly aka Happy Axe. It's a song about the meaning of life, and really does evoke a lazy endless summer day.

Maurice Louca - Yara (Fire Flies) [Northern Spy/Sub Rosa/Bandcamp]
Maurice Louca - El-Gullashah (Foul Tongue) [Northern Spy/Sub Rosa/Bandcamp]
I've been following Egyptian musician Maurice Louca for some years now, enjoying his earlier electronic productions and also his involvement in various areas of psychedelic Arabic rock and free jazz. His last few albums have leaned on the jazz & experimental side, and this second album on Northern Spy (US) and Sub Rosa (Europe), called Saet El Hazz (The Luck Hour), carries on from where 2019's Elephantine left off, with brilliant musicians from Egypt, Lebanon and Berlin, along with contributions from Turkey (where he obtained a custom-made guitar) and Indonesia (lending Gamelan instrumentation to the mix). The album evokes "the luck hour" or saet hazz, a euphemistic Egyptian expression for a night of debauchery. Somehow the elements of free improv, music from across the MENA region and beyond combine into something thrilling and not nearly as "difficult" as you might guess. Louca and his fellow musicians are experts at compelling, enjoyable musical storytelling.

Shoeb Ahmad - sliding into rivers [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Shoeb Ahmad - in the rite [Provenance/Bandcamp]
It's been a while coming, but the second half of Shoeb Ahmad's album duology that started with last year's A Body Full of Tears has finally arrived. Facade is perhaps a little less heavy on dark electronic textures, but it's still got an industrial edge to its throbs and crashes, and it's vintage Sia, with its beds of processed guitars and her characteristic vocal melodies. There's a vinyl edition and also a limited perfume set available at Bandcamp, where you can also grab a vinyl bundle of the two albums together.

Crook Peak - Leafblower [Floating Limb Bandcamp]
Crook Peak - Lines [Floating Limb Bandcamp]
Back in 2008 I first discovered the work of Oli Barrett with the first album from his Bleeding Heart Narrative project - a blending of noise, postrock, ambient and psychedelic tendencies, with his distorted cello among the sounds. It was my album of the year. I've since followed BHN through its existence as a full band, his follow-up project Petrels, occasional solo cello freak-out EPs and more. But it's great to hear this new project, Crook Peak, on which Barrett returns to songwriting, still within his uncategorizable musical frameworks. There's synthpop and new romantic influences here but also krautrock and psych-noise I daresay, making for some unusual and catchy songs.

Arrom - Tore It Apart [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Arrom - Faces in the Clouds [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Our third Provenance release of the night is the new album from classically-trained vocalist and electronic producer Melissa Vallence aka Arrom. Continuing Vallence's moves into techno, there are 4/4 beats bustling under these songs at times, and not a lot of traditional song structures - but still plenty of Vallence's voice, layered and often highly processed but also often clean. As well as the more experimental & electronic works like those I played tonight, this tribute to the moon goddess Selene features some beautiful multi-tracked vocal works calling back to Vallence's choral experience.

Sonae - Summer [laaps/Bandcamp]
Sonae - Soleil Noir [laaps/Bandcamp]
Sonia Güttler's last Sonae album, I Started Wearing Black, came out on Monika-Enterprise in 2018, although a collection of her remixes came out the following year on Bit-Phalanx. Her previous work established her as a talented producer of crunchy techno beats who works also with acoustic sound sources and field recordings. On Summer, and an accompanying video installation created with Jennifer Trees, Güttler asks us to confront the stifling reality of global warming as it exists now and the future we are being bequeathed. As such, the sounds on this album are given deeper meaning - but purely in audio terms, this is clearly her best work yet, with warm, crackling sound-painting, strings, and some of those club-adjacent 4/4 beats. Highly recommended.

xphresh - xephon [3XL]
New on Berlin-based 3XL is an EP from xphresh, aka Brooklyn's Ben Bondy and Berlin-resident Special Guest DJ (aka Shy/uon), haunting the airwaves between jungle and heavy breakbeat dub through crackly time-travel radio. It's super-vapourwavey but also very much redolent of '90s dub & breakbeat rave biz.

Martyna Basta - Awakening [Warm Winters Ltd./Bandcamp]
Martyna Basta - Unknown Reel Tape [Warm Winters Ltd./Bandcamp]
Polish artist Martyna Basta's debut release on Warm Winters Ltd. is the sumptuous Making Eye Contact With Solitude, based around domestic field recordings, her own voice, and judicious use of zither, harpsichord and violin, which can at times crescendo into rich tapestries of sound. It's engrossing and gorgeous.

Ayala - (Generative for Viewfinder, 9 55 pm render) [Ayala Bandcamp]
Sydney's Donny Janks is Ayala, under which name he's just released an EP of generative works called 08-09-21. Although there are generative elements (so each render released here is just one version of the output of each musical contraption), there's clearly considered musical thought that goes into each of these works, and the renderings work very well as final compositions. The one we heard tonight was created to accompany a sculpture by Joel Adler called "Viewfinder", but even here - as well as on the other two works - the ambient textures are joined at times by hints of beats.

exael - silent kiss [exael Bandcamp]
Berlin-based Naemi aka exael continues to release tracks & EPs when they feel like it on their Bandcamp alongside label releases. This Bandcamp Friday's exclusive was the lovely "silent kiss", which marries expressive piano and electronics in their usual vaporwavey fashion.

Sebastian Field - Iris [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Sebastian Field - Measurement Doesn't Change the Distance - Arcs [Provenance/Bandcamp]
On his latest album Sandcandles - our last Provenance release for tonight - Canberra's Sebastian Field unearths and repurposes music recorded 15-20 years ago, which he has self-consciously hidden away from himself, along with recordings from fellow travellers over the last few years. Although it moves Field's work (for now) away from explicit songwriting, it's a welcome change, resulting in hazy loops of grainy guitar and electronics, worldless vocals and occasional buried beats. If you like Benoît Pioulard, don't sleep on this.

Tony Dupé - I worked hard [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Tony Dupé - I lay down [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
I'm so glad that my longtime friend & musical colleague Tony Dupé has found a home with Lost Tribe Sound. It seems like a perfect fit for his music, rooted in indie and folk, with hints of postrock, electronic construction that doesn't usually sound electronic, and a love of neo-classical arrangements (after some years of my playing on his productions, Tony went off and learned the cello for himself). Last year Lost Tribe Sound released the long-awaited album by Tony and his brilliant partner Claire Deak, but now it's time for an exquisite solo album, no longer under the Saddleback sobriquet (and Deak & Dupé are no longer on the NSW coast near Mount Saddleback, but rather based down in Melbourne). Margaret Hammett Lived is a musical tribute to his grandmother's sister, who as Tony describes it was imprisoned for her entire adult life in the Abbotsford Convent. She was taken there after falling pregnant twice to a farmer as a teenager; her first baby was taken from her, and the second died after birth - she named both Eileen. Whether these were consensual is not clear, but the grieving Margaret was branded a "bad girl" and taken to the convent, where she spent more than six decades until she died. This tragic, cruel story inspired Tony to write a suite of absolutely stunning beauty, with strings, organ, bells and voices (and yes, some subtle electronic touches). It's gorgeously performed, poised music worthy of its subject matter. Please spend half an hour listening to this album.

Listen again — ~206MB

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