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Utility Fog

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Monday, 21st of March, 2022

Playlist 20.03.22 (10:41 pm)

African grime; drum'n'bass and experimental electronics from around the world; post-classical and ambient. Much music in support of Ukraine.

LISTEN AGAIN while the world burns... Stream on demand via FBi Radio, podcast here.

Ecko Bazz - Mmaso [Hakuna Kulala]
Ecko Bazz - Lwakyi? [Hakuna Kulala]
From Kampala, Uganda-based label Hakuna Kulala (sub-label of Nyege Nyege Tapes) comes a hard-hitting album of hard-hitting rap influenced by grime, hip-hop and dancehall from Ugandan local Ecko Bazz. Most of the beats are produced by Debmaster, known for his work with MC Yallah, and his fidgety, bass-heavy productions sit well with Ecko Bazz's brilliant flow. You don't have to understand Luganda to be drawn by the infectious energy here.

Slikback - TAKAYUKI [Slikback Bandcamp]
Nairobi, Kenya-based producer Slikback made one of the beats on the Echo Bazz album. This week he also dropped a single track on his Bandcamp, as is his wont, glitchy beats and glitchy sampled vocals.

Sylvere - Shellington [Monkeytown Records/Bandcamp]
Sylvere - Toys [Monkeytown Records/Bandcamp]
Now to France, with Paris-based producer Sylvere, whose second EP on Modeselektor's Monkeytown Records just came out this week. Much like last year's EP1, it's bass-style sounds mostly for dancefloors, strongly influenced by soundsystem culture, dancehall in particular. On the new EP's opening track "Toys", jungle breaks are scattered through like icing sugar.

Source Direct - Diamonds [Tempo Records/Bandcamp]
New(?) music from jungle/drum'n'bass legends Source Direct, this is a b-side to the long-awaited vinyl release of Snake Style 2, a self-remix of a tune originally from 1995. Source Direct have a highly recognizable sound, directly descended from the groundbreaking drum programming and dark atmos of Photek's productions from that era. It's good to have some unreleased stuff available.

Fanu - Woodz n Moodz [Fanu Bandcamp]
Here's a track from Finland's great junglist Fanu, keeper of the drum'n'bass faith for some decades, maker of great DJ mix podcasts, production tutor and more. He's accumulated a lot of knowledge over the years, but here he is in 1997-98, chopping breaks in Fasttracker 2. For some reason I've always found trackers confusing rather than intuitive, but Venetian Snares swore by them for ages, and I have friends who used them back in the day. The Old Tracker Stuff is a curio, but they're good tunes regardless.

Aquarian - Dead Whale [Dekmantel/Bandcamp]
And now to some high-tech modern stuff, the new EP from the Berlin-based, Canadian-born Aquarian. His solo productions and tracks with Deapmash as AQXDM are bass-heavy techno and jungle, dancefloor-oriented IDM etc. All four tracks on this new EP from Dekmantel (does Mutations: I imply Mutations: II is on its way?) are ace, but this closer is completely insane, with a 13/8 beat (6+7), increasingly frenetic drum breaks and beautiful sub-bass drops.

µ-Ziq - Goodbye [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
2022 is going to be the year of µ-Ziq. Not that it's the return of Mike Paradinas' µ-Ziq productions - his Bandcamp has featured albums' worth of unearthed '90s tracks, new acid techno tunes, and there was a whole µ-Ziq album last year as well. But 2022 is 25th anniversary of Mike's great Lunatic Harness album, a magnificent, beloved classic of drill'n'bass/IDM, which Planet µ will be re-releasing as a double CD and multi-vinyl thing with all the accompanying EP tracks from the era - and around this release will be two new EPs (one shortly, one at the end of the year) and a whole wonderful new album, all harkening back to the jungle, jungle tekno, IDM days of yore. The first single from the first EP, Goodbye, sets the stage with Mike's talent for melody and mashed beats. Can't wait!

Bogdan Raczynski - LADDE [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Bogdan Raczynski - DLEDA [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Polish-American Bogdan Raczynski gained notoriety for the three albums Rephlex released in 1999. Both primitive in production and advanced in programming, they were pretty damn odd - with Raczynski's vocals recorded at times directly into the laptop mic. He's remained a maverick, even when remixing Björk, and his beats have tended towards jungle & jungle tekno, so it's notable that his new album ADDLE on Mike Paradinas' Planet µ keeps things in a somewhat more placid place. The hecticness is more in the dense production than the beats, and the vocals are often a centrepiece, processed and smudged but soaring over the arrangements. Surprisingly beautiful.

Purelink - One for the Angels [Lillerne Tapes]
Purelink - Spirit & Sport [Lillerne Tapes]
The great Chicago label Lillerne Tapes brings us the debut album from Chicago trio Purelink - although it's not their first release, with a brilliant pair of tracks available from last year on their Bandcamp, one of which is Basic Channel-style minimal dub techno, and the other LTJ Bukem-style ambient jungle. For their Lillerne Tapes release, it's Puredub - dubby beats of a very '90s nature, hinting at that Basic Channel fizz but mostly more on an ambient breakbeats tip, head-nodding and pure pleasure.

700 Bliss - Totally Spies feat. Lafawndah [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
UK's Hyperdub, always with the finger on the pulse, are releasing the debut full album from 700 Bliss, the collaboration between the incredibly prolific (and incredibly consistent) Moor Mother and DJ Haram. This stunning first single pairs Moor Mother's rasp with the smudged, angelic tones of Lafawndah. Whatever the rest of the album brings, it'll be abrasive, challenging and beautiful.

TEMO - 105 [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
TRI - Gentle Push [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
Before we get into Ukraine-related compilations, here's the latest collection from Esc.rec of young Dutch electronic producers, Nieuwe Electronische Waar 16. Nearly 80 artists submitted tracks, from which 11 were selected, who benefit from a development program supported by venues, festivals and labels from the Eastern part of The Netherlands - and also get their winning tracks compiled on the NEW compilation for the year. There's some great stuff in #16, including the drill'n'bassy leanings of both TEMO and TRI. These are free/PWYC downloads, recommended.

Laptop Kid - Dark and Light [Component Recordings]
Dafake - D.N.A. [Component Recordings
Russia's invasion of Ukraine has struck a nerve around the world, and of course the music community leapt into charity mode, with scores of big Bandcamp compilations coming out to raise money for various humanitarian organisations on the ground. We've already featured the massive drum'n'bass comp Together With Ukraine; well here's one that's even bigger. Ending at just shy of 200 tracks, For Peace. Against War. Who Is Not? was compiled by the people behind Component Recordings, a US label that I recall releasing IDM/breakcore-adjacent music in the late '90s. It's a truly ridiculous sized beast, but at USD $12 it's not a difficult calculation, with artists like Scanner, Machinefabriek, Jack Dangers, Schneider TM and many others along with many new discoveries. It's compiled to kind of meander through different genres, so there's lots of industrial styles, a bit of breakcorey drum'n'bass, rhythmic noise, electro, dark ambient, and some nice IDM. Both tracks tonight are from French artists, Laptop Kid and Dafake, both of whom are influenced by drill'n'bass, but with great talents for sound-art and melody as well.

Machinefabriek - Texturalis 4 [Cassauna/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - Texturalis 14 [Cassauna/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
As mentioned, Machinefabriek turns up on that bit Component Recordings compilation, but he also released a little gem this week, via Important Records' cassette imprint Cassauna. Texturalis features 18 two-minute vignettes, each concerned with one particular sonic texture, many surprisingly rhythmic. Lovely.

Midori Hirano - Years Later [Headphone Commute Bandcamp]
Madeleine Cocolas - Emergence [Headphone Commute Bandcamp]
Mike Lazarev, the guy behind Headphone Commute, was born in Ukraine. Back in 2012, Headphone Commute curated a big compilation called ...and darkness came, in support of the victims of Hurricane Sandy. This time it's particularly personal for Lazarev, and there will be a series of compilations for Ukraine, the first curated by Hollie Kenniff. It's mostly post-classical and ambient electronica, with a number of highlights including some typical noise-embedded piano from Midori Hirano, and a beautiful extended piece for piano & electronics by Brisbane's Madeleine Cocolas.

Gregory Paul Mineeff - Exit [Cosmic Leaf]
Wollongong's Gregory Paul Mineeff popped up a couple of years ago with a signature sound of neo-classical piano and ambient synths. The first single from his new album Incidental is out now, a touching piece for piano.

Listen again — ~209MB

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