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Utility Fog

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Thursday, 31st of March, 2022

Playlist 27.03.22 (12:38 am)

Very international experimental music tonight!
While preparing the text for this playlist, I was knocked about by the heartbreaking, unexpected news of Mira Calix's passing. She was in her early 50s, far too young. RIP Chantal.

LISTEN AGAIN via stream on demand @ FBi or podcast here.

Cheb Terro vs DJ Die Soon - ABTAL AL DIGITAL [Drowned By Locals]
Cheb Terro vs DJ Die Soon - PINE [Drowned By Locals]
In 2020, Daisuke Imamura (aka Berlin-based Japanese producer DJ Die Soon) was put in touch with Tunisian rapper, DJ, writer and more, Rayen Hermassi (Cheb Terro) by the Jordanian label Drowned By Locals. Tragically, just as this project was finished, Cheb Terro passed away. So this will be the only missive from the Underplanet, as Terro described it - an expression of Tunisia's younger generation's feelings of sadness and rebellion. Imamura provides bass heavy grooves, noisy and distorted, over which Terro raps in various languages (including scraps of English). It's sinister and yet moving, and the instrumental "OUTROO" is a beautiful tribute to a creative life that ended too soon.

Maral - Lorestan Reggaeton (عشق edit) [Shaytoon Records]
Saint Abdullah - Lustre Ware [Shaytoon Records]
Shaytoon Records boss Sepehr released an excellent album of drum'n'bass & rave last year, and ended the year with a great release from Aria Rostami. Both Sepehr and Rostami are Iranian ex-pats living in New York, and Shaytoon's latest release is the latest compilation to showcase the highly abundant Iranian electronic scene, both in & out of the country. LA-based Maral continues her penchant for combining bass-heavy beats with punk influences and Farsi vocals, while New York-based Iranian brothers Saint Abdullah sample Arabic voices over a loping hip-hop beat.

Azu Tiwaline & Al Wootton - Blue Dub [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Based now in France, Azu Tiwaline originally hails from the desert of Tunisia, and released an incredible album of percussive dub techno in 2020 as well as an EP on Bristol's Livity Sound. Now she returns to Livity Sound, in collaboration with Londoner Al Wootton (fka Deadboy), presenting four different tracks all informed by UK bass and techno styles as well as North African percussion. The infectious dub techno of "Blue Dub" is a highlight.

Rookley - Warriors [Aimend/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based Rookley is originally from southern Europe, and lived for some time in Brooklyn, but his music sports the influences of UK club music and the commingling of UK and German influences in the Berlin scene. These influences are all over Playground, his new release, with the pitched down vocal chops on "Warriors" eventually building into a rumbling techno shuffle.

Herman - Sol [Fine Grains Records]
Released on Dutch label Fine Grains Records, the second EP from Surry-based Herman is also concerned with UK bass styles, broken beats sometimes veering towards drum'n'bass (and backed by a great drum'n'bass remix from Holloway). The disembodied vocal snaps are very much in keeping with the previous sounds from Rookley.

Bacchus Harsh - Untitled [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
Megadead - Stay [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
A couple of weeks ago I featured a few tracks from New Weird Australia's latest superlative compilation of experimental Australian music, Collapse Theories. Here's a couple more. Christian Bishop is Bacchus Harsh, his latest identity after some years making breakcore and noise as Xian, and this untitled track is not unlike the dubstep, breakcore and classical-inspired heaviness of last year's Caveat Tumultum, released by Heavy Machinery. Benjamin Shaw is Megadead, in this case dubby electronics, a sidestep from the indie/folk stuff he's made under his own name.

Shelley Parker - Glisten [Hypercolour]
UK musician Shelley Parker is very versatile, at home with releases on dance labels like Hessle Audio and experimental labels like Entr'acte. Her new album for Hypercolour is Wisteria, combining urban industrial sampling and ravey breakbeats to very original effect.

Gooooose - Selector [SVBKVLT]
33EMYBW - Microcosmic [SVBKVLT]
Husband and wife Gooooose and 33EMYBW used to be part of legendary underground Shanghai experimental group Duck Fight Goose. They appeared at Soft Centre in Sydney's west a few years ago, and are often featured together, so it's no surprise that together they soundtracked an exhibition by UK video artist Weirdcore in Shanghai late in 2020. The split album Trans-Aeon Express that they've just released through Shanghai's SVBKVLT is an extension of that work, with art provided by Weirdcore. It's rhythmic work, and the pair's individual tendencies are clear, ranging from Gooooose's repurposed breakbeat, 33EMYBW's electro-techno, and beatless synth patterns. Trippy indeed.

vigliensoni - Breccia [Chez Kito Kat/Bandcamp]
vigliensoni - Ooze [Chez Kito Kat/Bandcamp]
Montréal's vigliensoni is a veteran of postpunk bands and has studied music technology and been immersed in house and techno. His interest in machine learning has led him to his new project, Clastic Music, an epic, evolving album that treats music like "clastic" rock formations, which are made up of fragments of rocks from earlier ages. So the tracks on this album sputter and tumble with generative rhythms created from templates of earlier techno, like dancing on an alien moon. It's the best kind of strange, rewiring the brain.

Alessandro Chemie - Hybridization [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
Alessandro Chemie - The Schrödinger Equation [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
The latest release from the excellent Elli Records finds Milan musician Alessandro Chemie exploring quantum mechanics through modular synthesis. Uncertainty derives its sounds from random generative processes which are then looped and constructed into the final tracks. Surges and crackles produce music that's like techno almost entirely stripped of rhythm. Compelling stuff.

The Leaf Library + Teruyuki Kurihara - Artefact [Mille Plateaux/Bandcamp]
The Leaf Library + Teruyuki Kurihara - Kite Beach [Mille Plateaux/Bandcamp]
Here's a surprising thing - London dronepop/spacerockers The Leaf Library on Mille Plateaux(!), courtesy of a hook-up with Japanese producer Teruyuki Kurihara, whose bleak, minimalist Frozen Dust was released by the label two years ago. The Leaf Library sent Kurihara a selection of minimal synth drones, from which Kurihara constructed these spare, minimalist pieces - some motorik beats, some windswept ambient.

Pedro Alves Sousa - Má Estrela [Shhpuma/Bandcamp]
Portugal has a thriving free jazz & experimental scene, with a lot centred around Clean Feed Records. But Clean Feed also have a sister label called Shhpuma, which goes beyond Clean Feed's jazz creativity into experimental music of all stripes. Pedro Alves Sousa and his collaborators on his new record Má Estrela (Bad Star) have free jazz cred, but use it here to construct very strange dub-electronics, with mangled samples and unbalanced beats and live basslines rubbing up against treated saxophone. Definitely unhinged, definitely great.

Too Tall To Sing - Flin van Hemmen & Jozef Dumoulin - Sweetheart Position [Shhpuma/Bandcamp]
Too Tall To Sing - Flin van Hemmen & Jozef Dumoulin - Little Bird of Bad Omen (Ty-Yt) [Shhpuma/Bandcamp]
Also recently released on Shhpuma is the debut release from duo Too Tall To Sing. Flin van Hemmen & Jozef Dumoulin played acoustic jazz together years ago, but now, separated by the ocean, they've created a beautifully subtle collection of electro-acoustic pieces, melding piano and voice with samples and scattered drum machines. It's quite otherworldly and bewitching.

Isik Kural - pillow of a thought [RVNG Intl/Bandcamp]
Isik Kural - lo si aspetta [RVNG/Bandcamp]
Istanbul-born Isik Kural studied in the US and now lives in Glasgow, working in sound design. His in february echoes the folktronica of the early '00s with a sophisticated palette, with beautiful chopped up acoustic guitar and piano floating and fluttering, and occasional vocal contributions from Stephanie Roxanne Ward. It's impressionist, beguiling music.

Rachika Nayar - The Mechanics of Escape [Headphone Commute/Bandcamp]
Rachika Nayar - New Strands [NNA Tapes/Bandcamp]
Last week I featured a couple of tracks from Headphone Commute's For Ukraine, Vol 1. But I was sad to run out of time to play the beautiful contribution from New York-based guitarist Rachika Nayar. Like the music on last year's NNA Tapes album Our Hands Against The Dusk, it features glitchily granulated sounds, not just of her guitar but also what sound like orchestral samples and more. I was very pleased to discover Nayar, and thence that album, via this compilation - although I'd heard a few other works via RVNG Intl previously (check her track with Nina Keith on the Salutations comp from last year).

Aidan Baker - A Condensed End of the World Drone Psych Blues [The Dark Outside/Bibliotapes/Bandcamp]
Christopher Scully-Thurston - Soundtrack Un·fixed Still Life of Dolly S. Dalí... a micro epic [The Dark Outside/Bibliotapes/Bandcamp]
Leo Cunningham - 4 Ukraine [The Dark Outside/Bibliotapes/Bandcamp]
We continue to explore compilations dedicated to the Ukrainian crisis, here with The Dark Outside and their novel-soundtracking Bibliotapes label - in fact, we heard Aidan Baker's soundtrack to a John Brunner novel just the other week. Baker appears along with 120(!) other artists, but this isn't too huge a commitment as each track is exactly one minute long! Diary of a Madman draws its title from Gogol but its target is clearly Putin, and inside we find Baker, The Leaf Library, L/F/D/M and nobuka among others, with vignettes that range from drone rock to glitchy ambience and pulsating rhythms. Along with Baker's noise outburst I played Christopher Scully-Thurston's "micro-epic" of scattered acoustic layers, and Leo Cunningham's peaceful ambience with scrabbling blurps.

Maria W Horn - Oinones Death pt. I [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
And finally tonight, a track taken from a compilation whose origins precede this conflict. Swiss label Hallow Ground tends to cover industrial darkness from rhythmic to drone, and for their compilation Ephiphanies invited musicians who've released on the label as well as like-minded people to explore "epiphanies through sound". This resulted in a surprising number of organ pieces (not generally my favourite instrument) as well as power ambient and very subtle works, of which the contribution from Swedish artist Maria W Horn is a stunning highlight. The wheezy sighs of her piece are apparently not any kind of harmonium or accordion but rather a contrabass recorder with the sounds of pitched glass. It's reminiscent of some of the sounds of FUJI||||||||||TA, whose own contribution here is beautiful but a little more abrasive. Also featured are a brief electro-acoustic percussion work from Valentina Magaletti, string & synth drones from Siavash Amini and pipe and synth drones from Lawrence English.

Listen again — ~201MB

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