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Utility Fog

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Friday, 3rd of June, 2022

Playlist 29.05.22 (1:04 am)

Experimental sounds from hip-hop to folk.

LISTEN AGAIN to the sounds of now. Podcast here, stream on demand @ FBi's website.

700 Bliss - Nothing To Declare [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
700 Bliss - Bless Grips [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Finally, Moor Mother & DJ Haram's debut album as 700 Bliss, Nothing To Declare, has arrived from Hyperdub. The Philadelphia musicians are a great pairing. Moor Mother is comfortable in her usually gruff raps with hip-hop, punk, free jazz, metal and no doubt more; DJ Haram merges her Middle Eastern roots into club sounds, lo-fi hip-hop, noise and whatever else takes her fancy, and raps as well at times - e.g. on "Bless Grips", which turns the macho aggression of Death Grips on its head. I've played a couple of the collaborations earlier this year - guests adding r'n'b tinges, angelic autotuned melodies and glitched breakbeats - but the talents of the duo are such that there's hardly any repetition here, and no slackening of pace or interest, even in the tongue-in-cheek skits.

Eks - Swerve on It (feat. Sensational) [A Flooded Need/Bandcamp]
Ex-Kamotàa - Untitled [A Flooded Need/Bandcamp]
Italian label A Flooded Need was co-founded by two friends in Naples (one of whom is experimental electronic producer Nocturnerror) a few years ago, releasing a mix of skittery IDM beats, industrial sounds and uneasy ambient. That's very much the go on their new compilation Tedium, curated by the label along with fellow Neapolitan Eks. The album's spread is neatly summed up in Eks's track with experimental rapper Sensational, which goes from crunchy IDM-hop to industrial noise to crackly soundscaping. Meanwhile I have no info on Ex-Kamotàa, but their lovely Untitled track closes the comp with classical vocals, sub-bass thrums and grainy tones.

Stick In The Wheel - Jon1st x SITW - Let No Man Steal Your Thyme [Stick In The Wheel Bandcamp]
Stick In The Wheel - Nabihah Iqbal x SITW - The Milkmaid [Stick In The Wheel Bandcamp]
Currently described on their Bandcamp as "Medieval Kraftwerk", Stick In The Wheel are equally able to recreate English folk with raw acoustic authenticity, or turn that rawness in directions of punk, or members' roots in dubstep and club/IDM music. In between albums proper, if they can be divided up that way, are mixtapes where they are free to reach further afield, and the collaborative aspect of those is at the fore for their latest, Perspectives on Tradition. The tracks here come from a creative/research project in the folk music library/audio archive at Cecil Sharp House in London, with three artists chosen to guarantee leftfield approaches: DMC scratch DJ Jon1st, versatile producer/musician/broadcaster Nabihah Iqbal and Metronomy member Olugbenga Adelekan. Iqbal's treatment of the traditional tune "The Milkmaid" features her sensitive piano with the touching, straightforward vocals of SITW's Nicola Kearey, while Jon1st turns "Let No Man Steal Your Thyme" (famously covered by '60s folk-revivalists Pentangle) into glitchy frenetic techno.

Tullis Rennie - A Response [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
Tullis Rennie - Gnapback [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records is already home for like-minded musicians making experimental sounds with glitchy samples and leftfield pop sensibilities. For Accidental Jr they focus on techno, house and dance gear of an off-beat nature, but now comes "Room 2", which takes the Jr aesthetic away from the dancefloor. Tullis Rennie is a trombonist and electronic producer, but also a writer, academic, field recordist and composer. His Fixed Freedoms mini-album uses slice-of-life field recordings in amongst emotive electric piano/synth works and crunchy beats.

General Magic - I was no [generate and test/Bandcamp]
Ramon Bauer and Andi Pieper were really pioneers of the European glitch music, the experimental electronic music centred around the Mego label they founded with the late Peter Rehberg. Together with Rehberg as General Magic and Pita, they created Fridge Trax, and nothing was ever quite the same. I'm deeply fond of their debut album Frantz, recently reissued on vinyl, but it's a nice surprise to find Farmers Manual's generate and test releasing some genuinely new music from them in the form of Softbop, a little EP of very glitchy beats. Please let there be more.

Lakker - PLUR [Lakker Bandcamp]
The monthly rave-influenced EPs from Dublin duo Lakker continue with LKRTRX005. I particularly enjoyed the breakbeat techno of "PLUR" this time round.

Mako - Raisuma [Samurai Music/Bandcamp]
Mako - Flip It [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
Mako - We Can Love All [Samurai Music/Bandcamp]
Bristol's Stephen Redmore aka Mako runs drum'n'bass label Utopia and is at home on Metalheadz, with album Oeuvre released in 2020, and another for that label on the way. Meanwhile he's just also released an album on the Berlin-based Samurai Music, and it's very much tailored to the Samurai sound - stripped back, with focus on tribal, syncopated beats, at most slivers of melody, and occasional storms of breaks. It's a dark trip.

Brandon Juhans - Gradually [Embalming Lately]
The last album from Brandon Juhans (fka HANZ) was in 2020, but this track from NYC tape label Embalming Lately's backward el.egy compilation shows he's still up to his usual tricks: dizzying fragments of beats and samples compete rhythmically/arrythmically in the soundstage. Sincerely strange.

Match Fixer - smiling ii [Match Fixer Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Andrew Cowie used to be Angel Eyes but he's been making esoteric electronica as Match Fixer for a little while name. New EP smile ii follows on from the dub techno of smile, balanced between more ambient textured work and beats that jitter around the edges.

Various Asses - Kotse [Nice Music/Bandcamp]
Various Asses - Sa(Da)Klub [Nice Music/Bandcamp]
Since their debut in 2016, Raquel Solier has built a lot of love and admiration for their heavy-hitting productions as Various Asses, as well as working with various other prominent names in dance and rap-adjacent genres. Their new album continues the "-ón" series with La Adoración and there's still a lot of club signifiers in there, with heavy beats and bass, lots of swagger and swing, all without compromising the experimental edge.

The Diish - Scaffold [MFZ Records]
The Diish - A Good Soul and a Mad World [MFZ Records]
Italian producer Giancarlo Trimarchi is The Diish. His album Slaps Combo on Italian label MFZ Records takes its cues from various forms of techno, from head-nodding breakbeats through to minimal, twitchy 4/4 patterns. It's machine music with just enough funk.

Valentina Magaletti - A Queer Anthology of Drums [Cafe OTO Takuroku/bié Records/Bandcamp]
Valentina Magaletti - Rumours of Bread [Cafe OTO Takuroku/bié Records/Bandcamp]
There can hardly be a more bewilderingly busy, brilliantly broad-spectrum drummer and percussionist than Valentina Magaletti. I first became aware of her as one half of the duo Tomaga, although I'd previously heard her drumming with Raime (who she later joined in off-shoot Moin). Magaletti also plays in various other combos, including postpunk/postrock/krautrock supergroup UUUU, psych-pop band Vanishing Twin, psych-dub duo Holy Tongue with Al Wootton and more (see below). It has, however, been more unusual to find Magaletti letting loose solo, so the album A Queer Anthology of Drums, originally released as part of London venue Cafe OTO's home recorded download series Takuroku last year, is particular welcome. It's now receiving a vinyl release through Bejing label bié Records, bringing it also to Bandcamp. It's actually rather reminiscent of Magaletti's work with the late Tom Relleen as Tomaga, each track an étude on a limited set of percussion, with occasional obtuse samples and drones, and retro recording techniques. It's very evocative in its self-contained way.

Better Corners - Cosmic Debt [The state51 Conspiracy]
Better Corners - Ease of Brain [The state51 Conspiracy]
Magaletti is joined by her UUUU bandmade Matthew Simms and mastering engineer/musician Sarah Register in new band Better Corners. Their debut album Modern Dance Gold, Vol. 1 is as uncategorizable as the rest of Magaletti's work, with a kind of arcane out-of-time feel drawing from the more experimental corners of postpunk, postrock, krautrock and psych. Here droning riffage piles into free improv ambience and back again - but that makes it sound more forbidding than it actually is. If only state51 deigned to have anything like a Bandcamp, but you can find the release in various digital retailers with good taste, as well as on vinyl.

Lucrecia Dalt - Her Throat [Invada/Bandcamp]
Lucrecia Dalt - Scattered Mysteries [Invada/Bandcamp]
Lucrecia Dalt - How Many Lydias [Invada/Bandcamp]
It feels inevitable that Lucrecia Dalt has ended up writing scores for horror TV shows. Her career started with solo indie songwriting (under the name Lucrecia or The Sound of Lucrecia) but those songs quickly mutated into more experimental forms - benefiting from various collaborations undertaken while she was still in her native Colombia. Over a number of albums now, Dalt has worked an elusive, elided magic with her idiosyncratic take on modular synth composition, generally short experimental pieces often sliding into each other, and an eerie beauty. Last year she collaborated with Aaron Dilloway on an extraordinary album of free weirdness, and this year Invada have released two albums (so far?) of soundtrack work. The Seed is relatively familiar soundtrack cue work; for the HBO horror-comedy The Baby, which has some pretty high-profile up-and-coming names attached, Dalt has managed to sneak in a collection of very characteristic experimental sound, with weird quasi-percussive loops, electronic sounds and processing, and a surprising amount of her own vocals.

Gordon Li - Be Gentle Be Warm [Music Company/Bandcamp]
Gordon Li - Egg Pt.2 [Music Company/Bandcamp]
Naarm/Melbourne-based jazz bassist, composer and educator Gordon Li has crafted something very special for his new album A View from the Bungalow released by Music Company. They're a label known for challenging ambient music ranging across many genres, and on this album Li manages to cover granular ambient soundscapes, field recordings, and multi-instrumental jazzy postrock, mostly played by himself, with Tim Cox on extra percussion and sax from Flora Carbo. It's an album rooted in the landscapes around Melbourne, an exudes a rare peacefulness.

Linus + Økland/Van Heertum/Zach - conway [Aspen Edities/Bandcamp]
Speaking of peaceful (and challenging), this fifth album from Belgian duo Linus is the second to find guitarist Ruben Machtelinckx and sax/clarinet/synth player Thomas Jillings joined by fellow Belgian trumpet/euphonium player Niels Van Heertum and two brilliant Norwegian musicians: hardanger fiddle player Nils Økland and percussionist Ingar Zach. There's a pastoral openness to the proceedings, evoked through an improvised approach to folk music, mixing in jazz and minimalist composition, with electronic ostinati pulsing and vibrating behind glorious fiddle runs and mournful euphonium melodies. Like a lot of Swedish and Norwegian acoustic music, there's a Scandinavian take on Bill Frisell's Americana and chamber jazz here, but by and large it's sui generis in the best way.

Listen again — ~207MB

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