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Utility Fog

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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, 25th of September, 2022

Playlist 25.09.22 (11:01 pm)

Vocals weave in & out of tonight's selections, often in unusual settings, from minimalist arrangements to glitch-beats, mangled raps and stretched choirs...
If you're in Sydney this week, can I recommend you pop over to the Powerhouse Museum for Powerhouse Late between 5 & 9pm on Thursday the 29th? I'll be DJing for the whole four hours, so you can enjoy some Utility Fog selections in person!

LISTEN AGAIN because you can 'Fog at home anytime. Stream on demand with FBi, or podcast right here.

Ellen Arkbro & Johan Graden - Close [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Ellen Arkbro & Johan Graden - Other side [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
If you know the work of Swedish musician Ellen Arkbro, it's probably as a composer of super-minimalist works for organ or horns or guitar, with strange chords ringing out one by one. Thus her stunning new collaboration with fellow Swede Johan Graden, a free jazz pianist & arranger, might come as a surprise. Yes, it's minimalist, but the deceptively simple arrangements for multiple bass clarinets, tuba, contrabass and piano, as well as occasional sparse drums, trumpet and other instruments, underscore Arkbro's fragile, candidly melodic voice. The opening track is a beauty, but "Other side" stands out from an already stand-out album with its unusual harmonies (each piano chord includes two notes a tone or semitone apart), the all-bass orchestration (bass clarinet, tuba and contrabass join the piano's left-hand in the second half), and the gorgeous, subtle vocal loop that carries through the last phrases. No sign of Chet Baker among these originals, but I Get Along Without You Very Well achieves all the subdued emotion of the jazz standard it's named after, with even fewer ingredients.

Ian William Craig - A Crack and a Shadow [130701/Bandcamp]
Ian William Craig - A Given Stack [130701/Bandcamp]
This album's source comes as a surprise for the classically-trained singer and tape manipulator Ian William Craig. His free-floating, looped, fluttering and degraded vocal lines and modular synths don't immediately scream "computer game soundtrack", yet Music for Magnesium_173 is just that - full tracks (some over 10 minutes long) in Craig's usual style, written to accompany a quantum mechanical puzzle game released on the Steam platform. As the game development was delayed (not an uncommon experience), some earlier works created for it came out on his 2018 album Thresholder. Suffice to say it's vintage Craig, lovely experienced on its own.

Abdel Ja7eem Hafeth - Eed B Eed (Ma3 El Shaytan) ft. Sheekie Sheekie [Drowned By Locals]
Produced by 1800s Internet, this piece from the people behind the Jordanian label Drowned By Locals is a rather touching tribute to Daniel Johnson, mostly just piano and cigarette-stained voice, but steeped in noise and faint backing vocals. Lovely.

Jason McMahon - You Dear, Woody Houses? [Shinkoyo/Artist Pool/Bandcamp]
Jason McMahon - Enchant a Rare Time Wander [Shinkoyo/Artist Pool/Bandcamp]
Jason McMahon - Who'd Forecast Shade [Shinkoyo/Artist Pool/Bandcamp]
Run by Matt Mehlan of the experimental b(r)and Skeletons, Shinkoyo and the associated co-operative venture Artist Pool are gradually releasing some very creative & inspiring music. I loved Chicago cellist Lia Kohl's Too Small to be a Plain earlier this year, and now we have the second solo album, It's That Time Again, from guitarist Jason McMahon. It's a mostly-instrumental song suite meant to be played all the way through, and so we're excerpting three tracks in a row here. It's somewhere between psych-rock, psych-folk and folktronica perhaps, all performed by McMahon except for some memorable drumming from Greg Fox on one track. While the one vocal track isn't featured tonight, I do want to mention that McMahon describes it as "sung in my faux-gibberish style", and if that's not a drawcard I don't know what is.

Makaya McCraven - High Fives [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
Makaya McCraven - This Place That Place [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
I feel like by now Makaya McCraven has been heralded enough on this show and elsewhere that he doesn't need a huge introduction. A brilliant drummer and producer of "organic beat music" in which improvisations and arrangements performed by the cream of free jazz musicians from around the world are carefully, both subtly and radically edited, he really is something of an iconoclast. New album In These Times represents a milestone for McCraven that's been a long time coming, as he's honed tracks in his songbook that are based around odd time signatures, recorded them in studios and performance spaces all around Chicago and further afield, and spent countless hours editing. The result is a little more smoothed around the edges than his previous albums for International Anthem, at times almost too polite, but that would be to ignore the stellar playing, the off-kilter rhythms, and the utter sumptuousness of the arrangements and compositions.

Ahm & Defpet - Searching [Ahm Bandcamp/Defpet Bandcamp]
Ahm & Defpet - Slipping [Ahm Bandcamp/Defpet Bandcamp]
Following some intense solo IDM/deconstructed club releases and remix work, it's great to hear Melbourne producer Ahm aka Andrew Huhtanen McEwan working in a more live setting with fellow Melbournite Hannes Lackmann aka Defpet on drum kit and myriad other instruments. It's uncategorisable music that slips between experimental electronica, jazz, postrock and more. Just what we like on the 'Fog.

Naco - Sanc [Scuffed Recordings]
Kyoto-based Naco runs the 85acid label and produces the kind of music that melds house & techno with breaks & jungle and more, which perfectly suits London's Scuffed label. Here chopped amen breaks are inserted in increasingly complex, syncopated fashion into a 4/4 structure, dizzyingly joyful.

Patrick Brian - Flooring It [Sneaker Social Club]
This new release on Sneaker Social Club, home of UK bass music and that whole 'aardcore continuum, comes from an LA native. Patrick Brian is highly influenced by grime and drill, as well as predecessors like uk garage, and he skilfully channels those styles on this new EP while putting his own spin on them.

µ-Ziq - Hello [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
It's been a big year for Planet µ boss Mike Paradinas aka µ-Ziq, with the 25th anniversary re-release of his brilliant Lunatic Harness album, and a series of releases with new music on the same tip - melodic idm inspired by jungle and hardcore techno - the archetypal drill'n'bass. The final release in this series is the Hello EP, mirroring the Goodbye EP and, if his recent sets in Canberra & Melbourne are any guide, going deeper into the jungle. The CD edition features all the Goodbye tracks as well, for fans like me :)

pale sketcher - today [GIVE/TAKE/Bandcamp]
pale sketcher - golden skin [GIVE/TAKE/Bandcamp]
It's been many years since we've heard from Pale Sketcher, the IDM project of Justin K Broadrick. It's a long way from the pioneering grindcore of Napalm Death, the industrial metal of Godflesh, or even the shoegaze metal of Jesu, but in fact the origins of Pale Sketcher come from a set of deconstructed ambient/electronic remixes Broadrick made of his 2007 Jesu album Pale Sketches. The tunes on new album golden skin were created a little after this, up until 2013, and were originally going to be released on Aphex Twin's Rephlex Records before the label shut down. They've now finally found a home on US label GIVE/TAKE, which is a blessing because this stuff is just so good. It's got a bit of the shoegazey outlook of the Jesu origins, but with those wordless vocal snippets playing the same role they do on the recent µ-Ziq work, and among the crunchy beats are plenty of accelerated drill'n'bass funtimes to be had. JKB has hinted that there will be more actually-new Pale Sketcher material coming too - can't wait!

Dev/Null - Time 2 Rhyme (GOOOOOSE Remix) [Evar Records]
Breakcore veteran Dev/Null released his tribute to jungle & jungle tekno, Microjunglizm, on LA's Evar Records a year ago. Evar now follow that up with Microjunglizm Remixes, featuring a bunch of jungle/hardcore proponents from both sides of the Atlantic, but it's excellent that they also chose to invite Shanghai's GOOOOOSE to the party. It's not the first time he's mashed up jungle breaks in his music, and as usual it's brilliantly skewed.

s8jfou - Soft [s8jfou Bandcamp]
s8jfou - Phase [s8jfou Bandcamp]
French musician s8jfou's name is a pun. It's pronounce "'suis-je fous?", as 8 = huit in French, and translates as "Am I mad?". And perhaps he was mad to create his new album Op-Echo using only the Operator synth and the Echo effect in Ableton. It's an exercise in proving you don't need modular synths and outboard gear to create something special, and it seems to me he's succeeded admirably. It's a bit of a love song for UK dance music and IDM, yet the melodies give it a distinctly French twist - I hear a similar temperament to the violintronica of Chapelier Fou or a much less manic Ruby My Dear. Well worth checking out.

Aphir - Red Giant [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Naarm/Melbourne mastering/mixing engineer, producer, singer and songwriter Becki Whitton is soon releasing her very personal electronic pop album Pomegranate Tree through Provenance, the label that she took over and rebuilt into a collective a few years ago. The album is an elegant and emotive exploration of her experiences growing up with, grappling with, and eventually leaving the Christian faith, and Whitton's dedicated studies in electronically-mediated quasi-choral work, her beat-making and her well-honed production skills all serve to make this album something to anticipate.

Aasthma - It's Just Your Style (feat. Jonnine) [Monkeytown Records/Bandcamp]
Aasthma - Power Ambient Piano Ballad [Monkeytown Records/Bandcamp]
OK look, here's what I said when I last played Aasthma on the show: Pär Grindvik and Peder Mannerfelt have been intrinsic members of the Swedish electronic music scene for the last decade or more – Grindvik runs the Stockholm LTD label, the latter his eponymous Peder Mannerfelt Produktion, as well as being part of the experimental duo Roll The Dice and a frequent collaborator with Fever Ray (Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife). That was 2019, and it's taken a few years for their album Arrival to... arrive... courtesy of Modeselektor's Monkeytown Records. While there were collaborations on their singles (including the wonderful Penelope Trappes), it still seemed more of a club project than a pop project. That's flipped on its head for this album, where even the instrumentals are full of sampled vocal hooks, big synths and sparkly melodies. It seems to lean into Euro-dance-pop rather gleefully, while still allowing itself to be charmingly weird, especially on the closing "Power Ambient Piano Ballad". Among the guests is the very busy Jonnine Standish of HTRK, who also appeared recently on The Bug's Absent Riddim.

clipping. and Evicshen - Sheba [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
clipping. and TENGGER - Say the Name (TENGGER Remix) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Six years after their last REMXNG outing, noise-hop masterminds clipping. are releasing a series of four remix EPs (compile them on CDs guys!) starting with REMXNG 2.1. The tracks are all credited to clipping. and the remix artist, with some more like collabs than remixes. Victoria Shen aka Evicshen destroys "She Bad" from Visions of Bodies Being Burned, further upping the horror quotient with blasts of noise and mangled vocal samples; but "travelling musical family" TENGGER, from Seoul, take a tiny bit from the outro of "Say the Name" and construct a blissed out ambient oscillation from it.

part timer - no voice [part timer Bandcamp]
part timer - with a whisper [part timer Bandcamp]
John part timer McCaffrey continues to make magic with just a laptop and a piano (I'm not sure it's even a real piano). While in COVID isolation, he made five tracks of subtle post-classical beauty, with sparse orchestrations on wind instruments and strings conjured from the aether. It's a fitting closer after Arkbro & Graden's opening tracks tonight, so go support great music.

Listen again — ~202MB

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Sunday, 18th of September, 2022

Playlist 18.09.22 (7:58 pm)

It's supporter drive here at FBi Radio. Membership comes with perks ranging from big prizes during supporter drive to daily giveaways of all sorts, and you'll get a sticker and a nice tote bag if you sign up during the drive as well. This show literally couldn't exist without the supporters of the station - because the station couldn't exist. Click here to sign up!

LISTEN AGAIN via FBi's patented stream-on-demand service here, or via podcast here.

Algiers feat. billy woods & Backxwash - Bite Back [Matador/Bandcamp]
When I first heard about Algiers, the idea of gospel-influenced vocals mixed with punk sounded decidedly unattractive. Yet the band makes it work, and the way they draw on politically-charged music of all sorts - particularly black musics like house & rap - means it's even hader to pin them down to any style. That's at the forefront of their return with new single "Bite Back" in which they're joined by two of the greatest unerground rappers the moment, the low-key, experimental billy woods and the high-energy, metal-and-postrock-influenced Zambian-Canadian Backxwash. "Punk" hardly fits at all here, with a marching synth bassline, orchestral stab-style samples, and skittering hi-hats, and halfway through a righteous DJ Shadow-style beat. Electrifying.

Keeley Forsyth - Land Animal (Ben Frost Remix) [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Gospel is also a touchpoint for the unique voice of British actor-turned-musician Keeley Forsyth, with Scott Walker and Talk Talk as frequent comparisons. Her second album Limbs has been remixed by four beautifully-chosen artists - the others are industrial royalty Cosey Fanni Tutti, post-classical don Yann Tiersen, and sound-art genius Simon Fisher Turner - but released first is Iceland-based Aussie Ben Frost, whose throbbing low-end growls and compositional sensibility are ideal to enhance the emotive, androgynous range of Forsyth.

Lueenas - Souls Sliding [Barkhausen Recordings]
Lueenas - Witches Brew [Barkhausen Recordings]
Copenhagen duo Ida Duelund (double bass) and Maria Jagd (violin) create improvised soundscapes as well as music for soundtracks and installations with their amplified instruments, voices and effects as Lueenas. Their self-titled debut album proper comes out on Barkhausen Recordings on November 4th, but in the meantime they've released two quite different singles. One leans on electronics, half-ambient and half a kind of throbbing analogue techno. The other uses strings and voices in a dark ambient folk fashion. It shows the range of these two women, and while we wait for the rest of the album, I'm going to check out their soundtrack material on their own Bandcamp! Also notable, Duelund was based for a time in Melbourne - always nice to have an Oz connection.

Bridget Chappell - And When You Reach The Plains After Crossing The Mountains [Absorb/Bandcamp]
Cypha - Mist Music [Absorb/Bandcamp]
Speaking of Naarm/Melbourne and strings, we turn now to the new(ish) compilation from new(ish) Naarm label Absorb, whose compilation The World I Want Would Be Celestial, Wet features experimental artists from the city and surrounds, from quasi-classical through ambient electronic to techno. Bridget Chappell, who also makes industrial/electronic/breakcore as Hextape, here brings their cello, multi-tracked with percussive sounds and processed delays. Gorgeous. And the comp ends with some jittery bass-techno from the excellent Cypha.

Wishmountain - Break [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
Wishmountain - Hammer [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
The programmed clunks of Cypha's beats blend nicely into the sampled clonks of Matthew Herbert's Stonework, recorded 1000 metres down in the UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein mine in Essen, Germany - and then sampled and edited assiduously in Herbert's Wishmountain fashion. The last Wishmountain album was 10 years ago, deconstructing consumerism on Tesco. Wishmountain encapsulates Herbert's old PCCOM Manifesto (Personal Contract for the Composition Of Music) in its most pure sense - among other things, it requires no sampling of existing recordings or sounds that exist prior to the music being created; no presets; no drum machines, and more. It's not clear whether he still follows this as such - all Google results lead to forums and articles about it rather than his own sites. Nevertheless, here we have a set of fairly sparse rhythmic studies based around his recordings of rocks and stones, from the mine and also the Ruhr Museum and Mineralien-Museum Essen. There are pitched sounds and drawn out sounds as well as beats, and there's something characteristic about the way they are processed that makes them clearly Herbert. It may be the opposite of the homely jazz-house of last year's Musca, and it may be under the Wishmountain alias, but it's certainly all Herbert.

Dominic Voz - Las Cuentas [Accidental Records/Bandcamp/Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
Dominic Voz - Right To The City I [Accidental Records/Bandcamp/Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
Sound-art and social justice are at the heart of the work of Chicago-via Portland artist Dominic Voz. His Portland origins connect him with the adventurous Beacon Sound, who are co-releasing his new album Right To The City with Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records. The title "Right To The City" references Voz' dedication to fair housing and contestation within urban settings, but also more generally his love of cities (something I very much share). Instruments and voices of friends are found throughout, often disarmingly casually dropped into the recordings, and ruthlessly sliced digitally, along with Voz's own instrumentation (is that him on cello?) and his folktronic, deconstructed production techniques. It's a beautiful combination of early-'00s style folktronic acoustic manipulation, '90s early jazz-fusion postrock and contemporary sound-art ambient. You're gonna love it.

Marc Baron & Jean-Philippe Gross - B6 [Eich Records]
Marc Baron & Jean-Philippe Gross - Y2 [Eich Records]
Marc Baron & Jean-Philippe Gross - P4 [Eich Records]
Marc Baron & Jean-Philippe Gross - Y6 [Eich Records]
Black, Pink and Yellow noises is a collection 20 short tracks created with tape and electronics by two French musicians working in the intersection of instrumental music (Baron is a saxophonist as well as sound-artist) and electronics. Some tracks are repeating loops with tape fuzz and various types of instrumental distortion, strums and thrums. Others are flickering drones or waves of raucous noise. The analogue warp and weft of magnetic tape are frequently present, as is the unprocessed hiss. Fans of early Mego, noise and drone take note.

Scattered Order - Alastair Sim [Rather Be Vinyl (Scattered Order Bandcamp)]
Scattered Order - Rummage [Rather Be Vinyl (Scattered Order Bandcamp)]
Sydney's venerable, oft-reincarnated postpunk/post-industrial group Scattered Order continue their latest reincarnation, now happily emanating noises for over 12 years in itself. These days it's Mitchell Jones (the little hand of the faithful) on beats, guitar and processed vocals, Michael Tee (A Cloakroom Assembly) on guitars & bass along with fellow traveller Shane Fahey on synths and other electronics. It can be abrasive and chaotic, but also weirdly melodic and beat-driven. Always a pleasure.

Tim Reaper & Kloke - Museum [!K7 Records/Bandcamp]
Inveterate, energetic jungle collaborator Tim Reaper releases collabs on labels of his own such as Future Retro and other contemporary jungle & drum'n'bass labels, but here appears on venerable German label !K7 Records with two tracks made with Melbourne-based producer Andy Donnelly aka Kloke. It's a reprise of their collab on Tempo Records last year, and both tracks are perfect for headphone listening and for dancefloors.

J:Kenzo ft Flowdan - Like A Hawk (Boylan Remix) [Artikal Music]
Remixes of J:Kenzo's 2019 Taygeta Code have been coming out over the last couple of years, with three 12" packages so far from Artikal Music. Stylistically they reflect J:Kenzo's own comfort inhabiting both the dubstep and drum'n'bass worlds, and the third remix EP that just dropped showcases this with three 140bpm reworkings, with grime producer Boylan's take particularly strong, supporting the menacing and deep voice of the don, Big Flowdan with heavy production.

Swimful - Backwards [SVBKVLT]
Swimful - More Distant on Approach (Phelimuncasi Remix - prod. DJ Scoturn) [SVBKVLT]
Shanghai-based producer Swimful's five releases on SVBKVLT have found him changing styles with ease each time, and Rushlight has a dubstep/garage feel but equally is influenced by South African gqom and ampiano - clearly evidenced by the brilliant Phelimuncasi crew remixing an older track with young producer DJ Scoturn at the helm. It's music that should rip up dancefloors, and that Phelimuncasi remix is some of their best recent work too.

Andy Moor - Perseverance [Unsounds]
Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) - The Fall, The Freedom [Unsounds]
Scottish, Amsterdam-based guitarist Andy Moor aka Andy Ex co-founded the great exploratory label Unsounds with Netherlands-based Greek composer Yannis Kyriakides and graphic designer Isabelle Vigier in 2001. The label showcases sounds from contemporary classical to postpunk to field recordings and experimental electronic pop, always conceptually on-point and of unwavering quality. Their latest release, curated with Andrea Stillacci, is a double LP simply called CLAP, that sees 11 musicians dissect the concept of applause across different contexts. Kyriakides, for instance, samples and stretches the applause at the end of a Maria Callas performance; others like Moor Mother create collages from field recordings, street sounds, etc. Andy Moor's own piece uses handclaps along with sampled speech (recorded during NASA's space probe Perseverance entering the Martian atmosphere and landing) and throbbing bass to build a house track, while Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) slowly builds a pulsing drone with slow-flanged beats and synths that gradually reveal the source material (the fall of the Berlin Wall). It's always great to have a conceptual work where the music is first class, and that's what we've got here.

Radboud Mens - Conversion [Radboud Mens Bandcamp]
Radboud Mens - Modular [Radboud Mens Bandcamp]
I first heard about Dutch instrument maker and producer Radboud Mens via numerous collaborations with Michel Banabila. His latest release is a double CD called Continuous Movement that encapsulates Mens' various styles - drones, glitchy digital clicks and minimal (dub) techno, all together. The two albums exist separately but make the most sense together, with a cohesive feel whether it's head-nodding beats, beatless pulses, deeply encompassing or more sparse. A great introduction to an interesting & sometimes challenging artist.

Listen again — ~205MB

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Wednesday, 14th of September, 2022

Playlist 11.09.22 (11:01 pm)

Big experimental pop album released this week, but there's also an array of experimental sounds from around the world...

LISTEN AGAIN, it's your royal duty. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Jockstrap - Angst [Rough Trade/Bandcamp]
Jockstrap - Joy [Kaya Kaya Records]
Jockstrap - The City [Warp/Bandcamp]
Jockstrap - Beavercore 3 [Warp/Bandcamp]
Jockstrap - Debra [Rough Trade/Bandcamp]
So here it is. After a couple of brilliant singles, following the two extraordinary EPs released on Warp in 2020, and their debut EP on Kaya Kaya Records in 2018, UK duo Jockstrap's first full album I Love You, Jennifer B is finally out from Rough Trade. The songs and sumptuous string arrangements of Georgia Ellery (also of Black Country, New Road), with the shiny-but-experimental production of Taylor Skye, make Jockstrap a unique and joyful experience. Part of Jockstrap's brilliance is the juxtapositions: irreverant humour with deep emotion, luscious jazz harmonies & progressions with glitched programmed beats, intensely catchy pop sensibility with experimentalism. The album covers all the ground of their previous EPs, including frequent references to "the city", and tracks named after women's names. And that pop sensibility is unquestionable.

Nathaniel Mellors - Digital Worms [Nathaniel Mellors Bandcamp, coming soon]
British artist Nathaniel Mellors is one quarter of the brilliant, unclassifiable band The God In Hackney, who have a new album coming out soonish. Mellors is perhaps better known internationally, though, as a multidisciplinary artist, working in video, painting, sculpture, animatronics and more. A new exhibition called Estate is opening soon at Matt's Gallery in London, featuring Neanderthal-themed works from the last decade, including videos for Mellors' solo work and The God In Hackney, and along with that is a limited 7" single with two tracks - "Life Becomes A Promo" and "Digital Worms", of which I chose the b-side to play tonight. Mellors' work abounds in work-play and genre-slippage, as can be found here.

Bird Eternal - Forest Burial [Bird Eternal Bandcamp]
From around 2008 to 2016, Melbourne-via-Blue Mountains musician Bob Streckfuss released a slew of brilliant experimental electronic music as 0point1 (or, earlier, 0.1). He mixed postrock & shoegaze influences with glitch and idm in a unique way. He's back now under the new name Bird Eternal, with a beautiful track of processed vocals and electronics. His incredible digital art can be found on Instagram.

Briana Marela - You Are a Wave [Briana Marela Bandcamp]
Briana Marela - Eclipse [Briana Marela Bandcamp]
After her third album Call It Love was released in 2017, Briana Marela moved to Oakland to complete an MFA at Mills College. Her previous albums combined her talents at indie songwriting with electronic processing, but You Are A Wave is both more personal and more unforgiving for the listener. The influence of her fine arts studies is here in the extended instrumental modular synth works, stridently unmoored in melody or rhythm, and in her collaboration with the contemporary music-focused Eclipse Quartet, but so is the upheaval of the pandemic, and the tragic loss of her father in April 2022 - he was in Peru, and she was unable to return for over a year. The combination of uncompromising sound-art and her ethereal vocals singing of loss makes ultimately for a very contemporary album, one well suited to a time where pop music, indie music, jazz, club and experimentalism have very slippery boundaries at best.

Nonsemble - Argentavis [Nonsemble Bandcamp]
Nonsemble - Argentavis (Madeleine Cocolas Remix) [Nonsemble Bandcamp]
Something like 15 years ago I discovered Brisbane musician Chris Perren via his folktronic solo work and his postrock band Mr Maps. In the interim, he also formed the contemporary classical ensemble Nonsemble, where his compositions, guitar and electronics are joined by a group of strings, piano and percussion. It's been a while since the last Nonsemble release, but they're returning now with a recorded version of their Archaeopteryx Cycle inspired by prehistoric birds. The first single celebrates the carnivorous Argentavis, probably the heaviest flying bird to have ever existed. A nice mix of rhythmic strings and electronics, it's supported on the single by a blissful remix with added vocal drones by fellow Brisvegan Madeleine Cocolas.

Catherine Graindorge featuring Iggy Pop - Mud II [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
Last year Belgian violist/violinist Catherine Graindorge released a lovely album on Glitterbeat of dark, layered electronic string works. It seems they caught the ear of veteran pre/postpunk all-round rock ledge Iggy Pop, who played some tracks on a radio playlist he put together, and one thing led to another and Graindorge sent him some tracks which he spoke/sang on. Although the title track is the lead song on The Dictator EP, I liked the vibe of "Mud II", and it segues nicely into the ultra-dark of our next act...

The Bug - Satan ft Nazamba [Pressure Records]
The Bug - Oceans ft YL Hooi [Pressure Records]
Kevin Martin was asked to provide a remix for post-metal/sludge superground Absent In Body (a group whose future is in doubt now that Scott Kelly (also ex-Neurosis) has been outed as an abuser). The first thing he sent them was rejected as not heavy enough(!) and so instead it became the Absent Riddim, a versatile instrumental that, dancehall/dub style, he shared with a whole slew of collaborators to create versions ranging from ethereal song to hard-hitting rap. This technique is something Martin's used in the past, with b-sides of tracks like "Poison Dart" and others featuring alternate versions with different MCs. The riddim is sludge-slow and covered in sooty static, very clearly The Bug, and his choices of collaborator range from Jamaican and grime MCs, US underground rappers, to metal vocalists, indie singers and jazz musicians. Two of the artists tragically passed away very recently - one is Jamaican MC Nazamba, who died of a heart attack, and who contributes a hellish set of verses titled "Satan". Also present is incendiary jazz trumpeter Jaimie Branch, whose death two weeks ago at age 39 came as a massive shock. I didn't play her track tonight, but it's wonderful - mostly her singing but with some trumpet in there too! There are so many great people on here, including frequent sparring partner Justin K Broadrick, the great industrial hip-hop MC dälek, King Midas Sound's Roger Robinson (featured on last week's show), Moor Mother and many more. Two Australians also appear: Jonnine Standish of HTRK, and Melbourne's YL Hooi, who I played tonight.

YL Hooi - Always In Jokes [Efficient Space/YL Hooi Bandcamp]
Russian-Chinese musician Valya Ying-Li Hooi is YL Hooi, a member of Kallista Kult with every-present Melbourne noisemaker Tarquin Manek - which provides a direct connection to Carla dal Forno, who I'd see as one touchpoint for YL Hooi's sound, along with HTRK's Jonnine Standish. Not that Hooi is derivative in any way - in fact, other than her delicate, semi-detached vocal style, the connections are more about the postpunk/dub style that inhabits some of her work. But you'll just as likely find her making massive granular drones out of her voice, or sparse filligree soundscapes, or strange Casio keyboard ditties. The anything-goes approach on her twice-released Untitled is intruging and both redolent of that Melbourne scene and of the current zeitgeist (e.g. the Briana Marela album above). I hope her presence on The Bug's album indicates more things to come, as this album is a few years old now!

Tom Allum - under [Tone List/Bandcamp]
Tom Allum - time [Tone List/Bandcamp]
Not long after exploratory Perth label Tone List released 504's Salvage Rhythms, made out of repurposed found sounds & field recordings, they now bring us Tom Allum's CANAL ROCKS. Here the burbling landscape of Canal Rocks, near Margaret River in Western Australia, is documented and repurposed by Allum in various ways. Field recordings are processed and "blasted back into the environment at night"; hydroponic recordings featured from deep under the water. All these watery sounds are played both straight and chopped into rhythms and shapes at times, and they are overlaid with synth pads and guitar at times. It really is evocative of a place where the sea meets the land.

KAVARI - Mirroring (Like Me) [KAVARI Bandcamp]
KAVARI - Attachment Style [KAVARI Bandcamp]
Glasgow artist KAVARI (Cameron Sofia Winters) has some great collabs under her belt and demented edits & remixes, but it feels like Suture EP is her most fully-formed work yet. Here she she effortlessly combines jungle, dubstep and trap influences with current experimentalism (have we stopped using "deconstructed club" now?), including creepy metal-adjacent vocal growls. All of that makes for ideal Utility Fog music, so get on it.

Ibrahim Alfa Jnr - TQSM [Mille Plateaux/Bandcamp]
Ibrahim Alfa Jnr - NPNX [Mille Plateaux/Bandcamp]
Brighton-based Ibrahim Alfa Jnr has been making his brand of wonky, rhythmically-unusual techno since the mid-to-late '90s. It's not a surprise to find him now on the re-formed experimental imprint Mille Plateaux, but it is a surprise to find many of the tracks on Messier87 sporting jungle breakbeats. Mille Plateaux, in their theory-infested way, call it "Hypercussion", which is a nice coinage anyway. I like the buried swing beats at the start and end of the first track tonight, and the hyper nature of this new music in a new direction from a techno veteran.

Frank Bretschneider and Giorgio Li Calzi - In The Dark [Umor Rex/Bandcamp]
Frank Bretschneider and Giorgio Li Calzi - Human-to-Human [Umor Rex/Bandcamp]
Jazz trumpet melded with electronics has a long heritage - back to Miles Davis easily, along with Jon Hassell and Nils Petter Molvær. Giorgio Li Calzi has also worked his trumpet in with electronics during his long career, and here the electronics are provided by another veteran, Frank Bretschneider, co-founder of the Raster label, before it merged with Alva Noto's Noton, and then de-merged a few years ago. This album, though, is released on the forward-thinking Mexican label Umor Rex. With Zero Mambo the two artists switch between glitchy machine funk and more sparse & dubby feels, with the translucent trumpet of Li Calzi perfectly aligned with the purity of Bretschneider's tones and hits. Man-machine music.

Carl Stone - Vatanim [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
We're not done with veterans yet. Our last track comes from LA/Tokyo-based pioneer of sampling and granular techniques, Carl Stone. Unseen Worlds showcased his back catalogue on two compilations in 2016 & 2018, which catalysed a renaissance of creativity in Stone, with multiple EPs and albums released through the label since then. Gall Tones, a typically punning title, is an EP produced on laptop & headphones in hospital following a gall stone operation, with the subject of his rhythmic chop-and-shuffle being pop music of some sort. There's a brass link here though - some kind of mambo horn section is stuttering about in this track, it seems. Unhinged as only Stone can do it.

Listen again — ~203MB

Comments Off on Playlist 11.09.22

Saturday, 3rd of September, 2022

Playlist 04.09.22 (9:00 pm)

He's baaaaack! Huge, inadequate thanks to Marcus Whale for his brilliant work filling in over four shows. He's instinctively included many of the releases I would've played (shout out for Kim Myhr!) and done an all-round wonderful job.
Many of the tunes tonight are delayed plays of material I would have featured over the month, but it's all pretty new stuff anyway.

LISTEN AGAIN, to one person's idea of where it's at. Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Boris - (not) Last song [Relapse Records/Bandcamp]
When Boris are on, they're on (it's most of the time), and so not long after the brilliant W comes Heavy Rocks, their third to be bestowed that name. Indeed note their website - borisheavyrocks. They do rock, heavily, most of the time, and this album is dedicated to heavy rock in all its heavy rockiness. Nevertheless, Boris are not to be pigeonholed, and this album was again produced by the brilliant suGar Yoshinaha of Buffalo Daughter. On the last track, *ahem* "(not) Last song", we get a piano refrain with periodic glitches, crackling noises, guitar feedback, and pained vocals from Atsuo. It's typically atypical for Boris, and just rad.

Chat Pile - Pamela [The Flenser/Bandcamp]
Chat Pile - I Don't Care If I Burn [The Flenser/Bandcamp]
Keeping with the heavy bands for just a moment longer, here's Oklahoma's Chat Pile, whose album on The Flenser has been eagerly awaited. Their combination of hardcore punk, noise rock and sludge/doom metal is unapologetically political - in a recent interview they said the album is an attempt to "capture the anxiety and fear of seeing the world fall apart". There's a surprising amount of clean vocals, rendering the lyrics comprehensible, and there are plenty of catchy riffs and basslines. It's also mostly very menacing, especially with the quietly suspenseful "I Don't Care If I Burn", with just a kick drum and a half-spoken, half-sung vocal.

Yo-Yo Ma / Stuart Duncan / Edgar Meyer / Chris Thile - No One But You feat. Aoife O'Donovan [Sony Classical]
Aoife O'Donovan - B61 (Olga Bell Remix) [Yep Roc Records/Bandcamp]
Here I've allowed myself a little indulgence in playing a track from the beloved Goat Rodeo Sessions from 2011, in which the great, restless cellist Yo-Yo Ma teamed up with some of the top bluegrass musicians in the world - banjo player Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer and certified genius Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers on mandolin & vocals. On a couple of tracks the band are joined by Irish-American singer Aoife O'Donovan, and she's the reason for this inclusion. Her song with Thile, "No One But You", is gorgeously heart-pulling, and so I always notice her name when it comes up. The lovely track "B61" from her recent album Age of Apathy has now been remixed by Russian-American producer/composer/musician Olga Bell, turning the gentle folk-pop into a transportive piece of minimal techno. It's beautifully unexpected.

Utility - Flooot - DJ Plead Rework [SUMAC]
In 2019, Tom Smith and Austin Buckett created a bewilderingly conceptual album called Nexus Destiny made up entirely of unaccompanied monophonic arpeggios for software synths. It's one of those "uh, OK, if you say so" things for me, but... cool? In any case, 2 and half years later comes an excellent selection of remixes thereof by friends (Tom's T.Morimoto among them, as Utility seems to be just Austin now?) Our DJ Plead is top notch as ever, with cycling percussive beats matching the synth arpeggios.

Fugazi - So Tired (Morwell remix) [Morwell Bandcamp]
Croatian-English producer Max Morwell loves his UK bass music, through from hardcore & jungle to grime, dubstep and uk funky. It all bubbles up and around the music he makes, but he also loves his pop and rock and r'n'b, and that comes out in the various bootleg remixes that he has a habit of popping out frequently. Remixes Vol 5 may be the most enjoyable yet, and marrying the least characteristic Fugazi song with a jaunty beat and dubby bass/fx inna '90s style is perversely inspired.

LSN & Roger Robinson - Pray [Artikal Music/Bandcamp]
Speaking of '90s, trip-hop is back, as I think I've mentioned before! Dubsteppers are particularly enjoying bringing the trip-hop vibes, and who better for LSN to invite than the poet Roger Robinson of King Midas Sound and more. There's more than a little of Massive Attack circa Mezzanine on these four tracks, with heavy ponderous riffage sweeping in at times, but there's also the influence of dubstep and grime. References aside, this is deeply evocative stuff, deserving of a wide audience.

First Circle (feat Don Sinini) - Sad Day (Ghost Phone Remix) [All Centre]
London's All Centre released First Circle's song "Sad Day" (feat. Don Sinini) only a few weeks ago, and followed it up with this Ghost Phone remix which I like even more - it's sparse and haunted, with bass and skittery hats floating in and out with the vocals, like the best UK drill, and works like a contemporary counterpart to the more nostalgic sounds of LSN & Robinson.

Chad Dubz ft. Riko Dan - In The Red [Deep Medi/Bandcamp]
New on Deep Medi is a minialbum of heavyweight dubstep from Chad Dubz, Bristol founder of Foundation Audio. The vocal tracks are heaviest of all, with grime collabs and intense productions like this one, with snarling riffs a la Distance or The Bug, and indeed Riko Dan has worked with The Bug before. Here he spits lines about all the ways his enemies will get, well, fucked up.

Yunzero - Cupid Television [West Mineral Ltd/Bandcamp]
Yunzero - Acryclic Germ [West Mineral Ltd/Bandcamp]
Next up, from Naarm/Melbourne is our man Yunzero, with his most high-profile release yet, Butterfly DNA, out on Huerco S's West Mineral Ltd. It's honestly so good seeing new people getting hip to the unique madness of Yunzero's sound, drawing on beats from trip-hop & jungle to dubstep & footwork, doing "deconstructed club" in very much his own way, and equally doing the ambient/illbient of vaporwave/dreamgaze in his own woozy way. Utterly brilliant.

Saint Abdullah & Eomac - Capping Verse [Other People/Bandcamp]
Saint Abdullah & Eomac - Bareekullah Picnic [Other People/Bandcamp]
Here's a surprising but perfect collaboration between Ian McDonnell aka Eomac (one half of Lakker) and NY-based Iranian brothers Mohammad & Mehdi aka Saint Abdullah. With Saint Abdullah, the brothers explore various aspects of their culture and the way it's filtered and twisted in the "Western" context, melding field recordings and samples of Iranian music with dub and IDM-inspired beats and ambiences, free jazz and noise. McDonnell too has brought traditional Irish music into his techno and experimental electronics, and the artists were able to find parallels between the ways religious traditions in their cultures have been used to oppress their peoples. The album runs like many Saint Abdullah albums, with crackling samples from Iran & the Middle East and further afield, and abstractions of various types of dance music. If you like this awesome work, be sure to follow up their many previous releases.

Thugwidow - A Reduction In Stress [Western Lore]
Following the "sampler" EP, here's the full new album from Wales' finest trader in jungle & rave nostalgia, Thugwidow. Some tracks are pure dancefloor fillers, while others follow his frequent forays into Burial-like hauntology, with beats floating in & out of beds of washed-out ambience.

Gunjack - House of Glass [Gunjack Bandcamp]
Gunjack - Awaken [Gunjack Bandcamp]
Gunjack - Honeysuckle (feat. Sun Ra) [Gunjack Bandcamp]
Brian Gunjack is a US artist with very eclectic styles. I've particularly liked the Hyperjazz Volume 1 EP, which finds him in drill'n'bass/breakcore mode but with a jazz core - indeed "feat. Sun Ra" on the last track here does indeed refer to at least the jazz god's spoken words. In between, a track from the digital part of RTX Gold, a highly limited cassette release which touches on jungle, but also delves into trip hop and other breakbeat forms. Very nice stuff, and I hope Hyperjazz Volume 2 is coming soon...

ize - Crack 45 [Ize Bandcamp]
ize - Sugar Spice feat. Eartheater [Ize Bandcamp]
Don Gonzalez aka ize popped up on my radar a couple of years ago when Ize Cream Man first dropped - psycho rapping like a punk Danny Brown, with jungle and hardcore smashed up against grime and hip-hop. AceMo was on production for some of those beats (see This Is Not A Drill), but his new EP Crack Kong is instrumentals produced by himself - presumably a harbinger of something more official soon. Meanwhile, Ize Cream Man is up on his Bandcamp, including a rad collab with Eartheater.

Alienationist - Das ist Doch Demokratie [Alienationist Bandcamp]
Berlin-based producer Philipp Rhensius runs the Arcane Patterns label, DJs on Noods Radio and elsewhere, and for his reassuringly-titled album Don't Worry, You Can Always Be Reborn As a Screenshot blends jungle and hardcore breaks & basslines in amongst field recordings, processed spoken word and ambient textures. Hard to pin down, just how we like it.

Dylan Peirce - Heights [Digital In Berlin/Bandcamp]
Pindrops by Berlin-based multidisciplinary artist Dylan Peirce is the second release on the new label for the music platform/promoter/event Digital In Berlin. It sure is arty, coming with a whole lot of text that starts by informing us that "you first need to understand that it is not meant to be understood in the conventional sense of that word". This is reassuring, as I don't really understand any of it, but it's about different levels of perspective, with sounds from close-mic'd objects to field recordings, and from widescreen ambience to detailed rhythmic studies like the one I played tonight. Here we have acoustic sounds edited into IDM-like complex patterns. Part of the album's conception is that the gradual widening of perspective is linked to ecological theory - so check the whole (excellent) release and let that play around in your head while you listen.

Deep Learning - Spring Landscape [Oxtail Recordings]
Deep Learning - Message Your Loved Ones [Oxtail Recordings]
Richard Pike is of course the brother of Laurence Pike, with whom he played in Pivot/PVT. These days under his own name he's building a fruitful career writing film & TV scores, and as Deep Learning he's focused on minimalist compositions. The tunes on Evergreen are by and large peaceful, but with plenty of movement going on. The glitchy loops that form the music's basis call back to the early works of Markus Popp as Oval, but Pike's far too deliberate a composer to let that randomness define the music. It's lovely, melodic, elusively rhythmic work.

Tilly Webb - May You Grow Strong and Tall [Tilly Webb Bandcamp]
Originally from Sydney, Tilly Webb is now based in Naarm/Melbourne, where she studied interactive composition at the Conservatorium. She's written music for dance and film, and her released music combines composition, ambient soundscapes, glitch and beats in the way that comes naturally to the current generation of artists. So her new EP Inside and Out has everything from field recording-based ambient to electronic pop, with this track transforming along the way, with a lovely organic-sounding beat and pretty synth melodies. An artist to pay attention to.

Flightless Birds Take Wing - Given Terrace [4000 Records]
When I played the remarkable new album Spectral from Brisbane's Madeleine Cocolas a couple of months back, I wasn't aware of her new duo with fellow Brisvegan, saxophonist Marike Van Dijk. Flightless Birds Take Wing describe their music as "Tropical Ambient Bangers", which... well, OK. It's charmingly loose and experimental, with field recordings of birds matched with IDM-ish rhythms, beautiful ambient pads, and overdriven noise all given a look-in. On this track, distorted, looped saxophone(?) gives way to delicate piano phrases and what may or may not be sampled traffic noise. Before you know it you're drawn in, and hardly notice as electronic pads join the piano. Unexpected bliss.

Natalie Beridze - Salt [ROOM40/Bandcamp]
Just before I left, I played some tracks from the brilliant album of studio off-cuts from Georgian mainstay Natalie Beridze. The album was sourced from a large selection of material, enough to supply another five tracks on follow-up EP In Front Of You. Everything here is as good as the album proper, and the noise loops, ambient pads and pitch-shifted vocals here are gorgeous.

Listen again — ~205MB

Comments Off on Playlist 04.09.22

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