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Utility Fog

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Tuesday, 4th of October, 2022

Playlist 02.10.22 (11:39 am)

Various variants of song in all its experimental glory tonight, as well as other genre-mashing and electronic delights.

LISTEN AGAIN to the sounds of tomorrow - today! Stream on demand from FBi Radio, podcast here.

Julia Sabra and Fadi Tabbal - Signs [Beacon Sound/Bandcamp/Ruptured Music/Bandcamp]
Julia Sabra and Fadi Tabbal - Still Life [Beacon Sound/Bandcamp/Ruptured Music/Bandcamp]
Out in a couple of weeks from excellent Portland label Beacon Sound and great Beirut label Ruptured Music is the beautiful album Snakeskin from Lebanese duo Julia Sabra and Fadi Tabbal. Sabra is one third of dream pop trio Postcards, all of whose releases have been produced by Tabbal. Inevitably it's deeply influenced by the massive Beirut port explosion of August 2020 that left hundreds dead, thousands injured, and destroyed countless people's homes, but it also references other events from the region: the Palestinian uprising and Israeli crackdown in Sheikh Jarrah, and Azerbaijan's invasion of the Nagorno-Karabakh region of Armenia. Sabra's soft voice expresses tragedy and loss, and the duo bring glitches and drones along with dubby Arabic percussion at times, all embedded in reverb. At times the more aggressive aspects of Postcards' shoegazey rock emerge, but mostly it's more quietly compelling. Don't sleep on it.

Dominic Voz - Dan Ryan [Accidental Records/Bandcamp/Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
A couple of weeks ago we premiered some tracks from Dominic Voz's album Right to the City, also co-released by Beacon Sound, with none other than Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records. The album's out today, and I wanted to showcase this track, named for Dan Ryan Jr, who helped construction of expressways around Chicago including the Dan Ryan Expressway, opened shortly after Ryan's death. The track combines all the album's characteristics, from sliding synths supported by classical instruments to urban field recordings and glitched rhythms.

Oren Ambarchi - III [Drag City/Bandcamp]
Oren Ambarchi - IV [Drag City/Bandcamp]
Ever since 2012's Audience of One, Sydney/Melbourne experimental hero Oren Ambarchi has had a strain of rhythmic-melodic longform work based around repetitive patterns on guitar, shimmering ride cymbal and other instrumentation. I think of it as a form of krautrock, but it's as much influenced by Ambarchi's childhood love of heavy metal, minimalist composition, techno, funk fusion and more. The latest, Shebang, is constructed from recordings made around the world by Ambarchi's collaborators, who include Joe Talia on drums as usual, Jim O'Rourke on synths, Chris Abrahams with a characteristically restrained piano solo, Johan Berthling on double bass, Julia Reidy on 12-string guitar (seemingly tuned in an orthodox manner here rather than just intonation), the legendary BJ Cole on pedal steel, and Sam Dunscombe on bass clarinet. These are all musicians whose work, like Ambarchi's, extends from the most challenging climes of anti-music through to expressions of harmoniousness your least adventurous family members could enjoy. Shebang, despite existing as one 35-minute piece (divided into four for digital), is probably the most approachable yet of Ambarchi's compositions, despite also being pieced together from separate musicians' recordings during the pandemic, with counter-intuitive elements like guitar-triggered piano riffs blending into the whole undetectably. It's a wonder.

Keeley Forsyth - Wash (Yann Tiersen Remix) [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Keeley Forsyth - Limbs (Simon Fisher Turner Remix) [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
A couple of weeks ago I played the brilliant Ben Frost remix of British actor-turned-singer Keeley Forsyth. The Phantom Limbs remix EP is now out in its entirety, and it's all just as good. Yann Tiersen we've heard quite a bit on the show - if you think he's just the Amelie guy you're missing out on French chanson melded with indie, postrock, electronic and "neo-classical" before there was such a thing. Here he shows that he can still surprise, with soft and then heavy drones supporting Forsyth's powerful voice. On a completely different tangent, the brilliant sound-artist Simon Fisher Turner (also once an actor, turned pop musician, turned experimental sound-artist) turns in a sparse glitch-space in which to situate Forsyth's avant-garde song.

Saint Abdullah & Eomac - In One Corner The Male Relatives [Other People/Bandcamp]
Lakker - Thought, Voice & Hand [Lakker Bandcamp]
Yes, here's another album we previewed a few weeks back - the collaboration between New York-based Iranian brothers Saint Abdullah and Dublin's Eomac. Patience Of A Traitor came out this week from Nicolas Jaar's Other People. Those familiar with Saint Abdullah's work will find this takes a similar tack, with field recordings and sampled voices in Farsi and Arabic weaving through electronic textures and beats. The brothers' IDM tendencies are brought out here by Eomac. That's Ian McDonnell, who is one half of Lakker with Dara Smith aka Arad, and we've been hearing a bit of Lakker through the year as they release an EP every month. LKRTRX009 has just come out for September, and it's a bit less on the fierce side, but still repurposing rave signatures with bass and beats.

Eusebeia - Hopes + Dreams [Livity Sound]
Wiltshire's Seb Uncles has been releasing modern jungle & drum'n'bass along with some slower-paced music for a few years as Eusebeia. It's a slight surprise to find him on Bristol's Livity Sound, who generally inhabit the dubstep-techno-house space, but jungle is certainly part of their make-up, and creative genre-crossers like Forest Drive West have found homes for their music there. On the Cosmos EP there are a couple of full-on drumfunk numbers like this one among ambient tunes and more trip-hop-paced pieces. As good an intro as any to the Eusebeia sound.

Kuedo - Ant City (µ-Ziq Remix) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Jamie Teasdale was known as Jamie Vex'd for a little while after his groundbreaking industrial dubstep duo Vex'd, with Roly Porter, dissolved sometime around 2008 when the pair moved to different cities. A couple of years later he'd settled on Kuedo as a split from the dubstep history. His first album under that name was the sci-fi Severant, reissued this month on 2LP with a bonus track. While the music has more to do with classic synth soundtracks than the UK dance continuum, Planet µ boss Mike Paradinas' µ-Ziq is first cab off the rank for the associated Severant Remixes, sending the Blade Runneresque sounds into overdrive on the junglist tip of his recent 2022 releases.

clipping. and ZULI - Make Them Dead (ZULI's Life After Death Remix) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
A mere week after REMXNG 2.1, clipping. have followed it up with the second out of 4 remix EPs coming this year. There's a very nice junglist remix by LA's Baseck on there, but I'm not going to pass up the opportunity to play Cairo's ZULI, here mashing the amen breaks at hip-hop tempo and somehow scrambling Daveed Diggs' vocals in amongst the rhythmic stuff.

Mindy Meng Wang 王萌 & Tim Shiel - My Love Is Not What It Was 嗔念 (3ASiC Remix) [Music In Exile/Bandcamp]
Nervous Energy, the collaboration between Melbourne-based guzheng player Mindy Meng Wang 王萌 and tireless electronic producer and broadcaster Tim Shiel, was one of the most exciting releases of last year. MMW's beautiful, creative playing on the ancient Chinese zither, her dedication to bringing the guzheng into new musical contexts, brought out the best in Shiel, with four tracks of the best kind of fusion. Now each track is remixed, one by Tim Shiel himself, one by Brisbane violinst & contemporary musician Flora Wong, one from Sydney-born, London-based pan-Asian musician Justin Tam aka Tzekin and finally Shenzhen-based bass producer 3ASiC. Each takes the compositions in their own directions, and while the originals are untouchable, this is a lovely way of revisiting and extending the collaborative works.

Madobe Rika - ばく [Virgin Babylon/Bandcamp]
Madobe Rika - 炉心融解(cover) [Madobe Rika Bandcamp]
So, who is Madobe Rika? She is a virtual girl. Virgin Babylon, who have just signed her, claim they don't even know who she is. Or should I say "she"? The Baklava EP up on Virgin Babylon's Bandcamp is a three-track Pay What You Want introduction to her music, with tracks from her two OpenWindow volumes. The second track I played today comes from last year's OpenWindow vol.2 and is a cover of "炉心融解" ("Meltdown") by Kagamine Ren, a Vocaloid and obviously a virtual girl herself. The song is actually by producer iroha(sasaki) and you can see the video here - it's demented enough in itself (although there are many versions of the song so I can't be sure which this even is), but Madobe Rika takes it into full breakcore territory, like much of her music. Vocals that could almost be real until that zoom up into stratospheric pitch, sentimental melodies splattered into concrete. You can see why World's End Girlfriend wanted to release her music, and hopefully this EP precedes a full album and a lovely Japanese CD.

PETBRICK - Ayan (Bubblelogue Mix) [Rocket Recordings/Bandcamp]
PETBRICK - Pigeon Kick [Rocket Recordings/Bandcamp]
PETBRICK - Raijin [Rocket Recordings/Bandcamp]
The interface between breakcore and metal has always been eldritch thin. Here's a perfect example: one half of PETBRICK is Wayne Adams, who made breakcore for years as Ladyscraper, but has also been in hardcore bands like Death Pedals, and party noise rock band Big Lad. Adams' foil in PETBRICK is none other than Igor Cavalera, founding drummer in Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura, but also electronic music producer and touring drummer with Soulwax. I first discovered PETBRICK through their incredible collaboration with Brazilian punk/experimental/noise group Deafkids, DEAFBRICK. It's hard to pin down what's producing the noises on PETBRICK's second album Liminal - there are metal/industrial riffs that could be synths, drones that could be guitars, beats that could be live drumming but are often clearly sampled and programmed. It's at times intense and rhythmic, at other times sparse or doomy. Hardcore/metal vocalists guest as well as underground rappers. As a response to a world falling apart, it's quite visceral and yet also pretty fun. Meanwhile, back in May they released the Ayan EP, with four versions of the eponymous track, including remixes from techno veteran Surgeon and ex-breakcore veteran Cardopusher, but the real gem is their own "Bubblelogue" remix, which despite the reference to Aphex Twin's Analogue Bubblebath releases is more in line with the annagramatic Hangable Auto Bulb EPs, drill'n'bass madness.

Isolated Gate - Confusion Is Bliss (Full Version) [Darla Records/Bandcamp]
The latest release from Adelaidian IDM/glitch hero Tim Koch and Japan-based English shoegaze musician Ian Masters (ex-Pale Saints) is the EP No Heart No Home. The 15-minute title track is a gorgeous long composition by Koch with cut-up cello samples and melodies from yours truly, and angelic vocal lines from Masters. The shorter tracks on the other side are varied, with "Confusion Is Bliss" sounding almost like a lost shoegaze classic, interrupted by electronics between its verses. Isolated Gate is a pretty special thing and trust me when I say it, despite limited streaming provided by Darla Records.

JWPaton - Oxy Lance [Oxtail Recordings]
It's a shame I was only able to preview the first 7 minutes or so of Western Sydney-based Yuin musician JWPaton's new work "Oxy Lance". It's a pretty stunning track, almost 20 minutes long, which you should experience in video form if possible, with lush drones and buried rhythms juxtaposing peace and domesticity with various interruptions. I strongly recommend checking the whole piece out, and purchasing it via Oxtail Recordings.

Perera Elsewhere - Hold Tite [Friends of Friends Music/Bandcamp]
Perera Elsewhere - Stranger [Friends of Friends Music/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based, London-born Sasha Perera aka Perera Elsewhere is a very versatile musician, a restlessly creative electronic producer and educator, as well as a creative vocalist and songwriter. Her new album Home, released by LA's Friends of Friends Music, is balanced between pop and electronic experimentation, an extension of the style she's coined as "doom-folk", although it's full of beats and bass as well. Not infrequently, Perera's voice is distorted through pitch shifting and other effects, allowing Perera to express many personalities, while on this album nevertheless centring the idea of "Home", and of some kind of peace and freedom, juxtaposed with the "Elsewhere" of her taken name, and the "doom" of her earlier work. It's a catchy, enjoyable listen even at its weirdest.

Björk - Mycelia [One Little Independent/Bandcamp]
Björk - Her Mother’s House (feat. ísadóra bjarkardóttir barney) [One Little Independent/Bandcamp]
I had a lot of trouble with the initial singles for Björk's new album Fossora. I've been a fan of hers since before Debut was even released, but there have always been aspects of her art that I find difficult: the melodies that can be exquisite but can also prod and prod until my head aches; the weird phrasing that deliberately accents the wrong parts of words and stretches melodies over single syllables; harmonies that reach for atonality in awkward ways (from a composer capable of glorious harmonisation); rhythms that, especially on this gabber-inspired release, hammer even at slower tempos without remorse. Even "Ancestress", the song on the album most directly about her late mother, which many have been powerfully moved by, I find quite painful listening, its verse melody strained by repetition and portentous pauses, and the the chorus, even as it recalls the beautiful "Unison" from her masterpiece Vespertine, still exhibiting so many of those foibles (the incredibly awkward scansion!). Perhaps it's because it's very operatic, and (I'm sorry) I hate opera.
In any case, it's still Björk and there is still beauty and genius here. The bizarre fungal references are all over "Mycelia", a lovely vocal vignette with increasingly glitched voice samples, and there, at the end, is the sublime "Her Mother's House", once again referencing Björk's late mother Hildur while featuring her daughter Ísadóra (Dóa). Here the wind ensemble provides a bed instead of parping like a school band, and around Björk's own vocal lines Dóa and an oboe weave glittering scale patterns. Anyway, this is one guy's musical opinions and it's all aesthetics, so don't be offended if you love it all. You're absolutely right, even if I'm not wrong. And Björk is a treasure, forevermore.

Listen again — ~207MB

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