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Utility Fog

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Monday, 31st of October, 2022

Playlist 30.10.22 (11:18 pm)

Tonight we go from dancehall and percussive beats through IDM and jungle to postpunk, glitch, postrock, neo-classical and folk.

LISTEN AGAIN - somebody has to! Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Lady Lykez - Woza (Feat. Toya Delazy) [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Lady Lykez - Bully Dem [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
The entire Woza EP from Lady Lykez is produced by Scratchclart aka Scratcha DVA - it's their second EP together, and it's a perfect pairing. The north Londoner grew up as a battling MC, but here she leans heavily into the dancehall connections of UK hip-hop and dance music, as well as the South African ampiano influences that Scratcha has been championing for some time. The SA connection is cemented with an appearance on the title track from London-based Zulu princess (true!) Toya Delazy. The beats are infectious, the rhymes cutting and frequently hilarious. It's fun and sharp.

DJ Plead - Louca [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Sydney's Jared Beeler aka DJ Plead returns to the great Bristol label Livity Sound with another selection of beats that combine global dance styles with the percussion patterns and melodies of his Lebanese background. Beeler cut his teeth making cutting-edge beats for beloved Sydney trio BV/Black Vanilla before going it alone, and has moved from strength to strength. Bringing traditional rhythms into the electronic dance realm is a popular and exciting development at the moment, but there's an argument to be made that DJ Plead was at the vanguard, and he continues to elegantly forge his own path.

Molotof - Omara [Rakete]
Down and across from Lebanon now we head to Cairo, with a short album by Molotof on the young Egyptian label Rakete. Molotof takes off from the Egyptian urban style of mahraganat, but the beats owe more to techno, with local percussion rhythms weaving in as well. This is a different strain of Egyptian electronic music from the stuff I've featured previously - ZULI, Abadir, 3Phaz et al. Let's not forget the psych rock and free jazz bubbling along as well - the Egyptian music scene is thriving.

SCALPING - Flashforward (Squid Remix) [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
I almost missed this when it appeared in my Bandcamp feed. I've really enjoyed the electronic rock of SCALPING on Houndstooth, and actually I've also liked the jagged postpunk of fellow Bristolians Squid (one of those rock bands you're surprised to find on Warp), but I couldn't figure what a remix from them would be like. It turns out, very good! There's a ravey aspect which is more in common with SCALPING than Squid, and the remix goes in a few directions over its almost 6 minutes.

Ryterski - Rimworld [Pointless Geometry]
Polish composer Rafał Ryterski studied classical composition, but is equally influenced by glitch & idm - and on Gaymers' Cheatsheet there's no small amount of hyperpop in there too. The hyperpop genre itself blends idm & glitch with frenetic computer game soundtracks (which in turn are influenced by jungle and rave), and many of its proponents emphasise queer identity, so Ryerski's identification as a gaymer fits well into this aesthetic. I'm particularly interested in how this material fits into the strains of reconstructed jungle that are bubbling around at the moment - so this is also a nice segue into the new two tracks.

µ-Ziq - Iggy's Song [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
µ-Ziq - Green Chaos [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
I may have gotten overexcited about this one - the Hello EP from Mike Paradinas aka µ-Ziq is out this coming Friday, so here's a couple of previews. To my ears it's got some of the best material from his yearlong revival of the melodic, experimental tribute to jungle that was his 1997 album Lunatic Harness, re-released as a double album with many contemporary tracks in the middle of the year. Meanwhile we've had the Goodbye EP earlier in the year, the Magic Pony Ride album alongside the Lunatic Harness reissue, and now the series is completed with Hello. Mike was in Australia at the start of September, playing Infinity Worm in Canberra and a club show in Melbourne, and I remember the rather irritating child's scream running through one track! That's "Iggy's Song", with a pitch-shifted sample of Mike's son, and on record it's a lot less irritating! In general there's a darker quality to the tracks on this EP, but Mike's irrepressible melodic sense still shines through, and it's got some of the most tricksy yet danceable beats. Yes! Hello!! Yes!!!

Lakker - Dredger [Lakker Bandcamp]
All year Dublin-via-Berlin duo Lakker have been releasing a rave-influenced EP a month on their Bandcamp. October, of course, brings LKRTRX010, which may be the best so far. Jungle and jungle tekno vibes here, killer rhythms and deep synth pads, just how we like it in UFog Towers.

ASC - Hindsight [Auxillary]
Sometime during the pandemic, acclaimed US producer James Clements returned to jungle & drum'n'bass with a vengeance. The ASC name has been associated with grey area techno & ambient for some time, but before that it was autonomic drum'n'bass, and now he's churning out dark jungle and d'n'b at such a rate that this month there are two simultaneously released 4-track EPs: Quantum State is this one, and the other is A Storm In Space. Definite sci-fi vibes on both, from blissful rolling breaks to complex chop-ups, lots of sub-rattling bass and warm, saturated pads. Delicious.

Moin - Melon [AD93/Bandcamp]
Moin - Foot Wrong [AD93/Bandcamp]
Tom Halstead and Joe Andrews's Raime have been a favourite of mine and many others since their earliest releases over 10 years ago. Since the start they've been equally influenced by the propulsive breakbeats of jungle & UK hardcore on the one hand, and the angular basslines & riffs of postpunk on the other. Also characteristic of Raime's tracks is the finely chopped vocal sample - often just a single phoneme, crying out on a syncopated accent, adding to the tautness of their funk as well as the disqueting aura. The brilliant drummer Valentina Magaletti has often been a silent partner on Raime releases, and for the last two albums in their side-project Moin, Magaletti is a full-time third member. Both Paste and last year's Moot! find them extending the root tendencies of Raime, but with far more emphasis on live guitar and bass - drawing postpunk into hardcore territory - and those disquieting vocal chops are now extended into full phrases, usually American-accented, divorced from context but often more than a little sinister. Scary? Scary good.

Zacharias Szumer x Raung Jagat Synthetic - Soleiman, Jule (Atavistic Jam Module) [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
Zacharias Szumer x Raung Jagat Synthetic - Thena, Idrus, Hilga (Afterlife) [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
Last year Indonesian musician Rully Shabara, singer in Senyawa and many other projects, released an album of Synthetic Vocabulary - a collection of AI-generated (whatever that means) voices. Naarm/Melbourne musician and writer Zacharias Szumer liked these sounds so much that he decided to remix them into equally uncanny electronic songs. The named voices are credited on each track, sometimes "singing" together, pitch-bent into melodies by Szumer, who accompanies them with glitchy beats. It's a bizarre cousin of Vocaloid or the Laurie Anderson cut-ups on Jean-Michel Jarre's Zoolook, but really it's its own thing.

Oiseaux-Tempête - Black Elephant [Sub Rosa/Nahal/Bandcamp]
Oiseaux-Tempête - Nu.e.s Sous La Comète [Sub Rosa/Nahal/Bandcamp]
When I first discovered Oiseaux-Tempête, around 2014, it was in the context of their first album being remixed by folks like Machinefabriek, Scanner, Do Make Say Think and others. Core members are guitarist Frédéric D. Oberland, bassist Stéphane Pigneul and Paul Régimbeau aka Mondkopf, but not only do all three play a multitude of other instruments and sound-makers, they are regularly joined by musicians from around the world such that their postrock/psych rock/kraut/kosmische sensibilities are augmented by North African and Middle Eastern musicians, among others. On many recent albums they've been joined on a few tracks by the wonderful singer G.W.Sok, for decades the frontman of Dutch anarcho-punks The Ex, and he's here on the nearly-12-minute "A Man Alone (In A One Man Poem)" - and that's not even the album's longest track! Leave that to the 20-minute "The Crying Eye — I Forget", which features the brilliant Radwan Ghazi Moumneh aka Jerusalem In My Heart. Tonight, however, we have neither of them (partly for reasons of space!) - but we do hear from Ben Shemie of Suuns on the first track - another Montréaler like Moumneh. Jessica Moss cements the Montréal postrock connection, appearing on one track too, and that takes us conveniently to the next album...

set fire to flames - there is no dance in frequency and balance [Alien8/130701/Bandcamp]
set fire to flames - two tears in a bucket [Alien8/130701/Bandcamp]
Back in 2001, in the earlyish years of the Montréal postrock bloom, a bunch of musicians from many of the bands in the scene got together to record a sprawling album under the name set fire to flames. The album was so good that the Fat Cat folks were inspired to start a sister label, 130701, to release it (it came out through the legendary experimental label Alien8 in Canada). As 130701 tell it, the vinyl pressing sold out almost straight away and has been out of print ever since, so 21 years later they have remastered and re-released it on vinyl. It has a familiar dreamy, collagey quality to Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt Zion, but take a look at the member list at the bottom of this page to see their provenance - Esmerine, Hiss Tracts, Hanged Up, Sackville, Exhaust, Fly Pan Am and more are represented. After a slow-growing, then explosive post/krautrock number, we then heard a fragile piece of string magic from Becky Foon, Geneviève Heistek and Sophie Trudeau which takes us into the next few tracks.

Nonsemble - Pelagornis [Nonsemble Bandcamp]
So here's Chris Perren's neo-classical-cum-postrock group Nonsemble, with their album Archaeopteryx, each track celebrating a different prehistoric bird. The Pelagornis was a sea bird with a 6 metre wingspan, and it's represented with perhaps the most peaceful track, in which the strings creep in before becoming rhythmic, underscored by Perren's electronics, which never overwhelm the acoustic instruments. For this project, Nonsemble is primarily a string quartet plus electronics, although there are live drums and piano on the title track. These tracks are lovely in themselves, but it's worth also noting the two singles, which come with remixes from Madeleine Cocolas on Argenativis and MJ O'Neill on Phorusrhacos.

Jacaszek, Romke Kleefstra, Jan Kleefstra - Leafst Sjoch Ik Nei Beammen [Moving Furniture Records/Bandcamp]
For some reason this collaboration is not one I'd expected. Polish composer / producer Michał Jacaszek is known for his classical-tinged electronic music and for collaborations with contemporary classical ensembles; Dutch brothers Romke & Jan Kleefstra are guitarist and poet/vocalist and collaborate on mysterious, minimalist music with folks like Rutger Machinefabriek Zuydervelt in projects like Piiptsjilling. Yet the artists meld together like they were always meant to be - stirring drones from Romke, string arrangements and buried beats from Jacaszek and poetry in Frisian - a language only found in the northern region of the Netherlands called Friesland - from Jan. The IT DEEL project finds the Kleefstras partnering with Frisian cultural organisation Popfabryk, making works about environmental decline and damage to nature - in this case, the damage to the beautiful ancient forests of Friesland, in particular Oranjewoud. But few people in the world can understand Frisian, and as with the other works from the Kleefstra Bros, the music and atmosphere is more than enough regardless.

Pattern Recognition Machines - The Garden of the Tuilleries [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
So here's the second release this week from the resurrected New Weird Australia New Editions - Stuart Buchanan is not only compiling excellent compilations for NWA, but also releasing artist editions like Zacharias Szumer's above and this one. Pattern Recognition Machines started as a duo of drummer Sam Price and electronics from Vijay Thillaimuthu, but for this new album they are joined by veteran experimental musician Robert Vincs on "woodwind" (lots of sax but evidently other instruments) and Chloë Sobek on violone (a relative of the double bass) and electronics. There are dirty grooves and wailing noise on this release, but I really liked the scrabbling non-music/music of this particular track.

Yair Elazar Glotman - A Mirror [SA Recordings/Bandcamp]
Yair Elazar Glotman - A Path [SA Recordings/Bandcamp]
When I first discovered Berlin-based musician Yair Elazar Glotman via his wonderful submerged techno as KETEV. But Glotman's sonorous double bass playing and his skills as a sound-artist have been the focus of his solo career, and on top of this he spent some years working closely with the great Jóhann Jóhannsson in his soundtrack work before the composer's untimely death. New album Speculative Memories finds Glotman in introspective mode, with the music spinning out from memories of his childhood in the Galilee, into more abstract evocations of scents, sounds and sights. Jóhannsson's influence is found in the beautiful vocal contributions from Sara Fors, while Glotman on double bass is also joined by trombone, bowed guitar, violin and viola. It is in some ways a modern classical album, but Glotman inserts field recordings and sound-art techniques into the analogue recordings, with tape manipulation credited to Glotman's alias Mephisto Wunderbar. It's an enveloping, at times almost heartbreaking work to sink into.

June McDoom - Babe, You Light Me Up [Temporary Residence/Bandcamp]
In July I was blown away by the first released track "The City" from new Temporary Residence signing June McDoom. So it's a joy to have her debut, self-titled EP now available. It's a shame "The City" isn't on here, but the five new tracks take a similar approach. McDoom plays all instruments and sings the soft vocals. She draws from her Jamaican heritage as well as her love of classic folk artists, classic r'n'b and reggae - I can't help thinking of early-to-mid period Grizzly Bear. There's a hazy analogue sheen to these songs, with instruments all melding together so that you hardly notice the beats in the mix even as you're nodding your head. McDoom has a keen ear for melody and harmony, making these the most gently catchy songs you're likely to hear this year.

Listen again — ~206MB

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