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Utility Fog

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Sunday, 25th of December, 2022

Playlist 25.12.22 - Best of 2022 Part 2!! (12:50 pm)

It's really been another monster year for new music, and so much so that after last week's "songs" episode, this is now part 2 of 3 (THREE). Next week is all beats, a 2hr mix. Tonight is a "mix" too, of mostly non-beats music, mostly non-vocal. Neither of these rules are hard & fast, but this is experimental music that's not "songs" and not for the dancefloor.

LISTEN AGAIN to more of the best of the best! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling, Andreas Werliin - II [Drag City/Bandcamp]
This year saw the release of a brilliant new solo album from Oren Ambarchi, Shebang, released on Drag City and featuring a horde of great collaborators. From his origins in free noise, extreme minimalism and drone/doom metal, about 10 years ago Oren Ambarchi found himself a minimalist, evolving experimental rock groove with the remarkable Audience of One, and has since then embellished and refined this style over a number of releases. Shebang follows in that sequence, and deservedly headed up a lot of people's best-of-the-year selections. However, I'm going for the other album, his trio work with Johan Berthling & Andreas Werliin titled Ghosted. On groove-based, kraut-jazz jams you'd be hard-pressed to find a better trio than these three. His collaborators here are established members of the Swedish experimental scene, both members of the legendary *ahem* postfolkrocktronic band Tape, and the two also make up the incredible rhythm section of the free jazz/psych ensemble Fire! with Mats Gustafsson. The stoic, dubby, krauty basslines Berthling lays down in Fire! are here, as are the freewheeling rhythms of Werliin (probably best known for his duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums with his brilliant wife and Fire! Orchestra member Mariam Wallentin). It was clear before it even came out that Drag City were on to a winner here, and it easily lived up to expectations. Track II is particularly blissed out. You won't regret spending 40 minutes with this music.

clipping. and Cooling Prongs - Down [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
This year clipping. followed up their 2016 RMXNG collection with FOUR sizeable RMXNG 2 12"s - that's four EPs each with 7 tracks, totalling over 2 hours of music reworking tracks from their last two albums of "horrorcore" rap. Each EP featured an impressive lineup, and we'll be hearing from them again in next week's best of 2022 part 3 with some jungle/breakcore mayhem. But their noise/drone roots also surface, with French-Ghanayan ambient/glitch maestro Aho Ssan managing to preserve the energy of Daveed Diggs' performance without any beats to speak of, and on tonight's selection, frequent clipping. collaborator Christopher Fleeger as Cooling Prongs combines field recordings with the glitched vocals of Daveed Diggs and barbershop quartet-style harmonies - it's got to be heard to be believed.

Loom & Thread - O**ne* [Macro/Bandcamp]
Leipzig/Berlin band Loom & Thread aim to turn the traditional jazz piano trio inside-out, much like pianist Tom Schneider's other band KUF do to dance-pop. Tobi Fröhlich on double bass and Daniel Klein on drums are immaculate jazz players, and Schneider is a great jazz pianist, but his nimble playing is also fed back into the trio improvisations by way of his sampler: sped up, stuttered into static clouds of notes, shifted in time. We're told this happens in real-time but if so, he's masterfully controlling the sampler simultaneously with his keyboard gymnastics... I feel like there are digital re-edits of the jazz improvs, but in any case this is a brilliant and unique take on post-jazz, with moments of true beauty and dazzling sections of both instrumental prowess and technological creativity.

Carl Stone - Wat Dong Moon Lek [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
LA/Japan-based computer music pioneer Carl Stone has seen a renaissance since the Unseen Worlds label released two archival albums of his a few years ago. Active since the mid-1980s, Stone developed a technique to time-slice through existing recordings using granular synthesis to produce garbled yet musical live remixes & mashups. On his last couple of albums this has resulted in strangely rhythmic stuff that's like dance music as interpreted by 19th century robots(?) - and on the title track of his latest, Wat Dong Moon Lek (all his titles come from the names of Asian restaurants), a Vietnamese or Thai lounge jazz track is the source, smeared and sliced for 5 minutes, while the intro and coda are charmingly left untouched. We had an embarrassment of riches from Stone this year, with EP Gall Tones (just as good as this album), an album of reworks of Finnish label We Jazz, and indeed a remix of clipping. too!

Machinefabriek with Anne Bakker - Speling [Machinefabriek Bandcamp/Anne Bakker Bandcamp]
Dutch violist Anne Bakker has collaborated with Rutger Machinefabriek Zuydervelt for some years now - the earliest work I can find is from 2007, with Greg Haines included. Wisps is their third duo album together, based around a selection of violin, viola and vocal improvisations Bakker recorded and passed on to Zuydervelt. The short tracks range from folky sounding strings to rather abstract sound works, all quite bewitching. Oh, and listen out for the Don Cherry samples!

Lueenas - Witches Brew [Barkhausen Recordings]
Copenhagen duo Ida Duelund (double bass, drum machine, Moog bass and "pedals") and Maria Jagd (violin and pedals) create improvised and composed soundscapes as well as music for soundtracks and installations with their amplified instruments, voices and effects as Lueenas. Their self-titled debut album proper came out this year on Barkhausen Recordings, after a series of soundtracks and shorter works. The string instruments are the core, but some of the best material comes when the violin is screeching through distortion and the double bass is producing thundering drones. There are also tracks on the more subdued side, including a gorgeous piece of almost-jazz featuring a touching vocal from Emma Acs (whose current band is Evil House Party). Through the album there are filmic violin swells, drones, thudding rhythms from the instruments' bodies, and groaning noise drones as well as beautiful pizzicato lines and delicate string interactions. Very special stuff. Also notable, Duelund was based for a time in Melbourne - always nice to have an Oz connection.

Florent Ghys - Véranda [Cantaloupe/Bandcamp]
French musician Florent Ghys is a composer, double bassist, electronic musician and video artist. He's a longtime Bang on a Can collaborator, so it's no surprise to find his latest album released on the New York collective's Cantaloupe label. It's two albums, Ritournelles released on CD and the accompanying digital Mosaïques (tracks from both were collected on a special vinyl edition at the end of the year too). The former album focuses on double bass and other instruments, but they're often sampled and edited into complex tapestries, while the latter is more electronic, with Ghys' penchant for sampled speech coming to the fore, but there's also plenty of double bass on that album too. They're cut from the same cloth, and are well taken together. Fans of The Books will love what they find here - a wonderful revelation.

part timer - freeway [part timer Bandcamp]
It feels silly to still be banging on about the "return" of John McCaffrey to making music as part timer, given this recent phase started about 3 years ago in 2019. But every new drop brings much joy, and self-released new album Interiority Complex is a magnificent synthesis of the sensitive, poised post-classical piano & string arrangements he's produced of late with the glitchy, head-noddy beats and samples of his early folktronica, which featured nearly every week on Utility Fog for years, back when. If you haven't gotten behind the new part timer phase then shame on you, but for $10 AUD on Bandcamp, Interiority Complex is the perfect place to start.

Mabe Fratti - Desde el cielo [Unheard Of Hope/Bandcamp]
Based for some time now in Mexico City, Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti has created her own form of experimental song from her raw cello playing, often filtered through multiple effects, along with arrays of electronics and her delicate voice - her ear for melody is remarkable, with melodic lines rising up over scratchy riffs and drones. Although this album is deliberately sparser in orchestration than her last few releases, her usual collaborative process remains, with guitar, percussion and many other sounds contributed by fellow travellers in Mexico and also Rotterdam. Nevertheless, this is a creative vision that could come from noone other than Fratti, and I'm proud that she's a fellow cellist!

Lia Kohl - First Picture of the Weather Pattern [Shinkoyo/Bandcamp]
Indeed, it's always a pleasure to discover another cellist taking their instrument into uncharted territory, so I'm thankful to Matt Mehlan of Skeletons' label/collective/thing Shinkoyo/Artist Pool for introducing me to Chicago cellist/sound-artist/performer Lia Kohl. Her album Too Small to be a Plain is a stunning concoction of acoustic cello loops, mournful/calm synths, field recordings and voice. I can't recommend it highly enough.

Dominic Voz - Dan Ryan [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 co-released his 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. This track was a highlight, 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.

Tegh & Adel Poursamadi - Ijaad ایجاد [Injazero Records/Bandcamp]
Istanbul/London label Injazero Records this year released the first in a new series from Tehran's Tegh working with acoustic instrumentalists. On Ima ایما fellow Iranian violinist Adel Poursamadi draws from Persian classical music as well as drone, arranged by Tegh along with his signature rumbling bass and stretched, glitched electronic processing. It's powerful stuff - that we're promised a whole series of this is something to be excited about.

Bridget Ferrill & Áslaug Magnúsdóttir - Tapestry [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
US-born sound-artist and engineer Bridget Ferrill - now based in Berlin - and Icelandic musician Áslaug Magnúsdóttir, clarinettist in Icelandic electronic pop group Samaris and now based in Denmark, met in Reykjavik while Ferrill was living there. Much of Ferrill's recent work involves processed classical instruments and works, including collaborations with viola da gamba player Liam Byrne; and Magnúsdóttir has a classical background too. Nevertheless their new duo work Woodwind Quintet is not a quintet and doesn't feature woodwind in any obvious way, which perfectly encapsulates the artists' strategy here. The album uses classical signs and sounds (possibly including viola da gamba, harp and choral samples from Ferrill's previous work) while avoiding classical forms. Sounds are glitched and granular processed, obfuscated from their origins but recognizable enough. The cover photo - by Liam Byrne - depicts a beautiful zither splattered with concrete and dropped into a half-filled bath. Apposite!

Deepchild - Songs You'll Never Hear [A Strangely Isolated Place/Bandcamp]
Sydney prodigal son Rick Bull aka Deepchild was a regular on 2ser and FBi for many years who started making beats around the same I did in the late '90s, and was comfortably ensconsed in the Berlin club scene, playing at the likes of Berghain for years. He released his stunning Fathersong on Mille Plateaux earlier this year - a tribute to his late father, who passed away from dementia-related complications during the pandemic - and its follow-up Mycological Patterns then came out on ambient/idm blog-turned-label A Strangely Isolated Place, hitting high spots in the ambient & electronic charts - a much-deserved success for Rick! It's a one-two punch of ambient techno bliss from an artist of great depth who found immense success among a small cadre of music-makers and connoisseurs but struggled to break out in the way he deserved. Some of the half-forgotten club and pop sounds filtered through grainy delays and drones from Fathersong are echoed here, but this fungal-themed album also harnesses Holly Herndon's Holly+ voice model on two tracks, and sneaks into beatless techno territory on some more uplifting compositions. Wonderful stuff.

Arve Henriksen & Kjetil Husebø - Slow Fragments [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
Two big figures in the Nordic jazz and experimental scene get together for some blissful electronics and jazz here. Arve Henriksen is a purveyor of gorgeous, melodic & mellow trumpet, often electronically treated, as well as otherworldly vocals - especially in the extraordinary Supersilent. Kjetil Husebø is a classical & jazz-trained pianist with a particular interest in combining live piano with live electronics. Although the music is highly informed by jazz and improvisation, it was recorded separately, Henriksen in Gothenburg, Sweden (although he is originally from Norway) and Husebø in Oslo, Norway. Both musicians employ clouds of electronics as well, creating big textured drones on some pieces, while Husebø is inclined more towards melody on his piano than chordal harmonies - even on the one track where Henriksen sings (not in his usual falsetto), where sampled, reversed and treated piano nevertheless moves as a single bass counter-melody to Henriksen's singing, with further decoration from mostly-untreated piano and trumpet. Booming and shuddering sounds from the physicality of the piano are sampled for reverberant or percussive effect, as are breaths through the trumpet and patterns of prepared piano. This is a striking pairing of musicianship with technology at every level, and a striking pairing of two musicians who long admired each other.

Madeleine Cocolas - Resonance [Room40/Bandcamp]
Brisbane musician Madeleine Cocolas returned to Australia a couple of years ago after time in Vancouver and New York. The gorgeous Spectral finds Cocolas weathering the Covid lockdown in her own way, collecting the sounds of her neighbourhood on daily walks, which are woven into a musical narrative, expressing deep emotions through the sounds of industrial machinery, swarms of crickets and huge storms, combined with Cocolas' sensitive keyboards and piano. In the middle of the album, eight-minute track "And Then I Watch It Fall Apart" is a harrowing crescendo of tension, which wondrously releases in the following track "Resonance", heard tonight.

Sylvain Chauveau - DC [Sub Rosa/Bandcamp]
Pierre-Yves Macé - More Gloom and the Light of That Gloom [Sub Rosa/Bandcamp]
Here's an unusual project. French polymath Sylvain Chauveau created a collection of small pieces of audio, composition ideas, snippets of vocals and so on, and sent them to his friend Pierre-Yves Macé, another French composer & producer, with whom he has collaborated frequently in the past. This time it's not really a collaboration - both artists have taken Chauveau's initial ideas and created a full album from them. Cult Belgian label Sub Rosa has released both under the title L'Effet Rebond (The Rebound Effect), with Macé's subtitled "Version Iridium" and Chauveau's "Version Silicium". The source material and the artists' similar aesthetics mean that the two works fit together very well, but they have certainly put their own spin on the proceedings. Each album consists mostly of short studies, with Macé finding space to craft beautiful melodic vignettes on piano, strings, woodwinds and other acoustic instruments, but the composer also inserts glitchy crackles and edits. His half ends with a beautifully subtle 18-minute piece of minimalism, with tiny piano samples slowly burbling away, harmonies gradually expanding and shifting. Chauveau meanwhile begins his half with a 17-minute work with cyclical guitar, clarinet and piano, but it's not made from studio edits - although much of the rest of his album is small pieces, often just single phrases. Both composers have enlisted various colleagues to join them, with Peter Broderick & others on backing vocals with Chauveau, and our friend Rutger "Machinefabriek" Zuydervelt contributing electronics (he also did the gorgeous layouts & design). Conceptual elements aside, this is very enjoyable listening and right on point for Utility Fog's liminal genre-agnosticism.

To Move - Mirroring [Sonic Pieces/Bandcamp]
We last heard from Welsh pianist Anna Rose Carter and her partner, musician & sound-artist Ed Hamilton when they released a wonderful album as Dead Light back in 2016. Earlier still, Carter had a legendary duo called Moon Ate The Dark which combined her always attractive neo-classical piano with Christopher Bailey's tape effects, synths and other electronics (and also violin from Carter). Hamilton also loves tape manipulation and drones, and the pair made some powerful cinematic music as Dead Light for Village Green. Their latest project To Move finds them back on Monique Recknagel's Sonic Pieces (who released the Moon Ate The Dark albums), for a set of recordings made with fellow pianist, film composer and filmmaker Alex Kozobolis. Whenever Kozobolis visited Carter & Hamilton's home in the English countryside, the two pianists would improvise together (four hand piano, with one player on the bass end and one at the treble), full of the characteristic heart-pulling musicality of Carter that's clearly shared by Kozobolis, while the sounds are degraded and crumbled by tape and other analogue effects. It's as gorgeous as you'd expect if you know their previous work, and worth getting in one of the boutique physical editions if you can afford it!

Robbie Lee & Lea Bertucci - Twine and Tape [Telegraph Harp]
I initially knew NYC composer Lea Bertucci from her exploration of site-specific acoustic phenomena (e.g. the brilliant Acoustic Shadows), work with computer, and her own playing on clarinet, sax, flute and other instruments. On Winds Bells Falls however, she's working tape and effects in realtime while fellow New Yorker plays Robbie Lee plays celeste, flutes, gemshorn, contrabass recorder and orchestral chimes. These different instruments each interact in beautiful and strange ways with their tape-manipulated shadows, warping in pitch and flickering in and out alongside their real counterparts. A little bit of magic.

Ben Vida + Lea Bertucci - Murmurations [Cibachrome Editions]
A couple of months after Bertucci's work with Robbie Lee, she released a second duo, this time with veteran US experimental musician Ben Vida (who released three beautiful albums as Bird Show on Kranky some years ago). Here Bertucci brings her wind instruments to the studio - sax, clarinet, flute - as well as the tape manipulation that made her Robbie Lee collaboration so special, and both her voice and Vida's are divorced of meaning in cut-ups alongside the acoustic textures and the rumbles and gurgles of Vida's synths. Compellingly off-beat stuff.

Ben Frost - Wirus Sie Rozprzestrzenia [Invada/Bandcamp]
Following his excellent soundtracks for the three seasons of Netflix's German science fiction series Dark, Iceland-based Aussie composer Ben Frost is continuing to work with the makers of Dark, soundtracking their new series 1899. This is a truly excellent soundtrack, up there with Ben's studio albums, with full orchestra, various vocal contributions, and a plethora of electronics as well. Ben's typical bass-heavy surges do make appearances, along with beautiful pitch-bent synth melodies and shuddering, stuttering studio effects. And although there are segments of the music you could claim are scene-setting soundtrack stuff, it's mostly anything but: there are creepy and eldritch vocal pieces, moving orchestral & synth compositions, and even thundering percussion. Don't ignore it.

Christina Vantzou - Greeting [kranky/Bandcamp]
This album was something of a surprise to me. I know Christina Vantzou as a composer of highly minimalist music, right from her earliest work as one half of The Dead Texan with Stars Of The Lid's Adam Wiltzie. It's not that No. 5 isn't quiet and minimalist, but it's nevertheless full of movement and variation, constructed in a collage-like way from 17 musicians' performances. It's not quite the ADHD channel-flipping of certain contemporary artists, but the odd juxtapositions and shifts are very enjoyable, as are the intrusions of different sonic spaces, presumably derived both from the disjoint recordings and from post-processing. It's beautiful music that places classical vignettes in a sound-art setting.

Natalie Beridze - Salt [ROOM40/Bandcamp]
Georgian musician & DJ Natalie Beridze has a long & illustrious career both in her native Georgia and in Berlin, with recordings ranging from techno to IDM and ambient across many notable labels, both under her own name and as TBA or TBA Empty. Her album for ROOM40 this year, Of Which One Knows, and its accompanying EP In Front Of You, find her in mostly contemplative mode, collecting unreleased studies and pieces which never made it on to other recordings. Despite this provenance, the material is highly cohesive, a real journey through drones, sparse piano and strings, vocal snippets, glitches and field recordings. Don't let that make it sound more nebulous or half-formed than it actually is though - this is beautiful and assured music that deserves multiple listens. And everything on the EP is as good as the album proper - the noise loops, ambient pads and pitch-shifted vocals here are gorgeous.

Christophe Bailleau & Friends - Prologue / Mère Nature [Optical Sound/Bandcamp]
French label Optical Sound specialises in French sound-art from cross-disciplinary artists, although from further away, Simon Fisher Turner, Robin Guthrie and others have turned up there on occasion. On new album Shooting Stars Can Last, Belgian "free musician" Christophe Bailleau decided to bring some community to lockdown life by inviting friends to provide field recordings, electronic programming, instrumental soundscapes and the like for this hybrid album. The result is a work that rejects easy classification, at times offering up glitchily-edited folktronica, at times post-classical pastiche, at times gothic chanson-dub. Whatever it is, it's compelling listening, and a little window into the francophone sound-art scene.

Wordcolour - Crescent [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Young UK artist Wordcolour wrote music for TV & film before releasing his sound design-oriented club tunes, starting with the incredible Tell Me Something for Lapsus in 2020. The producer is highly adept at UK club forms of all sorts - Djrum's presence as remixer on the recent Bluster single is a good indicator - and so we get jungle-influenced tunes, hints of dubstep and deep house, and always IDM, but also crystalline ambient passages with distinct classical and jazz influences and crazy glitch interjections a la Japanese figures like Kashiwa Daisuke. Spoken word throughout adds to the pleasant sense of mystery and gives additional depth to a thought-provoking album, and because of the wide range on this brilliant work, it gets to feature on both parts 2 & 3 of this year's best of celebration!

Alexandra Spence - Air Pockets [Room40/Bandcamp]
Some quietly stunning sound-art from Sydney's Alexandra Spence. Her latest album for Room40 is Blue waves, Green waves, an exploration of bodies of/and water, and particularly the Pacific Ocean. As usual with Spence's work, concrete sounds produced from specific objects merge with musical elements and at times spoken word. The glooping, sliding "Air Pockets" are a particular highlight. Not long after, Spence released A Veil, The Sea on the Mappa label, further exploring these themes.

Felicity Mangan - Dolphin Tricks [Warm Winters, Ltd./Bandcamp]
Nobody else is making music quite like that of Felicity Mangan, Berlin-based Australian sound artist. Her music's foundation is flora & fauna - many of her releases feature raw field recordings of the wondrous sounds of nature. But among her recent releases are works which take nature's creativity and notch it up a few levels. Insectile rhythms become electronic beats, flows of water are reversed, cut up and overlaid in unnatural patterns, and the "pedosphere" (the upper layer of the Earth's crust) is mined (pun intended) for sound. Wet On Wet was originally to be released by Russian label Klammklang, but Putin's lunacy caused the label to indefinitely stop operations, so Warm Winters, Ltd. stepped in to release it. While the album's main focus is on soil and its inhabitants, we also have the repurposed polyrhythms of dolphin sounds on tonight's selection.

Machinefabriek - Texturalis 4 [Cassauna/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Here's Rutger again! Via Important Records' cassette imprint Cassauna, Texturalis was a litte gem, featuring 18 two-minute vignettes, each concerned with one particular sonic texture, many surprisingly rhythmic. Lovely.

Hüma Utku - Continuing Bonds [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
I was transfixed by the work of Berlin-based, Istanbul-born Hüma Utku since her first EP (as R.A.N.) in 2018 on Karlrecords. An album followed in 2019, and she was then given the high accolade of signing to the great Editions Mego - but tragically, the label's Peter Rehberg died of a heart attack in mid-2021. Lucky for us, everything slated for release is still being put out by the various artists & others associated with the label, so we get Utku's magnificent album The Psychologist, released as it should be on Editions Mego. The title is a reference to Utku's qualifications in psychology, but also to the album's focus on psychological phenomena, and the human element of Utku's own voice, albeit often pitch-shifted and processed. Aside from this, the album continues her use of industrial ambiences and textures, repetitive beats and samples, but also introduces creative string arrangements. All this lifts The Psychologist to a new level in an already gripping career.

Other People's Children - Swallow Glitch [Observable Universe Recordings]
Ahead of Nice Music's release of a NEW album from his beloved duo Pretty Boy Crossover with Cailan Burns, Adelaide's Jason Sweeney spent much of 2022 compiling a slew of archival releases - in fact starting last year with the Decades (2001-2021) collection of soundtrack work as Panoptique Electrical. They appeared on his Observable Universe Recordings Bandcamp, including the massive 5-hour, 84-track Disappointment Archives 1986-2016 - and before you run away from this acknowledged (but justified) excess, maybe you could start with the more manageable Selective Memory 1998-2003 collection from Jason's indietronica band Other People's Children? I first became a dedicated fan of Jason's work when I was handed an advance copy of the aforementioned Pretty Boy Crossover's album the building and formation around 1999 - a phenomenal collection of IDM tunes, melodic, minimalist, with tweaked drum machines and lo-fi synths that's never stopped being deeply evocative. It's lovely hearing those lo-fi sounds married with Jason's indie songwriting - his melancholy vocals, with guitar or keyboards - on songs old and new. Jason's been involved with many projects over the years, including scuzzy indie rock, post-classical and ambient, IDM, indietronica and more. Such an important, versatile Australian musician.

Ayala and Zac Picker - wet cat - old bark - deep breaths [Ayala Bandcamp]
Based on a story by Zac Picker called "Bessamim" published in Soft Stir Vol 2, this stunning work combines Zac's spoken word with music and sound design from Ayala aka Donny Janks. Picker is in fact a physicist, but his talent for that very mathematical of sciences is balanced by a talent for very evocative prose, generating nostalgia via all the senses in a story about being (almost) 13, training for bar mitzvah. Picker's lush, wry storytelling is carried here by the sensitive setting by Ayala, allowing the spoken prose to float in a bed of electronic tones, occasionally subtly processing the vocals. I left out the core section of the story here deliberately - I can't recommend enough that you listen to the whole thing from start to finish.

Listen again — ~209MB

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