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Utility Fog

Your weekly fix of postfolkrocktronica, dronenoise, power ambient, post-everything improv... and more?
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, 22nd of January, 2023

Playlist 22.01.23 (10:13 pm)

The experimental pop of John Cale opens tonight, and we follow with other experimental twistings of pop, classical and folk before rolling into some classic jungle selections from Bristol and some new IDM.

LISTEN AGAIN because let's face it you've probably forgotten it all by now - age creeps up on us all! Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here, we're all happy!

John Cale - Not The End Of The World [Domino]
John Cale - The Soul Of Carmen Miranda [All Saints Records/Bandcamp]
John Cale - Everlasting Days feat. Animal Collective [Domino]
John Cale - Heartbreak Hotel [Island Records]
He's older than my mother, and when you realise how old I am, that's old. John Cale is 81 years old, and sprawling and murky thought it is, Mercy is as cutting-edge an album as you could want from an octogenarian. For what surely will be the great Cale's last album, he enlisted many folks from experimental pop, rock and electronic music to contribute sounds and musicianship - even though many of their contributions are not easily decipherable from Cale's sounds and his producers. There's the likes of Laurel Halo, Actress, TOKiMONSTA and Dev Hynes on here, as well as a fairly invisible contribution from Fat White Family on a fairly hip-hoppy track! But the track with Animal Collective does have recognizable AC vocals and a good bit of their weirdo-euphoria (oh and Avey Tare's sister Abby Portner did the artwork!) Sadly Cale is no longer playing viola, but he did write the wonderful string arrangements. Outside of the two tracks from the album, I found time to slip in two older works. "The Soul Of Carmen Miranda" is a piece of electronic beauty (with viola contributed by Nell Catchpole) from 1989, and a collaboration with Brian Eno a year or so before their extraordinary collaborative album Wrong Way Up. Meanwhile, Cale first covered Elvis' "Heartbreak Hotel" in 1975, and it's surely the canonical version - a squalling horror halfway between glam and punk, as befits one of the godfathers of experimental rock, punk and so much more.

Ned Collette - Since My Baby Left Me [Penultimate Press/Bandcamp]
Dean Roberts - Lisa Marie Elvis [Penultimate Press/Bandcamp]
T.V.S.T - Aweful Staedele [Penultimate Press/Bandcamp]
So... Elvis. The guy was the subject of a feature film by Australia's most controversial director, and so... one night in late December, Australia's most controversial ex-record seller Mark Harwood (a true legend who ran Synaesthesia in Melbourne for many years and introduced many of us to scads of brilliant experimental music), now based in Berlin, came home drunk and decided to watch the film. Except he made the mistake of streaming it on some dodgy service, and the mighty forces of the European Union detected this infrimgement and sent him a bill... for nearly €1000. Ouch! So. Since leaving Oz, Mark ran an excellent little CD shop inside London's Cafe OTO for ages, and started up his Penultimate Press, which he now runs out of Berlin. So to try and offset some of this exhorbitant cost, he's enlisted many experimental music friends to contribute tracks to an album satirically dedicated to the movie's subject, Elvis. Among them are many European musos and also more than a fair share of Aussies - some, like Ned Collette, also based on Berlin. Ned's "Since My Baby Left Me" is not a cover of the song above. It's... delightfully silly and very Ned. New Zealander Dean Roberts, also a longtime Berlin resident, contributes a slightly bent, somewhat touching tribute to Elvis' late daughter Lisa Marie, partners cris cole & Oren Ambarchi appear, as does MP Hopkins, Francis Plagne and legendary Berlin mastering engineer Rashad Becker. Many contributors are more obscure, perhaps because they're tampering with recorded material. I'm not sure who T.V.S.T is, but maybe there's a connection with Jacob Stoy, credited as mastering the track? In any case, it's a varied collection with lots of fun for those interested in obscure & odd music.

Refree - Lo que esconden [tak:til/Bandcamp]
Refree - Todo el mundo quiere irse ya [tak:til/Bandcamp]
El espacio entre (the space between) is the second solo album on Glitterbeat's experimental sub-label tak:til from the great Spanish producer & multi-instrumentalist Raül Refree. Refree is famed as a great collaborator and producer of Iberian artists, including pop superstar Rosalía and Portuguese fado singer Lina. But despite his connection to pop and to European song traditions, Refree is also a restless experimental musician. I discovered him in 2019 working with the brilliant Richard Youngs on the singular album All Hands Around the Moment, and fairly simultaneously with none other than Lee Ranaldo on Names of North End Women - two albums I can't recommend highly enough. All of which is to say that a solo album from Refree (as he is often known) is something to pay attention to. What we get here is very much sui generis - it's a little bit laptop folk/folktronica, with influence from the Iberian strands of acoustic music, and also some "re-compositions" of early 17th century madrigals by Monteverdi. Throw in radio static and snippets of blast beats and you have something that's impossible to pigeonhole - a very good thing.

Ryuichi Sakamoto - 20220207 [Milan Records]
Ryuichi Sakamoto - 20220404 [Milan Records]
A couple of weeks ago I played some reworkings of the great Ryuichi Sakamoto that came out late last year, and mentioned a new album was coming too. And here it is - entitled 12, it collects 12 pieces mostly improvised on dates throughout 2022, either on his signature piano or synthesisers or both. These are very sparse works even when involving the electronics, ranging from quite short studies to still quite short, beautiful contemporary classical works. Sakamoto has always been brilliant at heart-pulling little melodies - he is after all a soundtrack composer as much as a pop musician, electronic trailblazer and all the rest - and those are certainly present. So are little ambient works along the lines of his old friend Brian Eno, but there are also some more avant-garde piano works here. I was honestly expecting something much thinner than what we have here - it's a genuinely captivating work of some substance, only made more touching because Sakamoto is again fighting cancer, with quite possibly only some months left to live - tragically!

Erem - Melantroop [Esc.rec./Bandcamp]
Erem - Bedaard [Esc.rec./Bandcamp]
New on Dutch label Esc.rec. is the debut album Aare from Belgian (mostly) acoustic trio Erem. Their core began with the meeting of jazz-trained guitarist and bouzouki player Nicolas Van Belle with accordionist Stan Maris. Their alchemical blend, however, is completed with the addition of vocalist Mirte Leconte. There's a mystery to this music, coming from sparse guitar melodies, heaving accordion drones and mostly wordless vocals. When the music opens up, it can sound like baroque chorales, the chamber folk of Bill Frisell or Tin Hat Trio, or the more abstract (post-)folk of Tape, but this is a singular music in a singular lineup, and it's bewitching stuff that you'd be inadvised to miss.

Lia Kohl - sit on the floor and wait for storms [American Dreams/Bandcamp]
Some more magic here, from Chicago cellist Lia Kohl. Kohl's debut last year on Shinkoyo, Too Small to be a Plain, was an extraordinary collection of music that refused to be pinned down, combining her cello with synthesizer, treated voices and found-sounds and "radio". Live radio will also feature on new album The Ceiling Reposes, out from American Dreams on March 10th. This first single demonstrates that the beguiling combination of cello, electronics and oddness will be present here in spades.

Batu - Built On Sand [Timedance/Bandcamp]
Opal, the long-awaited album from Timedance boss and Bristol mainstay Batu, was a slippery highlight from last year, with the many directions of UK dancefloors referenced, as long as bass is present. But the album also had its fair share of sound-designy beatless works, and this outtake from the same sessions is another sumptuous example of his skills.

YATTA - Fully Lost, Fully Found [PTP/Bandcamp]
Absolute stunner from Ricky Sallay Zoker aka YATTA, originally from Houston and now I believe based in New York. Their music has mostly come out through the mighty PTP, and twists and turns so that it can be lonely accidental acoustic recordings at one moment, fully-orchestrated jazz or neo-classical, then switch into electronic processing. Their 2020 release with Moor Mother, DIAL UP, is also genius, and slowly new solo work is forming. This track, which is featured in the soundtrack to the movie Nanny, perfectly encapsulates YATTA's skilful melding of musicianship and technology.

NERVE - Akimbo [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
After multiple single-track outings, Naarm's Joshua Wells aka NERVE has finally dropped his EP Meridian Blaze via the ever-industrious Heavy Machinery Records. Four tracks representing Wells' dedication to tough industrial beats and textures, which reference drum'n'bass, techno, electro and more, often in ways that distort mainstream notions of genre. In short, vital stuff.

More Rockers - The First Time Remix (ft Joanna Law) [RSD Bandcamp]
Statik Sound System - Revolutionary Pilot (Rob Smith Remix) [RSD Bandcamp]
RSD - Let's Go [RSD Bandcamp]
Rob Smith has been active in the Bristol music scene since the 1980s. One main outlet was the groundbreaking duo (sometime trio) Smith & Mighty, who helped forge the Bristol sound of hip-hop, r'n'b and dub-reggae soundsystem culture that also birthed Massive Attack. In the '90s Smith was also highly active with More Rockers, a DJ & production duo with Paul D (also much involved with Smith & Mighty) who released many incredible early jungle 12"s and dubplates which have found themselves in countless DJ mixes over the years, and were collected in various ways on mix CDs, but unsurprisingly as incomplete versions. So it's something of a miracle (or rather a gift) to find Smith loosing TWO massive compilations of his jungle productions on us on Bandcamp this week - grab Jungle Archive Collection 1 first, get the 50% off code for Jungle Archive Collection 2 and you're set. Everything's basically credited as RSD - i.e. "Rob Smith Dubs", under which Smith continues to release dub, dubstep, jungle and whatever else he likes - but it's possible to piece together the probable original credits from the relative timeframe of a lot. "More Rockers" tracks were always just Smith or Paul D (not co-productions), so many of these would be More Rockers by any other name. There are TWO great versions of Joanna Law's a capella of the folk song "First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" (memorably used also in jungle context on Coldcut's Journeys By DJ), and also a remix of Bristol crew Statik Sound System, who featured the now-Sydney-based trumpet player & electronic music researcher Roger Mills. All in all this is an important missing link from UK dancefloor history, and just a whole lot of absolute bangers.

Polinski - Distant Friend, I Love You! [Data Airlines/Bandcamp]
Regular listeners will know the significance of Sheffield postrock/breakcore/idm outfit 65daysofstatic to this here radio show. After a couple of years of solid (amazing) creative activity, the band are on sabbatical, but it's wonderful that Paul Wolinski has resurrected his solo alter-ego Polinski for highly idm-ish melodic skitteriness, with this single heralding an album coming soon on Data Airlines. We await lovingly from the distance.

DJ FLP - Ritual [DJ FLP Bandcamp]
And speaking of album previews, here's one from Michigan's DJ FLP, deftly combining the skitteriness of footwork with the break-manipulation of jungle. Always a producer worth watching.

Dancefloor Classics - Working With [Rajaton/Bandcamp]
Vladislav Delay - Wallfacer [Rajaton/Bandcamp]
And finally, Sasu Ripatti is starting the year as he means to go on, with TWO EP series on his new imprint Rajaton. Dancefloor Classics is jittery chopped-up club music in the style of his Ripatti alias (in fact, the promo I received was credited to Ripatti, but Bandcamp credits Dancefloor Classics with the EP titled Dancefloor Classics Vol 1), while Hide Behind The Silence uses the familiar Vladislav Delay name, and positions itself in the classic Delay soundworld, glitch-ambient-dub. Vinyl collectors will love the 10" form factor (it really is a lovely in-between size) and Delay fans (glitch fans, deconstructed dancefloor fans) should get a lot out of this material. Let's see what comes in the respective volumes 2!

Listen again — ~198MB

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Wednesday, 18th of January, 2023

Playlist 15.01.23 (12:35 am)

Tonight we reach into the more experimental depths of sound-art. There's jungle-influenced beats but they're deformed and mutated, heard from a misaligned alternate dimension or reinterpreted by aliens. There's post/neo-classical of a sort, and post-jazz of a sort, but also both post- and sideways. Come sail the slideways with us!

LISTEN AGAIN to the flipside... Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast right here.

Teether & Kuya Neil - RENO [Chapter Music/Bandcamp]
The second mixtape/minialbum on Chapter Music from the brilliant Melbourne underground hip-hop duo of Teether & Kuya Neil is out on the 3rd of February. Single "RENO" is a perfect intro: lackadaisical, comfortably melodic rapping over contemporary bass beats, with jungle breaks inserted througout. You just know this will be a huge release. Meanwhile you can catch up on two releases from 2021.

Brandon Juhans - Tree Chops [Brandon Juhans Bandcamp]
Brandon Juhans - What Else is New? [Brandon Juhans Bandcamp]
Brandon Juhans - Only Net [Brandon Juhans Bandcamp]
Around 2018, the sadly now-lost Tri-Angle label introduced us to Hanz, the alias of Brandon Juhans. His music in fact goes back to 2012, as you can find on his Bandcamp, but those Tri-Angle EPs found Juhans' music fully formed in the mode that he's continued under his own name over the last few years. It's very much beat-driven, but in a way that doesn't conform to the usual expectations: hip-hop beats crammed into drum'n'bass tempos, beats stuttering and chopped up in ways that defy the grid, or that stop & start in sputtering ways, while other samples collide rhythmically. It reminds me of the early work of Bisk (see the four albums here), which felt like drum'n'bass with the roles of the samples all mixed up. In any case, Brandon Juhans' music is a glorious mess - the kind of mess that can only be achieved through careful construction.

Ourobonic Plague - Elementals [Ourobonic Plague Bandcamp]
DOOM DATA - NUMBER NINE [Ourobonic Plague Bandcamp]
Melbourne entity Ourobonic Plague makes strange dark psychedelic electronic music, mixing drone and noise with industrial beats and weird occult references. But last year they released an album called Stepping It Lightly Towards the Abyss which combined jungle & drum'n'bass influences with their usual tendencies. I'm playing them now because of the launch of a new project called DOOM DATA in which Ourobonic Plague collaborates with US songwriter & vocalist James Quentin Devine. On their debut single, Devine brings a post-apocalyptic post-punk aura to the proceedings, with crunchy beats provided by Mr Plague.

inaud1bl3 - Stars are Falling [generate and test/Bandcamp]
inaud1bl3 - %/$ [generate and test/Bandcamp]
Christian „Gigi“ Haudej uses the inaud1bl3 moniker to release music of just about any nature - from ambient loops to glitchnoise, breakcore to strummy guitar songs. He's somehow connected to farmersmanual - perhaps because he's Austrian, albeit now based in Berlin - and has now released four albums through their generate and test imprint. He was also half of breakcore duo Übergang with the legendary Christoph de Babalon aka Jan-Christoph Walter. There's not much breakcore on new album Hydrogen, but there are glitchy, sometimes frenetic beats, and there are songs of sorts as well as short bursts of abstract noise. Charmingly odd.

crimeboys - trippin' [3 X L]
crimeboys - holodeck blue [3 X L]
Here's one of those team-ups of peeps associated with West Mineral Ltd, connected with folks like exael and Ben Bondy. Specifically, crimeboys is Special Guest DJ and Pontiac Streator, bringing cyberpunk-infused rave memories - ambient jungle, dub techno and breakbeats of all sorts floating in & out of ambient wetness. Lovely.

Kl.ne - Drinking Up the Ocean [Kl.ne Bandcamp]
Kl.ne - TV Tower [Kl.ne Bandcamp]
Berlin-based producer Philipp Rhensius co-runs the Arcane Patterns label, DJs on Noods Radio and elsewhere... Last year he released his debut album under the Alienationist alias, but the Kl.ne name has been around a little longer (I get the feeling it's meant to be pronounced "clone") and covers similar ground to Alienationist. Rhensius is inspired by '90s jungle and trip-hop, UK bass music of all sorts. The Rewind the Century EP presents these influences at the relatively stately tempo of 130pm, and much like crimeboys above it's the memory of a rave through rain-soaked window.

Saving Kaiser - Mellow Mint [Feral Note]
Saving Kaiser - Lush [Feral Note]
Here's something altogether stranger, but still hinting and jungle and IDM. Saving Kaiser is the duo of jazz drummer Thomas Wörle and jazz/classically-trained pianist Roman Rofalski, but on their debut EP Digital Snowflake, released on Kaan Bulak's Feral Note label, there are no acoustic instruments. Instead it's all electronic beats & sounds, but arranged in ways that sound organic, in fact deliberately messy. It's all improvised music, and the musicianship is clearly felt in this very alien work.

Yannis Kyriakides - Cottonstone [Unsounds/Bandcamp]
Yannis Kyriakides - Enaerios [Unsounds/Bandcamp]
Greek composer Yannis Kyriakides is co-founder of the Unsounds label with Scottish guitarist Andy Moor - both of whom are Netherlands-based - and Brussels-based designer Isabelle Vigier. Kyriakides has released a number of wonderful duo albums with Moor as well as substantial works for classical instrumentation, often also involving electronics. His latest album Amiandos is resolutely solo, however, and highly personal. The album is named for the asbestos mine in the south of Cyprus, where his grandfather worked and his father was born. The electronic tracks here chronicle the effects of the mining industry on the land and the people. "Cottonstone" is a literal translation of the ancient Greek word for asbestos (in modern Greek it's αμίαντο - yes, "amianto"), and the track uses processed drum machines and processed field recordings to create an imposing noisescape. On "Enaerios", Kyriakides follows the 36km cable car from the mine down to the port of Limassol, and we sit with his grandfather in a cafe by the dock where he would play backgammon, drink and listen to cassettes of '50s Greek music; the decontextualised, pitch-shifted voices of Trio Kitara appear throughout this track to stunning effect. Kyriakides is a formidable composer and collaborator, and this entirely solo work is a wonder.

Gail Priest - indeciphers [Metal Bitch Recordings]
Gail Priest - clone drone [Metal Bitch Recordings]
Now Katoomba-based, Gail Priest has long been a master of conceptually-based electronic works. paravox finds her focusing on the interface between voice and machine over 5 tracks (available both in stereo and binaural mixes). Three of these pieces were created during a residency at M.E.S.S., and on the gloopy "indeciphers" we hear the effects of voice driving the signal chain of a Doepfer modular system. Meanwhile opening track "clone drone" explains itself - it's an artificial voice based on Priest's own voice, and is about as creepy (and engrossing) as you'd expect.

Ryuichi Sakamoto - Choral No.1 (Devonté Hynes Remodel) [Milan Records]
Ryuichi Sakamoto - The Sheltering Sky (Alva Noto Remodel) [Milan Records]
Legendary Japanese composer & electronic musician Ryuichi Sakamoto has been diagnosed with cancer for the second time, and appears to be near the end of his life. (Tragically, his Yellow Magic Orchestra compadre Yukihiro Takahashi passed away last week). Very soon there'll be a new album of piano & synthesiser works from Sakamoto entitled 12, but in December last year To The Moon And Back, a compilation of "remodels" by friends & fellow travellers, was released. It's impressively broad-ranging, including frequent collaborators like David Sylvian & Fennesz alongside Icelandic cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir (a fellow soundtrack composer), the great experimentalist Otomo Yoshihide and polymath Thundercat. Another polymath, Devonté Hynes, contributes a chamber arrangement of the originally solo piano piece "Choral No.1", while another longtime Sakamoto collaborator Alva Noto takes the beautiful "The Sheltering Sky" and pulls it apart into pulses of strings and piano.

Chris Abrahams - New Kind Of Border [Room40/Bandcamp]
For his many albums for Room40, Chris Abrahams has often felt comfortable to veer away from the piano into sound-works for Yamaha DX-7, or collage works; but the piano is never far away from Chris's composing ear, and so the four works on his 2022 album Follower find his various characteristic Chris Abrahams piano gestures creeping around sound-worlds made from synthesisers or organs and scattered, jangling percussion reminiscent of some more recent sounds from his Necks colleague Tony Buck. Of course Abrahams' solo piano is more than capable of speaking for itself, but here it acts as one part of a whole, less lead instrument, more textural.

C. Spencer Yeh - A Few Things Can Be Happening at the Same Time [Bocian]
Anla Courtis - DTRPNKL [Bocian]
Two tracks from a big compilation of noise & experimental artists (31 tracks!) by Polish label Bocian called The Border. In this case it's the border between Belarus and Poland, where refugees from mostly Middle Eastern & Central Asian countries are attempting to make their way into Europe, and are either trapped in a no-man's land between two countries which are both hostile to their human rights or experience violence on one side or other of the border. The Border Group, who this compilation supports, is an unofficial organisation of local residents, volunteers and some NGOs dedicated to providing aid to those caught in this humanitarian crisis, and it seems to me they definitely need all the funds they can get. But that aside, this is a great compilation with lots of big names in experimental & noise music - at least two Australians (Robert Curgenven and Mike Majkowski), Mats Gustafsson, Maja Ratkje, Martin Brandlmayr & Martin Siewert (both of Radian et al), Ben Vida, and, well, heaps more. I was really excited to see C. Spencer Yeh there, as a massive Burning Star Core fan, and also this is neither a solo violin nor solo voice track, but rather a free noise kind of thing. And Anla Courtis (aka Alan Courtis, a founder of Reynols and incredibly prolific & important Argentine musician) contributes a beautiful subdued piece of bass guitar thrums.

Ilia Belorukov - High Shrubs Forming a Thicket [Crónica/Bandcamp]
The latest cassette from the always-splendid Portuguese internationalist experimental label Crónica comes from Russian sound-artist, saxophonist and writer Ilia Belorukov. Composed during the pandemic lockdowns in 2020-21, it features field recordings melded with percussion sounds, modular synthesis and various instruments. The idea was to take these many inputs along with some computer-generated responses to the sounds, and find a way to create something coherent, consonant, harmonious even - and thus we have beautiful works of composed sound, where the sounds could come from nature, or a human, or a computer. It takes a human to pull it all together though, and Belorukov has done so with great panache.

Nika Son - Trinsar puddle [Below The Radar 41, with The Wire issue 467]
Hamburg musician Nika Breithaupt aka Nika Son makes music for film, art, DJs and more ("owl" is rather enigmatically included on her website bio). Her solo music seems to draw equally from techno, industrial, synthwave etc and musique concrète & other early electronic music. One of the many perks of subscribing to The Wire is the bonus compilations that come with a good 2/3 of the issues, and from last month's edition of the download comp Below The Radar, we get an otherwise-unreleased track from Nika Son, with burbling electronics and percussion eventually joined by a voice speaking in French. It's slightly spooky and lovely.

Listen again — ~209MB

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Sunday, 8th of January, 2023

Playlist 08.01.23 (11:00 pm)

It's the second Sunday of January, 2023, and I'm already playing 2023 music! But I am also looking back to December 2022 and some earlier 2022 music I missed. Some. But time moves on and the music world these days STOPS FOR NOONE. Not even me ?

LISTEN AGAIN to keep up! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Machinefabriek - + Berlinde Deman [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - + Jeremy Young [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - + Christine Ott [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - + Leo Chadburn [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - + Michel Banabila [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - + Giovanni Di Domenico [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
The first release for 2023 from Machinefabriek is comprised of 52 tracks, each derived from a 1-minute improvisation contributed by a different musical friend of the artist. It's a solution to Rutger Zuydervelt's circumstances in the latter part of 2022, having become a father for the first time, trying to work out how to balance his time with making music, design work and parenting. Creating a collection of short works seemed like the ticket, and the result is the monumental album simply titled +, which will be released on CD & digital on Feb 17th - although the even-numbered tracks are already available for streaming & download on Bandcamp. As you'd expect, Zudervelt's collaborators range from acoustic instrumentalists to electronic experimentalists. Tonight we started with jazz musician Berlinde Deman, who as well as playing tuba & euphonium is a specialist in the serpent, an ancient bass brass instrument; she's followed by Canadian tape manipulator and sound-artist Jeremy Young, who contributes the sine waves and radio that he's been using lately, and then we hear from Christine Ott and her signature ondes martenot. Ott's track is a good example of how Zuydervelt absorbs and reworks the sounds of his collaborators, with jungle's amen breaks buried somewhere in the analogue sounds. Our second batch brings spoken word and field recordings from Leo Chadburn (who you may know as Simon Bookish), a piece with longtime collaborator Michel Banabila, and Fender Rhodes from prolific jazz/experimental pianist Giovanni Di Domenico.

bracken - .... [Bracken Bandcamp]
bracken - ... [Bracken Bandcamp]
On December 21st, Chris Adams dropped a surprise bracken album on his Bandcamp with no notice. Raking Light is a lot more ambient than previous Bracken material, give or take (I played the one track with beats tonight). As per Adams' work over the years with Hood, there's a hard-to-define hazy mix of indie and electronic here, with some muffled vocals at times, some dub delays, and patented Chris Adams angst. I'll take anything new from Chris, whether Bracken, Downpour or something else, with the full veneration it requires.

part timer - one [part timer Bandcamp]
Another December release, after a stellar year of albums and EPs, part timer's 2022 extras gifts us with four more unreleased tracks, with folktronic glitches & shuffly beats and post-classical prettiness as only John McCaffrey can do.

William Ryan Fritch - Storm [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
William Ryan Fritch - Excavate [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
The very prolific Oakland-based composer & multi-instrumentalist William Ryan Fritch had a quiet year last year - but that's about to end, with a three album series begun this month, each of which will focus on the water crises faced by communities around the globe. Much of the music on Polarity, which is released this Friday, came out of soundtrack work William did for the stunning documentary Newtok, about an Alaskan community being displaced by climate change. This album sees Fritch expanding his sonic pallette, adding to the acoustic instruments (many of them homemade) that he's used for many years. Synthesized electronic sounds are brought into the physical world via modified speakers, hydrophones, solenoids and so on, captured by ceramic PZM mics and contact mics. The physicality of the sound here is palpable, and allows Fritch to bring mutant techno pulses and electronic drones & surges into his acoustic soundworld.

Putrika - Monologue [self-released]
Born in Jakarta, Putrika is now based in Sydney, and her first single "Rain On Tuesday" led to her being made Independent Artist of the Week on our very own FBi Radio back in March 2022. That song is now on her Silmara EP, which I'm only just catching up with now. It's four tracks of soul-infused minimal house, to my ears very Matthew Herbert. It's entirely self-produced and super well done.

Lint - Fruit Bat Nite Club [Mound of Sound]
Lint - Fluff [Mound of Sound]
Dru & Mitch Jones are low-key Sydney experimental music royalty, with Mitchell being a founding member of postpunk/proto-industrial shapeshifters Scattered Order, and Drusilla having been involved from early on too. The two are based in Mount Victoria these days, just outside of Sydney in the Blue Mountains, where they continue to create wonky art that doesn't quite belong to any particular genre or scene, but somehow picks up flavours of the zeitgeist whenever it glancingly intersects with it. Mitch still plays with the latest incarnation of Scattered Order, and both are also solo artists, but they also team up together as Lint, under which alias they released Reggae Nuns In Paradise late last year. Mitch plays guitar through laptop effects and creates variegated beats, and Dru provides manipulated samples on, I believe, an iPad. It's psychedelically disorienting and deeply enjoyable.

Simona Zamboli - Underworld [Mille Plateaux]
Simona Zamboli - Movement [Mille Plateaux]
A Laugh Will Bury You is Milan-based sound engineer Simona Zamboli's second album for Mille Plateaux. Like the excellent Ethernity from 2021, it takes a sideways view of the industrial, hard techno that she makes in other contexts, melting it down to its elements and mixing in plenty of dust, creating murky textures and rhythms well-suited to history of Mille Plateaux. In amongst the dark electronics and noise are discorporate vocal loops which only add to the general sense of disturbance.

Slikback x Blackhaine - SLKBLKH FREESTYLE [Slikback Bandcamp]
Not only does Kenyan experimental producer Slikback drop tracks, EPs, albums on his Bandcamp just about every month, he frequently comes up with brilliant collaborations with the cream of the crop. Thus, 2013 began with this slice of perfection landing on that Bandcamp - Slikback's trap-influenced overdriven beats with the Northern drill poet of bleakness, Blackhaine. What more to say? It needed to exist, it exists.

LeTo - Gin Nothing [[re]sources]
Lyon producer LeTo, a founder of the bass-loving True Lyon Crew and Leftover Dubs, joins the excellent Parisian bass label [re]sources with Automatisms. It's a 3-track EP of UK bass-infused 130 tunes, with nods to dancehall as well as garage & grime, all three catchy and dancefloor-ready.

Lila Tirando a Violeta & Nicola Cruz - Cuerpo que Flota [N.A.A.F.I/Lila Tirando a Violeta Bandcamp]
Lila Tirando a Violeta & Loris & Nick León - transmute [Lila Tirando a Violeta Bandcamp]
Lila Tirando a Violeta - Brief Glimpses of Happiness [N.A.A.F.I/Lila Tirando a Violeta Bandcamp]
Camila Domínguez is a Uruguayan electronic musician, DJ, performer, label owner and event organiser, whose solo music as Lila Tirando a Violeta is lately exploring Latin influences with bass and hard dance styles. She's also one half of queer pop duo A.M.I.G.A, and collaborations - generally with other Latin American musicians - are strewn through her work, including 7 out of the 10 tracks on her latest album, Desire Path. In between two tracks from that album, I played a track in which she teams up with Mexican-Palestinian producer Loris and Miami-based Nick León. Meanwhile, Ecuadorian star Nicola Cruz appears on the opening track, but on the closing track (one of the truly solo pieces), Domínguez samples a forlorn, monotone voice. It's a hell of a quote, and accompanied by a simple percussion loop and arid drone it's a hell of an album closer.

The Flashbulb - Uphill Manual (Live PA) [The Flashbulb Bandcamp]
Benn Jordan is a genius - a longtime breakcore & drill'n'bass producer from wayback who has built a very successful YouTube channel around his talent for explaining things clearly & creatively - and a real journalistic flair, it has to be said. Check out his recent video on Why Spotify Will Ultimately Fail - it'll make your blood boil. At the end of 2022 he snuck out a mixtape of music from 2022 called Kirlian Tapes v1.0 (a callback to his classic genre-bending album of genius Kirlian Selections), with little fanfare other than the release emails on Bandcamp. He apologised that it's "mostly jazz", and he's rather good at jazzy noodling on keyboards and bass; but there's a fair bit of that characteristic drill'n'bassy drum programming, at least on the first few tracks.

PinkPantheress - Take Me Home [Warner Music]
Nobody represents the TikTok generation's surprising turn to jungle & drum'n'bass as much as the 22yo English pop singer PinkPantheress. Her incisive, concise songs frequently draw on mid-'90s beats, and it's a really sweet, if odd, thing. Early last year a bunch of folks remixed songs from her debut album, but near the close of the year she put out a three-track EP, the title track of which is another of those nice jungle-pop songs.

Parallel & Tim Reaper - Experiments In Motion [Future Retro]
UK junglist extraordinaire Tim Reaper aka Ed Alloh took time off from his collaborative series Meeting of the Minds last year to release a bunch of other stuff (because he never sleeps!), but he's right back into it in 2023 with two more volumes. Both are excellent, as usual each featuring two tracks a side with a jungle or hardcore producer collaborating with Alloh, and from Meeting of the Minds Vol. 10 we heard some classic dark jungle with Parallel, an artist Reaper worked a lot with in earlier days.

Arcane - Curse of the Pharaohs [Rua Sound/Bandcamp]
Another of the newer generation of junglists, Bristol's Arcane returns to Irish label Rua Sound, and specifically their jungle-focused imprint Foxy Jangle, with two tracks of hi-fi beats & basslines, with a distinct melodic sensibility.

Calm Stiege - Zipper [Third Degree]
Moving to Perth label Third Degree, who released the excellent hardcore/breakbeat/jungle album HAZMAT (Hazardous Materials Vol. 0002) late last year. It may be a Western Australian label, but Calm Stiege is a London-based artist, whose main focus is UK Garage & Funky, but here turns in some very nice accelerated breaks, jungle-stylee.

Laxenanchaos - Cluster Amaryllis (Edit) [☯ anybody universe ☯]
It's something of a tradition for ☯ anybody universe ☯, the label of Japanese drill'n'bass/breakcore producer Laxenanchaos, to put out a release at Christmas each year. For their 7th anniversary, it's new EP Cluster Amaryllis from Laxenanchaos with lovely breakneck IDM stuff, including two quite different versions of the title track.

Obelisk - Illidan Bass (Ptwiggs Remix) [PAYNOMINDTOUS/Bandcamp]
Obelisk - Echoburst [PAYNOMINDTOUS/Bandcamp]
Keeping it jungle/hardcore-continuum, albeit considerably broken-down and noise-laden, the Turin-based PAYNOMINDTOUS label brings us the debut EP from Eora/Sydney's Obelisk, who organises the Nexus events and works closely with FBi all-round legend Krishtie aka Index. I played Obelisk earlier in 2022 from Deep Scan's Solid State Drive 2 compilation, and here are three more dark and dangerous tracks, backed with two great remixes. Jungle & IDM have always featured in Phoebe Ptwiggs' DNA, and her remix here explodes with a beefed-up hardcore techno racket.

Skee Mask - Steamer (Early Mix) [SCNTST/Skee Mask Bandcamp]
Ilian Tape mainstay Skee Mask released two EPs on the Munich label last year, but he also put out two albums, just titled A and B, on the Bandcamp of his early SCNTST alias, both collecting unreleased, unmastered Skee Mask tracks from the last 5 years or so. There are many gems to be found, including plenty of representation of his love for melding jungle & d'n'b tropes (and IDM) with his minimalist techno.

Listen again — ~208MB

Comments Off on Playlist 08.01.23

Sunday, 1st of January, 2023

Playlist 01.01.23 - Best of 2022, Part 3!!! (6:50 pm)

And so we make it 2023, and the third & final part of Utility Fog's Best of 2022 - it's the beats. This is a 2hr seamless DJ mix, which on-air and on podcast has me talking at points throughout. If you're reading this, you can also directly download the mix itself with no talking here.

LISTEN AGAIN whenever you want to - you deserve it! Stream on demand on our FBi website, podcast here!

CS + Kreme - Would You Like A Vampire (feat. Bridget St. John) [The Trilogy Tapes/Bandcamp]
The work of Conrad Standish and Sam Karmel as CS + Kreme seems representative of a certain segment of the Melbourne experimental music scene, with Karmel's history in bands like Bum Creek, while Standish (brother of HTRK's Jonnine) has inhabited the indie rock sphere for a couple of decades. The CS + Kreme duo has seemed to relish a kind of shapelessness, from smooth lo-fi electro-pop on their early EPs through to gradually more jagged edges and post-punk/dub aesthetics from the much-loved Snoopy LP a couple of years ago. Now comes Orange, an even greater departure into post-punk experimentalism, with bubbling drum machine patterns, disembodied vocal samples, a little spooky cocktail jazz piano (maybe that's a stretch) and a side-long drone, distortion & drum machine opus with help from James Rushford on various keyboard instruments. For my money, this is by far their best effort and a 2022 essential.

DJ Sports & Tim Reaper - Wormhole [Future Retro]
Tim Reaper continues his Meeting of the Minds series on his Future Retro label with volumes 7 & 8, each featuring 4 collaborations. Here Reaper and Danish producer Milan Zaks aka DJ Sports do their best to mash up breaks as comprehensively as possible, whooshing cymbals forward & backwards and stopping and starting in fine junglist fashion. 2022 was another big year for Tim Reaper, but I mistakenly played this track from late 2021, hope you can forgive...

Ryoji Ikeda - ultratronics 11 [Noton/Codex]
If you've engaged with the art world in the last few years, the world of installations and the interface where performance and installation work meet, you'd be hard pressed to have avoided Ryoji Ikeda. Back in the mid-to-late '90s when his early digital cut-up and glitch works were emerging, primarily on the Touch label, he seemed like a futuristic, very experimental and deliciously obscure artist, whose work bridged cerebral concept-art and experimental electronic dance music. Indeed, his razor-sharp cutting techniques and rhythmic complexity meant that he somehow crossed between the accelerated syncopations of jungle and IDM and the austereness of minimal techno. In recent years, Ikeda has become a giant of the art world, with exhibitions ranging from towers of light outside MONA in Tasmania and next to the Houses of Parliament in London to precise flickering light installations to walk through, under and around, seen in London, at Carriageworks in Sydney, and all around the world... and further, to intense multi-screen data visualisation works such as the one (inside) at MONA and one involving a performance aspect, shown among other places also at Carriageworks. These are often monumental works, and it's pleasing that their size, power and audience-friendliness mean that people are, knowingly or not, consuming his wonderful, complex minimal/maximal glitch music as well. In his audio work - within the installations and on record - Ikeda keeps the masses of data and finely chopped sounds within a rhythmic grid - albeit heavily syncopated. There's a purity to much of the sound: even though he has composed for string quartets and percussion ensembles, much of his work is entirely electronic, and mostly created within the digital realm. Some earlier works concern themselves with sine waves and interference patterns, but I would venture that it's the dense, rhythmic stuff that is most characteristically Ikeda. Ultratronics is his latest album, following almost a decade after Supercodex. It explores the same themes that have been present for ages - big data from genetics, quantum physics and astronomy, rendered into propulsive digital audio. Ikeda understands that this kind of aural reification requires movement, and light shows with big soundsystems in enclosed rooms can't help but evoke dance clubs. On Ultratronics he reminds of this with voice samples, croaking speech synthesis and even chunky breakbeats. It was wonderful in 2022 to have a new recording from such an iconoclastic figure - and I played two rather different tracks tonight.

PETBRICK - Lysergic Aura (Feat. Lord Goat & Truck Jewelz) [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. Also of note, 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, and their own "Bubblelogue" remix, which despite the reference to Aphex Twin's Analogue Bubblebath releases is more in line with the anagrammatic Hangable Auto Bulb EPs, drill'n'bass madness.

They Hate Change - Who Next [Jagjaguwar/Bandcamp]
Discovering the jungle-loving rap duo They Hate Change was one of the great moments of 2020. Dre and Vonne grew up in Florida's Tampa Bay, and courtesy of the internet became immersed in UK club music, especially jungle & grime. Their rapping is as American as it comes, with Vonne's gender fluidity an important part of the mix. Despite their non-conforming status, it was still surprising to find them signed to indie/experimental label Jagjaguwar last year, after EPs on smaller labels like godmode, but all power to them, and in 2022 we received their debut full length Finally, New, with their signature sound intact. Bigups!

Stefan Goldmann - Oyotung [Macro Records]
Berlin techno producer Stefan Goldmann does 4/4 with the best of them, but also has a sideline in experimental beats and sound-art (his father was the composer & conductor Friedrich Goldmann), and for the 12" Vector Rituals on his Macro label he deconstructs the beats and barlines into strange polyrhythms, sometimes frenetic and sometimes calm, always flowing with liquid grace. This is pure electronic music, although the melodic and textural elements tend towards gamelan-like bells and tuned percussion. It's engrossing music for mind & body.

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!

Marco Zenker - Resistance [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Oooh and here's a real one. Marco Zenker is one of the Zenkers wot run the excellent Munich label Ilian Tape. And his new solo album Channel Balance was a beautifully realised example of most of what the label does oh so well - dub aesthetics cutting through genres from lugubrious ambient through breakbeat-loving techno up to (on the second half) jungle and drum'n'bass. The brothers came to techno and 4/4 electronics via a love of hip-hop and Jamaican styles, and somehow that really shows too. But it's the consistency of quality production and emotional depth across the ostensible genre changes through this album that make it such a highlight. Not to be missed.

Ahm - Antisocial [Anterograde/Bandcamp]
Naarm/Melbourne producer Andrew Huhtanen McEwan aka Ahm returned in 2022 with their third EP for Anterograde, and Ansible is all sci-fi all jungle all the time. An ansible is a faster-than-light or near-instantaneous communication device, invented by the great Ursula K Le Guin, and McEwan was attracted to the idea during Covid lockdowns, where formerly short distances could feel intergalactic. It's a collection of rich, dark drum'n'bass tunes, and includes also a first class remix from Hextape aka Bridget Chappell.

Other People's Children - Skywave [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.

µ-Ziq - Metabidiminished Icosahedron [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
To my ears the Hello EP from Mike Paradinas aka µ-Ziq featured 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 finally the completion of the series with Hello (collected on CD along with the Goodbye EP tracks). 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!!!

Yunzero - Blowing O-s [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.

Julmud جُلْمود - Falnukmel فلنكمل [Bilna'es/Bandcamp]
From Ramallah, Palestine comes an album from hip-hop producer, rapper and percussionist Julmud جُلْمود. The Bilna'es label is co-run by Muqata'a, and some of his glitchy tendencies and love of breakbeats can be heard here - and of course the theme of oppression, unavoidable when living under Israeli apartheid in the occupied territories. Here Julmud crafts varied tracks from chopped & screwed Arabic samples, drum breaks, percussion and more - truly unique and brilliant (I played two tracks tonight!) - don't let this one slip through the cracks.

clipping. and ZULI - Make Them Dead (ZULI's Life After Death Remix) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Over four weeks, clipping. released a series of 4 (FOUR) REMXNG 2.x EPs. There were lots of lovely junglist versions, noise and experimental sound of all sorts (I played a beatless but madcap version from Cooling Prongs on Part 2 of my Best of last week), 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.

Rutger Zuydervelt - Hinkelstap 3 [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
I was very lucky to get a pre-release copy of Rutger Machinefabriek Zuydervelt's EP Hinkelstap - in fact, I got to preview it before it was finished. Here Zuydervelt is taking a rare plunge into an unusual space for him - entirely electronic music, complete with basslines and beats. It owes more than a little to the IDM we both grew up with in the '90s, and the hardcore/drum'n'bass continuum - melodic synths, slow repetitive basslines and jittery, head-nodding beats. It's always great to hear a musician pushing themself outside of their comfort zone - if Machinefabriek can be said to have a comfort zone. I thorougly enjoyed these tracks, which were premiered here back in July.

Keita Sano - Inner Hall [ROW Records/Bandcamp]
Always love new discoveries. Keita Sano is by no means a new artist, but by and large his focus has been on house and disco, so I've not encountered him until recently. His second EP on ROW Records just dropped (he spent some time in Berlin before moving back to Okayama) and Legacy From Leyton brings a nice mix of head-nodding techno, IDM influences and even a bit of jungle, along with a classy garage/dubstep remix from Tokyo-based Dayzero. Sano also has his own Bandcamp, which had a massive amount of archival material uploaded, in a huge range of styles. 2021's Keep The Party Going On seems to take on a different dance music genre on just about every track, with low-slung beats abiding, distorted snares, b-boy drum machines, even a bit of drum'n'bass. A lot of the other stuff has now gone, but I was lucky enough to grab junglist versions of dub tracks, IDM-style beatworks and even some proper d'n'b, some very lovely grainy distorted slow techno a la Andy Stott, and lots more. Still well worth exploring in depth!

Forest Drive West - Break [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
UK artist Forest Drive West has one of the most intruging careers, successful both with bass-heavy techno and jungle. That's perfect for the great Ilian Tape, where for his debut on the label he starts with the weight somewhat on the techno side, but leans heavily on jungle & d'n'b for most, including a superb rolling track in 7/4.

Mister Shifter - Murder One [Straight Up Breakbeat/Bandcamp]
Finland is a surprising home to an enthusiastic drum'n'bass & jungle scene, with figures like Fanu and Resound only the tip of the iceberg. A few years ago the Straight Up Breakbeat label popped up in Helsinki with a well-curated modern take on classic jungle & drum'n'bass sounds. A special Bandcamp edition, Zero Two, came out early in the year, with many Finnish artists such as Fanu, Resound and Mineral - who we heard tonight with a track that accelerates and skitters away throughout - and international artists like US producer Mister Shifter, who gives us fierce dark breaks.

R-T-FAX - Circuit Breakaa [Deep Scan]
Early in 2022, Bandcamp had an article about "the internet's" breakcore revival, with some pretty good commentary on where breakcore came from in the '90s and what it's become today. As a side-note, it was interesting to read Alex Petridis talking about drum'n'bass becoming cool for the TikTok generation in the Guardian this week (full disclosure: I hate almost all the music referenced in the article, but my taste is irrelevant for TikTok pop trends and I'm really glad this stuff exists). Anyway, I was particularly pleased to read the breakcore article because it's been a while since breakcore was a core genre for Utility Fog (it was for years), and just in time for that Bandcamp article, Sydney-based Deep Scan released their second compilation, Solid State Drive 2, focused on breakcore both local and international. It's a fantastic comp, showcasing excellent music which understands breakcore and jungle's history and comfortably situates them in current-day musical trends. Erin Nortje, aka R-T-FAX, is one half of Deep Scan with Tom Vanderzeil. Her track splices junglist breaks into a half-time, stop-start, bass-heavy monster. Brilliant.

JK Flesh - Crawler [Pressure]
If you know me at all, you know that Justin K Broadrick is one of my heroes. So it makes sense that he appears twice tonight - first as Pale Sketcher above, and now as JK Flesh. Initially the alias was used for a kind of mutant dubstep thing, but for some years now has been an outlet for harsh and dirty industrial techno, often veering into surprisingly high tempos. But for the superb Sewer Bait album for Kevin Martin's own Pressure label the tempo slows right down to super scuzzy, pummelling but somehow, dare I say... comforting? Put this on in a dark room with a bunch of like-minded folk and joyfully wallow in the negative vibes.

billy woods - Wharves [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
It feels like billy woods albums come thick & fast, whether or not we include Armand Hammer (who are visiting our shores in a couple of months!) In 2022 we got TWO solo albums from woods, with the Messiah Musik-produced Church later in the year, and near the start Aethiopes, with Preservation. Aethiopes is almost as good as woods' album Hiding Places with Kenny Segal (one of the best albums full stop of the last 5+ years), and it's notable that there's a continuity of sound with all woods' work, regardless of who's behind the keyboard, knobs and faders. The movie samples are there, the tone is grimy, the beats stumble off into free jazz at times (love the piano chaos in "Haarlem"!) and the lyrics concern themselves with the horrors of the world today. Nobody carries this off better than woods and his 'woodz cohorts.

Saint Abdullah & Eomac - In One Corner The Male Relatives [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.

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.

Aquarian - Dead Whale [Dekmantel/Bandcamp]
In 2022 the Berlin-based, Canadian-born Aquarian released two excellent Mutations EPs on the Dekmantel label. His solo productions and tracks with Deapmash as AQXDM are bass-heavy techno and jungle, dancefloor-oriented IDM etc. All the tracks were ace, but this closer from Mutations I: Death, Taxes & Hanger is completely insane, with a 13/8 beat (6+7), increasingly frenetic drum breaks and beautiful sub-bass drops.

ALXZNDR - M4 [DEEP MEDi/Bandcamp]
London-based Alex Frosell is also classically-trained, and his melodic talents show on his latest EP as ALXZNDR, his debut on the great dubstep label DEEP MEDi. 140bpm music, whether dubstep or grime, lends itself to a certain kind of harmonic movement, and Frosell understands how to move those interrelated chords around a slow, syncopated bassline with plenty of dub-derived space.

700 Bliss - Sixteen [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Moor Mother & DJ Haram's debut album as 700 Bliss, Nothing To Declare, arrived from Hyperdub in May 2022 after much anticipation. The Philadelphia musicians are a great pairing. Moor Mother is comfortable in her usually gruff raps with hip-hop, punk, free jazz, metal and no doubt more; DJ Haram merges her Middle Eastern roots into club sounds, lo-fi hip-hop, noise and whatever else takes her fancy, and raps as well at times. Across the album there are guests adding r'n'b tinges, angelic autotuned melodies and glitched breakbeats - but the talents of the duo are such that there's hardly any repetition here, and no slackening of pace or interest, even in the tongue-in-cheek skits.

Commodo - Living Bones [Black Acre/Bandcamp]
In 2020 Commodo put out three EPs of dingy TV show soundtrack vibes mixed up with dubstep swagger. This year he started out with a three-track EP on Black Acre entitled Deft 1s, which broke the mold once again. The closest I can think of is some of Distance's old stuff fusing distorted metal riffs with dubstep, but here's it's nimble postpunk basslines and riffs. It was phenomenal, and was followed up with two EPs on his own Mysterious Trax which went further down this new path.

Phelimuncasi - I don't feel my legs (prod DJ Nhlekzin) [Nyege Nyege Tapes/Bandcamp]
More cause for celebration: A whole new album from Durban gqom crew Phelimuncasi, following 2020's 2013-2019 collection. Here the beats come from various locals including frequent collaborator DJ Scoturn, some bouncy productions from DJ MP3, and newcomer DJ Nhlekzin as well, while the three members (two men and one woman) rap & sing in isiZulu and English.

ronan - Geodesis [On Loop/Bandcamp]
Interdépendence was four tracks from French producer ronan, who runs the Eternal Ocean label (see Tristan Arp et al). Released by London label On Loop, the EP features four lovely dubby techno tracks to get your head nodding and/or your legs shuffling.

First Circle (feat Don Sinini) - Sad Day (Ghost Phone Remix) [All Centre]
In August, London's All Centre released First Circle's song "Sad Day" (feat. Don Sinini, and followed it up a few weeks later 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.

part timer - Unflow [part timer Bandcamp]
Bandcamp affords artists an unparalleled workflow from creation to publication. John Part Timer sent me a preview of the two tracks on Unflow/Utopia in July, and within minutes of my telling him they need to be released, they were up on Bandcamp. It helps that he's been producing scads of uncanny faux-instrument faux-artwork using AI tools lately. These two electronic tunes harken back to the folktronic & IDM origins of Part Timer, always a delight, along with some nice sub bass action.

Ryoji Ikeda - ultratronics 07 [Noton/Codex]
(see above for discussion)

Gunjack - Lacrimogena [Gunjack Bandcamp]
Gunjack - Scorpio [Gunjack Bandcamp]
Gunjack - Winterlude [Gunjack Bandcamp]
Brian Gunjack is a US artist with very eclectic styles. In September he released the Hyperjazz Volume 1 EP, which found him in drill'n'bass/breakcore mode but with a jazz core. A few months later the promised second volume arrived, subtitled The Social Music. Again it's manic drill'n'bass with moody jazz keys and samples, super well done. In between these releases, Gunjack dropped house, acid, techno, whatever takes his fancy - also notable was the superb album-length '90s-"ambient" style mix Substance Abuse which veers between ambient, trip-hop, acid, dub and even a bit of drill'n'bass. It's very Future Sound of London or The Orb, obviously too long to play here but well worth your time.

Wordcolour - Babble [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Young UK artist Wordcolour wrote music for TV & film before releasing his sound design-oriented club tunes, starting with Tell Me Something for Lapsus in 2020. In fact one of the more "ambient" tracks on his incredible album The trees were buzzing, and the grass. featured in last week's Best of 2022 Part 2. The producer is highly adept at UK club forms of all sorts - Djrum's presence as remixer on the 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, one I returned to a lot through the year.

dgoHn - Ninnyhammer (Djrum Remix) [Love Love Records/Bandcamp]
And speaking of Djrum... UK jungle/drumfunk master dgoHn released one of the best albums of 2020 with Undesignated Proximate. For 2022, every track on the album has received the remix treatment by many of the cream of the contemporary junglist crop. There are very few who have the talent for insane beat science of Djrum, who somehow combines that with top-notch compositional chops as well. Among many others, also notable was Skee Mask, creating something typically... untypical. The only shame - and it's a big one - is that there's not one female artist featured here. It shouldn't be hard.

Vaal - Song Zero [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
Eliot Sumner has been producing electronic music as Vaal for around a decade, but only started releasing it relatively recently. They are also known as a singer & songwriter under their own name, both for punk/post-punk and electro-pop, as well as an actor - and if you recognize the surname, that's because they are indeed the child of Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting, with actress Trudie Styler. As a vocalist, in December they appeared in collaboration with Ben Frost covering Jefferson Airplane's "White Rabbit". The name Vaal was taken as a way of being anonymous, and even though "Eliot Sumner" is connected with this album, the family connection goes unnoted. And while I have to admit that the Police and Sting's early solo music were among the first rock & pop I became a fan of as a schoolkid, there's near-zero connection with this particular music at all - it's just really fucking good. Unlike Nosferatu, their 2019 album that was much more along techno lines, this album incorporates breakbeats galore, from drum'n'bass and drill'n'bass (see "4th Generation Smart Phone") to more trip-hop like stylings, along with noisy but cinematic guitars and electronics. It's really very Bedouin Records, which is always a drawcard.

Rita Revell - Anabolic Window [Rita Revell Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Rita Revell debuted with the cassette I Had a Very Bad Time! in 2014, followed by the multimedia Zastani from the much-missed This Thing (was it in fact their last release?) Five years later we get the brilliant self-released Depozit. This is genreless music, timeless too, hardware-based études that can be lo-fi techno or woozy ambient loops, harsh and pretty.

Purelink - Spirit & Sport [Lillerne Tapes]
The great Chicago label Lillerne Tapes brings us the debut album from Chicago trio Purelink - although it's not their first release, with a brilliant pair of tracks available from last year on their Bandcamp, one of which is Basic Channel-style minimal dub techno, and the other LTJ Bukem-style ambient jungle. For their Lillerne Tapes release, it's Puredub - dubby beats of a very '90s nature, hinting at that Basic Channel fizz but mostly more on an ambient breakbeats tip, head-nodding and pure pleasure.

Carl Stone - Sumiya [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
Like clipping. and Wordcolour above, LA/Japan-based computer music pioneer Carl Stone featured in our Best of 2022 Part 2 (the mostly-instrumental, mostly-beatless edition). As noted then, he 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. We had an embarrassment of riches from Stone this year, with the album Wat Dong Moon Lek, an album of reworks of Finnish label We Jazz, and indeed a remix of clipping. along the way - as well as the Gall Tones, a typically punning title. The latter was 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, hence the appearance of this rhythmically bamboozling piece of, hm... r'n'b? Pop?

Metal Preyers feat Lord Tusk - Metal Mans Revolt [Nyege Nyege Tapes]
London musician Jesse Hackett and Chicago-based visual artist Mariano Chavez have worked together since 2018 as Teeth Agency, but as an offshoot or alias they have been releasing music via mixtapes and albums for the last couple of years as Metal Preyers on the Kampala-based Nyege Nyege Tapes label. Understanding it as an art project is in some ways helpful in unravelling the dense, polysemous, mysterious music (and I should mention that the visuals are awesome). Often, the provenance of the music seems to be an arcane reconstruction of British folk, or some 20th-century European classical composition - or that intersection-of-weird where proto-industrial and musique concrète meet. As often as not, though, the music does veer into a more contemporary beat-crafting or sound-editing realm, particularly emphasised with collaborators like Lord Tusk. Intriguing and rewarding.

Ani Klang - distorted thots, juni 2019 [New Scenery]
This second last track is a bit of a misdirect. The self-titled album from Californian artist Ani Klang, released by UK label New Scenery, was very much focused on rave madness - machine-gun beats and glitchy samples evoking the early-to-mid '90s on the whole. But then there's the last track. The exquisitely named "distorted thots, juni 2019" brings us queasy piano, glitching drones and processed vocals, a thing of unsettling beauty that I couldn't help playing at the end of this dancefloor music mix.

Julmud جُلْمود - Saree' el thawaban سريع الذوبان [Bilna'es/Bandcamp]
And we finish with another cut from the brilliant Palestinian producer Julmud جُلْمود (see above for discussion) - woozy loops of Arabic music to take us into 2023.

Listen again — ~209MB

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