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Utility Fog

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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.

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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