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Utility Fog

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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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