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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, 26th of February, 2023

Playlist 26.02.23 (11:00 pm)

Ranging from punk to hip-hop to jungle, hardcore, footwork to IDM, electro-shaabi, glitch, noise, to dub-chanson, post-classical pop and uneasy ambient.
And so the next time when you're wishing for my downfall / I'ma come back to drown y'all.

LISTEN AGAIN and wish for my downfall via FBi's stream on demand, or the podcast here.

Algiers - A Good Man [Matador Records/Bandcamp]
Algiers - Cold World feat. Nadah El Shazly [Matador Records/Bandcamp]
Atlanta gospel-punk iconoclasts Algiers have never been a band to rest on a particular sound, if their original blend could ever be called restful. There's always been hip-hop, and noise and references to club music. But somehow on their massive SHOOK they've exploded into everything, all at once, with help from a raft of collaborators. I was obsessed with the single Bite Back last year with billy woods and Backxwash, which is indeed a highlight here, but who would've expected Egyptian underground mainstay Nadah El Shazly to appear here? Or for the punk intensity of "A Good Man"? Not every track hits hard or succeeds, but this is still an exceptionally strong album about a world in trouble.

seina sleep & YoursTruuly - Soothsayers [PTP/Bandcamp]
seina sleep & YoursTruuly - Morethanenoughness (feat. Chucky Blk & RGB) [PTP/Bandcamp]
You can always trust Geng and his Purple Tape Pedigree to turn up really interesting music. Here we have the first album from a very young Austin, TX producer calling themself YoursTruuly, with surrealist rapper seina sleep, also from Austin. The sounds from Xóchitl aka YoursTruuly are full of psychedelic & spiritual jazz samples, but through a grainy, tape-decayed filter (especially see the two instrumental interludes). And seina sleep, who likes to call this genre "gift rap", has a talent for surrealist lyrics and wordplay, and is joined by a number of other Austin crew throughout the album.

Philip D Kick - Drown [Astrophonica/Bandcamp]
Philip D Kick - Orbit [Astrophonica/Bandcamp]
Jim Coles aka Om Unit spent a few years making some of the best contemporary jungle & drum'n'bass, but has always been gregarious stylistically, also pioneering the "slow/fast" genre that mixed dubstep with jungle, and with his Philip D Kick alias, melding Chicago footwork with jungle on the three Footwork Jungle EPs released in 2011. He's now released three albums on Fracture's Astrophonica label, each leaning on the Philip K Dick pun and very skilfully combining the two speedy genres. From the second album Pathways I particularly love "Drown", with the slowed-down Gang Starr sample at the start. From the new one, "Orbit" handily starts off in jungle mode but soon shifts into the busy kicks and stuttery samples of footwork.

Meemo Comma - Loverboy [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Meemo Comma - Crisis [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Meemo Comma - Cloudscape [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
After her 2021 album Neon Genesis: Soul Into Matter², which combined Jewish mysticism with cyberpunk & computer game aesthetics, Lara Rix-Martin aka Meemo Comma now takes us back to '90s raves, drawing from jungle, breakbeat hardcore and trance as well as melodic IDM such as her husband Mike Paradinas likes to make. Rix-Martin's agnostic relationship to gender norms is is neatly encapsulated in the album's title - and protagonist - Loverboy. Indeed, while "she/her" is used in the album's write-up, "they/them" is used the artist bio, so. The production here is first class, easily evoking rave stylistics with style & humour, even on the more experimental glitched-up tracks like "Crisis". Honing their own artist craft has meant less time for Rix-Martin to give to their Objects Limited label, but they are also involved in A&R and press for Planet µ, to my mind pushing the label to address its own gender balance problems.

Askel - Hemlock [Straight Up Breakbeat/Askel Bandcamp]
Better known as one half of Finnish d'n'b duo Askel & Elere, Juho Kavasto appears here solo in an exclusive track from Finnish label Straight Up Breakbeat's Zero Three (Bandcamp Edition). "Hemlock" evokes jazzy "Hidden Camera" era Photek with classy drum programming - not too surprisingly as Kavasto is a drummer himself. A few of the tracks like this one were snuck out individually, but the whole Zero Three comp is a great summary of what SUB are doing, with a super high hitrate of d'n'b & jungle choons.

Eusebeia - Omen [Samurai Music/Bandcamp]
Seb Uncles' music gets better & better, with recent Eusebeia releases through Bristol bass/techno legends Livity Sound and classic junglists Omni Music. Now he returns to Berlin d'n'b powerhouse Samurai Music with the Omen EP, which sits well with the dark minimalism of that label while still showcasing his break juggling skills.

Kouslin - Five Four [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Speaking of Livity Sound, London dub/techno/bass innovator Kouslin returns to the label with the Patterns EP, with four very different tracks. There's mutant dancehall, with an almost jungley bent, and there's 4/4 techno, and then there's this track which is indeed 5/4 bass techno, with scribbly synth lines and complex cross-rhythms.

Son Zept - Ten Ton [Analogical Force/Bandcamp]
Belfast native Liam McCartan aka Son Zept finds his way for the first time to the Spanish electronic label Analogical Force with New Ireland Chrome, an EP that imagines a dystopian future Ireland... Musically, like much of his productions, it refuses to be pinned down, with a hefty slice of IDM/braindance informed by grime, jungle, acid techno anything else.

3Phaz - Shoulder Dance [Discrepant/Souk Records/Bandcamp]
3Phaz - Pivot (Msh Shayef Version) [Discrepant/Souk Records/Bandcamp]
Discrepant sublabel Souk Records preserves the parent label's world-ranging interests but with a beat focus. Souk's very first release is where I discovered Palestine's Muqata'a, and now they bring us the second album of Cairo's post-shaabi anonymous producer 3Phaz, whose debut album Three Phase took Egyptian urban genre mahraganat/electro-shaabi and threw it in the blender with harddrum, jungle and techno. Ends Meet certainly carries on from where the debut left off - indeed one of the tracks appears in a reworked form here - but lessens the distortion and pulls back from explicit references to UK & US dance music, so that North African percussion and melodies lead the music (alongside hefty 808 kicks and sub-bass). This is futuristic Arabic dance music.

Air Max '97 - Work To Live [DECISIONS/Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney's lucky to call Air Max '97 our own, although Oliver Van Der Lugt was born in Dunedin and has lived in UK, the Netherlands and Naarm/Melbourne. His DECISIONS label brings us his latest EP Enthusiast, which finds him in unusually straight-ahead club form, although Air Max '97 could never be "just" techno. "Work To Live" is the closest to his usual tightly-edited syncopated breaks. Check the Bandcamp page for a selection of merch for this one - t-shirts, hoodies, even a football scarf! All designed by Naarm-based Endless Prowl.

LAMIEE. - II [Carton Records/Bandcamp]
LAMIEE. - IV [Carton Records/Bandcamp]
Nicolas Remondino's work as LAMIEE. was one of my favourite discoveries of last year. He's back for 2023 with cruj, released on digital and CD by the French label Carton Records. In keeping with the fact that there's no keeping up, that one can only expect the unexpected, this release is once again nothing like his others. Well... a little bit. There's some kind of through-line, but it's more in terms of aesthetics (and lots of talent). Here we have four tracks of highly varying length, all of which seem superficially to be made up of nothing by abrasively glitching endlessly repeating tiny looped samples. On track I, the longest at over 16 minutes, the barrage of noise slowly evolves, producing the kind of beauty that used to be provided by the likes of Pita. With the much shorter II we're allowed some percussion to underline the rhythmic nature of the shuddering sampled sounds, and thus the three tracks that make up the second half proceed. This might sound like's ascetic, ugly or difficult music, but settle in; there's a lot to discover inside this psychedelic noise.

Drew Daniel & John Wiese - Hyperbolic Invariant [Difficult Interactions/Bandcamp]
Drew Daniel & John Wiese - Despised Clang [Difficult Interactions/Bandcamp]
Speaking of noise... John Wiese has been responsible for some of the most ear-splitting music in the noise/power electronics scene since the beginning of the '00s - solo, with groups like Sissy Spacek, and in many collaborative combos with the likes of Merzbow, Burning Star Core, Wolf Eyes et al. He's tended not to deal in distortion but rather in extreme pure sounds - with a penchant for high pitches dealt to the listener with no mercy. Back in 2018 he teamed up for the first time with Drew Daniel, one half of beloved sonic mavericks Matmos and purveyor of genre-bent oddities (of savagery and beauty!) as The Soft Pink Truth, for the album Continuous Hole, in which the more free sound-destruction of Wiese was tempered through Daniel's expertise in shaping unusual sounds into compositions. Their second duo album Through Mazes Running, released by Difficult Interactions, takes a similar bent, crafting splinters of noise into surprisingly rhythmic works. Both of their albums are super pleasurable listening - and I don't think it's just because my ears are unsalvageably broken.

popon - Bubu [Heat Crimes]
There's noise present too on the debut EP from popon, who started as a punk singer before becoming fascinated with electronics of all sorts. Her mostly improvised music builds rhythmic pieces of quasi-industrial techno, mutant post-dubstep bass horror etc, using domestic field recordings, synthesizers, and fractured samples of her own voice or her young niece's. It's the kind of bewildering music that could almost only come from Japan, and you should check out the whole EP.

JakoJako - Opak [Mute]
Sibel Koçer is a modular synth expert (she's worked for some years at Berlin modular heaven SchneidersLaden) and Berghain Resident DJ, which surely makes her the most Berlin person ever. It actually took some years for her to start releasing music, which now comes out under the name JakoJako (a play on her middle name, Jacqueline). It's not all the kind of slamming room-filling techno she'd be playing at Berghain - there's a lot of ambient mixed in there - but it's altogether bliss-inducing, pattern-based music that's gotten her released on the legendary Mute label.

Gantz - 2010 Roller [Gantz Bandcamp]
Gantz - Drop It [Gantz Bandcamp]
Turkish post-dubstep iconoclast Gantz gives us the third Ruff EP here with tunes originally created 2009-2012. The grainy, underwater production of his latter-day work is present here, with beats squished out of shape by hard EQ-ing and distortion - but they're still hard-hitting beats, owing much to uk garage, dubstep and bass techno. Great stuff.

Cruelle - Si je te le demande, fais-moi des bleues, fragile! [Avon Terror Corps/Bandcamp]
Cruelle - But [Avon Terror Corps/Bandcamp]
You never know quite what you'll get from Avon Terror Corps except that it'll be right out of leftfield, intense and strange. And so it is with Paris-based singer/composer/producer Cruelle, whose Bristol connections led to her mini-album J'ai remplacé l'amour par l'argent coming out on the label. As she describes it, these songs were composed "to capture a moment in time where I used autonomy as revenge", a wonderful concept (the title? "I've replaced love with money"). What we get is a mixture of dramatic French chanson with industrial and dub. Any label exec or A&R person would have gotten her to smooth the edges and keep it focused - so yeah, fuck those guys. This is the shit. The first song here I'll translate as "If I tell you to, bruise me, wimp!", while the second is simply "Aim". This is well-placed, well-deserved violence as music.

Magic City Counterpoint - Dream State [Magic City Counterpoint Bandcamp]
Two Brisbane post-classical, electronic, experimental alumni team up here who I somehow would never have expected together, but Magic City Counterpoint exists like it was always meant to be. Listeners to the show should already be familiar with both composer/guitarist/producer Chris Perren and composer/keyboard maestro/producer Madeleine Cocolas. Together they're making lovely songs with both their instruments, with lovely postrockish crescendos and beats. Some of their collaborative work originally came about from writing music for indie games developer Fuzzy Ghost (see Queer Man Peering Into A Rock Pool.jpg), and there have been two singles so far leading up to a debut EP soon.

Megan Alice Clune - Mountaineer [Room40/Bandcamp]
Megan Alice Clune - A Flash in the Pan [Room40/Bandcamp]
Following her exceptional album If You Do, released in 2021, Eora/Sydney singer/composer/sound-artist Megan Alice Clune is back on Room40 with the beautifully deceptive album Furtive Glances. It's derived from a large collection of piano improvisations recorded as voice memos on her phone, generally little asides when preparing for something else. These unpretentious non-compositions have been repurposed via MAC's impeccable ear and craftsmanship into something new, with little added except vocal snippets - but there are other extraneous sounds allowed to be present, like the feedback that opens the album. Even the most contemplative of tracks are accompanied by distant, filigree distorted drones, or almost-inaudible vocal layers, or the return of that robust feedback... It's a disturbed peace, but peace all the same, in Clune's capable hands.

Listen again — ~210MB

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Sunday, 19th of February, 2023

Playlist 19.02.23 (10:33 pm)

Experimental forms of hip-hop, grime, dubstep, bass music of all forms, jungle of course, with Palestinian, Turkish, Burkinabè, Algerian, Peruvian, Mexican, Polish, Japanese and Asian-Australian artists in the mix...

LISTEN AGAIN to a world of sound... stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

Sleaford Mods - Force 10 From Navarone ft. Florence Shaw [Rough Trade/Bandcamp]
Once upon a time Sleaford Mods were obscure Nottingham punk-hip-hop dudes, darlings of Norman Records while the world scratched its head and went "Uh? Huhhhh?" But the world's caught on, thankfully, and so Jason Williamson's voice is found all over the place, and while Andrew Fearn's minimalist beats remain tightly constrained, they're just as much informed by today's electronic processing as they are by punky bass loops and RZA. With UK GRIM the 'Mods are surfing the zeitgeist with flare, and choosing Florence Shaw of Dry Cleaning was nothing short of masterful: her delivery perfectly matches the tone of this piece. Williamson and his collaborators are always political, but also always poetic and surrealist. You only need to follow him (and them) on Twitter to see how deeply thoughtful they both are, as well as fucking funny. So Jason, why does the darkness elope?

Skrillex, Nai Barghouti - XENA [Skrillex via Warner Music]
Skrillex, Flowdan, Fred again.. - Rumble [Skrillex via Warner Music]
Skrillex, Missy Elliott, Mr. Oizo - RATATA [Skrillex via Warner Music]
Time was when I would've laughed in your face if you suggested I'd play Skrillex on my show. That American kid who redefined dubstep as "EDM at any tempo with big drops for drunk white college kids to flail around to". And yet, he always had good taste, just with an ear for mass appeal. Just after Quest For Fire dropped, Sonny popped out a second album, Don't Get Too Close. I hadn't heard it at the time of putting the show together, and its emo-sadboi-rap vibe doesn't do much for me anyway, so here we're focusing on the brash dancefloorisms of Quest. I'm not the only one to note that Sonny Moore has maybe gone and worked out how dubstep really worked in the time since he started, and so not only do we get the absolute don of grime, Big Flowdan, on two tracks, we get a lot of nice syncopation and low-slung bass. Of course the album's choc full of collabs, and there are both canny choices and out-of-leftfield lightning strikes. Featuring Palestinian prodigy Nai Barghouti, a flautist, composer, singer and activist, is a stroke of genius. Both Flowdan tracks are great, but "Rumble" is pure fire, both because of and despite the presence of phenomenon-of-the-moment Fred again.., whose Boiler Room set it appeared in, and which wowed all the kids who are presumably too young to have ever seen someone mashing an MPC. And what the hell, let's just throw in Missy "Misdemeanour" Elliott reworking an old refrain (among other self-quotes) alongside French tech house/electro prankster Mr. Oizo, and make it a ridiculously huge banger with, yeah, That Drop? Sure.

IFS MA - Hanpuku [outlines]
IFS - fractal run [U Know Me Records/Bandcamp]
Prykson IFS - Alarm feat. Dj Chederac [U Know Me Records/Bandcamp]
IFS MA - Heddchara [outlines]
Polish duo IFS (Mateusz Wysocki aka Fischerle and Krzysztof Ostrowski) released their first album on the great Portuguese experimental label Crónica, and while a lot of their latter output has bean beat driven, it's resolutely weird and fucked up. 2021's Fractal Run LP on the Polish label U Know Me Records draws influences from footwork, dub, glitch and hip-hop, and the hip-hop connection really comes to the fore with their 2022 EP on the same label with Polish rapper Prykson Fisk, featuring a number of local scratch DJs amongst the glitchy beats. But while a full-length is also on the way with Prykson, the (also Polish) experimental/abstract footwork label outlines has just released an album recorded with the adventurous Japanese rapper MA - titled REIFSMA. MA's stream-of-consciousness rapping is perfectly supported and confounded in its pairing with IFS's jittery beats and avant-garde production - unsurprisingly given the rapper's previous work includes a collaboration with Italian sound-artist Nicola Ratti (Shinkai) and a release on adventurous German label Morphine Records.

Morwell - George Michael - Jesus to a Child (Morwell remix) [Morwell Bandcamp]
Max Morwell has honed his skills at post-rave production for some time, but in between his own compositions he's long had a love of the pop edit - the unauthorised remix. So tonight we get a sneak preview of the forthcoming Remixes Vol. 6. I was stoked to hear a rework of the adventurous vocalist Pamela Z there, but in the end I couldn't go past this ridiculously lush jungle refix of Saint George Michael.

Basic Rhythm - 4 Tha Streets [Straight Up Breakbeat]
Essex-based Anthoney J Hart grew up in London's soundsystem culture and has released music under a number of different names, including for a long time the noise & industrial-centred Imaginary Forces, and his particular take on grime & dancehall as East Man. But under Basic Rhythm he's been taking things back to the jungle/hardcore roots, including an EP last year on Planet µ. Now Finnish drum'n'bass/jungle powerhouse Straight Up Breakbeat has enlisted him for their Zero Three, with a full EP on the way. This track is sweet, sweet junglism all the way from the early '90s through a 2020s lens.

Photek - Phaze 1 (Gremlinz & Jesta Remix) [Odysee Recordings]
Photek - Phaze 1 (2022 Remaster) [Odysee Recordings]
Odysee Recordings is one of those original jungle labels from back in the day that's found a home on Bandcamp both re-releasing remastered classics (especially Source Direct, although they're apparently about to setup their own place?) and releasing some very very nice new jungle from old artists including Andy Odysee. Once upon a time, Rupert Parkes was indomitable, as Photek or under various aliases - and no matter what guff he's up to these days, everything up to the Form & Function collections is still untouchable. Phaze 1 / Try A Style was the second single on Odysee Records back in 1995, under the name Phaze 1, and the title track has now been remastered with beautiful EQ range and punchiness. Also included are remixes by Andy Odysee (super sped up, which works once you get over the initial shock) and currrent-day d'n'b masters Gremlinz & Jesta.

黑芝麻 (Hēi zhī ma) - 黑芝麻 & Merph - I Miss You [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
黑芝麻 (Hēi zhī ma) - 黑芝麻 & Shoeb Ahmad - Associations (ft Zhi) [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
The latest release from the ever-gregarious Pure Space, Eora/Sydney label, radio show & more helmed by Andy Garvey, comes from the Naarm-based 黑芝麻 (Hēi zhī ma). Originally, I believe, from Ngunnawal country, the artist is also a graduate of FBi's Dance Class, and the appropriately named Hēi zhī ma and friends EP assembles collaborators from all over. There's a restless genre-agnosticism to the whole EP, ably demonstrated on the track "I Miss You" which features Eora/Sydney DJ Merph aka Sarita Carol Herse, veering from uneasy ambience into junglist techno halfway through. There are also spoken word contributions from Cham Zhi Yi, the other half of the sound & poetry project 莎瑜 (Shā yú) with Hēi zhī ma, and none other than Ngunnawal Country/Canberra visionary Shoeb Ahmad. This is evocative music that's a tribute to the richness of Asian-Australian exploratory culture at the moment.

Prado - Virus [Buh Records]
Prado - Error [Buh Records]
Prado - Invasión [Buh Records]
Two previous releases exist from Nicolás Prado under the name Blxzey, but those 2021 releases seem to only exist on the streaming services, and from what I can see aren't licensed for Australia either. So for us, London-born Peruvian producer's Machines is a highly impressive debut from a creative young artist, released on the influential, exploratory Buh Records. It's a very now combination of ADHD/videogame hyperactivity and jungle/breakcore/IDM influences. There's heavy bass and glitched up beats (particularly see "Error") and a surprising outburst of double-kick drum metal at one point. Fun insanity.

Damos Room x LYAM - Data Ponzi [Accidental Jr/Bandcamp]
Damos Room x LYAM - EIN [Accidental Jr/Bandcamp]
London's Damos Room are an experimental trio who exist somewhere between underground hip-hop, noise, glitch and art - don't be put off by the offline Twitch embed on the front page of their website; every time you click "Rooms In Your Area" you get another of their seemingly endless bizarro videos, which give you a bit of a taste of where they're at. They were meant to team up with innovative UK rap experimentalist LYAM (Liam Harris-Williams) a couple of years ago, but somewhere a long the way a hard drive malfunction lost them a lot of the resulting material (multiple backups everyone! One local and at least one in the cloud! Don't avoid this), and we can be grateful for this loss as we get the excellent EIN EP (it stands for "Everything Is Noise") as a result. Released by Accidental Jr as part of their Room 2 series (a sub-label of a sub-label?), the EP eschews any vocals, instead being constructed from fidgety beats and mostly rhythmic noise samples. It's not representative of either artist's sound, but while that's part of the pleasure of it, it's also well worth looking into both more deeply.

Nondi_ - FCD (Floaty Cloud Dream) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Johnstown, Pennsylvania artist Tatiana Triplin is the latest signing to Planet µ, combining the IDM & experimental roots of the label with its footwork archivism - although footwork is only one input into her music, which feeds influences like breakcore and Detroit techno through a hazy vaporwave fog. Triplin runs the netlabel HRR, specialising in "Web Folk, Nightcore, and Dubst", and given how much of Nondi_'s music appears on the label, those lovely terms can handily be applied to her own music: this first single hints at club music somewhere behind the clouds of audio debris. The album is an evocation of life in Johnstown, dominated by the impact of the 1977 floods which saw the town's economic base from the Bethlehem Steel Company withdrawn - a classic failure of capitalism which is in fact capitalism doing just what it's designed to do.

Santa Muerte - Coahuiltecan [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Mexican-raised Panch Briones, now based in Houston, Texas, and brings a Central American aspect to music that's influenced by the low-slung hip-hop and trap of his hometown as well as the more experimental electronics that Hyperdub has often championed.

Acid Arab - Leila Feat Sofiane Saidi [Crammed Discs/Bandcamp]
٣ is the Arabic numeral 3, and naturally is the third album from Algerian-French collective Acid Arab (it's officially parenthetically titled "Trois"). The band insist that "this is not fusion. this is not a mix. this is a meeting ?", which is reassuring as European-initiated club music versions of MENA music can be uncomfortably colonial. This is not the Amazigh-Tunisian dubby club music of Azu Tiwaline, or the bass music with North African/Arabic themes of Cassablanca producer 3xOJ. But AMMAR 808, the excellent Denmark-based Tunisian producer, does appear here, along with many Algerian and other musicians from the region. Indeed the legendary Rachid Taha turns up on one track, but tonight we heard squiggly club-ready Arabic melodies underscoring the gruff rapping of contemporary French-Algerian vocalist Sofiane Saidi, who has worked with Acid Arab since their first album. The white French DJs who initiated the band heard sounds in Arabic and North African music that gelled with acid house, and tracks like these certainly make a case for this fusion, but it's hard to avoid the idea that it's still a "fusion".

Avalanche Kaito - Moulin [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
Avalanche Kaito - Goomde [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
From the Belgian Crammed Discs to German label Glitterbeat, but it turns out that Avalanche Kaito are 2/3 Belgian, made up of Brussels noise/post-punk duo of Benjamin Chaval on drums & electronics and Nico Gitto on guitar, who were found on his first visit to Belgium by Labalou Kaito Winse, an urban griot from Burkina Faso who plays many West African instruments and is also a remarkable vocalist. This is a true meeting of minds, with noisemaking, post-punk/dub basslines, guitar distortion and granular processing merging with Winse's talking drums, Peul flute, mouth bow and of course his wildly versatile vocals. The digital-only Dabalomuni EP preceded their self-titled album by a few months, and seems particularly, spectacularly new and uncompromising. I can't imagine that there's much difference in time between those recordings and those on the album, but there's a difference in perspective perhaps. Either way, there really seems to be something different about this group's music, and I'm ashamed I missed it in the middle of last year. Better late than never!

The God In Hackney - Heaven In Black Water [Junior Aspirin Records/Bandcamp]
I was thrilled to discover UK band The God In Hackney in 2020 via a feature track in The Wire Tapper. There's no doubt that they do so much that is tailor-made for this here radio show, with skittery drums, krautrocky grooves and dub effects, bizarre non-sequiturs, acoustic instruments rubbing up against electronics of all sorts, and all this with great songwriting! "Heaven In Black Water" is the first single from their new album The World In Air Quotes, which I've listened to and can tell you is very good, and you will be hearing more from it in due course.

Sinemis - Only Breath (Hüma Utku Remix) [Injazero Records/Bandcamp]
Sine Büyüka is a Circassian-Turkish producer from Istanbul, based in London at the moment, studying at Guildhall. She has had a career as a journalist and television presenter while in Turkey, and now runs the fantastic Injazero Records from London, while also making music under the name Sinemis. In a terrible confluence, the Dua Remixes EP (remixing tracks from her debut album) came out just as the massive earthquakes hit Turkey and Syria; so all profits from the EP will go to an on-the-ground NGO in Turkey called AHBAP as well as the White Helmets in Syria. The remix artists are inspired: Nairobi's KMRU, Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti and brilliant Turkish experimental artist Hüma Utku, whose remix builds to her favoured distorted bass tones and minimal rhythms. Fantastic work all-round.

Kevin Richard Martin - Hustle [KRM Bandcamp]
Kevin Richard Martin - Nishinari [KRM Bandcamp]
Kevin Richard Martin - Forever Falling [KRM Bandcamp]
If you're a listener of this show you surely already know who Kevin Richard Martin is - crafter of bass terror as The Bug, one half of Techno Animal & Zonal & Ice etc with Justin K Broadrick, compiler of brilliant '90s compilations and more. Under his given name he's been making glacial ambient music the last few years, but over 3 albums from last last year he's turned also to what he's variously described as drone-jazz, narco-jazz, or dubbed out ambient jazz and smudged drone. It really is all of those things. It's way less ambient than the Frequencies for Leaving Earth series and others, but less tough and dancefloor-focused than what tends to eventuate from The Bug. It has a jazz-noir feel to it with sounds of acoustic bass, sax (Martin's first instrument) and minimalist harmonies hinting at rainswept streets lit by lamplight - and indeed these three albums take three different perspectives on the dark late-night city, with the recent final installment Above The Clouds flying us above the streets and buildings. The closest predecessor to these sounds is Martin's collaboration with Dylan Carlson of Earth, appropriately titled Concrete Desert. It's deeply evocative work.

Listen again — ~206MB

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Sunday, 12th of February, 2023

Playlist 12.02.23 (11:43 pm)

Spooky acoustic doom, spoken word, industrial influences, Egyptian-Parisian jazz, jungle and dubstep and bass, and... double bass!

LISTEN AGAIN to the sound of now. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Kelly Lee Owens - Rituals [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
Like last year's super LP.8, the four tracks on companion EP LP.8.2 were co-produced with Norwegian sound-specialist Lasse Marhaug. If anything these tracks take her further into experimental climes, but her sumptuous vocals ground the works. Still, check those glitchy beats in the latter part of the opening track! So thankful to have more of this stuff.

Aperture - Siren [Stray Signals/Bandcamp]
WSR - No Horizon [Contort/Bandcamp]
Aperture - In These Awkward Voids [Other/Other Recordings/Bandcamp]
Aperture - Weightless [Stray Signals/Bandcamp]
Siblings Elisabetta and Emanuele Porcinai, Italians based in Berlin, work together in various ways. Elisabetta's artwork has adorned the releases by Emanuele under the name WSR - beautifully strange mixes of industrial & bass influences with bowed guitars and glitched acoustic textures - as well as other releases from the wider Berlin scene that Emanuele has appeared in. But with Threads in 2018 the brother & sister became a musical duo, Aperture, in which Elisabetta's poetic spoken words, in Italian and English, are embedded in Emanuele's productions. The debut album was described as an exploration of "aural intimacy", an apt description also of their follow-up Stanze five years later. The self-described intimacy is achieved through explicitly spatial mixing and recording techniques, in which acoustic and electronic sounds creep and rattle around virtual rooms while the voice whispers close, or finds itself shudderingly degraded through slap delays. Simple poised acoustic guitar or piano lines are interrupted or underlined with huge industrial bass thrums or unplaceable percussive anti-rhythms of found-sound. Many of these techniques are common to both albums, but on the new release the duo are joined by guests on a few tracks - including brief, crushing drums from Andrea Belfi on one track - and notably Elisabetta's words are sung by Emanuele on two pieces. This is uncompromisingly avant-garde, experimental music, but sonically engrossing in a way that should have broad appeal.

Sara Persico - Fugace [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
Sara Persico - Boundary [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
Did someone say industrial-influenced music with spoken word by Berlin-based Italians? This accidental confluence connects two quite different artists, though. Aperture are originally from Milan, and Sara Persico hails from nearly the opposite end of the country, Naples. Persico draws from influences in Naples' noise scene as much as her creative DJing combining bass-heavy beats with abstract electronics and more. Thus the common elements here - lyrics in Italian & English, spoken word and whispers with short, sharp delays, intimate field recordings - are contextualised in deconstructed club sounds, sometimes pounding beats, and at times emotionally direct singing. Boundary is Sara Persico's debut release, with a full album on its way soon too.

Carl Gari & Abdullah Miniawy - Pearls for orphans (live) [Molten Moods/Bandcamp]
Le Cri du Caire - Pearls for orphans [Les Disques du Festival Permanent]
Le Cri du Caire - Sadiya (Purple feather) [Les Disques du Festival Permanent]
Poet, singer, trumpeter, actor, electronic producer: it seems there's little that the Europe-based Egyptian Abdullah Miniawy cannot do. He has a long-running collaboration with German trio Carl Gari, fusing dub, techno and trip-hop influences with rapturous sufi singing and jazz trumpet, and those same inputs from Miniawy are present in his 2020 album with French bass producer Simo Cell. His own Bandcamp carries obscure electronic self-productions and poetry, and a different take on pre-Islamic Egyptian spirituality can be found on his collaborative album with Danish producer of Indian descent HVAD (previously Kid Kishore among others). Meanwhile the jazz comes to the fore with the astonishing ensemble Le Cri du Caire. The group started with Miniawy's meeting with French saxophonist Peter Corser, a little later the legendary French trumpeter Erik Truffaz joined. This is notable enough, but the group really comes together with the addition of Paris-based German cellist Karsten Hochapfel. Sensitive playing and creative arrangements support and augment Miniawy's songs and compositions, making their self-titled debut album a thrilling listen, whether you're a fan of jazz or not. It's very interesting hearing the ensemble's version of "Pearls for orphans" compared to the version from last year's live album with Carl Gari - they're substantially different, but Miniawy's melodies (and poetry) do tie them together.

Happy Axe - Tiny Animal [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Aphir - Can't Be Killed [Provenance/Bandcamp]
I mentioned last week that Provenance Collective's latest compilation Marks of Provenance VI is hella strong. So two tracks last week are followed by two more this week. There are no beats accompanying the violin & vocals from Happy Axe's Emma Kelly, but her sweet folky song soon adds reversed sounds into the mix. Last week we heard Aphir's frenetic remix of romæo, and this week it's a Becki Whitton original, with chanting vocals, pitch-shifting and a thumping beat. Long live Provenance!

clipping. - All in Your Head (feat. Counterfeit Madison & Robyn Hood) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Aeon Four - Shadow Leakage [Straight Up Breakbeat/Bandcamp]
There need be no excuse to play clipping.'s "All in Your Head". It's a perfect song, one of the greatest from one of the greatest groups of the last decade, made untouchable by Robyn Hood's incisive raps and Counterfeit Madison's glorious singing - and that glorious crescendo. Let's take a minute and watch that video again, and again.
Anyway, we do have an excuse, because Finnish drum'n'bass duo Aeon Four must have listened and thought "Amen"? Now there's a jungle reference if ever there was one - and so Madison's gorgeous vocal becomes a refrain on the title track of their new EP for Straight Up Breakbeat, Shadow Leakage. It took me a minute to place the sample, and then "yikes!" quickly turned to, well, how could you not, after all? And if you're going to, please make it like this - melancholy keys, intricately programmed beats, heaps of dynamics, and a lovely turn halfway through dropping in some operatic samples as well. Rewind.

Meemo Comma - Kyle [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
The second single cometh from Lara Rix-Martin's superb new album Loverboy, out soon from Planet µ. Rix-Martin is head honcho of Objects Limited, an imprint focused on artists of marginalised gender, but this album fits her husband's label to a tee - in fact "Kyle" is basically Rix-Martin doing Mike Paradinas, absolutely pitch-perfect. The album is Rix-Martin's tribute to '90s rave in all its glory, and we'll be hearing more from it very soon.

Cocktail Party Effect - 767 [Nervous Horizon/Bandcamp]
Cocktail Party Effect - Fixing the Roof [Nervous Horizon/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based South Londoner Cocktail Party Effect starts the year with an EP on Nervous Horizon, a London label that's open to club sounds from around the world (an early release was Lebanese percussion-led bass from our own DJ Plead). So we have beats at all tempos, including a jungle-influenced track and some more head-nodding sounds. The robot-funk of the title track is a helluva thing.

Atrice - Taxon [MIRAS]
Atrice - Digital Lilies [MIRAS]
Great to have a somewhat-full-length from the Swiss duo Atrice. They excel at ultra-syncopated machine funk, somewhere between IDM, breaks, drum'n'bass, techno and bass music. After some top-notch releases on Ilian Tape, Mutualism is released on their own MIRAS label. The brilliant rhythm programming is present here, but there are also a couple of surprisingly lovely almost-jazzy ambient pieces here.

Wraz. - Spooked [Artikal Music/Bandcamp]
Now bass gives way to dubstep. First up, on Artikal Music we have Québecois producer Wraz., with a deliciously dark piece of martial dubstep.

Substrada - Babiru [Infernal Sounds]
E S P - Open Mind [Infernal Sounds]
Stoke-on-Trent-based label Infernal Sounds is a specialist in 140bpm bass music - thus generally dubstep. Their Future Forms comp came out in late Januray, featuring mostly young artists from all around the world. We had a fidgety, head-nodding piece from the Belgian Substrada, complete with pitched-down vocal snaps, and then came closer to home with Brisbane's E S P, whose track is a blissful piece with smooth bass tones, bell-like synths and burbling dub effects through out.

Rutger Zuydervelt - Haast 1 [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Rutger Zuydervelt - Haast 3 [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Following last year's Hinkelstap and Tuimelval, Rutger Zuydervelt continues with his experiments in beats and purely electronic music. Haast has more IDM-ish, glitchy rhythms and nice bass. It's super different from the usual Machinefabriek fare (or even what Rutger might otherwise put out under his own name), but shows the same attention to sonic detail and musical construction.

Mike Majkowski - Spiral [Fragments Editions]
Australian double bassist Mike Majkowski has for some time now been based in Berlin, getting right in the thick of the improv scene. But his new album Coast has very little to indicate that there's any double bass at all - it's two 20-minute tracks of gorgeous throbbing tones - some hints of hi-hats but mostly seemingly electronic, or created through subtle feedback. Both tracks are minimalist and beautifully poised. Leave any expectations at the door and just soak in the ambiance.

Listen again — ~203MB

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Sunday, 5th of February, 2023

Playlist 05.02.23 (11:55 pm)

Various strains of experimental hip-hop, jungle/drum'n'bass influences, dubstep and heavy dubby music, and other weird shit tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN, you've got to keep up. Stream on demand via FBi, podcast here.

Andrew Broder - Flash Avenger [Lex Records/Bandcamp]
Andrew Broder - Sleeping Car Porters (feat. Moor Mother & billy woods) [Lex Records/Bandcamp]
A long time coming, Andrew Broder's soundtrack to the very strange film THE SHOW by comics auteur, author and magician Alan Moore is finally here! Fragments of THE SHOW (Original Soundtrack) have been released as singles over the last couple of years, and there are many high-profile guests, from Moor Mother & billy woods (presumably recorded circa their own duo album of late 2019) to Denzel Curry, Dua Saleh, Haleek Maul, serpentwithfeet and KAZU. These artists mostly operate in the underground hip-hop scenes in the US, and Broder started off under the alias Fog making lo-fi beats and raps on Ninja Tune, and working as Hymie's Basement with Yoni Wolf, whose Why? alias eventually became a band. Fog too became a band, melding indie rock and free jazz influences into the hip-hop sound, but Broder's interest in production led him to hone a high-tech electronic style in many ways the inverse of the old Fog sound. His astonishing work with Joe Rainey on Rainey's album and 7" last year is testament to his continuing creativity and production chops, and it's wonderful to have this set of extensions of cues from THE SHOW film finally available as a solo Andrew Broder album. Broder's production chops are at their full power, and he is joined by Alistair Sung on cello, CJ Camerieri on horns and the wonderful Mara Carlyle adding additional vocals, along with the many guests. Well worth the wait!

Young Fathers - Shoot Me Down [Ninja Tune/Bandcamp]
Young Fathers - Be Your Lady [Ninja Tune/Bandcamp]
It's probably 10 years since I discovered Young Fathers, with their Tape Two released by Anticon., including the brilliant non-covers Queen Is Dead, Freefalling and Way Down In The Hole, among others. Three men, all the same age, all named after their fathers, hailing from Edinburgh but two with roots in Liberia / Ghana and Nigeria / USA. The template set on those early releases continues through the last decade to Heavy Heavy, their first album in 5 years. If anything the production is even more dense than ever, with soulful vocals and raps accompanied by layers of samples and instruments and beats. What this adds up to, as always, is nothing short of rapturous, even when the density abates, as at the start of "Be Your Lady". But yeah, you know something's coming, and it's yells and horrifying stomps until the falsetto vocals come in again - and that's Young Fathers. An insane mélange of sounds that probably shouldn't go together but there they are.

Teether & Kuya Neil - MYTH [Chapter Music/Bandcamp]
Teether & Kuya Neil - PROCESS (feat. Realname) [Chapter Music/Bandcamp]
A hell of a mixtape here from Naarm/Melbourne underground rapper Teether and producer Kuya Neil. We had a taster a few weeks ago with the amen-breaks-infused single "RENO", and the rest of the tracks follow a similar trajectory - impeccable productions that reference the distorted, time-out-of-joint club musics of the moment, skittery chopped beats & plenty of bass, with low-key melodic raps from Teether and occasional guests like Realname. Best shit.

The Drizzle - Unruly (Hit The Deck!) (DJ Sofa Remix) [Future Retro]
Tim Reaper continues to push out top quality jungle on his Future Retro label. This 12" features Eusebeia on the A-side, and a really fun ravey track by an artist remaining anonymous on the flip. Even better is the break-fest of DJ Sofa's remix - we should be hearing lots more from her soon.

Redpine & Solo - Warp [Studio Rockers]
Opening the new Studio Rockers @ The Controls Level 5 is one of a few jungle & drum'n'bass tunes before things settle into jazzier climes towards the dubstep roots of the label. Redpine & Solo released two brilliant EPs on the label in 2020, and they return with this driving sci-fi 7/4 jungle monstrosity.

San - Last [Rua Sound]
The techno producer who records jungle as San likes to biggup himself in the hilarious advertorials he posts on his Instagram - but sometimes the talent is undeniable, so yes San is worth it. The Under the Scope EP finds him back on Rua Sound, the forward-thinking jungle label based in the town of Galway on the west coast of Ireland. What you get with San is complex junglisms informed by the darkness of drum'n'bass and comfortable with current-day production values. "Future of jungle" may be a little overblown, but... only a little?

NERVE - Zendo [Heavy Machinery/Bandcamp]
Here it is! Courtesy of the ever-industrious Heavy Machinery Records, here is the debut "proper" EP from Naarm/Melbourne's Joshua Wells under his NERVE moniker. For the last couple of years, Wells has been releasing excerpts from live sets and other tracks via AR53 and A Colourful Storm. It does feel odd to declare this a debut of any sorts, but it does collect four fantastic NERVE tracks together in a traditional 12" format - and it's all heckin' good. The NERVE style is a special sauce of tightly programmed beats that somehow speak of drum'n'bass while being techno, captured in electro's straitjacket and smothered in industrial noise. It's a mixed metaphor for a reason alright? That's what NERVE is, you need it, don't deny it.

Slikback - ARMOR [Slikback Bandcamp]
Slikback - HOPE [Slikback Bandcamp]
Is there anyone more prolific, yet consistent, than Slikback at the moment? The Kenyan producer's Bandcamp features at least an EP a month, then a collaborative track here or there, and then an album like K E S S E K I, ten concise tracks of varied beats, but in keeping with our transition from jungle towards other climes...

exael - wet look [SE:CD]
...but what's this? It's naemi aka exael with two tracks of - well, something, for new Berlin imprint SE:CD. We're informed that this track is classic dubstep trance, but both this and the b-side (do digital releases have b-sides? sure) have bloopy drum machine breaks accelerated and filtered with dubby treatments, all to psychedelic effect. Their aesthetic of pale text on slightly-paler background and washed-out imagery simultaneously references '90s shoegaze & techno and '00s vaporwave. It's all very referential, but in no way reverential, just how it should be.

Roody - Nazanid o [Apranik Records]
SarrSew - Wronka [Apranik Records]
Apranik was a Sasanian military commander and later guerilla leader, a woman leading native Persians against the invading Arab Muslims. She therefore has a strong resonance for the Iranians fighting to remove the oppresive Islamic Republic, which has ruled since the end of the 1970s. Women did have freedom, including the freedom to be leaders, to make art and music, before the religious extremists took over, and the protests that began in September 2022 and continue today were triggered by the murder of a woman, Mahsa Amini, by police for wearing an "improper hijab". The protesters took up the Woman, Life, Freedom slogan originally used by Kurdish feminists associated with the incredible Jineology movement. And so Apranik Records was recently started by two female Iranian DJs: Nesa Azadikhah, based in Tehran, and AIDA, based in west-coast Canada & USA. Their first release is a compilation titled, of course, WOMAN, LIFE, FREEDOM and featuring fantastic female Persian electronic artists from across genres - and across the world. The compilation is opened by the wonderful Paris-based singer SarrSew aka Sara Bigdeli Shamloo, one half of 9t Antiope and their Farsi-language Persian-electro-pop alter-ego Taraamoon. The song features her rich, melodic vocals with distorted drones and other electronic weirdness. We also heard from Roody, a renowned Iranian rapper who for some years had to keep her identity secret because of the morality police. Her track is in fact an instrumental - a slightly sinister piece of burbling noises and drum machine beat. The compilation is highly recommended.

Arrom - Pied Currawong [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
romæo - Good To Look At (Aphir remix) [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
The Provenance Records label/collective celebrate six years with Marks of Provenance VI, as strong a collective release as they've ever made. There's so much to choose from, including violin-led electronic pop from Happy Axe, an incandescent almost-rap from Aphir, and a pulsating ambient version of a track from Marcus Whale's last album. But tonight we have the melodic vocal loops and beats of Melbourne's Arrom, and Aphir's junglist remix of an anthemic tune from Sydney's romæo.

Glamour Lakes - Unconnected Mobile Phone Towers [Glamour Lakes Bandcamp]
Michael Radzevicius's most recent work as Glamour Lakes tended to the more ambient spectrum - sometimes glitchy, sometimes tape-scuffed. But recent singles including "Unconnected Mobile Phone Towers" take the Adelaide/Canberra artist back towards the electro-pop world, albeit with hazy production and, on this tune, a hefty dose of amen breaks.

Aiden Marceron & Marcus Whale - interesting35352 [Marcus Whale Bandcamp]
Oh, did I mention Marcus Whale? Well we might not be hearing his Provenance track tonight, but there's a whole EP out on his Bandcamp, titled 0. On this EP, Marcus hands the production duties over to young US artist Aiden Marceron, whose rather overdriven yet blissful sounds accompany Marcus's songs about - to quote the man himself - "sexual encounters with inconceivable forces, the feeling of being consumed and transformed and loving it, keeping my eyes wide open".

Sightless Pit - False Epiphany (feat claire rousay) [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Sightless Pit - The Ocean of Mercy [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Sightless Pit - Resin on a Knife (feat Midwife) [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
When Sightless Pit first appeared in 2020, it featured the remarkable Kristin Hayter alongside Lee Buford of the body and Dylan Walker of Full of Hell. This lineage suggests squalls of heavy metal and hardcore punk with industrial influences, all of which is there, but all three artists are highly explorative, and the beauty of Hayer's voice (which has often appeared on the body's albums too) and her piano are present along with a lot of digital interventions & processing with the aid of Seth Manchester, legendary engineer at Machines with Magnets. Hayter announced late last year that she was retiring the Lingua Ignota name due to its association with too much trauma and abuse, and while she is not retiring from music, she did not join Buford & Walker on their second album, Lockstep Bloodwar (she made a statement on Twitter). So instead, Sightless Pit's second album is filled with collaborators, mostly women, including YoshimiO of Boredoms, the late lamented Gangsta Boo, Lane Shi Otayonii of Elizabeth Colour Wheel and many others. As well as those from the hip-hop world, there is the celebrated sound-artist claire rousay, and the shoegazey tones of Midwife (who's in the past described her music as "heaven metal"). Buford's many projects have taken his love of noise and metal and blended it with jungle, drum'n'bass & dancehall, industrial and folk, while Walker's band Full of Hell have memorably collaborated twice with the body, and also featured Nicole Dollanganger's vocals a few albums ago. Walker's buried screams do remind us that metal & punk are always there, but at its root this is a dark industrial dub album laced with hip-hop, shoegaze and noise, struggling with the constrained, adversarial nature of the world.

Gorgonn - Life as a Beast [SVBKVLT]
Dokkebi Q - Vomit Dub [Murder Channel]
Gorgonn - Abyss [SVBKVLT]
The latest release on Shanghai's SVBKVLT is from Japanese producer Goh Nakada aka Gorgonn, based for many years now outside of Japan - these days in Berlin. I was first aware of his productions in Dokkebi Q, his duo with Kiki Hitomi that fused dancehall-influenced pop with dubstep and breakcore. More recently he's been making dub-heavy techno with Kevin Martin as G36, and not surprisingly his producions as Gorgonn are similarly heavy - apocalyptic-dark dub that points at techno, dubstep and noise. Nakada refers to his sound as "sci-fi steppas". Sure, that works.

Jamie Hutchings - Secret Girl's World [Jamie Hutchings Bandcamp]
Ever since his first band, the challenging, beloved Bluebottle Kiss, Jamie Hutchings has embedded experimental tendencies into his catchy indie-rock. Hutchings' love of free jazz no doubt percolates into the angular sounds of BBK and Infinity Broke, but neither of these bands nor Hutchings' previous solo work is quite preparation for the sound of his forthcoming album Making Water. Here, Hutchings almost entirely lets go of the constraints of songwriting per se - while there are vocals at times (including those of his wife Cholena), and guest performances from Infinity Broke bassist Rueben Wills and Hinterlandt's Jochen Gutsch, the music here is mostly derived from instrumental improvisations on detuned guitar, percussion and non-musical sound sources. It is both surprisingly very "Jamie Hutchings" and very different. I'm looking forward to spinning more tracks, but for now here's the first single.

Listen again — ~209MB

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