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Utility Fog

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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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