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Utility Fog

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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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