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Utility Fog

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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, 30th of April, 2023

Playlist 30.04.23 (9:46 pm)

We have interesting cases of genre-bleed tonight: you'll never quite be sure if you're listening to sound-design or contemporary classical or improv; songwriterly work or experimental folktronica or grime or dubstep; r'n'b or drum'n'bass? Is this hip-hop or processed live percussion? Of course the answer is always "por que no los dos?"

LISTENing AGAIN will cure your aches and pains. Take aurally via FBi's on demand streaming or the UFog podcast here.

Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective - Pressure [Nhạc Gãy/Bandcamp]
Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective - What Cherubs [Nhạc Gãy/Bandcamp]
When I first came across Vietnamese musical explorers Rắn Cạp Đuôi, it was through their wonderful collection of sodden glitchscapes on Flaming Pines called Degradation. But everything about them changes radically from release to release, whether it's lo-fi punky indie or post-rock, messy proto-hyperpop, or deconstructed club sounds. Last year's album on Subtext, with production help from Ziúr, gained them a substantial new following, and on follow-up *1 key member Zach Sch is on most mixing duties, with production shared collectively (two tracks are mixed by Raphäel Valensi aka Nahash). The result is an album that combines all their previous influences and more - there's a lot of World's End Girlfriend there with breakcore and hard-chopped digital edits, and then there are choral vocals from a host of members, confounding switches to live guitars or equally to plunderphonic collages. Like their catalogue as a whole, you never know what's coming next, and that makes for highly enjoyable repeat listens. Get this on your stereo stat!

aus - Swim [flau/Bandcamp/Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
aus - Landia [flau/Bandcamp/Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
aus - Make Me Me (feat. Grand Salvo) [flau/Bandcamp/Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
Yasuhiko Fukuzono, the man behind aus for almost 2 decades, is an important, albeit self-effacing, member of the Japanese music scene, releasing fragile, detailed, glittering music on the his flau label since 2006 (an ever-popular early album from Australia's Part Timer was released by them). Some traumatic events a decade ago meant that we haven't heard any new music from aus for that long. Everis is an extremely welcome return, and the mixture of melancholy and ecstatic, of acoustic and electronic, of expansive and contained, places it squarely in the contemporary aesthetic. Fukuzono's impeccable musicianship is evident throughout, and I want to particularly note the beauty of his collaboration with Naarm/Melbourne's Paddy Mann aka Grand Salvo, in which Mann's voice is accompanied by a simple drum machine, piano and synthetic strings, the piano gently stepping into chromaticism and the strings braiding into delirious rippling dis/harmony as the track progresses. What a return this is!

Jungstötter - Nothing Is Holy [[PIAS] Germany]
Jungstötter - Burdens [[PIAS] Germany]
Years after the more overtly rock/pop of his first band Sizarr, singer Fabian Altstötter moved out solo as Jungstötter with a kind of gothic pop, his voice now vibrating with emotion like Scott Walker or David Sylvian, the songs rooted in piano like the work of his partner Anja Plaschg aka Soap&Skin. By his second album One Star, released his week through [PIAS] Germany, the comparisons to Walker and Sylvian are not just in his vocals. Lyrical melodies are buried in industrial rumblings and shifting electronics, pitch-shifted shadows of themselves, scrabbling beats interrupt the flow, horn and string arrangements grow raucous. This is dramatic music from a resounding Berlin tradition.

The Selva - Dança Babuíno [Clean Feed/Bandcamp]
Portugal is a hub of adventurous improvised music, in & out of jazz traditions, as well as exploratory electronics. The trio of Ricardo Jacinto on cello & electronics, Gonçalo Almeida on double bass & electronics, and Nuno Morão on drums & percussion, ably exemplifies this. Their 2017 debut as The Selva (jungle in Portuguese) cleaved more to the acoustic possibilities in the instruments, while on the 2019 follow-up Canícula Rosa the free jazz workouts, and the more funky or lyrical pieces, are still played straight or with simple amplification. However, in 2021 the group teamed up with sound-artist extraordinaire Machinefabriek, deconstructing the individual instruments' sounds into a strange memory of an acoustic ensemble. So their new album Camarão-Girafa finds the electronics incorporated into the ensemble, operated by cellist Jacinto & bassist Almeida while playing their respective roles - with mixing help from Manuel Pinheiro. Some pieces are swathes of drone-noise from the strings, while on others Nuno Morão is a rock drummer, or krautrock groove-provider, and on tonight's excerpt the cello is treated to granular delays pitch-shifting, reverse and glitching the sound in aleatoric rhythms. I want to say that all avant-garde attributes aside, this is highly engaging & enjoyable music, taking bass strings + percussion (already an unusual proposition) into new territories.

Mindy Meng Wang 王萌 & Tim Shiel - Mirror Flower 镜花水月 [Music In Exile/Bandcamp]
Here's the welcome return of guzheng virtuoso Mindy Meng Wang 王萌 and electronic wizard Tim Shiel, whose Nervous Energy EP was a highlight of 2021. "Mirror Flower 镜花水月" feels like classic West-meets-East with a gentle chord progression over Shiel's downtempo beats and dropped-in samples (and hints of slide guitar?) - and Meng Wang gorgeously decorates her melody throughout.

Ayala - Intra [lovejoy/Bandcamp]
Following last year's evocative All prayers flow to the stormdrains with Zac Picker's spoken word, Ayala/Donny Janks returns with solo EP Rainfruit (Picker joins him on the final track, which I played a few weeks back). Here the Eora/Sydney DJ mixes up Four Tet-like house, downtempo melodic IDM and breakbeat techno, all with an ear for musical assonance and emotion.

TRAKA - Yosai (Commodo Remix) [YUKU]
Prague label YUKU has emerged as a home for exploratory electronic music & arts across Europe & beyond. YUKURMX001 inaugurates their remix 12" series and is a case in point for the label's international remit, with two tracks from Serbia's TRAKA and two from Istanbul's Granul remixed by two Turkish artists, Palestine's Muqata'a (heard later tonight) and Sheffield, UK's dubstep iconoclast Commodo, who puts his current TV cop-show dub-funk spin on a TRAKA's track "Yosai".

Bisweed - Matrix [Artikal Music/Bandcamp]
Wraz. - Knock [BLXCK TXPES/Bandcamp]
Two tracks here with technoid takes on dubstep. First a robotic sci-fi track from Estonia's Bisweed with a martial beat - his debut on UK's Artikal Music. Then we're pulled in the slipstream of the undulating synths and basslines of Québec's Wraz., last heard also on Artikal Music but here appearing on BLXCK TXPES, a sister label of Belgium's dubstep powerhouse Duploc.

Kahn & Neek - Delayed Atoms [Kahn & Neek Bandcamp]
Kahn & Neek - Rally (feat. Riko Dan, Killa P, Irah, Long Range & Armour) [Kahn & Neek Bandcamp]
Bristol's Kahn & Neek have worked together for years - both are members of legendary post-dubstep collective Young Echo and together previously formed Gorgon Sound - but Lupus et Ursus (Latin for Wolf & Bear) is their debut album together. There's a selection of more abstract textures a la Young Echo (always heavily dub-infused), but lots of lovely dubstep, with many guests from UK grime crew including the big team-up on "Rally". It's altogether prime UK bass music, not to be missed!

Izambard - Glue Glugger [A2B2 Records/Bandcamp]
Izambard - Ghost Note [Kingdome Recordings/Bandcamp]
And here's a rather different mutation of UK bass music from London enigma Izambard, affiliated with the Kingdome crew and a2b2, the deeply confusing project of Death Grips' Andy Morin. Izambard's latest EP B4 collects four tracks of digitally cut-up beats, syncopated bass and the artist's ever-changing voice, from gruff to high-pitched, spat into the mic at speed. It's fun stuff, as is his debut album Y from 2021, with a similar range and approach. It takes SOPHIE's industrial crunch a la Faceshopping or Ponyboy and grinds off the more overtly pop elements. On "Ghost Note" the clanging beats accelerate into drum'n'bass territory while somehow suddenly the vocals are in Deftones emo-metal land? Don't try and understand it, just take the pummeling.

Chimpo - All Of The Above [Box N Lock]
Manchester's Chimpo is never one to shy away from pop fun in his bass music, and he's a dedicated junglist. His Box N Lock is the place for all his artistic expression, with the latest being a bouncing drum'n'bass number with Chimpo MCing over his own beats. Most importantly, it's Chimpo, it's fun!

Liv.e - Gardetto. [In Real Life/Bandcamp]
Slightly delayed but never too late, here's Dallas r'n'b innovator Liv.e (the "e" is silent), whose indubitale r'n'b chops shine through on many tracks on her new album Girl In The Half Pearl, but more than ever the sweet harmonies and orchestrations are heard through a patina of experimental techniques - industrial distortion, technoid loops or, on a few tracks, drum'n'bass beats. Anyone who found Janelle Monäe's early work too challenging will run a mile, but this is catnip for leftfield music fans - it was FBi Album of the Week in February when it was released. Much of the production is from Liv.e herself, developed after an Artist in Residence stint at London's Laylow, and it feels like UK dance music crept into the mix with adventurous jazz/soul & r'n'b a la FlyLo, Thundercat et al.

kœnig - Last Dance (ft. Nappy Nina) [Ventil/Bandcamp/PTP/Bandcamp]
kœnig - Due Dilligance (ft. Dälek) [Ventil/Bandcamp/PTP/Bandcamp]
I loved the debut album from Viennese drummer Lukas König under his kœnig alias - live industrial/electronic percussion and post-processing that detoured from its more abstract moments into collaborations with the likes of experimental rapper Sensational. New album 1 Above Minus Underground is co-released by Vienna's Ventil Records and New York's PTP, and features an incredible line-up of MCs and guest musicians, including Moor Mother and Aquiles Navarro from Irreversible Entanglements, Vienna-based Iranian sound-artist Rojin Sharafi (whose collaboration I featured late last year), Guilty Simpson, Victoria Shen and her record needle nails, Elvin Brandhi, and Sensational again. It combines clattering live percussion with free jazz and hip-hop to brilliant effect. Tonight we heard Nappy Nina's conversational contribution and noise-hop pioneer Will Dälek Brooks with interjected apocalyptic horns from Martin Eberle and Chris Pitsiokos. This is really good, don't miss it!

Muqata'a - Irbak [Exist Records/Bandcamp]
UmKuBu & Firas Shehadeh - 01011 [Exist Records/Bandcamp]
Being born & growing up in Gaza, under permanent occupation and frequent attack, effectively imprisoned, results in "unsustainable" levels of PTSD among Palestinian children in Gaza. As described by Exist Records/Festival, Skate Gaza, a skate park near Gaza City, provides some temporary reprieve from their oppression, a sense of freedom and hope. The Exist Festival and label formed in 2019, and has put together the compilation No ComplY to expand Skate Gaza's ability to support Palestinian youth. The compilation features hip-hop, pan-African rap and experimental electronic sounds, including breakcore from BLKM3TA, who I've recently played, MC Yallah & Debmaster, who recently visited Sydney, and many others. The brilliant Ramallah producer Muqata'a appears with clickity beats and sub bass drops, and the compilation opens with two more Palestinians - UmKuBu's spoken words over glitchy beats and ambience from Firas Shehadeh.

Elisabeth Klinck - Winter Song [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
Elisabeth Klinck - Kiki [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
Belgian electroacoustic composer & violinist Elisabeth Klinck created her debut album Picture a Frame during a week in the Spanish Pyrenees, working with her friend the artist Oscar Claus collecting field recordings and experimenting with sound & space. The results glide between heavy electronic drones and raw violin extended techniques, glitched vocals and more. It's the sort of music that catches you unaware, suddenly realising you've been captivated for minutes.

Martyna Basta - Presentiment [Warm Winters, Ltd./Bandcamp]
Martyna Basta - Slowly Forgetting, Barely Remembering [Warm Winters, Ltd./Bandcamp]
Martyna Basta - Back and Forth [Warm Winters, Ltd./Bandcamp]
Like many, I was stunned by the debut release from Kraków-based sound-artist Martyna Basta, 2021's Making Eye Contact With Solitude. Adam Badí Donoval's Warm Winters, Ltd. again releases her equally wonderful new album Slowly Forgetting, Barely Remembering. Again we have patient music build from found sounds, vocal snippets and layers, guitar loops, zither, violin... These elements (including a guest spot from fellow sound-conjuror claire rousay) serve to build half-remembered emotional resonances, gentle tension and subtle release - and they add up to undeniable beauty. One to self-medicate with whenever required.

Listen again — ~210MB

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Sunday, 23rd of April, 2023

Playlist 23.04.23 (9:44 pm)

Experimental pop, noise artists not being noisy, ambient artists being noisy...
Cut out the noise by LISTENING AGAIN on stream on demand @ FBi Radio, or podcasting here.

The God In Hackney - In This Room [Junior Aspirin/Bandcamp]
The God In Hackney - Bardo! [Junior Aspirin/Bandcamp]
You may remember nigh on 3 years ago, I discovered transatlantic band The God In Hackney via the cover CD on an issue of experimental music mag The Wire. "The Adjoiner" is still one of my favourite tracks from their second album Small Country Eclipse but there's way more to enjoy there, and now we can extend our enjoyment further with The World In Air Quotes, out this coming Friday. This is left-field art-pop with leanings to '80s pop experimentalists like Peter Gabriel or Magazine, but with everything and the kitchen sink thrown in, whether krautrock, drum'n'bass, free jazz... It's undeniably arch (I mean, "The World In Air Quotes"), and "art", but there's some kind of sincerity there too, such as the Tears For Fears-ian "In This Room". After all, an album about the current moment is going to be struggling with the visibly collapsing anthroposcene and the rise of far-right populism, as well as the degredation and atomisation of the public sphere. Meanwhile "Bardo!", also heard tonight, somehow manages to encompass live d'n'b drums, big band brass, and... Peter Gabriel fronting Talking Heads? The album is co-dedicated to the late Andrew Weatherall, drawing in other clear influences: dub and techno. The second dedicatee is the late Brian Catling, an often challenging performance artist, poet and sculptor, whose various artistic pursuits overlap considerably with those of TGIH singer Nathaniel Mellors.

Richie Culver - Daytime TV (Rainy Miller Remix) [Participant/Bandcamp]
Richie Culver - Love Like An Abscess (Aho Ssan Remix) [Participant/Bandcamp]
Another artist combining poetry, art, sculpture and music is Richie Culver, whose late-2022 album I was born by the sea carried his apocalyptic, declamatory poetry with abstractions of rave music. Tracks from that album have now been remixed by an inspired list of musicians, available on vinyl and digital. A notable earlier release was a provocative collaboration with bleak northern drill master & choreographer Blackhaine, and frequent Blackhaine producer Rainy Miller puts his dark drill silt over one track, while Paris-based Ghanaian sound-artist Aho Ssan floats Culver's voice in granular soundwaves and sub-bass.

ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT - Waiting For The Light To Quit [Constellation/Bandcamp]
ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT - Lie Down In Roses Dear [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Speaking of ambient waves, synthdrone is a big element of the new duo ALL HANDS_MAKE LIGHT, the Montréal duo of Ariel Engle, recent Broken Social Scene member sometimes working as La Force, and Efrim Manuel Menuck of, well you know: Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A/Thee Silver Mt. Zion etc. The curmudgeonly Menuck has long been dedicated to hating things deserving of hatred (the music industry, capitalism), and has apparently now decided to add guitars to that mix, and in 2021 put together a demo tape with Engle of shoegaze-noise-folk that established the duo as equal parts This Mortal Coil, Emeralds and The Pentangle. Debut album "Darling The Dawn" (yes, the double quotes are part of the title) fleshes out some of those pieces, emphasising the folk roots by adding Jessica Moss's violin to the glistening synths on "Lie Down In The Roses Dear". But mostly it's Menuck's stacked synths and his usual anguished singing juxtaposed with Engle's sweeter voice.

Aphir - viscosity angel [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
Vocals with drones become vocals as drones on The Halo Is Shapeless, the beautiful new album from Melbourne's Becki Whitton aka Aphir. 2021's Plastichoir documented her marathon processed vocal improvisations livestreamed over the months before its release, feats of stamina and creative dedication that Whitton has continued to build on since then. Eclectic Sydney label Art As Catharsis, best known for various strains of metal, had been keen to work with Aphir, and the progressively-built artificial choirs of The Halo Is Shapeless proved the perfect resonance for the label. Shapeless these pieces are not, however: vocal edifices are constructed, and then carefully pulled apart and reshaped, as the first single able demonstrates - for the rest you'll have to wait a month or so!

The Leaf Library vs Kemper Norton - Iris [Front & Follow/Bandcamp]
Andrew Haines vs Steve Hadfield - A 500AD Portal to the Boomkat Attics [Front & Follow/Bandcamp]
Manchester label Front & Follow has a very solid back catalogue of varied left-field artists from experimental electronics to folk, and also a strong line in thought-provoking compilations, which goes back a good 10 years to Joseph Stannard's cross-genre catalogue of the uncanny, The Outer Church. Mid-2020 they started on a five-volume project called Isolation and Rejection poking fun at the endless Covid isolation comps by collecting previously-rejected songs - each volume's profits being donated to a charity helping out the least privileged people in the Manchester area. The brilliant, spooky and uncanny compilation You Can Never Leave followed in 2021, parodying aspirational luxury apartment complexes while raising money for the homeless. Elaborating on that theme are the RENTAL YIELDS compilations: three volumes in 2022, and now RENTAL YIELDS: VOLUME FOUR. Each track on these compilations pits one artist against another - well, kind of. I'm not sure whether the right-hand side of the "vs" is always the original artist and the left-hand the remixer/appropriator, but it's never stated, so these roles remain obscure. UFog faves The Leaf Library, part indie band, part space rock, part electronic entity, have previously appeared on the other side of the vs. Here they adapt a piece by the wyrd "slurtronic" folk bloke Kemper Norton, ethereal but slightly menacing. And Andrew Haines attempts to lighten up the usually dark & industrial Steve Hadfield's sounds with glitchy beats. These masses of music may seem overwhelming, but rest assured that it's not just the rental yields that are high. Stream them on Bandcamp and put 5 quid down on a couple, hey?

Marc Codsi - The Entity [Discrepant/Bandcamp]
Among the plethora of electronic acts and releases from the so-called Middle East are a plethora of different musical approaches, of course. Storied Lebanese musician Marc Codsi has worked with many key players in Lebanon, Egypt and beyond as well as writing soundtracks; his previous solo album A New World created a purely electronic Arabic ambient music as a venture into hopeful world-building, and Songs from the Aftermath continues its musical interests, with quarter-tone scales conveying a sense of strangeness - and perhaps newness - to those used to the common 12-tone equal tempermanent found in pop music and "Western" synthesiser works. I love the dancing 24-tone sequences of the opening track, but I opted tonight for the mysteries of "The Entity", which expands the palette with percussive quasi-glass bell sounds over drones and warm bass. The slow synth melody that enters halfway through opens up this space to transcendence.

Soheil Shayesteh - Perceptual Deformation [Zabte Sote]
The Zabte Sote label was founded in 2018 by Ata Ebtekar (aka Sote, visiting Sydney in June for Soft Centre!) and continues to promote adventurous music from Iranian artists. Two albums were released in March: first tonight, we hear from Amsterdam-based Soheil Shayesteh, whose nhA is an electro-acoustic wonder build primarily from the rich sound of his kamancheh - but far from a collection of string drones, the music veers wildly from evolving granular loops of plucked strings through melodic bowing, coupled with a soprano on one track, to the shuddering digital slabs and sliding sub-bass drops on the track heard tonight. Wonderful.

Hamid Rahmati - Joyous Indifference [Zabte Sote]
The second March release from Zabte Sote comes from Tehran-based composer Hamid Rahmati whose acoustic contributions, alongside electronics and field recordings, come from piano and electric guitar. These instruments may make it sound like this music is more contemporary classical than classical Persian, but it's filtered through digital signal processing, made with 24-tone tunings, and shot through with beautiful spectral melodies at surprising moments.

Ana Quiroga - Atalaya [Bandcamp for EarthPercent]
Last week we heard Ana Quiroga's remix of On Man, and this week she's back courtesy of EarthPercent, an organisation co-founded by Brian Eno to encourage the music industry to help fight the climate crisis by giving 1% of their earnings towards climate action. Of course for many musicians that's a moot point as their earnings are frequently negative, but the low percentage of philanthropic giving that contributes to protecting the environment is striking. Each Earth Day, EarthPercent compiles a huge selection of exclusive music from a wide variety of musicians via Bandcamp, and you can pick & choose as you prefer if £25 is too much for the whole shebang. Quiroga's track Atalaya combines field recordings of the natural world with undulating synths.

Lagoss - Mango UFO [Discrepant/Bandcamp]
Lagoss - Los Aquachachos [Discrepant/Bandcamp]
Featuring Discrepant boss Gonçalo F Cardoso, Lagoss is a Tenerife-based trio imagining future sub-tropical archipelagos via an electronically mutated tropicalia and faux field-recordings, sidestepping the problematic appropriative aspects of "fourth world" music by engaging its ethnography with an imaginary future civilisation based in their home in the Canary Islands west of Africa. Palestinian producer Muqata’a also contributes a glitchy remix.

dprk - CRAZY LITTLE CORKSKREW [Studio Fabrik/Bandcamp]
From the deep recesses of Eora/Sydney's noise, free improv and industrial scene/s comes new quartet dprk. Richard Fielding has been making weird noises since his involvement in Severed Heads' tape music years in the early '80s, founding The Loop Orchestra shortly after, and Nick Dan is a free/noise scene stalwart particularly with his duo xNoBBQx. They're joined by visual artist & recent Loop Orchestra member Juke Wyat and also Christian Durham. This is sometimes motorik, sometimes sludgy primitivist, proto-industrial synth stuff. Despite any noise and industrial references Shitville Tourist eschews the harsh tones of power electronics for other abstractions, and opening track "Crazy Little Corkscrew" could almost be early IDM, with unaligned loops of synthetic xylophone, tape crackle and a parping bassling burbling along pleasantly for 7 minutes. The album title indicates a different kind of enthnography from Lagoss' faux-future island life, instead exploring the scungy backstreets of insalubrious city suburbs.

Michel Banabila - Threat [Tapu Records Bandcamp]
Dutch sound-artist/composer/multi-instrumentalist Michel Banabila has managed to maintain a consistent musical character (and quality!) through his 40-year career, with a sustained interest in sound manipulation (through tape, samplers and computers), non-Western instruments, processed voices and so on. More recently he's extended his interest in classical instruments (such as the viola and electronics from 2014) to creating ersatz compositions, constructed through computer editing - and on Tightrope classical piano and strings uneasily cohabit with drones. The style, if not mood, seems to change every track, and on "Threat" we have mysterious electronic tones and a beat that slowly grows to pummelling quasi-techno.

Shit and Shine - BBC BEACH [The state51 Conspiracy/Bandcamp]
Shit and Shine - DIRT BIKE [The state51 Conspiracy/Bandcamp]
London-based (still?) Texan maverick Craig Clouse has at times extended Shit and Shine/Shit&Shine/$&$/etc into a full-blown band, but it's usually safe to say it's himself solo these days - and while the psych-noise roots still inform the sound, he's found a singular style with a kind of disco-funk base, with cut-up glitch-beats, hip-hop, industrial and more thrown in, along with his trademark YouTube-sampled bizarro spoken word. As usual with $&$ there's a good dose of trying your patience and wrong-footing your groove, so yes, 2222 and Airport could only be Shit and Shine, and I for one wouldn't have it any other way.

France Sauvage - Tears me, love me [Murailles Music/Bandcamp]
France Sauvage - Faire les dents repousser [Murailles Music/Bandcamp]
Here again is some kind of free noise collage industrial that somehow isn't the aural confrontation you'd expect. Courtesy of Murailles Music we're introduced to France Sauvage, long-lived trio whose latest incarnation finds all three on electronics. Drum machine beats, wobbling processed vocals, remnants of exotica - this is strange music from the wilds of France, captured and ready for your hi-fi stereo system.

Fire! Orchestra - ECHOES: I see your eye, part 1 [Rune Grammofon]
Scandinavian free jazz big band Fire! Orchestra continues to thrill on their latest for Rune Grammofon, a big double CD and triple LP set that, as usual, confounds the "free jazz" tag with beautiful orchestrations and right-on riffs: the rhythm section of Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin are unparalleled, completed in trio form with fellow Swedish musical royalty Mats Gustafsson on roaring saxophone and noise-making machines. When Fire! Orchestra first assembled it was a full big band of brass and wind instruments plus three of Swedish jazz & improv's greatest vocalists. The extraordinary Mariam Wallentin does appear, and it concludes with a mind-bending vocal turn from legendary jazzer Joe McPhee, but it also has vignettes for smaller ensembles, a few covers, and some gorgeous string arrangements, beautifully played by arranger Josephin Runsteen and ensemble (there are two violins, two cellos and another double bass credited). "Echoes: I see your eye, Part I" opens with a traditional Fire! Orchestra sound, hypnotic bassline carrying through almost 10 minutes of arrangements and soloing. The album's a lot to take in, but it's married together with various "Echoes" variations throughout, returning to "I see your eye" right at the end with McPhee's vocal turn replacing the strings. Incredible work.

Leah Kardos - Pegs [bigo & twigetti]
Winding things up tonight with a different take on "classical" from London-based, Australian raised academic, composer & producer Leah Kardos. The bigo & twigetti label have coaxed another track out of her for their Perceptions Vol. 4 compilation of piano music - no drastic mutations, but pretty Spotify-friendly music in the main. Kardos offers here a piece in her vein of cyclic prepared piano (Aphex Twin drukqs fans will be in familiar territory) - and Kardos has a keen ear for the heart-pulling chord changes. It's simple enough, with a couple of crescendos bringing a bassline in and tapering back to finish, but it's the kind of stuff I'd happily leave on repeat for hours.

Listen again — ~204MB

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Sunday, 16th of April, 2023

Playlist 16.04.23 (11:00 pm)

Challenging minimal pop, experimental beats, eclectic improv tonight...
Take up the challenge by LISTENING AGAIN, via on-demand streaming at FBi's website, or podcasting here.

Richard Youngs - Modern Sorrow [Black Truffle]
When the show was broadcast, an uploading error of mine meant that most of this track was missed. Luckily on the stream-on-demand and podcast you can hear it from the start (or just go to Bandcamp and grab it!) Richard Youngs is a legend of UK experimental music, active since the beginning of the 1990s both solo and in many collaborations (notably with Simon Wickham-Smith) making very challenging experimental sound. But Youngs also has an extraordinary voice, strong & emotive, that featured on a string of brilliant albums for Jagjaguwar - anything from raw a capellas to incredibly stripped-down folk and weird effects. He's also done weird takes on electro-pop, with smashed, scattered drum programming that deliberately doesn't line up with the vocals. And that's just a small glimpse (the man is prolific!), to give some context for this remarkable release on Oren Ambarchi's Black Truffle label. The title track of "Modern Sorrow" is 17 minutes of what might either be pure agony or pure bliss - for me it's certainly bliss. A stripped-down pattern begins, with a snatch of piano and a tiny blurt of voice, before a drum machine rhythm joins, and a good while in, we get the... "song"... The slow-moving chord pattern has already been established, and now Youngs' voice warbles quasi-melodically with intense auto-tune effects, utterly artificial and yet strangely moving. The coda is stripped back to where we were at the beginning, again patiently carrying on for about as long as you can bear. It's pure Youngs, gorgeous and grotesque.

Chewlie - Flood Me [BRUK]
Berlin-based BRUK gives very little away on its mostly-unused social media let alone on Bandcamp. I'm told it's one of the labels that Low End Activist has a hand in (in fact it's right there on his Discogs page), and that's a stamp of quality given Sneaker Social Club and his own multifarious productions. It's also no surprise that BRUK is also focused on soundsystem music, albeit mixed in with a little more cerebral sound-design tendencies. Latest from the label is an EP from Swiss artist Chewlie, aka Julia Häller, who's been active for only the last couple of years. Her Diagon EP moves through bass music of various BPMs, with attention to sculping the atmosphere as well as the beats. Her earlier EP from this year can be found on Czech label YUKU.

On Man - Worse Than It Seems feat. Tailor (Ana Quiroga Remix) [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
On Man - Squares and Triangles feat. F-M-M-F (Katie Gately Remix) [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Last year's self-titled album from On Man was one of the most "pop" directions the Houndstooth label has taken, albeit resolutely "left-field", as the label puts it. But if some of the production there wasn't enough, the artist & label have assembled a phenomenal cast of artists to remix the album, including UFog faves Wordcolour, The Bug, Joe Rainey & Andrew Broder(!) and more. The now London-based Ana Quiroga's deceptively straight remix stood out before I realised she was one half of Spanish duo LCC, who had some fantastic released on Editions Mego some years ago. Her remix starts off with a simple beat and Tailor's original vocal, but then we're treated to a beatless soundscape with reversed vocal abstractions, and a lovely cathartic return to the song to close. Meanwhile, Katie Gately preserves London rapper F-M-M-F's vocals but in her idiosyncratic way constructs an entire new song from On Man's building blocks, singing her own lyrics and layering & chopping like only she can do.

Boofy - Boomer Technology [Boofy Bandcamp]
Bristol dubstep mainstay Boofy has run or co-run the Sector 7 label for about a decade, but has released solo tracks separately in recent times. His Bandcamp holds mostly single tracks, two from 2021 and two from 2022, but his latest single comes with a remix by New Zealand's Epoch. It's a 140bpm track that crosses dubstep with 4/4 music, sampling a discussion about the problems with big tech.

Peverelist - Pulse III [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Speaking of Bristol, dubstep-hybridisation pioneer Peverelist hasn't had a solo release for over 5 years, and returns to his own Livity Sound to mark their 60th release with the Pulse EP. None of this is dubstep, but that was to be expected. It's four variants on 4/4 bass music. I particularly liked the forward momentum from the hi-hats on "Pulse III", which is nothing like jungle but has that nice interaction between the drums and the bass yo.

ShrapKnel ft. billy woods - Mescalito Remix (prod. by DJ Haram) [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
billy woods' Backwoodz Studioz would be a legendary underground hip-hop label purely for his music & that of his duo Armand Hammer with ELUCID, but in fact it hardly ever falters in quality. Their new High Bias compilation showcases their talents with a selection of unreleased tracks and alternate versions from many of their key artists. ShrapKnel - the duo of Curly Castro & PremRock - is a case in point in terms of quality, but how about we add billy woods himself into the equation, and then hand it over to DJ Haram on the version? DJ Haram released an incredible album last year from her duo 700 Bliss with Moor Mother, and is in fine flight here, with creepy hip-hop beats shifting in & out of clattering amen breaks.

nickname & Tim Shiel - Druidz [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Heading to Naarm/Melbourne now on our jungle quest. Young producer nickname released a couple of great EPs last year mixing up genres with bass & breaks and syncopation galore. This single track "Druidz" is possibly the furthest into jungle that the good Mr Shiel has headed, but it's equally sweet on those jungle-techno 4/4 kicks. Whatever it is, it's a whole lot of fun.

BAMBII - One Touch [BAMBII Bandcamp]
Toronto DJ BAMBII is joyously gregarious in the sounds she pulls together for her DJ sets, and for her own music. She wrote a fantastic essay for Dazed last year on her experiences becoming a DJ - and a successful DJ - within scenes that marginalised blackness and queerness despite the obvious roots of the music. Her own Jamaican roots inform her music as much as footwork, r'n'b, techno and the like - and reggae & dub are fused into jungle on her latest single, "One Touch", with sampled and pitch-shifted vocals and tasty breaks.

DJ Sofa - Ready Set Go [Future Retro]
Kia Súmen aka Finnish producer DJ Sofa, also offers some reggae-infused jungle on her single-artist 12" for Tim Reaper's Future Retro, featuring hardcore-leaning sounds as well as jungle, and a remix from breakcore veteran Pete Dev/Null.

Foxconn Suicide - Advena [A Flooded Need]
Italian experimental/industrial label A Flooded Need introduce us to Italian duo Foxconn Suicide, who have jungle beats creeping into their cut-up, disorienting industrial sound. Their self-titled EP (not heard tonight) is a bit more explicit in the jungle aspects on a couple of tracks - both releases are recommended.

µ-Ziq - Mesolithic Jungle [Balmat/Bandcamp]
µ-Ziq - Asda [Balmat/Bandcamp]
After a huge year for Mike Paradinas last year, here's ANOTHER new album from him, this time straying from his own Planet µ to the relatively new Barcelona-based Balmat, an imprint of Lapsus run by Lapsus founder Albert Salinas and prolific & influential music writer Philip Sherburne. This album is wildly different from the drill'n'bass/idm/jungle nostalgia/renewal of 2022. 1977 suggests a more distant nostalgic focus, although Paradinas turned 6 in 1977, so I'm not entirely sure of the significance. But by mostly abandoning beats, Paradinas is content to salt the melodic ambient bliss with an oft-abrasive miasma - distorted drones, out-of-focus detuned pads, crunching beats, all reminiscent of his beloved early years. Even the breaks of "Mesolithic Jungle" are distorted and half-buried. And it couldn't be more µ–Ziq - celebrate!

Nondi_ - Nondi Shadow [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Nondi_ - Healing Rain [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Tatiana Triplin, once Yakui, now Nondi_, runs the netlabel HRR, which is in fact immediately intriguing. Who runs a netlabel these days? I mean, the point being, everybody does. Sure, some still do physical releases, but there are so many Bandcamp labels. Following this, HRR continues to intrigue by focusing on Web Folk, Nightcore and Dubst, absolutely made-up genres but they all make absolute sense - and they do make sense when listening to Nondi_'s debut album on Planet µ, Flood City Trax. There's a dusty dub feel to these sounds, a late-night feel, and it's utterly online. "Flood City" provides more context: Triplin lives in Johnstown, Pennsylvania, one of those cities built by capitalism and then abandoned by capitalism to poverty, and it's a place that's prone to floods and never quite recovered from its big ones. The Wikipedia page points at more recent cultural initiatives, but Triplin's description of her hometown suggests decay and despondency. Her music is dusty and decayed, dance music styles like footwork and breakcore heard through tinny speakers and iPhone ear buds at low bitrates, and filtered through with beauty and yearning. It's wonderful to hear her on Planet µ, and very interesting hearing her approach alongside Mike Paradinas' own mulched beats.

Tim Koch - Drungums [DataDoor/Bandcamp]
The Tourbillon EP was first released on CPU Records back in 2021 by Adelaide IDM impressario Tim Koch (I just put "impressario" there because it sounded good, but Tim is very impressive). The restless fellow has now made an extended ("étendue" en français) version on his own DataDoor label, adding three similar crunchy electronic tracks and extending all four originals too. The music here has a long-limbed organicness to it, recognizable as IDM evolved. "Drungums" particularly suited the theme of distorted buried beats preceding it.

Tim Hecker - Total Garbage [kranky/Bandcamp]
Tim Hecker - Sense Suppression [kranky/Bandcamp]
In the time since 2018's Konoyo and its 2019 sequel Anoyo, Canada's king of glitchdrone Tim Hecker has had two scores released - for the TV show The North Water starring Colin Farrell, and for the film Infinity Pool by Brandon Cronenberg. Now No Highs brings him back to music-for-music's-sake, with an album that mostly cleaves to its promise of, well, no highs. It's anti-feelgood music, anti-euphoric, frequently creepy and anxious, making good use of (fellow soundtrack composer) Colin Stetson's otherworldly sax tones as well as pulsating synths and gurgling granular processing. It's not that this music in any way wallows in self-pity and sadness, but rather that it refuses to provide (false) comfort or soothe nerves.

MultiTraction Orchestra - Reactor One, Part I [Superpang/Bandcamp]
MultiTraction Orchestra - Reactor One, Part V [Superpang/Bandcamp]
The prolific Rome-based label Superpang's 154th release since its formation in 2020 as a kind of response to the coronavirus pandemic comes from a lockdown ensemble. Formed by Kraków-based guitarist & producer Alex Roth also originally in 2020, the elastic lineup features, on debut album Reactor One, many members of the improv scene in his previous hometown of London, as well as Sweden-based Norwegian trumpeter Arve Henriksen. Henriksen's bewitching trumpet graces two tracks, including Part I, and the cello of Kate Ellis (heard throughout 2021 in collaboration with Laura Cannell) grounds all but one. Despite being collaged from remote recordings, the pieces were composed together, with Roth at the centre, and exhibit the intuitive interactiveness of experienced improvisers. Post-jazz indeed!

James Holden - Four Ways Down The Valley [Border Community Records/Bandcamp]
10 years ago, James Holden released his shockingly good second album The Inheritors, which took the dancefloor-filling techno that he was known for, and transmuted it into something organic, mulchy, craggy, natural. The just-released Imagine This Is A High Dimensional Space Of All Possibilities shares a lot with that album, while also having kinship with the intervening album The Animal Spirits's strange folk feeling. It's described in the label copy as a kind of pastoral rave album, and there are indeed many references to rave & techno, despite it being neither. It's certainly a journey, strange and joyous.

haddocks' eyes - miasma [haddocks' eyes Bandcamp]
haddocks' eyes - dumb as a picture [haddocks' eyes Bandcamp]
Some years ago, I was introduced to the music of Sydney-based (ex-Adelaide) musician Benjow aka Douglas MacKay, member of cult band The Bedridden during the '90s, through the strange, anonymous sound of Haddocks' Eyes. Much of the material was written with Dave Wiffler and Baterz of The Bedridden, some even before that band existed, and songs from that period have been reworked & repurposed multiple times through the cycle of Haddocks' Eyes' quasi-existence. To me these sounds were exciting because of the way they combined guitar-based indie songwriting with electronic effects, but also because there were some incredibly touching songs. Versions came and went as MacKay struggled with his mental health, but to my knowledge Benjow finds himself in a much better place these days, and the "new" release mute with fury (2015-2023) works as a kind of clearinghouse of old works - many of which I actually have because he snuck them out track-by-track on his Bandcamp. And many of the works actually date from much earlier, including "miasma" here, and songs like "twenty two" and "dumb as a picture", which probably date back to the '90s. Here, MacKay uses the beautifully affecting, alienating device of pitch-shifting the vocals to both commemorate and undermine these fragile songs about depression and self-alienation. With these songs (re-)released, I hope there'll be new songs to share soon!

Mücha - Spectral Interference [Frequency Domain/Bandcamp]
Amanda Butterworth's 2021 album Fall was a striking introduction to her work as Mücha, shoegazey songs embedded in IDM/jungle/techno beats. This year the Frequency Domain label is releasing two albums from Mücha, the first of which is Hello Caller, out now. There was a minimalist aesthetic to Fall, despite the business of the beats, and that's deepened here with the pallette of one vocal loop and one piano loop along with some standard electronic devices (sub bass drops, crickety beats) and plenty of processing. Each song iterates through these elements in different ways, from ambient to minimal techno to jittery IDM, and the wonderful glitchy, slow-fast dub of "Spectral Interference" - not a million miles from the hard-chopped backing that Richard Youngs gave himself at the start of the show.

Penelope Trappes - The Bitterness Of Parting [Nite Hive/Bandcamp]
Penelope Trappes - Entangled [Nite Hive/Bandcamp]
Australian musician Penelope Trappes released three self-titled albums since being based in London, the first through JD Twitch's eclectic Optimo Music, and the following ones through the forward-looking Houndstooth. But the idea of her own label, run by women for women and non-gender-conforming artists, is one that I believe has been on the burner for a while now, and thus Nite Hive is inaugurated with Trappes' new album Heavenly Spheres. The trilogy of Penelope albums already established a practice of ethereal songwriting with ambient backings and beats, and 2021's Mother's Blood Edition further stripped back those songs, dissolving and suspending the original works, removing the lyrical content and any vestiges of rhythmic backing. Heavenly Spheres takes a similar aesthetic into a new realm, creating music with just an upright piano and a reel to reel tape machine supporting her voice. The tape is used as a substrate for beds of noise and sound manipulation, saturating and distorting the material in the fashion of Ian William Craig. This is a beautiful progression for Trappes, and a great start for her label, which will soon feature releases from Patricia Wolf, Pefkin, Karen Vogt, and Madeliene Cocolas.

Listen again — ~201MB

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Sunday, 2nd of April, 2023

Playlist 02.04.2023 (11:00 pm)

Music is good. Good music is gooder.
Enjoy (good) music by LISTENING AGAIN to this here show - podcast here or stream on demand via FBi.

Holy Tongue - Saeta [Valentina Magaletti Bandcamp]
Holy Tongue - Kaneh Bosem [Valentina Magaletti Bandcamp]
In 2020, the extremely prolific percussionist Valentina Magaletti added to her long list of projects a duo with Al Wootton - UK producer of bass music from techno to dubstep, garage to d'n'b. Together they released three EPs of energetic, raw postpunk dub, until a couple of months ago when this full album was announced. Deliverance and Spiritual Warfare augments the duo with Magaletti's Vanishing Twin bandmate Susumu Mukai taking on additional bass guitar and percussion duties - presumably freeing Wootton up to control FX and keys and such in a live context. When I heard the opening "Andalusian catholic march" on the first track, I knew it had to be the opener for tonight's show. Although the album inserts these strange alien side-quests along the way, the basis is the sinuous basslines and percussion - it's a studio project, but it's live postpunk dub at its root, wonderfully done.

Ayala - Rainfruit Kulnara feat. Zac Picker [lovejoy]
Last year Eora/Sydney musician & DJ Donny "Ayala" Janks released the wonderful EP All prayers flow to the stormdrain with physicist and writer Zac Picker - a brilliant combination of Ayala's electronics and Picker's evocative spoken word. Later this month, Ayala will release an EP titled Rainfruit on the lovejoy label, and the semi-title track of that EP again features Zac Picker's spoken word. Here the music and words are more equal players, Picker's words mixing science and poetry, left behind as the second half of the track crescendos through sequenced synth lines to its conclusion.

Antoine Ferris - Hount Orbe [now available at Bandcamp]
I was lucky to discover this track via longtime friend-of-the-show Angus Cornwell - sometime radio DJ, cellist and LinkedIn troll. It's out there on Spotify, but exists primarily as the soundtrack to a beautiful black & white film on YouTube - but I insisted Angus source me the audio file to play for you! Antoine Ferris is an electric bass player from France, a member of the Baraque à Free collective of improvising musicians in the Toulouse region. This track captures something of the joy of early Fennesz & Mego glitch-works for me, but it's entirely made from electric bass - stuttery edits and pitch-shifts, and occasional outbursts of skronky distortion.

Iztok Koren - .     .      [Torto Editions/Bandcamp]
On Italian label Torto Editions, we have a solo album from Iztok Koren, a Slovenian multi-instrumentalist best known as a member of the extraordinary alien-folk band Širom. The album Praznina / Emptiness (the second word being the translation of the first) was recorded in the aftermath of a cancelled trip by Širom to Sarajevo, with Koren shacking up in a remote area of Slovenia, where he ended up recording the entire album in one day. As usual for the musician, many different instruments are used, but usually only one or two on any particular track. This means that we'll go from an ornate eastern European banjo improvisation into the feedback-laden string instrument noise heard here, to sparse percussion, and over & round again. The tracks vary wildly in length, and some of the best are nearly 10 minutes - my favourite might be the 12-minute track on guembri with some overlaid percussion and what I think is the guembri being bowed. Maybe this album will fill some emptiness in your life, if you let it.

V - The Stain [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
V - Faithless featuring the Faithless Choir [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
I premiered one of the tracks from this excellent album a few weeks ago, now released in full: V's third album Faithless is a gothic album that takes Naarm/Melbourne's Federation Bells (a frequent feature on Heavy Machinery's releases) and adapts them to the artist's own purposes. The bells echo through many of these tracks, as rhythmic devices or tolling omens, while V wields electronics, guitars, industrial-influenced beats and tape machine to create an almost symphonic meditation on the inadequacy of mental health care in Australia... and on the last track they're joined by an 11-person choir to fully realise the dramatic impact of this work.

Happa - Only Darkness (feat. shame) [Happa Bandcamp]
Samir Alikhanizadeh, Leeds/London's half-Persian prince of the dancefloor (Happa originally stood for "HalfAPersianPrinceAnd"), has just popped out a typically varied EP by the name Party Chat on his Bandcamp, music that might be situated in the club, but might be dreamed of after a particularly intense night, or heard while arguing with the bouncers on the other side of the door... He's aided by the also-part-Iranian Lafawndah on one track, and London post-punks shame on "Only Darkness" - not just vocalist Charlie Steen. Happa has previously remixed shame, and it does sound like many of the band's instruments contribute to the wholly dark, ponderous track, that's a little like an industrial Leonard Cohen.

Katie Gately - Seed [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Katie Gately - Chaw [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
It feels simultaneoulsy like Katie Gately's music, her aesthetic and technique, arrived fully formed almost as soon as she started (seriously, check the vocal manipulations on 2013's "pipes" and b-side "acahella"), and at the same time she develops palpably on each release. Maybe it's that I forget the impact of her dense arrangements and songwriting, full of those layered, chopped up vocals, freewheeling samples, restless harmonic progressions echoed at times with electronic beats leaning into industrial climes. Speaking of progression, Fawn/Brute is the mirror twin of its predecessor Loom. Loom was written in the shadow her mother's impending untimely death from a rare cancer, and is full of seismic emotions and upheaval. Fawn/Brute was written through the artist's own experience of motherhood for the first time, and reflects both the light and dark of a young life. The cacophany of sounds recalls the cartoon soundtracks she's sampled here, with a saxophone parping out melodies and riffs through various tracks, contributing to the righteous basslines Gately has long mastered ("Lift", the opening track from 2016's Color is always pure joy). Equal parts pop excess and experimental sound-art, long may we experience the creativity of Katie Gately.

Carl Stone - Morangak (2005) [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
Far off in August, Japan-based US sampling innovator Carl Stone will release his third archival collection Electronic Music from 1972-2022 on Unseen Worlds. We've had the joy of scads of new work from Stone of late (and some of us might be lucky enough to see him in Tasmania in June!), but the man has been cutting up and slicing his way through prior recorded works or field recordings for many decades, and pioneered the use of personal computers in performance in the 1980s. From the title, this collection will be the most wide-ranging yet - and indeed it will contain some of his earliest tape cut-ups, as well as very recent works. Mostly, the source material for his jaunts is obscured enough to be unrecognizable, so it's hilarious that the first single from this collection, "Morangak", from 2005, is quite obviously "Bicycle Race" by Queen. Stone turned 70 earlier this year, and is as creatively energetic as ever.

indri - Mariah [indri Bandcamp]
indri - Contact [indri Bandcamp]
We first heard Reece Beuzeville's music as indri back in 2019 with debut release hello, from over here... on Eora/Sydney label Empirical Intrigue. That release combined field recordings with evocative electronic compositions, and 4 years later, his latest release takes this concept even further with a beautiful and intriguing set called Hall of Egress. The egress in this case was from the city - in 2021, Beuzeville took off in his Volvo (I love this small detail) to places unknown, travelling around NSW. Raw field recordings (including some specifically identified fauna) mix with minimalist compositions, including the glitched Mariah Carey micro-samples on the first selection (echoing Mr Stone above).

Joni Void - Parallax Error (+N NAO) [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Excited for the third album on Montréal's venerable Constellation label from Joni Void. First single from it is in the Joni Void tradition of mostly-female guest collaborators, here N NAO, using myriad samples of the artist & guests, casually recorded and cut-up, processed and collaged by Joni Void into things resembling songs. This glitchy, overtly digital aesthetic is something that would've been anathema to Constellation and Godspeed in the early days, but has been increasingly embraced over the decades.

ben sloan - toomuchinternet (feat. serengeti & josiah wolf of why?) [New Amsterdam Recordings/Bandcamp]
ben sloan - muted colors (feat. liz wolf of why?, josh jessen, adam peterson) [New Amsterdam Recordings/Bandcamp]
You may not realise it, but you've probably heard Ben Sloan's playing before. He's a drummer who's played with artists such as *quotes from bio* The National, Moses Sumney, Beth Orton, Mouse on Mars, Rozi Plain, Serengeti, and WHY? - many of whom as you can see here appear as guests on his restless, rhythm-heavy, eclectic debut solo album muted colors, released by New Amsterdam Recordings (a label known for boundary-pushing contemporary classical music, but also branching out into other kinds of experimental music and indie/pop). In amongst the expert playing & singing from himself and his guests there are field recordings and other found sounds that he's collected over many years. The result is a very dense, very enjoyable record that retains a core of skilfully skittery percussion through myriad briefly-touched-on genres, from schoolchildren singing through drill'n'bass with half-heard hip-hop vocals, to contemplative piano, modal jazz, hints at r'n'b pop and more. Nothing is immune to interruption from manic drums or beats, although the closing track featuring Moses Sumney does the best at keeping to a sunny jazz-pop template with experimental edges. I feel like listeners to this show will find a lot to love here, so don't let it pass you by!

Pépe - Goma (Prime Mix) [Lapsus Records/Bandcamp]
Pépe - HSC [Lapsus Records/Bandcamp]
Named presumably for the footballer, Pépe is a Valencian producer known more for lo-fi house and techno, but on his debut for fellow Spanish label Lapsus Records, he branches out in all directions, anywhere from orchestral instruments and sampled vocals collaged into new melodies, to skittery IDM and breakbeats. Reclaim is lush, and rhythmic in surprising ways, although I've chosen a couple of the most jungle-adjacent tracks tonight.

Mattr - A-Break [Mattr Bandcamp]
Birmingham producer Mattr makes breakbeat-heavy electronica, lo-fi house and IDM tracks, and on his latest A-Break EP it's classic IDM fare with broken beats and gorgeous pads. On the title track, though, it felt incredibly familiar, and I eventually tracked down the influence to a pair of Gescom (Autechre) tracks from around 1998. Not in any way suggesting this is a rip-off, but it feels like a distinct tribute: check where the synth pads come in at 0:28 in Mattr's track, and listen to "Viral Revival (Rmxd by Ae)" from the This EP released on SKAM back in '98. Mattr's chopped-vox rhythms and those pads are very Ae, but the track diverges from this influence pretty soon after. The Gescom track is a version of the Ad Vanz vs Gescom track "Viral" from Fat Cat's legendary split 12" series - the pads enter at 2:19 in this track FWIW. These similarities aside, it's lovely hearing IDM of this calibre in the 2010s, and I recommend jumping around some of the other tracks on Mattr's Bandcamp.

Stefan Goldmann - In Aggregate [Macro/Bandcamp]
Berlin techno maestro Stefan Goldmann continues on his unpredictable course through rhythm with new 10" In Aggregate / Carob. The beats here are polyrhythmic and infectious, and the bar lines don't hit where you expect, yet it still manages to sound like classic techno. The flip is almost entirely one rhythm fed through a ring modulator, simultaneously recalling Aphex Twin's early techno experiments and reaching out to possible futures.

Jack Prest - Object II [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
Jack Prest - Dusk [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
Sydney composer, sound engineer & musician Jack Prest staged his daring multi-disciplinary work The Risk of Hyperbole at Phoenix Central Park in 2022, merging dance, visual art, and live musical performance in a host of genres. In recorded form, the first volume - Sound - focused on the sound-art aspects of the work, while Vol.2 - Object is more about the contemporary composition and their interactions with sub bass drops and shimmering effected electronics. Live percussion floats in space over subtle drones and carefully modulated reverb, or minimalist double bass notes, impressionist piano and fractured cello compete with processed drumkit and snarling synths. It's an intoxitaing blend. We're looking forward to Vol.3 when it arrives, with the techno, hip-hop and other beats to be showcased.

The Declining Winter - The Darkening Way [Home Assembly Music/Bandcamp/The Declining Winter Bandcamp]
The Declining Winter - The Fruit of the Hours [Home Assembly Music/Bandcamp/The Declining Winter Bandcamp]
I often claim that my favourite band ever is Leeds noise/postrock/indietronic iconoclasts Hood, with the core of brothers Chris & Richard Adams joined by an ever-changing cast of brilliant collaborators as bandmates until their permanent hiatus in 2005 or '06. Chris branched out into proto-breakcore and drum'n'bass/jungle as Downpour and indietronica and other electronics as Bracken, while Richard eventually formed his indie/postrock band The Declining Winter (with more recent solo excursions into electronics as Western Edges). Rich's songwriting and singing has only gotten better & better through the Declining Winter story, and his latest album Really Early, Really Late is not just his best, but one of the best indie releases of the year so far. I'm very lucky to have been asked by Richard to contribute some cello, appearing on a couple of tracks including tonight's closer built around a lovely piano pattern from ex-Hood chap Gareth Brown. I would've loved to play you the album's centrepiece title track, with its gorgeous Talk Talk vibes, but as it's a bit too long, instead we had the album's opener, a typical Richard Adams song swept away with layers of Sarah Kemp's violin.

Listen again — ~199MB

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