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experimental electronica
electric string quartet

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, 25th of June, 2023

Playlist 25.06.23 (7:28 pm)

A bit of everything tonight: postpunk dub, minimal techno, IDM, breakbeat and minimal d'n'b, ambient, post-classical and post-jazz, drone, indie, folk, glitch, modular synth. What's a few genres between friends?
Thanks once again to Holly Conner for holding the fort while I was away last week!

LISTEN AGAIN for your sanity's sake. Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here.

V/Z - Habadash feat. Cathy Lucas [AD93/Bandcamp]
V/Z - Bites feat. Coby Sey [AD93/Bandcamp]
Recently we heard the brilliant debut album from drummer & percussionist Valentina Magaletti's Holy Tongue, which was initially a duo with Al Wootton, but for this album became a trio with the addition of Susumu Mukai. Mukai also plays bass in the kosmische/psyche-pop band Vanishing Twin with Magaletti, and this rhythm section partnership now finds full expression as the duo V/Z (Z stands for Zongamin, Mukai's longstanding solo alias). Suono Assente ("Absence of sound") inhabits the same dub/postpunk territory as many of Magaletti's other projects, with just enough of the krautrock/psych aspects prevalent in Vanishing Twin and the beloved Tomaga. But these are all pop song length, even those without vocals - and the vocal spots are perfect. Vanishing Twin singer Cathy Lucas gives "Habadash" a beautiful wistfulness, and Coby Sey murmers darkly over dubwise production and scratchy violin on "Bites". At 8 tracks and only 28 minutes long, it finishes way too soon, but if one thing's certain, there'll be more from both participants before you even notice the absence of sound.

Rrose - Spines [Eaux]
It's somehow easy to forget how long I've been a fan of Seth Horvitz' work. For many years from the late '90s Horvitz released experimental techno and abstract sound-art under the name Sutekh, highly electronic works that frequently referenced biological processes. Since 2011, Horvitz' musical alter-ego became Rrose (named for Marcel Duchamp's female alter-ego Rrose Sélavy), for many years a mysterious identity (although I think those in the know always knew). The gender-fluidity of Rrose connects techno and sound-art to its longstanding queer connections, via clubbing of course but on the sound-art side particularly through Horvitz' work with Bob Ostertag; but this aspect is also tied up with Horvitz' continuing engagement with the body, and more broadly the natural world; the first album proper for Rrose was 2019's Hymn to Moisture, in which deep & slamming techno was juxtaposed with ambient sound-shaping, burbling with life and leaden with decay. These themes are further drawn out on Please Touch, where rhythms swirl and hammer in & out of textural sound, expertly manipulated. The title references this tactility of the sound, but also draws once again from the surrealist subversion of Duchamp, who used the phrase as the title of 1947 art exhibition.

Andrea Taeggi - corporate standardized programming [Mille Plateaux/Bandcamp]
I first came across Italian producer Andrea Taeggi as one half of the experimental electronic duo Lumisokea with Belgian cellist/sound-artist Koenraad Ecker. The duo produced some of the most brilliant & hallucinatory works on the cusp between techno and ambient, bass music and electro-acoustic exploration. Taeggi released some lovely bass-glitch-drone as Gondwana, and more recently under the alias 5HT2, but has also released plenty of modular synth IDM under his given name on various labels. Biomimetics, released through Mille Plateaux, concerns itself with the idea of biomimicry, and more broadly about how ecological thinking could help get us out of the quagmire of capitalist rapacity (I'm paraphrasing). Taeggi emphasises that the sounds here derive from 40 years of electronic music history, including the 1970s modular synth the ARP 2500, and it's an exploration of musical grooves and patterns outside of traditional 4/4.

Nahash - Davide XV feat. Elise Massoni [SVBKVLT]
Taeggi's post-IDM brings us to the post-club adaptations of Raphaël Valensi's Nahash, whose EP A Snake In Your House ("Nahash" means serpent in Hebrew) is released by Shanghai label SVBKVLT. The club night and label, although releasing plenty of Chinese artists, has been a focal point for ex-pats in the Shanghai electronic music scene - it's run by Mancunian Gaz Williams, Montéal's Valensi had a lot to do with it while based there, as did French producer & DJ Elise Massoni. Massoni co-wrote the breakbeat-heavy "Davide XV", which features filtered breaks splintering the 4/4 beat while the bass rises up like a distant rave foghorn.

Air Max '97 - Kaiba [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
Posture - Run [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
The third compilation from Andy Garvey's Pure Space, Proximity III once against features electronic musicians from across the club and club-adjacent landscape from Eora and across so-called Australia. There's techno and bass music, breakbeat and drum'n'bass, IDM and garage. Tonight we have the typical bass-heavy syncopations of Air Max '97, and the skittery slow/fast sound of Eora-based Posture, which finally erupts into amen break-laden fury at the 5-minute mark.

Sun People - Reconnect (Step by Step) [Nehza Records]
Out of Posture's junglisms we turn to Graz-based drum'n'bass producer Simon Hafner aka Sun People, who here turns in a footwork/minimal-d'n'b hybrid for Paris label Nehza for their new compilation Transaquæ, which covers the gamut of dancefloor styles from artists all around Europe (and beyond), include label founder RONI, Polaar boss Flore, and Malaysian-British producer Sayang.

Perera Elsewhere - Hold Tite (3phaz Remix) [Friends of Friends Music/Bandcamp]
Perera Elsewhere - Like This (Aho Ssan Remix) [Friends of Friends Music/Bandcamp]
I loved last year's album Home from London-born Berlin-based musician Sasha Perera/Perera Elsewhere, an album of comfortably weird electronic pop which now receives the remix treatment from 9 artists across 7 remixes. Cairo's 3phaz stays true to his percussive form on his version of "Hold Tite", an already percussive track, letting the vocal pop up with the "you cannot fuck with me" refrain at times. And Paris-based Ghanaian sound-artist Aho Ssan follows his dramatic remix of Richie Culver with a beautiful rework of "Like This" which keeps to glitchy surging drones until 2/3 of the way through splattered digital beats accompany Perera's vocoded vocals, only to ebb back to shimmering quietude for the last minute and a half.

santpoort - so incredibly bright [Friends of Friends Music/Bandcamp]
Coincidentally sticking with LA's Friends of Friends Music we now join Sydney-based Dutch musician Julien Mier, here under his Santpoort alias, with some blissful, sun-drenched folktronic beats from his latest EP a hole in the sun.

Wakati - Wak [Wakati Bandcamp]
Here's some more melodic IDM from Naarm/Melbourne's John McCaffrey aka Part Timer under his new alias Wakati - and so industrious is he that there's already a third Wakati EP on his Bandcamp! Closest comparison would be Plaid, with minor key piano-ambient morphed into joyful cyclical beats and back again.

Balmorhea - Violet Shiver [Deutsche Grammophon]
Balmorhea - Step Step Step [Deutsche Grammophon]
A couple of years ago the US folk/postrock duo Balmorhea surprised the Utility Fog team (that's me) with an album on the venerable German classical label Deutsche Grammophon. This is partly due to DG getting on the post/neo-classical bandwagon (admittedly their ReComposed series of remixed symphonic works goes back to at least 2005), but it's also less surprising when you remember that Balmorhea have incorporated classical instruments and styles from very early on. Their second DG album, Pendant World, is actually less pared back than the previous, The Wind, with Rob Lowe and Michael A. Muller joined by the experimental sax of Sam Grendel and strings from minimalist cellist Clarice Jensen and folk singer/violinist Aisha Burns, and production from Jonathan Low, whose credits run primarily in the folk & modern classical direction. The tracks I chose have a bit of everything: chugging percussion and subtle dub delays along with the piano and sung refrain of "Violet Shiver", which finishes with string and flute/clarinet trills, while "Step Step Step" is in that Americana-tinged chamber jazz space pioneered by Bill Frisell and Tin Hat Trio.

Tom Schneider - Serpentines [Macro/Bandcamp]
The first solo album from German pianist Tom Schneider should be no surprise to followers of his recent band Loom & Thread, which took the traditional jazz piano trio into the cyber realm with live sampling and manipulation - and the sampler as instrument is something Schneider has perfected in his other band KUF, in which Schneider plays the role of lead vocalist entirely from the sampler. The surreal piano manipulations are found throughout Isotopes, which, like both previous projects, is released on Stefan Goldmann & Finn Johannsen's Macro Recordings. Virtuoso jazz piano runs and sensitive melodies coexist with granular processing and re-sampling of the instrument, sending the sounds into stratospheric pitch-shifting, or stuttering glitches, blended together so that it's impossible to tell what's composed or improvised, produced live or processed in post. It's mastered very quietly, and works best as listening music to close your eyes to.

the fun years - auto show day of the dead [Barge Recordings/Bandcamp]
the fun years - tape over your l.e.d. [the fun years Bandcamp]
From around 2004 the duo of Ben Recht on baritone guitar and Isaac Sparks on turntable began releasing mysterious, engrossing drone and quasi-glitch music as the fun years. Made up of short evolving loops, it could sound like anything, but mostly evoked drone, glitch and minimalist postrock - and I feel like it was particularly exciting because so often it was impossible to tell how they did it. I've included one of those older tracks tonight, from 2008's baby it's cold inside, where you get to hear the slow evolution of one texture into another. Just now they've released a window into what came before the fun years, an album called realness converts that's not that far off the fun years sound, but features buried crunchy beats and more melodic IDM & glitch-hop stylings. It's great and worth a listen, but take this as a prompt to dive into their guitar & turntable works while you're there.

F'tang - Muscular & Compact [F'tang Bandcamp]
A mere 10 years after their second release, Eora/Sydney indie/postrock band F'tang are getting ready to release a new album later this year. It's jangly postrock with a slightly mathy edge and nice bubbling electric organ, timeless stuff.

Jamie Hutchings - The Men [Jamie Hutchings Bandcamp/DC Cross Bandcamp]
DC Cross - Brumby [DC Cross Bandcamp/Jamie Hutchings Bandcamp]
Speaking of indie music, here's two '90s heroes still at it - in comparatively different veins - are touring together to launch their little 8" vinyl EP (apparently vinyl has sold out, sorry!). Find them at "secret location" in Petersham next Friday, June 30th (Facebook event here or booking form). Jamie Hutchings recently released a solo album of free experimentation, but here gives us the slightly chaotic indie songwriting that always seemed, all the way back to Bluebottle Kiss days, equally influenced by free jazz as punk or indie. Darren DC Cross's acoustic guitar stuff is worlds away from the indie/electronic of Gerling, continuing to explore his love of fingerstyle guitar and instrumental folk.

Bluetung - Desert Glass [Theory Therapy/Bandcamp]
Next Friday, Eora/Sydney's Mitch Bluetung Reynolds releases his new album Eternity By The Stars, an exploration of guitar through electronics. There are hints at other practitioners of guitar-sourced electronics such as Fennesz, or perhaps closer to home the Max/MSP guitar manipulations of Reuben Ingalls (here, here & here). With Bluetung there's a haze to everything that points more towards Benoît Pioulard, and ultimately we've got to say it's his own, very lovely, thing. Cassette copies will come with an extra download of remixes, some of which I'll be featuring a little after the release. Don't sleep!

Ben Carey - Clang [Hospital Hill/Bandcamp]
Ben Carey - Towards the Origin [Hospital Hill/Bandcamp]
When I first met Eora/Sydney musician, composer & academic Ben Carey he was playing saxophone with autonomous electronics, investigating computer improvisation. For some time now, though, he's become more & more proficient in the fractally deep world of modular synthesis. His first album on Matt McGuigan's Hospital Hill came out of some of his early work with Eurorack modular systems, but Metastability was produced in two sessions at Melbourne Electronic Sound Studio (MESS) with the LaTrobe Serge modular synth, designed in the mid-'70s by Serge Tcherepnin for the La Trobe University Music Department, and restored more recently so that anyone can work on it at MESS. Linking back to my first encounters with Ben, he describes working with the so-called "Paperface" Serge as a process of dealing with the human/non-human interaction necessitated by the complex way that it works, and the delicate balance required to produce desirable sounds. This complexity aside, the pieces Carey has created are beautifully refined and incredibly organic-feeling, tactile and emotive. The percussive clattering at the beginning of "Clang" feels like bouncing, vibrating metallic objects, and the interleaved drones of closing track "Towards the Origin" are exquisitely detuned, like separate alien transmissions hesitantly singing their lonely chorale in deep space.

Listen again — ~205MB

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Monday, 12th of June, 2023

Playlist 11.06.23 (3:12 pm)

A little less emphasis on the beats tonight, or it's beats within other genres or in service of something other than moving bodies on dancefloors... There's riveting spoken word, futuristic raps and weird adaptations, and later, post-jazz and spooky sound-art.
Thanks to Holly Conner aka ilex for her excellent selections last week! She'll be looking after the show again next Sunday while I'm away for Dark Mofo.

LISTEN AGAIN if you dare! Via FBi's stream on demand or podcast here.

Farhad Bandesh & David Bridie - Freedom [David Bridie Bandcamp]
Not Drowning, Waving - Little King feat. Robby Douglas Turner [Rampant Releases/Liberation/Bandcamp]
Edwina Preston & David Bridie - Brother Sister Grave [David Bridie Bandcamp]
Melbourne treasure David Bridie may be cast these days as a pleasant "adult contemporary" pianist-singer-songwriter, but he's always worked in unexpected areas musically, from the ambient/proto-postrock/global-folk gregariousness of the frankly uncategorisable Not Drowning, Waving to the post-Penguin Cafe Orchestra chamber pop of My Friend The Chocolate Cake (never quite as twee as their name would suggest). Lyrically, Bridie has often focused on stories of working class, middle Australians, little people - and also on his dedicated activism, whether for the freedom struggles of West Papua or against the inhumanity of Australia's punishing treatment of refugees. All this comes to the fore on his latest album It's Been A While Since Our Last Correspondence. Each track is a short story or piece of poetry, spoken (and occasionally partly sung) by its writer, and all the breadth of Bridie's lyrical interests is there. I really recommend the whole album, even if you're leery of spoken word and music (he says, having just released such an album recently, maybe check it out?) All contributors have risen to the challenge with deeply engaging and moving vignettes. Essential is the work from Kurdish refugee, artist and musician Farhad Bandesh, freed as part of Medevac but still fighting for resettlement (ten years on from fleeing Iran). The mixture of his spoken word and electrifying singing with Bridie's postpunkish backing is a highlight. And celebrated Melbourne author Edwina Preston presents a sly slice of family life on her piece.
As a longtime Not Drowning, Waving fan I couldn't resist a brilliant, bizarre piece of spoken word from Melbourne indie music & film identity Robby Douglas Turner - too abstract to be storytelling as such, but something that has resided in my head since my school days (if not quite 1987, when it was first released).

Shoeb Ahmad - double checks against the corner (b) [Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
In about 2017 Canberran musician Shoeb Ahmad refocused on her solo career with a collection of deeply personal songs about identity, along gender, racial and religious lines, which became the revelatory album "quiver" in 2018. In 2020 a second suite of songs, ruminating on the same themes, including familial relationships and parenting in turbulent times, which came as two albums: A Body Full Of Tears and Facade, the latter containing the song "double checks against the corner". That song's themes are now expanded into a full set (that one is now "(d)" in this collection) further interrogating these domestic concerns. Where the last two albums often obscured the songwriting & storytelling in harsh, transformative production techniques, the "double checks" songs are all about the songwriting and Sia's soft voice - albeit still with glitch, industrial and the outer reaches of postrock as their guide. Sia's work is frequently unexpected and never less than compelling.

Ryan Fennis & Voidhood - OVERTAKE (feat. BAYANG (tha Bushranger)) [Voidhood Bandcamp]
Taken from their forthcoming album Extender, frequent Naarm/Melbourne collaborators Ryan Fennis & Voidhood cement their combination of experimental digital beats and underground hip-hop on new single "Overtake", with a guest spot from the excellent BAYANG (tha Bushranger). Rad song, even better with the music video the pair directed themselves with insane 3D graphics from Endless Prowl.

Stick In The Wheel - Parasite [Chrysalis Records]
London's Stick In The Wheel are known as leaders of the new generation of folk revivalists, but can't help but extend their deep folk knowledge outwards into post-club production: both Ian Carter and Nicola Kearey were involved with dubstep originals Various Production. Therefore it's not too surprising that their entry into the massive Nick Drake tribute The Endless Coloured Ways is... less than faithful. Drake's original is typical enough of his works - acoustic guitar and vocals, blissful chord progressions, lush yet fragile. Stick In The Wheel don't keep much of the original harmonic structure, let alone melody, instead centring Kearey's autotuned vocals in reedy drones and sparse beats, with a heart-pulling chorus setting that's all their own. Controversial in Drake fandom, but few Nick Drake covers can come close to his originals, so why not do something radical?

Mun Sing - Spirit And Legacy And Muckiness (feat. MX World) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Mun Sing - Trebuchet [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Harry Wright's duo with Robin Stewart, Giant Swan, are known for brilliantly raucous live performances melding techno and punk, shirtless and sweaty... Solo, both members tone down the punk aggression, but Harry Wright's debut album as Mun Sing goes even further afield into MIDI-powered quasi-classical works and considerably deconstructed club sounds. Inflatable Gravestone, released on Planet µ, was written in response to the sudden death of Harry Wright's father, and it tempers grief with humour, while not hiding from the uncomfortable facts of their father's troubles with addiction - nor holding back from deep sorrow. Wright is aided on a few tracks by MX World's beautiful singing. Elsewhere, choral samples carry some of the emotional weight, although much can be drawn from the up-and-down movement of the keyboard patterns, and the blurts of shuddering beats that surface at intervals throughout.

The Orielles - Tableau 002 [Heavenly/Bandcamp]
The Orielles - Tableau 004 [Heavenly/Bandcamp]
Originally formed in the northern English town of Halifax, outside of Leeds, The Orielles are now based in that centre of indie-dance history, Manchester. They have evolved from scrappy indie origins into a highly creative band with Stereolab's talent for mixing high experimentalism with highly catchy pop hooks. Their 2022 album Tableau already slips effortlessly between genres, but on new EP The Goyt Method, material from those sessions is exploded and rearranged into avant-garde works - glitchy textures, transformed vocals, skittery IDM beats and more. Interestingly, the specific stems that went into the mixing pot, so to speak, were selected at random as an initial jumping point for deconstruction. Thus the tracks are numbered "Tableaux", named for the album which lacks a title track itself (there's also one lovely improvisation, a sequel to the one found on Tableau). I always love finding this kind of adventurousness and mutability in the indie and pop worlds, especially when done with so much style and talent.

Hajj - Loosing U 4 Ever [YOUTH/Bandcamp]
Hajj - Our Lady Of Darkness [YOUTH/Bandcamp]
Lyon's Florent Hadjinazarian runs the label DAWN RECORDS, purveyors of dark electronics and experimental pop, as well as DJing and directing music videos and other film works. The album No Soul, No God, No Devil, No Existence follows last year's Drag Me Into The Void, the title track of which appears on this album. In typically quirky form from Manchester's YOUTH label, the single was released as a limited CD, and this (short) album is a vinyl record. Each track is exactly 3:33 long, which may be of numerological significance, but in any case makes for concise but not overly short musical statements, inhabiting the hazy, murky space of northen drill, Burial or Andy Stott. Recommended.

Richard Pike - Museum Station [Richard Pike Bandcamp]
Richard Pike - Mercury Parts 1, 2 & 3 [Richard Pike Bandcamp]
DEEP LEARNING - Open Space (Lauren Doss Pagan Remix) [Oxtail Recordings]
DEEP LEARNING - Boy (Hoavi Remix) [Oxtail Recordings]
Sydney's Richard Pike, alum of PVT, is now based in London. He's found a niche in making soundtracks for TV, and interestingly they connect him back to his original home. The latest is Year Of, a spinoff of Stan's successful teen pregnancy drama Bump. The music is certainly vintage Pike - as he told me it's approaching his soundtrack ideal: ambient-techno-hybrid-orchestral. All the elements are there, and to me this collection of cues works nicely as listening music regardless of its origins.
Last year Richard also released the album Evergreen under his ambient alias DEEP LEARNING on Oxtail Recordings, based around subtly rhythmic glitchy loops. Seven of those tracks have now been remixed by artists from Australia and abroad: tonight we heard the lovely shifting layers from English actor/dancer/producer Lauren Doss, and the astounding fractal rhythms of Russian shapeshifter Hoavi.

Praed - Djinn Dance [Akuphone/Bandcamp]
The duo of Switzerland-based Lebanese musicians Paed Conca (clarinet and more) and Raed Yassin (bass and more) formed out of their common backgrounds and also their love of the Egyptian street music (Shaabi, now mutating into Mahraganat) and the traditional Sufi spiritual/trance music Mulid, both in their ways based around hypnotic, repetitive beats. Clearly their two first names made this partnership inevitable, so Praed was born, and the fruits have been many albums of futuristic, ecstatic grooves with synths and electronics, caterwauling mizmar and beautiful clarinet melodies. In between Praed albums they've also formed the PRAED Orchestra with jazz & experimental musicians from Lebanon, Egypt and further afield, but on Kaf Afrit they return to the duo format, albeit with additional reeds, keyboards and percussion. A never-ending riot of movement and melody.

Joe Gould - distrust the outside world [Joe Gould Bandcamp]
The Crooked Fiddle Band's drummer Joe Gould has generated many side-projects along the way, including acerbic (hilarious) protest-punk and creative Crooked Fiddle self-remixes. But Nobody Joins A Cult is the first project to come out under Joe's own name. It's melodic percussion-led postrock, extending music he's written for the award-winning podcast Let's Talk About Sects. This isn't a selection of soundtrack cues or interstitial music though - these are full-blown mini-postrock odysseys, recommended if you miss Sydney's vibraphone-led Prop or the classic Tortoise-style postrock sound.

Methods Body - Baphomet [Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
Luke Wyland of under-appreciated freak folk gems AU released a lovely solo album 3PE as LWW in 2008 and has continued with a few mostly piano-based solo works here and there, but in 2020 formed new duo Methods Body with drummer John Niekrasz, with a brilliant debut album that I unfortunately missed at the time. Their follow-up Plural Not Possessive is out next week with a similar mix of keyboards (often in weird tunings) & percussion plus multiplex electronics. While not watering down any of their avant-garde credentials, the duo's music compels and convinces with its liquid intuitiveness, disarming rhythms and ineffable melodies.

Samuele Strufaldi, Tommaso Rosati, Francesco Gherardi - unfold [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
Samuele Strufaldi, Tommaso Rosati, Francesco Gherardi - hyperclockwise [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
Just last month I mentioned the wonderful album from Samuele Strufaldi & Tommaso Rosati released in 2019 called 1.15K, taking jazz piano into glitchy electronic realms. This flashback was due to Strufaldi releasing his Davorio album in collaboration with the villagers of Gohouo-Zagna on the Ivory Coast. Now comes the singularly-titled t, a very different collaboration in which Strufaldi's piano and Rosati's electronics are joined by tabla player Francesco Gherardi - and also "robots" built by Rosati which spit processed piano and tabla samples back from inside the piano. You can see a few videos here, here and here. The musical is playful and improvisatory, complex but approachable jazz drenched in electronics.

Solo Andata - Silhouette [12k/Bandcamp]
Originally Perth-based, Solo Andata found international interest from the get-go, with their debut album released on eclectic Chicago label Hefty Records. The duo of Kane Ikin & Paul Fiocco quickly found a home on Taylor Deupree's 12k, embodying the label's focus on minimal electronic and electro-acoustic music. Over the years Kane Ikin has expanded into weird techno and unsettling sound-art, but at intervals Solo Andata remind us of their existence. It's been 7 years since the last time, so the gentle acoustic explorations and electronic drones of Slip Casting mark a welcome return.

David Toop & Lawrence English - Whistling In The Dark [Room40/Bandcamp]
David Toop & Lawrence English - The Chair's Story [Room40/Bandcamp]
Both David Toop & Lawrence English are known as deep thinkers and wide influencers within various musical systems. Toop is a beloved music theorist, spanning hip-hop, ambient, field recording, drum'n'bass, improv and more. In the mid-'90s his double-CD compilation Ocean of Sound, an extension of his book of the same name, was an impeccable survey of innovative music of all stripes. Brisbane-based English is a restless curator too, through his long-running, internationally fabled Room40 label, and the various live music series he puts together for Carriageworks, Dark Mofo, Brisbane Powerhouse and more. But Toop & English both make music as well, of course, with many shared interests both theoretical and practical. After 2 decades of connection, The Shell That Speaks The Sea is their first duet work together, exploring something English describes as "affective haunting" in sound - which I interpret as the immaterial evocations that listening can create, not necessarily directly from their sources but rather as indirect emotive presences in organised sound. Maybe that's still clear as mud, but listen to the remarkable works on this album, and you'll be richly rewarded.
One aspect of field recording - a practice I have always had an uneasy relationship with - is that it's deeply personal. The act of listening cannot recreate the field recordist's own experiences, so it requires an act of both faith and creativity from the listener to give meaning to the sounds. Thus the recordings of a Tawny Frogmouth sparked in both musicians a particular milieu that is then recreated through a variety of materials, whether Toop's forlorn whistling and imposing but indistinct voice, flutes from both, or percussion, shortwave radio, guitars and electronics. It's dark and evocative, a true affective haunting.

Listen again — ~204MB

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