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Utility Fog


Your weekly fix of postfolkrocktronica, dronenoise, power ambient, post-everything improv... and more?
Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.
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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Monday, 28th of August, 2023

Playlist 27.08.23 (11:53 pm)

Sometimes it's really hard to work out the right flow for the tracks I have on hand. There's a stackload of great stuff tonight, but it has to flit back and forth between all sorts of genres because that's just how it is. Still, as always a celebration of amazing music!

LISTEN AGAIN and just go with the flow. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Michael Ackroyd - Vice Grip [Michael Ackroyd]
Here's the second single this year from Sydney musician Michael Ackroyd, following a few years after his first released track that I know of. A straightforward end-of-relationship song? Well, perhaps, but the melding of emotive songcraft and crunchy post-dubstep beats makes for something special.

Animal Hospital - Fuselage [Sipsman/Bandcamp]
If you've been listening this year, you'll have heard me play two excellent standalone singles from Animal Hospital, the project of Kevin Micka that released three albums from 2005-2009, including the incredible Memory. Micka's music combines (mostly instrumental) indie rock, postrock, doom and experimental electronics, and each release tends to have one or two mammoth tracks of 15 to 20 minutes that gradually develop into surging noise. After a smattering of singles and other oddities in the intervening years, Animal Hospital returned in 2020 with Fatigue. Now he's back again with an album coming from the Sipsman label, four tracks ranging from <3 minutes to >16 minutes. The first single clocks in at a mere 6 minutes, but it's still got that epic/minimalist postrock vibe. A real pleasure.

jaimie branch - take over the world [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
jaimie branch - world war ((reprise)) [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
The sudden death of Chicago/New York trumpeter jaimie branch last year, aged only 39, resonated around the world. She played with many of the Chicago and New York jazz scene's greats, and from 2017 released a series of inspired, passionate albums (each titled "Fly or Die" in some variation). Her music with her band is clearly jazz, but also draws from her half-Columbian roots, and is infused with a punk energy and DIY ethos throughout. The second album featured the magical "prayer for amerikkka pt. 1 & 2", with the ecstatically shouted refrain, "We got a bunch of wide-eyed racists!" Her posthumous third album in the series (discounting the brilliant double live album) is titled Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war)), a concoction of poetic language use and idiosyncratic punctuation that would make Godspeed You! Black Emperor proud, and indeed her politics is similarly radical, with the ecstatically chanted "We're gonna gonna gonna take over the world, and give it give it back back back back to the la-la-la-land", on a song that starts punkfunkjazz and by the outro features a morass of looped, pitch-bent vocals dub-style while Lester St. Louis scrubs his cello strings and the rhythm section of Jason Ajemian and Chad Taylor keep it steady. This joyous music is a wonderful legacy and tribute to a brilliant musician who left us far too soon.

Pierre Bastien & Michel Banabila - Slow Dance [Pingipung/Bandcamp]
A pairing that's unexpected but makes perfect sense... Pierre Bastien is a musician and maker, whose mechanical constructions form the core of his art - a trumpet-playing automaton, a violin-playing one, various bits of percussion etc. He released a couple of influential albums on Rephlex back in the day, and recently collaborated with Tomaga before Tom Relleen's tragic death from cancer. Michel Banabila is of course the Dutch composer/producer whose music incorporates fourth world tendencies, music from cultures the world over, tape and digital effects and beats. The title track of their album Slow Dance, released by the Hamburg-based label Pingipung, has the characteristic haunted/haunting sounds of Bastien's mechanical instruments, filtered through Banabila's electronics. For someone familiar with both artists' styles, it's immediately an "Oh yeah!" moment where you realise how much is in common between their sensibilities. I'm looking forward to hearing the rest.

Rutger Zuydervelt - Never Return (Kaleiding Outtake) [Objects & Sounds/Bandcamp]
Yves De Mey - Imber [Objects & Sounds/Bandcamp]
One of Michel Banabila's long-term collaborators is fellow Dutch musician Rutger Zuydervelt, aka Machinefabriek. Rutger has an album coming out soon called Kaleiding, a beautiful & varied soundtrack to a performance work by Lily&Janick. The track featured here is an outtake from that set, a piece combining live drums, electronic percussion and other manipulated sound. It's taken from the Ghent-based Objects & Sounds label's third Seasonal Diary compilation, Curious Enchantment. Each of these compilations have featured notable artists in sound-art and ambient music, although this one strays into more percussive works. The previous two are also worth checking out: the first features Australian percussionist Maria Moles, and on the second are Sydney sound-artist Alexandra Spence (with French musician Delphine Dora) and London-based Australian artist Kate Carr. But from the recent third, after Rutger's track we hear from Belgian electronic maestro Yves De Mey, who is as adept with software as modular synths, and contributes a very physical-sounding electronic piece.

J Foerster, N Kramer - Windspiel [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
J Foerster, N Kramer - Seating (Welcome) [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
Joda Foerster and Niklas Kramer both seem to like going by their first initial, but that aside they have a close affinity musically. Their first Habitat album came out from Leaving Records in 2021, created with the principle that each track represents a room in an imaginary building. The follow-up Habitat II is out in mid-September, and continues with this conceit. "Windspiel" sounds like real wind-chimes, dangling in an atrium perhaps, with gentle pulses of electronics and subtly surreal effects on the woodblock percussion. On "Seating (Welcome)", percussive sounds are backmasked through stuttering sampling, but again scamper around gentle electronic drones. This is new age ambient music for a new age.

Dieter Moebius - Aspirin [Curious Music/Bandcamp]
A few years back US art music label Curious Music released a curious compilation album called Moebius Strips. Tim Story, a longtime friend of krautrock veteran Dieter Moebius, invited a bunch of musicians to collaborate with him and by proxy with Moebius (who passed away in 2015), using a large library of samples and loops from Moebius' archives. It turns out that Story had also been gifted with an album's worth of material from Moebius, and as Aspirin it's now going to be released by Curious Music. Moebius is known for krautrock bands Kluster/Cluster and Harmonia. His sense of humour shines on the title track, a wonky looped groove of gently abrasive sounds.

hosting - fear is the master [hosting Bandcamp]
The mysterious hosting moved to lutruwita / Tasmania after years in Brisbane "playing in bands and cutting records". They've recently uploaded a select few tracks on Bandcamp, making a kind of collaged industrial-flavoured drum'n'bass, as heard here on "fear is the master".

DJ Manny - Let It Break [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
I featured the brilliant title track of DJ Manny's Control EP recently. Now the whole EP's out (and Planet µ say there's an album on the way too), extending Manny's sound from the expected footwork into jungle and r'n'b influences. It works incredibly well.

Basic Rhythm - A Midsummer Night's Dream [Musique Nocturne]
Now we're into real drum'n'bass. Anthoney J Hart has tended to prefer mutating drum'n'bass & jungle into new hybrid forms, whether as Basic Rhythm or Imaginary Forces (and East Man is his take on grime). But on his new EP A Midsummer Night's Dream, released on his new label Musique Nocturne, he turns in two bangers with complex, hard-hitting drum'n'bass breaks and classical samples.

Granul - Maqa [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Henry Greenleaf - Bubble Trouble [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Fiesta Soundsystem - residuae.Is [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Czech label YUKU is celebrating their third year with the 3 Year Birthdizzle Compadoodle (Pay What You Want) on Bandcamp. The 50 tracks here more than adequately make the case for YUKU as a trailblazing label for experimental electronic music, with jungle, dubstep, breakbeat and other bass musics sent through the blender in myriad ways. Turkey's Granul is represented by a couple of tracks, here with an Arabic vocal sample looped rhythmically along with ever-changing breakbeats. London's Henry Greenleaf brings syncopated percussive techno, hefty sub bass and jazz synths in the breakdown. Finally, the amazing Fiesta Soundsystem scatters breakcore across an ominous electronic landscape.

Mad Zach - Venice Evil [never not now/Bandcamp]
To another label compilation now, from the artist-run Berlin label never not now. On the shared nnn009, released later this week, Mad Zach mixes Gregorian chants with jittery techno that has undercurrents of jungle that never quite surface.

Barker - Birmingham Screwdriver [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
After some select releases on Berghain's in-house label Ostgut Ton, Sam Barker's latest EP comes from the gregarious Norwegian label Smalltown Supersound. Unlike the recent kick-less techno for Ostgut, all four tracks here have a rhythmic drive from the kick drum, although Barker is never one to stick to convention. So scribbly acid synth lines are accompanied by sputtering kick drums a la footwork, and even when the synths are gentle pads or jazz stabs, the beats mutate and syncopate in unpredictable patterns. Lovely stuff.

Atiqullah Amiri & Nicolas Laureau - CHEVAL NOIR II [Prohibited Records/Bandcamp]
French label Prohibited Records, named for the postpunk band Prohibition. Nicolas Laureau, also known as Don Niño, is one member of that group, a multi-instrumentalist and producer in various different genres. Here he's providing the backing for a suite of aching songs from the Paris-based Afghan refugee and singer Atiqullah Amiri. The classic Afghan songs are accompanied by synth drones, rumbling bass, and on "Cheval Noir II", scurrying kick drums.

Jim Ghedi x Stick In The Wheel - What Will Become of England (Stick In The Wheel remix) [Stick In The Wheel Bandcamp]
Found by Jim Ghedi in the Alan Lomax archives, "What Will Become of England" is an evergreen song by Harry Cox. Ghedi's setting of the song is gorgeous updated English folk, but only Stick In The Wheel could update this into the post-dubstep age while retaining the arcane English folk roots of the song.

Truth - Galapagos [DEEP MEDi/Bandcamp]
New Zealand duo Truth, now based in Los Angeles, have been front-runners in dubstep for nearly a decade and a half. Back on the great DEEP MEDi label with new EP Temple of Eyes, the duo bring a cinematic scope to their bass & beats, without losing any of the low-slung impetus of the dubstep genre. Perfect for the heads and the feet.

The Bug - Drop(Machine Sex) [Pressure]
The third in The Bug's bass-destroying tools, Machine III is out now, custom-made to test the limits of his Pressure rig wherever he can take it with him. The basslines and crunching beats are unmistakably Bug-like, and for all their ferocity, these tracks evoke desolate cityscapes as much as crowded dancefloors.

Listen again — ~209MB


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Monday, 21st of August, 2023

Playlist 20.08.23 (10:06 pm)

In putting together tonight's playlist I was pulled from two directions - bass-heavy beats and micro ambient. In between we find the synthesis of noise and bass, indie rock and beats, and more.

LISTEN AGAIN when you have the time. Make the time. Streaming on-demand @ FBi, podcast here

Sheila Chandra - Ever So Lonely/Eyes/Ocean (Stephen Hague Remix) [Real World Records/Bandcamp]
In 1982, when British-Indian singer Sheila Chandra was just 16, her band Monsoon released the song "Ever So Lonely", a big pop tune with a beautiful vocal melody, and tablas and sitar in the breakdown. This was the first song in the British pop charts with a South Asian singer, and even recognisable Indian musical elements. About 10 years later, Sheila Chandra released the first of three albums for solo voice, through Peter Gabriel's Real World Records, and "Ever So Lonely/Eyes/Ocean" was the stunning centrepiece. Even before this, the song had been remixed and incorporated into other works, and once again there were new remixes commissioned. I'm pretty sure the remix by fabled synth-pop producer Stephen Hague was the one I heard played around the early '90s, so it's great to have that available digitally again on a new compilation, Out In The Real World, put together to accompany Real World's reissues of Chandra's three solo albums. Tragically, since 2009 Chandra has suffered from "burning mouth syndrome", and is unable to speak - let alone sing - without excruciating pain. Incidentally, another 10 years later, DJ Dave Lee aka Joey Negro (a name he no longer uses) released "So Lonely" under his Jakatta moniker, again using Sheila Chandra's own vocals. But honestly the best version's the gorgeous solo voice version (or the remix I played tonight).

Frankie B - Pressure Me [Ital Stuff/Death Is Not The End]
Here's a truly delightful digidub/digi-dancehall track from 1986, reprinted by Death Is Not The End. Franklyn Bernard aka Frankie B recorded "Pressure Me" on a riddim produced by Ital Stuff aka Sweet & Bitter. Apparently the riddim was originally recorded for Dixie Peach, but "Pure Worries" doesn't sound the same to me. In any case, Frankie B's vocal flows beautifully over the chords, with the occasional shift to chord 4 and back again. True earworm.

DJ Pitch - Motorboat [All Centre]
blu-e - essdee9 [All Centre]
Dancehall's influence is strong on both sides of this new split EP on London's excellent All Centre label. The label's founder DJ Pitch gives two percussive bass tracks, and on the flip is newcomer blu-e, with two slow/fast tracks with syncopated beats and awesome flittering jungle-like rhythms that appear in the second half.

fiyahdred - Overtime [Club Djembe/Bandcamp]
Following an EP on Hyperdub in 2021 and a single last year, London native fiyahdred (previously known as Bamz) returns with two tracks of rejuvenated UK funky on Club Djembe. At root this may be funky house, but UK bass music runs through its veins, including the thread of dancehall.

Wraz. x PAV4N x ILLAMAN - Yung Ghost [4NC¥/Bandcamp]
Quebecois dubstepper Wraz. is joined by two UK rappers for "Yung Ghost": Foreign Beggars frontman PAV4N and the versatile ILLAMAN. It's hard-hitting dubstep with thick bass and amen breaks clattering away in the background, merging dubstep, jungle and grime in one song. There's also an instrumental dub.

Gantz - Lolita Tiger Punch [Gantz Bandcamp]
Gantz - Adage (MFDOOM) [Gantz Bandcamp]
Turkish dubstep original Gantz continues confounding with his battered, broken beats and underwater production, coming shortly after his last Bandcamp release. A kind of Autechre take on dubstep & trip-hop, and the off-kilter beats on "Adage" seem perfectly tuned to the MFDOOM vocal.

Mukqs - Dream Doping [Hausu Mountain/Bandcamp]
Max Allison aka Mukqs is co-founder of the iconoclastic experimental label Hausu Mountain, and part of Good Willsmith along with Hausu Mountain's other founder Doug Kaplan. The Mukqs name is an obvious Aphex Twin reference, and the IDM influence comes out large on this second single from his forthcoming album Stonewasher. It's a typical mixture of everything but the kitchen sink, somehow hanging together by the skin of its teeth.

Bella Báguena - La Calle [SHAPE+ Platform/The Wire]
Zbigniew Chojnacki, Ritvars Garoza - Humdrum Tale [SHAPE+ Platform/The Wire]
UK experimental music institution The Wire has long complemented its articles, interviews & reviews with attached sampler CDs and download compilations. They're often compiled by other organisations - labels, festivals, etc - and SHAPE+ Platform has made contributions almost every year since 2015. Their latest covers 2022 and 2023. SHAPE+ is not exactly a festival, label or online magazine: it's a "platform" for "Sound, Heterogenous Art and Performance in Europe", incorporating commissioned works, events and writing, and probably more. There are always interesting contributors, both familiar and unknown. From Spain, Bella Báguena is a trans non-binary woman working in music and other disciplines, producing songs abstracted from r'n'b and pop with hard digital ruptures. And Polish accordionist Zbigniew Chojnacki and Latvian pianist Ritvars Garoza contribute a slab of noise that may not contain either of their main instruments.

Actress - Push Power ( a 1 ) [Ninja Tune/Bandcamp]
A standalone single from Actress comes just a week ahead of his performances in Melbourne and Sydney. It's a thumping piece of bass-led house with chopped vocal samples and a lovely outro of piano and synths, boding well for whatever is next in store.

Nats - Breather Switch [Perish Editions/Bandcamp]
Canadian sound-artist Damian Valles has been familiar to me for years with his instrumental and drone works, but this year has started releasing odd percussive beat-based material under the name Nats. "Breather Switch" is the second one, somewhere between techno and IDM. Would be happy to hear more of this.

Interpol - Greenwich (Daniel Avery Interpolation) [Matador Records]
Interpol - Toni (Jesu Interpolation) [Matador Records/Bandcamp]
I've never really followed Interpol, so it came as a bit of a surprise to hear they they've commissioned these very interesting remixes of their last album, featuring the likes of Makaya McCraven and Jeff Parker, both jazz crossover artists - and also these two. Daniel Avery starts with thumping 4/4 techno, somehow working well with the song's indie rock origins, and then dramatically switches into a half-time bass thing, heavy and syncopated. On the other hand, Justin K Broadrick handily converts his designated Interpol track into what's effectively a really great Jesu song. A lot of people don't like remixes for some reason, but approaches like this are why I've always loved a good remix collection.

Starving Weirdos - Barulho Do Samba [Discrepant/Bandcamp]
Starving Weirdos - Haiku Nagasaki [Discrepant/Bandcamp]
Brian Pyle aka Ensemble Economique and Merrick McKinlay have made uncategorisable weirdo music for almost 2 decades, but it's been over a decade since their last, 2012's Land Lines. It's very hard to pin down what they do, which makes it archetypal Utility Fog music - anything from drone to psych rock, folk, postrock... To me, it feels like "noise" in the very broad sense that includes Burning Star Core and Wolf Eyes and so on. This album surprises from the get go with percussive electronic bass drops triggering delay tails, slowly being subsumed under churning drones. There are layers of sound densely packed with sounds and styles that probably shouldn't go together, but somehow work. Coming in without expectations, I was pretty floored - especially the sonic elements that seem to come from that deconstructed club/bass music.

hackedepicciotto - Anthem [Mute/Bandcamp]
American-born musician Danielle de Picciotto and her husband Alexander Hacke have worked together for a long time under the combined moniker hackedepicciotto. Hacke is a longtime member of industrial music pioneers Einstürzende Neubauten, and contributes doomy guitar riffs and no doubt plenty of sounds; De Picciotto is a violinist and also electronic musician; both sing. What this amounts to is that hackedepicciotto can be anything, from weird folk to electronica. Their new album Keepsakes is their second for Mute, offering doomy post-industrial rock and skittery beats, vocal melodies and spoken word. It's strangely hard to fit in to my playlist flow - very much sui generis - but the stylistic malleability of Starving Weirdos seemed like a nice juxtaposition.

Kane Ikin - Pulsari [Micro Ambient Music/Bandcamp]
Yui Onodera - Untitled #1 [Micro Ambient Music/Bandcamp]
Tujiko Noriko - I’ll Name It Tomorrow [Micro Ambient Music/Bandcamp]
Micro Ambient Music is a collection of 39 tracks in 5 "discs" (although online only) made up of exclusive tracks from a rich selection of artists in tribute to, and in memory of, Ryuichi Sakamoto. Put together by Tomoyoshi Date, a sound artist and medical physician, the compilation features many illustrious Japanese artists, and plenty of big figures in ambient & sound-art like Lawrence English, Taylor Deupree, Stephen Vitiello, Otomo Yoshihide, David Toop, Marihiko Hara, Christopher Willits and many more. As well as wafting drones and field recordings, there are sparse piano pieces, abstract grainy noises and more. Naarm/Melbourne-based Kane Ikin is one who does bring in some rhythmic elements, while still keeping things on the gentle side. Yui Onodera's untitled piece is a beautiful example of long tones with field recordings - here slow footsteps on something like gravel. And Tujiko Noriko sent in a beautiful piece using abstract synths, orchestral sounds and her voice somewhere in there too. This whole compilation is only up for a couple more months, so check it out now.

IKSRE & anthéne - Remission [Polar Seas]
IKSRE & anthéne - Solstice [Polar Seas]
Here's a collaboration between Naarm/Melbourne's IKSRE and Toronto's anthéne, recorded cross-continentally during times of change for both artists. Phoebe Dubar aka IKSRE is a multi-instrumentalist and practitioner of sound-healing, and Bradley Deschamps aka anthéne is curator of the Polar Seas, on which their album Seasons Shifting is released. The two artists' styles mesh perfectly together, with Dubar's melodic vocals enhancing Deschamps' electronics & guitar drones. Across hemispheres, the artists found the seasons shifting in polar opposites, along with shifts in their lives. At times there is greater movement, as in the melodic "Remission", which celebrates a reprieve for Dubar's mother from cancer.

Mike Nigro - Argyle Place Park [Oxtail Recordings]
Formerly based in Newark and Brooklyn, Mike Nigro has been running his Oxtail Recordings from Eora/Sydney over the last few years, releasing excellent ambient & experimental music from here and across the world. His latest Oxtail release, Argyle Place Park, is also his first solo release in a while, based on field recordings from a tiny strip of grass near Observatory Hill, above the Rocks. These environmental recordings (the chirping of cicadas, traffic passing and pedestrians walking), is accompanied by simple synth chords and a glitching piano melody.

Listen again — ~202MB


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Monday, 14th of August, 2023

Playlist 13.08.23 (11:24 pm)

Some of the most dancefloor-oriented sounds and some of the most ambient sounds on Utility Fog tonight, as well as nods to jazz, indie rock, shoegaze, and post-classical.

LISTEN AGAIN to this week's trip - stream on demand on FBi's website or podcast here.

Mark Van Hoen - You & I [Mark Van Hoen Bandcamp]
Mark Van Hoen - Clear Night Skies [Mark Van Hoen Bandcamp]
Experimental electronic/shoegaze legend Mark Van Hoen has run a subscription on his Bandcamp since 2019, with a regular output of albums that are also available individually. Creating electronic music since the early '80s as something of a child prodigy, he was an early member of Seefeel and also formed the excellent trip-hop/idm band Scala with members of Seefeel, but at the same was releasing Aphex-adjacent experimental techno and ambient as Locust, including the immortal, prescient noise & glitch trip-hop of Truth Is Born Of Arguments. Following this, through the '90s and into the '00s he released a number of trip-hoppish albums as Locust and under his own name, and it's that output that is recalled on this new digital album Fight Or Flight, with (presumably sampled) female vocals, and even a drum'n'bass-like track there. There seems to be a vinyl album coming later this year - I'll be on the lookout!

Sully & Tim Reaper - Windswept (Sully Fader Mix) [Future Retro]
Back in 2021, Tim Reaper released Meeting Of The Minds Vol. 7, part of a series of EPs with his collaborations with other jungle producers. No question, Sully is one of the greatest of the new crop of junglists, and their collaborative track "Windswept" was a half-finished Sully production completed by Tim Reaper. Here we have the final Sully version, and it's a banger.

Phase - Notice [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
Belgium's Phase has had releases on Metalheadz since 2016, including a 4-track EP this January. He's now back with two pulsating, jittering tracks with fizzing beats. On "Notice" they're punctuated by crazy horn(?) stabs, while "Mass" sports a parping, shuddering bassline moving underneath.

MJ Noble - Time Keeps Moving [Doom Trip Records/Bandcamp]
Here's another example of jungle seeping into unexpected nooks and crannies. Not to say that MJ Noble is hidden-away out-of-sight. Her songs mix pop with a certain punkish, industrial aggresion, and jungle breaks. She's a cosplayer and a gamer and a fairy, and she writes, produces and sings, plays flute. Rad. From the great Doom Trip Records, from whom my I also recommend Heejin Jang?

Yaporigami - 4/4 Fractal.1 [The Collection Artaud/Bandcamp]
Yu Miyashita is a composer and sound-artist based in Berlin, who has made experimental electronica for years as Yaporigami as well as under his own name. His label The Collection Artaud releases highly limited 12"s of his complex IDM/glitch, as well as select other artists. It's immaculate stuff, usually with careening programmed drill'n'bass beats, always worth checking out.

Aloka - Granulate [Typeless]
From Wales, Aloka brings us a much more minimalist version of drum'n'bass, but still with skittering beats and lurking sub bass. These tracks swirl and change as they progress, with 4/4 kicks appearing and then subsiding again. Futuristic stuff.

Laxenanchaos - Reincarnate Soda [Virgin Babylon Records]
Anonymous Japanese breakcore/IDM trickster Laxenanchaos emerged in 2015 with I'm Laxenanchaos on his ☯ anybody universe ☯ label, and has continued with melodic, chaotic productions at irregular intervals (except for his traditional Christmas releases) ever since. The three tracks of Singing Breakbeats Timeless Travel With You, however, find him back on Virgin Babylon Records, the label run by World's End Girlfriend, godfather of so much Japanese idm-glitch-folk-classical-tronica. Anyway, three tunes just like you'd expect, which suits me fine.

DJ Manny - Control [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Manuel Gaines aka DJ Manny has been immersed in Chicago's footwork scene since his childhood - first as a dancer, then music-maker. He's always brought out the soulful elements in the sound, and the first track from his upcoming EP Control uses vocal clips in a less clipped style than usual, with a kind of half-time footwork groove that leaves plenty of space for syncopation. Lovely.

Scuba - Mr Anderson (Digital Underground) [Hotflush/Bandcamp]
In April, Hotflush Recordings boss and dubstep don Paul Rose aka Scuba released a 12" called Hardcore Heaven for Record Store Day. For the non-vinyl-lovers among us (or those just not lucky enough to score a copy before they sold out), he's put out a selection of the tracks in "Digital Underground" versions. These are apparently different from the vinyl versions, but they live up to the EP's name, with bouncing breakbeats and synth stabs and bass weight. The last of the digital versions is "Mr Anderson". I can't find any Matrix samples in it, but it's got that '90s future vibe to it for sure.

KIDIZDEY - Dub Taton [raghoul/Bandcamp]
KIDIZDEY - Nothing To Love Anymore [raghoul/Bandcamp]
Moroccan indie-pop producer Saad El Baraka surprises fans in his homeland with an album of electronic beats in his new project KIDIZDEY. Following their incredible compilation Crocodile Tears in a Reptilian World earlier this year, the fledgling Moroccan label raghoul (we're told it means "bass" in Amazigh) now releases a single-artist album. KIDIZDEY packs plenty of variety in, with off-kilter beats of heavy bass varieties (you can hear the Dilla influence), sampling Arabic vocals and traditional regional instruments. Apparently there's plenty more to look forward to, but check Lketma out now.

Gantz - Kintsugi ft Pleasuremodel [Gantz Bandcamp]
Across the Mediterranean to Turkey, we join Gantz, whose dubstep roots are just about audible in the very fucked-up beats and sounds he's emitting these days. The mysterious Pleasuremodel contributes vocals to this, one of the more approachable tracks on his new self-released album.

Natural Wonder Beauty Concept - Natural Wonder Beauty Concept [Mexican Summer/Bandcamp]
Natural Wonder Beauty Concept - The Veil I [Mexican Summer/Bandcamp]
Ana Roxane & DJ Python have teamed up to Natural Wonder Beauty Concept, somehow a synthesis of both of their sounds (soft ambient and reggaeton/house/etc) yet really nothing like either. This is IDM, pure & simple - there are some vocals, and there's a variety of styles, but whether it's the drill'n'bass of the title track, the gorgeous spookiness of "The Veil I" or references to the likes of Boards of Canada and Plaid, it's just beautifully done classic IDM. Kudos to Mexican Summer for putting it out, and yeah for some reason even though I had pre-ordered this, the release email got lost and I only downloaded it last week! Better late than never!

Jet Jaguar - Crossing [sound as language/Bandcamp]
Jet Jaguar - Grading Honey [sound as language/Bandcamp]
New Zealand musician Michael Upton came out of the late-'90s IDM scene - I met him on the Hyperreal IDM-list in ancient of times - but he's also maintained a strong interest in manipulated field recordings (see the Montano project). On Epiphytes, the first of at least 2 albums he has coming out this year under his longtime alias Jet Jaguar, field recordings are just one element of audio that he's transplanting from other projects as a way of driving creativity. These are wonderfully melodic pieces, even if the incessant beeps of the pedestrian crossing make it a little hard to settle back (but Upton does manage to make it into something pretty).

James Heather - Hidden Angel (Hackney Road Studio Session) feat. Roger Robinson, Penelope Trappes & Specimens [Ahead Of Our Time/Bandcamp]
This gorgeous Philip Glass-esque track was originally an instrumental track on James Heather's Invisible Forces album last year. This "Hackney Road Studio Session" takes the track into new territories: the chord sequence is subtly tweaked into exquisite yearning, and the poet Roger Robinson (of King Midas Sound, with The Bug) adds spoken word that addresses a horrific accident in which a driver hit Heather on his bike, sending him into a coma. It's full of forgiveness, albeit also a certain longing, and for this session it's further lifted with the contributions from Penelope Trappes and Specimens. Quite a beautiful surprise.

Flaer - Hew [Odda Recordings/Bandcamp]
Flaer - Magnolia [Odda Recordings/Bandcamp]
Sticking in quasi-classical mode for a few moments more, the full mini-album Preludes English multi-instrumentalist Raelf Heygate aka Flaer (it's his name backwards) has now been released on Odda Recordings, the new imprint from Thea Hudson-Davies of The Leaf Label. This is beautiful understated stuff, making full use of Heygate's skills on strings, acoustic guitar and piano, and with unorthodox recording & editing techniques on analogue equipment. I really do recommend this.

Broken Chip - Forge [Flaming Pines/Bandcamp]
Broken Chip - Morning Star [Broken Chip Bandcamp]
Blue Mountains musician Martyn Palmer first started his textural, ambient project Broken Chip around 2009, but in the last few years he's increased the pace of his releases - so here are two EPs released closely together. On Flaming Pines, Bells takes samples only from a little toy xylophone, and stretches, pitch-shifts and degrades them into quietly psychedelic dusklight. Meanwhile on his own Bandcamp comes A Lullaby While Darkness Creeps, which does indeed convey the contradiction of peaceful lullabies with the disquiet of encroaching darkness.

Lawrence English & Lea Bertucci - Geology Of Fire [American Dreams/Bandcamp]
Finally out this week on American Dreams is the quite incredible collaboration between sound-artist/composers Lawrence English & Lea Bertucci. Chthonic is the sound of tectonic plates moving against each other, of mountains slowly rising. Across these 5 tracks, Bertucci's many instruments (cello, viola, flute, lap steel guitar) blend with field recordings and electronics from English, sumptuously mixed in cavernous ultra-widescreen. This is very different from the tape manipulations and acoustic instruments of Bertucci's two duo releases last year. Differently brilliant.

Microfiche - Improvisation / Barbara (feat. Bonniesongs) [Microfiche Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney sextet Microfiche have quietly built up a reputation for creative jazz that combines improvisation and composition and live electronics. Last year they hosted a month-long residency at 107 in Redfern, inviting four very different guests over four dates. Sia/Shoeb Ahmad was one, as were adventurous jazz greats Chris Abrahams and Phil Slater, and the fourth was Bonnie Stewart, a talented improvisor on drum kit, guitar and more, but also a brilliant singer-songwriter as Bonniesongs. Here Microfiche and Stewart rework a charming(?) song from Bonniesongs' album Energetic Mind, embracing poor Barbara from Night of the Living Dead. Following an improvised drone intro, the song blooms with Microfiche's varied instrumentation, and falls into chaotic looped live samples glitching into the fade-out.

Loose Fit - Exhale - Shoeb Ahmad Remix [Loose Fit Bandcamp]
Loose Fit - Cool Change - Hugh B Dub [Loose Fit Bandcamp]
We didn't get to hear Sia Ahmad's contributions with Microfiche, but here she is remixing Eora/Sydney post-punks Loose Fit. The Shoeb Ahmad remix leaves plenty of space, but simultaneously brings in almost-industrial elements and dub effects. And Hugh B, curator of the Outer Time Inner Space label and Mad Racket affiliate, contributes three whacked out live dubs.

Listen again — ~207MB


Comments Off on Playlist 13.08.23

Tuesday, 8th of August, 2023

Playlist 06.08.23 (11:59 pm)

Huge thanks to Mara Schwerdtfeger for her excellent selections last week while I was on tour in QLD.
This week we're featuring a number of singles from forthcoming albums I'm excited about, as well as various new releases from artist ranging from here in Eora/Sydney to Canada, USA, Iran, Egypt, China, the Netherlands, and more!

LISTEN AGAIN and be ahead of the game. Podcast here, stream on demand there.

Popular Music - Lifetime Achievement [Sanitarium Sound Services]
Back in the mid 2000s I loved the music of Parenthetical Girls, the experimental pop project led by Zac Pennington, with contributions from the likes of Jherek Bischoff and Xiu Xiu's Jamie Stewart. Pennington disbanded Parenthetical Girls in 2017, but the strange orchestral, electronic, cabaret vibes continue with Popular Music, a collaboration between LA-based Pennington and Melbourne-based musician Prudence Rees-Lee. Jherek Bischoff's there too, along with Deerhoof's Greg Saunier. As often is the case with great pop, there's an aura of "reminiscent of" about it, and everything it's reminiscent of is great, so. I'll be hanging out for Minor Works, coming in October.

alice does computer music - The Sandcastle [JOLT Music/Bandcamp]
alice does computer music - Leaves Growing Away From The Sun [JOLT Music/Bandcamp]
Cello was Rees-Lee's first instrument, and is also the primary instrument of Alice Gorlach, who dubbed herself alice does computer music for her indietronic pop project. Shoegaze 5G is her debut album proper, drawing equally from the scratchy cello-fuelled outsider pop of Arthur Russell and the idm/indietronica of the early oughts. And shoegaze, obviously. There's the kind of cut-up glitchy production and manic beats that this show has cleaved to for almost 2 decades, but it's made special by the blissful songwriting that the instruments and programming are supporting. I'm still a little dubious about the artist name, but that's on me. Highly recommended.

Michael Peter Olsen - So Far So Good [Hand Drawn Dracula/Bandcamp]
Toronto cellist Michael Peter Olsen is the perpetrator of the most disqueting artist photo ever (further developed on the vinyl gatefold of this new album), with credits going back over 2 decades with artists like The Arcade Fire, The Hidden Cameras, Drake and many others. He's also in the trio Soft Thoughts with ex-Melbourne experimental musician Tim Condon (Fresh Snow, Mirrored Silver Sea) and Matt Nish-Lapidus. Unlike many other cellists working with electronics, effects & amps (including myself), Olsen has wholeheartedly adopted the electric cello, a bodiless axe that provides unusual sounds of all sorts alongside electronics and guest appearances from the likes of Owen Pallett. "So Far So Good" is a good start for sure, and we'll be hearing more soon.

Connor D'Netto & Yaz Lancaster - Latency [people places records/Bandcamp]
Latency, the collaborative EP between Meanjin/Brisbane composer Connor D'Netto and NYC-based Black trans-disciplinary artist Yaz Lancaster came about during the height of the pandemic, when Lancaster put out a call for collaborations between people stuck in their homes. "Latency" refers to the inevitable delays involved with working in different time zones. The artists contribute two solo tracks apiece, which stand remarkably well together, but the core is the lovely collaborative title track, dense with synths and electronics and Lancaster's vocals.

Odd Nosdam - End Is Important (IG edit) [Odd Nosdam Bandcamp]
Here's a "slowed-down" version of the A-side of a 7" coming later this month on Where To Now? Records from hazy shoegaze-hip-hop pioneer/master Odd Nosdam. Nice nice nice.

The Gleaming Corridor - Contraption [The Gleaming Corridor Bandcamp]
Cartoonist Ben Sears writes cute adventure comics full of kids with jobs and robots and ghosts, but he also makes electronic music as The Gleaming Corridor, and "Contraption" is a very enjoyable mix of drum machines and synths in motorik style.

Carl Stone - Kustaa (2022) [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
Carl Stone - Flint's (1999) [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
Seeing Carl Stone performing at Dark Mofo in June was one of my highlights of the year. He's a true character, and a true pioneer still pushing his very idiosyncratic art forward after half a century - as you can see from his THIRD archival vinyl release on Unseen Worlds, which is titled Electronic Music from 1972-2022. The earliest works here precede the digital technologies that he adopted in the 1980s, as a pioneer of using home computers to perform electronic music live. For a long time, he's created music by granularly chopping up other people's music, and rebuilding it in real-time. Some sources are obvious (Queen's "Bicycle Race" features on one track on this collection), and many are effectively unrecoverable. If vinyl's your thing, these three compilations are a more than generous introduction to his work. Many of the original CD releases aren't too hard to come by too. For a long time, Stone has named all his tracks after restaurants in LA, hence Kustaa, and Flint's.

Saint Abdullah & Eomac - Frequently Fugitive [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Coming immediately after their EP A Vow Not To Read, NYC-based Iranian brothers Saint Abdullah and Berlin-based Irish producer Eomac have announced their second album Chasing Stateless, released, like the EP, on Planet µ. The first single "Frequently Fugitive" reconfirms what a perfect collaboration this is, with Saint Abullah's signature Middle Eastern samples/field recordings embedded in the kind of electronic textures & beats that both artists have explored in one way or other in the past.

El Kontessa الكونتيسة - Moka3bat مكعبات [Bilna'es بالناقص/Bandcamp]
El Kontessa الكونتيسة - Asanser أسانسير [Bilna'es بالناقص/Bandcamp]
The Ramallah, Palestine label Bilna'es بالناقص, co-run by Muqata'a, Basel Abbas and Ruanne Abou-Rahme and others, released a couple of brilliant underground hip-hop albums from Palestinian artists in its first couple of years, and now branches out to Egypt with Nos Habet Caramel from Cairo producer Fajr Soliman aka El Kontessa الكونتيسة. Like Abadir, 3Phaz, Molotof and others, El Kontessa's beats are a reconfiguring of the Egyptian urban music known as mahraganat, or electro-shaabi. Her tracks are densely packed with sampled Arabic percussion and melodies, found sounds and lots of sub bass and programmed beats. Tempos vary wildly, straying into jungle later on. A dizzying ride.

Gooooose - Turn a Roach to a Cleaning Bot [SVBKVLT]
Back on local label SVBKVLT (local to him, that is), Shanghai's Gooooose treats us to a cacophany of samples and manic beats. Here we have a heady combination of computer-game melodies, piano and almost-breakcore that rides out on a wave of distorted done.

AZADI.mp3 - Empty Platform [Apranik Records]
Abji_Hypersun - Resist The God Trick [Apranik Records]
Now we're back in the Middle East with Apranik Records' second compilation dedicated to female Iranian artists, whether based in Iran or in the Persian diaspora. On Intended Consequence we find familiar names like Vienna-based Rojin Sharafi and the recently-featured Ava Rasti along with other talented producers. British-Iranian artist AZADI.mp3 starts off the proceedings with field recordings blending into her beats and vocals - ending with rhythmically arranged samples of protesters. Denmark-based Abji_Hypersun also loops sampled vocals along with Arabic percussion, but it's soon subsumed in breakcore madness. Rad!

Baby T - Ultrafunkiller [Banshee]
London-based Canadian DJ Brianna Price is best known as B.Traits, as a DJ, promoter and radio presenter, but has flipped the name to Baby T for her own jungle & drum'n'bass productions. The first release on her Banshee label is four cuts of hard-hitting drum'n'bass to make your subs shudder.

nickname - Chicago Bull [Meld Records/Bandcamp]
Closer to home, Naarm/Melbourne's nickname has a new EP on London-based Meld Records breakbeats and bass at various tempos, melding jungle, techno and other bass forms with aplomb.

Aho Ssan - Till The Sun Down (feat. clipping. & Resina) [Other People/Bandcamp]
Nicolas Jaar's Other People, who released the first Saint Abdullah & Eomac album last year, now take on Paris-based Aho Ssan for an album of collaborations. The West African producer, known to his friends & family as Désiré Niamké, debuted with 2020's Simulacrum on the great Subtext label, imagining a digitally-recreated memory of his bandleader grandfather Mensah Antony. Deleuze and Guatarri's philosophy is as opaque to me now as it was in the 1990s (a combination of the obvious and the needlessly overcomplicated) but it's certainly inspired a lot of engrossing music, of which this is no exception. The list of people joining Niamké on these tracks is eye-watering, with noise-hop superstars clipping. on here as well as Polish contemporary cellist Resina making for a heady mix on the first single.

Bluetung - Desert Glass (Wa?ste's mal du 21éme siécle) [Theory Therapy/Bandcamp]
Bluetung - Perihelion (other joe's infinite promise..) [Theory Therapy/Bandcamp]
Bluetung - Province Céleste [Theory Therapy/Bandcamp]
Last month Eora/Sydney musician Mitch Reynolds aka Bluetung released his Eternity By The Stars on cassette through Theory Therapy. If you bought the experimental guitar processing on cassette, you got a download of the accompanying remix album, but a month later, the rest of us are treated to these varying reworkings too. The remixes feature the likes of Nico Niquo's ambient piano and Wytchings' spectral ambient, but some of the contributors chose to go beat-heavy, in contrast to the lush guitarscapes of the original. Tokyo-based Sydney producer Felix Idle mixes glitchy guitar cut-ups with ambient drum'n'bass programnming under his Wa?ste moniker, and .jpeg Artefacts boss other joe underlines his looped guitar tones with head-nodding hip-hop beats.

mara - Both and Neither [mara Bandcamp]
On the original Bluetung album there are some beautiful string arrangements from last week's guest presenter mara schwerdtfeger, so now's the perfect time to sample her latest release, the concise experimental film soundtrack How To Build A Forest. This is careful, considered sound-art, in which no sound goes astray.

Meitei - Heiwa [Kitchen. Label]
The new single from Japanese ambient/sound-art producer Meitei is a moving memorial to the 1945 atomic bombing of his hometown of Hiroshima. "Heiwa" is released on Sunday the 6th of August to mark the anniversary of the bombing (well, it should have been, although it's not up yet on Singapore label Kitchen.'s Bandcamp). Pensive muted piano and unidentified found sounds corralled into rhythm are joined by the occasional acoustic guitar chord. Music for contemplation.

Eivind Lønning, Espen Reinertsen, Romke Kleefstra & Jan Kleefstra - In Plak Om Krie Te Wêzen [Moving Furniture Records/Bandcamp]
IT DEEL is a project of Dutch brothers Romke Kleefstra & Jan Kleefstra, releasing collaborative works focused on humanity's destruction of nature. Like most of their work, it features Romke's processed guitar and Jan's poetry, read in the northern Dutch language Frisian, now only spoken by less than 500,000 people. The first IT DEEL album saw the brothers working with Polish electronic/post-classical producer Jacaszek, to rather gorgeous results, and IT DEEL II follows with the bewitching tones of Norwegian trumpeter Eivind Lønning and fellow Norwegian Espen Reinertsen's saxophone, with both augmenting their instruments with electronics. Both these instruments are known for their loud, brash sounds, but in these musicians' hands they produce delicate drones and filigree microsounds, evoking the sounds of the forest floor on "In Plak Om Krie Te Wêzen". This is quiet music of great power, even if you're one of the billions of people who don't speak Frisian.

Listen again — ~212MB


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