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Utility Fog

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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!

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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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