a wholly owned subsiduary of
Frogworth Corp
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.
Click here to find the start time for the show at your location!

{Hey! Sign up to Utilityfoglet and get playlists emailed to you after each show!}
Please Like us on Facebook! Here it is: Utility Fog on Facebook

Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 29th of October, 2023

Playlist 29.10.23 (11:00 pm)

The world's gone mad but what's new. Another week, means another Utility Fog to sooth the savage breast.

Charm or curse, LISTEN AGAIN and feel the magick courtesy of FBi's stream on demand, or podcast here.

Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter - I'm Getting Out While I Can [Perpetual Flame Ministries/Bandcamp]
Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter - I Know His Blood Can Make Me Whole [Perpetual Flame Ministries/Bandcamp]
As Lingua Ignota, Kristin Hayter released three electrifying albums - two on Profound Lore, one on Sargent House - that were based around her piano and voice, classical training filtered through noise and metal. Her guest spots with the body, and as part of Sightless Pit with Lee Buford of the the body and Dylan Walker of Full of Hell, were phenomenal as well, bringing deep emotion and musicality. But the suffering that infused the Lingua Ignota projects was drawn from life, and performing her personal trauma through that music became too much of a burden. So SAVED! comes to us from Reverend Kristin Michael Hayter - she really is ordained, although as she told The Quietus, "it is also true that you can become ordained as a minister in about five minutes online". SAVED! is by no means an easy listen, even compared to her previous work, but there's humour as well as redemption strung through these gospel covers and original songs. Recorded with Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets, the all-analogue production suffuses the album in hiss and tape warping, although thankfully the shuddering stops and starts of the first track are toned down later. There are still jarring splices - particularly shocking when Hayter's anguished (or is it ecstatic?) glossolalia interrupts a hymn-like piece. This postmodern treatment aims to evoke the dubbed-and-redubbed tapes of gospel music shared among Christian households when Hayter was growing up. The final summation is an album with real beauty and sincerity that nevertheless undercuts itself fiercly throughout, its protagonist forever marked by trauma, but finally arriving to her salvation.

Daniel Jumpertz - Everything Is Lost [Feral Media/Bandcamp]
The Feral Media label has been around even longer than FBi and Utility Fog's two decades, and main proprietor Danny Jumpertz was a great supporter of this show in its early days (and onwards). The label has been responsible for many key releases in Sydney electronic & indie music over this period, but it slowed down in the last 5 or 6 years due to relocations and family commitments. So it's nice to have a new label sampler, X-RAYCITY-1 released for FREE on Bandcamp to coincide with the Independent Music Exchange event that happened last weekend in Thornbury, VIC. Among some old and new tunes are some forthcoming or otherwise unreleased goodies, and this song from Jumpertz himself is a stirring piece of postpunk electronic pop. I have no further info except that it's great.

F'tang - Morning Mist [Black Wire Records/F'tang Bandcamp]
F'tang - A Medical Joke You Will Learn [Black Wire Records/F'tang Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney group F'tang released their previous EP in 2013, and before that an EP solely the work of Tom Houlahan in 2009. But really the chiming, jangling guitars and drums could be instrumental indie music from the '90s or earlier. With instrumental music like this, it doesn't really seem to matter. Album closer "Morning Mist" is a lovely piece of guitars through delays, sparse drums and melodic bass, but in general even the more rocking songs here make much of minimal ingredients - synths often adding a little sparkle to bass & drum riffs. And with titles like "Trust Me, I'm a Stomach" and "Lucky In Love, Unlucky With Fruit", who needs lyrics?
And by the way, the excellent artwork is by Lizzie Nagy, who makes occasional music as Taxpayer.

Water From Your Eyes - Remember Not My Name (Mandy, Indiana Version) [Matador/Bandcamp]
Earlier this year, Brooklyn duo Water From Your Eyes released their album Everyone's Crushed on Matador Records. Coincidentally a week earlier Manchester's Mandy, Indiana released their incredible album i've seen a way, a different but similar approach to extremeness in pop/rock. So when WFYE inverted their album title to put together the remix album Crushed By Everyone, it clearly made perfect sense to get Mandy, Indiana to tamper with a track. Here we have weird skittery beats, warping synths and vocals only half-audible. Hella good.

Gantz - Spineless (Pleasuremodel VIP) [Gantz Bandcamp]
Gantz - Axxon N VIP [Gantz Bandcamp]
Time for another EP from Turkish post-dubstep beatmulcher Gantz! Pusher Acid VIP is all VIPs versioned from the original Pusher Acid, and includes an appearance from the highly vocoded bass music entity Pleasuremodel. It seems like Gantz has slightly reined in the post-Autechre sonic destruction here - controlled chaos.

Fearful x Mtwn - Careful (feat. Riko Dan) [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Both London musician Fearful and Belgian brothers Mtwn (pronounced "Motown") have released jungle/drum'n'bass/autonomic material in the past, and have spread into all other areas of bass music since. Beyond the Veil is the trio's second release for Czech trailblazers YUKU, and like 2021's Exordium, Beyond the Veil is a full-length album. While the presence of key Roll Deep member Riko Dan indicates grime and dubstep, there's a range of bass styles across the album. It's really nice dark bass-heavy music, worth your time.

19arrascaeta - knafeh [From The River To The Sea Bandcamp]
[kevinindafield] - Chain Reaction [From The River To The Sea Bandcamp]
Bass/IDM producer Outsider put a call out on her Instagram for tracks for a compilation in solidarity with Palestine, when it was already clear that Gaza would suffer massive civilian deaths and even greater injuries from Israel's retaliation for Hamas' murderous attack on October 7th. It's worth noting that "From the River to the Sea" is considered by many Jews to be a call for the destruction of Israel or even genocide, but for context I recommend reading Yousef Munayyer's 2021 article in Jewish Currents for a clear explanation of the phrase's use as a rallying call for Palestinian freedom. In any case, Outsider's compilation will raise funds for Palestine Children's Relief Fund and Medical Aid for Palestinians. I have no info on 19arrascaeta, but they contribute a piece with sparse bass stabs and gentle synths, while transgender Sudanese artist [kevinindafield] goes all-out jungle.

Surusinghe - Boka [AD93/Bandcamp]
Naarm/Melbourne-born Suze Surusinghe has already been known to Australian ears since early last year. Based in London now, her art spreads further with her Brake Fluid EP for the influential AD93 label. Surusinghe makes percussive bass music at various tempos, and the jittery "Boka" fits surprisingly well with drum'n'bass.

Senegalese Baba Sy and Moroccan beatmaker 3xOJ team up courtesy of the Barcelona-based JOKKOO collective, with the hard-hitting grime/bass song SATHIE that spits in the face of corrupt kleptocracies, specifically (but not exclusively) their homelands.

Pole - Stechmück (Version) [Mute/Bandcamp]
One of the original European glitch pioneers, mastering engineer Stefan Betke aka Pole has long been a master of electronically-degraded dub. Last year's Tempus was another exercise in abstraction and minimalism, and has now been given the remix treatment by... Sleaford Mods? Yes, "Stechmück" is sped up to suit Jason Williamson's funny-but-serious raps, while Rrose reshapes the same track into minimal techno, and Nine Inch Nails member and modular synth devotee Alessandro Cortini stretches the title track into an ambient dirge. But Betke himself also versions Stechmück, thickening the bass and emphasising those freaky klaxons.

Yuko Araki - Gravitational Collapse [ROOM40/Bandcamp]
Japanese multi-instrumentalist Yuko Araki is the drummer in psych-rock trio Kuunatic; her earlier solo EPs & albums drew from harsh noise, rock, free jazz and more, culminating in End of Trilogy for ROOM40 in 2021. It seems it wasn't really the end, nor a trilogy, because IV has just appeared, again via ROOM40. This seems like her strongest work yet to me: a kind of industrial post-club music, still with noise references, with a sinister feel that is completed with the introduction of Taichi Nagura's vocals on the last track (check his band Endon for properly scary noise!)

mankeepitdeep - drinking a cha da cup in this temporal world [Odd Gulabi]
Leeds producer mankeepitdeep inaugurates his Odd Gulabi label with an EP that mixes the Panjabi music of his heritage with UK bass music. South Asian music has melded with UK dance music since the '80s, but mankeepitdeep isn't reviving Talvin Singh or Fun-Da-Mental's styles (or even Sarathy Korwar!), but taking his own path through this fusion.

Ellie Wilson - By The Time I Got Back Pt.1 [bigo & twigetti/Bandcamp]
Ellie Wilson - Mindpop [bigo & twigetti/Bandcamp]
When I discovered UK composer & violinist Ellie Wilson was a former member of English folk/electronic band Stick In The Wheel, it immediately made sense. Wilson's Memory Islands has some of the neo-classicism that's the bigo & twigetti label's bread and butter, but mixed in are nods to folk music, dark electronics and occasional beats. In fact, it's impossible to classify this album, starting as it does with a lush folk violin dirge, followed by rhythmic layered pizzicato, and then the first piece I played today, with glitchy, stuttery micro-rhythms and the voice of Wilson's grandfather. There follow driving beats, ambient soundscapes, echoing distorted crunches, and pastoral folk that's joined by pastoral electronica for the finale. It's definitely an album worth setting half an hour aside for.

Felicity Mangan - Time Flys [mappa]
Vic Bang - Whizz [mappa]
Kate Carr - Three calls [mappa]
Jakub Juhás curates the amazing Slovenian label mappa, a showcase for what he calls "liquid cartography" and "sonic wanderings", which often translates as music on the borders. Hence the idea of Synthetic Bird Music, which he pitched to 32 artists from all round the world - and I count four Australian acts (five people, as Banana is the duo of Alexandra Spence and MP Hopkins). There's a wonderful range of interpretations of this theme, from tracks that are electronic evocations of field recordings of birds, to music in which bird calls are incorporated into melodies, accompanied by synths and even beats. A number of the artists are old hands at this: both Berlin-based Australian Felicity Mangan and London-based Aussie Kate Carr work with field recordings as well as electronic adaptations (see Kate's recent False Dawn for a vivid example). Characteristically, Mangan twists her birds (and insects, to my ears) into a semblance of techno, while Carr winds her "Three calls" between facsimile field recordings and gorgeous electronic textures. In between I played Argentinian composer & sound-artist Vic Bang aka Victoria Barca, who works her bird calls into the texture of her piece as quirky melodic snatches around beats & bassline.

Pierre Bastien & Michel Banabila - Stray Carrier Pigeon [Pingipung/Bandcamp]
The pairing of French experimental musical instrument builder Pierre Bastien and Dutch composer & sound-artist Michel Banabila is one that seems inevitable once you discover it. The creaking, woozy "playing" of Bastien's mechanical contraptions - which can sound like strings, trumpets, percussion and who knows what else - and the fourth world-influenced electronic alchemy of Banabila combine on Baba Soirée to evoke a dimly-lit basement club in a steampunk alternate past. This is strange music that delights in its strangeness, and odds-on so will you.

Piiptsjilling - it swalkjen [Cloudchamber Recordings/Bandcamp]
A magickal combination of ambient/dreamgaze artists from Holland, Piiptsjilling combines the beautiful, fragile singing of Mariska Baars aka soccer Committee, the sensitive electronics of Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek and the Kleefstra brothers - poet Jan Kleefstra and guitarist Romke Kleefstra. The Kleefstras' output usually consists of ambient guitar drones accompanying the soft voice of Jan speaking in Frisian, a language only spoken in the north-west of Holland. Add Baars and Zuydervelt and you have slow-roiling bodies of experimental sound, high vocal melodies and spoken words that are somehow evocative despite not understanding them. There's really nothing like this quartet, whose signature sound since 2008 has not greatly changed, and that's just fine - open your ears and be enveloped.

Sun's Signature - Golden Air (CUTS Remix) [Liberator Music/Bandcamp]
Mariska Baar's soaring voice recalls Elizabeth Fraser in the Cocteau Twins, which brings us nicely to our finale. After many years with little output, Fraser formed Sun's Signature with her partner Damon Reece, and they released their self-titled EP last year. The EP has now been re-released with a second disc of six remixes. Fraser voice is as gorgeous as ever, and she even sings in English at least some of the time. "Golden Air" is my favourite track on the album, heard here in a reworking by CUTS, aka musician and filmmaker Anthony Tombling Jr. This version is a slow build, culminating in a rapturous ending, beautifully constructed.

Listen again — ~201MB

Comments Off on Playlist 29.10.23

Monday, 23rd of October, 2023

Playlist 22.10.23 (11:44 pm)

Listen in for pianos used in classical, post-classical, postrock, IDM and breakcore contexts... Arabic vocal samples and raps, breakbeats and programmed beats. Music for music, music for politics, music for poetry, music for life and music for peace.

LISTEN AGAIN to tomorrow's sounds today. Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here.

Fennesz & Taylor Deupree feat Allen Ginsberg - Guru [The Allen Ginsberg Project/Bandcamp]
Philip Glass feat Allen Ginsberg - Have You Seen This Movie? [The Allen Ginsberg Project/Bandcamp]
In 2021, the Estate of Allen Ginsberg put out a 50th Anniversary musical tribute to Allen Ginsberg's The Fall of America, a substantial collection of poems from 1965-1971. The remarkably well-curated compilation featured Ginsberg's own voice on most tracks, mixed into music as wide-ranging as Scanner's soundscapes, Gavin Friday & Howie B's dark trip-hop, Bill Frisell's Americana-jazz and more. Two and a half years later, it's a nice surprise to see the project birth Allen Ginsberg's The Fall of America Volume II, which goes just as deep, with Ai Weiwei teaming up with O Future & Allah Rosenthal for an abstracted robot-voiced version of "Hum Bom!", Saul Williams voicing Ginsberg's words with Thurston Moore's bristling guitars, WHY?'s Yoni Wolf instantly accomodating Ginsberg's words into his West Coast Jewish drawl... and more. From a bumper crop, tonight we heard Fennesz & Taylor Deupree working Ginsberg's electronically-altered voice into sparse angular guitar and electronics, and then the gorgeous finale of Philip Glass reprising his relationship with Ginsberg, with whom he wrote the chamber opera Hydrogen Jukebox in 1990 - but here it's Glass's solo piano treading familiar but welcome broken chords and sweet melodies.

Will Gardner - Blossom [Castles In Space/Bandcamp]
Continuing with the piano, we have the first single, "Blossom", from the debut solo album by UK pianist, composer & producer Will Gardner. I can tell you the whole album, Remains, is a beauty, exploring memory's fragility as Gardner's father experienced the final stages of dementia from Parkinson's disease. The sounds of the family piano combine with strings and synths, and are degraded and recombined in various ways. I'll play more next month!

Hauschka - Nature [City Slang/Bandcamp]
Hauschka - Limitation of Lifetime [City Slang/Bandcamp]
It's been a few years since Volker Bertelmann last released an album proper as Hauschka. In the six years since What If there've been a series of film and TV soundtracks, but it's nice to have his prepared piano, rhythmic delays and string arrangements back with Philanthropy. All the Hauschka elements are present and correct, and it feels a little unfair to point out that there's nothing particularly new here. The techniques may be familiar, but the tunes are new, and there's real warmth and charm to the melodies. Welcome back!

Loraine James - Scepticism with Joy feat. mouse on the keys [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
When I picked up the CD of Loraine James' new album Gentle Confrontation I didn't expect to find an extra track tacked on the end. "Scepticism with Joy" doesn't seem to be on any of the digital services, but it's a lovely collaboration with Japanese post-jazz trio mouse on the keys, with jazzy tumbling drums and nimble piano.

Ruby My Dear - SHA [Blue Sub Records/Bandcamp]
French breakcore producer Ruby My Dear has always liked to mix classical (or classical-ish) arrangements in with his breakcore & acid shenanigans. Sometimes that's involved quoting Chopin, Debussy, Ravel and others, and sometimes they seem like his own compositions. The piano phrase that's looped and pitch-shifted in "SHA" is reminiscent of something, and maybe someone will tell us what. But it's classic Ruby My Dear - prettiness and breakneck breakbeat mayhem, always fun.

Saint Abdullah & Eomac - Lonely Is Our Non-Existent House Yard [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Saint Abdullah & Eomac - Sunday Painter [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Collaborating with Eomac has really allowed NY-based Iranian brothers Saint Abdullah to bring their IDM love to the fore. Weird beats abound on their Chasing Stateless, their second album together, and second Planet µ release following the excellent EP A Vow Not To Read earlier this year. The beats and occasional pretty synth melodies coexist with the middle eastern melodies and rhythms, spoken samples and field recordings that the brothers have always featured in their work, whether underpinned by epic dubby breakbeats, free jazz samples or arcane experimental electronics. Ian McDonnell is also well credentialled in the use of traditional sounds, whether the Arabic/Islamic samples used in the two Bedouin Trax albums, or the Irish bodhrán and other percussion on Reconnect. These collabs are certainly up there with the best releases from these talented artists.

Ourobonic Plague - MEGABARK (ftg. Egregore Jones) (megasingle version) [Ourobonic Plague]
After last year's detour into jungle-inspired rhythms, Australian post-industrial weirdcore artist Ourobonic Plague turns to... OK, I'm not sure what this is. MEGABARK (MEGASINGLE) claims to feature vocals from Egregore Jones, an entity who almost certainly doesn't exist. Their "vocals" can be found in the "a capella" version on this EP, which is 3½ minutes of disquieting time-stretched electronic interference... Anyway, this music was probably created by chittering monstrosities from outside of this plane of existence, so it's pretty good considering.

Locust - Tell Me [Mysteries of the Deep/Bandcmap]
Locust - γ Vel [Mysteries of the Deep/Bandcmap]
Mark van Hoen was a child prodigy, making pioneering electronic music before his teens even - a little earlier than Aphex Twin did the same. He was arguably there at the beginning of shoegaze and IDM, being involved early on with Seefeel, and by the mid '90s he'd started releasing sometimes dreamy, sometimes harsh music under the name Locust. I know I've said it here before, but 1995's Truth Is Born Of Arguments, with its crashing distorted drum loops and chopped female vocal samples, is an album for the ages. I've showcased some of the music he's been industriously releasing on his Bandcamp for a while, which varies from ambient fare to more IDMish, but here is an honest-to-goodness "official" new Locust album, released on vinyl by US ambient/electronic label Mysteries of the Deep - only the fifth Locust album since the project's revival in 2013. The First Cause is vintage Locust, with crunchy beats, shoegazey textures and buried female vocal samples. It's nostalgic fare by an expert at the game.

Carrier - Into the Habit [Carrier Bandcamp]
Earlier this year, I played a couple of tracks from Guy Brewer from his first release under a new alias, Carrier. He's best known for his pared-down techno and fizzling ambient as Shifted, but was also part of the original lineup of drum'n'bass legends Commix. The second Carrier release, Neither Curve Nor Edge, is perhaps even further from Shifted than the first, with sharp, syncopated beats and sparse electronics reminiscent of Raime - you could almost consider it a slowed-down version of minimal drum'n'bass. This is top stuff and I'll be keeping my eye out for the next edition.

Tristan Arp - Afterimaging [SLINK/Bandcamp]
Mexico City-based producer Tristan Arp is an expert at both near-beatless sound design and percussive techno. It's the latter that's found on The Self Elastic, his new EP on NYC's SLINK. Bass-heavy, full of polyrhythmic percussion, it sounds equal parts organic and synthetic, in a way that only Tristan Arp can manage - in other words, beautiful and infectiously rhythmic.

ZULI - Sequel ft. Haykal [ZULI Bandcamp]
Like Toumba last week, Cairo's ZULI has dug deep through his unreleased archives to put together the Komy EP to raise funds for Medical Aid for Palestinians. On the release page he's listed some other charities too. The track "Sequel" is a piece of mutant hip-hop that features Palestinian rapper Haykal.

TOMÉ - Unemployed Friends [angel]
Portgual is a hotbed of incredible forward-thinking music, whether jazz or experimental electronic or generally experimental. The naïve label has been releasing various dancefloor and leftfield sounds for some years, and they've just launched sister label angel to focus on d'n'b and bass music. Their second release is All I Am Is We, an EP from young Portguese artist TOMÉ, with various takes on jungle and breakbeat and IDM. Very tasty.

Lotekno - Motor City Bandung (Efeksamping Decomposition Remix) [Lotekno Bandcamp]
The first release from Australian-Indonesian collective Lotekno is the single Motor City Bandung, co-produced by Eora/Sydney's Sofie Loizou aka Anomie and Naarm/Melbourne's Kieran Ruffles. But the core of the piece is the melodies on the bamboo suling, a traditional Indonesian instrument, performed by Dimas Firmansya. The band take the track further into breakbeaty rave territory with the "Efeksamping Decomposition" remix, which I played tonight.

STACY.O x Марія Степанюк - Дла Неї [Tropopause/Bandcamp]
French-Venezuelan producer STACY.O, on her first EP for the London-based Tropopause label, teams up (for the second time) with Kharkhiv-based Ukrainian poet Марія Степанюк (Maria Stepaniuk). The first track is in Ukrainian - the title means "For her". To the poetry, STACY.O adds slow glitched-up beats and rumbling bass, evocative of the hardship experienced in Ukraine, and the hard work of those like Stepaniuk and her friends who are volunteering to aid their communities. This is dark and moving advanced electronica.

Shuta Hasunuma - unpeople [Official Site]
Japanese composer & producer Shuta Hasunuma had some early releases on Texan label Western Vinyl, but for a while now has only been released in Japan as far as I can see. Whether ambient, post-classical, postrock or glitchy IDM, his music has the unmistakable Japanese quality that many like me gobble up - and unpeople has all that. The title track has a chaotic beginning that dissipates into ambient/post-classical textures and glitches.

Black To Comm - La société des rêves [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
The master of surrealist/illusory collage Marc Richter is back with another Black To Comm album on Thrill Jockey, At Zeenath Parallel Heavens. Sounds that appear to be samples may be his own recordings, and vice versa, creating a kind of interzone where reality and artifice merge - like the strange "hallucinations" generated when machine learning systems are overloaded with their own outputs. Richter's otherworldly, out-of-time works could be compositions from an alternate reality or soundtracks to fantastical movies from a transformed future.

Fairie - Desperate Phonecall [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Happy Axe - The Tiger Dream [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Finally, two new singles from the Provenance Collective. Lucy Li aka Fairie has an album, Nastic Appeal, on the way. Kate Bush is explicitly called out in the description of "Desperate Phonecall", and there's no doubt of her imprint on this song, albeit updated with intricate electronic production. Meanwhile, Emma Kelly aka Happy Axe releases the second single - the title track - from her forthcoming album The Tiger Dream, where once again violin sounds become soft beats under violin arpeggios and vocals - that special melange of folk, classical and electronic pop that Kelly has perfected.

Listen again — ~203MB

Comments Off on Playlist 22.10.23

Sunday, 15th of October, 2023

Playlist 15.10.23 (11:00 pm)

It's been a hell week for many of us. This isn't the place to talk about it really, but let's just acknowledge the pain that so many are feeling, and get on with doing good where we can.

LISTEN AGAIN if you have the mental wherewithall - it's good for your soul. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Mary Ocher - Love Is Not A Place (feat Your Government) [Underground Institute/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based Russian-Jewish musician Mary Ocher incorporates activism into her art, to the extent that her forthcoming album Approaching Singularity: Music for the End of Time comes with a substantial (and great) essay about politics, philosophy and art (if I dare sum it up with such broad strokes). She writes movingly about how she holds two passports - Russian and Israeli - both of which she is ashamed of, as Russia invades Ukraine and Israel pummels Gaza to dust. Of course, nothing's simple, but the simple fact that nothing justifies killing civilians anywhere, much less children, should hardly be controversial. As it happens I'm not playing her latest single, "Zone (A Tale of a Mourning Mother)", which mourns children killed in war, because I love this track so much. "Love Is Not A Place", featuring her old band Your Government, was released earlier in 2023 as a fundraiser for Kyiv charity repair.together, and is a bit of an experimental electronic pop anthem.

Olivia Louvel - We Are One Land [Cat Werk Imprint]
Born in France but long based in Britain, Olivia Louvel has made conceptual art-pop since the mid-'00s, but I feel like her music has erred more on the sound-art side for some time. Her latest project doggerLANDscape, is based around Doggerland, the evocatively-named landmass that once connected Britain to continental Europe before the last Ice Age. It's a powerful concept in the age of Brexit, clearly expressed in the first track to be released, "We Are One Land". There is a video work accompanying this, documenting Louvel's location-specific research and comprising this track and one more. The imagery of coastlines and occasional ghostly human figures is beautifully evocative, but the audio works beautifully by itself too - narrative spoken word, treated vocals, floating drones. I look forward to hearing more.

Jay Glass Dubs - Goodbye Forbidden Hell (feat. Richard Youngs) [Jay Glass Dubs Bandcamp]
Jay Glass Dubs - Wild Terrier (feat. Christina Vantzou) [Jay Glass Dubs Bandcamp]
I usually think of the music of Dimitris Papadatos aka Jay Glass Dubs as dub techno and minimal dub, but that's only a slice of what he does. A great entry-point is his new album You Would Love Me Now, which ventures into trip-hop via the dub roots that always lay in the genre. But Jay Glass Dubs has also always been an avant-garde project, so there are some pretty interesting guests here. Richard Youngs' verse, entering in the last 3rd of "Goodbye Forbidden Hell", is a real beauty, while I'm guessing sound-artist and composer Christina Vantzou is heard speaking in "Wild Terrier", but perhaps she also contributed some of the sounds?

Vanishing Twin - Lotus Eater [Fire Records/Bandcamp]
Vanishing Twin - Afternoon X [Fire Records/Bandcamp]
Dub plays a part in the sound of Vanishing Twin too, alongside krautrock and Broadcast-style sunny experimental pop. The band began as a five-piece, but have whittled themselves down to three for this album, with Brussels-born Cathy Lucas joined by the brilliant drummer/percussionist Valentina Magaletti, and Susumu Mukai aka Zongamin on bass. That said, the bandmembers aren't credited to specific roles, with synths and samples throughout (and both former members also appear as guests). Vanishing Twin's music does that Broadcast/Stereolab thing of sounding vintage while employing contemporary technology - and like both those bands, the songs are lovely and the grooves strong.

Pynuka - Tá N'agua [Translation Loss Records/Bandcamp]
If you didn't know, you'd be unlikely to pick up that Justin K Broadrick is one third of Pynuka. Well, that's not entirely true; once you know, there are distinct Jesu vibes to some of the songs (e.g. "Shampoo"). It's eclectic stuff, as with most of the music Christian McKenna's been involved with for some time. His Translation Loss Records still focuses mostly on metal, but there's also stuff like his hip-hop project C Trip A with Anthony Adams, and now Pynuka, where McKenna and Broadrick join Anda Szilagyi in an eclectic selection of electronic pop. Szilagyi's background is in soul, funk and Brazillian music - she's played trumpet with the likes of Antibalas and Sharon Jones - but Pynuka ends up sounding different from any of its constituent artists, not grindcore or metal or industrial, not jazz or funk, but something nonetheless musically rich and also catchy. Unexpected!

Arthur Clees - Stay [Macro/Bandcamp]
Arthur Clees - I'll Hold You [Macro/Bandcamp]
Stefan Goldmann's take on techno has grown steadily stranger over the years, as well as branching out into dark ambient and other weirdnesses - but with Macro, the label he founded with DJ Finn Johannsen, techno is also only one part of the proceedings. So here we have Luxembourg vibraphonist, drummer, pianist, and vocalist Arthur Clees with a solo album of great restraint. If I told you it was a cross between Dntel's indietronica circa Life Is Full Of Possibilities, Herbert's always jazz-inflected glitch-pop, and James Blake's soulful song-shadows, you might get the idea? I think it lives up to those comparisons too. These are fragmented song-shapes, with cut-up voice and instruments, beats that drop in halfway through songs, and an air of wistfulness. It's quite beautiful.

Popular Music - Bad Actors [Popular Music Bandcamp]
OK so I've played two singles from Popular Music's new album Minor Works of Popular Music, and now it's finally out. I love these works - self-referential and determinedly pop-culture-referential (and only sometimes minor) as they are. They're cabaret songs with the emo edge that Zac Pennington brought to Parenthetical Girls, orchestrated by Popular Music's other half Prudence Rees-Lee with performances from OpensoundOrchestra, Jherek Bischoff, Deerhoof's Greg Saunier and more... And yet, even at their most dramatic, these songs are redolent of Leonard Cohen's Casio keyboard era - no shade, that's high praise! The duo moved from LA to Rees-Lee's hometown of Melbourne, where they'll be launching the album at Carlton's John Curtin Hotel on October 26th. Would love to see them come up to Sydney, but where? Ah, Sydney...

Glasser - Vine [One Little Independent/Bandcamp]
Ten years after her last album, Cameron Mesirow has brought Glasser back with crux, as experimental and pop as ever. It's no surprise it's released on One Little Independent, as it has quite a Björk feel at times - although it also reminds me of Braids or Chairlift too. Her singing's very strong here, and the pop hooks are decorated with acoustic instruments as well as synths, and IDM beats that clatter and tumble. If this is pop music, sign me up.

Toumba - Daboor [Toumba Bandcamp]
The UK-based Medical Aid for Palestinians is an organisation I've seen reliably mentioned for helping Palestinians in Gaza. Jordanian producer Toumba makes beats that fit with UK bass and club forms, but with a lot of input from Levantine music - rhythms and scales and instrumentation. He's released For Palestine, a collection of dubs and unreleased material, to raise funds for Medical Aid for Palestinians, and the tunes are well up to the standards of his official releases.

Pugilist & Tamen - Extract [RuptureLDN]
Perfect liquid junglism from Pugilist & Tamen, from NZ & UK respectively but now based in Naarm/Melbourne. Pugilist's roots in dubstep inform the bass weight here, and footwork and techno bubble under the chattering rhythms.

Aroma Nice - Made Your Bed [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Czech label YUKU is really at the forefront of mutated bass/jungle/IDM/techno sounds, from all round the world. Aroma Nice, from the north-west of England, brings some lovely nostalgic jungle/d'n'b with undertones of jazzy downtempo and IDM circa mid-1990s.

Architectural - Clothed In Light [R&S Records/Bandcamp]
Spain's Architectural is not a name you'd usually associate with jungle or breakcore, with a background in beautifully immersive minimal techno, but for his second EP on R&S Records the 4/4 beats are spattered with amen breaks in an almost breakcore fashion.

alva noto - HYbr:ID Ectopia Field 1 [Noton]
For minimal electronics, we might as well go to the king himself, alva noto, whose HYbr:ID Vol.2 teases out intricate spikes of sound with mirrorshade-smooth pads hovering over distilled dub bassweight. A masterclass in how to do the purest of pure digital electronica.

Ümlaut - The great twin leitmotifs [esc.rec/Bandcamp]
Ümlaut - This immense motionless pause [esc.rec/Bandcamp]
The work of Jeff Düngfelder aka Ümlaut also uses tiny spikes of digital sound, but melds them with cleverly-edited field recordings to build impressionist sound-paintings. On "This immense motionless pause" the tiny sounds sweep up and down in pitch like some alien natural phenomenon. Like a nature documentary soundtrack for an alternate reality, this music contains all the busyness and peace of life going about its business.

Kamran Sadeghi - Day One Part Two [LINE/Bandcamp]
But lo, we still have more jittery shards of sound! Here we hear Kamran Sadeghi working with Nam June Paik's Wobbulator - which is not, in fact, a wobbulator, but rather a cathode ray tube setup to paint beautiful visualisations from audio inputs. Sadeghi used two vintage synths to create the sounds to feed into the CRT Wobbulator: a Doepfer A-100 modular system, and a Korg MS-20. Sadeghi's experiments, recorded over 5 days, use a deliberately constrained sound palette, creating a kind of primitive version of alva noto's clicks'n'pads. It's raster-noton if performed by a malfunctioning fridge. It's great.

Nickolas Mohanna - Mixed Numbers [Run/Off Editions/Bandcamp]
Nickolas Mohanna - Light Sleeper [Run/Off Editions/Bandcamp]
I was introduced to the work of NY-based composer Nickolas Mohanna through two labels of Sydney's Andrew Khedoori. A couple of albums came out on Preservation, and more recently the 22-minute track Throwing the Chain came out on Longform Editions. Mohanna's new album Double Pendulum extends outward from a graphic score Mohanna created as part of his interdisciplinary artistic practice, and a selection of quite different pieces merge into and out of each other through the album's 5 tracks and 32 minutes. There are deconstructed orchestral strings, flittering cymbals and krautrock guitars, unidentifiable percussion. It feels like Mohanna has converged on a similar space to some of Oren Ambarchi's recent work, where very arcane experimental music is coalesced into a highly digestible form of psych-rock. Some of the joy of the album comes from the slow segues, as one texture, genre, composition melds into another. New perspectives are found in the sounds we've just been listening to, and those we're about to find emerging out of the last. A highly rewarding listen in full.

Islaja - Featherless [Other Power]
Islaja - Urvogel [Other Power]
Having concentrated more on songforms for her last couple of albums, Finnish musician Merja Kokkonen aka Islaja has now created a stunning work of composition and sound-art. Angel Tape, released by new Helsinki label Other Power, stems from the vibrant imaginings of childhood experiences: in this case, listening to a much-redubbed recording of church music that her mother played her, which she thought of as the "angel tape". So Islaja, whose early connection with the legendary Finnish label Fonal has already linked her to dusty, distorted rememberings of folk-music-that-never-was, here uses voice, acoustic instruments and electronics to (re-)imagine a music of an unknowable angel-world, beautiful but slightly disquieting, not quite of this reality. It is, to continue the religious iconography, quite a revelation.

Amby Downs - Ngunmal (excerpt) [Room40/Bandcamp]
Tahlia Palmer is a Murri/European artist who works in multiple media, and the two substantial works on her upcoming Room40 album Ngunmal exist as filmworks that will be downloadable with the purchase of the album. Purely as audio documents, they are extraordinarily evocative and painterly, juxtaposing and blending visceral sounds that seem to come from industrial machinery, people or animals breathing, the amplified movement of a fence recorded by Room40's Lawrence English, and the ponderous respiration of the land itself. Unlike some other adapted field recordings, Amby Downs' pieces don't capitulate to conventional expectations of musical composition, keeping the sound sources' complex tonal profiles. It's no wonder Palmer credits herself as "sounds collected and put together by". But if these works resist being labelled "music", they're nevertheless products of great artistry.

Johannes Malfatti - And At That Moment [LINE/Bandcamp]
Johannes Malfatti - Someone Pointed [LINE/Bandcamp]
The second album released on Richard Chartier's LINE Imprint this week (next to the aforementioned Kamran Sadeghi) is an album of subtle, unassuming etudes for church organs from Johannes Malfatti. A composer, multi-instrumentalist and experimental musician, Malfatti has been part of Olivier Alary's varying project Ensemble, which started as glitchy IDM, and captivated me with chanson-postrock on Excerpts back in 2011. More significantly, Alary & Malfatti released the exquisite u,i in 2020, an album that captures the yearning of distance with buried vocals, string arrangements and smudged electronics. Somehow that aesthetic is reproduced in this collection of organ works, In the glow of distant fires, recorded as part of Malfatti's creation of a soundtrack to a film about the Berlin churches where they're housed, churches created in the '50s and '60s as memorials to the horrors of war and the Holocaust. In this background, Malfatti coaxes from these organs a music of whispers, minor gestures, exhalations that capture the idiosyncracies of the instruments in question. Alongside Rishin Singh & Martin Sturm's mewl infans these pieces show the expressive range of these strange mechanical instruments.

Claire Deak - In Defiance of Time [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Melbourne composer Claire Deak tends to operate in the background, whether writing arrangements for friends' bands, or composing for film, TV and stage. In 2020, however, we were treated to a wonderful album, the old capital, that Claire created with her partner Tony Dupé, himself a producer building incredible arrangements and treatments for indie and postrock musicians. That album was picked up by Ryan Keane at Lost Tribe Sound, and their connection has blossomed further with, finally, some solo work from Claire Deak. Sotto Voce is a solo album that emerged from Deak's investigation of two female baroque composers, Francesca Caccini (1587-c.1645) and Barbara Strozzi (1619-1677). So many female composers have been erased or buried, so Deak has gathered what traces remain into diaphenous scores, like an acoustic, classical version of vaporwave's nostalgic vision of 1980s media. Deak plays a large selection of instruments and is joined by Tony Dupé on various stringed instruments, as well as three other musicians, who perform compositions that blend and smudge, as if a sheaf of musical scores was dropped in the rain. These performances are then further treated, soft drones added, and in the case of tonight's choice, snippets of tape are looped and embedded in reverb. "Sotto voce", an instruction typically for playing as soft as possible, literally means "under the breath", and these touching tributes to women's work from bygone eras are whispered to us by a woman more used to being behind the scenes.

Listen again — ~200MB

Comments Off on Playlist 15.10.23

Sunday, 8th of October, 2023

Playlist 08.10.23 (11:00 pm)

Heartrending songs from around the world, glitchy processed traditional instruments, breakcore, and more tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN, even if you missed it the first time around. Stream on demand via FBi, or podcast from here.

Sufjan Stevens - Goodbye Evergreen [Asthmatic Kitty/Bandcamp]
It was possible, when one first heard Sufjan Stevens's new album Javelin, to think it was a touching album about a break-up - although Sufjan's lyrics have always been open to interpretation. But by the time we reached the weekend in Australia, Sufjan had posted his heartbreaking dedication of the album to his long-term partner Evans Richardson, who tragically passed away in April at only 43 (mourned by Nico Muhly at the time). For Sufjan to lose his life partner the same year as coming down with Guillain-Barré syndrome is doubly devastating. And for him to reveal the relationship (widely known but kept remarkably, respectfully quiet by all those in their circle) in this way is a humbling act for us, his fans, to whom he owed nothing about his personal life. It's a beautiful gut-punch of an album.

June McDoom - Emerald River Dance [Temporary Residence Ltd/Bandcamp]
Last year Temporary Residence Ltd did us the wonderful service of bringing to light the music of Jamaican-American singer-songwriter June McDoom, who brings her love of classic folk together with her love of reggae and soul, and the particular sound produced by particular analogue equipment. And yes, the sound of June McDoom's songs is classic, warm and welcoming - but her songwriting, performance and arrangements are just as special. Her second EP With Strings has just been announced, with the first track being a cover of cult singer-songwriter Judee Sill. Sill found minor success in her lifetime, but is one of those musicians who is much celebrated among later generations of musicians (she died in 1979 after long struggles with addiction). The 2009 compilation Crayon Angel featured a raft of cover versions, including gorgeous interpretations by Owen Pallett (Final Fantasy) and Daniel Rossen. With her version of "Emerald River Dance" (the original of which, like the Rossen-covered "Waterfall", only exists in demo form) she easily matches those old favourites of mine, with gorgeous strings and harp accompanying McDoom's fingerpicked guitar and soft vocals.

Honeydrip - System feat. Shanique Marie [Banoffee Pies/Bandcamp]
Psychotropical is the new album from Bajan-Canadian DJ & producer Honeydrip aka Tianan McLaughlan. McLaughlan is a music promoter as well as DJ, and looks to her Caribbean roots here, dub and dancehall-infused bass music featuring reggae artist King Shadrock on a few tracks, and Equinoxx member Shanique Marie on the excellent "System".

Iury Lech - Here Comes Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes [Muscut/Bandcamp/Mida/Bandcamp]
Maarja Nuut - Flamingo Pop [Muscut/Bandcamp/Mida/Bandcamp]
Ukrainian label Muscut and Estonian label Mida have teamed up to release new compilation Volia x Rahu, with one side only Ukrainian artists, and the other almost all Estonian. The label profits from the compilation go to Liviyj Bereh, an organising helping Ukrainians affected by the war. Ukrainian electronic producer Iury Lech contributes a minimalist head-nodder named "Here Comes Bellum Omnium Contra Omnes" - the Latin means "war of all against all". And from Estonia, I played the wonderful Maarja Nuut, eschewing her violin and voice in favour of modular synths, in keeping with her last album, Hinged.

Bisweed - Boa (feat. Joshua Stephenz) [Bisweed Bandcamp]
And next we segue right into more Estonian electronic music, with a new track from dubstep producer Bisweed, featuring a nimble bassline from fellow Estonian Joshua Stephenz.

exmantera - MACHINE [PAYNOMINDTOUS/Bandcamp]
exmantera - EXPOS [PAYNOMINDTOUS/Bandcamp]
From the Finnish underground comes exmantera with their new album LETHALITY released on the excellent Turin label PAYNOMINDTOUS (whose last release came from Sydney's/FBi's own Obelisk, presenter of Mithril on FBi directly after Utility Fog). The music here is a kind of industrial bass music, dubstep/grime with distortion turned up, or the beats and other sounds mutated into post-cyberpunk nightmares. Music of the futuristic present.

Here's San Francisco's longtime purveyor of jungle love UFO, with a bit of a dubstep/jungle hybrid - it's literally got "140" in its title, the BPM of dubstep. It's full of nimbly jumping breakbeats and makes them work at this slower-than-usual tempo.

Hoavi - Phase 10 [Gost Zvuk]
Earlier this year, Russian producer Hoavi created a very unusual remix for DEEP LEARNING's Evergreen Remixed - accelerated rhythms with seemingly no centre to them. These tumbling, fast-paced percussive rhythms continue in his new mini-album Phases, with tracks that cover different tempos but with the same woozily disoriented feeling throughout. It's the kind of music you need to listen closely to in order to understand, but it actually works its magic when heard in the background too.

Tawdry Otter - More Sauce [Adrien75 Bandcamp]
Adrien Capozzi has made music as Adrien 75 for ages (like, decades), and before that was part of a bunch of mix'n'match aliases making incredible breakbeat-driven IDM with a couple of mates under the umbrella of the Carpet Bomb label. These days Adrien75 is mostly engaged in fairly ambient guitar-manipulation stuff, so the IDM tends to come out under the Tawdry Otter alias (cute). This weekend he made the rather bonkers decision to release three new albums on his Bandcamp. All three are almost entirely made in an app called Koala Sampler on an Android phone. I can't imagine doing complex things like this on a touchphone, but hey, people write blog posts, articles, books on the things, so that's just me. Anyway, I particularly love the first of the three, named Extinction Event Pre-Game Show, a title that maybe cuts a little close to the bone, but hey, this pre-game show sounds great so let's sit back & take it all in! There are lots of lovely shifting breakbeats and melodies, and an array of bizarre samples that suggest that working in the constrained environment of the phone is a useful catalyst for engaging creativity.

JSPHYNX - King Cobra (JSPHYNX Remix) [Sekito/Bandcamp]
Here's something interesting and great. London jazz musician Johnny Woodham is JSPHYNX, but his band is also JSPHYNX (I think?), including keyboardist Alfa Mist aka Alfa Sekitoleko, who runs the Sekito label. Sekitoleko is an accomplished jazz pianist but also loves his beats, and both he and Woodham have remixed tracks from the band's Reflex album released earlier this year. Both originals feature live breakbeats, and both remixes ratchet up the jungle inflections, with the jazz arrangements twisted into old-school sounding looped samples and loops. JSPHYNX's own remix in particular is a complex beat workout on the level of early Squarepusher or Amon Tobin. Rad.

Fanu - Some Old Type Shit [Fanu Bandcamp]
Back to Finland, where Janne Hatula aka Fanu has been making legendary jungle & d'n'b tracks for decades - really since the early days. He appeared on Metalheadz for I think the second time earlier this year, he's remixed the masters, and by the way he's a skilful mixing and mastering engineer as well, and provides quality production tuition online. As he suggests, releasing an album in this day and age - particularly in the dance music world - is either a bold or foolhardy move, but I for one appreciate it. Classy Coffee Cuts covers a lot of breakbeat ground, mostly tried-and-true d'n'b and old-school jungle, but it also ventures into breakbeat at slower tempos, if not quite down in the hip-hop basements of his FatGyver incarnation. It's Fanu, it's excellent, dig.

Noneless - A Vow of Silence [☯ anybody universe ☯]
Noneless - Neurocannibal [☯ anybody universe ☯]
The North Sydney/Kuringgai artist now known as Noneless previously released some pretty crazy breakcorey hybrid music as elfaether, but has returned to music production a couple of years later with their amazing new album A Vow of Silence. It has the well deserved cachet of being released on ☯ anybody universe ☯, the label run by Japanese IDM/breakcore latter-day legend Laxenanchaos. On this album their classical violin training and love of erhu is married with breakcore splatterbeats, joyous distortion and a bit of Zen Buddhism. Lovers of World's End Girlfriend or Kashiwa Daisuke, not to mention Venetian Snares, will gobble this up. Compulsory listening.

Christoph de Babalon - Pechvogel [Vaagner/Bandcamp]
Now to one of the breakcore originators, Christoph de Babalon, whose 1997 album If you're into it, I'm out of it for DHR is the stuff of legend. He never really stopped, but after a gap between 2000 and 2008, releases have appeared with some frequency. The three Haunting Past of Christoph de Babalon albums on his Bandcamp collect heaps of dark drum'n'bass, dark ambient and breakcore stuff, and there's IDM aplenty too. The latest album, Vale, is released on Berlin label Vaagner, a label known for industrial and industrial beats, and for ambient for all sorts. The dark ambient aspects blur even into a kind of gothic neoclassical music at times, but breakbeats of all tempos have by no means been abandoned.

Aho Ssan - Cold Summer Part I (feat. Blackhaine) [Other People/Bandcamp]
Aho Ssan - Away (feat. Exzald S & Valentina Magaletti) [Other People/Bandcamp]
When I previewed the stunning new album Rhizomes from Aho Ssan back in August, we heard the track featuring both clipping. & Polish cellist Resina. The Paris-based West African producer, Désiré Niamké to his family & friends, has gathered an incredible cast of collaborators for the album, released on Nicolas Jaar's Other People. The physical format is a further collaboration, with illustrator Kim Grano exploring Deleuze & Guattari's concept of the "rhizome" through abstract shapes which respond to the music. The book also makes available bonus tracks and a sample pack from the artist - if only postage to Australia didn't basically double the price! Check the full album for the rest of the awesome collaborators, but tonight we had a near-perfect collaboration with the poet laureat of northern English bleakness, Blackhaine, and another phenomenal piece with Exzald S (fka Fawkes, aka Sarah Foulquiere) and ubiquitous percussive genius Valentina Magaletti.

Yara Asmar - to die in the country [Hive Mind Records/Bandcamp]
Yara Asmar - objects lost in drawers (found again at the most inconvenient times) [Hive Mind Records/Bandcamp]
The artistry of Beirut's Yara Asmar doesn't end with synth waltzes and accordion laments, beautifully descriptive though this album title is. She creates delightful video art on Instagram that's somehow lo-fi and modernist at the same time, and beautiful, strange puppetry. All is tied together with whimsy and delicateness, with her own music accompanying the performances and videos. It's a very different take on the YouTube-archaeology of vaporwave, all her own, and these synth walzes and accordion laments feel like they come from somewhere outside of time.

Safa - Grounds [Ruptured Records/Bandcamp]
Safa - Supersummer [Ruptured Records/Bandcamp]
The last album from Mhamad Safa, also hailing from Beirut, was 2022's Ibtihalat, a collection of crushed beats and sound design perfect for Lee Gamble's UIQ label. Now on the ever-reliable Lebanese label Ruptured Records comes Hometown (Original Score), created for a video installation by the Dutch collective Metahaven, which depicts a fictional, liminal city, filmed in both Kyiv and Beirut. So you'd expect the music to lean more on the sound-art side, which it does, but still with convulsing percussive electronics, noise and chopped samples. Highly effective even stripped of the visuals.

Youmna Saba - Akaleel أكاليل [Touch/Bandcamp]
And finally, venerable UK sound-art label Touch brings us our third Lebanese artist tonight, with a remarkable new work from Beirut's Youmna Saba, now based in Paris. Saba is an accomplished oud player, found on many other artists' releases (such as Oiseaux-Tempête). On Wishah و​ِ​ش​ا​ح her oud's sound is technologically extended, to amplify every string squeak and body tap, and further integrated with sympathetic electronics. The works range from abstract processed sound to delicate oud fingerpicking, and most tracks patiently reach a place where Saba brings in her emotive vocals. It's an immersive, moving listening experience.

Listen again — ~208MB

Comments Off on Playlist 08.10.23

Sunday, 1st of October, 2023

Playlist 01.10.23 (11:00 pm)

On the hottest 1st of October ever recorded here in Eora/Sydney, a whole gamut of stuff for you tonight on Utility Fog.

LISTEN AGAIN and feel the gamut. Stream on demand as offered by FBi Radio, or podcast here.

Lord of the Isles & Ellen Renton - A Discovery [AD93/Bandcamp]
Lord of the Isles & Ellen Renton - My Noise Is Nothing [AD93/Bandcamp]
Starting with something unexpectedly beautiful from two Scottish artists. Ellen Renton is a poet, theatre-maker and performer from Edinburgh, who wrote these poems in 2020 during the pandemic. This is not her first collaboration with Scottish electronic musician Lord of the Isles aka Neil McDonald - she appeared on one side of McDonald's last EP for AD93, back when it was called Whities. Renton's words are thought-provoking, but her delivery is absolutely delicious - English spoken with a gentle Scottish accent is a delight. And the gentle music from McDonald, which builds into lovely IDMish beats on most tracks, is a joy.

Hidden Orchestra - Little Buddy Move [Lone Figures Bandcamp]
Hidden Orchestra - Reverse Learning [Lone Figures Bandcamp]
Although Joe Acheson released a lovely soundtrack to the video game Creaks in 2020, and a bonus album of remixes and live versions last year, it's been 6 years since the last Hidden Orchestra album proper, Dawn Chorus. To Dream is to Forget is a welcome return, again embodying Acheson's aim of reimagining electronic music acoustically. So the skillful drumming of Tim Lane and Jamie Graham melds funk breakbeats and jazz skitteriness into complex, propulsive patterns, while many other Hidden Orchestra regulars including Poppy Ackroyd provide strings, horns and those characteristic bass clarinet runs. Add in the plethora of instruments performed by Acheson, plus his composition and arrangement skills, and you get another album's worth of warm pleasures. It may be nothing new after 13 years, but those of us who enjoy these sounds will always come back for more.

Oneohtrix Point Never - Elseware [Warp/Bandcamp]
Oneohtrix Point Never - World Outside [Warp/Bandcamp]
Oneohtrix Point Never - Nightmare Paint [Warp/Bandcamp]
On the other hand, Daniel Lopatin aka Oneohtrix Point Never/OPN has rarely rested for long, having begun his career making highly abstract analogue synth works that found him a place in the noise scene alongside other synthmeisters like Emeralds, then absorbing the glitch and cut-up aesthetics that made him a perfect fit for Editions Mego, founding Software, his subsidiary label of Mexican Summer, and then settling with Warp ten years ago(!) The son of Russian Jewish immigrants to the United States, much of his early aesthetic was derived from his father's collection of old synth records and the like. Somewhere in there he also invented vaporwave with a bunch of YouTube videos - maybe start here, check the whole channel. So unsurprisingly over the last decade his Warp albums, EPs and sundry other releases have combined '90s and early oughts-style digital choppery, crunchy IDM beats, hints of breakcore and synth nerdery with plunderphonic sampling of everything from hardcore to '80s videotapes. It's surprising-but-not-surprising to hear new album Again starting with some rather avant-garde orchestral strings, gradually messily layered and adapted into something a little more filmic. Those strings permeate the whole album, appearing in the backing of many of the more electronic tracks. Lopatin sings, invites Jamie Stewart of Xiu Xiu to sing on a couple of tracks, and also uses/misuses the talents of the likes of Jim O'Rourke, Lee Ranaldo and genius engineer Randall Dunn. What it adds up to is, well, another OPN album? The last few do kind of run into each other in my head, and they're all good, but not as distinctive as the ravenous early-to-mid years of his career. Nothing to complain about, it's cool y'know.

dgoHn & Badun - Not Just A Best [Love Love Records/dgoHn Bandcamp/Badun Bandcamp]
I first heard of Danish producer Badun aka Oliver Duckert via a split release between Badun and Icarus back in 2011. Badun makes a kind of wonky electronic jazz that's somewhat adjacent to the post-drum'n'bass electro-acoustics of Icarus, so it's not all that strange to find Duckert collaborating with English drumfunk/jungle master dgoHn on new EP Talk to the Planets, released on Love Love Records. The syncopated drum patters created by dgoHn don't need much coaxing to fit in with jazzy keys and more psych-ish passages, so if that sounds like your jam, you're in luck.

NIQH - Planet Market [Plasma Sources/Bandcamp]
Ben Broughton tells us that his artist name NIQH is to be pronounced "NEE-KEEH", so OK. His Familiar Rift EP released on Plasma Sources comes as a CD as well as digital - I'm impressed (although postage to Australia is impressively insane at €25, no blame to the label tho!) More than jungle or dubstep, the sounds here are influenced by UK garage - it's lightfooted, but still loving the breakbeats and with some lovely sound design.

Cloaking Device - The Deepening (2023 Rework) [Odysee Recordings/Bandcamp]
Andy Baddaley has been going by Andy Odysee for recent jungle-fuelled drum'n'bass releases since reinstating the Odysee Recordings label that's co-run by Tilla Kemal (aka Mirage) - a label that was home to some early Source Direct 12"s and Photek alias Phaze 1 too. Under the "Broken Circuitry" series he's now bringing back some productions from the mid-'00s released on his Circuit Breaker label under the name Cloaking Device. It's cyberpunk/noir drum'n'bass of a piece with Photek & Source Direct, with the tunes remastered and reworked with a nice mix of different breaks and synth pads.

MOOKI6 x B4MBA - ANKHNOWLEDGE [Jokkoo Collective]
There's a jungle influence to the tunes on the Proto Nexus EP from two members of the Jokkoo Collective, a group of Barcelona-based African producers. MOOKI6 & B4MBA were inspired by their travels around Kenya to combine dancehall & jungle and hard dance with the riddims and environments found in their travels. The hyperspeed second half of "ANKHNOWLEDGE" is particularly insane, top stuff.

Fiesta Soundsystem - Jabbaphlex [Fiesta Soundsystem]
After releases on a myriad excellent labels, Fiesta Soundsystem has released their latest EP Jabbaphlex on their own Bandcamp. Spurred on by a conversation with Osc Kins (proprietor of Shubzin) to make the most monstrous breaks possible, Fiesta turned to a variety of most excellent monsters, including Lewis Carroll's splendid Jabberwocky. On "Jabbaphlex" an old reading of the poem (maybe by Charles Lutwidge Dodgson himself?) creepily surfaces through the haze of distorted, timestretched breaks, which clatter in an almost breakcore fashion, or perhaps a braindance fashion given the Rephlex reference. It's well worth checking out Fiesta Soundsystem's back catalogue - on their Bandcamp and elsewhere - for inventive drum'n'bass, IDM and occasional house & techno.

Debby Friday - La Posesyon [Debby Friday Bandcamp]
Debby Friday - Good Luck [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Debby Friday - let u in (with Darcy Baylis) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
The first track in this batch from US polymath Debby Friday is an almost instrumental from 2018's Terror: A Mix-Tape, proving that she can chop jungle breaks with the best of them. But she plunders hip-hop, r'n'b and pop, often with a penchant for industrial-level distortion and plenty of bass, and is a talented rapper & singer too. I'm not sure why I mised her album Good Luck earlier this year, as it's first class, but just this week standalone track "let u in" appeared, a co-pro with Darcy Baylis recorded while she was on tour in Naarm/Melbourne earlier this year. Again with the jungle influences, this one eschews the industrial heaviness to the extent that it could be a PinkPantheress song - no shade! It's lovely.

Armand Hammer - Total Recall [Fat Possum Records/Bandcamp]
Armand Hammer - Empire Blvd (feat. Junglepussy & Curly Castro) [Fat Possum Records/Bandcamp]
Around 5 years ago, Armand Hammer released their Paraffin album on various labels on cassette, vinyl and CD, and it brought them the highest level of acclaim they'd yet seen. This was further cemented by billy woods' incredible Hiding Places with Kenny Segal the following year. So by now woods' Backwoodz Studioz is known as a vital home to NYC underground hip-hop, and he and Elucid have the recognition they've deserved for a good decade. We Buy Diabetic Test Strips finds them on Fat Possum Records as part of the label's growth from a Mississippi blues focus into other genres, but they're no less adventurous or incisive in their commentary on the state of the USA. The album's title itself refers to the signs that turn up in economically disadvantaged neighbourhoods where those not fortunate enough to have health insurance purchase unused diabetic test strips necessary for them to manage their diabetes.
Following Haram, which was entirely produced by The Alchemist, woods and Elucid bring their tremendous intelligence and experience to a suite of tracks produced by many of their usual collaborators like Segal and Willie Green, and JPEGMAFIA on a number of tracks. Meanwhile a jazz ensemble headed up by Shabaka Hutchings brings some additional cohesion to the proceedings, but this has never been lacking on Armand Hammer albums, as the duo bring poetically-chosen spoken word samples and other aural oddities into play. As I mentioned when discussing woods in my 20th anniversary special, hip-hop has always been an experimental genre, but woods and Elucid consistently make super leftfield shit just work perfectly. What could be more perfect than the Sun Ra call-and-response referenced in "Total Recall"?

JOBS - List the Creator Twice Part 1 [Ramp Local/Bandcamp]
JOBS - Allure [Ramp Local/Bandcamp]
Here's another form of experimentalism harnessed to pop - or at least postpunk. The members of JOBS are active in the jazz & experimental scenes in New York - I'm particularly a fan of violist and singer Jessica Pavone - and with JOBS they've created a selection of arty songs that elude easy categorisation. Sure, there's the contemporary references to postpunk, but there's also experimental electronic beats, processed drums and that lovely mixture of live drumkit and electronic beats... and then there's jazz fusion and kraut-noise. All members contribute vocals, and their androgynous nature makes it hard to know who's who. I can tell this one is going to be getting plenty of repeat listens over the next few months.

PLF - Fast Looped Paradise [Ventil/Bandcamp]
It's worth noting that Welsh noise-vocalist Elvin Brandhi's given name is Freya Edmondes in order to understand the trio PLF, whose other members are two mainstays of Viennese experimental music, Peter Kutin and Lukas König - so yeah, with that in mind, PLF is their three first initials, and all their track names are weeeeeird variants of those three initial letters. At least "Fast Looped Paradise" makes some sense, while ParziFoooooooooooL is... a Wagner reference? No matter, much like kœnig's album 1 Above Minus Underground from earlier this year, there are song-resembling structures with mad messed-up beats and messed-up sounds, hints at hip-hop, mutant techno, and Elvin Brandhi's arresting voice.

squncr - ...drowned out... I [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
Releases on French-Italian label Elli Records are always interesting, whether on an improv tip or electronic, or somewhere in between. New EP ...drowned out... from French academic and musician François Larini aka squncr takes a post-colonial approach to its sound-art, with glitchy minimalist electronics enveloping shimmering choral music, which is taken (with permission) from recordings of the "Messe des Savanes", a Catholic mass arranged by the Abbé Robert Wedraogho and performed by an all-African choir in Ouagadougou in Burkina Faso. It was the first of a number of "world music" Masses, often composed or arranged by white men for performance by African musicians, a perpetuation of colonialist thinking and cultural violence which Larini seeks to overturn or deconstruct. Whether this theoretical goal is successful is not for me to say, but this is beautiful music to contemplate cultural and religious imperialism.

ABADIR - Agios O Theos [SVBKVLT]
ABADIR - Mois de Marie [SVBKVLT]
Here's a very different take, moving from West Africa to the very north-east of the continent. Rami ABADIR grew up in Heliopolis, now a suburn of Cairo but once one of Egypt's major cities in itself, and the Greek derivation of its name ("City of the Sun") gives a clue to its multifarious significance. So as a kid, little Rami was taken around various different churches for masses and holidays, taking in Coptic, Syriac, Maronite, Greek Orthodox and Catholic traditions of choral music. From this personal history, Abadir has synthesized his own fictional futuristic hymnal tradition, melded also with the sounds of his previous adaptations of worldwide club styles through African rhythm. So beautiful choral harmonies rise up and intertwine with sub bass swoops and percussive beats. It could be spiritual or it could be the pleasurable come-down from last night's clubbing. Perfect either way really.

underworld - denver luna (a capella) [Smith Hyde Productions/lnk.to thingy/Watch on YouTube]
For me, Underworld's second toughest in the infants, even moreso than its predecessor dubnobasswithmyheadman, was a religious experience in the mid-'90s. Just about perfect expressions of what rave and club could achieve, trance-inducing evolving techno sneaking emotion in through the back door. I haven't followed everything they've done since beaucoup fish, but it's always nice to run into them again, and hoo-boy denver luna (a capella) is a heady reminder of Karl Hyde's vocal delivery and lyrical obtuseness, with a frankly gorgeous vocoded "choral" accompaniment. Not that nobody's done that before (*ahem* Pink Floyd, 1987), but I'm only saying that to point out that this track is great because of the song and arrangement rather than purely from the effect.

Happy Axe - Injuries [Provenance/Bandcamp]
I got a liddle sneak preview of this new song from Emma Kelly aka Happy Axe earlier this week, the first taster from a new album which Becki Whitton suggested will be half songs, half ambient. It feels like "Injuries" fulfils that promise all by itself, starting with soft vocals and abstract violin accompaniment before blossoming into a full song with beats partially made up from violin-percussion. The Tiger Dream is out later this month, and I'm looking forward to the rest.

Listen again — ~206MB

Comments Off on Playlist 01.10.23

Check the sidebar for archive links!

36 queries. 0.099 seconds. Powered by WordPress |