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Utility Fog

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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

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