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Utility Fog

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Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.
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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 25th of February, 2024

Playlist 25.02.24 (11:00 pm)

Oddly tonight we have a bit more weird-ass rock stuff than usual, and garage jazz, and... post-jazz? But also breakcore and lots of jungle/drum'n'bass influences in some more experimental settings, as well as some mesmerising pump organ and voice.

LISTEN AGAIN, don't be scared! Stream on demand on FBi's website, podcast here.

Kim Myhr & Kitchen Orchestra - V [Sofa Music/Bandcamp]
Kim Myhr & Kitchen Orchestra - VI [Sofa Music/Bandcamp]
I've been a fan of Norwegian guitarist Kim Myhr for many years. He's a distinctive guitarist but also an excellent composer & orchestrator - he's recorded with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and the Australian Art Orchestra, neither of which are typical orchestras, made up as they are of talented improvising musicians (and both with flexible lineups). The "Kitchen Orchestra" credited on his new album Hereafter is based in Stavanger, a city in the south of Norway, again a versatile group of musicians from jazz, classical and other contexts: there's a horn section and strings, two of whom play electric bass and electric guitar as well as double bass, a drummer, and then there are musicians credited to synthesizers & organ, voice and cassette player, and laptop. And Myhr plays drum machine, various keyboards and contributes voice as well as his guitar. As usual these are beautiful, rich arrangements, with jazz at their heart but drawing on Indian ragas, postrock and electronica, krautrock and glitch. The roman-numbered sections flow one to another, taking the listener through a meditation on mortality and transience.

fire! - the dark inside of cabbage [Rune Grammofon]
Testament, the latest album from Swedish free jazz powerhouse Fire!, is their first to only feature the core trio, playing their core instruments. Over the years the band has made albums with various experimental music legends - Jim O'Rourke, Oren Ambarchi and more - as well as convening the incredible Fire! Orchestra with Scandinavian jazz musicians aplenty and a group of brilliant vocalists. Here, recorded by the one & only Steve Albini, they've taken the Albini approach of stripping down to basics, recording material live to tape. And these three are masters for sure: Mats Gustafsson making his saxophone squeal and squall and sob in the way of Peter Brötzmann but very much his own; Johan Berthling and Andreas Werliin being rhythm section to die for, holding down krautrockish grooves and riffs in tight lockstep. Hypnotic and exhilarating.

The Body & Dis Fig - Eternal Hours [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
The Body & Dis Fig - Dissent, Shame [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
A considerable part of The Body's career has been collaborations - so much so that 2021's I've Seen All I Need To See, with not a single guest and just guitar/drums/vox, was a sharp surprise. I first heard Felicia Chen's astonishing work as Dis Fig on her solo album Purge, linking her operatically-trained voice with industrial and noise music, but her collaboration with The Bug, In Blue, rightly brought her further notoriety. Orchards of a Futile Heaven is a suitably horrifying and moving piece of work, not a departure for either artist but a perfect synthesis. Rhythmic noise sputters into noisescapes of guitar or electronics; Chip King's high-pitched squeals lurk within, but Chen's voice can scream as much as sing melodies or provide a multitracked choir; Lee Buford's programmed and live drums thunder; but you really can't tell at any point who's responsible for instruments or production, and that's great. It's some of the best material from either act.

Hatis Noit - Jomon (Preservation Rework) feat. Armand Hammer [Erased Tapes/Bandcamp]
London-based Japanese singer Hatis Noit released a remarkable vocal-only album on Erased Tapes in 2022. But prior to that, she'd released music in Japan that married her self-schooled but powerful vocal techniques with electronics. So it's not too surprising to see Erased Tapes trickling out some remixes of Aura. Best so far is from seasoned underground hip-hop producer Preservation, who preserves much of the original "Jomon" but along with the controlled beats & bass invites billy woods & ELUCID aka Armand Hammer to add their own voices. They're masters of fitting in with strange music of course.

Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - Silverfish [Avant Night/Bandcamp]
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum - S.P.Q.R. [Avant Night/Bandcamp]
I would never have expected that in 2024 I would be playing the new Sleepytime Gorilla Museum on this show. After all, their third (and previously last) album In Glorious Times came out in 2007. But last year the band setup a Bandcamp and hinted at the long-rumoured album of the Last Human Being was on its way. During the long gap, I followed the work of violinist/singer Carla Kihlstedt (of whom I've been a longtime fan) and percussionist/drummer/etc Matthias Bossi in their Rabbit Rabbit Radio project, and that's where I first heard "Silverfish", under the name "Paper Prison". Kihlstedt's double-stopped violin refrain is insanely brilliant, as is her songwriting, and it's great hearing it with SGM, as it was always intended. The band's strength is that the jazz/classical aspects fit seamlessly with the theatrical metal & prog, but even with all of that, it's a surprise to find a cover of This Heat here - but maybe it shouldn't be, as a band that bridges late-period political art rock and punk/post-punk. "S.P.Q.R" is one of my favourite of Charles Hayward's songs (admittedly there are a lot), and the breakneck, heavy rendition here pretty much does it justice.

Sergeant Bestfriend - molehills out of mountains [200+]
Df0bad - Vichysois [200+]
Breakcore was always central to Utility Fog's mission from the start in 2003. At the time breakcore and ragga jungle were keeping the faith for rapid drumbreak destruction, and I always enjoyed the fuck-you illegal sampling and marrying of ugliness with - well, often - prettiness. Breakcore never died, but I feel that with the all-powerful jungle resurgence, it's getting a bit more prominence too. Eora/Sydney's own 200+ are dedicated to all things ultra-fast rave, and also carry on the anarchist political ideals that often came with this kind of hardcore music. So from the river to the sea and the sea of blood between is an impassioned protest against Israel's increasingly undisguised fascism (while emphasising that anti-Zionism is not antisemitism). It's also a great compilation of breakcore, gabber and hardcore techno from Sydney and across the country. Naarm's Sergeant Bestfriend gives us fun, melodic drill'n'bass, while Sydney's Df0bad brings us a journey through IDM.

ophélie - Pipa Pipa [hundert/Bandcamp]
French DJ based in Berlin ophélie drops their debut EP on the Hamburg label hundert here. Two tracks influenced by drum'n'bass & dubstep as much as IDM - the halftime/jungle feel here is reminiscent of the mid-'90s like Subtropic's Homebrew. Lushly melodic with intricate programming and bassweight, a sign of great stuff to come.

POD - Trip2Fantasia [Kinetic Vision]
POD & Tamen - Subvert [Straight Up Breakbeat/Bandcamp]
Last week I played a track from Naarm/Melbourne's POD, an alias of JXTPS for bass genres. Spacer is out on Kinetic Vision now, and "Trip2Fantasia" is even more jungle-influenced, albeit in a bass-techno context. But POD has also been collaborating with Naarm-based jungle mastermind Tamen, and one track from their forthcoming EP is available Finnish label Straight Up Breakbeat's Zero Four compilation - absolutely wikkid.

Source Direct - A Different Groove (T-Mirage V.I.P.) [Odysee Recordings/Bandcamp]
Odysee Recordings go way back to the early jungle days, but relaunched a while back to bring back material from the label's artists as well as excellent new recordings from label-head Andy Odysee and others. One of the strengths of their catalogue is a long relationship with jungle/d'n'b legend Source Direct (an old school friend of Andy Odysee's), so the label has been gradually drip-feeding remastered Source Direct tracks with some new remixes. The brilliant '95 tune Stars is remastered here along with a stompin' remix from Finnish master Fanu, but the also excellent b-side "A Different Groove" appears as a V.I.P. from T-Mirage aka Tilla Kemal, the label's founder and collaborator for Source Direct's Jim Baker. Continues the classy, dark & sharp quality from Odysee.

Alan Fitzpatrick & Reset Robot - Mule Subjective [Shall Not Fade]
Techno bigwig Alan Fitzpatrick here appears on Shall Not Fade with the Headphone Lullaby EP, exchanging high energy 4/4 kicks for breakbeats and bass syncopation. It's lovely and more than a little epic, but I was drawn to the collab with Reset Robot on a jungle/halftime tip.

re:ni - Blame is the Name of the Game [Timedance/Bandcamp]
Following an excellent debut on Ilian Tape, UK DJ Lauren Bush aka re:ni drops four tracks of techno/bass/breaks on Batu's Timedance. Suffused with dub bass and atmospherics, it's music for discerning dancefloors everywhere.

Lord Spikeheart - REM FODDER ft. James Ginzburg, Koenraad Ecker [HAEKALU]
Back in 2020 Nyege Nyege Tapes unleashed the intensity that was the self-titled album by Kenyan noise metal/grindcoreinfused duo Duma. Now Duma's incendiary singer Lord Spikeheart is launching his HAEKALU label with The Adept on April 19th, with a full house of experimental producers and collaborators throughout. "REM FODDER" brings both James Ginzburg of Subtext Recordings & emptyset and Koenraad Ecker of Lumisokea & Stray Dogs, with jackhammering beats, heavy bass and Spikeheart's voice fed through reverberating delays. Clearly the whole album is going to be intense as fuck.

aya - Dexxy Is A Midnight Runner [YCO]
Lip Flip is 4-track EP from aya to raise money for her Facial Feminisation Surgery. But basically it's four tracks of her typically savvy, well-produced deconstructed bass music - recommended!

Alan Johnson - Portal [YUKU]
We had Alan Fitzpatrick earlier, but Alan Johnson isn't a person at all - they're a duo. Between 2013 and 2020 they released just three EPs, but both 2022 and 2023 gave us excellent four-track EPs on Sneaker Social Club. They now find themselves on YUKU, a label whose aesthetic is not that dissimilar to SSC, but tends to take the bass & breaks into more experimental territory - which is reflected in the 6 tracks on Glory Days, their longest release yet. Like the Stillness EP's sampling of Bro. Samuel Clayton with Count Ossie's orchestra, Glory Days uses Jamaican voices through various tracks, and the dub side of bass music is strong, as is the sense of space.

Terminal 11 - Racing To Nowhere [Opal Tapes]
Since the early 2000s, Michael Castaneda has been making idiosyncratic breakcore as Terminal 11. It might initially seem odd finding his latest album Suffocating Repetition on Opal Tapes, a label better known for techno, industrial and noise, but they're not so far away from breakcore anyway, and as usual it's arguable whether that genre fits here. But yes, it's full of dense electronic textures and crowded, restless rhythms. As the album title may imply, it was written during and about the Covid lockdown times, and it really does evoke some of that anxiety-inducing homogeneity...

Lachlan R. Dale - Revealing a silver stream feat. Bonniesongs, Joseph Rabjohns [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
It's been a long time coming, but Art As Catharsis boss (and my colleague in Black Aleph) Lachlan R. Dale will release his ambitious collaborative album Shrines in April. Every track is structured around contributions from musical friends from around the country, each a very distinctive musician themself, reacting to some initial loops from Lachlan. I suspect most of the responses were fairly abstract too, and Lachlan then de- and re-constructed the material into these final pieces. Speaking for my own, it's quite a lovely feeling hearing something that's almost entirely unfamiliar but clearly has me in there - so hopefully that goes for everyone else. On the first single, multi-instrumentalist Bonniesongs' voice and guitar are stretched into ambient textures, as is the guitar of Queensland's Joseph Rabjohns. Keep an eye/ear out for further extracts!

FUJI||||||||||TA - M-3 [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
One of the unquestionable highlights of last year's Volume Festival at the Art Gallery of NSW was the performance in The Tank (a cavernous underground space) by Japanese minimalist FUJI||||||||||TA. Yosuke Fujita played various self-made instruments including bells and pump organ, as well as projecting his voice into the space. Whether with his carefully-made field recordings or gorgeously close-mic'd instrumental recordings, Fujita's recordings are unfailingly absorbing. I was introduced to his work in 2020 when Swiss label Hallow Ground released the astonishing iki, fragile recordings of his pump organ, wheezing and clunking through unusual harmonies and discords. His second album for Hallow Ground, MMM, begins with a slow-evolving drone of that pump organ, with the air now pumped electrically, freeing Fujita to generate strange sonic shifts by moving his microphone around it. The second track is built from his remarkable extended vocal technique, breathing in and out in a way that creates a "third voice" from the interference patterns. It's very eerie. But tonight we hear the third track, which combines these two elements into something different again - as if the warbling sounds of organ and voice again generate some spectral Other. It's minimalism as always intended - seemingly static, but ever-changing. Masterful. Mmm.

Listen again — ~212MB

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Sunday, 18th of February, 2024

Playlist 18.02.24 (11:00 pm)

We have wonderful Indigeonous/classical/experimental crossover, weird electronic pop & hip-hop, noise, sound-art, Middle Eastern beats, jungle/bass/dubstep, hyper-shoegaze, contemporary cello, ambient and more. Listen and enjoy.

LISTEN AGAIN to the re-listenable. Podcast here, stream on demand there @ FBi.

Yirinda - Guyu (Fish) [Chapter Music/Bandcamp]
Yirinda - Yunma (Sleep) [Chapter Music/Bandcamp]
Well, the self-titled album from Yirinda is out, and it's everything it promised to be. I got to see the duo of Butchulla songman Fred Leone and double-bassist/composer Samuel Pankhurst at the Woodford Folk Festival across the new year, performing with an ensemble of strings, horns and keyboards. It's a magical combination of Leone's songlines and Pankhurst's arrangements, creating something that I'm pretty sure has never existed before. On the album, strings and horns augment Pankhurst's double bass, and some contemporary electronics mix seamlessly in (I note Marly Lüske aka Tidy Kid co-engineered the album). But descriptions can't really do it justice - Leone's absorbing vocals fit perfectly with wonderful contemporary music. They are playing at a FREE Sunday show at White Bay Power Station for the Biennale of Sydney/Phoenix Central Park on March 10th - 2:30 to 6pm.

Marcus Whale - Borders [Blue Void]
Incoming on March 8th is the new album from Marcus Whale, storied Utility Fog associate since his mid-teens, multi-instrumentalist, multi-genreist, singer and queer icon. Ecstasy is the first album on his new Blue Void imprint/label/thing (his long-defunct 3" CD-R label released my first solo EP back in the ancient of days). Here "ecstasy" refers to the pleasure of transcending the self, of being drawn, as he says, to the void. Once again Marcus is combining pop and club electronics with influences from classical and avant-garde/experimental music, and it is Very Good.

Teether - Elbow Grease [CONTENT.NET.AU/Bandcamp]
Teether - Chrysalis (ft. Stoneset) [CONTENT.NET.AU/Bandcamp]
Early last year Melbourne underground rapper Teether released an incredible album through Chapter Music with producer Kuya Neil. But with It Must Be Strange to Not Have Lived, released on Kuya Neil (Neil Cabatingan)'s CONTENT.NET.AU, Teether returns to self-production, comfortably sauntering through indie r'n'b, sample-based downtempo beats and nods to jungle (featuring Stoneset), postpunk (working with Nerdie) and more. It's all gold, all adorned with Teether's effortlessly laconic flow.

Shit and Shine - Livid After Midnight [Antibody label]
Shit and Shine - Jogging In Jeans [Antibody label]
Wait, didn't we just hear from Craig Clouse's Shit and Shine a couple of weeks ago? We did! Joy Of Joys was a collection of strange sound-experiments; now, Masters Of All This Hell comes via the Belgian Antibody Label with a collection of experimental electronic beats and noises that reminds me most of Clouse's two great albums for Editions Mego in 2015 and 2017 - bare-bones weirdbeat shit made on drum machines and samplers, with a kind of perverse funk to them.

Philippe Petit - Within the Corridors of Hell... [Crónica/Bandcamp]
The "musical travel agent" Philippe Petit has performed various roles in the experimental music world for some decades. In the early 2000s he ran a label called BiP_HOp releasing a range of electronic albums as well as some fabulously-curated BiP_HOp Generation compilations featuring the likes of pimmon, Arovane, B.Fleischmann, Scanner, Pan Sonic's Ilpo Väisänen, Murcof and Adrian Lim-Klumpes. He's also presented various radio shows since the 1980s. And full disclosure: a decade ago(!) Philippe & I collaborated on a track - as collaborative musicians and radio presenters in this space, it was inevitable. For at least that decade's time, Philippe has been working with non-musical sound generators feeding into modular synths, creating weirdly organic squalls and slides and throbs out of physical gestures, but also making use of digital editing. These techniques are all there in his latest epic, a 2CD journey into Dante & Doré's vision of hell called A Divine Comedy. I particularly love the disturbed vocal samples in "Within the Corridors of Hell...", interacting with these audio gestures.

Andrea Belfi plays Robert Wyatt - Dondestan [Stray Signals]
Noumeno - In Spirit [Stray Signals]
As the situation in Gaza only gets worse, a problematic situation in Germany - particularly Berlin - is also getting worse, whereby any voices in support of Palestine are being branded as antisemitic, and are systematically silenced - even when they are Jewish. There couldn't be a more irony-laden illustration of the weaponising of "antisemitism" to shield Israel from scrutiny than German authorities feeling empowered to shut down Jewish self-expression. This is the background for the compilation Dedicated To Palestine from Berlin-based Stray Signals, which will donate all revenue to two German-based NGOs, Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East) and Palästina Kampagne. Among the artists featured as Emanuele Porcinai's WSR, who we featured a few times here last year, Planet µ artist Herva, Berlin-based Lebanese musician & DJ Jessika Khazrik and many others. It's a varied collection of electronic and electroacoustic work from across the Berlin scene. A revelation is Andrea Belfi's cover of "Dondestan", a beautiful fable of Palestine from 1991 by the committed leftist and (like Belfi) drummer Robert Wyatt, rich with instrumentation in support of Belfi's fragile, rarely-heard vocals. To contrast, I played some frosty ambient techno from Italian producer Noumeno.

Use Knife - Coupe d'état (Muqata'a مقاطعة remix) [Morphine Records/Bandcamp]
Belgian/Iraqi trio Use Knife combine Arabic percussion and vocals with psychedelic electronics of all sorts. They released their debut album The Shedding of Skin in 2022, and now Berlin label Morphine Records (run by Lebanese musician Rabih Beaini) is releasing a 3-track remix EP, Peace Carnival with reworkings by Zoë Mc Pherson, Beaini and brilliant Palestinian producer Muqata'a مقاطعة. "Coupe d'état" is a pun on "coup d'état", but "coupe" means "cut" (which you Use a Knife for). On Muqata'a's remix, percussion and a driving synth line are punctuated by shouted vocals, bass hits and glitches.

Chewlie - Run [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Swiss producer Julia Häller is Chewlie, whose last release was the Diagon EP for BRUK, one of the labels run by Low End Activist (also of Sneaker Social Club). Now she's back on YUKU with eight more tracks of IDMish bass music and sound design. Chewlie fits with current trends in deconstructed club and experimental bass music, but she has her own approach - there's a lightness to the sounds, not leaning so much on LOUD bass distortion and sudden shifts, but rather on glitchy, skittery beats and syncopations, body-moving, other than a couple of beatless tracks. Top tier sounds.

POD - Anteloper [Kinetic Vision]
A new project for Melbourne techno producer JXTPS aka Wu Kush, POD finds him in bass mode, with dubstep and jungle influences aplenty. Notably, POD has a proper d'n'b EP coming from SUBB later this year - a collaboration with Tamen, one track available here. "Anteloper" seems like dub techno, but as the beats get caught up in syncopating delays, hints of jungle can be heard.

Earl Grey - Prussia Dub [Rua Sound]
Jim Ehlinger aka Earl Grey has been making drum'n'bass & jungle for over a decade now, appearing on labels like Limerick's Subtle Audio, who were advancing jungle/drumfunk ages back. Another Irish label, Rua Sound has just put out the excellent Death Rattle EP from Earl Grey, with nimble break work, equally nimble basslines and dark pads. It's cinematic and unpredictable, first class.

Liquid DnB-Like Ambient Grime 2 - '06 Dubstep Mix [Sneaker Social Club]
Luke J Murray has spread his idiosyncratic take on UK bass music across pseudonyms and collabs like Iceman Junglist Kru, 1-800-ICEMAN, Roadman DSP, and notably the ambient isolationism of Stonecirclesampler. So it's not surprising that the four tracks on the eponymous Liquid DnB-Like Ambient Grime 2 are rather unorthodox takes on the four genres name-checked (garage, dubstep, techno, grime). Each track is ostensible a remix of "Liquid DnB-like Ambient Grime 2", which names the EP and the artist, with pitched-down vocal samples and, on two of the tracks, massively distorted amen breaks clattering in at entirely the wrong tempo. This wrong-footing is of course part of the aesthetic itself. You'd be unlikely to hear these tunes in a club, but as a kind of hauntological celebration of UK bass music they're pretty brilliant. I'll take this over Burial any day.

Kim Gordon - I'm A Man [Matador]
When Kim Gordon came out with her first solo album in 2019, 8 years after Sonic Youth broke up due to her husband Thurston Moore's infidelity, and some 4 decades after the beginning of her musical career, it was a revelation. As bassist and one of the singers in SY, she has played a huge part in experimental, punk/postpunk and indie rock music for decades. And then No Home Record came along, showing an artist still unwilling to do the expected, working with pop producer Justin Raisen to create distorted beats and electronic noise merging with the guitars, a beautifully messed-up accompaniment to that familiar voice. It looks like The Collective is going to continue that aesthetic. It's the punk of the 2020s, uncompromising as ever. For tonight, here's "I'm A Man" eviscerating entitled nobody-men.

clust.r - brood [business casual]
clust.r - leather [business casual]
Who is clust.r? Nobody knows (this is absolutely a lie). They released their self-titled album clust.r on Retrac Recordings in 2022, and Business Casual have just released the follow-up ever chance. Like much of the output of these labels, there's more than a nod to the indietronic breakcoreriffic days of Tigerbeat6, Planet µ circa mid-'00s - it's lo-fi glitch-pop, shoegaze-breakcore, compressed to buggery, distorted electronics and enthusiastic, unschooled vocals from various of clust.r's friends ("river" is rkgk of bagel fanclub, and that duo's other half co-produces a track here as SLUTPUNK!). Anyway, it's intense, joyful and all that other stuff - I think you'll like it.

Other Joe - dreaming out loud [Other Joe Bandcamp]
Naarm/Melbourne's Joseph Buchan runs the legendary .jpeg Artefacts label with impeccable taste, but he's also known to make varied music as Other Joe - something I wish he'd do more of (at least in recorded form)! For Valentine's Day he put out a two-track single called one billion kisses, which is a lot of kisses, but I mean go for it. This is the "b-side": both are beautiful hypnotic pieces with whispering, whistling pads and clicky, head-nodding beats, finishing with jazzy, bell-like Rhodes chords.

Adriaan de Roover - Homebound [Dauw]
Adriaan de Roover - Yet [Dauw]
Belgian sound-artist Adriaan de Roover joins Ghent-based label Dauw for the second time with Other Rooms. I'm reluctant to call this ambient - there's quasi-rhythmic movement going on throughout, and melodies that emerge out of exquisite sound-design. This is wholly absorbing music, sometimes unsettling, that I can't recommend highly enough.

India Gailey - Nicole Lizée - Grotesquerie [people | places | records]
India Gailey - Thanya Iyer - Where I can be as big as the Sun [people | places | records]
Their second album Problematica finds Canadian cellist India Gailey performing seven compositions that I believe were specifically commissioned for them and for this album. Gailey is a composer herself - her own composition on her equally uncategorisable debut album was a highlight, but she is also a first-class interpreter of others' compositions, using her cello to its full extent along with her voice on many of these tracks, and electronics on some as well. There's a lot going on in the tracks here - don't think of it as classical music! Andrew Noseworthy's composition "GomL_V7FinalMix_LessVox_MoreVerb_ Dec13_MASTERED_48k24b_FINAL.wav", created in collaboration with Gailey, wraps cellistic extended techniques in granular processing and shoegazey noise, for instance. On the other hand, some composers invite Gailey to perform expressive songs on cello and voice: the closing piece "Where I can be as big as the Sun" by Thanya Iyer accompanies a deceptively straightforward vocal melody with plucked cello. It's gorgeous. Meanwhile, renowned Canadian composer Nicole Lizée invites Gailey to send short cello phrases and whispered or shouted voice through delay effects, charmingly and a little disturbingly disorienting.

IKSRE - ripples [Constellation Tatsu/Bandcamp]
Naarm-based musician Phoebe Dubar has released five albums now as IKSRE, on various international and local labels. This month, Oakland's Constellation Tatsu released Abundance, as usual featuring ambient electronics and vocals, with subtle beats at times, very much influenced by Dubar's practice in sound healing. It's music to dive into, as there's a lot of detail. Dubar will be launching this album in Sydney on April 6th at Fatamorgana in Alexandria.

Aviva Endean - What Calls in the Quiet (Moths & Stars live set) EXCERPT I [FRIM Records]
Aviva Endean - What Calls in the Quiet (Moths & Stars live set) EXCERPT II [FRIM Records]
Naarm clarinettist and sound-artist Aviva Endean released her first solo album cinder : ember : ashes on Norwegian jazz/improv/experimental label SOFA in 2018, and the incredible Moths & Stars on Room40 in 2022. Now we're back in Scandinavia, with a split release on Sweden's FRIM Records documenting a performance at Rönnells Antikvariat in Stockholm, recorded by Aussie ex-pat John Chantler. I should note Henrik Olsson's beautiful abstract turntable manipulation as the other half of the record, but Endean's set adapts Moths & Stars' close-mic'd exploration of sounds from clarinets and other objects to a live set. The sound quality is remarkable, as if carefully recorded in a studio, scrabbling and bubbling across the stereo soundstage, sounds mostly made with breath, layered into gorgeous harmonies or strange assemblages of flitters and sighs. The full performances are over 30 minutes each, and worth every minute.

Listen again — ~209MB

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Sunday, 11th of February, 2024

Playlist 11.02.24 (11:00 pm)

Sad news came today of the death of Damo Suzuki, the most recognizable vocalist of Can, and globetrotting vocal improvisor. Following some Can, we've got post- & contemporary jazz, gothic & industrial electronics, post-junglisms, idm, folktronica, drone and more.

LISTEN AGAIN to all the jewels within! Stream on demand on FBi's website, podcast here.

Can - Vitamin C [Mute]
Can - Mushroom [Mute]
Damo Suzuki was only the vocalist in Can for 3 years, from 1971 to 1973. But in that time his distinctive improvised vocals, sung in no language or all languages, adorned many of Can's best-loved songs, including the two groundbreaking albums Tago Mago and Ege Bamyasi. Can was the kind of group where every member was an essential part of the idiosyncratic music created, and so Suzuki's yelled, muttered, and sometimes sung vocals are integral to the sound of Can and the sound of their particular brand of krautrock. When Suzuki returned to performing after a period as a Jehovah's Witness(!), he began touring the world, performing his freeform vocals with local musicians, reproducing some of the thrill of Can's all-consuming semi- (or wholly-)improvised gigs for people everywhere - and forming the Damo Suzuki Network. Having been diagnosed with colon cancer first at only 33 years old, but survived it then, he was again diagnosed in 2014, given 10% chance of survival. So the world can count itself lucky to have gotten another 10 years from him.

Koma Saxo with Sofia Jernberg - Croydon Koma [We Jazz Records]
I'm not sure when I first came across the Finnish label We Jazz Records, but they made an impression in 2022 when they commissioned Carl Stone to remix their entire catalogue with We Jazz Reworks Vol. 2. The release I'm playing next was cause for my latest exploration of their releases, but Koma West from double bassist Petter Eldh's project Koma Saxo, this one featuring fellow Swede and brilliant vocalist Sofia Jernberg, was instantly striking. Eldh's compositions are avant-garde but still catchy, with strong orchestrations for strings, horns, piano and drums (and Eldh's mother Kiki on accordion!) and as well as Jernberg, who elevates everything she's involved with, this album features versatile cellist Lucy Railton and composer/improviser/organist Kit Downes on piano. In the end, though, it was the clattering drums of Christian Lillinger that gave this 2022 album the prime slot after Can!

divr - As Of Now [We Jazz Records]
divr - Echo's Answer [We Jazz Records]
From Sweden to Switzerland (again via the Finnish We Jazz), the new album from Swiss jazz piano trio divr, Is This Water, is a thing of beauty and wonder. They range from delicate beauty to post-bop intensity at times, incorporating snippets of field recordings and sound manipulation courtesy of Dan Nicholls which give the music an other-worldly uncanniness. There are three covers out of nine tracks: a jazz standard, Radiohead's "All I Need", and a gorgeous rendition of the lovely "Echo's Answer" by Broadcast. This is complex and deep music that's still rewarding for all.

Teiku - Psalm 113-114 [577 Records/Bandcamp]
Here's the first single from a new jazz group with a unique take on what was called "Radical Jewish Culture" when John Zorn started highlighting the avant-garde music of the Downtown New York scene in the 1990s. Here, pianist Josh Harlow and drummer Jonathan Barahal Taylor explore and recontextualise their ancestral music as sung at Passover Seders, inherited from their families' roots in Ukraine (my mother's ancestry is also Jewish-Ukrainian as it happens, although we never learnt these songs). Recordings of these liturgical songs are directly incorporated into the recordings, juxtaposed with fiery playing from Harlow and Taylor along with Jaribu Shahid's double bass, horns from Peter Formanek and Rafael Leafar, and electronics from various members. It's quite striking and powerful. The two bandleaders write of the band's music: "As its humble stewards we offer it as a call for justice for all oppressed peoples; as Jews, we decry the senseless violence, displacement, and killing perpetrated in our name." Co-signed.

Ryan Teague - Unbound [Bigo & Twigetti/Bandcamp]
Since 2005, Bristol composer & multi-instrumentalist Ryan Teague has blurred the boundaries between electronic music and classical composition. For post/neo-classical label Bigo & Twigetti his upcoming album Pattern Recognition is in some ways his most electronic, with synth patterns and beats rubbing shoulders with sampled classical arrangements on acoustic instruments. I can tell you the rest of the album is well worth the wait, released on March 22nd.

Chelsea Wolfe - Tunnel Lights [Loma Vista/Bandcamp]
Chelsea Wolfe - Whispers in the Echo Chamber [Loma Vista/Bandcamp]
For 14+ years and over a dozen albums, Chelsea Wolfe has combined her love of heavy metal with gothic folk and, increasingly, electronics, and an undeniable ear for great songwriting. On She Reaches Out To She Reaches Out To She, Wolfe and longtime musical partner Ben Chisholm conjure songs that can move between shoegaze, darkwave, folk and industrial metal. It's really good.

Yuko Araki - ‡Otiron (Portal Remix) [Room40/Bandcamp]
Yuko Araki - ‡Magnetar (Jonathan Snipes Remix) [Room40/Bandcamp]
Last year, Yuko Araki released IV, an incredible album of industrial noise, beats and exotic samples, a highlight of the year for me. She invited a number of musicians to remix two of the tracks from the album, ‡Magnetar and ‡Otiron, starting with Jonathan Snipes of clipping., who takes the ritualistic vocal samples and crunchy beats and gives them more of a club-ready makeover. Perhaps the most audacious choice was Australian extreme metal band Portal, who drench those vocal samples in distortion and general ugliness. Great stuff!

Gantz - howidowhatyoudoisnotwhatiwoulddowhatyoudoyetido [Gantz Bandcamp]
For his first EP of 2024, Turkish post-dubstepper seems to have given up on titles. untitled EP features such tracks as "variations on a drum loop" and "livetakeone". Mostly they are indeed variations on drum loops, mulched up in Gantz's machinery but retaining just enough funk.

Ivy Lab - Look Away [Sneaker Social Club/Bandcamp]
Having started out making drum'n'bass as Sabre and Stray, Gove Kidao and Jonathan Fogel teamed up almost 10 years ago as Ivy Lab, mostly putting out half-time and hip-hop-paced music. Last year they started veering back towards drum'n'bass and jungle, and they arrive on Sneaker Social Club with a mélange of UK bass styles, break-juggling at various tempos. It's bass music, not quite jungle, not quite what's going on in drum'n'bass at the moment, but 100% quality.

Gremlinz & Jesta - Big White [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
Gremlinz & Jesta - All 7 [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
Following numerous 12"s on Metalheadz as well Gremlinz' UVB-76 and DROOGS labels, the power duo of Gremlinz & Jesta have just released a full album through the 'headz, The Lee Garden Historical Preservation Society (it's named for a Chinese restaurant in Toronto, where the pair originally met). As we heard in the first cut tonight, there's some quality breakbeat stuff at lower tempos, but mostly it's drum'n'bass with plenty of jungle love. There's a lovely vocal tune featuring enthusiastic Ukrainian-born d'n'b singer flowanastasia, and among the dark'n'heavy electronics there are also hints at jazz and organic sounds. A great entry into the annals of Metalheadz albums.

Kloke - Digital Tribes [Future Retro]
A Brit based for many years in Melbourne, Kloke (aka Andy Donnelly) has been at the top of the jungle game for some years now. When Tim Reaper toured Oz & NZ last year, the pair spent some good time together - there are a number of collaborative releases from them out there already - and Reaper took home a huge cache of unreleased productions from Donnelly. There was clearly a lot of quality stuff in there, from which 12 tracks have been selected for Kloke's first album, and the first album on Future Retro. To his credit, On Rhythm doesn't get tiring, shifting around from typical amens to percussive breaks and severely chopped and manipulated beats, with basslines to order. Thanks to Tim Reaper's neverending enthusiasm for bringing this collection to the world.

Lakker - Dredger [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Czech label YUKU continues its dedication to dominating the bass & experimental electronic music scene with a new EP from Dublin's finest (via Berlin) Lakker. Gateway goes everywhere, from the techno of their R&S breakthroughs like Mountain Divide through to mad gabber shit, and some equally mad jungle deconstruction.

Tidy Kid - Social Butter (Yürke Deconstructed Dub Remix) [Hauch Records/Bandcamp]
Tidy Kid - Fragment 2 [Tidy Kid Bandcamp]
Tidy Kid - Toy Plane In Ice [Tidy Kid Bandcamp]
Tidy Kid - Flower (Copper Beach Remix) [Hauch Records/Bandcamp]
Way back in 2010 a Brisbane artist called Marly Lüske sent me a demo CD-R of tracks under his moniker Tidy Kid, which combined IDM, folktronica and indietronica influences. Some of those tunes appear on a collection he released in 2019 called selected works 06-10, of which a few copies of the vinyl are still available! It was released with Düsseldorf electronic label Hauch Records, who have now - apropos of what I'm not sure - released 10 Mixes For No Cash (lol), in which 10 of the label's artists remix tracks from that old Tidy Kid collection. It's all excellent, highlighting the melodic and textural quality of the source material, some keeping the glitchy, crunchy style of beats, and some heading in other directions. Yürke take "Social Butter" into almost dubstep territories, nice and dark, while Copper Beach pulls apart the vocal-led "Flower" and turns it into a miny-epic of harmonised vocals, stuttery beats and soundscapes. Lüske has both a new album of lo-fi stuff under his own name, and a new Tidy Kid collection coming.

Shugorei - Ghanima [4000 Records]
Timothy Fairless - Inevitable Drone [4000 Records]
This week, Brisbane label 4000 Records will release a huge compilation of 37 tracks and over 3 hours of music called Solidarity Soundwaves, an anti-war, non-violence-promoting collection to raise funds for Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP). As Israel's relentless destruction of life and livability in Gaza rolls on, the humanitarian crisis gets worse every day. So put $10 or more aside for this compilation, and I guarantee you'll find some musical revelations in there from up north, like the "inevitable" drone from talented composer & electronic musician Timothy Fairless, or the incredible mix of live drums and electronics from Shugorei, the duo of Japanese percussionist Nozomi Omote and producer Thomas Green.

Mark Van Hoen - Electric Lights [Dell'Orso/Bandcamp]
Although he's put out plenty of music on Bandcamp over the past few years, it's been a while since there was a new Mark Van Hoen album - although The First Cause came out last year under his Locust moniker. In the past he's released ambient, techno, distorted hip-hop beats and IDM with female vocals, jungle and more. Plan For a Miracle is a melancholy, soul-stirring album touched by the tragic death of Van Hoen's wife Osho, who fell ill during the latter parts of the album's recording. Grab this on vinyl before it sells out.

Munma - Midday Shoulder Surfing [Ruptured Records/Bandcamp]
Between 2006 & 2009 Beirut musician Jawad Nawfal released his first three albums as Munma - it's mostly instrumental electronic music, dark, with dynamic beats and only a few news samples, but was recorded as a response to the deadly attacks by Israel that reached far into Lebanon during the 2006 war. These albums were released on Ruptured Records, the label run by Nawfal's brother Ziad, and while Nawfal has been busy with collaborative releases of all sorts , including on his VV-VA imprint. Now Munma returns to his brother's label for Transient Organ, a mostly-instrumental album other than artist/photographer Caroline Tabet's murmered French poetry on two tracks (Tabet also provides the evocative cover art). The music is minimal electronica made mostly on modular synths, with a general air of mystery, of a slightly disturbed quiet - only emphasised by the smudged, half-heard spoken words. Recommended.

Senking - i might be wrong (feat. Bonnie B) [Senking Bandcamp]
I know Jens Massel's music as Senking via his album Capsize Recovery, his fifth on the legendary German minimal electronic label Raster-Noton. So it's interesting to discover that the music on his Bandcamp - one 7" from 2016 and a series of single tracks since 2022 - is a series of very organic-sounding analogue synth jams, very live-sounding even when there are drum machines involved. The latest, "i might be wrong" is a gorgeous further departure, starting with two looped chords perhaps played on a cello or double bass, spacey electric guitar strums and sparse vocals from his mate Bonnie B. It's like a lost Flying Saucer Attack track or something, and I would 100% enjoy an album of this stuff and mysterious analogue bass throbs...

MJ Guider - Primavera (Ritmo Joven) [MJ Guider Bandcamp]
A departure for MJ Guider here too, who eschews her post-industrial shoegaze for freeform sonic constructions that all centre around flute, played and processed in various ways, along with guitarscapes and electronics. It's very unusual and enveloping stuff, recorded in - and steeped in - humid heat.

Listen again — ~208MB

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Wednesday, 7th of February, 2024

Playlist 04.02.24 (12:15 am)

There's some great string-based music out this week, including indie-rock strings, stringdietronica (I made that up. It's awful, sorry), and some gorgeous double-bass/percussion-ambient stuff from three Aussie women. Also noise and glitch, dubstep/industrial dub, and shoegaze...

LISTEN AGAIN to check that thing you missed the first time. Stream on demand brought to you by our wondrous host FBi, podcast here.

Derek Piotr - East Tennessee feat. Ican Harem [forthcoming, check Derek Piotr Bandcamp]
On May 10th, Derek Piotr's new album Divine Supplication will be released, and tonight we've brought you the first single, "East Tennessee". Derek's music has various tendencies: far-out glitch; vocal avant-gardism and vocal manipulation; recontextualising folk and classical music (he is a folklorist as well as composer and vocalist); and manipulation of field recordings. The new album will be a goldmine of guest collaborations - vocals from brilliant Norwegian singer Maja Ratkje and, on this track, Ican Harem of Gabber Modus Operandi; composition interpolations from My Brightest Diamond and Dirty Projectors; appearances from Fennesz, Brian Chippendale of noise rockers Lightning Bolt; and Piotr makes use of Olivier Alary's processing patches from the fabled first Ensemble album Sketch Proposals. Piotr's music can lean towards arch-postmodernism at times, but this album promises to be emotionally dense along with the referential and technical aspects.

aya - Lip Flip (ft. LOFT) [YCO]
Aya Sinclair has been known as aya now for long enough to drop the "fka LOFT", but I think there's a combination of humour and pointed commentary to the former alias's continual re-references. On the title track of her forthcoming EP Lip Flip, the pseudonym is given a "featuring" credit, perhaps as a farewell, as the EP is aimed at raising funds for Aya's Facial Feminisation Surgery. The music itself is a glitchy piece of 4/4 funk, digi-house with off-beat sprays of synth glitter and occasional vocal snippets.

Patrick Carpenter - The Revenant (Blushing Panda remix) [Patrick Carpenter Bandcamp]
Patrick Carpenter - Lucky 7 [Patrick Carpenter Bandcamp]
Although Patrick Carpenter has been an important figure in the intersection of UK hip-hop, electronic music and jazz for decades, there's been precious little in the way of solo work. He was the "PC" half of PC & Strictly with Strictly Kev aka Kevin Foakes, who as a duo complemented Matt Black and Jonathan More of Coldcut when contractual obligations led them to form DJ Food to experiment in instrumental, sample-based music outside of their usual alias. A few years in, they retrieved control of "Coldcut", and DJ Food was passed on to PC & Strictly, who together authored the incredible Kaleidoscope album in 2000 (augmented with the beautiful Kaleidoscope Companion a few years back). Along the way, PC & Strictly also joined More & Black in what many consider the greatest DJ mix of all time. Meanwhile he was also part of J Swinscoe's Cinematic Orchestra for a number of albums, but for a while now I believe he's been mostly working in an engineering/production capacity. But some creative projects have been happening behind the scenes, so we now have the eight-track Electric Envelope on his *ahem* Minestrone of Sound, in which you can hear the jazz orchestrations and trip-hop bass/beats of those older projects, but also tight & controlled electronic beats. Eight brilliant productions, but importantly eight compositions steeped in humanity.

toechter - Me she said [Morr Music/Bandcamp]
toechter - Mercury [Morr Music/Bandcamp]
So how does a trio of string players end up being released on the Morr Music label? The three members of German trio toechter, Marie-Claire Schlameus, Lisa Marie Vogel, Katrine Grarup Elbo play cello and violin, and classical composition filters through their self-composed works, but they also use their instruments to create percussive sounds and process them in other ways, and the musicians' voices join these acoustic & electronic elements so that what we hear is a seamless blend of songwriting and composition with electronics. In the early days of Utility Fog, Morr Music was home to various Notwist side-projects (Lali Puna, Ms John Soda etc) as well as acts like Styrofoam who feel awkwardly under the umbrella of "indietronica". Here, another generation takes those tropes and somehow reconstructs the sounds purely on strings. It's a thing of beauty.

Gareth Skinner - Sangfroid Aloha [Kasumuen]
Gareth Skinner - Bitching [Kasumuen]
Melbourne cellist Gareth Skinner was an indie rocker in the '90s, playing bass guitar but also quite prominently featuring the cello in the great, wild indie rock band bZARK. I've been a fan of Gareth's solo music too for a long time - songs from 2009's Looking For Vertical still appear unbidden in my head at odd times. So you can guarantee my ears perked up to the news of a new solo album. Off // Axis is out now via Kasumuen - sadly vinyl only (and digital) - and like Gareth's other records, most of the instrumental load is carried by multi-tracked cello. There's drums via Drew Caldwell, who played with Gareth in Disaster Plan and The Ergot Derivative, and a few other guests (including Joel Silbersher of notorious Melbourne punk/rock bands GOD and Hoss), but there are riffs and melodies and unhinged solos on the cello, as well as Gareth's somewhat deadpan vocals. I love it, hope you do too!

Panghalina - Not Super [Room40/Bandcamp]
Panghalina - Whale Dance [Room40/Bandcamp]
Room40 have already started the year strongly, and Lava, from new Australian trio Panghalina is already a highlight. This music is simultaneously abstract and representational - the slow-moving molten rock that is lava flows through the music. Helen Svoboda's double bass serves as the melodic instrument a lot of the time, with gorgeous mournful harmonics floating through the scattered percussion of Bonnie Stewart and Maria Moles. Svoboda's and Stewart's voices also provide eerie melodies, and despite 2/3 of the band being drummers, this isn't rhythmic music at all much of the time (not surprising given Moles' prior solo work!) Really you need to sink into Panghalina's volcano and trust that it stays dormant. Your trust will be richly rewarded.

Tot Onyx - Naked Repugnance [group A Bandcamp]
Way back in 2018, the Berlin-based Japanese techno/noise/experimental duo Group A performed at Dark Mofo and I was blown away by the flow of uncategorisable sound the two women produced - Sayaka Botanic on violin and electronics, Tommi Tokyo on all sorts of other electronics, both also adding their voices to the layered, pulsating madness. The duo haven't seemingly been that active for a while, but Tommi Tokyo introduced her solo act Tot Onyx a couple of years ago, and a slew of releases has followed. The start of 2024 brings her first self-released EP, T.O.1, made up of fragments of live performances over the last year or two, and it brings some of the bewildering energy of that performance in 2018, albeit considerably abstracted from any kind of beats. This is noise as sound-art, from a serious and talented practitioner.

sonaura - Vymazané Scény #1 (by The Owl) [Perceptual Tapes/Bandcamp]
sonaura - Deleted scenes #1 [Perceptual Tapes/Bandcamp]
sonaura - No Way of Telling (Ben Nodes Remix) [Perceptual Tapes/Bandcamp]
Last year, the nipaluna/Hobart label Perceptual Tapes sent me a beautiful album of processed piano by label head Timothy Allan aka Spectrical. The follow-up album Noumena came from UK artist sonaura, and I'm sad I didn't manage to play it at the time, as it's lovely subtly surreal tape and glitch stuff. I played "Deleted scenes #1" tonight along with a couple of pieces from the remix album Sonaura have released, Noumena: Reimaginings, which expands the pallette into stuttering granular processing like that of prolific Czech band The Owl, glitchy beats like those from UK's Ben Nodes, along with more tape manipulation. You can download the album for free, but anything contributed will go to MAP/Medical Aid for Palestinians. It's also nice to pay something for Bandcamp releases because the release will then turn up in your Bandcamp library and will turn up in the timelines & notifications of people you're connected to.

Madobe Rika - Ordinary days SNAFU [Virgin Babylon Records]
Here's another piece of breakcore-J-pop from the mysterious "virtual girl" Madobe Rika. It's perfect Virgin Babylon music really, embodying (or rather... not embodying) Japanese aesthetics of prettiness and harshness in equal amounts, with a little wink of humour throughout.

Match Fixer - Rats [SE:CD]
Match Fixer - See Me [SE:CD]
Naarm/Melbourne musician Andrew Cowie has released music under the name Angel Eyes, but switched to instrumental experimental electronica as Match Fixer some years ago. I was hooked from just about the start, through to an excellent album last year on Melbourne's Nice Music, but it's still great to find him now on the Berlin-based SE:CD, which launched last year with the great exael. Cowie's music bears the influence of IDM and contemporary experimental sounds, but with a sure understanding of techno and bass musics. New EP Done brings him as close to jungle/drum'n'bass as he's been, with an album promised around the corner from the same label. And MAP/Medical Aid for Palestinians will also be the beneficiary of any Bandcamp purchases.

Tawdry Otter - What She Knew [Adrien75 Bandcamp]
Adrien Capozzi is best known as Adrien75 in the IDM world, and as part of various ensembles uner the Carpet Bomb label umbrella - I've said before that I wish the Highways Over Gardens comp was still available to share with you. Maybe I'll bug them about it, but in the meantime, Adrien has continued making weird beats and genre-agnostic stuff under the Adrien75 moniker, and for a little while now also as Tawdry Otter, all-electronic, beat-based releases which I think are probably mostly created on the Koala Sampler mobile app. In any case, it's sample-based and beat-based fun, light of touch and fleet of foot.

Shit & Shine - Joy_14 [OOH-sounds/Bandcamp]
Shit & Shine - Joy_04 [OOH-sounds/Bandcamp]
Craig Clouse has been a lot of things through his career, and Shit & Shine is his vehicle for solo shenanigans. I've always through of it as a noise act, but there are memorable lo-fi loop-disco, heavy dubstep, glitch, hardcore punk and metal forays as well... at the very least. It's also at times been a band (oh, and don't forget the grind/doom of Todd while we're at it!) but my impression that for ages it's been the outlet for anything Clouse solo chooses to do. So we get to Joy of Joys, released by Italian experimental label OOH-sounds. It's actually not out of order to call this noise, among other things. It's definitely experimental music in the real sense of experimentation. Each track is a relatively short vignette made of short blurted samples that only accidentally form any kind of rhythms - and yet vocal stabs and delay effects at times remind one of the in-between bits of some dub techno or industrial record, the sound of a warm-up, a soundcheck. But, you know... in a good way.

Wraz. - Dreadbox [Artikal Music/Bandcamp]
I discovered Québecois dubstep producer Wraz. via UK label Artikal Music about a year ago with the excellent Wraith EP, so it's great to find him back on the label with another winner, Dreadbox: four tracks of heavy bass action, great sense of dynamics and creative beats. For my money one of the essential dubstep artists at the moment.

Cartridge - Dem God [DEEP MEDi/Bandcamp]
You always know you'll get quality from DEEP MEDi, one of the most consistent dubstep labels (of course, given it was founded by Mala). Prolific Manchester producer Cartridge has made a mark on the dubstep scene, with collaborations and a growing amount of mastering work, and the Altitude is a killer debut on DEEP MEDi. "Dem God" keeps the dub in dubstep, as well as the good ol' 'ardcore continuum...

The Bug - Gutted(Human Filth) [Pressure/Bandcamp]
Following 4 filth-ridden EPs last year, The Bug concludes the Machine series with Machine V, five tracks of sludgy industrial dub, as always dubstep-adjacent but in that special way that Kevin Martin has honed over 3+ decades of production. These tracks were debuted at one of The Bug's many appearances with grime legend and recent Grammy winner Flowdan, and one can only imagine the intensity.

jesu - Hard To Reach (2024 Remaster) [jesu Bandcamp]
Of course JK Broadrick is a longtime associate of Mr Martin, and their OG duo Techno Animal is seeing its '90s albums re-released with heavy-as-fuck remasters from Broadrick. But Jesu is a well-loved identity within JKB's massive oeuvre, his visionary take on shoegaze-metal, and home to many blissful searing songs of melancholy. The Hard To Reach EP is not technically new: the two opening tracks appear on Jesu's somewhat legendary split with Japanese emo/screamo band Envy, released in 2008, but they appear here remastered by Broadrick - along with two contemporary unreleased gems and an alternate version of the title track, which we hear tonight in all its 13+-minute glory. A super-punchy drum machine beat, albeit different from the beats he programs for Godflesh, motors through, eventually almost overwhelmed by the layers of reverbed guitars, electronics, and Broadrick's clean vox. Seriously wondrous stuff.

Listen again — ~211MB

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