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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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