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

Sunday, 28th of April, 2024

Playlist 28.04.24 (11:00 pm)

Experimental song and experimental beats and sound-art, and even some experimental post-metal type sounds!

LISTEN AGAIN via FBi Radio's stream on demand, or podcast here. Your life will be better for it.

Deepchild - Kindness (Deepchild Interpolation) [Seppuku Bandcamp]
The new EP from Eroa/Sydney's Rick Bull aka Deepchild draws on the work of Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye, whose poem Rick reads with aplomb on the third track, with ambient electronic accompaniment. The first two tracks are entitled "From The River" and "To The Sea". Yep.

Simon Fisher Turner - Barefeet [Mute/Bandcamp]
I nearly fell off my chair when a Bandcamp email turned up with a new release from Simon Fisher Turner - and it's a full new album! And there's vinyl but no CD, because we can't have nice things. SFT has been many things in his career, from child actor and young pop idol to composer and sound-artist who's worked with Derek Jarman and created some of the most alluring and boundary-pushing audio work in the last few decades. So it's nice that "Barefeet", the first single from Instability of the Signal, is a sweet, tender song in which the harmonised vocal is accompanied by a stark glitched loops, and adorned with bursts of electronic squeals, fragments of found sound, and a six-note bass riff at the end of phrases. A deconstructed pop song as only Simon Fisher Turner could do.

Kee Avil - Gelatin [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Crease, the first solo album from Montréal experimental musician Kee Avil came out on Constellation in 2022. Her follow-up, Spine is... at least as weird. Avil excels at writing things that are song-formed and seem to have all the ingredients of music, but everything's skewed. The mastery comes in nevertheless creating something haunting out of this "discomfort", as jj skolnik describes it in their essay on the album. Listen to these albums and enjoy your ears being turned inside out.

ambroise - l'air était si doux [Ambroise Bandcamp]
Eugénie Jobin is a musician, singer and composer based in Tio'tià:ke/Montréal. La premi​è​re caresse go​û​te toujours la neige is their fifth solo work as Ambroise, in which they set poems by Marie Uguay to voice accompanied by sparing piano, accordion and some synths and electronics. The beautiful songs are somewhere between classical, folk and jazz, with subtle electronic détournements that catch one's emotions at the edges. This is music that deserves an attentive, loving listen when things are quiet.

House of Gold - Phenomena [Sofa music/Bandcamp]
House of Gold - Blues [Sofa music/Bandcamp]
Eugénie Jobin is also a member of the new music quartet House of Gold, who perform the music of composer Isaiah Ceccarelli, a jazz and improv drummer and percussionist who also composes chamber music and is a self-confessed enthusiast for earyl choral music. And truly all of that is found in the song cycle that is the band's self-titled debut album, with harmonised vocals from Jobin and Frédérique Roy, both of whom also play keyboards alongside Katelyn Clark, while Ceccarelli plays drums and percussion. Much of the music is comprised of minimalist piano, even more minimalist organs and other keyboards, sparse percussion and pure voices - only to break, at times, into bursts of postpunk or krautrock drums and keyboard drones & pulses. If the music of the current age is characterised by anything, it's the final and complete breaking down of any genre boundaries (which incidentally makes Utility Fog either prescient, redundant, or never more relevant). House of Gold show us one such permutation, with beauty and grace.

Denseland - Four Humans And A Rope [arbitrary/Bandcamp]
German trio Denseland combine the mostly-spoken lyrics of David Moss with the rhythm section of Hanno Leichtmann on drums and electronic rhythm, and Hannes Strobl on electronic bass and double bass. Both Leichtmann and Strobl are experienced electroacoustic and experimental musicians, and the trio are joined by sound-artist Katharina Bévand on three tracks. Moss's lyrics evade easy interpretation, but are evocative of post-cyberpunk noir cool, and insert themselves in a fragmentary way into the glitchy, sparse, broken-down grooves and eerie drones of Leichtmann & Strobl (plus Bévand), with the angularity of postpunk and krautrock. It's really quite something.

Wukir Suryadi - Pikiran dan kepentingan (Thoughts and Concerns) [Discrepant/Bandcamp]
Senyawa are one of the most internationally fêted Indonesian bands, even outside the usual experimental and weird-metal scenes. Their distinctive vocalist Rully Shabara can also be found collaborating with all & sundry - but equally individual is Wukir Suryadi, who plays handmade instruments through pedals and amps. For his solo album Siklus dan Doa from the ever-adventurous Discrepant, his instruments are placed into a kind of dub context, but even when they're not ringing and reverberating, their strange warbling pitches and often low-strung vibrations create an enveloping, mysterious soundworld. Truly brilliant and utterly unique stuff.

zeroh - DON'T BREAK [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
So I'm not quite sure how I came across zeroh back in 2020, although Leaving Records is a cool place for him to have ended up. Edwin Liddie Jr had previously released music as Blaqbird and was MCing with LA's Low End Theory for many years too. His BLQLYTE album in 2020 was an incredible album of murky and mangled underground hip-hop, and it's taken 4 years for him to return with, yep, SUMLYTE - although, honestly, not a lot of light. It's still pretty murky shit, with zeroh's voice emerging, smudged, from the lysergic beats, while - on "DON'T BREAK", Jamael Dean lends a synth solo.

Third Space - a whole planet covered in circles [Absorb/Bandcamp]
After a couple of more ambient excursions - including the bubbling lava of his 25-minute Longform Editions piece - Naarm/Melbourne's Third Space is back with drum'n'bass-flecked techno via Absorb on the 5-track EP dot points. Or is it techno-flavoured drum'n'bass? It's somewhere in between, built from percussion and drum machines rather than breaks, muted but melodic electronics and of course bass. There's a physical edition on 2CDs, these 5 excellent tracks augmented with a live performance which I'm looking forward to consuming soon.

Sam Link - Sheepish [YUKU]
The second release on YUKU from Midwest US producer Sam Link follows on from his first, 2022's Hestitate. Like that release, Concerta has 6 tracks, drawing from UK bass music, jungle, footwork and idm. There's a ruthless funk to these tracks, a syncopation from Link playing fast & loose with his breakbeats and chopping bass and samples in & out of step. It works because Link has a clear, instinctive command of flow - irresistible.

Type - Sprinter [RuptureLDN/Bandcamp]
Four tracks of classic break choppage and heavy sub work from Type, whose thing is making tracks on standalone hardware, no computer (or not much). He's expert at the drumfunk subgenre, a kind of mutation of d'n'b back to junglist roots but with a diverse array of breaks and plenty of syncopation. Again to me it's about the flow, and Type, with his Akai MPC, has that down pat.

Mantra - Burn & Heal [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Indi Khera aka DJ Mantra is a dedicated and influential drum'n'bass & jungle DJ, who co-founded Rupture London with her partner Double O in 2006 as a club night for d'n'b, jungle & breakbeat vibes, and six years later founded the RuptureLDN label with the same ethos. Her own productions have only emerged recently, with all the rhythmic & tonal smarts you'd expect. Here she is debuting on Munich's iconic Ilian Tape, with four tracks running the gamut of breaks up to and including fluid, complex jungle. Like the above two tracks, syncopation and bass pressure rule here. We live in truly opulent times for break-chopping junkies.

Lanark Artefax - Metallur [AD93/Bandcamp]
For someone so impactful, Scotland's Lanark Artefax has very few releases under his belt. "Touch Absence", from his 2017 EP back when AD93 was Whities, was ubiquitous at the time, with its crackling electro breaks, gorgeous pads, and that swooping bassline. After a Björk remix, Corra Linn followed in 2019, pushing into distinctly more deconstructed club territories, with phenomenal sound design, but clocking in at under a quarter of an hour. Other than the Glasz EP also from 2016, and a live recording, that's all we've had until Metallur, out now from AD93. 25 minutes of mind-blowing sound design, mutated vocals and mutilated beats - new Lanark could not fail to be as brilliant as this.

sideproject - weight [SVBKVLT]
Like me, you may have first heard of Icelandic trio sideproject via a surprise remix of Björk at the end of 2022. The intricate idm and organic crunch are, to be honest, vintage Björk and it's no surprise that they're from Iceland. Up until now, there are only a grab-bag of self-releases on their Bandcamp - technically via the Icelandic collective post-dreifing - including the big hard-disk dump sandinista release party / ætla fara godmode from 2019, which you'll thank me for pointing you at for sure. Anyway, the broadminded Shanghai/not-Shanghai SVBKVLT have signed them on for a limited 12" & digital album sourcepond, and first single "weight" is the skittery madness we didn't know we needed for May, 2024.

Hanz - Rainslick [Brandon Juhans Bandcamp]
The name Hanz should be familiar to followers of the much-missed Tri-Angle Records (and this show), for jittery constructions of samples clustered into double-speed rhythms that were never so much jungle as sped-up hip-hop on caffeine, alien footwork, rhythmic glitch. He's mostly released music under his own name, Brandon Juhans, more recently, but returns as Hanz for Note From The Editor. The amphetamine-funk is still there, but also stuff like this, the disorienting comedown. Juhans still manipulates samples in ways most others would discard. More fool them.

Musique Infinie - Voices Nobody Hears [-OUS/Bandcamp]
Noémi Büchi - Infernal Stability [-OUS/Bandcamp]
I can see when Noémi Büchi released Matter in 2022 I really enjoyed it, but somehow last year I missed playing her duo Musique Infinie with fellow Swiss experimental artist Feldermelder aka Manuel Oberholzer. Now that Büchi is following up Matter with Does It Still Matter, I've revisited Musique Infinie's debut I and found it well deserving of an outing. Released on the experimental electronic label -OUS that Oberholzer co-founded with Nik Schärer, these album share the dynamic and expressive range that Büchi imparts in her electronics, inspired by a love of classical orchestration, frequently spun into mutating shapes of experimental beats. Büchi's new album follows on from Matter in its sound, but in asking "Does It Still Matter?" it positions the tension between classical maximalism and electronic experimentalism as a question for artists in the face of a world tumbling towards calamity, although Büchi's answer seems resoundingly in the positive.

Renato Grieco & Rebecca Moccia - II. The parliament: the shrinking of my world [Paint it Black/CRIPTA747/kNN Bandcamp]
Renato Grieco & Rebecca Moccia - IV. The Cliff: cold as ice, clear as glass [Paint it Black/CRIPTA747/kNN Bandcamp]
Both hailing from Napoli (Naples) in southern Italy, sound-artist Renato Grieco and transdisciplinary artist Rebecca Moccia have collaborated on Ministry of Loneliness, a work that followed Moccia's travels through UK, Canada and Japan researching the way that neoliberal bureaucratic structures shape particular kinds of political and personal decision-making that in turn produce a culture of separation, of loneliness. The recording, released via Turin publisher Paint it Black along with cultural centre CRIPTA747 as a limited single-side picture disc, is part of Moccia's broader work on loneliness, and is presented as a single work called Ministry of Loneliness Theme. But it's split into five parts in digital form, so we've taken two sections tonight which bring us words read by Sara Lazzaro and Grieco's emotive music that blends composition and electronics, with plangent synth pads, fragments of field recordings and glitchy textures, which have been further degraded by recording them on to tape that has then been buried in the dirt. And there is an earthy feel to this music, not quite at the Disintegration Loops stage but still hauntologically touched.

Harvestman - Psilosynth (Harvest Dub) [Neurot Recordings/Bandcamp]
If you don't follow the metal scene much, you might not know the significance of Neurosis, a pivotal band in post-metal that started as hardcore punk but morphed into an expansive sound drawing from postrock, industrial, hardcore, doom and experimental music of all sorts. The band also had an alter ego called Tribes of Neurot that wasn't metal at all, allowing them to explore drone, sound-art, glitch, noise and more. There's a problem with Neurosis: in 2022 it was revealed that Scott Kelly, one of the band's vocalists, had been emotionally and physically abusing his wife and children, over many years. The rest of the band had known earlier, and expelled him from the band in 2019, but his wife had asked for privacy until Kelly himself went public in 2022. There's no doubt this colours Neurosis's entire career and for many it's hard to listen to the band at all anymore. But it's unfair for Kelly's manipulativeness to reflect on the other members of the band (see their exemplary statement after Kelly's revelations), and in particular the band's other singer/guitarist Steve Von Till has a solo output of widescreen, psychedelic folk music - oh, and he's also an elementary school teacher in rural North Idaho. But "Steve Von Till" also has an alter ego, Harvestman, an instrumental project for abstracted psych folk guitar works, and much more. So that takes us to the latest Harvestman album, released on the band's own fantastic independent label Neurot Recordings. Triptych: Part One is the first of three records this year released on special full moons - this came out with the Pink Moon on April 23rd. The album uses synths, loops, filters, delays, weird percussion and more as well as guitar - and bass is paramount, with the legendary Al Cisneros of stoner metal bands Sleep and Om lending dub weight to the opening track, which is deconstructed on the b-side as "Psilosynth (Harvest Dub)". This is a project concerned with ancient history and geological time, exploring humanity's connection with - and disconnection from - nature on a grand scale. The following two full moon releases can't come soon enough.

Locrian - Black Prisims Of Our Dead Age [Profound Lore Records/Bandcamp]
Another important act at the periphery of metal here, Chicago trio Locrian was formed by André Foisy and Terence Hannum with influences from black metal but a basis in drone and noise. Their more abstract and electronic works contrast with albums of, well, whatever you might call it: black metal, doom metal, post-metal, industrial metal. It's all there, and only sometimes with black metal's screams and doom/hardcore's growls. And also essential for most of the band's existence is drummer Steven Hess, who we heard only last week in postrock/glitch trio Innode, and who also connects the band to minimalist improv and experimental music (see also his subtle contributions to the magical debut album of the Labradford/Pan American-related Anjou). Locrian's latest, End Terrain, is certainly metal, with industrial and electronic elements, and looks to deep time in the opposite direction from Harvestman. This is an album about the time after the end, a planet consumed by humanity's waste. Anger and aggression is tempered by a sense of regret and mourning. It's quite a ride, fuelled by Terence Hannum's visions of the apocalypse, which is fleshed out in the short story collection OUR DEAD AGE, found as a bonus PDF with the album and also available as a set of readings on a limited cassette. Intense and evocative stuff.

Lachlan R. Dale - Forms disassemble (feat. Peter Hollo) [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
Lachlan R. Dale - Flowing ceaselessly through the air (feat. Helen Svoboda, Brendan Clark) [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
An Eora/Sydney connection to metal here via Art As Catharsis boss and Hashshashin member Lachlan R. Dale. Now, Lachlan's my good friend, and Art As Catharsis released my solo album back in 2017 - and we now play together in an almost-metal band, Black Aleph. But Lachlan's new album Shrines has been in progress for some years, well before Black Aleph existed. The album is essentially an ambient affair, and Lachlan name-checks Loscil, Fennesz, and Rafael Anton Irisarri as influences. Also integral to the sound are collaborators, one or two on each track, who responded to some initial loops by Lachlan, and whose contributions then were edited back into these final works. So yeah, there I am playing cello on our first piece tonight - layer upon layer of overdubs recorded some 4 years ago. That clanging guitar loop is imprinted on my brain and I find this music electrifying now, so I've gotten to insert myself into my playlist. There are many highlights, but tonight I also played a track with both Naarm/Melbourne double bassist Helen Svoboda and electric bassist Brendan Clark, who lives on Tugagal land in Sydney's west. The combination of bass instruments is unusual, but in this case Clark's melodic walking bassline sits under Dale's icy drones, while Svoboda's double bass is heard playing a drawn-out, sliding melody in high stopped harmonics. It's gorgeous.

Erik Griswold, Chloe Kim, Helen Svoboda - Tremble part 2 [Earshift/Bandcamp]
Erik Griswold, Chloe Kim, Helen Svoboda - Rock song [Earshift/Bandcamp]
We get to hear Helen Svoboda some more on the last 2 tracks this evening, from Anatomical Heart, a wonderful acoustic project formed of three artists from the three major cities on Australia's east coast: Svoboda from Naarm/Melbourne, brilliant Korean-Australian drummer Chloe Kim representing Eora/Sydney, and the restlessly creative prepared piano master Erik Griswold from Meanjin/Brisbane. The album was recorded during a residency at Harrigans Lane in rural southern Queensland. This very organic music encompasses many styles, from jazz romps to percussive and rhythmic studies to free, rippling melody. Each musician is incredibly versatile and highly sensitive, and hopefully there'll be much more from this intuitive formation.

Listen again — ~200MB

Sunday, 21st of April, 2024

Playlist 21.04.24 (11:00 pm)

Another week filled with everything from warped pop to complex beats, granular sound destruction to delicate acoustic recordings.

LISTEN AGAIN and take notes this time (just kidding, the notes are all here)! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast right here.

claire rousay - 4pm [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
claire rousay - it could be anything [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
When I first heard of claire rousay, she was described as a "percussionist", and that's something I've had to unravel from my brain over the intervening years, as her music has tended to be brilliant minimalist constructions of slice-of-life conversations, found-sound and field recordings, and unexpected arrangements of classical instruments and electronics. But she was indeed a drummer in math rock and punk bands either before, during or after leaving the Evangelical Christian systems she grew up in. The first claire rousay recordings date from 2019, when she came out as transgender. There is (free jazz style) percussion, but as much silence as playing. It's not long until she's making artfully constructed collages of field recordings, ambient soundscapes, and words - words that would be heard via primitive text-to-speech programs, and later sung through harshly-set autotune. There's always been a confessional nature to these words, touching on mental health, sex and gender among other things, but at a careful remove. Even so, the text that begins the album ("4pm"), read by fellow sound-artist Theodore Cale Schafer is particularly wrenching - and it's immediately interrupted by a growing drone, that itself then morphs into the first song on the album. And yes, sentiment is an album of songs, sung through that autotune, accompanied by mournful major-key guitar, various strings and other instruments. There are strong vibes of Dntel circa Life Is Full Of Possibilities to me, which is totally welcome. Touching stuff, rightly being heralded as the next breakthrough for rousay.

BIG|BRAVE - chanson pour mon ombre [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
BIG|BRAVE - quotidian : solemnity [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Also out this week on Thrill Jockey is the incredible, perhaps career best, new album A Chaos Of Flowers from Canada's BIG|BRAVE. Through the last few albums, vocalist & guitarist Robin Wattie has harnessed the words of others to express herself through BIG|BRAVE's music - from the poetry of Alexander Cree speaking of being mixed race to the repurposed folks songs on their collaboration with the body - and here she's drawing from the poetry of women, remarking that most well-known folk and traditional poetry is written by men. So "chanson pour mon ombre" (song for my shadow) is by 19th century poet Renée Vivien. Musically the folk turn of the body collaboration and to some extent also heard in last year's Nature Morte is even more emphasised here, offset by the crushing heaviness Seth Manchester of Machines With Magnets always provides. Like the last albums of the beloved Low, the juxtaposition of Wattie's emotive voice, the folky sweetness and the enveloping storms of distortion has a deep emotional impact. Tremendous.

Alex Sopp - Bougainvillea [New Amsterdam Records/Bandcamp]
New York's yMusic Ensemble are a classical chamber group who've collaborated across the spectrum with pop & indie artists like Ben Folds and My Brightest Diamond, and commissioned & performed works by many contemporary composers as well as the likes of MBD's Shara Nova, and Sufjan Stevens. They also perform music they've composed themselves, and so the prospect of one member's solo album - Alex Sopp is yMusic's flautist - is intriguing. Sopp sings as well as playing flutes, whistles and keyboards, and the album is co-produced by Thomas Bartlett aka Doveman. Sopp's songwriting style is strongly heard through songs that vary from more electronic to more classically orchestrated - occasionally sounding a little "Broadway musical", but also the baroque indie style of Sufjan or Shara, and especially Julia Holter. These are enjoyable songs enhanced by creative arrangements and production.

Amatorski - Welcome [Crammed Discs/Bandcamp]
Inne Eysermans, founder and multi-instrumentalist behind Belgian band Amatorski, if affected by unilateral deafness, meaning that she's never been able to experience sound in stereo. After a few years' break, her band is back with a collection of great songs, Curves and Bends, Things Veer, and this time round Eysermans decided to lean into her own experience, and mix the album in mono. For this she worked with the brilliant Yves de Mey, and they produced something that sounds rich even with the reduced soundstage (for two-eared normies at least!) Lyrically the songs the dance around ideas from ecological philosopher Timother Morton, ideas about the relationship between humans and nature and technology, and the band mix field recordings in amongst the instrumentation. There's something refreshingly new about the approach taken here.

Travis Cook - empowering bright futures [Travis Cook Bandcamp]
Now that Travis Cook and Marcus Whale have brought the Collarbones era to a close, these occasional single tracks that Travis puts up on his Bandcamp are the only way we'll hear new music from him (I think!) for now. This one's quite dark, with some beats that clatter and skip almost like jungle but not quite...

µ-Ziq - Hyper Daddy (Single Mix) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Sometime last week I noticed Mike Paradinas foreshadowing something on Instagram. Maybe I hadn't been paying attention, or maybe the new µ-Ziq did creep up on us with little warning. I note that in a Planet µ email from March it's listed in the forthcoming section, but not before then. First single is "Hyper Daddy", which adapts some themes from 2022's "Uncle Daddy" from Magic Pony Ride into something more like a footwork-jungle hybrid. Mike's been thinking about the IDM of the '90s (and how nobody liked the term), and is reconstructing it from the ground up with the melodic nature of the music he & his cohorts made back then, but taking in dance styles from then through to contemporary times. Look, it's gonna be rad, count the days till June 14th!

Jesta - Liquor Snurf [Straight Up Breakbeat/Bandcamp]
The folks at Finnish drum'n'bass label Straight Up Breakbeat are always putting together new compilation series, and the latest is States of Art, four 12"s and then an extended digital compilation. For the first vinyl EP States of Art I I was instantly grabbed by the pre-release single from Jesta, one half of course of Gremlinz & Jesta. Punchy jungle-informed d'n'b, or is it the other way round? Dancefloor killa.

Yraki - Percolate [Early Reflex]
Mariano Sibilia is London-based, but was born in Italy, so it's nice to see his latest EP as Yraki coming out from Turin's Early Reflex label. And his deconstructed club sounds really suit the label, referencing grime and dubstep as well as techno, always with the bass weight. The title track starts with repetitive 4/4 drum machine beats, with a nicely reverbed synth-shriek, but then the kicks stutter and the closed hi-hats shift out of time, before a syncopated sub-bass re-grounds us. What's nice about this music is that it never settles on one thing, shifting into a halftime groove that's almost hip-hop, then reasserting the 4/4, then somewhere else.

3Phaz - Reset [CEE/Bandcamp]
One of Egypt's finest electronic producers, the apparently anonymous 3Phaz, appears here on Primary Forest 02, a compilation from the online-only Lapsus sublabel CEE. The Barcelona-based label seeks to interrogate the relationship between technology, nature, and art. This second Primary Forest comp has a well-curated group of artists from Egypt, UK, Spain and Italy, all working non-Eurocentric percussive and musical elements into their post-club forms. As usual, 3Phaz's track is dizzying.

Franck Vigroux - Jolin [Aesthetical]
Back on his own label Aesthetical after his second outing on raster-media, French electronic producer Franck Vigroux is in fine familiar form. Synths both analogue and digital course through the album, often surging into industrial beats.

Innode - Air Liquide [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
From France to Austria, where Editions Mego was based, under the loving leadership of Peter Rehberg until his untimely death in 2021. Innode are a trio that certainly reside in the radius of Mego's influence: glitchy textures joined with postrock/krautrock momentum with synths rather than rock instruments. On drums is the great Steven Hess, a central member not only of black metal/drone/noise band Locrian but also minimalist electro-acoustic trio Haptic. Stefan Németh is best known as a member of the wonderful Radian whose music is probably the closest to what we find herein. And finally Bernhard Breuer, member of live techno band Elektro Guzzi and various rock and improv outfits. I really loved Innode's second album Syn, which came out on Editions Mego in 2021, and grain is similarly inclined, based around rhythms both glitchy and organic, created by layering different takes from the musicians on drums, percussion and electronics, and all held together with judicious synth work. If you like the postrock of Tortoise and their ilk, or moreso the European style from Kammerflimmer Kollektief, Radian, Trapist and so on, this should scratch that itch very comfortably.

Tim Koch - Shudder ROM (Shudder to Think Adrien75 Mix) [Tim Koch Bandcamp]
In July 2020, Adelaide's Tim Koch released Scordatura, the album that, more than any other, launched him from his IDM roots into new territories, with granular processing to the fore, of acoustic or electric instruments at least as much as purely electronic sound sources. It's a great album, that was (maybe still is?) available in a multitude of formats. Some years later he's bringing those works to our ears through the lens of various of his mates (not including me. I was just too slow. Sorry). It's all great, mostly of a piece with the original album. Another old IDM hand, Adrien75, preserves the glitchiness but corrals it into something resembling broken beats. Nhulunbuy, Arnhem Land-based Kris Keogh responded with his style of granular ambience, which he turned to some years back after his beginnings in breakcore, and of many other highlights I can recommend those of NZ's Jet Jaguar and Osaka-based Onkonomiyaki Labs (Ian Masters of Pale Saints, and more recently Tim's experimental electronic pop project Isolated Gate).

Xani - Unknown Area [Xani Bandcamp]
Since last year's An Inaccurate History of Electronic Dance Music, Naarm/Melbourne violinist Xani Kolac has been trickling out bits of her experimental pop & violin looping on her Bandcamp. Out now is a pair of tracks: Keep Moving/Unknown Area which showcase both of these. While her solo act mostly really is her absolutely solo, triggering electronic parts with her feet as well as looping her instrument and singing, here she's joined by drummer Justin Olsson, which immediately recalls her rock/folk/indie duo The Twoks from something like a decade ago, then with drummer Mike Leahy. The first track is a song about having too, well, keep moving even when the world is making you want to hide under a blanket (my interpretation). But the 8-minute second track is an instrumental improvisation that shows what Xani can do with her violin and live sampler/looper, with Olsson helping to propel it in a krautrocky way.

Laurent Pernice - La décision d'un homme [ADN/Bandcamp]
Laurent Pernice - Une fine poussière le recouvrait [ADN/Bandcamp]
Coming out of France's industrial scene in the '80s, Laurent Pernice has taken a number of left turns in his career, into ambient and techno, then quasi-jazz collages from which he has integrated more acoustic sounds, ending up with works composed for the stage, in collaboration with various musicians. On Antigone, written to accompany a setting of Sophocles' play by Anima Motrix, he's worked with violist Violaine Sultan to coax many sounds out of her viola, set in amongst delays and reverbs, as well as some lovely melodic passages accompanied by his basses or harp and zither - appropriately for an adaptation of an Ancient Greek play. Many of the tracks are short cues, but even they hold plenty of listening pleasure, and the album flows well without the theatrical and spoken elements.

Seabuckthorn - Serre Long [quiet details/Bandcamp]
Seabuckthorn - Sage Word [quiet details/Bandcamp]
From the beginning, English musician Andy Cartwright's music as Seabuckthorn has held a tension between his masterful folk guitar fingerpicking and his interest in extended approaches like bowed guitar and e-bows, shoegazey textures and field recordings. On this warm, this late, released by quiet details, all these elements are present along with previous collaborator Phil Cassel's double bass and trombone, which add an "ensemble" feel. It's not that Cartwright's very personal studio creations aren't wonderful, but there's something to be said for two musicians playing together.

J. Campbell - Parade At The Moorings [Nice Music/Bandcamp]
Newcastle musician Jason Campbell is best known for his uneasy industrial ambient as Stitched Vision and his industrial techno as Collector, but as "J. Campbell" he builds narrative works out of field recordings, industrial electronics and acoustic instruments such as piano. Erosion of Memory, released by iconic Naarm label Nice Music, reflects on family and the (post-)industrial lanscape of Newcastle. It's quite deeply affecting.

asher tuil - Opus VII [Room40/Bandcamp]
The latest album on Room40 (of many) from the resolutely lower-case asher tuil is a 75-minute work divided into 10 sections. All the music is made from three main elements: rhythmic sounds made from filtered noise, field recordings from his surrounds in Providence, Rhode Island, and a sequence of synth harmonies. As the full Opus unfolds, a sonic environment is revealed, sometimes more rhythmic, sometimes floating, while real-world sounds interject. The emergence of the passing truck or plane near the end of "Opus VII" demonstrates the artfulness with which tuil combines these elements, in a work that never gets boring in its hour and a quarter length.

Laurén Maria - Forms Emerge Anew and [The Collection Artaud]
Yu Miyashita's label The Collection Artaud is primarily an outlet for his own glitched electronica under his own name or as Yaporigami, but occasionally like-minded artists are hosted too. Here fellow Berlin resident Laurén Maria gives us two tracks of seemingly abstract electronics that hide within them processed voice and deconstructed club sounds. They're mastered by Miyashita and represent the high quality production of his label.

Langham Research Centre - Nachholbedürfnis (Beatriz Ferreyra Remix) [nonclassical/Bandcamp]
The idea of formidable musique concrète/acousmatic composer Beatriz Ferreyra doing a "remix" is both wonderfully bizarre and also not that far-fetched. At 87 years old, Ferreyra is not only being re-released and collected by various contemporary labels including Meanjin's Room40 but also still making music - and of course her music has always been about manipulating sounds. If she is to do a remix, who better than Langham Research Centre, the UK quartet who use original techniques and technology of those concrète pioneers, including several ¼" tape machines. Their Tape Works, Vol. 2 came out in 2021 from Nonclassical, four years after Vol. 1 - and Vol. 1 was remixed in 2018 by Jim O'Rourke and group A. It took a little longer this time, but now we have the two reworks here (the other is by modular synth maven Kara-Lis Coverdale). Of course Ferreyra's rework is no less astract than the original material, but full of colour and movement.

Olivia Block - Violet-Green [Black Truffle/Bandcamp]
Chicago sound-artist and composer Olivia Block has, since the late '90s, comfortably straddled the linkes between musique concrète, noise, and contemporary composition. Block has often been able to bring poignant emotion to her electroacoustic constructions, albeit in a different way from the deeply personal work of claire rousay with which we started tonight's show. But The Mountains Pass, her new album and first on Oren Ambarchi's Black Truffle, takes her work into the unfamiliar territory of song, incorporating Block's voice and lyrics for the first time, along with drums from the great Jon Mueller. Naturally, these songs are nevertheless somewhat abstracted, fragmentary things, appearing out of long electro-acoustic passages, where Block sings of endangered wolves and mysterious bird die-offs among cut-up piano, droning organs and trumpet. This is a stunning, beautiful album that you owe it to yourself to explore in full.

Listen again — ~209MB

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Sunday, 14th of April, 2024

Playlist 14.04.24 (11:00 pm)

Vocals tonight used in myriad ways from glistening pop to visceral assaults...

LISTEN AGAIN, I know, there's a lot to take in! FBi's website offers stream on demand, or you can podcast here.

9T Antiope - Ready Player One [American Dreams/Bandcamp]
9T Antiope - Canvas Blank [American Dreams/Bandcamp]
Listeners of this show know I've been a fan of 9T Antiope for a long time. The duo of Sara Shamloo and Nima Aghiani are Paris-based Iranians, who also record as Taraamoon, in which Shamloo sings in Farsi - but for the more experimental 9T Antiope her songs are predominantly in English. Nima Aghiani's violin is a frequent presence alongside electronic noisemakers, but Shamloo's lush voice is often juxtaposed against harsh sounds, throbbing drones, digital glitches. Their new album Horror Vacui, out now through the excellent American Dreams (incidentally now based in Paris like 9T Antiope), is possibly their most accessble yet, though no less experimental for that. The "horror vacui" of the title is the fear of empty spaces, but also refers to the spaces in between - the in-betweenness of being expatriates from your country, neither here nor there. These fears, and the void itself, are welcomed in by Shamloo's voice and Aghiani's often rhythmic, looped violin, octave violin and octave mandolin. The crunchy string loops and warm vocals dispell any looming emptiness.

Aether + Vassallo - Desire [Aether + Vassallo Bandcamp]
Tonight we premiere a new song from Sydney duo Aether + Vassallo, from their forthcoming album Unbroken. Bronwyn Eather's poetry & vocals, plus keyboards & electronics, are supported by ethereal slide guitar from Paul Vassallo. Eather's songwriting and poetry emerged after a whole other life as a linguist, including a 10-year stint in Arnhem Land researching indigenous languages. On "Desire" the narrator takes us towards a gathering storm with eerie, ambient washes.

Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling, Andreas Werliin - tre [Drag City/Bandcamp]
The second album from the distinctive Australian guitarist Oren Ambarchi with Johan Berthling & Andreas Werliin (the rhythm section of Fire!) takes off where the last one left off - that is to say, it's more of the same, which is a really good thing! Berthling and Werliin dive right in with one of their trademark circular riffs of fat double bass and drums (no cymbals from what I can hear!) - jazz-indebted, rhythmically driving. Over this, Ambarchi patiently weaves his sounds, which rarely actually resemble guitar. Are those flute lines actually flute? Maybe. In any case, Ambarchi's own minimalist tendencies mesh perfectly with the two Swedes. Brilliant stuff as always!

Domenico Lancellotti - Abraço No Faust (Ricardo Dias Gomes remix) [Domenic Lancellotti Bandcamp/Ricardo Dias Gomes Bandcamp]
Ricardo Dias Gomes - Não Ver Onde Se Vê (Domenico Lancellotti & Eduardo Manso remix) [Domenic Lancellotti Bandcamp/Ricardo Dias Gomes Bandcamp]
Earlier this year, Brazilian musician Domenico Lancellotti released sramba, a modernised take on Brazilian samba, drawing in krautrock and electronica. And last year Ricardo Dias Gomes' Muito Sol grabbed our attention with brilliantly abstracted takes on Brazilian popular music. The two musicians are touring together, and have created a very limited edition cassette (and digital) EP in which they remix or rework each other's music. "Um abraço no Faust" was my favourite track from Lancellotti's album, a hypnotic groove with a seemingly simple guitar refrain with close harmonies that opens up at intervals with a gorgeous major-key change. Gomes is present on the original recording, but for his remix the guitar is replaced by ringing vibraphone. It's a beauty. For his part, Lancellotti works with Eduardo Manso to augment Gomes' songs, more radically on the other two tracks, but here scattering percussion in the choruses.

Banabila & Machinefabriek - A Giant Misstep [Banabila Bandcamp]
Since their self-titled debut 12 years ago, experienced Dutch musicians & sound-artists Michel Banabila and Rutger Zuydervelt (Machinefabriek) have had a fruitful partnership, clearly complementing each other. Banabila has four decades of experience working with all manner of instruments along with tape and electronics, while for at least 2 decades Zuydervelt has amassed a huge collection of works from sound-art and drone to soundtracks and many musical collaborations. A Looming Presence finds them working with more beats than usual, something Banabila is no stranger too, and which has crept into Zuydervelt's work more of late. But the rhythms weave around earthy textures, field recordings, drones, or even voice and viola. This "playful yet dark soundtrack for a crumbling world" is in fact rather comforting, compulsive listening.

Madeleine Cocolas - Drift [Room40/Bandcamp]
Brisbane composer Madeleine Cocolas's new album Bodies uses her synths and voice to explore the connection between bodies of water and human bodies. Whereas last year's Spectral used found sounds and electronics to evoke her surroundings, and various emotions - anxiety, release - Bodies is more flowing (watery) and embodied. On "Drift" her sampled voice joins pulsating synths, pushed onwards perhaps by river currents.

Avalanche Kaito - Donle [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
In 2022, the debut EP and then album from Avalanche Kaito were a revelation. Labalou Kaito Winse, an urban griot from Burkina Faso, met noise/post-punk duo of Benjamin Chaval on drums & electronics and Nico Gitto on guitar when he first visited Brussels. Something about their approach to music & sound gelled, and if anything on Talitakum they're even more of a singular unit. Whether Kaito is providing wild vocals, or his Peul flute and mouth bow, these songs are dizzyingly inventive, rhythmically complex and sonically dense.

Axon Breeze - Click [Axon Breeze Bandcamp]
nipaluna/Hobart musician, director and curator J R Brennan is the founder of KIN, an organisation that works on arts projects with people who have experience with the criminal justice system, and is also Co-director of Special Events at MONA. The first track from his "death metal club music" project Axon Breeze, "YOU SNAKE" appeared two years ago, and it's only taken that long for him to release "Click". The death metal part is mostly confined to Brennan's vocals, which growl hoarsely but not unintelligbly, but also provide clean-vox interjections. Both tracks are demented in the best way.

su dance110 - 101111111 Ash [su dance110 Bandcamp]
Dan Su is a dancer and choreographer, composer and producer based in Berlin. Their music and performance works are often intertwined, with the audio coming out under the name su dance110. Shang Can (殇残) extends from their 2021 opera & dance work Gentle Brutality, which explored homelessness and structural oppression. I'm not sure what the binary elements in the artist and track names mean, but it points to a corresponding interplay in the music itself, between the electronics, noise, fractured beats on the one hand, and elements of folk musics from ethnic minorities in Yunan province, and more operatic/classical elements. It's a very now hybridisation, but draws deeply from Su's own experience to produce something very compelling.

bela - 풀이 [Subtext Recordings/Unsound/Bandcamp]
Hard to believe, Noise and Cries 굉​음​과 울음 is the first time bela has recorded their voice. For much of the album it's the centrepiece - wailing, growling, screaming and sometimes singing purely, while industrial electronics and shards of club beats clamour. These works were first conceived while bela was living in Seoul, alienated and unsupported in a society that is, as they say, "slow to embrace those who exist on the margins". Amid their fixation with death, the emotions in these works are often harsh and pained, but bela was adamant that they express the opposing, deep desire to live. And so among the intense, disturbing (and excellent) material there are more uplifting pieces like "풀이" (which they translate as "unwinding"), in which cavernous, distant beats underscore sampled voices that float and soothe.

Use Knife - Ptolemaic (Zoë Mc Pherson 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) has released a 3-track remix EP, Peace Carnival. A couple of months ago I played the excellent rework by the brilliant Palestinian producer Muqata'a مقاطعة. Alongside Beaini himself we find Zoë Mc Pherson working jungle/techno breaks in amongst the electronics and Saif Al-Qaissy's Arabic vocals.

Comatone - XVLab (2004) [Feral Media/Bandcamp]
Katoomba resident Greg Seiler's early releases as Comatone, on the Feral Media label, helped hook our local scene into the international music I was playing. Greg's facility with complex beats and sound design made Comatone's music as exciting as any other electronica I'd play. In 2008 Comatone released an album with Sydney drummer Alon Ilsar as Comatone & Foley, but sometime in the following years he withdrew from the limelight, although Alon has presented the music from that album & its follow-up live with his Airsticks. This week, Greg contacted me to let me know that Feral Media will be releasing a series of EPs catching up unreleased Comatone music from the last untold amounts of time, which is great news. The glitch IDM beats of "XVLab" are the earliest, and there's work from the 2010s and even more recently coming our way - keep an eye on Bandcamp!

Monokle - Turn to Myself [Fuselab/Bandcamp]
St Petersberg Vlad Kudryavtsev's productions as Monokle go back nearly as far as Comatone. It's melodic and comforting music with nods to classic IDM sounds along the lines of Arovane, early Autechre, and hints of the ambient techno of Future Sound of London too. Comforting on headphones or on the right kind of dancefloors.

Lakker - Sparkle In The Dark [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Irish duo Lakker's second EP for YUKU is Pathway. It's got everything the pair excel at - assured rhythms from across bass & rave culture, with sound design to match. On "Sparkle In The Dark" the squashed remnants of death metal riffs hide behind nimble synth melodies and lopsided rhythms that coalesce at the 2/3 mark with punchy bass and skittery beats before dissolving back into stuttery samples.

Stefan Goldmann - Helicon [Macro/Bandcamp]
Speaking of lopsided techno, Stefan Goldmann has been a 4/4 Berlin techno & deep house god for over 2 decades, but is also connected to the classical concert hall via his Dad, composer Friedrich Goldmann, and his interests range widely to take in field recording, abstract sound-art, jazz and more, as attested by the long discography of Macro Recordings, the label he runs with Finn Johannsen. For some time he was interested in strange tunings, culminating in the custom, bent microtunings of 2019's Tacit Script. The same year, Veiki began a new phase exploring unusual beat cycles in techno, repeating in 7, 9 or 11 crotchets (or beats, if you like). This was followed in 2022 with the Vector Rituals LP, in which the strictures of bar lines were further loosened, through the phasing of odd time signatures as well as micro-shifts in tempo and note placement. These rhythm experiments culminate now with the full-length album Alluvium, which blends crossing time signatures with polyrhythms at various tempos. There's everything here: rapid-fire percussion which can sound like tablas, drum machines and even the shadows of cut-up breakbeats; haunted drones and translucent melodies a la Aphex Twin's SAW II; thumping syncopated sub-bass as heard tonight... There are tracks with the beats and rhythms barely heard through the murk of sonic textures, and there are tracks that would be techno slammers if only the bar lines lined up. Goldmann is prolific by any standards, and this is one of many recent works that I'd unhesitatingly recommend.
By the way, Macro has recently launched a subscription on their Bandcamp, which will soon include exclusive content as well as all future releases.

Low End Activist - Airdrop 07 (Tango Skit) [Peak Oil/Bandcamp]
Jamie Russell co-runs Hypercolour Records, and also runs the brilliant Sneaker Social Club, bringing all manner of bass music, jungle, hardcore, dubstep and so on to light. And if you look deep enough you'll find he's also the figure behind BRUK, a record label we've heard of late exploring the experimental edges of those kinds of bass music, including the recent abstractions of hoyah. He's recorded as Patrick Conway (oh hey, let's stop mid-sentence and marvel at the brilliance of 2021's Cellular Housekeeping!) but we know him best as Low End Activist. As the alias suggests, it's bass music, whether it be jungle & drum'n'bass, dubstep & grime, uk garage or whatever else. The brilliant LA label Peak Oil has hooked him for his latest album, Airdrop, which references UK hardcore circa '92 across its nine tracks. This isn't just rave revivalism though: the airhorns, stabs, basslines, hooversounds and 3-note chord riffs are judiciously meted out, and even when the breakbeats get to rattle over bouncing sub-bass they'll be interrupted by synth pads - and there's a through-line of dub delays and reverbs reminding us that we're viewing these day-long dance marathons through staticky VHS tapes and time- and drug-addled memory. Taken as a whole, it's as moving a tribute as Lee Gamble's prescient Diversions 1994-1996 from back in 2012, which built ambient, abstract disintegration loops out of the beatless sections of his old jungle mixtapes. Russell knows what he's doing here, and does it in style.

Brain Rays - Plugs (feat. Quiet) [Acroplane/Bandcamp]
When the much-missed Seagrave brought us Brain Rays & Quiet's first set of jungle/d'n'b/footwork hybrids, 2020's Butter, it took some time for me to realise that I'd been a fan of Benjamin Hudson aka Brain Rays back in the mid-'00s when he was making breakcore & mutant dubstep as Ebola. He's also a co-founder of Bristol's Wrong Music with DJ Scotch Egg and Matt Lambert. Slime, his new solo album for long-lived Irish netlabel Acroplane, brings this accumulated history together with references to jungle, footwork, breakcore, grime, dubstep, hardcore and IDM through its 10 tracks, with feature spots on almost every track. Fittingly, the track with Quiet heads up the album - before Brain Rays & Quiet they were producing weird hip-hop as Baconhead, and the seamless footwork/jungle here is a tribute to their long musical partnership. Come for that, but stay for tracks with experimental ravers Chevron and Neil Landstrumm, and much more.

bagel fanclub - you arrived, pink slap [bagel fanclub Bandcamp]
bagel fanclub - we found a spider with a skull on its back [bagel fanclub Bandcamp]
From first-gen breakcore to The New Generation™, UK/US duo bagel fanclub aka Caybee Calabash and River Everett. They are carrying on, or reviving, the traditions of madcap, hyper-distorted, glitchily cut-up breaks and angelic melodies, but of course the intervening decades have filtered those sounds through videogame soundtracks, while adjacent forms like footwork have gained greater public awareness. Chiptune is also a big influence, so even though they're made on contemporary laptops, they sound like they've come straight out of Impulse Tracker with resampled 128k mp3s. Most importantly, this shit be fun. There's a new album coming, encore county ground, which I'm lucky to have a preview copy of, so I sneakily played the opening track tonight; but before its release they snuck out a new EP with the matching name acorn out of bounds. Thematically similar, its 6 tracks segue on from each other and are both manic and melodic. For additional dizziness, try to read the Bandcamp description...

Sasha Elina - Tomás Cabado – A Song [Sasha Elina Bandcamp]
Different Songs, Vol 1, the new album from London-based Russian singer Саша Елина / Sasha Elina finds her interpreting the music of four contemporary composers, with compositions for solo voice and voice in duos with piano and guitar. The album's opening track, an a capella by German composer Eva-Maria Houben called "My Sweet Love", is captivating in Elina's fragile voice, but directly following it is a song by Argentinian composer & guitarist Tomás Cabado. Or should I say "A Song", as that's its title? Here the duo is with piano, played by Tim Parkinson somewhere else in London from where Elina recorded her voice, but they mesh together again with fragile poise.

Bryan Senti & Dom Bouffard - The Ground [naïve records]
Killing Horizon, the new collaboration between Colombian-American multi-instrumentalist Bryan Senti and Anglo-French gutiarist Dom Bouffard, is set for release on the 25th of October this year - a long while off! But the first single, The Ground gives a window into their music together - improvised and composed non-linearly by each musician in their homes (yep, Covid music!) with a couple of guests. The two are experienced session musicians who've played with a wide range of pop & rock artists, but this is much more on the experimental spectrum, with Senti's murmuring low-end piano overlaid with Bouffard's backmasked guitar washes and slowly joined with discordant string drones and shimmering guitar, before the storm recedes, leaving Bouffard's clean, poignant electric guitar lines. One to look forward to.

Love Is Yes - Somewhere Nowhere [Kit Records/Bandcamp]
New discovery, on London's Kit Records, is a duo from The Hague. Love Is Yes is the name of the duo, and the name of the album, and the music is pleasingly blurry, easily slipping from your mind's grasp, but demanding your close, repeated listening. It's really impossible to describe what's in here, as the instrumentation shifts and changes, or is downsampled and looped unrecognizably. At times Dax Niesten introduces her soft voice, elsewhere it's absent. Is it acoustic here? Well then it's electronica there, now hinting at krautrock, now dissolving away. The track heard tonight, lovely though it is, only gives you one shard of what's found within.

Gina Lo - vocal exercise [Unexplained Sounds]
姚春旸 Chunyang Yao - Remnant [Unexplained Sounds]
Raffaele Pezzella curates the group of labels and album series under the umbrella of Unexplained Sounds Group from Italy. A maker of post-industrial music as Sonologyst (among other names), he has industrial & dark ambient sub-labels, but he's also a keen curator of experimental music from all around the world, bringing word of adventurous artists from Persia, Lebanon, Latin America, the African continent, Scandinavia, Greece and more, and he has collected music from China and Indonesia but here has collected 20 tracks from artists in the "Far East". There are contributors here from Indonesia, Nepal, China, Taiwan, Japan, Singapore and more - it's worth noting that you can click through each track on the Bandcamp page to find short bios for each artist! There are wondrous sounds here, from imposing drone to punk noise, glitch and more. Berlin-based Taiwanese artist Gina Lo combines extended vocal techniques with processing on her "vocal exercise", and 姚春旸 Chunyang Yao, a Naxi woman working in sound-art and composition as well as voice & electronics, here also processes her voice along with electronic noise. You can easily lose yourself in Unexplained Sounds' myriad anthologies, and it's well worth it!

Listen again — ~200MB

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Sunday, 7th of April, 2024

Playlist 07.04.24 (11:00 pm)

It's been four weeks since I was last here! Three Sundays in Japan (amazing of course), in which the excellent Mara Schwerdtfeger kept you company - huge thanks to Mara!

LISTEN AGAIN to all the things! Stream on demand at FBi or podcast here.

Meril Wubslin - Pas là [Bongo Joe Records/Bandcamp]
Starting with a wonderful discovery, courtesy I think of one of the Bandcamp Daily posts. Meril Wubslin are a Swiss trio, singing in French, combining post-rock and krautrock and indie rock and French chanson. The two singer/guitarists, Valérie Niederoest and Christian Garcia-Gaucher, have a history in Swiss indie bands, but when they're joined by French hardcore/math rock/noise rock drummer David Costenaro the band comes into their own: cyclical melodies and guitar lines powered by muscular percussion - probably helped by the production of Kwake Bass here, on their fourth album Faire ça. Anyway, it's always good to be reminded that the Francophone music scene is really rich and creative, and the two albums I've heard of Meril Wubslin easily attest to that.

Aquaserge - Le saut du tigre [Crammed Discs/Bandcamp]
Speaking of, here's the unpredictable French band Aquaserge, who I last heard in 2021 with their postrock/jazz tribute to various 20th century avant-garde composers, The Possibility Of A New Work For Aquaserge (a play on Morton Feldman's "The Possibility of a New Work for Electric Guitar"). In general, though, the band has traded in a kind of French prog/art/psych rock with jazz influences and somehow quite pop. The first single from their forthcoming album La fin de l'economie (released again on legendary Belgian label Crammed Discs) has a percussive backbone with synth riffs and a simple vocal melody echoed on electric guitar - until it opens up with close-knit synth harmonies. Somehow the total effect is not that far from the hypnotic grooves of Meril Wubslin.

Post Neo - Die Verwirrung [Monika Enterprise/Bandcamp]
Staying in Europe for a while still, here's Berlin-based duo Post Neo, aka Pauline Weh and Nicole Luján, whose second EP Alles Immer Wieder combines synths, percussion and vocals in a way that's closer to techno than the previous two acts: programmed beats, slightly robotic vocals and warm percussive bass. But still, the songwriting and even production cast themselves back to '70s avant-pop as much as any contemporary trends. Comfortably housed at Gudrun Gut's Monika Enterprise, it's prime leftfield German stuff.

Sunna Margrét - 4 Year Itch [No Salad Records/Bandcamp]
I first heard Icelandic musician Sunna Margrét (previously known just as Sunna) around 2018 via Wire Magazine. Some six years later, after some smaller releases, comes her debut album Finger on Tongue, via Swiss label No Salad Records. Centred around Sunna's vocal layering and off-kilter electronics, it's understated loveliness.

By The Waterhole with Stephan Meidell - ding ding dong [Playdate Records]
Eva Pfitzenmaier is a German artist, musician and writer based for many years in Bergen, Norway. Her latest album three comes 8 years after two and 11 years after one, but she's been involved with various other Norwegian jazz & experimental projects in the meantime. Her previous solo work has been entirely her own work, with electronics and improvised instruments as well as sometimes improvised vocals, coming together into frequently catchy leftfield pop. Her husband Stephan Meidell, who we've heard here in various Norwegian postrock/jazz/electronic lineups, has worked with her for years, but her third solo album acknowledges the partnership with Meidell as co-creator. The album has had a long gestation, so to speak, as it was begun in 2016, when Pfitzenmaier & Meidell's first child was born. It reflects on family, motherhood and love, but there's a good dose of the oddness that characterises Pfitzenmaier's work, strange electronics, wonky beats, weird structures. There's a lot to enjoy here.

Thea Grant - century caves [Shadow World/Hot Salvation/Bandcamp]
Coincidentally jumping from Bergen to Oslo, still in Norway, here's the extraordinary vocalist/composer/electronic musician Thea Grant, whose album Water and Dreams is largely made up of patient, multitracked vocal pieces, interspersed with heavy electronics of a particularly deconstructed club sound. Her voice is beautifully controlled, and is further augmented with subtle electronic effects, producing an otherworldly sensation - water and dreams indeed. This album should really be on your radar.

Perc - Can You Imagine? [Perc Trax]
I think of Ali Wells' Perc as the hardest of hard techno, and it can be that, but he's someone with wide musical interests - some of his earliest productions were drum'n'bass, although I'm not sure if anything was released. He's remixed early Einstürzende Neubauten, and there's no doubt that there's industrial influences in his sound. But on his new album The Cut Off, the 100th release on his influential Perc Trax and his first album in 7 years, there are rich quasi-choral and ambient interludes (not unusually for his album releases) among the admittedly fierce 4-to-the-floor bangers. "Can You Imagine?" combines the two together, and I do love how the hammering beats glitch in about a third of the way through.

Heejin Jang - Colors: I'm Here! [Venalism]
As her bio on Bandcamp says, South Korean artist Heejin Jang "make[s] something noisy". Her music is spread over many on-point labels, and if you haven't heard last year's Me and the Glassbirds on Doom Trip, you'd best correct that now. Yes noise, but artfully composed & arranged hyperglitch and dronescapes and anything that can make noises really. This track from her new album Dream Signal on Edinburgh tape label Venalism is the best: granulated vocal samples stuttering into almost-rhythm, humour and the uncanny in equal parts.

Hanno Leichtmann / Valerio Tricoli - Brunswick green [Ni Vu Ni Connu/Bandcamp]
Both these artists have some connection to noise music, but also everything from postrock to improv to techno. Cinnte le Dia is the third release from Berlin sound-artist & curator Hanno Leichtmann and Berlin-based Italian musician Valerio Tricoli, a founding member of the legendary Bologna postrock/sound-art/avant-garde group 3/4HadBeenEliminated. The pair's previous albums were released on the legendary Entr'acte in 2016 and 2018, both uncompromising albums of abstract sound manipulation with a very musical core. This album combines spontaneous live creation with post-production and overdubs on synth-bass and Revox tape recorder, the result being music that's informed by dub and techno as much as concrète and sound-art - it's a real pleasure to listen to (as are the two earlier releases!)

Nick Wales, Rrawun Maymuru - Yolngu (Deepchild Vocal Reconstruction) [Motorik!/Bandcamp]
What better way to get into the real techno & dance side of the show but with the wonderful Yolgnu songman from Northeast Arnhem Land, Rrawun Maymuru (lead singer of East Journey), and composer, violist and electronic musician Nick Wales? They've collaborated before for Sydney Dance Company, but this new song, simply entitled Yolgnu, is hopefully the beginning of a bigger project. The song comes with club and ambient mixes from Nick Wales, but also a reworking from Eora/Sydney's own Deepchild that's aimed directly at the dancefloor. The song is a wonderful call for pride of the Yolgnu people, and sitting between the classical and electronic worlds, Nick is a great partner with Rrawun to help bring this music to the world.

Pugilist - Destructor [Pugilist Bandcamp]
Naarm-based sub-destroyer, whether at 170bpm/jungle tempo or 140bpm/dubstep, Pugilist has started putting "Ruff Trax" EPs up on his Bandcamp: Vol 1 was basically jungle, and Vol 2 is 140 stuff - although there are plenty of breakbeats strewn through these tracks. Always quality.

HALFNELSON - Presa [Nina]
Will Yates' best-known alias Memotone, in its early days, was an outlet for leftfield bass music. Even then, though, his incredible skills across drumkit and percussion, keyboards and myriad other instruments were leading him into less dancefloor-oriented sounds. As well as projects like the weird-folk of O.G. Jigg, Memotone itself nowadays is an outlet for Yates' multi-instrumentalism, in jazz/folk/ambient settings, only sometimes veering into beats. Meanwhile, HALFNELSON is the place where you'll find him making techno and 4/4 beats, but also tape-saturated lo-fi hip-hop as is found amongst the four tracks of Yoga Om Knowledge. Yates has released the EP exclusively on Nina, a platform that came out of the NFT hype, but successfully shed the blockchain nonsense (you can pay with cryptocurrency, but you can also pay in normal ways). You can listen yourself, and when you buy it, note that there's a "Bonus material" tab where you can download WAVs.

In the latest issue of The Wire the editorial waxes lyrical about how forward-thinking Antipop Consortium were in the late '90s & early '00s, and I do kind of agree - their mix of IDM and glitch with avant-garde lyricism while staying true to hip-hop was pretty groundbreaking, although I always found their releases kind of hit & miss, and they didn't touch me, somehow. After a long silence, the band is getting back together, which is good news - although when I say silence, that's only as a collective (er, consortium). High Priest of Antipop has been active with experimental sound and melding jazz with electronica as Hprizm, and BEANS, BEANS just does not stop, and dude is dedicated to abstract raps with experimental electronics. In March 2017 he released three albums all at once (see the bottom three albums on his Bandcamp music page), and there's been at least one album a year since then - I recall Nibiru Tut being rad too. Well, BEANS is a good enough reason to check out ZWAARD, his latest album, but there's another hook: the whole thing is produced by Sasu Ripatti aka Vladislav Delay. Crazier still: Mr Delay sent BEANS a bunch of sample tracks to start a collab, material from about 10 years ago, and BEANS insisted on making his tracks directly from those demos - only a little tweaking from Vlad. If we go looking, we'll see that 2013-2014 was when a series of phenomenal tricksy dance EPs came out under his surname Ripatti - they're there on his Bandcamp, Ripatti01 to Ripatti07, footwork/idm hybrids that were the precursors of the recent Dancefloor Classics EPs. So honestly they sound up-to-the-minute, and a perfect sound base for BEANS to riff on. Ridiculously great stuff.

Eks - Os_ag [Opal]
Is Eks hip-hop? Can I say "among other things"? Napoli producer Guido Marziale, who's appeared on the great Italian label A Flooded Need, UK breakcore-adjacent label ADAADAT, and Bristol's Avon Terror Corps, but Throw-Up Concrète is his most high-profile yet - a full album released by Opal (who seem to have just lost the "Tapes", although this album is indeed released on tape!). The "concrète" part is a hint, but then so is "throw-up": this is music as indebted to noise as it is to sound design as it is to hip-hop. There are two guest spots from Sensational, the Brooklyn rapper who like BEANS frequently works in the experimental electronic space, and spots from both D.HAM and Franco Franco of recent Bokeh Versions album Parable Of The Empty Cup. But Eks doesn't need guests to make compellingly oddball noise-hop. Full of weird messed-up sounds and messed-up beats, Throw-Up Concrète is a winner.

hoyah - Dubblebubble [BRUK]
Sam (Shmuel) Hatchwell has worked as sound engineer and producer for some time, and as DJ has found himself in the revered climes of Berlin's Berghain. But his solo music, under the name hoyah, is only now really surfacing. The album Set + Setting comes out on BRUK, one of Low End Activist's labels that has heretofore focused on the more experimental end of jungle/club musics, but hoyah has experimented it way out of the park (sorry for the stretched metaphor). The album is constructed from a base of saxophone samples - masses of them, loaded into his trusty MPC. His self-imposed limitations stipulated that the sax sounds would be the "voice", there would be no "beats", and it would mostly be constructed away from the computer. Nevertheless, here on "Dubblebubble" we've certainly got percussive sounds - maybe not "beats" - around the lushly glitchy sax samples. As for the artist name, as well as a reference to a truly irritating TikTok meme ("can I get a hoya"), "hoyah" is an obscure word in Biblical Hebrew, a feminine form of "to be". As tends to crop up in the current climate, Hatchwell seeks to differentiate Jewish lore, culture and religion from the ongoing genocidal actions of the State of Israel. The conflation of Judaism with Zionism, as a tactic to brand any opposition to Israel as antisemitic, has reached a particularly vicious level of hysteria in Germany, and particularly Berlin, so it's no wonder Hatchwell feels the need to make this statement. Ceasefire now!

Phelimuncasi & Metal Preyers - Gqom slowgen Chant [Nyege Nyege Tapes/Bandcamp]
On their new album Izigqinamba, South African gqom crew Phelimuncasi take their raps and singing, in the isiZulu language, further into experimental waters than they have in the past. Here they have teamed up with fellow Nyege Nyege Tapes artist Metal Preyers, presumably predominately the work of Jesse Hackett, who with visual artist Mariano Chavez has released some of the most original and confounding music on the label. In this collaborative album the abstract tendencies of Metal Preyers are somewhat controlled, and Phelimuncasi manage to be as evocative and exhilarating as ever, even on darker, more downtempo tracks like "Gqom slowgen Chant".

Saint Abdullah & Eomac - Jealous of your defense industry [Drowned By Locals/Bandcamp]
The ongoing collaboration between NY-based Iranian brothers Saint Abdullah and Berlin-based Dubliner Eomac continues apace. Their latest, a full album entitled Light meteors crashing around you will not confuse you, comes courtesy of Jordanian label of exquisite taste, Drowned By Locals. Inevitably this album exists in the shadow of the war in Gaza, and all proceeds will go to UNRWA. Musically it's in some ways more chaotic than the two brilliant releases on Planet µ last year, but at the same time, as Eomac points out, it takes cues from hip-hop's beat tapes, filtered through the experimental sound techniques of the artists, everything crunched and distorted and taking frequent left turns into something else. It's deliberately disorienting, and it's deliberately evocative of loss and upheaval. Another important release from a phenomenal partnership.

Jana - Eb3ed 3ani [Yuku]
Prague label YUKU continues to come through with the goods. Here's a single from London-based Lebanese producer/sound-artist/DJ Jana Saleh, which de/reconstructs the sound of shaabi, Egyptian urban music. But just one track certainly leaves us wanting more!

Christoph de Babalon - Backward Gallop [Midnight Shift/Bandcamp]
Among the many pleasures of the jungle revival and the concomitant breakcore revival has been observing the original artists still around today, or inspired to start releasing new tracks. Christoph de Babalon was an enigmatic and iconoclastic figure in the Digital Hardcore days, where the Berlin scene picked up on that key era where hardcore techno morphed into jungle, and amped up the distortion to the max alongside anarchist/leftist politics. In a way, de Babalon never left - or if he did, it was between 2000 and 2008. But in recent years archival collections have appeared alongside new material, very much in keeping with the dark ambient and jungle/breakcore material he began with. Here, Singapore label Midnight Shift give us four new tracks on vinyl & digital, and we know the drill: hard-hitting cut-up breaks and bass, classical-leaning dark ambient interludes. It's a vibe.

Bankert - brainstorm [Bankert]
Hailing from Liechtenstein, electronic producer Bankert does not reveal very much about themself. They're up to ol05, the 5th release on Bandcamp, and have a contemporary take on idm, with hyper-edited beats and vocal snatches. The releases are all "name your price", so you really should!

Klahrk - &3&4 [SFX/Bandcamp]
London producer Ben Clarke spells himself Klahrk, presumably so that at least written-down he won't get confused with (Chris) Clarke. Blistering is Klahrk's second release on Zoë Mc Pherson & Alessandra Leone's SFX label. These tracks are driven by thundering bass hits syncopating under chittering percussive beats and glitched vocal snippets. Futuristic doomclub.

Aroma Nice - moan [YUKU]
Luke Fashoni started his jungle/breaks/downtempo alter-ego Aroma Nice over 10 years ago, and has collaborated with Earl Grey as Monologue (released on YUKU back in 2022), but now Old Haunts is his second solo release on YUKU and feels like a giant leap. Along with the jazzy samples and junglist drumfunk there's a juddering low-end throughout "moan" that brings a heavy intensity while gentle pads float over the top. Meanwhile "over the top" is a good description of the break-juggling madness. More complex than the drill'n'bass heroes of the mid-'90s, more in touch with jungle's sub-bass, and more nuanced than the breakcore shenanigans that came after... we're living in a golden age, enjoy it while it lasts!

DJ Strawberry - Çıkmaz [outlines]
Turkish producer DJ Strawberry is also harnessing bass energy, here in the context of Polish label outlines' mission of experimental approaches to Chicago footwork. DJ Strawberry put his new album Beyond together in the shadow of the horrific earthquake that hit Turkey early last year, and the music is a kind of escape from those dark emotions. The acid synths burbling under the jittering hi-hats and bass rumble on "Çıkmaz" seem to flow logically out of Aroma Nice's bass'n'breaks.

Michael Vincent Waller - Jennifer (Loraine James Remix) [play loud! productions/Bandcamp]
Michael Vincent Waller - Return from LA II (Moor Mother Remix) [play loud! productions/Bandcamp]
New York (post-)minimalist composer Michael Vincent Waller put out his Moments album on Unseen Worlds in 2019, a lovely collection of piano and vibraphone pieces with beguiling harmonies and hidden melodies reminiscent of Erik Satie or Philip Glass. The same year Moments came out, Waller had been talking with Jlin - who incidentally has a collaboration with Glass on her new album Akoma - and something about their shared aesthetics and thoughts about music sparked the idea for this remix album, Moments Remixes, out now on play loud! productions. The artists range from ambient to rave, glitch-hop to idm, and in keeping with its origins there are a pleasing number of women and non-binary artists - it's really worth checking out for people like Ka Baird, Prefuse 73, Xiu Xiu, Fennesz and of course Jlin, but I can rarely go past Loraine James, and her glitchy cut-ups of the original material with skittery beats are a joy. On the other end of the spectrum, Moor Mother brings heaviness with her rather unsettling spoken word and crumbling atmos overdubbed on the original tender piano.

MIZU - Pavane [NNA Tapes/Bandcamp]
New York-based cellist MIZU began composing the music for her second album Forest Scenes during a period based in São Paulo, and finished it in New York. Initially the album can sound like electronic ambient, but pretty soon you realise how much cello is contributing to the sounds here - there are melodies, processed textures, rhythmic parts. This ambiguity is part of the point of Forest Scenes, which uses the forest as a metaphor for queer spaces, and while the album was coming together, MIZU was herself undergoing physical gender transition. There are rich allusions in the works on this album, and there's a depth to the music too - layers to discover over multiple listens. Avant-garde and future-focused cello music is always one of my obsessions, and it's fruitfully rewarded on this album.

Hochzeitskapelle - We Dance feat. Enid Valu [Alien Transistor/Bandcamp]
We have the brothers Acher from The Notwist to thank for bringing us this understated EP from Munich acoustic/folk (wait, "rumplejazz") ensemble Hochzeitskapelle through their Alien Transistor label. Made up of viola, banjo, tuba, trumpet, trombone, drums, and perhaps other acoustic instruments at times, they have a ruffled, ramshackle sound that instantly lends the music a kind of "authenticity". On two of the four tracks here they're joined by Enid Valu, who is a filmmaker and photographer, usually documenting rather than performing, and her relatively unschooled voice is beautifully touching. Oh and this is a covers EP - indie heroes Pavement, Yo La Tengo and Low, plus German pop-rock band Wir Sind Helden. Initially Low's "Silver Rider" seems a little too bare-bones, with the melody carried on banjo, but at the chorus the trombone takes over, gloriously. This is really special stuff. Tonight I played the cover of Pavement's "We Dance" (the opener of Wowee Zowee), already a languid song from the quintessential slacker band, which effortlessly translates into the band's acoustic world.

Kelly Moran - Butterfly Phase [Warp/Bandcamp]
While New York pianist/composer Kelly Moran's first album for Warp showcased her prepared piano and electronics, Moves in the Field is lush in a different way. Here "clean" piano is in dialogue with a Yamaha Disklavier, which is a kind of digital version of a player piano - it's a mechanical, acoustic piano and can be used to record a performance that can then be played back without the performer. But as Moran shows here, it can be programmed to "perform" the piano is ways that are technically unavailable to a single human pianist - echoing the insanity of Conlon Nancarrow's impossible player piano compositions, punched into the device's control sheet so that it does crazy stuff like this. Nothing on this record is as extreme as Nancarrow, but it lends an uncanny sheen to what are in fact beautiful compositions.

Nadah El-Shazly - Haircut [Asadun Alay Records/Bandcamp]
Now Montréal-based, but a pivotal figure in the Egyptian experimental music scene, Nadah El-Shazly is a composer, multi-instrumentalist and singer: most recently she made a stunning vocal contribution to Algiers' 2023 album Shook, and back in 2019 she joined the Egyptian/Lebanese/Turkish psych-rock/jazz supergroup Karkhana. Tonight we celebrate her soundtrack to British-Moroccan director Fyzal Boulifa's film The Damned Don't Cry, released in full now. El-Shazly's music is heartfelt but uncompromising, using harp, double bass and violin along with her voice and production.

Listen again — ~213MB

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