Big show tonight, with classical influences on a piano slant later on, and electronic & beats up front.
Mouse on Mars – Dimensional People Parts I-III feat. Justin Vernon et al [Thrill Jockey]Mouse on Mars – Foul Mouth (feat. Amanda Blank, Zach Condon et al) [Thrill Jockey]
Now 25 years old, German electronic duo Mouse on Mars have explored many continents of sound in their existence, from techno to ambient to idm, and I somewhat lost track of them in the last decade or so, but Dimensional People sees them in some ways revisiting the terrain of late ’90s & early ’00s albums where their electronics & processing was weaved into and around acoustic instruments and live musicians. With guests such as Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Zach Condon (Beirut), Aaron Dessner & Bryce Dessner and Sam Amidon, they’re definitely getting their indie-folk on here, but they’ve also got rapping from Amanda Blank, Spank Rock and Swamp Dogg… So, it’s mixed up and genre-agnostic, which is just how we love it.
AQXDM – Aegis [Bedouin Records]
Cross-Atlantic collaboration between US artist Aquarian & French producer Deapmash, who share a love of UK Bass music, including jungle & drum’n’bass, and also industrial, so they fit right in with the industrial techno leanings of various labels I’m enjoying right now such as the excellent Bedouin Records.
Second Woman – Apart II [Tresor]
The duo of Joshua Eustis & Turk Dietrich have worked together since before Eustis formed Telefon Tel Aviv, and now have a number of releases from the Spectrum Spools label exploring glitchy, ultra-synthesised worlds that often seem like a combination of Autechre and the Raster-Noton aesthetic. Their new EP appears on legendary Berlin club label Tresor, where they’re wading in the strong currents of minimal dub techno, although the Ae influence is still very much there.
Autechre – g 1 e 1 [Warp/AE_STORE]
And thus, this weeks’ new Ae track – as mentioned last week Autechre have a 4-week residency on NTS Radio this month, each week releasing 2 hours of new music into the wild, which will then be released as an 8 hour album called NTS Sessions on a ridiculous number of LPs or CDs. They have the luxury of creating 20+-minute tracks on each release, with most clocking in at 10 minutes or more, and there’s the gamut of their contemporary styles, with some heavy beats, some repetitive midrange sounds, and some eerie beauty such as tonight’s offering.
Evelyn Ida Morris – Forecast [Milk Records]Evelyn Ida Morris – The Body Appears [Milk Records]True Radical Miracle – Roaches Part 1 [Sabbatical]Pikelet – A Bunch [Chapter Music/Pikelet Bandcamp]Pikelet – Take Off The Face Paint [self-released Dictation CDR]Pikelet – Toby Light [Chapter Music/Pikelet Bandcamp]Pikelet – dear unimaginables [Pikelet Bandcamp]Evelyn Ida Morris – Stop Driving [Milk Records]
This piano album of Evelyn Ida Morris‘s has been a long time coming, and it was worth every minute of the wait. I saw them performing tracks off this, complex classical-inspired piano compositions with vocals, late last year. As we hear tonight, piano has appeared in Evelyn’s work as far back as this weird drone/noise CDR from their early hardcore/doom metal band True Radical Miracle, and many of the characteristics of these compositions are present there already. However, as Pikelet the focus early on was on wonderful compositions created with looping pedal, with percussion of all sorts, guitar, melodica, and later electric keyboard. Pikelet eventually became a full band, and then became a solo act again. And even then there were piano pieces in between (like the early version of “Face Paint” we heard tonight from a rare CDR). When Stem, the first full band album came out, it was quite weird hearing songs I’d been obsessed with for ages rendered in full band mode (e.g. “Toby Light”, quite honestly one of my favourite songs of the last decade).
A few years ago, after some very thought-provoking Facebook posts, Evelyn formed the influential & inspiring LISTEN project to promote change within the Australian music world from a feminist perspective. Evelyn has expressed in the last few years a growing discomfort with the traditional binary constraints of gender, and even more than on 2016’s tronc this is expressed (not always verbally) in these songs. Musically, Debussy and Ravel are very evident, but Evelyn’s songwriting voice is very strong. It’s also really cool hearing the occasional non-piano elements – drums on a couple of tracks, the wonderful swooping bass and fluttering flute on “Stop Driving”. I’m in awe of this music.
Erik Friedlander – Sweet Fennel [Erik Friedlander Bandcamp]
The new album from Downtown New York cellist Erik Friedlander (known for his work with John Zorn and others from that scene), Artemisia, is mostly focused on jazz, but Friedlander’s influences are broad, and somehow at the end (I have it from the Kickstarter edition, but perhaps it’s a digital bonus?) there’s this piece in which the piano of Uri Caine is reversed and re-layered into something lovely & abstract.
Joana Gama | Luís Fernandes – Lucid Stillness [Room40]Joana Gama | Luís Fernandes – Through The Vibrant Air [Room40]
Two tracks from the Portuguese duo of pianist Joana Gama and producer/sound-artist Luís Fernandes, released on Brisbane’s own Room40 label, and produced by label boss Lawrence English, featuring contemporary composition for piano & orchestra at times underlined or overcome by electronic sounds. It’s full of both shuddering intensity and quivering calm.
Jóhann Jóhannsson – Englabörn (Viktor Orri Árnason Rework) [Deutsche Grammophon]Jóhann Jóhannsson – Odi Et Amo [Deutsche Grammophon]Philip Glass – Protest (Remix by Jóhann Jóhannsson) [Orange Mountain Music]Jóhann Jóhannsson – Sálfræðingur Deyr (Hildur Guðnadóttir Rework) [Deutsche Grammophon]
In 2002, the debut album from Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson first came to light via Touch Music. Englabörn‘s reissue was already planned for this year – a 2CD set with some top-notch remixes & reworkings – but it now serves as a mournful eulogy following the composer’s tragically premature death, from as-yet unknown causes. A now-accomplished film composer, Jóhannsson was at one point slated to make the music for Blade Runner 2049, and wrote the wonderful soundtrack to Dennis Villeneuve’s previous sci-fi blockbuster The Arrival. Everyone who knew him descried him as a humble, gentle, generous soul. He always had an interest in combining his beautiful classical orchestrations with electronics – just listen to the robot voice singing Catullus’s poem “Odi Et Amo” (“I hate and I love”), the very first track on that debut album, to hear his intent from the beginning. The longing in this computerised voice is extraordinary. Fortunately the reworkings are sensitive and often equally bewitching, including contributions from A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Ryuichi Sakamoto and others. Tonight I played a rather exquisite version of the title track from fellow Icelander Viktor Orri Árnason, and didn’t quite have time for another Icelander, cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir‘s track (although (shh!) you can hear it in the podcast version…) Meanwhile, I also played Jólhannsson’s own remix of Philip Glass from a few years back, complete with choir and beats… Rest In Peace.
This is an Australian track.