Thanks to Reg Harris for holding the fort last week on Utility Fog! It’s nice to be back, with a bag of tunes from Oz and around the world, ranging from post-classical experimentalism through adventurous electronics near & far from the dancefloor, and back again.
Happy Axe – There It’s Night [Spirit Level/Happy Axe Bandcamp]Happy Axe – Prayers and Mantras [Spirit Level/Happy Axe Bandcamp]
Emma Kelly has been honing her craft as Happy Axe for a little while now, playing in Canberra and around Australia, looping her violin and vocals along with some really creative handmade beats. Her debut album Dream Punching is a really extraordinary piece of work, with dream-like pieces which are sometimes song-shaped, sometimes weirdly other. On the epic opener tonight (actually the culmination of the album) she plays with pitch-shifting her loops to create gorgeous lo-fi quasi-orchestral pillows of wobbly, blissful audio. Elsewhere things get a little more percussive, but still pretty blissful!
Resina – Procession Resina – Nightjar Resina – Surface 
Warsaw-based cellist Karolina Rec released her debut album on Fat Cat‘s post-classical side-label 130701 in 2016 (“Nightjar” is taken from that album). Deceptive music which builds in intensity and depth as more layers are added, and sometimes opens up with the addition of vocals, it was quite a revelation. Her new album Traces carries on from where the self-titled release left off, with plenty of vigorous and beautiful cello playing and some cavernous multi-tracked vocals, and some occasional glistening, disintegrating effects. In “Surface”, she underlines a vocal loop with subtle cello glissandi, and then slowly feeds everything through a wobbling granular effect – it’s stunning.
BirdWorld – After Rain [courtesy of The Wire]
A duo of Gregor Riddell on cello/electronics and Adam Teixeira on drums/percussion, BirdWorld have made it on to the latest cover CD from Wire Magazine, August’s Wire Tapper 47. It’s apparently taken from an album called UNDA to be released later this year – not sure what label or when, so I guess we’ll keep our ears peeled, because this is a great bit of ambient jazz/world stuff, featuring some pretty nimble cello playing!
Lotic – Fragility [Tri-Angle Records/Lotic Bandcamp]Lotic – Slay [Lotic Bandcamp]Björk – notget (Lotic fromdeath version) [One Little Indian]Lotic – Heart (feat. Moro) [Tri-Angle Records/Lotic Bandcamp]Lotic – Resilience [Tri-Angle Records/Lotic Bandcamp]
The new album from Lotic shows an artist confident with their tools, but challenging themself further with more vocal-oriented tracks. A lot of the music features crunchy beats skittering around at different speeds, underpinned by sub bass. There’s a distinct melodic sensibility to it all too – even at its most aggressively percussive. The vocal tracks expand the horizons further, taking on gender and race in some very smart ways. It’s one of the highlight electronic albums of the year so far, a kind of experimental, more political flipside of SOPHIE’s album.
Cassius Select – They Shook [Hypercolour]Cassius Select – Screwface [Hypercolour]
Lavurn Lee’s work hasn’t altered and nor has his pace now that he’s returned to Toronto after living in Sydney for so long we thought he was part of the furniture. His new Cassius Select EP is released by UK label Hypercolour and it’s his usual brand of twitchy, bass-heavy techno, with tiny r’n’b/rap vocal snippets, which could be read as a repurposing of techniques from footwork. It’s so minimal that sometimes you’re dancing to the gaps in between the beats, which is kind of perfect.
Nonturn – Identify [Audiobulb]Nonturn – Significant [Audiobulb]
Japanese artist & musician Nozon Yoneda released his debut album as Nonturn on UK label Audiobulb, rather gorgeously packaged with Yoneda’s photos of scratched-up paint and other materials. The music is entirely made of processed field recordings taken around the streets of Tokyo (where the photos were also taken). These recordings were pitch-shifted and processed into a pallette of sounds which Yoneda uses for beats and melodies, creating some very pretty idm & ambient/industrial music. It’s far more accessible than you’d expect, but retains enough of the field recording aspects that you feel at times like you’re on a fantastically orchestrated street corner.
Dialectic – Chikz [Milk Thistle Records]Dialectic – Engage/Disengage [Milk Thistle Records]
Patrick Sharples brings some very interesting philosophical elements to his drums & electronic music – with an interest in feminism and a background in mental health social care, he’s based his debut EP around the phrase Pregnancy Suits You. On this album the Central Coast artist is exploring how to make live electronic music while playing drum kit, and he’s created some loping tunes with unusual time signatures and maximalist synth attack.
Golden Syrup – When Will I Run Out Of Breath [Nice Music]Golden Syrup – Didn’t Go Home [Nice Music]
Sara Retallic makes audiovisual works as Golden Syrup, and I was lucky enough to catch her live a week and a bit ago when Tangents launched our album in Melbourne. Her set started with lo-fi noise and industrial beats, and gradually morphed into sultry pop vocals, and that’s pretty much how this album goes too. Recommended.
2 Bad Mice – Gone Too Soon (Sully Remix) [Sneaker Social Club]
Breakbeat hardcore supergroud 2 Bad Mice (featuring Rob Playford of jungle/drum’n’bass label Moving Shadow) came out of retirement recently, and here we have one of those new rave tunes expertly tweaked into junglist heaven by the contemporary master Sully.
Michael Price – Song For A (Madeleine Cocolas Rework) [1631 Recordings]Michael Price – I Will, For You (Sophie Hutchings Rework) [1631 Recordings]
British composer Michael Price writes a lot for film, and has also had releases on labels like Erased Tapes. 1631 Recordings have just released an album of reworkings featuring some very nice post-classical artists, including two Aussies: ex-pat Madeleine Cocolas is now based in New York and as usual bathes us in synth pads and vocals, while Sydney’s own Sophie Hutchings sits down at her upright piano for some late night musings.
This is an Australian track.
This is a local artist.