A mix-up of delicacies for you tonight! I'm heading off overseas in a couple of days and will be away for the next two shows, so here's everything I could fit in before the break!
Demdike Stare - At It Again [Modern Love]Demdike Stare - Pile Up [Modern Love]
Well, Demdike Stare are indeed "At It Again"! Some of us got to see them at Dark Mofo earlier this year, and they played a lot of this stuff there along with the very trippy visuals from Michael England, stills from which feature on the album cover of this new album Passion. It's very much a continuation of what they were doing on their Testpressing series and the following Wonderland album - retooling rave tropes, from jungle to hardcore & industrial techno to grime and dubstep - into crunchy, overdriven, slightly abstracted forms, mixed with lashings of noise-drone and hauntological weirdness. It works well on the dancefloor but it's not exactly of the dancefloor. I'm so glad they've returned for more of this stuff anyway.
epic45 - Remember The Future [Wayside and Woodland]epic45 - Cornfields and Classrooms [Wayside and Woodland]epic45 - England Fallen Over [Make Mine Music/Thomason Sounds]epic45 - Through Broken Summer [Wayside and Woodland]
It's an absolute delight to have epic45 back after 4 years (and that's since their last EP - it's been 7 years since they've made a full album). They've been with us since basically the entire length of Utility Fog's existence, doing their take on indietronica, postrock, shoegaze - guitar-driven songs with glitchy processing and edits, electronic beats, and whatever else they want to pile in. Like fellow travellers Hood, they have a rather pastoral outlook, albeit from the Midlands rather than further north in England, and the seasons and rural settings feature strongly in their music - as does a pervasive sense of melancholy. That's all very present in their new album, I'm pleased to say, and it's a lovely listen altogether.
From back in 2005 we heard an old favourite, "England Fallen Over".
Penelope Trappes - Carry Me [Houndstooth]Penelope Trappes - Low [Optimo]Penelope Trappes - Connector [Houndstooth]
Originally hailing from the Northern Rivers in NSW, Penelope Trappes moved to New York about 10 years ago and formed the duo The Golden Filter with Stephen Hindman. I've never heard them although I'll be checking them out soon. A little while ago the two moved to London, Trappes released her first solo album Penelope One through the influential Optimo Music. Like the follow-up, it features songs that reference the work of Scott Walker, This Mortal Coil and torch songs, but built up as much from soundscapes, soundtrack work, field recordings as it is from abstracted beats and piano (and vocals of course). There's heaps of reverb, and heaps of space. It's delicately poised, and quite moving even though it tends to hold you at a distance. Highly recommended, both albums.
Julia Holter – Voce Simul [Domino]Julia Holter – Chaitius [Domino]
Following on from last year's live album, Julia Holter returns with double album Aviary, a stunning 90-minute collection as usual drawing from literature and the classics as well as pop & classical music history. Her band nowadays is incredibly strong, featuring brilliant viola player/singer Dina Macacbee, and bass player Devin Hoff among others, and they bring a cohesive feel to the music - both accomplished, impeccably arranged, and at the same time free and ornate. Here's a wonderful song that I decided not to play, in favour of a couple of the more leftfield numbers:
Thom Yorke - The Universe is Indifferent [XL Recordings]Thom Yorke - Volk [XL Recordings]Thom Yorke - Has Ended [XL Recordings]
I'm never entirely sure why people need to do remakes of classic movies, although in the sense of cover versions, remakes can be creative as much as they can be stale & pointless. Suspiria is a legendary supernatural horror film by Dario Argento from 1977, Italian director Luca Guadagnino has remade it for 2018 as an "homage" more than a direct remake. The original movie also has a legendary soundtrack by Italian prog band Goblin, so young upstart Thom Yorke has some work cut out for him... Of course Thom paves his own way, inserting plenty of his distinctive emotional songs into the proceedings, but also creating a lot of very beautifully spooky music, befitting the witchy theme, with classic discordant string orchestrations and queasy electronics, as well as some very nice loping drums from his son Noah.
It's even better than I'd expected.
Eartaker - Dojo-ji Temple [Bedouin Recordings]Eartaker - A Lady Who Experienced Necromancy [Bedouin Recordings]
The latest project from Japanese dustep/noise/drone producer Goth-Trad sees him joined by the doom metal growls of Die Suck and the experimental noise-making of sound-artist Masayuki Imanishi. The latter is a sometime member of Japanese metal/post-classical tricksters Vampillia, with whom Goth-Trad has toured. The imperious vocals are going to be focused on here, but the bass heavy sounds and sometime beats are important too - it's one of the best crossovers of these sounds yet, not surprising coming from Japan. Even if you don't necessarily dig metal, you might find this the catharsis you need...
Jasmine Guffond - Sound and Stone Part 1 [Composer Built]Paul Jebanasam - Sound and Stone Part 2 [Composer Built]Monty Adkins - Sound and Stone Part 8 [Composer Built]
Finishing up tonight we have a compilation from the new UK label Composer Built which explores, well, "composer built" instruments. In this case the instrument is the "Klangsteine" developed by German composer/sound-artist Klaus Fessmann along with his son Hannes. For this project the artists were given use of a virtual version of the instrument, and have created a suite of drone & sound-art works based on these spooky sounds. Excellent Sydney producer Jasmine Guffond, frequent visitor to these playlists, opens the album with a piece that builds slowly from sparse beginnings into something lush and evocative; Paul Jebanasam (once a Sydneysider too) contributes an undulating drone work, and English sound artist & composer extraordinaire Monty Adkins summons some kind of subterranean spirits in his piece.
This is an Australian track.
This is a local artist.