New music, two weeks into December, because that's the way of the world now...
World News - A Bit More Mellow Back Then (Lake Versions remix) [direct from Tim Condon of Lake Versions]
I'm afraid for now I can tell you nothing about World News except that they're a band from Toronto. Tim Condon is a musician from Melbourne who I've been enthusiastically supporting for at least 10 years, since his very first loose noise/experimental release as Mirrored Silver Sea, and he's had a fantastic kraut/post/psych rock band in Toronto for some time now called Fresh Snow. Lake Versions is a new band featuring two Toronto-resident women, Jesse Crowe and Franziska Beeler, and if this epic remix is a sign of anything, they're going to be superb.
CUTS - Maboroshi [Village Green]CUTS - Carbon [Village Green]
Arthur Tombling Jr is described these days as a filmmaker, but in fact his history as a musician goes back to making beats in the '90s as Transambient Communications. The three EPs and one album released by Village Green this year as CUTS represent a mature and beautifully poised musical sensibility, and there's certainly a "widescreen" "filmic" quality to this stuff. I loved "Carbon" from the EP A Slow Decay that came out a few months ago, and the follow-up album with almost the same title, A Gradual Decline continues the grainy, analogue, crunchy feel, definitely harkening back to early '90s ambient techno but through a contemporary ambient/post-classical lens.
Michel Banabila - A Sense of Place [Tapu Records]Michel Banabila - Imprints [Tapu Records]
Quite a blessing to have a gorgeous, arcane album from Michel Banabila drop just near the end of the year. The Dutch electronic artist has been making music for decades, but was hit with some medical issues this year that put everything on hold - so it's an extra pleasure to have this lovely thing available now. Manipulated voices appear, indecipherably, and somewhere in there is the viola playing of frequent collaborator Oene van Geel. Alongside the ambient, evocative textures, is a keen sense of rhythm and some nice scratchy and glitchy treatments on the samples as well.
Machinefabriek - Morning [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]Machinefabriek - Haul [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]Machinefabriek - Sirocco [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Three cuts from a mixtape that Machinefabriek has put out of cues he's created for a multi-part documentary on the Sahara region currently being broadcast on Dutch TV station VPRO. There's some pretty rhythmic stuff, basslines and all, likely unexpectedly for the casual Machinefabriek listener. And the African influence is pretty nice too.
Yoshitaka Hikawa - CORE [SEAGRAVE]ISSHU - Chemdawg 91 [SEAGRAVE]Half Nelson - Brother Sand [SEAGRAVE]
The second compilation put together by The Fissure Family for the SEAGRAVE starts with a strong drum'n'bass/jungle/drill'n'bass influence, but moves into techno and other dancefloor forms, as well as glitchy experimental stuff. It's a good sampling of the sort of stuff that SEAGRAVE likes to feature on its cassette releases - a really interesting and noteworthy label. Many of these artists are relatively new to me - I've heard Yoshitaka Hikawa on a smattering of net compilations recently, and love the bass/breakbeat/glitch approach on this track; ISSHU's done a fair amount of techno/idm stuff and this bit of proto-d'n'b/early-'90s acid hardcore is a really nice start to the compilation. Meanwhile, Memotone's four-to-the-floor hardware techno project Half Nelson appears with some head-noddin' beats and distorted layers of clarinets. Yes yes.
Gudrun Gut - Baby I Can Drive My Car [Monika Enterprise]Gudrun Gut - Biste schon weg [Monika Enterprise]
Longtime key member of the German music scene, Gudrun Gut puts out her first solo album proper in a while with Moment, released on her influential, important Monika Enterprise, which has brought to light a lot of great music by female electronic artists over the last couple of decades. This is dark techno-pop in the vein of Gudrun Gut's earlier work, expertly done. You can even hear callouts to the postpunk and proto-industrial that she was involved with in the '80s in there.
Jessica Sligter - The Endless End [Butler & Butler]Jessica Sligter - Surrounds, Surrounds Me [Hubro]Jessica Sligter & Wilbert Bulsink - C [Unsounds]Jessica Sligter - The Finest Hour [Butler & Butler]
Her new album Polycrisis:yes! takes Dutch-born composer/producer/singer Jessica Sligter's music into the most abstract territory yet: slow-moving soundscapes with noirish, dramatic vocals commenting on the state of Europe today - including some long quotes and samples from EU Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker. It's a concept album, but often as much in presentation as in content - deep pulsing drones, bare drums, near-silent gaps... The obscure nature of some of this album notwithstanding, Sligter is an extraordinary songwriter & composer. You can feel the long shadow of Scott Walker over her art, and she carries this off effortlessly - of course there's much more to what she's doing (I'd suggest Jenny Hval as a contemporary of Sligter's), but Walker is a pretty good guide to what you're likely to get from the last few albums. I can't get enough of her 2016 album A Sense Of Growth, which perfectly combines complex, beautiful songwriting with electronics, full band arrangements, avant-garde strings... But her works from this year are advanced, rich and challenging. Alongside Polycrisis:yes! Sligter has released a work that melds avant-garde composition with her vocal & electronic work, in collaboration with Dutch composer Wilbert Bulsink. Untitled #2 (The Mute) is part of a new series from the amazing Unsounds label entitled Sounds of the Young Avant-Garde, and concerns itself with the idea of voicelessness, as we hear in the excerpt tonight. In a way this is a companion, on a more personal level, to Sligter's examination of the state of the European Union.
Kate Carr - I came to see the damage that was done [Glistening Examples]
Finally for tonight, some beautiful sculpted field recording work from Kate Carr, released on Jason Lescalleet's Glistening Examples on immaculate CD and digital. This work is based around field recordings "gathered underwater and along many shorelines", and creates musical soundscapes from these sources. Carr is a past master by now at this stuff, and you need to find the stillness for 40 minutes or so to listen to this stuff.
This is an Australian track.