Electronic pop, industrial techno and non-techno, experimental electronica and freeform sampling, edgy post-classical and cutting-edge jazz tonight...
Ducks! - Swerve (feat. Rachel Maio) [Ducks! Bandcamp]
Ex-pat Aussies now based in Berlin, Ducks! started releasing lovely quirky indie pop with an electronic bent a couple of years ago (under this name) and this new single is a welcome addition to their discography, with a sweet melody and some great cello from another Berlin-based Australia, Rachel Maio.
Lakker - A Juggling Of Numbers [R&S Records/Lakker Bandcamp]Lakker - Dropped Shoulders [R&S Records/Lakker Bandcamp]Lakker - Body From The Water [R&S Records/Lakker Bandcamp]
After a series of solo releases from Ian McDonnell last year as Eomac, as well as some collaborations on his Eotrax label, and an excellent EP from Dara Smith as Arad, it's great to have them back together as Lakker, again on legendary Belgian dance label R&S Records. This album doesn't quite reach the dancefloor, but doesn't perhaps go quite as experimental as some of their releases either. The vocals that both introduced in their recent solo work appear here, lending some tracks an '80s industrial/pop feel.
Dis Fig - Alive [Purple Tape Pedigree]Dis Fig - Watering [Purple Tape Pedigree]Dis Fig - U Said U Were [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Jazz-trained vocalist Felicia Chen makes full use of her vocal training as Dis Fig, but her solo art draws from industrial, techno, noise and further outer reaches for a quite intense experience on Purge, her debut album from Purple Tape Pedigree. The arrangements feature flute, trumpet and trombone, along with plenty of creepy and heavy electronics. At times her voice is distorted & processed, increasing the intensity of what are already passionate & emotional performances. A really impressive debut.
Rian Treanor - ATAXIA B2 [Planet µ/Bandcamp]Rian Treanor - ATAXIA C2 [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
After releases on Death of Rave and Warp sublabel Arcola, Rian Treanor now drops his debut album on the one and only Planet µ, and appropriately for the label's more recent focus, it's quite footstep-influenced. Treanor's experimental techno chops may have been learned in the cradle, as he's the son of Mark Fell, glitch/click-techno don and one half Snd. In any case, Treanor sneaks some nice melody into his twitchy machine beats.
Sote - Artificial Neutrality [Diagonal Records/Bandcamp]
Aka Ebtekar has been on the must-listen list since his first release as Sote on Warp back in 2002, an explosive double-header of breakcore techno. He's more recently been exploring both the history of Iranian electronic music and new techniques in processing and interacting with traditional Persian instruments and music. Thus on this very electronic-sounding piece he's joined by Arash Bolouri on the santour and Pouya Damadi on the tar, both using extended techniques and further manipulated by Ebtekar. I can't wait to hear the rest of this album!
Matmos - The Crying Pill [Thrill Jockey]Matmos - Plastic Anniversary [Thrill Jockey]Matmos - Collapse Of The Fourth Kingdom [Thrill Jockey]
Martin C Schmidt and Drew Daniel have been together for 25 years, and they're celebrating their anniversary with an album that samples from every sort of plastic they could find. They're past masters at this kind of thing - not just making music from unusual samples (that's for sure!) but also for creating entire albums from arch concepts and somehow making it work. Live, they populate the stage with weird & wonderful objects that they sample in front of the audience and build abstracted versions of their tracks from. In recording, they can afford to finesse everything carefully, and employ a great deal of musicality to create catchy ditties (of a sort). On this release they seem to harken a bit back to the frenetic, skittery (and very idiosyncratic) idm of their earliest couple of CDs, albeit with much higher production values!
Carl Stone - Xé May [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
On his new album Baroo, US musician Carl Stone, who's been called the "King of Sampling", recreates his time-slicing technique of stretching and rearranging musical works through microsampling in a modern way using Max/MSP. Actually the track I played tonight uses an Elektron Octatrack sampler, but all these pieces show Stone enjoying the flexibility of new technologies in extending techniques he's been developing since the 1980s - he first performed with a computer onstage in 1986. Having heard the two archival compilations released by Unseen Worlds last year, I've been seeking out as much of Stone's back catalogue as I can find, and I'll give you a listen in a future show.
Giraffe - On the shore [Meakusma]Giraffe - The night is dark [Meakusma]
Hamburg trio Giraffe sit in a strange land somewhere between jazz, postrock and avant-garde experimentalism, not unlike certain other unusual travellers from Germany & Austria such as Kammerflimmer Kollektief, Radian et al. It's rhythmic yet rarely quite settles into a groove, it features familiar instruments but they don't quite follow the roles you'd expect. Whatever it is, I love listening to it.
Aries Mond - Cut Off [IIKKI]Aries Mond - Cracks [IIKKI]Aries Mond - Ink [IIKKI]
Boris Billier has been recently creating a beautiful and unusual take on "post-classical" ambient piano genre as Aries Mond - eschewing pretty, sub-classical melodies and the "subtle electronics" that I dread to read about in press releases, he uses electronics in a more uncompromising manner and his piano in a very subtle way, playful with sound and just melodic enough. On this new album, sounds crackle forth at odd spots in tracks, muted piano clicks and sputters in reverse, and field recordings of (sometimes indistinct) voices intermingle with the music. It's really gorgeous.
Daniel Carter, Tobias Wilner, Djibril Toure, Federico Ughi - Nostrand Avenue [577 Records/Bandcamp]
I discovered this teaming up of great NYC musicians through the latest issue of The Wire Tapper cover CD with The Wire, which featured an excerpt from another track off the album New York United. Combining brilliant jazz musicians Daniel Carter and Federico Ughi with electronic soundtrack musician Tobias Wilner and versatile bassist Djibril Toure (who's played with The Wu-Tang Clan), it's an album of jazzscapes, grooves and experimentation. This particular quartet may be new, but they've played together in various sub-groupings before, and that shows in an album that matches the avant-garde aspects with remarkable cohesion. I decided to play as much of this long track as I could, because I love the way it develops its themes as it cycles through upbeat sections and lulls. We left it about 10 minutes into its 17 minutes. I highly recommend checking out the whole album.
This is an Australian track.
This is a local artist.