Drum'n'bass and "hardcore continuum" stylings over a lot of tonight's show, hearkening back to the beautiful early days of dubstep as well as breakcore and drill'n'bass, but with an experimental twist, and some totally different stuff too...
Angelina Yershova - Tumbleweed [Twin Paradox]Angelina Yershova - Korgau [Twin Paradox]
Kazakh composer Angelina Yershova has released a few albums pitting her classical composition and piano skills against her electronic production wizardry. Her new album, one of a number on Italian label Twin Paradox Records, draws deeply from her Kazakh heritage - "Korgau" features Gulzhan Amanzhol on the kazakh string instrument the kyl-kobyz, and will come with a video produced by environmentalist film-maker Saltanat Tashimova about the Kok Zhailau mountain plateau in a Kazakh national park, currently threatened with deforestation. It's a beautiful piece in which Amanzhol's choral vocals and questing kobyz are surrounded by field recordings, droning electronics, slow percussion and whispered vocals. It's quite a contrast with the first track I played, which revels in drill'n'bass beats!
The album is released this Friday, much recommended.
Indri - Foreign Tongues [Empirical Intrigue]Indri - Fishnet [Empirical Intrigue]
Sydney artist Indri recorded this album in Iceland and references and draws from their experiences in that environment and I assume the juxtaposition with ours here in Australia. With field recordings, found sounds and incomprehensible vocals snippets accompanied by electronics, it's good music for getting lost in. In "Fishnet" the rhythmic keyboards bounce around with nice little analogue-style variations that could either be a kind of beatless dub techno or a Tangerine Dream-style krautrock throwback.
Piano Princess - I Make It Look Easy [Eternal]Night Dives - Magum [Eternal]Phoebe Twiggs & Grasps_' Eternal released its second compilation a couple of weeks ago. Although they're Sydney-based, not all the music is from Sydney or even Australia - it opens with Moscow-based techno/ambient musician Moa Pillar. I can't tell you where Piano Princess is from, although their SoundCloud name is "Bao Jia Xiang" and they may be Chinese - the SoundCloud doesn't give much away (in a fairly lol-worthy combative way!). Marcus Night Dives is Singaporean via Melbourne, and brings a hardcore/breakcore energy to the proceedings.
Homemade Weapons - Virga [Samurai Music]
The latest album from Seattle's Homemade Weapons continues his re-tooling of junglist drum'n'bass for the post-dubstep era on his new album Gravity for the estimable Samurai Music, with jittery, anxious super-chopped beats and sub-basslines at relentless speed and density. At his best the beats are dazzling and stylistically he stands apart from even his frequent collaborators.
Mark - Fucking Sick Of Myself Since Day One (Hot Desk Mix) [Unterton]Mark - Hats Off To Herr F. [Unterton]
Released on Ostgut Ton sidelabel Unterton is the latest EP from German producer Mark, fourth in a series exploring an obsession with '90s drum'n'bass, rave and breakcore. It's impeccably done but it frequently reminds you (more so on his previously releases than this new one it must be said) that it's referencing those sounds rather, perhaps, than doing them - sound-art interludes, field recordings etc (and the very sardonic track titles). Mark has also released more abstract music as Klon Dump, including a couple of releases on Melbourne label A Colourful Storm.
Toasty - unconcious [Toasty Bandcamp]Toasty - Like Sun [Hotflush Recordings]Toasty - as one [Toasty Bandcamp]
Just earlier this week I noticed a post from Etch pointing out that dubstep legend Toasty (find him on Twitter here) had been putting up some old tracks on Bandcamp. He put out some much-loved releases on Scuba's Hotflush Recordings back as far as 2004, but was never that prolific. All these tracks date from about that period - as grime and dubstep were emerging out of UK garage - and have a wonderful breakbeat approach, some more distinctly dubstep-flavoured and others more upbeat. It's all gold. I recall when I first heard "Like Sun" in a DJ mix back in the day - blissful junglism slowed down and laid over the dubstep template - and sought out and played the 12" to death (it's now available digitally through the usual channels by the way). Halcyon days.
Logos - Arrival (T2 Mix) [Different Circles]Logos - Glass [Different Circles]Logos - Lighthouse Dub [Different Circles]
Alongside Mumdance, a few years ago James Parker aka Logos founded an approach called "Weightless" which strips club music - particularly UK bass music - to its bare bones, a kind of distillation of actually what dubstep was all about as it as it first emerged around 13-15 years ago (see Toasty above!). On "Glass" from 2015, we hear this approach applied to jungle's breaks 'n' bass, whereas "Lighthouse Dub" from the new album is pure, watery dub techno.
Sensaround - immolate dub [hellosQuare]
Australian/Scots trio Sensaround draws shapeshifting improvisations from Canberra's Shoeb Ahmad, Sydney pianist Alister Spence and Scottish saxophonist Raymond MacDonald. This track is serious about the "dub" aspect of its title, albeit in a way that eschews head-nodding beats or basslines. There's echoey reverbs and delays in the production, a notable separation of sonic elements including MacDonald's squealing, Middle Eastern-influenced saxophone melodies which appear & disappear across the track, and there's a kind of postpunk attitude to the noise aspect of the album's heart/noise dichotomy. This feels like the most fully-realised work yet from this very interesting collaboration.
MALK - Re-treat [Lost Tribe Sound]MALK - Mist Up [Lost Tribe Sound]
Last up is a very unusual release from US label Lost Tribe Sound. MALK is a prolific artist under various aliases, many released by the Philadelphia label Sweet Chunk, and he's also one third of Philadelphia beatmakers Mahatma X. Last year's Death From A Love album, released like Mahatma X's by Leeds label Home Assembly Music, won Norman Records' #1 album of the year, but never really grabbed me.
This new one is different - both in that I'm really enjoying it and in that it's super different sounding - it's a ramshackle mix of home-recorded acoustic & electric instrumentation blended together beat tape style. Entitled WMAIDIT (which apparently stands for "Watch Me As I Die In Time"), its folktronic nature draws from those Dilla vibes without actually being categorizable as hip-hop, with an indiepunk DIY attitude. Music on the boundaries is what this show's all about, so check out the whole album for even stranger, more atonal, more absorbing little sonic mysteries.
This is an Australian track.
This is a local artist.