I've tried to fit a wide range of stuff in tonight - the year continues to progress with excellent releases, and I'm away for the next two weeks travelling around New Zealand, so let's see how much ground we can cover...
Michel Banabila - Collector [Tapu Records]
I don't play my own music very much on this show – it doesn't feel right. But Michel Banabila is an artist I've supported for many years on Utility Fog, and it also wouldn't feel right not to play his wonderful new album Uprooted. He asked me, along with a number of great musicians mostly from Holland, to contribute music improvised to various demo tracks. He then took our various performances apart and built new tracks out of them – with a couple of second rounds for elements he felt he needed. There's my cello on the whole release, and this track also features bass clarinet from Gareth Davis.
Romeo Moon - Circling [Hotel Motel/Bandcamp]Romeo Moon - Our Energy [Hotel Motel/Bandcamp]
I was really pleased to be introduced to the music of Melbourne musician Romeo Moon a couple of months ago. Kevin Orr is his name, and he's making lovely low-key music flitting between indie songwriting and krautrocky instrumentals – with a definite Radiohead vibe, maybe also hints of Melbourne indietronica band I'lls. The EP is out later this week, and as I'm away for the next couple of weeks, I'm playing a couple of tracks in a row tonight – they follow each other on the album and are thematically paired.
Sunn O))) - Between Sleipnir's Breaths [Southern Lord/Bandcamp]
A new album from doom/drone metal giants Sunn O))) is always an event. Their latest, Life Metal, was released on vinyl on Record Store Day, with wider release coming this Friday (for CD fans like me, or digital/streaming peeps). I'm playing the opening track tonight, "Between Sleipnir's Breaths" (Sleipnir is Odin's eight-legged horse), which features the wonderful vocals and cello of Hildur Guðnadóttir, an artist this show is a big fan of from her solo cello (and sometimes vocal) work, and her collaborations with experimental artists of various stripes, going right back to being part of Icelandic indietronica heroes Múm back in the day. The lushly-close female vocals are a lovely addition to the incredibly slow and concentrated weight of Sunn O)))'s guitar riffage - the closest equivalent being the choral aspects of their 2009 album Monoliths & Dimensions, but here it's just two vocals (she sings an octave-up harmony), drawing out the arcane with a melody which only wavers from its single note to occasionally rise up a major third or down a major second. Both deeply warm and deeply chilling.
Barst - #2 I Die - Live Long [Consouling Sounds/Bandcamp]
Belgian musician Bart Desmet is Barst, although on some recordings it's a cast of thousands. His music intends to break the confines of genre and songwriting conventions – the last album was a single 43 minute track even though it's broken down into sections that might as well be songs. Here he reworks various Barst works into four experimental tracks which mix up drone, industrial, experimental electronic and a bit of post-metal/post-rock. This kind of mess is what UFog's about, y'know?
Orson Hentschel - When Horses Lose Ground [Denovali/Bandcamp]Orson Hentschel - Feed The Tape [Denovali/Bandcamp]Orson Hentschel - Facade I [Denovali/Bandcamp]
German composer/producer Orson Hentschel comes from a film background, and the flitter of film in front of a flickering shutter is part of the inspiration for his jagged music since his first album, 2016's Feed The Tape. His new one is in some ways less lush, less classical-inspired and more based on basic drum machine sounds, but it retains the restless nature of his earlier work, with eerie drones and accelerated drum programming. And I seem never to have played last year's Facades EP, which features two pieces based around text, here spoken in Korean by his friend Danhee Joe.
Mumdance - Path Of The Seer [Alter]
Luke Younger has an album coming out soon as Helm which promises to be amazing. In the meantime his label Alter has just released a compilation called ALERT! showcasing just how wide-ranging its taste is – with post-punk primitivism and contemporary dance production rubbing shoulders with noise and acoustic experimentation. I hope to return to this when I'm back from NZ, but tonight we heard Mumdance's beatless menace... closer to his work with James Kelly as Bliss Signal than the weightless stuff he's doing with Logos as heard last week.
Syntax Error - The Four Distressed Waves of Sleep [Stab in the Dark Records]
Sydney quartet Syntax Error feature three four different musicians mixing up shoegaze, krautrock and psychedelia with some experimental noise roots. Their album Message is out in a few weeks, and this last cut from it is the most sedate. It’s quite beautiful and contemplative.
Isambard Khroustaliov - Atoll Song [Not Applicable]
Sam Britton is one half of revered UK drum'n'bass/electro-acoustic duo Icarus (their other half, his cousin Ollie Bown, now lives in Sydney and plays in my band Tangents). Sam has for some reason always used Isambard Khroustaliov for his solo work (I should ask him why). He’s trained as an architect, made pioneering drum'n'bass, got a PhD in electronic music and then studied at both IRCAM in Paris and STEIM in Amsterdam. His music is very exploratory, but in between a couple of rather challenging tracks on his new album This Is My Private Beach, This Is My Jetsam (a quote from a poem by his sometime collaborator, postpunk musician Ted Milton of Blurt!), there’s this lovely, innocent piece called “Atoll Song”.
These New Puritans - Hologram [Domino]These New Puritans - Organ Eternal [Infectious]These New Puritans - A-R-P [Infectious]
This band of brothers and collaborators started as a kind of postpunkish dance group, but morphed over their stunning second & third albums, with an interest in 20th century British composition bringing orchestral and choral arrangements alongside vigorous percussion and dance beats. "We Want War" from Hidden was a kind of (musical) call to arms, a weird mixture of Benjamin Britten, Frankie Goes To Hollywood and something contemporary – but 2013's Field of Reeds, which ventured further into the classical composition and Talk Talk-like quietude, was going to be a hard act to follow. The new album both strips things back to more straightforward new romantic indiepop, and continues the classical filigree - still pretty amazing.
Zachary Paul - A Person With Feelings [Touch]
Contemporary violinist Zachary Paul appeared on Simon Scott's recent album for Touch, and now releases his solo album (after a number on other labels as Poppy Nogood (Terry Riley tribute!)). There are two works for violin & electronics performed live, but this is a soundtrack to an experimental film. I love how the violin slowly emerges from the synthesized sounds – it's impressive stuff.
Derek Piotr - main body (scanner "bodyless" remix) [Derek Piotr Bandcamp]
From the third and final EP to be taken from Derek Piotr's album Grunt which came out last year, we hear the legendary Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner deconstruct the already deconstructed vocal & electronic source sounds from Piotr here. Creepy good.
This is an Australian track.
This is a local artist.