Tonight's show comes after a bitterly disappointing Federal election, touted as the climate election, in which fear, greed and racism won out over hope and progress. Many arguments can be made about how it came to pass, but ultimately we have to keep moving forward and making a difference. All I can really do is bring you wonderful music from all around the globe. Even if you disagree with my interpretation of the politics of the day, I hope we can come together over great art (although let's remind ourselves that the conservatives who again control the public purse are no friends of challenging, adventurous art).
Ståle Storløkken - Turbulence [Hubro]Ståle Storløkken - Stranded at Red Ice Desert. Remember Your Loved Ones (In Memory of My Dear Mother) [Hubro]
Norwegian jazz keyboardist Ståle Storløkken is a member of the legendary freeform improvising group Supersilent, whose music has ranged from noisy thrash-jazz to the most eerily beautiful ambient electronic jazz ever created. He also has a duo with jazz drummer Thomas Strønen as Humcrush. For this solo album, titled The Haze of Sleeplessness, he's created a suite of evocative pieces from synthesizers which shows that Arve Henriksen isn't the only Supersilent member with a keen sense of exquisite melody (not surprisingly!)
BirdWorld - Wicked Waste of Wax [BirdWorld Bandcamp]BirdWorld - Chimes [BirdWorld Bandcamp]
It's great to find out that the debut EP from London/Oslo duo BirdWorld is available now. I heard the last track on a Wire compilation a little while ago. They have the unusual lineup of Gregor Riddell on cello & electronics and Adam Teixeira on drums & percussion, and they seamless meld their live, acoustic performances with field recordings and manipulations. Looking forward to the full length album.
Brian Harnetty - Boy [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]Brian Harnetty - Jack [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
American composer Brian Harnetty is an old hand now at weaving his contemporary compositions and arrangements with archival folk recordings and interviews. I fell in love with his first album, American Winter, back in 2007, and Shawnee, Ohio, out now on Karlrecords, is another moving, beautiful and instructive entry into his works. This focuses on the eponymous town, once a centre of coal mining, and now fracking. The latter industry is called out in the second track here, where a fellow called Jack adapts the classic union protest song "Which Side Are You On?"
Teho Teardo - A Bit About Ghosts [Specula Records]Teho Teardo - London Offered Us Possible Mothers [Specula Records]
It's been a couple of years since we heard from Italian composer and ex-industrial musician Teho Teardo on this show. He's become known for some brilliant albums with the great Blixa Bargeld, but equally for his soundtrack work, and this new album was composed for a play by Enda Walsh adapting Max Porter's novel Grief Is The Thing With Feathers. The string arrangements, details production and occasional electronic elements make for wonderfully emotive work.
Laura Cannell - Landmark [Brawl Records]Laura Cannell - Transient Thresholds [Brawl Records]
Like much of her work, the new album by Laura Cannell was recorded live in one take in an English church - this one in Nottingham. She makes use of scordatura (unusual tunings) on her violin to enable strange harmonies, placing her music somewhere between arcane folk and contemporary music. The double recorder she plays on the first track (yes, both melodies are played simultaneously live) certainly evokes music of centuries past.
John Harries - Tea Coffee Pepper [The Lumen Lake]Wendra Hill For - Okroppslig [The Lumen Lake]
This split cassette is released later this month on the English label The Lumen Lake, run by multi-instrumentalist John Harries. His side of the split is dominated by a long work called "Grey Sea Over A Cold Sky", which was too long for me to play tonight but is an absorbing work of drones and percussion; Harries' solo piece is a somewhat abstract work of sound-art, and sits nicely with the semi-improvised work of the Norwegian ensemble Wendra Hill For, usually the duo of Jo David Meyer Lysne (who we heard on this show a few months ago) & double bassist Joel Ring, but Wendra Hill is also a collective and they're joined here by two multi-instrumentalists: Jenny Berger Myhre and Tobias Pfeil. Their side is quite varied, but "Okroppslig" is a stunning piece of perhaps spontaneous contemporary composition.
Madeleine Cocolas - The Way Forward [Salmon Universe]DEEP LEARNING - Power Law [Salmon Universe]PVT member Richard Pike last year debuted his new ambient solo project DEEP LEARNING. He's now setup a new label called Salmon Universe and later this month will release the compilation Salmon Universe Vol. 1, featuring himself alongside international artists like Luke Abbott and the newly-returned-to-Australia Madeleine Cocolas, whose arpeggiated synths here have some nice growly distortion underlying them.
Kayak - Astra [Flaming Pines]Submatukana - Thunderstorm [Flaming Pines]
The Flaming Pines, run by sometime Aussie sound artist Kate Carr, is by now well known for its site-specific collections, and also full-length compilations of experimental music from specific countries. With Kaleidoscope it's the turn of Ukraine. Previous Flaming Pines artist Gamardah Fungus is present, as is well-known electronic musician Andrey Kiritchenko and recent ambient/post-classical artist Endless Melancholy, along with many names I'd never heard. It focuses on the ambient & droney, but as we can hear there are some tracks which grow into percussive loops and beats - such as both tracks from Kayak and Submatukana.
Jack Burton - Opus [Analogue Attic/]
Something more from the Lake Monger album, out later this week from Melbourne musician Jack Burton. Lovely synth drones, a muted, very slow 4/4 beat and a gorgeous outro.
Himalayan Beach Ensemble - Oasis [Julien Mier Bandcamp]
Dutch electronic musician Julien Mier has released chaotic beats under his own name, and groovy stuff as Santpoort. This is his new ambient project Himalayan Beach Ensemble, focusing on piano and other acoustic instruments, and electronic treatments, all very very subdued.
Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky - Space Ghost I [Sacred Bones]Stephen Brodsky - Stolen Echoes Won't Return [Xasthur feat. Marissa Nadler - Portal of Sorrow [Disharmonic Variations]Machinefabriek - VIII (with Marissa Nadler) (excerpt) [Western Vinyl]Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky - For the Sun [Sacred Bones]
Finally for tonight, a rather sumptuous pairing of indie/folk singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler and hardcore musician Stephen Brodsky on their album Droneflower. Of course, that's an unfair way of describing them both. Nadler is a seasoned collaborator with pretty unusual people, including her appearance on most of the final (until reformed) album by black metal artist Xasthur. More recently she contributed vocals for a track on Machinefabriek's amazing album With Voices, her voice at times fragilely a capella, at other times layered and electronically manipulated. Brodsky's Cave In is a beloved hardcore band, but injected melodic indie rock vocals for many of their years (and last year suffered the tragedy of their bass player Caleb Scofield dying in a car accident. Their final album will be released soon) - and Brodsky also has a slew of indiepop solo albums under his belt.
Together these great musicians have brought out the dark, emotive, gothic aspects of each other's work, with acoustic guitar and piano rubbing up against chugging slow riffs and Nadler's always bewitching vocals. The duo works tremendously well and I can only hope they continue working together.
This is an Australian track.
This is a local artist.