Music from around the globe tonight, uncompromising and unfettered...
Pouya Pour-Amin - Exterior wash [Flaming Pines]Pouya Pour-Amin - Have mercy, for crying out loud, O lord of the world! (sixth episode) [Flaming Pines]
Regular listeners to this show may notice that there's a substantial amount of remarkable, forward-thinking music coming out of Iran these days. Back in 2016, Kate Carr's fantastic Flaming Pines label released a compilation called Absence which showcased a cross-section of contemporary Persian music and introduced a lot of us to some wonderful artists. Double bassist and sound-artist Pouya Pour-Amin was one of those, and although a track of his appeared on Ata Ebtekar's massive Girih compilation, it's been otherwise fairly quiet from him. So it's quite an event to have his new album, Prison Episodes coming out (again from Flaming Pines) this coming week. Its 7 episodes follow a political prisoner from their incarceration to their breaking point - it's a beautiful yet harrowing listen that uses elements of drone, industrial, and classical music to rail against political repression and extremism. A timely album indeed, and one that sits solidly alongside 9T Antiope & Siavash Amini's recent Harmistice. In fact, Pour-Amin also plays alongside Sara Bigdeli Shamloo and Nima Aghiani of 9T Antiope in the band Migraine Sq., who are promising new music soon too.
Shoeb Ahmad - "status anxiety" (tilman robinson version) [Provenance Records/Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]Shoeb Ahmad - "villagers son" (maria moles version) [Provenance Records/Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
Talking to Stuart Buchanan earlier this year, he wasn't sure whether to continue running his Provenance label. The changing landscape of streaming and downloading was making it harder to see what the role of a record label was, and like many he was finding it a little wearying and depressing. But I'm very glad to see that he's decided to restart the label, with an edition of four cassette releases. Sebastian Field's album that we heard last week is part of that batch, and it's also really great to see that the remix album that was thus far only available as a bonus CD with the zine edition of Shoeb Ahmad's "quiver" from last year is finally coming out digitally (and on tape!) - so I played a couple of highlights. Tilman Robinson created a slow-burning piece mixing classical minimalism with bass pulses, while Maria Moles adds her percussion to the chiming, smeared guitars of Shoeb's original.
Arrom - We Saw This Coming [Provenance Records/Arrom Bandcamp]Arrom - Now Won [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]Arrom - Fruit [Provenance Records/Arrom Bandcamp]
Also on Provenance is the new album from Melissa Vallence aka Arrom, for which we give thanks. Like her 2017 opus Take My Lymphs, But Still We embeds her classically-trained vocals in glitched-up, dark and heavy electronics. While her first album catalogued a period of illness, the new one explores heavy and personal themes around the loss of childhood innocence.
Arrom - See How (Ahm Remix) [Provenance Records/Arrom Bandcamp]Ahm - Resolution [Provenance Records/Ahm Bandcamp]Ahm - New Tricks [Provenance Records/Ahm Bandcamp]
I first heard of Melbourne producer Ahm (creator of the fourth release in the new Provenance set) through two remixes of Arrom, and so that's our segue into two tracks from his new EP. The remix I chose slams in drum'n'bass breaks, and although this new EP isn't quite breakcore, it's got a distinct industrial techno edge to it. Very nice.
Yunzero - Orchard 1 [.jpeg Artefacts]Yunzero is a new moniker for Jim Sellars (previously Hyde and Electric Sea Spider) - a quite psychedelic, vaporwavey trip, with three tracks taken from a forthcoming album to be called Ode To Mud. I'm very much looking forward to hearing more!
Hildur Guðnadóttir - Líður (Chernobyl Version) [Deutsche Grammophon]Hildur Guðnadóttir - The Door [Deutsche Grammophon]
If you've been paying much attention recently, you may have heard about the HBO TV series Chernobyl. I was super pleased to discover that the soundtrack is by the wonderful Icelandic cellist, singer and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, who was a member of Múm a long time ago, has worked with many avant-garde artists, appears singing on the new Sunn O))) album, and was working closely with Jóhann Jóhannsson before he tragically passed away last year. For this soundtrack, we hear some classical composition (including a beautiful choral work), a smattering of cello and vocals (including on the lovely piano-led version of "Líður" from her 2014 album Samar), and some rather imposing and spooky works featuring industrial sounds of all sorts. In fact, everything on the soundtrack was apparently recorded in a Lithuanian nuclear power point as it was being decommissioned. This isn't just a gimmick - the sounds and ambience seep into every moment of the soundtrack, and the industrial-sounding pieces are literally crafted from the industry of nuclear power. It's a hell of an achievement.
Tomaga - Bluest [Tomaga Bandcamp]Tomaga - Lilith Wakes [Tomaga Bandcamp]
I discovered UK duo Tomaga a couple of years ago while in London, but now they've achieved some prominence. Drummer Valentina Magaletti plays with a seemingly endless array of ensembles, and Tom Relleen may keep himself to only a couple of groups, but together they create magic - hard to pin down, with a kind of aged feel, somewhat krautrocky, somewhat psychedelic, a little postpunk, a little burnished like Boards of Canada. Their new Extended Play 1 is out on their own label now.
Rutger Hauser - Catfish Michael / Millum Víkingartoft og Gravarbakka [Adaadat/Tutl]Sleeps In Oysters - My heart, a hive for bees [Seed Records]Rutger Hauser - Hestur and Koltur / Hestur og Koltur [Adaadat/Tutl]
A month or two ago on the show we heard some music from English experimental musician John Harries, one of the main movers behind the label and collective The Lumen Lake. I later discovered that he was one half of the quirky folktronic duo Sleeps In Oysters, alongisde Lisa Busby, and I played a track from them tonight from their 2008 album We kept the memories locked away like the beetles of our childhood -or- How to appreciate someone who's always around. But the two of them are now part of the adventurous, un-pigeonholeable group Rutger Hauser, featuring Harris on drums and Busby on vocals and electronics, along with Rose Dagul on cello, Ian Stonehouse on electronics and Jon Klaemint Hofgaard on guitar. The latter musician is from the Faroe Islands, a self-governing province of Denmark, extremely remote between mainland Scandinavia and Iceland, and that's where the quintet ventured to record their new album The Swim, which is co-released at the beginning of July through UK label Adaadat and Faroese label Tutl. It's an extraordinary concoction, ranging from outrageous folk-punk-ska(?) to eldritch doomy electric cello, to glitching spoken word, strangely affecting drone-noise and god knows what else. It comes in a beautifully-packaged limited 12" edition, worth pre-ordering now.
Park Jiha - Arrival [tak:til/Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]Park Jiha - Accumulation Of Time [tak:til/Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
We finish up with South Korean musician Park Jiha, whose second album Philos, just released, is as exquisite and poised as her first. Once again it features her on Korean wind instruments the piri and saenghwang, and the hammered dulcimer-like yanggeum. Jiha draws on her experience with Western classical music, minimalism and jazz, but everything is couched in South Korean musical traditions and in these instruments. At times the yanggeum is a background player to the yearning winds, while at other times it takes the fore as a melodic as well as percussive instrument. On one track, which I didn't have time to play tonight, Lebanese poet Dima El Sayed contributes an acerbic piece of spoken word, to an avant-garde accompaniment from Jiha's wind instruments. As a reminder, I played one of the most expansive compositions from her debut album Communion.
This is an Australian track.