Lots of crunchy, lovely idm goodness tonight, but also some orchestral-meets-electronic soundtrackiness, folktronic postrock, and abstract noise/psych.
Ben Frost - Die Reisenden 1 [Ben Frost Bandcamp/Invada]Ben Frost - Ich kann die Vergangenheit Ändern [Ben Frost Bandcamp/Invada]Ben Frost - Die Apokalypse Muss Kommen [Ben Frost Bandcamp/Invada]Ben is of course an Australian musician, originally from Adelaide, who has been based in Iceland for many years now. His By The Throat album was a favourite of the year on this show in 2009 (TEN YEARS AGO) and lo and behold, it featured strings and other acoustic instruments among snarling electronic sounds and heaps of bass. For a dark (yes) time-travelling German TV series (commissioned and screening on Netflix) Ben would seem to be an ideal composer, and his soundtrack leans heavily on string glissandi, drones, industrial clangs, and bass growls to create an atmosphere of tension and horror – along with moments of stillness and peace. He's just released the soundtrack for "Cycle 2" of the DARK series, and it's got a similar vibe to the first series although he's made a lot more use of the EMS Synthi in this one. There's quite a bit of rhythmic work, not necessarily at home on any dancefloor but showing how it might be that Mary Anne Hobbes chose a bass-heavy droney piece of his back in 2008 for her Evangeline compilation...
Proem - Cuddle Buddy [N5MD/Bandcamp]Proem - False Hope [N5MD/Bandcamp]
Much of tonight is catching up on some more beat-oriented music from the last few months, and here's one of the original US idm artists with what to me is clearly his best album yet. Proemis Richard Bailey, originally from Austin TX but now based in Philadelphia (I believe). I was in Dallas recently between A and B and did find a surprising few of his older releases, and now I realise why! He's always been one for glitchy, crunchy beats and delicate melodies – you can find him in that axis of producers alongside old Machinedrum and the like – and he's quite at home on Californian label N5MD (once a MiniDisc only label, hence the name). I've enjoyed the head-nodding stuttery beats and melodies on this album a lot lately - including the disturbing/blissful processed vocals on the first track and the subtle groove and slightly creepy soundworld of the latter.
Antwood - Club Dread [Planet µ/Bandcamp]Tristan Douglas - Replicon [Tristan Douglas Bandcamp]Antwood - The New Industry [Planet µ/Bandcamp]Antwood - Delphi [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Canadian musician Tristan Douglas started off calling his project "Margaret Antwood" but thankfully realised that without the parody name aspect the second part is still super evocative. His music uses tropes and sounds from dance music and vaporwave's fauxstalgic tendencies to examine our dependencies on technology and how technological decisions are affecting our humanity. 2017's Sponsored Content captured this really well, with computerised ballads and glitched-up trance memories, while the self-released Dream Police (ostensibly from 2037) also carried this cyberpunk theme. His new one sees him collaborating with his girlfriend Olivia Dreisinger, to create the young lovelorn Delphi, who is trying to navigate modern relationships. I'm not sure why she is named after the Greek city said, in ancient times, to be the home of the famous oracle. There's some cool music on this new album, but it’s not as striking as the previous in some ways - although "Club Dread" certainly takes the deconstruction of the club seriously...
Datach'i - Saugerties Road [TIMESIG/Planet µ/Bandcamp]Datach'i - Inversion [TIMESIG/Planet µ/Bandcamp]Datach'i - Motion In The Living Room [TIMESIG/Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Joseph A Fraioli aka Datach'i, like Proem above, is one of the generation of US idm artists who came out in the end of the '90s, taking the crunchy accelerated beats and mutated dancefloor sounds of a genre that was mainly based in the UK until then and twisting it into further mutations. He'd had a break for a while and then in 2016 put out an album of modular synth pieces (as everyone does these days) through Venetian Snares' TIMESIG imprint on Planet µ. His follow-up, Bones (accompanied for the earliest purchases with a second disc titled, *ahem*, Bonus), takes off where the previous left off, letting through even more melodic, calmer musical approaches – in part because Fraioli is contemplating the recent death of his father. He was known as one of the most manic and messed-up idm producers in his early days, but now we only have a few drill'n'bass-style pieces on each album (such as the last selection tonight). In between, from the limited Bonus, a spacious work with slowly-pulsating bass.
Humanoid - Traktion [fsoldigital]
Released through their FSOL Digital, Built By Humanoid finds Future Sound of London's Brian Dougans reviving an acid techno moniker that released some legendary 12"s in the late '80s and early '90s when he and Gary Cobain were deep in rave culture. FSOL made their name stretching into dubby, sample-infested ambient and ambient techno, and then the pair moved into psychedelic rock & pop as Amorphous Androgynous, but they realised a decade and a bit ago that their electronic fans were still around, and began releasing album after album of archival FSOL work, which was gradually salted with more & more new originals. As Humanoid, Dougans is collecting here an album's worth of acid techno and frenetic idm – it's a lot of fun.
Watine - Jetlag rx by Jon Kennedy [Watine Bandcamp]Watine - Undying Pizzicato rx by Martyn Barker [Watine Bandcamp]Watine - Undying Pizzicato rx by Intratextures [Watine Bandcamp]Watine - Verrophone rx by Damien Somville [Watine Bandcamp]Watine - Verrophone rx by Richard Adams [Watine Bandcamp]
French artist Catherine Watine has not been that well-known in the English-speaking world until recently. A pianist since a young age, she first began performing in a punk band, then trip-hop and pop, before becoming interested in releasing post-classical piano and electronic music. Her last album, Géométries Sous-Cutanées, was released on Time Released Sound recently, already a collage of her previous works into an interesting creation of post-classical/post-rock/prog, but now she has released a remix album which presents like a DJ mix, tumbling through different versions of tracks from that album created by various fellow travellers. Digitally the full tracks are also available, but I've been enjoying the travelogue so I'm giving you an excerpt tonight. We start by carrying on the drum'n'bass proclivities of the last few tracks, with English musician Jon Kennedy. Then two versions of "Undying Pizzicato", starting with Shriekbackdummer Martyn Barker and then French producer Intratextures, and then two versions of "Verrophone", from Plastic Folk Inventions' Damien Somville, and then UFog fave Richard Adams of The Declining Winter and Hood.
Roll The Dice & Goran Kajfeš - Head Drop [Roll The Dice Bandcamp]
Stockholm's Roll The Dice, electro-acoustic masters, have recently been releasing a series of singles in collaboration with interesting musicians from around the world. This track sees them joined by Croatian-Swedish trumpeter Goran Kajfeš in a piece that puns on Miles Davis' "Sketches of Spain" and produces a bit of groovy twisted techno-jazz.
Pierre Bastien - Emit Time [The Wire's Below The Radar 31]
French composer and inventor Pierre Bastien makes incredible mechanised orchestras that perform his music, producing strange analogues of electronica, rock, jazz, classical or maybe let's just say his own idiosyncratic genre of music. Here though, following Goran Kajfeš we have a track that alongside the sketchy beats and tuned percussion features a trumpet-like solo melody. It could be a melodica or even a synthesiser – it's hard to say. It's quite lovely in any case. It seems to be exclusive to the latest download compilation from The Wire, Below The Radar 31.
Intenso - Prophets of No God [Intenso Bandcamp]
Perth trio Intenso have just released their new EP Prophets of No God, produced by fellow Perth musician & engineer Steve Paraskos. From the first two tracks on the EP you could imagine it's all about noise rock, but then on this third we're in beautifully psychedelic space jazz of some sort. Super cool.
Suburban Cracked Collective - The Secret Chief [No Confidante Dictae Records]Suburban Cracked Collective - Half Sour [Aetheric Records]Suburban Cracked Collective - A Space Above The Mind [No Confidante Dictae Records]
Newcastle's Shaun Leacy was once a member of the great, never-categorizable collective Castings. His new project is not a collective but a solo venture, but he calls it Suburban Cracked Collective anyway. It's been an outlet for some pretty varied sounds - plenty of electronics are in there (especially the distorted beats and drones "Half Sour", from his first release Basquiat Upon The RSL), but his latest, Private Failings, has a more contemplative bent, being described as "an attempt to adorn one's personal world with some kind of meaning beyond the everyday". Half-heard loops and other sounds flitter around scattered percussion in stumbling rhythms. Fascinating work as always.
This is an Australian track.
This is a local artist.