Dancefloor mutations of various sorts tonight, veering away into other territories near the end...
Katie Gately - Bracer [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Even before her debut album Color came out in 2016, Katie Gately was a singular artist making waves with a couple of singles and remixes. Having come to music indirectly, she approached the creation of her music with scientific curiosity and precision, building incredibly catchy pieces from infectious rhythms, creative field recordings and layers of her vocals. Then, as she was preparing her second album, her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and understandably her whole perspective changed. The second abum is coming out in Feb 2020, and this first single "Bracer" was apparently her mother's favourite. It's got her signatures in spades - a driving rhythm throughout the ups and downs of its 10 and a half minutes, and the strength of musicality to sustain a cohesive song for that length - shades of Kate Bush, perhaps. For all its strangeness, it's less abstract and more of a "real song" than anything she's done before. Bring on Feb 14th!
Hiro Kone - Akoluthic Phase [Dais Records/Hiro Kone Bandcamp]Hiro Kone - Truth That Silence Alone [Dais Records/Hiro Kone Bandcamp]Hiro Kone - A Desire, Nameless [Dais Records/Hiro Kone Bandcamp]
For her third album, and second for Dais Records, Hiro Kone aka NYC's Nicky Mao addresses the techno-fascism of the current age through the lens of "absence". Instrumental music shackled to big concepts is always a bit of a stretch, but you can feel it working with music this evocative, drawing on the last few decades of post-cyberpunk art & music. Superb sound design and detailed beat programming that doesn't succumb to the current "deconstructed club music" obsession of the current age.
20syl - Ongoing Thing (feat. Oddisee) (Sig Nu Gris Fixation) [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]Sig Nu Gris & Cassius Select - Herd Fixation [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Erin Hyde aka Sig Nu Gris spent October progressively releasing her EP of Fixations - radical edits of songs that she "fixates" on to a perhaps obsessive extent. I played one a few weeks ago, but really wanted to revisit them, and this more beat-heavy show is the right time. Her take on French club producer 20syl's hit with Oddisee is a completely discombobulated version of the original - a slow/fast monster; meanwhile her take on ex-Sydney maestro Cassius Select's classic "Herd" is deceptively faithful, but it's completely reconfigured by an added melodic hook and subtle changes to the (still very recognizable) beat.
Leif - Igam-Ogam [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]Livity Sound draws from Bristol's soundsystem culture but focuses more on techno & house than dub, although many of its artists stem from the outcropping of dubstep in that fine city. Leif fits nicely into that sound, with a track that takes James Blake's post-dubstep floating jazz chords into percussive deep house. It's lovely.
Andy Stott - Ballroom [Modern Love]Andy Stott - Versi [Modern Love]
Surprise new double EP, It Should Be Us, from Andy Stott, returning to dancefloor productions after his most recent releases progressed into more postpunk and computer-free sounds. For some reason here the aesthetic is "64k mp3s downloaded from SoulSeek in 2001" - I'm not sure why all the beats are aliased fizzles, but nevertheless it's Andy Stott, so there's beautiful pads and basslines. The highlight is of course the "bonus" track not available on vinyl, "Versi", a head-nodding 4/4 shuffle.
Rrose - Mine [Eaux]Sutekh - Fire Weather [Orthlorn Musork/Sutekh Bandcamp]Rrose - Open Cell [Eaux]
For years, Californian musician Seth Horvitz made intelligent, challenging techno & experimental electronic music as Sutekh. For some years now he has explored slippery techno, club music and ambient textures under the pandrogynous pseudonym Rrose (taken from Marcel Duchamp's female-identified alter-ego Rrose Sélavy). There's a continuity with their earlier work (witness the collision of 4/4 beats, field recordings and electric piano on the 2002 track I played), but the Rrose work does stand alone. The album Hymn To Moisture - the first full album as Rrose! - does indeed feel fluid, submerged, sodden. It's a beauty.
Shit & Shine - WHO ARE YOU? [OOH-Sounds/Bandcamp]Shit & Shine - 57YOUYOI-DRINKIN [OOH-Sounds/Bandcamp]
Texas maverick (now based in the UK) of the noise and doom scenes Shit & Shine has for the last few years been producing perverted variants of electronic & dance genres, with some brilliant disco edits last year now followed with the strange minimal techno-disco on Italian label OOH-Sounds called NO NO NO NO. The title track features an incredibly frustrating phone support conversation that may or may not be a prank call, and weirdly twisted & processed vocal samples follow throughout. It's edging on creepy, but not quite as balls-out as his earlier work.
Tears|Ov - A Hopeless Place [The Tapeworm/Bandcamp]Tears|Ov - Trapdoor Ant [The Tapeworm/Bandcamp]
An LP release on Touch-affiliated cassette label The Tapeworm (recently turned 10) here comes from UK trio Tears|Ov, made up of poet and experimental musician Lori E Allen, cellist Katie Spafford and artist & multi-instrumentalist Deborah Wale. There's a kind of postpunk industrial feel to this freeform music. The music may originate from improvisations, but it's precisely constructed and mixed into weird, angular, uncompromising quasi-songs.
Del Lumanta - Preparations I [Room40/Bandcamp]Del Lumanta - Preparations III [Room40/Bandcamp]
This new release from Sydney's Del Lumanta, released on Room40's cassette series A Guide To Saints, documents Del's initial experiments with modular synthesis, showing once again what a talented artist they are. These thought-provoking and creative works are a response to being asked to perform at the Art Gallery of NSW for Sydney Festival earlier this year - both a response to the space and also to the artist's disquiet with the idea of institutions like this. Highly recommended.
This is an Australian track.
This is a local artist.