This was going to be mostly electronic beats tonight, but of course there's no purity when it comes to Utility Fog playlists...
Ecker & Meulyzer - Growth [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]Stray Dogs - Phaeton [Kvitnu/Bandcamp]Ecker & Meulyzer - Commons [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
I leapt on the new album from Belgian cellist Koenraad Ecker & percussionist Frederik Meulyzer because I love Ecker's work with duos Lumisokea and Stray Dogs, and Subtext Recordings is a very reliable outlet for bass music, abstract sound & electro-acoustic work. And then as I researched Meulyzer I realised that Ecker & Meulyzer ARE Stray Dogs. Not a million miles from Ecker's work with Andrea Taeggi in Lumisokea, Stray Dogs showcases a mix of percussion-driven industrial techno and acoustic/processed acoustic sounds. Under their own surnames, their music leans a little more on Ecker's cello and sound design - made even more stunning as this album was recorded in Norway at the very remote Svalbard Global Seed Vault, one of a number of seed banks around the world keeping seeds for a wide variety of essential crops to be used in the event of a global ecological calamity. In these times of climate crisis, it's vital stuff, and I'm all for instrumental music that engages with subject matter like this - making this important space come alive with resonance.
Kcin - Already Dissolving [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Nicholas Meredith put out his debut EP under his backwards alias Kcin in 2017 - a massive-sounding beauty of overdriven electronics and live percussion. He's continuing to hone his craft, and the second part of his Sleepless and Hopelessness EP(s) has just come out from Melbourne label Spirit Level. An expert mix of electronic programming, live-triggered electronics and live percussion.
Thrax - THISFLESH [Empirical Intrigue]
With one previous EP, Sydney's Thrax remain quite mysterious, but they've come to the still new Sydney label Empirical Intrigue for their new release Lament Lost, which suits the label's exploration of synthesised sounds. Despite an aura of power electronics & noise, there are surprisingly melodic turns, along with some freakily pitch-mangled vocal samples.
Ptwiggs - Worth It [Opal Tapes]Ptwiggs - The Town of Death [Opal Tapes]
Two tracks from Sydney's Phoebe Twiggs (who's also been co-running the Eternal label & events in recent times), released for the first time on the much loved UK label Opal Tapes. It's interesting because Twiggs' music is if anything ultra-digital, showing that Opal Tapes cares not for the purity of tape-saturated electronics. The EP showcases Twiggs' characteristic industrial, complex beats and electronic melodies alongside a raft of auto-tuned vocals. Impressive as always from a young artist with a keen sense of style and a love of darkness.
Moor Mother - The Myth Hold Weight [Don Giovanni Records/Bandcamp]Moor Mother - Time Float [Don Giovanni Records/Bandcamp]Zonal - In A Cage ft. Moor Mother [Relapse/Bandcamp]Moor Mother - Cold Case (feat. Emel Mathlouthi) [Don Giovanni Records/Bandcamp]Moor Mother - Black Flight (feat. Saul Williams) [Don Giovanni Records/Bandcamp]
Camae Ayewa aka Moor Mother has been appearing all over the place lately, including cameos with NYC hardcore band Show Me The Body and Eartheater. Already this year her gruff voice and incisive lyrics graced the entire first side of the new album from Zonal, the reincarnation of Justin K Broadrick & Kevin Martin's Techno Animal. Her new album Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes is a masterpiece of noise, beauty, poetry and politics. Unlike 2016's entirely self-produced Fetish Bones, an onslaught of power electronics, weird beats and afro-futurist raps from which we took the uncharacteristically soothing "Time Float", this new album is crammed full of collaborations, including various producers including King Britt, and various guest vocalists including Tunisian star Emel Mathlouthi and cerebral, experimental rap god Saul Williams. Moor Mother's own art transcends even these great collaborators though - she is a unique and powerful force in contemporary art.
Scorn - Talk Whiff (feat. Jason Williamson) [Ohm Resistance]Scorn - Mugwump Tea Room [Ohm Resistance]Mick Harris has a long history in heavy instrumental dub. Originally a drummer, Harris featured in one of the earliest lineups of Napalm Death (alongside the aforementioned JK Broadrick) and invented blast beats. By the early '90s he'd split off with Nic Bullen to form the experimental duo Scorn, and within a couple of albums they'd mostly sawn off the vocals and moved into heavy instrumental dub & electronics. Bullen left not long after, and Harris continued Scorn for many years, alongside drum'n'bass experiments as Quoit and dubwise techno as Fret. After the last Scorn album in 2011, Harris announced that the project was no more - so it's rather exciting to have a new album of these bass-heavy, dark concoctions. Also a delight to hear Sleaford Mods' Jason Williamson doing his thing, a Northerner rapping over a Birmingham legend's beats.
Loefah - Ginnocchio [Loefah Productions Bandcamp]
Wonderfully dirty slab of dubstep from one of the great pioneers, Loefah, second emanation from his own Bandcamp.
Lee Gamble - Tyre [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]Lee Gamble - Shards [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Continuing the car focus of his Flush Real Pharynx EP series for Hyperdub following In A Paraventral Scale from earlier this year, we have a couple of manic tracks from Lee Gamble. This is supposedly the second phase of semioblitz, where the constant stimulus of contemporary life has clearly gone into overdrive. Gamble is an expert deconstructor of rave & contemporary electronic music forms, which also comes out in his impeccable curation of the UIQ label. Looking forward to the third part in this EP series, coming next year.
Dean Blunt - Darcus [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]Ikonika - Primer [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Speaking of Hyperdub, Kode9's label is celebrating its 15th birthday with a compilation, just like they did at 5 & 10. This time it's released in conjunction with Adult Swim, a compilation called HyperSwim featuring most of their recent acts (including an exclusive from Burial). Tonight, and adorably creepy number from the unpredictable Dean Blunt and a great head-nodding piece of techno from Sara Abdel-Hamid aka Ikonika.
Elmono - Cooper's Dream [Tectonic Recordings/Bandcamp]Elmono - Endorfiend [Tectonic Recordings/Bandcamp]
With a couple of releases under his belt from Cold Recordings, Cardiff-based producer Elmono moves here to another Bristol label, (post-)dubstep legends Tectonic Recordings, for four tracks of rolling breakbeats, kind of drum'n'bass slowed down to techno tempo (with a nice swung feel too).
Andy Odysee - Like Jazz [Odysee Recordings/Bandcamp]
An original player in the '90s jungle scene, composer & producer Andy Baddaley joined Tilla Kemal aka Mirage to run the Odysee Recordings label, releasing important early 12"s from Photek and Source Direct among others. They've lately been releasing remastered digital versions of old releases on their Bandcamp, but here's a new EP from Andy Odysee, with a dark classic-sounding techstep A-side backed with a skittery jazzy number and a third bonus track.
This is an Australian track.
This is a local artist.