Another crazy week of climate calamity here, along with an uplifting evening of protest on Friday (these need to keep getting bigger).
Scattered Order - National Adjustment Scheme [Provenance]Allen Ginsberg - Green Valentine Blues (Aphir Rework) [Provenance]
As has become usual these days, we’re a week into 2020 and there’s already quite a bit of new music popping up. This one is for a reason – Provenance Records boss Stu Buchanan now lives in the Blue Mountains and although his property has been fine, he’s felt the bushfire catastrophe intimately. So the already-planned third compilation of this experimental label – now co-run by Becki Whitten aka Aphir – has been converted into a bushfire fundraiser, and it’s particularly pleasing that their chosen beneficiary is the Fire Relief Fund for First Nations Communities (you can and should donate directly at the link if you can afford to). The lineup is of course first class, so I strongly exhort you to support this cause and these great musicians – including artists like Shoeb Ahmad, Lack The Low and others as well as tonight’s artists. We have Aphir herself, reworking an Allen Ginsberg poem into a folk song with growling electronics, and the great, long-lived post-industrialists Scattered Order (now part-based in the Blue Mountains) pre-empting their new album coming this year.
Nerve - To Dip Your Toes Into Paradise Pond [AR53 Productions]Hemlock Ladder - Exactly the Right Amount of Violence [AR53 Productions]
A couple more Australian artists leading into the next compilation for tonight. Nerve is Melbourne’s Joshua Wells, who’s released music on A Colourful Storm, and runs Resistance/Restraint. His material seems to slide between dark industrial techno and plangent piano & field recordings on the two tracks released in December. From a month earlier, his duo Hemlock Ladder with Dave Coen (of noise/metal/industrial legends Whitehorse, and aka Sow Discord, who recently remixed The Body) delivers more propulsive industrial techno. Nerve is supporting My Disco in Sydney in a couple of weeks.
Thugwidow - Dominion [Circadian Rhythms Records/Bandcamp]Sully - Vérité [Circadian Rhythms Records/Bandcamp]
UK-based collective Circadian Rhythms Records released this compilation as a limited cassette a couple of months ago. Initial digital versions were outrageously expensive as they were pushing the lavish physical copies, but it’s now become affordable. Which is great as it’s a brilliant collection of jungle/drum’n’bass mixed with grime, techno and other UK bass styles. London’s Thugwidow, with a number of jungle releases under his belt, gives us a slowed-down broken beat track with jungle breaks bouncing off the half-speed tempo, while Sully delivers a characteristic slab of perfect jungle.
Special Request - Elysian Fields [Special Request Bandcamp]Special Request - Spectral Frequency [Special Request Bandcamp]Paul Woolford promised four Special Request albums in 2019, and the last and best slipped in just before the end of the year (on a different Bandcamp for some reason). Zero Fucks returns him to hard-hitting old-skool jungle, complete with sampled MCs and rave euphoria. This is what I’ve always wanted from Special Request. BOH.
Loraine James - I'm Feeling w/ Morwell [Loraine James Bandcamp]
After a big year with her Hyperdub debut ending up on a lot of end-of-year lists including my own, London’s Loraine James put together the second of her quickly-produced New Year’s Substitution EPs, this time piled full of interesting collaborations. There’s noisy numbers and jittery numbers; this one features new junglist Max Morwell.
Anasisana - Midnight Sun (The Uninvited Sun Remains In the Midnight Sky) [Eastern Nurseries]Concrete Fantasies - Bleak [Eastern Nurseries]
More compilations! This one from Portuguese label Eastern Nurseries, with a collection of drone/ambient and a bit of submerged techno – the latter from Anasisana, the beats underlying cinematic atmospherics, while Concrete Fantasies deliver drones and tape manipulation.
Daniel K. Böhm - Soft Arp [eilean rec.]Aries Mond - Uty [eilean rec.]Banabila & Machinefabriek - Sasquatch [eilean rec.]
As promised when they began, the French label eilean rec. has ended its incredible run at their 100th release, which happens to be a 5CD set featuring every artist who’s appeared on the label. Thus it’s full of gems of all sorts. Only a few can be heard tonight. Daniel K. Böhm’s droney textures and guitar detritus float around a bed of electronic pulses; Aries Mond gives us a typically lovely piece of deserted piano, and Banabila & Machinefabriek have head-nodding beats and burbles.
Rutger Zuydervelt & Bill Seaman - Bits [oscarson/Bandcamp]Rutger Zuydervelt & Bill Seaman - Pull [oscarson/Bandcamp]
Speaking of Machinefabriek, his first release of 2020 is a collaboration with another eilean alumnus, the Australian ambient artist Bill Seaman (originally from Sydney, now based in the US). It’s actually less ambient than you might expect from these two artists, with some crunching bass & beats and glitching melodies in amongst the fourth world and electronic sounds. It’s absolutely absorbing work, which you can get in a vinyl edition from German label oscarson.
Martina Bertoni - Invisible Cracks [FALK]Martina Bertoni - Stuck out of Lifetime [FALK]
Berlin-based cellist Martina Bertoni follows up two EPs with her debut album All the Ghosts are Gone. Created at a time of recovery from mental & physical exhaustion, the album finds her using a multitude of techniques to alter the sound of her instrument – distorting and distancing its natural sound, embedding it in electronics and sometimes the electronic shapes of techno. Released on Reykjavik label FALK (Fuck Art Let's Kill), it's superb work.
Alder & Ash - pyres on pyres [Alder & Ash Bandcamp]Alder & Ash - the crowneater [Alder & Ash Bandcamp]
Montréal’s Adrian Copeland has made his special brand of acoustic (and electric) doom as Alder & Ash over a few albums now – the first two for the Lost Tribe Sound label. His latest, The Crowneater, is self-released in a very plush CD edition. As before, it finds him looping cello basslines & riffs, adding percussive sounds, and layering pure and distorted melodies. It’s a sound he’s very much made his own and at its best it’s thrilling.
This is an Australian track.
This is a local artist.