On this apocalyptic weekend where Australia is on the brink of heavy action against the coming COVID-19 explosion, we've got beautiful experimental songwriter music, experimental post-classical, ambient and experimental electronics of various sorts...
Hilary Woods - Tongues of Wild Boar [Sacred Bones/Bandcamp]Hilary Woods - Take Him In [Sacred Bones/Bandcamp]Hilary Woods - The Mouth [Sacred Bones/Bandcamp]
The first solo album from Irish artist Hilary Woods, released by Sacred Bones in 2018, was a collection of bewitching simple tunes with piano, guitar, sparse percussion and synths. It followed her tenure in Dublin-based indie rock band JJ72, but it was a while between her leaving that band and releasing her first solo record. The new album, called Birthmarks, was recorded while heavily pregnant, and much of it was put together in Oslo, working with the great Norwegian noise artist Lasse Marhaug. Cello from his frequent collaborator Okkyung Lee is also all over the album, and Jenny Hval appears on synths as well. It's incredible work, very evocative, and utterly uncompromising, with industrial rhythms, scraping cello noises, lots of unsettling ambience, across a couple of instrumental tracks and some moving, haunting songwrting. Highly recommended.
The God In Hackney - The Adjoiner [Junior Aspirin Records/The Wire]Elizabeth A. Baker - Command Voices - 415x [Aerocade Music/The Wire]
April's issue of The Wire has arrived digitally, and with it, the 52nd edition of The Wire Tapper cover CD. As usual there's some very interesting music on there - a few things I know and/or own, and lots I'd never encountered. The God In Hackney instantly attracted my attention with a vocal that reminds me of e.g. Gordon Sharp's work with This Mortal Coil, but a skittering drum beat underlying the vocals and drones. Wonderful, can't wait for this album. Meanwhile, Florida composer & performer Elizabeth A. Baker is a "new Renaissance artist" who works with toy pianos and electronics, although I feel in this excerpt from a new double album there's a real piano's insides being dissected. Lovely sounds.
Keith Fullerton Whitman - Fairport Convention; "Fotheringay" (1969) [Keith Fullerton Whitman Bandcamp]Keith Fullerton Whitman - Aphex Twin; "Alberto Balsalm" (1995) [Keith Fullerton Whitman Bandcamp]Keith Fullerton Whitman - Contemporary Drummer #6 [Keith Fullerton Whitman Bandcamp]
I've been following Keith Fullerton Whitman's work for decades now, since his pioneering drum'n'bass/breakcore work as Hrvatski from the mid-to-late '90s, and I've been friends with him for a fair amount of that time. He's a lovely, generous guy with wide interests and strong opinions, and his knowledge of 20th & 21st century electronic music - musique concrète and sound-art of all sorts, noise, as much as IDM and jungle and techno - is unparalleled. And it all turns up in his prodigious musical output, which is now appearing at quite a clip on his Bandcamp. He's also a prodigious self-documenter, so what you get is an overwhelming amount of material a lot of the time - rehearsal tapes, alternate versions etc. Here we have examples from two recent series. Resonators (1) sees him taking beloved works and looping segments of them, which are sent through a set of effects which draw out particular resonances & frequencies through reverbs, EQs, ring mods etc I presume. Some tracks, like the two tonight, are quite recognizable, while others come out as beautiful drones.
Meanwhile, the "Redactions" series takes sound sources and absolutely mangles them. Here (for Contemporary Drummer [Redactions]) various drum solos ripped from YouTube are messed up with various other sound sources, originally in 4-channel settings. For the release they've been reduced to stereo and should be listened to as loudly as possible. I chose a relatively polite part, which I find rather compelling... but I wish I could hear it loud in a room with four separate channels...
Hidden Valley Logging Company - 902 (C.E. Mix) [Lillerne Tapes]Hidden Valley Logging Company - Channel Looper [Lillerne Tapes]
Chicago label Lillerne Tapes can be relied on for really interesting, evocative sounds ranging from ambient to dubby techno, trip-hop, glitch etc. This is their second release from Vancouver-based producer Cameron Everatt aka Hidden Valley Logging Company, and it's a fair bit less ambient than his previous releases (although I did lean on the more beat-based tracks here). Head-nodding beats with deep, looping textures and minimalist melodies make for a really satisfying listen - absolutely love this, great driving music, or indeed stay-at-home music.
Temp-Illusion - Two Ships [Zabte Sote]Temp-Illusion - Excerpt from Autoelected Side B [Zabte Sote]Temp-Illusion - Nankraws [Zabte Sote]
I'm so glad to finally be able to play the new album from Iranian duo Temp-Illusion. The duo, made up of Shahin Entezami and Behrang Najafi, sent me a copy a while ago and I was blown away. I would've played it early, but of course last week was International Women's Day, so here we have it tonight, along with an excerpt from their previous live release. Both albums are released on Ata Ebtekar's Zabte Sote label dedicated to adventurous music from the Persian massive in Iran and the world over, and Temp-Illusion are such a talented pair of musicians from Tehran, really pushing the limits of electronic production and beat-making. New album PEND concerns itself with the way external factors can rule one's life - especially in Iran, where rumours of war alongside external sanctions and different levels of leadership (or lack thereof) create a situation of continuous anxiety, ruins the economy, destroys life. Still, the music here is pretty life-affirming. It's dark and glitchy but complex and melodic, smart and funky.
My heart goes out to all my Persian friends and acquaintances. It must be a particularly scary time at the moment...
Nazar - Intercept [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]Nazar - Airstrike (feat. Shannen SP) [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]Nazar - Retaliation [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Angolan producer Nazar grew up in Belgium, and moved back to Angola after their bloody civil war. He's now based in Manchester, and his music combines various contemporary forms of UK club music with Angola's native kuduro to create a heavy, intense atmosphere of dread and oppression. His father was a guerilla general during the civil war and it's conversations with his father as well as his wartime memoire which informed the new album Guerilla. Like 2018's Enclave, the album features kuduro weaponised with sounds of guns cocking, field recordings and sounds of Angolan voices singing and speaking, and lots of heavy electronic beats. It's pretty intense and amazing.
Tennis Pagan - 70114 [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]Tennis Pagan - Pli [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Finishing up tonight with something new from a new Melbourne artist called Tennis Pagan. We have no info to speak of - it's their debut release, and it's nice glitchy idm and stuff. One track here is a bit more abstract and beatless, but I was mostly talking over that. Then I played a lovely bouncy bit of melodic drill'n'bass. EKO is a great little EP, get into it.
This is an Australian track.