‘Future Of Music’ at Semi Permanent

On Thursday 24 May, I’ll be at Semi Permanent on the ‘Future Of Music’ panel. It’s part of the event’s ‘Future State’ series which cover “everything from realistic expectations to imaginative speculations, across three cultural pillars: Sport, Music and Food”.

I’m on the panel with musician Dan Stricker and Danielle Krettek, the Founder and Principal of Google’s Empathy Lab, which was established to “design more emotionally-attuned and human-kind experiences” (which sounds like a great concept).

Come and hear me make some semi-educated guesses about what the future holds. My money is on zero-gravity raves and inter-species thought transference.

Semi Permanent – Future State | Panel Details

NEW MUSIC. Marks Of Provenance II

Marks Of Provenance II is the second annual compilation from my label, Provenance, and features nine exclusive, unreleased tracks from Aphir, KAIAR, Medicine Voice, Arrom, Lortica, Kris Keogh, Shoeb Ahmad and Brute Canon.

It was originally released on Bandcamp at the tail end of 2017; but this week finds itself newly nestled in every other music service; the Spotifys and Apples of the world. Stream or download this cherry of a pie:

VARIOUS Marks Of Provenance II (PR014)

Spotify | Apple Music | Bandcamp

TRACKLISTING:

1 – Arrom ‘Now Won’
2 – Medicine Voice ‘January’
3 – Kris Keogh ‘Stolen’
4 – Brute Canon ‘Help Me Rememver You’
5 – KAIAR ‘Mind Full’
6 – Aphir ‘Asymptote’
7 – Shoeb Ahmad ’Skating On The Way’
8 – Lortica ‘Home Blue’
9 – KAIAR ‘Praey’

NEW MUSIC. Arrom ‘Take My Lymphs Remixes’

This music recommendation is from close to home – the latest release from my Provenance label. It comes from Melbourne producer Arrom, and is a collection of reworks from her debut album Take My Lymphs. Each new variation draws on the experimental pop, ethereal choral vocals and dark, organic electronics of the original album, and moves it, with a great fluidity, into new spaces. It’s a miscellany of avant electronics – dark pop, abstract, minimal and even a momentary slice of breakcore.

Take My Lymphs Remixes also acts a love letter both to and from five contributors who were involved in the creation and release of the original album. Artist include Provenance label mates Aphir and KAIAR, along with co-writer Ahm, experimental house producer Hypersleep, and Yet Variant, who plays synth and percussion in Arrom’s live band. In addition, Arrom delivers her own re-work of the album’s opening track, Stardust.

Stream / Download at the Provenance Bandcamp.

To celebrate the release of her new EP, she has also curated the Provenance Spotify playlist this month, which features music from Bjork, Kiasmos, Andy Stott, Mazzy Star, Burial and more. It is a thing of great beauty, one that persists. Listen here.

NEW MUSIC. Notes from WOMADelaide

I was at WOMADelaide last weekend, interviewing a few artists for upcoming episodes of Fat Planet.  Over 500 different acts – featuring musicians from 30 countries – were represented at the festival, delivering sounds from disparate places such as Ghana, Syria, Cameroon, Iceland and China.

I’ve posted a review of the festival over on the Double J website, and I’ll also be playing a few highlights on this week’s Fat Planet program, Wednesday 8pm AEST.

Photo: Jojo Abot at WOMADelaide

NEWS. Imaginary Albums Exhibition at Platform Gallery

The wonderful Amanda Kaye had a wonderful idea to create a series of imaginary albums, culled from the creative wellspring of Blue Mountains writers and artists and exhibited at the exquisite Platform Gallery at Katoomba.

“These imaginary albums are the missed opportunities, the albums we wish existed. They are the uncanny cultural signifiers of our collective vinyl-addled fancies,” says Amanda.  “Each imaginary album begins with the writer, who crafts the story of the work. Sometimes using a real artist and sometimes inventing musos from the ground up, the writer invents the tracks and the back-story, before passing the creative baton to the graphic designer or artist, who designs the cover art. The work you’ll see in the gallery will be the album covers and sleeve notes developed from this process”.

I’m thrilled that Amanda asked me to contribute, and my imaginary album, “Three Phase Peace” by Yoko Ono, Delia Derbyshire and Else Marie Pade, has been wrenched into visual reality by painter Ben Tankard.  See his stunning cover art (featured above) and my accompanying sleeve notes at the exhibition, which opens this Friday and runs until 9 April 2018. Find out more about the exhibition at imaginaryalbums.rocks

Continue reading “NEWS. Imaginary Albums Exhibition at Platform Gallery”

NEW MUSIC. Johnny Jewel ‘Digital Rain’

As one of the artists anointed by David Lynch to provide music for the recent #TwinPeaks series, Johnny Jewel wrote a number of works for the score and played with his band Chromatics in two episodes. He also runs the Italians Do It Better label, home to similar strains of cinematic electronics, slow-mo disco and records full of aching electro love songs. I think you can tell I’m a fan. Just as Twin Peaks S3 was described as ‘mainlining pure Lynch’, this record is 100% pure Johnny Jewel, bringing his full bag of tricks to bear on a pulsing electronic soundtrack to an imaginary film.  Continue reading “NEW MUSIC. Johnny Jewel ‘Digital Rain’”

BACK CATALOGUE. Grace Jones ‘Nightclubbing’

 

‘Nightclubbing’ is this week’s Classic Album on Double J and I’m using it as a jumping off point to play a couple of other Grace Jones tracks on this week’s Fat Planet. The album was one of three that Grace recorded between 1980 and 1982 with the studio band The Compass Point All Stars, led by Sly & Robbie. Between this record, ‘Warm Leatherette’ and ‘Living My Life’, Grace delivers exquisite takes on post-punk and electro pop songs of the era, including covers of Iggy Pop, The Pretenders, Roxy Music, Smokey Robinson, Joy Division and Gary Numan. Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Grace Jones ‘Nightclubbing’”

BACK CATALOGUE. Jóhann Jóhannsson ‘Orphee’

Jóhann Jóhannsson’s solo album ‘Orphee’ was one of my most played records last year; a beautiful suite of works that soundtracked quiet moments at home; contemplative moments staring out of train windows, and moments of much-needed respite on cross-city excursions. It’s heartbreaking to hear of his passing, as he was an artist with so much more to give; although actively making music for 15 years, he was clearly in the middle of an incredible creative stride. Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Jóhann Jóhannsson ‘Orphee’”

BACK CATALOGUE. Pecker ‘Pecker Power’

I love the cover artwork on this reissued 1980 Japanese cosmic dub from producer and percussionist Pecker (aka Masahito Hashida) titled ‘Pecker Power’. The album features dub heavyweights Sly & Robbie and Augustus Pablo along with members of The Wailers and vocalist Minako Yoshida. Given the players, it’s a curious take on classic dub from the era, with two Japanese Bob Marley covers thrown into the mix. Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Pecker ‘Pecker Power’”

BACK CATALOGUE. Degrees Of Provenance Playlist

Last April I started a new playlist on Spotify – ‘Degrees Of Provenance’’ – music that has inspired the artist on my record label, Provenance. Since then, the playlist has been constantly morphing, with a different member of the Provenance family curating the playlist each month (currently featuring selections by Medicine Voice). Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Degrees Of Provenance Playlist”

NEW MUSIC. From Japan to Jamaica, India to Iceland – The Fat Planet Albums Of 2017

Fat Planet is finishing 2017 in fine style this week, running through our Albums Of The Year. Getting them to fit in one program has been a herculean task, and the final contenders represent some of most innovative and original tracks being made around the world this year. Listen to tracks from each of these outstanding international albums on this week’s program and via the Spotify playlist below. See you in 2018!

FAT PLANET ALBUMS OF THE YEAR
(in alphabetical order…) Continue reading “NEW MUSIC. From Japan to Jamaica, India to Iceland – The Fat Planet Albums Of 2017”

Various – ‘Marks Of Provenance II’ (Provenance)

Stream / Download.

 


Notes.

The second annual Provenance free label compilation, ‘Marks Of Provenance II’. Features exclusive, unreleased music from Aphir, KAIA, Medicine Voice, Arrom, Lortica, Kris Keogh, Shoeb Ahmad and Brute Canon.


Tracklisting.

1. Arrom – Now Won
2. Medicine Voice – Shatter Shudder
3. Kris Keogh – Stolen
4. Brute Canon – Help Me Please You
5. KAIA – Mind Full
6. Aphir – Asymptote
7. Shoeb Ahmad – Skating On The Way
8. Lortica – Home Blue
9. KAIA – Praey


 

Catalogue. PR014

BACK CATALOGUE. Peter Gabriel ‘Melt’

Other than ‘Games Without Frontiers’, the only thing I knew about Peter Gabriel’s early work was that his album covers were weird and bizarre. The covers of his first four albums all seem to riff off 70s and 80s horror tropes – all disconnected, indistinct faces in one form or another. I’ve only recently started listening to these records, appreciating them for something other than the artwork. Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Peter Gabriel ‘Melt’”

INTERVIEW. Sarah Hopkins – the Aussie who scored a spot on Björk’s Utopia

Björk’s latest album Utopia is a collaboration between the Icelandic artist and Venezuelan producer Alejandro Ghersi, also known as Arca. All of the 14 album tracks are credited solely to Björk and Ghersi, with one exception: the track ‘Features Creatures’ has a writing credit for Australian artist Sarah Hopkins.

Hopkins is a Queensland-based composer-performer, most well known for her work Past Life Melodies. 

Continue reading “INTERVIEW. Sarah Hopkins – the Aussie who scored a spot on Björk’s Utopia”

BACK CATALOGUE. A trip through the flipside of Björk’s career

Björk’s voluminous catalogue contains thousands of curios for playlist fanatics. I am one those fanatics, an obsessive Bjork collector, endlessly shuffling my thirty-year compendium of Bjork-related tracks into various combinations, or stacking my complete collection of physical releases into increasingly idiosyncratic order.

In doing so, I know only too well that her discography can be sequenced in such a way to make any argument whatsoever about her work as a composer and producer. Bjork as studio genius, classical composer, dancefloor junkie, folk singer, remix devotee.

To celebrate the release of Utopia, I’ve created a unique Björk playlist, one that takes an intentionally subjective slice though her career.

Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. A trip through the flipside of Björk’s career”

INTERVIEW. On the phone with Björk: talking Utopia, Tinder and slapstick comedy

When the good people at Double J asked me if I was interested in interviewing Björk, I thought they were having a laugh. The dismissive flick I gave them soon turned into a week of abject anxiety when it turned out they were for real. Last Friday, I got on the phone to Björk in Reykjavik and spoke to her for 30 minutes about Utopia, love and slapstick comedy. And you can hear that interview this Wednesday, 29 November, on Double J from 8pm AEST. Continue reading “INTERVIEW. On the phone with Björk: talking Utopia, Tinder and slapstick comedy”

Medicine Voice – ‘PRELUDE / the ouroboros of heartswin’ (Provenance)


Stream / Download.

 


Notes.

Ouroboros is a Greek word meaning “tail devourer”, and is one of the oldest mystical symbols of transformation, in the world. It can be perceived as a serpent enveloping itself, where the past (the tail) appears to disappear but really moves into an inner domain or reality, vanishing from view but still existing.

PRELUDE is the ouroboros of Heartswin, the former designation for Sar Friedman, the antecedent of Medicine Voice. It is a record that doubles as the final chapter of this mythological journey, ending at the beginning, the ancestral foundations of the 2016 Medicine Voice album I And Thou.

Says Sar: “Prelude is very much a catharsis.. it’s all come full circle…endings and beginnings.. endings as beginnings… sanctifying the cyclic nature of all things… it’s been important for me, on many levels, to properly release these songs … a gesture of completion, to honour the once-upon-a-time moments & people that so powerfully shaped the ‘heartswin-medicine voice’ mythos … to send my love and gratitude…. and also to set myself free again….”

We start in Seattle and an introduction from Oren Ambarchi leads Sar Friedman to the venerable Randall Dunn (Sunn O))), Boris), who produces three of the tracks on this EP. Surrounding Sar are an outstanding collection of players: Don McGreevy (Earth), Milky Burgess (Marissa Nadler, Master Musicians Of Bukkake) and Hans Teuber; a shared experience that triggered the earliest moments of metamorphosis into Medicine Voice.

We end in London, with the epic 18-minute work Tammuz, recorded a year earlier and here signalling the culmination of an eight-year life in the city. With contributions from Joe McKee (Snowman) and Olivia Chaney (Zero 7), Tammuz is a farewell, a shedding of skin, another ending precipitating a beginning.

PRELUDE is the ouroboros of heartswin: creation out of destruction, rebirth out of death. Prelude eats its own tail to sustain life, freeing the old to make way for the new.


Biography.

Medicine Voice is Sar Friedman from Sydney.

Sar Friedman has been singing, recording and touring in various bands and experimental groups for over a decade – most notably serving time in Stephen McBean’s Pink Mountaintops, Leopard Leg, Melodie Nelson and known also for her solo work under the name of Heartswin.


Tracklisting.

1. 366 (2:25)
2. Roar (4:40)
3. Bombshell (4:07)
4. Tammuz (17:55)


Credits.

Tracks 1-3:
Musicians: Sar Friedman, Don McGreevy, Milky Burgess, Hans Teuber
Produced by Randall Dunn
Recorded at Avast Studios, Seattle 2011

Track 4:
Musicians: Sar Friedman, J Milo Taylor, Serafina Steer, Olivia Chaney, Joe McKee, Cecil Cuthbertson
Produced by Sar Friedman and J Milo Taylor
Recorded at Suborg HQ, London 2010

Mastered by Joe Talia
Cover Painting by David Asher Brook


Catalogue. PR013

Arrom – ‘Take My Lymphs’ (Provenance)


Stream / Download.

 


Notes.

As Arrom, Melissa Vallence combines poetic dream-pop with ethereal vocals and dark, organic electronics. Although she has performed as a choral singer throughout her life, she only began producing and writing her own work three years ago. Take My Lymphs follows a run of inaugural live shows throughout 2017, and a collaboration with Melbourne producer Hypersleep on the track Charcoal.

The songs on Take My Lymphs were originally intended to be exclusively a capella works, but over time, Arrom layered in additional production components, slowly nurturing the songs into existence, one beat or synth line at a time. 

Arrom notes: “My taste is so varied that I had no idea originally where the record would end up. I like music that is lyrical as much as that which is abstract and disjointed. I love folk and choral music as well as dirty industrial beats and huge kicks.”

Take My Lymphs thus features much of Arrom’s earliest work and are a callback to her youth, dealing with displaced passion and an in-built stubbornness to hold onto detrimental and unsatisfying facets of life. The title track reflects this idea, asking whether the various pressures we experience day-to-day can ever truly be in harmony with concepts such as love and freedom.

The body is also a recurring theme on the album, exposed nerves, lymph nodes, the sensation of touch, the limitations of the mind. “In the end the album is a sort of manifestation of my coming to terms with my own limits”, says Arrom, “the physical limits of my body, the line between fantasy and reality in my mind and how and where the rest of the world fits into all of that.”


Biography.

Arrom is the solo project of Melbourne based songwriter and producer Melissa Vallence. Arrom combines dream-pop-electronics with intimate poetry, ethereal choral undertones and industrial electronic beats.


Tracklisting.

1. Stardust 02:33
2. Split Caress 05:02
3. Covers 04:27
4. An Interlude 04:19
5. Bay Tree 02:52
6. Take My Lymphs 02:52
7. Crave Pressure 04:22
8. See How 07:15


Credits.

Written, produced and mixed by Melissa Vallence
Except Stardust & Take My Lymphs written and produced with, and mixed by, Andrew McEwan; Split Caress mixed by Todd Proctor.
Mastered by Rebecca Whitton
Artwork by Caitlin Dennis


Catalogue. PR012

NEW MUSIC. Fat Planet’s guide to the summer festival announcements

With a bevy of great festival announcements in the past week from Woodford, MOFO and Womadelaide, it can be hard to wade through all the names to find the hidden gems – but I’ve got you covered.

From a Japanese loop pedal ninja to the Tunisian Björk, there’s a wealth of global music talent on this summer’s festival lineups. Continue reading “NEW MUSIC. Fat Planet’s guide to the summer festival announcements”

INTERVIEW. A chat with Sudan Archives, merging African classical with cutting-edge production

In this episode of Fat Planet, I talk to violinist, vocalist and producer Sudan Archives about the journey of discovery that led to her unique blend of African classical sounds, cutting-edge R&B and freewheeling electronics. We also hear an unreleased live recording of her Kendrick Lamar cover, ‘Queen Kunta’. Her debut self-titled EP is out now via Stones Throw. Continue reading “INTERVIEW. A chat with Sudan Archives, merging African classical with cutting-edge production”

KAIA – ‘KAIA’ (Provenance)


Stream / Download.

 


Notes.

The self-titled KAIA EP is the debut long-form release from the Canberra-born; Melbourne-based emerging dream pop producer.

The EP is a deeply personal journey in which KAIA confronts her disillusionment with, and departure from, organised religion, and examines the abiding wounds that result. Underscored by electronics that push and pull at both ends of the experimental pop spectrum, and including two collaborations with label mate Aphir, the EP is a truly unique debut from a singular talent.

KAIA notes: “The overarching theme of the EP is the search to replace that holy figure with something else and the realisation that all there is, is you.”
The passage between two worlds, and the bittersweet acceptance of a new reality, is mirrored by contrasting dark and light elements throughout the record. The production also reflects the tension and contrasts of the overall theme, often uncomfortable and unsettled, with vocals sampled and chopped to create glitch textures and additional altered vocal sampling, standing in for synths and other rhythmic elements.

“Leaving the cult I was raised in and still being tied by unrequited love to my (still practising) family members who brought me to that place allows complex emotions to flourish. Simply: there is love, but there is also resentment. Nobody comes out unscathed.”


Biography.

KAIA is a Canberra-born, Melbourne-based emerging Dream Pop producer that lived her first 17 years in a cult that believes all world governments are under Satan’s control and condemns oral sex. This antithesis of a stable adolescence shaped KAIA’s sound – an alloy of sweet and sincere vocals and lyrics, wrought by extraordinary self-production.

KAIA’s incredibly layered vocals and melodies explore the depths of her upbringing and transition into adult life, just breaking through the surface when her peers had already reached shore.

KAIA is the Sirens’ song heard by the sailors in Homer’s Odyssey – lured into shipwreck, before being devoured moments later.


Tracklisting.

1. Pay No Praise 02:18
2. Know Myself 03:15
3. Strange 03:18
4. Underclouds 04:05
5. Bosca 03:12
6. Abstract Truths 02:15


Credits.

Written & Produced by Karla Gilbard
Except ‘Know Myself’ – Written & Co-produced by Becki Whitton; ‘Underclouds’ – Written by Becki Whitton
Artwork by Jessica Cochrane


Catalogue. PR006