NEW MUSIC. Japan is the second biggest music market in the world, it’s time we took notice

Earlier this month, it was reported that there were no Australian artists in the local top 20 singles chart.  In the same week, 70 percent of the US Billboard Chart was populated by American artists.

Now, compare that to Japan, the second biggest music market in the world, where 98 percent of all singles, and 76 percent of all albums, are sold are by Japanese artists. In an environment where physical sales are dwindling, Japan still has more record stores than any other country in the world, three times as many as the US.

Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s all about J-Pop, you only need to look listen to those in easy reach to understand there’s something special going on. We’re lucky that CorneliusShonen Knife and DJ Krush all managed to extend their reach across the waters, along with their predecessors like Acid Mothers TempleBoredoms and Yellow Magic Orchestra. Continue reading “NEW MUSIC. Japan is the second biggest music market in the world, it’s time we took notice”

Aphir – ‘Can’t Comfort’ (Provenance)


Stream / Download.

 


Notes.

Aphir closely follows the release of her 2017 album Twin Earth with a new, non-album cut, Can’t Comfort backed by remixes from Provenance label mates, KAIA and Arrom.
On Can’t Comfort Aphir notes: “I feel that a lot of people, young women especially, are taught that sometimes you have to exhaust yourself looking after other people before you’re allowed to look after your own needs, and this song is a rejection of that”.


Biography.

Aphir is the solo electronic project of songwriter and producer, Becki Whitton.
As Aphir, Becki has performed her glitched-out vocal soundscapes around Australia and internationally, including her performance at Berlin’s 2016 Music Tech Fest. Her work with indigenous singer/songwriter, Denni, saw her take to the main stage at the 2015 Falls Festival.
Aphir’s 2017 record for Provenance, ‘Twin Earth’, sees the firm foundation of her layered vocal arrangements inflected with luminous alien samples.


Tracklisting.

1. Can’t Comfort 03:27
2. Clone (KAIA Remix) 03:01
3. Too Well (Arrom Remix) 04:41


Credits.

All tracks written and produced by Becki Whitton
‘Clone’ Remixed by KAIA
‘Too Well’ Remixed by Arrom
Artwork by Anna Mayberry and Hannah De Feyter


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BACK CATALOGUE. Laurie Anderson ‘Big Science’

‘O Superman’ seemed to come at the right time in my life. As a kid, I had just started to understand that music needn’t be guitar, bass, drums and was excitably tuned in to anything with an otherworldly flavour. It was the time of Star Wars and Doctor Who’s golden age, so perhaps that’s no surprise.
‘Big Science’ is Laurie’s debut proper with this wonderful cover shot of an artist caught in the headlights. The photo was taken during one of her performance pieces by video producer Greg Shifrin. It wasn’t intended for an album cover, it was apparently taken by happenstance, grainy and out of focus.

Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. Laurie Anderson ‘Big Science’”

BACK CATALOGUE. The 50 most important female artists of the 90s

More 90s recall this week as Double J continues its month-long retrospective, asking the question ‘Was the 90s the greatest decade in music?’. This week’s list is my favourite of the three thus far, ‘The 50 most important female artists of the 90s‘;

I was asked to write about a few legends, and I even managed to stop hyperventilating to write something vaguely intelligible about the woman at #1.

Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. The 50 most important female artists of the 90s”

BACK CATALOGUE. The 50 most overlooked songs of the 90s

Double J’s all-month-long 90s retrospective continues this week with another ‘Best Of’ list, sure to have a few of you wailing at both the inclusions and exclusions. ‘The 50 most overlooked songs of the 90s‘ includes a few contributions from me, including tunes from 808 StateCibo Matto (pictured), Transglobal UndergroundThe Justified Ancients of Mu Mu and GusGus.

Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. The 50 most overlooked songs of the 90s”

BACK CATALOGUE. The 50 best Australian songs of the 90s

Was the 90s the greatest decade in music?

That’s the question Double J is asking all throughout June, as they go deep on the decade that shaped so many of us musically. There are charts galore as part of the 90s celebration, starting with ‘The 50 best Australian songs of the 90s’. Despite growing up in Scotland during the 90s, I wasn’t entirely oblivious to the Australian music scene. There were a few choice acts that made their way up and over the crest of the globe, but only one of my favourites has made its way into this particular ‘Best Of…’ list.

Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. The 50 best Australian songs of the 90s”

INTERVIEW. Israel’s Noga Erez brings the fire on her debut ‘Off The Radar’

In an interview originally broadcast on Fat Planet, I talk with politically charged Tel Aviv artist Noga Erez about the release of her phenomenal debut album Off The Radar – one of the best releases of 2017 thus far, channeling equal parts M.I.A., FKA Twigs, Flying Lotus and more. Continue reading “INTERVIEW. Israel’s Noga Erez brings the fire on her debut ‘Off The Radar’”

BACK CATALOGUE. 5 moments when Eurovision was nearly cool

The annual Eurovision Song Contest has nearly always scored nil points when it comes to credible artists belting out top-notch songs. Yet, there have been a few moments across the decades where it seemed like cool might prevail against the onslaught of kitsch.

I’ve selected a few well-known artists that put their career on the line in hope of a Eurovision win, and you can watch performances from all of those on the Double J website. Continue reading “BACK CATALOGUE. 5 moments when Eurovision was nearly cool”

Kris Keogh – ‘Processed Harp Works Volume 2’ (Provenance)


Stream / Download.

 


Notes.

Influenced as much by Debussy as Atari Teenage Riot, Processed Harp Works Volume 2 is a series of ten micro-sculpted sound worlds, written, played, recorded, mixed and arranged by Kris Keogh in his home studio.

It was inspired by two simultaneous life-changing events – the birth of his daughter and the death of his father. Kris describes his feelings at the time as “intense joy and crippling sadness, all combined, all at once”, and he made the album as a way to express those feelings through music. Thus, Processed Harp Works Volume 2 is an elegy, but also a fantasia – a gift to anyone needing a space to listen, to reflect in, to escape to.

Kris notes: “Everything I make is about juxtaposition, about creating something unexpectedly cohesive from seemingly opposing sources, from polar extremes. These extremes are ingrained at nearly every level of this album.

“It’s the contrast of a gorgeous, acoustic instrument with the heavy digital audio processing that it is transformed by. It’s making music that is happy and sad at the same time. And it’s making music that works well as both an ambient background for the casual listener and an intense sound experience for those willing to climb in and really pay attention.”

The follow up to the 2011’s Volume 1 (released by New Weird Australia), the album was recorded in Kris’ home town of Nhulunbuy, in Arnhem Land, in Australia’s Northern Territory (1,043km by road from the nearest city of Darwin). It was made entirely by Kris playing harp through ‘Processed’, a self-made Reaktor ensemble, “designed by trial and error” over the last ten years. The software is included as a bonus download with the album – a gift from Kris for anyone interested in mutating and transforming their own musical ideas.

“The glitches marry organically to the harps strings, to produce work reminiscent of Japanese electronica pioneer Susumu Yokota … haunting, beautiful electronic symphonies.” Music NT

“Despite the digital wizardry, beauty and tenderness survive” Rave Magazine

“Every moment is compelling. Keogh’s sampling gives every moment of disconnectedness a heavy emotional charge” Come Into Land


Biography.

Kris Keogh is an Australian musician and producer from Arnhem Land in the Northern Territory. He is intent making the most beautiful noise possible, any way he can.

Kris’ classical training sits happily at odds with his 18 years in the electronic underground. His well-loved electro-acoustic project, Blastcorp, spawned five albums of everything from “washing machine music to acoustic lovesongs” and led to supports with artists such as Diplo, Mad Professor and Regurgitator. The brief but beautiful collaboration Red Plum And Snow was followed by a hard-left turn into bass music, which saw Kris launch the ZZAAPP Records label and his Laptop Destroyer live persona.

Kris is also a co-founder of Happy Yess, a not-for-profit arts organisation and DIY music venue that exists to support original Darwin music.


Tracklisting.

1. Just Before Forever 05:55
2. Starlight, Splintered and Fell 04:08
3. Until Underneath Everything 01:27
4. Stillness 03:23
5. Dissolved / Detached 07:35
6. Moving / Melting 01:31
7. Never Unknowing 04:57
8. Breathing, But Breathless 03:18
9. Lost, Eventually 03:02
10. Endlessly Undivided 07:28


Credits.

Written, played, recorded, processed, mixed and mastered by Kris Keogh.

Album artwork: ‘Blood-Crystals of Squirrel’ from ‘A Text-Book on Physiology: For the Use of Schools and Colleges’, published by Harper & Bros, New York, 1866. Image restoration by Nico Liengme.


Catalogue. PR010

NEW MUSIC. Russia’s finest shoegaze, coldwave and stoner metal

Often our knowledge of music from other countries is limited to what we might call ‘novelty’ acts – or those that seem so absurd to our Western ears, that they scream for attention.  For example, can you name any Korean artist or song other than Psi and ‘Gangnam Style’?

Even Russia is not immune to the curse of the novelty. Perhaps their best known export is Pussy Riot, who rode to international attention on a wave of anti-Putin sentiment clad in balaclavas, smashing the oligarchy, patriarchy or any other kind of hierarchy they could stomp their boots on. Continue reading “NEW MUSIC. Russia’s finest shoegaze, coldwave and stoner metal”

Aphir – ‘Twin Earth’ (Provenance)

Stream / Download.

 


Notes.

The second album from Melbourne electronic producer Aphir, titled ‘Twin Earth’, is out now on Provenance on digital and limited run vinyl.

‘Twin Earth’ is the follow-up to her 2015 debut ‘Holodreem’ and furthers Becki Whitton’s commitment to exploring the outer boundaries of pop and electronics, as a writer, producer and performer. The release follows a summer of acclaim for Aphir, having been cited by triple j Unearthed as one of “the next generation that are following in Flume‘s footsteps”, and lauded by Purple Sneakers and Pilerats amongst others.

Thematically, the album embraces the concept of infinite parallel universes, albeit with a different spin from the usual sci-fi trope. Becki says: “As I was writing the album, I was thinking about the quantum physics theory of multiple universes, and the idea that each universe represents a different decision that you made. ‘Twin Earth’ is my variant of that idea – what if a new universe was created whenever someone formed a different opinion of you? Each version of ‘you’ would have its own narrative, based on the how others see you”.

With artistry and expertise far beyond her age, Becki has been releasing music under the Aphir alias since 2013. Over the last three years, she has worked alongside Andrei Eremin (Chet FakerHiatus Kaiyote and Miami Horror) and Tim Shiel (Spirit LevelGotye) and in 2016 was flown to Berlin to perform in the AUUG Motion Synth Showcase at Music Tech Fest.

Becki also collaborates with many other Australian artists, writing with Denniand KAIA (who will be releasing her debut EP on Provenance in 2017), mixing for Eilish GilliganAnatoleXylo Aria and Squidgenini; and mastering Yon Yonson and Sandy Hsu, as well as mixtapes for Wondercore Island and TEEF Records.

California-born and Melbourne-based artist Goodieprovides the original hand-painted artwork for the ‘Twin Earth’ album cover and has also created additional artwork for three of the album tracks. The Special Edition vinyl package includes one of the four prints, along with a Twin Earth zine created by Aphir.

“Equal parts Kate Bush and Bjork … but no-one currently comes close”  DIY Mag

“A true one-woman band wearing as many hats as she can … infuses the emotion of Lana Del Rey, the poise of Kelela, and the quiet confidence of Syd but emerges a sound that is all Aphir”  Purple Sneakers

“Immensely passionate and complex … Aphir is an artist to watch and support” The Ladies Network


Biography.

Aphir is the solo electronic project of songwriter and producer, Becki Whitton.

As Aphir, Becki has performed her glitched-out vocal soundscapes around Australia and internationally, including her performance at Berlin’s 2016 Music Tech Fest. Her work with indigenous singer/songwriter, Denni, saw her take to the main stage at the 2015 Falls Festival.

Aphir’s new record for Provenance, ‘Twin Earth’, sees the firm foundation of her layered vocal arrangements inflected with luminous alien samples.


Tracklisting.

1. Powder Room 01:04
2. Likeness 02:58
3. Golden Child 03:28
4. No Muse 04:11
5. Meteors 03:37
6. Rorschach (Interlude) 02:28
7. Too Well 03:46
8. Go Lightly 02:30
9. Deeper In 04:02
10. Clone 03:38
11. Cotillion 01:17


Credits.

Written, produced and mixed by Becki Whitton
Artwork by Goodie


Catalogue.

The album ‘Twin Earth’ was released as WW9.
The single ‘No Muse’ was released as WW8.

‘Twin Earth’ Special Edition included: Limited run vinyl, individually lathe-cut by Small Run in Melbourne. Shipped with full-colour sleeve, housed in plastic outer + Zine, designed by Aphir, including lyrics to all tracks on the record and original artwork + Original art print from cover artist Goodie (print will feature 1 of 4 original artwork pieces created by Goodie for ‘Twin Earth’, randomly selected).

NEW MUSIC. Taiwanese rap to Swedish psych: a 5 song intro to Fat Planet

This week, Fat Planet returns to the radio after a multi-year hiatus – now broadcasting nationally on Double J on ABC Radio.

Every week, I’ll be introducing you to some of the great music from around the world – but it’s not a ‘world music’ show. If you’re unsure what that means, I’ve prepared some notes on a few new tracks that will kick off your Fat Planet journey just nicely.

Head to the Double J website to listen to music from Goat (Sweden), Yama Warashi (Japan), Wareika Hill Sounds (Jamaica), Aristophanes (Taiwan, pictured) and António Sanches (Cabo Verde).

NEWS. Fat Planet Returns – on Double J

Many moons ago, my radio program Fat Planet boomed out of the FBi Radio transmission tower, spreading a heady diet of brand new music from all around the world, and together we laughed and danced and cried and made merry for many years. Flash forward to 2017, and I’m super-stoked to tell you that Fat Planet is returning, with the same curatorial mission – to uncover vital sounds from music cultures around the globe. This time around, Fat Planet finds it home with the genius minds at Double J, and it all kicks off next Wednesday (18th January) 8pm. “Your ticket to a big world of music” – on mobile, online, digital radio & tv.

I’ve written a primer for Fat Planet, now published on the Double J website – read it here: Fat Planet is your ticket to a big world of music – featuring bonus video clip from the 80s – Nena’s ’99 Luftballons’ …

I also wrote a recap about the original Fat Planet program back in 2008 – get familiar here.

NEW MUSIC. From Xiu Xiu and Twin Peaks, to freak-folk and makeshift shrines – My 2016 Moments In Music

Whilst contemplating some of my favourite music from 2016, I realised that a bullet list holds many secrets; that choices shared in public are often born of intimate moments. And so here a few such moments, tales that needed to be told, to cast much-needed light on the year gone by.


1. Listening to Xiu Xiu playing The Music Of Twin Peaks, whilst in Twin Peaks

When I decided to take a short trip through the U.S. northwest, I knew that I could cross something special off the bucket list – to make a pilgrimage, 25 years in the making, to Twin Peaks. The town itself doesn’t exist, but rather it’s an amalgam of filming locations around North Bend and Snoqualmie, forty minutes east of Seattle. I visited Salish Lodge, aka The Great Northern Hotel, atop Snoqualmie Falls (which provided the waterfall sequence in the opening credits); along with the location of the ‘Welcome To Twin Peaks’ sign, Twede’s Cafe (which doubled as The Double R), the Twin Peaks Sherrif’s Dept amongst others. Continue reading “NEW MUSIC. From Xiu Xiu and Twin Peaks, to freak-folk and makeshift shrines – My 2016 Moments In Music”

NEWS. Who The Hell Interview

“[It’s] frustrating and validating in equal measure … a process of recalibrating my own expectations. It’s a weird fucking time to be releasing music.”

I was interviewed by whothehell.net about Provenance and apparently I decided that it was cool to swear heaps. That said, this is a generous overview of my work to date and the genesis / early days of Provenance. It also reaffirms once again that I have a masterful knack of making a rod for my own back.

Read the full interview at whothehell.net

Image: from Who The Hell Facebook, not of an actual Provenance party. We’d be far less happy.

Various – ‘Marks Of Provenance I’ (Provenance)

Stream / Download.

 


Notes.

Marks Of Provenance I is the first label compilation from Provenance, featuring exclusive tracks unavailable on any Provenance release, from Medicine VoicePaneyeKAIALovely HeadSpartakAphir and Kris Keogh.


Tracklisting.

1 – Medicine Voice – Seven Moons / Meeting The Shadow
2 – Paneye – Blue Rows
3 – KAIA – Virgo
4 – Simo Soo – Dancer In The Dark (Lovely Head Remix)
5 – Spartak – Black Eye Trace
6 – Aphir – Cold Space
7 – Kris Keogh – Untold
8 – Lovely Head – All I Saw Was You (Dana Scully 1994 Remix)
9 – KAIA – iii
10 – Paneye – Remote Summer Cloud


 

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Pretty Gritty – Of Most Excellent Provenance


Pretty Gritty #17 / Provenance
Sunday Dec 4, 2016

Via pretty-gritty.net:

The final Pretty Gritty for 2016 teams up with the most excellent record label Provenance, the latest most excellent venture by the tireless Stuart Buchanan, to offer a small sampling of the most excellent stable of innovative altpopelectronicaambientdroneexotica.

In a split set (like a split album — it’s a new thing as of now) Lortica will morph himself into When We Never offering his hypertextured, super-psych drone dreamscapes. Hiking up the Hume from the ACT, Shoeb Ahmad will bliss us away with his shimmering guitar and spacey pop deconstructions. Finally Medicine Voice’s transcendent vibrations will send us into the sublime as she launches her hypnotic new single.

5.30pm-9pm, $12 full / $10 Concession
107 Projects, 107 Redfern St, Redfern

More info at pretty-gritty.net

Photos by Sam James and Gail Priest.


NEW MUSIC. Medicine Voice – ‘The Roman / Crossing The Fourth Threshold’

‘The Roman / Crossing The Fourth Threshold’ is the new single from Medicine Voice, the second track to be singled-out from the album ‘I And Thou‘ (out now on Provenance). To mark the moment, Medicine Voice has collaborated with artists Louisa Clayton and Kevina-Jo Smith on a beautiful new film clip, shot on location in the Blue Mountains. Sar also had some words to say about the film, about hope, about Standing Rock, which you can read on the Provenance web site.