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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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”

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.

PODCAST. Out From Under #25 – New music from My Disco, Garry Bradbury, John Chantler and more

Out From Under #25 is a mix of new music released in September 2016 featuring work from Severed Heads alumni Garry Bradbury and Room40 mainstay John Chantler; Regis takes on MY DISCO (pictured) in a remix for the Downwards label; Blake Freele & Sam Price drop a new collaboration; we tackle brute noise from Blut; and also hear new work from Panoptique Electrical, Pale Earth, Cooper Bowman, Harrow, H∃✖†⏄P∄, FATE ÆFFECT and Catfingers.

Originally broadcast on Resonance Extra, 22 September 2016.

PODCAST. Out From Under #24 – Scattered Order & M-Squared (Part II)

In the second episode of a two-part Out From Under special, I talk to Mitchell Jones; founding member of both seminal Australian experimental band Scattered Order and the early 80s record label M-Squared which balanced the prevailing sounds of post-punk with lo-fi punk electronics and experimental explorations from a close knit community of artists.

We hear from M-Squared artists Makers Of The Dead Travel Fast, Systematics and Ya Ya Choral, along with Prod, A Cloakroom Assembly and Solipsik, the offshoot of renowned Australian industrial group SPK. We also pick up the Scattered Order story following the demise of M-Squared in 1984, and hear about their journey through the 80s and 90s, heading to an unexpected reformation seven years ago.

Originally broadcast on Resonance Extra, 8 September 2016.

PODCAST. Out From Under #23 – Scattered Order & M-Squared (Part I)

Whilst the legacies of post-punk, DIY electronics and proto industrial are widely known and documented in the UK and US scenes, their impact in an Australian context is less widely recognised. Bonding over the discovery of Cabaret Voltaire imports in Sydney record stores, Scattered Order formed in 1979 and gorged on a wide range of inputs to create a sound and visual aesthetic that was unique in Australia at the time. Together they also formed the label M Squared and fostered an impressive roster of bands such as Makers Of The Dead Travel Fast, Systematics and Ya Ya Choral.

In Part I of a two-part interview, I talk to Scattered Order’s Mitchell Jones about the early years of the band and the formation and impact of the M-Squared label throughout the late Seventies and early Eighties.

Originally broadcast on Resonance Extra, 1 September 2016.

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PODCAST. Out From Under #22 – Rand & Holland

Brett Thompson has been the guiding force in the Australian band Rand & Holland for nearly fifteen years, but its been a tumultuous and often torturous ride. Widespread love for their lo-fi folk debut led to a polished pop follow up that furthered their critical acclaim whilst also setting in place a chain of events that led to the band conducing an artistic volte-face. They recorded a dark, intense and experimental third album, polarising audiences at a short series of live shows before abruptly breaking up.

Four years later, in 2015, the fabled album posthumously saw the light of day, and in this episode of Out From Under, Brett Thompson gives a rare interview, explaining the background to the album and the breakup, and revealing that Rand and Holland is, in fact, far from over.

Originally broadcast on Resonance Extra, 25 August 2016.

Out From Under #21 – New music from Fia Fiell, ju ca, Wives, Bright Sea and more

In this week’s episode of Out From Under, we hear new music from Melbourne electronic producer ju ca; Canberra’s Wives get remixed by Enderie Nuatal; there’s two releases from Hyperborea and Fia Fiell (pictured) through cassette label Nice Music ; new work from Cold House member Morgan McKellar recording as Bright Sea, plus tracks from TEEF Records charity compilation ‘Imperium In Imperil II’ featuring Making, Hence Therefore and Tracy Chen.

Originally broadcast on Resonance Extra, 11 August 2016.

Out From Under #20 – Andy Rantzen & Jochen Gutsch (Hinterlandt)

On this week’s Out From Under, artists Andy Rantzen and Jochen Gutsch discuss their new collaborative project, which fuses Andy’s poetic spoken lyrics and Jochen’s diverse musical background, recording and performing as Hinterlandt. Highly conscious of the potential pitfalls of fusing poetry and experimental music, Andy and Jochen carve a path to an outcome that is tense and fascinating and compels you to listen close. We also hear music from Jochen’s Hinterlandt Ensemble and take in back catalogue work from Andy’s Pelican Daughters project.

Originally broadcast on Resonance Extra, 4 August 2016.

Out From Under #19 – New Music from Scraps, Half High, Lortica and more

This week’s Out From Under is another in our new music playlist series, presenting a selection of underground and experimental work being made right now in Australia. We check out two compilations both surveying experimental electronic terrain – from labels Butter Sessions and Iceage Productions; music from two Canberra labels, Dream Damage and Moontown Records, featuring Danger Beach and Scraps (pictured); new releases from Sydney artists M.O.B. and Lortica; abstract sounds from Sam Filmer; and a new recording from Half High, featuring Lucy Phelan and Matthew P Hopkins from Naked On The Vague.

Originally broadcast on Resonance Extra, 21 July 2016.