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.

FBi Turns 10 – Fat Planet Special

This day, ten years ago, I was so very lucky enough to be part of a bunch of smart & beautiful people who got together to kickstart a little thing called FBi Radio.  Happy 10th Birthday little Miss FBi, here’s to 100 more … It was also the week of the first Fat Planet radio show on FBi, and I’ll be on air again this Sunday at 5-7pm, replaying some of my favourite tracks from seven years of the show. Boom!

Here’s the blurb from FBi:

FAT PLANET started on FBi in its first week on air back in 2003. Running for five years, FAT PLANET showcased new music from around the world, such as Scandinavian folk, Japanese dubstep and Chilean post-punk and flash-in-the-pan micro-genres like Euro-crunk and Digital Cumbia. To help celebrate FBi’s tenth birthday, Stuart Buchanan returns for a one-off FAT PLANET this Sunday from 5pm, playing some of the tracks that defined the sound of the show.

Fat Planet – Rewind

Fat Planet is coming to the end of its journey (for now…). Here’s the story:

In August 2003, I started broadcasting the Fat Planet show on the (then) newly-birthed FBi Radio in Sydney.  FBi was set up to take a unique view of Australian music, to reposition both the city of Sydney and the country as a place for new, original and innovative sounds – and to tarmac over the notion that we were good for nothing more than Kylie Minogue, INXS and Men At Work.  When I was approached to do a ‘world music show’, I opted to toe the line on exactly the same philosophy – to reposition the notion of ‘world music’, and promote innovation and experimentation from unlikely locations.

Of course, the whole concept of ‘world music’ is in itself a paradox – it is a marketing and sales term, designed for ingestion by Western audiences.  ‘World music’ means nothing to consumers in South America or Africa.  Not only that, but it is quite insulting to apply such a broad and meaningless term to well-developed and flourishing local music industries.  The term also generally implies indigenous and traditional sounds, and as I was quick to discover, most countries falling in the ‘world music’ category consider indigenous music in much the same way that Westerners treat their folk heritage – as something to be acknowledged, but mostly unrepresentative of the current musical climate.

Back in 2003, music was only starting to be distributed online.  Most labels and artists had a general mistrust about duplication and piracy, and had yet to wake up to the web’s full potential. Luckily, there were a few vanguards around the globe taking advantage of the medium – often from the most unlikely of places.  Those vanguards naturally became staples on the Fat Planet radio show – music that was unreleased in Australia, often only released in its country of origin, but nonetheless music that was refreshing, challenging and utterly compelling.

As so much of the show’s pre-planning was spent trawling the web, I inevitably started to post a few links on my personal blog, zero-G.  The first tracks went online in January 2004 (Finland’s LacklustreWang Inc from Italy and South African Portable taking early honours) and, a couple of months later, the content shifted to its own URL at fatplanet.com.au. Although this was something of an organic and common sense process, it was also partly inspired by the early pioneers of the mp3 blog who had started shortly prior – FluxblogSaid The GramaphoneMusic For Robots and, primarily, Swen’s Weblog, a curation of mp3 links from artists that had appeared in The Wire magazine.

Over a five year period, the Fat Planet site went on to feature many hundreds of artists, exposing new sounds and styles often for the first time in an English-speaking environment.  Fat Planet was also one of the first to expose emerging genres and feature tracks from scenes such as baile funkkudurocongotronics, balkan hot step, baltimorecosmic disco and Boston bounce.  Artists who received some of their early blog-love on Fat Planet included M.I.A., Ghislian Poirier, Juana Molina, The Knife, Filastine, Konono No.1, Frikstailers, K’naan, Mutamassilk, Edu-K, Esau Mwamwaya, Para One, Villa Diamante, Jahcoozi, Cardopusher, Sibot, Stacs Of Stamina, Tetine, Bostich, DJ C, Ramallah Underground, Sweat X, Peter Bjorn & John, Mochipet, Datarock, Annie and many more.

In January 2008, the Fat Planet blog was featured in the UK’s ‘Guardian‘ newspaper in Chris Salmon’s column ‘Click To Download’.  In referencing a number of mp3 blogs from all over the world, Fat Planet was dubbed “Best Blog for world music“.  The Guardian called the blog: “a fantastic melting point of cutting-edge international sounds; be it Danish rap-techno, Argentinean cumbia, Israeli dub or Chinese hip-hop. The range and quality of the music Buchanan tracks down is astonishing”. (read the column here).  Time Out also reviewed Fat Planet earlier this year, calling it “a stunningly diverse range of music from all corners of the globe”.

Writing now in mid-2008, Fat Planet is drawing to a close (for now…) as it’s time to map some new terrain. Thanks to everyone who tuned in to the show or the blog, and I look forward to bringing you along on the next part of the ride.

Here’s some of the chunkier content from the radio show, all yours to digest in perpetuity:

INTERVIEW PODCAST ARCHIVE:

Lindstrom (July 2007)
Amon Tobin (February 2007)
Miho Hatori (January 2007)
El Perro Del Mar (January 2007)
Frederic Galliano, Kuduro Sound System (December 2006)
Annie (October 2006)
Filastine (October 2006)
Peter, Bjorn & John (September 2006)
OMFO (August 2006)
CSS / Cansei De Ser Sexy (July 2006)

PLUS:

Fat Planet Arabesque Mixtape (2006)
Fat Planet Year Two Mixtape (2005)
Fat Planet Year One Mixtape (2004)

FAT PLANET BLOG ARCHIVE (All 300 posts, give or take …)

Fat Planet – Booka Shade [Germany] Interview


An interview with Arno Kammermeier from electronic duo and founders of the Get Physical label, Booka Shade. Recorded in 2008, the interview focuses on the making of the then-newly released album ‘The Sun & The Neon Light’, and the ongoing balance between performing and travelling world as a recording artist and the complexities of managing a label.

First broadcast on FBi Radio, June 2008.

Fat Planet – Arabesque Mix

‘Fat Planet Arabesque’ is inspired by artists such as Mutamassik, Filastine, 2/5 BZ and dj/Rupture who take a distinctly skewed and sonically distorted approach to working with sounds from the Middle East.  This mix was intended to, once again, prove the case that innovative, unique and challenging music can be found in all parts of the globe; and that attempts to blend territorial sensibilities and thus disable borders can be achieved without resorting – as is so often the case – to commercial lounge ‘remixes’ of indigenous work from Western DJs.

The mix was recorded in November 2006, was first broadcast on a ‘Fat Planet’ Special on the Australian Community Radio Network in June 2007, and re-broadcast on Dialectic, November 2007 (Edge Radio Hobart and nationwide on CRN).

Continue reading “Fat Planet – Arabesque Mix”

Fat Planet – Lindstrom (Norway) Interview

August 2007 saw the release of Norwegian producer Lindstrom‘s contribution to the ‘Late Night Tales‘ series, pulling together a selection of some of his favourite tunes that document the wee small hours. Previous contributors include Four Tet, Air and The Flaming Lips, so he’s amongst extremely fine company. The album came off the back of a couple of hugely successful years for Lindstrom – from the out-of-control breakthrough track ‘I Feel Space’, to the growth of his label ‘Feedelity‘ and the recent media buzz around his alleged position of the head of the ‘cosmic disco‘ genre. Hear what Hans-Peter had to say on some of these topics by listening to the Fat Planet interview, originally broadcast on FBi Radio on 18th July.

Fat Planet – Amon Tobin (Brazil) Interview

2007 saw the Australian release of Brazilian Amon Tobin’s studio album ‘The Foley Room’. as the title suggests, Tobin had worked to evolve from using vinyl sample sources to ‘found’ or ‘constructed’ sounds. It’s a huge testament to Tobin that the results remained defiantly accessible, and – unlike Herbert’s similar ‘Plate de Jour’ project – never fall into the realms of abstract sound art. The album, released through Ninja Tune, came with a documentary that documented the painstaking processes Tobin undertook in the construction of this record.

Tobin was in Sydney for a DJ show in January 2007, and I he joined me on the Fat Planet radio show to discuss ‘The Foley Room’ alongside his then recent soundtrack work on the Splinter Cell 3 video game.

Fat Planet – Miho Hatori (Cibo Matto) Interview

In January 2007, I had the great pleasure of interviewing Miho Hatori, formerly one half of the legendary Japanese band Cibo Matto, on the release of her debut solo album ‘Ecdysis’. Cibo Matto found success in the U.S. initially off the back of heavy rotation of their ‘Sugar Water’ clip, directed by Michel Gondry, which they backed up with two outstanding albums ‘Viva! La Woman’ and ‘Stereo Type A’ (the latter featuring an expanded Cibo Matto line-up with Sean Lennon on bass). My personal favourite Cibo Matto is seeing them on stage at ‘The Bronze’ in the season two opener of Buffy – a rare trans-pacific cultural crossover.

In the intervening years, Miho released a beautiful Brazilian collaboration with Smokey Hormel (‘Smokey and Miho’), dropped some vocals for the likes of Beastie Boys, Handsome Boy Modelling School and Blackalicious and also gave us the voice of Noodle in Gorillaz (re-listen to ’19-2000′ for some “shoe-shine” Miho goodness). There’s also a little curio that crops up on Ninja Tune’s ‘Urban Renewal Program’ compilation, a track titled ‘Night Light’ that sits alongside contributions from Tortoise, Prefuse 73, Mos Def and more.

The new album is, as expected, a thing of outstanding beauty – a more considered and organic version of Bjork‘s mid-career output, replete with a vast library of musical influences from around the world. The video clip (by Ishiura Masaru) is a dazzling accompaniment – an animated adventure, that could well be titled “Miho in the Underworld”; with a design style that calls to mind a cross between the twisted Charles Burns school of horror illustration and a psyched-out episode of Scooby Doo. Well worth 3:22 of your time.