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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Electronic artist Martyn Palmer has been recording calm and tranquil sounds as Broken Chip for many years, but in recent months something fundamental has changed – precipitating a shift from light to dark, from tranquil to anxious, culminating in a new project under the alias Hidden. In this week’s episode of Out From Under, we hear from Martyn Palmer about his new work, the impetus for the shift in direction and how it contrasts with his work as Broken Chip – taking in an exclusive mix of brand new tracks from Hidden and a walk through Martyn’s back catalogue.
For six years, Nathan Jenkins was part of Australian extreme metal band The Amenta, known for their refusal to fully commit to any sense of what a metal band should be. After working within those extremities and contradictions, Nathan established the solo project titled Host, fusing dark ambient, noise and drone. In this episode of Out From Under, Stuart Buchanan talks to Nathan about this transition and his highly ritualistic approach to music making, as well as his role as curator for the upcoming two-day event, Black Mountain.
Marcus Whale has been straddling the worlds of experimental music and alternative pop throughout his career, from his early improvisational work as Scissor Lock, through the densely layered electronic pop of Collarbones to the taut, politically charged BV project he formed with Guerre aka Cassius Select. In this episode of Out From Under, we celebrate Marcus’ debut solo release under his own name, as he talks about his work, his personal growth, and his political intent, and reflects on the outcomes – one foot on both sides of the channel.
Brainbeau are a Brisbane-based underground electronic duo featuring Chelsey Charlton and Kat Martin, aka Chelvis Chesley and Kat Martian, aka Dust Storm Jogger and X in O, aka Emotional Hoon and El Crumple Dash. There are vestiges of classic Detroit and Chicago techno in their music, riffing off Warp and Rephlex, Not Not Fun and 100% Silk, muddied with a lo-fi aesthetic redolent of a slew of North American tape labels. In this episode of Out From Under, I talk to Chelsey and Kat about Brainbeau and Brisbane, the world they’ve created and now inhabit – a place where they take fun very seriously indeed.
Sydney artist Jannah Quill works in electronic installation and performance, exploring and exposing hidden energies, predominantly through the photo voltaic process – translating light into electricity and ultimately into sound and music. Through her work she begins to “uncase electronic music for what it really is”. In this episode of Out From Under, I talk to Jannah Quill about her work and her process, and listen to her solo sound works – including a set recorded for the Liquid Architecture event, Ritual Community Music – and works recorded under her WDK project with Laura Hunt from Sydney punk band Ghastly Spats.
Andrew Tuttle is an artist who for twelve years has been exploring the relationship between the electronic and the acoustic – primarily by marrying the worlds of laptop processing with that of banjo and acoustic guitar. He has played live with artists such as Matmos, Mike Cooper, and Blank Realm, and recently released the album ‘Fantasy League’ on the Room40 imprint, Someone Good.
Sydney label 3BS Records was originally created by Blue Mountains-based musician Jonathan Pizzay as an outlet for his Mannheim Rocket and Klangberg projects, but has subsequently grown into a home for other artists sharing their label manager’s respect for experimental techno, ambient exploration, dystopian noise and low-end sonics. On this week’s Out From Under we’re guided through the back catalogue taking in fellow Mountains resident Broken Chip, New Zealand’s Borrowed cs, Simon Unwin aka Hence Therefore, and Jonathan’s confrontational noise project Extreme Misanthropy Crew.
On this week’s Out From Under, two Australian artists working at the fringes of popular music; both on radically different musical trajectories, but nonetheless equally compelled by a deep desire to protect their own creative freedom. We hear from Via Tania, who discusses her twenty year career, playing with artists such as Prefuse 73, Tortoise, Marcus Popp and Jori Hulkonnen, and weaving her way from nineties grunge, through alt.jazz and Finnish techno to her recent work with a Chicago orchestra; and we talk to Sydney producer Ghostgirl, as she embarks on a spiritually-rich electronic project, inspired by a chance encounter with two rookie soldiers on Chat Roulette.
On this week’s Out From Under, I feature two artists pushing back against the tyranny of the machine in electronic music – capturing inputs and processing outputs in ways that rely less directly on spending face time with the laptop screen. Alex White talks about Nadir, his noise collaboration with Ben Byrne, which rejects dark, power noise in favour of a light and bright counterpoint; and jazz musician Jacques Emery discusses the wide range of electronic output on his Sounds Are Sounds label, all of which favour art over craft, and – much like jazz – focus on a constant refinement of improvisational practice.
Eclectic and experimental Australian music, presented by Stuart Buchanan – weaving documentary stories and interviews with new music specials and live performances.
In this first episode, we take a deep dive into ‘Pretty Gritty’ – an intimate experimental music event in Sydney’s Redfern district, where you’re greeted at the door with delicious home baking and a warm welcome from curator Gail Priest. Plus, interviews and music with three artists from the most recent ‘Pretty Gritty’ event – vocalist, composer and multi-instrumentalist Astrid Zeman; Sydney sound artist Daniel Whiting and Canberra musician Happy Axe, who lulls beautiful and eerie tones from her violin and musical saw.
Flaunting a visceral, psychedelic blend of alternative hip hop, Young Fathers pole-vaulted into popular consciousness earlier this year, with their debut album Dead, released on Big Dada and Anticon. In this episode of Repercussions, Alloysious, Kayus and G from Young Fathers join Stuart Buchanan to share some of their musical influences past and present, and talk about the reaction to their debut, their recent Mercury Prize nomination and their plans for the future. From South African electro and Ghanan dancehall, to Lee Scratch Perry mixing Bob Marley and Iggy Pop going Nightclubbing, Young Fathers share an upfront selection of wild vocalists and rawkus beats, exclusively on Repercussions.
In the run up to the release of their third album The Worry, Sydney trio Seekae visit Repercussions to curate a selection of eclectic tracks that have influenced their work to date, including music from Shed, Benge, Flash And The Pan, The Reels, Roxy Music and more. They also discuss the making of the new record, their favourite Seekae remixes and their plans for 2014 and beyond.