Gutevolk, Sigmatropic, Nitin Sawney

GUTEVOLK [JAPAN] (pictured)
sora mp3
a beautfiul piece of scattered alt.folk-pop from japan, seemingly borrowing rythyms from jazz / electronica (in places reminiscent of norway’s jaga jazzist) but all played ‘organically’. gutevolk is a solo project from vocalist hirono nishiyama, one time collaborator with famed japanese electronic / experimental producer nobukazu takemuragutevolk hails from a japanese label called happy (introduced to me by swen’s weblog), who brand themselves as ‘unconventional japanese pop’. the site is worth a visit as it features more free music from similar artists on its roster such as pianatenniscoatscinq and eisi. the label releases hirono’s new e.p. ‘twinkle’ this month.

SIGMATROPIC [GREECE]
higway to china (roadtrip mix) mp3
alternative music from greece is seemingly difficult to come by. there’s a huge greek community in sydney, and my local record store services them well with an impressive selection that is bigger than that of the electronica section (which in itself is simultaneously broad + eclectic). yet nothing in the greek selection suggests ‘alternative’ (far from it), so it was a relief this week to finally find something very special from the south east corner of europe. sigmatropic is the brainchild of axis boyatzis, and comes after many years developing new wave / punk personas. this is a very different approach – coming from both post-rock and electronica, and creating a beautiful hybrid. his new album ‘sixteen haiku and other stories’ was based on the greek poetry of george seferisand features contributions from 18 vocalists including laetitia sadier from stereolabcat powerlee ronaldo from sonic youthrobert wyattmark eitzel and more. the above mp3 is a remix of a track from his previous album ‘random walk’. [site]

NITIN SAWHNEY [ENGLAND]
raag (remix) mp3
finally today, a man who manages to traverse many different markets – nitin sawhney‘s takes on asian electronica has secured him a place in the dreaded ‘chillout’ section of major commercial record stores, however such unfortunate pigeon-holing belies the diversity and experimentation of his work. much of the last album ‘human’ passed me by on initital inspection, however it was only after repeated plays that a few tracks rose above the pack as real gems (esepcially his collaboration with aqualung ‘falling’). he has a new remix project out now, featuring mixes from quanticfreeform fivelondon elektricityvisionary underground and more. it’s a little 4/4 for my tastes, and – if that’s not your flavour either – you might be better served with the original. the above mp3 is also a remix of a track from ‘human’, although not on the new album. it starts with the customary downtempo / ambient sensations, before moving into some smart drum’n’bass action halfway through. [site]

Meeting The Neighbours – Fat Planet Interview at The Tofu Hut

Huge thanks to New Jersey’s Tofu Hut for tracking me down for an interview for their blog. Check it out at tofuhut.blogspot.com and reposted below:


Fat Planet is another in the Radio Babylon school of linking to “artists’ sites, labels or other legitimate sources” but F.P. is a bit more aspirant: offering itself as a de facto aggregator/taste filter of all manner of international music and then indexing the tracks by country. Recent offerings include songs from !!!Ulrich SchnaussAir, and Mouse on Mars.

Who got the whole world in their hands? 
Fat Planet started as a way of logging playlists from Stuart Buchanan’s ‘new international music’ radio show in Sydney, Australia and has quickly grown into a mp3 blog in its own right. The blog, like the show, is designed to promote new, alternative from around the world – providing an alternative global music perspective that doesn’t fall into the traditional ‘world music’ category. For example, psych-rock from Japan, breakcore from Egypt, electronica from Argentina, drum’n’bass from India etc. Our first post was in January 2004.
I work at a radio station full-time (FBi 94.5FM), which is the same station from which I present my show. In my spare time (not that there’s much), I also work my wife on our own web design business. In recent years, we developed the site for Goldfrapp (which won the 2003 MTV Europe Web Award), for Groenland Records (nominated for 2004 Online Music Awards) and we’ve recently completed some work for Depeche Mode for their new remix collection. Which is all gut-bustingly exciting.

Where did the name of your blog originate from?
Derived from Leftfield’s ‘Phat Planet’, but preferred the chubby version.

What are the criteria you judge a song by to decide if it’s post-worthy?
Original, innovative, unlike anything we’ve heard before. Derivative rock bands need not apply.

What do you do for kicks when you’re not posting?
Time is a cherished commodity… I’m usually preparing for the FAT PLANET radio show and I’ve recently taken on a 2nd radio show project for Australia’s community radio satellite network – see theprototype.net

Five Desert Island Discs?
1. The Velvet Underground and Nico – “The Velvet Underground and Nico”
2. Nina Simone – “Verve Jazz Masters”
3. Bjork – Homogenic
4. Boards of Canada – “Music Has the Right to Children”
5. Bill Hicks – “Arizona Bay”

Do you consider yourself a “music journalist”?
No, if I don’t like something I won’t post it – so, therefore, I’m only promoting music I like, rather than criticising music I don’t.  ed. note: This is spot on and hardly ever noted in discussion of the field.

What was the last track you heard that really changed your life?
Not sure about the life change, but CloudDead and the Mush crew inspired me to start writing music again, so that was an influential period.

Is there any genre of music that you dismiss out of hand?
I’ve yet to get excited about metal, which I think is entirely to do with the testosterone levels. In saying that, I really got off on the new Metallica documentary, so maybe there’s a sleeping metalhead inside of me somewhere.

Which critical darling do you find most overrated? Who’s the most overlooked genius in the music industry?
Jet, allegedly Australia’s No.1 rock band. I read an interview where they went about how much they despised electronics, that ‘techno’ was the work of the devil etc. I just can’t deal with narrow-mindedness, especially when it comes to music and especially not at that scale – i.e. dismissing entire genres. It just so lazy and misguided – and sadly representative a large group of supposed ‘fans’ of music. i.e. those people who have never dared to pick up an electronic album for fear their heads might implode. Overlooked? Einsturzende Neubauten should be in the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame.

Recommend three other music blog sites.
1.  Swen’s Weblog: The one that started my interest and still continues to deliver. Ostensibly a guide to artists that feature in The Wire magazine, but it’s expanded to be much more comprehensive. As well as alternative and experimental music, it now includes alternative video, glitch art, and a whole heap more.
2.  Music For Robots: Consistently excellent. More electronica and dance as well as the odd post from somewhere very random in the world.
3.  dozerblog: I ought to give props to a new kid on the block, whose tastes are almost 100% spot on.

Do you really think that posting music effectively promotes sales of the album?
Absolutely, it can’t fail to. If only more artists and record companies would catch on to this fact. There are so many ways to read about artists, not so many to actually hear them. I’m not going to buy an album from an artist I haven’t heard, that’s too much of a risk. And having streaming real audio or windows media player files is way too time consuming and tedious – plus you can only listen to those when you’re sitting in front of your PC. Alternatively, if I can grab an mp3, then I can throw it on the iPod, burn it to CD as part of a compilation and listen to it a few times. Once it’s lodged in my brain and I’ve become a fan of the track, an album purchase surely follows.

Can you list a few bands that you enjoy listening to that might surprise your readers?
I used to really dig Madonna and still have a soft spot for her. Especially the “Like A Virgin” album. Oh, and Gary Numan.

Are you a proud member of the iPod Nation?
100% and very proud of it. iPod changed the way I listen to music and, by the genius invention of the ‘shuffle’ feature, I’ve found parts of my music collection that I never knew existed.

What’s the best live show you’ve ever seen?
So hard to decide between them all, but the most dramatic was probably at last year’s Yeah Yeah Yeahs gig in Sydney. After about 6 or 7 songs, Karen O took a tumble off the stage, fell head first into the mosh pit. Even though she was seriously injured, she opted to sits on the stage and sang an incredible version of Maps. At the end of the track, the paramedics grabbed her and whisked her off to the hospital. That song will remain burned in my head for a long time to come.

Do you have a message for youngsters who’d like to start their own music blog?
Be true to your own tastes and your sense of what’s good and bad and don’t worry if anyone disagrees.

The head of Sony/BMG is sitting across the table from you, asking how to improve the music industry for both the consumer and the company. What do you say?
There used to be an argument that the record companies’ % profit from an artist’s CD would go to fostering and developing new talent. Now that % seems to go to developing Pop Idol / American Idol rejects. Recently, a very famous and a very good Australian rock band was bumped from their record label – and at the same time, the label signed a whole crew of Idol wannabes. When the industry favours chancers signing cover versions (or insipid ballads) over original, exciting talent – then truly there is no hope.

Who’s your favorite producer?
I really dig Mark Bell’s work – formerly LFO (and not the American boy band, the Sheffield seminal techno duo). He recently produced Exciter for Depeche Mode and also does great work with Bjork.

Drop on by betterPropaganda and pick out a track to hype.

Boom Bip and the Boards of Canada – “Last Walk Around Mirror Lake” (Remix)

There’s so much good shit on there – recent posts like Milosh, Diplo, and Subtle all comes from superb albums. However, my money goes to “Last Walk”. As electronic music goes, this track has so much warmth and soul, it’s a beautiful collaboration. Boards Of Canada are one of the best things that have happened to electronic music in the last few years and Boom Bip too is taking the genre into interesting territory. I saw him live in Sydney recently and I’m now happy to say that I’m a convert. So it goes.

Machinedrum, Omzo, Slam Revolution, Cyne

MACHINEDRUM [U.S.]
$$legs mp3
mltply mp3
i’m new to these guys, but the ever-helpful (and wallet-loosening) bleep.com describes their last album (‘now you know’) as a release “that helped define the digital/cutup hip hop sound”. and there’s infinite shades of early funkstorung in there – i adore the germans’ ‘additional productions’ release from way back, it was a genuine eye-opener for me, in that i’d never heard anything quite like it. micro-editing matched with dust + scratches taken to the extreme, all the while retaining an all important sense of ryhtym and melody. their mixes for both wu tang clan and bjork still remain classics of their genre. but we’re talking about machinedrum here – and it would be unfair to wholly associate them with another artist. the two tracks above are taken from their forthcoming merck release ‘bizness’. ‘$$legs’ is all dirt and beats and absolutely delicious, whereas ‘mltply’ is built around a great flute loop and a head-nodding 4-4, with what sounds like spliced guitar dropping in halfway through. the last minute disintegrates the track completely, furious editing taking the song to the edge of destruction – ouch! now that funkstorung have moved onto much more accessible territory with their latest album, maybe it’s left to machinedrum to carry the torch for the glitch hip hop genre? [merck site] + check out an older free mp3 release from monotonik.

OMZO [SENEGAL]
missalu aduna mp3
+
SLAM REVOLUTION [SENEGAL]
wax degg mp3
more african hip-hop thanks to our friends at nomadic wax. both tracks are taken from their new release “african underground vol. 1 hip-hop senegal” which aims to provide a contemporary snap-shot from what is arguably africa’s home of hip hop. unlike many compilations claiming to be the ‘real deal’, this is actually the genuine article – recorded on location in dakar, calling on artists that you’re unlikely to hear anywhere else any time soon. omzo (pictured) takes a less agressive musical approach than many of his american counterparts, but his lyrics are (apparently) no less incisive. his 2000 release ‘kunu abal a beut’ (trans: ‘the hand that leads is the hand that rules’) is cited as having a direct effect on the elections of the time, when the standing government was ousted. slam revolution‘s ‘wax degg’ is my favourite of the two, mostly due to the production skills on display and i love listening to on-going rhymes in a seemingly impenetrable language – especially when the only english you’ll hear is the occasional “fucker!” dropped into the mix. slam revolution are one of the dakar’s original crews, founded by shaffai (see recent post) and who have since gone their separate ways. according to info from nomadic wax: “the crew recently suffered a devastating loss when fellow mc and longtime friend mohammed ba (aka tipse) was murdered while on a religious pilgrimage to touba (senegalís religious center) and is still an unsolved mystery”. purchase ‘african undergound volume one’ here.

CYNE [U.S.]
steady mp3
a miami-based hip hop crew who have been releasing tunes on must!delicious / rice and beans and are expected to drop a new album on the excellent city center offices label in 2005. i don’t know how many other hip hop artists appear on the cco label, but my knowledge of them extends mostly to deep, lush electronica – their 2000 compilation ‘cashier escape route’ (an essential purchase) featured artists such as skanformsolventto rococo rotpole and isan. which suggests interesting potential from cyne and possibly a critical release when the album drops. the above mp3 is taken from their early e.p. ‘movement’ and is a hard polemic built around a beautiful, wistful vocal sample. check out their full range of releases on forced exposure.

+ a quick thanks to woebot for their recent heads-up to fat planet. their critique of mp3 blogs is stop-on and it’s well worth checking out some of their other suggested destinations.

Slowly Minute, Eedl, Gotan Project

SLOWLY MINUTE [JAPAN]
a constellation and shooting stars mp3
produced by japanese electronic artist nobukazu takemuraslowly minute might seem like it drifts into territory once occupied by air and their ilk. thankfully, there’s no “lounge beats” here, this is much more wayward + haphazard and all the more interesting for it. often the beats, the ideas and the instrumentation don’t match – creating what should be a aural disaster, but instead blends together into some beautiful post-rock / folktronica. and it’s all the more surprising, as the artist (takahiro chiba from sapparo) is still only 24 years old and making music that susumu yakota ought to be chasing.

EEDL [SPAIN]
too few arguments mp3
i took a track today from a cd just arrived in the post, thanks to lackluster in finland – a collection of his superb glitch electronica mxs of other people’s work. you can hear some sound samples from the cd (and of course order the thing itself) here. the track played was originally by the barcelona-based electronica duo, eedl (pictured) and was called ‘too few arguments (no arguments at all lacklustermx)’. above is a lo-fi mp3 from the band that takes the blueprint laid down by fellas like autechre and boards of canada and adds even more warmth and melody. more band info here.

GOTAN PROJECT [FRANCE / ARGENTINA]
santa maria mp3
so the gotan project made it absolutely acceptable to play tango in your own living room, to prance around with your partner on your arm, imagining you were the belles of the dancefloor. maybe you went so far as to put a rose between your teeth … if nothing else, the gotan projectat least allowed the theory of contemporary international music to travel far and wide. whether or not you followed their musical stylings is another matter. judge for yourself with this cut from their hugely successful album ‘la revancha del tango’. their new mix cd (from which i played a track today) is notable for addition not only the excellent calexico remix of one of their tracks, but also a mix from the exceptional anti-pop consortium (the original crew from whence beans sprang). hearing gotan vs anti-pop’s blend of NY alt.hip hop is a must.

Juana Molina, Think Twice, Ulrich Schnauss

JUANA MOLINA [ARGENTINA]
tres cosas mp3
yet another tune from folktronica artist, juana molina – this is the title track from her album ‘tres cosas’. i’ve almost completly emptied the cupboard of juana’s free downloads here on this site and played probably more tracks of hers that many other artists on the show. perhaps this posting brings the juana fan club to a close for the time being. check out the new issue of the wire for an interview. [site]

THINK TWICE [FRANCE]
analyse me mp3
played the title track from their debut album ‘unemployed’ today – which is very different from the above mp3. ‘unemployed’ is basically a stripped back accosutic pean to being on the dole, listing all the wonderful reasons why mooching has far more benefits than slogging it out for cash – like daytime tv and hanging round on street corners. the early promise of think twice – the ‘under the bombs’ mp3 found on the f comm site – has not really been bourne out on the album. it’s a short, mis-shaped collection of tracks that ends with a cover version of cage’s 4’33” of silence. didn’t the guy from the wombles do that recently too?

ULRICH SCHNAUSS [GERMANY]
a lie for breakfast mp3
i’m loving the recent track i found from ulrich schnauss – ‘on my own’ – it has beautiful washes of sound, played back over a midtempo bpm. works well with either headphones and dancing shoes on. it’s electronica with a heart and soul and a very healthy pulse. ulrich has also remixed ‘little 15’ for the forthcoming depeche mode remix project. it’s a good mix – the first half retaining much of the original, before breaking down and taking off with more majestic sweeps into unexplored territory. the above mp3 is taken from ulrich’s site and is an unreleased track from 2001. there’s been a huge progression since then, but this is a lush slice of bleepin’ electronica nonetheless.

New Radio Show – The Prototype

fellow fbi comrade, dan zilber, and i kick off a new radio show tonight on australia’s comradsat at 7pm called the prototype. comradsat is a satellite network and digital delivery system which allows independent radio stations across the country to select and playback programs to broadcast in their own regions. programs can either be played live, or recorded for later playback. so now you know.

the premise of the show is essentially ‘new releases in dance, electronica and hip hop’ – so this week, we’ve got mouse on mars, beans, m.i.a., air, shystie, velcro lovers and a few more. there’s a li’l prototype web site now live at theprototype.net. ch’k it out for playlists, news et cet era.

Iuno, On Ensemble, Love Of Everything, R.E.M., Gianni Nannini

this could well be the most eclectic post of all time…

IUNO [NETHERLANDS]
fracture mp3
thanks to the folks from iuno (pictured) for getting in touch. check out their web site at iuno.nl for a fine selection of tunes to download. there’s a great degree of variation even in the few tracks that are there – i’m finding touches of molokokosheen, even portishead in there, and the above track is a storming fusion of dark drum’n’bass breaks, nasty keyboard riffs and great vocals courtesy of stella bergsma. the band are a collective – seemingly shepherded by steven de munnik – and, judging by some of the photography, also featuring a string section. a good discovery, well worth checking out further.

ON ENSEMBLE [US: LOS ANGELES]
fingertips mp3
if you’re one of those people who’s had a ‘taiko drumming’ experience, or similar, you’ll know it’s a joy to behold. it has all the strength, energy and hardcore intensity of your average megadeth gig, but we’re talking traditional oriental drumming here, so no mullets are involved. dumb banter aside, on ensemble fall into a more traditional category than usually featured on this blog, which is exactly why you need to download and have a listen. this los-angeles quartet allow for guilt-free exploration of non-contemporary sound, and on the above mp3 they genuinely bend genres like einstein bent time. more info from their web site here.

LOVE OF EVERYTHING [US: ILLINOIS]
proud brave nothing mp3
i’m feeling that it’s good to buck my electronic obsession now and then, and when i do so, i tend to revert to disjointed, fractured, fucked up lo-fi – so thank god for love of everything. if you enjoyed casiotone for the painfully alone, i think you’ll find this track will bring you a few more blessings. cheers to the good people from redder records for giving me the heads up. they tell me that love of everything is bobby burg of joan of arc and make believe fame – and they’ve also got heaps more mp3s from whence this little diamond came.

R.E.M. [ATHENS, GEORGIA surely?]
i’ve been high (matthew herbert mix) mp3
so what the freak are r.e.m. doing on here? have i gone absolutely out of my tiny mind? well, it’s kinda obvious – you don’t often hear r.e.m. being remixed by anyone, much less matthew ‘herbert’ herbert. i enjoyed herbert’s radioboy incarnation a long while back – live sampling of detritus, looped back into his performance, stuff like macdonalds cartons and coke cups. the big band project stretched the temprament a little, but their remix of oi va voi‘s ‘refugee’ was on form. basically, i’m trying to say i like the guy, but it seems like i’m heaping on a few caveats at the same time. christ, i’m getting picky.

GIANNI NANNINI [ITALY]
contaminata (apparat rmx) mp3
couldn’t leave you without a little hint of electronica, could i? now this would seem to be the italo-german equivalent of bruce springsteen getting the remix treatment from boom bip… gianni nannini, not well known for his leftfield experiemention, here gets the commercial crap kicked out of him by shitkatapult‘s apparat (shitkatapult, other then being the best named record label in the world, is run by the supremely talented and ass-kickingly awesome electro-rock-bass-whatever maestro, t.raumschmeire). it’s actually considerably less breakcore than you might think – gianni still goes off on a freddie mercury tip towards the end, and you get the feeling that apparat just couldn’t destroy the guy completely. in saying that, it’s unlike anything else you’ll hear this month. for more of the same, check out a wonderfully insane live set to download from barcelona 2003 on apparat’s site.

<<< new blogs >>> hello new fellow mp3 bloggers – been a while since i updated the blog list, so there’s a heap of killer sites i recommend you check out. go say a gutteral ‘guten tag’ to cowboytranceorchestra (recent posts include fautlineremzwan), the ugly elephant (ali khanutadableep), the new black (check out the excellent susan cadogan, also posts from the pixiesand new birth. also a mention of our friend, wanda dee…). props too to edit209 for a hilarious collection of bootlegs – cecile‘s electro-dancehall stormer ‘hot like we’ was one of my recent raves, so to hear that coupled with belle & sebastian is an experience not to be shirked. very belated ‘hellos’ and madder props to an idiot’s guide to dreamingsmart musicthe swish heraclitus sayzmoebius rex and the mighty mp3 blogs aggregator. top marks though to ‘best new blog on the block’ goes to dozerblog – check this list, nobukazu takemurab. fleischmannsubtleclouddead and mrs doctor who theme tune arrangement, delia derbyshire – solid!

[[[ other shit ]]] fat planet’s also now syndicating some of this on-going ramble to the good folks over at usounds.com – flip over and say hi, and tell ’em we sent ya! also, check out brad weslake‘s smart radio schedule for “interesting broadcast sound available either online, or via radio waves in sydney, australia”. and lo and behold if those damn fine folks at better propagandahave only gone and posted not one, but two, tracks from fat planet’s current ‘artiste am pedestal’ dj rupture. check it here.

Visionary Underground, Air, Limited Express (Has Gone), Girl With A Monkey, Former Selv

VISIONARY UNDERGROUND [ENGLAND]
100 vibes (feat. aref durvesh & matthew barley) mp3
i played a track from dj feelfree today, one of the main forces behind the uk asian drum’n’breaks crew visionary underground. i use the term drum’n’breaks intentionally, as it’s also the title of the album from which the track ‘sonic solution’ came from – ‘nasha – eastern drum’n’breaks’. it’s a top flight compilation of some of the finest dark, alternative asian music being made in the uk right now. to generalise (which you know i love to do…) it’s much like asian dub foundation when they roll out the drum’n’bass welcome mat. there’s heaps more mp3 downloads on the visionary underground site – i’ll check them all out and report back one day soon…

AIR [FRANCE]
planet vega mp3
played a great remix today of the new air single ‘alpha beta gaga’. the mix is by mark ronson and features rhymefest dropping his mc skills all over it. sadly, no free mp3 of that one, but check out this li’l rarity from the grand royal compilation ‘at home with the groovebox’ (courtesy of the old faithful, epitonic)

LIMITED EXPRESS (HAS GONE) [JAPAN] (pictured)
downtoborn (edit) mp3
sadly this is not a full-length mp3, rather a short edit designed to act as a teaser for their 2002 album ‘feeds you!’, released on john zorn’s tzadik label. i played their version of the la’s ‘there she goes’ today – now that’s what i call a cover version, pretyy much nothing like original. if the boredoms had a younger punk sibling, then limited express (has gone) could probably play them in the bio-pic. stuterring, off-kilter, psychadelic pop-punk. everything you could wish for in a band, really.

GIRL WITH A MONKEY [SWEDEN]
mark my words 
mp3
a great example of someone who found this blog, emailed me some of their music and it finally found its way on air on today’s show 🙂 how curiously the world works… although apparently not quite so strange – although the band are ostensibly a swedish six-piece, apparently the singer (monika kovacs) was brought up in western australia. which, from where i’m sitting, might as well be as a far away as sweden…

FORMER SELV [US: MICHIGAN]
nichiyobi mp3
thanks to smart music for turning me on to this one. former selv is another name for detroit-born jerry abstract, now resident in seattle. apparently, he’s a techno boy at heart (wit a 12″ on t.raumschmiere‘s shitkatapult), but as former selv it’s broken beat electronica that’s to the fore. check out their brief interview for more info.

Shiffai, Issa Bagayogo, Mann Friday

free’n’legal african mp3s are hard to come by, yet it seems like the old analogy with public transport applies here. you wait an age and nothing appears – then three come along at once…

SHIFFAI [SENEGAL]
savages mp3
senegal is shaping up to be home of african hip hop with some solid releases so far from positive black souldaara j and pee froiss. there’s a site decicated to senegalese hip hop called senerap – i’ve yet to have a full exploration, but it seems to be the perfect place to start our education. through the site, i discovered nomadic wax, a label who’ve just released a compilation entitled ‘african underground vol. 1: hip-hop senegal’ (available to buy online from november). they’ve also released an album from senegalese hip hop artist shiffai entitled ‘the chosen one’ which was produced by NY’s nomadshiffai mixes english and his native wolof language, and there’s undoubtedly some patois thrown in for good measure. any hip hop head will get their kicks from this great mix of traditional and contemporary – the sound of hip hop coming gloriously back to its roots.

update 260904: nomadic wax are in the process of removing mp3s from their site, and have asked us to link to streams instead – head on over the site to listen to streams from both shiffai and from the forthcoming compilation.

ISSA BAGAYOGO [MALI]
bana direct download mp3
much like senegal, mali also has a strong output of contemporary artists – oumou sangaretinariwen and rokia traore to name a few. issa bagayogo is part of the roster belonging to san francisco’s six degrees label. six degress have also been responsible for bringing india’s karsh kaleand midival punditz to the fore, along with algeria’s excellent dj cheb i sabbahissa is their first african signing and the above mp3, ‘bana’, has at it’s base a midtempo, dubhouse, four-four shuffle, that fortunately avoids the trappings of afro-house (i’ll confess straight up that ive never been an afro-house fan). this is apparently due to the fact that issa still records in mali, rather than with western producers, thus avoiding the temptation to beef it up for the dancefloor. got to applaud that decision! the track is an out-take from his third album ‘tassoumakan’ and does not appear on any commerical release. thanks to six degrees for the link – buy the album online here.

MANN FRIDAY [ZIMBABWE]
counting down (sea point mix) mp3
i came across these guys on the queep site (well worth a look for unsigned artists, plus a good mix section featuring q-burns abstract message). they’re made up of musicians from zimbabwe, south africa and the u.k. they’ve been touring a show called ‘zimbabwe ruins’ – an audio / visual theatre piece that paints a direct picture of this history of their troubled land. according to queep, most of their music wanders into the acoustic ballad territory and – that not being my bag here @ fat planet – i’ve posted a downtempo semi-electronic mix of one of their songs. not sure who’s on production duties, but it’s a solid, laid-back piece that serves the band well.

Jukes, Bela Butono, Avril

JUKES [ENGLAND]
wandering star mp3
jukes (pictured) is the solo project for bristol-based vocalist tammy payne. i played a track on today’s show called ‘i wasn’t even looking’ which favourably recalls one summer ten years ago, hearing portishead’s ‘sour times’ for the first time. one of those instance where you stay in the car with the engine off, just so you can make sure you catch the title and the artist’s name. it’s no surprise that jukes sounds similar, for the project is co-produced by portishead bassist jim barr and tammy also recently laid down some vocals for p’head mainman geoff barrow’s new project, mackay. the above mp3 is a cover of the classic standard, not to be confused with a track of the same name from ‘dummy’…

BELA BUTONO [AUSTRIA]
platanja mp3
came across a great album recently ‘ body movement’, chock full of new music from the austrian label ‘soundlab‘. one of the stand-out tracks is ‘last summer’ from this four-piece, who gather around the band’s creative core, alexander reitterer aka uez. i’m tempted to say that it reminds me of the austrian production team, kruder & dorfmeister, which is more of a compliment than anything else. this mp3 is from a 2001 release entitled ‘dagena’. three more downloads from this release available here.

AVRIL [FRANCE]
french kiss mp3
avril is fred magnon, responsible for the excellent 2002 album ‘that horse must be starving’ (from which the above mp3 is taken – a cover of the li’l louis classic) and this year’s follow-up ‘members only’. more of the same excellent french electronica – some of the key players of the current electronica boom seem to be originating from western europe – see also portugal’s thisco label. there’s a version of this track on a compilation called ‘paris lounge 3’ which is a 4-4 acoustic stomp that’s not to be missed.

DJ Rupture, Beans, Ozi Balta, The Stills

DJ RUPTURE [U.S./SPAIN]
high resolution mp3
following the nettle post, here’s some more of barcelona-based dj rupture (pictured). although recorded under his ‘DJ’ name, this also drops some eastern influence, albeit lower in the mix – the predominant feel is sample-heavy midtempo broken beat, with a vocal ripped from aaliyah coming halfway through. things build to a more frantic pace towards the end, hitting some quality breakcore around the 3 minute mark. unlike some of the more excessive territories explored by kid606 et al, rupture manages to keep everything together, making the whole thing completely listenable. good on ‘im.

BEANS [US]
diamond halo grenade mp3
this track is taken from beans‘ new warp records album ‘shock city maverick’ (see warp epk). beans has always been on the electronic side of hip hop, collaborating in the past with fine folks such as prefuse 73 and el-p. this track takes him further into beat-driven electronica, however for heavier exploration in this area, check out ‘bubonic’ on the new e.p. ‘down by law’ – produced by mark pritchard (jedi knights, reload), it’s closer in feel to some of the two-step electronica mapped out by dizzee rascal on his new ‘showtime’ album. dizzee has stolen the lead from so many people in the last 12 months, making everything else sound a little dated. fortunately, beans is coming up fast behind – the new album hopefully will prove the point. you can also still download the excellent mutescreamer (prefuse 73 mix) here: mp3

OZI BATLA [AUSTRALIA]
starship troopers mp3
heard any aussie hip hop yet? well, there’s a huge scene down here – ranging from the party hop of folks like the herd and koolism to more leftfield tunes from the likes of the excellent hermitudeand macromanticsozi batla (from the well-respected ‘elefant traks‘ stable) falls somewhere in between all this. he definitely has the aussie MC stylings, however lyrically he’s coming from a darker corner. the above track featured on ‘the elefant collection’ volume one.

THE STILLS [CANADA]
retour a vega mp3
thanks to the folks at vice recordings, here’s a little rarity – montreal’s the stills with a french language track, proving there’s so much more to rock than dirty boring bands like jet. switching to new york in 2002, the band hooked up with both the yeah yeah yeahs and interpol – if you’re going to make friends with anyone in manhattan, that seems like a pretty good start. their album is called ‘logic will break your heart’ and, on the strength of this track, is definitely worth investigation.

+++ thanks etc +++
a heads up to thomas barlett at salon.com (check out the wednesday morning download section) for his kinds words on fat planet, thanks too to the ever-excellent better propaganda for their front page link to this ‘ere blog (check out their recent mp3 additions for diplo, milosh and solvent). thanks also to queep for the link + props – an interesting site to check out, if you like discovering new music with more a dancefloor friendly appeal, this is a good pitstop. in other ‘fat planet in the news’ news… i also managed to worm my way into one of the main sunday newspapers here – the sun herald – rambling on about ‘chip music’ and making some dodgy comparisons to conceptual art – hilarious! it’s not posted online, so you’ll just have to take my word for it….

i’m not a fan of metallica, but you must see their documentary ‘some kind of monster’ – it’s one of the most compelling movies i’ve seen in a long time. if metal’s not your bag, fear not – there’s very little music throughout, just a never-ending parade of oddly life-affirming moments as the band struggle with their own internal disputes and an impending fear of failure. (and i’m now strangely interested in their new album – curse those marketing fiends!)