Speakeasy Zine

Speakeasy Zine Interview

Sydney writer and broadcaster Lee Tran Lam recently interviewed me for the tenth issue of her beautiful Speak-easy zine. Without wishing to descend into a mutual ‘love-in’, Lee Tran commitment and dedication to the local music and culture scene is astonishing, and it’s clear that she does this quite sincerely ‘for the love of it’. Aside from her growing zine back cataglogue, she also presents the all-Australian music show ‘Local Fidelity‘ on Sunday nights on FBi, runs a food blog ‘The Unbearable Lightness of Being Hungry‘ and has just compiled a new CD as a fundraising exercise for FBi. Introduce yourself at either of her blogs to hunt down a copy of the zine, which also features interviews with Eliza Sarlos, Daniel Boud, Even Books, Jonathon Valenzuela and many more, alongside a stunning selection of images from in and around the city.

Q&A WITH STUART BUCHANAN

Speak-Easy #10, May 2009

Stuart Buchanan will forever be blazed in my memory as the first DJ I know to play ‘Young Folks’ by Peter, Bjorn & John (I remember the exact moment I heard it in my Ashfield flat and I had to stop everything I was doing). This was about a billion years before it was on ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ and blitzing people’s mobile ringtones. This is really just one facet of Stu – he is super-ahead of everything without being one of those braggy sorts who has to go on about trumping the zeitgeist all the time. In fact, he’s ultra-modest even though he ends up achieving things like ‘The Guardian’ newspaper crowning his (then) music blog as one of the best in the world.

Stuart currently hosts ‘Disorient’ on FBI 94.5FM, runs the ‘Discontent’ music blog and is Executive Producer of Creative Sydney – a festival that seems genuinely exciting and energising, all about firing up local ideas and artists (rather than flogging author merchandise, as certain staid festivals seem to pivot on). He’s one of the smartest eggs I know, I’m glad he is in the EP chair for this.

Can you tell me your first memory of Sydney?

Either the first weekend, or shortly thereafter, I went to a gig at Space3 on Cleveland Street and saw very early appearances from Spod (accompanied by a dancing Toecutter) and The Emergency. It was rough and crammed and fantastic. It proved straight away that there was great worth to be found beneath the veneer.

Can you tell me what first attracted you to Sydney – was it the “weather and beaches” chestnut?

I met my girlfriend (laterly fiancee, laterly wife) in London. We had both spent around six years in the city and, despite it being an amazing place to live, we both knew it was time to move on. She was a Sydneysider, born in Surry Hills, and she wanted to move back home. I’d never been to Australia, but Love forced my hand and I made the move.

The main thing I didn’t bargain on was the effect that tourism had on the city. Having lived in Glasgow, Edinburgh and London, I fully understood just what an influx of tourists can do to a city (especially during Edinburgh Festival season where the population literally doubles), but I was shocked at the amount of what felt like ‘no-go zones’ for residents. Each of those other cities very much had a sense of self, that tourists were secondary to the equation, and that the cities didn’t have to compromise. Here, it felt like countless concessions had been made to tourism – whole spaces at the heart of the city like Darling Harbour or The Rocks were almost entirely devoid of Sydneysiders, and that felt completely backwards. The people of Sydney were made to feel like they didn’t own the city – the net result being, when tourists visited those places, they got a completely false impression of what the city was actually all about. They’re marshalled off to their walled garden, their exclusion zones, where they can get a great a picture of the Bridge or the House, but they’re not experiencing a real sense of what the people of Sydney have to offer.

How hard / easy do you think it is to be creative in Sydney? What are the most interesting creative projects you’ve come across?

It’s hard to say to put that in context, as I’ve been here just over six years. I hear people talk about very lean years for music and culture in the late 90s and early part of this decade, when pubs kicked out live music and the city lost some of its soul. I never lived through that, but it feels like it might be easier now than it was then. Support networks such as 2SER, FBi, alternative press and, more recently, online avenues such as blog culture and Facebook, have done a great deal to creat and maintain connections between artists and audiences. But they’ve also done a great deal to inspire people who otherwise would never of thought of themselves as creative, or who thought that Sydney was not the place to pursue a creative career.

As for as “interestingness” goes, the group I come back to time and time again is Feral Media label & the Sopp Collective design group – a beautiful blend of local music and Scandanavian design, from Newtown and Chippendale. They constantly surprise me with something new and something beautiful. Whilst it would be easy to fall back and exploit the signature sound and look they’ve developed, I love their dedication to pushing themselves forward.

I dj occasionally for the Uber Lingua collective and I’m always inspired by the size and diversity of the community that they always seem to attract. Club nights by their very nature attract a very singular type of person, people who gather together around a certain code. Uber Lingua is one of the few club experiences where there is no code. Many different styles of music and culture are represented, hence you’re always guaranteed a new and unexpected experience. That’s something that can’t always be said for most of the city’s club nights, where you’re going there to get another taste of what you already know.

What’s your favourite depiction of Sydney in a song/movie/novel/artwork/blog/any-bit-of-pop-culture?

The Naked City crew on FBi often play Tommy Leonetti’s “My City Of Sydney”, and it always make me chuckle – a Sinatra-like croooner warbling on about “that little church steeple in Woolloomoolloo”. I find myself singing that line when I’m doing the dishes or driving in the car, and I have absolutely no idea why.

How much has your idea of Sydney been remapped since having kids?

I obviously go places and do things I wouldn’t otherwise have found, and thus you see a completely different side to the city. It means that I rarely spend any weekend time in the city centre, that instead we hunt down larger, often more interesting, outdoor spaces further out. And because children get bored very, very quickly – I’m always having to find somewhere new.

If you had to create your soundtrack to Sydney, it would sound like ….

The life of a radio presenter is a blessing and a curse – I’m blessed to be drenched in so much fine music, but cursed to rarely ever return to albums after one or two listens. There’s always a pile of new music to listen to. So my soundtrack for Sydney is constantly changing and rearranging, and never the same twice. And as a relatively recent arrival, I don’t have a lifetime of city experiences that are bound up in local music. This month I’ve been listening to Sydney bands such as Ghoul, Underlapper, No Art, Seekae and Telafonica, but ask me again next week and it’ll all be different.

The Craters | Samba Party

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A two-piece collaboration between Wes Kaplan and Jared Arnold, The Craters bring lo-fi sensibility to everything they touch – a Midas gift in reverse, abstracting loose change from a pure source of gold. They come hewn from the Amazing Wow label, a free download project that “rejects the concept of music piracy and the antiquated notion that every download is a lost sale”. (Note this recent report which finds that “pirates” are “10 times more likely to buy music”.)

The band’s most recent release is billed as a double EP, but with such a disparate range of sounds employed, it could well be a compilation release from a bunch of bands that we only think we know. ‘Kissing/Samba Party’ is a collection of tracks that fold back with thoughts of someone taking a pair of scissors to our precious collection of Animal Collective, Anticon, Fleet Foxes and Ghostly International sleeves, and then using cheap, no-brand tape to bluntly force them together again. Of course, the end result is nothing like the original – it just keeps falling apart and, in the mess of junk on the floor, we might just find something altogether more interesting.

Download the full release at amazingwow.org.

The Craters – Samba Party | mp3

The Craters – Like You Used To Know | mp3

img | carlos cabral

Passions | Music Without Tears

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I’m usually turned right off by any musical project that has the backing of a clothing manufacturer. It’s a little illogical, given that I enjoy consuming both music and clothes, but there’s a certain pall of overt commercialism that never seems to wash away, even if the connection is so innocuous and good intentioned as to be almost non-existent. The latter seems to be the case here, with this Passions mix for NYC design house, Mishka – blending a back catalouge of classics with new tracks from ‘darkwave’ label, Disc Error. The Brooklyn producer cultivates a cocktail of post-punk, industrial and goth sounds into a mix that intrigues and connects old bastards (such as myself) to a continuum that, surprisingly, appears to be ever evolving. Not for the sensitive amongst us, but in a context like this, Death In June never sounded so good.

Passions – Music Without Tearss | mediafire

Tracklisting:
1. UK Decay – Unexpected Guest
2. Micron63 – No Divide
3. Joy Division – Means To An End
4. Pylon – Danger
5. Public Image Limited – Annalisa
6. Nitzer Ebb – Join In The Chant
7. Nine Inch Nails – Ringfinger
8. Passions – Sentiment (Instrumental)
9. Death In June – Fields
10. Cabaret Voltaire – Landslide
11. SPK – A Heart That Breaks (In No Time And Place)
12. Ulterior – Weapons (Zlaya Remix)
13. New Order – 586 (Peel Sessions Version)
14. Death In June – The Calling Mk II
15. Black Strobe – Innerstrings (No Shuffle Mix)
16. Micron63 – Death Is Colder Than Love
17. Huoratron – Corporate Occult (Passions Remix)
18. Section 25 – Looking From A Hilltop
19. Throbbing Gristle – Adrenaline
20. Alien Sex Fiend – Get Into It
21. New Order – Ecstasy
22. Suicide – Mr. Ray
23. Sonic Youth – Killin Yr. Idols
24. Ipso Facto – Baulderdash
25. Damn Arms – The Cormorant
26. Wire – On Returning
27. Oto – Anyway
28. Bauhaus – Dancing
29. The Cure – Primary
30. Passions – Composure (Instrumental)
31. Radiohead – Climbing Up The Walls
32. David Bowie – Subterraneans

img | lillie abe

Dimlite | Quiz Tears

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You and I both know that 2+2 always equals 5, but can we also contend with the fact that 7×7 now equals 8?

Once in a while, a label comes along and deftly captures an artist just as they clamber out of the trench of obscurity, and go ‘over the top’ into the battleground of the public arena. The 7×7 series from Dublin’s All City nailed that dictum seven times over, collecting productions from Snowman, Mike Slott, Fulgeance, Mweslee, Leneko, Hudson Mohawke and Onra. The 7×7 series was as simple as it sounds – 7 x 7″ inch (and digi) releases from these 7 producers.

The results have now been compiled on the obligatory compilation album, but just to add some additional arithmetical spice to the equation, they’ve added an eighth producer to the fray – Switzerland’s Dimlite (Sonar Kollectiv) with his bonus cut ‘Quiz Tears’. If you were waiting for a elasti-funk, electro-dub communication from the outer edges of the galaxy, refracting back our own perverse terrestrial transmissions from the Beefheart era – congratulations, you’ve found it.

Next on All City: Releases from Ruckazoid & Nosaj Thing, and a much anticipated face-off – Mike Slott vs Martyn dropping in September.

Dimlite – Quiz Tears | mp3

img | goosewing

Poirier | Mix For Sinden

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The first thing I thought when I read Ghislain Poirier‘s latest email missive was ‘Oh, I see Ghis has a new haircut’. Yup, I’m that shallow.

What I should have thought was ‘Nice! A tidy mix from Sinden’s Kiss show with cuts from Ghis, Major Lazer, Alison Hinds and Emvee thrown into the soup. Must post that.”  From end to end, the mix focuses almost exclusively on Poirier’s own soca productions, alongside Canadian affliates Bonjay and Skinny Fabulous from St Vincent & The Grenadines.  It’s a high BPM breezy romp, bringing a little sunshine to our darker times.

Whilst were talking face value, Ghis has dropped the Ghis and now trades as Poirier. Just so we’re clear.

Poirier – Mix For Sinden (May 2009) | zshare

Tracklisting:
Poirier – Wha-La-La-Leng feat. Face-T
Major Lazer – Hold The Line (Poirier Remix)
Poirier – Karnival
Silverlink – The Message Is Love feat. Jammer & Badness (acapella)
Alison Hinds – Soca Nation (Poirier Remix)
Poirier – Get Crazy feat. Mr. Slaughter
Skinny Fabulous – My Girl feat. Mr. Vegas
Emvee – Glitch (Bonjay’s Feisty Rub)

Poirier – Wha La La Leng (feat. Face T) (Video) | fader.tv

img | jek in the box

Discontent – Mixtape Two

The Discontent Mixtape series is an irregular series of compilations, designed to give blog readers an extreme intro into the Discontent world – a collection of tracks that have appeared on the blog in recent times. For this, the second volume, I’ve included a few tracks that didn’t quite make their way from hard drive to blog, and so are included here for the first time (Mutamassik remix, Ras G, Psychic Ills, Xiao He and Entertainment For The Brain Dead).

All the tracks have been published freely online by artists or labels, so feel free to post the link or distribute the mixtape. If you do, please also link back to www.discontentblog.com.

Download: Discontent – Mixtape Two

1. White – Build A Link [China]
2. Three Trapped Tigers – 1 [England]
3. These Are Powers – Life of Birds [U.S.]
4. Mutamassik – Commo The Rag (Claws Costeau’s All Dirty Remix) [Egypt]
5. Kid606 – Mr. Wobble’s Nightmare [Venezuela]
6. Ras G – Shinelight [U.S.]
7. Psychic Ills – Fingernail Tea [U.S.]
8. Underlapper – Meanderthal (Cleptoclectics Remix) [Australia]
9. Lloop – Lei-tzu [U.S.]
10. Vorad Fils – Android Creche [Australia]
11. Growing – Green Flag [U.S.]
12. Cauto – Despertar [Spain]
13. Xiao He – After Time [China]
14. Entertainment For The Brain Dead – What You Get (Part Timer Remix) [Germany]

Discontent Mixtape One remains available here, featuring Fever Ray, Harmonic 313, Mi Ami, Hudson Mohawke, Salem, Filastine and more.

Kid606 | Samhain California (Remix)

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Whilst Kid606‘s most recent masks have been designed with bass-licking raveheads in mind, it’s worth reflecting that the Kid has been on a long and winding road since his first release in 1998. Back then, particularly releases such as ‘Down With The Scene’ (2000), Miguel Manuel De Pedro was essentially a purveyor of extreme glitch and experimental breakcore, threading together disparate seams of 80s sample culture, industrial volume, musique concrete / sound art and a propensity to annoy the less-liberally minded with a clarion call that was as far from ‘music’ as many dare to venture.

While his recent releases ‘Die Soundboy Die’ and ‘Shout At The Doner’ are perhaps less deliberately difficult and unwelcoming than his earlier forays, they are no less upfront – at the core of both are wonky bass rhythms weighted by a magnetic force that pile-drives to the centre of the planet, teamed with acid pops and rave slides that time-shift back to the early 90s.

Following the first ‘Doner’ album cut, the cannibal-rave anthem ‘Mr Wobble’s Nightmare’, Miguel is dropping a crop of new mixes across blogs over the next couple of weeks, on which he notes “some will be released in a couple months, some will never be released”. Leonard De Leonard‘s Euro-remix below will strike a deep chord with industrial / trance heads, flashing back to EBM moves from the likes of Front242 back in the day. Google around for other unreleased exclusives from Duran Duran Duran, Kidz on Acid, Miffy, Genuine Guy, Obi Blatche, Doshy and more. The album ‘Shout At The Doner’ is out now on Tigerbeat6.

Kid606 – Samhain California (Leonard de Leonard Remix) | mp3

Kid606 – Mr Wobble’s Nightmare |mp3

Kid606 – Mr Wobble’s Nightmare (Video) | chunnel.tv (Recommended!)

img | steven m 61

Vorad Fils | Android Creche

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Vorad Fils is the solo guise of Sydney producer John Hassell, who also fills his days working with local electronic three-piece Seekae and their high-school precursor Songs For Surgery. Clearly professing his love of Boards Of Canada on his Myspace home, Hassell follows a time-honoured electronic tradition on a suite of three demo tracks (available to download on last.fm), marrying lush glitch, ambient tones and lower case minimalism. Sounds fall into a continuum, where we can point to influences and predecessors, but with this small collection of new work – married with his excellent contribution to Seekae – it’s clear that Hassell is a producer of note in Australian terms, and that these are simply early postcards from the start of a long journey.

Vorad Fils – Android Creche | mp3

img | kaledbf

Tortoise | High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In

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Next month, Tortoise drop their sixth album ‘Beacons Of Ancestorship’. 2004’s ‘It’s All Around You’ was a recurring feature on my playlist for that year, the sound of Tortoise amalgamating all that had gone before into one cohesive session. In opening the promo mail from Thrill Jockey today, it was with some trepidation – they couldn’t have been more ‘Tortoise-like’ on their last release, so where to from there? I certainly wasn’t prepared for the answer.

The opener ‘High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In’ will knock you utterly askew (download below). Whilst the first few bars rolled into a familiar, jilted percussive rhythm, within moments we’re nodding to a clutch of large, fat keyboard stabs that clearly echo back to early 80s hip hop and electro. So much so, I was expecting an old-school MC to rock up on vocoder at any given moment. As you’re sucking on that particular surprise, it soon melts into a pool of alt.physchedlia, then draws itself to a premature quiet climax, before staggering on a final pile of riffs that stand toe to toe with Boredoms.

‘Prepare Your Coffin’ (also available for download below) daringly continues the side order of funk with some squealing 70s keyboards accompanying the main Tortoise thrill. Fans of cerebral introspection might shudder at the thought, but there’s a real joy that exudes from the pores on this track – a joy that’s carried right across the release. ‘Northern Something’ drives the group along with a bass-heavy acid squelch, ‘Gigantes’ hides an IDM 4-4 underneath its clipped, minimal guitar work, whereas ‘Yinxianghechengqi’ is as close to black metal as any of their contemporaries might dare to venture.

Straight off the bat, ‘Beacons Of Ancestorship’ is one of the most enjoyable Tortoise releases to date. There’s something deeply thrilling about listening to a group of accomplished musicians daring to have fun, to opt for the playful approach, whilst still driving home their incessant quest for innovation. Just when it seemed that their peers were clipping at their heels, Tortoise wrong-foot the pack by running right off the track – indeed, running right out of the stadium and into a freestyle, cross-country marathon of their own design.

Tortoise – High Class Slim Came Floatin’ In | mp3

Tortoise – Prepare Your Coffin | mp3

img | riotjane

Databass Eclectic Audio (Mixtape)

Music played a large hand in the genesis of Thee Data Base, a zine that I co-edited with Alan Benzie back in the 1990s. And whilst music was well represented in the content of the zine itself, it was actually the electronic / experimental music scene around us in Glasgow and Edinburgh that galvanised us into some form of action in the first place. It was clear that this particular type of music at this particular time had brought disparate people together in search of something ‘else’ – a refuge from the musically barren 80s and the rebirth of ‘Britpop’ in the mid 90s.

It struck me that a compilation of local music would be a logical extension to the zine and to our irregular club / performance nights. We put a call out in one of our issues and received a healthy reply from the community. Of course, these were the days pre-broadband and even pre-CDR, so the best solution for distribution was the mighty cassette tape. I compiled fourteen tracks from the submissions (and added in a couple of our own for good measure) and designed the sleeve artwork (above). Alas, our zine venture came to a natural end before the cassette could be released, and faced with issues of cost, time and a little thing called ‘life’, the ‘master’ cassette was put into a box and forgotten about.

As I launch into another compilation venuture, New Weird Australia, I’m posting this of something of an interesting counterpoint – Old Weird Scotland perhaps? If I recall correctly, the bands featured here are mostly all Scottish acts, all operating around the late 1990s. The main exception is Involution – a very early project from American producer Kush Arora who befriended us by long distance at the time. Kush has since gone on to work with or play alongside Negativeland, The Bug, Flying Lotus, Warrior Queen, Blevin Blectum and Thievery Corporation. (Note, the Involution here is not to be confused with a Cevin ‘Skinny Puppy’ Key project of the same name).

I don’t recall what became of anyone else here, however that doesn’t detract from the quality of the work – ranging from the proto Anticon vibes of Cassius Clay Inc to the drone work of Heehawhairhead, or the 808 squelch of Alan’s Re:Search project to the primal screams in the live recording of Roddy Hunter‘s performance piece ‘Infant Inside’ – and there’s also Stephen Beer‘s beautiful Brian Eno-esque electro lullaby and the white-boy, lo-fi bedroom take on Dionne Warwick’s ‘Walk On By’ from Natural Born Chillaz. The closing track is a screwed version of a poetry reading, designed to signify the launch of a slo-mo project I intended to work on – needless to say, this still remains my only ‘No-Fi‘ recording to date.

DOWNLOAD: DATABASS ECLECTIC AUDIO (1997)

Tracklisting:

1. RUBY JUNE Doodle
2. CASSIUS CLAY INC. The Rosy Cross
3. ESOFERRIC Deletia
4. HEEHAWHAIRHEAD The Great & The Grey
5. RODDY HUNTER Infant Inside
6. RE:SEARCH Non:Ecludian Rhythm Pattern
7. CRUX Gravel
8. INVOLUTION Sculpted Presence
9. STEPHEN BEER Underwater Camera Work
10. HAND OF POB Oil & Water
11. TAGNUT Purge
12. FOENE Tape Extract
13. NATURAL BORN CHILLAZ Walk On By
14. NO-Fi When I’m Dead

Growing | Green Flag

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I’ve been listening to the new I.U.D. album this week, led in by the hand of Lizzi Bougatsos of Gang Gang Dance. On ‘The Proper Sex’ she teams with Growing‘s Sadie Laska for a six tracker that scored a mighty 3.5 over at Pitchfork. Whilst I agree that it’s undoubtedly a difficult album to love, the cacophonous junkyard of sounds is also bloody hard to ignore. Although, the reviewer notes: “it doesn’t share a lot of common ground with either Gang Gang Dance or Growing… Just because I own leather boots does not mean I want a hamburger. But if I give the hamburger a try and don’t like it, my waiter will remind me that I ordered a hamburger not leather boots. Admittedly, that’s not the cow’s fault”. Quite. Those loveable Pitchfork lads in their odd little ivory tower, bless ’em.

Nonetheless, I.U.D. led me to Gang Gang’s label mates, Growing, and to the album ‘All The Way’. Following a back catalogue peppered by nearly two dozen releases – most self-released, many on cassette – this is a clear and timely example of experimental music as its most considered. Pulse and rhythm is key, run through hands-on effects pedals and Ebow boxes rather than laptops, and there’s a central aesthetic current that’s carried through each of the half dozen tracks. There’s not a great deal of variety here, but searching for change would be missing the point. It’s an album continuously built on layers and loops, flowing from ambience and drone on ‘Wrong Wide’ to thudding Fuck Buttons-esque reversed loops on ‘Rave Pie Only’.

Over at The Social Registry label site, it’s worth spending some of your meandering web hours getting to know stable buddies such as Psychic Ills and Sian Alice Group. Hit the ‘Free Music’ page for The Recap & Leaked Tapes, offering two compilations of album cuts and rarities.

Growing – Green Flag | m4a

img | rudenoon

Telafonica | Laughing At Trees

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As a collective of seven permanent members and an ecosystem of many more, the audio and visual output of Sydney’s Telafonica is hard to keep track of. That said, the seemingly endless sprawl of creativity is ensuring that roots are burrowed deep into the ground beneath the feet of Sydney, and have thus become embedded in the very cultural fabric of the city.

The Telefonica catalogue dates as far back as 2001, with the release of ‘Dos’ – a split release covering one collection of beats, another of ambience and “dark d&b”. Around this time, Telafonica also appeared on a Clan Analogue compilation (‘Cognition 4 – Solid Gold‘) – and comparing their ambitions with that of the seminal Australian electronic collective would seem to hold safe and true.

Embedded around the founding duo of designer David Hughes and artist Adrian Elmer, Telafonica’s intention to mix the old with the new (or rather “cutting edge technologies” with “traditional techniques and aesthetics”) is borne out in their latest release, “I Saw This And Thought Of You”. The seven tracker blends clipped, minimal 4-4, 8-bit melodies, rough-hued dubstep and five-o’clock shadow electro – all liberally sprinkled with vocals that recall a short flight from early 80s post-punk or even that of old school Sydney electronic act, Severed Heads. It’s an album that seeks to confound our expectations of what might follow, and thus is always seemingly one step ahead.

The backstory of Telafonica is well documented on their label site 4-4-2 and much of their early material is made available for download at archive.org. As if that wasn’t considerate enough (especially in such wallet-diminished times), their free ‘Single Of The Month’ series on 4-4-2 is another eclectic godsend that deposits regular acts of electronic kindness. The cuts below are culled from a recent free Telefonica release described by the band as “two tracks of boom blip blip”.

The concept of sharing however goes much deeper – their Virb site was last year used as a space in which band members posted and traded demos of new material, all freely available for all to witness. The Telafonica blog is also just as much about us as it is about them – new tracks and articles as posted along side messages to one another such as “i appear to have misplaced the lyrics for time to move the nest. can you put them up here, blake, so i know where to find them?”. The very next day, Blake dutifully obliged.

Telafonica – Laughing At Trees | mp3

Telafonica – Tokyo Disco Bell (Luminarsi Version) | mp3

more | telafonica.blogspot.com

img | roujo

Jonny Faith | Beat Research

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Jonny Faith and I share the same pilgrim heritage – decamping from the horizontal rain, biting winds and dumb midgies of Scotland to Australia, to the city of Sydney (one of the most misunderstood cities in the world). Thus ensconced down under, Faith has been a regular frontrunner in promoting bass culture on Sydney’s streets, as club DJ, promoter (of Headroom) and radio presenter (‘For The Heads‘ on 2SER), the latter two with his regular cohort Monk Fly.

This new mix hauls the likes of Flyamsam, Bullion, Kelpe, Fulgeance and fellow Scots Architeq and Hudson Mohwake (via Heralds Of Change) into a low-end stew, originally broadcast on the legendary Solid Steel radio.

Sydneysiders should check the Headroom Facebook group for info on the next Headroom dematerialisation.

Jonny Faith – Beat Research | mp3

Tracklisting:
Dorian Concept – Four Teen
Flyamsam – Green Tea Power
Ad Bourke – JJ Adams
Flying Lotus – Massage Situation
edIT – Air Raid Material
Miles Benjamin – Chop That Wood
Mochipet – Turbo Thizz Petnation
Mux Mool – Death 9000 (Machine Drum rmx)
Fulgeance – Revenge of the Nerd
Hermitude – Cartridge Kings
illgates – Eggplanation
O.Boogie – Paper Chaser (Tom Trago rmx)
Bullion – Get Familiar
Paul Freeth – Rumble
Mantecau Y Su Combo Gitan – Achilli Funk (Danny Breaks rmx)
Hint – The Mist Lifts
Seiji – Funny That
Dorian Concept – Chocolate Milk (re-edit)
Seiji – Not You
Jugoe – Bittersweet
Kelpe – Stop Parching Yourself (Fulgeance rmx)
Roots Manuva – Again Again (Matt Helders rmx)
Kelpe – Shipwreck Glue (Architeq rmx)
Nosaj Thing – Heart Entire
Bullion – Rude Effort
Harmonic 313 – Call to Arms
Elliot Lipp – Restrictor Shield
Thomas Fehlmann – Hana
Mux Mool – Drum Bablon
Dabrye – Piano
Dr. Who Dat? – Deep Blaque
Heralds of Change – Spotted – All City

img | splorp

Ourself Beside Me | Medicine Girl

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By way of a sequel to the recent White post, Ourself Beside Me are the second of the two tangents that emerged following the split of Beijing’s Hang On The Box. Whilst Shenggy drifted off to join White with Carsick Cars‘ Shou Wang, Box founder Yang Fang connected with two new collaborators, bassist and film student Xie Han and Japanese drummer, Emi Namihara.

Plundering Pink Floyd’s back catalogue (whilst aimlessly fingering CDs from Siouxsie, Can and Talking Heads on the side), Ourself Behind Me are barely over a year in the making, but were swift to drop their self-titled debut, produced by PK14’s Yang Haisong and released in January this year on the Maybe Mars label. By no means delivering a genre-bending incursion into new territory, Ourself Beside Me nonetheless construct a compelling extension to a road previously mapped by a number of significant others, and lend further weight to the notion that the Beijing water is currently laced with something deliriously special.

Ourself Beside Me – Medicine Girl | mp3

img | phototrope

White | Build A Link, Bai

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Experience has taught me that new, weird music is being made literally everywhere, on every square millimetre of this globe, and thus – forging ahead with such a theory – China should be no different. Yet, despite wrangling bastard algorithms out of Google’s cortex, trawls for new Chinese sounds are usually unfulfilling. Thankfully, The Wire pointed me in the direction of White this month – duo Shou Wang and Shenggy (aka Shen Jing).

Wang, founder of a local music movement dubbed ‘No Beijing’, comes off the back of the Carsick Cars project, whereas Shenggy tore herself away from the quick and dirty girlcore of Hang On The Box. Finding a common reference point in Einsturzende Neubatuen, it was perhaps not entirely unsurprising that Neubauten’s founder, Blixa Bargeld, was held in thrall at one of White’s early Beijing gigs. Clearly, he was suitably entranced to offer to produce and release their debut, due May 18th on his Open Note label.

Of the music already in circulation, culled from two years of work, their ‘cosmic industrial’ sound appears to reference Hans-Joachim Roedelius and Steve Reich as much as any number of raw explorers in no-wave territories. ‘Build A Link’ with its patient persistence and clanging metal suggests that a new link is actually physically being built while the track evolves (reconstructing the buildings that Blixa once collapsed?), whereas ‘Bai’ layers Shenggy vocals into a pop-krautrock staccato singing lesson that almost begs the kids in the kindergarten to squeal along for the ride.

To continue the hunt for new Chinese music, try these departure points: Sydney’s Tenzenmen imports and the Rock In China wiki.

White – Build A Link | mp3

White – Bai | mp3

White – Live in Beijin, 2006 (1:01)

img | marcelgermain

Randy Barracuda | Swkee Like A Pig

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A new interview with Randy Barracuda over at skweee.com reminded me that I should get back into the skwee loop and post more of this Scandanavian blend of bleep-tronica, twitch hip hop, r&b and funk. By no means a new phenomena (earliest sightings fall back to 2005), Randy Barracuda dropped both of these tracks for the Flogsta Dancehall label in 2006, also featuring as standouts on the genre’s defining compilation in 2007, Museum Of Future Sound Vol.1.

In this new interview, Randy mentions upcoming releases on his Harmönia label from Rigas Den Andre (titled The Valla Torg EP) and from Yöt, and makes it clear that he has no interest in being a posterboy for the movement – the future of skweee, he notes, “is not really my concern.”

His debut solo album, which apparently might “deal with esoteric and numerological issues” (although tongue could well be firmly in cheek) drops on Flogsta on September 11th 2009.

Randy Barracuda – Skweee Like A Pig | mp3

Randy Barracuda – Rick James Is Dead | mp3

img | a.j.gazmen

These Are Powers | Life Of Birds

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The fact that 99.99% of the world’s population does not live in Brooklyn cuts both ways. Fortunately, we manage to avoid Dan Humphrey mumbling faux-etry on street corners whilst gazing longingly at the Upper East Side, but sadly we miss things like These Are Powers.

Their new album ‘All Aboard Future’ (released on Dead Oceans) transcends any genre identification that I can call to mind. If bags of bones and flesh marked Liars, Gang Gang Dance, Comanechi, Black Dice, Throbbing Gristle and PiL were thrown on the operating table and grafted together using some blunt electronics, the resultant Frankenstein would soon be found in the corner jamming rhythms for the next These Are Powers record. The band call it “ghost punk”, I call it an addictive, tribal goo. Whatever powers they actually claim to have, I swear that some primordial beast is at work amidst this artful mess.

In addition to these tracks ripped from the belly of the album, the trio – which features ex-Liars bassist Pat Noecker – have also curated a podcast at Urb, featuring Eliot Lipp, Salem, Mahjongg, Arp, Telepathe and other kindred spirits.

These Are Powers – Life Of Birds | mp3

Bonus: These Are Powers – Adam’s Turtle | mp3

These Are Powers – Life of Birds | Video:

http://vimeo.com/moogaloop.swf?clip_id=3258884&server=vimeo.com&show_title=1&show_byline=1&show_portrait=0&color=&fullscreen=1
These Are Powers – Life of Birds from Jon Dobrowolski on Vimeo.

img | mercuryvapour

Run Riot Records | Gouseion, Atermis Jackson, Mutamassik, YSLE

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While scratching around the interweb, seeking out anything new from Egypt-via-NYC producer Miss Mutamassik, I was led by the ear to Run Riot Records – home of Mutamassik’s new ‘Commo’ EP. If you’re like me (in which case, may your God help you), there’s nothing we cherish more than not only finding a deep repository of new music, but discovering that it is all of an absolute, five star variety. I feel it now something of a crime that artists such as YSLE, Kitimat, Landless Farm and Gouseion had passed me by entirely over the last 12 months.

And rather than have to choose one of these stunningly handsome new kids on the block, I’ve opted to share the whole tribe with you – ranging from the dragging, wonky electro of Gouseion‘s ‘Caps13’ to Artemis Jackson‘s booty punk rock, and from Mutamassik‘s (wo)manhandling of Middle Eastern paradigms to YSLE‘s bleep’n’crunch gambol into the local ‘Radish Patch’. Appetite whet, I’ll race you to the Run Riot candy store to spend the rest of our pocket money.

Gouseion – Caps13 | mp3

Artemis Jackson – Asps and Adders | mp3

Mutamassik – 5×8 Cell | mp3

YSLE – Radish Patch | mp3

img | marianone

Lloop | Lei-Tzu

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As one third of Argriculture Records notional ‘supergroup’ WeTM, Rich Panciera joined DJ Olive and Once 11 in not only crafting three fine albums in their own right, but also acting as top shelf suppliers of premium ‘illbient’. However, it was in his own one-man disguise, Lloop, that Panciera dropped the sampler-friendly ‘Bulbb’s’ in 1994, and thus chiselled a small hole for himself in the Story of Contemporary Music. The quasi-mixtape excursion was not only a fractured tale of NYC (with field recordings ripped from city streets), but to this day remains a renowned slice of the nascent illbient sound.

It’s taken him fifteen years to record the follow-up Lloops release, and thankfully there’s no notion of any retread here. As the story opens on ’60 Hertz’, it’s clear that Panciera has embraced the bassline – not strictly forgoing the sense of infinite space on ‘Bulbbs’, rather tethering that echo chamber to both dubstep and ragga rhythms and to organic instrumentation in both fight and flight modes. As a preview, ‘Lei-Tzu’ (below) offers a mesmerising two-step journey into Middle-Eastern territory, exhibiting a nod to Filastine as a sonic brother in arms.

’60 Hertz’ is out now on The Agriculture, available digitally via Boomkat – check The Agriculture blog at postambient.blogspot.com

Lloop – Lei-Tzu | mp3

img | Spookygonk

Prefuse 73 | Preparation’s Kids Choir

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And thus a new Prefuse album was born. From the mind of the prolific Guillermo Scott Herren comes another superior exercise in beat physics, once again pushing himself out of the cocoon of the last album sessions, gorging and filtering all that’s new and blending that into his own individual timeline. It’s for tracks like this that the Oxford English Dictionary will soon come to include ‘prefusian’ in their mighty tome.

In this episode, Herren weaves an unrecognisable and somewhat wonky vocal into a multi-layered slice of midtempo sunshine – at just over 2.5 minutes, it’s the perfect soundtack for nipping quickly out to the shops to grab some suncream and a six-pack. Not so much a road trip, as a swift excursion.

The full-length record, the 29-track ‘Everything She Touched Turned Ampexian’, lands planetside on April 14 via Warp, flaunting track titles such as ‘Periodic Measurements of Infrequent Frowns’, ‘Gaslamp Killer Feedback Text’ and ‘Whipcream Eyepatch’. In the words of the great Stan Lee, ’nuff said.

Prefuse 73 – Preparation’s Kids Choir | mp3

img | libraryman

Fol Chen | Cable TV (Liars Remix)

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Let’s do ‘pop’ for five minutes: albeit right-angled, Liars remixed pop – no Gaga here. LA quintet Fol Chen draft Liars drummer Julian Gross for a reversioned take on their new cut, ‘Cable TV’.

For all the promise Liars might bring, it’s a restrained beast (oddly close to the original as if the remix is merely an itchy-fingered refix); sounding all the while like Gross is trying to boot a robot Geisha into life, while an indie-chip kid fumbles with the strings from behind.

Imbibe the original and nine other slices on the new Nabokov-referencing album ‘Part 1: John Shade, Your Fortune’s Made’ on Asthmatic Kitty.

Fol Chen – Cable TV (Liars Remix) | mp3

Bonus: Fol Chen – No Wedding Cake (Remix by Matthew David) | mp3

img | Adam “Slice” Kuban