Although the regular Fat Planet program finished up on the ABC mid-December, I’ll soon be mining the depths of the world’s marginal music scenes with a new music podcast called Freak Wave.
Freak Wave features underground music from around the world, focusing on sounds from outside of the Anglo-American axis. It’s similar to Fat Planet in some respects, but ventures into more left-field and experimental territory.
Freak Wave launches in January 2019, but you can subscribe now at Apple iTunes or wherever you get your podcasts.
A few months ago, I revisited Rabbit Island’s brilliant debut album, 2011’s ‘O God Come Quick’. With no sign of a follow-up, I idly filed it away as a ‘one and done’ moment of genius. In a joyful burst of synchronicity, I received an email about her follow-up the very next day. I can’t say that I willed this album into existence, but something about that timeline makes the dream seem very real. Perth’s Rabbit Island finds a new approach with ‘Deep In The Big’, her near-ASMR vocals and unvarnished story-telling now come layered under luscious reverb and elliptical, delayed piano.
Selections from the Fat Planet Albums Of The Year are now on Spotify – over two hours of the best albums released around the world in 2018. The playlist includes Farai and her dramatic update on post-punk and new wave; Angelique Kidjo’s brilliant rework of Talking Heads ‘Remain In Light’; Congolese poet, musician, and film director Baloji; Turkish psych pop star Gaye Su Akyol and more.
It’s noteworthy when an artist is invisible on the internet, which is probably the point of the exercise, but it’s a risky gamble. Israel’s Fortuna Records up the ante with Moontribe by adding a spurious back story. The album was allegedly submitted on an unmarked two-inch tape – no names, no dates – accompanied only by the cryptic note, that it was “a snake-charming voodoo ritual, in which Moontribe is the Shaman”.
Freak Wave is my new Spotify playlist featuring underground and experimental music from around the world. It’s the flip side to the Fat Planet radio show on Double J – Fat Planet broadcast from the Upside Down – venturing into marginal music scenes from outside of the Anglo-American axis. The first wash of tracks come from Nazar (Angola), Senyawa (Indonesia), Muqata’a (Palestine), SAICOBAB (Japan), Moslem Priest (Malaysia), Deena Abdelwahed (Tunisia), Exploded View (Mexico/Germany), Scattered Purgatory and Forests 森林 (both from Taiwan) and more.
Fat Planet breaks new world records every week on the Double J show and then plays the highlight reel on its Spotify playlist. New adds this week from Yama Warashi, Onipa, Ziminio, Baba Commandant, Nova Materia, Farao, Cyril Cyril, Sunna and more. New program episodes Weds 8pm AEST. Stream at abc.net.au/doublej.
Did I tell you that I spoke to Björk on the telephone? No? Surprising, as I tell EVERYONE that I meet, EVERY DAY 🙂 I’m still pinching myself, one year later … To tie in with my 2017 Björk interview on Double J, I created a Spotify playlist that takes a trip through the flip side of her career – early work, B-sides, remixes, album cuts and rare collaborations. If you think you know Björk, this might help you to think again.
My Double J show Fat Planet started on FBi Radio back in August 2003, showcasing 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. The tracks that defined the show in its early incarnation can be found on the ‘Fat Planet – The 00s’ Spotify playlist, including M.I.A., Cansei De Ser Sexy, Konono No.1, Cornelius, Bonde Do Role, Shantel, Peter Bjorn & John, M83, Rachid Taha and more.
Before we get to the pointy end of 2018, here’s a Spotify recap of some of the best international sounds from last year – innovative global music culled from Fat Planet‘s 2017 playlist on Double J. Include Noga Erez, Waq Waq Kingdom, Farai, JFDR, Kedr Livanskiy, Sudan Archives, Juana Molina and more.
‘Degrees of Provenance’ is a Spotify playlist originally made for my label, Provenance, featuring curios from the last four decades – music that has inspired me in one form or another whilst building the label. Including: Einsturzende Neubauten, Suicide, Steve Reich, Laurie Anderson, Rhythm & Sound, PiL, Oneohtrix Point Never, Damo Suzuki and more.
This week’s Ryuichi Sakamoto and Alvo Noto’s show at Sydney Opera House was challenging yet beautiful, and the perfect music for our times. Read my review at the Double J website.
In response to the endless war with the algorithm, I am deploying an old-school newsletter – and the first edition dropped today. It’s called ‘accents’ and it includes new discoveries, would-be modern classics and old school raves, culled from research for my Double J radio show, Fat Planet, and scouting for my record label, Provenance. Test drive ‘accents’ here + subscribe to future editions here.
Led by renowned jazz musician, clarinetist, saxophonist and composer Shabaka Hutchings, this is one of my favourite records of the year thus far. Your Queen Is A Reptile digs into the African roots of jazz, and meshes it with afrobeat heat, UK club culture and relentless Afro-Caribbean rhythms. Featuring players who have worked withMulatu Astatke and The Heliocentrics, this Mercury-shortlisted album is a must for fans of Kamasi Washington or Fela Kuti.
What do you think music is going to sound like in 50 or 60 years time? ‘Black Noise 2084’ is Italian producer Khalab‘s postcard from a world yet to come – a mercurial, afro-futurist journey, imagining music from a liberated, future state. It strides along with ingenious beat production, rife with future bass and jazz. Highly recommended, out now on On The Corner Records, artwork by Victoria Topping.
On Thursday 24 May, I’ll be at Semi Permanent on the ‘Future Of Music’ panel. It’s part of the event’s ‘Future State’ series which cover “everything from realistic expectations to imaginative speculations, across three cultural pillars: Sport, Music and Food”.
I’m on the panel with musician Dan Stricker and Danielle Krettek, the Founder and Principal of Google’s Empathy Lab, which was established to “design more emotionally-attuned and human-kind experiences” (which sounds like a great concept).
Marks Of Provenance II is the second annual compilation from my label, Provenance, and features nine exclusive, unreleased tracks from Aphir, KAIAR, Medicine Voice, Arrom, Lortica, Kris Keogh, Shoeb Ahmad and Brute Canon.
It was originally released on Bandcamp at the tail end of 2017; but this week finds itself newly nestled in every other music service; the Spotifys and Apples of the world.
This music recommendation is from close to home – the latest release from my Provenance label. It comes from Melbourne producer Arrom, and is a collection of reworks from her debut album Take My Lymphs. Each new variation draws on the experimental pop, ethereal choral vocals and dark, organic electronics of the original album, and moves it, with a great fluidity, into new spaces. It’s a miscellany of avant electronics – dark pop, abstract, minimal and even a momentary slice of breakcore.
I was at WOMADelaide last weekend, interviewing a few artists for upcoming episodes of Fat Planet. Over 500 different acts – featuring musicians from 30 countries – were represented at the festival, delivering sounds from disparate places such as Ghana, Syria, Cameroon, Iceland and China.