Lykke Li (Sweden) – ‘Little Bit’

lykkeVideo: Lykke Li ‘Little Bit‘ 

I’m certainly not the first to write about Lykke Li and I’m sure I won’t be the last. And while there’s a tendency for blogs to swarm around hyped artists in an effort to stay painfully relevant, I’m jumping on this bandwagon for good reason – the reason being that ‘Youth Novels’ is a remarkable album, worthy of the attention it has already received; an album that has been on repeat rotation in the Fat Planet house since its Swedish release earlier this year.

A swift comparison places 22-Year Old Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson in a continuum that joins the dark, moody sweep of El Perro Del Mar and the skewed electro pop of Robyn, levitating above ground between both. With production from Bjorn from Peter, Bjorn and John, the album fails to fully adhere to the Swedish indie-pop blueprint and chooses instead to veer into less obvious laneways. Case in point: while ‘Dance Dance Dance’ might be something you could hear falling from the lips of the glorious Victoria Bergsman, ‘Complaint Department’ – with its dirty, looping piano stabs – is in a forest of its own.

Even more remarkable is the seemingly carefree ability for Li to continuously channel that rarest of commodities – the perfect pop song – and do so many times over in one extended collection. Lasse Mårtén worked as engineer on the album and a glimpse at his resume might explain why this brand of alt.pop works so well – he’s chalked up fader duties for Pink, Peter Bjorn and John, Marit Bergman, Shout Out Louds, Kelly Clarkson (for ‘Since U Been Gone) and … (bless ’em) The Veronicas. Put simply, ‘Youth Novels’ is as good as indie-pop gets.

Lykke Li is touring throughout the UK and US this month & next, and the ‘Little Bit’ EP lands in North America on May 6th. Download her SXSW set at lullabye.net.

The Diaphanoids (Italy) – ‘What The F**k Do You Want With Us, Earthlings?’

The Diaphanoids are Italians Andrea Bellentani and Simon Maccari and their latest EP – ‘Mermaids Of Lunaris’ is released through Bear Entertainment (Lindstrom, Idjut Boys, Chicken Lips). Everything else there is to know about the Diaphanoids is seemingly culled from the pages of a Kurt Vonnegut novel.

“Here on planet diaphanoid time travelling is a fun way to spend the weekend … but these two took it too far! They always wanted more and to see if the grass was greener on other planets! They left us in 5079 and have never been seen since, legend has it they travelled to your earth and visited 1977-1980, Berlin-Munich-London-Paris-New York”.

They have the date and location spot on – the Diaphanoids’ witches brew involves one part 70s disco, another part 00’s Cosmic variety. There’s an eye of a Krautrock newt and a toe of Prog, and probably a nipple or two from John Carpenter. Whilst it might seem like this particular style is being reinvented time and time again, there’s still space for these boys and their infectious, astral-electro. Especially with EP titles such as “What The F**k Do You Want With Us, Earthlings?” and “Escape From Martius 42”.

Turn on, tune in, space out.

Buy at EMusic / Juno.

God’s Own Country (Nigeria) – Movie Trailer

We’ve read many comments on both Radiohead and Trent Reznor’s attempts to subvert the music industry distribution paradigm , and there’s no doubt that their actions (and those of countless others) have got the major labels scratching their heads in bewilderment. And it’s not just the music industry that’s dancing around a bevvy of possible futures – all media is in a profound state of change.

And if that all seems very grand, check God’s Own Country – a project that rewrites the movie distribution rules with a ‘pay what you can’ download model, attached with a free audio mixtape featuring a genuinely African American playlist: Lil Wayne, Dead Prez, Green Lantern, Akon and Dipset mix it with X-Plastaz (Tanzania), Lopango Ya Banka (Congo), Krukid (Uganda), Amkoullel (Mali), Eldee The Don (Nigeria) and more.

God’s Own Country is the movie debut of Nigerian director Femi Agbayewa and tells the tale of a Nigerian immigrant finding that the bright lights of the U.S. of A. are not what they were cracked up to be. It’s been described as a slice of “Nollywood” film-making – a reference to a Nigerian film industry that’s been pushing out movies for around 40 years. God’s Own Country stands as a somewhat leftfield arrival from a fledgling player – a move that signals a bright and diverse future for the international film industry.

You can find both the movie and mixtape download at gocmovie.com, alongside a nascent community forum that hopes to encourage the dissemination of acapellas and beats for collaboration. Register to download both, or stream the mixtape direct from the home page.

Birk Storm (Denmark) – ‘I Don’t Care’

Birk Storm is by his own admission both “new name” and “new music”, but his clarion call is one that we can all relate to: “electro/funk as it allways was ment to be” (sic). While not curating funk for the masses in his Copenhagen studio, ‘The Birk’ (as he likes to be known) acts as drummer-gun for hire for a clutch of Danish bands such as Band Ane and Outlandish – and beyond that, there’s little to be told and much to discover.

Signing with Danish label VUF (whose label compilations come highly recommended), 24-year old Birk launches himself into the ether with two singles: ‘I Dont Care’ and ‘Side By Side’ and a somewhat abstract video clip that allegedly documents the moment when Birk signed on the dotted label line. The debut full length drops on VUF in August.

More @ thebirk.dk.

Buraka Som Sistema (Portugal) – ‘The Sound Of Kuduro’

After an initital burst of excitement, it’s been a quiet year for Kuduro in terms of its exposure outside of Angola (Guillaume at Masala eloquently drew this into context last October). Of course, I’m sure that there remains a ferocious supply and demand culture within Angola, but – sitting so far outside of the source – we’ve been largely starved of new material. Portugal’s Buraka Som Sistema offer a glimmer of hope for a ‘second coming’ with their new track ‘The Sound Of Kuduro’.

I fully acknowledge that this clip has been through the blog rounds on various sites over the last few days, but I feel the need to represent and archive here on Fat Planet – particularly due to the quality of the guest talent involved: Znobia (who received the royal remix treatment from Diplo in July last year), Puto Prata (find a ‘megamix’ of some of his material at Likembe), Miss World Town – M.I.A and Subarosa.

It’s also good to see the Portuguese crew reconnect with the roots of Kuduro – Frederic Galliano was a little dismissive of non-Angolan Kuduro in our 2007 interview: “The kuduro in Portugal … Angolan people say this is ‘kuduro de blanco’, ‘kuduro of the white people’, because it is really cheap”. It feels like this track – particularly the definitive nature of the title – is the start of a mission to put such criticisms to rest. Stereogum notes that the forthcoming album is titled Black Diamond is due mid-year.

Shantel (Germany) & Dunkelbunt (Austria) – Balkan Hot Step

Back in 2003, N.O.H.A. released a crucial 12″ in the development of contemporary Balkan music – crucial in that it finally gave a name to a growing movement, ‘Balkan Hot Step’. As an ardent fan of absurd sub-genre tags, I warmly welcomed this new linguistic offspring – it commands a greater allure than the standard ‘Balkan Beats’ catch-all. Of course, it all means the same thing – a reinterpretation of traditional Eastern European music, aimed at winning new hearts and new minds, as well as clinging to a sufficient amount of the original spirit to appeal to the die-hards.

This new wave of Balkan music has been voraciously consumed with great intensity over the last few years – more so that almost every other emerging global genre founded on the same paradigm. The reason for this appears simple – the source material is already the most outlandish and most immediately gratifying ‘party music’ on the planet. Every time a traditional Balkan or klezmer tune is dropped, an infectious wave of movement seems to sweep the room – it remains a physical impossibility to stand static and unmoved in the face of the rasping urgency of Balkan brass and wild accordions.

Former Berlin techno-phile Shantel remains the poster boy for ‘Balkan Hot Step’, still surfing an ongoing wave of popularity generated in wake of his 2003 single, “Bucovina”, and the subsequent “Bucovina Club” album and club nights. Shantel followed those with a series of remixes in the ‘”Bucovina” vein (often called “Bucovina Club Mixes”) for the likes of Romania’s Taraf De Haidouks and Mehala Rai Banda (on the superb ‘Electric Gypsyland’ albums on Crammed Discs), Netherlands group Amsterdam Klezmer Band or London’s Oi Va Voi. Shantel’s productions were instantly accessible, radiating swathes of warmth and joy, yet still they represented something quite audacious and profoundly genre-warping. While the hearts danced, the mind attempted (usually unsuccessfully) to unravel the myriad of styles at play in the production.

His latest release ‘Disko Partizani’ not only perpetuates this sprawling and indiscriminate assimilation of influences, it also strives to confound our expectations even further. With a long contributor list stretching its way around the map of Europe (including Filip Simeonov from Taraf de Haidouks, musicians from Israel’s Boom Pam and Berlin MC Mantiz), and vocals in English, Romanian and Serbian, the album is deliciously unique in its scope and scale.

‘Disko Partizani’ is released on Shantel’s Essay Recordings, co-founded originally in 1995 with Man Recordings honcho, Daniel Haaksman (who has also been active in the Balkan remix front with reworks for Shantel’s “Disko” single, OMFO, Boban Markovic Orkestra and more).

Whilst we’re talking Balkan two-step, the name also found its way to Austrian DJ Dunkelbunt, who used the phrase to christen his long-running Viennese club night. His 2007 album, ‘Morgenlandfahrt’, follows collaborations and mixes for Balkan Beat Box, Eastenders, and !Deladap amongst others, and fuses the same spirit of defiance that infuses Shantel’s work with a further rubdown of dub, ragga and hip hop. Dunkelbunt is currently in Australia for a number of dates in both Sydney and Melbourne – check his MySpace for details.

Friday Bridge (Sweden) – ‘The Story Of Agnes’

mp3: FRIDAY BRIDGE the story of agnes

i’m sure something has been lost in the inevitable translation, after all who would have thought that ‘friday’ and ‘bridge’ would sit together as comfortable little soulmates? miss friday bridge certainly likes to tease – dropping light, electro pop peans to a yesteryear that’s impossible to pin down. 60s, 80s, neither? sounding much like el perro del mar on a happy day, the latest friday bridge release is titled ‘intracacy’ and comes to us via swedish label, but is it art? (an exceedingly good question). miss bridge claims that “in its mildness and refusal to trade intellect for friendship, friday bridge is most subversive”. there’s something of the ztt in all of this – for that, and for the fact that the klf and teki latex are in her top 8 murdochspace friends – we salute the bridge.

Alexis Weak (Sweden) – ‘Stang Av Techno’

mp3: ALEXIS WEAK stang av techno

i know what went through your head this morning: “what i really need is some swedish guy, hard rapping over the thomas banglater remix of dj mehdi’s ‘signatune'”. here at fat planet, we aim to please, for that is exactly what we give you right here, right now.

alexis weak storms straight out of the ‘la vida locash’ stable, home to swedish purveyors of dark-syrup electro pop, lo fi fnk and kocky. following the release of lo fi fnk’s ‘boylife’ and the recent drop of kocky’s ‘kingdom come’ (feat jens lekman, mapei and more), the label is about to deliver the new mixtape from stockholm’s alexis weak. there’s scant info available thus far on weak, other than he initially cropped up on last year’s ‘radio locash’ podcast as mc alexis aka weak, and returns with what appears to be a set of original flows over familiar electro bangers, not entirely dissimilar to cuizinier‘s two volume mixtape output. safe to say, we’re primed and ready to more.

more : myspace.com/alexisweak

Taken By Trees (Sweden) – ‘Lost & Found’

after eleven years as the unforgettable voice of the concretes and a globe-spanning guest appearance on peter bjorn and john‘s ‘young folks’, victoria bergsman steps out on her own for her new project, taken by trees. in an attempt to preserve the spontaneity of her decision to record the album, she locked down the recordings in only six days, roping in andreas soderstrom (who records under the glorious name of ASS), plus electralane‘s verity susman and pbj collaborator, bjorn yttling.

i make no secret of my love for the concretes – bergman’s voice found a perfect home against the icepick-sharp drama of their scandanavian wall of sound. take a listen to ‘you can’t hurry love’ from 2004’s self-titled release if you need a point of entry. for ‘open field’, bergsman has dispensed with the concretes’ theatrics and opted for a smaller, pared-back sound; the album title is a precise indication of the best place to listen to this – on your back, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but the sky for company. for all the calm that such an idyll might induce, there’s still no denying the chilling, ethereal qualities of bergsman’s voice, which provides a eerie counterpoint to this newfound sense of space and solitude.

more: takenbytrees.com

Can, Airborn Audio, Ming, Boom Bip, Tiefschwarz, Coppe, Autechre

for today’s mp3 smorgasbord, i’m rounding up some of the links that have been sitting brooding, quietly at the back, and have yet to make it onto the blog. before that though, a heads up to irmin schmidt from can (pictured top left) who i interviewed on today’s show…

CAN [GERMANY]
oh yeah (from ‘tago mago’) mp3
pinch (from ‘ege bamyasi’) mp3
when introducing the irmin schmidt interview today, i went so far as to say that anyone making music other than traditional blues rock owes some kind of debt to can. the band formed in the 1968 from the nucleus of irmin schmidt and holger czukay, both of whom studied under the man who some regard as the grandfather of electronica, karlheinz stockhausen [more on stockhausen here]. after a visit to new york and being in the presence of a live performance of the velvet underground, the idea for can was formed. the band were incredibly prolific – not including compilations, there were 13 albums (11 of which fell in a 10 year period) and the first four have just been re-issued through mute records. it’s true to say that genres such as post-rock would not be what they are today without can. their mastery of multiple forms of music, from rock to jazz to classical, may well be something that’s expected of many musicians today, but back in the late 60s, it was almost a sacrilege. links worth visting: official can site – spoon recordsholger czukay‘s personal history of can and mixmaster morris on can. a transcript from today’s interview may well be posted soon.

AIRBORN AUDIO [US: NEW YORK]
bright lights
 mp3
formerly of anti-pop consortium (from whence beans also sprang), airborn audio is hip hop artists high priest and m. sayyid. their debut album ‘good fortune’ has been gestating for a couple of years and, given the added pressure of beans‘ remarkable ‘shock city maverick’ album, expectation is justifyably high. check out the mindzero site to download another track from the album (wma format).

MING [BELGIUM]
sentir et analyser (barbara morgenstern rmx) mp3
fredrique vs superpitcher mp3
following in the wake of the excellent styorfoam album, some more great music from belgium for you, albeit remixed by some of the smartest talent in germany today. ming (pic.left) are a m/f duo frédérique franke and nicolas deschuytenee, perpetuating the ever-growing canon of middle european electronic pop. their recent album ‘intérieur/extérieur’ was given over to a squad of artists, whose own label loyalties read like a whos-who of the cutting edge of european music – diskoB, kompakt, monika, playhouse, kitty-yo to name but a few. the 2nd mp3 is described by ming’s label as ” is one of many mixed and vocally reworked tracks by frederique, put on her overdubbed dj set”. make of that what you will. more info at doxa records.

BOOM BIP [US: OHIO]
the matter (of our discussion) (feat. nina nastasia) goto:scissorkick
the move goto:better propaganda
taken from his forthcoming album ‘blue eyed in the red room’, there’s two new boom bip tracks now available at the above sites. he’s been getting a great deal of press in 2004, mostly off the back of his remix collection ‘corymb’ which saw artists such as boards of canadaclouddead, lali puna and four tet getting on board to mix tracks from the ‘seed to sun’ album. according to his label, lex records, the new ten-track album is due to drop in a matter of weeks (february ’05) and features no samples and very few vocals. scissorkick has posted one of the only two vocal tracks, featuring nina nastasia (the other will feature gruff from super furry animals) and you can download a 2nd track from the good folks at better propaganda.

TIEFSCHWARZ [GERMANY]
acid soul mp3
something a little more four-to-the-floor for you now – if you haven’t come across any of the extensive tiefschwarz remix catalogue, you might have been hiding under the wrong rock lately. the three-piece have recently put together a 2 disc set ‘misch masch’ – the first cd featuring a mix set from the trio, the second is a compilation of their remix work with artists such as phoniquelopazzdj hellmocky and truby trio all being represented. the above track is taken from their self-titled 2002 album.

COPPE [JAPAN]
i lick my brain in silence mp3 edit
i can’t find any full-length mp3s for this artist, but i did want to nonetheless draw your attention to coppe – a female japanese solo artist whose voice is compared here on the milk factory to beth gibbonsbjork and billie holliday. she’s worked with pre-eminent electronc artists such as russian dj vadimplaid and the orb. you can find heaps of edited mp3s at her web site – any pointers to full-length legal downloads appreciated!

AUTECHRE [ENGLAND]
while you’re out and about on the galactic interweb today, also check out xltronic‘s 2003 autechreremix competition – 180 (count ’em) remixes of autechre tracks as part of their remix competition. if you don’t have the time to trawl through around 15 hours of remixes (why not?), autechre’s personal favourites were ‘amnesie drane2 (remix)’ mp3 and ‘naftwa4 (handled by goodhands team)’ [mp3]. also have a listen to this odd bootleg from mindovermidi.no – autechre vs david sylvian.

finally, heads up to emptyfree – a blog with a refreshingly eclectic selection, not for the faint-hearted. recent posts include rarely published links for polish and french hip-hop, plus articles on laibachpan sonicboyd rice and shitmat. also click over to radio free polygon for more electronic downloads – check out posts from calamalkavenetian snaresiso brown and the rip-off artist. go get yer lobes rattled.

and with that, the fat planet radio show bows out for 2004. there might be an occasional update during the xmas break if i’m feeling productive, otherwise we’ll back on 3rd january 2005. have a freaking good holiday.

so it goes.

Konono No.1, DJ Rupture, Magneta Lane, Pitch Black, Sitjn

monday morning (yawn) … up with the worm-catchers to bring you some mp3s from yesterday’s show. next sunday, if you’re a sydney-sider, then get close to yr li’l radio box as i’ll be ending the year with a special treat – fat planet meets IRMIN SCHMIDT, founding member of the legendary german krautrock pioneers CAN. tune in from 3pm on sunday 19th for this rare interview and tracks from newly re-issued CAN albums.

KONONO NO.1 [CONGO] (pictured)
ditshe tshiekutala mp3
on the fat planet radio show, i try to play as much contemporary african music that i can get my hands on, without straying too far down the path of traditional world music. hence the recent posts on senegalese hip hop. however, electronic music from africa is practically non-existent – understandable given the reliance of electronic music on PCs and suchlike. so, it’s great to see belgian label crammed discs giving us what they’re billed as ‘congotronics’. konono no.1 (who’ve been around for 25 years apparently) use an electro version of the thumb piano, wired to an almighty soundystem and marry it with all manner of pots’n’pans metallic percussion. as you can imagine, the results are breathtaking. you really have to see the photographs over at crammed to get an indication of how rare this project is. crammed have promised us not only a full studio album from konono no.1, but also a compilation entitled ‘buzz n rumble’ featuring five similar acts (due early 2005). when searching for the some konono no.1 files, the above mp3 duly turned up on the excellent mp3blog ‘the suburbs are killing us‘ and is taken from a live album entitled ‘lubuaku’. more info on this release can be found over at subterranean distribution.

DJ RUPTURE [SPAIN]
lonesome (feat.lily)
 mp3
i can’t seem to leave this guy alone, but when you’ve got an artist of such high quality around, what are you gonna do? today i played the track ‘little more oil’ from dj rupture‘s new album, ‘special gunpowde’r. the track is a collaboration with old skool dancehall artist sister nancy. there’s not a great deal of info on nancy around on the web, but you can find some introductory bio info here. the above mp3 is taken from rupture’s better propaganda page, where you’ll also find a 2nd mp3 from the new album. (i’m listing rupture as coming from spain, and although he’s a resident of barcelona, he’s actually from the u.s.. so now you know.)

MAGNETA LANE [CANADA]
the constant lover mp3
a three-piece girl band from canada who are probably sick to death of finding people refer to them in the same breath as the strokes. of course, i wouldn’t dare do such a thing. thanks to leila from paper bag records in toronto for getting in touch and pointing fat planet in the direction of lexi, french and nadia. this is a killer track, a great slice of alt.pop that has been ringing around inside my skull for the last few days – fast, to the point and smacking you in the nose with a fistful of attitude. all the great attributes of rock’n’roll, surely? check out paper bag records for a diverse roster rammed with quality tunes.

PITCH BLACK [NEW ZEALAND]
lost in translation mp3
this NZ duo have a new album out called ‘ape to angel’ and i played the track ‘freefall’ today. they’ve been playing together for nearly eight years and ‘ape to angel’ is their third full-length. i found a website that described them as ‘the hexstatic of new zealand’ – and the sounds definitely fall into the long embrace of the ninja tune style zone. it’s a smart blend of warm, dub-infused electronica – which would undoubtedly translate incredibly well to the live arena and festival circuit where pitch black spend a great deal of their time. check out the band’s web site for a further batch of free mp3 downloads.

SITJN [BELGIUM]
ochtendbericht mp3
stijn would appear to be the one-man powerhouse behind the mijn label – have a look at the site at mijnlabel.com. the track played today ‘wrong’ has stijn coming off like tiga in a three-in-the-bed romp with metro area. alas, there’s no such similar mp3s on the mijn site, merely some soundtrack mp3s from stijn’s work on a project called ‘nine to five’ – and the tunes are simple, looped minimal electronica, pleasant enough but i’m feeling the ground swell beneath my feet. you might have more joy over at this mini site for stijn ‘euphoria’ album, where you can stream all the tracks from the album (including ‘wrong’).

Shank, Singapore Sling, Miss Kittin & The Hacker, Cobra Killer

mp3s from artists (or their associates…) who featured on this week’s show >>

SHANK [GERMANY]
oust mp3
my guest today was germany’s burnt friedman (pictured) – an artist whose experiments in genres range from dub, jazz and latin to techno, ambient and more. two of his projects stand out – burnt friedman and the nu dub players and his collaboration with uwe schmidt (aka atom heart / senor coconut) on flanger, released through ninja tune. unfortunately for burnt and myself, and all the show’s listeners, we had a classic culture clash – neither of us seemed to really understand each other (glaswegian meets reticent german), so the interview wasn’t exactly full of fireworks. that aside, burnt’s selection of tracks was impressive and allowed the music to speak for itself (as there wasn’t any other choice…). my search for free’n’legal burn downloads wasn’t very fruitful, but i’ve included a track here from shank, a team of six imporvisers from berlin, which opens the compilation ‘difficult easy listening’ on burnt’s label nonplace.

SINGAPORE SLING
 [ICELAND]
life is killing my rock n roll mp3
a new album from this band, who featured earlier this year on fat planet. this time around, their trademark ‘fuzz rock’ sound has been more perfectly honed, coming up with dark, brittle guitar pop, the like of which has been rarely spotted since the jesus and mary chain. finland’s dead combo had a crack at it recently, but singapore sling play down any electronic influence and instead head for straight-up rock n roll purity! you can find a whole heap of influences in here, and – yes – singapore sling don’t win points for innovation, but you’re better off letting that slide and just getting off on the joy of it all.

MISS KITTIN & THE HACKER
 [FRANCE]
1982 mp3
the hacker has a new album out, distributed through play it again sam, and its his first solo album since the runaway success of his collaboration with miss kittin, ‘the first album’. the new release, ‘reves mechanique’ ditches the ‘pop’ and heads straight for ‘electro’, although his old collaborator pops up on the track ‘masterplan’ which i played on this week’s show. the above mp3 is a classic example of clean, lean electropop from their 2001 album on international deejay gigolos. hear samples from ‘reves mechanique’ here.

COBRA KILLER [GERMANY]
let’s have a problem mp3
a return visit for this mp3 – the female german duo are gracing sydney with their presence next weekend, so in honour of that smart decision, here’s another crack at their track (produced by mr t.raumschmiere) on monika if you missed it the first time.

Hexes & Ohs, Styrofoam, Maher Shalal Hash Baz, Balun, White Hole, The MFA

here we are again, another week in international music-land. playlist for yesterday’s radio show can be found right here and what follows is a slew of likely contenders who muddled their way on-air during our 120 minute round-the-world excursion >>

HEXES AND OHS [CANADA] (pictured)
alive until saturday night mp3
thanks to mystery and misery for turning me onto these guys, a rare fusion that takes the all the most electrifying parts of the electro-rock-post-punk boom, and mixes it up with smart-ass electronica. truly a tasty treat. they are a couple (this fact seems to surface a great deal, yet only in the context of them trying to distance themselves from the concept – odd…), heidi donnelly and edmund lam and were formerly known as a vertical mosaic. influences cited include new orderthe velvet undergroundstereolabtortoise and simon and garfunkel (i wonder who plays who in that role playing game?). check them out, ahead of their 2005 debut, at hexesandohs.ca.

STYROFOAM [BELGIUM]
vs TRISTEZA casio (styrofoam mix) mp3
styrofoam‘s new album ‘nothing’s lost’ is a killer – certainly the album of the week over at fat planet, if ever we had such a thing. styrofoam is belgian producer arne can petegem and for this new album on morr, he’s pulled together an a-list supporting cast – markus from the notwist, valerie from lali puna, ben from death cab for cutie / postal service, andrew from american analog set and, lo and behold, the wonderful alias from the anticon collective. with that kind of assistance, you can expect some fine results. you hear samples from the album over at morrmusic.com. free’n’legal sytrofoam mp3s seem hard to come by, so i’ve posted this one from epitonic, taken from tristeza‘s 2002 release mixed signals. more on tristeza here.

MAHER SHALAL HASH BAZ [JAPAN]
sunrise mp3
the domino records site doesn’t reveal a great deal about duo tori and reiko kudo. this track is taken from an album entitled ‘blues du jour’ – a collection of 41 tracks recorded over two sessions in east kilbride in scotland. their previous album ‘return visti to rock mass’ featured a modest 83 songs. it took some google-digging, but i finally found some information on the band – a 2002 interview from the independent. on my searching the words ‘shambolic’, ‘syd barrett’ and ‘kitchen sink ‘surfaced a great deal, so hopefully you’re beginning to get a sense of where this odd japanese excursion might take you.

BALUN [PUERTO RICO]
senecio (revisited) mp3
seems that i owe quite a favour to mystery and misery this week – this is the second post that i’ve drawn music from today. well, now you know. mp3 blogging is one huge happy(ish) family, we all learn from each other, right? moving on… balun are a three-piece from puerto rico, with a sweet site and a quartet of tunes available to download from archive.org. i’m getting the feeling that central and south american electronica is growing in favour and it’s certainly finding some public attention beyond appaearing on the now-standard ‘neuvo latino’ compilations. i tried to have a crack at beatwave’s argentinian electronica comp, but apparently there’s itunes issues which prevents it from being sold in the US or UK. worth keeping an eye on for future developments.

WHITE HOLE [GERMANY]
peter builts mp3
i’ve been wanting to get a post together for this band for a while, following their very smart ‘pink album’ on kitty-yo. their track ‘charterflug’ on kitty-yo’s ‘futurism ain´t shit to me’ was the first pointer that this was going to be an interesting release. there’s so much great german electronic music out there that’s it very hard to keep track of what’s going on – there seems to be another great berlin artist every other week dropping into the fat planet sphere (what are gonna do?). white hole are however adopting more hip hop influences into their music, side-stepping the clean purity of most germanic electronica for something a little more organic. tasty.

THE MFA [WALES / LONDON]
the difference it makes (edit) mp3
i don’t like to post edits, but i’ve been loving the superpitcher mix of this track. eight minutes of glory that grabs the honour of being the first track in a long while to give me goosebumps on five consecutive listens. amazing. this is the original mix and is sadly curtailed, but hoepfully you’ll get an idea of what’s going on… the superpitcher mix is out through kompakt and the original can be found on border community.

Gonzales, Adam, Bang Gang, Kiiiiiii!, Mui

we’re going for a more pared back, less electronic post today. if you download one tune from this post, don’t look past the japanese. it’s a joy to behold.

GONZALES feat FEIST [CANADA]
lovertits mp3
i played a track today (‘mushaboom’) from leslie feist‘s album, ‘let it die’ – the album was co-produced by gonzales, which seems a little uncharacteristic. we’re talking alt.folk from the man who spent a great deal of the last few years hanging around with peaches… and strangely this mp3 (taken from gonzales’ ‘z’ album) is also one that was featured on peaches’ debut album, here rendered in a very different version by feist. [site]

ADEM [ENGLAND]
everything you need mp3
some acoustica for you (which makes a diverting change from the predominantly electro-focus of the blog…) – courtesy of the bass player from the group fridge. if you haven’t heard of fridge, then you’ll have certainly have heard of four tet aka keiren hebden, also a founding member of fridge. however, adem departs from the experimentation of fridge to go for a straight forward folk approach, with some beautiful results. the above mp3 is taken from adem‘s recent debut album ‘homesongs’. the track from today’s show ‘let me give you a reason’ is taken from the promo of the single ‘ringing in my ear’, which according to the domino web site is not included in the commercial release.

BANG GANG [ICELAND]
inside (acoustic demo version) 
mp3
a return visit to fat planet for these guys, originally featured back in june. played a more rockin’ track today than this acoustic track, and strangely from a promo album of ‘pop and rock made in france’ – so i can only assume they’re de-camped from the freezing cold to the land of fine wine and great pastries. smart move. [site]

KIIIIII! [JAPAN] (pictured)
brown girl in the ring mp3
got to make sure i’ve got the right amount of exclamation marks on there… and how do we pronounce the name of the band? no idea. all i can tell you is that appear to be two very mad girls from japan making that insane blend of experimental psychedlic pop-rock that japan does so well. this is a cover of a song that i also remember be covered by the glitter-tastic boney m back in the 70s and it clocks in at just under two minutes – and half of that is a drum solo. these girls are touched by genius.

MUI [ITALY]
t-10 mp3
finally today, i’ve got to give a huge vote of support to the outstanding ‘starving but happy’ site, chiefly for the amazing compilation from keplar records that’s free to download from their site. the album consists of top quality downtempo electronica and post-rock from germany, italy, hungary (of all places!) and more. i strongly recommend you take time out to own this free compilation, even if you’re not on broadband 🙂 for more info on all the artists on the compilaiton, check out the keplar site. the above track from the italians mui is a beautiful fresh cut of both post-rock and electronica – all in one bite. and by god it tastes good…

Sex In Dallas, Phonique, Apparat, Electric Eel Shock

after a little break in proceedings, the blog is back on the regular mp3 hunt. this week – a trio with a german electronic flavour, rounded off with great rock n roll, japanese style. all of these artists appeared on today’s fat planet radio show – click here for playlist.

SEX IN DALLAS [FRANCE]
berlin rocks (manix remix) mp3
sex in dallas are a three piece from france who, according to their bio, set out to make music that avoided the by-now over familiar french sound of bands like daft punkair and super discount‘s brand of french house. strangely, in the search for this sound, they’re sounding more german than many of their berlin-based counterparts. it’s a screwed up world, for sure… i’ve featured sex in dallas on the blog before, with the stomping track ‘everyone deserves to be fucked’. so with a title like that, it was something a revealation to find a little downtempo gem lurking inside their new album ‘around the war’. the track in question (played on today’s show) is called ‘five o’clock’ and you can listen to a stream of that and the rest of the album at their kitty yo page. this mp3 is a very different proposition again, a guitar-driven 4-4 electro journey – with random chunks of dialogue strewn throughout.

PHONIQUE [GERMANY]
work together mp3
berlin-based house producer phonique has just dropped his new debut album and it’s an interesting blend of electronic music from deep house to minimal electro with flashes of disco. it’s generally easy on the ear, which might usually be a curse – but there’s enough of an engagement with both classic detriot and berlin sounds to keep it interesting. man-about-town, erlend oye from the kings of convenience lends some vocals, as does paris the black fu from detriot grand pubahs. to stream the album tracks, go here.

APPARAT [GERMANY] (pictured)
live in barcelona mp3
i’m sensing a theme on today’s post and it seems to have something to do with germany and electronica …mmm … well, here’s the top dog for today anyway, a great discovery nestling away on berlin’s shitkatapult label. if you downloaded the recent giani nannini mp3, you’ll have some of idea of what to expect from apparat. this is a large file, a full 50-minute live dj set from ‘burn and consume’ in barcelona, recorded in december 2003. apparat seems to be generally falling into the lusher end of electronica, but it’s also married with some hard beats in places too. for ease of description, it’s boards of canada with balls. there’s heaps more to investigate – two albums for starters and what looks like an an amazing remix package too.

ELECTRIC EEL SHOCK [JAPAN]
rock’n’roll can rescue the world mp3
so let’s end with something very different from the above – straight ahead, legs apart, solid rock’n’roll from japan. as you might know already, i have a deep, deep love for japanese music. they produce some of the finest music in the world. and when they turn their attention to rock’n’roll, it’s generally incredible (guitar wolf being a great example). here, we have a japanese trio showing the west how to make great r’n’r, it’s like they’ve swallowed every possible rock notion and are filtering it back to us through eastern amps. top quality. and, if that’s not enough, they’re just about to do a japanese tour with the wonderful shonen knife. god bless ’em. [site]

MP3 Spring Cleaning – Part Two

and in the continuing spirit of ‘spring cleaning’ (see last post for the full rites of spring clearout…), here some other bits & pieces from emails received that i would have liked to editorialise, but didn’t find the time.

IT’S A TRAP VOL.1 top quality scandanavian indie compilation
STRANGELY FAMILIAR music production collective
PSYCHEDELIC AVENGERS german psych-pop artist site
THE HARVEY GIRLS new music from a band featured in a previous post
THE NAUGAHYDE LIFE eclectic mp3 blog from the team behind ‘the beathunters’
GIBBY HAYNES new mp3 from former butthole surfer
GAMEBOY ORCHESTRAS links to many mp3s
THE RONDO BROTHERS on better propaganda
DAVID SYLVIAN’S LABEL samadhisound.com

a great comment from Henk van Setten on my recent gianni nannini post, which highlights the hazards of promoting unfamiliar music:

Hi Stuart, on your blogpage you talk about a remixed Gianni Nannini song. Seems you take her for a man but actually it’s Giann*A* Nannini, she’s a grrrl and after her early Germany hitlist stuff so funnily remixed here she also made some less mainstream things in the mid-90s, not all of her eight CDs are that well known, and when she starts growling and grumbling it’s easy to take her voice for a man’s so you’re not to blame, still you might want to correct your text about “the guy”. If you’d ask me to compare her early popular songs from the late 80s with someone else’s hits I wouldn’t say Bruce Springsteen or Freddy Mercury, but more something like a very kitschy (and so sometimes delightful) Italian kind of Blondie pop.” 

check her out at giannanannini.com

Kim Hiorthoy, Jens Lekman, Annie

first up, thanks to a couple of people who helped make this week’s show a cut above the norm – namely fbi’s emily farrell for her interview with sigmatropic (see last post for more info and mp3). catch’s emily’s show roundabout every monday at 10pm.

and double-thanks to another fbi trooper, jules thomas, for calling in with a live report from the icelandic airwaves festival in reykjavík. currently making her way round europe, she called at 5am her time, so i reckon you’ve got to give props for that… this week’s playlist is now live, and here’s a few tunes from some of today’s artists – co-incidentally, all three are from scandanavia. chilly… >>

KIM HIORTHOY [NORWAY]
det blev fel mp3
thanks to yet another fbi broadcasters, peter hollo from utility fog for picking up a copy of kim hiorthoy‘s ‘hopeness’ on his recent travels and dropping it into the fat planet pigeonhole. played the track ‘mandarinera’ today – the above mp3 is an old one (posted liberally throughout the blog community it seems), but i have a particular fondness for this track – it being my first experience of the norwegian electronic minimalist, taken from one of the excellent ‘wire tapper’ compilations. this mp3 is from the bubblecore web site – i recommend a long visit to track down some of the other mp3s on there, particularly mice paradeigloored snappernobukazu takemura and HiM‘s wonderful ‘slow slow slow dub’ (not to be confused with a scandanavian death metal dude of the same name…)

JENS LEKMAN [SWEDEN]
rocky dennis farewellsong to the blind girl mp3
jens lekman is one of those artists (like joanna newson) who divides people entirely, right down the middle. it’s straight-forward loving or loathing. the problem people seem to have with lekman is that his music is ostensibly comedy, albeit pitch black. take the track i played today ‘a higher power’ (from his new collection ‘when i said i wanted to be your dog’) which starts with a proposal to his girlfriend that they both shove plastic bags over their head and shuffle off this mortal coil. the above mp3 is similarly tounge in cheek, although it makes it perfectly clear why many folks love the guy – the music is consistently excellent. strip the comedy from this and lekman’s name would probably be sung from higher mountains. seems the old dilemma still exists – how can you write funny songs and be taken seriously?

ANNIE [NORWAY] (pictured)
chewing gum (fake ID’s juicy fruit bootleg) mp3
annie‘s ‘chewing gum’ hasn’t hit australia yet – however, when she hits, i’m sure it’ll smack like a tsunami. from what i’ve read, annie’s all over the uk and probably rightly so. this is 100% pure pop, it’s what the phrase ‘bubblegum pop’ was invented for. she’s an artist that royksoppthe streetsrichard X and mylo have all chosen to work with. so maybe pop is no longer the dirty word that it once was? ::: and here’s where i wrestle with my conscience – i’m not so much breaking the rule of this blog, more bending it… i don’t post commercially available mp3s, but if i can’t be bought… well, it might worm its way on here. the above mp3 is a bootleg from one of my favourite bastard pop mxrs, fakeID and glitches up annie into a harder territory. check out his site for loads more where that comes from.

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]

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.

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.