Yup, we got it all in here
Persuasion - Quatermass EP
The wonderful Devon Hansen appeared on Opal Tapes before as Stefan Jós on a split tape with Austin Cesear in 2014. Now operating as Persuasion, Hansen shows up on Black Opal with four cuts of pristine techno. What's most appealing is the use of space. Put simply, there's not a lot happening, but it's all impeccably placed in the mix. There's a tangible 3D sense to it, as if one is standing in the room of which we see a section on the release's cover. While the A-side revels in that enclosed air, moments of emotive fog drift in on the flip, empty space obscured by misty synths. I don't know if this is a permanent direction for Hansen, but whatever it is, I'm glad we have it.
Nina Pixel | Forced Modification
This is a really great mix from Berlin-based Nina Pixel. It's full of dark, brooding sounds, that angry spot where techno and ambient intertwine. The artwork gives you a sense of what you'll hear: ominous tones that loom above obscuring light, crackles of twigs underfoot. Field recordings and samples come together in a mix composed in parts rather than in linear fashion. Spend time with it, but be careful, you might get lost.
Dalot & Sound Awakener - Strangers In The City
I've listened to this track, a collaboration between Vietnamese artist Sound Awakener and Greek artist Dalot, several times this week. One listen stood out though. As it played, I noticed a thick mist obscuring a limp but beautiful blue sky. The track is a sumptuous mixture of drones and field recordings, hardly novel but perfectly executed. I'm looking forward to hearing the album, due soon on Fluid Radio.
uncertain - Daughter Drowning In The Black River
Continuing with a theme of dark and strange music, this unsettling piece of work (with an unsettling title to match) comes from Buffalo act Uncertain. It was composed in the ancient Greek mode called hypermixolydian, quite different to the heptatonic scale, and features fuzz, hiss, reverse, bells and drone, not to mention lyrics that involve "channeled text of Vulture deities". There's an album to come.
Sweat Mix 011 - Dee Diggs
To brighten things up, here's a belter of a mix from Boston DJ Dee Diggs. It covers Afro-beat, Night Slugs (that's a genre), electro, ballroom, techno and more in less than 40 minutes. Sweat Equity, who host the mix, say "bet on Dee doing big things in 2018" — I can't help but echo that sentiment.
D. Glare - Style Synonymous With Technique
A world away from the juddering noise of his work with Chrononautz, D. Glare has been releasing thrilling experiments in sound over the past two years, with two fascinating releases on Opal Tapes. This one comes on Zona Watusa and features recordings he made last year while squatting following "an illegal eviction". Everything was then repurposed and rerecorded, resulting in this strange yet intriguing body of work. It's part sound art, part diary, part modern classical. It really works. Special mention must go to what's already the best track title of the year — 'Cultural Capital (When The General Public Use Their Phones To Film Cops Being Pricks)'. A mantra for 2018.
Wilted Woman - "Accepting Motten"
A new track from Wilted Woman, this may be one of the most straightforward things she's ever done. That's no bad thing though. It's from a tape forthcoming on a new label called Plastic Bags, which I believe is run by Container. There's a connection in nomenclature there, and I love it. I believe "motten" is the German for moths, and while they generally don't make audible sound (to my knowledge), the chirps that open the track seem quite insect-like. A lilting beat bounces under soft pads and daringly weird themes, all adding up to create a groove that's both jerky and soothing.
Goh Lee Kwang - High Castle
I've been following Malaysian artist Goh Lee Kwang for a while, his industrious output always interesting. This one really grabbed me though. Swirling patterns and fizzling drones intersect while larger wobs bounce up and down in a different plane. There's a 42-minute version as well as separate sections at a different frequency. Discrete sounds appear and make themselves known depending on how you're listening, or so it appears to me.
Free Spirit - Illusion EP
I don't know how long this has been on Bandcamp — it's a 1993 breakbeat rave release replete with gibberish vocals and runaway piano lines — but I think it deserves a share. They're saying that breakbeat is the new electro so I may as well get in while the going's good. These are clearly old tracks so they don't necessarily sound great (I don't know how good they might sound in a club) but they're great fun and brought a smile to my weary, ageing face.
Radio had to be cancelled as I was in A&E all Sunday afternoon with my son. Here's a quick run through what I might have played if I had done the show...