Kara Lisa Overdrive

Featuring : Kara-lis Coverdale

Kara Lis Coverdale is playing in London this coming Wednesday, at Cafe OTO. Several 20JFG will be there, and so should you. KLC will be celebrating the recent launch of Grafts, a 22 minutes piece which could well be the impossible beautiful McGuffin for a William Gibson noir. She is also responsible for one of our favourite albums in the last couple of years, 2015’s majestic Aftertouches.

We love Aftertouches very much, but then we just told you that. Its full stack of electronica, minimal composition and machine balladry conveys a possible future where humanity adapts to the info-tech-rich environment which is so messing with its collective mind right now.

In this scenario, the ability to parse and appreciate the beauty of complexity currently found in a small number of academic departments and big science projects becomes pervasive, and Aftertuches mops the floors of the pop charts with Bruno Mars and his ilk without feeling the slightly sense of satisfaction about its victory, since it has transcended the primal inclination to compete and defeat an adversary. At the system level, there are no adversaries, only nodes in a network distributing packets of  information and resources that come together in beautiful iridescent patterns, just like this the cybernetic Popol Vuhl chant at the apex of X 4EWI.

Kara Lis Coverdale – X 4EWI

Get tickets here.

Image from O’Reilly.

Guest mixtape: Multiple Man

Featuring : Multiple Man + Podcast

We’re honoured today to host a guest mix from the pummelling, Brisbane-based EBM machine Multiple Man!

Multiple Man is indeed multiple men – though two crafted from the same basic DNA – brothers Sean and Chris Campion.

Their New Metal LP has been a big favourite of ours this year, and this fantastic mix for 20JFG really allows us a peak under the bonnet at their cornerstone influences.

Multiple Man – 20JFG mix

Buy New Metal from DKA Records

Art is from Experiments in Motion Graphics (1968) by John Whitney Snr.

The Island that Doesn’t Exist

Featuring : Mark Barrott

There are few musicians that we cover on this blog more adept at creating a sense of place than Mark Barrott.  Ever since he moved to Ibiza, the records he’s put out feel like portals.  Although most interestingly, not portals to an Ibiza that can be located, prosaically, among the Balearic Isles.  But rather a possible Ibiza, a place perhaps imagined but never really there.

His island is a place where bodies and feelings and sounds and ideas drift in along the wind.  Snatches of other, more distant places, caught whole but caught oh so briefly.


Mark Barrott – Music for Santoor, Bansuri, Tanpura y Sarodto 

Music for Santoor, Nansuri, Tanpura y Sarod is a beautiful piece of Indian music from the Spanish island.  A prolonged drone piece, improvised over two hours and edited down to six minutes, as if in an attempt to dislocate both time and space.  Or perhaps to open up portals within the portal, collapsing segments of the world into each other.

Throughout you can hear, albeit distantly, the sound of the native birds.

This is the B-side to Mark Barrott’s sumptuous new 12″, The Pathways of our Lives.  It’s out on his label, International Feel and you can get it right here (and at other good record shops that didn’t have their pre-order page up yet).


The Discotheque of Babel

Featuring : Interior

The discotheque of Babel contains an infinite set of records made from all possible permutations of cool sounds – mellow marimbas and fuzzy basslines, tropical percussions and phased drums, Pacific Highway sunrise guitar solos and synthesisers made of fireworks.

The overwhelming majority of the results are pleasant enough. If you are lucky they will improve the quality of the time you spend on hold during a call to customer services, or your ascent up a skyscraper implemented by sound designers in a retro-ironic mood.

And from time to time, an exception: a similar form animated by a spirit of melancholy, existentialism and sadness, an awareness of the nostalgia we will feel for the present we live today, which adds an irresistible dash of complexity to what otherwise would be a shallow pastel façade.

These records have a touch of genius and are frantically tracked across the Discotheque by otherwise suave gentlemen and ladies straight out of a Michael Mann flick.

And they are frequently produced by Haruomi Hosono. He needs no introduction. Yellow Magic Orchestra member, hyper-creative solo artist and producer extraordinaire, Japanese left-field pop’s version of Conny Plank. And you will know him by the trail of smooth.

We have only started exploring his catalogue recently, and in doing this discovered two 1980s albums by Japanese synthy loungers Interior, which is what we will focus on today. These records are called Interior and Design, and they perfectly represent what we said before: a confluence of cool styles arranged in exquisite harmony, above which hover a spirit full of enigma and soul that helps them transcend what could have otherwise been cheesy or banal.

Just listen to the joyous ‘math rock soundtrack for a John Hughes film’ of Giant Steps, and Shadows of You, which begins as you enter the dressing room of a fashion-store to try on a  white suit, and instead step into a Narnia-style fantasy land of flying dragons and Jean Michel Jarre wizards.

Interior – Giant Steps

Interior – Shadows of You

Find out (a little) more about Interior in Discogs.

A Mandala for Mega-bear

Featuring : Eitetsu Hayashi

From one angle, Jeff Van DerMeer’s Borne is The Road with levitating mega-bears. From another it is Akira on foot. From another, it is Repulsion if Catherine Deneuve adopted the spiky Dali horrors creeping through the cracks on the walls of her house. From yet another, it is a coming of age tale for the barrel-shaped star-headed things in the Mountains of Madness.

Now you see why it is our favourite book of the year, and why you need to read it.

Whenever we say the word ‘Akira’, a gamelan drone unfurls inside our heads, so today we’ll leave you with this one, by Eitetsu Hayashi. It’s mystical layers probably aren’t the best fit for Borne’s squishy body horror, but then we have always associated gamelan’s a-linear mandalas with the uncannily harmonious cycle of the double helix, so there’s that connection if you need one.

Eitetsu Hayashi -カラビンカ (Karabinka)

Karabinka is included in Hayashi’s first album, 風の使者.  More info via Discogs.

Legal dark

Penelope Trappes spent a year in a small piano studio in East London crafting the majestic collection of dystopian lullabies which is Penelope One.

But why am I telling you this? You know it already. The dark spaces in Penelope One are wormholes that cut through space and time, bringing you into the outskirts of the zone when she made it. You gaze inside like a Tarkovskian Stalker, mapping the territory, pristine pools and wild hills and strange megaliths, all haunted, all haunted. You probably have been there before, and you are definitely there now, as the silver synthetic melody around which Low is embroidered unfurls in front of your eyes, illuminating your way down a stone spiral staircase, to a place below where there be monsters, and truth.

If video game marketing departments had any taste, they would use musics like these to promote Hidetaka Miyazaki’s dark fantasies, and these videos would look like the dance of shadows in a hazy Jacques Tourneur hallucination, and we wouldn’t be here writing this, because we would be lost inside them, dancing with the cat people and powerful projection of dreams, mysteries and fears, dancing in that darkness, forever.

Penelope Trappes – Low

Pick up Penelope One from Boomkat.

The excellent folks at Anti-Ghost Moon Ray are releasing the Second Volume of the Annual General Meeting Record and it is a very great thing, and highly topical too. We need a soundtrack for these strange days of psy-ops carried out by undead technologies, server farms foreboding like Harkonnen cathedrals, and eerie dreams of algorithms that have no eyes, and must see.  The Second Volume’s decomposing freestyle jams, poltergeists of dub dissonance and rare moments of searing beauty could well be it.

If you need proof, just check I Speak Machine’s Blood from a Stone, which sounds like Cabaret Voltaire remixing Scott Walker for a cyberpunk edition of The Drift. The personal becomes political, the technological becomes paranormal, and it comes inside you.

I Speak Machine – Blood from a Stone

Get Annual General Meeting Record (Vol 2) from Bandcamp.