New releases – October 2019

Aragorn23 – Selected modular atmospheres vol. 1 (digital, self-released)

South African composer and improviser Aragorn23 presents eleven algorithmic pieces for modular synthesizer.
As the title evokes it, the music is quite ambient and relaxing, each piece developing its own little world. While some pieces would remind of late 1970s and 1980s minimalist ambient music, others sound more contemporary. (cdrk)


Various artists – These Are Our Friends Too (digital, FORWARD)

A project worth to support !
“This album is brought to you by Musicians Unite to End FGM (MUTEFGM) and Tse Tse Fly Middle East. These Are Our Friends Too is a unique album that highlights the work FORWARD does towards ending FGM (female genital mutilation). The album continues FORWARD’s These Are Our Friends project, a collection of poetry from young people from London, Bristol, Manchester and Birmingham that responds to the themes of FGM and its consequences. The first stage of the project resulted in a book of the same name that features more than thirty pieces of work, a short film made with Media Trust, and this new collaboration sees nineteen of the poems re-imagined.

Tse Tse Fly Middle East hand-picked a selection of female artists and musicians, and each one was given a spoken word recording of one of the poems read by members of the FORWARD team and poets from the book. The artists then composed and recorded a sonic background for their designated piece, with the resulting spoken word and experimental music compositions making up this new, nineteen-track set, These Are Our Friends Too.

The album features contributions from some of the foremost female proponents of noise from Egypt, Iran, Turkey, Lebanon, Serbia, Bulgaria and Sweden, as well as UK-based collaborators. And the visceral, uncompromising and unsettling tracks that result reflect the disturbing nature of female genital mutilation.” (Tse Tse Fly Middle East)


Yan Jun & Bani Haykal – Rats in the bright southern sky (vinyl & digital, whereisthezeitgeist?editing office)

These tracks were recorded at NTU Centre for Contemporary Art Residency Studio, in Singapore by prolific composer, poet and organiser Yan Jun (no-input feedback and contact microphones) and Singaporean researcher and composer Bani Haykal (text, voice and coding), then edited by Yan Jun.
The result of this collaboration is an electroacoustic music album in which voice loops and experiments navigate between waves of noises and feedbacks ; high pitched tones and incidental sonic glitches remind of some Toshimaru Nakamura‘s No​-​Input Mixing Board works while Haykal’s voice brings new elements to this form of onkyokei. (cdrk)


H.Takahashi – Sonne und Wasser (vinyl & digital, Where To Now? Records)

Dreamy minimalistic ambient music at the age of new age, tiny melodies, slow tunes made in Tokyo.
Takahashi tells : “I wanted to express the plant that was slow, quiet, powerful, and full of vitality. In an attempt to express the world of one plant, the four songs that make up this album are all based on the first one, ‘Nymphaea’… The melody, chord and tone throughout become familiar, and each change of scene is expressed by subtly changing the arrangement and development of sounds. This is intended for when you want to feel like a plant, or as an indoor soundtrack – I want the music to be played so that it decorates the plants within a room.”


Ouwan Itaru – Conceptual Works  (digital, equnatrecord)

There’s Goh Lee Kwang in Malaysia who releases zillions of tracks per month and then Ouwan Itaru in Japan who releases an insane amount of tracks too.
Free improv noise, very wild drums, guitar, distortion and noise. (cdrk)


Goh Lee Kwang – OnTheNight (digital, self-released)

Long improvisation for electronic, hypnotic, somehow noisy but not on the harsh noise side. (cdrk)


Hiroyuki Ura – Ghost Note (tape & digital, Zoomin’ Night)

If you are familiar with solo drums compositions of Morihide Sawada, this might be of interest. Track one is a half an hour solo for snare, track two for cymbal.
Both minimalistic pieces are performed gently, unlike Ryosuke Kiyasu‘s wild performances for snare. (cdrk)


Yang Haisong – Fictional film music (tape & digital, Zoomin’ Night)

Very repetitive ambient experimentation by Chinese composer Yang Haisong.
“Yang Haisong is lead singer of P.K.14, one of the top legendary indie rock bands from China, and he is also the CEO of indie rock label Maybe Mars. Beside these main roles, he also has some side projects including Dear Eloise, After Argument, Blonde Eskimo, collaboration with Xie Yugang (Wang Wen), and his tiny label Share The Obstacles. Yang is a poet, a novelist, and also a music engineer/producer. His work could be found in many Chinese rock bands’ debut album. In these two or three years, Yang involved in some film music projects, but for this cassette album, it does not belong to anyone. In the recording, Yang talks about a fictional movie as while as real life’s concealing and uncertain.” (Zoomin’ Night)


Slikback & Hyph11E – Slip B (digital, SVBKVLT)

I’ve been following parts of the bass music and rhythmic electronic scene in China for a while now and the Kenyan one for a shorter time in the recent years too. I now and then thought that musically speaking there were connections between the work of several of those artists such as Zaliva-D (China) or Slikback (Kenya) for example. And here we go. Here’s a beat-oriented collaboration between Shangainese composer and dj Hyph11E and Nairobi based composer Slikback ! (cdrk)

“SVBKVLT invited Kenyan producer Slikback to China for a 3-week tour and residency in April 2019. During these 3 weeks, Slikback performed in 5 cities (Shenzhen, Shanghai, Hangzhou, Nanjing and Beijing), spending time in the studio with artists throughout the tour. The results of these studio sessions are now being presented in the form of two EPs, to be released simultaneously across the two labels Hakuna Kulala (Uganda) and SVBKVLT (China)”


Slikback / 33EMYBW / Osheyack / Yen Tech – Slip A (digital, Hakuna Kulala)

Released at the same time than Slikback & Hyph11E – Slip B, this release features three pieces of beat and bass music by Slikback & Yen Tech, Slikback & 33EMYBW, Slikback & Osheyack. The musicians started to compose the tracks in China and then finished remotely between Nairobi and Shanghai and present a nice mix of all these artists’s styles. (cdrk)


TENGGER – Shikoku (tape & digital, self-released)

Following a pilgrimage on Shikoku island, the South Korean-Japanese project delivers us a double cassette (contact them for ordering it) that, to my knowledge, doesn’t sound to any of their previous recordings. While the duo (Itta & Marqido) performed a mix of noise and psychedelic improvised music at its very beginning (back then called 10) and dived deeper into (partly electronic) psychedelic music, this new release first four tracks are made of field recordings of people (praying at a buddhist temple ?), bells and so on, pitched in some cases ; the five other ones are very minimalistic and meditative recordings of bells (I suppose tsurigane) and silence. (cdrk)


СРАНЪ & brokenchelust – Split (digital, self-released)

СРАНЪ, a Russian punk and grindcore project from Tolyatti, Russia shares this release with noisegrind artist brokenchelust from Baku, Azerbaijan.
Expect a lot of distorted sounds. (cdrk)


Rey Sapienz – Mushoro (tape & digital, Hakuna Kulala)

While Congolese artist Rey Sapienz tends to be hip hop oriented live, his second release on the Ugandan label introduces us to a lot of instrumental pieces (but a few sung tracks are also included, sometimes more sung than rapped), slow beats with various influences from mutant dancehall to electronica. This release could be a modern version of Noir et Blanc this electronic afropop gem published in 1983 by Hector Zazou, Bony Bikaye and CY1. (cdrk)


MC Yallah x Debmaster (tape & digital, Hakuna Kulala)

Amazing collaboration between Ugandan-born, Kenyan-based MC Yallah and French distorted hip hop composer Debmaster.
Live or in the studio, MC Yallah is simply amazing, her voice, flow and energy – it is only unfortunately I don’t understand Swahili ! The release explores distorted and industrial hip hop, as well as electro hip hop and bass music, dark deep and slow but heavy beats. (cdrk)


Yao Bobby & Simon Grab – Diamonds (vinyl & digital, Lavalava Records)

Togolese -Swiss collaboration by Yao Bobby and Simon Grab who have collaborated in Togo and Switzerland for 15 years and this release is a blast : industrial hip hop and that will change your view on dancehall, feedback and no-input mixing desk, distorted bass, political lyrics sung in French, English and Ewe. And the EP includes… two remixes by Asian Dub Foundation (yes, the 1990s band) member Dhangsha aka Dr Das and Churulian (who also joins them live for the best !). (cdrk)

Feminism in electronic and experimental music, the failure of most Westerners.

art of the muses

For a few years now, I see and meet plenty of feminist enthusiasts who try to develop new networks, events, workshops, festivals dedicated to women and feminism in the often male-centric experimental and electronic music scenes, where indeed, most djs represented are men, most famous electro-acoustic composers are males, most power electronics artists are males, most famous electronica artists are males and so on and so forth.

Many of those who call themselves feminists and quite rightly scream and shout that they want more equality, more exposure and recognition and want to offer women more opportunities to access the electronic and experimental music world have for most a western-centric vision of the scene.
Never did I see them promoting female artists in the field of electronic and experimental music who come from Asia and Africa (or even Latin America). The victims of exclusion exactly behave like their oppressors and should definitely admit that their fight is a failure and will remain so unless they include all women of the various scenes (including underground rock, metal, punk, grindcore, etc.), no matter what their ethnicities, nationalities, geographic locations, social classes are.

Of course, I hear some of you fulminating against me, accusing me of disempowering them, telling me : “But we didn’t know ! We never heard about them ! How could we imagine there were women doing this music in those places !?” (sic).
It sounds to me like those men telling :”Seriously ? You know of women building modular synthesizer ? I never imagined that it would be ever possible !”
Zero difference.
This is one of the problems of the Western World, it is so much self-centred that it often lacks of imagination and curiosity (even not going so far away as Asia or Africa, how many times did I hear some being surprised that there are musicians in Sardinia or Kosovo or whatever remote village lost in the Swiss mountains who do play underground music).

Now that we live in a more and more interconnected society, to me it is some kind of pure egotism and a certain form of social racism to imagine that only women (or people in general)  in the west do compose electronic, experimental music or punk, metal, oi, you name it… In the time of the invasive internet where those who want, especially those who pretend to fight for some rights, can search, deeply, all kinds of informations using search engines, social networks, databases, music streaming services, it is a shame to see that those born in the “wrong” place still often remain excluded.

I remember women from some networks I will not name here telling that they wanted full support and promotion for women´s projects but how many of them bought or promoted the works and publications I was telling them about ? How many of them attended the concerts I organised ? Very few ! Some even decided to work in closed circles, excluding men from their networks or activities, even those who supported them from the beginning. Some gave me the feeling that they were working for their own ego, that the feminist fight was an excuse for them to clime higher and reach the peak… I may be wrong, I wish so but this is how I perceive this situation for many years.

Now to conclude this small article, here are a few CD references among many others, and following those, you´ll find a non-exhaustive list of under represented women. The CD list is only a small sample that what is currently existing, of course.

Art of the Muses (CD and digital, Syrphe, 2012, international) with Alice Hui-Sheng Chang [Taiwan], Aki Ito [Japan], Itta [South Korea], Tomoko Sauvage [Japan], Kismett [Singapore], VAVABOND [China], Pei [Taiwan], Verita Shalavita Koapaha [Indonesia], Lương Huệ Trinh [Vietnam], Lau Mun Leng [Malaysia].

Egyptian Females Experimental Music Session (CD, 100Copies, 2013, Egypt) with Asmaa Azzouz, Shorouk El Zomor, Hala Abu Shady, Jacqueline George, Nina El Gebaly, Ola Saad, Yara Mekawei, details on 100Copies.

_Litter – Newfound Grids (CD and digital, Syrphe, 2013, Lebanon)

VAVABOND – HOLOGRAM OF sea (CD and digital, C.F.I Records, 2012, China)

PEI ‎– Normality Envision (CD, Sub Jam, Kwanyin Records, 2007, Taiwan), details and extracts here.

Leila Bela – Angra Manyu (CD, Ellahy Amen Records 2003, Iran/USA), details here.

Hui-Shen Chang Alice – When She Was Asleep (Cassatte, Antifrost, 2011, Taiwan).

Okkyung Lee – Noisy Love Songs (CD, Tzadik, 2010, South Korea), details at Discogs.

And one more western oriented ones that I anyway find worth to mention (and because most feminist activists I talked to in the scene told me they never heard about it and it´s a pretty good one !) :

Women Take Back The Noise (3xCD, UBUIBI, 2006) with Michiko Kawagoe, Dark Muse, BCO Women’s Auxiliary, Passiflora, Suzanne Quincey, Ava Mendoza, Meri von KleinSmid, Analog Tara, Fe-Mail, Experiment Haywire, Hertta Lussu Ässä, Cosey Fanni Tutti, etc.

This non-exhaustive list comes from this database I´m permanently working on, this database contains more than 1500 references for Africa and Asia. I could have added more of them but sorry, my time is limited at the moment !
Note I noticed that the formatting of the list appears incorrectly but I can´t correct it for some odd reasons…)

Algeria :
Rula El Bahr Soundcloud [electronic, sound art, lives in France, see Kamekaz]

Armenia/USA :
Farhadian, Thea Site [electro-acoustic, improv, video, lives in the USA]

China :

Arrebato (Li Huihui) Tudou Douban (豆瓣) Soundcloud (1) Soundcloud (2) Bandcamp [sound art, see lllllllllllHH, Hhiña, Kazorp, Arrebato]
Chen, Audrey MySpace Discogs [sound art, improv, free jazz, lives in Germany]
Chen Yi Discogs [electro-acoustic, classical, lives in the USA ?][1984]
Pan Daijing Soundcloud Tumblr Instagram [noise, industrial, ambient]
Shenggy (Cosmic Shenggy) MySpace1 Myspace2 Rock In China Discogs [sound art, noise, minimal techno, see White]
VAVABOND (Vavabond) Site MySpace Soundcloud Discogs [sound art, ambient, noise]

Egypt :
Azzouz, Asmaa Discogs [electronic]
Bosaina Site Soundcloud Facebook [electronica, electro-pop]
El Zomor, Shorouk Discogs [electronic]
George, Jacqueline Soundcloud [electronic, sound art]
Abu Shady, Hala Youtube Vimeo [sound art, video art]
Hani, Dina Soundcloud [electronic, field recordings]
Mattar Nahla Site [electro-acoustic, classical]
Mekawei, Yara (Yara Mekawi) Blogspot, Soundcloud, Facebook, MySpace Twitter Tumblr Meetphool [electronic, electro-acoustic, audio-visual, sound installation]
Saad, Ola Soundcloud [sound art]

Hong Kong :
Lee, Fiona Site Vimeo Tumblr Jux Soundcloud [sound art, audiovisual]
Lee, Ingrid Site Discogs [sound art, modern classical, lives in the USA]

India :
Desai, Poulomi Tumblr Facebook Facebook Youtube [audio-visual, sound art, lives in the UK]
Sandunes Site Bandcamp Soundcloud Facebook Twitter Instagram [electronica]

Indonesia :
Menstrual Synthdrone (Dyah “Woro” Isaka) Soundcloud [drone, noise]
Sabrina WordPress [noise]
Sarana Soundcloud Facebook [drone, noise]
Shalavita Koapaha, Verita Bandcamp [contemporary classical]

Iran :
Bela, Leila (ليلى بلا) Site MySpace Discogs [noise, sound art, lives in the USA]
Bigdeli Shamloo, Sara Soundcloud Twitter [electronic, sound tracks, lives in France]
Hatam, Farahnaz MySpace [sound art, lives in Germany]
Pazhutan, Honey Haq Site Soundcloud [see vH+] / vent aitcH Plus (vH+, V H +p) Site Soundcloud [ambient, drone, see Honey Haq Pazhutan]

Iraq :
Nadeem, Aida (Aïda Nadeem) Site Soundcloud Twitter Tumblr Wikipedia MySpace Discogs Youtube [electronica, traditional, contemporary lives in Denmark]

Israel :
Asher, Meira Site MySpace [industrial, sound art, lives in the Netherlands]
Elyakim, Dganit MySpace [electro-acoustic, classical]
Olivero, Betty Wikipedia [electro-acoustic, classical]
Rosenbaum, Keren Facebook Discogs [electro-acoustic, jazz, classical]

Lebanon :
Andraos, Joanna Site MySpace [electronica]
Chlela, Liliane (Queen Lil) Site Soundcloud Facebook [ambient, improv, psychedelic, improv, see Hezbel Taleta]
Dally, Rhéa (Rhea Dally) Facebook Soundcloud [chip tune, breakcore, lives in South Africa]
Sehnaoui, Christine MySpace Blogspot [jazz, sound art, lives in France]
Zaven, Cynthia Soundcloud Youtube [improv, modern classical, electronic]

Malaysia :
Kok Siew Wai WordPress Youtube [improv, experimental]
Lau Mun Leng Myspace Discogs WordPress [sound art, video artist and graphic designer]

Philippines :
Barrozo, Teresa Site Soundcloud [classical, electro-acoustic]

Singapore :
Ang, Lydia Soundcloud Youtube ReverbNation [film score, ambient, new age, electro-acoustic]
Cheryl Ong & Vivian Wang Youtube [drone, industrial]
Ding, Debbie Site Soundcloud Twitter [sound art, audiovisual]
Kismett Bandcamp [sound art]
Reiki, Jean (DJ Reiki) Site Bandcamp Soundcloud Twitter Facebook Youtube Mixcloud Indabamusic [ambient, electronica]
Tara Transitory Site MySpace Discogs Facebook [electronica, ambient, sound art, see One Man Nation, lives in Spain and Asia]

South Africa :
Beckmann, Inge MySpace Discogs Facebook [electronic, contemporary]
Isadora Dustmite Junk MySpace Bandcamp Facebook [electro-acoustic, noise, sound art]
Schneider, June [electro-acoustic, multi-media installations][1971 ?]

South Korea :
Itta (있다) https://www.youtube.com/user/TxNxGxRMySpace Facebook Twitter MySpace [sound art, ambient, minimal, member of 10 and Tengger]
Okkyung Lee Site MySpace [classical, improv, sound art, lives in Germany]
Shin, Amy Soundcloud [classical, sound art, post rock, etc., USA/South Korea] – she´s an American of Korean descent who migrated to Seoul.
Ha Jane Facebook [improv, see Pika & Pikasland] – from the US I think but lives in Seoul.

Syria :
Asma Shams (شمس أسمى, Asma Ghanem) Soundcloud [sound art, ambient, lives in Palestine]

Thailand:
Liew Pichanan Niyomkarn Site Souncloud [noise, sound art]

Taiwan :
Anchih Tsai [electro-acoustic] Youtube – unfortunately, she passed away a few months ago.
Betty Apple (ßetty ∆pple, Reiki Jelly, Yi-Ping Cheng, Xiao-Biao, 瀟薄 ) Site Soundcloud Twitter MySpace Tumblr Youtube Vimeo Mixcloud Soundcloud (Reiki Jelly) Facebook [sound art, noise, electronic, techno]
Hui-Chun Lin Site MySpace [improv, sound art, classical, lives in Germany]
Hui-Shen Chang Alice Site [electronica, sound art] – she mostly experiments with her voice when she plays solo.
Kueiju Lin [classical, improv, sound art]
Lai Chi-Hsia Site Soundcloud [sound art]
Pei Site1 Site2 [minimal sound art, onkyokei, lives in Switzerland]
Pei-Yu Shi Youtube Facebook [sound art, electronic, folk, audio-visual]
Luo Chao Yun (駱昭勻) Site MySpace [traditional, classical, improv, sound art]

Tunisia :
Abdelwahed, Deena Site Tumblr Facebook Arabstazy Mixcloud [electronic]
Houaïda (Miss Machine) Soundcloud Facebook [electronica, industrial, noise pop,lives in Germany]

Turkey :
Ah! Kosmos Site Soundcloud Soundkick Facebook Twitter Instagram Last.fm [electronica]
Gürkan, Gülce Özen Site Bandcamp MySpace Soundcloud Vimeo Discogs [electro-acoustic, sound art]
Pase, Tuna MySpace Facebook Soundcloud 1 Soundcloud 2 Soundcloud 3 [electro-acoustic]

Vietnam :
Cao Lan (Cao Thanh Lan) Site [electro-acoustic, sound art, free improv, classical, see Parallel Asteroid, Swiss Army Wife, lives in Germany]
Lương Huệ Trinh (Luong Hue Trinh) Soundcloud MySpace Facebook [sound art, electro-acoustic]
Ngọc Trần Thị Kim (Ngoc Tran Thi Kim) Weebly Youtube [sound art, electro-acoustic, classical]
Nguyễn Nhung (Nguyen Nhung) Site Bandcamp [dark ambient, drone, minimal electronic, noise, electroacoustic, classical, see Sound Awakener][2007]

And a list of female composers from Latin America here, thanks to Alma for providing the link.