Melbourne band HTRK’s output has undergone significant stylistic changes in the fifteen years since the 2007 major-label release of their debut Nostalgia with its self-descriptive opener “Hate Rock Trio” (much of which occurred in the wake of moving forward without bassist and drum programmer Sean Stewart, who died in 2010). By the band’s own description more than a decade on, the music they’re making now is “not as sad anymore because we’re not as sad.” But the minimal, nocturnal, smothering rock music of their first few records still stands as a great achievement in the long-running tradition. This mix collects material by other artists who dive to the depths of convention to create (conjure? summon?) apocalyptic heaviness. More doom and gloom than so-called “doom” itself. Rock ’n roll left out in the cold. It doesn’t want to be here. It’s angry that it has to be here. It hates you. Until it doesn’t.

00:00. Ukiah Drags – “Intro” from In the Reaper’s Quarters (Wharf Cat, 2014)

02:19. The Dreebs – “I” / “Reese” from Forest of a Crew (Ramp Local, 2018)

06:24. HTRK – “Look at Her” from Nostalgia (Fire, 2007)

10:54. Raime – “Your Cast Will Tire” from Quarter Turns Over a Living Line (Blackest Ever Black, 2016)

16:01. Snowman – “She Is Turning Into You” from The Horse, the Rat and the Swan (Dot Dash, 2008)

21:34. IT IT – “The Garage Pt 2” from Living Doll (self-released, 2018)

24:17. YC-CY – “Stalker” from Every Time I Close My Eyes (X-Mist, 2021)

27:24. Moin – “Elsie” from split with Pete Swanson (Confessions, 2012)

31:14. Dive and Dissolve – “Assimilation” from Abomination (Dero Arcade, 2018)

34:55. HEALTH – “Perfect Skin” from HEALTH (Lovepump United, 2007)

Mix: Out There

I hesitate to label this elusive subgenre with the “outsider” descriptor, because I’d bet that most, if not all, of these artists are extremely well-versed in the very conventions they subvert. Some I’d call “deconstructed,” others “detached,” a few “disconcerting.” But all of them transpose the key components of hip-hop music into an approach much more abstract and textural, without ever leaving the beat behind completely.

00:00. Model Home – “Night Breaks” from Both Feet En Th Infinite (Don Giovanni, 2021)

05:30. Zeroh – “Saddlelight” from awfulalterations (self-released, 2011)

08:06. al.divino – “Abu Simbel” from Monumentality (self-released, 2018)

10:31. MC Trachiotomy – “ANOTHER Cigarette” from Robot Alien or Ghost (Skin Graft, 1998)

12:36. 9$ – “Honest Expression” from Court Side Demo (County Tapes, 2020)

15:42. Davis – “Salu Henbane” from Davis (Leaving, 2016)

18:36. Sensational & Kouhei Matsunaga – “417” from Sensational Meets Koyxeи (Skam, 2010)

21:43. Jurmainson – “Eye Twitch” from Boom! (self-released, 2021)

23:31. Coin Locker Kid – “Where the Angels Lie in Wait” from Traumnouvelle (self-released, 2012)

27:44. The Koreatown Oddity – “The Gov Got $$$” from No Health Insurance (self-released, 2013)

30:21. Earl Sweatshirt – Solace [excerpt] (self-released, 2015)

33:36. Pacific Yew – “(((( magazine ))))” from Lamest Days (Hot Record, 2017)

Mix: Tulia, Tulia, Tulia

Not only have I been bombarding you all with reviews of loud, harsh, abrasive music, but this week has also been a tremendously rough one for me and too many of the people I love, so the series of sunnily disposed mixes will continue. With this one I’ve compiled some of my favorite pre-’90 African dance music tracks; it’s mostly highlife and related genres, but there’s also some benga, rhumba, mbaqanga, soukous (the Swahili title comes from the chorus of Ugandan/Congolese band Orchestra Makassy’s best known single, “Mambo Bado”), and others. Enjoy, and remember to calm down, calm down, calm down.

00:00. Le Grand Kallé et l’African Jazz – “Jamais Kolonga” from Merveilles du Passé, Vol. II (African, 1984)

02:24. Daudi Kabaka – “Pole Musa” from The Very Best of Daudi Kabaka (Music Copyright Society of Kenya, 1983)

05:29. Mahotella Queens – “Xola Mama” from Izibani Zomgqashiyo (Gumba Gumba, 1977)

08:03. Vis-a-Vis – “Gyaesu” from Obi Agye Me Dofo (Continental, 1980)

11:54. African Brothers Dance Band (International) – “Hini Me” from self-titled LP (Happy Bird, 1969)

15:52. Pablo Lubadika – “Tolingana” from Concentration (Syllart Production, 1984)

23:07. Orchestra Makassy – “Mambo Bado” from Agwaya (Virgin, 1982)

28:30. Hedzoleh Soundz – “Rekpete” from Hedzoleh (EMI, 1973)

31:58. Rail Band – “Bajala Male” from self-titled LP (RCAM, 1973)

36:46. Gasper Lawal – “Jeka José” from Ajomasé (Cap, 1980)

40:27. Daniel Owino Misiani and Shirati Band – “Augustin Opiyo Ochino (An Ex-Member of Shirati)” from Benga Blast! (Earthworks, 1989)

Mix: Righteous Radio Rock

Perhaps a spiritual sequel of sorts to the Inimitable Indie Introductories mix. I know most of you probably don’t come here for this sort of music, but for better or worse this is the stuff that’s getting me through the dark, frigid doldrums. Naïve lyrics, earworm anthem-choruses, brickwalled overproduction (almost all of these tracks have noticeable artifacting—part of the charm, if you ask me), and just, well, righteous. No idea if anyone other than me will get anything out of it, but when have I ever cared about that?

00:00. The Sheila Divine – “Kardashian Plastic” from The Things That Once Were (Zippah, 2012)

02:09. Wintersleep – “Jaws of Life” from Untitled (Dine Alone, 2005)

05:12. Foreignfox – “Exit Frame” from The Long Jump (self-released, 2021)

09:14. Vigo Thieves – “Forever” from Heartbeats (Hijacked, 2016)

13:31. Laivue – “Saattoväkeä” from Laivue (Ektro, 2010)

18:52. Then Thickens – “My Amsterdam” from Colic (Hatch, 2015)

24:48. Restorations – “The Red Door” from LP5000 (Tiny Engines, 2018)

28:23. Outsider – “Míol Mór Mara” from Karma of Youth (OK! Good, 2020)

32:08. Kodaline – “Ready” from Coming Up for Air (B-Unique, 2015)

36:00. Kings of Leon – “Waste a Moment” from Walls (RCA, 2016)

39:02. Casa Murilo – “Head for the Door” from The Rise and Fall (Sony, 2012)

42:51. Sleeperstar – “Everything Must Find Its Place” from Just Another Ghost (Duckpin, 2010)

Mix: Free Country

With both the immediate and the feels-like-distant-but-is-probably-also-immediate future looking bleaker than ever, I think we all need not just a break, but a break soundtrack as well. This mix began with a stylistic basis (the title comes from Davenport’s Free Country), focusing on tracks that repurpose country or Americana conventions/instruments for something much looser and, well, freer, but it evolved into what I hope is an auditory distillation of feelings many of us have all but forgotten: the gift, not the curse, of solitude; the strange comforts of the shadows and darkness that lurk just out of your reach; the alluring, unchecked expanse of the horizon; the unspoken promise that there will be something even more beautiful beyond it.

00:00. Old Saw – “Dirtbikes of Heaven, Grains of the Field” from Country Tropics (Lobby Art, 2021)

06:41. Rameses III – “No Water, No Moon” from I Could Not Love You More (Type, 2009)

12:57. Jacob Sunderlin – A side [excerpt] of Hymnal (Null Zone, 2017)

16:11. Jackie-O Motherfucker – “Falling Light” [excerpt] from Candyland (self-released, 2006)

19:58. Davenport – “The Light Ahead, the Dead Fields Behind” from Free Country reissue (Gutter Prog, 2014)

24:35. Mémoire vide – A side [excerpt] of Mémoire vide (Affenstunde, 2020)

30:32. Lake Mary & Oxherding – “Slow Grass” from With the Windows Open (Distant Bloom, 2021)

35:47. Lowercase Noises – “Roaring Forties” from Passage (self-released, 2012)

Mix: Anti–Power Electronics

Power electronics, despite having one of the coolest genre names of all time, has a bad reputation that is mostly well-deserved. Beyond just the stereotype of “angry white dude yelling,” many PE-heavy noise scenes have historically been encouraging environments for all sorts of bigotry and hatred, a trend that appallingly continues to this day (to name one brazen example I recently encountered, Finland’s Freak Animal Records, operated by known white nationalist and staunch racist Mikko Aspa, released a CD by Zyklon SS entitled Racial Superiority in 2019). For this reason, I’ve avoided the genre almost entirely for quite a long time. But it turns out that was a grave mistake, for there are plenty of artists now who are not just stripping the genre of its repulsive associations, but completely reconstructing it as a brash mouthpiece for oppressed marginalized identities and communities. This selection of tracks, many of them from this year, is full of reclamations, profanations, decontextualizations, and condemnations of all kinds. Keep screaming, and fuck Whitehouse.

(And to all the losers coming in from Special Interests, fuck you too.)

00:00. Straight Panic – “Catch/Release” from Apocalypse (Humanhood Recordings, 2021)

03:00. Polexia – “Atoned” from Immolation (SPINE, 2021)

06:06. Vivian – second part of Abduction Plot (self-released, 2021)

12:17. Absoluten Calfeutrail & Blarke Bayer – “Dominating the Discussion” from Conflict Resolution Seminar (AR53 reissue, 2021)

17:31. Scarlet Death – “Trauma Doll” from Scarlet Death (self-released, 2020)

21:33. SAMESEX – “YOU AGAIN” from SMITE (self-released, 2013)

23:22. Dysphoria – “Apart” [excerpt] from Falling // Apart (The Clap, 2019)

27:56. grutesk – “Shame” from F‐‐‐‐t Scum (self-released, 2019)

34:19. Identity Combat – “Pretty Little Ghost” from Self Abuse (Lady Gein, 2019)

38:11. CBN – “U Aint from the Hood” from Crimes Against White America (Phage Tapes, 2021)

Mix: Field Research

These are sonic investigations engendered by curiosity, appreciation, or any other feeling that would drive someone to record the soundscape of a certain place to preserve, transmit, or otherwise immortalize it. Sometimes warm and intimate, other times distant and voyeuristic. With all of its concrete anchor points in the familiar and not-so-familiar liminal spaces we take for granted, I suppose this is a kind of travelogue as well, one for a trip that can’t be taken until you make the jump yourself.

00:00. Christian Calon & Chantal Dumas – “Histoire d’Ours” from Radio Roadmovies (326 Music, 2003)

04:29. Agata Stanisz – “48h Pauzen Machen / Gas Station in Mulhouse, FR [14.7.12]” from 3 Square Meters (Szara Reneta, 2020)

07:38. Ernst Karel – “Scuol–Motta Naluns” from Swiss Mountain Transport Systems (Gruenrekorder, 2011)

11:39. Job History – “Super 88 in Allston, Massachusetts” from Sounds of North American Grocery Stores Volume One (Hen’s Ear Recordings, 2021)

16:48. No Artist – “Washwatch” from The World a Wash Away (Modern Concern, 2021)

21:26. Adrian Rew – “1/11/2014: Majestic Star Casino, Gary, IN” from Slot Machine Music Vol. 2 (Ergot, 2014)

25:35. Cahn Ingold Prelog – “Baggage Reclaim” from Non-Music 2 (self-released, 2018)

29:13. Daniel Menche – From Here to Electricity [excerpt] (self-released, 2018)

33:32. Greg Hooper – “Damp Gravel with Cars, Rocklea” from Carparks (self-released, 2021)

38:00. Yparxei Provlima Amalia – fourth untitled track [excerpt] from side B of Kona Kai (OMFT, 2013)

Mix: All Hallows’ Eve, Revisited

Less a sequel to than an expansion of last year’s mix. This version is more varied, emotional, and abstract. I hope it helps you get into the spirit of the season before it’s too late.

00:00. King of Herrings – “On Two Legs” from The New Musician (self-released, 2020)

01:09. Ghost Food – “Ghost’s Come Home” from Night in My Mind (Sweet Wreath, 2021)

04:42. Unhallowed Eve – “From Beyond the Grave” from The Midnight Hour (self-released, 2019)

07:43. No Artist – “Asleep in the Pumpkins Patch II” from Cassetus Infernus V/A comp (Liquid Library, 2016)

09:07. Monster Zero – “Haunted Homes and Gardens” from Candy from Neighbors (self-released, 2021)

10:24. Blue Friction – A side [excerpt] of Wollstonecraft (self-released, 2014)

14:32. Faux Faunus – “Wean” from Hollow / Wean (self-released, 2014)

19:34. DJC – “Commercial Break” from Son of Shock (self-released, 2021)

20:08. William Hutson – “Shelves of Dusty Skulls” [excerpt] from Spectralities (Deathbomb Arc, 2015)

26:55. AntiVitalis – “A Crumbling Black Castle Looming in the Fog” [excerpt] from “…wing of Roach,” (Gulik, 2021)

29:23. VHS Spectre – “𝔉𝔬𝔤” from Graveyard Tapes (Origami Vato, 2020)

31:46. 舰长电视 [Captain TV] – “Had 2 B the Wind” from Halloween Mixtape 2014 (Plastic Response, 2014)

34:25. Apparition – “The Grave Robbers” from The Ravenous Dusk (Seance, 2018)

39:34. Amethyst & Gold – “What a Wonderful Night to Die” from A Haunted Housewarming (Handwerk Music, 2019)

Mix: Electrophonography

This mix collects the spellbinding results of interpretation, intervention, improvisation, imitation, installation, interaction, and many other forms of joining electronics with organics, sterile digital impermanence with living, breathing space. It’s not a one-way street; almost as many of these artists extract the electrical processes coded within our surrounding environment as add to it. (Personally I think “electricity” is mostly, if not entirely, bullshit—oh so electrons are just zipping around everywhere? so where are they? oh they’re invisible, how convenient—but if it makes people feel like they’re in control of their lives, sure, I’ll play along.)

00:00. Rudolf Eb.er – “Ishikiri (1)” from Om Kult : Ritual Practice of Conscious Dying, Vol. II (Schimpfluch Associates, 2018)

04:35. 谭硕欣 [Tan Shuoxin] – Simultanhalle: April 30, 2021 [excerpt] (self-released, 2021)

10:32. Network Glass – “novh1” from idiot/smiling (dingn\dents, 2019)

13:21. leftear – “Rainforest” from Half Nature (Zoomin’ Night, 2021)

20:47. left.bank – “sefar” from Zentrum Statisch (KOI8-R, 2019)

27:32. Anonymous – “KREC33” from Recordings, Disk 01 (SP, 2013)

28:45. Francisco Meirino – “Various On-Site Testimonies” from Recordings of Voltage Errors, Magnetic Fields, On-Site Testimonies & Tape Tension (Misanthropic Agenda, 2011)

33:36. Bella – “prei-prei” from HADRON (pan y rosas discos, 2019)

37:35. Max Hamel – B side [excerpt] of Sounds of Summer: Field Recordings of Solar Electronics (Refulgent Sepulchre, 2021)

44:41. Thomas Tilly – “Pre-Explosion I (Phonography and Interpretation)” from Codex Amphibia (An Interpretation of the Explosive Breeding Phenomenon (Glistening Examples, 2018)

50:16. No Artist – “Cmentarz żydowski w Podwilku II” from Dawne Cmentarze Żydowskie 2 (Szara Reneta, 2018)

55:27. Jero Route 66 and Shots – Live from Devil’s Den [excerpt] (Pauf Recordings, 2018)

Mix: Maxi-Improv

I’ll probably come up with a better name for this “genre” at some point, but for now “maxi-improv” works: both solo and collective electroacoustic improvisations with moving parts much too large for, or even in a completely different dimension of reality than, their containers (you’ll see what I mean).

00:00. Jean-Marc Foussat – “Le moment est passé” [excerpt] from Cet inapaisable hurlement des heures (self-released, 2014)

04:47. The Incidental Crack – “Waterfalls per Capita” from Detail (Anticipating Nowhere, 2021)

10:31. Concrete Gazebo – “Tangled Eggs” from Peacock Juice Box (Speak & Spell, 2021)

12:26. Kamon Kardamom – “Chronic Euphoria” [excerpt] from Chronic Euphoria (self-released, 2021)

19:03. Paed Conca, Stéphane Rives & Fadi Tabbal – “There’s No Picture of the Band” from Under the Carpet (Ruptured, 2012)

22:22. Miguel A. García & Ilia Belorukov – “Hands Off” from Wolkokrot (Inexhaustible Editions, 2015)

27:51. Leverton Fox – “Megascopz (Pellet Collector)” [excerpt] from Megascopz (Not Applicable, 2019)

33:16. Olivier di Placido & SEC_ – “es” from Rainbow Grotesque (Bocian, 2013)

36:10. MKM – “Don’t Eat” [excerpt] from Bangalore (TON, 2021)