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Sagittarian Domain, Empty Space, Which Side Are You On

Listen: Sagittarian Domain by Oren Ambarchi

This is the second album of 2012 from Oren Ambarchi, alternately of Sydney and Melbourne, co-founder of the world-renowned What Is Music? Festival, pioneering Australian noise artist, ex-Hasidic talmudic student. For over a decade his art has revolved around pure electronic tones produced entirely through guitar and effects pedals, but in recent years the palette’s been expanded with full band, strings and voice. Following on from “Knots”, the epic centrepiece of his first 2012 album Audience of OneSagittarian Domain is one 33-minute track. An electric guitar ostinato is joined by Moog bass and feedback, then head-nodding motorik drums — all played by Ambarchi — until, 22 minutes in, a three-piece string section enters. By the last 5 minutes we’re left with tender string chords and the last reverberating bass notes, and there’s nothing we can do but press play again.

Read: Empty Space by M John Harrison

M John Harrison is one of the originals of the “New Weird” non-genre. An old hand at bizarre space opera, he’s equally at home writing slightly disquieting literary fiction, and in the three Kefahuchi Tract novels everything gets tumbled together: a noir-ish future, familiar from decades of space opera and cyberpunk, yet populated with reified mathematics and fundamentally incomprehensible zones of space-time; meanwhile in a near-future London, an old woman potters about, gently yearning for her lost first husband and dreaming very odd dreams. I’m not sure what sense this third work makes without having read Light and Nova Swing first, but the writing is beautifully elegiac.

Watch: B. Dolan — “Which Side Are You On” Official Video

I’m totes cheating here. Look, I’m not watching much TV at the moment except for that children’s show and we can tell you about funny YouTubes elsewhere. But beat poet/rapper B. Dolan’s on the money with this track, and the video pushes the message that little bit more strongly. In his version of a classic unions protest song, Dolan takes on mainstream hip-hop’s dodgy politics, its endemic misogyny and especially its homophobia. Watch for the jaw-dropping Busta Rhymes interview fragment, the adorable bass/banjo/fiddle folk band, and Dolan’s t-shirts.

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