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Utility Fog


Your weekly fix of postfolkrocktronica, dronenoise, power ambient, post-everything improv... and more?
Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.
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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 14th of July, 2019

Playlist 14.07.19 (9:53 pm)

A very multicultural show tonight, ranging over electronic pop, free jazz song, industrial techno, glitch, drone and more. Trying to fit in as much as I can as I'm away overseas for the next two weeks!

LISTEN AGAIN as we take you on a trip, across the world and back. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Sigrún - Exhale Your Song [Sigrún Bandcamp]
Young Icelandic singer and producer Sigrún Jónsdóttir follows up her excellent album from last year and a couple of EPs preceding it with a new single here. A great piece of songwriting with crunchy electronic beats which fits with the adventurous Scandinavian songwriting I've heard from Norway & Sweden in recent times as much as it does with her compatriot Björk Guðmundsdóttir...

Mary Rapp, Carl Dewhurst & Simon Barker - Dirt & Flowers [Mary Rapp Bandcamp]
I played this track earlier in the year, when Sydney cellist, double bassist and singer Mary Rapp released her album By ONe of thE Night. As I wrote then, her solo performances with cello & vocals (and no effects or amplification) are riveting, but here she's joined by two veteran improvisers from Sydney, guitarist Carl Dewhurst and Simon Barker, creating improvised songs recorded live by Richard Belkner at Free Energy Device Studios in Camperdown, Sydney. Any free jazz freakout tendencies are undercut by drones, repeating patterns and Rapp's raw, emotive vocals. Her cello, like Arthur Russell's, finds expression through scratchy harshness as much as melody, and a kind of expressionism that doesn't necessarily care for demonstrative virtuosity.
Mary's trio is launching this album at the Sound Lounge at the Seymour Centre this Saturday the 20th of July. Should be amazing.

Gail Priest - Sailing on a solar sea [Gail Priest Bandcamp]
Having travelled to Iceland for her last album, Sydney sound artist & electronic musician Gail Priest brings us her new album from the far future - the mythical "omega point" where post-humans frolic in the space-time continuum. The result is wobbling, wavering, mostly ambient adventures into a version of the future, informed by Gail's research in her Sounding the Future project.

Lara Sarkissian - PENINSULA (feat. Mesrop) [Ali Centre]
Lara Sarkissian - Greeted by Tir (Տիր) [Club Chai]
San Francisco based producer Lara Sarkissian incorporates the sounds of her Armenian heritage into her techno tracks - for her latest single PENINSULA Armenian percussion drives through the track, until piano from LA's Mesrop takes us out. The flipside of the single features a beautiful Armenian melody that takes over in a long ambient outro. Last year's DISRUPTION EP similarly harnesses Armenian music to techno, with the beautiful sampled duduk on the track featured tonight.

Zonal - Cage Version [Relapse Records]
Justin K Broadrick and Kevin Martin worked together for years under the name Techno Animal. They have previously released a highly limited CD-R as Zonal (back in 2000) but it's now become the main name for their re-started collaboration, here introduced to us with two incredibly slowed-down pieces of low-end sludge dub. Broadrick is of course the man behind grindcore/industrial metal masters Godflesh and the beloved shoegaze-metal of Jesu, but these days he's been pumping out dub-tinged industrial techno as JK Flesh. Martin makes unparalleled dubstep/grime/dub music as The Bug. Both have been involved with metal for ages, albeit the outskirts and badlands of the multiplicitous genre, but it's still a surprise to see this particular project being released on the legendary metal label Relapse Records, who have also undertaken to re-release the Techno Animal back catalogue over the next little while.

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma & Le Révélateur - In Summer (Out Mix) [crxssings]
Shelly Knotts & Jan St. Werner - Raft [crxssings]
A little while ago Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek and Gabriel Saloman (ex-Yellow Swans) had exchanged remixes, and wanted to release them in a way that responded to the state of the world, particularly the suffering of refugees the world over. They conceived of CRXSSINGS (for City Plaza), a compilation which extends the mutual-remixing concept to another 16 pairs of musicians from across the world - many marvellous musicians in unexpected pairings, including Aussies Jasmine Guffond (working with Christina Vanzou) and Lawrence English (working with Klara Lewis), as well as Jim O'Rourke, Leyland Kirby, Lucrecia Dalt, Aaron Dilloway, Mira Calix and too many others to mention. All sales of the album go to City Plaza Hotel, "a squatted refuge located in the heart of Athens, Greece, organized for and by migrants from Africa and Asia". Tonight we heard post-rock greats Jefre Cantu-Ledesma (once of Tarantel) and Roger Tellier Craig aka Le Révélateur (ex-Godspeed, Le Fly Pan Am, Set Fire To Flames etc), and followed that with a collaboration between live-coding guru Shelly Knotts working with one half of Mouse on Mars, Jan St. Werner.

Scandinavian Star - Nassau [Posh Isolation]
Following his excellent album from December last year, mastering/mixing engineer and Copenhagen musician Malthe Fischer now contributes a track as Scandinavian Star to the new compilation from the great Posh Isolation called Summer Storms. It features Danish artists from the label and beyond, and covers classical influences, spoken word, experimental electronica, noise and even guitar-based songwriting. I wish I'd been able to fit more in, but I recommend you check the whole thing out.

Otto Solange - Pole Axed [eilean rec.]
Otto Solange - e.vo [eilean rec.]
Although he doesn't make it obvious on the album page for шон, "Otto Solange" is an alias for Mathias Van Eecloo, who runs the Eilean label and also makes music as Monolyth & Cobalt. This album will be the only album under this name, and sees Van Eecloo exploring loop-based sounds, including off-kilter beats and samples, in a delightfully dusty folktronic fashion. It's a slight departure from the label's usual fare, but pretty wonderful even so.

OTSO - 31.10.2022; 20 38 [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
OTSO - 11.07.1952; 06 22 [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
For his second album on French experimental label Elli Records, Finnish sound researcher and musician Otso Lähdeoja purports to intertwine piano recordings from an June morning in 1952 with electronic music from October 2022. For some reason tonight we have two recordings from the future on the show... In any case, there's a lovely mix of analogue-sounding tape processing at times on the piano along with glitchy processing, field recordings and synth textures. Highly idiosyncratic (and a lot more focused than his zany, fun previous Dendermonde), it's absolutely lovely stuff.

Magna Pia - Daiauna [Feral Note/Bandcamp]
Released on Berlin label Feral Note, the new album Daiauna from Hüseyin Evirgen as Magna Pia moves away from his usual techno productions into a more abstract electronic environment, making substantial use of his first instrument, the piano. Often it feels like we're right inside the instrument, with the strings and body rumblings and ringing around us, alongside some dark & heavy electronics. A wondrous release worth sinking into.

Machinefabriek - Melodrama 2 [Champion Version/Bandcamp]
Rutger Zuydervelt/Machinefabriek got a mention above, but I wasn't able to fit in one of his collaborations from the CRXSSINGS comp. Instead, here's a lovely little vignette from a lathe cut 7" on the British Champion Version label. It's rather lovely and not really melodramatic at all.

Koroza - Cycles [self-released from forthcoming EP]
20-year-old Sydney artist Koroza presents the first track from his debut solo EP Grow, Slow here - glitchy, droney, with some nice beats. Certainly bodes well for the rest of the release, which I hope we hear soon!

Black To Comm - Eden-Olympia [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Black To Comm - Lethe [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Marc Richter's Black To Comm has covered a lot of ground in its existence, and he's an accomplished collagist of unusual sounds, which he stretches and edits and reconfigures into incredible compositions. His Seven Horses For Seven Kings album from the start of this year is a dazzling piece of work (take the lonely trumpet and reversed textures of "Lethe" for instance), and new mini-album Before After brings us a set of bonus works from the same sessions. Absolutely essential.

Sal Grosso - Sapphire (Azure Version) [Colectivo Casa Amarela]
Last week I played Diana Combo's contribution as Síria to the compilation Island Fever released by experimental Portuguese label Colectivo Casa Amarela, celebrating their 50th release. The tracks are mostly reworkings of tracks from the label's history, and this one is a stretched out version of a piece by Ulnar by the collective's Sal Grosso. It's windswept gorgeousness.

Listen again — ~191MB


Sunday, 7th of July, 2019

Playlist 07.07.19 (8:57 pm)

Tonight we have new music from a slew of great women from across the world, and I'm having a chat with excellent Sydney sound artist Alexandra Spence.

LISTEN AGAIN if you want to keep up. You do want to keep up don't you? Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Félicia Atkinson – Moderato Cantabile [Shelter Press/Bandcamp]
Félicia Atkinson – Shirley to Shirley [Shelter Press/Bandcamp]
French multi-instrumentalist sound-artist and poet Félicia Atkinson recorded her latest album mostly while on tour and pregnant. Yes, there's the ASMR whispery flutteriness in there (not so much on these two tracks), and there's an explicit influence from favourite works of the French impressionists - Ravel, Debussy and Satie. The piano on "Moderato Cantabile" floats on a bed of synthesised pads, and similar sounds bubble and pulse under some wonderfully processed and (dis)harmonised vocals on "Shirley to Shirley". You could have this album on in the background, but really it demands a dive into its depths.

Alexandra Spence - bodies in place [Room40]
...interview with Alexandra Spence...
Alexandra Spence - sleep in nothingness [Room40]
...more interview with Alexandra Spence...
Alexandra Spence - cleanse [Room40]
Alexandra Spence - a soft crackle [Room40]
So great to talk to Alexandra Spence, who despite having just released her debut album, has worked with many great names around the globe - in Toronto & Vancouver studying music, sound art & field recording, then with Francisco Lopez on a residency in South Africa, and with David Toop, Chris Watson and Jez riley French in the UK. All these influences, along with her experience as an improviser on clarinet and other instruments (she's part of the Splinter Orchestra) form a background for her very idiomatic work on record, which is an intuitive approach to constructing engrossing sound worlds. Live, she unveils the process, creating her sounds from unexpected objects, or objects used unexpectedly. Alex is launching this album next Sunday, 14th of July, at Petersham Bowlo and is joined by Kynan Tan and MP Hopkins - should be a great night!

Síria - Belgian Sheppherd [Colectivo Casa Amarela]
I first heard the work of Portuguese sound artist Diana Combo last year with her album (also under the name Síria) for excellent Portuguese experimental label Crónica. Those works mixed experimental tracks on vinyl with other droney sounds and Combo's own vocals. Here I believe we hear her vocals along with sounds sourced from Portuguese label Colectivo Casa Amerela. It's a beautiful piece of shoegazey drone from an album called Island Fever that celebrates the label's 5th birthday. You'll be hearing more from this compilation next week.

Jesca Hoop - Red White and Black [Memphis Industries/Bandcamp]
Jesca Hoop - the lost sky [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Jesca Hoop - Passage's End [Memphis Industries/Bandcamp]
Californian musician Jesca Hoop has lived in Manchester for some years, and her always folk-rooted music has somehow become more and more like English folk music. Her last album (from which we heard the gorgeous "the lost sky") was more of a folk rock album, and while there's a certain "folk rock" feel on this new one, it pares down the arrangements with John Parish in the producer's booth, and leans more into the "folk". There are some gorgeous production moments, such as the contrasting vocal refrain in "Passage's End" which sounds like an old record in a different room, even in a very slightly different key. Really impressive.

Kate Tempest – Lessons [American Recordings]
Kate Tempest – Perfect Coffee [Lex Records]
Kate Tempest – I Trap You [American Recordings]
The new album from Kate Tempest, The Book Of Traps And Lessons finds her on Rick Rubin's American Recordings, with a slightly more restrained, stripped back sound (although still working with the extra producer Dan Carey. While the previous two albums presented beautiful portraits of various characters from East London dancing around each other's needs and desires as the Britain of austerity and the spectre of Brexit presses in on them and starts to fall apart, this new one is far more of a personal document, a lament in post-Brexit-vote Britain about the toxicity of power within relationships, about what love and desire and humanity mean. We heard both the bitter lessons and the traps, and in between, one of my favourite segments from the brilliant Let Them Eat Chaos. The production leans away from the dubstep and grime sounds (and there's none of trap's bottom-end sleaze either), preferring muted boom-baps or no beats at all, pulsating synths and, in "I Trap You", a wobbly piece of music-hall jazz seemingly off a 78 record. It's moody as heck and moving too.

Hüma Utku - Black Water Red [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
R.A.N. - Sabah [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
Istanbul-born, Berlin-based artist Hüma Utku previously called herself Roads At Night, and her last EP on the great Berlin label Karlrecords was released under the acronym R.A.N. She now steps out under her own name, continuing the jouney through the night with some very dark industrial soundscapes, incorporating field recordings - listen to the buried sample vocals under the bass-heavy drums on "Black Water Red". Depending on your sound system you'll hardly notice they're there, but they lend extra weight to the driving beat. A similar momentum is found in last year's "Sabah" from her Karlrecords debut, which starts with a tambur played by Ercüment Gümüşel and then builds into pulsing techno with slow melodic pads and a gradually more distorted bassline, under which the tambur turns out to have been playing all along...

Rắn Cạp Đuôi - Degradation [Flaming Pines Bandcamp/Rắn Cạp Đuôi Bandcamp]
This new release from Kate Carr's Flaming Pines comes from the genre-spanning Saigon-based Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective, currently a trio. This EP was written during the monsoon season and represents the members' fear of drowning, with a watery theme that culminates in its final track, where a showery drone is constantly interrupted by crushing percussive bass tones, until it eventually gives way to fragments of female vocals and shimmering waterfalls. Stunning.

Roll The Dice & Sophia Loizou - Head Drop [Roll The Dice Bandcamp]
Finally, Swedish electronic/electro-acoustic duo Roll The Dice have been releasing a series of single track collaborations with artists they admire, and the latest finds Sophia Loizou joining them to bring her particular brand of rave nostalgia - tumbling jungle breaks and sheets of synth pads. It's very soft-focus yet quite dark and altogether lovely.

Listen again — ~187MB


Sunday, 30th of June, 2019

Playlist 30.06.19 (9:07 pm)

Going all-out tonight, from folktronica to minimal techno to industrial techno and contemporary junglism...

LISTEN AGAIN for your weekly fix... stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Tunng - Pool Beneath The Pond [Full Time Hobby/Tunng Bandcamp, originally Static Caravan]
Tunng - Magpie Bites [Full Time Hobby/Tunng Bandcamp, originally Nowhere Fast Records]
Tunng - little king (feat. Summit) [disco_r.dance]
Tunng - Peanuts [Full Time Hobby/Tunng Bandcamp, originally The Great Pop Supplement]
All things considered, Tunng are one of the ur-bands for Utility Fog. The show already existed when their first 7" came out, but their music became a staple on the show for a good few years after I discovered that piece of arcane English folk-meets-glitchy electronica. So it's rather nice that they've just released a collection of rarities, b-sides, compilation tracks & unreleased bits & bobs called this is... tunng (magpie bites and other cuts). The b-side of "Tale From Black", that original classic, is the first cut I've taken tonight, followed by the lovely semi-title-track of the anthology, "Magpie Bites", which came out the following year and was played a pile of times as well. I couldn't resist dropping in one track which didn't make it on to this collection - a long-time favourite, "little king" is a collaboration with trip-hoppers Summit, and maybe it's not pure Tunng enough to appear (although one third of Summit, Phil Winter, later joined Tunng, or perhaps already had by 2006). Finally, from 2007, we hear "Peanuts", another big fave in these parts which appeared on a weird-folk 12" from The Great Pop Supplement called It Happened On A Day. Another stomping, chanting bit of English folk, with reversed acoustic instruments, fun production but ultimately just a great piece of songwriting.

Thom Yorke - Not the News [XL/Thom Yorke]
Thom Yorke - The Axe [XL/Thom Yorke]
Always worth a listen to new work from Thom Yorke, and this one takes off from where Tomorrow's Modern Boxes brought him, heavily influenced by the contemporary beat-makers he & Radiohead have enlisted over the last decade to remix their music, with hypnotic, repetitive refrains, programmed beats and lots of electronics. It actually sounds a lot like the Atoms For Peace stuff. There's a theme in there about technology and how it divorces us from reality and emotional connection I think (I haven't seen the accompanying movie made with Paul Thomas Anderson yet).

Modeselektor & Thom Yorke - The White Flash (Robags Vatimafonkk Rekksmow) (excerpt) [Pampa]
Robag Wruhme - Komalh [Pampa]
Robag Wruhme - Nata Alma (feat. Sidsel Endresen & Bugge Wesseltoft) [Pampa]
The first track of this batch is there as a sweet segue from Thom Yorke into Robag Wruhme, via Robag's "Vatimafonkk Rekksmow" of a lovely old tune from Modeselektor featuring Thom. It takes the head-nodding techno-funk of the original and ratchets up the 4/4 beats and also the vocal layering & repetition in typical musical, minimal techno Robag fashion. Robag Wruhme is Gabor Schablitzki, who came to enormous fame as part of the DJ duo Wighnomy Brothers (which on record was just him) and then as Robag Wruhme, doing deep, minimal techno & house, and remixing everyone left, right & centre into this sound he made his own. But prior to that he was part of the legendary, take-no-prisoners idm/acid/drill'n'bass duo Beefcake, and that's where I first became a fan. It took me ages to warm to this 4/4 incarnation, but these days I love his work, and the last couple of albums (with a long time in between) are just gorgeous pieces of subtle, soulful headmusik for late-night dancefloors.

CORIN - The New Flesh [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
CORIN - Morning [originally self-released on Deluge EP; track available on Skydreams Bandcamp]
CORIN - Ingest [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
CORIN - Rivalry [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
Melbourne artist Corin Ileto released her debut EP while based in Sydney in 2014 (we heard the beautiful ambient track "Morning" tonight). Since moving to Melbourne she's put together an impressive body of work, including collaborations with ju ca (Justin Cantrell) that have been released internationally, so it's really nice seeing this new album come out on the amazing Bedouin Records (for context, the previous release on the label was from Zomby). A tribute to cyberpunk via a reconciliation of dystopia and utopia, that I hear as absorbing and inverting cyberpunk's orientalist fetishism and its often casual misogyny while making nods to both vaporwave trends and industrial techno.

S S S S - Deserter [Präsens Editionen/Bandcamp]
S S S S - Information [Hallow Ground/S S S S Bandcamp]
S S S S - Anywhere Is Better Than Here [Präsens Editionen/Bandcamp]
Samuel Savenberg's S S S S already released an EP this year on Haunter Records but for his debut full-length album (strange to say, given how much music he's released in the last few years) he's bringing it back to his hometown of Lucerne, Switzerland with notable label Präsens Editionen. The album Walls, Corridors, Baffles continues the disquieting industrial techno & dark ambient of his previous releases, perhaps turning things a little more widescreen, and incorporating more acoustic instruments & sounds. For the all the power and clanging noise of "industrial techno", I feel that Savenberg, in his more technoey and more ambient moments, captures something of the wrongness and disturbing nature of industrial music better than most.

Torn - Escape [Weaponry]
Continuing in the dark and heavy theme, here we have a new EP from Russian drum'n'bass artist Torn, released on the label run by Seattle's Homemade Weapons. Like the label boss, Torn re-tools jungle/drum'n'bass for a post-dubstep world. It's not tech-step, and it's not usually mashed breaks (although both producers have chops in that regard), but it's got heaps of energy and heaps of low end pulse. The tribal-meets-jungle programming on this track is really something, mind you.

SDEM - Pranging [Opal Tapes]
Tom Knapp aka SDEM has been making idm & experimental electronic music for a long time, under various guises and in various groups. He also co-runs or co-ran the Icasea label and group, that put out a massive idm-hero-packed comp after the Japanese earthquake/tsunami in 2011. "Is bacterial a genre? Can you imagine it?" asks the label. After these tracks, I daresay I can...

R - Mind Hunters [Opal Tapes]
Basic House - Sleeping Sickness [Opal Tapes]
Finishing up with a couple of tunes from the brilliant new compilation from Opal Tapes, which is their 150th(!) catalogue number. Amateur Vampires features many great names from the label, including Sote, and I plan to revisit it next week. Tonight we heard some dark electronics with smatterings of jungle breaks from the mysterious R (the label aren't giving much away, but they've been on a couple of compilations). Closing the compilation is a track from Opal Tapes boss Stephen Bishop aka Basic House, a gorgeous piece of contemplative piano and noises.

Listen again — ~200MB


Sunday, 23rd of June, 2019

Playlist 23.06.19 (9:07 pm)

Music from around the globe tonight, uncompromising and unfettered...

LISTEN AGAIN, listen. Again. Stream on demand, whenever you so demand, on the FBi Radio website, or podcast from here.

Pouya Pour-Amin - Exterior wash [Flaming Pines]
Pouya Pour-Amin - Have mercy, for crying out loud, O lord of the world! (sixth episode) [Flaming Pines]
Regular listeners to this show may notice that there's a substantial amount of remarkable, forward-thinking music coming out of Iran these days. Back in 2016, Kate Carr's fantastic Flaming Pines label released a compilation called Absence which showcased a cross-section of contemporary Persian music and introduced a lot of us to some wonderful artists. Double bassist and sound-artist Pouya Pour-Amin was one of those, and although a track of his appeared on Ata Ebtekar's massive Girih compilation, it's been otherwise fairly quiet from him. So it's quite an event to have his new album, Prison Episodes coming out (again from Flaming Pines) this coming week. Its 7 episodes follow a political prisoner from their incarceration to their breaking point - it's a beautiful yet harrowing listen that uses elements of drone, industrial, and classical music to rail against political repression and extremism. A timely album indeed, and one that sits solidly alongside 9T Antiope & Siavash Amini's recent Harmistice. In fact, Pour-Amin also plays alongside Sara Bigdeli Shamloo and Nima Aghiani of 9T Antiope in the band Migraine Sq., who are promising new music soon too.

Shoeb Ahmad - "status anxiety" (tilman robinson version) [Provenance Records/Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
Shoeb Ahmad - "villagers son" (maria moles version) [Provenance Records/Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
Talking to Stuart Buchanan earlier this year, he wasn't sure whether to continue running his Provenance label. The changing landscape of streaming and downloading was making it harder to see what the role of a record label was, and like many he was finding it a little wearying and depressing. But I'm very glad to see that he's decided to restart the label, with an edition of four cassette releases. Sebastian Field's album that we heard last week is part of that batch, and it's also really great to see that the remix album that was thus far only available as a bonus CD with the zine edition of Shoeb Ahmad's "quiver" from last year is finally coming out digitally (and on tape!) - so I played a couple of highlights. Tilman Robinson created a slow-burning piece mixing classical minimalism with bass pulses, while Maria Moles adds her percussion to the chiming, smeared guitars of Shoeb's original.

Arrom - We Saw This Coming [Provenance Records/Arrom Bandcamp]
Arrom - Now Won [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
Arrom - Fruit [Provenance Records/Arrom Bandcamp]
Also on Provenance is the new album from Melissa Vallence aka Arrom, for which we give thanks. Like her 2017 opus Take My Lymphs, But Still We embeds her classically-trained vocals in glitched-up, dark and heavy electronics. While her first album catalogued a period of illness, the new one explores heavy and personal themes around the loss of childhood innocence.

Arrom - See How (Ahm Remix) [Provenance Records/Arrom Bandcamp]
Ahm - Resolution [Provenance Records/Ahm Bandcamp]
Ahm - New Tricks [Provenance Records/Ahm Bandcamp]
I first heard of Melbourne producer Ahm (creator of the fourth release in the new Provenance set) through two remixes of Arrom, and so that's our segue into two tracks from his new EP. The remix I chose slams in drum'n'bass breaks, and although this new EP isn't quite breakcore, it's got a distinct industrial techno edge to it. Very nice.

Yunzero - Orchard 1 [.jpeg Artefacts]
Yunzero is a new moniker for Jim Sellars (previously Hyde and Electric Sea Spider) - a quite psychedelic, vaporwavey trip, with three tracks taken from a forthcoming album to be called Ode To Mud. I'm very much looking forward to hearing more!

Hildur Guðnadóttir - Líður (Chernobyl Version) [Deutsche Grammophon]
Hildur Guðnadóttir - The Door [Deutsche Grammophon]
If you've been paying much attention recently, you may have heard about the HBO TV series Chernobyl. I was super pleased to discover that the soundtrack is by the wonderful Icelandic cellist, singer and composer Hildur Guðnadóttir, who was a member of Múm a long time ago, has worked with many avant-garde artists, appears singing on the new Sunn O))) album, and was working closely with Jóhann Jóhannsson before he tragically passed away last year. For this soundtrack, we hear some classical composition (including a beautiful choral work), a smattering of cello and vocals (including on the lovely piano-led version of "Líður" from her 2014 album Samar), and some rather imposing and spooky works featuring industrial sounds of all sorts. In fact, everything on the soundtrack was apparently recorded in a Lithuanian nuclear power point as it was being decommissioned. This isn't just a gimmick - the sounds and ambience seep into every moment of the soundtrack, and the industrial-sounding pieces are literally crafted from the industry of nuclear power. It's a hell of an achievement.

Tomaga - Bluest [Tomaga Bandcamp]
Tomaga - Lilith Wakes [Tomaga Bandcamp]
I discovered UK duo Tomaga a couple of years ago while in London, but now they've achieved some prominence. Drummer Valentina Magaletti plays with a seemingly endless array of ensembles, and Tom Relleen may keep himself to only a couple of groups, but together they create magic - hard to pin down, with a kind of aged feel, somewhat krautrocky, somewhat psychedelic, a little postpunk, a little burnished like Boards of Canada. Their new Extended Play 1 is out on their own label now.

Rutger Hauser - Catfish Michael / Millum Víkingartoft og Gravarbakka [Adaadat/Tutl]
Sleeps In Oysters - My heart, a hive for bees [Seed Records]
Rutger Hauser - Hestur and Koltur / Hestur og Koltur [Adaadat/Tutl]
A month or two ago on the show we heard some music from English experimental musician John Harries, one of the main movers behind the label and collective The Lumen Lake. I later discovered that he was one half of the quirky folktronic duo Sleeps In Oysters, alongisde Lisa Busby, and I played a track from them tonight from their 2008 album We kept the memories locked away like the beetles of our childhood -or- How to appreciate someone who's always around. But the two of them are now part of the adventurous, un-pigeonholeable group Rutger Hauser, featuring Harris on drums amd Busby on vocals and electronics, along with Rose Dagul on cello, Ian Stonehouse on electronics and Jon Klaemint Hofgaard on guitar. The latter musician is from the Faroe Islands, a self-governing province of Denmark, extremely remote between mainland Scandinavia and Iceland, and that's where the quintet ventured to record their new album The Swim, which is co-released at the beginning of July through UK label Adaadat and Faroese label Tutl. It's an extraordinary concoction, ranging from outrageous folk-punk-ska(?) to eldritch doomy electric cello, to glitching spoken word, strangely affecting drone-noise and god knows what else. It comes in a beautifully-packaged limited 12" edition, worth pre-ordering now.

Park Jiha - Arrival [tak:til/Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
Park Jiha - Accumulation Of Time [tak:til/Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
We finish up with South Korean musician Park Jiha, whose second album Philos, just released, is as exquisite and poised as her first. Once again it features her on Korean wind instruments the piri and saenghwang, and the hammered dulcimer-like yanggeum. Jiha draws on her experience with Western classical music, minimalism and jazz, but everything is couched in South Korean musical traditions and in these instruments. At times the yanggeum is a background player to the yearning winds, while at other times it takes the fore as a melodic as well as percussive instrument. On one track, which I didn't have time to play tonight, Lebanese poet Dima El Sayed contributes an acerbic piece of spoken word, to an avant-garde accompaniment from Jiha's wind instruments. As a reminder, I played one of the most expansive compositions from her debut album Communion.

Listen again — ~189MB


Sunday, 16th of June, 2019

Playlist 16.06.19 (9:13 pm)

All Australian music tonight, as there's been quite a bit that's come my way of late! Classical composition, post-industrial electronica, experimental indie songwriting, club music bent out of shape...

LISTEN AGAIN for the local talent! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Erik Griswold & Camerata - Queensland's Chamber Orchestra - Humid hours [Harrigans Lane Collective]
Erik Griswold & Camerata - Queensland's Chamber Orchestra - Água do tempo [Harrigans Lane Collective]
Erik Griswold & Camerata - Queensland's Chamber Orchestra - Rock pools [Harrigans Lane Collective]
US-born musician Erik Griswold has been a resident of Brisbane for many years now. He's known for his wonderful prepared piano works, a number of which have been released on the Room40 label, but his newest release is a set of compositions which accompany his prepared piano with a string quartet, sourced from Queensland's Camerata chamber orchestra. Griswold's sometimes playful, sometimes contemplative prepared piano music is perfectly suited to the swooping gestures, harmonised legato chords and melodies of the strings.

Sebastian Field - To Your Arms [Provenance/Sebastian Field Bandcamp]
Sebastian Field - Chrysanthemum Stone [Provenance/Sebastian Field Bandcamp]
Canberran artist Sebastian Field used to play in a postrocky indie band called Cracked Actor, but has been putting together this solo work for some time now. He gained some renown for his falsetto solo cover of Björk's song "Unravel", and his new album Picture Stone - coming out later this month - is also primarily based around his shoegazey solo guitar and soft vocals. Each song was re-played into a characteristic (or unusual) space around Canberra - including Mt Stromlo Observatory, and also The Polish Club Men's Bathroom(!) - giving the album quite a hazy quality. The track I started with is one of the more upbeat ones, but I also love the somewhat more abstract loops and sounds of the instrumental I followed it with.
I've just discovered that this is being released on cassette as well as digital via Stuart Buchanan's recently-resurrected Provenance Records. Excellent!

skipism - Leon Meringue [Psychic Hysteria/Bandcamp]
skipism - Under a lurgie [Psychic Hysteria/Bandcamp]
the little hand of the faithful - Dark Digestive [Psychic Hysteria/Bandcamp]
the little hand of the faithful - As new as a new thing [Psychic Hysteria/Bandcamp]
Drusilla Jones (née Johnson) and Mitch Jones have been working together artistically for nearly 40 years now, with Dru involved around the traps when post-industrial group Scattered Order emerged in Sydney in the early '80s. Both have been members on and off through its entire history and reformation, but they've also worked on experimental, weird sounds in other configurations - including quite recently together as a duo under the name Lint! We recently heard Dru's collaboration with another Sydney experimental veteran Shane Fahey as whisker floater, and Mitch last year launched his solo project the little hand of the faithful with an album on Melbourne label Psychic Hysteria - digitally processed sampled beats, electronic textures, and sometimes guitars. The same label has just released this double cassette album Quiet // Disquiet, which finds Dru's Quiet / side (as skipism) a little quieter but certainly also disquieting, while Mitch's / Disquiet certainly edges into quieter territory now and then. And befitting a couple who've been working, living together and supporting each other for yonks, you can hear their creative processes bleeding into each other at times - glitchy beats, sampled double bass, spoken word samples and so on. It's lovely.

Joan Banoit - Pastoral Care [Lazy Thinking Records/Bandcamp]
Joan Banoit - Instigate [Lazy Thinking Records/Bandcamp]
Sydney artist Julian Bright aka Joan Banoit appeared a couple of years ago with some early releases, but has come into his own with this new album on Sydney label Lazy Thinking Records. Bright wrote, sang and played much of it, but worked closely with Lazy Thinking's Jim Flanagan aka Artefact, resulting in some pretty freewheeling sounds, drawing from James Blakeian glitchy vocals, footwork's fidgety beats, leftfield club music's bass and almost-orchestral brass (in the vein of These New Puritans) courtesy of Sydney stalwart James Greening.

Chokepoint - Break Our Teeth [Chokepoint Bandcamp]
Chokepoint - Heat Spy [Chokepoint Bandcamp]
Chokepoint - Scavengers [Chokepoint Bandcamp]
Nice to hear some very strange industrial/left-field electronics from Sydney. Chokepoint is the solo work of Joram Toth, who created this music from a software instruments & samples being randomly arpeggiated until he found configurations that sounded good to him. That said, it's still very thoughtfully constructed, and fits quite nicely with the deconstructed club music and vaporwavey sampling that's the go at the moment...

Air Max '97 - Xhrinicibles ft. LOFT [Decisions/Bandcamp]
Air Max '97 - Turgor [Decisions/Bandcamp]
The new EP from London-based Aussie artist Air Max '97 is released on the Decisions label that he co-runs with Jikuroux and SCAM. Deconstructed club music is the theme, but with Air Max '97 it's definitely aimed at getting the feet moving, with strange, twisted, skittery grooves that are somewhere between drum'n'bass, footwork, bass music and techno.
We only just heard from Mancunian artist LOFT with her new EP on Tri-Angle, and she's here inserting mashed breaks into the corners of "Xhrinicibles". Excellent stuff as always.

Daniel Arena - the museum [Daniel Arena Bandcamp]
Daniel Arena - we figured it out [Daniel Arena Bandcamp]
Sydney artist Daniel Arena recently released this album, which has the beautiful Borgesian title a map the size of the kingdom, began with productions inspired by an idm techno classic from LFO. It's got its fair share of maximalist techno tracks, but I've chosen a couple that are a little more downtempo/contemplative, including the lovely album closer "we figured it out". Daniel is launching this album at The Dock in Redfern next Sunday night, the 23rd of June.

Trovato - FM [self-released]
Sydney artist Antonio Trovato is influenced by drum'n'bass and sci-fi soundtracks, and his debut track is a little more dreamy than '90s jungle. A promising start, looking forward to more.

Tegan Northwood - Venus Conjunct Sun [Tegan Northwood Bandcamp]
Tegan Northwood - Klu [Tegan Northwood Bandcamp]
Sydney's Tegan Northwood has a couple of earlier albums under her belt that combine jangly guitar indiepop with electronics. Her newer stuff leans more on the electronic side - processed beats, electronic textures and her singing, producing something dreamy but propulsive, with one foot in '90s jangly indie and one in current day glitchy electronics. These tracks appear on the first of two EPs to come out from her this year, this one to be released in July and now pre-orderable at her Bandcamp. Tegan also convenes EMOM Sydney, which are Electronic Music Open Mic nights that usually happen at Hideaway Bar in Enmore - a fun thing to get down to if you're producing sounds yourself.

haddocks' eyes - thirty five feet [haddocks' eyes Bandcamp]
The mysterious project of Sydney/Adelaide/Aussie musician Benjow, haddocks' eyes can be almost anything - from electronically processed vocals singing beautiful songs with keyboard to fingerpicked folk guitars, outsider weirdness, and psychedelic freakouts like this one. The other most recent track, "your horrible little body", is over 22 minutes of catharsis, drum machines and distorted drone guitar.

Listen again — ~196MB


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