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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, 19th of August, 2018

Playlist 19.08.18 (9:06 pm)

Ambient pads and drones and classical/jazz influences are rife in tonight's show, but we're starting with an artist known for bass techno and jungle influences...

Djrum - Showreel Pt.3 [R&S Records/Bandcamp]

Sunday, 12th of August, 2018

Playlist 12.08.18 (9:42 pm)

Hip-hop through glitch through minimalist jazz to ambient, post-industrial and acoustic experimental folk... Just your usual Utility Fog fare.

LISTEN AGAIN if you dare! Stream on demand if you command... podcast here if you like.

Manga Saint Hilare - Forever [Manga Bandcamp]
It's great to hear a new track from one of the godfathers of grime, Manga Saint Hilare - this one produced by none other than Wiley, with a great simple synth line and bassline running through it. Could easily come from 2003, and ain't nothing wrong with that.

Saul Williams - The Flaw You Worship [from Neptune Frost]
A couple of years on from his MartyLoserKing concept album, Saul Williams is building on this politically charged cyberpunkish dystopia with a musical film called Neptune Frost, which he just successfully funded via Kickstarter. Fans of Williams will not be surprised (but are hopefully delighted like me) to hear the relentless amen breaks powering through this tune - one of his earliest appearances was his intertextual tour de force "Coded Language", a collaboration with DJ Krust.

Machinefabriek with Signor Benedick the Moor - IX-Three [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek with Signor Benedick the Moor - IX-Four [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek with Signor Benedick the Moor - IX-Six [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek with Signor Benedick the Moor - IX-Seven [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
It's very unusual to hear Dutch sound-artist Machinefabriek making beats, but beats there are (glitchy though they may be) on this boutique release - and rarer still, there's rapping on some of these tracks. It's a collaboration with Californian experimental artist Signor Benedick the Moor, and it's a free download from Machinefabriek's Bandcamp! I'd happily spend a few euros on it, but it's free, so there's no excuse to dawdle on this one...

Machinefabriek - Dwaal (Nicola Ratti version) [Moving Furniture]
I've dawdled a little on this - it came out a few months ago. Two great 18-minute drone/glitch pieces from Machinefabriek were released on CD by Amsterdam experimental label Moving Furniture Records along with two remixes - this lovely glitch-techno version from Italian producer Nicola Ratti, and a typical piece of ambient watercolours from Benoît Pioulard.

The Necks - Body (excerpt) [Fish of Milk/Northern Spy/ReR Megacorp]
After last year's double-vinyl album, with 20-minute tracks designed to fit on a side of vinyl, The Necks are back to their longform creations with Body, released this coming week. Fortunately for me, there's a spot about 20 minutes into this wonderful piece where I'm able to gracefully pull us out - in between the first long, contemplative groove and the long krautrock section where Chris Abrahams moves from repeated piano notes to organ. In this first section, Tony Buck's drumming is open and sparse, recalling late period Talk Talk, and Lloyd Swanton plays a two-note (one note repeated) bassline. As the first section dissipates, Abrahams' organ (which has been present throughout) continues, and Swanton starts up some big multi-layered bowed drones (still on that same tonic note). Later Buck's drumming picks things up a notch and off we go into krautrock love. Throughout there are clattering bits of percussion hovering at the edge of hearing, and thundering bass drum hits.
It may be premature, but this feels like the best Necks album I've heard in a while.

Evelyn Ida Morris - Collaboration [ABC Music]
Evelyn Ida Morris - Backwards [ABC Music]
Evelyn Ida Morris - Mutual Admiration [ABC Music]
After their brilliant self-titled solo album was released a few months ago, we get another new album from Evelyn! It's the soundtrack to the feature film Acute Misfortune, an adaptation of Erik Jensen's novel, which just won some accolades at its debut at Melbourne International Film Festival. It's beautiful stuff, lots of piano as on their solo album, even some mostly-wordless vocals, and sonic experimentation.

The little hand of the faithful - D.C.I.C.C.T.V. [Psychic Hysteria]
The little hand of the faithful - Dark and strangely pale [Psychic Hysteria]
The solo project of Mitchell Jones from Scattered Order features maximalist mashed samples and electronic beats - so not that different from what Scattered Order have become. But it's super fun and heavy so I'm not complaining in the slightest!

Broken Chip - It Means a Lot [Broken Chip Bandcamp]
It's been a while since we've had a proper release from Martyn Palmer, either as Broken Chip or his wonky hip-hop project Option Command. The 3-track EP this is taken from, Sunset Memories, apparently presages a full album, which is excellent news!

Slagr - flimmer [Hubro]
Slagr - varle [Hubro]
Norwegian trio Slagr take the traditional sounds of Norwegian folk music into meditative, minimalist territory in their music. The Hardanger fiddle is a Norwegian version of the violin, with additional sympathetic strings adding resonances under the four familiar ones. Next to this are cello and the warm, bell-like sounds of vibraphone an glass harmonica. It's enveloping music, like being inside with a fire on while it's white with snow outside.

Ale Hop - Migration Data (extended version) [The Wire - Below The Radar 28]
David Ross - Internal Model [The Wire - Below The Radar 28]
As usual, the digital edition of The Wire came out about a week into the previous month (this is the September issue we're talking about), and with it comes the latest download compilation, Below The Radar 28. While most of this stuff is pitched to The Wire by labels and publicists, it's still a good chance to hear some of the more adventurous music coming out around the world. Here we have Berlin-based Peruvian producer Ale Hop, who processes her voice and guitar along with lots of electronics - I've previously heard her guesting on a track by fellow Berlin residents These Hidden Hands. Next up, an unreleased track from David Ross, English creator of bizarre handmade instruments which produce unpredictable noises - yet it comes together into something musical and at times rhythmic.

Loops - Serene [Tandem Tapes TT043]
Eggshell Goblin - 16 Eggs [Tandem Tapes TT043]
The latest split cassette from Tandem Tapes features two UK artists. From Loops we get some mellow idm-ish sounds - almost ambient, but with gentle beats and melodic basslines popping up. Meanwhile Eggshell Goblin gets more abrasive and fast-paced as the tracks proceed.

Listen again — ~203MB

Sunday, 5th of August, 2018

Playlist 05.08.18 (9:09 pm)

Your weekly eclectic selection, crossing between electronic, experimental, post-classical, world and jazz tonight.

LISTEN AGAIN for words and music across the world... stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

hence therefore - ashfield park [3bs Records]
hence therefore - admitting [3bs Records]
Simon Unwin has been based in London for a couple of years now, but he's still Sydney's Hence Therefore, and indeed his new ambient album Strata is released once again on Sydney-based 3BS Records. In the vein of Aphex Twin's SAW II or Coil's Musick To Play In The Dark it's shimmering, moody stuff made of deceptively simple elements, and it's a real beauty.

Erik Friedlander - 1000 Steps [Erik Friedlander Bandcamp]
For a little while, legendary Downtown New York cellist Erik Friedlander has been releasing single tracks as part of his River project in which he uses the studio as a musical instrument. It's resulted in some interesting experimental works. This one also features Satoshi Takeishi on percussion.

Elsen Price - D Major [self-released]
...interview with Elsen Price...
Plait Ensemble - Where Is My Money [Elsen Price Bandcamp]
...more interview with Elsen Price...
Ephemera Trio - Floating In Space [Ephemera Trio Bandcamp]
Eishan Ensemble - Nim Dong [Art As Catharsis]
Very nice chatting with Sydney double bassist Elsen Price about all the groups he's involved with! We started with a lovely piece of double bass looping and improvising from the originally self-trained (but now qualified in classical and jazz) musician. He's playing this Friday August 10th at St Stephen's church on Macquarie St in Sydney's CBD, doing a program of contemporary compositions and maybe a bit of improvised double bass. And then he's playing with his various ensembles at Extended Play, 12-hour mini-festival of New Music (in all its forms) at City Recital Hall, also in Sydney's CBD. (Hot tip: you can see me playing solo as raven as well...) Plait Ensemble is Elsen's compositions performed by an ensemble made up of musicians from different backgrounds - jazz, classical Armenian, Persian, Japanese - and the music is as gregarious as you'd expect. Persian tar player Hamed Sadeghi leads Eishan Ensemble, which shares a few members with Plait and whose album Nim Dong was recently released through Sydney's excellent Art As Catharsis. And Ephemera is led by flute/piano player Keyna Wilkins, along with Elsen on bass, and members on trumpet and viola, inspired by (and sampling) sounds from the solar system and beyond.

Lekhfa (Maryam Saleh, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Maurice Louca) - Teskar Tebki [Mostakell]
Lekhfa (Maryam Saleh, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Maurice Louca) - El Shahwa Wel Soarr [Mostakell]
I was blown away by the new album by Nadah El Shazly earlier this year, and was delighted when she was featured on the cover of The Wire in a piece about the underground & experimental music scene from Cairo. Earlier this year El Shazly contribued an incredible playlist of contemporary Egyptian music to The Wire, featuring a piece by the Lekhfa trio as well as work from familiar names to UFog like Zuli as well as many names that were new to me. Made up of popular singers in the Egyptian alternative scene Maryam Saleh and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh along with adventurous producer & multi-instrumentalist Maurice Louca, Lekhfa is a hugely exciting discovery - lovely Egyptian songs in a leftfield indie/electronic setting.

Happy Axe - Seven Sounds [Spirit Level/Happy Axe Bandcamp]
I wrote last week about how awesome Emma Kelly's debut Happy Axe album Dream Punching is. It's so good I'm playing another selection this week - one which starts with just lots of violins along with the vocals, but then adds some heavy bass and skittering beats into the mix 2/3 of the way in, and finishes with glitched-up vocal delays. Magnificent.

Andrée Greenwell & Ali Cobby Eckermann - I Am A Survivor [Andrée Greenwell Bandcamp]
Andrée Greenwell & Candy Royalle - Fire [Andrée Greenwell Bandcamp]
The powerful and important new work from Andrée Greenwell, Listen to Me, was premiered on the FBi Radio-produced, nationally syndicated show All The Best. Part documentary, part creative work, its subject matter is gendered violence, and it's a mosaic of spoken word, performance poetry and song, with music and songwriting by Greenwell and guest performances and words contributed by a raft of brilliant Australian women. It's beautiful and moving to hear the voice of wonderful Sydney poet Candy Royalle, recorded before she tragically passed away from cancer in late June this year, aged only 37. We also heard one of a couple of appearances from Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann.

Joni Void - Observer (Natalie's Song) feat. Natalie Reid [Constellation]
Joni Void - Disassociation (Kyla's Song) feat. Kyla Brooks/Nag [Constellation]
Joni Void - Empathy (Ayuko's Song) feat. Ayuko Gota/Noah] [Constellation]
Jean Cousin's music as Joni Void (and previously Johnny_Ripper) is an unusual fit for Monréal label Constellation, home of Godspeed and A Silver Mt Zion, who've tended to be analogue purists - but the shunning of digital recording & production techniques is long gone (there's plenty of glitch in some of Do Make Say Think's back catalogue for instance) and Cousin is from Montréal. I missed this album when it came out a bit over a year ago, but it's pretty brilliant, with tracks built from unusual sample sources and a few guest vocalists (in fact Kyla's Song above is entirely sourced from Kyla Brooks' voice) - there's a gloomy affect to most of the tracks, and a slightly different take on reflection and evocation through sampling than the usual vaporwave fare.

Michael Price - To Begin (Akira Kosemura Rework) [1631 Recordings]
We finish with another selection from the Diary Reworks of English composer Michael Price, released on 1631 Recordings. Here we have the gorgeous glitchy piano and strings of Akira Kosemura.

Listen again — ~193MB

Sunday, 29th of July, 2018

Playlist 29.07.18 (9:16 pm)

Thanks to Reg Harris for holding the fort last week on Utility Fog! It's nice to be back, with a bag of tunes from Oz and around the world, ranging from post-classical experimentalism through adventurous electronics near & far from the dancefloor, and back again.

LISTEN AGAIN as we take you on a journey, via FBi's on-demand streaming or podcast right here.

Happy Axe - There It's Night [Spirit Level/Happy Axe Bandcamp]
Happy Axe - Prayers and Mantras [Spirit Level/Happy Axe Bandcamp]
Emma Kelly has been honing her craft as Happy Axe for a little while now, playing in Canberra and around Australia, looping her violin and vocals along with some really creative handmade beats. Her debut album Dream Punching is a really extraordinary piece of work, with dream-like pieces which are sometimes song-shaped, sometimes weirdly other. On the epic opener tonight (actually the culmination of the album) she plays with pitch-shifting her loops to create gorgeous lo-fi quasi-orchestral pillows of wobbly, blissful audio. Elsewhere things get a little more percussive, but still pretty blissful!

Resina - Procession [130701]
Resina - Nightjar [130701]
Resina - Surface [130701]
Warsaw-based cellist Karolina Rec released her debut album on Fat Cat's post-classical side-label 130701 in 2016 ("Nightjar" is taken from that album). Deceptive music which builds in intensity and depth as more layers are added, and sometimes opens up with the addition of vocals, it was quite a revelation. Her new album Traces carries on from where the self-titled release left off, with plenty of vigorous and beautiful cello playing and some cavernous multi-tracked vocals, and some occasional glistening, disintegrating effects. In "Surface", she underlines a vocal loop with subtle cello glissandi, and then slowly feeds everything through a wobbling granular effect - it's stunning.

BirdWorld - After Rain [courtesy of The Wire]
A duo of Gregor Riddell on cello/electronics and Adam Teixeira on drums/percussion, BirdWorld have made it on to the latest cover CD from Wire Magazine, August's Wire Tapper 47. It's apparently taken from an album called UNDA to be released later this year - not sure what label or when, so I guess we'll keep our ears peeled, because this is a great bit of ambient jazz/world stuff, featuring some pretty nimble cello playing!

Lotic - Fragility [Tri-Angle Records/Lotic Bandcamp]
Lotic - Slay [Lotic Bandcamp]
Björk - notget (Lotic fromdeath version) [One Little Indian]
Lotic - Heart (feat. Moro) [Tri-Angle Records/Lotic Bandcamp]
Lotic - Resilience [Tri-Angle Records/Lotic Bandcamp]
The new album from Lotic shows an artist confident with their tools, but challenging themself further with more vocal-oriented tracks. A lot of the music features crunchy beats skittering around at different speeds, underpinned by sub bass. There's a distinct melodic sensibility to it all too - even at its most aggressively percussive. The vocal tracks expand the horizons further, taking on gender and race in some very smart ways. It's one of the highlight electronic albums of the year so far, a kind of experimental, more political flipside of SOPHIE's album.

Cassius Select - They Shook [Hypercolour]
Cassius Select - Screwface [Hypercolour]
Lavurn Lee's work hasn't altered and nor has his pace now that he's returned to Toronto after living in Sydney for so long we thought he was part of the furniture. His new Cassius Select EP is released by UK label Hypercolour and it's his usual brand of twitchy, bass-heavy techno, with tiny r'n'b/rap vocal snippets, which could be read as a repurposing of techniques from footwork. It's so minimal that sometimes you're dancing to the gaps in between the beats, which is kind of perfect.

Nonturn - Identify [Audiobulb]
Nonturn - Significant [Audiobulb]
Japanese artist & musician Nozon Yoneda released his debut album as Nonturn on UK label Audiobulb, rather gorgeously packaged with Yoneda's photos of scratched-up paint and other materials. The music is entirely made of processed field recordings taken around the streets of Tokyo (where the photos were also taken). These recordings were pitch-shifted and processed into a pallette of sounds which Yoneda uses for beats and melodies, creating some very pretty idm & ambient/industrial music. It's far more accessible than you'd expect, but retains enough of the field recording aspects that you feel at times like you're on a fantastically orchestrated street corner.

Dialectic - Chikz [Milk Thistle Records]
Dialectic - Engage/Disengage [Milk Thistle Records]
Patrick Sharples brings some very interesting philosophical elements to his drums & electronic music - with an interest in feminism and a background in mental health social care, he's based his debut EP around the phrase Pregnancy Suits You. On this album the Central Coast artist is exploring how to make live electronic music while playing drum kit, and he's created some loping tunes with unusual time signatures and maximalist synth attack.

Golden Syrup - When Will I Run Out Of Breath [Nice Music]
Golden Syrup - Didn't Go Home [Nice Music]
Sara Retallic makes audiovisual works as Golden Syrup, and I was lucky enough to catch her live a week and a bit ago when Tangents launched our album in Melbourne. Her set started with lo-fi noise and industrial beats, and gradually morphed into sultry pop vocals, and that's pretty much how this album goes too. Recommended.

2 Bad Mice - Gone Too Soon (Sully Remix) [Sneaker Social Club]
Breakbeat hardcore supergroud 2 Bad Mice (featuring Rob Playford of jungle/drum'n'bass label Moving Shadow) came out of retirement recently, and here we have one of those new rave tunes expertly tweaked into junglist heaven by the contemporary master Sully.

Michael Price - Song For A (Madeleine Cocolas Rework) [1631 Recordings]
Michael Price - I Will, For You (Sophie Hutchings Rework) [1631 Recordings]
British composer Michael Price writes a lot for film, and has also had releases on labels like Erased Tapes. 1631 Recordings have just released an album of reworkings featuring some very nice post-classical artists, including two Aussies: ex-pat Madeleine Cocolas is now based in New York and as usual bathes us in synth pads and vocals, while Sydney's own Sophie Hutchings sits down at her upright piano for some late night musings.

Listen again — ~202MB

Sunday, 15th of July, 2018

Playlist 15.07.18 (9:00 pm)

Grimey dancehall, drill'n'bass, kosmische droneglitch postrock, classic electronics, processed piano, looped violin and some indie to finish up tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN for the sounds you can't find anywhere else... (and because I'm not here next week, soz!) Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Miss Red - War [Pressure]
The Bug - Diss Mi Army (feat. Miss Red) [Ninja Tune]
The Bug - Mi Lost (feat. Miss Red) [Ninja Tune]
Miss Red - What Would You Like (prod. Andy Stott) [self-released/Bandcamp]
Miss Red - Dagga [Pressure]
Produced by The Bug, and released on his Pressure Records, here, finally, is the debut album proper from Tel Aviv gyal come good Miss Red. With a Polish and Moroccan background, Sharon Stern sings and toasts in English, with incredible energy and an immaculate sense of rhythm and phrasing. She's a perfect foil for The Bug, although on her Murder mixtape she swipes some other great grooves, including tonight's from Andy Stott's "Damage". The new album is just as good as it was always going to be.

Laxenanchaos - Dog With Snow [Virgin Babylon Records]
VMO - Out Of Orbit(Vehement Mental Orgasm Mix)---Laxenanchaos [VMO/Vampillia self-released]
Laxenanchaos - Capture Everything [Virgin Babylon Records]
Last year I was in London for a week and saw a gig almost every day, including a few of my favourite artists... On one of the nights, Japan's black metal/noise/post-rock/post-classical band Vampillia were playing, and although I've seen them a few times in Sydney, this time they were supported by their own alter-egos VMO aka Violent Magic Orchestra, an instrumental band that leans more towards hardcore and noise, and epic dynamics. It was awesome, of course. Out on the merch desk, there was the usual collection of tour-only releases, including an EP of remixes, and on that EP I discovered the breakcore/drill'n'bass wonders of Laxenanchaos - so it was rather nice to find a couple of months ago that World's End Girlfriend's wonderful Virgin Babylon Records were putting out a full length album from him. It's lovely '90s style idm, melodic drill'n'bass with cut-up vocals and everything. Many applause emojis!

Witxes - Incantations [Consouling Sounds]
Witxes - With Stung Eyes [self-released]
Witxes - The Reason [Denovali]
Witxes - The Strands [Denovali]
Witxes - Disruptions [Consouling Sounds]
Pronounced "witches", Witxes is the project of French artist Maxime Vavasseur, stretching back to 2010's self-released early works compilation Scrawls #01 (I think my copy may be hand-painted?), exploring kosmische electronics and drone, glitch, and krautrock/postrock textures. I've always loved the unpredictable creativity of his releases, drawing a lot from drone and sound-art but easily moving into something really melodic or something with heavy drums just for the hell of it. It's been a while, and it's great to have him back!

Carl Stone - Banteay Srey [Unseen Worlds]
A pioneer of live electronic music, Carl Stone has been working with computers in electronic music since 1986 (his work goes back further than that), and he's recently been the subject of two big back catalogue collections on multiple LPs from Unseen Worlds. From the second of these, Electronic Music from the Eighties and Nineties, this gorgeous epic of ambient music reminds me of an ambien-inflected tune from early µ-Ziq - and incidentally this is from 1993, so roughly contemporaneous. It's a blissful mix of electric organ, some very subtle rhythmic elements, and a slow-down, stretched and looped sample of a Burundi child's song.

Bart van Dongen & Richard van Kruysdijk - Three [Opa Loka Records]
Bart van Dongen & Richard van Kruysdijk - One [Opa Loka Records]
Described as "pianist Bart van Dongen and electronic conjuror Richard van Kruysdijk", this duo take delight in subverting the sound of the piano, both through preparations and also through live processing. The piano playing is a bit avant-classical a bit jazz - at times prettily melodic, at other times abstract - while the electronics contribute some nice granular sampling, glitchy delays and occasional power electronics. It's actually really listenable, and for those of us who love the collision of organic and digital, it's a beauty and highly recommended.

XANI - CODE ORANGE [Xani Bandcamp]
Xani Kolac is an in-demand session violinist in Melbourne and also known for her drums-and-violin duo The Twoks among other things. Her new album 3 is out in a couple of weeks, her first on vinyl (and digital), and it's also her first entirely instrumental release. It's all performed live in the studio with amps and effects and lots of creative looping and delays.

Brian Campeau - mtl/montreal [self-released/Bandcamp]
Brian Campeau - Two Repeating [Art As Catharsis]
It's been a while between albums for Brian Campeau, once of Montréal, then of Sydney, now based in Melbourne. That said, it was longer between the previous two albums. There's a bit more of a proggy rock vibe on the new one - released in August - but I gave you a sneak preview of a lovely gentle number with long strings and diminished chords. And a classic from his first album, the "cd1" version of "Montreal" and its little drum machine intro.

Listen again — ~214MB

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