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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 January, 2018

Playlist 14.01.18 (8:07 pm)

Second show of 2018, with more new music for the new year plus some catch-ups, of which a few would easily have made my best-of lists if I’d got to them in time! Good music.

Stream on demand seems broken, so I’ll hopefully update this post tomorrow with the link!

Sven Laux – Interference [Dronarivm]
Giulio Aldinucci – Sereno [Dronarivm]
For a second year running, Russian label Dronarivm has started the year with a hefty download compilation – this time raising money for a charity that trains service dogs for the disabled. It features heaps of great neo/post-classical and ambient artists – tonight we start with some beautiful slow-breathing orchestral-sounding pulses from German producer Sven Laux, and some detailed, layered drones from the wonderful Giulio Aldinucci.

Machinefabriek – Hide Inside [Champion Version]
There’s always a lot of music I miss and catch up on in the following year, but it’s unusual for me to miss something from Machinefabriek, completist that I am. This is a splendid piece of postrocky electronics, tailor-made for a split 7″ with Minor Pilot on Champion Version.

Bleurgh! – Nothing You Say Matters Anyway [unreleased demo/rehearsal]
Sydney collective Bleurgh! like to fly under the radar – no Facebook, a website that’s locked down unless you’re given special access… This track features Melanie Louise Eden, who’s singing with them now, and it’s a beautifully affecting song, seemingly created improvisatorily. You’ll be able to catch that line-up at The NOW now on Saturday the 27th of Jan if you’re in Sydney – highly recommended.

Midget! – Sur le premier matin [Objet Disque]
Midget! – Eve [Objet Disque]
This French duo are now up to their third album, this one conceived as a kind of orchestral pop concept album thingy. It has a delightful punny name in French – and to some extent in English: Ferme tes jolis cieux = Close your pretty skies, where “eyes” would be “yeux”. Made up of producer/composer/multi-instrumentalist Mocke and singer/multi-instrumentalist Claire Vailler, on this album their lovely indiefolk songs are augmented with sumptuous classical arrangements (the opening track is 10 minutes long). The album is gorgeous.

Mariam the Believer – Treasures [Moshi Moshi]
Mariam the Believer – Total [Moshi Moshi]
Catching up on the beautiful, and mostly very classic pop-sounding debut solo album from Mariam Wallentin under the name Mariam the Believer. Best known as the singer in Wildbirds & Peacedrums with her husband Andreas Werlin, Wallentin also appears memorably on the Fire! Orchestra albums with Werlin and other Norwegian free jazz luminaries, all of whom appear on this album, and was heard recently on the album of Ben Frost‘s Wasp Factory opera. Mostly the songs here are bright & accessible, impeccably arranged, and played by some of the top Norwegian experimental & jazz musicians and some guests including our own Oren Ambarchi.

Nadah El Shazly – Barzakh (Limen) [Nawa Recordings]
Nadah El Shazly – Palmyra [Nawa Recordings]
Extraordinary album from Cairo musician Nadah El Shazly, who’s been making electronic music in her hometown for a while, after starting off as a punk musician. Here she’s teamed up with some top Montréal musicians including Sam Shalabi and The Dwarfs of East Agouza‘s Maurice Louca. The result is stunning, mixing traditional Arabic music with psychedelic rock and experimental electronics, grounded in El Shazly’s fantastic songs and singing.

Mirco Magnani + Ernesto Tomasini – Plaisir (Ken Karter remix) [Undogmatisch]
Here’s something nicely strange – originally electronic/classical compositions by Mirco Magnani with operatic falsetto vocals from Ernesto Tomasini made up a concept opera adapting Georges Bataille’s “Madame Edwarda”. Here we have the first in a series of remixes/reinterpretations from that album, this one a lovely cavernous piece by Berlin techno producer Ken Karter.

African Ghost Valley – OTH (memotone Rework) [Tandem Tapes]
William “memotone” Yates is an old favourite of this show but has only had scattered releases of late. Nice to see him popping up on Tandem Tapes, one of our favourite cassette labels, for a split with ambient/techno producer African Ghost Valley – here more of a collaborative affair with the artists remixing each other and outright collaborating on the b-side. It’s low-key, mysterious mood music with some squished beats.

тпсб – Matted Feathers [Blackest Ever Black]
тпсб – Pacifier Habits [Blackest Ever Black]
The mysterious тпсб is named in Cyrillic (call it TPSB, although on Facebook he also accepts “tnc6” lol), but may actually be German. He claims to have found the music he releases on a refurbished Russian hard drive… Haha, anyway, I think not, but this new album is his best work yet by a long shot, released by Blackest Ever Black. Lots of rave and idm nostalgia, rainy and dark…

Gantz – (jungle warz) send to ipman etch epoch facta [Found on SoundCloud in 2014]
Gantz – Fugazi (feat. Elif Dikeç) [Deep Medi]
Istanbul dubstep innovator Gantz has some excellent work on the first 12″ for the year from Deep Medi, with some local collaborators and some from the UK. But here fellow Istanbul singer Elif Dikeç appears on a track that’s a hybrid of hip-hop, dubstep and sci-fi… while before it we had a fun little jungle track he put together for the “jungle warz” that popped up on SoundCloud in 2014 as many artists from the dubstep scene & beyond challenged each other with insane junglist bass & beat-juggling… Ah, those were the days…

Truth – Messages [Deep Medi]
New Zealand dubstep mainstays Truth are still out there making excellent tracks, often for Deep Medi. Nice to hear the rolling jungle beats in this head-nodding track.

Show Me The Body – Spit (feat. Princess Nokia) [self-released]
Show Me The Body – In A Grace (feat. Denzel Curry, Moor Mother & Eartheater) [self-released]
Show Me The Body – Halogen (feat. Mal DeVisa) [self-released]
I loved the debut album from NYC’s Show Me The Body in 2016, but that was pure hardcore punk, short, sharp & beautifully done. So it’s a bit of a shock to hear their second release, a mixtape called Corpus I, which is another 2017 catch-up for me (I considered dropping something into a best of show but it was too late by the time I got hold of it). For my eclectic, genre-mashing taste it’s fantastic – hardcore still making an appearance, but with a backbone of hip-hop and heaps of great guests, as we heard tonight, putting in political, personal, hard-hitting performances on their verses. I love this kind of thing, and I love the way these guys have gone about it and what they’ve built.


Sunday, 7th of January, 2018

Playlist 07.01.18 (8:10 pm)

Here we are in 2018 and there’s already some new music! But most of what I’m playing tonight is catch-up from 2017 to be honest.

LISTEN AGAIN because you need to keep up with all the good music! FBi does the stream on demand, and there’s a podcast here.

Leah Kardos – Cat’s Eye (Daisuke Tanabe remix) [bigo & twigetti]
As part of the promotion for Leah Kardos‘s wonderful Roccocochet album last year, the bigo & twigetti label commissioned a couple of remixes. This beautifully twinkly one by Daisuke Tanabe was streaming a few months ago, but the label kindly sent out downloads to supporters at the end of the year, so here it is for you.

UNDER A – CLASSIC [UNDER A Bandcamp]
UNDER A – BEBOTS [UNDER A Bandcamp]
Erin Nortje’s solo project UNDER A is a pretty brutal affair – overdriven synths and heavy beats making a kind of bass-heavy industrial techno the likes of which we usually hear coming out of Berlin. But Nortje is based in Sydney, and he’s launching this debut EP at the Red Rattler in Friday the 19th of January with a host of other artists including Kcin – get your tickets here.

ARIADNE – on your knees [ARIADNE Bandcamp]
ARIADNE – The Shadow [ARIADNE Bandcamp]
ARIADNE – pierce me through [ARIADNE Bandcamp]
ARIADNE – nailed to my body [ARIADNE Bandcamp]
ARIADNE – grief divine [ARIADNE Bandcamp]
Brooklyn duo ARIADNE are a genre-melting artist extraordinaire, combining the sweet and powerful classical vocals of Christine Papania with the industrial, glitchy electronics of Benjamin Forest. They draw from liturgical, ancient spiritual texts and classical & baroque choral & vocal musics, but set them in gothic, industrial, glitchy electronic frameworks. As well as the audio component of their work (available in digital and also in limited cassette releases and even a microSD card), there’s a multi-media aspect, in their intense live performances and also in interactive format online. Between the new tracks from their Stabat Mater album we heard one from 2015’s Tsalal, which mixes in some hellish growling vocals alongside the operatic ones.

Fis & Rob Thorne – Ko au te hou [Saplings Bandcamp]
Stunning music continuing the partnership of New Zealanders Fis (now based in Berlin) and Rob Thorne. Fis imbues this music with all the bass weight and dynamics of his drum’n’bass heritage, while Thorne brings a number of Maori wind and percussion instruments, which themselves are overdriven and processed into new forms. Also notable is the Saplings label which this release inaugurates, which rather than release physical artefacts is using the profits to plant lots of trees.

World’s End Girlfriend – Angel Ache (Serph Remix) [Virgin Babylon Records]
World’s End Girlfriend – Radioactive Spell Wave (KASHIWA Daisuke Remix) [Virgin Babylon Records]
A year and a bit after his last album, we have LAST WALTZ REMIX from World’s End Girlfriend, released on his own Virgin Babylon Records, featuring many of the excellent Japanese artists he releases these days, including Vampillia. The two artists featured tonight are both heirs to World’s End Girlfriend’s throne in a way – Serph has perfected the glitchy, breakneck beats with jaunty classical-tinged backings, although his remix here is darker than his usual work; and although KASHIWA Daisuke first appeared maybe 5 years after WEG, if anything he does the glitchy processing, edits, crazy drum programming, postrock antics and impeccable classical arrangements even better than the man himself.

Erik Friedlander – Trees [Erik Friedlander Bandcamp]
I first came across Erik Friedlander in the early 1990s when I discovered the avant-garde music of John Zorn and his Tzadik label. Friedlander is an accomplished jazz cellist and improviser, but works comfortably in many genres. Here he’s looping his cello in beautiful open textures like an electronically-mediated, classical version of Americana, produced by Boxharp‘s Scott Solter.

Marion Cousin & Gaspar Claus – Sa Nuvia D’Algendar [Les Disques du Festival Permanent]
Gaspar Claus & Casper Clausen – Threesomeness [Les Disques du Festival Permanent]
Orchard – Drawn with the Wind Parts 03 & 04 [Ici D’Ailleurs]
I discovered the brilliant French(-ish) cellist Gaspar Claus through his work with the collaborative supergroup Orchard, put together by Stéphane Grégoire of the Ici D’Ailleurs label. Featuring Claus on cello, the amazing Aidan Baker on guitar, Bästard/Zëro‘s Franck Laurino on drums and Maxime Tisserand on clarinet it’s a pretty unusual line-up (the sort of thing Grégoire loves to do) but the results are pretty special – often a cinematic kind of krautrock or postrock, sometimes with the tougher edge of Laurino’s post-punk and Baker’s doom metal backgrounds, but with plenty of edginess also from both the cello and clarinet taking turns as lead instruments.
Claus’s playing here is full of gritty extended techniques, and we get to hear that even more on his collaborations on his own label Les Disques du Festival Permanent. He & singer Marion Cousin explore workers’ songs of Menorca and Majorca on a beautiful album of just cello & vocals, but Claus takes a much more electronic approach on the other duo. Here he’s working with the hilariously twin-named Casper Clausen (no relation) of Efterklang. Clearly having nearly the same name they had to get together, and they created something equal parts organic & electronic, with both cello and vocals being layered and processed through delays & effects. There are some songs with beats and some more formless but no less lovely works.

Aidan Baker – Aberration Two [Somewherecold Records]
Aidan Baker, Simon Goff & Thor Harris – Red Robin [Gizeh Records]
So we segue from Gaspar Claus to another member of Orchard, the one and only Aidan Baker. In 2017 his doom duo Nadja did release a lovely album of stripped-back versions of their heavy music, but Aidan is nothing if not prolific (and a prolific collaborator too), and rather late in the year he released one of his lovely ambient, glitchy solo albums on Somewherecold Records. As well as Orchard, another rather stunning collaorative effort came out from Canadian label Gizeh Records, this time working with English violinist/composer/producer Simon Goff and percussionist/drummer extraordinaire Thor Harris (check out his Twitter for top-notch political matter). This one has pretty krautrocky postrock vibes, epic violin and rhythmic guitar & drums. Super cool.

Simon Goff – Orange [Hiddenseer]
And finally we hear from Simon Goff himself solo, on his own Hiddenseer label, with a gorgeous piece of electronica meets ambient classical, with layers of violin, chopped samples (vocals and amusing snippets of applause) creating something pretty rapturous. I seem to have missed this when it came out in 2016, so I’m glad it’s finally appeared in a playlist!

Listen again — ~203MB


Sunday, 31st of December, 2017

Playlist 31.12.17 – Best of 2017 Part 2 (8:02 pm)

For NYE we’ve got the second part of our best 2017 selections – a fairly upbeat selection to see us through ALMOST to 2018.
By no means do these two shows cover everything I thought was awesome in 2017 – the theming made that a little difficult, and anyway it’s ONLY 4 hours to fit it all in!

LISTEN AGAIN to some of the very best… stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Like last week, no in-depth write-up, just the music!

三回転とひとひねり (Sankai Hineri) – 仮設5号機 (EVA remix by KASHIWA Daisuke) [Virgin Babylon]
Lanark Artefax – Touch Absence [Whities]
Four Tet – Scientists [self-released]
Bola – Evensong [Skam]
Nmesh – White Lodge Simulation (Odd Nosdam Remix) [Orange Milk Records/Orange Milk Bandcamp]
Special Request – Stairfoot Lane Bunker (Minor Science Remix) [Houndstooth]
ptwiggs – Hypno Game [ptwiggs Bandcamp]
Om Unit – Twilight [Cosmic Bridge Records]
Sully – X Plus Y [Keysound]
Yally – Dread Risk [Diagonal Records]
JK Flesh – Bayley Tower (Remix) [JK Flesh Bandcamp]
Jesu & Sun Kil Moon – Needles Disney [Caldo Verde Records]
The Bug vs Earth – Don’t Walk These Streets [Ninja Tune]
Fret – Lifford Res [Karl Records]
phile – Marauder [Deep Seeded Records]
JASSS – To Eat With Dirty Hands [iDEAL Recordings]
Shit & Shine – Jreemteem [Gang of Ducks]
Tomaga – Greetings From The Bitter End [Tomaga Bandcamp]
the body & Full Of Hell – The King Laid Bare [Thrill Jockey]
the body – Holocaust [Sisters in Christ]
Svarte Greiner – floor [Miasmah]

Listen again — ~210MB


Sunday, 24th of December, 2017

Playlist 24.12.17 – Best of 2017, Part 1 (8:05 pm)

It’s UtilityFogMas! We stop for noone, not even Santa.
Tonight it’s some of our favourite music from 2017 – leaving the beats and other upbeat stuff for next week, which is NYE.

LISTEN AGAIN to some of the very best! Stream on demand via FBi, podcast here.

I’m not going to do a bit write-up as it’s basically song-by-song. Just lots of awesome music.

Circuit des Yeux – Black Fly [Drag City]
Dina Maccabee – Even When the Stars Align [Dina Maccabee Bandcamp]
Dina Maccabee – Northern Lights [Dina Maccabee Bandcamp]
Carla dal Forno – Clusters [Blackest Ever Black]
Juana Molina – Paraguaya [Crammed Discs]
common holly – if after all [Solitaire Recordings]
Jesca Hoop – the lost sky [Sub Pop]
jaimie branch – theme nothing [International Anthem]
Sevdaliza – Do You Feel Real [Butler Records]
Arrom – Split Caress [Provenance]
9T Antiope – Prophase [Eilean Records]
Félicia Atkinson – Monstera Deliciosa [Shelter Press]
Jasmine Guffond – Post Human [Sonic Pieces]
Dead Light – Sleeper (Andrea Belfi Remix) [Village Green]
Shinya Sugimoto & Jeremy Young with Julia Kent – Fiction 3 [Phinery]
Leah Kardos – Contact Mic [bigo & twigetti]
Leah Kardos – Little Phase [bigo & twigetti]
Sophie Hutchings – We Move [1631 Recordings]
Simon Fisher Turner – colour fullness (feat. the Elysian Quartet) [Editions Mego]
Simon Fisher Turner – slight smile (feat. spoken word from Emma Smith of the Elysian Quartet) [Editions Mego]

Listen again — ~193MB


Sunday, 17th of December, 2017

Playlist 17.12.17 (7:52 pm)

Last “new” show for the year! What a rollercoaster year it’s been… and I’ve still got a full complement of mostly very new music to play tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN and catch every detail via stream on demand at FBi, or podcast over here?

Erland Dahlen – Clocks [Hubro]
Erland Dahlen – Pyramid [Hubro]
Erland Dahlen – Hammer [Hubro]
Erland Dahlen – Glas [Hubro]
Starting off tonight catching up with a few releases which came out in the last few months. And, it’s fair to say I’m catching up altogether with the solo music of Norwegian drummer Erland Dahlen. Norway’s Hubro is a label I’ve come to trust for high quality whether it’s in post-rock, inventive jazz or folk/classical hybrids, and occasionally more pure electronic music. Dahlen has played with various bands in some of these genres, and his solo work is almost entirely the multi-tracked work of just him. Rhythmically driven, but with plenty of melody and rich synths and tuned percussion as well. Whistling, glissandoing melodies from the bowed saw often feature (although it could be mistaken for a theremin), and the end result is something absolutely cinematic and widescreen.
Bookended by tracks from his new album Clocks, we also heard a tune each from his previous solo albums, Rolling Bomber and Blossom Bells.

Erik Honoré – Surge [Hubro]
Second cab off the rank, also on Hubro, is the Norwegian writer, singer & producer Erik Honoré, who’s mostly known for his collaboration with ambient & experimental artists like David Sylvian, Jan Bang & Arve Henricksen, as well as his duo with singer Greta Aagre. Unrest is only his second album, and the rich, tremulous sound should not be surprising for those who know any of the other artists here. There is, however, a slightly darker, industrial edge to some of these sounds which elevates it above just being more (high quality) fourth world ambient stuff.

Daniel O’Sullivan – The Projector [O Genesis/DOS Bandcamp]
Daniel O’Sullivan – Apocryphonium [O Genesis/DOS Bandcamp]
Catching up, also, with the solo album from Daniel O’Sullivan, which came out a good few months ago. I was lucky to catch DOS playing at the Audioscope 2017 one-day festival in Oxford a few weeks ago, and he alternated between weird rickety tape loops along with hand-built sampler rhythms and vocal loops on the one hand, and more straightforward songs with electric piano. This solo album features a lot of his pop side, heard also in his duo Grumbling Fur with Alexander Tucker – and also pointed at from his previous solo act Mothlite. But O’Sullivan has also worked closely with Ulver & Sunn O))) among others – a versatile artist to say the least!

Arrom – Now Won [Provenance]
Aphir – Asymptote [Provenance]
KAIA – Praey [Provenance]
Stu Buchanan’s latest project, the Provenance, rounds out 2017 with a compilation featuring exclusive tracks from all its artists. I sadly didn’t have time to fit an over-10 minute track from Shoeb Ahmad, but here are three tracks from fantastic female Australian producers.
I loved Arrom‘s debut EP (mini-album?) a couple of months ago. Her layered choral-trained vocals are underpinned and undermined by industrial-tinged glitchy beats & bass, also on display in the head-nodding rhythm for this track. Technological collaboration came from Aphir, who appears here with a similarly lovely piece of electronic pop, as does KAIA, who like Aphir is Melbourne-based but originally hails from Canberra.

Parris – Hot-Blooded [The Trilogy Tapes]
Bristol producer Parris came from the outer wilds of dubstep but can be found producing tweaked house, weird grime or bewildering bass-centric ambient tunes at any particular time. I love how this track from his new EP just stops, bar some crackly ambience, in the middle, before pulling itself back into its bass-heavy house beat. It’s simple but not simplistic, perfectly judged.

DJ Sports – For Real For You [Firecracker Recordings]
Danish producer Milan Zaks has been becoming notable for his lovely throwback sounds to spacey ambient house, melodic jungle and the like as DJ Sports. He runs a few labels too, including Help, and in fact only recently toured Australia in October. I’m catching up tonight on the excellent Modern Species album from earlier this year with a lovely bit of lightweight junglism.

Artilect – Ashen [Samurai]
Ancestral Voices – Izula [Samurai]
Now Berlin-based, originally New Zealand label Samurai Music has now been pushing adventurous drum’n’bass both for the dancefloor and into further reaches for a decade. They formed HORO for more experimental sounds, along with various other sub-labels, but have decided now to merge it all back together, and their “Phase 1” compilation of the Samurai Music Decade mixes the dancefloor-honed sounds of Tokyo Prose, Nucleus & Paradox and the sadly missed Marcus Intalex with the experimentalism of AnD and others. Manchester’s Artilect provides a dark techy number with amen breaks intruding here and there, and there’s also a typically tribal and epic tune from Ancestral Voices, beloved as one half of Akkord.

9T Antiope – Lemniscate [eilean rec.]
Bill Seaman – (Re) Erasures And Displacements [eilean rec.]
We’ll be hearing from Nima Aghiani and Sara Bigdeli Shamloo’s 9T Antiope in our best of 2017 in coming weeks for sure, but it’s lovely to hear something new from the Paris-based Iranian duo as the French label eilean records is celebrating their year of releases with a compilation of exclusive music from the label’s artists. It’s a fantastic showcase of talent, centred around crackly, droney ambient, more or less post-classical, but with a lot of variety and deep listening to be found. Music academic & theorist Bill Seaman can be found in various ensembles, making absorbing electro-acoustic sound-worlds whether with tape loops or computers. The drones, shuffles, crackles and muted piano tones here are like dusty memories from a state of half-sleep.

Andy Nice – Atlantean [Front & Follow]
IX Tab – The Seams Of Goodwill (Original Quincux Version) [Front & Follow]
UK label Front & Follow are also celebrating 10 years of existence this year, and I’m just catching up with playing their 2CD compilation Lessons on the show. It’s impressively varied, from ambient to idm & glitchy house to folk and other acoustic sounds such as the beautiful melodic multi-tracked cello of Andy Nice on our first selection tonight. How could I not play this, cellist that I am? And on the other side, here’s the “original quincux version”(?) of a track from IX Tab‘s amazing debut album Spindle & The Bregnut Tree – arcane, glitchy, queasy electronic folk or folk electronic or…? In any case, it’s long and very strange and you should check out all of his stuff.

Listen again — ~109MB


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