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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, 10th of February, 2019

Playlist 10.02.19 (8:09 pm)

Big feature on the music of Cairo musician Maurice Louca tonight, plus some glitchy Euro dub and some intense techno later, plus an epic new piece of Aussie folk...

LISTEN AGAIN to the best sounds you can find. Stream on demand from FBi or podcast here.

Maurice Louca - The Palm of a Ghost (feat. Nadah El Shazly) [Northern Spy/Sub Rosa]
Bikya - betrayal [100 Copies]
Maurice Louca - repeat to fade [100 Copies]
Alif - Eish Jabkum Hon? (What Brings You Here?) [Nawa Recordings/Bandcamp]
Maurice Louca - Salute the Parrot (feat. Alaa 50) [Nawa Recordings/Bandcamp]
Nadah El Shazly - Afqid Adh-Dhakira (I Lose Memory) [Nawa Recordings/Bandcamp]
Lekhfa (Maryam Saleh, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Maurice Louca) - El Shahwa Wel Soarr [Mostakell]
Karkhana with Nadah El Shazly - Dans ma bouche, une autre bouche [Unrock]
Maurice Louca - Northern Spy [Northern Spy/Sub Rosa]
Sometime last year The Wire put Nadah El Shazly on the cover as part of an in-depth look at the underground music scene in Cairo & Egypt - a couple of months after featuring a fantastic playlist from El Shazly of experimental Egyptian music. It was a fascinating interview and, along with her playlist, made me want to seek out more music than the small sliver I already knew (not just ZULI's amazing glitchy electronics but also El Shazly's own beautiful album from 2017). Frequently appearing among the collaborators and producers was the name Maurice Louca, who was mentioned as having made electronic music but also being involved with experimental rock and song-based stuff. In particular, on El Shazly's playlist was something credited to Lekhfa - although technically that's the name of the album. The work of singers Maryam Saleh & Tamer Abu Ghazaleh along with Maurice Louca, it's a wonderful setting of Egyptian jazz & popular song into a modern setting of edgy indie rock & electronics. It turns out that Louca and Abu Ghazaleh collaborated a few years earlier in a quintet called Alif, interpreting Egyptian poetry into a similar heady mix of traditional Egyptian, rock and electronics.
In researching this special, I discovered two early electronica albums of Louca's, released on the slightly boutique Cairo label 100 Copies. Bikya is a trio which apparently still exists, sporadically, with Mauhmoud Waly on bass and Mahmoud Refat on drums. All contribute electronics - glitchy beats and samples abound alongside muscly grooves. Meanwhile Louca's first solo album Garraya came out through the label in 2010, with more glitchy beats and sensitively cut-up samples.
Louca's new solo album Elephantine brings together a band of musicians from Cairo & beyond to create an album part improv, part composed, with Louca as band-leader and musical visionary. The Egyptian music we've heard on these various recent albums is there, as is the more experimental rock of some of this other projects, but it's dominated by a cosmic jazz feel, focused but looser due to the seasoned improvisers involved, with the sense of groove and the beautiful airy production the only sign of his electronic roots.
Meanwhile, also released early this year is a split album on Unrock called Carte Blanche, with Sun City Girls' Sir Richard Bishop and David Oliphant on one side and on the other Cairo/Beirut/Istanbul supergroup Karkhana, which features Louca alongside frequent collaborator Sam Shalabi. These tracks benefit also from the singing, once again, of Nadah El Shazly. It was nice to see this release appearing on my radar at the same time as Louca's new solo album.

Ulrich Troyer - Dolomite Dub (Part II) [4Bit Productions]
Ulrich Troyer - At The Workshop [Deep Medi/4Bit Bandcamp]
Uli Troyer - Nok 3 [Mego/4Bit Bandcamp]
I first discovered Viennese glitch/dub producer Ulrich Troyer (as Uli Troyer) via his debut release, a 3" CD (remember those? I have so many...) on what was still, at the time, the Mego label. With dub undertones, it was basically a bunch of short pieces made from glitchy, clicky beats. Nice enough that I kept it in my collection, but it was a surprise to find a promo years later from the beloved dubstep label Deep Medi in my inbox with Ulrich Troyer's name on it. The Songs For William album is not dubstep, but it's glitchy dub of a characteristic German/Austrian flavour, and utterly lovely. Cut to 2019, and his latest album Dolomite Dub is out on his own 4Bit Productions. Its 4 long tracks make up an engrossing mountain trek, perfect travelling music. Probably his best work yet.

Nkisi - The Dark Orchestra [Arcola]
Nkisi - Violent Tendencies [Arcola]
Nkisi - V [UIQ/Bandcamp]
A couple of weeks ago we heard from NON Worldwide co-creator Nkisi's wonderful new album on UIQ, melding Congolese rhythms with widescreen techno. She put out an EP last year on Warp's vinyl-only sublabel Arcola, and I'd been hanging out for digital for some time. This week, spurred by news of the latest Arcola release, I went to Bleep to check, and lo and behold, the Arcola catalogue is now available digitally! So we heard two tracks from the darker and faster Arcola EP The Dark Orchestra tonight.

Only The Lonely - Fog (demo) [Only The Lonely Bandcamp]
It's been a few years since Brett Thompson put out his last release as Rand & Holland, the epic, fucked up self-titled masterpiece released on Room40's A Guide To Saints (find it here). It's been a long time since we've heard anything new from Brett. But last year I had the pleasure of seeing him and partner Loni in Only The Lonely performing at the Golden Age Cinema in Sydney, and now two demos have surfaced on Bandcamp. The angst and noise of that last Rand & Holland release is gone, replaced again with hypnotic folk riffs, subtle percussion and ride cymbals, and the vocal partnering of Brett & Loni. The 12-minute "Fog" is worth every single minute. Enjoy, and pay what you like.

Listen again — ~196MB


Sunday, 3rd of February, 2019

Playlist 03.02.19 (8:11 pm)

A show full of experimental, challenging sounds and also soothing beauty tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN because who else gonna take you on this journey? Stream on demand from FBi or podcast here.

9T Antiope - Nocebo (A) excerpt 1 [Purple Tape Pedigree]
9T Antiope - Nocebo (A) excerpt 2 [Purple Tape Pedigree]
9T Antiope - Nocebo (B) excerpt [Purple Tape Pedigree]
The Iranian duo 9T Antiope, who have been based in Paris for a few years now, have featured a lot on this show, individually as well as together. Last year, Nima Aghiani put out an EP called REMS on PTP aka Purple Tape Pedigree that was one of my favourite releases of the year. Now he returns with Sara Bigdeli Shamloo to deliver the second in a trilogy of 9T Antiope albums, following Isthmus, released on eilean records in 2017. It's a stunning combination of noise and beauty, spoken words and layered vocals, industrial electronic noise and Aghiani's violin. I haven't really figured out what it's about, but it's super evocative anyway!

Siavash Amini & Matt Finney - Still Remember [Opal Tapes]
Poet & spoken word artist Matt Finney has collaborated with some great artists in the ambient/post-rock/experimental world over the last for years, including composer William Ryan Fritch and Russian artist Heinali. His third album with Iranian sound artist Siavash Amini has just dropped, and it's one to treasure. Finney's contributions to each track are surprisingly brief, but utterly compelling, distorted messages from some distant place, wrapped up in Amini's sometimes distorted, sometimes crystalline, sometimes cavernous music.

Corey Fuller - Seiche (excerpt) [12k]
A US artist who has spent a lot of his life in Japan, Corey Fuller is one half of the duo Illuha and has collaborated with many artists. This new solo album, entitled Break, addresses the heavy subject matter of today's environment: "A crashing wave, the breaking dawn, an impact, the crushing of emotional spirit... the breaking of a storm." It's very beautiful, utilising piano, field recordings and electronics in a very melodic way. I wish I could have played the entire track.

Stephen Vitiello & Taylor Deupree - Second Variation [12k]
Some lovely drones, chopped and detuned samples and delays from seasoned collaborators and sound artists Stephen Vitiello and Taylor Deupree - the former with many releases solo & with other artists on 12k, the latter the guy who runs the label, and also an in-demand mastering engineer and photographer. This second variation of work originally presented in a gallery concert evolves from agitated tape samples and delays into a beautiful piece of floating drones and electric piano.

haddocks' eyes - plassans [haddocks' eyes Bandcamp]
Sydney artist haddocks' eyes is as unpredictable as as Lewis Carroll poem from which he takes his name. He's made indie guitar music, acoustic folk, krauty and postpunky experimental works, and electronically processed songs. He has a great instinct for combining the avant-garde with beautiful songwriting. This contemplative electric piano piece caught my ear this week.

Shoshana Rosenberg - A Broken Fence [Tone List]
Shoshana Rosenberg - A Gold Ring in a Pig's Snout (a response by Aviva Endean) [Tone List]
Shoshana Rosenberg - Lehitraot [Tone List]
Three tracks from Perth-based queer transexual Jewish artist Shoshana Rosenberg, who addresses on this release "the Jewish body", her body, and formulates the EP, she says, partly as "a goodbye letter to parts of me I had to abandon with haste". It's at times based on Jewish themes, which fit beautifully with her clear, emotive clarinet playing - although other tracks take full advantage of the distortion available from that instrument. In between, we heard Melbourne artist Aviva Endean's overlaid response with her own clarinet to a work from Rosenberg's previous solo release on Tone List from 2017.

Erik Friedlander - The Crucible [Erik Friedlander Bandcamp]
This piece by New York cellist / composer Erik Friedlander was originally written as a cue for a feature film, but having not made it into the final soundtrack, it now appears as the current monthly track on his Bandcamp. Starting with super-quiet Blade Runner-style high pitches, it then ventures into more orchestral soundtrack territory.

Jo David Meyer Lysne - Noen andre venter på [Hubro]
Jo David Meyer Lysne - Svalene på Årnes brygge [Hubro]
Henger i luften ("Hang in the air") is the debut from young Norwegian guitarist/composer Jo David Meyer Lysne, and while it's described as group improvisation, there's a very clear musical vision that goes through this music. As I am by now well acquainted with Norwegian jazz and improv, including artists such as Kim Myhr, the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, and music released on Hubro and Rune Grammofon, this wondrous, mostly acoustic music feels like it sits in a clear tradition. But even so, Lysne's approach is singular. The mixing, including reverbs and delays, on the opening track (the second I played tonight) is striking, as is the use of ostinato, while elsewhere on the album there are affecting solo guitar pieces and chaotic group improvisations. But everything has an open, bucolic feel which makes the album a real pleasure to listen to.

Allenheimer - Megas [Unfiled]
Teitur Magnússon - Ornamental (Allenheimer remix) [Allenheimer SoundCloud]
We heard the music of Atli Bollason as Allenheimer on the show last year after he appeared on a compilation from The Wire. It's lovely glitchy electronica from an artist who's played in bands around Reykjavik for some time. He's just released an epic remix of fellow Icelander Teitur Magnússon - sampling snippets from the original piece of folk songwriting, he turns it into an epic of disco house with breakbeat incursions. Pretty fun.

nOWt - HOOVER1 B [nOWt Recordings]
René Pawlowitz, best known as techno genius Shed, adds another alias to an ever-growing list, with two tracks of drum'n'bass-influenced techno under the name nOWt, on a 12" called HOOVER1. He's often referenced '90s rave music (there are one or two drum'n'bass tracks in the Shed discography) and it's nice hearing it bubble up here.

The Good Nothing - The Daydreamer [The Good Nothing Bandcamp]
Canberra-by-way-of-Sydney-by-way-of-Newcastle musician and academic Stephen Owen has of late mostly been releasing music via his industrial metal duo No Names, but has recently also returned to solo electronica under the name The Good Nothing. It's lovely how this ambient piece evolves slowly over its 5 minutes.

New Order - Fine time [Factory Records]
It's hard to believe, but the wonderful Technique from New Order turns 30 this year. It made a huge impression on me in high school - although it's well past New Order's initial attraction and embedding into the house/electronic scene, it represents for me a peak in terms of the melding of house and post-punk pop, and in general contains some really wonderful songs. But it starts with this gem of pure dancefloor genius.

Listen again — ~197MB


Sunday, 27th of January, 2019

Playlist 27.01.19 (8:10 pm)

Electronic sounds of many varieties and provenances tonight, from idm to ambient to cut-up collage, alongside hip-hop/noise/free jazz, Bantu-Kongolese techno, and even some solo cello.

LISTEN AGAIN for your edjamacation, by streaming online at FBi Radio, or podcasting here.

Mira Calix - rightclick [Warp]
Mira Calix - Sandsings (Boards of Canada remix) [Warp]
Mira Calix with Oliver Coates - In A Beautiful Place Out In The Country [Warp]
Mira Calix - just go along [Warp]
Chantal Passamonte aka Mira Calix has a long association with idm and electronic music, having been one of the few female artists associated with the scene in the 1990s, and not only signed to Warp but working as their publicist for some years. In 2003 she first collaborated with the London Sinfonietta, and her talent for working with classical musicians has since resulted in numerous commissions and creative works - tonight we heard her stunning cover of Boards of Canada from Warp's 20th anniversary compilation series (and before that, we jumped back to 1998, with her second EP on which BoC contributed a classic remix). Calix's new EP brings her back to the idm world with some sweet beats, embedded with the field recordings and organic sounds she now typically works with.

Martina Lussi - Classic Intense [Latency/Bandcamp]
Martina Lussi - Citrin [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
Martina Lussi - Anarchy For Her [Latency/Bandcamp]
Based in Lucerne, Switzerland, Martina Lussi has just released her second album, and while the first, 2017's Selected Ambient, was excellent, this new one is a further step forward. On Diffusion is a Force Lussi concerns herself with the fragmented, disconnected nature of the contemporary world, melding electric guitar, electric piano, field recordings, spoken samples, and occasional nods and techno/electronica and industrial distortion. Fantastic stuff.

Anatole - Medlow Bath [Mercury Kx]
Sydney's Jonathan Baker is gearing up for his new album Emulsion to be released on Decca's Mercury Kx label. This single is a reference to his original home in the Blue Mountains, produced in his classical-meets-electronica way. The album's a couple of months away yet, so hopefully there's another single in a bit!

Brent Arnold - Esoteric Etude #1 for solo cello [Bandcamp]
Lovely single track just released from Filastine collaborator Brent Arnold, showing what can be done with a cello and no processing or looping.

Anguish - Vibrations [RareNoise Records]
Anguish - Cyclical / Physical [RareNoise Records]
This is what can only be described as a super-group. Anguish is a collaboration between two members of industrial hip-hop pioneers dälek (Will Brooks and Mike Mare), two members of Fire (Mats Gustafsson and Andreas Werliin) and Hans-Joachim Irmler of krautrock pioneers Faust. It's a heavyweight team-up - dälek and Faust have already released an album together about 10 years ago, but the addition of Gustafsson & Werlin's sax and drums contributes a lot to the, well, anguish in the proceedings.

Black To Comm - Lethe [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Black To Comm - Fly on you [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Jemh Circs - Ordre [Cellule 75]
Jemh Circs - 000 [Cellule 75]
Black To Comm - The Courtesan Jigokudayū Sees Herself as a Skeleton in the Mirror of Hell [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
I've been aware of Marc Richter's work as Black To Comm for some time, and I know he never tends to do exactly the same thing on each album, but it was only when he adopted the moniker Jemh Circs for a couple of releases a few years ago that I really paid attention. Those releases, sampling voices and pop music from YouTube, were an interesting detour into vaporwave, a little more hyperactive and day-glo than his Black To Comm work, which has itself taken on many forms in the past, sometimes minimalism & drone, often collage-based constructions. The new album Seven Horses For Seven Kings is a rather dark and heavy affair, well suited to Thrill Jockey's current sound, and I've been finding it absolutely absorbing. Drawing from collage and sampling techniques across the board from tape experiments, hip-hop instrumentals through to glitchscapes, it's a mature and accomplished release.

Glyn Hendry - Escape Club 99 [Poly Kicks]
Described only as "newcomer Glyn Hendry", and with no SoundCloud presence I can find, newcomer Glyn Hendry has released an excellent debut 12" on Overmono's Poly Kicks label. Evolving breakbeats and a general rave aura make for two really fun sides.

Nkisi - VI [UIQ/Bandcamp]
Nkisi - VII [UIQ/Bandcamp]
One of the main architects of the NON Worldwide collective/label of African and diaspora artists, alongside Chino Amobi and Angel-Ho, Nkisi has just released her first full album through Lee Gamble's extraordinary UIQ label. Drawing from the African Cosmology of the Bantu-Kongo, the album wonderfully mixes the polyrhythms of Congolese percussion music with evocative and pounding techno. It's lovely hearing the melodic and mournful synth tones weaving in and out of the percussion and beats. A special album.

Funkmeister G - Stretches of Pain [Newtown Neighbourhood Centre/Bandcamp]
Here's a really interesting project, put together at Newtown Neighbourhood Centre - a compilation called Buzzing Minds | A Sydney Noise Compilation for which a group of people who have experienced or are experiencing homelessness, many of them suffering mental and physical health issues, have produced raw, passionate and unquestionably experimental noise tracks. A few of the artists, including tonight's, do have experience creating music - others are just putting themselves down on the recordings. The results can be challenging, but they're worthwhile as a listener as well as for the fact of the creative acts involved. More info can be found here.

Listen again — ~201MB


Sunday, 20th of January, 2019

Playlist 20.01.19 (8:11 pm)

Many voices tonight, at least for the first more than half of the show... with experimental treatments of all sorts.

LISTEN AGAIN because how else are you going to keep up? The stream on demand is from FBi, the podcast here.

Machinefabriek - II (with Chantal Acda) [Western Vinyl/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - III (with Peter Broderick) [Western Vinyl/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Here's an unusual, and wildly successful, new work from Dutch sound artist and frequent UFog feature artist Machinefabriek. Released on none other than Western Vinyl, it's called With Voices, and that is indeed what it is - Zuydervelt asked 8 people to contribute vocal takes, some spoken, some sung, and reconstructed them into tracks in his own special way. Works not heard tonight include an excellent piece with Richard Youngs (heard last week on the show) and a beautiful 11-minute closer with Marissa Nadler. As with Nadler, Chantal Acda's voice ventures into melodic sections at times, while elsewhere it's chopped up and rearranged; similarly with frequent Machinefabriek collaborator Peter Broderick, whose spoken and sung vocals casually inhabit Zuydervelt's processing as if this was just normal life.

Building Instrument - Ta Regnet [Hubro]
Building Instrument - Sangen Min [Hubro]
This Norwegian trio is now on to their third album of unpigeonholeable songs - somewhere between jazz, world, postrock and experimental. With Mari Kvien Brunvoll on vocals (as well as zither and electronics) there are some pretty catchy songs. You don't have to understand Norwegian to enjoy them.

Jarboe - Feast [Translation Loss Records]
Jarboe - Karuna [Translation Loss Records]
For many years one half of voice of the minimalist, gothic majesty of Swans, Jarboe has continued with a densely busy career collaborating with artists both prominent (in the metal scene, such as Neurosis and JK Broadrick) and obscure... But as The Cut of the Warrior proves, she needs no backup to create epic, evocative - and just slightly terrifing - sounds. There are some lovely remixes at the end of this release, but her four tracks, with keyboards, percussion and vocals, are where it's at.

Stephanie Pan - Ron Adams [ARTEk Sounds]
Stephanie Pan - Bitter Dust [ARTEk Sounds]
Netherlands-based artist Stephanie Pan, on her new album Have Robot Dog, Will Travel, ranges from Meredith Monk-style extended vocal techniques to songs which somehow combine baroque composition, torch songs and glitchy beat-making. Very impressive stuff.

Alina Kalancea - Poisonous Girl [Störung/Bandcamp]
Italian sound-artist Alina Kalancea's debut album could easily initially be mistaken for a spoken word release - but as you proceed you'll hear long instrumental pieces of throbbing, dark electronics, and beautiful song. This track features field recordings by Alex Gámez, and gorgeous cello work from Julia Kent.

Julia Kent - Sheared [Leaf]
Julia Kent - Conditional Futures [Leaf]
US cellist Julia Kent has been popping up all over the place lately. Since her last (fantastic) solo album in 2015, she's collaborated with ambient/sound artists Jeremy Young & Shinya Sugimoto, experimental/ambient artist Jean DL, and recently with Sydney's own pianist Sophie Hutchings. So it's been 4 years since a solo album from Kent, and it was worth the wait - from rhythmic tracks even featuring subtle beats, to echoey ambient (with murmuring cello).

Pierre-Yves Martel - Diminutio [Tour de Bras Records/Pierre-Yves Martel Bandcamp]
Here's some extremely minimalist, affecting viola da gamba work from Canadian artist Pierre-Yves Martel. He's appearing at The Now Now Festival this coming week at 107 Redfern, which promises to be as challenging and life-changing as ever. Check the link for the full program.

Jónó Mí Ló - Guap Bae [unreleased?]
Also appearing at The Now Now is US experimental electronic artist Jonathan Lockhart, who goes by Jónó Mí Ló, and who has a kind of lo-fi approach to vaporwave rave nostalgia.

Ynaktera & Kenta Kamiyama - Notte [Notturno]
Rome-based experimental artist Ynaktera here collaborates, live and in-studio, with Japanese ambient artist Kenta Kamiyama, to build something which is not your usual type of piano+electronics post-classical ambient. Sure there's delicate, pensive piano and electronic textures, but there are also pulsating bass timbres and glitchy beat-like structures. It's a nocturne, but not a lullaby! The whole album is a worth a listen, and the physical copies are something special too.

Christoph de Babalon - Raw Mind [Alter]
Christoph de Babalon - Harakiri [Alter]
Not only is it awesome that Christoph de Babalon is still making music in 2019 - and at least some of it is still his brand of jungle/drum'n'bass-meets-dark ambient - but it's also rather awesome to find this album released on Luke Younger's Alter label, known for noise, abstract electronics, postpunk and sometimes techno. De Babalon's Bandcamp has in recent years featured three albums of The Haunting Past of Christoph de Babalon, collecting released and unreleased gems from the '90s, so there's a lot to explore even if you know his classic Digital Hardcore Recordings album If You're Into It, I'm Out Of It.

Nature Rage & Dialup BBS - Nxt Lvl [Ohm Resistance]
Having spent a year putting out a subscription series of vinyl and digital releases, Ohm Resistance have capped it off with a compilation called Perihelion 2061, featuring mostly fairly new artists doing breakcore, drum'n'bass and industrial techno. It's hard-hitting and pretty fun - this track peppers its intense jungle with just a hint of dubstep bass at times.

Listen again — ~191MB


Sunday, 13th of January, 2019

Playlist 13.01.19 (8:14 pm)

Industrial techno, glistening drones, glitchy worldtronica, meandering experimental folk, re-tooled disco...

LISTEN AGAIN for all that... because it is all that. Podcast here, or stream on demand from FBi.

Pact Infernal - The Eternal Return [iDEAL Recordings]
Stephen O'Malley - LOUP [iDEAL Recordings]
After finishing last week's show with two tracks from iDEAL Recordings' compilation The Black Book, I'm continuing with two more at the start tonight. I missed this comp when it came out, absurdly because it's full of gems from industrial techno and drone. I intended to finish last week's show with the incredible, moody track from doom meister Stephen O'Malley but ran out of time. I'd love to hear a whole album of music like this - bass pulses and rich drones. And Pact Infernal do a great line in gothic, industrial techno. You can see why they've been released on Samurai Music's Horo side label - it's not drum'n'bass but it shares a certain aesthetic.

Craün - Uve [Hush Hush Records]
Craün - Uni [Hush Hush Records]
Sydney-based musician Aris Hatzidakis has three releases under his belt as Craün, and each has been an incredible progression from the last. This latest, III - released at the very end of last year on Seattle's Hush Hush - takes drone as its stepping-off point, but buries percussion and spooky violin in its cavernous depths. Quite masterful.

Banabila & Machinefabriek - Minimals [eilean]
Banabila & Machinefabriek - Spin 'n' Puke [Banabila Bandcamp/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Banabila & Machinefabriek - Entropia [eilean]
If you've been paying attention to this show for much time you'll know that Michel Banabila & Rutger Zuydervelt (aka Machinefabriek) are Dutch sound artists who make frequent appearances in these playlists, and have been collaborating together since 2012. Their latest album Entropia appears courtesy of French label eilean rec., and is a little more challenging than their last, the glittering fourth world productions of 2016's Macrocosms. Distorted, menacing sounds are juxtaposed with wistful grainy samples, perhaps reflecting a more chaotic world, and the illness which consumed much of Michel Banabila's last year. It's absolutely absorbing and rewarding listening as ever. Tonight I also played a cute folktronic number from 2013's Travelog.

Original Past Life - Wire Fatigue [Tone List]
Original Past Life - Times of Ceylon [hellosQuare]
Original Past Life - Omiyage [Tone List]
Original Past Life - Blessing the Barge [Tone List]
The second album from Perth band Original Past Life may surprise anyone who came across their first, which was a somewhat more conventional, melodic post rock affair (and absolutely lovely). The band features members of beloved postrock/indie troupe Radarmaker, and something of the toughter, punkier side of that long-lamented band takes over here at times, along with a looser approach to structure, and a general lean towards darker disturbing sound worlds. Altogether unmissable.

Richard Youngs - Memory Ain't No Decay (remixed by epic45) [Wayside & Woodland]
Richard Youngs - Not For My Eyes [Wayside & Woodland]
Richard Youngs - Memory Ain't No Decay (remixed by The Declining Winter) [Wayside & Woodland]
AMOR - Glimpses Across Thunder [Night School]
Thinking about it, Richard Youngs is a rather good fit for the aesthetic of the Wayside & Woodland label run by epic45. Youngs was asked by the label to create songs based on the label's interest in such topics as degradation of memory, decay, the beauty of abandoned builds and places... Youngs, with his idiosyncratic approach to songwriting, which so often recontextualises a kind of English folk with strange recording techniques, unique approaches to technology, and very drawn-out song structures, seems the perfect musical soul to approach these topics from an unusual angle. Alongside two long tracks and one shorter one on beautiful translucent red vinyl, there's a bonus CDR with the initial copies featuring remixes of the title track (which confoundingly didn't make it on to the release itself) from Wayside & Woodland-affiliated artists. From epic45 we get a mulched-up piece of burbling drone, while Richard Adams of The Declining Winter somehow reworks Youngs back into, well, Richard Youngs, with stretched out guitar samples and a clattering electronic beat behind his declamatory vocals.
Meanwhile Youngs has surprisingly appeared as a member of post-disco / disco revivalist quartet AMOR, a group that also features Michael Francis Duch (who we recently heard in experimental mode as part of ljerke) and artist Luke Fowler and drummer Paul Thomson of Franz Ferdinand. It's really lovely disco/proto-house of the sort Arthur Russell made, and suits Youngs' voice beautifully.

Stick In The Wheel - in the morning (feat. Anna Roberts-Gevalt) [From Here Records]
Eliza Carthy feat. Dizraeli - Aleppo in the Sun as it Was (EAN Remix) [Static Caravan/Stick In The Wheel Bandcamp]
Stick In The Wheel - As I Roved Out [From Here Records]
Stick In The Wheel - As I Roved Out (Om Unit remix) [From Here Records]
British folk act Stick In The Wheel manage to embody the rawness, anger and beauty of English folk perfectly - and they fit into all the folk festivals - while having unexpected roots in the UK electronic music scene, as members have long associations with dubstep iconoclasts Various Production. That connection is not in itself surprising, given the re-tooled folk sounds on even some of the earliest Various 7"s, but it is nice to hear the experimental and electronic elements creeping in around the edges of Stick In The Wheel's own music - whether it's in the auto-tuned vocals here and there, the acoustic drones present in some songs, or more explicit electronic production in particular on their recent mixtape This and the Memory of This, which features a stunning Om Unit remix of a track from their last album proper, Follow Them True. On one track Brookyln folk artist Anna Roberts-Gevalt contributes an evocative spoken word piece before the far-away song in the background becomes the foreground... Stick In The Wheel member Ian Carter, once of Various Production, makes dubstep/grime/drum'n'bass as EAN, and his remix 7" from 2017 includes a nice folktronic take on English folk singer Eliza Carthy's track with avant UK rapper Dizraeli. Great genre-agnostic stuff!

Listen again — ~202MB


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