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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, 17th of July, 2016

Playlist 17.07.16 (9:10 pm)

Psychedelic sounds to start tonight, and lots of dark & twisted techno & glitchy electronic sounds…

LISTEN AGAIN too all the sonic sensations… Stream on demand from FBi radio or podcast from here.

Sydney duo Fabels have a strong background in shoegaze and psychedelia, featuring as they do Ben Aylward from the legendary Swirl, and Hiske Weijer from the quite experimental Psychic Date. Their second album Hi is just out, and it's as beautifully depressive and sonically discombobulating as their debut Zimmer. Both use the template of indie/shoegazing bass & frequently noisy guitar, with drum machine & keyboards backing it up, along with lots of effects (often on the vocals), and heavy studio edits here and there. Highly recommended.

Next up we head to Canberra, where Danny Wild is making experimental electronic & ambient sounds as Low Flung. He has a side on the excellent new Australian/Indonesian label Tandem Tapes (featured on a recent UFog), and also appears on the new compilation Domestic Documents Vol. 1 co-released by Melbourne label Butter Sessions and Melbourne radio show/music blog Noise In My Head. The compilation is an excellent representation of Australian techno, ambient and electronica. We also heard some lovely broken beat techno from Adelaide's Mic Mills, and a crazy piece of strung-out ambient-meets-drill'n'bass from Mosam Howieson.

These Hidden Hands are the Berlin-based duo of Tommy Four Seven, and Alain Paul. To me they're central to this industrial techno scene that's coming out of Berlin, even if they're relatively short on releases since their debut in 2013. It's an intoxicating combination of maximalist, distorted broken techno beats, queasily tuned samples and synths. Their debut came accompanied by a bunch of heavyweights from bass & techno, new and old, but then we've had to wait until this year for a follow-up. This single (which comes with a Roly Porter remix) follows on from the first new single this year, a collaboration with the extraordinary experimental producer & singer Lucrecia Dalt.

It's so great to have a new LP from Yair Elazar Glotman's KETEV moniker. A classically trained double bassist, he's equally known from incredible sound design, bass-heavy techno, and his close-mic'd explorations of his instrument. After the Études album from last year that was produced entirely from the double bass, it's great to hear the growling, crashing sounds from that instrument sidling into the subterranean bass & beats of his KETEV material. I think this may be the best album yet from a stellar 2 year career…

Portuguese sound artist Vitor Joaquim has been making music & multimedia art since the late '80s and is a central figure in the Portuguese electronic music scene. His latest album Geography is out soon from the excellent Portuguese experimental label Crónica, and looks at how geography has shaped humanity, with reference Jared Diamond's writings. I played the first two tracks from the album, but later tracks feature musical contributions from friends & collaborators from all around the world (see Bandcamp for credits).

The latest issue of The Wire Magazine is out, and features the 41st edition of their Wire Tapper series. As usual it's crammed full of great stuff. Tonight I started with a track from Moscow electronic producer Fedor Pereverzev aka Moa Pillar, whose recent releases on Russian label Full of Nothing and elsewhere have been in an epic house/techno vein. This new track takes things in a more syncopated and spacious direction. He's also half of ambient/folk/electronic duo Tikhie Kamni with Anastasia Tolchneva; the Full of Nothing label is certainly due a feature on this show.
Next up we hear some top-quality grime from London DJ Lixo, who also hosts club nights and has a monthly radio show – busy guy!

And finally, a lovely piece of skittery jazz ambience from the trio of Klaus Gesing, Björn Meyer & Samuel Rohrer. Released on arjunamusic, they segue us nicely into our final artist of the night, ambiq, who happen to also be on arjunamusic and have a track on the latest Wire Tapper too. I've been meaning to play the new ambiq album, having spun them when the debut album came out in 2014. It's also a kind of ambien jazz with those jittery, tricky rhythms that find their way into the jazzy end of postrock, particularly the Austrian/German chaper. It's no surprise, then, that the drummer is Samuel Rohrer from our previous trio. Claudio Puntin plays clarinet and electronics alongside techno/ambient producer Max Loderbauer on modular synths. It's a wonderful, deep sound equally placed in the improvisatory jazz world and the exploratory electronic world.

Fabels – Ah [Fabels Bandcamp]
Fabels – Turquoise [Fabels Bandcamp]
Fabels – Everything [Fabels Bandcamp]
Fabels – Hi [Fabels Bandcamp]
Fabels – Evacuation [Fabels Bandcamp]
Low Flung – 5 Minutes Until Work [Tandem Tapes]
Low Flung – Quietreakin Outly [Butter Sessions/Noise In My Head]
Mic Mills – Nostory [Butter Sessions/Noise In My Head]
Mosam Howieson – Oedo [Butter Sessions/Noise In My Head]
These Hidden Hands – SZ31X71 [These Hidden Hands]
These Hidden Hands – When Told [These Hidden Hands]
These Hidden Hands – These Moments Dismantled (feat. Lucrecia Dalt) [These Hidden Hands]
KETEV – Stripes From The House of The Shaman [Portals Editions]
KETEV – Women / Animal Skull [Portals Editions]
Vitor Joaquim – Geography [Crónica]
Vitor Joaquim – Cantino [Crónica]
Moa Pillar – Sun Stood Still [Full of Nothing courtesy of The Wire]
Lixo – Writer's Block [courtesy of The Wire]
Klaus Gesing/Björn Meyer/Samuel Rohrer – Flimmer [arjunamusic courtesy of The Wire]
ambiq – The Spur [Arjunamusic]
ambiq – tangoreceptor [Arjunamusic]
ambiq – Naked George [Arjunamusic]

Listen again — ~100MB


Sunday, 10th of July, 2016

Playlist 10.06.16 (9:15 pm)

Post-classical experimental electronica and a bit of politics to start…

LISTEN AGAIN and transcend space & time with our podcast available here, and stream on demand available via FBi.

Our first track tonight comes from the brilliant industrial hip-hop (noise-hop?) trio Clipping, one of the best new groups of the last few years. They've got a new EP out which is excellent (but has pretty heavy adult themes)… but tonight I'm playing a track which was written specifically in response to Ferguson and the beginnings of the #BlackLivesMatter movement, which has been so central to this week's appalling and depressing news (a weekly roundabout for 2016 it seems).

Aphex Twin is very much back, although it feels a bit like he's just fucking around in the studio and then releasing stuff when he feels like it – so two of the tracks on this new EP are tiny little synth tests, nice but kind of pointless. I've never been much of a fan of the Analogue Bubblebath / Analord side of things – his acid house/techno stuff – so it was nice to see that a couple of tracks here are just darn pretty, with lovely melodies and pads, and some fidgety drum machine stuff in the second half.

UK duo (now a solo producer) Dalhous feel like they're carrying a torch for that '90s idm sound, in particular Bola, Boards of Canada, early Autechre et al. This track comes from a split EP with the differently-nostalgic Pye Corner Audio.

Sydney's Marcus Whale is a classically-trained composer & musician even though you'd know him best from his r'n'b/house/experimental electronic groups Collarbones and BV. He'll segue us nicely into the "er, I guess it's sort of classical" section of the show following. Marcus launches his incredible new album Inland Sea on Friday (15th of July) in Sydney, and this is a typical track from the album, full of passion and explosive musical creativity. You can read about all the tracks in this excellent interview – this one in particular addresses white Australia's "black history" and the "white blanket of forgetfulness" which has been laid over our genocidal past.

So our new artist and a big feature tonight is the composer and producer Yannis Kyriakides. Born in Cyprus, he grew up in Britain and has been based in the Netherlands since the early '90s, where he co-runs the Unsounds label with experimental guitarist Andy Moor of The Ex and Isabelle Vigier, who is responsible for the label's wonderful & distinctive design & artwork. Kyriakides is an accomplished composer, frequently juxtaposing and interpolating live and studio electronics with compositions for classical ensembles and voice – but he also collaborates with Moor on music that draws as much from Moor's anarcho-punk, jagged experimental guitar sounds and Moor's minimal electronic collaborations elsewhere. Their excellent album of Rebetika covers / remixes / interpretations, originally released on Unsounds in 2010, has recently been re-released on vinyl by Unsounds & London label Discrepant. Kyriakides' latest work Lunch Music is inspired by William S Burroughs' seminal novel The Naked Lunch, and features Dutch ensembles Slagwerk Den Haag on percussion and Silbersee on vocals, with lyrics taken from the Burroughs text. With electronic noises & vinyl manipuluation from Kyriakides it's at times quite disturbing, but appropriately enough also quite hilarious and beautiful – it's particularly cool when the manipulated, slowed-down records blur with the stunning live singing.

Our last artist is also a stunning vocalist. Ian William Craig is a classically-trained singer, although publicity dubbing him an "opera singer" is slightly misleading, as he's never performed opera. Nevertheless, his voice is something to be believed… His music is frequently built solely from layered vocals, but often also uses piano, guitar, squeezeboxes and organs and homemade instruments – but most importantly, all of it is "processed", degraded, distorted, looped and glitched on an array of tape machines. Even if not for his bewitching vocals, this tape manipulation lends an otherworldly sheen to his sounds… It's quite exquisitely beautiful and immersive. It's also quite astonishingly of a piece with the predominantly digital processing of artists like Tim Hecker, Christian Fennesz and others. I highly recommend exploring the (mostly freely downloadable) work on his Bandcamp – the vinyl & cassettes are mostly sold out, but seek them out if you can!

Clipping – Knees on the Ground [Unknown Records/No Time Records]
Aphex Twin – CheetahT7b [Warp]
Dalhous – The Essential Wander [Lapsus Records]
Marcus Whale – A White Blanket [Good Manners/Marcus Whale Bandcamp]
Yannis Kyriakides with Slagwerk Den Haag and Silbersee – smell down death [Unsounds]
Yannis Kyriakides with Slagwerk Den Haag and Silbersee – gut thoughts [Unsounds] {incorporating slowed-down vinyl extracts of The Brothers Four's gorgeous song Green Fields}
Yannis KyriakidesAffectio: The 48 Emotions – Gratitude / Benevolence / Anger / Revenge / Cruelty [Unsounds]
Kyriakides Moor – Vamvakaris [Unsounds]
Kyriakides Moor – Vamvakaris [Unsounds]
Yannis Kyriakides | Andy Moor – Psyche [Unsounds]
Yannis Kyriakides with Slagwerk Den Haag and Silbersee – la la la terminal state [Unsounds]
Ian William Craig – A Single Hope [Fat Cat/130701]
Ian William Craig – open passage, closed passage, hidden passage [Ian William Craig Bandcamp/Aguirre Records]
Ian William Craig – Antipode [Ian William Craig Bandcamp]
Ian William Craig – (I Have Seen) The Edges of your Content [Ian William Craig Bandcamp]
Ian William Craig – Contain (Astoria Version) [Fat Cat/130701]
Ian William Craig – Contain (Cedar Version) [Fat Cat/130701]

Listen again — ~195MB


Sunday, 3rd of July, 2016

Playlist 03.07.16 (7:59 pm)

Tonight we have a range of dark sounds, from indietronica to acoustic improv, acoustic doom to postpunk, post-dubstep to drill'n'bass.

LISTEN AGAIN because music is forever… stream on demand via FBi, podcast it here.

We start with the new music coming out from Aussie indie/underground stalwart Benjow, who's been releasing music on Bandcamp under the Lewis Carroll-inspired moniker haddock's eyes for the last year and a bit. This new EP comes on what would have been the birthday of longtime musical partner Baterz. It touches on the tragedy of loss, and on issues of mental health, and it showcases his gorgeous techniques for taking lo-fi indie guitar music and treating it in various high-tech and low-tech ways.

Circadia are an improvising quartet described by their label as "experimental psych-impro-folk". The folk, if it's there, comes from the acoustic instrumentation used. Two members are experimental guitarists – David Stackenäs from Sweden, who's played with Fire! Orchestra and many others, and the Norwegian Kim Myhr, who we recently heard collaborating beautifully with Jenny Hval and the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. Bassist Joe Williamson is also based in Sweden where he's played with Fire! Orchestra, but he's also a member of the excellent improv/postrock/glitch trio Trapist. And you should know drummer Tony Buck from Sydney greats The Necks among a huge range of groupings. These are all masters of improv and live sound sculpture, so it's no surprise this is a gem. Out from SOFA in mid-August.

David Toop is a renowned music writer & academic, whose essays and articles on experimental music, world music, ambient music, improvisation etc have inspired and illuminated many. He's also compiled many ear-opening compilations, and released a fair amount of music himself. But it's been quite long since his last musical release, because for some years (over a decade) he has been agnostic at best about the project of making or listening to music (as opposed to sound). It took some conversations with Brisbane's Lawrence English to come back to making music, and this album, released on English's Room40 label, constructs sound-pictures from field recordings, recordings of non-musical objects, and sometimes-disjointed musical elements.

B/B/S/ is a supergroup of sorts, featuring artists from improv, doom and acoustic doom worlds making gorgeous immersive psych/postrock/doom. The first B is Aidan Baker, extremely prolific guitarist & producer, one half of doom/drone metal legends Nadja. The other B is percussionist & producer Andrea Belfi, part of the amazingly fecund Italian experimental music scene, and the S is the brilliant Erik K Skodvin, who through Miasmah Records, his own solo music and his duo Deaf Center has pioneered the genre of "acoustic doom". There's plenty of mystery and cavernous doom in this music, although it's sometimes quite peaceful too – movement within sillness, immense beauty and depth.

UK duo Raime have been connected to the Blackest Ever Black label since its beginnings in 2010. They've released some influential mixes – their 2011 FACT Mix was a raging 40 minutes of darkwave jungle, which you can stream at least here. While jungle is no doubt an influence, it's more in the darkness and rhythmic drive than BPM or production style. There's a lot of taut postpunk angularity, heavy bass motion, clipped vocal samples, sometimes offset by fluttering string drones…

Asher Levitas is a member of the post-dubstep collective Old Apparatus, who released some mixes and EPs on Deep Medi with some mystery a few years ago, but have since put out a series of EPs on their own Sullen Tone label, each produced by a different member. Levitas' album is if anything a step upwards: beats are only present on a few tracks, but there's plenty of bass and rhythmic propulsion. Surges of noise or distorted vocals appear, as well as the beautiful vocals of Marina Elderton.

Finally, the musical chameleon ¬ b (fka Lee Bannon) – born as Fred Warmsley iii, now known as Dedekind Cut. His probably last release as Lee Bannon is a massive double cassette/digital mixtape called 3M that takes in unreleased tracks & partially-finished tracks from the last 4 years – from new bass techno sounds to his origins in hip-hop to ambient, with a strong thread of classic jungle as well as more experimental drill'n'bass running through it. There are heaps of gems throughout this release, so I highly recommend picking it up!

haddock's eyes – twenty two [haddock's eyes Bandcamp]
haddock's eyes – sins (it's coming in waves) [haddock's eyes Bandcamp]
Circadia – The human volunteers were kept in isolation [SOFA]
David Toop – Ancestral Beings, Sightless By Their Own Dust [Room40]
David Toop – Sea Slug [Room40]
B/B/S/ – Cosmow [Miasmah]
B/B/S/ – Navel Oil [Miasmah]
Raime – Glassed [Blackest Ever Black]
Raime – Told & Collapsed [Blackest Ever Black]
Raime – The Dimming Of Road And Rights [Blackest Ever Black]
Raime – Stammer [Blackest Ever Black]
Asher Levitas – Withdrawn [Planet µ]
Old Apparatus – Boxcat [Sullen Tone]
Asher Levitas – Blessed Mother feat. Marina Elderton [Planet µ]
Asher Levitas – In The Eyes [Planet µ]
¬ b (fka Lee Bannon) – 3m8-disc1 [Lee Bannon Bandcamp]
¬ b (fka Lee Bannon) – 3m14 (bloodline)-disc2 [Lee Bannon Bandcamp]

Listen again — ~190MB


Sunday, 26th of June, 2016

Playlist 26.06.16 (9:04 pm)

Tonight is a big Hood/Bracken special!

LISTEN AGAIN because let's face it, Hood are the best band that ever there was… Postcast over here, stream on demand from FBi radio.

So this Friday a whole heap of dispossessed British people, abandoned by the political classes, voted for a thing that they thought was one thing but turned out to be a much, much worse thing. It's an all-round tragedy and one can only hope they can pull themselves out of it.
In the spirit of this massive Hood special I'm starting with a band who were influences in so many ways by them. epic45 hail from a slightly different part of the the mid-north of England, but have a similar pastoral connection with the countryside and the seasons, and utilise a similar mix of high technology and lo-fi indie. The track I've opened with has a rather bitter connection to this weekend's events.

We start tonight's big special with a track from the new Bracken album – Chris Adams' first full album as Bracken since 2008. After some years of relative silence, peppered by remixes here and there, Adams revived the Bracken project in 2014 with an incredible mini-album on cassette (and later vinyl), but it still feels like a bit of a miracle to have this whole album here with us now.
Why a miracle? Why so much fuss? Well hopefully tonight's show will demonstrate what a radical band Hood were – from jangly, punky indie beginnings through noise experiments, and incorporating the most experimental and the most beautiful elements of electronica along the way. I'll try and put down a few words about why this band are so special to me, but I think this show will serve just as well, and more convincingly as you can hear it for yourself!

We start with a single from Hood that originally appeared as a b-side but was such a great little number that they released it on its own 7" in a new version. It's a lo-fi jangly indie piece that's much beloved of their fans but made little impact outside of that. With a field recording of a train, and a morose but catchy melody, it set the scene for much of what became of Hood – song & album titles became if anything more sarcastic & dark ("Crushed By Life", "Hood is Finished"), even when they signed to Domino, and like so many "cult" bands, they managed to be both passionately loved and largely ignored, iconoclastic & influential, but mostly obscure.
We follow this indie classic with the first appearance of amen breaks in Hood's music, from a 1996 anthology of rare tracks and new bits. The experimental drum'n'bass influence was mostly shunted off from Hood shortly afterwards into Chris Adams' solo project Downpour, and "Hey Charles Hayward" (a nice nod to the brilliant postpunk drummer who was doing live drum'n'bass before the genre even existed) is taken from the Windstorms Broken Microphones EP that blew many minds with its proto-breakcore amalgam of distorted breaks & samples, beauty and harsh noise mashed up against each other. It was not for a while until I connected Downpour with Hood; in fact it would be through the electronic side-projects and weird compilation tracks like the Lo Recordings one here that I first connected with Hood.
Still, eventually the various 7"s, 12"s and compilation tracks were compiled and became more readily available, so we have gems like the indie-meets-digital-cut-ups of "(the) weight", and the postrock of "the year of occasional lull".

While Hood's first couple of Domino albums had found them some acclaim with their postrock/ambient/indie beauty, it would be 2001's Cold House that detonated in the brains of so many people – not least because of the nasal rapping of two of Anticon's finest, doseone & why? on a few tracks. In fact, the other member of the groundbreaking experimental hip-hop crew cLOUDDEAD, producer Odd Nosdam, was a fan & collector of Hood since the '90s and dropped a lot of their tunes on Le Mixtape around the same year this album came out. Connections, connections…
Meanwhile, despite still being on Domino, Hood were still dropping tracks on compilations all over the place. Two really sweet tracks appeared on a compilation from a shortlived label called Simballrec featuring 45 second ditties from an amazing array of artists (Dntel, Tarantel, Daedelus and many others also make appearances) – and the one we heard directly comments on Chris Adams' penchant for intense digital edits on both Hood tracks and in the drum breaks of Downpour releases.
Our last Hood track comes not from their last album Outside Closer (great thought that is), nor from the afterthought of odds and sods called The Hood Tapes, but rather from the single that preceded Outside Closer. As usual they buried one of their best tracks as a b-side, and "Over the land, over the sea." is one of those tracks that will never leave me – shuffling drum beat, gorgeous guitar, string & synth textures, and what sounds like muffled doseone samples in there. It's pretty glorious.

So the Anticon. connection culminated in a number of guest appearances from Chris on releases from Subtle, Odd Nosdam and others, and the release of the extraordinary first album from Chris's new solo project Bracken on that label in 2008. The wobble of dubstep's basslines and the head-nod beats with the dub snare hits on the 2nd & 4th beats had taken hold and We Know About The Need exploits this expertly, underpinning the indietronica and digital processing with a dirty bass weight.

The following year there was an ambient, experimental piece of weirdness called Eno About The Need (lol) that was initially released as a single vinyl dubplate that was posted around the world to different fans to listen to one by one(!) and eventually found its way back to Adams whereupon it was digitized and released as a limited CDR… And then, nothing but remixes and the occasional compilation appearance for many years. I played a beautiful remix tonight, one of many, many that I could have chosen (in fact I only dropped his remix of Aussie Shoeb Ahmad from the playlist at the last minute for reasons of length).
And then suddenly in 2014 a new EP popped up from Downpour on Bandcamp – a love letter to classic '90s jungle, absolutely pitch-perfect and wonderful. And just about simultaneously, a new Bracken release – long EP, album? Let's call it a mini-album, released on cassette and then later on limited vinyl from the legendary Norman Records' new "Public House Recordings". With contemporary beats, snatches of singing, gorgeous tape-warped ambient and more, it was everything a modernized Bracken should be.
Skip forward two years and we have another new Downpour EP on the Bandcamp, and finally a full album from Bracken courtesy of Home Assembly Music. More of the same loveliness in every regard, from chopped-up Prefuse 73-style hip-hop to a lovely piece of ambient house with a bassline drop 3/4 of the way through that's to die for.

Meanwhile, last year Stewart Anderson of Steward, Boyracer and much more (and once head honcho of the extremely influential Hood-releasing 555 Recordings) formed a new punk/"hard mod" band called Hard Left, to spit out all the political venom he & his mates needed to release (excellent!) and I only just discovered there's a hard-hitting Downpour remix on there.

We segue into another Hood-related project via the last appearance of Chris Adams tonight – with the shortlived duo On Fell, which featured Chris working with Andrew Johnson – best known as one half of The Remote Viewer, the subdued, magical duo he & Craig Tattersal formed around about the time they both left Hood. Prior to this they were The Famous Boyfriend, making both scrappy indiepunk and glorious indietronica, but The Remote Viewer heralded a switch to masterful heartstring-pulling minimal electronics. The duo released heaps of clicky electronica & ambient on their Moteer label, which dissolved a few years back, but The Remote Viewer never quite seems to break up.
While Craig Tattersal has seemingly endless solo & band projects to his name (including The Boats), the arrival of a new line (related) a couple of years ago was the first time Johnson had set sail on his own. Working with incredibly primitive hardware he creates superb techno, house and ambient pieces, tonight's being a slightly unnerving lullaby with his softly distorted vocals hovering in the back of the mix.

Hood were a gem of a band, and while admittedly this was mostly a Chris Adams special, it's unfortunate I haven't covered all the various alumni, including John Clyde-Evans, Matt Robson and Chris's brother Richard Adams' The Declining Winter and Memory Drawings. So it goes.

epic45 – england fallen over [Make Mine Music]
Bracken – Masked Headlands [Home Assembly Music]
Hood – I've Forgotten How To Live [Love Train/Misplaced Music]
Hood – resonant 1942 [Slumberland]
Downpour – Hey Charles Hayward [Drop Beat]
Hood – Lo-Band-Width [Lo Recordings]
Hood – (the) weight [555 Recordings]
Hood – the year of occasional lull [Rocket Racer]
Hood – They removed all trace that anything had ever happened here (feat. dose & why?) [Domino]
Downpour – Let's do the blank [self-released]
Hood – it's not that much to lose [Simballrec]
Hood – Over the land, over the sea. [Domino]
Bracken – of athroll slains [Anticon.]
aus – Moraine (Bracken remix) [Preco]
Downpour – Infinity [Downpour Bandcamp]
Bracken – Presence (in close focus) [Baro Records]
Bracken – Awake into falling light [Baro Records]
Hard Left – Red Flag (Downpour Re-Work) [Hard Left Bandcamp]
Bracken – Ravenser Odd II [Home Assembly Music]
On Fell – Untitled B side from first 7" [Moteer]
The Remote Viewer – Untitled track 04 from debut LP [555 Recordings]
a new line (related) – A Finger But No Pulse To Put It On [Home Normal]

Listen again — ~191MB


Sunday, 19th of June, 2016

Playlist 19.06.16 (9:06 pm)

New music extravaganza on the show tonight! So excited by how this year's turning out.

LISTEN AGAIN because music is timeless. Podcast here, stream on demand at FBi.

It's been a big year for Kane Ikin, with already a solo album on a well-regarded UK label, and an EP on a French techno label. Now his duo Solo Andata, formed in Perth but now I believe based in Melbourne, have released a surprise new album after some years' silence. They started out with their debut on beloved Chicago postrock/jazz/electronic label Hefty Records 10 years ago, and have stayed in the international spotlight since. Their music is pure gentleness, with guitar, piano, percussion, field recordings and very subtle electronic touches.

Sar Friedman releases her debut as Medicine Voice on Provenance, the new label run by Stuart Buchanan of New Weird Australia and Wood & Wire. Although there are high-profile collaborators on here (Oren Ambarchi, Joe Talia & James Rushford), Friedman's is a singular vision, and this track in particular is predominantly her piano and vocals, with some nicely disturbing drones underneath.

I often talk about Canberra-based Reuben Ingall as one of my favourite Australian artists. I guess he walks that line that Utility Fog loves so much where live instrumentation washes up against electronic processing – using Max/MSP patches and pedals, he samples and glitches his voice and guitar along with non-musical objects, and switches easily between emotive indie guitar dirges and complex programmed electronics. His new release comes from a new cassette label Tandem Tapes run by ex-Underlapper Morgan McKellar, now based in Jakarta, Indonesia. The label pairs Indonesian experimental artists (who I will get to in a future show) with overseas artists, mostly from McKellar's Australian connections for now.
Ingall's side is from the second Tandem Tapes release. The debut cassette features a side from Melbourne experimental electronic artist Pare Ohm, jittery beats with a jazzy inflection.

Back to Provenance, and back to Canberra whence the duo Spartak originate. Drummer Evan Dorrian is now based in Sydney, but guitarist Shoeb Ahmad is still in Canberra; both also contribute electronics of all sorts and vocals, and will be joined by a female vocalist on most of their new album, due in July, which I'm 100% pumped for. This track comes from Marks of Provenance I, given away with all purchases of the first (few?) Provenance releases, and it's an alternate version of a track from their new album.

Also from Marks of Provenance I is Melbourne electronic pop artist KAIA, extending tonight's theme of glitched vocals. And Sydney's Simo Soo gets remixed into quite dark territory by Vivian Huynh aka Lovely Head.

Our final Australian track for tonight takes us to Brisbane with Feet Teeth, a trio who combine electronics with live instrumentation, all improvised live. Their new release, Gout sees them collaborating with various Australian improvisers & experimental artists like Andrew Tuttle, Erik Griswold and Duskdarter's Kahl Monticone. This piece starts off as pure electronic drone but soon we hear the trumpet and drums surfacing out of the mix.

So finally we move overseas to Great Britain, with a band whose albums have a strong sense of place – their first was a folky, indie, symphonic, electronic ode to the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland; their new one examines and celebrates a small English town called Skelmersdale. Orkney is home to singer Erland Cooper of Erland & the Carnival, while multi-instrumentalist Simon Tong (ex member of The Verve and Gorillaz, also playing in Cooper's band) hails from Skelmersdale, so presumably their next album will take them to third member Hannah Peel's Ireland. The folk musics of their various countries heavily informs their songwriting, as does an indie rock sensibility and a certain homespun electronic undercurrent (drum machine beats etc).

As I listened to their new album I noticed something very familiar – a bassline that drives the wonderful single "Bay of Skaill" from their first album. It appears as a bassline on the single "Signs", but also as on plucked strings and a vocal refrain on "Pennylands" and elsewhere on the album too. It's a nice unifying feature and a callback to a popular song from their first release, but it was familiar quite aside from this, and it took a couple of listens before I managed to make the necessary mental connections – was it Boards of Canada? Autechre? Not quite right… Suddenly I knew exactly who it was. I would be surprised if it's a deliberate lifting, in fact I'd be surprised if The Magnetic North know the track at all, but it's almost exactly the bassline from a gorgeous idm track by the legendary Darrel Fitton aka Bola, from his Mauver EP. A bizarre and unexpected connection.

This electronic sidestep connects us handily to the work of Klara Lewis, whose second album on Editions Mego came out a few weeks ago. Lewis hails from Sweden, so it was not until reading an interview recently that I made the connection that she is the daughter of Edvard Graham Lewis of English post-punk experimentalists Wire. Her father has also released music on the Mego label, and while some of her sensibilities are similar, it's not necessary to draw comparisons or bring expectations to her own music. She's adept at the sort of sonic fusions and deconstructions long favoured by Mego, with chopped up sounds, gaseous ambient tracts, spooky sampled voices and the like, but she's also willing to drop in muffled techno beats here and there. In the same year as her Mego debut she put out a 12" on Peder Mannerfelt Produktion (and it was nice to read Mannerfelt in the new edition of The Wire talking about wanting to break down what he sees as extreme segregation in Swedish society, and releasing a number of female Swedish electronic artists is part of that). There's no doubt that new releases from Lewis will be highly anticipated round these parts.

Finally, another recent Editions Mego release is from the label boss himself, Peter Rehberg aka Pita. Rehberg is one of the originals in the glitch/noise scene that came out of Austria centred around the label that was originally called Mego. The Rehberg & Bauer releases with Ramon Bauer formed the catalyst for the pair to start the label, and Rehberg has also collaborated fruitfully with Christian Fennesz and Jim O'Rourke as FennO'Berg. Solo, the Pita work was always quite confrontingly noisy, although his work under his real name for contemporary dance artists is less tinittus-inducing. His new album Get In situates itself in a series of Pita releases (Get Out, Get Down, Get Off), and has passages of quite harsh abstract noise, but on the whole is queasy and ambient. I couldn't resist playing an epic and gorgeous untitled piece from 1999's Get Out, a shoegazey, faux-orchestral, distorted onslaught.

Solo Andata – Left [12k]
Solo Andata – Separate Lovers [12k]
Medicine Voice – the roman / crossing the fourth threshold [Provenance]
Reuben Ingall – Tomorrow [Tandem Tapes]
Reuben Ingall – Superfood [Tandem Tapes]
Pare Ohm – Com Glut [Tandem Tapes]
Pare Ohm – Three in One Hundred [Tandem Tapes]
Spartak – Black Eye Trace [Provenance]
KAIA – iii [Provenance]
Simo Soo – Dancer In The Dark (Lovely Head Remix) [Provenance]
Feet Teeth – six minutes and twelve seconds [Feet Teeth Bandcamp]
The Magnetic North – Signs [Full Time Hobby]
The Magnetic North – Bay of Skaill [Full Time Hobby]
The Magnetic North – Pennylands [Full Time Hobby]
Bola – Vespers [Skam]
Klara Lewis – Twist [Editions Mego]
Klara Lewis – c a t t [Editions Mego]
Klara Lewis – Msuic I [Peder Mannerfelt Produktion]
Klara Lewis – Beaming [Editions Mego]
Klara Lewis – Us [Editions Mego]
Pita – 9U2016 [Editions Mego]
Pita – Untitled 3 from Get Out [Editions Mego]

Listen again — ~194MB


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