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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, 16th of June, 2019

Playlist 16.06.19 (9:13 pm)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Listen again — ~196MB


Sunday, 9th of June, 2019

Playlist 09.06.19 (9:10 pm)

Some dark and light electronica of various forms tonight, from ravey stabs to shoegazey pop, shuddering noise, industrial techno, and idm...

LISTEN AGAIN because you know it's best. Stream on demand from FBi or podcast from here.

Penelope Trappes - Connector (Aasthma Rework) [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Penelope Trappes - Maeve [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Penelope Trappes - Carry Me (Cosey Fanni Tutti Rework) [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Originally from the Northern Rivers of NSW, Penelope Trappes has lived in New York and then London over the last decade and a bit. She put out a notable album on Optimo Music a few years ago, and followed it up with a second on Houndstooth last year, full of mysterious textures, shoegazey tendencies and occasional echoey beats. The second album has now been remixed on Penelope Redeux by an array of interesting types, including Mogwai, Throwing Snow, Nik Colk Void and others. Aasthma is the duo of Peder Mannerfelt and Pär Grindvik, two house/techno legends from Sweden, who turn in a ravey, almost drum'n'bassy take on a highlight from the album. Another highlight is reworked in glitchy, cavernous fashion by industrial/electronic legend Cosey Fanni Tutti.

9T Antiope & Siavash Amini - Blue As In Bleeding [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
This affecting and disturbing work, entitled Harmistice, finds two Persian artists collaborating over the internet. Duo 9T Antiope, made up of violinist/producer Nima Aghiani and vocalist/producer Sara Bigdeli Shamloo are based Paris, while Siavash Amini lives in Tehran. Amini makes dense drone and noise, both as a solo artist and in various collaborations, notably with spoken word artist Matt Finney. This grouping seems almost inevitable - Amini's windswept surges of noise & drone interacting with Aghiani's crashing sounds and violin, over which Shamloo sings and speaks her nightmare of war and chaos. Shamloo's rich, melodic singing acts - as with 9T Antiope - as a contrast and grounding for the power electronics going on around her, but the album is intentionally challenging, its subject matter very real. As elements within the White House posture for sanctions or even war on Iran, the situation for the general population, predictably, becomes distressing. Amini expressed this viscerally recently in a Twitter thread.

Franck Vigroux - Baron [Aesthetical]
Franck Vigroux - non prénom [D'Autres Cordes]
Franck Vigroux - Capaupire [Aesthetical]
I first became aware of French artist Franck Vigroux through a collaborative album he made with the late Mika Vainio. Like Vainio and his celebrated duo Pan Sonic, Vigroux often works with heavy, distorted electronic sounds, although his earlier work camera police mixes in classical samples and processed vocals. In fact I hear some electric violin in the last track - also from new album Totem - alongside late-night bleepy techno.

JK Flesh - In Your Pit [Pressure/JK Flesh Bandcamp]
JK Flesh - In Your Pit (The Bug Remix) [Pressure/JK Flesh Bandcamp]
Just massively heavy, lugubriously slow industrial techno from JK Flesh, aka the genius Justin K Broadrick. He's a very longtime collaborator with Kevin Martin aka The Bug, so it's nice to have this new EP released on Martin's Pressure label, replete with a swaggering post-dubstep take from the man himself.

Miss Red - Don't Text Back [Pressure]
Miss Red - Loco [Pressure]
Also out now on Pressure, and produced as usual by The Bug, is new EP The Four Bodies from ex-pat Israeli MC Sharon Stern aka Miss Red. The four elements are taken as inspiration for these tracks - the submerged dub of "Don't Text Back" is water, and the dancehall stomper "Loco" is fire (as you can clearly hear from the lyrics!).

Plaid - Los [Warp]
Plaid - Angry Dolphin (excerpt) [Clear]
Plaid - shackbu [Warp]
Plaid - Manyme (feat. Mara Carlyle) [Warp]
Plaid - sömnl [Warp]
Plaid - Ropen [Warp]
Plaid - Ops [Warp]
In the early '90s Andy Turner and Ed Handley teamed up with Ken Downie for 5 years as part of pioneering British techno & idm group The Black Dog. Back in '91 they'd already released a duo album as Plaid, and in 1995 they split from Downie to do Plaid fulltime. The drill'n'bass track "Angry Dolphin" that I excerpted here comes from that time, but shortly afterwards they signed to Warp (who'd released a number of Black Dog albums too) and there they've remained for decades hence. They're multi-talented masters of production, from electro and techno numbers to jazzy beat juggling and tricksy harmonic progressions, with an endless talent for melody - but they'll also draw on acoustic instrumentation when needed, especially since their successful forays into soundtrack work since the early 2000s - not to mention their work with the extraordinary singer Mara Carlyle, culminating in her gorgeous first solo album The Lovely. After a period of concentrated soundtrack work, they released scintilli in 2011, and have put out an album every 2-3 years since, each full of classic Plaid sounds.

ISSHU - Demons Are Real [Seagrave/Bandcamp]
ISSHU - Smok [Tandem Tapes]
ISSHU - Heart Skipped [Seagrave/Bandcamp]
UK artist ISSHU has three cassettes now on the Seagrave label, each with fairly different focus, from murky techno or electro to the new one's '90s idm and in particular drill'n'bass and junglist contortions. It's got that melodic acid feel along with the beats, quite expertly done. I've been listening to this a lot and will no doubt be returning to it. And back in 2017, a track from ISSHU appeared on Jakarta-based ex-pat Aussie label Tandem Tapes, as part of the massive compilation For Headspace.

Dreadcore - Tripwire (feat. Theta) [Acroplane]
Keeping it drum'n'bass with a dark number from the new mini-album from Oslo's Dreadcore, released on veteran UK netlabel Acroplane. The album veers between drum'n'bass and dubstep/techno, cut up beats and heavy electronics and textures.

Wa?ste - f.4.i.t.h [Quantum Natives]
Wa?ste - ecstatic passage [Quantum Natives]
When I first came across Wa?ste on some compilations in the last year or two, I thought it was cool to find a new Australian artist working in the vapourwavey post-rave arena, but then I realised it's Felix Idle, who has previously released music as shisd - more ambient, indie, glitchy stuff. It's very nice to find this on the hyped Quantum Natives label, a world-spanning online collective doing future-focused electronic productions of various sorts.

Listen again — ~193MB


Sunday, 2nd of June, 2019

Playlist 02.06.19 (9:19 pm)

Selections ranging from impeccably arranged free jazz hybrids, Indian drum'n'bass, underground hip-hop, post-classical, and free noise...

LISTEN AGAIN for your weekly ear-massage. Stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

Fire! Orchestra - (Beneath) The Edge of Life [Rune Grammofon]
Fire! Orchestra - Dressed In Smoke. Blown Away [Rune Grammofon]
Sweden's Fire! are a remarkable trio of jazz musicians who have worked across post-rock, noise and myriad other genres. They're comprised of Mats Gustafsson on saxophone (known for his massive sound and also his work with The Thing, who've notably collaborated with Neneh Cherry), bassist Johan Berthling (of many ensembles including post-rock/folk pioneers Tape, and his legendary Häpna label) and drummer Andreas Werliin. The latter is perhaps best known for his duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums with his partner Mariam Wallentin, whose extraordinary vocal interpretations and arrangements are so central to the expanded ensemble's work as Fire! Orchestra. In the past they've been a kind of free jazz big band, with massed horns alongside the driving, grooving bass (and often sax) riffage and ecstatic vocals. Here there are scraped and swooped strings, keys and of course the bassline riffs and wonderful vocals – with Wallentin joined by another luminary of the Swedish experimental / jazz scene, Sofia Jernberg. This is compulsive, compulsory listening, as we've learned to expect from this ensemble.

Danielle de Picciotto - Dark Butterfly [Louder Than War]
Danielle de Picciotto - Hail [Louder Than War]
For the last 9 years, Danielle de Picciotto has been an itinerant musician alongside her husband, Alexander Hacke from Einstürzende Neubauten. She moved to Berlin from NYC in 1987 and started the Love Parade, and also started the Ocean Club with Gudrun Gut – her influence runs deep. But the most recent albums from her have been collaborative "hackedepicciotto" releases, so it's wonderful to have this solo work, which combines electronic experimentation, her electric violin and her now very German-influenced American vocals. I heard some solo work of hers as part of Gudrun Gut's Monika Werkstatt program, and it's great to hear the promise of those works come to fruition here.

The Brazilian Gentleman - Soda [Lazy Thinking/Bandcamp]
dälek - Swollen Tongue Burns [Gern Blandsten]
End Xian - Beseech (Young Aundee's Reach For Blood) [Halfpear Records]
End Christian - Great Escapes [Corpse Flower Records]
The Brazilian Gentleman - Janky [Lazy Thinking/Bandcamp]
Forthcoming on Sydney label Lazy Thinking in a week or so (a bit of a coup for a local label) is Philadelphia group The Brazilian Gentleman's debut album. This very-hard-to-pin-down band is made up of Christian McKenna (aka Christian Alexander, of psych/post-metal band Hex Inverter and before that post-hardcore band Empty Flowers), and beat-maker Alap Momin, best known as Oktopus from noise-hop pioneers dälek (more recently resurrected without him), along with Evan Schneider. All are members of End Christian, itself a nearly uncategorizable mix of metal, industrial, r'n'b, electronic pop and glitch elements. This seems to be a subset and even looser than the parent band, and I'm not complaining! I thought we should hear some of the earliest work of Momin with dälek (already weird and drawing from noise and shoegaze as much as hip-hop's boom bap), and McKenna's earlier work as End Xian as well as the fantastic Bach Part One album of the full End Christian band from last year. I strongly recommend checking out the strange world of The Brazilian Gentleman when it drops next week (maybe hit "Follow" on that Bandcamp?).

Billy Woods / Kenny Segal - houthi [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
Billy Woods / Kenny Segal - steak knives [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
Billy Woods / Kenny Segal - checkpoints [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
This emphatically odd underground hip-hop gear comes from two really important players in the hip-hop scenes on the two sides of the US. Billy Woods grew up in Africa & the West Indies but has now become part of the New York hip-hop scene, with his duo Armand Hammer with Elucid and his solo work, released on his own Backwoodz Studioz. Kenny Segal started out as a drum'n'bass DJ and has been an oft-sighted producer in the LA leftfield hip-hop scene for many years. Their styles fit perfectly together, with Woods' speed-of-thought commentary on the fucked-up state of America & the world knocked about by Segal's warped samples and beats that recall early Anticon from a contemporary perspective.

Sarathy Korwar feat. MC Malawi - Mumbay (Bandish Projekt remix) [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Bridging hip-hop, jazz, electronica and Indian music is the new single from Sarathy Korwar, who was joined by MC Malawi of Mumbay collective Swadesi for the recent single "Mumbay", which is now remixed into techy, flittering bass/drum'n'bass by Indian electronic crew Bandish Projekt.

Resina - In In (Ben Frost remix) [130701/Bandcamp]
Resina - In (Ian William Craig remix) [130701/Bandcamp]
Polish cellist Karolina Rec aka Resina has released two beautiful albums of cello and sometimes vocal looping on 130701, the post-classical sub-label of Fat Cat Records. Last year those of us who made it to Unsound Adelaide were lucky to see her perform live tracks from her Traces album of last year. Now she's released an EP with four remixes from that album, including a typically surging, bass-heavy version from Adelaide ex-pat Ben Frost (who was also at Unsound), and some exquisite tape manipulation and additional vocals from Ian William Craig.

The Phonometrician - We're Burning [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
The Phonometrician - Here Comes the Storm [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Originally from Mexico City, now LA-based Carlos Morales creates sound design and soundtracks and releases music as The Phonometrician. His latest album Mnemosyne (Greek goddess of memory) has just been released in a lush CD edition and digital from Lost Tribe Sound. It features fingerpicked guitar in amongst acoustic samples, field recordings and rhythmic beds. It's engrossing and beautifully constructed.

Petrels - Elyas Anais [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Petrels - Telos [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Oliver Barrett has featured regularly on this show for over a decade, since his first extraordinary release as Bleeding Heart Narrative. BHN became a band and then broke up, making way for Petrels again as a solo project, then band, then solo project again. It's psychedelic, it's freak folk of sorts, it's krautrock and noise and who knows what else - Barrett has also released a series of EPs under his own name of extended technique experiments on his cello, and he's an accomplished artist & illustrator. It's excellent to have a new album of intoxicating song from him.

Wolfpanther - Varg Gnister [Wolfpanther Bandcamp]
Adelaide-based experimental/outsider musician Stu Johnson aka Wolfpanther has self-released myriad configurations of very strange music over the years, as Wolfpanther and before that Marxist Real Estate - music unfettered by any assumptions about production technique or instrumentation, and all the better for it. The new Wolfpanther EP is available for free on his Bandcamp, and features three tracks discovered on his hard drive. The piece here was apparently reconstructed from sounds by Adelaide postrock/electronic group Sparkspitter.

Listen again — ~188MB


Sunday, 26th of May, 2019

Playlist 26.05.19 (9:15 pm)

Lots of new music tonight, from wonderful indiefolk through folktronica, noise of sorts, shuddering glitchtronica and folk-jazz hybrids.

LISTEN AGAIN for the pure pleasure of it. Stream on demand via FBi and podcast here.

Heather Woods Broderick - A Stilling Wind [Western Vinyl]
Heather Woods Broderick - From The Ground [Preservation]
Heather Woods Broderick - A Call For Distance [Western Vinyl]
Heather Woods Broderick - A Daydream [Western Vinyl]
Heather Woods Broderick - Nightcrawler [Western Vinyl]
I've been following Heather Woods Broderick since her first album, released by Sydney's own Preservation 10 years ago in 2009 - showing how switched on Andrew Khedoori has been for a long time. Heather played in indie folk band Horse Feathers, released on Kill Rock Stars, and has toured extensively with Danish postrock band Efterklang. She’s been very involved with the Portland folk scene (she compiled some local folk music on an album a few years ago), and has of course worked quite a lot with her brother Peter Broderick, on each other's projects and also in some of those other ensembles.
Her solo music works as beautifully direct singer-songwriting, but betrays her background in more experimental, freeform music with gorgeous, unusual string arrangements (like her brother she's a multi-instrumentalist, including cello) and occasional studio tricks. Still, ultimately it's about the wonderful songwriting itself. From 2015's Glider, "A Call For Distance" begins with ambient pads and guitar, before dropping into a hazy groove - and a different groove gently propels new track "A Stilling Wind". "From The Ground", from her much older debut on Preservation, finds her brother joining her in the string arrangement, while "A Daydream", from the new album Invitation, is a lovely piano vignette. The jaunty piano in "Nightcrawler" accompanies a slightly wonky almost-country number, and wobbles in varispeed through the outro.

The Breeders - 900 [4AD]
Josephine Wiggs - We Fall [The Sound of Sinners/Bandcamp]
Josephine Wiggs - Loveliest of Trees [The Sound of Sinners/Bandcamp]
What's this Breeders b-side doing in the playlist?
Well, apart from being a great, weird track, in the vein of '80s and early '90s 4AD, it's by bassist and occasional cellist Josephine Wiggs (written, produced and mostly played by her). As a cellist and cello aficionado I've been wanting to hear a solo album from Wiggs, well, since then, so it's quite a delight to finally have one - in fact it's surprising that, despite various indie bands and aliases, this is Wiggs' first foray into solo, almost totally instrumental recording (featuring only longtime collaborator Jon Mattock on a few tracks). It comes off as a little bit "post-classical" and a bit soundtracky, particularly in the way that certain thematic elements are re-used and repurposed. But it's very sparse, made up of rhythmic ostinati slowly building. In fact it's a kind of restrained postrock, and thinking back to the Breeders, and their predecessors the Pixies, even though it's indie rock I think it's absolutely one of the direct predecessors of the form.

Carla dal Forno - Fever Walk [Kallista Records]
You know Carla dal Forno by now - ex-pat Aussie based in London, part of the experimental trio F ingers, creating compelling minimalist songs and instrumentals which can’t quite be pinned down but somehow edge into your consciousness. This is the b-side from a recent single.

mara - Slow Dance Pt. 1 [Club Moss]
Mara Schwerdtfeger is a Sydney-born, Melbourne-based sound artist who went to school at the Conservatorium High School and is now studying digital media at RMIT. She played with the similarly-talented Lupa J at some early point in her career, among others, and sometimes appears with Megan Alice Clune's Alaska Orchestra. Some solo work is ethereal electronic songwriting, but on her Bandcamp you can find a few recent installation works which aren't a million miles from the two sides on this excellent new cassette from Club Moss. Using contact mics, ceramic resonances and analogue synths, Mara builds an idiomatic sound world, juxtaposing drones and rhythms with explosions of sub-bass and sharp discontinuities.

Véhicule - Disco [Midira Records/Bandcamp]
Véhicule - Je-vous [Midira Records/Bandcamp]
Véhicule - Rites [Midira Records/Bandcamp]
French artist Sylvain Milliot debuts here with the album Le Temps Du Chien, released on cassette and digital through Midira Records. It's quite a wonderful update on folktronica and experimental jazzy downtempo, with acoustic instruments including cello hitting glitchy sample chopping, and tape or vinyl manipulation alongside flickering digidub. Very unusual and ear-catching stuff, and let's be honest, very in keeping with Utility Fog's genre-mashed sensibilities. At times it feels like it could be from the '90s period of early glitch - sample mangling, sly meetings of kitsch and noise... but with a more contemporary sensibility.

Helm - I Knew You Would Respond [PAN]
Helm - Sky Wax (NYC) [PAN]
Helm - Body Rushes [PAN]
Luke Younger's solo project Helm is by now quite prominent in the experimental scene. A seasoned noise artist, he also runs the ALTER label which releases everything from noise and postpunk to experimental dancefloor work. Helm sits somewhere in the sound-art spectrum, occasionally emanating regular beats, sometimes incorporating something recognizable as a bassline or a melody, frequently made of bubbling or buzzing drones... It's evocative, and hard to pin down in the best way. His new album Chemical Flowers, again for the great PAN label, features superb string arrangements by industrial legend and Aussie ex-pat Jim Thirlwell aka Foetus. In between two new tracks we heard from his previous album proper, 2015's Olympic Mess, a subtly creepy little number.

SPIME.IM - Exaland II [ous.ooo/Bandcamp]
SPIME.IM - Exaland V [ous.ooo/Bandcamp]
Italian multimedia quartet SPIME.IM comprise musicians & digital artists/coders. Their name references science fiction author & futurist Bruce Sterling's concept of a "spime" (describing an object that can be tracked for its entire existence through space & time) with the contraction of "I am" (albeit apostrophe free) to point at the crossover of human & artificial, organic vs digital existence (and comment on pervasive surveillance). In a way this describes the earlier Véhicule work more than SPIME.IM, whose music is mostly jittery, flickery electronics with rich bass and spectral melody which would be comfortable on the raster-noton label. That's great in itself, but there are hints at something more - swelling ambient pads, half-heard acoustic sounds.

Lisathe - The Sun's Gone Dim And The Sky's Turned Black [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
Lisathe - White Sun [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
Sydney jazz trio Lisathe appeared on this show a few weeks ago with a surprising cover of Björk's "Pagan Poetry". Their full album, now released, sees them tackling a swathe of music from Icelandic artists, so tonight we hear their take on the late Jóhann Jóhannsson’s gorgeous "The Sun's Gone Dim And The Sky’s Turned Black", and a twinkly piece of experimental pop from Jófríður Ákadóttir aja JFDR - all on guitar, bass and drums.

Erlend Apneseth Trio with Frode Haltli - Salinka. Molika [Hubro]
Erlend Apneseth Trio with Frode Haltli - Pyramiden [Hubro]
From Australian covers of Icelandic music to Norway. Erlend Apneseth plays the Hardanger fiddle (a Norwegian folk violin with additional resonant strings) and his folk/jazz trio is here joined by Norwegian accordionist Frode Haltli. The music bridges old and new in a very Utility Fog-friendly way, where traditional melodies and harmonic progressions played on ancient instruments converse with live sampling and improvised passages. Like a lot of music on the amazing Hubro label, it jazz and folk flirt with postrock and electronics in what feels to me like a typically Norwegian way.

Listen again — ~184MB


Sunday, 19th of May, 2019

Playlist 19.05.19 (9:54 pm)

Tonight's show comes after a bitterly disappointing Federal election, touted as the climate election, in which fear, greed and racism won out over hope and progress. Many arguments can be made about how it came to pass, but ultimately we have to keep moving forward and making a difference. All I can really do is bring you wonderful music from all around the globe. Even if you disagree with my interpretation of the politics of the day, I hope we can come together over great art (although let's remind ourselves that the conservatives who again control the public purse are no friends of challenging, adventurous art).

LISTEN AGAIN to sooth the savage breast. FBi has the stream-on-demand, podcast is here.

Ståle Storløkken - Turbulence [Hubro]
Ståle Storløkken - Stranded at Red Ice Desert. Remember Your Loved Ones (In Memory of My Dear Mother) [Hubro]
Norwegian jazz keyboardist Ståle Storløkken is a member of the legendary freeform improvising group Supersilent, whose music has ranged from noisy thrash-jazz to the most eerily beautiful ambient electronic jazz ever created. He also has a duo with jazz drummer Thomas Strønen as Humcrush. For this solo album, titled The Haze of Sleeplessness, he's created a suite of evocative pieces from synthesizers which shows that Arve Henriksen isn't the only Supersilent member with a keen sense of exquisite melody (not surprisingly!)

BirdWorld - Wicked Waste of Wax [BirdWorld Bandcamp]
BirdWorld - Chimes [BirdWorld Bandcamp]
It's great to find out that the debut EP from London/Oslo duo BirdWorld is available now. I heard the last track on a Wire compilation a little while ago. They have the unusual lineup of Gregor Riddell on cello & electronics and Adam Teixeira on drums & percussion, and they seamless meld their live, acoustic performances with field recordings and manipulations. Looking forward to the full length album.

Brian Harnetty - Boy [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
Brian Harnetty - Jack [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
American composer Brian Harnetty is an old hand now at weaving his contemporary compositions and arrangements with archival folk recordings and interviews. I fell in love with his first album, American Winter, back in 2007, and Shawnee, Ohio, out now on Karlrecords, is another moving, beautiful and instructive entry into his works. This focuses on the eponymous town, once a centre of coal mining, and now fracking. The latter industry is called out in the second track here, where a fellow called Jack adapts the classic union protest song "Which Side Are You On?"

Teho Teardo - A Bit About Ghosts [Specula Records]
Teho Teardo - London Offered Us Possible Mothers [Specula Records]
It's been a couple of years since we heard from Italian composer and ex-industrial musician Teho Teardo on this show. He's become known for some brilliant albums with the great Blixa Bargeld, but equally for his soundtrack work, and this new album was composed for a play by Enda Walsh adapting Max Porter's novel Grief Is The Thing With Feathers. The string arrangements, details production and occasional electronic elements make for wonderfully emotive work.

Laura Cannell - Landmark [Brawl Records]
Laura Cannell - Transient Thresholds [Brawl Records]
Like much of her work, the new album by Laura Cannell was recorded live in one take in an English church - this one in Nottingham. She makes use of scordatura (unusual tunings) on her violin to enable strange harmonies, placing her music somewhere between arcane folk and contemporary music. The double recorder she plays on the first track (yes, both melodies are played simultaneously live) certainly evokes music of centuries past.

John Harries - Tea Coffee Pepper [The Lumen Lake]
Wendra Hill For - Okroppslig [The Lumen Lake]
This split cassette is released later this month on the English label The Lumen Lake, run by multi-instrumentalist John Harries. His side of the split is dominated by a long work called "Grey Sea Over A Cold Sky", which was too long for me to play tonight but is an absorbing work of drones and percussion; Harries' solo piece is a somewhat abstract work of sound-art, and sits nicely with the semi-improvised work of the Norwegian ensemble Wendra Hill For, usually the duo of Jo David Meyer Lysne (who we heard on this show a few months ago) & double bassist Joel Ring, but Wendra Hill is also a collective and they're joined here by two multi-instrumentalists: Jenny Berger Myhre and Tobias Pfeil. Their side is quite varied, but "Okroppslig" is a stunning piece of perhaps spontaneous contemporary composition.

Madeleine Cocolas - The Way Forward [Salmon Universe]
DEEP LEARNING - Power Law [Salmon Universe]
PVT member Richard Pike last year debuted his new ambient solo project DEEP LEARNING. He's now setup a new label called Salmon Universe and later this month will release the compilation Salmon Universe Vol. 1, featuring himself alongside international artists like Luke Abbott and the newly-returned-to-Australia Madeleine Cocolas, whose arpeggiated synths here have some nice growly distortion underlying them.

Kayak - Astra [Flaming Pines]
Submatukana - Thunderstorm [Flaming Pines]
The Flaming Pines, run by sometime Aussie sound artist Kate Carr, is by now well known for its site-specific collections, and also full-length compilations of experimental music from specific countries. With Kaleidoscope it's the turn of Ukraine. Previous Flaming Pines artist Gamardah Fungus is present, as is well-known electronic musician Andrey Kiritchenko and recent ambient/post-classical artist Endless Melancholy, along with many names I'd never heard. It focuses on the ambient & droney, but as we can hear there are some tracks which grow into percussive loops and beats - such as both tracks from Kayak and Submatukana.

Jack Burton - Opus [Analogue Attic/Bandcamp]
Something more from the Lake Monger album, out later this week from Melbourne musician Jack Burton. Lovely synth drones, a muted, very slow 4/4 beat and a gorgeous outro.

Himalayan Beach Ensemble - Oasis [Julien Mier Bandcamp]
Dutch electronic musician Julien Mier has released chaotic beats under his own name, and groovy stuff as Santpoort. This is his new ambient project Himalayan Beach Ensemble, focusing on piano and other acoustic instruments, and electronic treatments, all very very subdued.

Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky - Space Ghost I [Sacred Bones]
Stephen Brodsky - Stolen Echoes Won't Return [Stephen Brodsky">Magic Bullet Records]
Xasthur feat. Marissa Nadler - Portal of Sorrow [Disharmonic Variations]
Machinefabriek - VIII (with Marissa Nadler) (excerpt) [Western Vinyl]
Marissa Nadler & Stephen Brodsky - For the Sun [Sacred Bones]
Finally for tonight, a rather sumptuous pairing of indie/folk singer-songwriter Marissa Nadler and hardcore musician Stephen Brodsky on their album Droneflower. Of course, that's an unfair way of describing them both. Nadler is a seasoned collaborator with pretty unusual people, including her appearance on most of the final (until reformed) album by black metal artist Xasthur. More recently she contributed vocals for a track on Machinefabriek's amazing album With Voices, her voice at times fragilely a capella, at other times layered and electronically manipulated. Brodsky's Cave In is a beloved hardcore band, but injected melodic indie rock vocals for many of their years (and last year suffered the tragedy of their bass player Caleb Scofield dying in a car accident. Their final album will be released soon) - and Brodsky also has a slew of indiepop solo albums under his belt.
Together these great musicians have brought out the dark, emotive, gothic aspects of each other's work, with acoustic guitar and piano rubbing up against chugging slow riffs and Nadler's always bewitching vocals. The duo works tremendously well and I can only hope they continue working together.

Listen again — ~182MB


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