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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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Sunday, 14th of February, 2010

Playlist 14.02.10 (10:12 pm)

Tonight’s show covered quite some ground, from early ’80s Sydney with the M2 label to contemporary Melbourne with Pikelet’s wonderful new album, with minimal techno, drone and much more in between.
LISTEN AGAIN link at the bottom, finally (once shonky internets were fixed…)

When Pikelet played a couple of Sydney shows in Sydney in 2008, she was already road testing some new material, and the wonderful “Toby Light” turned up in a few live sets. It’s been quite a wait, but finally that song opens her fabulous new album Stem, which you should run out and purchase right now! Charming songs based around loop pedals and a plethora of different instruments, perfectly constructed little wonders.

Ascension Records have just released a 4CD box set of all (or most?) of the material released by legendary Sydney label, studio and collective M2 during the early 1980s. It’s quite appropriate to start with The Makers of the Dead Travel Fast and their “hit” song “Tael Of A Saeghors”. Even though they weren’t the originators of MSquared, they came on board very early in the piece and this song got quite a bit of radio airplay at the time.
The folks at Vinyl on Demand put out a big vinyl boxset of MSquared stuff last year, but unlike this CD set, that was all unreleased material. Height/Dismay teams up the ubiquitous Patrick Gibson with Dru Johnson (also of Scattered Order and others). This untitled track loops a crying baby under a plaintive tune. It’s quite beautiful, if rather disturbing too…

Next up, Newcastle’s The Atlas Room (I think it’s a solo project) handed in a demo at FBi recently with a pretty impressive range over its 4 tracks. First up we took the almost post-punk “Iris”, and then there’s the more ambient “Dendrite”.
In between, first track from the stunningly-produced Black Noise album by German artist Pantha du Prince. It’s described as minimal house or minimal techno, but it seems to me that only covers part of what he’s doing – with krautrocky elements, a bit of an African influence, almost folktronic hints and a really lush sound.

Sydney (or central coast) artist Edwin Montgomery is on a roll, and has released two albums for free download at his website. Topography just uses a Roland SH2 monophonic analog synthesiser – yes, just a monophonic synth, with loop and delay pedals. It’s quite a lovely ambient and nostalgic sound.
Continuing the synth nostalgia, we have a couple more tracks from Brooklyn’s Oneohtrix Point Never, and then Edwin gives us one of the pieces from his other recent album, 4 Violins – beautiful layered violin drones.

Keeping it stringy, cellist Danny Norbury contributes the first of tonight’s tracks from Ian Hawgood’s Home Normal label, and it’s a remix (or reworking) of Ian Hawgood’s own work. From the same CD, we also had a fabulous folktronic feast from Color Cassette.

Next up, one-time folktronic poster-boy Minotaur Shock teams up with one of the members of the Iskra String Quarte for the second entry in the L-O-A-F Explorers’ Club. Something a bit different for Minotaur Shock and one of the best things I’ve heard of his in ages.

BJ Nilsen’s productions are still new to me, and pretty friggin’ awesome. Source material can be field recordings, strange objects or musical instruments, and everything has a generous helping of computer processing. It’s not unlike what Machinefabriek is doing, but the results, in terms of track structures and probably sonic intentions, are quite unique. The first track we heard tonight starts with digitally distorted birds, abruptly chops off, and then grows into this almost electric organ thing.

Next up, Justin Broadrick & Andrew Broder aren’t really a pair you’d expect to see together on vinyl, but the latest 7″ in Hidden Hive’s Kissing Kin series doesn’t just split sides between them – they’re two collaborations, with Broadrick’s familiar Jesu onslaught of guitars and drum machines, and Broder’s familiar Fog drawl. Strangely, it works. More please!

After more Pikelet, we skipped back to 1990 and the second Necks album. I still remember buying this album, with its original artwork (so sad that they changed it for the reissue). Shorter tracks, unlike most live Necks gigs, and some interesting instrumentation and studio experimentation. Their gig this Friday night at the Metro in Sydney can’t come highly enough recommended from me.
From 1990 Sydney back to the early ’80s, Patrick Gibson gives us a little bit of ambient electronica. I never cease to be amazed at how nonchalantly forward-looking people like these, Severed Heads and others were around this time.
Perhaps also forward-looking, albeit released on cassette, are Brisbane’s Axxonn. At least the cassette releases come with a free download, and Bandcamp very sensibly allow you to choose pretty much any format you like for downloading purposes. Axxonn’s music is powerful stuff, and the beautiful chord progressions and saturated noise are all-enveloping here.

Rejoining the lovely Home Normal, we have one track of glitchy acoustic guitar from offthesky, the processed vocals and drone of L / M / R / W, and the very chilly ambience of Konntinent.

No other new artists in the rest of the playlist, but the last Pikelet selection from her new album has a sweet little bit off the original piano-and-vocal demo version (“Take Off The Face Paint”) which she was selling at gigs in 2008; so I thought we should hear another of those tracks. “My Piano” features some very nimble piano playing and multi-tracked vocals.

Pikelet – Toby Light [Chapter Music]
The Makers of the Dead Travel Fast – Tael Of A Saeghors [M2/Ascension Records]
Height/Dismay – Untitled [M2/Vinyl on Demand]
The Atlas Room – Iris [demo]
Pantha du Prince – lay in a shimmer [Rough Trade]
The Atlas Room – Dendrite [demo]
Edwin Montgomery – Waves of Trilithium [self-released] {free download from his website!}
Oneohtrix Point Never – Behind the Bank [No Fun Productions]
Oneohtrix Point Never – Betrayed in the Octagon [No Fun Productions]
Edwin Montgomery – 4 Violins – I [self-released] {free download from his website!}
Ian Hawgood – A Film By Danny Norbury [Home Normal]
Ian Hawgood – A Film By Color Cassette [Home Normal]
Minotaur Shock and J Underwood – Monodon Monoceros [L-O-A-F]
BJ Nilsen – Scientia [Touch]
Justin Broadrick & Andrew Broder – Nowhere [Hidden Hive]
Pikelet – Swooping Buzzards [Chapter Music]
The Necks – Garl’s/Nice Policeman Nasty Policeman [Spiral Scratch, reissued on Fish of Milk]
Patrick Gibson – Bland A [M2/Ascension Records]
Axxonn – Urine Mote [Bedroom Suck] (cassette+download – or digital from Bandcamp)
offthesky – Light Like [Home Normal]
L / M / R / W – Clay [Home Normal]
Konntinent – Frost Fair [Home Normal]
BJ Nilsen – Into Its Coloured Rays [Touch]
Pikelet – Face Paint [Chapter Music]
Pikelet – My Piano [self-released]
Scattered Order – Personal Safety [M2/Ascension Records]
Pantha du Prince – es schneit [Rough Trade]

Listen again — ~ 175MB


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