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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.

Monday, 26th of July, 2010

Playlist 25.07.10 (12:13 am)

Evening! It’s late-start-‘Fog! It’s also not-very-organised-‘Fog, but some really interesting sounds, whether Nick Zammuto’s pre-Books electronic music, or Oval’s re-invention with tiny audio vignettes.
LISTEN AGAIN via the link at the bottom.

I played Salem last week via These New Puritans’s amazing mix for FACT Mag, and this week have a so-heavy-it’s-distorted slab of slo-mo hip-hop, plus a similarly slo-mo reworking of These New Puritans themselves. You can just about hear the original track if you stick it on straight after…

Here We Go Magic put on a great performance directly before Utility Fog, and “Only Pieces”, from their (at the time, just Luke Temple’s) previous album. There were a gratifying number of HWGM fans in the audience, along with the massed Grizzly Bear fans, who were rewarded with a long set of which I caught less than half (see how dedicated I am?)
Meanwhile, PVT have put together a nice remix of the single(ish) from the new HWGM album — yet another download from Stereogum for this week!

I’m pretty sure Zeal’s debut album will be a stayer. Indietronica from Melbourne, nicely shambolic, with some great tunes.

Like last week, we had a new track from part timer’s forthcoming album, plus a brilliant remix from the now-available remix disc which you can buy direct from him.

The L-O-A-F Explorers’ Club continues to turn up some excellent stuff. From the July EP we have Düsseldorf natives Hauschka & Stefan Schneider collaborating on a track that sounds more like the latter’s Mapstation than Volker Bertelmann’s prepared piano and strings as Hauschka. This month there’s also a lovely piece by Nils Frahm which I’m holding off on because I should have a couple of other releases of his in the mail for next week’s show!

Again tonight I wanted to play something from Chris Abrahams’s wonderful new album, and I played a track which actually Room40 made available on a compilation a while ago – it’s a fitting, beautiful end to the new album; and I wanted to play another little bit of The Necks for context (gotta love “context”), so we had a short and evocative piece from their soundtrack to Rowan Woods’ harrowing 1998 movie The Boys.

In between those two tracks, I played two very interesting little pieces by Markus Popp aka Oval, who’s no longer slashing up CDs and glitching his way through semi-aleatoric ambience, but instead is using live instrumentation in unusual fashions. Both these tracks are available for free, as is quite a bit of tonight’s music – see the playlist below for links.

Sydney’s This Is How It All Begins makes another appearance tonight. It’s hard to excerpt this album, which likes silences in the middle of tracks, and climaxes many minutes in, but it’s highly rewarding listening.

Nick Zammuto of The Books is blogging their new album track by track over at their tumblr, and on Saturday he wrote a fascinating post on what’s in many ways one of my least favourite tracks on the album, A Cold Freezin’ Night. It shares with a fair proportion of the album (and moreso than their previous releases) a dependence on gimmicky joke samples, which don’t take long (for me at least) to become annoying rather than enjoyable or clever.
Nevertheless, it’s impeccably constructed, and what’s particularly interesting in the post is Nick’s discussion of how he created the rhythm track — and subsequently his discussion of drill’n’bass’s influence on The Books’ art. Since I first met Nick online in the late ’90s on the (perhaps infamous) idm-list (immortalised in the artwork for Warp’s second Artificial Intelligence compilation in 1994), it was particularly nice to see him acknowledging this. I played a couple of old Zammuto tracks that he may or may not be embarrassed to see unearthed — one of them extremely obscure and having the dubious distinction of being a remix of sorts of none other than myself, as one link in a chain of remixes.
Nick also released, a couple of years prior to the first Books album, and extraordinary 3CDR set of abstract guitar-based rhythmic music, of which I played one track tonight.

English experimental artist Chris Cook has been sending me his music for yonks – long before I even had a regular radio show. Originally based in Brighton, he was very active in the improv scene there, as well as with the Wrong Music bunch. As Same Actor, he uses sitar and dulcimer along with electronic manipulation, while Hot Roddy tends to be more along the zany electronic lines. His 4-track EP of sitar-based Kraftwerk covers is out now (see below) and I’m awaiting info on when and where the excellent Hot Roddy EP (also a free download) is coming out. The latters “Best Before 1997” is a perhaps sardonic reference to its drill’n’bass style.

Speaking of drill’n’bass, Himuro’s “Tonoma Shock”, from 1998, is one of my favourites of the genre – insane drum programming, classic bassline, drops and crescendos. He’s still making music, and predictably his latest EP is dubstep and wonky-influenced, and pretty nice — oh, and free!

Not free, but pretty cheap, is Autechre’s latest album, released as an EP. I’ve played it a fair bit already, and you can now read my review over at Cyclic Defrost. The track I played is, seriously, almost wonky hip-hop. Cute, eh!

Salem – King Night [Merok Records] {download courtesy Stereogum}
These New Puritans – Hologram (Salem remix) [Angular/Domino] {download courtesy Stereogum}
Here We Go Magic – Only Pieces [Western Vinyl]
Here We Go Magic – Collector (PVT remix) [Secretly Canadian] {free download from Stereogum}
Zeal – They All Say [self-released]
part timer – in your hand [lost tribe sound]
part timer – the runner (feat. heidi elva) (jazzy jones is nano remix) [self-released, click here for purchasing options]
Hauschka & Stefan Schneider – Common Exposure [L-O-A-F Explorers’ Club]
The Necks – The Boys II [Fish of Milk]
Oval – Salajingle [Thrill Jockey] {free download from Thrill Jockey, via FACT Mag!}
Oval – Haste [Thrill Jockey] {free download from FACT!}
Chris Abrahams – Leiden [Room40]
This Is How It All Begins – Within [self-released, get from Bandcamp!]
The Books – A Cold Freezin’ Night [Temporary Residence/Spunk]
Zammuto – fairly aggressive salsa [Very hard-to-find track from the idm-list‘s remix helix in 2000. As it happens, this is a remix of my Raven track “I carpet bombed the old school”]
Zammuto – Full Martyr Status [No Type]
Zammuto – theme [Apartment B]
Same Actor – Computer Love [wombnet] {free download! Yes – Kraftwerk covers!}
Hot Roddy – Best Before 1997 [forthcoming free download EP]
Himuro – Tonoma Shock [Worm Interface]
Himuro – Pay For What [Bedroom Research] {free download!}
Autechre – rew(1) [Warp]

Listen again — ~ 146MB


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Monday, 19th of July, 2010

Late ‘Fog on the 25th (4:00 pm)

Quick note: Next week I’m going to be heading off to see Grizzly Bear (third time this year!), Here We Go Magic & Kid Sam at the Enmore Theatre. So I’m going to be a little late. Your UFog will start no later than 11pm next Sunday, and Alana Hicks will fill in with an extended Sunday Night At The Movies beforehand.


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Sunday, 18th of July, 2010

Playlist 18.07.10 (11:12 pm)

Quite a trip today, through electronic music, postrock, 20th century classical, laptop folk…
LISTEN AGAIN via the link at the bottom!

Tonight we started with an awesome crunchy electronic tune from Loopsnake, who can be found spinning electronic music on FBi on Friday nights. To my mind this is his best work yet.

Aaron Martin is taking his always-beautiful music into the stratosphere on a new EP. Released on cassette & CDR, Night Erased Them All was written out of a need to have some music for a late-night road trip, and it’s certainly journeying music, quite psychedelic at times. Highly recommended — you can get it direct from the label.

See the last two playlists for a description of the Herfsttonen release. Tonight I played the last track (there are only three), from Gluid, post-rock and sound-art, featuring cello and vibraphone along with computer.

Next up, These New Puritans inspired a few tracks this week via their awesome mix for FACT Mag. Their recent album Hidden displayed broad influences including, clearly, that of 20th century composer Benjamin Britten, from whom we heard a couple of lovely English folk-inspired compositions, along with two highlight tracks from These New Puritans, and one track I found on that mix, the dark occult electronics of Salem.
And speaking of dark English-folk-influenced music, how about the very first single from Tunng?

Back to vibraphone (or something like it) with a rather lovely piece of electronic songwriting from proem, who some may remember from the IDM days.
Meanwhile, percussion meets electronica in a different way on So Percussion & Matmos’ collaborative album. It’s not as adventurous as I’d hoped, but it’s certainly very pretty…

Well, other than our Benjamin Britten detour earlier, perhaps the meat of the show is our little special on The Books. This is a band that’s been special to me for a long time – since before Utility Fog started with FBi in 2003. So I played at least one track from each of their albums, with acoustic guitar and cello combined with their love of weird found recordings. Obviously my favourite is the lemon of pink, and obviously just like all the artists who were doing the “acoustic instruments meet digital glitchery” thing in the mid-’00s, they couldn’t or were unwilling to keep it up.
Still, what they went on to with the next album, and further continue now, is fun and clever stuff, and there are truly beautiful songs in there too. I find they verge (as ever, perhaps) too much on jokey vocal samples now and then, but they always take a surprising, sideways approach to their material that can’t help grabbing the ear and the mind.

A rather convenient segue (er, in the middle) took us to Brisbane and producer Chris Perren’s Mr Maps project — named, as you might guess, for the Books track we heard before. This track comes from a very excellent forthcoming remix-swap project between Sydney’s Feral Media and Brisbane’s lofly, and here we had a remix of a favourite tune from the lovely afxjim.

Karsten Pflum’s debut album made an impression when the legendary English label Worm Interface released it in 2002. A few albums later, he’s still releasing melodic electronica with plenty of nice beats, and has even put out a dubstep-influenced 12″ on Ad Noiseam (might have that for next week’s show). I thought it was worth having a couple of older tracks along with a newie tonight.

Mike Cadoo’s been making electronica for ages, as part of Gridlock, as Dryft, and more recently as Bitcrush. His latest release is a remix album, and typically I’ve chosen the Funckarma remix tonight.

Loopsnake’s EP is backed with a beautiful drone piece, completed with distorted crescendo and decrescendo. Lovely.
One of the attractions of Owen Pallett’s remix 12″ (other than that it’s Owen) was that it featured a Benoît Pioulard remix. Pioulard has two lovely folky, shoegazey, experimental albums on Kranky, and here takes orchestral samples and fragments of the original track into a hazey vision very much his own.

Melbourne’s Part Timer has a new album coming soon, on US label lost tribe sound, and you’re gonna love it. With vocal contributions from Heidi Elva, Nicola Hodgkinson and his wife Dani, and some subtle beats, it’s been a long time coming (despite the steady stream of exclusive tracks and remixes he feeds me…)
Also on offer is a remix album which you can get direct from him and from selected online retailers. The many fine contributions include fellow Melbourneites Children of the Wave.

Finally, an artist we’ll be hearing much more from next week — Sydney composer Rob Underwood aka This Is How It All Begins. Piano compositions rub shoulders with chugging guitars, washes of distortion, and ambient passages. His album is very much made for full-album listening, but you can get a picture of his approach from individual tracks. I’m wondering, from the increasing distortion in “In a Layer of Frost”, whether the Frost being referenced is our Ben Frost. In any case, definitely an artist to watch.

Loopsnake – Good Morning Raver VIP [free download from Loopsnake!]
Aaron Martin – Limb Study [Sonic Meditations]
Gluid – 101009 (Hellige Ding’n) [esc.rec.] {you can get this album for €3 from Bandcamp – c’mon!}
These New Puritans – Hologram [Angular/Domino]
Benjamin Britten – The Driving Boy (Spring Symphony Mvt IV) [London Decca]
These New Puritans – We Want War [Angular/Domino]
Benjamin Britten – Dirge from Serenade for Tenor, Horn & Strings (performed by Peter Pears, Barry Tuckwell, English Chamber Orchestra) [London Decca]
Tunng – Tale From Black [Static Caravan]
Salem – Water [Merok Records]
proem – skulls [n5MD]
So Percussion & Matmos – Needles [Cantaloupe]
The Books – IDKT / I Didn’t Know That [Temporary Residence/Spunk]
The Books – enjoy your worries, you may never have them again [Tomlab]
The Books – the lemon of pink / the lemon of pink [Tomlab]
The Books – An Animated Description of Mr. Maps [Tomlab]
afxjim – The T in Tchina (Mr Maps remix) [Feral Media/lofly] {forthcoming…}
The Books – Thirty Incoming [Temporary Residence/Spunk]
Karsten Pflum – Thael Spir [Mindwaves Music]
Karsten Pflum – Te [Worm Interface]
Karsten Pflum – God [Rump]
Bitcrush – Colder (Funckarma remix) [n5MD]
Loopsnake – As If To Sleep [free download from Loopsnake!]
Owen Pallett – Lewis Takes Off His Shirt (Benoît Pioulard remix) [Domino] {the EP is free for an email address still, if you’re lucky!}
part timer – the runner (feat. heidi elva) (Children of the Wave remix) [self-released, click here for purchasing options]
part timer – interalia [lost tribe sound]
This Is How It All Begins – In a Layer of Frost [self-released, get from Bandcamp!]

Listen again — ~ 172MB


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Monday, 12th of July, 2010

Live ‘Fog! (1:20 pm)

If you didn’t realise, there’s a Bienalle going on in Sydney at the moment, with art and installations and events of all sorts all around the city.
One of the most exciting is Superdeluxe@Artspace, who are putting on not only a great series of Saturday night gigs, but also a series of Pecha Kucha nights on Thursdays — a really interesting Japanese idea in which people get up and deliver brief talks on, well, anything.

FBi DJs have been asked to support before and after, and this Thursday, the 15th of July, I’ll be playing the late set from 9:45-11:45pm.
So if you want to get some interesting ideas up ya, and also hear some Utility Fog music straight from my hard drive, head down to Artspace at 43 – 51 Cowper Wharf Road, Woolloomooloo, this Thursday night.


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Sunday, 11th of July, 2010

Playlist 11.07.10 (11:25 pm)

Lovely piano quietness to start with tonight, from two quite disparate acts. Jump to the bottom of the playlist if you want to LISTEN AGAIN!

Department of Eagles have released (er, are about to release) a compendium of recordings from between their two albums — mostly material they recorded towards an aborted second album. Dan Rossen put down a number of sketches in the studio, one of which turned into a small part of a Grizzly Bear song (see later this evening), and a couple of which have some lovely little tape manipulations plus piano.

And piano is what you expect from the greatness that is Chris Abrahams. A bit later on, I’m hoping to bring you a bit of his work which is more like solo Necks piano, but his new album for Room40 is a Numba One Stunna, as this piece for organ and glitchy piano bits shows.

Around 2006, a couple of new tracks appeared on Department of Eagles’s MySpace, and I loved them so much I ripped them off there. While “Balmy Night” finally made it on to their real second album, In Ear Park, its partner “Deadly Disclosure” has remained unreleased until now. The whole of the new Archives 2003-2006 really is great, but this one song is worth the price of admission 11 times over…

And then… guess what? Amanda Fucking Palmer has been recording Radiohead covers, and OMGZ they’re great! Well, the one that we’ve gotten to hear so far is! Her trademark ukulele, plus piano à la the original, and it’s a really great take on a great song! Can’t wait to hear more.

Speaking of great takes on great songs, Vancouver’s CFCF is one of a number of artists to taken on Owen Pallett on a new 12”, and adds a stompin’ beat and yet leaves the song to do its great thing.

Meanwhile… earlier this week, in a move that was either very canny or completely insane, Wiley decided to dump 11 enormous zipfiles full of music on the internet, as a way of clearing the decks so he could start afresh. It’s an amazing, scattered, mostly un-tagged mess of sound he’s bequeathed us. The ACOUSTIC tune sounds awfully like a little bit of Crash Test Dummies… on the other hand the other track is quite a manic piece of electronica. Nice!

Speaking of free downloads… the two Funckarma tracks from tonight are free, but only if you’ve bought something from their online store. Since re-vamping their website over the last 6 months (at a guess), they’ve been putting up deluxe versions of some of their older (and also more recent!) work in download formats, so it’s been well worth frequenting their store. These two tracks are a little “thank you” from them to the people who’ve supported them in this way, and both are great. Bass-heavy electronica, nice warm and big sounds and hard-hitting beats.

Sydney’s Silver Bone Tone continues to make music at an alarming rate. Tonight’s tune was some very nice dubbed-out electronica. Check out some of the music of this hard-working local musician at his Bandcamp.

Future Sound of London have been gradually flooding the world with copious amounts of music from their archives, and somehow in the midst of it all have started sneaking out new music under the FSOL moniker – real ambient techno stuff, rather than the (also excellent) psychedelic pop/rock stuff they’ve been doing as Amorphous Androgynous. Environments 2 and now Environments 3 (certainly the latter) appear to be new music, and it’s very fine too, including some live piano and strings. Looking forward to number 4, guys!
At some point in the near future I might do a bit of a look back at the 20-odd years of FSOL’s music. There’s many treasures to be found there (as the foot or so of FSOL CDs on my shelves can attest to…)

From there we found our way to a very very nice drum’n’bass tune from 2007, featuring Macc (from whom we heard last week), and 0=0 (from whom we used to hear quite a bit in the breakcore years). I really hope 0=0’s much-vaunted (for many years) album on Planet µ really does arrive sometime in the near future; meanwhile Macc & dgoHn’s album on Rephlex is out soon and you’ll definitely be hearing from it here.
Back in 2003, when UFog and FBi began the long journey to today, 0=0 released an insane little verison of the Super Mario Brothers theme, which I revisited tonight. Gamers take note!

I received a rather beautiful and mysterious package from Estonia in this week’s mail, complete with nice Estonian stamps. It came from the artist Evestus, whose industrial breakcore-influenced music has really impressed me. We heard the sort-of title track “Dramacore”, which features amen breaks, yelling and I think some of that cello quartet that’s all over the album. It’s crazy stuff as only Eastern Europeans can do.

Back to Australia, we join Edwin Montgomery who has some Travel Ideas, to be released soon. The most song-oriented of this evocative multi-instrumentalist’s releases yet, it’s a challenging and rewarding affair.
Zeal’s debut album (after a number of well-received EPs) is delightfully raw (yet accomplished) indietronica, and it won the heart of FBi’s Dan Zilber, who has made it this week’s Album of the Week. Always nice to hear something out of the ordinary getting some extra spins.

And thence, back to Chris Abrahams. His new album (and second) for Room40 is pleasingly experimental, and we had some nice chopped drum breaks and found sounds in my second selection; meanwhile I thought I’d also play a solo piano piece from his 2001 album Glow, and something bizarre and lovely from the first Room40 album, Thrown. However, I’ve just now been listening through just about the entirety of the The Necks’s back catalogue, over a marathon 2-day period, and I wanted to give a bit of context with this iconoclastic trio of his, so we heard from their second album (from 20 years ago!), which rather cheekily starts with a brief sample of their debut album Sex, before a sinuous bassline from Lloyd Swanton takes over, Tony Buck joins on drums, and Chris starts with a very bizarre, perfectly off-key piano thing.
Chris is also an inveterate collaborator, and I thought I’d play a favourite track from a couple of years ago, from Dean Roberts’ autistic daughters project. Lovely stark songwriting.

From the same compilation that brought us Paul de Jong’s track last week, we hear Dutch artist MiaMia, who combines field recordings from the Okkenbroek area with spoken word and ambient electronics. Beautiful stuff. I’ll play the last track from this comp next week!

And from Holland to Italy, with the remarkable sound artist Fabio Orsi, who has recently released a 3CD set on the boutique UK label Privileged To Fail Records. One can only hope it does really well for them — it’s very nicely presented, and compiles a large amount of really great music from Orsi, washes of shoegazey guitar and electronic chords, disembodied samples, some beats, plenty of glitches and crunches. It’s something I imagine most Utility Fog listeners would get a lot out of.
Last year, Sydney’s Preservation label released a collaboration by Orsi with another Italian, Valerio Cosi. Wonderful drones and post-punk vocal samples and buried beats.

And finally… two more tracks from the wonderful Department of Eagles. First off, a studio sketch from Dan Rossen, part of which turned into the intro for Grizzly Bear’s “Easier”. Second was one of a number of just great indiepop songs that would have remained unreleased were it not for this collection. So let’s give thanks to Bella Union and go and grab another 31 minutes of beautiful sounds from Dan & Fred…

Department of Eagles – Practice Room Sketch 5 [Bella Union]
Chris Abrahams – There He Reclined [Room40]
Department of Eagles – Deadly Disclosure [Bella Union]
Department of Eagles – Balmy Night [4AD]
Amanda Palmer – Idioteque [self-released] {yes, through Bandcamp! Rock it}
Owen Pallett – Lewis Takes Off His Shirt (CFCF Remix) [Domino]
Wiley – ACOUSTIC / IIIIIMMMMMMM [both released as part of his great big Twitter dump a couple of days ago! Try this Grimeforum thread for a round-up of all the links…]
Funckarma – Clod Nuem [a free download for people who’ve bought music direct from funckarma.com]
Silver Bone Tone – DS Template [unreleased, but heaps of his tunes available at his Bandcamp]
Funckarma – Stamp [a free download for people who’ve bought music direct from funckarma.com]
Future Sound of London – Heart Sick Chord [Jumpin’ & Pumpin’]
Macc & 0=0 – Bridge Over Broken Water [Subtle Audio]
0=0 (as “mr. mezzy”) – s.m.b.#1, w-1,l-1 [Dross:tik]
Evestus – Dramacore [self-released Estonian industrial gothic breakcore madness]
Edwin Montgomery – train song [self-released, due out soon!]
Zeal – Vigilante [self-released]
Zeal – Robellion [self-released]
Edwin Montgomery – recollections [self-released, due out soon!]
Chris Abrahams – Twig Blown [Room40]
The Necks – Garl’s [Fish of Milk]
Chris Abrahams – Self Taught Bouncer [Vitamin]
Chris Abrahams – Can of Faces [Room40]
autistic daughters – bird in the curtain (feat. Chris Abrahams) [Kranky]
MiaMia – The Branches And The Frogs [esc.rec.]
Fabio Orsi – I’m Happy Here (parts 3 & 4) [Privileged To Fail Records]
Fabio Orsi – Radio Passing [Privileged To Fail Records]
Fabio Orsi / Valerio Cosi – The Frozen Seasons of Lysergia (Part One) [Preservation]
Department of Eagles – Practice Room Sketch 2 [Bella Union]
Department of Eagles – Brightest Minds [Bella Union]

Listen again — ~ 168MB



 
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