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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, 29th of August, 2010

Playlist 29.08.10 (10:43 pm)

Happy 7th birthday to FBi! And happy 7th birthday to Utility Fog!
LISTEN AGAIN to the wonderful sounds of 2003 and 2010 anytime – find the link at the bottom of the playlist.

NB: Next week I’m away in Melbourne, and the lovely Mr Shannon O’Neill will be filling in for me.

After last week’s Sufjan Stevens extravaganza, this week saw the announcement of a full album forthcoming in October! One absolutely lovely track has been released as a free download, and that’s what we started tonight with — the drum machine and keyboard start belying a typically beautiful and emotional song, with choral lines growing out of the spare beginnings. It’s a bit reminiscent of Zach Condon’s Realpeople stuff, but Sufjan’s actually been doing this kind of thing for ages.
Then, in celebration of seven years of bringing you wonderful music, we had Sufjan’s beguiling and bewildering song “Seven Swans”.

And then it’s back to 2003 for some of the many highlights from that era — truly a fantastic time to begin a regular radio show.
Four Tet’s greatest album, Rounds, came out in 2003. Around the same time I wrote to Tomlab, asking if they’d send me a promo of the new Books album for my new radio show, as I’d been a fan of their first album. And thus, the two genre-defining, unparalleled works of the folktronica/laptop folk/thingy genre were there for me, basically from the beginning.

Next up, something pretty idiosyncratic, from an experimental artist of enormous talent, whose first solo album came out in 2003. Carla Kihlstedt was known to me via her wonderful Tin Hat Trio, and while her various other bands (frequently showcased over the years on UFog) were mostly still a mystery to me, this solo album on Tzadik blew me away (as a string player myself) for the amazing musicianship on violin, viola and vocals, and the complex but touching songwriting.

It would have been a year or two earlier that I first saw Melbourne’s Curse ov Dialect live. Their first album proper, on a proper international label, came out in 2003, and got heaps of airplay on the ‘Fog. Avant-garde, politically-aware hip-hop of the highest order.

Matthew Herbert had been known to me mainly as a house producer, whose 4/4 stuff left me completely cold. I knew he was an amazing producer, and when I was told that his The Matthew Herbert Big Band was something truly special, I took that advice seriously, and thus discovered another of the gems of the last 10 years. Expertly arranged, both in terms of swing band and in terms of live sampling and editing, it’s an album that’s satisfying in every way – like the aforementioned Four Tet and Books albums: the perfect Utility Fog music.

Electric Company was showcased a couple of months ago on the ‘Fog. He has an album out and soon to be heard on this show under his real name, Brad Laner, and first made his name through his shoegaze band Medicine. This 2003 track is just a wonder of intense digital edits and a delightful trumpet(?) melody that crosses who-knows-what genres. Typical stuff from a chameleon like Brad Laner.

I still think of the 2003 album from µ-Ziq, Bilious Paths, as his last. It’s not, but it’s the last one (for now) with his characteristic insane beats and noise along with the melodies. I decided to play a pretty full-on hardcore track, ‘coz I can. Of course Mike Paradinas’ semi-eponymous Planet µ label features frequently on the show still, now. It’s one of the most adventurous and reliable labels in the world.

Dwayne Sodahberk is a pretty under-the-radar artist, but in the spirit of indietronica, which isn’t such a prominent genre now compared to 2003, his crunchy beats and processing accompanied some really lovely songs.

Finally, a few songs that slipped me by in 2003, but I caught up to later on.
Department of Eagles did release their debut album in 2003, but it was another year or two before the rest of the world caught up. In late 2005 I picked the album up when it was re-released by Melodic in the UK, and it was instant obsession. Both Fred Nicolaus and Daniel Rossen (the latter now an integral member of Grizzly Bear) of course are brilliant songwriters, and combining that with the restless experimental production on this album had me in seventh heaven.

Busdriver is my favourite rapper (big call I know), but I hadn’t heard of him in 2003. The album with Radioinactive, produced by the incomparable Daedelus, is an essential classic in my opinion.

Burning Star Core is easily my favourite noise/drone/psych artist, but I’ve only been into that sound for the last 2-3 years. I’ve managed, in trips to the US and trawling the interwebs, to amass a pretty huge proportion of his back catalogue, and this track from 2003 is pretty amazing…

Noise brings us back to the present, with one of the great breakcore artists, Venetian Snares, releasing his latest album on his own label (albeit still through Planet µ). It’s the best stuff I’ve heard from him in some time, and although “Hajnal2” still can’t compare to “Hajnal” from his great work of genius, Rossz Csillag Allat Születtet, it does add some pretty interesting elements of its own. Meanwhile, the title track has some gorgeous sounds along with the raucous beats. I did play a track from 2003 too! — from the rather unusual Moonglow 7”, a jazz-inflected downtempo piece.

I also wanted to feature a number of new oval tracks, as his new stuff is pretty incredible. It’s true that over 70 tracks on the new double CD, plus more on the accompanying EP(s), it gets a bit full-on, but the tracks with John McEntire on drums are particularly effective [Note: It appears I was wrong about it being McEntire – seems it’s Markus Popp himself). I could listen to those ones for hours on end.
So it’s rather convenient that McEntire’s postrock outfit Tortoise (you may have heard of them) has a new EP out, although it’s Japan-only for now. Mark Ernestus turns in a fantastic drum-led remix which is miles away from his work with Moritz von Oswald as Maurizio.

I had to play some more tracks from the wonderful Nils Frahm again tonight, too. His piano playing produces entrancing harmonic forms, combining sometimes with reed organ or electronics. He’s an artist to watch, and the wintermusik album is something else, just gorgeous. Equally brilliant is the collaboration with Anne Müller, who’s a cellist, although most of the strings on this album sound more like violin… Vocals on tonight’s track are from Andreas Bonkowski.

Nils’ piano links us to a lovely piece by Greek-English artist Gavouna, whose track comes from a new compilation on new label Lost Tribe Sound, who will soon by releasing the new album from Part Timer.
Also on that compilation are Melbourne’s freak(y) folk duo Children of the Wave. New material from them is always welcome, and I think they’ve got an album coming soon too!

I know very little about Headless Horseman, but they also make a mysterious experimental indiefolk sound that hits the right spot. And like so much stuff these days, they’re up on Bandcamp, where you can listen for free and download for not very much.

Canberra artist Reuben Ingall has his latest album up on Bandcamp for $0, if you so desire, and among the minimalist guitar glitchery there are a few excellent pop songs (sharing those production values). It’s intriguing, and we should expect great things from him.

Lucia Draft is Morgan Cabot’s solo project, and it’s pretty amazing ramshackle folk stuff (in the best possible way) which, yes, you can get for free via Bandcamp. All the links are in the playlist btw.
And finally, more ramshackle indie from Hobart/Melbourne’s White Woods.

Sufjan Stevens – I Walked [Asthmatic Kitty] {forthcoming – download for free at Bandcamp!}
Sufjan Stevens – Seven Swans [Sounds Familyre/Asthmatic Kitty]
Four Tet – And They All Look Broken Hearted [Domino]
the books – there is no there [Tomlab]
Carla Kihlstedt – Trampolina [Tzadik]
Curse ov Dialect – Baby How? [Mush]
The Matthew Herbert Big Band – Misprints feat. Shingai Shoniwa [Accidental Records]
Electric Company – i shall choice my self [Tigerbeat6]
µ-Ziq – Silk Ties [Planet µ]
Dwayne Sodahberk – The Agreeing Song [Tigerbeat 6]
Department of Eagles – The Horse You Ride [Melodic]
Busdriver & Radioinactive with Daedelus – Carl Weathers [Mush]
Burning Star Core – I Wanna Make A Supersonic Woman Of You [Dronedisco]
Venetian Snares – Goodbye9/Hello10 [Timesig]
Venetian Snares – This Bitter Earth [Addict Records]
Venetian Snares – Hajnal2 [Timesig]
Venetian Snares – Hajnal [Planet µ]
Venetian Snares – My So-Called Life [Timesig]
oval – glossy [Thrill Jockey]
Tortoise – Gigantes (Mark Ernestus version) [commmons]
oval – hey [Thrill Jockey]
Oval – Tapasbar [Thrill Jockey] {free download from Thrill Jockey, via FACT Mag!}
oval – i heart musik [Thrill Jockey]
nils frahm – nue [Erased Tapes]
nils frahm – Unter [Erased Tapes]
nils frahm & anne müller – long enough [hush records]
Gavouna – Tricle-Rem [Lost Tribe Sound]
Children of the Wave – Come Play Frolic [Lost Tribe Sound]
Headless Horseman – Growing [direct from Bandcamp]
Reuben Ingall – money [direct from Bandcamp]
Lucia Draft – Red [Lesstalk Records] {free download via Bandcamp}
White Woods – Now is Not a Time [Sensory Projects]

Listen again — ~ 171MB


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