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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, 28th of February, 2011

Playlist 27.02.11 – Shannon O’Neill fill-in (12:44 am)

Tonight the redoutable Shannon O’Neill and Adrian Bertram hopped into the drivers seat while I purchase music for you in Japan (actually while I ate a delicious vegan Zen Buddhist dinner), and this is what they played:

Coconut Monkeyrocket – Juicy Jungle
People Like Us vs Ergo Phizmiz – Carmic Waltz
Bradbury – Transmission Impossible
Bradbury – I’ll Never Go Caribou Hunting with You Again
Bradbury – Forever
Cloaks – “00148”
Cloaks – Junk
Skrillex – Scatta
Cesspool – The Wilhelm Screamix
The Evolution Control Committee – Freaky People / California Dreamings
Cupp Cave – Hamsterdam/Discrete Mathematics
Bretzel Zoo – Shugaring Emrod Baywatch
mjs538 – Five Seconds of Every #1 Pop Single – Part 1
John Oswald – Black/Brown
Wake Up and Listen – Ving
Wake Up and Listen – White Spines
Wake Up and Listen – Shitistry
Wake Up and Listen – Discombobulated Spectralism
Size – The Chocolate Grinder
Bradbury – Big Man on Campus
Severed Heads – Oblique Firefly Overlocker
Severed Heads – Kittenette
Lucas Darklord – Life
mjs538 – Five Seconds of Every #1 Pop Single – Part 2


Monday, 21st of February, 2011

In Japan next two weeks (1:31 am)

In a few days I’m off the blissfully freezing cold, culturally fascinating, culinarily fabulous, CD-purchasingly fecund Japan. I had to stretch some of those adverbs and adjectives there, but it’s all true, every word.
It’ll be amazing, but it means I have to be away for two Sundays, so two kind gentlemen are stepping up to the plate for me while I’m away.

On Sunday the 27th of February, Shannon O’Neill is back. He’s been in enough that you should know and love him by now.
And on Sunday the 6th of March, my colleague Stuart Buchanan of New Weird Australia will be let loose on a world of music in a way he hasn’t been since the days of Fat Planet. Well, we can hope. It’ll be awesome.

I’ll see you on Sunday the 13th with a huge stack of Japan purchases for 3 hours of musical travelogue. Meanwhile you can follow me on Twitter, and watch the Utility Fog Facebook page, where I might post the occasional rave about something I find or see. The boys from one of my favourite Aussie bands Spartak will be over there, so I’ll get to see some familiar faces playing in some unfamiliar but no doubt amazing Tokyo clubs & bars.

Meanwhile, some housekeeping: I moved the podcasts to Amazon’s hosting on the weekend, and I’ve noticed some oddities in the logs, so if you download the mp3s, have you had any problems this week? Please comment or email me, especially if you’ve had downloads fail.


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Sunday, 20th of February, 2011

Playlist 20.02.11 (10:27 pm)

ARGH I hate computers :(
So began the show. But after a bit of a stressful start, we were up and running. Stacks of great new (er, forthcoming) Sydney music and so much more!
LISTEN AGAIN via the link at the bottom as per usual. Oops! Accidentally linked to last week’s show! Link fixed now.

Last year the boys from Seekae kindly asked me to play some cello and organise some other strings for the album they were recording. Well, +DOME is finally coming out in a month’s time, and I am the proud owner of an advance copy, so I couldn’t resist spinning a few tunes off it tonight. Their love of glitchy laptop effects and shiny melodic keyboard lines is augmented with not just strings and some clarinet, but also none other than electric guitar on a few tracks — it was such an unexpected sound that I actually ejected the CD from the car stereo on my first listen on Saturday to check if it was really Seekae! But never fear, it’s just what we’d expected and more. You’re gonna love it.

Another long-awaited Sydney electronic album comes out the week before the Seekae one: Collarbones’s album debut Iconography. At the moment we just have this one track, with Marcus’ multi-tracked vocal harmonies and their now-familiar stuttering digital edits and wonky beats.

Justin K Broadrick is on a roll. I don’t know whether it just seems that way, but it’s like every month there’s at least one new release from him. My new favourite identity of his is Pale Sketcher, and his latest EP is just out now on none other than Ghostly International, on limited vinyl and digital.

And… Radiohead. Well it’s not like they need an introduction from me. It’s my guess that on the whole a UFog listener is going to like Radiohead, and as well as playing a couple of great tracks from the new album, I took us on a little tour of their more experimental (yet beautiful) tunes from the last decade or so.

Back in 2007, when Thom Yorke was releasing a series of dubstep and electronic remixes of his solo work, Ital Tek put out a couple of the best dubstep 12″s of the year. One of them featured the track I played tonight, with a piano line that always struck me as being almost a sample of Radiohead’s “Pyramid Song”. I can’t help thinking that’s how it’s intended.

Back to electronica means back to Seekae, but first a pit-stop with ⅓ of the band, John Hassell as Peon. Clearly the J Dilla influence on this stuff is huge. It’s fun wonky stuff.

The Seeds of Autumn surprised me this week — starts off as your standard jazzy instrumental stuff, and then adds a cut-up drum’n’bassy beat and goes all crazy. Nice to hear some more Sydney music taking an interesting approach.

Fab discovery of the week (thanks internets!) is Brooklyn’s Live Footage, a duo made up of cello (with looping and other pedals) and drums/keyboards. It’s sortof like live Squarepusher meets Penguin Café Orchestra. I’m disarmingly reminded of my own recent experiments in cello looping, and these guys have their technology down pat. Great stuff.

Also down with the technology are Sydney’s 3ofmillions, with another forthcoming album we got a sneak preview of tonight. It’s more live and less cut-up than their previous album, but explores a tremendous array of sounds for piano-bass-drums jazz (well, it’s piano/Rhodes/electronics, bass/electronics, and some vocals from all). I’m a fan.

Back from last week, Aussie/US postrock band Beaten By Them noticed I couldn’t find their first album and sent it to me. You can download it from their BandCamp (see below) and it’s highly recommended — the cello is prominent in the arrangements and mix, far more than you’d expect from a standard (post-)rock band employing a string instrument. The new album is out soon and continues the story.

Chris Weisman is one of those insanely prolific songwriters who boggle the mind. A bit of an outsider artist perhaps, he’s very willing to experiment with sounds (including in collaboration with his (boutique) label boss Greg Davis) but is entirely at home recording perfect lo-fi pop songs on cassette, with guitar, keyboards, drum machines, whatever. There’s traces of the Beatles (obviously), Pavement and Antonio Carlos Jobim, but there’s also a signature sound to his vocals and melodies that makes him a striking talent.

My colleague Stuart Buchanan’s New Weird Australia has a new compilation out, one whose theme is a little difficult to articulate, but encompasses lo-fi in all its incarnations. From Melbourne’s NO ZU, a track which escaped me when I (presumably) heard it on their EP from last year, krautrocky synths and tribal drums yeah!
Edwin Montgomery’s track certainly didn’t pass me by when it came out on his Travel Ideas album last year, but it’s a welcome addition to this compilation, and only one of many sides to the guy’s musical abilities.

And before we reprise Pale Sketcher and Seekae once more to end the show, a reprise again from last week, of the amazing Danny Saul: lonely acoustic guitar and vocals are besieged by roaring, crackling noise.

Seekae – Go [Rice is Nice]
Seekae – Yodal [Rice is Nice]
Collarbones – Don Juan [Two Bright Lakes/Remote Control]
Pale Sketcher – The Rainy Season [Ghostly International]
Radiohead – Bloom [King of Limbs]
Radiohead – Idioteque / Morning Bell [Parlophone]
Radiohead – Pulk/Pull Revolving Doors [Parlophone]
Radiohead – Paperbag Writer [Parlophone]
Radiohead – 15 Steps [self-released/XL]
Radiohead – Feral [King of Limbs]
Thom Yorke – And It Rained All Night (Burial remix) [XL]
Ital Tek – Deep Pools [Planet µ]
Peon – Further Daughter [self-released] {download for free here}
Seekae – Halley Wars [Rice is Nice]
The Seeds of Autumn – Man in blue with angle grinder [self-released]
Live Footage – Sad Love Story [self-released]
3ofmillions – Abstruction [Rufus Records] {album forthcoming next month, but you can download this track for free from their website!}
Beaten By Them – Town Too Small [available from their Bandcamp] {free download of their very lovely first album from Bandcamp!}
Beaten By Them – Water [Logicpole]
Chris Weisman – Symbols and Signs [autumn records]
Chris Weisman – 999 [autumn records]
Chris Weisman – Contact High [autumn records]
Chris Weisman – working on my skateboarding [autumn records]
Chris Weisman and Greg Davis – crystal under battleboro [autumn records]
Chris Weisman – Fire And Flame [autumn records]
Chris Weisman – Nu Carta [autumn records]
NO ZU – Horoscope [New Weird Australia] {free download on Edition Five EP or We Are After All Here compilation}
Edwin Montgomery – Alone In The Museum [Lesstalk/New Weird Australia] {free download on We Are After All Here compilation}
Danny Saul – My Escape [White Box]
Pale Sketcher – Drag Your Feet [Ghostly International]
Seekae – 3 [Rice is Nice]

Listen again (LINK FIXED) — ~ 171MB


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Sunday, 13th of February, 2011

Playlist 13.02.11 (10:02 pm)

Good evening! Postrock central at the start of tonight’s show!
As usual, LISTEN AGAIN via the link at the bottom.

Mogwai are a band I’ve neglected for most of their career. They’ve always felt too much along the lines of the quietLOUDquiet by-numbers postrock which they’ve inspired, bands like MONO who I really can’t stand… Nevertheless, they’re a bit more creative than that, and I probably ought to have given them more credit than I have — in any case, their new album has a number of genuinely melodic and powerful tunes on it, so colour me impressed.
We had two of them in the early parts of the show, along with two extremely excellent remixes from the extremely excellent remix EP and album that they put out in 1998. You’ll see that I chose two of my favourite bands there, but there were plenty of other great acts taking the digital scissors to the earliest works of the Scottish band. Hood keep the essence of the original but add some of their own instruments, and the dub and cut-up techniques they were into at the time. And µ-Ziq takes it into typical chopped-up drill’n’bass territory.

Also in there was one track from the lovely new album from Melbourne/San Francisco/New York postrock(ish) band Beaten By Them, from whom we must hear more next week.

But having played And µ-Ziq’s Mogwai remix, I was reminded of another of his indie band remixes from that period, taking on Yo La Tengo for a top-notch EP which also featured Tortoise and Kevin Shields remixes (Shields also turned up as My Bloody Valentine remixing Mogwai on the Fear Satan EP).

And this brought us to the terrifying talents of Himuro Yoshiteru, whose melody-filled beat mangling I first encountered on a turntable in Berwick St London’s greatest record store, Ambient Soho (RIP!). Released by Ambient Soho’s label (which lasted somewhat longer than the store), Worm Interface, the split 12″ featured Himuro’s “Tonoma Shock”, which has never been available elsewhere in that form, and which I played tonight with some nostalgia. But Himuro, under his full name, is still releasing music, and a few of the more recent releases are available from his Bandcamp. HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.
When I visit Japan in a couple of weeks (I’m missing the 27th of Feb and 6th of March shows for this trip), I’ll be on the lookout for more of his music.

On our way out of electronica-land to somewhere else, we hitch a ride with Leafcutter John, who once upon a time was signed to Mike “µ-Ziq” Paradinas’ Planet µ label. It’s still exhilirating hearing beats in amongst his acoustic audio processing, but they were always a rare occurrence. In the meantime he released a fantastic album on Staubgold, with arcane English folk rubbing up against sophisticated instrumental arrangements and electro-acoustic techiques.
He is also an accomplished live performer, and his new album Tunis is sourced from a live performance at a festival there (well before the extraordinary recent revolutionary events). It’s lovely hearing his lute’s strings emerging from digital detritus, and on other tracks he adds his voice to the mix, as well as field recordings from the area.

Speaking of processed acoustic instruments, Darwin’s own Kris Keogh (aka Blastcorp, etc) gave us a sneak preview of an album of processed harp which New Weird Australia will be releasing soon. Beautiful stuff.

On Friday night I’m playing a gig with the lovely Sophie Hutchings. I’ll be playing cello in her band, and also playing a solo set under my Raven guise. I played my favourite track from her album — solo piano with a little violin and some cymbals. Also supporting on the night is clarinettist Tony Gorman — a highly respected member of the Sydney jazz scene who, some years ago, woke up one morning with Multiple Sclerosis. You can read him tell the story of the enormous impact this had on his life in this excellent interview with Andrew Ford on the Music Show, but his response was to create a slowed-down beautiful music under the banner of Songs of Hope, from which we took a dark but calm number.

Speaking of ambient and drone, a number of the following tracks came from a compilation on the UK label Audio Gourmet called Hidden Landscapes. Available for a small price from the label’s Bandcamp and in very limited physical format here, it comes highly recommended, with an impressive array of sound art pieces in the Machinefabriek vein — and the procedes go simply back into allowing Audio Gourmet to release (most of) their music for free online.
As well as the aforementioned Machinefabriek, whose piece is a quiet rumination on a few (as always) exquisitely-recorded elements, there’s the burbly pastoral ambient of Maps & Diagrams, and later M Ostermeier’s minimalist electronics with piano, and Nicola Ratti’s lopsided rhythms and sub-bass pounces (a highlight on a consistently excellent disc).

In between these tracks, a couple of other items from Hibernate. Danny Saul runs the White Box label, and is something of a revelation. His 2009 album features voice and guitar, with elements from the drone and noise spectrum and very long tracks with loose structures — this ain’t pop music, even industrial or black metal or something.
Saul’s duo with cellist Greg Haines, Liondialer, explores similar territory, with fairly abstract, minimalist cello (mostly playing harmonics and sul pont when audible) and more electronics in the mix. Their Liondialer LIVE! album from 2009 rather gleefully incorporates uninterested audience chatter into the mix, and it’s surprisingly effective (rather than distracting).

Also recorded live (but sans audience noise) is the latest pair of releases (two short LPs which really should have been one album — extortionate much, Mego?) from glitch-laptop supergroup Fenn O’Berg. Christian Fennesz, Jim O’Rourke and Peter Rehberg have by now been doing the live laptop thing together for long enough that they instinctively fit together, or so it seems, and the first Kyoto piece is beguiling and fascinating.

And… argh. Akron/Family’s newie has been long awaited, what with a new label and some delay, and it seems that somebody close to them (probably) thought they’d have some fun and leak some very very odd versions in the 2-3 months before it came out. I only came upon them recently, but the “1/6” and “2/6” versions (see below for full titles) take the real album and send it through some extreme digital filters to create some mega-freaked-out dubs. Most people seem to think they’re not just the product of some internet wags, since nobody had the real thing yet when they came out; it’s possible their mate Greg Davis is involved in some way, although the effects on the whole seem a bit too off-the-shelf for Greg’s style. Still, there’s a lot of fun to be found in the free-noise versions of the new Akron album, complete with witch house-style versions of the track titles.
The album itself is mostly on the rock’n’roll end of their freak folk sound, and I could do with less guitar solos — but then I could also do with a bit less of the full-throated wailing they get into. I still love the guys, and I sincerely love the track I played tonight, which I remember from their ear-splitting live show at the Annandale when they were last in Sydney.

And finally, we join back with Olivier Alary’s Ensemble, on whom we focused last week. From way back in the ancient past comes a remix he did for Piano Magic, in his shimmery, skittery glitch-idm style. And then from the new album, it’s absolutely gorgeous French pop, with a little side of postrock and electronica hiding in the edges.

Mogwai – White Noise [Rock Action/Spunk]
Beaten By Them – Lost [Logicpole]
Mogwai – like herod (hood remix) [Eye Q (UK)]
Mogwai – Death Rays [Rock Action/Spunk]
Mogwai – fear satan (µ-Ziq remix) [Eye Q (UK)]
Yo La Tengo – Autumn Sweater (µ-Ziq remix) [Matador]
Himuro Yoshiteru – unwind and rewind [Murder Channel/Himuro Bandcamp]
Himuro Yoshiteru – start it [Murder Channel/Himuro Bandcamp]
Himuro – Tonoma Shock [Worm Interface]
Himuro Yoshiteru – I wanna show you what I’m seeing [Murder Channel/Himuro Bandcamp]
Leafcutter John – Khom?s [Planet µ]
Leafcutter John – Introduction in the Wrong Place [Tsuku Boshi]
Leafcutter John – let it begin [Staubgold]
Leafcutter John – Melimëlon [Tsuku Boshi]
Kris Keogh – Secretly Knowing We’d Never Be The Same [forthcoming through New Weird Australia]
Sophie Hutchings – Following Sea [Preservation]
Tony Gorman – Rivers of the Night [self-released]
Maps & Diagrams – Everybody’s Got Something to Hide [Audio Gourmet]
Machinefabriek – Toendra [Audio Gourmet]
Danny Saul – Clockwork [White Box]
Liondialer – Bay Horse [White Box]
M Ostermeier – Central [Audio Gourmet]
Nicola Ratti – Nordich [Audio Gourmet]
Fenn O’Berg – Kyoto 1 [Editions Mego]
Akron/Family – AAA <<<< O>>>>> A //////WAY\\\\\\ BMB [from the S/T II: The Cosmic Birth and Journey of <sbmb>Shinju TnT (2/6) bootleg]
Akron/Family – ++++ /\ Fuji 1 /\ ++++ [from the S/T II: The Cosmic Birth adn Journey of <gdbmb> Shinju TNT (1/6) bootleg] {the “gd” in “gdbmb” could possibly mean Greg Davis, but I haven’t confirmed this}
Akron/Family – A AAA O A WAY [Dead Oceans]
Piano Magic – There’s No Need For Us To Be Alone (Decomposed by Ensemble) [Morr Music]
ensemble – Excerpts [FatCat]

Listen again — ~ 175MB


Wednesday, 9th of February, 2011

Contacting Utility Fog (9:29 pm)

Sometime in the past 6-9 months you may have tried to contact me via the utility_fog@fbiradio.com email address.
I only recently learned that it hasn’t been forwarding on to me for about that long, so if you feel I’ve been unjustly ignoring you, maybe that’s why!

The email on the site (at frogworth.com) will always work, but the fbiradio.com is now back up and alive, so drop me a line, send me promo, send me music. Preferably don’t put me on your email list without asking though.


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