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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, 27th of November, 2011

Playlist 27.11.11 (10:17 pm)

Post-Picnic sounds!
Usual LISTEN AGAIN options are available: On Demand streaming, download link below, podcast…

Tonight was a night of epic tunes, especially at the start. Sydney’s Telafonica have graced us with their new album, after a slew of excellent remix singles (with more to come), so finally we hear the original versions of these songs. And “Viceroy” is an incredible almost-quarter-hour of sound, essentially an extended crescendo, with a very long drone intro, tribal drumming, and layered vocals.
You should check this album out, as well as the remix EPs at Telafonica’s Bandcamp.

Well, as far as insanely long tracks go, Kate Bush has it down pat on her surprise new album. It’s been years, and it’s really been more than a decade since I’ve paid attention to a Kate Bush album – for shame! This new one has been garnering comparisons to Talk Talk, among other things, and for once the comparisons are apt. Repetitive piano figures, emphasis on silence and gaps between phrases, jazzy drums — and Bush’s quirkiness as well as her melodicness. The track I played reminds me equally of Joni Mitchell, Tori Amos (obviously hugely influenced herself by both Kate Bush and Joni Mitchell), and Talk Talk. I’m sure I’ll take another from the album next week!
Following, I had to play a favourite pair of tracks from the legendary Hounds of Love album, just to remind us that she’s always been an experimentalist. We segue from a song about making love to a snowman into “Under Ice”, but thing get even creepier with “Waking The Witch” — chopped up vocals, pitch shifting, drum machines, all pretty extreme for mid-’90s pop.

But who’s interested in charmingly insane English geniuses when we have so much great Sydney music? Let’s head back home, starting with the lovely Mr Oliver Tank. Just as I’d gotten a little sick of GetUp’s self-congratulation, they go and make a beautiful ad which everybody should take a look at. And not only that, it’s soundtracked by this very pretty piece of folktronica.

Two of the performers from Saturday’s Postfolkrocktronica Picnic team up next, with Option Command taking Underlapper‘s very postrockin’ “Choking Ibis” and turning it into a piece of quite floaty electronica.

And then to Brisbane. Holly from East to West was raving about this song by Outerwaves this week, and it’s pretty sweet. And it features the kid who learnt to ride a bike. We’ve all been there.

Back in 2006 I received an amazing disc of glitchy electronics from Brisbane artist David Loose aka Hydatid. In particular “Wave Function Analysis” from the Studies in Particle Motion album is a gorgeous work that’s stayed with me, and his collaborative project Orchid Beach from that year yielded some lovely pieces as well.
But give or take some bits & pieces, it’s not until now that we have a new album from Hydatid, and it’s very fine stuff — less granular processing, more subtle beats and textures. You’ll be hearing quite a bit from this in the next while (although we’re almost at year-summation time! Wow!)

Partially from Melbourne (as well as SF and NYC), Beaten By Them have two albums behind them of adventurous postrock including cello and electronics. Their new EP leans heavily on the electronic side of things, and it really suits them.

I’ve focused on Autistici in some past shows, and I do believe he’s doing some of the best work in electro-acoustic music at the moment. It’s understated stuff, but with incredible attention to detail. He’s not afraid to insert clicky beats or even veer more towards electronica, but equally he can create long drone pieces or build pieces around field recordings. His new album on Home Normal is as good as you’d expect, with the production values always associated with the label too. Highly recommended.

Another label associated with high quality is Sydney’s own Preservation. Finnish artist Ous Mal released an album of folk-influenced ambient hip-hop on the label, and is now abandoning the name in favour of Nuojuva for his next album. To herald the change, Preservation are releasing a very limited-run remix CDR with many of the leading lights of the label — including Aaron Martin, Pimmon, Sophie Hutchings, Seaworthy, and Motion Sickness of Time Travel, whose characteristically mysterious take we heard tonight.
The remix disc is available only direct from the label.

Embarrassingly, I’m only just coming round to Grouper. Her very lo-fi indie pop has tended to skate under my radar, and I didn’t find myself sympathetic to it in the past. But “She Loves Me That Way” is a stone cold gem of a tune, and I thank the denizens of my Twitter feed for convincing me I had to hear it this week.

But I did mention Aaron Martin, and to segue from Grouper, Liz Harris’ releases often come out on that most exclusive and lo-fi of media, the cassette (frequently on her own Yellowelectric label). Aaron’s latest remix album comes as a cassette too, with pretty special packaging, along with a download code), and features some luminaries doing their takes on his music (see the tracklisting!) Tonight we hear Tokyo Bloodworm turn in some of their best work.

We creep back into beats courtesy of Teebs, and the harp playing of Flying Lotus collaborator Rebekah Raff. Quite a beauty from a very satisfying downtempo release on FlyLo’s Brainfeeder label.

Further into the dancefloor, Radiohead discovered themselves with some overflow remixes after the double CD set came out, and we’re fortunate they were up for releasing them, because Jamie xx has taken his pretty ambient mix and fleshed it out into a dreamy house number. The vocal refrain and shoegazey chords are glorious.

I’ve always got time for Robag Wruhme, who was one half of one of my favourite German IDM groups, Beefcake. As Robag he’s tended to work in the (minimal) house world, not really my territory, but he has a deft touch and as we hear here, the Aphex Twin still looms large…
But also for some reason — perhaps just the tempo and the 4/4 beat — I couldn’t help but think of New Order‘s classic Technique album, which features many a classic, including tonight’s outing. Yes please.

Last week we were introduced to the work of Jesse Somfay as Borealis by Future Sequence and their enormous and superb free download comp SEQUENCE2. This week we get to hear another track under that name as well — both feature soaring vocal layers and driving beats. Shoegazy techno.

And we finish with another SEQUENCE2 track, the opener from electronica stalwart Maps and Diagrams. Really nice folktronic stuff.

Telafonica – Viceroy [4-4-2music/available from Bandcamp]
Kate Bush – Misty [Fish People]
Kate Bush – Under Ice / Waking The Witch [EMI]
Oliver Tank – Last Night I Heard Everything in Slow Motion [yes please]
Underlapper – Choking Ibis (Option Command Chip Stealing remix) [Feral Media] {download for a limited time at SoundCloud}
Outerwaves – Big Cats [via East to West blog]
Hydatid – That Breakthrough Moment [download through last.fm]
Hydatid – Wave Function Analysis [self-released?]
Orchid Beach – Dolphins Do What? [coincidentally the one track you can get for free from last.fm]
Hydatid – Prog-relution [download through last.fm]
Beaten By Them – Damp Sky 3 [self-released]
Autistici – Religion of Water and Air [Home Normal]
Autistici – Bed of Powdered Glass [Home Normal]
Ous Mal – Merilaulu (Motion Sickness of Time Travel‘s Mortem Obire mix) [Preservation]
Grouper – She Loves Me That Way [Yellowelectric]
Aaron MartinTokyo Bloodworm: Making Rope Out of Eyelashes [False]
Teebs – Verbena Tea with Rebekah Raff [Brainfeeder]
Radiohead – Bloom (Jamie xx Rework Part 3) [Ticker Tape]
Robag Wruhme – Donnerkuppel [Kompakt]
New Order – Vanishing point [Factory Records]
Borealis – Wandering Atrial [Origami Sound]
Borealis – Skyhall [Future Sequence] {from SEQUENCE2 – free on Bandcamp!}
Maps and Diagrams – Domane [Future Sequence] {from SEQUENCE2 – free on Bandcamp!}

Listen again — ~ 86MB (only 64bit m4a from stream tonight sorry!)


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Thursday, 24th of November, 2011

New Weird Australia – 24.11.11 (9:11 pm)

Filling in for Stu on New Weird Australia!

Leah Kardos – Apology [available from her Bandcamp]
scissors and sellotape – A simple ‘I know how you feel’ [Facture]
Pollen Trio – Passage [hellosQuare Recordings]
Underlapper – addressing the mountain [hellosQuare/Feral Media]
Beaten By Them – Rigours of Madness [self-released]
afxjim – live on New Weird Australia… followed by an interview
Option Command – Ellie Can Dance [King Deluxe]
Thomas William – jha [This Thing] {free download release!}
Outerwaves – Big Cats [via East to West blog]
Aria Rostami – Cleare (Ollie Bown Remix) [Audiomoves]
pimmon – passing, never to be held [Room40]
Heidi Elva – Gardenia [available from her Bandcamp]
HTRK – Slo Glo [BLAST First (petite)/Ghostly/Mistletone]
Simo Soo – Dragon Lady Dragon Boy (B. Deep‘s Amen Brother Brown Acid remix) [free download from Mediafire]
Telafonica – There’s Something About Your Face [4-4-2 Music/Telafonica Bandcamp]
I’lls’ – Take Higher Ground [available from Bandcamp]
Luke Killen – Caravan [available from SoundCloud]
Hydatid – Prog-relution [self-released]


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Sunday, 20th of November, 2011

Playlist 20.11.11 (10:08 pm)

Evening kids! Lovely sounds for you tonight… Don’t forget next Saturday’s Postfolkrocktronica Picnic on Cockatoo Island!
LISTEN AGAIN via FBi On Demand, or you can download a version below — or podcast as always.

We started tonight with a beautiful folk song from Meg Baird, from whom we’ll hear more later. She is (or was?) a member of Philadelphia folk-rock band Espers. Solo her music is stripped down, pure acoustic folk, carried by her pure voice and poised songwriting.

I’m continuing to discover remixes by the fabulous string duo Geese. Tonight we have another Fence Collective member, Found, transformed in Geese’s inimitable way.
Equally inimitable is Andrew Bird, who’s used his violin and occasional vocals and whistling to create a soundtrack for the indie film Norman. I don’t know much about the movie, but the soundtrack’s lovely. The tracks are short, as they’re really just movie cues, but it’s still new Andrew Bird material!

This Friday night at Hibernian House on Elizabeth St, Surry Hills, Canberra’s Pollen Trio are bringing their post-jazz to Sydney to launch their new album roll Roll Slow. They’ve developed a sound world that’s all their own, and should be excellent live.

Next up, we’re on to a bit of a trip to next Saturday’s Postfolkrocktronica Picnic. We start with an exclusive: Ollie Bown‘s remix of Infinite Decimals, coming out soon fromt he Melbourne duo. We can hear the drum’n’bass pulse from his duo Icarus in amongst the distorting drones.

Then a couple of tunes from Pimmon. First is an old favourite, from his Tigerbeat6 album snaps * crackles * pops, which infamously features “beats”, of a Pimmon persuasion. Apparently there may be some more rhythmic stuff from Paul on Saturday — not to be missed! We also heard a stunning, epic track from his new album The Oansome Orbit — acid bubbles and majestic, grainy drones form a slow harmonic progression.

Earlier in the day, we’ll get some glitchy hip-hop beats from Thomas William (formerly known as Cleptoclectics) and Option Command. Option Command is a wizard at glitched-out but danceable beats live (very live!), while Thomas William tends to treat any samples as fodder for nano-edited rhythms. And Thomas William’s new album is a free download from This Thing — check it out!

Beloved Sydney postrock band Underlapper are starting off the day a little after 1pm, in quartet format. In this lineup they’ll be focusing on the more electronic parts of their repertoire, such as the piece I played tonight.

And finally, on in the afternoon after Underlapper is afxjim, with lush postrock/indie sounds.

We come out of our Cockatoo gig special with the new album from Oneohtrix Point Never. Continuing the trend from his 2nd album on Editions Mego, there are glitchy samples and edits, along with piano, added to the nostalgic synths he first became famous for. There’s some deep recollection of Boards of Canada here and there, but also ’80s electro-pop through a very contemporary lens, and when the piano’s in the mix it’s uncommonly beautiful.

A real electronic highlight of the year is the return of Phoenecia. We heard their album a couple of months ago when they released it digitally on their own long-lived Schematic label, but now it’s available on Detroit Underground (with a slightly incorrect tracklisting on the back cover). Their sound is characterised by limitlessly detailed digital processing, and it’s a thrill to hear them do their thing to the eponymous bodhran on the first track. There’s a surprising amount of actual melody, and plenty of rhythm as well.

I only discovered this week a compilation from 2008 on Asthmatic Kitty called Habitat, 2CDs of experimental electronic music. It’s pretty awesome, so in a couple of weeks I’ll feature it a bit more. Meanwhile we heard this piece by Son Lux, in which an voice singing “Speak” is extended over the entire track, while layers of piano build to a noisy climax and then die away. Pretty awesome.
Son Lux, aka Ryan Lott, has worked a fair bit with the lovely My Brightest Diamond, and we also heard an alternate version of one of her new album tracks, featuring Son Lux’s production. In a few weeks we’ll also be able to sample his compositions performed by yMusic, a new classical ensemble who form the backing band on the new My Brightest Diamond album.

Next we heard one track from Future Sequence‘s SEQUENCE2, a compilation I wanted to feature more than I managed tonight — so tune in next weekend for more! Borealis gives us a heavy piece of shogaze and beats. I’ve been coming back to this a lot this week.

But now it’s time to head back to Meg Baird and Espers. I don’t think it’s fair to object to the obviously derivative nature of this music. They’re tapping into a timeless folk aesthetic which is as true and authentic now as it was (or wasn’t) in the ’60s or ’70s. Meg Bairs solo in particular is just making incredible songs with perfect, simple arrangements. The album’s all good, but about half is breathtaking.

Another exciting discovery this week is DoF, coming to us courtesy of Abandon Building Records, home also to the ukulele mangling of umin. DoF has a deft hand at folktronica — always nice hearing banjo in an electronic setting. Very nicely done.

And finally two more tracks from Future Sequence. From the first SEQUENCE comp, Sun Hammer‘s “Tonningsen Bus Stop II” has his typical mix of acoustic and electronic drones with Bass music, but here it’s Bass stripped of its beats. It’s just one enormous distorted Bass drone through the centre of the track. Very very tasty.
Beautiful Bells bring a distinctly paranoid tone to the beats in their “Panic Attack 2”, featured on SEQUENCE2. I definitely appreciate the range of sounds on these comps, not just drone and post-classical. Highly recommended.

Meg Baird – Even Rain [Drag City/Wichita]
Found – Let Fidelity Break (Geese remix) [Fence Records?]
Andrew Bird – 3:36 [Mom and Pop Music]
Pollen Trio – Erupt_OFF [hellosQuare Recordings]
Infinite Decimals – 2.54421781 (Ollie Bown remix) [forthcoming]
Pimmon – the sacred dance of Mimi Lush [Tigerbeat6]
Pimmon – düülbludgers [Room40]
Thomas William – The Pearl [This Thing] {free download release!}
Option Command – Polybell Strategy [King Deluxe]
Thomas William – By Proxy / History Shock [This Thing] {free download release!}
Underlapper – Elephant Shoe [Feral Media/hellosQuare]
afxjim – Love For Juan [Feral Media]
Oneohtrix Point Never – Andro [Software Label]
Phoenecia – Frendano [Schematic/Detroit Underground]
Oneohtrix Point Never – Power of Persuasion [Software Label]
Phoenecia – Two-Part Invention for Bodhran & Computer [Schematic/Detroit Underground]
Son Lux – Speak [Asthmatic Kitty]
My Brightest Diamond – Be Brave (Alternate version with Son Lux) [Asthmatic Kitty]
Borealis – Skyhall [Future Sequence] {from SEQUENCE2 – free on Bandcamp!}
Meg Baird – Song For Next Summer [Drag City/Wichita]
Espers – Sightings [Drag City]
Espers – Mansfield and Cyclops [Drag City]
Meg Baird – The Land Turned Over [Drag City/Wichita]
DoF – another shower fall [Abandon Building Records]
umin – mail [Abandom Building Records]
DoF – so much of it water [Abandon Building Records]
Sun Hammer – Tonningsen Bus Stop II [Future Sequence] {from SEQUENCE 1, also free on Bandcamp}
Beautiful Bells – Panic Attack 2 [Future Sequence] {from SEQUENCE2 – free on Bandcamp!}

Listen again — ~ 86MB (only 64bit m4a from stream tonight sorry!)


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Monday, 14th of November, 2011

Postfolkrocktronica Picnic – Cockatoo Island, Sat Nov 26th (11:52 pm)

Postfolkrocktronica Picnic

Warehouse 15, Cockatoo Island
Sat Nov 26th, 1pm-6:30pm.

Tickets $10/$5 concession. Moshtix or at the venue.
Facebook event here. Tell us you’re attending!

NB: WET WEATHER: the venue is a warehouse, so it’s most definitely still going ahead! The rain will clear by the afternoon.

IF YOU WANT TO CATCH Underlapper, you’ll need to take the 12:10 ferry from Circular Quay (or later at other wharves, see below)
Pimmon will be finished in time for you to make it to the 6:44pm ferry back to “the mainland”, but keep an eye on the time kids!

That’s right folks, it’s Utility Fog Island! Incredibly excited to be presenting this gig for you all.
We’ve got an amazing selection of Sydney musicians bringing you music throughout the afternoon.

Playing are (in currently conceived order):
Underlapper
AFXJIM
Option Command
Thomas William (formerly Cleptoclectics)
Ollie Bown (one half of the legendary Icarus), with bonus collaboration with Raven aka your host Peter Hollo)
Pimmon

I will be DJing UFog-friendly sounds in between acts.

The event is BYO and the space is kid-friendly.
The summer bar will be open on the island, and there is a picnic area outside the venue, where the sound from inside the warehouse will be broadcast.

The venue is Warehouse 15. Here’s a map (click for full-size with directions):

The ferry timetable will be extended for the summer. See here for full timetable.
Ferry tickets are $5.30/$2.60 each way – see here.


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Sunday, 13th of November, 2011

Playlist 13.11.11 (10:06 pm)

Hey yo, what’s happening?
Not sure over here, something to do with music, music, music. You love it.
And you can LISTEN AGAIN, or catch up, via the podcast or the link at the bottom (most convenient), or stream on demand (best audio quality).

At the start, I felt it necessary (Felt, get it?) to showcase some more of the music of Nils Frahm, from his new album Felt and from earlier releases. His beautiful sensitive piano playing is perfectly balanced between heart-catching melody, pianistic technique, and recording experimentation. On the new album, the muted piano is mic’d up so close that his fingers hitting the keys add a percussive element, while the ambient room sounds and breathing sound almost like vinyl surface noise.

Frahm’s collaboration with Peter Broderick, oliveray, coming out in December, seems inevitable – they’ve been caught up in each other’s music for years, dedicating tracks and releases to each other, and this musical love affair finds its official fruition in a characteristically understated combination of post-classical, folk and ambient approaches. Just one preview track tonight.
And Peter Broderick has a new 7″ out, which comes with an entire album (a documentary soundtrack) as bonus download. Very pretty.
Nils’ collaboration with Anne Müller sees him (or both?) contributing a lot of electronics as well as his piano and Müller’s soaring cello. It was one of last year’s best releases for sure. And speaking of electronics, near the start we heard a litte marvel from a new 7″ (and digital) from Mr Frahm — entitled Juno, it’s two explorations of the Juno synthesiser, and it’s warm and enveloping, and along with the album, absolutely essential.

Next up, two new remixes by the brilliant violin/viola duo Geese. So great hearing string players messing with sound in the studio so assuredly. What they’ve been doing over the last couple of years, with a solid selection of artists, is definitely remixing, and the rhythms of ricochet bowing and plucking, plus melodic layers and harmonic invention are a joy to hear. Tonight we heard their takes on Irish singer Adrian Crowley and legendary ambient techno producer David Holmes, more lately a soundtrack composer of some renown.

And keeping it stringy, a new Balmorhea track exclusively available on their new live album. Their latest music is some of their best — catchy, propulsive stuff, folk baroque’n’roll (I promise I’ll never use that expression again).

Japanese minimalists Minamo‘s latest, released by Brisbane’s Room40, is captivating. The sounds seem to mostly be acoustic — bells and gongs and guitars and strings — and are masterfully put together.

Speaking of acoustic sounds, umin’s music is sourced from his skillful ukelele playing, but is chopped and put through the digital wringer. It’s constantly ear-catching, and provides a surprisingly suitable backdrop for the one vocal number on the album too.

And then via a short experimental hip-hop tune from Gescom, we arrive at another little special for the night: the music of Travis Stewart aka Machinedrum. I came across his first album, relatively lo-fi idm under the Syndrone moniker and the first release on the legendary Merck label. The title track is particularly good, and it all bears the strong mark of Gescom’s parent group Autechre.
As tstewart, Stewart explored more of a folktronic bent, along the lines of Scott Herren’s folk projects.
And then in the last couple of years, he’s found his home in Bass music, and Chicago juke. “Alarma”, from earlier this year, is a veritable dancefloor hit, while his Planet µ album cut up mainly r’n’b vocals over broken beats and irresistible rhythms. “Sacred Frequency” features a vocal line that evokes the post-Bacharach melodies of Broadcast or Stereolab. Awesome.
With Praveen Sharma, Stewart makes Bass/2step/house as Sepalcure, exploring similar territory to the recent Machinedrum for Hotflush. Also highly catchy stuff.

Moving more into techno territory, albeit a krautrockian style with shoegazey desires is Walls, the project of Banjo or Freakout and Allez Allez. Pretty sure it’s better than either member’s solo stuff, and strangely different from both too. Really quite evocative and compelling.

Also disturbingly technoey, and just plain disturbing, is Prurient’s latest single. No howling vocals, but his matter-of-fact spoken intonation over mournful and repetitive synths, quite post-punk and industrial in a way.

I’m not sure what to make of the new Fennesz. He’s gradually getting more and more sugary, to the point of almost being insipid. I hate to say he’s losing his edge, but he’s losing his edge really. He still has a huge weighty history of inspiring digital and guitar sound behind him, but a release like this is treading water, and sinking under its t(w)inkly pleasantness.

Finally we had Shoeb Ahmad in for the last hour or so, and heard some hellosQuare Recordings and talked about his music and label. The latest release is from the amazing Pollen Trio, with exploratory post-jazz featuring Shoeb’s partner in Spartak, drummer Evan Dorrian. We heard tales of touring in Japan and explanations of some of their musical processes. We also had a sneak preview of their pop project Savages, which would be #1 with a bullet if I was the buying public.

Finishing up we had a current favourite from Shoeb, the confounding sounds of Disco Inferno. Pop music has never been more uncompromising.

Nils Frahm – Less [Erased Tapes]
Nils Frahm – For [Erased Tapes]
oliveray – piano in the pond! [cote labo]
Peter Broderick – Old Time [Erased Tapes]
Nils Frahm & Anne Müller – duktus [Unseen Music]
nils frahm – ambre [Sonic Pieces/Erased Tapes]
Nils Frahm – Keep [Erased Tapes]
Adrian Crowley – The Beekeeper’s Wife (Geese remix) [unreleased?]
David Holmes – The Ballad of Sarah and Jack (Geese remix) [Mercury]
Balmorhea – Untitled (Live at Sint-Elisabethkerk) [Western Vinyl]
minamo – bound letters [Room40]
umin – uke15 [Abandom Building Records]
umin – col (picture of everything you lost) [Abandom Building Records]
Gescom – V Take Fastroll [Skull Snap]
syndrone – triskaideka [Merck]
tstewart – jess [Merck]
Machinedrum – Alarma [Lucky Me]
Machinedrum – Sacred Frequency [Planet µ]
Sepalcure – Eternally Yrs [Hotflush]
Walls – Into Our Midst [Kompakt]
Prurient – Time’s Arrow [Hydra Head]
Fennesz – Seven Stars [Touch]
Pollen Trio – Erupt_OFF [hellosQuare Recordings]
Spartak – Sleet/Skid [hellosQuare Recordings]
Spartak – Channels [New Weird Australia]
Savages – catch/control [unreleased]
Disco Inferno – A Crash At Every Speed [Rough Trade]

Listen again — ~ 161MB


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