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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, 16th of September, 2012

Playlist 16.09.12 (10:03 pm)

We’ve got post-classical, drone, even some prog-metal later on…
LISTEN AGAIN as per usual – link’s at bottom, it’s in the podcast, and of course you can stream on demand from FBi.

It’s great to have something new from Edwin Montgomery to play you. His cinematic (that word comes up a lot with his work), post-rocky sounds have graced the show a lot in the past, but it’s been a little while, and he’s back with an EP of honest-to-goodness songs! It’s somewhat misleadingly called 4 Songs, given it has 6 tracks, but 4 of them are songs. Ought to get more widespread airplay!

We preview a couple more tracks from the awesome new duo from Adam Trainer and Matt Rösner aka Pablo Dali, Gilded. Beautiful acoustic and electronic music which is too minimalist to postrock or indie, but too much going on for drone. They’ll be in Sydney in a bit over a month – I’ll let you know!

Also a reprise from last week, Edinburgh trio Hiva Oa bring us more gorgeous acoustic/experimental sounds, from layered cello to strummed indiefolk with an electronic edge. I like the way it doesn’t try and fit into any trends — it’s just very varied, very idiosyncratic stuff. And beautiful.

And before our big special for the night, a bunch of tunes from the wonderful Fieldhead, late of Leeds (er, Leeds area before someone corrects me), once upon a time a member of The Declining Winter, more recently living in Canada. His new album continues the grainy textures and precise beats of the his first, with perhaps more emphasis on the acoustic elements. Highly recommended.

And now the majority of the second hour of the show is dedicated to the music of the wondrous Tin Hat (Trio) and their violinist/vocalist Carla Kihlstedt, one of musical heroes. I first heard them at a venue in Manhattan’s East Village called Tonic, which was closely associated with the Tzadik label, although Tin Hat are west coast representatives. Mark Orton’s guitar skips around tango rhythms while Carla Kihlstedt’s violin and Rob Burger’s accordion entwine in gorgeous old-worlde harmonies. But there’s a clue in the hidden track, where Mike Patton guests in semi-disguise, and not longer after we find Carla appearing on the last Mr Bungle album. Still, despite their connections with experimental and improvised music, Tin Hat, as a trio and later augmented, always emphasise the very approachable, melodic, tender side of their music, incorporating Americana, jazz, klezmer and classical traditions in a playful way.

Their new album, the first in a good few years, is a tribute to the poetry of e.e. cummings, one of my favourite poets (speaking, admittedly, as not much of a connoisseur of poetry). I can’t really speak for whether these are sensitive settings of the words; the one poem I’m very familiar with (“anyone lived in a pretty how town“) didn’t really sound like that in my head, but also seems to fit very well with what they’ve done. To me it’s a wonderful opportunity to hear a whole new album of Tin Hat’s fabulous music, benefiting from the Ben Goldberg‘s heavy contra alto clarinet, while Goldber’s clarinet, the violin and new member Rob Reich’s accordion weave familiarly delicious harmonies elsewhere.
And Kihlstedt is as accomplished a singer as she is a violinist and arranger. I wanted to play HEAPS of her stuff too but time and sense intervened, so we just had a few: one solo track and one from her trio 2 Foot Yard (named after the first album with a similar lineup), exemplifying incredible chamber arrangements with a punk spirit, twisty harmonic shifts and of course brilliant musicianship; and one track from the legendary Sleepytime Gorilla Museum, featuring Kihlstedt and her partner Matthias Bossi alongside Dan Rathbun and Nils Frykdahl in a bizarre amalgam of prog, metal, classical and… who knows what else; and finally a track from Kihlstedt & Bossi’s latest project, Rabbit Rabbit Radio, a monthly subscription service delivering one new track, plus video, images and words from the two plus regular collaborators. A treasure trove of awesome.

After all this, I managed to slip in one track from the lovely Memory Drawings, some pretty folk/post-classical from a free Bandcamp EP.

And then we close with something pretty bizarre and cool: Machinedrum lovely a track from the end of a Boards of Canada live bootleg so much, he decided to recreate it, piece by piece — beats, synths, samples and all. His “edit” features elements from the original (including the crowd cheering at the end), but sounds very much like Machinedrum, but whether it’s an authentic rendition of BoC or not, it’s a bloody good track.

Edwin Montgomery – The Abyss [available from Bandcamp]
Edwin Montgomery – Sunday Night [available from Bandcamp]
Gilded – Tyne [Hidden Shoal]
Gilded – Expand/Contract [Hidden Shoal]
Hiva Oa – Seadog [mini50records]
Hiva Oa – These Hands [mini50records]
Fieldhead – a correction [Gizeh Records]
Fieldhead – this train is a rainbow [Home Assembly Music]
Fieldhead – he’d found the sea [Home Assembly Music]
Fieldhead – northern canada [Gizeh Records]
tin hat – the enormous room [New Amsterdam Records]
tin hat – unchanging [New Amsterdam Records]
tin hat trio – fire of ada [Angel Records]
Tin Hat Trio – Helium [Angel Records]
Tin Hat Trio – Nickel Mountain [Ropeadope]
Carla Kihlstedt – Rooting for the Shy Librarian [Tzadik]
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum – Formicary [Polymorph Recording]
2 Foot Yard – Borrowed Arms [Yard Work – self-released] {try CD Baby}
Rabbit Rabbit Radio – The Curious One [Rabbit Rabbit Radio, now available from Bandcamp]
tin hat – little i [New Amsterdam Records]
Memory Drawings – High Sea Light [free from Bandcamp]
Boards of Canada – Untitled (Machinedrum edit) [available from SoundCloud]

Listen again — ~ 101MB


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