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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, 28th of July, 2013

Playlist 28.07.13 (10:07 pm)

Nostalgic synths, glitch-drone meets proto-breakcore, modern composition meets sound-art installations meets Jamaican vocals, and more tonight…
LISTEN AGAIN via link below/podcast or enjoy your stereo on-demand stream via FBi!

In a year in which the long-awaited new Boards of Canada album came out (and was incredible), James Holden‘s doing a pretty good line in gorgeous fauxstalgic organic electronica. I couldn’t resist giving the new album one more spin, and “Blackpool Late Eighties” is just impossibly pretty – so deceptively simple, but so perfectly made.

Pure is a DJ and producer who came up out of Vienna around the same time as the glitch pioneers from Mego were doing their thing. Bridging the gap between the hardcore/breakcore and glitch/drone/noise scenes from Vienna & Berlin, he’s best known for his glorious live laptop sets, which rival FennO’Berg et al for beautiful distortion… In the late ’90s Pure established the Sub/Version label with Christoph Fringeli to release their take on the hardcore jungle sounds they were hearing from the UK – a different take perhaps from what DHR were doing in Berlin. But his glitch/drone/abstract work really stands out, even though I feel he’s somewhat underrated. Tonight’s special is brought to you by the No End of Vinyl (sort-of) remix album inspired by his classic Mego EP The End of Vinyl, made from vinyl record run-out grooves, and features some masters including Mego’s very own Pita, and DHR überlord Christoph de Babalon.

One half of Dutch idm powerhouse Funckarma, Roel Funcken appears to be carrying the release schedule mostly on his own these days, with his brother Don taking a back seat. By and large, it hasn’t really made much difference to the sound! Warm analogue synths battling with extreme, advanced digital processing; at their best, Funckarma give us complex beat programming and beautiful soundscaping, and I think there’s a bit more of that going on on this new EP, probably the best thing from them/him in a while.

Also hailing from Holland, Machinefabriek hasn’t really made much music with beats for years, preferring drone and sound art, and his production is second to none. On his Stroomtoon releases, he works with a primitive Phillips analogue tone generator and various effects units, essentially making his own synthesizer. The original album from last year was a closely composed, layered work, from which we heard two tracks in the middle; for the sequel which he’s just released, we hear more raw pieces, created live, which manage to be both complex and quite moving.

New York-based conceptual artist, composer & turntablist Marina Rosenfeld released an amazing album on Room40 back in 2009. Her new release for the label sees her joined by experimental cellist Okkyung Lee (although I think only on one or two tracks), and Jamaican vocalist Annette Henry aka Warrior Queen. While the focus track nods at the dancehall beat and gives Warrior Queen a rhythmic backing for her vocals, it’s quite wonderful to hear her in a more poetic setting, voice slightly glitched over a sparse electronic backing from Rosenfeld.
Rosenfeld’s earlier album, Plastic Materials, features some beautiful minimalist composition-meets-soundscapey-electronica works, but also some versions of her Teengage Lontano work, the original of which is a “cover version” of the 20th century composer Ligeti’s choral work Lontano, performed on stage by mostly-untrained teenagers singing along with their iPods. It’s pretty amazing – watch/listen here.

Last year renowned jazz pianist Mike Nock & PVT drummer Laurenz Pike released an album of jazz duos called Kindred. It’s a side of Laurence that we haven’t really heard much of since his Triosk days, and without much of the digital interventions of the “post-jazz” subgenre. It’s really lovely stuff, and we have a rare opportunity to see the duo live this coming Friday courtesy of SIMA & the Sound Lounge.

I don’t usually promote my own music on the show, but as a special note, my post-everything improv quintet Tangents are playing at the Sound Lounge also this week, on Thursday the 1st of August. Stream a couple of tracks at the link, and check the Facebook event. Would love you to come along!

Holden – Blackpool Late Eighties [Border Community]
Pure – This & That Edit by Pita [Crónica]
Christoph Fringeli & Pure – Darkstar (Fennesz remix) [Sub/Version]
Pure – ivan [Mego]
Pure – duck [Mego]
Pure – The End of Vinyl (Christoph de Babalon remix) [Crónica]
Roel Funcken – Dreampty [Eat Concrete]
Roel Funcken – Jeptic Une [Eat Concrete]
Machinefabriek – Stroomtoon Tien [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek – Twee [Nuun]
Machinefabriek – Vijf [Nuun]
Machinefabriek – Kreupelhout [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Marina Rosenfeld feat. Warrior Queen – Seeking Solace / Why, Why? [Room40]
Marina Rosenfeld – “Cuz I Cannot Find My Way…” (Teenage Lontano 1) [Room40]
Marina Rosenfeld – In F [Room40]
Marina Rosenfeld feat. Okkyung Lee – New York / Empire State of… [Room40]
Mike Nock & Laurenz Pike – Zeus’ Dream [FWM Records]
Mike Nock & Laurenz Pike – The Old Times [FWM Records]

Listen again — ~122MB


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Sunday, 21st of July, 2013

Playlist 21.07.13 (10:06 pm)

Folktronica of a sort, world-tronica, guitar loops, black metal drone and omnichord improv make up tonight’s show…
LISTEN (again?) via the usual link at the bottom, podcast, or stream on demand from FBi.

The first time I heard Washington (the US state, not the capital city) based duo Cock and Swan was the lovely acoustic track “Unrecognized” on a Lost Tribe Sound compilation. So it was something of a surprise to discover that they were better known as an electronic pop group. In any case, their Lost Tribe Sound album, Stash, was one of my favourite albums last year, and was much in the vein of that song: warmly organic but bustling with rhythmic interplay – reminiscent of Broadcast and Stereolab at their best. So it’s pretty great to get a pre-release promo of their new album for Seattle label Hush Hush (I’m actually not quite sure when it comes out).
It’s recognizably more electronic and sample-based, but the busy beats, keyboard patterns and most importantly the vocals are familiar and delightful to settle back into. Highly recommended stuff (well you can get Stash now, and hopefully the newie’s just around the corner!)

Various Production are still trickling tracks out in singles and pairs, and they’re still mostly pretty excellent. That’s probably all I need to say. Check it.

Filastine‘s £oot album from last year was a masterful collection of world-influenced beats, made transcendent through the collaborations with Indonesian singer/rapper Nova. Because of the distinctive sound and the central role of Filastine’s production, I didn’t have very high hopes for the remix album he’s just released. But there are some pretty nice takes on his tracks, including Aussie Brian May, now based in Berlin, in his DJ Delay guise, and some very Burialesque sounds from Danish producer Unkwon. Prior to Nova Ruth’s work with Filastine, his albums featured the Persian-influenced vocals of Jessika Kenney, known now for her collaborations with partner Eyvind Kang. I wanted to play her highlight tracks from both albums, but resisted, and the glitchy classical/Flamenco guitar & beats of “the sinking ship” were worth it.

Back to Sydney, we heard a number of tracks from young producer Jordan T Sexty aka Blackout. His music is created predominantly from guitar and loop pedals, but ranges from familiar instrumental shoegazey tracks to experimental miniatures and more cinematic productions. An artist to watch.

For a lot of this year & last I’ve been obsessed with the outer reaches of metal, post-metal, black metal and so on – but I haven’t wanted to let too much of that leak into the show. Still, given I like to play noise & drone, and given I’ve played plenty of remixes of this stuff, I’m not sure there’s any reason to section it off. This goes especially for Chicago trio Locrian, who are as likely to make drone as some kind of black metal. On the occasion of their latest album coming out, I played a bit of a retrospective, with older tracks covering everything from crackly drones to synthscapes, screaming vocals to string arrangements, while the new album opens with an upbeat instrumental metal track which sounds like the least dark thing they’ve done, and also features a lovely unplugged groove accompanied by some shrieking synth distortion.
We also heard from one of their collaborative albums, with metal/Americana/drone maestro Horseback, this one remixed by one of the grand masters of the grindcore/drone/post-metal/electronic world, James Plotkin.

And finally, a bit of ambient omnichord improv from Adelaide’s Wolfpanther, who released a large array of music in tiny quantities as Marxist Real Estate for many years, and has started up again under this new name, again with a freeform approach to genre. Hopefully more coming in unexpected ways and times…

Cock and Swan – Following [Hush Hush]
Cock and Swan – Stash [Lost Tribe Sound]
Cock and Swan – Secret Angle [Hush Hush]
Cock and Swan – Unrecognized [Lost Tribe Sound]
Cock and Swan – Kicking In [Hush Hush]
Various – Key [Various]
Filastine – Gendjer2 (with Nova) (DJ Delay Remix) [Post World Industries]
Filastine – autology (feat. Jessika Skeletalia Kenney) [Post World Industries/Soot/Über Lingua]
Filastine – the sinking ship [Post World Industries]
Filastine – colony collapse (with Nova) [Post World Industries]
Filastine – No Step (Unkwon Remix [Post World Industries]
Blackout – Inbred Seed [Blackout – Flower Power / Valley Cuts / Soundtrack To A Scandal [Blackout – Sleeper [Locrian – Eternal Return [Relapse]
Locrian – The Crystal World (Instrumental) [Utech Records]
Locrian – Elevations And Depths [Utech Records]
Locrian – Coprolite [Fan Death Records/Relapse]
Horseback | Locrian – The Gift (remix by James Plotkin) [Relapse]
Locrian – Two Moons [Relapse]
Wolfpanther – Auto Bass Sync [Wolfpanther SoundCloud]

Listen again — ~103MB


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Sunday, 14th of July, 2013

Playlist 14.07.13 (10:06 pm)

Very electronic Utility Fog for you tonight.

Do the listening again for the aural enjoyment, go on. Stream it on demand at FBi in glorious stereo, or listen at will via the download link below or the podcast.

A couple of years ago Nils Frahm, best known for his piano and post-classical composition, released a 7″ with two tracks on the legendary Juno synthesiser. It wasn’t his first foray into electronica, but here he was focusing on the emotive aspects of the instrument, coming along very Boards of Canada, in a beatless kind of way. Two years later, Erased Tapes have re-released the tracks along with two remixes, and we heard the inimitable Clark in very fine form.

It wouldn’t be too far-fetched to draw a line between Clark and James Holden, although technically they come from fairly different backgrounds. Still, tbere’s something very organic about the melodies and textures of both artists. I went back and discovered the previous James Holden album The Idiots Are Winning, from 2006, and while 4/4 it is, it’s pretty impeccable stuff so, just get over yourself Peter (see previous playlist re my allergy to 4/4 beats). OK. We heard two excellent tracks from that one, and two from the amazing new one, which is deservedly FBi‘s Album of the Week this week.

Frank Bretschneider founded the Raster Music label that merged in the late ’90s with Carsen Nicolai‘s noton label to become the tremendous raster-noton. As expected, this is glitchy, minimal, and very electronic music, but the rhythmic pulse is always there and very important, in particular the building blocks of drum’n’bass, dub and hip-hop. It’s very exciting, meticulously-produced listening, so it’s very cool to have a new album out. It’s less minimalist in some ways than some of its clicky predecessors, but the principle’s the same – chopped up, tiny samples and electronic sounds in catchy syncopated rhythms. Awesome stuff.
We also heard a couple of his remixes, of Hauschka‘s prepared piano back in 2007, and a little more recently of like-minded electronic experimentalists Icarus, who continue to retain the drum’n’bass pulse through their sonic explorations.

From Sydney’s Aquatic Lab we have another piece of trad dubstep from two early purveyors, Cluekid & LD. I keep coming back to this tune, and love the amen breaks.

The second album from Bristol duo Author arrived recently, and it’s one of the best dubstep albums this year, melding pretty much trad dubstep with hip-hop and jazz, with lovely piano and smooth jazzy pads along with some nice bass wallop. Various collaborators abound, and coincidentally both tracks from tonight featured d’n’b and dubstep producer Quark.

The dubstep connection to the next track comes solely from vocal collaborator Warrior Queen, perhaps best known for her work with The Bug. Here she’s working with experimental turntablist and composer Marina Rosenfeld, collaborating also with noise-cellist Okkyung Lee for her second album on Room40. The whole release hasn’t sunk in yet, but this is really the only track that nods musically to Warrior Queen’s background, with its dancehall-derived kick drum rhythm. Pretty much a total spin-out.

Room40’s a Brisbane (and London) based label, and we stick in that city for a soujourn now with Subsea, who makes electronic music under that moniker but is also involved with indie/indietronic band The Rational Academy and postrock/drone/noise/electronic ensemble Ektoise. We heard an excellent solo track from his SoundCloud plus remixes of each of those bands.

And finally, one more guitar-based track from New Weird Australia‘s latest compilation, this one from the somewhat mysterious stephenfox, a nice piece of postrock with drum machine.

Nils Frahm – For [Erased Tapes]
Nils Frahm – Peter (Clark remix) [Erased Tapes]
Holden – lump [Border Community]
Holden – Inter-City 125 [Border Community]
Holden – 10101 [Border Community]
Holden – The Caterpillar’s Intervention [Border Community]
frank bretschneider – over.load [raster-noton]
Hauschka – Stumm (Kein Wort remix by Frank Bretschneider) [Karaoke Kalk]
frank bretschneider – all summer in a day [raster-noton]
Icarus – Keet (Psittacidae mix by Frank Bretschneider) [Rump]
Frank Bretschneider – Monoplex / Multiplex / Panback / Blue: Prussian / Light Weight [raster-noton]
Frank Bretschneider – 会話 (For Kyoka) [raster-noton]
frank bretschneider – machine.gun [raster-noton]
Cluekid & LD – Dusty [Aquatic Lab]
Author – After Time (feat. Quark) [Black Box]
Author – Roman (feat. Quark) [Black Box]
Marina Rosenfeld feat. Okkyung Lee & Warrior Queen – HARD LOVE [Room40]
Subsea – Reminder [Subsea SoundCloud]
The Rational Academy – Yellow Pony (Subsea “Menorquín” Remix) [The Rational Academy Bandcamp]
Ektoise – Dissolved (Le Angustina Epoca by Subsea) [Ektoise Bandcamp]
stephenfox – Chops [New Weird Australia]

Listen again — ~ 110MB


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Sunday, 7th of July, 2013

Playlist 07.07.13 (10:09 pm)

Quite an electronic show tonight, with an album-of-the-year candidate from So, when James Holden, excellent post-classical sounds from Hecq under his own name, new drill’n’bass from France’s Ruby My Dear and more…

LISTEN AGAIN in all your favourite ways including streaming on demand from FBi.

So, when James Holden started releasing music I managed to mostly ignore him, as it was pretty much resolutely in the 4/4 house/techno vein which I have an unfortunate (well-known) allergy to. But he’s a hugely talented producer, and it’s always worth checking out the new shit – and this new album has been hyped by all the right people. Plus it’s a strong move away from the dancefloor, even from programmed electronic music on the whole. A lot of it is really hard to pigeonhole, which is great – very organically produced (you could almost say bio-dynamic *snerk* (sorry)), lots of analogue synth sounds, but also lots of crunchy processing, and some epic evolving tracks along the lines of Boards of Canada, Autchre or even Jon Hopkins. It’s gorgeous, I could just about play any track from this.

Springintgut is the studio project of Andi Otto, who performs with his process cello aka Fello along with other instruments. I haven’t heard enough of his music clearly, but it’s great to have this new track remixed by the now-half-Sydney-based Icarus!

It’s not precisely surprising or new that Hecq aka Ben Lukas Boysen is releasing an album of classical-inspired soundtrack-ish music. His electronic productions, whether heavy dubstep or breakcore productions, or idm in all its guises, have always had a bit of an epic soundtrack vibe to them, and have sometimes also revealed the classical background of the producer. He’s released a couple of actual feature film soundtracks in recent years, and you can hear the fruits also of recent work with Nils Frahm. It’s nice that the new album isn’t totally beatless “post-classical” stuff too.

We ended with an old Hecq track from 2004 which samples from the delightful second movement of Debussy’s string quartet. This segues us nicely into the next artist, French breakcore/idm producer Ruby My Dear, who we hear sampling the same piece in 2011, albeit at quite a different tempo (reflecting quite different performances of the string quartet).
The earliest Ruby My Dear track I’ve found comes from 2010, and I hadn’t heard it until this week: from the entirely official DJ Shadow Remix Project (compiled by Shadow himself), it’s a very sensitive (albeit mostly manic) drill’n’bass remix of a classic tune from Endtroducing. How about that!

French poet/vocalist Anne-James Chaton has been collaborating for some time with Andy Moor of Dutch band The Ex, with Moor’s always amazing guitar riffs and rhythmic noises underpinning the conceptual poetry of Chaton. A couple of years ago they started a series of 7″s about transport and trasition, including the quite disturbing Princess in a Car, with simultaneous French and English vocals evoking the last hours of Princess Diana’s life…

Revisiting the excellent experimental guitar compilation from New Weird Australia compiled by Andrew Tuttle, we heard a beautiful granular guitar piece from A Demon Sheen, along with some nice stormy field recording sounds.

We finish with two remixes of Brisbane’s Feet Teeth. First up, back to France we have Marseille’s Philippe Petit, a recent visitor to these shores, taking a track from its home territory initially into very abstracted realms; and then fellow Brisbanite Subsea (also of Ektoise and The Rational Academy) contributes some minimalist/maximalist techno.

Holden – Sky Burial [Border Community]
Holden – Blackpool Late Eighties [Border Community]
Springintgut – Incentive Pizzicato (Icarus remix) [Pingipung]
Ben Lukas Boysen – Nocturne 1 [Ad Noiseam]
Hecq – Sura [Ad Noiseam]
Hecq – Steeltongued [Hymen]
Hecq – ghosts [Binkcrsh]
Ben Lukas Boysen – You’ll Miss Us One Day [Ad Noiseam]
Hecq – Flood Me [Hymen]
Ruby My Dear – Mashed Rope [Acroplane]
DJ Shadow – Building Steam With A Grain Of Salt (Ruby My Dear Mix) [The DJ Shadow Remix Project]
Ruby My Dear – Shee [Blue Sub Records]
Anne-James Chaton + Andy Moor – Journal on the Péquod [Unsounds]
Anne-James Chaton + Andy Moor – Princess in a Mercedes Class S 280 (feat. Chiara Solari, English vocals) [Unsounds]
A Demon Sheen – The Mask Of Ultimate Embarrassment And Shame [New Weird Australia]
Feet TeethPhilippe Petit‘s Fit Feeth [hellosQuare Recordings]
Feet Teeth – B1 (Subsea Inútil Paisagem Remix) [hellosQuare Recordings]

Listen again — ~ 166MB


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