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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, 25th of August, 2013

Playlist 25.08.13 (10:05 pm)

Tonight’s the first of my 10th birthday celebration shows! So, all 2003 music tonight! OMGZ

LISTEN AGAIN if you missed out! Link below, and on-demand stream in stereo (as the downloads/podcast come from mono source) at FBi!

I don’t exactly want to do a full-on write-up this week. It’s all old music.
It’s also all stone-cold classics. Obviously. This is as good a collection as I could fit into 2 hours of music that excited the hell out of me in 2003 – except for the very last track, which is something that excites the hell out of me right now, and which I would have had no idea about in 2003. I have discovered the wonders of Neurosis only recently; they are one of the most important acts in the last couple of decades of what came to be known as post-metal, and their alter-ego Tribes of Neurot are experimental/drone done most excellently. Of course, Jarboe is well-known from her long stint in the Swans, and she’s gone on to collaborate with lots of interesting people, but the 2003 collaboration between these two acts is absolutely terrifyingly incredible.

So, we start with the folktronica, for want of a better word. Two incredibly important albums came out in 2003: Four Tet‘s Rounds was already out when the station started, but The Books‘ equally important the lemon of pink had only been announced. I had their first album and knew Nick Zammuto from “the internet”, so I wrote to Tom Steinle of Tomlab to ask if I could get a promo for my fledgling show on a fledgling station in Sydney. And about a month into this new show, it arrived, and lo, it was wondrous!
Pedro‘s self-titled album on Melodic hasn’t had as lasting an impact, and nor have the earlier Melodic releases from Minotaur Shock, but they’re still pretty important entries into this micro-genre. On the other hand King Seven only put out one 12″ as far as I can tell, but this particular track, with its sweet strings and hip-hop beat, got a great reaction whenever I played it, so – memory lane!

We’ve heard from Opiate aka Thomas Knak only this year, but he did put out a legendary EP at least on the legendary Morr Music, and this takes us into the next favoured micro-genre for UFog, indietronica. Dntel‘s remix of his wonderful collaborator Mia Doi Todd was an old favourite (only ever released on 7″ from what I recall), and of course his much-celebrated collaboration with Ben Gibbard as The Postal Service came out in 2003 as well. Back with Morr Music, Styrofoam released a stunning album which has long gone by the wayside, but please enjoy this track and let it segue into electronica’s own king of shoegaze, Mr Ulrich Schnauss, with his 2nd album.

Hard to genre-pigeonhole, but of a piece with all this digital trickery and melding of authenticity and artifice is the amazing Mr Matthew Herbert‘s Big Band. This album will never cease to be a wonder.

But from there we get to the alt.hip-hop strains of anticon./Mush/Big Dada affiliates, many connected also with the indietronica artists we’ve been looking into. cLOUDDEAD were just disbanding as the show started, but the “Dead Dogs Two” single (I guess) allowed me to play one of Boards of Canada‘s rare but transcendent remixes. But both Hymie’s Basement and Themselves share members with cLOUDDEAD. Hymie’s is perhaps the start of the really catchy indiepop phase of WHY?, and here Themselves give me the opportunity to play one of the heroes of breakcore, the one and only Hrvatski: still recording as Keith Fullerton Whitman but having long discarded the painstaking beat programming.

Mr. Mezzy aka 0=0 released hardly anything (he was slated for an album on Planet µ but it was never forthcoming), but every track he did release was incredible, including this hilarious Super Mario Brothers re-jig. And there’s no way I could miss out on Venetian Snares. Meanwhile herv is one of those relatively obscure artists from across the world that I discovered and supported because he seemed to fit the weird mold of Utility Fog (this track kind of epitomises the joke genre “orchestral breakcore” that I slipped into the show description). While Plug would be my favourite drum’n’bass incarnation of Luke Vibert, he did release the Amen Andrews 12″ series in 2003, and this Bulgarian choir-and-Captian Beefheart-sampling song is pretty ace!

Oh, and look! 65daysofstatic! Here they are with their very first EP, which came out in 2003, and that’s precisely when I started playing them, and playing them. They were played first on Australian radio right here, and it’s likely that this airplay is what ended up getting them connected with the magnificent chaps at Bird’s Robe, getting all their music released here and getting them touring here, as well as own own sleepmakeswaves touring with them overseas.

Speaking, still, of drill’n’bass, what better than an Aphex Twin cover by the incomparable Bad Plus, who I’ve always been happy to play originals of as well (in fact their originals tend to be my favourites). A jazz piano trio in a class of their own – perhaps more of a typical jazz piano trio than Sydney’s towering Necks, but still… something else!

Finally, it’s also wonderful to find one of my favourite musicians, violinist/singer/everythingist Carla Kihlstedt, releasing her first solo album in 2003. Again, she’s not really electronic or liminal in the Utiltiy Fog sense, but she’s fabulously gregarious and inhumanly talented, and I’ve never shied away from introducing my listeners to her art.

So it goes. Tune in next week for more glorious sounds from the last decade…

The Books – the lemon of pink [Tomlab]
The Books – tokyo [Tomlab]
Four Tet – And They All Look Broken Hearted [Domino]
Pedro – Fear & Resilience [Melodic]
King Seven – Hidden [Camshot Records]
Opiate – stp! [Morr Music]
Mia Doi Todd – Growing Pains (Dntel remix) [dublab]
The Postal Service – natural anthem [Sub Pop]
Styrofoam – if i believed you / back in focus [Morr Music]
Ulrich Schnauss – On My Own [City Centre Offices]
Matthew Herbert Big Band – misprints (feat. Shingai Shoniwa) [Accidental]
cLOUDDEAD – Dead Dogs Two (Boards of Canada) [Mush/Big Dada]
Hymie’s Basement – 21st Century Pop Song [Lex]
themselves – good people check (remixed by hrvatski) [anticon.]
Mr. Mezzy – s.m.b.#1, w-1, l-1 [Dross:tik]
Venetian Snares – Epidermis [Planet µ]
herv – corrective action [Compactrisc]
Amen Andrews – Fast & Bulbous [Rephlex]
65daysofstatic – play.nice.kids [Dustpunk Records]
The Bad Plus – Flim [Columbia Records]
Carla Kihlstedt – World of Made [Tzadik]
Carla Kihlstedt – Peel [Tzadik]
Neurosis & Jarboe – Within [Neurot Recordings]

Listen again — ~105MB


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