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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, 22nd of February, 2015

Playlist 22.02.15 (8:05 pm)

Nice big range of stuff tonight including a good wad of Aussie music, with some politics embedded in parts, and then later some very cinematic, very dark stuff from Belgium & the Netherlands.

LISTEN AGAIN at the stereo stream or the podcast here.

To start off tonight, something topical: Sydney’s folk-meets-prog/post-rock legends The Crooked Fiddle Band are playing this Thursday night at the Basement, as a special one-off with a whole (well, as much as they can fit) orchestra in tow! Should be awesome, with Jess Randall’s already epic violin lines augmented… But equally awesome is Joe & Gordon’s hopefully very short-lived hardcore band Until Abbott Gets Gone, who will break up as soon as, yes, Tony Abbott is out of office. While our political problems with climate change, human rights, education and so much more will not be solved by the demise of one odious man, it’s a sentiment I can get behind, and an ingenious way of achieving (in a short time) some very good publicity for their political views (and great music).

Room40 are celebrating their 15th year this year, and still releasing innovative music in beautiful editions. Presumably Mirko Vogel‘s LP later this year will be one of those editions, but first up we have a 3-track digital EP out soon. Once a member of Brisbane’s power pop band Sekiden, having toured with fellow Modular artist Cut Copy, he’s now based in London and making sounds very much suited to Room40, with bass-heavy drones and distant pulsing beats.

2XX FM is Canberra’s much-loved community radio station, therefore comrades of a sort to FBi in Sydney. Michael Norris and Reuben Ingall host an experimental electronic music show there called Subsequence Radio and late last year released a compilation of excellent electronic music from Canberra on their Bandcamp. There’s a mixture of artist I know and those I don’t – falling into the latter camp, P A R K S, with some nice chunky, crunchy beats. Meanwhile experimental producer and frequent collaborator with Ingall Paul Heslin covers Tassie two-piece Paint Your Golden Face, and ex-Underlapper Gatherer gives us some dense, evolving loops.

Reuben Ingall, one half of the radio show responsible for that compilation, has also just released a cassette with two live versions of his Microwave Drone Ritual, in which he cooks a pie (for 10 minutes apparently) and turns the microwave’s hum into a magnificent drone piece, augmented by his own vocals. Strangely compelling.

Speaking of drones, and with a rather different take on music as politics compared to tonight’s opening track, next we have an excerpt from Robert Curgenven‘s They tore the earth, and, like a scar, it swallowed them. Featuring field recordings from around Australia, along with drones on pipe organ, turtables and low frequency oscillators, it’s a powerful meditation on the damage caused by colonialism…

Our final Australian track for tonight comes from ex-Faux Pas, current Double J broadcaster, current Gotye band member Tim Shiel. A couple of years ago he did the soundtrack to the massively successful Aussie mobile game Duet, and they’ve now released an expansion pack of new chapters. Tim’s soundtrack is as sensitive and lovely as the previous works, and again features various live and acoustic instruments in the mix with his electronics.

Now we move overseas to Belgium where we join Pepijn Caudron with his acoustic doom project Kreng. In fact, up until this new album, most of the music was based around samples of films, and jazz and classical music. For his new album he’s joined by a 12-piece orchestra and various other musicians including Belgian doom metal band Amenra. But we delved a fair bit into his back catalogue, going right back to old tunes which sound sortof like early Amon Tobin on mogadon.

Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek is well into his (as usual) packed schedule of releases for this year, and there’ve already been a number of sublime moments, but for me The Measures Taken on Polish label Zoharum is the highlight. One slow-moving piece split into 5 parts, it’s got throbbing synths and quiet beats, radically treated field recordings, glitches and drones. Highly recommended.

Until Abbott Gets Gone – Climate Septic [Until Abbott Gets Gone Bandcamp]
The Crooked Fiddle Band – Puncture [Crooked Fiddle Bandcamp]
The Crooked Fiddle Band – Vanishing Shapes (Ribongia remix) [Crooked Fiddle SoundCloud]
Mirko – Glass [Room40]
P A R K S – Midwinter [Subsequence Radio Bandcamp]
Paul Heslin – Workwalker [Subsequence Radio Bandcamp]
Gatherer – Sōunkyō Snow [Subsequence Radio Bandcamp]
Reuben Ingall – Microwave Drone Ritual [Moontown Records]
Robert Curgenven – Scene 3. The Heat At Their Necks [Recorded Fields]
Tim Shiel – Something In You (feat. Luke Howard & Biddy Connor) [Tim Shiel Bandcamp]
Kreng – Alcyone [fant00m]
Kreng – Kolossus [Miasmah]
Kreng – Opkopper [Miasmah]
Kreng – Snuff – part 2 (excerpt) [Miasmah]
Kreng – Introduccion [sonic pieces]
Kreng – The Summoning (feat. Amenra) [Miasmah]
Machinefabriek – The Measures Taken Part II (excerpt) [Zoharum]

Listen again — ~105MB


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Sunday, 15th of February, 2015

Playlist 15.02.15 (8:04 pm)

Tonight we have an all female Utility Fog, or UtiLADY Fog perhaps? A pretty wonderful array of artists and a particularly sizeable focus on Jasmine Guffond.

LISTEN AGAIN via the on-demand streaming at the FBi Radio website. OK now we have a podcast, of the stream.

We start with a couple of projects from Kristina Esfandiari, once a singer with (infamous?) Bay Area shoegazers Whirr. Miserable is her solo project, with hazy dark folk rock the name of the game. It’s lovely stuff, sometimes on the depressing side (go figure, with that name, not to mention the Sylvia Plath reference in the second song) – but it all goes up a notch with King Woman, which takes the dark folk but throws doom metal in with the shoegaze noise already present.

Sydney’s Bianca Calandra moved to France a few years back simultaneously with forming her duo Machine est mon Coeur with Gabin Lopez. Their debut album (after a self-released EP) is finally out this week and it’s a stunner. Lopez’ piano and synths accompany Calandra’s singing and guitar, but everything is both underpinned and undermined by strange dub delays, loops and tape effects. Occasional beats or drums on one track also both ground and disorient. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Physical copies are available from Berlin, or you know, digital RIGHT NOW!

Jasmine Guffond is also originally from Sydney, although resident in Berlin for many years now. She formed the minimal electronic duo Minit in 1997 with New Zealander Torben Tilly, pioneering the drone/glitch sound in Australia and influencing many, despite remaining relatively obscure. She also played bass in the all-grrl indie/electronic disco-punk trio Alternahunk, and as Jasmina Maschina writes folky indie songs, although always with the sound-art aspects of her work smudging and disturbing the arrangements. Her new album yellow bell is the first under her own name, and it’s a low-key tour de force. A return to a more abstract sound-world of drones and glitched processing, but with acoustic and live instruments, and occasional fragments of song creeping in, it’s a magical listen. It should also be noted that Sonic Pieces’ packaging is gorgeous, so it’s well worth picking up the CD.

Finally, we hear a few tunes from Sarah Lipstate aka Noveller, who’s most famous as a noise/drone artist, wrangling her guitar through stacks of pedals. There’s plenty of gentle beauty, which makes it all the more pleasing when the heaviness hits. Occasionally, thudding rhythm or even something like prepared piano enter the mix, although for all I know everything is treated guitar. She’s lately going from strength to strength and I feel her new album Fantastic Planet is her best yet – although 2013’s No Dreams comes close.

King Woman – Wrong [The Flenser]
Miserable – Kiss [Miserable Bandcamp]
Miserable – Bell Jar [The Native Sound]
King Woman – Burn [The Flenser]
Machine est mon Coeur – Grow [Blank Records/Machine est mon Coeur Bandcamp]
Machine est mon Coeur – You know me, I know you [Machine est mon Coeur Bandcamp]
Machine est mon Coeur – Moon prophet [Machine est mon Coeur Bandcamp]
Machine est mon Coeur – Sweet memories [Blank Records/Machine est mon Coeur Bandcamp]
Machine est mon Coeur – Trainwreck [Blank Records/Machine est mon Coeur Bandcamp]
jasmine guffond – useful knowledge [sonic pieces]
Alternahunk – Green Tara [Dual Plover]
minit – cg [Staubgold]
Jasmina Maschina – Slow Walker [Staubgold]
Jasmina Maschina – Asleep (Minit Variation) [Staubgold]
Jasmina Maschina – love you more and more [Monika]
Jasmina Maschina – Sun [Staubgold]
jasmine guffond – rr variation [sonic pieces]
Noveller – Into The Dunes [Fire Records]
Noveller – The Fright [Important Records]
Noveller – Pulse Point [Fire Records]

Listen again — ~58MB


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Sunday, 8th of February, 2015

Playlist 08.02.15 (8:07 pm)

Here we are… A number of brilliant women take up more than half of the show tonight – indie noise folk, and electronics, leading into a couple of other awesome electronic musicians.

LISTEN AGAIN to these arcane and alluring sounds… podcast here, stereo stream over there.

Starting with a focus on the musical work of Geneviève Castrée, French-Canadian cartoonist (graphic novelist?) and musician. She once made music as Woelv, and had an album released on Chapter Music in Australia; 5 or 6 years ago she switched to Ô Paon and while her singing style didn’t change, there seems to be a greater emphasis on electric guitars and barrages of sound. Oh and also she’s married to Phil Elverum – which does come through in some of the arrangements, although her sound is very much her own! Emotionally cracked melodic vocals, chants, acoustic and electric guitars, occasional surprising grooves, drones, and in one collaboration some lovely piano accompanying her singing… and a marvellous collaboration with fellow Canadian Aidan Baker from his Already Drowning album, and even moreso than on the title track, you can feel the drowning in this track (it’s actually quite spooky – the title means “Just under the surface, I watch”).

Following Geneviève Castrée we have an equally idiosyncratic and talented artist, from the USA – Clare Hubbard aka Caethua. I discovered her when Sydney’s own Preservation released an incredible double CD album (or pair of albums) in 2009, although there are a plethora of cassette and vinyl releases around – many not available digitally at all. Luckily this new one, Red Moon, is available digitally as well as on vinyl, so we get to hear a few cuts tonight. She has a distinct, langorous but somehow urgent vocal style, and her music, though frequently electric, owes a lot to folk as well as rock and experimentalism. Strange lo-fi loops sometimes form rhythmic beds, along with field recordings, but often it’s just vocals and guitar or piano. Very very worthwhile tracking down the Preservation album as well as the new one, and whatever else you can find…

A track by Karen Gwyer appeared last week in our Opal Tapes special, but I hadn’t properly looked into her EP from 2013. It’s only three tracks, but they’re all long and multipart, and as good an example of synth and drum machine sequenced stuff as you’ll find at the moment.

These analogue electronics lead nicely into Boston-based Brazilian percussionist and electronic musician Ricardo Donoso. He’s had a few released on underground(ish) noise labels, and then a few fantastic 12″s on Brad Rose’s Digitalis Recordings, warm and dark sequenced synthesiser compositions. He’s now found a home at the all-consuming Denovali label, and there he’s taking things into new climes, adding big percussion and some digital processing/glitching (well, it sounds it to me at least). The new album Saravá Exu is his best work yet, although the Digital releases are total class too.

And via a remix of Donoso, we find our way back to Yves De Mey. Back, because I featured this Belgian sound designer / techno producer last week also in my Opal Tapes special and wanted to feature him a bit more tonight. It’s impeccably-produced techno, as interested in sonic exploration as it is in the dancefloor – as is his duo with Peter Van Hoesen as Sendai. It’s also a nice melding of the analogue sensibilities of peeps like Donoso with precise digital clicks & cuts & processing.

Ô Paon – Boue / Fleuve ii [TAUS/Ô Paon Bandcamp]
Ô Paon – Transcanadienne [TAUS/Ô Paon Bandcamp]
Woelv – Chanson, Cachee [L’Oie de Cravan]
The Watery Graves of Portland and/et Geneviève – Inquiétude [Marriage Records]
Woelv – “La Petite Cane Danse le Nappe de Pétrole” [K Records/Chapter Music]
Ô Paon – La Cible [TAUS/Ô Paon Bandcamp]
Ô Paon – Sainte Patronne De Rien Pantoute [TAUS/Ô Paon Bandcamp]
Aidan Baker – Tout Juste Sous la Surface, Je Guette (feat. Geneviève Castrée) [Gizeh Records]
Ô Paon – Fleuve iii [TAUS/Ô Paon Bandcamp]
Caethua – Red Moon [Bathetic Records]
Caethua – Day Break [Preservation]
Caethua – Waning Moon [Bathetic Records]
Caethua – Chariot [Bathetic Records]
Karen Gwyer – Free Food / One Men Striper [Opal Tapes]
Ricardo Donoso – Galliciniuim [Denovali]
Ricardo Donoso – The Redeemer [Digitalis Recordings]
Ricardo Donoso – Matutinium [Denovali]
Ricardo Donoso – The Sphinx (Yves De Mey remix) [Digitalis Recordings]
Sendai – Further Vexations [Time To Express]
Yves De Mey – Box Caisson [Opal Tapes]
Sendai – Anti-Jupiter [Archives Intérieurs]
Yves De Mey – Slew Modified [Semantica Records]

Listen again — ~106MB


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Sunday, 1st of February, 2015

Playlist 01.02.15 (8:08 pm)

Evening! So much great electronica for you today from across the globe.

LISTEN AGAIN to catch every single goodie because you need them all! Then go and buy them. Stream there, podcast here.

It’s strangely appropriate, with ageing rave-punks The Prodigy staging a comeback (to mostly raucous laughter from the press it must be said), that the new one-sided single from Burial sees him revisiting the halcyon pre-jungle days of rave music. Complete with sped-up vocal samples near the end which are a clear reference to The Prodigy. It’s the best thing I’ve heard from Burial for a while. YMMV.

Blue Mountains-based producer Bob Streckfuss aka 0point1 makes incredibly idiosyncratic music. While the influences are clear – from Sigur Rós vocals to mega-processed postrock instrumentation and dril’n’bass beats (among other things) – the way it’s all mashed together it’s totally his own. It can be quite bewildering to listen to, but it works either way – let it wash over you, or concentrate and enjoy the details!

The Sticks have just finished up their residency at The Dock in Redfern, with “The Air Sticks”, a gestural interface controlling beats and sampling/processing, as well as keyboards and bass. It’s live electronica and very stylishly done.

And so to Aphex Twin. There is no legend too large to apply to him, and half of them seem to be true (or half-true?) So, shortly after releasing the truly new-sounding Computer Controlled Acoustic Instruments pt (EP), a SoundCloud account appeared at SoundCloud (originally there was one fewer 0 in there) and made a cheeky comment on the official Aphex Twin SoundCloud. In truly arch fashion, Aphex replied, so initially there was a pretense that this person was another 43-year-old musician who’d been making electronic music back in the day. But it didn’t take long to confirm that this was Aphex, who over an incredibly short number of days dumped 110 tracks (in fact 112, as a couple were withdrawn) on this anonymous SoundCloud, dating from back in the “85-92” period of the first Selected Ambient Works album, through Analogue Bubblebath acid, …I Care Because You Do hip-hop beats, and even some 7 Up children talking with Hangable Auto Bulb era drill’n’bass. It’s the motherlode, and it’s quite imposing at 8:42 of music, so I had a go at pulling out some of the highlights tonight.

Having found a couple of really exciting discoveries from 2014 releasing on Opal Tapes, I’d been meaning to explore the label for a while. I knew their first release featured Sydney’s own Dro Carey in his more technoid Tuff Sherm guise, and I knew that there was a fair bit of house on the label, which isn’t necessarily my thing – but there’s a plethora of varied stuff going on there.

Ñaka Ñaka‘s first release on Opal Tapes is quite housey, and the 4/4 beats continue on 2014’s Mundo Harsh, but the reason I started with this NY producer should be clear as soon as you hear the tracks: there’s a striking echo of Aphex Twin’s Selected Ambient Works 85-92 to the lambent synth chords and melodies hovering around the beats. If not Aphex, the closest comparison would be the early works of Arovane, a 2nd-gen idm producer whose icy, melodic works were themselves regularly compared to Mr Twin’s.

Yves De Mey is a Belgian artist who’s appeared on the UFog horizons before, but I was remiss in properly researching him. His Opal Tapes EP from 2013 is a brilliant work of sub-bass and glitch sound design, with head-nodding bass and beats, and that post-industrial heavy yet delicate sound that we’re getting a lot of in the most advanced electronic productions from the last few years. Highly recommended.
And this leads us into the Cambiare compilation from last year, which conveniently features exclusive tracks (for those concerned about redundancy) but also gives us a great view into Opal Tapes circa 2014. Karen Gwyer‘s track is speed techno with a melodic bassline and stuttering kicks.

There’s also a KETEV track unique to the compilation, with beats so deeply submerged they only half surface in the second half. I’ve featured the works of Yair Elazar Glotman a few times on the show – a new artist from 2014 who’s already had a huge impact. We don’t really hear his double bass in his KETEV works, but he’s got the sound design chops and beatsmithing down pat too. Andy Stott is sometimes hinted at, but equally his Opal Tapes compatriots and other contemporary electronic genres, all high-tech with a dirty lo-fi rumble and hiss.

Lumisokea have also featured a few times on this show. A duo featuring Belgian cellist Koenraad Ecker (although the duo tends to be purely electronic) and Italian producer Andrea Taeggi (who I just discovered is also Gondwana), they also take a sound design approach to techno, with heavy elecronics and sometimes frenzied beats here – but they are in fact very versatile over their releases (as well as individually).
I literally only just realised that Gondwana was half of Lumisokea, or I would have swapped the order here – but this debut album from 2015 is a beauty, with more of those heavy sub-bass punches and long periods of crackling, organic ambience/drone.

Michael DeMaio‘s release (also new for 2015) mixes hard 4/4 techno with faster-moving stuff, ambience and those incredible skittering hi-hats in “South”, which might just be track of the week for me.

Burial – Temple Sleeper [Keysound Recordings]
0point1 – Hypernova [0point1 Bandcamp]
0point1 – 3D trees-emotive [0point1 Bandcamp]
The Sticks – Suriol [unreleased]
Aphex Twin – 9 Square Dance [SoundCloud]
Aphex Twin – diskhat1 [Warp]
Aphex Twin – piano un1 arpej [Warp]
Aphex Twin – 12 Rough Beat Tune [SoundCloud]
Aphex Twin – 14 Make A Baby [SoundCloud]
Aphex Twin – 24 Afx 71 1 [SoundCloud]
Ñaka Ñaka – jAaz [Opal Tapes]
Ñaka Ñaka – dardos (excerpt) [Opal Tapes]
Yves De Mey – Box Caisson [Opal Tapes]
Yves De Mey – Faux Movements [Opal Tapes]
Karen Gwyer – Girl With Pitbull [Opal Tapes]
KETEV – Aleph [Opal Tapes]
KETEV – Akkad [Opal Tapes]
Lumisokea – Eleven [Opal Tapes]
Michael DeMaio – South [Opal Tapes]
Michael DeMaio – Knives Like Dresses (excerpt) [Opal Tapes]
Gondwana – ├×ingvellir (excerpt) [Opal Tapes]
Gondwana – Right Brainer [Opal Tapes]

Listen again — ~109MB


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