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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, 23rd of August, 2015

Playlist 23.08.15 (8:49 pm)

Another week, another show! Tonight we’ve got NEW! NECKS!, postpunk freejazz electroacoustic craziness, other discoveries from this month’s issue of The Wire, post-bass techno and experimental electronica.

LISTEN AGAIN if you dare… whether the podcast from here or the (stereo) stream from FBi.

It’s always an event when a new Necks album comes out. Will it feature ultra-minimal sound textures, krautrocky motorik grooves, will it be one of those rare albums with a few shorter tracks (like, 20 minutes rather than 60)? Their latest, Vertigo, is out in Australia on CD in a couple of weeks (Sept 11th) and it turns out that it’s a gorgeous-sounding experimental sound piece. There’s brief bursts of free piano & drums over long-form piano & bass drones, out-jazz bits and loud bits… But it all hangs together around a certain feel. I’m not sure it’s exactly vertiginous, but it’s not exactly a calm, comfortable listen either. As highly recommended as ever!

Earlier this year, The Necks’ pianist Chris Abrahams teamed up with Italian sound artist & vocalist Alessandro Bosetti for an album on the excellent Greek experimental label Unsounds. Ambient, glitched electronic textures and vocal layerings, spoken word, slippery piano – it’s beautiful stuff.

So I was reading the latest issue of The Wire this week (as a subscriber I get to read it on my iPad as soon as it comes out, and then dutifully file my print copy along with the other 20-odd years’ worth on the bottom of my CD shelves… *ahem*)… and there was an article on the fascinating English post-punk free jazz saxophonist and poet Ted Milton and his band Blurt. I was thinking that I had to check him out, when I read a sentence near the end referencing new work with an electronic producer called “Britton”, and I had to skip back through the pages to confirm that it was Sam Britton of Icarus – favourite post-drum’n’bass duo whose other half, Sam’s cousin Ollie Bown, is based in Sydney (and incidentally plays in bands with me).
There’s not nearly enough material from this combo available. I asked Sam and In Kharms Way has not been properly documented – tonight’s tracks are live versions streamable from the duo’s websiteOdes is a project that collects Milton’s collaborations outside of Blurt, and is available in a live rendering by Milton & Britton from Icarus’s label Not Applicable. Britton also produced the latest Blurt album, from 2010, which is angular post-punk and free jazz, with Milton’s saxophone squealing over almost-funk grooves, and his working-class poetry over the top – so, not that different from the work with Britton, albeit a bit more muscular and a bit less “sound-arty”. Milton’s voice is like a more together Mark E Smith, although this is probably rude to both artists.
It’s all fantastic, and in excellent news there is a new album on the way in which the duo are joined by Graham Lewis of Wire. Something to look forward to!

Now back to The Wire, who were the catalyst of this whole Milton / Britton discovery, and who also released with this issue their latest download comp Below The Radar Vol 21. So we have a few more discoveries, or at least special tracks… Map 71 sees the spoken word and singing of Lisa Jayne combined with the music production of Andy Pyne. It’s a nice segue from Milton’s work. The hypnotic percussion and scraping jazz drums of Pyne add to the disquieting aura of Jayne’s poetry and strangled singing.

Leafcutter John‘s new album Resurrection earlier this year was a welcome return for the artist after a long absence from recorded work. For the latest Below The Radar he reworks elements from that album (and many that never made it onto the album) into a 5-minute piece of ambient vocals and something like head-nodding acid techno. It’s a typical tangential left-turn for the artist, nicely done even if I can’t readily identify the connections to the album.

Finally from Below The Radar we hear a track from the new mini-album from Acre & Filter Dread, first release on experimental grime artist Visionists‘s Codes imprint of Bill Kouligas’ PAN. Filter Dread’s dabbled in junglist revival, and both he & Acre represent a kind of grime-meets-techno sound that’s coming up of late.

Dublin-via-Berlin duo Lakker put out one of the best techno albums of the year with Tundra, a few months ago. Coming up from the net label idm culture of the mid 2000s, they’ve found a good home with the legendary Belgian ambient/techno label R&S Records (home to Aphex Twin’s early ambient & techno works for instance) – and the Berlin techno sound can certainly be heard in their work as well. They’ve just put out a remix LP of Tundra tracks, one of which is from none other than one half of Lakker, Eomac. And my Google-fu is completely unable to uncover Lahun, but it’s a lovely take on the original, with Eileen Carpio‘s vocals layered in new ways, and the original’s pounding beats broken up.

Finally, we have a collaboration between two experimental electronic artists, English researcher Guy Birkin & US drone/post-bass artist Sun Hammer. They’ve been working together for a while (we heard a remix from last year up front), and came up with an interesting way of gamifying collaboration. The familiar act of sending files across the internet is turned into a kind of exploratory competition where each iteration is completed when both parties agree that it’s more complex than the previous. So from an initially very simple seed, interesting works arise, with a clear lineage between the pieces, although obviously there’s still enormous freedom with where they can take the pieces. It’s a little conceptually rigorous than Birkin’s work on symmetrical (or reversible) works, but a cool idea which is interesting to listen on the concept level but also good music.

The Necks – Vertigo (15 minute excerpt) [Fish of Milk]
Alessandro Bosetti & Chris Abrahams – Observatories [Unsounds]
The Odes (Ted Milton & Sam Britton) – Nogales [Not Applicable]
The Odes (Ted Milton & Sam Britton) – O! Pity Us! [Not Applicable]
Ted Milton & Sam Britton – The Incubating Period [unreleased, stream at Milton / Britton website]
Ted Milton & Sam Britton – The Incubating Period [unreleased, stream at Milton / Britton website]
Blurt The Bells [LTM]
The Odes (Ted Milton & Sam Britton) – Where You End [Not Applicable]
Map 71 – Laced [Blue Tapes courtesy The Wire]
Leafcutter John – Slab (rework) [reworking of material on Desire Path Recordings, courtesy The Wire]
Acre & Filter Dread – Blood Artist [PAN X CODES courtesy The Wire]
Lakker – Halite (Eomac remix) [R&S Records]
Lakker – Milch (feat. Eileen Carpio) [R&S Records]
Lakker – Milch (feat. Eileen Carpio) (Lahun remix) [R&S Records]
Sun Hammer – SH-remix-1c (by Guy Birkin) [Sun Hammer Bandcamp]
Guy Birkin & Sun Hammer – Complexification 01GB [Entr’acte]
Guy Birkin & Sun Hammer – Complexification 01GB [Entr’acte]
Guy Birkin & Sun Hammer – Complexification 02SH [Entr’acte]
Guy Birkin & Sun Hammer – Complexification 09GB [Entr’acte]
Guy Birkin & Sun Hammer – Complexification 03SH [Entr’acte]
Guy Birkin & Sun Hammer – Complexification 04GB [Entr’acte]
Guy Birkin & Sun Hammer – Complexification 10GB [Entr’acte]

Listen again — ~104MB


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