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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, 27th of September, 2015

Playlist 27.09.15 (9:11 pm)

It’s FBi‘s supporter drive! That time of the year when we ask the people who love what we do to help us – financially – to pay our bills, and so on!

LISTEN AGAIN while you subscribe – stream on demand at FBi’s website, or podcast it here.

Melbourne postpunk trio F ingers start things off with a release on the ultra-hip Blackest Ever Black (shit, I said “hip”, how old am I?) Pretty great to have Oz representing on this label which is home to a great array of UK & US noise, techno, industrial, punkish, and experimental electronic stuffs. Featuring Carla dal Forno plus Bum Creek’s Sam Karmel and Tarquin Manek (also ex-Pikelet).

Moscow’s Alexey Devyanin releases music under a number of pseudonyms, but for a long time I only knew him as Gultskra Artikler, under which he made a number of albums of collagey acoustic doom of sorts – quite dark, woozy folk stuff along the lines of Miasmah labelmates Kaboom Karavan or Kreng. But then I discovered that Devyanin is also Pixelord – in which (to my ears) he explores kitsch of a different variety, with the computer gamey vaporwave the YouTube generation makes of late. It feels to me like his latest project as Gultskra, appropriate released as a cassette by Umor Rex, brings the experimental electronic tendencies of Gultskra Artikler and the more pop dance side of Pixelord a little closer – sampling, mulching up and spitting out the sounds he’s been listening to of late. It’s incredible stuff.

Strangely Gultskra’s acoustic collage (and less strangely the electronic sounds) remind me a lot of the pre-eminent ambient techno collage artists The Future Sound of London, who have just released their 8th archive album, this time not “From The Archives” but Archived 8 – perhaps to denote the fact that there’s a lot of rather new material to be found here.

Persian-American artist Aria Rostami has been releasing experimental electronic music from San Francisco for a few years (I was introduced to him because Ollie Bown contributed a remix to a release in 2011). Inhabiting that comfortable/uncomfortable zone between conceptual, glitchy experimental music and idm/house beatmaking, he does a fine job in covering both. For his latest release, he explores the idea of orientalism – of the “othering” of the East – through field recordings sent to him from Tehran, Kerman and even Taipei. And as well as electronics and processed field recordings, there’s an array of middle eastern and western live instrumentation in there, from violin and piano to the Turkish tar.

So this new Julia Holter album has been getting crazy accolades from all round. And well deserved… we’re talking about a highly accomplished artist still at a young age. This album feels like a fairly straightforwardly pop thing, albeit more of a Kate Bush style pop than Katie Perry (lol). While in the past, her albums have lyrically been based around Greek myth, French literature and American film, here there’s no high-concept theme as such, although still much poetry to be found. Musically it’s a lovely continuation from her past arrangements, fleshed out a little more with a larger ensemble of strings, woodwind (including some quite ’80s sax), and jazzy drums along with her piano and breathy vocals. Is it the 5 stars, 10/10 album some critics are hailing it with? Well, it’s as good as the older albums and that makes it superlative already. That’s enough – you know you need it.

F ingers – Tantrum Time [Blackest Ever Black]
F ingers – Mum’s Caress After Trip [Blackest Ever Black]
Gultskra Artikler – D [Umor Rex]
Gultskra Artikler – Fizik Dyadya Kolya [Lampse]
Gultskra Artikler – Berezka [Miasmah]
Gultskra Artikler – kartoshka [Miasmah]
Gultskra Artikler – e [Cluster]
Pixelord – I Don’t Need This [Infinite Machine]
Gultskra Artikler – Destroy [Umor Rex]
The Future Sound of London – Blue Green [FSOL Digital]
The Future Sound of London – Troxós [FSOL Digital]
Aria Rostami – Delta [Aria Rostami Bandcamp]
Aria Rostami – Midori [Audiobulb]
Aria Rostami – Denizens [Crash Symbols]
Aria Rostami – Vietnamoses [Aria Rostami Bandcamp]
Julia Holter – Vasquez [Domino]
Julia Holter – Tragedy Finale [Leaving Records/Domino]
Julia Holter – Marienbad [RVNG Intl./Domino]
Julia Holter – World [Domino]
Julia Holter – How Long? [Domino]

Listen again — ~106MB


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Sunday, 20th of September, 2015

Playlist 20.09.15 (9:12 pm)

Two specials take up the whole show tonight – Justin K Broadrick‘s JK Flesh and the wonderful Low.

LISTEN AGAIN because you owe it to yourself. Stream on demand anytime, podcast anytime.

Justin K Broadrick is one of my musical heroes. From his early days in as a very young man in Napalm Death, he’s gone on to influence many metal and noise bands with his seminal industrial metal band Godflesh, followed by his shoegaze metal(?) band Jesu, as well as free jazz/metal hybrids God, electronic/hip-hop/dub monster Techno Animal with Kevin Martin of The Bug (etc), and more recently a completely electronic shoegaze act that sprung out of the more electronic aspects of Jesu, Pale Sketcher (not to mention the pitch-perfect drum’n’bass of Tech Level 2, and countless collaborations with metal, noise and electronic musicians). He’s been called “JK Flesh” by Kevin Martin for a long time, and before Godflesh reformed, he’d been wanting to explore the heavier sounds again with a more electronic bent – so JK Flesh became a real thing.
Rather than attempt to somehow cover all of JK Broadrick’s musical history, I’m taking the opportunity of his new album Nothing Is Free (release, er, for free on Bandcamp) to recap the JK Flesh repertoire – focusing on some Japanese CD exclusive versions (now available digitally like many of the countless versions JK likes to produce). The distorted dub/hip-hop and junglist influences of this project are close to my heart.

Another band very close to my heart is Duluth, Minnesota’s slowcore monarchs Low. What can you even say about Low? One of the most important & beloved indie bands of the last 2 decades, with their roots in the “slowcore” sound that they pretty much founded – a melancholy, stripped-down indie music – they introduced distorted guitars, electronic sounds and textural noise elements into their music quite early on. This musical adventurousness often underscored quite emotionally unsettling themes, although there’s usually enough peaceful beauty in there to counteract the intensity. Admittedly I’m tending to focus on the unsettling tonight! In keeping with Utility Fog’s interest in genre-crossing and experimental sounds, we have some remix/collaboration work as well – although I wasn’t able to fit Alan Sparhawk’s Retribution Gospel Choir side project, a more straight rock band whose third release is made of two 20-minute psych rock jam monsters.

JK Flesh – Peace in Pieces [JK Flesh Bandcamp]
JK Flesh – Knuckledragger Version [3by3/Daymare]
JK Flesh – JK Flesh Merges Prurient 1 [Hydra Head/Daymare]
Violetshaped – cX310 (JK Flesh Reshape) [Violet Poison]
JK Flesh – They Own You [JK Flesh Bandcamp]
Low – Gentle [Sub Pop]
Low – Landslide [Sub Pop]
Low – Fear [Vernon Yard]
Low – Do You Know How To Waltz? [Vernon Yard]
Low – down (porter ricks remix) (excerpt) [Vernon Yard]
Low & Spring Hell Jack – Way Behind [Tugboat Records]
Low – Shots & Ladders [Kranky]
Low – Pissing [Sub Pop]
Low – Belarus [Sub Pop]
Low – I Started A Joke [Touch & Go Records] {wow, it’s a Bee Gees cover!}
Low – Just Make It Stop [Sub Pop]
Low – No Comprende [Sub Pop]

Listen again — ~58MB


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Sunday, 13th of September, 2015

Playlist 13.09.15 (9:09 pm)

100% electronic goods tonight – from Melbourne to Sydney to NoCal, to Winnipeg to Berlin (via Belgium & Italy).

LISTEN AGAIN over here or over there, but do listen!

Starting with something forthcoming from Melbourne pianist/electronic artist Asdasfr Bawd aka Alex Clayton, who has a new EP coming out on Solitaire Recordings soon. As is expected at the moment, it’s very footwork-influenced, but his music also draws from UK garage. Well done stuff, looking forward to the EP!

Eugene Ward is a talented young electronic musician (among other talents) who broke onto the world scene almost as soon as he put out his first EP in 2011 as Dro Carey. Drawing from footwork/juke, hip-hop, dubstep, trap and more, he managed to make dancefloor-friendly music that was nevertheless pretty demented. As Tuff Sherm he tends to pare it down to a more club-oriented take on house/techno for the most on-point contemporary labels like Opal Tapes, but Dro Carey tends to be restlessly innovative, anything from Andy Stott-style underwater house to drum’n’bass/hip-hop hybrids and more.
But earlier this year Ward put out his first album under his own name, for another cutting-edge boutique label, Where To Now? It’s still beat-oriented electronic music, but not precisely dancefloor-oriented despite being “dance” music, as it was composed for a series of choreographed modern dance pieces performed in a gallery in Chippendale (an inner-city suburb of Sydney, for the non-locals). Sampled gasps and breaths make up the beats on one track, shuffling papers elsewhere – but there are still lots of electronics, industrial beats and bass in there. It’s brilliant work from a ridiculously talented artist.

North Californian producer Lee Bannon first came to notice as a hip-hop producer, but once signed to Ninja Tune quickly began releasing a weird confection of jungle/drum’n’bass, acid and experimental electronics. He’s since changed his name to ¬b, and now his latest release is an EP under another new moniker, DedekindCut (clearly a pure mathematics buff!) – perhaps ¬b or “Lee Bannon” (also an alias) will be the home for the more ambient work, as this new EP is decidedly in the jungle/experimental camp!

Keeping it jungle/experimental, and linking back to last week’s Planet µ special, we have new sounds from Venetian Snares. As mentioned last week, last week he suddenly found himself in financial hot water, and put out a plea on social media for fans to help him out by purchasing some of his music from his own Bandcamp, which included a number of hard-to-find old 7″ singles and EPs (Moonglow, Badminton and Infolepsy are particularly recommended). This last week, he’s uploaded some of his old Hymen Records albums as well, and in thanks for the huge outpouring of support from his fanbase, a whole new album has appeared. It’s got some vintage Snares stuff on there, and is worth dropping a few bucks on!

Berlin-based Belgian/Italian duo Lumisokea have been on my radar for a couple of years. Their electro-acoustic music doesn’t fit easily into current trends in electronic music, but with its industrial feel and impeccable sound design it sits comfortably next to people like The Haxan Cloak, Dalhous, KETEV/Yair Elazar Glotman and others. The Belgian half, Koenraad Ecker, is a cellist as well as sound designer, and has released a couple of amazing solo albums on Digital Industries and 12k as well as playing in another dark post-industrial electronic duo Stray Dogs. Italian Andrea Taeggi has released minimal dub/techno as Gondwana on Opal Tapes, and simultaneously with the new Lumisokea album, his first release under his own name has come out on the Type label, exploring rhythmic minimalism on the Serge and Buchla modular synthesisers.

Asdasfr Bawd – Alsp [Solitaire Recordings]
Eugene Ward – Printed Matter (Duet 1) [Where To Now?]
Dro Carey – Wack Reeboks!!? [self-released?]
Dro Carey – Foes, Gallons n Fathoms [Dro Carey Bandcamp]
Tuff Sherm – Hydlide [The Trilogy Tapes]
Dro Carey – Bingo Wings [Dro Carey Bandcamp]
Dro Carey – Grill Mage [Dro Carey Bandcamp]
Eugene Ward – Somnium (Group) [Where To Now?]
Eugene Ward – Paper (Duet) [Where To Now?]
DedekindCut – Thot eNhancer [Lee Bannon Bandcamp]
DedekindCut – Necq [Lee Bannon Bandcamp]
Venetian Snares – Red Orange 2 [Planet µ]
Venetian Snares – Sweet And Fruitful [Venetian Snares Bandcamp]
Lumisokea – Prowl [Alter]
Lumisokea – Second [Eat Concrete/Lumisokea Bandcamp]
Lumisokea – Veltro [Eat Concrete/Lumisokea Bandcamp]
Stray Dogs – Minimal [Stray Dogs Bandcamp]
Koenraad Ecker – One-Eye [Digital Industries]
Gondwana – Bootstrapping [Opal Tapes]
Andrea Taeggi – Hiraeth [Type]

Listen again — ~58MB


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Sunday, 6th of September, 2015

Playlist 06.09.15 (9:06 pm)

Ambient electronics, glitchy indietronica, folky indie and more… just your usual Utility Fog hey!

LISTEN AGAIN for the bespoke UFog experience, podcastable right here and streamable on demandable via FBi.

Starting with the lovely ambient electronica of Liminal Drifter, with whom we finished the show last week. A veteran of Perth’s music scene, he’s released his new album on Hidden Shoal inspired by ’90s ambient and it’s a dreamy, relaxing but occasionally disquieting listen.

Rand and Holland, mostly the vision of Brett Thompson, held a legendary position in Sydney’s music scene for a few years, drawing from local experimental musicians but presenting a selection of catchy country/indiefolk songs. The new album, however, is a posthumous document of the band’s end – it’s unrelentingly dark, sometimes quite intensely harsh, although at other times contemplative. Production-wise it’s got some country ballads but also distorted drums, psych-rockouts, and on the B-side an incredibly-extended repetitive coda to the last track. It’s pretty amazing, truth be told, whether you hear it on the cassette Room40 put out, or a digital format (as I did) (but the cassette’s a lovely object, maybe grab it anyway?)

Next up, a bit of a feature on a digustingly talented fellow from Canberra called Reuben Ingall. Reuben manages to combine very esoteric electronic processing – Max/MSP patches doing crazy things to his instruments and voice – with passionate indie songwriting. Unsurprisingly it’s right up my alley… He actually does this live – decaying guitar loops, stuttering chords, live-sampled microwaves (wait, what?) and tapes alongside dinky keyboard controllers, and self-effacing but affecting vocals. And then on the other side, there’s his Dead DJ Joke persona that spurts out ridiculous mashups at regular intervals. We also heard one of his destructive but totally sensitive remixes, and a couple of gorgeous covers… the second of which leads handily into our next feature…

We’re talking Peter Broderick, and we follow Reuben’s cover with one by Peter’s sister Heather Woods Broderick, who is the feature of our next special tonight. Her brother may be better-known and more prolific, but Heather is a marvellous songwriter & singer as well as cellist and multi-instrumentalist too. Her debut album came out on Sydney’s own Preservation Records, and it’s been six long years between albums, with only a few compilation tracks here & there (while she toured along with Peter in Efterklang among other things). Her music is perhaps similar in outlook & approach to Peter’s – folky songs, lush but low-key arrangements with acoustic instruments & strings along with subtle electronics – although there are occasional shoegazey rock bits in there too.

We cap off tonight with a couple of tracks from a new collaboration between Peter Broderick and another Utility Fog feature artist from this year, French musician Félicia Atkinson. Recording as La Nuit for Portland, OR record store & label Beacon Sound (closely associated with Peter), it’s lovely to hear the clear influences of both artists in the sound – the restraint of both, the mystery of Atkinson’s concoctions and the violins and dub moments of Broderick. Atkinson sings and whispers in French & English, Broderick hums in PeterBroderickian. It’s beautiful and available now on vinyl and digital (CD fans snubbed again!)

Liminal Drifter – Verterons Ambo Flow Cut [Hidden Shoal]
Rand and Holland – Walking The Plank [Room40]
Reuben Ingall – Wetlands [Feral Media]
Reuben Ingall – mountains [Reuben Ingall Bandcamp] {originally by Cathy Petöcz}
Dead DJ Joke – foXXXy holidaze [Reuben Ingall Bandcamp]
Reuben Ingall – to lose [Reuben Ingall Bandcamp]
Spartak – Catch/Control (Reuben Ingall remix) [hellosQuare]
Reuben Ingall – Microwave Drone Ritual (Side A) [Moontown Records]
Reuben Ingall – Road [Feral Media]
Reuben Ingall – Eyelids [Feral Media]
Reuben Ingall – sideline [Reuben Ingall Bandcamp] {originally by Peter Broderick}
Heather Woods Broderick – Outside In Here [Peter Broderick website] {originally by Peter Broderick}
Heather Woods Broderick – A Call For Distance [Western Vinyl]
Heather Woods Broderick – Something Other Than [Preservation Records]
Heather Woods Broderick – From the Ground [Preservation Records]
Heather Woods Broderick – Old Son [Preservation Records]
Heather Woods Broderick – Suture [Second Language Music]
Heather Woods Broderick – Up In The Pine [Western Vinyl]
Heather Woods Broderick – Wyoming [Western Vinyl]
La Nuit (Félicia Atkinson & Peter Broderick) – Road Snakes [Beacon Sound]
La Nuit (Félicia Atkinson & Peter Broderick) – The Sun Is Folded In Eight [Beacon Sound]

Listen again — ~101MB


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