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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 March, 2016

Playlist 27.03.16 (8:07 pm)

Piano Day, folktronic goodies etc tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN to these acoustic-electronic crossovers, melodies, field recordings and beats… Podcast is here, stream on demand is there.

Nils Frahm decided a year ago that the 88th day of the year (because pianos have 88 keys typically) would be Piano Day. Pianists of various stripes around the world have taken to actually celebrating the piano and indeed creating new music for it. That’s just what Sydney musician Sophie Hutchings has done, and we heard her new track to start the show. Her brother Scott created a video for it which you can watch here.
I should mention also that Sophie is in the midst of a crowdfunding campaign to release a vinyl edition of her new album (which, *ahem*, features me on cello). If you’ve liked her music in the past, you can pre-order the album through the Pozible (even on CD) to help make it happen.

Keeping with the Sydney piano theme, next up a little feature on the one & only Chris Abrahams, who’s just been touring with The Necks, and has a new album out on Room40 very soon. As usual with his solo works on Room40, it’s quite challenging at times, quite beautiful at others, and uses electronics (including his beloved Yamaha DX7), field recordings and even electric guitar as well as his piano. There’s even, in the last track, some hefty distorted sub-bass drone in there, just to keep things totally up-to-date. We didn’t go back that far in his catalogue, but heard a piece from his last solo album and also something from his second collaboration with the Italian spoken word & experimental electronic artist Alessandro Bosetti.

William Yates aka memotone is an artist who has turned up a lot on this show in the last few years – particularly in 2012 when some landmark EPs and his debut album dropped. He’s a talented multi-instrumentalist who features his drumming, piano and even strings on his music, but also sits comfortably in the contemporary bass/techno beats of his main label home Black Acre. So it’s exciting to have a new album, CHIME HOURS, as an excuse to backtrack over some of his career tonight. I discovered him probably in 2012 via his Hands EP on the experimental/folktronic label A Future Without but he’d in fact already been releasing excellent techno/electronica on Black Acre in 2011, and we start there with a collaboration with another brilliant electronic musician & multi-instrumentalist Leafcutter John, who contributes vocals (and possibly production). One of my favourite early tracks, “Sad Sack”, was part of a stash of tunes available only as a download and stream direct from the artist, and its combination of melancholy drones, clattering clicky beats and reverberant piano ostinati is exemplary of Yates’ unique sound. The new album also incorporates Yates’ own vocals, folded in I suspect from a more pop oriented project called Wy (unless that still continues in parallel with memotone). Although it’s been a few years since the last solo memotone album, in 2014 he released a fantastic collaborative release as Memoosh with Brighton/Glasgow artist Soosh, from which we heard a piece of technoid jungle and a gorgeous post-classical piano number.

Hex are a new duo from the UK, made up of Charlie Noon and Tom Field, releasing their debut EP on Mute‘s electronic/techno/bass sublabel Liberation Technologies. The glitchy post-grime sound of M.E.S.H is a good point of comparison – it’s technically adept, complex and dark stuff, and I’m looking forward to hearing what they do next.

Feral Media recently released the latest in their Aussie remix battle compilations, Strain of Origin V, with various choice Australian artists remixing other artists (most artists are both remixer and remixee). Tonight we heard from a Melbourne pairing, with weirdo footwork artist Dylan Michél remixed by Wabz into a piece of junglist techno.

Speaking of jungle-meets-footwork(-meets-dubstep?), the kings of slow-fast and the jungle revival Sam Binga & Om Unit have released the second EP in their Bunit series. While the opening track is an excellent bouncy jungle/footwork hybrid that will ring a bell for folks familiar with Sam Binga’s latest productions, the closing piece is something else again – almost more like the dronescapes of Roly Porter, it’s a gluggy miasmah of distorted tones and sub-bass that’s as surprising as it is welcome.

Back to the Feral Media comp to finish, we have this time a Brisbane pairing, with Andrew Tuttle‘s fingerpicking guitar & electronics being reinterpreted by composer, postrock & electronic musician Chris Perren in his Software of Seagulls guise.

Sophie Hutchings – In The Wake [self-released for Piano Day 2016]
Chris Abrahams – Clung Eloquent [Room40]
Chris Abrahams – Stabilised Ruin [Room40]
Alessandro Bosetti & Chris Abrahams – La Nourriture [Unsounds]
Chris Abrahams – 1 Liter Cold Laptop [Room40]
Félicia Atkinson & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – O [Shelter Press]
Félicia Atkinson & Jefre Cantu-Ledesma – OL [Shelter Press]
memotone – Across The Divide [Black Acre]
memotone – All Collapsed [Black Acre]
memotone feat. Leafcutter John – Four Minute Hallway [Black Acre]
memotone – Sad Sack [self-released/unreleased]
memotone – Many Things [A Future Without]
memotone – Stalker [Black Acre]
memotone & Soosh – First Avenue [Project Mooncircle]
memotone & Soosh – Aponi [Project Mooncircle]
memotone – Bird Eating Spider [Black Acre]
Hex – Miasma [Liberation Technologies]
Hex – Foreign Tongue [Liberation Technologies]
Dylan Michél – Clicks (Wabz Remix) [Feral Media]
Sam Binga & Om Unit – Windmill Kick [Bunit]
Sam Binga & Om Unit – Planetary Reboot [Bunit]
Andrew Tuttle – Charm Intersection (Software of Seagulls Remix) [Feral Media]

Listen again — ~157MB


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Sunday, 20th of March, 2016

Playlist 20.03.16 (8:14 pm)

Lots of great music for you tonight… from acoustic, violin-led sounds to very crunchy electronics!

LISTEN AGAIN to these talented and creative women. Podcast is here, stream on demand is there.

Starting tonight’s show with the rapturous violin, accompanied by other acoustic instruments, of Newcastle-upon-Tyne’s Sarah Kemp, aka brave timbers. On her new album she’s joined by Andrew Scrogham, with whom Kemp played in the Newcastle indie band Lanterns on the Lake. Kemp keeps busy – she’s also a member of the electronic-meets-postrock band Fieldhead (although the remixes here tonight are probably the solo work of Paul Elan), Hood member Richard Adams’ The Declining Winter, and another of Adams’ projects, Memory Drawings. Kemp’s solo music is delicate and gentle, but while there some melancholy in her first album from 6 years ago, the new album lives up to its title of hope.

We move to Montréal, Canada next – another “Sarah” violinist, Sarah Neufeld, who is perhaps best known as the violinist in the Arcade Fire. Her debut album on Constellation showcased not just her composition abilities, but also some remarkable techniques, with sliding fingers around double & triple stops, and a vast sound coming out of primarily just one instrument. This is a talent she shares with her husband Colin Stetson, the incredible saxophonist who I’ve featured many times on this show. Last year they released a mindblowing collaborative album – the slow sax bassline, thumps and squalls, along with the reverberant tremolo violin on “With the dark of of time” are incredible. While he appears on her new album, the most notable fact is that her sound is augmented with a drummer and occasional bass. It’s still emphatically violin-led music though (now with some vocals from Neufeld) and is again absolutely unmissable.

The Natural History Museum‘s debut album came out early this year from Dunk Murphy’s Countersunk – it’s a duo project in which he’s joined by fellow Dubliner Carol Keogh. They’ve followed the album up quickly with the Manmade EP, which emphasises the acoustic & live sound over programmed beats – even though the track tonight is led equally by its synth bassline and the acoustic guitar. Keogh’s vocals are smooth and her singing & songwriting style melds beautifully with Murphy’s talent for weird, lugubrious chord changes.

Swiss/Nepalese-Tibetan producer Aïsha Devi released an album last year on Houndstooth deeply influenced by the mysticism (and sound worlds) of Tibetan monks and Sufism. Houndstooth have now released a remix EP with some creative takes on her processed vocal chants – seguing nicely from our previous track as the brilliant duo Lakker are also originally from Dublin (and currently based in Berlin). Their recent expansive, tough techno is here sped up into an intense percussive workout (harking back to their breakcore/idm beginnings) before opening out to showcase Devi’s vocals. Meanwhile Aussie-born Kate Cooper aka Mind:Body:Fitness brings a footwork influence to her take, still foregrounding those vocals.

Berlin-based These Hidden Hands released a brilliant album of industrial techno a couple of years ago, and it’s great to have them back. For their new single they’re joined by Barcelona-based Argentinian singer/producer/genius Lucrecia Dalt, whose barely-audible lead and choral backing lines take the intense, slow-fast bass techno (on both tracks) into another dimension. Just put these two tracks on repeat all afternoon.

Really excited to bring you this next track tonight. I wanted to play even more but given it’s as yet unreleased (and you can stream the whole EP at SoundCloud) I’ll stick to the one track. Hviske is a new duo made up of two Sydney luminaries of the noise & experimental scene – extreme vocalist Kusum Normoyle and experimental/noise artist Ivan Lisyak who also plays drums in various indie bands. They’re sensibly touting these sounds to labels local & international, and it’s truly quality sounds so I hope it gets big! Normoyle’s vocals on the first track recall nothing less than the spectral vocal snippets on early Aphex Twin ambient & techno productions, but their sounds are crunchy and driving and very much up-to-date in the beats & production department.

The earlier These Hidden Hands / Lucretia Dalt collaboration very briefly appeared on the latest Wire Magazine download comp, Below The Radar 22. I guess some kind of licensing issues got in the way (or the fact that the EP is only two tracks and is out now!) but anyway, it disappeared.
There are lots of other highlights though, and very exciting is an exclusive track from the brilliant Swedish producer Klara Lewis, which will not appear on her forthcoming album on Editions Mego. This piece is made up of field recordings processed and rearranged into rhythms and melodies of sorts. Her music straddles the line between almost academic sound-art, very experimental or noise production, and techno & electronica. We heard a couple of tracks from her 2014 debut album and an EP from the same year, and I’m very excited for this new album coming out again from Mego in May.

We finish with the debut single from new Brisbane-based artist Julia R. Anderson. It’s a lovely shiny indie pop song, with psychedelic & experimental edges to it. I’m sure we’ll be hearing more from this talented newcomer, so stay tuned!

brave timbers – first light [Little Crackd Rabbit Records/Gizeh Records]
brave timbers – more like the oak than the willow [Second Language Music]
brave timbers – out with the tide [Second Language Music]
brave timbers – more like the oak than the willow (Fieldhead remix) [Second Language Music]
brave timbers – Seasons Past (Fieldhead remix) [Little Crackd Rabbit Records/Gizeh Records]
brave timbers – First Light (The Green Kingdom remix) [Little Crackd Rabbit Records/Gizeh Records]
brave timbers – the well worn path [Little Crackd Rabbit Records/Gizeh Records]
Sarah Neufeld – The Ridge [Paper Bag Records]
Sarah Neufeld – Hero Brother [Constellation]
Sarah Neufeld – You Are The Field [Constellation]
Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld – With the dark hug of time [Constellation]
Colin Stetson & Sarah Neufeld – Never were the way she was [Constellation]
Sarah Neufeld – We’ve Got A Lot [Paper Bag Records]
The Natural History Museum – Button Moon [Countersunk]
Aïsha Devi – Anatomy Of Light (Lakker Remix) [Houndstooth]
Aïsha Devi – Mazdå (Mind:Body:Fitness Remix) [Houndstooth]
These Hidden Hands feat. Lucrecia Dalt – These Moments Dismantled [These Hidden Hands Bandcamp]
Hviske – 1X [unreleased EP1]
Klara Lewis – Shall/Should [Below The Radar 22, subscriber download for April’s edition of The Wire]
Klara Lewis – c a t t [Editions Mego]
Klara Lewis – Msuic 1 [Peder Mannerfelt Produktion]
Julia R. Anderson – In The Beginning [self-released]

Listen again — ~193MB


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Sunday, 6th of March, 2016

Playlist 06.03.16 (8:18 pm)

The world is full of great music, and I just don’t have time to play it all on this show. That’s all the apology you’re getting. Stop complaining, tonight’s show is as good example as any of how much great music I bring you!

LISTEN AGAIN to the great music! Podcast is here, stream on demand is there.

We start tonight with the second album from Bristol-based composer & producer Sophia Loizou (not to be confused with Sydney’s Sofie Loizou). Her debut combined her classical composition background with bass-heavy electronic production, and was an essential album of 2014. The new release is an ambient music haunted by the ghosts of rave & jungle, with breakbeats and skittering hi-hats just audible in the background, along with occasional chopped diva vocals, not entirely disquieting but not quite peaceful either. In a way it’s the classic “chill out” tent music, ambient waves accompanied by the hi-nrg sounds of the main tent next door. But coming a good 2 decades after the music it’s referencing – despite the recent resurgent of jungle & rave – gives it an extra feeling of nostalgia.

Paul Jebanasam, originally from Sri Lanka, has been based in Bristol for some years now and has been closely associated with the Bristol dubstep scene – but before that he was integral to Sydney’s own dubstep scene, and broadcast for some years on our very own FBi Radio as part of the Garage Pressure crew. He’s been releasing music on Subtext Recordings for a while, and while the sub-bass and production skills may give away his dubstep past, it’s beat-free wide-screen music with distinct (post-)classical overtones. The latest album takes us on a journey into space, although buried in the faux-mathematical title is a personal message…

Irish multi-instrumentalist Drombeg makes a post-classical / electronic crossover of a different variety, highlighting the acoustic instruments along with occasional field recordings, in a rapturous high-fidelity glow. Bass notes here are used to highlight pedal notes rather than snarling like primal energy fields; in general this sounds like the soundtrack to a nature or historical documentary, very embedded in a sense of place, I feel.

I obviously don’t have my ear sufficiently to the classical(ish) ground as I managed to miss out on the extraordinary 2010 album by Sarah Kirkland Snider in collaboration with Ensemble Signal and the incomparable vocals of Shara Worden. That album was a reimagining (with lyrics by Ellen McLaughlin) of The Odyssey from the point of view of Penelope, Ulysses’ wife who stays home and waits patiently(?) as he goes on his epic adventures. Kirkland Snider’s new album also features Worden’s vocals, along with the beautiful Padma Newsome of Clogs (an Australian connection!) and the equally beautiful DM Stith. It’s another song cycle, a haunting (and haunted) remembering of a childhood in rural Massachusetts, with lyrics by Nathaniel Bellows. Both albums are stunningly conceived and performed and should be on your radar.

Japanese artist Ytamo is releasing her new album MI WO on ROOM40‘s “pop” sister label Someone Good. It’s full of shiny, complex electronic music with acoustic & classical sounds. Based in Kyoto, she has released music on her own Bandcamp in the past.

After Dutch idm duo of brothers Funckarma‘s prodigious output slowed a few years back, the mantle was taken up (or perhaps held) by one half, Roel Funcken. Even he’s slowed recently, and while I was a bit concerned in the late Funckarma releases that they’d gone a little too far down the rabbit hole of digital sound design and heavy, obnoxious dubstep bass, it seems like with his new album Funcken has returned to their idm roots with melodic synths, glitchy beats and a lightness of touch, and even a touch more “humanity” to the compositions. It’s a reminder of why Funckarma were the kings of idm for so long in the 2000s :)

It’s incredible to think that the Houndstooth label, in-house label of Fabric London with A&R by Rob Booth, has only been around for 3 years, such has its impact been. Forward-thinking post-bass/techno/jungle/everything artists like Akkord, Special Request, Throwing Snow, Snow Ghosts & Aïsha Devi (among others) are creating impeccably-produced electronic music well aware of its history and interested in what can be said through it today. Always a label to watch, and the Tessellation compilation contains a selection of quality exclusive tracks.

We’ve been following Washington State duo Cock & Swan on this show since their appearance on an early compilation on Lost Tribe Sound. The ramshackle acoustic-electronic sound of those tracks has on the whole receded in favour of the analogue synths & beats (plus vocals) they were originally known for locally, and they’ve found a home with Seattle’s Hush Hush Records. Their latest release is a soundtrack to a rather interesting sounding dance work called Splurge Land, with “post-internet” themes for which this music sounds perfect…

It’s hardly news that there’s a new Venetian Snares album out on his own imprint via Planet µ, with his usual weird-time-signature breakcore/drill’n’bass, all made live in his studio on modular synths. But if you ordered the album direct from the label you got a whole bonus album on CDR, featuring alternative takes and bonus tracks from these same sessions. There’s some pretty interesting stuff on here, some slower jams and less busy music in amongst the usual chaos.

Sydney indietronic collective Telafonica have embarked on a project for 2016 to try to write & record one track each a month and release them as EPs on Bandccamp as they go. It’s a brave undertaking, but their second month has already borne delicious fruit with some noisy electronics and pretty acoustic fingerpickings. Looking forward to more as the year progresses!

Brisbane’s Andrew Tuttle has been patiently exploring his special hybrid of fingerstyle guitar / banjo and granular, experimental electronics for some time, under his own name and previously as Anonymeye. His latest album refines these techniques further and is by turns pretty and noisy.

Sophia Loizou – Divine Interference [Kathexis]
Sophia Loizou – Baptista [Astro:Dynamics]
Sophia Loizou – Genesis 92: The Awakening [Kathexis]
Paul Jebanasam – depart as | air dx stop δρ/δ /dt somewhere = +Δ•(ρ sigma*(y waiting -x) v)=0 δρ/dy/dt for = you x dim [Subtext Recordings]
Drombeg – There Has To Be A Heaven [Futuresequence]
Sarah Kirkland Snider feat. Padma Newsome, DM Stith, Shara Worden and the Unremembered Orchestra – The Barn [New Amsterdam Records]
Sarah Kirkland Snider feat. Shara Worden and Signal – This Is What You’re Like [New Amsterdam Records]
Sarah Kirkland Snider feat. Padma Newsome, DM Stith, Shara Worden and the Unremembered Orchestra – The Witch [New Amsterdam Records]
Ytamo – Hamon [Someone Good]
Roel Funcken – Android Robson [Funckarma Bandcamp]
Roel Funcken – Night Brubian [Funckarma Bandcamp]
Aïsha Devi – Sheen Saker [Houndstooth/Houndstooth Bandcamp]
Akkord – Vector [Houndstooth/Houndstooth Bandcamp]
Cock & Swan – #seethrume [Hush Hush Records]
Cock & Swan – #splurgegod[Hush Hush Records]
Venetian Snares – Terrazen 1012nc [Planet µ]
Telafonica – Warumbul [Telafonica Bandcamp]
Telafonica – The Barren Woman and the Eunuch [Telafonica Bandcamp]
Andrew Tuttle – Forgotten Username [Someone Good]
Andrew Tuttle – Forgotten Password (excerpt) [Someone Good]

Listen again — ~191MB


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