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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, 9th of October, 2016

Playlist 09.10.16 (8:11 pm)

Hey there! So much great stuff this week, from windswept post-classical/electronic from Melbourne by way of Iceland, to experimental songwriting to shimmering electronic jazz improv to murky techno…
I’m off for the next 3 weeks, so listen in to Heli Newtown and Jordan Sexty as they experty shepherd the show until I’m back on Nov 6th!

LISTEN AGAIN to this show as you know you want to – stream on demand from FBi, or podcast from here.

Three new releases came out from Thrill Jockey in the same week, and the only reason I’m not playing all three is because of time constraints. When faced with the choice, it was a no brainer that doom cellist Helen Money would be the one who gets the first look-in. Alison Chesley (as her friends & family call her) has been doing the amplified cello thing for almost 10 years, collaborating with heaps of excellent people and touring with metal and postrock bands, where her performances with cello, looper and other pedals have impressed people the world over. Heavy riffs and beautiful melodies are the order of the day on all her albums, and once again Chesley is joined by Neurosis drummer Jason Roeder on a few tracks – as well as The Rachels’ pianist Rachel Grimes.

Justin Vernon aka Bon Iver is an interesting fellow. He became known for his pastoral, soulful folk music under the Bon Iver name, but (even though that’s a big part of his musical identity) he has a lot more to him than that. He contributed guest vocals on a recent Colin Stetson album, including some awesome gruff quasi-hardcore-metal barking… and now he’s come out with this piece of weird, glitchy, crunchy electronica. With his usual vocals of course. It’s a great piece of hybrid work which I’ve been enjoying a lot.

The latest album from Thomas Meluch aka Benoît Pioulard comes out of a period of grief and, as he describes it, self-medication. Sad times can beget great art, and in this case we now have the most song-oriented and catchy piece of work from Meluch in quite some time. There are some of his beautiful washed-out ambient tape creations on here as well, but mostly it’s jangly sing-song indie that you’ll be tapping your feet to and looking up the playlist to see what it is.

Melbourne composer Tilman Robinson spent some time a year or two ago at Valgeir Sigurðsson‘s studio in Iceland, where people like Ben Frost, Björk and others have worked… He returned there to record his second album – quite a switch from his first, which was jazz composition with a bit of an electronic bent. Here the electronics merge with post-classical and postrock sounds, whether Steve Reichian ostinati or stark Icelandic string lines, lonely piano or growling bass. It’s a stunner, and will be among my top Australian albums of the year easily. Out this Friday!

Norwegian post-jazz, electro-acoustic improv trio (originally a quartet) Supersilent have now been going for well over a decade, but from their earliest, noisier incarnation they already had an incredible instinct for group composition. By their 6th album, they were creating mindblowingly gorgeous musical structures with ease, and their new album (their 13th), while in some ways more challenging, is also full of beauty. I didn’t have time to play one of the over 12-minute tracks, but the one I selected is lovely and crunchy!

Sticking in Norway, there’s a new album out now from experimental guitarist Kim Myhr on the consistently excellent Hubro label. We recently heard Myhr in collaboration with the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra and none other than Jenny Hval. In fact 2010 was the first time Myhr collaborated with the Trondheim Jazzo Orchestra, in a recording of a live set with vocals from sometime member Sidsel Endresen. It’s equally beguiling stuff, but we’re hearing this tonight because of Myhr’s new album, on which his idiosyncratic, rippling guitar playing is augmented by various electronic & computer effects. If you’ve ever wondered what “scintillating” sounds like, look no further…

Council Estate Electronics is one of the many projects of the great Justin K Broadrick, along with fellow Jesu member Diarmuid Dalton. The first two albums are murky electronic music of a somewhat krautrock flavour, but on this new one for usually quite ambient label Glacial Movements, they’ve moved into more of an industrial techno realm – or perhaps Justin’s recent JK Flesh is really industrial and this waters it down with a bit of a Basic Channel stype minimal techno! This album is very good. Of course.

Kikimora Tapes is a relatively new Toronto label releasing beautiful limited-editions cassettes (and digital), who have just released their first compilation Knock Knock Who’s Dead? – featuring some well-known names in grainy electronic music including Beppu (aka Andrew Hargreaves of The Boats) and Toronto musician Mitchell Akiyama, who ran the trailblazing electronic/folktronic label intr_version and who I haven’t heard from for ages – and now I discover that recently they also released something from his beloved duo Désormais also released a new cassette recently! Mitchell’s track is great submerged techno. Meanwhile I have NO idea who “The North” are, but their crunchy techno track here is excellent.

For many years, Matt Christensen led the lo-fi indie/postrock band Zelienople, making mostly slowcore, hazy beautiful songs. The last album (I think their official last) actually featured a bit more “fire” in their bellies, so to speak… But Christensen’s new solo album on the mighty Miasmah sees him accompanying his songwriting with drum machines and some electronics on top of the shoegazey guitar sounds. It’s a new direction, but still very recognizably his jam, and a great success.

Helen Money – Leviathan [Thrill Jockey]
Helen Money & Jarboe – For My Father [Aurora Borealis]
Helen Money – Machine [Thrill Jockey]
Bon Iver – 10 d E A T h b R E a s T [Jagjaguwar]
Bon Iver – 29 #Strafford APTS [Jagjaguwar]
Benoît Pioulard – Narcologue [Kranky]
Benoît Pioulard – Defect [Kranky]
Benoît Pioulard – Ruth [Kranky]
Tilman Robinson – Pareidolia [Hobbledehoy Records]
Tilman Robinson – In the Always [Hobbledehoy Records]
Supersilent – 6.2 [Rune Grammofon]
Supersilent – 13.1 [Rune Grammofon]
Trondheim Jazz Orchestra & Kim Myhr – Aeolian Bloom (vocals by Sidsel Endresen) [MNJ Records]
Kim Myhr – Sort sol [Hubro]
Council Estate Electronics – 567 foot 33,500 ton [Glacial Movements]
The North – The Deliverance Ov Aismal (W.H.) [Kikimora Tapes]
Mitchell Akiyama – With Rift [Kikimora Tapes]
Matt Christensen – Someday I Won’t Matter [Under The Spire]
Zelienople – Show Us The Fire [Zelienople Bandcamp]
Matt Christensen – I’m See Through [Miasmah]

Listen again — ~110MB


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Sunday, 2nd of October, 2016

Playlist 02.10.16 (8:10 pm)

Good evening! We are this week asking you to support FBi, the radio station that is my home. FBi does such amazing work supporting Sydney’s music, as well as Australian music and interesting music in general, and it’s run primarily off income from its supporters, so please step in!

LISTEN AGAIN to this show as you know you want to – stream on demand from FBi, or podcast from here.

This week brought the very sad news that iconoclastic Canadian punk band NoMeansNo are finally calling it a day. Brothers Rob & John Wright have been making acerbic, incredibly smart and catchy punk, hardcore and sometimes other genres for over 30 years, and while they’ve been on hiatus for some time, I always hoped I’d get to catch them live sometime still. Luckily I didn’t have to stretch too far to play a track, because in 2012 they released, in very limited quantities, a remix EP called Butchering the Sacred Cow, featuring Shackleton‘s slowed-down dub techno take on “Dark Ages” as well as longtime fan and fellow Canuck Deadbeat, and Miles Whittaker of Demdike Stare.

James Kelly was for years best known as the frontman of Irish black metal band Altar of Plagues. But in 2013 he decided that Altar of Plagues would call it a day, and swapped the screaming and blast beats for beautifully crafted electronic beats, glitches and basslines, including clean singing, as WIFE. His first release was an EP on the English electronica label left_blank, but then he was signed to the ever-keen Tri-Angle Records for an excellent album for which he enlisted production help from The Haxan Cloak. There’s plenty of dark there, and some nice heavy beats, and now for his latest EP he returns to the adventurous metal label Profound Lore with even more industrial beats, but on the whole a continuation of the WIFE sound. Excellent stuff.

I first heard of LA-based electronic musician & vocalist Katie Gately when she put out an incredible side of a split 12″ on Fat Cat in 2014. I found some earlier EPs, and a remix of Björk followed in 2015, but it’s very exciting to have a whole album now, via the ever-voracious Tri-Angle Records. It’s got a singular vision – straight vocals accompanied by pitch-shifted and manipulated vocal samples and electronics, with a keen sense of melody and beautiful and sometimes mournful harmonies. All this from a self-taught musician. You owe it to yourself to check this album out when it’s released in just under 2 weeks. And devote a quarter of an hour to “Pivot”, the Fat Cat track.

Fat Cat‘s resurrected 130701 has been supporting a variety of artists, both new and established, much like the parent label, and it’s cool to discover a new adventurous cellist through them – Polish artist Karolina Rec aka Resina. Her new album features amplified and looped cello, from drones to more rhythmic ostinati and melodies, along with occasional vocals. It’s deep and engrossing.

littlebow first surfaced in 2011 on an album with the delightful title The Edge Blown Aerophone that sought to position the flute as a valid lead instrument in a rock band – and founding members Katie English on flute and Keiron Phelan of Phelan Sheppard and State River Widening did a very fine job of that. For their third album they’re joined by Brona McVittie on harp, occasionally also singing in the Manx Gaelic language, as well as clarinettist Jenny Brand amd Piano Magic‘s Jerome Tcherneyan on drums. Their combination of English & Irish folk styles with postrock, all led by the flute, is something unique and frankly just delightful.

In the last half a decade since Jenny Hval released her first “solo” album following her also excellent album as Rockettothesky, she’s made a huge impression worldwide with her thought-provoking, challenging lyrics and music (and performances, as visitors to Sydney Festival discovered early this year). Although I’d been aware of Rockettothesky, I was bowled over by that first album as Jenny Hval, viscera on Norwegian experimental label Rune Grammofon. As adventurous in its body-and-sex-related lyrical content as the music, which featured many great Norwegian experimental musicians, it was one of my favourite releases of 2011 and stays with me still. Another album on Rune Grammofon followed, as well as some collaborative work, and then she moved to the US-based Sacred Bones Records for the amazing Apocalypse, Girl album from last year. This year’s Blood Bitch follows a more esoteric release which we’ve heard a bit of already on this show, collaborating with guitarist Kim Myhr and the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. It combines feminism and fancy with themes of menstruation and vampirism, and musically harkens back to the ’80s because that’s apparently what you do these days.

And finally, we have a sneak peek at an album I’ll feature a little more on next week’s show, the brilliant second release from Melbourne’s Tilman Robinson (originally from Perth), who recorded this at Valgeir Sigurðsson‘s studio in Iceland. It’s got some of that Icelandic post-rock classical feel, with glitchy electronics and windswept beauty. We heard the sort-of title track which is going out as the second “single” from the album tomorrow – high on digital edits, based around some sighing piano chords, it’s the downbeat closer to the album.

NoMeansNo – Dark Ages (Shackleton‘s My Goal’s Beyond Mix) [self-released NoMeansNo remix EP]
WIFE – Standard Nature [Profound Lore]
Altar of Plagues – Watchers Restrained (Ben Frost Remix) [Profound Lore/Daymare]
WIFE – Circles [left_blank]
WIFE – Salvage [Tri-Angle Records]
WIFE – Lovelock [Profound Lore]
Katie Gately – Color [Tri-Angle Records]
Katie Gately – Last Day [Public Information]
Björk – family (Katie Gately remix) [One Little Indian]
Katie Gately – Rive [Tri-Angle Records]
Resina – Not Here [130701]
Resina – Nightjar [130701]
littlebow – The Damned Erudition of Damian O’Hara [littlebow Bandcamp]
littlebow – For Thijs [Second Lanaguage]
littlebow – The Devil’s Interval [Second Lanaguage]
littlebow – Too Green, These Widow’s Weeds [littlebow Bandcamp]
Jenny Hval – engines in the city [Rune Grammofon]
Jenny Hval – Female Vampire [Sacred Bones Records]
Jenny Hval – In the Red (excerpt) [Sacred Bones Records]
Tilman Robinson – Yours, Deer Heart [Hobbledehoy Records]

Listen again — ~193MB


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