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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, 13th of November, 2016

Playlist 13.11.16 (8:08 pm)

Everybody knows that the good guys lost… Oh, Leonard.

LISTEN AGAIN and dance me to the end of love. Stream on demand from FBi website, podcast here.

Well, it’s been an… eventful week. For my own sanity I have to believe that the USA isn’t about to sleepwalk into fascism, although the less said about post-Brexit Britain and pre-Le Pen France the better…
In any case, the not unexpected news of Leonard Cohen‘s death was a bit of a twist of the knife this week. Many of us have been pointing out the pertinence of so many of his lyrics to this week’s events (“Democracy is coming to the USA” anyone?), and ultimately “Everybody Knows” is also one of my favourite songs, appearing notably in the cult 1990 movie Pump Up The Volume (one of those “Christian Slater as the cool kid” films) for extra credit points. Leonard, we do want it darker… but we didn’t want the darkest timeline.
Cohen has of course been covered by just about anyone you can name, and I don’t need to go into the details here – but Nick Cave has done justice to many a Leonard Cohen song in his career, and tonight we go way back to the first Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds album, only just post-Birthday Party, sinister and very, very dark, covering the opening track from Songs of Love and Hate.

Sydney composer Andrée Greenwell has been walking the line between contemporary classical composition and other genres for a long time. Her new album Gothic, which will be launched on Friday the 25th of November at Giant Dwarf in Sydney, explores the gothic in all its forms, from the postpunk goth pop of The Cure to a setting of Edgar Allen Poe. She also collaborates with the likes of Alison Croggon, Felicity Plunkett and others. The combination of folk, classical and electronic tendencies is very interesting in this work – by no means are the classical elements watered down, but nor are the glitchy beats and sound design elements.

I discovered classically-trained Sydney artist Lupa J in the support slot at a Marcus Whale gig earlier this year, so it’s appropriate to find him, in fine form, on her new remix EP. Imogen Jones aka Lupa J is not long out of school, and already has a number of EPs and singles under her belt of polished, highly accomplished electronic pop that melds electronics with her violin and vocals. She carries this off live effortlessly with a couple of mates too. The remixes here range from club-focused beats to more glitchy abstract sounds. Land Systems is somewhere in between with some nice crunchy techno.

This week saw the death of one of the great poets of the songwriting world. For my money Leonard Cohen was far more deserving of a Nobel Prize than Bob Dylan, but then I’m more of a fan of his music & singing than of Dylan’s.
I feel that Kate Tempest is one of the great poets of our current age. She draws strongly on a background involved with some great hip-hop poets of the UK and no doubt the USA, but she does something quite special on her two recent albums, chronicling the day-to-day lives, inner thoughts and fears of an interlocking set of characters. On Let Them Eat Chaos all her characters are awake at 4:18am, and their experiences give Tempest various ways to explore and deconstruct working class life, queer life, gentrification, corporatization and more. In the last two segue’d tracks Tempest brings all her characters together in almost Shakespearean fashion for a shared experience of humanness…

Fred Warmsley has appeared a lot on this show over the last few years, with his post-junglist/idm/hip-hop sounds as Lee Bannon and then ¬b, and now Dedekind Cut. He’s released ambient music in the past (there’s a bewildering amount of stuff out there by him in his various guises) and the new one is about as genre-ambivalent as ever, with post-club sounds leaking in around the ambient edges.

Along with Dominick Fernow’s Hospital Productions (and Warmsley’s own Bandcamp where it features a few excellent bonus tracks), the new Dedekind Cut album is co-released by the extraordinary label NON, which started operation only a year or so ago. The subject of a feature in the December issue of The Wire, the label showcases innovative and challenging electronic music from Africa and the African diaspora, including African American artists, artist from the UK, Mexico, South Africa and Egypt among others.
From last year’s NON WORLDWIDE COMPILATION VOLUME 1 we heard Egyptian artist Amr Al-Alamy aka 1127 with a piece of propulsive percussion-heavy techno. Then we hear from one of the founders of NON, South Africa’s Angel-Ho, with a track from his EMANCIPATION EP from earlier this year, grime built from cocking and firing guns…
Also from South Africa are the duo Faka, with a form of gqom. Faka represent queer South African youth, and it’s fair to say that the queer experience is central to a lot of what NON do. There’s an amazing 18 minute track in the minute of Faka’s Bottom’s Revenge EP – check the whole thing out on Bandcamp.
Mexican artist Mya Gomez recently put out her Inmate EP on NON, which is about the experience of England’s detention centres for immigrants. It’s harrowing stuff, and while the final track which we heard tonight is titled “Released”, the emotional and musical release is juxtaposed with a piercing high-pitched noise which reminds us that traumatic experiences ring through people’s lives long after they’re finished.
Finally we hear from Chino Amobi, Virginia-based with Nigerian roots and another co-founder of NON. His latest EP Airport Music For Black Folk puns on the Brian Eno ambient classic while commenting on the often fraught experience of flying while black. Spooky ambient sounds, computer vocals, and again trap/grime-inspired beats maybe from gunshots make for unsettling listening.

Berlin-based Yair Elazar Glotman has appeared on this show under his own name close-mic-ing his double bass or creating beautiful electro-acoustic sound design, and making deep, immersive bass techno as KETEV. He now unveils his new moniker, Blessed Initiative, for a self-titled release on the Bristol-based Subtext label. In some ways it’s a continuation of his first solo album on Glacial Movements – but as the titles suggest, it’s a little more paranoid and freaky, with some heavy bass and hints at glitchy beats here and there. It’s billed as ambient, but at most that’s only in contrast to the techno work as KETEV. Compulsory listening in any case.

And finally we have one track from the new LP by Brisbane’s Mirko, released on Room40 in a week or two. There’s a lot of ambient synth work on this album, but here it’s augmented with glitch textures around acoustic piano. It’s a lovely album altogether.

Leonard Cohen – Everybody Knows [Columbia Records]
Leonard Cohen – You Want It Darker [Columbia Records]
Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds – Avalanche [Mute]
Andrée Greenwell – A Forest [available from Bandcamp and iTunes]
Andrée Greenwell – Maria Walks Amid The Thorns [available from Bandcamp and iTunes]
Lupa J – Teeth and Loud Talk (Marcus Whale Remix) [Lupa J Bandcamp]
Lupa J – Game (Land Systems Remix) [Lupa J Bandcamp]
Kate Tempest – Perfect Coffee [Lex Records]
Kate Tempest – Breaks [Lex Records]
Kate Tempest – Tunnel Vision [Lex Records]
Dedekind Cut – bonus {3} “Ayahuasca binary 0|0” [NON/Hospital Productions/Dedekind Cut Bandcamp]
Dedekind Cut – Maxine [NON/Hospital Productions/Dedekind Cut Bandcamp]
1127 – It Never Drops [NON]
Angel-Ho – CLOCCCC [NON]
Faka – Isifundo Sokuqala [NON]
Mya Gomez – Released [NON]
Chino Amobi – LONDON II [NON]
Chino Amobi – MALMO [NON]
Blessed Initiative – as cyber shaming may be [Subtext]
Blessed Initiative – Borderling Spamming [Subtext]
Mirko – Cloud Chain [Room40]

Listen again — ~185MB


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