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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, 25th of December, 2016

Playlist 25.12.16 – Best of 2016 Part 1 (12:10 am)

Oh WTF, it’s the last show of the year! There’s even been new music out this week but it’ll have to wait a little as we have some RAD selections from this absolutely fucking insane year…

LISTEN AGAIN because it’s the best of the best! (part 1…) – stream on demand from the FBi Radio website, podcast right here.

clipping. – Shooter [Sub Pop/clipping. Bandcamp]
clipping. – Long Way Away (Intro) [Deathbomb Arc/Sub Pop]
clipping. – Breach [Deathbomb Arc/Sub Pop]
clipping. – Long Way Away [Deathbomb Arc/Sub Pop]
clipping. – A Better Place [Deathbomb Arc/Sub Pop]
Aesop Rock – Blood Sandwich [Rhymesayers Entertainment]
Aesop Rock – Dorks [Rhymesayers Entertainment]
Kate Tempest – Europe Is Lost [Lex Records]
Curse ov Dialect – Legend of Leigh Bowery [Valve/MonotypeRecords]
Saul Williams – Horn of the Clock-Bike [Fader Label]
Massive Attack – Take It There (feat. Tricky & 3D) [Virgin EMI Records]
dälek – Shattered [Profound Lore]
the body – The Fall And The Guilt feat. Chrissy Wolpert [Thrill Jockey]
the body – Two Snakes [Thrill Jockey]
Beyoncé – Sorry [Parkwood Entertainment/Sony Music]
Katie Gately – Lift [Tri-Angle Records]
BV – Huh [BV Bandcamp]
Marcus Whale – Is He That Man [Good Manners/Marcus Whale Bandcamp]
Ben Frost – Inferno [Bedroom Community]
Tilman Robinson – Pareidolia [Hobbledehoy Records]
Yannis Kyriakides with Slagwerk Den Haag and Silbersee – gut thoughts [Unsounds] {incorporating slowed-down vinyl extracts of The Brothers Four‘s gorgeous song Green Fields}
Bon Iver – 10 d E A T h b R E a s T [Jagjaguwar]
Ian William Craig – A Single Hope [Fat Cat/130701]

Listen again — ~193MB


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Sunday, 18th of December, 2016

Playlist 18.12.16 (8:11 pm)

Howdy.
Couple of big specials tonight, plus some really awesome local music.

LISTEN AGAIN! Stream on demand at FBi, podcast right here.

The return of Sydney experimental popsters Megastick Fanfare starts us up tonight with some very energetic drumming and indie-meets-hardcore songwriting. Sadly while it’s been 3 years since their last EP, it’s going to be a while before their next release too. Hopefully the sporadic joy & genius will still happen, eventually…

Next up, a fantastic new EP from Melbourne drummer and educator Maria Moles, whose solo work as Mondo Flockard is firmly based around drums and percussion, but also incorporates electronics and other instruments. The three tracks on her new EP are experimental in form but beautifully constructed and entirely engaging.

Tonight we have a pretty substantial interview with Haley Fohr aka Circuit des Yeux. I discovered Fohr as an artist when she supported black metal band (and Thrill Jockey bandmates) Liturgy at a little venue in Paris. Her massive baritone voice and beautiful guitar, performed with her hair over her face in a kind of ritual fashion, absolutely blew me away. So when I was invited to interview her to promote her performance at St Stephen’s church in Sydney for Sydney Festival, I jumped at the chance. Fohr is a remarkable artist, having graduated from messy, noisy early experiments to inspired songwriting, full string arrangements, and more controlled audio experimentation – including a strange little concept album that came out this year. The performance in January should be fantastic, and I recommend heading along.

And tonight’s other big special is on the early music of Keith Fullerton Whitman, beloved modular synth obsessive, early electronic music obsessive, purveyor of experimental music and more (he was also the infamous, encyclopedically-knowledeable record reviewer, week in, week out, for Forced Exposure in the early years)…
For some time, he was best known as Hrvatski, making absolutely insane, complex, fucked up jungle & breakcore mixed with samples of contemporary classical, electronics and jazz, and some of his own playing no doubt. A lot of that early stuff is now surfacing via his DAT ERA project on Bandcamp, in which a different DAT from 1996 to 2002 is digitized and made available each month, complete with scans of the original DAT cover. It’s the kind of insane self-documentation (and, it has to be said, a little of the self-mythologising) that Keith always liked to engage in. The first release on his Reckankreuzungsklankewerkzeuge was a “compilation” called Attention: Cats with a whole slew of ridiculously-named artists (some apparently punk bands, some solo artists or DJs), all of whom eventually turned out to be Keith – even DJ Hekla, who made some brilliant mixes of jungle/drum’n’bass/electronica and released one 7″ on Planet Mu before Hrvatski even did, I think. One of the only real other people to appear on RKK was Keith’s brother Brian, as Blitter. It’s so great having an excuse to hear all this stuff again – including alternate versions, tracks only previously available in 128k mp3s from the long-list mp3.com (one of the first music-uploading sites for musicians), and entirely unreleased material. I’ll be following along each month and occasionally dropping a few more tunes, I’m sure.

megastick fanfare – reprise [megastick fanfare bandcamp]
megastick fanfare – deathbomb of life [megastick fanfare bandcamp]
Mondo Flockard – dance if there are seven [Tone List]
Jackie Lynn – Bright Lights [Thrill Jockey]
Jackie Lynn – 0 [Thrill Jockey]
…interview with Haley Fohr aka Circuit des Yeux (and Jackie Lynn)…
Circuit des Yeux – Calling Song [De Stijl/Circuit des Yeux Bandcamp]
Circuit des Yeux – 3311 [De Stijl/Circuit des Yeux Bandcamp]
…interview with Haley Fohr aka Circuit des Yeux
Circuit des Yeux – Lithonia [Thrill Jockey]
Circuit des Yeux – Dream of TV [Thrill Jockey]
Hrvatski (as Sick) – Steaktippin’ [Reckankreuzungsklankewerkzeuge]
Blitter & Hrvatski – Nuclear Cats Get New Home [Lucky Kitchen/Keith Fullerton Whitman Bandcamp]
Hrvatski – Apostle (2) [Reckankreuzungsklankewerkzeuge, DAT version from Keith Fullerton Whitman Bandcamp]
Hrvatski – Routine Exercise [Reckankreuzungsklankewerkzeuge, DAT version from Keith Fullerton Whitman Bandcamp]
Hrvatski – Kochen Raum [Tonschacht, DAT version from Keith Fullerton Whitman Bandcamp]
Hrvatski – Insect Digestion Melancholy [Klangkrieg, extended DAT version from Keith Fullerton Whitman Bandcamp]
Hrvatski – la cathedral [Lucky Kitchen]
God Is My Co-Pilot – We Signify (Hrvatski Remix) [Dark Beloved Cloud, various DAT versions now available at Keith Fullerton Whitman Bandcamp]
Keith Fullerton Whitman – Variations For Oud & Synthesizer – Version abrégé (2) [no label, self-released 7″]

Listen again — ~189MB


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Sunday, 11th of December, 2016

Playlist 11.12.16 (8:06 pm)

Classical meets glitch meets idm meets folktronica tonight… Pure Utility Fog goodness.

LISTEN AGAIN because when are you next gonna find this kind of aural delight? Stream on demand from FBi, or podcast here.

Ben Frost started his career in Adelaide, but has been based in Iceland for yonks now, and is central to the Bedroom Community label & scene. His latest album is a recording of his operatic rendition of Iain Banks’ disturbing debut novel The Wasp Factory. Despite the “opera” tag, it has Ben’s usual sonic interests – growling distortion, rumbling sub-bass, glitchy processing, string arrangements… plus some fantastic vocal performances from Mariam Wallentin (Wildbirds & Peacedrums, Fire! Orchestra), Lieselot De Wilde & Jördis Richter. The choice of three female singers to represent the narrator is smartly subversive.

Katsuhiko Maeda drilled into my (sub)conscious in the early 2000s when I first discovered World’s End Girlfriend (and the occasional alter-ego World’s End Boyfriend) on some compilations & remix albums. His music seemed to encapsulate everything I was interested in, from drill’n’bass and breakcore beat-juggling to digital cut-ups of acoustic & rock instruments and harsh glitch freakouts. Internet shopping was still pretty young and finding Japanese releases on English-language websites was hard, so it took a little while to get hold of his earliest releases, but I have followed him ever since. He expanded further into post- and psych rock, while simultaneously finessing his classical orchestration skills, and never losing sight of the electronic production. There’s no doubt he’s been a massive influence on a generation of Japanese artists, whether in J-Pop or various experimental genres. His new album LAST WALTZ (hopefully not an indication that it’s his last?) brings everything together in a mature (yet fun-loving) piece of art, including a couple of beautiful vocal numbers featuring the legendary Piana and (heard tonight) Shione Yukawa.

In the early 2000s when I discovered WEG, the melding of digital & analogue, live & studio-edited seemed like the most exciting thing possible. In some ways it still does to me, hence the continuation of Utility Fog. One of the bands creating blissful beauty in amongst clattering electronics was Telefon Tel Aviv. Their early releases remain extremely close to my heart, so it’s wonderful to see their debut album re-released with a bunch of never-before-heard early tracks. The 1999 works show a band loving the harsh glitchy ultra-edited beats but only starting find their feet melodically – the gorgeous electric piano lines are missing. Their first couple of albums and EPs, along with various remixes and collaborations (from tonight, a remix of Hefty label boss John Hughes), saw them meld this hyper-detailed beatmaking and digital editing with beautiful melodies, guest vocals and orchestral arrangements. A frequent vocal collaborator was Lindsay Anderson of Chicago indie band L’Altra. Meanwhile, Eustis was involved with Nine Inch Nails (the earliest collaborations and remixes predate the first Telefon release in fact), and later Maynard James Keenan’s weirdass rock band Puscifer. Tragically the other half of TTA, Charlie Cooper, passed away in 2009.
Back on that NIN remix album, a duo called “Benelli” appears, credited to Eustis and Turk Dietrich. In 2016 the duo reappeared with a very electronic, glitchy project called Second Woman. Their debut album on Spectrum Spools recalls the earliest beatmaking of TTA, but with a post-Autechre disregard for barlines and conventional rhythms. It’s pretty cool.

Finally on tonight’s show, a new mini-album from Australian artist Ens, now relocated to Illinois. After some earlier works more oriented around beats & song structures, Carbon is a nice and dark ambient work with pulsing, surging drones and only the occasional beats. It’s beautifully produced and listeners to this show are bound to enjoy it.

Ben Frost – Death, No Less [Bedroom Community]
Ben Frost – To Be Mastered, The World Must Be Named [Bedroom Community]
Ben Frost – Eric Is Getting Nearer [Bedroom Community]
Ben Frost – Inferno [Bedroom Community]
World’s End Girlfriend – Plein Soleil feat. Shione Yukawa [Virgin Babylon Records]
World’s End Girlfriend – Angel Ache [Virgin Babylon Records]
World’s End Girlfriend – Radioactive Spell Wave [Virgin Babylon Records]
Telefon Tel Aviv – fahrenheit fair enough [Hefty Records/Ghostly International]
Telefon Tel Aviv – 7 8 (archive ’99) [Hefty Records/Ghostly International]
Telefon Tel Aviv – ttv [Hefty Records/Ghostly International]
nine inch nails – the frail (version) (benelli – joshua eustis, turk dietrich with steve hakel, marc paradis) [Nothing Records]
John Hughes – Got Me Lost/Driving In LA (Telefon Tel Aviv Remix) [Hefty Records]
Telefon Tel Aviv – Sound In A Dark Room (feat. Lindsay Anderson) [Hefty Records]
Telefon Tel Aviv – When It Happens It Moves All By Itself (feat. the Loyola University Chamber Orchestra) [Hefty Records]
Telefon Tel Aviv – Street Spirit (Fade Out) (feat. Lindsay Anderson) [Rapster Records]
Second Woman – 200601je6 Spectrum Spools
Second Woman – 500609sp3 (excerpt) Spectrum Spools
Ens – Field Trip [Ens Bandcamp]
Ens – Spectrum [Ens Bandcamp]

Listen again — ~196MB


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Sunday, 4th of December, 2016

Playlist 04.12.16 (8:07 pm)

Everything from electronic pop & indie to post-classical to dark techno to glitchy things tonight…

LISTEN AGAIN, you owe it to yourself… stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

It’s always interesting when classically-trained musicians move into other musical realms. Jessica O’Donoghue has a background in opera, and still sings with various classical ensembles as well as guesting with bands like CODA. Her debut single is a perfect slice of electronic pop, starting with sampled vocals but quickly building to a catchy chorus.

I recently saw Jessica O’Donoghue performing at the launch of Andrée Greenwell‘s fantastic new album Gothic, so I thought we should hear another track from this exploration of all things gothic – from classical covers of The Cure to settings of Edgar Allen Poe, and here to a melding of classical, pop and experimental electronic with lyrics by Australian poet Felicity Plunkett.

Canberran indie band Cracked Actor released their last album over a year ago now, but they’re revisiting it one more time with their Upstructures EP, released this week by Feral Media. As well as some choice cuts from Cracked Actor, indie with swooping strings & blissful vocals, there are two remixes from artists originally from the Blue Mountains (I believe) – Broken Chip in ambient mode rather than doing bent hip-hop as Option Command, and 0point1 doing his glitched-out ambience & frenetic beats.

On their 3rd album And the days began to walk, Belgian duo Stray Dogs have strayed away from the “acoustic doom” of their cello & percussion roots, focusing much more on electronic rhythms and dark electronic sounds. It’s possible there’s a lot more live & acoustic instrumentation in there than I am aware. It’s a fantastic offshoot of the Berlin-style industrial techno thing I’ve been enjoying this year anyway.

Dominick Fernow is best known as noise artist Prurient, and boss of noise label Hospital Productions (also for a while a wonderful record store in Manhattan). In recent years Fernow has branched out into the minimal techno sphere as Vatican Shadow, and as Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement he indulges his gentler side with ambient & ambient techno productions. Green Graves is totally absorbing, and I could’ve chosen almost any track except the others are mostly epically long.

Gordon Sharp aka Cindy/Cinder has been making music since the early ’80s as leader of Cindytalk, and contributed soulful vocals to two of the This Mortal Coil albums on 4AD. The band is a collective that has changed radically through its history, although industrial & experimental influences were always part of it. Since 2009, Cindytalk has released albums through Editions Mego (and one separately) that embody that Mego aesthetic of glitchy, crackly, abstract sonic spaces. More recently they have gotten a little less impersonal, particularly with the sparse piano on the second track we heard tonight.

British post-classical label Bigo & Twigetti have a new compilation on slow-release, between October just gone and April next year. The Exquisite Corpse is based on the surrealist game in which a story or piece of art is collaboratively created in a process where each artist or writer is only shown the previous segment of the work. I have a feeling that in this case the artists are able to hear the entire earlier chain, but they are reworking or remixing only the last track, so it still makes sense… The initial work comes from ex-pat Aussie composer & sound artist Madeleine Cocolas, now based in New York City, with a beautiful piece of reverberating synth patterns. Two iterations down the track, we’ve now got Montréal ambient composer Tambour, who adds strings & electronic textures, referencing the keyboards in the latter part of his piece. Looking forward to where the other artists take this!

From a remix chain to a more conventional remix album, self-described drone-pop band The Leaf Library invited some interesting artists to rework their music, including (not heard tonight) Tim Gane’s Cavern of Anti-Matter. Tonight’s first remix comes from the hand of Katie English aka Isnaj Dui, micro-sampling & looping the original and layering her own lovely flute over the top. Meanwhile, there’s some dreamy indie/postrock vibes from The Declining Winter with some of the last work from the late Chris Tenz.

German artist Takamovsky aka Juergen Berlakovich has taken an unusual tack on his latest album, using as his starting point a classical guitar rendition of the bourrée from J.S. Bach’s cello suite no. 4. The album quickly veers off into ambient electronic soundscapes and glitchy beats & edits, before returning “da capo” to the top with a brief reference to the original Bach again at the end of the the final track. “D.C.”

Finnish sound artist & maverick Otso Lähdeoja has created an ideal Utility Fog release in his new EP Dendermonde. Glitchy edits of wayward samples, live drum edits, and the occasional wild guitar solo combine into the kind of organised sonic chaos that the ‘Fog has always gravitated towards. I’m glad it exists. Get it in ya.

I’m not sure how I feel about the following track though… Sent to me as a SoundCloud link by Oskar Black of binliner a few weeks ago, it rather cheekily samples from yours truly back-announcing some breakcore… well, initially it’s appropriately about the breakcore. But the sample that gives the track its name is cheekier still.

So it’s only reasonable that the last track I played kind of does reference classic-sounding idm. If anything, though, Dutch artist Palmbomen II‘s remix of the new Seekae single is referencing even earlier sounds – Detroit techno or ambient techno of the early ’90s, even Mr Aphex Twin’s first Selected Ambient Works anthology. It is indeed very pretty, as some radio guy said about some other track…

Jessica O’Donoghue – Parachute [Jessica O’Donoghue Bandcamp]
Andrée Greenwell – Totentanz [available from Bandcamp and iTunes]
Cracked Actor – Upstructures (Broken Chip remix) [Feral Media]
Cracked Actor – Upstructures (0point1 remix) [Feral Media]
Stray Dogs – Sour Vanilla [Stray Dogs Bandcamp]
Stray Dogs – Phaeton [Stray Dogs Bandcamp]
Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement – Watery Grave [Hospital Productions]
Cindytalk – In Search Of New Realities [Editions Mego]
Cindytalk – Lost Unfound [Editions Mego]
Madeleine Cocolas – Stalactite [Bigo & Twigetti]
Tambour – Invisible [Bigo & Twigetti]
The Leaf Library – Acre (Isnaj Dui Remix) [The Leaf Library Bandcamp]
The Leaf Library – Slow Spring (The Declining Winter & Chris Tenz Remix) [The Leaf Library Bandcamp]
Takamovsky – D.C. [Etymtone]
Otso – Banshee [Elli Records]
Otso – Overwinning [Elli Records]
binliner – classic-sounding idm [cheeky unreleased track, stream on SoundCloud]
Seekae – Turbine Blue (Palmbomen II Remix) [Future Classic]

Listen again — ~192MB


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