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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, 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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