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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, 26th of March, 2017

Playlist 26.03.17 (8:09 pm)

Postrock to dub-metal(?) to techno to drum’n’bass to ambient tonight… bit of a journey.

LISTEN AGAIN, all the genres rolled up into two hours… podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Sydney postrockers Grün have a history in various indie bands around town before turning to instrumental riffage in 2004, first with an EP under the name Greenland, and then as Grün when they released their debut album in 2010. It’s been just as long between drinks now, but the belated album is very welcome round these parts. There are some pretty cutting guitar screetching around the edges of some tracks, but on the whole it’s fulsome riffing and rock grooves with melodic leads adding up to something pretty euphoric.

Despite classifying themselves (cheekily) as the New Wave Of Finnish Heavy Metal since the mid-’90s, Circle have skirted round many other genres, frequently sounding very krautrock, sometimes ambient, and recently horrifyingly MOR-rock. But with their new 7″ they give us two cavernous songs that verge on operatic at some points and satisfyingly plodding at others. Riffage and all, it’s pretty metal; it’s all definitely odd, definitely Circle. Bring on the next album!

I must admit when Kevin Martin/The Bug first teamed up with Dylan Carson/Earth in 2014, I wasn’t that enthused. The two tracks were so spaced out and droney that I couldn’t find much purchase on them. But with this new album, the dubstep & grime-infused productions of The Bug and the pioneering sludge metal of Carson add up to something immense, grotesque and beautiful. I’m wholly won over. On two digital bonus tracks (also part of a bonus 12″ EP with the vinyl version), they’re joined by Justin K Broadrick on vocals, in fine growling form under the JK Flesh moniker. It’s entirely appropriate given not just his long history with Kevin Martin, but also his interest in mapping the bleak urban wastelands which this album (Concrete Desert) is focused on (after all, one of Broadrick’s other side projects is called Council Estate Electronics). Listening to JKB sing I had to go back to some much-loved Godflesh, and “Cold World” is appropriately bleak – and indeed its brilliant bassline and drum machine beat pre-echo the Bug’s production pretty heftily.

Last year Sydney’s Hence Therefore put out one of my favourite local electronic releases, a cassette on 3BS Records called Machine For Destroying Value. Along with his chosen label, he combines leftist/revolutionary politics with dark electronics, in this case an intricate, bass-heavy techno. Although I listen digitally, the previous release seemed to suit the lo-fi, saturated nature of cassettes, and his new EP Bad Hope/Bad Despair fits well on the vinyl medium. Top-notch beats.

Back to Finland with a very different scene from Circle’s. Janne Hatula aka Fanu is a jungle/drum’n’bass loyalist from way back, and an expert producer of juggled breakbeats and low-slung basslines. His Breaks & Beats Podcast covers a lot of awesome drum’n’bass and related sounds regularly, and he also posts on production & mastering techniques. But it’s great to have an addition to his extensive back catalogue with some dancefloor-ready tunes.

US duo Teengirl Fantasy give us something like drum’n’bass on tonight’s first selection from their Planet µ debut. It could be jungle or it could be referencing footwork, but it’s a nice connection anyway. Their album is partly shiny vaporwave and partly connects them with bass, hip-hop and techno. It’s very accomplished stuff.

With the mono no aware compilation, Bill Kouligas takes his PAN label into (almost entirely) beatless, ambient territory. The label has released as much noise as beats, and Kouligas enlists artists from across the spectrum, known for glitchy grime, techno, noise and more, resulting in a really fascinating and compelling listen. We’re hearing tonight from expert glitchy beatsmith M.E.S.H., Mexican producer Mya Gomez (fresh from a debut EP on NON) and brilliant noise/sound-art producer Jeff Wiltscher (perhaps best known as Rene Hell).

Ex-Brisbane producer Tom Hall, now based in Los Angeles, has released a few great ambient albums over the last few years, as well as some more “power ambient”/noise/techno/electro material as AXXONN. His new release is a 2-track single called Fervor on French label Elli Records, and it’s big, saturated ambient once again. Lovely.

Grün – Knifed By Punks [Birds Robe Collective/Grün Bandcamp]
Grün – secret rat and the bag of happiness [self-released]
Grün – common seabirds [Laughing Outlaw/Grün Bandcamp]
Grün – 2046 [Birds Robe Collective/Grün Bandcamp]
Circle – Hån on [Ektro Records/Circle Bandcamp]
The Bug vs Earth – Gasoline [Ninja Tune]
The Bug vs Earth – Dog (feat. JK Flesh) Ninja Tune]
Godflesh – Cold World [Earache]
Hence Therefore – Who’s Hoping [3BS Records]
Hence Therefore – Against Whom [3BS Records]
Fanu – Five Ounces [Fanu Bandcamp]
Fanu – Everything Is One [Fanu Bandcamp]
Teengirl Fantasy – En Route [Planet µ]
Teengirl Fantasy – It was already light out [Planet µ]
M.E.S.H. – Exasthrus (Pane) [PAN]
Mya Gomez – justforu [PAN]
Jeff Wiltscher – ok, American Medium [PAN]
Tom Hall – Only the hunted know [Elli Records]

Listen again — ~200MB


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