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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, 18th of June, 2017

Playlist 18.06.17 (12:44 am)

Really great set of tunes for you tonight, from all around the globe…
Thanks to Heli Newton for sitting in last week and playing a great selection too!

LISTEN AGAIN because variety is the spice of life. Stream on demand as always from FBi, podcast here.

Back in 2014 the infamous 7/8 breakcore artist Venetian Snares released an album through his frequent label Planet µ as part of a duo called Poemss. Unusually for Aaron Funk it was not abrasive or breakneck at all (although it still had some unorthodox time signatures). It actually features a lot of great electronic pop songs, and while Funk does sing in his bass baritone, it’s his Toronto-based collaborator Joanne Pollock who’s responsible for a lot of the great songwriting. So it’s lovely to have a new solo album from Pollock, released by Snares’ TIMESIG label, an imprint of Planet µ. The production has a lot of the hallmarks of Snares’ instruments and programming – Pollock’s learnt well from her partner. But the songwriting is assured, emotional and really suits the electronic setting.

Sometime last year, Gudrun Gut‘s Monika Enterprise label convened a Werkstatt (workshop) for 10 brilliant female electronic musicians in the countryside near Germany. The double LP they’ve released out of those sessions is jam-packed with great music, all of it credited either to the Werkstatt or to individual artists in collaboration with the Werkstatt. Barbara Morgenstern has been pivotal in the Berlin electronic scene for decades, and contributes a beauty of a chanting song, while our second sampler comes from Gudrun Gut collaborator Beate Bartel, a *ahem* slow-burner called “Feuerland” with whispery vocals whipping around a mysterious sound setting, while the group work has an ambient jazz-fusion feel to it. With artists like AGFLucrecia DaltIslaja and many others, you know it’s going to be fantastic, and indeed it is.

I’ve been following the wonderful Argentinian artist Juana Molina since the early days of this very radio show. Domino re-released a couple of her earlier albums for the first time outside of Argentinia and I remember being struck by this unusual and inventive take on Latin American musical themes. Along with the guitars and vocals, and the familiar swaying, syncopated rhythms, come warbling synths, and the vocals and instruments are looped and layered in unusual ways. She’s totally idiosyncratic and just does what she wants, and I love it.

Jaimie Branch is a name I’ve noticed coming up a lot lately, even though I’m not incredibly up on the jazz world (although always interested). She’s been a mainstay of the Chicago avant-garde scene for a while, and although she’s now based in New York, her new solo album is rooted in Chicago. The fact that she works with artists in scenes like indie/punk, noise and electronic comes through in side ways throughout too, whether the more avant-garde moments, the soundscaping here and there, and so on… but it’s very much a live performed jazz album with brilliant musicianship and really catchy tunes, especially the “themes” scattered throughout…

Jaimie Branch’s fantastic ensemble unusually features a cellist in its lineup, and I’m always excited to discover new cellists. Tomeka Reid also plays in the jazz string ensemble Hear In Now, whose second album has just been released, following Branch’s on International Anthem. Featuring Mazz Swift on violin and Silvia Bolognesi on double bass, it’s an egalitarian ensemble in which all musicians contribute compositions as well as improvising as a group. Their classical backgrounds are present, but so are their virtuoso talents in the jazz idiom. There aren’t a lot of jazz string trios around (Masada String Trio comes to mind) and this is exciting and beautiful stuff.

A couple of years ago Reid also released an album with her Tomeka Reid Quartet on the Thirst Ear label, an ensemble featuring guitar, bass and drums along with her cello. It means there’s a typical jazz rhythm section accompanying some beautiful cello melodies, and also some trading of melodic and harmonic roles between cello and guitar, as well as cello and bass (the bowed double bass melody later in this track is something to hear…)

Sticking with the strings, Montréal violinist Jessica Moss plays violin in Thee Silver Mt. Zion etc (like cellist Becky Foon whose solo album we heard recently), as well as having played with Carla Bozulich‘s Evangelista and various other ensembles. We haven’t heard much of her solo music before, but this album is thrilling – two longform pieces based around looped violin and vocals, with spooky effects, slow-growing drones and layers.

I was pretty excited to hear a couple of months ago that French sound artist Bérangère Maximin has a new album coming out. She’s a master of combining acousmatic, musique concrète sound manipulation, glitchy sound processing and more straightforward musical practices, along with some spoken and half-sung vocal contributions on occasion. Since 2008 she’s released beguiling, creepy, strange music through a number of labels, mostly on her own, although the No one is an island album saw her working with experimental guitarists Frédéric D OberlandRichard Pinhas and Christian Fennesz along with avant-garde trumpeter Rhys Chatham – giants of experimental music. She easily holds her own, and indeed to me these are the best recent works Fennesz has been involved with. The new album is as good as anything she’s done.

Joanne Pollock – You Know I Would Do Anything [Timesig]
Poemss – Bedtime [Planet µ]
Joanne Pollock – Carnival [Timesig]
Barbara Morgenstern & Werkstatt – Grow [Monika Enterprise]
Beate Bartel & Werkstatt – Feuerland [Monika Enterprise]
Werkstatt – Beginning [Monika Enterprise]
Juana Molina – Cara de espejo [Crammed Discs]
Juana Molina – El Zorzal [Domino]
Juana Molina – Tres cosas [Domino]
Juana Molina – Eras [Crammed Discs]
Juana Molina – A00 B01 [Crammed Discs]
jaimie branch – leaves of glass [International Anthem]
jaimie branch – theme nothing [International Anthem]
Hear In Now – Cicle [International Anthem]
Tomeka Reid Quartet – The Lone Wait [Thirsty Ear]
Jessica Moss – Entire Populations (Pt. II) [Constellation]
Jessica Moss – Entire Populations (Pt. III) [Constellation]
Bérangère Maximin – Elpis [Atlas Realisations]
Bérangère Maximin – Voyages Morphologiques [Tzadik]
Bérangère Maximin – Knitting in the Air (feat. Christian Fennesz) [Sub Rosa]
Bérangère Maximin – Clash [Atlas Realisations]

Listen again — ~193MB


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