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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, 16th of July, 2017

Playlist 16.07.17 (9:11 pm)

Quintessential Utility Fog journey tonight. Hopefully it all makes sense!

LISTEN AGAIN for the nuances you didn’t pick up last time. Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Trained as an opera singer, Jessica O’Donoghue has enjoyed working outside the classical idiom for a while with the likes of CODA, and has recently released an EP of electronic pop explorations. I think I played the original of this particular song a while ago, but here it gets an awesome skittery dub-techno reworking by fellow Sydneysider Deepchild (although Rick is relocating to London any minute I believe).

Young Sydney artist HC Clifford popped up on this show earlier this year with a lovely bit of indietronica. His new track, an instrumental ode to his recently-passed-away dog Bill, finds him in ambient electronic mode, and is equally lovely…

Canadian “ambient doom”/doomgaze duo Nadja are known for their crushingly heavy sound, but are no strangers to the softer tones. Nevertheless, it’s really lovely to hear some of their older tunes reworked by them on Stripped, one of a number of new releases from Nadja and Aidan Baker-related projects to just come out digitally.

Braveyoung‘s relationship to “metal” is something we hear in the second track to feature them tonight – from a 2011 collaboration with everyone’s favourite noise-metal romantics The Body. But their new album, on frequently-metal-affiliated label The Flenser, is pure, suspended ambient classical beauty, all strings & piano and drones. This stuff wouldn’t go amiss on a Stars of the Lid album, and just because I almost missed out on it, you definitely should not (miss it, that is).

Tasmanian outfit Omahara have just released their second album, and it’s through estimable Sydney label Art As Catharsis. Majestic, primal, ritualistic, and sometimes wild & harsh, it’s patient music that rewards lying on your back with your eyes closed – until you have to get up and headbang for a bit. There’s something weirdly Tasmanian and Tasmanianly weird about this stuff. Dig it.

Japanese sludge/doom metal veterans Boris have released something approaching 50 albums now, not to mention EPs and live albums and other miscellanea – and they’ve been at it for 25 years now. They’re experts at many different styles of metal and further afield, and no album is ever a straightforward affair. This one has its fair share of noise, its fair share of incredibly slow riffs, and also moments of more acoustic prettiness (usually interrupted by heavy riffs though). It’s pure Boris, and thus excellent.

Japanese composer & producer KASHIWA Daisuke has embodied the remix aesthetic throughout his career, creating incredibly dense & complex cut-ups and manically programmed drums, whether in connection with his classical compositions, previous postrock band or even J-Pop stylings. It’s a mix which is familiar to fans of Japanese electronica, especially World’s End Girlfriend, on whose label Virgin Babylon he’s released a number of albums now. His new album is the second to focus on his remixes, and they’re very often full-blown reworkings, reorchestrations with his signature mad beats, switches of direction etc. We heard from 三回転とひとひねり (Sankai Hineri), whose original layered chatter is recontextualised into a heavy beat-laden odyssey, into which halfway through some glorious jazzy piano chords are inserted. At the other end, the operatic vocals and piano of Ferri are dropped over (or under) some scrabbling junglist breakbeats. In between, we heard one of his more classical-tinged electronic pieces (not counting a whole album of Satie-esque solo piano), and one of his most J-Pop, a collaboration with Piana entitled 9 Songs released on her own guns N’ girls Records.

Düsseldorf-based composer/producer Orson Hentschel is not nearly as manic as Kashiwa Daisuke, but shares something of the cut-up aesthetic and the melding of classical influences with contemporary digital electronica. A background in film music infused his debut album on Denovali in 2016, Feed The Tape, with short, flickering sound samples mimicking pieces of film flapping on a spinning projector. His avowed influence here was classical minimalism, but while there’s a clear thread between these two albums, Hentschel points to trip-hop and electronic pop as the influences on Electric Stutter, his new album. To me there’s still a strong soundtrack feel along with the, yes, electric stutter – and that’s no bad thing. Both great albums worth your time.

Jessica O’Donoghue – Flow (Deepchild Reduction) [self-released]
HC Clifford – Dragon [SoundCloud]
Nadja – I Make From Your Eyes The Sun [Nadja Bandcamp]
Braveyoung – The Good King Will Punish You [The Flenser]
The Body & Braveyoung – Nothing Passes [At A Loss Recordings]
Omahara – III [Omahara self-released]
Omahara – (track 4) [Art As Catharsis]
Boris – Memento Mori [Sargent House/Daymare]
Boris – Kagero [Sargent House/Daymare]
三回転とひとひねり – 仮設5号機 (EVA remix by KASHIWA Daisuke) [Virgin Babylon]
KASHIWA Daisuke – About Moonlight [MIDI Creative/Noble]
KASHIWA Daisuke with Piana – The spider’s thread (remix ver.) [guns N’ girls Records]
Ferri – Subliminal Affirmation (arranged by KASHIWA Daisuke) [Virgin Babylon]
Orson Hentschel – Electric Stutter [Denovali]
Orson Hentschel – 16 mm [Denovali]
Orson Hentschel – Montage of Bugs [Denovali]

Listen again — ~208MB

Sunday, 9th of July, 2017

Playlist 09.07.17 (9:08 pm)

We’ve got yr post-industrial drone, glitch guitars, twisted dancefloor numbers and yr live trip-hop/drum’n’bass all lined up for you tonight. Tuck yourself in and get ready…

LISTEN AGAIN to sate yr sonic appetite… Stream it on demand from FBi at any time, podcast over here.

Joe Acheson’s Hidden Orchestra have for 7+ years now been putting together amazing live shows and albums which perfectly evoke the collagey cut-ups, breakbeats and film music samples of ’90s instrumental hip-hop and drum’n’bass with (mostly) live performers. Acheson is a first-class orchestrator, and his musicians (especially drummers Tim Lane and Jamie Graham) are top notch. It’s evocative and yes, cinematic, but also totally dedicated to the groove when it wants to be. For his new album, Acheson has based all the tracks around different recordings of the “dawn chorus”, the joyful tweeting of birds waking up and greeting the morning sun. He’s gathered together collaborators including various artists remixed on the impeccable Reorchestrations set from a couple of years ago – Czech classical crossover artists Clarinet Factory make an appearance, as does Scottish artist Mary Macmaster on two different types of Celtic harp. It’s wonderful stuff.

“Impeccable” is one of the words I often use to describe UK electronic duo Akkord, whose de/reconstructions of UK dancefloor genres are spot-on, equisitely produced, and frequently head-nodding/foot-shuffling. It’s music that certainly works for the dancefloor (some dancefloor, somewhere), techno drawing on jungle/drum’n’bass as much as dubstep, uk garage and idm. There’s always been something pure about their music to me – every break, bassline, synth pad in just the right place. Samples perfectly cut & everything EQ’d to perfection. But it’s not clinical and heartless at all – just damn good.

Hemlock Recordings boss and post-dubstep/uk garage pioneer Untold moves back to his roots, I feel, from some more house-inflected sounds to broken beats, almost literally broken, as he interprets “Tear Up The Club” to mean breaking down the beats & basslines. It’s an infectious kind of stop-start approach though…

From the rainforesty outskirts of Melbourne hails 4096 salts, a video game maker and electronic musician who’s been pretty underground since first releasing experimental beats 17 years ago… Now re-unearthed by Kris Keogh’s ZZAAPP, he has an excellent mini-album coming out this week with some crunchy, squelchy beats and some glitchy soundscapes in there, all quite insectile.

The glitchy soundscapes continue as part of the sonic armory of the brilliant Jasmine Guffond, whose second album Traced on boutique Berlin label Sonic Pieces is a reaction to the ultra-surveillance of the contemporary digital world. Guffond’s musical history extends back to the mid-’90s with with the unclassifiable all-female Sydney trio Alternahunk and in the late-’90s the minimal electronic/glitch duo minit. More recently Guffond was based in Berlin, making unusual indie songwriter material as Jasmina Maschina, but her two albums on Sonic Pieces find her back in experimental electronic mode, sampling her vocals and subtle guitar along with basslines and homemade beats to create tremulous granular soundscapes and unsettling grooves. The new album is one of the best things I’ve heard this year, don’t sleep on it!

Somehow sidling into our playlists for three weeks running with three different releases is the lovely Shoeb Ahmad from Canberra. This week he appears on a split cassette from the great Tandem Tapes, giving us 6 minutes of glitchy guitar drone and vocal snippets. It’s quite unlike the indie-soul of his up-coming album, but indicative of a lot of his oeuvre.

Shoeb’s label hellosQuare has recently put out a 7″ from Melbourne trumpeter Ben Marston working with Norwegian sound artist Simen Løvgren. Expansive and shimmering electronics and beautiful trumpet and delays on this track, it goes in more challenging directions on the flipside. Marston is playing with UFog fave Hence Therefore this Tuesday night at Freda’s in Chippendale – Facebook event here.

And we finish up with Sydney duo Party Dozen who’ve been tearing up venues around town for a while with their raucous electronics, sax and drums. Kirsty Tickle’s saxophone wails and screams out heavy distorted riffs while Boulet batters his drums and insane guitars & electronics clatter away. There are some quieter moments too. It’s a vital listen, and a well-deserved, if surprising, album of the week for FBi!

Hidden Orchestra – Western Islands [Tru Thoughts]
Hidden Orchestra – Night Walks [Tru Thoughts]
Macmaster / Hay – Thograinn Thograinn [Denovali]
Hidden Orchestra – East London Street [Tru Thoughts]
Akkord – RCVR [Houndstooth]
Untold – Tear Up The Club [Hemlock Recordings]
4096 salts – Green Ant Sound [ZZAAPP]
4096 salts – Shape Dust [ZZAAPP]
Jasmine Guffond – Vision Strategy Coordinators [Sonic Pieces]
Alternahunk – Over & Out [Dual Plover]
minit – bootleg [Tonschacht]
Jasmine Guffond – rr variation [Sonic Pieces]
Jasmine Guffond – Post Human [Sonic Pieces]
Shoeb Ahmad – Dragonfly [Tandem Tapes]
Ben Marston & Simen Løvgren – A [hellosQuare]
Party Dozen – Attention Age [Grupo]
Party Dozen – Wide World [Grupo]

Listen again — ~202MB

Sunday, 2nd of July, 2017

Playlist 02.07.16 (9:14 pm)

Going from indie soul through drawn-out krautrocky hardcore punk to glitchy noise, deep dubby industrial techno, double bass electronic improv, and gorgeous minimal clicks & scratches…

LISTEN AGAIN for the nourishing warmth of it. Stream on demand at FBi’s website, podcast here.

So great to have the first single out from Shoeb Ahmad’s new album “quiver”. The album is coming out early next year I think, but we’ll have a couple of singles before then, the first of which is “mask-ed”. Exploring issues of gender & identity, it takes Shoeb the furthest he’s been yet from the intense sound processing and scattercore of his duo Spartak and indeed his work with Tangents. It’s his take on neo-soul, a kind of jangly indie-soul really, and the songs are catchy as hell in their lo-fi way, lyrically poetic and heartfelt. Luckily for me, the single is accompanied by a bunch of remixes, and they’re really rad. It’s weird and wild hearing Canberran indie-punk band Wives turning something in built from glitchy loops of Shoeb’s voice and a great piece of spoken word from singer Anja Loughhead.

Melbourne’s Plyers are usually a hardcore punk band, with a bit of free noise thrown in, and that’s how they sound on much of their new EP coming out from Art As Catharsis. But I was excited by the opening track, which has been released as a short, sharp 1-minute single, but is actually almost 11 minutes of slow-growing ritual drone and one-chord riffage, until it finally explodes into that song. There’s plenty of heritage for this kind of thing in the the Oz noise/doom scene, but it’s cool to hear it in this context.

Now we return to the excellent Tandem Tapes compilation For Headspace #1, raising money for an Australian mental health charity and featuring 50 amazing experimental tracks from Australia, Indonesia and all over the world for only AUD $10. You’d be crazy to neglect this. Our first selection is label boss Bright Sea, making music from time-stretched and glitched out samples off his hard drive, this one being all or mostly twisted vocals. And mysterious Sydney entity Big Geoffrey gives us a piece of arcane UFO-obsessed psych-techno.

Just released, Alain Paul & Tommy Four Seven’s Berlin-based industrial techno outfit These Hidden Hands offer up a set of really interesting & varied remixes of their last album Vicarious Memories. The heaviness factor is handled by JK Flesh, the bass with Drumcell‘s new Hypox1a project, but meanwhile the revived Telefon Tel Aviv (beloved idm/folktronic duo broken by the passing of Charlie Cooper some years back) hand in a glitchy stop-start piece of electronica, and none other than ambient dublord Lustmord.

Hubro is one of the most interesting, challenging and rewarding labels to appear in recent years, from a very fertile music scene in Norway. Like Rune Grammofon, it might look like it’s mostly about jazz, but really there’s heaps of post/krautrock, electronic stuff and more. This release is from a duo that’s half Norwegian (double bass/electronics from Jo Berger Myhre) and half Icelandic (Ólafur Björn Ólafsson on drums & keyboards), and was recorded in an abandoned factory warehouse in Reykjavik. It draws from the bleak and beautiful surrounds – both the icelandic landscape and the industrial setting – and beautifully melds luscious double bass and live percussion with expansive postrocky electronics.

From Scandinavia to Italy, we hear now from a couple of projects of minimalist electronics practitioner Giuseppe Ielasi. Along with many collaborations within Italy and further afield, Ielasi has a large catalogue of releases exploring deftly built constructions of samples and unusual sound sources (including aleatoric percussion produced by little electric motors). His recent Inventing Masks project sees him take his aesthetic into an almost straightforward beat-making realm, with two releases now of minimalist hip-hop. It’s brighter and more head-nodding than a lot of his other works, but shouldn’t be surprising to anyone who’s been paying attention to his fantastic Bellows project with fellow Italian experimentalist Nicola Ratti. Across a variety of labels now, stretching back 10 years, they’ve managed to keep a consistent aesthetic of murky, monotone, repetitive, crackly, generally rhythmic sound work. Sometimes it’s been on the postrock end of things, sometimes on the bleepy end, usually quite dubby. And just fantastic. There’s two new releases from them that came out nearly simultaneously recently – one from Félicia Atkinson‘s Shelter Press, and one from French techno label Latency. We also revisited some earlier releases, going back to their 2007 debut, the album Bellows released under their own names through the brilliant Swedish label Kning Disk, Ielasi’s own Senufo Editions, Belgian label Entr’acte and even Boomkat Editions.

Shoeb Ahmad – “mask-ed” [Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
Shoeb Ahmad – “washed air – wives version” [Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
Plyers – Microwave [Art As Catharsis]
Bright Sea – Blank Canyon [Tandem Tapes]
Big Geoffrey – They’re Coming [Tandem Tapes]
These Hidden Hands – Glasir (Telefon Tel Aviv Remix) [Hidden Hundred]
These Hidden Hands – Socotra (Lustmord Remix) [Hidden Hundred]
Jo Berger Myhre & Ólafur Björn Ólafsson – 1000% [Hubro]
Jo Berger Myhre & Ólafur Björn Ólafsson – Ravening [Hubro]
Inventing Masks – 4’32” [Error Broadcast]
Inventing Masks – 4’17” [Error Broadcast]
Bellows – Strand track 08 [Shelter Press]
Bellows – handcut track 04 [Senufo Editions]
Giuseppe Ielasi & Nicola Ratti – Bellows track 03 [Kning Disk]
Bellows – Reelin’ track 06 [Entr’acte]
Bellows – Rustl track 05 [Boomkat Editions]
Bellows – Sander track 01 [Latency]

Listen again — ~199MB

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