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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, 15th of October, 2017

Playlist 15.10.17 (7:53 pm)

Some postpunk tonight, and plenty of electronic sounds, bass-heavy, with plenty of drum’n’bass influence, as well as some acid & more experimental sounds.

LISTEN AGAIN for hints about the afterlife… or failing that, great music. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Carla dal Forno – Clusters [Blackest Ever Black]
Carla dal Forno – The Garden [Blackest Ever Black]
From Melbourne, now based in London after a time in Berlin, Carla dal Forno has been making a huge impression with her deadpan vocal delivery and subtly explorative music since both her first solo album and her work with trio F ingers came out on Blackest Ever Black a few years back. She’s back with a four track EP (quite an arcane format these days in songwriterly music), which oddly places its title track at the end of the release. It’s austere, beautiful songwriting with a kind of postpunk aesthetic – bare electric bass, some keys, vocals. “The Garden” seems to be a sidelong reference to the Einstürzende Neubauten song of the same name, although it’s not a cover at all.

S O L I L O Q U A – Impatient Of The Present [The Black Hundred Bandcamp]
A second EP from James McGauran’s S O L I L O Q U A project, side project of his industrial postrock(?) band The Black Hundred. I love the direction he’s taking with these releases – unsettling ambient, sometimes with beats and sampled vocals, sometimes barely there. There’s some socio-political commentary scattered through the quality music. Check it out.

Fret – The Waiting Room [Karl Records]
Scorn – Deliverance [Earache]
Scorn – Dreamspace (Coil ‘Shadow Vs Executioner’ Remix) [Earache]
Quoit – Set Up [Possible]
Fret – Lifford Res [Karl Records]
Mick Harris is an almost incalculably important force in heavy music of all sorts, going back to the ’80s. His compatriots from early incarnations of Napalm Death, Kevin Martin of The Bug and JK Broadrick of Jesu, Godflesh et al, have along with him had a substantial influence on the shape of not only metal (grindcore through to industrial metal, shoegaze metal etc), but dubwise sounds, breakbeat techno, grime, dubstep and more – and if not influencing, they have incorporated those sounds into their music in innovative new ways to produce new forms. Mick Harris formed Scorn in the end of the ’80s with another ex-Napalm Death member Nicholas Bullen, and the two moved quickly away from punk/metal into spooky, fucked-up dub, discarding vocals altogether within a few releases. Eventually Bullen left and it became Harris’s minimal dub project. He’s also put out a number of drum’n’bass-centric releases as Quoit, and now has revived the Fret moniker, hitherto used on only one 12″, for an incredible album of faster-tempo, bass-heavy, distorted breakbeat techno. It’s perfect for these times – dark as fuck.

Special Request – Light In The Darkest Hour [Houndstooth]
Lana del Rey – Rise (Special Request remix) [Houndstooth]
Special Request – Scrambled In LS1 [Houndstooth]
Special Request – In Loving Memory [Houndstooth]
When house/techno DJ Paul Woolford first revealed his Special Request project, it was a revelation. Pitch-perfect early ’90s style jungle and pre-jungle hardcore sounds, but with lush contemporary production. Tight bass, precision-tooled breaks chopped to perfection, tempos ranging from the often quite relaxed pace of early jungle through to the breakneck. And there were some very classy remixes as well, from the start. After another set of 12″s released as an album, we had 2 EPs this year, one showcasing the more experimental end of things (drill’n’bass and weird electronics), and one taking the project into acid techno territories. Those are featured on this new double album (“Scrambled In LS1” is a nice bit of funky melodic/not-melodic Aphex acid), along with a decent amount of jungle and more ’97-era No-U-Turn style techstep – and the second disc features mostly ambient & non-dancefloor sounds, of a more contemporary disposition – tremolo strings, bass surges etc. If anything that stuff is more interesting, although it’s all fun and brilliantly done.

volker böhm – heissenberg [clang]
volker böhm – klicker [clang]
An electronic music academic from Basel, Switzerland, Volker Böhm has undertaken on this new album to combine the sound-art of Bernard Parmegiani with beat-based electronic music, and whatever his success in that particular regard, he’s created something engrossing and impressive. The beats are complex & abstract, the tonal material a mixture of repetitive basslines and discordantly beautiful synthesised harmonies, avant-garde piano & more, glitching inside a three-dimensional sonic space. It’s pretty fantastic really.

pinkcourtesyphone – romantic threat [Room40]
pinkcourtesyphone – problematic interior (den) [Room40]
Graphic designer & sound artist Richard Chartier uses his pinkcourtesyphone moniker to differentiate certain output from his more cerebral, abstract, minimal sound-art. As pinkcourtesyphone, he can comment on issues to do with gender & sexuality, turning out elongated soft ambient numbers and sometimes pulsating techno/house beats, mixing his more melodic electronic sounds with gently kitsch sources. It’s a fascinating project.

kj – dawyn [Lost Tribe Sound]
kj – lozo [Lost Tribe Sound]
A new signing for Lost Tribe Sound in a slightly more droney way than the label’s usual focus, kj is a young New York-based working in the familiar world of stretched out ambient drones – often classical sounds in slow-surging loops. Despite treading a well-worn path, kj manages to pull something arrestingly beautiful out of it, by virtue of careful sample selection and a good ear for sonic degradation. Even if you’re not normally a drone fan, you may find this music grabs you.

Listen again — ~109MB


Sunday, 8th of October, 2017

Playlist 08.10.17 (8:05 pm)

Tonight we have a whole slew of music influenced by… well, sampling, mostly… the original Blade Runner and its incredible soundtrack by Vangelis. Later, drum’n’bass & weirdtronica abounds.

LISTEN AGAIN, before these moments are lost in time… futuristic stream on demand from FBi & podcast right here…

Pop Will Eat Itself – Wake Up! Time To Die… [RCA/Cherry Red Records]
Pop Will Eat Itself – Live In Splendour: Died In Chaos (under talking) [RCA/Cherry Red Records]
The Poppies were one of those bands that just inevitably would be influenced by Blade Runner. If nothing else, they were influenced by vast amounts of pop culture, comics to sci-fi to sport. But also, they were such a cyborg band, combining their love of scraggly punk riffage with hip-hop and techno. They slathered everything in samples, and thus we have the eponymous words from the replicant Leon in the first track tonight. The second offering uses the gorgeous high-pitched statement of one of Vangelis‘ main themes (I think it actually appears near the very beginning of the movie) to bookend the track.

Vangelis – Tears In Rain [EastWest]
As well as featuring one of the most iconic bits of dialogue from the movie, in which the brutal lead replicant Roy Batty asserts his unique personhood in the last few minutes of his artificially-short life, this is a lovely example of the restrained beauty of Vangelis’ work on this soundtrack. He makes a lot of use of pitch bends and glissandi, apart from simply creating rich & varied sounds.

Vangelis – Rachel’s Song [EastWest]
This track, featuring the bewitching wordless vocals of Mary Hopkin, has been sampled countless times since its release. I recently heard a trance tune which I couldn’t track down which used the same segment as the following track:

The Future Sound of London – My Kingdom (Part 4) [Virgin]
Like PWEI, it’s no surprise that The Future Sound of London would draw from Blade Runner. Their psychedelic aesthetic oozes cyberpunk, and while the originating works of cyberpunk fiction probably came out a couple of years earlier, it was really the rain-swept, Tokyo-inflected Los Angeles of Blade Runner, with its ubiquitous advertising, hard-nosed film noir attitude and lived-in, aged futuristic technology, that defined cyberpunk forevermore. FSOL were so excited by where technology could take them that they fancied themselves archaeologists of the future, and they couldn’t help but be informed by works like Blade Runner. They integrated the Mary Hopkin/Vangelis sample beautifully into the various versions of this track, and I selected this one in particular because not only is the vocal very prominent, but it’s about as close as FSOL got to drum’n’bass…

Dillinja – The Angels Fell [Metalheadz]
A hybrid genre descended equally from the hardcore techno of rave, the syncopations of dancehall and breaks of hip-hop: jungle and its descendant drum’n’bass were strongly dependent on sampling technology, and its producers were keen from the beginning to draw out the cyborg aspects of making music this way. Both Terminator and Blade Runner figured strongly in this music, and here we find jungle original Dillinja sampling both a snippet of Roy Batty’s dialogue (“Fiery the angels fell…”) and basing his entire melody on a progressively pitch-shifted sample from the next little bit from the soundtrack…

Vangelis – Blade Runner Blues [EastWest]
Here’s Vangelis emoting his heart out with some synth sax and plenty of use of that mod wheel. Dillinja samples a two note phrase from earlyish in this track, and shifts it up and down a third to create the melody repeating under his chopped-up breaks.

Trace & Nico – Replicant [Idiosyncratic Records]
This track – played off YouTube – is highly sought after and highly limited, only released on a white label a few years after its creation, likely because of its hefty sampling from Blade Runner. Throughout are fragments of dialogue, primarily Deckard instructing his computer(?) to zoom in on a photograph – you know the bit.

Vangelis – Main Titles [EastWest]
That sample from the movie appears right here in the “Main Titles” that open the original official soundtrack (released on CD in 1994 – this is the source of all the Vangelis music I’m playing tonight). It then moves on to some of the important musical themes from the movie, including some lovely pitch slides, and those rising and falling chords…

Company Flow – Info Kill II [Rawkus Records]
I can’t find the specific section of soundtrack sampled here, but those falling chords are definitely there. It’s iconic – you couldn’t mistake them for anything else. Company Flow is of course the hip-hop crew from the mid-’90s where El-P grew up, and again it’s no big surprise that Blade Runner figures in his influences and turns up in one of his earliest mature productions. It’s very substantially used throughout, and augmented nicely with a funky bassline and beats.

Zomby – Tears in the Rain [WERKDISCS]
When infamous dubstep/uk garage producer Zomby put together his first full-length album he called it Where Were U in ’92 – a direct tribute to early ’90s rave, hardcore and jungle. He knows his shit, so of course he’s going to end up sampling from Blade Runner (even if he misquotes it in the title here). It’s a nice completion of the circle to end our Blade Runner tribute for tonight.

So Blade Runner 2049, you ask? Well, without spoiling anything, it’s very beautiful, the soundtrack is a workable tribute to Vangelis by Hans Zimmer, the plot, what there is of it, is an interesting and pretty satisfying extension of the original… and it has some nice appearances from original cast members. In keeping with the original, it’s indulgently slow-paced – even I felt it could have shaved off 15-25 minutes pretty easily – but I didn’t actually feel impatient. Equally in keeping with the Hollywood of 3 decades ago (and now), it has some fairly icky sexual politics, and restricts its POC characters to hackneyed small-time-crim roles (and a couple of other minor characters), which is a huge shame. It’s sumptuously beautiful in any case.

Forest Drive West – Persistence of Memory, Pt. 3 [Hidden Hawaii]
Sticking with drum’n’bass for a bit though, here’s a young artist with little info available on him. Forest Drive West may be based in Bristol, given he’s got a couple of releases on Livity Sound, giving him instant bass-techno cred. But last year he also dropped a great bit of jungle revivialism on Rupture, the Jungle Crack EP, and thus on the flipside of two fantastic dub-techno tracks, we have this piece of 5/4 drum’n’bass, really just switching up the tempo from from the dubby sounds on the A side, and adding some amen breaks.

Ziúr – Cipher [Objects Ltd/Planet µ]
Ziúr – Human Life Is Not A Commodity [Objects Ltd/Planet µ]
Ziúr – Bud Dallas [Objects Ltd]
Ziúr – Fractals [Objects Ltd/Planet µ]
Lara Rix-Martin, part of Planet µ boss Mike Paradinas, recently formed the Objects Ltd label to promote the work of female & non-gender-binary electronic producers, and has wasted no time in bringing some brilliant artists to greater prominence. Based in Berlin, Ziúr has released a number of pretty club-ready EPs, as well as running the Boo-Hoo club night that again focuses on non-cis-male artists. Her prior work is excellent (including a more straighforward dance-oriented EP on Deeform on Objects Ltd last year), but it’s wonderful to hear artists branch out in album form, and here were have glitchy-freaky ambient tracks like opener “Human Life Is Not A Commodity”, and many tracks in which the beats are so broken down that no dancefloor would tolerate them. There are also sampled riffs, intense hardstyle & footwork-influenced excursions, and even some emotive r’n’b slipping through. Top notch all the way.

Brainwaltzera – yamaha Hills [edit] [Film]
Brainwaltzera – 10_muddy_puddle Trot [Film]
Brainwaltzera – 0Swald trace [-/+2] [Analogical Force]
Brainwaltzera – Δlate Hither [ma8ema8mati7s a∫✂ nap version] [Film]
Here’s a mysterious European producer making pitch-perfect mid-’90s idm & “braindance”… Brainwaltzera was tipped by Aphex Twin on SoundCloud at some point last year and since then rumours have abounded about his identity, but if there’s one thing I’m sure of from listening to his stuff, it’s that it’s not Aphex. There are some lovely wobbly synth melodies redolent of Boards of Canada, and definitely some high class beat fuckery of the sort that Aphex, Squarepusher and µ-Ziq were wont to do back in the day, both high-speed drill’n’bass and head-noddy hip-hop beats. It’s melodic, electronic, and heaps of fun, although the production and/or mastering leaves things a little hollow sounding. In any case, for lovers of idm this is absolutely unmissable.

Herva – Smania [Planet µ]
Herva – Slam The Laptop [Delsin]
Herva – Bien [Planet µ]
I’ve been meaning to play this for a while, and this very electronic show is the perfect slot for it. African-Italian producer Herve Atsè Corti (I mis-spoke this as African-Spanish on the show, confused I think by the Spanish label releasing one of Brainwaltzera’s EPs above) brings an utterly bent take to dance music, whether house or broken beat genres, glitching up the sounds in ever-inventive ways. As well as two tracks from a new(ish) Planet µ EP, I played a fantastic bit of glitch-house with an infectious bassline from the 2014 album Instant Broadcast on Dutch label Delsin.

VVV x Holly – 09H1L7 [Hush Hush]
And finally, another EP I should’ve played months ago, out on Seattle label Hush Hush. Iranian-American producer VVV aka Shawhin Izaddost is often ambient in a vaporwavey fashion, often influenced by 2step & other genres; Miguel Oliveira aka Holly is a Portuguese trap producer. This collaboration is a stellar mix of slightly burnished rave influences, old and new. Highly recommended.

Listen again — ~198MB


Sunday, 1st of October, 2017

Playlist 01.10.17 (9:02 pm)

Lovely, weird electronics from all over tonight…

LISTEN AGAIN for the pure joy of it. FBi provides delicious streaming on demand for everyone everywhere; podcast also available here.

Four Tet – LA Trance [self-released]
Four Tet – Scientists [self-released]
A new album from Kieran Hebden (frankly, pretty much a new tweet) is always big news these days, and the new Four Tet already has people blissing out around the world. I know I’m never going to get another Rounds (one of the most influential albums on the beginnings of this very show), and this one really is absolutely lovely.
One of the interesting things about the album is hearing the ’90s electronica, ambient and rave influences. Particularly on the track “Scientists” I have intense feelings of déjà vu whenever I listen to it – I know it’s not ripped from someone else, but that bassline, and the way it interacts with the breakbeats and delicate synth pads has strong feelings of something (or some things) I know very well. A couple of suggestions appear below…

Autechre – Pule [Warp]
The way the bassline in “Scientists” pushes out a harmonic an octave-and-a-fifth above was one of those things that generated very strong feelings for me. Eventually I found that sound – a percussive attack but a very pure sound with that same overtone – in this beautiful Autechre track from 20 years ago. In this case, there’s no hip-hop beat going along with it, although there are floaty synth pads.

µ-Ziq – Brace Yourself Jason [Planet µ]
While the Planet µ boss is best known nowadays for having his finger on the pulse of underground dance music, from dubstep to footwork, he’s one of the biggest influences on bedroom electronica, a peer of Autechre, Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert et al. From the same year as the Autechre above (1997 was an amazing year, trust me), this track again sounds nothing like “Scientists”, at least superficially, but it has a bouncing bassline, skittering hi-hats and those characteristic mournful synth pads.

Ciptagelar – Sera Ponggokan (Gail Priest Industrialisation) [hitek lotek]
Ciptagelar – Jasmine Guffond‘s Ciptagelar Remixture [hitek lotek]
Sydney experimental musician, advanced mathematician and event creator Dan MacKinlay has for some time been travelling to remote locations in Asia creating collaborative installations and dance parties… He’s now bringing it to another level with this collaboration with the people of a tiny kingdom in West Java called Ciptagelar. The link there goes to a YouTube video which is part documentary and part video album, and their music has now been remixed by a cadre of Sydney experimental electronic musicians. An excellent cross-cultural project.

dälek – Nothing Stays Permanent [Ipecac]
dälek – The Song Of Immigrants [Ipecac]
It was so great last year to discover that pioneering noise-hop troupe dälek had re-formed. It turns out that producer Oktopus aka Alap Momin is no longer involved, but with longtime collaborator Destructo Swarmbots stepping in, there’s a definite continuity in sound as much as with the political, conscious rapping of Will Brooks. Last year’s album came out on the very progressive Canadian metal label Profound Lore, but Endangered Philosophies finds them back on Mike Patton’s Ipecac label.

Ben Frost – Entropy In Blue [Mute/Bedroom Community]
Ben Frost – Minesweeper II [The Orchard]
Ben Frost – Eurydice’s Heel [Mute/Bedroom Community]
Longterm Iceland resident Ben Frost (we’ll still call him an Aussie though for the purposes of this broadcast) has not one but two albums out this week – fairly coincidentally mind you. His new album proper, his first straight studio album since 2014, is The Centre Cannot Hold, clearly somewhat influence by the political events of the last year or two, and was recorded with the legendary Steve Albini, although I’m not sure how we can hear that among the windswept synths, surging distortion & bass. It’s pretty conceptual – you can hear musical themes wandering through the different tracks, so it holds together nicely as a single work. The other album is a soundtrack to a teen slasher flick (set in the ’90s no less) called Super Dark Times, and it’s suitably dark, with some of the growliness dialled back – but it does raise the question of where we can hear the Albini influence on the new studio album.

Antwood – The New Industry [Planet µ]
Tristan Douglas – Way of the Coral [Tristan Douglas Bandcamp]
Tristan Douglas – Mystic Olympics [Tristan Douglas Bandcamp]
Margaret Antwood – Power Confessions [B.YRSLF DIVISION]
Antwood – Uncanny Valley [Planet µ]
Tristan Douglas – Replicon [Tristan Douglas Bandcamp]
Antwood – Human [Planet µ]
British Columbia-resident microbiologist Tristan Douglas came to the music world’s attention with a couple of footwork/grime/techno releases as Margaret Antwood a couple of years ago – in particular he came to the attention of the aforementioned Mike Paradinas of the Planet µ label. Thankfully he dropped the “Margaret” from his name, losing both the pad pun and the inadvisable gender appropriation, and he’s released two brilliant albums of genre-mashing experimental electronica for the label, exploring the topics of artificial intelligence and computer consciousness (on last year’s Virtuous.scr) and our own relationship with technology and ubiquitous communication/advertising (on the recent Sponsored Content). It’s fair to say that these themes ooze into each other across both these albums and also the more recent album on his Bandcamp. So the muffled computer voice on “Uncanny Valley” begins to sing on “Replicon” from a recent Bandcamp release (although admittedly Bandcamp declares it to be released on Janary 1, 2037, so who knows?), and on “Human” from his new album a malfunctioning cyborg sings a pop song. Beautifully disturbing stuff.

STILL – Bubbling Ambessa [Afrikan Messiah Riddim] [PAN]
STILL – Rough Rider [PAN]
STILL – Nazenèt [Wasp Riddim] [PAN]
The previous music of Simone Trabucchi (boss of Italian noise/experimental label Hundebiss), mostly released as Dracula Lewis, was a challenging melding of folk, rock and noise, but for his new album on PAN he’s giving us his idiosyncratic take on dancehall, very digital, working with a bunch of fantastic Afro-Italian vocalists (my research suggests they are Devon Miles, Keidino, Taiywo, Freweini, Elinor and Germay – they are not credited on the digital release or press release). In any case, it’s an exciting mélange of sounds, minimalist and focused. Highly recommended.

Listen again — ~194MB



 
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