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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 April, 2018

Playlist 15.04.18 (9:10 pm)

IDM and electronic sounds abound tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN – you’ll work it out eventually! Stream on demand via FBi, podcast over here.

Arikon – City Cum Temple [Portals Editions]
Gainstage – Sediment Two [Portals Editions]
Arikon – The Prophet’s Blood Is Boiling [Portals Editions]
Arik Hayut is half of the industrial doom-techno duo Gainstage, with two releases on Berlin label Portals Editions. Given the heavy bass and overdriven sound of that band, the “drum and drone” of his solo work as Arikon doesn’t come as a big surprise – but it just happens to be some of the best work to come out of this label and the associated Berlin scene of late. The Prophet’s Blood Is Boiling references on the one hand the social decay and excess of late-stage capitalism, and on the other hand various monsters found in both the Hebrew bible and Jewish apocrypha. It’s dirty and distorted, but full of engaging basslines and rhythms. Very highly recommended.

Tim Koch – Bloom (feat. Beth Keough) [CPU Records]
Thug – rhino song [Aural Industries/Tim Koch Bandcamp]
FourPlay String Quartet – Meshugganah (Methugganah remix by Tim Koch) [FourPlay String Quartet Bandcamp]
Machine Drum – Machine Drum (Tim Koch‘s Thousand Times Over Mix) [Merck]
Tim Koch – Ecittal [U-Cover]
Tim Koch – Techune [U-Cover]
Tim Koch – Truth Sinks In [Merck/Tim Koch Bandcamp]
10:32 – Blue Little [Ghostly]
Tim Koch – Miller Lowlife [CPU Records]
Adelaide’s Tim Koch is one of Australia’s best-established idm artists, with his first release (under the name Thug) dating back to 1999. Already at that time it was clear that he was a producer of great musical talent who also knew his way around synth patches and drum machines. He found international acclaim with releases on celebrated electronic labels like deFocus (weighted more towards electro/techno), Merck (definitely core idm!) and U-Cover (more ambient leanings), as well as *ahem* remixing my band FourPlay String Quartet back in the day (turning in no less than three very different versions of the same tune!) His most recent full release was an EP under the name “10:32” exploring some more (electro-)acoustic leanings for the legendary Ghostly label – and that was in 2009. The last album “proper”, as Tim Koch, was the last release for the beloved Merck label, in 2006 – so it’s been a while between drinks and it’s lovely to hear a big collection (17 tracks) released by Sheffield’s Central Processing Unit – initial copies on Tim’s preferred format of MiniDisc.

µ-Ziq – Lexicon (ft. Kazumi) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
µ-Ziq – scaling [Hut Records/Astralwerks]
µ-Ziq – Bassbins [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Mike Paradinas has been slowly unearthing unreleased gems from his massive archive over the last few years. In the ’90s his habit was to record vast amounts of music, almost daily, and so there’s a lot of stuff contemporaneous to many favourite releases that has never seen the light of day. Just released now is Challenge Me Foolish, collecting music from the same period as the Royal Astronomy album, his follow-up to the still incredible Lunatic Harness, expanding on the drill’n’bass and faux-classical elements of that release. Many of these tracks feature Japanese vocalist Kazumi, who contributed to a number of releases by Paradinas and other contemporaries. I remember Mike launched Royal Astronomy in London with a string quartet, which he says was at the behest of the label and was a total disaster – but nevertheless I’ve always found his quasi-classical synth string pieces delightful and moving.

Autechre – four of seven [Warp/AE_STORE]
Autechre – six of eight (midst) [Warp/AE_STORE]
Last time Autechre dropped new music, in 2016, they decided to entirely free themselves from the constraints of physical releases, and gave us over 4 hours of music (all at once) over the 5 Elseq EPs. This time round there are exactly 8 hours of music, but at least they’re spreading them out in 2 hour blocks over the four weeks of their NTS Radio residency. Each NTS Session is available for download after it airs, as basically a full album – there are separate tracks, albeit many clocking in at 15 minutes or more. They’ll all be collected into massive box sets too – 8xCD or 12xLP. At this stage we can say it’s typical Autechre stuff – hard to get into and then utterly immersive and brilliant. The long tracks evolve in fascinating ways; the shorter ones explore distinct sonic terrain. Sometimes the sound is expansive, bass-heavy, at other times the duo’s penchant for squashed, unyielding mid-range timbres takes over. But as always the beauty’s in the details, the buried melodies and often in the way things unfold over the luxuriously long times they allow themselves.

Listen again — ~197MB

Sunday, 8th of April, 2018

Playlist 08.04.18 (9:11 pm)

Big show with sad news and exciting news…
And BIG THANKS to Krishtie Mofazzal for enthusiastically filling in for me last week!

LISTEN AGAIN for all them feels… Stream on demand from FBi alwayyys, or podcast over here…

Tunng – Flatland [Full Time Hobby/Tunng Bandcamp]
The duo of Mike Lindsay and Sam Genders as Tunng took my breath away in mid 2004 when I heard their first single, released originally by Static Caravan. Arcane English folk channeled through glitchy electronic production, it was everything Utility Fog was initially conceived to be about, and they became a staple on the show for some years. A few years in, Sam Genders left to pursue some indie & folky directions of his own, and to me the band somewhat lost its way, with grating generic singalong folk songs… (of course your mileage may vary!) So it’s with great pleasure that I learned that the original duo have gotten back together, with this single auguring a full album, and what a delightful song it is too. Can’t wait for more.

Flame 1 – Shrine [Pressure]
Epic teamup of Kevin Martin aka The Bug and Burial, creating basically just what you’d expect – rainswept dark post-dubstep music. It’s a very low-key two-tracker, but really lovely and a nice first entry for The Bug’s new Pressure label.

Zozobra – The Vast Expanse [Hydra Head]
Old Man Gloom – Close Your Eyes, Roll Back In Your Head [Tortuga Recordings]
Old Man Gloom – Girth And Greed [Tortuga Recordings]
Old Man Gloom – Sonic Dust [Tortuga Recordings]
Cave In – The World Is In The Way [Hydra Head]
In the first in two pieces of tragic news that hit the music world last week (and we’ve had more this week although not so much in the Utility Fog realm…), Caleb Scofield passed away in a car accident at the age of 39. Best known probably as the bass player in Cave In, who started off as hardcore/metalcore but moved into alternative rock waters, and in a way came back again… Most significantly to me, Caleb was the bass player in the immense, inventive supergroup Old Man Gloom, featuring Scofield alongside ISIS‘s Aaron Turner, Converge‘s Nate Newton and the cheeky Mexican drummer Santos Montano. Montano also played with Scofield in his heavy, rifftastic bass-led solo act Zozobra (named for the same Mexican figure that inspired Old Man Gloom).
Scofield leaves a young family. A YouCaring fundraiser was setup which far surpassed its $1,000 goal within hours, and has now raised over $100,000.

Alias – Divine Disappointment [Anticon]
Anticon – We Ain’t Fessin’ [Anticon]
Alias – Watching Water [Anticon]
Alias – Unseen Sights (feat. Markus Acher) [Anticon]
Sole – Every Single One Of Us [Anticon]
Sage Francis – Product Placement [Epitaph]
Alias – M.G. Jack [Anticon]
B. Dolan – Fifty Ways To Bleed Your Customer [Strange Famous Records]
Alias – Gold cLOUDDEAD Skiez [Anticon]
A few days after the death of Caleb Scofield, last Sunday for me, the news hit that Brendon Whitney aka Alias had passed away of a heart attack. It’s been a while since we had significant work from Whitney – a solo album came out on Anticon in 2014, and he’s had an important hand in plenty of (alternative) hip-hop releases but more in the background. But his impact on a lot of UFog favourites through the years can’t be overstated. From B. Dolan‘s incredible 2010 album Fallen House, Sunken City that could not exist without Alias’s hard-hitting beats, to many of Sage Francis‘s important albums including the 2005 turning point A Healthy Distrust, and early work by the likes of Sole and others, and back to his own rap work in the early days, some of which we sampled from early Anticon compilations… And of course there’s that collaboration with Markus Acher of The Notwist, a plodding piece of sad-hop that I’ve loved for a decade and a half. We finish with a track from Alias’s last solo album, from 2014, which incorporated trap & bass elements, and in amongst it a rather nice tribute to Odd Nosdam‘s production…
Brendon Whitney also left a young family behind. There’s a GofundMe setup to support them, and I recommend dropping some cash if you can afford to.

Fake – Lo Res [SUMAC]
Cassius Select – Joy Mile [Unknown To The Unknown]
BV – Huh [Black Vanilla Bandcamp]
Fake – blame! [Fake Bandcamp] {under talking}
Cassius Select – Essence [Accidental Jnr]
BV – Hounds Out [BV Bandcamp]
Fake – Living Hard [SUMAC]
We learned in the last week or two that Lavurn Lee, long fixture of Sydney’s music scene, is returning to his original home of Toronto. As a result, the beloved BV – his trio with Marcus Whale and Jared Beeler – are going on long-term hiatus. Beeler has also moved to Melbourne, and it’s him along with a couple of other Sydney ex-pats in Melbourne who’ve setup the SUMAC label that just released Lee’s new self-titled album for his minimalist grime/trap/r’n’b project Fake. Lavurn originally came to notoriety in Sydney via his r’n’b vocal looping & electronics as Guerre, but apart from the legendary BV who trickle out pure gems every couple of years, he’s received international acclaim for his techno/bass productions as Cassius Select. There’s a hefty grime influence on his sounds – not just the rawness of the bass & electronics, but also in some of the cadences of his rapping (although no doubt Southern hip-hop has a more substantial presence). BV has always approached the dancefloor as a dark, post-cyberpunk battlefield, and Cassius Select tends to look to the darker ends of the dance spectrum too. With Fake, Lavurn is breaking down hip-hop into its most fucked-up & experimental formats too, processing his vocals, samples and beats as much as possible, and keeping the bass heavy. Mad props.

Listen again — ~204MB

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