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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, 17th of March, 2019

Playlist 17.03.19 (8:11 pm)

Electronic pop, industrial techno and non-techno, experimental electronica and freeform sampling, edgy post-classical and cutting-edge jazz tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN and again, because you can! Stream on demand via FBi, podcast here.

Ducks! - Swerve (feat. Rachel Maio) [Ducks! Bandcamp]
Ex-pat Aussies now based in Berlin, Ducks! started releasing lovely quirky indie pop with an electronic bent a couple of years ago (under this name) and this new single is a welcome addition to their discography, with a sweet melody and some great cello from another Berlin-based Australia, Rachel Maio.

Lakker - A Juggling Of Numbers [R&S Records/Lakker Bandcamp]
Lakker - Dropped Shoulders [R&S Records/Lakker Bandcamp]
Lakker - Body From The Water [R&S Records/Lakker Bandcamp]
After a series of solo releases from Ian McDonnell last year as Eomac, as well as some collaborations on his Eotrax label, and an excellent EP from Dara Smith as Arad, it's great to have them back together as Lakker, again on legendary Belgian dance label R&S Records. This album doesn't quite reach the dancefloor, but doesn't perhaps go quite as experimental as some of their releases either. The vocals that both introduced in their recent solo work appear here, lending some tracks an '80s industrial/pop feel.

Dis Fig - Alive [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Dis Fig - Watering [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Dis Fig - U Said U Were [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Jazz-trained vocalist Felicia Chen makes full use of her vocal training as Dis Fig, but her solo art draws from industrial, techno, noise and further outer reaches for a quite intense experience on Purge, her debut album from Purple Tape Pedigree. The arrangements feature flute, trumpet and trombone, along with plenty of creepy and heavy electronics. At times her voice is distorted & processed, increasing the intensity of what are already passionate & emotional performances. A really impressive debut.

Rian Treanor - ATAXIA B2 [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Rian Treanor - ATAXIA C2 [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
After releases on Death of Rave and Warp sublabel Arcola, Rian Treanor now drops his debut album on the one and only Planet µ, and appropriately for the label's more recent focus, it's quite footstep-influenced. Treanor's experimental techno chops may have been learned in the cradle, as he's the son of Mark Fell, glitch/click-techno don and one half Snd. In any case, Treanor sneaks some nice melody into his twitchy machine beats.

Sote - Artificial Neutrality [Diagonal Records/Bandcamp]
Aka Ebtekar has been on the must-listen list since his first release as Sote on Warp back in 2002, an explosive double-header of breakcore techno. He's more recently been exploring both the history of Iranian electronic music and new techniques in processing and interacting with traditional Persian instruments and music. Thus on this very electronic-sounding piece he's joined by Arash Bolouri on the santour and Pouya Damadi on the tar, both using extended techniques and further manipulated by Ebtekar. I can't wait to hear the rest of this album!

Matmos - The Crying Pill [Thrill Jockey]
Matmos - Plastic Anniversary [Thrill Jockey]
Matmos - Collapse Of The Fourth Kingdom [Thrill Jockey]
Martin C Schmidt and Drew Daniel have been together for 25 years, and they're celebrating their anniversary with an album that samples from every sort of plastic they could find. They're past masters at this kind of thing - not just making music from unusual samples (that's for sure!) but also for creating entire albums from arch concepts and somehow making it work. Live, they populate the stage with weird & wonderful objects that they sample in front of the audience and build abstracted versions of their tracks from. In recording, they can afford to finesse everything carefully, and employ a great deal of musicality to create catchy ditties (of a sort). On this release they seem to harken a bit back to the frenetic, skittery (and very idiosyncratic) idm of their earliest couple of CDs, albeit with much higher production values!

Carl Stone - Xé May [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
On his new album Baroo, US musician Carl Stone, who's been called the "King of Sampling", recreates his time-slicing technique of stretching and rearranging musical works through microsampling in a modern way using Max/MSP. Actually the track I played tonight uses an Elektron Octatrack sampler, but all these pieces show Stone enjoying the flexibility of new technologies in extending techniques he's been developing since the 1980s - he first performed with a computer onstage in 1986. Having heard the two archival compilations released by Unseen Worlds last year, I've been seeking out as much of Stone's back catalogue as I can find, and I'll give you a listen in a future show.

Giraffe - On the shore [Meakusma]
Giraffe - The night is dark [Meakusma]
Hamburg trio Giraffe sit in a strange land somewhere between jazz, postrock and avant-garde experimentalism, not unlike certain other unusual travellers from Germany & Austria such as Kammerflimmer Kollektief, Radian et al. It's rhythmic yet rarely quite settles into a groove, it features familiar instruments but they don't quite follow the roles you'd expect. Whatever it is, I love listening to it.

Aries Mond - Cut Off [IIKKI]
Aries Mond - Cracks [IIKKI]
Aries Mond - Ink [IIKKI]
Boris Billier has been recently creating a beautiful and unusual take on "post-classical" ambient piano genre as Aries Mond - eschewing pretty, sub-classical melodies and the "subtle electronics" that I dread to read about in press releases, he uses electronics in a more uncompromising manner and his piano in a very subtle way, playful with sound and just melodic enough. On this new album, sounds crackle forth at odd spots in tracks, muted piano clicks and sputters in reverse, and field recordings of (sometimes indistinct) voices intermingle with the music. It's really gorgeous.

Daniel Carter, Tobias Wilner, Djibril Toure, Federico Ughi - Nostrand Avenue [577 Records/Bandcamp]
I discovered this teaming up of great NYC musicians through the latest issue of The Wire Tapper cover CD with The Wire, which featured an excerpt from another track off the album New York United. Combining brilliant jazz musicians Daniel Carter and Federico Ughi with electronic soundtrack musician Tobias Wilner and versatile bassist Djibril Toure (who's played with The Wu-Tang Clan), it's an album of jazzscapes, grooves and experimentation. This particular quartet may be new, but they've played together in various sub-groupings before, and that shows in an album that matches the avant-garde aspects with remarkable cohesion. I decided to play as much of this long track as I could, because I love the way it develops its themes as it cycles through upbeat sections and lulls. We left it about 10 minutes into its 17 minutes. I highly recommend checking out the whole album.

Listen again — ~193MB

Sunday, 10th of March, 2019

Playlist 10.03.19 (8:00 pm)

A cinematic vibe across a lot of tonight's sounds, whether it's krautrock/shoegaze, psychedelia, acoustic doom or who knows what else...

LISTEN AGAIN and fly to the stars and back... FBi does the stream on demand, podcast here.

Romeo Moon - It All Goes [Hotel Motel]
Melbourne musician Kevin Orr has released a couple of things before as Romeo Moon, but this is the first track in a couple of years. While he's a songwriter, this is a beautiful instrumental work, a slow burning meld of shoegaze and krautrock with a loping beat and shimmering drones.

LaBrecque / Barakat - Planet R-101 [Karlrecords]
Paul LaBrecque is best known as a member of long-lived psychedelic group Sunburned Hand of the Man, while German-Palestinian musician Ghazi Barakat is known as Pharaoh Chromium as well as various rock groups such as The Golden Showers. This duo release sees them creating two quite contrasting sides - side A is psych rock freakout, while tonight's side B achieves that feeling of static movement - things changing slowly but keeping in the same space for over 11 minutes until the delays and reverbs become more intense and then a Middle Eastern melody enters - and even then it takes a couple more minutes before it really takes off! Quite a trip indeed.

Elsen Price - Assemble: The Spirit Controlled [ABC Music]
Sydney double bassist Elsen Price is equally at home playing complex contemporary music scores, improvising jazz, playing with Middle Eastern ensembles, and creating solo double bass works live with looping pedal. On his solo album Descent of the Free he lets loose with every kind of double bass technique, conjuring beautiful high melodies, a tremolo choir of basses, plucked basslines, percussive slaps and more.

Deaf Center - Red Glow [Sonic Pieces via The Wire]
Cellist & drone/sound-artist Erik K Skodvin and pianist Otto A Totland have worked together as Deaf Center for a decade and a half. Their music started off a little more electronic and ambient, but gradually moved towards the spooky acoustic doom of Skodvin's solo work. To say I'm looking forward to their new album would be an understatement! I was even willing to pay vinyl prices for the limited CD edition - Sonic Pieces releases are always gorgeously packaged, but you pay for it...

Good Moon Deer - Aloner [ via The Wire]
Brussels-based Icelandic musician Guðmundur Úlfarsson basdardises his own name as Good Moon Deer, under which he releases lovely glitchy electro-acoustic stuff. This track slowly builds the chopped vocals and synths until the drum edits and bass drops take over. More soon please!

Machinefabriek - sidder [Nomad Exquisite]
Machinefabriek - zinder (feat vocals from Rie Mitsutake and Alden Penner) [Nomad Exquisite]
Rutger Zuydervelt is taking his music (as Machinefabriek and under his own name) into continually unexpected new vistas all the time. Here, for a short EP on Chicago label Nomad Exquisite he's created off-beat rhythm-and-bass, with synth pads and noises, all of which wouldn't be out of place on an updated idm release, say, or a well-hyped Boomkat-approved hot young thing. Excellent as always.

Lee Gamble - BMW Shuanghuan X5 [Hyperdub]
Lee Gamble - In The Wreck Room [Hyperdub]
I'm not sure why I didn't end up playing this in February, but better late than never! Lee Gamble can never be predicted, except that he's going to be cutting edge and conceptual, yet linked to the dancefloor all the same. Here we have one track which is a kind of concrète ode to an extravagant Chinese knock-off car, and then a track that's half ambient pads, half cool finger clicking bass and half jittery drill'n'bass breaks - and it exists in the folds of higher dimensions where you can have three halves.

Laurence Pike - Drum Chant [Leaf]
After a long break from solo work, Laurence Pike put out an album last year of placid percussion and live-triggered samples. Another new album is coming soon, and this first single is somewhat more frenetic in its percussion, again combining live drums with samples and electronics.

DJ Plead - Salt and Pepper [Nervous Horizon]
Now based in Melbourne, Jared Beeler continues his solo work as DJ Plead where he left off with last year's Get In Circle - Lebanese percussion meets bass music. Except this time he's released by London label Nervous Horizon and getting repped all over the place. His productions for BV were always first class too.

Aidan Baker, Faith Coloccia, Jon Mueller - Harmony In Distance [Gizeh/Bandcamp]
Barnett + Faith Coloccia - Bachelor's Grove [SIGE Records]
Barnett + Faith Coloccia - Switch [Blackest Ever Black]
Barnett + Faith Coloccia - AM Horizon [Blackest Ever Black]
Barnett + Faith Coloccia - Fountain of Youth [SIGE Records]
It's going to be a big year for Faith Coloccia, with a new solo release as Måra in the works, and a new release from her long-running duo with Oakeater's Alex Barnett - and coming in late April, a trio release with prolific guitar mangler Aidan Baker and brilliant, versatile percussionist Jon Mueller. On the latter release, Coloccia layered vocals through tape machines to create a beautiful wordless addition to the glitched & processed guitars and primitive percussion. It's a beautiful album, released on LP & digital through Gizeh in late April - tonight's track is an exclusive for now.
The Barnett + Coloccia duo has been producing precessional, arcane electronic works since 2013's Retrieval, only occasionally including Coloccia's angelic vocals, focusing rather on dark synthetic textures which could feel at home on an '80s industrial/gothic release a lot of the time. 2015's Weld continued, again with subtle melodies, abstract noise and sometimes drum machine beats. The latest, VLF, is released on SIGE Records, the label Coloccia runs with husband Aaron Turner. All three releases are evocative works that I return to quite often.

haddocks' eyes - fury and disgust [haddocks' eyes Bandcamp]
The musical emanations from Aussie artist Benjow aka haddocks' eyes come at irregular intervals and vary from indie songwriting to folk guitar picking to electronic processing - anything really. This track is typically outsiderish - highly processed vocals and dirgelike guitar and drum machine. Benjow is capable of creating gorgeous, emotive songs, but even when he's in alienation mode I find his stuff highly compelling.

Listen again — ~206MB

Sunday, 3rd of March, 2019

Playlist 03.03.19 (8:05 pm)

A range of postrock, experimental songforms, folktronica, drone and more tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN and remember... together. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Mark Hollis - The colour of spring [Polydor]
Talk Talk - After The Flood [Polydor]
When news broke earlier this week that Mark Hollis had died, there was an outpouring of love and sadness from around the world. There can hardly be any musician - and, with Talk Talk, any band - whose influence is more widely felt. Punk in their spirit of spurning all music industry expectations, masterful creators of beauty from minimalism, chance and occasionally noise. The last 2 1/2 Talk Talk albums, and Hollis' one solo album are iconoclastic, untouchable. And then Hollis left the music industry, the better to raise his family - an astonishing ethical act.
Of the "guitar solo" in "After The Flood" - actually a freaking out amplified "Variophon", a breath-controlled synthesizer which they stripped down to one howling, wobbling note that's sustained for over a minute in the middle of the track - the great producer & co-writer with Hollis Tim Friese-Greene says he remembers thinking, "This is the end. This is as far as we can go. After one note there's no notes. This will be the last album we make." And when you've created perfection, that's a fine conclusion to make.

Arthur Russell - Not Checking Up [Audika Records]
When the great Arthur Russell, cellist, vocalist and experimental disco king, died of AIDS in 1992, he reputedly left behinds 1000s of hours of unreleased demo tapes. This one was part of the sessions of his wonderful solo album World of Echo, and it showcases his lovely soft vocals, and his characteristic scratchy cello through delays and heaps of reverb. A beautiful discovery by Devendra Banhart.

Mary Rapp, Carl Dewhurst & Simon Barker - Dirt & Flowers [Mary Rapp Bandcamp]
Mary Rapp, Carl Dewhurst & Simon Barker - Gave Me Proof [Mary Rapp Bandcamp]
Proficient on cello, double bass and vocals, Mary Rapp is one of the great musical talents to emerge from Sydney's music scene in the last few years. Her solo performances with cello & vocals (and no effects or amplification) are riveting, but here she's joined by two veteran improvisers from Sydney, guitarist Carl Dewhurst and Simon Barker, creating improvised songs recorded live by Richard Belkner at Free Energy Device Studios in Camperdown, Sydney. Any free jazz freakout tendencies are undercut by drones, repeating patterns and Rapp's raw, emotive vocals. Her cello, like Arthur Russell's, finds expression through scratchy harshness as much as melody, and a kind of expressionism that doesn't necessarily care for demonstrative virtuosity. In any case, it's an extraordinary collection of songs.

Maarja Nuut & Ruum - haned kadunud [130701]
Maarja Nuut & Ruum - käed-mäed [130701]
We're revisiting this incredible album from last year - one of my faves of 2018 - because Maarja Nuut & Ruum are in Australia for WOMADelaide, and have kindly decided to play shows in Sydney & Melbourne as well. On Thursday the 7th of March they play Howler in Melbourne supported by the fabulous Aphir, and in Sydney it's this Friday the 8th of March at Venue 505 supported by none other than myself, in raven guise. Solo, Maarja Nuut combins Estonian folk music, classical music and storytelling into something spellbinding; with electronic musician Ruum this turns into an engrossing form of folktronica and I'm very excited to see it live.

My Disco - Forever [Downwards Records]
My Disco - Forever (Makeda remix) [Nice Music]
My Disco - Named [Temporary Residence/Bandcamp]
My Disco - An Intimate Conflict [Downwards Records]
Melbourne trio My Disco have always been purveyors of a kind of minimalism - but up until now it's been brutally scythed postpunk riffs and grooves under barked vocals, gradually honed into something very heavy and dark over a number of albums. For their new one, Environment, they've taken their minimalism to an almost Talk Talk-ian logical conclusion, with dark drones and pulses, washes of noise, and intoned vocals, and hardly anything resembling riffs let alone drum beats. It's impressively effective. Simultaneously with the album on Regis's (usually techno) label Downwards Records, Melbourne's Nice Music have released an EP of Environment Remixes, all fairly radical takes on the originals. Young Melbourne producer Makeda takes the original and makes it simultaneously more approachable and more experimental, somehow. "Named" gives us a small taste of the honed riffs of their last album, Severe, before we're buried alive with the clanging metallic percussion and throbbing electronics of "An Intimate Conflict" from the new album.

Teeth of the Sea - I'd Rather, Jack [Rocket Recordings]
Teeth of the Sea - All My Venom [Rocket Recordings]
Teeth of the Sea - Wraiths In The Wall [Rocket Recordings]
Teeth of the Sea - Our Love Can Destroy This Whole Fucking World [Rocket Recordings]
It's been almost 4 years since Teeth of the Sea's last album, the explosive Highly Deadly Black Tarantula which proved that they refuse to be pigeonholed. I'll call it postrock, but it's psychedelic rock and electronica and bizarrely the lead instrument mostly is a trumpet. Their new one, WRAITH, takes off pretty much where the last one left off, with a similar mix of musical styles and a similar dark outlook on the whole, although the last track I played is actually rather lovely in a kind of post-Tangerine Dream way.

Transtilla - Rudzki [Opa Loka Records]
Transtilla - Lavender and Mulberry, 1959 [Opa Loka Records]
Dutch musicians Anne-Chris Bakker and Romke Kleefstra have been playing together for over a decade, but usually as part of a trio with Romke's brother, the poet Jan Kleefstra. With Transtilla they let loose with textured, sometimes noisy drones on two guitars.

Steam Vent - One Oasis And The Next Mirage [Chemical Imbalance]
Del Lumanta is involved in some really cool stuff around Sydney, and creates experimental music under various names. We heard their alias Steam Vent last year with a beautiful piece of synthetic and real guitar from Longform Editions called * Swells. Now they have a new cassette on Chemical Imbalance called Take It Easy which they describe as "slow bedroom guitar dirge". We got to hear about half of the 20 minute A side tonight.

Listen again — ~209MB

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