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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, 18th of August, 2019

Playlist 18.08.19 (9:10 pm)

Lots of crunchy, lovely idm goodness tonight, but also some orchestral-meets-electronic soundtrackiness, folktronic postrock, and abstract noise/psych.

LISTEN AGAIN because you missed that bit... no, that other bit... Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here.

Ben Frost - Die Reisenden 1 [Ben Frost Bandcamp/Invada]
Ben Frost - Ich kann die Vergangenheit Ändern [Ben Frost Bandcamp/Invada]
Ben Frost - Die Apokalypse Muss Kommen [Ben Frost Bandcamp/Invada]
Ben is of course an Australian musician, originally from Adelaide, who has been based in Iceland for many years now. His By The Throat album was a favourite of the year on this show in 2009 (TEN YEARS AGO) and lo and behold, it featured strings and other acoustic instruments among snarling electronic sounds and heaps of bass. For a dark (yes) time-travelling German TV series (commissioned and screening on Netflix) Ben would seem to be an ideal composer, and his soundtrack leans heavily on string glissandi, drones, industrial clangs, and bass growls to create an atmosphere of tension and horror – along with moments of stillness and peace. He's just released the soundtrack for "Cycle 2" of the DARK series, and it's got a similar vibe to the first series although he's made a lot more use of the EMS Synthi in this one. There's quite a bit of rhythmic work, not necessarily at home on any dancefloor but showing how it might be that Mary Anne Hobbes chose a bass-heavy droney piece of his back in 2008 for her Evangeline compilation...

Proem - Cuddle Buddy [N5MD/Bandcamp]
Proem - False Hope [N5MD/Bandcamp]
Much of tonight is catching up on some more beat-oriented music from the last few months, and here's one of the original US idm artists with what to me is clearly his best album yet. Proem is Richard Bailey, originally from Austin TX but now based in Philadelphia (I believe). I was in Dallas recently between A and B and did find a surprising few of his older releases, and now I realise why! He's always been one for glitchy, crunchy beats and delicate melodies – you can find him in that axis of producers alongside old Machinedrum and the like – and he's quite at home on Californian label N5MD (once a MiniDisc only label, hence the name). I've enjoyed the head-nodding stuttery beats and melodies on this album a lot lately - including the disturbing/blissful processed vocals on the first track and the subtle groove and slightly creepy soundworld of the latter.

Antwood - Club Dread [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Tristan Douglas - Replicon [Tristan Douglas Bandcamp]
Antwood - The New Industry [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Antwood - Delphi [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Canadian musician Tristan Douglas started off calling his project "Margaret Antwood" but thankfully realised that without the parody name aspect the second part is still super evocative. His music uses tropes and sounds from dance music and vaporwave's fauxstalgic tendencies to examine our dependencies on technology and how technological decisions are affecting our humanity. 2017's Sponsored Content captured this really well, with computerised ballads and glitched-up trance memories, while the self-released Dream Police (ostensibly from 2037) also carried this cyberpunk theme. His new one sees him collaborating with his girlfriend Olivia Dreisinger, to create the young lovelorn Delphi, who is trying to navigate modern relationships. I'm not sure why she is named after the Greek city said, in ancient times, to be the home of the famous oracle. There's some cool music on this new album, but it’s not as striking as the previous in some ways - although "Club Dread" certainly takes the deconstruction of the club seriously...

Datach'i - Saugerties Road [TIMESIG/Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Datach'i - Inversion [TIMESIG/Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Datach'i - Motion In The Living Room [TIMESIG/Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Joseph A Fraioli aka Datach'i, like Proem above, is one of the generation of US idm artists who came out in the end of the '90s, taking the crunchy accelerated beats and mutated dancefloor sounds of a genre that was mainly based in the UK until then and twisting it into further mutations. He'd had a break for a while and then in 2016 put out an album of modular synth pieces (as everyone does these days) through Venetian Snares' TIMESIG imprint on Planet µ. His follow-up, Bones (accompanied for the earliest purchases with a second disc titled, *ahem*, Bonus), takes off where the previous left off, letting through even more melodic, calmer musical approaches – in part because Fraioli is contemplating the recent death of his father. He was known as one of the most manic and messed-up idm producers in his early days, but now we only have a few drill'n'bass-style pieces on each album (such as the last selection tonight). In between, from the limited Bonus, a spacious work with slowly-pulsating bass.

Humanoid - Traktion [fsoldigital]
Released through their FSOL Digital, Built By Humanoid finds Future Sound of London's Brian Dougans reviving an acid techno moniker that released some legendary 12"s in the late '80s and early '90s when he and Gary Cobain were deep in rave culture. FSOL made their name stretching into dubby, sample-infested ambient and ambient techno, and then the pair moved into psychedelic rock & pop as Amorphous Androgynous, but they realised a decade and a bit ago that their electronic fans were still around, and began releasing album after album of archival FSOL work, which was gradually salted with more & more new originals. As Humanoid, Dougans is collecting here an album's worth of acid techno and frenetic idm – it's a lot of fun.

Watine - Jetlag rx by Jon Kennedy [Watine Bandcamp]
Watine - Undying Pizzicato rx by Martyn Barker [Watine Bandcamp]
Watine - Undying Pizzicato rx by Intratextures [Watine Bandcamp]
Watine - Verrophone rx by Damien Somville [Watine Bandcamp]
Watine - Verrophone rx by Richard Adams [Watine Bandcamp]
French artist Catherine Watine has not been that well-known in the English-speaking world until recently. A pianist since a young age, she first began performing in a punk band, then trip-hop and pop, before becoming interested in releasing post-classical piano and electronic music. Her last album, Géométries Sous-Cutanées, was released on Time Released Sound recently, already a collage of her previous works into an interesting creation of post-classical/post-rock/prog, but now she has released a remix album which presents like a DJ mix, tumbling through different versions of tracks from that album created by various fellow travellers. Digitally the full tracks are also available, but I've been enjoying the travelogue so I'm giving you an excerpt tonight. We start by carrying on the drum'n'bass proclivities of the last few tracks, with English musician Jon Kennedy. Then two versions of "Undying Pizzicato", starting with Shriekback dummer Martyn Barker and then French producer Intratextures, and then two versions of "Verrophone", from Plastic Folk Inventions' Damien Somville, and then UFog fave Richard Adams of The Declining Winter and Hood.

Roll The Dice & Goran Kajfeš - Head Drop [Roll The Dice Bandcamp]
Stockholm's Roll The Dice, electro-acoustic masters, have recently been releasing a series of singles in collaboration with interesting musicians from around the world. This track sees them joined by Croatian-Swedish trumpeter Goran Kajfeš in a piece that puns on Miles Davis' "Sketches of Spain" and produces a bit of groovy twisted techno-jazz.

Pierre Bastien - Emit Time [The Wire's Below The Radar 31]
French composer and inventor Pierre Bastien makes incredible mechanised orchestras that perform his music, producing strange analogues of electronica, rock, jazz, classical or maybe let's just say his own idiosyncratic genre of music. Here though, following Goran Kajfeš we have a track that alongside the sketchy beats and tuned percussion features a trumpet-like solo melody. It could be a melodica or even a synthesiser – it's hard to say. It's quite lovely in any case. It seems to be exclusive to the latest download compilation from The Wire, Below The Radar 31.

Intenso - Prophets of No God [Intenso Bandcamp]
Perth trio Intenso have just released their new EP Prophets of No God, produced by fellow Perth musician & engineer Steve Paraskos. From the first two tracks on the EP you could imagine it's all about noise rock, but then on this third we're in beautifully psychedelic space jazz of some sort. Super cool.

Suburban Cracked Collective - The Secret Chief [No Confidante Dictae Records]
Suburban Cracked Collective - Half Sour [Aetheric Records]
Suburban Cracked Collective - A Space Above The Mind [No Confidante Dictae Records]
Newcastle's Shaun Leacy was once a member of the great, never-categorizable collective Castings. His new project is not a collective but a solo venture, but he calls it Suburban Cracked Collective anyway. It's been an outlet for some pretty varied sounds - plenty of electronics are in there (especially the distorted beats and drones "Half Sour", from his first release Basquiat Upon The RSL), but his latest, Private Failings, has a more contemplative bent, being described as "an attempt to adorn one's personal world with some kind of meaning beyond the everyday". Half-heard loops and other sounds flitter around scattered percussion in stumbling rhythms. Fascinating work as always.

Listen again — ~198MB

Sunday, 11th of August, 2019

Playlist 11.08.19 (9:05 pm)

Travelling around the world tonight for the finest in sound-art, deconstructed club music and mulched piano...

LISTEN AGAIN for that cool bit... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Yunzero - Theme [.jpeg Artefacts]
Yunzero - Fax 1 [.jpeg Artefacts]
Yunzero - Mute Dot [.jpeg Artefacts]
I previously played a couple of tracks from Yunzero that were a preview of his new album Ode to Mud, now released on .jpeg artefacts. It's the work of Melbourne artist Jim Sellars (previously Hyde and Electric Sea Spider) – bass and beats embedded in a psychedelic, ambient soundworld. Wonderfully done.

Lochie Earl - Wakkatatatta [Lochie Earl Bandcamp]
Lochie Earl - Jellyfish [Lochie Earl Bandcamp]
Sydney artist Lochie Earl finds himself all around town playing drums and singing in bands like Gypsys of Pangaea, and with artists like Joan Banoit, Lee Sullivan and others. His recently-released solo album I'm a Normal Person finds him on many instruments, notably including piano. It's a really interesting collection of catchy songs with progressive arrangements and structures, and it starts with a lovely instrumental combining piano with electronics, which fits rather nicely into the next batch of music.

Daniel W J Mackenzie & Richard A Ingram - Victoria Piano II (Distance) [Midira Records/Bandcamp]
Daniel W J Mackenzie & Richard A Ingram - Half Breath [Midira Records/Bandcamp]
I imagine if Richard A Ingram hadn't had at least one middle name he'd have felt quite inadequate. Ingram plays in indie/space rock band Oceansize as well as releasing music under his own name and as Gambler; Daniel W J Mackenzie releases lovely drone/postrock/post-classical under his own name and as Ekca Liena, and also has a heavy psych/drone rock band called Plurals. For this duo release Half Death they lean on the atmospheric side of their solo projects, creating a dark album of processed piano, mysterious organic sounds, field recordings and electronics for Midira Records. Absolutely absorbing, highly recommended.

Arovane & Mike Lazarev - Inerp, Blue [Eilean Records/Bandcamp]
Arovane & Mike Lazarev - Distant, In Time [Eilean Records/Bandcamp]
Uwe Zahn released a series of iconic idm 12"s and albums as Arovane in the early 2000s, but shifted into a more acoustic sound world after not too long. In the last 5 years or so he's resurfaced, releasing music of a much more ambient bent, including numerous collaborations, particularly with Iranian sound artists Porya Hatami. New album Aeon on French label Eilean Records finds him working with pianist Mike Lazarev, who's best known as the character behind the Headphone Commute website that's focused on ambient, electronic and post-classical music. It's a collection of very stark and beautiful piano reductions surrounded by fizzing, bubbling processing. Quite lovely.

Michael Cutting - Seeking Safe Harbour [Eilean Records/Bandcamp]
Also released by Eilean, UK artist Michael Cutting appropriately enough works with tape, emphasizing the degrading sounds and off-kilter cut-up tape loops, and combining them with wheezing, rough-hewn sounds of organ, e-bowed violin and other instruments. On this track he enlists Robbie Gardiner on clarinet and Vitalija Glovackyte (who's the other half with him in experimental pop duo Hyperdawn) on vocals.

Mats Eilertsen - Venus [Hubro/Bandcamp]
Mats Eilertsen - Appreciate [Hubro/Bandcamp]
Norwegian bassist Mats Eilertsen is a veteran of many bands in the Norwegian jazz/postrock circuit, including the original incarnation of the great Food, and the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra. This album finds him cutting up, pitch-shifting, looping and rearranging samples of himself on bass as well as various friends from the Norwegian scene – including Food drummer Thomas Strønen on the otherwise solo bass track we started with, and the amazing Arve Henriksen of Supersilent on trumpet for the beautiful closing piece, along with some very subtle snare drum from Per Oddvar Johansen.

Stefano Pilia - Et Consumimur Igni [Die Schachtel/Bandcamp]
Italian guitarist Stefano Pilia is a member of Italian postrock legends 3/4HadBeenEliminated, as well as various punk, postrock and experimental ensembles (including a couple of albums with David Grubbs (who features on piano on another track on this release) and Andrea Belfi (from whom we will hear next)). His solo work can be anything from experimental sound-art and field recordings to bluesy, folky guitar – but this new one, In Girum Imus Nocte Et Consumimur Igni, released by legendary Milan label Die Schachtel, focuses on minimalist guitar tones in the vein of early solo Oren Ambarchi – except where it doesn't, as with the fluttering, stuttering choral loops on this track.

Andrea Belfi - Outcrop [FLOAT/Bandcamp]
The aforementioned Italian drummer Andrea Belfi also has a new one out, continuing his aesthetic of pulsating electronics and propulsive drum kit and percussion.

CA2+ - Deleese (Intro) [Northern Electronics/Bandcamp]
CA2+ - Gait Cycle [Northern Electronics/Bandcamp]
Sweden's Andreas Lübeck is an accomplished photographer, and now has a few releases under his belt for Northern Electronics as CA2+. His earliest cuts were fairly dancefloor-ready techno, but somehow by 2019's Lonely Hearts Club he's we're finding exquisite modern electro-acoustic composition alongside the deconstructed bass and beats - see "Deleese (Intro)" for sliding tones and glitchy quasi-melodies. And then back to 2017's Gait Cycle EP which featured more experimental broken beats.

Evitceles - Rhythm In Trouble [Evitceles Bandcamp]
Evitceles - Cryogenic Nina [Evitceles Bandcamp]
Evitceles - Wrecked [Evitceles Bandcamp]
Evitceles - Bloody Thighs [Yerevan Tapes]
Evitceles - We Taste Like Salt [Evitceles Bandcamp]
It was only a few months ago that I featured the sounds of Sofia, Bulgaria-based artist Evitceles on his latest album on Opal Tapes (on the page for this album, We Taste Like Salt, he says he's been missing the days of releasing his own music). Since 2014 he's been quite prolific, perfecting his take on the flickering post-cyberpunk strains of eviscerated club music on labels like Italy's Yerevan Tapes and England's Seagrave, so I thought I'd have another look through some older releases as well tonight.
If you doubt the cyberpunk label, the Bulgarian quote on his Bandcamp and Facebook translates as "only thin shuddering skin on a dream-filled, super-real picture world".

Sue Zuki - didufindfher [Weaponise Your Sound]
Bonus track as Krishtie was experiencing difficult technical issues! So we got to hear this crazy awesome piece of glitched-up vocal samples and beats from the mysterious experimental electronic producer and poet/singer Sue Zuki, available on the all-female Weaponise Your Sound compilation through Optimo Music.

Listen again — ~190MB

Sunday, 4th of August, 2019

Playlist 04.08.19 (9:16 pm)

I'm back after a couple of weeks - thanks to Chuyi Wang for his two great playlists filling in while I was off in the USA managing not to get murdered.

LISTEN AGAIN and bask in the glory of it all. FBi has the stream on demands, podcast here.

Sarathy Korwar feat. Deepak Unnikrishnan - Pravasis [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Sarathy Korwar feat. Zia Ahmed & Aditya Prakash - Bol [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Sarathy Korwar feat. MC Malawi - Mumbay (Bandish Projekt remix) [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Second album from the Indian jazz musician Sarathy Korwar, now London-based, US-born and raised in Ahmedabad and Chennai. He learned tabla and Indian classical music, but also played the Western drum kit, and moved to London to continue bringing these two worlds together. His first album was released on Ninja Tune in 2016, and this new one comes via The Leaf Label. Here his crossover of Indian classical and jazz is further augmented with rappers from Mumbai and New Delhi, along with spoken word from London-based poet Zia Ahmed and author Deepak Unnikrishnan, and this is taken further with Indian bass/hip-hop crew Bandish Projekt's 7/8 drum'n'bass remix of the excellent single Mumbai featuring MC Malawi's ponderings on colonialism (bouncing between "Mumbai" and "Bombay"). The album tackles Brexit Britain by amplifying brown voices and championing multiculturalism – it's fantastic.

Last Life - Rotterdam [Samurai Music/Bandcamp]
The Untouchables - Bushi Ronin [Samurai Music/Bandcamp]
Before we get to some more hip-hop, we're taking off from where the Bandish Projekt remix brought us with a couple of contemporary drum'n'bass tracks from the ever-reliable Samurai Music. Their latest compilation takes its inspiration from the Japanese Noh tradition – the Hannya masks represent a female character transforming into a demon, through her sadness and anger. It's a series of 3 12"s for the 3 masks, and also a single compilation. We hear some updated tech step from from Italy's Last Life, and something even more stripped down from Belgian d'n'b collective The Untouchables.

Saul Williams - Before the War [Pirates Blend Records]
Saul Williams - Encrypted & Vulnerable (feat. Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah) [Pirates Blend Records]
Saul Williams - Fight Everything [Pirates Blend Records]
Saul Williams has drawn on jungle beats since the very beginning of his career, including an incredible collaboration with DJ Krust called "Coded Language". New album Encrypted & Vulnerable has no drum'n'bass to speak of though - it's a continuation of the MartyrLoserKing project which his recent Kickstarter project Neptune Frost also relates to – a "meta-character" who's a hacker I believe. The album draws broadly from the music of the African diaspora, including thumb pianos and jazz, with some beautifuly guest playing from jazz trumpeter Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah on one track. It's as dense and difficult and catchy as Williams always is.

Wreck and Reference - Dumb Forest [The Flenser/Bandcamp]
Wreck and Reference - Stranger, Fill This Hole In Me [The Flenser/Bandcamp]
Wreck and Reference - Closer You Are [The Flenser/Bandcamp]
Wreck and Reference - In Uniform [The Flenser/Bandcamp]
OK, this ain't hip-hop anymore. But it's not exactly black metal either. OK, Wreck and Reference were never conventional – always eschewing guitars for keyboards and drum machines. But here there's very little anguished screaming either (you're probably thanking your lucky stars). This new album Absolute Still Life is the most emo/new-romantic, and also the most blatantly electronic, with glitchy beats and samples and synths, and existentialist, despairing lyrics as ever. I think it's absolute genius.
I also played a mopey track from their great 2014 album Want, and a track from last year's EP of Guided By Voices covers, Alien Pains.

hence therefore - vile offspring [3BS Records]
hence therefore - North Pacific Gyre [3BS Records]
hence therefore - vile offspring [3BS Records]
As hence therefore, Simon Unwin, Sydneysider based in London for the last few years, brings us his new opus SECULAR HELLS this coming week through 3BS Records once again. It's an amazing work of fidgety bass techno which ruminates on the other apocalypse that's just around the corner. If climate change doesn't get us (hint: it will), then we'll become vassals of runaway surveillance capitalism, fed algorithmic content while our livelihoods are automated away. It's a grim diagnosis. Also mad props for referencing the Vile Offspring from Charles Stross's masterpiece Accelerando – corporate entities that have gone through the singularity and become sentient posthumans intent on cannibalising all the matter in the solar system.
Speaking of environmental concerns, in the middle we had a track from 2016's Machine For Destroying Value.

(((o|o))) - a question of safety [(((o|o))) Bandcamp]
This unpronounceable artist sent me their new EP this week. (((o|o))) assures me they're from Australia, but don't give away anything else. It's dark ambient stuff that fits with the fairly creepy theme for tonight's show.

Cilt - atrium [Cilt Bandcamp]
New work from the collaboration between two originally Canberran artists, viola player & noise artist Hannah De Feyter aka alphamale and singer/producer Becki Whitton aka Aphir. These two murky tracks have hidden depths, with vocals and subtle rhythms lurking beneath the surface drones.

Siavash Amini - A Recollection Of The Disappeared [Room40]
And now, the astonishing new album from Iranian master Siavash Amini, now at home with Brisbane's Room40. A nervous breakdown illuminated for Amini a sensation of detachedness, of being half in the dreamworld at all times. In this dramatic work of drones and clatterings, Amini is joined by compatriots Nima Aghiani on violin and Pouya Pour-Amin on double bass.

Sebastian Field - To Your Arms (Tilman Robinson Remix) [Provenance Records]
This new single takes a track from Sebastian Field's recent album Picture Stone and hands it over to Perth-via-Melbourne artist Tilman Robinson to notch up the intensity. There should be a whole set of remixes coming soon.

Listen again — ~199MB

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