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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 September, 2019

Playlist 15.09.19 (9:16 pm)

It's FBi's supporter drive all this week, so head along to fbiradio.com and sign up for a small monthly fee to help run this station! I have a selection of tunes running from jungle breaks and experimental electronics through granular and additive synthesis to folk and experimental classical of a sort...

LISTEN AGAIN because that's what FBi's about. Stream it on demand or podcast it over mailhere.

Djrum - Tournesol [R&S Records/Bandcamp]
Insane gear in pure Djrum style, techno with drips of amen breaks until the last third of the track where it just effortlessly slips into junglist breakage and rolling bassline - plus acid freakout synths. Bit of everything, all working perfectly.

Laptop Destroyer - Tell Dem [ZZAAPP]
Kris Keogh has recently been putting out delightful processed harp recordings under his own name, and has also released weird mixed-up indie/indietronica, but for years he was producing very odd idm and electronica as Blastcorp. He's now doing electronic music under Laptop Destroyer, and created this fun ragga jungle track on a Pocket Operator PO-33 toy sampler. It's super cool and also available on a lathe-cut 7" made in Newcastle, with an equally cool track on the flipside.

GOOOOOSE - Plasma Sunrise [SVBKVLT]
I was lucky enough to get to see Shanghai electronic artist GOOOOOSE at Soft Centre yesterday, and I'm kicking myself that I hadn't already gotten hold of this excellent album on Chinese electronic label SVBKVLT. He and his partner 33, who played a great techno set later in the day, are alumni of the Chinese electro-rock band Duck Fight Goose. The mashed jungle breaks, reconfigured in new ways on a few tracks here are really exciting, but the gentle jazzy piano chords and the more ambient passages are great too. As a bonus the album finishes with a few remixes, including the one & only Iranian electronic master Sote (interviewed last week on the show), who did a superb hardcore set at Soft Centre too.

Hyde - Nine Ways To Imitate A Monsoon [Nice Music]
Yunzero - Orchard 1 [.jpeg Artefacts]
Recently I featured some of Jim Sellars' music as Yunzero, released by the great little Melbourne label .jpeg Artefacts. Very warped electronica, with deep basslines, fidgety beats, and woozy ambient passages, it's music for our time.

Proc Fiskal - Pico [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Edinburgh's Joe Powers has been releasing grime/bass/drum'n'bass/idm-influenced productions for a little while now, always coming at a strange tangent from what you'd expect of any specific genre. His new EP is a genre-defying collection of tunes made for the club he ran for a little while called Shleekit Doss, and contains this bouncy number which juggles jungle beats in a lovely melodic fashion.

Carl Stone - Han Yan [Unseen Worlds]
Nice thing about ordering physical music online is that sometimes labels send it early - so despite coming from the US, I've got both the new Carl Stone album and the preceding EP on CD already! Nevertheless the track I'm playing is already available if you order it from Bandcamp... Strangely starting as if it's a bit of jungle, with sped up drums, but it's really Stone's longstanding technique of granular synthesis, chopping up a sample or set of related samples into small fragments and shuffling through them, often rhythmically, allowing strange beats and rearranged melodies to surface. He's been at this for decades - performing with a "home computer" on stage in the 1980s. He's an absolute master, and these two releases are superb.

Isomov - Origin, Emergence and The One [DECISIONS]
Isomov - Ensemble [DECISIONS]
New York musician and mathematician Isomov names themself after science fiction author Isaac Asimov, with an EP here on Aussie electronic label DECISIONS. It's a kind of futuristic epic of highly evolved artificial intelligences, with sampled vocals from Kathryn LeBlanc on a couple of tracks adding a kind of soundtrack-like classical aspect to the proceedings. In truly science-fictional form, the album is also available as a one-of-a-kind WiFi-enabled holographic sculpture...

Floating Spectrum - The early green outburst [Temporary Residence/Bandcamp]
Floating Spectrum - Inner island [Temporary Residence/Bandcamp]
Taiwan-born artist Mei-Fang Liau, now based in Berlin, is Floating Spectrum. Her debut album comes out on the legendary Temporary Residence label this coming week, and explores the cycles of nature through a suite of homemade music software alongside samples of household objects. You can actually download the fractal-inspired synthesiser Polyphylla for yourself. It's beautiful and sometimes unsettling ambient music, a really great achievement for a debut release.

Sebastian Field - Unravel (Shoeb Ahmad Remix) [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Following his lovely ambient-indie album Picture Stone, Canberra's Sebastian Field now releases a short album of remixes from some great Australian artists - many of them with roots in Canberra. Shoeb Ahmad (who also appeared at Soft Centre this weekend) is a central player in Canberra's experimental music scene, and has previously released Field on her hellosQuare label. Here she takes Field's Björk cover and chops it into tiny pieces, elongating some syllables while creating pulsating rhythms from others. Other contributions from Kris Keogh (featured earlier), Tilman Robinson, Reuben Ingall, Aphir and Arrom are all well worth checking out.

The Crooked Fiddle Band - Twilight to Darkness (excerpt) [Crooked Fiddle Bandcamp]
Sydney act The Crooked Fiddle Band are an acoustic steamroller of a group... A folk band with a great love of gypsy and klezmer styles, but frequently letting fly with riffage befitting of a metal band, with epic prog-metal-like tracks (we heard about half of one tonight), also capable of writing incredibly catchy songs. Their new album Another Subtle Atom Bomb is a howl of anger and fear and hope at the climate catastrophe we find ourselves in. It's been a long wait but it's a hugely worthy successor to their last epic, Moving Pieces of the Sea.

Listen again — ~202MB

Sunday, 8th of September, 2019

Playlist 08.09.19 (9:01 pm)

Eclectic mix of sounds tonight, from indiefolk to glitchy r'n'b to avant-garde strings, Middle Eastern electronic and a good slab of drum'n'bass.

LISTEN AGAIN - you deserve it. Stream on demand from FBi or podcast here.

Bonniesongs - 123 [Art As Catharsis/Bonniesongs Bandcamp]
Bonniesongs - 123 reprise [Art As Catharsis/Bonniesongs Bandcamp]
Bonniesongs - Frank [Art As Catharsis/Bonniesongs Bandcamp]
Irish multi-instrumentalist Bonnie Stewart has been based in Sydney for some years now, playing with some pretty experimental folks including noise/experimental duo Rebel Scum and free improv ensemble The Splinter Orchestra. But as Bonniesongs she creates wonderful folky indie songs, often solo with guitar, banjo, and looping & effects pedals. Many of those songs that have been in her live sets for some time now make it on to this album, including creepy Night of the Living Dead tribute "Barbara", and her ode to Frankenstein's monster, "Frank". The album was engineered & produced by the great Sydney partnership of David Trumpmanis and Alyx Dennison. Also notable is the creative cello playing of Freya Schack-Arnott - more cello and other strings coming up later this evening!

Collarbones - Momentary [Collarbones Bandcamp]
Collarbones - Kill Off The Vowels [Two Bright Lakes/Collarbones Bandcamp]
Collarbones - Turning [Collarbones Bandcamp]
Collarbones - Never Giving Up [TEEF]
Collarbones - Skylight [Collarbones Bandcamp]
Marcus Whale has been appearing on Utility Fog since he was something like 15 years ago, precociously recording experimental multi-tracked creations and sending them into the radio. Sometime before 2009, he met fellow music fan, Adelaidean Travis Cook, on a post-rock forum online, and they started trying their hand at writing r'n'b-inspired pop songs of a sort. They were full of programmed beats and glitchy samples (see "Kill Off The Vowels" from their first album proper). Over the years, their music has in some ways moved more towards pop from the experimental beginnings, but it's fair to say this is as much because pop music has embraced the internet world of broad focus and short attention spans - that is to say, pop has moved towards Collarbones. And that's only a good thing. This new album is perhaps their most explicitly "pop" yet, directly aimed at pop's expressions of longing and desire, celebrating queer crushes and raw emotion. It's got the machine-gun beats of deconstructed club music as well as piano ballads. Rad.

Darcy Baylis - The last time I saw your face or An exercise in forgetting [.jpeg Artefacts]
Melbourne-based musician Darcy Baylis is making a name for himself with trap and r'n'b-influenced emo-rap, but he's a bit of an all-rounder, and a few years ago he composed a string quartet which combines beautifully-arranged strings with some subtle electronics (including a few judicious uses of sub-bass). It's really beautiful and you should get hold of it via .jpeg Artefacts.

Viktor Orri Árnason and Yair Elazar Glotman - Splatters [Bedroom Community]
Viktor Orri Árnason and Yair Elazar Glotman - Life [Bedroom Community]
I've played Berlin-based Israeli composer, sound-artist & double-bassist Yair Elazar Glotman a lot on this show, whether his bass/techno-influenced alias KETEV or his sound-art and solo double-bass works under his own name. Lately he has been working on film and other soundtracks in Berlin, and spent some time on some works with Jóhann Jóhannsson before he sadly passed away. Meanwhile, composer and conductor Viktor Orri Árnason has also worked with Jóhannsson, and the pair were even on the same pieces, but didn't meet up until they got together for this extraordinary duo release. It's a bit like a follow-up to the spookily close-mic'd, cavernous 2016 album Études from Glotman, with expansive or fluttering or frantic viola from Árnason. A real meeting of minds, not to be missed.

Oliver Coates - Path In [OOH-sounds/Bandcamp]
Oliver Coates - Umbo [OOH-sounds/Bandcamp]
English cellist Oliver Coates is nothing if not versatile, whether he's interpreting contemporary classical works, arranging strings for Radiohead, or working with other innovative artists like Mica Levi. Solo, he is happily jumps between genres, and on this new split release his "side" moves from elegiac cello harmonies through Reichian pop-classical to a finale of processed cello, electronics and breakbeats which gradually gets more rave & idm-influenced as the track goes on. Totally fun and rewarding - and the dub techno flipside from Spatial is great too.

Nima Aghiani - Submit/Defy [Zabte Sote]
Nima Aghiani - Ibbothal [PTP]
Nima Aghiani - Automaton [Zabte Sote]
Paris-based violinist and noise/electronic musician Nima Aghiani is one half of 9T Antiope, much beloved of this show, but his previous solo release REMS, released by Purple Tape Pedigree, was also one of my favourites of last year. Like that one, this new release merges heavy electronics, occasionally rhythmic, with his string playing - sometimes emotive, sometimes cacophanous. Convergence Zone, released on Sote's home for experimental Iranian music Zabte Sote, explores the convergence of man and machine - what does it mean for our devices to become extensions of ourselves, or for machines to become more or less sentient? Like last year's ruminations of the liminal state between sleep & waking, these concepts are ideal for Aghiani's music, which smudges between organic and electronic, between beauty and noise.

Carl Gari & Abdullah Miniawy - Hela هيلا [Whities]
Abdullah Miniawy - Weak filters [Abdullah Miniawy Bandcamp]
Abdullah Miniawy - Criteria of good [Abdullah Miniawy Bandcamp]
Last week I featured this amazing collaboration on the show, between German three-piece Carl Gari and France-based Egyptian poet and singer Abdullah Miniawy. In the meantime I've discovered Miniawy's Bandcamp, where he has some surprising productions of his own - great experimental electronic beats, crazy impressive.

HOOVER1 - HOOVER1-3A [nOWTRecordings]
René Pawlowitz is best known for his brilliant techno productions as Shed but there's always been an undercurrent of idm and rave to his tunes. There are in fact one or two drum'n'bass tracks in his discography, but lately he's expanded into a whole tonne of only slightly secret aliases for a set of labels called nOWT, and included are three 12"s now available digitally under the name HOOVER1, in which Pawlowitz lets loose with junglist breaks, albeit in a slightly idiosyncratic manner.

Margari's Kid - Challenger [Cosmic Bridge Records]
Vromm - Decentralized [Cosmic Bridge Records]
Jim Coles aka Om Unit didn't plan to be a drum'n'bass don, although he started out as a '90s junglist. He moved into hip-hop and dubstep style beats for some years, but then ended up dropping some stunning jungle tunes on Metalheadz as well as helping shepherd both the crossover of drum'n'bass and dubstep known as slow/fast and also the hybridisation of Chicago footwork productions with drum'n'bass (particularly under his Philip D Kick alias). So now he's been releasing some great music on his Cosmic Bridge Records, including now four Cosmology compilations, each with a good smattering of forward-thinking drum'n'bass producers and Om Unit compadres, and usually a few interesting remixes or collaborations by himself (and this one's no exception - he hooks up with both Synkro and Djrum). I chose a couple of particularly jungly tunes tonight - from two Spanish producers; the usually half-time or slow/fast Vromm, and Bristol-based Margari's Kid.

Listen again — ~198MB

Sunday, 1st of September, 2019

Playlist 01.12.19 (8:55 pm)

Tonight we have an interview with the great Iranian electronic musician Ata Ebtekar aka Sote, who we are extremely lucky in Sydney to have coming in a few weeks to play at Soft Centre. A few final release tickets are still available...

LISTEN AGAIN to a fascinating interview and glorious best electronic + acoustic sounds. Podcast here, stream on demand @ FBi.

Tool - Chocolate Chip Trip [RCA Records]
Well, it's been 13 long years since their last album, but Tool have just dropped Fear Inoculum on a not-entirely-unsuspecting public, and it seems like a lot of people in my social feeds were extremely excited. I do like their brand of prog metal, for what it's worth, but the stuff I like the most is when they sound the least like themselves - e.g. this track, in their traditional 7/8 but mostly based around a squelchy synth line and Danny Carey's crazy drumming. The digital versions of the album feature a few more interstitial tracks which help break up the male angst...

Sote - Electric Deaf [Warp]
...interview with Ata Ebtekar with music under interview:
Ata Ebtekar and The Iranian Orchestra For New Music - Tonus {excerpt} [Sub Rosa]
Sote - Lacuna {excerpt} [Record Label Records]
Sote - Hardcore Sounds From Tehran Side A {excerpt} [Opal Tapes]
Sote - Brass Tacks [Diagonal Records/Bandcamp]
...second part of interview with Ata Ebtekar...
Sote - Pipe Dreams [Diagonal Records/Bandcamp]
It's very exciting indeed that Ata Ebtekar aka Sote is going to be playing at Soft Centre in Casula, in Sydney's Western Suburbs, on the 14th of September. I first discovered his music with the incredible Electric Deaf EP released on Warp in 2002. This was followed by some more beats on Dielectric, and later the great Wake Up 12” which I do believe I played a few times on this show in 2007, but already with 2006’s Dastgaah he was exploring ways to integrate traditional and classical Persian music into the electronic world. Both were released by Record Label Records, a US label that put out a number of his albums.
I talked to Ata about his adaptations of pioneering Iranian classical & electronic composer Alireza Mashayekhi, about idm and hardcore and formulaic electronic music, and about his approach to classical/traditional Persian music, a thread which has gone through his work for over a decade, and is particularly brilliantly rendered on 2017's Sacred Horror In Design for Opal Tapes, and this year's Parallel Persia. It was great to hear him talk about the collaborative process of working with the highly trained Iranian musicians Arash Bolouri (on santour + extended technique, vocals and tombak) and Pouya Damadi (tar + extended technique and vocals) on the new release.

Carl Gari & Abdullah Miniawy - B'aj بعاج [Whities]
Carl Gari & Abdullah Miniawy - Zawaj زواج [Whities]
New on the ever-evolving UK label Whities is the second album in which German trio Carl Gari collaborate with French-based Egyptian poet & singer Abdullah Miniawy. It's an extraordinary work entitled The Act of Falling from the 8th Floor. The centrepiece is the first track I played tonight, "B'aj بعاج", in which Miniawy narrates a poem told from the point of view of a man who has jumped from the 8th floor, and describes the activities on the balconies as he falls - a dark reflection of modern Egyptian society with a gorgeous bass-heavy soundscape of an accompaniment.

Mark Pritchard - In My Heart [Warp]
I'm thankful that UK electronic legend Mark Pritchard got in touch this week to let me know he's releasing monthly tracks online under the umbrella of MP Productions. I first got to know his work with Tom Middleton doing ambient electronica as Global Communication, but there was also techno as Reload, breaks of various sorts as Link, and drum'n'bass as Chaos & Julia Set, among many other things. For the last few years he's settled down into releasing everything under his birth name, which means that MP Productions can be anything at all each time - and there's a massive amount of stuff in his archive. There's also another full album coming of somewhat less dancefloor-oriented music, in the vein of Under The Sun (on which I played a bit of cello...)

Quench - Biva Vlance [Touched/Roel Funcken Bandcamp]
Roel Funcken has continued faithfully making idm after his brother Don decided to leave the music industry a number of years back. For ages they were the great "core idm" act as Funckarma, but actually their earliest release was as Quench, and it's to that moniker which Roel returns from this new EP on UK label Touched. A plethora of idm sounds, from this track's drill'n'bass to acid and melodic electronica, classic-sounding stuff beautifully produced.

Wytchings - Neptune [Urban Cowboy Records]
From Western Sydney comes Wytchings, the solo project of Jenny Trinh, who's part of the New Age Noise collective working out of ICE in Parramatta. On this cool new EP, Trinh explores watery themes through electronic loops, field recordings and film samples.

Ana da Silva & Phew - Bom Tempo [Shouting Out Loud!]
Ana da Silva & Phew - The fear song [Shouting Out Loud!]
Two very creative women with big histories work together here - both Ana da Silva (of The Raincoats) and Phew (aka Hiromi Moritani, of Aunt Sally, collaborator with Can, Neubauten, Anton Fier and many others) have foundations in punk and postpunk, and together they create amazing industrial soundscapes, some rhythmic, some more droney, with some whispered, muttered and sung vocals. Often Moritani attempts to speak Portuguese and da Silva tries to speak Japanese, which intentionally adds to the disorienting nature of the sounds. I missed this release in 2018 and I'm very glad to have found it now.

Ben Carey - Peaks (excerpt) [Hospital Hill]
Sydney musician Ben Carey is an accomplished saxophonist, but he's also a big fan of modular synthesis (and laptop production), and he has a new release coming out on Hospital Hill soon - this is an excerpt. The burbling synth sounds and quasi rhythms suggest it'll be awesome! Ben is performing as part of Surfacing Series 2, happening at Freda's in Chippendale on Saturday the 28th of September. Check the link for the full great lineup.

haddocks' eyes - hey wow said dylan [haddocks' eyes Bandcamp]
haddocks' eyes - shrinkage [haddocks' eyes Bandcamp]
Benjow aka haddocks' eyes has been playing his very idiosyncratic sounds around Adelaide and now Sydney for some years. He frequently updates his Bandcamp with new music, which can easily be anything from delicate indie songs to krautrocky drones, glitchy pop songs or abrasive drum machine outings. The drum machine noise piece here is from a new EP called breaking your head, but the second number is a beautifully heartfelt song which he's unearthed from a hard drive, probably from 2000.

D.C. Cross - Nordlin, By Chance [Darren Cross Bandcamp]
D.C. Cross - Drugged Up Madonna [Darren Cross Bandcamp]
Darren Cross is perhaps best known as one third of beloved Sydney guitar + electronic band Gerling. but his main outlet for some years has been the dark folk duo Jep and Dep with Jessica Cassar. His new album, however, is a collection of solo acoustic guitar works called Ecstatic Racquet, although that's misleading because delays and reverbs and different recording styles make for a rather varied album, at times drawing on clear touchstones such as the fingerstyle guitar of John Fahey or the close-mic'd emotiveness of Nick Drake, but at other times evoking windswept shoegaze and ambient. Impressive work.

Listen again — ~200MB

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