a wholly owned subsiduary of
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experimental electronica
electric string quartet

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, 11th of April, 2021

Playlist 11.04.21 (10:44 pm)

Electric folk in a regional French language, mysterious microtonal contemporary classical, covers of 4AD classics, electronic post-grindcore and more - that's Utility Fog tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN to a world of sound... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here!

Sourdure - La Rupture [Les Disques du Festival Permanent/Pagans/Murailles Music]
Sourdure - L'Escribòta [Les Disques du Festival Permanent/Pagans]
Sourdure - Na Festa [Les Disques du Festival Permanent/Pagans/Murailles Music]
Ernest Bergez, of experimental electronic duo Kaumwald and various bands in various genres, continues his Sourdure project with his new album De Mòrt Viva, which modernises arcane pagan themes through the Auvergnat dialect of the regional French language Occitan - which is closer to Catalan than French, and was the traditional language of many troubadors in ages past. The music features weird & wonderful instruments like the hurdy gurdy, various ancient trumpets, and the daf, a Persian frame drum. As much as it draws on the folk music of central France, there are Arabic melodies flowing through these songs, and electronic pulses and tones. We can see Bergez was already on this path with his 2018 album L'Espròva (and indeed earlier). A singular music, worthy of your time.

anrimeal - I Am Not [anrimeal Bandcamp]
anrimeal - Vertical [anrimeal Bandcamp]
Last week we heard a lovely new song from Ana Rita de Melo Alves's anrimeal - captivating freak-folk on the Object 10 compilation from Objects Forever. So I sought out more music from Alves, and her album Could Divine is equally great - as you can hear on these samplings, there's acoustic folk, with guiar, violin, vocals and piano wrapped up in field recordings and electronic cut-ups, unimpressed and unimpeded by genre constraints. I'm so glad to have discovered her.

Leider - Human Error [Beacon Sound]
Leider - Human Error (Tegh Version) [Beacon Sound]
Broadly describable as "songs" project of Berlin-based Malaysian composer Rishin Singh, Leider features Singh himself on trombone alongside viola, cello and flute, with the other musicians doubling on voice or sparse percussion. The songs thus far revealed from their debut album A Fog Like Liars Loving are haunting works with close harmonies and at times piercing microtonal tuning. If that wasn't enough (and it is - they're stunning songs), the pre-order from Portland's Beacon Sound comes with a set of remixes, including one from Persian sound-artist Tegh.

Sasha Scott - Shapeshifer [Nonclassical/Bandcamp]
From the latest Outside the Lines compilation from UK label/org Nonclassical, violinist/composer Sasha Scott brings us a work of splintered piano, distorted drones and frenetic beats. A perfect example of how classical/non-classical hardly means anything anymore, particularly to those of us trained in the classical tradition...

Sweeney - Kid [sound in silence]
Sweeney - Skin [sound in silence]
Adelaide's Jason Sweeney's career has encompassed many musical genres - from various indie bands to the IDM duo Pretty Boy Crossover and the ambient piano styles of Panoptique Electrical. His emotive voice has appeared as often as it's stood aside, and for the latest surname-only work from Sweeney, Misery Peaks, doom-laden piano and vocals echo in at times heavy electronics and beats - a surprising choice for the Greek label sound in silence, but I'm grateful they've brought these songs to our ears. It's often beautiful and challenging work, recalling at times the late Scott Walker, and is my favourite recent work from Sweeney.

Balmorhea - Night Falls In Your Left [Deutsche Grammophon]
Balmorhea - Vent Pontian [Deutsche Grammophon]
Balmorhea - The Myth [Deutsche Grammophon]
Rob Lowe and Michael A. Muller's Balmorhea have made the kind of postrock-meets-folk-meets-classical that sits perfectly with this show for well over a decade. It's a rather nice surprise to find them on Deutsche Grammophon for their latest album, The Wind - the label is finding its own way to stretch into that "neo-/post-classical" world that seems strangely lucrative now, especially in Europe. It's also nice to see that Balmorhea's sound is not particularly changed for appearing on this label, albeit having already arrived at a quieter approach than their earliest releases. There are electronic distortions at times, some field recordings, and also soft piano along with acoustic guitar textures.

Efterklang - Postal [4AD]
Bradford Cox - Mountain Battles [4AD]
Although it's not out on CD & LP until July, 4AD's 40th birthday compilation Bills & Aches & Blues has now appeared digitally via a set of EPs. It includes myriad contemporary 4AD artists covering music from the legendary label's 4 decades, with The Breeders strangely featuring quite heavily (they're awesome of course!) including tonight's extraordinary avant-garde cover by Deerhunter's Bradford Cox. There are many, many highlights - don't be cynical about this, just check it all out, honest! But I was so, so delighted and surprised to hear the glorious "Postal" by the beloved Piano Magic, reworked in style by Efterklang.

Genghis Tron - Great Mother [Relapse/Bandcamp]
Genghis Tron - Warm Woods [Crucial Blast/Bandcamp]
Genghis Tron - I Won't Come Back Alive (Ulver Remix) [Relapse]
Genghis Tron - Colony Collapse (Justin K Broadrick Remix) [Temporary Residence]
Genghis Tron - Single Black Point [Relapse/Bandcamp]
It was quite a surprise to hear late last year that electronic/grindcore/post-metal band Genghis Tron were releasing a new album after over a decade's silence. Singer Mookie Singerman is no longer with them, and that's not the only big difference - their earlier incarnation shunned live drums for glitched-up IDM-style drum programming, but for this album they're joined by powerhouse drummer Nick Yacyshyn of SUMAC (among others). Tony Wolski's singing is clean in comparison to the various guises of Singerman, and original members Michael Sochynsky and Hamilton Jordan have created sweeping synth & guitar songs which are equal parts postrock, post-metal and kosmische. It's epic and great - but I wanted to remind us of the crunchy IDM-meets-metal of their earlier days, and of the phenomenal five remix 12"s on five different labels released after their Board Up The House album in 2008, featuring IDM, indietronic and metal artists from the likes of Anticon, Temporary Residence and more - here represented by the orchestral & electronic sounds of shapeshifting tricksters Ulver, and the ever-versatile industrial metal pioneer Justin K Broadrick.

Dolphins of Venice - Mars Roaster [DataDoor/Bandcamp]
Here's the second EP from the duo of Adelaide's Tim Koch & US IDM/ambient producer Adrien75. Dolphins of Venice are enamoured of extreme Unicode, and their music is equally outlandish - seemingly blissful strummy rock melted & fried with electronics, garnished with crunchy beats. An album is on its way.

Erik Griswold - Girraween - Spring 3 [Neuma Records/Bandcamp]
We finish with a beautiful piece from the Brisbane-based American composer Erik Griswold, who we often hear performing his own rhythmic and hypnotic works on piano. Here, three of the Four Places in Queensland are performed by other pianists. "Spring" and "Rain" feature in two of the locations; the piano is called upon to evoke natural phenomena in each place, and plays delicately, and occasionally forcefully. At times it sounds like the nimble prepared piano works on Griswold's Room40 albums, but it's natural piano for natural settings. Beautiful stuff.

Listen again — ~208MB

Sunday, 4th of April, 2021

Playlist 04.04.21 (1:21 am)

Tonight we have some incredible genreless music from around Australia, and around the world, touching on folk, rap, noise, techno, footwork and drum'n'bass. We also have an interview with the brilliant Kcin.

LISTEN AGAIN to the words and music that you need - stream on demand from FBi or podcast right here.

Nika Mo - The Singing Bone [Tone List/Bandcamp]
Nika Mo - Landscape: longing [Nika Mo Bandcamp]
Nika Mo - Dance of the Cloven Hoof [Tone List/Bandcamp]
Annika Moses is a Perth-based composer, sound-artist, radiophonic sound artist and weird-folk singer/songwriter, whose album is one of a number of releases Perth's Tone List are putting out as part of their Audible Edge Festival of Sound. Working here as Nika Mo, Moses composed the songs on Of Cloven Hoof in Honey inspired by the very weird, primal storytelling found in the lesser-known tales from the Grimm's Fairytales (and even the more famous ones have been heavily sanitised in their familiar forms). Often characters undergo radical bodily transformation, or wish to escape their current forms, and the cloven hoof, a motif in many of the stories and traditionally a symbol of deceit or devilishness, comes to signify rather something like changeability or tangled, unknowable complexity. Into this critical framework, Moses has created a collection of beautifully strange, evocative and uncompromising songs, with her own instrumental and vocal performances augmented by a large cast of singers & musicians from Perth's experimental & folk scenes. It's powerful stuff worthy of her remarkable range of talent. Check out her wondrous piece of poetry/composition/sound-art "Amazing blissful moment (fearful receiver)" from last year while you're at it.

anrimeal - Brush My Teeth [Objects Forever]
Pallas Athene - Gimme Gimme [Objects Forever]
Kristen Gallerneaux - Are You An Animal Or Are You A Person? [Objects Forever]
Three tracks from the excellent, wide-ranging new compilation put together by members of The Leaf Library (who I cannot recommend highly enough - check out their last album). Object Ten is a cassette & digital collection of artists from all around the world, ranging from experimental folk & dreampop through skittering electronics and heavy drones. We started with London-based Ana Alves aka anrimeal, whose found sounds, bell-like guitar and violin accompany her voice in a way that echoes Nika Mo above; Toronto's Breanna Johnston aka Pallas Athene brings frenetic beats behind her jaunty dream pop, while US sound-artist Kristen Gallerneaux takes things to an even darker, bass-heavy space.

Taraamoon - Dayjoor (Daygard x Taraamoon) [Low-Zi Records]
Taraamoon - Nebrās (Roody x Taraamoon) [Low-Zi Records]
The debut album Bādbān from Paris-based Persian duo Taraamoon follows two beautiful singles from last year, but it also follows a substantial collection of work under the name 9T Antiope, which has featured frequently on this show, representing their more experimental, freeform challenging work, and featuring words mostly in English from singer Sara Bigdeli Shamloo. Taraamoon is exquisite electronic pop with lyrics entirely in Farsi, with the electronics of Shamloo and partner Nima Aghiani, along with Aghiani's noisemakers and violin, turned to somewhat more directly accessible purposes - shorter songs, beats and basslines etc. The decision to write in Farsi comes from a deep desire to connect with their homeland, as they've been Europe-based for some time, and on Bādbān they take this connection further by collaborating with a selection of Iranian rappers, each of whom weave their raps in amongst the rich vocals of Shamloo, co-creating a narrative about characters spread across the ocean after a shipwreck - metaphorically seeking unity for Iranian communities scattered across the globe over the last few years. Daygard's evocative spoken lyrics merge in the end with Shamloo's melody over loose-limbed beats and Aghiani's floating violin, while Roody, the one female rapper featured, takes a more rhythmic, aggressive approach with her verses.

Armand Hammer & The Alchemist - Aubergine feat. Fielded [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
Armand Hammer & The Alchemist - God's Feet [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
Armand Hammer & The Alchemist - Peppertree [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
The underground rap duo Armand Hammer, made up of billy woods and Elucid, continue to turn out some of the most inspired & inspiring hip-hop of the moment. On new album Haram we find them working with in-demand producer The Alchemist, which has led some to infer that they've sold out, what with Alan Maman's high profile work with Mobb Deep, Anderson .Paak, Freddie Gibbs and other big names in rap - including Eminem. But if he should need to prove himself, The Alchemist does so with uncompromising backings which blend perfectly with woods & Elucid's own style - long, out-of-context spoken samples, bizarre mid-track left turns, chopped & glitched samples etc. The lyrics as as vital as ever, and yes, woods & Elucid are at times coaxed into some oddly catchy tunes that could find purchase outside the underground, but this is exactly the advanced, challenging work we've come to expect from the duo.

Kcin - Salt Ghost [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
...interview with Kcin including...
Kcin - Blood In The Water [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Kcin - Moon (Part 2) (under interview) [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Kcin - Distance From The Sea Of Sorrow feat. Elizabeth Fader (excerpt under interview) [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Kcin - Colonist Reprise [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Listeners to UFog over the last few years will have become familiar with Nick Meredith aka Kcin's dark sound, that melds percussion, found sounds and electronics in a way both familiar and unique. It was a pleasure to finally get to interview Nick on the occasion of his extraordinary debut album proper, Decade Zero, seeing release next week via Spirit Level. Listening to this album, it's clear why it's given this special status - it's not just cohesive in sound, but a deeply accomplished work, compulsory listening for anyone with an interest in deconstructed club sounds, industrial techno, Ben Frost's sonic destruction and Utility Fog-style sounds in general. In our conversation, Nick outlines his workflow, in which sounds are sourced and created, built up in the digital world, blasted through vibrating air and re-recorded, further deconstructed and rebuilt. Check it.

Shoeb Ahmad - Double Checks Against The Corner (d) (Peter Knight Version) [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
DroomData - Stoeptegels [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
Noom - Deep Dark Dance Bubbles [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
Infinitely pleasing that Stu Buchanan has turned his attention back to his New Weird Australia project, uncovering strange sounds from around the country for adventurous ears. New compilation Space Between Space sees its contributors expressing the liminal experience of our current situation, and all proceeds will benefit First Nations artists & community affected by the COVID-19 crisis. To start up, we heard Melbourne jazz/electronic musician Peter Knight pushing a forthcoming track from Canberra's Shoeb Ahmad into the red. Then NT-based DroomData dissipates their drones halfway through to give way to touching spoken word in Dutch, and finally the Narrm/Melbourne-based Michelle Nguyen's Noom gives us squelchily warm bouncing rhythms.

The Future Sound Of London - Zen Jenny [FSOL Digital]
Each year for some time now, legendary rave/ambient techno pioneers The Future Sound Of London have released a "calendar" for the year as a progressive album, one new or archival track per month, each exclusive to the album. From FSOL Calendar 2021, tonight I played the March track, melding their organic ambient textures with IDM-ish, almost drum'n'bass rhythms.

Brain Rays & Quiet - Creeps (Coco Bryce Remix) [SEAGRAVE/Bandcamp]
The collaborative work of Brain Rays & Quiet was one of my top discoveries from great UK label SEAGRAVE in recent times - IDM-tinged jungle and footwork of complexity & style. Seagrave now bring us a new EP with a couple of new tracks and a couple of excellent remixes. Notably Dutch producer Yoël Bego aka Coco Bryce, who's on a jungle tip of late, does suitably complex breakbeat juggling on his remix here.

Double O feat. Sheba Q - God Is A Woman (Coco Bryce remix) [Western Lore]
D'tch - Reparation Dub [Western Lore]
Speaking of Coco Bryce, he appeared on Western Lore's Blunted Breaks Vol 2 LP Sampler a few months ago with a lush remix of Double O feat. Sheba Q's track "God Is A Woman". I was under the misapprehension that the 4 tracks on this LP Sampler were excerpted from the Blunted Breaks Vol 2 compilation which was just released a week or so ago - but you'd better take care, because it turns out those are flips & alternates from the tracks featured on the new comp. The original (also lovely) of "God Is A Woman" appears there, among many other great new jungle/hardcore tunes, and I love the half-time head-nodder of "Reparation Dub" from Bristol's D'tch - swapped for "Re-reparation" on the sampler!

Listen again — ~193MB

Sunday, 28th of March, 2021

Playlist 28.03.21 (11:39 pm)

We've got a triumphant post-classical return, a sad goodbye, strings with electronics, indetronica, kabbalah-cyberpunk, metalheads doing drum'n'bass (pun intended) and more tonight!
Thanks to Krishtie Mofazzal for her fantastic selections as always, filling in while I was away last week!

LISTEN AGAIN to the mystical machinery... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Bell Orchestre - Opening [Erased Tapes/Envision/Bandcamp]
Bell Orchestre - House [Erased Tapes/Envision/Bandcamp]
Bell Orchestre - Bucephalus Bouncing Ball [Arts & Crafts]
Bell Orchestre - All the Time [Erased Tapes/Envision/Bandcamp]
Starting tonight with a Toronto troupe who we haven't heard from for over 10 years. Bell Orchestre formed during the recording of the first Arcade Fire album, and feature that band's Richard Reed Parry on double bass (among other things), and of course the wonderful Sarah Neufeld on violin, who has played on their albums and toured with them since the beginning. To these instruments add the excellent drummer Stefan Schneider (not the German musician!), trumpeter Kaveh Nabatian, French horn player Pietro Amato and pedal steel guitarist Michael Feuerstack (all of whom play other instruments, contribute electronics, and occasionally sing) and you have this marvellous ensemble, who straddle postrock and a kind of post-classical folk tendency, while drawing also on electronica, dub and much more - check that Aphex Twin cover in the middle there from their second album! 12 years after that second album comes House Music - recorded in every part of Sarah Neufeld's house in rural Vermont during lockdown, it really is a maturation of their original sound, an absorbing, single long work broken into separate tracks, tightly edited but preserving the spontaneity and joy of the 2-week recording session. The electronic influences can be heard in the overdriven bass drum and clattering beats, or the motorik ostinati provided by violin or guitar, while Parry's warm double bass notes ring out under expansive horn parts. A delight.

Tomaga - More Flowers [Hands in the Dark/HITD Bandcamp/Tomaga Bandcamp]
Tomaga - The King Of Naples [Hands in the Dark/HITD Bandcamp/Tomaga Bandcamp]
Usually I wouldn't think of Tomaga and Bell Orchestre sitting easily together, but the drumming of Valentina Magaletti draws on the locked-down complexity of krautrock, much like Schneider, around which Tom Relleen's bass, synths and other instruments (and Magaletti's percussion) are always deeply musical. Tragically, in August last year Relleen passed away from stomach cancer, making Intimate Immensity the last album from this remarkable duo. It's as good an overview as any of their singular sound, melding the aforementioned krautrock with postpunk propulsion and freedom, nostalgic genreless electronic influences and a certain je ne sais quoi. I was thinking earlier that I've heard Magaletti's playing in many different contexts - from the psych/noise UUUU to the dread minimal post-club postpunk of Raime and more free music - and none of it sounds much like Tomaga. I'm not sure anyone could replace the contributions of Tom Relleen, so do head to their Bandcamp, where the duo's entire output can be found and savoured.

pleasure - MISTY 191012 [pleasure Bandcamp]
pleasure - SUBLIMATION 191014 [pleasure Bandcamp]
Not a million miles from Tomaga's sound is Sydney trio pleasure, with the muscular and detailed drumming of Jonathan Boulet alongside the synths of Hugh Deacon and Adam Connelly, producing together a music of deceptive simplicity. Recorded over a few days on a farm in St Albans, a beautiful area north-west of Sydney, these pieces capture a spontaneity that can only be achieved through deep collaboration and great musicianship. Don't let this slip you by.

Happy Axe - Growing In The Ground [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Wonderful to have new music - if only a single for now - from Canberra's Emma Kelly aka Happy Axe. With rhythms and melodies initially based around her violin, eventually augmented with beats & electronics, this song celebrates a beautiful experience with walls of glow worms during a bushwalk with a friend.

Erlend Apneseth Trio - Impedans [Hubro/Bandcamp]
Erlend Apneseth Trio - Linjer [Hubro/Bandcamp]
The Norwegian Erlend Apneseth Trio finds Hardanger fiddle player Apneseth joined by the excellent drummer Øyvind Hegg-Lunde (quite recently found in these playlists) and sound artist & guitarist Stephan Meidell. All appear frequently in various groups on the great Hubro label, and this ensemble in particular bridges the divide between folk, postrock and electronics. New album Lokk mixes samples from around the world in with the musicians' exceptional playing. It's not straight folk music by any means, and is all the better for it.

Dntel - Fall In Love [Morr Music/Bandcamp/Les Albums Claus/Bandcamp]
Dntel - Umbrella feat. Chris Gunst [Plug Research/Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Dntel - Don't Get Your Hopes Up [Morr Music]
Dntel - Yoga App [Morr Music/Bandcamp/Les Albums Claus/Bandcamp]
Jimmy Tamborello's Dntel is immensely important to this show, having started with a couple of albums of lovely intricate IDM before dropping the amazing Life is Full of Possibilities in 2001 - glitchy ambient textures of indie guitars, spare crunchy beats, and guest spots from various indie greats (including Benjamin Gibbard, with whom Tamborello would form The Postal Service, short-lived but much-loved). That album's aesthetic sits smack bang in the middle of what Utility Fog wanted to be about. Since then Dntel and Tamborello's music has moved in all sorts of directions, not all of which I've been as excited by, but I'm always keen to check in, and I'm pleased to say The Seas Trees See, his first full album on Morr Music (co-released with Belgian outfit Les Albums Claus), is a deep, unsettling beauty - and even better, it's the first of two albums he'll be releasing this year! Strange, disembodied loops and very buried beats float and pulse, joined at times by heavily processed vocals. It's abstract but not formless. As well as the opening track from Life is Full of Possibilities (which featured vocals Beachwood Sparks' Chris Gunst), I played the adorable IDM-pop of "Don't Get Your Hopes Up", released almost 2 decades ago on the one & only Morr Music on a split picture 7" with Styrofoam.

Glume & Phossa - Sunken [Deep Medi]
Deep Medi keep hitting home runs - here with the latest 12" from young Bristolian duo Glume & Phossa, featuring wobbly basslines and deep melodies. While this is core dubstep, the beats at times take a jazzy turn, beautifully done.

Meemo Comma - Merkabah [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Meemo Comma - Neon Genesis: Title Sequence [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Lara Rix-Martin formed Heterotic with husband Mike Paradinas (head honcho of Planet µ and of course aka µ-Ziq) in 2013, and released a few albums as Lux E Tenebris and more recently Meemo Comma (a name bestowed by her daughter). Rix-Martin also runs the Objects Limited label, formed to promote the music of musicians of under-represented genders. Rix-Martin's recent solo work sees them drawing on their Jewish heritage, melding their exploration of Jewish mysticism (the kabbalah and the "Merkabah" of our first track) with cyberpunk ideas from anime and gaming. Notable on this release is not only Rix-Martin's command of their hardware & software, but also the use of voice throughout - at times drawing on Jewish liturgical song, but also casting a wider net. It's a really interesting release, worthy of all the attention it's seen.

Slikback - RUE [Slikback Bandcamp]
Slikback - OPS [Slikback Bandcamp]
Slikback - TOWER [Slikback Bandcamp]
While brilliant Kenyan producer Slikback has been released on labels as far & wide as Berlin's PAN, Shanghai's SVBKVLT and Uganda's Nyege Nyege Tapes, in 2021 he's followed up two massive drops on his own Bandcamp with two more self-released EPs. February's SHOTOTSU was just followed by ARATTA, four tracks of trap, jungle & footwork-influenced stuff - but whatever Slikback does is filtered through his incredible talent for beats, bass and sound manipulation.

Low End Activist - Look Up [Sneaker Social Club]
Oxford(?) bass producer Low End Activist has covered UK bass & "hardcore continuum" genres from dancehall & dub through grime and garage on Seagrave, and on his new EP Engineers Origins (back on Sneaker Social Club) it's breakbeat and drum'n'bass. It's dark & deep stuff, with "Look Up" recalling for me some of the genre-melding experimental sounds in the late '90s, when mainstream drum'n'bass had by & large gone hard & unyielding. Great stuff.

Tech Level 2 - Suspended [Avalanche Recordings Bandcamp]
Fitting in very well with the late '90s techstep scene, but with complexity around the tough exterior, was Tech Step 2, the drum'n'bass alias of Justin K Broadrick (grindcore & industrial metal pioneer of Godflesh, Jesu and JK Flesh fame, as well as half of Techno Animal, Ice & Zonal with The Bug). Only a few 12"s were released, so it's great to have four unreleased tracks from that era available now on Broadrick's Avalanche Recordings Bandcamp. These are at least as strong as any of the other material, and while I love the dub-influenced but hard techno he's releasing these days as JK Flesh, it leaves me wishing he'd return to some of this stuff at some point.

Manslaughter 777 - Do You Know Who Loves You [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
MSC & The Body - PKK [MSC Bandcamp/The Body Bandcamp]
Manslaughter 777 - No Man Curse [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Speaking of metalheads doing, er, "Metalheadz", Manslaughter 777 feels like something that's been a long time coming - the work of The Body drummer Lee Buford and longtime collaborator Zac Jones of MSC/Braveyoung, it's stripped entirely of the metal trappings, focusing on live and manipulated beats & samples, drawing on their love of dub, hip-hop and drum'n'bass/jungle. Working with engineer Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets, they've created something that's dark but less harsh than their usual work (although the building blocks were there in many albums of The Body, and in particular last year's MSC & The Body collaboration I Don't Ever Want To Be Alone), perfect for those who find harsh vocals a bit much to deal with.

Kcin - Moon (Part 1) [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Kcin - Salt Ghost (Ambient Mix) [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Next week on the show I'll be talking to Nick Meredith aka Kcin about his new album Decade Zero. It's out very soon, but in the meantime we have a few tracks, including the oceanic ambient mix of album track "Salt Ghost". Myriad percussion and other instruments are fed through effects, played through amps and re-recorded, and processed more to create a visceral sound like no other.

Listen again — ~207MB

Sunday, 14th of March, 2021

Playlist 14.03.21 (10:09 pm)

Folktronica, hip-hop, and experimental electronic sounds tonight, very much the core of where Utility Fog started, albeit in a contemporary way.

LISTEN AGAIN to the great musical feast. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Origamibiro - Zoo [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Wauvenfold - Stab [Wichita Recordings]
Origamibiro - dissect ephemeral [Expanding Records]
Origamibiro - Quad Time and the Genius of the Crowd [Denizen/Abandon Building/Bandcamp]
Thomas William Hill - Willow [Village Green/Bandcamp]
Origamibiro - Attract/Repel [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Released on the 26th of March is the new album from Tom Hill's folktronic project (at times in collaboration with Andy Tytherleigh) Origamibiro. It's been 7 years since the last album from this project, so you'd be forgiven for going "Who?", but they're pretty important for UFog, and in the meantime as Thomas William Hill he's released two lush albums of more post- (or neo-?) classical music for Village Green - the second, Grains of Space, is particularly stunning. Strings & orchestral elements were present in Origamibiro before, but it tended towards the "chamber music" sound, with subdued textures and scrappy found-sound beats, so it's very nice to see that aesthetic combined with the orchestration on Origamibiro's Miscellany, out from Denovali on the 26th of March. From the crunchy IDM of his 2001-2002 duo Wauvenfold through to now, Tom Hill has grown into a composer of restraint and depth.

Madlib - Hopprock [Rappcats/Bandcamp]
Madlib - Riddim Chant [Rappcats/Bandcamp]
Madvillain - Great Day (Four Tet remix) [Stones Throw]
Madlib - Loose Goose [Rappcats/Bandcamp]
Otis Jackson Jr aka Madlib is a consummate musician - brilliant DJ and producer, a sometime MC who has worked with some of the greatest MCs of the last 3 decades, including of course the late lamented MF DOOM as Madvillain. Along the way Jackson created brilliant ersatz-jazz as Yesterdays New Quintet (with all roles played by himself). As well as DOOM, he worked with the great J Dilla as Jaylib. Meanwhile Kieran Hebden, as Four Tet, has a nice career as a techno/house producer of unique musicality, but we of course remember his early solo albums as core folktronica - although none of those artists liked the term, and when I interviewed Kieran years ago he always insisted what he did was hip-hop. Four Tet's remixes of Madlib & DOOM's Madvillain were stunning even at a time when Hebden was churning out superb remixes at a rate of knots, and he & Jackson remained friends since, meeting up and nerding out over music, and it was Hebden who suggested further collaboration. So, I'd been expecting Sound Ancestors to be a proper duo album, but what we get is something else, a collection beautiful instrumental hip-hop tunes made up of beats & samples from Madlib curated, sequenced and arranged by Four Tet. It's hard to know what "arranged by" means here, but there are probably edits by Hebden as well as some mixing magic; it's a tribute to his sensitivity as a producer, and his love of hip-hop and of the source material, that he's brought us such an impeccable album.

Simona Zamboli - A Lightning Bolt Strikes the Mountaintop [Mille Plateaux]
Simona Zamboli - Dream But Be Careful [Mille Plateaux]
Milan-based producer and broadcast sound-engineer Simona Zamboli is the latest artist to join Mille Plateaux, with an album of dark glitchy electronics and beats that are a little more abstract than her recent techno & industrial releases. As usual the Mille Plateaux press release strings words & sentences together into some kind of facsimile of Continental theory-speak which you're welcome to try and make sense of, but luckily as usual the music speaks for itself.

Kamron Saniee - Badinage [SVS Records/Bandcamp]
Kamron Saniee - Eutessaron [SVS Records/Bandcamp]
Iranian-American sound-artist who makes use of his classical background on a release that bridges sound-art and techno. "Badinage" repurposes a melody from 18th-century French composer Marin Marais, albeit in a pretty abstract manner. The euphoric feeling sought on this EP may be an "everyday euphoria", but the energy of these rhythmic pieces bring joy even if it's not in a club at high volume dancing with friends & strangers.

Gantz - MAD HONEY [Gantz Bandcamp]
Gantz & El Mahdy Jr - Rising [Deep Medi/Bandcamp]
Gantz - Hinges Creak [Gantz Bandcamp]
Gantz - U WONT MIND VIP [Gantz Bandcamp]
Istanbul-based Gantz is an outlier in the dubstep world, crafting melodic pieces with unexpected timbres, branching out into trip-hop or elsewhere, occasionally incorporating Arabic music (see the collaboration with El Mahdy Jr from 2014), and always paying attention to mood. Appearing on various labels including Deep Medi, Gantz has been slipping out a few special EPs on Bandcamp since last year, including the excellent RUFF1 just this week. Among the offerings last year was the Shanked EP which brought some rarities to the general public, including some much-desired VIPs.

ZULI - Bro! (Love it) [UIQ/Bandcamp]
ZULI - Robotic Handshakes in 4D [UIQ/Bandcamp]
ZULI - Trigger Finger [Haunter Records/Bandcamp]
ZULI - Kollu l-Joloud (ft. MSYLMA) [UIQ/Bandcamp]
ZULI - Tany [UIQ/Bandcamp]
Cairo producer Ahmed El Ghazoly makes incredibly forward-thinking beats as ZULI (All Caps, as his new EP reminds us). Since 2016's Bionic Ahmed his releases have been compulsory for me, and this was only intensified with the jungle-leaning Trigger Finger in 2018. Cruelly, after the Terminal album was released in 2018, his laptop was stolen with an almost-completed follow-up along with his whole setup & sound library, forcing him to rebuild. Finally we have the substantial new EP All Caps, with two absolutely mangled jungle tunes and mashed beats of all sorts. Final track "Bro! (Love it)" satirises western fans & critics' ugly tendency to filter all expectations through the lens of his ethnicity.

Moon Sign Gemini - 003 [Moon Sign Gemini Bandcamp]
Moon Sign Gemini - Mitchy [Moon Sign Gemini Bandcamp]
Moon Sign Gemini - Notte [Moon Sign Gemini Bandcamp]
I was so glad to discover the electronic music of Adelaide punk/indie musician Dylan Cooper last year through New Weird Australia. His music as Moon Sign Gemini is unfairly well done for someone who's apparently just doing this on the side - from the orchestral breakcore of EP1 to the more recent overdriven bass tunes on last year's Queen Marie EP and new single SOLE/NOTTE. I like how there are choral samples and other classical references through through the later tracks too.

Gregory Paul Mineeff - Mood Triptych [Cosmic Leaf Records]
While we wait for a new (electronic?) album from Wollongong's Gregory Paul Mineeff, he can't help sneaking out singles - the pretty piano on "Mood Triptych" is supported by the little electronic touches which are Mineeff's signature.

Listen again — ~204MB

Sunday, 7th of March, 2021

Playlist 07.03.21 (8:31 pm)

Many examples of the interface between physical and digital, acoustic and electronic tonight.

LISTEN AGAIN for the highs and lows, ebbs and flows. Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Machinefabriek - MD EV IZ (with Martin Dosh, Els Vandeweyer, Ingar Zach) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp/Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - AB TB YO (with Alexandra Bellon, Tim Barnes, Yuko Oshima) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp/Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - VT JW KW (with Vasco Trilla, Jim White, Karen Willems) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp/Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - SA AJ ET (with Shane Aspegren, Anja Jacobsen, Eric Thielemans) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp/Bandcamp]
The remarkable new album from Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek, With Drums, could be seen as a successor to his 2019 album With Voices, or conversely of his self-performed Drum Solos. Mostly, though, it's an unexpected extension of his large ouevre of sound art, and his penchant for collaboration - 24 short tracks, each collaged from contributed recordings from three drummers (a total of 42 drummers are featured, with many recognizable names appearing). This is not predominantly rhythmic music - some contributions feature tuned percussion, or bowed percussion, some are free jazz flourishes, and some do coalesce into grooves. Zuydervelt's command of sound and space is such that these disparate contributed recordings are sculpted into 37 minutes of music that flows as a single work, which is never less than gripping, and charming.

Jerusalem In My Heart - Qalouli [Constellation/Bandcamp]
As the worldwide COVID-19 lockdowns set in last year, iconic Montréal label Constellation created their first digital-only series of releases, Corona Borealis, with single tracks of varying length (10 minutes on average), each with an accompanying video work, with all funds going straight to the artists. Radwan Ghazi Moumneh's Jerusalem In My Heart is perfect for this project, as it has always existed as an audiovisual collaboration with filmmaker Erin Weisgerber. Moumneh's track "Qalouli" is 6 minutes of beautiful glitched Arabic strings.

Innode - Odessa [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
Innode - Rote Wueste [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
Longtime associate of Mego / Editions Mego Stefan Németh co-founded the great Radian among other groups, and returns to Editions Mego with the second album of his Innode project. Here he's joined by two drummers - fellow Austrian Bernhard Breuer and Steven Hess, who's equally known for the black/drone metal of Locrian, the post-metal of RLYR, ambient/postrock with groups like Pan•American and Anjou, and the improv/sound-art of ensembles like Haptic (Hess also appears on Machinefabriek's With Drums). Innode combines sputtering electronics and dub hypnotism with crackling live drumming - I can't get enough of this new album, Syn.

Loefah - Candy [Bandcamp]
Dubstep don Loefah has been sneaking out unreleased tracks on his Bandcamp lately, as well as great early tunes (you can find Mud, Ruffage, Root and The Goat Stare all there - all eternal foundations in the dubstep canon). The latest, "Candy", combines an oblique spoken sample with stripped-bare bass & beat in the style of those classics.

Goth-Trad - Apes [DEEP MEDi/Bandcamp]
Goth-Trad - Skin No Longer Scars feat. dälek [Back To Chill/Bandcamp]
Japanese producer Goth-Trad found himself a dubstep insider quite early in the game, with some essential releases on DEEP MEDi among others. Prior to this he was creating madcap IDM and weird noise, and he happily jumps around genres still. He's just retured to DEEP MEDi with a much-desired VIP of his 2012 track "Airbreaker", and I love the triplet-ridden flipside "Apes". Through his own Back To Chill label, on Bandcamp he's just been digitally releasing a bunch of back-catalogue and unreleased old material, and this week the originally very limited Psionics got the re-release treatment, including the two collaborative tracks originally only found on vinyl - one with Boris and one with noise-hop legend dälek.

John Roberts - Nothing [Brunette Editions/Bandcamp]
Last year, John Roberts deviated the furthest he has from the dancefloor with the sumptuous sound-art of Can Thought Exist Without The Body? For 2021 he's just put out the second themed single, "Nothing" (it follows "Zero"), which is a beautiful bit of gliding deep house which he does so well. Hopefully some more empty/circular titles to come?

effe effe - Self sprung [NeMu]
effe effe - Eight pointed star [NeMu]
Milan musician Federica Furlani is a violist, but as effe effe she brings her viola into the electronic world. On her lovely debut album Tuning scapes the viola appears with layered, processed recordings alongside programmed beats.

Matt Mehlan - Slow Dance #1111 [Shinkoyo/Bandcamp]
Matt Mehlan - Slow Dance #0121 [Shinkoyo/Bandcamp]
It seems like only yesterday (but actually a couple of months ago) that I featured the brilliant Skeletons on the show. Now main Skeleton Matt Mehlan is back on his Shinkoyo label with Slow Dances, an album which is also a card game and a choreography work... Confused? So am I, but it's great music - instrumental, mostly electronic, with strange injections of jazz solos and more ambient segments.

Warped Dreamer - ixwele [Consouling Sounds]
Warped Dreamer - Camphor Bush [Consouling Sounds]
The provenance of the four members of Warped Dreamer couldn't be stronger: Arve Henriksen is the brilliant trumpeter & sometimes wordless singer with Norwegian improv masters Supersilent, and Stian Westerhus has played with Jaga Jazzist, Ulver and many others. On the Belgian side, Rhodes player Jozef Dumoulin and drummer Teun Verbruggen are part of the improv/electronic/noise act The Bureau of Atomic Tourism. Their new record Live at Bimhuis has the highs offered by such great musicianship - magically soft melody work, intense full ensemble work, and a mess of self-sampling electronics.

Benjamin Finger - Children Rhyme [KrysaliSound/Bandcamp]
Benjamin Finger - Auditory Colors [KrysaliSound/Bandcamp]
Also from Norway, Benjamin Finger represents a different school of music - electronics and acoustic music wedded to a more ambient end, generally. His new solo album Auditory Colors explores synaesthesia, with music that's intended to stimulate the visual sensorium as well as the audio. Frequent collaborator Inga-Lil Farstad's voice appears on the title track, as do unidentified children's voices elsewhere. It's deceptively dense and deep work as always with Finger.

Kirk Barley - Lake of Gold [Health]
Lately we've heard a lot of work from Kirk Barley with drummer Matt Davies, so it's interesting to hear his delicate processed electronics on their own for new single Lake of Gold / Primer. Great stuff as ever.

Other Joe - More Hauntings ft Nico Niquo [Nice Setting/Bandcamp]
Melbourne musician Joseph Buchan is Other Joe, a shapeshifting project which often features the piano alongside contemporary electronics. He runs the excellent .jpeg Artefacts label, but his new EP Champagne is released by fellow Melbourne label Nice Setting, including a delightful CD edition. It's beautiful, twinkly but not twee, including an appearance from neo-new-age artist Nico Niquo.

part timer - after [Bandcamp]
The final Bandcamp EP for a little while from Melbourne's part timer is another collection of delicate piano & electronics called before, during, after. The releases he's doled out for us since October feature some of his best work - his sense of melody and arrangement is highly impressive, and there's a murmuring of the clicky rhythmic elements from his early folktronica in the background at times too. Hopefully he gets an album together soon and gets it released by someone for more prominence than his own Bandcamp and this radio show...

Ashleigh Hazel - Gemini [Bandcamp]
Canberra-based experimental musician Benjamin Drury has just unveiled their new project Ashleigh Hazel, with this new single "Gemini", a soft piece of layered guitars, field recordings and half-heard vocals. Evocative and nostalgic-feeling.

Listen again — ~203MB

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