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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, 8th of December, 2019

Playlist 08.12.19 (7:56 pm)

From folk to electronic, with some weird improv and post-classical oddments along the way...? It's Utility Fog.

You should LISTEN AGAIN because you just should. You can stream on demand at FBi, or podcast here.

Richard Youngs & Raül Refree - Nil By Mind [Soft Abuse/Bandcamp]
Glasgow musician Richard Youngs is one of those incredibly versatile people who is known as a pioneer in the noise & experimental music scene for solo & collaborative albums stretching back to the ’80s, but also for a stunning run of vocal albums that explore the English folk tradition, electronic pop and more through a very idiosyncratic lens. He has a lovely, light, yearning voice that can’t help but imbue his song-based music with emotion. Here he’s working for the first time with Barcelona musician Raül Refree across four wonderful tracks that augment Youngs’ usual repetitive, exploratory techniques with a host of instruments including warm, melodic, agile double bass, piano and interlocking acoustic guitar patterns.

Stick In The Wheel - down in yon forest [Stick In The Wheel Bandcamp]
Stick In The Wheel - the over (feat. lisa knapp) [Stick In The Wheel Bandcamp]
Stick In The Wheel - nine herbs charm [Stick In The Wheel Bandcamp]
Let’s continue immersing ourselves in English folk music, albeit again from a very strange perspective. Members of Stick In The Wheel were involved in London’s electronic music scene, contributing to 12”s from Various Production among other things, but formed Stick In The Wheel and their From Here Records as a vehicle for exploring centuries of the English folk music tradition. Many of their releases treat this mission with the utmost respect and authenticity, with extraordinary raw vocals and acoustic instrumentation, but alongside this they have released two “mixtapes” which allow them to play faster & looser with their approach. So we have electronic beats, sound design, spoken word mixed in – yet the ultimate result is still a rootsy, folky oeuvre.

Ninoosh - Voice X [Synth Babes/Ninoosh Bandcamp]
Ninoosh - To Play [Synth Babes/Ninoosh Bandcamp]
Melbourne-born Anya Trybala, now based in Sweden, is the founder of Synth Babes, a collective for female & non-binary electronic musicians. She also makes music as Ninoosh, and her new album Floodgates has just come out. It manages to balance itself between more club-oriented techno tendencies, glitchy broken-down soundscapes and songs, and I particularly enjoy when these three combine, with shuddering stretched vocals crescendoing into 4/4 beats, or the beats themselves crunched into acid snow.

Gail Priest - Orographic Lift live 07-03-2019 [Subsequence Radio]
Millie Watson - Improvisation and Interference live 07-02-2019 [Subsequence Radio]
For some years, great Canberran experimental musician Reuben Ingall has presented Subsequence Radio on Canberra’s community station 2XXFM. Along with Chris Finnigan, he also curates a monthly performance night called Sounscapes at Smith's Alternative, and the latest annual compilation from Subsequence showcases a number of recordings from these nights. It’s varied, challenging and beautiful. Tonight we’re hearing from Sydney (now Blue Mountains) sound-art master Gail Priest, with a typically rapturous piece of electronic beats and vocals, and Canberran musician Millie Watson (now based in London) with a brilliant piano improvisation accompanied by field recordings.

Masonik - The Dolt [Masonik Bandcamp (soon?)]
Perth collective Masonik have now been around for over 13 years, with a dozen releases under their belt. Current lineup is Basil Psanoudakis on bass, electronics & video, Wheldon Thornley on keyboards & electronics, Alia-Enor Bath on cello and Patrick Bindon on electric cello, but I'm sure I still hear Pax Andrews on saxophone in there too. Although there is a clear jazz influence to some of the work, their music is surprisingly hard to pin down, with aspects of weird psych, postrock and industrial electronic fuckery involved. Their new album is their first to be pressed to vinyl, out now although not quite up on their Bandcamp yet.

Ot to, not to - Apaxionado [New Info/Ot to, not to Bandcamp]
Ot to, not to - Harpist [ACR Bandcamp/Ot to, not to Bandcamp]
Ot to, not to - Apaxionado (Machinefabriek Remix) [New Info/Ot to, not to Bandcamp]
Ot to, not to - Blanc [New Info/Ot to, not to Bandcamp]
A late discovery for the year, which I was reminded of because Machinefabriek did a remix for him, but it slipped my mind at the time! This is ridiculous because if I’d checked I would have realised that Ian Mugerwa, the main character behind Ot to, not to, frequently harnesses his cello in amongst the artfully mislaid samples, instruments and vocal melisma of his mysterious lo-fi-hi-tech deconstructed r'n'b. His first album came out on Nicolas Jaar’s Other People label in 2016, but I’m only going back to 2017’s these movements i & ii cassette released on London’s ACR. Despite the UK & Irish labels, Mugerwa and bandmate Noah Smith are from Virginia in the USA. I can only think of Lucky Dragons and The Books as precursors to the unorthodox structures and seemingly-accidental arrangements here, but the r’n’b element brings it closer to Micachu or Tirzah.

Clark - Diamond Body [Deutsche Grammophon]
Clark - I'm Pulling My Face Off [Deutsche Grammophon]
Clark - Volatile [Deutsche Grammophon]
Chris Clark is a real oddity in the Warp stable, starting out as a young artist extremely beholden to the greats of early ‘90s idm – Aphex Twin, Boards of Canada et al – and like Richard D James, mixing piano with acid techno at will. Clark’s musicality has always been evident, and his interest in the classical end of the spectrum means that he’s taken naturally to soundtrack work. The previous soundtracks have been a little too toned down and straightforward for me, but his work for new psychological horror movie Daniel Isn’t Real, ironically his first released on classical label Deutsche Grammophon, welds his bass-heavy electronic productions back on to the creepy piano and orchestrations. It’s not just a collection of cues – it works well as a more classically-inclined Clark album, and is all the better for it.

Bersarin Quartett - 2287 [Denovali Records/Bersarin Quartett Bandcamp]
Bersarin Quartett - St. Petersburg [Lidar/Denovali Records/Bersarin Quartett Bandcamp]
Jean-Michel - Hello Narita [onpa)))))]
Bersarin Quartett - Alles ist ein Wunder [Denovali Records/Bersarin Quartett Bandcamp]
Bersarin Quartett - Ist es das was Du willst [Denovali Records/Bersarin Quartett Bandcamp]
Bersarin Quartett - Das Prinzip der Entsprechung [Denovali Records/Bersarin Quartett Bandcamp]
Thomas Bücker started off making downtempo, breaks and idm under various monikers in the 1990s, but really broke through when he evoked the austerity and romanticism of classical music with his Bersarin Quartett moniker, starting in 2008. Although it's not a quartet, let alone say a string quartet, and it's not your familiar post-classical piano & "subtle electronics", it nevertheless manages to conjure up the feeling of the concert hall, with cleverly manipulated and designed orchestral samples and a just-so atmosphere, despite its willingness to still drop glitchy beats and deep bass. It's too beat-heavy in my opinion to be ambient music, but it works as such for fans of the genre too. But dig that doomy first chord on "2287" – this is not your average anything music! We went back to the first Bersarin album, and then heard a fun bit of drill'n'bass from his Jean-Michel alias's last album Tons Of Fun, and some more dark electronics from 2012's II and 2015's III. It's been 4 years since that last album, and Methoden und Maschinen is a very welcome return.

Listen again — ~193MB


Sunday, 1st of December, 2019

Playlist 01.12.19 (8:08 pm)

Electronics, strings, glitches, noises, pop songwriting and abstract sound-art... all of that.

LISTEN AGAIN, it's a good habit to get into. Stream on demand the FBi way, podcast here.

Aphir - Your Heroine [Provenance/Aphir Bandcamp]
Melbourne’s Becki Whitton, now actively involved with co-running and promoting the Provenance label setup by FBi alumnus Stu Buchanan, likes to slip out EPs and singles of her off-beat electronic pop as Aphir – hence her latest 2-tracker, out next week just before the end-of-the-year shutdown. On the face of it, “Your Heroine” is one of her more pop-oriented tracks, with an emotional vocal about unrequited love – at least until the distorted beats come in halfway through. The song has an unusual history too, having originally been handed to her friend Tim Pearce, who recorded a garage rock-style version (under the title “Katie”) with his band The Wrst.

Aasthma - Army of Love (feat. Penelope Trappes) [Aasthma]
Pär Grindvik and Peder Mannerfelt have been intrinsic members of the Swedish electronic music scene for the last decade or more – Grindvik runs the Stockholm LTD label, the latter his eponymous Peder Mannerfelt Produktion, as well as being part of the experimental duo Roll The Dice and a frequent collaborator with Fever Ray (Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife). This year they have released three 12”s under the name Aasthma, delving into club genres of various types and also ambient club-adjacent sounds. Earlier this year the duo also remixed London-resident Aussie Penelope Trappes for her remix album on Houndstooth, and she now returns the favour with some subtle vocals on the breaky, ravey A side of their new 12”.

Sig Nu Gris - Butter Soft [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
After her October EP of “Fixations”, Melbourne producer Sig Nu Gris aka Erin Hyde returns with a two-track single of dense electronic productions. The sounds here are warped & mangled beyond recognition, with nice choppy drums and plenty of bottom end action. Oh, and Becki Whitton did the final mixes. Looking forward to more from her next year!

the little hand of the faithful - All the combs are standing on their teeth [Mound of Sound]
the little hand of the faithful - And then [Mound of Sound]
Moving now from Melbourne to the Blue Mountains west of Sydney, where we join Mitch Jones, a stalwart of Sydney’s experimental music scene since the 1980s, when he was a central member of post-punk/proto-industrial band Scattered Order. It’s wrong to talk of them in the past – in fact, the aforementioned Provenance are releasing a new Scattered Order album next year! Meanwhile this is the second album (third if you count a split cassette release with his excellent partner Drusilla Jones) of his solo act the little hand of the faithful, named after his very faithful stuffed bear, who for this album Bears Gifts. The music, as ever, is built from manipulated samples, synths and deftly programmed beats. His musical history is evident, but this music – with frequent film samples and a hypnagogic quality – fits neatly into the post-vaporwave present.

Alva Noto & Anne-James Chaton - A-BU -> BUG -> BU-CR [Noton]
Alva Noto & Anne-James Chaton - QU-SO [Noton]
Two minimalists come together for the first time as a duo. The surreal, disciplined poet Anne-James Chaton has worked closely with experimental guitarist Andy Moor for many years, releasing bizarre minimalist wonders of wordplay, cut-ups and rhythmic underpinnings. More recently, the duo also worked with Thurston Moore on a conceptual album about Heretics. Meanwhile, Chaton has also appeared on a number of releases from Carsten Nicolai aka Alva Noto, head honcho of the “Noton” half of Raster-Noton, these last few years split back into two labels – and Nicolai was involved in at least one of Chaton's solo albums. So here we have Chaton’s vision of words split from their meanings, lyrics reduced to 0s and 1s or numbers & letters, shorn of referents. Alva Noto’s pure electronic beats, bass and floating pads provide the perfect foundation for these dangling signifiers.

Croatian Amor & Varg2TM - Body of Carbon [Posh Isolation/Bandcamp]
Loke Rahbek aka Croatian Amor is a longtime part of the noise scene and also deeply involved in supporting the Danish experimental music scene through his Posh Isolation label. Even his more recent productions shy away from explicit beats & club references, but here with his second collaboration with Jonas Rönnberg aka Varg2TM (previously Varg until the metal band told him to stop) we have a selection of real club bangers – only now and then leaning on the “deconstructed” side even. It’s intense and really great rave material.

Roman Jungblut - Detox - Retox [Roman Jungblut Bandcamp]
We hear enormous amounts of music from Berlin these days – admittedly a lot of it not from German artists – but Cologne has for decades been a hotspot for techno & other adventurous music. Roman Jungblut has a history in bands and sound design for film, games and installations, so Back to where it never started is a sardonic name for his solo debut. It’s surprisingly varied, but the synth melody that grows out of the sparse bass thumps in this track creates a beautiful & eerie opening for this excellent work.

Oto Hiax - Overcurve [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
Oto Hiax - Plates [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
The second release from Seefeel’s Mark Clifford and Loops Haunt’s Scott Gordon suits their home of Editions Mego – it’s got an alien nature which blends acoustic sounds with spectral synthesis, with an icy splendour when you open yourself to it.

Anne Müller - being anne [Erased Tapes/Bandcamp]
Anne Müller - drifting circles [Erased Tapes/Bandcamp]
I first encountered Berlin cellist Anne Müller on her 2010 collaboration with Nils Frahm – one of his most electronic releases, combined with Müller’s gorgeous string arrangements. She has appeared on a number of his albums, and has contributed solo tracks to a few collaborative projects & compilations, but Heliopause is her first solo album proper, and it shows that her abilities as composer & producer are top notch too. Making use of the cello’s percussive qualities, and its lowest & highest tones, Müller creates a music which draws on classical heritage but also references contemporary electronica and composition.

Annelyse Gelman & Jason Grier - Maxes [Fonograf Editions]
Annelyse Gelman & Jason Grier - Rain [Fonograf Editions]
The opening track of Annelyse Gelman & Jason Grier’s debut About Repulsion (a two-track 7” with 6 digital tracks) segues nicely from Anne Müller courtesy of the guest cello from Clare Monfredo – a creative arrangement with harmonics, a plucked ostinato and bowed countermelodies. Eventually Gelman’s vocals & the cello are subsumed & caught up in Grier’s electronic manipulations before breaking free. Gelman, a poet herself, has assembled samples from various contemporary poets on the record as well – Max Ritvo features on the “Maxes”. On “Rain”, multiple versions of Gelman’s singing competes with more & less recognizable field recordings. For all the alienating techniques, it’s incredibly emotive music.

Kirk Barley - Trickle [33-33/Bandcamp]
Kirk Barley - Cradle [33-33/Bandcamp]
Yorkshire musician Kirk Barley has previously released music as Bambooman and Grouphums. This first release under his own name, Landscapes finds him released on Thirty Three Thirty Three for the first time, layering processed guitars, synths and sounds of nature, and joined by Matt Davies’ drums on a few tracks. It’s evocative and peaceful music for turbulent times.

Listen again — ~196MB


Sunday, 24th of November, 2019

Playlist 24.11.19 (8:14 pm)

This was going to be mostly electronic beats tonight, but of course there's no purity when it comes to Utility Fog playlists...

LISTEN AGAIN and get with it... stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

Ecker & Meulyzer - Growth [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
Stray Dogs - Phaeton [Kvitnu/Bandcamp]
Ecker & Meulyzer - Commons [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
I leapt on the new album from Belgian cellist Koenraad Ecker & percussionist Frederik Meulyzer because I love Ecker's work with duos Lumisokea and Stray Dogs, and Subtext Recordings is a very reliable outlet for bass music, abstract sound & electro-acoustic work. And then as I researched Meulyzer I realised that Ecker & Meulyzer ARE Stray Dogs. Not a million miles from Ecker's work with Andrea Taeggi in Lumisokea, Stray Dogs showcases a mix of percussion-driven industrial techno and acoustic/processed acoustic sounds. Under their own surnames, their music leans a little more on Ecker's cello and sound design - made even more stunning as this album was recorded in Norway at the very remote Svalbard Global Seed Vault, one of a number of seed banks around the world keeping seeds for a wide variety of essential crops to be used in the event of a global ecological calamity. In these times of climate crisis, it's vital stuff, and I'm all for instrumental music that engages with subject matter like this - making this important space come alive with resonance.

Kcin - Already Dissolving [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Nicholas Meredith put out his debut EP under his backwards alias Kcin in 2017 - a massive-sounding beauty of overdriven electronics and live percussion. He's continuing to hone his craft, and the second part of his Sleepless and Hopelessness EP(s) has just come out from Melbourne label Spirit Level. An expert mix of electronic programming, live-triggered electronics and live percussion.

Thrax - THISFLESH [Empirical Intrigue]
With one previous EP, Sydney's Thrax remain quite mysterious, but they've come to the still new Sydney label Empirical Intrigue for their new release Lament Lost, which suits the label's exploration of synthesised sounds. Despite an aura of power electronics & noise, there are surprisingly melodic turns, along with some freakily pitch-mangled vocal samples.

Ptwiggs - Worth It [Opal Tapes]
Ptwiggs - The Town of Death [Opal Tapes]
Two tracks from Sydney's Phoebe Twiggs (who's also been co-running the Eternal label & events in recent times), released for the first time on the much loved UK label Opal Tapes. It's interesting because Twiggs' music is if anything ultra-digital, showing that Opal Tapes cares not for the purity of tape-saturated electronics. The EP showcases Twiggs' characteristic industrial, complex beats and electronic melodies alongside a raft of auto-tuned vocals. Impressive as always from a young artist with a keen sense of style and a love of darkness.

Moor Mother - The Myth Hold Weight [Don Giovanni Records/Bandcamp]
Moor Mother - Time Float [Don Giovanni Records/Bandcamp]
Zonal - In A Cage ft. Moor Mother [Relapse/Bandcamp]
Moor Mother - Cold Case (feat. Emel Mathlouthi) [Don Giovanni Records/Bandcamp]
Moor Mother - Black Flight (feat. Saul Williams) [Don Giovanni Records/Bandcamp]
Camae Ayewa aka Moor Mother has been appearing all over the place lately, including cameos with NYC hardcore band Show Me The Body and Eartheater. Already this year her gruff voice and incisive lyrics graced the entire first side of the new album from Zonal, the reincarnation of Justin K Broadrick & Kevin Martin's Techno Animal. Her new album Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes is a masterpiece of noise, beauty, poetry and politics. Unlike 2016's entirely self-produced Fetish Bones, an onslaught of power electronics, weird beats and afro-futurist raps from which we took the uncharacteristically soothing "Time Float", this new album is crammed full of collaborations, including various producers including King Britt, and various guest vocalists including Tunisian star Emel Mathlouthi and cerebral, experimental rap god Saul Williams. Moor Mother's own art transcends even these great collaborators though - she is a unique and powerful force in contemporary art.

Scorn - Talk Whiff (feat. Jason Williamson) [Ohm Resistance]
Scorn - Mugwump Tea Room [Ohm Resistance]
Mick Harris has a long history in heavy instrumental dub. Originally a drummer, Harris featured in one of the earliest lineups of Napalm Death (alongside the aforementioned JK Broadrick) and invented blast beats. By the early '90s he'd split off with Nic Bullen to form the experimental duo Scorn, and within a couple of albums they'd mostly sawn off the vocals and moved into heavy instrumental dub & electronics. Bullen left not long after, and Harris continued Scorn for many years, alongside drum'n'bass experiments as Quoit and dubwise techno as Fret. After the last Scorn album in 2011, Harris announced that the project was no more - so it's rather exciting to have a new album of these bass-heavy, dark concoctions. Also a delight to hear Sleaford Mods' Jason Williamson doing his thing, a Northerner rapping over a Birmingham legend's beats.

Loefah - Ginnocchio [Loefah Productions Bandcamp]
Wonderfully dirty slab of dubstep from one of the great pioneers, Loefah, second emanation from his own Bandcamp.

Lee Gamble - Tyre [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Lee Gamble - Shards [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Continuing the car focus of his Flush Real Pharynx EP series for Hyperdub following In A Paraventral Scale from earlier this year, we have a couple of manic tracks from Lee Gamble. This is supposedly the second phase of semioblitz, where the constant stimulus of contemporary life has clearly gone into overdrive. Gamble is an expert deconstructor of rave & contemporary electronic music forms, which also comes out in his impeccable curation of the UIQ label. Looking forward to the third part in this EP series, coming next year.

Dean Blunt - Darcus [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Ikonika - Primer [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Speaking of Hyperdub, Kode9's label is celebrating its 15th birthday with a compilation, just like they did at 5 & 10. This time it's released in conjunction with Adult Swim, a compilation called HyperSwim featuring most of their recent acts (including an exclusive from Burial). Tonight, and adorably creepy number from the unpredictable Dean Blunt and a great head-nodding piece of techno from Sara Abdel-Hamid aka Ikonika.

Elmono - Cooper's Dream [Tectonic Recordings/Bandcamp]
Elmono - Endorfiend [Tectonic Recordings/Bandcamp]
With a couple of releases under his belt from Cold Recordings, Cardiff-based producer Elmono moves here to another Bristol label, (post-)dubstep legends Tectonic Recordings, for four tracks of rolling breakbeats, kind of drum'n'bass slowed down to techno tempo (with a nice swung feel too).

Andy Odysee - Like Jazz [Odysee Recordings/Bandcamp]
An original player in the '90s jungle scene, composer & producer Andy Baddaley joined Tilla Kemal aka Mirage to run the Odysee Recordings label, releasing important early 12"s from Photek and Source Direct among others. They've lately been releasing remastered digital versions of old releases on their Bandcamp, but here's a new EP from Andy Odysee, with a dark classic-sounding techstep A-side backed with a skittery jazzy number and a third bonus track.

Listen again — ~198MB


Sunday, 17th of November, 2019

Playlist 17.11.19 (8:10 pm)

Spooky sounds starting this evening for a night of evocative experimental music.

LISTEN AGAIN to catch the bits you missed... stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

Casey Bebenek - Your reflection echoes through the corridors (excerpt) [Casey Bebenek Bandcamp]
Casey Bebenek - You are no longer of this world (excerpt) [Casey Bebenek Bandcamp]
Melbourne composer, multi-instrumentalist and sound engineer Adam Casey’s main musical outlet for some years was the band The Boy Who Spoke Clouds. Their delayed last album was released earlier this year, but in the meantime he moved his focus to a duo with drummer Julia Bebenek, with whom he has been creating one engrossing, beautiful longform piece a month all year. I’m sad that I’ve only just caught up with this material – most tracks are too long to play even on my show, but I would have been excerpting them earlier I’m sure! Double bass features extensively (often mournfully bowed), but so does piano, guitar, hurdy gurdy... sonic beds are created from slow loops or field recordings, and percussion rolls around the sound stage. There’s a pervasive sense of melancholy, but also of peace. You should definitely spend a few hours with these pieces.

Ryan Lott - inversion myth [Ryan Lott Bandcamp]
Ryan Lott - breathing cycle [Ryan Lott Bandcamp]
Ryan Lott - jittering cry [Ryan Lott Bandcamp]
Ryan Lott - tether shift [Ryan Lott Bandcamp]
In 2008 alt-hip-hop label Anticon released a rather incredible debut album of neoclassical indietronica from Son Lux. At the time it was a solo outlet for the song-based material of composer Ryan Lott. Over time it’s become a full-blown band in its own right, and meanwhile Lott has composed works for dance, theatre and film (as well as classical music for music’s sake) under his own name. Recently, he released a series of 4 EPs (with more to come!) grouped as learning structures, all works originally commissioned for contemporary dance – including works going back before that first Son Lux album was released. With strings, piano, lots of electronic processing and some percussion, it’s a real pleasure to listen and return to.

Matthew Collings - Blackwater [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Matthew Collings - Vasilia [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Matthew Collings - S Wave [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Scottish composer Matthew Collings released a number of indie/electronic/ambient albums under the name Sketches for Albinos, but with Splintered Instruments in 2013 turned to composition which, like Ryan Lott, melds fizzling, rumbling electronics with classical instruments (as we hear tonight, he hadn't entirely abandoned vocals for that first solo album). He’s also half of the experimental indie duo Graveyard Tapes with Euan McMeeken and has released a couple of amazing albums with Dag Rosenqvist. Following 2016’s Requiem for Edward Snowden, an audiovisual work with strings and electronics which focused on surveillance society, new album Uzonia grapples with with post-Trump, post-Brexit age of ascendant fascism and tries to imagine something utopian.

Inga-Lill Farstad - Smalsoldogg [eilean records/Bandcamp]
As the great French label eilean records nears the end of its self-prescribed 100 releases, the consistency of quality isn’t letting up one bit. Norwegian artist Inga-Lill Farstad had a duo called Children and corpse playing in the streets, and has also worked on a number of releases from Benjamin Finger, but appears here solo for the first time. The sounds here have a strange mix of innocence and disquiet, and with subtle manipulations to instruments, field recordings and vocals but also beautiful, patient chord progressions.

Mamiffer - All That is Beautiful [SIGE Records/Bandcamp]
Mamiffer - River of Light [SIGE Records/Bandcamp]
Faith Coloccia recently released her second solo album under the name Mára, an outlet for ambient piano and vocals, and tape experiments. It’s a joy to also have a new album, The Brilliant Tabernacle, from her longstanding band Mamiffer, for some time now formed around her and her husband, ISIS/SUMAC/Old Man Gloom maestro Aaron Turner. Here Coloccia’s lovely songs and piano are buttressed by full arrangements including Turner’s guitar, drums from the great Jon Mueller, additional vocals from Zen Mother’s Monica Khot (who has released music on Coloccia & Turner’s SIGE Records as Nordra), Veronica Dye’s flute and string arrangements from Eyvind Kang. From an excellent catalogue, it’s probably Mamiffer’s best work yet, like her recent Mára work an exploration and celebration of becoming a mother for the first time – and there really is something life-affirming going on here. Turn it up loud, put it on repeat.

Aaron Turner - Attar Datura [SIGE Records/Bandcamp]
At almost the same time, Coloccia’s husband Aaron Turner has put out his first release under his own name (previous solo work was as House of Low Culture). It’s based around the distorted abstractions of his guitar, but on the third track the abrasiveness lets up for a piece of sustained bass tones and tape-manipulated trumpet samples – at least initially.

Liturgy - EXACO I [Liturgy]
Liturgy - Vitriol [Thrill Jockey/Liturgy Bandcamp]
Liturgy - VIRGINITY [Liturgy]
Liturgy - EXACO II [Liturgy]
And now the metal leanings of the last two acts gives way to a real black metal band – or are they? Hunter Hunt-Hendrix has an uneasy relationship with black metal, and has stretched the medium (and the friendship potentially) over Liturgy’s albums. Released digitally this week, H.A.Q.Q. simultaneously returns to some more black metal-style vocalisations and also takes Liturgy as far away from metal as it’s ever been, with glitchy piano & classical-sounding interludes and very weirdly shaped songs (he loves the glitch, and I’m down with that!) As this show isn’t naturally geared towards metal, I’ve selected some less-representative tracks along with a reminder of the previous opus, the extraordinary The Ark Work.

Ben Carey - Peaks [Hospital Hill]
Sydney musician Ben Carey is an accomplished saxophonist as well as technological interfaces, and has recently become fascinated with modular synthesis. His new release Antimatter on Hospital Hill documents some of his modular work, sometimes quite abstract, sometimes full of burbling synths, odd harmonies and dischords and quasi-rhythms. This first track slowly growsc rather satisfyingly into a sputtering mass of sound.

Listen again — ~193MB


Sunday, 10th of November, 2019

Playlist 10.11.19 (8:14 pm)

Dancefloor mutations of various sorts tonight, veering away into other territories near the end...

LISTEN AGAIN because you can, and you know you want to! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here...

Katie Gately - Bracer [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Even before her debut album Color came out in 2016, Katie Gately was a singular artist making waves with a couple of singles and remixes. Having come to music indirectly, she approached the creation of her music with scientific curiosity and precision, building incredibly catchy pieces from infectious rhythms, creative field recordings and layers of her vocals. Then, as she was preparing her second album, her mother was diagnosed with cancer, and understandably her whole perspective changed. The second abum is coming out in Feb 2020, and this first single "Bracer" was apparently her mother's favourite. It's got her signatures in spades - a driving rhythm throughout the ups and downs of its 10 and a half minutes, and the strength of musicality to sustain a cohesive song for that length - shades of Kate Bush, perhaps. For all its strangeness, it's less abstract and more of a "real song" than anything she's done before. Bring on Feb 14th!

Hiro Kone - Akoluthic Phase [Dais Records/Hiro Kone Bandcamp]
Hiro Kone - Truth That Silence Alone [Dais Records/Hiro Kone Bandcamp]
Hiro Kone - A Desire, Nameless [Dais Records/Hiro Kone Bandcamp]
For her third album, and second for Dais Records, Hiro Kone aka NYC's Nicky Mao addresses the techno-fascism of the current age through the lens of "absence". Instrumental music shackled to big concepts is always a bit of a stretch, but you can feel it working with music this evocative, drawing on the last few decades of post-cyberpunk art & music. Superb sound design and detailed beat programming that doesn't succumb to the current "deconstructed club music" obsession of the current age.

20syl - Ongoing Thing (feat. Oddisee) (Sig Nu Gris Fixation) [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Sig Nu Gris & Cassius Select - Herd Fixation [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Erin Hyde aka Sig Nu Gris spent October progressively releasing her EP of Fixations - radical edits of songs that she "fixates" on to a perhaps obsessive extent. I played one a few weeks ago, but really wanted to revisit them, and this more beat-heavy show is the right time. Her take on French club producer 20syl's hit with Oddisee is a completely discombobulated version of the original - a slow/fast monster; meanwhile her take on ex-Sydney maestro Cassius Select's classic "Herd" is deceptively faithful, but it's completely reconfigured by an added melodic hook and subtle changes to the (still very recognizable) beat.

Leif - Igam-Ogam [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Livity Sound draws from Bristol's soundsystem culture but focuses more on techno & house than dub, although many of its artists stem from the outcropping of dubstep in that fine city. Leif fits nicely into that sound, with a track that takes James Blake's post-dubstep floating jazz chords into percussive deep house. It's lovely.

Andy Stott - Ballroom [Modern Love]
Andy Stott - Versi [Modern Love]
Surprise new double EP, It Should Be Us, from Andy Stott, returning to dancefloor productions after his most recent releases progressed into more postpunk and computer-free sounds. For some reason here the aesthetic is "64k mp3s downloaded from SoulSeek in 2001" - I'm not sure why all the beats are aliased fizzles, but nevertheless it's Andy Stott, so there's beautiful pads and basslines. The highlight is of course the "bonus" track not available on vinyl, "Versi", a head-nodding 4/4 shuffle.

Rrose - Mine [Eaux]
Sutekh - Fire Weather [Orthlorn Musork/Sutekh Bandcamp]
Rrose - Open Cell [Eaux]
For years, Californian musician Seth Horvitz made intelligent, challenging techno & experimental electronic music as Sutekh. For some years now he has explored slippery techno, club music and ambient textures under the pandrogynous pseudonym Rrose (taken from Marcel Duchamp's female-identified alter-ego Rrose Sélavy). There's a continuity with their earlier work (witness the collision of 4/4 beats, field recordings and electric piano on the 2002 track I played), but the Rrose work does stand alone. The album Hymn To Moisture - the first full album as Rrose! - does indeed feel fluid, submerged, sodden. It's a beauty.

Shit & Shine - WHO ARE YOU? [OOH-Sounds/Bandcamp]
Shit & Shine - 57YOUYOI-DRINKIN [OOH-Sounds/Bandcamp]
Texas maverick (now based in the UK) of the noise and doom scenes Shit & Shine has for the last few years been producing perverted variants of electronic & dance genres, with some brilliant disco edits last year now followed with the strange minimal techno-disco on Italian label OOH-Sounds called NO NO NO NO. The title track features an incredibly frustrating phone support conversation that may or may not be a prank call, and weirdly twisted & processed vocal samples follow throughout. It's edging on creepy, but not quite as balls-out as his earlier work.

Tears|Ov - A Hopeless Place [The Tapeworm/Bandcamp]
Tears|Ov - Trapdoor Ant [The Tapeworm/Bandcamp]
An LP release on Touch-affiliated cassette label The Tapeworm (recently turned 10) here comes from UK trio Tears|Ov, made up of poet and experimental musician Lori E Allen, cellist Katie Spafford and artist & multi-instrumentalist Deborah Wale. There's a kind of postpunk industrial feel to this freeform music. The music may originate from improvisations, but it's precisely constructed and mixed into weird, angular, uncompromising quasi-songs.

Del Lumanta - Preparations I [Room40/Bandcamp]
Del Lumanta - Preparations III [Room40/Bandcamp]
This new release from Sydney's Del Lumanta, released on Room40's cassette series A Guide To Saints, documents Del's initial experiments with modular synthesis, showing once again what a talented artist they are. These thought-provoking and creative works are a response to being asked to perform at the Art Gallery of NSW for Sydney Festival earlier this year - both a response to the space and also to the artist's disquiet with the idea of institutions like this. Highly recommended.

Listen again — ~203MB



 
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