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.

Tuesday, 10th of May, 2022

Playlist 08.05.22 (1:08 am)

A dizzy tour through computer folk, club and non-club electronics, indie doom, experimental hip-hop and industrial drill, contemporary classical and drone...

LISTEN AGAIN, I do this for you. Stream on demand with FBi, podcast here.

Borja Flames - Superación [Murailles Music/Bandcamp/Les Disques du Festival Permanent/Bandcamp]
Borja Flames - Lepanto w/ Marion Cousin [Les Disques du Festival Permanent/Bandcamp]
Borja Flames - Nuevo medievo [Murailles Music/Bandcamp/Les Disques du Festival Permanent/Bandcamp]
Originally from Spain but based in France for many years, Borja Flames has been plying his unique electronic folk weirdness for some time. He's frequently worked with Marion Cousin, a singer with a deep interest in sidelined folk musics of the Iberian Peninsula - their duo June et Jim has recently transformed into Catalina Matorral, which I look forward to checking out soon. Borja Flames' last two albums were released through Les Disques du Festival Permanent, the label run by cellist Gaspar Claus (who is French, but his father Pedro Soler is a highly respected flamenco guitarist), although the latest is co-released with booking agency Murailles Music. Nuevo Medievo is indeed titled in Spanish - it's "New Medieval", a very nice description of the contents. Along with Cousin again, Rachel Langlais also joins on synths and vocals, and Paul Loiseau lends additional percussion. It's part of a wave of highly idiosyncratic, groundbreaking music from France, highly recommended.

Coco Em - Winyo Nungo Feat. MC Sharon & Wuod Baba [InFiné Music/Bandcamp]
Coco Em - Kilumi Feat. Ndunge Wa Kalele [InFiné Music/Bandcamp]
Emma Nzioka is a filmmaker and an electronic producer as Coco Em. She's a leading light in the fantastic electronic scene from Nairobi, Kenya, taking many African styles including kuduro, lingala and ampiano and mixing them with worldwide electronic dance styles. That's resulted in a truly exciting listen on her Kilumi EP with French label InFiné Music. Various vocalists guest on different tracks, but it's a particularly lovely touch on the title track when Nzioka brings in a sample credited to "Ndunge Wa Kalele with Kamba women", from Kenya, recorded in the Smithsonian Folkways' International Library of African Music.

R-T-FAX - Circuit Breakaa [Deep Scan]
Obelisk - Spire [Deep Scan]
I played a couple of tracks from Deep Scan's Solid State Drive 2 compilation a couple of weeks ago - a breakcore-focused compilation featuring Sydney artists as well as producers from around Australia and the world. Tonight I'm revisiting it with two Sydney artists. Erin Nortje, aka R-T-FAX, is one half of Deep Scan with Tom Vanderzeil. Her track splices junglist breaks into a half-time, stop-start, bass-heavy monster. Brilliant. Meanwhile, Sydney DJ and event organiser Obelisk throws us into a hellish blender.

Intense - Time Space Continuem (Ricky Force Remix) [Future Retro]
Essentially a 2022 refix, this remix by Dublin's Ricky Force was cleared by Tim Reaper for his Future Retro label. It takes a stone cold jungle classic from '93 by Intense (also known as Babylon Timewarp) and preserves much of the structure, rearranging the beats and beefing up the bass, as well as rewriting the bridge. Check the original, but this is killer.

Travis Cook - interzone [Travis Cook Bandcamp]
The notorious Travis Cook, infamous as one half of Collarbones with Marcus Whale, drops one of his occasional tracks for Bandcamp Friday. "Interzone" mashes up unlikely source material into trance/rave madness, with profits going to Shine SA.

Stefan Goldmann - Oyotung [Macro Records]
Stefan Goldmann - Nayba [Macro Records]
Berlin techno producer Stefan Goldmann does 4/4 with the best of them, but also has a sideline in experimental beats and sound-art (his father was the composer & conductor Friedrich Goldmann), and for his latest release on his Macro label he deconstructs the beats and barlines into strange polyrhythms, sometimes frenetic and sometimes calm, always flowing with liquid grace. This is pure electronic music, although the melodic and textural elements tend towards gamelan-like bells and tuned percussion. It's engrossing music for mind & body.

MONO KIOSKO - Loose Focus [MONO KIOSKO Bandcamp]
the empty sleeps - panthers (dental jams / ezroh remix) [the empty sleeps Bandcamp]
MONO KIOSKO - Velvet Stucco [MONO KIOSKO Bandcamp]
Adelaide hip-hop heads dental jams & ezroh have worked together for a while, appearing last year with a nice overdriven remix of fellow Adelaidians the empty sleeps. They now wish to be known as MONO KIOSKO, and their debut album is a joyous mixtape of downtempo, head-nodding beats. It's got the feel of a lo-fi Avalanches jam, and will appeal to any instrumental hip-hop fans.

BUSDRIVER - <______________ [Busdriver Bandcamp, already gone]
This was a track of weirdo alt-rap from BUSDRIVER, who's one of the kings of complex, experimental underground rap. I just found out that in 2018 (or 2017 even?) he was accused of sexual assault, and although it appears not to have gone anywhere, it sounds pretty credible (as do most public accusations of that sort). It's very disappointing, although there were always elements of his lyrics that I found troubling to be honest. His whole music release strategy has been weird for some time, and I'm sure he's got some fucked up mental shit going on, but if he's been abusive to women there's no excuse and I'm sorry to have given him airtime.

Blackhaine - Stained Materials [Fixed Abode/Bandcamp]
Blackhaine - Black Lights on the M6 (JordanLuca OST) [Fixed Abode/Bandcamp]
Blackhaine - And Salford Falls Apart [Fixed Abode/Bandcamp]
Named in part after the incendiary French movie La Haine, Lancashire rapper Blackhaine makes the bleakest and angriest drill I've heard, with cohort Rainy Miller and more recently Croww underlining and entwining his anguished howls and poetry with industrial menace. Meanwhile Blackhaine himself, aka Tom Heyes, accompanies his vocals with astonishing and moving contemporary dance - check his insane choreography for Flohio's Unveiled (and some intense behind-the-scenes rehearsal footage). Intensity is the name of the game with his work, whether unsettling calm or massive distorted waves of sound that at times overwhelm his voice. He gives visceral voice to the depressing realities of working class life in post-Brexit England. I await Armour II with baited breath (and some trepidation).

Helms Alee - Keep This Be The Way [Sargent House/Bandcamp]
Helms Alee - See Sights, Smell Smells [Sargent House/Bandcamp]
Seattle band (and oh boy, there's really something in the water up in Washington State, hey) Helms Alee are a strange and wondrous amalgam of classic indie rock and hardcore punk/doom/sludge metal. All three members - two women and one man - contribute vocals along with the guitar/bass/drums, with stunning harmonisation juxtaposed with gutteral yells. Each album is an evolution for the band, and in creating this latest through lockdowns in a makeshift studio together, they were able to splice in tape experiments and strange interludes, then adding in contributions from friends including renowned cellist Lori Goldston. It's a pretty thrilling album for lovers of US indie rock and metal alike.

Gantz - Foreboder [Gantz Bandcamp]
Turkish post-dubstepper Gantz is one of those artists who's thrived with Bandcamp's monthly schedule of fee-free Fridays. Like many other recent offerings, this month's Unspeakable EP features strangely fizzly, processed beats somewhere between his classic dubstep/trip-hop and Autechre, and on some tracks here he's distorting his synths to the extent that they sound more like shoegaze or grunge riffs than anything you'd find on a dancefloor. But dancefloors aren't really the target of Gantz's music at the moment, and that doesn't worry me...

Hüma Utku - Ataxia [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
Hüma Utku - Continuing Bonds [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
I was transfixed by the work of Berlin-based, Istanbul-born Hüma Utku since her first EP (as R.A.N.) in 2018 on Karlrecords. An album followed in 2019, and she was then given the high accolade of signing to the great Editions Mego - but tragically, the label's Peter Rehberg died of a heart attack in mid-2021. Lucky for us, everything slated for release is still being put out by the various artists & others associated with the label, so we get Utku's magnificent album The Psychologist, released as it should be on Editions Mego. The title is a reference to Utku's qualifications in psychology, but also to the album's focus on psychological phenomena, and the human element of Utku's own voice, albeit often pitch-shifted and processed. Aside from this, the album continues her use of industrial ambiences and textures, repetitive beats and samples, but also introduces creative string arrangements. All this lifts The Psychologist to a new level in an already gripping career.

Randi Pontoppidan & Povl Kristian - Awareness [Chant Records/Bandcamp]
Randi Pontoppidan & Povl Kristian - Juno & Eros [Chant Records/Bandcamp]
Danish singer Randi Pontoppidan is powerhouse of vocal creativity - not just vocal techniques, but also the use of technology with her voice. She is also an accomplished improviser, and it's perhaps more surprising to find that her collaborator here, the film composer Povl Kristian, interacts so instinctively with her on the piano in this wonderful album of spontaneous compositions, Life In Life. There's little to indicate that these aren't contemporary compositions, with ambiguous tonal centres and quiveringly evocative discords, and beautiful extra-musical touches from Pontoppidan's electronics. It's an antidote to the glut of "neo-classical" prettiness - any "subtle electronics" here are employed in a context of an unsettling and deeply satisfying lack of compromise.

Leah Kardos - Little Beating Heart [bigo & twigetti/Bandcamp]
Here, mind you, is post-classical prettiness in its ideal form, by a master (and incidentally a David Bowie expert). Leah Kardos, based in London for some time but with her roots in Australia, created this single "Little Beating Heart" for bigo & twigetti's third Perceptions compilation exploring different approaches to piano music. Here it's twinkly felted piano but it slows grows with textural additions through a kind of orchestrated shoegaze crescendo and then settles back again. A delight, as always.

Robert Takahashi Crouch / Lawrence English - Body Ritual [Room40/Bandcamp]
On his last album, US musician Robert Takahashi Crouch opened with a 20-minute piece called "Ritual", which was actually excerpted from a two-hour improvisation performed for his partner, the ambient musician Yann Novak. Following the album's release, Crouch decided to turn this very personal, private creation over to various trusted friends to reinterpret as they saw fit. Tonight, we heard Room40 label boss Lawrence English's minimalist drones and deeply submerged kick pulse. As well as Novak himself, I have to draw attention to the nearly-14-minute reworking from Faith Coloccia, which I was unable to fit in tonight.

Minus Pilots - We Dream Dreams And Scribble Stars [PLAYNEUTRAL]
Finishing with another Ukraine-related compilation, from the relatively new UK experimental label PLAYNEUTRAL. Their Ukraine Appeal is PWYC with all profits to the Red Cross Ukraine Crisis Appeal, and has some gorgeous exclusive pieces from the likes of Aidan Baker, Simon Scott, Machinefabriek, Library Tapes & Jakob Lindhagen, and this beauty from the very consistent sound-art duo Minus Pilots. Starting with close harmonies on strings, it slowly evolves through postrock sounds and sampled voices. Even if you're exhausted by bad news and appeals, do yourself a favour, contribute what you can and absorb the beautiful offerings here.

Listen again — ~202MB

Wednesday, 4th of May, 2022

Playlist 01.05.22 (12:57 am)

Industrial's influence on hip-hop, metal, techno and more, IDM, post-r'n'b techno, math rock, folktronica and ambient. Wishing you a very Utility Fog May Day.

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

dälek - The Harbingers [Ipecac/Bandcamp]
dälek - Holistic [Ipecac/Bandcamp]
dälek - Abandoned Language [Ipecac/Bandcamp]
Although the last dälek album proper was 5 years ago (almost as long as the break between 2010 and their "reformation" in 2016), there's been an EP and a series of "Meditations", mostly solo work from Will Brooks, created during 2020's pandemic months. Still, it's awesome to have a full album from dälek as a "group" again, with Mike Mare's added noisemaking throughout. A pioneering force in industrial hip-hop or noise-hop or whatever you want to call it, dälek merge Public Enemy's hard-hitting politics and uncompromising beats with squalls of noise and distortion borrowed from shoegaze & metal - and indeed they've tended to find themselves on metal-aligned labels more than hip-hop, with Mike Patton's Ipecac their home on much of the way. Precipice has all the hallmarks of a great dälek release, very welcome around these parts. I also played the beloved title track to 2007's Abandoned Language, replete with its gorgeous blissed-out outro.

SCALPING - Desire [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
SCALPING - Flashforward [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Approaching industrial noise from another direction entirely, Bristol quartet SCALPING combine techno maximalism with riffs and samples in a way that can't help but recall the mid-'90s metal/rock fusion with electronics. Their debut album Void, released by Fabric club-aligned Houndstooth, is a rollicking fun time, but it strongly reminds me of a band from my youth...

Pop Will Eat Itself - Everything's Cool (youth's dragonfly mix) [Infectious]
In particular the riffs, beats and wordless female vocal samples are eerily reminiscent of Pop Will Eat Itself's 2004 single "Everything's Cool", represented here by the "Dragonfly mix", one of a number produced by Killing Joke bassist and dub/trance master Youth. I have seen the future and this is how it begins.

Tilman Robinson and Kcin - Skull Emoji [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Last week I played a preview of the new EP from Melbourne composer/producer Tilman Robinson and Sydney percussionist/producer Kcin, musical visionaries both. Requiem for the Holocene is out now, all fizzling, crackling drones and subs and percussion (except for the more elegiac title track). Don't miss this!

Bacchus Harsh - Crepusculum Mirable [Bacchus Harsh Bandcamp]
Christian Bishop continues with his Bacchus Harsh identity, a somewhat more versatile and sometimes less abrasive project than the breakcore stuff as Xian that he's previously been famous for. As you'll hear here, even when working on a classic synth at MESS (Mebourne Electronic Sound Studio), he manages to bring in the jungle influence to his dark electronica.

digital selves - Eurostar [Cherche Encore/Bandcamp]
digital selves - Happier without [Cherche Encore/Bandcamp]
Speaking of jungle influences... digital selves is Lizzie Wilson, a live-coder, researcher into computation creativity and electronic musician whose second EP error topography has just been released by Cherche Encore. It's a cool collection of glitchy IDM stuff, restless and dense with detail. It also comes with a super cool video by Joana Chicau.

µ-Ziq - Magic Pony Ride (Pt.1) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
You're going to get bored with how much I'll be talking about µ-Ziq this year - or, no you won't, because Mike Paradinas is a legend! So, following the Goodbye EP we're getting Magic Pony Ride, the much-vaunted new album that's his continuation of the 25-year-old work of genius Lunatic Harness, which will see a multi-disc expanded remaster in a few months. Strongly influenced by jungle, but still with Mike P's signature talent for melody and orchestration, it's a beloved album and so it's great that Mike is returning to these sounds in the midst of a pretty substantial jungle revival two & a half decades later. Other than "Goodbye", "Magic Pony Ride (Pt.1)" is the first single from the album, and it's everything you'd expect/hope for.

Kelly Lee Owens - Release [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
Kelly Lee Owens - Voice [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
Welsh musician Kelly Lee Owens is never one to be pigeonholed, occupying a strange space of dreamy house/electronica with occasional vocals and bouts of darkness and grit. Her albums so far have been released on Norwegian label Smalltown Supersound, and just as the pandemic hit she took herself off to Oslo and bunked down to record a new album, working with the great noisemeister and producer Lasse Marhaug, who's worked with the likes of Jenny Hval, Susanna and others. When she was finished, she told the label she'd created her "eighth album" - and indeed album #3 is titled LP.8. As far as I can see this is going entirely unexplained, which I find deligthful. Owens recently played this entire album to an audience at Sydney's Phoenix Central Park, which I couldn't make it to, but I hear was supported by a special scent for the evening, and lots of swirling fog. It's a pretty experimental album, but still all Kelly Lee Owens. I do particularly like the rather dark opening tracks, but fans of her previous work will certainly enjoy this one in its entirety too.

Batu - Solace feat. serpentwithfeet [Timedance/Bandcamp]
Batu - Squall [Timedance/Bandcamp]
Batu - Atavism [Timedance/Bandcamp]
Omar McCutcheon is a mainstay in the Bristol music scene, coming up through dubstep into all sorts of dancefloor genres as Batu, and through his curation of the brilliant Timedance label. His new solo album Opal is a remarkable achievement, pushing his music into new directions with instrumental contributions throughout from Will Yates aka memotone, some material from adopted Aussie Air Max '97, and a beautiful, creepy vocal from serpentwithfeet that we heard tonight. There are certainly beat excursions of all sorts, all of which hint at UK bass genres without quite bedding down into dubstep, garage, jungle or anything else. That's suitable for Timedance, which dances to its own tune, but it's still an impressive statement from the label leader and an album that I think will need multiple more airings to fully digest.

Mads Emil Nielsen - Constellation [arbitrary/Bandcamp]
In smaller quantities comes the first in a series of 7"s from Danish sound-artist Mads Emil Nielsen on his arbitrary label, each in collaboartion with Chromacolor, a project of Hanno Leichtmann. Constallation finds him in abstract dub form, evocative and not quite rhythmic, and his track is backed with a reworking from Leichtmann which expands the work in scope while keeping its foundations.

Cola de Zorro - Largo camino al silencio [LeRockPsicophonique/Bandcamp]
Cola de Zorro - El desierto avanza [LeRockPsicophonique/Bandcamp]
This is ia hell of a discovery. Cola de Zorro are a Chilean band, in this incarnation sounding mostly like a post-/math/kraut/psych-rock hybrid, with a history stretching back over a decade and a half. The mathy postrock vibes here are really great, shot through with a Latin American feel that reminds me just a tiny bit of the wonderful Dos Santos. But then we have "Largo camino al silencio", in which César Bernal swaps his bass guitar for double bass for an extraordinary performance of melodies and broken chords, eventually accompanied by drum machine as it builds to its climax. A wonderful surprise on a wonderful album.

Crewdson & Cevanne - Drinking Song [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
Crewdson & Cevanne - Sailing Song [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
I discovered UK folktronic producer Crewdson via his 2017 album Toys on Slowfoot, full of his homemade instruments and electronic processing. Looking back at the credits, Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian was there playing harp, but their duo as Crewdson & Cevanne sees the latter's talents as composer, orchestrator and singer come to the fore. It's not surprise to find this duo on Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records - it's just their natural home really. New EP Rites For Crossing Water imagines a new folk music around the idea of 21st century waterways, with a capella song, Cevanne's harp, string arrangements and occasional glitchy rhythms.

Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres - Relent [Headphone Commute/Bandcamp]
Claire Deak - A Million Cloaked Ghosts [Headphone Commute/Bandcamp]
Ryuichi Sakamoto and Illia Bondarenko - Piece for Illia [Headphone Commute/Bandcamp]
To finish tonight, we have three tracks from the second For Ukraine compilation just released by Headphone Commute. Hollie Kenniff has once again done a brilliant job curating the works here, with many female composers & producers included, from all around the world. A lovely piece of bubbling synth and found-sound beats from UK composer Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres starts our selections tonight, but I'm really pleased that to find Melbourne's Claire Deak here (incidentally of Ukrainian extraction herself) - in solo mode, having been heard a year and a bit ago in duo with her husband Tony Dupé, here with gorgeous vocal layering, and then we finish up with a vintage chamber composition from Ryuichi Sakamoto, in his sumptuous post-Debussy style, his piano accompanying the violin of Ukrainian performer Illia Bondarenko, who interprets the piece especially written for him with all the emotion it deserves.

Listen again — ~210MB

Monday, 25th of April, 2022

Playlist 24.04.22 (12:05 pm)

Some beautiful experimental, subtle sounds today - and also, the breakcore revival!

LISTEN AGAIN, you won't regret it! Stream on demand at the FBi website or podcast here.

I, Iteration - Homeland [Flaming Pines]
Mova - Ryoma [Flaming Pines]
Kate Carr's Flaming Pines label has always been an internationally-focused label, with field recording series based around artists' locations around the world, and compilations focused on Iranian music, Vietnamese music and more in the past. Liberty serves as one of the many compilations dedicated to supporting Ukrainians during the invasion of their country by Russian military forces - but it's also entirely made up of Ukrainian artists (the second such compilation from the label). Igor Yalivec of Gamardah Fungus, who've been released multiple times on Flaming Pines, is the curator again, and he teams up with Kyiv-based Endless Melancholy. Also familiar to some will be Heinali. Tonight I played two artists new to me: I, Iteration with pretty, undulating synth patterns; and Mova with more glitchy textures.

Evitceles - Explode Into Unfamiliar Place [Amek Collective/Bandcamp]
Evitceles - Неспокойно разливане [Amek Collective/Bandcamp]
From Ukraine, south-west around the Baltic Sea we go to Bulgarian, to join Evitceles, who we've heard previously on Opal Tapes, Yerevan Tapes and Seagrave, and who returns to Bulgarian label Amek Collective for Accession, one of his best albums yet. There's lots of lovely bass, industrial beats and occasional distorted vocals. Dark music for dark times.

Tilman Robinson and Kcin - Your Tomorrow Has No Tomorrow [Spirit Level]
Speaking of which... Melbourne-based Tilman Robinson and Sydney's Kcin have had this collaboration coming for a while, suitably (eek) entitled Requiem for the Holocene (which is the current geological epoch). It explores similar themes to Kcin's Decade Zero and Robinson's Culturecide - that of catastrophic climate change, dramatised through both artists' talents for merging acoustic sound sources with heavy-duty electronics. The comparatively gentle title track appeared on a compilation a little while ago, and the full EP is out next Friday. Meanwhile here's the heavy, percussive sound of the equally positive "Your Tomorrow Has No Tomorrow".

DJ Kuroneko - Fracture [Deep Scan]
Dark Apostle - Weeb in the Shell [Deep Scan]
Heavier still now. Just this week Bandcamp had an article about "the internet's" breakcore revival, with some pretty good commentary on where breakcore came from in the '90s and what it's become today. As a side-note, it was interesting to read Alex Petridis talking about drum'n'bass becoming cool for the TikTok generation in the Guardian this week (full disclosure: I hate almost all the music referenced in the article, but my taste is irrelevant for TikTok pop trends and I'm really glad this stuff exists). Anyway, I was particularly pleased to read the breakcore article because it's been a while since breakcore was a core genre for Utility Fog (it was for years), and just this coming week, Sydney-based Deep Scan are releasing their second compilation, Solid State Drive 2, focused on breakcore both local and international. It's a fantastic comp, showcasing excellent music which understands breakcore and jungle's history and comfortably situates them in current-day musical trends. Ireland's DJ Kuroneko is right there in the thick of it, with the ubiquitous anime, cyberpunk, video game aesthetics and complex, rapidfire beats. From Sydney, Dark Apostle is also of course referencing those same cultural waypoints with highlight "Weeb in the Shell". I'm sure I'll be playing more from this in the next week or two!

Via the Bandcamp article I found the latest collaborative release from Atlanta producers Elevation and x.nte. On Singularity Fallout, x.nte pushes things in the super-accelerated aggressive breakcore direction, while Elevation tends more to jungle's rhythmic flow. That said, the duo track "Bangs on Clarkston Market" has a sweet jazzy aspect that fits the artists' Atlanta roots to a tee.

Fanu & Larson Whiled - Earl's Brew [Lightless Recordings]
Also on a jazz tip is the delightful opening track from the new EP from Finland's d'n'b don Fanu and young UK artist Larson Whiled. The EP bristles with breaks at different tempos, shifting from hip-hop to drum'n'bass and back with ease.

Loraine James - Cold Air [MSCTY]
Chisara Agor - Akrafokonmu / Soul Washer’s Badge [MSCTY]
MSCTY_EXPO PLEASURES ZONE is the latest indefinable project from MSCTY aka "MUSIC CITY", describing themselves as "the leading global agency for music + architecture". Their first physical release is a double cassette and zine, with the artists responding to unbuilt architectural projects. The second cassette is a composition by artist Yuval Avital, while the first cassette mixes up sound art, beats and compositions. There's Loraine James doing her lovely jazz-inflected IDM, and tonight we also heard the unique sound of UK-based Chisara Agor and their African compositions and sound collage.

Michael Stipe - Future, If Future [EarthPercent]
anrimeal - Source and Time [EarthPercent]
Saint Brian Eno has started an org called EarthPercent aimed at raising money for the most impactful organisations addressing the climate emergency. For Earth Day earlier this week, over 100 tracks from artists well-known and obscure were released through the EarthPercent Bandcamp with at least £1.30 (or USD $1.30 I guess depending on the artists) going to the org. Eno has a track, there's an alt.mix of Peter Gabriel's "Shock The Monkey", and heaps of other interesting stuff which you can pick and choose from. It was nice hearing something new from Michael Stipe, with oddly glitchy electronic backing, co-produced with Eno and the versatile Andy LeMaster. Meanwhile the wonderful anrimeal aka Ana Rita de Melo Alves contributes her typically oblique sounds with guitar and vocals digitally bent out of shape.

Soundwalk Collective with Charlotte Gainsbourg, feat. Willem Dafoe, Atom™ - Lovotic [Soundwalk Collective]
Soundwalk Collective with Charlotte Gainsbourg, feat. Lyra Pramuk - Empower And Enhance [Soundwalk Collective]
Originally founded in New York City, Soundwalk Collective is an international affair, with rotating members in Europe as well as the US, and collaborators such as Patti Smith and Ethiopian jazz musician Mulatu Astatke as well as Jean-Luc Godard. Released at the start of this month was the album Lovotic, a meditation of the new study of sexual and romantic relationships between humans and robots (apparently!) featuring spoken word from Charlotte Gainsbourg. An unreleased track from the same sessions appears as part of EarthPercent. On the album, many other collaborators appear, including the great Atom™ on the title track, and the great actor Willem Dafoe adding additional spoken word. A few tracks also feature avant-garde vocalist Lyra Pramuk. It's quite minimalist music, with a cold sensuousness befitting its subject matter.

Moskus - Å, var jeg en sangfugl [Hubro/Bandcamp]
Moskus - Papirfuglen [Hubro/Bandcamp]
Norwegian label Hubro has provided some of the most intruguing & exciting music for Utility Fog playlists over the years, with a style that frequently embodies our cheeky "postfolkrocktronica" tag (add jazz in there somewhere). Trondheim trio Moskus are one of those groups that blur genre lines and obscure distinctions between acoustic & electronic, all through improvised music. There's a folky openness to the proceedings and a post-jazz (if I may) aesthetic which is often found in this Norwegian scene.

Fhunyue Gao & Sven Kacirek - Archie Waltz (Drums) [Altin Village & Mine/Bandcamp]
Fhunyue Gao & Sven Kacirek - Dub Garden (Birds Why) [Altin Village & Mine/Bandcamp]
Here's an unusual collaboration. Drummer/percussionist & producer Sven Kacirek is based between Hamburg & Kenya, and has collaborated with various people in the German electronic & postrock type scenes over the years - in fact his duo with Stefan Schneider had a split release with our Shoeb Ahmad on her hellosQuare Recordings sometime ago. Fhunyue Gao is from Switzerland, trained in dance and a director as well as a musician. Their duo recordings combine tuned percussion, drums, electronic beats and more with Gao's very expressive theremin playing. It's quite uncategorizable, even though it stands well with the music before & after it tonight!

Laurent Pernice & Dominique Beven - L'Instant d'Aprés [Alma De Nieto Records]
Laurent Pernice & Dominique Beven - Le Chant de la Terre (quel malheur est-il ?) [Alma De Nieto Records]
Laurent Pernice & Dominique Beven - Charivari [Alma De Nieto Records]
The exquisite work here has a strange origin: Le Corps Utopique soundtracks a dance work performed by Emma Gustafsson and conceived along with Laurent Hatat, itself based (somehow) on Michel Foucault's lecture of that name. Multi-tracked wind instruments performed primarily by Dominique Beven are manipulated, both subtly and radically by Laurent Pernice's electronics. Tongue taps and breaths flutter, strange chords wheeze and sigh, otherworldly and beautiful.

Hans P. Kjorstad - Rotasjon [Motvind Records/Bandcamp]
Hans P. Kjorstad - Visjon [Motvind Records/Bandcamp]
To finish, we're back in Norway with fiddle player and composer Hans P. Kjorstad, who leads an ensemble of musicians on strings, wind instruments, harmonium, piano and percussion - and most also on bird flute. The works on Avkjølingshistorie ("A history of cooling") are a musical expression of the biggest subjects, from geology through to biology, mysticism and consciousness itself. Again the closest musical comparisons I can think of are also Norwegian - music from the Hubro label, the guitar style of Kim Myhr, the improvisatory compositions of Nakama and Christian Meaas Svendsen. This is highly evocative, subtle music, performed beautifully.

Listen again — ~200MB

Monday, 18th of April, 2022

Playlist 17.04.22 (11:36 pm)

Strange melodies, warped rhythms, voices from the ether...

LISTEN AGAIN before it's too late. We're depending on you! Podcast here or stream on demand @ FBi.

Jockstrap - Concrete Over Water [Rough Trade/Bandcamp]
When Jockstrap signed to Warp in 2020 I was blown away by the two EPs they released for the label, with Georgia Ellery's vocals and violin, and both her and Taylor Skye's piano and production skills. In the interim, they've signed to Rough Trade, and released a very dancefloor-oriented track last year, which they've just followed up with the gorgeous "Concrete Over Water", which is best experienced with the delightful video, conceived of by Ellery with director Eddie Whelan. To Ellery's musical skills we can add acting and movement, as she portrays three different characters exploring a strange little fairytale world. The song itself again matches emotive melodies, close harmonies and unfettered electronics. The only downside is that there isn't more.

µ-Ziq - Goodbye (Xylitol Remix) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
µ-Ziq - Goodbye (DJ Manny Remix) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Following the brilliant return of Mike Paradinas as µ-Ziq to the jungle-loving sounds of his circa-'97 productions, Planet µ are releasing the Goodbye Remixes this coming Friday. Given Planet µ's status as evangelists for Chicago's footwork sound, and given the genre's strange synergy with jungle's frantic tempos, it's fitting that there are a few footwork producers there. DJ Manny keeps impressively close to the original's breakbeats and vocal samples, just adding a footwork 4/4 pulse and fluttering hi-hat, yet making it his own. Meanwhile Brighton's Xylitol shows that she knows Paradinas' style inside-out, constructing a blissful jungle ride with added dancing synth melodies that are pitch-perfect µ–Ziq - quite an achievement.

Uman Therma, Yeong Die, Yetsuby - Intro (Vol. 2) [Computer Music Club]
Uman Therma, Yeong Die, Yetsuby - 4040404 [Computer Music Club]
Computer Music Club is a South Korean label/collective exploring IDM & dance music through varying tempos and styles and having a hell of a lot of fun doing so. All three are female producers whose other work leans more towards ambient, contemporary classical and minimalist work - together, Uman Therma & Yetsuby are Salamanda, while Yeong Die has released electronic soundtracks and piano music among other things. Yet together they're making crazy beats full of chopped breaks & glitches & samples, ranging from downtempo to techno to drill'n'bass and breakcore. Check out the five volumes so far released, and follow their Bandcamp for more.

Pugilist & Tamen - 2 Tone [Tempo Records/Bandcamp]
Pugilist & Tamen - Mirrors [Tempo Records/Bandcamp]
Ten years ago, Melbourne-based producer Pugilist was still in NZ, and began releasing superb dubstep and occasional uk garage music as one half of the duo Perverse. As Pugilist, Alex Dickson has traversed dubstep, uk garage, dub techno, drum'n'bass and jungle - in the last 2 or 3 weeks we've heard some other breakbeat work of his with fellow Melburnian Tamen, and meanwhile their second collaborative EP has come out, this time from the pretty exclusive Rotterdam drum'n'bass label Tempo Records. This is prime contemporary jungle, relentless beat juggling and all. Recommended.

Parallel Action - You Said (Brainwaltzera Remix) [C7NEMA100]
Parallel Action - You Said (Original) [C7NEMA100]
This new EP from Parallel Action describes the artist as having a trip-hop aesthetic, and I kind of get it - with jungle having a renaissance, it's not surprising that trip-hop might be too (Sevdaliza is testament to that). But the vocal samples and electronic beats on Parallel Action's "You Said" remind me more of Various Production, or the late-'90s/early-'00s IDM/breakbeat of Tipper circa The Critical Path (or see especially the Phoenecia remix of Dissolve (out)). Genre arguments aside, this is lovely stuff, and the remixes are top notch too, emphasising that IDM/breaks connection with The Fear Ratio and new IDM hero Brainwaltzera.

TMSV - Altered [Perfect Records/TMSV Bandcamp]
Dutch dubstep don TMSV returns to his own Perfect Records with two tracks of pure core dubstep (also featured is something more technoid on the third track). Always worth checking out his work.

Horse MacGyver - IDK IGU WYD [Nice Music/Bandcamp]
Horse MacGyver - How They Kill You [Dream Damage]
Horse MacGyver - Cutting And P3k1ng Oh [Nice Music/Bandcamp]
Canberran producer Timothy Dwyer started off under the moniker / / / ▲ ▲ ▲ \ \ \, earning him a place in the annals of "witch house" history - well, not just the name, but also the overdriven beats and hints at black metal among other things. When he switched to easier-to-type (not to mention search) Horse MacGyver, he managed to extricate himself from the short-lived subgenre, continuing with challenging experimental electronic productions. Visual aeshetics were always a big part of witch house, and Dwyer is a creative visual designer as well - the artwork for New Weird Australia's recent Collapse Theories is created by Dwyer. His new album End Effector is just out from Nice Music in Melbourne, and it's as uncompromising and sui generis as ever. There are hints at electronic genres of various sorts, but he's not one to be pigeonholed, or follow expectations. One to experience for yourself.

Mark Stewart VS KK Null - New Error [eMERGENCY heARTS/Bandcamp]
Mark Stewart VS Mika Vainio VS Ye Gods - Cursed Child [eMERGENCY heARTS/Bandcamp]
I have to admit I don't have in-depth knowledge of Mark Stewart's long career. His name comes up frequently in contexts of postpunk, dub, industrial and other experimental circles - and that's very much all in evidence on his new collaborative album VS. It's somewhere between a remix album and a collaborative album, with artists from across industrial hip-hop (Consolidated), industrial (Front 242, Stephen Mallinder), punk (Mike Watt), dub (Lee "Scratch" Perry, Adrian Sherwood) and all at once (Eric Random), as well as experimental types. There aren't many new faces here - it's by and large contemporaries of Stewart's - but it's still angry and abrasive and energetic. Japanese noise/drone/electronic legend KK Null appears a couple of times, with blasts of noise and rhythms. And Mika Vainio makes a posthumous appearance along with prog-metal weirdos Ye Gods. Cool stuff.

Coil - Paranoid Inlay [Chalice/Dais Records/Bandcamp]
Coil - Where Are You? feat. Rose McDowall [Chalice/Dais Records/Bandcamp]
A year and a bit ago, it was wonderful to have the excuse to play something from Coil's brilliant arcane, ambient, post-industrial work of genius Music to Play in the Dark, which was remastered and reissued on CD, vinyl and digital by Dais Records under the direction of Coil collaborator/member Drew McDowall. The necessary next step was always its sequel, so now it's time for Musick to Play in the Dark². Stylistically, there's not much to differentiate them, with the queer industrial roots mixed with glitch, cabaret, techno, ambient, folk and psychedelia to create a scintillating, serene yet disquieting homage to the middle of the night. This is moon music. A limnal hymn. Both albums are, in my opinion, absolutely essential. I've now owned them on CD three times. 'Nuff said.

Anadol - Gizli Duygular [Pingipung/Bandcamp]
Felicita is the second album on Pingipung from Berlin-based Turkish experimental synth artist Gözen Atila aka Anadol. There are hints at old Turkish pop music in here, but Atila also loves her Casio chord accompaniments - turning the cheesy and naïve into something compellingly strange and new. On this track, though, the Casiotone elements melt into a kosmische krautrock groove for an extended jam, unexpected and wonderful.

Oren Ambarchi, Johan Berthling, Andreas Werliin - II [Drag City/Bandcamp]
On groove-based, kraut-jazz jams you'd be hard-pressed to find a better trio than these three. From his origins in free noise, extreme minimalism and drone/doom metal, about 10 years ago Oren Ambarchi found himself a minimalist, evolving experimental rock groove with the remarkable Audience of One, and has since then embellished and refined this style over a number of releases. In his catalogue, this album follows that sequence, but his collaborators are comfortable in this world too. Both established members of the Swedish experimental scene, Johan Berthling & Andreas Werliin are both members of the legendary *ahem* postfolkrocktronic band Tape, and the two also make up the incredible rhythm section of the free jazz/psych ensemble Fire! with Mats Gustafsson. The stoic, dubby, krauty basslines Berthling lays down in Fire! are here, as are the freewheeling rhythms of Werliin (probably best known for his duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums with his brilliant wife and Fire! Orchestra member Mariam Wallentin). So it was clear Drag City was on to a winner with this new LP, Ghosted, and it easily lives up to expectations. Track II is particularly blissed out. You won't regret spending 40 minutes with this music.

Listen again — ~201MB

Monday, 11th of April, 2022

Playlist 10.04.22 (1:16 am)

Experimental music, including narration with electronics, underground hip-hop, post-acid techno, deconstructed club music, classic glitch, tape manipulation, drone-folk and more.
Yes, those are all real genres.

LISTEN AGAIN to the sounds of this world and... others? Stream on demand @FBi or podcast here.

Ayala and Zac Picker - cardamom - cinnamon - cloves [Ayala Bandcamp]
Ayala and Zac Picker - wet cat - old bark - deep breaths [Ayala Bandcamp]
Based on a story by Zac Picker called "Bessamim" published in Soft Stir Vol 2, this stunning work combines Zac's spoken word with music and sound design from Ayala aka Donny Janks. Picker is in fact a physicist, but his talent for that very mathematical of sciences is balanced by a talent for very evocative prose, generating nostalgia via all the senses in a story about being (almost) 13, training for bar mitzvah. Picker's lush, wry storytelling is carried here by the sensitive setting by Ayala, allowing the spoken prose to float in a bed of electronic tones, occasionally subtly processing the vocals. I left out the core section of the story here deliberately - I can't recommend enough that you listen to the whole thing from start to finish.

Daniel Rossen - Unpeopled Space [Warp/Bandcamp]
Daniel Rossen - The Last One [Warp/Bandcamp]
What a joy to have a new album from Daniel Rossen, who once sang about going to Yeshiva (Jewish scriptural school) (sortof). That first band, Department of Eagles, was an early discovery of Utility Fog which, like Tunng and indeed Grizzly Bear (who Rossen would shortly join) would define some of the show's obsessions: adventurous anything-goes arrangements backed by brilliant songwriting & musicianship. Rossen is a singular talent when it comes to hearstring-pulling melodies with unexpected harmonic progressions, with a voice to match, as well as a characteristic ringing guitar style. That's all present and correct on You Belong Here, his first solo album proper. As a whole, the one full listen I've given it so far hasn't quite brought the transcendence of some of his earlier works, but it's unquestionably beautiful.

billy woods - Wharves [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
billy woods - Sauvage (ft. Boldy James & Gabe Nandez) [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
billy woods - Haarlem (ft. Fatboi Sharif) [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
It feels like billy woods albums come thick & fast, but that's just because we had Armand Hammer's album with The Alchemist last year, and woods' album with Moor Mother in 2020. So, woods is back in 2022 with Aethiopes, another single-producer album, this time working with Preservation. It's almost as good as woods' album with Kenny Segal (one of the best albums full stop of the last 5+ years), and it's notable that there's a continuity of sound with all woods' work, regardless of who's behind the keyboard, knobs and faders. The movie samples are there, the tone is grimy, the beats stumble off into free jazz at times (love the piano chaos in "Haarlem"!) and the lyrics concern themselves with the horrors of the world today. Nobody carries this off better than woods and his 'woodz cohorts.

700 Bliss - Candace Parker feat. Muqata'a [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Here's the second single from the aforementioned Moor Mother's project with DJ Haram, 700 Bliss. Proving this will be a hell of an album, their tribute to the bisexual, black basketball player Candace Parker is incendiary, aided with glitched breaks from the great Palestinian producer Muqata'a.

HUMANOID - sT8818r Yage remix [FSOL Digital/Bandcamp]
HUMANOID - sT8818r Acreationator remix [FSOL Digital/Bandcamp]
Way back in 1988, one half of the duo who would become ambient techno/idm legends The Future Sound of London created a masterpiece of acid techno that was dubbed Stakker Humanoid. Brian Dougans' creation charted in the UK and really solidified the UK's place in the realms of techno - and acid became central in the development of '90s rave culture (a couple of years later FSOL's Papua New Guinea made them forever synomymous with rave). In 2019, Dougans reworked Stakker as "sT8818r" for a DE:tuned compilation 12", and since then a growing collection of remixes were commissioned, including '90s acid-influenced idm heroes like Luke Vibert, Autechre and Plaid, Roel Funcken of Funckarma, techno/rave dons like Mike Dred and John Tejada and more. All these versions along with the original '88 track have been collected on CD by FSOL now. I played a downtempo version from FSOL alias Yage (often referred to as their engineer, but always just Dougans and Cobain), and some break jugglin' jungle tekno from young UK producer Acreationator.

ubu boi & r hunter - Lexiconfluence [Genot Centre]
r hunter - in retrospect (ft. ubu boi) [.jpeg Artefacts]
ubu boi & r hunter - Heedless [Genot Centre]
In 2020, Melbourne producer Asher Elazary aka r hunter released an excellent album called Dead Ambient on .jpeg Artefacts with two tracks featuring US producer & pianist ubu boi (a name that will generate chortles from anyone familiar with the work of Alfred Jarry). So it was great news when Prague's Genot Centre announced A Symbol For Disguise - an entire album of duo work from the two artists. Here we have highly cromulent Genot Centre fare, the sounds of rave deconstructed into scintillating ambient, reconstructed into broken beats and shuddering subs, arranged symphonically and cinematically. It's the strangeness of now, briefly pinned down like a cloud from an e-cigarette.

Whatever The Weather - 0°C [Ghostly International/Bandcamp]
Whatever The Weather - 17°C [Ghostly International/Bandcamp]
London's Loraine James, rocketed to popularity through two albums on Hyperdub, inaugurates new project Whatever The Weather for Ghostly International. To these ears it's musically a continuation of her previous work, mixing IDM-like beats with deep roots from jazz, ambient, classical and pop. Her electric piano brings soulful chords, and she continues to contribute gentle and sometimes processed vocals to her tracks. The weather theme sees each track described with a temperature in degrees centigrade, a metaphor that allows a certain abstraction without full-blown randomness. As always this is essential music for anyone into future-focused electronica.

Fennesz - traxdata [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
Fennesz - Instrument 3 [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
Fennesz - aus [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
2022 marks 25 years since the original release on Mego of Christian Fennesz' groundbreaking Hotel Paral.lel. The digital micro-edits, glitches, smeared drones and resampled guitars blew my mind when I heard them at the time, and to this day it's my favourite of his albums. The original CD release came in the classic oversized card sleeves of the early Mego days, and in 2007 it was remastered & reissued in standard digipak form. This year it sees a lush vinyl edition with enough space on the double LP to fit the 1995 Instrument EP (already digitally re-released on the Field Recordings 1995-2002 CD by Touch). This is the original deconstructed club music - glitches and crunches, throbbing subs, giddy beats. It's all wonderful. The closing track from the album, "aus", is a piece of crystalline beauty, with stop-start beats and guitar thrums split into shards like the diagonally-abstracted album artwork. The reissue is released in a little under 2 weeks.

Clara Engel - Golden Egg [Clara Engel Bandcamp]
Clara Engel - Murmuration [Clara Engel Bandcamp]
I first heard Clara Engel's voice on the title track of fellow Torontonian Aidan Baker's gorgeous Already Drowning album almost 10 years ago. Their name stuck with me, and it was great to rediscover them with their new album Their Invisible Hands. Elusive lyrics adorn the songs, scattered through, while other pieces are instrumental. Seemingly repetitive phrases on effected guitar slow evolve, tugged along by delays, with sighing melodies emerging from shruti box or chromonica. Like their contribution to that Aidan Baker album, the central songs here creep up on you and grab your heart when you don't expect it.

Ben Vida + Lea Bertucci - Murmurations [Cibachrome Editions]
Ben Vida + Lea Bertucci - Static Pressure [Cibachrome Editions]
Following her extraordinary collaboration with Robbie Lee a couple of months ago, here's a second duo from Lea Bertucci, this time with veteran US experimental musician Ben Vida (who released three beautiful albums as Bird Show on Kranky some years ago). Here Bertucci brings her wind instruments to the studio - sax, clarinet, flute - as well as the tape manipulation that made her Robbie Lee collaboration so special, and both her voice and Vida's are divorced of meaning in cut-ups alongside the acoustic textures and the rumbles and gurgles of Vida's synths. Compellingly off-beat stuff.

Lawrence English - Viento / Patagonia (Excerpt) [Room40/Bandcamp]
I always claim to not be into field recordings per se, but the two people to consistently prove me wrong are Kate Carr and Lawrence English. Here Lawrence revisits recordings he made in 2010 on a visit to Patagonia and Antarctica, with two stunningly dense and dramatic blizzard recordings. Both could easily be musicianly-created noise performances, and are absolutely visceral in force. Originally released on LP, they're now available digitally and in a special CD+book edition from Room40.

Bill Seaman & Stephen Spera - Progressions [Handstitched*]
Bill Seaman & Stephen Spera - Voix De Lumiere [Handstitched*]
Out soon on Handstitched* is a sumptuous album from two sound-artists. Bill Seaman's career covers 3 decades, and in the '90s he was active in Australia before returning to the USA. He's joined by upstate New Yorker Stephen Spera for Architectures of Light, arranged from field recordings and Seaman's signature "non-location recordings" along with piano, synths, tape deck and other devices, and various credited and uncredited vocals floating in and out of the mixes. It's hard to describe this otherworldly music, out of time and genre. Sample tracks are out now, and you can - and should - experience the whole album on April 22nd.

Listen again — ~206MB

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