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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, 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

Sunday, 3rd of November, 2019

Playlist 03.11.19 (8:10 pm)

It's a rainy night if you're in Sydney, and we've got some rainy night tunes for you.

Sadly, the stream on demand facility broke down last week, so there's no listen back for this one :(

The Leaf Library - In Doors And Out Through Windows [where it's at is where you are/The Leaf Library Bandcamp]
The Leaf Library - Hollow Tone [where it's at is where you are/The Leaf Library Bandcamp]
The Leaf Library - Bright Seas [where it's at is where you are/The Leaf Library Bandcamp]
This six-piece from North London have been combining gorgeous songwriting with postrock and experimental tendencies for some time - closest comparisons I can think of are Broadcast and Stereolab. I discovered The Leaf Library via an excellent remix album a few years ago featuring a few Hood-related acts and other Utility Fog-friendly folks like Isnaj Dui. This new album, The World Is A Bell, is the first collection of new songs from the band as a whole in a while, and it's a winner. Great songs that don't mind going 2-3 times as long as typical radio would prefer, with krautrocky motoricism and delightful melodies. Surprising episodes of found sounds, odd arrangements... everything a Utility Fog curator could wish for.
Pre-order copies of the album came with a limited CD called Bell Tones with extended abstractions of the album material. I played a little looping piece of backwards sounds.

The Bad Plus - Love is the Answer [Edition Records]
US jazz piano trio The Bad Plus made their name doing perfectly skewed interpretations of unexpected songs - Nirvana, the Pixies, and a beloved version of Aphex Twin's classic "Flim". A couple of years ago founding pianist Ethan Iverson left (he'd gotten in some hot water for some pretty shitty comments about women in jazz music, which may or may not be related), but bass player / frequent songwriter Reid Anderson and drummer Dave King have continued on, enlisting another brilliant jazz pianist to join them - Orrin Evans. Evans is a less showy player than Iverson, but settles into the Bad Plus sound with ease. Tonight's choice from Activate Infinity, the second album of the new lineup, is a classic Reid Anderson tune - a beautiful cyclic motif on piano & bass with a slow build and release.

Grischa Lichtenberger - 0319 09 eins c4 (32 cents) [raster/Bandcamp]
Grischa Lichtenberger - 0319 02 saturn 2f (saturn) [raster/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based electronic musician Grischa Lichtenberger usually very much embodies the raster-noton (and now raster) sound - clicky, tight & taut electronic rhythms and high-tech sound design. For his new album this approach is married with some much looser source material, from saxophonist Phillip Gropper's ensemble PHILM. Lichtenberger's glitchy, stuttery, granular approach to audio is the order of the day, but the jazz origins of the material are frequently audible - shuffling drum kit, piano & sax melodies surfacing or even leading on some tracks, while elsewhere soundscapes are built from fragments of acoustic sounds.

memotone - The Brownie of the Black Haggs [memotone Bandcamp]
memotone - Mary Burnet [memotone Bandcamp]
I've been following the work of William Yates aka memotone on this show since around 2012. At the time he was making on-point post-dubstep and folktronic beats, but strangely with a kind of contemporary classical side. Yates is an accomplished multi-instrumentalist, as can often be seen on his Instagram (and elsewhere) and creates all his music with hardware - whether it's distorted hip-hop beats, electric piano, complex drum patterns, arcane folk reels, or distorted bass synth throbbing like on the first track tonight. Both tracks come from a cassette release called FOUR TALES which is inspired by four, er, tales by 19th century author James Hogg. So our starting point musically is anything but pastoral, but there is a strain of folk weirdness going through these tunes.

John Roberts - Mental Model No. 1 [Brunette Editions]
The particular strain of deep house favoured by New York musician John Roberts has often leaned towards acoustic sounds, such as the limpid piano featuring on Glass Eights. On his new album Can Thought Exist Without The Body, beats are entirely left behind for absorbing sound design, with close-mic'd piano, humming tones and some exquisite violin glissandi among the sounds. It's quite something.

Jim Perkins - Pools [bigo & twigetti/Bandcamp]
Jim Perkins - Fragment [bigo & twigetti/Bandcamp]
Jim Perkins - A Ritual for Saying Goodbye [bigo & twigetti/Bandcamp]
Even more classical sounding is the new album from British composer Jim Perkins, who runs the bigo & twigetti label that focuses on modern classical & electronic music. His penchant for glitchy edits comes out in a few spots (check the sweet ending to the title track) but there's precious little in terms of electronic (or other) beats that he's featured in the past - he's leaning in to the classical & ambient stylings on this one. It's lovely stuff.

Leah Kardos - Bird Rib [bigo & twigetti/Bandcamp]
Jameson Nathan Jones - Continuum [bigo & twigetti/Bandcamp]
Inventive compilations have always been part of what bigo & twigetti like to do, and their latest, Scale, invites 17 artists to respond to the title - whether using musical scales or the idea of "scale" (loud vs soft, solo vs orchestral, small vs large etc). Ex-pat Brisvegan Leah Kardos, now well established in London as an academic, composer & sound engineer, contributes a track from a new series of pieces which respond to old material of hers played through through a tape machine backwards. You can't hear the original, but it's an interesting jumping off point - more info here (and very glad to hear there's an EP coming next year!) Mississippi composer Jameson Nathan Jones starts the compilation off with some windswept synths hovering and puslating through a slow crescendo and decrescendo. There's a lot going on in the details here. I strongly recommend checking out the whole compilation.

Joanna John & Burkhard Stangl - november air [Interstellar Records]
Joanna John & Burkhard Stangl - birds cannot enter the poem [Interstellar Records]
Beautiful sound-art from Norway-based Polish multi-media artist Joanna John & veteran Austrian experimental musician Burkhard Stangl. Stangl's guitar playing grounds this music in a rootsy comfort zone, but around it we have field recordings, noisy granular processing, and other estranging effects. It's electro-acoustic music at its finest.

She Spread Sorrow - She Didn't Care [The Helen Scarsdale Agency]
Alice Kemp - A Gold Blade To The Back Of The Head [The Helen Scarsdale Agency]
Fossil Aerosol Mining Project - Not Intended As [The Helen Scarsdale Agency]
Himukalt - Cruel By Most Estimations [The Helen Scarsdale Agency]
Originally due out on October 25th, the massive new boxset from The Helen Scarsdale Agency seems to be delayed - so hopefully it's OK that I'm "previewing" a few tracks. Titled On Corrosion, it's 10 cassette albums housed in a beautiful wooden box, featuring artists from around the world leaning towards: "post-industrial research, recombinant noise, surrealist demolition, and existential vacancy". Some of the cassettes are made up of two long tracks - so for instance I couldn't feature Richard Chartier's pinkcourtesyphone tonight. But others are more traditional EPs or mini-albums split into tracks. Italian artist Alice Kundalini aka She Spread Sorrow starts things off with a morose, processional piece from her cassette Orchid Seeds. Next, we have British experimental musician Alice Kemp and one of her 9 Dreams In Erotic Mourning - a ticking pulse and throbbing electronics. US collective Fossil Aerosol Mining Project have been around for decades, mining (yes) the collective refuse of late 20th century America - thus the woozy VHS samples, an anti-nostalgic hauntology. And finally, some wonderfully confronting / enveloping power electronics & industrial noise from Nevada-based Ester Kärkkäinen aka Himukalt, recalling Puce Mary or the halcyon days of Prurient.

Sunday, 27th of October, 2019

Playlist 27.10.19 (8:07 pm)

We start tonight with electronic music & beats, but it's a bit of a feint, as we fairly soon switch towards organic, live instruments and unexpected post-classical/folk/jazz connections...

LISTEN AGAIN with me, under the sea, over the clouds, inside-out behind your eyes... Stream on demand with FBi, podcast here.

Röyksopp - Eple (Sig Nu Gris Fixation) [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Sig Nu Gris - To Un-know [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Starting tonight with Melbourne-based producer Erin Hyde aka Sig Nu Gris, whose "To Un-know" single from earlier this year is a beautiful slab of chopped beats, head-nodding bass, corruscating keyboards and sparing use of vocals. Throughout October she's been releasing a series of what she calls Fixations, which are edits of songs she gets fixated on, to the extent that she wants to take them apart and put them back together in her own special way. Very cool stuff.

Lanark Artefax - Corra Linn [Numbers/Bandcamp]
Lanark Artefax - Touch Absence [Whities]
Lanark Artefax - Styx [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Lanark Artefax - Ferthenheap [Numbers/Bandcamp]
With only a few releases under his belt, Glaswegian artist Lanark Artefax (born Calum MacRae) has made quite a name for himself with stunning sound design, an impeccable musical sensibility, and beats that hover somewhere between idm and various dancefloors. His first EP was unfairly brilliant for a new artist, released on the excellent UIQ label - but time is tight tonight, so we skipped to 2017's EP on Whities, which features the seemingly epoch-defining "Touch Absence", apparently inspired by an obscure µ-Ziq track, which sounds about right... In the spirit of every release coming out on a different label, early in 2018 he contributed a track to Houndstooth's In Death's Dream Kingdom, envisaging the river to the underworld as nostalgic synth pads and raging jungle beats. And amen breaks appear on the first track on this new EP for Glasgow label Numbers - Corra Linn, except things go in fairly different directions from there, ending with rather beautiful muted piano with gasps of electronic noise and samples of a child's voice. My only complaint is that we still have so little music from him!

Trouble Books - Aggregate [Lejsovka & Freund Bandcamp]
Lejsovka & Freund - Hexations [Bark & Hiss/Bandcamp]
Lejsovka & Freund - Return to Emptiness [Bark & Hiss/Bandcamp]
Trouble Books - Spider on Moss [Lejsovka & Freund Bandcamp]
This stuff is just so utterly apposite to Utility Fog that it's ridiculous to think it even exists, just about. I actually discovered the work of Linda Lejsovka & Keith Freund through what must have been a Wire Magazine compilation featuring a track from one of their incredible duo albums. We heard a track from each, from 2014 & 2015, which are available in small quantities still as a double-LP. Those two releases see them expanding their own playing with classical & other acoustic instruments, all edited in careful haphazardness, somewhat in the vein of The Books. But they both used to record, along with Mike Tolan of Talons', as Trouble Books, and that group has just gotten back together for an album of simple yet clever songs, with that cut & paste sensibility again of The Books or Lucky Dragons. I love this sort of music, where the artists don't really care about hooks or songs that start & finish in expected ways. I can't recommend these releases highly enough.

BirdWorld - Wicked Waste of Wax [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
BirdWorld - Scintillant [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
BirdWorld - Partials [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
Last year I was delighted to discover the London/Oslo duo BirdWorld, made up of Gregor Riddell on cello & electronics and Adam Teixeira on drums & percussion. They have now found a home on the English experimental label Focused Silence, who have just released the debut album UNDA. It's beautiful and very mysterious stuff - Gregor said to me of their music that they are "really interested in trying to depict a sound that hovers in between reality and a dream state, a bit folkloric/voodoo, we like the idea that music is capable of hypnotising and evoking a sense of magic." I'd say they have done a pretty good job of that here - whether through distorted bowed cymbals and tremolo cello noise, or softly walking basslines, or decontextualised samples of various sorts. Fascinating sounds.

Jo Berger Myhre & Ólafur Björn Ólafsson – Mimophant [Hubro/Bandcamp]
Jo Berger Myhre & Ólafur Björn Ólafsson – Mimophant [Hubro/Bandcamp]
Splashgirl - Carrier [Hubro/Bandcamp]
Jo Berger Myhre & Ólafur Björn Ólafsson – Atomised / All We've Got [Hubro/Bandcamp]
The 2017 debut of Norwegian double bassist Jo Berger Myhre (who also contributes electronics and keyboards) & Icelandic drummer/percussionist Ólafur Björn Ólafsson (who also plays piano and organ/Moog) absolutely floored me with its heavy, distorted electronics coexisting with jazz-trained but rock steady drums and room-filling double bass. Legendary Norwegian label Hubro (who also released the debut) have now released their new album, which follows a similar path - dark, evocative sounds that hover between acoustic and electric, always driven by the deep bass (often bowed, sometimes surprising as the deft melodic lead) and acoustic drums. Both releases are incredible. Meanwhile, last year Myhre's longstanding trio Splashgirl released their 5th album, with a similar deep and cavernous feel, Myhre's double bass again often taking the lead.

Razen - Adhîsta Ayîk IV [(K-RAA-K)³/Bandcamp]
Razen - Ayîk Adhîsta II [(K-RAA-K)³/Bandcamp]
Brussels-based ensemble Razen have been around for almost 10 years now, doing very very weird stuff on the outskirts of contemporary classical, folk/world, and drone. At the core are Brecht Ameel on church organ, bouzouki etc(?) and Kim Delcour on various wind instruments - recorders, single and double reeds etc. Pieter Lenaerts often plays double bass, and here Paul Garriau is found on hurdy gurdy and Jean-Philippe Poncin is found on clarinet and the French folk instrument chalumeau. With this arcane instrumentation they immediately evoke folk musics of Europe and the Middle/Central Asia as well as classical and baroque music, but the compositions tend to favour elongated phrasing and strange discordant harmonies. Add to that the fact that this album is for some reason mixed in mono, and we end up with something disturbing, evocative and moving. There's a sense of ineffable, deep sorrow to this music.

Oedura - Prologue [Empirical Intrigue]
Oedura - Reflections of the Fuselage [Empirical Intrigue]
I'm pleased to see that the solo project Oedura of Owen Redmond, who runs Sydney label Empirical Intrigue, has released a debut album. I actually started with a lovely track that introduced the label earlier this year, and then one from the album itself. The project is concerned with subterranean and subaquatic themes, which it evokes using uses analogue synths and other electronics. It's so great that people are making these kinds of sounds in Sydney, and that I can bring them to you.

Listen again — ~190MB

Sunday, 20th of October, 2019

Playlist 20.10.19 (8:08 pm)

Another week of amazing music... 2019, we got the tunes.

LISTEN AGAIN, wrap your ears around this... stream on demand via FBi or podcast here.

clipping. - He Dead (feat. Ed Balloon) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
clipping. - Blood of the Fang [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
clipping. - bout.that (feat. baseck) [self-released]
clipping. - inside out [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
clipping. - Hot Fuck No Love (feat. Cakes da Killa & Maxi Wild) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
clipping. - A Better Place [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
clipping. - All In Your Head (feat. Counterfeit Madison & Robyn Hood) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Who knew that noise artist William Hutson and breakcore artist Jonathan Snipes would in the last half decade be making some of the most vital hip-hop ever? It helps that the half-Jewish, half-African American frontman Daveed Diggs is an incredible rapper and lyricist who throws references around with ease, even when rapping at supersonic speed, negotiating that fine line between absurdity and profundity. Their deep knowledge of science fiction (and Afrofuturism) came out in the amazing concept album Splendor & Misery in 2016, so it's no surprise that There Existed An Addiction To Blood, released this week, finds them focusing on horror movies (and the short-lived horrorcore rap subgenre) - referencing both the exploitative use of African and African-American themes in the "classic" horror genre and Jordan Peele's recent turning of the tables with Get Out and Us. It's pure genius, of course.

Billy Woods - Stranger in the Village [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
Armand Hammer - Hunter [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp/FXCK RXP/PTP]
Billy Woods / Kenny Segal - steak knives [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
Billy Woods / Kenny Segal - bedtime [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
Billy Woods - Shepherd's Tone (feat. Fielded) [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
Over to someone else at the vanguard of hip-hop in the late 20-teens, Billy Woods. Born in the US, grew up in Africa & the West Indies, and ended up getting involved in the New York poetry & rap scene. He often works with unusual beats, with various interesting producers including longtime collaborator ELUCID - as Armand Hammer their album Paraffin was one of last year's highlights. With west coast US hero producer Kenny Segal, Woods has already released one of the albums of the year, unquestionably to my mind - Hiding Places. But Woods is back with another solo album now, Terror Management, with various different producers (I can't disentangle who produced what, at least yet), and if it lacks something of the lugubrious consistency of the Kenny Segal collaboration, it's nevertheless vintage Woods, thought-provoking raps, strange beats, interesting collaborations (Fielded's contributions on the last selection are gorgeously strange next to the weird glitchy beat).

hyperdawn - avalanche [Them There]
A couple of months ago I played something by the experimental tape artist Michael Cutting, from a lovely album released by Eilean Records, featuring vocalist Vitalija Glovackyte. Their duo is hyperdawn and they've just dropped their debut album on UK label Them There. Glovackyte processes her vocals, auto-harmonising, and adds other electronics to Cutting's reel-to-reel tape machines and homemade instruments. It's a very experimental take on pop, perfectly suited to Utility Fog's sensibilities.

Eartheater - Lick My Tears (prod. Tony Seltzer) [Bandcamp]
Eartheater - Fontanel (prod. Dadras) [Bandcamp]
After last year's brilliant album for experimental electronic label PAN, Alexandra Drewchin's Eartheater has just come out with a mixtape of sorts called Trinity, with tracks produced by a few different interesting people including in-demand underground hip-hop producer Tony Seltzer, and diverse techno/grime producer Dadras. There's plenty of opportunity for Drewchin's big vocal range and songwriting talents to shine. Despite the great producers, it's not quite as adventurous as Drewchin's solo work, but still a great collection of songs.

Julien Mier - Memories On Soil [Julien Mier Bandcamp]
Julien Mier - Wet Paper Trails (feat. Tim Fain) [Julien Mier Bandcamp]
Dutch-French musician Julien Mier has been making idm, ambient and experimental music for a while now, under his own name and as Santpoort Nord. He's actually been based in Sydney for a while, and needs to be enticed to play live a little more. His latest album Industries In The Trees has the feel of a kind of environmentalist utopia - lovely twinkly folktronica with classical touches like Tim Fain's guest violin on the opening track, and a few more upbeat numbers. There was a limited vinyl edition but I think that's gone now!

Nick Wales - Under The Milky Way (feat. Alyx Dennison) [unreleased]
Sent direct from the artist, this cover of The Church's classic indie gem comes from Sydney musician Nick Wales, who's been mixing classical composition & electronics for decades. Vocals are by the one & only Alyx Dennison, who's overdue for a new album herself. The track was created for the Powerhouse Museum's Step Into Paradise exhibition about the fashion work of Jenny Kee and Linda Jackson. It's got some nice callbacks to Nick's early solo work as Altar Boy, as well as some ravey bird calls (think 808 State circa 1990).

Coda Chroma - Catacombs [Coda Chroma Bandcamp]
A lovely tune from Melbourne's Kate Lucas aka Coda Chroma, with a mournful 6/8 piano refrain that slows grows into something doomier with an overdriven bassline, with bewitching vocals.

Lochie Earl - Superyacht Party [Lochie Earl Bandcamp]
A little song about first world problems, refugees and the state of the world from Sydney artist Lochie Earl, who manages to mix a lot of strange adventurousness into his classic piano-driven songwriterliness. He skewers a kind of selfish cynicism of the current day in this new single.

Serafina Steer - Auto (words by Sally O'Reilly) [Serafina Steer Bandcamp]
Serafina Steer - Peach Heart [Static Caravan/Serafina Steer Bandcamp]
Serafina Steer - Time To Recover [Serafina Steer Bandcamp]
I've been following English harpist & singer-songwriter Serafina Steer for over a decade, since her first releases on the great Static Caravan, original home of Tunng (whose Mike Lindsay co-produced a few of her early tracks including "Peach Heart"). It's been a little while between albums, but her new album The Mind is a Trap is a lovely mix of electronic tracks - some instrumental - and her harp work. Her reading of a poem by Sally O'Reilly is a nice example, with harp through delay pedal - she's an ever-adventurous artist, and it's so lovely to be reminded after 6 years. It's a shame, though, that I didn't get to play anything from the intervening time since the first album, including some more full band, fully-produced songs. So enjoy this one from 2013:

Listen again — ~196MB

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