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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, 25th of October, 2020

Playlist 25.10.20 (6:26 pm)

Quite the trip tonight, from soft, irridescent piano music through acoustic doom, doom/black metal & noise/electronic fusion, drill'n'bass & jungle, industrial hip-hop, jazz/drum'n'bass fusion, and a host of extraordinary noise & electronic sounds from Iran. Exciting!

LISTEN AGAIN and unravel the present into the future... stream on demand from FBi, or podcast here.

Machinedrum - Sleepy Pietro (feat. Tigran Hamasyan) [Ninja Tune/Bandcamp]
We featured the incredibly talented Armenian-American pianist Tigran Hamasyan on the show a few weeks ago, so it's quite a spin-out to find him playing piano on a track from the new Machinedrum album. A View Of U is not quite as shiny and poppy as his last album, which I couldn't really get into at all, but it's still pretty sparkly. It has a bit of drum'n'bass fusion which I've been enjoying, and some good glitchy beats at lower tempos too. Worth a listen.

James Rushford - Música Callada, Book I: Quarter note ([M.M.] =54) [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
James Rushford - Música Callada, Book I: Placide [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
Two compositions by Federico Mompou from his Música Callada, performed by Australian sound-artist & composer James Rushford. These pieces were composed in the late '50s & early '60s, and are cult favourites in the sense of being well-loved among those who know, but unfairly obscure in general. Catalan composer Mompou is known mostly for his piano works (and some songs). Clearly influenced by Satie, Ravel, Debussy et al, with a touch of absurdity and more than a touch of beguiling otherness, they're beautifully simple, straight to the heart. As well as his sensitive interpretations, this new album of Rushford's also features a set of his own longer piano compositions, each around 12 minutes long, a little more challenging but still with quiet poise.

part timer - unlikely ally [Part Timer Bandcamp]
part timer - irreparable [Part Timer Bandcamp]
Just after an excellent EP of throwback folktronica, Melbourne's part timer returns with a mini-album's worth of exquisite pieces for piano, field recordings, and, at times, muffled beats. How does he do it? None can say, but we're glad he's back at it - these pieces are small wonders.

Jasmine Guffond & Erik K Skodvin - Spirifer (feat. Islaja) [Sonic Pieces/JG Bandcamp/EKS Bandcamp]
Jasmine Guffond & Erik K Skodvin - White Eyes [Sonic Pieces/JG Bandcamp/EKS Bandcamp]
Monique Recknagel impeccably curates the Sonic Pieces label out of Berlin, and for its 10th birthday celebrations early last year she selected artists from the label for special duo performances. One was Sydney artist & frequent Berlin resident Jasmine Guffond, working with Recknagel's husband and Miasmah label boss Erik K Skodvin - two contemporary greats in yr humble narrator's opinion. The two enlisted their friend Merja Kokkonen aka Finnish artist Islaja to contribute wordless vocals, which are weaved into dark acoustic and electronic textures - a shimmering, pattering cymbal, stark piano, farfisa organ. I thought I could hear Skodvin's cello being tapped at some point too. There's a sense of doom and even grief, reflected in the titles which are named for animals either extinct or near-extinct. Music for the current anxiety.

The Body - A Lament [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
The Body & Braveyoung - Song One [At A Loss Recordings/Buy from Thrill Jockey]
MSC & The Body - All See What Other Sees [MSC Bandcamp/The Body Bandcamp]
MSC & The Body - PKK [MSC Bandcamp/The Body Bandcamp]
Things are only darker here. The Body are simply one of the music important bands of current years, with collaboration at the heart of the work of duo Chip King and Lee Buford. Thrill Jockey have just announced their new album for February 2021, describing it as a return to the basics of heavy guitar & drums and strangled vocals which placed them in the blackened doom metal camp originally. However, they're still using the studio as a weapon, as you can hear from the artful cut-outs in the drastically downtuned riffs on first single "A Lament", adding to the sense of unease & terror.
As this show is not generally focused on metal, I have to find the right context to play this kind of stuff, and thus it's taken a little while to play this other Body release, even though I think it's phenomental. I Dont Ever Want To Be Alone is their second collaboration with MSC, and even that's misleading - MSC used to be known as Braveyoung (after initially being called Giant). They moved from hardcore punk & black metal into elegiac postrock & drone, and now as MSC they incorporate samples & electronic beats. Zac Jones from MSC is a frequent member of The Body's live lineup too. Back in 2011 The Body & Braveyoung released Nothing Passes, pulling The Body into a more cinematic postrock space... On the other hand, the new MSC & The Body album is an onslaught of crashing distortions, tricked-out beat juggling, samples of international news, hip-hop and ragga, sub bass drops, and gorgeous strings. In a better world it would be in all the charts and best-of lists.

John Frusciante - Amethblowl [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
John Frusciante - Genex 44 [SoundCloud/Not currently available on Bandcamp]
John Frusciante - Blind Aim [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
For some, the idea of Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante releasing an album on Planet µ is an extreme oddity - but those in the know would be aware of his long-held love of UK rave and idm music, and his friendship with Aaron Funk aka Venetian Snares. Some years back I played some material from his Renoise Tracks 2009-2011 set (represented by "Genex 44" tonight), which incorporated drill'n'bass & acid into his songwriting. Since then he's released electronic music under his own name and as Trickfinger. This new album Maya is a delight - dedicated to his late cat of the same name (Songs About My Cats, anyone?), it's a beautiful throwback to '90s melodic drill'n'bass, jungle & hardcore techno, with influences from footwork and acid thrown in as well. Frusciante isn't just a dabbler from the rock world - this music clearly means a lot to him.

Isomov - Aurora Torus [DECISIONS]
Last week I previewed a few tracks from the excellent CONSEQUENCES compilation released for Melbourne label DECISIONS' 5th birthday. But I decided to only play Australian tracks, and this one from previous DECISIONS artist, New Yorker Isomov, really needs to be highlighted too. It fits nicely into the idm-tinged jungle of the last batch of sounds with harpsichord or sequenced acoustic guitar melody and wordless vocal harmonies harkening back to the green & pleasant pastures of '90s electronica.

clipping. - Pain Everyday (with Michael Esposito) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
clipping. - All In Your Head (feat. Counterfeit Madison & Robyn Hood) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
clipping. - Chek the Lock [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Finally, a year after their first horrorcore/African-American horror themed album There Existed An Addiction To Blood, clipping. have released the long-awaited sequel Visions of Bodies Being Burned. It was always planned as a duology, but the familiar circumstances we're all living with delayed the second album somewhat. Happily it was worth every minute of the wait, with the noise grounding of William Hutson and breakcore/techno experience of Jonathan Snipes again providing the perfect foil for the erudite, rapidfire delivery of their half-Jewish, half-African American rapper Daveed Diggs. As always the political & the cultural are intractably intertwined, and pop hooks coexist with extreme noise. "Pain Everyday" references that Venetian Snares bloke with strings & 7/8 breakcore beats alongside field recordings from occult researcher & noise artist Michael Esposito. And as well as the most extraordinary track from last year's twin album, we heard the disquieting funk of "Chek the Lock".

Female Wizard - Pagan Youtube [Anterograde/Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Female Wizard is well-known for forward-thinking DJ sets ranging from Soft Centre to Boiler Room to Melbourne queer night Le Fag. Lately they've transitioned into production as well, and the excellently-titled Messy-Podge-Mania finds Alexander Powers released by Melbourne label-of-the-moment, Anterograde, including a handsome USB drive in 12" sleeve edition. The music is entirely of-the-moment too, with splattercore beats revved into high gear, and fourth world samples mixed in with harsh noise. It's out this coming week, so pre-order now!

For the rest of the show, we are featuring a slew of extraordinary experimental electronics from the Persian disapora. Ata Ebtekar aka Sote founded his Zabte Sote label in 2018 to feature Iranian experimental music, with the help of Opal Tapes to handle international manufacturing & distribution. This coming Friday sees the release of the latest quartet of cassette releases on the label, and all four are superb.

Rojin Sharafi - Boloor [Zabte Sote]
Rojin Sharafi - Pedarkoshi[Zabte Sote]
Starting with what for my money is the most exciting of a very strong selection, Tehran-born, Vienna-based sound-artist & poet Rojin Sharafi's second album for Zabte Sote, Zangaar. Electronics throb and burble under electrifying performances of her poetry. If like me you can't understand Farsi, there are descriptions of each piece on the Bandcamp page. While contemporaries like Lucrecia Dalt might sprint to mind, this is sui generis work (indeed, it shares that characteristic with Dalt's work too...) and utterly essential listening.

Pouya Ehsaei - RocRast #67 [Zabte Sote]
London-based musician Iranian musician Pouya Ehsaei is leader of Cuban/Iranian band Ariwo and founder of electronic improv night Parasang. His new album RocRast is entirely made up of live modular performances, that constraint making for a particular continuous and organic-feeling nature free of edits and jump-cuts. It's dub-tinged burbling techno and a pleasure to tune in & drop out to.

Arash Pandi - Dashti [Zabte Sote]
Denmark-based northern-Iranian Arash Pandi is an educator, sound-designer & musician who is finding ways to situate experimental electronic techniques in a non-western tradition. Persian rhythms and melodies form the basis of the striking noise & drone works on his Exotic Paradox album, which meditates on the contradictions in humanity's relationship with nature & culture: our exclusion & denigration of immigrants who enrich cultures worldwide, our destruction of wilderness and nature for food while 10% of the world goes hungry, our love of animals juxtaposed with our maltreatment of animals bred for food. It's noise and distortion in service of emotion, thought-provoking and moving work.

Tegh - Smelled Like Rotting Flesh [Opal Tapes]
Before we hear the last of Zabte Sote's new releases, here's something from a few weeks back from Iranian drone/sound-artist Shahin Entezami aka Tegh. Zabte Sote have released his great techno duo Temp-Illusion, but Emergent Errors comes out through Opal Tapes. The tracks here draw from a fascination with the Cotard delusion, in which the sufferer believes that they are dead, or part of their body is. The horror & distress of this rare condition are expressed through crescendos, drones and occasional industrial rhythms, as well as the beautiful layered violin of 9T Antiope's Nima Aghiani on the opening track.

SAHAB - SEQ [Zabte Sote]
SAHAB - MOCHA [Zabte Sote]
Finally, also released on Zabte Sote this coming Friday is the seventh album from Iran-born, Fresno, USA-based artist SAHAB. Unlike the preceding releases, this is rather pretty and quite subdued - summery, nostalgic synth pads, drum machines and vocals. Truly lovely.

Listen again — ~201MB


Sunday, 18th of October, 2020

Playlist 18.10.20 (7:15 pm)

That new Autechre at the start signals the crossed channels of tonight's show - there's ambient (post-classical/postrock/glitch) in there, but also idm (drill'n'bass/techno/glitch) too. Classic UFog when it comes down to it.

LISTEN AGAIN to all that stuff, stream on demand from FBi or podcast here.

Autechre - r cazt [Warp]
It's a new album from Autechre! There's been a HEAP of music from Autechre over the last 4 years - countless live albums, the 8CDs (and 8 hours) of the NTS Sessions, the 4+ hours of Elseq 1-5... but it really has been 7 years since a real album from the pair, one that fits on one CD and 2 sides of vinyl. Sign is really nice, but to me as a real Autechre fanatic, it feels just "nice" - I don't get a sense of any of the tracks being classics, or of there being anything that really progresses from what they've been doing over the last 5 years, not to mention the last decade+. But that's OK, new Ae is good!

Oliver Coates - Soaring X (featuring Malibu) [RVNG Intl./Bandcamp]
Oliver Coates - Caregiver part 3 (slorki) [RVNG Intl./Bandcamp]
The previous solo albums from English cellist Oliver Coates have either been performances of contemporary composers, or, generally, have mixed layers of his pristine & processed cello with beats & electronics. For his new album skins n slime, again on RVNG Intl., Coates drops the beats, instead delivering a selection of tonal drones, repeating ostinato phrases, and interpolated elements of processed sounds, the cello at times sounding like a synthesiser or a distorted guitar or even voice. Right at the end, frequent collaborator Malibu, the French ambient artist and singer, contributes evocative spoken word to the final track.

Memory Drawings - Dead To Me Now [Second Language Music/Bandcamp]
Memory Drawings - Exit Wounds (Giulio Aldinucci remix) [Second Language Music/Bandcamp]
Memory Drawings - Days I'm Happy To Forget [Second Language Music/Bandcamp]
About 8 years ago, Richard Adams of legendary indietronic band Hood and more recently The Declining Winter came out with a new project, the hammered dulcimer-led postrock band Memory Drawings - fruit of a collaboration with the originally-Minneapolis-based dulcimer player Joel Hanson. Along with Adams on bass, another Declining Winter member Sarah Kemp plays violin, and another ex-Hood member, Gareth S Brown can be heard on piano and keyboards. On many of their releases, I've contributed cello here and there, and for the latest album Joel got me on enough tracks that he invited me to be a fully-fledged member, to my great honour! Nevertheless, I consider this Joel's project above all, and I'm really happy to play a bunch of their tracks tonight - the opening "Dead To Me Now" is one of my favourites, and I'm not on it.
Like most of their releases, new album A Few Scattered Hours comes with a bonus disc of remixes & reworkings, among them the inventive Italian sound-artist Giulio Aldinucci, who made my heart sing with his stretched-out, interleaved, pitch-shifted take on my cello parts.
Note, there's also a vinyl edition available from Spanish label Zozaya with the remixes as a download - blue and black vinyl can be pre-ordered from Norman Records.

Son Lux - Undertow [City Slang/Bandcamp]
Son Lux - Live Another Life (Heal For Me) [feat. Nappy Nina] [City Slang/Bandcamp]
When Son Lux first appeared, it was the solo work of West Coast USA composer Ryan Lott - a unique mix of classical orchestration, indie songwriting and glitchy electronics, released on the primarily hip-hop-focused Anticon. label. In the ensuing years, Lott has been joined by guitarist Rafiq Bhatia and drummer Ian Chang in Son Lux, but the project retains the sound-art element - hear the processing on the drums and also the guest string quartet on the first track here, which comes from the first of a pair of albums from the ensemble this year, Tomorrows I. New single "Live Another Life" is taken from the forthcoming Tomorrows II, and comes with an alternate version featuring verses from the brilliant Nappy Nina.

Andrew Broder, Denzel Curry & Dua Saleh feat. Haleek Maul - Bloodrush [Lex Records]
Staying on an experimental hip-hop tip, here's a new one from the ever-restless Andrew Broder, aka Fog. This is a single from the soundtrack to Alan Moore & Mitch Jenkins' forthcoming film The Show, which Broder worked on with various collaborators including Adam Drucker aka Doseone (it's not their first collaboration with the prickly reclusive genius Moore). This single is full of big names in experimental hip-hop, with main verses from Denzel Curry, melodic vocals from Dua Saleh, and a guest spot from Haleek Maul. Very keen to hear the rest of the music - and indeed see the film!

Simo Cell & Abdullah Miniawy - Locked in Syndrome [BFDM Records/Bandcamp]
Simo Cell - Crystal [BFDM Records/Bandcamp]
Abdullah Miniawy - Criteria of good [Abdullah Miniaway Bandcamp]
Simo Cell & Abdullah Miniawy - Music Gene [BFDM Records/Bandcamp]
I discovered the Europe-based Egyptian poet, actor, singer & musician Abdullah Miniawy last year via a collaborative release with German trio Carl Gari released by AD 93 (prev. Whities). A week or two ago we also heard Miniawy's extraordinary vocals on a track with DJ Hvad via Irsh Cairo, and now we have this monster duo with French bass artist Simo Cell. As well as this label, Brothers From Different Mothers, Simo Cell has been released on labels like Livity Sound & Timedance, but I thought I'd play a moody bass techno number from a previous BFDM EP released in 2017; meanwhile I also wanted to showcase Miniawy's own production talents with a track he put out on his own Bandcamp the following year. The new duo release Kill Me Or Negotiate combines bass-heavy club grooves with Miniawy's Arabic vocals and trumpet, to brilliant effect.

Hence Therefore - Path Dependents [Decisions/Bandcamp]
Emily Glass - Scribble Machine [Decisions/Bandcamp]
Hard to believe that Air Max '97's Decisions Records are 5 years old. Home to forward-thinking club & *ahem* deconstructed club styles from Melbourne, Australia and the world, they are celebrating their anniversary with the release of the Consequences compilation next Friday, from which we heard two previews: Sydney's Hence Therefore with his twitchy techno/bass, and Adelaide's Emily Glass with creepy post-classical keyboards and a scrabbling trudge of bass & beats.

Tim Shiel - Get Into Your Love (feat. Lucy Roleff) [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
After a series of game soundtracks, Tim Shiel is back making electronica, here with a second team-up after the phenomenal Coliseum with Genesis Owusu. This time the uk garage-style beats are paired with a lovely vocal from classically-trained songwriter/producer Lucy Roleff.

Tennis Pagan - HOLDER [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Tennis Pagan - Heads [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
As well as producing music and presenting almost daily on Australia-wide Double J radio, Tim Shiel runs the Spirit Level label. This week saw the release of the third EP in 2020 from the MAYBE new artist Tennis Pagan - shrouded in mystery, it could be an alias for someone we know??? Each EP has been a bit different, with this one a little more kosmische - still redolent of times past; as a reminder, the first EP Was old-school idm & downtempo, and "Heads" should take us nicely into the next track...

- ◙ (1) [EOD Bandcamp]
Norway's Stian Gjevik is best known as EOD, but his latest series of releases on Bandcamp has the conceit of naming each release after a different almost-indistinguisable placeholder Unicode character. Each release is a collection of electronic nostalgia, with a mixture of idm and downtempo beats and melodies, always with a hefty dose of acid. Lovely stuff.

seskamol - Empty [Force Inc./Bandcamp]
seskamol - Sausage Cancer [Force Inc./Bandcamp]
The debut release in a new series of "Hyperglitch" for the revived Force Inc., curated by idm artist Woulg, this is music of intense contradictions from Turkish electronic audio-visual artist Umut Gonca aka seskamol. Glitch, clicks'n'cuts, juxtaposed ambient & accelerated beats have all been around for decades now, but I'm willing to take their word for it that hyperglitch is something new, and I'm certainly looking forward to more of this, especially from Seskamol!

sluta leta - utegångsförbud [generate + test/Bandcamp]
sluta leta - whispers special (med angelika koehlermann aka anne laplantine)
sluta leta - snöade läger [generate + test/Bandcamp]
The story goes that sluta leta began as the duo of Bengt Liljstad and Jonas Bergkvist, formed in a small town in the north of Sweden, who got in touch with the folks from pioneering Austrian glitch label MEGO and released a series of 12"s on that label and others including Chocolate Industries. It's fairly transparently always been a joke story, and the core members were Ramon Bauer & Andi Pieper, co-founders of Mego and the guys behind the groundbreaking electronic experimentalists General Magic. With Sluta Leta they indulge their disco, hip-hop & pop side, often in collaboration with Austrian techno producer Gerhard Potuznik and various guests. It's quite a surprise, in any case, to find after more than a decade and half's gap that they've put together another Sluta Leta album, entrée contrôle, released by another group of Austrian glitch royalty, Farmers Manual, recently very active on Bandcamp, through their generate + test label.

Ulrich Troyer - NOK 5 [4Bit Productions]
Ulrich Troyer - NOK 9 (Fennesz Remix) [4Bit Productions]
Originally released in 2000 on the great Austrian label MEGO before it dissolved and reformed as Editions Mego, Ulrich Troyer's debut release (as Uli Troyer) was a cute little 3" CD called NOK. Mostly clicky glitch-beats, it had only a little of the dub influence that's pervaded his music since, but it's a very fine bit of European glitch and it's need to see it re-released in vinyl+CD(+digital) form now, with bonus tracks and a couple of new remixes. Obscure Austrian glitch artist (*ahem*) Christian Fennesz contributes a lovely ambient take as of his usual style (complete with smeared guitar).

Listen again — ~204MB


Sunday, 11th of October, 2020

Playlist 11.10.20 (9:06 pm)

Tonight we're wavering between beats and no beats, between wafting folk and harsh noise. Inspiring sounds all.

LISTEN AGAIN to the dance of the lockdown... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Claire Deak & Tony Dupé - before dark [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Saddleback - Scramble To [Preservation]
Saddleback - Singing Scribbles [Preservation]
Claire Deak & Tony Dupé - from a rooftop [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Back in the '90s Tony Dupé started off his career in indie bands, but he moved to production work by the early 2000s, putting his fine stamp on the early albums of Holly Throsby and Jack Ladder, and solo work of Jamie Hutchings among others. He moved from inner Sydney down to the south coast and made many legendary recordings in the town of Gerroa, and then in a cottage on Mount Saddleback, which gave its name to his much-loved organic studio-collage solo project released on Sydney's Preservation. In the meantime, he met the fantastic musician Claire Deak, who had studied music at the Uni of Western Sydney and then screen composition at AFTRS. They moved to Melbourne together, started a family, and also started work together with a studio of their own.
About a year after I first heard these wonderful recordings, their duo album is now released, and it couldn't be better paired than with US label Lost Tribe Sound. There are a plethora of organic instruments involved here, played by both musicians (indeed, after I played cello on many of his early productions, Tony went off and learned the instrument himself!), and it's just as you'd want it - the mysterious inde/folk/postrock creations of Saddleback grown up and augmented with the widescreen arrangement & composition skills of Claire Deak. Not to be missed!

part timer - FN [Part Timer Bandcamp]
There was a time in the mid-'00s when a week couldn't go by without some new music appearing on CD-R, and then in my inbox, from John McCaffrey aka part timer. An Englishman now long-established with his family in Melbourne, John eventually became busy with work and raising kids, but in the last few years a small flow of new tunes has trickled out. FN is four tracks that harken back to the clicky beats & folktronica of the tunes he was sending me way back when - it's a head-nodding funk stripped right back, bass music without the bass. Just lovely.

Church Andrews & Matt Davies - Roadtrip [Health Bandcamp]
Church Andrews & Matt Davies - Elixir [Health Bandcamp]
Mid last year I was pleased to be sent the music of Kirk Barley released on 33-33, which followed an album as Bambooman on Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records. He has a delicate touch, whether it's the layered guitars and electronics under his own name or the beats & electronics of Bambooman. Now he's revealed another alias, Church Andrews, under which he's collaborating with drummer Matt Davies (who appeared on his recent solo work), to create their most discombobulating, un-moored music yet. Neighbours documents a live setup in which Davies' drum performances trigger the synthesis of Barley's setup. In this 7-track release, strange time signatures and tunings are explored, all with a distinctive, minimalist sonic pallette, with accelerated stop-start rhythms echoing jungle, hip-hop, jazz and dub. If you're like me, when it finishes you'll want to turn around and listen to the whole thing again.

ZULI - 3ankaboot [Sneaker Social Club]
Christoph De Babalon - Where Are You Going? [Sneaker Social Club]
Speaking of jungle, here we are in the land of amen breaks and half-time sub-bass. Bristol label Sneaker Social Club are exploring the continuing legacy of what UK music critic Simon Reynolds calls the hardcore continuum - the music that came out of '80s rave music in the early '90s, hybridising acid techno, hip-hop breaks, and dub/dancehall bass into something utterly new and utterly UK. Sneaker Social Club's compilation Evident Ware is being released in two parts - Pt.01 is out now, Pt.02 coming in November. It's a very gregarious mix - Pt.01 starts with the regrouping of a duo from the early 2000s "ragga jungle" resurgence, Soundmurderer & SK-1, and reaches back to hardcore's beginnings with a contemporary remix of Manix's "Special Request". And then we have one of the Digital Hardcore originals here too, Christoph De Babalon, in fine form. As well as artists like THUGWIDOW and Sully making pitch-perfect '90s-style jungle, this music is also leaking into techno and experimental electronic again nowadays, and who better than Egypt's ZULI to carry that flag tonight?

Fatwires - Boreal Riddim [Depth of Field Music]
Fatwires - Tools that we'll be swinging [Depth of Field Music]
German bassist John Eckhardt is adept at bass in all styles - contemporary classical double bass, jazz bass, electric bass - and he's also a fan of bass in the club context. So with his project "Fatwires", he's just released an incredible album of dark music drawing on dub fused with club styles, including jungle and techno. From The wicked Path tonight I followed the last batch of tunes with the two junglist monsters, but the whole varied album is hugely recommended.

Summer Of Seventeen - Spirits of Redeemer [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
Summer Of Seventeen - Theatre needs an Audience [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
Courtesy of Berlin's Karlrecords, we move from dance music back into soundscapes with the incredibly evocative, heavy music of Cascadian supergroup Summer Of Seventeen. It's a group of musicians who orbit around Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner's excellent SIGE Records. Coloccia & Turner join Monika Khot aka Nordra, who orchestrates the sounds recorded by them along with Portland noise music mainstay Daniel Menche and dark drone artist William Fowler Collins. Recorded with legendary producer Randall Dunn in 2017 just before horrific wildfires swept through Washington State, it carries a sense of creeping horror and melancholy that makes it feel very much of this time. It's some of the most moving and effective work that these musicians (many of whom I'm a massive fan-for-life of) have created.

Michalis Moschoutis - Archery [ROOM40/Bandcamp]
The last guitar chords of Summer of Seventeen ring out resoundingly, and meld into the ringing tones that run through the stunning opening track from Greek sound artist Michalis Moschoutis's new album Classical Mechanics, released by Brisbane's ROOM40. Inspired by the visual art of Roman Signer, Moschoutis's album presents four tracks of acoustic & electric instruments patiently unwinding their progressions, gently processed or at times growing towards harsher distortions. It's intimate and mostly peaceful, quite a special release.

Otro - (Again Someday) [Eastern Nurseries/Bandcamp]
Otro - Untitled (10 March 2020) [Eastern Nurseries/Bandcamp]
From Valencia in Spain, Otro is an artist whose earlier releases were situated in the deconstructed club world - indeed he had a track on the second compilation from Sydney's Eternal back in March last year. This new stuff, from Portuguese label Eastern Nurseries, is the product of the lockdown - it bears imprints of club music at times, but also blooms with acoustic instruments and lush arrangements, sometimes electronically glitched, occasionally joined by drums & beats. It's really impressive stuff, highly worth checking out!

Teho Teardo - Systehme de Mr Kirnberger [Spècula]
Teho Teardo - Cadence féminine [Spècula]
I'd been waiting for this for ages. The new album Ellipses dans l'harmonie from the great Teho Teardo, Italian industrial musician who moved into classical-influenced soundtrack work, was released in March, just in time for Italy to be struck with the worst first wave of COVID-19, and everything shut down. For some reason it wasn't easily available digitally (although it now seems to be streaming on Sp*tify etc), and it wasn't until I discovered it in a Portuguese record store's Discogs collection that I was able to get the CD sent here to Australia.
This isn't a soundtrack, although it sounds like it could be - for this album Teardo found himself in the massive library of Milan's Fondazione Giangiacomo Feltrinelli, where he discovered a chapter on music in the Encyclopedia of Diderot & D'Alembert which contained many examples of the elements of musical composition. So Teardo created this album inspired by an Englightenment encyclopedia, long-lost but politically highly influential. The music does fuse some of his industrial and electronic roots with the baroque & classical music he's "sampling" - it's "classic" Teho Teardo, and I'm glad to have found a way to get hold of it in this strange world we're in.

Tilly Webb - sun (parts i & ii) [Tilly Webb Bandcamp]
Melbourne composer & producer Tilly Webb is originally from Sydney, but has made a career in Melbourne soundtracking dance and film works. Her first standalone work is this lovely piece which grows from reedy drones into flittering minimalist tapestries of keyboards and voice, layered with distortion & granular processing. An auspicious debut.

Spires That In The Sunset Rise - Nobody [STITSR Bandcamp]
Louise Bock - Incandescent Misspelled Word [Feeding Tube Records/Bandcamp]
Spires That In The Sunset Rise - Geomantra [STITSR Bandcamp]
Earlier this year I discovered US musician Louise Bock aka Taralie Peterson via an incredbile EP called Abyss: For Cello. As well as cello, she plays sax and sings, and she's a member of the long-running psych-folk group Spires That In The Sunset Rise, for some time now a duo with Ka Baird, whose own elliptical works are released on RVNG Intl. On their latest album Psychic Oscillations Peterson's cello is strummed and richoceted as well as sawed, her saxophone and Baird's flute tumble over each other, and vocals soar. It's wonderfully unrestrained music, not held down by musical convention or moderation. Meanwhile, rather than this year's EP, I went back to Peterson's 2017 release on Feeding Tube Records, Repetitives in Illocality, and played as much as I could of the eldritch, gorgeously freakish "Incandescent Misspelled Word".

Listen again — ~195MB


Sunday, 4th of October, 2020

Playlist 04.10.20 (6:54 pm)

It's a long weekend here in Sydney, and daylight savings has just started. It's a very electronic Utility Fog tonight, mostly music with beats, from Australia but also Egypt, the UK, Germany/Israel, the US and more.

LISTEN AGAIN to the glitches, percussion and the rest. Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here.

friendships - come on in precious [Anterograde/Remote Control/Friendships Bandcamp]
friendships - Big Farm In The Sky [Remote Control/Friendships Bandcamp]
friendships - smokers area 19 [Anterograde/Remote Control/Friendships Bandcamp]
Four years after their stunning debut Nullarbor 1988-1989, Melbourne duo friendships - with music by Nick Brown and art by Misha Grace - have released their follow-up LP Fishtanks. Where the debut was driven by post-dubstep and grime beats (with the occasional jungle), the new one leans instead on booming acid techno. Where the debut drafted in various MCs on a number of tracks as well as Brown's rasping spoken word, the new one is characterised by frequent vocoded vocals. Like their debut, the dancefloor-ready beats are juxtaposed with ambient tracks, often featuring lovely meandering piano, and like the debut it's accompanied by a series of music videos - Misha Grace's visual art is a major part of the creative process. Fishtanks documents a person going through a loss of self - suitably enough for the COVID-19 era's warped passage of time. The album also features the same deadpan sense of humour as their debut - witness the disturbing ravey yelps through "smokers area 19".

Warm Stranger - Digital Sensuality [Warm Stranger Bandcamp]
After a pair of strangely disqueting EPs in 2016 and 2018, Melbourne jazz musician and electronic producer James Annesley has now released two EPs in 2020. The second Warm Stranger EP for this year is Chambers, and it moves further away from the disquieting industrial electronica of his earlier releases, with a melodic computer funk here, presaging a percussive that wafts through tonight's selections.

DJ Plead - Ess [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Jared Beeler was a fixture in Sydney's dance music scene for many years, as a writer, DJ, and producer in particular with the beloved Black Vanilla/BV. Now based in Melbourne/Naarm , as DJ Plead he's making a name internationally with music that incorporates percussion and drum patterns from his Lebanese background into UK club styles. Each track on his new Going For It EP for the great Bristol label Livity Sound is better than the last, culminating in the driving "Ess", held down by a mostly one-note bassline and coloured by syncopated synth stabs.

Loraine James - Marg ft. Tardast [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
After a bunch of Bandcamp Friday odds-and-ends specials from Loraine James, she returns to Hyperdub for October's Bandcamp Friday with the excellent Nothing EP. As usual it's intricate, un-pin-downable electronica with various guests (including HTRK's Jonnine Standish on one track). On this track her glitchy jitters and thundering low-end accompany Liverpool/Birmingham-based Iranian refugee MC Tardast, rapping in Farsi.

Abdullah Miniawy & HVAD - The Dirty Canes Lake [irsh Bandcamp]
ABADIR - XLR@T [irsh Bandcamp]
Egyptian DJ Rama and Egyptian electronic producer/genius ZULI started irsh at the start of the year as a way of hanging out with friends and playing music together (and sharing it online). Unfortunately COVID lockdowns put an end to the live version and even the in-person hangouts. So that means that all around the world we get to enjoy what I hope is the first of many compilations of amazing experimental electronic music from Egyptian musicians - this one with the jokey title did you mean: irish. Tonight we have two selections from the wealth of talent. Poet, actor and musician Abdullah Miniawy, who we've heard solo & in collaboration with German trio Carl Gari, appears here with the stuttering, limping percussive loops of half-Danish/half-Punjabi producer DJ HVAD. And Berlin-based Rami Abadir abandons his recent ambient excursions with a high-energy piece of percussion, breakbeats and ravey bass drops.

TMUX - Metropolis [False Industries/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based Israeli producer Yair Etziony has been known for idm, ambient and industrial sounds under his own name and as part of Faction. His latest is under a new moniker, TMUX, finding that being under lockdown in Berlin drew out his love of '90s jungle, drum'n'bass and hardcore (Alec Empire gets a dedication among other people). It's filtered through Etziony's particular approach, but it's nice hearing the jungle breaks splattered through the melodic electronica here.

Mark Pritchard - Be Like Water [MP Productions/Warp]
Last year Sydney-based UK ambient/techno/jungle/grime/electronic music legend Mark Pritchard put out a series of electronic tracks under the banner of MP Productions. They were meant to be monthly (or at least regular) things but that seemed to stop at some point; now Warp are set to announce the release of the first MP Productions EP, coming out on either the 23rd or 30th of October. Direct from the artist, the lovely, fluid, percussive grime track "Be Like Water" might briefly be an exclusive on this show!

Hanz - Advice Ad [Tri-Angle/Bandcamp]
Brandon Juhans - Dead Weight Y [Brandon Juhans Bandcamp]
Brandon Juhans - Floating in Traffic [Brandon Juhans Bandcamp]
In 2018, Brandon Juhans released a couple of insane, detailed, glitchy EPs on the now sadly defunct Tri-Angle Records label. After a few single tracks seeped out on his Bandcamp, we've now got his first album Essential Dread, released under his own name. Strange percussive edits, glitchy rhythmic sampling and odd collage are the order of the day. I liked hearing a tiny bit of Ravel's Valses Nobles et Sentimentales in there (Mvt VI since you asked).

dgoHn - Monsoon Mercenary [Analogical Force]
Back in April, Love Love Records released one of the best albums of the year in dgoHn's Undesignated Proximate. Fans of his mix of drumfunk and jungle are lucky to get another four tracks now, on the Monega EP couresy of Spanish label Analogical Force. Hard-hitting jungle breaks and warm subs combine with synth melodies and an unerring sense of rhythmic flow - early Dillinja if he went idm, early Squarepusher if he was less lo-fi and more dancefloor-friendly.

Rian Treanor - Debouncing [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Rian Treanor - ATAXIA B2 [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Rian Treanor - Metaplasm [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
For his second album on Planet µ, Rian Treanor continues his deconstruction of rave in all its colourful aspects. Indeed the title, File Under UK Metaplasm, might suggest a rearranging of UK dance music - but actually this is highly rhythmic stuff, rendered perhaps undanceable only because of its speed. It's got a lot in common with '90s drill'n'bass and idm, but with more emphasis on bass, and influences from Chicago footwork, UK garage and elsewhere. In the middle I played the Lollywood-sampling B2 from ATAXIA, which also appeared on his vinyl-only RAVEDITS from 2018.

Carl Stone - Pasjoli [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
Carl Stone - Xiomara [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
Active since the late '70s and early '80s, LA musician Carl Stone has seen a resurgence of interest in the last few years courtesy of two wonderful retrospectives on Unseen Worlds, demonstrating his use of granular synthesis to create live glitchy edits from all sorts of sound sources decades before we thought about glitch, drone or indeed "mashups". His new album Stolen Car was written between Los Angeles and Tokyo, and draws heavily on mashed-up pop music, with a surprising emphasis on something resembling beats - a subversive recontextualisation of pop perhaps. It's fun and weird, and fits strangely next to Rian Treanor's rave edits and dancefloor deconstructions.

Tom Hall - 1542 [Errorgrid/Bandcamp]
Tom Hall - Pre Code [Errorgrid/Bandcamp]
Carl Stone's weapon of choice has long been Max/MSP, so it's fitting that he's followed by Los Angeles-based Aussie Tom Hall, who has for some time beeen a Senior Content Developer for Cycling ’74, developers of Max/MSP and Jitter. Tom's been a staple on this show whenever he releases new music, either with the more noisy-based AXXONN or with his ambient sound-design under his own name. The sound-design is there on new album Bestowed Order on Chaos but it's in service of fidgety, often high-speed beats (except when it's not). High-tech future music.

John Wall - M - B [ version 1 ] [John Wall Bandcamp]
John Wall & Alex Rodgers - Wrongfoot the Servants & Darkshop [John Wall Bandcamp]
UK autodidact John Wall has worked since the early '90s in avant-garde electronic music, starting with plunderphonic sample-based creations, and then expanding his self-created musical language into glitchy electronic tones and careful use of silence. He's performed live improvisations with various British avant-garde and improv musicians, and also collaborated frequently with British poet Alex Rodgers; the latest release on his Bandcamp is a new pair of tracks with Rodgers' lockdown-inspired musings integrated into Wall's electronics with strange pitch-shifting and glitching. The music echoes the latest in Wall's styles, found on M - [ B ] from May this year, where warm synth chords and hover over decontextualised chopped hits of electronic beats - properly deconstructed club music.

Listen again — ~213MB


Sunday, 27th of September, 2020

Playlist 27.09.20 (4:50 pm)

This week FBi Radio is asking you for your support. The small team of staff and many volunteers who've kept the station running through this devastating pandemic have done an incredbile job, but we can't do it without the support of our listeners - the station is literally listener-funded. If you get something out of what I do on this show, please support the station.

If you LISTEN AGAIN & again, help support us! FBi provides streaming on demand, or you can podcast it here.

Sufjan Stevens - Ativan [Asthmatic Kitty/Bandcamp]
Sufjan Stevens - Ursa Major [Asthmatic Kitty/Bandcamp]
Another 5 years, another Sufjan Stevens album... Well, we've had collaborations and other little drops in between, but it seems like the big albums take their time. You've probably heard the story with this one by now - it's an album about the loss of faith, but not (probably) his faith in God so much as his faith in America as an institution. In that sense it's extremely timely, even though the title track was written some years ago. There's personal stuff too though - "Ativan" seems like a depiction of an anxiety attack of the sort the eponymous drug is meant to treat. Musically there are the beautiful harmony changes and melodic deftness we love Sufjan for, and it's almost entirely performed & programmed by Sufjan, like a muted, reflective Age of Adz. Depressing times, let's wallow in Sufjan.

Aphir - The Republic of Paradise [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
Aphir - Evelyn Said [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
Aphir - The Harpies (feat. Sia Ahmad) [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
In the wake of last summer's bushfires and then the ongoing pandemic's effect on the music & arts world, Becki Whitton aka Aphir had a crisis of creativity - she had a joyous pop album ready to go, but couldn't square that with the current times. So instead she set out to write & record a completely new album during the pandemic, and we are blessed with the fruits of that work now with The Republic of Paradise. Like the Sufjan album, it responds to dark times with a dark outlook, with pounding beats and poetry often set in rhythmic half-spoken vocals. Nevertheless, Whitton can't help but write moving melodies, and relief from the sonic assault comes in the form of vulnerable a capella interludes or sweeping drones.

Shoeb Ahmad - flaw, featured [Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
Aphir releases are usually full of collaborations, and the new one is no exception. "The Harpies" (which feels musically like an agitated extension of the previous track, "Evelyn Said") features Sia Ahmad, whose solo work is still credited to Shoeb Ahmad.
Sia's new album comes out in November, and "flaw, featured" is the first single - a meditation on gender disphoria with dark drones, clattering percussion and some cello bits from some guy called Peter Hollo...

MJ Guider - The Steelyard [Kranky/Bandcamp]
MJ Guider - Simulus [Kranky/Bandcamp]
Melissa Guion aka MJ Guider's second album for Kranky has a similar postpunk/industrial undertow to Shoeb Ahmad's work, melded with a Cocteau Twins style shoegaze approach to her vocals, often buried in a mix of swirling guitar drones and echoing percussion. That tough-but-soft-but-loud sound was a characteristic of '90s shoegaze, and one of the percursors for postrock's dynamic juxtapositions, but Guion gives it a unique and vibrant update, and quite a shift from the less brash first album.

Sophia Loizou - Celestial Web [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Sophia Loizou - Genesis 92: The Awakening [Kathexis]
Sophia Loizou - Morphogenesis [Cosmo Rhythmatic]
Sophia Loizou - Shadows Of Futurity [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Sophia Loizou - Hypnotik [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Intense percussion and expansive textures have been at the heart of Sophia Loizou's work for a few years now too, albeit drawing from quite different eras from MJ Guider. Since Singulacra in 2016, Loizou has mined the splintered remains of rave - particularly jungle and hardcore techno - for material to build new worlds. Initially she focused on the synth pads and basslines in particular, but more recently the splattered breaks are up front as well, still structured as more of a memory of the dancefloor than an invitation to dance. Her latest album Untold is part of a larger project that includes a beautiful hardcover book poetically imagining biotech futures called A Tellurian Memorandum, as well as audio-visual elements and planned lecture performance.

Olivier Alary & Johannes Malfatti - My Night, My Day [130701/Bandcamp]
Hearing Is Our Concern - Fragmented [Bubble Core Records]
Ensemble - proposal 3 [Rephlex]
Ensemble - Things I Forget [Fat Cat/Bandcamp]
Olivier Alary - Defeat [130701/Bandcamp]
Olivier Alary & Johannes Malfatti - I Can't Even See Myself [130701/Bandcamp]
Back in 2000, French-born, Montréal-based musician Olivier Alary released his first album as Ensemble, for the venerable idm label Rephlex (and I dropped a really early idm track from Alary as "Hearing Is Our Concern" tonight too). Ensemble's debut Sketch Proposals does have glitchy beats and even glitchier electronic textures, but it combines this, strangely and effectively, with a sort-of shaky take on French chanson courtesy of the already-departed singer Chanelle Kimber. Following this, Ensemble became known to many through Alary's work with Björk, including a co-write and co-production on "Desired Constellation" and a series of remixes. Fat Cat released two albums by Ensemble which continued this melding of glitchy electronica and indie songwriting - and by the second, 2011's Excerpts, the indie/postrock elements, and string arrangements, outweighed the electronics considerably. I consider Excerpts to be a hugely underappreciated album, one that I return to often, with vocals from Alary and Darcy Conroy, and co-writing and arrangements on many tracks by Alary's longtime collaborator Johannes Malfatti.
Both Alary and Malfatti, despite their roots in experimental electronic music, have been writing ambient & classical-adjacent music for film for some years, an album of which came out through Fat Cat's 130701 label from Alary in 2017. Now the two have paired up under their own names rather than Ensemble, along with various string players & vocalists, for a gorgeous album called u,i that reflects these isolated times through the medium of Skype & other VOIP services which the pair have long used to keep in touch. So vocal melodies struggle to cut through static and drop-outs, while accompanied by strings and electronics - an inverted reflection of Alary's original melding of cracked electronics and song, and one that pays off with some true heartstring-pulling moments.

Nick Wales & Stereogamous - Graceful Learning [Nick Wales Bandcamp]
Nick Wales & Stereogamous - Shimmering Spirits [Nick Wales Bandcamp]
Nick Wales is a longtime composer of scores for Sydney Dance Company, but as well as being a trained composer he's a string player with CODA and has appeared on numerous indie albums through the years. He's also made his fair share of electronic music, and here he's paired up with two great Sydney DJ/producers, Johnny Seymour and Paul Mac, as Stereogamous. This album, counter to the background of those involved, focuses on the guitar - it was produced for an exhibition on the Australian guitar brand Maton, on at the Powerhouse Museum until the 11th of October. Different styles of guitar playing are showcased by various different guitarists, set in ambient soundscapes, at times chopped into fragments like on "Shimmering Spirits".

Zoltan Fecso - From the Chest [Whitelabrecs/Bandcamp]
Finally tonight, we have some more guitar pointilism from Melbourne's Zoltan Fecso, who has made his very own genre from live-sampling his own guitar playing and creating literally pointilistic new musical structures on the fly. His latest album is Daylight in an Empty Room, released by UK label Whitelabrecs, and follows an album frome earlier this year on Dutch ambient label Shimmering Moods.

Listen again — ~194MB



 
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