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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, 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


Sunday, 13th of October, 2019

Playlist 13.10.19 (8:04 pm)

Your Utility Fog tonight takes in jazz, postpunk, industrial metal, industrial dub/hip-hop, industrial techno, with classical references and lots of strangeness.

LISTEN AGAIN to the best sounds around... Stream on demand from FBi or podcast here.

Tomeka Reid Quartet - RN [Cuneiform/Bandcamp]
Tomeka Reid - Jizz and Jazz (Ray Yoshida) [Pentimenti Produdctions]
Tomeka Reid Quartet - Glass Light [Thirsty Ear]
Makaya McCraven - Tall Tales (feat. Tomeka Reid) [International Anthem]
Tomeka Reid Quartet - Old New [Cuneiform/Bandcamp]
We start tonight with the brilliant cellist Tomeka Reid, whose second quartet album has just come out. Reid played with Jaimie Branch (featured next tonight) when both were in Chicago, but Reid doesn't appear on Branch's new album, now that they've both moved to New York and become much in demand. Reid's quartet is a remarkable collection of musicians, with the recent MacArthur Genius Mary Halvorson on guitar, Jason Roebke on double bass and Tomas Fujiwara on drums. Halvorson's guitar playing is incredibly expressive, and along with Roebke's warm bass melds and contrasts with Reid's versatile cello. I went back to 2014 and a solo album from Reid adapted from her soundtrack to a documentary about Hairy Who & The Chicago Imagists - and actually the earlier quartet piece "Glass Light" is a version of a track composed for that soundtrack too. Reid appears on the "New York Side" of Makaya McCraven's wonderful Universal Beings album from last year, bringing free jazz into the beat tape world. Although there have been some cellists in the jazz world before (Erik Friedlander and Hank Roberts among others), Tomeka Reid is really pioneering the idea of cellist as jazz leader, and it's a delight to behold.

jaimie branch – theme 001 [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
Anteloper - Ohoneotree [International Anthem via The Wire/Bandcamp]
jaimie branch – prayer for amerikkka pt. 1 & 2 [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
I first discovered Tomeka Reid through her playing on the first album from Chicago (now New York) trumpeter Jaimie Branch, and we hear her inventive playing on the first track here, from 2017's Fly or Die. Branch shot to fame after this album, and deservedly as it's amazing, with infectious rhythms (possibly partly derived from her half-Colombian heritage), strange but brilliant arrangements (and experimental ambient interludes) and great playing. The experimentalism comes out further in her Anteloper duo with drummer Jason Nazary from last year, featuring dubbed out rhythms and electronic processing - all tracks are very long, but luckily there's a Wire Magazine edit! Branch's new album has all the virtues of her first, and also vocals on two tracks, including the stretched-out dirgey blues number here that (just about) starts the album, calling out "a bunch of wild-eyed racists" (and also paying homage to various other songs throughout) with singing that's as passionate and distinctive as her trumpet playing. As previously mentioned, Tomeka Reid's own burgeoning career means she had to step out of playing with Branch's ensemble, but she has been replaced by another amazing cellist, Lester St. Louis, an improv specialist whose contributions are absolutely central to this music too.

Carla dal Forno - Heart of Hearts [Carla dal Forno Bandcamp]
Carla dal Forno - Don't Follow Me [Carla dal Forno Bandcamp]
Melbourne-via-Berlin artist Carla dal Forno's second album proper is released by herself (as Blackest Ever Black seems to have pretty much shut down?) and follows the subdued-but-incisive tone of her earlier work. While dal Forno has a beautiful voice and writes catchy songs, she has little interest in pandering to pop or even indie expectations, imbuing her work with a melancholy-but-detached sensibility. There are some lovely instrumentals on there too, with some cello (or possibly pitched down viola?) to call back to the start of our show. There's a distinct postpunk feel as usual, with some fairly explicit references to The Cure among others. Recommended.

Kim Gordon - Earthquake [Matador]
Kim Gordon - Sketch Artist [Matador]
It's amazing that this is the first solo record from Kim Gordon, one of the most inventive and influential musicians of the last few decades. It comes a few years after the breakup of Sonic Youth, and after a number of other band projects from Gordon, but this album definitely screams "solo record". "Earthquake" here is pure Gordon - guitar either wobbling with whammy bar or varispeed tape, creating a lovely bed for her raw vocals; meanwhile Justin Raisen produces some intense almost industrial hip-hop beats for a few tracks, which is just chef's kiss brilliant.

the body - Hallow Hollow (remixed by Lingua Ignota) [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
the body - Off Script (remixed by Moor Mother) [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
US duo the body are nothing if not adventurous - ostensibly a black metal band, they work with samples and heavy electronics, but the aggression always hides a sensitivity (although Chip King's ultra-high-pitched screaming is never intelligible) and most albums also feature vocals from women - some regular collaborators, and some guests; Kristin Hayter featured on a recent album, and on their new Remixed album appears reworking a track as Lingua Ignota. Here the noise is mostly kept in check, replaced by plangent piano and Hayter's classically-trained vocals. The remix album also takes in the sound-art of Peter Rehberg (featured in last week's playlist), the intense techno of Container and more, including a superb take by Moor Mother of "Off Script" which is both very faithful to the original and completely different.

Zonal - Catalyst ft. Moor Mother [Relapse/Bandcamp]
Zonal - S.O.S. [Relapse/Bandcamp]
Moor Mother let us segue into the next segment, with her menacing and beautiful collaborations with Zonal, the reconstituted duo of Justin K Broadrick (JK Flesh, Godflesh, Jesu etc) and Kevin Martin (The Bug). The duo released a slew of groundbreaking music as Techno Animal throughout the '90s - not actually techno (although Broadrick's JK Flesh inhabits that space nowadays) but sludgy dub and hip-hop informed by their backgrounds in metal and sonic experimentation. Zonal's new incarnation started with a performance at Unsound Festival in Poland at which they were joined by Moor Mother, whose delivery is perfectly suited to these dark dubbed out industrial hip-hop beats. The Zonal material marries Broadrick's recent slo-mo industrial dub techno tendencies with Martin's grainy, heavy-as-fuck head-nodding beats and the mournful tendencies of both artists. It's the soundtrack for the world as it is now.

PYUR - Cheperer [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
PYUR - Jumping Trails [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
PYUR - Manta Ride [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
The second album from German artist Sophie Schnell aka PYUR, after a debut on Hotflush Recordings, is a dazzling, ambitious work fitting for Subtext Recordings, combining idm, bass and industrial techno with classical composition, new age, and even pop among other elements. It's a kind of wordless storytelling (the vocals, when present, are still often wordless), as implied by calling it an "oratorio", invoking myths and legends of the past and possibly the future. Ever-changing beats swoop in and out of synthetic and live orchestrations (including cello from Teresa Alvarez and violin from Juan Zalba Fuentes), and vocals range from classical layering (with more than a little Enya to them) to almost-pop to textural. It's all hugely impressive.

Listen again — ~274MB


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