a wholly owned subsiduary of
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experimental electronica
electric string quartet

Utility Fog

Your weekly fix of postfolkrocktronica, dronenoise, power ambient, post-everything improv... and more?
Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.
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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 9th of May, 2021

Playlist 09.05.21 (11:25 pm)

The pleasure is in the detail tonight, with filigree sounds sourced from percussion, glitches, field recordings and accelerated drum breaks in contexts as wide as sound-art, contemporary classical, noise, underground hip-hop and dance music.

LISTEN AGAIN to the devil in the details... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Snawklor - Misplaced Colour [Snawklor Bandcamp]
Snawklor - Confluences [self-released CD-R with screenprint, now available at Bandcamp]
Snawklor - day of your enemies [another self-released CD-R with screenprint, now available at Bandcamp]
Snawklor - Language Laid Bare [Snawklor Bandcamp]
It's an absolute joy to find Dylan Martorell and Nathan Gray together again as Snawklor after a (recorded) absence of over 10 years! They've both been members of some Melbourne noise monsters over the years, such as Hi-God People, and Martorell's incredible art can also be seen here. But Snawklor is a very special thing - a delicate mixture of tuned & untuned percussion with occasional miniature injections of acoustic instruments such as guitar and violin, all reconstructed electronically. There's always a sense of time & space - even though a lot of their works are not long, deep listening is nevertheless rewarding. Their new EP Perfumed Ground is released as a silk-screened print and digital audio, and will be followed by another release soon - can't wait.

Takuma Watanabe - Last Afternoon [Constructive/Bandcamp]
Takuma Watanabe - Particle [Inpairtment]
Takuma Watanabe - Tactile [Constructive/Bandcamp]
Last Afternoon is the gorgeous new album from film composer and David Sylvian associate Takuma Watanabe, featuring a string ensemble, tech wizardry from Akira Rabelais and the great avant-garde singer Joan La Barbara (on a track not featured tonight mind you). I discovered Watanabe via a release on Japanese label Inpairtment last year, featuring contributions from Rabelais and also Félicia Atkinson, all of which should give you a flavour of what you'll find here: delicate neo-classical composition of a high order (nothing derivative here!), shot through with the hiss & crackle of analogue & digital detritus.

Wouter van Veldhoven - Wandelliedje [dauw]
Wouter van Veldhoven - Ons dorp [Morc records]
Wouter van Veldhoven - (un)Finished contraptions 1 (Peter Broderick rework) [dauw]
I've been a follower of the unique Dutch mechanical instrument-maker Wouter van Veldhoven for some time, having discovered him via Machinefabriek. His creaking creations of electro-mechanical homemade instruments and tapes "perform" rickety works which somehow produce astonishing beauty. For the unintiated, the Dauw label have compiled what's now a second collection of archival works from van Veldhoven: Verzamelen II features tracks from a handful of his releases, along with a few unreleased gems such as the first track tonight, and a couple of reworkings, to which end Peter Broderick adds swishing violin in his usual sensitive manner.

Dan Powell - Emerging from the valley into a rainshower [Crónica/Bandcamp]
Sound-artist Dan Powell frequently visits the Old Chapel Farm in Wales, whose inhabitants try to live as close to the land as possible, living together, growing food, practising ancient crafts... Powell decided to create a work based on these experiences, Four Walks at Old Chapel - but it's far more than field recordings of walks in a landscape. There are sounds created with Powell's daughter from objects around the site, including an old abandoned piano, all of which are reconstructed into four electro-acoustic works.

He Can Jog - Each Band Of The Telephone Wire [JMY Music]
Francisco Meirino - Synth Etude 141019 [JMY Music]
Out for this week's Bandcamp Friday was Perception, a compilation from Milwaukee label JMY Music featuring a slew of noise & sound-artists. We heard the two opening tracks tonight: Minnesota musician and programmer Erik Schoster aka He Can Jog combines folky acoustic instruments with highly abstracted electronics as ever, and is followed by the the drawn-out tones and shuddering noise of Lucerne-based Spanish musician Francisco Meirino.

Ashtray Navigations - Fancy Water [Memoirs of an Aesthete]
Ashtray Navigations - Lost Down Newspaper Tube [Memoirs of an Aesthete]
It can be hard to keep up with the prolific work of Phil Todd & collaborators' Ashtray Navigations, but it's always worth checking in every so often, and I've been catching up of late because there's so much quality stuff despite the density. Call it psych, call it noise, there can be distorted guitar workouts, but also synthscapes and unidentifiable amplified noises. Tonight's tracks come from an album only released in April: Water Hole Or It's Better To Be Clean Than Fancy, which is some of my favourite AN stuff for a while, and it seems to be all Phil Todd.

Margot Padilla & Khaki Blazer - Good Boy (proud) [Hausu Mountain/Deathbomb Arc]
White Boy Scream & Fire-Toolz - Air Friar [Hausu Mountain/Deathbomb Arc]
Next up, an incredible collaborative project between two forward-looking labels, with all profits to the Last Prisoner Project. Arc Mountain is the creatively-named compilation of artists from avant-garde hip-hop/noise label Deathbomb Arc (home to some of the earliest Clipping. material) and the IDM/experimental electronic label Hausu Mountain (home to the earliest Eartheater releases among other things). There are so many gems here - each track featuring an artist (or more) from each label, with so much simpatico it's seriously one combined aesthetic throughout. Tonight we have a demented show tune from Margot Padilla and Khaki Blazer, and something beautiful from avant-garde opera-trained singer White Boy Scream and a somewhat subdued Fire-Toolz.

Ziúr - Fringe Casual [PAN/Bandcamp]
Ziúr - Rituals Of Passage [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Ziúr - Alive, Unless? [PAN/Bandcamp]
When I first heard Berlin's Ziúr on her Planet µ debut in 2017, she was clearly at the forefront of the deconstructed club sounds of the recent zeitgeist. Her second album on Planet µ took her sound into a more polished pop territory, brilliant but not so much my thing, but Antifate, just released on PAN, manages to combine these two tendencies into something quite fantastic. She has created something with clattering beats & bass but also a lot of delicacy, aided at times by Subtext Recordings' James Ginzburg.

Barker - Polytely [Ostgut Ton/Bandcamp]
Sam Barker has formed a surprising set of works for quinessential Berlin club label Ostgut Ton over the last few years, building recognizable club music without kick drums or generally any beats at all. His latest 12", BARKER002, links back to 2019's BARKER001 with a set of tracks which stray at times away from the beatless template, while retaining the corruscating movement of his melodic synths. It's genre-agnostic, but flows quite nicely into the jungle-techno following.

Healion - About Breathing (Ludwig AF Remix) [naff recordings]
Healion - Gathering [naff recordings]
I don't know who Healion is, but their debut EP In Light, It Undoes Nothing... released by Canada's NAFF Recordings is a smooth & beautiful ride through jungle & bass techno stylings. Entirely in keeping with the rest of the EP is a remix of the title track by Frankfurt's Ludwig AF, with skittering programmed beats.

Social State - Moonbeam [Social State Bandcamp]
Social State - Find The Others [Social State Bandcamp]
And finally, the new album Sacrosanct from London's Social State has been a long time coming, and includes tracks that have snuck out over a few years on Mr Mitch's Gobstopper Records and elsewhere. It's a melange of UK hardcore-continuum styles, including some jungle tracks and some grime, and some stretched-out hip-hop. It's a delightfully dark trip.

Listen again — ~204MB

Monday, 3rd of May, 2021

Playlist 02.05.21 (12:46 am)

A rollercoaster through filmic post-classical, avant-garde strings & percussion, sound-art, junglist breakbeats and generative programming to highly emotive post-metal.

LISTEN AGAIN for all the thrills... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Clark - Lambent Rag [Deutsche Grammophon/Clark Store/Bandcamp]
Clark - Shut You Down [Deutsche Grammophon/Clark Store/Bandcamp]
Clark - Emissary [Deutsche Grammophon/Clark Store/Bandcamp]
I remember 20 years ago when Chris Clark was a precocious young IDM producer with his first records on Warp... He seemed to have a good command of the emotive backbone under the flashy beat programming, in keeping with the previous generation like Aphex Twin, µ-Ziq, Boards of Canada et al. A few years later, the Body Riddle album was the first step into something that felt truly new - organic-feeling crunchy beats and sounds, clearly still electronica, clearly referencing rave tropes, but also postrock, jazz and a lot more. Since then he's careened easily between dancefloor and campfire and everywhere in between, and somewhere in the last 5 years added soundtrack work as a new string to his bow - replete with piano and orchestra. So I assumed that this new album, Playground In A Lake, released by eminent classical institution Deutsche Grammophon, was another soundtrack - but it's something different. Starting with the solo cello of Oliver Coates, featuring muted piano, orchestral passages, choral and solo classical voices, it doesn't throw out the electronics - with Ben Frost-like surging bass, processed vocals and occasional rhythm programming. And it's a narrative of sorts - a tale of lost youth and innocence, with the submerged children's playground standing in for our loss of innocence as a species in the face of accelerating climate change. Weighty subject matter, and the music matches it with darkness and gentle sadness, give or take the sweet hopefulness of "Lambent Rag". All in all an excellent entry into Clark's oeuvre.

The Selva + Machinefabriek - Mabartrama [Shhpuma/Bandcamp]
The Selva + Machinefabriek - Tramabarba [Shhpuma/Bandcamp]
Made up of Ricardo Jacinto, cello, Gonçalo Almeida, double bass and Nuno Morão on drums, The Selva (jungle in Portuguese) coax surprising sounds from their surprising combination - the strings at times as percussive as the drums, but at times sounding like ancient folk or proto-classical music. After some releases on Portuguese avant-jazz label Clean Feed, their new album on Shhpuma, Barbatrama finds them working with Dutch sound-artist Machinefabriek, a familiar face around these parts, who very subtly re-arranges their acoustic improvisations - at times seemingly hardly there, at other times stretching or collapsing the sounds, or editing them into off-kilter rhythms. This all amounts to something spookily beautiful.

BirdWorld - Svífa [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
BirdWorld + Diana Syrse - Scintillant [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
BirdWorld + Fran + Flora - After Rain [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
The London/Oslo duo BirdWorld, made up of Gregor Riddell on cello & electronics, and Adam Teixeira on drums & percussion, beguiled us in late 2019 with their debut album UNDA, in which field recordings, found sounds and processing met folk, jazz and classical-derived playign on the cello and drums. Generally their tracks do not line up with expectations around musical structures, and this makes for fascinating results on the newly released UNDA Reworks, which as you may imagine is more than just a remix album. There are re-sampled beat tracks, but also approaches like Mexican singer/composer Diana Syrse, who overlays her voice on the original track to create her own beautiful song, whereas experimental klezmer/gypsy duo Fran + Flora (made up of cellist Francesca Ter-Berg and violinist Flora Curzon) concentrate on drawing the original acoustic sounds through multiple effects - reversing, pitch-shifting and granulating the music into a scintillating abstract canvas.

Emily Scott - The Garden [Blackford Hill/Bandcamp]
Kate Carr - The Owls Were Calling That Dark, Dark Night [Blackford Hill/Bandcamp]
Blackford Hill is a UK-based label and publishing house whose music encompasses electronic music, field recordings, post-classical, folk and more. Their debut physical compilation Transmissions / Volume One covers all of that ground over 2CDs, along with a book of photos and essays. It's fair to say that a sense of place and a kind of ritual meditativeness is found across much of the music. Presumably working with the Fell Down string trio, Glasgow singer & double bassist Emily Scott opens the compilation with a sumptuous folk song, which features some delicious harmonic trickiness, sliding between major and minor chords, with a beautiful flattened 5th on the dominant (so, now you know!), while ex-pat Aussie Kate Carr features twice, with her chiming guitar sitting under crackling field recordings. There's a lot to discover in these two discs.

Nick Wales - Wind Variation [Music Company/Bandcamp]
Michelle Nguyen - Vultyre [Music Company/Bandcamp]
Coming out at the end of the month is the third volume in the Vector Fields compilation series from Melbourne's Music Company, which starts with a lot of gentle neoclassical music before slowly turning to some quite experimental electronic work. Sydney violist and composer Nick Wales contributes a beautiful piece of glitchy drone, while Melbourne's Michelle Nguyen (who recently appeared on this show via New Weird Australia as Noom) has one of the most abstract pieces of sound design.

Munsha - 21 Days [Osci Edizioni]
Eraldo Bernocchi - At The Edge Of Daylight [Osci Edizioni]
New Italian label Osci Edizioni enters the fray with their compilation Boarding Songs, an auspicious debut release featuring many greats from the Italian experimental scene such as Stefano Pilia, Claudio Rochcetti, Fabio Orsi, Valerio Cosi (working with Swiss cellist Martina Bertoni), Gianluca Becuzzi, Retina.it and many more. There's drone and glich here - including a work with piano snippets and drones from Italian cellist/electronic musician Daniela Lunelli aka Munsha - but elsewhere venerable dub/industrial/ambient maestro Eraldo Bernocchi contributes a piece of dubby techno, as is his wont, and from further afield there are quiet contributions from Ian Hawgood and René Margraff among others.

NERVE - Sand Heist (WGR Version) [Winter Garden Records/Bandcamp]
Melbourne's NERVE continues his occasional releases of highly strung industrial techno, and as often is the case, it blends almost seamlessly into drum'n'bass & jungle...

Happa - Digital Recall [PT/5/Bandcamp]
UK's half Persian prince (and), Happa, has released the second in his Explorations in Music for Dancing, and this one is firmly looking at jungle & drum'n'bass, whether deconstructing it on "No Longer" or distributing fiery breaks and thundering subs on the other two tracks. I'd be happy to hear more of this from Happa!

Etch - Tyrant [Sneaker Social Club]
Brighton boy Etch has long let his jungle freak flag fly. Recent releases have seen him at slower breakbeat tempos and in other modes, so it's nice that the Anachronism EP for Sneaker Social Club brings back the early '90s junglism, dark and sparse.

Sun People - Dark Days ft Yorobi [Exit Records/Bandcamp]
Austrian producer Simon/off aka Sun People is known for broken beats mixed with juke and UK hardcore continuum styles, and his new record for Exit Records is suitably junglist. One of a few highlights is a collaboration with Yorobi, aka Dutch graphic designer Josje Bijl, who is also a jungle/drum'n'bass DJ and producer.

Ben Peers - Variation Seven [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
Ben Peers - Reprising [Bandcamp]
Ben Peers - Out [Bandcamp]
We last heard algorithmic producer Ben Peers with an EP on Elli Records earlier this year; now he's back on his own Bandcamp with In Succession, which takes a similar approach to his earlier Elli Records release Eight Variations, in which a selection of timbres, melodic and rhythmic elements are mutated over a number of tracks - and the 7th Variation from Eight Variations segued quite handily out of our drum'n'bass selections tonight. On In Succession the constituent elements are recycled both as jittery IDM pieces and peaceful textural ambient, always very listenable.

anrimeal - Hello And A Half (feat. Butterfly Child) [Crossness Records/Bandcamp]
I only just discovered the work of Ana Rita de Melo Alves aka anrimeal a few weeks ago via Objects Forever's Object Ten compilation. From there I found her debut album Could Divine, released last year, and only a couple of weeks later we're treated to a strange remix album that's not a remix album. Some artists have indeed remixed anrimeal's originals, but (as with Butterfly Child tonight) their treatments are often reworked back into hybrid pieces by Alves, and on a number of tracks spoken word segments provide a hidden history of the recordings. It's intimate and strange, and as with the original album switches joyfully from delicate folk to drone to harsh digital edits.

Big | Brave - Wited. Still And All... [Southern Lord/Bandcamp]
Big | Brave - Half Breed [Southern Lord/Bandcamp]
In some ways the only reason Montréal's Big | Brave get classed as metal is because they're released on Southern Lord. The postrock of local hero Efrim Menuck's Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt Zion looms large, as does the math rock of guitarist Mathieu Ball's past, but these elements along with the thunderous drums (now provided by Tasy Hudson) support an intensity when combined with Robin Wattie's raw, emotive vocals that's every bit the force of nature that, say, the Southern Lord's Sunn O))) generate through other means. Big | Brave's latest, Vital, benefits also from the sonic metallurgy of Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets, producing a searingly focused sound, even on the droney waves of "Wited. Still And All..." - but "Half Breed" is the album's core, featuring Big | Brave's signature single hits on guitar & drums, with lyrics drawn from an essay on being mixed race by artist Alexander Cree, allowing Wattie to express herself openly through someone else's words. It's incredibly powerful.

Listen again — ~199MB

Sunday, 25th of April, 2021

Playlist 25.04.21 (11:36 pm)

We've got a trio of excellent releases from Denovali out at the end of this month, plus influential industrial, grinding gothic riffage, and electronic all-sorts tonight.

LISTEN AGAIN before it's too late! It's never too late... Podcast here, stream on demand @ FBi.

Dictaphone - Your Reign is Over [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Dictaphone - rising minimal [City Centre Offices/Denovali/Bandcamp]
Dictaphone - rattle feat. Mariechen Danz [Sonic Pieces/Denovali/Bandcamp]
Oliver Doerell - Hands [Oxmose/Bandcamp]
Dictaphone - Il Grande Silenzio [Denovali/Bandcamp]
The first of three new releases from German label Denovali to be released this coming Friday, the 30th of April, comes from the lovely Dictaphone. Their previous, and first on Denovali, came out in 2017, but their history goes back a lot further. Convened by Belgian multi-instrumentalist Oliver Doerell, their characteristic sound is derived from the combination of warm, organic instrumentation with warm dub-inflected electronics. In particular, the clarinet of Roger Döring, fluttering and arcing over the burbling rhythms, is essential to what makes Dictaphone so special. A little after they began, German genre-crossing violinist Alex Stolze joined, and these two instruments lend a neo-classical feel to the group's aesthetic, which probably had something to do with their move from beloved, now defunct electronic label City Centre Offices to Monique Recknagel's wonderful Sonic Pieces for their third album, Poems from a rooftop, quite a magical affair. As well as the post-classical-meets-glitch of Swod (with pianist Stephan Wöhrmann), Doerell has collaborated with Hood's Chris Adams, and released a solo album in 2019, my life with M., which sounds like the electronic elements of Dictaphone pushed up a notch or two. The new Dictaphone album Goats & Distortions 5 (yes, it's their 5th) is everything you'd want from a Dictaphone album - acoustic basslines, bubbling clarinet, shimmering violin and snippets of vocals.

LTO - Derwyddon [Denovali/Bandcamp]
LTO - Contar [Injazero/Bandcamp]
LTO - Tharsis [Denovali/Bandcamp]
One of the members of the mysterious post-dubstep collective Old Apparatus, each of whom make singular music solo as well as (occasionally) together, LTO carries on the mystery of Old Apparatus with little to identify himself beyond blurry photographs and the knowledge he's from Bristol. Old Apparatus were always more from the dancefloor than of the dancefloor, and LTO's music has only taken him further from beats & basslines as its bread & butter - albeit still with deep bass and percussive sounds at times. It's very evocative, and less noisy than, say, the post-dancefloor music of Vex'd's Roly Porter - but, true to the beguiling work of Old Apparatus, it's immersive and surprising, absolutely worth your time. I played one early solo LTO track in the middle, a kind of jittery dubby techno number.

Dalhous - Emersion [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Dalhous - Success is Her Sensuality [Blackest Ever Black/Denovali/Bandcamp]
Dalhous - Sight Of Hirta [Blackest Ever Black/Denovali/Bandcamp]
Dalhous - Bahy-Oh-Feed-Bak [Blackest Ever Black/Denovali/Bandcamp]
Dalhous - Phantasies From The Schema [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Primarily the work of Marc Dall, at times with the presumably pseudonymous Alex Ander, Dalhous spent much of its existence released on the UK label Blackest Ever Black until its untimely closure a couple of years ago. Their catalogue has now been taken over by Denovali, who are finally releasing Vol. 2 of The Composite Moods Collection, which takes off, inverted, from where 2016's Vol. 1 left off, showing a fraught relationship from the perspective of the photographed subject from that album. Dalhous's work has always been influenced by the history of psychiatry, with beautiful but at times anxious and disturbing musical invocations of mental states. At their best, the lush synthscapes of Jean Michel Jarre, the beats of early Autechre, Boards of Canada & Bola combine in a post-dubstep space to create something enthralling and timeless. The latest two albums push into a more cinematic space, less concerned with individual, structured tracks, which for me can be less engaging; but there's still much to appreciate.

Coil - Snow (demonic apollo b version) [Wax Trax! etc/Infinite Fog Production/Bandcamp]
Coil - Things Happen (feat. Annie Anxiety Bandez) [Wax Trax! etc/Infinite Fog Production/Bandcamp]
Over 10 years after Peter "Sleazy" Christophersen passed, another six years after his partner Jhonn Balance, the Coil re-release machine is very much in full swing, with myriad "unearthed" alternate takes and out-takes from collaborators like Danny Hyde continuing to make money for various people. But there's no doubt that Hyde himself was deeply important to the sound Coil built, as were people like Thighpaulsandra, Drew McDowall and others. No doubt also the recent remaster of Musick to Play in the Dark is exquisite-sounding and well deserving to be available again (I hope they follow up with part 2 soon!) And so, unlike certain cash-ins of late, it's also hard to complain about Love's Secret Domain being celebrated 30 years after its release - a pivotal album for Coil, with ambient techno and folky melodicism along with their queer industrial pop. Whether the bonus tracks with this new edition are all that necessary is questionable, what with so much Coil detritus around, but it's nice enough stuff like the shorter, gentler version of "The Snow" I played tonight. The album itself is as important as ever, seemingly untouched by time. Even Little Annie Anxiety Bandez sounds hardly different compared to her recent outings.

Robert Vincs & Adam Nash - E.K.O. [Echogene]
Melbourne label Echogene brings another collaborative effort here from Australian avant-sax player Robert Vincs, who's worked in the experimental world for some decades now. Here he teams up with electronic artist Adam Nash, whose generative sound programs interact with the sax in strange ways, with snippets of vocals and noise lending this work a quite industrial feel.

Makeda - Fable [Butter Sessions/Bandcamp]
It's probably not fair for Sydney, Brisbane or Melbourne to lay claim to the excellent DJ & producer Makeda, but Melbourne is where she resides now, and she's one of the aritsts Melbourne institution Butter Sessions invited to contribute to a series of 12"s celebrating their 10th birthday. Among the techno, dub & electro outings (and Butter Sessions are nothing if not eclectic), Makeda's work stands out as particularly experimental, with unconventional mixing and structure, juggling and chopping breakbeats, vocal snippets and other detritus of club music with flair & originality.

AURA - Count On Mi [Early Reflex]
Sydney's Daniel Curtis released an EP as AURA on Turin-based electronic label Early Reflex last year. The label, run by Alec Pace, is releasing it second compilation flex002 next week, with AURA contributing something a little poppier than his previous work.

High Tides - Lines On The Horizon (Tim Koch Remix) [i, absentee]
Los Angeles label i, absentee released their Birth Certificate in 2008, and now it seems it's time for the Death Certificate, a final compilation coming out as double CD and digital with artists across the ambient & experimental electronic spectrum. It's released mid-May and tonight we have a little preview, a remix by Adelaide's Tim Koch of LA's High Tides, with Koch's more recent stylings in effect - granular textures and crunchy beats ahoy!

James Welburn - Fast Moon (feat. Juliana Venter) [Miasmah/Bandcamp]
James Welburn - Duration (feat. Tony Buck) [Miasmah/Bandcamp]
James Welburn - In And Out Of Blue (feat. Tomas Järmyr and Juliana Venter) [Miasmah/Bandcamp]
UK multi-instrumentalist James Welburn has been based in Berlin for a while. It's there that he met Sydney's Tony Buck (of The Necks), who worked with Welburn on his first album, Hold, for Erik Skodvin's great doomy label Miasmah. Six years later for his follow-up Sleeper in the Void, Welburn has a new set of collaborators. Swedish drummer Tomas Järmyr (of Motorpsycho and many others) appears on many tracks, and Welburn's previous collaborator Juliana Venter contributes textural vocals on a couple of tracks. It was great to be reminded of the doomy riffs, drones and rhythms of Welburn's excellent debut, and this delayed follow-up doesn't stray too far, but extends into programmed, almost dancefloor beats on "Fast Moon", while Järmyr's drumming is a little more expansive and rocky than the muscular, propulsive work of Buck on the debut, splashing cymbals where Buck pounds the toms. Grab both at Bandcamp.

Listen again — ~209MB

Sunday, 18th of April, 2021

Playlist 18.04.21 (6:46 pm)

A range of electronic music from piano-led post-classical/kraut, IDM/techno hybrids, and delicate field recording constructs.

LISTEN AGAIN to the forces of nature... stream on demand from FBi, or podcast here.

Malcolm Pardon - Beneath The Surface [The New Black/Bandcamp]
Roll The Dice - Axel [Digitalis Recordings/Bandcamp]
Malcolm Pardon - The Blindspot [The New Black/Bandcamp]
Stockholm duo Roll The Dice released a steady stream of electronic music since their debut self-titled album came out through experimental label Digitalis Recordings in 2010. Peder Mannerfelt is well-known for his gregarious club music under his own name, his involvement with Fever Ray, and for releasing fellow Swiss electronic artists on his Peder Mannerfelt Produktion. But the other half, Malcolm Pardon, has stayed more in the background, making music for film & TV, so his debut solo album is a very welcome occurrence. Hello Death doesn't take its title too seriously - it's more about the acceptance of the inevitability of death than anything more maudlin, with peaceful, enveloping piano and analogue synths echoing his work with Roll The Dice. A rather jaunty number from their debut album reminds us that this combo of very acoustic, organic piano next to synths and electronics has always been a core part of the duo's sound too.

Cale Sexton - The Smell Of Dirt [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
Last year, Melbourne cellist & beatmaker Bridget Chappell released her album Undertow on Heavy Machinery Records, composed around the sound of the Federation Bells, an installation in the parklands next to the Yarra, just south-east of Melbourne's CBD called Birrarung Marr. The bells play compositions via MIDI that ring through the park, and as well as inviting the public to submit MIDI files to play on the bells, the City of Melbourne has commissioned a series of works based around their sound and location. After Chappell's work, next up is Melbourne electronic musician Cale Sexton, whose new album Sustain embeds the ringing bells in warm, melodic synths. It's quite nostalgic music, utterly likeable, and I thought the longest track, just over 9 minutes, was the best way to enjoy the sound.

Vladislav Delay - Ranno [Cosmo Rhythmatic/Bandcamp]
Vladislav Delay - Rakkine [Cosmo Rhythmatic/Bandcamp]
Vladislav Delay - Raaha [Cosmo Rhythmatic/Bandcamp]
From analogue to very digital, we join Finland's Sassu Ripatti with his second album in as many years under his prolific alias Vladislav Delay. His earliest releases saw him grouped with the Basic Channel/Chain Reaction minimal techno artists, and a stripped-down ambient dub aesthetic is found throughout his over 2 decades of work - but shimmering, shuddering digital cut-ups and granular processing have been central to what he's done for most of that time too. Later this year there'll be an album as Ripatti for Planet µ, a continuation of a vinyl & digital project from 2013-14 with frenetic dancefloor beats and pop references; the two albums released last year & now on Cosmo Rhythmatic, while referencing dance music, are monolithic forces of nature. For Rakka, Ripatti drew from the raw power of the Finnish wilderness, and on Rakka II he draws again from this power but channels it into something a little more structured towards dance music. Phenomenal, intense stuff.

Microcorps - JFET [ALTER/Bandcamp]
Microcorps - XEM w/ Gazelle Twin [ALTER/Bandcamp]
Frenetic, glitchy dance music also makes up the sounds on the latest album from English musician Alexander Tucker, who we first encountered making yearning psychedelic folk and rock under his own name, and psych-rock-noise with Daniel O'Sullivan as Grumbling Fur. That duo, and other projects including more recent solo Tucker have become increasingly electronic, but it makes sense that this new album, released by Luke Younger's ALTER label this week, receives a new name - Microcorps - as it is quite a left turn all the same. At times Tucker's voice appears, thoroughly splintered, and his processed cello (once you know it's there) scythes through many of the tracks, but by and large it's the jackhammering beats and electronic treatments that define this music. There are some high-profile collaborators here, including the great Simon Fisher Turner on one track, and the distorted voice of Gazelle Twin joins Tucker on one highlight. If you didn't know Tucker's previous work with guitars, strings, and songforms, you'd never know he wasn't a "digital native".

Eomac - Falling Through The Cracks [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Eomac - Resist All Dogma [Eotrax]
Eomac - Prophetess [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
After living in Berlin for some years, Dublin's Eomac, aka Ian McDonnell of club deconstructionist duo Lakker, repaired to rural Ireland to make his new album Cracks for Planet µ. In these lockdown times, he was freed from the need to consider the dancefloor - although a lot of this is thoroughly danceable all the same. And the rural setting hasn't quite removed the angst and darkness - the cathartic screaming found on tracks from his 2018 album Reconnect appear here too, but so do beautiful choral vocals. The title "Cracks" is a reference to Leonard Cohen's "Anthem", where he suggests that "There is a crack in everything - that's how the light gets in". So this is an album of hope, and a very enjoyable one too.

Andy Stott - Answers [Modern Love]
Andy Stott - Dont know how [Modern Love]
Also released this week is another of Andy Stott's occasional albums, but this one sees him reuiniting with singer Alison Skidmore, who appeared on his great Luxury Problems album and the EPs that preceded it 10 years ago. For what it's worth, Stott is continuing with his 2019 album's very lo-fi aesthetic, so the beats on these tracks have that hissing, moist sound of low-bitrate mp3s. It's odd, but there's certainly some moving music on here which I'll be giving some more listens in the next few weeks.

Kentaro Hayashi - Peculiar [Opal Tapes]
Kentaro Hayashi - Arrowhead [Opal Tapes]
Osaka-based mastering engineer and electronic musician Kentaro Hayashi released his debut album Peculiar initially on CD last year through the Japanese label Remodel. It's now been given an expanded release and vinyl edition through UK label Opal Tapes - we heard one of the new tracks tonight. His work with Merzbow is evident across many of these tracks, but the noise element is more in service of beats and other more familiar structures. Hayashi covers a lot of ground, from minimal techno to various UK bass & club styles, including some hints and drum'n'bass on new track "Arrowhead". Any lover of experimental electronic music, IDM or the far end of the dancefloor should get a lot out of this album.

Armed With Bow - Heavy Handed [MFZ Records]
Armed With Bow - I-WILL-NOT-GIV [MFZ Records]
London cellist Will Langstone did not expect the debut album from his Armed With Bow to sound quite like this. As many of us found, the weight of extended lockdown made him emotionally alienated from his usual art, and it was only through eventually getting deep into his electronic music interests that he found his way back to music-making. There's a bit of processed cello in here, but mostly it's cheeky and clattering experimental beats, and very well done.

Alexandra Spence - Bell, Fern [Room40/Bandcamp]
The second album from Sydney sound-artist Alexandra Spence on Room40 is as captivating as her last. She deals with very personal sound recordings, including field recordings and also everyday objects brought to sonic life through attention to detail and a deep understand of musical communication. The way these sounds blend with electronic tones and singing over its 15 minutes is like a magical spell. A Necessary Softness is not to be missed.

Listen again — ~206MB

Sunday, 11th of April, 2021

Playlist 11.04.21 (10:44 pm)

Electric folk in a regional French language, mysterious microtonal contemporary classical, covers of 4AD classics, electronic post-grindcore and more - that's Utility Fog tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN to a world of sound... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here!

Sourdure - La Rupture [Les Disques du Festival Permanent/Pagans/Murailles Music]
Sourdure - L'Escribòta [Les Disques du Festival Permanent/Pagans]
Sourdure - Na Festa [Les Disques du Festival Permanent/Pagans/Murailles Music]
Ernest Bergez, of experimental electronic duo Kaumwald and various bands in various genres, continues his Sourdure project with his new album De Mòrt Viva, which modernises arcane pagan themes through the Auvergnat dialect of the regional French language Occitan - which is closer to Catalan than French, and was the traditional language of many troubadors in ages past. The music features weird & wonderful instruments like the hurdy gurdy, various ancient trumpets, and the daf, a Persian frame drum. As much as it draws on the folk music of central France, there are Arabic melodies flowing through these songs, and electronic pulses and tones. We can see Bergez was already on this path with his 2018 album L'Espròva (and indeed earlier). A singular music, worthy of your time.

anrimeal - I Am Not [anrimeal Bandcamp]
anrimeal - Vertical [anrimeal Bandcamp]
Last week we heard a lovely new song from Ana Rita de Melo Alves's anrimeal - captivating freak-folk on the Object 10 compilation from Objects Forever. So I sought out more music from Alves, and her album Could Divine is equally great - as you can hear on these samplings, there's acoustic folk, with guiar, violin, vocals and piano wrapped up in field recordings and electronic cut-ups, unimpressed and unimpeded by genre constraints. I'm so glad to have discovered her.

Leider - Human Error [Beacon Sound]
Leider - Human Error (Tegh Version) [Beacon Sound]
Broadly describable as "songs" project of Berlin-based Malaysian composer Rishin Singh, Leider features Singh himself on trombone alongside viola, cello and flute, with the other musicians doubling on voice or sparse percussion. The songs thus far revealed from their debut album A Fog Like Liars Loving are haunting works with close harmonies and at times piercing microtonal tuning. If that wasn't enough (and it is - they're stunning songs), the pre-order from Portland's Beacon Sound comes with a set of remixes, including one from Persian sound-artist Tegh.

Sasha Scott - Shapeshifer [Nonclassical/Bandcamp]
From the latest Outside the Lines compilation from UK label/org Nonclassical, violinist/composer Sasha Scott brings us a work of splintered piano, distorted drones and frenetic beats. A perfect example of how classical/non-classical hardly means anything anymore, particularly to those of us trained in the classical tradition...

Sweeney - Kid [sound in silence]
Sweeney - Skin [sound in silence]
Adelaide's Jason Sweeney's career has encompassed many musical genres - from various indie bands to the IDM duo Pretty Boy Crossover and the ambient piano styles of Panoptique Electrical. His emotive voice has appeared as often as it's stood aside, and for the latest surname-only work from Sweeney, Misery Peaks, doom-laden piano and vocals echo in at times heavy electronics and beats - a surprising choice for the Greek label sound in silence, but I'm grateful they've brought these songs to our ears. It's often beautiful and challenging work, recalling at times the late Scott Walker, and is my favourite recent work from Sweeney.

Balmorhea - Night Falls In Your Left [Deutsche Grammophon]
Balmorhea - Vent Pontian [Deutsche Grammophon]
Balmorhea - The Myth [Deutsche Grammophon]
Rob Lowe and Michael A. Muller's Balmorhea have made the kind of postrock-meets-folk-meets-classical that sits perfectly with this show for well over a decade. It's a rather nice surprise to find them on Deutsche Grammophon for their latest album, The Wind - the label is finding its own way to stretch into that "neo-/post-classical" world that seems strangely lucrative now, especially in Europe. It's also nice to see that Balmorhea's sound is not particularly changed for appearing on this label, albeit having already arrived at a quieter approach than their earliest releases. There are electronic distortions at times, some field recordings, and also soft piano along with acoustic guitar textures.

Efterklang - Postal [4AD]
Bradford Cox - Mountain Battles [4AD]
Although it's not out on CD & LP until July, 4AD's 40th birthday compilation Bills & Aches & Blues has now appeared digitally via a set of EPs. It includes myriad contemporary 4AD artists covering music from the legendary label's 4 decades, with The Breeders strangely featuring quite heavily (they're awesome of course!) including tonight's extraordinary avant-garde cover by Deerhunter's Bradford Cox. There are many, many highlights - don't be cynical about this, just check it all out, honest! But I was so, so delighted and surprised to hear the glorious "Postal" by the beloved Piano Magic, reworked in style by Efterklang.

Genghis Tron - Great Mother [Relapse/Bandcamp]
Genghis Tron - Warm Woods [Crucial Blast/Bandcamp]
Genghis Tron - I Won't Come Back Alive (Ulver Remix) [Relapse]
Genghis Tron - Colony Collapse (Justin K Broadrick Remix) [Temporary Residence]
Genghis Tron - Single Black Point [Relapse/Bandcamp]
It was quite a surprise to hear late last year that electronic/grindcore/post-metal band Genghis Tron were releasing a new album after over a decade's silence. Singer Mookie Singerman is no longer with them, and that's not the only big difference - their earlier incarnation shunned live drums for glitched-up IDM-style drum programming, but for this album they're joined by powerhouse drummer Nick Yacyshyn of SUMAC (among others). Tony Wolski's singing is clean in comparison to the various guises of Singerman, and original members Michael Sochynsky and Hamilton Jordan have created sweeping synth & guitar songs which are equal parts postrock, post-metal and kosmische. It's epic and great - but I wanted to remind us of the crunchy IDM-meets-metal of their earlier days, and of the phenomenal five remix 12"s on five different labels released after their Board Up The House album in 2008, featuring IDM, indietronic and metal artists from the likes of Anticon, Temporary Residence and more - here represented by the orchestral & electronic sounds of shapeshifting tricksters Ulver, and the ever-versatile industrial metal pioneer Justin K Broadrick.

Dolphins of Venice - Mars Roaster [DataDoor/Bandcamp]
Here's the second EP from the duo of Adelaide's Tim Koch & US IDM/ambient producer Adrien75. Dolphins of Venice are enamoured of extreme Unicode, and their music is equally outlandish - seemingly blissful strummy rock melted & fried with electronics, garnished with crunchy beats. An album is on its way.

Erik Griswold - Girraween - Spring 3 [Neuma Records/Bandcamp]
We finish with a beautiful piece from the Brisbane-based American composer Erik Griswold, who we often hear performing his own rhythmic and hypnotic works on piano. Here, three of the Four Places in Queensland are performed by other pianists. "Spring" and "Rain" feature in two of the locations; the piano is called upon to evoke natural phenomena in each place, and plays delicately, and occasionally forcefully. At times it sounds like the nimble prepared piano works on Griswold's Room40 albums, but it's natural piano for natural settings. Beautiful stuff.

Listen again — ~208MB

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