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experimental electronica
electric string quartet

Utility Fog

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

Sunday, 17th of October, 2021

Playlist 17.10.21 (11:36 pm)

Quite a bit of sound-art intersecting with other genres tonight - from gothic pop to postrock to Australian Indigenous songlines to various types of electronica and dance music.

LISTEN AGAIN so you don't miss a thing! Podcast here, stream on demand @ FBi.

Starlight Assembly - Looking for Clues [Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
This Mortal Coil - Strength Of Strings feat. Dominic Appleton [4AD]
Open To The Sea (Enrico Coniglio & Matteo Uggeri) - Facing The Waves (vocals by Dominic Appleton)
Open To The Sea - A Wheathered Vibe [Facture]
Starlight Assembly - Look at What We've Wasted [Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
I've been waiting to feature this first act for a while - it's a stunner. And since it's out this coming Friday, I finally can. Starlight Assembly is the duo of Italian musician Matteo Uggeri with British singer Dominic Appleton. Appleton, who fronted the band Breathless for many years but is perhaps best known as the lead singer on a number of songs from the 4AD supergroup This Mortal Coil, has worked with Uggeri once before, on a track by his duo Open To The Sea with Venetian sound recordist & musician Enrico Coniglio. That duo's latest album has just come out this weekend, on Fluid Audio/Facture. Uggeri's work spans indie rock, postrock, folk and electronica, and Open to the Sea is a project that collages field recordings with heaps of instrumental and vocal contributions from the members and collaborators worldwide. Although there's a lot of quiet contemplation on the new album, Uggeri ensures there are also rhythmic passages, and on Starlight Assembly's album the beats are often a key part of the arrangements. Uggeri & Appleton alchemically combine on these tracks, creating music somewhere between Hood, David Sylvian, Dntel and of course Talk Talk. Cannot recommend highly enough.

Stephen Vitiello with Brendan Canty - Piano 1 [PLAYNEUTRAL/Bandcamp]
Quite a stunner here too, in which beloved, prolific sound-artist Stephen Vitiello connects with his punk roots by teaming up with one of the drumming greats of the last few decades, Brendan Canty of Fugazi. Of course, this ain't hardcore punk, but Canty's nimble, tight beats skitter perfectly under the glitchy guitar loops, synth and piano of Vitiello. Not to be missed.

l'ocelle mare - Téléphone, Guitare, Interrupteurs, Membrane... [Shelter Press/Murailles Music/Bandcamp]
l'ocelle mare - Temps en terre 2 [Murailles Music/Kythibong/Bandcamp]
l'ocelle mare - Piano, Banjo, Orgue, Métronome... [Shelter Press/Murailles Music/Bandcamp]
Thomas Bonvalet has some decades of experience playing guitar in indie rock bands, and as a multi-instrumentalist playing with many French artists, but his solo project l'ocelle mare is quite a different approach to making music - he claims, “I don’t write music, it’s an assemblage of gestural memories”. Certainly Bonvalet uses the "real" instruments - guitar, piano, banjo, organ, drum skins etc - in much the same way as the telephone, amps, metronomes and so on. It's all sound, and although it's frequently rhythmical, it's not often arranged into melodies or harmonic movements. Extended techniques on the guitar & banjo, and this "organised sound" approach, make for mostly acoustic or out-of-the-box music that sounds sequenced or cut up - or at least, I think so. In any case, it fits in that highly-sought-after category of music I don't entirely understand, and therefore listen to repeatedly. A welcome discovery!

Mabe Fratti & Concepción Huerta - Estática [SA Recordings/Unheard of Hope]
Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti has gotten a lot of worthy attention in the last couple of years as her music has made it outside of Mexico, where she's based now, courtesy of London's Tin Angel Records. Recently Umor Rex released her collaboration with Gudrun Gut; now we have a duo release with Mexican experimental musician Concepción Huerta, released by SA Recordings on 12" and licenced to Tin Angel's Unheard of Hope sublabel. The EP comes with a sample library from the artists as well, for those interested in the sounds of processed cello and electronics. As usual, as she builds up layers of cello lines and effects with Huerta, Fratti overlays a beautifully emotive vocal melody on top. Looking forward to the rest of this EP.

Au Revoir Hands - Between Tides [Au Revoir Hands Bandcamp]
The debut album from Melbourne electronic musician Anthony Lyons and now-Blue Mountains-based cellist Emily Williams as Au Revoir Hands is coming out in November on vinyl, and we now have a third single, the lovely "Between Tides", in which sequenced synth melodies pump along, contrasted with two flowing, sliding cello melodies, with a suspenseful rise and a gentle resolution.

Jim Nopédie - Wounded Missingno [Jim Nopédie Bandcamp]
Jim Nopédie - Drowned Town (Wet-Dry World) [Jim Nopédie Bandcamp]
Despite the punning name, James Gales' Jim Nopédie project doesn't really have any impressionist piano gestures - but the computer game referencing electronics here do have a strangely otherworldly feel to them. Indeed, they soundtrack the exploration of imaginary worlds, and interrogate the idea of old video games as repositories of nostalgia. It wouldn't be what it is without Gales' classical piano training, but it's extremely online music, I think, and indeed it's mastered by Fire-Toolz' Angel Marcloid and sports a Fire-Toolz remix as well.

Australian Art Orchestra | Daniel Wilfred | Sunny Kim - Star Song [Australian Art Orchestra Bandcamp]
Australian Art Orchestra | David Wilfred | Aviva Endean - Gadayka/Grenadilla [Australian Art Orchestra Bandcamp]
Peter Knight & Australian Art Orchestra - Diomira (excerpt) [Hospital Hill/Australian Art Orchestra Bandcamp]
New album Hand to Earth comes out of a residency by Australian Art Orchestra members in the remote highlands of Tasmania with Yolŋu songman Daniel Wilfred and his brother, yidaki player David Wilfred. Across these tracks, ancient songlines intersect with the trumpet & electronics of Peter Knight, Daniel Wilfred's voice floats in a sea of Korean artist Sunny Kim's voice & electronics, and David Wilfred's yidaki (a variant of the didgeridoo) merges wonderfully with the clarinets of Aviva Endean. Meanwhile, a few weeks ago the Australian Art Orchestra also released a 12" with Hospital Hill, featuring compositions by Peter Knight. "Diomira" is an extraordinary tribute to one of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, in which voice and chamber jazz orchestra interact with turntables, drumkit via reel-to-reel tape machine, and live laptop processing. Gradually attenuating from its minimalist but dense, rhythmic beginning, it slides slowly into sparseness (it's far longer than I could fit tonight). More compulsory listening, sorry folks, you've got homework!

Cassius Select - Mess Mutual [Bruk (I presume)]
I was sent this promo by ex-pat Sydneysider Cassius Select and it's meant to be out now, on Bruk, but I can't see any sign of that online, so enjoy this track anyway! His usual fat bassy uk garagey techno, with chopped vocal interjections. An excellent EP, Shake Like Me is out... imminently, I guess?

Church Andrews & Matt Davies - Carbon [Health Bandcamp]
A second EP from the duo of Church Andrews (aka Kirk Barley) on modular synths and Matt Davies on drums again finds Davies' percussion triggering and modulating the electronics, creating complex, off-kilter rhythms which lurch towards and around jazz, IDM and contemporary classical.

Grey Code - Opal [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
Speaking of classical, young drum'n'bass producer Grey Code likes to mix up all sorts of influences with his drum'n'bass productions, and while his new single "Opal" for Metalheadz is meant to be inspired by his love of guitar music, it's quite unusual in a number of ways. Until the beats drop, it's effectively in 12/8 time (triplets), and throughout there's more harmonic movement (beautifully done) than your usual club tracks. There's a fair bit of this kind of invention through Grey Code's catalogue so far, but this is super impressive and I'm hoping there's more of this to come!

Luo - Auris Animi [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
Some fun live beats and proggy synths from a Brighton/Bristol duo on Sydney's Art As Catharsis here. Luo is Brighton's Barney Sage on drums and various synths, and Bristol's Josh Trinnaman on bass, guitar, synths and electronic beats. They take turns writing, but contribute to each other's tracks. At times it's like live Squarepusher, but there are some hints and proggy heaviness at times as well. Strangely suited to Art As Catharsis, whether the metal & postrock stuff or the wider net they cast.

Aho Ssan - Simulacrum I - FRKTL Remix [Subtext/Bandcamp]
Aho Ssan - Outro (ft. The Mensah Imaginary Band) [Subtext/Bandcamp]
Aho Ssan - Simulacrum III - Exploited Body Remix [Subtext/Bandcamp]
Paris-based Désiré Niamké is Aho Ssan. His Simulacrum album was a highlight on Subtext last year, using granular synthesis in Max/MSP to imagine what the Ghanaian jazz of his grandfather Mensah Antony may have sounded like - although it's at best a filtered, smudged simulacrum of afrofuturist jazz. Now, with the release of that album on 12", comes an accompanying remix album, with many excellent artist contributing, including Berlin's Ziúr, Subtext's own Roly Porter and Nairobi's KMRU. Tonight we heard from FRKTL, aka Riga-based Egyptian musician Sarah Badr, who inserts Middle Eastern percussion in amongst Niamké's dream players, while Finland's Exploited Body builds on the bass surges and distortions of the original, with crystalline piano notes hanging over or under it all.

Mara - Artefacts [Music Company/Mara Bandcamp]
Mara - Construction [Music Company/Mara Bandcamp]
Sydney's Mara Schwerdtfeger brings her patient, minimalist sounds to Melbourne's Music Company for her latest album, The Formation of a Cloud. Named for a short film by Jenn Tran, the music combines synth lines and some acoustic instruments & field recordings. It's quiet and abstract, but deceptively detailed music for quiet contemplation.

Listen again — ~204MB

Sunday, 10th of October, 2021

Playlist 10.10.21 (10:16 pm)

Music of upheaval, music of glitches and breaks...

Listen again and set your head a'noddin'. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Jerusalem In My Heart - Qalaq 7 (w/ Tim Hecker) [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Jerusalem In My Heart - Qalaq 9 (w/ Mayss, Mazen Kerbaj, Sharif Sehnaoui & Raed Yassin) [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Jerusalem In My Heart - Al Affaq, Lau Mat, Lau Lau Lau Lau Lau Lau (The Hypocrite, If He Dies, If If If If If If) [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Jerusalem In My Heart - Tanto (w/ Lucrecia Dalt) [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Jerusalem In My Heart - Abyad Barraq (w/ Greg Fox) [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Qalaq is the fourth album from Montréal-based Lebanese musician Radwan Ghazi Moumneh as Jerusalem In My Heart. I was stunned by his work from the start - his first was released by Constellation in 2013. Far more grounded in digital processing than most of the Constellation output, Moumneh's music combines Arabic singing and instrumentation with electronics, granular processing and editing, with his impassioned, beautiful vocals often fed through harmonisers and auto-tune and then chopped into tiny pieces. Qalaq sees him ruminating on the sense of "deep worry" that the world has had to offer lately, particularly with the disastrous management of Lebanon by their secular government (even before the horrors of the Beirut explosion a year ago), and the continued bombing and other atrocities in Gaza. The album features different guests on every track, drawn together by Moumneh's distinctive production - elsewhere we have Moor Mother ruminating on deep worry, and many musicians from the Montréal postrock scene and from the Middle East & North Africa appear. Tonight we heard tracks with Tim Hecker's soundscapes, the voice & modular synthesis of Lucrecia Dalt, and Greg Fox's incendiary drumming, while the shattered sounds of the last track include contributions of some sort from Mayss and Lebanon's "A" Trio (also heard last week with Maurice Louca) of Mazen Kerbaj, Sharif Sehnaoui & Raed Yassin.

Sepehr - Survivalism [Shaytoon/Bandcamp]
Sepehr - Plane of Fear [Shaytoon/Bandcamp]
Shaytoon is a new label run by New York native of Persian heritage, Sepehr Alimagham. His new mini-album Survivalism sees him looking back at '90s drum'n'bass & jungle, with some breakbeat & techno mixed in, and hints at his Middle Eastern background. I've really enjoyed these dark, fierce tracks.

DJ Sports & Tim Reaper - Wormhole [Future Retro]
Tim Reaper continues his Meeting of the Minds series on his Future Retro label with volumes 7 & 8, each featuring 4 collaborations. Here Reaper and Danish producer Milan Zaks aka DJ Sports do their best to mash up breaks as comprehensively as possible, whooshing cymbals forward & backwards and stopping and starting in fine junglist fashion.

Dev/Null - Time 2 Rhyme [Evar Records]
Dev/Null - Broken Bell [Evar Records]
Pete Dev/Null comes from way back in the early '00s breakcore scene, and has continued to make jungle-influenced tunes. Recently he found himself in possession of a Pocket Operator, a tiny portable sequencer, and that inspired him to go back to chopping breaks in the style of the jungle originalists from the early '90s, who loaded breaks into primitive samplers and programmed them via MIDI sequencing - this is where a lot of the classic choppage came from. Microjunglizm, out soon from Evar Records, harkens back to the days of UK hardcore & jungle techno, and on "Time 2 Rhyme" Dev/Null swipes a classic digidub bassline originally created by Bobby Digital as the riddim for Shabba Ranks' Peanie Peanie (and used extensively in jungle sets). Meanwhile "Broken Bell" has intense sub-bass pressure and slamming breaks.

SCALPING - Deadlock (AQXDM Remix) [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
SCALPING - Empty Cascade (Azu Tiwaline Remix) [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Bristolian band SCALPING combine postpunk riffage and techno in a way that reminds me of an instrumental Pop Will Eat Itself, although the appearance of Mogwai on this remix EP should hint at where they're coming from too. Each of the remixes on Flood Remixed takes the tracks in a different direction. AQXDM, the jungle-meets-industrial techno project of Aquarian and Deapmash, is a drum'n'bass rave with heavy riffs, while the wonderful Tunisian producer Azu Tiwaline weaves percussion and electronics that sound more like an original of hers than a remix.

Slikback x Objekt - Apex [Slikback Bandcamp]
Slikback x KMRU - Dissociation [Slikback Bandcamp]
Another album of collaborations for tonight, this one from Nairobi producer Slikback, one of the big recent names to come out of the electronic renaissance across the African continent. One of the surprises slipped in there is his team-up with Berlin's Objekt, with skittery programming around Slikback's typical big bass moves. And also pushing things in another direction is fellow Kenyan KMRU, with whom Slikback produces a warm surging ambient work with some percussive hints near the end.

Good Moon Deer - WWYWT [Unfiled]
Good Moon Deer - Audible Gasp [Unfiled]
A couple of years back I discovered Icelandic producer Good Moon Deer (punning on his name Guðmundur Úlfarsson) via a track on a Wire Magazine compilation. Two and a half years later the track finally appears on the album Point, released on Unfiled, the label he runs with fellow Icelandic producer Allenheimer. It's a mix of bass techno and IDM, very nice head-noddy stuff, and I'm glad I was following the label so I got notified of this release!

Beau Ambien - Granite [Club Moss]
Sydney's Harrison Rae is founder of the excellent Club Moss tape & digital label, and has recently been making tunes as Beau Ambien. There's some nice jungle/IDM/breaks stuff on his Bandcamp under the anagrammatical Henri O. R. Asar, but his two releases for Club Moss as Beau Ambien are alternate soundtracks to the apparently famous video games Banjo Kazooie and now Banjo Tooie, spanning dubby techno and bass sounds. Rad.

Consulate - The Fear [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
New release from Andy Garvey's Pure Space, based here in Eora/Sydney. Consulate is a Naarm/Melbourne based artist whose EP here is a mix of electronic styles, including dubby techno and jungle-influenced breaks, but this track is a half-time dubby, almost dubstep piece. A great, varied EP.

the little hand of the faithful - The bear wrote it [the little hand of the faithful Bandcamp]
the little hand of the faithful - Smoke every day (Don't) [the little hand of the faithful Bandcamp]
Mitch Jones of Scattered Order apparently never stops making tunes. And although SO started over 4 decades ago, he's a deft hand at electronic beats and samples, and puts the solo stuff out under the alias of a small stuffed bear named the little hand of the faithful. His latest collection is The world needs referees, on which we find many pleasant head-nodding beats at different tempos, with some live bass and guitar at times. There's a track that's a bit like drum'n'bass rock'n'roll (reminding me a bit of what Amon Tobin's doing as Only Child Tyrant) and something hinting perhaps at dubstep. Very very nice as always.

Sunken Foal - Greyscale Dreamcoat [Countersunk Bandcamp]
Sunken Foal - Chicken Switch [Countersunk Bandcamp]
Dunk Murphy first introduced his solo act Sunken Foal with a couple of magnificent releases on Planet µ back in 2008, following a legendary album from his duo Ambulance on the same label. For a long time now his music has appeared on his own Countersunk label on Bandcamp. It definitely comes out of IDM, which is often a very melodic form of head-nodding, cut-up beats and such, but Murphy is an excellent multi-instrumentalist, including banjo, acoustic guitar and other instruments - the new album Two Moon Junction brings back piano, which appeared beautifully on those original Planet µ releases - and he's also extremely good at strange & unexpected harmonic turns which further elevate the music from well-produced, richly-orchestrated IDM & folktronica into something often very special indeed. It feels like Two Moon Junction is one of his best releases since the first album and the three volumes of Friday Syndrome. A pretty good entrypoint if you want one.

memotone - Rain Hut [memotone Bandcamp]
memotone - Blackcap Crossing [memotone Bandcamp]
It only took Will Yates a bit over a decade to decide to give memotone its own self-titled LP, but now is the time, apparently. Initial EPs were situated very much in the post-dubstep bass techno vein, but Yates is a talented multi-instrumentalist, whether on live drums, keys, MPC, or myriad other instruments, and he's at home making contemplative sound work, jazzy breaks, Ye Olde English Folke pastiches or four-on-the-floor techno bangers. This album has a bit of the jazzy beat-edits, and a fair chunk of Jon Hassell-style fourth world ambient, including live-harmonised clarinet. It's his excellent musicianship which makes it so great, as always. A talented, multi-faceted artist.

Listen again — ~207MB

Sunday, 3rd of October, 2021

Playlist 03.10.21 (11:51 pm)

Doom, folk rock, experimental electronics and even less categorizable stuff.

LISTEN AGAIN and expand your ear horizons. Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here.

Divide and Dissolve - Mental Gymnastics (Moor Mother Remix) [Invada/Bandcamp]
Divide and Dissolve - Far From Ideal (Chelsea Wolfe Remix) [Invada/Bandcamp]
A second remix from indigenous doom duo Divide and Dissolve came out this week. Moor Mother adds her apocalyptic spoken word over the emotive saxophone & guitars of Takiaya Reed (Black & Tsalagi [Cherokee]) and drums of Sylvie Nehill (Māori) - welcome to the dangerzone! A couple of months back I picked up Chelsea Wolfe's remix but for some reason then forgot about it, which is a shame because it's brilliant - Reed & Nehill's original is chopped up & repurposed as backing for Wolfe's singing. Both tracks are amazingly effective works for the remixers while remaining true to the originals as well.

the body and Big|Brave - oh sinner [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
the body and Big|Brave - once i had a sweetheart [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
It's not exactly a surprise to find the body collaborating with Big|Brave. the body are inveterate collaborators, often reining in the harsher parts of their doom/black metal sound (but not always), and the emotional postrock-meets-doom of Big|Brave makes a lot of sense as a foil for their electronics-infused heavy beauty/ugliness. Except... that's not what this is at all. The result of this collaboration, leaving none but small birds, finds the two bands teaming up to create an album of folk & rootsy country. Big|Brave's Robin Wattie compiled lyrics from Appalachian, Canadian, and English hymns and traditional songs, with particular focus on the marginalised & victimised in those stories. The two groups then created gnarly, repetitive folk-rock pieces, no less heavy than the bands' previous work despite featuring violin, piano and acoustic guitars. A hell of an album really.

Sandy Hsu - Endless Summer [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Here's the first track tonight from Provenance Collective's big drop of releases from this Friday. A few singles and a few albums, and this one's a bit of a revelation. Recently seen collaborating with Aphir, Naarm's Sandy Hsu here gives us a beautiful song that starts with guitar, adds quiet electronic undertones, but also gorgeous violin arrangements from Emma Kelly aka Happy Axe. It's a song about the meaning of life, and really does evoke a lazy endless summer day.

Maurice Louca - Yara (Fire Flies) [Northern Spy/Sub Rosa/Bandcamp]
Maurice Louca - El-Gullashah (Foul Tongue) [Northern Spy/Sub Rosa/Bandcamp]
I've been following Egyptian musician Maurice Louca for some years now, enjoying his earlier electronic productions and also his involvement in various areas of psychedelic Arabic rock and free jazz. His last few albums have leaned on the jazz & experimental side, and this second album on Northern Spy (US) and Sub Rosa (Europe), called Saet El Hazz (The Luck Hour), carries on from where 2019's Elephantine left off, with brilliant musicians from Egypt, Lebanon and Berlin, along with contributions from Turkey (where he obtained a custom-made guitar) and Indonesia (lending Gamelan instrumentation to the mix). The album evokes "the luck hour" or saet hazz, a euphemistic Egyptian expression for a night of debauchery. Somehow the elements of free improv, music from across the MENA region and beyond combine into something thrilling and not nearly as "difficult" as you might guess. Louca and his fellow musicians are experts at compelling, enjoyable musical storytelling.

Shoeb Ahmad - sliding into rivers [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Shoeb Ahmad - in the rite [Provenance/Bandcamp]
It's been a while coming, but the second half of Shoeb Ahmad's album duology that started with last year's A Body Full of Tears has finally arrived. Facade is perhaps a little less heavy on dark electronic textures, but it's still got an industrial edge to its throbs and crashes, and it's vintage Sia, with its beds of processed guitars and her characteristic vocal melodies. There's a vinyl edition and also a limited perfume set available at Bandcamp, where you can also grab a vinyl bundle of the two albums together.

Crook Peak - Leafblower [Floating Limb Bandcamp]
Crook Peak - Lines [Floating Limb Bandcamp]
Back in 2008 I first discovered the work of Oli Barrett with the first album from his Bleeding Heart Narrative project - a blending of noise, postrock, ambient and psychedelic tendencies, with his distorted cello among the sounds. It was my album of the year. I've since followed BHN through its existence as a full band, his follow-up project Petrels, occasional solo cello freak-out EPs and more. But it's great to hear this new project, Crook Peak, on which Barrett returns to songwriting, still within his uncategorizable musical frameworks. There's synthpop and new romantic influences here but also krautrock and psych-noise I daresay, making for some unusual and catchy songs.

Arrom - Tore It Apart [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Arrom - Faces in the Clouds [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Our third Provenance release of the night is the new album from classically-trained vocalist and electronic producer Melissa Vallence aka Arrom. Continuing Vallence's moves into techno, there are 4/4 beats bustling under these songs at times, and not a lot of traditional song structures - but still plenty of Vallence's voice, layered and often highly processed but also often clean. As well as the more experimental & electronic works like those I played tonight, this tribute to the moon goddess Selene features some beautiful multi-tracked vocal works calling back to Vallence's choral experience.

Sonae - Summer [laaps/Bandcamp]
Sonae - Soleil Noir [laaps/Bandcamp]
Sonia Güttler's last Sonae album, I Started Wearing Black, came out on Monika-Enterprise in 2018, although a collection of her remixes came out the following year on Bit-Phalanx. Her previous work established her as a talented producer of crunchy techno beats who works also with acoustic sound sources and field recordings. On Summer, and an accompanying video installation created with Jennifer Trees, Güttler asks us to confront the stifling reality of global warming as it exists now and the future we are being bequeathed. As such, the sounds on this album are given deeper meaning - but purely in audio terms, this is clearly her best work yet, with warm, crackling sound-painting, strings, and some of those club-adjacent 4/4 beats. Highly recommended.

xphresh - xephon [3XL]
New on Berlin-based 3XL is an EP from xphresh, aka Brooklyn's Ben Bondy and Berlin-resident Special Guest DJ (aka Shy/uon), haunting the airwaves between jungle and heavy breakbeat dub through crackly time-travel radio. It's super-vapourwavey but also very much redolent of '90s dub & breakbeat rave biz.

Martyna Basta - Awakening [Warm Winters Ltd./Bandcamp]
Martyna Basta - Unknown Reel Tape [Warm Winters Ltd./Bandcamp]
Polish artist Martyna Basta's debut release on Warm Winters Ltd. is the sumptuous Making Eye Contact With Solitude, based around domestic field recordings, her own voice, and judicious use of zither, harpsichord and violin, which can at times crescendo into rich tapestries of sound. It's engrossing and gorgeous.

Ayala - (Generative for Viewfinder, 9 55 pm render) [Ayala Bandcamp]
Sydney's Donny Janks is Ayala, under which name he's just released an EP of generative works called 08-09-21. Although there are generative elements (so each render released here is just one version of the output of each musical contraption), there's clearly considered musical thought that goes into each of these works, and the renderings work very well as final compositions. The one we heard tonight was created to accompany a sculpture by Joel Adler called "Viewfinder", but even here - as well as on the other two works - the ambient textures are joined at times by hints of beats.

exael - silent kiss [exael Bandcamp]
Berlin-based Naemi aka exael continues to release tracks & EPs when they feel like it on their Bandcamp alongside label releases. This Bandcamp Friday's exclusive was the lovely "silent kiss", which marries expressive piano and electronics in their usual vaporwavey fashion.

Sebastian Field - Iris [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Sebastian Field - Measurement Doesn't Change the Distance - Arcs [Provenance/Bandcamp]
On his latest album Sandcandles - our last Provenance release for tonight - Canberra's Sebastian Field unearths and repurposes music recorded 15-20 years ago, which he has self-consciously hidden away from himself, along with recordings from fellow travellers over the last few years. Although it moves Field's work (for now) away from explicit songwriting, it's a welcome change, resulting in hazy loops of grainy guitar and electronics, worldless vocals and occasional buried beats. If you like Benoît Pioulard, don't sleep on this.

Tony Dupé - I worked hard [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Tony Dupé - I lay down [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
I'm so glad that my longtime friend & musical colleague Tony Dupé has found a home with Lost Tribe Sound. It seems like a perfect fit for his music, rooted in indie and folk, with hints of postrock, electronic construction that doesn't usually sound electronic, and a love of neo-classical arrangements (after some years of my playing on his productions, Tony went off and learned the cello for himself). Last year Lost Tribe Sound released the long-awaited album by Tony and his brilliant partner Claire Deak, but now it's time for an exquisite solo album, no longer under the Saddleback sobriquet (and Deak & Dupé are no longer on the NSW coast near Mount Saddleback, but rather based down in Melbourne). Margaret Hammett Lived is a musical tribute to his grandmother's sister, who as Tony describes it was imprisoned for her entire adult life in the Abbotsford Convent. She was taken there after falling pregnant twice to a farmer as a teenager; her first baby was taken from her, and the second died after birth - she named both Eileen. Whether these were consensual is not clear, but the grieving Margaret was branded a "bad girl" and taken to the convent, where she spent more than six decades until she died. This tragic, cruel story inspired Tony to write a suite of absolutely stunning beauty, with strings, organ, bells and voices (and yes, some subtle electronic touches). It's gorgeously performed, poised music worthy of its subject matter. Please spend half an hour listening to this album.

Listen again — ~206MB

Monday, 27th of September, 2021

Playlist 26.09.21 (12:44 am)

A mostly very electronic show tonight, even when encountering indie rock bands and classical Chinese instrumentalists...

LISTEN AGAIN in the dancefloors of your mind... Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Buffalo_Daughter - Global Warming Kills Us All [Buffalo Daughter Bandcamp]
Buffalo_Daughter - Jazz feat. Ricardo Dias Gomes [Buffalo Daughter Bandcamp]
SuGar Yoshinaga, Yumiko Ohno and MoOoG Yamamoto, sometimes with another member, sometimes a live drummer, have been Buffalo Daughter since the early '90s. They had an association with the Beastie Boys for a while, and were released on their Grand Royal label alongside other indie acts like Luscious Jackson, and had some major label releases too, but I haven't heard from them for ages. So it was rather nice when Boris mentioned this new album on their own Bandcamp feed. It has many of the hallmarks of the '90s crossover of Japanese and Chicago postrock & indie, including the lovely Brazilian pop feels of "Jazz", featuring vocals from Caetano Veloso collaborator Ricardo Dias Gomes - and perhaps even more than in the '90s, all this is minced up with electronic production techniques. I don't know what it sounds like without 20 years of context, but this crossover stuff (so beloved of UFog) seems pretty current to me - suitably for an album called We Are The Times.

Mindy Meng Wang - Stirring Flower 搅花 with Daniel Jenatsch [Heavy Machinery Records/Music In Exile/Bandcamp]
Mindy Meng Wang - Activation 异变 with Ma Haiping [Heavy Machinery Records/Music In Exile/Bandcamp]
Following the gorgeous single with Paul Grabowsky a few weeks ago, the full new album from Chinese-Australia guzheng specialist Mindy Meng Wang. Phoenix Rising is co-released by Heavy Machinery Records & Music In Exile and finds Mindy explicitly expanding the millennia-old Chinese zither into many different areas, working with musicians from jazz, contemporary classical, experimental & electronic circles. Apart from Grabowsky and the artists featured tonight, there's classical percussionist Claire Edwardes of Ensemble Offspring, MONA music directory and Violent Femme Brian Ritchie on shakuhachi and Fia Fiell on lush synthesizers. But tonight being mostly about the beats, I've played the skittery drums & processing of Brisbane experimental instrumentalist & sound-artist Daniel Jenatsch, and then the glitchy programming of Chinese techno producer Ma Haiping. It's a pretty stunning album, at the centre of which is Mindy Meng Wang's mastery of the guzheng.

Hiro Kone - Silvercoat the throng (ft. Muqata'a) [Dais Records/Bandcamp]
Hiro Kone - Mundus Patet [Dais Records/Bandcamp]
Silvercoat the throng, the latest album from New York producer Nicky Mao aka Hiro Kone, sees her stretch her wings out from the techno focus of her last few brilliant releases into industrial ambient and sound-painting of various sorts, with various guests including an extraordinary spoken piece from travis of ONO, and the hypnotic beat batterns of DeForrest Brown, Jr aka Speaker Music. Tonight we heard the title track, with glitchy samples and cut-up beats contributed by Palestinian producer Muqata'a (who's been heard a lot on this show) and then "Mundus Patet", which strikes me as the most similar to Mao's earlier releaes.

Jake Blood - Apartment [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
Melbourne Jake Blood has a long relationship with the club, but unfortunately some years ago he was involved in a bicycle accident that turned his life around. He's now found his way back to making beats, getting that organic feel by playing them on an MPC2000XL sampler along with bass guitar and various other tools of the trade. It's a warm, chunky sound with lots going on, but always a dubby bottom end and nice chopped up beats.

Temp-Illusion - Caustic Surface (Rojin Sharafi Rework) [Zabte Sote]
Temp-Illusion - Two Lands (Idlefon Rework) [Zabte Sote]
Tehran musicians Shahin Entezami and Behrang Najafi have been making music as Temp-Illusion for about a decade. After a long time as a live group, they released a brilliant live set on Ata Ebtekar's Zabte Sote in 2019, and followed it up with PEND last year. Both albums feature variations on crunchy, glitchy IDM beats with big bass and synthesized melodies & pads. Now PEND Reworks hands their music to musicians from all round the world to remix into fresh shapes - including Nairobi electronic/ambient musician KMRU, Colombian beatmaker Filmmaker and many others. Of course most are Iranian or from the Persian diaspora; a highlight is the Vienna-based Rojin Sharafi, who combines acoustic sounds with electronic beats on her remix, and fellow Tehranian Idlefon who switches from bassy drones to industrial beats and a sampled preacher.

65daysofstatic - So Long, Linearity! [65daysofstatic Bandcamp]
I don't have to tell you how connected 65daysofstatic are to Utility Fog, do I? Their first EP came out the year I started this show, and its postrock-meets-drill'n'bass aesthetic kept it and them in playlists ever since. I've been thanked on album packages and partially credited with them touring here eventually, and have kept the faith all this time. In 2019-2020 they spent a whole year releasing monthly EPs in A Year of Wreckage, developing modular, generative systems (an extension of their work on the soundtrack to the generative game No Man's Sky) which are now being further morphed for their Wreckage Systems project on Patreon. Not monthly, but periodically EPs appear out of Wreckage Systems, and the latest is Mimik, with a little bit of everything 65, particularly that postrock with drum'n'bass beats thing they do so well.

Christoph de Babalon - Swimmer [AD93/Bandcamp]
The no-longer-Whities label AD93 continues to be completely unpredictable, swinging from up-to-the-minute experimental beats to ambient weirdness and postpunk snarl, and here we have the great Digital Hardcore survivor Christoph de Babalon, still making fierce, dark jungle & breakcore with xeroxed orchestral samples and growling bass. It's never going to be unexpected but it's alway going pack that punch and there's always room for more of it on my shelves!

Delay Grounds - I'd Like to See You Try [Lapsus Records/Bandcamp]
Delay Grounds - Ball_Run [Tropopause Records/Bandcamp]
Bristol artist Patrick Tipler is Delay Grounds, and his new EP Genus from Spain's Lapsus Records is his second for this year, so we took a track from each. Genus combines great sound design with IDM influences and what sound to me like particularly Bristolian beats (I'm thinking especially of Livity Sound, who we're hearing from soon). Earlier this year London's Tropopause Records recognized Tipler's talents and released the amazing Upcycling EP, in which the beats & sounds are (all?) made from discarded objects found in rubbish skips, some of which were also remade into sculptures for the artwork. Again, it's brilliant bass music perfect for the dancefloor, with wicked sound design. An artist to watch!

soltura - Compression [All Centre]
London's All Centre continues to showcase great beats with an EP from soltura. The London-based Irish writer and producer has some scattered releases up her sleeve, but her first for All Centre shows a talent for melodies and bass-led beats. The title track is a great piece of instrumental drill, with drop bass, acid bassline and 808 kicks keeping things interesting in the bottom end.

Simo Cell - FARTS [TEMET Music/Bandcamp]
Simo Cell - YES.DJ [TEMET Music/Bandcamp]
French producer Simo Cell has a longtime love of UK club music and in particular the Bristol sound, and is closely associated with the label featured next. Last year he setup TEMET Music to feature some French talent, and through that label he's just released a mini-album and fanzine called YES.DJ. Following a brilliant EP last year with Egyptian musician & vocalist (and more) Abdullah Miniawy, this is Simo's first solo EP in a few years, full to the brim with beats of different natures, all driven by hefty sub bass, mid-range percussion and chopped vocal snippets. Tempos vary wildly, as do track lengths, and it's irreverant and highly enjoyable, really a must-listen!

Toma Kami - Sixty Frames [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
DJ Plead - Glebe! [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Bruce - Just Getting On With It [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Ten years ago Bristol DJ Peverelist, having found success in the dubstep/grime/uk funky world, founded Livity Sound to showcase some of the best young Bristol producers around. Over time it's attracted like-minded artists from around the world (case in point: last year's amazing EP from Tunisian DJ Azu Tiwaline) and though releases can range from house & techno to dubstep & other syncopated forms, there's definitely something recognizable about the "Livity" sound. So ten years on they've released a double CD (and a two-part vinyl) compilation called Molten Mirrors with most of their artists, and it's rad of course. The aforementioned Simo Cell appears, as does compatriot and Man Band label boss Toma Kami, whose piece juggles Arabic percussion with hyperspeed jungle breaks. Meanwhile Sydney's own Jared Beeler aka DJ Plead (albeit now based in Melbourne) continues melding Lebanese percussion with UK bass styles on "Glebe!" (maybe... he misses Sydney?) And the singularly-named Bruce references his classic Livity Sound track "Just Getting Started" on "Just Getting On With It", again centred on various circular percussion samples and a pumping synth line, with clanging metal and strange steam-driven squalls of sound through the middle. Brilliant work across two albums.

Lee Gamble - Newtown Got Folded [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Lee Gamble - Hyperpassive [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
It's been a surprisingly long wait for Lee Gamble to finish the EP series that has now made up his album Flush Real Pharynx 2019-2021. The first two EPs came out at the start & end of 2019, but then I guess Covid got in the way, and so we've had to wait until now for A Million Pieces of You to complete the work. Gamble, boss of the futuristic electronic label UIQ, is a veteran of the rave scene and has dismantled and deconstructed jungle and rave music since his earliest releases. Over a few albums on Hyperdub he's explored skeletal next-door techno, buried jungle basslines and rave stabs, while eventually beats of all sorts coalesced, particularly on 2017's Mnestic Pressure. The three EPs that make up Flush Real Pharynx 2019-2021 take us through the nightmarish world of late capitalism, with high-sheen motorcar ads and deepfakes, and the music echoes this, highly referential, shiny but slightly out of focus. It's cool stuff. I'm not sure how "Newtown Got Folded" got its name, but it's nice hearing my own suburb namechecked (I fully realise there are other Newtowns) in a sci-fi way (two inner west Sydney suburbs in one night!)

Listen again — ~208MB

Sunday, 19th of September, 2021

Playlist 19.09.21 (10:52 pm)

Back after one week's break with a selection of everything - hip-hop, electronic folk, slowcore, indie, glitch, drum'n'bass, drone, and even post-classical of a sort.

LISTEN AGAIN and better yourself. The FBi website has the stream on demand, podcast is here.

Moor Mother - Mangrove (feat. elucid & Antonia Gabriela) [ANTI-/Bandcamp]
Moor Mother - Obsidian (feat. Pink Siifu) [ANTI-/Bandcamp]
Camae Ayewa has been busy these last couple of years with multitudinous projects, from free jazz ensemble Irreversible Entanglements (who have another album coming soon) to the punkish Moor Jewelry to her side with JK Broadrick & Kevin Martin's Zonal, and the phenomenal BRASS with billy woods a year ago. But 2019 was the last solo album proper from Moor Mother. Powered by beats from Olof Melander, the Swiss producer with whom Ayewa released the album Anthologia 01 last year, Black Encyclopedia of the Air is consequently somewhat lighter than much of that other work (with only a couple of days to start ingesting it) - but no less powerful. Guests include elucid (billy woods' bandmate in Armand Hammer), Pink Siifu, and many others.

Stick In The Wheel - The Cuckoo [Stick In The Wheel Bandcamp]
Stick In The Wheel - Wierds Broke It [Stick In The Wheel Bandcamp]
London's Stick In The Wheel are a collective with a close interest in English folk, and have released albums of revived, traditional song from across centuries. But as I've said as I've played them over the last few years, they also have a close connection to English club music, through Ian Carter aka EAN, who was a key member of dubstep pioneers Various Production. Stick In The Wheel is now primarily Carter and Nicola Kearey, who I believe was involved in Various at times too. In between their main albums, the band have traditionally (ha!) put out "mixtape" albums, the latest of which is Tonebeds for Poetry. These still sound like English folk songs (except for some interstitial instrumentals), but with sequenced synths (at one point closely echoing the Stranger Things theme) and oft-vocoded vocals - except on the last track, which suddenly squalls into distorted rock guitars. Preserved in this sound is the deep strangeness of English folk - weird/wierd indeed!

Low - White Horses [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Low - I Can Wait [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Low - down (porter ricks remix) [Vernon Yard/Caroline Records]
Low - Belarus [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Low - No Comprende [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Low - Always Trying To Work It Out [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Low - The Price You Pay (It Must be Wearing Off) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
It was almost worrying imagining how Low could follow up their almost-perfect 2018 album Double Negative, which took the already intense excursions into digital production techniques from 2015's Ones and Sixes and turned up the distortion, sidechaining and general glitchiness to 11 for a mournful ode to America under Trump. But HEY WHAT, like the last two produced by BJ Burton, manages to draw yet more inspiration and emotion from these techniques - see for example the segue from opener "White Horses" into "I Can Wait", in which the repeating delay ending the first track gradually changes tempo and diffuses into the backing for the second, with the crunching, shattering sounds of both accompanying angelic harmonised melodies. The digital production aside, wrong-footing juxtapositions like these have long been the modus operandi of husband & wife Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, often joined by a bass player but now just the two with Burton on the sound deck. In the days of grunge, their untreated guitars and incredibly strung-out tempos led to the coining of "slowcore" as their genre. This patient songwriting could be combined with slow-growing drone distortions (e.g. "Pissing") or country/folk/rock as with their Dirty Three collaboration - but was also mutated into new shapes on 1998's owL Remix album, notably on the 13-minute remix by minimal dub techno greats Porter Ricks. And in 2007, drum machines and unusual production techniques made Drums and Guns a strange highlight and pre-echo of their current era. There's nothing quite like them, and much though I adore the sonic experimentation, in the end it comes back to the songs, and the gorgeous vocal harmonies.

Fabels - DotDotDot [Qusp/Fabels Bandcamp/Vinyl available here]
Fabels - Minds [Qusp/Fabels Bandcamp/Vinyl available here]
Delayed repeatedly by Covid-19, the new album Minds from Sydney duo Fabels is finally out, despite their inability to launch it live. The album continues their blend of European experimental songwriting and psych/shoegaze noise, drawing on the influences of Hiske Weijers and Ben Aylward. If I'd had time I would've played the 9 minutes of "ShereKhan", with a hypnotic groove and squalls of noise, but the title track also does the job, especially paired with "DotDotDot", which reshapes elements of that track into a billowing soundscape.

Cienfuegos, Isabella, Joachim Nordwall, Tot Onyx - Cults Explain Falling Jelly Jar [NO Recording]
NO Recording is an experimental compilation series put together by Group A, aka Berlin-based Japanese artists Tommi Tokyo and Sayaka Botanic. Their latest release is an "Exquisite Corpse" in musical form - the surrealist art game in which a work is created in series by multiple artists without knowledge of the previous artist' contributions. So all the source material comes from the individual artists prior to this project - but it's anything but chaos. I particularly love the glitched vocals and beats on tonight's track, featuring New York's Cienfuegos, Rhode Island-based Isabella, Swedish noise legend Joachim Nordwall and Tot Onyx aka Group A's Tommi Tokyo.

Domingæ - Dæmon [Sacred Bones/Bandcamp]
Chilean musician Domingæ, now based in Mexico, is best known for her psychedelic project Föllakzoid. Her new solo project, released like the band by Sacred Bones, takes the hypnotic grooves of Föllakzoid into a dark, electronic context, with thumping beats and glitchy vocal textures.

VILIFY - What's Next [Ohm Resistance/Bandcamp]
VILIFY - Illusion of Self [Ohm Resistance/Bandcamp]
Jenny Carmichael aka VILIFY is a Canadian DJ, now based in Berlin, with deep roots in the drum'n'bass scene. Her previous releases have been wide-ranging, but her excellent debut on Ohm Resistance, Illusion of Self, keeps the focus a little more on jungle/drum'n'bass, downtempo and IDM. Dark and bass-oriented, with light-footed, skittery programming just how we like it.

Teresa Winter - Echo Disappears [The Death of Rave/Boomkat]
Teresa Winter - Emptiness Is Also An Excess [The Death of Rave/Boomkat]
Drum'n'bass is also an element in the Motto of the Wheel, the latest strangely unplaceable missive from Yorkshire musician Teresa Winter. Influenced as much by various forms of philosophy and spirtuality as by glitch, IDM and rave forms, the album refuses to give in to easy descriptions - take the first track here, which starts with clattering amen breaks but dissipates into textural ambient and then ends with an interview with somebody about the practice of "tombstoning" - jumping into water without checking what's below, a concept that runs through this odd and fascinating release. Scattered through are a number of beautiful pieces made of layers of Winter's own vocals, contributing to the questioning tone of the release. Given the philosophical undercurrents, I assume that "Echo Disappears" is as much a reference to the cursed nymph who wastes away after the death of her unrequited love, the self-obsessed Narcissus, as it is of the sonic effect named after her.

Megan Alice Clune - The Swirl of the Void [Room40/Bandcamp]
Megan Alice Clune - The Chance of a Thunderstorm [Room40/Bandcamp]
Megan Alice Clune - Gentle Smile [Room40/Bandcamp]
The new album from Sydney's Megan Alice Clune, leader of the non-Alaskan non-orchestra Alaska Orchestra is a masterpiece of understatement. Borne from a dream about writing an opera, it's built instead from the minutiae of stay-at-home existence imposed by lockdowns, captive to quixotic technologies and alienated from social or musical interaction. A vocal drone runs through it, overlaid with different approaches to layering and mutating sound - here, swooping synthesizers recall Alice Coltrane's spiritualist solo works; there, different vocal layers cut in & out with subtle swells of clarinet; and over here, the vocals end up cut into small pieces, pulsing in & out like a faltering radio. One for repeated listens in quiet spaces.

Nasturtium - I Remember Everything, Almost Constantly [Room40/Bandcamp]
Something about the name of this project and the album cover made me keep thinking it would be black metal or blackened doom, but Nasturtium is something else entirely. The collaboration between Geneva Skeen and Erin Dawson pairs GS's dark droney sound-art with Dawson's lo-fi indie soundscaping to birth something not quite like either. There's much loving attention to sonic detail, with many sounds produced by guitars both distorted and clean. Some tracks drone through a haze of effects, while elsewhere they're glitched into pieces. There are frequent passages of gorgeousness, especially on the 9-minute closer "Earth Priority", in which multiple fizzling strummed guitars go through various harmonic progressions, temporarily joined by makeshift percussion and slowly stretched out to a gentle end. Don't miss it!

Midori Hirano - Binary Star [dauw]
Midori Hirano - Strain [Sonic Pieces/Bandcamp]
Midori Hirano - Phantom Train [dauw]
The last album from Midori Hirano, last year's Invisible Island on Sonic Pieces, was a career highlight, and I'm pleased to say that Soniscope, just released on Dutch sound-art label dauw, follows in its footsteps with piano and electronics that refuse to keep to the sweet & pleasant post-classical formula. Hirano knows how to write pleasing, melodic piano, but happily buries it in wobbling effects. Soniscope developed from making the soundtrack for Mizuko, a short animated film about a Buddhist ritual for aborted children, and her contemplation of the Jizo statues made for unborn children was a catalyst for this music, which seems to draw more from Japanese musical styles than her other recent works.

Listen again — ~208MB

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