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Utility Fog


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

Sunday, 21st of February, 2021

Playlist 21.02.21 (11:11 pm)

Electronic craziness galore tonight - from broken-down club sounds, ambient glitch & idm through musique concrète and acousmatic music, and folktronica.

LISTEN AGAIN to the electronically reproduced sound... Stream on demand with FBi, podcast here.

266sx - UN VELETA [Ascetic House/Bandcamp]
266sx - chino burbank van nuys [Ascetic House/Bandcamp]
We're starting tonight with a few selections from the 2020 batch of releases from Ascetic House, the brilliant Tempe, AZ-based label which puts out batches of releases each year that can be anything from punk to techno to idm & glitch, always with a fantastic visual aesthetic and always forward-thinking musically. Their Twitter account, run by J.S. Aurelius, reinforces this aesthetic with on-point anti-fascist & anarchist politics. All the 2020 releases appeared on the 31st of December, strangely enough. So, first up tonight we have the work of the fairly anonymous Lázaro Común as 266sx. SOMOS TU ÚLTIMA ESPERANZA ("We are your last hope") is an all-out psychic attack of glitching ambience & beats, and even some cut-up guitar and vocals. The first track here, "UN VELETA" translates as "one candle", while the second, perhaps a clue to the artist's provenance, lists a few neighbourhoods of LA.

Baby Blue - Human [Ascetic House/Bandcamp]
Baby Blue - Tear Soaked Stone [Ascetic House/Bandcamp]
Also released on Ascetic House on December 31st is the very emotive, yet equally glitchy and electronic Death of Euphoria from Baby Blue. There's gorgeous glitched ambient textures here, and some bass & beats in the mix, along with disqueting sampled video game dialogue and more. Fantastic work from this Vancouver-based artist. More technoid, computer gamey material can be found on her own Bandcamp.

Free The Land - Permafrost Loss and bacillus anthracis outbreak in Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug [Ascetic House/Bandcamp]
Our third selection from Ascetic House's end-of-2020 drop is from Free The Land, which may not seem familiar, but is in fact the work of Frederikke Hoffmeier (aka Puce Mary) and partner Jess Sanes, who have also recorded together as JH1.FS3. Under this name, their music veers a little away from their industrial/noise roots, with a suite of tracks about climate change in the far north, with field recordings and lush electronics, albeit still appropriately heavy and dark.

sunnk - weaving ritual [Mille Plateaux]
sunnk - a broken hand [Mille Plateaux]
Not too far off the sounds we've just heard is the album weaving ritual from sunnk, the third in a series of so-called "hyperglitch" releases from the new incarnation of Mille Plateaux. I'm always up for some stuttery granular electronics and what the original version of this label called "clicks & cuts", but what raises this album above the generic in this space is the piano that forms the basis of much of the chopped-up sound, and grounds the hyperactivity. There are some segments of real beauty amidst the madness.

Pierre-Luc Lecours - Impacts discrets (2014) [empreintes DIGITALes]
Now some new acousmatic, electro-acoustic work - not quite new, but not decades old either - from Montréal composer Pierre-Luc Lecours. A new album from the French label empreintes DIGITALes, dedicated to the electroacoustic, acousmatic and musique concrète forms, collects a series of four Éclats (shards) plus the work we heard tonight, "Impacts discrets", in which an artificial physical space is created, drawing from the composer's recording of snow & ice hitting the roofs of Old Quebec. In amongst the contemporary composition and academic techniques on this album appear sub-bass and percussive hits (shards?) that could be informed by the dance music strand of the last few decades of electronic music.

Bernard Parmegiani - Ponomatopées (1970) [Ina-GRM]
OK, but here's a little something from the great ground-breaking acousmatic composer Bernard Parmegiani, born in 1927. From 1970, "Ponomatopées" features garbled, cut-up liturgical voices, swathes of feedback and what sounds like a looped riff from a rock band. Forward-thinking electronic music indeed.

Patrick Charbonnier & Lionel Marchetti - Je suis gong [Lionel Marchetti Bandcamp]
And now something from the excellent contemporary composer of acousmatic & concrète works, Lionel Marchetti, along with fellow experimental musician Patrick Charbonnier. The two play a variety of instruments including clarinet, trombone, percussion, kora and other instruments from around the world, along with amplified found objects, synthesisers, tape machines and plenty of electronic treatments. The slow repetition and gradual build of this track is particularly compelling, but it's a great, immersive album.

Grasscut - Edges Of Night [Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
Grasscut - The Tin Man [Ninja Tune]
Grasscut - Reservoir [Lo Recordings]
Grasscut - Radar [Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
Grasscut - Coprolite Tip [Lo Recordings/Bandcamp]
It's wonderful to have a new album from English duo Grasscut. Their first album 1 inch: ½ mile came out through Ninja Tune in 2010 and sits alongside Tunng's best as perfectly poised English folktronica. They've since released 3 albums on Lo Recordings, each with evocative songwriting drawing on an English sense of place, with gorgeous orchestrations and detailed but un-showy electronics. It's primarily the work of BAFTA-nominated, Emmy-winning composer Andrew Phillips, while manager Marcus O'Dair also plays double bass and synth. All description aside, Phillips creates melodies and harmonic progressions that tug at the soul, while pulling together arrangements that use technology to hold them outside of time.

Scanner, Allen Ginsberg - Elegy for Neal Cassady (feat. Allen Ginsberg) [Allen Ginsberg Estate]
Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore, Allen Ginsberg - Hum Bom! (feat. Allen Ginsberg) [Allen Ginsberg Estate]
Out now digitally, with CD & vinyl editions coming on June 4th, is Allen Ginsberg's The Fall of America - a 50th Anniversary Musical Tribute, which finds a very varied cast of musicians setting Ginsberg's important suite of poems to music. The collection is dedicated to the late Hal Willner, whose brilliant curation of eclectic tribute albums no doubt inspired the artistic selections here. There are songs written to some of the poems, by the likes of Andrew Bird, Devendra Banhardt and Angelique Kidjo, but a large proportion choose to use the wonderful recordings of Ginsberg reading his own poems, interpolating his very musical spoken word into their pieces, whether it's the Americana of Bill Frisell or the electronica of Howie B with Gavin Friday, or an ambient soundscape in their recent vein by Yo La Tengo... The collection opens with a beautiful minimalist work by Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner, and later there's angular jabs from ex-Sonic Youths Lee Ranaldo, Thurston Moore. Ginsberg's poems if nothing else show that in half a century America has only progressed further in its fall...

OnominO - Masza [echogene]
From new Melbourne label echogene comes a collection of improvisations for percussion (Niko Schäuble) and modular electronics (Jon Tarry). Starting with some quite sparse pieces, the album gradually works up to dense works like "Masza", with low-end drones and burbles, and motorik drumming.

still cloud - CIRCLES [still cloud Bandcamp]
The first release from new Melbourne trio still cloud is a meditative piece for percussion, synths and guitars called "CIRCLES". Guitarist & percussionist Seth Rees is a veteran of various postrock & indie acts as well as an experimental solo artist, and here he's joined by fellow musicians Clalla and Rosa. All sing and play various instruments - hopefully more to come soon!

Sebastian Field - Yellow Hearts [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
Taken from Provenance Records's Textures, which we also featured a couple of weeks ago, is a gorgeous piece from Canberra's Sebastian Field in which his voice and guitar are smeared into, yes, lovely textures. Seb is a lovely songwriter, but I'd gladly hear an album in this style.

part timer - time just spent staring at a monitor [part timer Bandcamp]
And finally, another EP of sad piano from Melbourne's John McCaffrey aka part timer, beautiful contemplative work with sad sampled strings adding extra colour. A lot of us can identify with the opening track, "time just spent staring at a monitor".

Listen again — ~199MB


Sunday, 14th of February, 2021

Playlist 14.02.21 (7:42 pm)

Out-rock, punk & metal rub up with experimental electronics of various sorts tonight, along with some displaced classical instrumentation.

LISTEN AGAIN to the sounds of the collapse... Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here.

Kevin Micka - Everybody [Kevin Micka Bandcamp]
Kevin Micka - Palate Cleanser [Kevin Micka Bandcamp]
Kevin Micka - In the Spring [Kevin Micka Bandcamp]
Better known, perhaps, as Animal Hospital, Kevin Micka has made music that's fascinated me for over a decade now - his album Memory lingers (ha) with me after almost 12 years, with glitched ambient passages and dark doomy deconstructed riffs and occasional overdriven drums. Last year Animal Hospital reappeared with the phenomenal Fatigue, as abstract-catchy as ever, but this here release is kind of same-same-but-different, as you can see from its being under his own name. There are vocals in there hinting at some kind of indie band trapped in the malfunctioning machines, but by and large it's the familiar musical ingredients from before, producing a glorious maelstrom of weirdness.

DEAFKIDS - Ato Mecânico [Deafkids Bandcamp]
DEAFKIDS - Vírus da Imagem do Ser [Neurot Recordings]/Deafkids Bandcamp]
DEAFKIDS - Estímulos Alucinatórios Verbauditivos II [Neurot RecordingsDeafkids Bandcamp]
DEAFKIDS - Propaganda [Deafkids Bandcamp]
Brazilian hardcore punk/doom/electronic band DEAFKIDS have a kind of unique style, in which their heavy guitars and roaring vocals are constantly fed through glitched stuttering machines and delays in a way that's totally integrated with their songwriting and performances. This was evident on the incredible 2019 album Metaprogramação, released by the mighty Neurot Recordings - but it's super cool to see this process pulled apart for all to hear on their pandemic era EP series Ritos do Colapso. Now up to Vol III, the series showcases extended jams of processed percussion and other strange snippets of sound, as if the COVID-19-induced collapse (felt very keenly in Brazil) has directly infected their music-making.

Crass - Feeding Off The Sweat (Maral Remix) [One Little Independent Records/Crass Bandcamp]
Maral - Let the Distortion Sing [Leaving Records/Maral Bandcamp]
Maral - Lita's Song [Leaving Records/Maral Bandcamp]
The remix 7"s from legendary anarcho-punks Crass continue, and Normal Never Was IV again has two great tributes to the band's influence. One is from Paul Jamrozy of somewhat contemporaneous political industrial heads Test Dept. - but the other is from the young Iranian-American producer Maral, and it's superb in not only its collaging of Crass samples & interviews, but also its connection to her history with the band. Growing up, her parents didn't really approve of her listening to punk, so while she listened in secret in her room, the sounds of Iranian music seeped in, and that mixture of cultures is reproduced on her offering. I only discovered Maral late in 2020, so I also played a couple of tracks from her October release on Stones Throw subdivision Leaving Records.
The album Push features Maral incorporating her performances on the Iranian stringed instrument the setar into her experimental noise & dubscapes. It's fantastic.

exael - Boneheaded [Soda Gong/Bandcamp]
exael - Fig Jelly [Soda Gong/Bandcamp]
Cryptobitch - Emotet (d.Monica) [exael Bandcamp]
Naemi, known as exael and occasionally other names, has lived in Berlin for some time and floated between vaporwaveish ambient and various forms of electronic dance music. New album Flowered Knife Shadows, released by Soda Gong, leans more towards the techno and broken beats but still features haunted cyperscapes a plenty.
To lead into the next few tracks, we also heard their alter ego Cryptobitch from 2020, with some junglistic rave memories...

Double O feat. Sheba Q - God Is A Woman (Coco Bryce remix) [Western Lore]
Out last week for Bandcamp Friday was the Blunted Breaks Vol 2 LP Sampler from Dead Man's Chest's Western Lore. That mouthful implies the existence of an entire Blunted Breaks Vol 2 compilation to come, but for now we have four tracks of hardcore/jungle sounds, including this gem from Rupture London co-founder Double O and vocalist Sheba Q, remixed by Dutch producer Coco Bryce, who's been on a jungle tip of late.

Dj Scam - Sodium Pentothal [Psycho Bummer/DJ Scam Bandcamp]
The Seattle d'n'b scene is one of the stronger in the USA, and Brandon Ivers' Dj Scam is pushing the classic jungle sound with panache. Here he's inaugurating the brilliantly-named Psycho Bummer with his equally-ridiculously-named Darkside Geezer EP, channeling the hardcore-to-jungle period circa '93, from nearly 3 decades, a continent and an ocean away from its origins. It's super well done, no complaints from me!

skipism - Hammer on the table [skipism Bandcamp/the little hand of the faithful Bandcamp]
the little hand of the faithful - Aaahh much better [skipism Bandcamp/the little hand of the faithful Bandcamp]
the little hand of the faithful - Isle of Man [skipism Bandcamp/the little hand of the faithful Bandcamp]
The nicest husband & wife duo in Oz experimental music, Dru & Mitch Jones have a long association with Sydney post-industrial & electronic music through Scattered Order. Although Dru is not currently a member, her artwork has been seen since the early '80s, and her collaged approach to music easily matches Mitch's. At times the two release music as Lint, but they've also released some double solo releases such as this new one, Works Outing To Withybush, which is literally two entire full-length albums released together (which is just too sweet really!). Mitch makes the beats these days for the current trio incarnation of Scattered Order, and his deftness with sampled breaks and drum machines is evident here - in fact the second track is one of a few which seem like his take on dubstep, even boasting lovely jazzy pads and a funky disposition not that far from the sound of Silkie, who we heard a couple of weeks back. But clearly Dru's beatmaking chops are excellent too, as we hear in the rather drum'n'bassy skittery beats of "Hammer on the table".

Heliochrysum - Apex [Bedroom Community/Bandcamp]
L A N D - End Zone [Important Records/Bandcamp]
Heliochrysum - Forbidden Structures [Bedroom Community/Bandcamp]
In 2012 L A N D released their first album of industrial & jazz-tinged postrock quite reminiscent of late-period Talk Talk. Their second album came out in 2015 and was entirely the work of Daniel Lea (we heard a track tonight), and some years later Lea has now appeared as one half of Heliochrysum alongside composer Michael Deragon, who debut here with an EP on Bedroom Community. Stylistically, the rumbling bass and textures of Ben Frost (who mixed the EP and also mixed both L A N D albums) is a good reference. I'm interested to hear what comes next.

Erlend Apneseth Trio - Lokk [Hubro/Bandcamp]
Alongside Hardanger fiddle player Apneseth himself, the Norwegian Erlend Apneseth Trio feature the excellent drummer Øyvind Hegg-Lunde (quite recently found in these playlists) and sound artist & guitarist Stephan Meidell. They're one of the most interesting groups on the consistently great Hubro label, bridging the divide between folk, postrock and electronics, as can be heard on this new single which combines sampled vocal chants, electronic percussion and expansive folk melodies. Can't wait for the rest of the album.

Bell Orchestre - V Movement [Erased Tapes/Bandcamp]
Speaking of can't wait for the album, here's one I've been excited about since it was announced. Still a month or so away, Bell Orchestre's House Music sees the Toronto post-classical/postrock troupe (closely associated with the Arcade Fire) move to Erased Tapes for a long work recorded in lockdown in safe social distancing, all in one, yes, house. The excerpts so far have been stunning.

Michael Peter Olsen - MoonMist [Hand Drawn Dracula/Bandcamp]
Coincidentally sticking in Toronto, the Hand Drawn Dracula label bring us the first solo album from Toronto cellist Michael Peter Olsen, who sports the most disturbing artist photo ever, and whose passion for electric cello and cello processing is second to none (see his delightful Instagram for many examples). Michael has performed and recorded with many artists (including the Arcade Fire), but it's great to hear what he creates on his own - classically-informed, sure, with elements of drone and noise, but I've found whenever I put these tracks on they move in surprising directions every time I turn away for a second. He has a talent for sound-sculpting and also for orchestrated musical turns. I sadly didn't have time for the track "Cloud Parade" featuring the angelic vocals of Toronto singer Anna Horvath aka Merival - check out the album though.

Gareth Skinner - Subliminals [Gareth Skinner Bandcamp]
And finishing up with another cellist, this time from Melbourne. Gareth Skinner released a couple of albums and EPs with the magnificent Melbourne indie rock band bZARK in the '90s, which I will need to revisit when this album proper comes out - but since then he's produced some stunning indie rock tracks entirely performed on multi-tracked cello. After a series of soundtrack works, I'm excited that he's returning to songwriting, and although "Subliminals" apparently won't appear on the new album, it's an example of the approach. I love 2009's Looking For Vertical album and I'm so pleased there's more coming.

Listen again — ~203MB


Sunday, 7th of February, 2021

Playlist 07.02.21 (11:33 pm)

Amazingly, it's already the second month of 2021. We're already seeing some of the most important albums of the year starting to appear - there's some gems tonight, from Palestinian glitch-hop to English postpunk postrock... and coming after another dizzying assault from the first Bandcamp Friday of the year. Strap in!

LISTEN AGAIN on roads new & old... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Black Country, New Road - Track X [Ninja Tune/Bandcamp]
Jockstrap - The City [Warp/Bandcamp]
Black Country, New Road - Sunglasses [Ninja Tune/Bandcamp]
The debut album For the first time from English seven-piece Black Country, New Road is on everyone's lips at the moment - and it's certainly my album of the week. Melding elements of postpunk, postrock, krautrock, jazz and even klezmer, its core still rests in the sardonic songwriting and riffing of Isaac Wood. But from the angular, pent-up aggression (they've been compared to Slint enough that it's referred to in one of their songs) they weave colourful horn and string orchestrations of interlocking melodic patterns or crescendoing dischords, and songs switch on a dime between their various stylistic proclivities. There's no doubt that Wood's referential lyrics are a huge drawcard ("I am invincible in these sunglasses / I am 'modern Scott Walker' / I am a surprisingly smooth talker / And I am invincible in these sunglasses", "I'm more than adequate / Leave Kanye out of this") - but the band is populated with highly talented musicians. Indeed, when I first read up on the band, the name Georgia Ellery stood out to me - and yes, their violinist is the Georgia Ellery from the brilliant duo Jockstrap, whose releases on Warp last year floored me. Although Black Country, New Road are pretty far away from the intricate chamber pop-meets-glitchy hip-hop of Jockstrap, that association may help explain how BCNR ended up on Ninja Tune...

Adam Stone, Dead Sea Apes, Black Tempest - Shop Soiled [Feeding Tube Records/Dead Sea Apes Bandcamp]
Adam Stone, Dead Sea Apes, Black Tempest - Time To Eat Again [Feeding Tube Records/Dead Sea Apes Bandcamp]
The social commentary of Adam Stone, in spoken and sung form, has been part of many of the releases from UK psych rock/dub outfit Dead Sea Apes for a few years now. Their latest release Dataland teams band and singer up with another artist, Black Tempest aka synth player Stephen Bradbury, adding an extra krautrock throb to the proceedings, and Stone's lyrics focus on the 21st century condition.

Snowman - A [Dot Dash]
Joe McKee - Bollard Beats (Drip-Drop) [Salmon Universe/Bandcamp]
Joe McKee - Wind On The Flying Bridge [Salmon Universe/Bandcamp]
A segue here via the much-missed Perth band Snowman, whose slightly mournful kraut-psych echoes the previous tracks - but this flashback is heard tonight because we've got a new album from Snowman's Joe McKee. No songs here, and no riffs either - Ultra Letizia is named for the cargo ship that it was recorded on, on which Joe McKee travelled across the North Pacific Ocean from Japan to Vancouver. These sometimes rhythmic, sometimes hauntingly melodic pieces of music are comprised entirely of the sounds of this vessel and its journey, the blowing of the wind, the shuddering of its engine room. It's remarkably musical and very evocative work.

Mikado Koko - Two Birds [Akuphone/Bandcamp]
Crass - Asylum (Mikado Koko Remix) [One Little Independent Records/Crass Bandcamp]
Mikado Koko - The Queen Of Hearts (Alternate) [Akuphone/Bandcamp]
I discovered Mikado Koko when she remixed Crass as part of an ongoing series of remix 7"s last year - she took Eve Libertine's caustic poem "Reality Asylum" ("Jesus died for his own sins, not mine") and bolstered it with a barrage of woozy electronics. On her new album Maza Gusu ("Mother Goose"), it's her own spoken word, read with exaggerated expressiveness, that accompanies her electronics, collaging Japanese instruments, beats and synths. The words are fairy tale settings in Japanese by the famous poet Hakushu Kitahara. Fabulous.

Thugwidow - Artifice Or Skeuomorph [Thugwidow Bandcamp]
Frantic amen breaks in the "Alternate" version of Mikado Koko's last track lead into a track from one of the most prolific current-day jungle producers, Thugwidow. This atmospheric breakbeat, whose slightly slower pace evokes the time around where hardcore techno was mutating into jungle, is taken from his own Bandcamp, and it's a single track bundled as an album - maybe he'll be adding to it at some point?

Muqata'a - Bilharf Alwahad بالحَرف الواحَد [Hundebiss Records/Muqata'a Bandcamp]
Muqata'a - Al Watar Al Wiswas - الوتر الوسواس [Muqata'a Bandcamp]
Muqata'a - Tanqeeb تَنقيب [Hundebiss Records/Muqata'a Bandcamp]
I've been looking forward to the new album from Ramallah, Palestine producer Muqata'a for a few months, and it's as superb as expected - glitchy hip-hop informed by an Arabic numerological science that invokes the voices of Muqata'a's ancestors. The title Kamil Manqus كَامِل مَنْقوص refers to the perfection of imperfection - the glitchy sound is to be seen not as errors per se, but as "possible breaks in an otherwise closed system", poignant imagery from an artist in the occupied territory of Palestine.

GILA - 111 tucked [GILA Bandcamp]
For the first Bandcamp Friday of the year, Denver beatmaker GILA dropped a single track, referencing his Trench Tones from 2019. It's a smacking, head-nodding bass rhythm and I for one will welcome them whenever he wishes to put them out there.

Deadhand - Touch ft. Sensational (ETCH's Pink Ladies In Space Remix) [Seagrave/Bandcamp]
Deadhand - Meanwhile ft. Sensational [Seagrave/Bandcamp]
UK techno producers James Ruskin and Mark Broom have long had an alter ego as The Fear Ratio, under which name they release fantastic IDM/bass productions. Their Deadhand alias, previously only used for a remix or two, is reserved for crunchy hip-hop, and steps out now with an EP for the ever-excellent Seagrave. Many tracks feature DJ Prime Cuts of the Stratch Perverts, and the legendary MC and frequent IDM-collaborator Sensational appears on all tracks. Among the remixers is the chameleonic ETCH, who's comfortable in all UK breaks & rave styles, and lends some bass weight to one of the selections here.

Kcin & Tilman Robinson - Go Be Free Then [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
LOUV - In the Form of a Prayer [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
Provenance Records, founded by Stu Buchanan, is now co-run (or mostly run?) by Becki Whitton aka Aphir, as Stu has resurrected New Weird Australia. Becki has curated the latest in their Marks of Provenance compilations, this one titled Textures, with many familiar names appearing. I'll feature some more tracks next week, but tonight we've got some reliably dark & heavy-hitting drones and rhythms from Sydney's Kcin & Melbourne's Tilman Robinson, and a beautiful piece of layered voice, electronic rhythms and processing from Melbourne's LOUV aka Louise McKnoulty with Dirty Versace.

Bruce Brubaker & Max Cooper - Two Pages (Tegh Version) [Infiné Music/Bandcamp]
Finally tonight, a transformation of a transformation. When concert pianist Bruce Brubaker teamed up with Max Cooper to interpret works of Philip Glass, I wasn't terribly impressed to be honest - the system developed by Cooper essentially produced a smearing effect on the piano performances, muddying the otherwise precise harmonic, melodic & rhythmic elements of Glass's compositions. Now Infiné Music have released a follow-up remix EP, and the rework by Iranian electronic producer Shahin Entezami aka Tegh is tremendous, lodging crystalline piano, at times pitch-shifted, in Tegh's trademark washes of drone and low-end rumble and snarl. A more radical approach, respectful but not faithful to the original material.

Listen again — ~207MB


Sunday, 31st of January, 2021

Playlist 31.01.21 (9:15 pm)

Anti-colonial doom, displaced junglism, canonical indietronica, jazzy dubstep and field recording processing tonight, but starting with the iconic SOPHIE, who very tragically passed away yesterday.

LISTEN AGAIN, and take me with you... stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

SOPHIE - Faceshopping [MSMSMSM/future classic/Transgressive]
SOPHIE - UNISIL [Numbers/Bandcamp]
As I started putting together the selections for tonight's show, I already was planning to play SOPHIE, whose early single BIPP has just been remixed by Autechre, and the b-side UNISIL is an excellent unreleased IDM-ish track from the same era. But then yesterday, unimaginably awful news started to come out, eventually confirmed by those close to the artist: when climbing on to the roof her house in Greece to watch the full moon, SOPHIE slipped and fell to her death. Such a sudden and meaningless death is hard to process, and SOPHIE is very important to many people - as a pioneer of glossy, glitchy hyperpop, and importantly as an out trans woman. My heart goes out to all who are hit badly by the loss of a lovely talented soul.

Gooooose - Ion [Super Hexagon]
Christoph De Babalon - The Legendary Sleep [Super Hexagon]
Leeds-based music night and record label Super Hexagon start 2021 with a compilation called Rondogs Vol. 1, collecting experimental electronic artists from near & far ranging from ambient to idm, acid to jungle, and passing on all profits to the Winchester-based Key Changes Music Therapy, using music to help the most vulnerable. Among some corkers, Shanghai's Gooooose contributes beautiful layered classical music samples and pulsating synths, while Berlin's Christoph De Babalon brings his classic digital hardcore stylings with an exclusive cut of his signature dark classical samples and heavy-duty jungle/drum'n'bass.

Gallery S - The Junglist [Gallery S/MoMA Ready Bandcamp]
Gallery S - Heavens Gate [Gallery S/MoMA Ready Bandcamp]
Wyatt D. Stevens releases music both as MoMA READY and Gallery S, as well as running the HAUS of ALTR label. He's instrumental in New York's underground dance music scene, and joyfully mashes up influences from classic house & techno, idm and healthy slabs of classic jungle. In the past, releases have mixed everything up, but of late he's seemingly separating the genres somewhat - meaning that the latest Gallery S album The Many Hands of God is pure jungle goodness of an early '90s nature, free-flowing breaks, bass drops and vocal snippets at the ready. It's a true delight.

Manslaughter 777 - ARC [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
the body - Eschatological Imperative [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
the body - A Lament [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
So here's a strange segue. From jungle to doom metal in one fell swoop. For a long time, the blackened doom metal of Chip King & Lee Buford's the body has been tempered & amplified by electronics - sub-bass, crunches & glitches, drum machines and so on. Amen breaks even appeared on a 2018 track from their collaboration with Uniform, and on last year's phenomenal collaboration with MSC (previously aka Braveyoung) I Don't Ever Want To Be Alone. Now in March, the body's Lee Buford and MSC's Zac Jones team up as Manslaughter 777 for an album that makes explicit the jungle, dub & hip-hop influences, World Vision Perfect Harmony, while remaining dark as heck. But a preview of that aside, it's the new body album I've Seen All I Need To See that's the focus tonight. Here the duo strip back to the essentials - no vocals from Chrissy Wolpert & the Assembly of Light Choir or other frequent collaborators, no electronics except the studio magic of Seth Manchester from Machines With Magnets, who ensures that the guitar & drums are distorted to within an inch of their lives. This is the music of decay, with King's usual high-pitched, gargled shrieks mixed back within the grotesque sounds, which occasionally crash so intensely into the tapes that the entire mix stutters into oblivion (or so they've arranged it). I feared that this album would lose some of the creative magic the band have exhibited over the last 5-10 years, but it's the perfect complement to and culmination of this adventure. Long may they horrify us.

Divide and Dissolve - Oblique [Invada/Bandcamp]
Divide and Dissolve - Mental Gymnastics [Invada/Bandcamp]
Using doom metal as the energy for political change is what Divide and Dissolve are all about. The duo of Takiaya Reed (of Black/Cherokee background) & Sylvie Nehill (of Māori background) aim to dismantle white supremacy, and spread their message through righteously heavy music. As heard at times on their previous albums, as well as the downtuned guitar noise, Takiaya Reed plays a beautiful saxophone, and her dimished intervals and minor-key melodies grace the opening & closing of many tracks on their stunning breakthrough third album Gas Lit, released internationally through Invada. There's also spoken word from Minori Sanchiz-Fung, and "Mental Gymnastics" abandons the noise almost entirely for saxophone and threads of feedback. It's early in 2021, but this album is going echo through the whole year.

Party Dozen - The Worker [GRUPO/Bandcamp]
Speaking of righteous saxophone and drums, here's the latest single from Kirsty Tickle, shouting & singing into her blasting saxophone, and Jonathan Boulet as Party Dozen. They seem to be taking it a single track at a time at the moment, and this one comes with a kickass video too.

The Notwist - Al Sur feat. Juana Molina [Morr Music/Bandcamp]
The Notwist - Moron [Big Store]
The Notwist - This Room [City Slang/Domino/Bandcamp]
13&god - janu are [Alien Transistor/Anticon/Bandcamp]
The Notwist - Al Norte [Morr Music/Bandcamp]
The Notwist - Into Love / Stars [Morr Music/Bandcamp]
The Notwist - Exit Strategy To Myself [Morr Music/Bandcamp]
It's impossible to overstate how important The Notwist are to me and to this show. While their origins are in a kind of clean-voiced punk, within a couple of albums influences from jazz, postrock and electronic music filtered in. They're central players in one branch of indietronica, and various members' work runs into IDM, dub and jazzy postrock. In fact the second track I played, from 1998's Shrink, is a lovely piece of postrocky jazz in (to me) a classic German fashion, foreshadowing some of the members' work in Tied & Tickled Trio; meanwhile from the classic, important 2003 album Neon Golden we heard a piece of drum'n'bass-meets-indie rock... And in the '00s the members also collaborated with core Anticon members doseone and Jel for that indietronica/indie-hip-hop crossover we absolutely needed.
So here they are in 2021 with a new album, Vertigo Days, showing they haven't lost any of their energy and creativity. It draws a lot on the extended modular/krautrocky jams of their live shows over the last few years, and I finished up with the segue of the first three tracks on the album. There are also many collaborations, and the track with the wonderful Juana Molina could easily be one of her own songs, but it's lovely hearing the two iconic artists working together! An absolute joy.

Silkie - What You Want [Deep Medi/Bandcamp]
Silkie - Beauty [Deep Medi/Bandcamp]
Silkie - Taxi Mi Get [Deep Medi/Bandcamp]
Silkie - Cascada [Anarchostar/Bandcamp]
Silkie - Leave It [Deep Medi/Bandcamp]
Dubstep has been important to Utility Fog for a long time too, and one of the greatest musicians in the dubstep sphere is undoubtedly Silkie, whose brings a lush jazz sensibility to his chord sequences and melodies, even at the most "core dubstep", and easily slips into the jazz-funk stratosphere at times too. His 2015 album Fractals was the only one not released on the great Deep Medi (who released the great City Limits Volumes 1 & 2 and various 12"s as well) - it came out on Distal's Anarchostar and often leaves dubstep's waters altogether for purple funk & fusion - but with Panorama and some 12"s preceding it, he's back with Deep Medi for head-nods, skanks and delicious jazz soul.

Ai Yamamoto - Late morning - Remote learning and house chores, remote working (washing machine, vacuum cleaner, printing, typing, clicking, pencil, paper, cup, glass bottle) [Room40/Bandcamp]
Ai Yamamoto - Gigi's lullaby (cat purr and melody with wine bottle) [Room40/Bandcamp]
Nobody could quite have pulled off the iso album with the same delicacy and panache as Melbourne-based Ai Yamamoto has with her Pan De Sonic - Iso, released on Room40's Someone Good imprint this week. All the sounds come from field recordings taken in her family home during Melbourne's marathon lockdown last year, and they mostly evoke a peaceful intimacy, and a creative spirit doing its very finest with what it's been given. The source sounds are delightfully documented for each track, which Yamamoto adroitly maneuvres between direct reproduction and field recordings processed & arranged into rhythms and touching melodies. Despite the podcast excerpt at the very start, it's not gimmicky at all, but rather a very human piece of life-as-art.

Listen again — ~210MB


Sunday, 24th of January, 2021

Playlist 24.01.21 (9:18 pm)

Tonight we're looking for the hidden & not-so-hidden connections between IDM, jungle, sound-art/electro-acoustic/musique concrète and contemporary classical music. Get ready for a journey.

LISTEN AGAIN to this sound-art-trip. Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here.

Electric Company - Silver Egg 6/8 Mix of Kid 606 [Electric Company Bandcamp]
Electric Company - i shall choice my self [Tigerbeat6]
The Internal Tulips - 9 Tomorrows [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Electric Company - Indelicate (remix of Stars As Eyes) [Electric Company Bandcamp]
LA musician Brad Laner's work goes back to the '80s with various experimental bands, but it's his '90s noise-pop/shoegaze band Medicine that he's best known for in many circles. However, as a lover of all things IDM & glitch, I've always been particularly fond of Laner's work as Electric Company, and I've been pleased to see all sorts of Electric Company material appearing on the Brad Laner Bandcamp over the last couple of years. Just this week, with joyful disregard for the schedules of Bandcamp Friday, Laner chucked up a selection of remixes, compilation tracks & rarities called 26 Mixes For Love (a delightful riposte to Aphex Twin), and I've enjoyed revisiting or discovering a bunch of crunchy beats, glitches and melodies from ages past. The Kid 606 remix that started the show comes from the 2000 album Kid 606 & Friends that also featured the first appearance of the legendary Hrvatski remix, as well as the work of Christoph de Babalon and others... As well as another remix from this compilation, I played a 2003 track from Electric Company's it's hard to be a baby, and something from Laner's weird electronic pop collaborative project with Lexaunculpt called The Internal Tulips...

Accelera Deck - Viral Violet [Accelera Deck Bandcamp]
Speaking of US IDM, last year I featured some back catalogue work from Chris Jeely's Accelera Deck, and noted that he's started releasing some new beats. His work always fitted uncomfortably between the complex programming of jungle & IDM and the more abstract sounds of drone, noise & shoegaze. Jeely started 2021 with a new 2-tracker which continues the Accelera Deck story with not-quite-danceable fast beats and shimmering droney textures.

Christian Kleine - Touch & Fuse [A Strangely Isolated Place/Bandcamp]
Christian Kleine - Val 2 [A Strangely Isolated Place/Bandcamp]
bomb the bass / lali puna - clearcut amstel mix (remix: christian kleine) [Morr Music/Bandcamp]
bomb the bass / lali puna - clearcut [Morr Music/Bandcamp]
Another IDM-adjacent artist from the '90s and '00s, Christian Kleine was part of a German / European scene from the mid-'90s centred around Morr Music, City Centre Offices and such labels. A couple of years ago a collection of unreleased music from 1998-2001 appeared, but really he hasn't stopped making music - with indie & shoegaze influences as well as the crunchy beats and delicate melodies. New album Touch & Fuse came out late last year on A Strangely Isolated Place, and it has a lot of the melodies and "soft-toughness" of his earlier work. I decided to play his remix from the 2001 single "Clearcut" by beloved indietronica band Lali Puna - the original was a collaboration with breakbeat don Bomb The Bass, but every remix on the EP is a gem! Still, the original very close to my heart, so I gave it a spin as well.
Notably, Morr Music legends The Notwist (who shared at least one member with the original Lali Puna) have an album coming out next Friday which you'll be hearing right here...

Mindy Meng Wang x Tim Shiel - My Love Is Not What It Was嗔念 [Music In Exile/Bandcamp]
So I played a track from this EP last week on the show, not knowing when it would be released. It appears now that it's out next Friday, which is great - so keep an eye on Music In Exile's social media or Mindy Meng Wang's Bandcamp. Four tracks created by Australian-Chinese guzheng player Mindy Meng Wang and Melbourne electronic musician Tim Shiel, with bass lines & breakbeats rubbing shoulders with bowed strings and the plucked tones of the guzheng. So great!

Know V.A. - Artefact (Sully Remix) [Sully Bandcamp]
Recently the Dutch duo Know V.A. released their Hibernation EP on the Knives label, run by Kuedo and designer Joe Shakespeare. The hard ravey sounds of the original were to be followed closely by a remix EP, which seems to have taken a little longer to surface - but courtesy of his own Bandcamp, we have a classical dark jungle fit-out by Sully now.

Lawrence English - Dual Process [Cajid/Room40/Bandcamp]
Late in November last year, Room40 boss Lawrence English decided to celebrate the 15th anniversary of his first solo album proper, Transit, by cleaning it up and remastering it for a re-release. It's quite a revelation - not half-baked in any way at all. Already the music is embedded in field recordings, with a focus on sound-as-sound, and each piece is an engrossing audio picture - especially with the new sound.

Patrick Ascione - Enième (2004) [empreintes DIGITALes/electrocd]
Here's some electro-acoustic music from the *ahem* serious side of things, the academy... French composer Patrick Ascione passed away in 2014 (tragically young, not much over 61), and this last album has only just seen the light of day. He was closely connected with IRCAM and Ina-GRM, and so it's striking how much rhythm and humanity there is in his work - the vocal stabs and rhythmic structures in the 2004 work Enième could easily have been created by someone with a background in the club world.

Jos Smolders - (last track from Bagatellen, excerpt) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
OK, now we're in proper abstract territory. Dutch sound-artist Jos Smolders is a mastering engineer, with a very keen ear, and a substantial proportion of the sound in the short tracks of Bagatellen album for Esc.rec is silence. But that makes the fragmented, half-erased vocal snatches and stumbling drones all the more striking. It's inspired by visual art - specifically a xeroxed zine by Jeroen Diepenmaat which is reproduced with some versions of the cassette release. I particularly love the longform final track, over 12 minutes in length, of which we heard about the first half - but I do appreciate the slightly disturbing gaps that precede it!

Trondheim Voices - Chant for the Multipresence [Hubro/Bandcamp]
Trondheim Voices + Asle Karstad - Pulser [Grappa]
Trondheim Voices - Choral [Hubro/Bandcamp]
A bit over 2 years ago I played some music from the previous album of Trondheim Voices, collaborating with sound designer Asle Karstad who devised individual interfaces for looping & processing their voices as they perform. Now the great Norwegian label Hubro has released a new album, full title Folklore (traditional customs, tales, sayings, dances, or art forms preserved among a people), which sees them performing compositions by two legendary Norwegian experimental musicians - Ståle Storløkken and Helge Sten (aka Deathprod), both members of the untouchable Supersilent. So it's no surprise that the immaculate chorus of Trondheim Voices (featuring among others Storløkken's wife Tone Åse) is at times supported or complicated by subtle electronic sound-sculpting - but in fact more surprising is that there's so little. The beautiful compositions require the singers to engage in microtonal harmonies at times, and to chant & pulse as if expressing the synths & electronics of the composers. It's a tour de force of vocal discipline.

Mandel - Mini Suite i [Bedroom Community/Bandcamp]
Emily Hall - mantra [Bedroom Community/Bandcamp]
Finally, British musician & composer Emily Hall teams up with fellow violinist & musical therapist Misha Law for a new project called Mandel, debuting with an EP of pieces composed through improvisation. The result is somewhere between folk music & classical musicm, and I look forward to hearing more. I loved Hall's 2015 album for Bedroom Community, Folie Á Deux, which sets poetry by Icelandic poet & novelist Sjón to classical-electronic-pop arrangements featuring the extraordinary Swedish singer Sofia Jernberg, so we finish tonight's show with the gorgeous "mantra" from that album.

Listen again — ~199MB


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