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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, 5th of April, 2020

Playlist 05.04.20 (7:11 pm)

Tonight's Utility Fog focuses on contemporary/post-classical, drone, noise and some experimental rock. It's always interesting how these come together - next week will be heavily weighted to drum'n'bass/jungle/idm again. It's all music innit!

LISTEN AGAIN and again, you're at home, you can listen to whatever you like! Stream on demand @ FBi, or podcast right here.

Thor Harris - Room40 Dub (with Lawrence English) [Thor Harris Bandcamp]
Thor Harris - Halloween Kaka (with Ben Frost) [Thor Harris Bandcamp]
Drummer/percussionist Thor Harris is a beloved member of the indie music scene, working as much with the extreme dynamics and sonic assault of Swans and the melodicism of Shearwater (to name only two of dozens of bands and appearances). His two solo "and Friends" albums have both been surprisingly gentle, almost folky albums based around pitched percussion (marimba, xyolophone etc), but here, released for Bandcamp's revenue-share-free day (but clearly planned ahead) is his amazing Doom Dub collaborative project. While you might think of "doom" here being the heavy, sluggish form of metal (which I love), Thor is thinking more about the precarious position humanity finds itself in at this moment in history - the beginning of the end of the anthropocene? And dub, well, it's one of the greatest, most influential, never-out-of-style musical genres. Thor has done it proud here, with a selection of fantastic co-conspirators. Here I've chosen TWO Australians. Lawrence English's is named after his label (haha!) and has incredible spatialisation - deep bass, mid-range drones, flickering wobbly percussion, all pretty freaky. And longtime Iceland-resident, Swans fan and recent recruit Ben Frost helps out on a piece of percussive almost-minimal-techno. Oh, and the voice of Yoko Ono can be heard on "Room40 Dub"!

Nine Inch Nails - Run Like Hell [NIN Store]
So much of what I play on UFog, especially recently it seems, is influenced by the long history of industrial music. I often refer to "industrial techno", which is a term which goes back well before the current crop of Berlin, UK & US artists working in that space. Arguably noise came as an outcropping from industrial's earliest roots in artists like Throbbing Gristle, and even Aussies like SPK. It's funny that Nine Inch Nails represented "industrial" to so many people (probably including me) in the '90s, and maybe even today, but Trent Reznor never pretended to be an original as such - much though he's a great talent and draws great musicians around him. These days NIN is pretty much Trent and Atticus Ross, who is also his partner in his many great film & TV scores. They're so busy with that soundtrack work that NIN can take a back seat, so it's interesting to see them release two new volumes of instrumental music under the Ghosts umbrella - Ghosts V & VI, some 12 years after the first four volumes were released, en masse, also as free or pay-what-you-want downloads. There's some of the organic, Aphex-influenced ambient work here, but the second volume is tougher and more dramatic. This track, unrelated to the Pink Floyd song of the same name, embodies some of the paranoia & anxiety they're invoking here. It's really great - if you've slept on it, just download them.

Deadly Cradle Death - Modern People Hate Old Psychedelic Song [Maybe Mars]
Deadly Cradle Death - Deadly Keithyeetal [Maybe Mars]
COVID-19 is a global phenomenon, and having originated in China, it affected the same cultures there - music very much included - ahead of the rest of the world. So when "Bandcamp day" happened on March 20th, there was plenty of Chinese music on Bandcamp to support. I found this great article recommending recent Chinese music, and from there found the amazing noise/psych rock album Disconnection on legendary Chinese label Maybe Mars. He Fan of Deadly Cradle Death is an ex-member of the great indie band Carsick Cars, and also jangly indie/shoegazers Birdstriking, but the music here is somewhat more uncompromising than both of those. I love the crunchy drums, the riffs, and the vocal delivery. I'd say there's a bit of industrial in-your-faceness here too.

KCIN, Marina Elderton & Alicia Jane Turner - ODB 20.4 [Trestle Records/Bandcamp]
KCIN, Marina Elderton & Alicia Jane Turner - ODB 20.5 [Trestle Records/Bandcamp]
Over the last few years, London label Trestle Records has released a lot of interesting avant-garde music, but they've also been responsible for a fairly extravagant series of "One Day Band" projects gathering musicians from around the globe for one day of fevered creativity. More about what's come of that in the next segment, but here we have two of the pieces from a session involving Sydney's own Nicholas Meredith aka KCIN. He was flown all the way to London to work with two English musicians - soundtrack composer & guitarist Marina Elderton and violinist, sound-artist & performance artist Alicia Jane Turner. These pieces are pretty heavy & doom-laden! The two women produce droney soundscapes full of foreboding, through which Nick's drums skitter & patter, or lay down tough, ever-changing, hypnotic patterns.

Leo Abrahams, Sølyst & Simon Fisher Turner - From Isolation 1 02 [Trestle Records/Bandcamp]
So what are you gonna do with the One Day Band idea in the age of COVID-19 isolation? Certainly not flying musicians around the world. So Trestle's new series is From Isolation (and yes, there will be a billion "Isolation" records coming out of this catastrophe) - groups of musicians collaborating via file sharing. Starting on the right foot, they've got guitarist Leo Abrahams (who easily straddles experimental & pop, working with the likes of Brian Eno and Jon Hopkins among others), Dusseldorf drummer & electronic musician Thomas Klein aka Sølyst, and and the great sound artist Simon Fisher Turner ('70s pop star turned postpunk experimentalist, actor, director, composer - but genius sound artist from all of this). This middle piece in particular is both bright and dark, open and introverted. Quite lovely.

Machinefabriek - Amalgaam I [Machinefabriek]
In this unpredictable times it's good to know that we can rely on the fact that there'll always be at least one Machinefabriek release around the corner. For this album, Rutger Zuydervelt has set himself up with his version of a tabletop noise/drone setup - tone generators, effects pedals, dictaphone etc. From these humble sources he creates as usual an engrossing set of long (if not his old-style drone epics long) works under the title Amalgaam. He describes these pieces as raw & unpolished, but if anything that's part of why they work so well - they're performed pieces, performed by someone with a strong sense of sound & structure, and they carry you along through discordant noise, patient, lumbering rhythms & pulses, and passages of beauty. It's one of the most compelling recent works even from an artist who always has a lot to offer.

FUJI||||||||||TA - keshiki [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
FUJI||||||||||TA - sukima (excerpt) [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
Over to another masterful sound artist, FUJITA Yosuke aka FUJI||||||||||TA (I'm not sure how to pronounce this on air!), whose new album for Swiss label Hallow Ground, entitled iki simply explores the wheezing, clunking sound of his handmade, pump-driven pipe organ. It's mind-blowingly beautiful, calming, organic work. The pushing of the pump creates a sometimes-rhythmic percussive sound while Fujita entices slow-moving chordal changes from the organ - sometimes peaceful major-key progressions, sometimes discords producing overlaid beat frequencies. It's exquisite. On the second selection, the slow drones are replaced with short bursts of blown chords while the pump clatters and creaks and the machine's own breaths are heard - so it's less of a warm ebb & flow, but no less of a delight. Conceptually, this would be amazing enough, but Fujita is enough of an artist to ensure that the music coming out of his creation is lovely too.

Nils Frahm - First Defeat [Erased Tapes/Bandcamp]
In the chaos of obsessive COVID-19 updates and failed attempts to find normalcy, it was easy to forget that March 28th (in this leap year) is the 88th day of the year, so Piano Day came round again. But Piano Day's faithful inaugurator Nils Frahm had not forgotten, and to follow Fujita's pipe organ we have some exquisitely quiet piano music - even for the connoisseur of "felt" himself. The aching "First Defeat" is a highlight from Empty, a companion piece to his earlier Screws (which was recorded after breaking his thumb). It's reflective, touching music from an artist whose profile can possibly obscure the fact that he's an immensely talented & sensitive composer & performer.

Clarice Jensen - Final [130701/Bandcamp]
Clarice Jensen - For this from what will be filled (a) [Miasmah/Bandcamp]
Clarice Jensen - Metastable [130701/Bandcamp]
Contemporary classical & avant-garde cellist Clarice Jensen's debut album came out from Miasmah, the label run by experimental cellist & acoustic doom maestro Erik K Skodvin. Her droney, minimalist, deeply evocative works perfectly suited that label, but it's lovely to see her second album picked up by Fat Cat's post/neo-classical subsiduary 130701. Jensen is both an accomplished interpreter of contemporary classical composition - including with her American Contemporary Music Ensemble (sporting the great acronym ACME) - and also a performer outside the classical world with artists such as Björk, Dirty Projectors, Blonde Redhead etc. Her solo work is mostly centred around cello layered and looped and effected, and I never tired of the different ways that cellists around the world make use of these techniques. Jensen can build massive tectonic drones, but also - as with the section from her debut release on Miasmah - might construct shimmering waves of broken bowed chords and emphatic pizzicato notes. Here, as with some of the works on new album The Experience of Repetition as Death, the cello can be embedded in chorusing effects that make it sound like an organ. At other times, the pure acoustic cello sound is layered through reverb for a kind of smeared-out, slowed down baroque music.

Seabuckthorn - Through a Vulnerable Occur (feat. Gareth Davis) [Iikki/Bandcamp]
Seabuckthorn - Other Other [Iikki/Bandcamp]
Finishing up with new work from UK guitarist Andy Cartwright, who has recorded for some years now as Seabuckthorn. He's a master at fingerstyle guitar - dazzling folk & blues fingerpicking - but he's always loved also creating shoegazey numbers, and even more droney works, as found here. He's playing the Persian saz here and the South American charango as well as guitar, but mostly all the instruments are drawn out in ways where you could be forgiven for confusing it with the cello sounds we heard previously. On the title track of new album Through A Vulnerable Occur he's joined by the excellent Dutch clarinettist Gareth Davis as well - but actually the whole album is a different kind of collaboration, as with everything released by Iikki - they are all audiovisual in their complete form, with CD & vinyl editions also released with an art book. This time the artwork comes from Melbourne photographer Sophie Gabrielle, and it looks to be an evocative partnering with the music.

Listen again — ~189MB


Sunday, 29th of March, 2020

Playlist 29.03.20 (8:10 pm)

A bit of electronic pop, ambient, and lots of lovely skittery jungle & jungle-adjacent beats for you tonight. Everything's going crazy, but we've still got music, and rest assured we always will have music.

Take solace in music and LISTEN AGAIN - stream on demand @ FBi, podcast right here.

Aphir - Autonomy (feat. Brambles) [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Becki Whitton was going to release the first single from a triumphant new pop album from Aphir this week. But then the world decided to become a whole lot darker and more uncertain, and that music seemed to not quite belong in the current moment. We'll still get to hear that when the time is right, but because Becki just can't stop - and she loves a collaboration - we get her amazing ritual to banish fear instead. On both of these tracks she has adopted a vocal style in which she speaks the lyrics rather than singing melodies. And tonight's track features synth from Brambles, whose earlier work was stunning post-classical/folktronic ambient, but whose more recent work ventures into a more explicitly electronic sound palette.

Panoptique Electrical - Spiral Song [Panoptique Electrical Bandcamp]
Jason Sweeney has been a stalwart of experimental, electronic, indie, ambient and more music scenes in Adelaide and Melbourne for some decades. He was responsible for some of the greatest idm to come out of Australia in the mid-'90s with Pretty Boy Crossover. But for years now his solo work has mostly coalesced around Panoptique Electrical, from whom we now have a lovely set of ambient piano compositions - Five Pianos. Written for theatre and installations, they're redolent of melancholy and quietude. Maybe just what you need at this moment!

ju ca - Essence [angoisse]
ju ca - Essence (Flora Yin-Wong Remix) [angoisse]
Melbourne's Justin Cantrell has for the last few years been developing a body of work as ju ca that explores space through a predominantly digital palette, on international labels like Denmark's phinery and now Spanish label angoisse. Alongside ju ca's pristine, stark pieces are a number of remixes. Tonight we heard London-based Chinese-Malaysian producer Flora Yin-Wong's glitched-up take on the same track.

ckeener - Run Out [Them There]
ckeener - Heads Chat Shit [Them There]
Carl Brown may be slightly better known as Preston Field Audio, under which name he mainly releases field recordings. As ckeener, he's just released an album on UK label Them There which sees him branch out into off-kilter electronica and beautiful ambient, including some gorgeous cello improvisations on a couple of tracks from Ailsa Mair Hughes. The sounds here are very strange and otherworldly - not all ambient like "Run Out"; the second track I played veers from noise into wonky beats.

Köhn - TP [Köhn Bandcamp]
Köhn - Doktöhr [Köhn Bandcamp]
As you may remember from a million years ago, aka last week, on Friday the 20th of March Bandcamp decided to forego their revenue share of all sales in a gesture towards the fraught situation of musicians the world over due to COVID-19. This prompted a lot of artists to upload new or lost material. Here Belgian electronic master Köhn, aka Jürgen De Blonde (among other things, also a member of Belgian indie/postrock pranksters de Portables) has compiled various tracks from the last 15 years which have never seen release. It's by no means second-rate offcuts. There are delicious crunchy granular drones, pulsating synths, cut-up guitars and lots more - replete with outrageous titles like "Wuhan Clan" and "Köhvid-19" - the album itself is called Köhrona. To be honest it's not a bad intro to the work of a highly talented experimental artists. The at times skittery beats of the second tracks lead us nicely into the next phase of the show...

Nicolas Jaar - Faith Made of Silk [Other People]
Nicolas Jaar - The Governor [Other People]
Nicolas Jaar - Don't Break My Love [Clown & Sunset]
This week, Chilean-American musician Nicolas Jaar released his new album Cenizas on his Other People label. It's mostly patient music built around a desire for real feeling, of healing - quite a beautiful sentiment for the times we're in. And while much of his club & beat tendencies find their outlet in his Against All Logic project, there are always beat tracks or programmed beats in amongst his material, so tonight we heard from one of those jungle-ish, idm-ish things he lets slip now and then, the closing track "Faith Made of Silk". And I decided to wander through a couple of other Jaar beats - the incredible "The Governor" from 2016's Sirens, and about half of 2011 track "Don't Break My Love", a kind of James Blakeian jazzy post-dubstep tune with some double-time beats. Always just lovely.

CA2+ - Gait Cycle (Mormal Version) [Northern Electronics/Bandcamp]
CA2+ - Gait Cycle [Northern Electronics/Bandcamp]
CA2+ - Deleese (Intro) (excerpt) [Northern Electronics/Bandcamp]
CA2+ - Lure Protrusion [Northern Electronics/Bandcamp]
For his new release Overtone Window, once again through the Northern Electronics label, Swedish producer & photographer Andreas Lübeck takes his CA2+ alias back into dark beats. It's that kind of club/bass-informed idm that's about a lot these days, and this is sharp & intense & deep. It's also impressive because his previous release, Lonely Hearts Club found him deep in sound design, creating almost contemporary-classical sounding pieces of sonic architecture - check the sliding tones, quasi-melodies and discordant harmonies of "Deleese (Intro)". Lübeck likes creating strange alternate versions of his own tracks - the new EP features the "Mormal Version" of the title track from his earlier Gait Cycle EP, speeding up the beats for something more crushing, funkier and less loose, whereas the original "Deleese" on that same first EP is a faster-moving and more distorted work than the exquisite "(Intro)" from last year. All three releases couldn't be more highly recommended.

JASSS - We Solve This Talking [Whities/Bandcamp]
JASSS - Every Single Fish In The Pond [iDEAL Recordings]
Brainwaltzera - Ten Ton Fenix (JASSS Remix) [Touched Music]
It's been a long while since the last solo release from Berlin-resident Spanish producer JASSS. Her debut album Weightless came out in 2017 and made a huge impression, with its amalgam of industrial, jazz influences, and contemporary beats. Now she's just released a pair of excellent tracks on the mighty Whities label, both drawing on jungle breaks & rave aesthetics in a bass techno context - and simultaneously this triumphant return finds TWO remixes released the same week; one is a breaky take on Alva Noto, while the other sees her taking on latter-day idm wunderkind Brainwaltzera, preserving the melodic nature of his beloved track, but amplifying the beats into junglist mayhem. Genius.

AYA - "Oneohtrix Point Never - Along (LTJ Bukem Remix)" [AYA Bandcamp]
AYA - think i'm gonna make a move [AYA Bandcamp]
Manchester's AYA also loves her jungle and rave stylings, inserting mashed amen breaks at any opportunity. She dropped a new compilation two oh won nein for last Friday's Bandcamp extravaganza, full of crazy mashups, edits and unauthorized remixes. It's incredibly cheeky to name a track "Oneohtrix Point Never - Along (LTJ Bukem Remix)" - it clearly is a remix of the Oneohtrix Point Never tune, but I'm not deep enough in the back catalogue of d'n'b don LTJ Bukem to know if it's a mashup of him or just a little bit in his style. The other piece tonight is a junglified take on Cassie's 2005 hit "Me & U". Sweet as.

Christoph de Babalon - Webs Of Wraith [A Colourful Storm]
Mark - Incantation For The Protection Of JC [A Colourful Storm]
Finally for tonight, newly released on Melbourne's A Colourful Storm is a Split EP from older & new Berlin - furious industrial drum'n'bass alongside ambient. Christoph de Babalon has been making jungle and experimental electronic (and dark ambient) since the Digital Hardcore days of the early to mid '90s - the Berlin scene was on to jungle impressively early, with their own cyberpunky, apocalyptic, political take. It's impressive that de Babalon is still producting full on-point material decades hence, and he's had an influence on multiple generations of musicians - presumably including Melbourne-by-way-of-Berlin character Mark, aka Klon Dump, whose latest jungle/techno EPs have come out through the experimental sub-label Unterton of Berghain's Ostgut Ton. Here Mark shows us his chops, with epic dark d'n'b of tonight's "Incantation For The Protection Of JC" juxtaposed with literally a "Duet For Melodica And Claves", a wistful and lonely piece. Check it out.

Listen again — ~191MB


Sunday, 22nd of March, 2020

Playlist 22.03.20 - Bonus 2 hours to fill (10:50 pm)

This post represents the continuation of this week's Utility Fog - find the main post here. Times being as they are, I'm socially distancing myself at home (not quite self-isolation), and have recorded the show(s) here. The wonders of the cloud! The lovely Joseph Earp who presents This Is A Love Song usually after me has been feeling a little under the weather, and that's enough for him to keep himself at home. So here we are... two more hours of Utility Fog selections!
We've got a few repeats of artists from earlier, and some extraordinary longform works.

So tuck yourself in and LISTEN AGAIN for the longform love... You can stream on demand from the This Is Not A Love Song page on FBi's website, or of course podcast it here.

Beatriz Ferreyra - Echos [Room40/Bandcamp]
I'm so glad that Lawrence English has introduced me to the work of Argentinian composer Beatriz Ferreyra via his Room40 label. Active since the 1960s, she is still making music now. These works can be seen as musique concrète, but to me they're actually more engaging than a lot of the original concrète work which seems strangely gimmicky now (an unfair generalisation no doubt!). These three works are all quite fabulous - two based around vocal manipulation, one involving percussion and a lot of spatial movement. The piece "Echos" goes back to 1978 and is made up entirely of recordings of her niece, who was killed in a car accident. It's quite a beautiful tribute to her - lively and full of movement.

Luciano Berio - Altra voce [col legno]
An even more longform work now, from groundbreaking and highly influential Italian 20th century composer Luciano Berio. This piece from 1999 is for mezzo soprano (here Monica Bacelli), alto flute (a beguiling sound, here performed by Michele Marasco) and live electronics (Francesco Giomi, Damiano Meacci and Kilian Schwoon), taken from the double CD Les Espaces Électroacoustiques II released by the col legno label. I find the dischords beautiful here, many created by live electronic manipulation, and the way the low female voice and low flute's sonorities interact is exquisite. The text is by Berio's third wife, Talia Pecker Berio.

Wacław Zimpel - Release [Ongehoord]
Polish composer Wacław Zimpel is one of those talented young artists who is classically trained but also plays jazz improv and draws from techno and psych rock and whatever else he pleases. His latest album Massive Oscillations grooves through four long tracks - kosmische synth pulsations, something like minimal techno, and this final track featuring the voice of Holly Hock. It's the most "classical" sounding piece on the album, with rhythmic tuned percussion, but it could also be ambient electronica of some sort. The whole album is mixed by James Holden, who adds his organic techno feel to the proceedings.

FEAN - Wetterreid [Moving Furniture Records/Bandcamp]
You can read more about FEAN on my earlier post. This track comes from their first album, released in late 2018.

Síria - Gloria [Crónica/Bandcamp]
Síria - Danse macabre [Crónica]
Like FEAN, I played Diana Combo's Síria on the earlier show tonight, so much more info there. I played her wondrously strange cover of Patti Smith's "Gloria" from 2018, and a swirling, crushing track from her new one.

Mise_En_Scene - Patterned Clouds (Adam Basanta's Random Groups Rework) [Crónica/Bandcamp]
Also on Portugal's Crónica, Mise_En_Scene is the work of Tel Aviv musician Shay Nassi. The fabulously glitchy piece here is a remix by Tel Aviv-born but Vancouver-based Adam Basanta.

Pablo's Eye - Tentative d'épuisement d'un lieu parisien [Longform Editions/Bandcamp]
Belgian collective Pablo's Eye have been around since 1989 and are one of those groups that you're sure you've heard of and you know you've heard some tracks somewhere... Well now I need to go and find out, because this track for Sydney's Longform Editions is quite a delight. Over nearly 19 minutes, the same things happen in various orders, at times coalescing into lovely electronica with beats and bassline, at other times gently flowing back and forth. The track is named for a practice of the French experimental author Georges Perec, sitting in a French café and recording every single event and thing that passed through his field of vision...

Ground Patrol - Rain/Fracture [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
The Sydney-New York duo Ground Patrol are made up of familiar fellow Alon Ilsar on drums (not AirSticks!) and Kyle Sanna on guitar. Both are comfortable working across many genres, but here the project circles around math rock, krautrock and even postrock - although after a mathy first half, this track melts away into patient ambient sound. It's my favourite track from their new album Geophone, so I'm glad I have this opportunity to play the whole thing.

The Plains - The Zone [chemical imbalance]
Finally tonight, one side of the debut cassette from Sydney duo The Plains, made up of two Sydney music stalwarts. Luke Telford played in the long-lost, lovely postrock/indie band Derwent River Star, and is a very talented writer. Kell Derrig-Hall is known as The Singing Skies, and also had an experimental duo called Moonmilk with his wife Lia Tsamoglou aka Melodie Nelson. The Plains is an exercise in patient minimalism, centred around their two acoustic guitars, layered with distant field recordings and synth fx. Blissful late-night listening.

Listen again — ~210MB


Playlist 22.03.20 (6:12 pm)

Broadcasting from home... Now that NSW is about to be in lockdown, I'm already ensconsed at home, keeping safe. It's been a hectic week, not just with the progressively more severe announcements as the COVID-19 situation gets worse, but also because Bandcamp decided to make Friday very special by waiving their revenue share for 24 hours, in support of artists losing income (and potentially their entire livelihoods) due to restrictions from the coronavirus catastrophe. This caused an absolute frenzy of new music being uploaded and released on Bandcamp over the last couple of days - impossible to keep up with!

So... let's take joy and solace in music. Not only have we got our usual Utility Fog goodness tonight, but there's a bonus 2 hours afterwards as I'm filling in for Joe Earp who's a little under the weather and playing it safe by staying in. You'll see a separate post about part 2!
As usual, LISTEN AGAIN for your comfort - stream on demand from FBi or podcast here.

The God In Hackney - The Pub Machine [Junior Aspirin Records/Bandcamp]
The God In Hackney - Carbon Date (Shed) [Junior Aspirin Records/Bandcamp]
The God In Hackney - Sur La Piste des Bêtes Ignorées [Junior Aspirin Records/Bandcamp]
The God In Hackney - Crumble & Collapse [Junior Aspirin Records/Bandcamp]
I discovered UK band The God In Hackney only a week or so again, when their wonderful song "The Adjoiner" was featured on The Wire Tapper 52, accompanying the April issue of The Wire. Their new album Small Country Eclipse appears to be officially released on the 1st of June, but digitally it's just come out this week!
Formed in 2003 by Andy Cooke and Nathaniel Mellors, joined by the other two for their first album Cave Moderne in 2014. They are one of those UFog-loved affairs of great, catchy songs with really unusual arrangements. Excellent, flowing drums (or indeed stop-start drums) from Ashley Marlowe, acoustic and sometimes dubbed-out by Mellors, with many acoustic instruments as well as plenty of electronics. Andy Cooke is credited with "fire extinguisher" as well as vocals, keyboards, and guitars. And Dan Fox contributes multiple instruments including cello and trombone. There are heaps of influences here, from krautrock & spiritual jazz to experimental electronic, leftfield pop, dub and more. It's such classic UFog music it hurts.

Tropical Fuck Storm - Suburbiopia [Joyful Noise Records/Bandcamp]
That always topical (and always slightly obtuse) fuckstorm, Australia's greatest punk-funk experimental rockers Tropical Fuck Storm have just released the A-side of a new 7", written & sung by Fiona Kitschin. The usual score with TFS - melodic but angular, hard-hittin', lyric-spittin'.

Sparkspitter - Life Horse [Sparkspitter Bandcamp]
Adelaide instrumental rock band Sparkspitter have taken a really long time to release this new 2-track single. It was originally recorded in 2017. I know the feeling. Anyway, both tracks are awesome - chiming guitar patterns and thumping drums and edges of feedback loops. And all proceeds go to the excellent Seed, Indigenous Youth Climate Network. Grab it!

The Letter String Quartet feat. Marita Dyson - Same But Swallowed [The Letter String Quartet Bandcamp]
The Letter String Quartet feat. Marita Dyson - Blossoms of the Wreck [The Letter String Quartet Bandcamp]
This wonderful album slipped under my radar, although I've had conflicting news about release date. I thought it was mid March but Bandcamp says it came out a month ago. Melbourne ensemble The Letter String Quartet feature some very experienced musicians who play across contemporary classical and pop/indie genres. Steph O'Hara, Lizzy Welsh are the violinists, Biddy Connor the violist and artistic director, and Zoë Barry the cellist. Their new album All The Stories is a song cycle is a collaboration between poet Maria Zajkowski and Connors compositions/arrangements, with vocals by The Orbweavers' Marita Dyson (although one song is a lovely Orbweavers cover). The works are inspired by the experiences of women residing at the Abbotsford Convent in the 1900s - an orphanage, a convent for nuns and a place where women were taken who had become pregnant out of wedlock. These rich and moving stories are set with both experimental and beautiful string arrangements - I'm drawn to return to this album a lot, and highly recommend that you spend some time with it.

Helen Money - Many Arms [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Helen Money - Marrow [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Helen Money - Understory [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Alison Chesley, as Helen Money, is a pioneering, genre-smashing doom cellist, who I've been a fan of for many years. Despite her great history of punshing riffage and layered cello distortion, and some great collaborations including one with Jarboe, this album floored me. The riffs are there, but there are also beautiful passages of gentler stuff, multiple cellos with piano and ambient synthesisers & crackling electronics (provided by producer Will Thomas aka Plumbline and also heavy music legend Sanford Parker). There's maximalism and minimalism here, and it seems lovely to bridge from The Letter String Quartet's neoclassical song arrangements through pummeling cello-metal and then floating cello & piano to get to the next material...

Ian William Craig - The Smokefallen [130701/Bandcamp]
Ian William Craig - Open Like a Loss [130701/Bandcamp]
There's a hell of a story with the new Ian William Craig album, and there are a couple of "hells" in here which are achingly familiar. IWC took himself off to a city called Kelowna in British Columbia (Canada) to find some space to record his next album, and to hang out with his Grampa who had just gone into palliative care. And here's the thing: the city was surrounded by forest fires - a now-regular occurence due to climate change. Oh how well we know this in Australia! His Grampa's lungs filled with fluid as a result of breathing in the smoke, and tragically passed away within a week of Ian's arrival.
Ian continued recording, and this awful situation finds an outlet in the always-moving sounds from Craig - his classically-trained voice and piano layered on tape machines, which are used to saturate, distort and twist the sound. It's visceral, physically touching music. There's more to this story, which you can read in the Bandcamp description, go on.

Max de Wardener, performed by Kit Downes - Deranged Landscape [Village Green/Bandcamp]
Max de Wardener, performed by Kit Downes - Blueshift [Village Green/Bandcamp]
Pianos disturbed in different ways here, from composer Max de Wardener (whose earliest works include some UFog-beloved skittery idm and folktronica), performed by experimental musician, pianist & organist Kit Downes. It's not often that you hear deliberately detuned pianos, other than that "honky tonk" style of never-tuned saloon bar jazz. Here de Wardener is deliberately looking for the otherworldly effect of "off" resonances. At times it makes my stomach turn, but de Wardener & Downes ably demonstrate the possibilities here, from the spooky-gorgeous echoing quietness of "Deranged Landscape" to the classical-folk of "Blueshift", where the clearly articulated detuned notes chime out like bell tones.

FEAN - Soere molke [laaps Bandcamp]
FEAN - Ketlik [Moving Furniture Records/Bandcamp]
FEAN - Swellen [laaps Bandcamp]
From the ending of the great French experimental/ambient label eilean records comes new venture laaps records. Their second release is also the second release from a European supergroup of sorts, FEAN.
One half is the grouping of Dutch musicians who record as Piiptsjilling: the Kleefstra brothers Jan Kleefstra (spoken words) and Romke Kleefstra (guitar, bass and effects), along with singer Mariska Baars and electronic musician Rutger Zuydervelt, who you may know as Machinefabriek (considering I play him ALL THE TIME on this show). For FEAN they are joined by a selection of Belgian musicians: Annelies Monseré (church organ, keyboard), Sylvain Chauveau (credited here to tuned percussion and radio) and Joachim Badenhorst, whose wonderful clarinet, bass clarinet & saxophone tones are heard throughout.
It's always strange with the Kleefstras' projects to hear the poetry of Jan spoken in Frisian, a language group found only in the north of the Netherlands. So very few people will understand these words, but such is the soothing voice of Jan Kleefstra that it always sounds evocative and welcoming. Around this we have drones and slow-moving instrumental conversations. It's neither as minimalist as it sounds nor as abstract - rather it's organic and adventurous.

Síria - Canção do Gato [Crónica/Bandcamp]
Síria - Senhora do Almortão [Crónica/Bandcamp]
Síria - Nos Montes [Crónica/Bandcamp]
Síria is the current musical project for Portuguese musician Diana Combo. Her first album Cuspo made a heavy impression in 2018, repurposing avant-garde works on vinyl (all credited), layering different works along with her own effects and then performing her own songs along with them. So on the middle track here she takes music by Svarte Greiner along with her own cymbal playing and vocals. For her new album Boa-Língua she performs versions of traditional songs and a few originals, again with her own percussion and vocals. "Nos Montes" was also remixed by long-established Portuguese experimental electronic duo @c. The album's title literally means "good tongue", in contrast to the term "má-língua", which translates as "tittle-tattle" or gossip. The album is an attempt to address the way some people will speak obliquely, deliberately misunderstand etc. It's fiercly creative, original work.

Listen again — ~181MB


Sunday, 15th of March, 2020

Playlist 15.03.19 (8:12 pm)

On this apocalyptic weekend where Australia is on the brink of heavy action against the coming COVID-19 explosion, we've got beautiful experimental songwriter music, experimental post-classical, ambient and experimental electronics of various sorts...

If you are self-isolating and feeling lonely, you can have my voice bringing you wonderful music from years & years by clicking through the archives on this blog - the sidebar should have month-by-month archives going back years.
You can LISTEN AGAIN to tonight's show either by streaming on demand at FBi's website, or podcasting here.

Hilary Woods - Tongues of Wild Boar [Sacred Bones/Bandcamp]
Hilary Woods - Take Him In [Sacred Bones/Bandcamp]
Hilary Woods - The Mouth [Sacred Bones/Bandcamp]
The first solo album from Irish artist Hilary Woods, released by Sacred Bones in 2018, was a collection of bewitching simple tunes with piano, guitar, sparse percussion and synths. It followed her tenure in Dublin-based indie rock band JJ72, but it was a while between her leaving that band and releasing her first solo record. The new album, called Birthmarks, was recorded while heavily pregnant, and much of it was put together in Oslo, working with the great Norwegian noise artist Lasse Marhaug. Cello from his frequent collaborator Okkyung Lee is also all over the album, and Jenny Hval appears on synths as well. It's incredible work, very evocative, and utterly uncompromising, with industrial rhythms, scraping cello noises, lots of unsettling ambience, across a couple of instrumental tracks and some moving, haunting songwrting. Highly recommended.

The God In Hackney - The Adjoiner [Junior Aspirin Records/The Wire]
Elizabeth A. Baker - Command Voices - 415x [Aerocade Music/The Wire]
April's issue of The Wire has arrived digitally, and with it, the 52nd edition of The Wire Tapper cover CD. As usual there's some very interesting music on there - a few things I know and/or own, and lots I'd never encountered. The God In Hackney instantly attracted my attention with a vocal that reminds me of e.g. Gordon Sharp's work with This Mortal Coil, but a skittering drum beat underlying the vocals and drones. Wonderful, can't wait for this album. Meanwhile, Florida composer & performer Elizabeth A. Baker is a "new Renaissance artist" who works with toy pianos and electronics, although I feel in this excerpt from a new double album there's a real piano's insides being dissected. Lovely sounds.

Keith Fullerton Whitman - Fairport Convention; "Fotheringay" (1969) [Keith Fullerton Whitman Bandcamp]
Keith Fullerton Whitman - Aphex Twin; "Alberto Balsalm" (1995) [Keith Fullerton Whitman Bandcamp]
Keith Fullerton Whitman - Contemporary Drummer #6 [Keith Fullerton Whitman Bandcamp]
I've been following Keith Fullerton Whitman's work for decades now, since his pioneering drum'n'bass/breakcore work as Hrvatski from the mid-to-late '90s, and I've been friends with him for a fair amount of that time. He's a lovely, generous guy with wide interests and strong opinions, and his knowledge of 20th & 21st century electronic music - musique concrète and sound-art of all sorts, noise, as much as IDM and jungle and techno - is unparalleled. And it all turns up in his prodigious musical output, which is now appearing at quite a clip on his Bandcamp. He's also a prodigious self-documenter, so what you get is an overwhelming amount of material a lot of the time - rehearsal tapes, alternate versions etc. Here we have examples from two recent series. Resonators (1) sees him taking beloved works and looping segments of them, which are sent through a set of effects which draw out particular resonances & frequencies through reverbs, EQs, ring mods etc I presume. Some tracks, like the two tonight, are quite recognizable, while others come out as beautiful drones.
Meanwhile, the "Redactions" series takes sound sources and absolutely mangles them. Here (for Contemporary Drummer [Redactions]) various drum solos ripped from YouTube are messed up with various other sound sources, originally in 4-channel settings. For the release they've been reduced to stereo and should be listened to as loudly as possible. I chose a relatively polite part, which I find rather compelling... but I wish I could hear it loud in a room with four separate channels...

Hidden Valley Logging Company - 902 (C.E. Mix) [Lillerne Tapes]
Hidden Valley Logging Company - Channel Looper [Lillerne Tapes]
Chicago label Lillerne Tapes can be relied on for really interesting, evocative sounds ranging from ambient to dubby techno, trip-hop, glitch etc. This is their second release from Vancouver-based producer Cameron Everatt aka Hidden Valley Logging Company, and it's a fair bit less ambient than his previous releases (although I did lean on the more beat-based tracks here). Head-nodding beats with deep, looping textures and minimalist melodies make for a really satisfying listen - absolutely love this, great driving music, or indeed stay-at-home music.

Temp-Illusion - Two Ships [Zabte Sote]
Temp-Illusion - Excerpt from Autoelected Side B [Zabte Sote]
Temp-Illusion - Nankraws [Zabte Sote]
I'm so glad to finally be able to play the new album from Iranian duo Temp-Illusion. The duo, made up of Shahin Entezami and Behrang Najafi, sent me a copy a while ago and I was blown away. I would've played it early, but of course last week was International Women's Day, so here we have it tonight, along with an excerpt from their previous live release. Both albums are released on Ata Ebtekar's Zabte Sote label dedicated to adventurous music from the Persian massive in Iran and the world over, and Temp-Illusion are such a talented pair of musicians from Tehran, really pushing the limits of electronic production and beat-making. New album PEND concerns itself with the way external factors can rule one's life - especially in Iran, where rumours of war alongside external sanctions and different levels of leadership (or lack thereof) create a situation of continuous anxiety, ruins the economy, destroys life. Still, the music here is pretty life-affirming. It's dark and glitchy but complex and melodic, smart and funky.
My heart goes out to all my Persian friends and acquaintances. It must be a particularly scary time at the moment...

Nazar - Intercept [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Nazar - Airstrike (feat. Shannen SP) [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Nazar - Retaliation [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Angolan producer Nazar grew up in Belgium, and moved back to Angola after their bloody civil war. He's now based in Manchester, and his music combines various contemporary forms of UK club music with Angola's native kuduro to create a heavy, intense atmosphere of dread and oppression. His father was a guerilla general during the civil war and it's conversations with his father as well as his wartime memoire which informed the new album Guerilla. Like 2018's Enclave, the album features kuduro weaponised with sounds of guns cocking, field recordings and sounds of Angolan voices singing and speaking, and lots of heavy electronic beats. It's pretty intense and amazing.

Tennis Pagan - 70114 [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Tennis Pagan - Pli [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Finishing up tonight with something new from a new Melbourne artist called Tennis Pagan. We have no info to speak of - it's their debut release, and it's nice glitchy idm and stuff. One track here is a bit more abstract and beatless, but I was mostly talking over that. Then I played a lovely bouncy bit of melodic drill'n'bass. EKO is a great little EP, get into it.

Listen again — ~206MB



 
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