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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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Sunday, 16th of May, 2010

Playlist 16.05.10 (11:07 pm)

Tonight's another one of those "fixate on certain artists" things I like to do :)
LISTEN AGAIN if you wish - link at bottom of playlist.

Sage Francis starts the show with his hip-hop poetry. His new album, Li(f)e, sees him dispensing with the breaks and samples, instead working with various indie and alt.country bands. What with recent ventures from contemporaries like Sole & the Skyrider Band, not to mention Why?’s metamorphosis into an indie band, this isn't entirely surprising - and indeed I played a few tracks from as far back as 2005 which show Sage's interest in a venture like this.
The album opens with "Little Houdini", a Bob Dylanesque tale told in a pretty un-rap fashion, with ex-Grandaddy Jason Lytle’s very effective musical accompaniment. Then we heard Sage's 2005 single "Sea Lion" with Will Oldham, and what's for me the indispensible extra verse by Saul Williams from the 12”.
From 2007 there's the acoustic guitar-led "Got Up This Morning" with the distinctive folky vocals of Jolie Holland, and then we're back to the new album and a collaboration with Balkan/Eastern European-inspired DeVotchKa.

I also wanted to play a more "traditional" hip-hop tune with beats by longtime collaborator Alias, because Alias produced the entire new album by Sage's mate B. Dolan, which was released on Sage's Strange Famous label, and fantastic it is too.

And somehow that leads us to that maverick of UK music Mark E Smith and his band The Fall. With multitudinous different lineups since the late '70s, he's released about a thousand albums to date, and the latest has at least a couple of top-rate tracks. "Chino" is led by a sinister circular bass line, and features a fantastically wild guitar solo as well as MES's trademark snarl. The last track, by contrast, starts almost jangly pop but the last 2/3 is fuzzy bass noise and MES's intonations. In between, we heard from Smith's unlikely collaboration with Mouse on Mars from 2007, Von Südenfed, with a ridiculously catchy song called "Rhinohead".

Matthew Herbert’s new album takes his PCCOM manifeso (read it!) to its logical conclusion, with all sounds produced only by Herbert himself. Some have complained about his at best workmanlike vocals, but in a way I think they make the album. "Tonbridge" is a touching track with a lovely bouncy beat.

And bouncy is the beat from Sydney wonky producer Know-U, inaugurating The Frequency Lab’s "Fictitious Sevens" series. I love the swing that all the electronic artists seem to be introducing into their beats since the advent of dubstep and wonky. (Of course Herbert is a longtime lover of the swing...)
Eskmo’s another producer who loves his swing, and "Let Them Sing" mixes duple and triple time in beautiful fashion.

Also from west coast USA is Flying Lotus, who's flying high currently on the back of his best album yet. Taking influences from J Dilla on the one hand, but also the dubstep and wonky sounds from the UK, computer games, and his aunt Alice Coltrane’s transcendent jazz. We had a tiny bit of that range in the two tracks tonight.

The reason for the two Ben Frost tracks I played next is that I saw this weekend one of (sadly) the last performances in the Sydney run of Mortal Engine, an incredible work of dance, light and sound by Chunky Move. It features Robin Fox’s lasers, Frieder Weiss’s interactive video design and stacks of music from Ben Frost’s brilliant 2006 album Theory of Machines. Hearing the raw Swans sample in the middle of "Stomp" on the huge Sydney Theatre sound system was pretty amazing, but tonight I thought I'd play the track with the beep-beep. Incredibly tasty stuff, and I had to play something from his latest album too...

Machinefabriek also likes to combine beautiful minimal sounds with swathes of noise, as we heard on his first track of the evening. And he works very well with acoustic instruments in the mix too, like Richard Skelton’s stringed things. We heard from his two most recent releases, and the album Daas is released on UK label Cold Spring, who I know from their black metal, dark ambient and noise stuff, such as the scary but not all that screamingly noisy track I played from Prurient...

I was glad to receive a new CD of recordings from Sydney contemporary music group Ensemble Offspring. It's impressive how easily a contemporary classical composition such as founding member Matthew Shlomowitz’s fits in among the noise and experimental what-have-you, but when you've got two clarinets, accordion, percussion and live lo-fi tape playback, it's not all that surprising! This is a beautiful work.

Perth's Adam Trainer has been featured on Utility Fog ever since he was playing in postrock band Radarmaker, and he makes consistently fine experimental music. He's on tour in East Asia at the moment with Shoeb Ahmad (they just played Bangkok!) and sent me this Tour EP of rareish tracks... And I'm told he's taking over as Music Director at Perth's excellent community radio station RTRfm.
Tune in next week and I'll fish out some Radarmaker as well as some more of his solo stuff.

Final band to take over their bit of tonight's UFog is Hamilton Yarns. The lovely Sydney band Telafonica recently put together a mixtape for Stu Buchanan's Discontent blog, and included a track by these guys, so I went and got hold of a few of their albums direct from their site.
I guess basically Hamilton Yarns make English folk music, of a typically English weirdness. Charmingly odd, it's the sort of stuff which is ramshackle in a way that you just know is studiedly deliberate. If you didn't hear the show live, I think you'll really like this stuff.

And finally, I've had Eli Murray's lovely music as Gentleforce on my mind because I'm interviewing him tomorrow for the next issue of Cyclic Defrost. Classic ambient electronica, wonderfully trippy stuff.

Sage Francis with Jason Lytle - Little Houdini [Strange Famous/ANTI-/Epitaph]
Sage Francis - Sea Lion (extended mix feat. Will Oldham, Alias & Saul Williams) [Epitaph]
Sage Francis - Got Up This Morning (feat. Jolie Holland) [Epitaph]
Sage Francis with DeVotchKa - Diamonds and Pearls [Strange Famous/ANTI-/Epitaph]
Sage Francis - Good Fashion / Clickety Clack [Epitaph]
B. Dolan - Earthmovers [Strange Famous]
The Fall - Chino [Domino]
Von Südenfed - Rhinohead [Domino]
The Fall - Weather Report 2 [Domino]
Matthew Herbert - Tonbridge [Accidental Records]
Know-U - Triptych [Frequency Lab]
Eskmo - Let Them Sing [Planet µ]
Flying Lotus - Computer Face / Pure Being [Warp]
Flying Lotus - ...And the World Laughs With You (feat. Thom Yorke) [Warp]
Ben Frost - We Love You Michael Gira [Bedroom Community]
Ben Frost - Killshot [Bedroom Community]
Machinefabriek - Study 3 [Machinefabriek]
Machinefabriek - Daas (feat. Richard Skelton) [Cold Spring]
Prurient - Forever Hate [Cold Spring]
Machinefabriek - Onkruid [Cold Spring]
Matthew Shlomowitz - Slow Flipping Harmony (performed by Ensemble Offspring) [Ensemble Offspring/Curious Noise]
Adam Trainer - Corrosion Party [New Weird Australia]
Hamilton Yarns - What If the Joke Comes True? [hark!]
Hamilton Yarns - Search for the Underwater Town [hark!]
Hamilton Yarns - Bedfellows [hark!]
Hamilton Yarns - Can You Hear the Music? Pts 1&2 [hark!]
Gentleforce - Oh The Mystery, Oh The Wonder [Feral Media]

Listen again — ~ 224MB

One Response to “Playlist 16.05.10”

  1. adrian Says:

    i think one of my favourite things about hamilton yarns is that many of their live performances involve them just setting up in public parks and playing & improvising.

    their new album is a bit more electric (as opposed to electronic) than older material, so it would be interesting to see if the park concerts still happen in the same way.

    it also helps, of course, that their music is wonderful.

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