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experimental electronica
electric string quartet

Utility Fog

Your weekly fix of postfolkrocktronica, dronenoise, power ambient, post-everything improv... and more?
Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.

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Sunday, 13th of November, 2011

Playlist 13.11.11 (10:06 pm)

Hey yo, what's happening?
Not sure over here, something to do with music, music, music. You love it.
And you can LISTEN AGAIN, or catch up, via the podcast or the link at the bottom (most convenient), or stream on demand (best audio quality).

At the start, I felt it necessary (Felt, get it?) to showcase some more of the music of Nils Frahm, from his new album Felt and from earlier releases. His beautiful sensitive piano playing is perfectly balanced between heart-catching melody, pianistic technique, and recording experimentation. On the new album, the muted piano is mic'd up so close that his fingers hitting the keys add a percussive element, while the ambient room sounds and breathing sound almost like vinyl surface noise.

Frahm's collaboration with Peter Broderick, oliveray, coming out in December, seems inevitable - they've been caught up in each other's music for years, dedicating tracks and releases to each other, and this musical love affair finds its official fruition in a characteristically understated combination of post-classical, folk and ambient approaches. Just one preview track tonight.
And Peter Broderick has a new 7" out, which comes with an entire album (a documentary soundtrack) as bonus download. Very pretty.
Nils' collaboration with Anne Müller sees him (or both?) contributing a lot of electronics as well as his piano and Müller's soaring cello. It was one of last year's best releases for sure. And speaking of electronics, near the start we heard a litte marvel from a new 7" (and digital) from Mr Frahm — entitled Juno, it's two explorations of the Juno synthesiser, and it's warm and enveloping, and along with the album, absolutely essential.

Next up, two new remixes by the brilliant violin/viola duo Geese. So great hearing string players messing with sound in the studio so assuredly. What they've been doing over the last couple of years, with a solid selection of artists, is definitely remixing, and the rhythms of ricochet bowing and plucking, plus melodic layers and harmonic invention are a joy to hear. Tonight we heard their takes on Irish singer Adrian Crowley and legendary ambient techno producer David Holmes, more lately a soundtrack composer of some renown.

And keeping it stringy, a new Balmorhea track exclusively available on their new live album. Their latest music is some of their best — catchy, propulsive stuff, folk baroque'n'roll (I promise I'll never use that expression again).

Japanese minimalists Minamo's latest, released by Brisbane's Room40, is captivating. The sounds seem to mostly be acoustic — bells and gongs and guitars and strings — and are masterfully put together.

Speaking of acoustic sounds, umin’s music is sourced from his skillful ukelele playing, but is chopped and put through the digital wringer. It's constantly ear-catching, and provides a surprisingly suitable backdrop for the one vocal number on the album too.

And then via a short experimental hip-hop tune from Gescom, we arrive at another little special for the night: the music of Travis Stewart aka Machinedrum. I came across his first album, relatively lo-fi idm under the Syndrone moniker and the first release on the legendary Merck label. The title track is particularly good, and it all bears the strong mark of Gescom’s parent group Autechre.
As tstewart, Stewart explored more of a folktronic bent, along the lines of Scott Herren’s folk projects.
And then in the last couple of years, he's found his home in Bass music, and Chicago juke. "Alarma", from earlier this year, is a veritable dancefloor hit, while his Planet µ album cut up mainly r'n'b vocals over broken beats and irresistible rhythms. "Sacred Frequency" features a vocal line that evokes the post-Bacharach melodies of Broadcast or Stereolab. Awesome.
With Praveen Sharma, Stewart makes Bass/2step/house as Sepalcure, exploring similar territory to the recent Machinedrum for Hotflush. Also highly catchy stuff.

Moving more into techno territory, albeit a krautrockian style with shoegazey desires is Walls, the project of Banjo or Freakout and Allez Allez. Pretty sure it's better than either member's solo stuff, and strangely different from both too. Really quite evocative and compelling.

Also disturbingly technoey, and just plain disturbing, is Prurient’s latest single. No howling vocals, but his matter-of-fact spoken intonation over mournful and repetitive synths, quite post-punk and industrial in a way.

I'm not sure what to make of the new Fennesz. He's gradually getting more and more sugary, to the point of almost being insipid. I hate to say he's losing his edge, but he's losing his edge really. He still has a huge weighty history of inspiring digital and guitar sound behind him, but a release like this is treading water, and sinking under its t(w)inkly pleasantness.

Finally we had Shoeb Ahmad in for the last hour or so, and heard some hellosQuare Recordings and talked about his music and label. The latest release is from the amazing Pollen Trio, with exploratory post-jazz featuring Shoeb's partner in Spartak, drummer Evan Dorrian. We heard tales of touring in Japan and explanations of some of their musical processes. We also had a sneak preview of their pop project Savages, which would be #1 with a bullet if I was the buying public.

Finishing up we had a current favourite from Shoeb, the confounding sounds of Disco Inferno. Pop music has never been more uncompromising.

Nils Frahm - Less [Erased Tapes]
Nils Frahm - For [Erased Tapes]
oliveray - piano in the pond! [cote labo]
Peter Broderick - Old Time [Erased Tapes]
Nils Frahm & Anne Müller - duktus [Unseen Music]
nils frahm - ambre [Sonic Pieces/Erased Tapes]
Nils Frahm - Keep [Erased Tapes]
Adrian Crowley - The Beekeeper's Wife (Geese remix) [unreleased?]
David Holmes - The Ballad of Sarah and Jack (Geese remix) [Mercury]
Balmorhea - Untitled (Live at Sint-Elisabethkerk) [Western Vinyl]
minamo - bound letters [Room40]
umin - uke15 [Abandom Building Records]
umin - col (picture of everything you lost) [Abandom Building Records]
Gescom - V Take Fastroll [Skull Snap]
syndrone - triskaideka [Merck]
tstewart - jess [Merck]
Machinedrum - Alarma [Lucky Me]
Machinedrum - Sacred Frequency [Planet µ]
Sepalcure - Eternally Yrs [Hotflush]
Walls - Into Our Midst [Kompakt]
Prurient - Time's Arrow [Hydra Head]
Fennesz - Seven Stars [Touch]
Pollen Trio - Erupt_OFF [hellosQuare Recordings]
Spartak - Sleet/Skid [hellosQuare Recordings]
Spartak - Channels [New Weird Australia]
Savages - catch/control [unreleased]
Disco Inferno - A Crash At Every Speed [Rough Trade]

Listen again — ~ 161MB

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