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experimental electronica
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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, 18th of December, 2011

Playlist 18.12.11 (10:16 pm)

So crazy that I'm still bringing you new music at this time of year.
Tonight, though, is dominated by the reissue of the year — a remastered boxset of all Hood’s releases on the Domino label, along with various rarities and unreleased tracks. Amazing stuff, people!
LISTEN AGAIN via the link at the bottom, or the podcast, or of course streaming on demand.

Our first track tonight is a taste of things to come — one of the bonus Hood tracks on the boxset that were started sometime in 2005 and finishedin September 2011. I guess it's too much to hope that the Adams brothers are going to go back into the studio to record something more together again... Much more on Hood later on though!

Last night (Saturday) in Sydney saw the launch of the much-awaited (by a select few anyway) collaborative album between Sydney's Thomas William and Scissor Lock. The two of them set up their laptops, mini-mixing desks, pedals and microphones facing each other, and proceed to output dense washes of sound and vocal loops. The beats of Thomas William are absent, but his samples still pulsate as they would if they were there. Marcus Whale's signature vocal loops are there, along with lots of processing, and it all somehow comes together. Great to have this on CD, courtesy of New Weird Australia's New Editions series.

The Haxan Cloak has had a great debut year, with an amazing album of deep scraping cello and percussion, and it's great that this highly limited vinyl EP is now available digitally. Two long tracks of arcane techno, deep and mysterious.

As a massive fan of his noise/psych outfit Burning Star Core, I'm very excited about the new solo album from C. Spencer Yeh. While BxC was often Yeh solo anyway, this is the first album (as opposed to many EPs and other sundry releases) that he's put his own name to, and perhaps it is a more personal statement. Many tracks are just entitled "Drone" or "Vocal", or "Two Guitars", leaving the sounds to speak for themselves. While the drones are indubitably what they are, the vocal pieces are cut up to extreme levels — none of his frequent gutteral groaning — and later on some more noisy elements do come through. For an album where everything's broken down to its constituent elements, it's an absorbing listen.

The wonderful Icelandic label Bedroom Community] ring in the end of the year with their second Yule compilation (see here), which is a free download with any purchase from their online store at the moment. Exclusive remixes and new music, albeit mixed into one track (I downloaded the FLAC and split it up, because that's how I roll).
DanishBelgian artist Montauk in February delicately edits Daníel Bjarnason, Scanner keeps the spirit of the Ben Frost piece while putting his own "stomp" onto it, and Valgeir Sigurðsson is icily Scandinavian in between.

Next up, Peter Broderick. Before playing a couple of tracks from his rather amazing and slightly disturbing soundtrack Music for Confluence, I played his entry into the 2CD set Satie et les nouveaux jeunes, from French label Arbouse. It's a pretty impressive collection of names, all interpreting or taking influence from Erik Satie. As a lover of his music, I can say that some people "get" him better than others, so as expected there are some pedestrian efforts, and also some real gems. Sad I only got to one track tonight.
Meanwhile, Peter has been getting a bit of work doing documentary soundtracks, and from the sounds of it, this one is rather disturbing. His music is sympathetic and beautiful, with a few undercurrents of disquiet represented through studio edits and effects, and some pretty passionate violin playing.

A few others before our big special tonight.
Sole and the SkyRider Band have just released The Challenger EP digitally as a companion to their excellent Hello Cruel World album of earlier this year. With some high quality guests, they continue the surprisingly mainstream-hip-hop-friendly production of the album, with Sole's fiery delivery.

With Vladislav Delay you know what you're going to get — dubby textures with stop-start, broken beats and deep electronic sounds. Another perfectly-suited raster-noton release, in a rather awesome couple of years for the label.

I hope to have the most recent album for Daniel Mackenzie's Ekca Liena for you shortly, but meanwhile he sent me this single track, which shows the breadth of his production — too detailed to really be drone, perhaps, although that's where this sound is headed. Very fine.

German indietronic artist Teamforest has enlisted some quality help for his latest EP, including Melbourne's own Sympático, but tonight I couldn't resist the opportunity to head back towards Hood via the bizarre bracken remix. Both Adams brothers from Hood contribute remixes, but here Chris goes from wonky hip-hop with vocoder, through strummy guitar and his own vocals, and out the other side.

So... Hood. It's hard to know where to start with this most Utility Fog of bands. If anyone embodies postfolkrocktronica it's them. And no surprise, I've been obsessed with them for well over a decade. As I said on air, I was familiar with two electronic side-projects well before I really knew who Hood were. In 1997, completely immersed in idm via the likes of the Warp and Skam labels, I came across Downpour’s Windstorms Broken Microphones EP. Sampled female vocals, swathes of noise, mega-distorted chopped-up amen breaks — this was heaven. It was the beginnings of breakcore, and Chris Adams (Hood's main songwriter and vocalist) was there. Only a couple of years later did I realise the connection with Hood, and start to gather what an important group they were.
Then in 1999, I was on tour in the UK and found my way to Pelicanneck in Affleck's Palace, a crazy marketplace in a multi-story building. As I browsed through electronica and postrock, my ears were constantly turning to the record they were spinning — minimal electronics, clicky beats, morose loops. I bought it on spec, and it was the debut self-titled album from The Remote Viewer, on the legendary 555 Recordings of Leeds. Once again, it was some time before I connected The Remote Viewer with Hood, and still later before I could work out when Andrew Johnson & Craig Tattersal actually left the band. Their other duo, the indietronica, non-instrumental The Famous Boyfriend, certainly existed simultaneously with Hood, although their best work was also released post-split.

So my Hood story goes sideways and backwards from these masterful electronic releases, back through to their earliest punky indie days, tape noise experiments, their work with Matt Elliott in Bristol and with Richard Formby and Choque Hosein in Leeds, their numerous works of genius relegated to b-sides and highly limited EPs, and then through their albums and EPs on Domino. They synthesised all their influences into something incredibly special, with live drumming rubbing up against glitchy drum programming, samples and drones mixed in with jangly guitars, mournful violin and clarinet with muffled vocals, bizarre and bizarrely successful collaborations with the iconic anticon rappers, short experimental tracks, long immersive tracks (no less experimental), true indiepop gems and sometimes almost impenetrable vocal meanderings.

Their influences were many and venerable, from Robert Wyatt through late Talk Talk, Bark Psychosis, Disco Inferno, Third Eye Foundation and many more, and their influence on many younger bands immeasurable, but there's never been anyone like them, and long may they keep making music — separately at least, assuming "Hood is finished", really, 6 years on now.

Hood - hymn to the hill [Domino]
Thomas William vs Scissor Lock - Jewelz [New Weird Australia]
The Haxan Cloak - Hounfour (Temple) [Aurora Borealis]
C. Spencer Yeh - Drone (track 1) [Intansitive Recordings]
C. Spencer Yeh - Voice (track 2) [Intansitive Recordings]
C. Spencer Yeh - Au Revoir... [Intansitive Recordings]
Daníel Bjarnason - Spindrift (Montauk in February remix) [Bedroom Community] {from the free download compilation Yule 2011, available with any purchase from the Bedroom Community shop right now!}
Valgeir Sigurðsson - Flesh and Wine and Firewood [Bedroom Community] {from the free download compilation Yule 2011, available with any purchase from the Bedroom Community shop right now!}
Ben Frost - Stomp (Scanner remix) [Bedroom Community] {from the free download compilation Yule 2011, available with any purchase from the Bedroom Community shop right now!}
Peter Broderick - Les trois valses distinguées du précieux dégouté 2 [Arbouse]
Peter Broderick - in the valley itself [Erased Tapes]
Peter Broderick - the person of interest [Erased Tapes]
Sole and the SkyRider Band - Infanticide (feat. Alexandrah of Solillaquists of Sound) [Fake Four]
Vladislav Delay - Henki [raster-noton]
Ekca Liena - Skate [direct from artist]
Teamforest - leave the north, head southwards (bracken remix) [Tarkovsky Green]
Hood - She's caught in sunshine [555 Recordings of Flagstaff, AZ]
Hood - I've forgotten how to live [555 Recordings of Leeds]
Downpour - Torrential Rain [Drop Beat]
Hood - Your Ambient Voice [Domino]
Hood - Houses Tilting Towards The Sea [Domino]
The Remote Viewer - untitled 04 from first album [555 Recordings of Leeds]
The Famous Boyfriend - i woke up this morning and remembered what you'd done [555 Recordings of Leeds]
Hood - Home Is Where It Hurts [Domino]
Hood - They removed all trace that anything had ever happened here (feat. doseone and Why?) [Domino]
Hood - Painting the Town Dead [Domino]
Hood - Over the land, over the sea. [Domino]
Hood - the lost you [Domino]
Hood - winter politics [self released/Domino]
Hood - guess my age [Domino]

Listen again — ~ 221MB {sorry it's bigger this time, forgot to do that thing y'know?}

3 Responses to “Playlist 18.12.11”

  1. Montauk in Februay Says:

    Hello, thanks a lot for mention of the remix I made for Daniel Bjarnason. You can find more music on my soundcloud http://soundcloud.com/montaukinfebruary/dan-el-bjarnason-spindrift. a.o. very soon a remix for "a winged victory for the sullen" (dustin o'halloran & adam wiltzie) that will be the "erased tapes christmas gift". (Im not danish at all, actually belgian but it doesnt matter ;-))) enjoy !

  2. Peter Says:

    Hey Pierre,
    Sorry for getting your nationality wrong - stupid mistake due to writing things up too late at night! Thanks for the great sounds, will look out for the Winged Victory remix :)

  3. Pierredm Says:

    Hi peter, the winged remix is out now on erased tapes soundcloud and free on download ! Enjoy ! http://soundcloud.com/erasedtapes/a-winged-victory-for-the-sullen-xmas-remix

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