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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, 5th of February, 2012

Playlist 05.02.12 (10:04 pm)

Tonight featured some nice flashbacks to instrumental hip-hop, idm and folktronica of the past decades, plus some brilliant sounds from Aidan Baker...
LISTEN AGAIN via the usual link at the bottom, the usual podcast and the usual on demand streaming.

First up, though, George from Seekae is Cliques, and his first track under that name is the unreleased "Rooty Hill", a smooth electronic ride through Sydney's west. No RSL clubs to be found, clubs maybe though.

Next up, I had to feature another track from Icarus's new album, which is available NOW. It's genius - 1000 variations on the one album, so when you buy it you get your very own special copy. The changes are fairly subtle, so you know you're getting approximately what everyone else is getting, but sections might start and end at different times, sounds might be altered slightly... At some stage the duo are going to let the digital owners communicate with each other to swap versions, so you'll be able to get a picture of how the sounds vary. And it's all their usual wonderful mix of electro-acoustic/folktronic sounds and drum'n'bass backbone.

DJ Food has been many things over the years. Initially it was the major-label escape plan for Matt & Jon of Coldcut, but from the start it involved PC (Patrick Carpenter) and Strictly Kev (Kevin Foakes). These days it's actually possible to refer to DJ Food as "him", as it's been just Strictly for some time. It's still a sampladelic extravaganza, a little less trip-hoppy and a fair bit more technologically proficient, but still wonderful cut-up breaks and classic samples galore. The new album The Search Engine comes in a gazillion different formats, and I opted for the deluxe CD with a comic-style book of Henry Flint's incredible artwork, plus a flexidisc (which I'll never listen to, since I have the track already - but it's cute!)
I played one of the only exclusive tracks on the album — Kev's cover of the The The classic GIANT was present as an instrumental on one of the recent EPs, but appears here with vocals added by The The's Matt Johnson himself. Stunning. We also heard the classic rock'n'roll-sampling "Discovery Workshop", which adorns the flexidisc, and two earlier tunes from way back in the '90s: the broken-down and reconstructed funk of "Half Step", and the cinematic glory of "The Crow", in its original form from Funkungfusion.

We follow with the album debut of Diagrams, or "what Sam Genders did next". I'm tremendously glad that Sam Genders did something after quitting Tunng — they went from being one of my favourite bands ever with their first 2-3 albums, brilliant folktronic production and pitch-perfect arcane English folk, to some kind of singalong Glasonbury Festival jam band, with uninspired songs and not enough of Mike Lindsay's clever production. Diagrams are not so folktronic in the glitchy studio-trickery way, but they combine folk and indie and electronic pop like the best of the Beta Band (a common comparison given Genders' vocal style). A couple of the tracks from last year's EP are still some of their best, but I loved the closing track on the album, and also the hidden track (although I wish people would give up on the 20-minutes-of-silence thing, or at least stick it in the gap between tracks... please?)

Homegrown folktronica comes next, from Sydney's Piers Twomey. He's now playing postrock with the wonderful Grün, but the long-awaited launch of his solo album is happening this Tuesday night at The Green Room on Enmore Rd. Produced by Tony Dupé of Saddleback and many many Australian albums, it combines touchingly personal songwriting with beautiful arrangements and a taste for quirky studio touches, like bursts of pitched-up violin and guitar, or chopped drum beats. Recommended.

Rabbit Rabbit Radio is the groundbreaking new project for two of my favourite musicians, violinist and singer Carla Kihlstedt & her multi-instrumentalist partner Matthias Bossi, both of Sleepytime Gorilla Museum. For as little as $1/month you get a monthly output of music, video and all sorts of other stuff from these powerfully creative people. February is the debut, with the epic "Hush-Hush", driven by frenetic violin and Kihlstedt's vocals, insistent and then soaring.

Taking the classical and prog rock influences in another direction is Extra Life, who've had this shtick for a little while now. Somewhere between baroque and 20th century classical, their melodies are angular and weird, fitting the math-rock meets prog of the arrangements. Easy to admire, possibly hard to love.

The least Telafonica remix EP is out, and this time it's the very catchy "I Can Hear There's A Peace In The Dark". In a little bit of a coup they've got indie rock legent Dave McCormack of Custard to do a remix. Nice one.

In the '90s, Mark Van Hoen worked with post-rock/shoegaze originators Seefeel and made solo music under the name Locust. His Truth is Born of Arguments album from 1995, with a classic cover featuring brightly-lit disdainful female models, is something of a hidden gem, with incredibly heavy distorted beats and tiny slivers of female vocal samples on the first few tracks, plus Aphex Twin-style chilling ambient and worldbeat. It's wonderful that the mighty Editions Mego have released a new album from him that returns to some of these themes — crunchy beats, vocal snippets, and even some ambient idm are all present. Totally unmissable.

Italian percussionist Andrea Belfi has had some high-profilel collaborations, including Machinefabriek and David Grubbs, but it's great to have a solo album from him, on Brisbane's ROOM40 no less. Machinefabriek, Greg Haines and various others appear as guests, but it's very much Belfi's vision, sumptuous rhythm-led creations with both abstract sonic textures and beautiful strings and guitar. One of the best ROOM40 releases in some time, and that's saying something.

I'm a little late to the party with Aidan Baker. I knew of his work with doom rock/postrock outfit Nadja, and knew that he was an inveterate collaborator, but I've only gradually collected his solo back-catalogue works. They can feature drones, delicate rhythms, jazz post-rock with piano, bass and drums, electronics or heavy riffs and noise. Recently he's cultivated a slicing, jagged guitar sound perfect for angular post-punk chords. We heard only a small amount of what I'd like to cover, so there should be more next week, but tonight there was a solo more post-rocky album, a lovely collaboration with Animal Hospital's Kevin Micka, and a slew of tracks from his latest (2012) release The Spectrum of Distraction, a 2CD set which comes, faintly ridiculously, with nearly 6 hours of bonus download material. The album features collaborations with an amazing list of drummers, and the sounds range from almost-drill'n'bass to heavy head-nodding riffage of all sorts to more experimental segments. It's meant to played on shuffle, with a lot of the pieces slip up into tracks as short as 11 seconds (and as long as a few minuts). Pretty cool, all in all!

Cliques - Rooty Hill [unreleased]
Icarus - Colour Field [Not Applicable]
DJ Food - GIANT feat. Matt Johnson [Ninja Tune]
DJ Food - Half Step [Ninja Tune]
DJ Food - The Crow [Ninja Tune]
DJ Food - Discovery Workshop [Ninja Tune]
Diagrams - Peninsula [Full Time Hobby]
Diagrams - Woking [Full Time Hobby]
Tunng - Tale From Black [Static Caravan]
Diagrams - (hidden track) [Full Time Hobby]
Piers Twomey - Strange Advice [Laughing Outlaw]
Piers Twomey - A Misty Sea [Laughing Outlaw]
Rabbit Rabbit Radio (Carla Kihlstedt & Matthias Bossi) - Hush-Hush [Rabbit Rabbit Radio]
Extra Life - Righteous Seed [Northern Spy Records] {free download from Stereogum}
Telafonica - I Can Hear There's A Peace In The Dark (Dave McCormack Version) [4-4-2 Music] {available free from Bandcamp}
Mark Van Hoen - Don't Look Back [Editions Mego]
Locust - Penetration [R&S]
Mark Van Hoen - Where Were You [Editions Mego]
Andrea Belfi - B [ROOM40]
Aidan Baker - Dream Trips Pt 1-6 [Broken Spine]
Aidan Baker - You Are A Dream Monster Pt 1 [Broken Spine]
Aidan Baker with H Walker - Blood On The Handle Pts 1 & 2 [Broken Spine]
Aidan Baker - You Are A Monster Pts 3 & 4 [Broken Spine]
Aidan Baker with Simon Scott - You Are Microscopic [Broken Spine]
Aidan Baker with Kevin Micka - Chainsaw [Basses Frequencies]
Aidan Baker - fanciful flights [consouling sounds]

Listen again — ~ 161MB

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