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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, 1st of April, 2012

Playlist 01.04.12 (11:10 pm)

A night of pop, beats and ambient!
LISTEN AGAIN via the usual channels peeps - podcast/download, or stream on demand.

So on the weekend, I got an email from Dirty Projectors pointing me to their website, on which there was a link to this Soundcloud page, where Domino have posted a new song, and how incredible is it. A lot of people are commenting on how Dave Longstreth has learned to sing. Maybe so, but it's still characteristically his singing style, and the (now three) girls are sounding better than ever in backing vocals. The song is relatively simple, but it's a perfect marrying of melody, harmony and lyrics.

So we'll stick with pop (for certain values of "pop") for much of the show, courtesy of a couple of other highlight releases of the week. Right at the top is undoubtedly the new album from artist of the moment Julia Holter. I was talking to another UFog artist from tonight, Part Timer, in Melbourne this weekend (as you do), and we were discussing how what we consider "pop" is probably what other people consider incredibly challenging music. Nevertheless, for all that her songs frequently change directions at odd times, her arrangements balance the off-the-wall with tributes to '80s electro-pop and her voice is exquisite. I wasn't that impressed with last year's vinyl-only (and eventually digital) Tragedy, but this is compulsively listenable.

Sydney's 4-4-2 Music remind us what a lovely album Karoshi put out last year. "Walking In Fields", with its glitched-up female vox, was a highlight, and on the single Telafonica's Eliza composes a whole new lyric for their remix. This is a band at the height of their powers — you shouldn't be ignoring what Telafonica have been doing the last few years...

As we're doing the pop thing, I thought we needed to hear another of the tracks from Clark's new album featuring the wonderful Martina Topley Bird. It's a corker of an album and her contributions are really great.

Sydney producer Dro Carey is getting hyped everywhere at the moment, and to be honest his first EPs impressed me but seemed a little overly hyperactive and lacking warmth. But his latest couple of releases seem like a big step forward, especially the free download Tussin Underwater. Post-Bass, post-r'n'b, music for the Tumblr generation.

Addison Groove (aka Headhunter when in his dubstep guise) strikes me as inhabiting a similar space - perhaps more danceable, quite hyper, with solid roots in dubstep — or at least, this is music that couldn't have happened without dubstep. And it's from one of the central labels in the history of dubstep, Pinch's Tectonic Recordings. They're up to Volume 3 in the Tectonic Plates series, with a really nice snapshot of dubstep today, from the trad sounds of Pinch and Kryptic Minds to Addison Groove, and the amazing 10-minute dub techno from 2562.

Keeping it dark, but in a fairly different direction, we have Berlin legend Christoph de Babalon, whose 1997 album If You're Into It, I'm Out Of It on Digital Hardcore Recordings remains a classic of the breakcore/dark ambient genres. It appears he has a new album coming on Tigerbeat6, and from the sounds of it, it'll be brilliantly-produced, dark and broad-ranging. In 2008 he put out a vinyl-only epic called Scilla and Charybdis, and I discovered on his Bandcamp there's an album of extra bits available as well.

Dark and dramatic, and back to the pop theme, is Austrian pianist/singer/songwriter Soap&Skin, who again on her new album dabbles with distorted electronic beats along with passionate piano & vocals numbers. Of the songs I still think "Spiracle" is her masterpiece, but from my as-yet brief listening there's some great stuff on the new album too.

Northerner was one of the first artists on the lovely northern English Home Assembly Music label. Since the beginning, the label has released folktronic artists with bonus remix albums with early editions, and Melbourne's Part Timer has always been there from the start. Hood-related acts like the wonderful Bracken and The Declining Winter are involved, and one of the best early albums was from one-time Declining Winter member Fieldhead, who also turns in a fine minimalist remix here. Northerner's new album proper, however, finds him veering away from semi-ambient folkiness into something more upbeat and funky. At first it grated a little on me, but it's undeniably pretty and melodic.

Speaking of pretty and melodic, the Kompakt label have been doing their Pop Ambient compilation series for some time, and it's always worth a listen. From the 2012 edition we hear lovely ambient beats from Marsen Jules and blissful sequenced synths from techno maestro Superpitcher.

The latest Wire Magazine has one of their regular Wire Tapper compilations accompanying it, and as usual there are some great tracks (and some gratuitous ones). The psychedelic, krautrock-inspired Medicine And Duty caught my ear, and after Teho Teardo's new Music, Film. Music disc last week it's great to hear an exclusive track from him.
The Teho Teardo disc featured Alexander Balanescu on violin, and over the week I pulled out my old CDs from The Balanescu Quartet. Back in 1992(!) they released a set of groundbreaking Kraftwerk covers that brought the sound of the string quartet to ears that wouldn't have otherwise listened, and these faithful yet creative interpretations were an inspiration for my own band if noone else! Great to revisit these — and some of Balanescu's originals were very fine too.

Finally, back with 4-4-2 Music, Telafonica member Lessons In Time has another EP of ramshackle indietronica, in which all recorded sounds are fodder for processing and shuffling, all with a great songwriting ear.

Dirty Projectors - Gun Has No Trigger [Domino] {stream from Soundcloud}
Julia Holter - Marienbad [RVNG]
Karoshi - Walking In Fields (Telafonica version) [4-4-2 Music]
Karoshi - Walking In Fields [4-4-2 Music]
Julia Holter - This Is Ekstasis [RVNG]
Clark - Open (feat. Martina Topley Bird) [Warp]
Dro Carey - Foes, Gallons n Fathoms [free download from his Tumblr]
Dro Carey - Someday [The Trilogy Tapes]
Addison Groove - Phantom [Tectonic]
Kryptic Minds - The Talisman [Tectonic]
Pinch - Blow Out The Candle [Tectonic]
Christoph de Babalon - Traumspiel [Tigerbeat6]
Christoph de Babalon - What You Call A Life [Digital Hardcore Recordings]
Christoph de Babalon - Scylla's Night Out [Cross Fade Enter Tainment]
Christoph de Babalon - Hell's Harps [Tigerbeat6]
Soap&Skin - Deathmental [SOLFO/PIAS]
Soap&Skin - Spiracle [SOLFO/PIAS]
2562 - Rogue State [Tectonic]
Northerner - To Where? (Part Timer remix) [Home Assembly Music]
Northerner - Worry About The Government [Home Assembly Music]
Northerner - J C De M [Home Assembly Music]
Northerner - Fin (Bracken remix) [Home Assembly Music]
Northerner - Worry About The Government (Fieldhead remix) [Home Assembly Music]
Marsen Jules - Swans Reflecting Elephants [Kompakt]
Superpitcher - Jackson [Kompakt]
Medicine And Duty - Deep Sea Heat Haze [Foolproof Projects via Wire Magazine]
Teho Teardo - Dance The Sauris [Wire Magazine]
The Balanescu Quartet - Autobahn [Mute]
The Balanescu Quartet - Still With Me [Mute]
Lessons In Time - blunt and unreferenced [4-4-2 Music]

Listen again — ~ 154MB

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