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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, 15th of April, 2012

Playlist 15.04.12 (11:14 pm)

Psych-folk! Folktronica! An interview with Brett from Margins! Go see them this Saturday (21st) at Hellen Rose Lab, 17 Waterloo St Surry Hills — a cool gallery space. Should be a mighty fine gig.
LISTEN AGAIN as per usual - see below, podcast, or stream on demand.

I'm new to Mike Wexler, and his new album has left me gobsmacked all week. It's understated psych folk, songs in odd scales, harmonies changing direction halfway through melodies, unusual time signatures — but none of it screaming out at you. It features members of the free improv scene like Nate Wooley, but isn't really challenging listening. Just great.

Also on the folky, or more country, end of the spectrum is Sydney's The Singing Skies aka Kell from Moonmilk. He enlists Seaworthy here to do a remix, and it's truly spellbinding, with scratchy violin over guitar and vocals...

And from last week, Tasmania's Spheres bring a doomier, heavier track.

And then it's into an interview with Brett from Melbourne instrumental rock band Margins. They're touring to release their new album Divide — see top of post. The track from their first album has some wicked guitar tapping.

After some more from Mr Wexler, it's into the somewhat folktronic sounds of Dictaphone. Clarinet and violin drive the sound, with tuned percussion in the mix along with, I'm guessing, subtle electronics and beats — and a wonderful vocal on the last track. This is amazing stuff, beautifully packaged on Sonic Pieces.

Another amazing find this week is Sweden's Esbjörn Svensson Trio (e.s.t). Recalling The Bad Plus a tiny bit (they're a melodic jazz piano trio), and folks like 3ofmillions and Triosk (not to mention Alister Spence) in their combining of piano jazz with electronics, they make some beautiful sounds. I'll have to play more next week.

Also popping up from last week is Perth's Kynan Tan, whose album rætina is highly recommended. The minimalist glitch beats and processed Fender Rhodes are joined on one track here by vocals as well.

Next we travel to France, with an artist who only recently graced our shores (and I missed him, more's the pity) — Chapelier Fou is released on the awesome French label Ici D'Ailleurs and mixes looped and/or fully arranged violin with crunchy beats. I'd love to see how he does it live. As well as some added cello (at least) on some tracks, the album features labelmate Matt Elliott aka Mr Third Eye Foundation on the last track, sounding particularly mellifluous.

Italy's K-Conjog also mixes violin in with his folktronic beats and cut-ups. This is folktronica just how I enjoy it, and you should check it out too, on Abandon Building Records, who released the latest Origamibiro in the US, among some other great releases (see what else I've played of theirs).

It's been a great year for Machinefabriek, who's concentrating on perfectly-formed sound art/installation pieces more than longform drones. His disc with another installation artist, Steve Roden, rewards close listening, with what I think of as "foley" recordings (perhaps field recordings, perhaps meticulously-prepared sound pieces) rubbing up against musical passages on various instruments. Similarly with the new solo Machinefabriek , one of his best works I feel.

On the same label that brought us the Steve Roden collaboration come Minus Pilots. It's electric bass through various delay pedals and four-track tape recorder, and they aptly describe it thus: "all our recordings are designed for listening through headphones while gazing at the stars..." Indeed.

And finally, the mighty laptop improv trio Fenn O'Berg are back with a new live album on Editions Mego, In Hell. It feels like their best yet, or at least since the first batch, and reminds me bizarrely of a slightly more experimental Future Sound of London. Anything goes, with orchestral loops, crackly synths and even some live (I think) electric guitar. Highly, highly recommended.

Mike Wexler - Pariah [Mexican Summer]
The Singing Skies - A Message From The Cliffs (Seaworthy remix) [Preservation] {free download from SoundCloud}
Spheres - Salvation for the Wretched [Sonoptik]
Margins - Men Vs Nature [Casadeldisco Records]
...interview with Brett from Margins...
Margins - Closes In [Low Transit Industries]
Margins - Rabbit Head [Casadeldisco Records]
Mike Wexler - Lens [Mexican Summer]
Mike Wexler - Spectrum [Mexican Summer]
Dictaphone - The Conversation [Sonic Pieces]
Dictaphone - Rattle [Sonic Pieces]
Esbjörn Svensson Trio (e.s.t) - Inner City, City Lights [ACT]
Kynan Tan - skeletal (frame+axis) [Listen/Hear Collective]
Kynan Tan - woken / under streams [Listen/Hear Collective]
Chapelier Fou - L'eau qui dort [Ici D'Ailleurs] {see the lovely video here}
Chapelier Fou - Protest [Ici D'Ailleurs]
K-Conjog - Nobody Knows [Abandon Building Records]
Chapelier Fou - Moth, Flame (feat. Matt Elliott) [Ici D'Ailleurs] {see the lovely video here}
K-Conjog - Jabberwock [Abandon Building Records]
Steve Roden & Machinefabriek - Leaves [Eat, Sleep, Repeat]
Machinefabriek - Brown [Fang Bomb]
Steve Roden & Machinefabriek - Some Things Within [Eat, Sleep, Repeat]
Machinefabriek - Grey [Fang Bomb]
Minus Pilots - Into The Void [Eat, Sleep, Repeat]
Minus Pilots - Heaven Spots [Eat, Sleep, Repeat]
Fenn O'Berg - Christian Rocks (20 Nov 2010, Oita, Oitaweb.tv Beppu Tower Hall) [Editions Mego]

Listen again — ~ 156MB

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