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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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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 28th of October, 2012

Playlist 28.10.12 (9:04 pm)

A bit of a trip tonight, around the world of genres. Featured is Inch-time, whose wonderful new album is out on his own Mystery Plays Records.
LISTEN AGAIN, on demand at FBi Radio, via the link below, or the podcast.

I'm a big fan of mashup artist dj BC, and a few years back he put out a briliant album called Glassbreaks with Philip Glass music and hip-hop a capellas. It was brilliant and showed Philip Glass in a very positive light. Unfortunately he was forced to take it down, and yeah, of course it's illegal sampling. But it was mentioned that a legitimate Glass remix album was coming out, and that was part of the reason. Well it's taken some years, but Philip Glass _REWORK is finally here. You can find out for yourself the big names involved, and I'll probably play some next week, but for tonight I thought I'd start (appropriately) with the "Opening" from Glassworks performed incredibly sensitively by Japanese producer Cornelius on piano, with some tinkly electronics around the edges.

From Sweden comes 1991, although his productions seem to harken on the one hand back to the early '80s, with a big sample from The Cure's "Charlotte Sometimes" in the first track (whose title is also a snippet from the lyric) and the cassette-burnished sound, and on the other hand to the '70s, with Tangerine Dream-style synthesiser works. The beats, when present, fit perfectly into this post-thingy world. Looking forward to his next emanations.

Very much with the Now beats next, comes Throwing Snow, whose earlier works were a not hugely notable form of folktronica & hip-hop breaks. In the last couple of years he's dived into a high-paced post-dubstep style of electronica. Love the string samples in the last track, and crackly high-intensity textures.

Moving towards a few Japanese remixes for tonight, we reprise a release on the excellent flau label from last year, with Japanese singer & glitchy electronic artist Cokiyu. Her remix album featured some excellent tracks from aus and Part Timer, but I had no choice but to feature Opiate' brilliant rework.

Another Japanese label, mü-nest, has just re-released an EP from 2004 by Californian indietronic duo Park Avenue Music, along with some remixes by Japanese artists including the aforementioned aus, and flau artist Geskia!. We also heard the latter's remix of Cuushe from her recent gorgeously-pacakged triple-3"-EP release on flau.

And then it's Inch-time time. Back in 2004 I remember receving a promo CD of new South Australian music - or it must have been something like that anyway - featuring two tracks from Inch-time. Folktronica with warm basslines, string arrangements and excellent beats, it was right up my alley, and I tracked him down and got hold of his debut self-released EP any colour you like. Over the following years he moved to London, struck up a relationship with Static Caravan (who'd just put out the early Tunng releases) and eventually formed his own label Mystery Plays Records. His last album was in 2010, and featured a stellar remix disc alongside it. The new one, Myth and Impermanence sees him collaborating with some very fine English jazz musicians, and combines his organic-feeling production with live drums, trumpet, guitar and other instruments, for some tasty night-time music. Whole back-catalogue is highly recommended.

We took another track from the new remix album from our Thomas William - this time heading to Perth for Solo Andata member Kane Ikin to give us some busy high-tech lo-fi beats.

And we heard one track from each side of the split 12" between Sydney's Kate Carr and Gail Priest, who are launching this superb EP at 107 Projects, 107 Redfern St, this Sunday between 5 & 9pm (so you can hop in the car and listen to me on the way home!)

I haven't played as much drone since moving to the 2hr format, but there's still heaps of very excellent stuff being made, and one of my favourites is Sun Hammer. He just sent me his latest, a collaboration with Indiana drone/doom artist Sujo, and it's suitably dark and very detailed stuff. It's easy to slip back into an assumption that drone is just long crescendos, take a sound and stretch it out to 6 minutes. Releases like this give the lie to that, with lots of little things going on over these slow-growing waves of sound.

Finishing with something altogether brighter, albeit still quite ambient, from Brooklyn's Padna on Sydney's most internationalist of labels, Preservation. Acoustic guitar is joined by scraping and sighing sounds and electronic treatments here. Beautiful and, again, very detailed.

Philip Glass - Opening (Cornelius rework) [The Kora Records/Ernest Jenning/Orange Mountain Music]
1991 - Open to the Dark [Astro:Dynamics]
1991 - Fabric of Space [Astro:Dynamics]
Throwing Snow - Clamor [Snowfall]
Throwing Snow - Too Polite [Local Action]
Throwing Snow - Perca [Snowfall]
Cokiyu - Round In Fog (Opiate Rework) [flau]
Park Avenue Music - Cutter [mü-nest]
Park Avenue Music - The Mellow One (Geskia! Remix) [mü-nest]
Cuushe - Do You Know The Way To Sleep (Geskia! Remix) [flau]
Inch-time - The Sun Myth [Mystery Plays Records]
Inch-time - red in green [self-released/Static Caravan]
Inch-time - No Need To Sign Your Name [Static Caravan]
Inch-time - Suspensions [Mystery Plays Records]
Inch-time - Home [Mystery Plays Records]
Thomas William - JHA (Kane Ikin's Edit) [This Thing/Thomas William Bandcamp]
Kate Carr - a sailor's chant [Flaming Pines/Metal Bitch Recordings]
Gail Priest - ghost gum [Flaming Pines/Metal Bitch Recordings]
Sujo + Sun Hammer - OSD [Sujo Bandcamp/Sun Hammer Bandcamp]
Sujo + Sun Hammer - Fistula [Sun Hammer Bandcamp/Sujo Bandcamp]
Padna - Pelts [Preservation]

Listen again — ~ 107MB

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Sunday, 21st of October, 2012

Playlist 21.10.12 (9:04 pm)

Good evening! Some albums of the year are starting to get it together here, 3/4 of the way through. A few being played tonight, including our opening album.
LISTEN AGAIN to dark broken-beat postrock, postpunk dub, cello duo madness, industrial noise cello remix, pulsing minimalism, minimalist piano postrock and glitchy electro-world remix... stream on demand at FBi, direct link at bottom, podcast in sidebar.

L A N D open tonight's show with a couple of tracks from their masterful Night Within album. First, the only non-instrumental track features David Sylvian in very appropriate surrounds: loping beat, deep bass tones and free jazz squeals. The drum beat here is either sampled from Talk Talk's "New Grass" or re-recorded; and with the album's 3rd track, "Stillman", the 5/4 beat is a facsimile of Radiohead's "Morning Bell" (the Kida A version) — clearly not a sample, but at precisely the same tempo it can hardly be a coincidence.
Sources notwithstanding, this Ben Frost-mixed album is a sonic monster and will certainly be among the top 10 of the year.

Malka Spigel was bass player and occasional singer in Israeli/Belgian post-punk band Minimal Compact. She and her husband Colin Newman (of legendary post-punks Wire) formed Githead around 2005 with Robin Rimbaud aka Scanner, and her new album sounds a lot like Githead, with her flowing, dub-influenced basslines and Newman's enveloping guitars. I can never get enough of this sound. Minimal Compact had an acerbic, angular sound with Middle Eastern influences, but are best known perhaps for the gothic ballad "When I Go", sung by Spigel, which featured on the soundtrack to Wim Wenders' legendary film Wings of Desire.

I loved Clubroot's debut album in 2009. Comparisons were made to Burial, but it sounded to me like Future Sound of London's world-influenced ambient with a dubstep beat. His third album disappointed me this year, but this cut, left of the vinyl version and now released on a 12" (and digital) EP is very good.

Couldn't resist dropping something in from another top 10 album for 2012, Memotone's I Sleep. At Waking. Combining elements of sound-art and post-classical with its 2010s beats, it's beautifully poised, with polished production but enough grit as well...

I've been playing the amazing music of Geese for a while now – looped violin and viola duo, extended techniques, fantastic musicianship. They're best known for their innovative remixes, of which I've played many. Live they're joined by a drummer, and two of their live tracks have appeared on a compilation from Black Palace.

Keeping it stringy, here's another album I think will be up in the top for 2012, from Insa Donja Kai. Insa Schirmer and Donja Djember are (brilliant) cellists, and on some tracks they're joined by percussionist Kai Angermann. I didn't play the passionate opening cello duo expansion II (listen at the link), as I wanted to showcase one track with vibraphone, but there's so much variety on this album, from quasi-classical arrangements to ferocious virtuoso improv (maybe) to rhythmic pieces. It's great, peeps.

Moving on, but keeping it cello-related, we have a couple of cuts from an EP billed as Scott Solter Resets Erik Friedlander. Solter, a producer who's worked with many experimental artists over the years and is a member of legendary postrock/post-thingy group Boxharp, takes Friedlander's cello jazz trio music and turns it into a noisy industrial kind of thing.

We segue into the very minimalist electronics of Yuri Lugovskoy via a remix from The Declining Winter/Memory Drawings violinist Sarah Kemp aka Brave Timbers, here layering violin and piano over Lugovskoy's pulsating tones. As with all Home Assembly Music releases, this is an original album that comes with a bonus disc of remixes, although this time the remixes seem to be an integral part of the package. The originals are all barely-changing drones; the remixes overlay many other instruments, often acoustic. There's actually a preponderance of piano, including on the stunning standout from Adelaide indietronic royalty Panoptique Electrical.

Perth's Gilded have put together a gorgeous album, one of my top Australian releases so far this year without a doubt. Adam Trainer and Matt Rösner mix piano, scattered percussion, drones, field recordings and occasional vocals (among other sounds) to create an enveloping world. They're playing this Friday in Sydney at 107 Projects, Redfern along with Pimmon, Seaworthy and some guy called Raven.

And speaking of Pimmon, we finish with his warped remix of fellow Sydneysider Thomas William, from a just-released pay-what-you-like remix album featuring heaps of awesome Australian electronic types. Compulsory download. Or buy it on cassette if you're weird/evil.

L A N D - Nothing Is Happening Everywhere (feat. David Sylvian) [Important Records]
L A N D - Stillman [Important Records]
Radiohead - Morning Bell [Parlophone]
Malka Spigel - Back In The Old City [swim~]
Minimal Compact - When I Go [Crammed Discs]
Githead - Darkest Star [swim~]
Clubroot - Summons [Lo Dubs]
Memotone - Stalker [Black Acre]
Geese - Spool (live) [Black Palace]
Insa Donja Kai - red reflections [Sonic Pieces]
Insa Donja Kai - end silence [Sonic Pieces]
Scott Solter Resets Erik Friedlander - Full Chrome [Erik Friedlander Bandcamp]
Scott Solter Resets Erik Friedlander - Assault By St. Wolfi [Erik Friedlander Bandcamp]
Yuri Lugovskoy - Track Eight (Brave Timbers remix) [Home Assembly Music]
Yuri Lugovskoy - Track Three [Home Assembly Music]
Yuri Lugovskoy - Track Seven (Panoptique Electrical remix) [Home Assembly Music]
Gilded - Expand/Contract [Hidden Shoal]
Gilded - Cluttered Room [Hidden Shoal]
Thomas William - Flip My Chips (Pimmon's Strange Machine remix) [This Thing/Thomas William Bandcamp]

Listen again — ~ 106MB

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Sunday, 14th of October, 2012

Playlist 14.10.12 (8:25 pm)

TONIGHT: Paul and Joe from 65daysofstatic talk about their decade plus of blistering electronic/postrock, and heaps more...
If you would like to listen to just the 65 interview (and tracks), download it here.
Also LISTEN AGAIN to the whole show as per usual - see bottom, subscribe to podcast, or stream on demand at FBi.

Started with one of my favourite tracks by 65daysofstatic, from their 2005 album one time for all time, which is the next release to be re-released by Bird's Robe in Australia. More about them later...

But for now we keep it emphatically postrock, with an excerpt from the new album by the mighty Godspeed You! Black Emperor. While they quite explicitly never broke up, and while they've been touring on and off again for the last few years, it was never expected that we'd have a new album from these guys, especially released so suddenly. It's classic Godspeed - spoken word samples, long drone sections, big postrock bombast with tremolo guitar melodies, quiet string bits, everything you need. Not going to replace their classics but great to have something new! I played half of the second long piece.

Gail Priest and Kate Carr have co-released a split 12" on their two labels, from which I played some lovely tracks a couple of weeks ago. Tonight I played another Gail Priest tune – field recordings (I assume of a ghost gum) with her ghostly vocals and electronics. It's a captivating EP, and they're launching it on Sunday week (2 weeks from today) at 107 Projects in Redfern, from 5 & 9pm.

And then we're back into 65daysofstatic. A band who've been with us since the inception of this show in 2003, who I've followed through their whole history (I was corresponding with Paul in 2003). Combining two of my musical loves in a way that can't help but perfectly suit UFog, they did glitchy electronica & breakcore as comfortably as postrock/s quite/loud guitars and drums. Over the years they've perfected this amalgamation, while throwing around countless remixes, mashups, pre-show mixes and the like. You can find a lot of rare stuff at the probably unofficial 65kids site. Particularly notable is the amazing video of their infamous Christina Aguilera mashup I'm Dreaming of a White Noise Christmas, featuring footage from the movie Changing Places. It's strangely moving as was as impeccably postmodern and totally 65.
Tonight we heard a bunch (mostly) of their more obscure tracks, and had a long conversation with founding members Paul Wolinski and Joe Shrewsbury.
They're touring Australia in January (starting December 30th at the Peats Ridge Festival) – full dates here.

EL Heath is a folktronic artist from Shropshire in the UK, connected to the epic45 folks in some way &ndashl; in fact Rob Glover of epic45 turns up remixing one track here as The Toy Library. Eric Heath's music is rooted in the countryside where he lives (much like epic45). There are more acoustic folk style numbers, and more droney numbers, but also some classic folktronica with acoustic instruments and beats. Lovely stuff.

Sydney's Alister Spence Trio last released an album in 2009. Featuring the brilliant Toby Hall on drums and the Necks' Lloyd Swanton along with Spence on piano and samples, they can sound like a straight melodic jazz piano trio one minute, and then go into shimmering post-jazz the next, glitchy soundscapes, layered close-mic'd double bass, skittering drums. I was blown away by fit in 2009, and the new album brings us a double CD's worth of lovely stuff to discover. They're launching the album this Friday, Oct 19th at the Sound Lounge at the Seymour Centre.

To finish tonight, one track from the beautiful and somewhat insane new release from Japanese chanteuse Cuushe. Three new songs have been released by the excellent flau on three 3" CDRs, each also featuring remixes from both Japanese electronica artists and some surprising international guests. The wonderful Rachel Evans aka Motion Sickness of Time Travel designed the luscious artwork and contributes a blissful ambient remix.

65daysofstatic - drove through ghosts to get here [monotreme/re-released in Australia through Bird's Robe]
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - We Drift Like Worried Fire [Constellation]
Gail Priest - ghost gum [Flaming Pines/Metal Bitch Recordings]
65daysofstatic - Asphalt and Trouble [monotreme/re-released in Australia through Bird's Robe]
...interview with Paul Wolinski and Joe Shrewsbury from 65daysofstatic...
65daysofstatic - DNL - mash up [Dustpunk Records]
65daysofstatic - Broken Ship Ruse [Dustpunk Records]
65daysofstatic - it's guy time (I don't mind) [self-released]
65daysofstatic - Goodbye, 2007 [monotreme/re-released in Australia through Bird's Robe]
EL Heath - The Bridges, Ratlingthorpe [Wayside and Woodland]
EL Heath - A Song For The Village Of New Invention (The Toy Library Remix) [Plenty Wenlock]
Alister Spence Trio - Felt [Rufus Records]
Alister Spence Trio - neon and rain [Rufus Records]
Alister Spence Trio - Lux [Rufus Records]
Cuushe - Dust of Dreams (Motion Sickness of Time Travel Remix) [flau]

Listen again — ~ 106MB

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Sunday, 7th of October, 2012

Playlist 07.10.12 (9:11 pm)

Long and short, tonight's tracks take us from Canadian punk genius through a post-dubstep lens, to something like anti-hop, to analogue synth ambience and dark ambience, to beautiful post-classical sound-art with a post-dubstep/r'n'b bent. HOWZAT!
LISTEN AGAIN via FBi's on-demand streaming, or the podcast/link at the bottom of the playlist.

Starting with my favourite punk band, NoMeansNo – so awesome to be able to play them on the show without having to make excuses. Earlier this year they put out a tour 12" with four remixes on it, including fellow Canadian and NoMeansNo fan Deadbeat. The standout for me is Shackleton, surprisingly since I usually find his music too oppressive. I do keep wanting this track to break out into some kind of mad drum'n'bass workout, but hey – it's Shackleton. It's a brilliant earlyish NoMeansNo tune brilliantly reimagined.

Last year Death Grips, er, exploded onto the scene with some psychedelic videos and the Exmilitary "mixtape" (really their debut album), all as free downloads. It's the kind of intensely tough, heavy electronics that characterised early grime, with electronic bass & scribbly sounds plus Zach Hill's drums being practically the only thing underlying the relentless rap/spoken word of MC Ride. Epic Records signed them for what was going to be 2 albums this year, but after they finished NO LOVE DEEP WEB they discovered that it wasn't going to come out till next year. Pissed off (not sure if this was the only reason), they decided to release it FOR FREE themselves, from their SoundCloud and direct from their website (WARNING: uncensored erect male member if you follow the link inside). It's miles better than The Money Store, the album Epic did release earlier this year.

The electronic backing of these Death Grips tracks slides nicely into something a lot old-sounding, but also just released: Chris Madak aka Bee Mask is one of those young noise-affiliated artists doing awesome stuff with longform ambient sonic sculptures of analogue synths. There's a huge debt to prog and krautrock, of course, in this music, and it's kind of weird that after the most overblown of the prog sounds became demonized by punk as the great evil of the previous generation, it's where the current noise set have gravitated. Politics(?) aside, it's excellent music, so enjoy it.

Also on Brisbane's ROOM40, ambient of a darker, more oppressive sort comes from pinkcourtesyphone aka Richard Chartier. An sound artist of some renown, Chartier also runs the Line label, and in a nice exchange, just put out a new release from ROOM40's Lawrence English (which we'll hear from in a couple of weeks...) Under his pinkcourtesyphone alias he's able to expand into somewhat less minimal, abstruse zones, with spooky sampled vocals and cavernous reverb on the occasional beats. Very fine indeed.

When AXXONN started it was a duo of Tom Hall with Ian Rogers of No Anchor, and it was an outlet for awesome noise/drone. For the last album and this new one, though, it's reverted to being Tom (mostly) solo, with the noise roots channeled through a electro-pop (albeit without vocals and pretty challenging for the mainstream) sensibility. It's interesting to compare these sounds with Tom's stellar solo (under his own name) album from last year: it's a similar aesthetic, but the album's more sparkly and definitely more ambient. The new AXXONN album Beyond Light is out in a couple of weeks.

And the rest of tonight's show was taken up by the amazing sounds of UK's William Yates aka Memotone. A multi-instrumentalist, he sits nicely in the post-dubstep/r'n'b axis of artists like James Blake, Downliners Sekt and compatriots on the Black Acre label, but mixed in with the beats and bass is scintillating sound-art and post-classical composition: piano, strings, clattering percussion and plenty of space.
We'll see whether my obsession wanes, but I played a good cross-section of excellent stuff tonight, including a number of free downloads you can grab now (see his music page). The digital-only Hands EP and the new album I Sleep. At Waking are deep and varied and will surely be among the top releases of the year. Dig it.

NoMeansNo - Dark Ages (Shackleton's My Goal's Beyond remix) [self-released]
Death Grips - No Love [self-released]
Death Grips - Guillotine [self-released]
Death Grips - Artificial death in the west [self-released]
Bee Mask - Vaporware [ROOM40]
pinkcourtesyphone - sans motif [ROOM40]
AXXONN - Sky's One Kite [Sonoptik]
Tom Hall - Chased By Demons Through Vacant Lands [Complicated Dance Steps]
AXXONN - Outback Wonderland [Sonoptik]
Memotone - Onset / Stalker [Black Acre]
Memotone - Sleep it Off [A Future Without]
Memotone - Lost Hours [Black Acre]
Memotone - Sleeping With The Insects [Bad Panda] {free download!}
Memotone - Nightshift [Raised By Records]
Memotone - Dark Under The Eyes [Boiler Room SoundCloud] {free download!}
Memotone - Sad Sack [free from Memotone website]
Memotone - Don't Come Looking [A Future Without]
Memotone - Down Illusion [Black Acre]

Listen again — ~ 106MB

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