a wholly owned subsiduary of
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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, 25th of November, 2012

Playlist 25.11.12 (9:05 pm)

The new music keeps on truckin' in even at this latter end of the year, so let's get into it!
LISTEN AGAIN as usual, via the link at the bottom, the podcast, the FBi on-demand streaming...

Sydney's Feral Media are celebrating their 10th birthday with a compilation released on Bandcamp digitally and as a pretty awesome-looking "Playbutton" (basically a tiny mp3 player in a badge, or as the Americans call it, a "button"). It features, it has to be admitted, my solo incarnation Raven and my trio Haunts, but also a plethora of other excellent Sydney and Australian acts.
So tonight we heard from Blue Mountains visionary 0.1, traversing indie, postrock and electronica as if there were no genres, Sydney's pimmon going all "Oh? Beats, yeah I do them! What?", and later Comatone (from the Blue Mountains again, and who also mastered the album) with some of the technical beats and lush textures he does so very well.

Next up we have laptop and vocal musical theorist Holly Herndon with some ultra-processed vocals and ultra-compelling 4/4 techno beats. She's part-academic, part-danceloor, and probably works more for the cerebral listener, but perhaps that's why I like her!

Sticking with the house/techno beats, we join Andy Stott with his deeply submerged beats and bass, with mid-to-high frequencies squalling upwards from murk now and then, including the vocals of his childhood piano teacher Alison Skidmore. It's pretty stunning stuff.

Changing gears with a crunch of metal, we land with France's Ruby My Dear, coming on all Venetian Snares with 7/8 (and other) time signatures, along with jazz samples, electronic textures and the occasional ragga sample. It's some of the best drill'n'bass/breakcore I've heard in ages, particularly on the new album from Ad Noiseam, but the various older releases on his Bandcamp are worth checking out as well.

I first came across Gabor Schablitzki as one half of German idm due Beefcake, who I was obsessed with in the late '90s and early 2000s. They effectively ceased existing in 2004, and initially I refused to follow Schablitzki in Robag Wruhme guise and in duo with the "Wighnomy Brothers" as it was essentially dancefloor-based house. I'm still not much of a fan of the four-on-the-floor, but especially the recent Robag Wruhme is an example (as with Andy Stott) of how to do it right, to my ears. There's a beauty to it and a looseness which is lovely. That said, what I played tonight (from his exemplary mix CD of his own remixes) is pure idm, from back in 1996, and could easily have been on one of the early Beefcake releases. It's clearly him aping Aphex Twin circa On, and nothing wrong with that!

Fresh from his Room 40 release, Bee Mask returns with more analogue synths and psychedelic sounds for Spectrum Spools, the less cerebral branch of Editions Mego. Possibly one of his best releases yet.

Futuresequence have released SEQUENCE5, 5th in their series of free download compilations, and there's more cello to be found. Here we hear an involving piece from London-based cellist and guitarist Guy Gelem, with a lovely ambient piece with bassline and rhythms held by the cello.

And we finish with some of the brilliant work of Melbourne's Ned Collette + Wirewalker, who originally played together as part of the legendary postrock(?) band City City City. Ned's songwriting leans towards the dark folk/roots of a Tom Waits or Nick Cave, perhaps less doom-laden, with Joe Talia (recently heard as a central player on Oren Ambarchi's brilliant 2012 albums) supporting on drums and backing vocals. Truly fantastic.

0.1 - Softism [Feral Media]
pimmon - Found a Feather [Feral Media]
Holly Herndon - Terminal [RVNG]
Holly Herndon - Fade [RVNG]
Andy Stott - Numb [Modern Love]
Andy Stott - North To South [Modern Love]
Andy Stott - Up the box [Modern Love]
Ruby My Dear - dinah [Ad Noiseam]
Ruby My Dear - Fix II [Illphabetik] {also available from Ruby My Dear Bandcamp}
Ruby My Dear - hawa [Ad Noiseam]
Comatone - Lamplit Screenprint [Feral Media]
Robag Wruhme - Kuttenrolch [Nachtdigital]
Bee Mask - Frozen Falls [Spectrum Spools]
Bee Mask - Moon Shadow Move [Spectrum Spools]
Guy Gelem - Remain [Futuresequence]
Ned Collette + Wirewalker - The Hedonist [Dot Dash]
City City City - prat [Sensory Projects]
City City City - the perimeter motor show [Sensory Projects]
Ned Collette + Wirewalker - One Evening, In The Middle Of The Road... [Dot Dash]

Listen again — ~ 104MB

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Sunday, 18th of November, 2012

Playlist 18.11.12 (9:04 pm)

I chatted with Nat Hawks aka Padna tonight, who has a new album out on Preservation.
You can download the interview and surrounding tracks separately here if you wish.
LISTEN AGAIN to the whole show via the link at the bottom, the podcast feed, or stream on demand from FBi.

Started with a nice acoustic yet shoegazey track from Padna. More about him later.

Alyx Dennison and Freya Berkhout put out their first album as kyü a couple of years, and found almost instant success, with gigs at major festivals and venues – and it seems as though it came too quickly, as the pair want more time to study and develop their craft. This is a brave and wise move, but it's certainly sad for us, given how wonderful their second album is, so go grab it at Bandcamp.

As total contrast we go from a female multi-instrumentalist/vocalist duo to the testosterone-fueled aggression of long-lived Adelaide hard-rockers The Mark of Cain. I can justify playing them on the 'Fog in as many ways as you like – not least because they're so tight and play such irresistible heavy riffs and catchy shouted choruses. And their influence is large and wide. But their drummer for over a decade has been John Stanier, best known to us perhaps sitting out front with his insanely high crash cymbal in Battles. And back in 1996 (pre-Stanier) they put out a ground-breaking EP of remixes, including artists like Justin K Broadrick. I played Paul Mac's very '90s, very excellent take (pretty sure it got a lot of airplay on the J's back at the time) but also wanted to air the creepy journey into the heart of darkness with another female duo, B(if)tek.

A couple of weeks ago I played a beautiful piano rendition of Philip Glass by Cornelius, and promised more from the remix album Beck has just put together. I have to admit I'm not as big a fan of Glass as, say, Steve Reich (who's been the subject himself of a remix album and 12"). I find him often trite and un-nuanced, don't sue me. Still, I'm a fan of the remix album, and there's a surprisingly high ratio of successes here, not least Beck's own 20-minute megamix which combines his own sweet-voiced vocals harmonies with an uncredited tour through Glass's canon.
The lack of credits for the original works is quite frustrating, so I was annoyed that there's no mention that "Warda's Whorehouse" is a collaboration with Foday Musa Suso. You may have heard me obsessing before about dj BC's excellent Philip Glass mashups album Glassworks, and that's where I heard this originally, mashed with the Fugees (it's on YouTube - listen NOW!). Amon Tobin is very much in-character in his remix, which is a good thing: there's enough of the original to enjoy the connection, but it's dark and bulky and heavy as you'd expect. Peter Broderick, too, is in character, evoking Glass with broken chords, within his post-classical/folk context, and building it up in a nice drone-wise way.

Next up, we hear a lovely piece of acoustic guitar looping and contact-mic scraping from Padna, with whom I had a 20-minute conversation about musical communities, live vs recording, physical formats and digital distribution. Well worth a listen! And his music's fantastic too :)

We then dive into breakcore-land with cdatakill, who has a very welcome new album out on Hymen. He dabbles with dubstep, like so many breakcore producers, but also drops some chopy amen breaks on a few tracks and some ridiculously (in a good way) heavy death metal riffs to shock you out of your seat. Going back through his history (a tiny bit), we heard a sick breakcore take on Billie Holiday's rendition of "Strange Fruit", something even heavier and more crazily distorted, and a remix from 2002 sampling Shostakovich's String Quartet No. 8 (hear Abelcain's original with more of the Shostakovich). A pretty heady mix.
Planning more breakcore & dubstep from Ad Noiseam next week!

Padna - Shoeg [Preservation]
kyü - Everything's a Centipede [self-released on Bandcamp]
kyü - Quiche [self-released on Bandcamp]
kyü - Scratch Piano [self-released on Bandcamp]
The Mark of Cain - Barkhammer [Feel Presents]
The Mark of Cain - The Contender (Paul Mac remix) [rooArt]
The Mark of Cain - R&R (Apocalypse Mix by B(if)tek) [rooArt]
Philip Glass - Warda's Whorehouse (Amon Tobin's Inside Out Version) [The Kora Records/Ernest Jenning/Orange Mountain Music]
Philip Glass & Foday Musa Suso - Warda's Whorehouse (excerpt) [Point Music]
Philip Glass - Island Remix (by Peter Broderick) [The Kora Records/Ernest Jenning/Orange Mountain Music]
Padna - Pelts [Preservation]
...interview with Nat Hawks aka Padna...
Padna - Green Plastic Prism (G.P.P.) [Preservation]
cdatakill - battleworn [Hymen]
cdatakill - Strange Fruit [Low Res]
cdatakill - Yesterdays [Ad Noiseam]
Abelcain - Black Bone Orchid (Remixed by Cdatakill) [Ad Noiseam]
cdatakill - The World Is Coming To Another End [Hymen]

Listen again — ~ 104MB

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Sunday, 11th of November, 2012

Playlist 11.11.12 (9:06 pm)

GOOOOOD EVENING! Please sign up to support FBi during our supporter drive!
Listen again as usual via link at bottom or podcast, or stream on demand at FBi.

We started with a pretty magical new EP from Canberra's Reuben Ingall, combining a kind of lackadaisical-yet-impassioned grungey indie songwriting with uncompromising digital processing. These are his best songs yet, and for all the seemingly-haphazard song structures, it's also his tightest and more assured production. Highly recommended.

Peter Broderick is such a sweetie. Yeah. You may find some of his efforts a little fey, a little self-conscious, and maybe you'd be right, but he's so sincere and earnest, and importantly, he's such a deeply talented musician and songwriter that it all works for me. These Walls Of Mine is his second album for 2012, this one mostly home-recorded, some featuring crowd-sourced lyrics or thematic material. And I have the limited edition version with a lovely hand-stitched booklet of lyrics and photos plus some bonus download tracks, one of which we heard tonight. I couldn't resist playing a couple of highlights from his earlier album, with the kind of ridiculous title http://www.itstartshear.com/.

Keeping it post-classical-crossover, Balmorhea have a new album out which is their most upbeat and postrock-crossover (well, you know) yet. I actually wanted to play a lot of it. Still with the violins and piano and acoustic guitar, but also drums and rock-out bits and synths and vocal chants... really pretty rapturous music.

It's been a while since we heard heaps of Eskmo on the show – back in 2009 or so I was playing the shit out of his EPs, whether heavy classical chant-laden dubstep or bouncing rhythmically complex wonky beats. He then released an album on Ninja Tune that seemed to tone down all the interesting stuff, so it's particularly great to have this new EP which brings the bounce back, melodic and bass-heavy, at various different BPMs. Very fine.

Which brings us firmly to the dancefloor... Or does it? ASC is a drum'n'bass artist (and label-owner) of some renown, but takes his productions into idm and techno-inspired realms with odd time signatures (for instance we heard 3/4 tonight) and strangely, wonderfully cut-down beat structures. It's somehow still clearly d'n'b. Meanwhile, on one of his recent mini-albums for PAN, Lee Gamble revisits his d'n'b fandom of the mid-'90s with a set of tracks that celebrate the interstitial material – ambient drop-out, vocals sighs, bass drops; everything except the beats – although kindly on the 2nd-last track he allows a breakbeat to drop, so it's not all unreleased tension. In fact it's a kind of blissful work more akin to glitchy minimal techno, but it's certainly got a sense of the hardcore and drum'n'bass euphoria.

Speaking of hardcore, The Future Sound Of London produced some of the classic tracks of early hardcore and rave before moving into ambient territories. It's terrifying that they're now on to their 7th From The Archives album, and there's no sign of the quality flagging. I might be nostalgic, and I was an obsessive fan back in the mid-'90s, but it seems to me this stuff is totally living up to the best of their material from the halcyon days, and works pretty well in the current context.

Finally, something very special. It's been known for a long time that the legendary Coil's Nine Inch Nails remix sessions with Danny Hyde yielded many more tracks than saw the light of day, and some intrepid fans sought out Hyde to see whether the "lost remixes" could be heard, and he apparently was willing to pass them on (story recounted here). So while you won't find Uncoiled available to buy officially, a bit of an internet search will turn them up, and they're perhaps not totally illegal. I played a section of one of the astounding remixes of "the downward spiral" that you can find on further down the spiral, plus a completely different one that's among the recently uncovered ones.

Reuben Ingall - to lose [Reuben Ingall Bandcamp] {pay what you like}
Reuben Ingall - moon [Reuben Ingall Bandcamp] {pay what you like}
Peter Broderick - When I Blank I Blank [Erased Tapes]
Peter Broderick - Asleep [Erased Tapes]
Peter Broderick - A Simple Sunday Song [Erased Tapes]
Peter Broderick - Everything I Know [Erased Tapes]
Balmorhea - Pyrakantha [Western Vinyl]
Andrew Bird - Beyond The Valley Of The Three White Horses [Mom & Pop Music]
Balmorhea - Dived [Western Vinyl]
Eskmo - 1996 [Ancestor]
Eskmo - Let Them Sing [Planet µ]
Eskmo - Oh in This World of Dread, Carry On [Ancestor]
ASC - Open Source [Samurai Music]
ASC - Stay True [Samurai Music]
ASC - Scanners [Samurai Music]
Lee Gamble - Razors / 3,4 Synthetics [PAN]
Lee Gamble - Dollis Hill / Rufige [PAN]
The Future Sound Of London - Abandoned Housing Blocks of Prypiat [FSOL Digital]
nine inch nails - the downward spiral (the bottom) (coil and danny hyde) (excerpt) [Nothing/Interscope]
nine inch nails - the downward spiral (a gilded sickness by coil and danny hyde) [not released, but search the torrents]

Listen again — ~ 103MB

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Sunday, 4th of November, 2012

Playlist 04.11.12 (9:18 pm)

OMG it's November! How did that happen?
Lots of great sound-art tonight, and some very fine beats as well.
LISTEN AGAIN via the usual links, stream on demand at FBi.

Started with a lovely number from Brooklyn's Padna released by Sydney's own Preservation. It's a surprising mix of acoustic instruments and sounds with subtle, almost unnoticeable electronics. I'll be interviewing him in a couple of weeks, so listen up!

Oren Ambarchi has had an amazing year of releases, and I'm not surprised that this collaboration with Robin Fox is excellent, as I saw the mind-boggling Chunky Move production it's derived from.

He got a big feature last week on the show, but this Inch-time track is too good to not get a spin tonight. Corker of an album.

The Declining Winter aka Richard Adams from Hood and friends has had a quiet year, but decided to put out a free Bandcamp EP a couple of weeks ago. It appears in the intervening time they've taken it down, so this might be the only place you can hear it for now!

If you've listened much to this show you'll know I'm a bit obsessed with the work of both the people behind Rabbit Rabbit Radio, partners Carla Kihlstedt and Matthias Bossi. There's a reason for that. They're awesome. This is sorotf Bossi doing Bowie. Nice.

And then BAM! I had to play a whole stack of Italian sound-artist Nicola Ratti, because I've just rediscovered how very talented and versatile he is. There are shoegazey guitar tracks (of a sort), minimal tracks with beats (of a sort), wonderful scratchy vinyl loops (in collaboration with Giuseppi Ielasi), and, on his latest album, the deconstructed insides of a piano. Often surprisingly rhythmic, and never less than engrossing.

I played some of Richard Chartier's pinkcourtesyphone material on ROOM40 a couple of weeks back; dark ambient music harkening back to the '90s to my ears, albeit informed by contemporary drone. I've now gotten hold of the sister release on his own Line [Segments] imprint, and it's got a similar feel. Slightly spooky but great late-night listening.

Having recently felt like Funckarma were slipping too easily into the parping, aggressive dubstep bass and hip-hop beats, it's awesome to find that Roel Funcken's new solo album limits that sound to a few tracks, veering out into more lightweight beats, complex audio sculpting and even some rather pretty ambient at the end. Best thing from either or both brothers in a while, recommended!

Mr Funcken turns up remixing The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble on their latest EP, but I've been spruiking Finnish drum'n'bass/breaks expert Fanu on the show a bit, so we heard his take plus the excellent original – foreboding soundscapes and beats drop in and out along with trombone, violin and more. A great introduction to a fascinating group, and not one remix out of place either.

Finally, what can I say about my favourite noise artist Burning Star Core going, er, "pop", under his own name? Well, I found the quasi-naïve songwriting and quasi-'80s postpunk electronic production somewhat off-putting, or mainly the songwriting I guess; the one instrumental track (there are vocals, but not lyrics), though, is actually very good.

Padna - Green Plastic Prism (G.P.P.) [Preservation]
Oren Ambarchi & Robin Fox - Standing Mandala [Kranky]
Inch-time - Time of the Fire [Mystery Plays Records]
The Declining Winter - The Year of Forty [The Declining Winter Bandcamp] {seems no longer available...}
Rabbit Rabbit Radio - Hero and a Saint [Rabbit Rabbit Radio]
Nicola Ratti - Track Four from Streengs [senufo editions]
Nicola Ratti - Tropical Malady [Preservation]
Nicola Ratti - Untitled #2 from 220 Tones [Die Schachtel]
Nicola Ratti - Nordich [Audio Gourmet]
Bellows - handcut 04 [senufo editions]
Nicola Ratti - Track Two from Streengs [senufo editions]
pinkcourtesyphone - all made up [Line [Segments]]
pinkcourtesyphone - afternoon theme (excerpt) / evening theme (excerpt) [Line [Segments]]
pinkcourtesyphone - sans motif [ROOM40]
Roel Funcken - Textures [Schematic]
Roel Funcken - Mercury Retrograde [Schematic]
The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - Xtabay (Fanu Remix) [tkde Bandcamp]
The Kilimanjaro Darkjazz Ensemble - Xtabay [tkde Bandcamp]
CS Yeh - Don't Make Me Chase You [De Stijl]

Listen again — ~ 106MB

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