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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, 30th of December, 2012

Playlist 30.12.12 - Best of 2012 Part 2! (9:04 pm)

Wow! Best of 2012 Part 2, and so much great stuff...
Next Sunday night I won't be doing the 'Fog as I'm at the Vanguard in Newtown supporting the excellent Monsieur Chapelier Fou. But if you can't make it, fear not! The gig is being recorded for FBi and will broadcast on my show on a later date. This Sunday, Heli Newton is sitting in the hot seat to guide you through the night.

LISTEN - link at the bottom, subscribe to podcast, or better, stream on demand from FBi!

Sunken Foal - Cool Arms of Love [Countersunk] {free download!}
Sunken Foal - Chizzlers (feat. Carol Keogh) [Countersunk] {free download!}
Orcas - Until Then [Morr Music]
Peter Broderick - Asleep [Erased Tapes]
Reuben Ingall - sideline [Reuben Ingall Bandcamp] {pay what you like}
Reuben Ingall - brick [Reuben Ingall Bandcamp] {pay what you like}
Julia Holter - Marienbad [RVNG]
kyü - Scratch Piano [self-released on Bandcamp]
Philip Glass - Opening (Cornelius rework) [The Kora Records/Ernest Jenning/Orange Mountain Music]
Chapelier Fou - L'eau qui dort [Ici D'Ailleurs]
Hiva Oa - Badger [mini50records]
dictaphone - rattle (feat. Mariechen Danz) [sonic pieces]
Cock and Swan - Stash [Lost Tribe Sound]
Yppah - Film Burn feat. Anomie Belle [Ninja Tune]
Oceania - Mantra [7even Recordings]
Ametsub - Precipice Drive [nothings66]
Ametsub - Dimmur [nothings66]
Clark - Secret Slow Show (feat. Martina Topley Bird) [Warp]
Borealis - Orphan Fire [Origami Sound]]
Oneohtrix Point Never - The Letter [NNA Tapes]
Rene Hell - Meta Concrete [NNA Tapes]
Gilded - Cluttered Room [Hidden Shoal]

Listen again — ~ 104MB

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Sunday, 23rd of December, 2012

Playlist 23.12.12 - Best of 2012 Part 1 (9:10 pm)

And so it comes time to attempt to collate the best of 2012 – into two 2hr shows. Crazy! I'll do my best, and January will probably be quiet enough to slip a few more favourites in.
No particular theme to the selections tonight, although a lot were among the very top favourites. Just tried to have a flow from some-oriented tracks into electronic and experimental sounds. Next week will go in other directions.

LISTEN - link at the bottom, subscribe to podcast, or better, stream on demand from FBi!

Zammuto - Harlequin [Temporary Residence]
Fiona Apple - Regret [Epic]
Fiona Apple - Dull Tool [Capitol]
Ned Collette + Wirewalker - What Lights Have You Seen? [Dot Dash]
Mike Wexler - Pariah [Mexican Summer]
OM - Addis [Drag City]
Swans - The Seer Returns [Young God]
Oren Ambarchi - Fractured Mirror [Touch]
L A N D - Stillman [Important Records]
Shoeb Ahmad - the orchids [Mystery Plays Records]
Andy Stott - Numb [Modern Love]
Memotone - Stalker [Black Acre]
Memotone - Many Things [A Future Without]
Throwing Snow - Clamor [Snowfall]
Filastine - colony collapse (with Nova) [Post World Industries/Muti Music]
emptyset - Function: Vulgar Display of Power (Roly Porter Variation) [Subtext]
Raime - Exist In The Repeat of Practice [Blackest Ever Black]
yyu - yyyy [Beer on the Rug]
yyu - pizza-yy [yyu Bandcamp]

Listen again — ~ 167MB

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Sunday, 16th of December, 2012

Playlist 16.12.12 (9:08 pm)

Evening! Last show of NEW MUSIC for the year, crazy that I'm still fitting in really pretty recent new tunes...
LISTEN AGAIN - link at the bottom, podcast to subscribe, or better, stream on demand from FBi!

Started with an awesome new track from Monk Fly which officially comes out on a new EP in January. It's still got the shiny synths and wobbles of his recent work, along with some clattery drum'n'bass-style percussion and some garbled vocal refrains. The EP's called Tropical Blap and this is suitably tropical.

Sticking in Sydney, sortof, we have a track from Feral Media's 10 (A Decade of Feral Media) celebratory compilation, this time from label founder Alpen, who's now based in NYC, and is remixed here by Blue Mountains resident Comatone. And heading down to the Melbourne, from the same comp we have beloved postrock ensemble Because of Ghosts, remixed by David Evans, drummer in another Melbourne postrock band, This Is Your Captain Speaking.

We've been hearing the EPs of Sydney band Fabels for a while on the show, and as I've mentioned they feature the vocals and songwriting of Ben Aylward of Swirl, one of Sydney's best-loved indie/shoegaze bands from the '90s. Tonight we heard a bit of a classic from their early years, and heard that the original Swirl line-up are re-forming for a few gigs for the Half a Cow label.

Speaking of shoegaze, one of the most beguiling slow-growers this year came from Jessica Bailiff, this time co-produced with longtime collaborator Odd Nosdam. It's got none of Nosdam's beats or samples, just blissed-out fuzzy guitar and Bailiff's evocative songs. So we had to hear a collaboration from one of Nosdam's albums as well.

It seems to me drone owes a lot to shoegaze, and, it has to be said, postrock in general. So we hear with Ben Chatwin's Talvihorros, either drone music that's expanded with drums and new compositional shapes, or postrock/doom rock with drone textures. I've heard more straight (and beautiful) drone work from Talvihorros before, but his wonderful new album on Denovali (who've had a brilliant year) escapes the confines of long drones...

In between the two Talvihorros tracks, we heard from Melbourne artist Brambles, who made an impact with his debut album this year. What we heard, though, came from the enormous, epic compilation Headphone Commute put together to raise money for those affected by Hurricane Sandy, ...and darkness came. Talvihorros also features, along with a host of others - it's of truly insane length, featuring 87 tracks, and an alarming amount of great stuff pretty far down the (6hr+) tracklisting, so it's worth spending USD$10 on and listening through the whole damn thing.

Melbourne-based Brambles' album seems less exciting to me than this wonderful track and his recent Futuresequence contribution, but he's capable of utter brilliance like this, so we'll be waiting avidly for his next steps!

Also from Melbourne and better known in the rest of the world is Boy Is Fiction, with a few albums under his belt and a lovely piece of shoegazey indietronica on the Headphone Commute compilation.

Just jumping in at the end of the year is a single from Cex, who had a couple of great albums of freeform electronica also this year. This track is a solid piece of dubby vocoder electro, which takes us nicely into the dubby techno of Vladislav Delay, possibly getting more rhythmically unhinged with each release.

It's always great to be reminded of The Future Sound Of London, who I was a ginormous fan of back in the early and mid-'90s. In about 1997 they pretty much stopped, reincarnating their Amorphous Androgynous alias as a psychedelic pop/rock band for many years, but in 2007 they instigated their From The Archives series of apparently endless archival material. Apparently it's all from back in the day, and they're up to Volume 7 now, full albums' worth of classic ambient techno that still works for me. Dated? Sure, but still somehow futuristic, and certainly very listenable.

The tragic death of Peter "Sleazy" Christopherson in 2010, six years after the tragic death of his partner Jhonn Balance, spelled the end of Coil, but also triggered the final end (again) of the legendary industrial band Throbbing Gristle. The ever-prickly Genesis P-Orridge left the remaining members, and it was left to Chris (Carter) & Cosey (Fanni Tutti) to finish things up on the last recordings, under the moniker of X-TG. For some reason the last big project was a cover album of Nico's album Desertshore, 2nd in a trilogy of astonishing albums produced with John Cale, which are really untouchable genius. In the context of the original's acerbic vocals, and the dual dirge of Nico's harmonium and Cale's viola, the lush synths and now-familiar post-industrial beats sound soppy and comfortable. But, as an independent work, it is lovely and perfectly enjoyable, and it's pretty great hearing the likes of Antony, Marc Almond and Blixa Bargeld contributing vocals.

And finally, the ever-lovely flau have released an album from Texan folktronic duo Twigs & Yarn. It's perfectly pretty stuff that's a perfect fit for the Japanese label and has beautiful handmade packaging.

Monk Fly - One Blap [Frequency Lab]
Alpen - Last Frontier of Ink and Paper (Comatone remix) [Feral Media]
Because of Ghosts - Fall Short of Certainty (David Evans remix) [Feral Media]
Swirl - Strangelands [Half a Cow]
Fabels - Ion [self-released/Bandcamp]
Jessica Bailiff - take me to the sun (so warm, so ready) [Kranky]
Odd Nosdam - Fat Hooks (feat. Miss Jessica Bailiff, voice) [Anticon]
Jessica Bailiff - sanguine (please say a word) [Kranky]
Talvihorros - Creeping Things [Denovali]
Brambles - Reflected Consciousness [Headphone Commute]
Talvihorros - The Two Great Lights [Denovali]
Boy Is Fiction - Sunlight Through The Glass [Headphone Commute]
Cex - Lorena [Automation Records]
Vladislav Delay - Vastaa [Raster-Noton]
The Future Sound Of London - Switzerland [FSOL Digital]
The Future Sound Of London - Architektur [FSOL Digital]
The Future Sound Of London - Flygon [FSOL Digital]
X-TG - Janitor of Lunacy (vocals, Antony) [Industrial Records]
Nico - All That Is My Own [Reprise Records]
X-TG - All That Is My Own (vocals, Cosey Fanny Tutti) [Industrial Records]
Twigs & Yarn - static rowing [Flau]

Listen again — ~ 105MB

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Sunday, 9th of December, 2012

Playlist 09.12.12 (9:05 pm)

Tonight's show featured everything from political alt.hop to post-d'n'b-acoustic-doom to conversations about noise and classical music, drone, and post-rock remixes.
LISTEN AGAIN, stream on demand at FBi or podcast, or see link below!

We started with a new single from Sage Francis, all the funds from which are going to help HIV-positive children he met in Durban, South Africa in 2011. It's a great song and worth dropping a few dollars on.

Like Sage, Sole is an ex-Anticon associate and likes his alt hip-hop with a solid serve of politics. He's been heavily involved with the Occupy movement in Denver, and has some pretty solid situationist/left/anarchist message on A Ruthless Criticism of Everything Existing. A fine producer in his own right, he nevertheless works with excellent producers as ever, with cut-ups of old forgotten pop songs, heavy head-nodding beats and a fair whack of melodicism along with the rapping.

Raime are among the darlings of the post-noise/post-dance set, residing as they do on label-of-the-moment Blackest Ever Black. With an amazing classic jungle mix for FACT, a couple of mixes focusing more on '80s post-industrial and goth, and a couple of 12"s exploring dark, slowed-down jungle that's not quite dubstep. On this album the clattery acoustics of the industrial era meet acoustic instruments along with the sub-bass and ascetic beats; there's nothing else quite like it, although it strongly represents certain trends from the last few years. It's well-hyped, but well deserving of it.

I chatted tonight with Canberra's Austin Buckett, composed and member of Pollen Trio about Everything Always, a concert of noise in contemporary composition from ABC Classic FM's New Music Up Late. Well worth checking out, on air if not in person, or streaming on demand from the ABC site after the fact.

Billed as The Colossal Ithaca Trio for their latest album, Leeds'(?) Ithaca Trio is mainly the work of Oliver Thurley, and rarely a genuine trio, colossal or not. This album was originally a limited release in 2010 but has been majorly reworked, as well as being remastered by Brisbane's Lawrence English. It's gorgeously produced, acoustic drones and noises, layered female guest vocals on one track, carefully placed sounds, worthy of immersive late-night listening.

Back in Sydney, Fabels have a lineage that includes legendary Sydney shoegazers Swirl and noisy psych-rockers Psychic Date. Each of their three EPs so far has featured great songwriting and experimental shoegazey production, with loops and drum machines along with the guitars and vocals.

Down to Melbourne, I've recently been obsessed with Ned Collette + Wirewalker, who I was a fan of when they were members of City City City. Ned's songwriting and vocal influences are clear - Leonard Cohen, Robert Wyatt and Tom Waits spring to mind - but it's such a joy to hear such strong songs, with arrangements that are never obvious, and so well delivered. In a word, awesome.

Second Language is the label run by Piano Magic's Glen Johsnon, who we have encountered frequently on UFog over the last few years, with a sensitive catalogue of folk, post-classical and experimental works. The great, long-lived Piano Magic can now release their own stuff through the label too, and after a fine, dark, '80s-electro-pop-inspired album this year, we find this piece of very acoustic, joyful folk on Second Language's year-end sampler.

In a similar vein, leaning more towards minimalist composition, is Snow Palms, featuring sometime Second Language collaborator David Sheppard of State River Widening, Phelan Sheppard etc on mallet instruments like vibraphone, glockenspiel etc and the strings and electronics of Chris Leary aka Ochre. It's even more enlivening and beautiful than you'd expect.

To segue from the "post-classical" (a term Japanese record stores seem to love), Kashiwa Diasuke has a new album out on World's End Girlfriend's Virgin Babylon, in which he revisits, reworks and remixes some of his back catalogue. We get pensive piano, break-neck drill'n'bass beats, glitchy edits, even occasional raucous rock and ambient passages. Everything and the kitchen sink, just the way we love it. Essential.

Tonight's outing from the fabulous Decade of Feral Media compilation comes from the always-lovely Seaworthy, possibly an old tune with piano competing to be heard over field recordings.

And from another Aussie compilation, Fields, albeit with an international outlook, we hear from Brisbane's Lloyd Barrett aka Secret Killer of Names, with an ambient tune that gives way to slightly disturbing growling vox, a bit industrial and quite excellent.

And finally, there's a new Mogwai remix album out! I need to revisit the ones form 1998. "Mexican Grand Prix" is reworked into gorgeous electronic-tinged indiefolk by RM Hubbert, while Justin K Broadrick turns "George Square Thatcher Death Party" into his usual blissful heavy shoegaze a la Jesu.

Sage Francis - Ubuntu (Water Into Wine) [Strange Famous Records] {buy from Bandcamp}
Sole - Definition of Slave (feat. Open Mike Eagle, Alias) [Soleone]
Sole - The Void Which Binds (feat. Real Magic) [Soleone]
Raime - Exist In The Repeat of Practice [Blackest Ever Black]
Raime - The Last Foundry [Blackest Ever Black]
...interview with Austin Buckett...
Austin Buckett - Blind Shutters [hellosQuare]
The Colossal Ithaca Trio - Wolf √359 [Hibernate Recordings]
Fabels - Semaphore [self-released/Bandcamp]
Ned Collette + Wirewalker - What Lights Have You Seen? [Dot Dash]
Piano Magic - St Martin-In-The-Fields [Second Language]
Snow Palms - Blue Yonder [Village Green]
Snow Palms - Motion Capture [Village Green]
Kashiwa Diasuke - april.#19 [Virgin Babylon]
Seaworthy - Shedding [Feral Media]
Secret Killer of Names - The Scenic Rim [Fields]
Mogwai - Mexican Grand Prix (Reworked by RM Hubbert) [Rock Action Records]
Mogwai - George Square Thatcher Death Party (Justin K Broadrick Reshape) [Rock Action Records]

Listen again — ~ 104MB

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Sunday, 2nd of December, 2012

Playlist 02.12.12 (9:05 pm)

It's scary that it's December and there's still amazing new music being released. Some of it I guess I'm catching up on, but seriously – new releases all over the place! Most notable, no doubt, is Scott Walker's new one, and we had a special on the man to start.
LISTEN AGAIN for your usual podcasting, download link below, or on demand streaming from FBi.

So what can you say about Scott Walker? Probably you should just read the insanely in-depth interview in this month's Wire. For years I've avoided getting a proper understanding of Scott, and it's all down to "THAT VOICE", as almost every review ever will refer to it as. I am allergic to opera, a problem (all mine, I freely admit) which extends into gospel and a lot of its soul/r'n'b progeny as well, and Scott Walker's vocal style (for many it's an attraction, not a hurdle to overcome) certainly draws a lot from the operatic tradition, with its wide vibrato and full timbre. Getting past the voice, though, we have brilliant, progressive arrangements drawing on postpunk, 20th century classical and free jazz, teamed up with performances (and lyrics) ranging from unsettling to downright scary. His influence can be felt far and wide... so while (like David Sylvian, it has to be said) I still can't really warm to the voice, I'm still totally sold.

Canberran Reuben Ingall is playing this Friday at AV Union along with Melburnians Paul Heslin and Transmissions, and Hobartian Drive West Today. Should be quite an event. Reuben's latest EP, which I've raved about before on the 'Fog, is a fantastic slice of electronic-processed indie, quite unlike anything else you'll hear this year.

Kane Ikin's duo Solo Andata first came to notice on the legendary Chicago label Hefty Records, an impressive achievement for the first release from a Perth duo. Ikin's appeared in solo form with a few remixes and short releases lately, and it's great to have his new album in hand, this time on the also-legendary 12k. It's got a sort of droney texture to it, but with a lot of instrumental detail, and a rhythmic underpinning that's not quite techno or electronica but nods in the right direction. Worth multiple listens.

Scissor Lock, the solo vehicle for Collarbones' Marcus Whale, hasn't had much of a truly solo outing for a while, so it's great to hear a new track (culled from a live set) on Feral Media's new compilation 10 (A Decade of Feral Media).
Also on the compilation, not a new track but newly available to the public is one of the earliest demos from one of Feral's best-loved bands, ii. They've been dormant for some years now, but produced some loveliest, most contemplative instrumental rock/electronic sounds in their time.

Another Australian-based online compilation came out this week, the first in a series from Fields. Put together by Hexakai Decagon, it features a number of Australian experimental artists plus a few from overseas (Sun Hammer and Radere in particular, known from Futuresequence). Brisbane's Ektoise were new to me (surprisingly), with a lovely dark ambient track. Their catalogue contains industrial rock, electronica and droney stuff, well worth fishing through.

Hauschka's Salon des Amateurs album from last year was described as him turnining his hand to techno, and while it was still made up of his prepared piano and strings, it drew strongly from the rhythms and tempos of techno. So it's no surprise that it's this album that's spawned a remix album, and mainly they're minimal 4/4 artists on hand. The alva noto Remodel of "Radar" is dark and very electronic, with only a few plucked strings from the original present. Michael Mayer (aka Kompakt's Supermayer) keeps a lot more of the light feel of the original, underpinning it with a head-nodding 4/4 beat and some beautiful dubby delays.

Speaking of dub, it's great to hear ambient techno pioneers The Orb getting their dub heads on with Lee 'Scratch' Perry. Here we hear them re-tooling their classic "Little Fluffy Clouds", complete with the Steve Reich sample, and Lee Perry being asked "What were the skies like when you were young?" Awesome.

French sound artist Max Paskine is one of the artists that the latest Futuresequence compilation, SEQUENCE5, has introduced me to. Excellent rhythmic ambient electronica.

And finally, I was shocked to discover I never played anything from the Neneh Cherry & The Thing album from earlier this year, with its amazing free-jazz-meets-pop renditions of Ornette Coleman, Suicide, Madvillain and others. So now the remix album is out, we heard Jim O'Rourke's slow-building remake of their incredible Madvillain cover "Accordion".

Scott Walker - Epizootics! [4AD]
Scott Walker - Tilt [Fontana]
Scott Walker - Buzzers [4AD]
Scott Walker - A Lover Loves [4AD]
Scott Walker - 'See You Don't Bump His Head' [4AD]
Reuben Ingall - fog [Reuben Ingall Bandcamp] {pay what you like}
Kane Ikin - Oberon [12k]
Scissor Lock - Alaska [Feral Media]
Kane Ikin - Black Sands [12k]
ii - Gentle Hum of Well Mannered Conversation [Feral Media]
Ektoise - Refractions [Fields]
Hauschka - Radar (alva noto Remodel) [Fat Cat]
Hauschka - Radar (Michael Mayer Remix) [Fat Cat]
The Orb featuring Lee 'Scratch' Perry - Golden Clouds [Cooking Vinyl]
Paskine - Dropped Memories [Futuresequence]
Neneh Cherry & The Thing - Accordion (Jim O'Rourke remix) [Smalltown Supersound]

Listen again — ~ 102MB

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