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, 30th of November, 2014

Playlist 30.11.14 (8:07 pm)

Dark ambient and techno are the order of the day tonight, including a big feature on a pretty much new artist for 2014, double bassist & sound-artist Yair Elazar Glotman.

LISTEN AGAIN because this is where it's at. This meaning either here or other there at FBi Radio where you can stream on demand with the advantage of STEREO.

Starting with TJ Hertz' Objekt, a projekt that appeared fully-formed in 2011 with his first self-released EP. There's a definite dubstep/bass influence to his techno, and not just because the bottom end features so, er, heavily. It's also because unlike a lot of techno, he focuses a lot on syncopation and gaps - indeed, he loves pulling the rug out from under the listener, no more so than on his stunning remix of Radiohead from later in the very year he released his first EP. Almost as soon as the vocal enters, it gets viciously glitched so (even in this day and age) you almost think something's gone wrong with your download (or CD player). Beats drop out or dissolve at weird junctures, and then the bassline re-enters with perfectly-engineered funk. So it's about time he released an album, and as is only proper, it's a mix of shorter and longer tracks, more ambient, more electro and more technoey tracks. It's a great showcase of a huge talent.

From Oslo, Norway comes the considerably more fucked-up techno & ambient of Lars Holdhus aka TCF. Those strings of hexadecimal pairs that title his tracks lead to a disorienting effect, and the music is almost as-if created by some kind of futuristic, slightly malfunctioning AI. Like Giant Claw from last week there's a sense that this music could only have been created now, in this post-everything world, and it also shares a distinct focus on sub-bass with the other artists from tonight. Very fine.

Next up, a big focus on one of the artists of the year, Yair Elazar Glotman and his post-techno guise KETEV. An Israeli double-bassist now based in Berlin, he's trained in sound art and has some fascinating installation work documented on his site, as well as two cassette releases under the KETEV moniker and a stunning piece of deeply-textured ambient under his own name, combining double bass, acoustic guitar, field recordings, synths, plenty of sub bass and some submerged beats. The KETEV stuff isn't that far removed, but has a lot more focus on beats obviously, sometimes even recalling Andy Stott (and actually being good enough to dare to do so)...
All this attention on Glotman comes from my discovery of him via a collaboration with James Ginzburg out this week on Subtext Recordings (run by quasi-Aussie-expat Paul Jebanasam). Ginzburg is one half of Bristolian post-techno duo emptyset, whose reconfigured techno hit my right in the brain cavity a few years ago (see my review for Cyclic Defrost). They've gone on to abstract their sound further from techno & dubstep into explorations of pure electronics, distortion and space. Meanwhile, Ginzburg put out a gorgeous and surprising album of acoustic & folktronic pop last year as Faint Wild Light... We can only hope that the Glotman/Ginzburg duo produces more music, as this is enthralling and enveloping, and sees Glotman exploring his double bass more thoroughly than in his solo work.
It recalls the more experimental pairings of Hildur Guðnadóttir's cello on the Pan Sonic-related Angel project (including an album from this year) and another cellist, Arne Deforce's collaboration with the other half of Pan Sonic, Mika Vainio. But of course the added depth of the double bass (almost an octave lower) creates an even heavier sound, amplified and bowed so it's almost like some eldritch, organic motor grinding away... Fantastic.

I thought we should hear Ginzburg's Faint Wild Light music as it's truly excellent and under-appreciated, and conveniently there's an excellent remix by Brazilian percussionist (by way of Boston) Ricardo Donoso, our last artist of the night. Donoso released a number of noise cassettes and then a few amazing EPs and albums on Digitalis Industries, and has now signed to the all-consuming Denovali, who are releasing the astonishing Saravá Exu album early next year. It's the best thing he's done, which is saying a lot after some very impressive ambient/techno synth albums. All the synth stuff is still there, along with glitchy bursts of noise, live percussion and some beats. Definitely one to look out for at the start of 2015.

Objekt - One Fell Swoop [PAN]
Objekt - The Goose That Got Away [Objekt]
Radiohead - Bloom (Objekt remix) [Radiohead]
Objekt - Agnes Demise [Objekt]
Objekt - First Witness [PAN]
TCF - D7 08 2A 8D 2A 37 FA FE 17 0E 62 39 06 81 C8 A1 49 30 6F ED 56 AD 5E 04 [Liberation Technologies]
TCF - 8B 2E E5 32 7B 5A 0B 33 73 B7 00 A9 F5 C2 A5 E4 0F D9 E5 17 DC 5F 3D BC 54 98 20 2C 55 F0 E6 87 6B 06 0C 5A 0E 3B EA 9B C1 4F 7C 50 45 E1 31 4D 8F B0 36 F9 89 AD A8 62 D1 96 D9 63 4C C8 40 05 [The Wire/Unsound]
TCF - 54 C6 05 1C 13 CC 72 E9 CC DC 84 F2 A3 FF CC 38 1E 94 0D C0 50 5C 3E E8 [Liberation Technologies]
KETEV - Zelah [Opal Tapes]
KETEV - Akko [Where To Now? Records]
Yair Elazar Glotman - Sunken Anchor [Glacial Movements]
Yair Elazar Glotman - Home Port [Glacial Movements]
KETEV - Uruk [Opal Tapes]
James Ginzburg & Yair Elazar Glotman - Nimbes [Subtext Recordings]
emptyset - Gate 3 [Caravan Recordings]
Faint Wild Light - Halfsleep [Digitalis]
Faint Wild Light - Debris (Ricardo Donoso remix) [Digitalis]
Ricardo Donoso - Galliciniuim [Denovali]
Ricardo Donoso - Conticinium [Denovali]

Listen again — ~104MB

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Sunday, 23rd of November, 2014

Playlist 23.11.14 (8:04 pm)

Mad rush to get in today after playing in Mullumbimby at the awesome Mullum Music Festival...

LISTEN AGAIN of course, because the more listens the better the listens? Podcast right here, stream on demand IN STEREO over there.

By popular demand, the return of the crazed write-ups!

Starting tonight with what we finished with last week - the pop-collage-by-way-of-noise of Giant Claw. This is a strange music that feels like it belongs in the world of cassette culture, despite being decidedly digital (and it's getting a CD release on Japan's Virgin Babylon Records). Keith Rankin, the man behind Giant Claw and also (with a partner) Orange Milk Records, is also a very psychedelic visual artist, and his computer-aided fauxstalgic artistic anachronisms are echoed in his music. With references to trap and footwork in the beats, this music couldn't have been made anytime except now, but the '90s(?) r'n'b samples and strange faux-classical MIDI passages are something else... Despite referencing lots of things - despite being basically nothing but reference, this is truly unique music.

So nice to hear some new tracks appearing from Alyx Dennison, once half of Sydney duo kyü. Although this is a remix by fellow Melbournite (as Dennison is now) Felicity Yang, her ecstatic experimental pop origins are audible in the work. Can't wait for more.

From Sydney, we next hear two pieces of experimental pop from suiix aka Sarah Jullienne of various local bands including Shady Lane. There's a hint of Julia Holter about the vocals and arrangements. Looking forward to more from this artist too.

Melbourne pianist Luke Howard first appeared on my radar earlier this year due to some collaborations with Tim Shiel. His new release puts him firmly in the Nils Frahm-style post-classical camp, with lovely muted piano and occasional sparkly electronics. Well worth a listen.

The last couple of years have seen a huge resurgence in early-to-mid-'90s jungle stylings - chopped up amen breaks and slow basslines, a mere 2 decades on from the beginnings of that greatest of all dance music genres. Dubstep and grime both owe a lot to jungle and drumn'n'bass, many grime MCs having grown up freestyling to jungle on pirate radio, or hearing others doing the same, while dubstep in its early incarnation almost represents an inversion of drum'n'bass with the energy coming from the basslines and the beats sneaking in around them. However, the real impetus for this return to the beginnings comes from the spread of footwork productions out of Chicago, and the almost instant hybridisation of that genre with east London sounds. Many noted that the double-speed hip-hop samples and general frenetic pace recalled jungle, albeit with a different pull and sway to the beats. It took a little while, but producers like Om Unit, Sam Binga and Machinedrum started sneaking footwork hi-hats, snares and stuttering kick drums in along with the slow-fast drum'n'bass (already a kind of hybrid form of dubstep and drum'n'bass), and eventually we started hearing righteous amen juggling in the mix.
Well, I may have gotten the timeline a bit mixed up, but anyway Machinedrum's cyberpunkish Vapor City was one of my albums of the year last year, and he's since spent a year or so trickling out EPs and free tracks galore in the same jungle-juke style. This is now capped off with the Vapor City Archives album. Nothing in there is quite as good as the original album, but more of these sounds are welcome.
On the other hand, after some promising singles, Om Unit has finally dropped the album (officially a double EP) that I've been wishing for, and it's right up there in the best of the year. Released by none other than drum'n'bass legends Metalheadz, it features a smattering of samples from Goldie's DAT archives to lend it that junglist verisimilitude, and beats that are absolutely now but absolutely rooted in the excitement of raging beat-sliced mayhem.

Luke Vibert has been making jungle-influenced tracks since the mid-'90s, as Plug and more recently Amen Andrews - even though he's at least as well known for his acid, hip-hop and idm, and he's usually been placed in the drill'n'bass category despite not really sounding that much like Squarepusher or Aphex Twin. Still, there's something a bit off about the sounds - no doubt deliberately. I love Plug to death, but Amen Andrews is a bit more hit-and-miss, and so it is with his new EP, especially next to the slick sounds of the new jungle productions. Still, there's a lot of humour to Vibert's productions and a lot of skill.

Moving away from the dancefloor, we stick with rhythm for a little longer via Italian percussionist and inveterate collaborator Andrea Belfi, here with his fifth solo album. In solo form Belfi's most recently been seen on Brisbane's Room40 but here he finds a very comfortable home with Erik Skodvin's amazing Miasmah label. Circular percussion patterns and electric drones are the order of the day, recalling Oren Ambarchi's recent work. Very moody and compelling.

You might be surprised to hear "metal" on this show, but it's farther reaches are not that distant from noise or drone, not to mention breakcore, one of the show's earlier focuses, and when you consider the roots of JK Broadrick, Scorn and The Bug in grindcore pioneers Napalm Death, you'll see that everything's connected.
In the "post-metal" canon, almost nobody looms larger than ISIS, whose frontman Aaron Turner ran the hugely influential Hydra Head Records (now sadly semi-defunct) and has worked with basically everybody at one time or other. Once upon a time Old Man Gloom was a side project for him, but this supergroup (featuring members of metal-cum-indie-rockers Cave In and hardcore (in the punk sense) band Converge as well) is now surely one of his main outlets, along with his wife Faith Coloccia's shoegaze-goth-folk-classical-metal project Mamiffer.
Both released new albums in the last few weeks. Mamiffer's is apparently a stepping stone to a new album for next year, and is gorgeous. Their collaboration with dark ambient/black metal/noise masters Locrian was brilliant, but this is their best work yet under this name, featuring a gothy piano + drone number and a beautiful piece of shoegazey folk. Bring on the new album!
Old Man Gloom's release turns out to be two albums, both entitled The Ape of God. Weird. One has slightly shorter, slightly more hardcore tracks, and one has just four tracks, all epic and genre-agnostic, typical of this band. They've cemented for me just how important this group is. You have to be able to tolerate the gruff metal screaming, but if you can get past that, the soundscapes, chugging riffs and basslines, and yes, melodies, are cathartic and all-embracing. This very dark but somehow very positive and joyous. Joyously satanic. Get into it.

Terminal Sound System absolutely deserves a one-hour plus special at some point soon. I'm hoping to have him up from Melbourne in the new year. His roots too lie in sludge metal (with HALO), but for almost as long he was making ambient/glitch albums under the Terminal Sound System moniker. Somewhere along the way he started pushing it into heavier territories, and for a few albums found himself recontextualising drum'n'bass in weird ways, then throwing that back into the shoegazey guitar mix... but for the newie, we're in wholly different territory once more.
Here we find a species of acoustic shoegaze, with deep breathy vocals and strummy guitars. The old TSS aesthetic is there, with stop-start edits, sometimes glitched up, and subtle beats on a few tracks, but everything seems to have been processed by being recorded onto cassette tape and then left in the sun on the dashboard for a few days (a la early Boards of Canada, only... moreso). Reminds me a lot of the recent efforts from Boduf Songs.
It's challenging stuff but when it clicks with you, absolutely amazing.

Giant Claw - DARK WEB 005 [Orange Milk Records/Virgin Babylon Records]
Giant Claw - DARK WEB 001 [Orange Milk Records/Virgin Babylon Records]
Alyx Dennison - I Don't Love You Anymore (Felicity Yang Remix) [SoundCloud]
suiix - Hi [suiix Bandcamp]
suiix - Planet [suiix Bandcamp]
Luke Howard - Cibi [Luke Howard Bandcamp]
Om Unit - The Crossing [Metalheadz]
Om Unit - Parallel [Metalheadz]
Machinedrum - More Than Friends [Ninja Tune]
Machinedrum - Gunshotta [Ninja Tune]
Machinedrum - Safed [Ninja Tune]
Amen Andrews - Amen HQ [Blueberry Recordings]
Andrea Belfi - roteano [Miasmah]
Andrea Belfi - immobili [Miasmah]
Old Man Gloom - Simia Dei / The Lash (excerpt) [SIGE/Profound Lore/Daymare]
Old Man Gloom - Arrows to Our Hearts [SIGE/Profound Lore/Daymare]
Mamiffer - Caelestis Partus [SIGE/Daymare]
Terminal Sound System - Deep Black Static [Denovali]
Terminal Sound System - Keepers [Denovali]

Listen again — ~106MB

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Sunday, 16th of November, 2014

Playlist 16.11.14 (7:15 pm)

Special on Machine Translations tonight, plus playing some great postrock/drone, cut-up pop collage trap beats(?), minimalist/maximalist house-jungle-pop(?) and other questionable genre descriptors...

LISTEN AGAIN to the best music of the week... Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi (with the advantage of stereo!)

Machine Translations - Doom Boogie Ticket [Spunk]
Anjou - Readings [Kranky]
Anjou - Backsight [Kranky]
Machine Translations - rule bound [Spunk]
Machine Translations - Happy [Spunk]
Machine Translations - anne [Spunk]
Machine Translations with Valgeir Sigurðsson - Baby Architect [Spunk]
Machine Translations - Out To Sea [Way Over There]
Second Moon of Winter - Cigarette [Denovali]
John Callaghan - Once More With Feeling [Antigen Records]
John Callaghan - Phylactery (based on Tilapia by Autechre) [Warp]
Peter Gregson & Gabriel Prokofiev - Float Dance (John Callaghan remix) [Nonclassical]
Peter Gregson & Gabriel Prokofiev - Outta Pulsor [Nonclassical]
Peter Gregson & Gabriel Prokofiev - Float Dance (Tim Exile remix) [Nonclassical]
Andy Stott - Faith In Strangers [Modern Love]
Millie & Andrea - Drop The Vowels [Modern Love]
Andy Stott - Damage [Modern Love]
Akkord - HTH020 (The Haxan Cloak's Cloud of Witness) [Houndstooth]
Giant Claw - DARK WEB 002 [Orange Milk Records/Virgin Babylon Records]

Listen again — ~107MB

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Sunday, 9th of November, 2014

Playlist 09.11.14 (7:20 pm)

Great new releases tonight running from idm/techno through future bass and footwork, ambient, quiet experimental, noise and metal artists, finishing with some indie crossed with very experimental production. Nice!

LISTEN AGAIN because the more the better! Podcast it here, stream on demand over there.

Clark - Strength Through Fragility [Warp]
Clark - Sodium Trimmers [Warp]
Clark - Banjo [Warp]
Clark - Snowbird [Warp]
DVA - Monophonic Nightmare [Hyperdub]
Kode9 - Xingfu Lu (Helix remix) [Hyperdub]
Fhloston Paradigm - Never Defeated, feat Rachel Claudio [Hyperdub]
Kode9 & The Spaceape - Hole In The Sky [Hyperdub]
King Midas Sound - Blue [Hyperdub]
Burial - Lambeth [Hyperdub]
Jon Hopkins - Breathe This Air (Asleep Version) [Domino]
Jon Hopkins - Vessel [Domino]
A Winged Victory for the Sullen - Atomos X [Erased Tapes]
Oren Ambarchi - Quixotism Parts 4 & 5 [Editions Mego]
AmbarchiO'MalleyDunn - Sometimes (feat. Ai Aso) [Drag City/Daymare]
AmbarchiO'MalleyDunn - Metric Homme [Drag City/Daymare]
Ridiculon - Sodden Hollow (Caves) [Ridiculon Bandcamp]
Ridiculon - Viscera (Womb) [Ridiculon Bandcamp]
Ridiculon - Murmer of the Harvestman (Store) [Ridiculon Bandcamp]
Graveyard Tapes - Could You Really Kill? [Lost Tribe Sound]
Graveyard Tapes - Dulcitone Grasses [Lost Tribe Sound]

Listen again — ~108MB

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Sunday, 2nd of November, 2014

Playlist 02.11.14 (8:06 pm)

We're into the second-last month of the year just like it's nothin' special, you know, just almost the end of 2014!
Tonight we have an interview with Melbourne indietronic trio I'lls ass well as some other great music from the last couple of months...

LISTEN AGAIN via the link at the bottom or stream on demand at FBi Radio.

Butterfly in the Snowfall - The Dark Sea [Home Normal]
Astrïd - suite [Rune Grammofon]
Butterfly in the Snowfall - Butterfly in the Snowfall [Home Normal]
I'lls - Take Higher Ground [I'lls Bandcamp]
...interview with all three members of I'lls...
I'lls - Mine's Here or My End's Here or Ninetee [Yes Please]
I'lls - To Not Second Guess Oneself [I'lls Bandcamp]
I'lls - fifty phiphti [Solitaire]
Dntel - Pepper Shake [Leaving Records]
Dntel - If I Stay a Minute [Leaving Records]
Dntel - If I Don't Return [dublab]
Dntel - Fringes of Focus (Instrumental) [Leaving Records]
Busdriver - Eat Rich [Big Dada]
Busdriver - Motion Lines [Big Dada]
Busdriver - Unibrow [self-released Computer Cooties mixtape]
Busdriver - Can't You Tell I'm A Sociopath (feat. VerBS) [Big Dada]
Katie Gately - Last Day [Public Information]
Katie Gately - Pivot (excerpt) [Fat Cat]
William Ryan Fritch - A Dying Trade [Lost Tribe Sound]
William Ryan Fritch - False Substance [Lost Tribe Sound]

Listen again — ~105MB

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