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Utility Fog

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Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.

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Sunday, 14th of December, 2014

Playlist 14.12.14 (8:07 pm)

Indiepunk, mushed lo-fi hip-hop, musique concrète electro-pop... that's the pretty gregarious order of the day. Some pretty spectacular new music (and related history) to end the year! Tune in to the next couple of weeks for best of 2014 wrap-up!

LISTEN AGAIN for the highs and even-highers! Podcast here, stream on demand over there (which is recommended because STEREO!)

Starting with Sydney duo H A N N A H B A N D, whose pedigree includes fantastic Newcastle/Central Coast noisesters Crab Smasher and lo-fi indie-postrockers Polyfox and the Union of the Most Ghosts, along with various other shouty indiepunk groups. I love how the hardcore punkish shoutiness coexists with more melodic vocals, interesting chord progressions (which you all noticed), and jangly guitars as well as some satisfying heavy riffing. All with just a boy & a girl - that's all it takes!

Ben Frost's long-awaited new album V A R I A N T (there's a spaced-out-all-caps theme here) dropped earlier this year to great acclaim. With big drums and synths, it pretty much abandoned the synthesis of organic, acoustic sounds and noise that made 2009's By The Throat one of the best albums of that year. I don't mind it at all, but it doesn't have the same thrill of that or the earlier Theory of Machines for me - it's not as interesting or adventurous. Nor are the remixes on the recently-released V A R I A N T, but it's nice hearing HTRK buck the trend of big beats and noises, going for their mogadon beats and only hinting at the original track.

Last week on the show I played Naps' remix of pimmon from the Strain of Origin IV compilation, and I didn't know anything about Naps. I've now tracked him down to Melbourne and found his SoundCloud, and discovered he put out an album this year on This Thing. Studiedly scattershot beats with carefully-produced lo-fi samples, very nice stuff.

hamaYôko is the experimental electro-pop guise of Yoko Higashi (or Yoko H. Marchetti), a vocalist, dancer and musician who's worked with experimental musicians like Keith Rowe and regularly with musique concrète composer Lionel Marchetti. With the hamaYôko work, it's wonderful finding cabaret-influenced song floating in and out of very experimental productions. Musique concrète is in there, as are noise and electronica and who knows what else. It's pretty inspiring really. And from this year's remix album Vue par..., her husband Lionel Marchetti contributes a 20-minute remix which manages to be a very cohesive track at that length, and is not as abstract as you'd expect for Marchetti either, with elements of pulse and bassline hinted at throughout, along with Higashi's vocal melodies.

Valerio Tricoli is a member of legendary Bologna experimental postrock group 3/4HadBeenEliminated, and has worked with and produced adventurous artists like New Zealand's Dean Roberts. His new album on label of the moment PAN is absolutely musique concrète, with few musical signifiers added to the sounds. It's challenging but undeniably well-constructed, although I'm still a bit puzzled why it's won such high accolades.

And next, another Japanese experimental chanteuse, Tujiko Noriko, who's back with her original label (Editions) Mego. Despite the label's (and her own) experimental reputation, this may be her most accessible album yet, with some really beautiful songs. It's tagged as a more acoustic affair, and compared to a lot of her output it is (give or take the amazing albums on Room40), but it still features plenty of electronic beats and sounds along with mandolin, violin and live drums. There's a lovely French feel to some of this, offset by the mostly Japanese vocals, which ties in nicely with the hamaYôko work despite sounding not much like it. We also heard a great track from her first album showcasing electronic effects and crunchy beats.

We finished with something from a shortly forthcoming release from Seattle/Washington State duo Cock & Swan, whose lovely organic-sounding electronic pop I've been a fan of since before their first album on Lost Tribe Sound. Their latest release is a "dual mono" cassette recording, in which instruments and vocals are panned hard-left and right, held together through doubling of vocals & drums or tape delays. It's not as disorienting as it sounds, and as usual it's just great propulsive pop, with a psychedelic krautrocky sound reminiscent of Broadcast or Stereolab.

H A N N A H B A N D - I will let you down [Art As Catharsis/Lesstalk Records]
H A N N A H B A N D - Long Distance Running [Lesstalk Records]
H A N N A H B A N D - "He wasn't a good man, but he was a man" [Lesstalk Records]
H A N N A H B A N D - Show them love [Art As Catharsis/Lesstalk Records]
Ben Frost - Venter (HTRK Remix) [Mute/Bedroom Community]
Naps - Kickflip [This Thing]
Naps - Lemonade [This Thing]
Naps - For Sale [This Thing]
Naps - Green Growth [This Thing]
hamaYôko - Galactica666 [Entr'acte]
hamaYôko - UCHU-JIN - face A (UCHU-JIN - Un Être En Dehors De La Terre remix by Lionel Marchetti) [Entr'acte]
hamaYôko - Rôsoku [Entr'acte]
hamaYôko - Maudy -In- [Entr'acte]
Valerio Tricoli - Hic Labor Ille Domus et Inextricabilis [PAN]
Tujiko Noriko - Through The Rain [Editions Mego]
Tujiko Noriko - Bebe [Mego]
Tujiko Noriko - Yellow Of You [Editions Mego]
Cock & Swan - What Was Life? [TAR]

Listen again — ~105MB

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