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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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Sunday, 3rd of May, 2015

Playlist 03.05.15 (9:05 pm)

Switching from last week's strings to mostly electronics tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN and relive the then and the now! The podcast is here, the stream is there.

Melbourne's molten wing has just released a follow-up to his stunning debut we seek a new beginning from last year, with four tracks of frosty electronics that would be at home on a '90s idm release but equally don't seem dated at all. When the first EP came out, the web presence was almost totally anonymous - an entirely mysterious artist & release which just arrived with no fanfare. But it was too good to be a debut release, and it turns out that Molten Wing is an alias for a Melbourne artist, originally from the UK, who releases folky indiepop as Muckle Pup.
Regardless, this is highest quality home listening electronica and you should listen to it as you go to sleep.

The Crooked Fiddle Band manage an impressive feat and feature not just on the string special but also tonight's electronic follow-up. Both last week's and this week's tracks are self-remixes, taking the songs into more beat-driven and even electronic territories.

Grime legend Wiley has a new album out on Ninja Tune(!) and they've put out a couple of limited remixes in the lead up. This week's is a pretty amazing junglist take by Paul Woolford's Special Request alias.

Machinedrum was one of the artists responsible for taking Chicago footwork into new territories, mixing it up with idm, dubstep and drum'n'bass. He's just released a tribute to the late DJ Rashad, probably the single artist most responsible for bringing footwork to the rest of the world. All proceeds go to Rashad's family and estate, so it's worth dropping some pounds sterling on. We also heard a beautiful tech-steppy remix of Machinedrum by dBridge, one of the artists who's rejuvinated drum'n'bass in recent years, and who runs the excellent Exit Records.

The latest EP on Exit Records is something pretty special. A hugely impressive debut EP from new drum'n'bass artist Fixate, referencing rave and various subgenres of drum'n'bass all in the bouncy title track, and darker territories elsewhere. It's certainly dancefloor-friendly, but reminds me as much of idm and drill'n'bass as mainstream drum'n'bass.

Speaking of "drill'n'bass", nobody embodied that somewhat derisory moniker better in the '90s than Squarepusher. From earliest releases on the Spymania label to his debut album on Rephlex and then his longtime home on Warp, he was the name on everybody's lips when they talked about insanely complex beat juggling and sweet melodies. People also complained that the bedroom drill'n'bass heads had forgotten about the "bass" bit in drum'n'bass and it's true that they fixated more on the crazy beats than the half-time dub-influenced sub-bass. The accusation was that they'd never heard drum'n'bass in the clubs with the massive bassbins, but I suspect they knew what they were doing - Squarepusher himself, after all, was and is a mean funk bass player and would pull out his bass guitar to noodle jazz fusion basslines along with the insane drum programming.
For me it was probably the jazz fusion that was the undoing of my love affair with the 'pusher. Not so much the initial lo-fi jazz detour of Music Is Rotted One Note, but the unfocused fusion/prog/everything of a succession of albums in the 2000s left me not caring very much. Even the remote-controlled Japanese robots of recent years were still playing... jazz fusion.
The new album is certainly back to more pure electronics and has plenty of beat madness - but it suffers a bit from the same thing recent Amon Tobin has, which is a seeming desire to be as tough and up-front with the sound as possible. Maybe inspired by the EDM of recent years? Or just current norms in digital production. It's a shame, but it's still quite enjoyable.

We finish with a long piece of live improv from ambiq, featuring Sun Electric's Max Loderbauer on the Buchla 200e modular synth along with Samuel Rohrer on drums & electronics and Claudio Puntin on clarinet, percussion & electronics. It's actually rather tonal and organic-sounding, not as out there as a lot of modular synth stuff - or indeed live improv stuff. This track takes its time to get going, but ends up with some nice deep grooves going on.

molten wing - solstice [molten wing Bandcamp]
molten wing - no unwinding this [molten wing Bandcamp]
molten wing - watching waiting [molten wing Bandcamp]
molten wing - four zero zero zero zero [molten wing Bandcamp]
The Crooked Fiddle Band - Vanishing Shapes (Intense Suspense Density Remix) [unreleased self-remix, stream on SoundCloud]
Wiley - From The Outside (Special Request VIP) [Ninja Tune]
Machinedrum - The $$$ [Machinedrum Bandcamp]
Machinedrum - Rise N Fall (dBridge's Fall N Rise Remix) [Ninja Tune]
Fixate - Throwback Therapy [Exit Records]
Fixate - Alive [Exit Records]
Squarepusher - Baltang Ort [Warp]
Squarepusher - Theme From Ernest Borgnine [Rephlex]
Squarepusher - Port Rhombus [Warp]
Squarepusher - massif (stay strong) [Warp]
Squarepusher - Anirog D9 [Warp]
Squarepusher - My Red Hot Car [Warp]
Squarepusher - Exjag Nives [Warp]
ambiq - toxic underground [arjunamusic]

Listen again — ~109MB

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