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experimental electronica
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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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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 26th of July, 2015

Playlist 26.07.15 (9:02 pm)

Four part feature show tonight, each quarter highly deserving of some attention!

LISTEN AGAIN to all four and seek out their musics... podcast here, stream at FBi.

Starting tonight with Ambrosia(@), a UK duo I discovered last week via The Wire Magazine's Wire Tapper 38 compilation. Their characterisation of "noise-folk" is a fair description of some of what they do - a droney, shoegazey folk - but there's also everything from glitch to processed field recordings to crunchy beats... and it's all gorgeous. There's a new album on the way, so you'll be hearing more from them in a couple of weeks!

Next up, a stunning project from ACT musician Charlie Sage (this may not be 100% accurate as last time I checked he was based in Queenbeyan, which is in NSW...), aka y0t0 (Year of the Ox) and one half of renowned ambient duo Hessien. Since 2012, Sage has been working on a multi-media project called Internecine, and I exhort you to read more about the project at that link. Inspired by Albrecht Duemling's 2012 book The Vanished Musicians "about ninety-six German nationals who fled Nazism and settled in Australia", it's a powerful examination of the positive impacts of welcoming refugees - for the host country as well as those fleeing persecution and murder. It wouldn't be far off the truth to say that Australia's musical and art scenes would be nothing like what they are today without the influx of these strange foreigners so many decades ago. Sage's music approaches its material in a subversive way, with these "vanished" voices sometimes haunting the drones, sometimes merely informing the moods. It's absolutely beautiful, and his collaborators also rise to the challenge.

Next little feature is for Montreal duo AUN, Martin Dumais and Julie Leblanc on guitars, synths, percussion and various other instruments. Their music has a kosmische psych/krautrock feel, frequently with no drums or beats, but sometimes exploding into tribal, almost metal batteries, and on their new album featuring guest contributions from some recently-familiar French contributors like Frédéric D. Oberland and Philippe Petit. But their music is equally compelling sans guests, and I feel that their last few releases (as exhibited tonight) have seen them find a unique, absorbing musical palette.

Finally we have some incredible sounds from one of my artists of the year last year, Yair Elazar Glotman aka KETEV. As KETEV he makes subterranean bass, underwater beats, tape-drenched sounds, and occasionally employs his double bass, and his previous "solo" release saw him exploring sound design with acoustic instruments and field recordings (and plenty of electronics) - but under his own name he is now exploring his main instrument, the double bass. A collaboration with James Ginzburg of emptyset preceded the new album on Bristol post-bass label Subtext (a label run by ex-Sydney ex-dubstep musician and composer Paul Jebanasam), on which Glotman played double bass and Ginzburg contributed electronic sounds and processing. The new album sees Glotman mic-ing up his instrument in every way possible to get the darkest and heaviest tones he can from bowing, plucking and tapping, and further enhancing the aural weight through overloading the analogue equipment. A hefty amount of smart sound design and a fine ear for melodic and sonic mise-en-scène (and rhythm) make this compulsory listening - surely Glotman will blow up like cellist & sound master The Haxan Cloak did a few years back...

Ambrosia(@) - Go Your Way [Bomb Shop]
Ambrosia(@) - Yacht [Bomb Shop]
Ambrosia(@) - II (from Pevensy NLZ) [Bomb Shop]
y0t0 - How Goodly Are Your Tents of Jacob [Internecine Bandcamp]
y0t0 - Should Voices Flood Your Vision [Internecine Bandcamp]
y0t0 - Interlude, Pitched [Internecine Bandcamp]
The New Honey Shade - Internecine VI [Internecine Bandcamp]
Markus Mehr - Internecine II [Internecine Bandcamp]
y0t0 - Damnatio Memoriae [Internecine Bandcamp]
AUN - Dark Energy [Cyclic Law]
AUN - Shining [Cyclic Law]
AUN - Travellers [Denovali]
AUN - Voyager [Denovali]
AUN - Crystal Towers feat. Frédéric D. Oberland and Philippe Petit [Cyclic Law]
Yair Elazar Glotman - Drifts [Subtext]
KETEV - Akkad [Opal Tapes]
KETEV - Akko [Where To Now? Records]
Yair Elazar Glotman - Home Port [Glacial Movements]
Yair Elazar Glotman - Ulterior [Subtext]
Yair Elazar Glotman - Lamant (Coda) [Subtext]

Listen again — ~105MB

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Sunday, 19th of July, 2015

Playlist 19.07.15 (9:03 pm)

Some more experimental francophone music tonight, plus mutant electronics from NZ and idm/techno from the UK.

LISTEN AGAIN for your twisted psychedelic needs... Stream on demand over there, podcast over here.

We start tonight with the latest Wire Tapper cover CD from The Wire. First up, noise-folk duo Ambrosia(@) give us what's clearly an excerpt of a larger work (it cuts off suddenly just around the Wire Tapper-approved 4 minutes!) of melodic maximalist electronics. Then UK hip-hop duo Baconhead give us some nice bass-heavy beats featuring Nongenetic, whose vocals are instantly recognizable to fans of Funckarma and the Shadow Huntaz. And finally, an amazing piece of psych-folk from Rachel Mason, excerpt from a work called The Lives of Hamilton Fish which sounds fascinating.

Next up, we feature some psych/post-rock sounds from France from Oiseaux-Tempête, whose debut self-titled album from 2013 was remixed by the likes of Scanner, Machinefabriek, Witxes and others last year. Their new album is a deeply moody affair - much like the first, it has a hefty dose of psych and krautrock, propulsive basslines, and passages of atmopsheric guitar licks... and also features ex-The Ex vocalist GW Sok on the title track.
Oiseaux-Tempête's guitarist Frédéric D. Oberland is also a member of another French psych/kraut/rock band, Le Réveil des Tropiques, whose self-titled double CD I picked up at the awesome record store MusicFearSatan in Paris (it's released on their in-house label). And in a nice segue from last week's show, Oberland collaborated on a gorgeous track from last week's feature artist Bérangère Maximin's 2012 album No one is an island.

And so we move to some equally psychedelic music in a completely different context - the mutant post-drum'n'bass sounds of New Zealand's Fis. His new album The Blue Quicksand Is Going Now is one of the most exciting electronic releases of the year, mutating the beats and basslines of his drum'n'bass origins far from the dancefloor. It's perhaps not quite as beatless as some reviews have suggested, but we have to go back to his first few releases to find much that's actually dancefloor-related: 2012's The Commons on Exit Records does feature autonomic & drum'n'bass beats of sorts, one even insisting it's a "Club Track"... his breakthrough EP on the quite prescient Tri-Angle label finds the still-present beats taking a back seat to the heavily-processed atmos, and even moreso, his follow-up EPs on his own Loopy label pointed the way to this incredible album. Enlisting Oren Ambarchi to remix the title track of his Speech Spirits EP was an audatious move and something of a statement of intent in terms of where he might sit genre-wise. Ambarchi contributes a surprisingly rhythmic track which brings his guitar into the mix and sits comfortably on the one groove for much of its 13:48 (of which we only heard a few mintues tonight!) Meanwhile, Fis has done a couple of high-profile remixes of his own. The familiar vocal samples of Machinedrum's recent classic of footwork-meets-drum'n'bass are preserved in amongst sub-bass drops and almost-rhythms. UK duo Akkord are pushing drum'n'bass & techno into abstraction in very different ways (a minimalist, Platonic ideal rather than a maximalist meltdown), and Fis's rework is a fascinating meeting of minds.

Finally tonight, another UK duo making classic idm to perfection: The Fear Ratio is two well-known techno producers who have been around since the '90s, James Ruskin and Mark Broom. But as The Fear Ratio they seem to be channeling Autechre circa Anvil Vapre and their Gescom side-project, among other classic idm material with its crunchy cross-over of melodic techno and b-boy hip-hop. So it's appropriate that their second album is released on Manchester's iconoclastic idm label SKAM. Both this and their first album on Ruskin's Blueprint Records are highly recommended.

Ambrosia(@) - Kitten, Puppies, Sunsets, Sex (Wire Tapper Edit) [Bomb Shop courtesy of The Wire]
Baconhead featuring Nongenetic - Foreign or Domestic [Bizarre Rituals courtesy of The Wire]
Rachel Mason - Nightmare [The Lives of Hamilton Fish courtesy of The Wire]
Oiseaux-Tempête - Yallah Karga (Dance Song) [Sub Rosa]
Bérangère Maximin - How warm is our love (feat. Frédéric D. Oberland) [Sub Rosa]
Le Réveil des Tropiques - Tunguska [MusicFearSatan]
Oiseaux-Tempête - Kyrie Eleison [Sub Rosa]
Oiseaux-Tempête - Call John Carcone (Scanner remix) [Sub Rosa]
Oiseaux-Tempête - Ütopiya / On Living (feat. GW Sok) [Sub Rosa]
Fis - Frost Pocket [Loopy]
Fis - Club Track [Exit Records]
Fis - DMT Usher [Tri-Angle]
Fis - Speech Spirits (The Nagger by Oren Ambarchi) (excerpt) [Loopy]
Fis - Iterations [Loopy]
Machinedrum - Eyesdontlie (Fis remix) [Ninja Tune]
Akkord - Gravure / Continuum (Fis Hayfield To New Mills Version) [Houndstooth]
Fis - Pedal [Loopy]
The Fear Ratio - Ferm [SKAM]
The Fear Ratio - Guv 1 [Blueprint]
The Fear Ratio - Blood Soldiers [SKAM]

Listen again — ~106MB

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Sunday, 12th of July, 2015

Playlist 12.07.15 (9:03 pm)

A trip to Montreal and France tonight is followed by US, English, Czech, Russian and Australian contributions, covering shoegaze folk soundscapes, musique concrète, sound art, glitchscapes, noise, violintronica, generative beats & tones, deconstructed junglisms, jazzy beats, indietronica and heck, more. More or less.

LISTEN AGAIN to this glorious hodge-podge, down below, podcast, or stream on demand from FBi.

We start with a long overdue listen to Benoît Pioulard's new album, as always via the Kranky label. This album leans more heavily on the soundscapey side of his shoegazey folk - there aren't a lot of songs here, although there aren't as many field recordings either, perhaps. But for all that it's not abstract by any means - in fact it's enveloping & beautiful and I've been sticking it on quite a lot.

I've only recently discovered Bérangère Maximin, so I've had a bit of catching up to do, the fruits of which you can enjoy tonight. Originally from Réunion island (a little bit of France in the Indian Ocean), she moved to France as a teenager, has played in various bands, and studied sound art. Her pieces move between sound art, musique concrète, composition and experimental electronic, occasionally also taking in folk genres like gypsy/klezmer, shoegazey psych-rock, fizzy glitchy dub and some kind of post-punk spoken-word. It's deep listening music and I'm really glad to feature it on tonight's show.

Marseilles' Philippe Petit styles himself as a musical travel agent. He's a prolific collaborator, releasing many albums under the umbrella "Philippe Petit and Friends", but has recently been putting out solo releases via US experimental label Aagoo. He's also known for his label & compilation series BiP_HOp which linked together idm, experimental electronic, drone and later expanded into post-rock and jazz and all sorts of arenas. Clearly the track we heard tonight was influenced in some way by his tour of Australia early last year...

Sticking with the francophone world for one more track, it's also long overdue that I play something from the new Chapelier Fou album. It's his familiar jam - looped violin and crunchy beats. Always glad to have a new release from him.

Erik Schoster has been sporadically releasing music as He Can Jog for 7+ years, but these days they're dripping out here and there on his Bandcamp. The latest track to appear is a specific realisation of a piece of software called Amber, and over at the release page you can find links to the Python script that generated it, and to his Python framework for computer music, Pippi.

On a new cassette (and thankfully digital), Dosh collaborator Ghostband deconstructs jungle, techno and idm in rather strange ways. I've chosen a track which solidly references jungle, with chopped amen breaks slathered all over it, but the pace of the track, and the shape of its basslines and melodies is miles away from jungle or even drill'n'bass. Pretty fun but.

Classically-trained producer Joe Acheson aka Hidden Orchestra earns his moniker with deftly-arranged multi-layered studio productions, drawing from drum'n'bass, hip-hop and dub as well as classical and jazz along the way. It's reminiscent of that other "orchestra", the Cinematic Orchetra, as well as Amon Tobin and lots more - but what's particularly impressive on his Reorchestrations album, which is made up primarily of remixes of other artists, is how cohesive it sounds. He makes these remixes his own, while remaining sensitive to the originals. Looking forward to a new original album from him soon!

Only Now is a new project from US producer Kush Arora. It's nice to hear the world and dub influences of his other music informing these dark electronic tunes - percussion heavy, but also rooted in contemporary bass music.

Those uk garage/2step-loving kids from Melbourne, I'lls, have finally released their new EP or mini-album or whatever it is, and it's lovely. They're doing solid work with their label hellosQuare Recordings too, with a mixture of folktronic, indie and slightly more dancefloor releases appearing regularly from them.

A few weeks back I played some tracks from the excellent split 12" that Shoeb Ahmad's put out on his hellosQuare Recordings between him and German duo Schneider Kacirek on the occasion of their Australian tour. Shoeb's side is uniformly excellent - less songwriting-oriented than his previous album, with heavily-edited jangly guitars, beats and some low-mixed vocals.

Benoît Pioulard - A shade of celdaon [Kranky]
Benoît Pioulard - With no advantage [Kranky]
Benoît Pioulard - The gilded fear that guides the flow [Kranky]
Bérangère Maximin - Boudmo [Tzadik]
Bérangère Maximin - Knitting in the air (feat. Christian Fennesz) [Sub Rosa]
Bérangère Maximin - Infinitesimal (Mvt II, Der Stern) [Sub Rosa]
Bérangère Maximin - A Day Closer [Made to Measure/Crammed Discs]
Philippe Petit - Tidbinbilla Sanctuary pt.1 [Aagoo]
Chapelier Fou - Fuses [Ici d'ailleurs]
He Can Jog - Amber [He Can Jog Bandcamp]
Ghostband - Shreds [Ghostband Bandcamp]
Clarinet Factory - 5 Steps (Hidden Orchestra remix) [Denovali]
Long Arm - Sleep Key (Hidden Orchestra remix) [Denovali]
Only Now - Mid Riot [Record Label Records]
I'lls - Agwa [Solitaire Recordings]
Shoeb Ahmad - Bang-Bang Club [hellosQuare Recordings]

Listen again — ~110MB

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Sunday, 5th of July, 2015

Playlist 05.07.15 (9:07 pm)

The bulk of tonight's show was be taken up with a massive special on the music of Dominick Fernow aka Prurient aka Vatican Shadow (etc).

LISTEN AGAIN for crushing frequencies, explosive beats, mangled wails and gorgeous orchestrations - podcast here, streaming on demand over there.

We start, though, with something also nice and dark from Sydney-resident NZ expats Kompost. They've been trickling tracks out one by one on Bandcamp for some time, often played on this show, but it's been a while between tracks so it's very nice to have them back.

World's End Girlfriend's label Virgin Babylon Records is one of the most exciting new labels to come out of Japan in a while - pretty much everything he releases is awesome, and it reflects the eclectic nature of his own music, from glitch to breakcore to idm to postrock to psych rock to post-classical, the list goes on. This recent release is a split between WEG himself and the utterly brilliant Vampillia. It's made up of four vocal tracks and four instrumental versions, although they're fairly radical remixes rather than just the originals with vocals removed. I like the vocals plenty, but I really like how WEG notches up the beats and effects, AND brings up the strings at the end of this one.

Instead of playing a Vampillia track from that split release, I played two from an INSANELY great collaborative EP they just put out with none other than inveterate collaborators the body, who we've heard of late with fellow metallers (probably sludge/doom more than black) Thou and before that with sound/beat designer of the moment The Haxan Cloak. This collaboration seems to see the body taking electronic production tips from the latter collaboration, but for all we know all that is Vampillia. Electronic beats & bass rub up against Vampillia's piano & violin, operatic vocals & soundscapes as well as metal riffing and black metal screaming. Everything's there...

A lot of that is there, in varying levels of lo & hi-fi, in the music of Dominick Fernow, as Prurient, Vatican Shadow, Exploring Jezebel and others. As Prurient he's been one of the biggest stars in the noise / power electronics scene since the early 2000s, combining black metal-influenced screaming with extreme frequencies and volumes across a multitude of cassette, CD & vinyl releases. The sound evolved from its rawest beginnings to incorporate sophisticated sample & tape manipulation and every sort of electronics, and around 2011 started to display influences from techno, '90s electronica, even '80s synth-pop as well - and around that year Vatican Shadow emerged as another alias to house the cyclical, beat-oriented works. There's a clear tribute to Muslimgauze in these works - evident from the titles - along with earlyish Autechre and more, and on the whole the noise takes a back seat (although it's never anything less than dark).
I hardly made a dent into Fernow's back catalogue - there are plenty of other aliases that were missed, and really early (on the whole noisier) releases which I either didn't have or didn't have time for, in amongst it all. But we did hear from the amazing cassette-only collaboration with the great Burning Star Core (one of my musical heroes), and also the split and semi-collaborative release (see the mashup remix) with another musical hero JK Flesh, the latter of which was the final ever release on the incredible Hydra Head Records. Fernow's own Hospital Productions continues to release other artists as well as his own projects, and Prurient finds himself now on Profound Lore, the brilliant metal label which have taken on a lot of Hydra Head's more experimental artists. Vatican Shadow, on the other hand, of late finds itself on Modern Love, the Boomkat-related label that's home to Andy Stott & others, quite a fitting home for his electronica/techno project.

Kompost - Komposition E [Kompost Bandcamp]
world's end girlfriend - 春日狂想 (Instrumental) [Virgin Babylon Records]
Vampillia + the body - cold bark bite [Vampillia Bandcamp]
Vampillia + the body - chikatilo [Vampillia Bandcamp]
Prurient - Greenpoint [Profound Lore]
Prurient & Kevin Drumm - On This Slab [Hospital Productions]
Prurient - Subject [No Fun Productions]
Prurient - Dog Of Addiction [Hospital Productions]
Burning Star Core/Prurient - Wheel Of Fortune [Hospital Productions]
Burning Star Core/Prurient - Confiscation (under talking) [Hospital Productions]
Prurient - Let's Make A Slave [Hydra Head Records]
Prurient - Time's Arrow (Unsolved) [Hydra Head Records]
Vatican Shadow - Chopper Crash Marines' Names Released [Hospital Productions]
Prurient - I Understand You [Hydra Head Records/Daymare]
JK Flesh - JK Flesh Merges Prurient [Hydra Head Records/Daymare]
Vatican Shadow - Jet Fumes Over The Reflecting Pool [Hospital Productions]
Vatican Shadow - Koresh Lamb [Modern Love]
Vatican Shadow - Living On And Off At The Shadow Motel [Modern Love]
Prurient - Shoulders Of Summerstones [Profound Lore]

Listen again — ~114MB

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