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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, 9th of August, 2015

Playlist 09.08.15 (9:08 pm)

Postrock, noise, drill'n'bass, doom, indietronica... we've got quite the selection for you tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN via the usual channels - here for podcast, there for streaming in stereo.

Back in 2008, I chose as one of my albums of the year the debut from Melbourne artist Mirrored Silver Sea. Mostly the solo work of Tim Condon, it was a sweeping concoction of noise & ambient, with electronics, guitars, drum machines and even strings in there - and just what I wanted for Utility Fog.
Not long after, Condon moved to Toronto, leaving most of his musical gear in Australia, and Mirrored Silver Sea was no more. But I'm glad for my initial encouragement, as Condon has moved on to form at least two new acts in Toronto, and Fresh Snow have already put out a fantastic debut album. Their new EP WON is coming out soon and tonight we heard the first track from it. It broadens the scope a little from the noisy kraut/psych-rock of their debut, and I'm lucky enough to have heard next year's second album ONE (uh, yeah, I know) which is an even more eclectic beast - I can't wait to be able to start playing it to you!

Brisbane artists Subsea & Pale Earth have worked together a bit in the past. Subsea is the ambient electronic alias of Jim Grundy (also of Ektoise), and Pale Earth is Benjamin Thompson of indie/tronic legends The Rational Academy. They're joined on a shortly forthcoming EP by London vocalist Kini, and tonight's track is a nice piece of glitchy drill'n'bass pop.

Changing pace a little, we head to Edinburgh (by way of US label Lost Tribe Sound) to hear some new remixes from Graveyard Tapes aka Euan McMeeken and Matthew Collings. Their album White Rooms from last year superbly mixed emotional pinao-based indie songwriting with surges of noise and Talk Talk-style ambience. It's good to be able to revisit that along with some new remixes - the forthcoming remix album features artists like Benoît Pioulard, Dag Rosenqvist (ex-Jasper TX) and William Ryan Fritch as well as the artists featured tonight.

Next up, the debut album from Insect Ark, the new(ish) solo project of Dana Schechter of Angels of Light and Bee & Flower. There are hints of this dark sound in those other bands, but nothing to quite prepare you for the heavy doom riffs, detuned guitar chords and massive drum machine-plus-bass guitar rhythm section (all played by Schechter). It's quite a revelation.

Insect Ark also appear on a compilation that's just been released on Bandcamp to help raise funds for Keith Utech of Utech Records, a much-loved dark ambient/metal/drone/noise label, whose wife Kim sadly succumbed to breast cancer last month. With two young kids to care for and the costs of her care as well, it's pretty hard going and he won't be able to run the label for a while - so 41 excellent artists connected with the label have donated exclusive tracks to the compilation to help raise funds. With artists like Nadja, Mothlite, Locrian, thisquietarmy and those featured tonight, it should be a no-brainer right?
We've got a beautiful piece of minimalist postpunk electronics from Italy's Architeuthis Rex, a moving piece of country-tinged dirge-rock from Horseback's Jenks Miller, and some more of the incredible processed baritone ukulele of Kevin Hufnagel that I featured a little while ago. Yes.

Hufnagel's processed acoustics segue nicely into US ex-pat jazz musician Erik Griswold's captivating prepared piano pieces. We recently heard Griswold as part of the wonderful Daughter's Fever project. Here, he accentuates the percussive and sometimes atonal qualities of the objects placed inside his piano, but his compositions are beautifully melodic even in their minimalist, repetitive shapes.

When World's End Girlfriend (sincerely one of my favourite musicians in the world) formed his Virgin Babylon Records I never would have expected it to last 5 years (and counting) and release such an impressive array of mostly Japanese artists. It's now definitely a label to watch, with twisted J-pop, postrock, metal, idm, post-classical and more passing through its doors. They're celebrating 5 years with the compilation One Minute Older, which confusingly features tracks up to 1:30 long, but with 50 tracks you can't complain that a few are longer than expected! We started with a soft, glitchy number from mergrim, then a bombastic bit of idm from legend COM.A, and some cut-up glitchtronica from でんの子P (pronounced "den-no-ko P"). Japanese poet BOOL gives us a short number produced by World's End Girlfriend himself, and then we have a gorgeous glitched choir from hatis noit, and a typical genre mashup from Vampillia, with classical strings, ambient textures and metal insanity. I took the opportunity to pull out some of the goodies I picked up at their Sydney show a few months back - a self-released CD single and a cassette release featuring a remix by Fennesz - of a track originally featuring Jarboe, whose ghostly vocals can still be felt here and there. Finally we heard from the junk pop, indiepunk clatter of bronbaba, with some short, angular songs from their album neo tokyo and from the new compilation.

Kashiwa Daisuke has released an album of impressionist piano pieces on Virgin Babylon, but also produces classical-meets-drill'n'bass-meets-glitch in a very World's End Girlfriend style. His album 9 Songs was released on Piana's label guns 'N girls records, featuring herself on vocals, and while it's disturbingly J-pop in places, it's also got all the manic breakbeats, stop-starts and glitches that you could want (plus some ambient piano bits and string arrangements), especially on a few tracks.

And finally, there's a new album (finally!) from Japanese postrock legends toe. They're more from the Mice Parade school of postrock than say MONO or Mogwai, with jangly indie guitars and jazzy, dancey drumming. They're very popular in Asia, for good reason, and are gaining fans in the rest of the world. Hopefully an Australian tour will come...

Fresh Snow - Proper Burial (feat. Carmen Elle) [Hand Drawn Dracula]
Subsea, Pale Earth and Kini - Comet Moth [forthcoming]
Graveyard Tapes - Sometimes The Sun Doesn't Want To Be Photographed (Bastardgeist remix) [Lost Tribe Sound]
Graveyard Tapes - Dulcitone Grasses [Lost Tribe Sound]
Graveyard Tapes - Could You Really Kill? [Lost Tribe Sound]
Graveyard Tapes - Ruins (Fieldhead remix) [Lost Tribe Sound]
Insect Ark - The Collector [Autumnnsongs/Insect Ark Bandcamp]
Insect Ark - Octavia [Autumnnsongs/Insect Ark Bandcamp]
Architeuthis Rex - Pond of Heaven [Utech Family Benefit]
Jenks Miller - Called Home [Utech Family Benefit]
Kevin Hufnagel - Hallucination II [Utech Family Benefit]
Erik Griswold - Pleasure principle [Room40]
Erik Griswold - Hammer and tongs [Room40]
Erik Griswold - Hover [Room40]
mergrim - Silent [Virgin Babylon Records]
COM.A - YahiroHole [Virgin Babylon Records]
でんの子P - 60秒で○チャ○チャしたい [Virgin Babylon Records]
BOOL - will [Virgin Babylon Records]
hatis noit - chuchr [Virgin Babylon Records]
Vampillia - docomo [Virgin Babylon Records]
Vampillia - Micci is Stupid [self-released]
Vampillia - sea (fennesz remix) [Virgin Babylon Records]
bronbaba - 優柔不断妄想中 [Virgin Babylon Records]
bronbaba - リアルデス [Virgin Babylon Records]
bronbaba - blue [Virgin Babylon Records]
Kashiwa Daisuke - The spider's thread (remix ver.) (feat. Piana) [guns 'N girls records]
toe - A Desert Human [Topshelf Records/toe Bandcamp]
toe - The World According To [Topshelf Records/toe Bandcamp]

Listen again — ~107MB

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