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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, 31st of January, 2016

Playlist 31.01.16 (8:00 pm)

Slightly strange mix of indietronic pop and industrial, minimal electronics tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN, because you won't get this anywhere else (probably) - stream on demand at FBi or podcast here.

I tried to end last week's show with Marcus Whale's remix of LUCIANBLOMKAMP, but time got away from me and I was only able to play the first minute or so. It's a storming piece of dark pop in the vein of Whale's upcoming album, and I really felt I needed to spin the whole thing. Here's hoping Good Manners get the album out soon! Blomkamp's album is also out soon, and you can get hold of this remix for free (for an email address) at this link.

German postrock/post-jazz/experimental group Kammerflimmer Kollektief have been around since 1999, formed by Thomas Weber, who remains the only founding member although the current lineup as been fairly stable. They're part of that German trend for experimental but accessible bands combining glitchy electronics & free improv with postrock & dub arrangements. When Heike Aumüller joined, some vocals were added, and so we end up with the very pretty melody of "Evol Jam (Edit)" offsetting the skittery, clattery noises.

The Chap are one of those uncategorizable English & European bands who draw on everything from punk, indie & krautrock to experimental electronica and techno. Their lyrics are extremely arch & arty, referencing and parodying consumerism, the rat race, world politics, technology and pop culture itself, all with the robotic precision of performance artists. But the weird thing is, despite their sui generis quirkiness, and despite their Brechtian detachment, they unfailingly manage to write incredibly catchy pop songs. In putting together tonight's special, I had to pare down the selections from every album (and a couple of EPs), and I still ended up playing two tracks from Ham, their brilliant second album - and a few from the new one, The Show Must Go, which I think is their strongest in some years. Get into it.

Yves de Mey is one of the newer batch of electronic musicians who are both fine musicians and also supremely good producers. When you listen to de Mey or say Yair Elazar Glotman/KETEV you're hearing incredibly controlled sound design, whether it's harnessed for post-industrial, abstract electronic grooves or static-filled soundscapes. De Mey works with Belgian techno producer Peter Van Hoesen as Sendai, which is slightly more explicitly beat-based stuff, although still in an experimental vein.

We segue from de Mey to our next artist, Ricardo Donoso, via a remix de Mey did in 2014 for Donoso's last release on the great (possibly now defunct) Digitalis Recordings. Originally from Rio de Janeiro, Donoso has been based in Boston for some years now, and composes for film. His music is certainly epic in scope, mostly constructed from analogue synths, although on last year's Saravá Exu album they were augmented with his percussion and some digital edits & processing. The forthcoming remix EP invites like-minded artists to give their takes on a few tracks, with Canadian industrial/techno duo Orphx sticking to the warm, dark analogue electronics. Brooklyn's Archie Pelago, on the other hand, deal in jazzy polyglot music, a trio made up of trumpet, cello and sax (all also contribute electronics). Their remix starts as lushly orchestrated contemporary classical music, but gradually adds electronics - awesome.

LUCIANBLOMKAMP - Comfort (Marcus Whale remix) [Good Manners]
Kammerflimmer Kollektief - Evol Jam (Edit) [Staubgold]
Kammerflimmer Kollektief - Désarroi, Pt. 1: Mayhem! [Staubgold]
The Chap - Joy in depression [Lo Recordings]
The Chap - Guitar Messiah [Lo Recordings]
The Chap - (Hats Off To) Dror Frangi [Lo Recordings]
The Chap - The Premier At Last [Lo Recordings]
The Chap - I Am Oozing Emotion [Lo Recordings]
The Chap - Proper Rock [Lo Recordings]
The Chap - Nice Face [Lo Recordings]
The Chap - Nevertheless, The Chap [Lo Recordings]
The Chap - We Are Nobody [Lo Recordings]
The Chap - Student experience [Lo Recordings]
Yves de Mey - Moinen [Spectrum Spools (Bandcamp)]
Sendai - Further Vexations [Time To Express]
Yves de Mey - Box Caisson [Opal Tapes]
Sendai - Anti-Jupiter [Archives Intérieurs]
Ricardo Donoso - The Sphinx (Yves de Mey Remix) [Digitalis Recordings]
Ricardo Donoso - Versperum (Orphx Remix) [Denovali]
Ricardo Donoso - Matutinium (Archie Pelago Remix) [Denovali]

Listen again — ~197MB

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Sunday, 24th of January, 2016

Playlist 24.01.16 (8:11 pm)

Unbelieveably, we're almost at the end of the first month of the 17th years of the 21st century (pedants can bugger off).

LISTEN AGAIN to folktronic pop, drones, rhythmic glitch, jungle, minimal techno and more... Stream on demand from the FBi website, or podcast from here.

Starting with a duo whose album I've been waiting only about 4 1/2 years for... The Natural History Museum's first track came out as a free download from Dunk Murphy's Countersunk sometime in 2011, featuring a yearning piano line, beats, and the vocals of fellow Dubliner Carol Keogh. Murphy's better known to Utility Fog listeners as folktronica/idm artist Sunken Foal, while Keogh is a singer/songwriter in her own right, but her vocals (sometimes reminiscent of Liz Harris or Kate Bush) gel beautifully with Murphy's quirky harmonic constructions and analogue-meets-digital production.

Back in 2013, Odd Nosdam made an EP in tribute to the late Trish Keenan of Broadcast, who passed away tragically early from a brief illness contracted at the end of an Australian tour. The T r i s h EP has now been released on vinyl, so it's been appearing on the music distro sites again, and it's truly beautiful stuff. Although the liner notes credit Grouper's Liz Harris on track 4, I find that confusing because there don't appear to be any vocals (unless heavily buried) on track 4, while the title track which I played tonight has vocals which certainly sound like Harris...

Coming out soon on Flaming Pines is a compilation of experimental Iranian music called Absence, curated by Arash Akbari. I'm very pleased to have been introduced to a huge array of amazing artists from this country (only a few of whom I'd heard of before), and tonight we hear from Paris-based duo 9T Antiope with noises and vocals, and an electronic/post-classical soundtrack from Pouya Pour-Amin. Pre-order the compilation from the Flaming Pines Bandcamp

Orson Hentschel is a multimedia artist from Düsseldorf, whose debut album is out in February on the Denovali label. The bio draws a connection with the classical minimalism of Steve Reich et al, but sonically they are more like glitch or techno - but even when there are no beats, rhythm is central, drawn from the way the samples are chopped, looped and phased.

Also making somewhat minimalist/maximalist music is Sydney's Hence Therefore, whose forthcoming EP on 3BS Records sees him visiting minimal techno climes with skittering percussion, warm sub-bass and wheezing synth melodies. It's high quality stuff that deserves a global ear.

Sully's original productions were grime/dubstep but for the last year or two he's been recreating early jungle in perfect style, and his new 12" is no exception.
Also harkening back to pre-'95-era drum'n'bass is Downpour, aka Chris Adams of Hood and Bracken. While a new Bracken album is just around the corner, he's just released another Downpour EP which is explicit in its nostalgia. Although the beat-juggling is absolutely front & centre, the last track takes us into the chill out tent at the rave so we can lie and stare at the ceiling in rapture...

A couple of years back, a new artist called Joane Skyler released a very interesting woozy, experimental electronic release and found a bit of fame. It wasn't that unknown at the time, but it's actually an anagramattical pseudonym of a male artist called Jason Kerley. There's been some discussion of the negative effects of musicians - particularly electronic musicians in a genre very much dominated by male artists - taking on female pseudonyms, and while I believe that context matters, it's a point well taken. Kerley himself has taken this on board, although I feel like he probably ought to be serious enough about it to drop the name; he's acknowledged that one big problem is that his music has found its way into female-only venues (and may well have been played on one of my "UtiLadyFog" shows in fact).
In any case, it's great music, and the remixes are strong and varied. As well as hearing a bit of drill'n'bass from Kerley under his Blackpepper we had a frenzied piece of madness from new Planet µ signing Yearning Kru.

Belgian-Italian duo Lumisokea's dark, industrial techno and ambient music has featured a fair bit on this show in the past. A cellist and percussionist making cutting-edge electronic music must be a kind of Utility Fog ideal really, and their new album, returning to Opal Tapes, is one of their strongest. Meanwhile, cellist Koenraad Ecker released an excellent second album for 2015 very late in year, which had previously only been heard on a fairly obscure split cassette. There are some low, rumbling string sounds on there, as well as some more industrial and electronic sounds.

We finished with a tiny bit of Marcus Whale's remix of LUCIANBLOMKAMP while Jordan Sexty fixed some technical issues, but we'll have to play the whole thing next week when we're not running overtime!

The Natural History Museum - Winter Bee [Countersunk]
The Natural History Museum - The Small Hours [Countersunk]
The Natural History Museum - Nightfisher/Australophithecus [Countersunk]
Odd Nosdam - T r i s h (feat. Liz Harris) [Odd Nosdam Bandcamp]
9T Antiope - Venator [Flaming Pines]
Pouya Pour-Amin - Exterior wash [Flaming Pines]
Orson Hentschel - 16 mm [Denovali]
Orson Hentschel - Feed The Tape [Denovali]
Hence Therefore - North Pacific Gyre [3BS Records]
Hence Therefore - Cicada Death Roll [3BS Records]
Sully - Rotten [Rua Sound]
downpour - Trust me [downpour Bandcamp]
downpour - Curfew [downpour Bandcamp]
Yearning Kru vs Joane Skyler - the ground remix [Reckno Records]
Blackpepper vs Joane Skyler - the ground remix [Reckno Records]
Lumisokea - Hyman Otor [Opal Tapes]
Koenraad Ecker - The soul of the white Ant [Koenraad Ecker Bandcamp]
Lumisokea - Generation Z [Opal Tapes]
LUCIANBLOMKAMP - Comfort (Marcus Whale remix) [Good Manners]

Listen again — ~194MB

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Sunday, 17th of January, 2016

Playlist 17.01.16 (8:15 pm)

What a week. Obviously it's sad when anyone dies, but two very special people who touched a lot of the world died this week.

LISTEN AGAIN and cry with me... not really, there's happy music too! Podcast it here, stream it from FBi.

A few days ago I was going to bed when I got a notification on my phone that the wonderful English actor Alan Rickman had died. It took me an hour and a half longer to get to bed as I trawled through clips of all his films I remembered, and read people's reminiscences. But my favourite is always going to be the sweet romantic comedy (because it is a comedy) about a cellist who comes back from the dead to be with his widow - Truly, Madly, Deeply. And I still remember when I first heard my favourite indie band of the early '90s, The Clouds, playing their song "Ghost of Love Returned" - their most shoegazey song- and realised it's a tribute to that movie. So farewell, Alan, you were one of the best.

Well, when I started last week's show with David Bowie I knew that his new album was a remarkable event, but none of us had realised yet that it was his farewell to us all. I wasn't planning to do my own tribute, but I did listen to an awful lot of Bowie this week and those instrumentals on side B of "Heroes" snuck up on me and tapped me on the shoulder... And the "drum'n'bass album" from 1997, Earthling is actually really great so let's hear something off that too.
It wasn't until later in the week that I remembered that Atom™ had done a cover of my favourite Bowie song way back in 1999 under his Lassigue Bendthaus alias. It's glitch-pop in excelsis, and a great tribute to the original song's experimental production.

Some years ago young New Zealand pianist Aron Ottignon was living in Sydney - his brother Matt still lives here but Aron's been based in Europe for some time. His first album came out with his band Aronas while he was based here - weird electronic production rubbing up against funky melodic piano jazz. From the sounds of his latest couple of EPs, the sound hasn't changed that much, and it's still utterly joyful music.

In 2014 my favourite new artist was an Israeli contrabassist based in Germany called Yair Elazar Glotman, making extraordinary bass/techno music as KETEV and equally extraordinary sound art/ambient stuff under his own name. Last year under his own name came an enveloping album of double bass sonics, and it's great to have KETEV back at the start of this year - back on Where To Now?, who released his second EP in 2014 after the self-titled KETEV EP on the legendary Opal Tapes label. Like so much Opal Tape stuff it's a combination of the lo-fi scrapes and saturation of tape with high-tech contemporary sound design and perfectly-honed beats, while under his own name he concentrates more on ambient electro-acoustic sound design, spectacularly focusing on the highly-amplified sounds of his double bass last year.

I discovered composer Brian Harnetty a number of years ago when I heard about his first album of recontextualised archival recordings of Appalachian folk music. He embedded himself in the Brerea College Appalachian Sound Archives in Kentucky, where he was able to use amazing recordings from the early in the 20th century, weaving his own compositions around this music. A couple of years later, he visited some more of these recordings along with Bonnie "Prince" Billy, and he returned to them last year in a double CD that brings us the sound of schoolchildren telling some quite gruesome Appalachian folk tales.

The Clouds - Ghost of Love Returned [Red Eye Records]
David Bowie - Neuköln [Sony Music]
David Bowie - Little Wonder [Sony Music]
lb - Ashes to Ashes [Form & Function]
Aron Ottignon - Waves (à la Reunion) [Aron Ottignon Bandcamp]
Aronas - Happy Song [Vitamin Records]
Aron Ottignon - Waterfalls in Tanzania [Aron Ottignon Bandcamp & digital everywhere]
Aron Ottignon - Jungle [Aron Ottignon Bandcamp]
KETEV - Linger [Where To Now?]
KETEV - Uruk [Opal Tapes]
KETEV - Akko [Where To Now?]
Yair Elazar Glotman - Sunken Harbour [Glacial Movements]
Yair Elazar Glotman - Retenant [Subtext]
KETEV - Probabilities of a stranger's eyes [Where To Now?]
Brian Harnetty - Merrywise [Dust to Digital]
Brian Harnetty - i'll cross the briny ocean, i'll cross the deep blue sea [Atavistic]
Brian Harnetty & Bonnie "Prince" Billy - The Night Is, And Lights Are [Atavistic]
Brian Harnetty - Jake and His Master (Instrumental) [Dust to Digital]

Listen again — ~187MB

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Sunday, 10th of January, 2016

Playlist 10.01.16 (8:07 pm)

So here we are. It's really 2016 now - we've got 2016 music for you!

LISTEN AGAIN to all the new tunes, some real doozies covering lots of ground tonight! Podcast here, stream on demand there.

New David Bowie! What can one say? It's a bit experimental, it's mainly quite pop, it's great. Yup.

Katie Dey is a young producer from Melbourne who caused a bit of a fuss when this excellent EP (asdfasdf) came out mid last year, but I managed to totally miss it. A mixture of punkish indie tunes, heavily processed vocals and glitchy electronic mess, it's right up my alley. Brilliant.

I've known Erik Schoster's work as He Can Jog for some time - his first release was in 2008 and I associated him more with the drone/sound-art crowd at the time. There's definitely an academic bent to some of his work, but also very playful, and the more abstract sound was always tempered with real instruments and some idm-like beats. This new EP follows a 10-minute track from last year and explores glitchy song-like structures. It's a really beautiful set of vignettes, a nice beginning to 2016.

I played hatis noit on ths show last year when she contributed an incredible cut-up track to the Virgin Babylon 5th birthday comp (also heard tonight). Her debut album came out in 2014 from Japanese experimental label Purre Goohn, and an EP slipped out late last year, including a remix from the one and only Matmos, which may serve to bring her a little more fame.

Mark Van Hoen aka Locust, once a member of Seefeel, Scala and many others, is an important figure in both idm and shoegaze. He's lately been releasing a lot of solo music, and it's mostly good but this new album is particularly good. The cut-up female vocals go way back to his work in Seefeel, and the incredibly brilliant Locust material like the track I played tonight. The grainy, processed textures go back pretty much that far as well. Van Hoen is famously a prodigy like various other artists from that era (e.g. Richard D James), and recordings of his from the early 1980s have popped up here and there too, but from the early '90s on he's been very influential.

Michel Banabila also has been making music for a long time - and the source material for this latest release is his first LP, released in 1983! It sounds like his interest in world music goes all the way back to there, and although he is somewhat embarrassed by that early material, he passed it on to musician friends to remix, with some awesome results. Frequent collaborator Machinefabriek hands in some rare beats, while dark ambient/industrial artist Andrew Lagowski takes us deep into the undergrowth... And we heard some earlier from Banabila too, which surfaced on the Tapu Sampler 2016 - gorgeous tape-manipulated vocals and guitar.

Jason Sweeney has settled on Panoptique Electrical for his solo music for some time now, but is also half of Pretty Boy Crossover, and has released jangly indie music, indietronica, ambient, idm and more over 2+ decades. The Panoptique albums have been wonderful of late, and this surprise release for the start of 2016 is no exception. Warm piano, disturbing electronics and spare beats.

Acre resides in the more experimental ends of the post-dubstep/post-grime/techno continuum, and seems appropriate for the somewhat more leftfield bent of Pinch's Tectonic of late. The vocal snippets appearing here among the abrasive beats & textures are a handy nod to the Mark Van Hoen, hatis noit etc from earlier tonight, although it sounds as much like grime to me as anything else. Surprisingly abstract though, with few melodies or clear basslines to anchor anything.

As 2016 began, Kevin Martin aka The Bug started uploading some unrelease dubplates featuring the late Stephen Samuel Gordon aka The Spaceape, and then a number of others - not to SoundCloud or Bandcamp but to YouTube. Which makes them easy to access but harder to rip in any kind of quality I guess! But I can play them direct from the interwubs. Although everything he's uploaded is total quality, by far the biggest impression came from the unreleased remix of "Guns of Brixton" by The Clash, unreleased due to some dispute with the estates of the members of The Clash. But there's also a fantastic dubplate of Flowdan MCing over the "Murder We" riddim - and a bunch of other alternate versions of Bug tracks with Miss Red, Daddy Freddy, Ricky Ranking et al.

Finland's monster of drum'n'bass and breakbeat Fanu,is now just known as Janne Hatula, but will still be releasing just as much music, he assures us. He's also rejuvenated his Lightless Recordings label and inaugurates the new year with a compilation of A New Tribe of jungle/drum'n'bass/slow-fast/juke/bass music. We heard from a duo of German producers, and a Finnish producer who's been around doing some great drumfunk stuff for a few years.

David Bowie - Girl Loves Me [Sony]
katie dey - don't be scared [katie dey bandcamp/Orchid Tapes Bandcamp]
katie dey - all on you [katie dey bandcamp/Orchid Tapes Bandcamp]
He Can Jog - west (feat. s.al) [He Can Jog Bandcamp]
He Can Jog - sukha (feat. derek piotr & s.al) [He Can Jog Bandcamp]
hatis noit - Veins [Purre Goohn]
hatis noit - krabo [Purre Goohn]
hatis noit - chuchr ideins ouy [Virgin Babylon]
hatis noit - Illogical Lullaby -Matmos edit- [Purre Goohn]
Mark Van Hoen - Bring It Back [Saint Marie Records]
Locust - Saturated Love [Apollo]
Michel Banabila - A2. Marilli rmxd 11 (Machinefabriek remix) [Tapu Bandcamp]
Michel Banabila - A5. Marilli rmxd 18 (Andrew Lagowski remix) [Tapu Bandcamp]
Michel Banabila - E.T. [Tapu Bandcamp]
Panoptique Electrical - First betrayal [Panoptique Bandcamp]
Panoptique Electrical - In a forest forlorn [Panoptique Bandcamp]
Panoptique Electrical - Near life [Panoptique Bandcamp]
Acre - Holding Hands [Tectonic]
Acre - Dek U [Tectonic]
The Clash - Guns of Brixton (The Bug feat. The Spaceape Remix) [unreleased, via YouTube]
The Bug ft. Flowdan - Bad Like That Dubplate (Murder We Riddim) [unreleased, via ">YouTube]
ReDraft x HP.Ritch - Champion Killa [Lightless Recordings]
Fistfunk - Do It Right [Lightless Recordings]

Listen again — ~188MB

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Sunday, 3rd of January, 2016

Playlist 03.01.16 - Best of 2015 Part Two (8:07 pm)

He's back! First show of 2016, and I'm cataloguing another set of favourite musical productions from 2015 - this time focusing on noise, metal, and electronica - whether it's techno, bass music or the continuing junglist revival, as well as some more experimental electronic sounds.

LISTEN AGAIN because Best! Stream on demand at FBi Radio, podcast right here!

Prurient - Greenpoint [Profound Lore]
Insect Ark - The Collector [Autumnnsongs/Insect Ark Bandcamp]
SUMAC - Thorn in the Lion's Paw [Profound Lore/Daymare]
Boris - Lithium [Robotic Empire]
Liturgy - Father Vorizen [Thrill Jockey/Daymare]
Greg Fox - Lamb [Rail Cables]
Greg Fox - Adversary [Rail Cables]
Kevin Hufnagel - Súton [Kevin Hufnagel Bandcamp]
Oneohtrix Point Never - Bullet Hell Abstraction I (excerpt) [Warp]
Oneohtrix Point Never - I Bite Through It [Warp]
Clarinet Factory - 5 Steps (Hidden Orchestra remix) [Denovali]
Kuedo - Eyeless Angel Intervention (feat. Mind:Body:Fitness) [Knives]
Lakker - Milch feat. Eileen Carpio) [R&S Records]
Akkord - Megalith [Houndstooth]
Machinedrum - Le Ol Skool [Planet µ]
Sully - Crystal Cuts [Astrophonica]
Sam Binga - Wasted Days (feat. Warrior Queen) [Critical Music]
Fixate - Alive [Exit Records]
Luke Vibert - Doozit [Planet µ]
M.E.S.H. - Methy Imbiß [PAN]
Fis - Pedal [Loopy]
Sunken Foal - Clipper (Autechre cover) [Sunken Foal Bandcamp]

Listen again — ~197MB

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