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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, 28th of February, 2016

Playlist 28.02.16 (8:06 pm)

Big thanks to Heli Newton for first-class work sitting in for me last week on the show!
TONIGHT we have awesome Sydney music from quirky indie experimentalism to deep electronica, and we have some heavy expansive electronics from overseas.

LISTEN AGAIN via streaming on demand at FBi or podcast right here.

It seems like the font of new & old music from Aussie underground indie/experimental musician Benjow (as haddock's eyes) isn't going to end anytime soon. This week we can play you tracks from two more phenomenal collections of odd & lovely music. cut sick (1994-2001) is evidently archival material, including the very affecting and beloved "fell in love"; listen with all your ears listen showcases more experimental, less song-oriented material, with noisy loops, mysterious sampled vocals and longform lo-fi psychedelic pieces. Stream, purchase, download!

Hence Therefore's dubby techno featured on the show a month or so ago, but the fantastic cassette just came out, so I'm giving it another spin. Motorik electronic music that could have been made 25 years ago but sounds totally contemporary. Boomkat would go apeshit for this surely.

I was bowled over by the debut album from Sydney's Eli Murray aka Gentleforce in 2010. I was pleased to interview him for Cyclic Defrost that year, for an issue where he was also the cover artist. He's an accomplished visual artist & designer and an equally accomplished sonic artist. He cut his teeth putting on shows in the north of Sydney, bringing dubstep & bass music to suburbs that aren't always so well catered for, but when it came to releasing his own music, it had a much more ambient and techno bent. Impeccably produced sounds in touch with both internal spaces and the environment. The new album is out soon and you can pre-order it now from his Bandcamp.

Roly Porter continues his obsession with physics, space travel and science fiction on Third Law, now on Tri-Angle Records. As one half of Vex'd, he brought a heavy, industrial, experimental edge to dubstep before dubstep had hit anything like the mainstream. Despite this, Vex'd was certainly dancefloor music, and while the heaviness continues through Porter's solo music, there are rarely rhythms repetitive enough to be called beats. The production is widescreen, detailed and frequently incredibly bass heavy, but also draws from contemporary classical influences like other artists on his previous label Subtext (including fellow dubstep defector Paul Jebanasam, from whom we'll be hearing next week). I wanted to play evert track from the new album tonight, so just three shows some restraint. Then I also wanted to play everything from the previous two... but given how long most of it is, we ended up with a few older selections, only a couple from Vex'd, and I'll let you explore or revisit the rest yourself!

Venetian Snares' latest album isn't exactly Traditional Synthesizer Music - in fact, it's pretty much traditional VSnares music, in odd time signatures (tonight's tune is in 11/8, so I guess he's moved on from 7/8), with drum'n'bass/breakcore-derived rhythms and simple melodies. But it's all created in one-off fashion on modular synths, recorded in one take. That's pretty cool.

John Frusciante is best known as the former guitarist from the Red Hot Chilli Peppers, but has made very idiosyncratic music as a solo artist for ages. A lot of it is now up on his Bandcamp, and thus we get to hear a bunch of insane drill'n'bass tracks made with the Renoise software between 2009 & 2011. Post-Squarepusher beats collide with Frusciante's funk-rock pop songs and occasional cheesy guitar solos. It's pretty bizarre but also pretty cool I think? Apparently there's a footwork/jungle-inspired EP coming soon, so watch this space!

And finally, in keeping with these sounds we have a fun bit of drill'n'bass from French breakcore/electronic producer Ruby My Dear.

haddock's eyes - fell in love [haddock's eyes Bandcamp]
haddock's eyes - zeke [haddock's eyes Bandcamp]
haddock's eyes - maumikelly [haddock's eyes Bandcamp]
haddock's eyes - and even if you're wearing gloves [haddock's eyes Bandcamp]
Hence Therefore - North Pacific Gyre [3BS Records]
Gentleforce - Singing over Shibuya [Gentleforce Bandcamp]
Gentleforce - Lift Up Your Weary Head [Feral Media]
Gentleforce - Our Last Day Together [Feral Media]
Bushranger - The Billabong Speaks [Built Environment]
Bushranger - Dry Creek Bed [Built Environment]
Gentleforce - Naoshima (God is in the water) [Gentleforce Bandcamp]
Roly Porter - Mass [Tri-Angle Records]
Roly Porter - In Flight [Tri-Angle Records]
Vex'd - Slime [Planet µ]
Vex'd - Nails [Planet µ]
Roly Porter - Tleilax [Subtext]
Roly Porter - Gravity [Subtext]
Roly Porter - Known Space [Tri-Angle Records]
Venetian Snares - Everything About You Is Special [Planet µ]
John Frusciante - Genex 44 [John Frusciante Bandcamp]
Ruby My Dear - Peanuts on Train [Kaometry]

Listen again — ~198MB

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Sunday, 14th of February, 2016

Playlist 14.02.16 (8:16 pm)

Here we are... technical difficulties plaguing the start of the show but so be it. Bit of a feature on UK-based sound artist Autistici tonight.
I've got a gig on next Sunday so Heli Newton is stepping in to fill in on the 'Fog.

LISTEN AGAIN via streaming on demand at FBi or podcast right here!

Sydney wunderkind Marcus Whale has been played on Utility Fog for many years - in fact the first music he sent me was when he was about 15 years old. I played his duo Collarbones before they'd released anything and I'm a big fan of his club/r'n'b/trap trio Black Vanilla too... and he made all kinds of experimental music as Scissor Lock. But only recently has he decided to present his music under his own name. It's certainly a very personal vision, combining complex classical orchestration with a heavyweight metal-influenced (and complex) double drumming onslaught, and plenty of electronics along with his distinctive vocals. The forthcoming album's pretty amazing, and it's exciting to be able to play the first single on the radio.

The artist behind Piña is a Colombian percussionist who relocated to study in Sydney recently. I was sent his music by a local composer friend who thought I'd be interested, as indeed I am. This EP was made when Piña first arrived in Sydney, and is created entirely from recordings made on a portable sound recorder in his then-local surrounds of the Northern Beaches of Sydney - although the sounds are processed quite heavily. It's got a sunny feeling to it, with some audible field recordings and some lovely glitchy electronica, and an undercurrent of Colombian rhythms.

Inventing Masks is a new pseudonym for Italian experimental musician Giuseppe Ielasi, under which he has released an EP of minimalist rhythmic sampling experiments. It's similar to a lot of his other minimalist rhythmic music before it, but where they were based around clunking home-made motorised machinery, crackling records or other more abstract sound sources, here the sounds are more conventional beats. His love of dub and even hip-hop is audible, but it's still rather off-kilter stuff. I find his music endlessly fascinating, and I'm clearly not the only one, as his various solo releases, collaborations and projects such as the duo Bellows receive a lot of attention from the likes of Boomkat.

Next up, a couple more remixes from Machinefabriek's new collection Wendingen. Collecting remixes that the Dutch artist has made over the last 10 years, there's everything from abstract sound-art to Amon Tobin's heavy beats and then stuff like the Dutch brass band Mensenkinderen, and the gorgeous duduk of Djivan Gasparyan, melting into Rutger Zuydervelt's granular ocean.

The big feature tonight is on the music of Sheffield's David Newman aka Autistici, longtime curator of the Audiobulb label, and maker of beautiful, detailed electro-acoustic music released on labels like 12k, Home Normal, Hibernate and Dronarivm. I've often, in my head, lumped him in with various minimalist "drone" artists and the like, but while he's been released on those kinds of labels, his music is often a little more upbeat and changeable than that might lead you to expect. There can be beats made from sampled acoustic sounds; in general there's a lot of processing of acoustic sounds, which puts his music firmly in the Utility Fog realm. So it's no surprise that I've chosen to feature an idiosyncratic selection of his music on tonight's show. Hopefully you're inspired to explore further.
His latest release is a collaborative album with musique concretète-influenced artist Justin Varis, and it comes with a second disc of remixes by like-minded producers, many of which are equally wonderful. We heard a reworking from composer Monty Adkins and, later on, a remix from UFog fave offthesky. And on the flipside, we heard a remix by Autistici of Portuguese electronic pop artist :papercutz, released on Newman's own Audiobulb label.

Brisbane's Nonsemble are one of the many projects of composer/producer Chris Perren, featuring classical instrumentation along with drum kit, combining Perren's interest in math rock and postrock with his classical composing background. They've been releasing music on English classical-crossover label Bigo & Twigetti for some time, but their forthcoming EP is a bit of a change, adding vocalists on all tracks for a rather impressive stab at the indiepop limelight.

Marcus Whale - My Captain [Good Manners]
Piña - I. Custom [Cocora Records]
Piña - II. 92 Pasos [Cocora Records]
Piña - III. The Dance of the Valley Pt1 [Cocora Records]
Piña - IV. The Dance of the Valley Pt2 [Cocora Records]
Inventing Masks - 3'34" [Error Broadcast]
Inventing Masks - 3'34" [Error Broadcast]
Mensenkinderen - Een Blauwe Maandag (Machinefabriek Remix) [Zoharum/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Djivan Gasparyan - Moon Shines at Night (Machinefabriek Remix) [Zoharum/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
autistici & justin varis - grey orange red [Eilean Records]
autistici & justin varis - grey orange red (monty adkins - auva remix) [Eilean Records]
autistici - colonic people [Audiobulb]
Autistici - Annualized Light (2.2) [Kesh]
:papercutz - A secret search (Another location Autistici remix) [Audiobulb]
Autistici - Religion of Water and Air [Home Normal]
Calika & Autistici - Blue stem sister [Audiobulb]
Autistici - Opened Up Too Quickly [Dronarivm]
autistici & justin varis - yellow [Eilean Records]
autistici & justin varis - orange red grey (offthesky remix) [Eilean Records]
Nonsemble - Bricks (feat. Shem Allen) [Bigo & Twigetti]
Nonsemble - Somnambulists (feat. Mel Tickle and Shem Allen) [Bigo & Twigetti]

Listen again — ~196MB

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Sunday, 7th of February, 2016

Playlist 07.02.16 (8:14 pm)

Full playlist of awesome music for you tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN for twice the recommended dose of daily aural nutrition. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast from here.

Starting with some stunningly lovely stuff from Cave In The Sky, the project of Australian multi-instrumentalist Cye Wood, recorded predominantly in Byron Bay, produced by Paul Corley and mastered by Icelandic master Valgeir SigurĂ°sson. It's got a bit of that Icelandic wind-swept epic feel to it, and it's got that feel of acoustic postrock, with piano and strings and guitar with occasional softly-sung vocals, lush sub-bass and in general envelopingly lush production. Highly recommended when it comes on 26th of February from 1631 Recordings, a label setup by Mattias Nilsson from Kning Disk and David Wenngren from Library Tapes to release quality contemporary/post-classical and electronic music.

From Melbourne, Jade Foster is waterhouse. She's been making electronic music for a few years and has collected some of those on a new mini-album on Melbourne's Decisions Records. It's not as dancefloor-focused as much of that label's output (see the deservingly successful Air Max '97), but there are some nice thudding beats on some tracks, as well as some late-night ambience and some dronenoise stuff.

Oren Ambarchi's second collaboration with Swedish bass player Johan Berthling (of the incendiary Fire!) came out lateish last year on Berthling's Häpna label. I picked it up finally when Fire! visited Sydney a couple of weeks ago, and it's really something. Ambarchi's love of repetitive krautrock grooves, seen over the last few years' releases, is here in spades along with Berthling's talent for the perfect bassline. There's lots of other sonic stuff going on - bouncing delays, organ drones etc. Two 15+-minute tracks to be savoured.

The latest release from Machinefabriek is a selection of his remixes from 2005 to 2015. That's quite a long period, covering most of his history as an experimental/drone/sound-artist. There are some beats here and there - he does after all remix Amon Tobin among others - but also plenty of glitches and amazing sonic textures... Tonight we heard Dag Rosenqvist's shoegaze band de la Mancha and Berlin/London post-everything improv group Fiium Shaark, an exclusive to this collection.

Fellow Dutch artist Michel Banabila oscillates between quite experimental sound work and more approachable world-beat stuff, all of which I love, and the recent Feedback + Modular + Radiowaves III is mostly in the former camp, but one track is a piece of shimmering ambience and two long washes of crescendo and decrescendo.

Like Cave In The Sky, UK's Iskra String Quartet are released on the 1631 Recordings label. The quartet have worked with some quite well-known pop and electronic acts in the last few years, as well as commissioning works from some leftfield UK composers. They have a remix EP coming out in a couple of weeks, and it's great hearing one of the beloved artist of the original folktronica crew, Minotaur Shock, still making some tunes. Here he contributes a blissful piece of Jon Hopkins-style techno. Slightly more ambient is the reworking by French soundtrack composer Emilie Levienaise-Farrouche.

Spanish duo Cello + Laptop have been making music with their titular instruments for a while, fitting somewhere between the post-classical world and drone and glitch. Their latest album Transient Accidents came out in one of the lush and intricate limited CD editions from Fluid Audio and is now available digitally from their Facture sublabel's Bandcamp. It's very detailed, deep listening.

The mysterious artist haddock's eyes hails from Sydney according to their Bandcamp, but give nothing else at all away - except that some of their music is dubbed from cassette from 1993/4, whereas some is new. They range from lo-fi punk to jangly indie to lo-fi country, to granular-processed helium vocal pop, and it's pretty much amazing. Some sleuth-work suggests it's the work of Benjow, and originally-Adelaide-based artist who's played in groups like the somewhat legendary cult band The Bedridden.

Finally, we have a preview of the new album from Iranian electronic musician Ash Koosha, coming out soon on Ninja Tune. He released a free mixtape on Old English Spelling Bee last year, from which we took a couple of tracks - bass-heavy glitch-hop type stuff, which seems to be the order of the day on the new album too. Great stuff.

Cave In The Sky - Threads of the Sun [1631 Recordings]
Cave In The Sky - Sönghellir [1631 Recordings]
waterhouse - Untitled 2 (1248am) [Decisions]
waterhouse - 3415 [Decisions]
waterhouse - Song For A Prince In Exile [Decisions]
Oren Ambarchi & Johan Berthling - Tied [Häpna]
de la Mancha - Release All Light (Machinefabriek Remix) [Zoharum/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Fiium Shaark - Krypton Tunning (Machinefabriek Remix) [Zoharum/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - John Davis [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Michel Banabila - Cycling To Pluto [Tapu Records Bandcamp]
Iskra String Quartet - Blue Notebook (Minotaur Shock Remix) [1631 Recordings]
Iskra String Quartet - Chorale (Five) (Emilie Levienaise-Farrouche Remix) [1631 Recordings]
Cello + Laptop - State Of Transilience [Fluid Audio/Facture Bandcamp]
haddock's eyes - sins / victory over the sun [haddock's eyes Bandcamp]
haddock's eyes - wednesday [haddock's eyes Bandcamp]
haddock's eyes - they die [haddock's eyes Bandcamp]
haddock's eyes - boat [haddock's eyes Bandcamp]
Ash Koosha - XXXL / Harbour [Old English Spelling Bee]
Ash Koosha - Mudafossil [Ninja Tune]

Listen again — ~192MB

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