a wholly owned subsiduary of
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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, 24th of April, 2016

Playlist 24.04.16 (9:18 pm)

Jam-packed show of goodness for you tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN via podcast/download here, or stream on demand from FBi.

Starting with the scintillating sounds of Dutch musician/producer/inventor Wouter van Veldhoven, who creates sounds from hand-made constructions, toys, found tapes, broken radios etc. Check out his tumblr for some mind-bending examples of how he constructs his music. In a way, though, this is almost a distraction from the music itself, which is just immersively, often heart-rendingly lovely. Acoustic instrumentation (sampled and automated sounds of strings, zither, acoustic guitar, piano, voice, and found sounds) are imbued with wow and flutter, or slowed to a crawl, embedded in hiss and crackle. It sounds remarkably like glitch and drone works, but is created without a computer in sight.

It's a bit of an honour to have a radio exclusive preview of the new album from Bracken, aka Chris Adams, once of the beloved, iconoclastic indietronic/postrock band Hood. Chris's first Bracken album came out on none other than Anticon back when it was surprising to hear them releasing music that wasn't weirdass indie hip-hop. But the hip-hop influence was there (and Hood had already worked with doseone and Yoni Wolf/Why? some years earlier), along with dubstep and drone. I discovered Chris Adams' solo work possibly earlier even than Hood, with his mind-blowing proto-breakcore and drill'n'bass music as downpour, a project recently re-formed for a couple of Bandcamp EPs exploring classic jungle & drum'n'bass sounds. The new Bracken album backs away from the dubstep but draws on hip-hop, bass-heavy techno and contemporary electronic sounds along with Adams' indie roots. Couldn't be more pleased to have him back. I'll have a substantial feature on all the aforementioned projects in a few weeks - album's out on May 20th.

Iranian musician Ashkan Kooshanejad aka Ash Koosha has released his fantastic debut album I AKA I on Ninja Tune after a massively exciting "mixtape" release called GUUD last year on Olde English Spelling Bee. He has been based in the UK since seeking asylum with his band Take It Easy Hospital in 2009 when they got into some political trouble because of their activities (including simply having a female member performing live). His music combines heavy beats and bass with melodies and harmonies drawing from the long and illustrious history of Persian music, with plenty of tasty glitchy processing on everything. It's wonderful to hear so much boundary-pushing, creative music out of Iran despite quite oppressive conditions (about which I am in no way qualified to talk).

After a bit of a break, "post-world" bass artist Filastine is back with a quarterly series of "video singles" for 2016, starting with "Miner", for which Javanese indie artist Nova Ruth returns as vocalist (and the video is based in Borneo & Java, Indonesia). Hopefully I'll get a reminder when the next single comes out, as Filastine's work is always quality.

Andy Stott's new album takes him further from his bass & techno roots, apparently taking cues from Yellow Magic Orchestra and other '80s music. The previous album already exhibited some postpunk influences, and one of tonight's tracks makes that clear from its title, "New Romantic". With lithe bass guitar from Scott and lovely vocals as always from Alison Skidmore, it's got a clear lineage back to English new romantic postpunk songs, but with post-dubstep/grime production, while "Selfish" is very much on the distorted grime tip.

Roots Manuva's Bleeds album from last year was a massive return to form, with the Jamaican and grime influences coming to the fore... It's awesome to hear one of the tracks remixed here by Kode9 into a footwork/jungle monster. Shame it's only a SoundCloud stream for now.

When Alan Myson released his first Ital Tek 12" on Planet µ in 2007, the combination of classical-influenced choral pads and dubstep beats was an immediate hit. A second 12" followed, with the Radiohead-indebted piano-led "Deep Pools". Tracks from both 12"s appeared on his debut album, but Myson wouldn't stick to the dubstep template for too long. Indeed, a collection of earlier tunes on Bandcamp as well as some compilation tracks show his earlier idm & breakcore influences (that Acidsamovar compilation is breakcore gold). He edged into that purple Jamie Vex'd/Joker dubstep style briefly, but then found new energy, like so many, from footwork. He produced some of the best footwork/electronica/jungle crossover tunes along the way, including the gorgeous "Jupiter Ascent" which we heard tonight. But his latest album, a couple of years in the making, sees him creating his magnum opus: lush ambient electronic orchestrations meet skittering hi-hats abstracted from footwork, and juddering bassline bouncing around with or without beats. Pretty deep stuff, an artist at his full potential.

Wouter van Veldhoven - Part1. Sings of Safety: 03 Four Further Steps in Hanging or Drowning [Wouter van Veldhoven Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - Stofstuk (Wouter van Veldhoven Remix) [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Wouter van Veldhoven - Ons dorp [Morc Tapes]
Wouter van Veldhoven - Sketch / First Failure AE 10-2008 [Umor Rex]
Wouter van Veldhoven - a head stuck in tapes b.2 [secret bonus track via the artist]
Wouter van Veldhoven - Part1. Sings of Safety: 01 A Start [Wouter van Veldhoven Bandcamp]
Bracken - Ravenser Odd II [Home Assembly Music]
Ash Koosha - Snow [Ninja Tune]
Ash Koosha - XXXL [Olde English Spelling Bee]
Ash Koosha - Harbour [Olde English Spelling Bee]
Ash Koosha - Needs [Ninja Tune]
Filastine - Miner (feat. Nova) [Post World Industries]
Andy Stott - Selfish [Modern Love]
Andy Stott - New Romantic [Modern Love]
Roots Manuva - Crying (Kode9 Remix) [Big Dada, stream on SoundCloud]
Ital Tek - Teminus [Planet µ]
Ital Tek - Dry Spell [Acidsamovar]
iTAL tEK - White Mark [Planet µ]
iTAK tEK - Deep Pools [Square Records/Planet µ]
Ital Tek - Gonga [Planet µ]
Ital Tek - Jupiter Ascent [Planet µ]

Listen again — ~185MB

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Sunday, 17th of April, 2016

Playlist 17.04.16 (9:06 pm)

Post-classical & weird improv-folk start things off tonight, with some minimal electronics and industrial techno later on!

LISTEN AGAIN via the link below, subscribe to the podcast, or stream on demand at FBi.

Experimental musician Frank Schültge is quite renowned for his challenging, experimental productions, sometimes quite folky or jazzy, sometimes more noisy. Collaborations are a big part of his work, including Sack Und Blumm with Harald "Sack" Ziegler, an album with David Grubbs, work with Andi Otto aka Springintgut and many other duos and groups. Dag Eins Tag Zwei is his third collaboration on Sonic Pieces with the rather ultra-famous Nils Frahm, and its character seems predominantly influenced by F.S. Blumm's playful folk & improv aesthetic - but Frahm's twinkly muted piano is very present too, and there are some soft, sweet mutations of jazz classics on this latest release too.

I discovered Asheville, NC trio The Library of Babel via The Wire Magazine's Wire Tapper 40 (amazing that they're up to 40 volumes). They have a wonderful sound, the rounded but metallic sound of the acoustic guitar of Shane Parish offset by the deep double bass of Frank Meadows and often just as deep cello from Emmalee Hunnicutt, bass plucked more than bowed, cello bowed more than plucked. It's a kind of free Americana, with superb performances from all three musicians.

Western Skies Motel, despite making a kind of Americana also, hails from Denmark. René Gonzàlez Schelbeck takes as a starting point the cyclical fingerstyle guitar of John Fahey or more likely James Blackshaw, but overlays shoegazey drones and shimmery shadowing effects. It's another beautiful release from Lost Tribe Sound, coming out later this week.

Erik Schoster has been making experimental electronic music since 2002 as He Can Jog. He's featured a fair bit on this show, especially in the last half-year or so as he's started uploading a fair bit of very cool stuff to his Bandcamp. The West Allis Auto Body Co. EP features pieces recorded between 1998 and 2016, ranging from a live string quartet to glitchy choppy electronics.

Chambers is a new duo from the Pacific Northwest, made up of Vancouver artist M.Red and Portland's Gabriel Mindel Salomon (now also based in Vancouver) of the sadly departed Yellow Swans. Satellites is their take on "dub", and ambient techno, through a tape haze.

Perth's Kane Ikin found himself dropped right into international renown with the first release from his duo Solo Andata in 2006, and not hard to see why - the folktronic sounds, whether more ambient or propelled by gentle beats, are beautifully produced and musically sensitive. Kane struck out solo a few years later with a release on 12k (who had also released Solo Andata's second album), and gradually ambient gave way more to muffled or clanking techno & broken hip-hop/dub beats. Never less than lush and forward-thinking, his releases are not to be missed.

Tom Smith appeared on the scene in 2007 as Cleptoclectics with a couple of glitch-hop inspired beat CDs. He changed his moniker to Thomas William and now Thomas William Smith in the interim, collaborating with Marcus Whale, and has recently released some more ambient & blunted techno stuff as T.Morimoto. On his own Bandcamp now comes a mixtape of material from 2011-2013, which he describes as representing no particular style or contemporary movement; hence Non Times. It does bear the hallmarks of Tom's productions, from the fidgety world music cut-ups of his earlier works to the buried orchestral samples in some of T.Morimoto. It's great.

Finally, Brisbane's Pale Earth, a frequent visitor to these playlists, releases a limited lathe-cut 7" split with co-Brisvegans Golden Bats called By George, and by george if they aren't both George Harrison covers! Pale Earth's takes the already quite psychedelic "Blue Jay Way" into droney doom metal territory.

F.S. Blumm & Nils Frahm - Day Two Three [Sonic Pieces]
f.s. blumm & nils frahm - wanda marimba [Sonic Pieces]
f.s. blumm & nils frahm - ten [Sonic Pieces]
F.S. Blumm & Nils Frahm - Day One Four [Sonic Pieces]
The Library of Babel - Branching [Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records/Shane Parish Bandcamp/Emmalee Hunnicutt Bandcamp]
The Library of Babel - Blind Corners in Wild Dawn [Blue Tapes and X-Ray Records/Shane Parish Bandcamp/Emmalee Hunnicutt Bandcamp]
Western Skies Motel - Falling Leaves [Lost Tribe Sound]
Western Skies Motel - Two Worlds [Lost Tribe Sound]
He Can Jog - & Rebuilding [He Can Jog Bandcamp]
He Can Jog - Dents [He Can Jog Bandcamp]
Chambers (M.Red & GMS) - Emerald (2) feat. prOphecy sun [Beacon Sound]
Kane Ikin - Tap Tap Collapse [Type]
Solo Andata - The Echo's Left Behind [Hefty]
Kane Ikin - Titan [12k]
Kane Ikin - B.N.R [This Thing]
Kane Ikin - Bishop [This Thing]
Kane Ikin - Intro / Bloom [Blowing Up The Workshop/Kane Ikin Bandcamp]
Kane Ikin - Slowburner [Blowing Up The Workshop/Kane Ikin Bandcamp]
Kane Ikin - Auto Dialler [Type]
Kane Ikin - Pulp [Type]
Thomas William Smith - Way Back [Thomas William Smith Bandcamp]
Thomas William Smith - Don't Get Mad [Thomas William Smith Bandcamp]
Thomas William Smith - Extra Non [Thomas William Smith Bandcamp]
Pale Earth - Blue Jay Way [Pale Earth Bandcamp]

Listen again — ~189MB

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Sunday, 10th of April, 2016

Playlist 10.04.16 (9:08 pm)

Heavy and quiet, distorted and clean, deadly serious and tongue in cheek... bit of all that tonight.

LISTEN AGAIN on the podcast here or the streaming on demand from FBi.

Been a massive fan of the body for a few years - they inhabit the more extreme end of the metal continuum, but have slowly been leeching into electronics and other forms, so it's not actually that surprising that their latest non-collaborative album No One Deserves Happiness is a kind of "pop" album... according to them anyway. They set out to create the "grossest pop album ever", and you can see where they're coming from, although the black metal, doom metal, noise, industrial and other electronic elements are still all there - and what's more the brilliant women who contribute vocals here, particularly Maralie Armstrong and Chrissy Wolpert and their Assembly Of Light Choir, have worked with The Body for years. Their collaborations are always incredibly fruitful, producing a transcendent beauty and often peacefulness over the degraded, mournful, extreme textures. To all extents and purposes these women are members of the band now, appearing on many of their other collaborations too.
And The Body do love collaborating with other like-minded artists, a couple of which I played tonight. On touring with Japanese metal/post-classical/electronic band Vampillia last year they released an incredible collaboration which still amazes me every time I listen; and almost simultaneously with No One Deserves Happiness comes a collaboration with hardcore punk/grindcore band Full Of Hell, famous themselves for collaborating with Merzbow. It's definitely got some more hardcore elements, but also plenty of electronics and straight vocals... and it's got the beauty/ugliness thing going on too. Both albums are fantastic.

Canadian drone/glitch artist Tim Hecker hardly needs any introduction. He's been doing the ambient/drone thing for years, with a fuzzy, grainy sound akin to Christian Fennesz et al, and he's collaborated with countless artists along the way as well, but to my ears around 2011's Ravedeath, 1972 his composition and musical construction started to get really impressively advanced. The piano on the 2011 albums, and the additional instrumentation and production techniques found on 2013's Virgins have swept him right into the stratosphere; Love Streams, with its choir and squiggly synth parts from Kara-Lis Coverdale, extend his sound yet further. From earlier in his career I chose a couple of unusual cuts - a live studio improv with fellow Montreal postrockers Le Fly Pan Am and experimental artist Christof Migone featured on Constellation's compilation Song of the Silent Land in 2004, and of a similar vintage is his stunning remix of one of the greatest bands ever, post-metal iconoclasts ISIS.

Jenny Hval should also need no introduction to listeners of this show - and her Norwegian accent is salted with Australian as she spent a few years studying in Melbourne. She put on some intense & rather strange (and wonderful) shows at the Sydney Festival earlier this year, and her album of indie music from last year was highly acclaimed. This takes her back to the somewhat (or at least even) more experimental sounds of earlier albums like Viscera on Rune Grammofon, working with composer/guitarist Kim Myhr, and the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra to create sound works which couch her familiar lyrical and vocal style in both very composed jazz and classical arrangements, and enjoyably chaotic improvised elements. It's not really that challenging, and should be enjoyed by any fans of Jenny's work as well as the jazz heads.

Garry Bradbury's humourous-profound electronic works have been a feature of the Sydney experimental music scene for many decades, since he joined Tom Ellard & co in some of the early incarnations of Severed Heads. Some of the tape collage aesthetic remains in the digital sampler/drum machine/synth works he's been putting out in the last decade+, and there's very much a tension between terrifyingly advanced musicality and cheeky larrikin spirit. The old Aussie woman's monologue in which each phrase ends with "the what" gets me every time - and it's made creepy and unsettling with the soundtrack-style collage it sits in. I would've featured even more of Bradbury's sounds but ran out of time. You can grab it all from his Bandcamp anyway, so hop to it!

the body - Shelter Is Illusory feat. Maralie Armstrong [Thrill Jockey]
Vampillia + the body - cold bark bite [self-released/Birds Robe]
the body - I Would For You feat. Chrissy Wolpert [self-released]
the body & Full Of Hell - One Day You Will Ache Like I Ache [Neurot]
the body & Full Of Hell - Fleshworks [Neurot]
the body - Adamah feat. Maralie Armstrong [Thrill Jockey]
the body - The Fall And The Guilt feat. Chrissy Wolpert [Thrill Jockey]
Tim Hecker - Castrati Stack [4AD]
Tim Hecker - Voice Crack [4AD]
Le Fly Pan Am + Tim Hecker & Christof Migone - Tres Tres "Avant" [Constellation]
ISIS - carry (first version by Tim Hecker) [Hydra Head]
Tim Hecker - The Piano Drop [Kranky]
Tim Hecker - Sketches 2 [Kranky]
Tim Hecker - Virginal I [Kranky]
Tim Hecker - Violet Monumental II [4AD]
Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Kim Myhr & Jenny Hval - Something New [Hubro]
Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, Kim Myhr & Jenny Hval - Mass [Hubro]
Garry Bradbury - Affective Trajectories [No Ware]
Garry Bradbury - The Ampullae of Lorenzini [No Ware]
Bradbury - Big Man on Campus [Dual Plover/Bradbury Bandcamp]
Bradbury - The Nevsky Project [Dual Plover/Bradbury Bandcamp]
Bradbury - Cheap Wagnerian Dynamics [Dual Plover/Bradbury Bandcamp]
Garry Bradbury - The Miry Verge [No Ware]

Listen again — ~193MB

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Sunday, 3rd of April, 2016

Playlist 03.04.16 (9:09 pm)

A hip-hop focus, 'Fog style, tonight. While there's a lot of hip-hop and rap in the Utility Fog back catalogue playlists, including idm collaborations, experimental sound-art poetry, noise-hop and all sorts of other stuff, tonight we feature three very individual artists (well, one is band but they are still very individual!)

Listen back to the conscious poetry, worldsamplebeats, lo-fi genre mashings and more... podcast here, stream on demand there.

Starting with brilliant, eccentric Melbourne hip-hop crew Curse ov Dialect - multi-cultural, anti-racist, anti-homophic, surrealist... Their DJ/producer Paso Bionic (also known for his work with the more mainstream hip-hop crew TZU) sources samples from Middle Eastern, Eastern European, Indian, Asian and other musics of the world, as well as western classical music, as much as from pop music and the more traditional jazz/soul/funk fodder of hip-hop. This reflects the very varied backgrounds of the group themselves, which surfaces frequently in their lyrics (it's right there in Volk Makedonski's stage name, and Raceless, who is in fact of Maltese background). While they formed originally in 1994, their most stable lineup got together around 2000. They're renowned for their unhinged live shows, featuring elaborate costumes and Dadaist antics. After appearing with various Anticon artists at This Is Not Art in Newcastle in 2001, they connected with US experimental hip-hop-connected label Mush, and stayed with them for a couple of albums, but subsequently found themselves internationally on the German experimental electronic/postrock label Staubgold, and now on another experimental European label MonotypeRecords. It's interesting that this is the connection for them overseas, although they've stayed with indie labels in Oz. The new album is as wide-ranging and sharp as ever - welcome back!

Poet, actor, musician, rapper, iconoclast - Saul Williams is a one-of-a-kind. My earliest memories of him are on the one hand his rapping over beatboxing and violin, but then also ranting over tech-step drum'n'bass, and then on the other hand performing the ideal anti-war poem "Not In My Name" in the wake of the second Gulf War. Although Williams is highly connected to African American history and the civil rights movement, and although he is also totally connected to the history of hip-hop, he critiques and deconstructs that history and connection in his raps and in the production they're married with - in his early works, particularly with drum'n'bass. Later, we hear amen breaks chopped into a hip-hop beat on his auto-biographical "Black Stacey". From touring with Nine Inch Nails, his third album was co-produced with Trent Reznor, bringing an industrial rock influence but the creative direction is all Saul Williams. Originally this album was self-released and had a hybrid model where lower-quality mp3s were available for free, and higher-quality with extras cost a small amount (an approach Reznor was keen on at the time, but one that totally fits with Williams' own attitudes too). Interestingly it's a very "hip-hop" album as well as industrial & experimental - on "Tr(n)igger" we hear a classic Public Enemy sample cut up and then commented on in Williams' own lyric. The following album was produced with French world/pop producer Renaud Létang, and had more of a rock feel, while the new album brings in Justin Warfield, known for his hallucinatory WS Burroughs-influenced vocals on Bomb The Bass's "Bug Powder Dust", as well as the hip-hop/rock group One Inch Punch and so on. MartyrLoserKing is a great "return to form" for Saul Williams, heavy, erudite, hard-hitting, experimental.

I ran out of time to feature as much music from Andrew Broder & Fog as I wanted, but I tried to cover a range of stuff. His new album For Good is on the wonderfully-titled Totally Gross National Product label that he's associated with, and it's a brilliant mixture of his laid-back regretful indie rock/pop/jazz, experimental electronics and contemporary hip-hop production - including some juke hi-hats and trap snares in there... Fog has always been to me a hip-hop related project, if often inhabiting indie rock, or free jazz/noise/experimental musics in various guises. Broder has made beat tapes, noise collage pieces, and experimental electronic productions in collaboration with people including Adam Drucker aka doseone - and the Anticon connection also goes back to his beloved indie-hop collaboration with Yoni Wolf of Why?, Hymie's Basement. 10th Avenue Freakout is a particular high point, combining the lo-fi indie feel with jazz arrangements & improvisations, bits of drone, noise & electronica - weirdly genre-crossing pieces but really well-controlled emotive songwriting. I didn't get to play anything off the most indie rock album, 2007's Ditherer, nor his collaborations with Coldcut, Dntel and others, but I did slip in a track from the incredible collaborative 7" with Jesu from back in 2009.

Curse ov Dialect - Twisted Strangers (feat. Hemlock Ernst) [Valve/MonotypeRecords]
Curse ov Dialect - Red Candles [self-released, now available at Curse ov Dialect Bandcamp]
Curse ov Dialect - Baby How? [Valve/Mush]
Pasobionic - Black Ink Concerto [Elefant Traks]
Curse ov Dialect - Broken Feathers [Valve/Mush]
Curse ov Dialect - Media Moguls [Mistletone/Staubgold]
Curse ov Dialect - Legend of Leigh Bowery [Valve/MonotypeRecords]
Saul Williams - Think Like They Book Say [Fader Label]
Saul Williams - Twice The First Time [Big Dada/Ninja Tune]
Saul Williams - Penny For A Thought [American Recordings]
Saul Williams & DJ Krust - Coded Language (excerpt) [American Recordings]
Saul Williams - Pledge of Resistance [free download from 2003]
Saul Williams - Black Stacey [Fader Label]
Saul Williams - Tr(n)igger [self-released/Fader Label]
Saul Williams - Fall Up [Sony Music]
Saul Williams - Horn of the Clock-Bike [Fader Label]
Fog - King Kuna [Totally Gross National Product]
Fog - fuckedupfuckfuckup [Ninja Tune]
Hymie's Basement - 21st Century Pop Song [Lex Records]
Fog - The Rabbit [Lex Records]
Jesu/Fog - Nowhere [Kissing Kin]
Fog - Cory [Totally Gross National Product]

Listen again — ~198MB

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