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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, 19th of June, 2016

Playlist 19.06.16 (9:06 pm)

New music extravaganza on the show tonight! So excited by how this year's turning out.

LISTEN AGAIN because music is timeless. Podcast here, stream on demand at FBi.

It's been a big year for Kane Ikin, with already a solo album on a well-regarded UK label, and an EP on a French techno label. Now his duo Solo Andata, formed in Perth but now I believe based in Melbourne, have released a surprise new album after some years' silence. They started out with their debut on beloved Chicago postrock/jazz/electronic label Hefty Records 10 years ago, and have stayed in the international spotlight since. Their music is pure gentleness, with guitar, piano, percussion, field recordings and very subtle electronic touches.

Sar Friedman releases her debut as Medicine Voice on Provenance, the new label run by Stuart Buchanan of New Weird Australia and Wood & Wire. Although there are high-profile collaborators on here (Oren Ambarchi, Joe Talia & James Rushford), Friedman's is a singular vision, and this track in particular is predominantly her piano and vocals, with some nicely disturbing drones underneath.

I often talk about Canberra-based Reuben Ingall as one of my favourite Australian artists. I guess he walks that line that Utility Fog loves so much where live instrumentation washes up against electronic processing - using Max/MSP patches and pedals, he samples and glitches his voice and guitar along with non-musical objects, and switches easily between emotive indie guitar dirges and complex programmed electronics. His new release comes from a new cassette label Tandem Tapes run by ex-Underlapper Morgan McKellar, now based in Jakarta, Indonesia. The label pairs Indonesian experimental artists (who I will get to in a future show) with overseas artists, mostly from McKellar's Australian connections for now.
Ingall's side is from the second Tandem Tapes release. The debut cassette features a side from Melbourne experimental electronic artist Pare Ohm, jittery beats with a jazzy inflection.

Back to Provenance, and back to Canberra whence the duo Spartak originate. Drummer Evan Dorrian is now based in Sydney, but guitarist Shoeb Ahmad is still in Canberra; both also contribute electronics of all sorts and vocals, and will be joined by a female vocalist on most of their new album, due in July, which I'm 100% pumped for. This track comes from Marks of Provenance I, given away with all purchases of the first (few?) Provenance releases, and it's an alternate version of a track from their new album.

Also from Marks of Provenance I is Melbourne electronic pop artist KAIA, extending tonight's theme of glitched vocals. And Sydney's Simo Soo gets remixed into quite dark territory by Vivian Huynh aka Lovely Head.

Our final Australian track for tonight takes us to Brisbane with Feet Teeth, a trio who combine electronics with live instrumentation, all improvised live. Their new release, Gout sees them collaborating with various Australian improvisers & experimental artists like Andrew Tuttle, Erik Griswold and Duskdarter's Kahl Monticone. This piece starts off as pure electronic drone but soon we hear the trumpet and drums surfacing out of the mix.

So finally we move overseas to Great Britain, with a band whose albums have a strong sense of place - their first was a folky, indie, symphonic, electronic ode to the Orkney Islands off the coast of Scotland; their new one examines and celebrates a small English town called Skelmersdale. Orkney is home to singer Erland Cooper of Erland & the Carnival, while multi-instrumentalist Simon Tong (ex member of The Verve and Gorillaz, also playing in Cooper's band) hails from Skelmersdale, so presumably their next album will take them to third member Hannah Peel's Ireland. The folk musics of their various countries heavily informs their songwriting, as does an indie rock sensibility and a certain homespun electronic undercurrent (drum machine beats etc).

As I listened to their new album I noticed something very familiar - a bassline that drives the wonderful single "Bay of Skaill" from their first album. It appears as a bassline on the single "Signs", but also as on plucked strings and a vocal refrain on "Pennylands" and elsewhere on the album too. It's a nice unifying feature and a callback to a popular song from their first release, but it was familiar quite aside from this, and it took a couple of listens before I managed to make the necessary mental connections - was it Boards of Canada? Autechre? Not quite right... Suddenly I knew exactly who it was. I would be surprised if it's a deliberate lifting, in fact I'd be surprised if The Magnetic North know the track at all, but it's almost exactly the bassline from a gorgeous idm track by the legendary Darrel Fitton aka Bola, from his Mauver EP. A bizarre and unexpected connection.

This electronic sidestep connects us handily to the work of Klara Lewis, whose second album on Editions Mego came out a few weeks ago. Lewis hails from Sweden, so it was not until reading an interview recently that I made the connection that she is the daughter of Edvard Graham Lewis of English post-punk experimentalists Wire. Her father has also released music on the Mego label, and while some of her sensibilities are similar, it's not necessary to draw comparisons or bring expectations to her own music. She's adept at the sort of sonic fusions and deconstructions long favoured by Mego, with chopped up sounds, gaseous ambient tracts, spooky sampled voices and the like, but she's also willing to drop in muffled techno beats here and there. In the same year as her Mego debut she put out a 12" on Peder Mannerfelt Produktion (and it was nice to read Mannerfelt in the new edition of The Wire talking about wanting to break down what he sees as extreme segregation in Swedish society, and releasing a number of female Swedish electronic artists is part of that). There's no doubt that new releases from Lewis will be highly anticipated round these parts.

Finally, another recent Editions Mego release is from the label boss himself, Peter Rehberg aka Pita. Rehberg is one of the originals in the glitch/noise scene that came out of Austria centred around the label that was originally called Mego. The Rehberg & Bauer releases with Ramon Bauer formed the catalyst for the pair to start the label, and Rehberg has also collaborated fruitfully with Christian Fennesz and Jim O'Rourke as FennO'Berg. Solo, the Pita work was always quite confrontingly noisy, although his work under his real name for contemporary dance artists is less tinittus-inducing. His new album Get In situates itself in a series of Pita releases (Get Out, Get Down, Get Off), and has passages of quite harsh abstract noise, but on the whole is queasy and ambient. I couldn't resist playing an epic and gorgeous untitled piece from 1999's Get Out, a shoegazey, faux-orchestral, distorted onslaught.

Solo Andata - Left [12k]
Solo Andata - Separate Lovers [12k]
Medicine Voice - the roman / crossing the fourth threshold [Provenance]
Reuben Ingall - Tomorrow [Tandem Tapes]
Reuben Ingall - Superfood [Tandem Tapes]
Pare Ohm - Com Glut [Tandem Tapes]
Pare Ohm - Three in One Hundred [Tandem Tapes]
Spartak - Black Eye Trace [Provenance]
KAIA - iii [Provenance]
Simo Soo - Dancer In The Dark (Lovely Head Remix) [Provenance]
Feet Teeth - six minutes and twelve seconds [Feet Teeth Bandcamp]
The Magnetic North - Signs [Full Time Hobby]
The Magnetic North - Bay of Skaill [Full Time Hobby]
The Magnetic North - Pennylands [Full Time Hobby]
Bola - Vespers [Skam]
Klara Lewis - Twist [Editions Mego]
Klara Lewis - c a t t [Editions Mego]
Klara Lewis - Msuic I [Peder Mannerfelt Produktion]
Klara Lewis - Beaming [Editions Mego]
Klara Lewis - Us [Editions Mego]
Pita - 9U2016 [Editions Mego]
Pita - Untitled 3 from Get Out [Editions Mego]

Listen again — ~194MB

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