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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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Sunday, 24th of July, 2016

Playlist 24.07.16 (8:51 pm)

Indietronica in various guises tonight, plus ambient world whatnot and industrial weirdtechno and... stuff...

LISTEN AGAIN and then listen further, listening is good. Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Originally a Canberra duo, Spartak have been making challenging and beguiling postrock & indietronica for some years. Shoeb Ahmad (guitar, vocals, electronics) and Evan Dorrian (drums, vocals, electronics) form the core of Spartak, with various other collaborators including Matt Lustri of Cracked Actor. This new EP includes three new tracks, all featuring the engaging vocals of Melbourne artist Becki Whitton aka Aphir, and two reworkings from Oval and My Disco member Kangaroo Skull.

A bit of a feature from the intriguing US artist yyu, now based in the Chicago area and drawing idiosyncractic influence from footwork as well as other contemporary electronic genres. They've always happily mixed up lo-fi jangly indiefolk guitar songs with hi-fi (if deliberately ramshackle) electronics. yyu prefers to be referred to with the genderless pronoun "they", and often performs under a sheet. Rather than a calculated move towards mystery, I see this as simply staying true to their own sense of self, which is highly admirable and which is reflected in their unique and wonderful music.

Grasscut also combine folky and electronic approaches, but they couldn't be more different from yyu, starting from the very essential Englishness to their music. After an initial single & album on Ninja Tune, they gravitated to the lovely Lo Recordings, where they still reside today. The central members are composer Andrew Phillips and musician & academic Marcus O’Dair. Phillips' talent for melody and for gorgeous twists of harmony is part of what makes them so special, as is their understanding of musical history and what you might call musical geography - indeed, maps and locations have been a big part of their releases in the past.
They've just released a remix album, which calls on a number of other electronic/avant-garde producers who are also composers, including Oliver Coates, the second generation Penguin Cafe and Mira Calix as well as the artists featured tonight. Leo Abrahams has collaborated with Coates and also Jon Hopkins and Brian Eno, and strips "The Field" back with a lovely violin arrangement; John Metcalfe is a highly in-demand composer & violist, a New Zealander based in the UK, who has created a stunning string quartet arrangement of the track "Radar".

Richard Youngs is another artist with a deep Englishness to his art. His music ranges from acoustic folk to tape processing to analogue noise to digital sampling, all the while doggedly pursuing his own aesthetic that only sometimes intersects with musical norms. It's a huge back catalogue but there's a lot of exquisite stuff in there, especially on the various Jagjaguwar albums. Lately he's started releasing his much-sought-after limited editions on Bandcamp, including unreleased gems and new material. Herfordshire Retreat dates from 1999 but appears to be freshly released a few weeks ago, and features acoustic guitar, banjolin, rhythm preset, shakuhachi, sitar, tape machine, violin, and voice.

Dutch composer & electronic musician Michel Banabila has appeared a lot on this show, in collaboration with other Dutch musicians like Machinefabriek and Oene van Geel as well as on his own. His music ranges from beautiful drones to worldbeat, layered rhythmic vocal samples and processed acoustic instruments, and he's comfortable in the digital space - so it's fascinating to hear these unearthed early works, mostly dating from the mid 1980s. Here we hear his art growing into itself, and his style can already be sensed, where gossamer melodies run over muted percussion and wheezing drone instruments. You can hear stacks of his music on his Bandcamp, and it's highly recommended. This may be as good a place as any to begin.

Russian musician Alexey Devyanin has been making music as Gultskra Artikler since the early 2000s. More recently he's become well known for shiny computer game dance music as Pixelord; Gultskra is an outlet for more experimental sounds, whether the incredibly acoustic-sampling dark sounds found on his Miasmah releases, the more recent YouTube-exploring glitchscapes on Umor Rex or this latest album on Opal Tapes, appropriately titled Industria.

And finally tonight, Gravy Murphy is originally from the UK, but after being based in Perth, WA for some time he's now relocated to Melbourne. His productions sometimes recall the heyday of '90s idm, albeit in a contemporary setting; there's some lovely minnimal techno here as well as some fancy break-juggling and plenty of melody. Recommended - check the album and earlier EPs on Bandcamp.

Spartak - maps of the sounds of tokyo (feat. Becki Whitton) [Provenance]
Spartak - eulogist (feat. Becki Whitton) [Provenance]
yyu - teu [Lillerne Tapes]
yyu - car keys [yyu Bandcamp]
yyu - yyyy [Beer on the Rug]
yyu - eggo [Beer on the Rug]
yyu - mix 4 [yyu Bandcamp]
yyu - karaoke 1 [Lillerne Tapes]
Grasscut - The Field (Leo Abrahams Remix) [Lo Recordings]
Grasscut - Sorel Point [Ninja Tune]
Grasscut - The Tin Man (featuring sampled vocals of John McCormack) [Ninja Tune]
Jaga Jazzist - Toccata (Grasscut Remix) [Ninja Tune]
Grasscut - Reservoir [Lo Recordings]
Grasscut - Islander [Lo Recordings]
Grasscut - Radar (John Metcalfe Remix) [Lo Recordings]
Richard Youngs - Dirge [No Fans Records Bandcamp]
Michel Banabila - October (Des Traces Retrouvées III) [Bureau B]
Michel Banabila - Des Traces Retrouvées I) [Bureau B]
Michel Banabila - The Workers (Des Traces Retrouvées III) [Bureau B]
Gultskra Artikler - Shipping Details To Track 1 [Opal Tapes]
Gultskra Artikler - ------o-------o---o-o [Opal Tapes]
Gultskra Artikler - Melted Percussions [Opal Tapes]
Gravy Murphy - Murmuration [Gravy Murphy Bandcamp]
Gravy Murphy - Mumps [Gravy Murphy Bandcamp]
Gravy Murphy - Honeybunch [Gravy Murphy Bandcamp]

Listen again — ~111MB

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