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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, 28th of August, 2016

Playlist 28.08.16 (9:07 pm)

Electronic & experimental sounds coming at you tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN because it pays to be in the know... Podcast here, stream on demand there.

A cross-continental hookup starts the show: Sensaround is a collaboration between Canberran guitarist & electronic musician Shoeb Ahmad, Sydney pianist Alister Spence and Scottish saxophonist Raymond MacDonald. Their second album of improvised electro-acoustic work is out now on hellosQuare, featuring the best live performances from their last outings together; they are launching it this Wednesday, August 31st, at 107 Projects.

For the first time in a long while I'm playing one of my own bands on the show. It's a bit unfair not to give Tangents an airing since 4/5 of the band don't have a radio show on FBi. Along with me on cello & electronics, we've got the aforementioned Shoeb Ahmad on guitar/electronics and his Spartak cohort Evan Dorrian on drums, ex-Triosk piano/keyboard player Adrian Lim-Klumpes, and one half of Icarus, Ollie Bown, on laptop and production duties. Call it post-everything improv, or if that hurts, call it folktronica or postrock or post-jazz or whatever you like.
We're launching our new album Stateless, which we're proud to have released on the legendary US postrock/experimental label Temporary Residence, this Friday the 2nd of September at Glebe Justice Centre.

It's been a long while, well over a decade, since The Necks' pianist Chris Abrahams released an album of solo piano. His solo releases in the meantime have been electro-acoustic wonders, but his musings on his main instrument have been recorded and kept, slowly growing in his private collection. Luckily for us, he's now rummaged through all these recordings and selected some of the best to make up a new album, Climb, which is out in a couple of weeks' time. It's being launched at Venue 505 on Thursday the 15th of September.

Brutalist is a new duo made up of some shiny young Aussie electronic musicians - Seekae's John Hassell and LUCIANBLOMKAMP. It has plenty of Blomkamp's piano, often processed or played electronically, along with plenty of basslines & beats Seekae-style. Very tasty, getting some international attention, so hopefully a continuing concern.

I've been a fan of UK-based Japanese singer & artist Kiki Hitomi for years now due to her work with Kevin Martin of The Bug, including as a member of King Midas Sound (and tonight we hear Hitomi singing over the "Skeng" riddim, turning it into something quite beautiful). Prior to this there was the insane dubstep-meets-breakcore duo Dokkebi Q with Japanese producer Gorgonn. But only now has her first solo album, under her own name, been released. Working with disrupt from digidub crew Jahtari she's crafted a mix of Japanese ersatz-folk genre enka, digidub, reggae and more. It's awesome and couldn't have been created by anyone else.

Brooklyn Joseph Fraioli has been making music at the extremes of idm & breakcore since the late 1990s as Datach'i. It's been 10 years since his last album, and System now finds him released through Venetian Snares' Timesig imprint on Planet µ. His earliest releases pushed idm & drill'n'bass to the limit with extremely wonky rhythms and processing on every sound - although his melodic talents would shine through when he let them. It's evident that even back then he had a pretty singular approach to electronic music production. His new material sees him working entirely on the modular synthesiser, refusing to use any external gear for programming beats or sourcing sounds. Purchases from the Planet µ shop come with a second disc of bonus material, much of which is at least as good as the album proper, so we finish up our special with a couple of tracks from there.

One fine day about 20 years ago Mike Paradinas aka µ-Ziq & Richard D James aka Aphex Twin released a collaborative album on Richard's Rephlex label under the name Mike & Rich. Featuring the two of them playing a kids' game on the cover, and titled Expert Knob Twiddlers, it was never going to be anything but silly, but I recall being bitterly disappointed because at the time I wanted everything to be advanced drill'n'bass madness, and this was harkening back to the early melodic days of µ-Ziq and Aphex, complete with blatant hip-hop beats and silly samples and the like. But for all that, it's very sweet and genuinely fun production (including some ear-splitting noises here and there because they're oh-such-pranksters). It's now being re-released, this time on Mike's Planet µ label, with a bonus disc of material from the same period - unheard µ-Ziq and Aphex Twin collaborations ahoy!

Finishing up, Ninja Tune artists The Invisible have been remixed by modular synth expert Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith, who've turned their bright Afro-pop into something beautiful and almost choral. It's a nice juxtaposition of approaches with the stuff Datach'i's doing on modular synths.

Sensaround - Windeyer (b) [hellosQuare]
Tangents - N-Mission [Temporary Residence]
Chris Abrahams - Beach of Black Stones [Vegetable]
Brutalist - PSA [Good Manners Music]
Brutalist - Strep [Good Manners Music]
Kiki Hitomi - Yellow Story [Jahtari]
King Midas Sound - Earth a kill ya [Hyperdub]
Dokkebi Q - Black Vomit [Murder Channel]
The Bug - Catch a Fire (feat. Kiki Hitomi) [Ninja Tune]
Black Chow - Wonderland [Jahtari]
King Midas Sound - Aroo [Ninja Tune]
Kiki Hitomi - Every Time You Knock Me Down [Jahtari]
Kiki Hitomi - Nen Nen Korori (feat. Space Ape [Jahtari]
Datach'i - Margin Of Error [Timesig/Planet µ]
Datach'i - Leonard Park [Caipirinha Productions]
Datach'i - Free In A Box [Caipirinha Productions]
Datach'i - In Silence [Sublight]
Datach'i - Nebulae V2 [Timesig/Planet µ]
Datach'i - Irodotomy [Timesig/Planet µ]
Datach'i - Mutant Clap [Timesig/Planet µ]
Mike & Rich - Bu Bu Bu Ba [Planet µ]
Mike & Rich - Brivert & Muonds [Planet µ]
The Invisible - Love Me Again (Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith Remix) [Ninja Tune]

Listen again — ~195MB

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Sunday, 21st of August, 2016

Playlist 21.08.16 (9:17 pm)

The world is full of great music and I'm here to bring it to you...

LISTEN AGAIN because you know it makes sense... Podcast right here, stream on demand at FBi.

Sydney singer-songwriter Jack Colwell is a classically trained musician, a multi-instrumentalist and singer who's been touring with Sarah Blasko recently. He reached out to Christian Fennesz on his Australian visit earlier this year and managed to secure a remix from him on this new remix EP When the World Explodes, and Fennesz helped him compile a pretty stellar lineup of artists to remix his tracks, including Persian electronic artist Ash Koosha (released on Ninja Tune), LA noise-rockers Health and US experimental grime producer Rabit. Roly Porter contributed a widescreen post-classical-meets-electronic remake, while another classically-trained Sydney producer, Marcus Whale, takes Colwell's music into the fractured, tough yet vulnerable zone of his brilliant Inland Sea album from this year.

John Chantler is a restless artist in terms of his home base as well as his musical interests. Originally from Brisbane, he'd already spent some time in Japan before releasing his first music on Room40. He spent a long time in London, for a while as the UK representative of the label and then also helping to establish and book the iconic experimental venue Cafe OTO. The last few years have found him in Stockholm, driven from London by its relentless gentrification. His music has gone from gentle glitchy beats & electronics to gradually more abstract work produced on modular synths, and more recently various types of organs. The new album seems to be modular synth-based, although there are some musique concrète touches and guest appearances from his wife Carina Thorén and master cellist Okkyung Lee (although I'm not sure on which tracks).

Stavrogin is UK artist Theo Darton-Moore, who also writes about electronic music for Stray Landings. Darton-Moore's earlier releases as Stavrogin are more on a bass/idm tip, but this new EP finds him producing submerged techno and spare, glitchy hip-hop. It's dark and very, very tasty. You need to get on this when it's out on August 29th.

Dutch duo Funckarma haven't released a lot under that name for a while, as Don Funcken has been busy mainly with his day job & "real life". His brother Roel has mostly kept up the pace (Funckarma were legendary for pumping out releases under various pseudonyms in idm, electro and later dubstep...) Back in 2013, the US idm/electro label Schematic released Part 1 of the remixes of Roel's Mercury Retrograde, from which we took a beautiful bouncy remix by Japanese artist Ametsub. The second part was due to be released on another label I believe, but never made it out, so now we are finally able to hear the remixes, including one by a massive influence on Funckarma, the one & only Plaid. These remixes come paired with a set of remixes of Don & Roel's project with Dutch film composer & modular synth guru Cor Bolten, Legiac, and I decided to play BOTH remixes from beloved German ambient & idm artist (and Funckarma contemporary) Arovane, who turned in one windswept idm version and one ambient version with waves of drones and piano lines.

Gudrun Gut has been a mainstay in the German experimental music scene since the early '80s, involved in early industrial music, punk bands, and since the '90s, adventurous electronic music - not least through her Monika Enterprise label dedicated to releasing experimental & electronic music by women from all over the world. Her latest album sees her teaming up with the Heimatlieder aus Deutschland project ("folk songs from Germany") which seeks to celebrate the folk musics of Germany's immigrant melting pot. There are now-German-based artists from African, Middle Eastern and various other European countries featured here, including Trio Fado playing Portuguese fado, and Heide showcasing German-speaking music from Transylvania.

Legendary Italian experimental/postrock quartet 3/4HadBeenEliminated have been making music since 2004. Originally a quartet, they are (perhaps ironically given their name) now a trio, featuring three legends of the Italian experimental scene: Stefano Pilia, Claudio Rocchetti and Valerio Tricoli. Their albums are few and far between, so I was excited that Oren Ambarchi's Black Truffle is releasing a new album from them, Speak To Me - now out. That LP has a 13 minute and 17 minute side though, making it a little unweildy for radio, so it was extra rad to discover another new track from them, released on a Berlin-based label called Sound of Cobra. The label's Italian connections are clear from an awesome lineup of artists appearing on the compilation A Promise of Arrival, with Andrea Belfi, Massimo Pupillo and psych rockers Zu appearing alongside international artists like David Grubbs, Anla Courtis and Brisbane's own Lawrence English. The compilation is donating all procedes to a number of organisations working to aid the plight of refugees around the world. "The promise of arrival dies way too often on the shores of selfishness. This collection of music offers a helping hand."
The track from 3/4HadBeenEliminated is typically elliptic, with softly-spoken vocals over a slow-marching soundscape that gradually coalesces into a chugging krautrock-punk-glitch monster.

To finish up, we have a brilliant piece of minimalist drum machine beats and massive swamps of bass drone and bizarre samples from Indonesian artist Samsara Portal Holistik, released on the part-Aussie, part-Indonesian split cassette label Tandem Tapes. Their side is paired with a longform drone piece by Derek Piotr. This label is doing fantastic work - go grab all their releases on Bandcamp!

Jack Colwell - Far From View (Marcus Whale Remake) [self-released]
Jack Colwell - Coat: The End (Roly Porter Remake) [self-released]
John Chantler - Falling Forward [Room40]
John Chantler - I Feel Summer About It [Room40]
John Chantler - Sunburning [Piehead]
John Chantler - A2 (The Luminous Ground) [Room40]
John Chantler - The Long Shadow of Decline Pt III [1703 Skivbolaget]
John Chantler - Lesser Demands [Room40]
Stavrogin - State Trading [3BS Records]
Stavrogin - Blackcap [3BS Records]
Roel Funcken - Textures (Plaid rmx) [Funckarma Bandcamp]
Roel Funcken - BooseGumps (Ametsub rmx) [Schematic]
Legiac - Conazol Ketamind (Arovane rmx1) [Funckarma Bandcamp]
Legiac - Conazol Ketamind (Arovane rmx2) [Funckarma Bandcamp]
Trio Fado - Toma da la ca (Gudrun Gut remix) [Heimatlieder aus Deutschland]
Gudrun Gut - Move me [Monika Enterprise]
Gudrun Gut - Leaves Are Falling [Monika Enterprise]
Heide - Ein kleines Waldvögelein (Gudrun Gut remix) [Heimatlieder aus Deutschland]
3/4HadBeenEliminated - DimethylAtonalCalcine [Sound of Cobra]
Samsara Portal Holistik - Open Sesame [Tandem Tapes]

Listen again — ~192MB

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Sunday, 14th of August, 2016

Playlist 14.08.16 (8:49 pm)

Eclectic selections coming down the line for you tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN because who can keep up? Podcast here, stream on demand there.

It may just be the circles I walk in, but there's hardly an Australian artist around being hyped as much as Katie Dey at the moment, and for good reason too - she's making traditional dirty indiepop, but with gloriously messy electronic processing all over it - helium vocals, fuzzy crunchiness. Even when she does a bit of more straight distorted guitar-pop, the beats are made of clattering home objects. Most importantly, her songcraft is impeccable, reminiscent of the best in slacker pop as well as contemporary pop - and in "debt" recalling the under-appreciated Aussie genius Machine Translations - up to and including the string version that makes up the interstitial track following it. These interstitials separate all the songs on the album, instrumental pieces providing little studio offcuts, segues, or entire alternate approaches like this.

Land Systems is young Sydney artist Nathan Moas, releasing music on cassette & digital through muffled records. The EP as a whole features ambient and sometimes aggressive/industrial sounding electronics, but the one vocal number (featuring Sydney artist mara) points towards some more song-oriented music to come from him. The experimental sounds herein suit me just fine though - lots of sound art mixed in, and some beats...

WWWINGS are the ultimate internet band... residing in different parts of the ex-Soviet Union, making post-techno bass music, tough and fucked up, lots of crazy samples and YouTube channel-skipping. Beats and rhythms are made up as much out of chopped & screwed samples as 808s and breaks, creating a mixture of industrial and ambient. They have strong connections with the LA scene - apart from Planet µ, two of the labels they've been released on and many of their collaborators are from LA, although the equally achingly hip Infinite Machine is locates itself in both Montréal and Mexico City. So internet.

Out of Denver, GILA has just released an EP of ambient loveliness and beats. Crisp stop-start beats and a clear sense of melody show why XL Recordings have jumped on this artist. The second track is a bit more techno although still bearing the hip-hop boom baps.
Also on XL is Overmono with their debut EP Arla - but while it may be a debut for these brothers together, separately they've both released excellent post-dubstep/post-uk hardcore techno as Tessela and Truss.

Tommy Four Seven and Alain Paul's These Hidden Hands have just released their second album, and if you've been following this show you'll known I'm a big fan of what they do. Their sound mixes industrial techno with melodic influences, and recently they've been found collaborating with vocalists like Lucrecia Dalt. The new album sees this continue, with excellent work from Julia Kotowski aka Entertainment for the Braindead and Ale Hop opening up the duo's own music into new vistas outside the tough dancefloor beats. Much though I love what they've been doing, this extra dimension is welcome.

French poet & spoken work artist Anne-James Chaton has worked with The Ex guitarist and Unsounds co-owner Andy Moor a number of times in the past. For their new project Heretics they hooked up with Thurston Moore, like Moor a veteran of the postpunk scene but from a very different direction, workshopping material in a residency in St Nazaire, France. Their interest in heretical figures throughout history surfaces perhaps obliquely in the texts that they created, supported by guitar and effects and electronics. Moore's declarative style fits surprisingly well with the dispassionate lists of Chaton. I can only assume the often corny nature of the statements is the point of it... One hopes...

katie dey - only to trip and fall down again [Joy Void]
katie dey - don't be scared [katie dey Bandcamp]
katie dey - debt / (f8) [Joy Void]
katie dey - so you pick yourself up / (f6) [Joy Void]
Land Systems - esc feat. mara [muffled records]
Land Systems - thrived [muffled records]
WWWINGS - Infinity (ft. Ebbo Kraan) [Planet µ]
WWWINGS - Death Wish [Symbols]
WWWINGS - Glacial [Infinite Machine]
WWWINGS - Melt (ft. Barla, Graves & Pope) [Planet µ]
GILA - Tuff Whisper [XL Recordings]
GILA - SnoPack [XL Recordings]
Overmono - Programmer [XL Recordings]
These Hidden Hands - The Telepath (feat. Julia Kotowski) [These Hidden Hands]
These Hidden Hands - Ivy [These Hidden Hands]
These Hidden Hands - These Moments Dismantled (feat. Lucrecia Dalt) [These Hidden Hands]
These Hidden Hands - Dendera Light [These Hidden Hands]
These Hidden Hands - Lima 3AM (feat. Ale Hop) [These Hidden Hands]
Anne-James Chaton, Andy Moor and Thurston Moore - Poetry must be made by all [Unsounds]
Anne-James Chaton + Andy Moor - Princess in a Mercedes Class S 280 feat. Chiara Solari [Unsounds]
Anne-James Chaton, Andy Moor and Thurston Moore - Concoctions [Unsounds]

Listen again — ~198MB

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Sunday, 7th of August, 2016

Playlist 07.08.16 (9:05 pm)

A very electronic UFog for you tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN for the hottest tips on the hottest blips! Podcast here, stream on demand there.

Starting tonight with a quite experimental remix of a quite quirky cover of a Taylor Swift song. Sydney indie band OM Collective covered the song a little while ago, and young Sydney-based classically-trained electronic musician Mlekö has snuck in everything from jazz & classical influences to glitchy beats. Nice work.

Aussie underground indie musician Benjow continues to release idiosyncratic sounds as Haddocks' Eyes - from drone works and electronic experiments to old tapes of stunning indiefolk songs. This one's a take on an old song, with his signature vocal pitch-shifting and heaps of processing over everything.

Canberran duo Spartak featured recently on this show with their new EP, and we take a couple more tracks from it tonight. Released by fledgeling label Provenance, the newest venture of FBi alumnus Stuart Buchanan, 2 of its 5 tracks are actually kind of remixes. One tonight sees material from Spartak mixed & compiled into a piece by glitch pioneer Oval.
Before the Spartak tracks we heard a short excerpt from an amazing concept piece by Spartak's Shoeb Ahmad, which was debuted in Canberra a couple of months ago in celebration of the Tour de France. It's a cycling-inspired chamber composition-cum-postrock/electronic work-cum-gallery exhibition called Two Pedals.

And next up we reach a large portion of the show in which we focus on the massive new compilation from Touched, the label that raises money for British organisation Macmillan Cancer Support. Their first compilation came out in late 2013 and it was pretty massive - 123 tracks. The second one basically doubled that, and I shudder to think what the fourth will look like, because Touched 3 is 417 tracks long, clocks in at over a day and a half of music, and at standard v0 encoding the mp3 download from Bandcamp is 4.17GB. That's a lot to take in, but along with various little-known (and often great artists) it has many many heavyweights: idm & electronic heroes like Autechre, Plaid, Funckarma, Ital Tek, Kid606, BALAM ACAB, Dntel, Ulrich Schnauss, The Gasman turning in a drill'n'bass classic a la Squarepusher or µ-Ziq... and Mr. Projectile with 17 minutes of evolving drum'n'bassy idm. There's techno bods like 808 State, Mark Franklin, experimental types like Leafcutter John, drone/ambient artists like Aaron Martin and Offthesky. There's something from Alec Empire, something surprisingly ambient from Cardopusher, there are some '90s drum'n'bass heroes like Arcon 2 and Klute.
And that's all artists I couldn't fit into tonight's playlist!
So what have I selected? We start with something really cool from Epic45, showing their Hood influence on their sleeves yet again with glitched-up guitar and drums.
Then we have the English oddball musical genius John Callaghan, who I first discovered courtesy of his extraordinary mutation of Autechre's "Tilapia" on one of the Warp20 compilations - see a video here.
This compilation, like most electronic music genres, is disappointingly low in female contributions. I've chosen one excellent piece, from ex-Planet µ artist Mrs Jynx & vocalist iAM9. Among the other women on the compilation is Holly Herndon, although her track is taken from her latest album.
Last week on the show we heard some excellent music from Moscow label Full of Nothing. Russia is producing heaps of excellent electronic music at the moment, and tonight we hear from St Petersburg artist Antrru with a lovely piece of electronic pop.
And speaking of electronic pop, Adelaide artist Clue to Kalo returns to his "Superscience" electronic roots with a gorgeous song that can also be found on a single from earlier this year.
And from Ireland, we have the wonderful Sunken Foal (who also appears here with his old duo Ambulance) remixing a piece by Irish indie artist Si Schroeder from 2012 (but released officially for the first time here).
There are plenty of unknowns on here who are pulling their weight easily - here's the mysterious Tworist, doing an incredibly effective Boards of Canada impression with heart-pulling analogue synth melody and fidgety hip-hop beats.
But there's nothing like the classics, and Bola aka Darrel Fitton dates back to the early days of idm, even collaborating with Autechre on one of the first Gescom EPs. He's apparently got a new album coming out later this year according his Facebook page, and I can't wait!
And finally, another new artist to me is Th'idiot, who here contributes a bit of pitch-perfect drill'n'bass-style idm, with mournful repeating chords/melody and gradually more manic drum programming.

German minimal electronic mainstay (and To Rococo Rot member) Robert Lippok also appears on Touched 3, but I didn't have time to play his track tonight. Instead we're hearing the bonus track from a vinyl re-release by Japanese label flau of his raster-noton EP Open Close Open. It was only ever available on CD, from back in 2001, and for the vinyl release he's added another track of similar minimal dub with field recordings, chatter etc. It's delightfully off-putting.

Back to St Petersburg with celebrated drum'n'bass duo Abstract Elements, who've contributed quite a bit to the "autonomic" subgenre of drum'n'bass, which is a more minimal, stripped-down version of the genre. Here they gradually fill in the gaps with junglist breaks, but keep the basic rhythm in a dancehall syncopation. It's available on Convex Industries now.

And finally tonight we hear from Welsh label Serein, home of much lovely ambient & postrock/jazz type stuff, with the first in a new compilation series called Orbital Planes and Passenger Trains. There are some piano miniatures from Deaf Center's Otto A Totland, a contribution from Japanese jazzy-electronica dude Ametsub, and various Serein regulars, among whom we heard first from Hidden Rivers, aka Huw Roberts who runs the label. Australian artist Brambles made a big impact with his debut album on the label in 2012, and contributes a track from a similar period which originally appeared from a Futuresquence compilation. This will be the first time you can own it on CD or vinyl though, and it's a real beauty of post-classical elegance. And finally, some jazz-infused postrock (or is it the other way round?) from Chicago band Colorlist. Another highly recommended compilation, out in the next week or two!

OM Collective - Touched (Mlekö Remix) [Stream on SoundCloud]
Haddocks' Eyes - acquiesce (2016) [Haddocks' Eyes Bandcamp]
Shoeb Ahmad - Twin Pedals Section 2 (excerpt) [unreleased]
Spartak - flags for an organization [Provenance]
Spartak - seasonal (mix + production by Oval) [Provenance]
Epic45 - People At Work [Touched]
John Callaghan - Just Be [Touched]
Mrs Jynx & iAM9 - For Afters [Touched]
Antrru - Nuar [Touched]
Clue to Kalo - Tender Anchoret [Touched]
Sunken Foal & Si Schroeder - Jump Ship [Touched]
Tworist - How Did We End Up Here [Touched]
Bola - Expermiate [Touched]
Th'idiot - Willem [Touched]
Robert Lippok - + [flau]
Abstract Elements - Right Way [Convex Industries]
Hidden Rivers - What's Up G? [Serein]
Brambles - Petrichor [Serein]
Colorlist - Gone To Ground [Serein]

Listen again — ~191MB

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