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, 25th of September, 2016

Playlist 25.09.16 (9:09 pm)

Electronics from dancefloor to your inner psyche tonight, with some modern classical on the side...

LISTEN AGAIN. It's good for you. Stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

Absolutely floored by this debut album from Melbourne duo friendships. Producer Nick Brown & artist Misha Grace put together a collection of impeccably-produced tunes ranging from storming drum'n'bass to breaks-heavy bass techno, post-dubstep and grime... and dropped in between, some beautiful & creepy glitchy ambient moments, with touching and sometimes menacing spoken word. It's unlike anything else you'll hear this year, up with the best Aussie releases of 2016.
Not played tonight, but the autobiographical track "The Roof" comes with an amazing video that you can view here.

Although he's based in Berlin now, FIS is originally from the antipodes as well - New Zealand. Starting out in the drum'n'bass scene there, he's released a few EPs in the outskirts of the dancefloor, but it didn't take long for the rhythmic and structural forms to become more abstracted, to the extent that there's plenty of bass on the new album but precious little in the way of beats. We heard a few of his amazing mutant beat creations in the middle, from 2012 & 2013, and then a gorgeous piece of piano, processing and noise from last year's The Blue Quicksand Is Going Now. His new album finds him on the Bristol label Subtext Recordings, sitting comfortably with the other ex-pats of the bass music world there, like Paul Jebanasam & Roly Porter. There's some gorgeous stuff inside.

Irish producer Eomac is one half of experimental techno masters Lakker, and you can hear the connection to their taut and rhythmic sounds in his solo work. His productions have usually drawn from dancehall, bass music and drum'n'bass along with the usual techno tropes, but for his new one he was asked by the UAE-based Bedouin label to produce some tunes around the authorized use of samples of music from around the Arab & Islamic world. He was so enamoured of these sounds that he ended up producing a whole album, released now as a double LP. His cavernous bass and beats here mutate melodic, textural and percussive elements from the source material into a music that seems to live in an in-between world.

Quebec artist William Jourdaine aka Automatisme's Momentform Accumulations is one of three releases from the Constellation Records label released this coming Friday. We're hearing two tonight, and this one is the most electronic release I've heard yet on a label best known for expansive postrock and acoustic music with a distinct analogue recording aesthetic. Automatisme's music fits well with the techno we've been hearing tonight - hazy and grime-filled beats, weird signal generators and field recording sources. It's handmade stuff that somehow suits the label despite being something of an oddity in their catalogue.

Also released on Constellation, Montréal-based saxophonist Jason Sharp has recorded with various artists on the label in the past, including Matana Roberts and Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra. He takes his bariton & bass saxophones into noise territories (much like his Toronto-based compatriot & labelmate Colin Stetson) with extended techniques, but on his new album he augments this with compositions for strings, pedal steel, electronics and percussion, mixing scored parts with production in keeping with the more electronic music we've been hearing tonight. The theme of the beating heart and blood passing through the body lends an almost claustrophobic air to the beautiful sounds found here. I've been returning to this release quite a bit in the last few weeks...

Marc Richter's Black to Comm with ambient, dark, glitchy sounds. He's inaugurating a new labe, Ceullule 75 to release archival and new material by unveiling another mysterious alias, Jemh Circs, in which he eviscerates vocal samples of pop music sourced mostly from YouTube. It's got that vaporwave thing going on, bright and shiny but defocused and a little manic.

We finish up with two tracks from the Summer compilation from British label bigo & twigetti. The album slowly augments live instruments with electronics & processing, so London-based Kazah violinist Aisha Orazbayeva starts us off with a beautiful piece of looped and layered violin, while ex-pat Aussie Leah Kardos embodies this transition with a track that starts off with lazy piano and adds some downtempo beats halfway through.

friendships - Purebred Dogs (feat. Yaw Faso & thelovelyme) [Dot Dash]
friendships - Keep Smiling At Me Like That And You'll Be Picking Your Teeth Up Off Of The Gutter [Dot Dash]
friendships - Paradise [Dot Dash]
FIS - Independently Together [Subtext Recordings]
FIS - Patupaiarehe [Exit Records]
FIS - Mildew Swoosh [Tri-Angle]
Fis - Pedal [Loopy]
FIS - CMB Inna [Subtext Recordings]
Eomac - Oasis [Bedouin]
Eomac - SU Riddim [Killekill]
Eomac - Ascension [Bedouin]
Automatisme - Touched 1 [Constellation Records]
Automatisme - Touched 3 [Constellation Records]
Jason Sharp - In The Construction Of The Chest There Is A Heart [Constellation Records]
Jason Sharp - A Boat Upon Its Blood (Pt 2) [Constellation Records]
Jason Sharp - A Boat Upon Its Blood (Pt 3) [Constellation Records]
Jemh Circs - Comp [Ceullule 75]
Jemh Circs - Ordre [Ceullule 75]
Aisha Orazbayeva - Lizard Dance [bigo & twigetti]
Leah Kardos - Little Phase [bigo & twigetti]

Listen again — ~201MB

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Sunday, 18th of September, 2016

Playlist 18.09.16 (9:11 pm)

Travel around the world with us tonight, with a melange of electronics, percussion, classical instruments, spoken word, vocals and guitars...

LISTEN AGAIN to the podcast here or stream on demand from FBi.

Dutch artists Michel Banabila & Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek have been collaborating together since 2012, and their fourth album Macrocosm is out really soon! We got a sneak preview of a few tracks (the first one, and last two from this little feature), and I recommend grabbing the older releases and following either on Bandcamp so you can grab the new one when it appears. We hopped back to their first self-titled release, and to the amazing 2013 release Travelog in the middle. Banabila has been interested for decades in sounds (musical and otherwise) from the far reaches of the world, and has a long career making hybrid music from studio techniques, tape sampling & then digital methods along with acoustic instruments. Machinefabriek is best known for long drone works, but also works in shorter forms and is a master of digital sound design. It's great to have something new from their collaboration, which as always is more than the sum of its parts.

Italian percussionist Andrea Belfi has been an integral figure in the Italian experimental music scene since the early 2000s, but works far & wide with musicians around the world - indeed, I came across him in 2009 through a collaboration with none other than Machinefabriek. He has long-running ensembles with David Grubbs (Belfi Grubbs Pilia), and Aidan Baker & Erik Skodvin (B/B/S/), and recently has been playing drums with Carla Bozulich. His solo work is quite sui generis, although there are echoes of the drones'n'grooves of recent Oren Ambarchi and even the The Necks in the way his tight drumming locks in with his pulsating electric machines. Earlier works have appeared on the Australian label Room40 and Skodvin's Miasmah. The latest beauty is from French vinyl label Latency Recordings.

Sydney composer & producer Nick Wales has been making music for dance & theatre in Sydney for many years (after forming his string quartet/band CODA in 1994). Last year he put out a wonderful album with Sarah Blasko, which like much of his other soundtrack works melds strings & other acoustic instruments with electronics. He was recently asked to create the music for a dance work that has just been premiered at the Opé de Lyon, and we're getting to hear an exclusive piece from that work tonight.

I've been hearing about Reuben Ingall & David Finnigan's Kill Climate Deniers project for a while now and it's been quite intriguing. It's a play, and obviously a political satire - and quite a meta one at that, as it seems to be about activitsts putting on a play called "Kill Climate Deniers"? In any case, the meta-sardonic work we heard tonight represents the "He loved Big Brother" moment at the end of the play, accompanied by Ingall's glitchy guitar & electronics.

Among the post-drone artists of the last 10 years or so, artists taking longform ambient and twisting it in with postrock, post-classical and electronic processing, Ben Chatwin's Talvihorros was always one of the most accomplished and absorbing. Last year he switched to using his own name, releasing an album of pastoral, much brighter music. The follow-up brings back some of the darkness, with undertows of growling synths under synth pads and acoustic twinkles. The album's scope is evident from the name heat & entropy.

It's hard to uncover much about US producer Exael past the music itself. He has a couple of releases up on his own Bandcamp, and two cassettes on two really interesting Chicago labels, Beer on the Rug and Lillerne Tapes (both of which have also released music by the unique & beautiful yyu). Just enjoy these late-night rainy techno & ambient pieces. Oh, and if you haven't got enough of the middle track, "Belly", there's a 42 minute version on his SoundCloud.

Norway-based Eva Pfitzenmaier performs as By The Waterhole with instruments & vocals running through loop pedals. For her albums, the looping aesthetic remains but is augmented and departed from, with synths, clattering beats, and vocals multi-tracked and processed along the way. We've heard quite a lot of Norwegian music on this show, but mostly from the extremely fecund jazz & experimental scene in Norway & Sweden; it's nice to hear something also experimental but from more of an indie/pop perspective.

Natalie Beridze is a composer, producer & songwriter based in Tbilisi, Georgia. She was known as TBA previous to using her own name. Her new remix EP comes out from Gudrun Gut's fantastic Monika Enterprise label, and features remixes from fellow Georgian and beloved idm producer Nikakoi and Thomas Fehlmann along with a host of newer artists remixing the track "Love Is Winning". Tonight we heard a tasty deep & skittery version from Berlin-based Italian producer Donna Maya.

And we finished up with a new track from Telafonica, released as part of their year-long Telafonica16 project, in which they are producing music as often as possible (it hasn't been quite every month) and releasing it as soon as they can. As usual, you never know whether to expect folktronica, electronic beats or jangling indie-pop. This time round it's a bit of motork riffing, drum machines and vocals.

Banabila & Machinefabriek - Stokjes [Banabila Bandcamp/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Banabila & Machinefabriek - Flares [Banabila Bandcamp/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Banabila & Machinefabriek - Spin n' Puke [Banabila Bandcamp/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Banabila & Machinefabriek - Narita [Banabila Bandcamp/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Banabila & Machinefabriek - Awake [Banabila Bandcamp/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Banabila & Machinefabriek - Macrocosms [Banabila Bandcamp/Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Andrea Belfi - Cera Persa 1 [Latency Recordings]
Nick Wales - Traditional Dances [unreleased]
Reuben Ingall & David Finnigan - Australia 2050 from Kill Climate Deniers [Clan Analogue]
Ben Chatwin - standing waves [Ba Da Bing]
Ben Chatwin - the kraken [Ba Da Bing]
Exael - gourd [Lillerne Tapes]
Exael - Belly [Beer on the Rug]
Exael - celm ii [Lillerne Tapes]
By The Waterhole - The End Of It All [Playdate Records]
By The Waterhole - I Fall [Playdate Records]
Natalie Beridze - For Love (Nikakoi Remix) [Monika Enterprise]
Natalie Beridze - Love Is Winning (Donna Maya Remix) [Monika Enterprise]
Telafonica - Bethany [Telafonica Bandcamp]

Listen again — ~110MB

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Sunday, 11th of September, 2016

Playlist 11.09.16 (9:12 pm)

Holy cow, that clipping. album is da shiz. But we've also got some amazing psych-kraut-electro-acoustic-improv, drone, idm & other beats comin' atcha tonight... It's a biggie!

LISTEN AGAIN and then buy all the music hey? Podcast here, stream on demand there.

What can I say about clipping. that I haven't raved about before? The most exciting hip-hop group to appear in the last few years, they have a true heartthrob of a frontman in Daveed Diggs (recently starring in the unlikely hit musical Hamilton), and true noise cred with producers William Hutson (aka Rale, Tattered Syntax etc) and Jonathan Snipes (of Captain Ahab). The production is intricate and visceral, the lyrics and delivery are intense, complex and rapidfire. And frequently, kind of hilariously & terrifyingly given how many teenage girls must be obsessed with Diggs after his Hamilton tenure, there are extremely adult themes - from "body and blood" to the Whitehouse-sampling recent Wriggle EP. The new album is a tour de force of a concept album, an Afrofuturist space opera that follows the survivor of a slave uprising whose ship's computer falls in love with him, shows him music from the past (including some stunning male gospel choir performances) and helps him find freedom in his travels through space. It's had bafflingly middling reviews, but I'm of the opinion that it's brilliant - despite leaning less on the noise than before, and pushing in different directions lyrically. There are references to many science fiction works, mostly literary, including authors like the recently-Hugo-Award-winning N.K. Jemisin, Octavia Butler, Ursula K Le Guin and M John Harrison.
I'm ecstatic that Stephen Goodhew has made this album of the week at FBi.

UK trio Leverton Fox surf the boundaries between jazz improv and experimental electronica, featuring Isambard Khroustaliov aka Sam Britton of Icarus on electronics, jazz trumpeter Alex Bonney on electronics and occasionally brass, and jazz drummer Tim Giles on drums and, yes, electronics. Although there's a lot of "free jazz" (or free improv) and noise in there, it's actually pretty accessible stuff if you enjoy your experimental electronics - it can be pretty melodic, and it's got lots of lovely jazzy & dancey drums and a psychedelic sheen. The last 3 albums are all available from Not Applicable's Bandcamp.

Speaking of psychedelic, our next drummer Tomas Järmyr plays in the genre-straddling Italian psychedelic noise rock band ZU (despite being Swedish). Here he's teamed up with Nadja guitarist and inveterate collaborator Aidan Baker for an album of psych rock jams called Werl. Out soon on Belgian label Consouling Sounds, it'll keep your brain cells dancing.

Next up in the psychedelic electronic noise + drums field is a trio from Italy featuring Antonio Bertoni on electroncis, Alberto Boccardi on double bass and Paolo Mongardi on drums. In a varied four track LP from the excellent Italian label Boring Machines they explore propulsive beats, ambience, krautrock and almost-jazz to great effect.

The Adult Swim Singles Project (or Club? or whatever) continue to have their finger on the pulse and not care one whit for genre constraints, here commissioning a lovely new surging ambient track from ambient darling Tim Hecker. Great to have another new track from him after a stellar album earlier this year.

Melbourne artist Purr aka Peter Stone has released a few EPs over the last few years. It's a guitar-based project, but there are swathes of grainy noise around the guitar drones, and although it's quite ambient there's a shoegazey sheen to it all as well as a slow melodic development which make for very immersive listening. The new release is appropriately titled Intimate and available with all the hiss you want on cassette as well as digital & even CD-R :)

Sydney artist Joel Pearson has been DJing drum'n'bass, footwork, dubstep and other styles for a few years now as well as presenting shows on various community radio stations including now FBi, but while he's a trained producer and indeed a cellist, he's been biding his time and honing his skills, only really releasing his first works this year. An excellent downtempo EP appeared on his own Milk Thistle Records earlier this year, and now ETCH _ MUSIC have released a second EP, this one entirely remixing the somewhat mysterious Australian artist modus op (well, I say released album ETCH don't seem to want you to be able to buy their music?). All those genre influences are in there along with idm, classic hip-hop and computer game music. Hopefully we'll be hearing lots more from him now!

clipping. - Wake Up [Deathbomb Arc/Sub Pop]
clipping. - Long Way Home [Deathbomb Arc/Sub Pop]
clipping. - Interlude 02 (numbers) [Deathbomb Arc/Sub Pop]
clipping. - True Believer [Deathbomb Arc/Sub Pop]
clipping. - Air 'Em Out [Deathbomb Arc/Sub Pop]
clipping. - Interlude 03 (freestyle) [Deathbomb Arc/Sub Pop]
clipping. - Break The Glass [Deathbomb Arc/Sub Pop]
clipping. - Face [clipping. Bandcamp]
clipping. - bout.dat (feat. baseck) [clipping. Bandcamp]
clipping. - inside out [Sub Pop]
clipping. - Hot Fuck No Love (feat. Cakes da Killa & Maxi Wild) [Sub Pop]
clipping. - A Better Place [Deathbomb Arc/Sub Pop]
Leverton Fox - Salon Selecta [Not Applicable]
Leverton Fox - Le Tombeau de Monsieur Whippy [Not Applicable]
Leverton Fox - Strix Undercroft [Not Applicable]
Leverton Fox - Onglet [Not Applicable]
Aidan Baker & Tomas Järmyr - Werl VII [Consouling Sounds]
Bertoni Boccardi Mongardi - Vento Solare [Boring Machines]
Tim Hecker - veil scans [Adult Swim Singles Project]
Purr - InEx [Purr Bandcamp]
modus op - Fleeting (Scatterbrain Remix) [ETCH _ MUSIC]
Scatterbrain - The Great Northern [Milk Thistle Records]
modus op - Final Boss (Scatterbrain Remix) [ETCH _ MUSIC]

Listen again — ~195MB

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Sunday, 4th of September, 2016

Playlist 04.09.16 (9:07 pm)

Hey yo, 100% Aussie show coming at ya tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN and discover our national riches. Podcast here, stream on demand over there.

A supremely touching lo-fi song starts us off tonight's with longtime Aussie underground character Benjow's haddocks' eyes project. His stuff ranges from distorted indie to electronically-processed vocals, drone, and hints of folk. It's absorbing and singular.

Next up is the classical-meets-ambient sounds of Sydney pianist Sophie Hutchings. Full disclosure, I've played cello with Sophie for years and worked on the new album with her - but as per usual it would be sad to penalise wonderful artists just because I play with them! Her new album sees her developing her compositional craft further, and expanding her palette with organs and even wordless vocals. The album will be launched this coming Saturday, Sept 10th, at Glebe Justice Centre on St John's Rd.

Next up is a feature with the common thread being Perth musician Adam Trainer. His new band Original Past Life make lovely postrock with a slight touch of noise & experimentalism, harkening back to the incredible Radarmaker, which he and bandmate Warwick Hall played in for most of last decade. He more recently formed Gilded with fellow Western Australian Matt Rösner, making engrossing electro-acoustic drone & folktronica of a sort, redolent with real-life surface noise. Adam's solo work, mostly released on Canberra's hellosQuare as with Original Past Life, is along the Gilded lines, albeit more electric & electronic. It's safe to say I'm a massive fan of all these different projects.

In 2008, Melbourne musician Tim Condon released a mostly-solo album called Mirrored Silver Sea on the beloved (and very sadly defunct) Sydney label sound&fury. I was blown away by it and declared it to be one of the best releases of the year in my big retrospective. Tim moved to Toronto not too long after, and started the music stuff again nearly from scratch. He claims that my enthusiasm for his music helped convince him to keep producing more music, but I can't imagine much would have stopped him, given the continuing quality and imaginativeness of his work with the musicians he began working with in Fresh Snow. Over the last few years they've gone from strength to strength, with three releases all effecively named the same - I, WON and now ONE. Maybe eventually they'll finish releasing their debut album (haha). The noise and experimental elements of Tim's earlier work are there, but it's got more of a krautrock and psych feel - full band noise along with great basslines and grooves, passages of horn arrangements, strings (including *ahem* some of my cello somewhere in the middle EP) and a number of guest vocalists from local bands. ONE is out any minute now on Hand Drawn Dracula and will hopefully find them greater success around North America and beyond.

Our final artist for the night hails from Brisbane. Benjamin Thompson has been popping out incredible electronic experimentalism as Pale Earth since about 2013, and prior to that was best known for the indie/noise/drone band The Rational Academy. Although Pale Earth is much more of a glitchy, processed electronic project, there is still plenty of live instrumentation in there, and usually a fair share of crunchy beats. His latest album Always is really three albums in one: three parts entitled Dynasty, White Rainbow and Not Only Tell Tale. It's a kind of dream journey through Benjamin's travels and life over the last few years, and takes in chaotic quasi-beats & buried jazz solos, lots of detailed sound-art, drone and ambient. It's amazing, you should check it out.

haddocks' eyes - ghosts [haddocks' eyes bandcamp]
Sophie Hutchings - Dream Gate [Preservation]
Original Past Life - Times of Ceylon [hellosQuare]
Radarmaker - Arm vs. Fiery Antenna [self-released, now available at Radarmaker Bandcamp]
Radarmaker - Balthazaar [self-released, now available at Radarmaker Bandcamp]
Adam Trainer - You Are an Ace Critter [hellosQuare]
Adam Trainer - South China Sea II [hellosQuare]
Gilded - Cluttered Room [Hidden Shoal]
Original Past Life - Bear Hotel (Tourist Kid Remix) [hellosQuare]
Fresh Snow - Three-Way Mirror [Hand Drawn Dracula]
Mirrored Silver Sea - Ghost Blossom [sound&fury]
Fresh Snow - Your Thirst For Magic Has Been Quenched By Death! [Fresh Snow Bandcamp]
Adverteyes - Open Wide (Fresh Snow Remix) [Adverteyes Bandcamp]
Fresh Snow - King Twink Rides Again [Hand Drawn Dracula]
Fresh Snow - I Am Smitten With Your Wrath [Hand Drawn Dracula]
Fresh Snow - Anytime Minutes (excerpt) [Hand Drawn Dracula]
Pale Earth - Sour Candy [Room40]
Pale Earth - Golden [Room40]
Pale Earth - Grass Moon [Room40]

Listen again — ~187MB

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