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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, 6th of November, 2016

Playlist 06.11.16 (8:11 pm)

Thanks to Jordan Sexty for filling in on the last few shows while I've been away! He's played you a great array of sounds that overlap nicely with what I'd select, but with his own unique take.

LISTEN AGAIN! Stream on demand at the FBi website, podcast right here.

The king of Australia, Oren Ambarchi, is back with a new album on Editions Mego! It flows on nicely from his last couple of albums, with driving, interlocking krautrocky rhythms and drones both lovely and noisy - although this time it's apparently his take on disco (I guess you can hear a Giorgio Moroder pulse in part 1, which we hear tonight in all its 22-minute glory). He's assembled a substantial list of guests as per usual, including regulars like Jim O'Rourke and Joe Talia, and special guests from the techno realm like Mark Fell and Ricardo Villalobos, and indeed Keith Fullerton Whitman. It's trance-inducing and very Oren.

It's fantastic to have a new album from Austrian postrock/krautrock masters Radian, who've been around since 2000 and have a long relationship with the Thrill Jockey label. Although they're basically guitar-bass-drums, everything is mediated by computer and electronics - live breakbeats on drums, gitar stabs, bass holding it all down. If you like that electronic, live beats and experimental sound end of the postrock spectrum, you'll love this - it's one I know I'll be listening to a lot.

The Swifter have a couple of low-key releases on some other labels, but their debut on Sonic Pieces brings them a little more into view (with a gorgeous vinyl package designed by Erik K Skodvin). Simon James Phillips on piano, Andrea Belfi on drums and BJ Nilsen on electronics create a skittering music that's part jazz, part drone, part electronica.

Melbourne's Kane Ikin is creating a techno/bass music which feels quite organic - I'm sure there's electric guitar in these recent tracks. He's had a big year, with 3 album/EP releases of his own plus a new album for his duo Solo Andata. The new one is on Greek label Echovolt Records, and is a little more sedate than the last couple, but equally essential.

Kane's Melbourne-based now, but he's originally from Perth, which is also where postrockers Original Past Life come from. Featuring members of the legendary Radarmaker, they've just recently released their debut album on hellosQuare, and now on their own Bandcamp they've put out a bunch of remixes. I can't tell you who C.S.K.A. is, although you may be able to work it out from the context.

It's been a while since Markus Popp set the world on fire (ha) with the original Oval releases, scratching up CDs and creating ambient beauty from the stuttering, glitching results. These days he works with primitive PC software to produce glitchy music of a different sort - rather than the aleatoric effects of CD destruction, it's meticulously constructed micro-sampling. The new album is titled Popp which is half tribute to the sound sources, and half a pun on the artist's name. Weirdly, the music he started making in the early 2010s after a period of silence is itself something of a throwback to '90s electronica in the beats and sampling, but the pop sampling also puts it in sync with current vaporwave sounds.

One half of post-jazz duo Piano Interrupted, Franz Kirmann has released two albums of ambient techno/house, but for his latest solo release he's moved into quite different territories - ambient sound design is there, but also some skittering, syncopated micro-samples and sonic detritus, and pulsating synth textures. It's quite evocative and unsettling.

You might know Andrew Broder better as Fog, a project which has phased through alt hip-hop, indie rock and weird orchestrated free jazz, and in its latest incarnation draws from all of that with a heavy electronic backbone. Broder secretly released an EP of electronica as Wertheimer a couple of years ago on Lex Records, and he returns to that project now under his own name, using Wertheimer as the title for the EP. It's off-kilter electronica in an idm style, almost hinting at drill'n'bass, and the track we heard layers almost classical-sounding vocals from GABI into the mix. Quality EP.

Speaking of stunning vocals, Iceland's SiGRÚN released an EP earlier this year which I just discovered. She's contributed vocals with Sigur Rós, and interestingly you can hear the connection more in the heavy, crunchy elements in the most recent material from those guys. This stuff is fantastic anyway, with her multi-tracked vocals giving way to surging bass and stuttering, heavy beats. I hope to hear more from her soon.

If you hadn't been paying attention, you'd be pretty shocked at what John Frusciante, former Red Hot Chilli Peppers guitarist, is doing nowadays. But if you'd noted his collaborations with Venetian Snares as Speed Dealer Moms then it may make more sense. He's actually been doing electronica for a while now, and I played some interesting idm/drill'n'bass style stuff earlier this year. This new EP references acid quite heavily, and apparently is also influenced by footwork. I like the combination of his rock songwriting-influenced vocals and the acid/breakbeat production on the title track.

And finally... it's been 20 years since DJ Shadow released his incredibly influential Endtroducing album. I'd be lying if I claimed it hadn't made a huge impact on me in the mid-'90s too, possibly further back than 20 years even, given the first instrumental EPs for Mo' Wax were maybe '93 or so. There was a 2CD set a few years back that included the previously very rare Excessive Ephemera compilation, collecting alternate mixes and some favourite remixes from the '96 era. For the anniversary, the album has now become a 3CD set, and while the previous release had re-edits with some samples removed, this version re-instates the full versions thankfully. Still, I never understood why the Peshay remix of "What Does Your Soul Look Like?" was chosen over the flipside of that 12", which featured DJ Die remixing the same track. Peshay's is '97-style proto-tech-step, and while it's got some cool horns and good ideas, the lumbering martial beat drags it down. Die's junglist take seems the perfect setting for Shadow's soul samples, skittering along and then toughening up when the bassline drops.
In any case, that remix is a genuine rarity, so I finished up with it. Meanwhile, the third disc sees contemporary artists doing their takes on the classics, and there's some pretty nice stuff on there. You can check it out for Lee Bannon, Daedelus, Kuedo, Clams Casino and others... I liked Hudson Mohawke's reverent version which basically just updates some of the beats, and footwork reworking from the great DJ Spinn of Teklife, which is really nice juxtaposed against those drum'n'bass remixes of the same track.

Oren Ambarchi - Hubris (Part 1) [Editions Mego]
Radian - Pickup Pickout [Thrill Jocey]
Radian - Scary Objects [Thrill Jockey]
The Swifter - Travelling Angle [Sonic Pieces]
Kane Ikin - Soft Gloss [Echovolt Records]
Kane Ikin - Surrounded [Echovolt Records]
Original Past Life - Son of Neck (C.S.K.A. Version) [Original Past Life Bandcamp]
Oval - fu [Oval Bandcamp]
Oval - co [Oval Bandcamp]
Franz Kirmann - wasteland condo [Denovali]
Franz Kirmann - hypertrance [Denovali]
Andrew Broder - NJoise (feat. GABI) [Lex Records]
SiGRÚN - Gervihnöttur [Sigrún Bandcamp]
SiGRÚN - Vitahringur [Sigrún Bandcamp]
John Frusciante - Foregrow [Acid Test]
DJ Shadow - What Does Your Soul Look Like (Part 4) (Dj Spinn Teklife Remix) [Mo' Wax/Island]
DJ Shadow - Midnight In A Perfect World (Hudson Mohawke Remix) [Mo' Wax/Island]
DJ Shadow - What Does Your Soul Look Like (DJ Die Remix) [Mo' Wax/Island]

Listen again — ~208MB

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