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electric string quartet

Utility Fog

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Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.

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Sunday, 4th of December, 2016

Playlist 04.12.16 (8:07 pm)

Everything from electronic pop & indie to post-classical to dark techno to glitchy things tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN, you owe it to yourself... stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

It's always interesting when classically-trained musicians move into other musical realms. Jessica O'Donoghue has a background in opera, and still sings with various classical ensembles as well as guesting with bands like CODA. Her debut single is a perfect slice of electronic pop, starting with sampled vocals but quickly building to a catchy chorus.

I recently saw Jessica O'Donoghue performing at the launch of Andrée Greenwell's fantastic new album Gothic, so I thought we should hear another track from this exploration of all things gothic - from classical covers of The Cure to settings of Edgar Allen Poe, and here to a melding of classical, pop and experimental electronic with lyrics by Australian poet Felicity Plunkett.

Canberran indie band Cracked Actor released their last album over a year ago now, but they're revisiting it one more time with their Upstructures EP, released this week by Feral Media. As well as some choice cuts from Cracked Actor, indie with swooping strings & blissful vocals, there are two remixes from artists originally from the Blue Mountains (I believe) - Broken Chip in ambient mode rather than doing bent hip-hop as Option Command, and 0point1 doing his glitched-out ambience & frenetic beats.

On their 3rd album And the days began to walk, Belgian duo Stray Dogs have strayed away from the "acoustic doom" of their cello & percussion roots, focusing much more on electronic rhythms and dark electronic sounds. It's possible there's a lot more live & acoustic instrumentation in there than I am aware. It's a fantastic offshoot of the Berlin-style industrial techno thing I've been enjoying this year anyway.

Dominick Fernow is best known as noise artist Prurient, and boss of noise label Hospital Productions (also for a while a wonderful record store in Manhattan). In recent years Fernow has branched out into the minimal techno sphere as Vatican Shadow, and as Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement he indulges his gentler side with ambient & ambient techno productions. Green Graves is totally absorbing, and I could've chosen almost any track except the others are mostly epically long.

Gordon Sharp aka Cindy/Cinder has been making music since the early '80s as leader of Cindytalk, and contributed soulful vocals to two of the This Mortal Coil albums on 4AD. The band is a collective that has changed radically through its history, although industrial & experimental influences were always part of it. Since 2009, Cindytalk has released albums through Editions Mego (and one separately) that embody that Mego aesthetic of glitchy, crackly, abstract sonic spaces. More recently they have gotten a little less impersonal, particularly with the sparse piano on the second track we heard tonight.

British post-classical label Bigo & Twigetti have a new compilation on slow-release, between October just gone and April next year. The Exquisite Corpse is based on the surrealist game in which a story or piece of art is collaboratively created in a process where each artist or writer is only shown the previous segment of the work. I have a feeling that in this case the artists are able to hear the entire earlier chain, but they are reworking or remixing only the last track, so it still makes sense... The initial work comes from ex-pat Aussie composer & sound artist Madeleine Cocolas, now based in New York City, with a beautiful piece of reverberating synth patterns. Two iterations down the track, we've now got Montréal ambient composer Tambour, who adds strings & electronic textures, referencing the keyboards in the latter part of his piece. Looking forward to where the other artists take this!

From a remix chain to a more conventional remix album, self-described drone-pop band The Leaf Library invited some interesting artists to rework their music, including (not heard tonight) Tim Gane's Cavern of Anti-Matter. Tonight's first remix comes from the hand of Katie English aka Isnaj Dui, micro-sampling & looping the original and layering her own lovely flute over the top. Meanwhile, there's some dreamy indie/postrock vibes from The Declining Winter with some of the last work from the late Chris Tenz.

German artist Takamovsky aka Juergen Berlakovich has taken an unusual tack on his latest album, using as his starting point a classical guitar rendition of the bourrée from J.S. Bach's cello suite no. 4. The album quickly veers off into ambient electronic soundscapes and glitchy beats & edits, before returning "da capo" to the top with a brief reference to the original Bach again at the end of the the final track. "D.C."

Finnish sound artist & maverick Otso Lähdeoja has created an ideal Utility Fog release in his new EP Dendermonde. Glitchy edits of wayward samples, live drum edits, and the occasional wild guitar solo combine into the kind of organised sonic chaos that the 'Fog has always gravitated towards. I'm glad it exists. Get it in ya.

I'm not sure how I feel about the following track though... Sent to me as a SoundCloud link by Oskar Black of binliner a few weeks ago, it rather cheekily samples from yours truly back-announcing some breakcore... well, initially it's appropriately about the breakcore. But the sample that gives the track its name is cheekier still.

So it's only reasonable that the last track I played kind of does reference classic-sounding idm. If anything, though, Dutch artist Palmbomen II's remix of the new Seekae single is referencing even earlier sounds - Detroit techno or ambient techno of the early '90s, even Mr Aphex Twin's first Selected Ambient Works anthology. It is indeed very pretty, as some radio guy said about some other track...

Jessica O'Donoghue - Parachute [Jessica O'Donoghue Bandcamp]
Andrée Greenwell - Totentanz [available from Bandcamp and iTunes]
Cracked Actor - Upstructures (Broken Chip remix) [Feral Media]
Cracked Actor - Upstructures (0point1 remix) [Feral Media]
Stray Dogs - Sour Vanilla [Stray Dogs Bandcamp]
Stray Dogs - Phaeton [Stray Dogs Bandcamp]
Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement - Watery Grave [Hospital Productions]
Cindytalk - In Search Of New Realities [Editions Mego]
Cindytalk - Lost Unfound [Editions Mego]
Madeleine Cocolas - Stalactite [Bigo & Twigetti]
Tambour - Invisible [Bigo & Twigetti]
The Leaf Library - Acre (Isnaj Dui Remix) [The Leaf Library Bandcamp]
The Leaf Library - Slow Spring (The Declining Winter & Chris Tenz Remix) [The Leaf Library Bandcamp]
Takamovsky - D.C. [Etymtone]
Otso - Banshee [Elli Records]
Otso - Overwinning [Elli Records]
binliner - classic-sounding idm [cheeky unreleased track, stream on SoundCloud]
Seekae - Turbine Blue (Palmbomen II Remix) [Future Classic]

Listen again — ~192MB

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