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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, 15th of January, 2017

Playlist 15.01.17 (12:12 am)

Tonight on the ‘Fog we have some nice crunchy techno & drum’n’bass, some nice crunchy drones & sound-art musickiness, and even some nice crunchy acoustic music…

LISTEN AGAIN because you love it. You do. You will. You do. Stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

We start with two tracks released on French label Human Mistake Records by a Melbourne artist, Warm Stranger. It’s dark, crunchy and head-nodding, and almost as spooky as the album cover the label has given it. Well recommended.

Next, and incredibly quiet but really beautiful composition by Perth composer James Bradbury, rendered by Perth guitarist Jameson Feakes, who plays bowed guitar while a computer shadows and re-voices what it’s just heard.

Olivier Alary is a Montreal-based French artist who I’ve been a fan of since his first album of glitching electronics & vocals on the Rephlex label. He’s had a long association with Fat Cat, so it makes sense that his first album under his own name is coming out on their post-classical sub-label 130701. To introduce it, the label has released a two track EP on which he trades remixes with his wonderful labelmate Ian William Craig, who here contributes vocals and then winds Alary’s composition through his trademark tape recorders.

I first came across Canadian experimental artist Damian Valles through his 2011 album Skeleton Taxa, from which we heard the beautiful twangy guitar, percussion & organ drones of “Ascent Of The Past” tonight. I’ve sometimes pigeonholed him as “drone” or dark ambient, but it’s clear from the get go that there’s way more going on here… Even the two albums on French label VoxxoV, while based around dark, drawn-out textures, still have glitchy, stuttering guitar accents and quite a lot of movement. He’s begun 2017 with his best foot forward, releasing a collection of off-cuts and unreleased archival tracks on his own Bandcamp which hangs together as an impressively cohesive and strong album that starts to push his music into new territories.

English label Opal Tapes is one of the cassette labels at the absolute forefront of quality electronic music these days, ostensibly focusing on house & techno but with a distinctly left-of-centre, experimental bent, and plenty of dub & bass thrown in. Their latest compilation Contemporary Dance features a few well-known acts and plenty of new (to me!) artists. I discovered the brilliant Belgian-Italian duo Lumisokea through Opal Tapes and have followed them and their other projects obsessively since, while I discovered Leeds-based techno artist Happaremixing Four Tet (here he appears in collaboration with an old friend called Jacob, who is not really a character from Twin Peaks). Emra Grid is a mysterious artist only known for another release on Opal Tapes, contributing something deliciously dark.

Like Opal Tapes’, Project Mooncircle‘s 15th Anniversary Compilation already counts as a 2017 release. In a boxset handsomely designed by the legendary Dave McKean, it compiles a tonne of tracks that are as diverse as the label’s usual lineup, ranging from house to drum’n’bass, folktronica to hip-hop. Not played tonight are two great tracks from one half of AkkordSynkro, channelling Burial with plaintive late-night ambient 2step… Tonight’s selections were the bouncing, pulsating techno of Erik Luebs segueing from Opal Tapes followed by the jazz-fusion hip-hop of CYNE and the footwork-jungle fusion of Deft.

Speaking of jungle, breakcore legend end.user has returned after a number of years’ absence, at least in terms of album releases. The new album is pretty much straight, if tricky, drum’n’bass, with jittery drum programming and expansive synth pads as is his wont. It’s not exactly shiny, happy music, but it’s a real pleasure to sink into.

And we finish with a surprising drum’n’bass/jungle segue into the music of Mark Van Hoen, aka Locust, idm/ambient/shoegaze legend who’s still making music today. His 1997 album The Last Flowers from the Darkness was originally released by Touch on CD, but now sees a 20th anniversary remaster & release on vinyl by Medical Records, including a number of never-before-heard bonus tracks. The first track we hear was one of his few true jungle-influenced tracks from back in the day, and the bonus track is some really nice crunchy bass-techno in the mid-’90s style.

Warm Stranger – Apron & Valium [Human Mistake Records]
Warm Stranger – Lightsbroken [Human Mistake Records]
Jameson Feakes – Traced Over (composed by James Bradbury) [Tone List]
Olivier Alary – Nollywood (IWC Remix) [130701]
Damian Valles – Poison Tooth [Damian Valles Bandcamp]
Damian Valles – Ascent Of The Past [Drifting Falling]
Damian Valles – Weathered 2 [VoxxoV Records]
Damian Valles – Cause of Motion [VoxxoV Records]
Damian Valles – Heavy Icebreaker [Damian Valles Bandcamp]
Happa & Pete Martell – NR Off [Opal Tapes]
Lumisokea – Jenseits (Dub) [Opal Tapes]
Emra Grid – Overhead Lume [Opal Tapes]
Erik Luebs – Frozen Eye [Project Mooncircle]
CYNE – On the Head of the Crimson King [Project Mooncircle]
Deft – No More [Project Mooncircle]
end.user – projection [Hands Productions]
end.user – emerge [Hands Productions]
Mark Van Hoen – Another Light Casts its Will [Touch/Medical Records]
Mark Van Hoen – Dispelling 84-94 [Touch/Medical Records]

Listen again — ~192MB

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