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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, 26th of February, 2017

Playlist 26.02.17 (12:18 am)

Last week was mostly ambient… tonight is mostly beats. thumping, head-nodding, frenetic… maybe even soothing.

LISTEN AGAIN to the crunch crunch thunk kathunk, stream on demand at the FBi website or podcast over here.

Manchester’s Alex Lewis is apparently responsible for the latest album on the Modern Love label, also based out of that city, although that’s all I can find out about him. Turinn sounds very much of a piece with the latest heavy post-rave offerings from Demdike Stare or even Andy Stott – beats that could be lifted from techno, grime, r’n’b or drum’n’bass records, distorted and compressed and chopped up into ungainly structures. It’s raw and rad.

African-Italian producer Herve Atsè Corti aka Herva first appeared on the Planet µ label for 2015’s killer Kila album, and his new album Hyper Flux has just dropped, with more mutated takes on dance music forms, sometimes verging on vaporwave, but often based around harsh and distorted heavily-edited beats. The experimental sounds date back to at least 2014, when he released an amazing album called Instant Broadcast on the Dutch label Delsin. It’s very much a case of “I don’t know what drugs he’s on but I want some of that” (except not literally).

There’s nothing like a bit of JK Flesh to clear out the cobwebs. Justin K Broadrick is a veritable genius of unlikely music, having gotten his start in Napalm Death, then founding Godflesh, but simultaneously exploring techno and dub in Techno Animal (with longtime musical partner Kevin Martin aka The Bug) and later shoegaze-metal with the beloved Jesu… In his solo project JK Flesh he’s explored the heavier end of dubstep, drum’n’bass and techno, often with the roared grindcore/metal vocals appearing in the background, but with his latest digital release (originally two painfully limited cassettes on Dominick Fernow’s Hospital Productions) he’s sidling away from the planet-smashing techno beats into some queasy melodic electronica of a sort. Anything he does is liable to be gold, anyway.

At the start of the first new track tonight from Fred Warmsley under his Dedekind Cut alias, you could imagine him headbanging to some of JK Broadrick’s earlier music, and then hitting the dancefloor to one of his drum’n’bass 12?s as Tech Level 2. In typical Warmsley fashion his new EP The Expanding Domain bounces around dark ambient and various forms of rave and idm. As last year’s 3m mixtape showed, even his cast-off tracks are excellent, and he never sits still. Looking forward to whatever comes next.

I missed the last batch of releases from Chicago label Beer on the Rug, but only just I guess – the hazy techno and stuttery ambience of Calgary, Alberta artist Aphni only came out a week and a bit ago. But Boston artist mmph‘s Dear God appeared in December last year, the latest release from a fairly prolific often frenetically glitchy artist who surfs the vaporwave but in a perhaps more engaging way than some…

Japanese trio Motoro Faam, with two pianists/keyboard players and one glitchy electronic producer, released their debut album Fragments on the Belgian label U-Cover in 2006. Their friends at the Japanese label flau are celebrating their 10th birthday around the same time that this album is, and they’ve re-released the album with, for initial CD orders, a bonus disc of unreleased gems (which I’m waiting with excitement to receive!) This and its follow-up …and Water Cycles, released on fellow Tokyo label Preco the following year, are not-quite-forgotten gems of Japanese post-classical glitch-edit sweetness and fun, so it’s lovely to have the debut available again.

Bigo & Twigetti‘s Exquisite Corpse compilation continues on their Bandcamp, with entries from various post-classical and ambient electronic artists, each remixing or reworking the track before them. It started with New York-based ex-pat Aussie Madeleine Cocolas last year and recently made its way to the wonderful Leah Kardos (also an ex-pat Aussie but based in the UK) with a composition for muted piano & electronics. And now Midlands-based ambient artist Mark Harris has remixed her track embeddeding her piano in pillowy drones. Goodnight!

Turinn – Frank White [Modern Love]
Turinn – Ovum [Modern Love]
Herva – Nasty MF [Planet µ]
Herva – Slam The Laptop [Delsin]
Herva – From The Inside [Don’t Be Afraid]
Herva – Trying To Fix Invisible Textures [Planet µ]
Herva – Kila [Planet µ]
Herva – Multicone [Planet µ]
JK Flesh – Bayley Tower (Remix) [JK Flesh Bandcamp]
JK Flesh – Thimerosal [JK Flesh Bandcamp]
Dedekind Cut – Fear in reverse 2 [Dedekind Cut Bandcamp]
Dedekind Cut – LiL Puffy Coat [Dedekind Cut Bandcamp]
mmph – Facade [Beer on the Rug]
Aphni – coca ally [Beer on the Rug]
Motoro Faam – ice floe ceiling [U-Cover/flau]
Motoro Faam – ridgeline 0 [U-Cover/flau]
Motoro Faam – and Precipitation [Preco]
Leah Kardos – Contact Mic [Bigo & Twigetti]
Mark Harris – The Drowning of the King of Straw [Bigo & Twigetti]

Listen again — ~196MB

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Sunday, 19th of February, 2017

Playlist 19.02.17 (12:17 am)

More new music for you tonight, on a more or less ambient tip, from dark drones and sub-bass to delicate guitar.

LISTEN AGAIN for the immersive ambient experience – stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

I came across the Portuguese avant garde guitarist Norberto Lobo a while ago and haven’t kept track of his music, but I’m glad to discover via the latest Below The Radar compilation from The Wire that he’s still making extremely interesting music. It’s hard to imagine this piece being played on guitar – but I assume that somewhere in there the source material is guitar.

Also originally performed on guitar by Perth artist Jameson Feakes is the next piece, composed by Josten Myburgh, from the first in a series of remix EPs from the Tone List label. Perth artist Atripat is on remix duties here, turning the experimental guitar music into something abstract and electronic.

12k‘s Taylor Deupree has been involved in a considerable number of collaborations over the last few years, but it’s been almost 4 years since the in-demand mastering engineer last released a solo album. Somi is an exquisitely patient, slow-moving release in which an electric piano plays languid melodic musical figures and sparse field recordings float around a softly reverberant space. It’s lovely.

German artist Arovane developed a following in the late ’90s for his icy take on IDM – windswept melodies and razor-sharp beats. A few years back he returned to producing music, some of it in the same style, but a lot of it much more ambient. Tonight we hear him working with the Iranian artist Porya Hatami, who we’ve encountered on this show before courtesy of the Australian label Flaming Pines. Hatami pushes the sounds into a more field recording-oriented direction, with more acoustic sounds entering the picture than in Arovane’s solo work. It’s an absorbing release.

I played a beautiful track from UK guitarist Seabuckthorn last week on the show featuring bowed guitar, one that will feature on his new album later this year from US label Lost Tribe Sound. That’s a technique that Andy Cartwright uses a fair bit in his music, but as we heard tonight he’s extremely adept at beautiful fingerpicking guitar and other more rhythmic styles as well. You can pick up his older releases (including the tracks heard tonight) on his Bandcamp, and there’s a new album out on Lost Tribe Sound later this year.

Montreal-based cellist Alder & Ash is also released on Lost Tribe Sound and was heard last week on the show – this album is being re-released in a limited CD edition soon, with a follow-up album coming out later in the year. While there’s a lot of lovely acoustic cello in there, he’s not afraid to process the instrument, producing heavy bass thumps and distorted melodies, with a dark, processional mood reminiscent of doom metal. Looking forward to what comes next from him.

Scottish sound artist Joshua Sabin‘s debut album appears on the Bristol-based Subtext Recordings label this week, and it’s very well suited to that label, with ominous sub bass and fluttering, whirling processed sounds abounding. It’s apparently produced from processed field recordings made in transit around Kyoto, Tokyo and Berlin, as well as “electromagnetic field recordings” from Edinburgh & Glasgow. For all that, it’s very musical with evolving harmonies and rhythmic elements.

Tonight I’m very excited to play you some tracks from the new collaboration from Swedish drone & sound artist Dag Rosenqvist (previously known as Jasper TX) & Scottish composer & sound artist Matthew Collings. It’s their second time working together, after a mini-album on Hibernate back in 2012, and both are full of beauty and surging noise. This album is released on Denovali later this week, and I’m sure you’ll love it – it’s got the best of both of these wonderful artists, from Dag’s big crescendos and plaintive piano, Matt’s clarinets and glitches, and the crackling, bass-heavy noise they both love.
I also managed to neglect to play anything from Dag’s beautiful solo album elephant when it was released last year on Dronarivm, so we heard a long track tonight. It’s a truly beautiful musical statement and well worth your time.

Dutch brothers Romke and Jan Kleefstra have been collaborating with other experimental Dutch artists for some time, including Machinefabriek, and their trio with another Dutch artist, Anne Chris Bakker, is now on to a few releases too. It features Romke Kleefstra and Bakker on strummed, thwacked and droned guitars and Jan Kleefstra intoning spoken word – and it’s always surprising to me how absorbing and comforting it is hearing these works even though I don’t understand the Frisian dialect Kleefstra speaks in (let alone any other Dutch)…

Italian percussionist & electro-acoustic musician Andrea Belfi, as well as playing drums with a tonne of indie, postrock and experimental musicians, has by now released a stack of solo records featuring his subtle percussion and idiosyncratic electronics. His latest album is out through French publisher IIKKI as a photo book + LP. In the book, Matthias Heiderich‘s photography explores the urban architecture of Italy, and the music is inspired by these visuals. By and large, it’s quiet and mysterious stuff in keeping with Belfi’s other solo work.

Norberto Lobo – Solesticio [three:fourthree:four via The Wire]
Jameson Feakes & Josten Myburgh – a window in Sicily (Atripat remix) [Tone List]
Taylor Deupree – Aoka [12k]
arovane + porya hatami – SpeCreature [Karl Records]
arovane + porya hatami – (rhizOme) [Karl Records]
arovane + porya hatami – Micro Organism [Karl Records]
Seabuckthorn – Returnee [Lost Tribe Sound]
Seabuckthorn – I Could See The Smoke [Lost Tribe Sound]
Alder & Ash – Ikejime [Lost Tribe Sound]
Alder & Ash – At Night in the Slaughterhouse [Lost Tribe Sound]
Joshua Sabin – Terminus Drift [Subtext Recordings]
Joshua Sabin – U12 [Subtext Recordings]
Dag Rosenqvist & Matthew Collings – You don’t have to tell me about hell [Denovali]
Dag Rosenqvist – In All the Hours of Every Day [Dronarivm]
Matthew Collings & Dag Rosenqvist – Wonderland Part One [Hibernate/Matthew Collings Bandcamp/Dag Rosenqvist Bandcamp]
Dag Rosenqvist & Matthew Collings – Streets [Denovali]
Dag Rosenqvist & Matthew Collings – Renaissance [Denovali]
Kleefstra Bakker Kleefstra – De Holle as Asem [Midira Records]
Andrea Belfi – vano [IIKKI]
Andrea Belfi – abito [IIKKI]

Listen again — ~186MB

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Sunday, 12th of February, 2017

Playlist 12.02.17 (12:15 am)

It’s Utility Fog innit. Music. Yeah, music – organised sound.

LISTEN AGAIN, or you will regret it. Stream on demand whenever you like via FBi’s state-of-the-art website, or podcast here if you like.`

Starting with a big compilation (33 tracks!) put together by Josh Nee of legendary New Orleans black/doom metal band Thou to raise money for the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank in the wake of damaging floods in Louisiana in 2016. As well as featuring many of Thou’s fellow travellers in adventurous metal (including UFog faves The Body, SUMAC and Old Man Gloom), the compilation showcases many local Louisiana artists – so tonight we discover the joyful live electronics of A Living Soundtrack and shuddering dronescapes of Proud/Father.

Longtime underground indie musician haddocks’ eyes can’t help but make new music – even when he’s meant to be remastering and packaging his older music for release this year. So we’re gifted with an album of long, mysterious tracks based around drum machine and processed/effected guitar along with other elements like the odd pitched down computer vocals on this track. His music is never less than fascinating, often beautiful.

US label Lost Tribe Sound have a big 2017, and have announced a subscription series to keep up with all their music, with CD and heavyweight vinyl editions as always in sumptuous packaging. As well as plenty of world & classical-influenced sounds from LTS regular William Ryan Fritch there’s some beautiful stuff in the ambient/shoegazey folk vein from guitarist Seabuckthorn (featuring bowed guitars), and some amazing layered cello music from Montreal’s Alder & Ash (based mainly around plucked cello). Really looking forward to full releases from both of these artists.

Experimental, ambient, dubstep and techno-influenced drum’n’bass is now enough of a phenomenon that the Samurai drum’n’bass label started a dedicated sublabel Samurai Horo to release stuff like that a few years ago. It’s a natural fit for the latest releases from Liam Blackburn, who’s half of one of the most exciting electronic acts of the last few years, Akkord. For years he released dubstep, dub and drum’n’bass as Indigo (a highlight is the Storm EP, from which we took a brilliant jungle track tonight), but he’s made a defined switch into more arcane, ambient and tribal sounds as Ancestral Voices. I’d totally missed the fact that he released two EPs last year on Samurai Horo. Both continue the tribal/ambient/new age interests Blackburn made explicit with Ancestral Voices, but also have plenty of clear references to dubstep and drum’n’bass in the productions. Incredibly great.

Sentence is a new duo project from black metal/acid/idm/breakcore producer Surachai and techno/dark ambient producer Drumcell. The industrial techno and dark idm on display on these two tracks suggest it’ll be a very fruitful collaboration indeed.

Emptyset grabbed my attention in 2009 with their self-titled album, which built up techno tracks with mathematical precision from ringing bass and simple, chopped & distorted sine tones. With releases on Subtext Recordings (which they co-run), raster-noton and others, they’ve moved away from dancefloor patterns into a more pure interest in growling, sub-bass noise, projecting their sounds into spaces such as churches and subterranean caves. After a break, their latest album finds them on Thrill Jockey, a label that after practically inventing post-rock, has been releasing some of the most important experimental metal in the last few years. It seems suitable for a group that focus on the noisier aspects of electronic music. A few tracks are more rhythmic than they’ve been of late, and there also seem to be some ringing strings (bass guitar perhaps) producing some of the tones here.

I’m kind of embarrassed I’ve never played Chris Dooks on the show before. I loved his Accretion Disc album from last year and enjoyed his idm-influenced stuff from the late ’90s and early ’00s as Bovine Life. He’s now Dr Chris Dooks, having completed a PhD in his cross-disciplinary field of study, combining philosophy, music and healthcare work to treat both his own chronic fatigue syndrome and other people suffering from various illnesses including depression & anxiety, bi-polar, schizophrenia and more. He’s now focused on the health of his daughter Oona, who has a rare neurological condition that severely limits her abilities – but with help she’s made enormous progress, and he’s looking to raise funds for some equipment which will help her further. The new album AlpenOo sees Dooks enlisting the help of some excellent experimental musicians from around the world, including Machinefabriek and Michel Banabila, who were asked to remix Dooks’ seed track (the “Chris Dooks Stem” I spoke over this evening), at which point Dooks took all their material and wove a beautiful 20 minute track out of them. It’s an interesting concept and produced some lovely results with a surprising variety of sounds, from contemplative piano to glitchy beats.

A Living Soundtrack – Expanding Consolidation [Thrill Jockey Bandcamp]
Proud/Father – La Paz en la Aqua [Thrill Jockey Bandcamp]
haddocks’ eyes – you are no longer beloved [haddocks’ eyes Bandcamp]
Seabuckthorn – The Trail Already In My Mind [Lost Tribe Sound]
Alder & Ash – Seen Through Cedar Smoke [Lost Tribe Sound]
Memotone – Ghosts and Magic Trees (Tape Version) [Bastakiya Tapes]
Memotone – Docklands [Bastakiya Tapes]
Ancestral Voices – Jadian Sun [Samurai Horo/Samurai Bandcamp]
Indigo – Spirit Of The Winds (feat Versa) [Samurai Music/Samurai Bandcamp]
Ancestral Voices – burialground [Samurai Horo/Samurai Bandcamp]
Ancestral Voices – Priests of MU [Samurai Horo/Samurai Bandcamp]
Sentence – Azimuth [Surachai Bandcamp/Drumcell Bandcamp]
Emptyset – sight [Thrill Jockey]
Emptyset – Gate 3 [Caravan Recordings]
Emptyset – retrieve [Thrill Jockey]
Emptyset – ground [Thrill Jockey]
Chris Dooks – Alpenglühn (Michel Banabila Stem) [Chris Dooks Bandcamp]
Chris Dooks – Alpenglühn (Chris Dooks Stem) (excerpt under talking) [Chris Dooks Bandcamp]
bovine life – ether works part 2 (feat. samples from Third Eye Foundation) [BiP_HOp]
Chris Dooks – Night Time Hats [Chris Dooks Bandcamp]

Listen again — ~190MB

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Sunday, 5th of February, 2017

Playlist 05.02.17 (12:14 am)

Covering all bases tonight, we’ve got raucous rock, postrock, electronic beats, and various forms of post-classical and ambient.

LISTEN AGAIN, you’ll pick up more every time – stream on demand via FBi or podcast here.

I’ve been flipping out about The Peep Tempel since late last year when I discovered their new album. I’m embarrassed that I didn’t know then earlier (although like most people I’d heard “Carol” from their previous album). Their brilliant pub/nk rock storytelling as exciting as anything that’s happening in Oz music at the moment, and reminds me of the halcyon days of the early ’80s when the Hunters & Collectors and Midnight Oil were advancing rock music in resolutely experimental ways while remaining incredibly catchy and incisively political.

Inescapably, the abrasive music & sardonic storytelling of The Peep Tempel tends to draw comparisons to the Nottingham-based duo Sleaford Mods. Although musically they tend towards a minimalist bass & drums postpunk sound, the mostly-spoken vocals and laptop performances put them somewhere between grime/hip-hop and punk. Ultimately they’re in a class of their own. And they’ve been hugely tipped by Norman Records since their earliest releases, always a sign of quality!

On a somewhat different rock tip, Norway’s Monkey Plot play a lovely brand of improvised rock with guitar-bass-drums, recalling the early days of postrock when hardcore punk blended with jazz and electronica. There’s something quite comforting about the grooves, riffs and melodies here. It’s a classic sound and done really well.

Andi Otto has mostly released music in the past under the moniker Springintgut, combining acoustic & electronic sounds in a folktronic way that’s seen him played frequently on this show. He’s also the developer of the “Fello”, and electronically augmented cello that allows him to process the cello sound as he plays it. There are plenty of strings on the new album, and the electronics are tamped up into a house/techno vein with a 100bpm kick drum through most tracks. Also strongly felt is an Indian influence – the album was partially recorded in Bangalore, and singer MD Pallavi appears on a couple of tracks.

From the early ’00s, beloved German indietronic/postrock band The Notwist have worked on instrumental soundtrack work in parallel with their work as a rock band. It shouldn’t be surprising that they branched out in that direction, as instrumental works have appeared from them before, and members are variously involved in pure electronic outfits and experimental jazz groups. One of the central Acher brothers, Markus, has continued the soundtrack work under the Rayon moniker, and last year he released a new album of Rayon work which appears not to be attached to any visuals. A beat of silence, which appears on the brothers’ Alien Transistor label but teams up more explicitly with longtime Notwist associates Morr Music, is still instrumental, but with an expanded pallette of percussionists and other musicians, bringing to mind Javanese gamelan as well as electronic and classical influences. It’s all beautiful stuff, and I decided to delve back into the Notwist’s own soundtrack work, going back as far as 2003’s Lichter soundtrack, one of the earliest releases on Alien Transistor.

Swedish composer Marcus Fjellström makes music ranging from purely composed, orchestral scores to dark electronic works. He’s got a few releases through Erik Skodvin’s Miasmahlabel, which fit perfectly into label’s “acoustic doom” milieu. His latest is a particularly noirish creation, referencing early electronic horror soundtracks as much as it draws from his classical background.

As Son Lux, Ryan Lott is known for his indie songwriting and electronic production, first appearing on the Anticon label in 2008. He’s a very versatile musician who’s worked with Sufjan Stevens and My Brightest Diamond, and we’ve heard his compositional chops in works written for yMusic a few years ago, but now we get to hear some more as he’s just released a collection of older instrumental compositional work from 2009 called View Partially Obstructed on his Bandcamp. It’s a lovely combination of piano and strings along with electronics, originally commissioned for a dance work with live visuals. It’s just the kind of hybrid stuff that Utility Fog loves. Listening to it I was reminded of a very early, gorgeous Son Lux track from Asthmatic Kitty’s Habitat compilation.

Finishing still in the electronic-classical vein we join two Italian producers appearing on the Russian ambient label Dronarivm’s free 2017 compilation Illuminations. I’ve always had an affinity with Italian experimental artists, so it’s amusing that I’ve entirely accidentally chosen two Italians from this very international collection. Giulio Aldinucci used to be known as Obscil, so I’ve actually played him on the show before. His track is a luscious piece of almost choral classical-drone. Matteo Uggeri is an enthusiastic collaborator and I haven’t heard much of his solo stuff – this is a stunning piece of field recordings, cello or double bass and deep bass rhythms.

The Peep Tempel – Constable [Wing Sing]
The Peep Tempel – Kalgoorlie [Wing Sing]
Sleaford Mods – Silly Me [Harbinger Sound]
Monkey Plot – They suddenly Disappeared [Hubro]
Monkey Plot – Shyly upon everything [Hubro]
Andi Otto – Gianna Anna [Andi Otto Bandcamp]
Andi Otto – Zindagi Club High [Andi Otto Bandcamp]
Rayon – Dots [Alien Transistor/Morr Music]
The Notwist – Lichter 1 [Alien Transistor]
The Notwist – The Hague [Alien Transistor]
Rayon – Il Collo e la Collana 04 [Alien Transistor]
Rayon – Libanon 05 [Alien Transistor]
Rayon – Cuts [Alien Transistor/Morr Music]
Marcus Fjellström – Modulus [Miasmah]
Marcus Fjellström – Aunchron [Miasmah]
Ryan Lott – hope calculus [Ryan Lott Bandcamp]
Son Lux – Speak [Asthmatic Kitty]
Ryan Lott – shudder and whisper [Ryan Lott Bandcamp]
Giulio Aldinucci – Soffia [Dronarivm]
Matteo Uggeri – Radio Days [Dronarivm]

Listen again — ~190MB

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