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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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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 28th of May, 2017

Playlist 28.05.17 (12:43 am)

Mostly it’s a big string thing tonight, although we finish with guitar and start with electronica…

LISTEN AGAIN because music is sustenance (don’t forget to eat though!) – podcast it here or stream on demand from FBi’s website.

So. The appalling suicide bombing in Manchester this week, aimed at causing carnage at a place of innocent joy, because of the perverted extremist beliefs of a small number of people, have been on my mind this week, and they connected kind of weirdly with some completely unrelated Manchester news – the return after about a decade of beloved idm producer Bola, a Manchester artist on Manchester’s legendary Skam label. I was reminded that 20 years ago Bola, among many other interesting artists, contributed a still-exclusive track to a compilation called 0161, co-released by Skam and V/VM, which commemorated a devastating bombing by a different terrorist organisation, the IRA, that flattened much of the centre of Manchester. In that event, warning was given and although there was huge damage and many injuries, not a single person died.
In any case, for better or worse this long-out-of-print compilation is really excellent, with some great deep cuts like the Bola, and The Fall, led by Manchester’s crabby uncle Mark E Smith, rather surprisingly turned up with some electronic beats wrapped around the postpunk guitars and Smith’s ranting – pre-empting Smith’s work with the likes of Mouse on Mars by many years.

So, we are planning to focus on strings for much of tonight, but very little of it is straight cello or violin. The amazing collaboration between John Matthias & Jay Auborn, both composers & interesting producers, starts us off with Auborn’s piano, Matthias’ violin, and glitchy electronic beats… I don’t know Auborn’s work, which is mostly unreleased sound design & soundtrack work, but Matthias has been on my radar for over a decade, through releases on Matthew Herbert’s Accidental Records, work with Coldcut, contemporary classical composition on Nonclassical, and more – he’s a sensitive songwriter, electronic producer, and a fine violinist as well (in fact his string arrangements can be found way back on Radiohead’s second album The Bends).

Dutch producer Michel Banabila appears a lot on this show, with his world music-influenced electronica both solo and in many different collaborations. Here he’s working with adventurous Dutch cellist Maarten Vos on works for choreographer Conny Janssen. There’s a fair bit of the bouncy electronic beats and exotic samples that are often found in Banabila’s works, but also many acoustic instruments, played by both Banabila & Vos. Cello isn’t always recognizable but it’s certainly prominent in the second track I played.

Yair Elazar Glotman also appears a lot on this show, for his submerged bass-heavy techno as KETEV and his amazing sound design. His works under his own name feature intensely close-mic’d double bass, and the insides & outsides of that instrument feature on his new album along with many other instruments. For his new album on the ever-reliable Miasmah label he’s working with Swedish producer Mats Erlandsson, who’s got some releases on the industrial/experimental label Posh Isolation. I’m not sure whether Erlandsson is a cellist or violinist, but it’s likely both are multi-instrumentalists as well as excellent sound designers. It’s “acoustic doom” (Miasmah‘s frequent genre of choice), with scraped & twanged double bass haunting a space full of wheezing singing bowls, sighing cello, and sometimes enveloping guitar jangles.

Adrian Copeland also makes something like acoustic doom, naming himself after two types of wood that go into many string instruments. His album from last year as Alder & Ash is being re-released now in beautiful physical editions by Lost Tribe Sound along with his new one, and both find him looping and distorting his cello into beautiful mysterious structures – sometimes influenced by doom metal, sometimes by drone or experimental folk. It’s intense.

I was so pleased when I discovered that the wonderful, prolific Montréal-based cellist Rebecca Foon had formed a solo project called Saltland. Foon co-founded chamber/postrock ensemble Esmerine some years ago, and is also a central member of Thee Silver Mt Zion, as well as appearing all over the place in the extremely fertile Canadian music scene. The Saltland material is very much based around her cello and her smooth vocals, but she mixes it in with percussion, electronic programming and other instruments when called for. Her new album and the previous are two rich and lush releases which just happen to have a lot of cello on them. Who could complain?

Returning to Lost Tribe Sound for our last two artists tonight. Michael Cottone has recorded his ambient & electronic music as The Green Kingdom for some years now, but in his talks with Lost Tribe Sound he was asked to make this album out of predominantly acoustic sounds. It’s shiny and summery on the whole, and has that rickety feel of Bibio’s earlier releases, folk instruments filtered through a hip-hop lens.

UK guitarist Andy Cartwright has released a number of albums now as Seabuckthorn, showcasing his fantastic fingerstyle guitar technique as well as his love for extending the guitar through bowing, strumming, and sometimes through subtle production techniques. The sounds are never less than gorgeous, as if James Blackshaw took a different tangent somewhere along the way… Although the circular, Blackshaw-like fingerpicking is always a joy to listen to, the mournful bowing that appears on some tracks is something to experience.

The Fall – Powderkex [Skam]
Bola – 01706 [Skam]
John Matthias & Jay Auborn – Pretoria [Village Green]
Coldcut – Man in a Garage feat. John Matthias [Ninja Tune]
John Matthias & Nick Ryan – 2nd Movement from Cortical Songs [Nonclassical]
John Matthias – Pre-loved/Vintage [Village Green]
John Matthias & Jay Auborn – Songbird [Village Green]
Maarten Vos & Michel Banabila – Fuzzy Clarity [Tapu Records]
Maarten Vos & Michel Banabila – Rosy Fingered Dawn [Tapu Records]
Yair Elazar Glotman & Mats Erlandsson – Turn Roots In Iodine [Miasmah]
Yair Elazar Glotman & Mats Erlandsson – Ceramic Relic [Miasmah]
Alder & Ash – A Seat Amongst God And His Children [Lost Tribe Sound]
Alder & Ash – Seen Through the Cedar Smoke [Lost Tribe Sound]
Alder & Ash – The Merciless Dusk [Lost Tribe Sound]
Saltland – This Other Place [Constellation]
Saltland – Hearts Mend [Constellation]
Saltland – Light Of Mercy [Constellation]
The Green Kingdom – Aventurine [Lost Tribe Sound]
Seabuckthorn – Lanterns [Lost Tribe Sound]
Seabuckthorn – Returnee [Lost Tribe Sound]
Seabuckthorn – Plateau Edge [Lost Tribe Sound]

Listen again — ~189MB

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Sunday, 21st of May, 2017

Playlist 21.05.17 (12:38 am)

Quite a pop show tonight, or, well OK fair enough, not “pop” as such but songwritery anyway.

LISTEN AGAIN because you won’t hear these sounds in this order anywhere else! Stream on the demand is the FBi way, and podcast is here.

Sydney’s Joshua Gibbs aka Setec creates lush, layered indiepop straight outta his bedroom with charming folktronic edits, sampled beats and sounds, and lots of live instrumentation. Can’t wait for his new album (which, full disclosure, I contributed cello on a couple of tracks – so I’ve heard some more loveliness already!)

Ryan Lott’s Son Lux has been combining the very electronic with the very organic for ages too – his very first album incorporated orchestral arrangements into his indiepop, released on avant hip-hop label Anticon. We’ve heard a fair bit of Lott’s compositional talent recently, so it’s nice to have some new songwriterly stuff. Great pop songs, heavy electronic production and classical arrangements. Bit of everything hey.

Melbourne music stalwart James McGauren is about to release the latest album from his band The Black Hundred, melding postrock lushness with industrial heaviness. McGauz recently relocated to Sweden, his wife’s homeland, and he’s engaged Swiss electronic producer Walter Fini for a remix of his moody surveillance state meditation “Orwell”.

The next music is also incredibly moody, and coincidentally also Swedish. Little is known about Irma Orm aka Demen (the link there just goes to the album’s Bandcamp page), but she sent her music in to Kranky, describing it as “doom pop”, and of course they jumped at the chance to release this. It’s definitely got a bit of an influence from the early, most gothy Cocteau Twins. Orm doesn’t have the vocal range of Liz Fraser, but expressively she’s on point, and her echoey, doomy compositions are redolent of yearning and, yes, doom. It’s a beautiful, impressive debut.

From Sweden to Norway, with super talented double bassist Christian Meaas Svendsen, whose third solo album sees him expand his avant jazz & contemporary classical composition into avant pop songwriting. He’s also leader of minimal avant jazz/classical ensemble Nakama, and the members appear here backing his experimental songs, along with subtle electronic elements. It’s open and airy, very weird but also entirely approachable. The recent collaboration of Jenny Hval with Kim Myhr and the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra as well as other artists on the Hubro label suggests a kind of contemporary Norwegian tradition of Americana-influenced folk, precise jazz arrangements with room for improvisation, hung loosely on songwriting structures. It’s fantastic anyway.

And now, a few new (and one not as new) pieces from Marseille-based Italian singer/composer/electronic producer Alessandro Bosetti. First up, his Trophies project features fretless guitar from Kenta Nagai and drums from none other than Tony Buck. There are a couple of exquisite albums of Bosetti also with another Necks member, Chris Abrahams. Interestingly the first Trophies track I played tonight sees Nagai shadowing Bosetti’s vocals on guitar, and Abrahams does the same on the duo track I followed it with. The Trophies album is a pretty incredbile piece of avant whatever, with angular guitar, incendiary drumming, vocal drones and cut-ups along with all sorts of other electronics from Bosetti – in fact I think what sounds like sequenced synths is in fact all vocal samples. Please check out the micro-site with an extended story by Bosetti and some adorable/hilarious photos of random groups of three people posing from the “Band Photo”…
Bosetti’s got another album out just now too, on Italian experimental label Holidays Records. It’s entirely vocal focused, with passages of choral vocals, sequences in which the vocals are atomised into tiny pieces, re-pitched and sequenced – and passages of extended vocal techniques a la Meredith Monk. It’s crazy and fun.

English composer & electronic musician Christopher Chaplin released his solo album Je Suis le Ténébreux last year after working closely with krautrock & ambient legend Hans-Joachin Roedelius for some years. A remix EP from that album is coming out later this week from Fabrique, with four excellent reworkings. We heard the almost classical-sounding piece from Berlin-based producer Jana Irmert, and a delicate, rhythmic version from another Roedelius collaborator, American film-maker and composer Tim Story.

New Sydney artist Big Geoffrey has a track on the ever-reliable Tandem Tapes – a dense wall of noise, growing from a single drone into a churning lava lake of shuddering sound. Great.

Last up, New Yorker Ezekiel Honig returns after a few years with a new album of subtle field recordings, home-made percussion loops and quiet, minimal instrumentation. It’s an intriguing album, not quite conceptual field recording, not quite ambient, not exactly idm. This one track doesn’t give you the range – check it out on Bandcamp and have a listen to his other works, which have a similar hard-to-pin-down character, and lots of depth.

Setec – Cotton Bones [Feral Media]
Son Lux – Dangerous [Son Lux Bandcamp]
Son Lux – Part of This [Son Lux Bandcamp]
The Black Hundred – The Lion Sleeps No More [The Black Hundred Bandcamp]
The Black Hundred – Orwell (Walter Fini 2017 Remix) [The Black Hundred Bandcamp]
Demen – Niorum [Kranky]
Demen – Illdrop [Kranky]
Christian Meaas Svendsen – Kretsløp [Nakama Records]
Christian Meaas Svendsen – Avin [Nakama Records]
Trophies – Desidare [Unsounds]
Alessandro Bosetti & Chris Abrahams – La Nourriture [Unsounds]
Alessandro Bosetti – Plane / Talea Side B (excerpt, approximately first half) [Holidays Records]
Trophies – Small process [Unsounds]
Christopher Chaplin – Aelia Laeila (Jana Irmert Remix) [Fabrique]
Christopher Chaplin – Je Suis le Ténébreux (Tim Story Remix) [Fabrique]
Big Geoffrey – Lights On [Tandem Tapes]
Ezekiel Honig – Gravity [Anticipate Recordings]

Listen again — ~194MB

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Sunday, 14th of May, 2017

Playlist 14.05.17 (12:38 am)

Bit of… rock! A bit of minimal glitch and worldtronica and other stuff you’ve come to expect from the ‘Fog!

LISTEN AGAIN to the post-world electronics, post-r’n’b industrial grime, experimental rock, minimal weirdcore and the rest… You can stream on demand because FBi’s cool like that, or find the podcast here.

Maybe it’s weird to be playing classic rock on this show… but Midnight Oil really were such a groundbreaking group, and so truly experimental in their early ’80s period, that the massive new boxsets arriving on my doorstep this Friday were all the excuse I needed to visit a few brilliant blasts from the past. Not only did they bring environmentalism, reconciliation & Indigenous rights and so much more into Oz rock, they were so great at using the studio as an instrument… Crazily layered mixes, tracks switching from ring-mod guitar to acoustic bass and piano, oppressive atmospheres and sampled vocals. So good.

Aussie indie outsider Benjow has been releasing home recorded oddities and incredible archival tapes on Bandcamp as haddocks’ eyes for a few years now. A little while ago he released a bunch of stunning, restrained songs featuring helium-pitched vocals, and he has this week re-released them with his original untreated vocals. They’re just as gorgeous.

For almost ten years, Félicia Atkinson has been honing her craft now, starting with some lovely folktronic offerings and collaborations with some other very fine ambient and experimental artists. Her new solo album comes out from her own Shelter Press, and sets her whispered and muttered poetry against spooky minimal electronics and sound design. Highly accomplished stuff.

Another French artist, Sarah Foulquiere aka Fawkes has worked with innovative footwork producer Jlin recently, but steps out on her own with an amazing debut on Halcyon Veil with strident vocals, effects galore, and industrial grime/techno/bass beats. It’s an intense trip.

Tony Boggs used to go by the name Joshua Treble, and unreleased some excellent idm and techno under the alias as well as being part of the brilliant désormais with Mitchell Akiyama, who ran the beloved indietronic label intr_version for many years out of Montreal. Boggs is now running experimental label Kikimora Tapes in Toronto, and it’s so great to have these grainy, glitchy sounds back.

It is extremely good to have Digital Hardcore veteran, breakcore/dark ambient producer Christoph de Babalon back in action, releasing piles of archival material and simultaneously also equally fine, equally explosive and dark new productions. His new EP Grim Zenith finds him back on V I S, the label run by Nina Trifft of Hamburg nightclub the Golden Pudel.

Grey Filastine has been making his “postworld” political dancefloor music for over a decade now it seems – the brilliant burn it and Dirty Bomb came out in 2006 and 2009 respectively, brought to Australia by the like-minded Über Lingua collective, so Filastine has a long-running connection to this country. Those two albums were very much focused on the politics and music of the Middle East, and featured collaborations with the vocalist Jessika Kenney. Since then Filastine has worked closely with the brilliant Indonesian singer & musician Nova, and it’s great to hear the new album credited to both equally. Her songwriting is beautiful and brings out the best in Filastine’s inventive bass-influenced production. Also notable is the strong presence of avant-garde cellist Brent Arnold.

Andrejs Eigus brings us our last sounds tonight, acoustic instruments (including the beautiful warm double bass!) mixed with electronics. He calls himself Selffish and the album comes courtesy of the well-curated Welsh label Serein. Lovely clicky electronica, minimal jazz-inflected chords, enveloping late-night goodness.

Midnight Oil – Scream In Blue [Sony Music]
Midnight Oil – Power And The Passion (Extended Remix) (excerpt) [Sony Music]
Midnight Oil – Harrisburg [Sony Music]
Midnight Oil – Bells And Horns In The Back Of Beyond (excerpt) [Sony Music]
Midnight Oil – Doghead [Sony Music]
haddocks’ eyes – boat [haddocks’ eyes Bandcamp]
Félicia Atkinson – Hier le désert [Shelter Press]
Félicia Atkinson – Monstera Deliciosa [Shelter Press]
Fawkes – La Ghoula [Halcyon Veil]
Fawkes – Blatant Snake [Halcyon Veil]
Unfollow – I&I Fluid Co. [Kikimora Tapes]
Unfollow – Kate Kush [Kikimora Tapes]
Unfollow – LinkedIn [Kikimora Tapes]
Christoph de Babalon – Pure Dirge [V I S]
Christoph de Babalon – Luxury of Sadness [V I S]
Filastine & Nova – Miner [Postworld Industries]
Filastine – autology (feat. Jessika Skeletalia Kenney) [Soot Records]
Filastine – fitnah (feat. Jessika Skeletalia Kenney) [Soot Records/Über Lingua]
Filastine – gendjer (feat. Nova) [Postworld Industries]
Filastine & Nova – Perbatasan [Postworld Industries]
Selffish – I Came To Leave [Serein]
Selffish – As The Leaves Fall [Serein]

Listen again — ~199MB

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Sunday, 7th of May, 2017

Playlist 07.05.17 (12:37 am)

G’day. Tonight’s a bit of a journey. Strap yourself in and enjoy!

Technical issues mean the whole show can’t be podcast. Some of it can be streamed on demand.

We open tonight with an epic masterpiece from Chino Amobi, exploring a post-apocalpytic America through bass music mixed up with industrial, trap, techno, ambient and even hints of black metal – along with a hilarious (and intense) sample from Adventure Time in the second last track! Amobi is one of the driving forces behind the pan-African-disapora collective NON, and gathers a number of fellow travellers on this album. I haven’t even managed to properly drink in the spoken word and rap segments to piece the whole story together, but it’s pretty intense, and masterfully put together. You should definitely dig into this one (maybe with the special USB card edition!)

Continuing with two twitchy tracks from Viennese artist Asfast, tracks which don’t quite want to settle into melodic ambient electronica, with bass interjections and glitches punctuating the tracks. Great stuff.

After many months of trickling out the tracks of their progressive remix/rework compilation Exquisite Corpse, post-classical labels Bigo & Twigetti and Moderna Records have finally finished releasing the whole thing. It’s lovely hearing not just the obvious thread of piano music with electronics, ambience and delicate beats but also the compositional elements that survive through many iterations. There are hints of ex-pat Aussie Leah Kardos‘ beautiful mutation of her predecessors in the second-last track, now available, from Jacob David & Thomas Haahr. Another Aussie based overseas, Madeleine Cocolas, opened the procedings, and tonight I also played the artist directly before Kardos, Italian composer Lorenzo Masotto.

Danish artist Loke Rahbek has a number of releases under his belt as Croatian Amor, as well as a number of other aliases, many of them released on the label (also record store) Posh Isolation he runs out of Copenhagen. There are connections to industrial and noise music as well as ’90s electronica and ambient, and some quite disturbing field recordings. The freakier elements are emphasised and any club trappings mostly shed on the album he’s releasing in a couple of weeks under his own name for the legendary experimental electronic label Editions Mego.

Voyou is the solo project of Sarah Faraday, one half of noise-folk duo Ambrosia(@), who’ve released a few albums and EPs over the last year of beautiful melodies, drones, glitches and distorted beats. An unexpected pleasure, her second solo EP just came out – three fairly brief tracks, encompassing deep bass, distorted delays, pretty guitar strums, and some eldrich screaming just for kicks. Her vocals also grace some of the Ambrosia(@) tracks, including the very early one we heard tonight.

Grindcore band Full of Hell collaborated last year with the brilliant sludge/black metal/electronic duo the body, so when their new album was announced on Profound Lore Records, it got my immediate attention. It’s incredibly short, as befits the grindcore genre, and pretty heavy and harsh, but the title track contrasts the dense riffage and hardcore screaming with the sweet vocals of Canadian singer-songwriter Nicole Dollanganger.

Finishing with a band with the reputation as one of the most extreme of the extreme noise/metal bands in Japan. They’ve been around for about a decade, but only became known outside of Japan a few years ago, with their album Mama and subsequent remix album Bodies released by Daymare. The latter, which featured reworkings from the likes of Boris’s Atsuo, dubstep don Goth-Trad and all-round legend Justin K Broadrick, also featured the disturbing (despite its quietness) “Loss Angels”. Their new album finds worldwide release through the legendary Hydra Head, and is as massively noisy as ever (two bandmembers are credited with “electronics”, along with guitar, drums and various types of screamed vocals), with some relief here and there from the onslaught. With the Daymare CD, some of us were lucky enough to get a bonus EP with two remixes, one of them a bass techno reworking from industrial/electronic duo Carre, who have shared a label – ALTER – with Croatian Amor.

Chino Amobi – GÆNOVA feat. Dutch E Germ [UNO NYC]
Chino Amobi – The Prisoners of Nymphaion [Chino Amobi Bandcamp]
Chino Amobi – KOLLAPS feat. Elysia CramptonFALSE PRPHT and Poozy [UNO NYC]
Asfast – More [Ventil]
Asfast – Bump Cut [Ventil]
Madeleine Cocolas – Stalactite [Bigo & Twigetti/Moderna Records]
Lorenzo Masotto – Oodaaq [Bigo & Twigetti/Moderna Records]
Leah Kardos – Contact Mic [Bigo & Twigetti/Moderna Records]
Jacob David & Thomas Haahr – Crescent [Bigo & Twigetti/Moderna Records]
Croatian Amor – An Angel Gets His Wings Clipped feat. Soho Razenejad [Posh Isolation]
Croatian Amor – Sky Walkers [Posh Isolation]
Loke Rahbek – In Piles of Magazines [Editions Mego]
Voyou – Year By Year [Bomb Shop]
Ambrosia(@) – Go Your Way [Bomb Shop]
Voyou – Hell Yeah [Bomb Shop]
Full of Hell – Trumpeting Ecstasy (feat. Nicole Dollanganger) [Profound Lore Records]
Endon – Loss Angels [Daymare]
Endon – Torch Your House [Hydra Head/Daymare]
Endon – Perversion ‘Till Death (24K mix by Carre) [Daymare]

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