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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, 1st of October, 2017

Playlist 01.10.17 (9:02 pm)

Lovely, weird electronics from all over tonight…

LISTEN AGAIN for the pure joy of it. FBi provides delicious streaming on demand for everyone everywhere; podcast also available here.

Four Tet – LA Trance [self-released]
Four Tet – Scientists [self-released]
A new album from Kieran Hebden (frankly, pretty much a new tweet) is always big news these days, and the new Four Tet already has people blissing out around the world. I know I’m never going to get another Rounds (one of the most influential albums on the beginnings of this very show), and this one really is absolutely lovely.
One of the interesting things about the album is hearing the ’90s electronica, ambient and rave influences. Particularly on the track “Scientists” I have intense feelings of déjà vu whenever I listen to it – I know it’s not ripped from someone else, but that bassline, and the way it interacts with the breakbeats and delicate synth pads has strong feelings of something (or some things) I know very well. A couple of suggestions appear below…

Autechre – Pule [Warp]
The way the bassline in “Scientists” pushes out a harmonic an octave-and-a-fifth above was one of those things that generated very strong feelings for me. Eventually I found that sound – a percussive attack but a very pure sound with that same overtone – in this beautiful Autechre track from 20 years ago. In this case, there’s no hip-hop beat going along with it, although there are floaty synth pads.

µ-Ziq – Brace Yourself Jason [Planet µ]
While the Planet µ boss is best known nowadays for having his finger on the pulse of underground dance music, from dubstep to footwork, he’s one of the biggest influences on bedroom electronica, a peer of Autechre, Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert et al. From the same year as the Autechre above (1997 was an amazing year, trust me), this track again sounds nothing like “Scientists”, at least superficially, but it has a bouncing bassline, skittering hi-hats and those characteristic mournful synth pads.

Ciptagelar – Sera Ponggokan (Gail Priest Industrialisation) [hitek lotek]
Ciptagelar – Jasmine Guffond‘s Ciptagelar Remixture [hitek lotek]
Sydney experimental musician, advanced mathematician and event creator Dan MacKinlay has for some time been travelling to remote locations in Asia creating collaborative installations and dance parties… He’s now bringing it to another level with this collaboration with the people of a tiny kingdom in West Java called Ciptagelar. The link there goes to a YouTube video which is part documentary and part video album, and their music has now been remixed by a cadre of Sydney experimental electronic musicians. An excellent cross-cultural project.

dälek – Nothing Stays Permanent [Ipecac]
dälek – The Song Of Immigrants [Ipecac]
It was so great last year to discover that pioneering noise-hop troupe dälek had re-formed. It turns out that producer Oktopus aka Alap Momin is no longer involved, but with longtime collaborator Destructo Swarmbots stepping in, there’s a definite continuity in sound as much as with the political, conscious rapping of Will Brooks. Last year’s album came out on the very progressive Canadian metal label Profound Lore, but Endangered Philosophies finds them back on Mike Patton’s Ipecac label.

Ben Frost – Entropy In Blue [Mute/Bedroom Community]
Ben Frost – Minesweeper II [The Orchard]
Ben Frost – Eurydice’s Heel [Mute/Bedroom Community]
Longterm Iceland resident Ben Frost (we’ll still call him an Aussie though for the purposes of this broadcast) has not one but two albums out this week – fairly coincidentally mind you. His new album proper, his first straight studio album since 2014, is The Centre Cannot Hold, clearly somewhat influence by the political events of the last year or two, and was recorded with the legendary Steve Albini, although I’m not sure how we can hear that among the windswept synths, surging distortion & bass. It’s pretty conceptual – you can hear musical themes wandering through the different tracks, so it holds together nicely as a single work. The other album is a soundtrack to a teen slasher flick (set in the ’90s no less) called Super Dark Times, and it’s suitably dark, with some of the growliness dialled back – but it does raise the question of where we can hear the Albini influence on the new studio album.

Antwood – The New Industry [Planet µ]
Tristan Douglas – Way of the Coral [Tristan Douglas Bandcamp]
Tristan Douglas – Mystic Olympics [Tristan Douglas Bandcamp]
Margaret Antwood – Power Confessions [B.YRSLF DIVISION]
Antwood – Uncanny Valley [Planet µ]
Tristan Douglas – Replicon [Tristan Douglas Bandcamp]
Antwood – Human [Planet µ]
British Columbia-resident microbiologist Tristan Douglas came to the music world’s attention with a couple of footwork/grime/techno releases as Margaret Antwood a couple of years ago – in particular he came to the attention of the aforementioned Mike Paradinas of the Planet µ label. Thankfully he dropped the “Margaret” from his name, losing both the pad pun and the inadvisable gender appropriation, and he’s released two brilliant albums of genre-mashing experimental electronica for the label, exploring the topics of artificial intelligence and computer consciousness (on last year’s Virtuous.scr) and our own relationship with technology and ubiquitous communication/advertising (on the recent Sponsored Content). It’s fair to say that these themes ooze into each other across both these albums and also the more recent album on his Bandcamp. So the muffled computer voice on “Uncanny Valley” begins to sing on “Replicon” from a recent Bandcamp release (although admittedly Bandcamp declares it to be released on Janary 1, 2037, so who knows?), and on “Human” from his new album a malfunctioning cyborg sings a pop song. Beautifully disturbing stuff.

STILL – Bubbling Ambessa [Afrikan Messiah Riddim] [PAN]
STILL – Rough Rider [PAN]
STILL – Nazenèt [Wasp Riddim] [PAN]
The previous music of Simone Trabucchi (boss of Italian noise/experimental label Hundebiss), mostly released as Dracula Lewis, was a challenging melding of folk, rock and noise, but for his new album on PAN he’s giving us his idiosyncratic take on dancehall, very digital, working with a bunch of fantastic Afro-Italian vocalists (my research suggests they are Devon Miles, Keidino, Taiywo, Freweini, Elinor and Germay – they are not credited on the digital release or press release). In any case, it’s an exciting mélange of sounds, minimalist and focused. Highly recommended.

Listen again — ~194MB

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