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experimental electronica
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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, 25th of March, 2018

Playlist 25.03.18 (8:08 pm)

Singular interpretations of pop & songwriting tonight, taking in folk, disco, krautrock, industrial & more, as well as some glitchy and leftfield electronic music of various types.

LISTEN AGAIN and maybe you'll get it? Who knows. Stream on demand, it's the FBi way, or podcast here.

Lost Girls - Drive [Smalltown Supersound/Lost Girls Bandcamp]
Some years ago, not long after Jenny Hval released her first solo album after the wonderful Rockettothesky albums, she put out a duo album as Nude on Sand with fellow Norwegian musician Håvard Volden. Now she's teamed up with Volden again (he also plays in her solo band), this time as Lost Girls. The Nude on Sand arrangements were intentionally sparse and fairly acoustic, but the two long tracks making up Lost Girls' debut EP are slow-burning crescendos - "Drive" builds from simple programmed drums, drones & spoken word into a big, head-nodding piece of space rock meets slow disco. Beautiful.

Björk - Arisen My Senses (Kelly Lee Owen Remix) [One Little Indian]
Lost Girls' labelmate on Smalltown Supersound, Kelly Lee Owen (who featured Jenny Hval on her debut album), is one of the first batch of artists remixing Björk from her Utopia album. The inspired choices - the others are hot young techno/idm artist Lanark Artefax and footwork iconoclast Jlin - turn in very nice efforts, but it's the slow nod and chopping up & layering of the vocals in this track that drew me in. Also inspired is the introduction of the harp and its slow fade-out in the outro.

Sunna - Hero Slave [Sunna Bandcamp]
A couple of weeks ago we heard a track from young Icelandic musician Sunna featured on the latest Wire Tapper compilation from The Wire. On her debut single as there, the vocals are layered & pitch-shifted, with a nice bass-heavy, shuffling beat and a very catch melody. Need more...

Ptwiggs & Grasps_ - ETERNAL [ETERNAL]
Asio Otus & GYUR - druidism [ETERNAL]
Sydney electronic producers Phoebe Twiggs & Grasps_ put together ETERNAL last year, launched with a club event in Sydney featuring people like Marcus Whale (appearing on this compilation as marcus (not singing)) and others - but their debut compilation as a label, ETERNAL 001 (released unconventionally on SoundCloud with full WAV downloads of all tracks) features artists from all over the world. It spans heavy industrial techno, bass music, ambient and vaporwave, and it's very good.

Seth Graham - Binary Tapioca [Orange Milk Records]
Seth Graham - Whisper Slap [Orange Milk Records]
Orange Milk co-founder Seth Graham has released his new album Gasp via that label, Noumenal Loom and his own Bandcamp, and it's a corker - a bizarre facsimile of modern classical music, made up of micro-samples perfectly reconstructed.

Hanz - Psychic Dog [Tri-Angle Records]
Hanz - Dues (Version 2) [Hanz Bandcamp]
Hanz - Plasty [Tri-Angle Records]
Hanz - Clutched [Tri-Angle Records]
Exactly a month ago, we heard Hanz aka Brandon Juhans' first EP of 2018, Plasty I. He's just released Plasty II, which is slightly less manic than the first (see quasi-title track "Plasty" played tonight for that sped-up hip-hop-tronica). Equally dense, the new EP tends to keep things at hip-hop tempo, and still very strange - check out the binaural beats on "Clutched" for instance. From 2017, "Dues (Version 2)" walks a similar weird-hop path.

Lana Del Rabies - Submberged [Deathbomb Arc]
Lana Del Rabies - Weren't u Asking For it [Lana Del Rabies Bandcamp]
Nicole Dollanganger - Chapel (Regret remix by Lana Del Rabies) [Lana Del Rabies Bandcamp]
Lana Del Rabies - The Empty Mantra [Deathbomb Arc]
Phoenix artist Sam An records under the unholy moniker of Lana Del Rabies, variously described as extreme noise (which it is sometimes), industrial and darkwave. She's released by the excellent Californian label Deathbomb Arc (linked with metal, noise & hip-hop artists like Clipping.), who've just put out her new album, Shadow World, which really ought to blow up any minute. A heavy artistic statement with songs buried under distortion, loops and beats, it's her strongest work yet - and that's saying something. From 2016 we took a couple of tracks from a release capturing demos from 2014 & 2015, which she describes as a pretty dark time. The excellently titled Starving Escape Artist EP also features her remix of Canadian darkwave/shoegaze/indie artist Nicole Dollanganger (who I heard last year collaborating with hardcore monsters Full of Hell). Get with it.

Allenheimer - Hazenmaschine [Unfiled]
Allenheimer - Megas [Unfiled]
Like Sunna above, I discovered Icelandic producer Atli Bollason's Allenheimer project via the latest Wire Tapper compilation, which featured the first track here, a lovely piece of slow-growing ambient which crescendos into a disturbing digital glitch. Granular micro-sampling is all over this EP, with chopped samples of Icelandic pop songs and field recordings brushing shoulders with electronic beats. A really nice debut.

Richard Youngs - Nebulosity [O Genesis]
Richard Youngs - Bewilderment [O Genesis]
Richard Youngs - Once It Was Autumn [Jagjaguwar]
Richard Youngs - I Am The Weather [Jagjaguwar]
Richard Youngs - Oh Reality [Sonic Oyster Records]
Richard Youngs - where are you going to get your luck from? feat. Sorley Youngs [Glass Redux]
Richard Youngs - In Another Fog [O Genesis]
It's somewhat strange to find Richard Youngs being released on the label run by Tim Burgess of The Charlatans, but Belief is one of his most "pop" albums in a while - for rather weird values of pop. Apparently he built it up out of skeleton structures of (other people's) pop songs made on drum machines, but they're imbued with his very English oddness, as well as his very English talent for transcendently beautiful songwriting. Frequent visitor to UFog playlists Daniel O'Sullivan, himself an explorer of English musical weirdness, introduced Youngs' music to Tim Burgess and so here we are. Youngs is equally known for his very experimental music, often in collaboration with like-minded artists. I've been a fan for some years, and it's nice to revisit some of his more song-oriented material in tonight's special. From the stellar series of albums released by Jagjaguwar we dipped into The Naïve Shaman and Autumn Response, and then we heard from another almost-pop album, Beyond the Valley of Ultra-Hits. And from 2016's the rest is scenery we heard an amazing piece of arcane folk-jazz-rock featuring the wise-before-his-time vocals of Youngs' son Sorley.

Listen again — ~200MB

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Sunday, 18th of March, 2018

Playlist 18.03.18 (7:51 pm)

Tonight we've got some pretty cool glitchy sounds and crunchy beats, and we're also having a chat with renowned Sydney drummer Laurence Pike, who's got an album out soon and a launch this coming Saturday!

LISTEN AGAIN for good chatter and great tunes - stream on demand via FBi and podcast right here.

Reuben Ingall - Floriade [hellosQuare]
Reuben Ingall - Free Field [hellosQuare]
It's always a pleasure to receive new music from Canberran audio wizard Reuben Ingall here at Utility Fog Towers. Reuben is one of those producers whose sounds I love to puzzle out - how is he doing that? Especially live, you can see the way his talents as a guitarist interact with his smarts at programming his Max/MSP patches - and whatever else he uses to process his sounds. We've heard him create drone epics from the sound of a pie being microwaved, and we've heard him chop up his voice, piano, ukulele, other instruments and found sounds - but this new album Threads sees him focusing mainly on his guitar. As usual, he's able to draw out a hefty amount of emotive force from the instrument and the soundscapes he weaves around it. It's wonderful stuff.

Laurence Pike - Distant Early Warning [Leaf]
...interview with Laurence Pike...
Szun Waves - At Sacred Walls [Szun Waves Bandcamp]
Laurence Pike - Clouds And Wires [Leaf]
Really nice to talk to Laurence Pike, one of Sydney's top drummers in many different genres and contexts, on the release of his (surprisingly!) first solo album Distant Early Warning, coming out on Friday the 31st of March through The Leaf Label. You may know Laurence as the drummer in fabled Sydney bands PVT and Triosk, or many other collaborations & appearances including an album by Flanger, and albums from Sarah Blasko and Jack Ladder. So it's really nice hearing this stuff, recorded live in the studio in one single session - all glitchy & murky samples & loops trigger live along with the drum kit performance. He's launching the album this Saturday, March 24th, at the lovely Golden Age Cinema in Surry Hills.

Arad - Slua Washed [Bedouin Records]
Arad - Inti [Bedouin Records]
We've heard a lot from Ian McDonnell aka Eomac on this show lately, but as a fan of his duo Lakker for years now I've been interested in what's happening with the other half, Dara Smith. So here we have the long-awaited new EP from Arad, The Glimpse. It's stunning, really - ghostly autotuned vocals accompanied by various takes on bass techno, or crunching, sparse percussion and synth pads. Beautiful but also by and large dancefloor-tuned. So highly recommended.

Mark Van Hoen - Thru [Mark Van Hoen Bandcamp]
Seefeel - time to find me (come inside) [Astralwerks]
Locust - Penetration [R&S Records]
Scala - Naked [Touch]
Mark Van Hoen - Another Light Casts its Will [Touch]
Mark Van Hoen - Closer Than We All Thought [Apollo]
Mark Van Hoen - Don't Look Back [Editions Mego]
Locust - Do Not Fear [Editions Mego]
Mark Van Hoen - Only [Mark Van Hoen Bandcamp]
A new album from Mark Van Hoen dropped with very little fanfare on his Bandcamp earlier this week. Its title, Voices, encapsulates something that's been very important throughout his work with many different bands through his career - that is, vocals. He'd been making electronic music at home since his very young years in the early '80s, but began releasing music in the early '90s, as an early member & producer of shoegaze-meets-IDM band Seefeel, and with solo work as Locust. Sarah Peacock, singer with Seefeel, turned up on many of the classic Locust tracks - including the crunching, overdriven hip-hop of "Penetration" here, from the amazing Truth Is Born Of Arguments album. Peacock was also a member of Scala, the electronic-meets-shoegaze-meets-indie band that put out a few albums in a concentrated period of time in the mid-'90s. Throughout his solo work as well as collaborations with people like Neil Halstead of Slowdive, vocals or chopped vocal samples have been very prominent alongside the weeping synth pads and expertly programmed beats. When he returned to his roots of granulated electronics & beats with a couple of albums on Editions Mego in 2012-2013, the vocal snippets were again very much to the fore - so to the fans, this new album's title immediately rings true, and its contents are just what we expect and crave. A truly important artist of the last 2 1/2 decades.

Listen again — ~203MB

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Sunday, 11th of March, 2018

Playlist 11.03.18 (8:12 pm)

Post-classical to fluttery drone to vocal gymnastics, industrial techno of various types and some fun, crazy junglisms tonight.

LISTEN AGAIN for the low highs and high lows... stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

Jim Perkins - Swimmer Among The Stars [bigo & twigetti]
British composer & producer Jim Perkins runs the excellent post-classical label bigo & twigetti, who releases peeps like Leah Kardos. His own approach has been a mixture of composed music for strings and piano with glitchy electronics edits & beats. This new track is the first from a new album he's preparing this year, and is a beautifully-recorded piece for string ensemble, with cavernous reverb and plenty of bass in the mix, moving from dynamic crescendoing long notes into chugging quaver rhythms for the whole small orchestra.

GreyWing Ensemble - Hostage (by Catherine Ashley) [Tone List]
Perth ensemble GreyWing are releasing TWO albums on excellent local label Tone List, both consisting of interpretations of graphical scores (and both come in limited physical editions of the scores themselves - see Bandcamp). Some of the pieces - from WA composers such as Sam Gillies, Lindsay Vickery, Cat Hope and others also feature field recordings, but on the whole it's small chamber ensembles interpreting graphical scores. Tonight's piece is from GreyWing's own harpist Catherine Ashley, and it's a particularly lovely piece of near-static fluttery textures.

Hannah Silva - Talking To Silence - Part 1 [Human Kind, courtesy of Wire Magazine]
Sunna - Amma [self-released, courtesy of Wire Magazine]
Ammar 808 feat. Cheb Hassen Tej - Esoug Rsam [Glitterbeat, courtesy of Wire Magazine]
A new edition of cover CD The Wire Tapper from Wire Magazine always comes with interesting new music to discover. We start with two women doing very different interesting stuff with voice. UK playwright and poet Hannah Silva contributes some amazing vocal percussion along with percussion and electronic production, and Icelandic singer Sunna gives us a track made up of soft overlapping vocal samples and a quite accessible song. I'm really looking forward to discovering more from both these women. Finally we hear from Tunisian Ammar 808, with some wonderfully distorted 808 beats & bass along with various vocal collaborators - here fellow Tunisian Cheb Hassen Tej. German internationalist label Glitterbeat is putting this out later in the year - can't wait!

TeChSlo - Mountain Side [Gos Music Studio]
TeChSlo - Fire in the Cave [Gos Music Studio]
Sydney producer Chris Hancock of The Frequency Lab is perhaps best known as Monk Fly, one-time Elefant Traks member and producer of hip-hop, wonky electronica and other electronic forms (and recording engineer for all genres under the sun). For his new project making deep, enveloping minimal dub techno, he's chosen a new moniker, TeChSlo, and his second EP is released by southern Italian label Gos Music Studio. It's a cute name pointing to the fact that it's really slowed-down techno, and the dub is strong here - "Fire in the Cave" in particular is impossibly slow if you think of it as a 4/4 beat, but there's plenty going on in the delays, crackling percussive hits and high-pitched squeals...

Eomac - Resist All Dogma [Eotrax]
Eomac - Resist All Dogma (Shaddah Tuum Remix) [Eotrax]
Shaddah Tuum - Merkabah [Portals Editions]
Berlin-resident Irish producer Eomac, one half of Lakker, releases here the first single from an album out in April. With frenetic footwork-influence percussion in a kind of industrial techno context, and his own screamed, wordless vocals interjecting here and there, it's an impassioned howl against the modern world. Backed with a slowed-down remix by Shaddah Tuum, Berlin-resident duo of Niko LFO (Shaddah) and Brandon Rosenbluth, who were responsible for the debut release on the excellent Portals Editions label they co-founded in 2014 with Yair Elazar Glotman (and others?).

We will fail. - Night (Ziúr Remix) [Refined Productions]
Polish prdocuer Aleksandra Grünholz is pushing her We will fail. project forward with a new label, Refined Productions, that she's running along with Monotype Records, the Polish experimental label that put out her first releases. There's actually an Eomac remix on this EP, but I chose to play female Berlin producer Ziúr's digitally corroded take. A second EP is out soon with another new track alongside further exciting names on the remixes.

The Fear Ratio - GBA Live [Skam]
It's always a surprise that Manchester IDM label Skam still exists, but of course they put out the brilliant Bola album last year... The Fear Ratio are the duo of James Ruskin & Mark Broom, both veterans of the UK branch of Detroit techno, doing IDM-infused breakbeat techno which has always been super fun. The Live EP showcases material mostly from their last album (now a few years old) repurposed for the live setting, generally twisted in different ways from their original forms. Precision-tooled for weirdass dancefloors everywhere.

Bicep - Opal (Four Tet Remix) [Ninja Tune]
Kieran Hebden's been the go-to remix guy for at least a decade and a half now, and in some ways this is a perfectly by-numbers contemporary Four Tet remix, but it's also super pretty, happy breakbeat house, remix late-period Ninja Tune act Bicep.

Etch - When The Soul Departs The Body [Altered Roads Vol. 1]
Etch - Send For Everyone People That Know Anyone Of Everyone [Jungle Warz on SoundCloud]
Third Person Lurkin - Prismatic (Etch Revision) [Sneaker Social Club]
Etch - The Scientists (Breaknology) [Soundman Chronicles]
LL Cool J - Mama Said Knock You Out (Etch Said UK Hardcore Refix) [BTG/Etch]
Etch - Lore Of Samurai [Altered Roads Vol. 1]
Brighton producer Zach Brashill aka Etch has been a force in drum'n'bass/jungle, as well as dubstep/UK garage/downtempo for the last 5 years or so. With appearances on Keysound, DJ Parris' Soundman Chronicles and Sneaker Social Club and others, he's made quite a name for himself - along with many remixes, both legitimate and not so much. With new label Altered Roads setup as a side label of Soundman Chronicles, he's taking a genre-ambivalent approach, bringing out unusual influences. We heard quite a bit of this across the selections tonight - jungle & breakbeat are very prevalent but there's also the fun East Coast Jungleworx taking east coast US hip-hop classics and basically just mixing up the (often very recognizable) instrumentals into jungle/UK hardcore/footwork concoctions.

Listen again — ~198MB

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Sunday, 4th of March, 2018

Playlist 04.03.18 (8:08 pm)

Everything from gorgeous Stereolab style postrock-pop to blast-furnace doom, stunning Korean ambient to Middle Eastern techno beats...

LISTEN AGAIN so you can keep up... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Grand Veymont - Bois barbu [Objet Disque]
Grand Veymont - Valse tango [Objet Disque]
Based in the Vercors Mountains in France, the tallest peak of which is the eponymous Grand Veymont, Béatrice Morel Journel and Josselin Varengo have made music together for many years, and this duo has existed since 2016. With interlocking sequenced synthesiser lines and interlocking melodic vocals creating lovely polyrhythms, they've got more than a little of the Stereolabs about them - emphasising very much the French harmonic progressions - you could hear these songs transposed to accordion and double bass easily. Lovely.

Park Jiha - Accumulation Of Time [Glitterbeat]
Park Jiha - Sounds Heard From The Moon [Glitterbeat]
Although Korean musician Park Jiha's main instrument is the oboe-like double reed instrument the piri, on many tracks on her stunning new album Communion we hear her playing the yanggeum, a kind of hammered dulcimer. Combined with field recordings and subtle sounds from wind instruments, Jiha creates a music that's deeply rooted in Korean traditional music, but draws from post-rock, Western minimalist classical music, and even doom metal. A couple of tracks also feature some wailing saxophone, and I'm willing to admit that it somehow works...

Insect Ark - Daath [Profound Lore]
Insect Ark - The Collector [Insect Ark Bandcamp/Autumnsongs Records]
Insect Ark - Slow Ray [Profound Lore]
Bassist Dana Schechter was best known to me as a member of Michael Gira's Angels of Light for some years, and I was very excited when she released her first solo album as Insect Ark - heavy, instrumental blackened doom and drone metal all created by the one woman. Shortly after the first album was released, Schechter was joined by Ashley Spungin on drums and synths, but there's a clear continuity in the sound. If anything, a few tracks are more upbeat, albeit still dark and dank; but there's some terrifically sludgily slow doom in there too.

Dedekind Cut - Tahoe [Kranky]
Dedekind Cut - De-Civilization [Kranky]
From making beats for the likes of Joey Bada$$ to releasing albums on Ninja Tune as Lee Bannon, drawing from jungle and idm, to noise collaborations and work with NON Worldwide and now releasing his most fully-realised ambient work Tahoe for the venerable Kranky, Fred Warmsley likes to mix shit up. He's threatened in the past to abandon the beats, but I have little doubt we'll get some fucked-up industrial techno and bass sometime soon. Nevertheless, this album fits beautifully into the Kranky canon, sometimes veering into Aphex Twin or early Autechre-style ambient beauty (to my ears on the title track for instance). Always worth checking out his work.

Zoë Mc Pherson - vii. Transmission (so it shall never be lost) [SVS Records]
Zoë Mc Pherson - iv. Komusar (moving) [SVS Records]
Sound artist Zoë Mc Pherson has a background in jazz drumming and is a vocalist, but she comes to the String Figures project with field recordings she's made or sourced from all over the world, along with a percussionist collaborator. So on our first track tonight there's processed Hardanger fiddle (a Norwegian folk violin), and on the second track there are bees from the south of France, and a wonderful vocal credited as "Muralag folk tale in 4 sung by Made Paul, collected by W. Laade in Western Torres Straits, South Pacific". It's all put together with glitchy beats and electronics, making for a fascinating and rewarding project that's also fun to listen to.

Mahdyar - Tommy Might Bury Y'All [Kowloon]
Mahdyar - Khakis [Kowloon]
Iranian artist Mahdyar Aghajani has just released his debut album Seized on Kowloon Records, having been blacklisted by the Iranian Ministry of Culture in 2009, and made his way from Tehran to Europe to continue making music. Classically trained, Aghajani draws on Persian music among his glitches and bass/hip-hop influenced beats to create something that sounds politically charged even without understanding the nuance. There's humour too - the title of "Tommy Might Bury Y'All" is a sardonic quasi-English transcription of the Iranian voice at the end of the track.

DJ Plead - DVE [Decisions]
DJ Plead - M11 [Decisions]
Jared Beeler is one third of BV and beloved beatmaker and member of Sydney's dance music scene, but has relocated fairly recently to Melbourne. His debut release as DJ Plead Get In Circle sees him drawing on his Lebanese heritage, referencing dance circles at weddings, and melding that percussive music with house and footwork.

Yen Towers - M4P [Posh Isolation]
Yen Towers - BID I (Bug) [Posh Isolation]
Age Coin - Raptor [Posh Isolation]
Yen Towers - Rattle Me [Posh Isolation]
The prolific Danish musician Simon Formann is a mainstay in Copenhagen's Posh Isolation scene and member of various groups including Age Coin. His new EP as Yen Towers veers a little away from the idm-tinged bass techno of the earlier Yen Towers and Age Coin material (represented by the 2nd & 3rd tracks here) into slightly more abstract chill-out realms, albeit still with glitchy beats appearing.

Listen again — ~197MB

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