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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, 29th of April, 2018

Playlist 29.04.18 (8:51 pm)

An electronic Utility Fog for you this week...

LISTEN AGAIN for all the details you missed! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Autechre - column thirteen [Warp/AE_STORE]
And so with April almost over, Autechre's NTS Radio comes to a close with the last 2 hours of new music, and I honestly think NTS Session 4 is the best of them all. I was strongly tempted to play all 25 minutes of "shimripl casual" (but not all 58 minutes of "all end", gorgeous though it is) - but in the end, this is wonderful too, and gives me a leetle more space for other stuff. Tracks like all of these blur the line beautifully between generative audio and human input - I'm sure the tonal & harmonic space is created by Sean & Rob, but some elements are allowed to bleep and bloop of their own accord.

Eomac - Language Has Failed Us [Eotrax]
Eomac - Transmutation, Redemption, Forgiveness [Eotrax]
Drawing as much from old-school jungle and Autechre as the industrial techno of his work with Lakker, and from Haitian voodoo drumming and Irish traditional dance, Eomac's new album presents a frenzy of percussion and cathartic vocal emanations, to Reconnect with our wild nature. A ritual ecstatic dance pushing back against late-stage capitalism, it's quite an experience.

Shadows - Cuthands [Opal Tapes]
AnD - Resisting Authority [Electric Deluxe]
Andrew Bowen & Dimitri Poumplidis (see? A'n'D) make an ultra-heavy kind of techno that draws a lot from noise but generally remains just on the right side of the dancefloor. Last year's album took them into drum'n'bass and dubstep territories of a sort, and we'll segue into some more d'n'b from there - but just now they've released an album under their Shadows moniker, somewhat less noise & "heavy" focused, for the awesome Opal Tapes.

Artilect - Concussion [Samurai Music Group]
Berlin's Samurai Music Group have championed adventurous artists in the drum'n'bass space for over a decade now, and that includes techno & dubstep-influenced excursions, more ambient outings, and the reintegration of old-school junglist tendencies into drum'n'bass - see the mid-'90s techstep meets jungle of Artilect's latest EP.

Ahmad & Akinsa - Delusion [Rupture London]
London's Rupture label is right at the forefront of the jungle revival, and they showcase the latest darkstyle sounds on their recent compilation The Fifth Column. Ahmad & Akinsa's track has a half-speed dancehall push from the bass, and junglist hi-hats and breaks shattering over the top. Awesome.

Ruby My Dear - jit thin [Kaometry]
Fresh from his new album Brame, French producer Ruby My Dear has dropped an exclusive track of pretty melodic drill'n'bassy idm for Kaometry's Nerves of Time Vol. 4 compilation. It's the kind of stuff he does best.

Arrom - See How (Ahm Remix) [Provenance]
Arrom - See How (KAIAR Remix) [Provenance]
Melbourne's Arrom put out a fantastic album of experimental electronic pop songs on Provenance last year, and now she's handed her tunes over to various friends & collaborators. Ahm, who co-wrote some of the material with her, has done two remixes, one glitching up her vocals, and this one, adding super-fun high-speed breaks to take it into some kind of drill'n'bass territory. Meanwhile labelmate KAIAR tries to keep a lid on the frenetic glitchy beats...

Match Fixer - Rubble 4 [Match Fixer Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Andrew Cowie is probably better known as Angel Eyes, under which moniker he's had releases internationally - but the experimental sounds of Match Fixer are a little more focused on freaky programmed beats & electronic. All the tracks on the Rubble EP have splattered beats and a bass grounding, and then tend to detour into quieter, more ambient passages - Autechre is again quite an influence. Cool stuff.

Hence Therefore - Skin Pixels [Little Beat Different]
Sydney's Hence Therefore has been a little quiet since relocating to London, but we've got TWO new tunes coming soon on London-based Little Beat Different label's very international Evidence Found no.1 compilation. Rolling beats which are not at all drum'n'bass but have that lovely forward impetus to them...

Okzharp & Manthe Ribane - Dun [Hyperdub]
First cut from this Anglo-South African duo's album coming from Hyperdub in July, this brings us bass-influenced beats from London-based Okzharp, and vocals from Manthe Ribane, famous in South Africa's fashion & dance scenes. It's a cool combination of South African & English dance forms, and I'm excited to hear what else they've been making.

Lybes Dimem - Auto Alternative [SVS Records]
Lukas Rehm is Lybes Dimem, visual artist and musician, making bass-heavy electronics somewhere between abstract/ambient and beats. It's kind of like Autechre if they'd grown up in the post-dubstep Bass world.

Luton - Elk Talk [Lost Tribe Sound]
Luton - Södermalm Phantom Cab [Lost Tribe Sound]
Luton - Black Concrete [Lost Tribe Sound]
I've read about Luton, the duo of Roberto P. Siguera and Attilio Novellino, as being Italian, but their Bandcamp places them in Stockholm, Sweden, and Siguera's Twitter says he's based in Manchester. Citizens of the world! Their music is captivating, some of the best stuff Lost Tribe Sound has put out in a while, and they're a label with high standards. Acoustic instruments including piano, violin, hammered dulcimer and percussion are artfully combined with field recordings and electronics. It's spacious and evocative stuff worthy of multiple listens.

From The Mouth of the Sun - Reaching When Nothing Is There [Lost Tribe Sound]
Also on Lost Tribe Sound, the now well-established duo of Dag Rosenqvist and Aaron Martin as From The Mouth of the Sun has a lovely new album out in a few weeks, called Sleep Stations - blissful layers of cello, other acoustic & electronic instruments and field recordings.

Listen again — ~274MB

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Sunday, 22nd of April, 2018

Playlist 22.04.18 (9:09 pm)

Big show tonight, with classical influences on a piano slant later on, and electronic & beats up front.

LISTEN AGAIN and thrill and cry... stream on demand from FBi or podcast here.

Mouse on Mars - Dimensional People Parts I-III feat. Justin Vernon et al [Thrill Jockey]
Mouse on Mars - Foul Mouth (feat. Amanda Blank, Zach Condon et al) [Thrill Jockey]
Now 25 years old, German electronic duo Mouse on Mars have explored many continents of sound in their existence, from techno to ambient to idm, and I somewhat lost track of them in the last decade or so, but Dimensional People sees them in some ways revisiting the terrain of late '90s & early '00s albums where their electronics & processing was weaved into and around acoustic instruments and live musicians. With guests such as Justin Vernon (Bon Iver), Zach Condon (Beirut), Aaron Dessner & Bryce Dessner and Sam Amidon, they're definitely getting their indie-folk on here, but they've also got rapping from Amanda Blank, Spank Rock and Swamp Dogg... So, it's mixed up and genre-agnostic, which is just how we love it.

AQXDM - Aegis [Bedouin Records]
Cross-Atlantic collaboration between US artist Aquarian & French producer Deapmash, who share a love of UK Bass music, including jungle & drum'n'bass, and also industrial, so they fit right in with the industrial techno leanings of various labels I'm enjoying right now such as the excellent Bedouin Records.

Second Woman - Apart II [Tresor]
The duo of Joshua Eustis & Turk Dietrich have worked together since before Eustis formed Telefon Tel Aviv, and now have a number of releases from the Spectrum Spools label exploring glitchy, ultra-synthesised worlds that often seem like a combination of Autechre and the Raster-Noton aesthetic. Their new EP appears on legendary Berlin club label Tresor, where they're wading in the strong currents of minimal dub techno, although the Ae influence is still very much there.

Autechre - g 1 e 1 [Warp/AE_STORE]
And thus, this weeks' new Ae track - as mentioned last week Autechre have a 4-week residency on NTS Radio this month, each week releasing 2 hours of new music into the wild, which will then be released as an 8 hour album called NTS Sessions on a ridiculous number of LPs or CDs. They have the luxury of creating 20+-minute tracks on each release, with most clocking in at 10 minutes or more, and there's the gamut of their contemporary styles, with some heavy beats, some repetitive midrange sounds, and some eerie beauty such as tonight's offering.

Evelyn Ida Morris - Forecast [Milk Records]
Evelyn Ida Morris - The Body Appears [Milk Records]
True Radical Miracle - Roaches Part 1 [Sabbatical]
Pikelet - A Bunch [Chapter Music/Pikelet Bandcamp]
Pikelet - Take Off The Face Paint [self-released Dictation CDR]
Pikelet - Toby Light [Chapter Music/Pikelet Bandcamp]
Pikelet - dear unimaginables [Pikelet Bandcamp]
Evelyn Ida Morris - Stop Driving [Milk Records]
This piano album of Evelyn Ida Morris's has been a long time coming, and it was worth every minute of the wait. I saw them performing tracks off this, complex classical-inspired piano compositions with vocals, late last year. As we hear tonight, piano has appeared in Evelyn's work as far back as this weird drone/noise CDR from their early hardcore/doom metal band True Radical Miracle, and many of the characteristics of these compositions are present there already. However, as Pikelet the focus early on was on wonderful compositions created with looping pedal, with percussion of all sorts, guitar, melodica, and later electric keyboard. Pikelet eventually became a full band, and then became a solo act again. And even then there were piano pieces in between (like the early version of "Face Paint" we heard tonight from a rare CDR). When Stem, the first full band album came out, it was quite weird hearing songs I'd been obsessed with for ages rendered in full band mode (e.g. "Toby Light", quite honestly one of my favourite songs of the last decade).
A few years ago, after some very thought-provoking Facebook posts, Evelyn formed the influential & inspiring LISTEN project to promote change within the Australian music world from a feminist perspective. Evelyn has expressed in the last few years a growing discomfort with the traditional binary constraints of gender, and even more than on 2016's tronc this is expressed (not always verbally) in these songs. Musically, Debussy and Ravel are very evident, but Evelyn's songwriting voice is very strong. It's also really cool hearing the occasional non-piano elements - drums on a couple of tracks, the wonderful swooping bass and fluttering flute on "Stop Driving". I'm in awe of this music.

Erik Friedlander - Sweet Fennel [Erik Friedlander Bandcamp]
The new album from Downtown New York cellist Erik Friedlander (known for his work with John Zorn and others from that scene), Artemisia, is mostly focused on jazz, but Friedlander's influences are broad, and somehow at the end (I have it from the Kickstarter edition, but perhaps it's a digital bonus?) there's this piece in which the piano of Uri Caine is reversed and re-layered into something lovely & abstract.

Joana Gama | Luís Fernandes - Lucid Stillness [Room40]
Joana Gama | Luís Fernandes - Through The Vibrant Air [Room40]
Two tracks from the Portuguese duo of pianist Joana Gama and producer/sound-artist Luís Fernandes, released on Brisbane's own Room40 label, and produced by label boss Lawrence English, featuring contemporary composition for piano & orchestra at times underlined or overcome by electronic sounds. It's full of both shuddering intensity and quivering calm.

Jóhann Jóhannsson - Englabörn (Viktor Orri Árnason Rework) [Deutsche Grammophon]
Jóhann Jóhannsson - Odi Et Amo [Deutsche Grammophon]
Philip Glass - Protest (Remix by Jóhann Jóhannsson) [Orange Mountain Music]
Jóhann Jóhannsson - Sálfræðingur Deyr (Hildur Guðnadóttir Rework) [Deutsche Grammophon]
In 2002, the debut album from Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson first came to light via Touch Music. Englabörn's reissue was already planned for this year - a 2CD set with some top-notch remixes & reworkings - but it now serves as a mournful eulogy following the composer's tragically premature death, from as-yet unknown causes. A now-accomplished film composer, Jóhannsson was at one point slated to make the music for Blade Runner 2049, and wrote the wonderful soundtrack to Dennis Villeneuve's previous sci-fi blockbuster The Arrival. Everyone who knew him descried him as a humble, gentle, generous soul. He always had an interest in combining his beautiful classical orchestrations with electronics - just listen to the robot voice singing Catullus's poem "Odi Et Amo" ("I hate and I love"), the very first track on that debut album, to hear his intent from the beginning. The longing in this computerised voice is extraordinary. Fortunately the reworkings are sensitive and often equally bewitching, including contributions from A Winged Victory For The Sullen, Ryuichi Sakamoto and others. Tonight I played a rather exquisite version of the title track from fellow Icelander Viktor Orri Árnason, and didn't quite have time for another Icelander, cellist Hildur Guðnadóttir's track (although (shh!) you can hear it in the podcast version...) Meanwhile, I also played Jólhannsson's own remix of Philip Glass from a few years back, complete with choir and beats... Rest In Peace.

Listen again — ~197MB

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Sunday, 15th of April, 2018

Playlist 15.04.18 (9:10 pm)

IDM and electronic sounds abound tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN - you'll work it out eventually! Stream on demand via FBi, podcast over here.

Arikon - City Cum Temple [Portals Editions]
Gainstage - Sediment Two [Portals Editions]
Arikon - The Prophet's Blood Is Boiling [Portals Editions]
Arik Hayut is half of the industrial doom-techno duo Gainstage, with two releases on Berlin label Portals Editions. Given the heavy bass and overdriven sound of that band, the "drum and drone" of his solo work as Arikon doesn't come as a big surprise - but it just happens to be some of the best work to come out of this label and the associated Berlin scene of late. The Prophet's Blood Is Boiling references on the one hand the social decay and excess of late-stage capitalism, and on the other hand various monsters found in both the Hebrew bible and Jewish apocrypha. It's dirty and distorted, but full of engaging basslines and rhythms. Very highly recommended.

Tim Koch - Bloom (feat. Beth Keough) [CPU Records]
Thug - rhino song [Aural Industries/Tim Koch Bandcamp]
FourPlay String Quartet - Meshugganah (Methugganah remix by Tim Koch) [FourPlay String Quartet Bandcamp]
Machine Drum - Machine Drum (Tim Koch's Thousand Times Over Mix) [Merck]
Tim Koch - Ecittal [U-Cover]
Tim Koch - Techune [U-Cover]
Tim Koch - Truth Sinks In [Merck/Tim Koch Bandcamp]
10:32 - Blue Little [Ghostly]
Tim Koch - Miller Lowlife [CPU Records]
Adelaide's Tim Koch is one of Australia's best-established idm artists, with his first release (under the name Thug) dating back to 1999. Already at that time it was clear that he was a producer of great musical talent who also knew his way around synth patches and drum machines. He found international acclaim with releases on celebrated electronic labels like deFocus (weighted more towards electro/techno), Merck (definitely core idm!) and U-Cover (more ambient leanings), as well as *ahem* remixing my band FourPlay String Quartet back in the day (turning in no less than three very different versions of the same tune!) His most recent full release was an EP under the name "10:32" exploring some more (electro-)acoustic leanings for the legendary Ghostly label - and that was in 2009. The last album "proper", as Tim Koch, was the last release for the beloved Merck label, in 2006 - so it's been a while between drinks and it's lovely to hear a big collection (17 tracks) released by Sheffield's Central Processing Unit - initial copies on Tim's preferred format of MiniDisc.

µ-Ziq - Lexicon (ft. Kazumi) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
µ-Ziq - scaling [Hut Records/Astralwerks]
µ-Ziq - Bassbins [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Mike Paradinas has been slowly unearthing unreleased gems from his massive archive over the last few years. In the '90s his habit was to record vast amounts of music, almost daily, and so there's a lot of stuff contemporaneous to many favourite releases that has never seen the light of day. Just released now is Challenge Me Foolish, collecting music from the same period as the Royal Astronomy album, his follow-up to the still incredible Lunatic Harness, expanding on the drill'n'bass and faux-classical elements of that release. Many of these tracks feature Japanese vocalist Kazumi, who contributed to a number of releases by Paradinas and other contemporaries. I remember Mike launched Royal Astronomy in London with a string quartet, which he says was at the behest of the label and was a total disaster - but nevertheless I've always found his quasi-classical synth string pieces delightful and moving.

Autechre - four of seven [Warp/AE_STORE]
Autechre - six of eight (midst) [Warp/AE_STORE]
Last time Autechre dropped new music, in 2016, they decided to entirely free themselves from the constraints of physical releases, and gave us over 4 hours of music (all at once) over the 5 Elseq EPs. This time round there are exactly 8 hours of music, but at least they're spreading them out in 2 hour blocks over the four weeks of their NTS Radio residency. Each NTS Session is available for download after it airs, as basically a full album - there are separate tracks, albeit many clocking in at 15 minutes or more. They'll all be collected into massive box sets too - 8xCD or 12xLP. At this stage we can say it's typical Autechre stuff - hard to get into and then utterly immersive and brilliant. The long tracks evolve in fascinating ways; the shorter ones explore distinct sonic terrain. Sometimes the sound is expansive, bass-heavy, at other times the duo's penchant for squashed, unyielding mid-range timbres takes over. But as always the beauty's in the details, the buried melodies and often in the way things unfold over the luxuriously long times they allow themselves.

Listen again — ~197MB

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Sunday, 8th of April, 2018

Playlist 08.04.18 (9:11 pm)

Big show with sad news and exciting news...
And BIG THANKS to Krishtie Mofazzal for enthusiastically filling in for me last week!

LISTEN AGAIN for all them feels... Stream on demand from FBi alwayyys, or podcast over here...

Tunng - Flatland [Full Time Hobby/Tunng Bandcamp]
The duo of Mike Lindsay and Sam Genders as Tunng took my breath away in mid 2004 when I heard their first single, released originally by Static Caravan. Arcane English folk channeled through glitchy electronic production, it was everything Utility Fog was initially conceived to be about, and they became a staple on the show for some years. A few years in, Sam Genders left to pursue some indie & folky directions of his own, and to me the band somewhat lost its way, with grating generic singalong folk songs... (of course your mileage may vary!) So it's with great pleasure that I learned that the original duo have gotten back together, with this single auguring a full album, and what a delightful song it is too. Can't wait for more.

Flame 1 - Shrine [Pressure]
Epic teamup of Kevin Martin aka The Bug and Burial, creating basically just what you'd expect - rainswept dark post-dubstep music. It's a very low-key two-tracker, but really lovely and a nice first entry for The Bug's new Pressure label.

Zozobra - The Vast Expanse [Hydra Head]
Old Man Gloom - Close Your Eyes, Roll Back In Your Head [Tortuga Recordings]
Old Man Gloom - Girth And Greed [Tortuga Recordings]
Old Man Gloom - Sonic Dust [Tortuga Recordings]
Cave In - The World Is In The Way [Hydra Head]
In the first in two pieces of tragic news that hit the music world last week (and we've had more this week although not so much in the Utility Fog realm...), Caleb Scofield passed away in a car accident at the age of 39. Best known probably as the bass player in Cave In, who started off as hardcore/metalcore but moved into alternative rock waters, and in a way came back again... Most significantly to me, Caleb was the bass player in the immense, inventive supergroup Old Man Gloom, featuring Scofield alongside ISIS's Aaron Turner, Converge's Nate Newton and the cheeky Mexican drummer Santos Montano. Montano also played with Scofield in his heavy, rifftastic bass-led solo act Zozobra (named for the same Mexican figure that inspired Old Man Gloom).
Scofield leaves a young family. A YouCaring fundraiser was setup which far surpassed its $1,000 goal within hours, and has now raised over $100,000.

Alias - Divine Disappointment [Anticon]
Anticon - We Ain't Fessin' [Anticon]
Alias - Watching Water [Anticon]
Alias - Unseen Sights (feat. Markus Acher) [Anticon]
Sole - Every Single One Of Us [Anticon]
Sage Francis - Product Placement [Epitaph]
Alias - M.G. Jack [Anticon]
B. Dolan - Fifty Ways To Bleed Your Customer [Strange Famous Records]
Alias - Gold cLOUDDEAD Skiez [Anticon]
A few days after the death of Caleb Scofield, last Sunday for me, the news hit that Brendon Whitney aka Alias had passed away of a heart attack. It's been a while since we had significant work from Whitney - a solo album came out on Anticon in 2014, and he's had an important hand in plenty of (alternative) hip-hop releases but more in the background. But his impact on a lot of UFog favourites through the years can't be overstated. From B. Dolan's incredible 2010 album Fallen House, Sunken City that could not exist without Alias's hard-hitting beats, to many of Sage Francis's important albums including the 2005 turning point A Healthy Distrust, and early work by the likes of Sole and others, and back to his own rap work in the early days, some of which we sampled from early Anticon compilations... And of course there's that collaboration with Markus Acher of The Notwist, a plodding piece of sad-hop that I've loved for a decade and a half. We finish with a track from Alias's last solo album, from 2014, which incorporated trap & bass elements, and in amongst it a rather nice tribute to Odd Nosdam's production...
Brendon Whitney also left a young family behind. There's a GofundMe setup to support them, and I recommend dropping some cash if you can afford to.

Fake - Lo Res [SUMAC]
Cassius Select - Joy Mile [Unknown To The Unknown]
BV - Huh [Black Vanilla Bandcamp]
Fake - blame! [Fake Bandcamp] {under talking}
Cassius Select - Essence [Accidental Jnr]
BV - Hounds Out [BV Bandcamp]
Fake - Living Hard [SUMAC]
We learned in the last week or two that Lavurn Lee, long fixture of Sydney's music scene, is returning to his original home of Toronto. As a result, the beloved BV - his trio with Marcus Whale and Jared Beeler - are going on long-term hiatus. Beeler has also moved to Melbourne, and it's him along with a couple of other Sydney ex-pats in Melbourne who've setup the SUMAC label that just released Lee's new self-titled album for his minimalist grime/trap/r'n'b project Fake. Lavurn originally came to notoriety in Sydney via his r'n'b vocal looping & electronics as Guerre, but apart from the legendary BV who trickle out pure gems every couple of years, he's received international acclaim for his techno/bass productions as Cassius Select. There's a hefty grime influence on his sounds - not just the rawness of the bass & electronics, but also in some of the cadences of his rapping (although no doubt Southern hip-hop has a more substantial presence). BV has always approached the dancefloor as a dark, post-cyberpunk battlefield, and Cassius Select tends to look to the darker ends of the dance spectrum too. With Fake, Lavurn is breaking down hip-hop into its most fucked-up & experimental formats too, processing his vocals, samples and beats as much as possible, and keeping the bass heavy. Mad props.

Listen again — ~204MB

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