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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, 27th of May, 2018

Playlist 27.05.18 (9:09 pm)

So much good music, and that's lucky because we only play good music over here!

LISTEN AGAIN, over and over... podcast here, stream on demand via FBi!

Shoeb Ahmad - "lope" [Art as Catharsis]
Shoeb Ahmad - "status anxiety" (tilman robinson remix) [Art as Catharsis]
Finally, Shoeb Ahmad's new album is dropping tomorrow - released through the all-label, the grand poobahs of good taste, Art As Catharsis. Borne from a period where she grappled with gender identity, and the intersection of this with identities of race and religion as well as the external identity expectations of friends, family and strangers, it's a masterwork of indie-soul songs with creative arrangements. There's a special CD edition accompanied by a slew of great remixes, and I won't play you any of the exclusives yet, but here's a stunning take by Melbourne-based Perth composer Tilman Robinson from last year (it'll be included).

Tourist Kid - Discourse II [Melody As Truth]
Tourist Kid - Learn [Melody As Truth]
Speaking of Melbourne-based Perth artists, Tourist Kid's new album is out now, on Dutch label Melody As Truth. I heard of him last year via a remix of Perth postrock band Original Past Life, but he also has a previous on uber-cool Melbourne label This Thing. This is quite exquisite stuff, juxtaposing stuttery chopped-up glitch elements and expansive pads along with some strings and wordless vocals.

Liminal Drifter - The Dreams [Hidden Shoal]
Nice to have something new from Dr Simon Order aka Liminal Drifter. Also from Perth, what is it with that city? Although Order is originally from the UK, but clearly settled there because of its great music scene... With some funky melodic idm-tinged beats here.

The Black Hundred - Completion (Mangabros Mucking Fuddle Mix) [Polyglot Records]
Melbourne's The Black Hundred are now... well, inasmuch as they're sometimes just James McGauran, they're now based in Sweden. Out now is a remix album with an international cast of like-minded artists across the industrial, postrock and electronic spectrum doing their takes on The Black Hundred's material - tonight we heard from UK oddball post-industrial collective Mangabros.

Philippe Petit & Friends - The Hammer + The Compliant Man feat. Eugene S. Robinson [Aagoo]
Dagger Moth & Philippe Petit - Ovaries (Philippe Petit Rmx) [Jelodanti Records]
Philippe Petit & Friends - U & I feat. Jad Fair [Aagoo]
The latest album from Philippe Petit, that musical travel agent from Marseilles, is once again a collaborative affair with his "& Friends", including as usual Hervé Vincenti and many others. This isn't the first time he's worked with Eugene S. Robinson of art-punks Oxbow, but it's delightfully unhinged. Equally freaky is the track featuring legendary US outsider artist Jad Fair, whose vocals are relentlessly processed throughout. Meanwhile, as I was putting together the playlist Philippe sent me another new release - a 7" with Italian experimental pop artist Dagger Moth aka Sara Ardizzoni.

Sonae - Soul Eater [Monika Enterprise]
Sonae - White Trash Rouge Noir [Monika Enterprise]
The second album from Sonia Güttler aka Sonae is called I Started Wearing Black. A lot of it nicely fits the description from Resident Advisor found on her webpages of "patient forest techno" - but there's also a darkness & heaviness you'd associate with that album title. There's some expert sound design in here - indecipherable field recordings, processed acoustic instruments and pure electronics, ambient passages and crunching beats.

Jemh Circs - 000 [Cellule 75]
Jemh Circs - Ordre [Cellule 75]
Jemh Circs - Lac Dali [Cellule 75]
Second album from Marc Richter aka Black to Comm's vaporwave alias Jemh Circs. Eviscerated pop and YouTube samples, digitally chopped and layered... disorienting fun. Middle track is from the first album.

Mind Over MIDI - Våken drøm [Hibernate]
Mind Over MIDI - Himmelflukt [Hibernate]
Norwegian producer Helge Tømmervåg aka Mind Over MIDI makes rainy far-north ambient stuff. Icy cold but comfortingly warm as well, with plinky-plonky soft basslines and synth pads under field recordings.

Cameron Day - My Body and My Blood [Fluid Audio]
Cameron Day - The Myth of Disenchantment [Fluid Audio]
Fluid Radio's label arm, Fluid Audio, release incredibly intricate art pieces as limited physical CD editions, with impeccable curation. Here they've found Chicago artist Cameron Day, who works with arcane, beautiful tape manipulation of looped classical and other samples. I noticed that the second track I played is basically a cheeky manipulation of Björk's "Frosti" from Vespertine. I've found one other release here, also charmingly weird.

Sunna - Amma (Good Moon Deer Remix) [Sunna Bandcamp]
We've heard the excellent vocal/electronic songs of Sunna before, including the original version of this track which was featured on a Wire Magazine compilation a few months ago. Here's she's remixed by fellow Icelander Good Moon Deer, whose moniker is a humorous take on his actual first name. Guðmundur Úlfarsson in fact co-runs new label Unfiled, who released an excellent EP by Allenheimer also a few months ago - hope we hear more from them soon!

Rain Text - 2.2 [Bastakiya Tapes]
Rain Text - 2.1 [Bastakiya Tapes]
This is the second release from the Italian duo Rain Text, made up of legendary experimental sound-artist Giuseppe Ielasi (sometimes known as Inventing Masks) and electronic artist Giovanni Marco Civitenga (who's had an album released on Brainfeeder). They make minimal techno with broken beats, built from a constrained range of sound sources on each track, each gradually revealing more as it progresses.

clipping. - Face (Youth Code Remix) [Deathbomb Arc]
Here's one of the bonus remixes featured on the reissue/remaster of clipping.'s fast EP, originally released by Deathbomb Arc in 2012. EBM duo Youth Code (here I think just Sara Taylor) take it straight to the industro-gothic dancefloor.

Listen again — ~201MB

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Sunday, 20th of May, 2018

Playlist 20.05.18 (9:07 pm)

Emotional intensity, electronic withdrawal, we're running the gamut tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN for the fruits of emotional labour. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast over here.

Carla Bozulich - Written In Smoke (feat. Sarah Lipstate) [Constellation]
Carla Bozulich - Let It Roll (feat. John Eichenseer & Andrea Belfi) [Constellation]
The extraordinary Carla Bozulich never fails to create amazing sounds, both sonically creative and emotionally dense. Her background in the industrial scene from the '90s - albeit the insane, cabaret-influenced Ethyl Meatplow - contributes to the way Bozulich is always stretching the boundaries of what songforms can be, and is always playing with production techniques... but equally she's a huge country music fan, and is famous also for her alt-country/punk band The Geraldine Fibbers. Anything new from Bozulich is hotly anticipated round these parts, and this album delivers in spades.

the body - the last form of loving (feat. Chrissy Wolpert) [Thrill Jockey]
the body - the west has failed (feat. sample of Eek-A-Mouse) [Thrill Jockey]
the body - nothing stirs (feat. Kristin Hayter) [Thrill Jockey]
Taking their latest album's title from the suicide note of Virginia Woolf is fairly audacious, even for a band long obsessed with that final act. I have fought against it, But I can't any longer. takes the body into their most electronic realms yet, and in many ways the furthest away from their sludge/black metal origins. Everything's sampled, including the guitar riffs when they appear, mostly from their own work (a notable exception being the brilliantly-deployed Eek-A-Mouse sample on "the west has failed", worthy of a Massive Attack album). As usual Chip King's horrific screech is offset by beautiful female vocals from regular contributor Chrissy Wolpert (surely an honorary member) and also this time from Kristin Hayter, who gets pretty metal - as well as some stirring orchestral arrangements. Beats switch from full drumkit to drum machine, to glitchily chopped breaks. Everything's in there, and by some kind of magic it all works.

TOMAGA - The Dancer in the Lake [Emotional Response]
I discovered the music of TOMAGA playing in a second-hand record store in London last year, but no doubt I would have encountered them soon enough anyway. A psych rock rhythm section turned into a band in their own right, they meld postpunk guitar and drums with synths and all sorts of percussion to create a freeform kraut/psych/instrumental rock experience like no other. Percussionist Valentina Magaletti can also be found with postpunk/breakbeat duo Raime and various other outfits.

Jasmine Guffond - Kin Hue [listenagain]
It's always a pleasure to have new music from Jasmine Guffond, even if it's not the newerest of newness. This is from a split release originally intended to come out in 2014, but delayed for the usual obscure reasons. Impeccably produced electronics, with granular processing often of acoustic or live sound sources - all sounds exquisitely immediate but deeply immersive. I was also excited to discover Turkish artist biblo, and I'm planning to feature some of her music in an upcoming show.

Ben Marston & Hugh Barrett - Sleepyhead [Art As Catharsis]
Ben Marston & Hugh Barrett - The Crisp Breath of Dawn [Art As Catharsis]
Canberran duo Ben Marston & Hugh Barrett present an impressive array of approaches to the trumpet and keys duo here - from acoustic piano and trumpet to spooky Jon Hassell/Jan Bang harmonised trumpet to In A Silent Way-era Davis with Hancock/Corea and more. Even in the more unusual modalities, there's an attractive Australianness to the ambient/minimalist jazz sensibility. I love the way sampled & looped piano weaves its way through the live jazz jamming on a number of tracks. This is really textural music. Released mid-June, get your pre-orders in!

Splashgirl - Carrier [Hubro]
The ever-reliable Hubro deliver the goods once again - Splashgirl are a trio made up of pianist Andreas Stensland Løwe, double bassist Jo Berger Myhre (whose rich tones we've encountered before on this show) and drummer Andreas Lønmo Knudsrød. Being on Hubro, this isn't your standard jazz piano trio though, with synths and expansive, cinematic production lending a unique tone to the operation. The album was produced by the legendary Randall Dunn, giving everything that warm glow.

part timer - Sunday Sketch Blurred [part timer Bandcamp]
A welcome return for Melbourne-resident pom part timer, who used to be an almost weekly regular on this show with his impeccable folktronica, until children and jobs got in the way. He's quite possibly literally dusting off hard drives on a new release of warm acoustic sounds and electronics - leaning back to the glitchy folktronic roots but with the cavernousness of his later drone-influenced outings. More soon please!

Meyers - Self Portrait [Shelter Press]
Meyers - Expectations 1 [Shelter Press]
The last album from composer/producer Justin C Meyers dealt with a debilitating chronic illness and near-death experience that necessitated changes in the artist's practices. This new one of course has that state of affairs hanging over it, dealing (in its instrumental electronic way) with the experience of trying to be an artist while suffering an illness that found him laid off from his job and spending a lot of time in hospitals. Piecemeal, glitchy, fractured, it's quite a visceral work, deserving of a close listen.

Comatone & Foley - Laptop Microphone [Art As Catharsis]
Comatone & Foley - String Thing [Art As Catharsis]
Comatone & Foley - One Five Nine [Art As Catharsis]
Blue Mountains producer Comatone was a stalwart on Utility Fog in the pretty early days, with his intricate idm productions released by Feral Media. And drummer Alon Ilsar has long been a regular on this show too, as part of Gauche, or more recently playing AirSticks with his band The Sticks. The first Comatone & Foley album Trigger Happy was originally released 10 years ago, and is now made available by Art As Catharsis, along with the long-awaited sequel. Intricate VSnares-style beat processing and idm-style electronic melodies, from a duo equal in their inventiveness.

Appleblim - NCI [Sneaker Social Club]
A few years after dubstep's ascendency, the Skull Disco emerged out of Bristol, merging the weight of dubstep with the trancelike states of Basic Channel style dub techno, founded by Sam Shackleton alonside Appleblim. 'Blim moved on to other realms in the UK hardcore continuum, and on his debut(!) album released just now on Sneaker Social Club he presents an homage to all things rave, with breakbeats wending their way around techno & house beats. It's friendly stuff with a dancefloor sheen.

Listen again — ~196MB

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Sunday, 13th of May, 2018

Playlist 13.05.18 (9:09 pm)

Eclectic sounds on the show tonight, mostly pretty electronic/experimental, but with some postpunk sounds from everyone's favourite rude-word band.

LISTEN AGAIN for the requisite mind-expansion. Stream on demand from FBi and podcast here.

Tropical Fuck Storm - Rubber Bullies [Tropical Fuck Storm Records/Mistletone]
Tropical Fuck Storm - Shellfish Toxin [Tropical Fuck Storm Records/Mistletone]
The last Drones album was quite a departure, incorporating a lot more electronics and a female vocal chorus behind Gareth Liddiard's gruff vocals. Tropical Fuck Storm basically continues further in that direction, with Liddiard and Fiona Kitschin from the Drones joined by Lauren Hammel of High Tension and Erica Dunn from Harmony. Liddiard sings obliquely of the woes of the world with his characteristic snarl, and behind the punk attitude and DIY electronics there's the usual incredibly sophisticated melodies, harmonisation, chord progressions... The second track I chose is mostly instrumental, but the brilliantly-arranged (and performed) female chorus subtly interject nonetheless.

Hannah Silva - Puffer Jacket & Sushi [Human Kind Records]
Hannah Silva - Writing to someone else's music [Human Kind Records]
Hannah Silva - Pain [Human Kind Records]
Not quite performance poetry or spoken word, not actually rap, the vocal acrobatics and storytelling of Hannah Silva are sui generis. Utterly confident and incredibly accomplished, her vocals on her album Talk in a bit are joined by various modular synths, live drums/percussion, and five-string electric cello, for a raw & visceral sound. Amazing debut.

Revisiting the excellent compilation from Ptwiggs & Grasps_' ETERNAL project that came out a month & a bit ago, with Australian & international artists - one of each tonight. I believe now Melbourne-based is CORIN Ileto, with some bass-heavy atmospherics. And a very idiosyncratic take on vaporwave/mashup from German(?) artist IN MY TALONS.

PanchSM (feat. NNOA) - Articulo [NON WORLDWIDE]
A few weeks ago, NON WORLDWIDE put out a trilogy of compilations featuring a plethora of artists of colour from all around the world - broader than the African Diaspora artists already championed by the label & collective founded by London-based Nkisi, South Africa's Angel-Ho and US-based Chino Amobi. There's heaps of crazy stuff across the three comps, from r'n'b to techno to bass & hip-hop, most of it solidly leftfield & experimental. Nkisi's track is a a mini-epic of blissfully noisy techno, with Detroit/idm flavours buried under the harsh percussion. PanchSM and NNOA are Mexican artists, contributing some glitchy beats with strange Blade Runner overtones.

Ash Koosha - End The End [REALMS]
Ash Koosha - Harbour [Olde English Spelling Bee]
Ash Koosha - Needs [Ninja Tune]
Jack Colwell - Far From View (Ash Koosha Remake) [self-released]
Ash Koosha - Neural Lace [REALMS]
Ashkan Kooshanejad fled Iran after releasing a film about the country's underground music scene, seeking asylum in the UK. He's been making music as Ash Koosha for a few years, incredibly intricate glitchy bass music, in tune with the times but always with his very personal character. On his new album Kooshanejad introduces his own vocals on a few tracks, albeit electronically treated.

ZULI - Ladies and gents [Haunter Records]
ZULI - Robotic Jabs in 4D [UIQ]
ZULI - Trigger Finger [Haunter Records]
Cairo producer ZULI is known in the scene for his beats for Egyptian rappers, but now has a few international releases under his belt - for Lee Gamble's UIQ and now Milan-based Haunter Records. Glitchy stop-start beats and textures and heavy bass abound. On the title track to the new EP there are even slowed-down amen breaks, referencing the drum'n'bass & jungle that we're about to head into...

Sully - Vacancy [Uncertain Hour]
Sully - Soundboy Don't Push Your Luck [Rua]
Initially producing totally on-point grime productions, Sully surprised everyone with a double-12" of absolutely pitch-perfect jungle back in 2014 on Keysound Recordings. Since then he's bounced between grime & jungle, but he's just started a label, Uncertain Hour, dedicated to releasing his junglist productions. Nice! And only a month and a bit ago he put out another pair of jungle tracks on Rua Sound.

Via Maris - Shelleys [Mistry]
Via Maris - Toys [Mistry]
Bristol producer Via Maris has one 12" out on Livity Sound, and has just now dropped three very different tracks for Beneath's Mistry label. The title track is buzzy, psychedelic syncopated techno, while "Toys" is a more melodic affair harkening back to Detroit techno and '90s idm.

Böhm - Snodrone [Tandem Tapes]
Newie from the ever-reliable Tandem Tapes, run currently out of Jakarta, Indonesia by Aussie Morgan McKellar. This is Texan artist Böhm with some awesome tape manipulation and guitar drone.

Drew Daniel/John Wiese - Abhorred Shears [Helicopter]
First duo recordings from Matmos' Drew Daniel (aka The Soft Pink Truth) and noise legend John Wiese. The harsh noise characteristic of Wiese's productions is there in force, but often filtered through Daniel's rhythmic sensibilities, making it juuuuust a little bit more accessible.

Listen again — ~213MB

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Sunday, 6th of May, 2018

Playlist 06.05.18 (9:01 pm)

Lots of avant-garde, experimental and ambient stuff tonight. Also interviewing Sydney jazz/electronic trio Moving Paths.

LISTEN AGAIN to tease out the layers of meaning... stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Seabuckthorn - Sent In By The Cold [Bookmaker Records/La Cordillière]
Seabuckthorn - It Was Aglow [Bookmaker Records/La Cordillière]
The last couple of albums from Andy Cartwright aka Seabuckthorn came out through Lost Tribe Sound. His new one, courtesy of French music agency La Cordillière and label Bookmaker Records, sees him further refining his extraordinary adeptness at all things guitar - from fingerstyle circular picking to slide, strumming, washed out chords, or even a hefty amount of gorgeous violin-style bowing. Big endorsement from round these parts.

Moving Paths - Wake [hellosQuare]
...interview with Moving Paths...
Moving Paths - live recording at Soundscapes at Smith's Alternative, 1st of March 2018 [unreleased]
Sydney trio Moving Paths started life as jazz students playing together at the Conservatorium of Sydney, and their first release was as an acoustic jazz trio - piano, upright bass and drums. The last year or so has seen their practice move into more experimental territory - their sets are mostly improvised, with drummer Luke incorporating live sampling & processing on laptop, pianist Linus bringing synths and weird Ableton-produced virtual instruments, and guitarist Max picking up electric bass alongside the upright. As we heard tonight, this makes for some great music in between acoustic & electronic, just the fodder for Utility Fog!
Their new single is being launched next Sunday night, 13th of May, at the Splinter Orchestra's space at Tempe Jets.

Chris Abrahams & Jon Rose - Peggy 2 [ReR Megacorp]
Two giants of Australian avant-garde music getting together here, dedicating their record to Australian composer Peggy Glanville-Hicks, whose house in Paddington, Sydney is used for residencies/sabbaticals for Australian musicians. Here Chris Abrahams brings his piano into the most challenging territory, free of traditional melody or rhythmic glue, to match the adventurous extended techniques of Jon Rose on violin.
This duo album is being launched at Foundry616 on Harris St in Ultimo on Monday the 7th of May (day after we go to air) if you happen to be reading this soon enough!

John Encarnacao / Espadrille - Flight [Tinderbox]
Guitarist / producer / composer John Encarnacao has been around the traps in Sydney since the '90s. He's played in indie bands, jazz groups, and avant-garde ensembles, written about music, and is now an academic. His group Espadrille is a long-lived outlet for more experimental works, right now featuring Joshua Isaac on drums/percussion and longtime indie stalwart Brendan Smyly on saxophone & electronics. We hear Smyly's mournful sax in a bed of crunching, crumbling, crackling percussive noises from Isaac on this track, from an "aleatoric score" written for the play Tinderbox premiered at Darlinghurst Theatre a few years ago.

Xo Xinh - Conversation [Flaming Pines]
Sound Awakener - Duskiness [Flaming Pines]
A couple of years ago, Sydney(ish) label Flaming Pines released a remarkable album of experimental music from Iran called Absence. Now we have an album of experimental music from Vietnam, Emergence, compiled by Nhung Nguyen aka Sound Awakener, who speaks of how experimental music doesn't really have official support or recognition, so it operates in between the cracks. It's a small scene, but clearly quite fertile, especially including some internationally-based artists such as Vietnamese-American sound artist Xo Xinh, whose processed cymbals and piano and stunningly constructed in his "Conversation", everything placed just right in the mix. Meanwhile Nguyen herself contributes a track in which her piano is blurred and granulated into a lovely "Duskiness".

arovane + porya hatami – Creature_333 [Karl Records]
arovane + porya hatami – Corm [Karl Records]
arovane + porya hatami – Cytoplasm [Karl Records]
Uwe Zahn came to note in the late '90s with a string of exceptional idm releases as Arovane. He's moved more and more into ambient territory in the intervening years, and has now found a very fruitful collaboration with Iranian sound artist Porya Hatami. They've just released the follow-up to last year's organism with organism_evolution, the two of which have been released in a 2CD set. It's very much music for micro-organisms - electronic impressions of insects, amoebae, floating in their watery homes... Really engrossing stuff.

Lucrecia Dalt - Atmospheres Touch [RVNG Intl.]
Lucrecia Dalt - Concentric Nothings [RVNG Intl.]
Lucrecia Dalt - Liminalidad [RVNG Intl.]
Lucrecia Dalt - Eclipsed Subject [RVNG Intl.]
Since relocating first to Barcelona and now Berlin, Lucrecia Dalt has moved steadily away from her songwriterly beginnings, emphasising more and more than experimental sound art aspects of her work. Her new album Anticlines features her voice only in spoken, often chopped-up form, along with wobbling modular synths and other instruments which only occasionally coalesce into rhythmic structures. It's nevertheless utterly compelling listening.

CECILIA - Gros Animal [Halcyon Veil]
CECILIA - Griselidis [Halcyon Veil]
Quebecois performance artist & musician Mélissa Gagné has released a few records as Babi Audi (and in bands such as Institutional Prostitution), but through a "dissociative metamorphosis" created CECILIA, initially as a guest on a track from Rabit and now with her debut album on Rabit's Halcyon Veil label. A strange mix of abstract sample deconstruction, grime/bass beats and occasional singing, it's hard to pin down, but totally on-point. Music like this and Dalt's warrants many return visits precisely because it's got so much mystery to it that you never quite remember what to expect next. Highly recommended.

Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois - Night MXCMPV1 P74 [Planet µ]
Venetian Snares x Daniel Lanois - Joe P11LC2P146 [Planet µ]
Here's the most unexpected collaboration of the year - two Canadian artists, 7/8 breakcore hero & misanthrope Venetian Snares, and U2 producer, Eno et al collaborator Daniel Lanois, he of ambient slide guitar... It's bonkers, and really shouldn't work, but contrary to some assessments it's not just Lanois' sunny textures mashed up against Aaron Funk's madcap beats. There's interaction between the two halves, Lanois' instruments constantly feeding into Funk's modular synths, and it encourages Funk to space things out a bit at times, with half-time basslines and respites here and there from his usual onslaught. I pre-ordered the CD and got an entire bonus album as a second CD, with some more excellent material including the second piece featured here.

Listen again — ~193MB

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