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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, 24th of June, 2018

Playlist 24.06.18 (9:00 pm)

Tonight we're shuffling around ambient/shoegaze, sunken beats, post-jazz, experimental hip-hop, Tunisian beatmaking... and more.

LISTEN AGAIN, we'll take you on a journey... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

The Rothko Chapel - Phecda [The Rothko Chapel Bandcamp]
The Rothko Chapel - The Perpetual Cloister [The Rothko Chapel Bandcamp]
Not a new project, but the first album proper from this Australian shoegaze/drone/sound-art duo The Rothko Chapel, featuring UFog fave Charlie Sage aka Canberra's y0t0, and Melbournian Peter Dowd aka singlecoil. As usual with Sage's projects, there are various international collaborators, including his other half in Hessien, Maps and Diagrams. There are fluttery, glitchy drones (often with analogue rather than digital processing), lots of guitars, and also some beautiful piano. Nothing is fixed, but everything is well placed. Recommended if you're into Tim Hecker eh!

Anders Brørby - Trauma [Forwind]
Anders Brørby - Depression Puzzle [Forwind]
The latest release on UK experimental/drone/sound-art label Forwind comes from Norwegian artist Anders Brørby. Surprisingly beat-oriented, it nevertheless doesn't find easy categorisation - much like the label. With its mixture of analogue & digital sound sources, some elements could come from '80s or '90s ambient and electronic, some hint at more contemporary influences. It's also rather emotional, and while I love the first track's title "Hatred to all Living Things", it's not all darkness. Still, an album titled Traumas isn't likely to be rosy. Definitely worth grabbing this one...

mouse on the keys - Shapeless Man feat. Jordan Dreyer of La Dispute [Topshelf Records]
mouse on the keys - Spectres de mouse [Machu Picchu Industrias]
mouse on the keys - le gibet [Mule Musiq]
mouse on the keys - The Prophecy (tres version) [Topshelf Records]
Japanese post-jazz/post-rock ensemble mouse on the keys have been plying their trade for over a decade, with jazz-trained piano or sometimes double-piano action, and masterful jazz/postrock drumming. It's a unique sound, one which has turned ears all over the world, with those older Japanese releases seeing re-release on Denovali, and their new album out on San Diego label Topshelf Records. There's less emphasis on piano as the lead instrument on this album, with other keyboard instruments and also a number of interesting vocal collaborations - such as the amazing spoken word from Jordan Dreyer of post-hardcore heroes La Dispute.

Szun Waves - Constellation [The Leaf Label]
Combining the trumpet work of Portico Quartet's Jack Wyllie, Luke Abbott's modular synths & electronics, and the always stellar drum work of Sydney's own Laurence Pike, Szun Waves are a post-jazz/psychedelic supergroup. And the first track for their second album (first on Leaf) is transcendently psychedelic ambient jazz. Look out for this, peeps!

Busdriver - losing you again [Temporary Whatever]
Busdriver - exploding slowly feat. Daedelus [Temporary Whatever]
It's been a few years since we heard from the maestro of experimental weird-hop, Busdriver. The new album Electricity is on our Side feels like a real statement - his manic side is still on display, but it's tempered here and there (in fact on both tracks I chose tonight). There are definite nods to contemporary trends ("exploding slowly" has a kind of Kendrick feel in the delivery perhaps?) and the jazz-funk elements are inspired. It's insane genius really.

AMMAR 808 - Sidi Kommi (feat. Mehdi Nassouli) [Glitterbeat]
AMMAR 808 - Degdegi (feat. Sofiane Saidi) [Glitterbeat]
Amazing futuristic take on deep traditional North African music from the Maghreb region. AMMAR 808's Sofyann Ben Youssef is a Tunisian producer & musician, and here he works not only with the driving bass of the Roland TR-808 drum machine, but also with singers from Tunisia, Morocco (Mehdi Nassouli), and Algeria (Sofiane Saidi). Each lends a different feel to these new-old tracks.

Squaring Circles - Anima [Squaring Circles Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Brendan Anderson formed Squaring Circles to explore making music outside the structures of songwriting in now-defunct indie band Lurch & Chief. Lilibeth Hall's vocals are sampled and delayed, used as an instrument among the postrock drums and layered keyboards. It's a great debut.

Tatu Rönkkö - Tekoäly - feat. Islaja [Sonic Pieces]
Tatu Rönkkö - Now [Sonic Pieces]
Finnish drummer Tatu Rönkkö is part of Liima with the core members of Efterklang, but as a soloist isn't well known outside of Berlin. That should change with this debut release on the excellent boutique label Sonic Pieces. His homemade percussion & electronic instruments create spaces which can draw from mid-'90s Photek as much as jazz or postrock. The centrepiece is the track featuring the incredible otherworldly vocals of fellow Finn Islaja.

Nicolas Wiese - The Revolution Will Have Been YouTubed #2 [Karlrecords]
Marc Weiser - Kapital [Karlrecords]
Two more pieces (we had two last week) from Karlrecords' 2CD celebration of Karl Marx's 200th birthday, all profits of which go to support homeless charity Berliner Obdachlosenhilfe and immigration advocacy organisation ProAsyl. Tonight we have a great sound work from Nicolas Wiese sampling from YouTube videos on the topic of "revolution", and a melancholy piece of glitch electronics & drone from Zeitkratzer guitarist Marc Weiser.

The Future Sound of London - Collapsed Structures [FSOLdigital/EBV]
The Future Sound of London - My Kingdom (Part 5) [Virgin/EBV]
The Future Sound of London - My Kingdom - Path 9 [FSOLdigital/EBV]
Back in the late '80s and early '90s it could feel like The Future Sound of London were as futuristic as it gets, with their sample-based, rave-derived psychedelic ambient techno. They owed a lot to the cyberpunk aesthetic, and so it's no surprise that on their "last" album (before a long hiatus) they sampled the master, Vangelis, from his Blade Runner soundtrack - specifically the Mary Hopkin sung "Rachel's Song". For years now they've been releasing swatches of archival material, slowly introducing new electronic works (having also a psych rock/folk project Amorphous Androgynous) as well. So this year they've Re-imagined the beloved "My Kingdom" with that Vangelis sample, on a whole album that follows on from the original My Kingdom EP with extensions, remixes and new works. The familiar bassline weaves through many tracks, as well as the vocal sample and other elements. It's still futuristic to me, albeit partially in a "future-nostalgia" way.

Listen again — ~205MB

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Sunday, 17th of June, 2018

Playlist 17.06.18 (9:07 pm)

Tonight it's an all-women Utility Fog. I was going to do a show like this soon anyway, and I don't always draw attention to it (I think it ought to be totally natural to play 2 hours of music by women, given how easy it is to slip into hours of male-dominated works).
But, while it's been a week of fantastic releases from women as you'll hear... it's also been a week of tragedy. The rape and murder of Eurydice Dixon by a 19-year-old man while walking home at night in Melbourne has lain heavily on the hearts of many Australians, a visceral tug on the constant fears most women carry with them whenever they're out alone. And another young woman's life was also taken within days of Dixon's, again by a 19-year-old man - this time the flatmate of the murdered woman Qi Yu. These stories are all too common, and it's hard to escape the realisation that a toxic (if ancient) masculinity is at the core of what's wrong. It's particularly alarming how young these perpetrators were, carrying out acts of ultimate possessive, sexual violence. This has to stop, and it has to start with men. We recoil from acts like these but we must look to our own behaviour too.
I'm not honestly all that good at resisting the pull of patriarchy, but I'm trying. In this context all I can do is play music, so this show's a nudge in the right direction. As usual when I put together all-female playlists, people of all genders write in to say how great the music is (usually without noticing the gender thing), which is exactly as it should be.

LISTEN AGAIN, because this really is the best music... stream on demand from FBi, podcast from here.

Aphir - Generalisation (feat. Freya) [Aphir Bandcamp]
Aphir - Dyscircadian (feat. alphamale) [Aphir Bandcamp]
After a, well, shitty experience outside her studio in Melbourne, electronic musician and singer Becki Whitton aka Aphir decided to put together an EP of collaborative music in one week, and release it not long after. Artists contributed drones and weird noises, and Whitton created amazing pieces of experimental electronic pop out of them. So there's the vocoded/autotuned vocals and beats over drones from Freya, and a stunning piece featuring coruscating viola and drones from Canberra's Hannah de Feyer aka alphamale.

Ptwiggs - Eternal Chains [Ptwiggs SoundCloud - free download]
Sydney's Phoebe Twiggs most recently has appeared as one half of Eternal, as duo/label/promoter of experimental electronic music in Sydney. Her new (new/old) EP showcases her industrial/rave sound, with heavy beats and samples hinting at gabba or drum'n'bass...

Sophia Loizou - Morphogenesis [Cosmo Rhythmatic]
Sophia Loizou - Baptisia [Astro:Dynamics]
Sophia Loizou - Genesis '92: The Awakening [Kathexis]
Sophia Loizou - Shadows Of Futurity [Houndstooth]
Sophia Loizou - The Interior Life Of Another [Cosmo Rhythmatic]
Bristol-based composer / producer Sophia Loizou has swiftly become one of those buy-on-sight artists since her first releases in 2014. Her first album Chrysalis came out on London label Astro:Dynamics, with a mixture of minimalist drone and heavy "power ambient", but on 2016's Singulacra, out on Boston label Kathexis, she began her piercing look at '90s rave music through a nostalgic, ambient, contemporary lens. Earlier this year Loizou contributed a track to Houndstooth's In Death's Dream Kingdom, foregrounding the junglist beats even more than before, and messed up though they are, those beats are pretty prominent again on the new album Irregular Territories released on the noisy experimental label Cosmo Rhythmatic run by Shapednoise.

Eartheater - Switch [PAN]
Eartheater - Galactic Human [Eartheater Bandcamp] {no longer available?}
Meredith Monk - Double Fiesta [ECM]
Eartheater - Homonyms [Hausu Mountain]
Eartheater - Mask Therapy [Hausu Mountain]
Show Me The Body - In A Grave (feat. Denzel Curry, Moor Mother & Eartheater) [self-released]
Eartheater - MMXXX ft. Moor Mother [PAN]
Alexandra Drewchin aka Eartheater's debut solo album on PAN is out now, after two excellent albums on the eclectic noise-meets-IDM label Hausu Mountain and a number of releases as part of Greg Fox's Guardian Angel trio. Drewchin, a performance artist and extraordinary contortionist dancer, has a remarkable vocal range as well as being a multi-instrumentalist and producer. Drewchin's love of Kate Bush is well known, but on listening to her early track "Galactic Human" I felt a strong sense of the genius composer & vocal iconoclast Meredith Monk in there - and we just don't hear enough Meredith Monk these days, so there you go, and 31-year-old track on the 'Fog. Meanwhile we re-join Drewchin with her debut album Metalepsis, and its follower RIP Chrysalis which, although released the same year, seems to these ears to be a significant progression (although both are great!) So there's been an few years' gap between albums, and PAN seems an appropriate place to end up, straddling noise, experimental electronic and occasional forays into song-based work. Last year Drewchin appeared as Eartheater on the massive Corpus I mixtape which I loved from NYC hardcore punks Show Me The Body - on a track which incidentally also featured a scathing contribution from the goddess Moor Mother, who is one of two collaborators on the new Eartheater album, and who just destroys (in the best way) anything she appears on.

SOPHIE - Faceshopping [MSMSMSM/future classic/Transgressive]
SOPHIE - Pretending [MSMSMSM/future classic/Transgressive]
I meant to play SOPHIE's single "Faceshopping" when I first heard it in all its bizarre glitched-up industrial pure pop glory. Somehow I missed the boat, but now the album OIL OF EVERY PEARL'S UN-INSIDES is out. In a lot of ways it's a direct expression of SOPHIE's "coming out" as transexual, a fact that perhaps was always obvious but also was presented in an arty way that could be interpreted or misinterpreted in many ways. In any case, ideas of self-presentation, identity and gender and explored on this album, and to me what's interesting is the way it challenges ideas of what pop music can be. I love the cavernous stretched ambience of "Pretending", and also the outro "Pretend World", as much as I love the heavy beat-destruction.

Jasmine Guffond - Niche Service [Karlrecords]
Natalie Beridze - Mapping Debris Pattern [Karlrecords]
Nothing from Sydney artist Jasmine Guffond over the last few years (and longer) has been anything less than brilliant, and this little vignette tonight is no exception. Jasmine was based for some years in Berlin, and appears on Berlin label Karlrecords on a compilation celebrating the 200th birthday of that famous Karl, Marx. Her glitchy textures are accompanied tonight by some gorgeous textural work in a similar, even lusher vein, from Georgian producer Natalie Beridze. Proceeds from this compilation go to homeless charity Berliner Obdachlosenhilfe, and immigration advocacy organisation ProAsyl.

Ana Dall'Ara Majek - Bacillus Chorus [Empreintes Digitales]
From a larger work and album called Nano-Cosmos (detailed notes at that link!), Montréal-based French composer Ana Dall'Ara Majek conjures up the world of bacteria in this enveloping electro-acoustic work. It's a surprisingly accessible (albeit challenging) work from the usually very high-concept art music label Empreintes Digitales.

Sophie Hutchings & Julia Kent - Earth Bound [Thesis Project]
Thesis Project is a label dedicated to bringing ambient/post-classical artists together for unexpected collaborations. They release hand-made vinyl & other editions, and have recently collected some of these works together on a double CD release called THESIS COLLECTED 01. Tonight we heard a rather exquisite melancholy piece coupling many layers of looped cello from Julia Kent with a plangent, fragmentary piano melody from Sydney's own Sophie Hutchings.

Sophie Hutchings - My Love [flau]
Meanwhile Sophie also appears on a lovely, sweet compilation put together by Japanese label flau to celebrate their 10th birthday. It should in fact have come out last year, but they suffered a burglary at their offices which set all their plans back. Circles is a waltz album, a delightful idea, and one that suits Sophie Hutchings to a tee, with a gorgeous ballad, as usual as much redolent of Aussie indie music as it is of any idea of "post-classical" piano tinkling.

Listen again — ~202MB

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Sunday, 10th of June, 2018

Playlist 10.06.18 (9:06 pm)

Back from the crammed tour around the country! Hi! Thanks to Krishtie Mofazzal for filling in last week.

LISTEN AGAIN tonight for all the good, goooood shit. Podcast here, but go stream on demand via FBi!

Happy Axe - Cheshire Heart [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Wonderful new single from Canberra's Emma Kelly aka Happy Axe. A mysterious rhythm from some kind of field recording underpins layers of violin and electronics, plus beautiful layers of vocals. It's very low-key, very beautiful. Really looking forward to the rest of this album!

Tom Hall - Remains [Elli Records]
Tom Hall - As To Think It's OK [Complicated Dance Steps/Sonoptik]
Tom Hall - Vast Limitations [Elli Records - now available at Tom Hall Bandcamp]
Tom Hall - 1123581321 [Elli Records]
Great to have a new album from Brisbane's Tom Hall, for some years now based in LA. He's got roots in both the noise and ambient scenes, and thus his electronic releases have a pleasing edginess and mania bubbling away under the usually beatless, synthesised constructions. He's a master at tweaking and fucking up his sounds, so that they sometimes feel like they're just a breath away from completely falling apart - but you know they're doing just what he wants them to. He also injects a surprising amount of melody, often coming at you from unexpected directions. To me his production took a turn to the sublime (although I loved his noisier work as AXXONN as well) with the 2011 album Muted Angels, from which we took a cut in the middle.

Air Max '97 - Kermes [DECISIONS]
Air Max '97 - Nacre [DECISIONS]
Air Max '97 - IP68 [DECISIONS]
Melbourne's Oliver van der Lugt is the hard-to-google Air Max '97, and he's been making tunes for about 5 years, tearing up clubs around the world with his bass-heavy broken beats. Nacre, as his first full-length, allows him to spread into some slightly less obviously club-oriented stuff, such as the title track - still beat-driven, but a little more off-kilter. He's adept at catchy melodies and interplay between tight, skittery beats and bass. You can see why he's talked about all around the world.

Peder Mannerfelt - Every Day Had A Number [LazyTapes]
Peder Mannerfelt - Limits to Growth feat. Glasser [Peder Mannerfelt Produktion]
Hodge & Peder – All My Love [Wallroom]
One of the most noteworthy electronic producers of current times, Sweden's Peder Mannerfelt covers a lot of ground. He works with Karin Dreijer of The Knife in Fever Ray, with soundtrack composer Malcolm Pardon in the brilliant Roll The Dice, and has released a string of EPs and albums under his own name exploring club architecture of various sorts - usually with a nod to rave and sometimes drum'n'bass, as well as cut-up experimentalism. His new EP on Cera Khin's LazyTapes has the most bewildering beats I've heard in a while, still somehow repeat in patterns that you can totally groove along to. Masterful.
His albums tend to focus on unexpected themes - 2016's Controlling Body being all about the communicative power of the human voice, even as his collaborator Glasser finds her vocals chopped up into almost abstract units. And on last year's collaboration with Bristol producer Hodge we have that jungle ting, twisted into a techno shape.

Philip D Kick - Drown [Astrophonica]
As Philip D Kick (a punny artist name I can totally get behind!), Om Unit pioneered the mashing up of Chicago footwork with UK jungle. He's since made a bunch of first class pure jungle/drum'n'bass stuff, as well as the dubstep/drum'n'bass slow-fast hybrid, but it's nice to have some new stuff from Philip D Kick, here sampling Gang Starr. This one's definitely the hip-hop/jungle hybrid, and there's some funky acid elsewhere... pretty mixed up stuff and very nice.

Beta 2 - The Rolls [Metalheadz]
Dom Purcell has been making drum'n'bass as Beta 2 for a few years, with a couple of EPs on a Metalheadz sublabel, and now one on the label proper. Reminding me a little of Tim Exile's classic tweaked, restless drum'n'bass circa 2005, this is excellent jumped up stop-start dark funky beat-making.

Oneohtrix Point Never - warning feat. Prurient [Warp]
Oneohtrix Point Never - we'll take it feat. ANOHNI [Warp]
Oneohtrix Point Never - same feat. Prurient & ANOHNI [Warp]
Oneohtrix Point Never - last known image of a song [Warp]
Once upon a time Daniel Lopatin's Oneohtrix Point Never was a weird project by an analogue synth-obsessed dude who I started playing because of his connections with New York's noise scene around 2010. Since then he's found his way on to various legendary labels such as Editions Mego and now Warp, and through these transitions he's branched out far from the analogue realm into digital glitch-fuckery and all manner of genre destruction. And of course he's a world famous superstar - but for all that the first single from this album was an odd piece of electronic pop featuring James Blake on keyboards and ANOHNI on vocals, Age Of is probably his strangest album yet. I'm loving the gutteral vocal contributions of noise legend Dominick Fernow aka Prurient, and ANOHNI on a track like "same" is perfectly strident in her delivery. A number of tracks also feature jazz cellist, keyboardist and singer Kelsey Lu.

Boards of Canada - olson [SKAM/Warp]
Yeah I dunno, there's this flute line in "last known image of a song" that really reminded me of "olson", so there you go...

Paco Sala - Tu m'enseigne à vivre [SEAGRAVE]
Paco Sala - It's Been A Long Time Since I Cared & It Feels Good [SEAGRAVE]
Paco Sala - Associate Producer [SEAGRAVE]
After shelving his much-loved ambient/folktronic Konntinent project, Antony Harrison formed Paco Sala with Berlin-based Quebecois singer Marie-Pascale Hardy. With pitch-shifted vocals and beats that draw from footwork, trap, disco and who knows what else, Paco Sala still has an air of mystique, not quite pin-down-able, with that vaporwareish tendency towards short tracks that shift perspective and often sound fragmentary and incomplete. Which I love.

Feryal Dawa - Cairo Boy feat. Abu AMA [SEAGRAVE]
DJ Melania 666 - Saviour / Terminator [SEAGRAVE]
Compiled by The Fissure Family, Animal Chin is a new compilation also out on SEAGRAVE, with some fairly obscure artists doing cool experimental electronic stuff. I don't know the provenance of Feryal Dawa, although I guess she may be Egyptian? And she's collaborating here with London-based Abu AMA. And we finish up with some noisy sardonic stuff from DJ Melania 666.

Listen again — ~210MB

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