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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, 29th of July, 2018

Playlist 29.07.18 (9:16 pm)

Thanks to Reg Harris for holding the fort last week on Utility Fog! It's nice to be back, with a bag of tunes from Oz and around the world, ranging from post-classical experimentalism through adventurous electronics near & far from the dancefloor, and back again.

LISTEN AGAIN as we take you on a journey, via FBi's on-demand streaming or podcast right here.

Happy Axe - There It's Night [Spirit Level/Happy Axe Bandcamp]
Happy Axe - Prayers and Mantras [Spirit Level/Happy Axe Bandcamp]
Emma Kelly has been honing her craft as Happy Axe for a little while now, playing in Canberra and around Australia, looping her violin and vocals along with some really creative handmade beats. Her debut album Dream Punching is a really extraordinary piece of work, with dream-like pieces which are sometimes song-shaped, sometimes weirdly other. On the epic opener tonight (actually the culmination of the album) she plays with pitch-shifting her loops to create gorgeous lo-fi quasi-orchestral pillows of wobbly, blissful audio. Elsewhere things get a little more percussive, but still pretty blissful!

Resina - Procession [130701]
Resina - Nightjar [130701]
Resina - Surface [130701]
Warsaw-based cellist Karolina Rec released her debut album on Fat Cat's post-classical side-label 130701 in 2016 ("Nightjar" is taken from that album). Deceptive music which builds in intensity and depth as more layers are added, and sometimes opens up with the addition of vocals, it was quite a revelation. Her new album Traces carries on from where the self-titled release left off, with plenty of vigorous and beautiful cello playing and some cavernous multi-tracked vocals, and some occasional glistening, disintegrating effects. In "Surface", she underlines a vocal loop with subtle cello glissandi, and then slowly feeds everything through a wobbling granular effect - it's stunning.

BirdWorld - After Rain [courtesy of The Wire]
A duo of Gregor Riddell on cello/electronics and Adam Teixeira on drums/percussion, BirdWorld have made it on to the latest cover CD from Wire Magazine, August's Wire Tapper 47. It's apparently taken from an album called UNDA to be released later this year - not sure what label or when, so I guess we'll keep our ears peeled, because this is a great bit of ambient jazz/world stuff, featuring some pretty nimble cello playing!

Lotic - Fragility [Tri-Angle Records/Lotic Bandcamp]
Lotic - Slay [Lotic Bandcamp]
Björk - notget (Lotic fromdeath version) [One Little Indian]
Lotic - Heart (feat. Moro) [Tri-Angle Records/Lotic Bandcamp]
Lotic - Resilience [Tri-Angle Records/Lotic Bandcamp]
The new album from Lotic shows an artist confident with their tools, but challenging themself further with more vocal-oriented tracks. A lot of the music features crunchy beats skittering around at different speeds, underpinned by sub bass. There's a distinct melodic sensibility to it all too - even at its most aggressively percussive. The vocal tracks expand the horizons further, taking on gender and race in some very smart ways. It's one of the highlight electronic albums of the year so far, a kind of experimental, more political flipside of SOPHIE's album.

Cassius Select - They Shook [Hypercolour]
Cassius Select - Screwface [Hypercolour]
Lavurn Lee's work hasn't altered and nor has his pace now that he's returned to Toronto after living in Sydney for so long we thought he was part of the furniture. His new Cassius Select EP is released by UK label Hypercolour and it's his usual brand of twitchy, bass-heavy techno, with tiny r'n'b/rap vocal snippets, which could be read as a repurposing of techniques from footwork. It's so minimal that sometimes you're dancing to the gaps in between the beats, which is kind of perfect.

Nonturn - Identify [Audiobulb]
Nonturn - Significant [Audiobulb]
Japanese artist & musician Nozon Yoneda released his debut album as Nonturn on UK label Audiobulb, rather gorgeously packaged with Yoneda's photos of scratched-up paint and other materials. The music is entirely made of processed field recordings taken around the streets of Tokyo (where the photos were also taken). These recordings were pitch-shifted and processed into a pallette of sounds which Yoneda uses for beats and melodies, creating some very pretty idm & ambient/industrial music. It's far more accessible than you'd expect, but retains enough of the field recording aspects that you feel at times like you're on a fantastically orchestrated street corner.

Dialectic - Chikz [Milk Thistle Records]
Dialectic - Engage/Disengage [Milk Thistle Records]
Patrick Sharples brings some very interesting philosophical elements to his drums & electronic music - with an interest in feminism and a background in mental health social care, he's based his debut EP around the phrase Pregnancy Suits You. On this album the Central Coast artist is exploring how to make live electronic music while playing drum kit, and he's created some loping tunes with unusual time signatures and maximalist synth attack.

Golden Syrup - When Will I Run Out Of Breath [Nice Music]
Golden Syrup - Didn't Go Home [Nice Music]
Sara Retallic makes audiovisual works as Golden Syrup, and I was lucky enough to catch her live a week and a bit ago when Tangents launched our album in Melbourne. Her set started with lo-fi noise and industrial beats, and gradually morphed into sultry pop vocals, and that's pretty much how this album goes too. Recommended.

2 Bad Mice - Gone Too Soon (Sully Remix) [Sneaker Social Club]
Breakbeat hardcore supergroud 2 Bad Mice (featuring Rob Playford of jungle/drum'n'bass label Moving Shadow) came out of retirement recently, and here we have one of those new rave tunes expertly tweaked into junglist heaven by the contemporary master Sully.

Michael Price - Song For A (Madeleine Cocolas Rework) [1631 Recordings]
Michael Price - I Will, For You (Sophie Hutchings Rework) [1631 Recordings]
British composer Michael Price writes a lot for film, and has also had releases on labels like Erased Tapes. 1631 Recordings have just released an album of reworkings featuring some very nice post-classical artists, including two Aussies: ex-pat Madeleine Cocolas is now based in New York and as usual bathes us in synth pads and vocals, while Sydney's own Sophie Hutchings sits down at her upright piano for some late night musings.

Listen again — ~202MB

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Sunday, 15th of July, 2018

Playlist 15.07.18 (9:00 pm)

Grimey dancehall, drill'n'bass, kosmische droneglitch postrock, classic electronics, processed piano, looped violin and some indie to finish up tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN for the sounds you can't find anywhere else... (and because I'm not here next week, soz!) Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Miss Red - War [Pressure]
The Bug - Diss Mi Army (feat. Miss Red) [Ninja Tune]
The Bug - Mi Lost (feat. Miss Red) [Ninja Tune]
Miss Red - What Would You Like (prod. Andy Stott) [self-released/Bandcamp]
Miss Red - Dagga [Pressure]
Produced by The Bug, and released on his Pressure Records, here, finally, is the debut album proper from Tel Aviv gyal come good Miss Red. With a Polish and Moroccan background, Sharon Stern sings and toasts in English, with incredible energy and an immaculate sense of rhythm and phrasing. She's a perfect foil for The Bug, although on her Murder mixtape she swipes some other great grooves, including tonight's from Andy Stott's "Damage". The new album is just as good as it was always going to be.

Laxenanchaos - Dog With Snow [Virgin Babylon Records]
VMO - Out Of Orbit(Vehement Mental Orgasm Mix)---Laxenanchaos [VMO/Vampillia self-released]
Laxenanchaos - Capture Everything [Virgin Babylon Records]
Last year I was in London for a week and saw a gig almost every day, including a few of my favourite artists... On one of the nights, Japan's black metal/noise/post-rock/post-classical band Vampillia were playing, and although I've seen them a few times in Sydney, this time they were supported by their own alter-egos VMO aka Violent Magic Orchestra, an instrumental band that leans more towards hardcore and noise, and epic dynamics. It was awesome, of course. Out on the merch desk, there was the usual collection of tour-only releases, including an EP of remixes, and on that EP I discovered the breakcore/drill'n'bass wonders of Laxenanchaos - so it was rather nice to find a couple of months ago that World's End Girlfriend's wonderful Virgin Babylon Records were putting out a full length album from him. It's lovely '90s style idm, melodic drill'n'bass with cut-up vocals and everything. Many applause emojis!

Witxes - Incantations [Consouling Sounds]
Witxes - With Stung Eyes [self-released]
Witxes - The Reason [Denovali]
Witxes - The Strands [Denovali]
Witxes - Disruptions [Consouling Sounds]
Pronounced "witches", Witxes is the project of French artist Maxime Vavasseur, stretching back to 2010's self-released early works compilation Scrawls #01 (I think my copy may be hand-painted?), exploring kosmische electronics and drone, glitch, and krautrock/postrock textures. I've always loved the unpredictable creativity of his releases, drawing a lot from drone and sound-art but easily moving into something really melodic or something with heavy drums just for the hell of it. It's been a while, and it's great to have him back!

Carl Stone - Banteay Srey [Unseen Worlds]
A pioneer of live electronic music, Carl Stone has been working with computers in electronic music since 1986 (his work goes back further than that), and he's recently been the subject of two big back catalogue collections on multiple LPs from Unseen Worlds. From the second of these, Electronic Music from the Eighties and Nineties, this gorgeous epic of ambient music reminds me of an ambien-inflected tune from early µ-Ziq - and incidentally this is from 1993, so roughly contemporaneous. It's a blissful mix of electric organ, some very subtle rhythmic elements, and a slow-down, stretched and looped sample of a Burundi child's song.

Bart van Dongen & Richard van Kruysdijk - Three [Opa Loka Records]
Bart van Dongen & Richard van Kruysdijk - One [Opa Loka Records]
Described as "pianist Bart van Dongen and electronic conjuror Richard van Kruysdijk", this duo take delight in subverting the sound of the piano, both through preparations and also through live processing. The piano playing is a bit avant-classical a bit jazz - at times prettily melodic, at other times abstract - while the electronics contribute some nice granular sampling, glitchy delays and occasional power electronics. It's actually really listenable, and for those of us who love the collision of organic and digital, it's a beauty and highly recommended.

XANI - CODE ORANGE [Xani Bandcamp]
Xani Kolac is an in-demand session violinist in Melbourne and also known for her drums-and-violin duo The Twoks among other things. Her new album 3 is out in a couple of weeks, her first on vinyl (and digital), and it's also her first entirely instrumental release. It's all performed live in the studio with amps and effects and lots of creative looping and delays.

Brian Campeau - mtl/montreal [self-released/Bandcamp]
Brian Campeau - Two Repeating [Art As Catharsis]
It's been a while between albums for Brian Campeau, once of Montréal, then of Sydney, now based in Melbourne. That said, it was longer between the previous two albums. There's a bit more of a proggy rock vibe on the new one - released in August - but I gave you a sneak preview of a lovely gentle number with long strings and diminished chords. And a classic from his first album, the "cd1" version of "Montreal" and its little drum machine intro.

Listen again — ~214MB

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Sunday, 8th of July, 2018

Playlist 08.07.18 (9:11 pm)

Avant-garde sounds blend into experimental electronics and beats tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN - I know I would! Stream on demand from FBi, or podcast here...

Aaron Moore & Erik K Skodvin - Instead of rain I bring a hat [Hands in the Dark]
Aaron Moore & Erik K Skodvin - Furland [Hands in the Dark]
A few years ago the Miasmah label released a big retrospective box set of the Leicester avant-garde band Volcano The Bear. Miasmah's Erik K Skodvin (aka Svarte Greiner, a wonderful experimental cellist & drone musician) became friends with Volcano The Bear's Aaron Moore, and a few years later we are gifted with this extraordinary work - very much a meeting of their styles, with plenty of Skodvin's spectral cello, along with often-arrhythmic percussion, electric piano, often-wordless vocals from both... It's quite doomy, but sometimes breaks into quirky upbeat vibes, or the glorious multi-tracked vocals on top of Skodvin's scratchy cello in the second half of "Furland". And it's gorgeously produced at all times.

hackedepicciotto - Let There By Joy [hackedepicciotto Bandcamp]
Danielle de Picciotto & Werkstatt – Desert Fruit [Monika Enterprise]
hackedepicciotto - The Long Way Home [hackedepicciotto Bandcamp]
The husband and wife duo of hackedepicciotto are both highly influential musicians in their own right. Alexander Hacke is a founding member of industrial pioneers Einstürzende Neubauten. Danielle de Picciotto is a musician and multimedia artist who co-founded the Love Parade after moving to Berlin in the mid '80s. They've been married now for over a decade, and for some years now they have lived a nomadic existence, taking their art all around the world. Courtesy of the Goethe Institut they're performing their live soundtrack to their own slient movie Crossroads this Saturday in Sydney. Their latest album Joy is their second album made for use in meditation and yoga, but for all that it's surprisingly dark - but Menetekel, released late last year, is darker still, with a doomy sensibility drawn from heavy, slow rock and de Picciottos's drawn-out violin. De Picciotto also took part in Monika Enterprise's Werkstatt last year, embedding her spoken vocals in glitchy beats and sounds.

Syntax Error - Under The Ice [self-released]
Featuring Ben Aylward of beloved Sydney indie/shoegaze band Swirl - and latterly of Fabels - and Matthew Syres of improv band Forenzics, Syntax Error sport a muscly rhythm section with Peter Yates and Ben Eadie, who underpin this epic debut single... Ben's shoegazey guitar lines are offset by the soundscapey emanations from Matt, and the song builds and builds into a psych storm, while never losing the impetus of the bassline and steady beat.

Ben Chatwin - Helix [Village Green]
Ben Chatwin - Hound Point [Village Green]
When Ben Chatwin changed to his real name from Talvihorros, his music switched from dark drone & postrock to an airier kind of post-classical. For this new album Staccato Signals he started off with multiple analogue and modular synthesisers, but couldn't resist bringing the strings and other acoustic instruments back - so we have a tension between the snarling bass and industrial influences of the electronics, along with some programmed lines and even muffled beats, alongside the emotional heft of the acoustic instruments. It's some of his best work yet.

OZmotic - Elusive Balance [Touch]
OZmotic - Being [Touch]
On their new album Elusive Balance, the Italian duo of Riccardo Giovinetto & Simone Bosco (known for collaborations with Fennesz and Murcof) explore the dividing line between human and nature, with ambient sounds colliding with frenetic stuttery beats, high-pitched electronic interjections and melodic saxophone... Elusive indeed, but utterly compelling.

Nima Aghiani - Qamyn [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Nima Aghiani - Ibbothal [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Nima Aghiani - Kah-Gash [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Set in that elusive state of REM sleep when your eyes are flickering around and you're really not quite sure if you're dreaming, this new album from Persian producer & violinist Nima Aghiani extends the noise and experimental sound of his wonderful duo 9T Antiope into a take on industrial techno, with heavy crunching beats underscoring screeching power electronics at times, but also joined by layers of undulating violin. It's incredible stuff that I've had on repeat this week, check it out!

RP Boo - No Body [Planet µ]
RP Boo - Bounty [Planet µ]
Chicago producer RP Boo is one of the earliest purveyors of footwork - a true pioneer. He's been celebrated by Mike Paradinas' Planet µ with a couple of albums of archival material, finally bringing his art to the wider world, but what's interesting even on this new album is how incredibly utilitarian it still is. The tracks seem so simple, but they're so sophisticated, with the sparse beats and small number of vocal samples perfectly cut (and his own semi-spoken raps appear here and there too!) It's bizarrely avant-garde, yet totally there for the dancefloor.

Forest Drive West - Prism [RuptureLDN]
Joe Baker continues his upgrade of jungle sounds with Rupture London on his new Set Free EP. This stuff sits alongside his techno work released on labels like Livity Sound, but he's impeccable at the jungle/drum'n'bass stuff (and occasionally works the two genres together too).

Synkro & Arovane - New Dawn [Apollo]
R&S Records' ambient subsiduary Apollo here releases the first duo offering from Synkro (one half of Akkord) with idm/ambient legend Arovane. It's a varied take on ambient with beats - this opening track dabbles in jungle, the rest are more techno or house oriented. It's super pretty stuff.

Andreas Brandal - Vanishing and Beginning Again [Tandem Tapes]
Returning to the excellent Tandem Tapes label with a recent split cassette, we finish up with Norwegian producer Andreas Brandal, with glitched guitar loops and soundscapes.

Listen again — ~198MB

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Sunday, 1st of July, 2018

Playlist 01.07.18 (8:32 pm)

Halfway through the year! It's been a great year for music, and it's going as we'll hear with tonight's batch of mostly very-new music.

LISTEN AGAIN to remind yourself of what it is to feel true emotion. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast from here.

Shoeb Ahmad - "romance" (jasmine guffond version) [Art As Catharsis/Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
Shoeb Ahmad - "washed air" (wives version) [Art As Catharsis/Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
Shoeb Ahmad - "villagers son" (maria moles version) [Art As Catharsis/Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
Canberra artist and longtime Utility Fog fave Shoeb Ahmad launches her new album quiver at 107 in Redfern this Friday (July 5th). It's a wonderful album of indie songs, exploring the relationship between gender identity, religion, culture and the love of friends & family. But along with the usual digital versions, there's a special 2CD zine edition (it's gorgeous) which features remixes of each track on the album by Aussie fellow travellers (and full disclosure: I've got a raven remix on there). These remixes allow the still very active experimental aspect of Shoeb's musicianship to be expressed, through other people's interpretations. I've previously played the incredible sea of glitched vocals and spoken word from Canberran indiepunks Wives; tonight we also feature two of the tracks which are (currently) exclusive to the second CD - a very different approach to glitchy chopped vocals and atmospherics from Sydney's Jasmine Guffond, and a beautiful textural reworking from Melbourne artist Maria Moles.

S. Carey & Taylor Deupree - The Iron Town [THESIS]
Angus MacRae & InsaDonjaKai - Himmelgeist [THESIS]
Andrew Hargreaves & Andrew Johnson - A New Kind of Air [THESIS]
Aaron Martin & Tilman Robinson - Breath Structures, Dispersed Being [THESIS]
We heard something from the Minnesota-based THESIS label a couple of weeks ago, when we featured the beautiful meeting of Sophie Hutchings & Julia Kent. The label have now released the second of their COLLECTED albums on CD & digital, which bring together most of the highly-limited vinyl editions pairing up artists who otherwise may not have come together. So tonight Bon Iver member S. Carey's pastoral songwriting joins Taylor Deupree's electro-acoustic ambient stylings from the first collection. From the second, we start with London composer & pianist Angus MacRae and German percussion/cello trio InsaDonjaKai creating something quite spine-tingling. Then we have a pair of Andrews who have so many collaborators in common that it's basically just silly they've never worked together before: Andrew Hargreaves aka Tape Loop Orchestra is a member of the beloved Boats, where Andrew Johnson aka a new line (related) is one half of The Remote Viewer with the other core member of The Boats, Craig Tattersal... They've created something chilling out of washes of noise and a buried kick drum. Finally, US acoustic multi-instrumentalist Aaron Martin joins Melbourne-based ex-Perth composer/electronic musician Tilman Robinson for a deep, pulsating piece with strings, guitar, mandolin and electronics. It's all gorgeous.

Aaron Martin - The Space Above Overflowing [IIKKI]
So here's Aaron Martin again, here taking part in a very different collaboration. This track is taken from his new album Touch Dissolves, released on the French label IIKKI, which is also a book publisher, and each of their editions pairs a visual artist or writer with a musician. So Touch Dissolves is available as CD or vinyl or book, or combination of audio & visual editions, with artwork from Turkish photographer/artist Yusuf Sevinçli. Aaron's music is consistently lovely, as it has been since his first releases on Sydney label Preservation - folky sounds on guitar, banjo, and cello, layered in dreamy patterns. He's also a seasoned collaborator, as we heard earlier with Tilman Robinson, and our next artist is someone Aaron's worked with for years too...

Machinefabriek - Walking [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - Not Last [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
In the 10 years+ I've been playing Rutger Zuydervelt's music as Machinefabriek on this show, he's released more music than fits in some people's entire record collection... A lot of it's collaborative (see Aaron Martin above) but he's prolific as a solo artist too. He was (in)famous a decade ago for long, evolving drone works, but there's always been more to him than drone - electro-acoustic works, processed sound of all sorts, and surprising melodies appearing from unexpected sources. Of late, he's been in demand scoring documentaries and dance works. This is from a new work by Marta Alstadsæter and Kim-Jomi Fischer called Engel that literally premiered a few days ago - and it looks amazing. Along with the usual teased out, filigree sound is some of the most conventional electronic work Rutger's done in years.

Vitor Joaquim - Stillness [Vitor Joaquim Bandcamp]
Vitor Joaquim - Suffering and Detachment [Vitor Joaquim Bandcamp]
It's a pleasure to hear a new solo release from Portuguese artist Vitor Joaquim. He's a grand master of sound-art in his home country, having started in the '80s, and he really is a master of moody, sustained music processed from a multitude of sound sources. His new album impermanence deals with change on a personal and global scale - it's a self-consuming work based around his observations that "everything decomposes, everything wears, everything loses force, everything is transformed and renewed, and nothing escapes the coming of time". And yet it's not as dour as that summation might suggest. It's beautiful, in fact.

LWW - CTP [Leaf]
AU - Ida Walked Away [Aagoo/AU Bandcamp]
LWW - LSP [Leaf]
Multi-instrumentalist Luke Wyland is best known as the founder and singer in the freak folk/indie band AU. His new solo album as LWW, 3TP largely continues the approach to composition and arrangement found in AU's work, but it's instrumental (except when it's not), and mostly based around improvisations (except when they extend or expand on them), and they're a little more minimalist than AU's songs (except when they're not). They're a great fit for The Leaf Label.

Nine Inch Nails - Im Not From This World [The Null Corporation]
Back in the early-to-mid-'90s I was as obsessed with the Nine Inch Nails as any other late teen or early 20s slightly depressed outsider kid, y'know? To be honest even then I found a lot of the lyrics slightly winceworthy (although I'd quote them anyway), but the relentless experimentalism of the music was inspiring, and the remixes universally amazing. The older he's gotten, the more "slightly embarrassing" the snarling angsty lyrics have felt, but there's no doubt Trent Reznor has good taste in musical influences and collaborators, and he's got a pretty damn good ear for composing too. This new stuff, three EPs now, which is basically the blockbuster movie composing duo of Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, has some decent catchy songs on there, but I was particularly taken with this instrumental piece of spooky industrial electronic music.

Anne-James Chaton + Andy Moor - Le songe de Ludwig [Unsounds]
Tout ce que je sais is the latest in a string of collaborations between the French poet/spoken word sound artist Anne-James Chaton and Scottish guitarist Andy Moor (longtime member of Dutch anarcho-punk/experimental band The Ex). Chaton also works with minimal electronic artist Alva Noto, and Moor's work, while entirely produced on electric guitar, has a tendency to recall (if not mimic) the rhythmic, shifting sounds of experimental minimal electronica & techno, while at the same time being miles distant. His punkish jangly guitar tone produces chiming atonal chords which are looped into loping rhythms over which he lays further awkward expressionist splatters of sound. As a musician I find it inspiring but very challenging to reproduce; collaboratively it's a technique which works well for Moor in various contexts while being clearly his own. It's always sat perfectly with the dizzying patter of word association from Chaton, often slightly eluding sense even if you understand French, but for me always a comfortable aural experience.

Listen again — ~196MB

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