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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, 26th of August, 2018

Playlist 26.08.18 (9:16 pm)

Mostly lots of evocative music tonight, whether folk, folktronica, electronica or psychedelic jazz...

LISTEN AGAIN because you know you love it. Stream on demand from FBi or podcast here.

Ned Collette - June [It Records]
Ned Collette - Grant's Farm [It Records]
It's an absolute delight to have a new Ned Collette album, even if it's taken a little longer than he'd hoped to get it released. I've been following Ned since the days of City City City, the quirky indie/postrock group that also featured Joe Talia. He's an extremely talented songwriter with an experimental sensibility and a down-to-earth singing style. On this album a number of tracks feature the inimitable Chris Abrahams on piano, recorded when both were in Berlin - Chris's minimalist pianistic gestures are perfectly suited to the extended repetitiveness of "June", with its slow build dropping to a long quiet coda.

Tunng - Dream Out [Fulltime Hobby]
Tunng - Flatland [Fulltime Hobby]
Tunng - Tale From Black [Static Caravan]
Tunng - Sweet William [Fulltime Hobby]
Tunng - Little King (feat. Summit) [disco_r.dance]
LUMP - Shake Your Shelter / LUMP Is A Product [Dead Oceans]
Tunng - Evaporate [Fulltime Hobby]
Tunng - Like Water [Fulltime Hobby]
A band that have been with me since, if not the first year of this show then certainly the second. I was absolutely bowled over when I heard the first single from English duo (as they were at the time) Tunng, "Tale From Black" in 2004. It was the perfect combination of arcane English folk songwriting (as it sounded to me) and contemporary, glitchy electronic production - and not just electronic backing, but guitars and other acoustic instruments melded into the sound. Somewhere along the way, a few albums later, Tunng seemed to lose their way, with original songwriter Sam Genders leaving, and the songs became a kind of campfire folk festival folk. But this new album reunites produced Mike Lindsay with Sam Genders, along with the members of the original live band, and it's just lovely.
In celebration of this reunion of sorts, I'm going back to the archives, staring with that first stunner of a song, then with something from their equally excellent second album, and a bit of a rarity from an old compilation. Meanwhile, this year Mike Lindsay also put out a super quirky and super catchy release with another English folky songwriter, Laura Marling, as LUMP.

101BPM - Lonely Water [Countersunk]
Here's a new project convened by Irish producer Dunk Murphy of Sunken Foal, Ambulance and various other projects that I've played over the years on the 'Fog. This one sees a big collective of artists semi-anonymously releasing music weekly(!) under the banner of 101BPM, all tracks of course at that tempo. Not sure yet whether artists will be remixing each other or anything, but anything Murphy's involved with is usually lovely. You can see who else is involved (so far) at the release page.

New Optimism - Dr.My-Ho [Phantom Limb]
New Optimism - Jet Setters [Phantom Limb]
Miho Hatori is best known as the singer in Cibo Matto and also the voice of Noodle in Gorillaz. With these associations (Cibo Matto also collaborated with the Beastie Boys), it's no surprise the tracks on her solo EP as New Optimism have low-slung grooves and rock-meets-hip-hop arrangements accompanying her Japanese & English singing. Super fun stuff.

Hekla - Hatur [Phantom Limb]
Hekla - Muddle [Phantom Limb]
An Icelandic musician based in Berlin, Hekla Magnúsdóttir is a virtuoso on the theremin, and loops and occasionally processes her instrument (and voice) to create bass rumbles and extraordinary melodies as well as singing in her native language. Her album Á is evocative and unique and you should totally check it out.

Szun Waves - New Hymn To Freedom [The Leaf Label]
Szun Waves - Through Stars Into Voids [Szun Waves Bandcamp]
Szun Waves - Temple [The Leaf Label]
Earlier this year I had Sydney drummer Laurence Pike on the show to talk about his new solo album released on The Leaf Label. Pike is of course best known as drummer in PVT and once upon a time post-jazz explorers Triosk. Szun Waves is jazz of a somewhat different stripe - freeform, psychedelic jazz with the modular electronics of Luke Abbott and the expansive saxophone of Portico Quartet's Jack Wyllie. Their first album flew a little under the radar, so hopefully there's some more attention for this new one.

The Declining Winter - Belmont Slope [Home Assembly Music]
Still excited about the new album from Hood's Richard Adams. The Declining Winter is now (again) basically a solo project. It's out in a few weeks, slightly delayed, and like his last album brings in some lovely electronics alongside his love of jangly indiepop - if not entirely as full-on electronic as Hood could sometimes get.

Listen again — ~204MB

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Sunday, 19th of August, 2018

Playlist 19.08.18 (9:06 pm)

Ambient pads and drones and classical/jazz influences are rife in tonight's show, but we're starting with an artist known for bass techno and jungle influences...

LISTEN AGAIN to catch the bits you missed - and the ones you'll miss if you don't listen again... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Djrum - Showreel Pt.3 [R&S Records/Bandcamp]
Djrum - Plantain [Samurai Music]
Djrum - Space Race, Pt. 1 & 2 [2nd Drop Records]
Djrum - Creature Pt. 1 (feat. Zosia Jagodzinska) [R&S Records/Bandcamp]
Djrum - Creature Pt. 2 (feat. Zosia Jagodzinska) [R&S Records/Bandcamp]
Felix Manuel has carved out a pretty special place in the UK dance music scene in the last 5 years or longer. Djrum tracks can easily veer from dubstep to techno to drum'n'bass in one track, changing time signatures around some kind of repeating pattern that suddenly switches musical meaning... Strings have appeared here and there and also piano, but on his stunning new album Portrait With Firewood (named after a work by Marina Abramovic) he really brings the ambient piano jazz to the fore, even in intros and outros to the more dancefloor-oriented tracks, and also collaborates with fellow London-based cellist Zosia Jagodzinska on a few lovely tracks. An artist you should probably catch up on, and definitely get into this new album!

JV & Palf - JBNT [October Records]
IljusWifmo – Frenetic [Clubwerks]
Palf - Drip Dry (JV's 130 Pressure VIP) [Palf]
JV & Palf - Gully [October Records]
We've heard Max Palfrey on this show a bit as part of the great techno/bass duo IljusWifmo. And last year he released a solo EP with a remix from fellow Sydneysider Corey Furey aka JV. Now they've teamed up together for three tracks of bass techno, with some little bits of jungle breaks sneaking into "JBNT".

Michael - Convert [hellosQuare]
Michael - Ends [hellosQuare]
A member of the demented Brisbane improv-noise-rock-tronic group Feet Teeth, Paul Young has decided to call his industrial ambient / noise solo project by the name "Michael" - given that his own name is already taken, so to speak. Michael is his middle name, in case it's causing you as much consternation as it caused me. His solo album, released by Shoeb Ahmad's Canberra-based label hellosQuare (despite Shoeb's best efforts to scale the label back) is a splendid slab of doom-laden sound - buried, reverberated vocals and overdriven electronics, rhythm elements but no beats to speak of, melding the filthy with the mellifluous. Get into it.

Siavash Amini & Umchunga - 1827 [Flaming Pines]
The beautiful new album from Tehran-based Siavash Amini & Nima Pourkarimi aka Umchunga draws out forlorn drones from fragments of piano & chamber music by long-dead composers. In fact that deaths of the composers are commemorated in the track titles (hint: Ludwig van Beethoven died in 1827). It's something that others have done before (e.g. Wolfgang Voigt's Gas project) but Amini & Pourkarimi manage to create some exquisitely icy landscapes from these little repetitive phrases, with a murky kind of fear or trepidation creeping behind the sounds, in a peaceful kind of way. The Brightest Winter Sun is out on cassette & digital latest this month, highly recommended.

Hilde Marie Holsen - Eskolaite [Hubro]
Hilde Marie Holsen - Lapis [Hubro]
Some incredible live processing here from Norwegian trumpeter Hilde Marie Holsen, whose new album on Hubro sees her sampling breaths through the instrument, tapping of keys and all manner of sounds from the instrument, creating beds of wonderful granular bubbly sounds over which she performs patient melodies. It would be remarkable even if we didn't know that she was doing all of this in real time.

Colin Stetson - Book Burning [Milan]
Colin Stetson - Séance Sleepwalking [Milan]
The director of the scary movie Hereditary Ari Aster really loves Colin Stetson - before the movie even started filming, he was giving Stetson's music to all involved, and this is a rather nice thing I think, when a director really knows the sound they want to get and is happy to hand it over to an artist they respect. Stetson has definitely come through with the goods, as usual with mostly just his own saxophone, albeit with some overdubs, and featuring his wife, the brilliant Sarah Neufeld's violin on a few tracks. I haven't seen the movie, but it sounds like the perfect way to get the hairs up on the back of your neck...

The Declining Winter - Still Harbour Hope [Home Assembly Music]
As usual, Hood's Richard Adams provides quality with his offerings as The Declining Winter. This album was going to be out soon but has now been pushed back to 21st September due to, of course, vinyl pressing delays. There's plenty of indie guitar, but also gems like this song cast as ambient electronica. Pre-order it!

Listen again — ~203MB

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Sunday, 12th of August, 2018

Playlist 12.08.18 (9:42 pm)

Hip-hop through glitch through minimalist jazz to ambient, post-industrial and acoustic experimental folk... Just your usual Utility Fog fare.

LISTEN AGAIN if you dare! Stream on demand if you command... podcast here if you like.

Manga Saint Hilare - Forever [Manga Bandcamp]
It's great to hear a new track from one of the godfathers of grime, Manga Saint Hilare - this one produced by none other than Wiley, with a great simple synth line and bassline running through it. Could easily come from 2003, and ain't nothing wrong with that.

Saul Williams - The Flaw You Worship [from Neptune Frost]
A couple of years on from his MartyLoserKing concept album, Saul Williams is building on this politically charged cyberpunkish dystopia with a musical film called Neptune Frost, which he just successfully funded via Kickstarter. Fans of Williams will not be surprised (but are hopefully delighted like me) to hear the relentless amen breaks powering through this tune - one of his earliest appearances was his intertextual tour de force "Coded Language", a collaboration with DJ Krust.

Machinefabriek with Signor Benedick the Moor - IX-Three [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek with Signor Benedick the Moor - IX-Four [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek with Signor Benedick the Moor - IX-Six [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek with Signor Benedick the Moor - IX-Seven [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
It's very unusual to hear Dutch sound-artist Machinefabriek making beats, but beats there are (glitchy though they may be) on this boutique release - and rarer still, there's rapping on some of these tracks. It's a collaboration with Californian experimental artist Signor Benedick the Moor, and it's a free download from Machinefabriek's Bandcamp! I'd happily spend a few euros on it, but it's free, so there's no excuse to dawdle on this one...

Machinefabriek - Dwaal (Nicola Ratti version) [Moving Furniture]
I've dawdled a little on this - it came out a few months ago. Two great 18-minute drone/glitch pieces from Machinefabriek were released on CD by Amsterdam experimental label Moving Furniture Records along with two remixes - this lovely glitch-techno version from Italian producer Nicola Ratti, and a typical piece of ambient watercolours from Benoît Pioulard.

The Necks - Body (excerpt) [Fish of Milk/Northern Spy/ReR Megacorp]
After last year's double-vinyl album, with 20-minute tracks designed to fit on a side of vinyl, The Necks are back to their longform creations with Body, released this coming week. Fortunately for me, there's a spot about 20 minutes into this wonderful piece where I'm able to gracefully pull us out - in between the first long, contemplative groove and the long krautrock section where Chris Abrahams moves from repeated piano notes to organ. In this first section, Tony Buck's drumming is open and sparse, recalling late period Talk Talk, and Lloyd Swanton plays a two-note (one note repeated) bassline. As the first section dissipates, Abrahams' organ (which has been present throughout) continues, and Swanton starts up some big multi-layered bowed drones (still on that same tonic note). Later Buck's drumming picks things up a notch and off we go into krautrock love. Throughout there are clattering bits of percussion hovering at the edge of hearing, and thundering bass drum hits.
It may be premature, but this feels like the best Necks album I've heard in a while.

Evelyn Ida Morris - Collaboration [ABC Music]
Evelyn Ida Morris - Backwards [ABC Music]
Evelyn Ida Morris - Mutual Admiration [ABC Music]
After their brilliant self-titled solo album was released a few months ago, we get another new album from Evelyn! It's the soundtrack to the feature film Acute Misfortune, an adaptation of Erik Jensen's novel, which just won some accolades at its debut at Melbourne International Film Festival. It's beautiful stuff, lots of piano as on their solo album, even some mostly-wordless vocals, and sonic experimentation.

The little hand of the faithful - D.C.I.C.C.T.V. [Psychic Hysteria]
The little hand of the faithful - Dark and strangely pale [Psychic Hysteria]
The solo project of Mitchell Jones from Scattered Order features maximalist mashed samples and electronic beats - so not that different from what Scattered Order have become. But it's super fun and heavy so I'm not complaining in the slightest!

Broken Chip - It Means a Lot [Broken Chip Bandcamp]
It's been a while since we've had a proper release from Martyn Palmer, either as Broken Chip or his wonky hip-hop project Option Command. The 3-track EP this is taken from, Sunset Memories, apparently presages a full album, which is excellent news!

Slagr - flimmer [Hubro]
Slagr - varle [Hubro]
Norwegian trio Slagr take the traditional sounds of Norwegian folk music into meditative, minimalist territory in their music. The Hardanger fiddle is a Norwegian version of the violin, with additional sympathetic strings adding resonances under the four familiar ones. Next to this are cello and the warm, bell-like sounds of vibraphone an glass harmonica. It's enveloping music, like being inside with a fire on while it's white with snow outside.

Ale Hop - Migration Data (extended version) [The Wire - Below The Radar 28]
David Ross - Internal Model [The Wire - Below The Radar 28]
As usual, the digital edition of The Wire came out about a week into the previous month (this is the September issue we're talking about), and with it comes the latest download compilation, Below The Radar 28. While most of this stuff is pitched to The Wire by labels and publicists, it's still a good chance to hear some of the more adventurous music coming out around the world. Here we have Berlin-based Peruvian producer Ale Hop, who processes her voice and guitar along with lots of electronics - I've previously heard her guesting on a track by fellow Berlin residents These Hidden Hands. Next up, an unreleased track from David Ross, English creator of bizarre handmade instruments which produce unpredictable noises - yet it comes together into something musical and at times rhythmic.

Loops - Serene [Tandem Tapes TT043]
Eggshell Goblin - 16 Eggs [Tandem Tapes TT043]
The latest split cassette from Tandem Tapes features two UK artists. From Loops we get some mellow idm-ish sounds - almost ambient, but with gentle beats and melodic basslines popping up. Meanwhile Eggshell Goblin gets more abrasive and fast-paced as the tracks proceed.

Listen again — ~203MB

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Sunday, 5th of August, 2018

Playlist 05.08.18 (9:09 pm)

Your weekly eclectic selection, crossing between electronic, experimental, post-classical, world and jazz tonight.

LISTEN AGAIN for words and music across the world... stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

hence therefore - ashfield park [3bs Records]
hence therefore - admitting [3bs Records]
Simon Unwin has been based in London for a couple of years now, but he's still Sydney's Hence Therefore, and indeed his new ambient album Strata is released once again on Sydney-based 3BS Records. In the vein of Aphex Twin's SAW II or Coil's Musick To Play In The Dark it's shimmering, moody stuff made of deceptively simple elements, and it's a real beauty.

Erik Friedlander - 1000 Steps [Erik Friedlander Bandcamp]
For a little while, legendary Downtown New York cellist Erik Friedlander has been releasing single tracks as part of his River project in which he uses the studio as a musical instrument. It's resulted in some interesting experimental works. This one also features Satoshi Takeishi on percussion.

Elsen Price - D Major [self-released]
...interview with Elsen Price...
Plait Ensemble - Where Is My Money [Elsen Price Bandcamp]
...more interview with Elsen Price...
Ephemera Trio - Floating In Space [Ephemera Trio Bandcamp]
Eishan Ensemble - Nim Dong [Art As Catharsis]
Very nice chatting with Sydney double bassist Elsen Price about all the groups he's involved with! We started with a lovely piece of double bass looping and improvising from the originally self-trained (but now qualified in classical and jazz) musician. He's playing this Friday August 10th at St Stephen's church on Macquarie St in Sydney's CBD, doing a program of contemporary compositions and maybe a bit of improvised double bass. And then he's playing with his various ensembles at Extended Play, 12-hour mini-festival of New Music (in all its forms) at City Recital Hall, also in Sydney's CBD. (Hot tip: you can see me playing solo as raven as well...) Plait Ensemble is Elsen's compositions performed by an ensemble made up of musicians from different backgrounds - jazz, classical Armenian, Persian, Japanese - and the music is as gregarious as you'd expect. Persian tar player Hamed Sadeghi leads Eishan Ensemble, which shares a few members with Plait and whose album Nim Dong was recently released through Sydney's excellent Art As Catharsis. And Ephemera is led by flute/piano player Keyna Wilkins, along with Elsen on bass, and members on trumpet and viola, inspired by (and sampling) sounds from the solar system and beyond.

Lekhfa (Maryam Saleh, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Maurice Louca) - Teskar Tebki [Mostakell]
Lekhfa (Maryam Saleh, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Maurice Louca) - El Shahwa Wel Soarr [Mostakell]
I was blown away by the new album by Nadah El Shazly earlier this year, and was delighted when she was featured on the cover of The Wire in a piece about the underground & experimental music scene from Cairo. Earlier this year El Shazly contribued an incredible playlist of contemporary Egyptian music to The Wire, featuring a piece by the Lekhfa trio as well as work from familiar names to UFog like Zuli as well as many names that were new to me. Made up of popular singers in the Egyptian alternative scene Maryam Saleh and Tamer Abu Ghazaleh along with adventurous producer & multi-instrumentalist Maurice Louca, Lekhfa is a hugely exciting discovery - lovely Egyptian songs in a leftfield indie/electronic setting.

Happy Axe - Seven Sounds [Spirit Level/Happy Axe Bandcamp]
I wrote last week about how awesome Emma Kelly's debut Happy Axe album Dream Punching is. It's so good I'm playing another selection this week - one which starts with just lots of violins along with the vocals, but then adds some heavy bass and skittering beats into the mix 2/3 of the way in, and finishes with glitched-up vocal delays. Magnificent.

Andrée Greenwell & Ali Cobby Eckermann - I Am A Survivor [Andrée Greenwell Bandcamp]
Andrée Greenwell & Candy Royalle - Fire [Andrée Greenwell Bandcamp]
The powerful and important new work from Andrée Greenwell, Listen to Me, was premiered on the FBi Radio-produced, nationally syndicated show All The Best. Part documentary, part creative work, its subject matter is gendered violence, and it's a mosaic of spoken word, performance poetry and song, with music and songwriting by Greenwell and guest performances and words contributed by a raft of brilliant Australian women. It's beautiful and moving to hear the voice of wonderful Sydney poet Candy Royalle, recorded before she tragically passed away from cancer in late June this year, aged only 37. We also heard one of a couple of appearances from Indigenous Australian poet Ali Cobby Eckermann.

Joni Void - Observer (Natalie's Song) feat. Natalie Reid [Constellation]
Joni Void - Disassociation (Kyla's Song) feat. Kyla Brooks/Nag [Constellation]
Joni Void - Empathy (Ayuko's Song) feat. Ayuko Gota/Noah] [Constellation]
Jean Cousin's music as Joni Void (and previously Johnny_Ripper) is an unusual fit for Monréal label Constellation, home of Godspeed and A Silver Mt Zion, who've tended to be analogue purists - but the shunning of digital recording & production techniques is long gone (there's plenty of glitch in some of Do Make Say Think's back catalogue for instance) and Cousin is from Montréal. I missed this album when it came out a bit over a year ago, but it's pretty brilliant, with tracks built from unusual sample sources and a few guest vocalists (in fact Kyla's Song above is entirely sourced from Kyla Brooks' voice) - there's a gloomy affect to most of the tracks, and a slightly different take on reflection and evocation through sampling than the usual vaporwave fare.

Michael Price - To Begin (Akira Kosemura Rework) [1631 Recordings]
We finish with another selection from the Diary Reworks of English composer Michael Price, released on 1631 Recordings. Here we have the gorgeous glitchy piano and strings of Akira Kosemura.

Listen again — ~193MB

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