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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 February, 2019

Playlist 24.02.19 (8:06 pm)

Hip-hop to industrial techno and weirdass ambient tonight...?

LISTEN AGAIN for a trip like no other... Stream on demand the FBi way, podcast here.

Aesop Rock and Tobacco are Malibu Ken - Corn Maze [Rhymesayers]
Aesop Rock and Tobacco are Malibu Ken - 1 + 1 = 13 [Rhymesayers]
Two great artists coming together for something pretty lovely. Aesop Rock's rhymes, his agility with words and rapping, and his laconic style never fail to make me smile. After a couple of albums superbly produced by himself, he joins here with Tobacco for a true collaboration - some of the most straightforward but fit-to-purpose production from Tobacco. On the second track I featured here, he reaches some of the melodic electronic beauty of a Boards of Canada track...

Serengeti - Winter Clothes [FlamingoPop/Serengeti Bandcamp]
Serengeti - Jam Time [FlamingoPop/Serengeti Bandcamp]
On his last album to feature his iconic creation Kenny Dennis, Serengeti invited Andrew Broder aka Fog to produce - an inspired collaboration. Broder's always been an inventive and unpredictable producer & musician, and here he brings everything to the table - glitchy, hi-tech beats, chaotic sampling, and on "Jam Time", plangent glitched piano and menacing sub-bass. It's pretty incredible.

S S S S - Stripped [Haunter Records]
S S S S - noT-Part 1 (Conversations 1) [S S S S Bandcamp]
S S S S - Anonymous Materials [Edipo Re/S S S S Bandcamp]
S S S S - The Weight [Lux Rec]
S S S S - This Terrible Virtue Of Forgiveness (GIL Remix) [Haunter Records]
Swiss artist Samuel Savenberg has been making dark electronic & industrial techno for at least 5 years now as S S S S. It's a sustained aesthetic over many EPs for a number of labels, including the respected Italian label Haunter Records, who've just released his latest EP Absence.

Temp-Illusion - B (excerpt) [Zabte Sote]
Tegh - Downfall Pt II [Midira Records/Bandcamp]
Bescolour - Simplexity [Zabte Sote]
Temp-Illusion - A (except from end) [Zabte Sote]
Temp-Illusion - B (excerpt from start) [Zabte Sote]
Shahin Entezami and Behrang Najafi are Iranian experimental electronic duo Temp-Illusion. They've been active for some years, but primarily as a live act, so it's great to have a recorded document now - two long sides of a cassette on Ata Ebtekar's Zabte Sote label, documenting their live performance at Tehran's SET Festival in 2018. It's incredible, complex electronic music, covering ground from noisy techno to skittery drill'n'bass. Entezami is also known for his emotive drone & sound-art as Tegh, and Najafi makes electronica solo as Bescolour. Add them to your list of artists to follow!

Lint - Lint 2 [Lint Bandcamp]
Lint - Lint 4 [Lint Bandcamp]
Mitchell Jones formed Scattered Order in Sydney in 1979. An experimental rock/post-punk trio, they morphed into various forms of proto, post-industrial and electronic music over the years, and particular since their more recent reformation they focused on noisemakers and technology. For much of its history, Drusilla Jones (originally Johnson, now married to Mitch) was involved as well, and it's great to hear them together as a duo now, after Mitch's lovely solo album of beats & samples last year as the little hand of the faithful (Dru joined Mitch for the live performances anyway). As with last year's album, there's something surprisingly contemporary about the productions, but also harkening back to the sampling styles of the '80s and '90s, and the plodding basslines and noise guitar solos of the postpunk era. Great stuff.

Simon Scott - Mae [Touch/Bandcamp]
Simon Scott - Grace [Touch/Bandcamp]
Best known to many as the drummer in beloved shoegaze band Slowdive, Simon Scott has for the last 10 years (at least) also been making extremely good drone/sound-art albums as a solo artist, on labels like Miasmah, 12k, his own KESH and now the legendary Touch, for whom he's put out a couple of live & re-released albums, but apparently this is his first actual new album! Soundings is the new one, incorporating field recordings, modular synths and lovely string performances. There's an alternate, extended version available on cassette (& digital) too.

Chasms - Shadow [Felte]
The LA-based duo of Jess Labrador & Shannon Sky Madden, Chasms harken back to the '80s & early '90s shoegaze with drum machines and spaced out noise guitars, but there's a marked dub aesthetic melted into their sound. Jess Labrador's vocals fit the shoegaze theme perfectly, and there's a head-nodding goodness to this stuff that just makes it great for dancing around the room to.

Listen again — ~208MB

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Sunday, 17th of February, 2019

Playlist 17.02.19 (8:11 pm)

Ranging across Persian classical and sound-art, electronica, industrial and more tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN, because not listening again is not a fate you wish to contemplate. Stream on demand through FBi, podcast here...

Saba Alizadeh - Greetings to Earthfire [Karlrecords]
Saba Alizadeh - Colors Wove Me In Teheran [Karlrecords]
Saba Alizadeh - Would You Remember Me [Karlrecords]
Tehran-based musician Saba Alizadeh is a master at the Iranian spike fiddle kamancheh, and we hear the haunting sounds of this instrument through his new album for Berlin label Karlrecords - but it's not long before the focus drifts elsewhere into twinkling ambient, field recordings, processed vocals and more. It's a beautiful album, and by and large timeless - it could almost be a forward-thinking '80s ambient album (understanding the Orientalist tendencies of '80s "fourth world" music), or anytime between then and now, although the production qualities are up-to-the-minute. Yet another addition to the thriving experimental music scene from Iran.

Sunken Foal - How Much is a Lot and How Long is Lately? [Countersunk]
Sunken Foal - Charles Dance [Countersunk]
Irish electronic producer Dunk Murphy, one half of Planet μ alumni Ambulance, has been making emotive, technically proficient electronic music for approaching 2 decades now, and notably often used acoustic sounds - piano, banjo, acoustic guitars etc. His new EP Ribbon Works Vol.1 features multitracked arrangements on what he calls a ribbon synthesiser. That's where those swooping glissandi come from, lovely slides between chords, and they add another layer of organic, life-like nature to his music. An underrated producer who you should get into in general.

Croatian Amor - Dark Cut (ft. Jonnine Standish) [Posh Isolation/Bandcamp]
Croatian Amor - An Angel Gets His Wings Clipped (ft. Soho Rezanejad) [ALTER Bandcamp]
Croatian Amor - In Alarm Light (ft. Soho Rezanejad) [Posh Isolation/Bandcamp]
Croatian Amor - Point Reflex Blue [Posh Isolation/Bandcamp]
Danish producer Loke Rahbek records under various names (including his own) as well as being part of various groups in the noise/electronic/rock spectrum (and being kept busy as one half of the team behind the Posh Isolation label), but his most consistent moniker is Croatian Amor. His previous album Love Means Taking Action featured uncredited vocals from Danish-Iranian singer Soho Rezanejad, who appears on the new album Isa as well, alongside various other guests including Aussie singer Jonnine Standish of HTRK. Even on ostensibly instrumental tracks like the last one I featured, processed, pitch-shifted vocal samples appear. Communication and art are themes across his work, and probably more than ever here, in a very strange and beguiling work which is a more than worthy successor to Love Means Taking Action.

Vacant Lake - Did you [Vacant Lake Bandcamp]
Karoshi - Reanimate me [Karoshi Bandcamp]
Vacant Lake - Carry On [Vacant Lake Bandcamp]
Vacant Lake - Atomised [Vacant Lake Bandcamp]
Vacant Lake - Listen out [Vacant Lake Bandcamp]
Vacant Lake - Ready [Vacant Lake Bandcamp]
Sydney producer Beres Jackson first came to the attention of this show and FBi under the moniker of Karoshi, sometimes a band, sometimes a solo project, doing glitchy folktronica and electronica, occasionally with vocals. It was always fun and complex stuff. But then in 2012 Jackson came out with his first EP under a new name, definitely solo, as Vacant Lake. Around the same time, I think, he relocated to Berlin, and late last year he launched a full album as Vacant Lake. This project is darker and lusher, leaning towards techno at times but also making use of hip-hop beats and dubby textures. We also heard tracks from the first two Vacant Lake EPs, which are very much in keeping with the lovely new album.

Eli Keszler - Enter the Bristle Strum [Shelter Press]
A nice encore to his incredible album Stadium from last year, Empire finds experimental New York percussionist Eli Keszler in even more chilled mode - tuned percussion and other instruments producing jazzy melodies under which disjointed, detailed rhythms are laid. Like the album before it, it recalls a lot of '90s electronic music, twisted through a jazz lens into an alien organic form.

Belief Defect - Deliverance (Telefon Tel Aviv Dub) [Raster]
Belief Defect - Unnatural Instinct [Raster]
Belief Defect - The Conduit [Raster]
Belief Defect - Disembarking Horizon [Raster]
Belief Defect - Disembarking Horizon (Alessandro Cortini Version) [Raster]
Featuring two longtime members of the US experimental electronic scene, Moe Espinosa aka Drumcell and Luis Flores, originally from Mexico and seasoned techno producer as well, Belief Defect is a deep, bassy fusion of techno, idm and industrial music. It certainly wears its industrial influences on its sleeve, and it's no surprise to see Alessandro Cortini, electronic luminary and sometime Nine Inch Nails member, contributing a remix on their first remix EP. OF course, Telefon Tel Aviv's Joshua Eustis also has a long history with NIN by now. I'm sad that I missed Belief Defect's debut album Decadent Yet Depraved in 2017, on the still newly-split Raster label, but I'm glad that at least I've caught up now!

Fanu - 12-bit [Straight Up Breakbeat]
Finnish producer Fanu has been a stalwart of the drum'n'bass scene for years now, lovingly cultivating junglist tendencies, all styles of drum'n'bass, and also as an aside other sorts of breakbeat and hip-hop under the name FatGyver. He's had an excellent DJ mix podcast which has introduced me to lots of great drum'n'bass over the years, and also puts out some nice production tips on his website from time to time. Lately he hasn't been as prolific, perhaps concentrating more on production and mastering jobs, so it's nice to hear some fantastic beat juggling on a new 12" for the Straight Up Breakbeat label to finish our show tonight.

Listen again — ~203MB

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Sunday, 10th of February, 2019

Playlist 10.02.19 (8:09 pm)

Big feature on the music of Cairo musician Maurice Louca tonight, plus some glitchy Euro dub and some intense techno later, plus an epic new piece of Aussie folk...

LISTEN AGAIN to the best sounds you can find. Stream on demand from FBi or podcast here.

Maurice Louca - The Palm of a Ghost (feat. Nadah El Shazly) [Northern Spy/Sub Rosa]
Bikya - betrayal [100 Copies]
Maurice Louca - repeat to fade [100 Copies]
Alif - Eish Jabkum Hon? (What Brings You Here?) [Nawa Recordings/Bandcamp]
Maurice Louca - Salute the Parrot (feat. Alaa 50) [Nawa Recordings/Bandcamp]
Nadah El Shazly - Afqid Adh-Dhakira (I Lose Memory) [Nawa Recordings/Bandcamp]
Lekhfa (Maryam Saleh, Tamer Abu Ghazaleh, Maurice Louca) - El Shahwa Wel Soarr [Mostakell]
Karkhana with Nadah El Shazly - Dans ma bouche, une autre bouche [Unrock]
Maurice Louca - Northern Spy [Northern Spy/Sub Rosa]
Sometime last year The Wire put Nadah El Shazly on the cover as part of an in-depth look at the underground music scene in Cairo & Egypt - a couple of months after featuring a fantastic playlist from El Shazly of experimental Egyptian music. It was a fascinating interview and, along with her playlist, made me want to seek out more music than the small sliver I already knew (not just ZULI's amazing glitchy electronics but also El Shazly's own beautiful album from 2017). Frequently appearing among the collaborators and producers was the name Maurice Louca, who was mentioned as having made electronic music but also being involved with experimental rock and song-based stuff. In particular, on El Shazly's playlist was something credited to Lekhfa - although technically that's the name of the album. The work of singers Maryam Saleh & Tamer Abu Ghazaleh along with Maurice Louca, it's a wonderful setting of Egyptian jazz & popular song into a modern setting of edgy indie rock & electronics. It turns out that Louca and Abu Ghazaleh collaborated a few years earlier in a quintet called Alif, interpreting Egyptian poetry into a similar heady mix of traditional Egyptian, rock and electronics.
In researching this special, I discovered two early electronica albums of Louca's, released on the slightly boutique Cairo label 100 Copies. Bikya is a trio which apparently still exists, sporadically, with Mauhmoud Waly on bass and Mahmoud Refat on drums. All contribute electronics - glitchy beats and samples abound alongside muscly grooves. Meanwhile Louca's first solo album Garraya came out through the label in 2010, with more glitchy beats and sensitively cut-up samples.
Louca's new solo album Elephantine brings together a band of musicians from Cairo & beyond to create an album part improv, part composed, with Louca as band-leader and musical visionary. The Egyptian music we've heard on these various recent albums is there, as is the more experimental rock of some of this other projects, but it's dominated by a cosmic jazz feel, focused but looser due to the seasoned improvisers involved, with the sense of groove and the beautiful airy production the only sign of his electronic roots.
Meanwhile, also released early this year is a split album on Unrock called Carte Blanche, with Sun City Girls' Sir Richard Bishop and David Oliphant on one side and on the other Cairo/Beirut/Istanbul supergroup Karkhana, which features Louca alongside frequent collaborator Sam Shalabi. These tracks benefit also from the singing, once again, of Nadah El Shazly. It was nice to see this release appearing on my radar at the same time as Louca's new solo album.

Ulrich Troyer - Dolomite Dub (Part II) [4Bit Productions]
Ulrich Troyer - At The Workshop [Deep Medi/4Bit Bandcamp]
Uli Troyer - Nok 3 [Mego/4Bit Bandcamp]
I first discovered Viennese glitch/dub producer Ulrich Troyer (as Uli Troyer) via his debut release, a 3" CD (remember those? I have so many...) on what was still, at the time, the Mego label. With dub undertones, it was basically a bunch of short pieces made from glitchy, clicky beats. Nice enough that I kept it in my collection, but it was a surprise to find a promo years later from the beloved dubstep label Deep Medi in my inbox with Ulrich Troyer's name on it. The Songs For William album is not dubstep, but it's glitchy dub of a characteristic German/Austrian flavour, and utterly lovely. Cut to 2019, and his latest album Dolomite Dub is out on his own 4Bit Productions. Its 4 long tracks make up an engrossing mountain trek, perfect travelling music. Probably his best work yet.

Nkisi - The Dark Orchestra [Arcola]
Nkisi - Violent Tendencies [Arcola]
Nkisi - V [UIQ/Bandcamp]
A couple of weeks ago we heard from NON Worldwide co-creator Nkisi's wonderful new album on UIQ, melding Congolese rhythms with widescreen techno. She put out an EP last year on Warp's vinyl-only sublabel Arcola, and I'd been hanging out for digital for some time. This week, spurred by news of the latest Arcola release, I went to Bleep to check, and lo and behold, the Arcola catalogue is now available digitally! So we heard two tracks from the darker and faster Arcola EP The Dark Orchestra tonight.

Only The Lonely - Fog (demo) [Only The Lonely Bandcamp]
It's been a few years since Brett Thompson put out his last release as Rand & Holland, the epic, fucked up self-titled masterpiece released on Room40's A Guide To Saints (find it here). It's been a long time since we've heard anything new from Brett. But last year I had the pleasure of seeing him and partner Loni in Only The Lonely performing at the Golden Age Cinema in Sydney, and now two demos have surfaced on Bandcamp. The angst and noise of that last Rand & Holland release is gone, replaced again with hypnotic folk riffs, subtle percussion and ride cymbals, and the vocal partnering of Brett & Loni. The 12-minute "Fog" is worth every single minute. Enjoy, and pay what you like.

Listen again — ~196MB

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Sunday, 3rd of February, 2019

Playlist 03.02.19 (8:11 pm)

A show full of experimental, challenging sounds and also soothing beauty tonight...

LISTEN AGAIN because who else gonna take you on this journey? Stream on demand from FBi or podcast here.

9T Antiope - Nocebo (A) excerpt 1 [Purple Tape Pedigree]
9T Antiope - Nocebo (A) excerpt 2 [Purple Tape Pedigree]
9T Antiope - Nocebo (B) excerpt [Purple Tape Pedigree]
The Iranian duo 9T Antiope, who have been based in Paris for a few years now, have featured a lot on this show, individually as well as together. Last year, Nima Aghiani put out an EP called REMS on PTP aka Purple Tape Pedigree that was one of my favourite releases of the year. Now he returns with Sara Bigdeli Shamloo to deliver the second in a trilogy of 9T Antiope albums, following Isthmus, released on eilean records in 2017. It's a stunning combination of noise and beauty, spoken words and layered vocals, industrial electronic noise and Aghiani's violin. I haven't really figured out what it's about, but it's super evocative anyway!

Siavash Amini & Matt Finney - Still Remember [Opal Tapes]
Poet & spoken word artist Matt Finney has collaborated with some great artists in the ambient/post-rock/experimental world over the last for years, including composer William Ryan Fritch and Russian artist Heinali. His third album with Iranian sound artist Siavash Amini has just dropped, and it's one to treasure. Finney's contributions to each track are surprisingly brief, but utterly compelling, distorted messages from some distant place, wrapped up in Amini's sometimes distorted, sometimes crystalline, sometimes cavernous music.

Corey Fuller - Seiche (excerpt) [12k]
A US artist who has spent a lot of his life in Japan, Corey Fuller is one half of the duo Illuha and has collaborated with many artists. This new solo album, entitled Break, addresses the heavy subject matter of today's environment: "A crashing wave, the breaking dawn, an impact, the crushing of emotional spirit... the breaking of a storm." It's very beautiful, utilising piano, field recordings and electronics in a very melodic way. I wish I could have played the entire track.

Stephen Vitiello & Taylor Deupree - Second Variation [12k]
Some lovely drones, chopped and detuned samples and delays from seasoned collaborators and sound artists Stephen Vitiello and Taylor Deupree - the former with many releases solo & with other artists on 12k, the latter the guy who runs the label, and also an in-demand mastering engineer and photographer. This second variation of work originally presented in a gallery concert evolves from agitated tape samples and delays into a beautiful piece of floating drones and electric piano.

haddocks' eyes - plassans [haddocks' eyes Bandcamp]
Sydney artist haddocks' eyes is as unpredictable as as Lewis Carroll poem from which he takes his name. He's made indie guitar music, acoustic folk, krauty and postpunky experimental works, and electronically processed songs. He has a great instinct for combining the avant-garde with beautiful songwriting. This contemplative electric piano piece caught my ear this week.

Shoshana Rosenberg - A Broken Fence [Tone List]
Shoshana Rosenberg - A Gold Ring in a Pig's Snout (a response by Aviva Endean) [Tone List]
Shoshana Rosenberg - Lehitraot [Tone List]
Three tracks from Perth-based queer transexual Jewish artist Shoshana Rosenberg, who addresses on this release "the Jewish body", her body, and formulates the EP, she says, partly as "a goodbye letter to parts of me I had to abandon with haste". It's at times based on Jewish themes, which fit beautifully with her clear, emotive clarinet playing - although other tracks take full advantage of the distortion available from that instrument. In between, we heard Melbourne artist Aviva Endean's overlaid response with her own clarinet to a work from Rosenberg's previous solo release on Tone List from 2017.

Erik Friedlander - The Crucible [Erik Friedlander Bandcamp]
This piece by New York cellist / composer Erik Friedlander was originally written as a cue for a feature film, but having not made it into the final soundtrack, it now appears as the current monthly track on his Bandcamp. Starting with super-quiet Blade Runner-style high pitches, it then ventures into more orchestral soundtrack territory.

Jo David Meyer Lysne - Noen andre venter på [Hubro]
Jo David Meyer Lysne - Svalene på Årnes brygge [Hubro]
Henger i luften ("Hang in the air") is the debut from young Norwegian guitarist/composer Jo David Meyer Lysne, and while it's described as group improvisation, there's a very clear musical vision that goes through this music. As I am by now well acquainted with Norwegian jazz and improv, including artists such as Kim Myhr, the Trondheim Jazz Orchestra, and music released on Hubro and Rune Grammofon, this wondrous, mostly acoustic music feels like it sits in a clear tradition. But even so, Lysne's approach is singular. The mixing, including reverbs and delays, on the opening track (the second I played tonight) is striking, as is the use of ostinato, while elsewhere on the album there are affecting solo guitar pieces and chaotic group improvisations. But everything has an open, bucolic feel which makes the album a real pleasure to listen to.

Allenheimer - Megas [Unfiled]
Teitur Magnússon - Ornamental (Allenheimer remix) [Allenheimer SoundCloud]
We heard the music of Atli Bollason as Allenheimer on the show last year after he appeared on a compilation from The Wire. It's lovely glitchy electronica from an artist who's played in bands around Reykjavik for some time. He's just released an epic remix of fellow Icelander Teitur Magnússon - sampling snippets from the original piece of folk songwriting, he turns it into an epic of disco house with breakbeat incursions. Pretty fun.

nOWt - HOOVER1 B [nOWt Recordings]
René Pawlowitz, best known as techno genius Shed, adds another alias to an ever-growing list, with two tracks of drum'n'bass-influenced techno under the name nOWt, on a 12" called HOOVER1. He's often referenced '90s rave music (there are one or two drum'n'bass tracks in the Shed discography) and it's nice hearing it bubble up here.

The Good Nothing - The Daydreamer [The Good Nothing Bandcamp]
Canberra-by-way-of-Sydney-by-way-of-Newcastle musician and academic Stephen Owen has of late mostly been releasing music via his industrial metal duo No Names, but has recently also returned to solo electronica under the name The Good Nothing. It's lovely how this ambient piece evolves slowly over its 5 minutes.

New Order - Fine time [Factory Records]
It's hard to believe, but the wonderful Technique from New Order turns 30 this year. It made a huge impression on me in high school - although it's well past New Order's initial attraction and embedding into the house/electronic scene, it represents for me a peak in terms of the melding of house and post-punk pop, and in general contains some really wonderful songs. But it starts with this gem of pure dancefloor genius.

Listen again — ~197MB

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