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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, 14th of July, 2019

Playlist 14.07.19 (9:53 pm)

A very multicultural show tonight, ranging over electronic pop, free jazz song, industrial techno, glitch, drone and more. Trying to fit in as much as I can as I'm away overseas for the next two weeks!

LISTEN AGAIN as we take you on a trip, across the world and back. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Sigrún - Exhale Your Song [Sigrún Bandcamp]
Young Icelandic singer and producer Sigrún Jónsdóttir follows up her excellent album from last year and a couple of EPs preceding it with a new single here. A great piece of songwriting with crunchy electronic beats which fits with the adventurous Scandinavian songwriting I've heard from Norway & Sweden in recent times as much as it does with her compatriot Björk Guðmundsdóttir...

Mary Rapp, Carl Dewhurst & Simon Barker - Dirt & Flowers [Mary Rapp Bandcamp]
I played this track earlier in the year, when Sydney cellist, double bassist and singer Mary Rapp released her album By ONe of thE Night. As I wrote then, her solo performances with cello & vocals (and no effects or amplification) are riveting, but here she's joined by two veteran improvisers from Sydney, guitarist Carl Dewhurst and Simon Barker, creating improvised songs recorded live by Richard Belkner at Free Energy Device Studios in Camperdown, Sydney. Any free jazz freakout tendencies are undercut by drones, repeating patterns and Rapp's raw, emotive vocals. Her cello, like Arthur Russell's, finds expression through scratchy harshness as much as melody, and a kind of expressionism that doesn't necessarily care for demonstrative virtuosity.
Mary's trio is launching this album at the Sound Lounge at the Seymour Centre this Saturday the 20th of July. Should be amazing.

Gail Priest - Sailing on a solar sea [Gail Priest Bandcamp]
Having travelled to Iceland for her last album, Sydney sound artist & electronic musician Gail Priest brings us her new album from the far future - the mythical "omega point" where post-humans frolic in the space-time continuum. The result is wobbling, wavering, mostly ambient adventures into a version of the future, informed by Gail's research in her Sounding the Future project.

Lara Sarkissian - PENINSULA (feat. Mesrop) [Ali Centre]
Lara Sarkissian - Greeted by Tir (Տիր) [Club Chai]
San Francisco based producer Lara Sarkissian incorporates the sounds of her Armenian heritage into her techno tracks - for her latest single PENINSULA Armenian percussion drives through the track, until piano from LA's Mesrop takes us out. The flipside of the single features a beautiful Armenian melody that takes over in a long ambient outro. Last year's DISRUPTION EP similarly harnesses Armenian music to techno, with the beautiful sampled duduk on the track featured tonight.

Zonal - Cage Version [Relapse Records]
Justin K Broadrick and Kevin Martin worked together for years under the name Techno Animal. They have previously released a highly limited CD-R as Zonal (back in 2000) but it's now become the main name for their re-started collaboration, here introduced to us with two incredibly slowed-down pieces of low-end sludge dub. Broadrick is of course the man behind grindcore/industrial metal masters Godflesh and the beloved shoegaze-metal of Jesu, but these days he's been pumping out dub-tinged industrial techno as JK Flesh. Martin makes unparalleled dubstep/grime/dub music as The Bug. Both have been involved with metal for ages, albeit the outskirts and badlands of the multiplicitous genre, but it's still a surprise to see this particular project being released on the legendary metal label Relapse Records, who have also undertaken to re-release the Techno Animal back catalogue over the next little while.

Jefre Cantu-Ledesma & Le Révélateur - In Summer (Out Mix) [crxssings]
Shelly Knotts & Jan St. Werner - Raft [crxssings]
A little while ago Rutger Zuydervelt aka Machinefabriek and Gabriel Saloman (ex-Yellow Swans) had exchanged remixes, and wanted to release them in a way that responded to the state of the world, particularly the suffering of refugees the world over. They conceived of CRXSSINGS (for City Plaza), a compilation which extends the mutual-remixing concept to another 16 pairs of musicians from across the world - many marvellous musicians in unexpected pairings, including Aussies Jasmine Guffond (working with Christina Vanzou) and Lawrence English (working with Klara Lewis), as well as Jim O'Rourke, Leyland Kirby, Lucrecia Dalt, Aaron Dilloway, Mira Calix and too many others to mention. All sales of the album go to City Plaza Hotel, "a squatted refuge located in the heart of Athens, Greece, organized for and by migrants from Africa and Asia". Tonight we heard post-rock greats Jefre Cantu-Ledesma (once of Tarantel) and Roger Tellier Craig aka Le Révélateur (ex-Godspeed, Le Fly Pan Am, Set Fire To Flames etc), and followed that with a collaboration between live-coding guru Shelly Knotts working with one half of Mouse on Mars, Jan St. Werner.

Scandinavian Star - Nassau [Posh Isolation]
Following his excellent album from December last year, mastering/mixing engineer and Copenhagen musician Malthe Fischer now contributes a track as Scandinavian Star to the new compilation from the great Posh Isolation called Summer Storms. It features Danish artists from the label and beyond, and covers classical influences, spoken word, experimental electronica, noise and even guitar-based songwriting. I wish I'd been able to fit more in, but I recommend you check the whole thing out.

Otto Solange - Pole Axed [eilean rec.]
Otto Solange - e.vo [eilean rec.]
Although he doesn't make it obvious on the album page for шон, "Otto Solange" is an alias for Mathias Van Eecloo, who runs the Eilean label and also makes music as Monolyth & Cobalt. This album will be the only album under this name, and sees Van Eecloo exploring loop-based sounds, including off-kilter beats and samples, in a delightfully dusty folktronic fashion. It's a slight departure from the label's usual fare, but pretty wonderful even so.

OTSO - 31.10.2022; 20 38 [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
OTSO - 11.07.1952; 06 22 [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
For his second album on French experimental label Elli Records, Finnish sound researcher and musician Otso Lähdeoja purports to intertwine piano recordings from an June morning in 1952 with electronic music from October 2022. For some reason tonight we have two recordings from the future on the show... In any case, there's a lovely mix of analogue-sounding tape processing at times on the piano along with glitchy processing, field recordings and synth textures. Highly idiosyncratic (and a lot more focused than his zany, fun previous Dendermonde), it's absolutely lovely stuff.

Magna Pia - Daiauna [Feral Note/Bandcamp]
Released on Berlin label Feral Note, the new album Daiauna from Hüseyin Evirgen as Magna Pia moves away from his usual techno productions into a more abstract electronic environment, making substantial use of his first instrument, the piano. Often it feels like we're right inside the instrument, with the strings and body rumblings and ringing around us, alongside some dark & heavy electronics. A wondrous release worth sinking into.

Machinefabriek - Melodrama 2 [Champion Version/Bandcamp]
Rutger Zuydervelt/Machinefabriek got a mention above, but I wasn't able to fit in one of his collaborations from the CRXSSINGS comp. Instead, here's a lovely little vignette from a lathe cut 7" on the British Champion Version label. It's rather lovely and not really melodramatic at all.

Koroza - Cycles [self-released from forthcoming EP]
20-year-old Sydney artist Koroza presents the first track from his debut solo EP Grow, Slow here - glitchy, droney, with some nice beats. Certainly bodes well for the rest of the release, which I hope we hear soon!

Black To Comm - Eden-Olympia [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Black To Comm - Lethe [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Marc Richter's Black To Comm has covered a lot of ground in its existence, and he's an accomplished collagist of unusual sounds, which he stretches and edits and reconfigures into incredible compositions. His Seven Horses For Seven Kings album from the start of this year is a dazzling piece of work (take the lonely trumpet and reversed textures of "Lethe" for instance), and new mini-album Before After brings us a set of bonus works from the same sessions. Absolutely essential.

Sal Grosso - Sapphire (Azure Version) [Colectivo Casa Amarela]
Last week I played Diana Combo's contribution as Síria to the compilation Island Fever released by experimental Portuguese label Colectivo Casa Amarela, celebrating their 50th release. The tracks are mostly reworkings of tracks from the label's history, and this one is a stretched out version of a piece by Ulnar by the collective's Sal Grosso. It's windswept gorgeousness.

Listen again — ~191MB


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Sunday, 7th of July, 2019

Playlist 07.07.19 (8:57 pm)

Tonight we have new music from a slew of great women from across the world, and I'm having a chat with excellent Sydney sound artist Alexandra Spence.

LISTEN AGAIN if you want to keep up. You do want to keep up don't you? Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Félicia Atkinson – Moderato Cantabile [Shelter Press/Bandcamp]
Félicia Atkinson – Shirley to Shirley [Shelter Press/Bandcamp]
French multi-instrumentalist sound-artist and poet Félicia Atkinson recorded her latest album mostly while on tour and pregnant. Yes, there's the ASMR whispery flutteriness in there (not so much on these two tracks), and there's an explicit influence from favourite works of the French impressionists - Ravel, Debussy and Satie. The piano on "Moderato Cantabile" floats on a bed of synthesised pads, and similar sounds bubble and pulse under some wonderfully processed and (dis)harmonised vocals on "Shirley to Shirley". You could have this album on in the background, but really it demands a dive into its depths.

Alexandra Spence - bodies in place [Room40]
...interview with Alexandra Spence...
Alexandra Spence - sleep in nothingness [Room40]
...more interview with Alexandra Spence...
Alexandra Spence - cleanse [Room40]
Alexandra Spence - a soft crackle [Room40]
So great to talk to Alexandra Spence, who despite having just released her debut album, has worked with many great names around the globe - in Toronto & Vancouver studying music, sound art & field recording, then with Francisco Lopez on a residency in South Africa, and with David Toop, Chris Watson and Jez riley French in the UK. All these influences, along with her experience as an improviser on clarinet and other instruments (she's part of the Splinter Orchestra) form a background for her very idiomatic work on record, which is an intuitive approach to constructing engrossing sound worlds. Live, she unveils the process, creating her sounds from unexpected objects, or objects used unexpectedly. Alex is launching this album next Sunday, 14th of July, at Petersham Bowlo and is joined by Kynan Tan and MP Hopkins - should be a great night!

Síria - Belgian Sheppherd [Colectivo Casa Amarela]
I first heard the work of Portuguese sound artist Diana Combo last year with her album (also under the name Síria) for excellent Portuguese experimental label Crónica. Those works mixed experimental tracks on vinyl with other droney sounds and Combo's own vocals. Here I believe we hear her vocals along with sounds sourced from Portuguese label Colectivo Casa Amerela. It's a beautiful piece of shoegazey drone from an album called Island Fever that celebrates the label's 5th birthday. You'll be hearing more from this compilation next week.

Jesca Hoop - Red White and Black [Memphis Industries/Bandcamp]
Jesca Hoop - the lost sky [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Jesca Hoop - Passage's End [Memphis Industries/Bandcamp]
Californian musician Jesca Hoop has lived in Manchester for some years, and her always folk-rooted music has somehow become more and more like English folk music. Her last album (from which we heard the gorgeous "the lost sky") was more of a folk rock album, and while there's a certain "folk rock" feel on this new one, it pares down the arrangements with John Parish in the producer's booth, and leans more into the "folk". There are some gorgeous production moments, such as the contrasting vocal refrain in "Passage's End" which sounds like an old record in a different room, even in a very slightly different key. Really impressive.

Kate Tempest – Lessons [American Recordings]
Kate Tempest – Perfect Coffee [Lex Records]
Kate Tempest – I Trap You [American Recordings]
The new album from Kate Tempest, The Book Of Traps And Lessons finds her on Rick Rubin's American Recordings, with a slightly more restrained, stripped back sound (although still working with the extra producer Dan Carey. While the previous two albums presented beautiful portraits of various characters from East London dancing around each other's needs and desires as the Britain of austerity and the spectre of Brexit presses in on them and starts to fall apart, this new one is far more of a personal document, a lament in post-Brexit-vote Britain about the toxicity of power within relationships, about what love and desire and humanity mean. We heard both the bitter lessons and the traps, and in between, one of my favourite segments from the brilliant Let Them Eat Chaos. The production leans away from the dubstep and grime sounds (and there's none of trap's bottom-end sleaze either), preferring muted boom-baps or no beats at all, pulsating synths and, in "I Trap You", a wobbly piece of music-hall jazz seemingly off a 78 record. It's moody as heck and moving too.

Hüma Utku - Black Water Red [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
R.A.N. - Sabah [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
Istanbul-born, Berlin-based artist Hüma Utku previously called herself Roads At Night, and her last EP on the great Berlin label Karlrecords was released under the acronym R.A.N. She now steps out under her own name, continuing the jouney through the night with some very dark industrial soundscapes, incorporating field recordings - listen to the buried sample vocals under the bass-heavy drums on "Black Water Red". Depending on your sound system you'll hardly notice they're there, but they lend extra weight to the driving beat. A similar momentum is found in last year's "Sabah" from her Karlrecords debut, which starts with a tambur played by Ercüment Gümüşel and then builds into pulsing techno with slow melodic pads and a gradually more distorted bassline, under which the tambur turns out to have been playing all along...

Rắn Cạp Đuôi - Degradation [Flaming Pines Bandcamp/Rắn Cạp Đuôi Bandcamp]
This new release from Kate Carr's Flaming Pines comes from the genre-spanning Saigon-based Rắn Cạp Đuôi Collective, currently a trio. This EP was written during the monsoon season and represents the members' fear of drowning, with a watery theme that culminates in its final track, where a showery drone is constantly interrupted by crushing percussive bass tones, until it eventually gives way to fragments of female vocals and shimmering waterfalls. Stunning.

Roll The Dice & Sophia Loizou - Head Drop [Roll The Dice Bandcamp]
Finally, Swedish electronic/electro-acoustic duo Roll The Dice have been releasing a series of single track collaborations with artists they admire, and the latest finds Sophia Loizou joining them to bring her particular brand of rave nostalgia - tumbling jungle breaks and sheets of synth pads. It's very soft-focus yet quite dark and altogether lovely.

Listen again — ~187MB


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