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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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Sunday, 9th of February, 2020

Playlist 09.02.20 (8:16 pm)

We've got folktronica, post-classical experimentalism, folktronic house (does that make sense) and drill'n'bass tonight, with a bit of ambient thrown in...!

LISTEN AGAIN to the best new sounds. Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Reuben Ingall - Close Contact [Reuben Ingall Bandcamp]
Reuben Ingall - Video 2004 [Reuben Ingall Bandcamp]
It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of the work of Canberra musician Reuben Ingall on this show. I've been playing him for around 10 years now, since his earliest forays into PureData patches live-processing mournful lo-fi indie guitar. He's performed drone pieces for a microwave heating up a pie, created techno works for environmentalist political satire, and now he's gone and released a beautiful, brilliant folktronica album. Or sound-art, or electro-acoustic? While theres some challenging bits of sinewave noise and collage there, and lots of music made from non-musical sound, there are also so many gorgeous passages. All tracks are within the 3 minutes of pop-song length - pop music for a better world!

Midori Hirano - Invisible Island [Sonic Pieces/Bandcamp]
Midori Hirano - Terra [Midi Creative/Noble Label]
MimiCof - ReckTon [Wrong Weather Forecast #2]
Midori Hirano - Strain [Sonic Pieces/Bandcamp]
Classically-trained Japanese composer & pianist Midori Hirano has been based in Berlin for ages now, but wherever she's based she has a true talent for being in a class of her own. You'll hear lovely post-classical piano, sometimes prepared piano, ambient sound processing, classical string arrangements, but there's an edge of strangeness and a compositional style which is freer than much of what passes for (post-)classical or ambient. She also has an electronic (beats) alias in MimiCof, although as we can see she's no purist when it comes to the material under her own name. The new album Invisible Island, her second for Berlin-based boutique label Sonic Pieces, seems like a career highlight.

Zoltan Fecso - Rainbow Noise [Shimmering Moods]
Zoltan Fecso - In Place [Shimmering Moods]
Excellent to find the second album from unique Melbourne guitarist Zoltan Fecso appearing on the lovely Dutch ambient label Shimmering Moods. Zoltan came in for a chat on this show a year and a bit ago, describing the incredible specially-made guitar he performs on, which has a 2-dimensional USB controller built in, so that he can sample, control and sequence fragments of the guitar sound in real time. He creates pointilistic compositions which can be rhythmic or free, guitar-like or anything but. On this new one he's expanded into using field recordings as well. I love the shimmering, pulsating tones, but it's also lovely when long guitar harmonics and tones are allowed to speak. Still a very creative artist like no other.

Beatrice Dillon - Workaround Five (feat. Lucy Railton) [PAN/Bandcamp]
Beatrice Dillon - Workaround Two (feat. Laurel Halo) [PAN/Bandcamp]
Beatrice Dillon - Workaround Eight [PAN/Bandcamp]
London-based producer Beatrice Dillon has a long history mixing avant-garde sensibilities with a great talent for rhythm. Whether it's minimal techno or house or UK bass music, her beats flow as much as they skitter. On her superb new album for PAN, she sticks at 150bpm (except for a couple of beatless interludes) and leaves plenty of space for the flow of the beats to recall UKG or dubstep's space as much as techno. And there are plenty of acoustic sounds in there, and plenty of jazzy musicality. I keep thinking of the sonic adventurousness and meticulous dancefloor dedication of Matthew Herbert. In any case, this is one of the best albums of the year so far, and one I plan to return to.

Om Unit - Runes [Cosmic Bridge Records]
From 150bpm to 160... The hybridisation of drum'n'bass and other UK & international bass styles like dubstep, UK garage, techno etc sits very comfortably at this tempo, and on his new album Submerged, Om Unit (one of the originators of this loose genre or movement) showcases a variety of rolling beats and sounds that work at 160bpm. Very nice stuff.

Tennis Pagan - Heads [Spirit Level]
Coming out next month from Melbourne's Spirit Level is a delightful EP of idm-ish sounds from mysterious(?) Melbourne artist Tennis Pagan. This little preview is a bit of drill'n'bass that segues rather well into our special on Tom Jenkinson aka...

Squarepusher - Terminal Slam [Warp]
Squarepusher - Tundra [Rephlex]
Squarepusher - Port Rhombus [Warp]
Squarepusher - massif (stay strong) [Warp]
Squarepusher - Detroit People Mover [Warp]
While Tom Jenkinson's music as Squarepusher has taken various twists and turns through the years - weird lo-fi facsimile jazz, prog, robot funk band, etc, he's never abandoned the drill'n'bass that everybody was obsessed with when his earliest stuff came out on Spymania, Rephlex and then Warp. A madcap take on the mangled beats of jungle, it mixed lo-fi synth melodies, jazz chords, ridiculously technical funk bass, and neverending complex chopped-up beats. Aphex Twin, Luke Vibert (as Plug) and various others started doing similar stuff at the same time, as did µ-Ziq, but drill'n'bass is still probably most synonymous with Squarepusher. It's nice to hear the melodic aspect popping back in on his new one, Be Up A Hello - even though 2015's Damogen Furies has hard-hitting drum'n'bass beats and acid basslines, this one seems more like a return to classic Squarepusher in a way. So I decided to return to classic Squarepusher, from 1996's Feed Me Weird Things, and his debut EP on Warp, and then a much-loved favourite from 1998.

Tilman Robinson - We Came For Your Riches [Bedroom Community]
Melboure-based composer Tilman Robinson (originally from Perth) has spent a lot of time in Iceland, and in fact recorded his last album at Valgeir Sigurðsson's studio, so it's rather nice to see him joining the Bedroom Community label properly with this new single. The track itself is a "wordless shriek" lamenting the horrors commited by white Australia's colonial past. As he eloquently puts it, "The destruction continues to this day as 21st century cowboys with their Haulpaks and piledrivers pillage land for every last scrap of resources and governments undermine the rights of First Nations peoples everywhere." The subdued, clanking rhythms, classical instruments and choir of wails are quite something.

Glamour Lakes - Competent Rock [Glamour Lakes Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Glamour Lakes has a history in indie bands and his solo stuff has been indietronica, minimal glitchy techno, and has now settled into something more ambient. But, despite the fact that somebody on YouTube claims his music is used by the IRS as hold music, there are some unsettling, dark undercurrents in there, especially on the rather perplexingly titled "Competent Rock".

Listen again — ~274MB

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