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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, 16th of February, 2020

Playlist 16.02.20 (8:26 pm)

Lots of experimental electronics tonight, more brilliant junglisms, and also plenty of vocals!

LISTEN AGAIN and sing along, via podcast here or stream on demand at FBi.

golden window house - The Man I Follow (ft. Marcus Whale) [Defaul Settings]
Kcin - Belief Network [Defaul Settings]
Starting tonight with another bushfire relief compilation. There’s been a lot of these, which just goes to show that in a business that could do with all the small amounts of money it could make, people in the arts are admirably morally centred. While some labels and artists were able to draw on existing material to get fundraiser compilations out the door as soon as the scale of the disasters became evident, others have put together wonderfully considered special material. New Sydney label Default Settings is a friend of the show’s – label head Tom Vanderzeil has filled in on shows following us a bit too. Their comp raises funds for WIRES and RSPCA NSW. Golden Window House is the ambient alias of Jacques Emery, enfolding Marcus Whale’s vocals in layers of quasi-classical samples, distorted noise and sub-bass. And Nick Meredith’s Kcin contributes an exclusive work of grungy bass synths and beats.

Melbourne producer Joshua Wells has appeared a fair bit on the show recently with his hard-hitting industrial-leaning techno as NERVE. This track is a live improvisation from the middle of a recent set, and again shows his techno teetering dangerously on the edge of drum’n’bass.

Thugwidow - i long to be carried away [Aurawire/Bandcamp]
Thugwidow - Dominion [Circadian Rhythms Records/Bandcamp]
Thugwidow - what ever happened to the pouring soul liger [Aurawire/Bandcamp]
Did anybody say drum’n’bass? I just discovered this wild album from 2019 by Manchester-based producer Thugwidow aka Alex Lowther-Harris, whose brilliant bass/drum’n’bass track “Dominion” appeared on the great jungle/idm/grime comp Partisan from last year on Circadian Rhythms. Seemingly one of a billion albums he put out in the last couple of years, it’s released through Minneapolis label Aurawire, a label that specialises mostly in ambient. It’s a beautiful homage to early ‘90s jungle, with rave synths, skittering breaks scattered octaves above sub-bass-lines, an absolute delight. And it’s released on CD! Although the mastering leaves a little to be desired – I boosted all the tracks by 3.4dB and topped-and-tailed all the tracks, because that’s the kind of thing I do, and so here we are. Really, grab this asap.

Louis King ft. Brain Rays - Let's Get It (Brain Rays + Quiet Remix) [SEAGRAVE]
Louis King ft. Brain Rays - Why Pree? (Ice_Eyes Remix) [SEAGRAVE]
There’s never a dud from British label SEAGRAVE. They remind us of the deep and weird connections between idm and dancefloor genres, and how blurred those lines are. The latest release is a grime single with various remixes. South London MC Louis King pairs up with producer Brain Rays for a couple of tracks which are flipped and messed with by the likes of algorave king Renick Bell, and tonight we heard Brain Rays himself with regular collaborator Quiet taking things into footwork-meets-jungle territory, and then Greek idm duo Ice_Eyes take it head-nodding and crunchy.

Pentagrime - No Pithering Allowed [James Plotkin Bandcamp]
James Plotkin can’t get enough of the modular synth idm beats. His years making the scariest doom metal in the business and being one of the most respected mastering engineers in the world give him a strange perspective on electronica, but he’s always been into weird & cutting edge electronic production as well. The third EP as Pentagrime is first class, from the acid slow-fast vibes of this track to the Aphexisms of “Lemur Orgy”. Also note the last track, an alternate version of the track I played tonight, bestowed with the subtitle “[rehearsal demo live peel session roughmix (remix)]”.

SUDS - Shuttlecock Fanfare [anno]
Legendary Digital Hardcore producer Christoph de Babalon, as well as releasing new music AND a series of archival releases of amazing drum’n’bass and dark ambient over the last few years, has been involved in a few collaborations lately, and his new one with Berlin-based experimental electronic producer Wilted Woman is very impressive. No junglisms here (although the beats skitter and syncopate plenty), but dark beats, bass and melodies. According to the EP title, SUDS = Sick Universe Demands Sharing. Maybe they’ll change it every release?

Ash Koosha - iLLY [Realms/Bandcamp]
Ash Koosha - Robot Kareem [Realms/Bandcamp]
Ash Koosha - The Egg Sea [Realms/Bandcamp]
Iranian ex-pat Ashkan Kooshanejad aka Ash Koosha, after a brilliant debut mixtape on Olde English Spelling Bee and debut album on Ninja Tune, has been steadily dropping mixtapes and albums on his own label as well as material from his handmade AI singer-songwriter YONA. His latest album-cum-mixtape BLUUD is as exciting as his earliest releases, combining crunchy beats and heavy bass with a Persian-inflected talent for melodic and harmonic invention.

Katie Gately - The Tower [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Katie Gately - Last Day [Public Information]
Katie Gately - Lift [Tri-Angle/Bandcamp]
Katie Gately - Rite [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
We’ve been fans on this show of the vocal magic and sound-art of LA-based musician Katie Gately for ages. It’s easy to forget that she’s a songwriter when contemplating her adeptness with sonic exploration, as well as the 10+-minute tracks appearing on Fat Cat and other labels – and indeed the lead single from her astonishing new album Loom is again over 10 minutes. As Gately was preparing the initial material, she received the devastating news that her mother had terminal cancer, and recorded the album during her mother’s illness. The emotional heft of those events is evident in many of the songs here, but as Gately is an inveterate sound artist, we have the sonic heft of earthquake recordings appearing in these complex tracks, along with coffins closing, wolves howling, pill bottles shaking, etc. None of this distracts from the great songwriting – and along with the rhythmic, song-structured pieces there are a couple of lovely shorter, simpler works for layered vocals and electronics. I felt that her last album (2016’s Color) deserved more accolades than it received, but to prove she’s been a huge creative force for a long time, we went back to 2013’s self-title album on Public Information – already complete with rumbling crashes, found-sound beats and wonderful vocal processing.

Arrom x KAIAR - Starcrossed [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Arrom x KAIAR - I Know The Ocean [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Two vocal & electronic producers from Melbourne team up for a new release on rejuvenated Aussie label Provenance. Both Arrom (aka Melissa Valence) and KAIAR (aka Karla Gilbard) are lovers of experimental electronics, and we hear the vocals of both (Valence is a classically-trained choral singer) as the main sonic element – sometimes floating melodically, sometimes chopped and processed – with booming beats or fragmented drum machines or glitchy crunches.

Olivia Louvel - Conversation with Magic Stones [Cat Werk Imprint]
Olivia Louvel - Bats (If You Cross The Line remix by Simon Fisher Turner) (excerpt!) [Cat Werk Imprint]
French-born British composer Olivia Louvel works with voice and electronics to explore digital narrative. Her latest work Hepworth Resounds, part of her Masters study, is in dialogue with the writings of British sculptor Barbara Hepworth. Part of this work is an installation, and part is the new album SulptOr. Spoken and sung texts appear along with glitchy, stop-start beats. It's lovely stuff. And I wish I'd had time to play the complete, epic, beautiful remix of her track "Bats By Night" by the unimpleachably great Simon Fisher Turner, but we had time for just an extract.

Listen again — ~203MB

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