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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, 26th of April, 2020

Playlist 26.04.20 (5:26 pm)

And so we cycle back to beats this week - we've got some jungle and some techno and some idm, and also some things that don't really fit so well into them boxes.

LISTEN AGAIN for the pulse of the moment (lol)... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast right 'ere.

The Declining Winter - Nothing Is Stopping Us Yet (Distance Version) [Signal Records]
A New Line (Bracken) - Ermmm [Signal Records]
Starting with something I have a part in... Recently I took part in a compilation that was put together with amazing speed by Richard Adams from the great UK band Hood, to raise money for PPE for NHS workers (the absurdity of crowdfunding such a basic requirement is another story entirely...)
The idea was to get artists to create distance collaborations while in self-isolation/lockdown - hence Music Over Distance. So I got to work with the brilliant, creative experimental flautist (and cellist!) Katie English aka IsnajDui. The compilation features various alumni of Hood, including Richard's own The Declining Winter, his brother Chris aka Bracken, Andrew Johnson aka a new line, related, Craig Tattersall in various aliases and various others. Richard also has a thing with Aussie legend Jason Sweeney called Great Panoptique Winter which appears here, and plenty of other musicians feature like Benoît Pioulard, The Leaf Library, Cédric Pin & Glenn Johnson of Piano Magic and many others... So we started with a trio lineup of The Declining Winter, all in their own households, and then Andrew Johnson and Chris Adams teaming up for a techno stomper with a kid shouting "Thank you NHS!"

dgoHn - Invisible Sandwich [Love Love Records/Bandcamp]
dgoHn - Puppet [Love Love Records/Bandcamp]
John Cunnane’s moniker dgoHn is meant to be pronounced like his first name, and that particularly oddity feels like it places him right away into the company of the great weirdos of English music. Although there are connections to idm – his duo with fellow producer Macc was released on Rephlex over a decade ago – he leans a bit closer to the dancefloor as a main proponent of the “drumfunk” subgenre which pulled the experimental end of jungle/drum’n’bass away from breakcore’s testosterone into a more jazzy, syncopated approach to drum programming. After an EP released Fracture’s Astrophonica label last year, he returns to Love Love Records for a full album of outrageously brilliant beat juggling. Yes, the beats might be show-offy, but they flow with a real musicality, and they are accompanied by musical and melodic synth pads and funky stabs, and some half-time and ambient passages to break things up. I could listen to this all day.

Yak - Esper [3024/Bandcamp]
Sticking in the UK, Yak is a producer who comfortably jumps around genres, house and all sorts of UK bass and often junglist elements, like on this track from a new 12" on Martyn's 3024 label. There's some pretty ridiculously adept drum programming in here.

Atom™ - # [Raster/Bandcamp]
Atom™ - AC Boy/DC Girl [Raster/Bandcamp]
It's not unreasonable to say that the music of Atom™ from the mid-'90s to the early '00s was a massive influence on what I wanted to do with Utility Fog. Inhabiting an intensely digital realm, even when creating ersatz jazz and funk with Bernd Friedmann as Flanger, he was way ahead of the game with precisely chopped digital cut-ups and re-contextualised cultural signifiers, even outside of the Señor Coconut material - just one project using the music of his adopted home of Chile. Recently he's been re-releasing old techno cuts from the early '90s on his Bandcamp, mostly released under the name Atom Heart. But his new album <3 (heart emoji), released on Raster, is a return to the digital cuts & culture-jamming, ostensibly a collaboration with X1N, "an entity for generating human voice and natural language content", contributing idoru-pop vocals... About half the album has beats accelerated into drill'n'bass territory. It's super-fun and very arch.

Andrea - LG_Amb [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Andrea - Outlines [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Andrea - Liquid [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Andrea - Drumzzy [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Turin's Andrea, staple of Munich's Ilian Tape label, has just released his first album after a series of excellent 12"s. The big, hard techno beats and lush pads of his earlier work - check "Outlines" from 2015 - have been augmented over a few releases with skittery, idm-inspired beats which lean towards jungle and UK bass styles, and that really comes to the fore on the wonderful album Ritorno. His talent for melodic synth pads in the vein of Shed is still very much there, but the beats flutter and sizzle as much as they thump. It's inspired and exciting - massively recommended, but don't ignore those earlier EPs either!

&nbsp - More [The Collection Artaud/Bandcamp]
We featured some drill'n'bass from versatile Berlin-based producer Yu Miyashita aka Yaporigami a couple of weeks ago on the show. He runs The Collection Artaud label and has just released the second EP for this year from the mysterious &nbsp - an artist that sounds like it could be another alter of Miyashita, but may not be. It's super glitchy/cut-up beats, quite maxminimalist, and particularly on the "More" side of the new Less/More 12" it tumbles into jungle whenever the beats are allowed to go more than a couple of bars without being chopped off. A super artificial dancehall & hip-hop influenced digi-funk.

Loraine James - Random2 [early reflex]
Sonia Calico - Revenge of Tinker Bell [early reflex]
Hence Therefore - Maladapt [early reflex]
Courtesy of Hence Therefore I've received early access to the debut compilation from new Turin-based label Early Reflex. The label will focus on experimental club music, and while there's a distinct UK bass feel, it's truly international, with artists from Croatia, two from Taiwan, Sydney's Hence Therefore (with typical deconstructed breaky house feels) and various from the UK including genius Loraine James, who throws in some throbbing bass and fidgety beats. Taipei's Sonia Calico is a highlight, with head-nodding bass, percussive, propulsive beats and arpeggiated synths lending a kind of MIDI-classical melodic aspect.

Thug - rhino song [Aural Industries/Tim Koch Bandcamp]
Isolated Gate - Rubber Brain (Splice an Emu mix) [Isolated Gate Bandcamp]
Big Beautiful Bluebottle - Words in steam are heard and seen ... [Big Beautiful Bluebottle Bandcamp]
Here's an Aussie IDM classic from Adelaide's Tim Koch, whose earliest work was released under the moniker Thug. Released in 1999, this was one of the earliest Aussie electronic releases that seemed to me to really get the feel of IDM - melodic, emotive synths with crunchy beats. Tim is a bit of an international legend (and a singularly self-effacing dude), with broad tastes, and it's exciting to see he's collaborating with another self-effacing legend, Ian Masters of shoegazers Pale Saints. Masters has long been into experimental electronic music and general weirdness, but this new duo Isolated Gate is pretty out there - drill'n'bass-level weirdo beats and fragmented vocals, yet honestly kind of catchy! This release, Horologium Demos E.P. is pretty clearly early versions, but hella promising.
I was also super pleased to discover Masters' collaboration with Terako Terao under the name Big Beautiful Bluebottle. The Please Come Away From the Edge album deserves a full listen, starting with nearly 10 minutes of minimalist improvised piano from Masters, which is then live-processed by Terao for a similar length of time, after which the two improvise increasingly messed-up versions with vocals and even some beats. We heard the third iteration, finishing up tonight's show.

Listen again — ~199MB


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