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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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Sunday, 24th of May, 2020

Playlist 24.05.20 (5:33 pm)

A few exciting new releases out this week, starting with a surprise new album from someone who's been featured on this show since almost the beginning...

LISTEN AGAIN, as though your very life depends on it. Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Owen Pallett - Paragon Of Order [Domino/Bandcamp]
Owen Pallett - Fire-Mare [Domino/Bandcamp]
Before FBi & this show started broadcasting full time, I contacted the German label Tomlab because I knew they were releasing The Books' second album and it was pitch-perfect for this show I was starting up. A year and a bit later, the label released the debut album from "Final Fantasy", a Canadian violinist making extraordinary songs with looping and some studio trickery, so it seemed, and thus began my decades-long devotion to all things Owen Pallett. That first album Has A Good Home and the second as Final Fantasy, He Poos Clouds were recently re-released in remastered form by longtime label Domino, so it's not a massive surprise that this long-awaited new one has just droppped, but still - long-awaited it is, finished a few years ago and finally seeing the light of day. The music is as beautiful, subtle and sly as ever, and notable is the presence of the London Contemporary Orchestra, performing gorgeous strings which frequently evoke an underlying creepiness through bitonality. The first single, "A Bloody Morning" (not played tonight), is also adorned with an incredible video, featuring dancers of all backgrounds filmed in Toronto during lockdown. While you're on YouTube, you can then search for Owen (and "Final Fantasy") performing live with loop pedals - not just his own songs but myriad covers from over the years.

John Callaghan - Let the path grow over [Antigen Records/Bandcamp] {video}
John Callaghan - Phylactery (based on "Tilapia" by Autechre) [Warp] {video}
John Callaghan - Just Be [Touched Music]
John Callaghan - Ghost moments [Antigen Records/Bandcamp]
Here's another one I've been waiting for for AGES. English musician John Callaghan came into my radar in 2009 when his remake of Autechre's "Tilapia" appeared on one of Warp's 20th anniversary compilations. Callaghan has inhabited a strange zone for even longer than that - comfortable in the idm scene, making melodic electronica, yet almost always vocally-based, with eccentric lyrics and usually silly and brilliant videos. That strange dualism of electronica & songwriting sits alongside this other dualism of the beautiful & moving against the very English sense of the irreverent and ridiculous. I'm so pleased that this album has finally come out, with a few tracks familiar from videos & compilations, and plenty of new ones.

Marcus Whale - What Worth? [New Weird Australia/Bandcamp]
A couple of singles have come out recently from Marcus Whale in preparation for a new album, Lucifer, coming later this year. I'm guessing this one is part of that suite - dark electronics and his instantly recognizable vocals.

Night Dives - Mirror [Eternal]
New from Ptwiggs & Grasps_'s label Eternal is a collection of dark electronics - some booming post-club beats and some ambient - from Melbourne artist Night Dives. The murky, disturbing CGI artwork (see Bandcamp) kind of perfectly captures the aesthetic going on here...

Grischa Lichtenberger - snt 2cx [Raster/Bandcamp]
Grischa Lichtenberger - re derec [Raster/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based artist Grischa Lichtenberger's last album was a deconstruction/reconstruction of a jazz band into glitchy electronica. This album, KAMILHAN; il y a péril en la demeure, is the end of a 5-part cycle of quite abstract works that began with LA DEMEURE, il ya péril en la demeure, and in some ways it's the most accessible, being based around songs of a sort - albeit computer generated vocals singing cut-up material in an incomprehensible language. Deliciously strange music for strange times.

Accelera Deck - Salamander [Accelera Deck Bandcamp]
Accelera Deck - pulling through [Blackbean and Placenta/Accelera Deck Bandcamp]
Accelera Deck - halo 1 [Morr Music/Accelera Deck Bandcamp]
Accelera Deck - Tumult [Accelera Deck Bandcamp]
Accelera Deck - Smile (Dub It) [Accelera Deck Bandcamp]
Chris Jeely started making idm & ambient music in the mid-'90s inspired by classic Warp and shoegaze type stuff. From the late '90s onwards, huge amounts of material came out under the name Accelera Deck, on various labels from his native US and also across the pond in the UK and Germany and the like. He also ran a bunch of labels including the pioneering Pitchcadet for idm & glitchy electronica, and then Scarcelight for the glitchscapes and hazy shoegaze-ambient he started making himself from the mid-'00s - a lot of lovely beatless stuff now comes out under the name Llarks. As you can see from his Discogs page, there were also myriad aliases, so his process now of uploading his back catalogue to Bandcamp is uncovering/recovering a massive amount of material. In 2017, after years of shoegazey sounds and glitchy processing before that, Accelera Deck returned with an EP of (rather messed-up) beats called Tumult, and now is making available a kind of new-old release he's called Perfect Nostalgia Beach Rave. Here he imagines himself DJing his own material at some imaginary night-time beach rave, made up of old tapes of already lo-fi material, recorded on drum machines & sequenced synth - so that particular aesthetic of squished, tumbling beats and sweetly meandering melodies does indeed create a strange nostalgia for folks like me. Lovely to have this reminder of one of those streams of "deconstructed club music" - a kind of parallel-world vaporwave from days gone by!

group A - Inhuman Ecstasy [Mannequin Records]
group A - Circulation [Mecanica Records/Bandcamp/Bandcamp]
group A - Almost, Almost [Mannequin Records]
I was lucky to see the German-Japanese duo group A perform a live set at Dark Mofo in Hobart in 2018. For half an hour or more, Tommi Tokyo and Sayaka Botanic produced one long work from drum machines, noise-making electronics, violin and vocals, with delays and beats all set at the same tempo. It was incredible. Their new album anOther is the soundtrack to a dance work created with Dana Gingras and Sonya Stefan originally for Agora de la danse in Montréal in 2018, and it was performed in Launceston in 2019 for Mona Foma - I'm sad I didn't get to see it. The music is incredible as usual, head-nodding industrial-tinged techno, and the work is inspired by Isabelle Adjani's viscerally disturbing and cathartic subway scene in Andrzej Żuławski's Possession (explaining the unhinged laughter in the first track I played).

Listen again — ~196MB

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