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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 July, 2020

Playlist 26.07.20 (7:35 pm)

Due to a confluence of new releases and recent releases, tonight's 'Fog is an all-Australian affair! And it ranges from experimental pop through complex electronic beats to ambient and acoustic music.

LISTEN AGAIN to some of the best local stuff. Stream on demand with FBi, podcast here.

Marcus Whale - Work Your Gaze [Marcus Whale Bandcamp]
Marcus Whale - Is He That Man [Marcus Whale Bandcamp]
Marcus (not singing) - To Be Possessed [Body Promise]
Tangents - Maze Crescent (Marcus Whale Remix) [Temporary Residence/Bandcamp]
Marcus (not singing) - Lila [Eternal]
Marcus Whale - No Bounds [Marcus Whale Bandcamp]
I've been hearing and supporting Sydney musician Marcus Whale's work on Utility Fog for over a decade - the first work he sent into the station was under the name Scissor Lock, as a teenager, and he was even releasing little limited edition 3" CDRs and such - sitting in a very experimental space, with noise/drone and free improv influences along with his classical training. Then with internet friend Travis Cook he formed Collarbones, and we were introduced to what a strong voice he has, and what a thought-provoking lyricist he is too. The duo with Travis, and his trio BV (Black Vanilla) with Lavurn Lee (Cassius Select) and Jared Beeler (DJ Plead) found him working with some of our most creative and talented beatmakers, and Marcus' own production skills and rhythmic invention bloomed as a result, forming the backbone of his music both under his own name and as "Marcus (not singing)". Hence heavy shuddering club bass and unusual but danceable cross-rhythms coexist with pastoral horn arrangements and avant-garde vocal melodies - much of it still performed by Marcus himself (although Jacques Emery contributes double bass to tonight's first selection). In the middle we hear two much more clubby tracks from the "(not singing)" alias, one released by FBi's brilliant Body Promise show, and one by Ptwiggs & Grasps_' Eternal, and I slipped in Marcus' remix of my quintet Tangents, which takes the folktronic kaleidoscope of the original into his sound-world.
Lyrically, Lucifer follows up the queer post-colonialist Australian history of 2016's Inland Sea with a study of the idea of Lucifer - the morninstar, the first fallen angel - as an avatar for queer identity, with tracks that focus on submission ("Work Your Gaze") and empowerment ("No Bounds"). It's a triumph, once again.

Ahm - Safe State [Anteretrograde]
Arrom - See How (Ahm Remix) [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Ahm - New Tricks [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Ahm - Circuit [Anteretrograde]
I first discovered Ahm (aka Andrew Huhtanen McEwan) through a pair of excellent remixes he did for Mellisa Valence aka Arrom, one of which was all drawn-out vocal glitchscapes, the other frenetic jungle beats. I'm glad to say that his new EP Thoughts Racing returns to the jungle and IDM - although last year's Why I Let You had some lovely intricate programming itself. The EP sees him return to Melbourne label Anteretrograde, and all four tracks have an emotive core, created during a period of grief and anxiety. So in some ways the bass and complex mashed up beats (no doubt informed by his background as a drummer) represent anxiety (viz "Thoughts Racing, Can't Sleep") but they're coloured and tamed by the melodic synths which bring out the human emotions behind the music.

Laurence Pike - Death Of Science [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Szun Waves - Slow Motion [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Laurence Pike - Embers [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
The third solo album from Laurence Pike on The Leaf Label was recorded in the midst of Australia's worst bushfire season ever. Developed over a few weeks, the tracks were recorded in a single day, and to my ears these pieces represent a real advancement in an already impressive artistic modus operandi. Prophecy inevitably sees Pike ruminating on the sociopolitical factors that brought about the apocalyptic bushfire season. It's a bleakly sardonic comment on how very predictable - and comprehensively predicted - the bushfires, even the scale of them, had been, and of course how shocking they nevertheless were, when even in the inner suburbs of Sydney we had white ash falling. "Death Of Science" evokes a tribal atmosphere with slightly frantic percussion and gutteral vocal snippets, while the gorgeous "Embers" is strangely peaceful, but unresolved, with its striving, loping
piano loops, upwards-seeking vocal snippets and scattered percussion. Oh - and in between, a surprise EP from Szun Waves, Pike's trio with UK composer/synth guy Luke Abbott and jazz sax player Jack Wyllie (Portico Quartet). "Slow Motion" was previously only available on the vinyl version of their last album - a real slow burner.

Gregory Paul Mineef - Through This [Cosmicleaf/Bandcamp]
We last heard Wollongong composer Gregory Paul Mineef at the start of the year from an album of manipulated electric piano & synth work. His heartstring-pulling new EP is felt-muted upright piano. Both pieces are very subtle - seemingly simple and minimalist, but slowly more baroque in a Keith Jarret-style jazz way. Don't miss this!

(((o|o))) - when geography ruled [(((o|o))) Bandcamp]
(((o|o))) - a question of safety [(((o|o))) Bandcamp]
(((o|o))) - the creature of badlands [(((o|o))) Bandcamp]
The artist behind the unpronounceable (((o|o))) prefers to remain anonymous, but is Australian. Their new album the quiet game builds on the creepy ambience of last year's EP pas de bébé - it's patient music that refuses to move too fast, and slowly unfurls its evocative psychgeographical soundscapes - sometimes pretty synth pads, sometimes pulsating synth bass, sometimes pretty and sometimes disquieting. From the EP we heard a piece whose near-static drones and deep breaths obscure the line between peace and fear...

D.C Cross - Loch Ness Sasquatch [Darren Cross Bandcamp]
D.C Cross - Light Autumn Winds [Darren Cross Bandcamp]
D.C Cross - Black Horse, Friend [Darren Cross Bandcamp]
Finishing with something from Sydney stalwart D.C. Cross, aka Darren Cross of '90s-'00s indie/electronic darlings Gerling and dark folk duo Jep and Dep. As with last year's Ecstatic Racquet, new album Terabithian finds Cross in a mostly contemplative mood, evoking John Fahey's Tacoma records and the British folk revivalists with stirringly clear fingerstyle guitar, but embeddeding it in washes of reverb and well-judged field recordings. Pure pleasurable listening.

Listen again — ~198MB


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