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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, 2nd of August, 2020

Playlist 02.08.20 (8:01 pm)

Tonight's Utility Fog is a journey, from Italian experimental classical-folk to techno, with broken beats and avant-garde electronics in between.

LISTEN AGAIN to this aural trip! Podcast here, stream on demand @ FBi.

Silvia Tarozzi - Al cancello [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
Silvia Tarozzi - La sostanza dell’affetto [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
Silvia Tarozzi - Sembra neve [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
Tonight we start with an extraordinary album, nearly a decade in the making, from Italian violinist Silvia Tarozzi. There is a lot of violin from Tarozzi on Mi specchio e rifletto, but she also plays myriad other instruments, sings, and composed everything. Her wide-ranging background can be heard across this album, from her experience with free improv to her deep collaboration with groundbreaking electronic composer Eliane Radigue, to her work with contemporary Ensemble Dedalus - but the album is also a surprisingly accessible and delightful collection of songs, compositions and sound works. The first track is like a lost Penguin Cafe Orchestra track - joyful and slightly wonky minimalist acoustic classical-folk; elsewhere wistful vocals give way to beautifully messy slide guitar, fragmentary tape loops are manipulated, accordion accompanies ricochet violin, and on the last selection tonight there's an outro with wonderfully outré vocal techniques. It's like nothing else you're likely to hear this year.

Dmitry Evgrafov - Stymie [130701/Bandcamp]
Dmitry Evgrafov - Anthropocene [130701/Bandcamp]
Dmitry Evgrafov - Context [130701/Bandcamp]
Continuing the theme of re-contextualised contemporary classical, we join Russian sound designer & composer Dmitry Evgrafov for his third album on Fat Cat's 130701 label. Unlike his previous efforts, the solo artist is here often joined by collaborators, so "Stymie" has a performance on guzheng by William Yates aka memotone and an algorithmically-generated voice from SomethingUnreal, while on "Anthropocene" Evgrafov's piano performance is corrupted by Heinali's effects. Elsewhere on the album postrocky drums and classical string orchestrations are found, but on "Context" Evgrafov introduces glitchy beats briefly, with consultation from Ben Lukas Boysen (an old hand at this under his Hecq moniker). I should note that Evgrafov is co-founder of the mobile app Endel, which generates responsive ambient soundscapes, and which *ahem* signed a 20-album deal with Warner last year for ambient albums on Apple Music & iTunes. Crazy stuff! But this music is really well-considered and captivating.

Nordra - Reflective Friend [SIGE Records/Bandcamp]
Nordra - Searching In Fields For Elements [SIGE Records/Bandcamp]
Pylon III is the last in a trilogy of works created by Monika Khot aka Nordra for Coleman Pester's dance trilogy PYLON, with a theme of human resilience in a time of control through technology, surveillance etc. Khot's soundtracks - all released by Aaron Turner & Faith Coloccia's SIGE Records - stand alone as three excellent albums of mostly synth-based industrial electronics, although Khot's other sides as singer and member of psych outfit Zen Mother come through as well. Wordless vocals and synthesised strings are accompanied by slow hi-hat and kick drum on "Reflective Friend", while the bell tones at the end of the more abstract, industrial "Searching In Fields For Elements" are generated by a MIDI note interpreter being fed noise. This is probably Khot's greatest work yet as Nordra, but it's well worth checking out the previous releases as well.

Travis Cook - chainsaw [Travis Cook Bandcamp]
Travis Cook - mars_surface [Travis Cook Bandcamp]
Travis Cook - blueberry [Travis Cook Bandcamp]
It was only last week that Marcus Whale released his new solo album, and hot on his tail is his other half in Collarbones, Travis Cook. Mastered is Travis' first solo album under his own name (I leave the unearthing of ancient childhood efforts to the internet archaeologists). Over 30 mostly short tracks, we hear a lot of Travis' production techniques familiar from Collarbones - deconstructed rave stabs, breakbeats, glitchy industrial synths, punctuated by chopped vocals (and occasional longer song samples), ambient interludes, all with a pop sparkle. And "blueberry" segues nicely into the jungle/drum'n'bass segment coming up next.

Baby T - Portra (Jungle Mix) [Samurai Music]
Baby T - Estrogen Attitude [Central Processing Unit/Bandcamp]
Brianna Price is better known as a producer, DJ and label owner under the name B. Traits, originally shortened from "Baby Traits". This year she flipped the abbreviation for new project Baby T, described on Facebook as for "hardcore junglist shit only", and the first EP Portra came out through Samurai Music with three different versions from Price plus two excellent remixes from Homemade Weapons and Ancestral Voices. Just announced now is new EP I Against I from Central Processing Unit, and it's somewhat more wide-ranging than hardcore junglist shit - but the excellently titled preview track "Estrogen Attitude" is super-fun acidic drum'n'bass. For an eye-opening look at how unfriendly jungle & drum'n'bass have historically been to the women in the scene, this article from Julia Toppin is a must-read.

Thugwidow - Concussion [Warehouse Rave]
Anglesey, Wales-based producer Thugwidow seems able to pump out mashed breakbeats in post-dubstep, hardcore techno and particularly junglist fashion as easily as breathing, so much has he released in the last few years. This has continued this year, and the four tracks on Warehouse Rave's Pump Up The Feeling are some of his recent best. His releases are scattered over myriad labels, mostly on Bandcamp - it's seriously impossible to keep up, but dip in when you can!

Phillip D Kick - Drips [Astrophonica/Om Unit Bandcamp]
Phillip D Kick - Drown [Astrophonica/Om Unit Bandcamp]
Phillip D Kick - Summer Moods [Astrophonica/Om Unit Bandcamp]
Om Unit originally created his punning Phillip D Kick alias to try out the hybrid genre "footwork jungle" over 3 incredible EPs. In 2018 he returned to the moniker for the Pathways EP on Fracture's Astrophonica label for 160bpm beat juggling, and now we have more joyful breaks at that tempo on As We Continue. It's the melodic, acid/funk end of jungle, and incredibly infectious (if I'm allowed to use that word during a pandemic?)

An Avrin - Clodhopper [Scuffed Recordings]
UK bass in various forms is the basis for the brilliant Clodhopper EP on Scuffed Recordings from new producer An Avrin. The digital bonus is particularly junglist, but the title track is insanely great, with every sound chopped to perfection - tiny vocal snippets on off-beats, little bits of breaks and halftime bass plus eventually a little synth melody. Superb.

GILA - Death Slump [Lex Records/Bandcamp]
GILA - Don't Chirp [XL Recordings]
GILA - Throw This Away [Lex Records/Bandcamp]
GILA - Rider 1 (Darq Windows) [Lex Records/Bandcamp]
I loved Kyle Reid's first EP as GILA back in 2016, released by XL Recordings, but then I seem to have stopped paying attention, so now I'm playing catchup with a bunch of amazing releases, and he's now signed to Lex Records. He was originally a drummer, and had to give that up due to rheumatoid arthritis (tbh I'm lucky to still be playing cello due to multiple medications) - so now he's making incredible beats. As you can see with "Don't Chirp", that restraint has been there from the start, with low-slung bass, chopped vocals (a feature in tonight's playlist!) and sparse, syncopated beats. An album's been promised for a while, but we'll make do for now with the individual tracks as they come...

Rrose x Yourhighness - Stratofortress [Eaux]
Rrose x Bob Ostertag - The Surgeon General (Her Insides Laid Bare) [Eaux]
Finishing up with two remixes from Seth Horvitz's Rrose, recently collected on their Eaux label as Collected Remixes Vol. 1 (2011-2020), a callback to the Born Again (Collected Remixes 1999-2005) double CD of Horvitz's previous alias Sutekh. There's lots of superb, slow-moving techno here, like the pulsing, creaking remix of Sweden's Yourhighness, but there's also some beautiful, challenging sound-art including two reworkings of the legendary Bob Ostertag. The album on Bandcamp also comes with the tracks as a 1¼-hr mix, great for driving or bumping along to at home...

Listen again — ~197MB

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