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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, 23rd of August, 2020

Playlist 23.08.20 (9:19 pm)

There's more mutant jungle tonight, variegated types of electronica including some surprising remixes, and some gloriously detuned guitar...

LISTEN AGAIN to become a happy mutant. Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here.

Matmos - nice men in stable relationships (feat. Clipping, Jennifer Walshe, Nate Boyce) [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Matmos - thyrsus (feat. C.K. Barlow, Nate Nelson, Colin Self) [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Matmos - blessed order of (feat. Judith Zissman, Marisa Anderson, Jeff Carey, Colin Dickey, Douglas Rushkoff) [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Matmos - unmastering (feat. Rabit, Erica Valencia) [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
You'd think that Drew Daniel releasing one of the greatest albums of the year as The Soft Pink Truth AND then releasing a brilliant album of crust punk covers might be enough for 2020, but no, this week marks the release of a new album from his & MC Schmidt's ever-wondrous Matmos, and it's a massive 3CD, 3-hour set incorporating contributions from 99 fellow travellers (entirely at 99bpm). The Consuming Flame: Open Exercises in Group Form is a logical follow-up to what the pair have been doing with Matmos for the last 3½+ decades - a super-collaborative, highly-experimental project which is nevertheless always expressive of Daniel & Schmidt's creative vision, and due to their way with form, humour and communication skills, is always highly approachable. The list of contributors to the particular tracks this evening gives a little bit of a flavour of what's going on here - it's nice to hear a return at times to the twisted Americana of works like The West and The Civil War, and also bits of glitched pop and inscrutable spoken word snippets. By any standards 3 hours is too long, but it's hard to complain when it's such an embarrassment of riches.

Forest Drive West - Void Control [R&S Records/Bandcamp]
Forest Drive West - Prism [RuptureLDN]
If you knew Joe Baker's work primarily from releases on Livity Sound, Delsin or even AD 93 (previously Whities) you'd probably think of him as a masterful techno producer - and you'd be right, but you'd be missing an essential part of the picture, which is his pitch-perfect jungle output for Rupture LDN & others. There's a bass pressure and energy in his techno productions which draws from drum'n'bass, and he's combined things before (see the incredible 5/4 jungle techno of "Persistence of Memory #3") but this new 12" for legendary rave/ambient label R&S Records really takes things into new territory - four tracks of meticulously-programmed high-tempo beats which mostly ignore breaks, coming at jungle instead from a kind of minimal/maximal techno aesthetic. To segue into our next couple of tracks, I reprised one of the Rupture jungle tracks from a couple of years ago, where the breaks start & stop in a strange inversion of what's going on on the new Terminus EP.

Earl Grey - Infinite Loop [Western Lore]
Jim Ehlinger's been making beats for over a decade as Earl Grey, in the jungle/drum'n'bass space, often some kind of drumfunk. His latest EP is released on Dead Man's Chest's Western Lore, and like Forest Drive West represents a jungle music that's highly conscious of its early '90s beginnings but also listening to current-day sounds.

Thugwidow - Covert OP [Kudatah]
Dedicated junglist Thugwidow has also released on Western Lore recently, but for his gazillionth release for 2020 he returns to Kudatah, who released his debut album in 2017 (since when he's released at least 20 albums & EPs). This one doesn't have any nods to dubstep, garage or techno to speak of - just pure original junglism.

Violent Magic Orchestra - You are hate [Never Sleep]
Japan's noise/metal/postrock/post-classical ensemble Vampillia have long had an alter-ego called Violent Magic Orchestra, which appears to differ mainly in being instrumental music (except when it's not), and eschewing the post-classical aspects of Vampillia. Their new EP for Gabber Eleganza's Never Sleep is as varied as ever, and the opening track seems to be a realisation finally of the drill'n'bass/breakcore tendencies first manifested in a YouTube clip called "Blackest Ever Black Metal" back in 2014! Hence its appearance at this point in tonight's playlist...

Vladislav Delay, Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare - 519 [Sub Rosa]
Vladislav Delay, Sly Dunbar & Robbie Shakespeare - 516 [Sub Rosa]
Legendary reggae/dub rhythm section Sly & Robbie have never shied away from new inventions in the dub world - having started out in the mid-'70s, they incorporated electronic programming in the '80s, pushed dancehall front & centre in the '90s, and continue today. It's still somehow surprising hearing them work with Finnish experimental dub techno maestro Vladislav Delay though; even though Sasu Ripatti works a lot with live musicians (and is a drummer himself), his music is so electronically-derived, it was hard to imagine how it would fit together. It seems this new collaboration is a natural outcropping from Delay's mixing work on Norwegian trumpeter Nils Petter Molvær's album with Sly & Robbie, and so the clear dub roots of the rhythms gain that Scandinavian sheen (check the long droned outro on "519"). It's experimental enough to end up on Sub Rosa, but not nearly as glitchy or noisy as it might have been.

Richard Pike - Memory Circa (feat. Ital Tek) [Salmon Universe/Bandcamp]
Sydney's Richard Pike (now London-based), known for his band PVT with brother Laurence, has been making TV & film soundtracks for a while lately, and has released some ambient synth stuff as D E E P L E A R N I N G - but new EP Memory Circa is the first non-soundtrack work under his own name. Three synth-pattern-led techno tracks, which he's sat on for a while, one in collaboration with onetime dubstep don Ital Tek, whose bass weight can be heard on the title track. I don't know why I was surprised to hear vocals, as Richard's been a singer all along, and they work very nicely here.

Tim Shiel - Coliseum (feat. Genesis Owusu) [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Of late, Tim Shiel has been producing delightful classical & folk-tinged music for videogames, and running his Spirit Level label out of Melbourne (as well as presenting on Triple J/Double J of course), so it's nice hear some electronic music from him again - excellent breakbeats and acidy synth lines accompanying a top notch vocal from Ganaian (Canberra-based) star-in-the-making Genesis Owusu.

Crass - Do They? (Glasser Remix) [One Little Independent RecordsCrass Bandcamp]
Crass - You're Already Dead [Crass Records/One Little Independent Records/Crass Bandcamp]
Crass - Asylum (Mikado Koko Remix) [One Little Independent RecordsCrass Bandcamp]
The anarcho-punk of UK collective Crass couldn't be more relevant now, in these days where protest movements are simultaneously co-opted and treated as terrorists, and Covid lockdowns are being used as excuses to stamp down hard on the mosto downtrodden parts of our society. So it's nice to have an excuse to listen to them anew. Late last year they made from their debut album The Feeding of the 500 available on Google Drive for anyone to remix. Now a series of 7"s is coming out with well-known and lesser-known names remixing their tracks (none other than Steve Aoki does a drum'n'bass-ish take on "Banned from the Roxy" on the latest single!). It's been a while since Glasser has released any new music, and her take on "Do They Owe Us A Living?" preserves the energy and anger of the original while completely reconfiguring it. She also samples a snippet of Eve Libertine's incredible poem "Asylum" at the start, and on the 3rd single Japanese experimental electronic artist Mikado Koko takes the already abstract backing of the original and turns up the weirdness, processing the lyric but keeping the power of that poem. It's a project that could easily have been gratuitous, but has turned out quite inspiring - and all proceeds go to UK domestic violence organisation Refuge, which also couldn't be more important in these locked down times.

Wytchings - Decalcomania [Lazy Thinking/Bandcamp]
Wytchings - Patent Redux [Lazy Thinking/Bandcamp]
I played the single from the new EP by Sydney artist Jenny Trinh aka Wytchings a few weeks ago, and now the full EP Oculus is out. It follows her rather ambient, waterlogged debut release, with dark sound design and some heavy beats at times as the artist exorcises the trauma of having been racially assaulted as a teenager. Absolutely not to be missed.

Julia Reidy - Proximity [opalmine]
Julia Reidy - Clairvoyant [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
Sydney guitarist Julia Reidy has been based in Berlin for some years, developing an absolutely idiosyncratic sound world. On early track "Proximity" tonight we hear her sparse, abstracted guitar style, but it perhaps predates the key characteristic of her work, in which the strings of her 12-string guitar are detuned just so, producing a shimmering, queasy but beautiful microtonal effect. On releases on Slip and Black Truffle new elements have appeared: electronic drones and autotuned vocals. These continue on her stunning debut for Editions Mego, Vanish. Reidy is making magical music unlike any other, and I strongly recommend losing yourself in it.

Aphir - Give You One (feat. Sandy Hsu) [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Finally tonight, the first single from Becki Whitton aka Aphir's new album recorded & produced entirely during lockdown (much of it streamed on Twitch & Instagram!). Whitton's hallmarks are all there - dark, experimental electronics underpin beautiful, catchy pop melodies. This lovely song is accompanied by an equally lovely stop-motion video by Goodie, of a dancing rose.

Listen again — ~207MB

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