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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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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 13th of September, 2020

Playlist 13.09.20 (10:35 pm)

Tonight we've got radical new Persian electronic pop, Estonian dark folk & electronica, indie remixes, outer limits techno, idm and jungle.

LISTEN AGAIN and welcome to the jungle... Stream on demand at FBi, podcast here.

9T Antiope - Placebo Dose I (Danse Macabre) (excerpt) [Purple Tape Pedigree]
9T Antiope - Metaphase [eilean rec.]
9T Antiope - Nocebo (B) (excerpt) [Purple Tape Pedigree]
9T Antiope - Placebo Dose II (Memento Mori) (excerpt) [Purple Tape Pedigree]
Starting with the final album in a conceptual trilogy from the great Persian duo 9T Antiope. Released again on Purple Tape Pedigree, Placebo follows Nocebo and 2017's Isthmus (released on now-defunct French label eilean rec.) - and like Nocebo, it's delivered in two long tracks, conceived as "doses". Sara Bigdeli Shamloo's spoken poetry and gorgeous multitracked vocals weave around Nima Aghiani's violin and noise-making machines, varying between slabs of industrial noise, jittery electronic bleeps, nods at techno, and flittering strings. I've loved the relatively accessible electronic pop (sung in Farsi) of their new project Taraamoon this year, but it's great to have a big new work from 9T Antiope again.

Sevdaliza - Do You Feel Real [Butler Records/Bandcamp]
Sevdaliza - Wallflower [Butler Records/Bandcamp]
9t Antiope are based in France; Sevdaliza was born in Tehran but grew up in the Netherlands. Her glitchy trip-hop influenced music does draw from her Persian roots too. Her second album, Shabrang, continues where ISON & her subsequent EPs left off, with bending strings, chopped & spliced beats, vocals both clean and glitched. It's just great to have such a strong artist working in this space.

Maarja Nuut & Ruum - circles [Õunaviks/Bandcamp]
Maarja Nuut - Kuradipolka [Maarja Nuut Bandcamp]
Maarja Nuut & Ruum - käed-mäed [130701/Bandcamp]
Maarja Nuut & Ruum - world inverted [Õunaviks/Bandcamp]
Here's another duo with violin, vocals and electronics. Maarja Nuut & Ruum's debut album in 2018, Muunduja, was one of my favourites of the year - there's a palpable mystery to the music, derived partly from the ancient Estonian folk tales and melodies that Maarja Nuut is so familiar with, and from the techno & glitch-influenced electronics brought by Ruum and their collaborators. The duo have just released their follow-up World Inverted through Estonian label Õunaviks, and it's another beauty. The noisier aspects are toned down, with occasional vocals and fluttering violin embedded in lovely ambient techno epics. It's interesting to compare the hypnotic aspect to Maarja's solo album from 2016, Une Meeles, where the folk violin can be enveloped in a crescendoing bass drone like in "Kuradipolka".

Michael Ackroyd - The Architect [Lazy Thinking]
I'm told Sydney's Michael Ackroyd is releasing this song through Lazy Thinking right about now, but online evidence seems scant. It's quite a wonderful piece and so hopefully he is working on more to come - a throbbing synth is slowly joined by scattered drums, and a gentle vocal. It recalls late Talk Talk in the right ways, while retaining a character all its own.

Brutalist - Eve [Good Manners/Bandcamp]
Brutalist - Movements [Good Manners/Bandcamp]
John Hassell of much-loved Sydney electronic trio Seekae and Melbourne musician Lucianblomkamp formed Brutalist a few years ago, released a mixtape, and then seemingly put it all on hold. So hopefully we're now going to hear a lot more from them. This EP is out in the next week, mostly featuring bassy beats like "Movements", with an excellent guest vocal on one track, and opener "Eve" is a brilliant surprise, with Blomkamp showing off his classically-trained violin skills.

Neinzer - Rassalin [Where To Now? Records]
Neinzer - Horus [Timedance]
Neinzer - Cause Pan Tact Insoluble [Where To Now? Records]
Emil Lewandowski's previous EP as Neinzer, released by AD 93 earlier this year, made a big impression with two jazzy house grooves followed by three shimmering beatless works. But to be honest it's his new EP Shifting Values that's really grabbed me hard. Each of the tracks here has some standout feature - avant-garde harmonies on piano or flute, bass music with organic beats and perfectly placed breaths and field recordings... On "Rassalin" the percussion is secondary to a syncopated bassline and twittering synth pattern, while "Cause Pan Tact Insoluble" grows slowly with more beautiful discords, freakout flute and vocal harmonies over a dubstep-house hybrid beat. 2018's "Horus" is a breakbeat techno banger with bubbling hand percussion.

cypha - Cause 1 [.jpeg Artefacts]
cypha - Hyperobject [.jpeg Artefacts]
Melbourne's cypha lands with a pretty remarkable debut EP on .jpeg Artefacts. We've got melodic electronics and beats that draw from jungle, electro and techno - clearly influenced by '90s idm, and done really well. For some reason they're doing a CD edition, and if that wouldn't make me happy enough already, they're donating 100% of the proceeds of this release to Standing Our Ground, Traditional Owners fighting against Adani.

Cressida - Sambo [Voitax/Bandcamp]
Cressida - Move To The Witness [Voitax/Bandcamp]
The jungle influence only gets stronger from hereon in. Cressida is a UK-born producer now based in Berlin, and his techno beats are shot through with jungle breaks. I kind of love how the mangled amen breaks in title track "Sambo" keep promising to break free, but Cressida keeps tamping it back down into the bass-heavy 4/4 techno. "Move To The Witness" pushes the tempo up so that the syncopated drum machines can naturally give way to beautifully edited jungle breaks in the last third of the track. This is future music deeply aware of its heritage.

TMSV - Abyss Watcher [Sub Merchants]
Thugwidow - You See How It Spreads Out Like A Fungus [Sub Merchants]
Finally, two current masters of junglist mayhem contribute to the birth of new London label Sub Merchants. Utrecht-based TMSV switches easily between jungle, dubstep and techno, and his track here is one of his best jungle numbers, a kind of stop-start roller with endless variation to the beats, which strike the right balance between machine and funk, while single "oh"s stand in for divas, and ragga MC samples are heavily vocoded. Meanwhile Thugwidow is up to his usual tricks, with expansive ambient pads, beats floating in & out of reverb, delays and EQ mashing. Both artists represent contemporary takes on jungle that are dancefloor-ready if your dancefloor is up for it (socially distanced of course). In this cyberpunk dystopia we're living in, the endless jungle revival is just what we need.

Listen again — ~202MB

Sunday, 6th of September, 2020

Playlist 06.09.20 (7:41 pm)

Lots of sound-art tonight, but also other fusions of genres, such as Armenian folk with jazz, classical, prog and postrock, techno fused with field recordings & sound-art, indie fused with sound-art and experimental techniques.

LISTEN AGAIN to the connection between music & art. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Tigran Hamasyan - Levitation 21 [Nonesuch/Bandcamp]
Tigran Hamasyan - To Love [Nonesuch/Bandcamp]
Tigran Hamasyan - falling [Plus Loin Music]
Tigran Hamasyan - The Grid [Nonesuch/Bandcamp]
Tigran Hamasyan - At a Post-Historic Seashore [Nonesuch/Bandcamp]
Starting tonight with the Armenian jazz piano prodigy Tigran Hamasyan, still only 33 years old but with an extraordinary repertoire behind him. In the past he's melded his technical proficiency at jazz piano and complex Eastern European rhythms with prog rock - indeed he's even worked with fellow Armenian-American Serj Tankian of System Of A Down. And that technical aspect is still there in his last few albums (with a kind of live-drum'n'bass aspect to some of the drumming), but there's also a deep connection to the gorgeous modalities and melodic mellifluence of Armenian music. I couldn't help playing two contrasting tunes from his 2015 masterpiece Mockroot - the timeless beauty of "To Love" and the rhythmic insanity of "The Grid" - and also skipped back to 2009's Red Hail. We start & finish with new album The Call Within, which melds Armenian myths & legends with his interest in maps of all kinds.

Marianne Baudouin Lie - Loop 1_ Aapning (by Lene Grenager & Marianne Baudouin Lie) [Particular Recordings]
Marianne Baudouin Lie - Concertino per violoncello et voce, Take 6 (by Eirik Hegdal) [Particular Recordings]
New album Atlantis, Utopia og Ulvedrømmer from Norwegian cellist Marianne Baudouin Lie is unusual in that all the compositions (commissioned by Lie) use the musician's voice as well as cello. An educator and researcher as well as a cellist working across classical, improv and contemporary music, Lie covers a lot of ground in the commissions for this album. The "Ulvedrømmer" of the title are "Wolf dreams", depicted in a "one-woman musical" written with fellow cellist Lene Grenager; in saxophonist Eirik Hegdal's Concertino per violoncello et voce, each "Take" calls for the cellist to use her voice in a different way - the double-stopped cello chords here move exquisitely between dissonance and assonance with her vocal drone.

Félicia Atkinson - The Rain [Inpartmaint]
Takuma Watanabe - Particle [Inpartmaint]
Japanese film composer Takuma Watanabe has lately embarked upon a process of reimagining his original soundtracks. For new album Mada Kokoni Iru_ Original Soundtrack Recomposed, he takes the music from the short film I'm Still There by Shota Sometani, and as well as reworking two pieces himself, invited Akira Rabelais and Félicia Atkinson to do the same. Atkinson's piece fits well with her recent music - soft piano and electronic textures, with indistinct spoken word. I followed it with a short but brilliant piece from Watanabe which mixes strings and wind instruments with fluttery and clicky granular textures.

Mads Emil Nielsen - 2 [Arbitrary/Bandcamp]
Nicola Ratti - 2 (from a graphical score by Katja Gretzinger) [Arbitrary/Bandcamp]
Here's a strange & fascinating piece of concept art from Danish musician Mads Emil Nielsen on his Arbitrary label. It's a vinyl record of 3 pieces created by Nielsen from various electronic & percussive sound sources and a CD of 3 pieces by Italian sound-artist Nicola Ratti. Ratti's pieces are performances from a graphical score rendered by Katja Gretzinger from Nielsen's original works. So one assumes that by hearing "2" from each of the artists, we're hearing Ratti's interpretation of Gretzinger's interpretation of Nielsen's 2nd piece. Both pieces have similar tonalities, if nothing else because the two musicians have similar aesthetics. As for further connections, it's unclear - but it makes for a beautiful piece of art!

Bellows - Undercurrent 01 [Black Truffle]
Giuseppe Ielasi & Nicola Ratti - Bellows 03 [Kning Disk/Bandcamp]
Bellows - handcut 04 [senufo editions]
Bellows - Reelin' 06 (excerpt) [Entr'acte/Bandcamp]
Bellows - Sander 01 [Latency]
Bellows - Undercurrent 06 [Black Truffle]
For 13 years now, Nicola Ratti has occasionally created astonishing suites of minimalist, sparsely rhythmic sonic constructions with Giuseppe Ielasi. Their first album, Bellows, was released on Kning Disk in 2007, and since then the duo has been Bellows. Each subsequent album has a particular sonic space of some sort - from the scratchy, indistinct vinyl remnants of handcut to the bleepy electro-dub deconstructions of Reelin' and 2017's duo of Strand and Sander, each of which reference club music & hip-hop in diagonal fashions. New album Undercurrent, released on Oren Ambarchi's Black Truffle, steps back from the rhythmic music, with repeating textures here built from mournful sliding guitar, synth tones, and tape hiss among other things. It's very patient and rewarding music.

Kate Carr - It's a steep climb to the freeway underpass [Kate Carr Bandcamp]
Kate Carr - Pebble dash static [Kate Carr Bandcamp]
Kate Carr - Whinneys fading [Kate Carr Bandcamp]
London-based Australian musician Kate Carr continues to create some of the most exciting field recording-based music around, with a new release available on red vinyl called Splinters. It's a documentation of her relationship, over 18 months, with an artist-run space in South East London called TACO! - covering not only field recordings of the space and of Carr's journeys to and from the space, but also various performances in that space over the time period. So disembodied snippets of spoken word, electronic beats, or maybe even a distorted guitar chord contribute to the sound-world. Carr is brilliant at creating musically compelling works from non-musical elements (or musical elements used in unusual ways), and constructing a narrative as well. You don't have to know the space or have been part of the community to find this a thrilling listen.

Siavash Amini - Perpetually Inwards [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
Siavash Amini - A Collective Floundering [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
Art & music collide also on the latest album from Iranian musician Siavash Amini. A Mimesis of Nothingness was created in response to photographic works of Tehran by Noosin Shafiee which Amini describes as "eternal remnants of a violent scene, no matter how new or old they were. Never finished, never begotten, a stillborn." The music is accordingly dark, using processed field recordings, percussion and electronics to evoke horror and disquiet. It's quite something!

Iury Lech - Devastated Okeans [Amorfik Artifacts/Insolit]
Iury Lech - Stellium [Amorfik Artifacts/Insolit]
Two tracks from Spanish audiovisual artist Iury Lech, from his album Ontonanology, which is his most techno-oriented as far as I can see. A child of Ukrainian immigrants, his work first appeared in the late 1970s and early 1980s, combining video art with music that drew from ambient, world and classical minimalist influences, and later a solid base in industrial music. Those elements are here, but the sounds here evoke the deep of the oceans as well as the sub-molecular scale, with throbbing, pulsing music that could fit well on raster-media. I thought this album was going to be out now, but it seems like it's November, so you get one extra track preview. I really recommend this, it's enveloping and transporting stuff.

AVOLA - Into The Fold [SIGE]
Faith Coloccia and Aaron Turner's SIGE Records has released a stack of music for each Bandcamp Friday this year, each time sending funds to a collection of bail funds, collectives, BLM-aligned organisations etc. This release from Veronica "Vern" Avola (previously known as EMS and Dirty Centaur) came out in July but the cassette will start shipping later this month. It's less psychedelic than some of her other work - primitive industrial electronic beats, basslines and noises that gurgle and sputter most excellently.

Shoeb Ahmad - eight [Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
Here's one side of a new special limited 7" from Canberra's Shoeb Ahmad. Both tracks appear in different forms on her forthcoming album a body full of tears, but these stripped-down arrangements can only be found on this 7". It's a preview of her new industrial-primitivist leaning work which will be out in November!

On Diamond - Candle [Eastmint Records/On Diamond Bandcamp]
Showcasing the songs of Lisa Salvo with creative and experimental arrangements, Melbourne's On Diamond return with a wonderful new single this week. It's got a feel of that great '80s postpunk indie music - melodic, exotic, with unapologetically experimental sounds. The vocal harmonies between Salvo and Hannah Cameron are perfect, Jules Pascoe's bassline holds down the rhythm while Maria Moles' drums scatter and crash, and Scott McConnachie drops in an unhinged guitar solo. Can't wait for more.

Listen again — ~202MB

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