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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, 20th of September, 2020

Playlist 20.09.20 (9:00 pm)

Experimental music from across the African continent tonight, plus weird & wonderful sounds from the UK and Colombia-via-Berlin, and some Australian drones, remixes & noise...

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My Disco - An Intimate Conflict (Giant Swan Remix) [Downwards Records/My Disco Bandcamp]
My Disco - Act [Downwards Records/My Disco Bandcamp]
My Disco - Forever (Makeda mix) [Nice Music/My Disco Bandcamp]
My Disco - Equatorial Rainforests Of Sumatra (Cub Remix) [Downwards Records/My Disco Bandcamp]
Last year Melbourne trio My Disco released the quite revolutionary Environment album through Karl O'Connor's Downwards Records, stripping back the heavy, angularly rhythmic postpunk they're best known for, into a cold, sometimes percussive, industrial ambient sound. Liam Andrews' vocals appear at sparse intervals - with the timely "Do I Do Enough? Do I Act?" on "Act". Last year alongside the album, Melbourne label Nice Music released an excellent collection of Australian remixes, from which we heard Makeda's glitchy take on album closer "Forever". Now Downwards themselves have compiled a set of remixes, with mostly UK & American artists. The 16-minute Rainforest Spiritual Enslavement version is a little too long for me to play tonight, but we heard from Bristol industrial techno duo Giant Swan, and later from Karl O'Connor, not as Regis, but with Simon Shreeve aka Krypric Minds under their alias Cub.

AMMAR 808 - Geeta duniki (feat. Susha) [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
AMMAR 808 - Ey paavi (feat. Kali Dass) [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
AMMAR 808 - Degdega (feat. Sofiane Saidi) [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
Tunisian musician Sofyann Ben Youssef released the incredible first AMMAR 808 album in 2018, collecting musicians and traditional music from across the Maghreb region of North Africa and augmenting the local instrumentation with distorted 808 drum machines and other electronics. When he was 20, he went to Delhi to study for a time - and for new album Global Control/Invisible Invasion he decided to head to Chennai in South India to work with local musicians. Susha is a bit of a local star herself, who performs as a singer-songwriter and jazz musician while also having a strong background in Indian classical music. I haven't been able to find out who "Kali Dass" is though, on a track that more comprehensively merges AMMAR 808's overdriven North African percussion with Indian melody. And from 2018's Maghreb United, we heard a track featuring Algerian musician Sofiane Saidi.

Bantou Mentale - Mbonka Terra [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
Bantou Mentale - Hallelujah [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
Bantou Mentale - Moto [Glitterbeat/Bandcamp]
I did hear some of the music of Congolese band Bantou Mentale last year, but foolishly didn't look deeper. So I'm glad to be correcting that now with a couple of tracks from their recent Congo Animal EP, pieced together in lockdown from the various musicians by Paris-based Irish producer Doctor L - a dub-fuelled affair with the distinctive vocals of Apocalypse and echos of Congotronics from the distorted kalimba melodies. The Congolese musicians are mostly also Paris-based, with the songs written by drummer Cubain Kabeya, and Kabeya's drumming drives the drum'n'bass-inspired "Hallelujah" from last year's debut self-titled album too.

Slikback - LAMA [Slikback Bandcamp]
Slikback - HERO [Slikback Bandcamp]
Slikback - HEARTFIELD (x MORGIANA HZ) [Slikback Bandcamp]
Slikback - WEICH [Slikback Bandcamp]
Kenyan producer Freddy Njau aka Slikback has had the attention of the European leftfield club world for a few years now, released on various labels including Nyege Nyege Tapes and PAN, and has also toured China, resulting in some amazing collaborations. Now he's dropped not one but TWO 30-track releases on his own Bandcamp - /// and /// II, mostly short tracks that could be musical experiments, études, and also some characteristic collaborations. While gqom and trap are the most familiar influences on his sound, he's a natural sonic experimenter, and there's a general glitchy deconstructed club thing going on, manipulated vocal samples (even from his co-creators such as Polish experimentalist Karolina Karnacewicz aka Morgiana Hz), lots of bass, and razor-sharp edits. 60 tracks feels overwhelming, but as you'll hear from the two tracks from each part tonight, there's richness within.

Catu Diosis - Choc Kedda [Syrphe/Bandcamp]
Mash - Sand Wave [Syrphe/Bandcamp]
Sukitoa o Namau - When I tripped and hit my head on the sink of the love hotel [Syrphe/Bandcamp]
These three tracks come courtesy of Congolese-Belgian artist Cedrik Fermont aka C-drík and his Syrphe label, for which he compiled the indispensable compilation Alternate African Reality: Electronic, electroacoustic and experimental music from Africa and the diaspora earlier this year. I'm very pleased that he went out of his way to include female artists, and I've chosen three women tonight. Ugandan DJ, journalist, fashion designer and now producer Catu Diosis is associated with the Nyege Nyege crew, and now Hakuna Kulala. This is deconstructed music with a groove. After a droney beginning, a groove enters too in the track from Tunisian musician Myriam Hamida aka Mash. The track from Morocco's Sukitoa o Namau buries its percussion in bloops and noise. I really can't recommend this compilation enough - and you can check out the massive four-part Retrieving Beirut fundraised Fermont recently put together while you're there.

David Toop - Tiny human figurines made from sand. If you held these to your ear, you heard soft sweet music [Room40/Bandcamp]
David Toop - When I first came here (I thought I’d never get used to the trains; now when it’s quiet I get nervous) [Room40/Bandcamp]
Now 71 years old, English academic, writer, compiler and musician David Toop is so legendary & influential that davidtoop.com is a fan-site about his work. He's deeply connected with sound-art and field recording work, but originally made his name with a book about hip-hop in 1984, and the expansive survey of ambient music, techno, drum'n'bass and more in 1995, Ocean of Sound. His writings can be found in liner notes for compilations and albums, including his own curated compilations. So it's no surprise that his new album for Brisbane's Room40, Apparition Paintings, is stunning and wide-ranging. Shards of distorted guitar invade the sonic space through the album, as well as "fourth-world" percussion, and voices from Elaine Mitchener, Keiko Yamamoto, and on the second track tonight, Yifeat Ziv. It achieves what Toop's writing, compiling and music has often done throughout his career - art that is challenging and uncompromising, but approachable and comprehensible. Not to be missed.

Lucrecia Dalt - Disuelta [RVNG Intl/Bandcamp]
Lucrecia Dalt - Seca [RVNG Intl/Bandcamp]
Lucrecia Dalt - Atmospheres Touch [RVNG Intl/Bandcamp]
Lucrecia Dalt - Espesa [RVNG Intl/Bandcamp]
I've been a fan of Colombian experimental musician Lucrecia Dalt since I heard her as "The Sound of Lucrecia" over 10 years ago; she contributed vocals to a wonderful track by Shoeb Ahmad & Evan Dorrian's Spartak (track 7 on Verona). Her earlier albums are experimental takes on indie singer-songwriting, but since then she's moved progressively further from those roots - as well as moving to Barcelona and then Berlin. On her last two albums, 2018's Anticlines and the just-released No era sólida, her vocals are used as a sound-source, chopped up, ring-modulated, buried under pulsating modular synths and loping almost-rhythms, or sometimes present as spoken word meditations on science or philosophy. It would help to be as well-read and multi-lingual as Dalt, but without that we can appreciate the care and technological expertise with which she constructs these strange and beautiful musical theses.

Suburban Cracked Collective - So Much Unlicked Air [A Colourful Storm]
Suburban Cracked Collective - Half Sour [Aetheric Records]
Suburban Cracked Collective - It's All Gone Sideways [A Colourful Storm]
Shaun Leacy of long-missed Newcastle neo-primitivists Castings has for the last few years been making (resolutely solo) music as Suburban Cracked Collective. His latest comes out through hotly-tipped Melbourne label A Colourful Storm, with lovely near-distorted synth drones and glorious percussive clatter. Less intense than the over-saturated electronics of the "collective's" debut release Basquiat Upon The RSL (represented by "Half Sour" tonight), but equally blissful.

Shoeb Ahmad vs Alaska Orchestra - #8.5 [Shoeb Ahmad Bandcamp]
Ahead of the November release of her album a body full of tears (first in a diptych!), Shoeb Ahmad is releasing single "flaw, featured" tomorrow with two remixes. We're finishing up tonight with the surging synth layers of Sydney's Megan Alice Clune in Alaska Orchestra guise, adapting album track "#8". Listen out for whispered vocals right near the end!

Listen again — ~199MB

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