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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, 25th of October, 2020

Playlist 25.10.20 (6:26 pm)

Quite the trip tonight, from soft, irridescent piano music through acoustic doom, doom/black metal & noise/electronic fusion, drill'n'bass & jungle, industrial hip-hop, jazz/drum'n'bass fusion, and a host of extraordinary noise & electronic sounds from Iran. Exciting!

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Machinedrum - Sleepy Pietro (feat. Tigran Hamasyan) [Ninja Tune/Bandcamp]
We featured the incredibly talented Armenian-American pianist Tigran Hamasyan on the show a few weeks ago, so it's quite a spin-out to find him playing piano on a track from the new Machinedrum album. A View Of U is not quite as shiny and poppy as his last album, which I couldn't really get into at all, but it's still pretty sparkly. It has a bit of drum'n'bass fusion which I've been enjoying, and some good glitchy beats at lower tempos too. Worth a listen.

James Rushford - Música Callada, Book I: Quarter note ([M.M.] =54) [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
James Rushford - Música Callada, Book I: Placide [Unseen Worlds/Bandcamp]
Two compositions by Federico Mompou from his Música Callada, performed by Australian sound-artist & composer James Rushford. These pieces were composed in the late '50s & early '60s, and are cult favourites in the sense of being well-loved among those who know, but unfairly obscure in general. Catalan composer Mompou is known mostly for his piano works (and some songs). Clearly influenced by Satie, Ravel, Debussy et al, with a touch of absurdity and more than a touch of beguiling otherness, they're beautifully simple, straight to the heart. As well as his sensitive interpretations, this new album of Rushford's also features a set of his own longer piano compositions, each around 12 minutes long, a little more challenging but still with quiet poise.

part timer - unlikely ally [Part Timer Bandcamp]
part timer - irreparable [Part Timer Bandcamp]
Just after an excellent EP of throwback folktronica, Melbourne's part timer returns with a mini-album's worth of exquisite pieces for piano, field recordings, and, at times, muffled beats. How does he do it? None can say, but we're glad he's back at it - these pieces are small wonders.

Jasmine Guffond & Erik K Skodvin - Spirifer (feat. Islaja) [Sonic Pieces/JG Bandcamp/EKS Bandcamp]
Jasmine Guffond & Erik K Skodvin - White Eyes [Sonic Pieces/JG Bandcamp/EKS Bandcamp]
Monique Recknagel impeccably curates the Sonic Pieces label out of Berlin, and for its 10th birthday celebrations early last year she selected artists from the label for special duo performances. One was Sydney artist & frequent Berlin resident Jasmine Guffond, working with Recknagel's husband and Miasmah label boss Erik K Skodvin - two contemporary greats in yr humble narrator's opinion. The two enlisted their friend Merja Kokkonen aka Finnish artist Islaja to contribute wordless vocals, which are weaved into dark acoustic and electronic textures - a shimmering, pattering cymbal, stark piano, farfisa organ. I thought I could hear Skodvin's cello being tapped at some point too. There's a sense of doom and even grief, reflected in the titles which are named for animals either extinct or near-extinct. Music for the current anxiety.

The Body - A Lament [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
The Body & Braveyoung - Song One [At A Loss Recordings/Buy from Thrill Jockey]
MSC & The Body - All See What Other Sees [MSC Bandcamp/The Body Bandcamp]
MSC & The Body - PKK [MSC Bandcamp/The Body Bandcamp]
Things are only darker here. The Body are simply one of the music important bands of current years, with collaboration at the heart of the work of duo Chip King and Lee Buford. Thrill Jockey have just announced their new album for February 2021, describing it as a return to the basics of heavy guitar & drums and strangled vocals which placed them in the blackened doom metal camp originally. However, they're still using the studio as a weapon, as you can hear from the artful cut-outs in the drastically downtuned riffs on first single "A Lament", adding to the sense of unease & terror.
As this show is not generally focused on metal, I have to find the right context to play this kind of stuff, and thus it's taken a little while to play this other Body release, even though I think it's phenomental. I Dont Ever Want To Be Alone is their second collaboration with MSC, and even that's misleading - MSC used to be known as Braveyoung (after initially being called Giant). They moved from hardcore punk & black metal into elegiac postrock & drone, and now as MSC they incorporate samples & electronic beats. Zac Jones from MSC is a frequent member of The Body's live lineup too. Back in 2011 The Body & Braveyoung released Nothing Passes, pulling The Body into a more cinematic postrock space... On the other hand, the new MSC & The Body album is an onslaught of crashing distortions, tricked-out beat juggling, samples of international news, hip-hop and ragga, sub bass drops, and gorgeous strings. In a better world it would be in all the charts and best-of lists.

John Frusciante - Amethblowl [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
John Frusciante - Genex 44 [SoundCloud/Not currently available on Bandcamp]
John Frusciante - Blind Aim [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
For some, the idea of Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante releasing an album on Planet µ is an extreme oddity - but those in the know would be aware of his long-held love of UK rave and idm music, and his friendship with Aaron Funk aka Venetian Snares. Some years back I played some material from his Renoise Tracks 2009-2011 set (represented by "Genex 44" tonight), which incorporated drill'n'bass & acid into his songwriting. Since then he's released electronic music under his own name and as Trickfinger. This new album Maya is a delight - dedicated to his late cat of the same name (Songs About My Cats, anyone?), it's a beautiful throwback to '90s melodic drill'n'bass, jungle & hardcore techno, with influences from footwork and acid thrown in as well. Frusciante isn't just a dabbler from the rock world - this music clearly means a lot to him.

Isomov - Aurora Torus [DECISIONS]
Last week I previewed a few tracks from the excellent CONSEQUENCES compilation released for Melbourne label DECISIONS' 5th birthday. But I decided to only play Australian tracks, and this one from previous DECISIONS artist, New Yorker Isomov, really needs to be highlighted too. It fits nicely into the idm-tinged jungle of the last batch of sounds with harpsichord or sequenced acoustic guitar melody and wordless vocal harmonies harkening back to the green & pleasant pastures of '90s electronica.

clipping. - Pain Everyday (with Michael Esposito) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
clipping. - All In Your Head (feat. Counterfeit Madison & Robyn Hood) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
clipping. - Chek the Lock [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Finally, a year after their first horrorcore/African-American horror themed album There Existed An Addiction To Blood, clipping. have released the long-awaited sequel Visions of Bodies Being Burned. It was always planned as a duology, but the familiar circumstances we're all living with delayed the second album somewhat. Happily it was worth every minute of the wait, with the noise grounding of William Hutson and breakcore/techno experience of Jonathan Snipes again providing the perfect foil for the erudite, rapidfire delivery of their half-Jewish, half-African American rapper Daveed Diggs. As always the political & the cultural are intractably intertwined, and pop hooks coexist with extreme noise. "Pain Everyday" references that Venetian Snares bloke with strings & 7/8 breakcore beats alongside field recordings from occult researcher & noise artist Michael Esposito. And as well as the most extraordinary track from last year's twin album, we heard the disquieting funk of "Chek the Lock".

Female Wizard - Pagan Youtube [Anterograde/Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Female Wizard is well-known for forward-thinking DJ sets ranging from Soft Centre to Boiler Room to Melbourne queer night Le Fag. Lately they've transitioned into production as well, and the excellently-titled Messy-Podge-Mania finds Alexander Powers released by Melbourne label-of-the-moment, Anterograde, including a handsome USB drive in 12" sleeve edition. The music is entirely of-the-moment too, with splattercore beats revved into high gear, and fourth world samples mixed in with harsh noise. It's out this coming week, so pre-order now!

For the rest of the show, we are featuring a slew of extraordinary experimental electronics from the Persian disapora. Ata Ebtekar aka Sote founded his Zabte Sote label in 2018 to feature Iranian experimental music, with the help of Opal Tapes to handle international manufacturing & distribution. This coming Friday sees the release of the latest quartet of cassette releases on the label, and all four are superb.

Rojin Sharafi - Boloor [Zabte Sote]
Rojin Sharafi - Pedarkoshi[Zabte Sote]
Starting with what for my money is the most exciting of a very strong selection, Tehran-born, Vienna-based sound-artist & poet Rojin Sharafi's second album for Zabte Sote, Zangaar. Electronics throb and burble under electrifying performances of her poetry. If like me you can't understand Farsi, there are descriptions of each piece on the Bandcamp page. While contemporaries like Lucrecia Dalt might sprint to mind, this is sui generis work (indeed, it shares that characteristic with Dalt's work too...) and utterly essential listening.

Pouya Ehsaei - RocRast #67 [Zabte Sote]
London-based musician Iranian musician Pouya Ehsaei is leader of Cuban/Iranian band Ariwo and founder of electronic improv night Parasang. His new album RocRast is entirely made up of live modular performances, that constraint making for a particular continuous and organic-feeling nature free of edits and jump-cuts. It's dub-tinged burbling techno and a pleasure to tune in & drop out to.

Arash Pandi - Dashti [Zabte Sote]
Denmark-based northern-Iranian Arash Pandi is an educator, sound-designer & musician who is finding ways to situate experimental electronic techniques in a non-western tradition. Persian rhythms and melodies form the basis of the striking noise & drone works on his Exotic Paradox album, which meditates on the contradictions in humanity's relationship with nature & culture: our exclusion & denigration of immigrants who enrich cultures worldwide, our destruction of wilderness and nature for food while 10% of the world goes hungry, our love of animals juxtaposed with our maltreatment of animals bred for food. It's noise and distortion in service of emotion, thought-provoking and moving work.

Tegh - Smelled Like Rotting Flesh [Opal Tapes]
Before we hear the last of Zabte Sote's new releases, here's something from a few weeks back from Iranian drone/sound-artist Shahin Entezami aka Tegh. Zabte Sote have released his great techno duo Temp-Illusion, but Emergent Errors comes out through Opal Tapes. The tracks here draw from a fascination with the Cotard delusion, in which the sufferer believes that they are dead, or part of their body is. The horror & distress of this rare condition are expressed through crescendos, drones and occasional industrial rhythms, as well as the beautiful layered violin of 9T Antiope's Nima Aghiani on the opening track.

SAHAB - SEQ [Zabte Sote]
SAHAB - MOCHA [Zabte Sote]
Finally, also released on Zabte Sote this coming Friday is the seventh album from Iran-born, Fresno, USA-based artist SAHAB. Unlike the preceding releases, this is rather pretty and quite subdued - summery, nostalgic synth pads, drum machines and vocals. Truly lovely.

Listen again — ~201MB


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