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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, 22nd of November, 2020

Playlist 22.11.20 (9:57 pm)

Starts with narco-dancehall, goes to drum'n'bass, post-classical, glitch and industrial, ends with strings? That's UFog!

LISTEN AGAIN to all the Utility Fogginess you can fit into two hours! Stream on demand from FBi or podcast here.

The Bug ft. Dis Fig - Take [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Dis Fig - Alive [Purple Tape Pedigree/Bandcamp]
The Bug - Politicians & Paedophiles feat. Daddy Freddy [Rephlex/Bandcamp]
The Bug ft. Dis Fig - Destroy Me [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Early last year I discovered the work of jazz-trained vocalist Felicia Chen as Dis Fig via her debut album released by Purple Tape Pedigree, entitled Purge. Drawing from her jazz and classical training as well as industrial and noise, it was broad-ranging and quite disturbing at times. So it's quite excellent to find her now collaborating with one of my favourite artists, The Bug, with a full album of what's described as "narco-dancehall", combining Kevin Martin's earlier dancehall distortions with his more recent dubstep/grime and the spaced-out dub & trip-hop of his King Midas Sound project. Dis Fig is only the latest in a string of female singers Martin has worked with, but this full album is an impressive collaboration, with Chen's vocals leaning towards the melodic, trip-hop end of the spectrum, but injecting plenty of emotion and musical texture to the proceedings.

ASC - Intensity [Samurai Music/Bandcamp]
ASC - Cautionary Tales [Samurai Music/Bandcamp]
James Clements has been making drum'n'bass as ASC for over 20 years, as well as techno and other styles. He's been strongly associated with the "autonomic" strain of dub-techno-infused d'n'b, and other more ambient stylings for a while, and it's very exciting that Samurai Music have lured him back into hard-hitting jungle/d'n'b for an EP and now the Isolated Systems album this year - apparently with another release in this vein coming out early in 2021! Storming beats with complex programming recalling the legendary Arcon 2 (I said on air that he wasn't on Bandcamp, but that's recently changed - fuck yeah!) as well as the heyday of Photek, Paradox et al. What's notable to me is that it's not just nonstop beatfuckery and sub-bass - Clements pays attention to the need for harmonic movement, with falling synth pads that add just enough soulfulness to the proceedings, something which a lot of the harder & more complex jungle programmers today tend to not care about. Highly recommended!

Earl Grey - French Exit [Inperspective]
Earl Grey - Infinite Loop [Western Lore]
Jim Ehlinger has been making jungle as Earl Grey for just over a decade, mostly inhabiting that "drumfunk" subgenre which is somewhere between the idm kids' drill'n'bass and the original jungle. His last 2 EPs feature here, both with the title tracks - for Inperspective it's dark and jazzy, and for Western Lore it's an unusual number which starts dubby and then gets carried by a 4/4 kick with jungle breaks, not quite jungle techno I think, but its own thing - a really cool feel.

Drexler - Ashes (Ruckspin Remix) [Rhodium Publishing/Bandcamp]
Drexler - Ghosts Have Arrived (DEEP LEARNING Remix I) [Rhodium Publishing/Bandcamp]
We heard some tracks from Drexler's debut album Handles earlier this year. The work of Adrian Leung, who's Sydney-born, London-based, of Hong Kong Chinese background, and has spent time in Japan as well, all of which feeds into his creative take on the post-classical genre, with piano, strings, even choral vocals, touched with various electronic treatments. Those electronics come to the fore now with Handles Remixed (released later this week), which invites friends from Sydney and London to rework tracks from the album. London producer Ruckspin mixes breakbeats and basslines in with choral and string elements; meanwhile London-resident Sydney legend Richard Pike contributes 2 remixes under his DEEP LEARNING alias - I chose the beatless one with lovely glitchy treatments on the piano.

Vitor Joaquim - Stem [Vitor Joaquim Bandcamp]
Vitor Joaquim - End [Vitor Joaquim Bandcamp]
Granular processing is at the heart of the work of venerable Portuguese producer Vitor Joaquim. After a number of excellent releases on Portuguese label Crónica, new album The Construction of Time seems to be self-released. It's as evocative and interesting as ever, with processed trumpet samples from João Silva and vocal snippets sourced from the periods of the two invasions of Iraq... The theme of perception, memory, transience and interpretation carries through these beautiful pieces.

Several Wives - An Intermission [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Several Wives - Mai Swarmer [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Memory and perception also thread through the music of mysterious UK(?) producer Several Wives, whose industrial-influenced collages fit in the darker end of the spectrum for the Lost Tribe Sound label. These tracks are apparently sourced from the artist's archives, and while there's a lot of difference between murky drones, floating acoustic guitar or occasional minimal beats, it all holds together surprisingly well as an intriguing, slightly disturbing album.

Gregory Paul Mineeff - Alone And Thinking Of You [Cosmic Leaf Records/Bandcamp]
Here's another single from Wollongong composer Gregory Paul Mineeff - his emotive piano is tracked by billowing electronics as is often his style. Looking forward to another full album from him soon.

Ian William Craig & Daniel Lentz - Tasteful Gloss [RVNG Intl/Bandcamp]
Ian William Craig & Daniel Lentz - Fragrance [RVNG Intl/Bandcamp]
RVNG Intl's FRKWYS series brings musicians together in unique combinations. Their latest combines the angelic vocals and tape manipulation of Ian William Craig with the piano of American composer Daniel Lentz. Lentz's piano is at times more straightforward than Craig's usual style, but responds well to the saturated distortions, drop-outs and pitch-bends of IWC's tape machines. I believe these pieces were recorded in real-time, and some real tenebrous beauty arose from the sessions.

Keeley Forsyth - Unravelling [Leaf/Bandcamp]
Keeley Forsyth - Stab [Leaf/Bandcamp]
Working with Trestle Records' Ross Downes as well as pianist and arranger Matthew Bourne has allowed English actor, writer & singer Keeley Forsyth to realise her Scott Walker ambitions in hideous, striking fashion on the Photograph EP. No other singer at the moment has quite the emotional depth or, dare I say, ambition to carry this off quite as well as Forsyth. Incredible.

Joana Guerra - Lume [Miasmah/Bandcamp]
Back to Portugal, cellist Joana Guerra debuts on Miasmah, the label run by another cellist of the "acoustic doom" persuasion, Erik K Skodvin. Other than a certain queasiness, there's no great similarity with Skodvin's work here though - Guerra works her cello into arrangements with violin, vocals and percussion, where peaceful pizzicato gives way to sawing sul pont bowing, see-sawing glissandi, dramatic vocals and more. It's an idiosyncratic blend of contemporary techniques with traditional & non-traditional song. Another great unusual cellist to add to the list!

Vilde&Inga - Disc 1 III [Sofa music/Bandcamp]
Vilde&Inga - Disc 2 V [Sofa music/Bandcamp]
Vilde Sandve Alnæs and Inga Margrete Aas are two still-young Norwegian string players, who have now released three albums as Vilde&Inga on the Norwegian experimental label Sofa music. Their combination of violin and double bass results in surprising sonorities, with that gap between high & low becoming part of their character. New double album How Forests Think mixes in sylvan field recordings with extended techniques and melodic playing, for a magical tour of wood and catgut.

Toàn - ∞ [IIKKI/Bandcamp]
On Volta No Vento, UK-based French producer Anthony Elfort (aka Toàn, and previously Qiwu) combines field recordings, sampled recordings and various instruments into a mysterious sound-world. On a number of tracks cello can be heard, twisted & distorted through processing.

Elsen Price - BED 8 - I - NOW [Ripparecordings/Bandcamp]
Back to double bass for our last track of the evening, courtesy of Sydney mainstay Elsen Price, who as well as playing in bands like Eishan Ensemble and Ephemera, can be found performing contemporary compositions on double bass and also looping himself in creative solo performances. His new album sees his bass unadorned, in a series of live improvisations including this airy piece, which despite being for electric bass is more classical than jazz.

Listen again — ~199MB

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