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Utility Fog

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Sunday, 29th of November, 2020

Playlist 29.11.20 (5:33 pm)

From delicate free jazz songs through glitched easy listening and soundscapes to various forms of bass'n'beats, it's your Utility Fog for the week!

LISTEN AGAIN to the sounds of the past, the sounds of the present, the sounds of the future! Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here...

Ashley Paul - Light Inside My Skin [Slip/Bandcamp]
Ashley Paul - Bounce Bounce [Slip/Bandcamp]
Ashley Paul - Lost Memories [Slip/Bandcamp]
London-based American multi-instrumentalist and singer-songwriter Ashley Paul creates very strange, beautiful songs with ensembles of free improvisers, which somehow feel simultaneously free and composed - like Tom Waits' right-in-their-wrongness arrangements. She's released albums on many interesting labels including Important Records and Orange Milk, but as Slip have just released her new one, Ray, tonight we hear 2 songs from that album, plus an instrumental from her 2018 record on the same label, Lost In Shadows. Derek Bailey can be heard in her scrabbling guitar, Ornette Coleman in the screaming saxophone and clarinet swiftly switching into queasy or sweet harmonies - but the fusion of these techniques with affecting songwriting with fragile vocals is absolutely her own. This can be challenging to get a grip on, but listen in the right frame of mind and it will touch you.

curd duca - california [Magazine/Bandcamp]
curd duca - touch [Mille Plateaux/Bandcamp]
curd duca - nancy [Mille Plateaux/Bandcamp]
curd duca - quiet nights intro [Mille Plateaux/Bandcamp]
curd duca - quiet nights (feat. carin feldschmid) [Mille Plateaux/Bandcamp]
curd duca - avant org [Magazine/Bandcamp]
curd duca - oui [Magazine/Bandcamp]
Give or take a couple of odd appearances, it's been the better part of 2 decades since we last heard from Austrian glitch musician curd duca. He released in the '90s two different series of minimalist, simple, yet evocative cut-up music (all now available again at his Bandcamp): first a series of 5 easy listening albums, and then the 3 wonderful elevator albums through Mille Plateaux. Particularly on elevator 2 and elevator 3 (from which I played two tracks each tonight) he strikes an uneasy balance in his "digitalanalogue" "cut-up easy-listening" works, not quite trip-hoppy electro-lounge cheesiness, nor quite the austere, conceptual computer music Mille Plateaux could lean towards. I particularly adored the stuttering granular vocal processing on elevator 2's "touch" in 1999 - more revolutionary-sounding back then than it would be now. Now he has another series of releases coming, the first out now, the two early and late 2021. Called waves, the three albums are released through Cologne label Magazine - for some reason vinyl + CD together - maybe I can get the collection of three just on CD when they're all released? In any case, it's a delightful continuation of the elevator sound, including some new renderings of old pieces ("touch" gets revised in fact). As before, the cut-ups and shimmering granulation transform the sometimes-mundane source material into magical alternate worlds if you let them. I for one couldn't be happier that we have this with more to come!

Jasmine Guffond - Ausland, 19th November, 2016 [Music Company/Bandcamp]
Matthew Hayes - Plein de Nuages [Music Company/Bandcamp]
Gail Priest - Stuttered unutterables [Music Company/Bandcamp]
Only a few months after their first Vector Fields compilation, this Friday Dec 4th sees Melbourne's Music Company release Vector Fields 2, once again mixing up contemporary composition with various forms of electronic production. It's a phenomenally strong collection of music, with plenty of great representation from women and non-binary artists too - aside from the people I played tonight, there's excellent work from Madeleine Cocolas, Alexandra Spence, Shoeb Ahmad, Aarti Jadu (heard below), Lily Tait and many others. Following on from the return of curd duca, Sydney's Jasmine Guffond has been mining glitch since her late '90s and early '00s releases with Minit. In the vein of her music from the last few years, her track here builds a vibrating sound space from granular samples of voice, violin, percussion and electronics. Melbourne jazz musician Matthew Hayes combines the processed residue of jazz drums with piano, guitar, strings and drones, into a thing of cinematic, folktronic beauty. And the fabulous Gail Priest, now based in the Blue Mountains, delivers as always with an evolving piece made of cut-up vocals, glitches and beats.

Minced Oath - Prison Issue Pillow [Countersunk Bandcamp]
Minced Oath is Dunk Murphy, best known perhaps as Sunken Foal, and half of Planet µ duo Ambulance. Over many years, Sunken Foal has been a reliable favourite at Utility Fog, with exquisitely surprising harmonic movements under melodic lines and intricate idm beats. With Minced Oath, he tones things down a notch: first album Supercede was pure floating ambience, but the just-released Supervene does incorporate minimal percussion and melodies, albeit at a more glacial pace than Sunken Foal.

Jakoby - Gate [Health/Jakoby Bandcamp]
Jakoby - Leine [Health/Jakoby Bandcamp]
UK-born, Berlin-based electronic musician Lee Bowden is Jakoby, returning this Friday with his second release on the Health label, run by Kirk Barley aka Church Andrews aka Bambooman. Generative rhythms, crunching bass, and little melodies combine in strange ways which seem well-suited to whatever the Health aesthetic is - maybe it's only because I'm hearing it in the context of their last release, Barley as Church Andrews with the complex percussion of Matt Davies, but this music seems equally idiosyncratic, difficult to pin down, yet oddly zeitgeisty.

HAND - note to self [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
Sascha Bachmann's new album as HAND brins us some quite wonderful processed cassette loops and found sounds, processed on computer. There are skittering half-remembered jungle breakbeats at times, but also drones and pulses, distant sub-bass thuds, spluttering drum machines and warbling klaxons. Really recommend grabbing a listen, especially as right now it's Pay What You Can (with no minimum!) - from excellent French label Elli Records.

Hextape - Yubaba [Anterograde/Bandcamp]
Hextape - How To Walk Away From Something That's Hurting You (Aarti Jadu Remix) [Anterograde/Bandcamp]
Hextape - Etude For Sword [Anterograde/Bandcamp]
Having recently heard from Melbourne musician Bridget Chappell under her own name, we're now treated to her rave-nostalgia cut-up electronic alias Hextape, as Anterograde are re-releasing her excellent 2 Fast 2 Furious album from last year, remastered and with bonus remixes. On "Yubaba", alongside chopoped-up vocals and beats we hear her cello near the end; "Etude For Sword" on the other hand swiftly crescendoes into jungle chaos. Fellow Melburnian Aarti Jadu brings out a glitchscape of vocals with flittering synths, bass drones and snatches of drum breaks.

Barking - Sham Paradise [Barking Bandcamp]
Sydney's Gareth Psaltis made a brilliant EP with Hannah Lockwood as phile in 2017, and has released music as Barking for a few years. Currently based in Berlin, he put a few tracks out this year, and this latest draws on drum'n'bass and industrial in reflection of the personal & political.

E-Saggila - Cellygrin [Hospital Productions/Bandcamp]
E-Saggila - Slowland [Hospital Productions/Bandcamp]
The latest album for Iraq-born, Toronto-based musician Rita Mikhael aka E-Saggila comes from Prurient's Hospital Productions label, which mixes in techno, ambient and more straightforwardly industrial music alongside the noise. All of this makes it quite an inspired home for an E-Saggila release, with her influences ranging from techno and jungle through forms of industrial and noise. Corporate Cross is impressively varied, and surprisingly not all dark either - "Slowland" sits at a dubsteppy tempo and its murky synth melodies echo the prettiest of '90s Aphex Twin or early Autechre.

Commodo - Loan Shark [Black Acre/Bandcamp]
Commodo - Stakeout [Black Acre/Bandcamp]
Commodo - Procession [Deep Medi/Bandcamp]
It's great to hear UK dubstep artist Commodo back on Deep Medi, nearly 10 years after his first release with them. We're hearing the title tracks of all three 2020 releases - the first two were through Black Acre, each with a kind of cop/crime show vibe; now Procession finds him imagining a detective investigating some kind of Lovecraftian paranormal shenanigans. Commodo's really good at this kind of thing, melding core dubstep bass-led dancefloor beats with evocative TV soundtrack vibes.

GILA - Energy Demonstration [Lex Records/Bandcamp]
GILA - Rider 1 (Darq Windows) [Lex Records/Bandcamp]
GILA - Aloe Drip [Lex Records/Bandcamp]
Having first encountered him in 2016, it was awesome to rediscover Kyle Reid's GILA a few months ago, and now finally his debut album proper, Energy Demonstration is with us! It's all about the low-slung bass and slippery, sparse, syncopated beats. Reid is from Denver, and as much as you can hear the influence of UK styles like dubstep and grime, it's clear that trap and US hip-hop production is a big part of his music, as much as his own background as a drummer before his live career was hindered by rheumatoid arthritis. I absolutely love the head-nodding, deep yet sharp sounds here.

Listen again — ~202MB

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