a wholly owned subsiduary of
Frogworth Corp
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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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 9th of May, 2021

Playlist 09.05.21 (11:25 pm)

The pleasure is in the detail tonight, with filigree sounds sourced from percussion, glitches, field recordings and accelerated drum breaks in contexts as wide as sound-art, contemporary classical, noise, underground hip-hop and dance music.

LISTEN AGAIN to the devil in the details... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Snawklor - Misplaced Colour [Snawklor Bandcamp]
Snawklor - Confluences [self-released CD-R with screenprint, now available at Bandcamp]
Snawklor - day of your enemies [another self-released CD-R with screenprint, now available at Bandcamp]
Snawklor - Language Laid Bare [Snawklor Bandcamp]
It's an absolute joy to find Dylan Martorell and Nathan Gray together again as Snawklor after a (recorded) absence of over 10 years! They've both been members of some Melbourne noise monsters over the years, such as Hi-God People, and Martorell's incredible art can also be seen here. But Snawklor is a very special thing - a delicate mixture of tuned & untuned percussion with occasional miniature injections of acoustic instruments such as guitar and violin, all reconstructed electronically. There's always a sense of time & space - even though a lot of their works are not long, deep listening is nevertheless rewarding. Their new EP Perfumed Ground is released as a silk-screened print and digital audio, and will be followed by another release soon - can't wait.

Takuma Watanabe - Last Afternoon [Constructive/Bandcamp]
Takuma Watanabe - Particle [Inpairtment]
Takuma Watanabe - Tactile [Constructive/Bandcamp]
Last Afternoon is the gorgeous new album from film composer and David Sylvian associate Takuma Watanabe, featuring a string ensemble, tech wizardry from Akira Rabelais and the great avant-garde singer Joan La Barbara (on a track not featured tonight mind you). I discovered Watanabe via a release on Japanese label Inpairtment last year, featuring contributions from Rabelais and also Félicia Atkinson, all of which should give you a flavour of what you'll find here: delicate neo-classical composition of a high order (nothing derivative here!), shot through with the hiss & crackle of analogue & digital detritus.

Wouter van Veldhoven - Wandelliedje [dauw]
Wouter van Veldhoven - Ons dorp [Morc records]
Wouter van Veldhoven - (un)Finished contraptions 1 (Peter Broderick rework) [dauw]
I've been a follower of the unique Dutch mechanical instrument-maker Wouter van Veldhoven for some time, having discovered him via Machinefabriek. His creaking creations of electro-mechanical homemade instruments and tapes "perform" rickety works which somehow produce astonishing beauty. For the unintiated, the Dauw label have compiled what's now a second collection of archival works from van Veldhoven: Verzamelen II features tracks from a handful of his releases, along with a few unreleased gems such as the first track tonight, and a couple of reworkings, to which end Peter Broderick adds swishing violin in his usual sensitive manner.

Dan Powell - Emerging from the valley into a rainshower [Crónica/Bandcamp]
Sound-artist Dan Powell frequently visits the Old Chapel Farm in Wales, whose inhabitants try to live as close to the land as possible, living together, growing food, practising ancient crafts... Powell decided to create a work based on these experiences, Four Walks at Old Chapel - but it's far more than field recordings of walks in a landscape. There are sounds created with Powell's daughter from objects around the site, including an old abandoned piano, all of which are reconstructed into four electro-acoustic works.

He Can Jog - Each Band Of The Telephone Wire [JMY Music]
Francisco Meirino - Synth Etude 141019 [JMY Music]
Out for this week's Bandcamp Friday was Perception, a compilation from Milwaukee label JMY Music featuring a slew of noise & sound-artists. We heard the two opening tracks tonight: Minnesota musician and programmer Erik Schoster aka He Can Jog combines folky acoustic instruments with highly abstracted electronics as ever, and is followed by the the drawn-out tones and shuddering noise of Lucerne-based Spanish musician Francisco Meirino.

Ashtray Navigations - Fancy Water [Memoirs of an Aesthete]
Ashtray Navigations - Lost Down Newspaper Tube [Memoirs of an Aesthete]
It can be hard to keep up with the prolific work of Phil Todd & collaborators' Ashtray Navigations, but it's always worth checking in every so often, and I've been catching up of late because there's so much quality stuff despite the density. Call it psych, call it noise, there can be distorted guitar workouts, but also synthscapes and unidentifiable amplified noises. Tonight's tracks come from an album only released in April: Water Hole Or It's Better To Be Clean Than Fancy, which is some of my favourite AN stuff for a while, and it seems to be all Phil Todd.

Margot Padilla & Khaki Blazer - Good Boy (proud) [Hausu Mountain/Deathbomb Arc]
White Boy Scream & Fire-Toolz - Air Friar [Hausu Mountain/Deathbomb Arc]
Next up, an incredible collaborative project between two forward-looking labels, with all profits to the Last Prisoner Project. Arc Mountain is the creatively-named compilation of artists from avant-garde hip-hop/noise label Deathbomb Arc (home to some of the earliest Clipping. material) and the IDM/experimental electronic label Hausu Mountain (home to the earliest Eartheater releases among other things). There are so many gems here - each track featuring an artist (or more) from each label, with so much simpatico it's seriously one combined aesthetic throughout. Tonight we have a demented show tune from Margot Padilla and Khaki Blazer, and something beautiful from avant-garde opera-trained singer White Boy Scream and a somewhat subdued Fire-Toolz.

Ziúr - Fringe Casual [PAN/Bandcamp]
Ziúr - Rituals Of Passage [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Ziúr - Alive, Unless? [PAN/Bandcamp]
When I first heard Berlin's Ziúr on her Planet µ debut in 2017, she was clearly at the forefront of the deconstructed club sounds of the recent zeitgeist. Her second album on Planet µ took her sound into a more polished pop territory, brilliant but not so much my thing, but Antifate, just released on PAN, manages to combine these two tendencies into something quite fantastic. She has created something with clattering beats & bass but also a lot of delicacy, aided at times by Subtext Recordings' James Ginzburg.

Barker - Polytely [Ostgut Ton/Bandcamp]
Sam Barker has formed a surprising set of works for quinessential Berlin club label Ostgut Ton over the last few years, building recognizable club music without kick drums or generally any beats at all. His latest 12", BARKER002, links back to 2019's BARKER001 with a set of tracks which stray at times away from the beatless template, while retaining the corruscating movement of his melodic synths. It's genre-agnostic, but flows quite nicely into the jungle-techno following.

Healion - About Breathing (Ludwig AF Remix) [naff recordings]
Healion - Gathering [naff recordings]
I don't know who Healion is, but their debut EP In Light, It Undoes Nothing... released by Canada's NAFF Recordings is a smooth & beautiful ride through jungle & bass techno stylings. Entirely in keeping with the rest of the EP is a remix of the title track by Frankfurt's Ludwig AF, with skittering programmed beats.

Social State - Moonbeam [Social State Bandcamp]
Social State - Find The Others [Social State Bandcamp]
And finally, the new album Sacrosanct from London's Social State has been a long time coming, and includes tracks that have snuck out over a few years on Mr Mitch's Gobstopper Records and elsewhere. It's a melange of UK hardcore-continuum styles, including some jungle tracks and some grime, and some stretched-out hip-hop. It's a delightfully dark trip.

Listen again — ~204MB

Monday, 3rd of May, 2021

Playlist 02.05.21 (12:46 am)

A rollercoaster through filmic post-classical, avant-garde strings & percussion, sound-art, junglist breakbeats and generative programming to highly emotive post-metal.

LISTEN AGAIN for all the thrills... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Clark - Lambent Rag [Deutsche Grammophon/Clark Store/Bandcamp]
Clark - Shut You Down [Deutsche Grammophon/Clark Store/Bandcamp]
Clark - Emissary [Deutsche Grammophon/Clark Store/Bandcamp]
I remember 20 years ago when Chris Clark was a precocious young IDM producer with his first records on Warp... He seemed to have a good command of the emotive backbone under the flashy beat programming, in keeping with the previous generation like Aphex Twin, µ-Ziq, Boards of Canada et al. A few years later, the Body Riddle album was the first step into something that felt truly new - organic-feeling crunchy beats and sounds, clearly still electronica, clearly referencing rave tropes, but also postrock, jazz and a lot more. Since then he's careened easily between dancefloor and campfire and everywhere in between, and somewhere in the last 5 years added soundtrack work as a new string to his bow - replete with piano and orchestra. So I assumed that this new album, Playground In A Lake, released by eminent classical institution Deutsche Grammophon, was another soundtrack - but it's something different. Starting with the solo cello of Oliver Coates, featuring muted piano, orchestral passages, choral and solo classical voices, it doesn't throw out the electronics - with Ben Frost-like surging bass, processed vocals and occasional rhythm programming. And it's a narrative of sorts - a tale of lost youth and innocence, with the submerged children's playground standing in for our loss of innocence as a species in the face of accelerating climate change. Weighty subject matter, and the music matches it with darkness and gentle sadness, give or take the sweet hopefulness of "Lambent Rag". All in all an excellent entry into Clark's oeuvre.

The Selva + Machinefabriek - Mabartrama [Shhpuma/Bandcamp]
The Selva + Machinefabriek - Tramabarba [Shhpuma/Bandcamp]
Made up of Ricardo Jacinto, cello, Gonçalo Almeida, double bass and Nuno Morão on drums, The Selva (jungle in Portuguese) coax surprising sounds from their surprising combination - the strings at times as percussive as the drums, but at times sounding like ancient folk or proto-classical music. After some releases on Portuguese avant-jazz label Clean Feed, their new album on Shhpuma, Barbatrama finds them working with Dutch sound-artist Machinefabriek, a familiar face around these parts, who very subtly re-arranges their acoustic improvisations - at times seemingly hardly there, at other times stretching or collapsing the sounds, or editing them into off-kilter rhythms. This all amounts to something spookily beautiful.

BirdWorld - Svífa [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
BirdWorld + Diana Syrse - Scintillant [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
BirdWorld + Fran + Flora - After Rain [Focused Silence/Bandcamp]
The London/Oslo duo BirdWorld, made up of Gregor Riddell on cello & electronics, and Adam Teixeira on drums & percussion, beguiled us in late 2019 with their debut album UNDA, in which field recordings, found sounds and processing met folk, jazz and classical-derived playign on the cello and drums. Generally their tracks do not line up with expectations around musical structures, and this makes for fascinating results on the newly released UNDA Reworks, which as you may imagine is more than just a remix album. There are re-sampled beat tracks, but also approaches like Mexican singer/composer Diana Syrse, who overlays her voice on the original track to create her own beautiful song, whereas experimental klezmer/gypsy duo Fran + Flora (made up of cellist Francesca Ter-Berg and violinist Flora Curzon) concentrate on drawing the original acoustic sounds through multiple effects - reversing, pitch-shifting and granulating the music into a scintillating abstract canvas.

Emily Scott - The Garden [Blackford Hill/Bandcamp]
Kate Carr - The Owls Were Calling That Dark, Dark Night [Blackford Hill/Bandcamp]
Blackford Hill is a UK-based label and publishing house whose music encompasses electronic music, field recordings, post-classical, folk and more. Their debut physical compilation Transmissions / Volume One covers all of that ground over 2CDs, along with a book of photos and essays. It's fair to say that a sense of place and a kind of ritual meditativeness is found across much of the music. Presumably working with the Fell Down string trio, Glasgow singer & double bassist Emily Scott opens the compilation with a sumptuous folk song, which features some delicious harmonic trickiness, sliding between major and minor chords, with a beautiful flattened 5th on the dominant (so, now you know!), while ex-pat Aussie Kate Carr features twice, with her chiming guitar sitting under crackling field recordings. There's a lot to discover in these two discs.

Nick Wales - Wind Variation [Music Company/Bandcamp]
Michelle Nguyen - Vultyre [Music Company/Bandcamp]
Coming out at the end of the month is the third volume in the Vector Fields compilation series from Melbourne's Music Company, which starts with a lot of gentle neoclassical music before slowly turning to some quite experimental electronic work. Sydney violist and composer Nick Wales contributes a beautiful piece of glitchy drone, while Melbourne's Michelle Nguyen (who recently appeared on this show via New Weird Australia as Noom) has one of the most abstract pieces of sound design.

Munsha - 21 Days [Osci Edizioni]
Eraldo Bernocchi - At The Edge Of Daylight [Osci Edizioni]
New Italian label Osci Edizioni enters the fray with their compilation Boarding Songs, an auspicious debut release featuring many greats from the Italian experimental scene such as Stefano Pilia, Claudio Rochcetti, Fabio Orsi, Valerio Cosi (working with Swiss cellist Martina Bertoni), Gianluca Becuzzi, Retina.it and many more. There's drone and glich here - including a work with piano snippets and drones from Italian cellist/electronic musician Daniela Lunelli aka Munsha - but elsewhere venerable dub/industrial/ambient maestro Eraldo Bernocchi contributes a piece of dubby techno, as is his wont, and from further afield there are quiet contributions from Ian Hawgood and René Margraff among others.

NERVE - Sand Heist (WGR Version) [Winter Garden Records/Bandcamp]
Melbourne's NERVE continues his occasional releases of highly strung industrial techno, and as often is the case, it blends almost seamlessly into drum'n'bass & jungle...

Happa - Digital Recall [PT/5/Bandcamp]
UK's half Persian prince (and), Happa, has released the second in his Explorations in Music for Dancing, and this one is firmly looking at jungle & drum'n'bass, whether deconstructing it on "No Longer" or distributing fiery breaks and thundering subs on the other two tracks. I'd be happy to hear more of this from Happa!

Etch - Tyrant [Sneaker Social Club]
Brighton boy Etch has long let his jungle freak flag fly. Recent releases have seen him at slower breakbeat tempos and in other modes, so it's nice that the Anachronism EP for Sneaker Social Club brings back the early '90s junglism, dark and sparse.

Sun People - Dark Days ft Yorobi [Exit Records/Bandcamp]
Austrian producer Simon/off aka Sun People is known for broken beats mixed with juke and UK hardcore continuum styles, and his new record for Exit Records is suitably junglist. One of a few highlights is a collaboration with Yorobi, aka Dutch graphic designer Josje Bijl, who is also a jungle/drum'n'bass DJ and producer.

Ben Peers - Variation Seven [Elli Records/Bandcamp]
Ben Peers - Reprising [Bandcamp]
Ben Peers - Out [Bandcamp]
We last heard algorithmic producer Ben Peers with an EP on Elli Records earlier this year; now he's back on his own Bandcamp with In Succession, which takes a similar approach to his earlier Elli Records release Eight Variations, in which a selection of timbres, melodic and rhythmic elements are mutated over a number of tracks - and the 7th Variation from Eight Variations segued quite handily out of our drum'n'bass selections tonight. On In Succession the constituent elements are recycled both as jittery IDM pieces and peaceful textural ambient, always very listenable.

anrimeal - Hello And A Half (feat. Butterfly Child) [Crossness Records/Bandcamp]
I only just discovered the work of Ana Rita de Melo Alves aka anrimeal a few weeks ago via Objects Forever's Object Ten compilation. From there I found her debut album Could Divine, released last year, and only a couple of weeks later we're treated to a strange remix album that's not a remix album. Some artists have indeed remixed anrimeal's originals, but (as with Butterfly Child tonight) their treatments are often reworked back into hybrid pieces by Alves, and on a number of tracks spoken word segments provide a hidden history of the recordings. It's intimate and strange, and as with the original album switches joyfully from delicate folk to drone to harsh digital edits.

Big | Brave - Wited. Still And All... [Southern Lord/Bandcamp]
Big | Brave - Half Breed [Southern Lord/Bandcamp]
In some ways the only reason Montréal's Big | Brave get classed as metal is because they're released on Southern Lord. The postrock of local hero Efrim Menuck's Godspeed You! Black Emperor and A Silver Mt Zion looms large, as does the math rock of guitarist Mathieu Ball's past, but these elements along with the thunderous drums (now provided by Tasy Hudson) support an intensity when combined with Robin Wattie's raw, emotive vocals that's every bit the force of nature that, say, the Southern Lord's Sunn O))) generate through other means. Big | Brave's latest, Vital, benefits also from the sonic metallurgy of Seth Manchester at Machines With Magnets, producing a searingly focused sound, even on the droney waves of "Wited. Still And All..." - but "Half Breed" is the album's core, featuring Big | Brave's signature single hits on guitar & drums, with lyrics drawn from an essay on being mixed race by artist Alexander Cree, allowing Wattie to express herself openly through someone else's words. It's incredibly powerful.

Listen again — ~199MB

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