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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, 4th of July, 2021

Playlist 04.07.21 (10:45 pm)

Deep sounds tonight, from double bass to processed guitar to folktronica, and lots of very dark electronics. And some (southern) gothic industrial shoegaze bringing things to a close.

LISTEN AGAIN to the underside... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast over here.

Sailcloth - Red Woods [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Sailcloth - Mountain [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Sailcloth - An Owl in the Neighbor's Yard [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Alex Luquet is a double bassist from Pennsylvania whose debut album Woodcut has just been released, under the name Sailcloth, by Lost Tribe Sound. It's very Lost Tribe Sound areas - acoustic music with aspects of drone and folktronic collage - yet it feels like it's own thing, not least because it's led by the bass. There are nods to jazz & Americana - the clarinet & drums adding to the bass on "Red Woods" for instance - and at other times, a twinkly post-classical bent, but mostly it has a warm feeling of enveloping darkness - unlike the menacing darkness we'll be hearing for a lot of tonight's show! One of the best releases on Lost Tribe Sound lately, which is high praise!

yes/and - Melt Away [Driftless Recordings/Bandcamp]
yes/and - More Than Love [Driftless Recordings/Bandcamp]
Here's a new project from Meg Duffy (aka Hand Habits) and Joel Ford (producer with Young Ejecta, collaborator with Daniel Lopatin etc. Duffy proves themself a versatile guitarist here, with folky acoustic fingerpicking, indie strums, drones and even some free jazz-style atonal fret-mashing, but it's embedded & re-oriented through Ford's sound design into collages like a vapourwave approach to folktronica. The album's out on the 23rd of July and comes highly recommended.

Frond - Fragments Coalesce (Lucinate Remix) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
Frond - The World Recedes [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
Frond - Transforming Around Us (Bastian Benjamin Remix) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
Richard Bultitude has a long back catalogue of music under the name Point B, covering a variety of UK bass styles. So it's no surprise that his work as Frond has a great sense of rhythm and bass, but it's not aimed at the dancefloor at all - this is ambient & folktronic stuff of a high calibre, and it's a shame I didn't twig to the original album Always There, Somewhere when it originally came out last year. I'm not the only one now discovering that, through the remix EP that Esc.rec have just released, with four Dutch electronic artists reworking tracks in four different styles - including some head-nodding beats and sound design from Machinefabriek. Heard tonight is some junglish IDM from Lucinate, and something in more of a dubstep vein from Bastian Benjamin.

TVO - The Intense Humming Of Evil [Front & Follow/Bandcamp]
Her Majesty’s Coroner For Wirral - Contemporary City Living [Front & Follow/Bandcamp]
Guerrilla Biscuits - Manchester, So Much To Answer For [Front & Follow/Bandcamp]
In which an array of experimental artists - from dark ambient to IDM, dubstep to jungle, and even black metal - soundtrack an unintentionally creepy video for a gated community in Manchester... with all profits going to a Manchester homeless charity. TVO is IDM artist Ruaridh, often now known as The Village Orchestra, with some evil drones and skittery beats. Then Her Majesty’s Coroner For Wirral (aka Liverpool experimental artist Neil Grant) brings in some kind of discordant Ligeti choir samples to ramp up the sense of disquiet, while Lancaster's Dave Shooter aka Guerrilla Biscuits brings us back to the dubstep realm.

Bacchus Harsh - The Waiver of the Flesh [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
Bacchus Harsh - Ascensus Christi ad Inferos [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Christian Bishop (what a beautifully inappropriate name) produced stacks of ugly breakcore as Xian for years (I've got tracks on various different compilations)... His newer moniker Bacchus Harsh has in no way turned down the bass or the mashed beats, but imbues them with some gravitas (and creepiness) via classical samples and occasional movie quotes. There's dubstep-meets-jungle weight here, but it's nice to find another (late) entry into the old joke genre "orchestral breakcore" which Utility Fog snuck into its earliest show descriptions (and then discovered in the work of Ove-Naxx, Venetian Snares et al).

Scorn - Mates Corner [Ohm Resistance/Bandcamp]
Scorn - Deliverance [Earache Records/Bandcamp]
Scorn - Something That Was [Ohm Resistance/Bandcamp]
Only a week or two ago we featured some dubby hip-hop beats from the great Birmingham producer Mick Harris. Having helped bring blast beats to the fore and coined the term "grindcore" for the first incarnation of Napalm Death, he joined Bill Laswell and John Zorn for the improvised dub-metal-free jazz of Painkiller, but soon became fascinated in samples and loops and drum machines and dub, and formed Scorn with fellow ex-Napalm Death member Nicholas Bullen (reintroduced, apparently, by that other Napalm Death alumnus, Justin K Broadrick). As evidenced by the middle track here, Scorn essentially accidentally invented dubstep a decade and a bit too early, with pummeling industrial drums, dub-laden postpunk bass (Jah Wobble's work with Public Image Ltd heavily influencing their style) and heavily processed vocals. Bullen left after a couple of albums, and Harris has continued Scorn on and off for the next decade and a half - with excursions into drum'n'bass, techno & hip-hop tempos in projects like Quoit, Fret and HedNod. Scorn continued through the '00s and ended up on Kurt Gluck (aka Submerged)'s Ohm Resistance label, slowly pared down to an emphasis on massive filthy bass and slowed down beats, always dubstep-adjacent but not really of the genre (not in the same way that another metal émigré, Kevin Martin of The Bug, tends to). After claiming Scorn was dead around 10 years ago, Harris returned to the Scorn name and tempos with an EP and album in 2019, and now follows it up with The Only Place. The beats are as heavy, dirty and cut back as ever, but there's a little more acknowledgement, perhaps, of the melodic aspects of the music - a little more to hang a song structure on. As a result it's some of the most compelling music he's made in years - up there with the incredible Fret album Over Depth from 2017.

Third Space - Pulsing Delay Mod [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
Third Space - Nonlinear (For Pillows) [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
Melbourne techno musician Matt Sabbadini's Third Space recently released the gorgeous Pattern of Spring EP on FBi DJ Andy Garvey's label Pure Space. "Techno" might broadly work as a category, but in the vein of Ilian Tape the beats here skitter and syncopate in a drum'n'bass/IDM fashion. It's deep, complex, spacious and at times dubby - not to be missed.

J-Shadow - Particle Horizon [Sneaker Sound System/Bandcamp]
Jason J-Shadow has grime/dubstep and jungle releases on a number of labels, and now finds his way to the Sneaker Sound System with his new EP SNKRX08. Half of this steps on and off the dancefloor with a deconstructed approach, but eventually we end up in light-footed jungle/hardcore land for a couple of tracks. Very nicely done!

Champa B & Tim Reaper - Forward Focus [Future Retro]
Tim Reaper continues his Meeting of the Minds series on his Future Retro label, up to six 12"s now, each with four collaborations between Reaper and some of his favourite jungle/hardcore producers. Here Newcastle's Champa B joins him for some beat juggling, sub rattling and synth pads - elsewhere on the EP Deep Jungle's Harmony makes an appearance, while the ever-present Coco Bryce turns up on the simultaneously-released Vol 5.

Hprizm - AKA Radiator [Positive Elevation/Bandcamp]
Hprizm - Signs II Proper Version [Positive Elevation/Bandcamp]
Last year, venerable Detroit jazz drummer Gerald Cleaver released his first electronic album Signs on jazz label 577 Records. Now their sublabel Positive Elevation is releasing follow-up Griots, and alongside that comes this remarkable work, Signs Remixed - an album-length reworking into new material by Hprizm, aka High Priest from Antipop Consortium. In keeping with Antipop's melding of experimental electronic, hip-hop and jazz, Hprizm here takes fragments of Cleaver's original works and builds shimmering quasi-ambient constructs, pulsating not-techno and occasional head-nodding faux-hip-hop. It's indefinable and truly lovely.

MJ Guider - Gloria: Small Dance of Gratitude [MJ Guider Bandcamp]
MJ Guider - Simulus [Kranky/Bandcamp]
MJ Guider - Viñales [MJ Guider Bandcamp]
New Orleans musician Melissa Guion aka MJ Guider released her incredible second album on Kranky last year. Sour Cherry Bell was shoegaze with an industrial underpinning; it could almost sound like it was made in the '90s, except there's clearly something contemporary about it all the same. Guion has just released Temporary Requiem, the soundtrack to a "mass for dance" by choreographer Ann Glaviano entitled Known Mass. No. 3: St. Maurice. The music here served as experimentation ahead of Sour Cherry Bell, and that melding of shoegaze, industrial and electronic elements is heard here too, along with drone passages, and hints at ambient IDM beats as well. Earlier in 2021 came the single Matanzas / Viñales, pressed as a sadly limited lathe-cut transparent 7", but still available digitally. Inspired by a decision to explore her mother's heritage in Cuba, these two tracks take an even more deconstructed approach to songwriting, chopping her vocals and riffs and rebuilding them in Seefeel-like ways - clattering rhythms and reverb on side A, pulsing dub bassline under shoegaze pads on the other. It's outrageously gorgeous.

Listen again — ~208MB

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