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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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Monday, 12th of July, 2021

Playlist 11th July 2021 (12:00 am)

International show tonight with experimental electronic sounds aplenty.

LISTEN AGAIN and get educated! FBi provides the stream on demand, or podcast here!

Nahash - Port Punique [Ma3azef/Bandcamp]
Jessika Khazrik - هذا الكون [Ma3azef/Bandcamp]
Julmud - Fel Bo2s [Ma3azef/Bandcamp]
Co-produced by the Tunis/Egypt-based magazine & label Ma3azef and the US-based Egyptian mastering engineer Heba Kadry, the new compilation It's Not Complicated seeks to cut through Western attitudes to Palestinian self-determination. A population fragmented, denied their past and their future, forced to be part of someone else's narrative... The compilation raises funds for Medical Aid for Palestine and Grassroots Al-Quds. Many voices from around the world have contributed, including Brian Eno, Lee Gamble, Nicolas Jaar as Against All Logic, and more... I started with Nahash, aka Raphaël Valensi, from Montréal but having spent some years living in Shanghai, who may be the only Jewish artist on the compilation. As a Jew myself I think it's important to have Jewish voices speaking in support of Palestine. Like his album on SVBKVLT, Nahash brings a junglist tilt with sad piano chords and a nimble bassline. Berlin-based Lebanese singer & composer Jessika Khazrik contributes beautiful processed vocals in Arabic, and Ramallah-based hip-hop producer Julmud brings skittery drum machines and sampled vocals. Strongly recommended all-round.

Karkhana - Sidi Mansour pt.1 [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
Lebanese group Karkhana are a super-group of sorts, with free jazz & rock musicians from Egypt, Lebanon & Turkey as well as Chicago, including Sam Shalabi, Maurice Louca, Sharif Sehnaoui and many others. I last played them a couple of years ago, with a track featuring Nadah El Shazly on vocals (from here). New album Al Azraqayn, released on Berlin's Karlrecords, was recorded live and features the musicians in full flight, with ecstatic soloing and driving basslines & rhythms - like an Arabic Fire! Orchestra. Unmissable.

3xOJ feat. Al Nasser - Stork [Hakuna Kulala]
New on Ugandan label Hakuna Kulala is a single from Moroccan producer 3xOJ - one instrumental and one track featuring fellow Cassablancan Al Nasser on vocal duties. It's twitchy, bass-heavy digital beats of the sort the label's known for, and Al Nasser's gruff anti-fascist (I presume) rapping brings it to an even higher level.

ABADIR - III [Genot Centre/Bandcamp]
ABADIR - XLR@T [irsh]
ABADIR - IV [Genot Centre/Bandcamp]
Rami Abadir is one of a number of brilliant sound designers & beat-makers to come out of Cairo's scene in the last while. Interestingly, Abadir is also the electronic music editor of the webzine side of Ma3azef. His latest album Pause/Stutter/Uh/Repeat is the culmination of a Masters in Digital Media, and builds industrial sound design and contemporary beats around deftly sampled interstitial speech - all those spots where we stop and think, restart, hesitate. The album is rounded out with some great remixes, including a strangely '80s-sounding version from fellow Egyptian ZULI, but his own tracks are the focus tonight - including one on the debut compilation from ZULI's label irsh, which foregrounds Abadir's love of jungle.

Paragon - Shadow Mechanics (Tech Level 2 RMX) [Paragon Bandcamp]
And speaking of drum'n'bass & jungle, here's a new single from the UK's Paragon, who specialists in dark, relentless tech-step fearscapes - but for his latest he's joined on the "b-side" by Tech Level 2, the recently-reincarnated drum'n'bass project for JK Broadrick. There are some fearsome breaks and basslines here - nice to hear JKB exploring this zone again.

Mick Harris - Matron Exercise bike v [Mick Harris Bandcamp]
Long outside of the same metal scene that Broadrick originated in, Mick Harris has featured a bit here courtesy of his recent Scorn album, and also the series of HedNod EPs he's been churning out since the start of the year. The latest on his Bandcamp is HedNod Nine, and it really feels like Harris is enjoying himself thoroughly - for longtime Scorn fans it's a pleasure to have these quickly-turned-out hip-hop paced tracks, still heavy with dub weight and dread.

These Hidden Hands - Shackles feat. Zanias [These Hidden Hands Bandcamp]
Really nice to hear from These Hidden Hands again, who have gone from their excellent industrial techno/idm beginnings into more experimental, Berlin-influenced electronic productions, with frequent vocal collaborators. On their new standalone single it's the Melbourne-born, South East Asia-raised, Berlin-based Zanias, with hazy vocals over crunching beats and rave squalls. The title track is a kind of aggressive dubstep, while the second accelerates into drum'n'bass territory.

GILA - NANAO feat. Kloxii [Lex Records/Bandcamp]
Also coming out with a standalone single is Denver's GILA - swapping out his usual syncopated, spare beats for something more like minimal techno, with Chinese-born Kloxii collaborating on vocals.

Lack - Microshift [Livity Sound]
Lack - Shifter [Livity Sound]
Speaking of things minimal, Manchester's Lack blends grime/dubstep/uk garage with a surprising dub techno influence for his two EPS on Bristol's Livity Sound. New EP Make It Circular is full of clicky beats, sampled breaks which syncopate unexpectedly and lovely warm bass. "Microshift" reminded me of "Shifter" on last year's Inside EP, which I enjoyed at the time but for some reason never ended up playing.

Cassius Select - IF YOU DO A LITTLE DANCE [Cassius Select Bandcamp]
Sydney's loss is Berlin's gain in the case of Lavurn Lee, and it's good to see that his tough, bass-driven dance tracks as Cassius Select aren't disappearing. This new track is vintage Cassius Select, pure dancefloor pressure, complete with sampled vocal snippets. The only problem is that there's not more.

Udder J Russell - Cornish Acid 7 [Udder J Russell Bandcamp]
Other J Russell - Andrew Sachs Squash [Other J Russell Bandcamp]
clickits - lament for the north [Moteer Records]
Sometime in the first few years of this show, I discovered the subtle rhythmic folktronica of Clickits via a couple of releases on The Remote Viewer's little label Moteer. Shortly after playing them, I was contacted by one of the two members, John McCaffrey, who turned out to now be based in Melbourne - and thus was Utility Fog's long association with Part Timer born. John has in the meantime kept me up-to-date with the work of the "other Jonny", Jonny Russell, who has gone by "then dof", Ronny Juzzle and various other pseudonyms along the way, sometimes with minimalist drones & flutters, sometimes gleeful sampladelic IDM. He's recently started popping things out on Bandcamp, and so we have a few EPs from Other J Russell in sampladelic kitsch mode, and now Udder J Russell doing his take on Cornish Acid (a genre presumably initiated by Aphex Twin 2 1/2 decades ago). It's fun stuff done well. I reminded myself of what Clickits sounded like and it's still absolutely lovely.

Happy Axe - One Morning (feat. Butternut Sweetheart) [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Happy Axe - Cheshire Heart [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Happy Axe - The One That Remembers [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Clickits' folktronica leads nicely into the new album from Happy Axe, Maybe It'll Be Beautiful - and yup, it sure is! No surprise there, as Emma Kelly's Dream Punching was too: her looped violin, vocals and adept electronics are a winning combination, especially as she has a talent for blissful songwriting and clever sonic manipulations. I had to play recent single "One Morning" again as it's just so sweet, while "The One That Remembers" is a little more ominous. Wonderful work once again.

Saba Alizadeh - Only Hope Breaks The Dark Waves [30M Records/Bandcamp]
Saba Alizadeh - #5 Ladan dead-end [Zabte Sote]
Saba Alizadeh - Hybrid (with Rojin Sharafi) [30M Records/Bandcamp]
Iranian musician Saba Alizadeh is a master of the Persian stringed instrument called the kamancheh. His father Hossein Alizadeh was a famous tar & setar player, but Saba places his instrument in a contemporary setting with stunning sound design - electronics, drones and at times beats. His debut album Scattered Memories came out on Karlrecords in 2019, although I played a version of one of those album tracks from Ata Ebtekar's Girih compilation from 2018. Now the new Hamburg label 30M Records, dedicated to promoting Iranian music, has released his follow-up I May Never See You Again. Once again there are deeply emotive kamancheh tracks, sometimes processed & pitch-shifted, and alongside them are reverberant sound design works and elements of techno, as well as collaborations. Notably, Vienna-based Iranian producer Rojin Sharafi, no stranger to these playlists, contributes her angular post-Autechre beats to one track. Brilliant futuristic Persian music.

Listen again — ~203MB


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