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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, 25th of July, 2021

Playlist 25.07.21 (8:04 pm)

An opening triggered by a tragic death, a celebration of a 21-year-old album and a 23-year-old track, a number of long, deep tracks on a show that keeps dipping into ambient waters.

LISTEN AGAIN and settle into the unsettling... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Pita - Untitled 3 [Mego/Bandcamp]
General Magic & Pita - Theme Fridge [Mego/Bandcamp]
This Friday brought terrible, unexpected news that Peter Rehberg had died - of a heart attack, it turns out. Rehberg was co-founder of the Mego label, later relaunched solo as Editions Mego. In the mid to late '90s his music as Pita, and the associated artists from Austria & beyond, pioneered the sound of glitch - celebrating the sound of broken digital & analogue equipment, grainy granular processing, harsh noise and minimalist crackles... Rehberg was much-loved, an Anglophile Austrian with a hard-to-place accent, endlessly supportive of experimental musicians the world over. He launched a thousand careers, was by all accounts delightful company, took academic sound-art seriously but always with a gleeful sense of humour and the absurd. He's already deeply missed. Our opening track comes from his second solo album as Pita, Get Out from 1999, looping & reversing a Morricone sample into a kind of blisteringly noisy shoegaze redux... We follow that with the birth of glitch & the birth of Mego, from the Fridge Trax releases with Andi Pieper & Ramon Bauer aka General Magic, the three original founders of Mego.

Ben Bondy - Drip on Nape [West Mineral Ltd/Bandcamp]
Ben Bondy - Meridian [West Mineral Ltd/Bandcamp]
Ben Bondy - Skizz [West Mineral Ltd/Bandcamp]
I discovered Brooklyn designer & sound-artist Ben Bondy in a collaboration with exael last year released by West Mineral Ltd, and after a stack of releases from Bondy last year, that same label now brings us, *ahem*, Glans Intercum. Again it's some kind of exobiological future documentary soundtrack made of unsettling ambience & club echoes.

LAITR - Raiene [Acroplane]
LAITR - Under Ether [Acroplane]
LAITR - Parsa [Acroplane]
Club echoes also abound on the debut release for Madrid-based Manchester artist LAITR, released on long-lived Irish netlabel Acroplane Recordings. On Sapphire Send, varieties of UK bass collide with choral samples or the kind of glitched-up US rap samples IDM artists favoured in the '90s, and beats bubble into ambience at times. An impressive debut and I'll be looking for what comes next.

Bob Holroyd - Steal [Real World X/Bandcamp]
Peter Gabriel's Real World label recently launched an imprint called Real World X which as far as I can see is meant to be the "cooler" cousin. The latest release is a two-track single from British composer & DJ Bob Holroyd, whose usual beat is world music fusiony chill. But Mangled Pianos is two tracks of quite in-turned music, meditating on the anxiety and monotony of lockdown. The title track layers piano at different speeds, but the undercurrent of nerves is inverted on "Steal", with a glitchy, jittery techno beat and morphing piano and electronics.

DJ Food - The Crow (dub) [Ninja Tune]
DJ Food - The Rook + Type 3 [Ninja Tune/Bandcamp]
DJ Food - The Crow (original from FunKungFusion) [Ninja Tune]
DJ Food - Skylark [Ninja Tune/Bandcamp]
In 2000, Ninja Tune released the first album for DJ Food as a duo, no longer a collaborative project for Coldcut's Matt Black and Jon More at all. Having begun as Black & More's way of making music outside of a major label contract, feeding directly into the founding of Ninja Tune, it had long benefited from the work of PC (Patrick Carpenter) and Strictly (aka Kevin Foakes). On Kaleidoscope, DJ Food became the project of PC & Strictly, not breaking hugely from the project's origins with a dubwise approach to instrumental hip-hop's sample-kleptomania, here reproducing jazz atmospherics in a way that just lets you see where the collaged parts join together. Both Carpenter & Foakes are great musicians too, and the music doesn't let you work out which bits are performed and which are sampled. After this album, Carpenter left to work for a time with The Cinematic Orchestra and on other projects, and DJ Food has for at least a decade now genuinely been one person. That material's great, and I love the early beat tapes and collaborative works too, but we're focusing on the Kaleidoscope period as PC & Strictly got together over the last year to celebrate what's now 21 years since the album was released with Kaleidoscope Companion - an entire album's worth of alternate takes and unreleased goodies, along with a quadruple vinyl collection of album & companion. It holds together really well for what's really an outtakes collection - tracks I would've loved to have heard at the time, many even better than the album IMHO. In particular there are two different versions of the beloved track The Crow, which was first heard on the 1998 Ninja Tune compilation FunKungFusion - a head-nodding piece of late-night faux-jazz hip-hop, with sliding double bass, poised samples, and a cathartic synth-strings denoument. On the album "The Crow..." replaces the fake strings with vibraphone, a decision I've never understood. Tonight I played the rare "(dub)" version from A Dubplate of Food Vol, 2, and the gorgeous extended Companion track "The Rook + Type 3", based around the altered harmony of the Crow's bridge section, and finally played the original 1998 version. The Companion also has a lovely "(Slow)" version which is indeed slowed down, and builds on those synth strings. Finally, "Skylark" is another lost-and-now-found classic of beat juggling and pensive piano from PC.

perila - Fallin Into Space [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
perila - Enchiz [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
Multi-talented Russian artist Aleksandra Zakharenko, based like everyone in Berlin, has been noted in the last 2 years for her post-cyberpunk ambient as perila. Her debut album proper How much time it is between you and me? is released by Smalltown Supersound, but shares a lot with her cohorts at West Mineral Ltd (heard earlier tonight) - ambience that is as disquieting as it is calming, with glitches and soft vocals at the edge of hearing, and only occasional fizzling rhythms. A very strange offering, as was to be expected.

Sebastian Field - 55 Cancri A [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
Canberra's Sebastian Field moves yet further from his origins as indie singer/songwriter her this first single from his album Sandcandles, coming out from Provenance Records in October. His high, sweet voice is still central, as a textural element looped and mired in delays and tape effects - Benoît Pioulard springs to mind, and I'm not complaining one bit.

Aphir - waste cascader [Provenance Records/Bandcamp]
Speaking of layers of processed vocals! Becki Whitton, who's just announced the conversion of Provenance Records into an artist collective under her leadership, snuck out the new Aphir Plastichoir album a couple of weeks ago. It's derived from a series of marathon livestream sessions building vocal improvisations for up to 8 hours at a time, a crazy venture but also crazy productive. Without pre-produced beats or structures, these pieces build up loops of vocals that Whitton processes in realtime, subsiding as she sees fit. "waste cascader" feeds the Becki choir into a pulsating undulation, augmented and modulated over 6½ minutes. Beautiful stuff.

Patrick Kavanagh - The Tidal Path [Patrick Kavanagh Bandcamp]
Finally, the latest album from Sydney experimental music mainstay Patrick Kavanagh is a million miles from the noisy psych rock of Box The Jesuit, his '80s & '90s band. On The Tidal Path, Kavanagh bottles down even the quieter parts of his recent instrumental music into a collection of meditations for piano, guitar, vocal effects and lots of electronics. It can be unsettling (a word that's threaded through many of tonight's selections), but it's also quite gorgeous and enveloping. The 16 minute title track ends tonight's show in blissful darkness.

Listen again — ~204MB

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