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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, 9th of August, 2021

Playlist 08.08.21 (12:09 am)

Everything tonight: choral anarchist punk, indie cello, faux-orchestral, experimental music for dance, ambient, breakbeat, jungle, and other UK bass styles.

LISTEN AGAIN to everything, everything. Stream on demand the FBi way, podcast here.

Crass - G’s Song (Commoners Choir Remix) [Crass Bandcamp]
It's so good that the ongoing remix 7" series from the original English anarchist punks Crass continues... All profits go to UK domestic violence charity Refuge, and the political power of the original songs (currently all from their debut album The Feeding of the 5000), is retained - including this, the eponymous song for the collective's artist Gee Vaucher. This stunning version adds 5 minutes to the original 36 second punk jab, courtesy of the collected voices of the Commoners Choir, pulled together by none other than Boff Whalley of those other anarcho-punks (yep!) Chumbawumba.

Gareth Skinner - Here U R Where R U [Gareth Skinner Bandcamp]
bZARK - They are the worm [Rubber Records]
Gareth Skinner - zero minus X [Rubber Records/Gareth Skinner Bandcamp]
Gareth Skinner - Yer Pointless Life [Rubber Records/Gareth Skinner Bandcamp]
Gareth Skinner - When It Falls [Gareth Skinner Bandcamp]
Melbourne cellist Gareth Skinner is releasing his new album In Turmoil later this month. It's his first proper album of songs since 2009's Looking For Vertical, and that's cause for celebration in these parts. Skinner's musical tenure goes back to the mid-'90s, when he & a couple of Uni mates put out a few singles & two albums as bZARK - great indie rock songs with some creative production, and Skinner's cello riffing up front & centre a lot of the time. They're fun albums, and Skinner followed up with a couple of solo albums also on Rubber Records - his skills with riffs and basslines on the cello is equalled by his talent for hooky songwriting and cutting lyrics, but he'll just as easily turn in a beautiful pillow of cello layers. I'm particularly taken with "When It Falls", in which bowed cello and plucked bassline loop under a melancholy but matter-of-fact song about the coming societal collapse. It's a crying shame that Gareth's not better known - check his back catalogue and preorder this gem now!

Tomasz Sroczynski - Diablak [Ici D'ailleurs/Bandcamp]
Polish composer & violinist Tomasz Sroczynski has titled his latest album Symphony Nº2 / Highlander, and it does sound symphonic - but it's all created by him, with multitudes of samples of his violin and who knows what else. It's somewhere between classical composition, Eastern European folk music, techno and industrial. It's a surreal feeling of hearing acoustic instruments but knowing that they couldn't be performed in this way. Very clever production creating some otherworldly beauty.

Machinefabriek - Music for A Measurable Existence (excerpt) [Phantom Limb/Bandcamp/Bandcamp]
Last year Dutch musician Michel Banabila released a double LP of works for dance that included an extended work for New York choreographer Yin Yue. Now another Dutch musician is releasing works commissioned by Yin Yue - none other than Machinefabriek, and the album Re:Moving (Music for Choreographies by Yin Yue) will be released in September by Phantom Limb's Geist im Kino film soundtrack label. It's unusual for Machinefabriek in having a lot of rhythmic material, including beats - but not unusually, they're both quite long tracks (about 20 minutes), so we heard the first half or so of the first track. These are complex, through-composed works that flow beautifully; ideal accompaniments for graceful body work.

Laurin Huber - Hostage to History (excerpt) [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
Laurin Huber - Nickel [Hallow Ground/Bandcamp]
Swiss producer Laurin Huber released his first solo album under his own name last year on Swiss label Hallow Ground. A collection of four dark works, it sat somewhere between industrial synth ambient and techno, particularly through its use of flittering drum machines on the wonderful "Hostage to History". Huber's follow-up, Dog Mountain, maintains a similar disposition, but is much more subdued, with acoustic guitar and field recordings added to the synths. It's a touching work, inspired by the composer's meditations on borders.

Tom Hall - Regression of Consciousness [Superpang/Bandcamp]
Tom Hall - Graves for Failed Theories [Superpang/Bandcamp]
Aussie producer Tom Hall is originally from Tasmania, and released some incredible noise albums as AXXONN before turning to more ambient climes under his own name. There's always been a sense of vastness about his music, of spaciousness and the power of nature. He's a master sound designer - and indeed he works for Cycling '74, who make Max/MSP and Jitter. Failed Attempts at Silence finds him on ambient label of the moment Superpang, sees him investigating how to find or produce space inside time. Thus his usual immensity is in-folded here, stretched out over long tracks but seeking something inside the moments.

Stigma - Believe In Me ft. L [Pessimist Productions]
Stigma - No Garden ft. Justin K Broadrick [Pessimist Productions]
As Pessimist, Bristol's Kristian Jabs makes some of the most minimalist, dark drum'n'bass around - so stripped back it's basically dub techno, except when it lashes out... His new project Stigma slows the tempo down on the Too Long LP, with various collaborators adding vocals on about half the tracks to create a hard & dark form of trip-hop. DVA Damas' Taylor Burch contributes cutting vocals to a longer track, but tonight we heard Lola Thomas-Townsend on "Believe In Me", and Justin K Broadrick on "No Garden". The pace and bass put it in the space of Broadrick's compatriots The Bug and Mick Harris, and at this tempo there's more room for variation and movement than Pessimist. This might be my favourite material yet from Jabs.

Sully - 5ives [Over/Shadow/Bandcamp]
Nobody has the flittering, dazzling rhythms of jungle down pat like Sully these days. His shift from grime to jungle & drum'n'bass in 2014 was inspired, and if anything he's only gotten better. His new 12" 5ives/Sliding comes courtesy of Over/Shadow, whose usual playing field is mid-to-late-'90s style drum'n'bass, but the Moving Shadow connection goes right back to the early days, and Sully here makes the drum breaks not just dance but sing. A masterclass.

LMajor - Can't Do It [Astrophonica/Bandcamp]
It's hard to follow Sully in the jungle stakes, but LMajor gives him a run for his money on the first & last tracks of his new 12" from Astrophonica. This renewed Bandcamp Friday just gone actually brought a stack of new jungle & drum'n'bass releases, but along with Sully this does stand out as an infectious piece of melodic & rhythmic joy.

Leo - latex skies [YOUTH]
Leo - slumped [YOUTH
A member of Manchester collective Manteq in which Iranian refugees work with bass producers, Leo has produced some futuristic grime cuts for MC Tardast (rapping in Farsi) as well as DJing in various bass styles in that northern city. Leo's second album is released by Manchester's YOUTH this week, and as typical of that label, it refuses to sit still long enough to pin down the genres or themes - like a mixtape, showcasing this young producer's skill, whether it's crazily chopped breaks, instrumental grime or drill, mutated with strange distortions.

FUMU - Skhs Pt.9 [YOUTH]
FUMU - 4 Mika [YOUTH]
FUMU - Extra 10 [YOUTH]
With a few releases on YOUTH under his belt, Michael Steel's FUMU is a key player on the label and in their segment of the Manchester scene. Different aspects of UK bass, from grime and drill to garage and techno, are distorted and reshaped, like Leo's album, in mixtape style, with longer tracks broken up with shorter ideas that cut off mid-flow. It gives the sense of something exciting & new that you're just missing out on (FOMO for FUMU?), suggesting that Manchester (home of course of the SKAM label, Autechre, Boards of Canada, and earlier 808 State et al) still nurtures a cutting-edge club scene.

Listen again — ~208MB


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