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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, 16th of August, 2021

Playlist 15.08.21 (12:41 am)

A ride through the borderlands tonight, with much music fitting the Utility Fog Charter of music that blurs genre - from indietronica to glitched, mashed soundtrack cues to African electronica, futuristic footwork and more...

LISTEN AGAIN, live life on the edge! Podcast here, stream on demand there.

Dntel - Moonlight [Morr Music/Bandcamp/les albums claus/Bandcamp]
James Figurine - Apologies [Monika Enterprise]
Dntel - Anywhere Anyone feat. Mia Doi Todd [Plug Research/Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Dntel - Fall In Love [Morr Music/Bandcamp/les albums claus/Bandcamp]
Dntel - I made something [Morr Music/Bandcamp/les albums claus/Bandcamp]
The music of Jimmy Tamborello, particularly as Dntel, is without doubt one of the instigators of what I wanted Utility Fog to be when it started. Electronic at its core, influenced by IDM as well as electronic pop, Dntel became a vehicle for something transcendent on the 2001 album Life Is Full Of Possibilities, when Tamborello brought in singers & other musicians from the indie music scene, creating hazy, granulated floating soundscapes and deconstructed songs among the glitched beats. Tamborello's an inveterate fan himself - presenting Dying Songs on LA's dublab - and that comes out in his approach to music, I think. This year he's released two Dntel albums, and they're both wonderful. The second, Away, is just released by Belgian label/gallery les ateliers claus, and out in a couple of weeks from Morr Music. It's his paean to pop, while March's The Seas Trees See showcased his more introspective, experimental & quiet side. Both albums, though, feature vocals, always highly processed (see tonight's gorgeous "Fall In Love" from that earlier one) - and on Away it's notable that although the soft-voiced vocals sound female, they are all sung by Tamborello, using auto-tune and other techniques to create a cyborg idoru version of himself. It's wonderful of course. We also heard a piece of more straightforward pop from 2006's Mistake Mistake Mistake Mistake, released under the name James Figurine, and from that 2001 album Life Is Full Of Possibilities we heard the exquisite "Anywhere Anyone" introducing the brilliant LA singer/songwriter Mia Doi Todd.

Wolfgang Mitterer - temp [col legno]
Wolfgang Mitterer - temptation [col legno]
Wolfgang Mitterer - tempo [col legno]
Wolfgang Mitterer - tempt [col legno]
Austrian composer & musician Wolfgang Mitterer writes music for orchestras, operas, and the stage, but is also a composer for the screen. His new album temp tracks is a postmodernist take on the standard practice in filmmaking of using "temp tracks" while editing the work, standing in for the final music. Across 37 tracks, some short cues and some longer, he deconstructs the idea of film music (and presumably some of his own work), into granulated, degraded, glitched samples - and surprisingly often with IDMish flittery beats. There are the hissing ghosts of orchestras, flickers of vocals operatic and international, and even scattered hints of hip-hop on "tempt". The closest thing I can think of are the glitched easy listening miniatures of Curd Duca. It's really highly enjoyable & touching, and surprisingly cohesive despite the number of tracks. Highly recommended.

STILL - Nkwaata (feat. Blaq Bandana) [PAN/Bandcamp]
STILL - Rough Rider [PAN/Bandcamp]
STILL feat. Omutaba - Rollacosta (feat. Swordman Kitala) [PAN/Bandcamp]
STILL - Ahlam Wa Ish السماء هي الحد (feat. Winnie Lado) [PAN/Bandcamp]
Milan artist Simone Trabucchi, as well as running the Hundebiss label, started the project STILL in 2017 with an album on PAN featuring a variety of African-Italian vocalists and exploring the connections between Italy, Jamaica and Africa with high-tech dancehall productions. Unfortunately at the time the vocalists weren't credited, although you can find the credits on Bandcamp now. Far better this time, the new STILL album KIKKOMANDO is in fact credited as a "V/A" release, treated as a mixtape, and all tracks are collaborations. The music isn't far from the template of labels like Hakuna Kulala, who are co-releasing this album: created in a temporary studio in Kampala, Trabucchi invited many Ugandan musicians and others based in Kampala to work on tracks with him. Among others there's rap storytelling from Kampala's Blaq Bandana, there's the celebrated, lively Swordman Kitala, and two appearances from southern Sudanese singer Winnie Lado, rapping once in English and delivering beautiful spoken word in Arabic. Trabucchi's varied productions support these vocalists very well, a highly worth release.

Jana Rush - Drivin Me Insane (feat. Nancy Fortune) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Jana Rush - Frenetic Snare [Objects Limited]
Jana Rush - Mynd Fuc [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
In 2017, Lara Rix-Martin's Objects Limited released an album from Chicago footwork producer Jana Rush, brilliant productions full of bass energy and the typical skittering drum machines and chopped vocal samples of the genre (even incorporating junglist amen breaks on the last track, "Frenetic Snare"). Rush was involved with the Tek Life crew back in the '90s, but left music for some time and is widely skilled - paramedic, firefighter, chemical engineer, CT scan technologist! Even more than her previous work, Painful Enlightenment (now released on Rix-Martin's partner's Planet µ label) expresses her experiences as a queer woman, and stretches footwork to its very limits. A genre that's always been aimed at more fleet-footed dancers, footwork here is pushed into all sorts of strange shapes, so that the drums on "Mynd Fuc" are almost more a sonic effect than a beat, clattering around a mournful slow piano fragment; elsewhere the vowels from a sample of a woman saying "Drivin Me Insane" are stretched and repeated over a slower beat in a collaboration with French producer Nancy Fortune. Coming straight from the core of the scene, this should be a landmark for the genre.

MF DOOM - Gazzillion Ear (Thom Yorke Man on Fire Remix) [Lex Records/Bandcamp]
Back in 2010, Lex Records released the Dilla-produced "Gazzillion Ear" as a single from MF DOOM's 2009 album Born Like This, with a number of remixes including one from Thom Yorke. Lex are currently celebrating their 20th anniversary, and as part of that they're unearthing a number of unheard gems from their history (a second Boards of Canada Nextmen remix appeared recently too). So it turns out Thom Yorke submitted two remixes, and the one we heard 11 years ago was the "Monkey Hustle Remix". Now we get to hear the "Man on Fire" remix, quite radically different from the other, with chaotic noise and a buried groove, very comfortably accompanying the late DOOM's lyrical flow.

ØNNΔ - ACID CROSSING (Reesepushkin Remix) [Deep Scan]
A few months ago, Sydney's Deep Scan released a split EP from AIR GOD and the mysterious ØNNΔ, both contributing dirty 4/4 grooves. This coming Friday a remix EP will appear, steering those tracks into broken-beat territory. Vancouver/Sydney artist Reesepushkin here keeps the bass pressure from ØNNΔ's original "ACID CROSSING", but chops the groove and pads, and inserts vocal gasps throughout.

Match Fixer - Rubble 4 [Match Fixer Bandcamp]
Match Fixer - Smile [Match Fixer Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Andrew Cowie produced a number releases as Angel Eyes some years ago, for labels like Bedroom Suck and Not Not Fun. More recently he's been Match Fixer, with an EP on Nice Music and a few subsequent releases on his own Bandcamp. 2018's Rubble explored IDM & drill'n'bass, but new 2-track single Smile floats in an ambient dub space, with a slow pulse and breathy textures over disquieting drones.

Kristen Gallerneaux - Dressing A Skin [Shadow World]
I discovered Detroi-based artist Kristen Gallerneaux on The Leaf Library's Object Ten compilation for their Objects Forever label earlier this year. A folklorist, film-maker, writer and musician, Gallerneaux has just released her album Strung Figures through Shadow World - the title refers to a work by Caroline Furness Jayne about Cat's Cradles and the like - looping string games played on the hands - but also references that strung out feeling of lockdown & pandemic exhaustion. The craft focus also connects to Gallerneaux's Native family-members, Navajo Nation people who were particularly badly affected by COVID - something which hits home at the moment, as we're learning of the seemingly inevitable, awful & dangerous lag in providing vaccinations to the Indigenous population of western NSW and the rest of the country. Gallerneaux's music inhabits a fuzzy, dub-inflected techno world with arcane industrial influences, handmade found-sound samples, disembodied voices and flittering drum machines. An immersive listen.

Dasdreieck - Tearing Paper [Dasdreieck Bandcamp]
Dasdreieck - Timing [Dasdreieck Bandcamp]
Sydney's Josh O'Connell made generative music as Die Erzeugung and now produces electronica as Dasdreieck. His latest album, Yaspir draws on '90s IDM. Melodic drum'n'bass track "Tearing Paper" features an unidentified English voice speaking eloquently about depression; it's a well-chosen speech. And on "Timing" a bass-driven deep house accompanies arpeggiating patterns that wear their Plaid influence on their sleeve. It's skillfully produced stuff that should appeal to all all fans of this kind of electronica.

JK FLESH vs ECHOLOGIST - Fleshology 0202 B [JK Flesh Bandcamp]
Second volume of murky dub techno by Justin K Broadrick working under his JK Flesh alias with Brendon Moeller aka Echologist. Two tracks are harsher, faster acid techno as of much of the recent JK Flesh stuff, and the other two are much more spaced out dubby numbers like this one.

Eek - Echo Siren, La Return [Anterograde/Bandcamp]
Eek - We're Fucked [Anterograde/Bandcamp]
The Melbourne-based Hong Kong artist Eek provides much of the incredible artwork for Melbourne's Anterograde label. Their hallucinatory, lush computer artwork can be seen at their Instagram. For the album Worms Can Talk, the artist sourced huge amounts of audio from YouTube videos, most of which are credited in a massive list on the Bandcamp page. The result, incredibly enough produced & mixed in iMovie, sounds like the outer limits of contemporary industrial techno, albeit mostly without beats - collaged drones and fragmented samples, shuddering surges of bass and all. It's astonishing and at times overwhelming, an album for the times.

Klara Lewis & Peder Mannerfelt - My Clementine Is Making Paella Tonight [Trilogy Tapes]
Klara Lewis & Peder Mannerfelt - Styrofoam Tone [Trilogy Tapes]
Ahead of a number of stunning releases for Editions Mego, Swedish composer & producer Klara Lewis released an EP in 2014 on Peder Mannerfelt Produktion. Mannerfelt, a mainstay of the Swedish pop and club scenes (and one half of Roll The Dice), was using his personal label to promote the music of a number of female Swedish producers, and Lewis' musical vision is particularly creative (something she shares with her Dad, Graham Lewis of Wire, who we heard very recently on this show). Now for Trilogy Tapes Lewis & Mannerfelt have teamed up together for a release which is somewhat more abstract than Mannerfelt's usual fare, and perhaps inserts more humour and chaos into Lewis' usual work. Warped soundtrack samples, field recordings and drones fizzle and crackle through these 5 tracks - think Fenn O'Berg (RIP Pita!) and you'll be on the right track. Genius stuff.

Listen again — ~208MB

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