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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, 23rd of August, 2021

Playlist 22.08.21 (1:05 am)

Tonight we alternate between complex beats, sweeping soundscapes and dizzying tape manipulations.

LISTEN AGAIN for heck's sake! Stream on demand via FBi, podcast here.

Sandpit Alias - Gawl Mountain [Empirical Intrigue]
Sandpit Alias - New Venice [Empirical Intrigue]
Aidan Psaltis, originally from Sydney but now based in Melbourne, releases his first album of his own productions on Sydney's Empirical Intrigue, mystery-laden electronic music as of the label's general aesthetic. Psaltis DJs as Sandpit Alias, and that anagrammatic artist name is what he's used for his anagrammatic album Spinal Data, with warm synthesiser productions and beats reminiscent of the best '90s bedroom productions. Well worth your time.

Lara Sarkissian - BTWN Earth n Sky (aya Grounded dub) [All Centre]
Jennifer Walton ft. BFTT - Flash On (Breaks Mix) [All Centre]
London label All Centre celebrate their 3rd anniversary with a compilation of collaborations showcasing their gregarious left-of-centre club tendencies. San Francisco-based Armenian producer Lara Sarkissian appears here remixed by Manchester's aya (herself recently signed to Hyperdub!) with dubby 4/4 with intricate beats spinning off it, while Jennifer Walton reprises her single with Manchester's BFTT, accelerating into jungle bliss.

Max Cooper - Penrose Tiling (Max Cooper Remix) [Mesh]
Max Cooper - Penrose Tiling 3D [Mesh]
Max Cooper - Movement Maps ft. Samad Khan [Mesh]
Max Cooper ft. Alison Moyet - Scalar (HAAi Remix) [Mesh]
Keeping it skittery, we join London's Max Cooper in the IDM/drill'n'bassy side of his productions, with a self-remix from his new Yearning for the Infinite Remixed collection. Cooper is known for visually lush multimedia works exploring the connections between science & art, with Penrose Tiling referring to the never-repeating but surface-covering mathematical marvel discovered by Roger Penrose - so the intricate beats are a nice reference. It was a favourite of mine from the original Yearning for the Infinite, and I also loved the immersive binaural rework from the 3D Reworks EP Cooper released last year. When listening through these new remixes I realised I never played anything from Cooper's Maps EP from earlier this year either - a collection of tracks adapted from a soundtrack to a movie of a dance work, featuring vocals from Indian classical singer Samad Khan. It's beautiful work (as is the original video!)
The new remixes mostly veer more to the club side, and notably feature a reworking of another album favourite by London-based Australian DJ HAAi, aka Teneil Throssell, originally from Karaatha in WA.

Maarja Nuut - on vaja_in need (feat. Nicolas Stocker) [Maarja Nuut Bandcamp]
Maarja Nuut - subota [Maarja Nuut Bandcamp]
Maarja Nuut - jojobell (feat. Nicolas Stocker) [Maarja Nuut Bandcamp]
My first encounter with Estonian musician Maarja Nuut was a performance for Sydney Festival of Estonian folk music and storytelling performed with violin and voice. Not long afterwards, she released an incredible album with fellow Estonian Ruum on Fat Cat's 130701 offshoot that embedded traditional Estonian music in contemporary beats & electronics. A second Maarja Nuut & Ruum album followed, along with an experimental album of duets with Sun Araw, and now we get to hear Maarja on her own, but very far from the acoustic folk storyteller... Hinged is a play on words, meaning in Estonian "departed spirits and soul", and this album sees Nuut moving to her grandmother's old farm and finding herself among generations of life possessions and creations, while musically she almost discards the violin entirely, and even leaves the vocals behind on many tracks, creating instead layered pieces from her Eurorack modular setup - joined on a few tracks by the renowned Swiss jazz drummer Nicolas Stocker. Stocker inserts himself effortlessly into the tracks her appears on, but is supporting a rhythmic bass that's already present in Nuut's idiosyncratic constructions, as we can hear on the purely solo tracks. There are hints of techniques from electronic dance music, but Nuut's grounding in her native Estonian tradition gifts the music with a syncopating lope, quite unconcerned with the concept of bar lines. There are still gorgeous passages of Eastern European vocal harmonies and melodies on an album that's challenging but immensely rewarding.

Timothy Fairless - Half Life [Timothy Fairless Bandcamp]
Timothy Fairless - Common Electric Glare [Timothy Fairless Bandcamp]
Meanjin/Brisbane based composer Timothy Fairless has composed soundtracks and installations, and released a number of EPs before this new album, Common Electric Glare, which is released this coming Friday. A document of our times, it began as a response to the thinning of our world through our dependence on technology, and became a personal reflection of the composer's own experiences - as with all great music. It's instrumental music that draws much from drone and dark ambient, but it's also very expressive, and anything but static. There are beautiful passages where electronics give way to prepared piano, plucked and bowed violin and other physical sound sources, there are shimmering pulsating passages just this side of techno, and seemingly there are anguished vocals just on the edge of perception. I'm reminded of Ben Frost's early albums for Bedroom Community, and that's high praise.

Jeremy Young - Frequenza Bianca (T. Gowdy remix) [Jeremy Young Bandcamp]
Jeremy Young - Suprabhatan Heterodyne [Silken Tofu/MEG/Jeremy Young Bandcamp]
Jeremy Young - Iroquois Lullaby [Silken Tofu/MEG/Jeremy Young Bandcamp]
Jeremy Young - Trafic (with Tomonari Nishikawa) [Thirsty Leaves Music/Jeremy Young Bandcamp]
Jeremy Young - Trafic (Machinefabriek remix) [Jeremy Young Bandcamp]
I've come across Montréal sound-artist Jeremy Young on a number of collaborations, but had failed to investigate his solo work until recently, to my shame! He has just released a remix EP, Amaro Extensions, in which tracks from this year's earlier album Amaro are reworked by some wonderful musicians from Montréal and beyond, including Constellation artist T. Gowdy and a familiar face 'round here, Machinefabriek. The earlier album is also a set of collaborations, in which Young uses a custom-made set of three hand-tuned oscillators plus found objects and surfaces as rhythmic foundations, tapes and signal processing, while his guests sometimes contribute voices or traditional instruments, and sometimes what you might call "featured found sounds". Meanwhile, back in 2017 Young created a spell-binding album entitled The Poetics of Time-Space out of the audio archive of Musée d'ethnographie in Geneva. The hiss and crackle of the old media from these recordings is treated equally with the sounds therein, but it's far from academic - there's humour here, and sensitive settings of ethnographic recordings (for all the dodgy colonial baggage that comes with such things). Also recommended is the 14-minute "Elegy in C Minor for the Victims of Police Brutality", produced in the wake of George Floyd's murder, with all proceeds to the Bail Project.

Panoptique Electrical - A Lost Love (Othello, 2014) [Panoptique Electrical Bandcamp]
Panoptique Electrical - Darkness Falls (topia, 2018) [Panoptique Electrical Bandcamp]
Adelaide's Jason Sweeney has over 2 decades of experience making a wide variety of music, including some of the best Australian IDM of the late '90s with Pretty Boy Crossover, indie as Simpático, varieties of indietronica and post-classical and drone. For many years much of his solo work has appeared as Panoptique Electrical, and it's under that name that he's now releasing a major 2LP set of archival work for theatre, documentaries, installations and the like called Decades (2001-2021). Over 31 tracks there are field recordings hazing into drone and noise, piano and slow strings, and sparsely strung-out billowing tones... It's not so much a summation of a career so far as an addition, but it's certainly a rich new addition.

Loose-y Crunché - It s Got a Groove (Industrial Murk) [Oxtail Recordings]
Talbert Anthony - Kotokymomaster 20210428 [Oxtail Recordings]
Here's something I should have played a week or two ago, but neglected because I have a raven track on it - oops! Mike Nigro has run cassette label Oxtail Recordings since before he arrived in Australia a couple of years ago, but now that he's been here for a while he decided to compile a compilation of local experimental & ambient artists. This cassette/digital release Undercurrents is an impressive document of part of the local scene, with electronic drones, layered vocals, murky industrial techno (see Lucy Cliché as Loose-y Crunché), live processing (e.g. my own cello piece), and more - I particularly loved the processed guitar of Talbert Anthony, who was probably responsible for introducing me & Mike in the first place. With all proceeds going to Change The Record, it's a no-brainer.

Listen again — ~204MB

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