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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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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Monday, 27th of September, 2021

Playlist 26.09.21 (12:44 am)

A mostly very electronic show tonight, even when encountering indie rock bands and classical Chinese instrumentalists...

LISTEN AGAIN in the dancefloors of your mind... Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Buffalo_Daughter - Global Warming Kills Us All [Buffalo Daughter Bandcamp]
Buffalo_Daughter - Jazz feat. Ricardo Dias Gomes [Buffalo Daughter Bandcamp]
SuGar Yoshinaga, Yumiko Ohno and MoOoG Yamamoto, sometimes with another member, sometimes a live drummer, have been Buffalo Daughter since the early '90s. They had an association with the Beastie Boys for a while, and were released on their Grand Royal label alongside other indie acts like Luscious Jackson, and had some major label releases too, but I haven't heard from them for ages. So it was rather nice when Boris mentioned this new album on their own Bandcamp feed. It has many of the hallmarks of the '90s crossover of Japanese and Chicago postrock & indie, including the lovely Brazilian pop feels of "Jazz", featuring vocals from Caetano Veloso collaborator Ricardo Dias Gomes - and perhaps even more than in the '90s, all this is minced up with electronic production techniques. I don't know what it sounds like without 20 years of context, but this crossover stuff (so beloved of UFog) seems pretty current to me - suitably for an album called We Are The Times.

Mindy Meng Wang - Stirring Flower 搅花 with Daniel Jenatsch [Heavy Machinery Records/Music In Exile/Bandcamp]
Mindy Meng Wang - Activation 异变 with Ma Haiping [Heavy Machinery Records/Music In Exile/Bandcamp]
Following the gorgeous single with Paul Grabowsky a few weeks ago, the full new album from Chinese-Australia guzheng specialist Mindy Meng Wang. Phoenix Rising is co-released by Heavy Machinery Records & Music In Exile and finds Mindy explicitly expanding the millennia-old Chinese zither into many different areas, working with musicians from jazz, contemporary classical, experimental & electronic circles. Apart from Grabowsky and the artists featured tonight, there's classical percussionist Claire Edwardes of Ensemble Offspring, MONA music directory and Violent Femme Brian Ritchie on shakuhachi and Fia Fiell on lush synthesizers. But tonight being mostly about the beats, I've played the skittery drums & processing of Brisbane experimental instrumentalist & sound-artist Daniel Jenatsch, and then the glitchy programming of Chinese techno producer Ma Haiping. It's a pretty stunning album, at the centre of which is Mindy Meng Wang's mastery of the guzheng.

Hiro Kone - Silvercoat the throng (ft. Muqata'a) [Dais Records/Bandcamp]
Hiro Kone - Mundus Patet [Dais Records/Bandcamp]
Silvercoat the throng, the latest album from New York producer Nicky Mao aka Hiro Kone, sees her stretch her wings out from the techno focus of her last few brilliant releases into industrial ambient and sound-painting of various sorts, with various guests including an extraordinary spoken piece from travis of ONO, and the hypnotic beat batterns of DeForrest Brown, Jr aka Speaker Music. Tonight we heard the title track, with glitchy samples and cut-up beats contributed by Palestinian producer Muqata'a (who's been heard a lot on this show) and then "Mundus Patet", which strikes me as the most similar to Mao's earlier releaes.

Jake Blood - Apartment [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
Melbourne Jake Blood has a long relationship with the club, but unfortunately some years ago he was involved in a bicycle accident that turned his life around. He's now found his way back to making beats, getting that organic feel by playing them on an MPC2000XL sampler along with bass guitar and various other tools of the trade. It's a warm, chunky sound with lots going on, but always a dubby bottom end and nice chopped up beats.

Temp-Illusion - Caustic Surface (Rojin Sharafi Rework) [Zabte Sote]
Temp-Illusion - Two Lands (Idlefon Rework) [Zabte Sote]
Tehran musicians Shahin Entezami and Behrang Najafi have been making music as Temp-Illusion for about a decade. After a long time as a live group, they released a brilliant live set on Ata Ebtekar's Zabte Sote in 2019, and followed it up with PEND last year. Both albums feature variations on crunchy, glitchy IDM beats with big bass and synthesized melodies & pads. Now PEND Reworks hands their music to musicians from all round the world to remix into fresh shapes - including Nairobi electronic/ambient musician KMRU, Colombian beatmaker Filmmaker and many others. Of course most are Iranian or from the Persian diaspora; a highlight is the Vienna-based Rojin Sharafi, who combines acoustic sounds with electronic beats on her remix, and fellow Tehranian Idlefon who switches from bassy drones to industrial beats and a sampled preacher.

65daysofstatic - So Long, Linearity! [65daysofstatic Bandcamp]
I don't have to tell you how connected 65daysofstatic are to Utility Fog, do I? Their first EP came out the year I started this show, and its postrock-meets-drill'n'bass aesthetic kept it and them in playlists ever since. I've been thanked on album packages and partially credited with them touring here eventually, and have kept the faith all this time. In 2019-2020 they spent a whole year releasing monthly EPs in A Year of Wreckage, developing modular, generative systems (an extension of their work on the soundtrack to the generative game No Man's Sky) which are now being further morphed for their Wreckage Systems project on Patreon. Not monthly, but periodically EPs appear out of Wreckage Systems, and the latest is Mimik, with a little bit of everything 65, particularly that postrock with drum'n'bass beats thing they do so well.

Christoph de Babalon - Swimmer [AD93/Bandcamp]
The no-longer-Whities label AD93 continues to be completely unpredictable, swinging from up-to-the-minute experimental beats to ambient weirdness and postpunk snarl, and here we have the great Digital Hardcore survivor Christoph de Babalon, still making fierce, dark jungle & breakcore with xeroxed orchestral samples and growling bass. It's never going to be unexpected but it's alway going pack that punch and there's always room for more of it on my shelves!

Delay Grounds - I'd Like to See You Try [Lapsus Records/Bandcamp]
Delay Grounds - Ball_Run [Tropopause Records/Bandcamp]
Bristol artist Patrick Tipler is Delay Grounds, and his new EP Genus from Spain's Lapsus Records is his second for this year, so we took a track from each. Genus combines great sound design with IDM influences and what sound to me like particularly Bristolian beats (I'm thinking especially of Livity Sound, who we're hearing from soon). Earlier this year London's Tropopause Records recognized Tipler's talents and released the amazing Upcycling EP, in which the beats & sounds are (all?) made from discarded objects found in rubbish skips, some of which were also remade into sculptures for the artwork. Again, it's brilliant bass music perfect for the dancefloor, with wicked sound design. An artist to watch!

soltura - Compression [All Centre]
London's All Centre continues to showcase great beats with an EP from soltura. The London-based Irish writer and producer has some scattered releases up her sleeve, but her first for All Centre shows a talent for melodies and bass-led beats. The title track is a great piece of instrumental drill, with drop bass, acid bassline and 808 kicks keeping things interesting in the bottom end.

Simo Cell - FARTS [TEMET Music/Bandcamp]
Simo Cell - YES.DJ [TEMET Music/Bandcamp]
French producer Simo Cell has a longtime love of UK club music and in particular the Bristol sound, and is closely associated with the label featured next. Last year he setup TEMET Music to feature some French talent, and through that label he's just released a mini-album and fanzine called YES.DJ. Following a brilliant EP last year with Egyptian musician & vocalist (and more) Abdullah Miniawy, this is Simo's first solo EP in a few years, full to the brim with beats of different natures, all driven by hefty sub bass, mid-range percussion and chopped vocal snippets. Tempos vary wildly, as do track lengths, and it's irreverant and highly enjoyable, really a must-listen!

Toma Kami - Sixty Frames [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
DJ Plead - Glebe! [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Bruce - Just Getting On With It [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Ten years ago Bristol DJ Peverelist, having found success in the dubstep/grime/uk funky world, founded Livity Sound to showcase some of the best young Bristol producers around. Over time it's attracted like-minded artists from around the world (case in point: last year's amazing EP from Tunisian DJ Azu Tiwaline) and though releases can range from house & techno to dubstep & other syncopated forms, there's definitely something recognizable about the "Livity" sound. So ten years on they've released a double CD (and a two-part vinyl) compilation called Molten Mirrors with most of their artists, and it's rad of course. The aforementioned Simo Cell appears, as does compatriot and Man Band label boss Toma Kami, whose piece juggles Arabic percussion with hyperspeed jungle breaks. Meanwhile Sydney's own Jared Beeler aka DJ Plead (albeit now based in Melbourne) continues melding Lebanese percussion with UK bass styles on "Glebe!" (maybe... he misses Sydney?) And the singularly-named Bruce references his classic Livity Sound track "Just Getting Started" on "Just Getting On With It", again centred on various circular percussion samples and a pumping synth line, with clanging metal and strange steam-driven squalls of sound through the middle. Brilliant work across two albums.

Lee Gamble - Newtown Got Folded [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Lee Gamble - Hyperpassive [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
It's been a surprisingly long wait for Lee Gamble to finish the EP series that has now made up his album Flush Real Pharynx 2019-2021. The first two EPs came out at the start & end of 2019, but then I guess Covid got in the way, and so we've had to wait until now for A Million Pieces of You to complete the work. Gamble, boss of the futuristic electronic label UIQ, is a veteran of the rave scene and has dismantled and deconstructed jungle and rave music since his earliest releases. Over a few albums on Hyperdub he's explored skeletal next-door techno, buried jungle basslines and rave stabs, while eventually beats of all sorts coalesced, particularly on 2017's Mnestic Pressure. The three EPs that make up Flush Real Pharynx 2019-2021 take us through the nightmarish world of late capitalism, with high-sheen motorcar ads and deepfakes, and the music echoes this, highly referential, shiny but slightly out of focus. It's cool stuff. I'm not sure how "Newtown Got Folded" got its name, but it's nice hearing my own suburb namechecked (I fully realise there are other Newtowns) in a sci-fi way (two inner west Sydney suburbs in one night!)

Listen again — ~208MB

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Sunday, 19th of September, 2021

Playlist 19.09.21 (10:52 pm)

Back after one week's break with a selection of everything - hip-hop, electronic folk, slowcore, indie, glitch, drum'n'bass, drone, and even post-classical of a sort.

LISTEN AGAIN and better yourself. The FBi website has the stream on demand, podcast is here.

Moor Mother - Mangrove (feat. elucid & Antonia Gabriela) [ANTI-/Bandcamp]
Moor Mother - Obsidian (feat. Pink Siifu) [ANTI-/Bandcamp]
Camae Ayewa has been busy these last couple of years with multitudinous projects, from free jazz ensemble Irreversible Entanglements (who have another album coming soon) to the punkish Moor Jewelry to her side with JK Broadrick & Kevin Martin's Zonal, and the phenomenal BRASS with billy woods a year ago. But 2019 was the last solo album proper from Moor Mother. Powered by beats from Olof Melander, the Swiss producer with whom Ayewa released the album Anthologia 01 last year, Black Encyclopedia of the Air is consequently somewhat lighter than much of that other work (with only a couple of days to start ingesting it) - but no less powerful. Guests include elucid (billy woods' bandmate in Armand Hammer), Pink Siifu, and many others.

Stick In The Wheel - The Cuckoo [Stick In The Wheel Bandcamp]
Stick In The Wheel - Wierds Broke It [Stick In The Wheel Bandcamp]
London's Stick In The Wheel are a collective with a close interest in English folk, and have released albums of revived, traditional song from across centuries. But as I've said as I've played them over the last few years, they also have a close connection to English club music, through Ian Carter aka EAN, who was a key member of dubstep pioneers Various Production. Stick In The Wheel is now primarily Carter and Nicola Kearey, who I believe was involved in Various at times too. In between their main albums, the band have traditionally (ha!) put out "mixtape" albums, the latest of which is Tonebeds for Poetry. These still sound like English folk songs (except for some interstitial instrumentals), but with sequenced synths (at one point closely echoing the Stranger Things theme) and oft-vocoded vocals - except on the last track, which suddenly squalls into distorted rock guitars. Preserved in this sound is the deep strangeness of English folk - weird/wierd indeed!

Low - White Horses [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Low - I Can Wait [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Low - down (porter ricks remix) [Vernon Yard/Caroline Records]
Low - Belarus [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Low - No Comprende [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Low - Always Trying To Work It Out [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
Low - The Price You Pay (It Must be Wearing Off) [Sub Pop/Bandcamp]
It was almost worrying imagining how Low could follow up their almost-perfect 2018 album Double Negative, which took the already intense excursions into digital production techniques from 2015's Ones and Sixes and turned up the distortion, sidechaining and general glitchiness to 11 for a mournful ode to America under Trump. But HEY WHAT, like the last two produced by BJ Burton, manages to draw yet more inspiration and emotion from these techniques - see for example the segue from opener "White Horses" into "I Can Wait", in which the repeating delay ending the first track gradually changes tempo and diffuses into the backing for the second, with the crunching, shattering sounds of both accompanying angelic harmonised melodies. The digital production aside, wrong-footing juxtapositions like these have long been the modus operandi of husband & wife Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker, often joined by a bass player but now just the two with Burton on the sound deck. In the days of grunge, their untreated guitars and incredibly strung-out tempos led to the coining of "slowcore" as their genre. This patient songwriting could be combined with slow-growing drone distortions (e.g. "Pissing") or country/folk/rock as with their Dirty Three collaboration - but was also mutated into new shapes on 1998's owL Remix album, notably on the 13-minute remix by minimal dub techno greats Porter Ricks. And in 2007, drum machines and unusual production techniques made Drums and Guns a strange highlight and pre-echo of their current era. There's nothing quite like them, and much though I adore the sonic experimentation, in the end it comes back to the songs, and the gorgeous vocal harmonies.

Fabels - DotDotDot [Qusp/Fabels Bandcamp/Vinyl available here]
Fabels - Minds [Qusp/Fabels Bandcamp/Vinyl available here]
Delayed repeatedly by Covid-19, the new album Minds from Sydney duo Fabels is finally out, despite their inability to launch it live. The album continues their blend of European experimental songwriting and psych/shoegaze noise, drawing on the influences of Hiske Weijers and Ben Aylward. If I'd had time I would've played the 9 minutes of "ShereKhan", with a hypnotic groove and squalls of noise, but the title track also does the job, especially paired with "DotDotDot", which reshapes elements of that track into a billowing soundscape.

Cienfuegos, Isabella, Joachim Nordwall, Tot Onyx - Cults Explain Falling Jelly Jar [NO Recording]
NO Recording is an experimental compilation series put together by Group A, aka Berlin-based Japanese artists Tommi Tokyo and Sayaka Botanic. Their latest release is an "Exquisite Corpse" in musical form - the surrealist art game in which a work is created in series by multiple artists without knowledge of the previous artist' contributions. So all the source material comes from the individual artists prior to this project - but it's anything but chaos. I particularly love the glitched vocals and beats on tonight's track, featuring New York's Cienfuegos, Rhode Island-based Isabella, Swedish noise legend Joachim Nordwall and Tot Onyx aka Group A's Tommi Tokyo.

Domingæ - Dæmon [Sacred Bones/Bandcamp]
Chilean musician Domingæ, now based in Mexico, is best known for her psychedelic project Föllakzoid. Her new solo project, released like the band by Sacred Bones, takes the hypnotic grooves of Föllakzoid into a dark, electronic context, with thumping beats and glitchy vocal textures.

VILIFY - What's Next [Ohm Resistance/Bandcamp]
VILIFY - Illusion of Self [Ohm Resistance/Bandcamp]
Jenny Carmichael aka VILIFY is a Canadian DJ, now based in Berlin, with deep roots in the drum'n'bass scene. Her previous releases have been wide-ranging, but her excellent debut on Ohm Resistance, Illusion of Self, keeps the focus a little more on jungle/drum'n'bass, downtempo and IDM. Dark and bass-oriented, with light-footed, skittery programming just how we like it.

Teresa Winter - Echo Disappears [The Death of Rave/Boomkat]
Teresa Winter - Emptiness Is Also An Excess [The Death of Rave/Boomkat]
Drum'n'bass is also an element in the Motto of the Wheel, the latest strangely unplaceable missive from Yorkshire musician Teresa Winter. Influenced as much by various forms of philosophy and spirtuality as by glitch, IDM and rave forms, the album refuses to give in to easy descriptions - take the first track here, which starts with clattering amen breaks but dissipates into textural ambient and then ends with an interview with somebody about the practice of "tombstoning" - jumping into water without checking what's below, a concept that runs through this odd and fascinating release. Scattered through are a number of beautiful pieces made of layers of Winter's own vocals, contributing to the questioning tone of the release. Given the philosophical undercurrents, I assume that "Echo Disappears" is as much a reference to the cursed nymph who wastes away after the death of her unrequited love, the self-obsessed Narcissus, as it is of the sonic effect named after her.

Megan Alice Clune - The Swirl of the Void [Room40/Bandcamp]
Megan Alice Clune - The Chance of a Thunderstorm [Room40/Bandcamp]
Megan Alice Clune - Gentle Smile [Room40/Bandcamp]
The new album from Sydney's Megan Alice Clune, leader of the non-Alaskan non-orchestra Alaska Orchestra is a masterpiece of understatement. Borne from a dream about writing an opera, it's built instead from the minutiae of stay-at-home existence imposed by lockdowns, captive to quixotic technologies and alienated from social or musical interaction. A vocal drone runs through it, overlaid with different approaches to layering and mutating sound - here, swooping synthesizers recall Alice Coltrane's spiritualist solo works; there, different vocal layers cut in & out with subtle swells of clarinet; and over here, the vocals end up cut into small pieces, pulsing in & out like a faltering radio. One for repeated listens in quiet spaces.

Nasturtium - I Remember Everything, Almost Constantly [Room40/Bandcamp]
Something about the name of this project and the album cover made me keep thinking it would be black metal or blackened doom, but Nasturtium is something else entirely. The collaboration between Geneva Skeen and Erin Dawson pairs GS's dark droney sound-art with Dawson's lo-fi indie soundscaping to birth something not quite like either. There's much loving attention to sonic detail, with many sounds produced by guitars both distorted and clean. Some tracks drone through a haze of effects, while elsewhere they're glitched into pieces. There are frequent passages of gorgeousness, especially on the 9-minute closer "Earth Priority", in which multiple fizzling strummed guitars go through various harmonic progressions, temporarily joined by makeshift percussion and slowly stretched out to a gentle end. Don't miss it!

Midori Hirano - Binary Star [dauw]
Midori Hirano - Strain [Sonic Pieces/Bandcamp]
Midori Hirano - Phantom Train [dauw]
The last album from Midori Hirano, last year's Invisible Island on Sonic Pieces, was a career highlight, and I'm pleased to say that Soniscope, just released on Dutch sound-art label dauw, follows in its footsteps with piano and electronics that refuse to keep to the sweet & pleasant post-classical formula. Hirano knows how to write pleasing, melodic piano, but happily buries it in wobbling effects. Soniscope developed from making the soundtrack for Mizuko, a short animated film about a Buddhist ritual for aborted children, and her contemplation of the Jizo statues made for unborn children was a catalyst for this music, which seems to draw more from Japanese musical styles than her other recent works.

Listen again — ~208MB

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Sunday, 5th of September, 2021

Playlist 05.09.21 (11:07 pm)

Tonight we're skirting the interfaces between contemporary classical, jazz, hip-hop, dub, drone, drum'n'bass and I've probably missed a few...

LISTEN AGAIN and be transported... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Luton - Letter Of Resignation [Drrreamocrazy Rec/Bandcamp]
Luton - Elk Talk [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Luton - No One Gets Hurt [Drrreamocrazy Rec/Bandcamp]
Luton - Leaving Society [Drrreamocrazy Rec/Bandcamp]
The work of pan-European musicians Attilio Novellino & Roberto P. Siguera, Luton captivated me on their debut album Black Box Animals, released by Lost Tribe Sound in 2018 - a concoction of strings, woodwind and brass with electronics following late Talk Talk's template of quiet focus and moments of abrasion. Their new album Eden, out in a couple of weeks, follows a similar line over 2CDs' worth of material, recorded in a week of self-imposed isolation and focus. It grapples with big existential questions and has the cinematic scope to prove it, with close-mic'd piano, strings and found sounds in amongst pulsating synths and surging industrial electronics.

Daniel Carter, Tobias Wilner, Djibril Toure, Federico Ughi - Sunrise at Brower Park [577 Records/Bandcamp]
Daniel Carter, Tobias Wilner, Djibril Toure, Federico Ughi - Canal Street [577 Records/Bandcamp]
Daniel Carter, Tobias Wilner, Djibril Toure, Federico Ughi - The Grind [577 Records/Bandcamp]
New York is the proverbial melting pot, and musically it's known for any number of genres - from classical at Carnegie Hall to the early popular music of Tin Pan Alley, and of course jazz at the Blue Note and in New York's Downtown, as well as hip-hop and that specifically American mélange of dub, hip-hop & drum'n'bass called illbient. There's a bit of illbient in the sound of "New York United", the quartet initiated in 2019 via 577 Records, involving seasoned jazz musicians Daniel Carter on winds and brass and Federico Ughi on drums, with electronic musician & soundtrack composer Tobias Wilner and Wu Tang Clan-associated bassist Djibril Toure. Ughi flutters and around the cymbals free-jazz style but also comfortably holds down dub-infused grooves with Toure, while Carter swaps between flute, saxophones and trumpet and Wilner drops in electronic textures, samples and at times seemingly turntable manipulation. Despite Wilner being Dutch and Ughi being Italian, you can see why they name themselves after this melting pot city, and it is a distinctly New York sound. Even those of us less embedded in jazz sensibilities will find a lot to be inspired by here.

Directions - Echoes (Deadly Dragons Remix by Bundy K Brown, Casey Rice, Daniel Marcellus Givens and John Herndon) [Temporary Residence/Bandcamp]
Temporary Residence have just released the "Anniversary Edition" of a legendary 12" from Directions, the project of legendary Chicago postrock musician Bundy K Brown along with Doug Scharin (of June of 44, Mice Parade et al) and James Warden. It's jazzy postrock with hip-hop collage influences, and you can see why it was a prompt for Kieran Hebden to start Four Tet. For me the real pull for this reissue is the remix by a bunch of early Tortoise alumni include Ken Brown himself, the now Melbourne-based mixing/mastering engineer Casey Rice, Daniel Givens and the one & only John Herndon. Lovely swirly faux-spiritual(?) jazz(?).

F.S. Blumm & Nils Frahm - Puddle Drop [Leiter]
Frank Schültge, better known as F.S. Blumm, has made 4 albums now with his mate Nils Frahm, and each has a rather different sensibility - some with more of F.S. Blumm's anarchic wit, some leaning more towards Frahm's delicate piano work, albeit somewhat more on the avant-garde side. But none of that quite prepares you for their new album 2X1=4. Those of us familiar with Nils Frahm's live shows will know of his abiding love of dub, and here it blossoms into a whole album of simple basslines, drum machine beats and heaps of off-beat delays. The musicians' talent for melody means that as the beats and basslines progress, gentle chords swell out at times. But it's played surprisingly straight - a selection of 7 dub grooves to nod your head to. Perfect driving music really.

Jeremy Segal - Assemble [Jeremy Segal Bandcamp]
Jeremy Segal - Emerge [Jeremy Segal Bandcamp]
Perth sound-artist Jeremy Segal follows up last year's excellent environmenta sound-art work Four Footprints with a selection of tranformative process pieces melding ambient and techno. There's a lot of detail to these works, with carefully assembled micro-sounds evoking little ecosystems, or a patient crescendo of distortion overwhelming a beautiful choral loop.

Au Revoir Hands - Submerge [Au Revoir Hands Bandcamp]
Recorded between Melbourne and the Blue Mountains just outside of Sydney, the debut album from Au Revoir Hands showcases collaborations between Emily Williams on cello and Anthony Lyons on the Buchla easel modular synth and other electronics. Hemispheres will be released in November, and the lovely first single "Submerge" gives us a hint of what to expect, with multiple layers of cello and flittering electronics.

Marcus Whale - Portal [DERO Arcade/Bandcamp]
There aren't many people who've been consistently appearing on Utility Fog playlists for as long as Marcus Whale, especially as a ratio of his life. I think he was 16 when I first played some weird noise shit he'd sent in. Apart from his work with BV (RIP) and Collarbones, Marcus is a talented composer, and his broad knowledge all pours into his solo work. After a couple of albums heavy on history, politics and queer theory, The Hunger re-positions these interests within the mythology of the vampire. Queer love & desire is of course at the centre of these songs, songs which seem to mix '80s pop with more recent electronic influences - and everything else Whale, of course.

Ocoeur - The Deep End [N5MD/Bandcamp]
Ocoeur - Breaking the Circle [N5MD/Bandcamp]
French producer Franck Zaragoza has been making a mix of IDM & ambient electronica as Ocoeur for over a decade now. Going through lockdowns like we all were, Zaragoza wanted to use music to remember and celebrate personal connections - hence the album title Connections. Rather than wallowing, though, these tunes are surprisingly upbeat, both in emotion and beats. If you want a bit of uncomplicated pleasure, stick it on.

Ikävä Pii - death by haha reaction [early reflex]
The debut EP from London-based Italian producer Ikävä Pii is three tracks of stomping, syncopated, chopped beats and little melodies. To be honest, I wanted to play all three tracks - and not just because the others are called "the end of the end of History" and "reddit Against Wall Street". If anything they get more manic and closer to jungle as they go along, but really you can't go past "death by haha reaction". Great stuff.

Fanu - Mental Aerobics [Straight Up Breakbeat/Bandcamp]
While our previous artist's name sounds Finnish for some reason, Fanu is the real deal, Finland's premier jungle, drum'n'bass and breaks maestro. There's quite an active drum'n'bass scene in Finland, often heard on Fanu's excellent Breaks 'N' Beats podcast (along with drum'n'bass from around the world). He has a huge back catalogue of joyfully programmed beats in all jungle & drum'n'bass subgenres, and it's always a pleasure to hear something new from him.

ASC - Voiceprint [Samurai Music]
Roho - Ikuti [Samurai Music]
A particular stream of dark drum'n'bass comes out of Berlin's Samurai Music. Frequently we're talking minimalist, martial, hammering beats, but there's also the complexity of reworked, streamlined junglist tendencies. ASC's return to jungle last year was facilitated by Samurai Music, and here we have a typical piece of fierce intensity from the man; elsewhere there are many tracks of the sort exemplified by Russia's Roho - repetitive and suspenseful, with jagged breaks erupting at times.

Mindy Meng Wang - Night Storm 雷雨夜眠迟 with Paul Grabowsky [Heavy Machinery Records/Music In Exile/Bandcamp]
Based in Australia now for some years, Mindy Meng Wang was born & trained in China as a master of the guzheng, and also studied Western musicology in the UK. The Chinese zither or harp has been a traditional instrument for millennia, and Wang has been pushing it in new directions in Australia, working with Western classical musicians, jazz musicians, and electronic musicians like Tim Shiel, with whom she released an excellent EP last year. "Night Storm" is the first single from her new album Phoenix Rising, to be released at the end of this month, and it's remarkable how beautifully the guzheng fits together with Paul Grabowsky's sensitive piano. The other collaborations on the album have a lot to live up to, and I can't wait to hear them.

part timer - elsewhere [part timer Bandcamp]
As you may have noted, when John McCaffrey is going, he just won't stop. So every few months (if not more frequently) there's something new again from part timer - not quite up with the weekly CD-Rs I used to get from him in Ye Olden Dayes but still. falter is another 4 tracks of post-classical loveliness, released in a week and a bit, and the piano and sampled strings are joined by some shuffling drums on this piece.

Listen again — ~208MB

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