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Utility Fog

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Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.

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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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