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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, 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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