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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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Sunday, 17th of October, 2021

Playlist 17.10.21 (11:36 pm)

Quite a bit of sound-art intersecting with other genres tonight - from gothic pop to postrock to Australian Indigenous songlines to various types of electronica and dance music.

LISTEN AGAIN so you don't miss a thing! Podcast here, stream on demand @ FBi.

Starlight Assembly - Looking for Clues [Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
This Mortal Coil - Strength Of Strings feat. Dominic Appleton [4AD]
Open To The Sea (Enrico Coniglio & Matteo Uggeri) - Facing The Waves (vocals by Dominic Appleton)
Open To The Sea - A Wheathered Vibe [Facture]
Starlight Assembly - Look at What We've Wasted [Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
I've been waiting to feature this first act for a while - it's a stunner. And since it's out this coming Friday, I finally can. Starlight Assembly is the duo of Italian musician Matteo Uggeri with British singer Dominic Appleton. Appleton, who fronted the band Breathless for many years but is perhaps best known as the lead singer on a number of songs from the 4AD supergroup This Mortal Coil, has worked with Uggeri once before, on a track by his duo Open To The Sea with Venetian sound recordist & musician Enrico Coniglio. That duo's latest album has just come out this weekend, on Fluid Audio/Facture. Uggeri's work spans indie rock, postrock, folk and electronica, and Open to the Sea is a project that collages field recordings with heaps of instrumental and vocal contributions from the members and collaborators worldwide. Although there's a lot of quiet contemplation on the new album, Uggeri ensures there are also rhythmic passages, and on Starlight Assembly's album the beats are often a key part of the arrangements. Uggeri & Appleton alchemically combine on these tracks, creating music somewhere between Hood, David Sylvian, Dntel and of course Talk Talk. Cannot recommend highly enough.

Stephen Vitiello with Brendan Canty - Piano 1 [PLAYNEUTRAL/Bandcamp]
Quite a stunner here too, in which beloved, prolific sound-artist Stephen Vitiello connects with his punk roots by teaming up with one of the drumming greats of the last few decades, Brendan Canty of Fugazi. Of course, this ain't hardcore punk, but Canty's nimble, tight beats skitter perfectly under the glitchy guitar loops, synth and piano of Vitiello. Not to be missed.

l'ocelle mare - Téléphone, Guitare, Interrupteurs, Membrane... [Shelter Press/Murailles Music/Bandcamp]
l'ocelle mare - Temps en terre 2 [Murailles Music/Kythibong/Bandcamp]
l'ocelle mare - Piano, Banjo, Orgue, Métronome... [Shelter Press/Murailles Music/Bandcamp]
Thomas Bonvalet has some decades of experience playing guitar in indie rock bands, and as a multi-instrumentalist playing with many French artists, but his solo project l'ocelle mare is quite a different approach to making music - he claims, “I don’t write music, it’s an assemblage of gestural memories”. Certainly Bonvalet uses the "real" instruments - guitar, piano, banjo, organ, drum skins etc - in much the same way as the telephone, amps, metronomes and so on. It's all sound, and although it's frequently rhythmical, it's not often arranged into melodies or harmonic movements. Extended techniques on the guitar & banjo, and this "organised sound" approach, make for mostly acoustic or out-of-the-box music that sounds sequenced or cut up - or at least, I think so. In any case, it fits in that highly-sought-after category of music I don't entirely understand, and therefore listen to repeatedly. A welcome discovery!

Mabe Fratti & Concepción Huerta - Estática [SA Recordings/Unheard of Hope]
Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti has gotten a lot of worthy attention in the last couple of years as her music has made it outside of Mexico, where she's based now, courtesy of London's Tin Angel Records. Recently Umor Rex released her collaboration with Gudrun Gut; now we have a duo release with Mexican experimental musician Concepción Huerta, released by SA Recordings on 12" and licenced to Tin Angel's Unheard of Hope sublabel. The EP comes with a sample library from the artists as well, for those interested in the sounds of processed cello and electronics. As usual, as she builds up layers of cello lines and effects with Huerta, Fratti overlays a beautifully emotive vocal melody on top. Looking forward to the rest of this EP.

Au Revoir Hands - Between Tides [Au Revoir Hands Bandcamp]
The debut album from Melbourne electronic musician Anthony Lyons and now-Blue Mountains-based cellist Emily Williams as Au Revoir Hands is coming out in November on vinyl, and we now have a third single, the lovely "Between Tides", in which sequenced synth melodies pump along, contrasted with two flowing, sliding cello melodies, with a suspenseful rise and a gentle resolution.

Jim Nopédie - Wounded Missingno [Jim Nopédie Bandcamp]
Jim Nopédie - Drowned Town (Wet-Dry World) [Jim Nopédie Bandcamp]
Despite the punning name, James Gales' Jim Nopédie project doesn't really have any impressionist piano gestures - but the computer game referencing electronics here do have a strangely otherworldly feel to them. Indeed, they soundtrack the exploration of imaginary worlds, and interrogate the idea of old video games as repositories of nostalgia. It wouldn't be what it is without Gales' classical piano training, but it's extremely online music, I think, and indeed it's mastered by Fire-Toolz' Angel Marcloid and sports a Fire-Toolz remix as well.

Australian Art Orchestra | Daniel Wilfred | Sunny Kim - Star Song [Australian Art Orchestra Bandcamp]
Australian Art Orchestra | David Wilfred | Aviva Endean - Gadayka/Grenadilla [Australian Art Orchestra Bandcamp]
Peter Knight & Australian Art Orchestra - Diomira (excerpt) [Hospital Hill/Australian Art Orchestra Bandcamp]
New album Hand to Earth comes out of a residency by Australian Art Orchestra members in the remote highlands of Tasmania with Yolŋu songman Daniel Wilfred and his brother, yidaki player David Wilfred. Across these tracks, ancient songlines intersect with the trumpet & electronics of Peter Knight, Daniel Wilfred's voice floats in a sea of Korean artist Sunny Kim's voice & electronics, and David Wilfred's yidaki (a variant of the didgeridoo) merges wonderfully with the clarinets of Aviva Endean. Meanwhile, a few weeks ago the Australian Art Orchestra also released a 12" with Hospital Hill, featuring compositions by Peter Knight. "Diomira" is an extraordinary tribute to one of Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities, in which voice and chamber jazz orchestra interact with turntables, drumkit via reel-to-reel tape machine, and live laptop processing. Gradually attenuating from its minimalist but dense, rhythmic beginning, it slides slowly into sparseness (it's far longer than I could fit tonight). More compulsory listening, sorry folks, you've got homework!

Cassius Select - Mess Mutual [Bruk (I presume)]
I was sent this promo by ex-pat Sydneysider Cassius Select and it's meant to be out now, on Bruk, but I can't see any sign of that online, so enjoy this track anyway! His usual fat bassy uk garagey techno, with chopped vocal interjections. An excellent EP, Shake Like Me is out... imminently, I guess?

Church Andrews & Matt Davies - Carbon [Health Bandcamp]
A second EP from the duo of Church Andrews (aka Kirk Barley) on modular synths and Matt Davies on drums again finds Davies' percussion triggering and modulating the electronics, creating complex, off-kilter rhythms which lurch towards and around jazz, IDM and contemporary classical.

Grey Code - Opal [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
Speaking of classical, young drum'n'bass producer Grey Code likes to mix up all sorts of influences with his drum'n'bass productions, and while his new single "Opal" for Metalheadz is meant to be inspired by his love of guitar music, it's quite unusual in a number of ways. Until the beats drop, it's effectively in 12/8 time (triplets), and throughout there's more harmonic movement (beautifully done) than your usual club tracks. There's a fair bit of this kind of invention through Grey Code's catalogue so far, but this is super impressive and I'm hoping there's more of this to come!

Luo - Auris Animi [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
Some fun live beats and proggy synths from a Brighton/Bristol duo on Sydney's Art As Catharsis here. Luo is Brighton's Barney Sage on drums and various synths, and Bristol's Josh Trinnaman on bass, guitar, synths and electronic beats. They take turns writing, but contribute to each other's tracks. At times it's like live Squarepusher, but there are some hints and proggy heaviness at times as well. Strangely suited to Art As Catharsis, whether the metal & postrock stuff or the wider net they cast.

Aho Ssan - Simulacrum I - FRKTL Remix [Subtext/Bandcamp]
Aho Ssan - Outro (ft. The Mensah Imaginary Band) [Subtext/Bandcamp]
Aho Ssan - Simulacrum III - Exploited Body Remix [Subtext/Bandcamp]
Paris-based Désiré Niamké is Aho Ssan. His Simulacrum album was a highlight on Subtext last year, using granular synthesis in Max/MSP to imagine what the Ghanaian jazz of his grandfather Mensah Antony may have sounded like - although it's at best a filtered, smudged simulacrum of afrofuturist jazz. Now, with the release of that album on 12", comes an accompanying remix album, with many excellent artist contributing, including Berlin's Ziúr, Subtext's own Roly Porter and Nairobi's KMRU. Tonight we heard from FRKTL, aka Riga-based Egyptian musician Sarah Badr, who inserts Middle Eastern percussion in amongst Niamké's dream players, while Finland's Exploited Body builds on the bass surges and distortions of the original, with crystalline piano notes hanging over or under it all.

Mara - Artefacts [Music Company/Mara Bandcamp]
Mara - Construction [Music Company/Mara Bandcamp]
Sydney's Mara Schwerdtfeger brings her patient, minimalist sounds to Melbourne's Music Company for her latest album, The Formation of a Cloud. Named for a short film by Jenn Tran, the music combines synth lines and some acoustic instruments & field recordings. It's quiet and abstract, but deceptively detailed music for quiet contemplation.

Listen again — ~204MB

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