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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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Sunday, 24th of October, 2021

Playlist 24.10.21 (10:44 pm)

I thought this was going to be an electronic beats show but it turns out that's only part of the picture. We have modern composition, indie-crossover, sound-art and... stylefree.

You'd LISTEN AGAIN, if you know what's good for you. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Dos Santos - Palo Santo [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
Dos Santos - acábame [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
Dos Santos - City of Mirrors [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
Chicago label International Anthem is thought of as a jazz label, but it seems like you can't be from Chicago without connecting to the Tortoise strain of postrock, and Makaya McCraven connects the free jazz with hip-hop. Meanwhile Chicago's musical traditions can't help peeking though the gorgeous latin songwriting from Dos Santos; along with cumbia, along with latin melodies and lush horns, there are surf guitar riffs, postpunk guitar jabs, psych rock turns, and Tortoise's jazz-flecked postrock for sure. It's intoxicating and irresistable.

Matador - Paradise (Demo Version) [Moabit/Monika Enterprise/Bandcamp]
Matador - Mother (Sonae Mix) [Moabit/Monika Enterprise/Bandcamp]
Matador - Mother (Demo Version) [Moabit/Monika Enterprise/Bandcamp]
Malaria! - I Will Be Your Only One (Lucrecia Dalt Mix) [Moabit/Monika Enterprise/Bandcamp]
Three important bands (all beginning with M) from the German underground are celebrated here, courtesy of Gudrun Gut's Monika Enterprise. Matador, Mania D. and Malaria! all featured Gut, two featured Beate Bartel, two featured Bettina Köster and two featured Manon Duursma; all were all-female acts, working in post-punk, industrial and a particularly German strain of synth-pop. There's a direct link between this seminal music, Gut's deep involvement in the Berlin music scene, and the work she does with Monika Enterprise, including the "Werkstatt" she convenes with multiple generations of female electronic & experimental artists. Many of the Werkstatt artists appear on the first disc of M_Sessions, the new collection which unearths, celebrates and recontextualises this music. Along with a disc of "Rare Originals", with demos, live versions and non-album tracks all remastered, the first disc sees these works remixed and recreated by artists like Midori Hirano, AGF, Natalie Beridze, Gut and Bartel, and featured tonight, Sonae and Lucrecia Dalt. Quality stuff.

Gantz - Sleepless Elite [Innamind Recordings]
Gantz - Avert Your Eyes [Innamind Recordings]
Turkish dubstep/trip-hop original Gantz has put out a few collections of tracks on his own Bandcamp recently, but here he is on another label, London's Innamind Recordings with his Pusher Acid EP. At various different tempos, it's bass music for the dancefloor, with heart and brains equally engaged (and, you know, feet). Always love me some Gantz.

aya - Emley lights us moor (feat. Iceboy Violet) [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
aya - tailwind [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
aya - I Will Not Come At Your Beck And Call I Am At Home Preemptively Mashing Up The Dance That Is Where I Am [Illegal Data]
A2A - Lilac [Local Action]
After some years mashing up breaks with deconstructed club, footwork, jungle and other bass music as loft, Manchester-based Aya Sinclair switched to aya as her musical name of choice. On her debut album for Hyperdub, Sinclair brings vocals to the fore, exploring and problematising expectations and biases around being an out trans person with her customary humour, with a few collaborations including non-binary rapper Iceboy Violet. Another collaborator is for the physical format - not a record, CD or cassette, but a book, co-designed by Oliver van der Lugt. Lugt just happens to be now-Sydney-based producer Air Max '97, who's also partnered with aya in the A2A project. I couldn't resist revisiting some of the masterful break mashing from aya's past (and from A2A) as well - leading us into the next couple of tracks...

Sheba Q & No Nation - He Loves Me (Zimmer Mix) [Shubzin/Bandcamp]
Siu Mata - In The Shadows [Shubzin/Bandcamp]
According to London label Shubzin, they are named for "shubz", a house party or rave - Urban Dictionary backs them up. I would be in my happy place shubzin to the tunes on their fourth compilation. The jungle revival continues apace, and here we have jungle, breakbeat and drill'n'bass of the melodic sort that takes me back to the halcyon days of idm, although this isn't just throwback music. We have the nimble breaks of Sheba Q teaming up with No Nation, and then from France the percussive sounds of Siu Mata. SHUBZINVA004 is Pay What You Can, and I can't recommend it highly enough. And do pay, as you'll be supporting the efforts of Sisters Uncut to fight domestic violence in the UK, among other things.

Simon Goff - Wooden Islands (Daniel Brandt Remix) [7K!/Bandcamp]
Here's something interesting. Violinist Simon Goff has worked with the likes of Aidan Baker and Thor Harris in the past, and this year released an album on 7K!, the post-classical arm of venerable German electronic label !K7. On this just-released track, Daniel Brandt of Brandt Brauer Frick takes the already-motorik violin riffing from Goff's original, and the bassline and legato melody - and cuts them up in amongst a percussive techno arrangement.

A Country Practice - Little Birdie (Happy Axe rework) [A Country Practice Bandcamp]
Brisbane band A Country Practice do a kind of folk music for electronic instruments. They just released their debut album I will leave this town while there's still light and I somehow missed it! So I'll be correcting that soon, but meanwhile they have sent me some previews of the remixes that are going to accompany the album on a limited second CD called Recorded, stored, absorbed, ignored, which is a great name and features many great people. Digital purchases also get these on download. Tonight we premiered Emma Kelly aka Happy Axe doing essentially a cover, with her customary looped violin and vocals. Absolutely lovely.

XANI - Towards The Light [demo version] [Xani Bandcamp]
Melbourne violinist XANI also loops her violin and uses it as a percussion instrument. In her band The Twoks she sang and played violin with drummer Mark Leahy, making energetic folk & rock. Her solo album from last year, From The Bottom of the Well, is a fully studio-produced affair, but now in true lockdown fashion we can hear some of these songs in entirely solo mode on the Depths EP, including this rather upbeat, folky instrumental - apparently an early version of the much darker "Injured Animal" from the album.

Jessica Pavone - In the Action [Jessica Pavone Bandcamp]
Jessica Pavone - Ingot [Chaikin Records/Bandcamp]
I only recently discovered the solo work of Brooklyn violist/violinist Jessica Pavone. The start of the title track from her 2019 album In the Action suits the previous folky sounds very nicely, with rootsy viola licks gradually deconstructed, but then for most of the track a rhythmic throb issues from her amp while her viola interacts with the distortion and feedback, an approach she takes across the whole album. New album Lull extends her music for the "Jessica Pavone String Ensemble", which work with drone and repetition, here blowing out the string quartet to an octet, and adding percussion and trumpet on one track each. On "Ingot", Nate Wooley's trumpet is clear and warm, its stretched out notes sitting comfortably within the string tones. Pavone's compositions combine instructions with freedom for the musicians, and although it's minimalist, it's not durational music - drones give way to repeated ensemble notes, and no single idea lasts more than a minute or two. Gradually the peaceful long notes crescendo into scratchy acoustic distortion, giving way in the last minute to an open harmony with slowly alternating notes from the musicians.

nobuka - The sorrow [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
nobuka - Of lovers and innocent bystanders (w/ Michel Banabila) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
nobuka - The people (w/ Machinefabriek) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
From Dutch label Esc.rec here's a gem of an album from Michel van Collenburg as nobuka (he's from the Netherlands despite the vaguely Japanese-sounding name). Reiko contemplates the feeling of living in pre-apocalyptic times (see more at the dedicated micro-site), with field recordings and electronics combining with strings & acoustic found-sounds for a mostly-instrumental narrative of tension and real beauty. It's not minimalist, and not overly polite, and it also mostly avoids the surging sub-bass intensity of a lot of current-day experimental ambient. Nobuka also collaborated with two Dutch artists close to this show, Michel Banabila and Machinefabriek, should that tempt you to look further. I hope you do, because this is a very fine album indeed.

Prophets - Chorus Love Affair [Ah!Puch!Records!/Prophets Bandcamp]
Prophets - Dreem [Ah!Puch!Records!/Prophets Bandcamp]
If the masked musicians behind Prophets are to be believed, they hail from the Planet Stylefree, but I'm going to go on record suggesting that for all their mysterious names (CTRL+ALT+MAN, BONSPEAKEREYESDRUMHEAD, DOT.WAV et al) they are actually from much closer to home. A large collective of musicians from Melbourne & Sydney, they do live up to the "stylefree" moniker, with suggestions of free jazz/free improv, folk, sound-art and more. It feels like experimental music that could be enjoyed by the whole family at an outside market - better than endless covers of Jeff Buckley's "Hallelujah" cover, hey? The junkyard percussion that ends the show tonight is quite touching.

Listen again — ~206MB

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