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

Sunday, 28th of November, 2021

Playlist 28.11.21 (6:49 pm)

Heavy dub beats and bass techno gives way to percussive skitterscapes, guitarscapes, free jazz and... gothic metal? - only to land at string-folk and post-classical recontextualisations. It's Utility Fog.

LISTEN AGAIN because it's all in here. All of it. Well, most. Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here.

SIMM - Civil War (featuring Flowdan) [Ohm Resistance]
Equations of Eternity - Kurukulla [Wordsound]
SIMM - Hope Spectre [Ohm Resistance]
SIMM - Gqom Squbulo (featuring Phelimuncasi) [Ohm Resistance]
The industrial dub sounds of Eraldo Bernocchi go back to the '90s, alongside dark ambient and sound-art work and film soundtrack recordings. An inveterate collaborator, Bernocchi worked extensively with Mick Harris of Scorn, including also their project with Bill Laswell as Equations of Eternity. SIMM has been one of his main aliases for the dub beats, and it's easy to hear the cross-pollination of his mate Mick Harris, whose mid-'90s Scorn work prefigures dubstep a decade before it coalesced in the East/South London scene. Bernocchi's new SIMM album Too Late To Dream, for the great Ohm Resistance (also responsible for some years for Scorn's recent output), finds him treading similar ground to The Bug or Harris, with dubstep & grime-adjacent bass music (often menacing, sometimes peaceful), and MCs on about half the tracks. Grime master Flowdan appears on a number of tracks here, and there's also a brilliant collaboration with South African gqom legends Phelimuncasi.

Vacuum - Resonate [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp/It Records/Bandcamp]
Vacuum - Resonate Deadverse (Dälek Remix) [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp/It Records/Bandcamp]
Naarm/Melbourne duo Jenny Branagan and Andrea Blake have played in post-punk and synth-punk bands for some time, and their Vacuum duo dates back to 2013; but their self-titled album is to be their first real release, coming out now in February 2022. A couple of singles are out to tide you over, but I'm giving a sneak peak of a minimalist highlight, like Suicide with drop bass, the deeply disquieting "Resonate". The album comes with a set of excellent remixes, including Dublin's Lakker and locals Ela Stiles and Sow Discord, but "Resonate" has been given the Deadverse treatment but industrial hip-hop legends Dälek, which naturally I couldn't resist.

NERVE - MIRRORWISE [Nerve Bandcamp]
Also out of Naarm/Melbourne is NERVE, who continues releasing live fragments on his Bandcamp with industrial-leaning syncopated drum machine techno that sites somewhere to left of drum'n'bass.

Hodge & Simo Cell - Medusa [Livity Sound]
Two alumni of Bristol's Livity Sound appear together on the label: Bristol's Hodge (most recently seen on Houndstooth) and Paris's Simo Cell. As is their wont, this EP traverses different tempos and styles while staying true to bass and syncopated beats. Club music as it should be.

Blawan - Blika [XL Recordings/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based UK mainstay Blawan takes a break from his usual 4/4 fare with more bass-oriented syncopation here for XL Recordings, on the excellently-titled Woke Up Right-Handed. A restless beat and a distorted vocal that seeps into the subs make the opening track an instant freakish classic.

Construction - Nervous (Katerina's Tension Remix) [forthcoming]
Construction - Nervous [Construction Bandcamp]
Seattle based Nadya Peek and Marko Ahtisaari make dancefloor-adjacent postpunk or post-rock under the name Construction. Last year they released the EP We're Great Thanks For Asking, and now they're preparing a remix 12", on which Finnish-Bulgarian producer Katerina simultaneously moves their track "Nervous" closer towards the dancefloor and also into a sort of psychedelic pop space.

Eli Keszler - Years of This [LuckyMe/Bandcamp]
Earlier this year, New York avant-garde percussionist Eli Keszler released his album Icons on Glasgow's LuckyMe - probably his most approachable album yet. Now just in time for Christmas the album gets extended as Icons+ with two bonus digital tracks and a scented candle edition (as you do!) The extra tracks are worth it - Keszler's hyperactive drill'n'bass-influenced live drumming and electronics never fails to dazzle.

Ingar Zach/Michele Rabbia - Typology [SOFA/Bandcamp]
Ingar Zach/Michele Rabbia - Proprioception [SOFA/Bandcamp]
Following Keszler, a pair of brilliant percussionist bring their second collaboration to Norway's SOFA Music. Musique pour deux corps (Music for two bodies) finds Norway's Ingar Zach and Italy's Michele Rabbia both on the same setup of percussion and electronics, with a beguiling and disorienting mix of programmed electronics and drones with beautifully-recorded acoustic percussion.

Leo Abrahams - Spiral Trem [figureight/Bandcamp]
Leo Abrahams - Alternations [figureight/Bandcamp]
Speaking of disorienting & beguiling, here's the full new album from Leo Abrahams on Shahzad Ismaily's figureight label. On Scene Memory II, the in-demand guitarist bends his instrument into Fennesz-like glitchscapes, and loops noises and crackles into abstract quasi-rhythmic figures. No two tracks sound the same, but the same creative spirit runs through the whole work; highly recommended.

Irreversible Entanglements - Keys to Creation [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
Chicago label International Anthem has their finger on the pulse. They released the debut album from free jazz/rap/poetry ensemble Irreversible Entanglements last year, and if anything the band have surpassed that now with Open The Gates. Sure, it's free jazz, but as heard on this track there's wonderful cyclical drumming and bass underpinning postpunk synths as well as trumpet & sax, and of course the evocative, incisive spoken words of Camae Ayewa aka Moor Mother. Astonishing.

Converge & Chelsea Wolfe - Blood Dawn [Epitaph/Bandcamp]
Converge & Chelsea Wolfe - Coil [Epitaph/Bandcamp]
Speaking of worlds colliding, here we find powerhouse musicians drawing something new from each other. Hardcore punk legends Converge could hardly be more influential, with revered producer Kurt Ballou as their guitarist, vocalist Jacob Bannon also responsible for their iconic artwork, and bassist Nate Newton also playing in the untouchable Old Man Gloom. Not only are they joined on this album by gothic rock/folk/doom maestro Chelsea Wolfe and her creative partner Ben Chisholm, but Steve Brodsky is also on hand (too many projects to mention, now including Old Man Gloom). And yes, there's a fair share of growly metal vocals, but also passionate clean singing from all, and a spread of styles from across all contributors. Bloodmoon: I (which implies the future existence of Bloodmoon: II) is a behemoth of an album.

Marissa Paternoster - Waste [Don Giovanni Records/Bandcamp]
Marissa Paternoster - Promise [Don Giovanni Records/Bandcamp]
A couple of weeks ago I played the gorgeous single "White Dove" from Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females. There's a metal connection here, as much of the album was created in collaboration with Andy Gibbs from the great New Orleans metal band THOU, but the album veers in different directions, featuring throughout the cello & backing vocals from Kate Wakefield of Cincinnati avant-rock duo Lung. While I still think "White Dove" is one of the songs of the year, the folk-rock harmonised bliss is found on a number of other tracks, such as those featured tonight.

Laura Cannell, Kate Ellis & Adrian Hart - Through Frost & Thunder [Brawl Records]
It's getting late in the year, so we're up to the second-last in the phenomenal series These Feral Lands - A Year Documented in Sound and Art from British violinist Laura Cannell & cellist Kate Ellis. As with the last few months, for November they're joined by a collaborator, this time violinist and producer Adrian Hart who lends additional classical technique and folk knowledge to the two core string players, while on some tracks Cannell adds her pure vocals. Each month these Sounds have been an absolute joy.

Gabriel Prokofiev + OpenSoundOrchestra - Sad Colours I [Melodiya]
Gabriel Prokofiev + OpenSoundOrchestra - Isolation [Melodiya]
We finish tonight by bringing the strings back around to the UK bass/experimental electronic we started with, courtesy of English composer Gabriel Prokofiev. Prokofiev (who is indeed descended from the great Russian "neoclassical" composer Sergei Prokofiev) travelled to Russia to work on new & recent compositions with the adventurous contemporary ensemble OpenSoundOrchestra. From those recordings he then deconstructed and reconstructed his own work in the manner of his earliest releases on the Nonclassical label, his String Quartet No.1 and No.2, which invited contemporary dubstep & techno artist to remix the works using only sound from the string quartet themselves. So here we have jittery cuts and slices, repurposing the orchestral sounds into a trip through grime, house and other dance genres. It's released on the revived Melodiya label, once the legendary music label of the Soviet state. Postmodern music for postmodern times.

Listen again — ~208MB

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Monday, 22nd of November, 2021

Playlist 21.11.2021 (5:51 pm)

Some old friends tonight, and some new talents. Underground hip-hop, experimental electronic pop?, deconstructed dancefloors of various types, and even some acousmatic music that got lost and found a nightclub in the woods...

LISTEN AGAIN... just to be sure. FBi's got the streams on demands, podcast is here.

Aesop Rock x Blockhead - That Is Not A Wizard [Rhymesayers/Bandcamp]
Aesop Rock - fast cars [Def Jux]
Aesop Rock - Fumes [Def Jux]
Aesop Rock x Blockhead - Difficult [Rhymesayers/Bandcamp
We've gotten used to Aesop Rock producing his own beats over the last few albums. He's a master beat-maker, almost as much as he is a wordsmith (and indeed an artist!), recently producing an entire EP for his buddy Homeboy Sandman - but many of Aes's greatest tunes from his early days through to his 2012 return were produced by his close college friend Blockhead. So when Aes was finding creativity hard, in lockdown, following the tragic death of a close friend, he turned to Blockhead to provide some beats for him to write rhymes to. And these two do just gel so well - they seem to understand each other's creativity instinctively - so enough tunes flowed that they ended up with a full album, with the utterly Aesop Rock title Garbology. With Aes's usual self-deprecating observations and metaphor-laden vocabularianism, it's deeply enjoyable, like putting on an old jacket and finding it fits better than it ever did. Both artists are better at their game than ever - but that's not to say that the back catalogue isn't absolutely genius, as we saw with tunes from 2005 & 2007...

Arad - Gravedad Nos Dobla [Voitax/Bandcamp]
Arad - Inti [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
Arad - Squidger [Voitax/Bandcamp]
Arad - Dream House [Voitax/Bandcamp]
Dara Smith is one half of the Berlin-based Irish electronic duo Lakker along with Ian McDonnell aka Eomac. McDonnell's solo productions are deservedly well-known, but I'm always up for some new tunes from Arad, especially since the brilliant EP The Glimpse that came out in 2018 from Bedouin Records. Vocoder vocals and unexpected harmonies accompany IDM-inflected techno & breakbeats, and these tendencies have continued on his releases last year & just now on Berlin label Voitax. This year's Augmented Fantasy also features a couple of excellent female vocalists on two tracks, but I've played two which again rely on the vocoded & processed voice of Smith himself, along with his usual beatmaking talents.

Moon Sign Gemini - Tomato Town [Moon Sign Gemini Bandcamp]
Moon Sign Gemini - Adelaide to Gawler [Moon Sign Gemini Bandcamp]
The second EP of the year from Dylan Cooper's Moon Sign Gemini is full of South Australian references, EP title included. As well as playing in hardcore punk bands like Raccoon City and Melchior, Cooper makes electronic music influenced by UK & US bass music and laden with unexpected samples, and he has a real talent for this stuff.

Klahrk - E-merge Stgy (coproduced with Zoë Mc Pherson) [SFX/Bandcamp]
Klahrk - NuNegative [SFX/Bandcamp]
I guess when you're named Ben Clarke, going by Klahrk is one way of differentiating yourself from the famous (Chris) Clark. Klahrk, who also runs the Ware Collective, makes deconstructed bass music, often in collaboration, and his new album for Berlin label SFX features various dense coproductions, including one with SFX boss Zoë Mc Pherson. There's a thread of jungle and breakcore through this album, but plenty of other genres are visited as well along the glitchy, unpredictable path.

Patrick Conway - Evident Wear [ESP Institute/Bandcamp]
Patrick Conway - A Long Way To Walk For Bad News [ESP Institute/Bandcamp]
It's not immediately obvious that Patrick Conway, whose Cellular Housekeeping album from LA-based ESP Institute follows two EPs for the label, records under any other names, but he's best known on Utility Fog as Low End Activist, recording politically-on-point releases for Seagrave and Sneaker Social Club. Conway manages to cover a lot of ground, taking in electro, deep house, and all sorts of techno (often all on the one release), and running the Black Orpheus label, but Low End Activist focuses on bass and breakbeats, and his earlier 2021 EP Engineers Origins featured some brilliant '90s-style jungle & drum'n'bass, so it's great to hear that emphasis also on Cellular Housekeeping. Like the earlier EP, there are tracks on this album showing that Conway knows the origins well enough to evoke those production styles - not just the beats and basslines - beautifully, while still departing and disassembling in fine contemporary style. There are elements of some kind of mysterious '80s industrial ambient storytelling here also, weaved into the haunted rave dancefloors.

MSC - Home 2 God [First Terrace Records/Bandcamp]
Manslaughter 777 - ARC [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
MSC - Tek [First Terrace Records/Bandcamp]
Brothers Isaac and Zachary Jones have formed many bands over the past decade and a half, starting with hardcore punk acts like GIANT and then Braveyoung, which gradually morphed into the postrock-informed sounds of their later period, with orchestral influences as well as tape manipulation alongside the hardcore and doom metal trappings. As Braveyoung they collaborated with ever-morphing beauty/noise proponents the body, and Zachary Jones is a longtime touring member of that band too. Braveyoung eventually was disbanded and replaced by their equally-uncategorizable soundsystem identity MSC, and alongside their incredible second collab with the body from last year called I Don't Ever Want To Be Alone - and Zach's duo with Lee Buford of the body released at the start of this year under the name Manslaughter 777 - they have been exploring the power of junglist breaks and dub bass, still emphasising the catharsis of noise and the emotiveness of classical music-referencing samples and drones. It's no surprise that their new album What You Say Of Power is baffling and inspiring.

Jannah Quill - 2020 [SUMAC]
Naarm (Melbourne) based multi-disciplinary artist Jannah Quill has been a name to look out for for some time in the Sydney & Melbourne music scenes, so it's a bit of a surprise that her new self-titled EP is her first full solo release. In installations & performances, Quill has a reputation for unique experimental work involving hardware & software sound, which result in five evolving club-adjacent tracks on this EP. It's great to finally have a recording from this singular Australian artist.

Louis Dufort - Into the Forest My wounded arms wide open [empreintes DIGITALes]
Montréal composer Louis Dufort has been a force in acousmatic music since the 1990s. It's fascinating to hear the way the more recent electronic music of "the academy" ingests and de-contextualises the electronic music of the dancefloor in its own way. Into the Forest collects works from Dufort from the last five years inspired by walks in the mountains and forests of Canada, and renders the experience of nature - its pleasures, comforts, and horrors and majesty - through highly artificial means, recalling (in its own way) the bass-heavy distorted electronics of Vladislav Delay's recent Rakka duology. On this particular 10-minute track, fast-paced glitchy stereophonic electronic beats compete with digitized field recordings and synth pads; elsewhere sub-bass drops accentuate static-filled landscapes. I can only imagine how experiencing these works in surround sound in large soundsystems would inspire the kind of awe they are themselves inspired by.

Helm - Para [Dais Records/Bandcamp]
Helm - Moskito [Dais Records/Bandcamp]
Luke Younger aka Helm, owner of the ALTER, channels his noise and industrial roots on his latest album, Axis. But despite the primitive noisemaking techniques, this music is clearly informed by the more recent directions he's taken, including the string arrangements on 2019's Chemical Flowers. There's drama and detail in these monumental tracks; it's a worth successor to that fantastic 2019 album.

Olivia Block - En Echelon [Room40/Bandcamp]
Olivia Block - Great Northern, 34428 [Room40/Bandcamp]
And we finish tonight with two tracks from one of a slew of albums released late in the yeare by Brisbane's Room40. Chicago composer Olivia Block is best known for longform works combining notated composition with improvisation, live instrumentation with analogue & digital synthesised sound, and thoughtful use of field recordings. This new album, not her first for Room40, certainly places icy field recordings inside organ and lovely Mellotron recordings, but it's also notable in that the pieces are mostly around 5-6 minutes long - convenient for me to play on radio for a change! There's much beauty and drama in these pieces which evoke a kind of imaginary sci-fi movie - and there's a surprising amount of rhythm in the electronics too. If you'd like an easy way in to this important musician's oeuvre, Innocent Passage in the Territorial Sea is a great place to start.

Listen again — ~215MB

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Monday, 15th of November, 2021

Playlist 14.11.21 (12:34 am)

Tonight, a mix of Utility Fog's obsessions, from mutant electronic songs and folktronica to cello & strings mixed with electronics, to bass, techno, hip-hop & jungle alloys.
It's Supporter Drive time @ FBi - an important time for any community radio station, and these last two years have been difficult to negotiate for all sections of the music industry.
If you enjoy what I do week in & week out on this show, please head to the FBi website and help contribute to keeping this station on air!

So LISTEN AGAIN and give generously. Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here.

Myxomy - A little opaque [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
Myxomy - Toxin out [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
Ziúr & James Ginzburg are both important musicians in the ex-pat Berlin scene. Ginzburg's work with Emptyset was influential minimal techno and then influential bass-oriented sound-art; his Subtext Recordings is home to adventurous music of all shapes, including various artists from the bass scene exploring outside of standard categories. Myxomy, just released on that label, finds him working with Ziúr, who also mutates bass & techno genres to her own ends. Ziúr incorporates autotuned, distorted pop vocals into some of her music, while Ginzburg has released gorgeous atmospheric folk among other things, and both artists' voices appear in some form or other on this very interesting work. There's also lots of messed-up beats and bass drops and granular textures of all sorts.

A Country Practice - Sometimes I Feel Like a Conduit Between Two Worlds (Channeled by Reuben Ingall) [A Country Practice Bandcamp]
A Country Practice - Words and Lines (Shoeb Ahmad dub) [A Country Practice Bandcamp]
Out this week is a phenomenal collection of remixes from the recent album by Brisbane trio A Country Practice, who make country-influenced songs with circuit-bent keyboards and other electronics along with guitar and vocals. There's a raft of great electronic artists from round the country contributing here, but tonight we heard from two Canberrans - something epic and dramatic from Reuben Ingall, and something distorted and bass-heavy from Shoeb Ahmad. Don't miss this!

Marissa Paternoster - White Dove [Don Giovanni Records/Bandcamp]
This stunning single from Marissa Paternoster of Screaming Females is taken from her forthcoming album Peace Meter, much of which I believe was co-created with Andy Gibbs from the phenomenal adventurous metal band THOU, with contributions also from cellist Kate Wakefield from the Cincinnati-based band Lung - notable because there's so much cello & strings in tonight's playlist. I've had this song on repeat for some time, and can't wait for the whole album to drop.

mira calix - an infinite thrum (archipelago) [Warp/Bandcamp]
mira calix - fundamental things [Warp/Bandcamp]
You never know what you're going to get from a Mira Calix release, which is part of the joy. Chantal Passamonte was the first female artist signed to the Warp label, at a time when the electronic music scene was not exactly a comfortable place for women, and she has forged a path from electronic productions through to luminous contemporary classical works (including an exquisite cover of Boards of Canada featuring Oliver Coates on cello). Her new album absent origin is a collection based around the idea of collage (extending to the artwork). The tracks derive inspiration from collage artists throughout history - many of whom are or were women - and Passamonte engages in various collage techniques on different tracks. As well as field recordings, ramshackle beats and vocal samples, there is an abundance of strings, which in the spirit of collage may well be sourced from existing Mira Calix works. In any case, it's intriguing and often beautiful stuff.

Au Revoir Hands - Spindrift [Au Revoir Hands]
The debut album from Melbourne electronic musician Anthony Lyons and now-Blue Mountains-based cellist Emily Williams, working together as Au Revoir Hands, is now released. I've played a couple of singles from Hemispheres, and it's great to hear the full work now, with sinuous modular synth lines and beats weaved through with layers of cello. Now that lockdowns are lifted and borders opened, there's a chance that we'll get to see them do this live soon - fingers crossed!

Resina - Manic [130701/Bandcamp]
Resina - Horse Tail [130701/Bandcamp]
Speaking of cello, Polish cellist Karolina Rec aka Resina releases her third album proper on Fat Cat's contemporary classical label 130701 next week, and it's her best work yet. Among others, it features a full choir, some excellent production & mixing collaboration from Daniel Rejmer, and drumming from Mateusz Rychlicki. Rec's cello is still there, looped and multi-tracked as rhythmic beds and melodies, but augmented by the choral arrangements (often rhythmical as well), percussion and sound design, all of which combine in symbiotic ways - as I've suggested, the instruments, choir and production all play intermixed roles, and it adds up to a pretty thrilling whole.

Mabe Fratti + Concepción Huerta - Mar de Voces [SA Recordings/Unheard of Hope]
Meanwhile, over in Mexico Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti has swiftly become an exciting voice in contemporary experimental music - and yes, voice is also an important part of her music. As well as her effected, processed cello and her soaring vocals, Fratti loves mixing in electronics, and on her new EP Estática we find her working (not for the first time) with Mexican experimental musician Concepción Huerta, both of whom work with customized pedal boards full of all sorts of effects for live sound processing. The two artists have also created a sample library to go with the EP.

Laura Cannell, Kate Ellis & Chris Watson - Cloaked By Ravens Wings [Brawl Records]
As the year nears its end, there are only two more EPs left in Laura Cannell & Kate Ellis' year-long project These Feral Lands - A Year Documented in Sound and Art. For their October Sounds, like the last couple of months, the British violinist & cellist invited a number of collaborators to join them. Tonight we hear their instruments in eerie conversation with ravens recorded by field recording master (and ex-Cabaret Voltaire member) Chris Watson.

Gideon Wolf - Objects & Apparitions [Fluid Audio/Facture/Gideon Wolf Bandcamp]
London composer and musician Tristan Shorr records as Gideon Wolf - a varied mix from noisier strains of electronic & drone through to plangent post-classical as heard on his new album Objects & Apparitions, his fifth now released through Fluid Audio. The album is a full-length soundtrack to a film released last year, and features variations on a simple, but affecting, series of phrases for strings, which phase and pulse like electronic drones, quite beautiful to get lost in.

From the Mouth of the Sun - I Draw You Close [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
Aaron Martin & Dag Rosenqvist have worked together as From the Mouth of the Sun since 2012. Martin's talents at minimalist Americana, on cello and other mostly acoustic instruments, mesh with Rosenqvist's experience with captivating drone works, which have often incorporated acoustic instrumentation as well as distortions and throbs from his love of postrock. While there's always a fair share of darkness in their work, there are some quite hopeful pieces among the latest works. It's as beautiful and patient as ever.

Atrice - Intensified [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Atrice - Corcovado [Atrice Bandcamp]
Atrice - Hatara [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Via the ever-great Ilian Tape, it's great to discover the beat-juggling bass science of Atrice, the Zurich-based duo of Lino Schilling & Pablo Chacon-Pino. They've had a series of releases in the last couple of years, as well as collecting some equally great tunes from 2018 & 2019 on their own Bandcamp. IDM and UK bass genres are a big influence, including some fully-fledged drum'n'bass/jungle tracks, but generally they do that Ilian Tape thing (also found in tunes from Andrea, Skee Mask et al) of drum'n'bass-influenced beat science slipped into bass techno. However we label them, the technique is superb.

They Hate Change - 1000 Horses (feat. SARGE) [Jagjaguwar/Bandcamp]
They Hate Change - Screwface [godmode/Bandcamp]
The Tampa-based duo of Dre (27, he/him) and Vonne (27, they/them), as They Hate Change, make what's undeniably US-style underground rap, but it's heavily influenced by UK styles - grime MCs, and heaps of drum'n'bass/jungle beats. It's just one example of how much jungle has found its way into the US underground - not just the club scene with artists like MoMA Ready but also hip-hop. Their 666 Central Ave. EP from last year on godmode is an instant classic, and they've now signed to Jagjaguwar, with a couple of singles slipped out so far...

Dom & Roland - Whispers (1996) [Dom & Roland Bandcamp]
Speaking of full on jungle, Dom & Roland is known for his intelligent, emotive, and very dark drum'n'bass, but a new EP of unreleased tunes through the ages brings us this 1996 track, circa his classic The Storm, with full-on amen choppage and warm sub bass action.

DJ FLP - moonlight [DJ FLP Bandcamp]
Speaking of jungle's influence on US sounds, from Michigan, DJ FLP melds jungle and IDM influences with the footwork & juke of neighbouring Michigan. This tune is all blissful synth pads and manic beats somewhere in between jungle & juke, a tendency found throughout his Bandcamp catalogue.

ilex - Levitate [ilex Bandcamp]
Calming things down to finish tonight with the drawn-out sounds of Sydney percussionist Holly Conner, also found in jazz crossover ensemble Microfiche. As ilex, her percussion takes the form of bells, gongs and other instruments attenuated through effects and blended with synths to produce a shimmery kind of ambient not unlike the vapourwave, dreamwave and whatever other waves cutting edge artists are doing these days. It's the perfect chill-out/comedown after the rave tracks we've just been treated to.

Listen again — ~205MB

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Monday, 8th of November, 2021

Playlist 07.11.21 (12:02 am)

A major supergroup release, a major expanded re-release, plus glitches & textures, post-club beats, and another brilliant re-release!

LISTEN AGAIN to the again-listenings of future-past and past-future. Stream on demand the FBi, way, podcast here.

Springtime - The Island [Joyful Noise Recordings/Bandcamp]
Springtime - Jeanie In A Bottle [Joyful Noise Recordings/Bandcamp]
I've been waiting a while to be able to play this incredible album. Springtime is what happens when Gareth Liddiard of Drones/Tropical Fuck Storm gets together with Chris Abrahams of The Necks and Jim White of The Dirty Three. Of course Abrahams and White are masterful collaborators, and Abrahams' piano and organ on here, along with White's idiosyncratic drums, perfectly join with the raucous guitar and anguished vocal cords of Liddiard. It's an ensemble that feels like it's always existed, somehow, in the Platonic musical plane. Liddiard here returns to his typical storytelling vein, although the lyrics to a couple of the tracks come from his Irish uncle, Ian Duhig - "Jeanie In A Bottle" is one of those. It's mostly the sound of three consummate musicians playing together in a room, although there are subtle effects like the vocal delays and pitch-shifting on "Jeanie" which just add to the listening thrill.

Radiohead - Pyramid Song [XL Recordings/Bandcamp]
Radiohead - Pyramid Strings [XL Recordings/Bandcamp]
Radiohead - Pulk/Pull (True Love Waits Version) [XL Recordings/Bandcamp]
Radiohead - The Amazing Sounds Of Orgy [Parlophone]
Radiohead - Kid A [XL Recordings/Bandcamp]
You've heard of Radiohead before, I presume. By 2000 they were already huge, and it was already after a pretty big left turn with OK Computer into sprawling prog-pop after the fairly trad emo-indie of The Bends and their much-regretted first hit. I was a fan since hearing "Creep" on Triple J, I must admit, but it's this pair of albums that really cemented them as being incredibly important to me. I always felt Kid A & Amnesiac were one album - I'm pretty sure we knew when the former came out in 2000 that there was a sequel. And despite "Pyramid Song" being an all-time fan favourite (and it segued too well out of Chris Abrahams' piano for me to skip it), Amnesiac has always been underrated, but I consider it one of their best. So it's particularly excellent to see them celebrated together after 20/21 years as KID A MNESIA. I was a little disappointed with the two "unreleased" tracks that came out as singles (they're lovely songs though), but there are some quite interesting oddities on the Kid Amnesiæ bonus disc - such as the isolated strings from "Pyramid Song" and "How To Disappear Completely", and the extra untitled interludes (echoes of the little hidden twirl at the end of Kid A), and the truly bizarre version of "True Love Waits" with the glitch rhythms of "Pulk/Pull" (apparently fans have long known that's where "Pulk/Pull" came from). Nevertheless it's a shame that the excellent Amnesiac-era b-sides didn't get re-collected (except for a few on the Japanese CD release, and some also on a very limited cassette), so we revisited one as well tonight. And to finish, I've always felt like the title track "Kid A" is pure indietronica - released a year ahead of The Notwist's Neon Golden but perfectly of the era. This is music that's resonated through the last 2+ decades, as well it should.

Cedie Janson - The Silence [Cedie Janson Bandcamp]
Cedie Janson - Transformation No. 1 [Cedie Janson Bandcamp]
Cedie Janson - Sideways Optimism [Cedie Janson Bandcamp]
Naked Maja - #59 [Naked Maja Bandcamp]
Cedie Janson - Transformation No. 2 (you can feel it) [Cedie Janson Bandcamp]
Cedie Janson - Day of the Long-winded Breath [Cedie Janson Bandcamp]
Cedie Janson - The Water [Cedie Janson Bandcamp]
Way back in the early '10s I played some tracks from a noisy experimental rock band from Brisbane called Naked Maja. At some point they disappeared from view, but then a few years back I was sent some lovely sparkly electronic tracks by Cedie Janson, and Aussie living in LA, and discovered that he'd been part of Naked Maja. The stuff on his two earlier solo EPs is fairly different from that band - very synthetic, with skittery techno beats mostly. But for his new album Thoughts on the Top Floor, Janson has turned back to songforms, mixing his vocals and spoken word by Dillon Howl into the mix of electronic beats and synths. The album is one long work, with the songs segue'd together with interludes ("Transformation No. 1" etc), shifting tempos like a house party - albeit a house party where the hosts have great taste in music! Janson is still based in Los Angeles, working on a career writing film soundtracks, and it would be a shame if this slipped under the radar - an excellent genre-crossing album.

Leo Abrahams - Harm Organ [figureight/Bandcamp]
Released on Shahzad Ismaily's label figureight in December is the new album Scene Memory II from in-demand guitarist Leo Abrahams, whose solo work and much of his work with people like Brian Eno, Jon Hopkins et al involves processing his guitar into glitchy rhythmic soundscapes. Opening track "Harm Organ" is a beautiful case in point, and I'm looking forward to playing more from this album soon.

Marina Rosenfeld - Triadic [Room40/Bandcamp]
Every time I hear something new from Marina Rosenfeld it's absolutely striking and captivating. Of late Room40 have been re-publishing some old limited edition works of hers, but also releasing some works that have only been incompletely documented on recordings - e.g. the incredible Teenage Lotano, featuring choral compositions performed by teenagers with iPods, in the case of the title work performing a version of a classic (gorgeous) work of dissonance from György Ligeti. New album Index comes with a small book documenting various turntable performances and containing a conversation between Room40 boss Lawrence English and Rosenfeld. The music is built from Rosenfeld's selection of dubplates, which she has used in idiosyncratic ways in her work for many years, producing unique, fragile, breathtaking music like that found within.

Takuma Watanabe - Tactile [SN Variations/Bandcamp]
Delay x Takuma - Clouds Fall x Tactile [Constructive/Bandcamp]
It's lovely to revisit the stunning compositions on Takuma Watanabe's Last Afternoon which I cannot believe actually came out this year (the equal longest year in recent human history). Febrile strings are caught in granular webs and shimmer and shift. We're hearing this again because Constructive, the sister label of SN Variations, have just released a 12" on which Vladislav Delay deconstructs tracks from Watanabe's album (two tracks mashed up per side). It's got its fair share of Delay's force-of-nature bass pressure, with cracked reflections of those strings filtering through.

Bastian Void - Poly's Hallway [Oxtail Recordings]
Bastian Void - Heart's Location [Oxtail Recordings]
Joseph Bastardo aka Bastian Void has released a large number of albums since his debut on Brad Rose's legendary Digitalis 10 years ago. For just as long he has also run the cassette & CDR label Moss Archive, with an air-brushed VHS aesthetic akin to that of Orange Milk (and Bastardo's artwork is absolutely on-point). It's very nice to find his latest album Topia released on the now-Sydney-based cassette label Oxtail Recordings. A mélange of beats and ambient scenes, with sounds produced on various classic analogue synths and a harmonic palette to match, at times echoing the heart-pulling of Boards of Canada.

Om Unit - High Plains [Om Unit Bandcamp]
Sometime last year Om Unit announced that he'd had enough of drum'n'bass and was moving on to different tempos and sounds. It's understandable, but a shame because he'd produced some incredible music since turning to drum'n'bass's various contemporary variants sometime around 2013. Nevertheless, complex beats are not too far away, and this special Bandcamp-only track is a lovely piece of deep 160pm breakbeat.

Loppy B - Grotto [DECISIONS/Bandcamp]
Here's some "grotto rave" from new duo Loppy B, made up of Air Max '97 and SCAM (aka DJ Tommy Pickles) and released on Air Max's DECISIONS Records. It's that combination of UK & US bass stylings of the sort you'd expect from both of these types, both currently Sydney-based.

Weyón - QUICAVÍ (SCAM REMIX) [Weyón Bandcamp]
Weyón - OYE [Weyón Bandcamp]
Speaking of SCAM, here they are remixing Sydney-based Latinx artist Weyón, again with the low-slung percussion-heavy sounds, from Weyón's new EP CUEQUEVA. Two deconstructed club numbers are featured from Weyón along with various mostly-local remixes, including the recently-featured Ayala.

Eomac - Battle for Your Mind [Eomac Bandcamp]
Eomac - Gather To Move, Gather To Live, Gather To Be [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
Eomac - Mind in Heart, Heart in Mind [Eomac Bandcamp]
7 years ago, Ian McDonnell, one half of Lakker, got into conversation with Bedouin Records boss Salem Rashid about making an EP for the label, and Rashid sent him a cache of sounds from the Arabic & Islamic world to use for the purpose. Clearly it made a big impression on the Berlin-via-Dublin artist, who created an entire album for the label - Bedouin Trax, and now it turns out that there's at least another album's worth of material from the time. Released as Bedouin Trax II on Eomac's Bandcamp, it's got more Arabic percussion and voices combined for your psychedelic dancefloor or home listening. There's beautiful stuff in here.

Pamela Z - I Know [Freedom To Spend/Bandcamp]
Pamela Z - Badagada [Freedom To Spend/Bandcamp]
In the middle of this year (again this is insane, it feels like at least a year ago!) I played some tracks from A Secret Code, the third album from African-American composer & singer Pamela Z, released by Neuma Records. It's crazy that it was only her third album, as she's been doing groundbreaking work with extended vocal techniques and live sampling & processing since the 1980s, and courtesy of Freedom To Spend, we now get to hear some of her earliest work, on the amazing Echolocation, originally released in 1988. Some of the tracks bear the signs of that period - the drum machines, and sequenced lines - but her work with delays and cut-ups is remarkable. Nowadays she works with gestural controllers for laptop, but she clearly had the methodology worked out way head of the technology. Unmissable.

Listen again — ~203MB

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Monday, 1st of November, 2021

Playlist 31.10.21 (9:14 am)

From deep (home) house to drum'n'bass & jungle, with ambient interludes.

LISTEN AGAIN for maximum switched-on-ed-ness. Stream on demand @ FBi, podcast here.

Herbert - Might As Well Be Magical (feat. Allie Armstrong) [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
Herbert - Back To The Start [Plug Research]
Herbert - Suddenly [!K7/Bandcamp]
Herbert - Two Doors (feat. Joy Morgan) [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
Sometimes trilogies can take a long time to manifest. Back in 1998, Matthew Herbert released the first of his "domestic house" albums, going just by his surname. Around The House was co-written with his then partner, Dani Siciliano, and featured jazz & r'n'b-informed deep house pop songs. Then in 2001 his masterpiece Bodily Functions was released, again mostly featuring Siciliano. And it's taken 2 decades and a lockdown to bring us Musca. Named for Musca domestica, the common housefly, it's got typical downbeat deep house and electronic tunes, with that jazz/r'n'b feel, and the vocalists are all relatively new or unknown artists, none of whom Herbert had met in person or worked with previously. The singers do a wonderful job, and the tracks are moody and blissful; despite being music for the home/music for the heads, it's got that head-nodding pulse, and spots of euphoria here and there, courtesy of Herbert's strong musicality, and his band's and singers' great musicianship. Joy.

Rydeen - Hanenbow [Rydeen Bandcamp]
Sydney producer Rydeen is part of the FBi family, and has offered hop tips to Utility Fog over the last few years too, so it's nice hearing their production talents get better & better. They're a lover of broken 4/4 beats and glitchy vocal samples, and they've been helped on this forthcoming EP FLWR DLVRY with mastering by Oli Air Max '97.

Makeda - Another Trance [Music Company/Bandcamp]
Brisbane-via-Melbourne-via-Brisbane producer Makeda has deep connections to club music, but has always avoided making tracks that really work as dancefloor bangers, despite jungle breaks or thumping kicks, booming subs or tweaked acid lines all appearing at times. New EP Venus Leak came to fruition through the collapse of touring & income for musicians over the last year and a half, and Makeda's decision to return home to Brisbane, but it embodies these aspects of her musical practice - it's more about becoming comfortable in her own skin, rather than a sea change. Experiences of abuse, bad relationships, external expectations twisted by racial background & neurodivergence, all play into the artistry found in this release.

vhvl - treee [RVNG Intl./Bandcamp]
vhvl - hem [RVNG Intl./Bandcamp]
Harlem producer Veronica Lauren aka vhvl put out a couple of releases on Leaving Records some time ago, but hem/sew, a surprise release just out on RVNG Intl., is her first substantial work for over 5 years. Call it a mixtape, but it's a document of a confident producer of experimental beats and pulsing ambiences.

Michel Banabila - MltVz 5 [Knekelhuis]
Out on 13th December from Dutch label Knekelhuis is a new album from the great Michel Banabila, longtime inhabitant of this show's playlists. It'll be out on LP for the vinyl heads, with two sides of crackly fourth world ambient, sampled percussion, dubby downtempo beats, tape loops and his trademark eerie alien vocal snippets. Keep an eye out at Knekelhuis' Bandcamp.

Big Yawn - Sharehouse Stovetop [Heavy Machinery Records/Research Records/Big Yawn Bandcamp]
Big Yawn - Pressure Acts [Heavy Machinery Records/Research Records/Big Yawn Bandcamp]
Melbourne four-piece Big Yawn combine an array of synths, drum machines and samplers with live drums for a sound rooted in krautrock, dub and punkish electronica. The title track of their new album Pressure Acts has a great half-time drum'n'bass feel, with stomping sub-bass every other bar, and just a hint of pitter-patter.

Enfuse - Orchestrate [onesevenfour Records]
Aus drum'n'bass label onesevenfour Records have passed on a sampler of 2022 tracks, and this beauty from Brisbane's Enfuse instantly grabbed my attention - flowing drum'n'bass with a clarinet melody and lush pads, and some nice surprises in the harmonic changes.

Pixl - Outer Reaches [Love Love Records/Bandcamp]
Part of a series of 12"s for the end of the year on Love Love Records is Outer Reaches from London's Pixl, sporting remixes from Love Love's Scrase and the reliable Tim Reaper. Both originals are delightful mid-'90s style jungle bliss, with the title track recalling classic Photek with its opening pads and jittery beats.

Paradox - Marxism [Paradox Music]
Paradox - Soviet [Paradox Music]
Speaking of classic beat jugglers, Dev Paradox Pandya has long been one of the best, and never lost the faith. New single "Soviet" is extraordinary even by his standards, with raging amen breaks and a nimble, bassline that seems to express all the despair and anger felt at Boris Johnson's Tories and their utter contempt for the music & arts and anyone without scads of money. It's dystopian music for dystopian times. Given Pandya chose to dub this "Soviet", I decided to also revisit the equally passionate "Marxism" from 2012, remastered and sounding shit-hot in 2020.

The Untouchables - Grassroots [Samurai Music/Bandcamp]
Belgian duo The Untouchables represent a modern, stripped back, percussive form of drum'n'bass, very much at home on the German drum'n'bass label Samurai Music. But their new album Grassroots feels like it owes a little to the continuing jungle revival, with considerable detail and lots of high-paced sounds along with the thumping kicks (that shared syncopated rhythm of tango, dancehall and drum'n'bass). Among the highlights is the title track, which closes out the album with considerable panache.

GCOM - XO 4 (Wolf 1061c) [!K7 Records/Bandcamp]
GCOM - XO 2 (Kapteyn b) [!K7 Records/Bandcamp]
Tom Middleton partnered with Mark Pritchard through much of the '90s with the legendaray ambient techno of Global Communication - but their partnership also took in the funk & breakbeat of Jedi Knights, the techno of Reload, the jungle of Chameleon and more. Pritchard revisited jungle along with grime and other bass genres in recent years, but Middleton was travelling round DJing house music sets (as I recall) and has of late been integrating scientific concepts from neuroscience and psychology into ambient music for wellbeing, sleep, anxiety etc. His new album E2-XO, a long time coming, appears from !K7 Records under the GCOM moniker, and melds the space-age ambient dreams of Global Communication with razor-edge digital sound-design, thumping subs and beats ranging from downtempo to post-dubstep to splattercore, with help on a few tracks from the late Qebrus. The album is a journey from climate change-ridden Earth to various exoplanets in search of an "Earth 2", in an imagined post-catastrophe future for humanity. It's certainly science fictional enough, and although it's not all drum'n'bass by a long shot, these tracks fit nicely into tonight's context.

A Country Practice - Gardening Concerns (Grids/Units/Planes remix) [A Country Practice Bandcamp]
Here's another remix of Brisbane country-tronic trio A Country Practice. The whole Recorded, stored, absorbed, ignored looks to be excellent, given the contributors list, and this preview from Brisbane's Grids/Units/Planes gives us acoustic guitar and dreamy mournful vocals with slow-paced electronic beats, sequenced synths and lots of nice reverb over everything.

Andrew Pekler & Giuseppe Ielasi - Ravenna [Shelter Press/Bandcamp]
Giuseppe Ielasi & Andrew Pekler - Yalta [Planam]
Andrew Pekler & Giuseppe Ielasi - Trebizond [Shelter Press/Bandcamp]
Berlin's Andrew Pekler and Milan's Giuseppe Ielasi last worked together 8 years ago for the vinyl release Holiday For Sampler. Their new offering for Shelter Press, much like the first, combines their tendencies for subtle sound choices, short loops, glitches and juxtapositions. Palimpsests are texts which are repeatedly rewritten and overwritten, and on these tracks, improvisations recorded in 2015 in Milan have been edited, chopped, recombined and processed to result in the scratchy remnants here. It's as absorbing as Ielasi's work with Nicola Ratti as Bellows, with hints at Pekler's early work in dub, downtempo and IDM.

Anne Bakker | René Aquarius | Rutger Zuydervelt - Hallucine (edit) [Consouling/Bandcamp/Bandcamp]
And finally, here's a short excerpt from an extraordinary 33-minute work by Rutger Zuydervelt Machinefabriek, blending together two solo works by fellow Dutch collaborators Anne Bakker and René Aquarius. Zuydervelt's instinct that the violin, voice and sounds of Bakker would fit with Aquarius' cymbals and field recordings was inspired - Hallucine is a wondrous and dramatic construction. This 5 minute excerpt can't do it justice, but hopefully serves to draw you to the complete work, released on CD by Belgian label Consouling, and available digitally also now.

Listen again — ~206MB

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