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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, 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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