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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, 6th of December, 2021

Playlist 05.12.21 (12:00 am)

Nearing the end of 2021... and so this will be the last "new music" UFog of the year, with the following 2 weeks being Best of 2021, and Boxing Day a well-earned week off.
Tonight we have a beautiful mix of folk, indietronica, IDM, drum'n'bass, noise and acoustic drone...]

LISTEN AGAIN to complete the collection! FBi will let you stream on demand, or find the podcast here.

Leyla McCalla - Fort Dimanche [Anti-/Bandcamp]
It's only been 2 years since the last album by Leyla McCalla, but it's great to have her back, and in bluegrass-tinged Haitian folk mode to boot. McCalla is a brilliant cellist (and multi-instrumentalist) and singer who draws on her Haitian heritage, singing in both French-derived Haitian Creole and English, as well as the rich musical heritage of New Orleans. This song, her first released on the Anti- label, is about the political prison Fort Dimanche run by the oppressive Duvalier regime, including excerpts from an interview on the groundbreaking Radio Haiti, with a political prisoner about the torture he was subjected to in the prison.

Hymie's Basement - Phantom Throb [Lex Records/Bandcamp]
Hymie's Basement - 21st Century Pop Song [Lex Records/Bandcamp]
It's been nearly two decades since Andrew Broder (aka Fog) and Yoni Wolf (aka or of Why?) teamed up for a beloved album of alt.hop/indietronica as Hymie's Basement. That particular combination of nasal Jewish slacker pop and switched-on hip-hop-influenced production was never repeated, but both have stayed in similar circles, and it seems that finally it's time for something new. Broder's production of late has been outta sight, and Wolf hasn't lost his acerbic sense of nonsense, so I sure do hope that "Phantom Throb" isn't just a one-off!

Nosdam + Rayon - Desert [Morr Music/Bandcamp]
Nosdam + Rayon - Colours / Heavy Load [Morr Music/Bandcamp]
The indietronica-alt.hop connection was strong in the early '90s when Anticon was big, and The Notwist were finding success outside of Germany with their emotional blend of IDM and indie. Notwist members collaborated with Anticon's Themselves as 13&God, but the most idiosyncratic producer to come out of the Anticon stable must surely be David Madson aka Odd Nosdam, purveyor of "drum and space"... Acher and Madson have been pals for ages, but I'm pretty sure this new EP, From Nowhere To North, is the first music they've actually created together. The sweetness of Acher's indie songwriting is offset by the washed-out production and wicked drums from Nosdam, along with nice glitchy interlocutary snippets, and then there's the epic "Heavy Load" of the 10-minute last track... glorious.

SKY H1 - Freefall [AD93/Bandcamp]
SKY H1 - Elysian Heights [AD93/Bandcamp]
Belgian producer SKY H1 dedicates her debut album Azure to her mother. It sits well in the AD93 catalogue, with influences from '90s ambient and techno, and UK bass styles including drum'n'bass. Tonight we heard one track evoking classic techno through an IDM/ambient glass, and some blissful drum'n'bass vibes.

Yaporigami - Non-Acid Classic #1 [The Collection Artaud/Bandcamp]
Yaporigami - Sun | Moon [The Collection Artaud/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based producer Yu Miyashita has released an impressive selection on his The Collection Artaud label this year, with music under his own name and as Yaporigami, as well as other like-minded artists. Earlier this year Yaporigami gave us IDMMXXI-L, and now comes its partner IDMMXXI-R. Both have their fair share of dextrously-mashed breaks and acid/non-acid melodies titled humourously, often referencing 20th-century modern art. We heard a track from each tonight.

Harmony - Photing [Deep Jungle]
Kid Lib - Living In The Zone [Deep Jungle]
Lee Bogush aka DJ Harmony doesn't stop. His Deep Jungle has been cranking out 12"s for each Bandcamp Friday all year, with classic jungle sounds, frequently represented by tracks from himself. Bogush has been around the jungle scene scene early in the '90s, and his tracks have that heritage with the benefit of modern-day technology. Meanwhile, Sheffield's Kid Lib has made a home on the label lately, and "Living In The Zone" has a great darkside feel...

RQ - 12 Strikes [Samurai Music/Bandcamp]
Roho - Anemia [Samurai Music/Bandcamp]
Berlin's Samurai Music is home to a particular strain of bass-heavy, minimal, tribal drum'n'bass that often skirts the edges of grey area techno - although they're not averse to firing off raging amen breaks when the mood takes them. For December's Bandcamp Friday they've released Outliers: 4, the fourth of their Bandcamp-only lockdown compilations collecting dubplates and other tracks from Samurai artists which haven't made it on to releases. Tonight we heard a couple of tracks that don't entirely cleave to the template of thumping syncopated bass and dark-as-fuck minimalist textures: New Zealand's RQ gives us stormy weather and buried trumpet with an amen heavy beat, while Russia's Roho is a bit closer to the current Samurai sound but also drops syncopated amens into his cyberpunk car chase.

TMUX - Wasteland [False Industries/Bandcamp]
TMUX - Hand Disinfection (Shackleton Remix) [False Industries/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based producer Yair Etziony was part of the drum'n'bass scene in Israel in the '90s, but makes IDM-leaning ambient music usually these days. During lockdown he found an outlet in new project TMUX, looking back at the drum'n'bass days, albeit often at slower tempos and with a melodic spirit. The debut TMUX album State of Exception was released last year, and just ahead of the follow-up Stars, which follows a similar path, he also released Altered State, with various bass-oriented artists contributing, including Christoph de Babalon and Appleblim among others. The latter's old Skull Disco partner Shackleton contributed a lovely dub-techno reworking which we heard tonight.

My Disco - Folterkammer [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
My Disco - The Shore [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
Melbourne's My Disco spent a decade and a half of their life making taut, rhythmic postpunk/math rock, including a set of albums on Temporary Residence, Ltd. But in 2019 they took a sharp left turn into bleak ambient industrial, with sparse percussion and dark synthetic textures. Now their follow-up Alter Schwede (a weird German exclamation, literally "old Swede") dives deeper into this new sound, with clanging percussion, FM synthesis and heavy bass, and occasional freakish vocal emanations. When rhythm does appear, it's alienating, as with the jackhammer of "Folterkammer". It's a brilliantly disorienting album.

Atsuko Hatano & Midori Hirano - Nocturnal Awakening [Alien Transistor/Bandcamp]
Cycling back to Markus Acher who we heard earlier, Alien Transistor is the label he runs with his brother Micha. Here we have two utterly unique Japanese artists working together; Midori Hirano is on a roll at the moment with her warped piano works, and Atsuko Hatano similarly treats her viola with all sorts of effects. The exchanges of recordings that went into creating this album produced what the artists describe as a Water Ladder, and the music does at times have a strange submerged feel. In amongst field recordings and drones, the piano interjects periodically, while the viola is at times blurred out of standard tunings. On this piece the viola takes on the role of staccato accents while the piano eventually tries to find peaceful repose.

Gilded - Alden [Fluid Audio/Facture Bandcamp]
Gilded - Cluttered Room [Hidden Shoal/Bandcamp]
Gilded - Bells Cutting [Fluid Audio/Facture Bandcamp]
The 2012 album Terrane by Perth duo Gilded is one I hold close to my heart. The peaceful electroacoustic sounds centre on piano and guitar, with skittery percussion from a cut-down kit point at the postrock of Radian or indeed late Talk Talk. It's the work of Matt Rösner (who's released music on 12k, Room40, hellosQuare and elsewhere) and Adam Trainer (who played in the great indie/postrock band Radarmaker, released solo music on hellosQuare and has a long association with community radio), and it always seemed like the album was a one-off. So it was particularly great to hear from both members earlier this year that this second album was coming. Mostly recorded closely following the original album, it got caught in a series of life changes and took its sweet time to get it together. The piano is gone, replaced by synthesizers alongside the guitar, field recordings, and those flittering hi-hats. There's a strong sense of place, the marshlands and evaporated salt lake around Rösner's hometown of Myalup, and it's just gorgeous. There's promise of more to come from the reunited duo, and they'd better hold to their promise...

Listen again — ~198MB

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