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Utility Fog

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Monday, 7th of February, 2022

Playlist 06.02.22 (11:15 pm)

Back after a week's break, with thanks to the amazing Krishtie Moffazal for filling in!
We've got everything from indie to sound-art to glitch to punk to drum'n'bass & jungle tonight.

So LISTEN AGAIN and let us take you on a journey. Stream on demand at FBi or podcast here.

Black Country, New Road - Bread Song [Ninja Tune/Bandcamp]
Following their astonishing debut album from early last year by almost exactly 12 months, British post-punk-jazz-post-rock-klezmer-indie group Black Country, New Road have just released Ants From Up There, which is somehow quite different but also the same. Sadly, just in time for the release, their vocalist & guitarist Isaac Wood has announced that he is leaving the band, seemingly for mental health reasons. It's absolutely understandable - being thrown in the spotlight unexpectedly must be incredbily high pressure, and if you're not the sort of person who relishes being the centre of attention it could be absolutely debilitating. But his voice, delivery and weird stream-of-consciousness lyrics do add something very special to a group already populated by some brilliant musicians, so it will be interesting to see what they are like as they continue without him. Although there are plenty of highlights on this album, the singles are definitely right at the top, and I'm a sucker for the kind of chord progression at the heard of "Bread Song" - lovely, moving stuff.

Movietone - Hydra [Textile Records]
Movietone - Mono Valley [Textile Records]
It's time for a reprisal of the Bristol indie/postrock band Movietone. Sharing members with Flying Saucer Attack, Crescent and Third Eye Foundation, their sound is quiet and lo-fi, with a sense of experimentation that links them to bands like Bark Psychosis and Hood. French label Textile Records have just collected their three Peel Sessions from 1994-1997, which as usual with such performances gives a unique insight into this band, with alternate versions of album tracks that a lot of us now might not be that familiar with anyway. There's a lot of acoustic instrumentation in here - violin, clarinet, piano - but it's all with a DYI aesthetic and a lightness of touch, along with very softly-delivered vocals, which give the music an ethereal, sensual feel. There are postrock grooves and harsh jabs of noise at times (smashing glass?), making for essential listening.

Ale Hop - Once Upon a Time (collab. with Elsa M'Balla & Nicole L'Huillier) [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
Ale Hop - Mayu Islapi (collab. with Ana Quiroga, Fil Uno & Ignacio Briceño) [Karlrecords/Bandcamp]
Peruvian musician Alejandra Cardenas has been based for some time in Berlin, making music in a host of ever-changing styles, including a guest appearance with techno/idm duo These Hidden Hands and solo releases of a postpunk/postrock/electronic persuasion. But her experimental tendencies have come more & more to the fore, and latest album What Is It They Say A City Like Any City?, released by Karlrecords, abandons any remnants of songform, preferring instead cello drones, field recordings, non-metric beats and highly glitched and randomised vocals. She works with collaborators from South & Central America, Africa and across the globe, examining geography from within the reduced virtual experience of lockdown's remote collaboration. It's a strange & compelling listen.

Inlay Ensemble - Importunated [Creative Sources Recordings]
Slow strings feature on the new album Songs for Habitual People from Sydney's Inlay Ensemble, but there are also upbeat numbers like this one. Led by double bassist Elsen Price, the ensemble has a moving cast that frequently features violist Carl St Jacques, violinist Susie Bishop and cellist John Napier. They're at their heart an improvising string ensemble, and the more of those around the better! They play around Sydney a fair bit, so I recommend checking them out.

Rebecca Lennon - Face to Face [Flaming Pines]
KMRU - A score to start hearing the invisible [Flaming Pines]
Two tracks here from a superb compilation from Flaming Pines called Paint your lips while singing your favourite pop song, featuring eight artists interpreting "text scores" by artist, writer and researcher Salomé Voegelin. These scores are instructions to the performer, which encourage the performer to question and rewrite the instructions as they see fit, so each work finds the musician in conversation with the score. With UK singer Rebecca Lennon, that involves actual spoken words and singing, but also non-verbal utterances, throat-clearing and groans layered on top of each other - beautiful and disturbing. On the other hand, Kenyan sound-artist KMRU aka Joseph Kamaru combines field recordings and electronic tones in typically immersive fashion.

a0n0 - Blue.Electronic.Sky [$ pwgen 20]
nzworkdown - R for Pita [$ pwgen 20]
KMRU also features on a new compilation paying tribute to Peter Rehberg, co-founder of the groundbreaking Mego label and the force behind Editions Mego, who tragically passed away suddenly last year. His works as Pita are celebrated in the title Get This: 32 Tracks for Free - A Tribute to Peter Rehberg, and many artists involved with Mego from the beginning appear, alongside likeminded artists from across the globe. I played two Japanese residents tonight: a0n0 gives us an all-out noise assault burying a melodic sample in distortion in the style of the beloved third track from Pita's second album Get Out, while nzworkdown gives us distorted, glitched beats in the style of early Mego releases.

Saint Abdullah - Blurring Of Management Theory [Room40/Bandcamp]
Iranian-Canadian brothers Saint Abdullah have been making fascinating music for a few years now. Their early records are percussion-heavy dubwise excursions with samples from their native Tehran and across the world, alongside a love of free jazz - and still now they investigate the relationship between the "West" and the Muslim world, and the way the West perceives Muslim people. Their latest album Inshallahlaland is released by Australia's own Room40, opening with a stunning 22-minute track sampling voices saying "salaam", routing through field recordings, drones and experimental beats. It's sound work that's open to interpretation, yet entirely clear in its intent. Never less than genius.

Snawklor - Gravity Trauma [Snawklor Bandcamp]
Last year, after about a decade's absence, the originally-Melbourne-based duo of Dylan Martorell and Nathan Gray returned as Snawklor, to much celebration round these parts. Ceaseless Sun is the partner release to the Perfumed Ground EP they released last year, and it might be the most subdued work they've done, but it's still full of filigree squiggles and scattered percussion.

Dolphins of Venice - Shining Banjo Islands [Mahorka/Bandcamp]
Isolated Gate - Rubber Brain [Darla Records/Bandcamp]
Adelaide's Tim Koch has been an IDM stalwart since the late '90s, but nowadays along with the beats he's likely to source his sounds from acoustic or live instruments and then mangle them in granular hardware or software. A couple of duo projects have proved very fruitful of late. Dolphins of Venice is a duo with Adrien 75 (Adrien Capozzi), whose early IDM/drill'n'bass music blew my mind on the collaborative Highways Over Gardens compilation in 1998, and who combines ambient guitar and IDM in his solo work these days. Dolphins of Venice shows how suited Koch & Capozzi's styles are to each other, with joyful crunchy beats and highly tweaked & processed sounds. A similar aesthetic marks Koch's productions for Isolated Gate, a bewilderingly odd electronic pop collaboration with Ian Masters, original vocalist in the legendary 4AD band Pale Saints. Masters concocts strangely catchy songs from the weird, jittery electronic structures Koch provides, using his impressive full vocal range. Released by US indie stalwarts Darla Records, Hapax Legomenon is only the start for this partnership.

Crass - Well, Do They... (XP Click Remix) [One Little Independent Records/Bandcamp]
Crass - Women (65daysofstatic Remix) [One Little Independent Records/Bandcamp]
If you've been listening over the last year & a bit you'll know I've been really enjoying the remixes commissioned by Crass of their debut album The Feeding of the 5000. The deeply political anarcho-punk, feminist, anti-war music is preserved, inverted, recontextualised in surprising ways on a series of curated 7"s titled Normal Never Was, available at their Bandcamp, but the band also made the stems available for anyone to remix, and received hundreds of submissions. Many were already released on a massive dump of 223 tracks, but now a selection made it on to a 2CD set called Normal Never Was - Revelations - The Remix Compilation. Whoever has called themselves XP Click made it impossible to unearth their identity using Google, but turned in a strangely catchy hip-hop/IDM remix of "Well, Do They...", the alternate version of "Do They Owe Us A Living?" (of course they fucking do). And among the few known names on there, UFog favourites 65daysofstatic are a highly political bunch for an instrumental postrocktronic band, and take Joy de Vivre's "Women" into a sinister techno territory.

Loefah - Woman (Benton vip) [Loefah Bandcamp]
"Woman" is a legendary Loefah wub-wub dubstep track now available on his Bnadcamp. For Bandcamp Friday Loefah uploaded the VIP by Benton (it's unusual to call someone else's remix a VIP) which inverts the sparse original by turning it into a stop-start jungle monster.

Blocks & Escher - Shot In The Dark [R&S Records/Bandcamp]
Blocks & Escher - Breaking The Waves [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
I was a massive fan of the 2018 album Something Blue from Blocks & Escher, which was suitably Metalheadz in its drum'n'bass productions but was also imbued with jazz trumpet samples and beats built from real drum sounds. For some reason I never played it in 2018, so on the occasion of a new four-track EP on R&S Records, I've revisited that beautiful album as well. They are adept at everything from furious breaks to halftime head-nodders, and anything new from them is notable.

Mister Shifter - Murder One [Straight Up Breakbeat/Bandcamp]
Mineral - Source Control [Straight Up Breakbeat/Bandcamp]
Finland is a surprising home to an enthusiastic drum'n'bass & jungle scene, with figures like Fanu and Resound only the tip of the iceberg. A few years ago the Straight Up Breakbeat label popped up in Helsinki with a well-curated modern take on classic jungle & drum'n'bass sounds. The latest material is available on a special Bandcamp edition, Zero Two, with many Finnish artists such as Fanu, Resound and Mineral - who we heard tonight with a track that accelerates and skitters away throughout - and international artists like US producer Mister Shifter, who gives us fierce dark breaks.

Cassius Select - RSN [Cassius Select Bandcamp]
Finally, ex-Sydneysider Lavurn Lee is dropping tunes on his Cassius Select Bandcamp - apparently not all will be as Cassius Select, and given he's been Guerre and Fake there's plenty of scope for different names & sounds. "RSN" is a kind of take on drum'n'bass, although with the caveat that he's always come at music from a pop direction. I'm not going to d'n'b-police him - Lee is a genius producer and the energy in this track is infectious.

Listen again — ~204MB

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