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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, 11th of April, 2022

Playlist 10.04.22 (1:16 am)

Experimental music, including narration with electronics, underground hip-hop, post-acid techno, deconstructed club music, classic glitch, tape manipulation, drone-folk and more.
Yes, those are all real genres.

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Ayala and Zac Picker - cardamom - cinnamon - cloves [Ayala Bandcamp]
Ayala and Zac Picker - wet cat - old bark - deep breaths [Ayala Bandcamp]
Based on a story by Zac Picker called "Bessamim" published in Soft Stir Vol 2, this stunning work combines Zac's spoken word with music and sound design from Ayala aka Donny Janks. Picker is in fact a physicist, but his talent for that very mathematical of sciences is balanced by a talent for very evocative prose, generating nostalgia via all the senses in a story about being (almost) 13, training for bar mitzvah. Picker's lush, wry storytelling is carried here by the sensitive setting by Ayala, allowing the spoken prose to float in a bed of electronic tones, occasionally subtly processing the vocals. I left out the core section of the story here deliberately - I can't recommend enough that you listen to the whole thing from start to finish.

Daniel Rossen - Unpeopled Space [Warp/Bandcamp]
Daniel Rossen - The Last One [Warp/Bandcamp]
What a joy to have a new album from Daniel Rossen, who once sang about going to Yeshiva (Jewish scriptural school) (sortof). That first band, Department of Eagles, was an early discovery of Utility Fog which, like Tunng and indeed Grizzly Bear (who Rossen would shortly join) would define some of the show's obsessions: adventurous anything-goes arrangements backed by brilliant songwriting & musicianship. Rossen is a singular talent when it comes to hearstring-pulling melodies with unexpected harmonic progressions, with a voice to match, as well as a characteristic ringing guitar style. That's all present and correct on You Belong Here, his first solo album proper. As a whole, the one full listen I've given it so far hasn't quite brought the transcendence of some of his earlier works, but it's unquestionably beautiful.

billy woods - Wharves [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
billy woods - Sauvage (ft. Boldy James & Gabe Nandez) [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
billy woods - Haarlem (ft. Fatboi Sharif) [Backwoodz Studioz/Bandcamp]
It feels like billy woods albums come thick & fast, but that's just because we had Armand Hammer's album with The Alchemist last year, and woods' album with Moor Mother in 2020. So, woods is back in 2022 with Aethiopes, another single-producer album, this time working with Preservation. It's almost as good as woods' album with Kenny Segal (one of the best albums full stop of the last 5+ years), and it's notable that there's a continuity of sound with all woods' work, regardless of who's behind the keyboard, knobs and faders. The movie samples are there, the tone is grimy, the beats stumble off into free jazz at times (love the piano chaos in "Haarlem"!) and the lyrics concern themselves with the horrors of the world today. Nobody carries this off better than woods and his 'woodz cohorts.

700 Bliss - Candace Parker feat. Muqata'a [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Here's the second single from the aforementioned Moor Mother's project with DJ Haram, 700 Bliss. Proving this will be a hell of an album, their tribute to the bisexual, black basketball player Candace Parker is incendiary, aided with glitched breaks from the great Palestinian producer Muqata'a.

HUMANOID - sT8818r Yage remix [FSOL Digital/Bandcamp]
HUMANOID - sT8818r Acreationator remix [FSOL Digital/Bandcamp]
Way back in 1988, one half of the duo who would become ambient techno/idm legends The Future Sound of London created a masterpiece of acid techno that was dubbed Stakker Humanoid. Brian Dougans' creation charted in the UK and really solidified the UK's place in the realms of techno - and acid became central in the development of '90s rave culture (a couple of years later FSOL's Papua New Guinea made them forever synomymous with rave). In 2019, Dougans reworked Stakker as "sT8818r" for a DE:tuned compilation 12", and since then a growing collection of remixes were commissioned, including '90s acid-influenced idm heroes like Luke Vibert, Autechre and Plaid, Roel Funcken of Funckarma, techno/rave dons like Mike Dred and John Tejada and more. All these versions along with the original '88 track have been collected on CD by FSOL now. I played a downtempo version from FSOL alias Yage (often referred to as their engineer, but always just Dougans and Cobain), and some break jugglin' jungle tekno from young UK producer Acreationator.

ubu boi & r hunter - Lexiconfluence [Genot Centre]
r hunter - in retrospect (ft. ubu boi) [.jpeg Artefacts]
ubu boi & r hunter - Heedless [Genot Centre]
In 2020, Melbourne producer Asher Elazary aka r hunter released an excellent album called Dead Ambient on .jpeg Artefacts with two tracks featuring US producer & pianist ubu boi (a name that will generate chortles from anyone familiar with the work of Alfred Jarry). So it was great news when Prague's Genot Centre announced A Symbol For Disguise - an entire album of duo work from the two artists. Here we have highly cromulent Genot Centre fare, the sounds of rave deconstructed into scintillating ambient, reconstructed into broken beats and shuddering subs, arranged symphonically and cinematically. It's the strangeness of now, briefly pinned down like a cloud from an e-cigarette.

Whatever The Weather - 0°C [Ghostly International/Bandcamp]
Whatever The Weather - 17°C [Ghostly International/Bandcamp]
London's Loraine James, rocketed to popularity through two albums on Hyperdub, inaugurates new project Whatever The Weather for Ghostly International. To these ears it's musically a continuation of her previous work, mixing IDM-like beats with deep roots from jazz, ambient, classical and pop. Her electric piano brings soulful chords, and she continues to contribute gentle and sometimes processed vocals to her tracks. The weather theme sees each track described with a temperature in degrees centigrade, a metaphor that allows a certain abstraction without full-blown randomness. As always this is essential music for anyone into future-focused electronica.

Fennesz - traxdata [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
Fennesz - Instrument 3 [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
Fennesz - aus [Editions Mego/Bandcamp]
2022 marks 25 years since the original release on Mego of Christian Fennesz' groundbreaking Hotel Paral.lel. The digital micro-edits, glitches, smeared drones and resampled guitars blew my mind when I heard them at the time, and to this day it's my favourite of his albums. The original CD release came in the classic oversized card sleeves of the early Mego days, and in 2007 it was remastered & reissued in standard digipak form. This year it sees a lush vinyl edition with enough space on the double LP to fit the 1995 Instrument EP (already digitally re-released on the Field Recordings 1995-2002 CD by Touch). This is the original deconstructed club music - glitches and crunches, throbbing subs, giddy beats. It's all wonderful. The closing track from the album, "aus", is a piece of crystalline beauty, with stop-start beats and guitar thrums split into shards like the diagonally-abstracted album artwork. The reissue is released in a little under 2 weeks.

Clara Engel - Golden Egg [Clara Engel Bandcamp]
Clara Engel - Murmuration [Clara Engel Bandcamp]
I first heard Clara Engel's voice on the title track of fellow Torontonian Aidan Baker's gorgeous Already Drowning album almost 10 years ago. Their name stuck with me, and it was great to rediscover them with their new album Their Invisible Hands. Elusive lyrics adorn the songs, scattered through, while other pieces are instrumental. Seemingly repetitive phrases on effected guitar slow evolve, tugged along by delays, with sighing melodies emerging from shruti box or chromonica. Like their contribution to that Aidan Baker album, the central songs here creep up on you and grab your heart when you don't expect it.

Ben Vida + Lea Bertucci - Murmurations [Cibachrome Editions]
Ben Vida + Lea Bertucci - Static Pressure [Cibachrome Editions]
Following her extraordinary collaboration with Robbie Lee a couple of months ago, here's a second duo from Lea Bertucci, this time with veteran US experimental musician Ben Vida (who released three beautiful albums as Bird Show on Kranky some years ago). Here Bertucci brings her wind instruments to the studio - sax, clarinet, flute - as well as the tape manipulation that made her Robbie Lee collaboration so special, and both her voice and Vida's are divorced of meaning in cut-ups alongside the acoustic textures and the rumbles and gurgles of Vida's synths. Compellingly off-beat stuff.

Lawrence English - Viento / Patagonia (Excerpt) [Room40/Bandcamp]
I always claim to not be into field recordings per se, but the two people to consistently prove me wrong are Kate Carr and Lawrence English. Here Lawrence revisits recordings he made in 2010 on a visit to Patagonia and Antarctica, with two stunningly dense and dramatic blizzard recordings. Both could easily be musicianly-created noise performances, and are absolutely visceral in force. Originally released on LP, they're now available digitally and in a special CD+book edition from Room40.

Bill Seaman & Stephen Spera - Progressions [Handstitched*]
Bill Seaman & Stephen Spera - Voix De Lumiere [Handstitched*]
Out soon on Handstitched* is a sumptuous album from two sound-artists. Bill Seaman's career covers 3 decades, and in the '90s he was active in Australia before returning to the USA. He's joined by upstate New Yorker Stephen Spera for Architectures of Light, arranged from field recordings and Seaman's signature "non-location recordings" along with piano, synths, tape deck and other devices, and various credited and uncredited vocals floating in and out of the mixes. It's hard to describe this otherworldly music, out of time and genre. Sample tracks are out now, and you can - and should - experience the whole album on April 22nd.

Listen again — ~206MB


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