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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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Wednesday, 4th of May, 2022

Playlist 01.05.22 (12:57 am)

Industrial's influence on hip-hop, metal, techno and more, IDM, post-r'n'b techno, math rock, folktronica and ambient. Wishing you a very Utility Fog May Day.

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dälek - The Harbingers [Ipecac/Bandcamp]
dälek - Holistic [Ipecac/Bandcamp]
dälek - Abandoned Language [Ipecac/Bandcamp]
Although the last dälek album proper was 5 years ago (almost as long as the break between 2010 and their "reformation" in 2016), there's been an EP and a series of "Meditations", mostly solo work from Will Brooks, created during 2020's pandemic months. Still, it's awesome to have a full album from dälek as a "group" again, with Mike Mare's added noisemaking throughout. A pioneering force in industrial hip-hop or noise-hop or whatever you want to call it, dälek merge Public Enemy's hard-hitting politics and uncompromising beats with squalls of noise and distortion borrowed from shoegaze & metal - and indeed they've tended to find themselves on metal-aligned labels more than hip-hop, with Mike Patton's Ipecac their home on much of the way. Precipice has all the hallmarks of a great dälek release, very welcome around these parts. I also played the beloved title track to 2007's Abandoned Language, replete with its gorgeous blissed-out outro.

SCALPING - Desire [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
SCALPING - Flashforward [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Approaching industrial noise from another direction entirely, Bristol quartet SCALPING combine techno maximalism with riffs and samples in a way that can't help but recall the mid-'90s metal/rock fusion with electronics. Their debut album Void, released by Fabric club-aligned Houndstooth, is a rollicking fun time, but it strongly reminds me of a band from my youth...

Pop Will Eat Itself - Everything's Cool (youth's dragonfly mix) [Infectious]
In particular the riffs, beats and wordless female vocal samples are eerily reminiscent of Pop Will Eat Itself's 2004 single "Everything's Cool", represented here by the "Dragonfly mix", one of a number produced by Killing Joke bassist and dub/trance master Youth. I have seen the future and this is how it begins.

Tilman Robinson and Kcin - Skull Emoji [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Last week I played a preview of the new EP from Melbourne composer/producer Tilman Robinson and Sydney percussionist/producer Kcin, musical visionaries both. Requiem for the Holocene is out now, all fizzling, crackling drones and subs and percussion (except for the more elegiac title track). Don't miss this!

Bacchus Harsh - Crepusculum Mirable [Bacchus Harsh Bandcamp]
Christian Bishop continues with his Bacchus Harsh identity, a somewhat more versatile and sometimes less abrasive project than the breakcore stuff as Xian that he's previously been famous for. As you'll hear here, even when working on a classic synth at MESS (Mebourne Electronic Sound Studio), he manages to bring in the jungle influence to his dark electronica.

digital selves - Eurostar [Cherche Encore/Bandcamp]
digital selves - Happier without [Cherche Encore/Bandcamp]
Speaking of jungle influences... digital selves is Lizzie Wilson, a live-coder, researcher into computation creativity and electronic musician whose second EP error topography has just been released by Cherche Encore. It's a cool collection of glitchy IDM stuff, restless and dense with detail. It also comes with a super cool video by Joana Chicau.

µ-Ziq - Magic Pony Ride (Pt.1) [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
You're going to get bored with how much I'll be talking about µ-Ziq this year - or, no you won't, because Mike Paradinas is a legend! So, following the Goodbye EP we're getting Magic Pony Ride, the much-vaunted new album that's his continuation of the 25-year-old work of genius Lunatic Harness, which will see a multi-disc expanded remaster in a few months. Strongly influenced by jungle, but still with Mike P's signature talent for melody and orchestration, it's a beloved album and so it's great that Mike is returning to these sounds in the midst of a pretty substantial jungle revival two & a half decades later. Other than "Goodbye", "Magic Pony Ride (Pt.1)" is the first single from the album, and it's everything you'd expect/hope for.

Kelly Lee Owens - Release [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
Kelly Lee Owens - Voice [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
Welsh musician Kelly Lee Owens is never one to be pigeonholed, occupying a strange space of dreamy house/electronica with occasional vocals and bouts of darkness and grit. Her albums so far have been released on Norwegian label Smalltown Supersound, and just as the pandemic hit she took herself off to Oslo and bunked down to record a new album, working with the great noisemeister and producer Lasse Marhaug, who's worked with the likes of Jenny Hval, Susanna and others. When she was finished, she told the label she'd created her "eighth album" - and indeed album #3 is titled LP.8. As far as I can see this is going entirely unexplained, which I find deligthful. Owens recently played this entire album to an audience at Sydney's Phoenix Central Park, which I couldn't make it to, but I hear was supported by a special scent for the evening, and lots of swirling fog. It's a pretty experimental album, but still all Kelly Lee Owens. I do particularly like the rather dark opening tracks, but fans of her previous work will certainly enjoy this one in its entirety too.

Batu - Solace feat. serpentwithfeet [Timedance/Bandcamp]
Batu - Squall [Timedance/Bandcamp]
Batu - Atavism [Timedance/Bandcamp]
Omar McCutcheon is a mainstay in the Bristol music scene, coming up through dubstep into all sorts of dancefloor genres as Batu, and through his curation of the brilliant Timedance label. His new solo album Opal is a remarkable achievement, pushing his music into new directions with instrumental contributions throughout from Will Yates aka memotone, some material from adopted Aussie Air Max '97, and a beautiful, creepy vocal from serpentwithfeet that we heard tonight. There are certainly beat excursions of all sorts, all of which hint at UK bass genres without quite bedding down into dubstep, garage, jungle or anything else. That's suitable for Timedance, which dances to its own tune, but it's still an impressive statement from the label leader and an album that I think will need multiple more airings to fully digest.

Mads Emil Nielsen - Constellation [arbitrary/Bandcamp]
In smaller quantities comes the first in a series of 7"s from Danish sound-artist Mads Emil Nielsen on his arbitrary label, each in collaboartion with Chromacolor, a project of Hanno Leichtmann. Constallation finds him in abstract dub form, evocative and not quite rhythmic, and his track is backed with a reworking from Leichtmann which expands the work in scope while keeping its foundations.

Cola de Zorro - Largo camino al silencio [LeRockPsicophonique/Bandcamp]
Cola de Zorro - El desierto avanza [LeRockPsicophonique/Bandcamp]
This is ia hell of a discovery. Cola de Zorro are a Chilean band, in this incarnation sounding mostly like a post-/math/kraut/psych-rock hybrid, with a history stretching back over a decade and a half. The mathy postrock vibes here are really great, shot through with a Latin American feel that reminds me just a tiny bit of the wonderful Dos Santos. But then we have "Largo camino al silencio", in which César Bernal swaps his bass guitar for double bass for an extraordinary performance of melodies and broken chords, eventually accompanied by drum machine as it builds to its climax. A wonderful surprise on a wonderful album.

Crewdson & Cevanne - Drinking Song [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
Crewdson & Cevanne - Sailing Song [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
I discovered UK folktronic producer Crewdson via his 2017 album Toys on Slowfoot, full of his homemade instruments and electronic processing. Looking back at the credits, Cevanne Horrocks-Hopayian was there playing harp, but their duo as Crewdson & Cevanne sees the latter's talents as composer, orchestrator and singer come to the fore. It's not surprise to find this duo on Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records - it's just their natural home really. New EP Rites For Crossing Water imagines a new folk music around the idea of 21st century waterways, with a capella song, Cevanne's harp, string arrangements and occasional glitchy rhythms.

Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres - Relent [Headphone Commute/Bandcamp]
Claire Deak - A Million Cloaked Ghosts [Headphone Commute/Bandcamp]
Ryuichi Sakamoto and Illia Bondarenko - Piece for Illia [Headphone Commute/Bandcamp]
To finish tonight, we have three tracks from the second For Ukraine compilation just released by Headphone Commute. Hollie Kenniff has once again done a brilliant job curating the works here, with many female composers & producers included, from all around the world. A lovely piece of bubbling synth and found-sound beats from UK composer Alexandra Hamilton-Ayres starts our selections tonight, but I'm really pleased that to find Melbourne's Claire Deak here (incidentally of Ukrainian extraction herself) - in solo mode, having been heard a year and a bit ago in duo with her husband Tony Dupé, here with gorgeous vocal layering, and then we finish up with a vintage chamber composition from Ryuichi Sakamoto, in his sumptuous post-Debussy style, his piano accompanying the violin of Ukrainian performer Illia Bondarenko, who interprets the piece especially written for him with all the emotion it deserves.

Listen again — ~210MB


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