a wholly owned subsiduary of
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experimental electronica
electric string quartet

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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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 31st of July, 2022

Playlist 31.07.22 (9:00 pm)

I'm taking August off to travel around Europe, so after tonight I'll see you again on the 4th of September!
Tonight spans melodic indie-doom, LOTS of piano - ambient, processed, jazz - as well as jungle (of course), dubby house, IDM, glitchy ambient and a doomy orchestral soundtrack.

LISTEN AGAIN - we're all catching up! Stream on demand on the FBi website, podcast here.

June McDoom - The City [Temporary Residence/Bandcamp]
Here's an incredible track to start off the show tonight. "The City" is the first recorded output of NYC singer-songwriter June McDoom. A generation before she was born, her family uprooted themselves from Jamaica and moved to NYC. This particular song points more at old soul and indie (via Grizzly Bear) than roots reggae, but it's there too. This is beautiful rich analogue production with a song that I've just been leaving on repeat.

Ani Klang - distorted thots, juni 2019 [New Scenery]
Ani Klang - to pacify the asinine [New Scenery]
On UK label New Scenery comes the latest album from Californian artist Ani Klang, very much focused on rave madness - machine-gun beats and glitchy samples evoking the early-to-mid '90s on the whole. And then there's the last track, which I played first here - the exquisitely named "distorted thots, juni 2019" brings us queasy piano, glitching drones and processed vocals, a thing of unsettling beauty.

Aura T-09 & Baseck - West Coast pt. 1 [Evar Records]
Marci Pinna aka Aura T-09 is also one of the people behind the rave & IDM-loving EVAR Records, and here she teams up with Baseck for three jungle/breakbeat tracks celebrating the US west coast. That does seem to be a centre for dubstep & drum'n'bass in the USA - see Ani Klang above too.

DJ Trax - Polar Opposite [Over/Shadow/Bandcamp]
The ongoing jungle & rave revival is seeing many names from the early nineties turning up with new material. Over/Shadow is run by 2 Blind Mice and associated with the legendary Moving Shadow, providing the connections with many such artists including here one of the originators, DJ Trax, providing two classic-sounding jungle tracks.

Herbert - Fantasy (Herbert’s Greenery Dub) [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
Change of pace into dubby, glitchy deep house as only Matthew Herbert can do it. Herbert's Musca from last year was a beautiful highlight in his "domestic house" oeuvre, and Musca Remixes hands tracks out to a select few, including Floating Points, who takes this same track on a 15-minute minimal trip. It's lovely, but there's nothing like a Herbert remix, even of himself.

ronan - Geodesis [On Loop/Bandcamp]
Four tracks from French producer ronan, who runs the Eternal Ocean label (see Tristan Arp et al). Released by London label On Loop, Interdépendence features four lovely dubby techno tracks to get your head nodding and/or your legs shuffling.

Rutger Zuydervelt - Hinkelstap 1 [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Rutger Zuydervelt - Hinkelstap 3 [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
I was very lucky to get a pre-release copy of Rutger Machinefabriek Zuydervelt's new EP Hinkelstap - in fact, I got to preview it before it was finished. Here Zuydervelt is taking a rare plunge into an unusual space for him - entirely electronic music, complete with basslines and beats. It owes more than a little to the IDM we both grew up with in the '90s, and the hardcore/drum'n'bass continuum - melodic synths, slow repetitive basslines and jittery, head-nodding beats. It's always great to hear a musician pushing themself outside of their comfort zone - if Machinefabriek can be said to have a comfort zone. I thorougly enjoyed these tracks, which were premiered here (the EP is now out as I'm writing this rather late!)

Thor Harris - Day 32 of Quarantine (with Lawrence English, Stine Janvin Motland) [Joyful Noise Recordings/Bandcamp]
Thor Harris - I Miss You So Much (with Adam Harding) [Joyful Noise Recordings/Bandcamp]
Texan percussionist Thor Harris is much-loved across the music scene. He's known for playing with luminaries like Shearwater, Xiu Xiu, the problematic Swans & Angels of Light, and appearing with many other artists live and on record. His original Doom Dub album came out in 2020 as a lockdown project bringing together friends from around the world under the not unreasonable theory that basically all musicians love classic dub. Like its predecessor, Doom Dub II approaches dub loosely as a philosophy of music creation and mixing, and draws on well-known and obscure artists from all over (Thor really has a lot of pals!) to create experimental and enthralling sounds about living through the pandemic in a world that's anyway on the way to seeing humans off, along with much of our biodiversity. Doom indeed. And like its predecessor, there are any number of Aussies involved. Lawrence English appears again in a couple of places, including here with the arresting vocals of Norwegian musician Stine Janvin Motland. And Thor collaborator Adam Harding, who sings touchingly on "I Miss You So Much", hails from Geelong - much though he's spent a lot of time making rock videos in LA.

Natalie Beridze - Drift [ROOM40/Bandcamp]
Natalie Beridze - Door Part II [ROOM40/Bandcamp]
Georgian musician & DJ Natalie Beridze has a long & illustrious career both in her native Georgia and in Berlin, with recordings ranging from techno to IDM and ambient across many notable labels, both under her own name and as TBA or TBA Empty. Her new recordings for ROOM40 - both this album, Of Which One Knows, and its accompanying EP In Front Of You - find her in mostly contemplative mode, collecting unreleased studies and pieces which never made it on to other recordings. Despite this provenance, the material is highly cohesive, a real journey through drones, sparse piano and strings, vocal snippets, glitches and field recordings. Don't let that make it sound more nebulous or half-formed than it actually is though. This is beautiful and assured music that deserves multiple listens.

part timer - Unflow [part timer Bandcamp]
Bandcamp affords artists an unparalleled workflow from creation to publication. John Part Timer sent me a preview of the two tracks on Unflow/Utopia, and within minutes of my telling him they need to be released, they were up on Bandcamp. It helps that he's been producing scads of uncanny faux-instrument faux-artwork using AI tools lately. These two electronic tunes harken back to the folktronic & IDM origins of Part Timer, always a delight.

Robin Carolan & Sebastian Gainsborough - Strike, Brother [Sacred Bones Records]
Robin Carolan & Sebastian Gainsborough - Slave Work [Sacred Bones Records]
Robin Carolan & Sebastian Gainsborough - Svið Night, Pt. 2 [Sacred Bones Records]
Robin Carolan & Sebastian Gainsborough - Cut The Thread Of Fate [Sacred Bones Records]
Robert Eggers' recent film The Northman sports a cast of famous names including Björk and her daughter in its atmospheric tale of Viking revenge. The creators of the soundtrack may surprise you - Sebastian Gainsborough is the versatile bass producer Vessel (recall "Red Sex"), and here he's joined by Robin Carolan, who used to run the Tri Angle label that released Vessel's early productions among many others. There's little of the hi-tech beats & bass here though. Heavy bass surges through as befits any dramatic film score these days, but mostly the music is infused with the Scandinavian folk influence it requires, with strings including the brilliant Rakhi Singh (a previous Gainsborough collaborator), and a choir. It's dark and dramatic, and a good listen on its own despite obviously being a collection of film cues.

Nick Storring - Music from 'Wéi 成为' — III [Orange Milk Records/Bandcamp]
Nick Storring - Music from 'Wéi 成为' — VII & IIX [Orange Milk Records/Bandcamp]
Here's one I've been waiting a while for. Nick Storring sent me a few previews of his Music from 'Wéi 成为' a while ago - deconstructed piano in various forms, from the mic'd up insides of an upright piano to the unnaturally-dextrous computer-controlled Disclavier. The works were composed for a dance work by Yvonne Ng, and so while they're sound works they have a sinuous flow even at their most granular or cloud-like. At other times the piano is used percussively or chopped rhythmically in quasi-folktronic fashion. There's a lot going on in yet another engrossing work from a highly creative musician.

John Zorn - Passacaglia [Tzadik]
John Zorn - Air [Tzadik]
From deconstructed piano to an idiosyncratic take on the classic jazz piano trio form from longtime master John Zorn. Zorn has composed for string quartets and ensembles of all sorts as well as playing raucous punk and hardcore and seemingly everything in between, as well as running his massively influential downtown New York label Tzadik and for many years earlier the Japan-based Avant label. Despite his reputation as an enfant terrible back in the '80s and '90s, there's plenty of beautiful melodic work in his repertoire too, inspired by Jewish liturgical music, klezmer, and his hero Ornette Coleman among many others. For this incredible new Suite for Piano, he looks to the entire history of piano music, naming pieces after early classical forms - but it's still avant-garde jazz, with upright basslines anchoring the rhythm section, and composed heads which are then embellished with soloing before returning to the head. There are of course some Zorn-standard fast-moving bebop doggerel tracks that I can never get my head around, but there are also head-nodders in lopsided time signatures and pieces of incredible beauty. The compositions are supported by brilliant playing from Brian Marsella on piano with Jorge Roeder on bass and Ches Smith on drums.

Rishin Singh with Martin Sturm - said the roots to the twig (excerpt) [Beacon Sound]
We finish with exquisite and disquieting sound of the Liszt pipe organ at Denstedt in rural Germany. Martin Sturm performs compositions by Berlin-based, Australian-educated Malaysian composer Rishin Singh on mewl infans, pushing the organ out of its comfort zone, so to speak, with tremulously breathy voicings and anxiety-inducing alternative tunings. The music occupies a strange middle ground between difficult and transcendent listening - a great achievement in itself.

Listen again — ~200MB

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Sunday, 24th of July, 2022

Playlist 24.07.22 (9:00 pm)

Drum'n'bass & jungle mutations of all sorts tonight, plus industrial technoid dub, indietronic deconstructed club, and glitchy ambient/illbient/unbient (I just invented the last one, look out for it in all the cool blogs!)

LISTEN AGAIN, pay close attention! FBi has the stream on the demand, or you can podcast it here.

ABADIR - El 3ataba Interlude [SVBCVLT]
ABADIR - Another One [SVBCVLT]
Rami Abadir is one of the more prominent members of the very healthy experimental electronic/deconstructed club scene from Egypt. He's based between Cairo & Berlin and his latest album Mutate is released through the very international Shanghai label SVBCVLT. What's being mutated here are different Arabic rhythms such as the pervasive Maqsoum, looped and accelerated and combined with various club sounds reggaeton to footwork to jungle. As he says, it's not exactly "deconstructed" here (as is often the case with this tbh overused term). It's not unlike our own DJ Plead's approach with Lebanese wedding dances. Call this fusion, or just call it great dance music... and each "side" has a deep ambient track as a break from the drum breaks.

dgoHn - Ninnyhammer (Djrum Remix) [Love Love Records/Bandcamp]
dgoHn - Invisible Sandwich [Love Love Records/Bandcamp]
dgoHn - Robin's Windmill (Skee Mask Remix) [Love Love Records/Bandcamp]
UK jungle/drumfunk master dgoHn released one of the best albums of 2020 with Undesignated Proximate - check the middle track for an example, with flowing drums and just the right mix of joy and darkness. Now every track on the album has received the remix treatment by many of the cream of the contemporary junglist crop. There are very few who have the talent for insane beat science of Djrum, who somehow combines that with top-notch compositional chops as well. Meanwhile, German producer Skee Mask is one of the Ilian Tape artists fusing techno, electro and ambient with drum'n'bass influences, and createst something typically... untypical here. The only shame - and it's a big one - is that there's not one female artist featured here. It shouldn't be hard.

DJ FLP - [ spirit link ] feat. mardee [DJ FLP Bandcamp]
Michigan producer DJ FLP loves mixing the footwork of nearby Chicago with UK's jungle, and drops tracks regularly on his Bandcamp. Here he's joined by Denver's mardee for a bit of euphoric jungle pleasure.

Grids/Units/Planes - Squid Neuromesh [Memories Melt]
We only just heard from Brisbane's Grids/Units/Planes, and here he is again. The single "Squid Neuromesh" encapsulates producer Andrew Foley's love of games of all sorts - it comes with a cute "print and play" game that carries the cyberpunk aesthetic with a theme of hacking brains, and the track itself is very computer gamey drill'n'bass.

Thugwidow & Bruised Skies - A Digital Right To The Soul [Hooversound/Bandcamp]
Thugwidow - Put Me Out Like The Bins [Western Lore/Bandcamp]
Welsh artist Thugwidow seemed to have slowed his output last year after a firehose of releases over the previous 4 years. But 2022 is again seeing a flood of jungle-meets-ambient from the artist, including some collaborations along the way - so here's Blimey, his collaboration with the usually ambient/post-classical artist Bruised Skies, released on Hooversound. It's definitely jungle/uk hardcore flashback stuff, with that knowing hauntological sheen that Thugwidow tends to cultivate turned up to 11 via Bruised Skies' contribution (I presume) - a Burial-like smudged quality. Meanwhile, Thugwidow also has a new album coming out on Western Lore soon, and the label has a strange habit of releasing "samplers" that are actually releases in their own right rather than excerpts from albums - so we have the Seventh Circle of Litness (LP Sampler) - four tracks not appearing on the album, as far as I can see. Thumping jungle and lengthy spaced-out interludes.

Pelican Company - Lowlife Hi-Tech Occult (ZULI Remix) [Peder Mannerfelt Produktion]
Swedish electronic legend Peder Mannerfelt uses his "Produktion" label to release tasty morsels from the Swedish scene, and Pelican Company are no exception - synth maven Johan Antoni and Henrik Johansson aka Smyglyssna teamed up on Peder Mannerfelt Produktion a few years back for some arcane synth bobbles that have now been remixed by Weightless pioneer Logos on the one hand, and Cairo beatmaking genius ZULI on the other. ZULI's mix is one part sound-art and one part fucked jungle. Rad.

Atsushi Izumi - Casaurius [Ohm Resistance]
Last week I played a heavy drum'n'bass cut from Ohm Resistance's free download comp Perihelion Infinite, the last in their Perihelion series, showcasing the label's interest in post-industrial techno, dubstep, drum'n'bass and power ambient. A month or so ago I featured some tracks from Atsushi Izumi's incredible Houzan Archives, as well as some of his earlier work. The shudderingly heavy techno cut here is of a piece with that work - again I have to exhort you to check this dude's back catalogue!

Fausten - Mercenary EP (Fret Rework) [Acroplane]
Fausten - Phosphorus [Acroplane]
The first album from UK duo Fausten was released on Ad Noiseam (RIP) in 2013. They're made up of breakcore & industrial dub artists, Derek Szeto aka Stormfield and Julien Caraz aka Monster X. No doubt Mick Harris' Scorn is a huge influence, so it's nice that their return EP Mercenary, released through long-lived Belfast netlabel Acroplane, is remixed in its entirety by Harris' techno alias Fret. It's super nice dark industrial dub shiz, get it up ya.

Angel Eyes - Curtains clap [Angel Eyes Bandcamp]
Angel Eyes - Exhaust [Angel Eyes Bandcamp]
Listeners to Utility Fog may know Melbourne musician Andrew Cowie best as Match Fixer, under which he's produced various kinds of minimalist electronic music, from glitchy ambient/dub techno to skittery IDM. But before Match Fixer, he was Angel Eyes, and he's returned to the indietronic sounds now with Door Ajar. It's fantastic, certainly more songform than Match Fixer although many tracks are instrumentals. There's a mixture in here of everything from '80s electronic pop through '90s IDM to contemporary dreamgazetronica.

Rita Revell - Uglie Man [Rita Revell Bandcamp]
Rita Revell - X-12 [Rita Revell Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Rita Revell debuted with the cassette I Had a Very Bad Time! in 2014, followed by the multimedia Zastani from the much-missed This Thing (was it in fact their last release?) Five years later we get the brilliant self-released Depozit. This is genreless music, timeless too, hardware-based études that can be lo-fi techno or woozy ambient loops, harsh and pretty.

Delay/Aarset - Single 09 [ROOM40/Bandcamp]
Delay/Aarset - Single 13 [ROOM40/Bandcamp]
We heard the new Vladislav Delay album on Planet µ last week, but equally exciting is this collection from ROOM40 of Delay (aka Sasu Rippati) with Norwegian guitarist Eivind Aarset. I'm familiar with Aarset for his work in the Norwegian jazz/postrock scene, as well as the ECM ambient jazz set. Aarset & Delay already met on the Sly & Robbie album Nordub with Norwegian ambient-jazz-tronic trumpeter Nils Petter Molvaer, but this is very different stuff. It's a little less chaotic than Delay's recent stuff, nor as lush as Aarset's usual realms. It's rather a strange emulsion of both artists' tendencies, with drama, rhythm, deep textures, strange left-turns, glitches and grains. Really great.

Bridget Ferrill & Áslaug Magnúsdóttir - Tapestry [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
Bridget Ferrill & Áslaug Magnúsdóttir - Metal Slug Sings [Subtext Recordings/Bandcamp]
US-born sound-artist and engineer Bridget Ferrill - now based in Berlin - and Icelandic musician Áslaug Magnúsdóttir, clarinettist in Icelandic electronic pop group Samaris and now based in Denmark, met in Reykjavik while Ferrill was living there. Much of Ferrill's recent work involves processed classical instruments and works, including collaborations with viola da gamba player Liam Byrne; and Magnúsdóttir has a classical background too. Nevertheless their new duo work Woodwind Quintet is not a quintet and doesn't feature woodwind in any obvious way, which perfectly encapsulates the artists' strategy here. The album uses classical signs and sounds (possibly including viola da gamba, harp and choral samples from Ferrill's previous work) while avoiding classical forms. Sounds are glitched and granular processed, obfuscated from their origins but recognizable enough. The cover photo - by Liam Byrne - depicts a beautiful zither splattered with concrete and dropped into a half-filled bath. Apposite!

504 - some problems with scale [Tone List/Bandcamp]
Perth experimental institution Tone List bring us an intriguing album of glitched samples and loops from flatmates Alex Turner & Lachlan Kettell, made up of field recordings from Boorloo (the traditional country of the Perth area), Dunsborough (south of Perth) and NYC. The album collects improvised pieces created from these samples, echoing the pioneering glitchwerk of Mego label artists with absorbing stuttering collages, at times drawn from recognizable instruments (spacey electric guitar, percussion, choir samples?) as well as domestic and industrial sounds. Salvage Rhythms is a fitting title - the looped, evolving samples do pulse and shift in quasi-rhythmic ways, as if surfacing from the foam of an ocean miles from where they were discarded.

Listen again — ~207MB

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Sunday, 17th of July, 2022

Playlist 17.07.22 (11:00 pm)

Punk/grunge/hip-hop, drum'n'bass, drill'n'bass, experimental beats, industrial beats, contemporary & "neo-classical", tape experiments, vocal sampling and drones...

LISTEN AGAIN to the in sound from way out, via podcast here or stream on demand from FBi Radio.

Wu-Lu - Night Pills Feat Asha [Warp/Bandcamp]
Wu-Lu - Blame [Warp/Bandcamp]
Wu-Lu - Ten [Warp/Bandcamp]
Brixton's Miles Romans-Hopcraft has been making hip-hop as Wu-Lu since 2015, but for his new album Loggerhead, his debut on Warp, he's gotten angry and political, and backs up the rapping with a mix of grungy punk and even drum'n'bass beats at times. It puts him in the company of the likes of Tampa Bay's They Hate Change on the one hand, and fellow Londoners Bob Vylan on the other. Wu-Lu doesn't really sounds like either, let alone the '90s intergalactic punk-rock hip-hop of Pop Will Eat Itself or anyone else. And sounding exactly like oneself is a great place to be, especially at a time like this.

Jaise - Subterranean [Ohm Resistance]
The Ohm Resistance label released tha latest (and last?) of their free download compilations, Perihelion Infinite this week, featuring their usual mix of intense industrial, drum'n'bass, dubstep and techno. Here we have an excellent piece of dark jungle/d'n'b from Perth's Jaise, who's had releases on the likes of Metalheadz.

Forest Drive West - Sustain [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
UK artist Forest Drive West has one of the most intruging careers, successful both with bass-heavy techno and jungle. That's perfect for the great Ilian Tape, where for his debut on the label he starts with the weight somewhat on the techno side, but leans heavily on jungle & d'n'b for most, including a superb rolling track in 7/4.

Christoph de Babalon - I Trusted You [Super Hexagon/Bandcamp]
It's been nice hearing scads of archival material from Digital Hardcore veteran Christoph de Babalon over the last few years, but also getting new material of equal darkness and fierceness. His Leaving Time EP for Super Hexagon retains the junglist roots, but the four tracks are more around the 140bpm range, bringing a different tone to the approaching menace.

lynyn - stumbling [Sooper Records/Bandcamp]
lynyn - in dust [Sooper Records/Bandcamp]
Chicago producer Conor Mackey debuts as lynyn for the gregarious Chicago label Sooper Records with Lexicon, an album that nods furiously towards '90s IDM, especially drill'n'bass, especially, it has to be said, Squarepusher - as well as the early drill'n'bass/breakcore of The Flashbulb. The breakneck basslines and chopped beats are all there, but there's a contemporary twist to the production and the frequent shifts throughout the tracks. It's super fun anyway.

Kode9 - Lagrange Point [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Kode9 - The Break Up [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Hyperdub boss Steve Goodman aka Kode9 hasn't released an album since 2015, but then that was his one solo album - the previous two being collabs with the sadly-missed poet The Spaceape. Still, he's released a bunch of killer EPs & singles through the years (and many a genius remix), and last year's 2-tracker The Jackpot/Rona City Blues is a nice prequel to this new album Escapology, which is part deconstructed club and part sci-fi soundtrack fx, and acts as a musical prequel itself to a "sonic fiction" called Astro-Darien, coming out in October on Hyperdub sub-label Flatlines. Here we have Kode9's signature fidgety toppy sounds influenced by uk garage and footwork as well as dubstep and drum'n'bass. It's bass music, but strangely with an emphasis away from the bass frequencies. Fascinating and influential dude anyway.

Church Andrews & Matt Davies - Ghost [Health]
Church Andrews & Matt Davies - Romanesque [Health]
Kirk Barley has released music on Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records as Bambooman, under his own name, and more recently as Church Andrews. He's collaborated for a long time with drummer Matt Davies, and their duo has developed into a masterful interchange of modular synthesis and live & programmed drumming, with the two musicians melding into one mind, lopsided rhythms moving together on synths and drums. Apparently the drums in part trigger the electronics - and perhaps vice versa? Absorbing and never not odd.

Vladislav Delay - Isovitutus [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Vladislav Delay - Isooo [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Finnish producer Sasu Ripatti, most frequently known as Vladislav Delay, has always kept himself busy. In the last few years he's released an album under his "Ripatti" pseudonym, an album with Sly & Robbie and a previous one with the duo and Norwegians Nils Petter Molvær and Eivind Aarset and the albums Rakka and Rakka II as Vladislav Delay - as well as various other collaborations including one we'll hear next week. Isoviha is his new album on Planet µ, and it's a successor to the two "Rakka" albums, which were tributes to the awesome power of nature. Here we find ourselves rather in the city, and the "industrial" sound of Rakka is make manifest with pummelling rhythms - albeit infrequently in any kind of recognizable metric. In any case it's vintage Delay.

Enxin/Onyx - Dorothy [Enxin/Onyx Bandcamp]
Here's a really interesting new duo project. Enxin here is Nicky Mao, best known as Hiro Kone, groundbreaking techno and experimental electronic artist from New York. Tot Onyx is the alter-ego of Tommi Tokyo, one half of Berlin/Tokyo experimental techno duo Group A. Their debut EP Dorothy showcases both musicians' love of postpunk as much as hardware-based techno, with angular rhythms, sinuous basslines and at times Tokyo's snarling vocals.

Barking - Host [brokntoys/Bandcamp]
Barking - Vacuum [brokntoys/Bandcamp]
Also based in Berlin nowadays is Melbourne musician Gareth Psaltis, aka Barking. His new self-titled album (or mini-album, or... long EP?) is released on long-lived UK label brokntoys, and also shows a postpunk influence alongside IDM and techno strains. Tracks vary from dark and percussive to soothingly melodic.

Angelina Yershova - Walking On Water [Twin Paradox Records/Bandcamp]
Angelina Yershova, Ynaktera - Cluster Light [Twin Paradox Records/Bandcamp]
I discovered Rome-based Kazakh composer Angelina Yershova in 2019 with the release of her Cosmotengri album on her own Twin Paradox Records, an ecological album of piano and electronics, which succeeds in being nothing like the reams of post-classical (sorry, "neo-classical") piano with tasteful electronics which reproduce via Spotify playlists. Her follow-up, Time For Change, emphasises the electronics not only on Yershova's own tracks but also through collaboration with Italian producer Ynaktera, who I first heard via his 2018 album with Japanese pianist Kenta Kamiyama. The two musicians' styles fit very well together, and the album comfortably follows Yershova's last one.

Cheri Knight - Water Project #2261 [Freedom To Spend/Bandcamp]
Cheri Knight - Prime Numbers [Freedom To Spend/Bandcamp]
Freedom To Spend, who I last encountered with their timely revival of Pamela Z's Echolocation album from 1988, now unearths a selection of early 1980s recordings from American musician Cheri Knight. You'd be forgiven for not recognizing Knight's name, as she performed in the alt-country band Blood Oranges in the '90s, and then disappeared from musical life. But in the early '80s, she had the opportunity to experiment with multitrack recording and constructed some extraordinary before-their-time collages, whether of piano-with-field recordings, or a number of wonderful pieces of layered staccato vocals with abstract yet incisive lyrics and little more than a drum machine. It's exciting to have the unfairly-buried work of female artists from decades past revived and celebrated like this.

Ola Szmidt - Rooted [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
Ola Szmidt - C Tactile Afferent [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
In an unplanned parallel, we move from Cheri Knight's vocal layers to Ola Szmidt's self-sampling and processing, for her understated, stunning EP3, her first to be released on Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records. Here Szmidt, a Polish musician based in the UK, draws from her knowledge of jazz, soul, contemporary classical, and various European folk traditions, to create beguiling abstract songs from vocal sampling and looping. Herbert's label is a perfect fit - also of note is a prior mentorship with Four Tet. Hopefully more material will follow through Accidental.

Madeleine Cocolas - Presence [Room40/Bandcamp]
Madeleine Cocolas - Resonance [Room40/Bandcamp]
We finish with a gorgeous new work from Brisbane musician Madeleine Cocolas, who returned to Australia a couple of years ago after time in Vancouver and New York. Spectral finds Cocolas weathering the Covid lockdown in her own way, collecting the sounds of her neighbourhood on daily walks, which are woven into a musical narrative, expressing deep emotions through the sounds of industrial machinery, swarms of crickets and huge storms, combined with Cocolas' sensitive keyboards and piano. In the middle of the album, eight-minute track "And Then I Watch It Fall Apart" is a harrowing crescendo of tension, and while I couldn't fit it tonight, its tension wondrously releases in the following track "Resonance", which closes tonight's show.

Listen again — ~199MB

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Saturday, 16th of July, 2022

Playlist 10.07.22 (9:02 pm)

IDM, glitch, postrock and folktronica - all the core Utility Fog genres tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN at the FBi website for stream-on-demanding, or here for podcasting.

µ-Ziq - Midwinter Log [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
µ-Ziq - Brace Yourself Jason [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
µ-Ziq - Kubba [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
So here it is - no, not that, the other one. The (wonderful) new µ-Ziq album Magic Pony Ride, released a few weeks ago, is a tribute to the jungle and hardcore sounds that Mike was deeply invested in when he produced the music for his dearly beloved Lunatic Harness album and accompanying EPs in 1997. Now that album is re-released with all the EP tracks and a few other rarities, in 2CD and quadruple(!) vinyl form. Following the drum'n'bass experiments of Urmer Bile Trax Vol 1 & 2, Lunatic Harness finds all the melodic invention, faux-classical synths and super-crunchy beats of µ-Ziq's earliest work combined with thrilling jungle-inspired cut-up beats. There are clear links to Aphex Twin & Squarepusher's adaptation of jungle, but the character of Paradinas' composing and production is like noone else really. It's a delight to have this celebrated 25 years later, and vinyl lovers will be happy with the multiple-disc set.

ltfll - lY11 [irsh]
Yaseen - Siteh ft Dakn [irsh]
Ismael - Faster [irsh]
Egyptian DJ Rama and Egyptian electronic producer/genius ZULI started irsh in 2020, as a way of getting together with friends and sharing sessions on YouTube. The pandemic quickly killed off the in-person get-togethers, and the project became a label, releasing the brilliant compilation did you mean: irish in September of that year, with many experimental electronic artists from Egypt featured. Now comes the second compilation, again amusingly referencing Google's suggested misspelling, and this time featuring some of the same higher-profile artists along with new and lesser-known Egyptian producers. There's a range from ambient sounds with MENA influence to a lot of jungle-inspired tracks, and more. Alexandrian George Farid aka ltfll gives us the junglist beats of "lY11", Cairo's Yaseen Akram collaborates with Palestinian Dakn combining rap with halftime jungle beats, and also from Cairo, Ismael Hosny's "Faster" also has junglist beats at its core.

Cocktail Party Effect - C_A_T_C_R [Sneaker Social Club]
A Londoner based in Berlin, Cocktail Party Effect always mixes up the UK bass sounds, with dubstep, garage, techno and drum'n'bass influences all present. From his new EP for Sneaker Social Club I've chosen, yep, the most jungle-inspired of the tracks.

Maya Q - beno (soft) [All Centre]
But speaking of UK garage, here's a lovely melodic piece reminiscent of Four Tet's garage period from Maya Q. Her track appears on a split 12" with Endless Mow released on the excellent forward-thinking London label All Centre.

Grids/Units/Planes - Follow The City's Lights [False Peak Records/Bandcamp]
Grids/Units/Planes - Harp Particle Pursuit [False Peak Records/Bandcamp]
I first discovered Grids/Units/Planes last year remixing the countrytronic A Country Practice. Brisvegan Andrew Foley has a number of projects, including circuit-bent YEARNS with Joel from A Country Practice, and the shoegazetronica of Make A Montage. As G/U/P it's the most IDMish, beat-oriented stuff, albeit still with pretty shoegazey textures - very nice.

Wrecked Lightship - Found Beast [Dead Bison]
Wrecked Lightship - Radial Geometry [Dead Bison]
Some deep aquatic sounds from Wrecked Lightship, the duo of Adam Winchester from experimental bass project Dot Product and Laurie Osborne aka Appleblim. Both artists' background in mutated dubstep is here in the dubby atmos and bass frequencies, but it's all very submerged and often rather abstract.

Deepchild - Mystery Not Yet Become [Mille Plateaux/Bandcamp]
Deepchild - Final Breath [Mille Plateaux/Bandcamp]
Deepchild - Now It Is Me Being Breathed (unreleased bonus track) [Mille Plateaux/Bandcamp]
Surely album of the week here from Sydney legend Rick Bull aka Deepchild, who's had his own shows on FBi and 2ser in the past, and spent many years in Berlin DJing at Berghain and the like and solidifying his techno credentials. This is not techno really though. Released on the also legendary now-revived '90s label Mille Plateaux, it has nods to the classic minimal techno of Basic Channel and the glitch of early Mego and of course Mille Plateaux itself - moreso than the current hyperglitch and other trends MP is following. The gorgeous Fathersong finds Deepchild simultaneously waxing nostalgic for a closed-down club scene and dealing with the heartache of watching from afar as his father passes away in aged care - one of the great injustices of the pandemic lockdowns. The result is deeply moving, from ambient recollections of chorales to half-heard distant techno.

Tegh & Adel Poursamadi - Ijaad ایجاد [Injazero Records/Bandcamp]
Tegh & Adel Poursamadi - Mornaal مرنال [Injazero Records/Bandcamp]
Istanbul/London label Injazero Records releases the first in a new series from Tehran's Tegh working with acoustic instrumentalists. On Ima ایما fellow Iranian violinist Adel Poursamadi draws from Persian classical music as well as drone, arranged by Tegh along with his signature rumbling bass and stretched, glitched electronic processing. It's powerful stuff - that we're promised a whole series of this is something to be excited about.

Michel Banabila - Sounds From An Unforgettable Place 2 [Michel Banabila Bandcamp]
There's no doubt that the late Jon Hassell's "fourth world" ambient is a big influence on the experimental analogue/digital electronic world music of Dutch musician Michel Banabila. Hassell passed away in June last year, and the digital EP Sounds From An Unforgettable Place is Banabila's touching tribute to Hassell.

Rok Zalokar - McBeing [Nature Scene Records/Bandcamp/via Wire Mag]
One of the tracks from Tegh & Poursamadi's album is featured on the latest Wire Tapper cover CD from UK experimental music institution The Wire, and from that same CD is a track by Slovenian pianist Rok Zalokar. Zalokar's gregarious approach to genre (a jazz-trained composer also playing in a noise/hip-hop duo) is evident here in this sampled & programmed organised chaos.

Party Dozen - Risky Behaviour [GRUPO/Temporary Residence/Bandcamp]
Party Dozen - Earthly Times [GRUPO/Temporary Residence/Bandcamp]
Sydney's Party Dozen are finally poised to take over the world, with features in all sorts of international press thanks to their new album The Real Work being released internationally via Temporary Residence (*ahem* also the label of my band Tangents). As usual there's sampled riffage and tough drums from Jonathan Boulet and wailing saxophone and occasional vocals-through-sax from Kirsty Tickle (and a prominent if brief cameo from Nick Cave on one track). There are also a couple of slightly less hard rockin' tracks there: "Earthly Times" sports a sinister Birthday Party-like bassline, post-punk drums and snake-charming sinuous sax, with free jazz outbursts (The Thing and Fire! come to mind), while album closer "Risky Behaviour" brings sumptuous Wurlitzer-style organ along with the rhythm section to support Tickle's impassioned saxophone - recreating the funksploitation sampled by trip-hoppers back in the day.

Mice Parade - Finding Faces [Mice Parade Bandcamp]
Mice Parade - Milton Road (Blizzard Version) [Mice Parade Bandcamp]
Once regular UFog faves, Mice Parade haven't released a new album since 2013. They represent a kind of alternate path for postrock, which in the late '90s got bogged down in Mogwai/Explosions in the Sky/MONO-style tremolo melodies and loud/soft/loud rock theatrics for decades hence, while the jazz inflections, live/electronic beats and fusions of the likes of Tortoise and yes, Mice Parade, were mostly sidelined. Adam Pierce started Mice Parade as an entirely solo affair (it's an anagram of his name after all), a side-project from the marimba & vibraphone-led Dylan Group, also released on Pierce's Bubble Core label, which mixed slacker-indie with electronic and postrock. Mice Parade turned into a full band with members of June of 44 and múm among others, and a keen interest in mixing world music influences into the indie, postrock and electronic stew. The music on lapapọ was developed in the intervening years since Mice Parade's last album and tour, with many historic members contributing, and it lay completed for a year or two while the pandemic (of course) interrupted plans for a regrouped world tour. It comes now with a limited vinyl edition and is finally available digitally on Bandcamp as well. It does have everything that we loved about Mice Parade in the first place, a nice nostalgic reminder of a different musical path.

Akusmi - Divine Moments of Truth [Tonal Union/Bandcamp]
That said, there are elements of the Mice Parade / Tortoise approach to postrock in '00s folktronica and electronic-meets-jazz of folk like our own Triosk. Here London-based French composer Pascal Bideau aka Akusmi mixes classical minimalism with jazz, electronic and Indonesian gamelan, producing a new take on folktronica, with saxophone, trombone, drums, acoustic guitars and gamelan percussion pulsing and phasing rhythmically in ways that elude identification of what's performed live and what's arranged electronically. At its best it's exhilarating.

Listen again — ~204MB

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Sunday, 10th of July, 2022

Playlist 03.07.22 (6:07 pm)

Experimental song, experimental folk, experimental beats, sound-art.
Thanks to the legend Marcus Whale for stepping in at the last minute last Sunday when I fell ill with Covid and was entirely unable to do the show. Feeling better now thanks (but will the fatigue ever go away?)

LISTENING AGAIN may improve your symptoms. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Shearwater - Xenarthran [Polyborus/Bandcamp]
Shearwater - Everyone You Touch [Polyborus/Bandcamp]
I first fell in love with Shearwater circa their very first album, where Jonathan Meiburg started making folky postrock with Will Sheff as a side project from Okkervil River. The influence of late-period Talk Talk has always lain heavily over their music (including bird & tree motifs on their early album artwork), but there's a characteristic Shearwater sound, partly purely from Meiburg's soulful vocals and his melodic/harmonic tendencies, and partly from the subtleties of the arrangements, the skittery jazzy percussion and postrocky dynamics. The last Shearwater album came out in 2016, just in time for Donald Trump to take power in the US. Six years later, Trump's gone and there was some sense of hope (much of which has been sapped now with the realisation of the intentions of the Republicans' Supreme Court), and that ambivalent sense of, well, something, is what led to The Great Awakening, which is a return of sorts to the original sound - with particularly phenomenal string arrangements adorning many of the tracks. It's a special one, this.

Ashley Paul - Escape [Orange Milk Records/Bandcamp]
Ashley Paul - Not Myself [Orange Milk Records/Bandcamp]
Following a couple of stunning albums on Slip, the wonderful London-based American musician Ashley Paul returns to Orange Milk Records with the same trio as her 2020 album Ray - Yoni Silver on bass clarinet & viola, Otto Wilberg on double bass, and Ashley Paul herself on sax, clarinet, percussion and vocals. This is another set of sparkling yet subtle songs, obliquely touching.

Hatis Noit - Jomon [Erased Tapes/Bandcamp]
Hatis Noit - chuchr ideins ouy [Virgin Babylon Records/Bandcamp]
Singular Japanese singer Hatis Noit releases her first album on Erased Tapes with Aura. It's one of those weird signings that makes total sense when you hear the final product - I knew Hatis Noit for her very Japanese, glitchy productions like the bizarre track I played second, from the mighty Virgin Babylon Records, with her multi-tracked choral constructions chopped up in fine fashion. For this new album, her voice is the only instrument, very much layered up but not edited in any obvious way. Operatic and choral sounding techniques abound, but so do full-throated approaches from Bulgarian folk styles, and extended techniques. The original recordings from Japan were taken to London during lockdown, where Erased Tapes' Robert Raths suggested re-amping them in a church, giving the multi-tracked recordings a physical, live feel.

Cameron Deyell, Laurence Pike - Greta [Endless Recordings/Bandcamp]
Cameron Deyell, Laurence Pike - Calling [Endless Recordings/Bandcamp]
Two jazz-trained, broadly exploratory Australian musicians team up here for Isola, an album of shimmering soundscapes and skittering rhythms. Guitarist Cameron Deyell plays with many jazz masters, but also with pop stars. Laurence Pike is of course known for his complex drumming with PVT and Triosk, and here his playing draws from the drum'n'bass-via-jazz of his earlier work and also the percussion and live samples of his more recent solo efforts.

François Robin & Mathias Delplanque - Perdu [Parenthèses Records/Bandcamp]
L’Ombre de la Bête ("Shadow of the Beast") finds François Robin pitting his chosen instrument the veueze (a French bagpipe), along with doudouk, mizmar and violin, against the electro-acoustics of Mathias Delplanque. The result isn't so much folktronica as a natural music from a parallel reality, with krautrock grooves, drones and plucked ostinati combining in whirling motion.

Nanook Of The North - Heide III [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Nanook Of The North - Heide VII [Denovali/Bandcamp]
Nanook Of The North - Pingajoq [Denovali/Bandcamp]
The debut self-titled album from Polish duo Nanook Of The North was a revelation at the time - combining the talents of DJ/producer Piotr Kaliński, who records club-adjacent music as Hatti Vatti, with classical musician Stefan Wesołowski, a collaborator with another electronic/post-classical Polish artist, Michał Jacaszek. The first album has a very northern European feel, with ambient depth and bassy beats. For follow-up Heide, again released on Denovali, the duo emphasize their classical side, with very few beats and with help from mezzo-soprano Margarita Slepakova on many tracks. It's very cinematic and rather avant-garde.

Prequel Tapes - Alone [VEYL/Bandcamp]
Prequel Tapes - I Hate You [VEYL/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based Prequel Tapes has been responsible for some nostalgia-fuelled ambient and techno, driven initially by unearthed VHS & DAT tapes from his youth. On his latest album The Golden Cage, Marco Freivogel includes his own voice for the first time, albeit mostly through vocoder effects, and this is a guide to the approach - '80s electronic pop meets rave aesthetics through a contemporary glaze. It's energetic and works well as a pop/dancefloor crossover.

The Fear Ratio - Death Switch (feat. King Kashmere) [Tresor/Bandcamp]
The Fear Ratio - STMS [Tresor/Bandcamp]
IDM duo The Fear Ratio are made up of UK techno producers James Ruskin and Mark Broom, so it's a little bit less bizarre to find their latest effort released by legendary Berlin techno club Tresor. Nevertheless, this is typical little melodies, crunchy syncopated beats and basslines found in IDM since the '90s, albeit with some vocal guests on a few tracks such as UK rapper King Kashmere - a reminder of their recent EP from Seagrave under the Deadhand alias. UK bass genres like grime certainly feature here too, but it's mainly glitchy beats as per Gescom et al, and very fine too.

Sig Nu Gris - Amphibia Blip Eladril [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Sig Nu Gris - Space Alen 100 [Spirit Level/Bandcamp]
Melbourne's Erin Hyde aka Sig Nu Gris became essential listening as soon as Spirit Level released her first earliest singles, including the edits she calls "Fixations". Her debut album Threshold finds her trying to express the inexpressible about surviving Melbourne's endless lockdowns with very little to do except make music. So the dancefloor is there, mashed up with IDM and experimental sound techniques, along with ambient sound design and a strange psychedelia. It's undeniably fun though, and brilliantly produced.

Esc - Lumberjack's Groove [Straight Up Breakbeat/Bandcamp]
Finland's a surprising home to a highly dedicated drum'n'bass & jungle scene, and Straight Up Breakbeat has become a great outlet for that talent. Here's Esc with some dark jungle-tinged d'n'b from Summer of '96, the "extended EP and mixtape" version of the label's Midsummer Murdas EP. As well as Esc's track there's another bonus track and a two-sided DJ mix from label head Dizzy available on cassette and digital.

Wordcolour - Babble [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Wordcolour - Crescent [Houndstooth/Bandcamp]
Young UK artist Wordcolour wrote music for TV & film before releasing his sound design-oriented club tunes, starting with the incredible Tell Me Something for Lapsus in 2020. The producer is highly adept at UK club forms of all sorts - Djrum's presence as remixer on the recent Bluster single is a good indicator - and so we get jungle-influenced tunes, hints of dubstep and deep house, and always IDM, but also crystalline ambient passages with distinct classical and jazz influences and crazy glitch interjections a la Japanese figures like Kashiwa Daisuke. Spoken word throughout adds to the pleasant sense of mystery and gives additional depth to a thought-provoking album, one I can see myself returning to a lot this year.

part timer - loose leaf [part timer Bandcamp]
part timer - freeway [part timer Bandcamp]
It feels silly to still be banging on about the "return" of John McCaffrey to making music as part timer, given this recent phase started about 3 years ago in 2019. But every new drop brings much joy, and self-released new album Interiority Complex is a magnificent synthesis of the sensitive, poised post-classical piano & string arrangements he's produced of late with the glitchy, head-noddy beats and samples of his early folktronica, which featured nearly every week on Utility Fog for years, back when. If you haven't gotten behind the new part timer phase then shame on you, but for $10 AUD on Bandcamp, Interiority Complex is the perfect place to start.

Machinefabriek with Anne Bakker - Speling [Machinefabriek Bandcamp/Anne Bakker Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek with Anne Bakker - Folklore [Machinefabriek Bandcamp/Anne Bakker Bandcamp]
Dutch violist Anne Bakker has collaborated with Rutger Machinefabriek Zuydervelt for some years now - the earliest work I can find is from 2007, with Greg Haines included. Wisps is their third duo album together, based around a selection of violin, viola and vocal improvisations Bakker recorded and passed on to Zuydervelt. The short tracks range from folky sounding strings to rather abstract sound works, all quite bewitching. Oh, and listen out for the Don Cherry samples on a couple of tracks!

Alexandra Spence - Air Pockets [Room40/Bandcamp]
Alexandra Spence - Wind [Room40/Bandcamp]
Finishing with some quietly stunning sound-art from Sydney's Alexandra Spence. Her latest album for Room40 is Blue waves, Green waves, an exploration of bodies of/and water, and particularly the Pacific Ocean. As usual with Spence's work, concrete sounds produced from specific objects merge with musical elements and at times spoken word. The glooping, sliding "Air Pockets" are a particular highlight.

Listen again — ~203MB

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