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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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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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