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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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Saturday, 3rd of September, 2022

Playlist 04.09.22 (9:00 pm)

He's baaaaack! Huge, inadequate thanks to Marcus Whale for his brilliant work filling in over four shows. He's instinctively included many of the releases I would've played (shout out for Kim Myhr!) and done an all-round wonderful job.
Many of the tunes tonight are delayed plays of material I would have featured over the month, but it's all pretty new stuff anyway.

LISTEN AGAIN, to one person's idea of where it's at. Podcast here, stream on demand from FBi.

Boris - (not) Last song [Relapse Records/Bandcamp]
When Boris are on, they're on (it's most of the time), and so not long after the brilliant W comes Heavy Rocks, their third to be bestowed that name. Indeed note their website - borisheavyrocks. They do rock, heavily, most of the time, and this album is dedicated to heavy rock in all its heavy rockiness. Nevertheless, Boris are not to be pigeonholed, and this album was again produced by the brilliant suGar Yoshinaha of Buffalo Daughter. On the last track, *ahem* "(not) Last song", we get a piano refrain with periodic glitches, crackling noises, guitar feedback, and pained vocals from Atsuo. It's typically atypical for Boris, and just rad.

Chat Pile - Pamela [The Flenser/Bandcamp]
Chat Pile - I Don't Care If I Burn [The Flenser/Bandcamp]
Keeping with the heavy bands for just a moment longer, here's Oklahoma's Chat Pile, whose album on The Flenser has been eagerly awaited. Their combination of hardcore punk, noise rock and sludge/doom metal is unapologetically political - in a recent interview they said the album is an attempt to "capture the anxiety and fear of seeing the world fall apart". There's a surprising amount of clean vocals, rendering the lyrics comprehensible, and there are plenty of catchy riffs and basslines. It's also mostly very menacing, especially with the quietly suspenseful "I Don't Care If I Burn", with just a kick drum and a half-spoken, half-sung vocal.

Yo-Yo Ma / Stuart Duncan / Edgar Meyer / Chris Thile - No One But You feat. Aoife O'Donovan [Sony Classical]
Aoife O'Donovan - B61 (Olga Bell Remix) [Yep Roc Records/Bandcamp]
Here I've allowed myself a little indulgence in playing a track from the beloved Goat Rodeo Sessions from 2011, in which the great, restless cellist Yo-Yo Ma teamed up with some of the top bluegrass musicians in the world - banjo player Stuart Duncan, bassist Edgar Meyer and certified genius Chris Thile of the Punch Brothers on mandolin & vocals. On a couple of tracks the band are joined by Irish-American singer Aoife O'Donovan, and she's the reason for this inclusion. Her song with Thile, "No One But You", is gorgeously heart-pulling, and so I always notice her name when it comes up. The lovely track "B61" from her recent album Age of Apathy has now been remixed by Russian-American producer/composer/musician Olga Bell, turning the gentle folk-pop into a transportive piece of minimal techno. It's beautifully unexpected.

Utility - Flooot - DJ Plead Rework [SUMAC]
In 2019, Tom Smith and Austin Buckett created a bewilderingly conceptual album called Nexus Destiny made up entirely of unaccompanied monophonic arpeggios for software synths. It's one of those "uh, OK, if you say so" things for me, but... cool? In any case, 2 and half years later comes an excellent selection of remixes thereof by friends (Tom's T.Morimoto among them, as Utility seems to be just Austin now?) Our DJ Plead is top notch as ever, with cycling percussive beats matching the synth arpeggios.

Fugazi - So Tired (Morwell remix) [Morwell Bandcamp]
Croatian-English producer Max Morwell loves his UK bass music, through from hardcore & jungle to grime, dubstep and uk funky. It all bubbles up and around the music he makes, but he also loves his pop and rock and r'n'b, and that comes out in the various bootleg remixes that he has a habit of popping out frequently. Remixes Vol 5 may be the most enjoyable yet, and marrying the least characteristic Fugazi song with a jaunty beat and dubby bass/fx inna '90s style is perversely inspired.

LSN & Roger Robinson - Pray [Artikal Music/Bandcamp]
Speaking of '90s, trip-hop is back, as I think I've mentioned before! Dubsteppers are particularly enjoying bringing the trip-hop vibes, and who better for LSN to invite than the poet Roger Robinson of King Midas Sound and more. There's more than a little of Massive Attack circa Mezzanine on these four tracks, with heavy ponderous riffage sweeping in at times, but there's also the influence of dubstep and grime. References aside, this is deeply evocative stuff, deserving of a wide audience.

First Circle (feat Don Sinini) - Sad Day (Ghost Phone Remix) [All Centre]
London's All Centre released First Circle's song "Sad Day" (feat. Don Sinini) only a few weeks ago, and followed it up with this Ghost Phone remix which I like even more - it's sparse and haunted, with bass and skittery hats floating in and out with the vocals, like the best UK drill, and works like a contemporary counterpart to the more nostalgic sounds of LSN & Robinson.

Chad Dubz ft. Riko Dan - In The Red [Deep Medi/Bandcamp]
New on Deep Medi is a minialbum of heavyweight dubstep from Chad Dubz, Bristol founder of Foundation Audio. The vocal tracks are heaviest of all, with grime collabs and intense productions like this one, with snarling riffs a la Distance or The Bug, and indeed Riko Dan has worked with The Bug before. Here he spits lines about all the ways his enemies will get, well, fucked up.

Yunzero - Cupid Television [West Mineral Ltd/Bandcamp]
Yunzero - Acryclic Germ [West Mineral Ltd/Bandcamp]
Next up, from Naarm/Melbourne is our man Yunzero, with his most high-profile release yet, Butterfly DNA, out on Huerco S's West Mineral Ltd. It's honestly so good seeing new people getting hip to the unique madness of Yunzero's sound, drawing on beats from trip-hop & jungle to dubstep & footwork, doing "deconstructed club" in very much his own way, and equally doing the ambient/illbient of vaporwave/dreamgaze in his own woozy way. Utterly brilliant.

Saint Abdullah & Eomac - Capping Verse [Other People/Bandcamp]
Saint Abdullah & Eomac - Bareekullah Picnic [Other People/Bandcamp]
Here's a surprising but perfect collaboration between Ian McDonnell aka Eomac (one half of Lakker) and NY-based Iranian brothers Mohammad & Mehdi aka Saint Abdullah. With Saint Abdullah, the brothers explore various aspects of their culture and the way it's filtered and twisted in the "Western" context, melding field recordings and samples of Iranian music with dub and IDM-inspired beats and ambiences, free jazz and noise. McDonnell too has brought traditional Irish music into his techno and experimental electronics, and the artists were able to find parallels between the ways religious traditions in their cultures have been used to oppress their peoples. The album runs like many Saint Abdullah albums, with crackling samples from Iran & the Middle East and further afield, and abstractions of various types of dance music. If you like this awesome work, be sure to follow up their many previous releases.

Thugwidow - A Reduction In Stress [Western Lore]
Following the "sampler" EP, here's the full new album from Wales' finest trader in jungle & rave nostalgia, Thugwidow. Some tracks are pure dancefloor fillers, while others follow his frequent forays into Burial-like hauntology, with beats floating in & out of beds of washed-out ambience.

Gunjack - House of Glass [Gunjack Bandcamp]
Gunjack - Awaken [Gunjack Bandcamp]
Gunjack - Honeysuckle (feat. Sun Ra) [Gunjack Bandcamp]
Brian Gunjack is a US artist with very eclectic styles. I've particularly liked the Hyperjazz Volume 1 EP, which finds him in drill'n'bass/breakcore mode but with a jazz core - indeed "feat. Sun Ra" on the last track here does indeed refer to at least the jazz god's spoken words. In between, a track from the digital part of RTX Gold, a highly limited cassette release which touches on jungle, but also delves into trip hop and other breakbeat forms. Very nice stuff, and I hope Hyperjazz Volume 2 is coming soon...

ize - Crack 45 [Ize Bandcamp]
ize - Sugar Spice feat. Eartheater [Ize Bandcamp]
Don Gonzalez aka ize popped up on my radar a couple of years ago when Ize Cream Man first dropped - psycho rapping like a punk Danny Brown, with jungle and hardcore smashed up against grime and hip-hop. AceMo was on production for some of those beats (see This Is Not A Drill), but his new EP Crack Kong is instrumentals produced by himself - presumably a harbinger of something more official soon. Meanwhile, Ize Cream Man is up on his Bandcamp, including a rad collab with Eartheater.

Alienationist - Das ist Doch Demokratie [Alienationist Bandcamp]
Berlin-based producer Philipp Rhensius runs the Arcane Patterns label, DJs on Noods Radio and elsewhere, and for his reassuringly-titled album Don't Worry, You Can Always Be Reborn As a Screenshot blends jungle and hardcore breaks & basslines in amongst field recordings, processed spoken word and ambient textures. Hard to pin down, just how we like it.

Dylan Peirce - Heights [Digital In Berlin/Bandcamp]
Pindrops by Berlin-based multidisciplinary artist Dylan Peirce is the second release on the new label for the music platform/promoter/event Digital In Berlin. It sure is arty, coming with a whole lot of text that starts by informing us that "you first need to understand that it is not meant to be understood in the conventional sense of that word". This is reassuring, as I don't really understand any of it, but it's about different levels of perspective, with sounds from close-mic'd objects to field recordings, and from widescreen ambience to detailed rhythmic studies like the one I played tonight. Here we have acoustic sounds edited into IDM-like complex patterns. Part of the album's conception is that the gradual widening of perspective is linked to ecological theory - so check the whole (excellent) release and let that play around in your head while you listen.

Deep Learning - Spring Landscape [Oxtail Recordings]
Deep Learning - Message Your Loved Ones [Oxtail Recordings]
Richard Pike is of course the brother of Laurence Pike, with whom he played in Pivot/PVT. These days under his own name he's building a fruitful career writing film & TV scores, and as Deep Learning he's focused on minimalist compositions. The tunes on Evergreen are by and large peaceful, but with plenty of movement going on. The glitchy loops that form the music's basis call back to the early works of Markus Popp as Oval, but Pike's far too deliberate a composer to let that randomness define the music. It's lovely, melodic, elusively rhythmic work.

Tilly Webb - May You Grow Strong and Tall [Tilly Webb Bandcamp]
Originally from Sydney, Tilly Webb is now based in Naarm/Melbourne, where she studied interactive composition at the Conservatorium. She's written music for dance and film, and her released music combines composition, ambient soundscapes, glitch and beats in the way that comes naturally to the current generation of artists. So her new EP Inside and Out has everything from field recording-based ambient to electronic pop, with this track transforming along the way, with a lovely organic-sounding beat and pretty synth melodies. An artist to pay attention to.

Flightless Birds Take Wing - Given Terrace [4000 Records]
When I played the remarkable new album Spectral from Brisbane's Madeleine Cocolas a couple of months back, I wasn't aware of her new duo with fellow Brisvegan, saxophonist Marike Van Dijk. Flightless Birds Take Wing describe their music as "Tropical Ambient Bangers", which... well, OK. It's charmingly loose and experimental, with field recordings of birds matched with IDM-ish rhythms, beautiful ambient pads, and overdriven noise all given a look-in. On this track, distorted, looped saxophone(?) gives way to delicate piano phrases and what may or may not be sampled traffic noise. Before you know it you're drawn in, and hardly notice as electronic pads join the piano. Unexpected bliss.

Natalie Beridze - Salt [ROOM40/Bandcamp]
Just before I left, I played some tracks from the brilliant album of studio off-cuts from Georgian mainstay Natalie Beridze. The album was sourced from a large selection of material, enough to supply another five tracks on follow-up EP In Front Of You. Everything here is as good as the album proper, and the noise loops, ambient pads and pitch-shifted vocals here are gorgeous.

Listen again — ~205MB


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