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Utility Fog

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Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.

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Sunday, 18th of September, 2022

Playlist 18.09.22 (7:58 pm)

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Algiers feat. billy woods & Backxwash - Bite Back [Matador/Bandcamp]
When I first heard about Algiers, the idea of gospel-influenced vocals mixed with punk sounded decidedly unattractive. Yet the band makes it work, and the way they draw on politically-charged music of all sorts - particularly black musics like house & rap - means it's even hader to pin them down to any style. That's at the forefront of their return with new single "Bite Back" in which they're joined by two of the greatest unerground rappers the moment, the low-key, experimental billy woods and the high-energy, metal-and-postrock-influenced Zambian-Canadian Backxwash. "Punk" hardly fits at all here, with a marching synth bassline, orchestral stab-style samples, and skittering hi-hats, and halfway through a righteous DJ Shadow-style beat. Electrifying.

Keeley Forsyth - Land Animal (Ben Frost Remix) [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Gospel is also a touchpoint for the unique voice of British actor-turned-musician Keeley Forsyth, with Scott Walker and Talk Talk as frequent comparisons. Her second album Limbs has been remixed by four beautifully-chosen artists - the others are industrial royalty Cosey Fanni Tutti, post-classical don Yann Tiersen, and sound-art genius Simon Fisher Turner - but released first is Iceland-based Aussie Ben Frost, whose throbbing low-end growls and compositional sensibility are ideal to enhance the emotive, androgynous range of Forsyth.

Lueenas - Souls Sliding [Barkhausen Recordings]
Lueenas - Witches Brew [Barkhausen Recordings]
Copenhagen duo Ida Duelund (double bass) and Maria Jagd (violin) create improvised soundscapes as well as music for soundtracks and installations with their amplified instruments, voices and effects as Lueenas. Their self-titled debut album proper comes out on Barkhausen Recordings on November 4th, but in the meantime they've released two quite different singles. One leans on electronics, half-ambient and half a kind of throbbing analogue techno. The other uses strings and voices in a dark ambient folk fashion. It shows the range of these two women, and while we wait for the rest of the album, I'm going to check out their soundtrack material on their own Bandcamp! Also notable, Duelund was based for a time in Melbourne - always nice to have an Oz connection.

Bridget Chappell - And When You Reach The Plains After Crossing The Mountains [Absorb/Bandcamp]
Cypha - Mist Music [Absorb/Bandcamp]
Speaking of Naarm/Melbourne and strings, we turn now to the new(ish) compilation from new(ish) Naarm label Absorb, whose compilation The World I Want Would Be Celestial, Wet features experimental artists from the city and surrounds, from quasi-classical through ambient electronic to techno. Bridget Chappell, who also makes industrial/electronic/breakcore as Hextape, here brings their cello, multi-tracked with percussive sounds and processed delays. Gorgeous. And the comp ends with some jittery bass-techno from the excellent Cypha.

Wishmountain - Break [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
Wishmountain - Hammer [Accidental Records/Bandcamp]
The programmed clunks of Cypha's beats blend nicely into the sampled clonks of Matthew Herbert's Stonework, recorded 1000 metres down in the UNESCO World Heritage Zollverein mine in Essen, Germany - and then sampled and edited assiduously in Herbert's Wishmountain fashion. The last Wishmountain album was 10 years ago, deconstructing consumerism on Tesco. Wishmountain encapsulates Herbert's old PCCOM Manifesto (Personal Contract for the Composition Of Music) in its most pure sense - among other things, it requires no sampling of existing recordings or sounds that exist prior to the music being created; no presets; no drum machines, and more. It's not clear whether he still follows this as such - all Google results lead to forums and articles about it rather than his own sites. Nevertheless, here we have a set of fairly sparse rhythmic studies based around his recordings of rocks and stones, from the mine and also the Ruhr Museum and Mineralien-Museum Essen. There are pitched sounds and drawn out sounds as well as beats, and there's something characteristic about the way they are processed that makes them clearly Herbert. It may be the opposite of the homely jazz-house of last year's Musca, and it may be under the Wishmountain alias, but it's certainly all Herbert.

Dominic Voz - Las Cuentas [Accidental Records/Bandcamp/Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
Dominic Voz - Right To The City I [Accidental Records/Bandcamp/Beacon Sound/Bandcamp]
Sound-art and social justice are at the heart of the work of Chicago-via Portland artist Dominic Voz. His Portland origins connect him with the adventurous Beacon Sound, who are co-releasing his new album Right To The City with Matthew Herbert's Accidental Records. The title "Right To The City" references Voz' dedication to fair housing and contestation within urban settings, but also more generally his love of cities (something I very much share). Instruments and voices of friends are found throughout, often disarmingly casually dropped into the recordings, and ruthlessly sliced digitally, along with Voz's own instrumentation (is that him on cello?) and his folktronic, deconstructed production techniques. It's a beautiful combination of early-'00s style folktronic acoustic manipulation, '90s early jazz-fusion postrock and contemporary sound-art ambient. You're gonna love it.

Marc Baron & Jean-Philippe Gross - B6 [Eich Records]
Marc Baron & Jean-Philippe Gross - Y2 [Eich Records]
Marc Baron & Jean-Philippe Gross - P4 [Eich Records]
Marc Baron & Jean-Philippe Gross - Y6 [Eich Records]
Black, Pink and Yellow noises is a collection 20 short tracks created with tape and electronics by two French musicians working in the intersection of instrumental music (Baron is a saxophonist as well as sound-artist) and electronics. Some tracks are repeating loops with tape fuzz and various types of instrumental distortion, strums and thrums. Others are flickering drones or waves of raucous noise. The analogue warp and weft of magnetic tape are frequently present, as is the unprocessed hiss. Fans of early Mego, noise and drone take note.

Scattered Order - Alastair Sim [Rather Be Vinyl (Scattered Order Bandcamp)]
Scattered Order - Rummage [Rather Be Vinyl (Scattered Order Bandcamp)]
Sydney's venerable, oft-reincarnated postpunk/post-industrial group Scattered Order continue their latest reincarnation, now happily emanating noises for over 12 years in itself. These days it's Mitchell Jones (the little hand of the faithful) on beats, guitar and processed vocals, Michael Tee (A Cloakroom Assembly) on guitars & bass along with fellow traveller Shane Fahey on synths and other electronics. It can be abrasive and chaotic, but also weirdly melodic and beat-driven. Always a pleasure.

Tim Reaper & Kloke - Museum [!K7 Records/Bandcamp]
Inveterate, energetic jungle collaborator Tim Reaper releases collabs on labels of his own such as Future Retro and other contemporary jungle & drum'n'bass labels, but here appears on venerable German label !K7 Records with two tracks made with Melbourne-based producer Andy Donnelly aka Kloke. It's a reprise of their collab on Tempo Records last year, and both tracks are perfect for headphone listening and for dancefloors.

J:Kenzo ft Flowdan - Like A Hawk (Boylan Remix) [Artikal Music]
Remixes of J:Kenzo's 2019 Taygeta Code have been coming out over the last couple of years, with three 12" packages so far from Artikal Music. Stylistically they reflect J:Kenzo's own comfort inhabiting both the dubstep and drum'n'bass worlds, and the third remix EP that just dropped showcases this with three 140bpm reworkings, with grime producer Boylan's take particularly strong, supporting the menacing and deep voice of the don, Big Flowdan with heavy production.

Swimful - Backwards [SVBKVLT]
Swimful - More Distant on Approach (Phelimuncasi Remix - prod. DJ Scoturn) [SVBKVLT]
Shanghai-based producer Swimful's five releases on SVBKVLT have found him changing styles with ease each time, and Rushlight has a dubstep/garage feel but equally is influenced by South African gqom and ampiano - clearly evidenced by the brilliant Phelimuncasi crew remixing an older track with young producer DJ Scoturn at the helm. It's music that should rip up dancefloors, and that Phelimuncasi remix is some of their best recent work too.

Andy Moor - Perseverance [Unsounds]
Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) - The Fall, The Freedom [Unsounds]
Scottish, Amsterdam-based guitarist Andy Moor aka Andy Ex co-founded the great exploratory label Unsounds with Netherlands-based Greek composer Yannis Kyriakides and graphic designer Isabelle Vigier in 2001. The label showcases sounds from contemporary classical to postpunk to field recordings and experimental electronic pop, always conceptually on-point and of unwavering quality. Their latest release, curated with Andrea Stillacci, is a double LP simply called CLAP, that sees 11 musicians dissect the concept of applause across different contexts. Kyriakides, for instance, samples and stretches the applause at the end of a Maria Callas performance; others like Moor Mother create collages from field recordings, street sounds, etc. Andy Moor's own piece uses handclaps along with sampled speech (recorded during NASA's space probe Perseverance entering the Martian atmosphere and landing) and throbbing bass to build a house track, while Robin Rimbaud (Scanner) slowly builds a pulsing drone with slow-flanged beats and synths that gradually reveal the source material (the fall of the Berlin Wall). It's always great to have a conceptual work where the music is first class, and that's what we've got here.

Radboud Mens - Conversion [Radboud Mens Bandcamp]
Radboud Mens - Modular [Radboud Mens Bandcamp]
I first heard about Dutch instrument maker and producer Radboud Mens via numerous collaborations with Michel Banabila. His latest release is a double CD called Continuous Movement that encapsulates Mens' various styles - drones, glitchy digital clicks and minimal (dub) techno, all together. The two albums exist separately but make the most sense together, with a cohesive feel whether it's head-nodding beats, beatless pulses, deeply encompassing or more sparse. A great introduction to an interesting & sometimes challenging artist.

Listen again — ~205MB

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