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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, 27th of November, 2022

Playlist 27.11.22 (11:30 pm)

We have through-lines of distortion, breakbeats and classical orchestration tonight, weaving through many genres, most of which are presented in unusual ways.

LISTEN AGAIN and blow your mind, via stream on demand @ FBi's website, or podcast here.

Joe Rainey - once the reaper [Psychic Hotline/Bandcamp]
Niineta, the debut album from Native American Pow Wow singer Joe Rainey, is one of my favourite albums of the year. Released in May by 37d03d, it's produced by Andrew Broder aka Fog in his current style - hi-tech, overdriven, lots of sound processing, heavy beats and granular soundscaping - but its core is Rainey's powerful, moving singing and his samples from Pow Wows around the country. New single once the reaper / d.m.ii is a nice surprise at the end of the year, released by Psychic Hotline, with the same intense Broder production. Extraordinary stuff.

Bird Eternal - Silence Is The Loudest Shape [Bird Eternal]
Previously known as 0point1, Blue Mountains musician Bob Streckfuss has returned recently as Bird Eternal, continuing a unique style that combines post-rock and shoegaze tendencies with indietronica and glitchy electronica. His songs are never anything but lush, and this week two have appeared on his Bandcamp. This one has a lovely video accompanying it.

Aasthma - C’mon Creeper feat. Louisahhh [Aasthma Bandcamp]
Only two months after their album Arrival was released on Monkeytown Records, the Swiss duo Aasthma (made up of Swedish club/experimental electronic legends Peder Mannerfeld and Pär Grindvik) released a new single with the Paris-based Louisahhh. They describe it as a power ambient ballad: maybe? It's not precisely a ballad, but it's not a club banger either. It's great though, heavy and passionate and sardonic.

Air Max '97 - Testrip [fabric Selects]
Bambounou - In Depth Beauty Routine [fabric Selects]
fabric is of course a legendary London club - in fact, their woes during COVID lockdown brought a call-to-arms that brought real change. There's already a label associated with the club - Houndstooth - but it has its own identity. But in addition to their DJ mix series, fabric has for a while been releasing artist releases under fabric presents, and now they're celebrating their newest imprint with a compilation, fabric Selects I. There are both established and new artists on here, ranging from heavy club sounds to breakbeats & bass. Sydney's (slash-Melbourne/NZ/London) Air Max '97 turns in a typically syncopated, complex piece of breakbeat'n'bass. And French producer Bambounou, known for dancefloor-filling club productions and more experimental fare, here turns in a melding of techno and junglish breaks, very delicious.

Brainwaltzera - G.B.D.F [separated] [FILM/Bandcamp]
Brainwaltzera - Medal Headz [G.B.D.F] Peshay Remix [FILM/Bandcamp]
Over the last 5 years, the mysterious Brainwaltzera has quickly become a big name in IDM, as a practitioner of classic '90s-style melodic electronica with complex beats and lovely sounds. I'm pretty sure it's a guy from Eastern Europe or maybe Central Europe, and it's certainly not a known IDM musician under an alias. Anyway, there's a track on his ITSAME album from earlier this year called "Medal Heads [G.B.D.F]", and the initials aside it felt like a nod to a certain well-known drum'n'bass label. Even so, it's a nice surprise to see that connection cemented on the new Medal Headz single with a remix from d'n'b legend Peshay. It's epic in scope, preserves just enough of the original but takes it into deep, free-flowing drum'n'bass territory. Meanwhile, Brainwaltzera does his own VIP-style extended mix, and also separates, it seems, the "G.B.D.F" bit into a bit of melodic non-d'n'b IDM pleasantness.

Outer Heaven - More Hardcore [UVB-76]
Petar Zivanic's Outer Heaven is the latest artist to have an EP on Bristol's UVB-76 label. Run by Ruffhouse & Gremlinz, it's a little less drum'n'bass-centric than its sister label DROOGS, but still focuses on d'n'b and murky techno, and here we have three tracks which vary between pretty up-tempo drum'n'bass and slower breakbeat. It's dark and energetic.

Slacker - Love As A Devil [Soft Raw]
Soft Raw is a new label founded by Bristol DJ Danielle covering a broad range of club musics. The debut release comes from London's Sam Black aka Slacker, whose 6-track Damage To Be Undone brings his halftime d'n'b and jungle into more of a techno realm - although each track stands in a slightly different position between these points. I chose one that emphasises the kinetic jungle breaks, no regrets!

Gunjack - The Dead Pool [Gunjack Bandcamp]
Gunjack - Winterlude [Gunjack Bandcamp]
A few months after his Hyperjazz volume 1, US producer Gunjack brings us the promised second volume, subtitled The Social Music. Again it's manic drill'n'bass with moody jazz keys and samples, super well done. In between these releases, Gunjack has dropped house, acid, techno, whatever takes his fancy - also notable this month is the superb album-length '90s-"ambient" style mix Substance Abuse which veers between ambient, trip-hop, acid, dub and even a bit of drill'n'bass. It's very Future Sound of London or The Orb, obviously too long to play here but well worth your time.

Lakker - Sliding [Lakker Bandcamp]
And here's Lakker with the second-last EP of the year from the Dublin-via-Berlin duo. Back to techno according to them, but this track is pretty wild & out there - insistent hammerbeats but somehow still structured enough.

Murcof - rios [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Murcof - MFRelay [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
It's nice to be reminded of some great music from the early 2000s. Between 2002 & 2007 Mexican producer Murcof released a series of albums on The Leaf Label that combined sampled and manipulated classical music with micro-house beats. On his website, Murcof credits these composers as some of the sources: Arvo Pärt, Giya Kancheli, Henryk Górecki, Morton Feldman, Giacinto Scelsi, Valentin Silvestrov. A nice mix of well-loved and obscure! Leaf have remastered all these albums for sumptuous new vinyl editions. If you have the CDs and would only get digital, there's not a lot of reason, but the Martes + Utopía collection does have a few unreleased tracks which are pretty damn nice as bonus tracks. The vinyl skips the added remixes on the original Utopía, but they're included in the digital too. The clicky beats and relatively minor bass content are strange to listen to today, but it's still strikingly lush a lot of the time, very well constructed and emotive.

Ben Frost - Kapitan [Invada/Bandcamp]
Ben Frost - Mainframe [Invada/Bandcamp]
Ben Frost - Wirus Sie Rozprzestrzenia [Invada/Bandcamp]
Following his excellent soundtracks for the three seasons of Netflix's German science fiction series Dark, Iceland-based Aussie composer Ben Frost is continuing to work with the makers of Dark, soundtracking their new series 1899. This is a truly excellent soundtrack, up there with Ben's studio albums, with full orchestra, various vocal contributions, and a plethora of electronics as well. Ben's typical bass-heavy surges do make appearances, along with beautiful pitch-bent synth melodies and shuddering, stuttering studio effects. And although there are segments of the music you could claim are scene-setting soundtrack stuff, it's mostly anything but: there are creepy and eldritch vocal pieces, moving orchestral & synth compositions, and even thundering percussion. Don't ignore it.

Noémi Büchi - Screaming At Brutism [-OUS/Bandcamp]
Noémi Büchi - Elemental Fear [-OUS/Bandcamp]
Earlier this week the latest four pieces came out from Sydney's Longform Editions, including the rather rhythmic 21-minute Paroxysm from Swiss electronic composer Noémi Büchi. Mere days later, Zürich label -OUS released her debut album Matter, which sees her drawing on early and mid-20th century composers to create maximalist electronic pieces. Electronic attempts at orchestral & other classical compositions can result in cheesy or embarrassing simplifications, but Büchi has managed to internalise and very effectively adapt aspects of the compositional approaches of the composers she's drawing from, with her suitably "maximalist" electronics engaging in harmonic movement, dense arrangements and rhythmic complexity that echo the past while surging ever forward.

Pierre-Yves Macé - You Cannot [Sub Rosa/Bandcamp]
Pierre-Yves Macé - More Gloom and the Light of That Gloom [Sub Rosa/Bandcamp]
Sylvain Chauveau - JG [Sub Rosa/Bandcamp]
Sylvain Chauveau - DC [Sub Rosa/Bandcamp]
Sylvain Chauveau - LN [Sub Rosa/Bandcamp]
Here's an unusual project. French polymath Sylvain Chauveau created a collection of small pieces of audio, composition ideas, snippets of vocals and so on, and sent them to his friend Pierre-Yves Macé, another French composer & producer, with whom he has collaborated frequently in the past. This time it's not really a collaboration - both artists have taken Chauveau's initial ideas and created a full album from them. Cult Belgian label Sub Rosa has released both under the title L'Effet Rebond (The Rebound Effect), with Macé's subtitled "Version Iridium" and Chauveau's "Version Silicium". The source material and the artists' similar aesthetics mean that the two works fit together very well, but they have certainly put their own spin on the proceedings. Each album consists mostly of short studies, with Macé finding space to craft beautiful melodic vignettes on piano, strings, woodwinds and other acoustic instruments, but the composer also inserts glitchy crackles and edits. His half ends with a beautifully subtle 18-minute piece of minimalism, with tiny piano samples slowly burbling away, harmonies gradually expanding and shifting. Chauveau meanwhile begins his half with a 17-minute work with cyclical guitar, clarinet and piano, but it's not made from studio edits - although much of the rest of his album is small pieces, often just single phrases. Both composers have enlisted various colleagues to join them, with Peter Broderick & others on backing vocals with Chauveau, and our friend Rutger "Machinefabriek" Zuydervelt contributing electronics (he also did the gorgeous layouts & design). Conceptual elements aside, this is very enjoyable listening and right on point for Utility Fog's liminal genre-agnosticism.

Aries Mond - Dear [Aries Mond Bandcamp]
Aries Mond - Hope [Aries Mond Bandcamp]
Aries Mond - Gentiana [Aries Mond Bandcamp]
Discovering Boris Billier's music as Aries Mond via Mathias Van Eecloo's Eilean Rec in 2018 was a revelation. Van Eecloo also released Billier's second album on his IIKKI label a year later, but I missed last year's Gaps and Shortcuts, so I'm very glad that Billier contacted me about Skinscape, which will be released on December 5th, so I've been able to preview two tracks for you tonight along with one from Gaps and Shortcuts. Aries Mond's music could initially have been classified as "post-classical" or "neo-classical" but his approach was always a little different from the oh-so-pleasant melodic piano with polite electronics. Billier keeps to minimalist material from his acoustic instruments, including the physical sounds of the instrument, and foregrounding edits and glitches. The latest two releases stray further: Gaps and Shortcuts is frequently also very minimalist, but from its opening track (featured tonight), it declares its interest in folktronica or laptop-folk with a strident acoustic guitar line and ramshackle beats. There are also gorgeous chopped vocals, sub-bass thumps and other electronics. Skinscape heads further into electronic territory, with microsound elements, glitch-rhythms and synths - but there are still acoustic instruments, micro-chopped vocals and intriguing hints of melody. A self-effacing artist highly worthy of greater attention.

Chat Pile - Badman V: A New Beginning [The Flenser/Bandcamp]
Chat Pile - TAH [The Flenser/Bandcamp]
Chat Pile - Tenkiller [The Flenser/Bandcamp]
Having released one of the albums of the year already - the scungey, impassioned punk/noise/sludge/doom of God's Country - Oklahoma's Chat Pile have only gone and dropped a second whole album on us in November! It's a bit different though. Tenkiller is the soundtrack to an indie film of the same name, and sports something like a country song, tracks with bells and glockenspiels (I'm guessing here), along with plenty of filthy, cracked loops worthy of a Wolf Eyes record, and a few bits of heavy riffage and anguished howls. Rad.

Listen again — ~202MB

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Wednesday, 23rd of November, 2022

Playlist 20.11.22 (11:43 pm)

Original hyperglitch tonight from a shortly-forthcoming album, plus wyrd arcane industrial folk, percussive variations, dub, jungle, iPhone-folk and ambient tape-loops...

LISTEN AGAIN and find what was lost... Podcast here, or stream on demand at FBi.

Metal Preyers - The Preyers Forest [Nyege Nyege Tapes]
Metal Preyers - Ecto Green Code [Nyege Nyege Tapes]
Metal Preyers feat Lord Tusk - Metal Mans Revolt [Nyege Nyege Tapes]
London musician Jesse Hackett and Chicago-based visual artist Mariano Chavez have worked together since 2018 as Teeth Agency, but as an offshoot or alias they have been releasing music via mixtapes and albums for the last couple of years as Metal Preyers on the Kampala-based Nyege Nyege Tapes label. Understanding it as an art project is in some ways helpful in unravelling the dense, polysemous, mysterious music (and I should mention that the visuals are awesome). The first track we heard tonight is one of a few featuring vocals from Hackett's 6-year-old daughter Wonder, and when I first heard it I assumed it was a slightly questionable ethnomusicological sample. Often, though, the provenance of the music seems to be an arcane reconstruction of British folk, or some 20th-century European classical composition - or that intersection-of-weird where proto-industrial and musique concrète meet. As often as not, though, the music does veer into a more contemporary beat-crafting or sound-editing realm, particularly emphasised with collaborators like Lord Tusk. Intriguing and rewarding.

BEFA - bonhomía a garrotazos [Ohm Resistance/Bandcamp]
BEFA - fuego verde [Ohm Resistance/Bandcamp]
Keeping things enigmatic and industrial, we join Spanish artist BEFA with their new album audienteogénica courtesy of Ohm Resistance. It's not immediately clear who BEFA is or what it stands for, but they're an antifascist collage/industrial/ambient/dub artist, well suited to the Ohm Resistance stable. There are a few experimental Spanish acts collaborating here, and notably a couple of contributions from Justin K Broadrick collaborator Dave Cochrane, who played in influential proto-hardcore punk/industrial band Head of David among others. Like Metal Preyers, the music here never quite settles into recognisable dance music genres, but will appeal to lovers of industrial dub and weird sound-art.

T5UMUT5UMU - Bottomless Valley [Hakuna Kulala]
Back to Kampala, where the Nyege Nyege-affiliated Hakuna Kulala label is based. But the Sea of Trees EP, while infused with percussion and influenced by gqom, is from Japanese producer T5UMUT5UMU. As the label says, he manages to take dance music forms of all sorts and rebuild them from the ground up - the title track sounds to me like a twisted take on Samurai-style tribal drum'n'bass, and tonight's cut is a gqom/dembow/half-time thing, with rattling subs.

Coco Bryce - Purim [Myor Bandcamp]
Coco Bryce - I'll Hide U [Myor Bandcamp]
Dutch producer Yoel Bego has gone by Coco Bryce for over a decade - although earlier on he was making hip-hop/dub/downtempo beats as well as skweee. But for some time now he has been a highly creative and talented force in contemporary jungle. He also runs the Myor label, and it's via that imprint that we've been given the 16-track Grand Larceny (Bootlegs 2012-2022) which runs the gamut from hip-hop and skweee through to hardcore and jungle. I admit I don't recognise all the pop tunes that are desecrated here, but I do recognize the cute Yiddish children's song "Chag Purim", sampled in the kind-of happy-hardcore track named for one of the, well, happiest Jewish festivals. And Kosheen's breakout drum'n'bass hit "Hide U" is transformed via pitch-shifting into some kind of horror...

Fracture - Booyaka Style [Astrophonica/Bandcamp]
Fracture - From The Very Top [Astrophonica/Bandcamp]
London drum'n'bass/jungle mainstay Charlie Fieber aka Fracture, also boss of the great Astrophonica label, has just released his new album/mixtape/project 0860, which is a tribute to London's pirate radio (and extending to the pirate radio broadcasts in other UK cities like Manchester & Bristol). At 0860.fm there's a heap of supporting material including interviews with people behind some of the important pirate radio stations, going right back to the '80s. Pirate radio played a big part in rave culture from the beginning, as well as soundsystem culture, and was absolutely central to the "hardcore continuum" of hardcore techno through jungle, drum'n'bass, uk garage, dubstep, grime and more. As Fracture describes, kids would be tuning in well before they could go clubbing themselves, and because anyone within range could tune in, it disseminated the culture far more widely than would have been expected. The Bandcamp download comes with a selection of excellent jungle tunes in Fracture style, as well as a full mixtape with all those tracks mixed in with radio interference, bits of interviews and callouts and the like. Fun stuff.

Ryoji Ikeda - ultratronics 11 [Noton/Codex]
Ryoji Ikeda - C8 :: can(n)on [Touch/Bandcamp]
Ryoji Ikeda - C4 :: contexture [Touch/Bandcamp]
Ryoji Ikeda - C5 :: cuts [Touch/Bandcamp]
Ryoji Ikeda - data.triplex [raster-noton]
Ryoji Ikeda - supercodex 04 [raster-noton]
Ryoji Ikeda - ultratronics 07 [Noton/Codex]
If you've engaged with the art world in the last few years, the world of installations and the interface where performance and installation work meet, you'd be hard pressed to have avoided Ryoji Ikeda. Back in the mid-to-late '90s when his early digital cut-up and glitch works were emerging, primarily on the Touch label, he seemed like a futuristic, very experimental and deliciously obscure artist, whose work bridged cerebral concept-art and experimental electronic dance music. Indeed, his razor-sharp cutting techniques and rhythmic complexity meant that he somehow crossed between the accelerated syncopations of jungle and IDM and the austereness of minimal techno. In recent years, Ikeda has become a giant of the art world, with exhibitions ranging from towers of light outside MONA in Tasmania and next to the Houses of Parliament in London to precise flickering light installations to walk through, under and around, seen in London, at Carriageworks in Sydney, and all around the world... and further, to intense multi-screen data visualisation works such as the one (inside) at MONA and one involving a performance aspect, shown among other places also at Carriageworks. These are often monumental works, and it's pleasing that their size, power and audience-friendliness mean that people are, knowingly or not, consuming his wonderful, complex minimal/maximal glitch music as well. In his audio work - within the installations and on record - Ikeda keeps the masses of data and finely chopped sounds within a rhythmic grid - albeit heavily syncopated. There's a purity to much of the sound: even though he has composed for string quartets and percussion ensembles, much of his work is entirely electronic, and mostly created within the digital realm. Some earlier works concern themselves with sine waves and interference patterns, but I would venture that it's the dense, rhythmic stuff that is most characteristically Ikeda. Ultratronics is his latest album, to be released in a few weeks, following almost a decade after Supercodex. It explores the same themes that have been present for ages - big data from genetics, quantum physics and astronomy, rendered into propulsive digital audio. Ikeda understands that this kind of aural reification requires movement, and light shows with big soundsystems in enclosed rooms can't help but evoke dance clubs. On Ultratronics he reminds of this with voice samples, croaking speech synthesis and even chunky breakbeats. It's wonderful to have a new recording from such an iconoclastic figure.

Mathias Delplanque - Seuil 8 [Ici d'ailleurs/Bandcamp]
We last heard the Burkina Faso-born, Nantes-based Mathias Delplanque on Utility Fog back in July in the very unusual context of his collaboration with veuze player François Robin. There the French bagpipe and other acoustic instruments went up against Delplanque's electronics in a strange parallel dance/folk music. Delplanque has multiple musical origin stories, drawing influences from his childhood in West Africa and a love of Jamaican music, which flows into his electronic music - including the dub techno project Leda - but he is also a composer and sound designer, and he has previously created stunning folk/ambient/sound-art work for Ici d'ailleurs' Mind Travels series. His new album Ô Seuil maintains the core aspects of that previous work, where a plethora of acoustic instruments from around the world meet sound design; but here there's a mighty percussive focus, and alongside the internationalist outlook there's a kind of industrial (or post-industrial?) feel to these rhythmic works - or maybe it's just because I've been listening to those albums at the top of the show tonight...

pole - Alp [Mute/Bandcamp]
Master mastering engineer Stefan Betke has recorded as pole since the late '90s, with his series of glitch-dub albums from 1998 being central works in the mythology of glitch as "revered malfunctions" - in this case, a defective pole filter which made a crackling noise, fizzing and snapping its way through his minimalist works. He also ran the excellent ~scape label with like-minded artists and some very nice compilations. To be honest I found pole hit or miss from the start, and that extends through the dub techno and other phases of his work. But nevertheless there's always the "hit" side, and there are some very tasty sounds to be found here. I can't imagine that the fans will be disappointed.

Stefan Goldmann - Lattice [Ash International/Bandcamp]
Here's a rather arcane and verrrry nice release from Stefan Goldmann, Berlin techno mainstay who is also the son of composer Friedrich Goldmann. Goldmann runs the macro label, releasing his own techno work and other experimental (somewhat) 4/4 techno, while more recently he's explored nonstandard intonation systems and intriguing cross-rhythms - not to mention the most interesting jazz album I've heard recently. But Call and Response, released by the Touch-affiliated experimental/minimalist label Ash International, is even more of a cerebral concept album, based around different kinds of reverb units fed with tiny electronic clicks. From these seeds Goldmann constructs massive drone works that slowly explode or implode, and abstract rhythmless dark-ambient dub. Considering the lack of anything much resembling pitch or rhythm - even on the clicky track I played, which uses reverbs more like tap-delays - it's quite engrossing and varied work.

Chloe Kim 김예지 - My Arrhythmias [Phantom Limb/Bandcamp]
Korean-born drummer Chloe Kim 김예지 is well-known to Sydney music lovers from her performances in many and varied groups in the jazz, improv and even jazz-leaning postrock worlds. Her latest solo release comes via the UK's Phantom Limb, four tracks of her highly inventive and agile drum kit playing (with a tiny smattering of electronic sounds). If you've seen her playing solo live, you'll know that she can be absolutely dazzling, and so it is with the pieces here. "My Arrhythmias" sees her fondly settling in to 6 minutes of intricate skittery patternlessness, homogeneous yet ever changing. A little bit of magic.

Giacomo Zanus - Iro [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
Last week we featured some incredible music from Italian musician Nicholas Remondino aka LAMIEE., whose new piece PATCHWORK was just released by Dutch label Esc.rec as part of a batch of new cassettes. Here's a piece from another of those cassettes, from another Italian: guitarist Giacomo Zanus, whose Inside a frame presents four "sonic frames" inspired by Iranian artist Abbas Kiarostami's final film 24 Frames, in which he digitally animated 24 still photographs. Each of Zanus' four tracks encapsulates a kind of animated stasis - field recordings and electric guitar subject to digital edits in the folktronic style.

Madobe Rika - Stille Nacht [Virgin Babylon/Bandcamp]
A couple of months ago, Japanese label Virgin Babylon introduced us to "virtual girl" Madobe Rika with her Baklava EP. Now she returns with a single track Stille Nacht, which is not a Christmas carol (to my great relief!) but rather a quite pretty piece of indie pop that turns all breakcore in the middle. Just what the doctor ordered.

anrimeal - 1. skin deep [Objects Forever/Bandcamp]
anrimeal - I Am Not [anrimeal Bandcamp]
anrimeal - 14. seat seat seat [Objects Forever/Bandcamp]
anrimeal - 16. narrative pt.3 [Objects Forever/Bandcamp]
Ana Rita de Melo Alves' solo music as anrimeal was one of my favourite discoveries of 2021, via a compilation on The Leaf Library's Objects Forever label. Her 2020 album Could Divine (from which we heard "I Am Not") is a very fine example of "laptop folk", in which acoustic instruments and her voice are manipulated digitally so that real performances and fractured editing blur and merge - all in service of gorgeous melodic songwriting. In 2021, anrimeal released an unusual form of remix album with Could Divine, Remembered, where remixes by fellow travellers are woven into spoken word commentaries and reminiscences about the creative process, and de Melo Alves' own self-reworkings. For Objects Forever, she has now released Skin Deep: A Study on Human Skin and Concert, which is a kind of audio diary of the month of April this year. It's mostly recorded and mixed(!) on iPhone using Voice Notes and GarageBand, with spoken commentary (often disturbingly ASMR - apologies, but ASMR is horrific and creepy, just stating facts), beautiful vignettes on synths, guitar, vocals and guests on harp, violin and other instruments. It's deliberately unpolished and inconclusive - a characteristic of laptop folk, particularly on The Books' masterwork The Lemon of Pink - and serves as a wondrous interlude along the way to the "true" follow-up to Could Divine. I'll keep you posted - now go listen!

Carla dal Forno - Stay Awake [Kallista Records]
From her roots in the experimental/noise/free music scene of Melbourne, to some years making solo music in the UK, now to the country life in Castlemaine (northwest of Melbourne), Carla dal Forno is a distinctive voice in self-produced songwriting. She's a composer of subtle songs that marry deceptively simple melodic catchiness with sparse arrangements that can go from the stripped-down postpunk of guitar/bass/drums to lonely cello, Casio keyboard, buzzing amps or unplaceable electronics. She has taken tips from the sonic experimentation of the noise scene, emptied out the aggression of punk, turned the wistfulness of folk revivalism to her own use, and delivers all this in a deadpan that, at its best, tugs the heartstrings despite - or because of - its muted emotiveness. Her albums are always softly powerful, and Come Around - her second released on her own Kallista Records imprint - is no exception.

Broken Chip - Tree Line [Broken Chip Bandcamp]
Broken Chip - Spool [Broken Chip Bandcamp]
Blue Mountains-based musician Martyn Palmer has made hazy ambient music as Broken Chip for over a decade, often in parallel with his organic beat-making as Option Command. For the last few years, sporadic Broken Chip releases have leaked out - including a beautiful album on Kate Carr's Flaming Pines label. The latest is an EP called Erosion, whose source material is short tape loops of an analogue synth - the Korg Minilogue XD - further treated with granular synthesis. Thus grainy sampling and sound degradation in both the analogue and digital realms contribute to the not-quite-there, out-of-focus feel of this music. The Blue Mountains are named for the blue haze the surrounds them when seen from a distance - perhaps due to volatile compounds emitted by the eucalyptus trees found throughout the region. Here Palmer takes us into a dreamscape in which the once-distant haze envelops us as we wander the valleys and bushland of the ancient mountains. Careful not to get lost!

Listen again — ~203MB

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Tuesday, 15th of November, 2022

Playlist 13.11.22 (11:43 pm)

IDM to jungle & breakcore to Indian-British jazz to various unsettling ambient and sound-art veins tonight.

LISTEN AGAIN, new & old, greatest & greatester. Stream on demand via FBi, podcast here.

Plaid - C.A. [Warp/Bandcamp]
Plaid - Return to Return [Warp/Bandcamp]
A new Plaid album is like putting on a familiar pair pf pyjamas. It's comfy, you know what it's like. And yet, analogies aside, they can still surprise - like the jangly guitar number in the middle of new album Feorm Falorx (didn't play it tonight sorry) that still manages to sound like Plaid thanks to those sweet chord changes. And honestly it's the melodies and harmonies that Andy Turner and Ed Handley are so expert at that make every Plaid listen a little joy - which is not to say that they're not rhythm masters too. There are tracks here in 7/8, there's lots of syncopation and head-nodding and booty-rocking. It's Plaid. It's good.

Gimmik - Circles [n5MD/Bandcamp]
Gimmik - Floppy Disk [Toytronic/Bandcamp]
Gimmik - Modulated Youth [n5MD/Bandcamp]
Because I am old, I remember when the ?!Load-Error EP came out from Martin Haidinger's Gimmik, on the Toytronic label he co-founded - co-released with the legendary Worm Interface, based out of the Berwick St, London shop Ambient Soho. Bouncy drill'n'bass and acid that in 1997 marked him as second-gen IDM, but only just. He released a number of albums following this, and migrated gradually to more ambient climes, with n5MD handling his releases for a while now - although Load Error got an expanded CD release in 2005 and is now on Bandcamp. Earlier this year the Sonic Poetry album reprised some of those bouncy beats with new productions from Haidinger, but new release News From The Past takes us right back to those early days, '94-'00. Some of the material was released by Toytronic around the same time as the Load Error reissue, but it's expanded itself now digitally, with a vinyl version also available. It's lovely stuff for thoes who enjoy crunchy beats and melodies à la µ–Ziq - indeed, it's notable that ?!Load-Error EP came out the same year as µ-Ziq's currently-celebrated Lunatic Harness, so, you know... It comes complete with a beatless faux-classical gem of the type Mike Paradinas would've been proud of.

Pixl - Chimes (2015) [Pixl Bandcamp]
Leeds-based junglist Laurie Smart has been releasing tunes since around 2015 as Pixl or Pixl23. He's just dropped three excellent tracks on his Bandcamp uner the banner Some Old Jungle - although "old" isn't early '90s in this case. Nevertheless, the two 2015 tunes and one from 2020 are class acts, in no way bottom-of-drawer stuff. Turn up your subwoofer and get ready to dance.

Ahm - Call [Anterograde/Bandcamp]
Ahm - Mindspeech [Anterograde/Bandcamp]
Keep those subs pumping - Naarm/Melbourne producer Andrew Huhtanen McEwan aka Ahm is returning with their third EP for Anterograde, and Ansible is all sci-fi all jungle all the time. An ansible is a faster-than-light or near-instantaneous communication device, invented by the great Ursula K Le Guin, and McEwan was attracted to the idea during Covid lockdowns, where formerly short distances could feel intergalactic. The EP is out on Monday the 21st of Nov, so this is a preview of two rich, dark, complex drum'n'bass tunes.

Hextape - >:) [Powertrip]
Hextape - What Temperature Do You Keep The Magnet At [Powertrip]
Ahm's new EP also features a remix from Hextape, the breakcore/electronic alias of Naarm/Melbourne artist and organiser Bridget Chappell. But this week also sees the release of Chappell's new Hextape album >:) (angry smiley). Being scanned in an MRI machine reminded Chappell (as it has me as well) of a particularly intense noise gig or rave, and that led them to approach the Melbourne Brain Centre to let them record the machine's pings and ka-chunks and buddabuddabuddas as source material a kind of imagined rave. A Cypress Hill sample at the start of the title track reminds us (in the funnest way possible) of the stigma of brain illness, and Chappell's multitracked cello lines on a number of tracks acts as a stand-in for the suffering patient, interjected at times by MRI chirps. The MRI's own rhythms are usurped mostly by Chappell's own beats, drawing from drum'n'bass and techno, stuttering and glitching like a malfunctioning machine, although the functionality of an MRI machine does not map easily on to a 4/4 grid, so your personal rave is naturally rather avant-garde. It's a great idea, very well executed.

ALXZNDR - M4 [DEEP MEDi/Bandcamp]
London-based Alex Frosell is also classically-trained, and his melodic talents show on his latest EP as ALXZNDR, his debut on the great dubstep label DEEP MEDi. 140bpm music, whether dubstep or grime, lends itself to a certain kind of harmonic movement, and Frosell understands how to move those interrelated chords around a slow, syncopated bassline with plenty of dub-derived space. A great collection of dancefloor-welcoming tunes.

NERVE - MIRRORWISE (E.F. VERSION) [Heavy Machinery Records/Bandcamp]
I've played this track before from Melbourne's Joshua Wells aka NERVE, but it's now the lead track on his forthcoming EP Meridian Blaze, to be released in February 2023 by Melbourne heavy-hitters Heavy Machinery Records on a limited slab of heavy wax. NERVE has tended towards fast-moving techno that edges into drum'n'bass territory; here the tempo is slower but the drum'n'bass breaks still creep in. It's dark and nimble, and there's no doubt the rest of the EP will deliver in spades.

Sarathy Korwar - Back In The Day, Things Were Not Always Simpler (feat. Noni-Mouse) [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Sarathy Korwar - KALAK - A Means To An Unend [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Sarathy Korwar - To Remember (feat. Kushal Gaya) [The Leaf Label/Bandcamp]
Three years after the brilliant More Arriving, British-Indian drummer & composer Sarathy Korwar follows it up with another brilliant combination of Indian music with jazz, electronics and hip-hop influences. KALAK is entirely co-produced with Photay, but the American producer is deeply sensitive to Korwar's vision, cleaving close to the sound of the last album, but giving it bass heft where needed, and clarity to the rich arrangements. This time round the spoken word seems to be from Korwar himself, explaining colonialism and racism in a poetic but plain-spoken way. But there are also wonderful Indian vocals soaring over some of the beats, including Mumbai's Radha Priya aka Noni-Mouse, and Kushal Gaya of Melt Yourself Down. Essential.

Christina Vantzou - Red Eel Dream [kranky/Bandcamp]
Christina Vantzou - Greeting [kranky/Bandcamp]
This album was something of a surprise to me. I know Christina Vantzou as a composer of highly minimalist music, right from her earliest work as one half of The Dead Texan with Stars Of The Lid's Adam Wiltzie. It's not that No. 5 isn't quiet and minimalist, but it's nevertheless full of movement and variation, constructed in a collage-like way from 17 musicians' performances. It's not quite the ADHD channel-flipping of certain contemporary artists, but the odd juxtapositions and shifts are very enjoyable, as are the intrusions of different sonic spaces, presumably derived both from the disjoint recordings and from post-processing. It's beautiful music that places classical vignettes in a sound-art setting.

Marc Richter - CHAPTER FIVE [Cellule 75]
Marc Richter - CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE [Cellule 75]
Hamburg's Marc Richter is best known as Black To Comm, under which name he's released albums on Thrill Jockey as well as various experimental labels - including his own Dekorder, which he's run for a couple of decades now. While Dekorder is still running as far as I know, his new album under his own name appears on Cellule 75, his label that has been active for a few years now too. MM∞XX Vol.1 & 2 really sounds very like Black To Comm, which is great because Black To Comm is awesome - but it is in fact a highly collaborative affair, made up of samples provided by 33 artists, including UFog faves like Machinefabriek, Jerusalem In My Heart, Richard Youngs, Christoph de Babalon, Maja Ratkje, Frédéric D. Oberland of Oiseaux-Tempête, GRM's François Bonnet (aka Kassel Jaeger) and many more. At times these artists' contributions surface recognizably, but by and large its orchestrator and composer imposes his characteristic vision: organic-feeling collage, cinematic, surreal musical storytelling, humour and dankness. Oh and it's released as a double CD, which is an instant thumbs up from me.

Yara Asmar - Jumana [Norient/Bandcamp]
Elyse Tabet & Jawad Nawfal - Coast III [Norient/Bandcamp]
Switzerland-based online gallery/magazine/community Norient have a series called Norient City Sounds (Nairobi featured earlier this year), and this week released Beirut Adrift, compiled by Beirut-based writer Rayya Badran. It's a very personal selection of music, ranging from ambient soundscapes to industrial pop and trip-hop to acoustic soundscapes. Filmmaker, puppeteer and musician Yara Asmar contributes a piece for (I think) accordion and subtle percussion, beautiful wheezing sounds, while Elyse Tabet (aka Litter) and Jawad Nawfal accompany organic samples with chattering percussion.

LAMIEE. - Locè [Jungle Gym Records/LAMIEE. Bandcamp]
Ōtonn - Breathe [small forms/Bandcamp]
LAMIEE., hystrix kitsch - PATCHWORK. (excerpt) [Esc.rec/Bandcamp]
LAMIEE. - INN 1 (excerpt) [Never Anything Records]
We finish with a number of selections from Italian artists Nicholas Remondino, whose LAMIEE. project has barely existed for two years, but has already racked up 10 releases of various lengths. I discovered him in the latest batch of releases - all excellent, short cassettes - from Dutch label Esc.rec - and it turns out that I'd already heard Remondino in his duo Ōtonn with experimental musician Andrea Silvia Giordano, on Esc.rec's Two Crumbling Shapes last year. That excellent album combines contemporary classical composition & improvisation from collaborators on various wind & string instruments with very contemporary electronic editing & processing. I have since discovered Ōtonn's previous release, Tawny, released in 2020 on Viennese label small forms, featuring a similar mix of experimental noise and acoustic instrumentation (tonight's track also features spoken word from Graham Rix). Remondino's solo work is even more wide-ranging. Locè has a blissfully distorted shoegaze sensibility, leaning into the psychedelic noise aspect; INN, which we excerpted tonight, is two long tracks of synth patterns and overdriven percussion, and there's lots more (just search the very distinctive name on Bandcamp!) - but PATCHWORK, the single-track 16-minute work which prompted me to explore his catalogue, is a tour de force collaging everything including the kitchen sink, in collaboration with the "almost imaginary ensemble" hystrix kitsch (Remondino on drums, voice, synth and sampler, plus friends on voice, bass, tenor sax and artwork (it's very cool artwork)). Even in the first 5 or so minutes that I played, there's digital processing, some kind of trap-meets-cabaret, glitching noise-techno, electro-acoustic ambient with field recordings, and if you check out the rest you'll hear chugging indie/shoegaze, frenetic folktronica, some kind of distorted free jazz drumming and more(?) - it may not be hyperpop, but it's certainly hyper. I recommend you take the same deep dive I did this week and enjoy the spoils.

Listen again — ~209MB

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Tuesday, 8th of November, 2022

Playlist 06.11.22 (8:18 pm)


As we were preparing the text for this week's episode, the news came of the death from ovarian cancer of Mimi Parker from Low. She'd been sick all year but this was nevertheless absolutely heartbreaking and I spent Monday listening to nothing but Low. An angelic voice and a beautiful person. RIP.

LISTEN AGAIN to Sunday's show, because there's so much to listen to! Music is good! Stream on demand the FBi way, podcast here.

The Leaf Library - Agnes In The Square [Where It's At Is Where You Are/The Leaf Library Bandcamp]
The Leaf Library - Badminton House [Where It's At Is Where You Are/The Leaf Library Bandcamp]
I've been following London's ever-versatile drone-pop/space-rock band The Leaf Library for some years. They have a talent for melodic indiepop hooks and krautrock grooves, but are just as happy making minimalist sound-art pieces, being remixed and remixing others, or taking those kraut-pop grooves into stratospheric 20-minute hypno-jams. Our opening track tonight originally came from a Second Language comp and displays their pop prowess, while the second comes from a 2012 Olympic-themed compilation from their current label Where It's At Is Where You Are, and seems to model its beats on hits of badminton racquets.

Lueenas - In The Search feat. Emma Acs [Barkhausen Recordings/Bandcamp]
Lueenas - Gaia [Barkhausen Recordings/Bandcamp]
A few weeks ago I played two preview tracks from this incredible self-titled album from Danish duo Lueenas. Here are two more. They are Ida Duelund on double bass, drum machine, Moog bass and "pedals", and Maria Jagd on violin and pedals. The string instruments are the core, but some of the best material comes when the violin is screeching through distortion and the double bass is producing thundering drones. That said, tonight's selections are both on the more subdued side, including a gorgeous piece of almost-jazz featuring a touching vocal from Emma Acs (whose current band is Evil House Party). Through the album there are filmic violin swells, drones, thudding rhythms from the instruments' bodies, and groaning noise drones as well as beautiful pizzicato lines and delicate string interactions. Very special stuff.

Pleasure - HARDLY 210203 [Disasters By Choice/Bandcamp]
Sydney's Pleasure are a trio of drums and synths and occasionally other instruments, all talented multi-instrumentalists. They're led by Adam Connelly, with Hugh Deacon and the ever-busy Jonathan Boulet (look! He has a Wikipedia page!) Their music is always improvised, but unlike their great album from last year that was all recorded in Saint Albans, Chop Wood, Carry Water collects bits from the last 3 years or so. It's motorik at times, a bit postpunk, it's primitive but sophisticated (yup) and also just plain fun.

CS + Kreme - Would You Like A Vampire (feat. Bridget St. John) [The Trilogy Tapes/Bandcamp]
CS + Kreme - Pink Mist [The Trilogy Tapes/Bandcamp]
The work of Conrad Standish and Sam Karmel as CS + Kreme seems representative of a certain segment of the Melbourne experimental music scene, with Karmel's history in bands like Bum Creek, while Standish (brother of HTRK's Jonnine) has inhabited the indie rock sphere for a couple of decades. The CS + Kreme duo has seemed to relish a kind of shapelessness, from smooth lo-fi electro-pop on their early EPs through to gradually more jagged edges and post-punk/dub aesthetics from the much-loved Snoopy LP a couple of years ago. Now comes Orange, an even greater departure into post-punk experimentalism, with bubbling drum machine patterns, disembodied vocal samples, a little spooky cocktail jazz piano (maybe that's a stretch) and a side-long drone, distortion & drum machine opus with help from James Rushford on various keyboard instruments. For my money, this is by far their best effort and a 2022 essential.

Deepchild - Songs You'll Never Hear [A Strangely Isolated Place/Bandcamp]
Deepchild - Now It Is Me Being Breathed The Veil Breaks [A Strangely Isolated Place/Bandcamp]
Sydney prodigal son Deepchild was a regular on 2ser and FBi for many years who started making beats around the same I did in the late '90s, and was comfortably ensconsed in the Berlin club scene, playing at the likes of Berghain for years. He released his stunning Fathersong on Mille Plateaux earlier this year, and its follow-up Mycological Patterns is now out on ambient/idm blog-turned-label A Strangely Isolated Place. It's a one-two punch of ambient techno bliss from an artist of great depth who found immense success among a small cadre of music-makers and connoisseurs but struggled to break out in the way he deserved. Some of the half-forgotten club and pop sounds filtered through grainy delays and drones from Fathersong are echoed here (on both of tonight's selections), but this fungal-themed album also harnesses Holly Herndon's Holly+ voice model on two tracks, and sneaks into beatless techno territory on some more uplifting compositions. Wonderful stuff.

Christophe Bailleau & Friends - The Dream Card [Optical Sound/Bandcamp]
Christophe Bailleau & Friends - Mère Nature [Optical Sound/Bandcamp]
French label Optical Sound specialises in French sound-art from cross-disciplinary artists, although from further away, Simon Fisher Turner, Robin Guthrie and others have turned up there on occasion. On new album Shooting Stars Can Last, Belgian "free musician" Christophe Bailleau decided to bring some community to lockdown life by inviting friends to provide field recordings, electronic programming, instrumental soundscapes and the like for this hybrid album. The result is a work that rejects easy classification, at times offering up glitchily-edited folktronica, at times post-classical pastiche, at times gothic chanson-dub. Whatever it is, it's compelling listening, and a little window into the francophone sound-art scene.

Loom & Thread - Causal Ambiguity [Macro/Bandcamp]
Loom & Thread - O**ne* [Macro/Bandcamp]
Leipzig/Berlin band Loom & Thread aim to turn the traditional jazz piano trio inside-out, much like pianist Tom Schneider's other band KUF do to dance-pop. Tobi Fröhlich on double bass and Daniel Klein on drums are immaculate jazz players, and Schneider is a brilliant jazz pianist, but his nimble playing is also fed back into the trio improvisations by way of his sampler: sped up, stuttered into static clouds of notes, shifted in time. We're told this happens in real-time but if so, he's masterfully controlling the sampler simultaneously with his keyboard gymnastics... I feel like there are digital re-edits of the jazz improvs, but in any case this is a brilliant and unique take on post-jazz, with moments of true beauty and dazzling sections of both instrumental prowess and technological creativity.

Tim Reaper - Elephant Workshops [Future Retro]
UK junglist and collaborator extraordinaire Tim Reaper often uses his own labels as a platform to cross-promote jungle & drum'n'bass producers around the world in team-ups, but here he's finally dropping a solo EP on his Future Retro label. Submerged Into Darkness really is some of the hardest and darkest stuff I've heard from him in a while, but then we get "Elephant Workshops", with a notably delicate & pretty piano intro and fleet-footed beats with sub-bass support and melancholy melodicism. Among his best tunes.

Hooverian Blur - Kill Chain [Sneaker Social Club]
On his second Sneaker Social Club EP of the year, UK rave obscurantist Hooverian Blur starts in jungle tekno territory before accelerating into syncopated jungle break-juggling.

Godwin. - Switchin Sidewayz Ft Outsider YP [Godwin. Bandcamp]
Strange Boy - Bronson (Godwin. Rmx Ft. JME) [Godwin. Bandcamp]
Hailing from Ireland, Godwin. is a producer known mostly for smooth r'n'b and hip-hop beats that have graced various rappers & singers from Ireland and beyond. In March he released his solo instrumental album The Beginning, but he's keen to show his versatility and the appropriately-titled Unexpected is a excursion mostly into jungle & drum'n'bass, accompanied by various MCs both sampled and collaborative. Fellow Irishman Outsider YP joins him on "Switchin Sidewayz", and also included is a junglist re-cut of a recent single from Limerick rapper Strange Boy, with added vox grabbed from grime original JME. On the EP this segues straight into some pitch-perfect ragga jungle. At 20 years old, Godwin. is on an upward trajectory.

Vaal - 4th Generation Smart Phone [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
Vaal - Song Zero [Bedouin Records/Bandcamp]
Eliot Sumner has been producing electronic music as Vaal for around a decade, but only started releasing it relatively recently. They are also known as a singer & songwriter under their own name, both for punk/post-punk and electro-pop, as well as an actor - and if you recognize the surname, that's because they are indeed the child of Gordon Sumner, better known as Sting, with actress Trudie Styler. The name Vaal was taken as a way of being anonymous, and even though "Eliot Sumner" is connected with this album, the family connection goes unnoted. And while I have to admit that the Police and Sting's early solo music were among the first rock & pop I became a fan of as a schoolkid, there's near-zero connection with this particular music at all - it's just really fucking good. Unlike Nosferatu, their 2019 album that was much more along techno lines, this album incorporates breakbeats galore, from drum'n'bass and drill'n'bass (see "4th Generation Smart Phone") to more trip-hop like stylings, along with noisy but cinematic guitars and electronics. It's really very Bedouin Records, which is always a drawcard.

Lårry - CMmL_CoE3 [BleeD]
Berlin-based Lårry has released EPs previously on labels like Super Hexagon and Awkwardly Social. His new mini-album out from revived London techno label BleeD, titled Over The Why, showcases leftfield techno at a broad range of tempos, with IDM and bass influences. Maybe it's because I love me some bass, or maybe it's just because this is really well-done, but this seems to me great stuff to enjoy on headphones, in the car or to slip into a DJ set. Follow the BleeD Bandcamp as it's not up for pre-order, but it's out on Nov 18th.

Gantz - spineless [Gantz Bandcamp]
Turkish dubstep & experimental electronic producer Gantz has been on a Bandcamp rampage all year - actually much longer - and if you're much of a UFog listener you will be have been reminded of this fact quite frequently. He's just ported across his EPs originally released on V.I.V.E.K's Innamind Recordings, including the excellent Pusher Acid, but there's a small difference there: the original opening track "Axxon N" (which is great btw) has been replaced with the sparse and creepy "spineless", which you may be able to identify as sampling The Weeknd's huge choon "Earned It". Yikes!

JK Flesh - Cruiser [Pressure]
JK Flesh - Crawler [Pressure]
If you know me at all, you know that Justin K Broadrick is one of my heroes. He's voraciously creative in many spheres, from foundational grindcore/metal with Napalm Death, even more foundational industrial metal with Godflesh, wondrous shoegaze metal as Jesu, and meanwhile the ambient/dub/techno/hip-hop of Techno Animal and Ice with Kevin Martin aka The Bug (recently reformed as Zonal) and his other electronic work including a series of drum'n'bass 12"s as Tech Level 2 (also recently revived!) - not to mention the drone/noise of Final and countless other projects. Earlier this year he released an incredible IDM album under his Pale Sketcher moniker, and meanwhile the JK Flesh alias, initially a kind of mutant dubstep thing, has been an outlet for harsh and dirty industrial techno, often veering into surprisingly high tempos, but for the superb new Sewer Bait album for Kevin Martin's own Pressure label the tempo slows right down to super scuzzy, pummelling but somehow, dare I say... comforting? Put this on in a dark room with a bunch of like-minded folk and joyfully wallow in the negative vibes.

Listen again — ~206MB

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