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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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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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