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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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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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