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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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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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