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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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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.

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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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