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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, 8th of January, 2023

Playlist 08.01.23 (11:00 pm)

It's the second Sunday of January, 2023, and I'm already playing 2023 music! But I am also looking back to December 2022 and some earlier 2022 music I missed. Some. But time moves on and the music world these days STOPS FOR NOONE. Not even me ?

LISTEN AGAIN to keep up! Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Machinefabriek - + Berlinde Deman [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - + Jeremy Young [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - + Christine Ott [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - + Leo Chadburn [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - + Michel Banabila [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
Machinefabriek - + Giovanni Di Domenico [Machinefabriek Bandcamp]
The first release for 2023 from Machinefabriek is comprised of 52 tracks, each derived from a 1-minute improvisation contributed by a different musical friend of the artist. It's a solution to Rutger Zuydervelt's circumstances in the latter part of 2022, having become a father for the first time, trying to work out how to balance his time with making music, design work and parenting. Creating a collection of short works seemed like the ticket, and the result is the monumental album simply titled +, which will be released on CD & digital on Feb 17th - although the even-numbered tracks are already available for streaming & download on Bandcamp. As you'd expect, Zudervelt's collaborators range from acoustic instrumentalists to electronic experimentalists. Tonight we started with jazz musician Berlinde Deman, who as well as playing tuba & euphonium is a specialist in the serpent, an ancient bass brass instrument; she's followed by Canadian tape manipulator and sound-artist Jeremy Young, who contributes the sine waves and radio that he's been using lately, and then we hear from Christine Ott and her signature ondes martenot. Ott's track is a good example of how Zuydervelt absorbs and reworks the sounds of his collaborators, with jungle's amen breaks buried somewhere in the analogue sounds. Our second batch brings spoken word and field recordings from Leo Chadburn (who you may know as Simon Bookish), a piece with longtime collaborator Michel Banabila, and Fender Rhodes from prolific jazz/experimental pianist Giovanni Di Domenico.

bracken - .... [Bracken Bandcamp]
bracken - ... [Bracken Bandcamp]
On December 21st, Chris Adams dropped a surprise bracken album on his Bandcamp with no notice. Raking Light is a lot more ambient than previous Bracken material, give or take (I played the one track with beats tonight). As per Adams' work over the years with Hood, there's a hard-to-define hazy mix of indie and electronic here, with some muffled vocals at times, some dub delays, and patented Chris Adams angst. I'll take anything new from Chris, whether Bracken, Downpour or something else, with the full veneration it requires.

part timer - one [part timer Bandcamp]
Another December release, after a stellar year of albums and EPs, part timer's 2022 extras gifts us with four more unreleased tracks, with folktronic glitches & shuffly beats and post-classical prettiness as only John McCaffrey can do.

William Ryan Fritch - Storm [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
William Ryan Fritch - Excavate [Lost Tribe Sound/Bandcamp]
The very prolific Oakland-based composer & multi-instrumentalist William Ryan Fritch had a quiet year last year - but that's about to end, with a three album series begun this month, each of which will focus on the water crises faced by communities around the globe. Much of the music on Polarity, which is released this Friday, came out of soundtrack work William did for the stunning documentary Newtok, about an Alaskan community being displaced by climate change. This album sees Fritch expanding his sonic pallette, adding to the acoustic instruments (many of them homemade) that he's used for many years. Synthesized electronic sounds are brought into the physical world via modified speakers, hydrophones, solenoids and so on, captured by ceramic PZM mics and contact mics. The physicality of the sound here is palpable, and allows Fritch to bring mutant techno pulses and electronic drones & surges into his acoustic soundworld.

Putrika - Monologue [self-released]
Born in Jakarta, Putrika is now based in Sydney, and her first single "Rain On Tuesday" led to her being made Independent Artist of the Week on our very own FBi Radio back in March 2022. That song is now on her Silmara EP, which I'm only just catching up with now. It's four tracks of soul-infused minimal house, to my ears very Matthew Herbert. It's entirely self-produced and super well done.

Lint - Fruit Bat Nite Club [Mound of Sound]
Lint - Fluff [Mound of Sound]
Dru & Mitch Jones are low-key Sydney experimental music royalty, with Mitchell being a founding member of postpunk/proto-industrial shapeshifters Scattered Order, and Drusilla having been involved from early on too. The two are based in Mount Victoria these days, just outside of Sydney in the Blue Mountains, where they continue to create wonky art that doesn't quite belong to any particular genre or scene, but somehow picks up flavours of the zeitgeist whenever it glancingly intersects with it. Mitch still plays with the latest incarnation of Scattered Order, and both are also solo artists, but they also team up together as Lint, under which alias they released Reggae Nuns In Paradise late last year. Mitch plays guitar through laptop effects and creates variegated beats, and Dru provides manipulated samples on, I believe, an iPad. It's psychedelically disorienting and deeply enjoyable.

Simona Zamboli - Underworld [Mille Plateaux]
Simona Zamboli - Movement [Mille Plateaux]
A Laugh Will Bury You is Milan-based sound engineer Simona Zamboli's second album for Mille Plateaux. Like the excellent Ethernity from 2021, it takes a sideways view of the industrial, hard techno that she makes in other contexts, melting it down to its elements and mixing in plenty of dust, creating murky textures and rhythms well-suited to history of Mille Plateaux. In amongst the dark electronics and noise are discorporate vocal loops which only add to the general sense of disturbance.

Slikback x Blackhaine - SLKBLKH FREESTYLE [Slikback Bandcamp]
Not only does Kenyan experimental producer Slikback drop tracks, EPs, albums on his Bandcamp just about every month, he frequently comes up with brilliant collaborations with the cream of the crop. Thus, 2013 began with this slice of perfection landing on that Bandcamp - Slikback's trap-influenced overdriven beats with the Northern drill poet of bleakness, Blackhaine. What more to say? It needed to exist, it exists.

LeTo - Gin Nothing [[re]sources]
Lyon producer LeTo, a founder of the bass-loving True Lyon Crew and Leftover Dubs, joins the excellent Parisian bass label [re]sources with Automatisms. It's a 3-track EP of UK bass-infused 130 tunes, with nods to dancehall as well as garage & grime, all three catchy and dancefloor-ready.

Lila Tirando a Violeta & Nicola Cruz - Cuerpo que Flota [N.A.A.F.I/Lila Tirando a Violeta Bandcamp]
Lila Tirando a Violeta & Loris & Nick León - transmute [Lila Tirando a Violeta Bandcamp]
Lila Tirando a Violeta - Brief Glimpses of Happiness [N.A.A.F.I/Lila Tirando a Violeta Bandcamp]
Camila Domínguez is a Uruguayan electronic musician, DJ, performer, label owner and event organiser, whose solo music as Lila Tirando a Violeta is lately exploring Latin influences with bass and hard dance styles. She's also one half of queer pop duo A.M.I.G.A, and collaborations - generally with other Latin American musicians - are strewn through her work, including 7 out of the 10 tracks on her latest album, Desire Path. In between two tracks from that album, I played a track in which she teams up with Mexican-Palestinian producer Loris and Miami-based Nick León. Meanwhile, Ecuadorian star Nicola Cruz appears on the opening track, but on the closing track (one of the truly solo pieces), Domínguez samples a forlorn, monotone voice. It's a hell of a quote, and accompanied by a simple percussion loop and arid drone it's a hell of an album closer.

The Flashbulb - Uphill Manual (Live PA) [The Flashbulb Bandcamp]
Benn Jordan is a genius - a longtime breakcore & drill'n'bass producer from wayback who has built a very successful YouTube channel around his talent for explaining things clearly & creatively - and a real journalistic flair, it has to be said. Check out his recent video on Why Spotify Will Ultimately Fail - it'll make your blood boil. At the end of 2022 he snuck out a mixtape of music from 2022 called Kirlian Tapes v1.0 (a callback to his classic genre-bending album of genius Kirlian Selections), with little fanfare other than the release emails on Bandcamp. He apologised that it's "mostly jazz", and he's rather good at jazzy noodling on keyboards and bass; but there's a fair bit of that characteristic drill'n'bassy drum programming, at least on the first few tracks.

PinkPantheress - Take Me Home [Warner Music]
Nobody represents the TikTok generation's surprising turn to jungle & drum'n'bass as much as the 22yo English pop singer PinkPantheress. Her incisive, concise songs frequently draw on mid-'90s beats, and it's a really sweet, if odd, thing. Early last year a bunch of folks remixed songs from her debut album, but near the close of the year she put out a three-track EP, the title track of which is another of those nice jungle-pop songs.

Parallel & Tim Reaper - Experiments In Motion [Future Retro]
UK junglist extraordinaire Tim Reaper aka Ed Alloh took time off from his collaborative series Meeting of the Minds last year to release a bunch of other stuff (because he never sleeps!), but he's right back into it in 2023 with two more volumes. Both are excellent, as usual each featuring two tracks a side with a jungle or hardcore producer collaborating with Alloh, and from Meeting of the Minds Vol. 10 we heard some classic dark jungle with Parallel, an artist Reaper worked a lot with in earlier days.

Arcane - Curse of the Pharaohs [Rua Sound/Bandcamp]
Another of the newer generation of junglists, Bristol's Arcane returns to Irish label Rua Sound, and specifically their jungle-focused imprint Foxy Jangle, with two tracks of hi-fi beats & basslines, with a distinct melodic sensibility.

Calm Stiege - Zipper [Third Degree]
Moving to Perth label Third Degree, who released the excellent hardcore/breakbeat/jungle album HAZMAT (Hazardous Materials Vol. 0002) late last year. It may be a Western Australian label, but Calm Stiege is a London-based artist, whose main focus is UK Garage & Funky, but here turns in some very nice accelerated breaks, jungle-stylee.

Laxenanchaos - Cluster Amaryllis (Edit) [☯ anybody universe ☯]
It's something of a tradition for ☯ anybody universe ☯, the label of Japanese drill'n'bass/breakcore producer Laxenanchaos, to put out a release at Christmas each year. For their 7th anniversary, it's new EP Cluster Amaryllis from Laxenanchaos with lovely breakneck IDM stuff, including two quite different versions of the title track.

Obelisk - Illidan Bass (Ptwiggs Remix) [PAYNOMINDTOUS/Bandcamp]
Obelisk - Echoburst [PAYNOMINDTOUS/Bandcamp]
Keeping it jungle/hardcore-continuum, albeit considerably broken-down and noise-laden, the Turin-based PAYNOMINDTOUS label brings us the debut EP from Eora/Sydney's Obelisk, who organises the Nexus events and works closely with FBi all-round legend Krishtie aka Index. I played Obelisk earlier in 2022 from Deep Scan's Solid State Drive 2 compilation, and here are three more dark and dangerous tracks, backed with two great remixes. Jungle & IDM have always featured in Phoebe Ptwiggs' DNA, and her remix here explodes with a beefed-up hardcore techno racket.

Skee Mask - Steamer (Early Mix) [SCNTST/Skee Mask Bandcamp]
Ilian Tape mainstay Skee Mask released two EPs on the Munich label last year, but he also put out two albums, just titled A and B, on the Bandcamp of his early SCNTST alias, both collecting unreleased, unmastered Skee Mask tracks from the last 5 years or so. There are many gems to be found, including plenty of representation of his love for melding jungle & d'n'b tropes (and IDM) with his minimalist techno.

Listen again — ~208MB


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