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experimental electronica
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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, 26th of February, 2023

Playlist 26.02.23 (11:00 pm)

Ranging from punk to hip-hop to jungle, hardcore, footwork to IDM, electro-shaabi, glitch, noise, to dub-chanson, post-classical pop and uneasy ambient.
And so the next time when you're wishing for my downfall / I'ma come back to drown y'all.

LISTEN AGAIN and wish for my downfall via FBi's stream on demand, or the podcast here.

Algiers - A Good Man [Matador Records/Bandcamp]
Algiers - Cold World feat. Nadah El Shazly [Matador Records/Bandcamp]
Atlanta gospel-punk iconoclasts Algiers have never been a band to rest on a particular sound, if their original blend could ever be called restful. There's always been hip-hop, and noise and references to club music. But somehow on their massive SHOOK they've exploded into everything, all at once, with help from a raft of collaborators. I was obsessed with the single Bite Back last year with billy woods and Backxwash, which is indeed a highlight here, but who would've expected Egyptian underground mainstay Nadah El Shazly to appear here? Or for the punk intensity of "A Good Man"? Not every track hits hard or succeeds, but this is still an exceptionally strong album about a world in trouble.

seina sleep & YoursTruuly - Soothsayers [PTP/Bandcamp]
seina sleep & YoursTruuly - Morethanenoughness (feat. Chucky Blk & RGB) [PTP/Bandcamp]
You can always trust Geng and his Purple Tape Pedigree to turn up really interesting music. Here we have the first album from a very young Austin, TX producer calling themself YoursTruuly, with surrealist rapper seina sleep, also from Austin. The sounds from Xóchitl aka YoursTruuly are full of psychedelic & spiritual jazz samples, but through a grainy, tape-decayed filter (especially see the two instrumental interludes). And seina sleep, who likes to call this genre "gift rap", has a talent for surrealist lyrics and wordplay, and is joined by a number of other Austin crew throughout the album.

Philip D Kick - Drown [Astrophonica/Bandcamp]
Philip D Kick - Orbit [Astrophonica/Bandcamp]
Jim Coles aka Om Unit spent a few years making some of the best contemporary jungle & drum'n'bass, but has always been gregarious stylistically, also pioneering the "slow/fast" genre that mixed dubstep with jungle, and with his Philip D Kick alias, melding Chicago footwork with jungle on the three Footwork Jungle EPs released in 2011. He's now released three albums on Fracture's Astrophonica label, each leaning on the Philip K Dick pun and very skilfully combining the two speedy genres. From the second album Pathways I particularly love "Drown", with the slowed-down Gang Starr sample at the start. From the new one, "Orbit" handily starts off in jungle mode but soon shifts into the busy kicks and stuttery samples of footwork.

Meemo Comma - Loverboy [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Meemo Comma - Crisis [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
Meemo Comma - Cloudscape [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
After her 2021 album Neon Genesis: Soul Into Matter², which combined Jewish mysticism with cyberpunk & computer game aesthetics, Lara Rix-Martin aka Meemo Comma now takes us back to '90s raves, drawing from jungle, breakbeat hardcore and trance as well as melodic IDM such as her husband Mike Paradinas likes to make. Rix-Martin's agnostic relationship to gender norms is is neatly encapsulated in the album's title - and protagonist - Loverboy. Indeed, while "she/her" is used in the album's write-up, "they/them" is used the artist bio, so. The production here is first class, easily evoking rave stylistics with style & humour, even on the more experimental glitched-up tracks like "Crisis". Honing their own artist craft has meant less time for Rix-Martin to give to their Objects Limited label, but they are also involved in A&R and press for Planet µ, to my mind pushing the label to address its own gender balance problems.

Askel - Hemlock [Straight Up Breakbeat/Askel Bandcamp]
Better known as one half of Finnish d'n'b duo Askel & Elere, Juho Kavasto appears here solo in an exclusive track from Finnish label Straight Up Breakbeat's Zero Three (Bandcamp Edition). "Hemlock" evokes jazzy "Hidden Camera" era Photek with classy drum programming - not too surprisingly as Kavasto is a drummer himself. A few of the tracks like this one were snuck out individually, but the whole Zero Three comp is a great summary of what SUB are doing, with a super high hitrate of d'n'b & jungle choons.

Eusebeia - Omen [Samurai Music/Bandcamp]
Seb Uncles' music gets better & better, with recent Eusebeia releases through Bristol bass/techno legends Livity Sound and classic junglists Omni Music. Now he returns to Berlin d'n'b powerhouse Samurai Music with the Omen EP, which sits well with the dark minimalism of that label while still showcasing his break juggling skills.

Kouslin - Five Four [Livity Sound/Bandcamp]
Speaking of Livity Sound, London dub/techno/bass innovator Kouslin returns to the label with the Patterns EP, with four very different tracks. There's mutant dancehall, with an almost jungley bent, and there's 4/4 techno, and then there's this track which is indeed 5/4 bass techno, with scribbly synth lines and complex cross-rhythms.

Son Zept - Ten Ton [Analogical Force/Bandcamp]
Belfast native Liam McCartan aka Son Zept finds his way for the first time to the Spanish electronic label Analogical Force with New Ireland Chrome, an EP that imagines a dystopian future Ireland... Musically, like much of his productions, it refuses to be pinned down, with a hefty slice of IDM/braindance informed by grime, jungle, acid techno anything else.

3Phaz - Shoulder Dance [Discrepant/Souk Records/Bandcamp]
3Phaz - Pivot (Msh Shayef Version) [Discrepant/Souk Records/Bandcamp]
Discrepant sublabel Souk Records preserves the parent label's world-ranging interests but with a beat focus. Souk's very first release is where I discovered Palestine's Muqata'a, and now they bring us the second album of Cairo's post-shaabi anonymous producer 3Phaz, whose debut album Three Phase took Egyptian urban genre mahraganat/electro-shaabi and threw it in the blender with harddrum, jungle and techno. Ends Meet certainly carries on from where the debut left off - indeed one of the tracks appears in a reworked form here - but lessens the distortion and pulls back from explicit references to UK & US dance music, so that North African percussion and melodies lead the music (alongside hefty 808 kicks and sub-bass). This is futuristic Arabic dance music.

Air Max '97 - Work To Live [DECISIONS/Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney's lucky to call Air Max '97 our own, although Oliver Van Der Lugt was born in Dunedin and has lived in UK, the Netherlands and Naarm/Melbourne. His DECISIONS label brings us his latest EP Enthusiast, which finds him in unusually straight-ahead club form, although Air Max '97 could never be "just" techno. "Work To Live" is the closest to his usual tightly-edited syncopated breaks. Check the Bandcamp page for a selection of merch for this one - t-shirts, hoodies, even a football scarf! All designed by Naarm-based Endless Prowl.

LAMIEE. - II [Carton Records/Bandcamp]
LAMIEE. - IV [Carton Records/Bandcamp]
Nicolas Remondino's work as LAMIEE. was one of my favourite discoveries of last year. He's back for 2023 with cruj, released on digital and CD by the French label Carton Records. In keeping with the fact that there's no keeping up, that one can only expect the unexpected, this release is once again nothing like his others. Well... a little bit. There's some kind of through-line, but it's more in terms of aesthetics (and lots of talent). Here we have four tracks of highly varying length, all of which seem superficially to be made up of nothing by abrasively glitching endlessly repeating tiny looped samples. On track I, the longest at over 16 minutes, the barrage of noise slowly evolves, producing the kind of beauty that used to be provided by the likes of Pita. With the much shorter II we're allowed some percussion to underline the rhythmic nature of the shuddering sampled sounds, and thus the three tracks that make up the second half proceed. This might sound like's ascetic, ugly or difficult music, but settle in; there's a lot to discover inside this psychedelic noise.

Drew Daniel & John Wiese - Hyperbolic Invariant [Difficult Interactions/Bandcamp]
Drew Daniel & John Wiese - Despised Clang [Difficult Interactions/Bandcamp]
Speaking of noise... John Wiese has been responsible for some of the most ear-splitting music in the noise/power electronics scene since the beginning of the '00s - solo, with groups like Sissy Spacek, and in many collaborative combos with the likes of Merzbow, Burning Star Core, Wolf Eyes et al. He's tended not to deal in distortion but rather in extreme pure sounds - with a penchant for high pitches dealt to the listener with no mercy. Back in 2018 he teamed up for the first time with Drew Daniel, one half of beloved sonic mavericks Matmos and purveyor of genre-bent oddities (of savagery and beauty!) as The Soft Pink Truth, for the album Continuous Hole, in which the more free sound-destruction of Wiese was tempered through Daniel's expertise in shaping unusual sounds into compositions. Their second duo album Through Mazes Running, released by Difficult Interactions, takes a similar bent, crafting splinters of noise into surprisingly rhythmic works. Both of their albums are super pleasurable listening - and I don't think it's just because my ears are unsalvageably broken.

popon - Bubu [Heat Crimes]
There's noise present too on the debut EP from popon, who started as a punk singer before becoming fascinated with electronics of all sorts. Her mostly improvised music builds rhythmic pieces of quasi-industrial techno, mutant post-dubstep bass horror etc, using domestic field recordings, synthesizers, and fractured samples of her own voice or her young niece's. It's the kind of bewildering music that could almost only come from Japan, and you should check out the whole EP.

JakoJako - Opak [Mute]
Sibel Koçer is a modular synth expert (she's worked for some years at Berlin modular heaven SchneidersLaden) and Berghain Resident DJ, which surely makes her the most Berlin person ever. It actually took some years for her to start releasing music, which now comes out under the name JakoJako (a play on her middle name, Jacqueline). It's not all the kind of slamming room-filling techno she'd be playing at Berghain - there's a lot of ambient mixed in there - but it's altogether bliss-inducing, pattern-based music that's gotten her released on the legendary Mute label.

Gantz - 2010 Roller [Gantz Bandcamp]
Gantz - Drop It [Gantz Bandcamp]
Turkish post-dubstep iconoclast Gantz gives us the third Ruff EP here with tunes originally created 2009-2012. The grainy, underwater production of his latter-day work is present here, with beats squished out of shape by hard EQ-ing and distortion - but they're still hard-hitting beats, owing much to uk garage, dubstep and bass techno. Great stuff.

Cruelle - Si je te le demande, fais-moi des bleues, fragile! [Avon Terror Corps/Bandcamp]
Cruelle - But [Avon Terror Corps/Bandcamp]
You never know quite what you'll get from Avon Terror Corps except that it'll be right out of leftfield, intense and strange. And so it is with Paris-based singer/composer/producer Cruelle, whose Bristol connections led to her mini-album J'ai remplacé l'amour par l'argent coming out on the label. As she describes it, these songs were composed "to capture a moment in time where I used autonomy as revenge", a wonderful concept (the title? "I've replaced love with money"). What we get is a mixture of dramatic French chanson with industrial and dub. Any label exec or A&R person would have gotten her to smooth the edges and keep it focused - so yeah, fuck those guys. This is the shit. The first song here I'll translate as "If I tell you to, bruise me, wimp!", while the second is simply "Aim". This is well-placed, well-deserved violence as music.

Magic City Counterpoint - Dream State [Magic City Counterpoint Bandcamp]
Two Brisbane post-classical, electronic, experimental alumni team up here who I somehow would never have expected together, but Magic City Counterpoint exists like it was always meant to be. Listeners to the show should already be familiar with both composer/guitarist/producer Chris Perren and composer/keyboard maestro/producer Madeleine Cocolas. Together they're making lovely songs with both their instruments, with lovely postrockish crescendos and beats. Some of their collaborative work originally came about from writing music for indie games developer Fuzzy Ghost (see Queer Man Peering Into A Rock Pool.jpg), and there have been two singles so far leading up to a debut EP soon.

Megan Alice Clune - Mountaineer [Room40/Bandcamp]
Megan Alice Clune - A Flash in the Pan [Room40/Bandcamp]
Following her exceptional album If You Do, released in 2021, Eora/Sydney singer/composer/sound-artist Megan Alice Clune is back on Room40 with the beautifully deceptive album Furtive Glances. It's derived from a large collection of piano improvisations recorded as voice memos on her phone, generally little asides when preparing for something else. These unpretentious non-compositions have been repurposed via MAC's impeccable ear and craftsmanship into something new, with little added except vocal snippets - but there are other extraneous sounds allowed to be present, like the feedback that opens the album. Even the most contemplative of tracks are accompanied by distant, filigree distorted drones, or almost-inaudible vocal layers, or the return of that robust feedback... It's a disturbed peace, but peace all the same, in Clune's capable hands.

Listen again — ~210MB

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