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Utility Fog

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Sunday, 12th of March, 2023

Playlist 12.03.23 (11:00 pm)

Sound-art and beats, it's the Utility Fog way.

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Lia Kohl - the moment a zipper [American Dreams/Bandcamp]
Lia Kohl - or things maybe dropping [American Dreams/Bandcamp]
It was a pleasure to discover the music of Chicago-based cellist, sound-artist and performer last year with her debut album Too Small to be a Plain, released through Matt Mehlan's Shinkoyo/Artist Pool. The wonderful American Dreams have picked up Kohl's follow-up, The Ceiling Reposes, another stunner. Again, Kohl incorporates radios scanned across the frequency band, stopping briefly for interesting sounds (whether spoken or even musical), crackling in the background of tracks otherwise constructed from layers of cello, keyboards, voice, percussion and more. Like the best of the fabled Books, found sounds, field recordings and these fuzzy radio broadcasts are folded into Kohl's compositions, making a musical whole which sounds organic, natural, at times chaotic, but is meticulously constructed - and all the more beautiful for it. Kohl's art emcompasses these recorded compositions, creative and humourous performance pieces, jazz ensemble playing and string orchestration and more (see credits here), but deserves wide recognition for the quietly radical invention of her solo work.

Accelera Deck - Keep [Accelera Deck Bandcamp]
Back in 2020, I featured a chunk of the archival material compiled by Chris Jeely from works released through '98 to about '06 as Accelera Deck and myriad other aliases, before he paused operations for some time. Since then, new work continues from time to time, and his latest EP Keep looks back 25 years to his debut album Narcotic Beats, repurposing material from the time into four tracks, as usual merging shoegazey guitar textures with dubby and drum'n'bassy beats.

Glamour Lakes - The Extinct Volcano Does Not Dominate The Town [Glamour Lakes Bandcamp]
Adelaide musician Glamour Lakes has been slipping out a few singles since the start of the year from an upcoming album to be called Native Coils. It's a departure from recent disquieting ambient, heading into electro-pop territory, but like the last single, it's underpinned by clattering amen breaks. Fun (and a rad title).

the little hand of the faithful - You're in the streets [Mound of Sound/Bandcamp]
the little hand of the faithful - Living by the last pass [Mound of Sound/Bandcamp]
I don't know how Mitch Jones continues to make so much creative music so regularly still, over 40 years after the founding of Scattered Order and the M Squared label in grimey inner-city Sydney. Now based in Katoomba with his wife, artist & musician Drusilla Johnson-Jones (who is thanked here for her inspiration), Mitch's solo efforts now come under the alias of a small stuffed bear named the little hand of the faithful. Grid is Good expresses love for the good old grid that anyone who's used a DAW (Digital Audio Workstation) is deeply familiar with, and this perhaps explains something of his productivity - with four decades of working with sound in media from 2-inch tape with scissors through to primitive hardware samplers and to the present, the tools we have at our disposal on cheap laptops or even tablets remove much of the time-consuming side of music production, leaving an experienced master of his art to just pile in the sound sources, basslines and melodies. Jones is talented at keeping his beats adjacent to contemporary tendencies (in his own way), while inserting jagged postpunk guitars and at times his own buried vocals into what the label copy describes as "off kilter, wide screen pop". That is is, that it is.

Noise Diva - Crying For 6 Minutes In The Club Toilet [Raghoul/Bandcamp]
BLKM3TA - Drklight [Raghoul/Bandcamp]
Based between Morrocco and the Netherlands, the Raghoul label positions itself as a non-hierarchical space for musicians from North Africa and the Middle East to explore, in particular, bass music - indeed "raghoul" is a word from the language of the Amazigh (sometimes known as Berber, the indigenous people of the Maghreb) that roughly translates as "bass". The second release on the label is the compilation Crocodile Tears in a Reptilian World, and you owe it to yourself to grab this right now. Every track is quality, but for this week I chose two. Yara Said is an Amsterdam-based DJ, artist and producer working under the name Noise Diva, whose track "Crying For 6 Minutes In The Club Toilet" collages spurts of noise with Arabic singing and ambient sequenced synth lines for a distinctive take on chill-out. BLKM3TA are a trio of members from Barcelona-based collective Jokkoo, whose "Drklight" is a slow crescendo into tumbling amen breaks, massive sub-bass and what sounds like looping Arabic samples used Public Enemy-style. For anyone with any interest in where electronic music (beats, sound-art, noise) is at the moment, this is an absolutely vital collection of music.

KEITA SANO - Octa Wednesday Re-master [Keita Sano Bandcamp (no longer available)]
Japanese producer KEITA SANO, now based in Osaka after some years in Berlin, typically makes variants of house music, disco edits and so on, but has a very wide remit throughout his large archives, with Andy Stott-style tape-smudged techno, IDM, hip-hop and at times jungle - like this re-mastered track. Bewilderingly, a week after this went up on his Bandcamp, it's no longer there - just like a few of the tracks I featured in December last year. If you're interested in a creative, talented producer, I suggest following his Bandcamp and grabbing the occasional thing before he takes it away again :)

John Rolodex - Formless [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
In the early 2000s, John Knoll, a young Canadian DJ & drum'n'bass obsessive made a huge impression on the d'n'b scene under the name John Rolodex - see the brutal Dragon for instance. After some years' break, he returned in 2020, and now his Formless EP for Metalheadz isn't so much a return to form as a whole new chapter. While no less dark, there's a lightness of touch which allows for jazz elements, and on the title track a highly infectious take on drumfunk. A brilliant surprise for both Rolodex and Metalheadz.

Mantra - Victory Dance [Sneaker Social Club]
Indi Khera is a driving force in UK drum'n'bass & jungle, not just as DJ Mantra but also as the founder of Rupture London with her partner Double O - first as a club night and then a record label focusing on jungle & breaks-related styles within d'n'b. Still, it's taken some time for her debut EP to arrive. The Damaged EP is out through Sneaker Social Club, ranging from tense, sparse breaks to rolling, roaring amens. It's everything she & Double O nurture over at Rupture, and let's hope she has time to craft plenty more tunes in the near future.

Kloke & Tim Reaper - Foundation (Kloke VIP) [Future Retro London]
Jungle's busiest collaborator Tim Reaper has worked with Naarm/Melbourne producer Kloke on a few occasions now. Their "Foundation" was the first track on the very first Meeting of the Minds EP Reaper put out on his Future Retro label in 2020. New series *ahem* FRMOTMVIP (Future Retro Meeting Of The Minds VIP) sees various MOTM collaborators breaking out of the mind-meld, so to speak, with their own VIP mixes. It's actually really interesting hearing the individuals' takes on these joint productions, and the Aussie Kloke truly does us proud here, with tweaked breaks, lush synths and sweet, sweet sub bass, joined by Reese bass and finely chopped amens as the track progresses.

Rufige Kru - No Angels [Metalheadz/Bandcamp]
Metalheadz began their 25 Years of Metalheadz series in 2021 (so actually 26 years after the beginning), but the imprint continues to roll out remastered classics and either unearthed classics or new tunes in classic style - so here is Goldie's Rufige Kru alias, here finding him working with James Davidson, one half of Ulterior Motive. "No Angels" in indeed classic-sounding, harkening back to when jungle was just going darker and tougher. Nice, nice stuff.

Noroi & VSC - Untitled Jungle [SPHERES/Rua Sound]
Galway, Ireland-based jungle/drum'n'bass label Rua Sound introduces their new sublabel SPHERES with the Adrastea EP from Rome-based DJ & producer Noroi aka Alessandro Diaz Espinoza, founder of events series & label Reveries. SPHERES is intended to allow Rua Sound to expand from their jungle focus, and two tracks here are slower breaks tracks, but in particular "Untitled Jungle" is a gorgeous piece of junglist beat-juggling with ambient synth pads and vocal samples, created with drum'n'bass DJ & fellow Roman VSC. You can discover more of Noroi's breaks-fusion tracks on the first Reveries compilation Double Phase.

AMIT - Trial Run [AMAR]
London-based visual artist & producer Amit Kamboj is closely associated with the half-time/halfstep hybrid of dubstep and drum'n'bass. He's released on many labels in the past including Exit Records, but his own AMAR Records is home to most of his music now - although it's been 3 years since his last releases. His new EP Trial Run / Burning the Retina gives us only two new tracks, but both are sumptuous specimens of his craft - thumping, rumbling bass at head-nodding tempo with skittering hi-hats, dubby slap-back delays and freaky synth chords.

Zoë Mc Pherson - Lamella [SFX/Bandcamp]
Zoë Mc Pherson - On Fire [SFX/Bandcamp]
French-Irish sound-artist Zoë Mc Pherson released their first album String Figures in 2018, with an album that grew out from their early experience with jazz drumming and Irish fiddle, with tracks formed around field recordings and musical recordings from around the world. The album also existed in audiovisual form in collaboration with multimedia artist & motion designer/director Alessandra Leone, and a couple of years later the pair founded their label SFX with Mc Pherson's second album States of Fugue, which features more of their (often processed) voice with complex percussion and sound-art. Now the artist's third album Pitch Blender has finally dropped, irrevocally influenced by the pandemic that changed the world within a month of the previous album's release. Here again are environmental recordings, Mc Pherson's voice and electronic backings, all thoroughly mutated, but here also are the most club-ready, drum'n'bass-influenced beats yet from Mc Pherson - "foley rave" as veteran label head & music journalist John Twells puts it in the press release. "Lamella" represents the most direct "song" Mc Pherson has released to date - there's a slightly extended instrumental version included too, but the vocals are a key part of this piece and the music in general. A very strong progression from an always ground-breaking artist.

Slikback - WARAU [Slikback Bandcamp]
Once again, Nairobi's greatest, Slikback, drops an EP on Bandcamp with no notice. H I K A R I is his usual combination of interests: bass, hard dance, distended samples, hints of trap, no small amount of noise.

Hannah Lee - Healing [Pronoia Souvenirs/Bandcamp]
Currently based in Mexico City, Hannah Lee is a music producer & DJ from LA with roots in Ecuador. Their third EP Transiciones is released by Mexican label Pronoia Souvenirs, featuring keyboard & electric organ textures, glitchy rhythms and processed percussion - somewhere between uneasy ambient and dub techno.

Carrier - Ten By Ten [The Trilogy Tapes/Bandcamp]
Carrier - Chlorine [The Trilogy Tapes/Bandcamp]
Guy Brewer has gone by many aliases over the last couple of decades, including as an early member of drum'n'bass act Commix, but his solo work tends to the dark & industrial. He's probably best known as Shifted, making minimal techno weapons aimed at cavernous Berlin club dancefloors or fizzing, atonal ambient that only occasionally brings in throbbing beats. In many was his latest alias, Carrier, is of a piece with the Shifted material, but it makes sense to separate it. On Lazy Mechanics, released by The Trilogy Tapes, there's ambient crackle and slow 4/4 beats, but by "Product Of Environment" we've got skittering cross-rhythms and syncopated bass that hints at an ascetic, modernised view of those early d'n'b days, while those skittery hi-hats are embedded in more of a dub techno space on "Ten By Ten" - a vibe also carried by the more sinister opener "Chlorine".

Tim Koch - Gambiér [Tim Koch Bandcamp]
All of a sudden, there's a new album from Adelaide's Tim Koch. He's mostly shed his IDM roots now: there are occasional crunchy beats, some beatless rhythms, occasional granular terror... "Gambiér", named for the city and actual mountain (with no accent, thanks Tim) near the western edge of South Australia. These are lovely, calm textures of what could be acoustic guitar, chopped and scattered and reversed. Skilful stuff.

Listen again — ~206MB

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