a wholly owned subsiduary of
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experimental electronica
electric string quartet

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, 21st of May, 2023

Playlist 21.05.23 (6:47 pm)

From the most "pop" Utility Fog music to the most experimental & abstract, new rave dancefloors to African diaspora percussion, industrial new-wave pop to dulcimer-driven post-black-metal.

LISTEN AGAIN on demand at FBi, or by podcast here. Repeated listens may induce transcendence.

Michael Ackroyd - Delicate Puncture [Michael Ackroyd Bandcamp]
About two and a half years ago, I debuted a track from Sydney's Michael Ackroyd, comparing it to late-period Talk Talk. Now, finally, we get to hear track #2, which is just as beautiful. It tells a story of chronic pain which led Ackroyd to become addicted to opioids. A soft guitar song slowly morphs into electronics, finally landing in fluttering beats and pulsating synths underlining multitracked vocals. Ackroyd's lived experience centres the songwriting, but there's no doubt that Ackroyd's award-winning sound design work lifts the music to another level. More is to follow, sooner than last time one hopes!

Taraamoon - Atiq | عَتیقْ [Low-Zi Records]
Exactly a year since their last song, Paris-based Iranian duo Taraamoon come out with another of their Persian-language electronic pop songs. Known as 9T Antiope for their more experimental material (usually sung in English), Sara Bigdeli Shamloo and Nima Aghiani conjure intimate emotions from electronic loops and tough beats - and Shamloo's pure voice.

Mandy, Indiana - Drag [Crashed] [Fire Talk/Bandcamp]
Mandy, Indiana - The Driving Rain (18) [Fire Talk/Bandcamp]
Somehow lately "pop" music (whatever that is, broadly taken) has once more become accommodating of experimentation and extremeness - maybe it's the political climate, or just where we are now. Maybe you'll turn around to me and say, "Come on, Manchester's Mandy, Indiana might sound like raucous noisemakers with their live industrial beats, squalling synths and shouted vocals, but this comes from a great tradition going back at least to punk and new wave if not further". And you'd be right, my friend. Even so, it's exciting hearing stuff as uncompromising as this being fêted by the arbiters of the zeitgeist. Touchpoints for their debut album i've seen a way have been the unusual recording techniques - recording drums in a cave, vocals in a shopping mall, field recordings on iPhone... The noise, for sure, but also the fact that Valentine Caulfield's vocals are entirely in French - a distancing effect for much of their audience despite the fact that they are emphatically personal and defiantly feminist. On "Drag [Crashed]" she's shouting out phrases that she's been subjected to as a woman: "She’s gonna pop some fly buttons", "Cover your shoulders, you’ll distract the boys", and of course "Souris, souris, souris, souris" which you may recognize is "Smile, smile, smile, smile". It's a visceral evocation of how tiring and infuriating this treatment is. Mandy, Indiana's debut album is a force of nature that 2023 will be reckoning with, and long may they rage.

Beverly Glenn-Copeland - Sunset Village [Atlast/Transgressive/Bandcamp]
Beverly Glenn-Copeland - Africa Calling [Transgressive/Bandcamp]
While not exactly labouring in obscurity, American musician Beverly Glenn-Copeland was rediscovered by a new generation in the mid-2010s when her 1986 album Keyboard Fantasies was re-released successively on three different labels. Other retrospectives followed, as well as a remix album, but the forthcoming The Ones Ahead is his first studio album in almost 20 years. Keyboard Fantasies was initially released before Glenn-Copeland had transitioned, and was celebrated as one of the greatest recordings by women by Seattle newspaper The Stranger. His website bears a quote worth attending to: "There are three challenges in my life. The first is being black in a white culture. The second is being transgendered in a hetero-normative culture. The third is being an artist in a business culture." "Sunset Village" from Keyboard Fantasies is a meditative piece I often listen to repeatedly, and its synthesized marimba-like line evokes "exotic" locales; but "Africa Calling", the first single from his new album, is an explicit call-out to his West African heritage. I can't wait to hear what the rest of the album holds.

YL Hooi - catch [Archaic Vaults]
Suburban Cracked Collective - Not Ready for Whistles [Archaic Vaults]
Continuing A Worn Out Tradition III is - yes - the third compilation from London artist Severin Black's Archaic Vaults, featuring ambient & experimental artists from around the world (including a typically elusive track from Saint Abdullah) as well as from so-called Australia. Here we have the dubbed out furtive song of YL Hooi, a member of Kallista Kult and part of Naarm/Melbourne's experimental scene, and the pensive primitive synths of Suburban Cracked Collective, the solo project of Mulubinba/Newcastle's Shaun Leacy, once of the great Castings.

Crimewave - Aftermath [Black Acre/Bandcamp]
Crimewave - 50 Rapid [Black Acre/Bandcamp]
Here's another variant of "pop" - if you squint - here combined with UK dance styles and experimentalism. Manchester's Crimewave explore the underbelly of Northern UK, sampling altercations outside clubs in Glasgow, Newcastle and Manchester throughout their debut EP Altercation, with the jittery, clipped bass'n'breaks driving these tracks juxtaposed with the saturated, blissed out vocals - the jungle & shoegaze revivals camped together in a grimy English bedsit... Excellent signing from the UK bass and post-bass Black Acre label, situated down south in Bristol.

Dehousy - Wanna Be [[re]sources]
UK bass music rules across the world, and French label [re]sources is a great example of that (of course with a French twist). Here we have rave breaks and vocal snippets from French producer Dehousy from his latest EP.

Treega - We Da Dogs [Reveries/Bandcamp]
Treega - Trasher (Noroi Remix) [Reveries/Bandcamp]
There's also some great bass & jungle-influenced stuff coming out of Italy. Here's one released by the club night-cum label Reveries, from Treega, an artist the label describes as "one of the best kept secrets in Italy". It's three tracks of infectious breakbeat grime, rounded out by a fizzing, twisting remix from label head Noroi.

Blawan - Dismantled Into Juice (Ft Monstera Black) [XL Recordings/Bandcamp]
Blawan - Toast [XL Recordings/Bandcamp]
Berlin-based Bristolian Jamie Roberts aka Blawan, fresh from his mutant bass/metal project Persher with Pariah, returns to XL Recordings with the highly twisted deconstructed club EP Dismantled Into Juice. It's even further away from techno, as such, than 2021's incredible Woke Up Right Handed, driven by distorted modular synths, shuddering bass, and on two tracks vocals from the mysterious Monstera Black.

ZULI - All [The Drills] [Nashazphone/Bandcamp]
ZULI - Papercuts pt3 [Nashazphone/Bandcamp]
Although in some ways it's his most experimental release yet, the jungle, hip-hop & IDM influences of his past music are audible in the new album from ZULI, recorded on his live setup in his Cairo home and released on local label Nashazphone. The live nature of these tracks lends them the musical energy of a DJ set, with grinding industrial loops in amongst the cut-up beats.

B.I.N.T. - Self Under Siege [200+]
R-T-Fax - Secodont [200+]
Eora/Sydney's breakcore and hardcore scene has always been strong - not to mention our neighbours in Newcastle/Mulubinba country to the north - and new players are very active now alongside old hands from the days of System Corrupt et al. 200PLUS001 is the first (I think) compilation from the 200BPM+ Is My Safe Space crew. They may say that, but I'm pretty sure even on this comp there are tracks under 200BPM. Still, it's hard & hammering. Here we have locals B.I.N.T., with shattered breaks that would work as jungle if it would only slow down a little, and the typical stop-start rave dynamics of R-T-Fax aka Erin Nortje.

Princess Difficult - Destroyer [Avon Terror Corps]
Cruelle - I Took Speed You Can Fuck Me All Night [Avon Terror Corps]
Bristol's Avon Terror Corps are welcoming of all kinds of bizarre arts, and their latest cassette/digital compilation HAVON' A GOOD TIME covers metal, club mutations, industrial, noise and more. It's dedicated to the trans community at a time when the world's media is willingly complicit in the far-right's harrassment of this vulerable demographic. Here we have Irish interdisciplinary artist Princess Difficult with distorted industrial techno, bass and murky atmospherics, and then Paris's Cruelle, who released a brilliant mini-album on ATC last year, and here brings a somewhat menacing aspect to her titular phrase "I Took Speed You Can Fuck Me All Night".

Charles Wesley - Soften Into This Grey Ocean [LINE Imprint/Bandcamp]
Charles Wesley - The Error [LINE Imprint/Bandcamp]
The audio on Lyon-based musician & writer Charles Wesley's album simply entiteld C is perhaps less minimalist than a lot of the output from Richard Chartier's LINE Imprint, with crunching noises and glitches distributed, sometimes more rhythmically, sometimes less, throughout the tracks. Many of the tracks also feature the author's softly-spoken, French-accented English, elusively & allusively contemplating their unknowing experience of non-binariness growing up, and what intimacy is like in the digital age. Deeply cognisant of the queer & non-binary art that has come before it, this is a wonderfully assured experimental work.

Svetlana Maraš - 2019-2020-2 [-OUS/Bandcamp]
Svetlana Maraš - 2019-2020-7 [-OUS/Bandcamp]
Spoken word floats through some of the glitchy sound-work on the latest album from Swiss experimental label -OUS, a survey of live recordings from 2019-2020 by Serbian musician Svetlana Maraš. Now based in Basel, Switzeland, where she is Professor of Creative Music Technology and Co-head of Electronic Studio at Hochschule für Musik FHNW, up to 2021 she was artistic director and composer-in-residence at the Electronic Music Studio at Radio Belgrade, at which she was able to work deeply with the EMS Synthi 100, built specially for this studio. Throughout this time she was able to develop a musical language that allowed detailed control of sound in space, with micro-samples of all sorts manipulated in multiple dimensions through pressure-based controllers, pedals and her own Touch OSC interfaces on tablets. It's highly impressive work for concentrated headphone listening (or room listening if you have a great setup!)

Botanist - Selenotrope [Prophecy Productions/Bandcamp]
Botanist - Angel's Trumpet [Prophecy Productions/Bandcamp]
I've long been an acolyte of the work of Otrebor and his Botanist project, ostensibly black metal made with distorted dulcimer as its lead instrument. If it's black metal at all nowadays, it's the new school that's blending in shoegaze and more, along with Otrebor's wide interests (even before we get to the "Verdant Realm" in which his eponymous scientist-romanticist lives, far from nature-destroying humanity). The harsh vocals here are more like distorted whispers, while the layers of dulcimer often support the multi-tracked choral harmonies of Otrebor: notably, Botanist's Roman-numeral-prefixed albums, of which Selenotrope is VIII, are always solely the work of Otrebor. This is glorious, lush music, straight out of the Verdant Realm, flowering in the moonlight.

Listen again — ~212MB

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