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Utility Fog

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Monday, 28th of August, 2023

Playlist 27.08.23 (11:53 pm)

Sometimes it's really hard to work out the right flow for the tracks I have on hand. There's a stackload of great stuff tonight, but it has to flit back and forth between all sorts of genres because that's just how it is. Still, as always a celebration of amazing music!

LISTEN AGAIN and just go with the flow. Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Michael Ackroyd - Vice Grip [Michael Ackroyd]
Here's the second single this year from Sydney musician Michael Ackroyd, following a few years after his first released track that I know of. A straightforward end-of-relationship song? Well, perhaps, but the melding of emotive songcraft and crunchy post-dubstep beats makes for something special.

Animal Hospital - Fuselage [Sipsman/Bandcamp]
If you've been listening this year, you'll have heard me play two excellent standalone singles from Animal Hospital, the project of Kevin Micka that released three albums from 2005-2009, including the incredible Memory. Micka's music combines (mostly instrumental) indie rock, postrock, doom and experimental electronics, and each release tends to have one or two mammoth tracks of 15 to 20 minutes that gradually develop into surging noise. After a smattering of singles and other oddities in the intervening years, Animal Hospital returned in 2020 with Fatigue. Now he's back again with an album coming from the Sipsman label, four tracks ranging from <3 minutes to >16 minutes. The first single clocks in at a mere 6 minutes, but it's still got that epic/minimalist postrock vibe. A real pleasure.

jaimie branch - take over the world [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
jaimie branch - world war ((reprise)) [International Anthem/Bandcamp]
The sudden death of Chicago/New York trumpeter jaimie branch last year, aged only 39, resonated around the world. She played with many of the Chicago and New York jazz scene's greats, and from 2017 released a series of inspired, passionate albums (each titled "Fly or Die" in some variation). Her music with her band is clearly jazz, but also draws from her half-Columbian roots, and is infused with a punk energy and DIY ethos throughout. The second album featured the magical "prayer for amerikkka pt. 1 & 2", with the ecstatically shouted refrain, "We got a bunch of wide-eyed racists!" Her posthumous third album in the series (discounting the brilliant double live album) is titled Fly or Die Fly or Die Fly or Die ((world war)), a concoction of poetic language use and idiosyncratic punctuation that would make Godspeed You! Black Emperor proud, and indeed her politics is similarly radical, with the ecstatically chanted "We're gonna gonna gonna take over the world, and give it give it back back back back to the la-la-la-land", on a song that starts punkfunkjazz and by the outro features a morass of looped, pitch-bent vocals dub-style while Lester St. Louis scrubs his cello strings and the rhythm section of Jason Ajemian and Chad Taylor keep it steady. This joyous music is a wonderful legacy and tribute to a brilliant musician who left us far too soon.

Pierre Bastien & Michel Banabila - Slow Dance [Pingipung/Bandcamp]
A pairing that's unexpected but makes perfect sense... Pierre Bastien is a musician and maker, whose mechanical constructions form the core of his art - a trumpet-playing automaton, a violin-playing one, various bits of percussion etc. He released a couple of influential albums on Rephlex back in the day, and recently collaborated with Tomaga before Tom Relleen's tragic death from cancer. Michel Banabila is of course the Dutch composer/producer whose music incorporates fourth world tendencies, music from cultures the world over, tape and digital effects and beats. The title track of their album Slow Dance, released by the Hamburg-based label Pingipung, has the characteristic haunted/haunting sounds of Bastien's mechanical instruments, filtered through Banabila's electronics. For someone familiar with both artists' styles, it's immediately an "Oh yeah!" moment where you realise how much is in common between their sensibilities. I'm looking forward to hearing the rest.

Rutger Zuydervelt - Never Return (Kaleiding Outtake) [Objects & Sounds/Bandcamp]
Yves De Mey - Imber [Objects & Sounds/Bandcamp]
One of Michel Banabila's long-term collaborators is fellow Dutch musician Rutger Zuydervelt, aka Machinefabriek. Rutger has an album coming out soon called Kaleiding, a beautiful & varied soundtrack to a performance work by Lily&Janick. The track featured here is an outtake from that set, a piece combining live drums, electronic percussion and other manipulated sound. It's taken from the Ghent-based Objects & Sounds label's third Seasonal Diary compilation, Curious Enchantment. Each of these compilations have featured notable artists in sound-art and ambient music, although this one strays into more percussive works. The previous two are also worth checking out: the first features Australian percussionist Maria Moles, and on the second are Sydney sound-artist Alexandra Spence (with French musician Delphine Dora) and London-based Australian artist Kate Carr. But from the recent third, after Rutger's track we hear from Belgian electronic maestro Yves De Mey, who is as adept with software as modular synths, and contributes a very physical-sounding electronic piece.

J Foerster, N Kramer - Windspiel [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
J Foerster, N Kramer - Seating (Welcome) [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
Joda Foerster and Niklas Kramer both seem to like going by their first initial, but that aside they have a close affinity musically. Their first Habitat album came out from Leaving Records in 2021, created with the principle that each track represents a room in an imaginary building. The follow-up Habitat II is out in mid-September, and continues with this conceit. "Windspiel" sounds like real wind-chimes, dangling in an atrium perhaps, with gentle pulses of electronics and subtly surreal effects on the woodblock percussion. On "Seating (Welcome)", percussive sounds are backmasked through stuttering sampling, but again scamper around gentle electronic drones. This is new age ambient music for a new age.

Dieter Moebius - Aspirin [Curious Music/Bandcamp]
A few years back US art music label Curious Music released a curious compilation album called Moebius Strips. Tim Story, a longtime friend of krautrock veteran Dieter Moebius, invited a bunch of musicians to collaborate with him and by proxy with Moebius (who passed away in 2015), using a large library of samples and loops from Moebius' archives. It turns out that Story had also been gifted with an album's worth of material from Moebius, and as Aspirin it's now going to be released by Curious Music. Moebius is known for krautrock bands Kluster/Cluster and Harmonia. His sense of humour shines on the title track, a wonky looped groove of gently abrasive sounds.

hosting - fear is the master [hosting Bandcamp]
The mysterious hosting moved to lutruwita / Tasmania after years in Brisbane "playing in bands and cutting records". They've recently uploaded a select few tracks on Bandcamp, making a kind of collaged industrial-flavoured drum'n'bass, as heard here on "fear is the master".

DJ Manny - Let It Break [Planet µ/Bandcamp]
I featured the brilliant title track of DJ Manny's Control EP recently. Now the whole EP's out (and Planet µ say there's an album on the way too), extending Manny's sound from the expected footwork into jungle and r'n'b influences. It works incredibly well.

Basic Rhythm - A Midsummer Night's Dream [Musique Nocturne]
Now we're into real drum'n'bass. Anthoney J Hart has tended to prefer mutating drum'n'bass & jungle into new hybrid forms, whether as Basic Rhythm or Imaginary Forces (and East Man is his take on grime). But on his new EP A Midsummer Night's Dream, released on his new label Musique Nocturne, he turns in two bangers with complex, hard-hitting drum'n'bass breaks and classical samples.

Granul - Maqa [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Henry Greenleaf - Bubble Trouble [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Fiesta Soundsystem - residuae.Is [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Czech label YUKU is celebrating their third year with the 3 Year Birthdizzle Compadoodle (Pay What You Want) on Bandcamp. The 50 tracks here more than adequately make the case for YUKU as a trailblazing label for experimental electronic music, with jungle, dubstep, breakbeat and other bass musics sent through the blender in myriad ways. Turkey's Granul is represented by a couple of tracks, here with an Arabic vocal sample looped rhythmically along with ever-changing breakbeats. London's Henry Greenleaf brings syncopated percussive techno, hefty sub bass and jazz synths in the breakdown. Finally, the amazing Fiesta Soundsystem scatters breakcore across an ominous electronic landscape.

Mad Zach - Venice Evil [never not now/Bandcamp]
To another label compilation now, from the artist-run Berlin label never not now. On the shared nnn009, released later this week, Mad Zach mixes Gregorian chants with jittery techno that has undercurrents of jungle that never quite surface.

Barker - Birmingham Screwdriver [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
After some select releases on Berghain's in-house label Ostgut Ton, Sam Barker's latest EP comes from the gregarious Norwegian label Smalltown Supersound. Unlike the recent kick-less techno for Ostgut, all four tracks here have a rhythmic drive from the kick drum, although Barker is never one to stick to convention. So scribbly acid synth lines are accompanied by sputtering kick drums a la footwork, and even when the synths are gentle pads or jazz stabs, the beats mutate and syncopate in unpredictable patterns. Lovely stuff.

Atiqullah Amiri & Nicolas Laureau - CHEVAL NOIR II [Prohibited Records/Bandcamp]
French label Prohibited Records, named for the postpunk band Prohibition. Nicolas Laureau, also known as Don Niño, is one member of that group, a multi-instrumentalist and producer in various different genres. Here he's providing the backing for a suite of aching songs from the Paris-based Afghan refugee and singer Atiqullah Amiri. The classic Afghan songs are accompanied by synth drones, rumbling bass, and on "Cheval Noir II", scurrying kick drums.

Jim Ghedi x Stick In The Wheel - What Will Become of England (Stick In The Wheel remix) [Stick In The Wheel Bandcamp]
Found by Jim Ghedi in the Alan Lomax archives, "What Will Become of England" is an evergreen song by Harry Cox. Ghedi's setting of the song is gorgeous updated English folk, but only Stick In The Wheel could update this into the post-dubstep age while retaining the arcane English folk roots of the song.

Truth - Galapagos [DEEP MEDi/Bandcamp]
New Zealand duo Truth, now based in Los Angeles, have been front-runners in dubstep for nearly a decade and a half. Back on the great DEEP MEDi label with new EP Temple of Eyes, the duo bring a cinematic scope to their bass & beats, without losing any of the low-slung impetus of the dubstep genre. Perfect for the heads and the feet.

The Bug - Drop(Machine Sex) [Pressure]
The third in The Bug's bass-destroying tools, Machine III is out now, custom-made to test the limits of his Pressure rig wherever he can take it with him. The basslines and crunching beats are unmistakably Bug-like, and for all their ferocity, these tracks evoke desolate cityscapes as much as crowded dancefloors.

Listen again — ~209MB

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