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Utility Fog

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Sunday nights from 9 to 11pm on FBi Radio, 94.5 FM in Sydney, Australia.

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Sunday, 18th of February, 2024

Playlist 18.02.24 (11:00 pm)

We have wonderful Indigeonous/classical/experimental crossover, weird electronic pop & hip-hop, noise, sound-art, Middle Eastern beats, jungle/bass/dubstep, hyper-shoegaze, contemporary cello, ambient and more. Listen and enjoy.

LISTEN AGAIN to the re-listenable. Podcast here, stream on demand there @ FBi.

Yirinda - Guyu (Fish) [Chapter Music/Bandcamp]
Yirinda - Yunma (Sleep) [Chapter Music/Bandcamp]
Well, the self-titled album from Yirinda is out, and it's everything it promised to be. I got to see the duo of Butchulla songman Fred Leone and double-bassist/composer Samuel Pankhurst at the Woodford Folk Festival across the new year, performing with an ensemble of strings, horns and keyboards. It's a magical combination of Leone's songlines and Pankhurst's arrangements, creating something that I'm pretty sure has never existed before. On the album, strings and horns augment Pankhurst's double bass, and some contemporary electronics mix seamlessly in (I note Marly Lüske aka Tidy Kid co-engineered the album). But descriptions can't really do it justice - Leone's absorbing vocals fit perfectly with wonderful contemporary music. They are playing at a FREE Sunday show at White Bay Power Station for the Biennale of Sydney/Phoenix Central Park on March 10th - 2:30 to 6pm.

Marcus Whale - Borders [Blue Void]
Incoming on March 8th is the new album from Marcus Whale, storied Utility Fog associate since his mid-teens, multi-instrumentalist, multi-genreist, singer and queer icon. Ecstasy is the first album on his new Blue Void imprint/label/thing (his long-defunct 3" CD-R label released my first solo EP back in the ancient of days). Here "ecstasy" refers to the pleasure of transcending the self, of being drawn, as he says, to the void. Once again Marcus is combining pop and club electronics with influences from classical and avant-garde/experimental music, and it is Very Good.

Teether - Elbow Grease [CONTENT.NET.AU/Bandcamp]
Teether - Chrysalis (ft. Stoneset) [CONTENT.NET.AU/Bandcamp]
Early last year Melbourne underground rapper Teether released an incredible album through Chapter Music with producer Kuya Neil. But with It Must Be Strange to Not Have Lived, released on Kuya Neil (Neil Cabatingan)'s CONTENT.NET.AU, Teether returns to self-production, comfortably sauntering through indie r'n'b, sample-based downtempo beats and nods to jungle (featuring Stoneset), postpunk (working with Nerdie) and more. It's all gold, all adorned with Teether's effortlessly laconic flow.

Shit and Shine - Livid After Midnight [Antibody label]
Shit and Shine - Jogging In Jeans [Antibody label]
Wait, didn't we just hear from Craig Clouse's Shit and Shine a couple of weeks ago? We did! Joy Of Joys was a collection of strange sound-experiments; now, Masters Of All This Hell comes via the Belgian Antibody Label with a collection of experimental electronic beats and noises that reminds me most of Clouse's two great albums for Editions Mego in 2015 and 2017 - bare-bones weirdbeat shit made on drum machines and samplers, with a kind of perverse funk to them.

Philippe Petit - Within the Corridors of Hell... [Crónica/Bandcamp]
The "musical travel agent" Philippe Petit has performed various roles in the experimental music world for some decades. In the early 2000s he ran a label called BiP_HOp releasing a range of electronic albums as well as some fabulously-curated BiP_HOp Generation compilations featuring the likes of pimmon, Arovane, B.Fleischmann, Scanner, Pan Sonic's Ilpo Väisänen, Murcof and Adrian Lim-Klumpes. He's also presented various radio shows since the 1980s. And full disclosure: a decade ago(!) Philippe & I collaborated on a track - as collaborative musicians and radio presenters in this space, it was inevitable. For at least that decade's time, Philippe has been working with non-musical sound generators feeding into modular synths, creating weirdly organic squalls and slides and throbs out of physical gestures, but also making use of digital editing. These techniques are all there in his latest epic, a 2CD journey into Dante & Doré's vision of hell called A Divine Comedy. I particularly love the disturbed vocal samples in "Within the Corridors of Hell...", interacting with these audio gestures.

Andrea Belfi plays Robert Wyatt - Dondestan [Stray Signals]
Noumeno - In Spirit [Stray Signals]
As the situation in Gaza only gets worse, a problematic situation in Germany - particularly Berlin - is also getting worse, whereby any voices in support of Palestine are being branded as antisemitic, and are systematically silenced - even when they are Jewish. There couldn't be a more irony-laden illustration of the weaponising of "antisemitism" to shield Israel from scrutiny than German authorities feeling empowered to shut down Jewish self-expression. This is the background for the compilation Dedicated To Palestine from Berlin-based Stray Signals, which will donate all revenue to two German-based NGOs, Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Jewish Voice for Just Peace in the Middle East) and Palästina Kampagne. Among the artists featured as Emanuele Porcinai's WSR, who we featured a few times here last year, Planet µ artist Herva, Berlin-based Lebanese musician & DJ Jessika Khazrik and many others. It's a varied collection of electronic and electroacoustic work from across the Berlin scene. A revelation is Andrea Belfi's cover of "Dondestan", a beautiful fable of Palestine from 1991 by the committed leftist and (like Belfi) drummer Robert Wyatt, rich with instrumentation in support of Belfi's fragile, rarely-heard vocals. To contrast, I played some frosty ambient techno from Italian producer Noumeno.

Use Knife - Coupe d'état (Muqata'a مقاطعة remix) [Morphine Records/Bandcamp]
Belgian/Iraqi trio Use Knife combine Arabic percussion and vocals with psychedelic electronics of all sorts. They released their debut album The Shedding of Skin in 2022, and now Berlin label Morphine Records (run by Lebanese musician Rabih Beaini) is releasing a 3-track remix EP, Peace Carnival with reworkings by Zoë Mc Pherson, Beaini and brilliant Palestinian producer Muqata'a مقاطعة. "Coupe d'état" is a pun on "coup d'état", but "coupe" means "cut" (which you Use a Knife for). On Muqata'a's remix, percussion and a driving synth line are punctuated by shouted vocals, bass hits and glitches.

Chewlie - Run [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Swiss producer Julia Häller is Chewlie, whose last release was the Diagon EP for BRUK, one of the labels run by Low End Activist (also of Sneaker Social Club). Now she's back on YUKU with eight more tracks of IDMish bass music and sound design. Chewlie fits with current trends in deconstructed club and experimental bass music, but she has her own approach - there's a lightness to the sounds, not leaning so much on LOUD bass distortion and sudden shifts, but rather on glitchy, skittery beats and syncopations, body-moving, other than a couple of beatless tracks. Top tier sounds.

POD - Anteloper [Kinetic Vision]
A new project for Melbourne techno producer JXTPS aka Wu Kush, POD finds him in bass mode, with dubstep and jungle influences aplenty. Notably, POD has a proper d'n'b EP coming from SUBB later this year - a collaboration with Tamen, one track available here. "Anteloper" seems like dub techno, but as the beats get caught up in syncopating delays, hints of jungle can be heard.

Earl Grey - Prussia Dub [Rua Sound]
Jim Ehlinger aka Earl Grey has been making drum'n'bass & jungle for over a decade now, appearing on labels like Limerick's Subtle Audio, who were advancing jungle/drumfunk ages back. Another Irish label, Rua Sound has just put out the excellent Death Rattle EP from Earl Grey, with nimble break work, equally nimble basslines and dark pads. It's cinematic and unpredictable, first class.

Liquid DnB-Like Ambient Grime 2 - '06 Dubstep Mix [Sneaker Social Club]
Luke J Murray has spread his idiosyncratic take on UK bass music across pseudonyms and collabs like Iceman Junglist Kru, 1-800-ICEMAN, Roadman DSP, and notably the ambient isolationism of Stonecirclesampler. So it's not surprising that the four tracks on the eponymous Liquid DnB-Like Ambient Grime 2 are rather unorthodox takes on the four genres name-checked (garage, dubstep, techno, grime). Each track is ostensible a remix of "Liquid DnB-like Ambient Grime 2", which names the EP and the artist, with pitched-down vocal samples and, on two of the tracks, massively distorted amen breaks clattering in at entirely the wrong tempo. This wrong-footing is of course part of the aesthetic itself. You'd be unlikely to hear these tunes in a club, but as a kind of hauntological celebration of UK bass music they're pretty brilliant. I'll take this over Burial any day.

Kim Gordon - I'm A Man [Matador]
When Kim Gordon came out with her first solo album in 2019, 8 years after Sonic Youth broke up due to her husband Thurston Moore's infidelity, and some 4 decades after the beginning of her musical career, it was a revelation. As bassist and one of the singers in SY, she has played a huge part in experimental, punk/postpunk and indie rock music for decades. And then No Home Record came along, showing an artist still unwilling to do the expected, working with pop producer Justin Raisen to create distorted beats and electronic noise merging with the guitars, a beautifully messed-up accompaniment to that familiar voice. It looks like The Collective is going to continue that aesthetic. It's the punk of the 2020s, uncompromising as ever. For tonight, here's "I'm A Man" eviscerating entitled nobody-men.

clust.r - brood [business casual]
clust.r - leather [business casual]
Who is clust.r? Nobody knows (this is absolutely a lie). They released their self-titled album clust.r on Retrac Recordings in 2022, and Business Casual have just released the follow-up ever chance. Like much of the output of these labels, there's more than a nod to the indietronic breakcoreriffic days of Tigerbeat6, Planet µ circa mid-'00s - it's lo-fi glitch-pop, shoegaze-breakcore, compressed to buggery, distorted electronics and enthusiastic, unschooled vocals from various of clust.r's friends ("river" is rkgk of bagel fanclub, and that duo's other half co-produces a track here as SLUTPUNK!). Anyway, it's intense, joyful and all that other stuff - I think you'll like it.

Other Joe - dreaming out loud [Other Joe Bandcamp]
Naarm/Melbourne's Joseph Buchan runs the legendary .jpeg Artefacts label with impeccable taste, but he's also known to make varied music as Other Joe - something I wish he'd do more of (at least in recorded form)! For Valentine's Day he put out a two-track single called one billion kisses, which is a lot of kisses, but I mean go for it. This is the "b-side": both are beautiful hypnotic pieces with whispering, whistling pads and clicky, head-nodding beats, finishing with jazzy, bell-like Rhodes chords.

Adriaan de Roover - Homebound [Dauw]
Adriaan de Roover - Yet [Dauw]
Belgian sound-artist Adriaan de Roover joins Ghent-based label Dauw for the second time with Other Rooms. I'm reluctant to call this ambient - there's quasi-rhythmic movement going on throughout, and melodies that emerge out of exquisite sound-design. This is wholly absorbing music, sometimes unsettling, that I can't recommend highly enough.

India Gailey - Nicole Lizée - Grotesquerie [people | places | records]
India Gailey - Thanya Iyer - Where I can be as big as the Sun [people | places | records]
Their second album Problematica finds Canadian cellist India Gailey performing seven compositions that I believe were specifically commissioned for them and for this album. Gailey is a composer herself - her own composition on her equally uncategorisable debut album was a highlight, but she is also a first-class interpreter of others' compositions, using her cello to its full extent along with her voice on many of these tracks, and electronics on some as well. There's a lot going on in the tracks here - don't think of it as classical music! Andrew Noseworthy's composition "GomL_V7FinalMix_LessVox_MoreVerb_ Dec13_MASTERED_48k24b_FINAL.wav", created in collaboration with Gailey, wraps cellistic extended techniques in granular processing and shoegazey noise, for instance. On the other hand, some composers invite Gailey to perform expressive songs on cello and voice: the closing piece "Where I can be as big as the Sun" by Thanya Iyer accompanies a deceptively straightforward vocal melody with plucked cello. It's gorgeous. Meanwhile, renowned Canadian composer Nicole Lizée invites Gailey to send short cello phrases and whispered or shouted voice through delay effects, charmingly and a little disturbingly disorienting.

IKSRE - ripples [Constellation Tatsu/Bandcamp]
Naarm-based musician Phoebe Dubar has released five albums now as IKSRE, on various international and local labels. This month, Oakland's Constellation Tatsu released Abundance, as usual featuring ambient electronics and vocals, with subtle beats at times, very much influenced by Dubar's practice in sound healing. It's music to dive into, as there's a lot of detail. Dubar will be launching this album in Sydney on April 6th at Fatamorgana in Alexandria.

Aviva Endean - What Calls in the Quiet (Moths & Stars live set) EXCERPT I [FRIM Records]
Aviva Endean - What Calls in the Quiet (Moths & Stars live set) EXCERPT II [FRIM Records]
Naarm clarinettist and sound-artist Aviva Endean released her first solo album cinder : ember : ashes on Norwegian jazz/improv/experimental label SOFA in 2018, and the incredible Moths & Stars on Room40 in 2022. Now we're back in Scandinavia, with a split release on Sweden's FRIM Records documenting a performance at Rönnells Antikvariat in Stockholm, recorded by Aussie ex-pat John Chantler. I should note Henrik Olsson's beautiful abstract turntable manipulation as the other half of the record, but Endean's set adapts Moths & Stars' close-mic'd exploration of sounds from clarinets and other objects to a live set. The sound quality is remarkable, as if carefully recorded in a studio, scrabbling and bubbling across the stereo soundstage, sounds mostly made with breath, layered into gorgeous harmonies or strange assemblages of flitters and sighs. The full performances are over 30 minutes each, and worth every minute.

Listen again — ~209MB

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