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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, 10th of March, 2024

Playlist 10.03.24 (11:00 pm)

Powerful transformative voices, powerful voices transformed, transformative instrumentals, beats of power.
This is my last UFog until April 7th, as I'll be in Japan for three Sundays!

LISTEN AGAIN if you dare! Podcast here, stream on demand @ FBi.

Kim Gordon - The Believers [Matador/Bandcamp]
Kim Gordon - I Don't Miss My Mind [Matador/Bandcamp]
The second album from Kim Gordon continues her collaboration with producer Justin Raisen, who provides overdriven beats that back Gordon's familiar speak-singing drawl - often stream-of-consciousness stuff, as encouraged by Raisen. If No Home Record was a shock, the first solo album from a figure of such huge significance in indie rock/postpunk for over 4 decades, The Collective has no less impact from following it. Career highs from an artist now in her 70s.

Moor Mother - Liverpool Wins (feat. Kyle Kidd) [ANTI-/Bandcamp]
Moor Mother - My Souls Been Anchored [ANTI-/Bandcamp]
Camae Ayewa has been one of the most in-demand guests on experimental albums of the last few years, but meanwhile keeps up her work with Irreversible Entanglements, 700 Bliss and Black Quantum Futurism - and of course solo work as Moor Mother. Moor Mother albums have never exactly been typical hip-hop, although the genre is so malleable and experimental to its core that this isn't saying much. The Great Bailout relentlessly dissects British colonialism and the slave trade, and their connections to capitalism & power today. It's musically challenging, as Moor Mother is nothing if not uncompromising, and this extends to collaborators like Lonnie Holley and Kyle Kidd. As impressive as Ayewa's poetry and delivery are, her genius is such that everything other than those guest spots is performed and produced by her too. The instrumental "My Souls Been Anchored" is no less political, with its collaged samples of blues and spirituals overlaid with the rumblings of industry. This album is challenging but essential listening.

Dali de Saint Paul & Maxwell Sterling - 4 [Accidental Meetings/Bandcamp]
The vocals and effects of Bristol artist Dali de Saint Paul have been found in many contexts over the last many years, including on Moor Mother's 2019 album Analog Fluids of Sonic Black Holes and UKAEA's recent Birds Catching Fire in the Sky. I first came across double bass player & electronic musician Maxwell Sterling on a collaboration with Martha Skye Murphy called Distance on Ground, although he also had a well-praised album on AD 93 in 2021. Their duo Penumbra came out of an improvised session on BBC Radio 3's Late Junction. Both musicians loop and process their sounds live - de Saint Paul's voice chopped into short rhythmic phrases or singing long melodies; Sterling's double basses and Lyra stretched into waves or sped up into high-pitched streams. Intriguing, engrossing stuff.

Erika Angell - Good And Bad [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Erika Angell - German Singer [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Swedish musician Erika Angell has been based in Montréal for many years, which explains her new album The Obsession With Her Voice appearing on the legendary Constellation label. Angell is a classically- and jazz-trained singer who's played in indie rock and industrial outfits and collaborated wide and far. On the new album, her shapeshifting vocals are accompanied by her synths and electronics, along with live drums from Mili Hong and a string section of cellos and violas. The abstract aspects of jazz, classical and electronic music all contribute to songs which nevertheless are song-shaped, whether Angell is whispering or howling, singing richly or processing her voice robotically. For those of us new to her work, a revelation.

Shoeb Ahmad - demotion [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Aphir - HAND ON YOUR HEART [Provenance/Bandcamp]
Hey! Lucky you, you get a preview of Marks of Provenance VII, the latest label compilation from the Provenance Collective. It's out this coming Friday, March 15th, and is choc full of Provenance artists like Arrom, Happy Axe, Sebastian Field, ROMÆO, Imogen Cygler, Ashleigh Hazel and... Avril Lavigne? All will be revealed, but tonight we heard a wonderful piece of creepy industrial looping from friend-of-'Fog Shoeb Ahmad, and a tour de force from Aphir featuring slamming beats, processed voice and her multi-tracked choral work.

Vanessa Bedoret - Choice [Scenic Route]
Vanessa Bedoret - 1/2 [Scenic Route]
It's disarming to find the an album as accomplished as Vanessa Bedoret's Eyes is the artist's debut. Bedoret (French, but now based in London) learned classical violin from childhood, played guitar in punk bands, and her violin and love of punk & metal are present in this album, even though its most comfortable category is experimental electronic. The music on Eyes bears the hallmarks of today's deconstructed club music, occasionally reconstructing itself into something that might be danceable, but equally using the bass drops and fragmented beats as splashes of sound alongside her string lines and, at times, vocals. On these tracks, Bedoret's voice is used more as an instrument than a lead - multitracked into choral parts that are then chopped as fodder for electronic processing - although there are some more conventional song-like tracks. It's music that will appeal to fans of experimental electronic music past & present, as well as post-classical and the experimental end of shoegaze (e.g. Seefeel). So that means YOU!

Marcus Whale - Shepherd's Voice [Marcus Whale Bandcamp]
Marcus Whale - ∞ [Marcus Whale Bandcamp]
The new album from Sydney polymath Marcus Whale comes as CD, if you want it, which contains a great discussion of some of the album's themes between Marcus and his flatmate/Sleepless in Sydney co-host Gus McGrath. So what's it about? Well, Ecstasy innit? It's a concept of infinite potential: the idea of going outside of oneself, of losing the bounaries between the self & the universe is one encountered in music and dance, in all creative practice really - as well as in sex and extreme sports and no doubt drug use. Of course on the album the ecstasy of the dancefloor looms high, those hammering kick drums recurring through the album - as does queer love and loving. The kick drum assault and snarling bass somewhat offset Marcus's choirboy-sweet voice, but mostly it's an album of sweetness, maybe sweetness found in the dark.

New Corroded - Tap Out [Vast Habitat/Bandcamp]
New Corroded - Chromosphere [Vast Habitat/Bandcamp]
Last year we heard quite a bit from Guy Brewer, known for his dark techno as Shifted but recently releasing more syncopated, higher-paced music as Carrier. I wasn't expecting to find this collaboration, though, which pairs Brewer with Daniel Lea, most recently released as CURA MACHINES on Bedouin Records, but previously appearing as half of Heliochrysum on Bedroom Community, having released two brilliant Talk Talk-inspired albums as L A N D - Night Within and Anoxia. Initially, New Corroded's debut Pass Lightly seems more like Brewer's work - imposing industrial techno - but there are elements of the glimmering synths found in Heliochrysum, and L A N D's rhythmic variation. Released on Lea's Vast Habitat on transparent vinyl, the album comes highly recommended.

Oliver Coates - France [Invada/Bandcamp]
Oliver Coates - How can you say [Invada/Bandcamp]
I said last week that Invada snuck out a couple of tracks early from Oliver Coates' sound track to the Mary & George TV series, a period drama (although it seems more like dark comedy?) about the gay lover of King James I in the early 17th century. Coates is an accomplished cellist in the contemporary classical world, as well as working with indie rock & pop acts, and has released some great experimental electronic music too. Given the period this show is set in, I expected mostly classical-sounding music, so it's a surprise to find the wonky junglisms of "How can you say", or the sparse, almost industrial (yet acoustic) rhythms found elsewhere. There are a lot of tracks, and a lot are just short cues, but there's lovely more developed music there too. I imagine Invada are banking of the show being a success, and reviews so far as very positive. Congrats Coates!

T Goldsmith - Accidentally Carelessly Thoughtlessly [DRUT Recordings/Bandcamp]
Until recently, Tom Goldsmith was better known playing in folk rock bands like Circulus, but Kelpe released an electronic EP last year on his DRUT Recordings, and thus T Goldsmith was born. His second EP Antimeta is a real pleasure, with some of that psych folk aesthetic bleeding through (Kelpe himself came out of the folktronica scene, such as it was), and flowing jungle/drum'n'bass beats. Lovely for home listening and chillout rooms (I wish they still existed!)

Ruffie - Perception [Locked Up Music]
From Romanian DJ/producer Ruffie, an excellent new EP of jungle-tinged d'n'b on Section's label Locked Up Music. Different styles, from clipped breaks to more flowing, sci-fi synths to jazz samples, very tasty.

DJ Birdbath - Kitsch Memory [Theory Therapy/Bandcamp]
New Zealand producer DJ Birdbath, who I believe had been based in Naarm/Melbourne but is now in Wellington, releases a full album, Memory Empathy, through Eora/Sydney's own Theory Therapy. It's equal parts vaporwave and jungle/trip-hop, coming in at a different angle from, say, Yunzero. In DJ Birdbath's hands '80s samples (there's definitely Kate Bush in there) and internet detritus can be reshaped around more familiar beat structures - of course jungle & "trip-hop" or "downtempo" or whatever we want to call it are themselves echoes of a now-distant past for anyone older than their mid-20s. DJ Birdbath approaches these memories with empathy, but recognizes how they are transformed at distance ("Kitsch Memory"). Memory Empathy will reward repeat listens.

woodgraves - Izanagi [Tree Critters]
The Massive Dragon - Deeper [Tree Critters]
Delightful breakcore/idm duo Bagel Fanclub directed me to this new compilation, and I want to say at the outset that their track "applebees iceblock" is a lovely melodic breakcore track that I would've played if I could fit it in. Both members also have tracks themselves on this 29-track compilation. Entitled Sounds for Solidarity: Palestine Relief Music Compilation, it will send funds to Palestinian Children's Relief Fund and Palestinian Red Crescent Society. And it's full of gems. Broadly, "Side A" is breakcore and junglish stuff, represented here by Chicago DJ/producer woodgraves with some warm & dark breaks at speed. "Side B" then is IDM at a more sedate pace (with exceptions), and Colorado's The Massive Dragon is one of the Tree Critters who put the comp together, with ping-pong (literally!) beats and calm synth pads.

Kevin Richard Martin/KMRU - If (Dub) [PTP/Bandcamp]
Saint Abdullah x Withdrawn & Birthmark - An Array Of Policy Options [PTP/Bandcamp]
Geng of PTP has always been a visionary of social change and resistance - many releases come with a free PDF of The End Of Policing by Alex S Vitale. The massive 95-track compilation RESIST COLONIAL POWER BY ANY MEANS NECESSARY features everyone, with no particular genre except probably somewhat experimental - there's hip-hop, rock, r'n'b, electronic music, acoustic music... A few tracks are missing - the compilation was delayed for a few weeks and Geng says the other tracks (currently 4 seconds of silence) will be uploaded eventually. I'm particularly keen for ELUCID, NikNak and Mariam Rezaei x Maria Chavez, but it's worth getting now anyway. I'd heard that Kevin Richard Martin (aka The Bug) was working on something with Nairobi ambient/experimental artist KMRU, and If (Dub) seems to be the first thing to venture out, very much melding Martin's desolate dub with KMRU's atmospherics. I first discovered NYC-based Iranian brothers Saint Abdullah via PTP, and they appear here with acerbic beats accompanying raps from Bristol's Withdrawn & Birthmark.

Joseph Franklin - the tension of things-in-motion [Nice Music/Bandcamp]
Joseph Franklin - of other potentialities quietly planting doubts [Nice Music/Bandcamp]
Finally for tonight, Naarm/Melbourne composer and bassist Joseph Franklin has released his debut solo album a thousand tiny mutinies through Nice Music. While Franklin has composed for orchestras, chamber ensembles and soloists before, this album is his own exploratory performances on a semi-hollow six-string contrabass guitar, which he prepares in various ways as well as post-producing - although I believe the sounds themselves are all generated from that bass guitar, whose hollow body allows for all sorts of acoustic "effects" as well as those produced through amplification. There's an uncanny nature to many of these tracks, where scraping, buzzing sounds masquerade as glitch, harsh drones are produced mechanically, and even the more regular fingerpicking doesn't obey familiar forms of harmony or melody. But don't try and work out the provenance of these sounds - just tune in and listen and you'll be richly rewarded.

Listen again — ~200MB

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