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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, 28th of April, 2024

Playlist 28.04.24 (11:00 pm)

Experimental song and experimental beats and sound-art, and even some experimental post-metal type sounds!

LISTEN AGAIN via FBi Radio's stream on demand, or podcast here. Your life will be better for it.

Deepchild - Kindness (Deepchild Interpolation) [Seppuku Bandcamp]
The new EP from Eroa/Sydney's Rick Bull aka Deepchild draws on the work of Palestinian-American poet Naomi Shihab Nye, whose poem Rick reads with aplomb on the third track, with ambient electronic accompaniment. The first two tracks are entitled "From The River" and "To The Sea". Yep.

Simon Fisher Turner - Barefeet [Mute/Bandcamp]
I nearly fell off my chair when a Bandcamp email turned up with a new release from Simon Fisher Turner - and it's a full new album! And there's vinyl but no CD, because we can't have nice things. SFT has been many things in his career, from child actor and young pop idol to composer and sound-artist who's worked with Derek Jarman and created some of the most alluring and boundary-pushing audio work in the last few decades. So it's nice that "Barefeet", the first single from Instability of the Signal, is a sweet, tender song in which the harmonised vocal is accompanied by a stark glitched loops, and adorned with bursts of electronic squeals, fragments of found sound, and a six-note bass riff at the end of phrases. A deconstructed pop song as only Simon Fisher Turner could do.

Kee Avil - Gelatin [Constellation/Bandcamp]
Crease, the first solo album from Montréal experimental musician Kee Avil came out on Constellation in 2022. Her follow-up, Spine is... at least as weird. Avil excels at writing things that are song-formed and seem to have all the ingredients of music, but everything's skewed. The mastery comes in nevertheless creating something haunting out of this "discomfort", as jj skolnik describes it in their essay on the album. Listen to these albums and enjoy your ears being turned inside out.

ambroise - l'air était si doux [Ambroise Bandcamp]
Eugénie Jobin is a musician, singer and composer based in Tio'tià:ke/Montréal. La premi​è​re caresse go​û​te toujours la neige is their fifth solo work as Ambroise, in which they set poems by Marie Uguay to voice accompanied by sparing piano, accordion and some synths and electronics. The beautiful songs are somewhere between classical, folk and jazz, with subtle electronic détournements that catch one's emotions at the edges. This is music that deserves an attentive, loving listen when things are quiet.

House of Gold - Phenomena [Sofa music/Bandcamp]
House of Gold - Blues [Sofa music/Bandcamp]
Eugénie Jobin is also a member of the new music quartet House of Gold, who perform the music of composer Isaiah Ceccarelli, a jazz and improv drummer and percussionist who also composes chamber music and is a self-confessed enthusiast for earyl choral music. And truly all of that is found in the song cycle that is the band's self-titled debut album, with harmonised vocals from Jobin and Frédérique Roy, both of whom also play keyboards alongside Katelyn Clark, while Ceccarelli plays drums and percussion. Much of the music is comprised of minimalist piano, even more minimalist organs and other keyboards, sparse percussion and pure voices - only to break, at times, into bursts of postpunk or krautrock drums and keyboard drones & pulses. If the music of the current age is characterised by anything, it's the final and complete breaking down of any genre boundaries (which incidentally makes Utility Fog either prescient, redundant, or never more relevant). House of Gold show us one such permutation, with beauty and grace.

Denseland - Four Humans And A Rope [arbitrary/Bandcamp]
German trio Denseland combine the mostly-spoken lyrics of David Moss with the rhythm section of Hanno Leichtmann on drums and electronic rhythm, and Hannes Strobl on electronic bass and double bass. Both Leichtmann and Strobl are experienced electroacoustic and experimental musicians, and the trio are joined by sound-artist Katharina Bévand on three tracks. Moss's lyrics evade easy interpretation, but are evocative of post-cyberpunk noir cool, and insert themselves in a fragmentary way into the glitchy, sparse, broken-down grooves and eerie drones of Leichtmann & Strobl (plus Bévand), with the angularity of postpunk and krautrock. It's really quite something.

Wukir Suryadi - Pikiran dan kepentingan (Thoughts and Concerns) [Discrepant/Bandcamp]
Senyawa are one of the most internationally fêted Indonesian bands, even outside the usual experimental and weird-metal scenes. Their distinctive vocalist Rully Shabara can also be found collaborating with all & sundry - but equally individual is Wukir Suryadi, who plays handmade instruments through pedals and amps. For his solo album Siklus dan Doa from the ever-adventurous Discrepant, his instruments are placed into a kind of dub context, but even when they're not ringing and reverberating, their strange warbling pitches and often low-strung vibrations create an enveloping, mysterious soundworld. Truly brilliant and utterly unique stuff.

zeroh - DON'T BREAK [Leaving Records/Bandcamp]
So I'm not quite sure how I came across zeroh back in 2020, although Leaving Records is a cool place for him to have ended up. Edwin Liddie Jr had previously released music as Blaqbird and was MCing with LA's Low End Theory for many years too. His BLQLYTE album in 2020 was an incredible album of murky and mangled underground hip-hop, and it's taken 4 years for him to return with, yep, SUMLYTE - although, honestly, not a lot of light. It's still pretty murky shit, with zeroh's voice emerging, smudged, from the lysergic beats, while - on "DON'T BREAK", Jamael Dean lends a synth solo.

Third Space - a whole planet covered in circles [Absorb/Bandcamp]
After a couple of more ambient excursions - including the bubbling lava of his 25-minute Longform Editions piece - Naarm/Melbourne's Third Space is back with drum'n'bass-flecked techno via Absorb on the 5-track EP dot points. Or is it techno-flavoured drum'n'bass? It's somewhere in between, built from percussion and drum machines rather than breaks, muted but melodic electronics and of course bass. There's a physical edition on 2CDs, these 5 excellent tracks augmented with a live performance which I'm looking forward to consuming soon.

Sam Link - Sheepish [YUKU]
The second release on YUKU from Midwest US producer Sam Link follows on from his first, 2022's Hestitate. Like that release, Concerta has 6 tracks, drawing from UK bass music, jungle, footwork and idm. There's a ruthless funk to these tracks, a syncopation from Link playing fast & loose with his breakbeats and chopping bass and samples in & out of step. It works because Link has a clear, instinctive command of flow - irresistible.

Type - Sprinter [RuptureLDN/Bandcamp]
Four tracks of classic break choppage and heavy sub work from Type, whose thing is making tracks on standalone hardware, no computer (or not much). He's expert at the drumfunk subgenre, a kind of mutation of d'n'b back to junglist roots but with a diverse array of breaks and plenty of syncopation. Again to me it's about the flow, and Type, with his Akai MPC, has that down pat.

Mantra - Burn & Heal [Ilian Tape/Bandcamp]
Indi Khera aka DJ Mantra is a dedicated and influential drum'n'bass & jungle DJ, who co-founded Rupture London with her partner Double O in 2006 as a club night for d'n'b, jungle & breakbeat vibes, and six years later founded the RuptureLDN label with the same ethos. Her own productions have only emerged recently, with all the rhythmic & tonal smarts you'd expect. Here she is debuting on Munich's iconic Ilian Tape, with four tracks running the gamut of breaks up to and including fluid, complex jungle. Like the above two tracks, syncopation and bass pressure rule here. We live in truly opulent times for break-chopping junkies.

Lanark Artefax - Metallur [AD93/Bandcamp]
For someone so impactful, Scotland's Lanark Artefax has very few releases under his belt. "Touch Absence", from his 2017 EP back when AD93 was Whities, was ubiquitous at the time, with its crackling electro breaks, gorgeous pads, and that swooping bassline. After a Björk remix, Corra Linn followed in 2019, pushing into distinctly more deconstructed club territories, with phenomenal sound design, but clocking in at under a quarter of an hour. Other than the Glasz EP also from 2016, and a live recording, that's all we've had until Metallur, out now from AD93. 25 minutes of mind-blowing sound design, mutated vocals and mutilated beats - new Lanark could not fail to be as brilliant as this.

sideproject - weight [SVBKVLT]
Like me, you may have first heard of Icelandic trio sideproject via a surprise remix of Björk at the end of 2022. The intricate idm and organic crunch are, to be honest, vintage Björk and it's no surprise that they're from Iceland. Up until now, there are only a grab-bag of self-releases on their Bandcamp - technically via the Icelandic collective post-dreifing - including the big hard-disk dump sandinista release party / ætla fara godmode from 2019, which you'll thank me for pointing you at for sure. Anyway, the broadminded Shanghai/not-Shanghai SVBKVLT have signed them on for a limited 12" & digital album sourcepond, and first single "weight" is the skittery madness we didn't know we needed for May, 2024.

Hanz - Rainslick [Brandon Juhans Bandcamp]
The name Hanz should be familiar to followers of the much-missed Tri-Angle Records (and this show), for jittery constructions of samples clustered into double-speed rhythms that were never so much jungle as sped-up hip-hop on caffeine, alien footwork, rhythmic glitch. He's mostly released music under his own name, Brandon Juhans, more recently, but returns as Hanz for Note From The Editor. The amphetamine-funk is still there, but also stuff like this, the disorienting comedown. Juhans still manipulates samples in ways most others would discard. More fool them.

Musique Infinie - Voices Nobody Hears [-OUS/Bandcamp]
Noémi Büchi - Infernal Stability [-OUS/Bandcamp]
I can see when Noémi Büchi released Matter in 2022 I really enjoyed it, but somehow last year I missed playing her duo Musique Infinie with fellow Swiss experimental artist Feldermelder aka Manuel Oberholzer. Now that Büchi is following up Matter with Does It Still Matter, I've revisited Musique Infinie's debut I and found it well deserving of an outing. Released on the experimental electronic label -OUS that Oberholzer co-founded with Nik Schärer, these album share the dynamic and expressive range that Büchi imparts in her electronics, inspired by a love of classical orchestration, frequently spun into mutating shapes of experimental beats. Büchi's new album follows on from Matter in its sound, but in asking "Does It Still Matter?" it positions the tension between classical maximalism and electronic experimentalism as a question for artists in the face of a world tumbling towards calamity, although Büchi's answer seems resoundingly in the positive.

Renato Grieco & Rebecca Moccia - II. The parliament: the shrinking of my world [Paint it Black/CRIPTA747/kNN Bandcamp]
Renato Grieco & Rebecca Moccia - IV. The Cliff: cold as ice, clear as glass [Paint it Black/CRIPTA747/kNN Bandcamp]
Both hailing from Napoli (Naples) in southern Italy, sound-artist Renato Grieco and transdisciplinary artist Rebecca Moccia have collaborated on Ministry of Loneliness, a work that followed Moccia's travels through UK, Canada and Japan researching the way that neoliberal bureaucratic structures shape particular kinds of political and personal decision-making that in turn produce a culture of separation, of loneliness. The recording, released via Turin publisher Paint it Black along with cultural centre CRIPTA747 as a limited single-side picture disc, is part of Moccia's broader work on loneliness, and is presented as a single work called Ministry of Loneliness Theme. But it's split into five parts in digital form, so we've taken two sections tonight which bring us words read by Sara Lazzaro and Grieco's emotive music that blends composition and electronics, with plangent synth pads, fragments of field recordings and glitchy textures, which have been further degraded by recording them on to tape that has then been buried in the dirt. And there is an earthy feel to this music, not quite at the Disintegration Loops stage but still hauntologically touched.

Harvestman - Psilosynth (Harvest Dub) [Neurot Recordings/Bandcamp]
If you don't follow the metal scene much, you might not know the significance of Neurosis, a pivotal band in post-metal that started as hardcore punk but morphed into an expansive sound drawing from postrock, industrial, hardcore, doom and experimental music of all sorts. The band also had an alter ego called Tribes of Neurot that wasn't metal at all, allowing them to explore drone, sound-art, glitch, noise and more. There's a problem with Neurosis: in 2022 it was revealed that Scott Kelly, one of the band's vocalists, had been emotionally and physically abusing his wife and children, over many years. The rest of the band had known earlier, and expelled him from the band in 2019, but his wife had asked for privacy until Kelly himself went public in 2022. There's no doubt this colours Neurosis's entire career and for many it's hard to listen to the band at all anymore. But it's unfair for Kelly's manipulativeness to reflect on the other members of the band (see their exemplary statement after Kelly's revelations), and in particular the band's other singer/guitarist Steve Von Till has a solo output of widescreen, psychedelic folk music - oh, and he's also an elementary school teacher in rural North Idaho. But "Steve Von Till" also has an alter ego, Harvestman, an instrumental project for abstracted psych folk guitar works, and much more. So that takes us to the latest Harvestman album, released on the band's own fantastic independent label Neurot Recordings. Triptych: Part One is the first of three records this year released on special full moons - this came out with the Pink Moon on April 23rd. The album uses synths, loops, filters, delays, weird percussion and more as well as guitar - and bass is paramount, with the legendary Al Cisneros of stoner metal bands Sleep and Om lending dub weight to the opening track, which is deconstructed on the b-side as "Psilosynth (Harvest Dub)". This is a project concerned with ancient history and geological time, exploring humanity's connection with - and disconnection from - nature on a grand scale. The following two full moon releases can't come soon enough.

Locrian - Black Prisims Of Our Dead Age [Profound Lore Records/Bandcamp]
Another important act at the periphery of metal here, Chicago trio Locrian was formed by André Foisy and Terence Hannum with influences from black metal but a basis in drone and noise. Their more abstract and electronic works contrast with albums of, well, whatever you might call it: black metal, doom metal, post-metal, industrial metal. It's all there, and only sometimes with black metal's screams and doom/hardcore's growls. And also essential for most of the band's existence is drummer Steven Hess, who we heard only last week in postrock/glitch trio Innode, and who also connects the band to minimalist improv and experimental music (see also his subtle contributions to the magical debut album of the Labradford/Pan American-related Anjou). Locrian's latest, End Terrain, is certainly metal, with industrial and electronic elements, and looks to deep time in the opposite direction from Harvestman. This is an album about the time after the end, a planet consumed by humanity's waste. Anger and aggression is tempered by a sense of regret and mourning. It's quite a ride, fuelled by Terence Hannum's visions of the apocalypse, which is fleshed out in the short story collection OUR DEAD AGE, found as a bonus PDF with the album and also available as a set of readings on a limited cassette. Intense and evocative stuff.

Lachlan R. Dale - Forms disassemble (feat. Peter Hollo) [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
Lachlan R. Dale - Flowing ceaselessly through the air (feat. Helen Svoboda, Brendan Clark) [Art As Catharsis/Bandcamp]
An Eora/Sydney connection to metal here via Art As Catharsis boss and Hashshashin member Lachlan R. Dale. Now, Lachlan's my good friend, and Art As Catharsis released my solo album back in 2017 - and we now play together in an almost-metal band, Black Aleph. But Lachlan's new album Shrines has been in progress for some years, well before Black Aleph existed. The album is essentially an ambient affair, and Lachlan name-checks Loscil, Fennesz, and Rafael Anton Irisarri as influences. Also integral to the sound are collaborators, one or two on each track, who responded to some initial loops by Lachlan, and whose contributions then were edited back into these final works. So yeah, there I am playing cello on our first piece tonight - layer upon layer of overdubs recorded some 4 years ago. That clanging guitar loop is imprinted on my brain and I find this music electrifying now, so I've gotten to insert myself into my playlist. There are many highlights, but tonight I also played a track with both Naarm/Melbourne double bassist Helen Svoboda and electric bassist Brendan Clark, who lives on Tugagal land in Sydney's west. The combination of bass instruments is unusual, but in this case Clark's melodic walking bassline sits under Dale's icy drones, while Svoboda's double bass is heard playing a drawn-out, sliding melody in high stopped harmonics. It's gorgeous.

Erik Griswold, Chloe Kim, Helen Svoboda - Tremble part 2 [Earshift/Bandcamp]
Erik Griswold, Chloe Kim, Helen Svoboda - Rock song [Earshift/Bandcamp]
We get to hear Helen Svoboda some more on the last 2 tracks this evening, from Anatomical Heart, a wonderful acoustic project formed of three artists from the three major cities on Australia's east coast: Svoboda from Naarm/Melbourne, brilliant Korean-Australian drummer Chloe Kim representing Eora/Sydney, and the restlessly creative prepared piano master Erik Griswold from Meanjin/Brisbane. The album was recorded during a residency at Harrigans Lane in rural southern Queensland. This very organic music encompasses many styles, from jazz romps to percussive and rhythmic studies to free, rippling melody. Each musician is incredibly versatile and highly sensitive, and hopefully there'll be much more from this intuitive formation.

Listen again — ~200MB


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