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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, 19th of May, 2024

Playlist 19.05.24 (11:00 pm)

Sound-art, glitch, breakcore, jungle, bass, minimal electro-pop, acoustic arrangements of a glitch-drone classic... a lot to get through tonight!

LISTEN AGAIN, I implore you - on FBi's stream on demand, or podcast here.

Koichi Shimizu - Evenfall [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
Koichi Shimizu - Imprint [Smalltown Supersound/Bandcamp]
Unknowingly, when I previewed and immediately grabbed the new album Imprint from Koichi Shimizu, I'd first heard the artist 25 years ago. As just Koichi, Shimizu released a split 12" on legendary (if very obscure) UK IDM label Worm Interface (sadly the label's releases have never been available digitally, except perhaps from individual artists). The breadth of Shimizu's musical taste and talents was formed during two stints living in Thailand as well as in Japan and elsewhere, and he's quite well-known for the music & sound work he's done for/with Thai independent film director Apichatpong Weerasethakul. He's also collaborated with the brilliant, shapeshifting Singaporean band The Observatory, another connection I'd failed to make immediately - seriously, Demon State is an incredible mix of industrial, experimental electronics and noise side by side with postrock, gamelan and who knows what else. In comparison, Shimizu's new solo album Imprint is not nearly so intense, but there are clear industrial techno undertones along with beautiful glitchy ambient composition and cinematic scope. I've been returning to this album quite a bit because there's enough detail and left turns that you know it'll retain its pleasures repeatedly.

Pentu - This Doesn't Exist Anymore [mappa/Bandcamp]
Pentu - I'm Noticing The Blossoms More This Year [mappa/Bandcamp]
Two new releases from the Slovakian label mappa now: Pentu's And I Saw My Devil And I Saw My Deep Blue Sea is out now, with the London-based producer evoking that slightly lost, disturbed feeling of navigating the contemporary mediascape, especially when in the throes of a relationship ending. The artist's previous work was more directly song-oriented, but here a track might start in an ambient space, with glitched electronics and decontextualised YouTube samples, before grinding into brief metal snarls and riffs, or short sweet song excerpts.

adaa - p1.fr [mappa/Bandcamp]
Coming on June 3rd from mappa is the album ...img... from Rhode Island's adaa. Like Pentu, adaa creates her music by collaging snippets of found-sound along with her own electronics, guitar and processed voice. And then there's this little track which somehow starts with ASMR voice and muted piano, building into some kind of hyper-pop and the further into a saturated mess of distortion.

Rika Madobe - Opening party [Virgin Babylon Records]
Rika Madobe - Window moon [Virgin Babylon Records]
For some reason Madobe Rika, the idoru breakcore pop star discovered by World's End Girlfriend's Virgin Babylon Records has switched to Rika Madobe - I know that one is the typical Japanese order with family name first, but I'm not sure which is which. In any case, Infinite Window is the debut album proper from the artist, who has previously released some incredible EPs of what might be vocaloid-style pop with breakcore production (they've referred to her as a "virtual girl"), and then snuck out a few singles ahead of this album. There are some slightly more subdued tracks here too, like the pretty piano of "Opening party" - at least until things start accellerating and glitching! Super fun, super kawaii.

Anom Vitruv - Ohne Titel 4 [Präsens Editionen/Bandcamp]
Anom Vitruv - Ohne Titel 5 [Präsens Editionen/Bandcamp]
The mysterious Anom Vitruv first appeared around 2012, and barring a couple of untitled releases has mostly been released on vinyl. Now, six years after his last release, comes the enigmatically titled 6.4311, a full album available on CD as well as digital from Switzerland's Präsens Editionen. Each track is untitled ("Ohne Titel" in German), giving little away about the music's content or the artist's intent (although now at least we know he's based in Switzerland). Various approaches to ambient emerge, including gentle synths, reversed vocals, cavernous reverb, spoken word, and then cut-up classical piano, but on the fifth untitled track the cavernous space is filled with clattering jungle breaks. It's music that would have fitted perfectly in a chill-out room at a mid-'90s rave, albeit through a post-vaporwave lens.

rush2theUnknown - Ulterior [Disktopia/Bandcamp]
rush2theUnknown - Taken Flight [Forthcoming on Soul In Motion]
Also harkening back to '90s jungle and drum'n'bass are New Zealand duo rush2theUnknown, made up of documentary maker Nick Dwyer and producer Devin Abrams. Their EP1 is out through Disktopia, with plenty of that break-juggling syncopation, melded 2020s-style with influences from new age/ambient music, including Japan's own kankyõ ongaku style of new age video game music. A second EP of similar material entitled Taken Flight will be out in mid-June on UK d'n'b label Soul In Motion.

Special Request - Bounty Hunter [Special Request]
One of the beginnings of the ongoing jungle revival came when London renowned house & techno DJ Paul Woolford started releasing hardcore & jungle 12"s as Special Request around 2012 (notably the ridiculously great remix of Lana Del Ray's "Ride"). In the intervening decade, Special Request has been an outlet for IDM, acid and various experimental club sounds as much as jungle, but there's always some of it around - so on Portal 3, the third in his current 12" series, there's the frenetic acid-jungle of "Bounty Hunter".

Allis - Nichts [The Collection Artaud]
Look up Allis and you're likely not to find any information. That's because the latest release on Yu Miyashita's label The Collection Artaud is in fact himself, under a new alias. In amongst the glitch and idm-inflected beats is spoken word from Miyashita. The a-side ("Alles") actually sounds more like a funky '80s electro vibe with Miyashita's murmuring voice (I think it's in Japanese?) but the b-side ("Nichts" - nothing, the opposite of "all") is a very µ-Ziq style melodic idm thing complete with junglist beats. And Miyashita's voice. I'm curious what the words are about.

Social State - Play No Games (feat Technically True) [Social State Bandcamp]
In 2021, UK producer Social State released his album Sacrosanct, which mixed up jungle and grime-like beats with more hip-hop or trip-hop vibes. On new track "Play No Games" it's tricksy jungle, and a lot of fun.

Lila Tirando a Violeta, Sin Maldita - All Day I Hear The Noise of Waters (Verraco Remix) [Hyperdub/Bandcamp]
Verraco - Godspeed > [Timedance/Bandcamp]
We've heard Amnesia Scanner's remix of Lila Tirando a Violeta & Sin Maldita, and the full EP of remixes from last year's Accela album is coming soon. This week we have Verraco from Colombia, taking "Accelerated" as an instruction, with fidgety and fluid rhythms. Verraco also has a new EP coming out on Bristol's Timedance, with dembow grooves on the first single.

COIDO - Traces [YUKU/Bandcamp]
Well, I don't know much about Berlin-based Fabrizio Carlini aka COIDO (being Berlin-based is near meaningless these days!), but he's been making gnarly bass techno for YUKU since last year, from near-dubstep-tempo to jittery near-d'n'b or juke, and the Traces EP sits comfortably in between. It's too chunky to be ukg, and too fast to be dubstep, too syncopated really to be techno, so let's settle for "bass". Fuckin' great anyway.

RM Estali - C+R [Virtual Forest Records/Bandcamp]
French ravers Virtual Forest Records release the first EP from RM Estali, who has been involved with the electronic scene in Paris for a while. The four tracks on Dynamic Slicing are carefully made bass tracks with an emphasis on dub production. Lovely to hear.

Conna Haraway - Cortisol (with L V J) [INDEX:Records]
Conna Haraway, co-founder of Glasgow's INDEX:Records, has a few releases under his belt including a debut album from last year on Eora/Sydney's own Theory Therapy. On Cortisol, the same track accompanies two voices: The brilliant Sensational (who has appeared on productions from the likes of Autechre, NHK yx Koixen, Kœnig and many other experimentalists) drops mysterious lines over a fairly abstract version of the beat, while L V J's rap and the beat behind it are somewhat more in-focus.

Valerian Swing - Badman(ting) feat. Flowdan [Pax Aeternum/Bandcamp]
Strangest combo of the week is finding grime legend Flowdan on a track from Italian jazz/postrock/math rock band Valerian Swing. The band's Liminal album, befitting its title, is exceptionally hard to pin down, and the band's slow groove and synth-led energy do strangely support Flowdan's flow.

Church Andrews & Matt Davies - Yucca [Odda Recordings/Bandcamp]
The first release on The Leaf Label publicist Thea Hudson-Davies' Odda Recordings collected beautiful electro-acoustic and post-folk material from Kirk Barley, and for the third, we're back with Barley's alter ego Church Andrews and his longtime collaborator, drummer Matt Davies. The two have an astonishing way with melding modular synth and live drumming. I've watched this video a few times and I still can't understand how the electronic rhythms line up with the drumming - I mean it's obviously led by Davies, but I'm not sure how the synth lines are following. In any case, Davies' beautifully precise but complex beats meld with Andrews' strangely evocative synth tones in an eerily organic way. Once you've watched the video for Yucca, which I played tonight, follow it up with Roses, and then buy the EP.

santpoort - big destructive devices (ft. Imagiro) [Friends of Friends/Bandcamp]
From LA's Friends of Friends label comes the latest album from santpoort, aka Sydney-based Dutch musician Julien Mier. It's friendly music indeed, but there's a melancholy as Maybe Not Tomorrow is driven by "the urgency of global climate change". A collection of wistful, jazz-inflected electronica, there are a number of guest singers throughout, including Bath-based singer/producer/musician Imagiro.

Fake Hudson - Shifting Shape [Fake Hudson Bandcamp]
The new single from Naarm/Melbourne's Fake Hudson (actually a real Hudson) flows nicely from Santpoort. It's a lysergically slowed-down piece of r'n'b-adjacent ambient pop, including cello and trumpet alongside Hudson Grant's vocals and production.

Taylor Deupree - Recur (For Guitar, Cello, Double Bass, Flute, Lap Harp, & Percussion) (arranged by Joseph Branciforte) [greyfade/Nettwerk/Bandcamp]
NYC composer/producer/multi-instrumentalist Joseph Branciforte has been a lifetime fan of minimalist electronic/electro-acoustic producer and renowned sound engineer (and 12k boss) Taylor Deupree. Some 5+ years ago Branciforte began a project arranging an electronic work of NYC's Kenneth Kirschner for Three Cellos. That composition was released by Branciforte's greyfade as the inagural work in their FOLIO format - a luxurious hardcover book that comes with a high-res download. Clearly a glutton for punishment, Branciforte was fascinated by the idea of taking Deupree's groundbreaking album Stil. and arranging it - as faithfully as possible - for acoustic instruments. Deupree's original created ambient music from constantly moving & evolving layers of loops, so the arrangement would need to capture that - as well as the timbres of the original electronic sounds. Over a long period, Branciforte worked with a number of accomplished New York musicians, notably clarinettist Madison Greenstone, and once the time came to arrange "Recur" (my favourite from the original album) it was clear that the piece needed a small ensemble of musicians. The performances here are superbly poised, mimicking the repetition and - yes - stillness from Deupree's album while being richly rewarding listening in their own right. It's an amazing achievement from Branciforte and Deupree and the performers - Ben Monder on acoustic guitar, Christopher Gross on cello, Sam Minaie on double bass, Laura Cocks on flute plus, on this track, Branciforte on percussion and Deupree himself on lap harp. If you can afford the book (plus shipping!) it contains the full score and detailed notes about the original works and their adaptation.

Megan Alice Clune - Mountaineer (live) [Megan Alice Clune Bandcamp]
I loved Eora/Sydney composer & instrumentalist Megan Alice Clune's album Furtive Glances, released by Room40 last year - a collection of music recorded when doing something else (in many cases waiting in between students). These self-effacing gems have found new life in live performance, captured on Furtively Glancing while Clune was in another liminal state, that of jet lag not long after arriving in Tokyo. Like last year's album, these are disarming windows into a natural musician's practice.

Listen again — ~213MB


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