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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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Playlists are listed with artist name first, then track title and (remixer), then [record label]. Enjoy the links.

Sunday, 2nd of June, 2024

Playlist 02.06.24 (11:00 pm)

Another week, another selection of sounds from all over, this week encompassing very experimental indie songwriting and lo-fi hip-hop, glitched mashups, dreamy instrumental guitar-picking, fourth-world electronica, IDM, drumfunk & drum'n'bass, post-classical ambient...

LISTEN AGAIN and run the gamut... Stream on demand from FBi, podcast here.

Michael Ackroyd - Inseam [Michael Ackroyd Bandcamp]
Michael Ackroyd - Vice Grip [Michael Ackroyd Bandcamp]
Over quite some years, Eora/Sydney musician Michael Ackroyd has put together his beautiful debut album Delicate Puncture. A little searching shows I played "The Architect" on this show in 2020, and that song appears here. There are nods to Talk Talk, Radiohead, contemporary post-club production etc, but it's unfair to play the comparison game too much as Michael is an excellent songwriter and both creative and skilled in his production. The songs are from the heart - he has gone through a lot, suffering from chronic pain that led to opioid addiction (sadly very common), so finally completing this wonderful album is a real achievement, and more people should hear it.

FIN - Object Of Fire [Hausu Mountain/Bandcamp]
FIN - The Known World [Hausu Mountain/Bandcamp]
Sometime in early 2018 I must have discovered Alexandra Drewchin's music, in the lead up to the first PAN release from Eartheater. Hausu Mountain released her first two albums, so I was digging around their Bandcamp and came across the first FIN album, Ice Pix, a collection of glitchy experimental electronic pop that I enjoyed easily as much as the Eartheater releases. It's taken 6 years for Fin Simonetti to release her second album Cleats - probably because she's been busy making incredible sculptural art (no seriously, incredible!) - but the new album is as weird & cool as her first. Not much more to say - the glitchy pop might have elements of Björk, Glasser, or heck, our own Aphir, but even compiling those comparisons was something of a reach - it's uniquely weirdo electronic pop, huge thumbs up!

John Glacier - Steady As I Am [Young/Remote Control/Bandcamp]
I'm at least an EP late with English underground hip-hopper John Glacier. Her first EP for 2024, Like A Ribbon, came out in Feb, and Duppy Gun follows on June 20th. Unlike some of the shiny stuff on Young (fka Young Turks) like Jamie XX, hers is a determinedly experimental, lo-fi expression of what hip-hop can be in 2024, produced with Kwes Darko (fka Blue Daisy). Whatever - this is good shit.

Heyes - Wednesday, 27 October 2004 [Heyes Bandcamp]
Heyes - Wednesday, 19 August 1970 [Heyes Bandcamp]
Late last week, Lachlan Stevens, a man with excellent taste who presents Freshly Squeezed on Instagram (you should totally follow), let me know that he'd put up a really interesting new work on SoundCloud. Those We Follow is an exercise in creative tribute, de-fanged nostalgia, sincere love. Since I played these tracks on Sunday, I had a couple of people independently get in touch to say they really liked "the one by the guy about his grandmother", so Lachlan has now put it on Bandcamp as a free download (he releases music as Heyes). Lochie talks about how his grandma had slowly succumbed to Alzheimer's, and how the one thing that stuck with her was music. So, each of the tracks is made from three pieces of pop music (from across many decades and genres), sampled and brutally smashed to bits. The musical sources here are suggested by various family members, so clearly they're a family of music lovers! The originals are rarely recognizable, although some tiny samples instantly announce themselves. But somehow he's constructed a beautiful journey of scattered nostalgia, riffs and fragments built variously into rhythmic snippets of blurred beatless techno, glitchy ambient or some kind of folktronica. The album is meant to be heard as one continuous mix, so either download it or stream on SoundCloud I suggest.

Danny Paul Grody Duo (Danny Paul Grody and Rich Douthit) - Hawk Hill [Three Lobed Recordings/Bandcamp]
Guitarist Danny Paul Grody co-founded the incredible freewheeling postrock band Tarentel, and later The Drift. He's been making circular, dreamy ambient folk under his own name for a while. His forthcoming Arc of Night album is being released as Danny Paul Grody Duo, as drummer Rich Douthit is central to all the music (Douthit was also in The Drift, among others). It's certainly still low-key folk, and Douthit's drums and percussion add to the atmospheric feel. On "Hawk Hill", the second preview track, Trevor Montgomery, also of The Drift, adds electric bass. Looking forward to the rest!

D.C Cross - Light dancing on e'en water (Seine) [Darren Cross Bandcamp]
D.C Cross - Failed Gen X Love Story [Darren Cross Bandcamp]
Back in 2019, decades after being part of Sydney indietronic legends Gerling, Darren Cross released the first of his albums under the D.C Cross moniker, based around John Fahey-like "American Primitive" fingerpicked guitar alongside some more sweeping ambient guitar manipulation. Said techniques continue to be the features of D.C Cross, and Gookies Guit. is the latest album in that vein. Tonight we heard both the nimble and melodic "Light dancing on e'en water (Seine)" and the wistful ambient of "Failed Gen X Love Story".

Michel Banabila - Hometapers Tricky Universe [Knekelhuis/Bandcamp]
Michel Banabila - AI Brainfire [Knekelhuis/Bandcamp]
Mark Knekelhuis's eponymous label releases anything from punk, new wave & industrial to ambient and contemporary electronica. Dutch maestro Michel Banabila released Echo Transformations on the label in 2021, and returns now for Unspeakable Visions. Here, Banabila is focusing on a recurrent element of his work: voices. It might sound like we're hearing ethnomusicological recordings, but the voices are all either artificially created or manipulated from his own voice. Along with assorted acoustic instruments, tape effects, field recordings and lots of electronics, Banabila creates a contemporary form of "fourth world" ambient. Wondeful as always.

sideproject - double zebra [SVBKVLT]
sideproject - cannonposting [SVBKVLT]
Most of us discovered Icelandic electronic trio sideproject via their remix for Björk a couple of years ago (they also contributed production on the track "ovule"). They make crazy idm stuff influenced by today's bass music - there's a stack of older stuff on their Bandcamp, but this week the Shanghai/UK label SVBKVLT released a new album, sourcepond. It's simultaneously the melodic end of contemporary electronic and the most IDM-influenced end of bass music, strangely organic, very moist.

Mattr - Gaija [Mattr Bandcamp]
Mattr - Fever [Mattr Bandcamp]
Speaking of IDM, while UK artist Mattr has furnished dancefloors with leftfield house, he's been very much on an IDM tip for some time, and 40 minutes of that material are conveniently collected in his new album Pheno. Tracks range from sedately paced to skittery almost-jungle, and there's a lovely sense of turn-of-the-millennium 2nd gen IDM like Arovane as well as early Autechre's melodic sensibilities. Always recommended.

dgoHn - Debbie Will Deck You [WeMe Records/Bandcamp]
dgoHn - Sad Stay Snakebitten [WeMe Records/Bandcamp]
If you want full-on drum fuckery of the highest order, you'd better call for John Cunnane aka dgoHn, drumfunk maestro for almost 20 years now. Brussels label WeMe Records is dedicated to electronic music of all sorts - IDM, acid, dubstep, jungle - and so they're a comfy home for dgoHn's latest, Alterations in Gyral Form. It's not all drum'n'bass/jungle BPMs, but at whatever speed, dgoHn implacably brings the funk.

Andy Odysee - Ex-Astra Heights [Odysee Recordings/Bandcamp]
Although active in the original jungle/drum'n'bass times, Odysee Recordings has seen a resurgence and new significance in recent years, spearheaded by Andy Baddaley, who first joined the label in 1999, but in fact went to school with Jim Baker of Source Direct, a highly influential drum'n'bass act usually mentioned in the same breath as Photek. Baddaley is now responsible for a lot of extremely high quality productions on the label, also very much in the vein of the intricate, dark d'n'b/jungle of Photek and Source Direct in that mid-'90s period. The 5th volume in his Odysee Black Series is no exception, and I recommend exploring the label's Bandcamp for quality reissues and new material, noting that Source Direct now have their own Bandcamp page.

Monoconda - Progression [Salon Imaginalis]
Monoconda - I Was Programmed [Salon Imaginalis]
Berlin-resident Monoconda is from Kyiv, and his new EP Disturbing does live up to its name, evoking an upturned, unstable world. There's a kind dub-electro vibe to it, but with fidgety IDM rhythms, and half-audible robot-like female vocals ("I Was Programmed...") Unusual, experimental stuff.

Roel Funcken - Mugam v2 [Roel Funcken Bandcamp]
I can quite honestly say that I was following Dutch IDM legends Funckarma from the beginning. In 1999 I was travelling in Europe on my own before a tour, and found myself in a little electronic music shop in Antwerp, in northern Belgium. I was talking to the owner, and learning a bit about my taste - I'm guessing particularly Autechre and Arovane at that point - he handed me a brand new 12", or maybe it was two - maybe it was Parts 1 & 2? Anyway, I was instantly sold on the melodic IDM & glitchy beats, and followed them ever since. They made regular appearances on this show from the beginning, and through their dubstep-influenced period until one of the two brothers, Don Funcken, decided to hang up his apron and stop making music. But Roel Funcken kept the faith, and has a large collection including heaps of old Funckarma on his Bandcamp. The best way of keeping up is through his Bandcamp Subscription, which has exclusive music every month, and he's kindly let me play one of the exclusives for May here tonight. Very nice, kinda dark, pure Funcken.

Toada - Onda Tempest [plüma / Toada Bandcamp]
Late in 2023 we heard Lisbon/Berlin producer Toada (Valdir da Silva) revisiting '00s folktronica with the Slow-Paced Tangents EP. He returns now with Alta Onda 01, first in a series of EPs on his own plüme label, melding club leanings and ambient introspection. With a comfortably-paced 4/4 kick going through the tracks, there are low-slung shuffly grooves and electronic arrangments inspired by the music of Southern Hemisphere as he says (particularly Central & South America). Very lovely, worth signing up for the follow-ups.

Chris Dooks - COWLAIRS [Chris Dooks Bandcamp]
Chris Dooks - WARCOILS [Chris Dooks Bandcamp]
I'm pretty sure I first came across Chris Dooks under his Bovine Life alias, making IDM and glitch, often with collaborators. By the end of the '90s he was already a respected filmmaker, and multimedia art has been a continuing feature of his work. But for many years I've thought of him primarily as a drone and sound-artist - including works for "self-excited harmoniums", and pure field recordings, often including people talking (as opposed, in my mind, to "spoken word"). In any case, all this aside, I was surprised to find this new EP, Cowlairs, appearing unannounced on his Bandcamp, its six anagrammatical titles enclosing six pieces of lo-fi melodic synth pieces. A couple of these pieces do incorporate field recordings, and one even has electronic beats. It's a beautiful unexplained artefact.

Mary Lattimore and Walt McClements - The Top of Thomas Street [Thrill Jockey/Bandcamp]
Rain on the Road, the first duo release from Mary Lattimore and Walt McClements, mostly showcases their unique approaches to their main instruments - Lattimore's harp and McClements' accordion. Like their own solo work, it's ambient music from acoustic instruments and some processing, with field recordings and other instruments appearing at times. I particularly loved the closing track, where McClements substitutes piano for accordion. Comforting sounds for a turbulent world.

Listen again — ~205MB

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