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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, 30th of June, 2024

Playlist 30.06.24 (11:00 pm)

There's an undercurrent of noise through a lot of tonight's show. There are fast beats and sub bass and melodies too though!

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Party Dozen - The Big Man Upstairs [Temporary Residence Ltd/Grupo/Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney duo Party Dozen are a phenomenon. Kirsty Tickle's unbridled saxophone howls over Jonathan Boulet's drumming and myriad samples, making an almight racket of swamp rock. Their previous album saw them signed to legendary Brooklyn label Temporary Residence Ltd, and touring all over the world. Their follow-up is called Crime in Australia and circles around one of the direst times in Australian politics, when Joh Bjelke-Petersen's corrupt government ruled QLD.

SUMAC - "World of Light" Moor Mother remix [SUMAC Bandcamp]
Aaron Turner's legacy in heavy metal is unassailable, from his bands ISIS and Old Man Gloom to the brilliant Hydra Head label he ran for many years. A little like Old Man Gloom, SUMAC are a kind of superground, with Turner on guitar and vocals, backed by incendiary drummer Nick Yacyshyn of Vancouver hardcore band Baptists, and bassist Brian Cook of hardcore/math-rock bands Botch and These Arms Are Snakes. With SUMAC, Turner's vision was of an incredibly tight, punishingly heavy sound, and what's remarkable is how the members achieve that with incredible restraint. Turner also likes to subvert the usual tendency of metal to focus on the grotesque and destructive side of human nature, and no moreso than on SUMAC's latest album, The Healer. Two of the tracks clock in at 25 minutes each, and the shorter ones are a mere 13 minutes, so I couldn't really play them, but along with the album comes a bonus EP of two remixes. Raven Chacon's is yet to come, but Moor Mother's is - as always - insanely good. It starts with urgent beeping and almost immediately distorted bass from SUMAC drops under Camae Ayewa's rapping. It's already apocalyptic enough, full of tension, and then we drop down to whispers and delayed guitar strums before the gigantic simultaneous hits of bass, guitar and drums smash down, with Aaron Turner's sampled growls. No less heavy than the original in only 4 minutes and 5 seconds.

We Are Winter’s Blue And Radiant Children - No More Apocalypse Father [Constellation Records/Bandcamp]
You can always trust Efrim Manuel Menuck of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Thee Silver Mt. Zion to come up with an overbearing name for his projects, and the shouted all-caps (I've spared you) of We Are Winter’s Blue And Radiant Children certain fits the bill. It's a supergroup too, a collab between Menuck and guitarist Mathieu Ball of the wonderful Big|Brave. Both musicians like to combine beauty with noise, and along with Patch One and Jonathan Downs of Portland, Maine postrock band Ada they've certainly drenched the shoegazey first single in noise. "NO MORE APOCALYPSE FATHER" is the title, probably including the quotation marks, and let's hope they can stave off the apocalypse for us.

Prurient - Return To Necrophilia [Hospital Productions/Bandcamp]
So, talking about noise... hardly anyone is as synonymous with noise as Dominick Fernow aka Prurient, who runs the Hospital Productions label and is still putting out multi-cassette releases of his own and other noise artists. Sure, there's an obsession with ghastliness that's shared with certain parts of industrial & metal, but there's more subtlety to the music than you might assume. This track's a good example, with grumbling, surging synth pads that verge into static at times and wouldn't be out of place on an early Oneohtrix Point Never release.

Emmer & Einkorn - Jacob's Ladder [Biodiversity/Bandcamp]
Joe Human Resources and Mike Mallard have been rattling around the UK techno/house/bass music scene for a while under those monikers, and put out a debut self-titled release as Emmer & Einkorn back in 2020. Four years later, London label Biodiversity releases their follow-up, Karst, which inhabits an ambient dub aesthetic rooted in the rolling hills of the Peak District. Rainy ambient dub and foggy dub techno evoke druidic country raves.

Jörmungandr - Root Mender (Zara Remix) [Pure Space/Bandcamp]
Naarm producer Daniel Jakobsson goes by Eastern Distributor, but also Jörmungandr, and "both" of him contributed to his An Xileel that Eora/Sydney label Pure Space put out in January. Now Pure Space have released two remixes from that album. One is by Pure Space boss, FBi DJ Andy Garvey, and the second is from Amsterdam-based Naarm/Melbourne producer Zara Olsen, who takes us into a deep, trancey techno space with hints of jungle beats slipping through the cracks.

gi - feedback [Absorb]
Here's an exclusive preview from a brilliant Eora artist! gi has one proper release to her name, the Orange Chorus Blonde Reveal EP that came out from Nipaluna label Altered States Tapes in October last year. That will be followed up with the album Thought Makes Music from Naarm's Absorb label in August. gi's music is characterised by very organic-feeling textures bubbling around, shuffling forwards & backwards, accompanied by incredibly intricate, fast-moving beats that never quite shape themselves like jungle or footwork rhythms, never quite coalesce into discernible barlines. It's beautiful and unapologetically avant-garde.

KASHIWA Daisuke - nemesis [Virgin Babylon Records]
Looking back, it seems I first discovered Japanese composer, remixer, producer extraordinaire KASHIWA Daisuke when World's End Girlfriend released his Re: album in 2012 on his Virgin Babylon label. Daisuke had been releasing varied music since at least 2005, from his postrock roots to post-classical (including the all-piano 88 in 2011), glitchy electronica and jungle/breakcore/idm madness. It's very much in the same camp as World's End Girlfriend himself, a Japanese style of kitchen-sink mashup that's humorous but ultra-serious, noisy but beautiful, and incredibly accomplished in all areas. His last album was 2020's program music III, which consisted of one 51-minute track encompassing everything he does, and new album ice kinda does the same, although it focuses a little more on the lyrical side of his compositions. There's clattering drum'n'bass in there too though, as we hear somewhere in the middle of this track. Never less than brilliant.

Loopsnake - Witchvox [Loopsnake Bandcamp]
Eora/Sydney producer Loopsnake aka Andrew Maxam used to compete with me on FBi for the IDM on the station with his show Liquid Electric, and being on a Friday night, he usually trumped me with the new releases. He finished up in 2017, and took a spin at a "real job" in law, but sensibly figured that wasn't the life for him, so he followed his partner to a country halfway across the world. And while there he's found a lot of time on his hands (always making me jealous Andrew!) so he's started up making music again. New EP Black Alert sees him taking on various types of ravey beats, including something kind of drill'n'bassy right here.

Yetsuby - 1,2,3 Soleil [All My Thoughts/Bandcamp]
Uman Therma, Yeong Die, Yetsuby - Intro [Computer Music Club]
Yetsuby - Poly Juice [All My Thoughts/Bandcamp]
Back in 2021, the world was introduced to a trio of female Japanese electronic musicians making clever, experimental & fun music as Computer Music Club. Uman Therma, Yeong Die, Yetsuby have all continued producing and DJing, and Uman Therma and Yetsuby are also well-known as Salamanda, but Yetsuby's last album My Star My Planet My Earth won Best Electronic Album in the 2023 Korean Music Awards. It really is excellent, mixing electronic pop (not sure I'd characterise it as K-Pop) with IDM & jungle-inspired beats. Her follow-up b_b avoids easy genre labels. There are hints at jungle and bass music, and IDM updated for the 2020s, and if not quite pop then a unique take on hyperpop. Some tracks are beatless but they're far too restless to describe as ambient. Most importantly, Yetsuby's command of melody and of immersive production is undeniable. Don't ignore!

Sam Link - Mae [Satellite Era/Bandcamp]
Following two highly tipped EPs on Czech electronic trailblazers YUKU, Wisconsin's Sam Link's latest EP Stone Wheel is released on a US label, Satellite Era. As the label copy suggests, his music draws heavily on UK bass music, albeit with a twist. This EP takes on breakbeat at various tempos, taking in jungle, but also bass-heavy breaks at 130 BPM like here. Very much an artist to watch.

鄭道元 Cheng Daoyuan - 如縊 Strangle to Survive (Wa?ste Remix) [WV Sorcerer Productions/Bandcamp]
鄭道元 Cheng Daoyuan - 如縊 Strangle to Survive [WV Sorcerer Productions/Bandcamp]
鄭道元 Cheng Daoyuan - 歸獄 Nether World (Nerve Remix) [WV Sorcerer Productions/Bandcamp]
The Chinese-French label WV Sorcerer Productions was one of the many labels around the world that contributed to Senyawa's massive worldwide community-based album release Alkisah. Their releases are always physically stunning pieces of art & craft, and the Alkisah model of an album plus a suite of remixes is one they've followed on a lot of releases. Hence here - the first of three releases on the label I'm playing tonight - we have Taiwanese multidisciplinary artist 鄭道元 Cheng Daoyuan with an album originally released on cassette in 2019, but here recently released in a 2CD release in a 7" sleeve with a booklet of the artist's artwork and a bunch of remixes on the second disc. Daoyuan's album is industrial noise, with harsh distortion welling up throughout, sometimes shaped into hammering rhythms, at other times giving way to haunted snatches of voice, jazz samples(?) and glitched field recordings. Sydney-born Felix Idle aka Wa?ste, who's long lived in Tokyo, takes scratchy samples and discordant tones from the original and stutters and glitches them under broken breakbeats. And Naarm/Melbourne's Nerve nudges Daoyuan's original into a more club-ready techno shape.

otay:onii - In Between Angel and Fly [WV Sorcerer Productions/Bandcamp]
Next up is another WV Sorcerer re-release, originally on CD in 2021 and now on vinyl. Lane Shi Otayonii was born in Haining, China, but has been based in Berlin, New York and Shanghai. She'll be best known to some as the vocalist in punk-shoegaze band Elizabeth Colour Wheel, but you won't mistake her voice in any context once you've heard it, powerful and shapechanging though it is. Lane Shi's voice is incredibly expressive, and has incredible range along with her music. On 冥冥 M​í​ng M​í​ng we can hear shapes of industrial ambient, electronic pop, Chinese folk music and perhaps black metal, while the singer channels her painful experiences trying to survive in a hostile environment while studying in the US... Later this year comes a new album, True Faith Ain​’​t Blind 信​仰​看​見​了​我​看​見​了​它, highlighting the artist's voice along with piano, pure expressionism connecting opera and Chinese folk. But Lane Shi Otayonii is also found in our third WV Sorcerer release...

Hypnodrone Ensemble - Desdemona [WV Sorcerer and various other labels]
Canadian musicians Aidan Baker (Nadja) and Eric Quach (thisquietarmy) form the core of Hypnodrone Ensemble, generally joined by multiple drummers and many other musicians. Co-released by WV Sorcerer and a host of other labels, The Problem Is In The Sender - Do Not Tamper With The Receiver features three female drummers, Fiona McKenzie (Halma), Angela Muñoz Martinez and Sara Neidorf, plus Gareth Sweeney (Caudal) on bass, and their swirling, pounding space rock is uplifted further by the vocals of Lane Shi Otayonii. The track I chose tonight stands out due to its slower tempo and less dense arrangements, but is no less ritualistic and evocative.

Mabe Fratti - Alarmas olvidadas [Unheard of Hope/Bandcamp]
Mabe Fratti - Enfrente [Unheard of Hope/Bandcamp]
The latest album from Mexcio-based Guatemalan cellist Mabe Fratti may be her most accessible yet, although it's still highly adventurous. It's co-produced by Hector Tosta aka i.la católica, whose duo with Mabe Fratti, Titanic, released their album Vidrio last year. Some of that album's chamber jazz sound finds its way into Sentir que no sabes, but there are also snatches of trip-hop and rock here as well as electronic manipulation. But Fratti's centring of the cello as well as her soft voice keep the music as sui generis as ever.

Sachi Kobayashi - Unforgettable [Phantom Limb/Bandcamp]
Lamentations, says Sachi Kobayashi, was "was born out of my sadness and grief towards the current wars". It's released on UK label Phantom Limb's Spirituals series, which has a particular skewed angle on ambient music, and Kobayashi's album fits perfectly. These short tracks, each around 3 minutes long, subtly smear, defocus and detune their source material to produce a work that imbues any of its prettiness with sorrow.

Danny Paul Grody Duo (Danny Paul Grody and Rich Douthit) - Clearing [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. On his new album Arc of Night, Rich Douthit's drums and percussion are central to the atmospheric sound (Douthit was also in The Drift, among others), so it's presented as Danny Paul Grody Duo. This is comforting late-night music.

Listen again — ~209MB

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