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Fog - Unclear Visions

Author: Angus Thompson
Thursday, 4 October 2007
A dither is a function in electronic music recording that introduces noise to interfere with an analogue signal. But, as 3D’s Angus Thompson learns from Fog frontman Andrew Broder, dithering is also about worrying and worrying and worrying…

The title of Fog’s new album Ditherer is ironically both a paradox and accordingly suitable. Paradoxical in the sense that Fog’s brainchild Andrew Broder is never one to hesitantly twiddle his thumbs, and suitable due to the amount of worrying it took to permanently install a three-piece band.

“Most of the previous Fog records I did most of the stuff myself,” he admits. “So this was definitely a big shift in writing and recording.

“It took a while for me to feel confident in the stuff that I was writing; to present it to a group and try to play it and rehearse it and figure out structures. All that stuff just seemed daunting, because I had made music in such a completely different way before that, which was basically just sitting by myself trying stuff out and seeing what stuck.

“Doing Fog live has always been with a band in one way or another. It was five people for a while, then it was four people, and things kind of shifted around and we’ve ended up with three, and it’s nice. It’s refreshing.”

Despite his loss of creative control Broder signalled that a collaborative approach to the new record was more a relief than a compromise.

“If I go back and listen to older stuff that I did where I did everything myself, it doesn’t really speak to me that much,” he says. “I think that all recordings that are made like that, just by one individual, kind of build something up by themselves, it can feel a little claustrophobic and too insular.

“I work better when there are other opinions involved and I’m not left to my own devices.

A sampler of hip hop and scratch DJ that has successfully carved an indie-folk path, Broder is more an anomaly than a musician. With the slogan “Stop DJing” stamped proudly onto Fog’s MySpace page it’s a slight throw-off to know that Broder initially cemented his reputation mixing tracks and composing electronic music.

“It’s easy for me to feel like I have to keep moving,” he says. “I think that it’s the desire to not be pigeonholed. I think a lot of people who make music are reluctant to want to be put in any kind of category because that sort of means stagnation.”

Heavily characterised by his restless career, Broder has a resume of bands attached to his name, including Hymie’s Basement and Lateduster, and collaborations with fellow folk artist Why-, however Broder’s tireless work ethic seldom leaves his thirst quenched.

“If we play a show it’s a rare thing that I’m happy afterwards with how we played,” he admits. “In that sense, yeah, I think that I’m not ever satisfied… and if I go back to my old records and listen to them I think that I’m rarely satisfied with those.

“I think I have tendencies towards perfectionism but it’s not an all-embodying component of my personality. I don’t really see it as negative because it keeps me from resting on my laurels too much.”

Ditherer is more a flow of consciousness than a record. Effortlessly sieving from one genre to the next, texturing blues with experimental indie and indie with Dallas folk, you may be forgiven for labelling Broder the ADHD-case of the music world.

“I don’t know whether it’s a good thing or a bad thing,” he begins, “but I do know that when it comes to music, how I think about [it] shifts quite often, from one train of thought to another train of thought.”

“It’s sometimes a tricky thing to be able to strike a balance between wanting to try all different kinds of stuff but yet not forcing it, not seeming eclectic for the sake of being eclectic, because that’s kind of pretentious, I think.”

WHO: Fog
WHAT: Ditherer
WHEN: Out now through Lex/Inertia