N O   P A R T   O F   I T
Far more important than baking bread is the urge to take dough -beating to the extreme - Otto Muehl

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Interview Series #12: Jonathan Canady

photo credit: Suzie Assault Rifle

Scheduled on March 6, 2019
Jonathan Canady may be known for many things: His early metal band Dead World that he was in during his tenure as art director of Relapse Records, his relatively well-known power electronics outfit Deathpile, other projects such as Angel of Decay, Nightmares, or Sexual Assault Rifle, among others.  Canady is also a somewhat prolific visual artist, of an especially poignant macabre and minimalist nature.  What strikes me is his aptitude for being somewhat of a maverick within the realm of dark subject matter.  His approach is naturally comprehensive and nuanced, rather than overly linear and one-dimensional like so many others, but I guess it helps for me having read his now defunct site Colors of the Dark at length, where he explored his interests in the form of pre-tumblr blog posts, interviewing and writing articles on a number of obscure subjects that reach far beyond the realm of many a metal head, industrial fanatic, dark synth / dark ambient aficionado, or reader of off-the-beaten-path literature.  Not to mention his apparent "collage zines" where two different obscure magazines would be merged by a half & half layout, giving a different context to fractional subject matter.  I have always felt like Canady would/should/could/did run a book store, but either way, his solo synth work is stellar, and I don't say that about synth music too often.  Again, it may help that he and I have had a brief discussion online about movie soundtracks, plus a little segment on his aforementioned blog, and I imagined myself in a study full of dusty hardbound books, candelabras, skulls, taxidermy, velvet paintings, and vintage torture devices.   Make of that what you will. 

1.  What kinds of things have you been getting into lately?

I tend to stick to older books, movies and music. However one recent thing I got into is the Sci-Fi trilogy "The Corporation Wars" by Ken MacLeod. I had a brief email exchange with Mark Pauline from Survival Research Laboratories and he recommended it. I was not disappointed.

2.  What you do, do you do it as an artist, or is it a hobby?

Since 2007 I would say what I do is as an artist. That's when I began making serious visual art. I also integrated my solo experimental music into my art as of 2012.

3.  How would you describe what you do?

I'm an artist that primarily works with drawing, artists' books, audio/video.

4.  How would you describe your creative progression over the years, in a brief synopsis?

Every time I re-visit something I did years ago I am struck by how much I've improved. I think that's the key. Constant improvement and resisting the temptation to repeat myself.

5.  How would you describe your philosophy?

I don't have a philosophy exactly. The one over-arching theme of my work for the past several years is the fact that all of us are positive and negative. Negativity shouldn't be suppressed but balanced with our positivity.

6.  Do you believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods?

Psychics - no. Magic - only in the sense that "magic" is what we don't understand or can't explain. Ghosts - yes. I lived in a house that was haunted and had first hand experiences. Gods - NO.

7.  What would you say was your most definitive experience?

Deciding to dedicate my life to visual art.

8.  Do you have any side projects that I am not aware of? If not, what is something you'd like people to know about you, that you don't think anyone would ever ask?


9.  Would you care to name any theoretical "desert island" records, or at least releases that you think are approaching your concept of "perfect"? 

Throbbing Gristle - Second Annual Report
Black Sabbath - Black Sabbath
Concrete Sox / Heresy - Split LP
Big Black - Atomizer
Tangerine Dream - Rubycon
Celtic Frost - Morbid Tales

10.  What is the earliest childhood memory you can (or are willing to) recall?

The opening sequence of Star Wars (Episode IV) at a drive in theater.

11.  Are you able to appreciate other peoples' creative work regardless of their personal shortcomings or inherent flaws?  To what extent? 

Yes and no. I am a big fan of Lovecraft even though he's considered a racist. I have also gotten rid of the creative output of certain people after having learned of something about them I dislike. That sometimes includes when they turn out to be... racist.

12.  Do you have any heroes or heroines?  Who are they?  Feel free to add anything that makes them stand out. 

Mark Pauline.

13.  Your favorite quote? 

I once heard a woman in Philadelphia say "That shit ain't got shit the fuck to do with me." I like that one.

Tuesday, January 28, 2020

End times

Photo by Christine K

Arvo was interviewed by HOUDINI MANSIONS at length about the recent CIVIL WAR LP by BLOOD RHYTHMS.   Here is an excerpt about a track from the LP called "The Face":

AZ: There is an aspect of “The Face” that is personal to me. It is partially about the battle between empathy and narcissism. There is the image of the narcissist admiring himself in the mirror, and also the old command phrase “take a look in the mirror”, as if to say that a mirror humbles a person in some way. Some of my most revelatory experiences have been with what they call “mirror scrying”, and I'll tell you, some really unbelievable things happen when one manages to do that at length! In doing so, I see different aspects of myself, and eventually, I'm just sort of experiencing this disconnect, where I'm just observing this strange creature in a window, and I forget that it's me. Characters bounce around in the background sometimes, too.

Not necessarily an inspiration, but I find a kinship with an artist whose name I've never known.  I was a bartender for catering companies in Chicago, and I often bartended at art galleries or fundraisers exhibiting art.  One particular artist layered apparently hundreds of mugshots of abusers transparently on top of each other, and part of his artist statement was apparently about phenotypes; that we all do have a face that perhaps, to some extent, phrenology could measure and predict, despite current claims of pseudo science.  Of course, the notion that some of us were told as a child, that if we keep making ugly faces, they'll be stuck that way, has a different context now.  And there's always the episode of the Twilight Zone, where people wear masks at the request of a dying rich man, in hopes of gaining his inheritance, and at the stroke of midnight, their faces are stuck like that of the mask.

There are some new releases at discogs.

First, the final edition of the BLOOD RHYTHMS - "ASSEMBLY" LP is called the "Found Under A Rock" edition.  Eight copies were accompanied by an anti-record covered in mealworms,  a black marble tile, a manually type-written, hand-stamped insert, and a black vinyl shopping bag.   These are already gone.   There are less than 13 copies without mealworms, but still coming with the aforementioned black marble tile, and so forth.   These are the original 180 gram LPs from the initial pressing of the record in 2014.

An unreleased LP by BLOOD RHYTHMS from 2013 called "Inherit The Wind" was released on a stereo lathe cut LP with color jackets.  Side A is a sort of montage of motifs inspired by COIL, created in one day, starting with the reading of the lyrics to "Paint Me As A Dead Soul" upon waking.  Side B was initially performed as an accompaniment to the tornado segment from the silent film version of The Wizard of OZ, and features source material from Dolores Dewberry.  These are lo-fidelity, with 20 minute sides, and will be released on cassette at a later date.

Another unreleased BLOOD RHYTHMS LP batted around both in person and remotely throughout much of the 2010s, titled "PHANTOM APOTEMNOPHILE" was also released on stereo lathe with quality jackets.  This one has shorter (15 minute) sides, so has better fidelity, but again, will be available on cassette at a later date.  This and Inherit The Wind are intended to be part of a box set.  This is a collaboration with David Oakspawn, also known under State Research Bureau and Desouvre Bruits.  One track features very special guest vocals by Gitane Demone (ex Christian Death).

A split LP between Arvo Zylo and Blake DeGraw is also available on a stereo lathe LP in full color jackets.  Loosely inspired by Hungarian-Austrian composer György Sándor Ligeti, this LP won't be available again in any other format.  The LP itself is comprised of home recordings as well as studio work at Cornish College, where John Cage's first prepared piano resides.  Blake DeGraw's side features layered string work, sometimes processed live in an electro-acoustic laptop setting.  Zylo's side features some lo-fi recordings initially set to mono, featuring strings and choir vocals by Blake DeGraw and Chloe Wicks, as well as some of Arvo's assemblage from work on the aforementioned John Cage baby grand piano.  DeGraw's side sounds surprisingly good.  Arvo's side is more lo-fidelity due to the length and loudness of the material.

In other news:

Pigswill's "Ghost Breathing", from the HETEROPTIKS comp on NO PART OF IT, was aired on WZRD, alongside GRIM, Robedoor, Harry Nilsson, Blackhouse, Luasa Raelon, PIL, and more.  Listen HERE

Arvo Plays Ferrante & Teicher was aired on WFMU's Cratedigger's Lung program, alongside SPK, Howard Shore, Renaldo & The Loaf, and more. 

Some kind year-end words from a satisfied customer who goes by the name of "Myrtle Lake":

Blood RhythmsCivil War (No Part of It)
I am not one to search out PE releases. The genre is largely facile and rote to my ears. When a PE release finds that elusive spark, then, my attention is rapt. I propose: Here is a statement of the current political and social zeitgeist. The music is oppressive, painful, vicious and bleak. It plods forward; each song attempt new and jarring. It all varies a surprising bit. The ensuing feeling is so frustratingly pent-up until "The Face" spits forth with abandon on Side B. Confident. Clear in voice. Contemptuous. The song is a stylistic outlier to the rest of the album. There are sources and sounds that might happen once, so you never know what might be off-kilter next. Overall, though, it is so very clearly “Power Electronics” without resorting to a recognizable formula. This may or may not be due to the practical super-group of contributors—among them, Dave Phillips (Schimpfluch-Gruppe), Wyatt Howland (Skin Graft) and Dan Burke (Illusion of Safety).

 Several tracks from PUSSIFICATION:  A Compilation of Experimental Cat Music were aired on  Mid-Valley Mutations, hosted by Austin Rich.  It is actually an archive of a radio show (recording the stream, I presume) of Lisa Miralia's Mysterious Black Box Radio Program on WCSB, Cleveland.  I didn't know it existed until now.   Thanks Austin and Lisa!   

If you haven't yet, feel free to stop by and read the most recent installment of the no part of it interview series, with Neil Jendon.

Monday, January 13, 2020

Interview Series #11: Neil Jendon

Scheduled on March 6, 2019

 I have no idea what Neil does for a living, but he's always struck me as a working class person, it seems to come through in his work. At the very least, I've felt like his synthesizer work was in line with that of a guitarist more-so than a "composer", and I didn't really know he was a guitarist early on.   I've always taken it for granted that he grew up in Chicago, and I still don't know for sure if that's true.  I think he lived at one point near where I mostly grew up, at least the same neighborhood.  Neil let me ride with him to St. Louis for a fest we did, and the most prevailing thing I discovered was that he and his father-in-law (was a radio announcer in the 40s and 50s) had a mutual appreciation for old time radio.  This extended to listening to actual 16 inch records (how radio programs were recorded in that time) on a special player, which Neil bought for a special occasion.    I guess Neil  started his "career" as a guitarist in 1988 with a band called Catherine, who went on to be signed to TVT Records and open for The Smashing Pumpkins, and I have found that they went on to do a record with SP's former bass player, D'Arcy.

Neil's worked with various people on various projects, with members of Locrian, Zelienople, Sunsplitter, Sshe Retina Stimulants, and others, and while his ambient sounds may not break any barriers, it is a signature sound which plays out in a myriad of ways when it comes to his solo work, which I especially enjoy when it breaks into rhythmic or percussive themes, or hard and fast transitions, while still being within the realm of a "soundscape".   I think that while Neil's miles away from the "leisure class", he's still got a gentlemanly sense of artistic integrity, if only when it is buttressed with maybe a humility that teeters on self-deprecating down-to-earthness.  The result is sort of a noise artist / sound designer with a kind of studious, yet stoic rock sensibility, whose work, on occasion, comes across as emotive only at times when it seems to sneak out, rather than being packaged as a thesis statement followed by a presentation.  I've never really seen Neil be too aggressive about promoting shows and things, yet he has shared bills with a number of well-established acts, so to me this would be a statement to his character or his ability or both.  In any case, I think the word "unsung" would still be in order here, and I do look forward to see what else Neil has up his sleeve as time continues to drift into some strange oblivion, despite the shrinking collective attention spans. 

1.  What types of things have you been getting into lately?

I've been listening to a lot of jazz pianists, particularly Bill Evans and Ahmad Jamal.  Those guys have all the moves, harmonically, dynamically and rhythmically. Ahmad Jamal in particular can command so much attention with the quietest gestures. It sounds so simple until you try it yourself.

The Eliane Radigue box set is on heavy rotation. What a tremendous and soulful body of work. Another example of something that sounds simple but isn't.

I'm currently binge-watching The Sopranos. I'm 20 years late to the party. It's the greatest work of art ever devoted to the lives of stupid people. Within it is the story of an America that's too dumb to know itself. The characters don't inhabit their own lives. It's beautiful in it's grim despair.

A close second and fantastic companion to The Sopranos is the 5-film series The Yakuza Papers: Battles Without Honor or Humility. Inept violence committed by serial cowards. The whole thing is a claustrophobic mess, and I give director Kinji Fukasaku mad props for so successfully hijacking a genre that typically valorizes violence.

2.  What you do, do you do it as an artist, or is it a hobby?  If you don't like that question, what do you have to say about true art (vs. "entertainment")? 

Distinctions between artist/hobbyist and true art/entertainment are social constructs that speak more to the economics of performer and the patron than what's being performed. Our day jobs are dirty, but the universities and art museums (with endowments chock full of money from e.g. arms manufacturers) are no cleaner. Call yourself whatever you want, and tell your story. What matters is what you have at stake; everything else is academic.

In my own practice, I feel I have to be at least somewhat entertaining when I perform. What I ask from people (time and attention) is a lot. I should make an effort to engage them beyond simply "listen to this, then listen to this." After all, It's me they're listening to, not the synth; otherwise they can just go to guitar center and sit in the keyboard room for an equivalent experience.

3.  How would you describe what you do?

I'm a musician. More honestly, I'm a guitarist. Even when there's no guitar in it, I'm still a guitarist. That was my first conduit into music, and I hang on to it despite knowing better. 

4.  How would you describe your creative progression over the years, in a brief synopsis?

 Recently I've given up trying to understand what works and what doesn't. It's a quest for the sacred. It's something we never really learn. I keep doing every day; it's the only way. 

5.  How would you describe your philosophy?

All life is suffering. Beauty, mercy and grace are the only consolations, which we must make ourselves from nothing but ourselves.

6.  Do you believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods?  If no, then maybe you'll share your favorite conspiracy theory (whether you believe it or not). 

I do not believe in any of those things. Conspiracy theories are the most absurd because power functions so terribly and nakedly and serves its own needs so efficiently that one wonders - what could be gained by secrecy? RIP to Lyndon LaRouche, though; you were a very special kind of right-wing crank that they just don't make any more.

7.  What would you say was your most definitive experience?

Seeing Edgard Varesé performed by the Chicago Symphony Orchestra when I was 9 years old. I think it was Hyperprism. I was overwhelmed.

8.  Do you have any side projects that I am not aware of? If not, what is something you'd like people to know about you, that you don't think anyone would ever ask?

The main things are:

My podcast - 1 Electronic Sound for 5 Minutes http://1esf5m.buzzsprout.com

9.  Would you care to name any theoretical "desert island" records, or at least releases that you think are approaching your concept of "perfect"? 

A desert Island would be a fantastic opportunity to leave music behind, enjoy the quiet, focus on finding fresh water, and learn how to fish. If I'm going to have any music, it has to be something that attracts fish. Maybe Brian Eno?

10.  What is the earliest childhood memory you can (or are willing to) recall?  

Being pushed down the stairs by the neighbor kids. I couldn't have been more than 3 years old. I walked from it and was apparently made of rubber then.

11.  Are you able to appreciate other peoples' creative work regardless of their personal shortcomings or inherent flaws?  To what extent? 

I don't have a satisfying answer for this at all. Ideally, we admire and support art from people who aren't shitty. However, the appeal of art and music is profoundly irrational; so much so that I don't think we have much of a say in it. People are going to love R. Kelly's music for decades despite him being an absolute fucking monster. Martin Heidegger is on the syllabus and widely published despite being a fucking Nazi. The list goes on.

Personally, I don't waste my time. There's a world of art out there deserving of more attention made by non-shitty people. It's not hard to find. I won't deny the emotional impact of works by people later revealed to be horrid; I treat them like any other abuser in my past with distance.

12.  Do you have any heroes or heroines? Who are they? Feel free to add anything that makes them stand out. 

I'm too old and cynical to have heroes. 

13.  What would you like to have on your epitaph?  Or what is your favorite quote? 

"Originality is a device that untalented people use to impress other untalented people to protect themselves from talented people" - William Gaddis

Friday, December 13, 2019

Blood and Snow

Arvo was interviewed by Noise Beneath The Snow.  Therein, the deeper details of the CIVIL WAR LP were discussed at length, including the motivations for the booklets, the contributions, live sets, and various occurrences from 2010 to present that led up to its gestation.  

The Blood Rhythms - CIVIL WAR LP was reviewed by Lexi Glass at KFJC (also aired a number of times):

Civil War is the latest assault from Blood Rhythms, the noise collective fronted by Chicago-based electronic artist Arvo Zylo, here with Dave Phillips (of Schimpfluch-Gruppe), Wyatt Howland (Skin Graft) and many other collaborators. It’s a devastating – yet even beautiful – record, that might surprise non-noiseniks with its range of sounds and moods, and nearly song-like compositions. “Closure” (T1) opens with strange clarinet melodies, piercing tones, and a massive chorus of voices that finally resolves into a lone anguished scream. If the high-pitched violence of the latest Frataxin release left you begging for more, “Sick Skin” (T2) provides satisfaction, as strangled growls flail helplessly in feedback filth. With its first deep, ominous pulse, “Locked Away” (T3) descends into a forgotten underground lair, and we are overtaken by the howls of those trapped there. Side B holds the centerpiece – the colossal, confrontational “The Face” (T5) – where driving electronic rhythms collide with a cacophony of hellish horns. Yes, it’s a face-melter. The two-part finale (T6 and T7) buries heavy beats, organ bellows, metal scrap, and dying screams in a mass of noise; with one final thud, the suffocation succeeds.

 Teachers AIDS aired "The Face" along with Bacillus, Peste Noire, and Ak'Chamel.  With Grawer, "Paris Window" was aired alongside Paul Metzger, Nadja, and Boris.  By Lexi Glass, "Locked Away" was aired with the graces of Einheit / Brotzmann, L. Voag, and Thomas Dimuzio.  Whilst Whinger played "The Face"  in the company of Coil, Aube, and Winters In Osaka.   Meanwhile, Louis Caliente aired "Alchemy & Grief" among the ranks of KK NULL, Metalux, and Carlos Giffoni.   Thanks folks! 

An archive of WZRD from July 2017 was unearthed, featuring a track from Arvo's final Upheaval full length, as well as a track from Machine Listener on NO PART OF IT label.  Also in the set were Sparks with Giorgio Moroder, Death Factory, Harry Nilsson, The Ex, Lenny Bruce, Volcano The Bear, Ligeti, and Lydia Lunch! Listen Here.  

This month's edition of the no part of it interview series features Michael Idehall!  Tune in!

Interview Series #10: Michael Idehall

Scheduled on March 6, 2019 Michael Idehall  is a deep occult sound artist/painter whose recordings have been released on Ant-Zen, a label which many would regard as having almost entirely released a more accessible variety of dance music/electronic music since their apparent departure from occasional noise/power electronics albums in the late 90s.   I remember going through Ant-Zen's discography to see if I can parse out the more experimental material and coming upon the work of Michael Idehall, much to my satisfaction.   One of the reasons I am doing this series of "interviews" is because if I were to do a full-on "formal" interview, I would need to know the artist inside and out to feel comfortable.   Here, I will leave the reader to fill in the blanks as they see fit.  I will just add that Idehall's music is consistently unique and personal; One of those artists whose work is somewhat signature, but rapidly evolving at the same time.   My favorite moments from what I have heard so far have a strong sense of electronic music as the new folk music (and I am not talking about "neo-folk"), and at other times, there are dense soundscapes where drone, musique concret, industrial noise, and soundtrack elements collide in a manner that I feel is worthwhile returning to and exploring.  I'd also like to add that Idehall's DIY releases, be they CDRs or very limited occult books, are endearing to say the least.  All of this body of work, from what I have seen, suggests a practicality to the motivation, as if it is a service or tool to be applied to something, and I'm glad to see when an artist is self-made in this way, outside of invisible boundaries and ghettos of genre-identification, but still, for all intents and purposes, firmly industrial. 

1.  What types of things have you been getting into lately?

Last year was a lot about the video medium for me. I purchased a video synthesizer and started experimenting. Together with my partner I created an audio/video opera called Apparatus God which is available in its entirety on my YouTube channel. My friend Árni Bergur Zoëga and me also made a short film called Mr. Grant's Gift which is currently available only to my patrons on Patreon.

2.  What you do, do you do it as an artist, or is it a hobby?  If you don't like that question, what do you have to say about true art (vs. "entertainment")? 

I am a freelance artist. My partner and I also run a sound art gallery which has been a way to get by apart from my erratic design engagements.  

3.  How would you describe what you do?

Art for me is intimately connected to spirituality. I explore esoteric concepts through manifesting them in art. 

4.  How would you describe your creative progression over the years, in a brief synopsis?

There used to be an aspect of perfectionism in my compositional method but as I have gained experience, the need to examine every minute detail has disappeared. Now I am more goal oriented and I have a wider perspective on my art. 

5.  How would you describe your philosophy?

Leading on from the previous question, I would say that my art has become much less about solidifying ideas and more about exploration. My compositions are documentations of experiments. I go on a journey and take some pictures and notes, then I release those to the public.  

6.  Do you believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods?  If no, then maybe you'll share your favorite conspiracy theory (whether you believe it or not). 

I am a firm believer of almost everything. The one thing I do not subscribe to is the idea of conspiracies.

7.  What would you say was your most definitive experience?

I wish that I had something profound to write here but I cannot think of anything.  

8.  Do you have any side projects that I am not aware of? If not, what is something you'd like people to know about you, that you don't think anyone would ever ask?

Most of my side projects are clearly listed on Discogs, so I imagine there are no surprises there. I would like people to know that they should feel free to approach me for commissions at any time. 

9.  Would you care to name any theoretical "desert island" records, or at least releases that you think are approaching your concept of "perfect"? 

 There are so many but if I would restrict myself to three I would say Kraftwerk – Die Mensch Maschine, Cypress Hill – Black Sunday, and Black Sabbath – We Sold Our Souls For Rock 'n' Roll. 

10.  What is the earliest childhood memory you can (or are willing to) recall?

I wandered in the fields behind my grandfather's house as I came upon a large wooden chest. As I opened the lid I discovered that the whole box had been built into a wasps nest. To nobodies surprise I started running and found myself next to a dry well with a huge bear statue standing next to it. Bears and wasps are common symbols in my dreams until this day.  


11.  Are you able to appreciate other peoples' creative work regardless of their personal shortcomings or inherent flaws?  To what extent? 

I can definitely enjoy work by people who have made mistakes in their life. However, sometimes the immorality of a person shines through the art and it can become too distracting and thus be detrimental to the experience. 

12.  Do you have any heroes or heroines?  Who are they?  Feel free to add anything that makes them stand out. 

Stockhausen's originality has always been an inspiration for me, not to speak of his outrageous claims of being from another planet. He truly inhabited his own magical universe and was able to communicate something 'other' that reverberates with me. Other than that I think that I have successfully managed to kill all my idols: Burroughs, Austin Osman Spare, Kenneth Grant etc.  

13.  What would you like to have on your epitaph?  Or what is your favorite quote? 

Since I will never have any children, I am not sure who would be interested in such a thing. It would be nice if they could make my body into a gemstone or a record, like some kind of necromantic artefact for new generations of magicians to use in their ritual work. 

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

Interview Series #9: GX Jupitter-Larsen

 Scheduled on February 17, 2019
I remember being in Denver with GX Jupitter-Larsen, and relating with him about how desolate some cities were in the 80s.  For him, he talked of Denver and San Francisco, and how dead bodies would be left to decay completely underneath a bridge or inside of a viaduct, and this is how some of the robotic contraptions came to have animal components to them during his tenure in Survival Research Laboratories.  To be clear, GX only did sound design for these performances of destructive robotic creatures, but sound is not what he is limited to.  He's got a whole philosophy, language, and measurement system designed to explain his particular form of dadaism.  One could be kept busy for a while in reading about his abstract terms such as "The Permawave", "The Polywave", or my favorite, "Xylowave".

Jupitter-Larsen has taken 7 inch records that are blank, and released them, advising people to scratch the surface themselves.  Or he has released a blank cassette packed into a bag full of dirt.  Lathe cut records made of cardboard, which will disintegrate upon playback, and an album that is played by having water poured on it.  I have seen him perform with his project The Haters at least four times.  Two of those times was during his "Loud Luggage" period, where he had radio transistors inside of briefcases, which were interrupted by microphone feedback.  I have seen incredible sounds come out of the simple rubbing or pounding of these briefcases, not to mention when someone takes an angle grinder to them.

Personally, GX performed with Blood Rhythms once, when we were throwing around boxes of glass and taking belt sanders to sheet metal, and GX used the sheet metal as a reflective surface for sound, rather than banging on it or other obvious choices, when there was a missing belt sander. He was actually putting the metal up in the air as if to deflect sound.  With the concept of radio art, he has been known to air recordings of broken transmitters (something I have also had the opportunity to record/do), or run tape loops through several different tape heads for a "seamless sound sculpture"...  One of my favorite releases of his is a radio art installation that he did on my old radio show, which was four hours long.  When I asked him if I could release it on DVD, he said no, because it was intended for radio only.  On top of that we have done a split release and participated in another group live performance, and in short, he has always been a gracious and kind person, sitting through a lot of noise fests while many of us spent much more time outside, and working with lesser known young bucks when it suits him.  I am not sure how I would go about a direct interview with him, but this format seems to work, and I'm honored to be able to partake!  Thanks for everything!

Arvo Zylo:  What types of things have you been getting into lately?

GX Jupitter-Larsen: Influencing Machine Records is releasing a double 10 inch for The Haters 40th Anniversary. A total of four sides, one for each decade. Each side will have an unreleased track from a different decade. The Thinking Ross Did for 1989; Untitled Title Shot for 1999; Audiothecary for 2009; and Totimorphous Ubiety Guide for 2019. The release also includes a flexi of AMK playing the records in his own very special way.

AZ:  What you do, do you do it as an artist, or is it a hobby?

GX: The question should be, is what I do a career or a mission. Careers can make you money. Missions however always cost you. What I do has cost me dearly. Still, if I had to do it all over again, I wouldn’t change a thing.

AZ:  How would you describe what you do?

GX: My life. Just life. Nothing more. Nothing less.

AZ:  How would you describe your creative progression over the years, in a brief synopsis?

GX: A phonograph record is just a noisy photograph. Likewise, a photograph is just a quiet phonograph.

AZ:  How would you describe your philosophy?

GX: The nihilist would never fear the post office. He would embrace it as an extension of himself.

AZ:  Do you believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods?  If no, then maybe you'll share your favorite conspiracy theory.

GX: I do not believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods. Interestingly, the term “conspiracy theory” was invented by the CIA to discredit their critics while covering up their crimes in plain sight.

AZ:  What would you say was your most definitive experience?

GX: When I was nine, I used to run into heavy traffic just for the fun of it. I never got hit. Came close a couple of times, but always timed it just right. Otherwise I was a perfectly quiet child who always kept to himself. Now, I had never done this type of thing again till some 26 years later on. While I was walking down a busy street in San Fransisco’s Mission district, in the middle of the afternoon I was suddenly attacked by members of a local gang. To escape I ran into traffic. The gang members freaked out and ran off. I found safety in the midst of all the rushing cars and trucks.

AZ:  What is something you'd like people to know about you, that you don't think anyone would ever ask?

GX:  This is going to sound ridiculously unreasonable, but I find the speed of light infuriatingly slow. Even if we were standing next to each other, I’d still be seeing you as you were three namoseconds in the past. That’s too slow. The slowness of light is a pimple on the face of nature. I wish I could find something faster than light to see with.

AZ:  Would you care to name any theoretical "desert island" records, or at least releases that you think are approaching your concept of "perfect"?

GX:  Chop Shop’s “Steel Plate” Double 10 inch, MSBR “Ultimate Ambience” LP, the “Euragine” CD by Anne Gillis, the “White Elephant” CD by Speculum Fight, "Somnambul" CD by Radiosonde, AMK’s “The Lonesome Echo” CD, and Small Cruel Party’s “Resin Parched Chthonic” LP.

AZ:  What is the earliest childhood memory you can recall?

GX:  My 5th birthday. My mother had baked me a cake. It was super surgery.

AZ:  Are you able to appreciate other peoples' creative work regardless of their personal shortcomings or inherent flaws?

GX:  No. While I can forgive most shortcomings, nobody is perfect, least of all me, I can not tolerate any degree of rudeness or impoliteness from anyone. I don’t care who you think you are or what you think you’ve achieved.

AZ:  Do you have any heroes?

GX:  Marcel Duchamp; mind you, these days I can’t help but think that he was probably somebody else’s readymade.

AZ:  What would you like to have on your epitaph?  

GX:  "Death is no time to be practical."

I'm So Loathsome I Could Cry

ballast NVP011: Children of the Stones re-envisioned by Arvo Zylo (2 x 3” CDR)
I think I really got to know Arvo maybe 10 or so years ago, mostly through his live performances. Whether solo or with ensembles, his live sets were almost always intense, dense, ride-the-mixer-into-the-red, primal “industrial:” sanders played on sheet metal, that sort of stuff. It was material I really enjoyed hearing live.
So when Arvo sent me the audio for this release, I was surprised to hear the result of his densely stirred, multiple layers of looping and phasing (as in, triple digit layering, an extremely common pathway for his studio recordings), was minimal—yet immensely immersive. Tones, frequencies, and snippets of sound (all sourced from the TV series of the same name) layer, swim, and ebb around one another to create aural waves that then radiate and fold back into themselves. Instead of Haters, I was reminded of Hafler Trio or Nurse With Wound. It’s a rare combination of breathing room and myriad layers of shifting and sliding parts: new elements and transitions seem to peek through over repeated listens.
Some additional info about the release.
This release comes in a hardback book-like package with a hand stamped cover, screen-printed interior, two small posters, and is numbered and signed by Arvo. The edition is 55 copies.


The new BLOOD RHYTHMS - CIVIL WAR LP was reviewed by noise veteran HOWARD STELZER at Vital Weekly:

BLOOD RHYTHMS - CIVIL WAR (LP + book by No Part of It)

Holy shit. This album is intense. I’ve listened several times over, and find several things about it fascinating. Compositionally, it packs a lot into a short amount of time. As a complete experience from start to finish, “Civil War” is remarkably well constructed and compelling. It’s sonically deep and detailed, compositionally varied and skillful. Out loud, it’s a burner… on headphones, it’s a world to sink into and admire the project’s instigator Arvo Zylo’s studio mastery.

Understand that I’m not generally a fan of power electronics. While some people surely do it well and have made its tropes their own (Pharmakon is far and away the best going right now, but also Ramleh, Bloodyminded, probably a couple others), it seems hopelessly anachronistic as a genre. At PE’s inception in the early 80s, it made sense a response to Thatcher and Reagan, the rise of the Christian right, popular nostalgia for a white-washed 1950s, economic polarization and racial tension, punk and post-punk giving way to corporate synth-pop… white dudes screaming about transgression had a particular place as a micro-sub-genre of industrial noise. In the 21st century, power electronics has been embraced by non-ironic right-wing edgelords who think that being aggressively vague about taboo subjects is the same as having something to say about them. For the most part, this crap is as provocative as a wilted salad. Blood Rhythms, however, is power-electronics that rises above genre. Not only is each song a self-contained unit full of depth, space and drama, but “Civil War” also succeeds as a cycle of songs that grows stronger in sequence, a single album-length statement that makes deliberate use of every minute of its run time. 

For sure, Zylo does shout over feedback (such is power electronics), but he also builds a
uniquely uncomfortable tension with jarring juxtapositions and a wide range of compositional
ideas. The first side begins with “Closure” (har har), an elegy for reeds (baritone sax? bass
clarinet?) around which weave multiple whispered vocal lines and crumbling close-mic’d
percussive rattle. “Sick Skin” is a Prurient-ish feedback shriek, the most genre-representative thing on the album, but noteworthy for how Zylo spaces component sounds around the stereo field to give an impression of depth and motion. It’s followed by the mournful growl of “Locked Away”, an ugly grunt of self-laceration set to mournful reeds and layers of noise that shift steadily sideways with textures that change subtly as new elements are brought in and out. At one notable moment on “The Face”, I audibly gasped when the introductory passage of nervous industrial sequencers slams against a mountain-sized brass section. Blammo! As the song builds, a howl of gray shrieking despair becomes a wall of pummeling acoustic drums, reminding me of Taiko drumming or Crash Worship. The album ends with a punishingly bleak two-part blurgh called “Alchemy + Grief”, which has Zylo exhuming his voice from some buried brain horror as a steady roll of beatless metal-sheering percussion amps up the anxiety. Instead of catharsis, "Civil War" simply ends, dropping the listener callously off a cliff.

    Zylo is the main voice of Blood Rhythms, but on “Civil War” he’s joined by Dave Phillips (of Schimpfluch), Dan Burke (Illusion of Safety), Wyatt Howland (Skin Graft), Mike Weis (Zelienople) and other players. The LP comes in a gatefold sleeve with a 44 page art book. (HS)
––– Address: https://nopartofit.bandcamp.com/

The CIVIL WAR LP was also reviewed by the excellent Lost In A Sea of Sound site.  Here is an excerpt:

The spirit being pierced by anti-harmony and severe turmoil. Voices cry in anguished urgency. There is no help for them, these sounds only a warning from the dimensional nexus. A place beyond current perception, an open aural pathway most would refuse to travel. BLOOD RHYTHMS is just downright scary. Knowing these sounds lurk within those around us could be even more frightening. Is this a completely rearranged creativity or is there a direct connection to an unknown world, dark and foreboding by the carefree standards of today's society? When music ceases to be and the cacophonous sounds become hyper focused, thoughts race and reach to understand. This composition titled CIVIL WAR defies rational thoughts. From the shrill opening tones, through both garbled and crystal clear messages, a drone like glue of electronic static holds everything together for a brief listen. The unknown reasons these sounds were made, clearly has purpose and tremendous significance.

Additionally, the New BLOOD RHYTHMS CIVIL WAR LP was aired on WZRD, alongside Meat Beat Manifesto, Illusion of Safety, Skozey Fetisch, T. Rex, Mars, Eraserhead OST, Hans Grusel's Krankenkabinet, Spider Compass Good Crime Band, COIL, and more.  Listen HERE

Additionally, Bob Bucko Jr's track for the split with Arvo Zylo on no part of it was aired in a different episode, alongside Pharmakon, Death Factory, Tom Recchion, Kaada, Alien Sex Fiend, The Electric Flag, Orchid Spangiafora, Nautical Almanac, and more.  Listen Here.

Copies of the CIVIL WAR LP are now available at Easy Street,  Wall of Sound, Singles Going Steady, and Zion's Gate record stores in Seattle.   Copies are also available at RRRECORDS and Hanson Records, although they may not be available online from these locations yet.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Interview Series #8: Val Denham

 Scheduled on February 17, 2019
Val Denham has been active since at least the early 70s, as a visual artist and musician.  Her artwork has graced the covers of albums by Marc Almond, Throbbing Gristle, Psychic TV, Black Sun Productions, Cyclobe, and Merzbow, but my favorite of her cover art is probably If You Can't Please Yourself, You Can't Please Your Soul,  a classic compilation featuring Foetus, Coil, Einsturzende Neubauten, Cabaret Voltaire, and more.  More recently, she has had extensive art books published, most notably TRANART, released by Timeless.  As a musician, her work dating back to 1982 with The Death and Beauty Foundation has been reissued by the deluxe box set specialist label Vinyl-on-Demand, and her prolific work with various projects seems to only increase as time goes on. 

 Personally, I would be remiss not to note that I find Denham's personal facebook page to be a relief, as it is rife with the quirks of an evermore rarefied and robust, youthfully humorous, yet witty soul.  I feel as if I know how Val laughs solely by seeing her posts of odd record covers and cultural abnormalities.

1. What types of things have you been getting into lately?

I'm just in negotiations with my record label as to the running order of the 12 tracks for my
forthcoming vinyl and CD album entitled The Devil Knows Your Name Now;. This will be the third
album that I have done on Vanity Case Records. This is really the final part of a trilogy that started
with Dysphoria; and I Saw Myself in Your Dreams Last Night. After this album I will do something
very different. I'm also finalizing the artwork for a box set of my earlier work for Yuen K Wah,
entitled Fabulux This will be a coloured vinyl LP and 4 double album CDs, a T shirt and an original artwork in a box. Plus, I am always doing my painting and writing.

2. What you do, do you do it as an artist, or is it a hobby? If you don't like that question, what do
you have to say about true art (vs. "entertainment")?

I am a total artist. I collect vintage monster / horror film magazines as a hobby, but my art is my life.

3. How would you describe what you do?

I create stuff compulsively. I do it for my mental well-being. I am considered an outsider artist,
because I don't need anyone else to see my work. Don't get me wrong, I do like other people to see
and hear my stuff, but it really isn't essential. I don't create art or music with the intention of making
money or pleasing/impressing other people, I do it because it is important to me. If there was a big
war and we all went back to cave man times, I would have to draw on the cave walls.

4. How would you describe your creative progression over the years, in a brief synopsis?

I've come to realize that my creative output is a symptom of my mental health issues, namely severe
obsessive compulsive disorder. My work is totally about my own psychology. Every work that I
produce is a self-portrait, either literally or on a subconscious level. Obviously the older you get, the
more your painting technique improves as indeed so does your musical abilities. You really can't help
improving with time. I also have absolute faith in my intuition now that I am more mature as an
artist. However, for me to be truly mature I believe that I must completely embrace the child inside
myself. I want to have lots of fun.

5. How would you describe your philosophy?

Go with the river. Everything is perfect. To be angry, unhappy or uncreative is a negation of the
divine gift of life. We will be dead sooner than we think, so try to enjoy every second. Love is the
greatest energy in the universe. Do not live your life as other people think you should live it. Be who
you are. If anyone has a problem with that, drop them. I mean it. Whether they are family, friends,
employers, if they are negative you must X them out of your life. You must be ruthless and without
fear. Fear is the enemy. Destroy all monsters.

6. Do you believe in psychics, magic, ghosts, or gods? If no, then maybe you'll share your favourite conspiracy theory (whether you believe it or not).

I believe in the unknown physical world. There is so much weird shit that has happened to me over
the years. Maybe this is because I'm open to it. I am a Deist. Neil Armstrong, the first man on the
moon became a Deist. I believe in God. But I now think that "God" could be a whole race of beings.
As for conspiracy theories, these conspiracy believers should read “Voodoo Histories” by David
Aaronovitch. Certain people need to believe in something to fill the void left by the fanatical
onslaught of atheism that is so prevalent these days. Now these individuals will believe literally
anything, no matter how ridiculous. It is simply paranoia. Someone must be behind it all? But, guess
what David Icke, people such as you are the ones behind it all. The moon is hollow and run by lizard
aliens? The Royal Family are in fact alien lizards? These people are insane! The CIA bombed the Twin Towers so that they could blame it on the Muslims. Fuck off.

7. What would you say was your most definitive experience?

It was in 2001 when I was 44 and meeting up again with my first girlfriend that I went out with when
I was 17. A couple of years later we got married. She is my soul mate. I have never been happier in
my life. I'm now 61 and at last I have some kind of contentment. I quite like growing older together.

8. Do you have any side projects that I am not aware of? If not, what is something you'd like people
to know about you, that you don't think anyone would ever ask?

I spend more time cleaning and putting things in order than I do artwork due to my OCD. I like to
drink lots of alcohol. I like to do exercises as I watch "Pointless" on TV. I have two security blankets
and I sometimes get panic attacks for no reason. I use an inhaler every morning and before I go to
bed. I'm a big collector as I said, with the magazines which I have in perfect order in Mylar bags in
acid free boxes, but I also collect everything that I can by my favourite band "The Residents". I have a huge collection! I’m a bit of a hoarder of books, vases, and various other things. I love collecting. I
love eBay.

9. Would you care to name any theoretical "desert island" records, or at least releases that you
think are approaching your concept of "perfect"?

"Walk on By" by Dionne Warwick is perfect. I've seen her sing it live in Bradford. But, albums?
Hmmmm.....my favourite album has to be "Third Reich'n'Roll" by The Residents. I also love David
Bowie. I have all his albums. I listen to all this music on an Ipod when I am in bed. "The Dreaming" by Kate Bush is a big favourite. The Stooges, Chrome, Faust, Frank Zappa, Captain Beefheart, mostly old 60's, 70's and 80's music, But I do like some new stuff too. I also listen to my own releases quite a lot!

10. What is the earliest childhood memory you can (or are willing to) recall?

My Dad blowing cigarette smoke in my ear, seemingly to cure earache. However I couldn’t speak as I
was only a baby, so how did they know that it was earache that was bothering me? I also remember
as a child watching two televisions on at the same time, in the same room next to each other with
the room lights out. This was because my Dad liked his own TV programmes and my mother liked
hers! I asked my mother a few years ago, if this was a false memory or a dream, but she said "No, it
was true. I didn't like his sport and war rubbish, so got my own television so that I could watch my
things." I said to her "But, mam, you had them both next to each other, with the same volume on
and me sat right in the middle!" Yes, she said you were watching one then the other like watching a
ball at a tennis match. No wonder, I ended up weird.

11. Are you able to appreciate other peoples' creative work regardless of their personal
shortcomings or inherent flaws? To what extent?

I love practically everything. I was watching a documentary on TV the other night about cave art and
it was presented by the British sculptor Anthony Gormley. I was really shocked that he said "I don't
like Picasso's work, because he was a predator and wasn't nice to women." I thought WTF! How can
you not appreciate someone’s work because you don't like their personality"!? I love Henry Darger
and let's face it; the guy was a raving paedophile. You just need to look at his work. I adore
Caravaggio and he was a murderer. Eric Gill, absolutely superb graphics and he was something of a
kiddy fiddler. He even shagged his dog. The work is all that matters! A few of Hitler's paintings are pretty good! And when people say that all his artistic output is facile crap, then, I’m afraid to say that
they delude themselves.

12. Do you have any heroes or heroines? Who are they? Feel free to add anything that makes them stand out.

So many........Charlie Chaplin, Louise Brooks, Gilbert & George, Pierre Molinier, Andy Warhol,
Salvador Dali, Alfred Jarry, Picasso, Van Gogh, The Beatles, The Residents, Kate Bush, Stravinsky,
Alice Cooper, Iggy Pop, Stanley KubricK, Jean Vigo, Jean Genet, Orson Welles, Samuel Beckett. Alan Turin, Winston Churchill, Jesus Christ, James Whale, Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley, WH Auden, HG Wells, Joseph Beuys, Henry Matisse,William Blake, Austin Osman Spare, William Burroughs, Alan Ginsberg, Genesis Breyer P Orridge, Sebastian Horesly, Caligula, Leigh Bowery, Oscar Wilde, David Bowie, Frida Kahlo, Jean-Michel Basquiat,Howard Hodgkins, Edward D. Wood Jnr, Vampira,The Rocky Horror Show, The Outer Limits, The Twighlight Zone, The Munsters, The Addams Family, In the Night Garden, Frank Sinatra, Burt Bacharach, Stephen Sondheim, Tiny Tim,Pierre et Gilles,Vermeer,Gustav Klimt,Hieronymus Bosch, Albrecht Durer,Count Arthur Strong. GOD. Too many.

13. What would you like to have on your epitaph? Or what is your favourite quote?

My first wife said that if I died, it should say on my grave stone "At least he wasn't boring". However
now it would have to say "At least she wasn't boring". Perhaps if I chose an epitaph for myself it
would be “Don’t grow up! It’s a trap!”