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

Saturday, March 28, 2020

March 2020 Update

Two harsh tracks by Blood Rhythms have been issued on pro CDR format with cover/collage art by Arvo.  The first track is unreleased, and after many temptations to include it on cassette format releases, it was decided that digital format would allow for the full range of dynamics.  Also included is SIDE B from the c20 on Phage Tapes, "Nothing To Declare" (Part 2), which is a lot of layers of metal abuse and feedback.  Digital download is only available for subscribers.   Copies of the pro-CDR are available here.  Thanks to all who have supported so far!

BLOOD RHYTHMS "HEURISTICS" is being reissued on silver/metallic/platinum cassettes.  There will be a standard edition as well as a special edition in clamshell cases, with inserts on silver paper, available for pre-order now.   Heuristics is a collection of material ranging from 2000-2015, each with a story behind it/ ample liner notes, and is lightly remastered for cassette by Arvo Zylo.  

Another subscription only release:  Arvo's collaborations with Kommissar Hjuler und Frau.  This is the only way to hear the digital version, outside of the cassette edition.  Initially released on very limited CDrs and cassettes by the Psych KG label.  UND

Arvo Zylo contributed an exclusive track to a new compilation curated by humanhood recordings, featuring Modelbau, Richard Ramirez, 156, Crank Sturgeon, and more.  

Crop of a page from the art booklet (black vinyl edition)

The BLOOD RHYTHMS CIVIL WAR LP was aired on MUH MUR Radio, hosted by Steve Cammack of Dieter Muh.  Some other artists in the tracklist were:  Sterile Garden, Robert Turman, Jim Haynes, Bourbonese Qualk, Dome, and Modelbau.  

More airplay of the PUSSIFICATION CompilationDusty Rhodes on KFJC played the tracks by The Rock Cats, sevenism, and Forrest Friends, as well as Bran (...) Pos, Scissor Girls, and Black Dice.  Avakhov played the Mini Mutations track, as well as Gershon Kingsley, Headboggle, Fossil Aerosol Mining Project, Esquivel, Negativland, NAMANAX, Ken Nordine, Leonard Nimoy, Neal Hefti, and John Barry.  Goodwrench played the track by Forrest Friends, as well as Crank Sturgeon, The Young Gods, and Plaid.  Mr. Slippy played the track by Anla Courtis in addition to Follakzoid, Willie Nelson, Negativland/Chumbawumba, Mike Oldfield, and Thomas Dimuzio.  Mind Surfer played the track by Le Scrambled Debutante in the company of She Past Away, Mark Stewart, The The, and Fat Worm of Error.   

Ed Pinsent at the Sound Projector aired 4 tracks from PUSSIFICATION, those by Le Scrambled Debutante, Forrest Friends, Suffering Profusion, Dooley & All Extinct Animals. 

A track from Illusion of Safety's "Surrender" full-length was aired on KOPN by Mark Medley for Insomniac's Delight, alongside Ramleh, Tones on Tail, Circuit Wound, Primitive Knot, Subklinik, Hula, The Rita, New Mexico, and Suttcliffe Jugend. 

A (Insect Deli) track from the "333 remix album" 333REDUX was aired on The Answer Is In The Beat alongside Lightning Bolt, Burial, Oval, Wobbly, PTV, and Tangerine Dream.  A track by Architeuthis Dux's "Submergence" as well as a track from Bull of Heaven on 333REDUX was aired on Mid-Valley Mutations by Austin Rich.  This episode is themed around teeth and hair, and also features Captain Beefheart, Teeth Collection, The Seeds, Syd Barrett, The Vaselines, Mr. Bungle, and more.

 In addition to that, Thirteen Hurts was aired on KFJC by Dada Diogenes, along with Maurizio Bianchi,  Inca Ore, Nital Etch, Jason Zeh, Mats Gustaffson, Broadcast, and more.

If you haven't already, feel free to stop over at the interview section, where the man behind Thirteen Hurts (the fact that is is the 13th of the series and was published on Friday the 13th is purely incidental)  was interviewed as part of our monthly series. 

Friday, March 13, 2020

Interview Series #13: One-Eyed Zatoichi

 Scheduled on March 6, 2019
One-Eyed Zatoichi is a preferred nomenclature from the spearhead of a noise project called Thirteen Hurts, which also has a leg of it separately titled "13Hz" for his modular work, as I understand it.  I think it's important to note, because I remember being told that there are no other sources beyond pedals for Thirteen Hurts, but to some, it does sound like a synthesizer is in there somewhere.   I met OEZ in Denver several times and again in St. Petersburg, Florida, in which case he drove 2,000 miles to play for 15 minutes at a noise fest.  At that time, he lived in some sort of solar-powered dome within the guts of Colorado foothills, six hours from any sort of civilization.   I've seen noise artists with too many pedals, and OEZ has more than those dudes, but he has a bizarre precision and intent with his performances.  They are cinematic and rowdy in nature.  Of course, he has a release on NO PART OF IT, but his previous two releases are also pretty starkly placed within the realm of what I'd want from a pedal noise/"heavy electronics" artist.  I also find his work to be unique in that I am taken to a specific abstract place when listening to it-- it has substance (which I regularly find off-putting in harsh noise releases) that suggests an intention and would be fitting for some sort of UFO hunter or a person digging around in tunnels looking for reptilians.  What I mean here, is not necessarily do I think OEZ is into that kind of thing, but I find his sounds to be inherently visual/exploratory in a way that I don't come across much.   It is entirely coincidental that this is the 13th interview in the series, by the way. 

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

 I’ve set aside the majority of 2019 to revisit a batch of demo recordings I did about 25 years ago with a singer. Those days were my last-ditch efforts in an attempt to be in a band and perform live, but all of that collapsed and I gave up on the project. I continued to listen to the demos over the years and had always wanted to re-record everything, get it mixed and mastered and be able to say that at least I finished a project. This stuff was recorded before it was common to record on hard drives, everything was recorded onto a Tascam 388 8-Track machine. The plan is to put everything I can into this, re-writing parts, recording the instrumentation over and editing the vocals parts until I am satisfied and can move on from this project. The singer passed away in 2011, so the vocal tracks that I have are all I will be able to work with.

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

I’d have to say more as an artist, since the exploration never stops, the interest in moving forward impels me to improve so that I can get to the next level. I believe that if my endeavors were a hobby, I’d be more content with what I have achieved. 

3.  How would you describe what you do? 

 Pretty much fuck-off the majority of the time. At my age, I can look back in sadness at the wasted years… the wasted decades and see the light at the end of the tunnel in terms of how many years I have left to callously throw away. This is my biggest hurdle at this time, to learn how to utilize every moment I have and maximize whatever pleasure or satisfaction I can glean from the remaining time I have. However, when I am doing something that I would consider creative or interesting, that usually means getting back into oil painting or plunking around on keyboards, always writing musical ideas down and daydreaming of a new project. I consider myself one of the laziest procrastinators that I know. This having been said, I have finished projects in the past, for example the Thirteen Hurts noise recordings and I am extremely satisfied with how those came out. And the live noise shows too. I don’t practice noise, I just prepare for a show a few weeks ahead or set things up if I need to record something. I’m quite good at wasting time, of which I have very little to waste.

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

 I started out oil painting in my early teens, then started playing piano and keyboards around the age of 15, focusing on Jazz and Fusion, which was the real shit at the time. I was in a handful of bands, mostly Rock, Funk and New Wave, and then I focused on finding a female vocalist to create a “shoe-gaze” or Cocteau Twins style band. After that, I focused on experimental and noise but could not figure out how to proceed. Eventually I got it figured out and did that (still am) for a handful of years. Now, I’ve temporarily switched gears to working on my old recordings so I can finally have a “catalog” of music I’ve worked on over the years. But I do need to mention that the painting and some photography came and went, interspersed within the musical projects over the decades. And I’m still looking for a female vocalist……

5.  How would you describe your philosophy? 

I don't adhere to or study any Western Philosophies, I've always gravitated toward Eastern Philosophies, specifically Japanese. When I was a young teenager and a Bruce Lee fan, I studied Karate for a few years. I was also completely enamored with Samurai films shown in Japantown in San Francisco. Remember, I'm old. So there was no internet, no one even had a basic VCR at the time. If you wanted to see a film, you had to go to the theater or watch one on TV with commercials (pre-HBO). Around the age of 15, my Karate instructor gave me a book titled “Bushido, the Soul of Japan” by Nitobe. Sure, slicing off heads was cool, but this was a book that dug into samurai philosophy, something my small pea-brain had a difficult time grasping. But something there spoke to me deeply and has been ingrained in me ever since. I also delved into Miyamoto Musashi's Book of Five Rings. Those two books influenced and shaped me in a way that is still there to this day. And at a subconscious depth, also one reason why I was a lonely, single person until well into my 30's. Shit, I'm not single anymore, but I'm still lonely. Maybe that's a philosophy.

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

 I haven’t bumped into any that have impressed me to the point of making me want to believe. A friend and I did go to a few senior homes with our recording equipment (audio and video) in the wee hours of the morning as these places were reported to be rampant with the ghosts or spirits of the tenants that passed away. We never came upon any paranormal activity though different residents told us of seeing the same “ghosts”, usually right as they got up and arrived at the dining area. I'm not intimately in tune with the human side of phenomena, I have more of a nature-loving speck-of-sand type awareness.

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

Climbing the cliffs at the north west edge of San Francisco. There was an enticing chasm or inlet of cliffs that looked like a challenge to conquer. I started at a low spot and began to vertically climb upwards and outwards. I scrambled out too far and the soil under my hands started to give way. Looking straight down, all I saw were jagged rocks and waves crashing onto those. Basically, instant death. I looked over my shoulder and across the way, people were starting to stand up and look at me. I got really scared, the most scared I’ve ever been. As I grew weaker from the effort, I froze in place wondering how I was going to get out of this predicament. I kept having to change my grip as the soil was turning soft and muddy. I called out to anyone above me on the top, but the effort of calling out caused my body to heave and move to the point of losing my grip. I was suddenly overcome with the fact that I could possibly die here. This was the first and only time in my life I truly prayed. A deep, meaningful prayer. More of a calling out to whatever supreme being might be looking over me at that moment. I don’t remember the exact words I was thinking at the time, but I have never felt so scared yet also accepting that if I fell, I would be ok with it. I was with a friend’s wife and I kept thinking about how she will wonder where I wandered off to. It was actually the thought of her that gave me that last impetus of effort to grab a clump of weeds growing out of the cliffside. That in turn led to another handful and foothold, and another until I clawed my way to the top. My heart was pounding, I almost passed out. I looked back across the chasm and some onlookers were still shielding their eyes from the sun, a few turning away in disappointment. I had climbed hundreds of cliffs in my youth all along the beaches of the SF Bay Area, but this one experience ended any and all interest in ever doing that again. After this, I realized that I wasn’t invincible, that I wasn’t going to conquer the world. There have been other experiences that could be considered definitive, but almost giving in to death tops my list.

8.  Do you have any side projects that I am not aware of? 

No, nothing ongoing besides the vocalist recordings I'm currently involved with. There is the Modular Synthesizer stuff, but that is so sporadic and fragmented, I wouldn't consider it a side project.

 If not, what is something you'd like people to know about you, that you don't think anyone would ever ask? 

Nothing really. My days of grandstanding and wanting to be noticed are well behind me and I make concerted efforts to keep that in check. It is frustrating, though, that my ego, which is the size of Texas, still rears its ugly head now and then.

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

Desert Island records would make me select musical favorites that I love. When you say “perfect”, I immediately consider production quality as well as musical performance, which cuts out some I would consider as a “favorite”. It is almost impossible without making a list containing dozens if not hundreds of releases. But the pressure is on, so here is a hodge-podge selection limited to the proverbial 10 releases: The Dreaming – Kate Bush, The Walking – Jane Siberry, Blue Bell Knoll – Cocteau Twins, Loveless – My Bloody Valentine, Birds of Fire – Mahavishnu Orchestra, Romantic Warrior - Return to Forever, Silver Apples of the Moon – Morton Subotnik, Dark Side of the Moon - Pink Floyd, Sgt. Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band - The Beatles, which I know you are not a fan of. But the most recent release that has been remastered by Giles Martin (George's son) is aces. And last but not least, Pulse Demon – Merzbow. To clear out the cobwebs. But there are zillions of others, even a few opera pieces that always bring tears to my eyes from their sheer beauty. I know you didn't ask this, but one of my continuing thoughts is this: I love to listen to music and have so many favorites from so many different genres. What will be the last song I listen to before I die? When my body is shutting down and I am no longer responsive, should I request that someone put some headphones on me so I can still hear (if I can hear) some music? What should I request be put on? For some reason, the answer to these questions have become an obsession with me.

10.  What is the earliest childhood memory you can recall? 

 I’ve recalled this memory decades ago and it is while I was still in a crib, probably 2 or 3 years old. The lights were out in the room, with the door partway open and the hallway light on. I was looking up at the ceiling, past the stupid mobile thing that everyone seemed to think I liked. I remember the walls being a pale green and someone coming in the room to check on me.

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

I have no issues whatsoever appreciating anyone’s creative work, as long as I find it interesting enough to explore. What someone does in their personal life or believes in is not a concern of mine. An example would be Charles Cohen and his work with the Buchla Easel Synthesizer. I deeply admire his efforts on that instrument but have zero interest in his personal life. I know on a couple of forums, people have shunned him and his work due to his personal issues. Yeah, he’s not someone I would have hung out with, but that doesn’t stop me from admiring his artistic talent. Another example would be Chick Corea. I love his playing and writing, a true master of his instrument. But that Scientology stuff? Not for me, but I still listen to his work.

12.  Do you have any heroes or heroines? 

Just musical and artistic heroes.  John Mclaughlin, Elizabeth Frazier and Robin Guthrie, Glenn Gould, Thelonious Monk, Jaco Pastorius … in the art world, I would consider Jackson Pollock, Paul Klee, Joan Miro, Mark Rothko, Claude Monet and Van Gogh heroes of mine. I would also consider Jack Kerouac and Neal Cassady two heroes of mine as they taught me the importance of road trips and the adventures you can experience.

13.  What would you like to have on your epitaph

“Here lies a Celestial Terrestrial Commuter”  

Or what is your favorite quote? 

 “You can’t have everything. Besides, where would you put it?” 

Friday, February 28, 2020

February 2020 Update

There are a number of things we could do with a subscription format here. For one, there are a number of releases that have not been represented digitally at all, or hardly at all. One of the reasons for this is the desire not to have everything naked and raw for random strangers to click through. In a subscription format, the supporter would already be initiated enough to warrant allowing digital releases or previews of material that would otherwise be only suitable for physical format, at least to me. There are things that have been physical format only, and there are things that have not been released for years because they are going to be part of a box set eventually, etc. This won't be throw-away material, although some live documents and "demos" may be involved, and as a creative individual who also runs a modest label, I can guarantee there won't be anything here that I don't standy by, even if my reasoning might not be immediately obvious to everyone, and although there might be a temporary document here and there, this would give me an opportunity to let people view some things that haven't come out for several years, mainly because I'm not done yet. This will also be an outlet for me to be more experimental with new developments in culture/the way we digest it. We will try this out, for the time being.   More info.

There is a modest addition the the Blood Rhythms discography available.  It is an edition of 44 hand-numbered recycled cassettes with hand-made duct tape covers and hand-stamped skull symbols for the art.  There are 90 minutes of material for this release, depending on what length of cassette was used.  The content is harsh noise of a lo-fi but nuanced textural variety, with rhythmic/loop -based periods throughout.

Blood Rhythms' Civil War LP was reviewed at German site Baby Blue Prog Reviews.  Many thanks!  Here is what the English translation engine gave us:

Arvo Zylo is an avant-garde musician living in Chicago. His project Blood Rhythms is dedicated to the extremely courageous sound experiments that probably would not all be located under "music". Like this from the LP “Assembly” (2014), on which the electoral chants combined with wind instruments were recorded in a meat cold room and then electronically processed. If that's not really progressive, then I don't know what to do. Zylo likes to pack his sound creations as noisy loops from electronic and acoustic sound sources that are difficult to bear for many beautiful spirits.
Extremes can also be expected on the present LP "Civil War" from 2019. Acoustic sound producers included a saxophone, a clarinet and a trumpet, which were electronically alienated and processed into an intensely bubbling sound collage. There are also numerous other sound sources to be identified, which are not all clearly assigned. Sometimes the industrial rhythms, the aggressive chanting and various other voices.
Electronic loops, which presumably mainly consist of bass clarinets. Ghostly whispers. Short waves from the radio, or maybe feedback sounds. Industrial noise. Overdriven and alienated chanting to feedback orgies. Sounds of the Apocalypse. This is how they describe the opening of the LP "(En) closure (Hearts on Fire)" and "Onist". The meditative ambient loops at the beginning of “Locked away” have a soothing effect if you have somehow survived the extreme “onist” without leaving the room. Once you have digested or even understood the concept, the shamanic-orgiastic loops that meet in “Paris Window” seem almost familiar. Just like the noisy industrial waves of "The Face" A sick and now familiar world after the first LP page. In his interviews, Arvo Zylo has interesting inspirations, concepts and theories to tell about almost every track.
Is such an extreme experience worthwhile for the pinna, an ear gas for those who like to suffer? The answer could be positive if you want to hear something that you probably haven't heard before. In case it can be something that isn't necessarily nice, but rather upsetting. "Civil War" is probably primarily for masochists, tormented souls and the extreme experimental musicalists. The work is only available as a vinyl long board. In case you want to test whether the turntable's needle starts to melt with extreme sounds.

Civil War was also aired on KFJC, Bryan Chandler's show, alongside Harold Budd, Swans, Boy Harsher, Gilbert & Lewis, Loretta Lynn, William Burroughs, and more.  The LP was also aired on Insomniac's Delight with Mark Medley, as well as Crass, German Shepherds, Chrome, Bathory, Neubauten, Taeter, Ceramic Hobs, In The Nursery, and Fred Lane.

Arvo Zylo and Blake DeGraw's "Ligeti Split" was aired on WFMU's Polyglot Radio Show with Jesse Doris (Arvo's track titled "Double Etude", alongside the likes of Steve Reich (following his "Double Sextet"), Pulse Emitter, Keiji Haino, Algebra Suicide, Joachim Nordwall, and more. 

'The Radio-Friendly Kind of Pussy'

Anla Courtis' track from the Experimental Cat Music Compilation called "Pussification" was aired on WFMU by Daniel Blumin within the ranks of Mike Weis, Jason Lescaleet, Acid Mothers Reynols, Masaoka/Chen/Grüsel/Nagai, and more. The Anla Courtis track was also aired on Serious Moonlight with Carol, alongside OOIOO, COIL, Delia Derbyshire, Danny Elfman, Tom Waits, et al (one of the more accessible playlists this label has been squeezed into).  Again on Serious Moonlight, RUBBISH's contribution was aired among artists such as Pauline Oliveros, Luc Ferrari, Robert Rich, Moor Mother, Oval, and At Jennie Richie. The tracks  by The Rock Cats as well as Le Scrambled Debutante were aired on Radio Ravioli with Olivia, in the company of Elvis Presley, Honey Ltd., Strawberry Switchblade, Minnie Riperton, Marvin Gaye, Lee Renaldo, and more.  Forrest Friends' track from Pussification was featured on The Rest Is Noise with Delphine Blue, as well as tracks by The Fall, Konono No. 1, Robert Wyatt, Antibalas, Yello, Nina Simone, Gil Scott Heron, and the list goes on.  On 100% Whatever with Mary Wing, the track by Mean Flow was featured in the company of Gary Numan, DJ Shadow, Air, and Girls Under Glass.  On This Is The Modern World with Trouble, Carol Sandin Cooley's track was aired within the ranks of Lee Scratch Perry, Nina Simone, Grouper, Margaret Lewis, and more.  I enjoy the conversations about the release that have been happening in the comments, too.   Thanks for the support!

Finally, the compilation (track by sevenism) was also aired on KFJC by Les Payne, as well as Juno Reactor, Alice Kemp, She Past Away, Igor Wakhetivich, and more.  Cinderaura played  tracks by Mini Mutations, Anla Courtis, Le Scrambled Debutante, and Mean Flow, as well as NAMANAX, Cosey Fanni Tutti, Blectum from Blechdom, Black Dice, Bran (...) Pos, Konstruktivists,  and Negativland.   Teachers AIDS played Fhtagn's track from the comp, as well as G*Park, 1349, Satyricon, and Crank Sturgeon. In a different set Teachers AIDS again played the track by Anla Courtis from the comp, as well as Sewer Goddess, Scorn, and Midnight. The track by Forrest Friends was aired again by SAL 9000  along with NAMANAX, Bran (...) Pos, Monolith, Charles Wuornen, and more.  The track by Makeulv was aired by Naysayer along with KK NULL, Roy Montgomery, Himukalt, and Laddio Bollocko.    Cynthia Lombard played the track by Carol Sandin Cooley, as well as Cosey Fanni Tutti, Erma Franklin, Daphne Oram, and Grim.

Le Scrambled Debutante's track was aired on KDVS as well, with Puce Mary, Zorn, Space Streakings, Francoise Hardy, and The Caretaker.  Fhtagn, Forrest Friends, Mini Mutations, and Dr. Rhomboid Goatcabin were aired by Robin Redbeast, in the company of esplendor geometrico, Harry Pussy, Cocteau Twins, and Yoko Ono.  Again on the 6th Dimension, Mini Mutations was aired along with People Like Us, Wobby, and Lana Del Rabies. On Lo-Lite Chem-Lab, Dooley & All Extinct Animals were aired along with Daughters, Pink Floyd, and Unknown Moral Orchestra.  On Cinnamon Post Grunge, The Rock Cats were aired alongside BRUME, Kevin Shields, and Sonny & Cher.   Thanks!

Copies of Blood Rhythms' Civil War LP and many of no part of it label's pro CDR titles are available at Skeleton Dust Records in Dayton, Ohio.

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.