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.