New Release: BLOOD RHYTHMS - ROTE
During quarantine, Arvo Zylo spent a fair amount of time "microdosing" psychedelic mushrooms, and in that process, occasionally found a happy medium within the balance of functional creativity and intuition under that influence. In his constant quest to understand this strange concept of "minimalism" within his chaotic and hopelessly "maximalist" brain, it became relevant to explore areas that have been touched on in the past, but not fully realized, and to revisit some unreleased material from 2005 and modify it, as it seems part of a current "industrial drone zeitgeist" of sorts.
What we have here are further explorations in repetition and drone aesthetics, but the results are never truly minimal. Instead, there are often mountains of layers and loops, fused into something that might serve as heavy meditation music, for those few who are initiated enough to sit and ingest it without having an anxiety attack. One might call it "ecstatic drone", as it was a joy to create, and it was certainly not meant to promote restfulness exactly.
In some cases, there are samples of factory machines juxtaposed in a way that is effectively comparable to tribal drumming, while in other cases, there are several disparate sounds combined through space and time until it sounded like there was someone screaming in the mix somewhere; A sound of different source materials battling for dominance over one another. There are also plenty of parts here that could border on "harsh noise wall", but more in the application of layered sounds than layers of distortion, although there is plenty of that to be had as well.
Shifting tectonic plates of sound grind themselves into dust and are forgotten.
Cover art for "ROTE" is by Bradley Kokay. "Seven Stairs" features synthesizers by Daniel Burke.
Daniiel Burke (Illusion of Safety) was featured on Modulisme, a site focused on modular synths. Exclusive recordings and a very rare interview can be had at this link.
KLFM was the radio station in Croatia that syndicated my radio shows while I was at WLUW, and so it's great to dip my toe in those waters again!
For this appearance, I decided to touch on some noteworthy discoveries I've made over the past year, as well as return to some older favorites that I have never properly played on the radio. It has been over 3 years since I've been at WZRD, so there was a lot of ground to cover, and plenty more that could have been covered, but I played some tracks by
J. G. Thirlwell/ Simon Steensland, organ works by John Zorn, more organ works from
Sarah Davachi, music from one of my favorite experimental filmmakers Frans Zwartjes, a new music project featuring
Tymbal Tapes label head
Scott Scholz, a newer tape by
Dario Puga (Blood of Chhinnamastika), an excerpt from the 1971 surreal film Pink Narcissus, a track from a tribute to
Ralph Gean, City Pop from
Mariya takeuchi and Yuji Toriyama, a track from a noise tribute to
Charles Manson, a track from a lesser known LP by robotic puppeteer
Frank Garvey, a track from
Lana Del Rey's new spoken word/poetry album, a newer release by Compest on
Oxidation, the late Damian Bisciglia's (Points of Friction) AGOG project, the beautiful and melancholic voice of
Rose McDowall (Sorrow), some favorite things recorded at
Abbey Road Studios that ain't The Beatles, and more!
The various artists compilation of cat sounds, "Pussification" was aired on WFMU. Anla Courtis' track appeared in the midst of Sarah Davachi, Jimi Hendrix, Bryan Ferry, and more. The common appearance of comments about listeners observing their cats' reactions is also present.
Thoughts becoming solidified in a world of dying life. Depth of distance now blanketed and vibrantly prominent. The settling low cover drones across the horizon, a misty layer holding turbulent energy above. Compared to a crisp blue sky with puffy white cumulus towers, the overcast usually carries the perception of being dreary. Sounds are very much like atmospheric conditions. General attitudes holding the same values, droning music dimly flickering with tones in the minor scale, sad and somber. This is like the heavy sky being considered wearisome. As with all things though, beauty is only a condition of the emotions of the participant. Simulacrum is a gorgeous dark ambient composition, but will only appear so when the listener is aptly tuned.
Nital Etch is a project of Kevin Lewis. Thirteen tracks under the weight of societal pressures. The constant forces of emptiness created by indifference, oozing in to sonic form. These selections are far from harsh though, they hold the sorrow of love and the fading energy of disintegrating beauty. A true lesson of how consciousnesses connect through aural substances, sharing perceptions of the sublime spirit. As in Kevin's project name Nital Etch, the sonic spectrum has been etched, revealing the detailed construct of feelings and emotions creating this somber energy. His album named Simulacrum is the picture of a world within all of us. Fortunately Kevin has processed this with more beauty than most are able to.
Released on No Part Of It in compact disc form. The collage art was created by Bradley Kokay and everything else by Arvo Zylo. Simulacrum has been out for a few months and this looks like the debut for Nital Etch. There is a note on the bandcamp page stating these tracks are highlights from a collection of earlier recordings. None of these have been released until No Part Of It helped put everything together. Amazing these are highlights since Simulacrum is a brilliant composition on its own. Nital Etch will be definitely on the radar for future compositions.
Blood Soaked Sand takes listeners through a nexus of sonic shrapnel. Exploding sound fragments finding arrangements like stones across a river, then disappearing into the turbulent medium. Starting withing a broken glass covered threshold on the first track titled Battered Wife Syndrome, listeners are then treated to the most rhythmic selection on the composition titled Jetavana. The Accuser is like a vacuum, creating sounds as they are pulled from the living, leaving a mysterious sadness of nothingness. These sounds are somewhere in the between world, skirting the rim of the unexplored depths below while tethered to what we still know. The forth track titled Path of The Fierce Beast, is the growing rumbling din of the turbid energy below. This is the prologue to the final three tracks, a dark and tumultuous experience of what death could possibly be like.
"...this recording feels like it had to be made, and it transcends its limited equipment resources as if the music couldn't be stopped..."
"....Arvo Zylo's work is often the product of literal years of toil, the potent result of countless hours refining, perfecting, and focusing wild energies. Projects like his "333" and "Assembly" feel more like they've been finished in a metal refinery than a mastering house, their labyrinthine vertical layers chosen and fixed in place with firm force."
Scott Scholz/Words on Sound/KZUM's "Other Music Radio Show"
"First, I was really focused on the intensely constructed sequenced structure - then, today, I was struck by the more organic components that seem to grow around the more rigid parts. It is an intense listen, for sure. "
Mark Solotroff (Bloodyminded, Anatomy of Habit, Intrinsic Action)
"A technicolor nightmare..." "...A cyber punk thrill ride" "...totally assaulting music without actually relinquishing the conventional rules of what music should be."
Drew Dahle/Auxiliary Out
If Zerrissenheit does anything, it is a clear statement that Blood Rhythms are intent on ignoring all typical genre confines, and are willing to purse and sound which charts the artistically experimental world as much as it does the post-industrial underground.
For bandcamp Friday, we have added a live radio performance by Illusion of Safety on WLUW from 2013 as a bonus track. Downloads also come with a 23 minute video by Daniel Burke, as well as other bonus tracks. Reduced price for a limited time.
"Somewhere, an old T-shirt from Illusion Of Safety exists (the last we saw was affixed to Sigtryggur from Stillupsteypa some 10 years ago) with a deadpan/ironic catch-phrase "Illusion Of Safety gives you that soaring feeling" next to an image of a man tumbling headfirst out of a skyscraper window. Such a calculated juxtaposition of word and image was emblematic of the '80s art world (e.g. Barbara Kruger), often speaking to the underbelly of callousness, cruelty, violence and general amorality within consumerist society.
Outside of this bold piece of iconography, Illusion Of Safety has operated within a more liminal state of mysteriousness through signifier and meaning. Even in their most placid albums of soft-focus ambience, the specter of some unknowable threat lurks in the background.
More common in the Illusion Of Safety catalogue is an iron-fisted grasp of that sense of foreboding and dread through psychologically tense sound design. Over three decades in existence, this Chicago based project has been whittled down to its core member Dan Burke - with a few comrades-in-arms joining him occasionally - and is probably the longest running American industrial project, having produced a very impressive body of work.
The 2014 album Surrender fits comfortably next to some of the masterpieces of the IOS back catalogue (e.g. Cancer, In Session, Historical, etc.) through the trademarked juxtaposition of noxious frequencies snaking in and out of harmonic phase patterns only to snap out of existence with a razor-cut edit into an electrical burst of tesla coil noise (for example). Disjointed rhythms, mediated collages, decontextualized field recordings, and psychoacoustic phrases map this album with incredible control and precision. Illusion Of Safety proves once again that they are one of the greats of industrial culture. Grab this album before it disappears...."
- Aquarius Records
Very much 'a work in progress' Blood Rhythms' is a project of Arvo Zylo's which here further explores his interest in drones manufactured by fairly industrial repetitions. An interesting if difficult landscape juxtaposing the drone with a more obvious mechanical repetition. The difficulty being in the nature of a drone, a fairly continuous sound, and the nature of any repetition where there is a join. Here the tape loop and sampler loop were notorious for introducing an artefact, glitch or click at the loop point running counter to the idea of the continuous universe of the drone. At a deeper level there are the rival cosmologies of circle and straight line.
These being millennia old, a life is a line or a circle. And at the point of repetition, if it has a trace, an event. To pursue this dilemma further resolutions can be found in the exotics of topology, the Kline bottle, or more well known Möbius Strip. In some tracks the drone dominates the repetition / loop, such as 'Nookleptia', 'Subterranean Holiness', if 'dominate' is the correct term, whilst in others such as 'Wheel of Anguish' the repetition dominates to the extent of rhythm and beat. You can hear for yourself Tracks 5-7 seem parts of one piece... which adds to my opening comment on this very much being a work in progress. Only I'm uncertain that this process will turn out to be linear, teleological even, or a great circle. To accomplish both is metaphorically possible in topologies such as the Möbius Strip, but musicological or in noise such an accomplishment might be impossible or difficult, one would suspect by abandoning the topologies of musical media, the disc or the tape, for something new and extraordinary this just might be possible. (jliat)
The recent benefit compilation for Bradley Kokay was reviewed by Nick Roseblade at
Vital Weekly! Thanks!
When compiling a compilation there is a rule of thumb that says you open with the strongest track. One reason for doing this is that it immediately grabs the listener and makes them not want to turn it off until the end, especially if it’s a first listen. This also works in films. The Coen Brother’s classic ‘No Country for Old Men’ opens with one of if not the, most brutal scenes in the whole film. It makes you sit up. Take notice and not even think about turning it off as you NEED to know how it ends. The latest compilation from NO PART OF IT, ‘Pattern Recognition (A Benefit for Collage Artist Bradley Kokay)’, works the same way.
The opening track is ‘Fire Anthem 2’ by GX Jupitter-Larsen. As the title suggests the sound of fire is present. Effectively it is 10-minutes of a fire raging, but it is so much more than that. Throughout its duration, it works as both a love letter to watching things burn and also a cautionary tale to the all-consuming power of fire. The song is both vitriolic and incredibly tender. At times it is the most vicious track on the album. It sets up a question in your mind “If this is what they open with, where the hell can they go next?” The answer is very simple. Anywhere they feel. The song also has a deeper meaning.
The proceeds from the compilation will go toward collage artist Bradley Kokay. In September, his studio was lost to a large-scale fire that devastated five towns in Oregon. Kokay lost 20+ years of work and irreplaceable material for future work. Opening with the sounds of fire seems not only fitting but a poignant way the album could have started.
What ‘Pattern Recognition (A Benefit for Collage Artist Bradley Kokay)’ does really well is to recreate pieces of music that feel like Kokay’s collages. Throughout the album, it feels like the artists are borrowing sections from other sources and combining them to create something new and exciting. It could be using contrasting sounds to create something unsettling. Mama Baer expertly atonal vocals and juxtapose incoordinate tones to create something truly harrowing, but also tinged with beauty. Much like one of Kokay’s works of art. Illusion of Safety uses manipulated vocal samples, along with the sounds of distressed machinery, to deliver a xxx on the album. It reminds me of looking at Kokay’s ‘Melt City’ for too long.
Everything is slightly warped, but you understand completely how that city works and feels. The album closes with ‘Isolation’ by Torturing Nurse. As with ‘Fire Anthem 2’ the title foreshadows what is to come. What it doesn’t foreshadow is how brutal it will be. From the opening salvo, we are presented with the noise of someone playing squash and searing white noise. It is one of the standard out moment on the album and ends it as it started. With a crushing feeling of vitriolic power but with hints of tenderness. Which is much like Kokay’s work and make this a fitting tribute, and benefit, to an important artist. (NR
Sterile Garden - Acidosis
(no part of it)
I was quite a bit taken aback when I saw the artworks for acidosis, and taken aback even more partway into this disc.. Jacob has always had the eerie atmosphere, but this thing brings the darkest skin graft records to mind.....
I’ve never heard Sterile Garden this sinister, disturbed, putrid.
A mendicant in a gutter sweating on a bloodstained mattress two days since his last dose.
The back ground noise in the mind of the most disturbed butcher in Kowloons sketchiest meat market.
The benefit comp for Bradley Kokay was recently reviewed at 1208 North Fuller Ave Apt 1, featuring Hal McGee & Jeff Central, GX, Mental Anguish, Modelbau, Justice Yeldham, irr.app.(ext.), Torturing Nurse, Howard Stelzer, Illusion of Safety, and more.... Thanks again! Joseph Noctilucant reviewed the recent release, "An Accidental Exorcism" by 156 (Adel Souto) for the Noctilucant dark ambient vlog! Also, there was ample praise for the collage art by Bradley Kokay, as well as mention of the "Pattern Recognition" benefit compilation for Bradley Kokay's art studio, which was lost in the Alameda wildfires. Thanks! A favorable review of Nital Etch's "Simulacrum" release on NO PART OF IT, and this is probably the most glowingly emphatic pieces I've seen him do on the Noctilucant dark ambient vlog. Also, again, praise for
Bradley Kokay's excellent collage art. Thanks Joseph Noctilucant!