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. PLAY LOUD! Cover art for “ROTE” is by Bradley Kokay. “Seven Stairs” features synthesizers by Daniel Burke.
‘Pattern Recognition (A Benefit Compilation for Bradley Kokay)’
In September 2020, artist Bradley Kokay lost his art studio, 20+ years of art and collage material, as well as other personal belongings, in a large-scale fire. Much of the town in Oregon burned down. This international compilation of long-standing experimental / noise artists is a benefit to help Kokay recover art supplies and rebuild his workshop. Kokay uses mostly xerox machines and transparencies to create mural-size collages, sometimes in real time at public places as a sort of performance. He relies heavily on physical source material, and doesn’t use computers for his work at all. All proceeds from this release will go directly to Bradley Kokay. The compilation features tracks by GX Jupitter-Larsen, Justice Yeldham, irr.app.(ext.), Howard Stelzer, Mama Baer, Torturing Nurse, and more.
156 – ‘An Accidental Exorcism’
On this new full-length, An Accidental Exorcism, 156 returns to his original experimental industrial sound, but with an added flair. Though the music on this release is still in the spirit of early Einstürzende Neubauten, Test Dept, Crash Worship, and Z’EV, 156 has added the use of synthesizer on some tracks, while still staying away from outsourced samples, as all sounds used are strictly recorded by collaborators. On this newest release 156 pays homage to minimalist horror movie soundtracks, while still sounding like a drum circle in a rusty junkyard, and staying true to the “meditation music for metalheads” motto. 156 is conducted by Adel Souto, who is a Cuban-born musician, multimedia artist, and writer. The outfit started in Brooklyn’s Bed-Stuy neighborhood in 2010, but has recently relocated to the Florida Everglades. Adel began playing music in the late 80s, and had formed or joined many punk and hardcore bands, plus contributing to several albums by other acts. He has written for his own fanzines starting in the early 90s, and has devoted pieces to numerous magazines, fanzines, and websites since. He has released several books, including a “best of”, and a chapbook on the subject of a 30-day vow of silence, while also having translated the works of Spanish poets. His work, both art pieces and photography, has shown in galleries in NYC, Philadelphia, and Miami, as well as in Europe, and South America. His music videos have been screened at NYC’s Anthology Film Archives, and he has lectured on the subject of occult influences in photography at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development’s Department of Art and Art Professions.
WAX FRUIT – ‘Drowned By The World We Live In’
WAX FRUIT began under a different name, with at least one CDr under its belt, probably around 2010. St. Louis couple Michaella and Dom pool together their lengthy experience in this project, which finds Michaella using her influences as a DJ/Synth Fest curator/bonafide record geek to fuse ideas with Dom, who did synth-based experimental music and noise under the name Sigulda for many years, as well as running Side Of The Sun Recordings for much of that time. Wax Fruit is clearly inspired by early 80s minimal wave and synth pop, perhaps also some choice synth soundtracks and other things, but I think there are some vocal melodies that contribute something compelling to the genre(s) history, if not carefully crafted lyrics that can easily resonate with most humans in our nauseatingly well-informed period of time. While there are a few tracks here that are instrumental in nature due to collaborations with hylidae, and although the total running time is less than 26 minutes, DROWNED BY THE WORLD WE LIVE IN still plays like an LP, with the distinct feeling that a story is being told, and that the listener is in good hands. In hopes of reaching a wider audience, DROWNED BY THE WORLD WE LIVE IN has been reissued by NO PART OF IT label from a pro-cassette edition from around 2018, which were also accompanied by CD demos in slimline cases.
Sterile Garden – ‘Acidosis’
Harsh noise for junk metal, tape recorder, and 4 track, Recorded at the Apohadion Theatre in Portland, Maine over the course of two months, summer 2020. Sterile Garden on this recording is Jacob DeRaadt. Lightly mastered by Arvo Zylo. Sterile Garden has been active since 2006, a project headed by Jacob DeRaadt, with and without regular collaborators. DeRaadt also runs the fantastic Basement Tapes label. His collective’s output has evolved to include visual art and film. The project could be characterized by the use of primitive tape manipulation, blown-out field recordings, and just general good, old-fashioned industrial noise, but often without the regular gestures that have come to be constraints within the legacy of these mediums. Some people master the posturing of noise and experimental music; the hills and valleys can be predictable and reliably anticipated. Sterile Garden is even more amusical than those folks, with structures that often sound like archaeological excavations more than compositions. With over 40 releases on labels such as Monorail Trespassing, No Rent, Dumpster Score, Fusty Cunt, and a recycled tape on RRRECORDS, Sterile Garden has weaved a diverse tapestry of mostly tape-based material, often traversing territory in or around the realms of sound collage, drone, and fluxus level material action. ACIDOSIS sees the project pursuing an updated approach to harsh noise, with DeRaadt’s unique way of making his 4 track recordings sound like they were assembled in a burning basement, or dragged through a mud-pit.
THIRTEEN HURTS – ‘Chemtrails’
Chemtrails is the third release on NO PART OF IT Label from THIRTEEN HURTS, a project helmed by a character who goes under the name “One-Eyed Zatoichi”, and active in some form or another since the 70s. This release is a reissue of an extremely limited CD from 2012. While it has the overall application of many harsh noise and heavy electronics artists, being that it is created mainly with guitar pedals, Chemtrails stands apart in that it has a wide cinematic curve, with wild crescendos and sharp, rhythmic patterns that sometimes lead to climactic and engaging soundscapes. One-Eyed Zatoichi was kind enough to elaborate on nature of the release: “…it was based on a concept. I noticed that out in Colorado in the middle of nowhere, we had a continuous abundance of chemtrails in the sky. It bugged me not for the chemicals raining down on us, but for the haze left in the sky which directly affected my astronomy efforts at night. Around that time, I was aware of various conspiracy sites that talked of the Chemtrail issue. While I’m not hardcore or rabid on the subject, I did have concerns and thought that chemtrails would be an interesting subject to create some noise after. Following some research, the first thing I did was to come up with titles for the pieces… …on Chemtrails, I had the titles first and then created sounds to go with those titles, almost like creating a soundtrack to a word instead of an image. While I came upon quite a few “happy accidents”, there was usually clear intent when I was creating sounds. Thus, as you are listening to the pieces on Chemtrails, you can look at the title of the piece and I’m hoping you can see what I was trying to achieve. Also, the pieces themselves follow a path. From the people, to the idea of inoculating them, to the method of deployment, to the chemicals themselves, to the visible result, and finally the end result. With all the forethought that went into creating Chemtrails, I am close to considering it a ‘Concept Album’… …The piece Useless Eaters is from a quote by Henry Kissinger: “The elderly are useless eaters”. He also said the world population needs to be decreased by 50%. The photos on the front and back of the cd are photos I took from the [solar-powered, completely isolated] house in Colorado. Being at an elevation of 6800 feet, the jets overhead seemed to be a lot closer than when I lived in California. That is how I was able to take a clear shot of the jet flying overhead. Considering this and the sheer amount of chemtrails overhead on any given day, one could say that I was more directly influenced to ‘speak out’ about chemtrails than a more casual observer.” -One-Eyed Zatoichi
BLOOD RHYTHMS – ‘The Universe Spilling Out of A Spider’s Bowels’
Blood Rhythms is a project headed by Arvo Zylo, with frequent guests and contributors. Here it sees the fleshing out of some ideas that have been in motion since 2003, but it seems like they have never been more appropriate to explore than now. To be short: repetition as a form of drone music, or ersatz machine sounds, have been part of the repertoire since the beginning. Here we have Zylo taking his more ambient leanings, which were never quite soothing, and often more abrasive in nature than most, to maybe more of a rational extreme. As part of a natural evolution, these tracks exhibit further leanings towards a dense drone atmosphere, although not in a typical style of looping synthesizers and hoping for the best. Instead, there is a bit more adventure to these tracks, as they’re not afraid to be abrasive or raw, and they don’t stray far enough from the bounds of noise music to be considered pleasant by the academic crowd. Herein, one might hear string instruments, harpsichords, factory machines, insects, and the air pressure of hissing steam. However, sometimes one sound has been juxtaposed in a way so as to resemble another, or be quite indistinguishable through all of the layers of different sounds, which one hopes at times, would make for a “third voice” to appear. “The Universe…” sees Zylo’s signature “failed minimalist” style manifest with what is ostensibly drone music, but in actuality is often jam-packed with layer upon layer of nuanced stereo activity. This incarnation of Blood Rhythms features source material from Dave Phillips and Daniel Burke. Art by Bradley Kokay. Harpsichord was recorded by Blake DeGraw at Cornish College. Thanks to Christopher D. Turner.