Bow Ether Group – ‘Cyclones Of Magnetic Man’ Bow Ether Group was the duo of Glen Steenkiste (Hellvete, Het Interstedelijk Harmoniumverbond, Silvester Anfang) and Brecht Ameel (Het Interstedelijk Harmoniumverbond, Razen). The two side-long pieces of organic drones are served with harmonium and accordion, very slowly building up a beautiful view of the void we’re all heading towards. Recorded between 2014 and 2015, „Cyclones Of Magnetic Man“ Part I and Part II were waiting for their release for over half a decade. The stubborn beauty of the dark and yet beautiful sounds will leave you stretched on the couch until you’re able to turn the cassette once again. Pro dubbed cassettes, limited edition of 60 hand numbered copies.
Stefan Christensen – ‘Circular Ruins’ „Circular Ruins“ shows the more psychedelic, bluesy side of Stefan Christensen (Nagual, Center, Headroom, C/Site Recordings…). Blurry and buried in clouds of concrete, these tunes meander between Dead C-ish melancholy and a subway tunnel songwriter who forgot his name decades ago…or if Jandek would actually play CHORDS?! Listen closely and you will find the most microscopic versions of what people call „a haunting melody“. Pro dubbed cassette album with riso print cover. Limited to 60 hand numbered copies.
Marc Méan – ‘Basteln’ Basteln is the second ambient/electronic album of the jazz pianist and improviser Marc Méan. It is the result of improvisations and musical experiments with his beloved piano and electronics recorded in the last 6 months. The result is all-expensive environments, and fully-realized worlds to explore and get lost in.Although the sounds are largely electronic, the feeling is organic, with lush arrangements that breathe and breaststroke their way gracefully through the open air.
Best Western – ‘Economy of Meaning’ C50 Drawing on tropes connected to various sonic landscapes, Best Western emerged during a worldwide lockdown in the early Spring of 2020. Initially released as an online mixtape, the album is an imaginary road-trip through perplexed mental states and landscapes, which transcend various environmental settings, offering a glimpse to an alternate reality. Best Western is now released as a c-50 (2 x 25 min) music cassette on world loop produced at Tapedub, Berlin. The album is also available as digital download.
‘Modus Vivendi: A Benefit Compilation for Chris Phinney’ DL Chris Phinney has been active within the realm of experimental music since 1982. Whether it has been his main recording project, Mental Anguish, or his label, Harsh Reality, Chris’ involvement with the development of 1980s cassette culture and beyond, is immeasurable. More info here: www.haltapes.com/harsh-reality-music.html In late 2019, Chris was hit by an uninsured driver. The collision compounded previous injuries, and found him in a wheelchair unable to work. Phinney is the father of four children, three of which were still dependents at the time of the incident. To top it off, the accident occurred not long after a divorce, the untimely passing of a new life partner, and the death of Phinney’s mother. The aftermath of this incident involved multiple surgeries, as well as a month in the hospital with head trauma, hip trauma, and numerous fractured bones. There has been a gofundme page for Chris Phinney, but it occurred to us here at NO PART OF IT HQ that maybe this message is not reaching enough people within the realm of underground/experimental/noise/music scenes as much as it could. This compilation was put together as a benefit for Chris to help offset some expenses. It is a multinational collection of work spanning four decades, and was created in the spirit of early cassette culture compilations, with a mind for freeform college radio as well. Compiled by Arvo Zylo, “Modus Vivendi” features some artists who’ve worked with Chris Phinney in the past, as well as standout artists he’s likely never heard of. Every penny in profit for this release goes to Chris Phinney. Or, if one is so inclined, they can donate directly here: www.gofundme.com/f/help-memphis-musician-father-amp-friend-chris releases January 1, 2021. The download features a bonus track by Modelbau. Art by Bradley Kokay.
Sashash Ulz – ‘Pingvinia’ Sashash Ulz was a somewhat short-lived project out of Petrozavodsk, Karelia, an area of Russia bordering Finland. Headed by Sasha Mishkin, and heavily active in the first half of the 2010s, I first heard of Sashash Ulz through a tape on Minnesota’s Lighten Up Sounds. The tape was a marvelous example of lo-fi tape-looping and layering, where cheap keyboards and percussion loops just galloped in and out of a mangled headspace. I enjoyed it, but I eventually came to find out that this one-man outfit has much more to offer, and a diverse array of approaches within the realms of experimental music. Some of it is quite musical, with a great sense of melody, and a lot of Sashash Ulz material has that great, haunted, lo-fi feeling that, to me, helps the emotional effect of the music sometimes. I will say that I use the word “haunted” in the most optimistic sense. Some of these tracks have a peculiar, but strong air of positivity. This coupled with the often crude double exposures that come with most of Sashash Ulz’s releases helps to create an overall atmosphere like that of another world altogether. I am not certain if some of this music is rooted in traditional folk, or if it is simply an outsider level of song-writing, but it can be interspersed with memorable sound collages, eloquent ambient passages, compelling guitar noise, and apparently tape loops of field recordings with animals/insects/strange creatures. At times, there is a genuine curiosity as to whether or not a real church organ is being recorded with a tape recorder, or if a cheap keyboard is being augmented with cleverly primed effects… through a tape recorder. I was given permission to create a compilation of favorite material from this now defunct project, and I naturally focused on the strikingly odd ambient, atmospheric, and raw elements that were on offer. Sasha Mishkin is still active, operating with more current production values, and the Sashash Ulz name has been put to rest since 2015. We here at NO PART OF IT are thankful to be able to illuminate some snippets from the past that deserve more attention.
OPERA MORT – ‘Spectacle’ Back after a certainly deserved silence. Electronic acrobatics and drunken sweat. Capture of a public performance organized by Editions Gravats at Les Instants Chavirés in October 2018.
ASTREINTE – ‘La jambe lourde’ Collective effort & excess of information. Like going through a hyperactive tunnel blindfolded. Frontal accumulation for harshnoise rodeo.
DOLORES – ‘Dossier non classé’ Electroacoustic noise, series capacitors, permanent flash. Minimalist set-up for maximalist results. A narrative perspective of the sound of stroboscopic electricity in a cosy format.
DJ FUSILLER – ‘Sacrilège Vénération Vol. 2-c’ Nearly 20 minutes of bonus stuff were sleeping in the dusty archives. Final part of the second volume of Dj Fusiller’s adventures.
Upward – ‘Beams’ Upward is the project of Jack Chuter from Bournemouth (UK) – editor of experimental music site ATTN:Magazine, host of the Crucial Listening podcast and head of the Hard Return label. This EP is the solution to a period of creative block with his two main projects: the guitar/synth drone of Upward and the’heavy shoegaze’ of Chuter. Turns out he just needed to smash them into one another! 45 copies.
Deathbird Stories – ‘Summonings’ Scratch and scrape avant noises from the Falmouth-based sonic experimentalist, who’s previously had releases on other Tyneside-based labels Panurus Productions and Invisible City. Bowed guitar, Korg Monotron delay, processed voice and death whistles all add up to a mind-melting fearsome epic sound. 45 copies.
Vahvistusharha – ‘Holos’ “Vahvistusharha” is a Finnish word that can be translated either as “confirmation bias” or “amplification delusion”. The music of Vahvistusharha flows free and tense, seeking paths unknown to both the musicians and the listeners. A group of courageous and distinctive Pori-based musicians of different generations have founded a collective, grounded on pure improvisation. Small and fragile may grow to be big and bombastic or something else altogether, as the different layers of sound tell their own stories. 50 copies.
Iker Ormazabal – ‘The Oscillation’ Since 2004, London-based Iker Ormazabel has been progressing experimental music in different forms, through solo projects (as IOM or Iker Ormazabal), alongside dance performers (Itto Morita, Soizu, Minako Seki), improvising with other musicians (Miguel A. Garcia, Oier Iruretagoiena, Andrew Page, Arturo Blasco) and in bands (Mnemonic, Warren Schoenbright, Fft Players, Oilbag). This solo work is heavily inspired by acousmatic composers, and acousmatic listening, the music and writings of Pierre Schaeffer, Eliane Radigue, Pauline Oliveros, Francisco Lopez, taking inspiration from what is known as ‘deep listening’, listening with intent or acousmatic listening. 45 copies.
Berger/Dombois/König/U5/Wang – ‘Struck Modernism: Figure X A’ Live improvisation on the sculpture “Figure X A” (1975) by Henri Presset with gloves, mallets, superballs, sticks and stones. Recorded on the campus of ETH Zurich (Hönggerberg), Switzerland. Ludwig Berger, Florian Dombois, Kaspar König, U5 and Vivian Wang made the sculpture sing.
Leo Okagawa – ‘Caprice’ Interior and exterior sounds, oscillations of home appliances, electronic devices, noises, and interferences. Irregular and irreversibile.
Ritual Extra – ‘In Luthero’ Slowly unraveling, site-responsive, acoustic explorations in a cistern of a vacant water supply facility. Recorded live. Ritual Extra is Julien Chamla, Tuukka Haapakorpi, and Lauri Hyvärinen.
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.
Lip Critic – ‘Lip Critic II’ Limited edition of 50. The second edition of LIP CRITIC ‘Lip Critic II’ – on pink transparent shells – has landed! The clear transparent first edition of 50 sold out on pre-order – so don’t snooze on this! In case you need reminding why everyone’s buzzing about these NYC electro-punks, Lip Critic is an electronic punk band comprised of two drummers, two samplers, and vocals. The group formed in New York in 2018 and released an EP (Kill Lip Critic) as well as a myriad of singles throughout 2019. Lip Critic II” is the debut full length album from the group. The album follows the narrative of an alien abductee after they have been returned to earth, and being unable to readjust to normal life. “[It] crams nine tracks into 21 minutes of genre hybridity and maniacal mayhem. And make no mistake: this is intense and crazy shit, all going off in a boiler at once. The lazy hookline would be that the album’s first track, ‘Why Not’, sounds like The B52s on acid, but more accurately, it sounds like The B52s on acid and meth imitating a fictitious Dead Kennedys / obscure hip-hop collaboration for the Judgement Night soundtrack. At every turn, Lip Critic deliver mind bombs of every shape and form: sonically, stylistically, lyrically, Lip Critic II is simply an explosion.” (Aural Aggravation)
Kindred Spirits presents – ‘Unidentified Voice Objects’ Limited edition of 50. An unsettling eerie release from Aetheric Records head honcho Alistair Thaw, in his Kindred Spirits guise. Similar to 2019’s ‘Various Patients Hearing Voices’, this once again uses uncovered dialogue backdropped by chilling minimalist whirring drone and ambience, creating a compelling voyeuristic feeling. An unsettling glimpse into the often nightmarish world of psychoanalysis. FFO early Cabaret Voltaire, Throbbing Gristle and Mount Vernon Arts Lab.
Broken Candles – ‘Left With This Feeling’ Limited edition of 50. Recorded in a barn in Portugal, whilst he was living in a car, Luca Corda aka ‘Broken Candles’ cut his teeth playing in Manchester noise-rock bands such as Groves, before ditching the UK to work on a ranch in Canada. It was whilst there that he started working on solo acoustic material and Broken Candles was born. Relocating to Lisbon, on the back of a successful self-released EP, Luca started work on his debut album, which became ‘Left With This Feeling’. A poignant introspective work, reminiscent of Red House Painters, Elliot Smith and other great artists who plough the slowcore furrow.
Heat Death Of The Sun – ‘Drinking Oil From The Black Fountain’ Limited edition of 50. Recorded live, straight from the desk, at The Cluny (Newcastle, UK) on 1 May 2019, Tynesider Eugene Davies’ has created a beguling hypnotic work of electro-post-rock, with instrumentation ranging from guitars to violins, chiming alongside primitive sub-bass rumblings and percussion, transporting the listening to distant lands in the far reaches of the mind.