20 12 2010

Globe Unity Orchestra - Drunken in the Morning Sunrise (1970/11/07)

November 7, 1970
Kongresshalle - Berliner Jazztage
Berlin, Germany

composition by Peter Brötzmann

Alexander von Schlippenbach - piano, percussion
Derek Bailey - electric guitar
Heinz Sauer - tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, alto saxophone
Peter Brötzmann - tenor saxophone, baritone saxophone, basset horn
Evan Parker - tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone
Gerd Dudek - tenor saxophone, soprano saxophone, flute
Michel Pilz - bass clarinet, soprano saxophone, flute
Kenny Wheeler - trumpet, flugelhorn
Bernard Vitet - trumpet
Tomasz Stanko - trumpet
Manfred Schoof - trumpet, bach in d trumpet, flugelhorn
Albert Mangelsdorff - trombone
Malcolm Griffith - trombone
Paul Rutherford - trombone, althorn
Buschi Niebergall - bass trombone, contrabass
Peter Kowald - tuba, contrabass
Arjen Gorter - contrabass, electric bass guitar
Paul Lovens - drums, percussion
Han Bennink - drums, shellhorn, gachi, dhung (tibetan horn)

18 12 2010

RIP Captain Beefheart

BEEFHEART PAINTINGS HERE: http://www.beefheart.com/runpaint/index.html

Don Van Vliet, ‘Captain Beefheart,’ Dies at 69

Don Van Vliet, an artist of protean creativity who was known as Captain Beefheart during his days as an influential rock musician and who later led a reclusive life as a painter, died Friday. He was 69 and lived in Trinidad, Calif.

The cause was complications of multiple sclerosis, said Gordon VeneKlasen, a partner at the Michael Werner gallery in New York, where Mr. Van Vliet had shown his art, many of them abstract, colorful oils, since 1985. The gallery said he died in a hospital in Northern California. Captain Beefheart’s music career stretched from 1966 to 1982, and from straight rhythm and blues by way of the early Rolling Stones to music that sounded like a strange uncle of post-punk. He is probably best known for “Trout Mask Replica,” a double album from 1969 with his Magic Band.

A bolt-from-the-blue collection of precise, careening, surrealist songs with clashing meters, brightly imagistic poetry and raw blues shouting, “Trout Mask Replica” had particular resonance with the punk and new wave generation to come a decade later, influencing bands like Devo, the Residents, Pere Ubu and the Fall.

Mr. Van Vliet’s life story is caked with half-believable tales, some of which he himself spread in Dadaist, elliptical interviews. He claimed he had never read a book and had never been to school, and answered questions with riddles. “We see the moon, don’t we?” he asked in a 1969 interview. “So it’s our eye. Animals see us, don’t they? So we’re their animals.”

The facts, or those most often stated, are that he was born on Jan. 15, 1941, in Glendale, Calif., as Don Vliet. (He added the “Van” in 1965.) His father, Glen, drove a bakery truck.

Don demonstrated artistic talent before the age of 10, especially in sculpture, and at 13 was offered a scholarship to study sculpture in Europe, but his parents forbade him. Concurrently, they moved to the Mojave Desert town of Lancaster, where one of Don’s high school friends was Frank Zappa.

His adopted vocal style came partly from Howlin’ Wolf: a deep, rough-riding moan turned up into swooped falsettos at the end of lines, pinched and bellowing and sounding as if it caused pain.

“When it comes to capturing the feeling of archaic, Delta-style blues,” Robert Palmer of The New York Times wrote in 1982, “he is the only white performer who really gets it right.”

He enrolled at Antelope Valley Junior College to study art in 1959 but dropped out after one semester. By the early 1960s he had started spending time in Cucamonga, Calif., in Zappa’s studio. The two men worked on what was perhaps the first rock opera (still unperformed and unpublished), “I Was a Teenage Maltshop,” and built sets and wrote some of the script for a film to be titled “Captain Beefheart vs. the Grunt People.”

The origins of Mr. Van Vliet’s stage name are unclear, but he told interviewers later in life that he used it because he had “a beef in my heart against this society.”

By 1965 a quintet called Captain Beefheart and His Magic Band (the “his” was later changed to “the”) was born. By the end of the year the band was playing at teenage fairs and car-club dances around Lancaster and signed by A&M Records to record two singles.

The guitarist Ry Cooder, then a young blues fanatic whose skill was much admired by Mr. Van Vliet, served as pro forma musical director for the next record, “Safe as Milk” (1967), which showed the band working on something different: a rhythmically jerky style, with stuttering melodies. The next album, “Strictly Personal” (1968), went even further in the direction of rhythmic originality.

But it was “Trout Mask Replica” that earned Mr. Van Vliet his biggest mark. And it was the making of that album that provided some of the most durable myths about Mr. Van Vliet as an imperious, uncompromising artist.

The musicians lived together in a house in Woodland Hills, in the San Fernando Valley; what money there was for food and rent was supplied by Mr. Van Vliet’s mother, Sue, and the parents of Bill Harkleroad, the band’s guitarist (whom Mr. Van Vliet renamed Zoot Horn Rollo). One persistent myth has it that Mr. Van Vliet, who had no formal ability at any instrument, sat at the piano, turned on tapes and spontaneously composed most of the record in a single marathon eight-and-a-half-hour session.

What really happened, according to later accounts, was that his drummer, John French (whose stage name was Drumbo), transcribed and arranged music as Mr. Van Vliet whistled, sang or played it on the piano, and the band learned the wobbly, intricately arranged songs through Mr. French’s transcriptions.

“Trout Mask” offers solo vocal turns that sound like sea shanties; intricately ordered pieces with two guitars playing dissonant lines; and conversations with Zappa, the record’s producer. But its most recognizable feature is its staccato, perpetually disorienting melodic lines.

Band members’ accounts have described Mr. Van Vliet as tyrannical. (Both Mr. French and Mr. Harkleroad have written memoirs with dark details about this period.)

Mr. Van Vliet’s eccentricity and his skepticism about the music industry had much to do with why his music remained mostly a cult obsession. His band was offered a slot at the Monterey International Pop Music Festival in 1967, but Mr. Cooder had quit a week before, and Mr. Van Vliet was too spooked to perform. In the following years, when the band was at its creative peak, it played relatively few concerts.

The Magic Band’s first records after “Trout Mask Replica,” starting with “Lick My Decals Off, Baby,” had a more mature sound, but by “Clear Spot,” in 1973, the band had turned toward blues-rock. It later made a few ill-conceived concessions to commercialism, and in 1974 the band quit en masse after the critically panned “Unconditionally Guaranteed.”

After a long falling-out, Mr. Van Vliet reunited with his old friend Zappa to tour and make the album “Bongo Fury” in 1975, then assembled a new band to record “Bat Chain Puller,” which was never released because of contractual tie-ups. Parts of it were rerecorded in 1978 for an album released by Warner Brothers, “Shiny Beast (Bat Chain Puller).”

When his business affairs cleared in the early 1980s, Mr. Van Vliet made two albums for Virgin, “Doc at the Radar Station” and “Ice Cream for Crow,” with a crew of musicians who had idolized him while growing up. The albums were enthusiastically received.

But “Ice Cream for Crow” was his last record; in 1982 he quit music to focus on his painting and moved to Trinidad, near the Oregon border, with his wife, Jan, who is his only survivor.

In the exhibition catalog to a show at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the museum director, John Lane, wrote of Mr. Van Vliet’s work, “His paintings — most frequently indeterminate landscapes populated by forms of abstracted animals — are intended to effect psychological, spiritual and magical force.”

Some of the images were a continuation of his songwriting concerns, especially those involving animals. A lot of his work dwells on the beauty of animals, on animals acting like humans and even on humans turning into animals. In “Wild Life,” he sang, “I’m gonna go up on the mountain and look for bears,” and in “Grow Fins,” an extraordinary blues from the album “The Spotlight Kid” (1972), he threatened a girlfriend that if she didn’t love him better he would turn into a sea creature.

Mr. Van Vliet had rarely been seen since the early 1990s and seldom at his gallery openings.

“I don’t like getting out when I could be painting,” he told The Associated Press in 1991. “And when I’m painting, I don’t want anybody else around.”

From NYTimes.com


WFMU posted mad genius Captain Beefheart’s 10 Commandments of Guitar Playing. As you might expect, it contains nothing about notes, scales, rhythm or solos. It does, however, include bits of advice like this:

1. Listen to the birds.
That's where all the music comes from. Birds know everything about how it should sound and where that sound should come from. And watch hummingbirds. They fly really fast, but a lot of times they aren't going anywhere.

2. Your guitar is not really a guitar Your guitar is a divining rod.
Use it to find spirits in the other world and bring them over. A guitar is also a fishing rod. If you're good, you'll land a big one.

3. Practice in front of a bush
Wait until the moon is out, then go outside, eat a multi-grained bread and play your guitar to a bush. If the bush dosen't shake, eat another piece of bread.

4. Walk with the devil
Old Delta blues players referred to guitar amplifiers as the "devil box." And they were right. You have to be an equal opportunity employer in terms of who you're bringing over from the other side. Electricity attracts devils and demons. Other instruments attract other spirits. An acoustic guitar attracts Casper. A mandolin attracts Wendy. But an electric guitar attracts Beelzebub.

5. If you're guilty of thinking, you're out
If your brain is part of the process, you're missing it. You should play like a drowning man, struggling to reach shore. If you can trap that feeling, then you have something that is fur bearing.

6. Never point your guitar at anyone
Your instrument has more clout than lightning. Just hit a big chord then run outside to hear it. But make sure you are not standing in an open field.

7. Always carry a church key
That's your key-man clause. Like One String Sam. He's one. He was a Detroit street musician who played in the fifties on a homemade instrument. His song "I Need a Hundred Dollars" is warm pie. Another key to the church is Hubert Sumlin, Howlin' Wolf's guitar player. He just stands there like the Statue of Liberty-making you want to look up her dress the whole time to see how he's doing it.

8. Don't wipe the sweat off your instrument
You need that stink on there. Then you have to get that stink onto your music.

9. Keep your guitar in a dark place
When you're not playing your guitar, cover it and keep it in a dark place. If you don't play your guitar for more than a day, be sure you put a saucer of water in with it.

10. You gotta have a hood for your engine
Keep that hat on. A hat is a pressure cooker. If you have a roof on your house, the hot air can't escape. Even a lima bean has to have a piece of wet paper around it to make it grow.

top photo: Don Van Vliet, better known as Captain Beefheart, with the guitarist Jeff Morris Tepper in 1980. Pic: Ebet Roberts

17 12 2010

new interview with DYLAN CARLSON

interview with dylan carlson
by Lori Goldston, Monday November 29, 2010

LG: How long has Earth been around?

DC: We started in ’89. In Olympia.

LG: I’m interested in what your original idea was, and what’s changed and what’s stayed the same.

DC: My first band was, you know, bad punk rock. At least in my world that’s how most people I know started up. Obviously some people have musical training and started somewhere else, but that’s where I started.

I was into rock music when I was a kid, but never really thought, “I could do that.” It was always something other people did; it was like, there are rock stars and there are rock fans and the two shall never meet. I think it was the rock press that started that more than the bands. Then there was an elite that had to be serviced by theses elite writers.

My dad asked if I wanted a real guitar and that just blew my mind, because the thought had never even crossed my mind. The only people I knew who played instruments were like my aunt who played piano, or my grandmother who played organ and sang at church. That was the music that was open to us common folk.

LG: So you didn’t know anybody in rock bands or anything growing up?

DC: No, I didn’t know anyone that played an instrument outside of school bands, and even that, I don’t remember that many. And I took a piano class in sixth grade at school.

I was sixteen when I finally got the guitar, in high school, back in North Seattle.

There was this guy I knew, Griff, he was a prog rock guy, into Yes and that kind of stuff He was also into punk rock, so he turned me onto a lot of the punk rock bands, and wrote out some chords for me to practice and that kind of thing.

The two bands I was in before Earth I wasn’t satisfied with. The first was the punk band, and I think we played one show. The second I started with Slim, Nisqually Delta Podunk Nightmare. The one guy said we were like a cross between Flipper and Cinderella.

LG: So were you really a rock guy by then? At some point you turned into a fan of metal.

DC: Yeah, AC/DC was the first band I fell in love with, and I actually paid for the record myself.

LG: So the punk rock was a practical detour because it was so playable?

DC: Well I really got into X. They were the first non-traditional band that I liked.

My parents were both into rock; my dad listened to Bob Dylan, and my mom was into the Velvet Underground and stuff like that. My brother got into music first. He was into Stevie Wonder and Kiss, which is a little bizarre. Later he got into punk rock, more for the political side of it than the music side. Under the influence of my first guitar teacher I got really into King Crimson and that kind of stuff.

After the second band broke up I’d moved back to Seattle and spent two years learning stuff.

LG: What were you learning?

DC: Theory, what chords mean, all that kind of stuff. King Crimson was, to me, the greatest band ever at the time.

I moved back to Olympia, then we decided to start Earth. Obviously I still liked metal and punk rock, but that’s when I started discovering La Monte Young and Terry Riley, and through King Crimson discovered the German bands. There was a record store that sold prog rock a lot of that stuff.

LG: What was the record store?

DC: It was called Mount Olympus Records. They had all this foreign stuff: Can, Neue, Popol Vuh. Anything European was classified as prog rock; I don’t know why, that’s just how it happened. And these French bands, Shylock, and Magma and all that.

LG: And you had that in your head more when you started Earth.

DC: Yeah, definitely. I still liked Sabbath – I always liked the classic metal, except, like, Slayer, and some others. I love Deep Purple; they’re one of my favorite bands ever. And then Zeppelin, and all the usual suspects.

LG: Which was the first Earth record?

DC: Extracapsular Extraction. It was ’90 when we recorded it, but it didn’t come out until ’91. By then it was me, Dave Harwell and Joe Preston. I was living back in Seattle.We did a couple early shows with Slim. I loved what Slim did, but I didn’t feel like vocals had that much of a spot in the band. He had nothing to do for long periods of time.

LG; The record reflects that, right? There are just spots here and there when someone’s singing.

DC: If the singer’s not playing an instrument then they either have to attack the audience or do something on stage.

LG: So you had these European records in your head when you made Extracapsular Extraction. Those early Earth records are so different from each other, and the songs are different from each other. They came out on Sub Pop and seem so odd in that universe, but then if you think about them in terms of weird European experimental rock records they make way more sense.

DC: That album, to me, Is divided: there’s the experimental rock stuff, and there’s a metal riff, it’s just slowed down. “Orobouris is Broken”, if you speed it up it’s practically a Slayer riff.

LG: Absolutely!

DC: The two poles I swung between.

LG: But already with that record, the textures are so extreme and expressive; they seem so unusual for that time. More records do that now - the timbre is so dense and emotional. The timbre has a lot of emotional content! Where did that come from?

DC: I don’t know. Maybe because of that time in your life, you’re more volatile or something. No matter what you’re doing, how conceptualized it is, that comes out.

LG: You have more of that dramatic, adolescent energy.

DC: And especially as rock musicians, you’re allowed to be adolescent for the rest of your life!

To me the magic about music and instruments is that somehow this interface between this human being and this technological device, that the human stlll comes out. Theoretically it’s just a finger and a string and a vibration, so why can you tell “That’s this guy” and “That’s that guy”?

LG: It’s very mysterious.

With that record, one of the things you were working with is that Sunn amp.

DC: The Beta Lead.

LG: Which is so throaty! It seems like part of it is you mining what’s available in that bestial amplifier.

DC: That’s what Buzz was playing when I first saw the Melvins.

LG: You definitely sound on that record like a friend of the Melvins. Not like it’s a rip off of them, but very extreme in that same way.

DC: That was what I always thought was so cool about the Melvins at the start, it was heavy and big, but there was always that emotional connection that came through everything.

LG: Very human, and funny, too. It was nice how had they always had this irony packed in.

DC: At times they probably should have had [more] irony, like when they used to cover that Kiss song, “Going Blind”, which if you just read the lyrics is sort of ridiculous. But when they did it they were so committed to it that it lifted it up into something greater.

LG: If anybody could lift up Kiss it’s them.

DC: That was what I always thought was so amazing about the Melvins when they did covers. They inspired me in that way: they took a cover and totally made it theirs. Whatever they did was theirs!

LG: So you’ve had this band for a long time, and you’ve been interested in and listening to all these different things. Some stylistic shifts are connected to what you’re thinking about and listening to, but a lot has stayed the same.

DC: I always prefered the slower tempos and longer songs.

LG: You have this strange sense of time and development; things unfold in this very particular way. Were you thinking about a particular thing as that developed, or is that just in you somehow?

DC: I don’t know…

LG: Do you just have a long attention span?

DC: When I get into something, whatever I’m into at the time just consumes me for however long I’m into it.

LG: Once you start playing a song you’re just really into it, for a while?

DC: Obsessive, but with a long arc. Whatever I get into, I get into that, to the exclusion of everything else. But when I come out of it it’s like, how do I integrate it into what I was doing? It probably doesn’t – it’s probably all in my head that it connects.

LG: You mean within a song or within an album?

DC: Song, or interest, or album.

LG: You could say the same thing within the lifespan of the band, too.

DC: When I get into something, since I don’t want to do a genre record – like if learn a new technique on guitar, let’s say from country music instead from rock, I don’t want to use it until it’s become integrated in my technique. I don’t want it to be like “Here’s the country part”, or “Here’s the country record.” I don’t put it into anything until I feel like it’s integrated.

LG: Fast forwarding to the new album: was there something that ties together those songs for you? Was there something you’d been thinking about or listening to?

DC: I with think both the songs, which are more constructed, and the improvised stuff, to me anyway they reflect Fairport Convention, or the Pentangle, or Tinariwen.

Pentangle especially, because they took British folk but brought in elements of jazz and blues and integrated it, so it just sounds like Pentangle. If you want to you can go through it and go “Okay, there’s the jazzy part,” but it doesn’t sound like that.

LG: It doesn’t sound contrived.

DC: Yeah. But I definitely think there’s the Earth thing going on.

“Old Black” is a minor thing; I never explicitly tried to do a minor key thing before. I used to always try to do – like Fairport Convention does it a lot, where they do melancholy or tragic stuff, but in a major key. That always sounded best to me, because sometimes minor key stuff can sound kind of maudlin. But I wanted to try it with “Old Black”.

The idea of the riff for “Father Midnight” came from that French guitaritst Fred Chichin. Obviously it doesn’t sound like one of his songs.

LG: What was the feeling you were trying to carry over from what you heard of him?

DC: Actually, it’s funny, when I wrote that I hadn’t heard him yet. I just read the riff in a magazine. So it was more based on the pictures of the band he was in. He had this image - what do they call it? – from Montmartre, the dandy from the bad part of town; well dressed but kind of scruffy. In French music it seems like there’s always this weird nexus of popular music and criminals.

LG: Well, not just French music.

DC: Yeah, you could say all music: blues, jazz. But for some reason the French seem to be really into that. I don’t known if for real - I’m basing it on French movies.

LG: I was just thinking about the early Sub Pop bands being into that, too, everybody’s songs about how wicked they all are. None of them were that wicked, really. Like the Mudhoney songs - they’re very nice guys, but all the songs were about how they’re antisocial perverts. There was something about that time that made it a fun thing to do.

DC: In rock music and popular music the lower your origins the better, even if they’re not real. Even now, if you find out a band is made up of people that come from money they’re always kind of “Oh, they’re rich kids.” They’re beyond the pale, or they’re faking it.

LG: So if you’re some suburban kid you have to play it up somehow.

DC: Contemporary values turned on their head. Whereas someone who plays classical music, even if they’re not from a wealthy background, it’s almost automatically assumed that they are because of the cost of the instrument, the schooling required, even though there are probably just as many musicians in that realm that came from the suburbs as any genre. It’s okay for them to be that way,

LG: It’s not very rebellious to be suburban.

DC: We all want to be from somewhere else. And then Sub Pop had the whole – like Tad I always thought was really funny. No band was more created image-wise than them on Sub Pop. They’re rednecks, blah blah blah. It was all not true, none of it was true. Everyone believed that Tad was a butcher from Idaho, all these bizarre stories, people just ate it up.

I remember the first interviews with Guns N’ Roses, it was all about how squalid their surroundings were at the start, even though Slash was born and lived in Laurel Canyon and his neighbor was Joni Mitchell. But the whole myth is that Axel Rose came off the bus from Illinois or Indiana and they lived in squalor and sold plasma.

The earlier glam bands all came from the working class, but the idea was to portray “We’re wealthy, and can afford all these chicks and fancy guitars! “ But all of a sudden that was bad, and it went back to the old glam thing: “We’re from the gutter!” Same with punk rock.

LG: Did it come from blues, or before that?

DC: Yeah, I don’t know.

LG: Everyone’s shooting for authenticity.

DC: That’s what’s interesting to me. There’s this really interesting book about the blues, [“Chasin’ That Devil Music], about how authenticity didn’t become important until white people got into the blues. Muddy Waters and all the original guys, they were trying to make hit records. That’s what they cared about. They wanted out of the ghetto, they wanted big cars, they wanted to support their families, they wanted consumer goods. And then white people get into it and suddenly it’s this folk art. The authentic guys are the acoustic guys from the hills. Even those guys weren’t originators, they were playing songs they heard off the radio!

LG: The guys in Chicago were playing the same thing on electric guitars…

DC: But that wasn’t “authentic”. Some fourth rate guy in the pen playing songs off the radio is the “originator”.

Bob Dylan brings electric guitars to Newport and Pete Seeger has a conniption fit and tries to cut the power. And everyone starts booing. I was reading about the tour they did when the Hawks – later the Band – was his backup band. They were booed at every single show on the whole world tour. Because everyone was expecting the folky angel of the working man and here’s this speed freak dandy with his electric rock band.

It was bizarre, especially because that whole image that he did was contrived. He wasn’t Woody Guthrie, he was a Jewish guy from Minneapolis.

LG: To get back to the new album: what’s stayed the same and what’s changed? It feels very additive, it shifts around, or the percentages shift around, the texture maybe moves slightly one way or another, but it’s still easy hear the droney La Monte Young, Terry Riley, Can stuff in what ‘s happening now.

DC: Some people are like “Oh, you guys have changed so much.” I go back and I listen, and – maybe just because it’s me; everything sounds continuous. None of the changes have been that dramatic to me. But people act like “Every album is completely different!”

LG: It all sounds like Earth.

DC: The way I look at is there’s a thing I do with the slow tempos and long songs. To me each record is going back in influence. At first it was prog rock and heavy metal, then more “classic” rock, then blues and country and now folk music.

Because I view music as this continuum ; no one “invented” anything! For one thing I think it misses the point entirely. Who cares who invented it? Again, it’s that authenticity thing: who was the authentic first? That’s not how things are, how anything is. It’s all a continuum of development.

LG: You can hand it to some people for having a strange take on what they’re doing. I was listening to Howlin’ Wolf, and in a way it’s just this old country blues, but there’s something else in there! Technically, people say “It’s a song he learned from Charlie Patton. What’s so original about that?” But there’s something about the way he did it that was pretty weird!

DC: You can originate without being the inventor. Where did blues come from? The twelve bar pattern comes from Norway. How the hell did that get in there? Pentatonic scales have been used by everybody. It’s music. It’s just music.

As long as humans were conscious, I think there’s been music. That’s my personal take. It just developed this way here and that way there. People don’t sit in one spot, people move around and mix and share ideas and technologies and fuck on another and have kids. This whole idea of purity and authenticity is bizarre. It’s some weird construct. If you’re so worried about purity you’re going to end up like the Egyptian royal family, completely inbred and freaky looking. And then you’re going to die out and be replaced by the next invader. There’s no place for that.

I feel like I’m going back, and integrating earlier versions of this continuum into what I do, becoming aware of earlier things. I hope I’m getting better at playing; the idea is that I’m getting better at what I do, integrating earlier and earlier sources. That’s the difference, not a radical departure. The three main things have been the same: length, drones and tempos.

LG: Beyond that there are some aesthetic things that are harder to pin down.

DC: The band, to me, has changed in this way, too. Before, it was more like conceptual art, where there’s this idea and you make the music from the idea. Now I make music and the idea gets revealed to me, or I figure out the idea, or in discussion with the other musicians. It’s more organic, I guess. The concept comes out the materials instead of this concept creating the materials.

I don’t name albums now before I record them, whereas before I already had an idea for the name of the album and the names of the songs before I even recorded. Now I end up with songs and no titles, and have to come up with the titles later, listening to the songs.

LG: For “Hell’s Winter” what was the idea you were working with as you wrote that?

DC: It was a riff we used to improv off of, and then we just altered it some.

“Old Black” was written: there are this many parts, these chords. It’s a song. Interestingly, it’s the oldest song on the record. It was written in 2009. I was working on “Father Midnight”; we tried it live once but it was a disaster. From “Descent to the Zenith” on was stuff that worked out live on that Wolves [in the Throne Room 2010 west coast] tour, or came up with in the studio and fleshed out. It starts constructed and opens out.

“Angels of Darkness Demons of Light”, the last song, is “roll tape and see what happens.” Adrienne walked in five minutes later and played drums. Everyone’s piled on.

The new music is less chordy. Before we had all these chords, there were guitar chords and piano chords, guitar solos and piano solos. It was very dense. Now the guitar’s melodic, the cello’s melodic and then there’s a rhythm section, so it’s more…

LG: It has more forward motion and less of a blocky, vertical construction.

DC: Yeah, to me we’re less Wagnerian and more Debussy-like now.


17 12 2010



October 2010


Edition Bongoût | ISBN : 978-3-940907-09-07
23 x 31 cm, 128 pages, Hard Cover

In his photographs, Daikichi Amano (b.1973 in Japan), enfant terrible of Hokusai, does not shun even the most impossible types of

In his monstrous orgies—elaborate and disturbingly sensual encounters of otherworldly beauty that flirts with the abject—angel-
faced women frolic with snakes and earthworms, elegantly contorted and interlaced eels slipping into every orifice of the human
body. Live toads are sucked-on gluttonously, cockroaches, larvae and other invertebrates embrace, interweave, absorb and suck
on each other until they lock into a hybrid body moving as one under the waves of a new kind of irresistible sensuality.

Each animal possesses its own secret beauty – Amano has made it his calling to reveal their graces: smooth undulating eels, shiny and transparent octopuses arranged in precious and enthralling compositions. Despite being disturbing to the point of nausea,
Daikichi Amano’s works are celebrated internationally. He composes new kinds of tableaux with the bodies of actresses, animals
and insects, translates his nightmares and visions into frozen images, portraits of an almost surreal beauty.

Amano pursues this photographic enquiry into the bizarre realms of erotic imagination with an obsessive and perfectionist eye for
detail, inspired by the Dutch still-lives painters as well as Japanese mythology and the great Ukiyo-E woodcut masters of the Edo period and in particular the erotic Shunga prints.

Textures, surfaces and bodies weave themselves into abstract compositions in his photographs, with flesh, scales and skin taking on the colours of jewels. The abject becomes sublime. This is Amano’s great talent: to reevaluate death not as sterile horror, but as an aesthetic resurrection. He takes up the ancient idea of beauty as ineluctably doomed to wilt, condemned to eventually disappear and thereby aligns himself as an artist in a thousand-year-old poetic tradition that sings of all things fleeting and ephemeral.


Dans ses photographies Daikichi Amano (né en 1973 au Japon), enfant terrible d’Hokusai, ne recule devant aucune étreinte, même les plus impossibles.

Ses orgies monstrueuses à l’esthétique précieuse touchent à l’abject et mettent en scène des femmes au visage d’ange qui se confondent avec serpents et lombrics, anguilles aux élégantes
courbures et entrelacs s’inserent dans tous les orifices. Des crapauds vivants sont sucés à pleine bouche, cafards, larves et autres invertébrés s’enlacent, s’emboîtent et s’absorbent
mutuellement jusqu’à ne plus former qu’une sorte de corps hybride, animé de mouvements irrésistiblement sensuels.

Chaque animal possède sa beauté secrète ; l’artiste se fait fort d’en révéler les grâces : anguilles lisses et ondoyantes, poulpes transparents et brilliants arrangés en de troublantes
compositions. Bien qu’elles plongent le spectateur dans un malaise parfois proche du dégoût, les images de Daikichi Amano connaissent un succès international. Il compose des tableaux
nouveaux avec les corps d'actrices et d'animaux, traduit ses cauchemars en images immobiles, des clichés d’une beauté touchant au surnaturel. S’inspirant des natures mortes hollandaises
et des portraits d’Arcimboldo, de la mythologie japonaise et les grands peintres d'estampes Ukiyo-E de la période Edo, en particulier les estampes érotiques Shunga, Amano mène ce travail
photographique avec le souci obsessionel de la perfection. Ses clichés s’approchent de l’abstraction, tant les reflets de chair y prennent des couleurs de joyaux. Du répugnant, on passe au
sublime. C’est tout le talent de Daikichi Amano: donner à la mort la valeur d’une résurrection.

Réactualisant cette idée très ancienne que la beauté est forcément liée à la disparition, Daikichi s’inscrit en droite ligne de cette poésie millénaire qui chante les choses fugaces et éphémères.

16 12 2010

Stephen Kasner needs our help... please read

If you read this site, you’ve probably partaken of Stephen Kasner’s work. He has done album covers, artwork, and posters for Integrity, Sunn O))), Isis, Justin Broadrick, Runhild Gammelsæter, Khlyst, Darsombra, Suma, and many more. His haunting style is unmistakable. I have spent much time gazing at his work. Here is an interview I did with him, in which he discusses specific pieces that he’s done. Below are some of my favorite works of his.

Now Stephen needs your help. He is extremely private, so circumstances must be dire for him to reach out like this. Out of privacy considerations, he asked that his medical condition not be named. Below is his statement.

Stephen Kasner has recently been diagnosed with some serious medical issues. Like many artists who lack the benefit of medical insurance, he pushed the situation aside until it became unavoidable. Emergency care has been initiated, but he is not out of the woods yet, and his continued care is extremely necessary – hence this call for aid to friends, admirers of his art, and comrades alike.

There are two ways to help.

1. The first is a direct donation by PayPal to kasner@stephenkasner.com. Times are tough, so no amount is too small. If 1,000 people give $5 each, that goes a long way. Depending on his health, Kasner will do drawings/sketches for all who donate.

2. The second is to purchase merch from Kasner. He has two stores, a main one and one for his Blood Fountains musical project. You can buy books, album art prints, CD’s, silkscreens, posters, and more. They make great gifts for this holiday season.

. . .


All people who email me (invisibleoranges at gmail dot com) a screenshot of their donation to or purchase from Kasner will be entered in a random drawing for a hardback edition of Stephen Kasner’s career retrospective book WORKS: 1993-2006. 160 pages, foreword by Dwid Hellion – it’s a beautiful thing. (See details here). Kasner will autograph the book and sketch a one-of-a-kind drawing on the inside cover. International entrants are welcome. Please email me all screenshots by a week from today, midnight PST, Friday, December 17.

. . .


Black Sleep of Kali have graciously donated 5 t-shirt/CD packages to this cause. All donations to and purchases from Kasner above $20 will be entered in a random drawing for these packages. (We reviewed their CD here.) International entrants are welcome. The entry protocol is the same as with the above book giveaway – email me screenshots of your donations and purchases by midnight PST this Friday.

. . .

Please help soon, as Kasner is undergoing emergency care at this very moment. And please spread the word. One of the great artists of our time needs our help.

— Cosmo Lee
. . .

09 12 2010

Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock - Asshole / Snail Dilemma LP

Runzelstirn & Gurgelstock - Asshole / Snail Dilemma LP
(Tochnit Aleph TA025-10)

10 years after the first Edition on CD the most horrifying piece of music available again on Vinyl.
Featuring the infamous recording 'For Stringquintet and Asstrumpet' on one side,
and a collage of studio-recordings and various live-actions in Rudolf Eb.er's unique style on side b.

Mastered & cut by Lupo at D&M, Berlin.
Edition of 500 copies, 320g fullcolour cover true to the original CD, black 180g vinyl, black polylined innersleeve.


09 12 2010
09 12 2010

more Pärt on SUNN O)))

Here is a full translation of the Arvo Pärt p[iece mentioned on 26th October at this blog


I have reached the beachside forest of Laulasmaa. Bright morning sun pierces the clouds and the air under the pine trees is full of light, that smells of holidays, home and happiness.
I step on the porch of Arvo Pärt’s house. I have around 10 Cd’s with me – some of them compiled and burnt the night before – containing music, that the jubilee-holding composer probably doesn’t meet to often. Rock, house, drum’n’bass, drone-metal, post-rock, ambient, techno, some soundtracks. All these examples come from the artists, that have given praise to the famous Estonian composer, claimed that Pärt is a great favourite or a major inspiration to their work.
The fact that Pärt reaches far beyond the serious classical circles is no news to anybody by now. Most of us can come up with a shortlist of stars who are Pärt fans. Michael Stipe, Björk, Nick Cave, just lately Rufus Wainwright was expressing his respect. However, when we delve a bit deeper, we can see how diverse is the crowd of Pärt’s musical friends. Norwegian black metal act Enslaved and London bass-rave musician Zomby might have nothing else in common at all, than a common favourite among the neoclassical composers. Not to mention the fact that their own music seems to come from very different worlds, than that of Arvo Pärt. In case we are dealing with an ex-punk, who suddenly feels the urge to record something classical-like or some music for film, the connecting dots are obvious.
Maybe Arvo wishes to listen to some of these, I think. I also have a spply of quotes with me, gathered piece by piece from the musicians all over the world. All in all, I think I have some news for Arvo and his wife Nora, who ours out the green tea to complement the raisin rolls.

I start from Estonia: First the Estonian musician Pastacas. Her’s been called a folktronic musician, he creates all the sounds himself, and plays the guitars and flute on top. Pastacas has tried to sample some percussion from your track “Sarah was Ninety Years Old”, and said: “I’ve listened to this song very many times, it’s one of my favourites from Pärt. You might even say that I have a feeling of the world stopping, while I listen to it.”
“Feeling of the world stopping”, repeats Arvo Pärt quietly. “The reason for this is probably that while we come from different worlds musically, we have the same feel. A similar intention. We are in different trains with the same destination.
When my new Symphony “Los Angeles” was played for the first time in London, the conductor Esa-Pekka Salonen told a story in a radio interview, how he started talking classical music with a taxi driver in a taxi in Helsinki, and how the driver said that he knows my music and recognizes himself in it.”
“Pastacas also told that nine years ago he had just purchased a CD of “Alina” just prior the birth of his daughter. He had the album with him in the infirmary and it played on a tiny player in the patient’s room. When the childbirth began, no-one had time to switch it off, and that’s how that child was born with “Für Alina” playing. That is why we named her Pihla Alina Teder. “
“You know, this is so heartwarming”, smiles Arvo. “And I must say there are quite a few of these incidents. Very many. We even have some pictures with small Alinas. And sometimes these small Alinas even come to my concerts and I meet them now and then. My son Michael’s daughter was also born with Alina playing.”
“Yes, the same I have heard from a band called Mogwai. They make music that is called post-rock. Post-rock is aloose name for muci that can be described as classical-driven music made with rock instruments. Band leading figure Stuart Braithwaite has stated “Für Alina” as one of his fave tracks of all time. He also mentioned that his good friend, a style-hopping multi-instrumentalist David Pajo, also named his daughter after this song.”
“How dear they all are to me! I should count them all to know how many of these Alinas are there.”

Next the British rock-band Radiohead, whose members have claimed to be your admirers. For example, one of them, Johnny Greenwood, used the elements of your music to create the soundtrack for the film “There Will be Blood”.
“Aha. Wasn’t that film somewhere in the festival? Like a couple of years ago. I have read about it, but that is all. I haven’t seen the movie”.
“And the Radiohead singer Thom Yorke has said: Very good music, like Arvo Pärt’s music for example, feels like you are knocking on the wall, and suddenly a hole appears, that reveals a whole new world that you were absolutely unaware of before.”
“Before my music was born to this world, my new music, it certainly felt like I have to go through a wall or a mountain. That this music is waiting for me on the other side. That I cannot see it yet, but I have to reach it through a tunnel – to learn to recognize it. It is almost like life is seeking its path. Look, even a small flower grows through pavement. Where does it get the strength from? And what is all this? But the seed is there. And then, while looking for my music, I was in that seed. This must not be misinterpreted. It is not like a need to enforce yourself in the world. Or make a career. No. We are talking about quality here. The substance of music was what I was looking for. A substance that is alive in a sense that sometimes it falls in a hole and then has to climb out again. Like in real life.”
“Next PJ Harvey. An englishwoman. Her output has been rockier-sounding in the past, but her last contained and soulful “White Chalk” has apparently influenced by you. She has said that listening to “Tabula Rasa” chews her up so much, that she can only do it once a year.”
“It shows that the contact with the piece has transformed from being straightly on the plane of music to something else. It is not a pleasure anymore, it enters the realm of some other spiritual activity.
“Tabula Rasa” is also very true for the musicians. It is not a piece for trying, but for playing. And playing it demands such concentration, that can be mustered only once, at the evening performance.
We had a problem before the premiere. Two hours before the concert, total catastrophe. People were learning it, trying to “interpret” it, searching it. Nobody knew what to do with it. We came to the concert, prepared for the very worst. And then suddenly this music just blossomed – because of that tension and seriousness, that we were not able to experience at the rehearsals.”
“This is such a powerful experience…”, I added quietly.
“And it is like a transcendental experience, talking to people in a language foreign to them, but they understand everything. These things exist. Communication is taking place on another plane and that also means that somewhere, on some level we all become one. Music is just like a thin shell separating these worlds. Like a curtain in a theatre”, says Arvo and asks me to specify PJ Harvey’s origin and age.
I continue: “"Then there is a band called Sunn O))). Their members have advocated a great interest in you. They play music called either drone-metal or doom-metal..."
"Why is that metal always there?", smiles Arvo.
"Because he is strong!", says Nora, Arvo Pärt's wife.
Siim: "Yes. And they perform in monk suits. Their music is very slow and fuzzy. Listening to their records feels like hot steam flowing across the floor. On their last record, they have been often compared to Pärt. One author even marked that they have used Pärt's tintinnabuli-style technique in their music".
Pärt: "This we should definitely listen. Even a small bit".
"Let's listen, but you will not recognize it", adds Nora Pärt.
"Well, then. Even better if we won't"", laughs Arvo and we walk to the music center. I will propose a track called "Big Church" from the last album. Arvo pushes play. It starts with a female choir, who sounds like trying to lift off the ground. Arvo nods. on the 23rd second the guitar boom kicks in - vrrr vrrrrrrr. Arvo looks around and smiles again. The track plays until about the third minute and we take a seat again. "There is something there", says the composer. "This slow drone is SunnO)))'s main feature"
"I understand. It also tries to stop time, time in really large chunks".

Now I will speak a bit about Akufen, the Canadian micro-house artist. "He has been asked if he would like to remix Pärt's music, but Akufen has countered it, saying that Pärt's music doesn't need remixing at all".
"Yes interesting that he thought about that..." says Pärt. "Them as well...", he says, pointing at the SunnO)) album. "Some bits are more successful, some are more clear and pure, but if they start offering something that is too close to me, then it mixes everything up. It is because I have my own rules, my own static. Like in architecture. Some houses stand tilted, but they stand like that, strongly. If you start to build a house like that based on intuitition, it falls. Of course they can do that, but then it has nothing to do with me anymore. Then it is a whole another substance".

“And a new rising star from England, Raffertie”, I continue with the dance music artists. “He has studied music and also written an essay about your later work, explored the harmonies, compositional techniques, tintinnabuli method. His own music on he other hand is very fast, noisy. It doesn’t sit still, but moves here and there. He said that there is something in your music that has to be experience intensely and personally. That always, while listening to your music, he discovers something unexplainable”.
“In himself”, answers Pärt. “In himself. This one and only motive runs through these sayings. Everybody recognizes themselves, something opens up inside them. Something already existing in them. And then there is like a small flashlight, that sheds light for a moment to some neglected corner.
I also write music while discovering myself. Searching for myself. I don’t write for others. I guess we must all be in love with each other secretly. Anonymously. And it is very beautiful.”

“Another English guy – Bill Drummond. He was a member of a culture hooligan formation called The KLF in the 90s, who were one of the first used sampling. Besides music, they did some pretty weird tricks like burning a million pounds of their music-earned money as an art project”
“Weren’t they imprisoned for it? In Russia they would have been”.
“And Drummond has written in his book “17”, that one year when he was going through artists starting with a P, he came across Arvo Pärt’s work and fell in love instantly. Especially the choir music. This encouraged him to write his own choir music, at least in his fantasies.”
“That same hooligan?”, laughs Arvo. “Like the record that we listened to, the first bits of it – there was something there, sounding like a choir”.
The Berlin band Einstürzende Neubauten has been labeled as one of the forefathers of industrial music. They have an album called “Tabula Rasa”, due to which they discovered your music. Bandmember Blixa Bargeld has admitted that a track called “The Garden” from the album “Ende Neu” is a subconscious homage to your music. They drank a bottle of absinth with a friend, listened to “Tabula Rasa” and felt clear-headed and completely lucid.
Arvo is clearly delighted by that. “Innocent kids. They are innocent kids”.
“Blixa Bargeld has also played guitar in an Australian collective called Nicak Cave and the Bad Seeds. This band makes a sinister and bleak, sometimes even dangerous bar music.
And Nick Cave curated Meltdown Festival in London in 1999, where he also used your music in the program. The soundtracks written by Cave and Warren Ellis have often been compared to Arvo Pärt. For example the theme of a film that was also cinematically released in Estonia, “The Road”, sounded like “Alina”.
“Yes, I come across those “similar-sounding” soundtracks a lot. Like a little boy, who comes to you all shy and pouting, saying, “I messed up. I messed up a little!” Nick Cave, that name I have heard.”

“A musician called Jah Wobble. He was attending the birth of postpunk, later known for his forays in dub and world music, also dabbled in classical music. He has said that yours is a musical test of shivers and shakes.”
More amusement from Arvo’s side. “These are living people. With lively thought and senses. That is why they are looking for something and finding it as well. The creative nerve is switched on constantly. In a classical music world there might not be as much of that liveliness. There was a boy coming to Estonia, with a really beautiful voice, who even invited me to a concert, but I was away.”
“Rufus Wainwright?”
“Yes, him. I checked him out on the internet and had a very nice impression.”
“The list of those who have mentioned you as an influence would be endless. British band Franz Ferdinand. Canadians The Arcade Fire, who has collaborated with your son Michael Pärt, Icalandic band Sigur Ros, who makes a kind of slowly progressing music. Of course, Björk from Iceland as well…”
“She wanted to study under me, when she was already a fully developed artist. I didn’t know anything bout her when she approached me. It was in the 1990s. I was driving to an author concert in Iceland. I went to a hotel and suddenly the phone rings. I hear a voice that sounds like a boy: “I would like to meet you and show you something”. These things happen to me sometimes.
I asked: “Do you also have something on tape?” “Yes, I have”. I told her to come to a rehearsal in a couple of hours and give it to me there.

And that’s how it went. During the rehearsal, suddenly a really colourful person steps up to me. I hadn’t heard Björk’s name or anything and asked her: “Is it pop music that you are writing?” She answered, that well, this is what they’re saying. She was very modest. I thanked her, put the record in my pocket and said that if she wants to watch a rehearsal, then she can sit there.
I’m walking round the hall, the rehearsal is on and people in the orchestra are all the time glancing towards the audience. Plying and looking. I didn’t understand what is going on. They were looking at their national hero Björk, trying to guess what she is doing there.
When I went back to my hotel room, there was a long long fax roll waiting for me. Björk had handwritten it, just like to a friend. It was about what she had heard at the rehearsal, what were her feelings and thoughts on that and on music in general. Also about her wishes and what she would like to learn from me. She wrote that she has to fly away next morning. I was also flying the next morning. I lookded for her in the airport, it was pretty empty because of the early morning hours. I even didn’t know what flight she is taking, but I tried to find her anyway, unsuccessfully.
Some years later she interviewed me for Channel 4. After that she said that she would like me to arrange some music for her. I saw really, who she is and heard her music. That record, where she is on the cover in kimono. I’ve even seen the film. This is real art. What an interesting person. What a shine. In every intonation, every syllable.”
“Björk was supposed to appear on stage in the Niguliste church in Tallinn, during one of your music concerts.”
“Yes. I had a contract job for an international choir assembly in Iceland. And the following tour around the holy places in the world, through Europe, from Bergen to Compostela, through Tallinn. I wrote a track called “…which was the son of…”. I took the Christ’s family tree from the bible and I did it because being in Iceland, I saw how much the people there value their heritage, the family trees and that kind of things.
Björk was supposed to sing a solo there, but at that time she was tied up with that film, where she was singing and acting in. Something in her personal life changed as well, so she stepped out of the project. That’s why she never made it to Tallinn.”
Taka, a member of a Japanese post-rock band Mono has said that performing in Estonia was a very special experience for him – they’ve been over to play here twice precisely for the reason, that Arvo Pärt was from Estonia.
“What moving stories! This was a completely unknown world to me before and makes me think about so many things. Thank you so much!”

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