DECAYCAST Reviews: ZSA ZSA GABOR “Left Skull Bank” Cassette (Stay Strange, 2017)

DECAYCAST Reviews: ZSA ZSA GABOR “Left Skull Bank” Cassette (Stay Strange, 2017)

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“ZSA ZSA GABOR is dead” but the  sounds, voice, and pulses in a ritual are anything and everything but that. ZSA ZSA GABOR is one of the artists and founders of the Stay Strange SD Crew who boast a new label imprint, show collective and all creative force led by San Diego stalwart Sam Lopez aided in sound and  words from Ariel Irbe, Esteban Flores and Micheal Zimmerman, allwith their  own projects to boot under the  collective umbrella. Irbe performs and records  under the  S O L V  moniker, while Flores work as  Monochromacy represents  powerful, thick, radicalized  guitar  forward drone/noise works.  

“Left Skull Bank I” opens up the cassette after a brief intro with a dark, smudged, thick drone which slowly encapsulates the listener and then drops them in a voice cell of terror, confusion, disorientation, The time to talk isn’t now or maybe again for an hour  or even a year. Seal your lips shut for it’s  time for the  hymn of ZSA ZSA GABOR. This release is relentlessly and refreshingly diverse in its sonic character and nuance of sound and style; oscillation between spoken texts , drone, ambient, field recordings, distant screams that  ring like a hammer  smashing an ancient bell,  and  string based  swells ZZG has something for everyone , but at the sane time NOTHING FOR YOU. They owe you nothing and owe  everything to the void. Full tilt  sonic mayhem engulfs your  last thought and hope as your skull is  cast aside like an extra, misshaped, unneeded brick into the  ever-growing pile of death.

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“Left Skull Bank 2” picks up close to  where part 1 left off, with a thick, buzzing,  shaking vibrato of  stringed chaos while a monotone, anxious, realistic voice reads and  breathes upon every swelling  stringed drone of death, and after a “brief  demonic interlude” the listener is  cast once again into the  chaotic experiments of death with Part three, twisting and  tangling the  false hope that we once had  with harsh stabs, angry, dissonant, atonal swells through a purgatory nobody wants to  even pass by for a minute. This  cassette runs the  full scope of experimental sounds but in a a unique and refreshing way, no rehashing, no redux, this is simply top notch experimental music,  get about it, be about it. .ZSA ZSA  GABOR  is a thick, swollen, controlled  anger, which is more or less the  sound of  a  decaying  future; you’re dead long after you  found out when you’re  going  to die, and if you’re worthy this  might make an appearance at the funeral to help shovel your lifeless  corpse to  rest eternally and be consumed by the  wormed earth. Follow  ZSA ZSA GABOR HERE and HERE.

 

 

 

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DECAYCAST Reviews: JASMINE INFINITI “Y1” (Self Released/NWD, 2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews: JASMINE INFINITI “Y1” (Self Released/NWD, 2018)

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Jasmine Infiniti comes  correct with this original production track, titled “Y1” Everything about this track hits in just the right way for an industrial danceclub bomb on the  unsuspecting audience. The track opens with just a thudding drum but slowly gains speed  and chaos with glitched-out industrial polyrhythms, in the pocket blown out synthesizers, churning bodies melting in the smoke filled room. Jasmine Infiniti is known for her uncanny, heart pounding, leg  twisting, room shaking,surrealist sound sorceried mixed genre DJ sets, but these  original productions, while informed by her DJ aesthetic take things to a whole different level of body moving bangers; alien voice transmissions and thudding electronic breakdowns, blending sharp, swift vocal stabs, chopping dicing synths, and heavy, funky, abrasive four to the floor clanging percussion,  Infiniti creates a  sound and  aesthetic thats unique,  different, important and all her own. Look out for an EP and follow her  collective NEW WORLD DYSORDER. Infiniti takes her knowledge of  mixing, turntablism, rhythm and density and amplifies it  across these original compositions with unique, heavy and promising results.

Infiniti has been setting trends in sound and  image long before this track and will be doing so long after, support this important in groundbreaking, unique artist any way you can!

“The Queen of Hell, Jasmine Infiniti is a New York Native whose dj roots started in Oakland, CA. A long time member of the House of Infiniti, Jasmine became the mother of the Bay Area Chapter, though she now resides in Brooklyn, New York. She blends dark and sometimes ambient techno and industrial sounds with break beats and cunty tracks creating a unique soundscape glimpsing into the future.”

bookings@jasmineinfiniti.com
jasmineinfiniti.bandcamp.com/
www.jasmineinfiniti.com

 

 

 

DECAYCAST Reviews: MOIRA SCAR “Wound World Part 1” (Near Dark, 2018)

 

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Bay Area queer deathrock stalworts MOIRA SCAR are back with their new full length on CD/CS/ and  digital via Oakland’s NEAR DARK imprint, which is run by dark gothic outfit, OTZI whose newest offerings, “Ghosts” was  covered HERE a few weeks ago. Moira Scar currently is in trio form with their latest offering  with Roxy Monoxide: guitar, sax, vocals, LuLu Gamma Ray: synthesizers, vocals, and Aimee S: drums. Moira Scar’s newest full length, “Wound World Part 1” boasts seven snappy, punchy, femme forward dark punk/death rock cuts,  intentionally building upon their unique, sought after, indimable sound of their previously released full lengths, “Psychoid”  and “Scarred For Life”. With an augmented lineup, and a slightly darker and more rock forward sound, “Wound World Part 1” might be the most intentionally straight forward, intense  and focused sound the outfit has  concocted yet, and the  recording production suits the  sound perfectly. Thick pummeling percussion, wailing, screaching vocals, fuzzed-out chugging, angular guitar riffs and the staple walls of  reverb’d saxophone.

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Snap Back” might be the most traditionally “Moira Scar” sounding cut on here blending heavy bass riffs, walls of  sax with driving punk inspired hard hitting  drumming and the signature  layered vocal efx stylings which could take the  sonic shape of anything from low  distorted  growls to high pitched shrieks of intense washes,  utilized to great success on the track “Chrysalis Skull” The operatic style walls of  vocals blend perfectly over the frantic, manic heavy  drumming and thick slabs of  guitar and  bass work. Slower, more  post rock inspired track “Zeta Rainbow” offers chugging, blown up guitar riffs with dragging slagged out bass lines with more  traditional breakdowns where the guitar and  dual vocal  processions shine brightest.

Moira Scar’s  sound is  thick, violent,  present, and demanding of the space it requires and  deserves. Death rock, like any “sub-genre” can be formulaic, boring, and  predictable, but “Wound World Part 1” is the complete opposite; fierce, unique, cathartic, and nasty!. In a time where we need it most,  Moira Scar once again, and perhaps with more force than ever proves they are  here to stay with some of the most forward thinking and necessary sonic offerings within the contemporary rock scope. This record rallies against the dying, boring, overdone and under thought  droves of CIS white-male “dominated”capitalistic rock scenes, by raising the bar and  flushing the  boring and  inspired rock trends down into the sewer where they have belonged this entire time, and serve as an assault on the  normative, re-hashed, uninspired music that often fills the  airwaves. Moira Scar is a weapon against a  violent, patriarchal system of despair, confusion, and  entanglement and  “Wound World Part 1” is the next logical step in the bands seemingly endless progression of reinvention. One of the most important contemporary dark rock acts going, period. This record is not to be overlooked.

Order the  New record HERE and  HERE

MOIRA SCAR

NEAR DARK RECORDS

DECAYCAST Reviews : TODD ANDERSON – KUNERT “A Good Time To Go” (This Is Non Linear,2018)

DECAYCAST Reviews : TODD ANDERSON – KUNERT “A Good Time To Go” (This Is Non Linear,2018)

This little unassuming tape arrived in our mailbox all the way from NZ, where the artist Todd Anderson – Kunert is based. This work titled “A Good Time To Go” boasts the sonic equivalent of finding that perfect moment to ditch out on the show or event or interaction that you’re probably enjoying (or maybe not ) but are suddenly met with that harsh and disorienting wave of uncertain feelings, emotions and sense of space or lack thereof. This album is very much that. the albums opener “No” starts with a slow quiet drone which ascends into a loud, shuttering thud, and steadily breaks up into a more distorted, disorienting, confusing version of itself until the listener is left with their own feelings of confusion about confusion. Dark, crumbling noise swashes give way to more rhythmic patterns which oscillate moments between disappearance and uncertainty while bathing the listener in a sharp bath of loud and overwhelming sounds all to build to a climax and erase themselves to the point where only the distant hum of a sharp bell remains, a single alienating tone tuning and ringing inside the brain of the unsuspecting listener. The overall vibe is dark , disorienting , haunting with spurts of beautiful articulate decay.

The albums strongest track “It’s Taking Forever” is an honest, heavy take on what could be best described as digital power drone. Lots of dark and articulate textures exist throughout, crawling and wringing out dark, alienating slime into the ear, especially on this second stand out track which really carves out a lonely and confusing sonic space, oscillating between traditional takes on drone, ambient noise, “power ambient” some might say.  Overall a solid release with a wide interpretation on what could be considered psychoacoustic drone music.

TODD ANDERSON-KUNERT

DECAYCAST #040-1: ARVO ZYLO “An Itch for Nature” Mix

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DECAYCAST #040-1: ARVO ZYLO “An Itch for Nature” mix

Peggy Lee – Sea Fever (for Edgar)

Michel Delpech – Pour Un Flirt
Takeshi Terauchi & The Bunnys – Sado Okake
“Klua Duang” sung by Phloen Phromdaen
The Beachles – Don’t Talk (Get Better)
Le Forte Four – Aye Mama (I’m Amok)/ Meanwhile Back at the Tulip Boat, Stinky
Walls of Genius – Porcelain God
Foetus (Live in Chicago ’96, Thanks to *KP) – Goin’ Blind (KISS)
Dave Phillips (field recording) – Muay Drums
Regosphere – Nature Knows
Skinny Puppy – Nature’s Revenge
Jandek – Can I See Your Clock
Edward Ka-Spel – Where The Highways Form A Spiral
Sergey Khismatov – Symphony for Industrial Horns (excerpt)
Fhtagn – Live 1-21-18 (excerpt)
Rudi Schneider – Trance Breathing (1933)
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“Arvo Zylo is a recording artist and radio person who has been active since 2000. He spent 7 years with “The Delirious Insomniac Freeform Radio Show” on WLUW (also syndicated on KLFM in Split, Croatia), as well as well over 100 appearances on WZRD since 2005, and dozens of live DJ appearances in various contexts. He also spent 4 years co-hosting a soul/funk radio show called “Two Slaps Radio”. For several years, he booked weekly experimental showcases and wild parties, often in decrepit old buildings. He has written on various aspects of sound art and noise for Special Interests, Heathen Harvest, Roctober, NewCity Chicago, and others. His collaborative project / collective Blood Rhythms, released its first LP, “Assembly” in 2015, and his private label “NO PART OF IT”, kicked off in 2008, with a collection of locked grooves featuring Nurse with Wound, Crash Worship, Helios Creed, Sudden Infant, and others.”

Follow  ARVO ZYLO At :

DECAYCAST Reviews: V/A: NO WORKERS PARADISE 8 Cassette Boxset (Chthonic Streams, 2017)

DECAYCAST Reviews: V/A: NO WORKERS PARADISE 8 Cassette Boxset (Chthonic Streams, 2017)

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With the rise of accessibility for artists and producers to create sound, music, art and the ability for those artists to contextualize, and re contextualize their work in a seemingly often dizzying whirlwind of labels, sub-labels, sub-labels of sub-labels, through, you guessed it, the INTERNET; questioning the role or necessity of a small independent record label in these weird, confusing post-post modern days of malleability of meaning, format and intention, seems like probably a good idea. How many of them are genuine, how many of them truly put the artist first, and in priority, how many of them believe and stand behind their “product”, behind both the “artist” and the “artwork”. Derek Rush‘s New York – based imprint, Chthonic Streams does just that, and they do it with style, focus, and intention, as exemplified by the labels’ most ambitious and potentially most conceptual release to date, at least in its packaging and  form, is the “No Workers  Paradise” boxset. You should keep reading, but what I also recommend is that you  stop what you’re doing and instantly ORDER THE  BOXSET HERE! 

We  are  fans of  boxsets, we are fans of conceptual art, and we are fans of toolboxes and  ridiculously ambitious projects here at Decaycast, and Chthonic Streams exhaustive 8 hour cassette boxset titled, “V/A: NO WORKERS PARADISE” covers all of these bases and more, in one, mechanical, maniacal offering. Boxsets are awesome, and they’re even more compelling when they actually contain new material, by, gasp, even living artists. No shade on the myriad of Miles Davis and John Coltrane CD reissue boxsets that we have all seen and probably purchased, but eight hours of new material, from eight heavy hitters in the noise/industrial/power electronics scene enclosed in a matte black tool box, accompanied by a zine and customized time card to boot, is not really something we could (or should ignore). We received a rather large media mail box from New York and upon opening, the “No Workers Paradise” boxset emerged, a sleek matte black toolbox with a shiny chrome latch and basic font that reads “No Workers Paradise” is affixed to the top. Its interior reveals eight 60-minute cassettes and a zine/accompanying booklet for the release, and customized time card emerge as the tools for the job, so to speak. It was time to clock in.

As with all of the labels’ releases, the artwork is done by label head honcho Derek Rush who also books shows, is an active DJ, and works in graphic design and photography, so it comes as no surprise that all of the artwork included looks stunning and professional, accented by the printed booklet and cassette artwork itself. We haven’t even gotten into the sounds and this is already worth the $75 price tag without question, a truly beautifully put together collection. Now into the meat and bones of these disgruntled, bloody and beaten-down workers, we will delve into the sounds in reaction to the  tormented work day!

The boxset starts with the label owner’s project, COMPACTORoffering a strong, mechanically styled “old school” feeling industrial track with clanging rhythms, backed with the tick tock tick tock of the overlord’s clock. The panopticon is omnipresent and the worker must continue. Wake up. Work! Time To Work! Until you DIE, and DIE, until you can clock out at the end of the day and do it all again. Compactor’s sounds generally fall within a more mechanized style of industrial, there is soul, but it’s the soul of a robot programed to destroy itself, through repeated, violent, senseless rhythms, yet Rush’s sound and sample choices are powerful and intentional. The, slow, churning blown out percussion blends perfectly with the  high squelching feedback of industry/insanity and  multi-layered, multi-timbral synth workings. Compactor’s offering is the perfect opening to the project, cold, alienating, mechanized, and dense; the perfect ramp up to the more  fuzzed out, abstracted works of some of the other contributors to the boxset, The Vomit  Arsonist,  Redrot, Gnawed, and Filth, amongst others.

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Another  standout sound work in this massive offering comes from Denton, TX’s FILTHwho offers up his own interpretation of an hour slice of the standard american work day. Rob Buttrum’s FILTH project is known for his menacing cacophony of industrialized noise, power electronics and analog psychedelic compositions. FILTH brings his A game to work for with a dark, brooding, menacing stitching of fuzzed out, psychedelic noise and drenched in feedback power electronics, in what can only be described as the  FILTH sound, which we have covered in the past HERE in an interview with Buttrum and his label OUT OF BODY RECORDS.  Buttrum does offer a rhythmic backing at times, but in a different, slightly more diffused, muffled style than COMPACTOR, but don’t skimp on the manual,  because there is a harsh reality in store if you don’t, and  you’re likely to get gobbled up into the machine and  spat out as puny remains, but FILTH’s sound is  not exclusively harsh, tripped out noise, there are  abstracted broken rhythms, there is intention, it is planned, and panned, it IS the sound of the second hour of the day forcing itself into the  negative space of your brain, that may in fact, prove to be your  last of the day, of your life. FILTH is the sound of a  rusted, dilapidated, unstable, harsh machine taking its unknowing operator with it to an early grave.  Planned obsolescence, like user, like machine.

Michigan’s REDROT (Chondritic Sound, Bloodlust, Slaughter Productions) aka Ryan Oppermann offers another standout track on “No Worker’s Paradise” with one of their tracks titled, “Work Release Program Terminations”. REDROT is blackened, harsh noise/PE, with slices of  blown out  beats, and angular rhythmic structures over a sea of  dense power electronics and industrial. The machine has already regurgitated the  one time worker into a mess of fleshy, red, sacks of rotting remains, and REDROT is the  absolute perfect soundtrack to the coworkers slowly and confusingly sweeping the bloody bits into a bag for disposal. Redrot carries a white noise sword which swiftly and steadily shaves away at the listeners  inner ear  canal, until a drop of blood leaks out, and starts a mechanical frenzy leaving the  workers, along, confused, and  scared as the  drop turns into a red pool where music dies.

Another standout offering on this project is Minneapolis, MN’s  GNAWED, aka  Grant Richardson. We’ve covered one of GNAWED’s previous releases HERE on Decaycast. 

GNAWED‘s track for “No Worker’s Paradise” is similar to  his other industrial, harsh noise, power  electronics hybrid funeral stylings; chaotic, yet restrained, busy yet articulate, harsh but at times even beautiful. Much like  FILTH, GNAWED  uses homemade analog electronics to create a brooding, dark, cavernous sound all of his  own. His “Terminal Epoch” album from Phage Tapes, would be the closest style wise that I’ve heard for the track for this boxset. GNAWED is a master of tension through intentional and articulate dynamics, balancing sharp, harsh sounds with lower, more  brooding under swellings of terror; the track slowly and painfully oscillates between violent shudders, chaotic, dense, noise blasts and distorted, broken voice swells.

THE VOMIT ARSONIST, EXISTENCE IN DECLINEBLSPHM and WORK/DEATH  also punch in with powerful sound works blending industrial, harsh/blackened noise, power/electronics and dark, experimental moods of the harsher, angular  style.

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The boxset as a whole is a lengthy listen clocking in at the 8 hour mark, but when one thinks of the  slow, grudging, unrelenting time clock of the american work day, this tour de force of harsh industrial / PE  serves as a warm, relaxing day on the beach as a vacation, even for a day, from the  alienating, hellscape robotic world that is American capitalism. Rush does right by all of the artists involved with stunningly beautiful and appropriate artwork and  packaging as with all of the labels releases. A must for any noise collector, and/or hater of  capitalism.

ORDER THE  BOXSET HERE! 

Chthonic Streams Online Store 

Label Website 

 

LIMITED TO 50 NUMBERED COPIES
(additional 16 go to artists only)

DECAYCAST #037: DECAYCAST Premiere: FIRE -TOOLZ Video for “PASSAGEWAYS TO MEETING AREAS” Plus Interview

DECAYCAST Premieres: Fire – Toolz  Premieres Video for “PASSAGEWAYS TO MEETING AREAS” Plus Interview with Angel Marcloid

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FIRE TOOLZ “Interbeing” Cover Art on Bedlam Tapes  (2017)

Angel  Marcloid makes music and art under the Fire – Toolz moniker as well as other active projects such as MindSpring Memories , Angelwings Marmalade , and the now defunct Power Windozeruns two imprints, Rainbow Bridge, a long standing physical editions label based out of her hometown of Chicago, formerly Baltimore, MD as well as running the net label, Swamp  Circle .

For one of her newest releases on Bedlam Tapes, Angel has offered a nearly forty minute offering titled, “Interbeing”  which was released this November and today we are beyond excited to be premiering a  video for the track, “Passageways To Meeting Areas “, which is a masterful work of  aural and visual assemblage, oscillating between dense electronics, noise, industrial, smooth jazz and other more esoteric, less definable physical, visual, and aural points of  reference and strategy. We are very proud to be debuting this video here and  honored that Angel took time to talk to us more in depth about her processes as an artist, influences, and scoring weed on the internet. Here’s the video, and interview below!  Please support Angel and buy her music, looks like the  cassette version is sold out but you can cop the CD Version and a free digital download of “Interbeing” HERE!

Passageways To Meeting Areas” video directed by Angel Marcloid 

Hello Angel. Thanks for chatting with us over the panopticon that is Facebook messenger for Decaycast, first off how is your day going today and second, how deep does the internet go? Is it a weird portal? Just data? Productive? Evil?

My day has been pretty good. I was at work for a while, which was a good time. (No sarcasm, I swear.) Then I came home, fed the bears, scooped their shit into a bag, and started making the final tweaks to an LP slated for release next year.

About the internet’s depth…all I can say is that if you go deep enough, you can get fantastic weed for good prices.  As a self-proclaimed hermit, ordering anything online is a blessing.

I remember we used to have to wait in the dumpster behind McDonald’s, now you can order weed online. What a trip? It’s a rare case when someone has a good day at work, so this is off to an odd but wonderful start already. Do you want to talk a bit about the LP you’re recording?

It’s a Fire-Toolz record, and it’s called Skinless X-1. Only about 30% of the music has vocals in it this time. I wanted the melodies and textures to have a little more space to breathe and say their piece. There is an even heavier 80s/90s new age & jazz fusion influence on this album. I still can’t seem to get away from heavy four-on-the-floor beats, though. With the exception of one eccojam, the occasional sample is only used as a brief brushstroke. I tried to write music that sounded the way my dreams did when I was young, living at home, in a peaceful part of town, surrounded by trees, grass, swamps, and various wildlife. This isn’t to say the album doesn’t have plenty of abrasive moments. I will say that there is no anger on this album. I’m still exploring personal challenges, but they’ve been a little neutralized.

This album’s message is more observational, more curious about things, and frankly more empathetic and compassionate toward a lot of the things I’ve expressed mind-numbing rage for on previous releases. This album expresses a deep appreciation for things, and an outlook that is a little more neutralized. The album is floaty. And the few times it lands, it really pummels into the ground. The mess it leaves is intricate and colorful. Am I doing your job now? I’m starting to say some weird shit.

I love the idea of it smashing into the ground and leaving this colorful mess. Can you talk a little bit about some of your previous releases or projects that stood out to you or hold a certain place in your scope as an artist/ person

Most of the releases in my backlog that stand out to me are ones I didn’t think were going to stand out the way they do. A lot of times my favorite releases aren’t favorites of others. Which is fine, but interesting in it’s own way.

I had a CDr/6″ lathe/cs release called Solar Activity & Civil Unrest.” It was massively conceptual. There was a pretty wide variety of experimental electronics, tape manipulation, found objects, voice, etc.

There was another release called “Journey To 0.004” that had several editions. It included an hour long sound collage. Also a concept release. I think these types of long releases can be exciting for the artist and overwhelming for the listener.

Both of those releases are available for free download and were released under my old birth name, “Justin Marc Lloyd” on my old label Rainbow Bridge.

Lastly, my music as Power Windoze didn’t really get much attention compared to some of my other work, but I believe it to be very special. It was my first attempt at making electronic music entirely on the computer. I released a few albums and an EP. The second album may come out on vinyl. I just started talking to a label about it. It’s about 3 years old now and needs a remaster, but I’m excited that the album might reach a wider audience soon!

I need to dig into that PW stuff. You also run a Netlabel, Swamp Circle? Care to talk a bit about that and the benefits / limitations you’ve experienced as owning both physical and digital imprints?

I started Swamp Circle for two reasons. I wanted to release my music and other people’s music without financial limitations (on my part or theirs). I also wanted an outlet for my own digital artwork (Rainbow Bridge was mainly a xerox-on-colored-card stock label). At first I wanted to release 5 albums at a time. Now I just sort of release them when I can. Most of the albums in the queue right now are other people’s music. We are waiting on me to finish the artwork. And since my priorities have shifted, it’s been challenging to find time to do this artwork. I made a rule for myself that all art on Swamp Circle would be done by me. This was cool at first, but now I’m mega behind because I gave myself another hefty job to do. I’ve been thinking about changing the format but I’m not sure yet. It’s rare a donation is made so it’s not financially lucrative, but it was never really supposed to be. I wanted these releases to be free.

Well we hope you keep Swamp Circle and Rainbow Bridge going, they are both fantastic labels. Care to talk a bit about your influences as an artist; bands, songs, routines, strategies, etc?

This past year I’ve been infatuated with jazz fusion-tinged new age music from the 80s and 90s. Shadowfax, Jonn Serrie, Patrick O’ Hearn, Dan Siegel, Elements, Richard Souther, Interior. You can hear some of that influence on Interbeing, and it will be even more apparent on Skinless X-1. Orange Milk releases are always in regular rotation. Euglossine, Nico Niquo, Seth Graham, Giant Claw, and Loto Retina are all especially inspiring artists to me. BT’s “This Binary Universe” was a recent rediscovery that kind of knocked me off my feet and provided a huge boost of creative juju at one point in the Skinless X-1 writing process. When composing sound collages, I’m reminded of my roots in Sickness, Gastric Female Reflex, Jason Lescallet and other noisers that are incredible at keeping you confused and overwhelmed. Fear Factory, Nine Inch Nails, and KMFDM have been there for me since I was a child, perpetuating my tendency to make heavy electronic music even when I don’t want to. John Wiese and mid 2000’s Prurient, although vastly different artists, taught me a lot about harsh textures and their unique aural impact. Also, tinnitus. Tinnitus influences me as an artist.

My routine usually starts with an isolated idea. Never an idea for a whole song. That idea is usually recorded or assembled, and then blindly built upon by living in the moment and just doing whatever comes to mind naturally, or sounds good when I do it. But, I also have to go to work sometimes. So, I transfer works in progress to my phone, listen to them on decent headphones at work, and brainstorm. A lot of times I take notes. Then I go home and make changes, or re-record stuff, and it just kinda goes on like that. I am very grateful to have a job that facilitates zoning out completely while still performing effectively.

My strategy is to take extra care of my ears because I didn’t used to and now I’m sorry.

Can you talk a little bit about this video we’re premiering? How different is your process for creating video works than your audio practice mentioned above? Do you see them as one piece or separate pieces complimenting, or perhaps being at odds with each other?

This video is for the song “Passageways To Meeting Areas”. It deals with the concept of ’emptiness’ from a Buddhist perspective, and the concept of Interbeing, which is a term coined by Thich Nhat Hanh that describes the inherent interconnectedness of humanity, or the universe. In this song I’m sort of projecting a desperate plea to other humans, specifically those hateful and oppressive, to find common ground with me. In doing so we find that we are all generally good at our core, underneath our illnesses and compulsions. We all want to be happy, and we all want to be treated with love. It was difficult to come up with ideas for this subject that would go along with this message and still look like a Fire-Toolz video. It took a really long time, and I had this video sitting unfinished for months while I sped through four other videos. It wasn’t until Interbeing was days from being released that I finally finished it.

On one hand my videos are much more complementary to my first album and what I was making before I changed the name to Fire-Toolz. My latest material, and my sloppy, pixelated, shitty green screen footage and heavily processed VHS rips of ancient CGI demos, can seem at odds with each other. I strive for a complex precision in the composition and sound design of the music, but that approach doesn’t show itself very often in the videos. I haven’t much training in animation, 3D rendering, or illustration. However there is an overwhelming amount of similarities that transcend that dissonance. The juxtaposition of genres and textures, glitching, processing, re-contextualizing, absurdism, conceptualism, surrealism, nostalgia triggers, representations of modern technology. There is even the occasional humor that erupts from perceived absurdity. Such as black metal style vocals over a sample of a sensual jazz fusion track from 1986, or heavily glitched animations of a broken ATM machine over generic HD stock footage of a beautiful sunset on the water. I see the potential for humor, yet in my mind, all of these things are made for each other.

I usually keep the imagery consistent with lyrical themes. Literally, metaphorically, or analogically. I also sync the activity in the video to the dynamics and changes in the music. The videos are a lot of work. Lots and lots of processing and editing, rendering, re-importing, processing and editing, rendering, re-importing, etc. The music style demands many visual elements and layers. Many of my songs shift moods drastically within them so I think the work needs to be done.

I create the music as something that can stand alone. I create the videos so that they can complement the music very closely as well as act as a live performance enhancement. I don’t move around much live. Part of the reason is because the equipment I use isn’t mobile. But I have little to no stage presence. I never look out toward the crowd and I rarely talk to the audience while I’m “on stage.” If I have my videos projected for everyone to see, I think it makes coming out to the show more worth it for everyone. I feel like I’m much more effectively expressing myself through a video projection than whatever dances and antics I can come up with using my body.

Do you consider yourself a plunderphonics or sample-based artist? How do you choose your samples/why do you sample other artists?

I don’t consider Fire-Toolz to be plunderphonics or sample-based. Having the vaporwave tag in the string of associated genres is partially to blame for this confusion, because most vaporwave is sample-based. I’m just incorporating a sample-based genre into some parts of my songs. Fire-Toolz is no more vaporwave than it is harsh noise. I think sometimes when an artist samples another artist, some listeners then tend to wonder what is a sample and what isn’t when listening. People have asked me what metal vocalists I’m sampling and are surprised to hear that I’m recording them myself.

Interbeing (and Skinless X-1) incorporate far less sampling than my earlier work. It’s not that I’ve tried to get away from sampling as if it’s a bad thing. Sampling is sick. I have several on-going projects that are religiously sample-based, and I will never break those rules. It’s just that I’ve been less interested in finding the perfect sax pop verse to layer in or build upon, and more interested in composing all these melodies and progressions from the bottom up. Fire-Toolz was always original composition and instrumentation-based, but samples were sprinkled all around as part of the process and theme. At this point, the rare sample is even more intentional, and thus a more special moment.

If I’ve taken a little chunk of someone else’s music and integrated it into my own song, then I adore that artist and listen to them on the regular. If it were safer to be more open about the samples, I’d be listing their names in the credits. There has been one exception to this, and it happens to be on the song of mine that’s gotten the most attention so far. It’s the Billy Idol sample on “All Deth Is U” from the Drip Mental album. I’m not a huge Idol fan! He was good in The Wedding Singer, but I was typically turned off by his music as a kid. I do love the song the sample came from, though. It’s probably because it sounds like other bands I like who were big at the time. I’ve always figured Billy was pissed about that. I bet he thought Depeche Mode and Duran Duran were a bunch of posers. The thing is, I kept hearing that fucking line “Eyes without a face…” in my head whenever I worked on that song, so I just did it.

Ever since Drip Mental my sample palette has been primarily jazz that’s come out sometime between 1984-1994. A few snippets of early 2000s metalcore and second wave emo can be spotted throughout the discography as well. My sample usage is meant to be a juxtaposition and re-contextualization, so I don’t sample “experimental” or techno or industrial or anything like that.

I would really love to just contact the great artists that I’ve sampled and show them what I’ve done. That could quite possibly yield unfavorable results. See, if it were me, even if the song was really bad, I would be like “OMG that’s really cool, thanks, I’m glad my jams have touched your young soul in such a way that you found the inspiration to re-contextualize them in your own way!” But these are old people now, you know? They may be more old fashioned. They may get angry and think I’m trying to profit off of their labor. They might even call me a bad word, and I’m pretty sure you’re not allowed to cuss or feel anger if you’re on Windham Hill Records. I think my dream would be for one of these artists to contact me and ask me to collaborate on some music!

I did email Zenju Earthlyn Manuel’s camp about my sampling her guided meditation in the track [CODENAME_BONKERS]. I didn’t expect a reply but I’m sure someone has read it by now and decided to leave me alone. The sample is from a public YouTube video, but I chopped up her phrases a little and still credited her, so that made/makes me nervous. shrugs.

 

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