DECAYCAST News: Let’s Burn It Down: Mixed-Genre Benefit Show Invades Richmond District Tonight w: CCR Headcleaner and more!
There’s no secret 4/20 in San Francisco in 2019 can be a shit-show, with zombie-like blood thirsty capitalists co-opting and squeezing any profit they can out of literally anything cannabis related, and culture related for that matter, while steamrolling communities with racist and patriarchal policies which put the cities most marginalized at risk. Any and all culture in San Francisco seems to be at best, null and void for the distant future, to the lazily observing outsider, but local organizers fight back against this hypocrisy with a psych forward diverse musical event where you can support a good cause while having your brain melted with outsider sounds from some of the bay area’s stranger and more esoteric musical offerings. We spoke with the main organizer, Andre Torrez of the Brown Recluse Variety Show, a local radio program on BFF.fm. about the event and why it’s important to support organizations that help folks clear their criminal records or marijuana and other non violent low level crimes, especially now in an ever changing Bay Area landscape that seems hell bent on destroying anything that rebels against this hyper dangerous runaway capitalist model.
“With the annual crush of humanity on Golden Gate Park’s Hippie Hill reaching near mythical proportions, 4/20 in San Francisco is pretty much a stoner holiday. It seems like a no-brainer to tap into this crowd for some low-level marijuana offense criminal justice reform.
California’s recreational use marijuana law went into effect in 2018. At this point, any partakers are “barely legal”. Good times! But what about all those pot-case convictions prior to the new law kicking in? Bummer? Not so fast.
Why stop there? Marijuana is just the tip of the iceberg! Expunging old, low-level convictions can help tens of millions of Americans so they can get jobs, housing and education. Algorithms helping break down these barriers? It’s already happening! But it takes time, resources and money.
Pocket your vape pen and follow the wafting haze from the park on 4/20 and step inside SF’s Neck of the Woods(406 Clement Street) for the Blown-Out, Blowout Benefit Show: Barely Legal Edition.”
We spoke briefly with organizer Andre Torrez of The Brown Recluse Variety Show, who talked about the importance of organizing a benefit show and co-opting this green day for a good cause, “This is the 4th installment, though I haven’t thrown this party in 5 years. I used to be a DJ at KUSF 90.3 FM. When they were taken off the air I started the tradition of organizing a benefit show that was 4/20 themed. It’s not so much out of weed adulation, though I’ve definitely had my own adoring moments. It was more from my own observations of how 4/20 is like a California phenomenon. It really is treated like such an event as it is. Anyhow I like puns and themes, so I would get whatever local bands and acts I could convince to play for the cause of getting KUSF back on the air. Fast forward 5 years and they kind of are back on the air as KXSF 102.5 and I’m now affiliated as a BFF.fm DJ and recreational weed is now legal, so I needed a new cause.
I work at a local TV news station and that’s where I heard about all these low-level marijuana convictions getting expunged by the SF D.A.’s office. The cause to me was clear: more of this kind of work. When I dug into it and found out it was Code for America’s Clear My Record Campaign that was behind creating this algorithm that helped expunge more than 8,000 cases, I reached out to see if they’d like to be the beneficiary. I respect what they are working towards and how this impacts people’s chances for a greater housing, education and job opportunities. Really this is a manifestation of the income disparity I see on the streets everyday in San Francisco, especially living in the Tenderloin these last 10 years. People need help and not enough of us are stepping up to do something. I don’t expect a fat billion dollar check to come out of this, but even small-scale philanthropy can help make a difference.”
“This year’s lineup includes local, psych-heavyweights; CCR Headcleaner, bringing you riffs for days! Oakland’s Milk For The Angry is hot with their new cosmically, psychedelic-flavored album ‘Extraterrestrial Desert’. Ratskin Records’ Cyborg Eye, a dark and moody East Bay duo, will wow you with their gear. Hauras sets the experimental tone including a special screening of film work by Myleen Hollero. And if you like Glitter Wizard, then you won’t want to miss “members of” in the country-folk duo known as Honey Bucket Boys. DJ Mashi Mashi of Galaxy Radio fame will be spinning vinyl all night.
Come on out and stick it to the man. The fun starts at 8pm. $10.”
Another short but powerful offering from the PACNW’s Happiness Forever, titled “Primitive Dimension”, which is aptly titled for this minimal but powerful sonic offering, A dark pulsing arpeggiated square wave synth opens the track, slowly and effortlessly edging the listener to the edge of the cliff out of the gate. Hard stereo panning madness ala Phedora era Tangerine Dream when the tech left too many fuzz pedals in the chain in the best way. Lower pitched synths slowly undulate as the panoramic view widens and we are left confronting out demons. Pulses slowly phase and undulate across the spectrum of rhythmic militancy, shifting ever so slightly to create a psychedelic fuzz of confusion. Long drawn out bell-like sounds breathe in the background creating tension and thickening up the form to a dense, stew of synthesizer sludge.
Perfectly timed, the A side gives breath to a more subtle and sparse (but equally dark and unsettling) B side which begins with murky, basement synthesizer swells, ringing inside the cochlear with beautiful collapsing sine waves, radiant, insect-like buzzing sounds, throttled tones of a disharmonious and gray sunset. Happiness Forever creates peaceful yet slightly unsettling and dissonant tone poems for fans of drone, ambient and synthesizer music. All the individual synth voices sprout equal trees within a sonic forest of psychedelic electronic explorations.
Madrid, Spain outfit CONCRÎT blends decayed out ambient textures with atmospheric howls, delicate, haunting, creaks and bends in sound and tension, mixed with dark industrialized rhythms, and heavy field recordings ranging from disaster to psychoactive terror/tragedy. CONCRÎT takes the raw field recordings at a great value, using the voice as a sort of lead guitar over the top of the dark, churning, mechanized rhythms of catastrophic failure with dissonant rhythms. “That’s the way freedom is and we wouldn’t change it for a minute”. The music could be higher in the mix, though it does afflix the listener’s brain on the tension and caustic nature of these events blended with such mechanized, alienating sounds, though at times the voice does become so dominating we almost forget we are listening to “experimental music” though it’s not for the worst effect. The ambient sections prove to be some of the stronger work on “Far” though the whole album holds it’s weight in dissonance, and minimalist looping rhythms. Closing with “0000” an unknown field recording of chatter and a detuned, decaying piano rhythm slowly spins the listener into the end of this dark and morose sonic offering.
“FAR is the first EP of the dark ambient/industrial act CONCRÎT, based in Madrid, Spain.
The EP moves between soft programming and noisy mechanical rhythm mixed with historical speeches and ambient sounds, FAR is inspired by the human need to reach further and the consequences of exploration and conquer, the hope and the horror; Inspired by the voices of Amelia Earhart, Ernest Shackleton, Neil Armstrong, and the accident of the shuttle challenger and the attack to Hiroshima, with American presidents Reagan and Eisenhower’s speeches. The last piano piece is inspired by airports as non-places, where even travellers on their pursuit to the most remote destinations remain anonymous.”
Stay Strange SD Collective artist Esteban Issac Flores brings eight heavy, dissonant and atmospheric guitar based worlds oscillating between drone , noise, metal and industrial under tbe MONOCHROMACY moniker . Flores elegantly creates haunting and dissonant cinematic spaces for a wall of destructed waves of swelling chaos, choked screams decay into walls of thick oppressive fog of tone, climax and eventually swell back down into dreary, pulsating tones. Sine waves shifting into the horizon encapsulate a distant haze of confusion and dread.
On “Living Posture” , Flores creates a deep and complex tension between the various sonic elements, which really doesn’t ever falter throughout the eight tracks of dreary doom. Some of these atmospheres could call back to Times Of Grace era Neurosis (my favorite period of one of my favorite bands ) , SUNN O)))) , Earth etc but that would be sort of a lazy comparison as Flores has clearly refined his sound to something not heard before in the tropes of heavy music.
Monochromacy leaves the “tough guy” bullshit of extreme music far away in the trash for a delicate and intelligent experimental offering. Flores has clearly honed a unique philosophy and approach to present the listener with a tense, yet refreshingly present decaying burning structure of mammoth and intimidating take on noise-influenced, drone-metal. The plethora of unique territories covered on this record while maintaining an overall dark and dreary cinematic vibe is rather impressive to say the least.We are never left without a tight sonic line pulled taught across our reality/neck wth ever shifting tone, pulse and intention. what is going on? Where did he leave us atop this fog ridden, dank mountain of dissonance and confusion? What is GOING ON! Wow and just like that it’s over, what a listen.Absolutely essential ride for all fans of the heavier side of noisy guitar works and heavier dissonant, cinematic music in general.
“Brain Pan” is a compilation album of sorts spanning nearly three decades of the Expose Your Eyes moniker via Paul Harrison. This long-form cassette explores harsh, heavy manipulated noise/voice, a myriad of field recordings, slow moving and cavernous drone and ambient works, low-fi voice manipulations via cut up and distortion methods, glistening warm synth poems clamored against harsh noise mayhem; the stylistic shifts throughout the release exposing the listener to a mixtape style of experimental styles.
Standout track “Rend” blends heavily delayed percussive events with a mid-toned whirring, slowly building tension and anxiety and almost seems to crawl out of the speaker into an unsuspecting nervous system. Other tracks such as “Red River 2” offer a more sombre, melodic approach, while still retaining elements of experimentation and loose compositional structure. The label describes the process of choosing from the vast sea of material presented to them by the artist, “For this album, Paul sent me a whole stack of recordings that I then carefully sifted through to select the pieces that would finally be presented here, and I’m really pleased with the results we’ve achieved.
Go ahead and delve deeper into the vortex for a whirlwind of (un)easy listening.
It will leave you washed up on a distant shore of your consciousness, perspectives altered.
Curious, bizarre and wonderful… “
All in all “Brain Pan” explores a wide variety of experimental sounds and really theres something for everyone on this cassette from the uneasy, nauseating sounds and sights of one (cough cough) Smell & Quim (who Harrison was a member of) to the lush, hypnotic, Organ and synthesizer forward dronings of early Tangerine Dream. Pick it up on limited edition full color cassettes or CD’s from the label HERE
DECAYCAST : Fifty + Impactful Genre Defying Music Releases of 2018 : Part One *part two to be released Feb 2018
2018 was a wild year for music and the world. Bad politics and worse people coming to positions of power often spark good art. Here’s fifty genre defying releases from 2018 that we at Decaycast found absolutely exceptional.
Please seek these albums out and support the artists as directly as possible!
Being The Machine : DECAYCAST Interviews Derek Rush (Chthonic Streams, Compactor)
Derek Rush is a man of many hats in the contemporary noise/industrial scene; like many artists these days, Rush has taken a ground-up, DIY ethos to his various musical projects, his imprint Chthonic Streams, his DJ sets, as well as mixing, mastering, and designing artwork for his releases. Many times, when artists spread themselves this razor-thin, for a myriad of creative, philosophical, and logistical reasons, aspects of the work suffer, or appear rushed, but not in the case of Derek Rush. His commitment to the preservation and documentation of the New York City and North American noise and industrial scene is impressive to say the least. Make sure to keep up with his various projects here and here.
Hello Derek and welcome to Decaycast. Can you talk a little bit about your current creative projects and what you’re up to these days both with your label, Chthonic Streams and related projects?
My main current project is as SysAdmin for Compactor. This means I’m overseeing the production of recorded Documents, and I handle tech, setup and breakdown of Live Shifts. Compactor is a machine, or series of machines, operated by a uniformed person called The Worker. The idea is that this is an anonymous figure who could be anyone, they represent everyone who works for a living. The project is a series of ongoing statements about work and its place in society, the dehumanization of people, the focus, fetishization, and trust in technology, the push-pull of how it can be pretty cool but also pretty destructive. In May 2018 Oppressive Resistance Recordings released the full-length CD “Technology Worship.”
Chthonic Streams started as an outlet to release my own work when other labels are unavailable, as well as distribute the work of others I’m even tangentially involved with. Recently I’ve been expanding it to put out short-run releases of artists I like. I usually collaborate on some aspect, at least the design, sometimes a bit of mastering or even mixing, it varies. The latest release as we’re talking now is a tape by Endless Chasm, a dark ambient/experimental artist from Kansas. I also try to combine the release with a show I present under the Chthonic Streams banner with a variety of complementary artists.
As for other related projects happening now, I’ve been contributing to Theologian, which is the project of Lee Bartow. I recently sent him some melodic/harmonic elements which were turned into a track on the cassette “Reconcile,” and we have been sending files back and forth for the next major album, “Contrapasso.”
How did the collaboration with Theologian come about? How do you (if at all) separate the sounds you use for Compactor vs. the sounds you use for Theologian or other collaborations, and also how important is collaboration to you on general? Theologian is Lee Bartow, but sometimes he likes to collaborate with others. We’ve known each other from a distance for years, but connected more in 2010 when I asked him to remix a song from my band Dream Into Dust. In return, he asked me to contribute to a project called Love Is Nothing, and then he sent me material which I added to along with others that became the Theologian EP “Some Things Have To Be Endured”. I mixed the “Forced Utopia” album last year, and I’ve been editing/producing material for the forthcoming album “Contrapasso.” The “Reconcile” album came about because of the Darkness Descends industrial festival in Cleveland put on by Stephen Petrus of Murderous Vision. Lee asked Stephen, Andy (The Vomit Arsonist) and myself to send material that he would turn into an album (mixed by Mike McClatchey of Lament Cityscape), and the four of us played in Theologian for the fest.
The mindset, sound, and material for Compactor is very different from other projects or collaborations. Compactor sonically is all about different textures of primarily atonal sounds. The material I sent in for “Reconcile” was very melodic and droning and in a specific key. In general when working on Theologian, I know what that sound is and where Lee is coming from, and I’m just trying to do something that goes along with that but adds a dimension he doesn’t usually do when working on his own, things like trying to add a different structure or little synth melodies and string parts.
I think in any collaboration, it’s important to find out what the other person wants and needs, which may not be the same thing. I’m mostly just trying to help their project be the best it can be to my ears. But in the end, they give the final seal of approval and may even change things I’ve done initially. I find that totally democratic collaboration often doesn’t work. Someone has to be in charge of a project and someone else in more of a supportive role.
Seems like the sounds of Compactor and your collaborative projects come from very different places, intention-wise. Oftentimes in experimental music artists can take an “anything goes” approach, but that might end up not working for every situation, or even many situations. Do you think noise and experimental music, more than other genres, emphasize collaboration, or on the contrary does it discourage collaboration and focus on promoting the individual. Is removing yourself from the identity of Compactor a conceptual move or does it occur for different reasons?
I think noise music by its nature might not discourage collaboration, but it’s kind of unnecessary and sometimes a bad idea. With many types of noise, the more distortion and frequencies that are happening, the harder it is to fit in other sounds. It needs to have people even more attuned to each other than in conventional music, to know what and when to play or not play. Otherwise it can just become total white noise, filling up every space. There’s a place for that, obviously HN and HNW, but even one person can generate that on their own. So collaboration usually seems to come more out of a need for cameraderie and community. I think there’s a lot of loners, myself included, for whom noise has somehow had the opposite effect of connecting with others on the same wavelength. So it’s not like a rock band where you’re a guitarist who needs a bassist and drummer. You can do it all yourself, but you want your buddies with you, especially if they by themselves create something you respect.
Compactor being the machine, operated by the faceless figure of The Worker, is something that naturally came about from the early titles and imagery. It basically wrote its own backstory. Once that was in place, other details just obviously follow. The Worker’s story is a conglomeration of what goes on in this country and other parts of the world. The greed and inhumanity of corporations, the constantly working, often exhausted working class and shrinking middle class. It’s more important, and more interesting, to refer to these things than just say, wow work sucked today, I’m going to write a song about that. Because it’s not about me, it’s about everyone. And it’s sadly a pretty common feeling.
Can you talk a little bit more of the aesthetics of “The Worker” or “Compactor” from the mask/outfit to the unified aesthetics in the artworks well as music videos?
The predominantly black, white, and grey color schemes are just naturally bleak, and also give things a vintage or archival quality. A lot of the look of things is intentionally old, outdated, and ragged looking. For all the advancements in technology, there’s still a lot of old stuff being used by businesses that aren’t upgrading in order to save money. The Worker is kind of a personification of that, wearing a gas mask from 30 years ago, always the same worn-out shirt and work boots, and a generic cap, sometimes additional tools that are old, dirty, rusted or cheap-looking. It seems like a lot of companies are providing the bare minimum, or even leaving it up to employees to take care of their own uniforms or supplies.
Most of the videos in the past were outsourced to F Squared Media, who do some amazing work. Something to note is that there are never any people in them, in order to increase feelings of dehumanization and isolation.
Speaking of unified aesthetics, let’s talk about your imprint, Chthonic Streams. Most of your releases are rather involved with artist editions and elaborate packaging, including a boxset housed in a tool box?!? Is this true, care to elaborate?!
I’ve only started doing more elaborate packaging in the past few years, but have always strived to make sure there is really something to hold in your hands and look at. Also, it has to make sense and have a purpose. Although I appreciate albums that come with buttons and stickers, that’s not my thing. So I come up with images, words, and objects that bring the meaning of the music into the physical world.
The boxset you’re talking about is “No Workers Paradise”, which is 8 x 60-minute tapes, each one from a different noise artist. Compactor, Gnawed, Redrot, The Vomit Arsonist, Filth, Blsphm, Existence In Decline, and Work/Death each recorded a full album’s worth of material, so the total time is 8 hours, the standard American work day (although many people work longer than that). It also includes a 7″x10″ 12-page booklet with images, credits, and an essay I wrote about the prevalent relationship of people to work these days. Putting it in a tool box just made the most sense to me, as though someone would carry it to work with them and listen to it all day. Though this was my concept I have to give serious props and thanks to all the artists, who did some of their best work.
What is the most difficult part of running your own imprint and also what is the most rewarding? Also please discuss any upcoming releases you have for both the label, and Compactor.
The most difficult part is dealing with money. While I can save money doing pretty much everything myself, as soon as you start adding in the kind of crazy ideas I have, the cost goes right back up again. Not to mention the time and labor. I’m cheating myself in some ways, but I guess I’d rather do that than cheat an artist. Then again, probably a lot of labels at this level operate this way, which is sad. We’ve become so used to busting our asses incredibly hard just to get anything done and not lose our shirts.
On the positive side, it’s so rewarding to hear from other artists that they’re happy with how a release came out. These are people whose work I respect a lot, and we are friends and peers, so that’s the most important thing. Though we’re also happy to sell out of things too!
Just released is a compilation called Prematurely Purgatoried, which is a benefit for fellow musician Casey Grabowski (Nearest, Obligate Surrogate, Secret Societies) who has cancer. In the works is a release from Seattle-based artist Morher, who was until recently known as OKA Amnesia. I’ve booked her a number of times, and she recorded several long pieces live to multitrack at my studio, with plans to do more and make it a full-length, which I’ll be mixing, as I did with STCLVR’s Predator. She’s also a visual artist and we hope to collaborate using her work to come up with some kind of special edition that suits her and this material, which is incredibly open and visceral. It’s gorgeous sung and spoken word live and looped vocals, with ethereal backing based on field recordings bleeding into harsh noise.
By winter there will also be a special edition cassette by Mortuary Womb, a duo project between myself and the late John Binder of Exhuma and Arkanau. It’s full-on death industrial in the vein of early Cold Meat Industry and Slaughter Productions, recorded in Winter 2014. The limited edition will include a second cassette with the final recordings John did before he left us.
Compactor will have split releases with Vitriol Gauge and Ruiner. coming in Fall and Winter, respectively. There will also be tracks on compilations from Black Ring Rituals (for Fargo Noise Fest) and Spiricom Tapes, as well as a remix on the deluxe reissue of the Theologian/Lament Cityscape album. Beyond that, work has begun on a gabber album for Sonic Terror Recordings.