Experimental music opens up our ears. Should we become too rigid or inflexible in our thinking, sound can point us toward broader avenues and unexpected possibilities. This, says Michael Pisaro, is one way that experimental music reaches out into the world. But, he says, it doesn‚Äôt just reach out, it invites listeners in and asks them to interact with what they hear. Over the course of several emails, I talked with Michael about his sense of time in music, complexity in modern composition, why silence matters as musical material, and how sound is never exactly what it seems.
Chris Carter and Cosey Fanni Tutti should require no introduction to Brainwashed's readers. Members of Throbbing Gristle, purveyors of fine electronic music under the names Chris & Cosey, CTI, and Carter Tutti and dedicated solo artists; there is not much out there that they have not had a stab at. John Kealy asked them about the recent Throbbing Gristle reissues, their current projects and the changing state of acceptability in art.
Forming half of Human Greed, Michael Begg has been releasing increasingly exquisite nocturnal music for the last ten years. Along the way, he has joined forces with Clodagh Simonds' group Fovea Hex and has been dabbling with Colin Potter in various manners. John Kealy caught up with Michael via email to discuss his duo with Deryk Thomas, the changing course of his music and the role that a long-dead Egyptian played in the formation of Fortress Longing.
Fraught with peril and lost love, Circuit Des Yeux‚Äôs three albums (and various tapes and 7-inch releases) ring with visions of a life too cruel to exist. That such a landscape is the masterwork of a woman just touching her early 20s is all the more odd. But such is the world of Haley Fohr, a woman whose vibrant personality turns sour and dark within the world of Circuit Des Yeux. It‚Äôs the return of the Dust Bowl, it‚Äôs the loss of every love, and the allure of sin wrapped up in discordance. Though Fohr‚Äôs despondent melodies echo of a forgotten era, it‚Äôs her wailing, seductive vocals that truly sing the song of the Sirens. Haley Fohr was kind enough to lift the veil and speak to me via e-mail about her recent album, Portrait, her collegiate pursuits, and touring Europe for the first time.
Unfortunately the core duo of Coil can no longer reply to us but we are happy to feature three people who were present at the time. Attempts were made to contact other people involved: guests and collaborators, but responses were and are still waiting to be received. If more responses come in, this article will be appended.
Nigel Ayers has long been an agent provocateur in the realm of experimental music. In the late 1970s he formed a group called The Pump with his brother Daniel Ayers and the late Caroline K. After a string of cassette releases a new project was formed by Nigel. Since 1981 Nocturnal Emissions has been releasing a steady stream of deconstructed music. The broad range of styles he has delved into can be bewildering. There are those made from abrasive noise, to an album made up of entirely remixed bagpipes, to another utilizing recordings made with vocal sounds from children under the age of 18 months, to another that samples cell phone conversations picked up on a police scanner, and a whole slew of titles which could be considered drone music before that kind of thing was as popular. He has also delved into electro and teeth-gnashing techno, and recently a dub album. And those are just the musical expressions of his curiosity. Nigel is a writer, poet, creator of viral art and digital ritual. He was kind enough to take the time and do an email interview with me to talk about his various explorations.
Ben Chasny released his first full-length record as Six Organs of Admittance in 1998. Since then, his recorded output has swelled to include about a dozen Six Organs albums. He has also toured and released music with Rangda, Comets on Fire, Badgerlore, Magik Markers, Current 93 and others. Ben spoke with Stephen Bush of Brainwashed about his latest Six Organs album, his ongoing work with Rangda and 200 Years, the philosophy of jazz collaborations, how to tell whether you're a hippie, and whether that elusive listener who self-identifies as a "Rangda fan" has ever been spotted in the wild.
On my shelf of vinyl records, the playful ditties of Charles Manson sit comfortably alongside the exotica of Martin Denny and the schmaltzy waltzes of Lawrence Welk. The esoteric jazz of Alice Coltrane commingles with the Gnostic revelations of Current 93. The Moog sounds of Debussy and maudlin reflections of Tom Clay peacefully exist with the full on feedback provided by Flying Saucer Attack and the warped surrealism of Nurse With Wound. While I bought some of these LPs and 45s new, I acquired the bulk of my collection in second hand thrift stores, flea markets, yard sales, or saved them from the trash. But even if I had enough records to make a mountain, and had not one by Bob Braun I would be as nothing; Bob Braun brings the love. Thanks to thrifts stores I have many of his albums.
Robert Haigh's 30 year long musical career has spawned an impressive and uncommonly diverse catalog of sounds. He has released records under his own name, as Truth Club, Sema, Fote, and as Omni Trio, collaborated with Nurse with Wound, and recorded multiple drum 'n' bass club anthems, some of which were inspired by Philip Glass. His work has been released by labels such as United Dairies, L.A.Y.L.A.H., Crouton, and Dom, and his music has even appeared in video games like Grand Theft Auto 3 and Midnight Club 3. He is currently completing a trilogy of solo piano records for Siren, of which Anonymous Lights is the most recent. Robert recently took the time to talk to Brainwashed about his past work, improvisation, collaborations with Nurse with Wound and Hafler Trio, the role of silence in music, and much more.
Since 2003, Liverpool's Mugstar have been putting out singles and EPs like there is no tomorrow. Having released their second album, ‚Ä¶Sun, Broken‚Ä¶ on Important Records last year, the band subsequently started work on its follow-up Lime which Important are again happy to present. Jason Stoll talked to John Kealy of Brainwashed about Lime, film music and Hawkwind.
Brian McBride has been recording music as one half of Stars of the Lid since 1995, but 2010 has been an especially active and varied year for him.¬† Last month, he released The Effective Disconnect, his long-awaited second solo album and first foray into composing a film soundtrack.¬† He also recently co-founded a record label (Failed Better) and made his debut as a member of Bell Gardens on the Hangups Need Company EP, a significant stylistic departure from his past work.¬† Brainwashed caught up with Brian to gather some insight on each release along with his other current activities.
A few years ago, when I lived in Boston, a WZBC DJ nearly made my head explode with his inspired decision to play a full 45-minute side of Natural Snow Buildings' crushing drone epic Slayer of the King of Hell in the middle of the day.¬† The band sounded like absolutely nothing that I had ever heard before and I immediately resolved to find out absolutely everything I could about them and track down all of their albums.¬† Both endeavors wound up being much more difficult than I had anticipated.
In the wake of three new releases this month (LP, 7", and book), Ossian Brown & Stephen Thrower of Cyclobe took time to chat with Daniel McKernan of Brainwashed about influences, techniques and upcoming projects.¬† Special thanks to Micki Pellerano.
Little Annie and Baby Dee begin a long stretch of European shows this week both with and without Marc Almond. The two have been collaborating on a record, which will hopefully be available in 2011. We talked with both briefly about their recent music and their time together.
2010 marks the 30th year of existence for The Legendary Pink Dots. Their latest album, Seconds Late for the Brighton Line is out now and they begin their extensive North American tour this week on Friday, October 15th in Vancouver, British Columbia. Brainwashed talked very briefly with Edward Ka-Spel, taking a snapshot of the current, about the latest album, the forthcoming shows, and the ever changing state of the Dots.
Aachen, Germany-based Christoph Heemann has made a name for himself as a musician, composer, remix artist, and engineer through groups like HNAS, Mimir, Mirror, In Camera, and collaborations with Charlemagne Palestine, Jim O'Rourke, Merzbow, Organum, Nurse With Wound, Current 93, and others. His artwork has graced covers for Edward Ka-Spel, The Tear Garden, Aeolian String Ensemble, Ragnar Grippe, and Ultra, and through his Streamline label he has issued music by John Duncan, Little Annie, Keiji Haino, Intersystems, Limpe Fuchs, Xhol Caravan, and more. Heemann is making a rare trip through the USA with 8 live shows scheduled beginning in Boston on Friday, October 8th. This brief interview is only a snapshot of what he's currently up to.