Posts Tagged ‘electronic music’


November 24, 2018: a new episode of The Anatomy Lesson at 11pm EST on CFRC 101.9 FM. Tone Deaf Kingston is wrapping up its annual festival of adventurous sound tonight, so in tribute: music by performers from this year and festivals past, including Hieroglyphic Being, Luyos MC, KOREA TOWN ACID, Jerusalem In My Heart, Joseph Shabason, Pantayo, Phèdre, Tamayugé + more. Tune in at 101.9 on your FM dial, stream at http://audio.cfrc.ca:8000/listen.pls or listen to the finished show on cfrc.ca or here: https://www.mixcloud.com/cameronwillis1232/the-anatomy-lesson-november-24-2018/

Luyos MaryCarl / Anthony Donovan – “Alt to unending conquest (dreams version)” (2018)
Joseph Shabason – “I Thought That I Could Get Away with It” Anne (2018)
Sarah Neufeld – “Chase the Bright and Burning” The Ridge (2016)
Jake Meginsky – “Human Grapes 45” Vandals (2015)
Tamayugé – “Live on CKUT 90.3 FM Montreal (excerpt)” (2018)

Pantayo – “Eclipse” Live at Sofar Toronto (2017)
Le Révélateur – “Age Maze” Fictions (2011)
Holzkopf – “Proposal for a Flat God” Place Out of Context (2016)
Jerusalem In My Heart – “Bein Ithnein” Daqa’iq Tudaiq (2018)
Phèdre – “Swipe” (2018)
Korea Town Acid – “Virtual Reality” Mahogani Forest (2018)
Hieroglyphic Being & The Truth Theory Trio – “Keep Your Mind Open” Keep Your Mind Open (2015)

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Eric Random, A Boy Alone. Dark Entries, 2018. Re-issue compilation.

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Flora Yin-Wong, City God. Purple Tape Pedigree, 2016.

“A City God is a tutelary deity in Chinese folk religion who is believed to protect the people and affairs of the particular town or city of great dimension, and its corresponding afterlife location. Originating over 2000 years ago, a City God was originally the name of a deity or type of deity believed to be able to provide divine protection to a city’s physical defences.”

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Jaclyn Kendall, Pressure Pulses. Summer Isle, 2018.

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February 03 2018: a new episode of The Anatomy Lesson at 11pm EST on CFRC 101.9 FM. Music by Eblen Macari, Esmerine, Mori Ra, Ari Balouzian, Buttechno, Chikiss, Chloé, Bus Gas + more. Check out the setlist below or at anatomy-lesson.tumblr.com, tune in at 101.9 on your FM dial, stream at http://audio.cfrc.ca:8000/listen.pls or listen to the archive at cfrc.ca or on mixcloud here: https://www.mixcloud.com/cameronwillis1232/the-anatomy-lesson-february-3-2018/

Idee du Femelle – “The Portrait of Vagabond” Sequences (1988)
Eblen Macari – “La Constelacion Del Pejelagarto (Bambuco)” Música Para Planetarios (1987)
Esmerine – “La Plume Des Armes” Mechanics of Dominion (2017)
Ari Balouzian – “Floodlights Burn The Night Sky” The Dream in Captivity (2014)
Bus Gas – “Night Slugs” Snake Hymns (2014)

Chikiss – “Dark Dream” New Season (2017)
RAMZI – “Getwet Getout” Ramzi Bébites (2014)
A Middle Sex – “Cry Waves” Soul Sways West (2015)
Chloé – “The Dawn” Endless Revisions (2017)
Mori Ra – “Stormy Weather” The Brasserie Heroique Edits (2017)
Buttechno – “Super Siziy King” Super Siziy King (2017)

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“Fernow’s fascination with techno is nothing new. Though he grew up as a metal head of sorts, he cites Richie Hawtin’s FUSE album Dimension Intrusion as his all-time favourite, and he was a rave kid back in Wisconsin. He started to collect DJ mixtapes—his only exposure to recorded dance music at the time—and it was the makeshift nature of the Midwest rave scene that would come to influence the way he operated as a noise artist.

“This tape by DJ Anonymous was so profound to me because it had two cassettes taped together, back-to-back,” he explained. “One side had an S&M picture of a man tied up, and the other side had a picture of a woman. One was jungle and one was gabber. And coming from the death metal world, there was a connection between this idea of making demos [on tape]. And it really made an impression about what could be done if you don’t have the means—just do it. If you can’t find a case to hold two tapes, just tape two cases together.”

Death metal was also a key part of his connection to electronic music. In the ‘90s, many death metal bands started to work electronic passages into their albums, as eerie intros or interludes, which caught Fernow’s ear.

“It was such a departure from the ‘band world,’” he said, “Where everybody does everything—they all play their own instruments. There’s a kind of a literalism that comes with rock music. Techno was the most mysterious thing to me, coming from death metal. I didn’t know anything about the machines, about the gear—I still don’t. Even the idea of playing records that someone else made, records that were designed to be mixed with other records—it was such a departure.”

“I decided that there must be something more extreme than death metal,” he continued. “We’d heard about industrial music, but the only thing you could really find at the time was dance industrial, like Swamp Terrorists. So there was this program called Scream Tracker 3, just a dot matrix program where you get sample banks and really rudimentary effects. We couldn’t find anything that we thought industrial should sound like, so we were gonna try to make it. It was me and my buddy. His stuff became techno and mine became noise, but it started out as this slow kind of techno. The very first music I made was on that program. CD-Rs weren’t domestic yet, so we were always trying to dub the tracks onto a tape deck, but it never sounded good. We eventually had the tracks transferred from a desktop computer to a CD-R machine, and it cost like $100 a disc.”

After progressing into noise music, Fernow moved from Madison to New York and started to amass releases on Hospital Productions. He opened a storefront for the label, which became a gathering point for seedier parts of New York City’s underground electronics scene.

Fernow began putting put out hundreds of records and established a confrontational and sometimes frightening live persona armed with nothing more than a microphone. A videoof one performance, at an in-store in Lowell, Massachusetts in 2001, stands out. Fernow writhes in front of a rudimentary stack of speakers, screeching into a microphone with his back to the audience. Another video shows a shirtless Fernow in New Paltz, New York doing a more spirited version of the same performance, wringing out unholy feedback from the speakers before violently plunging his microphone into one as if he were trying to destroy it.

It was only after years of Prurient and countless other harsh noise aliases that Fernow reconnected with the dance music that excited him so much as a teenager.

“Jim Siegel, the shop manager at the time, was bringing Sandwell District stuff in, and I was like, ‘What the fuck is this? This is so good!’ I didn’t realize it was Karl [O’Connor, AKA Regis]. I knew British Murder Boys, but I didn’t know Regis’s solo stuff. Just seeing the records, the aesthetic, and the titles most importantly. This is what I’d been missing all that time. I cannot emphasize the importance of what all those guys did. That was the doorway back in for me.”

Fernow had already started to experiment with more straightforward electronic music on Bermuda Drain, released through the avant-garde metal label Hydra Head in 2011. The album had some of the clearest and most straightforward Prurient music yet, featuring discernible lyrics, melodies and plush synths—albeit delivered in angry screams with harsh distortion. It marked a sea change from shows like that in-store performance in Lowell. Around the same time, Fernow started a new project, Vatican Shadow, with a tape of lo-fi beats called Kneel Before Religious Icons, which was first released on Hospital Productions and later reissued by Type.

Kneel Before Religious Icons featured a stark, smiling portrait of Nidal Hasan, better known as the Fort Hood Shooter, a US military psychiatrist who shot up an army base in Texas in 2009. The titles were borrowed from newspapers and headlines, adding a menacing political tinge to Fernow’s music. The tracks sounded like acid-eaten techno and industrial, with harsh, repetitive beats puncturing the spooky atmospheres Fernow had been exploring in his recent music.

Vatican Shadow wasn’t necessarily meant to be anything more than a one-off experiment. Fernow had the idea for the project while reading a newspaper article about the Fort Hood shooting, and a squatter who was living in the basement of his shop aggressively quizzed Fernow about the facts around the story.

“Pointing to the shooter, he proceeded to tell me that it was CIA, they were trying to make Obama look bad because he had planned to stimulate the economy and get out of the recession by legalizing marijuana,” Fernow said. “It kept going in that direction and I started thinking about these beliefs and how so much conspiracy stuff is about an inability to believe, a need to try and feel empowered by having ‘the real story.’”

Fernow saw the early Vatican Shadow material as being more influenced by industrial music than techno. Its style came through an attempt to turn the lengthy compositions of Bermuda Drain into something more concise. He never thought about DJing or mixing records—he said he was listening to artists like Traversable Wormhole and Function “as music,” at home, not for DJing purposes. He admits that most of the stuff he made early on sounded “like shit” on a big system. This was techno as creative exercise, not built for clubs.

Vatican Shadow became a serious endeavour following an interview with Blackest Ever Black founder Kiran Sande, when Sande was still an editor at FACT Magazine. After the interview, Sande asked Fernow about Vatican Shadow, and if he could release anything on his new label. Fernow was a fan of Raime and Regis, who appeared on Blackest Ever Black’s first releases, and he jumped at the idea. He was booked to play his first-ever Vatican Shadow show alongside British Murder Boys for a Blackest Ever Black showcase in London. But he never got on the plane, succumbing to an old fear of flying that ties into his deeper struggles with anxiety and OCD.

“It took me a long time to realize that it’s not necessarily about the result, but it’s about the process,” he said. “And I think that part of the deeper connection that I had to techno worked the same way—it was experiential, forcing you to be in the moment. There’s kind of an irony to it in that. This unhealthy way of living, traveling and never sleeping and all this obvious stuff that every DJ is faced with. But when you actually get to the club, with all the elements in place you can transcend the root of the problem. I think that one of the big issues we’re all facing is roots. There’s this cliche—’what’s the root of the problem?’—but real roots, like the roots of a tree, there’s not just one. There’s many.”

Techno culture forced Fernow to deal with his problems head on. His new obsession took him through a turbulent period that started with closing the Hospital shop. He moved to Los Angeles, a city he ended up hating for its remoteness. LA was the opposite of everything he had liked about Manhattan, where he could travel on foot and bump into people and have forced interactions, a necessary evil for an otherwise natural loner. (Fernow never liked Brooklyn. It made him feel claustrophobic when the steep hills would block out the horizon in the distance.)”

– Andrew Pryce, “Dominick Fernow: Myth of building bridges.” Resident Advisor, January 11, 2018.

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December 17, 2017: a new episode of The Anatomy Lesson at 11pm EST on CFRC 101.9 FM. Best in show for 2017 – including some of my favourite individual releases from the last 12 months by @lefruitvert​, Colin Stetson, Chino Amobi, ANAMAI, CARES, Félicia Atkinson, Gabriel Saloman, Shabazz Palaces, and (my #1) Pharmakon – as well as labels like @pseudolaboratories, @summer-isle, @koreaundokgroup, Hospital Productions, @shelterpress that have had great years or reliably put out great music + some African Ghost Valley who have 1) been huge supporters of this show and 2) continued in 2017 with several phenomenal releases. There’s a lot I couldn’t fit in – Sarah Davachi being the biggest – but that’s the trouble with just one hour!

Check out the setlist below, tune in at 101.9 on your FM dial, stream at http://audio.cfrc.ca:8000/listen.pls or listen to the archive after airing at cfrc.ca or the ‘special version’ right now on mixcloud: https://www.mixcloud.com/cameronwillis1232/the-anatomy-lesson-december-16-2017/

Le Fruit Vert – “Vu du large” Paon Perdu
Félicia Atkinson – “VALIS” Hand In Hand
Gabriel Saloman – “What Belongs To The Fire” Movement Building Vol. 3
Colin Stetson – “All This I Do For Glory” All This I Do For Glory
Death Kneel – “Our Variant Futures” Fever Hospital (Korea Undok Group)
Shabazz Palaces – “Déesse Du Sang” Quazarz: Born on a Gangster Star
Jaclyn Kendall – “I Think of You Less Now” Ideological Horizon comp. (Summer Isle)

African Ghost Valley – “JUNG CHAMP” YHVASCA
Cares – “Ooze Descendants” Who Else Are You (technically very late 2016…)
Âmes Sanglantes – “System of Emotional Intensity” Crackdown (Hospital Productions)
Pharmakon – “Transmission” Contact
Anamai – “Crossing” What Mountain
KAUNSEL – “The Slow Pursuit of Tomorrow” Prairie Minimal (Pseudo Laboratories)

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